Call Me Mr. Traveller. Less than a week after returning from Oregon, we are off to Yosemite for the weekend to stay at the Awahnee Hotel, a reservation that must be made a year in advance. The long lead time explains why I didn't notice that this trip comes less than a week after Spring Break--in fact, I don't think the 2005-2006 school calendar had yet been adopted when I made this reservation! Alas, rain and snow are expected, but we'll probably get out in it anyway… The following week, The Tech, the MIT newspaper, celebrates its 125th anniversary in Boston (just across the river from Cambridge, Mass). Yours truly was editor in chief (EIC) of Vol. 93. Since the staff elects the editor, I still take pride in that accomplishment, a reward for hard work, a sparkling personality, and what was then considered a just-barely sufficient capacity for alcohol. Do they drink any more? I doubt it. Anyway, both these trips will be shorter than the vacation in Oregon, more action-packed and, in the case of Boston, less likely to leave me feeling relaxed, but there you are. Some things you do because you must.
Bush glad Cheney not running: Bush continued with a lengthy explanation of his leadership philosophy, which included advice not to use force until diplomacy is exhausted, to give government support whenever putting people in harm's way, not to make decisions based on polls, to stand firm when making a decision, to be ready for the unexpected, to base decisions on principles and to realize that freedom is a universal right of all men and women.
Given the George put all of these people in harm's way of the bilge he was dispensing, one wonders if, in accord with his philosophy (or the philosophy being dictated to him through the wireless receiver on his back) he supplied boots and shovels to the entire audience. This is further evidence George is totally out of touch with reality if he a) believes what he said or b) believes anyone believes what he said)
Richard Dalton notes:
Costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are currently about $322 billion. I've seen those costs compared to what that amount of money might buy in education, housing, child health, and other domestic spending possibilities.
The Globalist (theglobalist.com), a Washington-based research organization, suggests some other comparisons. According to their research, the wars are the financial equivalent of:
All US development aid since 1979, or; More than 50 years of State Department operations, or; All loans given by the World Bank since 1989.
Pretty sobering. Even more so if you realize that the administration that got us into this senseless quagmire, is asking for an additional $122 billion for FY 2007.
- Brownie to keep doing a 'heck of a job in New Orleans'…
- The Red Ink Legacy: "...one of the most important lasting legacies of the Bush years will no doubt be the astonishing debt he'll leave behind."…
- Newsweek: Saying the M Word, President Bush has never liked the word 'mistake.' But
in recent days, it's become a more regular part of his vocabulary.
- Phone Jamming Records Point To White House and White House Pressed on NH Tactic
Goings on at Google: Google has launched
its long anticipated Calendar
web-application (take the tour) and
the reviews are good: Google
Calendar Makes an Impressive Debut and Google's
Time Keeper. I was always a little hinky about storing my email at Gmail (although I do have
account there which I use as a backup for sending mail from unfriendly
networks) but I am less worried about my calendar. Not that
exposing your appointments to the world isn't a potential disaster. I
guess I am desensitized by years of using Yahoo's calendar. It is just
convenient to have my calendar available from whatever machine/OS I am
using. An Israeli-born grad student hit the jackpot when he and his Orion
referential search algorithm were snapped
up by Google.
Dear AOL, get a clue! To recap: (1) over
the years AOL and other ISPs have demonstrated that they lack the
technical competence to identify and stop spam, (2) AOL came up with
with a maniacal scheme: classify all
email as spam, then allow senders to pay AOL a bribe to ensure delivery
-- note that this does nothing
to prevent spam from well-heeled senders, and will prevent lots of
legitimate mail from getting through, (3) outrage ensues, the user
community forms anti-pay-to-send advocacy groups, such as www.dearaol.com, (4) AOL reacts by
blocking as "spam" all email which mentions Dear AOL, (5) more outrage
SF Wi-Fi: now that San Francisco has
awarded the contract to wi-fi-ize the city to a group led by EarthLink
and Google, various aggrieved parties are raising objections: Some
Worries as San Francisco Goes Wireless and Critics hit SF
Wi-Fi plan on privacy, interference.
