June 30, 2006

I weep for the future

I visited YouTube today and discovered this video from Hope is Emo: Words Are Dying.

Did you watch it? Amazingly pathetic, wasn't it? Now go this website and check out the contents. Scared yet? Imagine that this little "gothtard" might someday sign your paycheck.

Scared now? Okay, then click on this link and calm down a bit.

Jim Treacher thinks that You Tube Is Going To Destroy Our Society. He might be on to something.

Update: Looks like Ace finally stumbled onto this, this thing.

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In a nutshell

I've avoided mentioning the Times-squared publishing the details of SWIFT, mainly because others have beaten the issue to death. Suffice it to say, despite protestions to the contrary, not ALL the terrorists worldwide knew about the program at all. God bless the Times-squared, though, because Osama-Muhammed-Achmed-Brunhilde-Grendel-Zarqawi-BinLaden-Hussein-Casper-the-friendly-ghost knows every intimate detail now. So much so, in fact, that they can probably avoid being caught by this program for, well, forever.

Lileks weighs in, as only he can. Excerpt:

September 10, 2006: The New York Times runs a story about a CIA agent named Mohammed Al-Ghouri, 1034 Summit Park, Evanston Illinois, who is attempting to penetrate a radical sleeper cell suspected of having 19 liters of homemade mustard gas. The series concludes with the agent’s obituary, and a moving quote from a CIA historian who notes that the “al-Ghouri was one of rare, brave breed whose names and deeds are rarely known. Except in this case, of course.”

Criticized for blowing the agent’s cover, a Times spokesman tartly noted that “this man is – sorry, was a government employee, and if he’s using taxpayer money to take terrorists out to lunch, we think the people ought to know, if only so they judge the menu items chosen on behalf of the government. Was veal consumed? Because a lot of people are sensitive to the veal issue.”

I can't even work up a "mheh" to this post, because it strikes me as strangely prescient, rather than mocking.

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Too much time on their hands

Do you like soccer? Do you want to watch it in streaming ASCII-art on the web? Me either, but it's kind of entertaining, in a they've-lost-their-freaking-minds sort of way. Just get to a command prompt and type the following:

telnet ascii-wm.net 2006

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Redesigning your website?

Then the time breakdown in the graphic below should look very familiar to you. Click on the thumbnail below for a larger image:


Found via this guy.

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June 28, 2006

Assorted assholes nothing

Goldstein? Two.

Best description of Sullivan that I've seen in a long time:

Here’s the thing: Sullivan claims he’s quite familiar with homophobic attacks from the gay left (whatever that now is), and yet he doesn’t appear to have much of a problem with a progressivist agenda that, while it might ultimately push through the policy he wants (legalization of gay marriage), will do so at a price that would be more than a little damaging to the conservatism Sullivan claims to embrace. No doubt he sees himself as being pragmatic when he selectively embraces constitutionally dubious methodologies; me, I just see a guy who’s spent the last several years throwing a very public temper tantrum.

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A new disease rears its ugly head

Received via email this morning:

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder: IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only 1 check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water.

I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

- The car isn't washed

- The bills aren't paid

- There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter

- The flowers don't have enough water,

- There is still only 1 check in my check book,

- I can't find the remote,

- I can't find my glasses,

- And I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.

Do me a favor. Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember who I've sent it to.

I'm not laughing. Add in picking up children's toy and books and this pretty much captures my Saturdays.

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Hacks for geeks

Kind of a redundant title, I know, but there's a new book out, Ubuntu Hacks which provides a lot of good information for both Linux newbie and guru alike. See if the following looks like something you'd be interested in:

Co-authors Jonathan Oxer, Kyle Rankin, and Bill Childers detail exactly 100 "hacks" you can use to set up a printer, tweak the GNOME or KDE desktops, rip and encode DVDs, connect multiple displays, or post a blog. If those don't interest you, perhaps some of the 96 other good bits of advice will.

The book is organized in 10 chapters:
Chapter 1 -- Getting Started
Chapter 2 -- The Linux Desktop
Chapter 3 -- Multimedia
Chapter 4 -- Mobile Ubuntu
Chapter 5 -- X11
Chapter 6 -- Package Management
Chapter 7 -- Security
Chapter 8 -- Administration
Chapter 9 -- Virtualization and Emulation
Chapter 10 -- Small Office/Home Office Server

Topics covered range from simple tasks such as test driving Ubuntu on your hardware using the live CD, installing and configuring a permanent install on your hard drive, and using typical applications; to installing and configuring file, web, email, proxy, dhcp, and domain name servers; to advanced system hacks and tweaks.

