* Posts by Greg Nelson

162 posts • joined 29 Nov 2006

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Ubuntu chief bids for prima-donna status

Greg Nelson

Up The Down Staircase

Having played with Linux for 10 years it's interesting to see the recurrence of some problems. From day one documentation has been a bug bearer for seemingly all FLOSS projects. In tandem with the need for strong documentation is the need for modularization. Strong documentation and modularization are themes that resonate throughout the history of FLOSS. It calls to mind Escher prints. Strengths in one area mirror, benefit and are necessary to strengths in another area. The key ingredient is management.

The job of capable management is articulate in a dual sense. First it's necessary to articulate a problem in a manner amenable to viable solutions. The first order of articulation encompasses good documentation. Secondly it's necessary to articulate the resources available in a way that permits economical solutions. The second mainstay of effective management can be pointed out using the hackneyed metaphor of the right hand working effectively with the left hand, versus, the example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. The second order of articulation requires management 'get on top of things'. The second order of management requires insight and innovation. An example of second order management thought process was exemplified ,in a cute sense, during the web cast when someone used the term stupider and then questioned whether it was a word. Mark replied it was a word when referencing those who use the term "stupider". Good management can move up the down staircase and down the up staircase to oversee the articulation of resources. Such good management ability is like good stand up comedy. It requires not only the wit but the equally critical sense of perfect timing.

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MIT builds load-carrying mechanical boots

Greg Nelson

@Gilbert Wham

"Apropos these 'endorphin highs' of which exercise-deviates speak; when are they going to be synthesised and supplied to me in handy pre-packaged syrettes? Sounds like it would really shave off the rough edges of a monday morning."

What you really want is an endorphin high with an adrenalin booster. The kind of thing a 180 lb pussy cat or a plus 500 lb boar bear can lend to an endorphin high. Jack yourself up with some of that shit and you'll be CEO by noon or in lock down. :)

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Greg Nelson

Bad Trade Off On Bad Terrain

I've hiked with nearly 90lbs in an oversized expedition pack in winter conditions through cedar bogs (ancient north pacific rain forest) and continued up mountains, hiking up rock creek beds cutting through the moss and soil forest floor and the snow and ice at higher altitudes. There's no way I'd ever trade off agility for load transfer. Agility has saved my life especially when agility is combined with limberness. There's no way a rig like that would allow the speed of correction required to save a hiker from a steep fall. That stuff looks like it'd be effective and safe over the same level terrain a wheeled suitcase would be. Lastly serious hikers hit endorphin highs where the heavy going becomes a light headed dance and, again, a rig like that isn't going to allow the fluidity of movement.

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American-style casino opens in Iraq

Greg Nelson

The Laughter Never Stops

I don't see how anyone can stop laughing long enough to become a cynic in the face of our geopolitical antics. Afghanistan was dubbed the bear trap when Zbigniew Brzezinski led America, Britain and Saudi Arabia in a gambit to mire the then Soviet Union into a Viet Nam like conflict in Afghanistan. The intended result was the bankrupting of the Soviet Union. It's said to have worked and been, in the main, responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia is now likened to the wild west and lawless entrepreneurs employ every Yankee trader trick in the book to exploit victims. I've deep respect for the Russian people and the French both of whom exhibit regard for intellectualism and both of whom produce intellectuals of the first rank versus Americans who en mass treat intellectuals as suspect subversives. Now Russians are moving into war torn Iraq to capitalize on the bloody mess America and Britain have made of things. Reality TV for the overeducated. It just doesn't get any better.

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Vista attacked by 13-year-old virus

Greg Nelson

Picked nit

Fortuitously I reorganized my anachronistic cds this weekend. From 1994 I've the 10 disk Microsoft Developer Network set. It includes Windows 3.11, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and, notably, Windows NT 3.1. As an aside, about 5 years ago I loaded up the NT 3.1 stuff on a PII and dropped by the Microsoft site looking for "updates". In short order I was met with a pop up exclaiming, "Well! We haven't seen you here before." Good fun, and no, I'm not wrinkly.

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Open source prima donnas to crush IBM, BEA and MS in 2008

Greg Nelson

Thank I Needed That

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zzz... huu? ...m'humph? huh? wh'? wazt 'ver? I wuz? z'over? I feel good, that wuz a nice nap. when's next one?

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Root-locked Linux for the masses

Greg Nelson

Show Me The Money!

