21 December 2005

Albany, hoons, judges, laptop

I went on a necessary trip to Albany yesterday, and since I was down there anyway, took some nice pictures from the top of Castle Rock (to be downloaded and posted shortly). In the course of walking up the hill to get there, I discovered that being able to ride 40km without obvious fatigue doesn’t necessarily prepare one for being able to climb ≅600m without obvious fatigue, and I was dizzy and panting like a dog by halfway up. I felt very old.

The trip back provided some entertainment. Once on the freeway, I came across a “muscle car” ute trying to find someone to prove himself better than, so I accelerated a little, making as if to gradually pass him, with predictable results. He obviously didn’t consider my junky old Peugeot worth racing against, but still didn’t want anyone getting in front of him. So I stayed on his case until he needed to nip ahead to avoid being trapped by slower vehicles, then pulled out into the next lane again once he was through the constriction, once more making as if to overtake him. He responded by ripping off ahead at ≅150km/h, ducking and diving between traffic and off at the Duncraig exit... now accompanied by a dark sedan with a blue winky light on its roof.

Chris Samuel didn’t quite capture the full flavour of Judge John E. Jones III’s ruling. The commentary includes this little gem:

To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.

IOW, if you develop a better theory than Evolution — religious or not — you somehow have to avoid speaking negatively of Evolution in order to present it in any school in Dover.

IANAL and all, but the whole show clearly looks like a man with a flea in his ear about something rather than an impartial judgement, and will probably (and ironically) be used some day as a textbook example (but in appropriate legal terms) of overreach. What he’s come within a whisker of effectively doing is create a new Index Librorum Prohibitorum for just one US State’s schools, which would get a lot of people excited if he’d been one whit less restrained. Even the limited prohibition he’s ordered will have interesting social consequences.

Said consequences aside, it would be much more rewarding (for me, at least) to read better explanations for the ID crew’s examples than their own, or the sole alternative I’ve seen: a visit from the Scaffolding Fairy.

Also, it looks like it’s Laptop Day today. I’ll let you know how that one goes as well.

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