Monday, December 25, 2006


Be Jesus through this efficeint Japanesse machine:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Heim Theory

If you read the first page of this and you mind isn't blown completely away you either didn't understand it or ... you're not from this planet.

It completely re-invents 20th century physics and makes very accurate predictions which have withstood emperical testing. The gaviton as a soliton of a probabilty-based dimensional extention to 4-space...


Interstellar travel just might be within my lifetime afterall.

Instant Freezing Beer

Because beer comes in a sealed container, it's possible to chill it well below the normal freezing point and still have it in liquid form. This is interesting becasue when you top the top, the pressure drops and the beer freezes solid very quickly.

Here's the whole story.

Note that you can do the reverse process with hot liquids and a microwave oven, i.e. heat water past the boiling point but not have it boil. The trick is to have relavtively pure water with very few nucleation sites. If you add something with a little surface area, e.g. sugar, tea, instant coffee etc. the water will instantly boil up. This is a significant source of injury with tea btw.

Mars: 2020

This made me chuckle. I tried to identify all the missions and I think I got most of them. I'm guessing the little lost one is the lamented Phobos probe.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Bad Day for PHP

Stefan Esser retires. He's an excellent security guy, but the Open Source community is often more like a religion than a software development house, and the one thing they can't abide is a heritic.

Saturday, December 9. 2006
Last night I finally retired from the PHP Security Response Team, that was initially my idea a few years ago.
The reasons for this are many, but the most important one is that I have realised that any attempt to improve the security of PHP from the inside is futile. The PHP Group will jump into your boat as soon you try to blame PHP's security problems on the user but the moment you criticize the security of PHP itself you become persona non grata. I stopped counting the times I was called immoral traitor for disclosing security holes in PHP or for developing
For the ordinary PHP user this means that I will no longer hide the slow response time to security holes in my advisories. It will also mean that some of my advisories will come without patches available, because the PHP Security Response Team refused to fix them for months. It will also mean that there will be a lot more advisories about security holes in PHP.
Posted by
Stefan Esser in Security, PHP at 10:58


Friday, December 08, 2006

Father October

could take my confession.

Is that not just a little bit, well, I don’t know…suggestive? It kind of gives me the heeby-jeebies. I mean, it’s a priest. And if I’m not mistaken, they’ve taken a photo of him, trying to make him look almost seductive. Do I need a new pair of contact lenses or is this a fairly accurate assessment?Another point to make note of: there’s not one ugly priest in the bunch. It’s not like they got a shot of some 90-year old priest giving confession, or tried to represent the entire spectrum. These priests are in their prime and they are all fairly or very good-looking.

It's interesting to watch market forces collide with the Catholic Church. What's next Nun's at the Beach? A prime time soap opera? It should be a very interesting decade ahead for the faithful...


While you're over ther, Andrew seems to be talking himself in to accepting Romney's 1994 pro-gay outreach as a position, while distancing Romney's 2004 miscegenation-based anti-gay works. Seems similar to the benefit-of-the-doubting that lead to his Iraq endorsement. He does have enough intellectual integrity to call mea culpa on that though, so this could correct itself. If only the dems would get over Hillary already and show they are not actual GOP co-dependent enablers, otherwise sane middle-ground folks would stop rationalizing the best of extremely poor choices.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Saving Baby Miriam

This was sent over by a friend. When I read it, I thought of an arguement I had with my son a few years ago about the primary purpose of a soldier.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Playboy, May, 1963

Wow, a scanned in issue of Playboy from the bygone era.. Let's just chalk this up to "changing standards" and "different time, different place". There is actually more nudity on FOX these days.


Monday, December 04, 2006

And then there are times when I tihnk...

... maybe legalizing drugs isn't such a hot idea afterall. The matter-of-fact tone of this article is pretty amazing. At no point is it mentioned if the police hold the victim on drug charges. Or maybe I missed the point and that's assumed.

He was naked, on crack and in alligator's mouth

Mayid's call shortly after 4 a.m. sent four Polk County, Fla., deputies racing to the 2,150-acre lake just outside Lakeland, Fla., where they jumped into the water and wrenched Apgar's arm from the gator's mouth. The 45-year-old victim, who told authorities he'd passed out nude on the shore after smoking crack cocaine, was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.
Later Wednesday, state wildlife authorities trapped and killed a nearly 12-foot-long alligator thought to be the one that attacked Apgar.


Full article here

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Foot Shoot for Programmers

From a former intern at CertCo (now a successful real-estate tycoon).

> Shoot Yourself in the
> Foot in Any Programming Language
> The proliferation of modern programming languages
> (all of which seem to have
> stolen countless features from one another)
> sometimes makes it difficult to
> remember what language you're currently using. This
> guide is offered as a
> public service to help programmers who find
> themselves in such dilemmas.
> C
> You shoot yourself in the foot.
> C++
> You accidentally create a dozen clones of yourself
> and shoot them all in the
> foot. Providing emergency medical assistance is
> impossible since you can't
> tell which are bitwise copies and which are just
> pointing at others and
> saying, "That's me, over there."
> After importing java.awt.right.foot.* and
> java.awt.gun.right.hand.*, and
> writing the classes and methods of those classes
> needed, you've forgotten
> what the hell you're doing.
> Ruby
> Your foot is ready to be shot in roughly five
> minutes, but you just can't
> find anywhere to shoot it.
> You shoot yourself in the foot with a gun made with
> pieces from 300 other
> guns.
> Find a gun, it falls apart. Put it back together, it
> falls apart again. You
> try using the .GUN Framework, it falls apart. You
> stab yourself in the foot
> instead.
> SELECT @ammo:=bullet FROM gun WHERE trigger =
> INSERT INTO leg (foot) VALUES (@ammo);
> Perl
> You start shooting yourself in the foot, but you
> lose the gun.
> Javascript
> YOu've perfected a robust, rich user experience for
> shooting yourself in the
> foot. You then find that bullets are disabled on
> your gun.
> You shoot your right foot with one hand, then switch
> hands to shoot your
> left foot but you realize that the gun has turned
> into a banana.
> You shoot yourself in each toe, iteratively, until
> you run out of toes, then
> you read in the next foot and repeat. If you run out
> of bullets, you
> continue anyway because you have no
> exception-handling ability.
> Modula2
> After realizing that you can't actually accomplish
> anything in this
> language, you shoot yourself in the head.
> Using a COLT 45 HANDGUN, AIM gun at LEG.FOOT, THEN
> place ARM.HAND.FINGER. on
> HOLSTER. CHECK whether
> shoelace needs to be retied.
> You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the
> gun with which
> you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the
> gun with which
> you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the
> gun with which
> you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the
> gun with which
> you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds ..
> Shoot yourself in the foot with a water pistol. On
> big systems, continue
> until entire lower body is waterlogged.
> Foot in yourself shoot.
> You shoot yourself in the foot, then spend all day
> figuring out how to do it
> in fewer characters.
> Pascal
> The compiler won't let you shoot yourself in the
> foot.
> If you succeed, shoot yourself in the left foot.
> If you fail, shoot yourself in the right foot.
> Concurrent Euclid
> You shoot yourself in somebody else's foot.
> HyperTalk
> Put the first bullet of the gun into the foot of the
> left leg of you.
> Answer the result.
> Motif
> You spend days writing a UIL description of your
> foot, the trajectory, the
> bullet, and the intricate scrollwork on the ivory
> handles of the gun. When
> you finally get around to pulling the trigger, the
> gun jams.
> Unix
> % ls
> foot.c foot.h foot.o toe.c toe.o
> % rm * .o
> rm: .o: No such file or directory
> % ls
> %
> Paradox
> Not only can you shoot yourself in the foot, your
> users can too.
> Revelation
> You'll be able to shoot yourself in the foot just as
> soon as you figure out
> what all these bullets are for.
> Visual Basic
> You'll shoot yourself in the foot, but you'll have
> so much fun doing it that
> you won't care.
> Prolog
> You tell your program you want to be shot in the
> foot. The program figures
> out how to do it, but the syntax doesn't allow it to
> explain.
> Ada
> After correctly packaging your foot, you attempt to
> concurrently load the
> gun, pull the trigger, scream and shoot yourself in
> the foot. When you try,
> however, you discover that your foot is of the wrong
> type.
> Assembly
> You try to shoot yourself in the foot only to
> discover you must first
> reinvent the gun, the bullet, and your foot. After
> that's done, you pull the
> trigger, the gun beeps several times, then crashes.
> 370 JCL
> You send your foot down to MIS with a 4000-page
> document explaining how you
> want it to be shot. Three years later, your foot
> comes back deep-fried.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

From the Kitchens of Hell

Totally and completely edible.

