Posty Post

Dec. 31st, 2008 07:21 pm
semiotic_pirate: (Core Rat & Hot Pockets)
That's right, you need to hear someone on your cell? Block the microphone.

Everything keeps telling me to wait to eventually replace or supplement my current vehicle. Yet another reason? Motorcycles are going green.

Make your own (plush) monster. Sheesh, for the amount it costs, I'd be tempted to make it myself. Sheesh. Definitely overpriced.

Are these inconvenient "truths" (not sure of their validity, hence truth and green are in quotes) really pointing the way to what living "green" should really mean? This article was written as a counterpoint.

Ohhhh! A square foot gardening wiki!

With that in mind, here's a goodie on Urban Farming. Ahhhh. A flat roof with a square foot garden atop the building…. *sigh* Shaded plant space under solar panels, wind turbines in the partial shade… *more sighs* Interesting (serious?) woodchuck recipe in the comment section.

Thinking about making this into an icon…

I wonder if CoB has seen this article about a PlayStation cluster being used to forge a web skeleton key? It has a great flowchart. *snicker* He hadn't! Sweet!


Tech-geek lust. is selling a large number of Blu-ray movies at 50% off in an extended deal that lasts until January 4th.

Hey hon! Video-on-Demand Coming to Wii in 2009! Netflix through the Wii! Yahoooooo! Now we are going to have to figure out how to connect the Wii wirelessly to the router upstairs…

Some droolable gadgets.

Link to an interesting series of survival gadgets. Does a bed count as a "gadget," truly?

Posty Post

Dec. 26th, 2008 06:39 pm
semiotic_pirate: (BattlePrincess)
The Netherlands' Delta Committee rocks. Click through to read an amazing article about the Dutch 200 year plan to protect their country from rising sea levels on account of global warming. Amazing diagrams and interesting pictures. Now that is prudent and rational planning. Now this makes me want to visit Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside of the Netherlands even more.

risk = (probability of failure) x (projected cost of damage)

Maybe if they had actually USED this equation for New Orleans, the damages and horrifying results of Hurricane Katrina wouldn't have occurred. This equation has been in used by the Dutch and for high-end engineering risk analysis since the 1950's, by the way. Other than the Dutch, it is usually only used by fields like nuclear power, aerospace, and chemical manufacturing.


In the never-never land of created wants, enter the Mitsubishi LaserVue 65" Black DLP HDTV - L65A90 which is a laser-powered television with a starting price of $7K. Yowch! But it is capable of producing a 3D image… and it's got the best color, clarity, high contrast, etc. of any television out there… and it runs on 1/3 the energy of an LCD, 1/4 that of a plasma television… Maybe I'll be able to talk myself into the purchase of one of these someday, after the price drops considerably. With a 10.1" screen, 12.6" in depth with the stand and 136 lbs… Wow. Would need to upgrade the furniture too. At least other flat panel television prices are plummeting.


Ummmm… What?! What's that you say? Pay especial attention to the comments below the article [ profile] ginmar; maybe you can use them on the various stereo people you encounter in your life. *no hugs here* There are also a lot of insightful comments about the use, misuse, and worth of torture further down in the comment stream.


Gives another layer to the meaning of the term kissing cousins, doesn't it? Dispassioned analysis of the genetic affects of intermarrying with your cousins as well as a handy-dandy figure showing where first-cousin marriage is outlawed. Very interesting. Genetically, I think it becomes a problem when the intermarriage of cousins happens multi-generationally. Meaning the first set of cousins' children marrying and then their children, etc. When the gene pool is limited by locality, this can be the outcome because the offspring tend to stay close to the epicenter of their birth, and their choices are narrowed further by having intermarriages between cousins above them in the family tree. Of course, all this reminds me of discussions of family trees in the Harry Potter novels. There are implications of everyone being related to someone, somehow, over the centuries. But, the most interesting comment in the article itself comes very quickly: "laws against the unions are a socially legitimized form of genetic and sexual discrimination." Who's the finger of blame going to be pointed at when the neochristians hear this tidbit? I bet they (as well as all the middle-aged couples looking to get their sprog on) get severely tweaked over the comment that it is comparable to restricting women over the age of 40 from childbearing because of an equivalent risk of birth defects.

I find it interesting that some of the articles linked to below this one are: Women, Trust Your Nose: Inbred Men May Smell Bad. And Calling Jerry Springer: Embryo Mixing Could Make Three-Parent Children where the term (new to me) trinogomous relationships is used. I think, in the case of the latter article, the more genetic mixing the better… Look at what it could do for mitochondrial based diseases! Are we on the edge of the reproductive freedom forefront? Between all of the above and gay marriage - I would say a resounding yes. I also would say that any child that is born wanted and is well cared for should be welcomed. Not as many commentors in this one, but the few ignorant dissenters are thoroughly trounced by the intelligent folk.


Did anyone on my f-list know that you could auction off this little Monopoly rule:

"The main rule that tends to get ignored is the auction. If you land on a property and don't want it, it goes to auction. That's what tends to slow things down and put a lot of people off. If you don't get houses built it will go on forever."

Interesting BBC article about board games, where Monopoly is touted as a game that takes social interaction to "new heights" by placing a premium on negotiation. Hell. I didn't realize you could make deals to waive interest, exchange property, or form strategic alliances. Well maybe the latter… Tactics that are said to be common in multiplayer games. Maybe I just never played a game with enough people. Another game highlighted, Diplomacy, is touted as a game requiring the playing of the opponent as much as the game which is finding favour outside the home as an "educational tool." Interesting. I didn't know that a game that's central attraction lies in the negotiations, alliances, betrayals, poker faces and backstabbing… where you are expected to lie at every turn and constantly second guess your opponents intentions would be used as an educational tool. Yeah. Who am I kidding? Sounds a lot like life in the worst circumstances - circumstances that all of us must face at one time or another. For the unlucky, they face those circumstances constantly. The final sentences of the article separate the skill sets acquired nicely. Soft skills that games teach us:

"How to win and lose with grace, how to play nicely with our families; and how to dissemble, cajole, and gull our way to victory."


