08

2004-08 posts.

  1. 2004-08-03t16:01:09Z. RE: aaBlog. Animals. Computers. Databases. Cyber Life. Engineering. Food. Free Association. Healthcare. Martial Arts. Money. Movies. Programming. Robots, AI. Science. Space. Terror. US Elections. Web. Writing.
  2. 2004-08-11t18:03:53Z. RE: 9/11. Activities, Animation, Video. Comic Art. Darfur, Sudan. Design. Engineering. Faith. Fauna, Flora. Food. Games. Green. Healthcare. Images. Local. Martial Arts. Math. Media. Medieval. Modern Life. Money. O'Reilly. Pop Culture. Programming. Race. Science. Sex. Smedley Butler. Sociology. Space. Terror. US. US Elections. Web. Words. World. Writing.
  3. 2004-08-13t21:37:17Z. RE: Comic Art . Computers . Design . Engineering . Family . Fauna, Flora . Food . Games . Green . Humanity . Images . Local . Martial Arts . Modern Life . Money . Open Source, Linux . Politics . Sex . Space . Terror . US . WarCraft . Web . Writing .
  4. Quantity and Quality. RE: Ramblings .
  5. 2004-08-20t22:11:28Z. RE: Activities, Animation, Video . Comic Art . Cyber Life . Design . Engineering . Food . Humanity . Images . Iraq . Local . Martial Arts . Math . Media . Modern Life . Money . Music . Past Lives . Science . Sex, Love, Relationships . US . US Elections . Web . Words .
  6. 2004-08-27t17:08:26Z. RE: Computers . Engineering . Green . Healthcare . Local . Martial Arts . Modern Life . Money . Programming . Science . US . US Elections . Web . World .

2004-08-03t16:01:09Z | RE: aaBlog. Animals. Computers. Databases. Cyber Life. Engineering. Food. Free Association. Healthcare. Martial Arts. Money. Movies. Programming. Robots, AI. Science. Space. Terror. US Elections. Web. Writing.
2004-08-03t16:01:09Z

aaBlog

  • I have kept a journal for many years. Originally it was on physical paper and consisted of writings and drawings. Later I did some of my writing on paper and some of it on a computer. Eventually I switched to almost entirely computer. After a while I got busy and logged very sporadically. At that stage I was accumulating content in a website but not keeping a proper journal. Eventually my website added a blog (web log) and this revived my journal habit. That brings me to my current state where I add content to both my website and my blog.
  • The problem that I've noticed though is that my website and blog have become externally focused. There are 2 things wrong with this:
    • Writing about external stuff can get out of hand. There is so much stuff out there, that even if I try to write only about stuff that catches my fancy, then all my time gets consumed. Writing about everything becomes compulsive and then it becomes a chore. I want to have a blog instead letting my blog have me.
    • Writing from an internal focus makes for more interesting personal reading later on. It's fun to see what has gone on in the world in my archives but it I find my archives more interesting when I see how the external world impacted me internally.

Animals

Computers

  • Quantum Computing, Secure Communications Closer to Reality; UCLA Scientists Control a Single Electron's Spin
    • Amazing that's more news about quantum computers on relatively main-stream media these days.
    • ' "We have measured a single electron spin in an ordinary transistor; this means that conventional silicon technology is adaptable enough, and powerful enough, to accommodate the future electronic requirements of new technologies like quantum computing, which will depend on spin," said Eli Yablonovitch, UCLA professor of electrical engineering, director of UCLA's Center for Nanoscience Innovation for Defense, member of the California NanoSystems Institute and co-author of the Nature paper. '
    • ' How powerful can quantum computing be? "With 100 transistors, each containing one of these electrons, you could have the implicit information storage that corresponds to all of the hard disks made in the world this year, multiplied by the number of years the universe has been around," Yablonovitch said. "And why stop with 100 transistors?" '
  • Waiting for the big gig: Ethernet at 10 Gbps.
    • Good lord! Good old Ethernet has gone from 10 Mb/s to 100 Mb/s to 1 Gb/s and now it will go to 10 Gb/s? That's backbone OC-192 speed! O the insanity! What we need now is 3D HDTV to make good use of the bandwidth. Keep in mind that 10 Gb/s is 1.25 GB/s while a typical CD is 0.65 GB and a typical DVD movie is 4.7 GB. You have to love the back-and-forth race between bandwidth, storage, processing power, (server) output rate, and (user) consumption rate.
    • ' In February, the IEEE complemented its 802.3ae 10 GE fiber-optic-cable-interface standard with the IEEE 802.3ak, or 10Gbase-CX4, standard for copper cables. The 802.3ae fiber standard tends to be expensive because it requires single-mode fiber, specialized connectors, and manual alignment of lasers during installation. The organization has just begun work on the 802.3aq standard for a multimode version of fiber-optic 10 GE targeted to operate at distances longer than 200m. This standard will be able to take advantage of fiber in data centers, avoiding the barrier to entry of having to install single-mode fiber.'
    • 'The key point is that we appear to have reached our limit of consumption. No common data set today consumes more bandwidth than video. All other common forms of data, including text, image, and audio, are at the level of noise in comparison. Even high-definition video is feasible; in the broadcast world, high-definition video requires only four times the bandwidth of standard video. As a consequence, EPON deployments can serve a great many people with a handful of 1 GE uplinks serving thousands of users. A 10 GE link isn't actually necessary until you get closer to the network core.'
    • For more perspective, here's a calculation of the amount of data in a typical ejaculation from the Slashdot thread:
      • 'A single gamete has 1.5 billion individual base pairs. Of course, that's base-4, since DNA doesn't work off of binary. ACGT is what you're made of. :) In other words, you have 3 billion bits per DNA strand. The average male ejaculation contains around 150 million sperm. This means that there is a total of 450,000,000,000,000,000 bits of information, which turns into 56.25 petabytes of information'
  • I just updated a portion of my definition for "b" as it pertains to computers.
    • b is for Bit. A contraction of 'binary' and 'digit.' All computer information consists of combinations of the binary digits 0 and 1, also referred to as 'off' and 'on' respectively. Bits and bytes are often expressed in multiples approximating metric system prefixes for decimal powers: k (kilo, 10^3), M (mega, 10^6), G (giga, 10^9), T (terra, 10^12), P (peta, 10^15), and E (exa, 10^18). But often times the prefixes refer to binary powers: k (2^10), M (2^20), G (2^30), T (2^40), P (2^50), and E (2^60).
    • The IEEE has suggested that small prefixes refer to decimal powers (EG: kb = 1000 b) and capital prefixes refer to binary powers (EG: Kb = 1024 b, while kb = 1000 b) but practically no one is consistent with this. EG: A "100 MB" disk by IEEE standards would be 100 MB = 100*2^20 B = 1.05E8 B = 1.05 mB, but the author of it may actually mean the smaller value of 100 mB = 100*10^6 B = 1.00E8 B = 95.4 MB. Also this sort of dilutes the purity of the SI prefixes.
    • The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) has suggested using binary power prefixes that are different from metric's decimal power prefixes. EG: A kilobinary has a prefix of "kibi", a symbol of "Ki", and means 2^10 or 1024. The other binary powers are megabinary (mebi-, Mi), gigabinary (gibi-, Gi), tetrabinary (tebi-, Ti), petabinary (pebi-, Pi), and exabinary (exbi-, Ei). This is removes ambiguity for binary powers but when people use the metric prefixes we can't tell if they mean decimal or binary powers.
    • An even worse problem is that people get their b's and B's mixed up! Many people are not consistent with this and will sometimes refer to MB when they actually mean Mb. Most people, except for shysters, should be consistent with using binary B for storage and decimal b for rates.
    • My solution would remove all ambiguity by using the IEC system but also add new prefixes for decimal powers. EG: "MiB" for binary and "MeB" for decimal! I think it's a brilliant idea that I came up with today [2004-07-31].
  • A Taste of Computer Security. 'Given the nature and scope of the field, it would require one or more books to even briefly touch upon all that is known about computer security. This document's goal is only to give you a taste of (a subset of) the subject. The various sections are not uniform in their depth or breadth, and the document's overall structure is not pedagogical. I could have titled it Thinking Aloud On Computer Security, if not for the somewhat pompous undertone.'
  • Lockheed Martin To Ditch 10K Solaris Workstations for Linux. Another story hinting at the demise of Sun.

Databases

  • Stored Procedures - Good or Bad?. This Slashdot poster asks: ' I'd like to get opinions and real world experiences that people have had with database centric applications that rely extensively on stored procedures. I believe that most enterprise class databases such as Oracle, MS-SQL, PostgreSQL, DB2 and others implement stored procedures. MySQL has been criticized for not supporting stored procedures and will be adding them in MySQL 5. The ANSI-92 SQL Standard also requires implementing some form of stored procedure (section 4.17). So, I'm asking Slashdot readers: if you were architecting a highly data-centric web based application today from a clean slate, how much (if at all) would/should stored procedures factor into your design? Where are they indispensable and where do they get in the way? '

Cyber Life

Engineering

Food

  • US army food... just add urine
    • 'The US military has devised a way to ensure its troops in battle need never go hungry - with dried food that can be rehydrated using dirty water or urine.'
      • How appetizing!
    • 'A spokeswoman said the dehydrated pouches would reduce the current weight of 3.5kg for a day's food supply of three meals, to 0.4kg.'
      • Reducing the food weight by almost 90% sounds good but you still need to carry or get water.

Free Association

  • This new "Free Association" category is a reincarnation of a kind of writing I used to do all the time. I don't do true free association because I allow myself to go back and edit things which eventually leads to shaping ideas instead of objectively seeing how the ideas just fall out of my head.
  • The world is quite complex. If you start any project, the complexity of the project can easily grow arithmetically or even geometrically. In the past few days I have been facing building complexities on multiple fronts so I want to gather myself and see what tools I have to deal with these complexities.
    • My beloved personal philosophy on easiness: "Everything is easy. If you aren't challenged, then you're taking things too easy. If you're over-challenged, then find a way to make things easier."
      • "Break things down."
      • "Delegate. Utilize experts."
      • "Do something else."
      • "Step back. Get a bigger picture."
      • "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." -Albert Einstein (supposedly)
    • The classic practically secular prayer: "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference".
    • The classic Engineer's Algorithm: "1. Define the problem. 2. Gather info. 3. Seek solutions. 4. Implement the best solution. 5. Follow up.".
  • We will all run into problems, but is it inevitable that we all must face complexities? Because of our intelligence, I think complexities are inevitable. "Good enough" may be satisfactory for some areas, but eventually we run into situations where we demand excellence and leadership.
  • The genes and environment that shape us are circumstantial and thus some of our problems are arbitrary, but it seems that we can use our rational, social, emotional, spiritual, financial, etc. capabilities not merely to solve our problems, but to create more possibilities (more "problems") and thus come up with solutions of greater or different scope.
  • People can get so busy living their lives, solving problems in so many different areas, that they forget the scope of things. All members of a society must have some general tasks but it is also necessary that some members specialize in particular areas. We must choose our areas of focus, develop tasks for those areas, order those tasks by priority and urgency, etc.
  • People categorize areas by different means:
    • Self, Others, the Universe
    • Self, Work & Money, Family & Friends
    • People, Ideas, Things
    • Greek Classical Elements (I'll skip other classical elements)
      • Earth. Cold & dry. Xenophnes.  Solids. Stability.
      • Water. Cold & wet. Thales. Liquids. Emotions & change.
      • Air. Hot & wet. Anaximenes. Vapors. Intellect & communication.
      • Fire. Hot & dry. Heraclitus. Plasma. Passion & creativity.
      • Aether. Quintessence. Aristotle. Dark energy/matter. Void, zen, & non-fixation.
    • Taoist Yin & Yang (☯)
      • Yin. Dark moon (facing away from the sun). Feminine. Static.
      • Yang. Bright sun. Masculine. Dynamic.
    • Survival & Higher Pursuits
      • Survival Expanded
        • Food, Generating, Preparing, Eating, Gardening
        • Shelter, Architecture, Home Making
        • Environment, Water, Air, Land, Space, Animals
        • Physical Health, Medicine, Sports, Exercise
        • Travel, Transport
        • Clothing, Fashion
        • Goods, Financial, Business, Money, Buying, Selling, Economics, Shopping
        • Mating, Reproduction, Sex, Family, Rearing
        • Communication, Language, Literature, News, Media, Education
        • Psychological Health, Socializing, Friendship, Community
        • Social Behavior, Politics, Law, Government
      • Higher Pursuits
        • Exploration, History
        • Sciences, Math, Engineering, Technologies, Computers
        • Arts, Design, Entertainment, Music
        • Spiritualism, Religion, Ethics
        • Philosophy, Knowledge, Intelligence
        • Games, Recreation, Fun
  • Isaac Asimov's Rules of Robotics
    • The 3 Rules of Robotics:
      1. Robots must never harm human beings or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
      2. Robots must follow instructions from humans without violating rule 1.
      3. Robots must protect themselves without violating the other rules.
    • Clearly we should not harm others and most legal laws cover this.
    • People are suffering harm all over the world. Only someone with sufficient power could take action to prevent this harm. If I am not that powerful, but I could become more powerful, then by not becoming sufficiently powerful, am I then allowing others to come to harm through my inaction? Is there then an obligation to excel and lead?
      • I must communicate effectively, clearly, broadly, truly.
      • I must relate fully with others and myself: rationally, emotionally, spiritually, truthfully, politically, physically.
      • I must decide carefully what I spend my time on.
      • I must focus deeply in carefully chosen areas but I must also have a broad focus.
      • I must maximize my productivity and effectiveness.

Healthcare

  • Protein discovery could help prevent premature birth. 'Researchers say they have identified certain proteins in the blood that can indicate whether a pregnant woman has a uterine infection that can lead to premature birth.  They hope the discovery will lead to development of a diagnostic blood test that would allow doctors to treat infected women with antibiotics earlier, in time to prevent premature delivery.' This could prevent 175,000 premature births a year in the US.
  • Slasdot thread on 'Experiences with Laser Eye Surgery?'