This is for all you serious bakers out there. BE SURE to follow the instructions NOT TO PEEK AHEAD!!! If you do it will spoil the fun. And it IS fun!
- Judith
READ FIRST.....LOOK LATER....IT'S A LOT MORE FUN. Want to be forever eliminated from the guest list? Just take this to your next "pot luck" dinner!!!

Kitty Litter Cake" * ~
This is *no joke*

This is for all you cooks out there looking for something a little different.........?WANT TO HAVE FUN AT A PARTY? PREPARE THIS RECIPE! COMPLETELY EDIBLE,?
BUT YOUR FRIENDS MAY NOT THINK SO!On a recent visit to our veterinarian to get shots for our cat I found this recipe on the waiting room bulletin board. After recovering from hysterical laughter, I obtained a copy from the office staff so my wife could make it, which she refused to do. I took it to work and gave the recipe to a lady at work who loves cats. The pictures below show the results of her work. It doesn't look very nice, but it's actually quite tasty, so I decided to pass it along.
1 box spice or German chocolate cake mix
1 box of white cake mix
1 package white sandwich cookies
1 large package vanilla instant pudding mix
A few drops green food coloring
12 small Tootsie Rolls or equivalent

1 NEW cat-litter box
1 NEW cat-litter box liner
1 NEW pooper scooper
1) Prepare and bake cake mixes, according to directions, in any size pan. Prepare pudding and chill. Crumble cookies in small batches in blender or food processor. Add a few drops of green food coloring to 1 cup of cookie crumbs. Mix with a fork or shake in a jar. Set aside.
2) When cakes are at room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl. Toss with half of the remaining cookie crumbs and enough pudding to make the mixture moist but not soggy. Place liner in litter box and pour in mixture.
3) Unwrap 3 Tootsie Rolls and heat in a microwave until soft and pliable. Shape the blunt ends into slightly curved points. Repeat with three more rolls. Bury the rolls decoratively in the cake mixture. Sprinkle remaining white cookie crumbs over the mixture, then scatter green crumbs lightly over top.
4) Heat 5 more Tootsie Rolls until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle with crumbs from the litter box. Heat the remaining Tootsie Roll until pliable and hang it over the edge of the box. Place box on a sheet of newspaper and serve with scooper. Enjoy!?
"Kitty Litter Cake"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reader Quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Fad Reader
Book Snob
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Not A Good Week for Glenn Reynolds

2 in one week. First, Andrew Sullivan takes down Glenn for, well basically lying, about Sullivan's definition and use of the work "Christianist".

Now Gregory Djerejian takes him apart point for point on his selective use of quotes and his cherry picking, CYA on Iraq.

Not a good week at Instapundit.

heh, Indeed.

Why do I pick on Glenn? He's an exemplar of a particular type of rationalizing rightwinger that can find a justification for almost anything as long as it protects his aximoatic beliefs. While we all do this to one degree or other, most of us take time to consider, among other things, that we might just be wrong and act accordingly. Glenn seems to be of that breed who thinks that thought is cowerdice and honest re-evaluation is a kind of treason, so seing him backed into a corner is amply entertaining.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

non-Calculated Risks

Gravity is a theory just like Relativity and Evolution. I once had a jaw dropping debate with an otherwise smart fellow who somehow thought that Stellar Evolution was related to biological evolution and that both were subject to Darwinian critique.

My Signature Weapon

This seems about right :) (via)

Air Strike
You preferred a weapon with 74% power over speed and 85% range over melee.
You use Air Strikes.

Fighting? Fighting is for idiots! All you have to do is make a quick walkie-talkie call and have the ground ahead of you carpeted with explosive charges. Your enemies will be searching frantically for refuge as you chuckle from afar.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on power

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on range
Link: The What's Your Signature Weapon Test written by inurashii on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Excellent Cartoons

here. Too twisted to comment on.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wisdom Teeth et al.

I had my deeply embedded lower Wisdom teeth and some others removed Wednesday morning, a fairly major procedure. I assumed that, like most surgeries, it would be worst right after and get better as time went on. I seem to be wrong though and each day seems worse than the last. Wednesday was unpleasant, but not too bad. I slept most of it and even made a video in the evening. I was thinking of going to work on Thursday.

Thursday I realized they punctured my sinus cavity when they were working on my upper jaw, called the dentist and got a prescription for antibiotics. I was out for an hour or so in the morning, but was tired by the afternoon and in increasing discomfort. I started using the Codeine prescription I got (which I noted has a refill), which I hadn't needed before and was hoping to "save for later"

Last night I got up every two hours and was supplementing the codeine with 3 Advil. It was like having 4 pending root canals. Only two of the teeth, the bottom 2, were wisdom teeth, buried quite deeply with one "fused to the bone", the uppers were broken beyond repair.

They suggested to me on Wednesday that the swelling would peak "after 3 days", which better be today because I look like the Godfather at the moment. I am hopped up on Codeine and Tylenol atm, and will probably try to get some sleep.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A New Video

I've been working on an in-game instructional video for a server wide event I occasionally run in City of Heroes. It's a complicated 2-hour event called a Hami Raid, and generally involves coordinating approximately 140 volunteers for two hours toward jointly defeating a monster no one could defeat alone. The event is broken into phases and, frankly, even minor screw ups in any of the phases can spell disaster for all. I tend to run 2 or 3 of these a month, and a few other "Raid Leaders" on the server do the same. You need to be at the top of the game, level 50, to really participate, and folks that make it that far tend to have "strong personalities". Also, some of the 140 people are absolutely dedicated to seeing it fail for their own juvenile reasons. It's an interesting challenge. The reward for a successful raid is a very rare type of permanent bonus for your character and these can be traded. My whole purpose in running these is to make a market in these bonuses, called Hami-Os.

Since there is a continuous flow of players in and out of the raids, instructing new people and keeping the event popular is a little difficult. My solution is make an amusing instructional video showing folks what goes on and what to do. The video will be ready in December, but I was up late last night and threw together a 3 minute "trailer" to keep interest alive.

High Rez Version

If it looks a little like a confusing mass of people enveloped in lots of glowing stuff with no clue of up or down.... that's about right. You've got the experience of what it's like to be there.

I am, btw, the guy in blue with glasses who waves at the beginning and is standing near the lecture, aka BluShield.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


This is brilliant! Worth the 3 minute investment



At some point, every physics student makes up a batch of Oobleck, a non-newtonian fluid. What's a non-newtonian fluid? Basically it's a compound that acts like water when under little or no sheer stress, but a solid when subjected to lots of stress. The most common demo shows someone stirring a beaker of the stuff with a spoon, then hitting the fluid with a hammer and watching it shatter. You can mix up a batch at home, it's basically cornstarch and water (WARNING: DO NOT DISPOSE OF OOBLECK IN THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL).

