Monday, March 29, 2010

An update to the 'Madness'

No, I'm not taking about the 80's ska band...although...

Yeah...I can't see dudes skanking to the beat without thinking of Benson, and I don't really know why.

ANYWAY. For all of those who were brave/cunning/bored enough to enter the NCAA Tournament Challenge here's an update.

ESPN awards 320 points for picking winners in EACH ROUND. So, wins in the final four are worth 160 points each, and picking the champion gets you another 320 points.

Right now only three teams can get additional points. IF West Virgina wins next Saturday I will win!!! Which is sort of anti-climactic...because I'll buy myself lunch. But I'll dis all of you more than Max Hall dissed the U of U on this blog.

IF Duke wins Kirk and Marilyn will both creep in front of me, with Kirk probably winning.

Kirk is the only one who still has his pick to win it all (Duke) still in the tourney.

Here's the standings so far

Tone 700 points
Brandy 650
Kirk 610
Gil 610
Marilyn 570
Beau 530
Rob 490
Mikey 460
Wade 450
Kevin 450
Mat 420

Let's enjoy the rest of the tourney, general conference, and all the other marvels of spring.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Can't Resist

You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

US Census 2010: Just Do It?

Should I answer all of the questions on the census form? I don't believe the federal government has any business concerning itself with my race or whether or not I own my home. In fact, I refused to fill in the "race" question on at least one of the birth certificate questionnaires for my children (although that was a state rather than federal query). So I have three options: 1) just do it, you should obey the law and it's no big deal 2) only answer questions 1 and 2 since they are the only questions actually allowed by the constitution but risk a fine of $100 for each unanswered question 3) answer the questions incorrectly so I avoid any potential fines but don't give the federal government what they want. Does the fact that I'm even considering options 2 and 3 make me a right wing nut-job or a freedom-loving, fascialist-slaying patriot? I'll put a poll up so you all can vote (on the three options, not the nut-job vs. patriot question).

Here's a Freedom Watch interview on the census with GMU economist Walter Williams.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

BOO YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tourney Time!

Reading Public,

The Provonian Staff hath thrown down the gauntlet. Whilst thou, I pray, be strong enough to pick it up?

Enough Elizabethan.

The NCAA trouney starts this week. I've created a group on ESPN's Tournament Challenge game entitled "Provonian Staff". It's completely open to the public, so anyone can join. Whoever gets the most points gets a lunch on me...of course... you gotta be in Provo to get it.

It takes about 30 seconds to make a bracket, although if you're Chris Bentley, who's buying lunch for me if I win...although he doesn't know it yet..., it could take a lot longer.

Fill out a bracket, join the "Provonian Staff" group and let's DO THIS!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

DNA Fingerprinting and the Innocence Project

Each individual has a unique DNA "fingerprint" based on the sequence of the A, T, G and C nucleotides in their genome. These differences allow scientists and criminologists to compare samples containing DNA (hair, blood, semen, stone age skeletons) with DNA from specific individuals. Beyond the obvious uses in criminology and paternity testing, this also is useful in reconstructing molecular genealogies and tracing the dispersion of specific Y-chromosome markers. For example, the Lemba tribe in southern Africa which had an oral history of Judaic descent was confirmed to have a much higher incidence of a Y-chromosome sequence that is found in the priestly lineage of Aaron than surrounding populations. Even though the Lemba tribe appears completely African, because of the father-son pattern of inheritance of the Y-chromosome it has remained present in their population unaltered for centuries. Other studies have suggested that Genghis Khan and his sons have ~16 million male descendants on the earth today and that ~8% of Irish men share the Ui Neill clan marker.

For me, the most striking contribution of DNA fingerprinting is its use in overturning wrongful convictions. For a real eye opener go visit the Innocence Project website. You can click on your state and read about every case of wrongful conviction overturned by DNA evidence (251 post-conviction exonerations to date nationwide). You can also see if your state offers any compensation for wrongful conviction (mine doesn't) or even requires samples that contain DNA evidence to be saved for future reference (mine doesn't). The unavoidable conclusion of all this is that the death penalty has will probably continue to result in the execution of innocent individuals.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This, Even This--TOO--Shall Pass

If you're paying attention at all right now online, you'll know that OK GO has done it again. I guess that last mind-blowing, totally awesome video for This Too Shall Pass that we saw last month was just a stroll in the park for the geeks behind OK GO's public presence. This time they've created something truly monumental to behold.

But, if I'm ditching objectivity, I'm not sure I feel that same... lift this time around. That "tickle behind the navel" that Mikey observed. Yeah, it's something you're going to want to watch 17 times to get your head around it, but I miss the joyful part of the viewing experience, not just the "how'd they do that" which will undoubtedly be your first response.

Far be it from me to take anything away from this video. It is truly an achievement and if I were OK GO I might just give up now. Because to top this is to call on powers that don't exist on Earth.