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Tue, 01 Feb 2005

You just can't hide it.

I find it hilarious when people try to hide something that they've published using the Internet, especially if that something is in web page form.  For one thing, there is an insane project called the Internet Archive WaybackMachine that even has my site archived.  There is the caching function on Google.  I'm sure that there are probably other ways of looking up hidden information that is available on the web.  The point being, just deleting the link to a page or even deleting the page itself does not make that information, nor the fact that one hosted that information, vanish.

The reason I point this out is the recent flap over Dr. James Dobson and SpongeBob SquarePants.  According to a letter written by Dr. Dobson, he didn't accuse that annoying yellow sponge of anything.  He says that he was angry that the sponge and its (SpongeBob creator, Stephen Hillenburg, says his characters are asexual) fellow children's characters (like Big Bird, Winnie the Pooh and others) were being used to subtly push a program which endorses homosexuality.  The We Are Family organization, which created the video which has raised the ire of Dr. Dobson, flatly denied that it had any ties to any of the pro-homosexuality groups that Dr. Dobson claims were listed as allies of the organization.  They also denied having any materials for teachers which promote a pro-homosexual stance.  Well, you know me and I just had to do some digging to see who is telling the truth and who is lying...and the winner is (drum roll please):  Dr. Dobson, We Are Family is lying.  All We Are Family did was remove the link to the allies page (although they are still hosting it) and they deleted the TEACHERS folder from their server.  Google has caches of the allies page and of the teachers guides index.

My point in writing this is not to argue which group is taking the right stance (my own stance on the issue is defined rather well here) on homosexuality, my point is simply that We Are Family is lying when they say that they did not host the materials that Dr. Dobson says they did.  It does make me wonder though.  We Are Family's stated mission is to [celebrate] our common humanity and the vision of a global family by creating and supporting programs that inspire and educate individuals of all ages about diversity, understanding, respect and multiculturalism; and to support those who are victims of intolerance.  Does homosexuality fall within that mission?  If so, then why have the references made by Dr. Dobson been removed or had their links cut?  If not, then why were they there in the first place?

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:13

Wed, 02 Feb 2005

A Matter of Time

I figured it would happen the moment that I hit publish yesterday and before it can escalate, allow me to clarify my stance on homosexuality:  It's wrong and should not be tolerated.  It's wrong just like adultery, fornication, incest and bestiality are all wrong.  These sins were considered so serious that they each carried the death penalty during Old Testament times and that penalty was not removed by the Savior nor the apostles during New Testament times.  Book of Mormon prophets stated that sexual sin was the most serious of all sins excepting murder and denying the Holy Ghost.  It is very clear that whether society likes it or not, sexual activity of any kind outside the bonds of a marriage between a man and a woman is expressly forbidden by God.

The reason that homosexuality gets such a strong backlash from people like myself is not that I find it to be any more or less an abomination than other kinds of pre/extra-marital sex but because homosexuality is constantly pushed at me and my family.  There are no adulterer's pride parades nor are there any after school clubs advocating tolerance of cheerleaders and football players getting to know each other in the back seat of a car.  We do, however, have gay pride parades, days and festivals.  There are diversity clubs which endorse tolerance of alternate sexual orientations.  I don't want my children to tolerate homosexuality any more than I want them to tolerate adultery, fornication, incest or bestiality.  It's largely for this reason that I don't watch television much any more.  Adultery and all its sordid cousins rage rampant throughout prime time.  Whether society likes it or not, all of these activities are intolerable and should not be accepted under any guise.

On a closing note, intolerance does not equal hate.  I don't hate people who commit the aforementioned sins.  There are a number of people I love dearly who are or have been on the wrong side of this fence.  I still love them, without question, but I also despise what they've done and that without question also.  The Savior did not lift the penalty of death for these sins but He also reminded us that these things are forgivable by showing mercy and refusing to condemn the adulteress.  He did not forgive her but told her to go her way and sin no more.  Likewise, it is incumbent upon me to also show mercy and love and to be a voice of warning; regardless of whether such a stance is popular or not.

This entry authored by Tyran at 19:19

Thu, 03 Feb 2005

Random Thought

Just some quick random thoughts I had this morning:  What would happen if all plant based drugs (marijuana, opium, tobacco and others) were all made legal to possess and grow but were all illegal to sell?  What if selling them carried no jail sentence but did require the forfeiture of all ones assets?

What, exactly, is the purpose of Social Security?  Would we, as a nation, be better off encouraging companies to provide real pensions for their employees?  Should retirement funds be untaxable?

What can I do to make my back lawn green up this year instead of weed up like it usually does?  Oh wait, how'd that get in there?

