Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Jordan's Wheel of Time to be finished after all

Because a little thing like death should never get in the way of a great (selling) novel series. (story here)

Bonus tidbit: Robert Jordan's editor was his wife, that explains so much (the droning on endless, lack of plot cohesion, the series falling apart around book 4...) I like the series and will probably read the last one, but the last few books just plain out sucked. You have no idea whats going on, the main character isn't even in the last book (except for the last few pages)....gah, so much to hate about the series.

For those with too many books

A classification system for the home library. I suggest (all the time) to my wife to simply burn them and aquire new ones, but she doesn't think that way. odd.

Scully does MasterPiece theater

Story here

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Asus releases new ultramoble PC

Usually UMPCs are very expensive ($2000-3000), and are packed with features. The Asus one is different, for one it runs Linux, for two it has a solid state disk as a main storage unit (basically a thumb drive in the UMPC). And the cost is quite low too.

Anyway there is a review here of it.

And ZipZoomFly has some pricing info. ($420 for 4gig version w/ larger battery, $350 for 4gig and smaller battery)).

I think it's a potentially good deal, but I worry that first the price mentioned was $200 or $250, and a 16 gig or 8 gig disk. Now there is only a 4 gig disk, and $420. So i think they need to do more to bring the price down. As it is, it's not a windows computer, it won't run much at all except web browser and word processing apps or other non-demanding apps. On the other hand, boot and load times are non-existant (10-15 seconds to load linux, a few seconds to load apps). My current desktop takes a full 5 minutes to load windows and an application (its screwed up, admittedly, time for reformat). So it's not strictly better than other UMPCs in sense that it's a limited platform, but it's much cheaper. Its kinda like a upgraded blackberry. Anyway, its not a must-have for me, but if i was a student it'd be useful for notetaking and that sort of thing.

1.5 million books online

Cool! I had no idea this project was taking place (it happened mostly in China and India, where labor is cheap)

The project web portal (Univeral Library) is here:

Alas it's not all its cracked up to be. There are 350,000 English 'books'. Searches for post 1990 books on biology turn up a handful of US Fish and Wildlife periodicals, and a bunch of chinese things. Its somewhat abhorent that there are no modern biology textbooks, or texts in general, in this endevour, which leads me to think that the scholarly aspects are misleading at best.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What's the writer's strike all about anyway?

Some interesting commentary at Advice Goddess, quoting Marshall Herskovitz in the LAT Its mostly about money and control; the networks control the product way too much, and pay the writers too little. The networks profits have soared while writers saleries are cut. Much nuances, but read the whole thing.

WoW Dailies

Some help here.

The wowwiki page for Dailies is here

Seems like there are three main factions for Dailies. All require flying mount, and a quest chain to unlock. The netherdrake faction requires 300 ride skill (5000g), so this is usually taken up later.

1) Sha'Tari Skyguard

This starts with Yuula at the Terrance of Light in Shat. She give the quest "Threat from Above", basically just fly northeast of shat, and kill ogres. They are 70s and 71s, and there is one elite. Don't engage him, stay clear! He wooped my ass 3/3 times. From here, several dailies are unlocked, mostly in Skeetis. To grind rep to Exalted w/ just dailies it will take 26 days and net approx 1000g. (40g/day approx)

2) Ogri'la. All info on that page.

3) Netherdrake quests. You need 300 ride skill to advance past neutral.

New dailies in 2.3! Wohoo, get more honor in AV and more gold per dungeon run is always a good thing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Muslims and catholics raising cross over St. Johns in Bagdad

Wow, this photo should win a Pulitzer.

Yeah, the Iraq War is hopeless. Yeah, we lost. Yeah, the Iraqis don't care or hate Americans. Yeah, QQ. Photos don't lie (much).

Friday, November 2, 2007

Joss Whedeon to do another TV series

Staring Faith from Buffy.