This demo however, is a vastly superior demonstration:


Monday, November 13, 2006

Lt. Horvath at a Training Exercise

Department of Self-Absorption

Wow. Grover derivies the wrong lesson entirely:

Although some glitz has come off Mr Rove, Republicans have been more eager to blame botched campaigns and individual ethics scandals. “Bob Sherwood’s seat [in Pennsylvania] would have been overwhelmingly ours, if his mistress hadn’t whined about being throttled,” said Mr Norquist.

Obviously the real lesson is, "make sure the ball-gag is securely fastioned before choking your mistress.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Atmosphere

Excellently done. The universe is not your friend.


That's Pure Distilled Evil Coming Out Your Ass

Don't let Satan tempt you!

The part where they handed him the newspaper after chruch had me in stitches!

Once and for all, it's called Pop!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The South
The Midland
North Central
The West
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

I'll Miss You Pink Sugar

She was the gift that kept on giving, the Dan Qualye of her generation and I, for one, will miss her.
Bye Kitty!

Ass Rocket


Video: Rocket man injured firing firework from his bottom

Thursday, November 09, 2006

God is Dead!

Bad news, I was wrong and God exists. Good news: He's dead now and exists no longer!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All of the People, All of the Time

I thought it was P.T. Barnum, but it turns out to be Lincoln

What can I say about the election? It matched my highest, rational expectations. It was the right verdict, for the right reasons and I couldn't be happier. However, as my son has pointed out, it's just a question of time before they dissapoint, and I start voting GOP again.

A few notes:
The Diebold people at my conference were up all night. I predict the VA race will go to Webb because they have explained to Sen. Allen that they cannot produce new paper ballots. Many, many, many times, they have explained it. He's starting to get that "live by the sword, die by the sword" thing. He'll concide within 24 hours.

Civility may return to politics. Some things may again be off limits. I hope the dems dont impeach President Bush unless there are actual crimes. Lying to Congress is a crime, btw, even if that Congress winked and nodded at the time.

The president is, in fact, fucked. 2 years to go and a hostile environment. He may rise to the challenge, but his history says otherwise. I hope, for all our sakes, we don't make him the focus of the next 24 months. The best possible way to repudiate his actions is to deny him the attention and perfrom admirably.

Lincoln Cafee, I'm so sorry. I like you, I think you deserve high office, but I would have voted against you if I were still in Rhode Island. You are a co-dependent enabler and, despite your hihgly respectable positions, you allow the GOP to use you. If it were less close in either direction, I would have recommended a vote for you, but it's not.
The real tragedy is.... you would do the same.

That's it. In my opinion, America woke up, at least for a brief time. It's up to the Dems to govern for get voted out, Good Luck folks.

Tradesports Election

So I missed several opportunities last night to make some money on the GOP Senate control options. It swung wildly between 50-70% in favor of GOP control during the evening, and was at 86% when I went to bed. This morning, it's at 15%. This is based on the outstanding races in VA and MT, both of which are very close. VA I'm predicting will go for the Dems based on the uncounted absentee ballots which were tending strongly Dem. MT, no prediction.

Many opps to short the GOP last night, but alas, I let them slide.

BTW, the Diebold people were a little worried yesterday. I think today they are going to be more so. In VA and MT it's going to go to a recount, both of which in the past have worked to GOP advantage. In their paperless machines, "recount" just means re-checking the totals. I suspect if the GOP starts losing recounts, we are going to see bipartisan calls for the re-tooling of the Diebold machines.

It was an interesting night

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Currrently tradesports has the election handicapped as a 80-85% chance of a Dem house and a 30% chance of a Dem Senate. So, assuming these probabilities are independent (they are not) and that the Central Limit Theroem holds, (it definately does not), the odds of a Dem Congress are .8*.3 = .24 or about 4 to 1 against. The odds for a GOP Congress is .2*.7 = .14 or about 7 to 1 against. That leaves a 62% (.56 for Dem house, GOP Den, .06 for GOP House, Dem Senate)chance of a split congress.

I can live with that.

Unfortuantely all the assumptions of independence are wrong.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Looks like I will be spending Election Day with the Diebold security team. Should be very, very interesting. Details Wednesday.


I've been on he road all week and had exhausted the two books I brought with me, The Laides of Grace Adieu and Fragile Things. With 3 hours of plane travel ahead of me, I picked up a bunhc of magazines including the seldom read(by me) Wired. Not too shabby actually. I bought it for the article on atheism, but was delighed by the following: 6 word stories

The online article has a bunch of versions which didn't get printed, but the print version has them presented in some very interesting artisitic styles. Overall, I think the print version wins.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Worst Websites... Ever!

We get suchs gems as:
An endoresement from a dog
A nice picture of a pig's nose (I think)
bareass HTML
and a recipe for "Easy, Killer Margaritas"

My Space? no. AOL? Perish the thought. Craig's list? they wish they were this sophisticated. No, these are people running for office!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Michael J Fox Ad

I've always had a secret affinity for Michael. We're about the same age, approximately the same build and he's always played characters I could relate to. I was more than a little surprised and saddened when I found he's got Parkinson's, then a few years later was more than surprised when it became a possible diagnosis for me.

He's running an ad in Missouri on an issue he backs, stem cell research, to which I say, "good for him". The question in the media is, was he off his meds when he did it?

The answer is: absolutely not. This is what you look like when the treatment for Parkinson's is successful. When it's not, you look much, much worse. Depending on how far down the path he is, he might not be able to move or speak at all if he were off his meds.

Take a good look, this is the difference between a treatment and a cure. Just like diabetes, just like Alzheimer’s, just like MS (but unlike ALS where there isn't even a treatment), it's a long term, disabling disease, and the treatments are quite crude.

Will stem cells cure him? No. Will they help? No. Do we know that they will ever work? No. Stem cells might be a dead end, like so many other kinds of scientific research. Still, it's the best we have at the moment.

Do I think he should have made the commercial? Sure, why not? It's a cause he believes in, presented in an honest way. Let the marketplace decide.

And, btw, I think the whole "meds" question is a red herring. The presumption is that if he were "on meds" he'd look just fine and that if he were off he'd be somehow "faking". This is the Fallacy of False Choice. Off meds he looks bad, on meds he looks bad differently, either way there is no deception here, just his choice of how to appear.

E.T., Where are You?

There is an interesting debate over at PZ Myers site on the development of extraterrestrial intelligence. It's quite illuminating in a lot of ways, but I was struck by this insight:

What Percentage of Planets on Which Life Has Originated Will Produce Intelligent Life?

Physicists, on the whole, will give a different answer to this question than biologists. Physicists still tend to think more deterministically than biologists. They tend to say, if life has originated somewhere, it will also develop intelligence in due time. The biologist, on the other hand, is impressed by the improbability of such a development.

Personally, I remain optimistic about the chances of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, especially in light of progress in the last century on gravity. I would like to believe (but cannot objectively prove) that we're only a few decades away from a theory of inertial mass. Should such a formalism arise, we'd be well placed to build vehicles capable of interstellar flight.

However, this is an article of faith, not one of reason. The full critique is interesting and, although I can pick apart some of it, I reach a similar conclusion when I rebuild the argument with my corrections: i.e. intelligent, space-faring civilizations may not overlap in terms of space and time. The galaxy may only hold one or two at a time, separated by vast stretches of astronomical time. A million years is nothing in terms of astronomy, yet I can't imagine what future, if any, the human race has in that timeframe.