I've played with this theme and variation for some time. The technical aspects are as variable as are the marketing aspects. In terms of marketing the biggest obstacle I see is that people make a purchase wanting to maximize utility in terms of common perceptions. For example, using the hackneyed automobile analogy, it would be great if commuters bought small, smart cars, or, better yet that smart cars were part of the transit system and were made available by reservation at main transit stops. There is movement toward small, efficient cars but generally the masses want a car that allows them to do all the big, family things as well as commute to work. The same applies to computers. Generally the people want a computer, as advertised. A desktop with shortcuts is what people know about navigating on a computer. They'd guess it's running Windows, but really if they found out it ran Linux they'd likely not know what that meant. Point, click.

Establishing a market for thin clients requires identifying a niche market or creating one. For example, cafes that want to offer internet access but don't want to maintain the boxes. I considered putting up kiosks downtown. Four thin clients to a kiosk, pump in some change and do your business while the meter runs. If the vendor made the effort to secure the boxes, worked for their customers' best interests (this wouldn't be allowed in America where caring for a customer's best interests is seen as a commie, terrorist action and will get you a one way trip to gitmo) and sold security, it might be possible to tie thin clients into ATMs. There are obvious challenges.

In terms of full blown boxes ISPs are now offering free computers as sign up incentives. It might be worth looking at putting boxes in customers homes and maintaining them as long as they stayed hooked up to the ISP. Again, it necessary to develop the market. For example, professional groups are prone to going with what works and gives them a bit more smoke and cover in terms or Errors and Omissions. Set up a secure network and advertise the boxes to an area's professionals.... I got a million of 'em :), but then as a sign in a barber shop read: "If you're so smart why ain't you rich?"

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Great British fry-up under threat

Greg Nelson

The Great North

In Vancouver the cost of whole milk has jumped 15% or more, but it really depends where you shop. The big name stores routinely ask for close to $3 for a dozen regular eggs. I pay $2.50 for a dozen extra large. Same for chicken and other meats. People seem to shop at the big name outlets. I destination shop in small stores that are a good walk away but get exercise and good prices. Overall, because I know the city, take exercise and fun poking my nose into small, neighbourhood shops that seem to have been in business a long time, I would guess my food bill runs, on average, 30% below what it would if I were to mindlessly follow the droves to the big brand outlets.

Canada will benefit from a longer growing season, is almost embarrassingly resource rich, has near unlimited hydro resources and is decidedly socialist when it comes to the basic welfare of its people. Since the Regan administration common gossip has it more and more Americans are immigrating to Canada. :)

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Canonical and VMware team on mini-Ubuntu

Greg Nelson

thang

"thang" to the best of my knowledge is a southern U.S. thing. I first came across it in a novel by the scifi, mathematician Rudy Rucker. IIRC "thang" featured heavily in his novel "Wet Ware". I suspect thang was/is a legitimate pronunciation in wide use. I like it. I like that thang.

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Max Vision hit with hacking charges (again)

Greg Nelson

Inner Theatre

Whenever stuff like this comes up I wonder how someone of some intelligence can work through the details of committing such a crime but seems unable to implement a few degrees of separation from the criminal act and themselves. It's not that difficult although it requires imagination more than technical skill. The criminals who get caught seem to be playing out a sad little interior movie staring themselves as a 'swashbuckling', archetypal character. More often than not it's more like a comic book character. It's quite sad really, but, I guess for professional criminals, it's a welcomed escapade to keep the police busy.

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AMD's tier one partners sing homage to Barcelona

Greg Nelson

@Nexox Enigma

Thanks for posting. I'm aware of the NUMA configurations and the AMD performance from recent postings on, IIRC, a Beowulf mailing list. Candidly my conflict arises from a need to develop on a platform that is accessible to others, who for lack of a better word, might be described as multimedia 'enthusiasts', who, I see, as much akin to gamers. Even if I were to look at a workstation box I still don't like what I see on the market today. Lastly, having come up from 286 boxes, I'm gun shy of implementing relatively, expensive hardware solutions to bottlenecks such as those exemplified by the history of the PC bus, the more so when there's no apparent, widely held consensus. I guess this is where the 'bleeding' part of being on the 'bleeding edge' comes in. Thanks again.

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Greg Nelson

A Bright New Day, Tomorrow?

For over a year I've been debating how and with whom to go on multicore boxes. To date I've built and played with two Athlon boxes. I've committed myself to delving into Linux From Scratch and Xen, as I see the 64 bit boxes best used and protected by virtualization. But when it comes to multicore stuff two big issues jump out. First, with anything above a dual core, there seems to be resource issues as the quad cores are memory starved by hardware bottlenecks. Second, with mulitcores of quad core and above there are serious software issues. A physorg paper, ( sorry I can't cite it as I just gave it a quick read in passing ), suggested intel and all others can't see past problems in software design when trying to implement current practices on multicore platforms. From the reading I've done, over the at least the next 18 months, the best way seems to be to go with dual core, possibly high end gaming mobos.