Martial Arts

  • GuardUp.com. This is a MA school in Burlington, MA that has the most intermixing of EMA and WMA that I've ever seen.

Money

  • The Money Machines
    • The history of the ATM (Automated Teller Machine).
    • ' Chemical Bank's ad campaign announced the start of the revolution in 1969: "On Sept. 2, our bank will open at 9:00 and never close again!" '

Movies

  • HaroldAndKumar.com. Harold & Kumar go to White Castle looks fresh and funny. Plus I like White Castle. Release date 2004-07-30. Trailer.
  • Batman Begins [trailer but works in IE but not Mozilla]. Holy dark knights! The trailer is finally here and Batman looks cool, dark, and serious once more. This looks ALL serious, darker than Tim Burton's version, with no campy stuff. I didn't know that they had big actors like Morgan Freeman in it either. Release date 2005.
    photo from Batman Begins

Programming

Robots, AI

  • ALICEBot.org
    • 'A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) is an award-winning free natural language artificial intelligence chat robot. The software used to create A.L.I.C.E. is available as free ("open source") Alicebot and AIML software. '
    • You can chat with ALICE but I don't find it very satisfying.

Science

Space

  • House Budget Panel Deals Setback NASA's Moon-Mars Plans
    • ' The action coincided with the 35th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. The three-man crew of that mission was in town Tuesday for a rare joint appearance at a celebration marking the occasion. The House panel agreed to provide NASA with $15.1 billion in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. If enacted, that would be $229 million below the current year's spending level and $1.1 billion short of the total requested by the Bush administration. NASA sought a 5.6 percent budget increase to help fund its new exploration initiative, outlined by Bush in a January speech, and to continue preparing the grounded shuttle fleet for return to flight next year. '
    • So Bush is "pro-Space" but because of his tax cuts to the rich, we can't pay for it so the net result is that Bush is "anti-Space".
  • More Apollo 11 photos released

Terror

  • Sick Bag Note Caused United Flight To Turn Back
    • ' A bomb threat that forced a United Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles to return to Sydney was caused by a note scrawled on a sick bag and was definitely a hoax, officials said on Wednesday. ... an air sickness bag with the letters "B O B" scrawled on it had been found in a toilet on board.'
    • 'The pilot decided the note could have meant "bomb on board" and returned to Sydney, dumping almost a full load of fuel before the Boeing 747-400 landed safely. Several other possibilities were being investigated, including that the note could have been a popular flight crew acronym for a good looking passenger, or simply a man named Bob. Flight attendants said crews sometimes use "BOB" to refer to "best on board", or the most attractive passengers on the plane.'
    • Hehe

US Elections

  • Some excerpts from the 2004 Democratic National Convention [CNN transcripts]
    • Barack Obama, IL Senatorial
      • 'In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?'
      • 'John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here-the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it.'
      • 'No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.'
      • 'After the last four years, it's easy to feel cynical. It's easy to feel pessimistic and afraid for our country's future. But we will never make the country we want to make out of fear and anger alone. Hope is on the way, if we believe it so.'
    • Bill Clinton, Former President
    • Jimmy Carter, Former President
    • John Edwards, Vice-Presidential
      • 'Tonight -- tonight, as we celebrate in this hall, somewhere in America, a mother sits at her kitchen table. She can't sleep because she's worried. She can't pay her bills. She's working hard trying to pay her rent, trying to feed her kids but she just can't catch up. Didn't used to be that way in her house. Her husband was called up in the Guard. Now he's been in Iraq for over a year. They thought he was going to come home last month, but now he's got to stay longer. She thinks she's alone. But tonight in this hall and in your homes, you know what? She's got a lot of friends. We want her to know that we hear her. It is time to bring opportunity and an equal chance to her door. '
      • 'We're here to make America stronger at home so that she can get ahead. And we're here to make America respected in the world again so that we can bring him home and American soldiers don't have to fight this war in Iraq or this war on terrorism alone. '
      • 'So when you return home some night, you might pass a mother on her way to work the late-shift. You tell her: Hope is on the way. 'When your brother calls -- when your brother calls and says that he's spending his entire life at the office and he still can't get ahead, you tell him: Hope is on the way. When your parents call and tell you their medicine's going through the roof, they can't keep up, you tell them: Hope is on the way. And when your neighbor calls you and says her daughter's worked hard and she wants to go to college, you tell her: Hope is on the way. And when your son or daughter who's serving this country heroically in Iraq calls, you tell them: Hope is on the way.'
    • John Kerry, Senator & Presidential
      • 'I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a Vice President who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.'
      • 'Now I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities -- and I do -- because some issues just aren't all that simple. Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn't make it so.'
      • 'As president, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system -- so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. And as president, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.'
      • 'I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security. And I will build a stronger American military.'
      • 'As President, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: "I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent." So lesson one, this is the only justification for going to war. And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.'
      • 'I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a President who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home. Here is the reality: that won't happen until we have a president who restores America's respect and leadership -- so we don't have to go it alone in the world. And we need to rebuild our alliances, so we can get the terrorists before they get us. '
      • 'As President, I will fight a smarter, more effective war on terror. We will deploy every tool in our arsenal: our economic as well as our military might; our principles as well as our firepower. In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words. After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals.'
      • 'And the front lines of this battle are not just far away -- they're right here on our shores, at our airports, and potentially in any town or city. Today, our national security begins with homeland security. The 9-11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9-11 families. As President, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission. We shouldn't be letting ninety-five percent of container ships come into our ports without ever being physically inspected. We shouldn't be leaving our nuclear and chemical plants without enough protection. And we shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in the United States of America.'
      • 'And tonight, we have an important message for those who question the patriotism of Americans who offer a better direction for our country. Before wrapping themselves in the flag and shutting their eyes and ears to the truth, they should remember what America is really all about. They should remember the great idea of freedom for which so many have given their lives. Our purpose now is to reclaim democracy itself. We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism.'
      • 'For four years, we've heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. They're what we live by. They're about the causes we champion and the people we fight for. And it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families. You don't value families by kicking kids out of after school programs and taking cops off our streets, so that Enron can get another tax break. '
  • Glitch Broadcasts Convention Snafu on CNN
    • ' "Go balloons," said convention producer Don Mischer, instructing the balloon droppers. "Go balloons. Go balloons!" His voice was becoming increasingly frantic -- and it was going out over CNN. "I don't see anything happening," he said angrily. Unknown to him, CNN was running his name and title across the bottom of the screen. '
      • He he. It's like a Peter Parker moment.

Web

  • XHTML 2.0 W3C Working Draft 22 July 2004
    • Cool. I do everything in XHTML 1.0 these days. I'll change when XHTML 2.0 is an official Recommendation instead of just a Working Draft.
    • Instead of HTML's <img src=...> or XHTML 1.0's <object src=...>, XHTML 2.0 uses stuff like <p src=...>!
    • All browsers and other user agents should be W3C compliant so we developers don't have to do so much testing on different user agents and platforms.
    • Related:

Writing

2004-08-11t18:03:53Z | RE: 9/11. Activities, Animation, Video. Comic Art. Darfur, Sudan. Design. Engineering. Faith. Fauna, Flora. Food. Games. Green. Healthcare. Images. Local. Martial Arts. Math. Media. Medieval. Modern Life. Money. O'Reilly. Pop Culture. Programming. Race. Science. Sex. Smedley Butler. Sociology. Space. Terror. US. US Elections. Web. Words. World. Writing.
2004-08-11t18:03:53Z

9/11

  • The 9/11 Commission Report. Or as PDF. Or as optimized for faster downloads by a third-party: http://pdfhacks.com/911Report/.
  • Correcting the Record on Sept. 11, in Great Detail
    • ' it was understood that all of the hijackers had entered the country legally and done nothing to draw attention to themselves; Osama bin Laden had underwritten the plot with his personal fortune but had left the details to others; American intelligence agencies had no warning that Al Qaeda was considering suicide missions using planes; President Bush had received a special intelligence briefing weeks before Sept. 11 that focused on past, not current, terrorist threats from Al Qaeda. '
    • HOWEVER...
    • 'The commission's report found that the hijackers had repeatedly broken the law in entering the United States, that Mr. bin Laden may have micromanaged the attacks but did not pay for them, that intelligence agencies had considered the threat of suicide hijackings, and that Mr. Bush received an August 2001 briefing on evidence of continuing domestic terrorist threats from Al Qaeda.'
    • 'For the commission of five Democrats and five Republicans, the work of correcting the record began with an understanding of how 19 young Arab terrorists managed to enter the United States unnoticed, hiding in plain sight in the weeks and months before they joined in an attack that left more than 3,000 people dead.'
    • This report goes on and on about how much of what we thought we knew about 9/11 is wrong.

Activities, Animation, Video

Comic Art

  • Continental: Complaints Led to Drop-'Doonesbury' Poll
    • 'A poll that resulted in a vote to drop "Doonesbury" was defended by the head of a Sunday-comics consortium. ... Of the 38 papers that run the Continental-produced Sunday comics section, 21 wanted to drop "Doonesbury," 15 wanted to keep it, and two had no opinion or preference. "I wouldn't call the vote [to drop 'Doonesbury'] overwhelming, but it was a majority opinion," Wilkerson said. '
    • ' As previously reported, Star Publisher H. Brandt Ayers e-mailed Wilkerson to say he and his paper's editors "strongly object to an obviously political effort to silence a minority point of view. For years, my New Deal father bore the opposition views of Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks, and I believe he would have fought an effort to silence them a by a simple majority vote. This is wrong, offensive to First Amendment freedoms." '
      • The long arm of the current oppressive, fascist regime in the US is frightening.
  • 'The Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collection presents images from the Library's collections. The current focus of the Digital Collection is the Library's world-renowned collection of English caricatures and political satirical prints from the late-seventeenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries.'
  • Drudge steals photos from Tom Tomorrow. 'So basically, rather than just give a leftie cartoonist a small photo credit, he steals the picture and goes to the trouble of changing a red traffic light to green, flopping the image and altering traffic signs, all presumably in a clumsy attempt to give himself some sort of imagined plausible deniability. What an asshole.'

Darfur, Sudan

  • map locating Sudan in Africa
  • Sudan: Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences
    • 'In March 2004, Darfur, western Sudan, was described by the then United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, as the "world's greatest humanitarian crisis". (2) Humanitarian organisations operating in Darfur are warning about malnutrition and famine in the region.(3) Today's "worst humanitarian crisis" has been directly caused by war crimes and crimes against humanity for which the Sudanese government is responsible.'
    • 'Rape and other forms of sexual violence are grave human rights violations; in the conflict in Darfur they are used primarily against women and girls. The testimonies collected by Amnesty International point to rape and other forms of sexual violence being used as a weapon of war in Darfur, in order to humiliate, punish, control, inflict fear and displace women and their communities. Rape and other forms of sexual violence in Darfur are not just a consequence of the conflict or of the result of the conduct of undisciplined troops.'
    • So Bush is doing ... what?
    • Once any group of people are viewed as "sub-human" then the oppressors give themselves free reign to do almost anything to them.
  • U.S. Holocaust Museum Suspends Normal Operations To Call Attention to Darfur. 'The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum suspended regular activities for the first time in its history Thursday for a half hour program on the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan that called for immediate action.'
  • DarfurGenocide.org.

Design

  • ColoursByPermobil.com. Cool, cool wheelchairs.
  • PodCollective.com. Art and stuff.
  • PixelBlocks.com. Translucent building blocks. They should sell some opaque ones too.
    Things made by PixelBocks
  • Good Thinking, Victoria. What a brilliant idea! Use the ubiquitous traffic control boxes to provide tourist maps. We should do this in Chicago too.
    photo of public maps on public property
  • The Case That Must Not Be Named. I don't want to report on every case mod out there but this one is particularly creepy. You have to poke eyes, stick your finger in mouths, and it flickers eerily with activity. Plus they have some animated GIFs.
    photo of creepy case mod

Engineering

  • Bright idea: LEDs poised to replace light bulbs
    • 'A recent advance in light-emitting diodes may illuminate the path to replacing light bulbs with LEDs within the next five years, according to researchers. Fred Schubert, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.), claims to have invented a 99-percent efficient reflector that promises to speed the replacement of light bulbs with LEDs. '
    • They've been talking about LEDs replacing incandescent bulbs for years but it's still 5 years away? Aww come on!
  • Getting back into the groove. 'Queen Victoria, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale and other characters from history may soon be able to speak again, as scientists perfect techniques to recover the sound from recordings that are far too delicate to be played.'
  • "Smart skin" holds promise for morphing wings and wearable computers.
    • ' Terrible, horrible things can be done to this millimeters-thick patch of shimmering material crafted by chemists at NanoSonic in Blacksburg, Virginia. Twist it, stretch it double, fry it to 200°C, douse it with jet fuel--the stuff survives. After the torment, it snaps like rubber back to its original shape, all the while conducting electricity like solid metal. "Any other material would lose its conductivity," says Jennifer Hoyt Lalli, NanoSonic's director of nanocomposites. The abused substance is called Metal Rubber, and, according to NanoSonic, its particular properties make it unique in the world of material chemistry. '
    • More neato applications of nanotechnology.
    • Metal Rubber: photos and the making of
  • Washing no longer dirty work
    • ' Two Chinese scientists have come up with the perfect solution to every laundrophobe's biggest problem -- by developing clothes that never get dirty. '
      • Geez, this application of nanotechnology is even more impressive than the Metal Rubber!
    • ' Materials scientist Dr. Walid A. Daoud and textile scientist Dr. John Xin, both from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), used nanotechnology -- whereby the tiniest particles available to man are used -- to come up with the concept. They built a thin layer, or "nanostructure," using minute particles of titanium dioxide, a substance that reacts with sunlight to break down dirt and other organic material and can be coated on cotton to keep the fabric clean. '
      • I wonder what happens to the dirt? Do you just shake it off? Does it evaporate?
  • How-To Turn your iPod in to a Universal Infrared Remote Control. Well I'll be. This alone is a good reason to get an iPod.
  • Skunk Gel Repels Drug Users, Prostitutes. Brilliant idea.
  • Via BoingBoing:
    • 'On Gizmodo, this stunning image of an ancient, room-sized hard drive being serviced by a guy in a clean-room bunny-suit. The best part is that this thing and a million of its brothers put together probably had a lower capacity than the USB memory built into the pen I lost last month.' 
    • 'Update: Daniel Klein sez, "The picture is of a fixed-head disk, very similar to a Borroughs unit I had the pleasure of disassembling (in 1975) after a catastrophic head crash (I got authorization from Gordon Bell himself to do it). It took me 3 days to whittle it down to nuts and bolts, and the platter weighed 18 pounds. The hub upon which the platter was mounted was phosphor bronze, and weighed an additional 17 pounds. So imagine the inertia of 35 pounds spinning at 3600 RPM. It had electric brakes, because if you just switched off the power, it would spin for a loooong time. There is an (apocryphal) story of movers just hitting the circuit breaker (not the off switch that engaged the brakes), and after waiting the requisite 5 minutes for spindown, loaded the drive into a truck. All the moves and hallways were right angles, of course. Since brakes had not been engaged, it was still spinning at 2000 RPM or so by the time it was loaded. When the truck turned a corner, the drive precessed right out through the side of the truck. It held a few megabytes at most, if I recall correctly (a similar unit was used as a swap disk on the PDP-10, so it would have held 256K or so). " '
    • Larger picture at Gizmodo
      Early hard drive
  • FreeWheelhairMission.org
    • 'Twenty five years ago, the sight of a crippled Moroccan woman crawling across a dirt road planted a seed that germinated in 1999 when Don Schoendorfer, founder of Free Wheelchair Mission, invested his education and professional expertise as a PhD Mechanical Engineer to create a simple, rugged, and inexpensive wheelchair. The mental picture of the crawling woman's anguish and loss of dignity had haunted him for years until God opened a path for Dr. Schoendorfer.'
    • Go, go, go engineers! It's basically an inexpensive plastic lawn chair on bike tires and bent metal tubing. Brilliant, very humane stuff. This guy makes me so proud but also makes me feel like an unproductive worm.
    • Examples of FreeWheelchairMission chairs

