March 31, 2006

S P E C I A L    A N N O U N C E M E N T

Internet Cleaning
DO NOT CONNECT TO THE INTERNET FROM MARCH 31st 23:59 pm (GMT) UNTIL 12:01am (GMT) APRIL 2nd.

*** Attention ***

It's that time again! As many of you know, each year the Internet must be shut down for 24 hours in order to allow us to clean it. The cleaning process, which eliminates dead e-mail and inactive ftp, www, and gopher sites, allows for a better working and faster Internet.

This year, the cleaning process will take place from 23:59 pm (GMT) on March 31st until 00:01 am (GMT) on April 2nd. During that 24-hour period, five powerful Internet-crawling robots situated around the world will search the Internet and delete any data that they find.

In order to protect your valuable data from deletion we ask that you do the following:

1. Disconnect all terminals and local area networks from their Internet connections.

2. Shut down all Internet servers, or disconnect them from the Internet.

3. Disconnect all disks and hardrives from any connections to the Internet.

4. Refrain from connecting any computer to the Internet in any way.

We understand the inconvenience that this may cause some Internet users, and we apologize. However, we are certain that any inconveniences will be more than made up for by the increased speed and efficiency of the Internet, once it has been cleared of electronic flotsam and jetsam.

We thank you for your cooperation.

Fu Ling Yu

Interconnected Network Maintenance Staff Main Branch,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sysops and others: Since the last Internet cleaning, the number of Internet users has grown dramatically. Please assist us in alerting the public of the upcoming Internet cleaning by posting this message where your users will be able to read it.

Please pass this message on to other sysops and Internet users as well.

Thank you.

Update: Click on extended entry for more information. more...

Posted by: Physics Geek at 06:55 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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I'm reminded of something

And Oliver has run himself over.

I can't be the only one who was reminded of that when reading this story.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 04:03 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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For what it's worth

Today, March 31 is . . . . Bunsen Burner Day and National Clams On The Half Shell Day.

Okay, I'll admit: it isn't worth much.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:57 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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The beauty of blogs

Some people tell me that they don't read blogs, believing them to be a waste of time. My point is that if you're not reading blogs, you're missing out on some truly exceptional writing. Like here, for instance.

Despite this blog's evidence to the contrary, I'm actually quite skilled at composing a well-crafted dissertation on a particular subject, when I put some my mind to it. However, I simply do not have the ability to convey tenor, tone, or emotions like Helen does. When I read her blog, I feel like I'm there with her.

Not convinced? I suggest that you read this post, this one and this one before you decide.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:17 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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March 29, 2006

Do you a hand in your pocket?

It belongs to a politician

So Virginia and North Carolina legislators have proposed a $5.00 toll on I-95 at the VA/NC border, to be paid while traveling in either direction. Not surprisingly, this news has kind of slid under the radar until recently. It's probably been stuck in the middle of Governor Kaine's new enormous tax hike road development program. Anyway, let me be one of the first in the blogosphere to give Tim Kaine and the state legistlature the finger.

To see what would make a politician propose such a batshit crazy idea, you first have to understand what goes on in his/her mind. Let's take a trip, shall we? ::CREEAAAKKKKK:: Come on in.(apologies to Robin Williams)


Politician's brain, right side(RS): I'm generating more revenue for needed government programs. All voters will love me!

Politician's brain, left side(LS): You fool! You're stealing more money from the taxpayers, making it harder for them to pay for necessities. You see them only as cash cows from whose teats you continually suck. They'll hate you!

RS: But taxpayers will see how much I'm benefitting from these expenditures. They'll be glad to pay when they see how happy I am when I get re-elected.

LS: Don't you understand? People see their taxes go up during good times because, hey, we all have extra. And then they see their taxes go up during bad times because, hey, we all have to pull together. Taxpayers might be sheep, but eventually they catch onto the idea that you're simply buying votes for yourself instead of looking out for them.

RS: But the only reason people have to exist is as a source of revenue for the government, right?