As a developer of indie, multimedia stuffs ( a recent reincarnation borrowing heavily from a past reincarnation as a wilderness photographer ) I see virtualization on multicores using a stripped down version of, say, Debian and Xen dedicated to a small set of programmes to be the way to go to get the most from mulitcores. The best buys today would seem to be Asus's mobo for gamers like the Striker (intel) and Crosshair (amd). I'm open to being bitch slapped around and pointed in the right direction. :)

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Free-wireless startup to attack FCC

Greg Nelson

Just Big Dawgs Fighting Over Scraps

The cash cow that is the entertainet has been marked to be butchered. The only sure thing for the consumer will be tiered rates, greater overall cost and reduced service, and, oh yeah, there'll probably be more taxes too.

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Greens walk out of nuclear debate

Greg Nelson

As Things Are

Nuclear power has been given a thumbs up pretty much all around and is seen as one of the key elements to reducing our species' 'hot house gases' footprint. No less than James E Lovelock, author of the Gaia concept, has publicly stated nuclear power is a must. As a lay person my limited understanding of the science suggests nuclear power is much safer and easier to manage than it was last century. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had as much to do with the demonization of nuclear power as any well founded concerns. I'm sure deep in the minds of the well intended environmentalists Godzilla lurks.

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NetApp sues Sun over ZFS claims

Greg Nelson

It's Beginning To Hit The Fan

The U.S. Patent system and the patent systems of those who followed the American method of handing out patents on all and everything is a big steaming pile of shit. It stinks and it's starting to hit the fan. There are a multitude of well publicized patents that have earned infamy but I doubt that those numbers represent more than the very tip of the iceberg. The problem is that the iceberg is in the shipping lane and when it begins to break up it's going to wreak havoc.

Recently there have been signs that the American government and judiciary are aware of the problem but the hands off, lassie fair approach underlying American beliefs seems to think a monetized, adversarial system can straighten it all out. OTOH when the law suits start flying hot and heavy and are interdependent then the genius of it all will be apparent in the ability of the American government to launch a new industry comparable to the military industrial complex. Maybe it all leads back to political contributions. It's a great circus act to follow.

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Boffins develop quantum-computer building block

Greg Nelson

Soooooo...

I'm thinking my days of building my own boxes is fast coming to an end.

"Honey, have you seen my entangled ytterbium atoms?"

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It's Open Season on open source

Greg Nelson

Subtext

I've way too much time on my hands. I listened to the whole thing. I began lurking around various Open Source sites in 1998 and continue to lurk to this day. I thought a subtext of the conversation was much more interesting than the rehashing of the ethics and morals of Open Source versus closed source. It was interesting to hear the business savy of the participants. The licensing issues are perpetually being rehashed in one forum or another and the maneuverings of predatory companies like Microsoft and Google are well documented, but it's good to see Open Source people are quickly and efficiently 'groking' the workings of the business world. Faster nervous systems eat slower nervous systems and the fewer barriers to information transfer that underlies FOSS stuff will produce both the products and the people necessary to make it work.

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Mystery SNAFU exposes email logins for 100 foreign embassies (and counting)

Greg Nelson

Don't Take It Personally

Passwords as a security feature have a well earned, bad rep. I've overtly, watched bank tellers and financial advisers type in their passwords and elicited, at most, a wry smile. The security context for one person may be totally different than that of another, and, overall, the requirement to memorize a handful of passwords for different programs with different security contexts is daunting in the face of all the other attendant demands. If there's not a gun pointing at someone's head, in the form of some sort of dire consequence for failure to comply, then the likelihood is there'll be any number of weak links. OTOH if any one individual is targeted then it's likely their passwords can be had. I routinely use, short lived, passwords of 11 digits, but, at least once a month, in an uncaffeinated daze, I'll logon to a networked box then bring up a web, mailbox requiring little or no security and retype my computer logon password rather than the maybe, 6 digit silly password the mailbox requires and send my logon password over the net unencrypted. If smart, bad guys target you it's likely all the security you can muster won't stand the test.

During WWII, the American author Ernest Hemingway was sharing dinner with a few American Army officers when a German artillery barrage started raining down hard. The Army officers ran for the basement, Hemingway stayed at the table, drinking wine. An officer came back up to coax Hemingway to safety but he steadfastly refused to leave the table, insisting that as long as they're not shooting specifically at you, you were as safe in one spot as another. Hemingway and the officer stayed at the table drinking and debating Hemingway's theory throughout the artillery barrage.