RunBot to BigDog: a new speed record for
legged robotics: Speedy
robot legs it to break record (video
2 , author's
page and abstract
of paper). Sort of a cross between the Amundsen expedition
and the Mars rovers: Robotic
route for Polar pioneers. On that same theme of using robots where
pack animals were once used: see Boston Dynamic's BigDog
("The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth") be sure to watch the video (wmv
format). Finally, a cool Lego Pneumatic
Planetary astronomy: the European Space
Agency's Venus Express completed its five month voyage: Probe
makes encounter with Venus. It has begun to send back great
pictures, like these twists and vortices at the south pole: First Images
from Venus Express and Unexpected detail in
first-ever Venus south pole images. The solar system's rankings for
most likely home to alien life have been revised: Saturn's
moon Enceladus 'best bet for life'.
AT&T/NSA Pipeline: last week I cited Whistle-Blower
Outs NSA Spy Room about how AT&T apparently routed all of their
phone and Internet traffic through secret rooms run by the NSA. Maybe
this is why the Bush administration wasn't willing to comply with even
the minimal provisions of the FISA
law: they were already listening to everybody. More on this: Wiretap
Whistleblower's Statement, AT&T
Seeks to Hide Spy Docs and Whistle-blower
says AT&T gave spy agency access to network. This can all be
seen as an argument for Why VOIP Needs
The Emotional Hearing Aid: as first
mentioned here two
there is fascinating work at MIT Media Lab by Rana El Kaliouby et al. on developing a device that
will help autistics better understand the nuances of human facial
Reader Bridges Autism Gap, see this technical paper: The
Emotional Hearing Aid: An Assistive tool for Children with Asperger
Syndrome (pdf format).
Technobits: from the EFF: Unintended
Consequences: Seven Years Under the DMCA ---
Red Hat and
JBoss: No turning back for open source --- Border
Security System Left Open --- This
Boring Headline Is Written for Google ---
light 'to reinvent bulbs' --- up to their keisters in Burmese
battles killer pythons in Florida park --- generic
blogging, meta comments --- The
Future was so Cool in 1961 ("If the futuristic architecture of the
mid-20th century has a singular icon, it's the Theme Building at LAX")
--- 13 minutes of Japanese
Gathered by Tom Lasusa with a little help from his friends…Mentos = Freshmaker. Mentos + Diet Coke = Face Breaker… Online sex games… The latest auction eBuffy… Counterfiet money -- truly, one of the OLDEST scams around… A Cell phone in Your Mouth -- No Tooth to That!… Bake a Cake with Cadbury Creme eggs… Today is Corey Appreciation Day: Haim and Feldman… Take a word association test… Now all we need is the sharks to carry the lasers… Forget the Grassy Knoll -- did Lincoln's Assasin really work alone? (no)… One Red Paperclip Heard about this guy? He started off with a single red paperclip and decided on the experiment -- To trade it for something else, and to keep going until he has himself a house. He's already up to free rent for a year in a place in Phoenix!…
Marjorie Wolfe, a frequent contributor to and friend of this column, now has her own web site, where, this week, she deals with de vants (Yiddish for bedbugs).
David Cheatley offers two links: the art of writing Google Friendly headlines alters the art of writing headlines (what, no more puns!?!) and what Marshall McLuhan meant when he said "the medium is the message."
Dan Grobstein File
- Pentagon Channel Adds Video Podcasting to Product Line: WASHINGTON, April 10, 2006 - The Pentagon Channel has added video podcasting to its line of products that distribute the channel's military news and information to the nation's men and women in uniform. "We work hard to communicate with the men and women of the department around the world," Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said. "I am pleased that we are using video casting and other increasingly important technologies to reach our global audience with all the news and information available on the Pentagon Channel."
