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As someone who uses his bicycle almost every day to travel to/from campus, I’d like to offer the following observations and recommendations to those who, as a bicyclist, I interact with while making my daily commute, regardless of whether you are a pedestrian, another bicyclist or driving a motor vehicle.

Pedestrians:

Generally speaking, it’d be best if you ignore us bicyclists, or at least pretend to ignore us.  When riding a bike, we are generally anticipating where pedestrians will be if they continue on their present course, not assuming they will stop to let us by.  Thus, stopping suddenly or taking a step “out of the way” when you see us is generally more hazardous than helpful, no matter your intentions.  If you are heading across my path, I will plan to either head you off enough so that I won’t hit you even if you continue along your present path, or I will plan to bike behind you.  If necessary, I will slow to allow you to pass.  But if you start across my path, see me, and then stop, I have to suddenly change my plans to take into account that you’re no longer going to be where I expected.

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DJ Douchebag

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I apologize for the language, but this is a rant.

I was driving downtown this evening to see Edwin McCain and his band play at Antone’s in Austin (great show).  I was listening to the local rock station (93.7) on the way down and heard a shining example of why I can’t stand the vast majority of DJs.

It’s no secret that most rock station DJs are either failed rockers who never really “got” working for a living, or lowlifes who are just doing it because it’s a step above cleaning toilets and they happen to have a voice that sounds good on the radio (or both).  The guy tonight, though, really takes the cake.

So he’s doing a plug for the “babes section” of the station’s website.  If it’s not sleazy enough that he has to do that, he takes it a whole stairway further by saying the following (paraphrase):

“So if you’re one of those guys who has a hard time talking to the ladies, you should definitely check out the babe of the day section of the website.  I just got married so I can’t look at ‘em at home anymore because the wife checks my [browser] history, but I still check ‘em out here at the studio and man, there are some serious hotties on there.”

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As I was driving back from the grocery store today, I saw a sign in a convenience store window that I had seen before.  It says “we sold a winning lottery ticket.”  I started thinking about whether that was a smart thing to advertise.  On the one hand, some people might foolishly think that it’s a “winning store” and buy from them thinking they’re lucky or something.  But on the other hand, others might avoid buying lottery tickets there because what are the odds that the same place will sell two winning tickets?  And yet, it shouldn’t matter either way, because the probability that you will buy a winning ticket is completely independent of where you buy it, or what that store’s history of ticket sales is.

So here’s what I’m confused about:  On the one hand, from a buyer’s point of view, whether a store has ever sold a winning ticket before shouldn’t have any bearing on their choice to buy there.  Their odds of winning are exactly the same no matter where they go.  Yet from the store’s perspective, the chance that they will sell two winning tickets in a given amount of time is far lower than the chance that they will sell one during that period.

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No, I don’t have a deep essay in store on how these four topics are profoundly related. I simply had several things I wanted to post today.

God

I was raised in a Christian home and today remain comitted to my faith. However, I also try to take a reasoned and level-headed approach to most things, and for that reason decided it was time to really address some of the questions I had about my faith. Not questions about what Christianity taught, or even what made Christianity right while other religions were wrong. Rather, I wanted to explore whether belief in the supernatural was itself reasonable. I had been taught it was, and knew some arguments for why it was, but felt I needed to explore more. After all, if I hold to Christianity on blind, untested faith, then my beliefs could be as misguided (or more so) than anyone else’s.

So last summer I spent a lot of time researching issues like existence, evolution, historical and geological corroboration of the Bible, the process of canonization, and a lot in between. What I found did not dismantle my belief in the Christian God. In fact, it strengthened it tremendously. But I did have to reevaluate and change some of my other beliefs in light of what I found.

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So today I was scanning digg and came across this somewhat humorous article, which led me to this amusing take on suicide (actually makes some good arguments for why it’s a bad idea), which led me to this video:

Apparently, it’s not a joke, and it even has a website dedicated to its glory. The sad thing is, I can’t seem to stop watching it.

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