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Microsoft accused of ballot stuffing in standards vote

Greg Nelson

A Right Of The People

While I can't recall the particulars I'm certain there was a legal precedent set in Canada that governments have a duty to use a format accessible by all or as many citizens as possible. Free software should take precedence over proprietary software as people are more enabled by free software when petitioning a level of government. And open source software should take precedence over closed source software in dealings with the government for the same reasons and for the TAO of good democratic government. ( Transparency, Accountability, Openness ) Proprietary software is an impediment much as it would be an impediment for a level of government to demand a petition from it's citizens be in a format inaccessible to some by dint of cost.

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Republicans hammer Brit artist's Bush

Greg Nelson

Armchair Philosophy

Bertrand Russell expressed the view that a motivation for studying philosophy should be gaining the ability to understand things from another's perspective. He buttressed the above view by stating he would rather his works be critiqued by his worst enemy trained in philosophy than by someone without training in philosophy. As I've no formal training in philosophy I feel free to pretend to Russell's said benefit from studying philosophy to bash the Republican's viewpoint on Jonathan Yeo's work.

Russell's critique of Hegel in Chapter XXII of 'The History of Western Philosophy' seems to speak directly to Bush and the American, Utopian neocons, and, more especially how the Republican President is viewed. The Hegelian, triadic dialectic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis stems from an Aristotelian view that all is god and god is a thought thinking about itself. The Hegelian dialectic leads to a belief that wholes are better than parts. Translated into political theory the individual must suborn h/is/er rights to the state as the state being comprised of individuals is a higher, more godlike, state than any individual. As the state is closer to god, the president as the head of state is a Christ figure much like the Pope. Bush is Christ and like Christ and other Messiahs a figure not to be trifled with. Bush has said he let Jesus into his heart and he appears to rule by divine right. The neocons as Utopians appear to be of a Hegelian bent much like the Nazis and the Marxists were. The evangelical right that brought Bush to power couldn't have wished for a more deluded, dedicated Messiah to lead them to the promised land of milk and honey in a pure, harmonious capitalist system.

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BioShockers delivered from DRM hell

Greg Nelson

Well Done! Really, Really Well Done!

!!!! Great! ( no I don't think that's enough exclamation marks even tho more than three is thought to be mad )

Gaming needs just this sort of DRM. I'm not being facetious. Gamers are a near feral, hungry bunch, I know, I'm one of them. The worst cases are those who play fps games like Biosphere. If you're a feral, hungry gamer then you'll know or intuit a golden rule of life: Faster nervous systems eat slower nervous systems. It's just the way it is. FOSS is a super fast nervous system that is closing fast on DRM driven software. 2K Games has done well to grab the cash while it can because it's on the menu. The sort of DRM shit 2K is force feeding it's customers is required to wean gamers off the MS platform and onto gaming developed for Linux and FOSS. You say it'll never happen? You're wrong.

FOSS developers think fast, move fast and don't like impediments. The characteristics of FOSS developers are those of a rapacious predator rather than a virus laden, communist hippie. Throw up a road block they move around it. Circle the wagons, build a fort, so much the better ( you stay inside your compound, grow old and eat the grandchildren ). The barriers to trade and play necessary to the status quo in a capitalist venture make work of play and slow processes to a degree that makes a meal of proprietary works for hungry FOSS developers. Jacking into Biosphere may be a fine rush but it's really not as much fun as eating 2K, MS, Sony and their ilk for lunch. Once up and running FOSS games will give gamers what proprietary game developers can't, endless extensions, countless variations on themes already established. Themes that are as old as stories themselves and only need to be newly skinned.

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Yahoo!, Microsoft ink web pact with Chinese government

Greg Nelson

FUD

>Which makes you wonder why the company has agreed to sign the pact.

It reads as though both sides got as much as they could given each others restrains. The Chinese government gets to widely proclaim that the real names of forum users are recorded and MS and others get to claim they won't comply with the requirement as it's only a guideline.

The BBC show HARDtalk recently interviewed the last Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten. My understanding of his view of the present Chinese government's predicament is that of a double bind. The Chinese government must continue to foster freedoms necessary to economic reform while maintaining power as a undemocratic government. Damned if they don't and damned if they do, the Chinese government's agenda of fostering economic reform before delivering on new freedoms seems to have put it in an untenable position that in anachronistic, Freudian terms would suggest a likely neurotic meltdown into a full blown psychotic episode. Past Reg articles have quoted Chinese government sources as speaking of the necessity of Harmony and Purity, Double Plus Good for a totalitarian regime wanting to move the goal posts laid up in heaven whenever things don't look good for their power base.