Earlier today, I met with CoB, his brother and nephew - and they were laughingly teaching the toddler Chinese phrases and joking about preparing for our "Chinese overlords" a la Firefly universe beginnings. I was reminded of the conversation, over lunch I might add, when reading the following article, especially when I hit this part:

"In hindsight, many economists say, the United States should have recognized that borrowing from abroad for consumption and deficit spending at home was not a formula for economic success."

Can't everything be seen in hindsight when you are looking for it? Hrmphf. Now it is being said that Chinese Savings Helped Inflate American Bubble… No. Us greedy grubs did it to ourselves, you blighter.

On another Chinese note: a traveler's perspective of feeling like going from the Jetsons' to the Flinstones' when coming back o Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong. No kidding. Time to reboot our infrastructure indeed.

"My fellow Americans, we can’t continue in this mode of “Dumb as we wanna be.” We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.

we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover."


Thought provoking article about for-profit charitable aid companies in the sin of doing good deeds. When they get more done for the charity in question, I applaud them. When they defraud the people donating to the charitable cause, this is when I have a problem. Hell. I loved it that Barnes and Noble did the "buy a book to be donated to needy children drive" this year… LOVED IT. I hope whoever gets the copies of The Hobbit and Ramona Quimby - Age 8 enjoy their first reading of them as much as I did. When businesses do things to help other people, when they (and no, I don't know if B&N fits into the whole category here) make it a point to act in ethical, sustaining, world/community building ways - while reigning in the business propensity for over-compensating the upper echelons of the business - good things happen. Businesses can do good even as they do well. That should be drilled into our children throughout their lives. Every person's actions have an effect in the world that can ripple out and affect people half a world away. Just because you aren't aware of that consciously does not mean it doesn't occur.


Goo Goo! May B.H.O. go the way of F.D.R.


Wish I had been able to be around to give the service people (mailman, firehouse, police station, the mechanic, etc.) boxing day gifts. I've done it a few times in my life. Usually it is a tin of home-baked goods or something like that.

"It is on Boxing Day, after all, on the “feast of Stephen,” that “Good King Wenceslas” looked out and saw the snow, “deep and crisp and even.” The cold was notable not for its beauty, but for the hunger that it brought with it. The king calls for food, wine and “pine logs” not for his own feast, but that he and his page may “bear them thither” to give to the poor… In the 19th century, the “boxes” of Boxing Day were either literally boxes of gifts or money, given by employers to staff and servants."

However, boxing day isn't just about giving to the poor, it is (I gather) about giving to those who work for you - either directly or indirectly. I got a bottle of wine from my manager before he left for holiday vacation. Yay! Just remember, today, your "servants" are out-sourced workers. The housekeepers, the dry cleaners, recycling and garbage collectors, delivery people and so forth… It is also a time for what is termed "duty visits" where you go and visit that obnoxious relative that you would never usually go and see. Ha! Don’t just keep “the Christmas of the belly: keep you the Christmas of the heart. Give — give.”

Must remember as well when Maundy Thursday rolls around. It is supposed to have a similar purpose - giving alms to the poor.


Gorgeous house in the background, neh?

The article that it is associated with, however, has a stupid title that is contradicted throughout by itself. Oh noes! You have to clear off the solar panels! You knew there would be a trade-off during the changing of the seasons when you installed the darn things, and no amount of poo-pooing in an article can make it seem like no one would know that days are shorter during the winter in the northern hemisphere. And, no, ice is not flung like javelins from spinning wind turbines. Sheesh.


More cheers for the Kindle and the beginnings of the passing of the "early adopter" phase of the e-book craze. Bring it on! Go paperless, people! Someday, the only books people will own on paper will be their ultimate favorites - or maybe even those won't need to be paper anymore. The easiest way to turn fetishist bibliophiles on to ebooks would be to start making/selling book/paper scented candles to burn when reading so you can elevate the ambiance of the moment.

In related news, and my last bit of writing… Finally... Crowdsourcing your tech support needs. It is something that I've done more and more often over the last few years. In addition to all the sites mentioned in the article I would like to applaud the advent of YouTube and the helpful how-to videos have helped immensely as well as being able to use Google to search for help using a short description of the problem. Way cool. Keep it up, internetz!

And now… I go cuddle with CoB. Huzzah!

Posty Post

Nov. 25th, 2008 05:43 pm
semiotic_pirate: (Boom Da Yadda)
Protecting the Godzilla intellectual property rights.

Small cadre of "mommy bloggers" shoot down Johnson & Johnson ad campaign for Motrim that was aimed at young mothers.

YouTube Video Here.

ATTENTION ALL GIFT BUYERS: Kindle 2.0 to Hit Stores in Early 2009

Amazon has slated the next version of its popular Kindle reader for the first quarter of 2009.

The second Kindle, which will be longer, thinner and more ergonomically friendly than its predecessor, is tentatively scheduled to go on sale "early next quarter," sources told TechCrunch.

Shortly after releasing Kindle 2.0, Amazon will push out a student version of the reader with a larger screen -- more suitable for displaying textbooks. The student version will hit stores sometime in the first half of 2009. Discussed here on TechCrunch.

Previously, speculators predicted an October 2008 release of Kindle 2.0, but Amazon quickly dispelled such rumors. It's understandable why Amazon is taking its time and being careful with the new Kindle: The reader is the company's first attempt at a hardware device.


Posty Post

Nov. 17th, 2008 07:19 pm
semiotic_pirate: (Giggle Loop)
It was a long, draining day where I worked very, very hard on difficult problems. Of course, I had a few minutes this morning before the hordes descended to write up a post.

