Honda Civic Hybrid vs. Toyota Prius

From MotorTrend.com

… [T]he Hybrid has a strange influence on some people, as evidenced by Road Test Editor Chris Walton: “This car has a mysterious effect on my otherwise pedal-to-the-metal driving style. I find myself trying to (a) improve my mpg, (b) “earn” more battery-bars back by charging off-throttle, (c) be generally gentle and kind on the car–what’s happening to me?!”

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Ten Commandments

There is controversy as to whether the Ten Commandments should be allowed to be posted in schools and government buildings. Those who claim that posting them does not promote a particulare religion are mistaken, in my opinion. Here are the Ten Commandments as taken from Exodus 20:2-17.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
10. Thou shalt not covet.

Only three of these commandments have anything to do with modern day law as far as I can see. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt no steal, and thou shalt not bear false witness. Even then bearing false witness is only a crime as it pertains to upholding contracts, courtroom testimony, truth in advertising, etc.

Was Hitler evil?

I don’t believe in evil. I believe Hitler was a human who was following human desires. I believe he deserved to die for his deeds. I hope no one ever commits the crimes he committed ever again. I do not believe there is an absolute right and wrong. Right and wrong are concepts created by humans. Some would like you to think that a certain behaviour is wrong because “God” said it is wrong. If we want the human race to survive, we must cooperate and agree that we will not do certain things to each other. I value my freedom and therefore would like to live among people who respect each other’s freedom. This I feel is a good enough basis for making laws. There is no need to rely on laws given by any god.

Do you exist?

My brother, Bob, asked me, “Is there anything that you are sure exists but that is not material?”

My short answer would be, “no”, but instead I replied, “I feel like everything can be put on an existance scale. On one end of the scale, say the left end, are things which I feel pretty sure exist and things on the other end, say the right end, of the scale I’m pretty sure don’t exist. This is not an absolute scale. Each thing is placed on the scale relative to other things on the scale. For example my shoes would go to the left of elves and other non-material things would go to the right of elves. So I wouldn’t say I’m sure things like ghosts, souls, angels, demons, etc. exist. I’m just less sure they exist.”

I forgot to mention to him that I think ideas exist and are not necessarily material, but can ideas exist apart from a mind? Is an idea written on paper still an idea if no one is around to read it? By the way, in my opinion the mind is a physical object made of neurons, synapses, etc.

Not so spoiled milk

I wanted to eat cereal at work so I poured some milk into an empty water bottle and brought it with me. It stayed in the refrigerator until quitting time. I put the bottle into my backpack and drove home. I tossed my backpack onto my bedroom floor and went to bed (I get off work at midnight). In the morning I remembered that I left the milk in my backpack so I thought the milk would be sour. I opened the bottle and took a whiff. It smelled ok. I cautiously took a sip. It tasted fine. I put the bottle in the fridge and will have some cereal later.

Statistics don’t lie, people do.

Someone said to me that you can make statistics say anything. This is true if you lie and change the numbers. For example if you say, “Our company is doing great. Our revenue was 5 billion dollars” and you your expenses were 6 billion dollars then the truth is that you lost 1 billion dollars. The lie wasn’t in the statistics it was in the statement “Our company is doing great.” If your revenue was 4 billion dollars last year then you had an increase in revenue of 1 billion dolars, but since your expenses were 6 billion dollars you still lost a lot of money.

So the next time someone quotes a statistic ask them for the rest of the story.

Hands on Astrophysics has a very good article about the the proper use of statistics. Unfortunately it’s not easy to get to. When you click on the link to the article it takes you to a PDF file for a variable star curriculum. At the end of the document there is a section called Math Talk. This is where the discussion of statistics begins.

Download books for free

Download books for free at The Gutenberg Project . Most of these books are in the public domain. Some are available in several different formats such as PDF, plain text, machine read mp3 files and human read mp3 files. There are books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, James Joyce, J. M. Barrie, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe and many more.

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