The American scientist, E.O. Wilson wrote a piece in the late 90's wherein he looked at China as the litmus test for world progress. China's population and environmental problems are such that, in Mr. Wilson's view, as it then was, it makes China the best test case for the world's present woes. It's not looking too good. Philosophically and politically, those who tout ideas of Harmony and Purity are in the camp of totalitarians unlikely to let go of power unless they've got covert control. The Japanese developed the political theory of the closeted emperor. The closeted emperor was one who stepped down from the throne only to pull the strings from behind closed doors. Somehow the totalitarian, Chinese government has to develop a mechanism that allows it to seemingly step aside in favour of democratic reform while keeping power. In the face of Harmony and Purity there's Terry Pratchett's idea that free people don't all pull together, rather, they pull in all directions at once. Pratchett's idea and those of Karl Popper's in 'The Open Society and It's Enemies' suggests we'll see much disharmony and pollution coming out of China. OTOH China, like the western democracies in America and Britain seem to be testing the idea that just enough economic prosperity will lull people into a stupor that allows for the loss of all but nominal freedoms. May you live long and prosper in interesting times?

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Wrinkly, faulty geology uncovered on the moon

Greg Nelson

Lunar Beginnings?

Will this information have any bearing on theories of the formation of the moon, or, has the theory of the moon having been formed from a collision of a Mars sized object with a still forming earth taken on so high a degree of acceptance that it's no longer questioned?

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UK IP office offers trade mark guidance

Greg Nelson

The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office

Kafka's works are a corollary of an Intellectual Property Office. A giant cockroach, a transmogrified man, walks into the Intellectual Property Office looking for the Lost and Found... . We really are embarrassingly silly.

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Solar waves make Earth ring like a bell

Greg Nelson

Hang Ten

But, like, it's only gravity waves the Silver Surfer rides, right?

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Microsoft vs. Google – the open source shame

Greg Nelson

The Bottom Line

America runs as a monetized, adversarial system. Microsoft and Google are both publicly traded companies driven to produce a profit. Anything other than profit motive is slight of hand, smoke and mirrors.

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Novell won't pull a SCO

Greg Nelson

And A Fashion Hint!

There's ample circumstantial material to suggest MS may have aided SCO by way of an attack on Linux, and, now more importantly, MS has crawled into bed with Novell. The MS/Novell tryst comes just as the SCO attack has failed in the courts. Coincidence? I don't think so!

It's painfully obvious that there's a massive conspiracy to bring GNU/Linux down hard and for good. The signs are everywhere. Those of us trying to get out the warning are being ostracized and stifled. Of course the government's involved if only in their covert actions to replace tinfoil by, all but ineffectual, aluminum foil. I suspect my tinfoil has been compromised and its manufacturer may be complicit. Things are so bad I've taken to wearing my tinfoil only under my hat, as all the best counter conspiracy agents do. I'm thinking of maybe some kinda surgical implant.

Just as an aside if you who brave the direct, onslaught of these conspirators do choose to wear your tinfoil proudly for all to see could you please see to it that it's not all wrinkly. It should be smooth, seamless and pristine otherwise it makes the rest of us look bad.

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NFL enlists Christian soldiers in anti-gambling fight

Greg Nelson

RIP Doctor

Sometimes I miss the doctor of gonzo journalism. Hunter S. Thompson seemed to be able to blend truth from a drug induced transcendental state, but, having read the above article, it seems to me Thompson just wrote it the way it really was. It's just now obvious.

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Google and Sun tag team MS Office

Greg Nelson

In Through The Out Door

My use of MS products is almost limited to multimedia, gaming stuff but I still use Office Pro (2003). I've used MS Excel and MS Word since day one and have bought the Pro edition or its equivalent since it was first available. Visual Basic for Applications was a great addon for the Office suite and, even though I'm productive and comfortable with Linux, and to a lesser degree with Solaris, Windows Office totally blows away its competition. Neither StarOffice or Open Office hold a candle to MS Office. I had hoped Office Pro 2003 would be my last edition of MS Office but given the competition it looks like I'll be buying my new edition of Office Pro 2007 very soon.

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Clarins' electromagnetic-blocking cream ad blocked

Greg Nelson

The Truth Be Known

It's not just the cosmetic industry that's trading on pseudo science. Recently, while channel surfing, I came across an advertisement for DNA designed fishing lures. Apparently the lures were designed to appeal to the fish's DNA. How stuff like that works is well beyond my limited intellect. Still though, transcribing DNA into consumer products looks like the way to go career wise.

