The Internet Gives Voice to the Fanatic

One thing that bothers me about the whole global warming debate is the way the Internet gives voice to the fanatics. The extreme fringes in this debate, or any other, get just as much say as the unbiased, balanced sources. The result being you don’t know who to trust, unless you’re willing to do a lot of legwork to sort it out.

Just do a search for Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth (an amazing movie, by the way, for a glorified slide show), a movie that tries to debunk global warming skeptics, and you get all kinds of fringe arguments. Refutations of refutations of refutations and you don’t know who’s refuting what anymore. Every source is suspect, even the user-controlled Wikipedia where you’re never sure whether a right- or left-winger last edited the article you’re reading.

It’s all the more reason why anybody trying to argue for a cause or idea needs to be transparent. They need to give clear point/counterpoint. And they need to give their opposition the best possible footing–no straw man arguments. (My philosophizing friend taught me that one, and I often kick myself for it because I want to go for the easy kill, but it’s just a strawman argument. All I accomplish is making myself feel better–I don’t convince anyone.)

GodTube: The Christian YouTube

The self-imposed Christian ghetto lives. As if we didn’t learn anything from the Christian music scene and the lame Christian alternatives to MySpace, we now have a Christian alternative to YouTube: God Tube. Newsweek calls it “a goofy, fascinating window into the world of Christian youth,” and with a tagline like “Broadcast Him,” is it any wonder? Broadcast Him to whom? Perhaps the choir.

Ray Comfort’s banana as proof of God video is, well, it’s a bit too much for words.

Jerry Falwell Thinks Global Warming is a Hoax

Apparently Jerry Falwell gave a sermon entitled “The Myth of Global Warming” and then backed up the sermon by saying God will take care of any environmental problems we have:

Falwell said the Bible teaches that God will maintain the Earth until Jesus returns, so Christians should be responsible environmentalists, but not what he calls … quote … “first-class nuts.”

Dr. Falwell, the feeling is mutual.

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Minnesota to Ban Smoking

I hope the state of Minnesota will soon be going smoke free. Ramsey County passed a smoking ban two years ago when St. Paul couldn’t get one passed (thank you very much former Mayor Randy Kelly–I voted against you based on this issue) and I think it’s the right move for public health.

Now that we’re moving out of Ramsey County I’m not eager to return to smoke-filled restaurants, so I hope the state-wide ban is passed. I just e-mailed my state representative urging him to support the bill (find yours and do the same).

Cloud Cult Rocks

Thanks to the Current’s Song of the Day (how many times do I need to recommend it?) I discovered Minnesota artist Cloud Cult. OK, my musically progressive friend discovered them first and tried to introduce me to them last year, but I never got into the Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus album. But today’s song of the day plus a live appearance on the Current sold me.

I went to their site to buy the album and discovered they’re a quirky little group. They eschew major labels so they can have total control over their art, including details like being as environmentally friendly as possible and having visual artists paint on stage during their live shows. Their new album, The Meaning of 8, doesn’t officially come out until April 10, 2007, but since they’re so independent you can get the album directly from them now.

This is a band that understands the new digital era. And the music’s pretty good.

Change of Address

Our move is coming up fast and I spent my afternoon calling my list of 50+ locations to change our address. What a hassle.

It’s funny how many different ways there are to change your address. Some places connect you with an operator, some let you do it online and some require you to do it in writing. A couple even let you leave message, which just seems a little awkward.

My favorite was the water company. Rather than accept my address change now, they said I had to call back the day of my move with a reading from the water meter of my old house and then another one from the water meter of my new house. Seriously? And they make everybody who moves do this?

It was almost as good as Comcast, who couldn’t transfer my service because the sellers of our new house hadn’t put in a disconnect order yet. So every time somebody moves you have to have the seller call Comast first? I hate to imagine the chain of buyers and sellers lined up because an upstream seller has to get the ball rolling.

Oh, and I almost forgot: the most entertaining was Best Buy. I went to update my address but it turned out they cancelled the credit card more than a year ago (unless you actually use the card they don’t send you statements–apparently I hadn’t used it in a while). The funny thing was they made no attempt to re-sign me up. They just let me go. Somewhere a marketing rep is kicking himself.

The Changing Name Changes When We Get Married

Interesting story in USA Today about more men taking on their wives’ last names when they get married. Some newlyweds are no longer following the patriarchal tradition of taking the man’s last name. There are all kinds of alternatives from combos to hyphenations to taking the woman’s last name.

But I don’t understand the backlash people get for this over some kind of lack of manliness. How stupid is that? Apparently women should take the man’s name–along with his DNA–and stay in the kitchen.

What I do understand is the backlash for practical reasons. Say Joe Johnson and Patty Smith get married and become Joe and Patty Johnson-Smith. They have a kid, Bill Johnson-Smith. Then Bill Johnson-Smith marries another child of a hyphenation-name marriage, Sally Martin-Graham, and they become Bill and Sally Johnson-Smith-Martin Graham? Boy, their kids are screwed.

OK, that’s ridiculous. I know that.

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Care Enough to Update Your Site

One more thing from Shaun Groves. In his rock stars need to get human post, he encourages musicians to care enough about their fans to do a number of simple things, including:

Add content to your site: Update the thing and do it often.

It’s good advice for rock stars and it’s good advice for anyone with a web site. So simple, yet it so rarely happens. Content is what connects with people, more than flashy details, pretty pictures or noise.