LS: Screw this. I wonder if I can get a job in the brain of someone more sane, like perhaps a psychotic. I am sooo out of here ::SLAM::


Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:43 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 28, 2006

Tag, I'm it

Vee Dub tagged me with a meme:


2. Pick 5 random blogfriends.

3. Think of a word or phrase that you describes each friend.

1. Choose a search engine (e.g. Dogpile).

4. Do an image search of that word or phrase.

5. Pick an image that makes you say, "Aha! That's it!"


I don't know the rules of this game, seeing as how I've never been tagged before, or at least never been aware of being tagged, but I'm guessing that I can't retaliate-tag. Here are my 5 victims:

more...

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:38 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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March 27, 2006

One of these things is not like the other...

See if you can spot the not too slight difference in the reporting contained in these two articles, which I found via KJL at the Corner. First report:


German scientists said on Friday they had isolated sperm-producing stem cells that have similar properties to embryonic stem cells from adult mice.

If the same type of cells in humans show similar qualities the researchers from the Georg-August-University of Goettingen believe they could be used in stem cell research which would remove the ethical dilemma associated with stem cells derived from human embryos.

"These isolated spermatogonial stem cells respond to culture conditions and acquire embryonic stem cell properties," Gerd Hasenfuss and his colleagues said in report published online by the journal Nature.

Second report, title only:


Embryonic Stem Cell Success

I was trying to come up with something snarky, but my brain just imploded. Repair crews are adding back the logic and truthfullness that got sucked out of them by the Waskington Post.


Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:23 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 23, 2006

My life is in danger

As are most of your's, I'll wager. Check out the proof below: more...

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:12 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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Amazing juggler

I know that when many of you hear the words "juggler" or "juggling", your eyes glaze over from the boredom you're anticipating. Well, check out this video. You might be impressed.

Update: Or maybe not. Via a commenter, here's a pretty good smackdown of Bliss's performance, complete with video of someone doing the exact same routine with five balls.

Valid points, but I still enjoy the original, notwithstanding how much more difficult the diss video is.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:35 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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March 22, 2006

The defense rests

Well okay, maybe not, since the "Bush sucks!" crowd will never allow facts to sway their firmly held opinions. In truth, since those opinions are the only things solid between their ears, I'm at least sympathetic to their plight.

In any event, I'd like to make my one and only foray into the legality, or lack thereof, of the federal wiretapping programm. Jeff Goldstein has performed a yeoman's effort in wading through the issues and there is no way that I could possibly improve upon his thoughtful posts. Not that his posts changed anyone's minds, of course. The responses ranged from "Bush obviously broke the law" to "Bush obviously didn't break the law". I'm not a lawyer, but I thought that Jeff provided a pretty compelling argument that Bush had good reason to believe that he was on firm legal footing. Well, Byron York, via Betsy's Page, delivers what I believe is a knockout punch. Then again, I don't suffer from BSD and am therefore fully capable of digesting facts, and then using those facts to help form my opinion. Excerpt:


And then the Court of Review did one more thing, something that has repercussions in today's surveillance controversy. Not only could the FISA Court not tell the president how do to his work, the Court of Review said, but the president also had the "inherent authority" under the Constitution to conduct needed surveillance without obtaining any warrant — from the FISA Court or anyone else. Referring to an earlier case, known as Truong, which dealt with surveillance before FISA was passed, the Court of Review wrote: "The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. . . . We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

It was a clear and sweeping statement of executive authority. And what was most likely not known to the Court of Review at the time was that the administration had, in 2002, started a program in which it did exactly what the Court of Review said it had the power to do: order the surveillance of some international communications without a warrant.

Read today, In re: Sealed Case does more than simply outline the president's authority. It also puts the administration's warrantless-surveillance decision in some context. What was going on at the time the president made the decision to go ahead with the surveillance? Well, first Congress passed the Patriot Act, giving the administration new powers. Then the FISA Court refused to recognize those powers and attempted to impose outdated restrictions on the administration. Then the White House, faced with the FISA Court's opposition — and with what administration officials believed were some inherent weaknesses in the FISA law — began to bypass the FISA Court in some cases. And then, in In re: Sealed Case, the administration received irrefutable legal support for its actions.