Awesome "synthetic" (bio-) fuel company - Amyris leading the way with plans to make 200 million gallons of synfuel a year at $2 per gallon by 2011. Another plus - they'll generate a lot of real living-wage factory jobs where people are employed making actual products they can afford to buy themselves. But will they be able to pull it off?

USB 3.0 is coming, and man is it going to be fast! It's said to deliver a tenfold increase in data transfer speed when going head-to-head in a USB showdown with the 2.0 tech. This is also likely to signal the death of FireWire/IEEE 1394. Which, I guess, would the the Betamax?

Waiting until Friday for the Google Mobile App so that I can do a voice-enabled search on my NEW iPHONE! Yep. Christmas is around me; I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.

Oh. And, after seeing Quantum of Solace three times this weekend… did anyone else notice the plethora of hip alternate fuel vehicles? Too bad the vehicles don't actually exist. BAD FORD! Shouldn't tease us like that, you bastards!

However, to be built by Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies and coachbuilder Fisker Automotive (designer of BMWs and Aston-Martins). This new car will use an innovative plug-in hybrid technology called Quantum Drive (come one...meant for Bond), a hybrid electric/gas power plant that can be plugged in at the owner's home garage for easy charging, and also refuel at any gas station on the road.

Building an alt-energy power plant is risky and expensive, but thanks to a new ruling by an Environmental Protection Agency panel, building a coal plant may become riskier and more expensive. So it is good that the EPA Coal Decision Levels Playing Field for Wind, Solar. And that, said the Sierra Club's chief climate counsel, David Bookbinder, is good news for new clean tech companies.

Want to see the new high resolution map of U.S. per-capita carbon dioxide emissions and read the discussion about said map? Go here.

Bad Texans! Or are those emissions floating over from Mexico?

The recession is also driving the greening of the electronics industry. Yay! Driven by saving money, stricter policies on disposal of waste - and who's held responsible for them - and the marketing to retain positive public relations. Bottom line thinking, yes, but we are forcing the industry to comply to make it good for their bottom line to do so. Economics 101 anyone?

Finally, my photog geek friends: turn your flatbed scanner into a giant camera!

Posty Post

Oct. 21st, 2008 04:17 pm
semiotic_pirate: (Coupling Reservoir Dogs)
Thar she blows me hearties. Below, find a whole mess of links about a variety of subjects. Enjoy!

But first... Went into work for 6:15 am today to finish up a time sensitive project by 9 am. Gah. The whole day went pretty quickly. It's becoming quite busy at the office, with lots of work being generated by the fluctuating grain and fuel prices... Tired now.

While on a walk after lunch today my coworker and I spotted our neighborhood's resident turkey stalking around in the middle of the road at an intersection. It strutted up to the stoplight, cutting in between a stopped motorcycle and SUV, and proceeded to chase the motorcycle when it turned left when the light turned green. It didn't stop there. The evil little creature (yeah, he's great and we all love him) took his time exploring the intersection and kept traffic at a really slow speed while everyone in the area traversing through made room for the turkey. Yeah. It was quite a site.

I didn't find anything about turkeys chasing motorcycles, but here's one out in Ohio that looks just like our turkey, dangling chest feather and all, chasing a cop... Repeatedly.

And now - on with the posty post!

For the photographically inclined: Bokeh Photograph how-to wiki. Boke (often spelled bokeh) is a term used to describe images that have a sharply focused subject surrounded by a blurry background.


Speculation on possible voter fraud attempts is revealed in a 43-page study (PDF) that reveals the frausters methods:
Read more... )
One solution recommended by the authors: Voters can use the website and call-in line of Election Protection, a national nonpartisan voter-protection coalition, to get accurate information. And don't forward e-mails about voting procedures, even if they look authentic.

Elsewhere: About 53% of working Americans have had a work-related phone call or email while in the bathroom. The survey (commissioned by Nokia) discussed in the article also talks about how the lines dividing work and personal life are also blurring; about 62% of workers have had their personal lives interrupted by work ten or few times each week and vice-versa.

It doesn't stop there, however, another study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project is raising questions about the value of "connectedness" that comes with increased use of the internet and cell phones by families. Sounds just like the stuff done by radio and for television when those two technological devices were marketed to the public. New habits for old, new habits for old!

what if people are biologically unsuited for (achieving) the American Dream? Peter Whybrow, head of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Behavior at UCLA paints a disturbing picture of 21st century American life, where behavioral tendencies produced by millions of years of scarcity-driven evolution don’t fit the social and economic world we've constructed. Foremost among Whybrow's targets is the modern culture of spending on credit.

The answers aren't easy, Whybrow goes on to caution — but they do exist. People can think creatively about jumping from the treadmills of bad jobs and unmeetable needs; and even if this isn't always possible, they can teach their children to live modestly and within their means. Urban engineers can design cities that allow people to live and work and shop in the same place. Governments can, at the insistence of their citizens, provide the social safety nets on which social mobility, stagnant for the last 50 years, is based. And we can — however much it hurts — look to Europe for advice. Oh. [ profile] crabbyolbastard? He mentions ponzi schemes in relation to the economy. Heh.

"You can think about markets in the same way as individuals who mortgaged their future — except markets did it with other people's money," he said. "You end up with a Ponzi scheme predicated on the idea that we can get something now, rather than having to wait. And it all comes back to the same instinctual drive."

That's right, stagnant for the last 50 years.

Neither Whybrow nor you, my reader, should be surprised about there being more to be outraged over with AIG. It's a take the money and run type of attitude it seems. AIG seems to think it doesn't need to act responsibly nor soberly in the current economic climate.

Further elsewhere: Thousands volunteer to Expose DNA Secrets to the World. 'No need to ask, I'll tell' mentality gets even more personal.

Interruption of regularly scheduled grumblings:

Awwww. Baby giraffe Bonsu! More baby animals here!