They may be out there, and they may be far more advanced than us, but if so, I can’t imagine them wanting to talk.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Chuck Norris isn't as dumb as a Brick, He's as Dumb as ALL the Bricks in Boston!

Appearently, Chuck doesn't get it:

"While I have as much fun as anyone else reading and quoting them, let’s face it, most “Chuck Norris Facts” describe someone with supernatural, superhuman powers. They’re describing a superman character. And in the history of this planet, there has only been one real Superman. It’s not me."

Sadly, he’s not talking about Superman. Though I suppose he could be, since the rest of this article is how he believes in magic because he saw it in a book somewhere. Just not a comic book. Though it might have had illustrations.

Chuck Norris Facts


Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Grammar Humor

As longtime readers know, I have a soft spot for grammar humor. This made me laugh.

A Lower Limit, to be Sure
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Antimatter Driven Sail for Deep Space Missions

NIAC was one of the projects I worked on in grad school in my Advanced Planetary Sciences class. My proposal was a combination of 3-body gravity assits (i.e. slingshot effects) and solar sails. It got you to the outer solar system in about 3 years and to the ISM in about 15.

This idea though, seems exceedingly clever and takes the solar sail idea up a notch. The basic idea is to build a sail embedded with fissile uranium, build an antimatter source and then throw antiprotons at the sail to cause the uranium to undergo fission. Total amount of antimatter needed to reach the ISM? 30 milligrams. (that seems small, but truthfully it's an enormous amount. 30 milligrams is ~ 2x10^21 antiprotons, and a typical accelerator will produce 10^5 or so per reaction).

The primary question relative to the performance of this concept is the momentum delivered to the sail by the fission of the uranium. If just the two fission products are released then the momentum is determined by the velocity and mass of one of the products. The antimatter induced fission of uranium produces a spectrum of masses. The width of this distribution, however, is relatively narrow and can be approximated by using palladium-111 as the average fission product. The energy released in the fission is taken to be 190 MeV. Thus, the velocity of the fission product is 1.39x10^7 m/s and the mass is 1.85x10^-25 kg/atom. The velocity would equate to a specific impulse of 1.4 million seconds.

It's actually more complicated than that, and the proposal goes into much more detail. I have some questions though about the secondary particle decay chains.

It's an interesting concept.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Candidate seeks textbooks as shields


OKLAHOMA CITY --A candidate for state superintendent of schools said Thursday he wants thick used textbooks placed under every student's desk so they can use them for self-defense during school shootings.

"People might think it's kind of weird, crazy," said Republican Bill Crozier of Union City, a teacher and former Air Force security officer. "It is a practical thing; it's something you can do. It might be a way to deflect those bullets until police go there."

Crozier and a group of aides produced a 10-minute video Tuesday in which they shoot math, language and telephone books with a variety of weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle and a 9mm pistol. The rifle bullet penetrated two books, including a calculus textbook, but the pistol bullet was stopped by a single book.


Crozier's experiment began with shots fired at a calculus textbook from an AK-47 Russian-style assault rifle. The shot penetrated two textbooks at once.
"We need to look at protection of young people that sometimes people may think you are a little smarter than everybody else or a higher IQ or whatever. They need to look at what the end result would be," Crozier said.

My suggestion: Give the candidate a calculus book, give his opponent a gun, and test this! Seems only scientific!

Video of Republicans shooting science books here

I have a better idea, lets give them bibles for this instead.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

She can Eat Nails and Shit Lightning

Well, actually, it's half true....

MONDAY, OCTOBER 9 This week of emasculating pastels, incriminating tattoos, and glorious and surprising triumph kicks off today with a blast of lightning from a Croatian lady's anus. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports 27-year-old Natasha Timarovic had just finished brushing her teeth in the bathroom of her home in the Croatian city of Zadar when lightning struck. "I had just put my mouth under the tap to rinse away the toothpaste when the lightning must have struck the building," said Timarovic to the Zadar news channel 24 Sata. "I don't remember much after that, but I was later told that the lightning had traveled down the water pipe and struck me on the mouth, passing through my body. It was incredibly painful. I felt it pass through my torso and then I don't remember much at all." What Timarovic can't recall, an emergency worker supplies: "She was wearing rubber bathroom shoes at the time and so instead of earthing through her feet it appears the electricity shot out of her backside," said the unnamed medic to 24 Sata. "It appears to have earthed through the damp shower curtain that she was touching as she bent over to put her mouth under the tap." Despite suffering great pain and severe burning to her anus, Ms. Timarovic remains a lucky woman. "If she had not been wearing the shoes she would probably have been killed by the blast."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Second Life News

Reuters has dispatched a full time reporter into Second Life to... well.... report I guess.

Mr. Pasick, a Reuters technology reporter who was formerly earthbound with the news agency, is heading up Reuters’ first virtual news bureau inside the online role-playing game Second Life. While many independent journalists and bloggers have published inside such virtual worlds, Reuters is the first established news agency to dispatch a full-time reporter to do so.

“This is a very serious, old brand that stands for things and has principles, but that doesn’t take itself so seriously that it wouldn’t play in a gaming space,” Mr. Glocer said. “This appeals to a younger demographic. Even for people who don’t go in and play in Second Life, it shows Reuters has a certain with-it-ness.”

I've tinkered around in Second Life and, frankly, found it wanting. The interface would have been considered sub-par in the 90's, movement, object creation and interaction are all surprisingly difficult and, there is very little to do, apart from struggle with the application.

I passed on playing for any length of time, give me City of Heroes or even WoW anyday. I'm guessing the half-life of the Reuters reporter is about 3 months.

Coffee Spitting Quote

I need to time my coffee drinking better or I need waterproof monitors. I ran across this quote today, which I found very funny:

Dumbest Congresscritters countdown Radar profiles the ten dumbest nose-pickers in Congress, awarding top prize to Katherine Harris, a Republican from Florida:
If dumb Congress members were the X-Men, Harris would be their Wolverine

Unique Image of Saturn

Awesome image of Saturn, in the infrared, from the Cassini probe.

Buddy Jesus Serves in Iraq

I would never have thought of this, but it's a complex, highly interactive world.

As a result, his visage -- with a "ceramicized" or cartoon-like countenance -- earned an afterlife as a sticker, t-shirt, poster and dashboard figure. Not content with that action, however, Buddy acquired a recent feature role in an all-too-real drama starring the Mahdi of Sadr City and the U.S. military.
Carolyn O'Hara of the FP
blog is not sure how the whole thing got started. One possibility is that the Iraqi's inserted Buddy into a forged U.S. pamphlet outlining potential abominations to be inflicted on the local militias. The other possibility is that U.S. soldiers had been circulating Buddy as a joke, or even an article of incitement. Either way, Buddy made the rounds, with the terrible result that the locals mistook him for one of their holy own.
As you can tell from the image, the mistake -- once discovered -- was not appreciated.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Key to the Extraterrestrial Messages

From Bruce Schnier's Cryptogram. I've done some contract work for the NSA as part of what we were working on at CertCo, but I never got access to Crypto Quarterly.

Indexes to NSA Publications Declassified and Online

In May 2003, Michael Ravnitzky submitted a Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) request to the National Security Agency for a copy of the index
to their historical reports at the Center for Cryptologic History and
the index to certain journals: the NSA Technical Journal and the
Cryptographic Quarterly. These journals had been mentioned in the
literature but are not available to the public. Because he thought NSA
might be reluctant to release the bibliographic indexes, he also asked
for the table of contents to each issue.

