2004-06-21t15:29:16Z | TAGS: aaBlog. 9/11. Bush. Chicago. Computers. Cyber Life. Deaths. Elections. Engineering. Faith. Food. Fun. Green. Images. Interesting. Iraq. Jokes. Politics. Prisoner Abuse. Programming. Science. Sex. Show Biz. Web. World.
2004-06-21t15:29:16Z

aaBlog

• Since I was away from the Internet for several weeks, I've got a lot to catch up on. What I'll do is gradually catch up while trying to stay up on current stuff at the same time.
• Yes, I'm still working on my notes and photos of my trip to the Philippines. Believe it or not, I've actually started scanning photos and typing in my notes.
• For my own benefit, here's a quick summary of what happened in the world during the blog gap:
• The head of the Iraqi Governing Council got killed.
• More news of systematic prisoner abuse, purposeful US violations of the Geneva Convention, etc.
• Michael Moore's movie Fahrenheit 9/11 took top prize at Cannes.
• Troy, Shrek2, The Day After Tomorrow, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban released.
• Chicago beaches opened for the season.
• Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet quit.

9/11

• Sept. 11 Plot Envisioned 10 Hijackings, Report Says. 'The mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks told investigators he proposed hijacking 10 planes to crash into U.S. nuclear power plants, the Central Intelligence Agency and high-rise buildings on the West Coast in addition to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a federal commission's report says.'
• 9/11 Panel Says Iraq Rebuffed Bin Laden
• 'Bluntly contradicting the Bush administration, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday there was "no credible evidence" that Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaida target the United States.'
• I told you so.
• It's been fascinating listening to the tapes of air control, terrorists, and stuff on the day of 9/11. It's like reliving the day. There's just so much material on this subject and America is so eager to hear it all.

Bush

Chicago

Computers

• Microsoft creating Windows for supercomputers. ' Microsoft has launched an effort to produce a version of Windows [Windows Server HPC Edition] for high-performance computing, a move seen as a direct attack on a Linux stronghold. '
• I'm betting that Microsoft will never catch up for several reasons:
• The ones who need supercomputing are already using Linux.
• Open source. Windows and C# won't be fast and customizable enough. Supercomputing speed is all about custom jobs for maximum efficiency.
• Microsoft is already way behind on Linux in this area.
• Use of Linux Grows in Public Sector
• 'The latest Linux win is the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), in Washington, which provides administrative support, program management and policy development services to U.S. federal courts.'
• 'Red Hat reported 87,000 units of Enterprise Linux sold last quarter, which was about double the number sold in the previous quarter'
• Can you say ''good investment"?
• A splintering Linux community
• 'Remember, the difference between Linux and the most popular desktop OS is that unlike the popular OS, every single Linux installation, no matter what kind of eye candy it displays on screen, can be fully manipulated all the way down to the kernel level by anyone who needs this level of control over his or her computer. Those who don't want to use a GUI in Linux aren't forced to do so, even if the box they're using has one installed.'
• So Linux geeks and "Lusers" should be able to get along.
• 'The weight of Linux development has swung toward commercializers and non-technical users. This is reality.'
• P-P-P-Powerbook.com. ' It started with a scam, and turned into the greatest prank ever. '
• Molecular Media Project. 'The aim of the Molecular Media Project is to use cells and atoms to perform useful computational tasks at the micron (10-6m) and/or nanoscales (10-9m) of organisation. There are 1000 mm in a metre (10-3m), there are 1,000,000 µm in a metre (10-6m), there are 1,000,000,000 nm in a metre (10-9m)!'
• USB adaptors & DIY antenna = "Poor Man's WiFi" ?. This has got to turn on a lot of engineers.
• Munich to stick with open source
• 'Munich, the city whose switch to Linux was seen as so significant it attracted a personal visit from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, has announced that its yearlong trial is a success and that it will stick with open source for its PCs.'
• 'The change will officially take place on July 1, and 14,000 desktops will permanently migrate to the open-source platform. The pilot was run using Novell's SuSE Linux and IBM products.'
• 'The city's move to Linux is the biggest migration ever from proprietary software to open source, and it will call for municipal PCs and notebooks to move from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice and to use the Mozilla browser.'
• Linux is obsolete [1992-01-29]. The infamous Usenet thread between Linus Torvalds (maker of Lunux) and Andrew Tanenbaum (maker of Minix, the inspiration of Linux).
• I finally tried OpenOffice today. OpenOffice is a free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office.
• To maximize OpenOffice, I also had to get the latest JRE (Java Runtime Environment) from Java.com.
• I installed it on my machine following the instructions for a multi-user Windows environment. The result is I had to effectively install it twice: once as the source files for network installs, and a second time as a program on my local machine.
• So far it works perfectly and looks very clean. The annoying thing is that some of the keyboard shortcuts that I had gotten used to in Microsoft Excel don't work in the OpenOffice spreadsheet.

