Tag Archives: rant

Why Hydrogen Won’t Save Us

For a long time now, I’ve been fairly annoyed with the media and political hyperbole surrounding the future use of hydrogen. Most of the attention I’ve seen seems to revolve around the (admittedly worthy) advances in the devices (fuel cells, mostly) that help us convert hydrogen into energy for use in cars, consumer devices, etc. That’s great as far as it goes, but it’s not the whole story.

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Jobs & Weblogs

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. The story behind it is a bit old now, but I’m just now feeling motivated enough to actually write it up.

Here’s the fundamental question behind this post: why are people surprised when they are fired for bad-mouthing their employer and co-workers on their web sites?

“Dooced” is a pretty common term in the blogosphere these days. For anyone who doesn’t know its meaning and/or etymology, the Wikipedia entry gives a pretty good high-level summary. Last month, the media latched onto another case of a woman getting fired for roughly the same reason.

So, here’s how I view this. My employer as an entity has absolutely no good reason to concern itself with my life outside of work, and that includes this web log. However, part of the reason for that is that this web log has absolutely no reason to concern itself with the details of my experiences as an employee. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I’ve considered that it might be okay to share specifics of my work in this weblog, regardless of whether or not I name my employer or the people in those accounts.

To me, what it boils down to is this: whatever my “typical” readership is, this web log amounts to public media. Google indexes this site quite thoroughly. Anyone who publishes a web site and doesn’t know about the Wayback Machine at archive.org REALLY needs to go there and search for their own URL. Look up URLs for sites that are years-dead. Go try it. Look up “http://www.eng.ua.edu/~jmcclure/”. Scary.

My point… I don’t care how crafty I think I am, the web is a public medium, and there’s enough information out there to connect the dots between me, my job, and any comments I make about my job on my site. Given that, how can I expect my employer not to protect itself in that situation, and unless there was clear discrimination (based on the legal definition, which doesn’t include the right to bad-mouth my employer) how can I expect to have any recourse or right to complain?

An Unpopular Opinion

I spotted Revenge of the Sith on the HBO schedule a little while back. Since I didn’t watch it in the theater and had never bothered trying to get my hands on the DVD, I figured I would go ahead and have TiVo grab it for me. I finally finished watching it tonight. The verdict? It pretty much lived up to my expectations. I’ll warn you now, a lot of you won’t like what’s beyond the “more” link.

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Shut Up and Take the Next Call

You know, I’m not sure why I bother, but for some reason I just can’t help myself. When I’m in the truck and the local NPR affiliate is playing something I’m not interested in, I’ll sometimes flip over to a talk/sports radio station out Birmingham. Inevitably, I end up turning the radio off in disgust (if not full out anger) within about 15 minutes. The people I hear on the air on this station represent possibly the most consistent collection of what I call “determined ignorance” that I know of. On the way out to lunch today I flipped over there, and this one was so bad I decided I had to post about it when I got back.

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Is Your Property Too Attractive?

This is truly frightening. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today (link defunct) that a city can seize private property for private economic development.

From the article:

Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices said.

Wow. Five justices really believe that? That, in effect, says not “They can take the land in this narrow instance,” but “We don’t want to touch this issue. Don’t bother us again.” That truly surprises me. I’ve been hearing about cases like this for a couple of years now. I always assumed that if a case was heard by the Supreme Court, they would side with the property owners. I guess I was wrong.

Side note… I admit that I have not studied the rulings of the 9 justices in detail, but I have the distinct impression that I’m siding with the ones that I would normally disagree with on this one. O’Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas shared the dissenting opinion.