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November 05, 2006

Iraq Reality

Sometimes I get sick and tired with all of the talk, spew, posturing and rhetoric about politics and war (and I'm including myself in this). This set of emails from a US marine in Iraq is probably the most real and profound commentary on the situation in Iraq that I have seen. It's so easy to forget that behind the numbers are real people, arab and american, mothers and sons, guilty and innocent, living and dying every day in Iraq.

June 09, 2006

Oil spill at BC plant

A 24-year old medic in BC quit his job this week when he realized 4 young men with shovels were the only effort to clean up an oil-contaminated field at a BC plant belonging to an American oil giant. The plant management said use of heavy equipment would be impossible because that might mean shutting down parts of the plant, since pipes go through the affected area.

The plant is in a remote area of BC. Blog posts here, here, and here.

I hope this gets more media attention. Seaches of cbc.ca and ctv.ca for "oil spill" turned up nothing related.

June 03, 2006

Breaking news

Rather than post about another in the line of articles I've read online lately that reinforce the impression that the US is becoming a police state and the Bush administration is at best inept and at worst criminally negligent, I thought I'd highlight the US spelling bee. Seems the 2006 edition just wrapped up with finals broadcast on national primetime TV. The specifics of the winner are not that important to be, but I did happen to see most or all of the documentary spellbound a while back, so I have just the smallest familiarity with the competition, which is what made me interested when I saw the article on metafilter.com. One of the comments to the article echoed my own feelings about things like the spelling bee. I can identify with those kids in some ways, and as pointless as a spelling may seem - even to me - I would rather see that on TV, or encourage my own child to participate long before I would be interested in the latest american idol, children's beauty pagent, or half a dozen other pointless things that are far more popular.

September 12, 2005

Bad Science Reporting

I never quite analyzed bad science reporting in the media as much as this guy.

By the way: I wrote a post to say I am safely back from vacation and had a great time, but there was a hiccup on the server and it got sent to the big bit bucket in the sky. I'll post again soon, meanwhile, lots of home improvement work to keep me busy (never mind girlfriend, work, school...).

June 28, 2005

All your base

...are belong to us.

If you saw the original animation sometime after it appeared on the net in 2001, then you might be interested in this complete re-animation set to Queen. Yes, someone set us up the bomb.

If you have no idea what I"m talking about, look at the history page here, or check out the wikipedia entry for All your base are belong to us.

June 24, 2005

Global Warming

An interesting rebuttal to a WSJ editorial on climate change.

March 17, 2005

Learn Something New Everyday

Despite getting worn out on the perpetual student lifestyle, I still love to learn. I've always known about Wikipedia, but for some reason never really used it until recently. Last week I decided to add the random page link to my bookmarks, and now it's a lot easier for me to learn something new everyday.

February 01, 2005

Why a liberal arts degree can be good

I saw a great quote in the comments on a story on metafilter.com today:

“The dogmatic propagandist must therefore be consistently dogmatic. All his statements are made without qualification. There are no grays in his picture of the world; everything is either diabolically black or celestially white... He must never admit that he might be wrong or that people with a different point of view might be even partially right. Opponents should not be argued with; they should be attacked, shouted down…”

-- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

It seems particularly insightful today when so much media time, editorial opinion and political spin in the US is aimed at justifying the war in Iraq and ignoring mistakes made by the Bush administration. Of course, there's certainly propagandists on both sides, but it saddens me to see it. I'm most saddened to see it in people who's views I share, because in the long run, I believe those people are undermining the strength of their position. By not fairly and honestly dealing with mistakes, criticism and dissent for the sake of massaging public opinion in the short term, one gives away any moral high ground one may have.

Continue reading "Why a liberal arts degree can be good" »

December 12, 2004

Web Tidbits

Came across two interesting things on the net tonight. First, tomorrow the Geminid meteor shower will peak, so I might try to convince a friend or two to brave the cold and go star-gazing with me. Or maybe not. We'll see.

Second, I came across a very interesting article analyzing consumerism and how anti-consumerism is really just another facet of consumerism, and a part of what continues to drive our consumer culture. This article is a companion to a new book called The Rebel Sell, and I found it fascinating.

August 12, 2004

The Long Now Foundation

A while back I bookmarked this article on the the Long Now Foundation. It's a rambling article and it took me several attempts to actually start reading it and stick with it, however it's interesting and probably worthwhile in the end. Here's a little tidbit:

Can you give us some examples of long now thinking, historical that we are reaping the benefits of now?

