I remember back in college we had interesting naming schemes for computers. The ICS labs had the Guilder and Florin Macintosh networks with servers Westley and Buttercup. There was also a Solaris network where each machine was named after a Roman emperor, with names like Aurelian, Caligula, Gothicus, Hadrian, Pacatian, Saloninus, Trajan, etc.

The lab I worked at over in the School of the Arts started naming their Windows NT servers after renaissance artists: Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello… well, that’s what we told them the origin was, anyway! The first SGI box (for 3D modeling) we got we named Trippy, and then when we got several in we started naming them Happy, Sleepy, etc.

Then we got in a whole mess of computers, expanding our NT network from 3 machines to 14. We were trying to come up with a theme to name them, and started in with names like Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc. I had to leave after we set up the first 3 or 4 of them, and the next morning I received a mass e-mail stating, “The Artslab liquor cabinet is stocked.” The message went on to list the new computers’ names: Absolut, Alize, Bacardi, Baileys, Bombay_Sapphire, Captain_morgan, CuervoGold, Glennfiddich, Jagermeister, Jimbeam, Midori, Remmy_Martin, Seagrams, and Wildturkey. Soon after, we got a pair of Mac G3s and named them BlackLabel and BlueLabel.

The names stayed at least as long as I did, and may be there still. It was funny, though, to get reactions from people – students who had actually used the machines, or faculty and staff opening up Network Neighborhood – as they realized they were all alcoholic drinks!

I heard an NPR report that 83% of Americans 18-24 cannot find Afghanistan on a map. Following it up on their website, I found a link to the National Geographic survey they used.

Of course, what the report neglected to mention is that nobody had a good rate at finding Afghanistan. The only country where a majority of respondents could identify it was Germany, and they only made 55%. In fact, many people think Sweden’s pretty obscure (although Swedes scored 97%). Across the board, more people could locate Argentina than Sweden or Afghanistan.

It’s all in what you’re looking for. National Geographic was looking to see how well American youth stacked up against those in other countries, and most of us aren’t doing that well. But the fact is, they aren’t doing much better. (NG’s summary page notes that Mexico, Canada, and Great Britain scored almost as poorly.) What the results really show is that people everywhere have an astounding lack of geographical knowledge.

(Still wondering about the 3% of Swedes who couldn’t find Sweden.)

I guess it’s just the “HP and the A of B” pattern, combined with the new movie coming out, but I’d like to see titles like:

But let’s stay away from titles like:

I hear our President has signed legislation supporting the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance (search for bill S.2690 in THOMAS). It passed the Senate unanimously and the House with only 5 objections. It’s intended to be a response to this summer’s ruling by the 9th District Court of Appeals that the law that placed those words in the Pledge is unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the separation of church and state.

Now regardless of whether you believe those words should be in there or not, you have to consider: If the original law is unconstitutional, isn’t this one too?

I’m sorry, but this decision isn’t up to the legislature or the executive office. It’s up to the judicial branch to determine whether the original law can stand under the Constitution. If Congress doesn’t like the decision, they don’t have the authority to overturn it. They can take it up with the Supreme Court or amend the Constitution. If the Supreme Court agrees with the appellate court, then this law is equally invalid. If it disagrees, or if the Constitution is amended, then this law says nothing new.

Can you believe they spent almost five months crafting and debating a law that has no effect one way or the other?