Friday, December 28, 2007

Netscape Finally Throws in the Towel

Netscape Navigator shuffles off its virtual coil. I bet most people are scratching their heads at this story wondering, "Netscape was still around?" Many obits will mention Microsoft's decision to kill Netscape with the antitrust decision to bundle its (at the time) crappy version of a browser with Windows 95. Less be will said, however, about these real self-immolating decisions, like selling itself to AOL, and allowing an open-source group named Mozilla run with the original code and create Firefox, effectively taking away all remaining marketshare.

If you've seen Netscape 9 lately, you'd realize it was nothing more than Firefox with a branded skin around it. Not a very satisfying end to the browser that opened the internet to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Geek Cred, I haz it!

So I was dinking around on Wired Magazine and found this quiz on sounds from Sci-Fi movies. I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't score 100. Post your scores in the comments.


Take the Sci fi sounds quizI received 92 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quiz

Via Geek Dad.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Matrix - I Haz It


Okay...Otta's whining. I must be a bad boy. I swear, I'll come up for air...when I'm on vacation. Three more days, and I'll be in Pasadena. And I can finally put this crazy year to rest.


And then start it all up again. Sure, it's nice to be appreciated at work. But they usually reward you with more work...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Samurai Sword Wielders Update

I've remarked on samurai sword-wielding wannabes making the news before. Meet our latest saber rattler, Ryan William Huber, 24, of Rochester, MN. This time, he was just waving his katana around because some kids were "being too loud." Isn't twenty-four a little too young to be acting like the neighborhood crank yelling at youngsters to keep off his lawn? With the array of charges being laid against him, seems like he mouthed off quite a bit.


At least it wasn't porn that was being too loud, just some kids.


****

Yes, yes, I know it's been almost a month since I've updated my blog. I had a spare hour at work to catch up on the news because it's the day before Thanksgiving and it got a little quiet around the office. I just could not resist posting on this story.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Microbrew Costs Force Prices Upwards

Uh oh...The cost of beer snobbery is about to go up.


I knew that hops, wheat, and barley production were down, but the rising price of fuel (think transportation costs) and glass are now also affecting craft brewers.


Darn...my hobbies keep getting more expensive.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mini-update on the Linux Experiment

Hard drives fail. It's a fact of life. This particular hard drive was 6 and a half years old. Just when a PC gets a new, and secure, lease on life with a free OS...

C'est la vie.

This might be an omen to recycle the really old hardware and buy a new, really cheap, tower, and start over.

Computers...tch...what a great way to waste time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Coming Up For Air: A Response

I just had to respond to Brenda (and update various online readers, friends, and assorted lookey-loos).

Would it were so that a cute she-lass were the reason for my blog output dropping like a rock towards Davey Jones' Locker.

Work is a cruel mistress. Expecting you to, like, work, and stuff. Can barely read the headlines much less think blogthoughts about them. VMWare. Servers and server racks. Online Forum software for customers. I'd complain more, but it would sound more like bragging about how much fun work is. Yeah. Geek.

And friends! Hah, inviting me to baseball games, hockey games, and parties, and weddings, sheesh. It's almost as if they enjoy my company, or something.

Puh, and don't get me started on what happens at home. Open Linux OS...wow, it almost rivals Sudoku in wasting time. Almost anything that a person would normally do on a home computer simply doesn't work "right out of the box." I'm lucky that I could actually surf the internet on a browser with an included flash plugin (Thanks to Mozilla and Adobe for throwing a teeny-tiny bone to all the open source linux communities out there). Want to listen to some music? Here's a nice looking open source media player included in the OS install package. Oh, you want to actually play an mp3 file? Why didn't you say so? Yeah, about that...um, you gotta install the codec for that first. Why didn't the codec come with the player? Yeah...open source linux gets that question...a lot. Google "linux mp3", and you'll see what I'm talking about. It will come up again, and again, and again (why can't I play mpeg, xvid, divx, h264, ad infinitum). Some sort of legal mumbo jumbo related to Open Source licensing and bundling patented/protected properties. Add the complication of sharing files between my Windows XP machine (where the aforementioned mp3 files came from) and the linux box, and you begin to get an inkling of where all my free time went. Good thing I don't buy my music through ickTunes™ and use it as my media librarian, or else I would have had to burn my music to CD and transfer files that way. Yes, the Quince™ is evil.

Yes, yes, I hear you all shouting Geek!!!11!1!1!1 while pointedly jabbing your collective fingers at my virtual me. Don't forget all the anime and manga I still try to fit into my schedule, as well. I fell down the rabbit hole. Still haven't met Agent Smith, though.

Anyway, that's what going on with me, and still going on. I had mentioned, optimistically, that my schedule would lighten up around October-ish. Nup. The implementation projects at work are coming at me fast and furious, all so that the company can get some revenue on the books for 2007. I get that. And boy, do I ever get it. I'll drop in at teh Wheel occasionally. And the bro generally knows what's up with me, if you want to ask him. I'm in a genuinely good mood, if a little frazzled. That's alright. I haven't abandoned you. And thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yarrgh! Did Ye Hoist the Mizzen Mast?

It were International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Feel like ye not be unnerstandin' yer harties? Set yer compass this-a-way fer some Pirate education.

Harr!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I've been mostly dead all day

"Mostly dead is slightly alive."

I better post something to keep the buzzards away. Due to circumstances somewhat under my control, like a hectic work schedule, an active social life (I can't believe it, either!), a stack of books piled high on my nightstand, and gigs and gigs of anime and manga queued up for eyeball time, blogging on the news has unfortunately taken a backseat.

It's not like there isn't anything interesting to post on, it's just that I barely have time to keep up with the events of the day, let alone come up with an ironic take on them. Fear not, work will likely slow up a tad around, oh...October-ish.

For now, though, enjoy the links and to the left (especially my bro) to keep up your interest.

In the meantime, I still fully intend to live the Petrarchan lifestyle.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lake Michigan Declining Water Level Not From Global Warming

That's a big oops.

Remember when that lake in South America vanished and people wanted to blame global warming, but it really just drained away? (The Warmenizers still blamed global warming because the natural ice dam melted) Envirobats have been blaming Lake Michigan's rapidly lowering water level on several causes, mostly thirsty Chicago or poor resource management, and then recently, global warming. Well, it turns out that a dredging way back in the 1960s is the main culprit, and some government types have known about it for decades.

Can we plug a big stopper in that hole already?

Emperor Chavez Dissolves the Senate

And all vestiges of the Old Republic were swept away. Not really, but it certainly looks like Chavez is pulling a "Castro" in Venezuela. Nationalizing big industry sectors, like Telecoms, Media, and Energy. Setting up one-party rule. And now trying to change the national constitution to wipe out term limits for the presidency, so that he could be dictator-for-life. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he's a Baathist. You know, like Saddam Hussein.

Combine this move with his South American regional power aspirations and his use of oil as a carrot, and it's all very troubling, especially for someone who claims to be against establishing an Empire like the "Great Satan" and its devil "Seenyor Boosh." All eyes will be on how the opposition will organize a counter to Chavez's referendum.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pro and Con Global Warming Research Money

It's been a while since I've posted on Anthropogenic Global Warming. The hot air about it ever since the IPCC released its fourth assessment has been how best to ruin the First World's economy with one wealth redistribution scheme or another to level it down to the Third World's economy. Oh, you didn't know that the Marxists took over? I'm sorry, let me use their terminology. I mean, "Carbon Credit Cap and Trade Scheme" versus "Carbon Cap and Tax Scheme."