Well there’s one very famous example, it’s an English example, there’s a college in Oxford called New College, which was built about five hundred years ago. The college is a big high building and it has very thick oak beams to support the ceiling. About twenty years ago those beams started to appear to be in such bad condition that it was necessary to replace them, so the dean of the college said to the head gardener - because Oxford has a lot of lands and forests, actually all over England – “We need a lot of oaks - what shall we do?” And the gardener said when they built that college they planted a grove of oaks, to replace those beams, and so they had been planted five hundred years in advance of their need – so that’s a kind of long term thinking. I don’t know that anybody is doing that kind of thing now.

May 02, 2004

Networking advice

Don't know where I came across this article about networking, but it's interesting. It meshes really well with the book I'm reading at the moment How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. I'm not specifically looking for a job at the moment, but the networking article was really timely. I've recently come to the realization that I need to put conscious effort into improving my social relationships, and that article is connected to a pile of related articles that are all very interesting.

April 27, 2004

New software tidbits

Thanks to an ask Slashdot about the 10 applications people install first after reinstalling their OS, I now have a handy list of interesting programs that I would like to try sometime. Some of them I'd already heard of but perhaps forgotten, and others I never knew existed.

Continue reading "New software tidbits" »

April 14, 2004

Plymouth-Dakar Challenge 2005

From metafilter, the Plymouth-Dakar Challenge 2005. If I lived in the UK, this sounds like it would be quite an adventure. The route looks really interesting.

Reality TV?

Here's an account of a reality TV show moving in upstairs, and how the reality differed from the reality TV show. The article was written by the downstairs neighbor of one of the apartment in The Apprentice's apartment renovating and rental show.

The whole thing is interesting, but the juicy bit's about 3/4 of the way through the article:

Continue reading "Reality TV?" »

April 08, 2004

Interesting perspective on Marriage

I saw the latest Psychology Today on the newsrack at Chapters this week. The cover article on marriage looked interesting, so I read it. It turned out to be quite interesting, so I looked up the online version so that I could post it. Titled Great Expectations, it discusses how our culture's emphasis on the search for a perfect soul mate may contribute to many people missing happiness and contentment in marriage in search of an unattainable goal.

(In case that link goes away sometime in the future, I have a personal copy of the article, that I won't post for copyright reasons, but which I would be happy to loan to anybody who contacts me)

April 06, 2004

For Jon and Andrew

I thought you guys might enjoy this (via metafilter). See also the original site - if it's not completely slashdotted.

Email Database

Now this is what I've been wanting for ages! A Thunderbird extension to store email in a database! I admit, I've never really looked to see if something similar was already out there, and the requirements for EVM may prevent me from trying it for a while, but it's an idea who's time is longer overdue!

Update: oops. It's a Mozilla Mail extention. I hope somebody picks it up and continues developing it.

March 20, 2004

Live Action Anime

I'm not really into anime nor foreign language films (ok, not at all into either), however, the trailer for the Japanese film Casshern looks really interesting. Partly because of the cool music, but also because it's an attempt to blend an anime-style fantasy story with a live-action film. I must say, the preview is quite impressive. I have no idea what the story is about, except that there's an army of robots and some superhero futuristic samurai-type guys, but maybe I'll look into it sometime down the road...

(found on slashdot, originallly from penny arcade, I think)

March 15, 2004

More Choice? Less Choice?

The New Yorker is running this really interesting article about choice and a recent book about the problems of too many choices (for individuals and society). I can definitely identify with some of the problems of too much choice that this column lists.

If you're really intrigued by the article, then here's a list of other reviews of the book

March 14, 2004

Car Salesmen

Mark, I mentioned today some articles I had seen about the inside world of car sales. Here they are:

February 22, 2004

Nothing personal, but for the sake of the children, STOP!

I know you can't stop the feeling, but please stop making music videos! This David Hasselhoff video is possibly the worst thing I have seen in years

February 19, 2004

There is no website configured at this address

Steve, where did you go?

February 06, 2004

Interplantary Space Flight Primer

(via slashdot) The Basics of Space Flight on JPL's web site is a fascinating self-study course intended to give NASA employees a broad understanding of all the components of interplanetary flight. I'm only through chapter 1 yet, but I'm hooked.

