December 08, 2005

Geeky update on the horizon

I've downloaded and burned CDs for 11 separate Linux distros and have been testing them on my computer at home. Since these are "Live CDs", I do not have to install anything onto my computer's hard drive. After extensive testing, I've started to form a pretty strong opinion about the pros and cons of each system, at least as I see them. I need to run some further tests, but I plan to make a recommendation which you are, of course, free to ignore. Whatever OS I choose, though, will soon be replacing Windows on my computer, which moves me closer and closer to a Gates-less world.

One caveat: I have some programs that run only in a Windows environment, so I need to test some of the WINE-like emulators to see which one works the best for me.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:27 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Visually speaking III

Look at the picture, try to figure out what it represents, then look at the answer below the picture.

dandy lions.jpg

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:07 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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December 06, 2005

Shop elsewhere

I never advocate boycotts. However, I personally will not to shop at Target this Christmas season. Your decision is, of course, your own.


Thanks to Debbie Schlussel via XLRQ for the update. Oh, and the image swiped from there as well.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 10:52 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Bring out yer dead!

Time to submit your rosters for the Dead Pool, v.2006. Here is a new rule for 2006:

Players must be bloggers and willing to expend an effort in promoting the game and cheering on their picks as they appear in the headlines, flirting with death. All players must join this site as contributing authors are welcome to with the understanding that shameless self-promotion of their own blogs in the process of making posts about their rosters is not only welcome, but encouraged.

Every player must blog about each of their picks at least once per calendar quarter (January - March / April - June / July - September / October - December). This means 15 posts per quarter times four quarters = 60 minimum posts. Failure to blog about a particular pick during a quarter means the loss of that pick. There will be no reminders or status pages of blogged picks, so track your roster carefully during the year.

If a pick dies during the year, then you no longer have to blog about that pick.

I think that the new blogging requirement will come back to bite me in the ass, but that's my problem.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:54 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Stale stuff


A boy frog telephones the Psychic Hotline and his Personal Psychic Advisor tells him: "You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you."

The frog is thrilled, "This is great! Will I meet her at a party?"

"No," replies his Advisor, "in her biology class."


The other day I went to the local religious bookstore where I saw a "Honk if you love Jesus" bumper sticker. I bought it and put it on the bumper of my car, and I am really glad that I did. What an uplifting experience followed!! I was stopped at the light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord, when I did not notice that the light had just changed. The bumper sticker really worked!! I found lots of people who really loved Jesus. Why, the guy behind me started to honk like crazy. He must really love the Lord because soon he leaned out the window and yelled "Jesus christ" as loud a he could. It was like a football game with him yelling "Go, Jesus Christ, Go!!" Everyone else started honking, too. So I leaned out the window and smiled at all those loving people. There must have been a guy from Florida back there because I could here him yelling about "sunny beach" , and I saw him waving a funny way with his middle finger stuck up in the air. I asked my kids what it meant. They squirmed, looked at eachother , then told me it was the Hawaiian good luck sign. So I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign back. Several cars back, a very nice man stepped out of his car and yelled something. I could not hear him very well, but it sounded like "mother trucker!" or "mother from there!". Maybe he was from Florida, too. He must really love the Lord. A couple of people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. I bet they wanted to pray, but just then I noticed that he light had turned green and I stepped on the gas. And a good thing I did because I was the only driver that got across the intersection. I looked back at them standing there. I leaned out the window, gave them a big smile, and gave them the Hawaiian good luck sign as I drove away.


The Customer is Always Right!

After experiencing difficulties with his computer, a poor, incognizant user called the system maker's technical support line for assistance...

Technician: Hello. How can I help you today?

Customer: There's smoke coming from the power supply on my computer...

Technician: Looks like you need a new power supply...

Customer: No, I don't! I just need to change the startup files...

Technician: Sir, what you described is a faulty power supply. You need to replace it...

Customer: No way! Someone told me that I just had to change the system startup files to fix the problem! All I need is for you to tell me the right command...

For the next ten minutes, in spite of the technician's efforts to explain the problem and its solution, the customer adamantly insisted that he was right. So, in frustration, the technician responded...

Technician: I'm sorry. We don't normally tell our customers this, but there's an undocumented DOS command that will fix the problem...

Customer: I knew it!

Technician: Just add the line "LOAD NOSMOKE.COM" at the end of the CONFIG.SYS file and everything should work fine. Let me know how it goes...

About ten minutes later, the technician received a call back from the customer...

Customer: It didn't work. The power supply is still smoking...

Technician: Well, what version of DOS are you using?

Customer: MS-DOS 6.22...

Technician: Well, that's your problem. That version of DOS doesn't include NOSMOKE. You'll need to contact Microsoft and ask them for a patch. Let me know how it all works out...

When nearly an hour had passed, the phone rang again...

Customer: I need a new power supply...

Technician: How did you come to that conclusion?

Customer: Well, I called Microsoft and told the technician what you said, and he started asking me questions about the make of the power supply...

Technician: What did he tell you?

Customer: He said my power supply isn't compatible with NOSMOKE...

Below is an urban legend. Here is the link to Snopes debunking it. It's pretty funny nonetheless.

