The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Religious extremists target academics

From today's Chicago Tribune:

Creationism-as-myth professor beaten

LAWRENCE, KANSAS—A college professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he derided Christian conservatives said he was beaten by two men along a rural road.

The Lawrence Journal-World has a long series of stories about this.

For my money, I'm hoping there are enough rational people in Kansas to prevent them blowing up statues and the like.

I'll drink to that!

It was on this day in 1933 that Prohibition ended.

Shortly afterward, marijuana was criminalized, in no small part because the alcohol lobby has always been more powerful, and in the 1930s popularly associated with a different ethnic group, than the marijuana proponents.

I was going to provide links to scholarship to support this point, but there isn't a lot of it out on the Web right now. Even the relatively de-politicized National Institutes of Health and the Journal of the AMA have a dearth of information about the relative dangers of pot vs. booze. (And yes, despite the flap about Plan B, I think the NIH are relatively apolitical. The FDA, on the other hand, not so much under this administration.)

I did find a link to a site about Reefer Madness, which is hi-larious. But it's not really scholarship.

Note: I'll stop parroting the History Channel's daily list for now. But if you're interested in histroy, you should subscribe to it.

Post-season extra innings

From the National Hurricane Center just a few minutes ago:

...EPSILON BECOMES YET ANOTHER HURRICANE IN THE RECORD BREAKING 2005 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON...

Epsilon, the 26th named storm in the Atlantic this year, is now its 14th hurricane.

See the complete public advisory.

Hurricane season ended Wednesday. Apparently Mother Nature didn't get the memo.

Update, 20:53 UTC: Forecaster Stewart at the NHC added this comment to the latest Hurricane Epsilon discussion:

GOING BACK TO 1851... HISTORICAL RECORDS INDICATE EPSILON IS ONLY THE FIFTH HURRICANE TO FORM DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. OTHER DECEMBER HURRICANES ARE... UNNAMED 1887... UNNAMED 1925... ALICE #2 IN 1954... AND LILI 1984. EPSILON IS ALSO ONLY THE SIXTH HURRICANE TO EVER OCCUR DURING DECEMBER... INCLUDING UNNAMED 1887... UNNAMED 1925... ALICE #2 IN 1954... LILI 1984... AND NICOLE 1998.

North Carolina breaks the tape

North Carolina executed the 1,000th person since the U.S. reinstated capital punishment in 1976, putting us 1,000 ahead of our friends and allies in the contest to become the most barbarous democracy on earth.

I don't have time at the moment to go over the problems with the death penalty, except to note that the Jeanine Nicarico case is back in the newspapers in Chicago. The man most likely responsible for Nicarico's murder is finally on trial for it 20 years after a man who couldn't possibly have killed her was sentenced to death for the crime.

There are myriad reasons why no other country in the OECD still kills its prisoners, reasons I will articulate in future posts. For now, though, let me reflect on the passing of this milestone, and sigh.

Source-control etiquette

<Rant>

Any software project that has more than one developer working on it needs to have some way of ensuring that there is one and only one "official" version of the code. This is called source control, for which teams use tools like Microsoft SourceSafe and Rational ClearCase.

In the land of myth and legend, the code checked in to source control is ready to roll. Checking something in that doesn't work, or that prevents other parts of the software project from working, is called "breaking the build." On some teams breaking the build results in the offending developer working late, suffering humiliation from his peers, or having Vinny come by and break his knuckles.

Adhering to this discipline allows developers to join the team, get the latest copy of the code, and start working on it. Failing to adhere to this disicipline causes anguish, frustration, and despair.

That is all.

</Rant>