November 13, 2007


It took me about 2 seconds to figure this one out. YMMV.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:17 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Sympathy and well wishes needed

I dropped by Moxie's place today and saw the awful news that Bentley passed away. What I found revolting is that none of her L.A. friends - translation: self-absorbed dickheads- could rouse themselves from their narcissitic stupors long enough to drive Moxie and Bentley to the vet's office for cremation. I did see via Steve that Aaron drove over to help, because Aaron is good people. So it turns out that not Moxie does have some real friends on whom she can depend.

In news that's related only because it deals with one of my furkids, Diego's long incarceration is about to end. Animal control and I are arguing over the release date: they say 6 months, while the health department says 180 days. Regardless of who wins this debate, Diego will be running free no later than November 21, which means that I'll have something extra special for which to be thankful for this Turkey Day.

Now I almost feel guilty celebrating Diego's release because I know how much Moxie is greaving. But I can't deny the happiness that Diego's upcoming release will give to me. I just wish that there was something I could say or do to help Moxie right now and I also know that there isn't.

Take care, Moxie. Bentley knew that he was loved and that's the best thing that can be said about anyone.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:14 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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November 08, 2007

Obviously a Bushbot

This guy has no clue. As penance, he must pray at the shrine of the Goreacle for one month, become a vegetarian and start driving a Prius. Oh, and he has to start every conversation with CHIMPYMCSMIRKYBUSHITLER!!!! IS KILLING US ALL FOR OOOIIIILLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!. In fact, if you can't actually see the italics when he froths, you'll know that he's faking it.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:49 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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November 07, 2007

Some common sense on a touchy subject

Despite the caterwauling from the usual suspects (you don't seriously expect me to link to those douchebags, do you?), I've never favored torture. And though Abu Ghraib provided those yammering nincompoops proof that "the US is just as bad as Saddam, mayb even worse!"™, it remains an isolated incident. Since the military resembles our country in a microcosm, it's no surprise that the occasional evil person manages to slime their way into the armed forces. The fact that no such event has occurred since would lead you to believe that this was, in fact, the reprehensible actions of some people who would probably be pulling the wings off of flies if they hadn't joined the military first. Hopefully, being in the service will give that minority what they sorely lack: a moral center.

Anyway, onto the topic at hand. I've watched with interest for several years the dizzying arguments about people being pro or anti torture. It shouldn't need saying, but I'm willing to bet that almost everyone opposes torture almost all of the time. Where we run into disagreement is over the definition of what constitutes torture. Many people who I respect think that waterboarding is torture; end of story. Others who I respect feel differently. That discussion is worth having. What I find irresponsible and hypocritical are those who refuse to actually define what constitutes torture. More specifically, our beloved elected officials decline to pass into law exactly which acts should be legally considered torture. Why do they fail to act? Because taking a stand for or against a particular action will set them up for abuse as either (a) too eager to pull off fingernails or (b) more than willing to give warm oil massages to terrorists. Instead, failing to put themselves on record for/against a particular activity allows our leaders in DC to pompously preen, strut and moralize at length about anything and everything. So it's not about defining torture. Instead, it's about seizing the political low ground. And to those people I have something to say: fuck you. You think that something is torture? Fine, pass a law against it, as well as any other actions that horrify you. Then enforce those laws. Otherwise, have a Coke and a smile and STFU.

Stay with me, I'm actually going somewhere with this rambling post. J. R. Dunn wrote an article about how many have been "defining torture down". He makes many valid points which, of course, will continue to be ignored. Either that or shrieking ninnies will claim that he's an Evil BushBot. Regardless, here's an excerpt:

"Torture" is one of many current topics of significance that have been abandoned to the left. Leftist commentators have been allowed to set the terms, make the definitions, and generally run the argument without much in the way of serious opposition or debate.
"Torture" is probably the most egregious of these cases. That's the explanation for the sneer quotes. Because, quite simply, in much of the debate over "torture", we're not talking about actual torture at all. We're talking about rough treatment, harshness, or coercion.

The American left has defined these upward until they mean the same thing as torture, all as a part of their efforts to undermine the War on Terror in general. The core of this stance is the assertion that a slap on the head, several days without sleep, or hearing Rage Against the Machine played at full volume is fully the equivalent of torture in the classic sense. (Well... maybe we should reconsider that last....)

Of course, it's no such thing. Torture is easily defined as physical assault carried out over a prolonged period against a victim under complete control and holding the possibility of permanent physical or psychic damage.
The left has succeeded, through a relentless media campaign (is there any other kind?) in obscuring this distinction. According to the latest criteria, torture is anything unpleasant that occurs to a prisoner while in American custody.
The most recent uproar concerns waterboarding, a practice that has become a media favorite because it is the only activity approaching torture known to have been carried out under official auspices. Waterboarding has played a large part in Judge Michael Mukasey's bid to become attorney general when he refused to define it as "torture". A number of Democrats, including the party's entire presidential slate, have declined to support Mukasey for this reason.