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June 26, 2006

Horrible news travels fast

I heard a rumor earlier today that Acidman had died. Like Steve, I hoped it was just an evil troll. Unfortunately, it is true: Rob Smith has passed away. His daugher Samantha posted this entry.

So long, Acidman. You will be missed.

Update: There are some things that I always appreciated about Rob was his bluntness and honesty. One, you always knew where you stood with him. He said exactly what was on his mind, consequences be damned. I know that it rubbed some people the wrong way, but I found it refreshing. My favorite aunt, who I helped bury last year, was the same way.

There was one other thing about Acidman that was obvious in his writing: he loved his children. He mentioned several times how proud he was of Sam, and how glad he was that she was with someone who made her happy. That's one of the things that you most hope for as a parent. And it was obvious that Rob missed and loved his son. The estrangement left a hole in his heart that was obvious to anyone who read Rob's posts. Recently, Rob wrote that he'd given up on hearing from his son. I will guarantee you that if Quinton had reached out to him, or given him a call, that Rob would have been posting the equivalent of cartwheels.

Godspeed, Acidman. You go to a place where there are no hangovers, or addictions, or physical ailments, and where your loved ones always stay in touch.

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June 23, 2006

The Nerd-force is strong in this one

Interesting little article entitled Top 3 Linux distros you've never heard of. Either the title is overkill, or I'm even more pathetic than I thought: I was familiar with all of them before. However, there's one particular distribution that is, I believe, a perfect match for the Kos kids and the rest of the reality-based community: Tinfoil Hat Linux. I kid you not. Excerpt:

tfh.jpegThey’re going to get me for telling you guys about this…

Are you ridiculously paranoid? Do you worry about the toaster listening in on your phone calls? Do your walls have ears/eyes/mouths/noses?

Tinfoil Hat Linux is the OS for you. It runs entirely from a 1.44MB floppy image, is compiled from static libraries and contains absolutely no network stack at all (that’s how they get you).

This distribution started as an experiment in encryption, initially intending to provide a secure operating system for encrypting files, and transporting GPG keys. In the words of the creators “at some point it became an exercise in over-engineering.”

If you’re really concerned about the safety of your data, this could actually be useful for you. It could, for example, be installed to a USB drive (giving you more space to work with) and then transported around to places where you needed to encrypt data. Want to keep IT out of your secret pr0n folders? This won’t help you much. Want to keep them from opening your documents after you’ve left the company? Now you’re talking…

I’ll leave you with a quote from the Tinfoil Hat Linux readme.txt:

“If at all possible, boot THL on a laptop & disconnect all external cables, including the power & mouse. Turn off nearby radios, including cell phones and microwaves. Put yourself and the computer in a well grounded opaque copper cube. Download your tinfoil hat plans from http://zapatopi.net/afdb.html. Boot the floppy….”

Be safe. Be sure.

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Right on time

The Oxford English Dictionary has compiled lists of the most common words and nouns. 'Time' rolls in as the #1 noun, while 'the' is the #1 word overall. Here is the article in its entirety; it's pretty short:

For those who think the world is obsessed with "time," an Oxford dictionary added support to the theory Thursday in announcing that the word is the most often used noun in the English language.

"The" is the most commonly used word overall, followed by "be," "to," "of," and, "a," "in," "that," "have," and "I," according to the "Concise Oxford English Dictionary."

On the list of top 25 nouns, time is followed by other movement indicators with "year" in third place, "day" in fifth and "week" at No. 17.

The dictionary used the Oxford English Corpus -- a research project into English in the 21st century -- to come up with the lists.

Among nouns, "person" is ranked at No. 2, with "man" at No. 7 and "woman" at No. 14. "Child" appears at No. 12.

"Government" appears at No. 20 while "war," at No. 49, trumps "peace," which did not make the top 100.

The list of top 25 nouns: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, hand, part, child, eye, woman, place, work, week, case, point, government, company, number, group, problem, fact.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:41 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Exercise program for those getting on in years

I thought I would let you in on a little secret I've found for developing my arm and shoulder muscles.  You might wish to adopt this regimen, 3 days a week.
I started by standing outside behind the house, and with a 5 pound potato sack in each hand.  I extended my arms straight out to my sides and held them there as long as I could..
After a few weeks, I moved up to the 10 pound potato sacks,  then to 50 pound sacks, and finally I got to where I could lift a 100 pound potato sack in each hand and hold my arms straight our for more than a full minute.
Next, I started putting a few potatoes in each sack.   But I would caution you not to overdo it at this level.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:57 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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New technology

A new aid to rapid--almost magical--learning has made its appearance. Indications are that if it catches on all the electronic gadgets will be so much junk.

The new device is known as Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge. The makers generally call it by its initials, BOOK(tm).