January 28, 2004

Stupid Toys

Hey, Pat Dooley, this one's for you:

This is a spectacularly stupid toy.

Read This

Everybody should read this article.

January 24, 2004

Hee-larious

The all-McDonald's Diet speaks for itself.

January 05, 2004

Food for thought

From the essay What you can't say, about critically examining moral fashions and taboos:

When people are bad at math, they know it, because they get the wrong answers on tests. But when people are bad at open-mindedness they don't know it. In fact they tend to think the opposite.

Interesting essay...

December 11, 2003

Flying lessons

No, I'm not learning to fly, but my younger brother did this year, so Andrew, this is for you:

Today on slashdot and metafilter I saw an article about an Australian pilot stranded in Antarctica. More interesting than the news article itself, however, is the bio and story of Jon Johanson's three round-the-world flights in a homebuilt aircraft.

December 02, 2003

Nothing to see here, move along

There is no blog entry today. In its place, we bring you these fine HTML products from around the world, provided by metafilter.com:


  • Why America is not a Christian nation, why it should stay that way, and why that's actually a good thing for everybody, Christians included.
  • A Consumption Manifesto
  • The Miami Model is a chilling story of the methods and tactics used by the civil authorities in Miami to gratuitously and sometimes brutally repress protesters at the recent conference on the FTAA. (free bonus: Protesters Brutalized in Miami on stopftaa.org was the top google hit when I searched for FTAA to double-check that I had the acronym right).

November 30, 2003

Crack

From metafilter.com: The girl who played dead is a fascinating and sobering story of a young teenage firl involved in a gruesome Dallas crack-house shooting, and what has happened to her and the others involved in the incident in the 10 years since it happened.

November 19, 2003

MTV Cribs

I don't watch the MTV show cribs, which evidently tours the homes of the stars of entertainment and music. Ian Oeschger makes a really astute observation in his blog post about the show. Apparently the high point of most shows is when the stars show off their TV rooms. The irony is quite delicious - the stars spend their free time watching the same tripe we all do. I love Ian's last line: "Justin and Cameron learn about important late-breaking news from Inside Edition. Drew falls asleep in front of WTBS Baywatch marathons or wee-hour paid programming. Tres chic!"

November 17, 2003

Mozilla Shirt

T-shirt at the new mozilla store. Me wantee!

November 14, 2003

Comment Spam

I've only had a few comment spams on my weblog yet, but I suspect they won't be the last.

Adam Kalsey wrote a Manifesto on Comment Spam that deserves attention. When everybody pitches in to do a small part, we can smack those spammers down good. Read it.

October 24, 2003

A few tidbits

Just wanted to post a few interesting bits that came across slashdot today.

  • Today is Take Back Your Time Day in the US. Sounds like a good idea.
  • A case study in why open source software is good for developers and end-users. At the beginning of the month, a company called Appgen apparently went out of business. They sold a business accounting software package through VARs who purchased a development kit to customize the software for their end customers. There has been no information about what has happened to the company, and the many small companies who customized and resold Appgen software, as well as their end users are left high and dry with no ability to complete sales in progress, access technical support, or receive have bugs fixed. It seems like a classic example of one of the benefits of using open-source software: you're never left out on a limb if your supplier drops dead.
  • The future of energy is an op-ed in the economist about the first world's reliance on oil, and the inevitable end of the oil age. It basically points to hydrogen fuel cells and bioethanol as the two most promising technologies to decentralize energy production and reduce reliance on hydrocarbons. The author opines that the change could start happening in as little as ten or twenty years given the right policies in the US, but complains that the current US administration seems to be missing the big picture.

September 28, 2003

Sky High Airlines

Parody websites are cool (we'll just overlook the somewhat subtle plugs for Alaskan Airlines).

September 26, 2003

Wierd Google Queries

...also known as "I'm glad I changed apartments in June".

Apparently the student rush on apartments in September was so great that the phrase "nova scotia furnished rental" made number 2 on the list of "unusual queries" on Google Zietgeist for August 2003. After the end of September, I am guessing that the August 2003 zietgeist will be archived here.

September 25, 2003

Cool Clock

Check this out

Oh, and the travelzoo top 20 web travel deals makes me itch to take another trip every wednesday. This week the 7-day Rome package ($459 USD incl airfare) and the $379 7-night Bermuda cruise look good. Last week there was a 10-day Bejing/Shanghai tour (including airfare) for under $600 USD.