Cyber Life

• Yahoo Email upgrades. Whoo hoo!
• Not only has Yahoo modernized their look, but now Yahoo gives you 100 MB of storage space and allows you to send 10 MB sized emails. It's not quite the 1 GB of storage promised by Google's Gmail, but it is certainly appreciated. Isn't competition wonderful?
• I still wish they'd provide "Reply to Sender" and "Reply to Everyone" as separate buttons instead of available by a drop down menu.
• So far it also looks like they've made the banner ads up on top a consistent size. This is very helpful because if you keep the mouse cursor over the delete button, and delete, then the cursor will still be over the delete button for the next message.
• The calendar has changed but not improved. EG: In the month view, today's date is no longer highlighted.
• I dislike how all their hyperlinks are now just colored instead of colored and underlined.
• The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged
• The Quintessential MP3 Guide: Part 2. Gee it's almost too bad that I'm not into MP3s.

Deaths

Elections

• Playing Dirty. ' This year's presidential campaign is already shaping up to be even more negative than the last. That's no accident. Our correspondent looks at the cloak-and-dagger world of opposition research--the updated version of "dirty tricks" '
• National Poll Gives Kerry Solid Lead [LA Times, 2004-06-10]
• ' Kerry, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts, led Bush by 51 percent to 44 percent nationally in a two-way match-up, according to the poll of 1,230 registered voters taken from Saturday to Tuesday. '
• Good news, but we'll need to keep the pressure up.

Engineering

• Micro-sculptures give metal the Velcro touch
• ' To make a projection, researchers focus a beam of electrons in a vacuum chamber at the point on a metal surface where they want it to grow. The metal melts at the centre of the beam. When the beam is moved sideways, surface tension pulls the molten metal into a droplet. '
• ' Dance says his early tests show that these joints will last far longer than current composite-metal joints, which are held together by adhesives. Surfi-Sculpt has so far been successfully tested on stainless steel, aluminium and titanium, but TWI expects that it will work on any material that melts, such as glass and plastics. '
• Hy-Wire Driving Is a Gas. ' As I stood in a queue to test-drive the Hy-wire, General Motors' hydrogen-powered concept car, a GM rep joked about the many design modifications made to oblige the public's hard-wired driving habits. "We had to add footrests," the rep said. "People were just sliding right down off the seat." '

Faith

• Supreme Court Preserves 'God' in Pledge
• ' The ruling came on the day that Congress set aside to honor the national flag. The ruling also came exactly 50 years after Congress added the disputed words "under God" to what had been a secular patriotic oath. '
• How lame: they just side stepped the issue.
• ' The reference is an "official acknowledgment of our nation's religious heritage," similar to the "In God We Trust" stamped on coins and bills, Solicitor General Theodore Olson argued to the court. It is far-fetched to say such references pose a real danger of imposing state-sponsored religion, Olson said. '
• True but the principle of the thing is the separation of religion and state, and these references to God are clear violations of that principle.
• ' Congress adopted the pledge as a secular, patriotic tribute in 1942, at the height of World War II. Congress added the phrase "under God" more than a decade later, in 1954, when the world had moved from hot war to cold. Supporters of the new wording said it would set the United States apart from godless communism. '
• Yep, the ancient practice of slaving religious zeal for political purposes.
• This argument will resurface in a stronger manifestation in the future. For now, I'm fine with not having as a distraction from current efforts.
• "Freethought Revival"
• 'Susan Jacoby dissects the history of secularism in the U.S., and argues the time is right for a new secular hero.'
• Very good. There is clearly a need to define terms (such as freethinker, agnostic, atheist, deist, orthodox, secular, religious, right, etc.) and be aware how they are used or abused in different contexts.

