Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My favorite Congressman

Almost 3 months into the 110th Congress' first session and a little over 1600 bill have been introduced in the House, which works out to an average of a little less than than four bills introduced by each of the 435 Members of the House.

I was plowing through all the bills on Thomas to see who had introduced the most bills when I came across the record of Rodney Alexander:


Title: To require the Food and Drug Administration to permit the sale of baby turtles as pets so long as the seller uses proven methods to effectively treat salmonella.

That's it.

One bill and it's in support of baby turtles.


When I can stop giggling about this, I may get back to researching my orginal post topic.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Isaac Newton and the Apocalypse

I was browsing through some of Isaac Newton's lesser-known writings at The Newton Project when I stumbled across a record called untitled treatise on Revelation. Considering Newton is generally regarded as one of if not the smartest person ever to live, I figured even an atheist such as myself should have a peak at what he had to say about the end of the world.

What a rabbit hole it turned out to be. At around 320,000 words, mainly in English but with many passages in Latin and citations in Greek, it was quite a challenge to get through. In addition, the treatise was never prepared for publication by Newton. Rather, it was more like his lab notes from over thirty years of trying different methods to fit the puzzle pieces of the Book of Revelation into history as he knew it.

And Newton sure knew his history. When the guy who came up with Calculus and a big chunk of Physics set his mind to studying history, he acquired a broad and detailed knowledge of every single country and king starting with early myths and ending with the times he lived in. And then he set to work.

Under titles such as:

Position: The Subject of this Prophesy is the Roman Empire signified by the Dragon & Beast.


Position: The first Trumpet began with the invasions of the Eastern regions A.C. 395. The second with the invasion of the western A.C. 408. The third with the invasion of Afric A.C. 427. And thefourth with the wars in Italy A.C. 536.

you find a detailed matching of actual history to Christian prophecy.

Sadly, at the end of the treatise, Newton offers no final conclusions. Futher research into his writings indicates he had concluded only that there were several matches between the earlier parts of the Apocalypse and historical events that had occured since the final book of the Bible had been written, but he offered no opinion on how it would end.

Besides being a great insight into Newton's view of history, the first section of the treatise gives some real insight into how Newton himself thought and went about learning:

Let me therefore beg of thee not to trust to the opinion of any man concerning these things, for so it is great odds but thou shalt be deceived. Much less oughtest thou to rely upon the judgment of the multitude, for so thou shalt certainly be deceived.

Interestingly, Newton seems to be applying the Calculus he developed to his study of the Apocalyse in this bit of advise:

To proportion the most notable parts of Prophesy to the most notable parts of history, & the breaches made in a continued series of Prophesy to the changes made in history And to reject those interpretations where the parts and breaches of Prophesy do not thus bear a due proportion to the parts & changes in History.

Back to the much simpler world of modern politics for me, but if you have a little time, Newton himself invites you to check out his research:

Having searched after knowledge in the prophetique scriptures, I have thought my self bound to communicate it for the benefit of others...

Friday, March 09, 2007

Birth states of the U.S. presidential candidates

It sure seems like certain states get more than their share of presidential candidates. But, looking at the numbers shows a fairly good distribution of states represented in the past 100 years of Republican and Democratic presidential candidates:

New York 6

California 5

Massachusetts 4
Ohio 4

Illinois 3
Texas 3

Virginia 2
Michigan 2
South Dakota 2
Arkansas 2
Georgia 2
Connecticut 2
Iowa 2

Vermont 1
Pennsylvania 1
Indiana 1
Missouri 1
Arizona 1
Nebraska 1
Minnesota 1
Kansas 1
Washington, D.C. 1
Colorado 1
W. Virginia 1

Yeah, birth state may not always best represent which state a candidate is "from," but any other measure is open to debate, so that's what I went with.

Over the past 100 years, of 50 total major party presidential candidates, 23 of the 50 states (plus one from Wash., D.C.) have had at least one major party candidate.

Certain candidates have skewed the data, like Roosevelt's (New York) 4 campaigns and Nixon's (California) 3 runs.

Biggest surprise, I think, is South Dakota has had two seperate nominees (Humphey, McGovern).

The 1920 election was between two Ohio natives, 1988's was between two Massachusetts natives.

Here are the Republican and Democratic nominees for the past 25 presidential election, with the winner listed first:

1908 Taft - Ohio - R vs. Bryan - Illinois - D

1912 Wilson - Virginia - D vs. Taft - Ohio - R

1916 Wilson - Virginia - D vs. Hughes - New York - R

1920 Harding - Ohio - R vs. Cox - Ohio - D

1924 Coolidge - Vermont - R vs. Davis - W. Virginia - D

1928 Hoover - Iowa - R vs. Smith - New York - D

1932 Roosevelt - New York - D vs. Hoover - Iowa - R

1936 Roosevelt - New York - D vs. Landon - Pennsylvania - R

1940 Roosevelt - New York - D vs. Willkie - Indiana - R

1944 Roosevelt - New York - D vs. Dewey - Michigan - R

1948 Truman - Missouri - D vs. Dewey - Michigan - R

1952 Eisenhower - Texas - R vs. Stevenson - California - D

1956 Eisenhower - Texas - R vs. Stevenson - California - D

1960 Kennedy - Massachusetts - D vs. Nixon - California - R

1964 Johnson - Texas - D vs. Goldwater - Arizona - R

1968 Nixon - California - R vs. Humphrey - South Dakota - D

1972 Nixon - California - R vs. McGovern - South Dakota - D

1976 Carter - Georgia - D vs. Ford - Nebraska - R

1980 Reagan - Illinois - R vs. Carter - Georgia - D

1984 Reagan - Illinois - R vs. Mondale - Minnesota - D

1988 Bush - Massachusetts - R vs. Dukakis - Massachusetts - D

1992 Clinton - Arkansas - D vs. Bush - Massachusetts - R

1996 Clinton - Arkansas - D vs. Dole - Kansas - R

2000 Bush - Connecticut - R vs. Gore - Wahington, D.C. - D

2004 Bush - Connecticut - R vs. Kerry - Colorado - D

Some very interesting people among the candidates that didn't win, btw. Worth a look for sure.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The college application death march

Over 300 hours of work by people with mad IT, internet and record keeping skillz.

Over $1000 in fees and expenses.


I don't think any American child whose parents don't have the skills, patience, free time, document storage, money and anal retentiveness required to conquer today's college application process has a hope in hell of getting accepted to a decent school no matter how good their grades are.

Quite a barrrier to higher education we've erected to keep out the bright children of poor, busy and not very tech savvy parents.

When did this fairly easy process turn into some straight out of Brazil?