September 17, 2003

Skype Hype

Steve askes What's The Hype Over Skype? I have never used Skype, but I have to say that I find the idea of P2P telephony, and VOIP stuff in general very interesting.

Continue reading "Skype Hype" »

September 07, 2003

Deep Space

Got this from Asa's recent blog entry: a Hubble picture of NGC 3370, a spiral galaxy not too far from here. As Asa points out, the really neat thing is to look at the high res version, and notice all the other galaxies in the background. Wow. (Warming: that high res version is a 2.6MB jpeg)

August 25, 2003

New Use for Pennies

It's been a long while since I've truly laughed out loud.

Also, a cool programming site.

August 19, 2003

Text Messenging Blamed for Summer Movie Slump

It seems the movie industry is partly blaming this summer's poor revenues on text messenging. Well, boo-hoo. I'm really sorry that they can't assure themselves of a big opening weekend gross by just buying a truckload of ads. Technology that enables people to communicate quicker and easier is a good thing, and it allows market forces to act more freely, hopefully rewarding the few who actually make interesting, well-crafted films, and slamming the mills that churn out mindless drivel that passes for entertainment too often these days.

August 17, 2003

Excellent explanation of 'Trusted Computing'

I just read a recent interview with Richard Stallman (via Slashdot), and halfway through there is a gem: the most succinct description I've seen yet of the Trusted Computing initiate by Microsoft et al.

The name "Trusted Computing" (I think they've changed it since) is a deceptive half-truth. The idea of this change in computer hardware is that application developers will be able to trust your computer to obey them instead of obeying you. To describe it more honestly, we call it "Treacherous Computing".

August 16, 2003

Better web browsing and better email

If you are still using Internet Explorer or Outlook Express (or both) then take a look at these three articles:

August 13, 2003

Diamonds and such

Another slashdot article today caught my eye. It tipped me to the Wired magazine article about new breakthroughs in synthetic diamonds. Two US companies are hoping to break into the gem market in order to recoup their R&D and lower their production costs so that they can eventually make diamond semiconductors for the electronics industry. Of course, the other side of this story is that cheap synthetic diamonds have the potential to upset the diamond monopoly run by the DeBeer's cartel.

Continue reading "Diamonds and such" »

Identity Theft

Today's slashdot article on identity theft reminded me about the importance of staying informed about my finances. I try to be consciencous about this anyway, but I'm going to make sure that I order those credit reports that I found out about a few days ago.

Oh, and sites like anybirthday.com that aggregate publicly available data and make it easily available are a little scary. Not that I would suggest such sites should not exist - it is public information, after all - but it's a reminder that a lot of information about me is easily obtainable. I guess it's my responsibility to stay aware of what happens with my information.

Of course, I freely give out lots of personally identifiable information on my own website.

Six Sigma

I was browsing through Firebird blogs and I came across an entry that implied that everybody working for a big business knows that six sigma == good. Well, I've never heard of six sigma so naturally I was curious. Now I know.

August 11, 2003

Open Proxies

Came across this article on Open Proxy abuse through some article on slashdot. I found it interesting, and it might be interesting to system admins or other computer geek types out there...

August 10, 2003

Credit

freecreditreports.com has had some ads on tv lately that have inspired me to look into credit reports -- something I've been meaning to do, but never seem to get around to. A quick look at the site indicates that you can get a free credit report online, but it seems to me that the site is angling to get you to "join" so that you'll buy their montly credit watch service. I don't think I need that, in addition to the fact that it looks like the site is US-based. So, a quick trip to the source of all knowledge and I'm on my way.

It turns out that there are two main credit reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax and Trans Union. They both have lots of info online, but I hit the Equifax credit rating FAQ first. Lots of good info. Both companies will sell you a copy of your report online for about $15 CAD, but you can get your report by mail for free. They also point out that they will correct any errors in your report, at no charge.

August 08, 2003

Mozilla stuff

Cool to see the chain of events as the mozilla community, scattered across the world, moves forward together. A guy in California codes a new idea, and some guy in another country takes it and adds something really nifty. This is happening all the time since Mozilla is built around Javascript and CSS, so any decently competent web designer can actually poke around inside mozilla, make changes, and contribute back to the project.