Anyway, the grand poobah of how to make money (oh wait, money isn't "made", it's either "stolen" from the poor, or "redistributed" back to them) off enviro-masochism, Al Gore, recently alleged that there's a coordinated effort to fund global warming denialists.

“There has been an organized campaign, financed to the tune of about $10 million a year from some of the largest carbon polluters, to create the impression that there is disagreement in the scientific community” about global warming, Gore said at a forum in Singapore.

The $10 million figure seems quite arbitrary, but take the $10,000 "bounty" that Exxon offered, and multiply it by how many "denialist" reports are out there, and you get the idea.

Comparisons to the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy notwithstanding, I wondered how much money is spent each year on the IPCC. Believe me, it took quite a bit of search parametizing to find it, especially given the U.N.'s penchant for lack of transparency on all things budgetized, but I did, in a news article on how the IPCC process works. (Emphasis mine)

The IPCC is a scientific panel created by the UN Environmental Organization (UNEO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Once every five or six years it issues a report summarizing the current status of research on climate change. It operates on a minimal annual budget of only €5 million ($6.8 million). To be able to fulfill its mandate, the IPCC is dependent on assistance from UN members. They finance the conferences and provide the scientists who, as authors, are responsible for the contents of individual chapters.

So, $10 million from the various polluting industries against just about $7 million to fund the IPCC, alone. How much funding per year goes to all research groups putting out the "consensus" papers? It's even money that someone will work out that figure, and I'm sure it will be just as arbitrary as the Goracle's figure.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nerdiness in the News

I guess some study by a linguist (H/T Insty) has been all over the blogosphere that tried to define nerds as "hyperwhite" because of, at least according to this one study, our eschewing of "trendy" brown slang like hip-hop, for grammatically correct English. Let's just leave aside the entire rest of the non-English-speaking nerds of the world for the moment, or even the non-native born nerds in America who speak English with an accent.

Instead, just try to explain to me, then, these LOTR Elvish fans

Or the eponymous "Trekkers"?

I'm not buying it.

Winnie Cooper making math sexy? That, I'd buy. Oh, and she seems to back up these sentiments nicely.

Somehow, I get the feeling that this researcher watched just an anthology of "Weird" Al videos to reach her "hyperwhite" conclusion:


M. C. Escher, that's my favorite MC...

See? Even "hyperwhite" nerds wanna roll wit da homies.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Klingons Have a Bad Day

Gloating is unseemly, but way too much fun.

This sort of stuff never happened when I was in charge of the Southern Sector Klingon warrior data.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

LOLCATS Meme Joins the Rebel Alliance

So you think the cat macro meme is just this year's Numa kid?

It's official, lolcats is now part of the American Psyche.

Don't believe me? Check out the LOL WARS group on the Star Wars MashUps site, especially this post.


"Im in ur trenches blowing up ur death star."

lulz.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ward Churchill Finally Treated Like a Real Professor

...and the University of Colorado Board of Regents rewarded him commensurately for his efforts to the academy. Of course, for him, "getting what he richly deserved" means firing him in an 8-1 vote. If we recall Churchill's reaction to the UofC President's unequivocal recommendation earlier this year, perhaps reporters will be able to find him under that bridge with the rest of his illustrious "colleagues."

H/T Insty. Jawa, too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

E-Vote Leads to Revote in Berkeley

More bad news for Diebold. This might be the first time a judge has ordered a revote because of incompetent use of e-voting machines by under-trained election officials. Every fear about e-voting machines seems to have happened in Berkeley: lack of electronic forensics, lack of ability to ensure security of a vote for a recount, lack of paper backup for manual recount.

It's pretty rare for a revote to happen in the U.S. That it happened in an election where e-voting machines were used doesn't inspire a lot confidence in this technology.

More on e-voting here and here.

Germans And Anger Issues With PCs

Heh.

What is it with Germans taking out their anger on PCs? Was he playing Unreal Tournament late at night? Or maybe the computer was just trying to find the key to "Escape":


Where's it at? Where is the Escape Button!?

I think that key was scattered all over the street with the rest of the keyboard and assorted silicon innards. Seriously, any excuse to post "Angry German Kid" is a good excuse.

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Bleach Comedy Mashup

I haven't posted a Bleach/Dane Cook mashup in a while. Here's his voyeuristic take on bad couples and their "nothing" fights (A little NSFW content):


Hey, dude. Dude, dude...I know what you're saying about the jelly, bro.

EU May Allow GMO Potato Crop

...but not for a lack of trying to stop it. This BASF-engineered potato may slip in through the back door via parliamentary procedure, but only because the arcane vote-weighting system used by EU's farming ministers failed to provide a majority for those countries attempting to kill the crop from moving forward. This GMO potato would be the first crop to be allowed entry into the EU since the de facto moratorium of genetically modified foods in 2000. Although that moratorium expired in 2004, each GMO crop brought up to a vote before the EU Farm Commission has been nixed by the weighted majority. Until now.

Per the rules of the EU, this essentially means that the crop will be approved as soon as it is placed on the agenda of the EU's environment commission. As the Reuters' story points out, there will likely be much reluctance to bring it up, so default approval may take a while. Still, even though BASF has stressed from the beginning that this potato crop was never meant for consumption, either by livestock or humans, this is a significant crack in the EU's membership's stonewalling of allowing GMO crops to be introduced into the European market. It remains to be seen, however, if attitudes change about GMO crops that are supposed to be eaten.

More on European GM-phobia here and here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ginormous Graduates To Real Word

Heh. It's official, "ginormous" now has its own entry in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. I've been an abuser of this word for a number of years, so I'm glad to see its status rise.

Also joining "ginormous" are "sudoku" and "Bollywood." It's about time.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Parisians Undergo Etiquette Program

Much has been made in Western Media of the efforts Beijing is making to gentrify itself in preparation for the influx of tourists for the Olympic Games in 2008, usually with a snicker in tone that implies Chinese backwardness when it comes to manners. It should be noted, though, that Paris, and Parisians in particular, still reign supreme as the rudest to tourists.

So it comes as no surprise that Paris officials have rolled out a new program to teach some manners to their "grumpy" citizens.

Heh. Seems like their re-education program shares some similarity with Beijing's. Note the emphasis on smiles, and the focus in particular on cab drivers' etiquette. We'll have to see how that infamous Gallic shrug takes to it, though.

Wookiee Assaults Up to Two for Year in Hollywood

Wookiees sure are going crazy in Hollywood this year. This time, a wookiee is being sought for alleged sexual assault of a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like. Police are investigating. The wookiee-doe eluded arrest, but he shouldn't be too hard to find. Ms Monroe, it's doubtful, will ever utter the line "I'd just as soon kiss a wookiee" again.

If you'll recall, earlier this year, another wookiee was arrested for assaulting Japanese tourists, that time in front of the Mann's Chinese Theater not too far away. No word on if it's the same wookiee with "anger issues." That's a genetic trait of the species, isn't it?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sega Adds Bleach to Nintendo

Sega is releasing two games based on the popular anime series "Bleach" to the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS.

After seeing the manga become an anime series, which then was adapted as a musical, and then into a feature length movie, it was inevitable that this juggernaut would make its way to video games. Bleach fans, at least on the forums I occasionally frequent (heh, like all the time), are enthusiastic to the point of hyperventilation for the Wii version. I can't wait till the YouTube videos start showing up of people slashing wildly to get their Bankai out.

Zangetsu!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

PetMo 5000!

I don't get a lot of traffic around these parts, so big round numbers still mean something. I reached 5000 unique visitors today:

Not surprisingly, it was the bro who put me over the top. Thanks again for visiting this little corner of the web.