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NASA weather error sparks global warming debate

Greg Nelson

nice day if it doesn't rain

Naysayers aside this debate and the ensuing policies aren't going away. If for no other reason that it's the weather we're talking about here folks. Talking about the weather and bitching about it is the most basic universal right of any member of our species. The idea that your neighbours are responsible for the day it rained on your picnic is just too much to let pass. Global Warming has the where with it all to be the first issue inviting universal debate. It's the weather. Who hasn't something to say about that? Good science, bad science, it's in the wild and science can just try its best to get it right rather than take up a position with much hand waving and recrimination

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Pirate Party invades Utah

Greg Nelson

to misconstrue our name

"The only thing a liberal can't understand is someone who can't understand." Lenny Bruce

OTOH conservatives take not being able to understand what liberals are going on about as a sign of good mental health.

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ATI driver flaw exposes Vista kernel

Greg Nelson

How Bad Is It?

It's been over 10 years since security experts got a look at Windows '95 and ran away screaming and laughing hysterically. I played with Softice and other tools and was amazed at how easy it was to acquire the lowest level of expertise necessary to mess with software whether it be an OS or something else. I've tried to stay current with Windows security because I run Windows multimedia, networked boxes. Certainly the security industry has grown in leaps and bounds and demonstrated the ability to improve security and counter malware but it seems the other side is more than up to finding new exploits and the only way the white hats can stay out front is by finding the worst new exploits before the black hats do. So what's going on? Is this as good as it gets?

Certainly a current, robust operating system faces issues of complexity that probably introduce insurmountable security issues, but are the worst of new exploits in part recurring problems under a new guise and pointing to architectural flaws or are they just shinny new needles in a new haystack? Are the battle lines drawn and a final showdown at hand? I don't think so. After over 10 years of effort it 's obvious there are systemic issues of both machine and human making that aren't going to allow acceptable security and privacy on the Microsoft platform. Linux with open source may provide the best approach because it doesn't have barriers in place at each and every proprietors' doorstep. What will probably change is that people will accept some kind of strictly controlled access to their computers ( computers that may come free from an internet service provider ) and techs will monitor the machine daily.

just my loose change

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Maths might tell us how kids learn language

Greg Nelson

Kids? Whaddyagonnado?

Don't all the offspring of close species demonstrate the same learning spurt? When we deal with language there's a bad hangover of the idea that it's language that truly separates us from the others of the animal kingdom. I'd like to see cross species studies to first get an idea of growth in learning rates during a similar age in other species then look at language learning rates as part of a broader context.

Pinker seems to be the torchbearer for Chomsky but there still doesn't seem to be a killer theory of language learning. I tend to go with a basic guideline of seeing our over sized, loosey goosey, associational cortex as demonstrating our ability to generate grammatical methods for symbol manipulation and communication. But, again, if I had my way more studies would look at vocalization in our close relatives then after we understand the basics of animal communication we can better get a handle on human language. For example if we hadn't taken to walking up right then it's likely we'd never have evolved to be able to articulate vocally on the wide range we do.

As noted by others the real fun part seems to be grammar as it reflects so much about our mental orientation. Grammar at some level could be a direct one to one transcription of our physical orientation.

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MIT in Matrix 'Crowd Farm' plan

Greg Nelson

Economies Of Scale

Economies of scale suggests the bigger the better over the long run. Generally costs which can be lessened by increasing the size of an enterprise are said to bring economies of scale. Bigger is better is the mantra of the dying business model driving western economies. Growth for the sake of growth is the cancer that drives profits and returns on investments. What the article speaks to and what has been nascent for more or less three decades is the implementation of micro systems for individual or community needs that replace or mitigate against the monolithic, big business models. The concepts, implementation and consequences are potentially revolutionary.

In the 80s poor communities began to reinvigorate the idea of cooperative banking. Co-ops have been a mainstay of farmers and rural communities for ever and a day but the idea of bringing the infrastructure of a big bank to a community of poor people sharing the burden of providing savings and loans to the community speaks to a general micro revolution akin to that brought by the personal computer. Technology is often miniaturized and dispersed over time. What is becoming more apparent is the utilization of miniaturized technology in the face of a system that is deeply entrenched in the old monolithic, vertical systems of big business and big government. The problem will be one of devising mechanisms that see a fair integration of individual and community production into the grid that continues to manage the macro infrastructure and production calling for economies of scale.