In another case, a group in Poland take some mozilla images and make posters to promote Mozilla around their town during a computer conference. Somebody else took those images, and set up an online shop selling Mozilla items with any proceeds going to support Mozilla projects. As soon as I pay off a few more debts, I might have to get me some new clothes...

May 29, 2003

Quickies

Thanks to Steve for pointing me to the most boring blog on the web. Quite funny.

Steve also mentions the new version of Acrobat Reader, which I suppose I should install. Unlike Steve, I've come to grudgingly appreciate the existance of the PDF format, although I still think that Flash is an abomination (sorry, Jason, nothing personal).

Finally, just for you Jason, in case you ever see this: CSS Zen Garden via mpt's blog I think, which I can't reach right now to check.

April 23, 2003

Browser Bashing

People that know me know that I have a not-so-secret bias against things Microsoft. In my defense, this has grown up over years of experience with computers, and is rooted in real issues such as buggy, insecure software, annoying interfaces, and exhorbitant prices - not to mention questionable corporate ethics. I probably am too polemic about it, but whatever. To back up my claims just a little, Hixie writes about the sad state of IE6's non-standards compliance. He should know, he's on the W3C's CSS working group.

March 11, 2003

Now on to other miscellany...

Boycott Delta Paranoid maybe, but interesting...

geek mode on
Jackpot This is a honeypot SMTP server designed to attract spammers and sap their email-sending resources. I wish I were geek enough to setup and run this myself, but I just don't have the drive for it these days. Maybe somebody out there will find it interesting...
geek mode off

The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science is a great little article that's worth reading.

February 24, 2003

Lytehouse Youth Ministries

Front view of the stage during LYM's Winter 2003 kickoff

Maybe it's a little presumptous to think of this as my legacy, but I just took a look at lytehouse.com, the website of the youth group at my old church in St. John's, NL. The site is up to date, with the calender showing Capstone there in concert tonight, and 7 young people on the tech crew for each regular Friday Night Live service. Makes me really proud to see them carrying on. Guys, if there's ever anything I can do to help, let me know!

Special kudos to Deborah Q for taking the reigns while Jon A is on a work term in Ontario. I knew you could do it! I'd also like to congratulate the team responsible for the Winter 2003 kickoff. I've linked a couple pics here at right, but to see the whole lot head over to lytehouse.com, select Media and then scroll down to Winter Kickoff 2003. I really like the creative use of the stands to get different heights with the PARs. Guys, I know how limited that lighting rig is, and you make it look good! closeup view of the stage during LYM's Winter 2003 kickoff

Anyway, I just want to post this to say to all the folks back home that I haven't forgotten you. Keep up the good work, and I hope to visit soon!

More web scrapings

In this edition: spam, a sound blog sort-of, and maps and history of conflict in the middle east.

Continue reading "More web scrapings" »

February 19, 2003

Public Service Announcement

Watch This I'm serious.

February 06, 2003

Some more web-scrapings

Especially for Jon Anderson and Simpson's fanatics everywhere: Best 25 Simpson's Episodes as listed by Entertainment Weekly. Incidentally, does the promotion of the Simpson's by EW imply that the show has lost it satirical edge?

Finally, A possible explanation for the hiccups?

January 10, 2003

Deja Vu

Guess when this was written:

The virus, which generally arrives as an email attachment, can infect any PC running Microsoft's Windows operating system. Moreover, computers that haven't been updated in the last two years with the patch for an old Windows problem could be infected automatically, without the user doing anything but viewing the email message. Computers running the Macintosh operating system and Linux are not affected.
It was written today in CNet's article on the new Livra virus, but it could have been any number of virus notices for the last four or five years.

In other news, this morning I had my car inspected, so now my trusty Honda Civic is fully Nova Scotian, new plates, registration and all.

January 08, 2003

Conspiracy Theories, Anyone?

The Enron-Cheney-Taliban Connection - I always like to see alternate viewpoints. Not like I needed much more reason to dislike the current US Administration.

December 12, 2002

Quote of the Day

From a post on kuro5hin (pronouced corrosion):

no, freedom of speech is not the root of terrorism. yes, maybe a terrorist could use such tricks to disguise his ways, but that's not the point. the point is that terrorism evolves from economic and social problems, which must be solved before it can end.
Amen.