The Answer Really is 42

...But the question is How much mass does the Milky Way Galaxy actually have? It turns out, at least according to the latest calculations, that the Milky Way has a mass of 3X10 to the 42nd power kilograms. That's a 3 followed by 42 zeroes.

The Earth Mark II (or v 2.0 in the internet age) is still working on the question to "Life, the Universe, and Everything", last I heard.

h/t Ace

Monday, July 02, 2007

Meh. Slow News Day...

...So here's a lolcat I made. Did I mention I love the website ThinkGeek.com? Every lolcat knows you need a towel, and that the answer is 42:

Can we stop talking about the ickPhone, already?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

O HAI GUIZE NISE TSHIRT

The folks at ThinkGeek have struck while the marketing iron is hot with the LOLCATS meme:

I LOLLED.

Wash and wear your favorite lolcat meme today!

Update: Your lolcat t-shirt collection would be incomplete without DO NOT WANT! in it:

O HAI. I can has t-shirt?!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

France: Paranoid and Hilarious

...for banning Blackberry usage by its government employees.

Why? Supposedly they're worried about intercepted email, because RIM's servers, where the emails pass through, physically reside in foreign countries. With such a restriction, you'd think these countries might be hostile to France. Only if you think with a Gaullic perspective:

E-mails sent from "Le BlackBerry" pass through servers in the United States and Britain, and France fears that makes the system vulnerable to snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency, Le Monde reported.

France, our staunchest ally, right?

"It's not a question of trust," French lawmaker Pierre Lasbordes told The Associated Press. "We are friends with the Americans, the Anglo-Saxons, but it's economic war."

Sure. Where's the lack of trust?

France. Showing once again that its national pride is connected to a competition with Britain and America. A contest in which France is the lone competitor.

Update: PC World's take on this story provided more technical information on why other countries have approved usage of Blackberries in secure data transmission.

France's government, of course, has made bone-headed IT decisions before.

Spammers Get Sneakier with Image Links

The arms race continues between spammers and spam filters.

That's a pretty underhanded tactic, using image hosting sites like Photobucket or ImageShack to store the image files, then pumping out spam emails with inserted html links to these images. Unless your email settings block these websites netnanny-style, you'll see the image, and the spam offering. People like seeing shared photos embedded in email, so the option of changing your message format to text-only (with the embed links as attachments) isn't a preferable one.

Spam filtering software can analyze the photo in the link to determine if it's a legitimate image file, but not very well. And, as the article points out, spammers can vary the meta-info of the image file to thwart those efforts currently. The spam wars continue.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Backlash Gains Momentum...

...Against the "Jesus Phone." That's a lot of hype for the iPhone to live up to for what is essentially a $600 cell phone.

Any takers on how soon the backlash against the backlash will start?

I've got the line at 12 seconds.

Update: That didn't take long. h/t ZDNet.

More updates: And yes, I can see how using all of iPhone's features will be very, very expensive, considering how telecoms charge cell phone customers for bandwidth.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Back...Sorta

I'm back in Chicago from my trip out to my bro's monastery, but still on vacation from work (yay!), so just taking it easy. The flight out was less eventful than the flight in. The less eventful a flight, the better! I'm already missing these guys:


"Oh. Right. From this angle, too."

For the other angle, go see my bro's post. No internet connection while we were out there (I know, right!?), so just catching up here. Thanks for the kind comments.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Blogging Hiatus

No really! Not like you could tell with the frequency of my blog output, lately.

For details, go here.

Real World Study on 5 Second Rule

...shows it could be extended to 30 seconds for wet food and up to a minute for dry food.

Now that's a study people can use! Not like I was ever really concerned about eating food I just dropped on the floor...although I should point out that the cafeteria in the study gets cleaned once a day.

My floor? Two points to be aware of:

I'm a bachelor.

Who lives alone.

Right. I'm lucky the dust bunnies haven't hatched a plan for a preemptive strike against me while I naively slumber on the off chance I might one day take them out.

Still, it's good to know that a reasonably clean floor is not going to kill you if you eat food you just dropped on it.

Germany's First Spouse Shuns Spotlight

Funny article on the "sour" husband of Chancellor Merkel of Germany.

If Hillary! gets elected, I can't imagine a more polar opposite story being written about Bill as the First Gentleman.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Area of Brain Responsible for Deja Vu Found

A couple of previous studies have been tantalizingly close to identifying just what the phenomena of deja vu and other memory mix-ups like false memory, UFO abduction, and past lives, really are.

A new study in mice seems to have found the exact area in the brain responsible for the feeling of familiarity that arises in similar situations. According to the study, when the dentate gyrus is damaged or impaired, the brain has difficulty distinguishing between two similar but different situations. It will be interesting to see if the same relationship occurs in humans, and would certainly go a long way towards understanding the susceptibility some people have to memory errors.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Difference Between Career and Hobby?

Right now, not so much, and I couldn't be happier.

I've completed the installation and configuration of free wiki software at work, at least sufficiently enough to gauge feedback on it. If you're interested, go here to download it and try it out for yourself. ASPs running macros. Super easy. The built in page editor is super-klugy, at least when using the built-in macro tags, but once I configured the wiki to accept raw html, it became as easy as, well, a blog post editor in html mode. Upload image files? No problem. Attachments on the page? All too easy. Seriously, I'm being paid right now to do something that I already do in my spare time. As a hobby. Something I'm doing right now, in fact.

Yeah, work is totally teh 5uXX0r when you're having too much fun.

The boss came to me today and asked if I knew anything about installing and implementing web-based forum software for our userbase. I smiled a little smile. Sure, it's not like I'm an administrator for a forum right now or anything. Oh wait, yes I am. Nobody in my company knows PHP right now, so I again went for something using ASPs running macros. Easy enough. So that's what's on tap for the rest of the week. As with everything else in my company, you propose it, you own it. Oh Noes, administering a wiki and a forum, how will I ever...yeah, yeah. Too easy. Best part is, all of it is open source and free, which is important to a small company like where I work.

Anyway, when work is this much fun, it means less time to read the news at work. Oh well. I'm totally getting my geek on. Less status bar and more analysis, please.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ICANN Haz Lawsuit?

...against RegisterFly.

I couldn't resist the lolcat-style headline. GoDaddy.com will benefit from its competitor's complete meltdown by taking up its domain name registry, which will allow customers to renew their domain name registration. RegisterFly's customers have been in complete limbo web-wise, watching their domain name registrations lapse and not being able to do a thing about it while the company sorted out its myriad troubles, after ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) decertified it.

Airbus Execs Accused of Insider Trading

More bad news for Airbus and its parent company EADS, who have been charged with knowing that the A380 project was facing massive delays and cost overruns for 3 months prior to the announcement. According to the story:

EADS’ Web site shows that Forgeard and other executives exercised stock options within two weeks following the March 6 meeting. In fact, La Tribune said, some 85 percent of the company’s 800 top officials exercised options soon after the meeting, despite a March 8 announcement of record profits in 2005.

When EADS finally made public the A380's problems, the company's stock plummeted some 25%. If these charges hold, the damage to EADS and Airbus will be of Enronic proportions.

UC President Says Fire Churchill

The president of the University of Colorado, in a ten page letter, has recommended the firing of Ward Churchill for plagiarism and fabrication in his scholarship.

Churchill's reaction to the news is rather telling:

"I've got more faith in almost anything (than in the university process)," he said. "A random group of homeless people under a bridge would be far more intellectually sound and principled than anything I've encountered at the university so far."

Funny, it sounds to me like President Hank Brown is suggesting precisely that Churchill join this august group there.

