Monday, June 05, 2017

Covfefe

I took part in a brief exchange on a different social media platform.  This involves the word (if I may call it that) "Covfefe", which is getting a bit of attention as I write this.  The question is, was it a simple typographical error that didn't get corrected, or was it a word from antediluvian, pre-Tower of Babel days meaning something like, "In the end, we win"?  (Yeah, I'm missing a question mark in the graphic below.)
I apologise for my language, but Are you pooping me?  I mean it seriously.  Do people really believe that, just because someone said so on a web site that looks like it combines flying saucers and the Egyptian pyramids, people really believe that "Covfefe" is a long-attested word passed-down by Jews over thousands of years, and secretly taught to the President?

Or did he just make a mistake and not correct it either because he thought it was funny, or something else came up and he went to sleep?

And do people above really believe the former?  Or Are they pooping me?

Here's a link to Scott Adams' Blog: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/161280001386/covfefe

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Relevancy of Marriage in the United States

I know some people feel that marriage as an institution is dying out, but I disagree...
Tom Lehrer, 1965

The subject of marriage has been in the local news a lot recently, with the recent Obergefell v. Hodges decision and all.  What are my thoughts on the subject?  Statistics, or course.

Question #1: Do people still get married?
In short, the rate of marriage has been declining in the United States for decades.  In 2010, 51% of US adults 18 and over were married[1].  (I think it's safe to assume that this figure is lower than 50% in 2015.)  In 1960, 72% of US adults were married.  And it's not that people are staying divorced more these days.  In 1960, 15% of US adults were "Single, Never Married".  Fifty years later, in 2010, this figure had nearly doubled, to 28%.

Actually, there's a lot of interesting information in the link I referenced above.  But my point is that a lot fewer people get married now than in the past.  Unless everyone is waiting for Mr and/or Miss Right, it would seem that the relevance of marriage is declining for US adults.

Question #2: Do only married people have children?
The answer to this question is, "Of course not."  But what about the trend?  In 2013, 40.6% of US births were to single mothers[2], a figure which had been basically unchanged since first reaching 40% in 2008.  In 1960, this figure was 5.6%.

Also of note in that referenced link is the fact that more than half (58%) of the 40% mentioned above are to cohabiting parents.  So, almost a quarter (23.2) of young US children were born to a 2-parent, unmarried heterosexual household.

I'm curious how many US children are living with both of their married, biological (or adoptive) parents, and how this has changed, but I can't easily find this value.  According to this link [3], 46% of US children in 2013 were living with both their parents in their parents' first marriage, down from 73% in 1960.  Actually, according to [4], the situation doesn't seem as non-traditional, as in 2009, 64.7% of US children were living with married parents.  But I expect this percentage to decline, as more of the youngest children are being born to unmarried mothers.

My point with regards to children is that I don't think children of unmarried parents will feel that marriage is "relevant", at least in the sense that it's made a positive difference in their lives.  And, within a generation, these will be the adults, either getting married, or not.

Conclusion
A lot will be made (quite rightfully) regarding whether or not the government should (or may) limit a citizen's marriage choices to a member of the opposite sex.  But the numbers show that a declining number of US adults are getting married.  And, with a declining percentage of US children being born to, and living in, "traditional" family situations, I expect this decline to continue.  Regardless of ones stand on Obergefell v. Hodges, this overall decay in the institution of marriage is the bigger story.

Postscript
...and the point was driven home to me rather forcefully not long ago by a letter I received which said: "Darling, I love you and I cannot live without you. Marry me, or I will kill myself." Well, I was a little disturbed at that until I took another look at the envelope and saw that it was addressed to occupant.
Tom Lehrer, 1965

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Current Political Situation in Somalia

According to Wikipedia, this map represents the situation in Somalia as of December 2012.  I don't know what all the small flags represent, but I do recognise one of them:  Thar be pirates! Aargh, mateys!




Pinewood Derby Car, 2013





As years go by, I think we end up with less parental involvement in the car creation.  However, this is what he said he wanted.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thoughts From Last Night's Presidential Debate

I thought Larry King's question regarding which new Constitutional amendment the candidates would like to see was interesting.  It would have been great if some candidate (maybe Goode or Johnson) said something like, "The Constitution is good the way it is now -- let's start following it."  But here is my memory of their responses:

  • Johnson (citing his experience as a term-limited state governor) and Goode (citing his experience as a term-unlimited Congressman) both spoke in favour of term limits, apparently for Congress.
  • Anderson spoke in favour of an Equal Rights Amendment for gender and sexual orientation.
  • Stein had two areas, which she saw as related, though it is not clear to me how they'd be worded as an amendment.  She wanted it to be clear that free speech is not the same thing as freedom to spend money (apparently for political advertising) and also she wanted to clarify the distinctions between corporations and persons, with corporations not being treated as persons.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pinewood Derby, 2012

We didn't attend the Pinewood Derby this year, in large part because with this pack, the boys don't do anything besides watch.  I think we had something else to do, and didn't feel needed in 2010, so we entered a car and let the leaders do the racing.  Despite this, we still had the fastest car in our age group.






Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011: Not a Good Year for Daffodils (March 23)

This year, it was difficult to peg one specific date for the blooming of the daffodils. On March 23, it looked like there was one that had partially come out, with other soon to follow. Then, it got cold and all the daffodils seemed to retract. Let's go with March 23 as the date. So, my history is now:

2011 March 23
2010 March 21

2009 March 23
2008 April 08
2007 March 24
2006 March 30
2005 March 31

The following photos are from 27 March:


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Levels of Government Shutdowns

Which will it be? I'm guessing #1.

  1. Passport office is closed; people can't get passports.
  2. Entry from across the border is closed to people without the local passport.
  3. Entry from across the border is closed to everyone.
  4. All the border guards have been laid off. Border is open to everyone.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

⋊?

What's a "⋊"? It doesn't show up in Google.



Update: Sunday, September 22, 2013
It's a "Right Normal Factor Semidirect Product", Unicode U+22CA.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Great Quote

'The second "Star Wars" trilogy [...] is to the original trilogy what partially digested carrion is to "Guernica"'... -- Ted Forth (Francesco Marciuliano)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Home" by Marilynne Robinson

Have you ever read anything bt Marilynne Robinson? (I liked Housekeeping best.) I just finished the audio version of this one. All her books have more "thought" than action, though are pretty good. It says in the Amazon.com review that Jack is "one of the great characters in recent literature". In "Gilead", I got the impression that she wanted to write one kind of novel, but fell in love with the Jack character -- and this book further explores his life. I wouldn't call it "great". Still recommended, though not my highest rating.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

2010 Daffodil Bloom Date - 21 March

2010 experienced the earliest daffodil bloom date on record. Perhaps it was the snowier than normal winter for the area. Here's the history since 2005:

2010 March 21
2009 March 23
2008 April 08
2007 March 24
2006 March 30
2005 March 31


Saturday, January 30, 2010

MyHeritage.com #2

In honour of Facebook's Doppelgänger "Week". (When does the week begin and end?)

MyHeritage.com #1

In honour of Facebook's Doppelgänger "Week". (When does the week begin and end?)

Monday, November 09, 2009

"Corrie eleven Boom"

Did you know that "Corrie eleven Boom" doesn't return a hit in Google. I'm not sure about "Corrie nine Boom". You'll have to look up "Corrie ten Boom" yourself.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Three Recent (Audio)Books

1. The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died by Philip Jenkins

This book was quite interesting. For example, I remember being taught that it was the Muslim scholarship that kept ancient Greek learning alive during the European Dark Ages. Jenkins claims that, really, it was the Christians who held the hereditary position of scribe in much of the Caliphate and Muslim lands.

Really, the book is largely about the Christian minority in Asia and Africa, especially since the spread of Islam. The decline of this minority, which began a few centuries or sooner after the time of Christ -- far earlier than Christianity was prominent in much of Europe, has been accelerating. In some places this 1800(?) year presence is being wiped out in 2009.

The book gets bogged down in comparisons with Islam, but is still worth a read.


2. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Interesting, though in some places more anecdotal than scholarly.


3. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

Boring at times, but still pretty good. Contains chapters on the the history of Norse Greenland, Easter Island, etc. Claims that the current first world is using resources at an unsustainable rate, and the rate of resource usage will increase as nations like China strive to increase their living standards/consumerism.

Author sees a strong correlation between political trouble spots and areas where population has outstripped resource (i.e. food) production. With globalisation, local problems become global.

Author claims traditions are often what allows a culture to survive, though they can definitely outlive their usefulness. (For example, the Greenland Norse didn't eat fish. Why not?)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Terminator Salvation

I didn't see Terminator Salvation. I stopped after T2, being fully satisfied that I had seen enough. But I was surprised by some of the reviews I heard from some people at church. Basically, the people that saw it liked it. I also heard praise from more than one person that was something like, "There was no sex, and very little offensive language." Hello. What are you thinking? What are you drinking and/or smoking? I mean, they made it sound like good clean family fun for children of all ages. My concern is that it may be, well, just a tad violent. IMDB (see link above) mentions that it is "Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and language." I saw a review that said that once scene is the most-accurate ever Hollywood depiction of what it must be like to be inside a crashing helicopter.

I'm not here to condone extra-marital (or even on-screen marital) sex or foul language. But there are other things on film that I think can affect people negatively. As I said, I haven't seen TS, but I think I'd prefer the PG-13 content in Star Trek ("Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content") for myself or my kids.

Can anyone who's seen both comment?

Sunday, May 03, 2009