December 07, 2002

TheOpenCD

Cool site of the day: TheOpenCD. This is a compilation of free software that runs on windows. All of the software on the CD is also cross-platform, which means that there are versions available for other operating systems such as Mac OS X, linux, and unix.

The hope of the CD's creators is that it will be downloaded, burned and distributed widely (which is perfectly legal). As computer users are exposed to free software, they will become less dependent on MS Windows. When that happens, people once again have a choice of OS. If you care about your OS, you can stay with what you have. If (like most people, I suspect) you don't care about your OS, then you are free to go with the best (cheapest, most reliable) option, which may not be a Microsoft product. You can make that choice and not worry about having familiar software to use.

December 05, 2002

Yay! Somebody else has seen my blog

(Apologies in advance to a few folks that have mentioned to be me personally that they read the site - Jeff, Steve, Jon - thanks!)

This morning I received the first response to my plea. Kathy has a blog and a website of her own. Surfing outwards from there I came across Sara Coleman's journal, which reminds me that I really need to remodel my own site. It's about time I had some nice cool graphic banner for the front page layout, so now the debate is: do I take an hour or two and poke around with Paint Shop Pro, or do I get down to schoolwork?

sigh I guess schoolwork should win, but either way I won't feel too bad about today, since it's not even 11 and I've already taken my brother to work, shaved, showered, picked up a few groceries, ate breakfast, flossed, cleaned my room, done a load of laundry, talked to Kerry, checked my email, and skimmed the usual websites. Good to get back into the getting-up-early thing...

December 04, 2002

Anti-Microsoft Rant for the Day

Just ran across this somewhere: Windows XP Shows the Direction Microsoft is Going. Despite a little hyperbole and a few minor technical inaccuracies, it covers a lot of ground and summarizes most of the reasons that computer-types dislike Microsoft.

A choice quote from the conclusion:

Human society in general is not effective at stopping abuse. People have a difficult time being clear about abusiveness, and therefore about protesting it and stopping it. It is especially difficult for the average person to feel clear about something technical like software. People tend to blame themselves rather than the software that should serve their needs.

November 29, 2002

In other important news

It isn't hard to find explanations of a golf handicap (for instance, here, and here). I found it a little more challenging to actually find out how handicaps are calculated (probably operator error, I know). The congu system isn't the one officially sanctioned by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews but it gives you an idea of how it works.

November 26, 2002

Some Sensible advice from the BBC

Slashdot highlighted a BBC article on spyware on your computer this morning. The most interesting bit: the article recommends the best defense is to stop using Internet Explorer, since most adware and spyware makers target the infamous swiss-cheese browser.

I don't know if this article had anything to do with the recent reports of a huge IE security hole, but since we're in an MS-bashing mood... if you don't have the energy to wade through the MS security bulletin yourself, the summary is that a standard module installed with all versions of IE (except on Windows XP) allows malicious websites to do anything at all with your computer if you visit their site.

The best part, though, is halfway down the security bulletin where it says

What caveats are associated with the patch? Although the patch does address the vulnerability, there is a niche scenario through which a patched system could, under unusual conditions, be made vulnerable again. This scenario results because it is not possible to set the "Kill Bit" used by one of the vulnerable components.

Translating that to English, it means that if you install the security update to fix the problem, the bad guy website can simply tell IE to install the vulnerable module again. IE has this "feature" that allows websites to specify exactly what functionality they need. Since the vulnerable module was originally written by MS, the browser thinks it it is ok to reinstall it. The solution recommended by Microsoft? Change IE's settings to never trust ActiveX controls that are provided my Microsoft (so that IE will warn you when a site tries to install a Microsoft control).

Yes, they're working on a more permanent fix, but the irony is just too delicious...

A pleasant end to a productive day

Kerry, I'm sorry that our phone conversation wasn't as cheerful as it should have been. I hope you have a great night's sleep. I love you.

After a productive day's school work, I took the late evening to enjoy Die Another Day, which - I'm happy to say - does justice to the Bond tradition.

On the way home, I tuned in to a little of After Hours, to round out the evening. I was treated to a great track by Mark Isham. I hadn't heard of him before, but he is apparently a quite successful film composer in addition to being a jazz trumpeter. I think I'll have to add Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project to my wish list.