So legal precedent exists which agrees that the President had the authority to perform warrantless wiretaps. Now I sympathize with the purist civil liberatarians that, legal or no, there is something a bit troubling about the whole activity. However, my rejoinder is that (a), the President needed to take steps to prevent another attack on US soil and (b), he had plenty of evidence that his efforts were on firm legal ground. If you believe that the law should be different than it is, then by all means, make the effort to get it changed. But don't stand around bitching about the "patently obvious illegality" of the surveillance program without first trying to acquaint yourself with those stubborn little things called facts.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:04 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Must read

Jeff Goldstein takes no prisoners in this post. He offers insight and analysis which, while clearly presented, will be ignored/misinterpreted/misstated by the KOSsacks et al. In fact, the willful ignorance has already begun in the comment section.

I'm not certain how Jeff manages to keep his cool when the drooling idiots start ranting in his comment section. If someone left infantile comments like that on this blog(and let's face it, I have about 3 regular readers), I'd probably start modifying their words to represent what they actually meant to say. Suffice it to say that their names would become closely associated with the phrase "molests baby squirrels" in most search engines.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:22 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Belated St. Patrick's Day jumor

"I've Lost Me Luggage"

An Irishman arrived at J.F.K. Airport and wandered around the terminal with tears streaming down his cheeks. An airline employee asked him if he was already homesick.

"No," replied the Irishman "I've lost all me luggage!"

"How'd that happen?"

"The cork fell out!" said the Irishman.

*****************************************************
"Water to Wine"

An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"

"Just water," says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

***********************************************
"The Brothel"

Two Irishmen were sitting at a pub having beer and watching the brothel across the street.

They saw a Baptist minister walk into the brothel, and one of them said, "Aye, 'tis a shame to see a man of the cloth goin' bad." Then they saw a rabbi enter the brothel, and the other Irishman said, "Aye, 'tis a shame to see that the Jews are fallin' victim to temptation as well." Then they see a Catholic priest enter the brothel, and one of the Irishmen said, "What a terrible pity...one of the girls must be dying."

*************************************
Irish Cemetery

Three Irishmen, Paddy, Sean and Seamus, were stumbling home from the pub late one night and found themselves on the road which led past the old graveyard..

"Come have a look over here," says Paddy, "It's Michael O'Grady's grave, God bless his soul. He lived to the ripe old age of 87." "That's nothing," says Sean, "here's one named Patrick O'Toole, it says here that he! was 95 when he died"!

Just then, Seamus yells out, "Good God, here's a fella that got to be 145!" "What was his name?" asks Paddy.

Seamus stumbles around a bit, awkwardly lights a match to see what else is written on the stone marker, and exclaims, "Miles, from Dublin."

***************************************************
Irish Predicament

Drunk Ole Mulvihill (From the Northern Irish Clan) staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional box, sits down but says nothing.

The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention but the Ole just sits there.

Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.

The drunk mumbles, "ain't no use knockin, there's no paper on this side either."

***************************************************
Irish Last Request

Mary Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady's after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears.

He says, "So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?"

She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."

The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, did he have any last requests?"

She says, "That he did, Father..."

The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary?"

She says, "He said, 'Please Mary, put down that gun!'

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:22 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Finding your stuff just got easy

Well, it isn't cheap, but it sure is handy: the SlimTRAK GPS device.
Excerpt:


Weighting in at only 3.6 ounces, the all new SlimTRAK real time tracking system makes all others obsolete! No more complicated wiring or GPS antenna mounting. Due to new state-of-the-art "high sensitivity antenna" technology, the very small SlimTRAK tracker is completely self contained, including 4 standard "AA" batteries that power the unit for a full 3 months. Of course, if you prefer a permanent installation, connection assembly with battery back up is also available.

INSTALLS IN SECONDS
Once activated, SlimTRAK can be installed anywhere in the vehicle, including trunk, under seat, in glove box, or any other convenient location. For covert applications, our custom fitted waterproof magnetic case allows for quick installation under the vehicle or under hood. Unit can easily be moved from one vehicle to another. Also great for protecting heavy equipment, boats, industrial equipment and dozens of other items.

EXTREMELY EASY TO USE
No rocket scientist need here! Unit operates using GPS and GSM communication technology. To track your vehicle, simply access the SlimTRAK website from any internet active computer, type in your password, and a detailed map with tracking information appears. Info includes time, speed of vehicle, street address of vehicle and last stop. Updates every 5 minutes, to keep you on target. Unit can be programmed for for faster or slower update frequency, if desired. Toll free customer support assures that all your questions be answered promptly.

