See the Dragon (Hardback)

I just got my proof copy of Don Arndt's See the Dragon: One Wolfhound's Vietnam Story in hardback and it looks great, so I made it available for purchase. Now we have three versions available: PDF download ($9.99), paperback ($14.99) and hardback ($26.99). If you're interested in learning about the Vietnam War from the perspective of a Missouri farmboy that was drafted, then you might enjoy this book. If you like the book (or if you just take my word for it) then you can help us promote the book. A quick link to seethedragon.com on your site would be a big help. And we'd love to have someone read the book and write a review on Lulu.com.

How old is the Earth?

I don't know how many of my readers think the Earth has only been around for 6,000 years. I would assume it's a small percentage, but I might be surprised. I've got a poll running now about that, so feel free to cast your vote. I'd also like to hear from you in the comments. If you think the Earth is young, please explain why. I've looked at young Earth creationist ideas like those on the Answers in Genesis website and the Creation Museum. They seem to go to great lengths to avoid generally accepted science.

I know there are some very intelligent believers that read this page. Maybe some of you can explain the relationship between your faith and your views of science.

See the Dragon

Don Arndt, a friend of mine wrote a book about the year he spent in Vietnam in 1966. I helped to edit and typeset it and then we listed in on Lulu.com, a print on demand self-publishing site. You can read more about the book and find the links to order it on SeeTheDragon.com. The paperback version is available now and we should have hardback ready soon, too.

Cheney was right

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Dick Cheney was talking a little bit of sense when he was considering a run for the White House in 1994. Too bad this guy wasn't our Vice President in 2003.

Q: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.

Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it -- eastern Iraq -- the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.

The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families -- it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?

Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.

Orality

Until recently it has bee commonly thought (again, even among scholars) that oral cultures could be counted on to preserve their traditions reliably, that people in such societies were diligent in remembering what they heard and could reproduce it accurately when asked about it. This, however, is another myth that has been exploded by recent studies of literacy. We have now come to see that people in oral cultures typically do not share the modern concern for preserving traditions intact, and do not repeat them exactly the same way every time. On the contrary, the concern for verbal accuracy has been instilled in us by the phenomenon of mass literacy itself; since anyone now can check to see if a fact has been remembered correctly (by looking it up), we have developed a sense that traditions ought to remain invariable and unchanged. In most oral societies, however, traditions are understood to be malleable; that is, they are supposed to be changed and made relevant to the new situations in which they are cited.

(The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 45)

TWIT + Audible = irony

Am I the only one who finds it strange that TWIT rails against DRM in many of their episodes (as they should), but then they do ads for Audible, which has a terrible DRM? My parents tried using Audible to get audiobooks for their commutes, but the restrictions caused a lot of problems. I wouldn't want to pay for a book that I couldn't easily take with me when I get a new computer. Cory Doctorow's speech is still one of the best explanations for why DRM is bad. If you haven't yet, read it!

Rove quits

Proving the old adage that even rats know to abandon a sinking ship, Karl Rove stepped down from his job as advisor to President Bush. It's funny how family suddenly becomes a top priority when you're being called to testify before congress.

This quote reveals his view of congressional oversight:

When asked for his reaction to those who say he's being "run out of town," Rove responded, "That sounds like the rooster claiming to have called up the sun."

Perhaps most interesting is Rove's view of democracy as revealed by this statement:

What about those who say he's leaving to avoid Congressional scrutiny? "I know they'll say that," he says, "But I'm not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob."

Reflect jQuery

I made my first jQuery plugin. It's called Reflect jQuery and it's based on reflection.js, but it takes advantage of jQuery rather than building in the class selector from Prototype. Check out the demo or get the plugin if you're into it. At some point this may make it's way into b2evolution.

Francois visits

Francios and DannyThis week we had a house guest from France. I became acquainted with Francois through the b2evolution project. He created the project and continues to serve as the maintainer and principal developer. We did a bit of work on a forthcoming plugin. On the way to dropping him off at the train station we ate Gates BBQ and stopped at the Apple Store to help my sister pick out a new iMac for college. I decided to get one, too. The old PPC iMac I was using had begun to show its age.

Scratch online

I mentioned Scratch a few months back. It's a really fun way for kids (and adults) to learn about programming and make little graphical apps just by dragging and dropping. They now have a program sharing website online, so when you're done with a program, you can just click the "Share" button in Scratch and it goes onto the website. You can even play the programs in your web browser I've uploaded a few here. People are doing some neat things, like this Duck Hunt remake. Emma and I downloaded it to see how it works, and we recorded our own versions of the sound effects. Emma does a good taunting laugh.

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