On a lighter note: For a little YA reading for the cryptologist ENIGMA - A Magical Mystery by Graeme Base was just released. Of course, anyone who has read Graeme Base knows that the best parts are below the surface. Each page has its retinue of hidden images, some of which are clues, some visual puns, and some of which are just plain fun. Best of all, Enigma declares that he wrote down all the locations of the missing items, but in a code he no longer remembers. The secret to the code is in the back of the book: a machine with three dials and... well, you see where this is going. Cracking the code adds a whole new layer to the book.

Check out this truly bizarre set of counterintelligence posters some viewable here on Wired's Danger Room. All of the ones available on the ONCIX website are located here. Enjoy!

Okay zombie lovers Dead Space is launching their webisode finale! As space-zombie videogame Dead Space racks up kudos internet-wide with this week's release of the PC version, parent company Electronic Arts has unveiled the final webisode of No Known Survivors.

For six weeks, No Known Survivors has been streaming back-stories building out from the game's main scenario. The series is one branch of a multiplatform synergy attack from EA, which also includes a comic book spinoff (pictured) and a deal with Starz to produce an animated Dead Space movie.

Music addicts… that want to stay or go legit, check out LaLa.

In politics; as goes Colin Powell, so goes Google. Rather, Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt.

Posty Post

Oct. 20th, 2008 05:05 pm
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
OH NOZ! 'Anonymous' Member Unmasked!

An 18-year-old New Jersey man agreed to plead guilty to federal computer hacking charges Friday for participating in a denial-of-service attack against Church of Scientology websites, as part of collective of online troublemakers known as "Anonymous."
Read more... )

As a continuation of yesterday, most of which occurred via email, here's an icon for my werewolves are better than vampire friends:

Since NPR was doing their fundraising thing this morning, I did some station surfing and heard Miss Independent, lyrics here, music video here. Not that I've seen the video, mind you, I cannot access youtube at work. *sigh* Probably better that way. Oh. Listen to it here. It's nice when you hear semi-pro-feminist R&B. There is still some expectation of beauty upkeep, but it seems like "she" has the money to pay other people to do all her upkeep for her (manicure, pedicure, hair cut and style, etc) which may be construed as a measure of privilege. However, I like it. Opinions?

Click here for a series of 13 images showing "Under the Surface at Monterey Bay Aquarium."

Article to the above slide show "Monterey Bay: An Aquarium for the Ages Opens" found here. The aquarium occupies the site of an old sardine cannery at the edge of Monterey Bay, one of the most fertile and diverse marine environments on earth.

Six Apart CEO speaks out on how the downturn in the economy is affecting blogging over a smooth, cool Belgian beer.

What the heck is "Location-Based Dating" people? Anyone? Apparently, the current article is a follow up to this one about Love: Japanese Style.

RIAA Decries Texas Woman as 'Vexatious' for Demanding File Sharing Trial. Along with the article is one of [ profile] crabbyolbastard's favorite images:

I love the second comment in the comment string at the bottom of the article:


"In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved"


If the collection of early reviews is any reliable sign (and the consistent tone in each would indicate it is), the next James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, is an aggressive, tight, grim and moody thriller that leads directly into the next film in the decades-old series.

So far, reviews out of U.K. sources such as the BBC and The Daily Mirror praise the film and the performance of Daniel Craig as 007 for exploring the lead character's depth and motivation in a manner not seen in a previous Bond flick.

While celebrating Solace's tight pacing and effective action sequences, critics also question the film's heavy, moody tone as the grieving, vengeful 007 seeks out the deadly international criminal organization that killed his lover and threatens the world. It seems the fun, flippant Bond of Sir Roger Moore (and even Pierce Brosnan) is long gone.

Quantum of Solace premieres on Halloween in the United Kingdom and Nov. 14 in the United States.

Finally: Future vehicles may be made of 'buckypaper'

Buckypaper is 10 times lighter but potentially 500 times stronger than steel when sheets of it are stacked and pressed together to form a composite. Unlike conventional composite materials, though, it conducts electricity like copper or silicon and disperses heat like steel or brass.

Posty Post

Oct. 16th, 2008 05:52 pm
semiotic_pirate: (BattlePrincess)
As a follow up to a post made by [ profile] interactiveleaf concerning the lies and hatemongering being spread by Reichwing Republicans about Senator Obama:

GOP Site Endorses E-mail Smears, Said 'Waterboard Obama'

By Sarah Lai Stirland - October 15, 2008 | 7:39:16 PM - WIRED Threat Level

The website of a local California Republican party has posted a message openly calling for the torture of Barack Obama, while reporting as fact a slew of long-ago debunked smears targeting the Democratic presidential candidate.

Read more... )
The worst comment, posted by "Independent Voter" was This is funny. You leftist idiots cannot take a joke. You can dish it out but you can't take it. LOL. Yeah. It's a joke… Riiiiight. Try to pull the other one.

Further down you get a reply by "acerbic"

Ok. Is this a smear? Obama claims to be a Christian and yet he believes that human beings evolved from apes via natural selection and random mutation? Do real Christians realize that he believes in this crap or does he have one answer when he's around Christians and another when he's around atheists? He sounds like a con artist to me.

Of course, this is common atheist/evolutionist brain-dead crap since anybody who has played around with random GAs know that, as soon as the search space reaches a certain very low threshold, you get an exponential explosion of possibilities that makes any subsequent search intractable. Heck, you can't even get to the cellular level. Not even close.

This is the sort of crap that caused Paul Feyrabend to write that "the most stupid procedures and the most laughable results in their domain are surrounded with an aura of excellence. It is time to cut them down in size, and to give them a more modest position in society."

You atheist/leftist nerds act like your shit don't stink but yours is the stinkiest shit around. You are stupid as shit. LOL.

Yeah, that's right, Christians aren't allowed to believe in evolution. Don't some of them believe that God doesn't consider time in the same way humans do? One of Zir's days could be a millennia or trillennia? I'm not sure where "acerbic" is getting the rest of their statement from… Anyone?