The request took more than three years for them to process and
declassify -- sadly, not atypical -- and during the process they asked
if he would accept the indexes in lieu of the tables of contents pages:
specifically, the cumulative indices that included all the previous
material in the earlier indices. He agreed, and got them last month.
The results are online.

This is just a sampling of some of the article titles from the NSA
Technical Journal: "The Arithmetic of a Generation Principle for an
Electronic Key Generator" - "CATNIP: Computer Analysis - Target Networks
Intercept Probability" - "Chatter Patterns: A Last Resort" - "COMINT
Satellites - A Space Problem" - "Computers and Advanced Weapons Systems"
- "Coupon Collecting and Cryptology" - "Cranks, Nuts, and Screwballs" -
"A Cryptologic Fairy Tale" - "Don't Be Too Smart" - "Earliest
Applications of the Computer at NSA" - "Emergency Destruction of
Documents" - "Extraterrestrial Intelligence" - "The Fallacy of the
One-Time-Pad Excuse" - "GEE WHIZZER" - "The Gweeks Had a Gwoup for It" -
"How to Visualize a Matrix" - "Key to the Extraterrestrial Messages" -
"A Mechanical Treatment of Fibonacci Sequences" - "Q.E.D.- 2 Hours, 41
Minutes" - "SlGINT Implications of Military Oceanography" - "Some
Problems and Techniques in Bookbreaking" - "Upgrading Selected US Codes
and Ciphers with a Cover and Deception Capability" - "Weather: Its Role
in Communications Intelligence" - "Worldwide Language Problems at NSA"

In the materials the NSA provided, they also included indices to two
other publications: Cryptologic Spectrum and Cryptologic Almanac.

The indices to Cryptologic Quarterly and NSA Technical Journal have
indices by title, author, and keyword. The index to Cryptologic Spectrum
has indices by author, title, and issue.

Consider these bibliographic tools as stepping stones. If you want an
article, send a FOIA request for it. Send a FOIA request for a dozen.
There's a lot of stuff here that would help elucidate the early history
of the agency and some interesting cryptographic topics.

Thanks, Mike, for doing this work.

In reality, I suspect the NSA salted the list. It's what I would have done in their position.

FTR: I shot my resume over to them. You know, just in case...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Super Snark

Kieth Olbermann is fast becoming my favorite commentator on current events.

I sometimes dispare that I am one of the few Americans who remembers what the constitution says.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

In a Parallel Universe...

If Ayn Rand wrote comic books about TJICistan, they would look a lot like this.

It's not bad, but I have a pretty low tolerance for utopianists, be they liberal, conservative or libertarian.

Why Software Sucks

Dennis and I had lunch with David Platt last year and, as a joke, suggested he write a book on why software is just so bad.

The book comes out this month :)

The Point of Government

This is pretty good and I generally agree with his points. Its surprising how far the pendulum has swung towards the Faith Based Nanny State.

At least, I hope it's a pendulum...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Inner Life of a Cell

This is awesome, truly.

This is going on, all the time in each of us. A symphony of motion, energy and coordination playing in the background to which we are all deaf. If I had seen this as a kid instead of the Moon landing, I might have gone into biology instead of astrophysics.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Getting on with it

This is the essential debate between the two types of atheists. I have to admit, I used be the first kind but am now (almost) completely in the second. Afterall, that's the whole point. Squirrels!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Off on a Technicality

Today is the Big Chili Festival at Microsoft. I've cooked 2 gallons of turkey chili (i.e. I opened 16 can's of Hormel Brand Turkey Chili, added garlic, paprika, chili powder and whole shi... heaploads of beans) shreded cheese and chopped onions, and I will be serving little 2 oz cups of the stuff in the cafeteria in about an hour.

I know what you are thinking.

Just let me say that the while Judge said I wasn't allowed to *eat* chili, she said nothing about me *making* chili, so I beleive the terms of my probation are still in tact.

At least, that's what I am going to tell the officers.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Shitstorm, literally

I mentioned this to Geoff today and then had to go look it up:

The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts to prepare Iraqis to take control of the country's security, was so poorly constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed "the rain forest."

Yes, Just Like This

This is really good. I must admit, I'm a little disappointed it's just an art project.

I'm Going to Be a Big Star Someday

From the World's Finest News Source:

Don't cry for me, though: My legacy will extend far beyond your lifetime. After my spectacular collapse due to hot-and-fast living, you'll look up, and I'll be as bright as ever. No one will even know I'm gone.

Don't Buy These!

Top Ten Reasons Religion is Like Pornography

Top Ten Reasons Religion is Like Pornography
10. It has been practiced for all of human history, in all cultures
9. It exploits perfectly natural, even commendable, impulses
8. Its virtues are debatable, its proponents fanatical
7. People love it, but can't give a rational reason for it
6. Objectifies and degrades women even when it worships them
5. You want to wash up after shaking hands with any of its leaders
4. The costumes are outrageous, the performances silly, the plots unbelievable
3. There's nothing wrong with enjoying it, but it's nothing to be proud of, either
2. It is not a sound basis for public policy, government, or international relations
1. Its stars are totally fake


"Going to Be"

As if! I'm doing this now! "casue I'm the shiznitx!
(I can see my son's eyes rolling back into his head as I write this. This makes up for *so many* poopy diapers!)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

So Much for the Afterlife

Looks like science has finally put the last nail in the coffin of the afterlife. In the last few years a number of mystical experiences have been sufficiently explained by brain function, e.g. ghosts, night terrors, religious euphoria, feeling the divine, near death experiences etc. Each one can be duplicated now in some way. The last one was Astral Projection, leaving one's body, looking down at it and flying around. This has happened to me several times and it's really, really weird. Even cranky, skeptical me was not so sure that there wasn't *something* to it.

Now, this can be duplicated as well and, of course, it's brain function:

“The research shows that the self can be detached from the body and can live a phantom existence on its own, as in an out-of-body experience, or it can be felt outside of personal space, as in a sense of a presence,” Dr. Brugger said.

Scientists have gained new understanding of these odd bodily sensations as they have learned more about how the brain works, Dr. Blanke said. For example, researchers have discovered that some areas of the brain combine information from several senses. Vision, hearing and touch are initially processed in the primary sensory regions. But then they flow together, like tributaries into a river, to create the wholeness of a person’s perceptions. A dog is visually recognized far more quickly if it is simultaneously accompanied by the sound of its bark.

That's pretty much it. There is no afterlife, just the experiences generated by a dying brain trying to keep itself alive.

I can't say this is an inspiring discovery, but it is a comfort to know we live in world of our own design.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Been A While

Sorry all, this has been a busy week at work. Hopefully things will calm down a little next week and I can get back to being amusing and leveling my Blaster.

Passing this along as it's been awhile since I mocked the religious. It has an interesting origin here. Hank (not the story protagonist) is one of the folks I see in City of Heroes on a regular basis.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rocket bike will give you the coolest obituary ever


Economics and Rational Decisions

It turns out that emotion really is a key factor, equal to or sometimes greater than reason.
This is a very interesting article in which a team did brain scans of people making economic decisions to see how their minds work.

Cohen and several colleagues organized a series of ultimatum games in which half the players—the respondents—were put in MRI machines. At the beginning of a round, each respondent was shown a photograph of another player, who would make the respondent an offer. The offer then appeared on a screen inside the MRI machine, and the respondent had twelve seconds in which to accept or reject it. The results were the same as in other, similar experiments—low offers were usually vetoed—but the respondents’ brain scans were revealing.