November 22, 2002

The Singularity

I've heard of the singularity before, but I never really paid attention until today. It started with this story on slashdot, which had several interesting comments 1 2 3. This, in turn, leads to me some new additions to my wishlist.

In more mundane news, I've decided to try shave every second day, but not trying to shave as close as possible, instead of shaving really well every third day. I expect this new game to yield many minutes of excitement.

...and on the work front: in my inbox this morning a link to Volker Holtmeyer's thesis translated into english. He was apparently working on line array modelling with the company that produces Ulysses, an acoustics modelling program. While this thesis doesn't really overlap any of my research, it does give a very readable and current overview of state-of-the-art industrial use of line array technology.

November 14, 2002

here's another entry for the soapbox

One of these days I'll get the soapbox up to date, but for now, I'll just toss this in here in the general weblog:

The EFF is encouraging US citizens to support the DMCRA. This bill is introduced in Congress to modify some of the more odious aspects of the DMCA. I don't have time right now to write down why it's bad, and it is disappointing that the average person seems to not know or care much about fair use rights. Sometime soon I'll write a (or finish one of my already half-written) small soapbox entries.

If you're somewhat interested and have a few minutes to read, the EFF has several DMCA-related documents on their website, including this white papar summarizing the actual negative effects of the DMCA in its first three years.

November 12, 2002

If you didn't already believe me, now I have proof

Still skeptical? See for yourself! http://thesource.ofallevil.com/

October 30, 2002

Telemarketing Fun

Over the years there have been many discussions of telemarketing on slashdot. Another one today brought me this site: the anti-telemarketing counterscript. I've heard many, many suggestions for dealing with intrusive and annoying telemarketing calls, but I'm always a little hesitant to put them to use myself, since they often involve annoying or harassing the caller. I imagine that most people working in outgoing call centres are working for a fairly low wage. Pestering them may hurt telemarketing in the long run by keeping the working conditions poor. On the other hand it seems unlikely to me that bothering a telemarketer is not going to reduce the volume of calls received in the short term. Since I don't get a large number of telemarketing calls I've never analyzed the issue any closer than that. The counterscript is an interesting read, and seems a little more respectful than most suggestions I've heard.

October 29, 2002

Escher

I have seen this page of Lego constructions before, but the renderings of M.C. Escher drawings in Lego are new, and quite impressive.

September 13, 2002

MS Word is not

MS Word is not a document exchange format - this article neatly summarizes my opinion. I realized while reading it that most of my friends and correspondents probably don't realize the extra effort I have to make to read an MS Word document every time I receive one. I guess if I were a rude person I would refuse to make the effort and insist that anybody who wants me to read their communication use a standard, universally accepted and appropriate format. Most of the time, that format is plain text.

September 10, 2002

The year in retrospective

Chris Nelson has an interesting perspective today on America's withdrawl from the rest of the world since 2001-09-11. I have to say that I don't think it could be said much better. In fact, if somebody else had said it, it wouldn't have had the same potence as it does coming from an American.

August 26, 2002

Remember those anti-drug ads about supporting terrorists

Well, here is something along the same lines, but a little more accurate and thought provoking. I found this through kottke.org and I kind of agree that it would be very amusing to see thousands of those stickers appearing on gas pumps around the US. I guess around Canada would be ok, too. Mind you, I'm not advocating any law-breaking here.

August 14, 2002

Diamonds are forNever?

Ten reasons why you should never accept a diamond ring. I was going to post this last night but I didn't get around to it. I have heard for a few years how diamonds are a bit of a scam, with prices kept artificially high by De Beers. I never bothered to really research it though. Yesterday, slashdot posted an article entitled Diamonds - Are They Really Worth the Cost?. The follow-up discussion was about the most active for any story on slashdot except for a few big stories about Microsoft's trial last year. The article referenced the Ten Reasons list I linked to above, but also an indepth story from the February 1982 issue of The Atlantic called Have You Ever Tried To Sell A Diamond? Looks like the cartel has managed to contain the market forces, because as far as I can tell diamond prices are as high as ever, the resale value is as low as ever. Mysteriously, everybody still believes that a diamond is the definitive eternal symbol of love, and a sound investment.

Sorry, Kerry. This isn't a hint, honest!

August 13, 2002

Think about it

It's about time that somebody intervened in the rogue states around the world to return them to peace-loving members of the international community.

Also, free_culture is another link that belongs in the soapbox section, really.