Wait… "rthomas" has a really good comeback to that part: Evolution vs. Natural Selection vs. Creationism, all are true. Keep in mind we have concrete evidence on how old the earth is, its previous occupants, when those occupants lived, even how the solar system, galaxy and our universe formed.

Now assuming the Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox Church and all the sects that spit from them, copied the Jewish Torah, exactly, word for word, which I highly doubt.

1) How many days passed during the days of creation, and no the answer is not seven. Why? It is generally accepted that a day for us on this planet last 24 hours, and no where does it say how long a day was. In fact, in the early part of the story there was no separation.

2) Show us where it describes the creatures; go on, I mean I know fish are described and to some extend fauna and insects.

3) Now, it says in there that we are created in the image of G-d. Who are we mere mortals to assume what G-d looks like? Honestly, it crosses the line to assume that we have always look like this just because we are created in the image of the All Mighty. Moreover, can that statement mean instead that it is our soul, the soul of every living creature on this Earth, that is created in the image of G-d.

4) Last of all, if we are meant to take the word of G-d, be it from the Bible, the Torah, the Qur'an, etc... We would not have been created with the ability to think for ourselves and question the word of G-d. We would most likely not have the ability to think for ourselves and question the word of G-d, and instead maybe the dolphins or roaches would be more worthy of the gift of logic. Thus, I believe, no matter what the issue, it is a sin to accept the word of G-d without second thought on the subject.

There is a LOT of heavy flaming going on in the comments. Extreme insults to Hawking that don't bear repeating… insults galore being issued by the pseudo-Christian lot toward everyone else. Nothing concrete or any supportive evidence to their statements. The point of the article, that this stuff was posted onto an OFFICIAL Republican website seems to have been missed by all of the trolls.

Huzzah for Margaret Sanger!

Personal Transport Pods for Mass Transit: It is time we design cities for the human, not for the automobile.

New show on the Discovery Channel looks interesting: Prototype This The show, which debuts Wednesday night, features four San Francisco Bay Area geeks who demonstrate their brainpower each week by undertaking a bizarre "build" to address some sort of problem.

Read more... )

For my zombie loving friends out there, here are a list of songs that focus on those shambling revenants. There's an embedded player toward the bottom of the page where, after the intro song and chat, you can listen to the songs. *Looks at [ profile] ginmar* Enjoy! FYI: First track is a bonus for Harry Potter fans. Anyone who listens, let me know what you thought. I'm liking the first song, kinda like the second, would have to be in the right frame of mind for the last one… it is from the Young Zombies in Love Musical however. Of course, this is from GeekDad, who would be looking for semi-kid-friendly tracks.
semiotic_pirate: (PirateWildGunnerKate)
IBM is seeding the iPhone App Store and using users as marketing test subjects. They're research projects are popping up like weeds in the effort to see how users in the real world take to them. The projects include an experimental text-input system and an application to sync multiple devices, the latter so you can virally infect your friend's iPhones.

Blackberry calls the iPhone out at high noon in the BlackBerry Storm vs. iPhone G3 showdown. The article contains a handy dandy reference chart and was deemed the best competitor to date for the iPhone.

Interesting history lesson: Did you know that in 1582 the pope declared that a one time deletion of October 4-15 would occur to fix the Julian Calendar slippage? That's right, in order to keep Easter from being observed in the summer and Christmas in the spring Pope Gregory XIII took drastic steps to reset the calendar.

Wired Science is putting forth a reasonable argument about why biofuels shouldn't be blamed for the food crisis. Placing the blame on biofuels obscures the role that long-held European and American agricultural subsidies played in creating the food crisis.

For you at-home terrorist hunters: data-minin for terrorists not 'feasible,' a DHS-funded study finds.

The government should not be building predictive data-mining programs systems that attempt to figure out who among millions is a terrorist, a privacy and terrorism commission funded by Homeland Security reported Tuesday. The commission found that the technology would not work and the inevitable mistakes would be un-American.

The 376-page report -- entitled "Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Assessment" (which goes for $55)-- comes as a rebuke to the Bush administration's attempts to use high-tech surveillance and data-sifting tools to prevent another terrorist attack inside the United States.

"Terrorists can damage our country and way of life in two ways: through physical, psychological damage and through our own inappropriate response to that threat." This was said by the investigating committee's co-chair Charles Vest -- the president of the National Academy of Engineering at the report's unveiling.

The United States Army is looking to build the world's strongest solar array as part of a far-reaching effort to cut back on the service's dependence on fossil fuels.

Currently, the most powerful photovoltaic array in the country is at Nellis Air Force Base, outside of Las Vegas. It generates about 15 megawatts of power. Other plants are in the works in New Mexico, Arizona and California that could produce up to 300 megawatts. The Army declared that it would "partner with the private sector to construct a 500-megawatt solar thermal plant at Fort Irwin, California, in the Mojave Desert. In an update to the article it was noted that Pacific Gas and Electric recently announced contracts for 800 megawatts of solar energy -- including a 550 megawatt "solar farm" in San Luis Obispo County, California. It's slated to be on line by 2013.

How secret are your secrets? DARPA Launches "Secret" Gandalf Project.

Announced yesterday by Darpa, the SECRET/NOFORN program's goal is to employ "set of handheld devices" to track down a particular "signal emitter of interest," using "radio frequency geolocation." And according to Lew Page, a former Royal Navy officer: "It would appear that a group of undercover operatives… dispersed near a target (perhaps a specific cell or satellite phone) might carry portable gadgets, presumably networked. The netted devices would be able to pick out the phone, radio or whatever they were after and track it. This sort of thing is already done by surveillance aircraft and/or drones; the new wrinkle is being able to do it using handheld devices. So Project Gandalf [is] presumably intended for situations where the spy planes and drones can't be used - perhaps where the local government is unaware of the operation."

Anyone want to comment on that?

In other news: the future of search won't be incremental.