Faith

  • Belief-O-Matic.
  • Official GOP Chaplain to lead convention prayer
    • Supposedly Jerry Falwell will give the opening prayer at the RNC. This link also include some quote from Falwell such as these gems:
      • 'If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being.'
      • 'It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening.'
      • 'Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them.'
      • 'I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!'
    • This is seriously fucked up.
  • Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult? An Old Question Revisited
    • AADeprogramming.com and Orange-Papers.org both pretty much believe that Alcoholics-Anonymous.org and its Twelve Step Recovery program use mindcontrol, brainwashing, or cult techniques. I believe that the people desperate enough to seek out AA need it. If AA then proceeds then to lead them to religion, then at least that would be better than returning to alcoholism.
    • Breaking an addiction to a cult or breaking away from a religion is very difficult. Philosophers have been fighting this fight for centuries. The distinction between religion, physicality, spirituality, and rationality is largely unrealized. When some people get to this stage they reject religion and sometimes even reject spirituality. However eventually people must realize that people need physicality, spirituality, and rationality but that an effective popular secular "religion" has not been developed yet.
  • Letter To The Bishops Of The Catholic Church On The Collaboration Of Men And Women In The Church And In The World
    • 'Recent years have seen new approaches to women's issues. A first tendency is to emphasize strongly conditions of subordination in order to give rise to antagonism: women, in order to be themselves, must make themselves the adversaries of men. Faced with the abuse of power, the answer for women is to seek power. This process leads to opposition between men and women, in which the identity and role of one are emphasized to the disadvantage of the other, leading to harmful confusion regarding the human person, which has its most immediate and lethal effects in the structure of the family.'
      • A rise of opposition possibly but more important is that women must be heard not merely humored. Confusion? Just a bit but we can figure it out because we aint stupid.
    • 'A second tendency emerges in the wake of the first. In order to avoid the domination of one sex or the other, their differences tend to be denied, viewed as mere effects of historical and cultural conditioning. In this perspective, physical difference, termed sex, is minimized, while the purely cultural element, termed gender, is emphasized to the maximum and held to be primary. The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences on a variety of levels. This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.'
      • This is typical fundamentalist theory and exaggeration. Desiring to be "different but equal" is a more accurate view than a trivializing the differences. Church leaders who have no wives and children of their own can really get out of touch. Parenting has always been complex. Parenting and work roles are rightly complex in an evolving society. Homosexuality is a fact of life and homosexuals do not in any way harm a family.
    • Related:
      • RatzingerFanClub.com. The unofficial and quite serious fan club of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. (And yes, Ratzinger was a member of Hitler Youth).
      • Vatican document denounces feminism as threat to family
      • Ignore it
        • 'What must good Catholics do in response to the recent "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World"? "Just ignore it," says Sr. Mary John Mananzan, Benedictine nun, educator and feminist leader. "It is not an encyclical and was not issued ex cathedra (meaning, as a matter of faith)." So, is it just a scholarly and academic document? I asked her the question when she guested on the radio show "XYZone" last Saturday. "I wouldn't even consider it scholarly, since it was written (by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, described by some as "the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog") apparently without even consulting the people most affected by it--women, not even the women of the Church," she replied.'
          • Way to go girl!
        • ' "This just shows that he doesn't know the real meaning of feminism," said Sr. Mary John of Cardinal Ratzinger, and perhaps of the Pope himself. She herself subscribes to a "simple" definition of a feminist, which is someone, a man or a woman, "who recognizes the problem of gender-based discrimination, subordination and oppression and is willing to work towards transforming the structures that promote and reinforce these problems." '
        • 'Only a fool would not recognize the social ills bred by the inequalities between men and women, asserts Sr. Mary John, who mentions among others, all forms of violence against women, including rape and incestuous rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment and the trafficking of women and children. By condemning feminism, is the Vatican then saying it is wrong to believe it is possible for humanity to live without such social malignancies; that, like the poor, they will always be with us?'
        • 'And in the Philippines, writes Ana Leah Sarabia, feminists bring with them "the legacy of hundreds, no thousands, of women in this country who had called themselves feminist since 1905." Next year, in fact, the country observes 100 Years of Feminism, a movement that began on June 30, 1905 when women from prominent families in Manila and Luzon founded the "Asociacion Feminista Filipina." Among the founding mothers: Concepcion Felix, Trinidad Rizal (older sister of the national hero), Librada Avelino, Maria Paz Guazon, Maria Francisco, the Almeda sisters and Luisa de Silyar. As an expression of their feminist beliefs, the women founded some months later the "first-ever non-religious, non-government social welfare initiative in the country, Gota de Leche, which today could pass as the oldest Philippine NGO. The following year, Pura Villanueva (later Kalaw) and her friends founded the Asociacion Feminista Ilonga, choosing as their particular advocacy the right of Filipino women to vote. So if feminism or the feminist movement is to be blamed for anything in this country, then it should be "blamed" for winning the right of suffrage for women, though even that right, taken for granted today, took more than 30 years of struggle to win.'
      • Pope affirms both genders' moral equality. Nice emphasis by the Washington Times.
      • Metafilter thread on topic

Fauna, Flora

Food

  • Misigisaq Restaurant - Taste Greenland!. The only Chinese restaurant in Greenland. The site is available in English, Danish, and Chinese. I looked at the menu at lunch time and now I'm hungry. Lots of seafood (including hunter-bought whale), Greenland lamb, caribou, musk ox, and chicken.

Games

  • Time to take another crack at 'Doom'
    • More free marketing for Doom 3. But as far as I can tell it's still just first-person shooter with more eye candy --so much more that you better have a top of the line graphics card and sound system.
    • ' "Doom 3" is more of a heart attack simulator. This is easily the most frightening game made, surpassing even "Resident Evil's" patented zombie chills. Like the makers of a good horror movie, id has expertly balanced sight, sound, mood, and timing to produce a series of incredible scares that will make you recoil from the monitor, then lean back in and press further into the depths of the possessed colony. '

Green

  • OurCoolHouse.com. Blog about a fairly sustainable house.
  • Realizing the Promise and Potential of African Agriculture. This is well intended but the problem is not so much one of S&T (Science and Technology) but one of political, social, military, and financial issues.
  • Barefoot, female and a solar engineer.
    • You see?! Now even India is getting ahead of us in the sustainable resources area.
    • 'Gulab is one of the many Barefoot Solar Engineers (BSEs) working across eight Indian states (Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Sikkim) to establish solar energy systems in areas where electric supply is either non-existent or highly erratic. A majority of these engineers, mostly women, are illiterate like Gulab or semi-literate at best. But they talk of transformers, coils and condensers like other women would talk of cooking and sewing. Their dexterity with spanners and screwdrivers is impressive, to say the least.'
  • 2004 Toyota Prius review and test drive
    • I've mentioned and seen the Prius before and it's still proving to be an awesome car.
    • 'Check out the key. It provides a subtle break with reality as you know it. This plastic, electronic key looks like the remote doorlock and trunk control of a more traditional car. In fact, the engineers at Toyota essentially built the car key into the remote control. The result says, This is not your father's Oldsmobile. And thank goodness for that.

      The key device, which is about the size of a small box of wooden matches, slides into a slot in the dashboard. The next step in starting the car, according to the quickstart guide, is to press the POWER button. I had to laugh -- this car boots up. I really enjoyed pressing that button.

      Startup is silent, except for a beep or two and a quiet sighing as various systems come on-line.'

    • photo of interior of a Toyota Prius
  • 'Cool' fuel cells could revolutionize Earth's energy resources. 'Imagine a power source so small, yet so efficient, that it could make cumbersome power plants virtually obsolete while lowering your electric bill. A breakthrough in thin film solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) is currently being refined in labs at the University of Houston, making that dream a reality.'
  • The Bottleneck
    • 'We have entered the Century of the Environment, in which the immediate future is usefully conceived as a bottleneck: science and technology, combined with foresight and moral courage, must see us through it and out.'
    • From The Future of Life [Amazon].

Healthcare

Images

Iraq

  • "Saddam's People are Winning the War" by Scott Ritter
    • 'Once again, the Pentagon has it wrong. U.S. policy in Iraq is still unable or unwilling to face the reality of the enemy on the ground. . The Iraqi resistance is no emerging "marriage of convenience," but rather a product of years of planning. Rather than being absorbed by a larger Islamist movement, Saddam's former lieutenants are calling the shots in Iraq, having co-opted the Islamic fundamentalists years ago, with or without their knowledge.'
    • 'The transfer of sovereignty to the new Iraqi government of Iyad Allawi is a charade that will play itself out over the next weeks and months, and with tragic consequences. Allawi's government, hand-picked by the United States from the ranks of anti-Saddam expatriates, lacks not only a constituency inside Iraq but also legitimacy in the eyes of many ordinary Iraqi citizens.'
    • 'Regardless of the number of troops the United States puts on the ground or how long they stay there, Allawi's government is doomed to fail. The more it fails, the more it will have to rely on the United States to prop it up. The more the United States props up Allawi, the more discredited he will become in the eyes of the Iraqi people - all of which creates yet more opportunities for the Iraqi resistance to exploit. . We will suffer a decade-long nightmare that will lead to the deaths of thousands more Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. We will witness the creation of a viable and dangerous anti-American movement in Iraq that will one day watch as American troops unilaterally withdraw from Iraq every bit as ignominiously as Israel did from Lebanon.'
    • This guy is almost too pessimistic even for me. However, this would explain the quantity and strength of the "insurgents".
  • U.S. Says 300 Fighters Killed in Najaf Battle [2004-08-06]. 300 al Sadr fighters killed? That is much more than the usual. I wonder how many civilians were killed or injured.

Local

  • Keyes guarantees fight, if not victory
    • ' Maryland conservative Alan Keyes formally accepted Illinois' Republican U.S. Senate nomination Sunday, saying he believed he was duty-bound to protect the moral principles upon which the nation was founded and inviting voters to join him because "the victory is for God." '
      • I hope some good debate arises from the Keyes v Obama election, but things are off to a bad start with Keyes focusing on the stupid abortion issue. Keyes seems to be focusing on divisive issues instead of constructive issues. At the very least Keys sounded eloquent and civilized on the radio.
    • 'In his address, Keyes sought to address head-on the issue of whether he was carpetbagging by running for a Senate seat in a state where he has never lived. He acknowledged he had criticized others in the past for "cherry-picking the states as platforms for their ambitions," but said the issues at stake in the contest were more important than geography.'
      • Ha ha! So lame since he criticized Hillary Clinton for running for NY US Senator. At least she planned it and lived there dude!
    • It is hard to shake the perception that Keyes is not only the token black man for the GOP, but also the GOP's "useful idiot" (in the Lenin sense). The old boy's club at the GOP let him run for Senator in Illinois because they knew he won't be able to win it.
    • Related: Illinois Senate race issues. Short and simple comparison of Obama and Keyes on some issues.
  • On the streets of Gotham City. Cool! They're shooting some car chase scenes for the Batman Begins movie in Chicago's Lower Wacker.

