Archive for January, 2012

what do taxidermists like to do on sunny days?

January 26, 2012

Some tanning.

Santorum on abortion: a consistent but puzzling position

January 25, 2012

Rick Santorum on abortion in the case of rape:

I respect the consistency of this position (“in every case”) though I disagree with its underlying premise. What I don’t understand is how anyone believing abortion is killing an innocent person can claim, in good conscience, that it’s OK if the embryo/fetus exists as a result of rape. It’s not OK to kill another person to make someone else’s bad situation marginally better.

While I’d agree with Santorum that a human life is present after conception, I disagree with Santorum’s premise that “a human life is the same as a person“. An embryo lacks the experience of complex mental activity to be considered a person. Human life that has only existed in body isn’t precious. Claiming otherwise is puzzling and I don’t see an inherent right to life for that human being. For this reason, there’s nothing unethical in a pregnant woman choosing to abort. Therefore, I support the right of women to choose and the right of doctors to help her carry out that choice safely.

Note also that Santorum slips up when he says his position “is not a matter of religious values” yet later argues that women should, “accept what God has given“. It is likely that Santorum really means “soul” but uses the term “person” to appear more secular in this matter.

revolutionary doublethink

January 23, 2012

When corporations hold some power in education and then take further steps to tighten that control, why do we call it a “learning revolution“? Digitized textbooks should be in open formats for editing and reading. Authors and publishers need to reject absurd EULAs, and educators need a dose of scepticism.

the philosophical difference between free software and open source software

January 17, 2012

captured in links:

The advantages of Free Software.

The advantages of Open Source Software.

“public” social networking (an observation)

January 9, 2012

Before clicking on the links below, be sure to log out of both Diaspora and Facebook.

A “Public” post through

A “Public” post through

Hungary, open standards, and funding

January 6, 2012

Good news out of Hungary:

Hungary’s public administrations will by default use open document standards for their electronic documents, as of April this year, the government ministers agreed on 23 December, and all public organisations are encouraged to move to open source office tools. Hungary’s government also in December decided to cancel the funding of proprietary office suite licences for all schools.

What would make this even better would be to continue funding schools making the transition so they can better support their free software infrastructure. This would also help incentivize schools to make the switch.