Food

• HillBillyHousewife.com
• 'Welcome to my website. I'm Maggie, the proprietor. I created this site so that I could access all of my recipes easily and so that I could clean out the recipe boxes under my bed. Like most personal projects, this is a work in progress. Be patient with me please. I am not a professional, and this is not a professional website. I am just a humble, barefoot, hillbilly, woman with too many irons in the fire, like most folks. '
• Now you can eat like a real American.
• Butter v Margarine
• Butter and margarine (aka vegetable spread and the like) are equivalent in calories and both get their calories from fat. However, there are differences in the fat.
• Cholesterol, particularly the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, is associated with heart disease and clogged arteries. Margarine is made from vegetables whereas butter is made from cow's milk, so butter has no cholesterol. (Some people will say that cholesterol is however still required in moderation.)  Winner: Perhaps margarine.
• Saturated fat  is associated with an increase in cholesterol and heart disease. Butter is 66% saturated fat, whereas margarine is 14% saturated fat. (Some people will say that the hydrogenating to make margarine creates what is effectively a saturated fat). Winner: Perhaps margarine.
• Trans fatty acids raise LDL but lower HDL. Trans fats may contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. The hydrogenating ("hardening") of liquid vegetable oil to make margarine turns polyunsaturated fat into trans fatty acids. The trans fatty acids in are lower for softer margarines such as those found in tubs or squeeze bottles. Winner: Butter or very soft margarines.
• Butter may have chemicals from cows since cows are often given drugs or their food may have pesticides. Margarine may have chemicals via food additive and via the pesticides used on the vegetables. Winner: Neither.
• Butter is a natural fat, whose chemical structure is similar to fat found in our bodies. Margarine is an unnatural (man-made) fat. Winner: Butter.
• Butter naturally contains fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K; margarine does not. Winner: Butter.
• Margarine costs roughly twice as much as butter. Hence for the sake of money, I think margarine is the clear winner.
• For melting onto foods, I think a soft margarine would work better better than butter. For making flaky crusts and such, butter is necessary. For pure taste, butter is usually preferred.
• Related:
• "Margarine Versus Butter" by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
• "The argument for eating margarine and other products containing hydrogenated oils are their lack of cholesterol. Margarine is also less expensive than butter. However, margarine contains refined, artificially saturated vegetable oil. It also contains harmful trans-fatty acids, and often residues of the toxic metals nickel and cadmium. Butter is a natural food and a good source of important fat-soluble vitamins. You will pay more for butter, but nutritionally it is well worth it."
• "Margarine Versus Butter" by Pamela Dean
• "Margarine vs. Butter" by Dr. Andrew Weil
• "Many people ask me whether I think it is better to eat butter or margarine. They should be asking whether it is worse to eat butter or margarine, because both are concentrated fats that contribute to the unhealthy excess of fat calories that most of us consume. I don't keep either of them in my house. But if I were forced to make a choice, I'd take the real thing in modest amounts, and I recommend that choice to you as well."
• "Butter versus Margarine" by Susan Harrow Rago, RD, MS

Fun

• This robot solves the 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube
• PlayingWithTime.org
• ' Here at the Playing With Time web site, unseen worlds of change will be revealed. You will see time sped up and slowed down, and behold the beauty of change. Time will be in your hands to witness, replay, and even create. You never know... you might not look at things quite the same way again. '
• Kids love these kinds of videos.

Green

• Global Dimming? Possibly part of the phenomena of Sudden Climactic Change.
• Scare highlights growing problem
• ' "A fed bear is a dead bear," Jeffreys said. "Once you feed them, they lose all fear of man." '
• I disagree with the decision to shoot the bear. I would have shot the bear only if the tranquilizing darts solution ran into problems.

Images

• Poverty's Palette. Astonishing. We've all seen B&W pictures from the US Depression that look historical historical, but these color pictures from the era make it seem like they were taken by a blogger of today.
• WPA Photograph Collection

Interesting

• Satellite images 'show Atlantis'. ' Satellite photos of southern Spain reveal features on the ground appearing to match descriptions made by Greek scholar Plato of the fabled utopia. Dr Rainer Kuehne thinks the "island" of Atlantis simply referred to a region of the southern Spanish coast destroyed by a flood between 800 BC and 500 BC. '
• Bill Cosby: Poor blacks can't speak English
• ' In the presence of NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and other African-American leaders, comedian Bill Cosby took aim at blacks who don't take responsibility for their economic status, blame police for incarcerations and teach their kids poor speaking habits. '
• I've always said that Bill's a comic genius.

