Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween, WBC!

I don't normally appreciate the American justice system but this brought a smile to my face:

A jury has decided to essentially bankrupt the Westboro Baptist Church.

As much as I believe in freedom of speech, this "church" has been preaching hateful propaganda on people's front lawns for far too long, and I'm pretty sure that this kind of speech is not what we want to protect. Reverend Fred Phelps is very... "fervent" in his beliefs and I'd appreciate seeing him put on his knees for once. He seems to have forgotten humility in the war he's fighting against homosexuality, abortion, cohabitation, and just about everything else under the sun. His armada of web pages include (all of Canada! For passing anti-hate legislation), (what has Sweden ever done?), and (don't visit this one if you have any conscience because it will probably drive you to want to put a stake through Mr. Phelps). His children seem to be brainwashed and never given the opportunity to think for themselves - at the age of five they are holding signs that they can not even explain the meaning of yet (or if they can it's clearly been coached). It's disturbing on a humanitarian level, because of the sheer amount of hatred and "holier-than-thou" attitude the church members have (some of them remind me of overly smug Pomeranians), but also to me on a personal level because of the sheer amount of things these people are against that I see no issue with, and how little they have done as a group to help their fellow man (and isn't that in the Bible?).

Apparently even the first $2.9 million in compensatory damages (not including the other $8mil in punitive damages awarded) is three times the net worth of the entire "church". Something tells me I should feel guilty for feeling so satisfied with this ruling, but the rest of me is screaming "TAKE THAT, YOU JERKS!" and cheering madly, which has of course drowned out any guilt quite thoroughly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thinking cheap

I've just discovered something that shouldn't have been a surprise at all: the "non-printable", "do not use these in inkjet or laser printers" transparencies that I bought actually do work for printing. At least, the one I printed looks good so far. It remains to be seen how well it actually shows up on an overhead projector, but I won't know that until tomorrow during my lesson.

When I first went looking for transparency sheets I expected that they'd just be one kind of all-purpose sheet, not one kind for laser printers and another for inkjets and another for both kinds of printers together (one kind on each side!) and yet another kind just for writing on! (How naive of me, you're all saying now. Any teacher should know that there are half a dozen different kinds!) I also expected that I'd be able to afford them. Oops! At $30 a box, I could only afford to pick up one box of transparencies and since they don't seem to come in a "writeable AND printable" variety (why not?!) I grabbed the writeable ones. I scribble on things more than I print anyway, right? Well, I needed to print out a topographical map for the contour maps lesson I'm teaching tomorrow and I realized I couldn't afford to spend $30 for the convenience of a single inkjet transparency (they come in boxes of 100, but I only need one). So, I did the typical cheap thing and went to see if my regular write-on transparency paper would suffice. It does.

The sources online told me that the ink would smear terribly, that it would dot up and not flow smoothly, and that it would turn my printer into an ink-dripping mess. Apparently the sources aren't familiar with our particular inkjet printer, because aside from a bit of dotting up which I can't see unless I squint, the transparency matches up perfectly with the paper version I printed. The borders and print are as clear as they're going to get, considering the map source (No offense to the USGS but most contour maps were not designed to be scanned and put online). I'm sure at some point I'll run into problems printing on "non-printable" transparency paper, but sometimes, it pays to think cheap.

Now if I could only figure out how to get my lesson plans written without wasting so much time, I'd be all set...