Monday, February 26, 2007

Jesus is Alive!

The rediscovery of Jesus' family tomb has sparked a lot of debate. No one has seen all of the evidence yet, yet everyone is piping up with criticisms. So far, none of the criticisms have been scientific in nature. "Jesus family was too poor for a tomb of such luxury". Umm, for starters, there is no statement in the bible about Jesus' wealth! In fact, it is unlikely that anyone with so much influence was poor! How unscientific can one get? It's just funny how everyone is panicking.

Hey Christians, your god was just a man! Not even all Christians look to Jesus as a god. Certainly, he had a life prior to the age of about 34, when we started preaching openly. So, there's nothing odd about him having a family. In fact, there's nothing odd about his family being hidden from history! Perhaps the story of Jesus' death and lack of mention of his family is due to the fact that his followers were trying to protect them from the Roman Empire. Or perhaps the politics within the Christian Church were at play, as groups fought for control of the faith. Maybe Jesus lineage lost power in the group once he died, so their record was expunged to justify the resulting power shift. This sort of activity is evident from within the text of the New Testament. There is obvious tells about the rise and fall of apostles and other leaders within the Church in power struggles where the victor was not necessarily even familiar with Jesus (for example, St. Paul). After all, the Council of Nicaea was commissioned by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine. If an outsider held that much say over the faith, how much more was the faith in flux from within?

So, do I believe these remains belong to Jesus and his family? No, I don't hold a belief about such things. Do I think there is a possibility that these remains are of Jesus? Yeah. In fact, I think it is likely.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Every House Has a Maker

Did a god make our world? I must admit that I know that every house has a maker. A lot of work goes into making a house. A house is built by humans, using processes developed by humans, with materials discovered and formed by humans. We make houses to serve as shelter for our population. What does this say about how Earth came into being?
Well in nature, we do not see such an effort being made. In nature, everything is random. Houses don’t just come into being by themselves. If this Earth was created by a nurturing and carrying god, one of the main things one should expect is that all of humanity's corporeal needs are directly addressed. For example, if an average person today was dropped into the middle of the wilderness without supplies, most persons would not be able to survive. Another example, people who raise animals feed that animal, groom it, raise it, protect it, provide companionship to it, and even clean up after its dirty business. Imagine what would happen if a cat owner didn’t clean the litter box. Yuk! Yet, this world doesn’t do any of that for us. We have to find our own food. We have to cook our own meals. We have to build the houses we live in and the cars we drive in. We even have to wipe our own asses.
Bottom line, where there is a house, there is indeed a maker. Where there is no house, there is certainly no maker.

Good, bad and the ugly

Although I feel my actions are "good", I don't hold "good" and "bad" are moral standards. Everything that one does is both beneficial and detrimental at the same time. I may buy a loaf of bread for a poor family, but that loaf was made by growing and then killing yeast; it was likely delivered to the store in a truck that consumed fossil fuel that polluted the atmosphere; it was packaged in plastic, also from fossil fuel, that when discarded will be garbage polluting the Earth. Here's a more basic example: every breath we take adds a few seconds to our life, but also takes us one breath closer to our last.Something good is something we perceived as more beneficial than detrimental; and visa versa for something that is bad. So, from this, how does one presume a moral code? "Experience" is often sited. However, since everything is relative to one's prespective, how is society supposed to trust each individual's experience to steer them towards activities which it feels are more beneficial than detrimental?Once we answer that, then we can toss out religion. Any takers?
For me, my morality is based on my experiences. I do try to have all of my actions within what is preceived as being "good" (more beneficial than detrimental). Is there any way for society to codify this? Yes, through secular law. Of course, then one can get into the duscussion about fairness of certain laws, but that's another topic all together.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Amazed and Confused

I am thoroughly amazed about just how weird the Anna Nicole Smith story can get. Literally every day there is some new development in this woman's story. Each new revelation is weirder than the previous. I'm not going to bother recapping all the nonsense. Just say that now the judge overseeing motions about her body is now becoming a character in this confusing and sordid tale. A famous fiction writer couldn't make this stuff up and still be considered a good writer!
It's almost as though one of the many dieties running this world said, "Hey, it's my turn to watch over things on Earth. The last diety spinkled violence all over the planet, and that didn't go so well. I think I'll mix things up with some seriously weird stuff to lighten the mood. Hmmm, who shall me my vessel of weirdness? I know, Anna Nicole!" Why do I get the feeling that 1000 years from now, people will still be talking about her? LOL Seriously, she is like the Jesus Christ of weirdness!
What's next? I don't know. I'm half expecting a bunch of psychics will come forth soon to claim Anna has been talking to them and that she wants to tell everyone to stop fighting over her and her baby. Some of the psychis will say she wants to change her will to give custody of the baby and all the money to Michael Jackson. Others will say that she wants to give her baby to this or that person, and for the money to be donated to charities. An still others will say she's in heaven just laughing away at the mess she created.
But who knows. This story is already weird beyond belief. How can it get any weirder? Uh-oh, I had to ask, huh?! lol

