Shotguns: Not the best for Zombie killing

Shotguns are great guns. They allow for a lot of damage to be dealt in a single shot. They cripple, maim and kill, but they are not the best weapon for fighting Zombies. The reason is simple: the only way to kill a zombie is to destroy its head. Now, there  is no doubt, that a shotgun will make a zombie’s brain pan explode like a melon, but there is a problem. Shots fired from them scatter, and they do not have much of a range. This means, that for the shotgun to be effective against zombies, the undead cannibals have to be close, and if that is the case you are already dead. And if they are not close enough for a guaranteed head shot, you are going to hurt your cause more than help it.

A zombie can still function with its limbs and torso destroyed. Its jaw will continue to work and it will never stop trying to close with you so that it can bite you. If there is only one zombie, this is not much of an issue as you can blow its legs and arms off and then safely approach to deal the killing blow to its head. The thing is, though, zombies are rarely found in isolation. They roam in packs, and the only thing you accomplish by blasting their legs then is to make it more difficult for you to escape. Sure, you can fill them full of shot, maybe even taking one or two down as you do so, but the beasts will still be moving, functional, and dangerous.

No, for killing zombies, single shot or semi-automatic weapons are the best, especially pistols since they do not require much room to wield, and can be used in one hand without compromising too much. See, when fighting zombies, quickness and mobility are essential. Shotguns, while cool, require two hands, and often need pumping. This means that the time between shots is too great. A pistol on the other hand, whether a revolver or a magazine equipped one had a rate of fire equal to how fast you can pull the trigger. Also, they generally hold more ammunition, are lighter, and easier to wield.

The point is that while shotguns are cool, they are not the most effective tool to take out a zombie, no matter what movies and video games tell us.



Just one more reason why health care reform is needed

I stumbled across this article and the only word I have to describe how I felt after reading it is stunned. I wish I could say that I was shocked or appalled or angry, but I wasn’t I was simply stunned. The anger came later, not much later mind you, but it was not my first reaction.

Denying health insurance to a four month old because he is too fat? Seriously? This is just ridiculous. Sure, he’s chubby, but you know what, it’s not like he has a lot of chances for exercise, and it’s not like he’s pounding happy meals and big gulps. He’s a freaking baby. He feeds off of his mother’s breast milk, sleeps and shits. That’s what babies do. And they gain weight. This is an infant we are talking about here, not someone who can make their own decisions as to what they should or should not eat. He can’t just decide to run over to the gym and work off those extra pounds. Hell, he can’t even walk yet.

This whole business of pre-existing conditions is out of control. People who have these conditions are most likely to be the ones to need to visit doctors. They are the ones who need the most help, and yet they are denied that help because of the very condition they need help with. Sure, sometimes they can still get insurance, but it is generally much more expensive, and it does not always cover what needs to be covered. Also, it is not necessarily someone’s fault if they have a pre-existing condition. For example: I have a heart murmur. I was born with it; it is not something that stems from my mistreatment of my body. It is a small one and not a serious health concern, but I have one. I wonder if I would be denied health insurance because of it. I don’t know, and I hope that I never have to find out because right now I live in a country where health care is provided to all residents and people legally working here (I belong to the latter group), and I hope that by the time I return to the U.S. and start looking into health insurance that this whole business of denying care because of pre-existing conditions will be nothing more than a bad memory.

The other thing that gets me about this article and this whole pre-existing thins is the rationale for why this particular insurance company denies coverage to those with these health concerns:

“If health care reform occurs, underwriting will go away. We do it because everybody else in the industry does it,” said Dr. Doug Speedie, medical director at Rocky Mountain Health Plans, the company that turned down Alex.

That’s right, he actually said that they deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions because everybody else does it. How ludicrous is that? Is he a five year old? It makes no sense, and it results in people not getting the coverage and help they need, which of course could result in their pain and death. The man is a doctor for crying out loud (though I wonder if he is a medical doctor, or a doctor in the sense that he has his PhD), how can he be so callous, cruel, and stupid. To him I say he better hope that all the other companies don’t start jumping off bridges because, well, you know….

Random Word related things that irritate me

When people spell loose when they mean lose.

For example: I hope the Sharks don’t loose their game tonight; or, I am loosing my mind. The correct sentences should be I hope the Sharks don’t lose tonight. I am losing my mind.

This is  a trivial thing, to be sure, and something spell checking on the computer won’t catch, but it is a common and rampant error and it gets under my skin, especially since it is so easy to avoid.

Definitions of lose: to stop having something because it has been taken or destroyed He will lose his job next week if he doesn’t start working harder; to be unable to find someone or something If your head was not attached to your body you would lose it; to not win a competition I want the Red Wings to lose at least fifty games this season.

Definitions of loose: Not firmly fixed in position The floorboards are loose; Not kept together as part of a group or container The loose apples rolled around in the bed of the truck; Clothing that is too big and does not fit correctly The pants are so loose that they sag down below his butt.

Aside from spelling, these two words have nothing in common (at least in terms of their usage/meaning) and this rampant abuse/misuse of loose and lose needs to stop.