MSM Bias on Bush and Kyoto

President Bush did not reject the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. The U.S. Senate, in a 95-0 vote, warned Clinton and Algore that it would not ratify the treaty if they dared to sign the U.S. onto it in 1997.

This is a historical fact that is easily verifiable by the simplest of internet searches, yet some AP and Reuters reporters (and their editors) don't seem to employ the barest of fact-finding skills when vetting a story. My bro has been following this phenomenon, as have bigger bloggers like Instapundit, among others. Still, I believe Joe is the first to suggest we actually contact Reuters and AP in a concerted effort to point out that the MSM, whose alleged journalistic standards are supposed to be better than bloggers because they have larger resources for fact-checking, are, at best, not using these resources, and, at worst, turning a blind eye to the biases of their reporters to swipe at President Bush whenever a story even tangentially mentions Global Warming.

Follow my bro's links to make your voice heard at Reuters and AP.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Political Views Have Genetic Component: Twin Study

A new study is out on how genetics might play a role in determining political views, based on the politics of fraternal twins vs identical twins:

Research by John Hibbing, a University of Nebraska political scientist, showed that identical twins share more political beliefs than fraternal twins. They also, of course, share more genes.

"Forty, perhaps 50 percent of our political beliefs seem to have a basis in genetics," said Hibbing, whose studies were included in Jost's analysis.

While genetics are unlikely to "hardwire" people into being liberal or conservative, Hibbing said that genes could make people more or less likely to have certain values or react to situations in a particular way.

I can personally say that I identify with these findings. My bro and I agree on just about every political point, I think. And he went to Cal for college and I went...all over, really. A good "heh" moment reading this article today.

Monday, May 21, 2007

New Comet Theory for the Ice Age

Did a comet exploding in the atmosphere above Canada kill off the Wooly Mammoth? Sounds plausible, especially with the finding of an iridium layer in the rock strata for that timeframe, around 13,000 years ago. The smoking gun for the comet extinction theory of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was also an iridium layer. This should spur new digging expeditions to look for more evidence for a comet blast. Cool stuff.

Eco-Tourism in a Bottle

Deep sea water, desalinated, and sold as a gourmet ingredient sounds just silly, doesn't it? Didn't they used to make these kind of healthy claims about spring water in a bottle? This entrepreneur's technology for desalinating the pumped sea water right on the ship, claimed to be cheaper than currently available methods now in use for relief efforts (like during the Indian Ocean Tsunami), sounds more promising than the end product of exotic Hawaiian deep ocean water.

Gimmicky to say the least, but definitely on the bleeding edge of eco-touristy type products that will be coming to market soon. Prove your trendy eco-cred, and how alarmed you are for the condition of the environment, by the expensive vodka you swill. Almost like carbon indulgences.
_______________________________________

Note to my beleaguered readers: Yes, it's been more than a week since my last post. Work has been...interesting, to say the least. There are a couple of internal projects that have been hand delivered to me by my boss (you know how to install and implement an internal corporate web-based wiki database, right James?) that sound cool, if people would leave me alone for just two seconds. "But how does this affect me," I hear you whine. It means, of course, that I don't have as much time to scan my RSS news feeders during work hours, so you're stuck with me posting when I have time in the evenings. Whatever I can't get to, I send over to the bro, who is usually happy to oblige. Thanks again for keeping my little blog warm.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Differences between Japanese and American Emoticons: Study

There was a fascinating news article last Thursday on how culture affects the reading of emoticons between the Japanese and the Americans. Because Americans focus more on the mouth when attempting to read facial expressions, our emoticons have also evolved this way, :) for example, the parenthesis representing a smiling mouth. The Japanese, on the other hand, rarely use exaggerated expressions when emoting, so culturally, they focus on a subject's eyes when reading expressions. Consequently, their emoticons have evolved to emphasize the eyes, ^_^ where the carrots are smiling eyes. If you've ever been on an anime forum, you would see a whole range of these asian style emoticons.

Then, of course, there's the whole subgenre of lolcaticons. I wonder what the study would have to say about them:

Update: See here and here for more examples and explanations of Japanese emoticons.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

No Blogging Lately

More excuses, of course. I've been ill the past couple of days, and then catching up on work today. So, no blogging. I figure I need to ease back into it. I promise to be interesting really soon...heh.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ceiling Height Affects Thinking: Study

Meh. The researchers point to vaulted ceilings in churches as historical evidence that humans have known about this effect on thinking. I immediately thought of a different kind of structure: warehouses converted into lofts and listed as "live/work spaces."

Sounds like a justification for "creative types" to keep inhabiting allegedly cool lofts, while shackling analysts into cavelike cubicles.

Not that I'm claiming to belong to one camp or the other, mind you.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Canadian Cat Scares Off Mail Carrier

So this story about a housecat in Canada unnerving the mail carrier made the rounds on Friday. The stories don't specify what cat behavior would have so spooked her, but I have an idea.


"I has a mail k thx brb"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Preparing to Copy Windows Fun

I know I give Apple a hard time on this blog (click on the "Mac Wars" Category), but hey, it's all in good fun. By the way, have you downloaded the security patch for QuickTime yet? You know, for that hack attack at that conference on security? 10 days, that's, like, what, the fastest that Apple has ever fixed anything, right?

Anyway, oh yeah, Mac OS has fans for user-friendliness. Windows isn't known for garnering any fans when head-scratching quirks of the file-copy command have been around since, oh Windows 2.0. Go read the whole thing for Dvorak's archness, but I'll quote the fun:

1. The Time-Fluctuation Phenomenon
You try moving a folder from here to there, and you get the Preparing to Copy message—followed by an estimated completion time of 5 hours! Okay, it's a big folder, so you decide to go downstairs to watch some TV. The copying begins. It looks good. In fact, it's going pretty fast. Then the time drops to 2 hours! Then it jumps to 3 hours! Then back to 2 hours and 10 minutes! What's so difficult about estimating the time? Can't they do some normalizing?
2. The Delayed-Query Syndrome
So you've got the 5-hour copy going, and you leave to watch TV. Then you come back 4 hours later, and nothing's been copied! There's a query box asking if you really want to move some read-only file. So you click Yes, and there's still 5 hours left to go.
3. The Long-Filename Anomaly
There you are, copying a folder, and near the end of the process, the whole thing aborts because you've got a filename that's too long to copy. What? How did the file get there in the first place if it's got a name that's too long to copy? I've never understood this one. And why doesn't the copying function just finish the job and leave the one file behind?
4. The Drive-Full Abort
This is a major baffler. The Preparing to Copy message appears, and the machine seems to be doing something. Then it aborts out of the blue because your drive is full. Hey, Microsoft jerks! I have an idea! How about checking to see if there's space on the drive BEFORE you start copying? What exactly is the Preparing to Copy function supposed to do anyway? Cripes.
5. The Multiple-Folder-Slowdown Paradox
You try to copy one folder and get an estimated completion time of an hour. Then you slide a second folder over, and Windows says that one will take 30 minutes. But now the first one stalls, and its estimated completion time leaps to an hour and a half. With each additional folder, each completion time skyrockets. But if you copy all the folders at once, the total time is significantly reduced. So that miserable Windows multitasker isn't copying the folders one at a time. Like an idiot, it's copying a little bit from this one and then a little bit from that one and then a little bit from—how hard can this be to fix?
6. The Yes-to-All Baffler
You get a query during a file transfer asking if you want to overwrite an existing file with the same name, and you know there's a bunch of them to overwrite, so you check the Yes to All box. This should mean that you're answering yes to all such queries, and you can go downstairs to watch some more TV. But no! The box reappears shortly with the same question! How many times do you have to say Yes to All for it to mean Yes to All??
7. The Cannot-Erase-File Gotcha
Then the whole process is halted by a file that's somehow been locked. It might even be a virus, and you can't erase it no matter how hard you try. Let me get this straight. Some program can install a file on my machine and then lock it down, but I, the owner of the machine, can't remove the file? Does this make any sense to anyone?

