Sunday, October 30, 2011

Predigested Viddles

Glenn Reynolds links to this video on 'meat glue'.

I have to admit to being disgusted at first, but then the thought of those perfect little meat glue filets kept drifting back into my mind (the 'glue' being a powdered digestive enzyme).  Then I did the math of <"stew meat"+"meat glue"="filet mignon"> and it seemed like a no-brainer: I need to find out where to buy meat glue!  And if you think the idea of processing food with the digestive juices of an animal is disgusting, then you'd best better not look up to see how cheese is made.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cultural Lag

In a college course that I went through, at some point they were comparing and contrasting the ancient civilizations and they made a point to single out the inefficiencies of the Egyptian hieroglyphics and (I paraphrase lightly) how idiotic and backward they were as they'd write their inefficient symbol (which was bad enough) and then right next to they would write the phonetic version as well.

My thought was "those silly, backward Egyptians, they just couldn't get on the Greek bandwagon...
hmm, but the Japanese still do that."

Proof is all over, but so prominent is the use of both the phonetic and kana at the same time that the welcome screen for Microsoft's web server (with Windows 7/Server 2008) actually has them both as well:

Japanese get welcomed twice


This post from Mark Krikorian about Mexico complaining about Mexicans returning home is pretty delicious:
Along these lines, the recent Associated Press story about President Calderon complaining that we’re deporting Mexican criminals back to Mexico (a complaint that takes some real huevos, since they’re his own people)...
That goes along well with the stupid sparing between Romney and Perry over each other's illegal immigrant foibles as they completely ignore the obvious solution to both their issues: no illegal immigrants.  Duh!  However, I guess that would be too easy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't Watch It

I've seen some disturbing stuff on the Internet; DISTURBING stuff that I wish I could unwatch, but the video in this post by Mish about a Chinese girl getting hit by a van is probably the worst thing I've ever seen on the 'net, and that's saying something. It's not so much the visual disgust, as it is the apparent soullessness of what should be normal people NOT helping the girl who had been run over.  Instead of punching for the gut or head, that video stabs right at the heart (especially when the mother finds her daughter, rough stuff).

As usual, the government carries a large part of the blame.  When MSNBC wrote the story up they related a tale of a guy in China taking it upon himself to take an old woman who had collapsed (or had been pushed over) to the hospital, only to be thanked by a judicial order for him to pay towards the woman's care as she claimed that the good Samaritan had pushed her over and naturally since he helped her, that made him guilty. Now in the U.S. the response was "good Samaritan" laws, in China the authorities responded by saying that you should wait for the proper authorities to resolve the situation (even calling into them to report such an incident could imply guilt).

That place is F'd up good.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

College Loan

Glenn Reynolds links to this Zero Hedge bit on the student loan racket.  What struck me most was that besides debts incurred due to breaking the law, every other loan except for student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy (at the Federal level).  It was also interesting to see the timeline where the terms for loans got more restricted over time.

What's interesting of course is that if the loan could be discharged, it would be an unsecured loan, essentially a credit card loan.  In fact it's even worse than that as a credit card company may have some recourse on their debt (for instance, if you ran up your credit card debt right before declaring bankruptcy). For student loans that money is gone, and if priced appropriately for the market the interest rate may be outrageous (although typically a cosigner is required anyway and this would seem to mitigate the fear that lenders might have).

Overall though, I don't like it.  I hate the idea of anyone being a 'debt slave'; no one is making these people lend money (most of the time) so it's their own gamble as to whether or not they will be paid back. They shouldn't involve the government in their poor investment decisions.

(I should point out that it's debatable to what extent any loan is dischargeable any more.  Karl Denninger has pointed out that laws should be much more liberal in this regard as forcing society to hold onto bad debt (be it public or private) prevents a nation from being able to quickly correct mistakes and resume economic growth; particularly after the implosion of debts bubbles, such the time we are living in now).

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Academic Cheat

Since I'm enrolled in an online degree program, my free time will be even more crimped than it is already.  However, when I was going through the orientation and the inevitable screed about plagiarism came up I came across this method of plagiarizing that I hadn't heard of:
Using work previously submitted for credit
I can plagiarize...myself?  That makes a lot of sense, and I must confess that I was guilty of that in the past as I had redrafted some of my high school senior English papers for my first term college English class way  back when I got my associates (I can see the footnote now: "did same friggin' thing before, enjoy!").

Speaking of which, I was talking to the woman that I work for on a part time basis and mentioned that I was getting my bachelors.  She was taken aback that I didn't have my degree(!!) and then when on to tell a tale about how when she met her husband (married for like twenty years or so) that he only had an associates and she insisted that he get a bachelors degree (in...Education!).  I guess it didn't dawn on her that the fact that she has known me for more than twelve years and didn't know that speaks volumes about actually worthless a degree can be.  (Oddly enough, my boss at my full time job who has her MBA was always hesitant about paying for my degree for exactly that reason).