No, the $845 price tag isn't cheap, but it's still a pretty effective way to track your car. And, if you're interested, it could be used to track pretty much anything else, such as your briefcase, suitcase, etc. If the airline loses your luggage, you can tell them where to find it. Pretty darned cool.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:59 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Coffee anyone?

Directions:


  1. Click the link below(Coffee Machine)
  2. Put the coin in the vending machine
  3. Choose your drink
  4. Click on the cup when it is ready
  5. Click on "APRI"

Coffee machine. more...

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:48 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 21, 2006

What have you got in your pockets?

Readers of this blog(both of you; thanks) will have noticed that a preponderance of my computer OS posts discuss Linux. However, today seems like a good day to die give Bill Gates' OS some equal time by pointing you towards this excellent article, Windows In Your Pocket. Extended excerpt to follow:


All it takes is a minor error in the Windows Registry or a virus infection, and your operating system can become unbootable. But with a properly configured USB flash drive on hand, you'll always have a compatible replacement no further away than your pocket or keychain. In addition, the flash drive can also provide a secure browser and virus scanner, and lets you take your favorite DVD burning and Office software with you wherever you may go.

All that's needed is a bootable USB Flash drive with at least 256 MB of storage capacity and a Windows Setup CD. Using the program Bart PE Builder (Freeware), you can install Windows XP on the flash drive, along with other software as needed (and as available space permits).

Compact

Bart Lagerweij's free utility, PE Builder, condenses the original setup data for Windows XP into a slender operating system that is ready to run from a CD or a USB flash drive. This compact, portable version of Windows includes all the important system tools for dealing with a PC emergency. You can even add other programs to this collection, such as the media writing tool Nero Burning ROM or an anti-spyware package such as Ad-Aware SE Personal, during the installation process.

Expanding The Role Of USB Flash Drives

Flash drives aren't always recognized during the PC boot process. The USB flash drive controller and the PC's BIOS must be properly introduced to one another. That said, nearly all flash drives and PC can be configured so that the PC can boot from the flash drive.

You Need This: XP On The USB Pen Drive

In most cases, any compatible USB flash drive makes a suitable target for Windows XP installation. But the following system requirements must also be met:


  • A USB flash drive with at least 256 MB of storage is enough for the uses described in this article. Additional system tools or applications require more space. The upper bound limits for storage in this case is 2 GB - a byproduct of the tool's use of FAT16 for the local file system.
  • Most new motherboards recognize USB flash drives as valid boot media. But conventional motherboards that are more than two years old aren't likely to boot from a USB flash drive. But in many cases, this omission can be remedied through a BIOS update for that board.
  • 1.5 GB of unused disk space is the maximum needed for the tool to do its job, particularly if you want to pre-install Service Pack 2 and RAM disk capabilities. 190 MB of unused space is all that's needed to use PE Builder and the applications described in this article, however. Additional plug-ins will increase storage requirements, as will additional tools or software.
  • 512 MB of USB flash drive storage space is needed only if boot-up works from a RAM disk. Otherwise, 256 MB is big enough.
  • Access to a USB 2.0 port is not mandatory, though booting with a USB 1.1 port takes about five times longer.
  • A Windows XP Setup CD works fine as a foundation for PE Builder to generate the USB flash drive's contents.

...
Installation requires the use of HP's freeware tool HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool instead. Once installed, you can run the program through this sequence of menu choices: Start, All Programs, HP Company. Select the USB flash drive you wish to format from the Device entry, then select FAT as the target file system for that device. Click Start to launch this process. Once complete, you must then copied the Windows XP boot files to the USB flash drive - namely,

%systemdrive%\boot.ini, %systemdrive%\ntldr, and %systemdrive%:\ntdetect (if you know the drive ID where these files live, use that instead - it's normally C). To make Windows Explorer display these files (they're ordinarily hidden), choose Folder Options... from the Tools menu, then click the View tab in the Folder Options window. Finally, in the Advanced Setting pick list, click the radio button underneath Hidden Files and folders that reads "Show hidden files and folders." Finally uncheck the box next to "Hide protected operating systems (Recommended)," so you can select and copy these all-important Windows XP files to the flash drive. The USB flash drive is now ready to boot your system. Next, you learn how to instruct your PC to boot from a USB flash drive.