Martial Arts

Math

Media

  • "My Beef With Big Media: How government protects big media--and shuts out upstarts like me" by Ted Turner.
    • 'At this late stage, media companies have grown so large and powerful, and their dominance has become so detrimental to the survival of small, emerging companies, that there remains only one alternative: bust up the big conglomerates. We've done this before: to the railroad trusts in the first part of the 20th century, to Ma Bell more recently. Indeed, big media itself was cut down to size in the 1970s, and a period of staggering innovation and growth followed. Breaking up the reconstituted media conglomerates may seem like an impossible task when their grip on the policy-making process in Washington seems so sure. But the public's broad and bipartisan rebellion against the FCC's pro-consolidation decisions suggests something different. Politically, big media may again be on the wrong side of history--and up against a country unwilling to lose its independents.'
    • Amazing.
  • Who Owns the Media
  • Operation Mockingbird: CIA Media Manipulation

Medieval

  • CVMA.ac.uk. 'The Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (or CVMA) is an international research project dedicated to the publication of medieval stained glass. Founded in 1949, the CVMA has committees in fourteen countries and over sixty-five volumes have been published so far. ... This website explains the project's activities, the people and organizations involved, our Books and how to order them. There is also free access to our digital Picture Archive, containing over 10,000 images, most of them in colour.'
    stained glass piece
  • Petrarch.PeterSadlon.com
    • 'Who was Francesco Petrarch? Petrarch was born in 1304 and though his family sent him to be a lawyer he quickly found his passion in the texts of antiquity. He continually strived to collect the works of Cicero and others believing that they contained knowledge and insights into the human condition which would take an eternity to recreate. For more information check out this site's biography of Petrarch. '
    • 'For a woman he would never know
      For a woman he could never have
      He should change the world forever'
    • Petrarch and Laura
  • CastleMagic.com
    • 'This is a simple site for those interested in building, purchasing, or designing a solid stone castle. Expert answers are available for your questions at any time. We are structural masons with a love for castles. We also have expert knowledge in physics, engineering, and chemistry. This gives us an edge as we apply what we know to the ancient art of castle building. While the old castles were cold, damp, and downright miserable, our castles are toasty warm, dry, and healthy to live in. And they will last for hundreds of years just like the old castles. We are experts in cold weather construction, difficult sites, and those jobs others wouldn't dream of. Family owned and operated since 1975.'
    • Prices range from $200,000 to $10,000,000. Not as expensive as I would have thought. All their drawings seem amateurish though.
  • RentAPeasant.fsnet.co.uk.
    • 'Rent A Peasant is primarily an association of two people. Our remit is to provide an insight into everyday aspects of rural life in the past. Farming is fundamental to our presentations, hence our sub title Living History with Livestock.'
    • It's about time! People love to dress up as Lords & Ladies, but what about the peasants? "Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!"

Modern Life

  • Google circa 1960. hehe.
  • AT&T Won't Seek New Residential Customers
    • 'AT&T, once known informally as Ma Bell, will continue to provide long-distance and local service to its 35 million residential customers and will not turn away new customers who ask for its service. But it will stop trying to attract customers or work to retain those who want to defect to other providers. Its competitors are expected to try even harder to win over those callers, which could cause AT&T's residential business to shrink even more quickly.'
    • Told you so. More proof about the inevitable switch from circuit-switching to packet-switching, VoIP, and ubiquitous cellular phones.
    • 'AT&T, which is based in Bedminster, N.J., hopes to build up its corporate business by using revenue generated from its residential customers and reducing what it spends on advertising, direct marketing and other costs associated with acquiring those customers. It now spends nearly $1.9 billion a year on ads and promotion in the consumer market. Industry analysts, however, say that AT&T will be able to take advantage of those savings for only a year or two because the residential business is deteriorating so fast.

      "It was a matter of time before they would have more steady erosion on the consumer side," said Michael Weaver, a telecommunications analyst at Fitch Ratings, which lowered its credit rating for AT&T's debt to BB+, a speculative rating, after yesterday's announcement.

      That erosion was starkly apparent in the company's second-quarter financial results, which were also announced yesterday. Revenue in the period plunged 13.2 percent, to $7.6 billion, with sales from the consumer group falling 14.6 percent from a year earlier. Sales in the corporate group slid 12.7 percent. The company over all earned $108 million, or 14 cents a share, in the quarter, down from $536 million in the second quarter of 2003. In trading yesterday, AT&T's stock fell 8 cents, to $14.24.

      AT&T also said it had eliminated 14 percent of its jobs in the last year, and would cut at least 8 percent more this year. The company, which had 61,600 workers at the end of 2003, has now shed nearly half its work force since 1996, adjusted for acquisitions and spinoffs.'

    • Related:
  • What's In Your Gadget Bag, Glenn Fleishman? Answer: a ton of geek-ware.
  • Making the USB Gundam. One fellow's physical manifestation of his geekiness.
  • Some gamers are hot chicks! Photos from the recent Electronic Sports World Cup proves that there are some gamers who aren't fat-assed boys.
    Some gamers are hot chicks!
  • The Trouble with Tethering
    • 'Tethering should be a great deal for hardware makers. They all seem to be trying to corner the market on "secondary goods." Whether they make coffee makers, garage door openers, ink-jet printers, batteries, video games, or digital music files, producers are employing tools that range from copyright to contract to design to freeze out generic competitors. But some times, as with the coffee maker, such tethering limits consumer choice to such a degree that many consumers who would otherwise jump into the early adoption game eschew the new device in favor of diversity and flexibility.'
    • 'What Apple doesn't get is that the success of the iPod depends necessarily on the least tetherable music format: the MP3. If iPod users could not play home-brewed MP3s, they would have far too little music to justify those huge hard drives. The iPod is an MP3 player first, a portable hard drive second, and an iTunes player a distant third. Its flexibility and adaptability are essential traits. If Apple is smart (as it occasionally is, but rarely in this domain) it will welcome Rhapsody users. Tethering may be the hot corporate move of the moment. It may be what all the consultants are pushing (corporate consultants are basically anti-competitive). But it's ultimately bad business and - when backed up by law - bad public policy.'
    • I have instinctively avoided tethering over the years --except for the case of Microsoft ... ha ha ha ha!
  • One Million Free & Legal Music Tracks!. This guy is trying to make a wiki compiling links to free music.
  • Dognapping Ransom Case.

Money

  • Tax Man Bush says tax cuts stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, he's fallen more than 2.2 million jobs short of the projection made by his own economists.
    • 'The Bush administration has a mantra that we hear whenever some jobs are created: "The tax cuts are working." But are they? Mark Zandi, president of Economy.com and a highly respected economic forecaster, gave us the answer in a new report analyzing the factors in the past three years of growth; the administration's tax cuts, principally for the rich, have had very little to do with it. Increased government spending (particularly on defense) and tax cuts for middle- and lower-income people each contributed more to growth than tax cuts for higher-income people.'
    • ' Here's what ten Nobel Prize winners in economics declared in a publicly released statement in early 2003: "The tax cut plan proposed by President Bush is not the answer. Regardless of how one views the specifics of the Bush plan, there is wide agreement that its purpose is a permanent change in the tax structure and not the creation of jobs and growth in the near-term. The permanent dividend tax cut, in particular, is not credible as a short-term stimulus. As tax reform, the dividend tax cut is misdirected in that it targets individuals rather than corporations, is overly complex, and could be, but is not, part of a revenue-neutral tax reform effort. Passing these tax cuts will worsen the long-term budget outlook, adding to the nation's projected chronic deficits. This fiscal deterioration will reduce the capacity of the government to finance Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as investments in schools, health, infrastructure, and basic research. Moreover, the proposed tax cuts will generate further inequalities in after-tax income." '
    • I was against Bush's tax-cuts for the rich because it goes against our entire progressive taxation system. It thought that the only thing that it had going for it was possibly some short term economic stimulus, but now it looks like it didn't even do that.
  • I.R.S. Says Americans' Income Shrank for 2 Consecutive Years. The first time since WWII. Wow this Bush sure is ground breaking!

 

O'Reilly

  • Bill O'Reilly isn't worth my time but he's such a jerk.
  • FOX's O'Reilly fabricated evidence of success of purported boycott of French imports
    • 'O'REILLY: Now if the [Canadian] government -- if your government harbors these two deserter [sic], doesn't send them back ... there will be a boycott of your country which will hurt your country enormously. France is now feeling that sting.

      MALLICK: I don't think for a moment such a boycott would take place because we are your biggest trading partners.

      O'REILLY: No, it will take place, madam. In France ...

      MALLICK: I don't think that your French boycott has done too well ...

      O'REILLY: ...they've lost billions of dollars in France according to "The Paris Business Review."

      MALLICK: I think that's nonsense.'

    • ' Media Matters for America found no evidence of a publication named "The Paris Business Review." '
    • ' Furthermore, contrary to O'Reilly's claim that France has lost "billions of dollars" due to an American boycott, American imports from France have actually increased since international tensions with France began in the months prior to the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in February 2004, the United States imported $2.26 billion in French goods and services, up from $2.18 billion in February 2002. '
    •  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
    • Bill O'Reilly once again shows that he makes stuff up and outright lies. It's not merely sloppy reporting, it's flat out lying.
    • Related
  • Michael Moore/O'Reilly Showdown At Convention Tue Jul 27 2004 16:51:50 ET
    • Ha ha ha ha ha!
    • Regardless of which side of the fence you're on, the idea of Michael Moore facing off with Bill O'Reilly sounds like a good cat fight.
  • "The 'shut-up' line has only happened once in 6 years" [mov]. The video starts off with that quote from Bill and then goes on to show just a few of the times where he has said 'shut-up'.
  • Mr. O'Reilly, please just stop
    • This summary of the link is from BoingBoing: 'Larry Lessig has written a long open letter to Bill O'Reilly that opens "You have declared a 'war' on the New York Times. That's good for you, good for them, and good for our democracy: Strong opinions deserve strong spokesmen. Your battle will help sharpen a debate about matters important to the Republic." Lessig then proceeds to take O'Reilly to task, point-by-point for an ongoing campaign of pathological libel agaist Jeremy Glick, the son of a 9/11 victim who spoke out against the Bush Presidency and the war. Glick appears in Outfoxed, a new documentary that criticises O'Reilly and his network, and in answering the charges raised in Outfoxed, O'Reilly has chosen Glick as a symbol of what he hates, and in order to make his point, he has been lying repeatedly about what Glick said and did. Lessig's point is that attacking a giant media organisation is one thing, but using your on-camera bully pulpit to repeatedly slander someone who has already lost so much is unconscionable.'
    • More out-right lies from O'Reilly. 'Not Bill Clinton "depends upon what is is" false, but false the way most Americans learned growing up: just not true.'

Pop Culture

Programming

Race

  • BlackPeopleLoveUs.com. 'We are well-liked by Black people so we're psyched (since lots of Black people don't like lots of White people)!! We thought it'd be cool to honor our exceptional status with a ROCKIN' domain name and a killer website!!'
    Gee black people love them!
  • Blackwashing: Scratch the surface of a black conservative group and you find a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
    • 'I tuned into C-SPAN with interest to hear what a leading voice in the black conservative movement had to say. But then a funny thing happened: the African-American spokesperson for Project 21 caught a flat on the way to the studio, and the group's director had to fill in. And he was white.'
    • 'But Project 21 is a subsidiary of the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), which, according to the liberal watchdog Mediatransparency.org, was formed in the 1980s to support Reagan's military interventions in Central America. NCPPR's leadership -- president, vice president, executive director -- are all white.'
    • 'Every black conservative group I've mentioned -- without exception -- receives a significant portion of their funding (in some cases all of their funding) from at least three of four ultra-conservative foundations (the Lincoln Institute gets its share funneled indirectly through the conservative Hoover Institution). The four are the usual suspects of the Right's political ATM: Richard Scaife's family foundations, Adolph Coors' Castle Rock Foundation, The John M. Olin Foundation, and the Linde and Harry Bradley Foundation. What's striking about these groups' underwriting of "minority organizations" is that some of them have at times displayed what many would consider a frankly racist agenda.'
    • Related:

Science

  • Golems
    • I heard this guy on the radio talking about golems this morning. FYI: Golems are Jewish stories of man-like creatures brought to life by magic.
    • The neat thing was that he said that the kind of golem tales evolved and there were 3 stages.
      1. In the earliest stories a magician made a golem more as proof that he could do it.
      2. Later the stories were of golems controlled by their creators to fight evil and do good.
      3. Later yet the stories were of the golems getting out of control and being a danger to the world.
    • The analogies of golems and knowledge/science are astonishing. The Lord of the Rings has a similar analogy with the rings in place of golems.
    • In one sense the 3 stages are as follows:
      1. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge.
      2. Knowledge utilized in beneficial ways.
      3. Unforeseen side effect or negative implementations makes us wary of the knowledge.
    • Or in another way:
      1. Scientist explores field of study for the sake of science.
      2. Engineers implement the science for our society.
      3. Other societies utilize the science and either compete with us or use it against us.
    • Some people focus on the third stage of golems, the Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, robots revolting, nuclear weapons in everyone's hands, Steven Speilberg's Jurassic Park, germs impervious to antibiotics, etc. But really the core issue is more like James Matthew Barrie's Peter Pan --it's about growing up. Things may start out innocent and special, but then we have to realize that we're all the same, that we live on the same planet, that we have to share, that we have responsibilities. Hiding from adulthood doesn't work. We can't live in Neverland.
    • What's missing is the 4th stage of golems. In the 4th stage, everyone has golems. This is when special knowledge has become common knowledge. This is when the knowledge is so ubiquitous that we hardly notice it anymore. In the long run, individuals, corporations, and  governments do not have exclusive rights to ideas. In the long run works of art, literature, song, spiritualism, philosophy, etc. belong to the human race. In the long run nuclear knowledge, pharmaceutical knowledge, etc. must enter the public domains.
    • Secret specialized knowledge has the danger of disappearing.
    • The golem stories drive backward but the world has to go forward. Globalization means we have to move from isolation, to interdependence, to  integration.
  • Via MetaFilter:
    • 'When paleoclimatologist William Hyde was asked whether he'd be watching the well-known educational film The Day After Tomorrow, he replied that he wouldn't endure it unless he was given $100. This challenge set in motion a series of wholly predictable events which saw the denizens of rec.arts.sf.written heroically raising the required sum against Hyde's protestations and duly sent him packing to cinema. What did Hyde think? "The best summary of the movie comes from The Simpsons: 'It's cold and there are wolves.' - Abe." '
    • I love it when scientists make bets.
  • Acne bug's nasty secrets spotted
    • Future teenagers rejoice!
    • 'The newly completed genome sequence of the acne bacterium Propionibacterium acnes has revealed thousands of genes that give the organism the potential to cause skin disease.'

