Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “computer”

Breaking: God to be Put on Trial in Iowa for Zygoticide – Tom Rossi

This just in from sAP wire (satirical Associated Press):

Dateline, 10/10/2014:

It was just over a year ago that the State of Iowa passed a law defining the abortion of a fertilized human egg (known to eggheads as a “zygote,” an egg that has been fertilized by a sperm) to be the equivalent of the murder of a child, teenager, or adult. Since then, Iowa law enforcement authorities have been made aware by those same egghead biologists and so-called “doctors” that most “abortions” of zygotes, and even morulae, blastulae, gastrulae, and embryos occur naturally, sometimes called a “spontaneous abortion,” a “miscarriage,” or, as Iowans say, as an “act of God.”

As a result, God has been arrested and, according to Iowa Attorney General Dick Rednecropper, will be put on trial for the crimes of “zygoticide, morulacide, blastulacide, gastrulacide, and embryocide.”

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Rednecropper, interviewed in the courthouse, said: “Essentially, my hands were tied when we defined zygoticide as murder. It would be easy for a person, whether it be a man or a woman, who got an abortion to say, ‘I was guided by God,’ or ‘If it happened, it must have been God’s will.’ We circumvented that problem by simply saying that zygoticide is murder, no matter what the supposed justification.”

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“Would you accept, as an excuse for murdering your wife, that the killer says, ‘She was ugly, and I just couldn’t look at her any longer?’ I don’t think so. We don’t accept God’s excuses, either. I mean, a tree would like to blame the wind when a branch falls onto your car or house, but it’s ultimately the tree’s responsibility to hang onto its limbs, isn’t it?”

Reporter Brent McStallwart asked, “So, is your office currently planning to prosecute trees?”

Rednecropper answered, “Don’t be ridiculous man. I’m just using that as an analogy. We don’t have the resources to spend on incidents like that.”

When asked how many counts of murder God would be charged with, Rednecropper replied, “Well, it’s hard to say right now. These here bile-ogists tell me it could be in the millions… maybe lottsa millions. It seems that, if a woman misses her per… I mean that time of the month where I sleep out in the shed, but then she doesn’t have a baby, there just mighta been a spotaneonous abortion. The egg mighta been fertilized, but didn’t stick where he’s supposed to. Either way, it’s an abortion, and that’s illegal.”

In describing the arrest, police officer Rip Burgundy said, “We had to spend almost half an hour searching for his hands in his long, flowing, white beard in order to put the handcuffs on him. He didn’t really resist, he just kept rolling his eyes. He has huge eyes. Everybody at the scene could easily see his reaction. It was kind of, you know, disrespectful to us as officers of the law.”

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Officer Burgundy added, “Usually, in these situations, we use our Tasers, but we knew that there were some liberal noise makers in the crowd that would just love to accuse us of police brutality. So, since he wasn’t black anyway, we decided not to do it.”

God’s arraignment is set for this Friday.

Meanwhile, upon further study of the phenomenon of spontaneous abortion, Iowa law enforcement officials discovered that virtually every woman may have had, at some point in her life, a spontaneously aborted zygote, morula, etc. When asked what this would mean for Iowans, Attorney General Rednecropper said, “We start rounding up the women next week.”

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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A Place for Tree Books

My latest novel, Unwanted Heroes, was released in ebook format over Thanksgiving. I was stoked. Readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of the electronic book revolution and my Facebook status lists me in a steady relationship with my kindle. I would, I admit, consider an open relationship but no iPad came down my chimney last month – I really should ask the landlord for a chimney.

When the ebook was released and I alerted the usual suspects, I was surprised at the number of people who responded with: “Let me know when the paperback comes out.” My surprise was because many were people who enthusiastically embrace the tech revolution and could probably download and read a book simultaneously on their phone, tablet, laptop, computer, TV, and by just staring up at the cloud.

Heroes Low Res Finished Cover 11.18

But they choose to hold a ‘real’ book in their hands. They want the feel, the crackle of pages turning (there must be an app for that), the smell of a book (how about an ink-addiction app?). One person told me that, when buying a book by an author that she knows, it doesn’t feel right if she is not holding ‘a real copy’. For authors she doesn’t know personally, she buys ebooks.