I spent last week on the Oregon coast. Normally, I stay in beachside motels there, or sometimes in a rental home near Salisham Lodge, but friends of the family recently purchased a beautiful home a few miles north of Manzanita, Oregon, and they graciously allowed me to use it. Alas, the phone wasn’t turned on yet. Horrors—a week without Internet access. No one in the nearby housing development apparently has Wifi. My cellphone doesn’t work here either. This may be the most relaxing vacation I’ve taken in ages. My goal was to read at least two books and see 4 old movies a day. It was a rigorous schedule, but I felt I was up for it. (I actually saw a total of 6 movies, not 16, and finished only one book, The DaVinci Code—now I’m ready for the movie!)
One distraction: there is Wifi and a Cybercafe in Manzanita (open 10-4). On the other hand, nearly everything else in town was closed Monday and Tuesday, which reduced the temptation to bop into town, and increased the likelihood that I would make most of my own meals and so avoid gaining weight.
Another distraction is the view. I can see about five miles of Oregon coast from this perch, and since I enjoy looking at and listening to the Ocean more than I enjoy spending time in it, this house is close to perfect.
I feel my batteries recharging already, and it is only Tuesday as I write this. Alas, my gosh-darn Palm III Palm Pilot lost its mind during the trip up here, so I couldn’t call anyone even if I did have a working telephone. Is God trying to tell me something about relaxing??
It was George (and Dick) who authorized the leaks, as was intuitively obvious to the most casual observer at the time. As PSACOT has previously reported both George and Dick were and are clear and present dangers to the national security and have caused exceptionally grave damage to national security, Arguably, without a formal written declassification order, the material is still classified. Further, the people to whom the disclosures were made did not have appropriate clearances or a need to know for a reason benefiting the nation as opposed to a private interest. See also:
· Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) Letter to Bush about Classification Issues from Plame Investigation
· Filing in US v. Libby: Govt's Response to Defendant's Third Motion To Compel Discovery, see esp. pages 19 and 20.
· Daily KOS: Bush to Resign for Health Reasons?
· Truthout.org: The Tethered Goat Strategy, By Sidney Blumenthal from the Guardian newspaper. Amazingly, the State Department continues to find new ways to foul up Iraq.
Apple gives Windows the boot: tech tongues
have been wagging since Apple released a public beta of Boot Camp a
pre-release feature of Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) that will allow you to
dual boot your Intel-based Mac to Windows XP. (MS software definitely
NOT included -- BYOWXP.) The GUI of this "ALT reality" is pure
delicious Applesauce, I am confident that never before in the history
of computing has there been an easier way to re-partition a live disk.
Probably the main motivation for Boot Camp is to encourage
fence-sitting "switchers" who want to use Macs, but have a few Windows
apps they just can't do without. Virtual PC used to be the best bet,
but that became a victim of the move to Intel based Macs (but see
2.1 Beta). Certainly
there is no risk that Mac users will boot XP then forget to came back
There is a typically well-reasoned analysis
of Boot Camp and its implications at Daring Fireball. Back when
Intel-based Macs were first introduced, there was a lot of
speculation about whether the new OS X could be run on non-Apple
hardware. Boot Camp is definitely not that capability, but Cringely
suggests it might be down the road.
The X-ray observatory never blinks: This
struck me as such a very clever idea: normally telescopes alternate
between observation and "slewing" into position for the next
observation. These two states are mutually exclusive and in fact the
instrument is traditionally shuttered during the slew to protect the
optics. But operators of the space-based XMM-Newton X-ray observatory
realized that keeping the shutter open and recording the data during
slew allowed them free sky survey time. This lets them find dynamic
phenomena that might otherwise be missed: Telescope
profits from 'downtime'.
Canonical MIT/Caltech hack: MIT likes to
has a friendly rivalry with its Cambridge
neighbor Harvard, while Harvard mostly ignores MIT. Similarly MIT
is generally ignored by what it considers its west coast "rival"
Caltech. MIT also has a rich history of hacks.
