Archive for the ‘absurd’ Category

U Know

Friday, November 10th, 2006

I love quotes. In honor of this election and it’s aftermath here are some quotes by Donal Rumsfeld.

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

“There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.” -on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction

“I don’t know what the facts are but somebody’s certainly going to sit down with him and find out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know.”

“If I know the answer I’ll tell you the answer, and if I don’t, I’ll just respond, cleverly.”

“I’m not into this detail stuff. I’m more concepty.”

“I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.”

“I believe what I said yesterday. I don’t know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it’s what I said.”

He really liked messing with the media and language. Too bad he couldn’t confuse the enemy as well, you know?

Numbers, counting and sensationalism in the Media

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

The last few days I have read, watched or listened to a lot of news stories whos only apparent raison d’ĂȘtre are numbers or stats. This morning as I completed the “repeat” portion of lather, rinse and repeat in the shower, the reporter on the radio informed me in breathless tones that at that exact moment [7:46AM] the US population had crossed the 300 million person mark. I was told to remember what I was doing for posterity. How absurd! The truth is the “event” may have happened last week or will in actuality happen next month. I may have happened at [7:56AM] while I was looking for a pair of socks. The whole “event” did not merit such special coverage. Next came speculation as to whether the 300 million person was a birth or the current political whipping boy an immigrant. Amazing.

Another story involved counts, body counts to be exact.The news story concerned the number of US Military casualties for the month of September. The reporter claimed there were close to 60 casualties. I always find a reporter chortling about “temperatures tomorrow being near 100 degrees” or after a disaster estimates that “the Katrina death toll could reach 10,000″ very disturbing. Does the news agency not know what the casualty number was last month? Was it 54 or 58 or 50? All three are close to 60. Is it that difficult to just say last month there were 56 casualties without sensationalizing it? Is the temperature tomorrow really going to near 100? Will it be 99.8 and thus the merit in the use of near? Or will it be 97 or 98? Can a human tell the difference between 97 and 99 degrees anyhow? A 100 degree day I guess makes for bigger news than 98. How about disaster death tolls, can the death toll really reach 10,000? What was the final count? I remember reporter practically salivating as they used words like massive to describe the possible death toll. I guess that if we were to discover tomorrow that a rogue astroid was heading toward earth the media headline would probably read “Massive Astroid headed toward Earth: Death Toll could reach 6.7 Billion.” I wonder where they will put the camera?

Effect of forgetfulness

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Grey Squirrel

Gray squirrels bury their acorns all over the place (“scatter hoarding”), then forget where. Forgotten acorns become trees. This forgetfulness is the main way oak and other hardwood forests grow and spread, scientists say.

So squirrel forgetfulness causes forest…..Cool.

More Quotes

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.

Samuel Butler (1835 – 1902)

A conservative is someone who believes that nothing should be done for the first time.

Unkown

It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifing exception, is composed of others.

Unkown

Change

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. — Robert C. Gallagher

It is not necessary to change, survival is not mandatory. W. Edwards Deming

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. — Harold Wilson

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. — John Kenneth Galbraith

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place. — Washington Irving

Stubborness does have its helpful features. You always know what you are going to be thinking tomorrow. — Glen Beaman

Change requires work, change is not for the lazy. — me

implementing enterprise synergies

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

One of the reasons for this blog, besides a outlet for an occasional rant, is to “encourage” myself to write. I need to improve my writing, I hope writing this blog will help. I am a visual person and spend 80% of my professional time drawing. Any writing I currently produce is in the form of standardized construction document newspeak, not very exciting or rewarding. Some of what I write is technical while other is legal in nature. Most of the jargon becomes unintelligible to people outside of the “club”.

I see a lot of resumes with lots of phrases like the title of this post. I don’t know what any of these people do! While I was researching the common business use of verbose and obfuscating jargon I came across the writings of Bertand Russell. A paper he wrote called “How I Write” that has an interesting passage that gets to the heart of what I am trying to say.

“Human beings are completely exempt from undesirable behaviour-patterns only when certain prerequisites, not satisfied except in a small percentage of actual cases, have, through some fortuitous concourse of favourable circumstances, whether congenital or environmental, chanced to combine in producing an individual in whom many factors deviate from the norm in a socially advantageous manner”. Let us see if we can translate this sentence into English. I suggest the following: “All men are scoundrels, or at any rate almost all. The men who are not must have had unusual luck, both in their birth and in their upbringing.” This is shorter and more intelligible, and says just the same thing.

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)

Here’s to say it like it is and simplifing communication.

The Media and Priorities

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

newsweek_09_2006.jpg

I guess this why we are so uninformed about ANY current world event. Yet the Media recently had a bidding war to photograph some celebrity’s baby. Events in Afghanistan, as we well know, do and can affect us, sometimes profoundly. I guess it’s about what sells papers or maybe we are entering a new era where we “embrace” and wallow in our own ignorance. Anyone have photos of Suri Cruise?