Archive for the '‘D’ for ‘Dumb’' Category

On Standardized Testing

Big portions of the Internet seem to be going all sturm und drang over this account of the horrific evils of standardized testing. A lot of the drama is from teachers bitching about them, which is… understandable. And there are a lot of rants from parents about various flaws with standardized, one-size-fits-all tests (or at least how they’re used).

And those are probably quite good and important conversations to have, I freely admit. I just kind of think a lot of people are really missing the point.
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General | on October 7th, 2013 | Comments Off on On Standardized Testing

Cats Are People, Too

Normally I try to avoid blogging about cats, in the interest of preserving what tiny amount of self-respect I have. Today, though, well… meh. Screw it.

We have a cat. He just showed up one day, a couple of years ago. At the time, we already had a cat, though she’s no longer with us.

Well, we’ve got two cats again, now. My partner had been complaining about missing having two cats around the place, and wanting a kitten. It turns out the universe gives you the cat you need, not necessarily the cat you want, y’know?
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General | on March 11th, 2012 | Comments Off on Cats Are People, Too

The Business of Fraudulent Reviews, Big and Small

You’d have to be fantastically naive to believe that every “review” for every product on every website on the internet is legitimate. Reviews are Serious Business, because they are – according to some people, at least – worth money, insofar as positive reviews enhance credibility and consumer confidence and all that crap.

It’s usually not too hard to spot the most obvious fraudulent reviews, and there have been news stories of late of people working on algorithmic approaches to detecting more sophisticated fraud.

Sometimes, though, the pros aren’t nearly as good as they think they are, and can be found out by some patient human sleuthing.

Today, let’s meet one of the arguably least honest authors ever to grace the virtual shelves of…
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on September 20th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

Anime and Manga Really Are Horrible Influences

Every once in a while you hear or read some alarmist story about how some genre of media is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad influence on impressionable youth, or whatever. Comic books rot your brain, Sunday-morning cartoons make you violent, video games desensitize you to death, newspaper comics impair your ability to function in society, science fiction magazines are introducing our children to bestiality and drug use and…

You get the idea.

I tend to think this is generally really stupid. Playing video games and watching classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons didn’t make me a vitriolic curmudgeon. (Going to a high school full of vapid, empty-headed dumbasses made me a vitriolic curmudgeon. Probably.)

That being said, I recently… oh man, this is really hard to say… I recently… did something…solely because I was inspired by manga.

There. I’ve admitted it. Hi, my name is Nemo de Monet, and I…
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on July 28th, 2011 | 3 Comments »

Kwik Hits

Random observations from Minnesota, the “if you don’t like the weather, wait an hour, and it’ll change” state:

So, the other day we bought a package of “fresh” boneless chicken breasts from the grocery store. As I was opening it up to make dinner, I had two observations:

One, the package was marked “Sell by 7/5/2011”, more than two weeks in the future. Now, part of the reason we buy “fresh” chicken is because the frozen stuff (“may contain 15% by weight [random chemicals] to enhance appearance, texture, smell, or taste”) is kind of scary, when you stop and think about it. This “fresh” chicken has a shelf-life of, what, eighteen, twenty, twenty-one days? Maybe more? You can’t tell me that’s natural.

Two, the package was also marked very prominently “Use or freeze within 48 hours of purchase”. Let’s think about this for a moment. It can sit in the cooler at the grocery store for three weeks or more, but the manufacturer wants you to use it or lose it at home within two days? Holy FUD, Batman!

On an unrelated note, we’ve been eating a lot of fish on the grill lately. Mmm, grilled fish. Some of the Asian markets here in Saint Paul have really good deals on fish, so it’s hard to say no. Only catch is it’s mostly fish varieties which midwestern white folk have never heard of. “Swai”? “Basa”?

If you ever have the opportunity to buy Swai, I suggest you do so. It’s often described as “kind of like catfish”, which is pretty damned absurd. It’s nothing like catfish; it’s a firm, flaky white fish that’s fairly mild in smell and taste, and reminds me a lot of Northern Pike. It’s also, depending on the store, from $2-4/pound (i.e. right around the price of pork, the traditional cheap protein source), which you can hardly complain about.

Good stuff, if you’re willing to broaden your horizons a bit.

Completely unrelated to anything else, but this is just awesome. A government agency with a sense of humor? Who knew?

In Cypress, Texas, 28 people searched for hours for a teenager climbing into a storm drain. Way to horribly react to an urban explorer, Cypress.

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General, Urban Exploration | on June 22nd, 2011 | Comments Off on Kwik Hits