Saturday, May 25, 2002

Speaking of hatching...

We had a hatching of our own to look forward to this June - but it happened early. Yesterday, in fact. Around 1 AM. Mother and son are doing spendidly, and you'd barely know that he's five weeks early.

Entries in this journal may be sparse for a while... She's coming home Tuesday, he will probably be following within a few days of that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002


I'm anxiously waiting for Mariah's babies to hatch. They should start peeping any day now.

My mom is obsessed with this, by the way. Worse than me.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

You know what scares the heck out of me?

It's terrifying that "419" scams actually _work_ on people. I've gotten about 3 or 4 of them the last few weeks.

Yeah, I'm really expecting a Nigerian widow/functionary/businessman to contact me out of the blue to help them get money out of their godforsaken hole of a country. Uh-huh.

There are people who actually fall for it. The gene pool's truly starting to get shallow, if I do say so myself.

MacOS 10.2 lust

I, like every other Machead, read the coverage of the WWDC preview of Jaguar, AKA MacOS X 10.2. I'm drooling. My main computer IRL today is a TiBook 667 that I picked up last fall, and it should handle all the new stuff quite nicely (though it doesn't have enough VRAM to be ideal with the new OpenGL accelerated Quartz rendering, 16MB VRAM is still enough to be pretty quick). I really like the new version of Sherlock (it may finally be useful), and all the features for Windows interoperability. As much as Active Directory may be brutal, it's nice that Macs will be able to play nice.

Not to mention that the Finder is finally multi-threaded. About time - that, more than anything else right now, is making MacOS X look slow.

Of course, it'll run great on my G4-based TiBook, but my wife has an old iMac DV 450 - looks like I might finally have a reason to replace it...

Now, if only the rest of the world would drink the Cupertino Kool-Aid with me.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Speaking to a raging controversy

Okay, I'm biting at this one, but from the comfort of my little web soapbox. In the forums at Tech Report, there is a discussion raging about Judaism. That's fine and such, but the question being asked here is "Is Judaism genetic?"

What a bunch of idiots! Religion is a belief system. It's not genetic, no more than being Republican or Democrat is. You are brought up in the traditions, beliefs, and culture of a religion by your family, and are free to accept and reject it. Either which way, there are consequences both good and bad involved.

As for where genetics do legitimately apply, they apply in one small way. Members of a particular ethnic group may have slight genetic variations between themselves and other groups. This is mainly due to selective breeding - within a community the little genetic variations that do crop up become magnified over time. This is, for instance, why some whites are more vulnerable to diseases like cystic fibrosis, some blacks are more likely to get sickle-cell anemia, and some communities of Ashkenazi Jews are more likely to carry Tay-Sachs disease. If Ashkenazi Jews were all there were to the "Jewish people", then there might be a valid case to be made about genetic difference - but even then, not all have those genes.

More importantly, not all "ethnic Jews" are Ashkenazim, just like not all whites look the same or have the same characteristics, and not all blacks, either. There is an incredible array of diversity in the human race - but religion itself is not part of it.

The only impact religion has on humans from a genetic perspective is that people of a certain religion tend to self-select mating partners within that same group. However, the overall genepool is diverse enough that it has minimal (if any) impact in the scheme of things. The likeliest cause of any significant genetic variation in any human group nowadays is physical isolation - like the proverbial Appalachian hillbilly who has "a family tree with one branch". Extreme inbreeding will wreak havoc with any small group - whether they are dogs, racehorses, or humans.

And even in those cases, they can all still interbreed within their species - though a Chihuaha mating with a Great Dane produces a mental image that's comical in the extreme - the two could still produce offspring that would clearly be dogs (if funny-looking ones).

I'm genetically different from my employee in the next cubicle - but we are both recognizably light-skinned males. Nowhere in our genes is there a marker for religion (different for each of us).

The problem is that there's a few Jewish bigots who think that a genetic marker for Judaism is good, because it would justify the Biblical designation as "the Chosen People". And there's a few anti-Semitic bigots who think a genetic marker for Judaism is good because it would enable them to find and eliminate them all.

The truth, folks, is that it's all just a bunch of hogwash, and the only link that exists is when most members of an ethnic group happen to believe the same hogwash together (because it's common to their community). Jews, Gentiles, and bigots of all stripes share the same genes and are members of the same species. The only difference is that some humans are so stupid and/or brainwashed as to be blinded by hate and fear.