Throughout the course of my workday, I must see almost every one of these gotchas. Meh, you get used to it. We've got testing going on with Vista in the office now. I wonder if the file-copy behavior is still the same.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blogging Pitfall

Geh...you actually have enough free time at work to look at your RSS news feeds to figure out what you want to blog about when/if you get home after work, and what happens? Your bro steals your thunder and blogs about the fuel cells from brewery waste water story that you thought was oh so cool.

Freakin' cloned brain waves...whatever. I scoop him sometimes. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rice Cultivation Now a Target: IPCC

I had just stated as recently as yesterday that environmental policy politicos were going to start targeting sources of methane very aggressively. While Euro ecocrats decided on livestock emissions, it looks like their counterparts in Asia are eyeing methane emissions from rice cultivation.

For the same reasons that peat bogs and wetlands are large contributors of methane in the atmosphere, rice paddies that stay flooded all year round exhibit a similar cycle of bacterial decay with similar results.

Representatives of the IPCC are in the final stages of drafting the section of the report that details plans for mitigating the effects of global warming. I find it quite interesting how they are now talking about methane, when all the Global Cimate Models (or at least how the MSM has reported on them) were highlighting increasing concentrations of anthropogenic sources of CO2 as the tipping point in the theory of global warming. What do the GCMs do when sources of methane abate by whole percentage points over a relatively short period of time, like the recommended targets of twenty years? Could this be why alleged global warmening denier David Evans is actually betting on global cooling?

Livestock? Rice paddies? This all sounds suspiciously like Roger Pielke's arguments for better land use policy, rather than the narrow focus of CO2 emissions. If the IPCC is finally taking a more expansive view on climate change, shouldn't we go back to the climate modelers and see what happens when they adjust for sources of methane?

H/T Tim Blair.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Marijuana Bad for the Brain

And I thought potheads were just simply difficult to understand. And if you're already crazy, doin' the dooby actually makes you crazier:

"I was surprised by the results," said Dr. Deepak Cyril D'Souza, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University's School of Medicine. "In practice, we found that cannabis is very bad for people with schizophrenia," he said.

Soooo many jokes out there in the blogosphere on this story, already, so I feel like I don't need to pile on, at this point.

I will say this. I've known several potheads who have claimed that they "study/drive/insert any activity that requires concentration" better while high, and I always thought they were full of it. This study not only lends credence to my assumption, but also shows that to think otherwise is dangerous.

While D'Souza had intended to study marijuana's impact on schizophrenics in more patients, the study was stopped prematurely because the impact was so pronounced that it would have been unethical to test it on more people with schizophrenia.

Whoa. I expect to see more studies like this to come out of Europe, where long-range studies on marijuana in even greater population size are due fairly soon.

Livestock Burping a Bigger Threat than Man-Made CO2

Methane has always been a more powerful greenhouse gas, according to the GHG Theory of global warming, but once you publicize it, that fact becomes a little inconvenient to the whole Anthropogenic meme when you actually crunch the numbers. Kinda like what I did here.

Now the EU Ministers of Environmental Policy, realizing that their efforts through Kyoto and their laughably ineffective cap and trade carbon scheme fall far short, see that they need to go after the bigger numbers, namely methane from livestock. I sort of remember before Al Gore came along that the GHG Theory was more concerned about methane than CO2, since it made up a larger percentage of the gases that contribute to global warming, according to the theory. Will we soon see a methane version of Kyoto? Will Brazil and Argentina game the system by overestimating how much methane their livestock emit? Will the Supreme Court of the United States find that the EPA can regulate grade-school boys belching the alphabet?

I'm betting, Yes, Yes, and Yes.

H/T Motl.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Duh vs Huh

Wha...?

Yep, I don't make mad money being a smarty pants, either.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

MP3 Player: Not an iPod

As if I needed another excuse not to spend time on my blog. This new toy is currently in my hands.

Flash drive memory is going down in price so fast that I couldn't dissuade myself any longer from owning one.

Why SanDisk, and not an Apple ickPod? Anyone who's read my blog may have detected a slight bias against Apple. Just because something is cute and well-built does not mean it's the best product on the market. Also, take a look at all those features.

Compared to the iPod Nano (the Apple product with similar flash drive capacity), there's no comparison. While both support similar audio and image file formats, the Nano has no video support, whatsoever. But look at the media formats the Sansa supports: AVI, MPEG-1 & MPEG-2 in MPEG, MPG, MPE or VOB (unprotected) formats. MPEG-4 in AVI format, DAT, ASF, QuickTime MOV, and WMV. And the TFT screen is larger and has more pixels. Throw in an FM radio tuner, and a voice and radio recorder, just cuz.

BWAHAHAHAHA.

Ahem. I can now watch my anime downloads on the train. All that capability...and the Sansa 8GB retails for $50 less than the Nano 8GB.

What are people getting for 50 dollars more with the ickPod? As far as I can tell...white-colored ear phones to advertise you belong to the majority, I mean the revolution.

Excuse me now. I got a lot of files to download.

Update: Here's a comparative size pic of the Sansa:

Monday, April 23, 2007

News Brieflets from Last Week

Feh. So I barely have time to post coherent thoughts these days due to time constraints and overall meh-ness after coming home from work. How about an imperfect solution?

Instead of coherent thoughts, I'll just post some incoherent inanities on stories that caught my eye (quiet, Joe...there really is a difference...if you squint your eyes enough). If news brieflets work for Tim Blair, they can certainly work for me.

Ethanol might not be the best solution for air pollution, according to this study. Sure, you can reduce CO2 emissions with it, and you're less dependent on foreign oil, but the 25% reduction in MPG and higher ozone emissions seem to be a bigger tradeoff.

Wisconsin lawmakers are experimenting with allowing beer samples in liquor stores and grocery markets. I'm all for it, but then again, I don't drive to my grocery store. I prefer to be "stumbling distance" from my alcohol dispensing haunts.

Europe's biggest three beer brewers were fined a whopping $370 million for price fixing and collusion. Now we know why all these European imports cost about the same, especially when they didn't need to. I know the EU wants a more integrated economy, but this doesn't seem like the right way to do it.

You can now get your caffeine fix before you're even out of the shower. I love that website thinkgeek.com (you can hit the link from the side panel). Go here, if you're more than curious.

And that's the wrap up from last week (through, um, Wednesday. I have no idea what's happened since then, really!). Oh wait, I heard a Mac got hacked within 45 minutes of going on the internet at a convention on security. Two days later, Apple releases a mega patch with an astonishing 25 security updates. What fun! Maybe I'll post on that story from last week sometime this week, too.

Till next time.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Light Blogging, Again!

Feh.

This whole "gainful employment" deal can definitely have a negative impact on blog output. Work has been pretty taxing on my energies lately, and more periods like it are likely in the near future.

Heartfelt apologies to all 2 or 3 of my faithful readers. I'll post when I can.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nations React to Sex Survey

Ok, so I came a across this article from AFP on Yahoo!'s news feeder. I read it there, and found it mildly amusing that it backs up my earlier post on the lack of sex in Japan leading to a lower birth rate. Fair enough, it supports the meme that Asians aren't as concerned about getting their world rocked when they have sex, and don't do it as often or as long as residents in other countries. We get it.

