December 3, 2007

Sunday Annoyances (Warmed Over)

Stuff that was annoying me yesterday. Join me for a little whining, won't you?

Huckabee the Half-A-Bee

Mike Huckabee thinks the United States is responsible for a holocaust.He's referred to legal abortions by evoking the word "holocaust," the intended impact of which is obvious. Talking heads on TV this morning claimed that he was aiming for the image of "a compassionate conservative in the mold of George W. Bush." That made me laugh. The basis for this was his personable demeanor. Forget the oxymoron, this guy is the poster child for the compassion that is locked away in the hearts of conservatives? His first action as governor was

 ...to block the state from paying $419 for a retarded 15-year-old girl's abortion, her pregnancy stemming from being raped by her stepfather on a camping trip.
If I thought he had a chance, I'd be upset. But that's not what's annoying me.

What's annoying me is that he was on TV (on "ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos") and he repeated that stupid myth about scientists supposedly proving that it was scientifically impossible for bees to fly.

Observation is a big part of science. Can you think of a scientific experiment to refute the claim that bees can't fly? I can. "Observe bees flying." End of experiment. This myth is often used to support silly mystical beliefs by trashing science. It's yet another example of how people would rather remain ignorant about science than understand even the most basic thing about it. In Huckabee's case, he was using it to criticize political analysts opinions of his chances. George replied that he'd never heard a candidate compare himself to a bee before. So folksy! But it really loses its punch when you're not slamming scientists with it. Electing this guy would surely do wonders for future scientific research.

The myth dates back to some aerodynamics expert who calculated that apian flight did not follow the principles of lift used to design man-made air vehicles. Some biologist jumped all over this. And it caught on. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that other principles must explain this phenomenon, but at the time those principles were not obvious, and were not the same ones in use for man-made flying machines.

Quoting this myth is a win-win for anyone trying to gain votes from ignorant, superstitious folks. It sounds wise, and the kind of people this appeals to are unlikely to look it up, and likely to believe things uncritically. Let's encourage more of that!

Don't Click That Link

This falls into the "I understand the motivation, but I'm still annoyed" bin. I was researching embroidered patches for my messenger bag last night. I was using Google to search for patches and was not really successful in seeing a lot of stock patches I liked. Instead lots of custom patch companies were coming up.

When you do a Google search you get search results and you get pay-per-click ads. I check out both. But since the pay-per-click ads get charged every time I click one, that costs the company money. I don't keep track of the links I click, so I ended up looking at one of the companies more than once.

The website threw a window up warning me that because I had clicked repeatedly, it was costing them money to look at their website. They recommended I bookmark the thing if I was planning on returning. And they added, ominously, "we have your IP address on file."

Er, what?

Is this how you encourage new customers, by telling them to change their surfing habits and creeping them out? I wouldn't have minded a note on the site asking me to bookmark it, but they went over the top with the Big Brother shtick. I'm sorry if their advertising is costing them money, but nothing tells me "I don't want you to shop here" faster than treating me like I'm committing click fraud when I'm just trying to find some cool patches. Bad internets!
Posted by James at December 3, 2007 8:39 AM
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Comments

That's funny. "Hey, welcome to Wal-mar... uh, weren't you already in here a while ago? Every time you open that door, you let some heat out. Next time will you please make a list before you come here so that you only need to make one trip. Wait, hold still - I need to get a picture."

Posted by: Julie at December 3, 2007 9:22 AM

Classic. I'd have emailed them.

Posted by: pippa at December 3, 2007 9:53 AM

I'd definitely email them. Assure them that you are going to block their site from loading so you don't accidentally visit them again and cost them three cents. Then thank them for making your decision process easier by eliminating a vendor.

Posted by: briwei at December 3, 2007 8:54 PM

Am I the only one who would've sat there clicking the link over and over?

Posted by: Maggie at December 4, 2007 3:35 PM

BUT THEY HAVE MY IP ADDRESS ON FILE!

I can just imagine the Intarweb SWAT Team raiding our living room while I'm in the middle of patch-shopping.

Posted by: James at December 4, 2007 3:38 PM

Maggie- No that was my first thought. My second was to email everyone I know and tell them to join me.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at December 4, 2007 4:23 PM

LOL, B.O.B.! I think that's why we're friends!!

Posted by: Maggie at December 4, 2007 9:51 PM

Yeah. I'd probably have copied and posted it so that we all could benefit from the fun. :) Odds are they had to change their link already.

Posted by: briwei at December 5, 2007 1:37 PM

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