Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Serious cute overload

Green Expander | Antares - Newest attraction for the Berlin Zoo

New baby tiger. Hot damn, that is adorable.

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YouTube - R Word

The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network's video response to the use of "retard" in Tropic Thunder.

YouTube - R Word

Over the past few days I've heard a lot of people try to defend the use of the word "retard". My guess is that Ben Stiller really didn't mean any harm by using it, but it's one of those words that has always made my skin crawl. In my society at least (Canada), it's so commonly used that it's a basic part of most kids' vocabulary.

I often think that it's similar to the "n" word, and I've had more than a few discussions with various owners of community websites about the hypocrisy of filtering the "n" word while "retard" is allowed to pass unchecked.

I'm not actually a huge fan of political correctness, but I also don't see how it helps anyone at all when derogatory language towards a certain group is a part of our society. I hope (but don't expect) that society sees my kids as human beings, but when I hear the word "retard" applied to them (none of them are actually mentally retarded, by the way, and it wouldn't matter in this context if they were), it's just another example of how we use language to control and put other people down. At this point in humanity's evolution, you would hope that we'd be moving beyond that.

And Ben Stiller's response:

While not denying that ridicule exists in the film, Wheeler, Shriver and the rest of the protesters miss the point of who is being made fun of, Stiller told MTV News.

"It's sort of edgy territory, but we felt that as long as the focus was on the actors who were trying to do something to be taken seriously that's going too far or wrong, that was where the humor would come from," Stiller insisted. "[The joke is on] actors reaching for roles in terms of hopefully winning awards."

While I understand what he was trying to do, it still seems like poor judgment, and I'd truly prefer my kids growing up in a society where this is not appropriate. Of course, I'd also like the sky to rain chocolate and wine and books, but that's just me.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

The 100 Most Common English Words

Codebox Software - The 100 Most Common English Words

This was hard. I'm relatively smart (when I've slept), and have a decent vocabulary (when I've slept), and I only got 52. I'm not sure what the criteria are, but it's interesting.

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xkcd - Google Maps

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe

It's great to see xkcd getting back to the basics.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

George Orwell's Diaries

August 9, 1938 � THE ORWELL PRIZE

Great! The Orwell Trust is re-publishing George Orwell's diary day by day, 70 years after it was written. I think that it's going to be fascinating.

Fun fact about Orwell that I didn't "The Nasty Bits" by Tony Bourdain the other day, Orwell apparently wrote a book about his experiences working in a restaurant. As a wanna-be foodie (who never has time to cook real food as everyone in my house eats different things), I want to read the book!

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Profiles in Manliness: Viktor Frankl

Profiles in Manliness: Viktor Frankl | The Art of Manliness

Fantastic article- how Viktor Frankl helped people to find meaning in life even while in a concentration camp. I'm looking forward to reading his book now.

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