In a play on the title of a great short story book: Do Toddlers Dream of Electronic Pets is about the robotic pets of the now and ruminations about their future use in society. Mainly though, it is a product review of "WowWee Alive" Lions, Pandas, Polar Bears and White Tiger all, of course, appearing as figuratively young as the children who are their intended playmates. Lions, Tigers and Bears… oh my.

For the weapon aficianados: Fighting Umbrella with Knuckle-Duster Handle Do you think the Umbuster is legal with that "brass knuckle" handle? Well, only if you have a license to carry… "The Umbuster has been classified a Class 5 weapon by good and upright men and women of the Victorian Police, and is considered similarly so in many countries. To have and to hold this accessory requires a weapons licence and, or gun licence." On sale now for $330. Not that impressive - really - if you consider how you have to hold the umbrella's handle when using it as rain gear.

Maybe Weird Al: Forefather of the YouTube Spoof should do a video where he uses the Umbuster?

Weird Al on tour - summer 2008.


Jul. 13th, 2008 12:16 pm
semiotic_pirate: (huzzah! turtle)

Finally gave in to my acquisitiveness and pre-ordered a Wii (Galaxy) console bundle online - it comes with two controllers/nunchucks, a controller charging station, and Super Mario Galaxy.

After this? Wii Fit. For Sure.

Anybody have a Wii yet? What's it like? What games do you enjoy the most? What games do you abhor - and why?

As long as the picture is accurate... otherwise I'm going to be really pissed at B&N for misrepresentation.


Jun. 27th, 2008 05:33 pm
semiotic_pirate: (OMG!  OMG!  OMG!)
Yeah baby! Got a glimpse of these things a while back at some conference of geekitude - or just read something on WIRED about them. Then the other day I find this girl geek site called io9 - and there was this woman talking about how, when she went to the dentist's office for some drilling, she wore these glasses to take her to another world while getting drilled on.

If you go to the site - watch out for the German - you can request to be a lead user because it just isn't offered for sale in the U.S. unless you go through serious loop-de-loops, speak German, and are buddies with the Hoff. A lead user is kind of like a tester of the new technology. They send you their device, and you use it for two weeks, send it back, and review it. If you really like it, you have the option to buy at a discounted rate.

Watch video through these little glasses? Yes please! Here's the site's English version.

On the job: End of three weeks and I'm still enjoying myself greatly. Helped to close a 10 million dollar deal with the credit committee. I am the go-to hot prospect researcher.


May. 24th, 2008 04:44 am
semiotic_pirate: (eyeball)
Waking up at 4:30 am from a sound sleep (on my own, not caused by the cat) isn't so bad when the reason you are awake is because you just had a kick ass dream and you are excited over the possibility of "could it happen?" Yeah. It's that kind of morning.

Imagine the Nissan Pivo 2, writ large in an Iron Man type of way, being discussed in this interactive forum (yes CoB you were there, and we were both instrumental in getting the project into more than concept status).

Originally, (upon arrival at the venue for the presentation) CoB and I decided that sitting together wasn't a priority and he got this awesome seat near the stage but almost perched over it in some sort of organically formed balcony. I chose to participate/observe from a little further out in the audience.

Had this jackass sitting next to me that I tried to engage in discussion but he was just interested in hearing himself talk and in having his friends fawn over his inane chatter.

There was this really awesome presentation technique being used. Not sure if this is because of a discussion CoB and I had yesterday afternoon about the advent of the Scalzi BrainPal or if it was some sort of heads up display built into the theater where the presentation "slides" or movies were displayed for each person, but you couldn't see it displaying in front of other people (like the red lights in traffic where only the person in the lane facing the light can see it).

There was this amazing crossover technique making use of either corneal implants or harvesting the film that forms over the cornea (can't remember the disease) and recall myself thinking that elderly people would benefit from it the most. I had a discussion, after getting the roving PR person's attention, about a crossover technique that could be used to utilize the corneal stuff to enhance a couple of products - using the technique discovered for one to boost the other's power output or energy efficiency or something.

I remember being in an office later with the PR person having a discussion about stuff, and CoB coming up...

After trying to start a conversation with self-absorbed boy a couple of times, I got up and moved to a point 2/3 closer to where CoB was sitting, and he came down from his perch and sat beside me.

Later, not sure if I was still "me" or viewing through another's eyes, there was a kerfuffle about something and I was climbing over some (floating?) piles of stuff and machines to get to one of the IMP2 (Iron Man Pivo 2... tell me that isn't a great acronym for it, go ahead) prototypes because SOMEBODY had to prove that they would work and be useful to society. And damn it, I did, and the world was made better by my having stepped up and taken charge.

I really got a rush because of my previous love of Robotech. Yeah, I'm one of those geeks. And now I'm awake thinking of all the things that I had read or talked about yesterday that played a part in creating that dream.
semiotic_pirate: (ron growling)

1st, 2nd, and 3rd world country labels are relics from the Cold War.

The first world were democratic capitalist countries that were industrialized. NATO was the biggest collection of these countries

The second world were Communist, industrialized countries. The Warsaw pact is the biggest collection of these countries

The Third world were non-aligned countries that were not industrialized. Basically the third world was the battleground for the Soviet Union and the US fighting for converts to their ideology. The Cold War was fought for control of these countries either by military conquest, or political influence.


Having a difference of opinion in a previous post as to the disposition of China. In referring to it in Cold-War Era terms, it is a 2nd World nation. Because it was (oh, still is!) an industrialized nation. Industrialized nations can build things such as factories and power plants without too much trouble, when compared directly to non-industrialized nations.

China just experienced a massive earthquake. One of the ways we get updates about this is all the people in China that are blogging, Twittering, and Flickering about what's going on in their neck of the woods.

And, isn't China like one of the biggest industrial espionage nations out there? Can't use that stolen technology information if you don't have the industrial capacity to make home-grown versions.