Sex

Smedley Butler

Sociology

Space

  • NASA Launches Spacecraft to Mercury [2004-08-03].
    • ' NASA launched Messenger in the pre-dawn moonlight on the roundabout ramble through the inner solar system. The 6 1/2-year trip should have started a day earlier, but clouds from Tropical Storm Alex postponed liftoff. '
    • ' The spacecraft cannot fly straight to Mercury; it does not carry nearly enough fuel. So it will fly once past Earth, twice past Venus and three times past Mercury for gravity assists -- and make 15 loops around the sun -- before slowing enough to slip into orbit around the small, hot planet. '
      • And I'm lucky if I can find a restroom when I need it.
    • ' Messenger will be blasted by up to 700-degree heat once it reaches Mercury, but its instruments will operate at room temperature, protected by a custom-built ceramic-fabric sunshade just one-quarter of an inch thick. All Mariner 10 had was a quaintly old-fashioned umbrella. '
      • Hmm. I'd like one of these for my car please.
  • That's No Space Station. Watch out! Cassini has found the Death Star right here in our solar system! (Voyager took a better picture in 1980)
    Be afraid

Terror

US

  • Libraries Ordered to Destroy US Pamphlets. Doesn't weird behavior like this from the US Department of Justice raise your antennas? Bush is in deep on the Black Budget.
  • 4 charged in massacre
    • ' Dressed in black with scarves draped over their faces, four men armed with aluminum baseball bats burst into the house on Telford Lane and beat six people to death. Their motive: revenge over a missing Xbox video-game player and a bundle of clothes, Volusia County deputies said Sunday. '
      • Beaten to death by bats? That's a very brutal physical killing, not as easy as pulling a trigger.
    • ' Police called Victorino the group's "ringleader." He rallied the others to kill after one of the victims, 22-year-old Erin Belanger, removed his belongings from her grandparents' house, where Victorino had been staying. He was living there without Belanger's grandparents' permission while the older couple spent the summer up North, according to several relatives. Victorino and a group of friends had turned the quaint ranch house on Providence Boulevard into a round-the-clock party spot until Belanger discovered them and called the police. After deputies sent the partiers away, Belanger cleaned up. She boxed up Victorino's Xbox and clothes. He was in jail at the time, arrested on a felony assault charge, so she took the items to the house on Telford Lane, which she rented with friends. '

US Elections

  • Who Backs Nader?. 'Consumer advocate Ralph Nader's quixotic presidential campaign says it submitted about 5,400 signatures to get on the Michigan ballot, far short of the required number of 30,000. Luckily for him, approximately 43,000 signatures were filed by Michigan Republicans on his behalf, more than meeting the requirement.'
  • WhiteHouseWest.com [see video]. Will Ferrell does plays a Bush on the ranch.
  • "The Conservative: Party Kerry's Democrats" by Andrew Sullivan
    • 'If, broadly speaking, you're a conservative, whom should you be rooting for in the American elections? I'm not being entirely facetious here. The conservative "movement" in the U.S. is still firmly behind president George W. Bush's re-election. He uses conservative rhetoric - taking the war to the enemy, upholding conservative social values, respecting religious faith, protecting the family, and so on. He is widely regarded as one of the most conservative presidents in recent history - rivaling Reagan, eclipsing his own father in right wing bona fides. And yet if you decouple the notion of being a conservative from being a Republican, no one can doubt that the Bush administration has been pursuing some highly unconservative policies. '
    • 'Put all that together, and I may not find myself the only conservative moving slowly and reluctantly toward the notion that Kerry may be the right man - and the conservative choice - for a difficult and perilous time.'
  • John Kerry, Reactionary. Geez, it's amazing that Conservatives can say anyone flip-flops. "Pot to kettle: you're black". Who's Conservative? Who's Liberal? Who knows anymore. All I know is that Bush is an idiot.
  • InHisOwnWords.org [Quicktime]. The audio of Bush's State of the Union speech plays while a barrage of relevant photos are shown.
  • Anybody but Bush - and then let's get back to work
    • 'But the zealots in Bush's White House are neither insane nor stupid nor particularly shady. Rather, they openly serve the interests of the corporations that put them in office with bloody-minded efficiency. Their boldness stems not from the fact that they are a new breed of zealot but that the old breed finds itself in a newly unconstrained political climate.'
    • 'This madness has to stop, and the fastest way of doing that is to elect John Kerry, not because he will be different but because in most key areas - Iraq, the "war on drugs", Israel/Palestine, free trade, corporate taxes - he will be just as bad. The main difference will be that as Kerry pursues these brutal policies, he will come off as intelligent, sane and blissfully dull. That's why I've joined the Anybody But Bush camp: only with a bore such as Kerry at the helm will we finally be able to put an end to the presidential pathologising and focus on the issues again.'
    • 'Under a Kerry government, the comforting illusion of a world united against imperial aggression will drop away, exposing the jockeying for power that is the true face of modern empire. We'll also have to let go of the archaic idea that toppling a single man, or a Romanesque "empire", will solve all, or indeed any, of our problems. Yes, it will make for more complicated politics, but it has the added benefit of being true. With Bush out of the picture, we lose the galvanising enemy, but we get to take on the actual policies that are transforming all of our countries.'
  • Bush camp solicits race of Star staffer. These people have no clue about how fascist and bigoted they are.

Web

  • 100 Do's and Don'ts in Web Design. Older but some of you folks out there need this basic stuff. Or for a shorter list: Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design.
  • Dean.Ddwards.name/IE7/. Ha ha! It's been so long since Internet Explorer had a version upgrade, and IE6 is so far behind on W3C standards, that Dean decided to hack his way to IE7. I like how he re-created classic examples in IE7: pure css menus and complexspiral.
  • What if Mozilla were to win in the end?
    • Apologies for quoting the whole post.
    • ' Another story from "BlogOn2004" today.

      Some folks from Microsoft were presenting on the fine work they've done with Channel 9 (rant...the videos don't work on my Mac or presumably on Linux, but they looked great on the demo)...

      Anyway, the presenter was doing his pitch in a polished way and at one point he said he wanted to show us a "really cool" feature and he looked up into the audience and said "Show of hands...How many of you use Internet Explorer?". Probably 99 times out of 100 when he asks that question all the hands go up, right? Well first there was a pause and then a giggle and then a whoop of laughter as the audience looked around and realized that NO ONE had raised a hand. The presenter was thrown off his mark, but he recovered and said, "Wow! Okay how many of you wish we'd fix IE so you could use it?"

      Still no hands....

      Informal survey afterwards said the Windows users in the crowd were all using the latest Firefox. Wouldn't it be amazing if Mozilla ended up winning in the end?'

    • Ha ha ha! I use Mozilla unless I'm viewing a Microsoft specific site like MSDN.
    • It should be noted that in the comments, Robert Scooble mentioned that he was on stage and he said that 15% of the people had raised their hands.
    • I agree with the meme that instead of Mozilla v IE, the important thing is that browsers compete while following standards.
  • How to Remove Internet Explorer, Part 2, and Part 3. I wasn't going to post this because I think more people would screw this up than do it successfully. However on principle it really does suck that IE is such a purposely enmeshed app (although MS denies it), whereas an even better browser like Mozilla uninstalls in a few clicks.

Words

  • WordCount.org [Flash]
    • 'WordCount™ is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonality. Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance. The larger the word, the more we use it.'
    • The top 10 are: the, of, and, to, a, in, that, it, is, was.

World

  • Poll Shows Growing Arab Rancor at U.S.. 'Arab views of the United States, shaped largely by the Iraq war and a post-Sept. 11 climate of fear, have worsened in the past two years to such an extent that in Egypt -- an important ally in the region -- nearly 100 percent of the population now holds an unfavorable opinion of the country, according to two polls due out today.'
  • Castro responds to Bush's prostitution charges
    • ' Speaking to Florida law enforcement officials on July 16, Bush claimed the Cuban leader shamelessly promotes sex tourism. "The dictator welcomes sex tourism. Here's how he bragged about the industry," said Bush. "This is his quote -- 'Cuba has the cleanest and most educated prostitutes in the world' and 'sex tourism is a vital source of hard currency.'" '
    • Ummm... Bush have you looked at Las Vegas lately?

Writing

  • Beettam and Geigen-Miller's 10 Laws Of Bad Science Fiction
    1. 'Make no distinction between science and technology
    2. Do not discern between hardware and software
    3. Appearance supersedes function and reality
    4. Brilliant scientists are universally knowledgeable in all fields of scientific study
    5. Be sure to trump out "well-known facts", that no one in existence has in fact ever heard of before this story, which may be presented for the sake of plot explication
    6. Remember that any device improvised or jury-rigged, out of available materials on short notice, will work at least as well as or better than the actual device whose function it is meant to emulate or replace
    7. Alien races will virtually mirror humankind, in appearance and culture, with only one or two notable exceptions to set them apart
    8. Any form of mysterious or unknown form of energy (like, oh say, nuclear radiation) has the power to give previously-existing lifeforms bizarre powers
    9. technology introduced at the start of the story always causes everyone's problems, while technology introduced in the middle or at the end of the story always solves everyone's problems
    10. all previously-known scientific laws and principles are open to reinterpretation, revision, or just being ignored, for the sake of the story or the above-mentioned laws'
  • "SFX Collectors Edition: The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy in the World Ever!" by David Langford. Ignores the too-recent 1990s.

2004-08-13t21:37:17Z | RE: Comic Art . Computers . Design . Engineering . Family . Fauna, Flora . Food . Games . Green . Humanity . Images . Local . Martial Arts . Modern Life . Money . Open Source, Linux . Politics . Sex . Space . Terror . US . WarCraft . Web . Writing .
2004-08-13t21:37:17Z

Comic Art

  • SDCC 2004 - Part Four
    • 'The subject of our panel was the future of the comic strip as we know and love it. My assertion is that the syndicates are going to be dying off soon and that more and more the newspapers no longer want to pay for comic strips. So where does that leave the cartoonists. Is the web the future?'

    • 'Simply put, newspaper competition is over. Newspapers no longer need comic strips to help them sell papers. The comics page has simply become another expense for them. ... 'newspapers are PAYING the syndicates for the privilege of developing their cartoon brands. Think about this. If Coca-cola wants to use newspaper advertising to strengthen it's brand, it has to pay for that kind of exposure. The syndicates makes millions from their comic features via books, television, movies and merchandise. The only way they are able to sustain that kind of income is due to the exposure and advertising that the newspapers give them. But the syndicates offer nothing in return.'

    • ' The newspapers are wising up and they're unwilling to pay. The Syndicates have nothing to offer them save a large bill. I've talked to a couple of syndicated cartoonists and even they see the writing's on the wall. One cartoonist, who I won't name, said to me "If any one newspaper would get the balls to just 86 their comics page, and suffer through the months of letters they would receive, we'd be done for. Once the papers realize they can survive dropping the comics page, everyone will do it." '

    • ' In the coming months, I'll be putting into effect, a program in which papers can receive PVP for free. That's right, free. They don't have to pay me a cent for it. I will provide for the papers, a comic strip with a larger established audience then any new syndicated feature, a years worth of strips in advance, and I won't charge them a cent for it. The exposure and prestige of PvP appearing in daily papers would more than pay for itself in a months time. In exchange, I can offer the papers a comics feature that's tried and tested, funny and best of all, free. '

    • 'Imagine if an aspiring cartoonist could create a feature, own it and through some talent and hard work, get it into major market newspapers without having to sign over his rights and profits to a syndicate who really has nothing to offer him or her. Imagine if newspapers were soon filled with features that were creator owned, free of charge and most importantly....actually funny. It's a crazy dream, but I think it's possible. Even doable.'

Computers

Design

Engineering

  • Sony to Use PlayStation 2 Chip in Flat-Panel TVs. It humors me that the heart of Sony TVs will be a PS2 chip.
  • Smart Windows to Let Sun's Light In, Keep Heat Out
    • 'Troy D. Manning, now at the University of Liverpool, and Ivan P. Parkin of University College London developed the novel coating using vanadium dioxide and a small amount of the metal tungsten. The film allows light with wavelengths in the visible spectrum and infrared light, at low temperatures, to pass through it. When the temperature exceeds 29 degrees Celsius, however, the material reflects infrared radiation. "While the heat reflective properties of vanadium dioxide are well recognized, the stumbling block has been the switching temperature," Parkin notes. "It's not much good if the material starts to reflect infrared light at 70 degrees Celsius." At the switching temperature, the material changes from being semi-conducting (and therefore absorbing infrared light) to acting more like a metal (and thus reflecting infrared).'
    • Hey! Along with the heat shields from the Messenger probe to Mercury, I also want these Smart Windows on my car!
  • ElectricMoto.com. Powerful electric motorcycles!

