Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data 2

Posted by ryan Sat, 22 Apr 2006 21:38:00 GMT

I've been gathering information for a software project that involves calculating greenhouse emissions. I'm pausing on this project for the time being to work on something else, but since it took me a while to gather useful information, I thought that I'd share what I've found so far, in case others are interested, and to help me remember where I left off when I get back to it.

American Political Parties 6

Posted by ryan Fri, 21 Apr 2006 22:24:00 GMT

Despite the fact that "Republican" and "Democrat" are political parties in the USA, while "Conservative" and "Liberal" are social/cultural viewpoints, the term "Republican" has become seemingly synonymous with "Conservative", and "Democrat" with "Liberal". Can anyone out there with a better grasp on American politics than I explain this phenomenon? It annoys me, because I agree with what I know of the core Republican philosophy (about as much as I agree with any single philosophy, anyways), but I definately do not consider myself to have conservative viewpoints. As a result, although I'm a swing voter, I tend not to vote Republican as a result of the strong conservative nature of most of the candidates.

From what I've been able to discern, the Republican philosophy is grounded in a belief that "the private sector and/or the individual are better suited than the government to control their own lives" (Wikipedia). According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "[t]he term Republican was adopted in 1792 by supporters of Thomas Jefferson, who favoured a decentralized government with limited powers." In contrast, the Democratic philosophy posits that "that government should play a role in alleviating poverty and social injustice, even if that means progressive taxation and a larger role for government" (Wikipedia) Nothing in either of those descriptions seems to indicate a liberal or conservative predisposition.

To further analyze the situation, let's define "liberal" and "conservative." The WordNet Search provided by Princeton University "liberal" as "a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties" as well as "a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets." It was hard to find a definition of "conservative" that doesn't sound negative, but the best that I could find is "a loosely defined term indicating adherence to one or more of a family of attitudes, including respect for tradition and authority and resistance to wholesale or sudden changes" from the Glossary of Philosophical Terms. Another fairly good definition of "conservative" is "... to favor things as they are and to be cautious. To be conservative politically is to respect traditional institution and distrust government solutions to problems." This definition, oddly enough, comes from the Warrensburg School District of Missouri's iAdventures program.

Given these definitions, I'm sure someone could hammer out a link between the terms and their associations, but I think it'd be a weak link at best.

On a side note, I would just like to point everyone to a ground-breaking revelation, made by an AOL subscriber, that I encountered while doing research for this article: Proof that The Democratic Party Mocks God!! By the way, this guy's a medical doctor. I'll be sure to avoid anyone named Frank Joseph if I ever need an operation on something.

Blog up 1

Posted by ryan Fri, 07 Apr 2006 22:05:00 GMT

At long last, I've finally got my blog up using a decent engine. I started off using WordPress, but the PHP made my little object-oriented heart ache. I would like to thank Matsumoto San, for bringing us Ruby, David Heinemeir Hansson for Rails, and Tobias Luetke for Typo.