So it must have made the MIT geeks' hearts swell with pride to
be the target
of several hacks by Caltech in 2005.
Finally, some "respect"! Now MIT hackers (aka the Howe Et Ser Moving
Company) have pulled off a 3000
miles transplant of Caltech's 130-year-old 2-ton Fleming cannon
(more here). The big gun appeared Thursday morning, just in time for the
start of Campus
Preview Weekend. Note the exquisite workmanship
on the "brass rat"
(the MIT class ring) that adorns the barrel.
Technobits: Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room --- Seeking changes to the DMCA --- openDRM: not quite as odious as proprietary DRM --- from Mr. PGP, really secure VoIP: A Pretty Good Way to Foil the NSA --- Intellectual Property Run Amok --- Firefox breaks 10 percent, Safari comes in third --- MIT Researchers Build Tiny Batteries With Viruses --- Arctic fossils mark move to land --- spicy chemotherapy --- How Islamic inventors changed the world.
I am more or less proud to say No. 14 is mine…
April 3, 2006
NOTE FROM CHRIS:
An Arizona mother charged with abducting her two children was accused of posing as a man while on the run, and authorities say the heavyset woman with cropped hair and a slight mustache even went as far as to have the kids call her "Daddy."
We've decided to flex our comedic muscles and take a look at things from the opposite angle, using an inverted humor prism to ascertain...
Okay, I screwed up and worded the topic backwards. Sue me!
17> Every Mother's Day, it's yet another dinner
16> Your "Happy Birthday!" message is perfectly written in the snow.
15> Constantly bitching at herself about leaving the toilet seat up.
14> She insists you use air quotes when you call her "Mom."
13> You try to borrow a tampon from her purse, but all you find inside the plastic container is a Slim Jim.
12> She claims her weekly visits to the Platinum Pussycat club are to pick up breast-feeding tips.
11> "Son, that Pamela Anderson seems like one great catch!"
10> After a bad day at the office, she eschews a pint of Chunky Monkey in favor of a pint of Jim Beam.
9> You ask her to sew a button on your shirt and she reaches for the nail gun.
8> Refers to Brad Pitt as "that pansy."
7> Her lavender pumps point *toward* the toilet when she pees in a public stall.
6> None of the other third-graders get Doritos, pickle spears and Bud Light in their school lunch.
5> The only monthly visitor she ever has is a $50 stripper.
4> Her purse perfectly matches her shoes. But at the same time, her five-o'clock shadow perfectly matches her mono-brow.
3> Refuses to watch "Desperate Housewives" because "those broads get on my nerves."
2> Caitlyn's mom sells Mary Kay Cosmetics. Your mom sells Larry's Bait 'n' Tackle.
and Topfive.com's Number 1 Sign Your Mom Is Actually Your Dad...
1> When you run to her and excitedly announce that you just starting bleeding "down there," she shudders and hands you a box of Band-Aids.
[ The Top 5 List www.topfive.com ] [ Copyright 2006 by Chris White ]
Selected from 102 submissions from 38 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Sandra Hull, Arlington, VA -- 1, 9 (45th #1/Hall of Famer)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA – 14
When you’re hot, you’re hot, says No. 9… (Number 13 with Part I: “Whalin Jonah”)
April 7, 2006
14> The Rock of Ages
13> Punch and Judea
12> The Sermonator
11> The Angel of Merciless
10> The Ouchbishop
9> Stone Cold Moses
8> The Bible Thumper
7> The Youth Minister -- of Pain!
6> Judas Iscarrion
5> Punches Piledriver
4> Painin' Abel
3> John the Whaptist
2> The Bad Samaritan
and Topfive.com's Number 1 Evangelical Christian Wrestler...
1> Jesus That Hurt
[ The Top 5 List www.topfive.com ]
[ Copyright 2006 by Chris White ]
Selected from 127 submissions from 45 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Paul Wiley, Westtown, NY -- 1 (2nd #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA – 9