Set The System's Boot Device Sequence
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If your PC has a relatively new motherboard, its BIOS will already include the functions necessary to support USB-attached boot media. If so, you need only make the right selections in that BIOS menu to boot from a USB flash drive. Older PCs, on the other hand, won't accept USB drives as valid boot devices. This means a BIOS update that supports USB boot options is necessary. You can find information about where to obtain such updates from your PC's (or motherboard's) user manual, on the driver CD included with the PC (or motherboard) or on the vendor's Website.

Normally, the hard disk precedes the USB flash drive (which falls under the heading of USB-HDD in most BIOS menus) in the boot order. If the hard disk contains a viable boot sector, the PC will start up automatically using the information it contains. Only when the hard disk suffers from a boot sector defect or an operating system can't be found will the PC boot from the USB flash drive instead.

Change this boot order. Plug the flash drive in, boot the computer and enter the BIOS setup utility. Normally, this means holding down the DEL or F2 key just as the computer powers up and begins the boot process. If you read the initial startup screen on your PC carefully, it will tell you exactly what you must do to access and alter your BIOS settings.

If your PC uses AMI-BIOS from American Megatrends, there are two possible ways to alter the boot device sequence. Each varies depending on the version of AMI-BIOS that's installed.

For the first variant, there is no menu entry named "Boot." Navigate to the sub-menu named "Advanced BIOS Features." Navigate to the item named "Boot Device Select... " and designate the USB flash drive as the first device in the "Boot Device Priority" list by selecting "1st" as its value. Then, hit the Esc key and set both the "Quick Boot" and "Full Screen LOGO Show" items to "Disabled" (this lets you see the BIOS messages during startup on the monitor). Exit the BIOS Setup utility using the "Save and Exit Setup" item in the main menu.

For the second variant, use the "Boot" menu to select the USB flash drive. It will show up under one of the following headings: "Hard Disk Drive", "Removable Device" or "Removable Storage Device. " Next, select the USB flash drive as "1st Drive" in the first position, then hit the Esc key. That device should appear in the menu named "Boot Device Priority" which might also show up as "Boot Sequence". Inside that menu, designate the USB flash drive as the "1st Boot Device", hit the Esc key and save all changes in the "Exit" menu by selecting "Exit and Save Changes".

This goes on for 14 pages, but it's well worth the effort, especially if you're worried about the "No System Disk Detected" error. Another error message that I had the misfortune to encounter last Friday evening was this one: "Hard Drive Failure Imminent". Needless to say, being able to safely recover data can prove quite useful.


Posted by: Physics Geek at 05:03 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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March 14, 2006

Happy Pi Day

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Pi Day today( March 14, 3.14- get it?). Today is also the day that we celebrate Albert Einstein's birth. Happy B-Day, Albert.

Coincidentally, I happen to be reading Life of Pi right now. So I've got that going for me, too.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 04:52 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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Magic faucet

I wish that the plumber in this story would work on my house. I'll even pay extra. Excerpt:


Haldis Gundersen was planning to do the washing up when she made the unusual discovery at her apartment in Kristiansund, west Norway.

But two flights below, workers in a bar faced the more disappointing realisation that water was flowing from their beer taps.

A worker had connected a beer barrel to the apartment water pipe by mistake.

"I turned on the tap to clean some knives and forks, and beer came out," Ms Gundersen told Reuters news agency. "We thought we were in heaven."

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:14 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Hell readies a room

Un-fuckingly believable. Please tell me that they have death by tying down to an anthill where this piece of shit lives.

The sooner this fucker dies, the better.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:11 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 13, 2006

Holy cr*p!

Remember what Go Daddy.com's business is? Me either. However, I do remember the Go Daddy girl, Candice Michelle. Apparently Candace deemed the wardrobe malfunction that we saw during the Superbowl a little too conservative, which forced her to go for the Full Candance Monty. NSFW images below the fold. more...

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Is that all?

Via Bane comes the quiz that gave me the following result:

I am 51% Asshole/Bitch.
Sort of Assholy or Bitchy!
I am abrasive, some people really hate me, but there may be a group of other tight knit assholes and bitches that I can hang out with and get me. Everybody else? Fuck ‘em.

51%? I must not be trying hard enough. Trust me: I can be an enormous asshole.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:58 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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