However, something crazy popped up in my search for a more long-lived link to this article (hopefully this google news search survives, and some these hyperlinks stick around). Look at the headlines from across the world as each country reacts to how they performed in the survey. Hilarious! Some of the funnier headlines:

Sexy South Africans get it all
Aussie sex is short and not so sweet
Indians finish fastest in bed
Sex survey shows Kiwis have lost that loving feeling
Forget the French, Nigerians lead in the loving stakes
Americans Seeking Greater Sexual Satisfaction
Canadians Seeking Sexual Satisfaction
Stressed Brits Have Sex Less Than Twice Week

So what does this survey really reveal about how the world views sex? Judging from these headlines, it's still a subject worth tittering about.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Hare-y Situation in Hungary


Ferenc Fuezesi / AP

I've heard of multiplying factors in road traffic, but I didn't think rabbits were involved.

Kind of sad about the bunny carnage in the wake of the overturning truck:

Both drivers were unharmed in the accident, but [Highway Patrol spokeswoman Viktoria Galik] said some 500 rabbits were killed. By midday, 4,400 bunnies had been collected and taken away from the scene.

There was a silver lining, however:

About 100 of them got a lucky break, hopping away from capture and the slaughterhouse into fields surrounding the highway.
"Those 100 are free to go. We will not collect them," Galik said.

Hmm...I hope that decision doesn't turn into an ecological disaster for Hungary as it did for Australia when it imported little bunnies. Meh, probably not a danger of that happening.

Twelfth-Level Mac-olyte Owns 100 Macs


AP
March 16: Mehrle with all 12 iMac G3 models that followed the initial 'Bondi Blue' model in his basement Mac shrine in O'Fallon, Mo.

Shudder...

This man is allowed to roam the streets unabated.

Even more bizarre, Apple has actually hired him to interact with the public, even to influence their buying decisions.

Stranger yet, he cohabitates with a woman in what is apparently a mutually romantic state. She seems rather philosophical about the growing army of Macs in the basement.

Shouldn't there be some kind of national register for disturbed people like this? At the very least just to track their movements. Well, we've identified him, so that's one down.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Must Be Cubs Season

Of course Bucky would substitute a Cubs hat for his Hat o' Shame.

Poor Cubs fans. The jokes are just starting. Only the dim hope of the Cubs being sold at the end of the season has die-hard fans dreaming of next season. Six more months until either the season's over, they get to the World Series, or the world ends in a blaze of armageddon-inducing Global Warmening/Iran Nuclear War/India-Pakistan Nuclear War. By about June, I'm guessing Cubs fans will be hoping for the third option.


©Darby Conley

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Chicago Beats LA for 2016 US Bid

Da Mayor wins big again.

Chicago is the official US representative for bidding on the 2016 Olympic games. Daley's bid was widely known for its reliance on private funding. There isn't a mayor in America who can raise funds from corporate sponsors like Daley can.

Now the focus shifts to the international competition in bringing the Games to Chicago.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fast as a Leopard? Apple Delays New OS

Apple announced that it was delaying the Leopard Launch from June to the fall, and shares of Apple almost immediately fell 2%.

Sure, blame iPhone for taking away resources. How convenient. The beta releases have apparently been far below the normal standard for Apple:

The known issues range from "Unable to restore from recent backups when installing" to "emacs crashes on launch."

That doesn't sound good.

It sure seems like Apple is hoping to shoot the moon with iPhone like it did with iPod. Remember when Apple was known for its computers?

Atlanta Airport Cops Stumble Upon Gay Encounters

Are airport restrooms the new roadside rest areas? Apparently so.

I just remember the hilarious scene from "There's Something About Mary" where Ben Stiller's character gets snapped up in a dragnet, suprised guys running everywhere. Dane Cook provides a different perspective on why public restrooms may not be the best locale for risky behavior: (NSFW for language)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Totally Wiped, But...

...that customer is Live on their new server. Maybe now I can get back to normal blogging behavior.

Heard any interesting news, lately?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Can't Blog...Working...

Geh.

I was onsite at one of our Chicago-area customers today. Worked late, too.

Very disappointed in the level of IT competence at this customer. It's rather counterintuitive that their IT competency is so low. I don't really want to name them but I'll give you a hint. It starts with "University of" and ends with "cago Hospitals." You'll never be able to figure it out, right? I was there because their NT 4.0 (I know! Right?!!!) server where our software is installed on finally got slammed by a virus that would have required updated virus definitions and anti-virus software that was actually, you know, updatable after 2005. Database server administration seems to be a foreign concept over there.

Anyway, being onsite, and not connected to the internet is why I have nothing newsworthy to post on.

We'll see what happens tomorrow with this customer since I'll be supporting them remotely while they fumble their way towards a go-live on their shiny new Windows 2003 server.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bleach Fan's Forte: Piano

After seeing my bro post a YouTube fan vid of the MacGyver theme song, I was intrigued. Must be a lot of fan vids of people playing TV theme songs, right?

After a little searching, I happened upon this gem, a guy playing the ending theme song of "Bleach", season 3:

For the original music video from artist Younha of the song "Houki Boshi", see here.

Update: rasserfrasser mondays...fixed the link to "Houki Boshi", the subbed version.

The Porn Factor in the Next-Gen DVD Format War

There are a lot of good points made in this article regarding the porn industry's influence on entertainment technology.

When porn threw its weight behind VHS in the last format war, Sony lost big-time with its Betamax format. Sony can't afford to make the same mistake twice, can it?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Science Faction?

You aren't a person who knows the diameters of the planets in our solar system? You will be. Heh. You will be.


©Bill Amend

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Memory Errors the Source of Past Lives, UFO Abductions

Haven't I heard this somewhere before?

The researchers found that, compared to control subjects who dismissed the idea of reincarnation, past-life believers were almost twice as likely to misidentify names. In particular, their tendency was to wrongly identify as famous the non-famous names they had seen in the first task. This kind of error, called a source-monitoring error, indicates that a person has difficulty recognizing where a memory came from.

This study makes total sense to me. I think the feeling of deja vu, and recovered memories (remember the McMartin-Bucky trial?) would fit into this phenomenon of source-monitoring errors in memory, as well.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Anime Geekitude: Level 2

Only Level 2 on the Geek-tastic Meter.

"Bleach" Anime. Check.

A "Weird" Al song. Check.

But a song about my favorite beverage makes it totally awesome.


"Those things give me the Schlitz™."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Educational Software Doesn't Make the Grade

So public education is underfunded, right?

Just more proof that throwing more money at a problem without a plan is a poor investment in the future of America.

No Votes, No Problem

Heh. Democracy inaction.

Adult Stem Cell Treatments on Track in U.S.

A couple of adult stem cell-derived treatments to be launched in Europe later this year, hope to enter the U.S. market in 2008.

I first noted the Celution System for breast enhancement here.

Go here for my post on cell regeneration of damaged heart tissue.

Where are all the treatments from embryonic stem cell research? Oh yeah, I forgot, all stem cells derived from embryos turn cancerous. I guess they'll just have to cure cancer, first. I'm supposed to parrot the meme that embryonic stem cell research has "more potential." Must have lost the script somewhere.

Impersonation Ruse Not Quite Thought Out

Heh.

Perhaps he should have sobered up just a tetch more before calling his brother to make bail.

I wonder how that would have played out in my case, what with having an identical triplet brother and all.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Office Mate Leads Dance Partner to Court

Heh. Poor woman, being thrown around like a rag doll, right in front of her office-mates.

