December 23rd, 2002
Salt Lake Street Fight [from the Washington Post] details a conflict between the city of Salt Lake and the Mormon Church. In this case, the conflict is over First Amendment rights in a public square, one that the church owns but for which the city maintains an easement. However, the article examines some of the history of similar conflicts. It’s a fascinating read.
“Under an ‘easement’ retained by the city, public access to the block was still permitted, but only for those who obeyed church rules on dress, conduct and expression. Among other things, the church disallowed proselytizing for any faith but its own.”
” ‘You gave away part of Main Street!’ civic activist Samantha Francis complained to the City Council at a noisy, emotional public hearing last week. ‘And you gave away our constitutional rights with it! No other city could possibly do that.’ ”
December 23rd, 2002
We went to see Star Trek: Nemesis over the weekend. As the movie began, I kept thinking of things I would comment on when I reviewed the movie on this website. The list soon became far too long for me to remember, so let me sum up thusly: “it sucked hard” and “I’m pretty sure the shuttles have independently powered transporter systems.”
December 18th, 2002
All’s quiet on the BtW front… I’m seriously swamped at work and at home. I’ve been working late and am still frantically finishing up knitted gifts. This will (most likely) be my last post for 2002.
I’ll see you next year!
December 12th, 2002
I spent some time today writing postcards and sending e-mail messages as part of FireflySupport’s campaign to save Firefly. It may be a doomed effort, but I like the show enough to contribute.
If you’re a fan of the show or just a fan of Joss Whedon, you might consider participating.
December 11th, 2002
I am an unashamed fan of Jimmy Carter, and I have been for a long time. While I don’t think he was a great President (due largely to forces that would have stymied most anyone in his position), he is an incredible ex-President. His nobel prize is well-deserved.
News coverage of the award ceremony is extensive. Some highlights:
Carter accepts Peace Prize in a ‘more dangerous’ world
With Warning, Carter Accepts Nobel
[from The Washington Post
Nobel chief stirs controversy by taking swipe at Bush
The speech Carter gave on the occassion is a clarion call for negotiated, multilateral, thoughtful action in the pursuit of peace:
“It is clear that global challenges must be met by an emphasis on peace, in harmony with others, with strong alliances and international consensus. Imperfect as it may be, there is no doubt that this can best be done through the United Nations. . . .
For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventive war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences. . . .
I am not here as a public official, but as a citizen of a troubled world who finds hope in a growing consensus that the generally accepted goals of society are peace, freedom, human rights, environmental quality, the alleviation of suffering and the rule of law. . . .”
December 10th, 2002
February 6 is “Ronald Reagan Day” in Mississippi. The Mississippi Legislature officially declared it so, back in March 2002 — you can read the text of the bill.
And a movement is afoot in New Hampshire to rename a part of Mount Washington, Mount Reagan.
December 10th, 2002
Careful readers may have noticed a decidedly non-politic turn in Breaching the Web entries lately… this has been a conscious choice, in part to insure my ability to get out of bed every morning and go about my life. While I am consuming political news, commentary has become far too likely to push me off the deep end and leave me hiding under the covers.
However, I’m starting to feel a bit better about my country’s political life, mostly because I’ve been doing some reading about populism. Populism as a political movement failed (for good reasons — I am not a fan of most populist reforms), but it contained the seeds of the Progressive Era (of which I am a huge fan). While I cannot yet fully articulate my thoughts, I’m beginning to think about how policies emerge and interact over time, and how the unintended consequences of bad ideas can lead to good things.
My optimism only goes so far however — the populists never controled Congress, so the political machinery involved was much different. But I am feeling slightly less helpless.
December 5th, 2002
A friend of mine at work called it a “French Toast Emergency.” You see, anytime rain or snow is forecast in Maryland (even just a tiny bit), people rush to the store to buy milk, eggs and bread as if stocking up for something BIG.
Imagine what the rush was like this week, when a foot of snow was forecast.
We haven’t seen quite that much, but the staff here at Breaching the Web Industries all agree that we have seen more than enough snow for this season, thank-you very much, and Old Man Winter can just move along. These are not the droids he’s looking for.
December 4th, 2002
Bowling a perfect game is easier now than it used to be. In 1980, 5,373 league sanctioned perfect games were bowled. Last year, despite shrinking league memberships, 42,163 perfect games were bowled. Why are fewer people bowling more perfect games?
Most pros blame improved ball technology. The balls are better — many can correct for bad shots — but the pins are the same.
I’m curious about whether there might be a social component to the explanation as well. This is pure speculation, but if it’s true that more people are bowling alone instead of in leagues, might it also be true that these loners are practicing differently? Instead of learning how to pick up shots with spares (which is emphasized in league practice, where the focus is on the team’s preformance), the loners are most likely focusing on strikes. At least some subset of these loners might join leagues, and their resulting league play would logically result in more strikes.
Of course, there are other, more important implications of bowling alone, but pondering its effect on scoring is an interesting intellectual exercise.
December 2nd, 2002
The entry below was inspired by a Kim Stanley Robinson short story set in Zion, Illinois (after reading it, I wanted to know if Zion was a real place). In any case, my searches eventually lead me to the Illinois Science Fiction Page maintained by the Northbrook Public Library. While incomplete (at the very least, it doesn’t mention the Robinson story), it’s still interesting.