Saturday, January 21, 2006

Google Maps search for Shooting Ranges identifies government buildings and local newspapers as targets

I found out that you don't need own a gun to take advantage of a shooting range and it seemed like a fun way to blow off some steam on a weekend afternoon, but I wasn't sure if there was a shooting range near my neighborhood. So, I turned to Google Maps and searched for shooting ranges near 92102.

Sure enough, Google produced a list of nearby shooting ranges in the left pane, but what was initially amusing became disturbing as I continued to click the markers on the map. In addition to legitimate shooting ranges, Google maps identified these sites for shooting ranges near 92102:
  • San Diego Daily Transcript, a newspaper
  • San Diego Union Tribune, a newspaper
  • California Public Utilities Commission
  • San Diego County Library Law
  • San Diego County Superior Court
  • Downtown Information Center
  • San Diego Public Library
  • San Diego Convention Center
  • Yellow Cab Company
I'm not sure what to make of this, but if I was a conspiracy theorist...

Here's a photo of the search (click for a larger version):

Heading to Columbus and Canarsie Memories

I'm heading to Columbus, Ohio for a week of work. I was last there about 13 years ago and I really liked the town. Of course, that was a mid-summer visit when the weather was very nice. This time I can look forward to possible rain, possible snow, and overall cold weather (compared to San Diego).

On a separate note, a simple (dark, even) photo of street signs at East 92nd Street and Bay View Place in Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY, has inspired more comments than anything else I've photographed.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Roman Catholics are Smarter Than Fundamentalist Christians

According to a report from the Associated Press:
The Vatican newspaper has published an article saying "intelligent design" is not science and that teaching it alongside evolutionary theory in school classrooms only creates confusion.
"This isn't how science is done," he wrote. "If the model proposed by Darwin is deemed insufficient, one should look for another, but it's not correct from a methodological point of view to take oneself away from the scientific field pretending to do science."

I was having an argument a few weeks ago with a friend who I would categorize as an agnostic (he might or might not agree) and he was vehemently in support of teaching Intelligent Design in the classroom. If I was a better debater, I might have been able to convince him of the error of his ways. Since I'm not that great at debating, I'm going to forward this to him to see if it changes his mind.

Of course, the guy is an Apple evangelist, so I might as well give up on trying to change him.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Alito, No!

I had to drive up to HelL.A. three times this week, which means I spent over 12 hours in my car listening to San Diego, Orange, and L.A. county radio stations. Much of that time was spent either listening to Alito hearings live or listening to the coverage of hearings on "progressive talk radio" stations.

I'm not sure what I think about Alito, but I do know that it's not the same as before the hearings. Before the hearings, the liberal press had demonized Alito as someone who would roll back Roe, suffocate civil liberties, put God back in schools, and would essentially hand the judicial branch over to the Republicans.

I will cede one thing to the pro-Alito side: the Vanguard issue is a non-issue. I listened to the questions and answers on this issue live during the hearings and I think Alito acted correctly. In this case, the Democrats/liberals were making much ado about nothing.

I wasn't even bothered too much that Alito refused to answer the question about whether he still believes that the Roe vs. Wade decision was unconstitutional, which is what he stated twenty years ago. It's pretty much what I expected from any nominee these days, whether they are Republican or Democrat; they're not going to answer that question. Of course Alito wants to overturn Roe and of course the Republicans and the Bush administration expect this to be true or they wouldn't be so gung-ho on the guy. It's just something that wasn't going to be "discovered" during the hearings.

But, the thing that troubled me the most about Alito, even more than his snub of his wife at the end of the hearings, is his dance around the issue of whether someone who can be proven innocent in real life after being proven guilty in court has a constitutional right not to be executed for the crime that they are innocent of. Instead of giving a common sense answer, "of course they do", Alito showed his lack of common sense and his bureaucratic leanings by rambling on about how the person would have to avail himself of the court appeal process. In essence, he would have no problems with executing an innocent person.

Is this the kind of person that we want on the Supreme Court, deciding our fate for the next 30 years? Well, I take back my initial statement of unsuredness - I can't support Alito and I hope that the Democrats stop his ascension to the throne court.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Catch of the Day

My wife writes for a living, so I finally convinced her to start her own blog: Catch of the Day.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

God saves miners, then changes mind

Just before bed last night, I caught a news report that 12 miners that had been trapped in a mine had somehow survived lethal carbon monoxide levels and had been found alive. The news report showed one of the family members saying something to the effect, "Our creator answered our prayers and saved our family" and "It's a miracle".

After I woke up this morning, I learned that the news of a miraculous rescue was a mistake and that, in fact, the 12 miners had died.

I truly feel sorry for the families of these miners, both for losing beloved family members and for having their hopes dashed. I lost both my brothers in a car accident many years ago and I know how painful such a loss can be.

However, anyone that was previously praising their "creator" for a miracle rescue who is now blaming the mining company and not their "creator" for the deaths of these poor miners needs to be slapped back into reality and slapped for being hypocritical. You can't have it both ways.