Two months ago my family moved house and for a long time there was a great wall of boxes in every room. I realize that the point when I began to feel at home was when I was able to unpack and shelve my books. This was my identity, my stamp on the territory.

On Wednesday, Three Clover Press announced the release of Unwanted Heroes in paperback. So, all you tree book lovers, I would be honored for a place on your bookshelf.

I have also set myself a goal to garner five reviews on Amazon for Unwanted Heroes. If you have read the novel, please consider leaving a review. It is very important to me. Thank you. 

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And just for the record:

Unwanted Heroes brings together an elderly, battle weary Chinese American war vet and an idealistic and somewhat pretentious young Englishmen, who share a love for San Francisco, coffee and wine. They soon discover they share even more when repressed abruptly surface, cementing an unlikely relationship that just might release each from the tragic pasts that bind them.

Set in beautiful San Francisco, this novel is a tribute to the city, its people and those who sacrificed so much to keep it and America free, as seen through the eyes of a young struggling writer from across the Atlantic, who brings more baggage than just his shiny laptop and romantic ideals.

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Alon Shalev is the author of three social justice-themed novels: Unwanted Heroes, The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Jewish Student Center, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

Hypermiling App – Roger Ingalls

Out of necessity, I’ve become a hypermiler. I am now commuting up to seventy miles a day in a 5,000 pound Ford F250 pickup truck powered by a V10 engine. In the city, I get approximately 11 miles per gallon and about 13 on the highway. It’s safe to say this vehicle is not a gas hog; it’s a fuel sucking Tyrannosaurus rex.

Hypermiling is the practice of driving using techniques that maximize fuel economy. Those using these techniques are referred to as hypermilers. It gained popularity as a result of the rise in gasoline prices during the late 2000s. A month ago I was getting about 380 miles per tank of gas but now I’m hitting close to 470 miles. As a former racecar driver, it is difficult for me to drive in a manner that conserves energy over distance; my instinct is to save time over distance. I’m learning that it takes a lot of awareness and concentration to optimize fuel efficiency.

With all the computers now in our vehicles and in the smart phones we carry, where is the app that can help me hypermile? These devices have GPS and accelerometers so they should be able to coach us with voices commands and advice. Examples: 1) “Given the speed limit on this road, you are accelerating too fast, back off the gas pedal, 2) “The next traffic light will turn red in 5 seconds, left off the gas pedal and coast”, or 3) “the next two traffic lights will stay green for 45 seconds, increase speed to 5 miles per hour over the limit to avoid breaking for a red light”.

All the technology exists to help us save millions of gallons of fuel per day across the country. We just need to apply it in a smart way.

Guest Blogger: Professor McGoughen

I’m really excited tae be com’g tae California for the book launch of Oilspill dotcom in a co’ple o’ weeks. Once I finished teaching law at Oxford, I had planned tae visit ma wee grandchildren in Edinboro’, but I could nae resist seeing the book o’ the trial an’ how y’ Americans perceive such a shenanigan.

Ma role was a wee one. I canna nae believe that computer wiz kid got me soo wound up tae get back intae the ring. I spent ma whole life fightin’ the multinationals. Me an Oxford law professor, an’ I still can nae imagine how two yo’ng rebels could have pulled it off.

Certainly the Internet was a powerf’l tool that I nae had in ma day. But the way that laddie harnessed it to involve so many people from all o’er the world, he deserves all the credit that this wee book gives him.

An’ I hope it gives a new generation o’ lasses ’n ladies t’ aspire an’ fight for what’s right inna way that’s relevant f’ them. Your President understood this ’n that’s why soo many people got involved in his campaign that had nae done soo before. I hear he still sends out updates to his supporters, still keeps them informed.

I want this t’ be the message that y’ people will take from Oilspill dotcom, that it’s possible to effect change, that y’ can influence what is happening. Ya need to know what is happening. When them corporate types know som’n is watching them, they might think twice ’bout their actions.

An’ remember: this trial mae have happen’d in England, but many o’ these multi nationals operate outta the US. This is as relevant f’ yoo as it is f’ Britain, Africa or Asia. Our world is all connected an’ we noo got much time. This Internet might jus’ bee the tool f’ change – an’ this is what young Shalev is tryin’ t’ tell us.

Read the book. Y’ nae look at the web in the same wae again.

Alistair McGoughen
Professor at Law, Oxford University

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