Am I losing my mind? Should I accept China being called 3rd world just because they aren't democratic or as up to date on having a clean, environmentally responsible to the planet political stance? It's not like I am comparing them to Switzerland or something... I just think that they could build a cellulose-to-ethanol plant if they really wanted to.

Opinions wanted on this topic. What do you think?
semiotic_pirate: (pirate rosabella)
Thanks to [ profile] kadath for pointing me to the Technology Bytes website so that I could find this:

Simpletech External Hard Drive

These days it seems that external hard drives are more plentiful, more capable and more affordable than ever before.

Scratch that, it doesn’t seem that way at all. It’s a fact of life.

You can find desktop style external hard drives capable of near terabyte capacity for rock bottom prices all the way down to lightweight, USB powered models for computer users on the go for prices that go beyond affordable.

So how do you make something that gets noticed in this market? Simpletech might have the answer with their new portable USB drive.

Sleek in design and rich in features the SimpleDrive Portable Hard Drive has some real sex appeal. And it’s no wonder, the look and feel of the drive was designed by none other than Pininfarina, the same design firm responsible for making Ferrari’s so desirable.

But don’t let the pretty face fool you, this device has what it takes to make it a real contender in the portable, external drive market. 5400 rpm drive speed, hot-swappable USB 2.0, one touch backup software and drive capacity ranging from 60-250 gigabytes of storage.

Easy to use and very handy for all your portable drive needs.

Simpletech also has desktop models available utilizing 7200 rpm drives with capacity all the way up to one full terabyte.


Hrm. How many complaints about making back-ups of a hard-drive or system would there be if you could just plug this little puppy in and push a single button? Maybe... NONE?

I'd do it. Definitely.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
September 2, 2007 12:26 PM PDT
I pity the fool (Windows XP good, Vista bad)
via CNET by Michael Horowitz

It saddens me to think of all the ill advised people buying new computers running Windows Vista, when they could have chosen XP. As Mr. T was fond of saying back in the 1980s, I pity the fool.

Let me be clear, my point is only about the choice between XP and Vista and has nothing to do with Macs or Linux, many of whose devotees feel this way about all Windows users. I'm also not here to defend Windows XP, whose faults are many. My point is simply that if you are buying a new computer to run Windows applications, XP is the right choice, Vista is the wrong choice.
Read more... )

And why is it that when a new Mac OS comes out it works perfectly fine? Hrm...
semiotic_pirate: (Starbucks Addiction)
This article made me think of a question [ profile] sunfell made a short while ago... Would it be a good thing to join Facebook? Maybe it would be a good thing. Employers are starting to mine it for future employees, and maybe a whole lot of other things will happen to social networks in the future, near or far.

June 7, 2007

‘omg my mom joined facebook!!’


I HAVE reached a curious point in life. Although I feel like the same precocious know-it-all cynic I always was, I suddenly am surrounded by younger precocious know-it-all cynics whose main purpose appears to be to remind me that I’ve lost my edge.

Many of these people are teenagers.

Some of them I gave birth to.

One was in a breech position.

And the other day, as I drove home with one of my tormenters in the passenger seat, she started laughing at the way I pronounced “Henri Cartier-Bresson.”

“Ha ha ha, is that how you think his name sounds?” my daughter said. “Oh, my God. Who told you that?”

It was my college photography professor. Twenty-six years ago.

Rather than draw attention to my age, I tried to trick her into thinking of me as someone cool, as we said 26 years ago. “I hope you don’t think this gives you the right to make fun of me on your Facebook page,” I said.

“My Facebook page?” this person asked incredulously. “My page? Is that what you think Facebook is?”

Suddenly a vague memory from my childhood — the time someone else’s mother left her family, wrote a few young adult novels and ended up in a sad apartment complex on the edge of town — welled up, unbidden.

I needed to banish it, along with all evidence of this humiliating conversation. But how?

I vowed to fight on her turf.
Read more... )
semiotic_pirate: (distracted by shiney)
They rule... hahahahaha.

Go and drool here. Yah baby.

Two of the many:

semiotic_pirate: (Default)

Police to fingerprint on streets
Police across England and Wales are to begin taking fingerprints while on patrol using mobile electronic devices.

The portable gadgets - similar to a pocket PC and linked to a central database - will enable officers to identify suspects within minutes.

Police say they will particularly help identify people using false identities, although fingerprints can be taken only if a person gives permission.

Ten forces will pilot the machines over the next year.

The equipment will be distributed among the forces in Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, North Wales, Northamptonshire, West Midlands and West Yorkshire, as well as to British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police, over the next two months.

Combat false identities

Police Minister Tony McNulty said: "The new technology will speed up the time it takes for police to identify individuals at the roadside, enabling them to spend more time on the frontline and reducing any inconvenience for innocent members of the public."

Under the pilot, codenamed Lantern, police officers will be able to check the fingerprints from both index fingers of the suspect against a central computer database, with a response within a few minutes.

"The handheld, capture device is little bigger than a PDA," said Chris Wheeler, head of fingerprint identification at the Police Information Technology Organisation PITO.

He continued: "Screening on the street means they [police] can check an identity and verify it.

"And if they verify it on the street and the person is currently not wanted by anyone but is known to the system for a reason - that is sufficient for fixed penalty notices."

Currently an officer has to arrest a person and take them to a custody suite to fingerprint them.

Electronic safeguards

Bedfordshire Police is the first force to rollout the trial.

The device will be used with the Automatic Number Plate Recognition team, who identify vehicles of interest.

If a vehicle is stopped, police will be able to identify the driver and passengers. At present about 60 per cent of drivers stopped do not give their true identity.

The device has an accuracy of 94-95% and will be used for identification purposes only.

It sends encrypted data to the national ID system using GPRS - a wireless system used by many mobile phones.

More than 6.5 million fingerprints are cross-referenced and sent back to the officer.

"It's a first to search a national database and get a response back in a couple of minutes," said Mr Wheeler.

The information on the device is encrypted and there are electronic safeguards to prevent misuse, if the machine was lost or stolen.