Waterboarding may be brutal, it may be nasty, it may even be uncalled for. But it's not torture. It does not inflict physical pain or damage. It does not destroy the victim. Its sole purpose is to create a sense of terror by arousing deep instinctive reactions against drowning, instincts shared not only by almost all mammals, but almost all vertebrates who don't happen to be fish. It is effective, it is quick, it leaves no scars and should revolt no one's conscience.

There's plenty more to read. In fact, I suggest that you get busy right now.

Thanks to Mike for the link.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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November 05, 2007

Updating my OS

What follows is as brief a description as I can make of my experience trying to install Ubuntu/Kubuntu on an older machine at home using Wubi.

I have a 1.8 Ghz machine with 512 Mb RAM at home. Currently, Windows XP is the operating system of choice. I want to upgrade the OS to some version of Linux without losing any of my old data or applications. Pretty much all distros out there help you partition the hard drive while installing the OS, but I've had issues in the past with that little thing, which is why I haven't gone ahead and done it before. Then I heard about Wubi. It uses a loop-back installer to patch the ISO file on the fly as it installs, creating a file-based installation on your existing partition, without having to resize/recreate any new partitions. It sounded good, so off I went.

I downloaded the current 7.04 installer, which installs Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu/Edubuntu version 7.04 onto your computer. Since I prefer the KDE interface, I selected "Kubuntu" from OS choices, 10 Gb of hard disc space and then clicked go. I watched the installer download the appropriate ISO, install the system and the ask me to reboot the system, which I did. Erk. Turns out that I get a bunch of text streaming up the screen before it all stops on a "Segmentation Error" problem. Huh. Anyway, I rebooted into XP and uninstalled Wubi et al.

On to the Ubuntu forums for research. It turns out that problem is not uncommon. Someone suggested going to the alpha release for version 7.10 of Ubuntu. He mentioned that it would be a bumpy ride, but I figured what the heck. 7.04 wasn't working at all. I restarted the process, watched the pretty little progress bar move to completion and then rebooted. Kubuntu started just fine. Yippee! Now to download some software.

Uh oh. I couldn't get the wireless to connect. I saw my wireless network in KNetworkmanager and entered my shared key, but it kept failing around the 57% complete mark. So back to the forums for help.

As it happens, lots of people were grousing about how the network manager essentially broke in the move from Ubuntu 6.x to 7.x. There were lots of suggestions: install Wicd or Wlassistant and uninstall KNetworkmanager, or manual configuration. I tried them all, starting with the manual configuration, which succeeded exactly as well as KNetworkmanager had succeeded. Next, I downloaded Wicd on my wife's computer, loaded it onto a thumb drive and attempted to install it by right-clicking and selecting "Install using Aptitude blah blah blah", whereupon I received the message that there were 6 Python packages missing. I downloaded those packages and attempted to install them, at which point I was informed that a piece of software actually running on my distro didn't exist. I tried upgrading it to the beta release, but the Python packages still refused to acknowledge its existence. So I uninstalled Kubuntu.

Finally, I downloaded an even more current version of the alpha-alpha release of Wubi and tried one final time. Not surprisingly, it crapped out. Again.

I'm going to try the installer on my laptop. Although the theory of use is great, the execution still needs work.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:57 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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A little geeky humor

Kin Calvin helpfully translates this French satire article, although like many such translations, it ends up sounding, at times, like Jim Treacher's former alter-ego, Puch (or however it was spelled). In any event, it's worth excerpting:

If you want to be a hacker, you will have to use Linux.
Here are 2 solutions :

– You are a capitalistic bourgeois and you buy it $150 at Fry’s.
– You are an asshole, and then you download it on the net.

Of course you belong to the second category, so you have to use your FTP client and wait a few hours while your are downloading a Slack or a Debian. Try not to use Mandriva, this is for the public. You must not forget that you are an uNdERgrOuNd guy now, it’s normal, you’re a Hacker.

O.K, now you have got Linux, you can forget it. You do not need to lose your time learning how this new Operating System works and that you will never use because Xwing vs Tie Fighter doesn’t run on it. The best way is to delete lilo, like that you will sure to boot on Windows Vista. This elegant solution is practiced by many guys like you. The easiest way is to invoke fdisk /mbr in a DOS session, it will delete lilo which was installed on your MBR’s hard drive. Good, you do not need to care about Linux anymore.
The $1 hacking community

When people are dangerous like you, they must meet with other crooks to jeopardize the State’s security. For this, there is THE thugs’ rendez-vous, called the Meet 2600. Every month, you will go to a MacDo in Paris, place of Italy, and there you will meet very important guys, who rebooted the entire Internet with a Visual Basic program and have special hair cuts like rebels of the society.

Okay, you will not learn much in this meetings, losers who go over there masturbate each other thinking “Yeah, we are hAcKeRz, we are ruthless, real men. Oh shit, it is already 6 pm, I have to go home otherwise my mum will kill me.” But you will still feel real thrill thinking that the MacDo is full of cameras and microphones, and that the employees are agents from the DST who are listening to dangerous conversations such as :

- Asshole1 : How much is the Whooper ?
- Asshole2 : Uh, MacDo does Whoopers now ?
- Asshole1 : I thought they always did, no ?

Welcome to the wonderful world of geekery. Be afraid; very afraid.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:47 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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