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June 29, 2005

The Measure of a Philosopher

How do you measure a philosopher? Before you answer, stop and think about this very broad question. What makes someone a philosopher? Can anyone be a philosopher? Why are some people who seem to qualify excluded?

Martin Heidegger seems to be the "hot topic" of my Intro to Philosophy class. In discussion of a documentary of his life, which highlighted his involvement with the Nazi party, I found that the most puzzling of all philosophical questions for me is: what really makes a legitimate philosopher? How can we take someone who gives credit to free will and existence before essence who has made poor choices himself. Should a philosopher be measured by his/her actions?

I feel that doing is just as important as thinking. Although Descartes would argue otherwise, I feel that all the thinking in the world is good, but useless if it cannot be applied. However, there must be a delicate balance between the practical and the speculative. Does this mean we should reject good thoughts based on the philosopher's inability to practice them? If they really are good, they should be worthwhile to practice them, right? But, how can we know if they truly are good at the core if the person who understands them most cannot practice them?

Let the Conversation begin.

Posted by EvanReynolds at 8:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 26, 2005

Technical Difficulties Series: A Crash Course in Weblog Coding

Part 1: Understanding HTML and CSS

What is the first thing someone notices when she comes to a webpage? Be honest, we all do it. We look at the asthetic value of a page. If it looks like a block of words randomly thrown here and there, if it doesn't have a pretty font, if it has a... (blasphemous) horizontal scrollbar, we skip over it. No one likes to look at colors that clash or text that looks uncomfortably rigid.

What's more is that we look for originality... It just can't be good, it has to be original and good. The answer to this problem is being code-smart. HTML and CSS are what control how the page is to be displayed. If you are new to the blogosphere, I have included links and a short tutorial on understanding HTML and CSS, so open up your blog account and let's get started...
*Please note, a slight working knowledge of HTML is useful to understand the tutorial. A good HTML tutorial can be found at w3schools.

In your templates under "Main Index," there should be a html document. You may notice that many of the < div > tags have more information in them. (ex: < div id="links" > or < div class="titlebar" >) These are attributes and they are referencing fields in your stylesheet. Since the < div > tags make boxes in layers, the stylesheet customizes the way these layers should be displayed.

If you check out your stylesheet, you will most likely find something like this:
/*#links{
float: right;
font-family: arial;
}
div.titlebar{
background-color: #CCCCCC;
color: #FFFFFF;
}*/
(minus the /*'s)
Seeing the pattern? The selector (links) is preceded by a pound sign (#) because it is to be called as an id. When you place an id attribute in your tags with a value of "links," you are grabbing the style values to format the style of the div layer.

The same applies to the period, the difference is that it is a class. The attribute you use to call the style is "class" and not "id".

Under the id "links" there are properties (float: and font-family:). These are properties of the style of the layers. float: makes the layer, well, "float" on the page and causes all text to wrap around it. The thing about CSS is if you tell it to jump it asks, "how high?" So, you have to tell the property where to float. Thus, after the colon put a value, right;<--and don't forget the semicolon!

For a complete list of properties and values for your stylesheet, visit w3schools.

Some basic properties that'll come in handy:

background-color:
this chooses the background color of the layer you specify or the body, not to be confused with color:, which chooses the color of the text. Both can recognize names or hex code (ex: #C0C0C0)

font-family:
this lets you specify what font to use within the tag you specify

border:
this lets you put a border around the layer you specify
(ex: 1px dashed #000000)

font-size:
lets you control the size of the text within the specified tag
(small, medium, large, etc.)

Examples of well-designed blogs:

SugarPacket

Below Zero

Shameless Digressions

Literary Tease

Tags were spaced to prevent them from being read.
Please leave any unanswered questions in my comments!

Posted by EvanReynolds at 9:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Microsoft Late to the Punch... Again

Is it just me or does Microsoft tend to jump on the bandwagon of internet trends a little too late? Microsoft, 5 years after RSS had been readily available, announces the release of a product that will more readily support RSS (codename: Longhorn).

Posted by EvanReynolds at 8:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

June 12, 2005

Is it Possible to be Religious and Gay?

I found an interesting article on this issue published by the BBC. Because I have blogged on this particular issue before, I do not have a lengthy post. Denying someone religion on the basis of who he/she falls in love with is unjust. As a Unitarian Universalist, I can safely say I appreciate the essence of every religion. I can also say that it is more important to treat others with compassion than condemn them for their actions. Who are we to judge? Only God can. How we treat others is reflective of how we treat God. Don't make judgment calls on others; that is for God.

Posted by EvanReynolds at 7:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 8, 2005

Yet Another Reason to Hate Frames...

Security Demonstration

I found this one especially scary, considering I sometimes shop online. A message to future web authors and developers: Don't use frames! They generally suck!

Posted by EvanReynolds at 4:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 6, 2005

Taking Back Saturday-- Pride Style!

I am so excited... On June 18th, there will be people uniting under one banner to celebrate the struggles, the accomplishments, and the spirit of the LGTB experience. Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed Pride Month June for the City of Pittsburgh. This is a step in the long road to sexual equality for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. (Recall PA's legislations on equal rights for the LGTB community).

The theme will be "Equal Rights, No More, No Less." This is a big step up from the vile and overtly discriminatory comparison between homosexuality and "bigamy, polygamy, incest, and adultery." I charge everyone reading this blog entry to be active in supporting equal rights for everyone.

Want to make a difference? I'm still looking for people interested in starting up a GSA this year. If you're curious to see what it's about or are thinking about joining, e-mail me at e_reynold@yahoo.com.

Posted by EvanReynolds at 10:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

June 5, 2005

Five Confirmed Qu'ran Mishandlings

Now, it may be that the first report released by Newsweek was withdrawn due to lack of evidence, but the report sparked an invesigation by the US which uncovered five confirmed Qu'ran abuses. Among these are reports of kicking the Qu'ran, throwing water balloons at the Qu'ran, and scribbling obscenities in the pages of the Qu'ran.

Now, to understand the gravity of this situation, let's imagine something: Let's imagine going to the middle of the Bible-Belt region of America, walking into a church, stealing all the Bibles from the congregation, then, when everyone is looking, pull out a black Sharpie and start writing blasphemies all over the pages. Then, proceed to punt the book across the room... After, all it's just a book, right? And when people seem offended enough, throw water balloons at it like the book is some joke.

Obviously, this was exaggerated; however, take the time to stop, think, and reflect. How would this make the people in the congregation feel? If you were part of this congregation, how would it make you feel? How would it make other Christians feel? This is not just about the prisoners, this is about every Muslim. This affects the entire Islamic community. Just as the detainees don't deserve such an outrage, the rest of the Islamic world does not deserve such treatment of a major part of their religious identity.

Posted by EvanReynolds at 1:41 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)