If Bonfire Returns

On this, the 8th anniversary of the “9/11” terror attack and collapse of the Twin Towers, are Aggies seriously considering bringing back Bonfire to the Texas A&M campus in College Station?

Paul Burka, Governor Rick Perry, even former university president Ray Bowen, and others have made mention – at least in passing – that Bonfire can/should return to campus and burn again.

Why does Burka keep harping on Bonfire? The words that are said and the way they are said makes it seem like Ags are hell-bent on melting the polar ice caps and raising the average global temperature a few degrees.

Not only is Bonfire dangerous – no matter who builds it – but it’s evironmentally insane. It needlessly forces tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. I thought it was crazy when I first heard about it in 1995, and I still think that it’s crazy to “build” something as massive as Bonfire and then BURN it!

I’m all for traditions. Traditions build unity and keep the past fresh. Aggie Muster is an example of a Tradition. First Yell is an example of a good Tradition. Bonfire is a good example of putting people at risk during “cut” and “build” and contributing to the harm of future generations during “burn”. I think it’s time to put Bonfire to rest and maybe say a prayer (or have a moment of silence) on November 18.

Source: Burkablog: Texas Monthly.

From an e-mail from Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, Interim President
September 15, 2009
There is a lot of discussion about bringing Bonfire back to campus as we prepare to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. Bonfire brings out strong emotions in all of us. As an Aggie, interim president – and father – I believe that the parents who entrust us with their sons’ and daughters’ education expect us to first and foremost do what we can to help ensure their children’s physical safety and well-being. Please keep the families of the Aggies affected by the tragic collapse of Bonfire in your thoughts and prayers as we look ahead to November’s 10th anniversary.

OPED: Governor’s race costs some regents posts

Here is more mud from one of Kay’s sites: http://texans.forkay.com/news/9-10-09_ICYMI_Chron_Decries_Perry_Power_Grab

Perry is hardly unique among Texas governors in using appointments to further his ambitions. However, in the current campaign the incumbent is subordinating competent governance of public university systems to his own re-election efforts.

In doing so he only strengthens the argument of Hutchison that a decade-plus tenure as governor fosters cronyism and misuse of official powers.

Source: Primary casualties: Governor’s race costs some regents posts | Editorial | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

Twitter’s influence on writing style

I was googling (yes it’s a word now) this topic and found very few items. I know it’s real so I decided to write something about it.

Twitter’s influence on communication, specifically writing, is already huge and it will only continue to change the way we communicate. In fairness the influence should not be limited to twitter. Anywhere we communicate in short, choppy bits, changes the way we communicate. The whole social media paradigm is based on terse, quick-to-publish bits of information. As a result we write in “leetspeak“, write with shorter words, use contractions, use micro-URL services (e.g. bit.ly), and use “hash tags”.

In addition to writing on twitter.com or the myriad of third-party plug-ins, we craft blogs or other online writing to fit the 140-character space of twitter. News headlines have always been terse – even cryptic – but now the lead paragraph is getting twitterized. And don’t get me started on twitterspeak: all the cute phrases like “tweeple” that resulted from this cultural phenomenon.

25th Annual Kolache Festival

Repost from http://www.burlesoncountytx.com/Kolache%20Pages/Kolache%20Festival.html

Come be Czech for a day! 25th Annual Kolache Festival – Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Kolache Festival is a celebration of the revitalization of Czech heritage… a county that was basically a Czech settlement realized their precious identity was slipping away. New generations knew not the language, the music or the art of their ancestors. Not only do we grasp at the past, but we hurry to share the history…to bring into today’s focus the beauty, talent, and delight of the Czech people.

Come to the Kolache Festival and learn the wonderful Czech philosophy. See the technique of stenciling, basket weaving, egg decorating, quilting, woodcraft, carving, sculpturing. Dance to the polka, and sing the songs of the musician. Taste the true ethnic food and lend your soul to the fulfillment of the Czech cultural heritage.

Laboring on Labor Day

If you’re lucky enough to have a job, you may be one of the 25 Million that have to work on Labor Day – the day Congress intended workers to rest.

Social media outlets – as par – don’t slow down on holidays. In fact, traffic increases on networks like facebook or twitter. A (very) few have even used the weekend to their advantage: eHarmony was promoting free days.

End of Days

In January, 2009, I watched a television program on the History channel that talked about the End of Days. I’ve since searched and read about other people that watched this program and blogged about it. Below is what I wrote in my blog with an addition about Nostradamus. I added the bit about Nostradamus after watching another History channel program on September 6, 2009.

The Mayan calendar predicts that December 21, 2012, is a significant day, maybe the end of days. Nostradamus also predicted (or so modern people say) that the end would occur during the winter solstice of 2012. We call it the predictions of the Galactic Alignment.

But what about computers you ask. The financial apocalypse may occur on January 19, 2038. That represents Unix Time value of 2147483647 or 3:14:07 GMT.

And now, in 2009, Hollywood is getting in on the act (profiting) with the movie, “2012” which is set to open November 13, 2009.

In my opinion, the Galactic Alignment is the apex of gravitational pull and probably magnetic and other radiations. It may trigger catastrophe on the earth, but (all things being equal on either side of the apex) in 2042 we should see environmental conditions that we saw in 1982. In other words it’s part of a cycle. Like the seasons, environmental affects come and go and come again; two words “ice ages.”

keywords: 2012, 12.21.12, Mayan Calendar, Mayan Prophecy, End of Days, Apocalypse, Bible Prophecy, Conspiracy Theory, Illuminati, New World Order, End World, Doomsday, End Times, Unix, Epoch.

UWEB Lightning Talk Notes 09-04-2009

What little I wrote down is here. There is a couple good links.

Robert: who makes user experience design

Stephanie: WordPress content import plugin.

Also see: wordoff.org (UPDATE: WordHTML)

Rob: SVG

Plain text (XML). It can be manipulated by JavaScript (DOM).

Monty: Standard module format

Also see: Yahoo Theather

At the end we had an open discussion where we talked about good resources to learn technologies of the web.

One byproduct of the talk was a resource for handling javascript in IE7 at http://dean.edwards.name/IE7/

For more information about the Lightning Talks or other topics the uWeb group talks about go to http://uweb.tamu.edu/

Don’t let down during the build up to a conference

CoIB‘s post this morning brings up another good point about conferences – maintain interest. Don’t burn out your excitement planning to get there. Leave some thrill for the days you make new friends, get inspired with new ideas, and try to absorb information like a sponge. Yes, planning is fun, but the point of any conference is to meet peers and learn something.

I’ve experienced burnout as both the planner and the attendee. It’s tough to keep people interested after you let them know registration is open and they register. They either forget about it or they do everything there is to do on your website in a week and then forget about it.

Last year’s SXSW was a good example of burnout before the conference started. They opened up registration in September for a conference in mid-March. I was an early-bird and tried to learn everything I could about the events at the conference, the location, other events happening, etc. By October I was burned out. I didn’t think about it (or tried not to) until February. During my initial sweep I registered for the newsletter, subscribed to the RSS feeds, and registered on the somewhat anemic social networking site. Not much traffic came through until January – then it trickled in. My interest grew again and I started to pay attention to details like schedule changes and planning my schedule.

This year, at HighEdWeb 2009, the build up has been gradual. They have a social networking site (ning.com) that keeps my interest. Then there are tweets to keep up interest – even after the early-bird deadline.