Something else that irks me: when people use irregardless. Why does this bother me? Well, because it is not, in fact, a word. It is  made up and nonsensical and needs to be purged from our collective consciousness. Just use regardless instead; it is a word and it is the correct word.

And the last thing I will talk about right now is the misuse of to and too.

To is a preposition that is used in a myriad of ways:

Showing purpose: I came to help

Going somewhere: I am going to the store. Do you need anything? There are many other examples that I don’t feel like getting into right now.

Too, on the other hand, is an adverb that places emphasis or indicates excess: I drank too much last night. The music is too loud.

It also indicates including additional people or things: I am going to the movies, would you like to come too. I am thirsty, are you thirsty too?

Like loose and lose, the difference in spelling between to and too is the matter of a single “o,” but that difference is a major one since to and too, much like lose and loose mean completely different things. So please, for my sake, and for the sake of intelligent people everywhere, pay attention to how you use these words, and make sure you use the correct one in the correct instance.

And never use irregardless, unless you are trying to be funny. Even then, though, it should not be used because it just makes you look like a moron, and nobody likes that feeling regardless of what they might tell you.

Rewriting the Word of God

Okay, we all know that man is fallible, and God (if he/she/it exists–and I am not saying he/she/it does) is not, but if we needed more proof of this than we already have, we need look no further than, a conservative website based on the popular, user generated bastion of gray area between lies and truth wiki model.

Their mission: to get rid of liberal bias in the Bible. Yep, you read that right. These folks seem to think that there are some major misinterpretations/misrepresentations in the Bible that give the Good Book a too liberal leaning bias. Now this may seem just ridiculous (because it is) but it is more than that. It is an attempt by folks who say they believe in God and his Word to redefine what those two concepts are. In my mind it borders on blasphemy and speaking against God.

To be fair, there is a lot of bias in the Bible (I have not read it all, but the parts that I have read/heard are full of bias against women and unbelievers especially), but I am not so sure there is really a “liberal bias.” Sure, Jesus went into the temple and kicked the money lenders out, but I do not necessarily think that means he would have been against a free market system. He was against usury, that’s for sure, but that is not a “liberal” concept so much as it is a “human one.” No one should be put into so much debt that they can never pay it off, only to be punished more because they cannot make ends meet. That would be like calling the cry against slavery a “liberal” idea. Sure, it may have sprung from “liberal minded” people, but it is not a so called liberal idea in my mind. It is a humanist idea and issue. No one should be a slave, just as no one should drown in debt because of dishonest money lenders.

But even if the Bible does have a liberal slant (and with all that killing and raping and murder and power grabbing I don’t see how it could) those who believe, truly believe, should accept that–it is the Word of God after all. Now I know that this is not the first time the Bible has been changed or amended or added to (the Book of Mormon anyone?), but once you start having so called believers changing/reinterpreting the Word of God to justify their actions in the present day the whole Book kind of loses its value, and you just help reinforce the idea that God does not really exist. I mean, if his words can be changed just to suit any one group’s purpose, what credibility do they have? And if they somehow maintain their integrity and credibility, well then how much credibility will those that set out to change the Word of God have.

Religion–no matter which one–is a matter of faith, and to mess with the tenets of that faith, to change passages and words because they do not fit your life-view is a direct denouncement of your so called faith. It is akin to saying: I believe in God and I believe in the Bible, except for this passage and this passage, and instead of trying to reconcile those contradictory/uncomfortable making passages I am just going to change them so that they fit the beliefs that I want them to teach, and not the ones they actually are.

Again, in the interests of fairness, I am not a believer and I really do not care who wants to do what to the Bible. Or rather, I would like to say I don’t care, but there is a part of me that is repulsed by this. Why? I am repulsed because so many people base their faith and their lives around what is in that book, and if it gets changed to advocate a more blood-thirsty/free market social Darwinism approach to religion and life, it could have a profound affect on how people worship in the coming years. Of course, people would have to buy into this new “Conservative Bible” and I would hope that the chances of that happening are slim, but you never know, do you? At the very least we are looking at the possible creation of a new branch of Christianity “Ultra-Conservative” and they will have their own Good Book, written and edited by them to express their values and belief systems. And so what if it goes against other versions of the Word. After all, who is to say that those earlier translators weren’t off the mark and the “Conservative” take on the Bible isn’t the true word of the Almighty?

Week Two

It’s a new week here at TUL and I am excited. Well maybe not excited exactly as the sun is shining and the sky is blue (something rare for the autumn in Liberec) and I would rather be outside enjoying the final vestiges of warm weather, but I am ready. I am teaching some classes that I have not taught yet since we had a holiday last Monday which meant no classes.

I am not worried though as it means that I get to meet new students and they get to meet me. I just hope they bring their textbooks to class because if they don’t it will be hard to get any work done. Sure, I could bring some photocopies of the pages they need from my book (and I will) but that will only get us so far since a lot of the pages in the book that I use have been marked by previous teachers with the answers, which would not be a good way to encourage that students actually do the exercises since the answers would be there already, just staring them in the face.

I guess I will see, and I might have to improvise–admittedly not one of my stronger suits–but I have no real concern about things working out.