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The terrorists I party with

Greg Nelson

Stumbling On Centre Stage

Bush is an idiot. He's a grown man who would benefit from strings on his mittens. The most kindly description of him came from one of the inner circle of neocon utopians who tried to use Bush to further their brave new American World Order. The neocon, ( from memory, I can't be bothered to source it ), said of Bush, the President is not an analytical thinker. To persistenly pursue his policies Bush has to be both stupid and stubborn. A bad combination. Initially the Shock and Awe campaign worked and Saddam Hussein's government fell relatively quickly. My 2 cents buys into the idea that it began to go wrong when no weapons of mass destruction were found and Bush, stupid and stubborn, began to tout bringing democracy to the Iraqi people as the saving grace of the war. It takes a very stupid person to think democracy can be brought to a people who have no wide, deeply entrenched framework upon which to mount a modern democracy. The futility of such an effort recalls the saying of the Catholic Church's shock troops, the Jesuits, "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man". A people like the Iraqis, so deeply entrenched in schisms separating hardened tribal religions, aren't going to drop centuries of tribal, religious warfare dictated by inculcated belief systems to embrace Bush's Texas brand of bullwhipped democracy. Perhaps the winning strategy would have been to take Shock and Awe from Iraq to Iran and North Korea. Go in, kick ass, take every weapon and leave the populace to sort it out. The bombing tactics of terrorists is desperate in that it's suicidal but it speaks to the delusional values of those who promulgate the attacks. It may well be that terrorists and the governments that support them would be dealt the most devastating blows by leaving them in rubble in the midst of a population having to choose between arms or butter. Unfortunately such a course isn't politically palatable to evangelical democrats and the Israeli efforts along similar lines have failed miserably. Although Shock, Awe and Go Home would save alot of western coalition lives. FWIW I'm of the considered opinion we in the west will suffer many more terrorist attacks from Islamic terrorists. Violence in human affairs is failure. The violence of Islamic extremists speaks to the failure of Islamic government in a modern world. Fair democratic government can't succeed without the established separation of Church and State and Islamic extremists can't live in a state wherein Church and State are separated. They can't have what we have and can't compete. They can only destroy or be destroyed. Ultimately their delusional system defaults to death in this world and success in a fantasized afterlife. It serves to note well the inextricable delusional system necessary to motivate a suicide bomber and then to question the stupidity of proposing democracy at the point of a gun in the face of the primitive, tribal structures fostering suicide bombers.

The potency of the witch's brew of discontent Bush continues to stir comes from the knock on, cascading effects that fashion the recorded flow of human endeavours we call history. Tolstoy in 'War and Peace' spoke to the irrelevance of great men. Tolstoy was a man of the people and he saw men such as Napoleon as mere bit players pushed onto centre stage by the ebb and flow of human affairs but intrinsically unable or too inept to direct the course of history. It's bathotic to mention Bush while mentioning Tolstoy but intriging to watch Bush blunder stupidly onto history's centre stage and possibly, dumbly set up a strong argument against Tolstoy's view in a way maybe only Homer Simpson could manage. Francis Bacon said, "while all things are possible, not all things are permitted." Contingency doesn't permit us to see the knock on, cascading effects of Bush's collosal stupidity but attempting to track it would make for herculean game play reminescent of Hesse's Glassbead Game.

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FBI asks Congress for phone record slush fund

Greg Nelson

The President Who Would Be King

The Daily Show savaged Gonzales. Watching Gonzales twist and turn in on himself like a snake protecting itself from attack really laid bare the attempted coup d'etat Bush and his administration have perpetrated. I've read the Bush family have direct ancestral ties with members of past British royal families. With Bliar in tow maybe it's all been a conspiracy to install the British Monarchy in the White House? I'm so glad I'm not an American right now.

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NASHA ashtronauts too fly to drunk

Greg Nelson

Just As Long As They Get The Name Right

NASA may have found a main line into the public eye. How many NASA based sitcoms have been floated? There's been no way for the pedestrian mind to engage the NASA culture but a drunk, diaper wearing astronaut racing across America to kidnap another, romantic rival, astronaut punctuating a boozy, promiscuous culture says the movie can't be far behind. My stepdad was a navy pilot and I've never met or heard of a liquor abstaining pilot. Double Plus Good with the inception of commercial space flights people will be lining up to get down and dirty in space and the commercial space flight industry will be a mecca for disgraced and antiquated NASA staffers.

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Ballmer: Microsoft to become ads and devices powerhouse

Greg Nelson

Wizard Of Odds

My DNA prohibits me from grokking market speak of that magnitude. It conjures images of the wizard of Oz on bad steroids coming out of hiding to set up a cheap carney show with himself as the ringmaster. The Greatest Show On Earth and to go with it there's a sucker born every minute.

Takes balls though. MS is the scion of the tech industry and probably many of its institutional investors would like to see a nice, comfortable return without doing anything to threaten the cash cow. Microsoft has the cash on hand to take a serious run at getting it done but it's going to have to make the right buys and keep or poach the right people. By way of its investors and myriad contacts it's likely Microsoft can make it work. A three ring IT circus has come to town.