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Trouble with stores charging Credit Card fees

UPDATE: A few years ago, Credit Card companies agreed to allow vendors charge fees for the use of their credit card.  It is now legit for a business to charge for the use of a credit card.

Have you ever run into a store with a sign posted that states they charge a fee for any purchases under a certain price if you pay with a credit card? Card Card companies have restrictions on when a fee can be charged. No fee is allowed for amounts greater than $1. If you come across a store that is charging a fee for any amount greater than $1, just leave and tell them why you are leaving. If you are a regular customer, perhaps gently remind them of this before you take off.
Then, report that place of business to your credit card companies. They will take it from there.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Someone made my day

I got the funniest automated news today. I was notified by Yahoo! Answers that I am now a level 2 member for earning 250 points on the Answers area. (That's not the funny part.) I checked out why.
It appears that I had previously answered the question "If only god can judge, shoudn't we abolish all the courts and tribunals?" with one simple little statement "LOL". So, apparently somebody thought that my answer was most appropriate and voted it as the Best Answer for that question. LOL I think I laughed for like a minute or more when I made this little, simple and yet ironic discovery. In fact, it is ironic in its irony. hehe This made my day.
Ok, so what does "Level 2" status give me? Well, I now have the power to rate other people's answers. ::insert unnecessary and fake maniacal laugh here:: I haven't even explored the Yahoo! Answers thingy in like 6 months. When I did, it was out of boredom for a few evenings here or there last summer.
Hmm, I'm not feeling bore right now...this being Lovers Day, I have some stuff I need to do, but maybe I can take a few minutes to explore.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dollars and coins

With the new $1 coins coming off the mint now, there's renewed discussion about which (coin or bill) are better or needed. A common sentiment is found in the linked article quoting a fellow citizen, "I really don't see any use for [the dollar coin]. We tried it before. It didn't fly."
I personally disagree. I feel that the issue with the dollar coin is not that we tried it and it failed. It is that our Mint has made a series of mistakes in the design of the coin.
First, for 3 decades, they've been putting somewhat obscure characters from U.S. history on the coin. Susan B. Anthony is important, but is she more important than Eisenhower (who she replaced)?
The person on the coin may not be as big of an issue as the next mistake in the 1970's. They made the dollar coin of similar size, weight and color to the quarter. It is way too confusing for vendors to handle change when they can't immediately tell a quarter and a dollar apart.
Third, they did not commit the U.S. economy to depend on the coin, but rather continued to produce the bill at the same levels.
The fourth and fifth mistakes comes in the late 1990's when they replaced the Susan B. Anthony coin with a brass colored coin of an even more obscure character from pre-U.S. history. Honestly, to me, once these coins hit circulation and got tarnished, they resembled 1950's coins from Latin America. The idea was to make a coin that looked gold in color. They failed horribly on this.
The sixth mistake was again with size. They keep the coin the same size and shape as the Susan B. Anthony coin. This meant that even though the coin was goldish color, in dark lighting or at a glance, it was still very hard to distinguish the them from a quarter.
Given this series of blunders, one might have to suspect that the errors have been made intentionally to sabotage the efforts to establish an American dollar coin.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Talk about work

One thing I never do it talk about work directly. No exception today. But if I were going to talk about work, then I'd be saying some cool stuff about things that I may or may not be accomplishing. :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sex in Space

Just some thoughts about this psycho astronaut. Ya'no, there's only about 70 astronauts at any given time. Love triangles going on at this level, involving married people leads me to just imagine what else has been going on in this tight knit group. For example, has their already been first time people had sex in space in some extremely exclusive Zero-G club (as opposed to the Mile High Club)? Hmm. This could either desolve into a Sex in Space fantasy, or a 90210 nightmare. Right now, it appears to be 90210 in Space.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Da Bearrrrszz

Corus "It's Da Bears!"

