Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Modest Proposal

Given the Bush Administration's War On Birth Control, we clearly need a solution that all parties involved can agree on. Since people, for some odd reason, refuse to stop having sex, and various soi-disant conservatives refuse to keep their noses out of other people's sex lives, we need to find some middle ground.

I think I've found it. It's simple and effective.

If a health-care practitioner chooses not to provide birth-control services to a patient, they must take financial responsibility for the results.

So, if the patient chooses an abortion, that health-care professional gets to pay for it.

If she chooses to have the child, that health-care professional gets to pay for the pregnancy and labor, and then gets to pay child support. Full support for the child, including schooling, food, shelter...the works.

If she chooses to give the child up for adoption, that health-care professional gets to adopt the child. After all, they're the one who made the choice that it had to be born. They must have wanted that child to be born quite a bit, right?

The people who want this sort of ability to impose these choices on others should have no problems with these rules. After all, it's just putting their money where their mouths are. And it's a much nicer proposal than, say, Swift's original Modest Proposal.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Proposal: The Truly Modern Pentathlon

The 'modern pentathlon' is an idealized version of the efforts of a cavalry soldier caught behind enemy lines. Shooting, swordplay, swimming, riding an unfamiliar horse, and running. (My thanks to LawDog for his discussion of it; I'll be keeping an eye out for it next week.)

There's only one problem with it: nobody uses horses anymore. 'Cavalry' means tanks now, or even helicopters. (Nobody uses swords, either.)

But let's take the concept of cavalry, and extend it forward - an elite strike force whose job is to shock the enemy with their sudden blow and then get away before they can retaliate. Sounds like a fighter or fighter-bomber pilot. So let's create the truly modern pentathlon:
  • Fighter combat sim. Plenty of them available. Networked for head-to-head combat, round-robin or pool play or what have you.
  • Shooting. Service pistol would be best, although they'd probably do the same wimpy air gun as now.
  • Orienteering. Here's a map and a compass. Fastest person to reach all the checkpoints wins.
  • Swimming.
  • Running. (As opposed to orienteering; this time, you've got a set course.)
I'd pondered skydiving instead of orienteering, but the problem is that it's hard to make it competitive without it becoming an advanced gymnastics contest. Given that the goal of an ejecting fighter pilot is to make it down in one piece, that didn't seem like a good fit.

Anyway, treat it like you do now - score each part, use that to determine when everybody starts for the final run.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things We Don't Need Any More Of #2

iPhone tip calculators.

Especially ones that people want to charge money for, but I think we've got enough free ones now as well.

Really. Yes, it's a vaguely interesting introductory project. That doesn't mean you need to try to sell it.

A quick search of the App Store for 'tip' finds 18 items that look to be tip calculators. 4 of them are free. 11 cost $0.99, and 2 cost $1.99.

The last one costs $4.99...and that one is the only one I'd consider paying for. (International Tip Calculator, which includes information on expected tipping practice around the world. Now that is useful information for the world traveler...and if I expected to need it, I'd consider buying it.) In other words, it's not just a quick-and-easy way of calculating 10-20% of a given number.

So, can we find something else to use as our demo project now? (Not Sudoku. We're at 24 of those now. Although the issue there is that about 1/3 of them are free 'lite' versions of another 1/3.)

At least we aren't getting more flashlight apps.