Family

  • Hippychick Hipseat
    • 'The Hipseat baby carrier has been developed to allow adults to carry their children on their hip without the usual strains on the back. Specifically designed to address one of the root causes of adult back pain, the seat provides a firm shelf for the child to sit on and supports their increasingly heavy weight from underneath. Instead of twisting the spine, the back is able to stay straight and the child is tucked into the chest on whichever side is more comfortable for the wearer. Simple, practical and easy to use this baby carrier is both endorsed and recommended by an increasing number of osteopaths, chiropractors and physios. '
    • Women already have a natural shelf with their wider hip but women may still benefit from this product. Certainly most men might benefit from such a thing. Considering that I have kid #3 coming any day now this sort of thing might be useful
    • The Hipseat in action

Fauna, Flora

  • Mysteries of the Ocean Deepen. 'Marine scientists conducting the first comprehensive deep-sea probes of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge stepped ashore in Bergen, Norway, this week, excited by their discovery of several suspected new species and a baffling mystery creature.'
    An new species from the deep
  • Gorilla Seeks Help Using Sign Language
    • 'When Koko the gorilla used the American Sign Language gesture for pain and pointed to her mouth, 12 specialists, including three dentists, sprang into action. The result? Her first full medical examination in about 20 years, an extracted tooth and a clean bill of health.'
    • ' About a month ago, Koko, a 300-plus-pound ape who became famous for mastering more than 1,000 signs, began telling her handlers at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside she was in pain. They quickly constructed a pain chart, offering Koko a scale from one to 10. When Koko started pointing to nine or 10 too often, a dental appointment was made. And because anesthesia would be involved, her handlers used the opportunity to give Koko a head-to-toe exam.'
    • I seem to have a strong sense of empathy for Koko. Perhaps it is comforting to know that we can communicate to another sentient species in this lonely universe. 
  • Aquasaurs Prehistoric Pet Habitat. These looked like a marked improvement over the disappointing "Sea Monkey" that they sold to us chumps when we were kids. However some people at BoingBoing think they're gross.
    an Aquasaurus

Food

  • "Worst Foods". My wife sent me these links because she loves me. However, this does not mean that I will stop worshipping Krispy Kreme donuts because you cannot deny that they have been touched by the divine. The foods most commonly mentioned are soda, french fries, donuts, chips, and bacon. Our family eats much less of these than we used to.
  • New kebab dubbed most dangerous U.K. food
    • So now I want to get my hands on one of these babies.
    • ' "The Stonner", a 1,000-calorie, deep fried pork sausage kebab has been dubbed the most dangerous fast food in Britain. '
    • ' Sky News reported Monday the kebab contains 46 grams of fat and is double the calories of a Big Mac hamburger. However, the Ruby Chip Shop in Glasgow, Scotland, that sells the kebab has provided a health warning to customers: "Due to the severe health damage of this fine dish, we can only supply one Stonner supper per customer per week," reads the sign provided by the restaurant's owner, Saei Sangag. '
    • Related link: 'It consists of a sausage, wrapped in doner kebab meat, which is then deep fried and stuck in a pitta bread.'
  • 480-pound woman dies after six years on couch
    • ' She lived in filth, so large she couldn't move from her sofa, even to use the bathroom. Early Wednesday, still fused to the couch, Gayle Laverne Grinds died following a six-hour effort by rescue workers who struggled to lift the 480-pound woman and get her to a Martin County hospital. Unable to separate the skin of the 39-year-old woman from her sofa, 12 Martin County Fire-Rescue workers slid both onto a trailer and hauled her behind a pickup to Martin Memorial Hospital South. She died a short time later. '
    • The story just gets even grosser.
    • Maybe I won't get a Stonner after all.
  • A coffee can make you forgetful. 'A cup of coffee each morning may wake you up, but a new study suggests caffeine might hinder your short-term recall of certain words.'

Games

  • Games.Swirve.com/Utopia
    • 'Join over 70,000 players and experience the world's most popular interactive multiplayer game! Utopia is a medieval fantasy game played on the web directly through your browser - no downloads necessary The Age of Tranquility runs from June 22nd into September. Join in today and get involved in one of the most unique and exciting experiences on the internet. ... Utopia is absolutely FREE to play'
    • 'That which you know as an "Hour", is a full Utopian Day here. Your day? A month. And yes, this means there are 24 days in a month. Each Utopian year contains 7 months. Be aware of this as your friends and advisors do not know of this Earth world, and they will generally keep time in Utopian standards.'
    • Amazing that they have something this complex for free online playing. I wonder what's the catch.
  • I'm not going to cover any of the new funky flashlight modifications for Doom 3, but I did like the Slashdot title on it: "Marine Finds Duct Tape on Mars".
  • AlphaGrip.com & Slashdot thread
    • 'High-speed, desk-free typing and gaming'
    • This could be interesting but nothing's beaten a traditional keyboard yet!

Green

Humanity

  • How to be Creative
    • Outstanding stuff. Here's a short version of the list as of today [2004-08-13]:
      1. ' Ignore everybody.
      2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to change the world.
      3. Put the hours in.
      4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
      5. You are responsible for your own experience.
      6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
      7. Keep your day job.
      8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.
      9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.
      10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
      11. Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.
      12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.
      13. Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.
  • The virtue of idleness
    • 'From the Bible on, moralists and nags have promoted the benefits of hard work and early rising. They are mistaken, argues Tom Hodgkinson. For breathing space to create and time to reflect, indolence is essential. He offers a guide to easy living, pleasurable illness, and effortless sex'
      • This goes along well with my personal philosophy of everything is easy.
    • 'I would argue not only that early rising is totally unnatural but also that lying in bed half awake - sleep researchers call this state "hypnagogic" - is positively beneficial to health and happiness. A good morning doze of half an hour or more can, for example, help you to prepare mentally for the problems and tasks ahead.'
    • 'The English historian EP Thompson, in his classic book The Making Of The English Working Class (1963), argues that the creation of the job is a relatively recent phenomenon, born out of the Industrial Revolution. Before the advent of steam-powered machines and factories in the mid-18th century, work was a much more haphazard affair. People worked, yes, they did "jobs", but the idea of being yoked to one particular employer to the exclusion of all other money-making activity was unknown.'
    • 'The thundering polemicist Thomas Carlyle did much damage in the 19th century by promoting the notion of the dignity or even the romance of hard graft. "Man was created to work, not to speculate, or feel, or dream," he wrote, adding, "Every idle moment is treason." It is your patriotic duty to work hard - another myth, particularly convenient to the rich who, as Bertrand Russell said, "preach the dignity of labour, while taking care themselves to remain undignified in this respect". Or as the late, great British writer Jeffrey Bernard put it: "As if there was something romantic and glamorous about hard work ... if there was something romantic about it, the Duke of Westminster would be digging his own fucking garden, wouldn't he?"
    • Related: Gene Therapy Turns Slackers Into Workaholics [/.]
  • The Transhumans Are Coming!. People really do have to think about this stuff because it is indeed coming.

Images

  • Flickr.com
  • eBoy.com. Hundreds of purposely pixelated drawings.
  • Photo.Stamps.com
    • I thought this was a joke, but it's real. The potential is huge. This may be quite a change in stamps.
    • 'PhotoStamps is an exciting new service that allows you to create your own customized postage. Whether you have a wedding to announce, a new baby in the family or a business to promote, PhotoStamps are a fun and easy way to add a personal touch to all of your mailings.'
    • Make your own stamps

Local

  • Debate strategy is a winner, but voters lose out
    • 'Just don't give this Republican the six debates you promised to give Jack Ryan. Rich Daley doesn't debate his opponents. Why should you? And forget that nonsense you were talking about the Lincoln-Douglas debates, about what you said you owe the people of Illinois, how voters deserve more than glib TV ads and rehearsed sound bites.'
      • It's against our principles to do the Republican thing of "forget principles and focus on winning".
    • 'Instead of the six debates he promised, he's now agreeing to only three. As a political strategy, it's the smart and cautious move.'
      • It's a fair compromise. Keyes has no chance and Obama has a lot of things on his plate so Keyes will have to settle for 3 debates.

Martial Arts

  • Future Warrior Exhibits Super Powers
    • 'Two uniform systems are under development. The Future Force Warrior system will be available for fielding to soldiers in 2010. The Vision 2020 Future Warrior system, which will follow on the concept of the 2010 Future Force Warrior system, is scheduled to be ready 10 years later. ... The new systems include a weapon, head-to-toe individual protection, onboard computer network, soldier-worn power sources, and enhanced human performance. ... Soldiers will be able to chat online with each other while they are walking down a jungle trail. ... As has been seen in science-fiction movies, a dropdown piece of eyewear from the helmet allows the soldier to see a 17-inch computer screen displaying anything relayed to the soldier. ...
    • And they plan to use nanotechnology on the 2020 version too! Awesome!
    • Future Warrior uniformsFutur Warrior viewscreen

Modern Life

  • how famous do you want to be?
    • 'There was a time, I think, in the industries where fame is important, that you had was famous, and not. You had big stars, and you had a thin line of people who had work, and you had failures, or people who felt like failures. But now the drop-off on that curve seems to be less precipitous. It feels, stuck here, so close to the machinery of the Net, that there's a growing middle-class of fame - a whole world of people who aren't really famous'
    • ' Do I spot more people in this middle-rank, just because as time goes on, the middle-rank becomes more obvious, as your tastes settle, and you slide out of the thrashing, heavily-marketted, teenage years - that Age of Heroes? There was a time when the only people I knew were obscure nobodies (like me) and the famous people I saw on the television. But that's because I was young, and only knew other young people, very few of which has a chance at becoming well-known. Now I know a bunch of people, of all ages, some of whom are well-known in their fields. Is that what's filling in the middlespace to me? Am I just blending this with the usual "level playing field" Internet hype, and detecting an effect that isn't there? '
  • ExtremeDemocracy.com. ' "Extreme democracy" is a political philosophy of the information era that puts people in charge of the entire political process. It suggests a deliberative process that places total confidence in the people, opening the policy-making process to many centers of power through deeply networked coalitions that can be organized around local, national and international issues. The choice of the word "extreme" reflects the lessons of the extreme programming movement in technology that has allowed small teams to make rapid progress on complex projects through concentrated projects that yield results far greater than previous labor-intensive programming practices. Extreme democracy emphasizes the importance of tools designed to break down barriers to collaboration and access to power, acknowledging that political realities can be altered by building on rapidly advancing generations of technology and that human organizations are transformed by new political expectations and practices made possible by technology. '

Money

Open Source, Linux

Politics

  • Is It Ann Coulter -- Or Is It David Duke?
    • 'Maybe people wouldn't be so quick to call Ann Coulter a hatemonger if she didn't write so much like...well, an ex-Klansman. Here are twenty-five statements, some from Coulter's best-selling book Slander, others from writings posted by David Duke at his Web site, David Duke Online (including excerpts from his book, My Awakening). ... Can you tell which is which?'
    • EG: '14. During my hundreds of interviews over the years, whenever I mentioned [liberal/Jewish] media domination, my interrogators first would deny the [liberal/Jewish] preponderance of power. Then, when that defense sank beneath a sea of facts, they acted shocked that anyone could even suggest that [liberals/Jews] might use their media power for their own advantage.'

Sex [Assume NSFW]

  • Mail Pornography. This Frenchman has photos proving that he was able to send letters that were blatantly visually pornographic thru the US mail. The example below was the closest to being SFW.
    mail porn

Space

Terror

  • Timeline of Terror Alerts
    • 'Biltud, from Salon.com's TableTalk, posted a few days ago a series of correlations between past terror alerts and political events unfavorable to the Bush administration. I compiled all these correlations and organized them chronologically into a timeline. I also added additional news items and other instances that I found out, detailing the terror alerts over the last few years, and located the original sources for many of these news articles. Soon, Biltud and I started to research together all these occurrences, and more interesting "coincidences" started to appear. We finally built this timeline of terror alerts and how they relate to the news headlines of the days immediately prior to that very alert. I think it's very easy to see a pattern recurring'

US

  • Retired general: Bush foreign policy a 'national disaster'. ' [Retired Gen. Tony McPeak] A former Air Force chief of staff and one-time "Veteran for Bush" said Saturday that America's foreign relations for the first three years of President Bush's term have been "a national disaster" but that the president's Democratic rival was "up to the task" of rebuilding. '

WarCraft

  • When Blizzard came out with the WC3 patch 1.16 in July, the also set everyone's levels back to 0 and their win-loss records back to 0-0. Their intent is to have seasonal records. As I've said this is fair and makes sense. Since then I've been playing 4v4 Random Team games using random race. Since then my peak stats have been as follows:
    • Level 24. Wow! The highest I ever had before was, I think, Level 13.
    • Rank 835. Even more impressive! I had never been on the ladder before. This is more impressive than the Level because my level may have been artificially high because of the new ranking system. The rank however is entirely objective. According to Battle.net, there were roughly 117,157 accounts that played 4v4 RT. That puts my account in the top 0.713%.
    • Seasonal Wins 57.0% out of roughly 220 games. Hmm. That's a higher percentage than I've ever had but it hardly sounds L337.
  • I peaked a few weeks ago. I was playing almost every day for a number of days then. Since then I haven't been playing as much and have slipped off the ladder. Also as an anniversary present to my wife I told her that I would not stay up late playing WC for a week. The week ends tomorrow but I really shouldn't be up late playing WC anyway, so I'll try to play just a few games every few day.
  • Here are some tidbits that I've worked on recently:
    • The Undead Frost Wyrm and the Night Elf Chimera are the 2 ultimate late game units. They both fly and they both do magic attacks. The counter is aa (anti-air) but the better counter is magic-immune aa such as the Undead Destroyers or the Night Elf Dryads.
    • The Human Siege Engine (aka tank) is another ultimate late game unit. It does siege damage (it destroys buildings quickly) but it also has fortified armor (it is very hard to kill). The counter are units that do siege damage. The Undead and the Night Elves have lousy siege protection against tanks because Meat Wagons because their siege units are so slow. On the other hand, Humans and Orcs have the fast Mortar Teams and Raiders respectively.
    • The pacing is the most important thing in these games. Teching is dangerous. The usual pattern is to harass, make 2 barracks-type buildings (for a mix of Tier 1 melee and ranged units), then rush/gradually tech/expand. It is also essential to make 3 towers in your base early on in order to survive a rush.
    • In team games I prefer to get aura heroes unless a team mate is of the same race and is getting the auras. In which case the hero choices are up to preference. As far as hero ultimates, my favorites are the Archmages' Mass Teleport, the Priestess of the Moon's Starfall, the Tauren Chieftan's Reincarnation, and the Lich's Death & Decay.
  • Regarding playability.
    • There are some things I have to accept:
      • I have to accept that there are games where one of my team mates is just not quite up to par, or is goofing off, or isn't playing, is distracted, or may disconnect, or (worst case) may actually backstab (i.e. play to make our team lose on purpose), etc.
      • I have to accept that on occasion I have to do something else during a game or I'll have a disconnect.
      • I have to accept that the other team may be much better than mine.
    • However accepting the above items, WC is still playable. I haven't gotten to a stage where I'm doing the same thing over and over again. When the players are of the same skill level anything can happen and a good back and forth game can ensue. Even if one team loses a member early, a good game can still be had. Nothing can be taken for granted.

