Today I Learned: FDR was a 4 term president

Today I Learned:
Franklin D. Roosevelt served four separate terms as president.

This is one of those things where it’s like “How in the hell did I not already know this?”

I found out when I heard on NPR that Obama is the second president to ever be sworn in four times. Obama was sworn in twice for his first term because of mistakes made during the first ceremony. This time he’s swearing in twice because the official swearing in date falls on a Sunday, so he’s doing it on Sunday for official purposes and Monday for ceremonial purposes.

FDR, on the other hand, had to be sworn in four times because he was actually elected four separate times. He’s the only president to ever serve more than two terms.

Seriously, though, how did I not know that? As well known as he is, you’d think I’d’ve heard that somewhere before now.

Oh well. Learn something new every day, even if its something that you probably should’ve learned a long time ago.


I found a quote that I think is perfectly apropos of this blog in general:

I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and of many things I don’t know anything about, but I don’t have to know an answer I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is as far as I can tell possibly. It doesn’t frighten me. – Richard Feynman

In fact, I think an excerpt of that quote will become my new sub-title for this blog.

My Worst Fears

What Breivik did was not terrorism. It was merely the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. That’s totally different from terrorism.

Plus, he’s clearly insane, which means his Christianity had nothing, I mean nothing to do with anything. In fact, I read somewhere that he was actually a Darwinist, which has everything to do with everything.

And anyway, he was rebelling against Islamic extremists, so it was the Muslims that drove him to it.

So you see, even though he was a violently insane, non-Christian, politically motivated perfectly sane Darwinist, it was the Jihadist Muslims that are ultimately responsible for the whole thing.

This confirms all my worst fears about Muslims.

It’s a trick

To paraphrase Frodo from The Lord of the Rings:

I know what you would say, and it would seem like logic, but for the warning in my heart

For true believers logic is only a trick. It’s a way for clever people to “convince” you that they’re right by distracting you from what you already know in your heart to be true.

The Truth

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Part of the problem that many people have is that they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what science and the scientific method is trying to do. There is this notion that science is the search for The Truth®. That’s simply not the case. Science is nothing more than our attempt to understand how the natural world works. That’s all. Nothing more. Unfortunately I think even a lot of scientists forget this, in part because science has been so effective that it’s easy to become overconfident.

Science deals only with what is in some way verifiable. No matter how awesome an idea is, if you can’t verify it in some way shape or form, it’s useless to science. String Theory is a perfect example of this. It’s an awesome theory that elegantly explains a lot of what we see in our universe, and hints at a lot more that we don’t see. Many if not most things explained by current theories are explained by String Theory, in many cases more simply, and it explains many other things that aren’t currently explained by any known theory. It’s everything that scientists love to see in a theory. It is very nearly perfect, except for one crucial detail.

There’s currently no way to verify it.

The predictions of string theory differ from current theory only at scales and energy levels that are unreachable now and for the foreseeable future. As awesome as the theory is in so many ways it is now recognized by most of the scientific community as essentially useless, and it has been abandoned by many for that simple reason. Those scientists who are continuing to work on it are trying desperately to eek out some method by which it could be even potentially falsified.

It looks and acts like science in many fundamental ways, but for now it simply isn’t science because it simply isn’t verifiable.

To summarize my point: Science is not a search for The Truth®. Science is a search for a very narrow subset of the truth known as The Verifiable Truth®. No, less than that it’s a search The Reasonably Verifiable Truth®. Actually, even less than that, it’s a search for The Minimally Verifiable Truth®.

My Political Response To The Gifford Shooting

Many people will use this terrible tragedy as an excuse to put through a political agenda other than my own. This tawdry abuse of human suffering for political gain sickens me to the core of my being. Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this. In any case, what this tragedy really shows us is that, so far from putting into practice political views other than my own, it is precisely my political agenda which ought to be advanced.

Not only are my political views vindicated by this terrible tragedy, but also the status of my profession. Furthermore, it is only in the context of a national and international tragedy like this that we are reminded of the very special status of my hobby, and its particular claim to legislative protection. My religious and spiritual views also have much to teach us about the appropriate reaction to these truly terrible events.

Countries which I like seem to never suffer such tragedies, while countries which, for one reason or another, I dislike, suffer them all the time. The one common factor which seems to explain this has to do with my political views, and it suggests that my political views should be implemented as a matter of urgency, even though they are, as a matter of fact, not implemented in the countries which I like.

Of course this is a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. But we must also not lose sight of the fact that I am right on every significant moral and political issue, and everybody ought to agree with me. Please, I ask you as fellow human beings, vote for the political party which I support, and ask your legislators to support policies endorsed by me, as a matter of urgency.

It would be a fitting memorial.

*Shamelessly stolen from an archive at []

I’m Just That Awesome

Okay, since I just got back to this blog thing, I figured I’d look at comments that have been filtered out by Akismet while I’ve been gone, just to see what’s there. I found this comment in my spam folder:

I feel like I’m always looking for interesting things to read about a variety of topics, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have compelling entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more great material coming!

This comment was submitted 2 days ago (Sep. 7th). At that point I hadn’t posted a new entry in almost 3 months. Apparently my last post up ’til then was so amazingly compelling that this person checked back every day to re-read it.

Akismet is awesome for finding such otherwise innocuous sounding spam.

In case you’re wondering why that can be considered spam even though there are no ads to be seen, it’s actually an attempt to game the Google search system. The username is a link to their business site, and if they get enough blogs to allow such an innocuous sounding comment it will trick Google into thinking a lot of people are linking to their site. The hope is that it will appear so popular that their site will appear in the first page or so of a search.