Urging the United States Supreme Court to tackle the issue in 2000, lawyers for Christie Lee Littleton, a Texas male-to-female transsexual suing her husband’s doctors for wrongful death, noted the confused landscape: “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Texas, is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Texas, and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.” The Supreme Court declined to take the case.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The problem here is not that some states are unusually incompetent or corrupt (I'm looking at you Texas), but because people move more frequently and federal law has ballooned into places where the original signers of the Constitution never envisioned. Take the current rather bigoted opposition to gay marriage and throw transsexuals into the mix: the equation becomes hilariously/tragically more complicated. Money quote from the NYT article on the subject (registration is free but I don't like to encourage sites to put up that trash, so I recommend BugMeNot, an addon for Firefox that you should try to only use legally):
Friday, April 25, 2008
This. This is it. Here are a pair of guys that have integrated spatial objects into video, allowing a user to pan around with a Android phone (or any camera probably) and have that information appear. Next step, combining that functionality with an artificial contact lens and, if we felt like being really sci-fi, possibly thought activated controls. The technology basically exists but requires the engineering for the best practical applications and integration. All of it would be noninvasive - no need for Matrix-style headjacks or major surgery - and it could just be taken off when you don't want to expend the effort. Then, integrate this kind of thing with existing applications like Whereyougonnabe and Twitter. Never have trouble finding your friends at a social event again, always know the efficient bike/walk/car path to follow, and the ability to immediately search and find anything interesting you want nearby. You could search around you in a fashion that you would otherwise need the internet for, finding friends in a wide-Facebook/MySpace network style and nearby interests by drawing resources from the largest repository of human knowledge ever conceived. Interaction wouldn't be far away. See a bad driver on the road? Vote them down and people will know to avoid him/her. Some area particularly dangerous and you will know. Which bar/club is currently overcapacity and not worth going to visit until later? What food on the menu is actually good? The simple fact is that eventually the concept of "spatial data" will not be discernible as something independent because nonspatial data will be considered so worthless by comparison.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
This image is still less insulting than the comment I recently read on SA suggesting the only reason Clinton hasn't conceded (due to a nearly insurmountable Obama delegate lead) is that women are bad at math.
Edit: To qualify that "insurmountable lead" bit, lets take tonight's nearly double digit victory for Clinton into the larger perspective:
Obama now has 1723 delegates, Clinton has 1593.
There are 303 uncommitted supers and 408 unassigned pledged delegates, a total of 711. These means Clinton must now win 59.1% of the 711 remaining delegates to break even with Obama.
Before PA, he had 1650 to her 1508, and there were 869 delegates outstanding. At this point, she needed to win 58.2% of remaining delegates to break even.
So, after all is said and done in PA, Clinton must now take a 1% larger share of the remaining delegates to break even with Obama.
Monday, April 7, 2008
- More open source development. It looks great on a resume, there is a possibility of making a big name for yourself (publish something in academic journals, giving talks at Google, etc.) the satisfaction derived from contributing, and naturally you, like everyone else, get the benefits of the improvements.
- Possibly a citizenry that can more easily identify logical fallacies. Perhaps nothing is more important for a democracy besides free speech. As with the open source stuff, people should demand more transparency from their elected officials, and even if they don't get it though official channels, they will always find ways to fulfill this need.
- A greater appreciation for mathematics. Hopefully higher level math taught earlier, when the kids can absorb basically any information.
- More rational discussion of basic scientific facts about the world around us. Less of this tragic, mortifying stupidity.