Screening device

Electronic "live scan" machines used in police stations remain the principal method for fingerprinting suspects for evidence.

Live scan machines have a 99.5% accuracy rate and are used in conjunction with a fingerprint expert.

"We have a national programme which will mean by the middle of January 2007 every custody suite in England and Wales and most in Scotland will have a live scan unit installed, " said Mr Wheeler.

He likened the mobile device to breathalysers used by officers on patrol.

"It's simply a screening device. It's the same as using a breathalyser on the street and using a calibrated one back at the station."

PITO provides technology such as the National Automated Fingerprint ID System, called Ident1, to the police.
semiotic_pirate: (OMG!  OMG!  OMG!)
I want this soooo much. It even comes in 17" size, just right for my NEW(ish) laptop, the Tablet PC... and I could get one in a different color for the OLD(ish) laptop, the Macintosh. It reminds me of that (and I cannot recall the movie I saw it in) little furry creature that is dancing around yelling all furry with it's mouth open. It might've been The Dark Crystal.

Yep, it was the Dark Crystal:

CUUUUTTEE factor of infinity. That and many more super-cool items can be found here at Barry's Farm, though the bags are made by Katie.



bigger better laptop bag instead of just a sleeve image! *drool*

Look - I could even have a cookie monster style sleeve/bag for the apple/Mac. Doesn't it look cute? Like it is getting eaten (macintosh cookies) by the cookie monster. Awwwww.

semiotic_pirate: (multiple images)
It all started with a little video, even though this guy had done it better ages ago.

A discussion which began with Dove's "Real Beauty Campaign"( where they show the before & after make-up and hair, the actual photo shoot picture and finally the photoshop manipulation result that gets put on the billboard) ended up sidetracking into the fact that (and this has been the case for thousands if not millions of years) that Dove makes their soap from pig fat, a.k.a. TALLOW (what about them candles!). And then someone pipes in that you should watch out for Lanolin too, because they torture sheep for it.
A. You might also want to look for Lanolin (sheepskin grease) which is in all sorts of things from hair products to soaps to lip glosses to foundations to, well, all sorts of things.

B. They don't kill sheep for lanolin, though. They get it from wool.

A. They don't *have* to kill sheep for lanolin. However, lanolin and wool does prop up the sheep farming industry and thus makes killing sheep a lot more profitable.

C. Sheep (with a few possible exceptions such as Merinos) aren't farmed for wool any more, only for meat. The cost of shearing often exceeds the value of the fleeces, so they're shorn only as a welfare measure. Lots of wool is now going to loft insulation.

Personally I eat lamb in preference to other meats as sheep are raised on hills and mountains that often couldn't be used to raise crops, so the environmental arguments against meat don't apply.

Of course, someone in another thread pointed out that Dove, a.k.a. UNILEVER also markets the other end of the spectrum with products like AXE body spray.

It is probably called micro-marketing, where each division, or shell corporation has it's own target market that they are supposed to gear all of their advertising toward. This is the basics of Marketing 101 people. Even the photoshopping shock value has worn thin for me, I've been seeing it done for... as long as the program has been around I guess. How many years would that be? At least ten years, maybe twenty. And we are just getting worked up over this NOW?

Silly me, I grabbed onto the comment that "Lots of wool is now going to loft insulation" and I think, wow, we are getting back to our insulation roots because back in the day that is what we used. Animal hair & fur was a HUGE market for insulation and stuffing for just about anything that you could stuff, pillows, cushions, couches. Not to mention the weaving options, for yarn, rugs, etc... These days, stuff made from "real animal products" is way more expensive and "chic" than the everyperson's plastic foam and stuffing alternative. Goose down duvets and real wool rugs, horse hair stuffed chairs are to me nostalgic and cost effective in an environmental way. No petroleum used to make plastic, no plastic sitting around (because even the recyclable stuff stays around forever and floats in the ocean in teeny tiny globules at the microscopic level people) forever somewhere, unwilling and unable to rot away. The reason why it is more expensive? It usually isn't factory made off an assembly line, and because of that, it doesn't have as high of a demand... Plus, the organic movement is mostly driven by people who already HAVE money to throw away and so the price is naturally high because their choke prices are a LOT higher than the average consumer.

Makes me want to have a sheep farm even more than before. Just think of the insulation jobs I could do?! Contractors banging down the door to beg me to sell them my coming year's wool. I had a lot of fun at the Sturbridge Village a while back playing with the carding equipment... I still have a tuft of carded wool in a beautiful pull-string bag in a drawer somewhere. It was wonderfully soft.

And coming off of that, I met a woman at the Ren. Fair a couple of weeks ago who was selling woolen capes. Except the capes were of all lengths; mini-capes, just the right size to come down to below the elbow, cape-lets that fell to your thighs, and then knee-length and full-length capes. But the funny thing is, they could get wet, and were naturally water resistant (so you could be in a downpour and not get all that damp because of the natural properties of the wool itself) but it - and I have no idea what is done to the wool in order to get this done - doesn't smell of sheep when it gets wet. Huh, now how is that accomplished?
semiotic_pirate: (gunbarrelgrimacered)
May 30, 2006
Stolen Lives
Technology and Easy Credit Give Identity Thieves an Edge

PHOENIX — In a Scottsdale police station last December, a 23-year-old methamphetamine user showed officers a new way to steal identities.

His arrest had been unremarkable. This metropolitan area, which includes Scottsdale and Phoenix, has the highest rate of identity theft complaints in the nation, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Even members of the Scottsdale police force have had their identities stolen.

But the suspect showed officers something they had not seen before. Browsing a government Web site, he pulled up a local divorce document listing the parties' names, addresses and bank account numbers, along with scans of their signatures. With a common software program and some check stationery, the document provided all he needed to print checks in his victims' names — and it was all made available, with some fanfare, by the county recorder's office. The site had thousands of them.
Read more... )


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