Web

  • IE is evolving, but is it enough?
    • Bah. Microsoft has been moving too slowly on the browser front and it looks like they will continue to do so. It's OK that they move slowly on the OS and Visual Studio fronts but there is still such a thing as "Web time" when it comes to browsers. MS sees browsers as competing for their own OS, Office, and Outlook products. All of this is not for the sake of getting a better product but for the sake of tethering in their current base onto the MS line of products.
    • Why is it that the masses find costly changes from Microsoft as acceptable but the masses find inexpensive changes towards Linux OS, Mozilla browsers, and OpenOffice suites as unacceptable? Because the masses are sheep, a mob. They do what the mob does even though there are better options. (And yes of course Linux needs a better GUI.)
    • Related:
  • /CSS/ - a guide for the unglued. 'This is not a complete resource, this is a fast resource. These are the sites that I refer to first, and that I tell people to read. When you want more, just about all of them have their own links to good sites.'
  • Working with HTML DOCTYPE Declarations in FrontPage. Nice to see them mention XML 1.1 and XHTML 1.1 too.
  • XForms 1.0 W3C Recommendation 14 October 2003 & Slashdot thread

Writing

2004-08-19t16:25:33Z | RE: Ramblings .
Quantity and Quality

I've been thinking about quantity and quality again lately.

A while back I read a study about quantity and quality (a link to it may be buried somewhere around here). The study had 2 groups of people who were told to make vases. Group A was told to focus on quantity. Group B was told to focus on quality. After certain time frame guess which group made better vases? Not Group B! It turns out that Group B was trying so hard to make quality that they made very few vases.  Group A on the other hand made a lot of vases so by the end they were very good at making vases.

The old adage of "practice, practice, practice" works. Many of the best use variations of this phrase (EGs: "draw, draw, draw" or "dance, dance, dance" or "write, write, write".). By repetition, you will eventually naturally produce quality.

It helps to have natural talent, but even the most talented also practiced continuously. Michael Jordan practiced continuously. Fred Astaire danced continuously. Albert Einstein would work on problems all day long. Thomas Edison said: "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration".

Most machine that do repetitions however will not improve: most machines will make quantities of the same quality. Sentience must be applied while doing quantity. On the other hand conscious usage of sentience will only take you so far --once you get really deep into a topic, it is intuitive, practically sub-conscious sentience that comes up with stuff your conscious sentience cannot. Mileage and talent is the path to satori. People can attribute this to spirituality (God, gods, spirits, zen detachment, meditation, etc.) if they'd like.

There is the factor of using memory. Inner, personal memory is required. The ability to draw upon outer, public memory can also help in many situations. This is the common idea of "seeing far because you stand on the shoulders of giants". Drawing upon public memory is a shortcut to both quantity and quality because you have a map of ground they've covered. It is helpful to use that external memory but sometimes you have to close your eye to it to see if you can bring a unique perspective to the problem, to see if there is ground that others haven't covered or weren't even aware they didn't know of.

When it comes to love, I'm guessing that doubts about whether A loves B is more a matter of doing the loving (the quantity, quality, and types of interfacing, being, listening, time investment, emotional resonance, physical intimacy, etc.). On one hand the existence of love should enable & create the loving, but on the other hand the loving can also enable & create the existence of love. Both should come into being and exist together but it is very difficult to have one without the other.

In a yin and yang sort of way, people supposedly start are one way in things and become the opposite. I have considered myself an introvert but thinking about quantity and quality is making me think about being more introverted. I've done extensive journaling before but I was always the only audience. A public journal gives me a sense of talking to others (without physically doing it with my mouth!). More importantly though is the pacing. Fighting, dancing, gaming, conversing, debating, etc. are all about the pacing. If I don't keep in pace, if I'm out of rhythm, then I am out of the game. As an introvert you set the pace with yourself (which can get quite extreme mind you!), but as an extrovert you have to sync with others and the rhythm does not stop --it keeps going on just like life keeps going on. As I get older, I think I'm getting more extroverted. If find that I have to keep with the tempo, the pace, the rhythm. I have to keep talking, keep writing, keep fighting, keep living, keep doing, etc. There is no time to be overly concerned with quality because there is so much quantity that has to be done. Back log builds up so quickly that back log never gets done and effectively dies.

2004-08-20t22:11:28Z | RE: Activities, Animation, Video . Comic Art . Cyber Life . Design . Engineering . Food . Humanity . Images . Iraq . Local . Martial Arts . Math . Media . Modern Life . Money . Music . Past Lives . Science . Sex, Love, Relationships . US . US Elections . Web . Words .
2004-08-20t22:11:28Z

Activities, Animation, Video

Comic Art

Cyber Life

  • Google GMail Loader (GML). 'Import your existing email into GMail! I have collected links to many applications that make GMail easier to use.'

Design

  • JoeLaPompe.fr.st. A French site looking at advertising that looks almost like plagiarism of other advertising. Mind you this goes on all the time.
  • Free Fonts for a limited time by FontShop.com.

Engineering

  • Permeable Pavement. Possible used but the idea of permeable pavement as anything like natural eco-system filtration is absurd.
  • Real Man Saddles
    • 'Are you a girly-man, riding a "unisex" bicycle saddle, or are you ready for a Real MAN® Saddle?'
    • A stone seat?! Ha ha! Say whatever you want but I'll take my saddle as soft and wide as possible please. I've been seeing a return of the banana seat which I consider to be a good comfortable design.

Food

Humanity

  • Records shed light on grim slave lives: Poignant insurance data on Internet. The actual list is at www.ins.state.il.us/Consumer/SlaveryReporting.nsf.
  • The Gift [MeFi]
    • 'Last summer, not long after Zell Kravinsky had given almost his entire forty-five-million-dollar real-estate fortune to charity, he called Barry Katz, an old friend in Connecticut, and asked for help with an alibi. Would Katz call Kravinsky's wife, Emily, in Philadelphia, and say that the two men were about to take a weeklong trip to Katz's ski condominium in Vermont? This untruth would help Kravinsky do something that did not have his wife's approval: he would be able to leave home, check into the Albert Einstein Medical Center, in Philadelphia, for a few days, and donate a kidney to a woman whose name he had only just learned.'
    • Sounds like trouble brewing!
    • Seriously though this story deserves serious discussion about ethical issues. While Kravinsky's behavior may seem like a psychological illness, then certainly similar over-zealous goodness by Jesus Christ, Buddha, some saints, etc. could also be viewed in the same light.

Images

Iraq

  • Iraq's Child Prisoners
    • 'A Sunday Herald investigation has discovered that coalition forces are holding more than 100 children in jails such as Abu Ghraib. Witnesses claim that the detainees -- some as young as 10 -- are also being subjected to rape and torture'
    • How is it that this continues to go on? This is simply inexcusable.
  • They Knew.... 'Despite the whitewash, we now know that the Bush administration was warned before the war that its Iraq claims were weak'
  • Iraq and the Gulf of Tonkin
    • 'President Bush made clear Sunday the U.S. was justified in toppling Saddam irrespective of elusive WMDs. The liberation of Iraq, in the neocon scenario, would be followed by a democratic Iraq that would quickly recognize Israel. This, in turn, would "snowball" -- the analogy only works in the Cedar Mountains of Lebanon -- through the region, bringing democracy from Syria to Egypt and to the sheikhdoms, emirates and monarchies of the Gulf.'
      • Ha! And some of these guys were claiming to be Realists!

Local

  • ChicagolandForKerry.com. This may not be necessary since Illinois is a Democratic stronghold.
  • AnimeSoundVision.com
    • 'A unique anime experience in Chicago: November 19 & 20, 2004 Holiday Inn O'Hare'
    • Including folks from Kill Bill!

Martial Arts

  • U.S. ends 100-year-old gold medal drought in fencing
    • '[19 year old Mariel] Zagunis became the first American woman ever to win a fencing gold medal, overwhelming China's Tan Xue 15-9 in women's saber. Zagunis claimed the first gold medal for any American fencer in 100 years. At the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, the United States swept something called single sticks.'
    • Go USA! Way to go Zagunis! The US has been the Chicago Cubs of Olympic fencing. Fencing is one of only four sports that have been in each of the games since modern Olympics began in 1896. Of the hundreds of medals given for fencing, the US has only gotten 17 medals! 10 of those medals were in 1904 alone --a year when the Olmpics had very poor attendance. 3 of the 1904 medals were for singlestick and that was the only year that the singlestick appeared in the Olympics.
    • This has personal significance to me since I am currently practicing historical rapier swordplay which is the predecessor to modern Olympic sport fencing.
    • It's also funny to see that our last win was in "single stick" which is something we practice at the Chicago Swordplay Guild!
    • Related:
  • PhoneBooking.com
    • 'Q - What is phonebooking? A - Phonebooking is a craze that has been sweeping across North American university and college campuses. It is the act of attacking an unsuspecting victim with a standard, telephone company issued phonebook.'
    • Kids these day: They're all punks!
  • Bin Ladin's Former 'Bodyguard' Interviewed on Al-Qa'ida Strategies
    • '(Abu-Jandal) Al-Qa'ida pursues a method or principle that calls for "centralization of decision and decentralization of execution." The decision was made centrally, but the method of attack and execution was the duty of field commanders.'
      • But all of us knew this already, right?
    • '(Abu-Jandal) The problem is Al-Qa'ida itself is now longer an entity but an ideology. It has become an ideology now. Many youths now carry Al-Qa'ida ideology against United States. Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi was in Afghanistan. He was also in Kabul and he used to often meet with Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin. But I don't think that he is Al-Qa'ida's number one man, because Al-Qa'ida has Iraqi cadres that exist in Iraq. So it can dispense with Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi.'
    • '(Abu-Jandal) Matters have changed much, especially since there is no leadership leading these youths, or to be more precise there are any influential personalities that can influence these elements as individuals. There is another problem. The issue now is such that it is not essential for Al-Qa'ida member to execute the job. Persons outside Al-Qa'ida could carry out operations, as happened in the killing of US missionaries in Jablah and Jarallah Umar in the Reform Conference. The executors of these two operations had nothing to do with Al-Qa'ida and did not leave Yemen in the first place. No one can control these matters, as they have become rather loose. They are no longer under Al-Qa'ida control. It is now feelings that motivate people everywhere. As to whether they are active, Al-Qa'ida elements are very well trained. However, their comprehension of information differs from one person to another. As to whether they are active, I say yes they are active, but in the interest of their country, especially after the recent statements by Democratic candidate Kerry, who announced that Yemen is one of the sources of terrorism, and that it must be attacked. I believe that many youths would begin to prepare themselves for this new confrontation, as it is very likely for the United States to come to the whole region -- and it is coming -- in order to control the entire Middle East. I don't expect Yemeni youths, especially those who trained in Al-Qa'ida and carried al-Qa'ida ideology to stands with their hands tied before US moves in the region.'
    • '(Abu-Jandal) Frankly, we cannot but speak well of these people, especially about these three personalities. But, the truth of the matter is, as I said before, when the United States wants to fabricate a problem with a state, a group, or an organization in the Islamic World it links it to Al-Qa'ida, such as when it shut down the Saudi Al-Haramayn Foundation, although it is a welfare institution that has nothing to do with armed organizations. The same can also be said about many other welfare and relief organizations. Shaykh Mu'ayyad, Shaykh Al-Zandani, Shaykh Al-Sa'tar, and others will remain a target for the United States. God says in the Koran: "Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee." No matter how we tried to improve our image, hold dialogue of civilizations, or call for the unity of religions, Jews and Christians will not be pleased with us. As far as Shaykh Al-Zandani and Shaykh Sa'tar are concerned, it is well known that Shaykh Sa'tar in particular is against Al-Qa'ida and armed action in general. So how can he be a supporter of Al-Qa'ida? Even we the former Al-Qa'ida members had engaged in heated arguments with him on several occasions. The man is completely against us. So how can he be a supporter of Al-Qa'ida?'
    • '(Abu-Jandal) Al-Qa'ida had sought right from the start to foster confrontation between the United States and the Islamic World. I recall Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin telling us: We as an organization cannot continue with the qualitative operations. So we have to draw the United States into a confrontation with all the Islamic peoples. This was the plan in the Somalia days. Bin Ladin had wished the capture of a single US soldier alive to make the United States withdraw and for the fighting to continue everywhere. Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin and the Al-Qa'ida have pursued this endeavor and succeeded in drawing the United States into an unequal confrontation, not from the military technology aspect, but from the ideology aspect. Muslims have now reached the point where they are fed up with the United States, which lives in prosperity off our nation's resources. I believe that the United States is heading for its demise. As to the future of Al-Qa'ida, I believe that it has found what it wanted. It can now melt into a new caldron, and a new giant would be reborn, of which Al-Qa'ida would be a part. Many of the Islamic World leaders would join it and the confrontation with the United States would be inevitable. And, Al-Qa'ida would not be the leader but a vanguard army.'
  • National Preparedness Month-September 2004. From the US GSA.

Math

  • Oliver Byrne's edition of Euclid
    • 'An unusual and attractive edition of Euclid was published in 1847 in England, edited by an otherwise unknown mathematician named Oliver Byrne. It covers the first 6 books of Euclid, which range through most of elementary plane geometry and the theory of proportions. What distinguishes Byrne's edition is that he attempts to present Euclid's proofs in terms of pictures, using as little text - and in particular as few labels - as possible. What makes the book especially striking is his use of colour.'
    • Beautiful.
  • Math and Logic Puzzles and Games. 'WARNING!!! The puzzles on this site are very difficult, and most require the use of a good spreadsheet program in order to solve them. It will take many hours, perhaps days, to solve each puzzle. They are intended for people with a degree in math, or those capable of attaining one. For easier puzzles see the links.'

Media

Modern Life

Money

  • Income Gap Up Over Two Decades, Data Show
  • Google Shares Hit $100.34 in Market Debut
    • 'The stock's performance isn't likely to generate many complaints at Google, its underwriters or anyone else holding the appreciating stock. But it's a letdown for the company, which only profits from the 14 million initial shares it sold at $85 each, and pre-IPO shareholders who sold 5.5 million at the same price. '
      • Not too bad.
    • 'An estimated 950 to 1,050 of Google's nearly 2,300 employees are paper millionaires, according to an analysis done by Salary.com, which tracks employee compensation.'
      • Those of us who survived the tech bubble of the 1990s are saying "Quick! Cash in now!".
  • Reality Check: Life and Debt Why American Families are Borrowing to the Hilt & PDF & MeFi'Household debt and personal bankruptcies are reaching record highs despite low interest rates and rising real estate values. Median mortgage debt for low-income families has tripled since 1989, while total household debt has risen to over 80 percent of GDP, up from only half in 1980. It appears American families are borrowing more than ever just to make ends meet, by a house, or educate their children. Life and Debt looks at how families are becoming more indebted, and what some of the harmful consequences might be.'