Robert Smigel "Bill, what is your prediction for Super Bowl 41?"

Bill Swerski "My prediction for dis Sunday's big game is Da Bears: 171.5, and da utter guys: Forfeit due to dair entire team being seriously injured on account of dair fancy team bus being accidently leaned upon by a 10 year old girl."

Todd O'Conner "Really, are da Colts so weak dat dair'll injured by a 10 year girl leaning against dair bus? Is dat possible?"

Robert "No, Todd, but it is possible if dat 10 year old girl is Coach Dikka's daughter!"

Bill "Of course"

Robert "Not Coach Dikka's eldest daughter, but his youngest daughter, because we all know what Coach Dikka's oldest daughter would do to da Colts!"

Pat Arnold "Oh, yeah, of course!

Todd "So why is the score only 171.5 and not just 172?"

Bill "Well, actually da score will be a dominating 171, but on account of Da Bears shear mightiness, the N-F-L will award dem a bonus 1/2 point."

Pat "No, I think the score will be 172, but dee N-F-L will deduct 1/2 a point because Coach Dikka is not longer coaching the team!"

Todd "Yes!"

Robert "Da Bears"

Corus "Daaa Bearssszz"

Monday, January 29, 2007

Driving with fish

A major realization hit me about a year ago. People drive on the freeway in a fashion that is similar to schooling fish in the ocean. People tend to try to drive in packs. I think these packs naturally form as a result of our schooling/herding instinct that still lies deep in ourselves. Even in driver's ed, I learned that people will tend to try to drive in packs. I've heard these packs referred to by a variety of names, but ultimately, I think the herding instinct is a holdover when we where fish living in schools, hundreds of millions of years ago. This instinct was almost completely dorminate until billions of us got behind the wheel of a car during the 20th Century.
For example, when you pull up on someone's side in the next lane at about 5 mph faster, there is a pretty high chance of that person slightly speeding up to match your speed. And the same is true in the opposite. If you are ahead of someone that is slowing pulling up on you in the next lane, there is a high chance of that person slowing down to match your speed, usually in your blind spot. Of course, this usually occurs when you need to get into the land into that space they occupy.
I've learned to work around this and use my knowledge to my advantage. I know that powering ahead instead of just cruising ahead will actually cause most others to ignore me instead of trying to join me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SolidWorks Yahoo! Group revival

The story of the SolidWorks Yahoo! Group revival begins way back in Feb 2006. I was looking for new macros that I would use to improve work flow on SolidWorks at my company. I looked everywhere online. One of the places I found was the SolidWorks Yahoo! Group. It was fairly active, with professional participation in discussions about SolidWorks. There was a problem, however.

I tried to contact the group owner, but never got a reply. Eventually, I started looking into why the group was unmoderated. The owner had disappeared; bouncy, bouncy. No one else was assigned to run the group, so the group was left to the elements, those dreaded spammers. Well, the rule with Yahoo! Groups is ownership cannot be transferred except by the owner. Since the owner was bouncy, there was no hope. I forget about the group for awhile. Then, in November, I checked it on a whim. It appeared that SolidWorks users where still actively using the group to post questions and answers.

It got me thinking that maybe, just maybe I could take ownership of this group to revive it. So, I contacted Yahoo! Groups with the following feedback comment:

Are you a... Member

Subject: Other

Type your feedback here: The moderator of SolidWorks yahoo group is not maintaining it, and has a bouncy email address. How does one claim control over a group that is experiencing this kind of neglect by still has large potential value to its members?



I waited for a few days before receiving this boiler plate response:

In a message dated 11/28/2006 11:49:36 P.M.
Pacific Standard Time,
egroups-feedback@cc.yahoo-inc.com
writes:

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Groups.

I have received your email and you are asking on how does one claim control over a group. I appreciate you contacting us and I'll be glad to assist you on this matter. I have checked the Yahoo! Group "solidworks", and it shows that the owner's account was bouncing. However, in as much as I would like to accommodate your request, I cannot appoint a new owner or moderator to the group as specified in the terms of our Privacy Policy. What I usually suggest is for you to contact the Group owner regarding this issue of handing over group's ownership. You may send an email to:
SolidWorks-owner@yahoogroups.com In the event that the owner can no longer be contacted, one alternative is for you to create your own group and send out invitations to those people who you would like to join your new group. I appreciate your utmost patience and understanding with regard to this matter. If you have any other concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

Regards,

Shelley, Yahoo! Customer Care


Well, the bureaucratic wheels are churning. There was even double-speak that was self-referencial. At this point, I know I have one chance at getting what I want. My reply will have to be forceful and direct, with points with which cannot be argued. Here's my Hail Mary:

Yahoo,

Thank you for your reply.