Iraq

Jokes

• 'A Well-Known Monk

A wandering monk walked barefoot everywhere he went, to the point that the soles of his feet eventually became quite thick and leathery. And because he ate very little, he gradually became very frail. Several days often passed between opportunities to brush his teeth, so he usually had bad breath. Therefore, throughout the region, he came to be known as the super-calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.'

Politics

• "Cold Turkey" by Kurt Vonnegut
• ' Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America's becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas. '

• ' For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break! '

• ' If you want to take my guns away from me, and you're all for murdering fetuses, and love it when homosexuals marry each other, and want to give them kitchen appliances at their showers, and you're for the poor, you're a liberal.

If you are against those perversions and for the rich, you're a conservative.

What could be simpler? '

• 'That chief and his cohorts have as little to do with Democracy as the Europeans had to do with Christianity. We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next. In case you haven't noticed, they've already cleaned out the treasury, passing it out to pals in the war and national security rackets, leaving your generation and the next one with a perfectly enormous debt that you'll be asked to repay.'
• ' Here's what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.

And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we're hooked on.'

Prisoner Abuse

• The Gray Zone: How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib [2004-05-15]
• Leaking self-doubt
• " [The pictures] have gone 'to the ends of the Earth', says one American writer, 'and have painted brilliantly and indelibly an image of America that could remain with us for years, if not decades' "
• ' For months, the media have let the Abu Ghraib story slip through their hands. '
• ' Some suspect that the photos were leaked from within the Pentagon '
• ' The torture scandal has become bound up in deeper disagreements among the US elite '
• Abu Ghraib scandal convulses U.S. military
• 'Top Pentagon officials want to paint the abuse at Abu Ghraib as an isolated case of ill-trained, war-weary soldiers brutalizing prisoners. But lawyers for at least some of the lower-ranking soldiers facing courts-martial want to trace the trail of responsibility all the way up the ladder to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps even to the Oval Office.'
• ' Guy Womack, the lawyer representing Army Specialist Charles Garner, who has been depicted as the sadistic ringleader of the abusive unit at Abu Ghraib, has also said he wants to hear testimony from a whole raft of top generals -- and even Mr. Rumsfeld.

"The government is trying to make this seem like nobody approved of this or knew of this and that it was seven rogue military policemen [who] suddenly went crazy and flipped out," he told USA Today. "We're going to prove the chain of command knew [the abuse] was going on and did nothing to countermand it." '

Programming

Science

Sex [possibly NSFW]

• Brutally Honest Personals [by Esquire]. Hehe.
• Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do
• Gay marriage opponents see fight getting tougher: Setback likened to Roe v. Wade
• Massachusetts Ushers In Gay Marriage [2004-05-17]
• 'Same-sex couples began exchanging vows here Monday, marking the first time a U.S. state has granted gays and lesbians the right to marry and making the United States one of four countries around the world where gays can legally wed.'
• 'For foes of gay marriage, Monday's weddings represent a stinging defeat - but one they hope will be reversed by a backlash among politicians and voters nationwide.'
• 'Massachusetts joined the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada's three most populous provinces as the only places worldwide where gays can marry, though the rest of Canada expected to follow soon.'
• Stalking the Bogeyman. 'This time last year I was plotting to kill a man. I was going to walk up to him, reintroduce myself and then blow his balls off.'
• Kisstory in action. A brief history of kissing.
• Doctor Jailed for Billing for Sex. This story is so sweet and short that I'm quoting the whole thing in case the link dies.
• ' PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - An Oregon doctor, who had sex with a patient and then charged the state about $5,000 for his "treatments," has been jailed for 60 days and stripped of his license, officials said on Friday. Dr. Randall J. Smith, 50, told the woman that massaging her "trigger points" would ease her pelvic pain. The treatments led to sexual intercourse and Smith billed the Oregon Health Plan for the 45-minute sessions at the Adventist Health Medical Group clinic in Gresham, Oregon, near Portland. Smith must also perform 200 hours of community service and pay$1,105 in fines and is on probation for 18 months as part of the plea agreement. He also turned in his medical license.

Though he pleaded guilty to submitting false health care claims, a felony, Smith maintained the sex with the 47-year-old woman was consensual.