aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, August 12, 2006
It looks like a slightly oversized wristwatch and it keeps time with great accuracy - but it is much more than a watch. It is a wrist computer that includes among its many functions a global positioning system receiver… The watch, which costs about $500, is made by the Finnish company Suunto. Inside its highly engineered 2.7 ounces are a multitude of functions for the thoughtful navigator, including an altimeter, electronic compass, thermometer and barometer, all meant for people who want to know not only their exact place in the world, but also the prospects of any sudden change in the weather.
I’d probably like to have one of those one day. But I’d sooner like to have one of these:
With an effective in-car navigation system at your side, you can say goodbye to the good old days of pulling over and asking directions. But designing an effective system, one that brings together the right mix of speed, accuracy, and simplicity has been a long, hard road for many manufacturers--leading many folks to stick with the human touch of the gas station attendant. The latest in-car GPS units deserve a serious look, though, especially by those who’ve sworn them off as too inaccurate, too complicated, and too expensive. The TomTom GO 910 embodies much of what’s really great about the next generation of systems, and in many ways it’s successful at making drivers feel as if there’s a helpful guide along for the ride. [...]
The navigation screen is made up of three quadrants: The main map display, which shows a three dimensional view of the road and maneuvers ahead; a distance and turn indicator section, which lets you know how far you have to go until your next turn; and a trip computer with odometer, time, and GPS signal information. The bottom of the display also lets you know the name of the street you’re on.
Doug’s mom has one; we used it to navigate to the beach. It’s amazing; really effective design. It integrates well into the dashboard instrument panel. I want one.
How many’s “a handful?”
From a story on the difference between British and American law enforecment strategies when dealing with terror plots:
A senior federal law enforcement official said MI5 also had a distinct advantage over the F.B.I. in that it had a greater store of foreign-language speakers, giving British authorities greater ability to infiltrate conspiracy groups. The F.B.I. still has only a handful of Muslim agents and others who speak Arabic, Urdu or other languages common in the Islamic world.
Maybe they should hire up the 55 Arab linguists ousted under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Not likely.
RELATED: Chickenhawks and me. The FBI wasn’t the slightest bit interested in my application.
White County’s latest obstacle to PRIDE
Despite winning a federal lawsuit mandating a gay-straight alliance be allowed to meet on the campus of White County High School in north Georgia this year, students wanting to join the club now face another hurdle: They must first get their parent’s permission, according to the school district’s superintendent.
A U.S. District judge ruled July 14 that White County High School administrators violated the federal Equal Access Act when they banned all non-curricular clubs in 2005 as a way to keep out the GSA, named Peers Rising in Diverse Education, or PRIDE.
White County School Superintendent Paul Shaw said that while PRIDE is now able to meet on campus, it was not part of the school’s listing of extracurricular activities when the 2006-2007 student handbook was created and is considered a new club. According to a new Georgia law, parents must give express permission for students to join new clubs.
READ ON for a good background and accounting of the issues raised by this story.
You & me & the AOL gaffe
In Egregious is as egregious does: Google as cause cÃƒÂ©lÃƒÂ¨bre, I wrote skeptically about Google’s reaction to the Justice Department subpoena for some of its search data. The recent AOL search data dump (and subsequent NYTimes article on discerning the identity of an Atlanta woman through her search terms) doesn’t significantly change my opinion.
I don’t think we need stop collecting the data; their are benefits we all want and enjoy. I do think we want to regulate and penalize release, effectively anonymyze (they do it in medical research), indemnify (an individual’s search terms should be inadmissible in court, period), and have informed consent before the features are turned on (opt-in rather than opt-out).
Here’s an AOL search gaffe and you FAQ.
Last month, we noted that “google” had entered Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. It was a landmark for the search engine—going from nonentity to common usage in only eight years. One would think that a company that existed only in the minds of two college dudes a few years ago would be happy that a major publication such as The Washington Post prominently marked the occasion.
One would, that is, until one got a letter from Google’s trademark lawyer. [...]
Google, however, goes the extra mile and provides a helpful list of appropriate and inappropriate uses of its name. To show how hip and down with the kids Google is, the company gets a little wacky with its examples. Here’s one:
”Appropriate: He ego-surfs on the Google search engine to see if he’s listed in the results.
Inappropriate: He googles himself.”
But this one’s our favorite:
”Appropriate: I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party.
Inappropriate: I googled that hottie.”
It’s a matter of debate whether it’s appropriate or inappropriate for a market-leading company worth $113 billion to use the word “hottie” in official correspondence. What is beyond debate is the eye-popping fact that Google’s trademark complaint arrived via a hand-addressed letter in the actual mail.
Wonder if they Google(TM)-d me to get the address.
LATER: More here.
On the merits, Andrew Sullivan observes that, “Several recent polls have found that 60 to 80 percent of Americans believe the military’s ban on honest gay servicemembers should be lifted. 55 Arab linguists and 244 military medical personnel have been fired under the policy.”
David Schraub notes, too, that, “any view that seeks to change a policy is going to be ‘contrary’ to that policy until the change occurs. Trying to stifle or discourage views that challenge prevailing orthodoxy is indistinguishable from saying change should never happen.” True that. Fortunately, our military, especially in its educational system and journals, is quite open to respectful debate on issues of public policy so long as leaders actually obey and enforce the policy while it is in force. [...some of my fellow liberals hyperventilate...]
UPDATE (Chris Lawrence): Lt. Raggio responds to Donnelly in our comments:
The CRM doesn’t like my thesis? Ouch. I guess I’ll just have to seek out the opinions of people whose views on military readiness don’t include giving up the things that make a free society great.
As far as allowing academic freeedom, I honestly believe that the freedom at West Point is far greater than at most state schools. The Army doesn’t want mindless drones, it wants thoughtful leaders.
Yes, I will obey the regulations as they currently read, but because this was expected of me, I was permitted and indeed encouraged to express my beliefs in an academic setting.
LATER: NYTimes, “The Defense Department discharged 726 service members last year for being gay, up about 10 percent from 2004, figures released by a gay rights group show.”
APA responds to Ex-Gay groups
Reading the news today takes me back to the day when the struggle was to get the APA to understand that being gay was not a disease. I had the good fortune to know some of those therapists that fought that big battle, not unlike the one we’re still fighting with conservative Christians today.
A small group representing the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and Exodus International demonstrated in front of the APA convention in New Orleans Friday.
“While the APA continues to play politics with social issues unrelated to its mission, thousands of current and potential patients are being harmed,” said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, a national ‘ex-gay’ organization. [...]
Immediately after the protest the APA issued a statement reaffirming its stand.
“For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure,” the statement said.
“The APA’s concern about the positions espoused by NARTH and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”
The APA statement was hailed by a group fighting the ‘ex-gay’ movement and ‘conversion therapy’.
“Truth Wins Out applauds the APA for taking a strong stand against quack science and not buckling to a transparent PR campaign designed to politically pressure the APA into abandoning reputable and respectable research,” said TWO’s Executive Director Wayne Besen.
Nicolosi, who works with people wanting to change their sexuality, said that he has found about a third of his patients experience no change, a third have what he called “significant improvement.” and a third adopt a heterosexual life style.
“They marry and are cured,” Nicolosi said. “They may have an occasional attraction, but not a major or constant one.”
That’s a cure? More from Wayne Besen (with photos).