I do realize that there is a Yahoo policy against the transfer of ownership
for yahoo groups. However, in light of this situation with SolidWorks yahoo group, I (as a Yahoo customer) feel that such a rigid and absolute rule on the matter is counter productive to members of Yahoo Groups in general (not just in regards to SolidWorks yahoo group). Though I don't speak for the SolidWorks Corporation, the name "SolidWorks" is a trademarked name whose customers would benefit from having the only Yahoo Group that bares that exact name being made active again. Customers are users that are working, educated professions that seek convenient interaction with other customers of SolidWorks. A new group creates confusion and increases the lack of interest in using Yahoo Groups at all for this purpose.

Also, if the current state of SolidWorks yahoo group is an indicator, with so many groups without reachable owners or moderators, Yahoo Groups appears to be cluttered which makes the over all Yahoo Groups less valuable as a service, in general. As a matter of customer service, I request that you reconsider your policy in regards to the transfer of ownership for groups whose owners are bouncy for more than six months. Moderators should be able to claim a group at that time. If no moderators exist, members should be able to petition for ownership directly to Yahoo. To avoid spammers from taking charge of groups for professional purposes, set criteria for the approval of those petitions.

Matthew Lorono
Santa Clara, CA


The reply I think got surprized me. Yahoo! Groups staff stepped up the plate.



Hello Matthew,

Thank you for
writing to Yahoo! Groups.

We appreciate your comments on this matter and can understand your concerns.

Because your group is not currently moderated, we may be able to appoint a new moderator for the group. If you would like a new moderator for the group, please start a poll using the group's polls feature and list the member names of a few members, who would like to be a moderator, as choices for the poll. Please announce the poll to your group and ask the members to vote on who they would like to be moderator. Once the poll has closed, please email me back and I will appoint the "elected" moderator. I do apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.


Regards,
Gidget, Yahoo! Customer Care

The squeaky wheel gets the grease! This is how we do it! And I even got a reply from some girl with an overly cute name.

So, I left a message on the group asking for volunteers. Two people piped up. Of those two, only one had a history of contributing to the site. So, I put that person up, and myself as the two options in the poll. A month later, I closed the poll and notified Yahoo! Groups staff. I wondered if I would hear from this "Gidget" again?


Gidget (Customer Care),

Per your requirements (see Customer Care email below), I have run a poll for the SolidWorks Yahoo Group to determine a new "elected" group moderator, because the group is not currently being moderated. Two individuals with a history of contributing to the site were self-nominated for this poll. The person with yahoo id maccormackc (Chris MacCormack, who is cc:'d on this email) won the poll results. Please appoint maccormackc as the new group moderator for the Yahoo! Group SolidWorks as soon as possible.

Thank you for your prompt action in advance.

Matthew Lorono


Well, Gidget did not respond back. However, Derek did respond back with the happy news.


Hello Matthew,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

The situation you describe has been completed.

We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused you. Please be ssured that we'll do our best to prevent such problems in the future. If you continue to experience the problem, or if we can be of assistance in another matter, please let us know by replying to this email. If you can describe in as much detail as possible the problem you are having, any steps you take leading up to it, how frequently it ccurs, and the exact text of any error messages you receive, it will help us to provide a solution more quickly.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

Regards,

Derek, Yahoo! Customer Care


Derek was no Gidget, and his response didn't make much sense, but he gave me what I wanted, and that's all that mattered! ;) After a couple of days, Chris and I began to revive the group, adding content, removing spam, banning spammers, approving new members, etc. And
it now appears to be getting the attention it deserves! The main guy at the SolidWorks corporation that manages user groups has just joined and may contribute to the site as well! Kudos!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Looking forward

I'm looking forward to the weekend. Time to just relax. The week has been a bit more stressful than normal, so..yeah..yuk. Time to have some fun.

In other news, my blog is back up (obviously). Yeah. Only took a month for Blogger to fix the issue. But now that I am back up, I'm able to use Blogger's new functions. I don't blog abou blog too often, so yeah, that's enough of that.

Remind me to write about the microwave. arg

Monday, January 15, 2007

Waiting

I'm waiting, waiting, waiting here at the dealership for my car's oil change.

Yup, waiting. ::yawn::