When respondents received stingy offers—two dollars for them, say, and eight dollars for the other player—they exhibited substantially more activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area associated with reasoning, and in the bilateral anterior insula, part of the limbic region that is active when people are angry or in distress. The more activity there was in the limbic structure, the more likely the person was to reject the offer. To the researchers, it looked as though the two regions of the brain might be competing to decide what to do, with the prefrontal cortex wanting to accept the offer and the insula wanting to reject it. “These findings suggest that when participants reject an unfair offer, it is not the result of a deliberative thought process,” Cohen wrote in a recent article. “Rather, it appears to be the product of a strong (seemingly negative) emotional response.”

This doesn't bode well for the communist/libertarian utopias that are sure to come this century. If people don't make rational decisions, it implies that markets are not all that rational either (housing bubble anyone?) and may not always produce the best result.

Unfortunately, while interesting, the results point more toward what *doesn't* work than to what will.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yellow Book, not that Other Book

Cool! Springer, makers of the famous series of yellow mathematics books, is offering free access to their archives, going back to 1869.

If you're as thrilled about this as I am, you... *really* need to get a life!

How to Hack the Diebold Voting Machine: the Video

Complete instructions on how to make a Diebold Voting machine throw votes anyway you want regardless of what the users actually put in.

it's a little slow getting started but worth the time.

Also note, as reported in other venues, the standard administrator password is 2 letters. The flaws in this machine have been known in the crypto community since 2002. To date, Diebold has fixed exactly zero of them.

On a personal level, I know some of the folks at Diebold. They are *very* hesitant to talk about this at all, however the one time we had a serious security discussion one of the guys floored me with this line:
"The real problem is that the machine votes are *too accurate*. It embarasses a lot of customers when their districts come out as being strongly in the other party, so they call and complain"

Monday, September 18, 2006

What is Mr. Peanut Doing?

This, from a British game show called "Catch Phrase"

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"It's Horrible! But I can't stop watching it!"

A Japanese game show involving rapid tongue-twisters and ... dire consequences.

Thanks to AS

Friday, September 15, 2006


Greg Easterbrook reviews Lee Smolin's book on what's wrong with String Theory.

The Upfront:
Lee Smolin is a brilliant theoretical physicist who has worked for many years in the bowels of string theory. His book and Peter Woit's Not Even Wrong are interesting and important, and the point they make is quite possibly correct.

I've read a lot on strings, worked through the math at about a graduate (but not professional) level, understand the main concepts, (at least from the period between the 1920's and the early 1990's) and have tried to form an intelligent, well reasoned opinion on it. I've kind of failed in this. There is a point in string theory past which it is simply black to me. If someone like Smolin, Hawking or Page sketches out a proof for me in some of the really abstract stuff, I might get a glimmer of how this fits in, but I'm incapable of doing this on my own from scratch.

The parts of string theory I understand make sense. I can easily show a unification of gravity and EM in a few as 5-dimensions (hint: Einstein and Kaluza did this in the '30s. It's not rocket science by today's standards). I have no clue if it's right, but I do understand that we're missing something fundamental in physics, much like we missed photon quantization in the 19th century.

The Gripe:
This review is awful.

C'mon who uses the "claptrap"? String theory may be off the rails, it may be overly complex, it might even be wrong, but it's not useless claptrap. It's a fairly useful theoretical framework for understanding the otherwise totally inexplicable.

Then there is this interesting paragraph:
And consider this. Today if a professor at Princeton claims there are 11 unobservable dimensions about which he can speak with great confidence despite an utter lack of supporting evidence, that professor is praised for incredible sophistication. If another person in the same place asserted there exists one unobservable dimension, the plane of the spirit, he would be hooted down as a superstitious crank.

There is so much wrong with this collection of words, so many confabulations of things which don't go together, so many little straw men standing in a wheat field, I don't even know where to begin. He's brought together religion, science, some math he clearly doesn't understand and (seemingly) a general grudge against science into a one entangled knot of ego-satisfying word-salad. How can an editor let this through?

Then there is a whole 'graph on the word "theory" and for the second time a comparison to Darwin and creationists:
Really, string theory isn't a theory at all. Creationists who oppose the teaching of Darwin have taken to deriding natural selection as "just a theory," and Darwin's defenders have rightly replied that in science, "theory" does not mean idle speculation. Rather, it is an honored term for an idea that has been elaborately analyzed, has not been falsified, and has made testable predictions that have later proven to be true. The ordering of scientific notions is: conjecture, hypothesis, theory. Pope John Paul II chose his words carefully when in 1996 he called evolution "more than a hypothesis." Yet the very sorts of elite-institution academics who snigger at creationists for revealing their ignorance of scientific terminology by calling evolution "just a theory" nonetheless uniformly say "string theory." Since what they're talking about is strictly a thought experiment (just try proving there are no other dimensions), from now on, "string conjecture," please.

String Theory is a theory. some of it's aspects are testable, but not yet tested. It's not that people don't want to test them, or are arguing that they shouldn't be tested. I freely grant that the whole of the theory is not testable or for that matter expressible as a simple set of axioms accessible to the general public). It's disingenuous for Easterbrook to suggest that they are unprovable.

Ugh. String theory can be criticized on a lot of points and may quite well be wrong, however Easterbrook doesn't use any of them instead settling for some gratuitous science bashing and equating science and religion.

His review is a piece of shit.



So, a concerned and intelligent friend of mine send me an article on the side effects of Aspartame, which include a host of fuzzy neurological symptoms, many of which I sometimes seem to display. I read the article, decided I didn't really know much about the chemical other than the fact that it pops up from time to time as having caused "health problems"

Turns out, the note she sent me was already listed as an Urban Legend.
Okay, not a promising start, but also not really evidence either way.
Turns out it's surprisingly hard to get a decent review of Aspartame that isn't sponsored by someone with a clear interest in it being safe/unsafe. Even the wiki entry is surprisingly unscientific claiming:

"Some point to the rapid breakdown of aspartame causing spikes of phenylalanine and aspartic acid which can upset chemical balances and cross the blood-brain barrier, as well as unnatural spikes in levels of methanol in places the body does not normally encounter it (like within metabolic processes), raising concerns as to its safe containment and elimination."

There are victim groups, lawsuit groups, consipracy groups etc. etc. Jesus Christ folks! It's not like the want to put floride in your water!

After digging through a couple of dozen sites, I finally found a decent one with some science in it.

Bottom line: You're at more risk from fruit juice than aspartame.

Ripped From the Headlines: Woman pleads guilty in fake penis case


MCKEESPORT, Pa. --A woman pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with a bizarre incident in February that resulted in a fake penis being microwaved at a convenience store.

Leslye Creighton, 41, of Wilkinsburg, entered the plea Wednesday, and authorities dropped the same charge against Vincent Bostic, 31, of Pittsburgh, who has agreed to help pay $425 to replace the store's microwave, police and the couple's defense attorney said.
Police in McKeesport, about 10 miles east of Pittsburgh, said the Feb. 23 incident began when Bostic filled a fake penis with his urine that they said Creighton planned to use to pass a drug test to get a job.

The two stopped at a GetGo! convenience store and, after wrapping the device in a paper towel, asked a store clerk to heat it up in a microwave, police said. Authorities said they believe Creighton wanted the device heated so the urine inside would be at body temperature during the drug test.

The clerk, however, believing the lifelike device to be a severed penis, called police.

Defense attorney William Difenderfer said Creighton faces a maximum punishment of $300 and 90 days in jail when she is sentenced Nov. 15 by McKeesport District Judge Doug Reed. Difenderfer called it "a humorous, but weird, case."