July 23, 2002

MLP

July 11, 2002

Kerry Walker

picture of Kerry Walker

The real Kerry Walker is a smart, successful, and beautiful neuroscientist starting her M.Sc. this fall at Dalhousie Univeristy. She's also my girlfriend.

Some imposters:

  • KW, Internet Developer "...expert in all flavors of Microsoft, server development, systems analysis..." and a he. Bzzt.
  • KJW, Assistant Intern Supervisor at the University of Albany or something. Wrong again.
  • KW, Actress, though I don't recall ever noticing her in any of her movies. Seeing as she was acting before the real Kerry Walker was born, we'll strike her off the list.
  • KW, Value Engineering Officer- whatever that is - in the US Army, apparently. "Worked for over 25 years in the areas of research arctic engineering, facilities construction, and environmental engineering." Nope, that doesn't sound right.
  • KW, Assistant Restaurant Manager, scientologist, gender indeterminate. Wants to be an auditor for the Church of Scientology. About the only right thing is the age: 22.
  • KW, freshman, business major and midfielder for the Northern Illinois University soccer team. Well, at least she's a girl of about the right age, but the real Kerry is prettier. No offense intended to the other Kerrys.

July 09, 2002

I gotta start real backups...

Yeah, I'm a computer engineer and I should know better. I have two hard drives in my computer and I keep a duplicate copy of all my files on the older, smaller of the two drives. I've just not wanted to spend the money on a CD burner so I could make proper backups.

Well, last night while I was trying to update those duplicate files and remove some redundant or out of date files, I accidentally deleted the only current copy of my music folder (a gig or two of MP3s). It would have only taken a few hours to rip them all from the original CDs again, but it was still a stupid operator error.

Of course, being a minor cheapskate, I didn't want to fork out $30 or more for a shareware file recovery program, so I went hunting a found Drive Rescue, a freeware undelete package for win32. It's not that stable, but it saved my pride, and the hassle of re-encoding a couple gigs of music. Lesson learned and all that... I'm saving my pennies for that nice CDRW/DVD combo drive soon!

The reality of the music industry

Here is an insider's view of the music industry the shows just how much the music distribution companies are screwing the bands and artists, not just the music-listening public. If you read some online sites like slashdot you'll already be familiar with the anti-RIAA rhetoric, but this is a real good read with a concrete dollars and cents example.

July 06, 2002

Nuclear testing

I didn't realize that the US conducted above ground and underwater nuclear tests until 1962 and underground nuclear tests until 1992. In total there were over 1000 nuclear tests conducted by the US alone! After the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was passed by the UN in 1996, the US still continued with "subcritical nuclear tests involving hundreds of pounds of high explosives but not enough nuclear materials to start a full chain reaction.

June 27, 2002

Web tidbits

Got this from Surf*Mind*Musings: a really thorough list of links to Mozilla-related websites.

If your interests run along a more political line, try Chris Nelson's weblog. He's a Mozilla developer, but lately he's had a lot to say about his disappointment in the Bush administration in the US. Despite his strong left-leaning stance, I can't say that I entirely disagree with him. And I'm supposed to be one of those fundamentalist Christians that make up those right-wing groups.

June 26, 2002

Thinking big

I don't know how many competing proposals there are for the reconstruction of the site of the World Trade Centre in NYC, but WTC2002 is certainly thinking big. I like it. 5 towers, 111 stories. The only drawback with the site is that it is Flash based and broken. It didn't load in Mozilla 1.0, and it stuck while trying to detect the version of Flash installed with MSIE 5 on the school's computer. Try starting at http://www.wtc2002.com/start.lasso if the link above doesn't work for you.

June 14, 2002

Website promotion

Still haven't found a permanent home for those few links I'd like to have handy or promote, but here are two of them: lytehouse.com - my church youth group, and ycnewfoundland.org the info site for YC2002, Oct 11-13 in Gander. If you are a Christian living in Eastern Canada you should check this event out - great teaching, amazing music, and 2000 excited people your age who just want to have a great time.

an apple a day

Just for Kerry, here is an account of one guy's conversion to using a Mac iBook, pretty much like the one you'll probably end up with. He he, who thought my girlfriend would be using unix exclusively before me?

June 10, 2002

Kerry has her very own

Kerry has her very own weblog. WooHoo!