Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wordle me this

Nifty new website (h/t AB) that will arrange popular words from your blog into pretty pictures.

I didn't realize I used the word "racist" that much. Hmm.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Politically-correct Follies, UK-style

The British government has launched an effort to stamp out racism and prejudice at the earliest possible age, including infancy. One heretofore-unnoticed sign of nascent racism? Disliking spicy foreign food:
The National Children's Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.

This could include a child of as young as three who says "yuk" in response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.

The guidance by the NCB is designed to draw attention to potentially-racist attitudes in youngsters from a young age.

It alerts playgroup leaders that even babies can not be ignored in the drive to root out prejudice as they can "recognise different people in their lives".

The 366-page guide for staff in charge of pre-school children, called Young Children and Racial Justice, warns: "Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships."

It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: "blackie", "Pakis", "those people" or "they smell".

The guide goes on to warn that children might also "react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying 'yuk'".

Staff are told: "No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action."

Warning that failing to pick children up on their racist attitudes could instil prejudice, the NCB adds that if children "reveal negative attitudes, the lack of censure may indicate to the child that there is nothing unacceptable about such attitudes".

Nurseries are encouraged to report as many incidents as possible to their local council. The guide added: "Some people think that if a large number of racist incidents are reported, this will reflect badly on the institution. In fact, the opposite is the case."
I have no idea what sort of power these "local councils" have in the UK, but it certainly sounds ominous. I can hardly fault a program to discourage youngsters from using actual racist epithets, but I have to wonder how it could have taken 366 pages to address this issue. Allow me to list my first few reactions:

1. WTF????
2. If school teachers discourage something, don't they run the risk of kids thinking it's cool? Racism may become the new Sex Pistols for young Britons.
3. Compared to standard British fare, nearly all foreign food is spicy, and is likely to be a shock to the palate of anyone raised on fish & chips. Don't fault little Nigel for reeling at a flavor explosion.
4. A lot of foreign food is just plain gross if you didn't grow up with it--e.g. kim chee (fermented cabbage, Korea) and hákarl (rotten shark meat, Iceland).
5. Hopefully they will include "limey" in the list of slurs to be discouraged--mostly just because we need something to ruffle the feathers of ordinary pasty Brits. Oh, and because sensitivity to racism is a mutli-directional street.

At the very least, I'm sure we can all agree that the British government seems to have too much time on its hands.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

Greatest. Summer movie idea. Ever.

90 minutes of this would be so much better than most anythingt Hollywood has to offer:

Throw in some ballet-dancing cyborg action, and you may just have the perfect movie:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bald people kick alien/fascist ass

io9 has a bit on the most bad-ass bald people in scifi. I have to give props to Captain Picard for ultimate bad-assedness...

...but it was Captain Sisko who perfected the bald/goatee bad-ass look...

...and really, this is all just giving me naughty thoughts about Evey Hammond and Ellen Ripley...

...this is the wrong blog environment to go into those thoughts, though...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tunguska and the LHC - coincidence or not?

I didn't see the connection at first, but it's so clear...just staring me in the face...

  • June 30, 1908: The Tunguska Event. A multi-megaton explosion over an uninhabited area of Siberia.
  • August 2008: The first operation of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, which may very well have the capacity to destroy the world...
Isn't it obvious??? The LHC, once it is switched on, will open a temporal vortex, jumping over 100 years (it was off by a little over a month, but temporal vortices are imprecise that way) and creating a massive explosion a few thousand miles away (again with the imprecision). There is, quite simply, no other possible explanation. How could this be a coincidence??? HOW?????????????????????????????????????

Unless, of course, it's just a coincidence.

Gosh, two days into my stay-at-home vacation, and I'm going seriously batty.