Embarassing Disclaimer: I went to high school not far from there.

Hail Eris!

The new name for the dwarf planet 2003 UB313 brought a smile to my Discordian face.

Government Information for You!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Things We Want to Become True

An interesting debate between Mitchell Kapor and Ray Kurzweil on whether or not the statement "By 2029 no computer - or "machine intelligence" - will have passed the Turing Test. " is true. Obviously I am on Kapor's side, althought I admit a) I'd like to lose and b) it's at least theoretically possible I will.

What I think is interesting is their styles of arguement. Ray is arguing like a SciFi fan, glossing over the hard truths to get to the visionary statement, then turning around and saying that, becuase the vision is so compelling, it *must* be true. Kapor is arguing more about the science involved, and one statement in particular has been key in my own arguments:

Additionally, part of the burden of proof for supporters of intelligent machines is to develop an adequate account of how a computer would acquire the knowledge it would be required to have to pass the test. Ray Kurzweil's approach relies on an automated process of knowledge acquisition via input of scanned books and other printed matter. However, I assert that the fundamental mode of learning of human beings is experiential. Book learning is a layer on top of that. Most knowledge, especially that having to do with physical, perceptual, and emotional experience is not explicit, never written down. It is tacit. We cannot say all we know in words or how we know it. But if human knowledge, especially knowledge about human experience, is largely tacit, i.e., never directly and explicitly expressed, it will not be found in books, and the Kurzweil approach to knowledge acquisition will fail.

In one of his books, Charlies Stross has the ship AI of a starship crossing space reach a critical point and transcend. It figures out enough physics to build an instantaneous network and cuts it's journey short. This has always struck me as the fundemental problem with how AI is protrayed and seems to be the strength of Ray's arguement. It will just happen. OTOH, those of us who have done scientific research know it's a messy business. Lots of mistakes, lots of errors and, most importantly, lots and lots of experiments. This is what Kapor is arguing, and it seems far more grounded in reality.

Will we have computers as fast or faster than the human brain by 2029? Possibly. Will they have human intellect? Well, it takes a human brain, interacting with the world many years to get to concrete operational thinking (indeed, many never do. There is much less difference between your brain and a person with an IQ of 50 than there is between your brain and chimps). It seems very unlikely that we'll have the ablity to do the soft skills, the reasoning by that point.

Much as I want it to be true, I have to put my money with Kapor.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Also, in Theme with Creating a Lighter Mood

Here's an interestign link to an article on Breast Physics.

One of my cohorts in grad school at UMass, James Case, left the astronomy department, went over to physics and did a successful Ph.D. thesis on the physics of high energy radiative transfer in human female breasts.

Who knew how ahead of the game he was at the time??

True That

This is completely true.

9/11 Rememberance

Frankly, I'm disgusted. Rather than a day of sober reflection, rememberance and thought, 9/11 has become a campaign event/holiday.
This note, posted on The Big Picture, a Capital Markets blog I read, summerizes it best for me.

I've been assembling this weekend's linkfest -- and I started to feel a little quesy. I couldn't figure out what it was, and then it dawned on me: 9/11 overdose.
We are in for a total excess of "celebrations" -- is that the right word? -- of the 5th anniversary of 9/11.
That would be Wood, for you married couples. Instead of wood, we get tasteless Mini-series, crass comedic novels, fictionlized dramatizations, front page columns, magazine stories galore: The U.S. media, following the ugly lead of politicians, is about to engage in a full on festival of September 11th commericalization.
Its already cloying; 9/11 is now at risk for becoming another holiday, like Halloween or Columbus day. Macy*s will have a white sale, halftime at football games will do a video montage (aftr the 9/11tailgate party in the parking lot), speeches will be given, barbecues consumed. Take what has been already been done to Christmas: Sterilize, mass produce, fictionalize, and repackage it into one giant opportunistic shopping orgy.
Thanks, but no thanks.
I don't want to see any of these things -- don't want to buy the book, see the mini-series, read the column. Shit, I don't even want write about it. I already told my own
personal recollection from a day of horror. That's more than enough.
What asshole thought up making a
commerative 9/11 coin? -- and would they please choke on their own vomit in their sleep? (Thanks). A fictionlized version of events? Fictionlized? Are you shitting me? Can't we have a more dignified way to honor our dead?
The greatest tragedy of the post-9/11 period has been the failure of our nation's leaders to bring the country nation together. There was an enormous opportunity to take advantage of the crisis to unify the population and work together. That moment was lost. When the history of this period gets written 50 years from now, and blame gets apportioned for that, it will be none too flattering the collection of buffooons and incompetents (of both parties).

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I made a video this morning for my SG. This is about 4 mins edited down from 25. The group attacked a giant cephalopod that was attacking part of the city.
I'm holding the camera, so I am not in the shots.

This was modestly complicated to produce, although having done this once, I see how it works.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Million People Can Call the Mountains a Fiction

I think this sets the perfect tone.

A Lesson Wherein The Protagonist Learns Why 4 = 3

I have 4GB of memory for my computer. 4 Gleaming, shiny artistically designed, deep green, heat sink enshrouded memory chips. This is cool. However, A mystery appears.

When I power up the computer, it does a physical memory check and says it sees 4GB. Good. When it's up and running however, I look ask taskmon and clearly see only 3GB allocated. Nost so good. My page file is 3145196K and my total Limit is 6126444K. Very nice, but not 4GB.

Assuming a hardware problem, I dicked around a while in the case and convinced myself I figured out that one of the chips was bad. [Red Flag: it seemed to be the last oneI tested]. I ordered a new chip. It came yesterday, and I installed it this morning. I was excited because, well, I paided for 4GB and damn it, I want 4GB (despite teh fact I'll never use it all). Closed the case, powered up, BIOS check saw 4GB, started windows, and...... 3GB

Jesus McFuck

It's got to be the OS. Googgle, google, sure enough:
The range of an address space is defined by the native word size of the operating system. For Windows NT based systems, this value has a size of 32 bits, which corresponds to an address space of 2^32 bytes or approximately 4 gigabytes of memory. Thus, all processes on Windows NT platforms are limited to having access to only 4 gigabytes of memory (This limit will be expanded to a range of 2^64, with the introduction of Win64 platforms in the future).This is not the only limitation placed on processes on Windows platforms, though. System addresses are mapped into this address space, so the available address space is further reduced. The amount of address space is utilized by the system is dependent on the version of Windows NT being used. For Windows NT and 2000 Workstation and some versions of Windows NT Server, the upper 2 gigabytes of the address space is reserved for the system. This leaves only 2 gigabytes available to the process for use. For certain Windows Server-class systems (including versions of NT/2000/2003 Server and also Windows XP Professional), the system can be configured such that only the upper 1 gigabyte of the address space is reserved for the system, leaving 3 gigabytes of address space available for use by the process. These limitations are summarized in the following table. (Please consult your system administrator, system documentation or Microsoft for information about configuring your system to use more than 2 GB of memory for process use.)
Operating System
Available Address Space
Windows NT Workstation and Windows Server-class systems
2 Gigabytes
Certain Windows Server-class systems (including NT/2000/2003 Server and XP Professional)
3 GigabytesTo the best of our knowledge, Windows XP also has these same limits. As you will read below, IDL, as a window-based application, does not have access to this full 2 - 3 GB in one contiguous block.SolutionThe only solution for this type of limitation is for the operating system to change. For Windows, a user could move to Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition (or other systems mentioned above) or a 64 bit version of Windows. Of course, a user could also try another platform such as Linux (32-bit) or Solaris (64-bit).