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Ex-Broadcom CEO broadsided by cocaine and orgy torture charges

Greg Nelson

Juicy

Howard Hughes made the Private Detective harassment gambit famous. I read it in passing so I can't remember the name of the poor soul who originally suffered the minutiae of his life being documented. Hughes hired dozens of detectives to shadow an enemy. The guy caved. He couldn't take being scrutinized every minute of the day. Today it might be seen as harassment but when Howard Hughes was running the world it was business as usual.

Congrats on a newsworthy story. Drugs and hookers, it just doesn't get any better than that. I'll leave off before I wax garrulous about my well spent, wildly entertaining youth.

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Speedy evolution saves blue moon butterflies

Greg Nelson

Re: Could swing either way....

By Jason

"People please, have a pint and/or a joint , and chill out."

Dude, that's what I woz doin' when I posted.

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Greg Nelson

Re: Thermo

By Nexox Enigma

"As a Mechanical Engineer who has sat through no less than hundreds of hours of Thermodynamics classes and scored rather high marks in all of my classes on the subject, I'd like to request that people that do not know much about Thermo don't talk about it too much. I mean the same goes for any other subject, but it seems from this discussion that people really don't get it."

I'm most impressed that you as a student restrained yourself from talking about Thermodynamics and yet scored "rather high marks in..." all your classes on the subject. You must be one damn fine Mechanical Engineer but I wouldn't have you on a site of mine. The rest of us tend to muddle through just by talking too much about subjects we all to often know not too much about.

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Greg Nelson

Re: to Greg Nelson

By hondo

"...the immortal soul is not PHYSICAL,..."

And yet it carries information. How does that work?

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Greg Nelson

Re: Come on...

"...as no one has ever seen true one-species-to-another evolution in direct action..."

Interesting comment. I've tried to understand the religiously bent psyche. There is necessarily a strong teleological leaning. There also seems to be a need to cling to the status quo and, more so, the status quo ante. I suppose one could point to the Protestant Reformation as an indication in Europe the religious psyche embraces change over the status quo but the religious psyche seems still to default to a need to maintain the status quo and status quo ante in way analogous to ancestor worship. Your comment suggests another strong trait. The ancients held that man is the measure of all things. Your comment would seem to indicate that your convictions are anchored in your inability to think outside of yourself and the various scales it imposes on you.

While I agree that the idea of god is currently unassailable the parsing of the universe will not doubt turn up some devastating blows to your belief system. For example, I'm curious if an immortal soul can be sustained and go unmeasured in a Universe subject to entropy. Just a thought but indicative of what might be coming down the pike. Maybe you'd better not look.

Cheers

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Martian ice swaps poles every 25,000 years

Greg Nelson

Re: Skeptics self-delusory as usual

"Let there be *no* doubt about this: your skepticism about global warming is not based on knowledge, facts, or evidence, but simply on your dislike of the people who first realised it was going on."

je m' amuse

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Greg Nelson

Like man, you know, what if...?

As AManFromMars hasn't come forward I'll venture a weird comment. If the procession of a planet has such an impact could it play a part in the reversal of the magnetic poles we sometimes see in the record of Earth? Has anyone noted any evidence of Climate Change and magnetic pole reversal? It's Friday I can post stuff like this if I want to. :)

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Student's suspension for IM buddy icon upheld by US court

Greg Nelson

Re: Sad, but undeniably true.

Thanks for the personal insight. I've been following the nightmare's unfolding with much fear. Too few people understand the need for a strong and independent Judiciary, especially now in the U.S.A. Bush and Cheney have usurped the judicial system. The Supreme Court now acts as a get out of jail free for Bush and Cheney should they ever be brought before the courts.

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Greg Nelson

Crossing The Line

I think the kid needs the disciplinary action to forcefully impress upon him the serious nature of crafting death threats against recognizable people. As to the fate of the current crop of rebels without a clue, I don't think a suspension would deter a committed freethinker. If anything those, who are able to articulately, upset the apple cart, are likely to see a suspension as a badge of honour. I got kicked out of various high schools 5 times and I'm as inordinately proud of each suspension as I am of my sports scars. Of course my suspensions weren't likely to be indelibly embedded in the net's archives and ghost after me for the rest of my life.

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Dell promises 'radical,' two-year metamorphosis

Greg Nelson

Irony of ironies

Wouldn't the irony of ironies have to be that the ironies weren't ironic?

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MS update sends PCs 'haywire'

Greg Nelson

Ya Got Me!

I use MS on a multimedia gaming box. The mentioned .NET security fix had difficulty installing and, after rebooting, my mouse hung and a nero media player app went all screwy (tech term). I did a cold boot and seem to have avoided any further problems.

I guess MS uses the term 'fix' kinda like gangsters use the term.

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