This entry authored by Tyran at 06:15

Thu, 17 Feb 2005

The Power of Content

The contents of a web site or of any production or publication are powerful.  While specific content may not be powerful to you or to me, it is powerful to someone and at the very least it is powerful to the person who created the content.  That being the case, changing another person's content is considered to be a very bad thing.  Stealing someone's graphics or layout or even their entire site is tacky and highly frowned upon as well as being a potential copyright infringement but it is also a form of flattery.  Modifying someone's content on their own site, however, is a cardinal sin.

Microsoft learned this the hard way with Smart Tags  Smart Tags were intended to to enhance the users browsing experience by inserting links into a web page when viewed using IE.  An example of this would be that when IE finds the word office on a web page, it would change that word to a link to MS Office on Microsoft's site or the word Berlin would automatically be converted into a link to a travel site about Berlin.  On the surface this seems to be a very helpful tool but it is very easy to show that it is nefarious at best.  Using Smart Tags, Microsoft intended to modify web content to display their own links.  Essentially, Microsoft intended to hijack every web page on the Internet for their own advertising purposes.  The outcry from the development community was fast and furious and the use of the meta tag <meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="true" /> which was supposed to prevent Smart Tags on a page became widespread overnight (it's the first tag in my header section).  Just as a quick example as some food for thought, if my page links to a book on Amazon using the book's title and In a rare move, Microsoft admitted defeat and pulled Smart Tags out of IE after a few rounds of beta testing.

Google is preparing to do something similar with Autolink.  The premise is exactly the same as Smart Tags, the Google toolbar scans the current web page and generates links based on the page's content.  Currently, the generated links are stored in a drop down list on the Google toolbar and are not incorporated into the actual web page.  IF Autolink continues to work in this fashion, then there is no grounds for a developer outcry as there was with Smart Tags.  I still find it unethical for Google to be generating revenue for themselves by using my content to generate their links but as it's a tool that is completely separate from my site, then I doubt there is any way to force Google to do otherwise.  That being said, I would hope that they'll make this a opt in situation where if I want Autolinks to work on my site, I would have to add a meta tag like <meta name="AllowAutolink" content="true" /> but at the least I hope they'll give me the option of using a meta tag to prevent Autolinks.

This entry authored by Tyran at 19:00

Gripe

First a word of caution:  Kim, it's not your fault.  You just happened to be the trigger.  For a number of reasons, I left the employees' association a while ago but I still get a steady stream of people coming into my office telling me that they are my employees' association representative.  No, you aren't.  You cannot represent me as I am not a member of the association.  The association sends birthday cards to its members on their birthdays, sends flowers if a member or their family is hospitalized and plans quarterly luncheons.  I don't go to the luncheons (I think I've attended five or six in nine years), my name doesn't go on the birthday card nor on the flowers whether I'm a member or not and so I see little point in actually being a member.  I wish the association reps and leadership would all realize that I'm not a member, don't want to be a member and have no desire to be bothered with association business of any kind.  I am sure that Kim knows this, as I growled rather loudly at her when she came in advertising the March (I'm assuming March as it was on green paper and St. Patricks day is coming) luncheon.

This entry authored by Tyran at 19:45

Tue, 22 Feb 2005

Startling Revelation

Due to a number of circumstances which I won't elaborate here, I realized that I have an extremely small number of friends.  In fact, the number of friends I have can be counted on one hand and then not even use all the digits there.  I've been thinking quite a bit since about why I have so few friends.  When I asked Shanna about it, she responded by asking if there were other people with whom I would want to be friends.  No, not really and that wasn't the point in my asking her.  My point in asking was that I've never had a friend who first wanted to be my friend.  My friends have always been people with whom I've been forced, for lack of a better term, to associate.  Shanna, my best friend, even confirmed this by saying that she doubts she would have ever spoken to me if we hadn't both been on the seminary council in high school.  I asked her again what she thought might be the cause of this, am I so undesirable or unpleasant to be around in person?  Her answer truly startled me:  I'm intimidating and rather unapproachable.  Interesting.  Personally, I think it's more because I don't readily accept people as friends.  I expect a great deal of a friend.  I am willing to invest a great deal in those I call friend and I become extremely attached to those I call friend.

What is a friend in my book?  A friend is a member of that terribly small number of people which I know extremely well, who know me just as well and for whom I have deep affection and trust.

  1. Family:  Family comes first.
  2. Friends:  That terribly small number of people which I know extremely well, who know me just as well and for whom I have deep affection and trust.
  3. Acquaintances:  Almost all the people I know, definitely a broad range.
  4. Strangers:  Everyone else, rather self-explanatory.
This entry authored by Tyran at 17:25

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