Today is the culmination of two years of campaigning, primaries, TV ads, debates, and endless polling.  It’s time to vote.  Across the country, people will decide who will be our next President.  They’ll also decide on Senators, Representatives, and various state and local races.  Some people will even have ballot initiatives where they’ll have a direct say in the path their state takes.

It can be wearying at times.  It might seem like you just want it over with.  You might not even like either of the choices.  However, it is important to vote.

In some countries, the citizens don’t get to vote.  In others, "voting" means saying "Yes, I will select the ruling party’s chosen candidate because I don’t want my house burned down."  In these places, opposition candidates are arrested under trumped up charges and/or disappear under mysterious circumstances.

We’re lucky.  We live in a country where we get a choice.  It may not be a perfect choice, but it’s a choice.  And, even if our chosen candidate doesn’t get elected, we have a chance to vote for someone else in four years.

So if you are supporting Barack Obama, go vote for him.  If you’re supporting Mitt Romney, go vote for him.  If you are still undecided, look at each of their platforms and records, choose the one whose positions most closely match your own stance on the issues, and then vote.

NOTE: The "Vote icon" above is by netalloy and is available from

NOTE #2: To my international readers: If you live in a country where you’re allowed to vote, please take this as a call to vote when your voting day rolls around.

If Science Is From Hell, Where Are Politicians From?

stupid-burnsA couple of days ago, I read on Slashdot that Representative Paul Broun (Georgia – R) said evolution, the Big Bang theory, and embryology are "lies straight from the pit of hell."  Apparently, he believes that they are designed to lead people away from thinking that they need a savior.  I’m guessing this means that he thinks that science is evil and must be stopped.  (Broun seriously believes that the Earth was created as-is only 10,000 years ago. As such, any proof to the contrary must be evil.  Therefore all of science is evil.)

This would be troubling enough (an anti-science politician), but Broun is on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.  Yes, this guy is making decisions that affect science in this country while also saying that science comes from hell.

This is so wrong that I almost don’t know where to start.  First of all, science is important to the future of our country.  If we were to (magically) roll back our country to the 1800s, I doubt we’d be a leader in anything anymore.  The United States would become a third world country which would be subject to the whims of other countries (like, for example, China or India) who put more emphasis on science and technology.

Our modern life is impossible without science.  Computers wouldn’t function if we didn’t have a very good handle on physics.  Medicine would be useless without biology and chemistry.  Cell phones would be expensive paper weights without many different branches of science which contribute to building and maintaining both them and the satellite networks that make them useful.

We need representatives that will lead us into the future, not drag us back into the past.  If you are on a science committee and declare that science is evil, this should be grounds to be kicked off the committee.  It would be akin to a high ranking department of defense official saying we should totally disband our armed forces or a member of the SEC saying that insider trading really isn’t that big a deal.

As the image above says: The Stupid… It Burns!!!

NOTE: The "Fire Icon" in the image above comes from zeimusu via (I added the text to it.)

Geeky Zodiac Fun

A couple of days ago, ThinkGeek tweeted this (highly accurate) Geek Zodiac.

Geek Zodiac

(Credit Where Credit Is Due: This is from

At first, we had some fun with this, finding out where each of us fall in the zodiac.  I’m a Superhero, B’s a Undead/Slayer, NHL’s a Time Traveler, and JSL’s a Treasure Hunter.  (So *that’s* why he loves humming the Indiana Jones theme song!)  After figuring out our extended family, though, we moved on to other things.

Until, that is, WiredGeekDad tweeted about President Obama being a wizard.  They were referring to this totally non-photoshopped photo.

Obama Wizard

This photo was taken by AP’s Carolyn Kaster.  She got the angling just right so that it looked like Obama was summoning a fireball.  (I don’t think debate moderators will allow that as a rebuttal, Mr. President… Then again, how would they stop him?)

Suddenly, the geek zodiac sprung back to my mind.  Could it be?  A quick check of Wikipedia (for President Obama’s birth year) and the Geek Zodiac revealed: President Obama is a Wizard in the Geek Zodiac.  Surely, this isn’t a coincidence.  (Obligatory: Don’t call me Shirley.)

Being a geek, I couldn’t let it end at this.  I suddenly had to know just what each of the Presidents’ Geek Zodiacs were.  Here are the results.