Warranty Card Registration


Thank you for purchasing a McDonnell Douglas military aircraft. In order to protect your new investment, please take a few moments to fill out the warranty registration card below. Answering the survey questions is not required, but the information will help us to develop new products that best meet your needs and desires.

1. _Mr. _Mrs. _Ms. _Miss _Lt. _Gen. _Comrade _Classified

First Name Initial

Last Name


Code Name

Latitude Longitude Altitude

2. Which model aircraft did you purchase?

_F-14 Tomcat _F-15 Eagle _F-16 Falcon _F-117A Stealth


3. Date of purchase: Month: Day: Year:

4. Serial Number:

5. Please check where this product was purchased:

[ ] Received as gift/aid package

[ ] Catalog showroom

[ ] Sleazy arms broker

[ ] Mail order

[ ] Discount store

[ ] Government surplus

[ ] Classified

6. Please check how you became aware of the McDonnell Douglas product you have just purchased:

[ ] Heard loud noise, looked up

[ ] Store display

[ ] Espionage

[ ] Recommended by friend/relative/ally

[ ] Political lobbying by manufacturer

[ ] Was attacked by one

7. Please check the three (3) factors that most influenced your decision to purchase this McDonnell Douglas product:

[ ] Style/appearance

[ ] Kickback/bribe

[ ] Recommended by salesperson

[ ] Speed/maneuverability

[ ] Comfort/convenience

[ ] McDonnell Douglas reputation

[ ] Advanced Weapons Systems

[ ] Price/value

[ ] Backroom politics

[ ] Negative experience opposing one in combat

8. Please check the location(s) where this product will be used:

[ ] North America

[ ] Central/South America

[ ] Aircraft carrier

[ ] Europe

[ ] Middle East

[ ] Africa

[ ] Asia/Far East

[ ] Misc. Third World countries

[ ] Classified

9. Please check the products that you currently own or intend to purchase in the near future:

Product Own Intend to purchase

[ ] Color TV

[ ] VCR

[ ] ICBM

[ ] Killer Satellite

[ ] CD Player

[ ] Air-to-Air Missiles

[ ] Space Shuttle

[ ] Home Computer

[ ] Nuclear Weapon

10. How would you describe yourself or your organization? Check all that apply:

[ ] Communist/Socialist

[ ] Terrorist

[ ] Crazed

[ ] Neutral

[ ] Democratic

[ ] Dictatorship

[ ] Corrupt

[ ] Primitive/Tribal

11. How did you pay for your McDonnell Douglas product?

[ ] Cash

[ ] Suitcases of cocaine

[ ] Oil revenues

[ ] Deficit spending

[ ] Personal check

[ ] Credit card

[ ] Ransom money

[ ] Traveler's check

12. Occupation You Your Spouse

[ ] Homemaker

[ ] Sales/marketing

[ ] Revolutionary

[ ] Clerical

[ ] Mercenary

[ ] Tyrant

[ ] Middle management

[ ] Eccentric billionaire

[ ] Defense Minister/general

[ ] Retired

[ ] Student

13. To help us understand our customers' lifestyles, please indicate the interests and activities in which you and your spouse enjoy participating on a regular basis:

Activity/Interest You Your Spouse

[ ] Golf

[ ] Boating/sailing

[ ] Sabotage

[ ] Running/jogging

[ ] Propaganda/disinformation

[ ] De-stabilization/overthrow

[ ] Default on loans

[ ] Gardening

[ ] Crafts

[ ] Black market/smuggling

[ ] Collectibles/collections

[ ] Watching sports on TV

[ ] Wines

[ ] Interrogation/torture

[ ] Household pets

[ ] Crushing rebellions

[ ] Espionage/reconnaissance

[ ] Fashion clothing

[ ] Border disputes

[ ] Mutually Assured Destruction

Thanks for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire. Your answers will be used in market studies that will help McDonnell Douglas serve you better in the future--as well as allowing you to receive mailings and special offers from other companies, governments, extremist groups, and mysterious consortia.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:18 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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Visually speaking II

Look at the picture, try to figure out what it represents, then look at the answer below the picture.

light beer.jpg

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:06 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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December 05, 2005

"Where was George?"

Jane Galt echoes Ted Kennedy's refrain from an old Democratic National Convention in this post. Excerpt:

What really chaps my ass, of course, is that if George Bush had been doing his job, checking the soil substrates under the levees, this never would have happened. We expected him to protect the country from disasters, and this is the one of the biggest disasters ever to hit the country. Yet where was George? Not taking soil cores, doing sonar analysis,or analysing soil samples in the lab--that much is clear. What the hell does he think we elected him for? Did he even make a cursory examination of the 17th street levee? I demand a special prosecutor to investigate why our president was not performing geological surveys of New Orleans in the days before hurricane struck.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:33 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Visually speaking

Look at a picture, try to figure out what it represents, then look at the answer below the picture.

pal pilot.jpg

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:16 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Early earthquake warning system

California has implemented a system that alerts citizens to any rumblings in the ground. It's a little unsettling, and therefore might not be safe for work, but here's a picture of the system in action.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:09 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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"We used to be a free country"

In deference to Jerry Pournelle

OTB/Radley Balko link to a story of a woman who got tasered by the police for refusing to take a blood alcohol test. Here is a link to the video. I can't make out a lot of what's being said. Except for, of course, the woman's screams of "OH MY GOD!" as she's being tasered.