I'll be dead in the cold, cold ground before I go back to Solaris. There *must* be some tweak I can pull to get the memory count up.
Technically, I have 4GB available, but 1GB is reserved for the OS. It does explain why the system is so damn fast, but ... I want my memory!

Damn those facist Redmond bastards aand their, "I know what's best for you mentaility"!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Know Your Demographic: Males 16-35


To advertise comedy "Weeds", there was created a billboard that had attached three 6-foot high bags filled with giant sandwiches and massive prop marijuana. This latter billboard had a security camera trained upon it and when inevitably the marijuana was stolen, the footage was released as a viral video which received 50,000 views and wide-spread press coverage.
Video 1, Video 2.

Political Science Thesis

with references!
Check this out

1. Eco and textual materialism

“Consciousness is part of the stasis of art,” says Debord. In a sense, in The Name of the Rose, Eco reiterates the subcultural paradigm of discourse; in Foucault’s Pendulum, however, he analyses Sontagist camp.
The characteristic theme of Drucker’s
[1] analysis of the subcultural paradigm of discourse is the paradigm, and eventually the economy, of textual sexuality. Derrida uses the term ‘the precapitalist paradigm of reality’ to denote the common ground between class and art. Thus, the example of postcultural narrative depicted in Eco’s The Island of the Day Before emerges again in The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, although in a more textual sense.
Lacan promotes the use of the precapitalist paradigm of reality to read and modify sexual identity. It could be said that Wilson
[2] suggests that we have to choose between Sontagist camp and constructivist desituationism.
Derrida uses the term ‘the precapitalist paradigm of reality’ to denote the fatal flaw, and subsequent genre, of postcultural consciousness. However, the subject is interpolated into a Sontagist camp that includes culture as a totality.
Several theories concerning patriarchial feminism exist. Therefore, Baudrillard suggests the use of the precapitalist paradigm of reality to deconstruct capitalism.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Battle of the Pointless Views!

Yup, this is what it looks like to me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Oldie, but Goodie

Last year Geoff and I filled out half of a scientologist's survey. It's actually pretty amusing.

Geoff, when are we going to finish this?

Something I Didn't Know

This is kind of interesting:

Scientists are trying to stop fetal sharks from eating each other in the womb. A mother gray nurse shark carries 40 or so embryos in her two wombs. But once an embryo develops jaws, it starts eating its siblings. Results: 1) Only one embryo survives in each womb. 2) The species is endangered. Solution: Scientists are developing "artificial uteruses" so each embryo can grow without being eaten by others. Crunchy spin: We're saving another of nature's creatures. Extra crunchy spin: This shark's been around for 70 million years. Don't you think nature knows what it's doing? Anti-crunchy spin: This is even dumber than paroling repeat felons.

#include STD_Yuppie_Bashing_Joke.h

Saturday, September 02, 2006

New Art

It's been awhile, but I finally finished a piece I've been working on for a few months now. Actually, it turned out to be 2 pieces and may eventually wind up as four.

This one is done, and is in a different mode than I usually use. More "artsy" but I really like it.

Seattle One

This one is a late draft, but not yet complete. It's what I imagine *should* happen every time I see the space needle.

Seattle Two

Constructive criticism is alway welcome.

Friday, September 01, 2006

No Really, I Thought this Was a Joke

They are kidding, right?

Welcome to the ``Flat Daddy" and ``Flat Mommy" phenomenon, in which life-size cutouts of deployed service members are given by the Maine National Guard to spouses, children, and relatives back home.
The Flat Daddies ride in cars, sit at the dinner table, visit the dentist, and even are brought to confession, according to their significant others on the home front.
``I prop him up in a chair, or sometimes put him on the couch and cover him up with a blanket," said Kay Judkins of Caribou, whose husband, Jim, is a minesweeper mechanic in Afghanistan. ``The cat will curl up on the blanket, and it looks kind of weird. I've tricked several people by that. They think he's home again."

So they think what? Human children are like baby birds? That they can't tell the difference? This seems shallow, stupid and little mean.

And what happens when the parent comes home? It could freak the kids out! It could break down their sense of reality!

Besides, it will make Wire Mommy very angry.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More Pluto

I keep getting email about Pluto and planets. Let me clear this up. As an example, lets compare 3 objects against the IAU criteria and see how they classify: The International Space Station, Earth and Pluto

1) does it orbit the Sun?

ISS: orbits NASA funding source
Earth: Orbits Sun
Pluto: Orbits Sun most of the time, stops by Neptune for chinese take-out every now and then

2) Does it clear it's neighborhood of debies?

ISS: Cans and newspapers in yard, rusted '76 firebird in driveway
Earth: Has large Moon, many satellites, Counter-Earth on opposite side of Sun but otherwise free of debris
Pluto: Neptune constantly sweeping up Pluto poop and storing in sanitary bag

3) Does it have sufficient mass to overcome rigid body forces and become sphereical?
ISS: Good god, lets hope not! There are people in there!
Earth: Round, firm, fully-packed
Pluto: Round but with limited parking

4) Would Galactus eat it?

ISS: No, ISS would get caught under front bridgework and under crowns
Earth: Packed with donut-stuffed americans and germans! Yum!
Pluto: Yes, but it's 30K above absolute zero and would stick to his tounge like a popscile from a cold freezer. Not so good.

Conclusion: ISS: Not a planet, Earth: Planet, Pluto: frozen taste treat for world-devouring cosmic force.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

“…My kidney belongs to Christ. It will never be Pagan.”

TUPELO — Aleta Smith, who donated her kidney to a 20-year-old college student last year, wants it back now that the student has changed religions.Smith, a self-described “on-fire Christian,” gave her kidney to Hannah Felks, a Lutheran and regular Christian camp counselor, last year after seeing Felks on the local news.“She was going to die unless she got a kidney,” Smith says, sitting on the porch at her home. “They portrayed her as this nice Christian girl who works with kids. I saw it as a great opportunity to help a sister in the Lord.”The surgery grabbed headlines and Smith was lauded for her selflessness. But shortly after the surgery, Felks embarked on a “spiritual journey” to try out other religions, and settled on a blend of Pagan and Hindu beliefs.“I wanted to get away from the belief system I was raised in and find the truth for myself,” she says. She took a semester off to travel the world visiting spiritualists on three continents.Smith was aghast when she heard of the conversion, and she quickly wrote a letter asking Felks to re-convert to Christianity or return the organ, saying it was donated under false pretenses.“I feel helpless,” she says. “Part of my body, my DNA, is stuck inside a person who’s going to hell.”Smith suffers nightmares of her former organ filtering “strange Asian teas, pig blood and witch doctor brews in Africa,” she says. She wonders if the Lord really wanted her to donate the kidney, or if she acted on a “triple-espresso high” she had that morning. She is also concerned that when her body is resurrected, it might be incomplete.Felks frets that Smith is an “Indian giver,” and says religious affiliation was never an issue.“The kidney’s working fine,” Felks said by phone from Thailand. “I feel bad for Aleta. She did something wonderful for me, but that doesn’t mean she gets to control my life.”In the meantime, Smith has alerted several dozen prayer chains, and her women’s Bible study group is praying 12 hours a day for the re-conversion of Felks — and Smith’s former kidney.“I’m all for spiritual curiosity,” she says, “but you’ve got to settle these things beforehand…”

As with most Christian religions, it all about control. I also find it interesting that the person in question can happily and without dissonance believe her actions were either inspired "by God" or by a "triple espresso". In neither case does she believe her actions are her own.

Monday, August 28, 2006


This is very, very amusing. I wish I were this good at PhotoShop, or at genetics.