Politics vs. Logic

August 11, 2008

Politics has never been kind to logic. And political campaigns, especially American Presidential campaigns, have always been absolute anathema to logical analysis and coherent rhetoric. Most people have built-in defense mechanisms to protect themselves from the really obvious fallacies, but the prevalence and persistence of email spam is a clear indication that the general defense against fallacious presentation is faulty at best, and hopeless at worst.

A good starting place to sharpen your logical analysis skills is the “Introductory Logic” summary at http://members.tripod.com/AttitudeAdjustment/Books/Logic.htm

This concise, punchy instant tutorial on logic is my favorite reference weapon when dealing with political spin doctors, religious zealots, and chiropractic mumbo-jumbo. Check it out, and join us smug, self-righteous few who delight in highlighting the logical fallacies of those who “think” with their guts instead of their brains.


Oh yeah…. “Blog”….

August 11, 2008

Hmmm…. Looks like this place has been sorely neglected. Well, things are changing around here. Stay tuned for sporadic updates. There’s another neglected Jerry blog at http://jmuelver.blogspot.com/ that probably bears watching, too. I’ll have to figure out how to sharpen the focus of these two blogs, and get them energized. The “business model” for blogging, it seems, could use some revision.

Another step towards Web 2.0

April 25, 2007

Wikis were the original breakthru apps for web-based collaboration. They used to be a pain to set up and run, requiring deep expertise in Perl, PHP, or both, originally. Now, however, you can get started wikiing in ten seconds or so, with features and options we early wiki adapters only dreamed of. Check it out for yourself with one of the slickest free wiki-farm sites on the web, PBWiki, at http://www.pbwiki.com


September 27, 2006

Is it a language, an application, an environment? TiddlyWiki is explained at http://euicho.com/index.php?p=123 and home page at http://tiddlywiki.com

It’s a personal wiki in a single HTML file, saved on your computer right from the browser, openable and editable with MSIE and FireFox (and SeaMonkey, I think) wherever you are. In other words, no wiki engine needed. It’s all in the file’s code, in JavaScript. TiddlyWiki has a passionate following, interesting enhancements and versions, and some tantalizing applications.

Quick Competency Testing

August 1, 2006

Psychologists have extensive batteries of tests to assess an individual’s competency, for instance to determine whether someone can be brought to trial and understand the proceedings, or or be committed to supervised care, or be capable of handling the responsibilities of child care and custody. Such assessments require a great deal of professional training, knowledge, and experience.

It seems to me, however, that ordinary folks can make less serious assessments of competence by examining the answers to two simple questions:

  • The answer to “How did you vote in the last election?” shows judgment, awareness, and capacity for logical thought and analysis.
  • The answer to “How will you vote in the next election?” shows insight, assessment of consequences, and capacity to learn from past mistakes.

What more would you need , to assess competence?

Politicians, of course, need a different test, since their voting behavior is driven by “None of the Above”. So far, I don’t have any handy tests for greed, stupidity, and the capacity for suspending morality.

No “skins” please, I’ll keep what I have

July 29, 2006

This blogging software suite, like most browser and windowing software these days, offers a variety of “themes” or “skins”. Apparently some people feel compelled to fancy-up their computing environment, probably in the mistaken belief that being “different” is tantamount to being “superior”. It ain’t so, especially since the “different” is shared by everyone else choosing that theme or skin.

I guess I just don’t get it, but I’m deeply convinced that good looks (or just “different” looks) is inadequate compensation for flawed or vapid content. I would think anyone exposed to the current deluge of TV, magazine, and web coverage of the daily antics of Hollywood celebrities would have to conclude that “cute doesn’t cut it”.

“Roll your own” vs. “Go with the flow”

July 28, 2006

We old-line web types are used to coding our own tools, hand-coding web pages to handle the display, and hacking up CGI scripts to do the processing. But when your server goes down, the whole works is out of business.

Now we’ve got everything already done, and almost all of it free. Blogs (like this one), email, forums, wikis, forms processing, shopping carts (from product display through credit card processing and customer relations handling)…. Everything you could ever want, all of the gain with none of the pain.

It’s kind of like cooking. You can make from scratch, or just pop open a microwave carton. But, is the real satisfaction in the eating, or in the preparing?

YAOSR – Yet Another Opportunity for Self-Reinvention

July 27, 2006

Saturday, 21 July 2006, the web site hytext.com disappeared. The site host, affordablehost.com, had suffered another all-too-frequent crash, this time corrupting the server and backup files for two servers. Let’s see what it takes to get back up and running….

FTP now working, so I can rebuild the site from scratch. No email connection yet. cPanel “works”, but no more Fantastico apps, and the built-in CGI, like guestbooks and formmail, is not fully functional.

In the meantime, welcome to Muelver’s Mullings!