Many advantages are claimed over the old-style learning and teaching aids on which most people are brought up nowadays. It has no wires, no electric circuit to break down. No connection is needed to an electricity power point. It is made entirely without mechanical parts to go wrong or need replacement.

Anyone can use BOOK(tm), even children, and it fits comfortably into the hands. It can be conveniently used sitting in an armchair by the fire.

How does this revolutionary, unbelievably easy invention work?

Basically BOOK(tm) consists only of a large number of paper sheets. These may run to hundreds where BOOK(tm) covers a lengthy program of information. Each sheet bears a number in sequence, so that the sheets cannot be used in the wrong order.

To make it even easier for the user to keep the sheets in the proper order they are held firmly in place by a special locking device called a "binding".

Each sheet of paper presents the user with an information sequence in the form of symbols, which he absorbs optically for automatic registration on the brain. When one sheet has been assimilated a flick of the finger turns it over and further information is found on the other side. By using both sides of each sheet in this way a great economy is effected, thus reducing both the size and cost of BOOK(tm). No buttons need to be pressed to move from one sheet to another, to open or close BOOK(tm), or to start it working.

BOOK(tm) may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. Instantly it is ready for use. Nothing has to be connected up or switched on. The user may turn at will to any sheet, going backwards or forwards as he pleases. A sheet is provided near the beginning as a location finder for any required information sequence.

A small accessory, available at trifling extra cost, is the BOOK(tm)mark. This enables the user to pick up his program where he left off on the previous learning session. BOOK(tm)mark is versatile and may be used in any BOOK(tm).

The initial cost varies with the size and subject matter. Already a vast range of BOOK(tm)s is available, covering every conceivable subject and adjusted to different levels of aptitude. One BOOK(tm), small enough to be held in the hands, may contain an entire learning schedule.

Once purchased, BOOK(tm) requires no further upkeep cost; no batteries or wires are needed, since the motive power, thanks to an ingenious device patented by the makers, is supplied by the brain of the user.

BOOK(tm)s may be stored on handy shelves and for ease of reference the program schedule is normally indicated on the back of the binding.

Altogether the Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge seems to have great advantages with no drawbacks. We predict a big future for it.

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June 22, 2006

Nothing to see here

Just move along, folks. Keep moving. No WMD here. Excerpt from Neal Boortz's take:

We've known for several months that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. Despite the mainstream media and the Democrats' lying to the contrary, several chemical weapons have been found that qualify as WMD. But people have ignored the evidence...since it would blow a hole in their 'Bush Lied, people died' nonsense. To be fair, the Bush Administration has done little to correct the record on this issue.

Now a new report from the Pentagon sheds some light on just how many WMDs have been found, and it's a lot. We're not just talking an old Sarin shell here and there. No less than 500 chemical weapons have been found since 2003, according to a recently declassified defense department intelligence report. The weapons are of the mustard gas and Sarin nerve gas variety...nasty stuff.
So why isn't this major breaking news?

Because the WMDs are said to be manufactured before 1991....not in recent years. Therefore, the mainstream media and the Democrats don't count those. For some reason, they want WMDs made in recent years. Evidently the left likes their mustard gas just a little fresher. But that's not the point. This stuff can kill ... but to the left it's harmless.

All that matters is Saddam Hussein was lying when he said he got rid of all his WMDs. He clearly did not. Also, what do you suppose would have happened had Hussein sold some of these WMD's to Islamic terrorists? It wouldn't have been pretty. But this story will be ignored...and the leftist propaganda machine that says Saddam Hussein wasn't a threat will roll on.

I question the timing.

Update: Found these links over in the comment section of this post by Ace: here, here and here. I can't remember where I saw another collection of WMD links, but I'll post it when it comes to me.

Update: See-Dubya pulls this link from the archives:

An official involved in the inquiry in Jordan told AFP news agency: “We found primary materials to make a chemical bomb which, if it had exploded, would have made nearly 20,000 deaths … in an area of one square kilometre. “The target of this bomb was the headquarters of the Intelligence Services,” situated on a hill in the western suburb of Amman, he added.

Here that ripping sound? That's the sound of goalposts being moved.

Final update: From Bill Quick: Which is, of course, not just moving the goalposts down the field, but over to another planet.

What he said.

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June 20, 2006

Wheat beer mashing

A commenter to this post asked me about mashing wheat grains in with the barley. My initial response was that it shouldn't be more than 50% or of the total grain bill. However, I forgot one or two things in the couple of years since I made an all-grain wheat beer. Here's an update:

Most malted barleys these days are modified to the point where a simple infusion mash will work just fine(except for beers requiring a decoction mash like a dopplebock). However, adding wheat malt to the mix alters things somewhat, owing to wheat malt's extremely high protein content. You should therefore add a protein rest to mashes containing wheat malt. 30 minutes or so at 122F should be sufficient. This rest will break down the largest proteins, while leaving some of the smaller ones, which will contribute to head retention.