Presidential Zodiac

(Click to expand that. )

Some interesting items of note:

  • James Madison was the only Time Traveler President.
  • Grover Cleveland was the only Astronaut President.
  • The book and movie were wrong.  Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a Slayer (Vampire Hunter), but a Pirate.  (Eyepatch and stovepipe hat? Why not?)
  • Both Bill Clinton and George W Bush were Ninja/Samurai.  (No political commentary intended.)
  • The father of our country (aka George Washington)? A Robot.  I’m betting he was a Presi-bot built by Ben Franklin.
  • We have had 3 Alien presidents: Martin Van Buren, Dwight D Eisenhower, and James "Face Hugger" Monroe.
  • The three most popular groups for Presidents to come from (with 5 each): Wizards, Pirates, and Treasure Hunters.

What Geek Zodiac sign are you?

Explaining The Political Process Kiddie Style

voteformeWe spent some time at the library over the weekend.  While there, the boys got a prize for reading (thank you summer reading program), they played on the computer, and we picked up some videos to watch.  Oh yes, and we got some more books to read.

One of these books, Vote For Me by Ben Clanton, seemed at first to be a very typical kids book.  I figured it would be full of colorful drawings, funny sayings and a moral at the end.  Little did I realize that, in addition to the drawings, sayings, and moral, it would showcase just how the political process works.

Both parties, the Donkey and the Elephant, begin the race mostly above the board.  They try to appeal to the voters to choose them as the most fit for office.


As they try explain what they promise to give to voters, if elected, the snipes come in more and more.


Soon, it’s an all out mud-fest with names being hurled almost as much as mud.


Oh sure, perhaps the names that grown up politicians use aren’t "smelly pants" or "snot-sucker", but let’s be honest, they may as well be.

Here, the book strays from the political reality of today and heads back into "kiddie fantasy land."  You see, the Donkey and Elephant decide to make up and be friends.  This sort of bipartisanship is all too rare today.  (Even rarer is what happens at the end, but I won’t spoil that.)

This is definitely a good book to read to kids, but I don’t think we should stop there.  This book should be required reading for any politician running for public office.  Then, when they decide to engage in some mud slinging, they can be sat down, forced to show just what page they were copying, and told to sit in a "time out chair" until they apologize to their opponent.

Oh, who am I kidding?  They’d probably read the book and find a way to call their opponent a "snot-sucker."  Let’s stick to reading this to the kids.  At least they have a shot of learning the book’s moral.

Want to learn more?  Head on over to B’s post today about the very same book.  I promise we won’t be slinging any mud between us.

Why Is X So Y?

I usually do a Wordless Wednesday on Wednesdays, but this one needs some introduction.  It’s no secret that I’m a geek on many levels, including (but definitely not limited to) a math geek and a computer geek.  So when I heard that Google was being used to make Venn Diagrams of religious stereotypes, I was intrigued.

The basic premise is that you type “Why is X so” or “Why are X so” into Google’s search box.  Google will, helpfully, supply you with terms that others have searched on.  The resulting terms are written down and charted into a Venn Diagram.  (For the math-challenged, Venn Diagrams are big circles which encompass the terms and perhaps overlap with other circles.)  For example, if you were looking to make a political version, you might use “Democrat” and “Republican” and get this Venn Diagram.


Of course, all of the terms stated above were made by Google users, not by me.  So please don’t pepper me with e-mails, comments, tweets or other forms of contact saying “How dare you call my political party Stupid!”  I’m only here to make the Venn Diagrams and perhaps point out some interesting features on them.  In this one, I’d say that the searches were likely done by members of the rival parties and that each party seems to describe the other with the same derogatory terms.

Then, I decided to move onto Moms and Dads.  However, I also thought I’d be ambitious.  Why not include Men and Women in the diagram?  Make it a four-way chart, like so:



Notice that, apparently, Moms, Dads, Men and Women are all described as “Stupid.”  Perhaps kids googling about their parents while each sex searches to understand the other?  Dads and Men are both mean, but dads are spared the “Selfish and Lazy” aspects of men.  Meanwhile, Women are “emotional, complicated and crazy” but moms are simultaneously “nosy and nice.”  (They are very sweet while they leaf through your stuff?)  Moms and Dads find common ground in being annoying.  (To each other?  Their kids?  All of the above?)

Around now, the computer geek in me took over and I decided to search for Microsoft, Google and Apple.



They are all successful (of course), but Microsoft and Apple are expensive while Google is simply “Big”, “Awesome” and… “Racist”?!!!  I’m at a loss for that one.  Any ideas where that could have come from?

Of course, this led to a comparison of the four major cell phone carriers in the US.


This must be the simplest of the bunch.  All of the carriers are thought of as expensive.  Verizon and AT&T are both seen as slow.  Meanwhile, Sprint and T-Mobile are both Expensive and Cheap.

The results of these searches were quite interesting.  Any ideas on others to do?  Perhaps I’ll do a follow-up post.

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