Music

Past Lives

  • Olympics: the naked truth. Ten differences between the ancient and the modern Olympic games: '1 Oil all over 2 Original stew 3 Ritual sacrifices 4 War games 5 Sex games 6 Forbidden women 7 Two jumps ahead 8 Winning matters 9 Victory through violence 10 Olympic whiff-whaff.

Science

  • At play with firm's clone kittens
    • 'A US company offering a pet cloning service has successfully cloned two cats: Tabouli and Baba Ganoush. BBC News Online's Maggie Shiels is the first British journalist to see them. Here, she tells of meeting the copy cats.'
    • Oh. So SavingsAndClone.com is real.

Sex, Love, Relationships [Assume NSFW]

  • No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.
    • 'I was thinking in the shower this morning about how many people I know -- women, men, transfolks, others -- have some sort of sexual violence somewhere in their pasts, wondering how many more people I know have some sort of sexual violence lurking in their future. I wondered for a moment what it would look like if just for one day, everyone who had survived sexual violence were visible as a survivor, if we could actually see the extent of it, if we could all know just how very not-alone we are. I wondered how angry and sad it would make me to know. I wondered how much power there might be in the truth.'
      • And the neat thing is that her post received hundreds of comments.
  • Rushdie push to porn freedom
    • 'Salman Rushdie claims that pornography is vital to freedom and supports his argument with statistics about the volume of porn traffic on the Internet in Pakistan. The controversial author argues that a free and civilised society should be judged by its willingness to accept pornography.'
    • ' "We didn't take sex so seriously thousands of years ago because we had so many other things to worry about, such as surviving," he said. '
  • Study: Breast Baring Popular in 1600s
    • 'Women of the 1600s, from queens to prostitutes, commonly exposed one or both breasts in public and in the popular media of the day, according to a study of fashion, portraits, prints, and thousands of woodcuts from 17th-century ballads. The finding suggests breast exposure by women in England and in the Netherlands during the 17th century was more accepted than it is in most countries today. Researchers, for example, say Janet Jackson's Super Bowl baring would not even have raised eyebrows in the 17th century. '
    • ' Far from being a sign of tawdriness, Jones said breast exposure during the 1600s could indicate a woman's virtue. "The exposure of the breast was a display of the classical and youthful beauty of the woman -- she was showing her 'apple like' unused Venus breasts," Jones said. "This was a display of her virtue, her beauty, and her youth. Upper class women maintained the quality of their breasts by not breast feeding their children and passing them on to wet nurses." '
  • GoofyFootPress.com/greatdates. No, no, not escorts, silly! Just ideas on what to do on dates.
  • PaperNapkin.net. If some loser asks for your email, then 'Give them anyname@papernapkin.net (or paamail.com, to be less suspicious), tell them it's your address, and when they write you, they'll automatically get a response telling them how badly they've been rejected.'

US

  • Chart: Bush Ratings vs. Terror Alerts. What a tool.
  • Turning a Phrase, Not a Corner
    • 'Clinton's former speechwriter asks what, exactly we're turning the corner on -- the federal deficit made worse by his tax cuts for the rich? The preemptive war he started? The problem isn't Bush's rhetoric, it's his policies.'
    • 'For all the simplicity that appeals to Bush and his media adviser Karen Hughes, slogans such as "We're turning the corner, and we're not turning back" can boomerang on Bush, just as they did this week. His opponents can ask "Why not turn back" to the country's condition before Bush took office -- peace, prosperity, and a nation that was at least a little less polarized? And what are we turning the corner on? The problems Bush inherited? Or those he himself presided over, such as the growing federal deficit and rising unemployment?'
  • A Conversation With Colin Powell
    • 'Colin Powell and P. J. O'Rourke discuss foreign policy, Volvos, Elvis, and more. The full transcript of an interview from the September 2004'
    • Powell is smarter and more moderate than Bush. I'd rather have Powell as President.
  • Hating Dick Cheney. 'The new national pastime is as puzzling and unsatisfying as watching baseball'

     

US Elections

Web

Words

  • WordNet.Princeton.edu. 'WordNet® is an online lexical reference system whose design is inspired by current psycholinguistic theories of human lexical memory. English nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are organized into synonym sets, each representing one underlying lexical concept. Different relations link the synonym sets.'

2004-08-27t17:08:26Z | RE: Computers . Engineering . Green . Healthcare . Local . Martial Arts . Modern Life . Money . Programming . Science . US . US Elections . Web . World .
2004-08-27t17:08:26Z

Computers

Engineering

  • Glass breakthrough
    • 'Scientists in the US have developed a novel technique to make bulk quantities of glass from alumina for the first time. Anatoly Rosenflanz and colleagues at 3M in Minnesota used a "flame-spray" technique to alloy alumina (aluminium oxide [Al2O3) with rare-earth metal oxides to produce strong glass with good optical properties.'
    • 'They found that their samples were much harder than conventional silica-based glasses and were almost as hard as pure polycrystalline alumina. Moreover, over 95% of the glasses were transparent (see figure) and had attractive optical properties.'
    • Thanks Scottie!

Green

  • Getting Serious About Fuel Cells [/.]. Good news. Except for Bush and company, businessmen and politicians are starting to get the message about alternative energies and greener living. Green is the new economy stupid.
  • MoveIn.org/roadless/
    • 'The Bush administration has announced plans to open 60 million acres of America's last pristine wild forests to logging, drilling, and mining. It's the biggest single giveaway to the timber industry in the history of our national forests.'
    • Please click to send out emails for a Green cause.

Healthcare

  • eHealthInsurance.com. I know that healthcare, esp. healthcare insurance is all screwed up in America, but the idea of HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) sounds like a good idea for now. Basically an HSA is like a combination of health insurance and an IRA. You have a high deductible and you pay "premiums" that are actually pre-tax and go into an IRA. If you have medical expenses, then they are drawn, pre-tax, from this IRA.

Local

  • I knew that they were shooting some of the new Batman movie in Chicago, esp. at Lower Wacker. My friend Nick happened to take a few shot of the "Gotham Police Department" cars parked downtown at Washington and Franklin.
    Gotham Police Department vehicles parked in Chicago

Martial Arts

  • Verdict unclear on new Olympic fencing masks: Some athletes complain they hinder sight, breath
    • This story matters to me because I use fencing masks when I practice and I have considered getting one of these new masks where part of the face mesh is replaced with clear material.
      • Its seems to me that the fogging issue could be reduced simply by extending a notch of mesh into the clear material so the nasal breathing would not cause as much fogging.
      • The scratching is unfortunate but it would take a heck of a lot of scratching to make the visibility worse than what you see through regular mesh.
    • The new clear visor fencing masks in use
  • Western Martial Arts Workshop 2004
    • Excellent seminars and good tournaments.
    • "Permitted weapons forms are: Single Rapier, Rapier & Dagger, Rapier & Cloak, Single small- sword, small-sword & dagger and small sword & cloak. Double Rapier and Rapier and Buckler are NOT permitted at this time, any other combination not specifically mention in the list of permitted weapons forms are NOT permitted."
      • I can sort of see ruling out Double Rapier but it seems wrong to rule out Rapier & Buckler.
    • logo for the WMAW 2004
  • TheARMA.org/Videos/TPVideos.htm. This isn't news but it's fun to see stuff like this now and then.
  • Movie review: 'Hero'
    • Wow! You rarely see a martial arts movie get 4 stars. Plus Hero is even more popular than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in Asia.
    • Cast includes: Nameless - Jet Li, Broken Sword - Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Flying Snow - Maggie Cheung (of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Sky - Donnie Yen, King of Qin - Chen Daoming, Moon - Zhang Ziyi.
    • Related:
  • "Reviewing Reviews" by John Clements, the Director of ARMA.
    • This article seems to involve some politics between JC, the Western Martial Arts community, Del Tin, the Chicago Swordplay Guild (of which I am a member), and esp. of some WMA fellow named "Gus". I won't say what the rest of the CSG and WMA community are saying about the article but here's what I posted to the CSG:
    • 'I've read articles by JC before but admittedly I do not know him, or the political and social history of the WMA, ARMA, and the CSG. On the other hand I've been an active adult member of the MAs since 1986 (I'm not counting the Chicago Park District boxing I did as a kid), so I can provide both an internal and external perspective.

      1. The article is a typical kind that appears regularly in the MAs that remind us to distinguish between real combat and combat done in the context of MAs and sport. Thankfully only a few of us engage in real combat professionally (military, police, security, mobsters, etc.). Thankfully most of us live in a country (and neighborhoods) where we civilians do not have to engage in real combat out of necessity frequently. In this country, in our neighborhoods, the necessity for real combat by civilians should be very rare. Civilians who get into real combat regularly depraved lives: They cannot avoid it because they are deficient emotionally, intellectually, or (worse yet) spiritually.

      2. It was OK for JC to do an article with the message of #1 above, but the problem is that he essentially accused others of not being aware of #1. I've said before that my opponents and myself have broken the other's bones, drawn the other's blood, and generally fucked the other up, but I know from experience that doing such in real combat is markedly different from doing such in a MAs or sport context. And I am not alone in my experience. Many others who practice MAs, who are not professionals in real combat, have also had a taste of real combat. Admittedly there will always be a few beginners or (worse) deluded souls in the MAs who think that their MAs combat is real combat, but many of us in the MAs also try to bring our MAs very close to real combat on occasion.

      3. JC is himself a combat professional but he does not do real combat professionally. However even real combat professionals can't tell us we can't understand. It's like the lame "It's a Black/Female/Jewish/Japanese/Marine/Geek Thing ... you wouldn't understand". Howzabout you explain it to me, eh?! We're all different and we have different perspectives but I believe in the human capacity to understand, imagine, and empathize.

      4. I'll take any review of anything I intend to buy. I always assume caveat emptor, so I make myself responsible for evaluating a review and the reviewer. We're should all be pretty media savvy and we should  all be wary enough to watch out not just for pop ups but for paid advertising hidden between the lines and right in our face. Plus even if all the stuff a reviewer says is fluff, at the very least I would hope their reporting on price, dimensions, weights, and other fairly objective properties of a sword are accurate.'

Modern Life

Money

Programming

  • Linus Torvalds' Benevolent Dictatorship [Interview] [/.]
    • 'Q: What makes you believe Linux will continue to gain momentum? A: I think, fundamentally, open source does tend to be more stable software. It's the right way to do things. I compare it to science vs. witchcraft. In science, the whole system builds on people looking at other people's results and building on top of them. In witchcraft, somebody had a small secret and guarded it -- but never allowed others to really understand it and build on it.'
      • Brilliant.
    • 'Q: Some say Linux and a lot of open-source projects really aren't innovative, that they're copies of commercial products. What's your reaction to that?A: ... In open source, you don't have a circus. You don't see a sudden explosion. It's not done that way. All development is very gradual -- whether commercial or open source. Even when you have a big thinker coming along with a new idea, actually getting it working takes a lot of sweat and tears.'
    • 'Q: You're clearly the leader of the Linux movement, but what does that mean? How do you lead? Are you a benevolent dictator, as some have called you? A: To be honest, the fact that people trust you gives you a lot of power over people. Having another person's trust is more powerful than all other management techniques put together. I have no legal or explicit power. I only have the power of having people's trust -- but that's a lot of power. I am a dictator, but it's the right kind of dictatorship. I can't really do anything that screws people over. The benevolence is built in. I can't be nasty. If my baser instincts took hold, they wouldn't trust me, and they wouldn't work with me anymore. I'm not so much a leader, I'm more of a shepherd. Now all the kernel developers will read that and say, "He's comparing us to sheep." It's more like herding cats.'
      • Brilliant.
    • 'Q: How do you pick the core kernel contributors. How many are there? A: The lieutenants get picked. It's not me or any other leader who picks them. The programmers are very good at selecting leaders. There's no process for making somebody a lieutenant. But somebody who gets things done, shows good taste, and has good qualities -- people just start sending them suggestions and patches. I didn't design it this way. This happens because this is the way people work. It's very natural.'
    • 'Q: Q: After SCO sued IBM, I understand that you changed the development process to lessen the likelihood that patented code will get into the kernel. What have you done? A: ... Recently we made the path of who has touched the patch explicit. We have sign-off procedures. People who were involved sign off on their contribution and confirm that they have the legal right to offer it. So, if somebody has a question, we can look it up. We can see where the code came from and who did it. If somebody asks us, we can show them we did everything right.

Science

  • The Singularity Blinds Sci-Fi [/.]. The Singularity is a when our technological advancement gets to such a pace that we can no longer predict where it will go, i.e. our technology will shoot off the chart.

US

US Elections

  • McCain says end war over Vietnam: Top Bush lawyer with link to vets group resigns
    • 'With Vietnam veterans taking sides over Sen. John Kerry's war record, Republican Sen. John McCain, a Navy pilot held prisoner in Vietnam for almost six years, sharply criticized Kerry's critics Wednesday and said the long-ago war in Southeast Asia should not be an issue in the presidential campaign.'
    • ' "I'm sick and tired of reopening the wounds of the Vietnam War," McCain said in an interview. "As we speak, some young American is dying in Iraq. All the issues facing the nation are being lost." '

Web

  • It's Just the 'internet' Now? [/.]. I'm old school and I prefer to differentiate between an internet and The Internet, a web and The Web.
  • CSS for "spoilers".
    • I saw this simple technique somewhere recently. The idea is that if you are going to post something that is a spoiler, then warn the readers and then change the CSS for that section of text so that the background and the text are the same color. If someone want to read the spoiler, the merely have to highlight the section.
    • EG: "The Wizard of Oz is a wonderful movie. However (SPOILER coming) in the end it turns out that the Wizard of Oz is not a wizard at all but a man who used to be a balloonist circus but when he landed in Oz he ended up using fancy machines to make the people think he was a mighty wizard.

     

World

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