I can empathize as a victim of "negligent dancing." You should have seen how I was man-handled on the dance floor by an overly soused (and larger, stronger, *sigh, you get the picture*) female colleague of mine at my annual office party. People were laughing for days, but cursing themselves for not getting the money shot of my terror-stricken face mouthing Help. Meeeee. as several attempts at a Texas Tornado tragi-comically went awry, sending me spinning, and sliding, into the crowd.

Good times. Good times.

And no serious injuries, either, beyond my wounded pride.

Another Non-Car DUI in the News

This time, a horse was the mode of transportation. The woman seemed bent on attempting a high-speed chase, and had the meth on her to fuel such an endeavor. The horse, however, was not so inclined:

[Police Chief Brad Gregg] said the horse, which belonged to York, "wasn't in the best of health, but it's still alive."

Along with yesterday's Zamboni DWI story, there's quite the rash of odd DUI arrests lately.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More Inconvient Truths for Gore, Apple

Should I throw more gas on the fire for Enviro-Propheteer Algore? Yeah, of course I should.

If you're going to set yourself up as a visionary of environmental awareness, and you sit on the board of a tech company that has been targeted in the past for its poor "green" policies, shouldn't you at least be the lone dissenting vote to support shareholders' wishes to act more enviro-friendly? Not if you're Algore.

More on Apple's decidedly "ungreen" environmental practices here. Greenpeace even got thrown out of MacExpo this year.

Update: fixed the second URL link. Sorry for the slapdash copy and pasting.

H/T to the eagle-eyed bro.

Zamboni DWI Charge Thrown Out

Heh.

It did seem excessive to try to suspend the guy's driver's license for essentially drinking while operating heavy machinery on the job. I've always thought "The Zamboni Song" was meant to be sung while sloshed, anyway. Just don't drive like this guy:

Parasite Makes Rats Dig Cat Pee: Study

Remember the story last year on how the cat-loving parasite Toxoplasma gondii may have driven people crazy and influenced human civilization? I sure do.

A group of scientists have begun studying the effects of T. gondii on rats, and their initial results are startling, to say the least. The parasite seems to pinpoint the exact fear of cat urine, while leaving other similar fears alone. That's pretty specific, but it sounds right if the microbe has developed the quickest way to get back into the belly of Mr. Fluffikins.

Further research on cat-specific behaviors is in the planning stages. Naturally, they'd want to see if rats infested with the brain-modifying parasite begin exhibiting symptoms such as hoarding cats like garden gnomes, or squeaking in baby-talk in their presence.

I expect more really funny research stories on T. gondii in the months to come.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wireless Electricity Gets Closer to Reality

Totally cool. The wireless world is getting closer to having a working wireless powersource.

Macs Fly Under the Radar: Security

Even as a new Windows OS vulnerability is making the news, there was this story last Friday that brought some perspective on the debate of whether one OS was more secure than another.

Apple's snappy advertising soundbites notwithstanding, this article points out that Mac's OS X, by one standard, has actually been shown to be much less secure in the last couple of years than Microsoft's Windows XP. Furthermore, Apple's response time to dealing with exposed vulnerabilities has been two to three times slower than Microsoft's. Yet, this isn't the whole story:

Paul Henry, VP of Secure Computing and a recent Mac convert, said it's all a matter of scale. The cyber bad guys target the richest market, and that's not the Mac platform. So even though there have been Mac bugs out there, very few malware writers are targeting them.

"People who write malware tend to write malware to infect the greatest number of people they can," Henry said in an interview. "Are you going to write something that gets the majority of the installed base or something that will hit less than 10% of the user base? I still think the Mac is safer than Windows. It has a reduced threat environment. If over the next year, the Mac gains 50% market share, it would become a much more attractive target, but it's not going to happen. It just won't grow that quickly."

Marius van Oers, a virus research engineer at McAfee, posted a blog last week that showed there are more than 236,000 pieces of malware "in the wild." The vast majority are aimed at the Windows environment. Only about 700 are meant for the various Unix/Linux distributions, van Oers wrote. How many are for the Mac OS X platform? Seven or less, he said, calling the threat "pretty much non-existent at the moment.[emphasis added]"

700 exploits vs 7. Does this mean that Macs are 100 times more secure than Unix/Linux? I don't think there's a Unix admin on the planet willing to bet his favorite suspenders that Macs are more secure than any flavor of Unix or Linux available. It's just that Unix and Linux are the OSes of choice for a lot of servers out there. Just because a vulnerability exists does not mean that an exploit for it has been written. Macs simply aren't important enough to write malware and viruses for. Marketshare is one reason, but another is that Macs aren't used to store the kind of information that's worth stealing for criminals, like SSNs, credit card numbers, and other data of that sort.

Macs are cool? Maybe. But criminals could care less about your teenager's mostly illegal 10,000 song collection on iTunes. When that iPhone comes out, though...

For a humorous salvo in the Mac vs PC wars, see here.

Japanese Anime Now Big Business

I meant to post on this story last week. Hollywood, perennially "out of fresh ideas", if the entertainment story meme is to be believed, is ever on the lookout for new sources of revenue, I mean, art. As the recent spate of movies translated from comic books has shown, and if the box office grosses of 300, TMNT, and Ghost Rider are any indication, there does seem to be a renewed interest in fantastical stories.

It's anybody's guess how an entire network, The Anime Network, will fare, but success or failure will hinge upon the titles they choose to bring over. Just because it's edgier doesn't mean that the young American's lust for blood and gore will win out over good storylines. Personally, I believe Cartoon Network's choices for Adult Swim have been one homerun after another. "Naruto" and "Bleach" are the biggest phenomena in Japan right now. "Elfen Lied" and "Guyver", while interesting shows, do not have anywhere near the fanbase that "Naruto" and "Bleach" do.

Japanese animation could fuel several avenues of the American entertainment business, from TV, to movies, to video games, and all the merchandise associated with these genres. I'll be watching with interest to see how this new network does. But I'll also be watching "Naruto" and "Bleach".

Back to Normal Blogging

I managed to survive the hellweek of work last week, so newsworthiness permitting, I'll be posting with my normal output again.

No more vandalizing my site with comments-o-plenty, m'kay?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Light Blogging Period Ahead

Sorry, folks. Work is going to be a real bear this week, so I doubt I'll have time to post anything interesting.

My apologies in advance to all 2 or 3 of my readers *heh*.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Funny: A Mouse With Bite

Being a techno-geek, I usually write about a different kind of mouse, but this mighty mouse's antics had me chuckling.

Maybe mice have the same sense of humor that rats have:

In this case, though, I think this mouse is into practical jokes.

Update: I had to embed the link to the "rats laughing" video.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Console Wars Update: Wii Captures Senior Demographic

Cute story on Senior Citizens getting excited about the relatively low-cost Wii console. Nintendo's Wii is fast becoming a cultural phenomenon.

And what of Sony's PS3, touted as being on the bleeding edge of a technological revolution? Judging by the ho-hum reaction to PS3's launch in Europe yesterday, not so much. Even Microsoft's antics at the launch in London and Paris was greeted with chuckles from journalists.

In light of the disastrous public relations handling of the decision to launch the version of PS3 that is compatible with only a few PS2 titles, and add to that the game developers abandoning of PS3 in the short run to make games for PS2, Wii, and XBOX 360, Sony's big gamble is looking worse and worse.

A Basket Both a Make and a Miss

Heh. My NCAA bracket was busted on day one, but I didn't observe it happening. Somehow I don't see myself winning my pool, though.


© Tim Rickard

Friday, March 23, 2007

Because Satchelism is the Best Form of Government

Ever had a conversation with a Kool-Aid drinking Marxist-Leninist? Yep, they make just about as much sense as a conversion with Satchel:


© Darby Conley

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Elaborate Heists Update: Japan

Okay, so we all heard about the huge gold block that was stolen from a museum in Japan.