What, you want more details? Okay, here's an example mashing schedule for a wheat beer:

1) Add 1 quart plus 1 cup water around 127F to every pound of grain(all types) and stir with a paddle of some type. The temperature should level off around 122F. Keep at that temp for about 20-30 minutes by sticking the whole mess in an over on low, keeping a low flame under your mash kettle, or my tossing the whole mess into an insulated cooler for the required duration. This is called the protein rest.

2) Heat the mash up to between 150-155 degrees and hold there for 60-70 minutes. This is the sacharification rest, where the long branch-chain sugars get converted into smaller, fermentable sugars.

3) Mash out by bringing the temperature of the mash to 170F for about 5 minutes. This stopped the enzymatic conversion of the starches into fermentable sugars.

I'll stop there for now, as I have no desire to go into sparging and lautering.

I'm reminded that I haven't posted anything in my Brewing Your Beer series lately. I promise to get back to it soon.

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Extra! Get your extra(packages)!

Read all about it here:

If you are looking to enhance your Ubuntu and Kubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake installation with extra packages from external repositories, this web log post is the most comprehensive list of available software for Dapper we've seen. It includes repositories for the Opera browser, Penguin Liberation Front packages, the latest KDE, KOffice and amaroK, up-to-date packages for VLC, Compiz, Skype, Freevo, MythTV and other popular software, as well as a number of unofficial and experimental repositories created by volunteers all over the world. As always, these packages are unsupported and some might even break your system, so proceed with caution. But if you absolutely need a package for your Ubuntu or Kubuntu system, getting it from the repositories listed in the above-mentioned link might be a better option than compiling the required package from source code.

Remember: you break your OS, you own it.

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June 19, 2006

Schadenfreude: it's not just for breakfast anymore

The following statement about Dan Rather from Bill Quick echoes my own sentiments. Minus the excessive profanity, of course.

Nobody wants to see your sagging mug or watch your lying lips, especially not in high definition.

Go home. Go to bed. Or go watch nostalgia movies about a time that never existed, over and over again, all alone.

I rather like that image, by the way: You, sitting in a darkened movie theater, a stray tear leaking down your raddled cheek over what might have been, might have been, but never will be again. All...alone.

Makes me feel all warm and happy inside.

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American Beer month is almost here

But the party has begun early. Join in the celebration by celebrating Wheat Beer Week. And here is a list of some foods that go well with wheat beers:

The flavors of wheat beer go great with many foods, especially summertime fare. The classic pairing with spicy-fruity hefe-weizens is a bratwurst or a veal weisswurst, but it goes well with nearly any grilled or smoked food.

Try it with barbeque ribs, roasted vegetables or marinated pork chops. And speaking of grilling, American wheat ales are the perfect compliment to grilled fish, be it salmon, tuna or trout. Since it is summertime, don't forget the salads!

The clove-like accents of weizen make a perfect compliment to summer potato salad while wheat ales go great with a tangy, vinegar-based dressings. So for this weekend's cookout, try your favorite wheat beer with your own barbequed specialty.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:09 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Sure, I want my children to run screaming from my office

Who thought that this little gadget was a good idea?


"Daddy, what are you doing to Teddy?"

"Don't worry son: he won't feel a thing." : OP::


I'd be willing to bet that I have a sicked sense of humor than most people, but even I'm not this freaking demented.

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A new Bill Whittle post is up. Enjoy.

Update: Okay, I never excerpt a Whittle column, but I couldn't resist this:

People of good will on both sides value peace and freedom, yet we have diverging choices to make, and we have to make them now. We have to chart our course, a course for our country, and ultimately, a course for the entire world.

We need a map. Several are for sale. How do we choose?

Actually, it’s not so difficult. We can choose the map that best conforms to the coastline we see unveiling before us. We chose the map that best matches reality – the objective, external, indisputable reality of bays and promontories, capes and gulfs and rivers and shoals.

We can, indeed, lay out competing philosophies on the table, and see where each conforms to reality and where it does not. No maps are without distortions; none of these are likely to be, either. And one map may conform perfectly to the coastline in one area, and be dreadfully amiss in another. We can cut and paste them as we wish. This is too important for us to be arguing about who is right – all our energies must go to getting it right.

And before we start, we must agree to one thing: we will never be so full of arrogance and blinded by pride that we dare confront a place where our map does not match the coastline, and proclaim that the coastline must be wrong.

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Intemperate observation

Linda Lovelace was the last person I saw choke as badly as Phil Mickelson did yesterday.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:16 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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