Hey Barney! Here's some free advice: knock it off. If you and partner can't handle a 100 lb. woman, find another line of work.

Update: James Joyner politely mentioned in the comments that I had linked to the wrong story. Whoops.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:24 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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What every man wants for Christmas

What follows is the ultimate stocking stuffer: more...

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:40 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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December 02, 2005


In keeping with the spirit of the comments in this post by Ace, I present you with the prototype of the new Dick Cheney condom line.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 10:28 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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You might not have heard this

Jonah posted an email at the Corner that bears repeating. I'm including the whole thing in the hopes that more people will become aware of our booming economy.

Earlier this morning we learned that the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in November, beating the expected mark and posting the highest number in four months. Over the past year nearly 2 million jobs have been created -- and nearly 4.5 million jobs have been added since May 2003, when the job market began its turnaround. The unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent -- below the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. The Labor Department report shows that the American economy not only remains resilient in the face of two major hurricanes that did enormous damage to the Gulf Coast region but that, in fact, the economy continues to grow at a remarkable rate.

Today's job figure is not the only encouraging news on the economic front. Here are a few other recent economic data points that underscore that the American economy is a wonder of the modern world:

· The U.S. economy grew at a robust 4.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the best rate in more than a year. Economic growth has been remarkably steady and strong over the past two-and-a-half years -- and the economy has now grown 3.3 percent or more for 10 straight quarters.

· Gas prices have dropped 30 percent since September (from $3.07 per gallon to $2.15 per gallon).

· Inflation was lower than projected. The consumer price index rose at a 3.6 percent annual rate, and core inflation was at its lowest level in more than two years.

· Consumer spending increased 4.2 percent in the third quarter, beating the estimated mark and setting the fastest pace since the end of 2004.

· Business spending on equipment and software grew by a 10.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter.

· Sales of single family homes showed the biggest one-month gain in more than 12 years, increasing by 13 percent in October.

· Orders for durable goods showed the largest increase since June of 2000, increasing by 3.4 percent in October.

· Consumer confidence soared. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence rating increased by 13 points to 98.9 for November. The University of Michigan's Consumer Confidence index also rose, growing by 7 points.

· Yesterday the Dow Jones industrial average closed within 90 points of 11,000, a level the Dow hasn't hit since June 2001.

How can you possibly spin this as bad news? Hmm. Let's give it a try:

  • The sluggish stock market continues to inch upward, finally reaching a point not seen since early in Bush's first term. The Dow shows resilience despite Bush's handling of the economy.
  • Increases in new jobs reflect the fact that most Americans have finally settled for low-paying jobs without benefits, as that's all that they can find
  • The 4.3% growth in the economy is probably a temporary spike driven by the upcoming holiday season, and will likely recede to previous, non-inspiring numbers

Posted by: Physics Geek at 10:07 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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December 01, 2005

Christmas for my geeky friends

Repeat from last year. Don't say that I didn't warn you.

This, I loved:


Translation to follow upon request.

BTW, here is the Taylor series expansion for the natural log Euler's constant. Behold:

taylor series expansion for natural log.png

Substitute "1" for x and there you have it.

Update: As someone else noticed, the series expansion is for the root used in the natural log: e, also know as Euler's number, Euler's constant(not the Euler-Mascheroni constant), or Napier's constant. Sorry for any confusion.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:59 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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May I have your attention

Time to rack up Dots

Please read the press release below.

Dec 2, 2005: goes live! 

SlingDot is a gaming community built around on-line casual gaming, chat, contests, cash and prizes.  SlingDot features a Free Games section open to unlimited play for all gamers over the age of 12 and a members-only gaming area called the DotSpot.  DotSpot membership is available Dec 15th and is only $4.95 a month or $29.95 a year.  Full membership benefits include access to exclusive games, member contests, enhanced chat features, no advertising, and greater opportunities to win cash and prizes.

All levels of gamers earn Dots for their play.  The better you are, the more you'll earn, and DotSpot members earn triple the Dots of free account players.  Beginning Feb 1, 2005 Dots can be used to enter daily, weekly, and monthly drawings for cold hard cash.  In coming months SlingDot will unveil many other benefits and personalization items that players can access using their Dots.  And as the old saying goes - he who dies with the most Dots wins!  How many Dots you got?

Dec 2 is a soft launch for the site with more features and games being added every day.  Visit us, check the news area for upcoming additions, and share your thoughts with us.  This is a gaming community, and the players will drive the look, feel, and feature set as this community grows.  Our goal is to make your gaming experience the best it can be!

As a special introductory offer, all players get a 14 day free trial membership to the DotSpot, giving everyone access to the members-only games.  Play them all, rack up Dots, and save them for the future. 

FYI: I'm not an employee in this venture, own no stock in it and am not on the payroll.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:35 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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