Texas Renaissance Festival

November 28, 2009

Yesterday Julia and I spent the day at the Texas Renaissance Festival (who should get someone who knows what they’re doing to redesign their web site. Although I guess by world wide web standards it is pretty medieval.) It was a slightly late anniversary celebration for us. We had a great time until we tried to leave and found out a wreck had traffic completely stopped. It was three and a half hours before we were able to leave the parking lot.

We enjoyed the falconry exhibition and the longbow shoot and the jousting and the music and, well, pretty much everything. Although the lady who looked to be about my age wearing the barbarian princess costume was a little too much.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever get Julia to agree to let me get the $3500 rapier I got to look at:

“Why couldn’t you get a cheaper one?”

“Those are just for looks; this is a real sword with perfect balance and razor sharp.”

“And what would you need a real sword for?”

“Well, you never know. What if I got caught in a time travel accident and ended up in the middle ages?”

I could tell she wasn’t going to go along with it.


November 24, 2009

I see on this post that today is the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of the Species. (I knew it was coming up, but not that it was today.) It seems like a good excuse to post my opinion, not that I really need an excuse. So: I believe in evolution, but not in Evolution. The first, small “e” evolution, is a scientific theory about how over billions of years life has changed and developed through mutations and natural selection. Big “E” Evolution is a religious belief system that life and its diversity comes solely from random mutations and natural selection, and that that’s the complete and sufficient explanation for the whole thing and anyone who doesn’t accept that is ignorant or stupid and should be suppressed. This take on evolution (linked in the comments to the post linked above) is pretty close to mine.

Arthur C. Clarke famously said than any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I say that God’s “technology” is so advanced it’s almost always indistinguishable from nature taking its course.

Taxing and spending

November 21, 2009

Worse Than Taxes: The Spending

I came to this conclusion back when Reagan was president. If taxes are low but spending is high, that means the government is borrowing money or inflating the currency (or both) which are just as bad. The major benefit of low taxes is that it puts pressure on legislatures to spend less.

Government spending means economic resources are being allocated according to political priorities rather than to individual priorities or economic growth. While their are some political priorities that justify that, it needs to be kept to a minimum. Also, the more government spending there is, the more opportunities arise for corruption.

Joe Lieberman

November 17, 2009

may yet save the Republic, as I remarked to Amanda the other day.

Good article: The Importance of Being Lieberman

When he was running in the Democratic presidential primary, I thought that if he got the nomination I’d have to think about who to vote for in the general election. But of course as it turned out he didn’t win and that was an easy choice.

Cultural decline

November 16, 2009

Last Wednesday I was giving a presentation at work. At one point I was trying to contrast the flexibility of XML with older ways of storing data, and I compared the older ways to the bed of Procrustes. I got a lot of blank looks. In the end, I had to tell them the story.

News and links

November 8, 2009

It’s been a busy weekend. Yesterday the south stake had a genealogy thing Julia went to, the school had their fall festival (which, since she’s the room mother for two classes, Julia had to help out with,) and the stake had a talent show. I was in a quartet that sang the Beatles’ Yesterday.

Before it falls off my radar, I want to link to this story:

True Adventures in Turning the Other Cheek, Pt. One

True Adventures in Turning the Other Cheek, Pt. Two

Back doors

November 2, 2009

I ride the bus (Capitol Metro) to and from work. Many of the buses have back doors. Many of the buses, when you press the button to request a stop, say “Stop requested. Please stand clear of back doors.” But as far as I’ve been able to observe, the intersection of the set of buses with back doors and the set of buses that ask you to stand clear of back doors is empty.