Why are men so fascinated by heist stories? Really, more than sex, we just want to be part of the action:


"It's more than just bananas and dancing with toothbrushes, okay?"

Note to my bro: See, I finally found it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Car Makers Shift Away From Booth Babes


REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Woah, woah, woah! That's just crazy talk!

You mean to tell me that South Korean automakers actually display their cars at the autoshow? Probably most South Koreans didn't even know that they could take pictures of the cars.

Really, it's true! They got the cars right there and everything! You just had to, sort of, look past the shinier, sexier model draped over the hood actually willing to make eye-contact and a say hi to you.

Yeah, that's tough competition, especially with the oh so alluring car designs from Hyundai and Kia.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

USB Monitors Coming Soon

This is kind of cool. Samsung will be selling monitors that you can plug into a USB hub. No more fuss of installing a second video card into your tower, or rigging a klunky monitor switch.

The coolest part for mobile types?

DisplayLink has also licensed its technology to Toshiba, which has built it into a universal laptop docking station, and [Michael Ledzion, DisplayLink's executive VP of world-wide sales] showed a USB-DVI dongle from Taiwanese manufacturer Sunix which he said can add USB connectivity to any screen.

The same technology can be used to send video over wireless USB and Wi-Fi...

I can think of all sorts of geeky goodness with this kind of setup. Not only that, the PC may finally bridge the gap from desktop to living room without all the uber-techie hassle that "media centers" have to go through now.

New Approaches To Dangers of Online Anonymity

Interesting twist on the "Dangers of Online Anonymity" meme out there. In the article, we hear from a company whose job it is to clean up mess after your reputation has been trashed online.

"It takes one person 20 minutes to destroy your reputation, and it costs them nothing," says Michael Fertik, who employs about 40 part-time "agents" on what he calls "search and destroy" missions against unwarranted Internet attacks. "It can take you 200 hours to try to clean it up."

This company is involved with the case of the female law students who might have lost job opportunities because gossip about them on message boards turned up in online searches.

For some of my online friends, this all sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it?

Russians Finally Fear Nuclear Iran

Tch...At least we know what side the Russians are on. Only there's.

The fuel the Russians are holding back is the only way Iran's uranium enrichment program could continue. Why didn't they pipe up sooner? Did they actually think that the world would see them as the superhero swooping in to save the day?

Russkis. Always with their fatalistic brinkmanship.

Disaster Recovery Proves Disastrous in Alaska

D'Oh!

Fdisk, delete partition? Okie Dokie.

How would you like to read this story, knowing it was you that cost Alaskan residents so much grief? Computer technicians must be scarce up there if he didn't lose his job, or at least get docked in pay.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Scientists Hope to Rein in Mind-Wandering

It's about time they got around to...what's that now? Oh yeah! Studying the wandering mind. I paid attention to this story just long enough to post about it on my...man, I gotta do some housekeeping around here.

Huh? Right, right, the study. Apparently, scientists are finding out that the mind's default mode is to wander, which is why we actually have to exert some energy to concentrate on a task.

"A lot of human daily life is autopilot," [Michael Kane, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro] said. "There's a whole lot of what we need to do that we can do without thinking about it, from driving to eating .... We do occasionally miss that turn on the way home, but we get through the day pretty well."

This confirms a lot of anecdotal evidence I've seen of people in my own life who are definitely on autopilot, perhaps more than they should be.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

St. Paddy's Day - Anime Style

As I, and the rest of Chicago, recover from yesterday's festivities celebrating all things green on St. Patrick's Day, here's anime's version:

In case you're wondering, the song is Hamtaro's Opening Song Techno Remix. Apt, huh?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

One-Party System Leads to Corruption in China

No kidding.

What.

a.

surprise.

Manliness Has Healing Powers

Manliness may lead to more injuries, but could it also speed the healing process?

Um, okay, but that's a pretty small study population, and the methodology doesn't seem to separate out the "power of positive thinking" effect, from what I could tell.

Meh, maybe I just need to be more focused on my career...Is that even possible?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Survey Says Low Sex Rate Means Low Birth Rate in Japan

Duh. The poll in Japan has experts worrying that the continuing trend in a lowering birthrate will lead to a labor shortage and a shortfall in tax revenue. Why aren't the Japanese having sex? Among the reasons cited is "a decline in physical communication skills in an increasingly Web-based society", according to the director of the Japan Family Planning Association, which conducted the survey.

Could it be more likely that Japanese men have an unhealthy fascination for kinky sex, which their partners don't seem to share, and are seeking an outlet for their prurient interests on the internet? Could that be the basis for the prevalence of all the weird hentai found freely on the web?

Because, we all know that the internet is for porn:


"Normal people don't sit at home and look at porn on the internet."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Guys, No Comment is the Only Answer to Fat Talk

"Fat Talk" is part of some bizarre female bonding ritual, according to this study.

We get it. "Do these pants make me look fat" is an invitation to bond with you in friendship. It's the female version of "Did you see the game last night?" Just leave us guys out of it. Believe me, when I hear "female bonding ritual", I'm not thinking about cottage cheese.

Here's the deal: If you promise not to comment on our bizarre fascination with sports statistics, we promise not to answer literally your question on situational obesity. Pinky Swear?

Airbus Woes Continue With Planned Union Strike

Strikes in three countries planned to protest the plan to cut 10,000 jobs.

I haven't posted on Airbus/EADS's tribulations lately, mostly because there was just a rash of bad news related to the of the whole A380 debacle. The strike will be largely symbolic, but it should serve as a wakeup call to EADS that management should share in some of the pain for a mess they largely created.

The European politicians, predictably, are once again looking to artificially prop up this supra-nationalized corporation instead of allowing market forces to play out:

Ahead of France's April 22-May 6 two-round presidential election, most candidates have pushed for state intervention to help rescue the company from its troubles, largely caused by a weaker U.S. dollar and a 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) profit shortfall due to the A380 superjumbo's two-year delay.

EADS is sitting on a pile of cash and can easily handle this profit shortfall, but the politicians are worried about how the plummeting stock price will affect their governments shares.

Ugh, what a mess.

My previous posts on Airbus/EADS can be found here.

Grown Children Living in Parents' Basement Since Dawn of Man

Parental Units, is your thirty year-old man-child having "motivational issues" with emptying your nest? Consider it a really long term problem, according to a new anthropological analysis of tooth enamel in hominid fossils.

Meanwhile, a woman in Russia attempted to thwart evolution by hiring a hitman to off her 17-year-old son.

Behavioral theorists might suggest that her actions were the result of the intense environmental pressures of a cramped living space. Prosecutors saw it a little differently.

Unicorn Defense Snowballs to Hell in Billings

Heh. I guess the prosecutor should have read his email a little more closely. A deputy prosecutor misread his boss' summary of what kind of defense the defendant was going to employ, in shorthand, the "somebody-else-did-it" defense, or SEDI:

In this case, a man arraigned Tuesday in District Court on charges of felony criminal endangerment and DUI asserted what prosecutors sometimes call the unicorn defense, which suggests that some mythical person was driving at the time of the incident, [Yellowstone County Attorney Dennis] Paxinos said.

Somewhere along the email chain, the "Unicorn Defense" became conflated with the SEDI in the police report, and that's how a confused deputy prosecutor contended that the defendant claimed that a unicorn was driving his car in the DUI case.

The Tooth Fairy could not be reached for comment.

Bigfoot referred all inquiries to his agent.