The Longest Morning

The 82nd Airborne vs Al Qaeda. Gripping story! AQI tried to kidnap a 4 man observation post shortly before Petraeus's testimony to Congress, with the goal of torturing and murdering them. They didn't succeed.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ramadi awakening

This is just an awesome, extremely interesting post about post-awakening Ramadi.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bikes and red lights

Interesting discussion, as well as some methods that some cities have effected.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Diego Fires

These are really bad. I hope people make it through okay. This is so trite, but anyway.. Seems just like Katrina; hopefully CA and surrounding states will be able to handle the homeless.

Here is a fire blog i found setup by the local newspaper

How to get an Econ PhD in 2 years

Do what this guy did. But he's now (after no postdoc or very little of post-PhD work) on Harvard faculty. So he must be an exceptional economist. Anyway, yeah, 2 years for a PhD from Harvard. Well done!

Friday, October 19, 2007

TiVo less

No TiVo SUCKS! Ours broke last weekend, i've been working on it all week. I replaced the hard drive with a known good one, but that didn't help (and was a royal pain to do). So now people think i need to get another replacement software image or another power supply.

The issue is that the kind we got doesn't require a subscription; its one of the few Series 2 ones that can be used a la carte, not requiring a $13/month subscription fee (which is pretty high considering the service provided; after all my WoW subscription is that much, and I get *much* more use out of it). Anyway, maybe its a hardware issue and there's nothing I can do, but maybe i can just get a good image and it will work again.

Good news for these parents

This is good news, hard to remember there is any of that any more.

Reid / Rush letter sells for $2.1 million

Story here. This is a great deal for kids of law enforcement and marines killed in the line of duty.

I don't like Rush, he's often wrong, he's opinionated, and not very scientific. But I think the senate dems (including Reid, Clinton, and Obama) went overboard asking for Rush's boss to scold him. To me, its tantimount to censorship (as Rush was quick to point out, in that story). Remember the bill of rights? The very first Ammendment states that Congress shall not pass any law which abridges the freedom of the press. This is tantemont to this. No, they didn't pass a law, but their words were intended as such. As public servents I expect more from them.

Does this explain their 10%ish approval rating? Really, 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. Down some 15-20% from when the GOP held office (and we thought it couldn't get any worse). I don't mean to be partisan here; Congress should react to the will of the people, stop passing meaningless resolutions, stop the pork bloat, balance the budget, and stay off presidental politiking (the election is *next* November, that's a full year away!)

Star Trek Cast

I know i haven't been posting here much lately. But here's the cast from the new Star Trek movie.

I also have another blog devoted to my online roleplaying game World of Warcraft, that's here.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Upgrade complete

I recently upgraded my computer, not without a few hickups. I ended up with a AMD X2 5600+ CPU and a ATI 1950GT video card. Here are some interesting benchmarks.

4800+ X2 5600+ X2 5600+ X2

Gforce 6600GT Gforce 6600GT ATI 1950GT
3DMark Score 2255 2279 Marks 4383 Marks
SM 2.0 Score 871 871 Marks 1610 Marks
SM 3.0 Score 782 783 Marks 1783 Marks
CPU Score 1880 2166 Marks 2164 Marks

Its not terribly surprising, in hindsight, that increasing the CPU speed does very little to the graphics score. Further, here are some Bioshock benchmarks. My previous CPU was a 3000+ with DDR RAM. Now I have a X2 CPU and DD2 RAM. That said, Bioshock ran at 15 FPS with the 3000+ CPU, 4800+ CPU, and 5600+ CPU. Only when I upgraded to the ATI card did the FPS soar to 55. So there's alot to be said to upgrading just the graphics card.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Uncle Walt's story

Uncle Walt served, like most of my family, in World War 2. He was a airman in China. This is his story (from his hands). This is a long manuscript, i'll post first part today.

It's a bit difficult to know when to begin the tale of several weeks of rather frantic combat. Craig Field, Alabama may be a good starting place. I graduated there after several successful flights in a well-worn P-40; succussful meaning I took off, flew about, and landed without damaging the Warhawk. Then fighter school for me was at the charming Gulfside resort of Venice, Florida. Here we had P-47s and we liked them. Just when we were getting the hang of flying the old monster, the cadre gave us an unexplained long weekend. When we staggered in on Monday, the place was covered with P-40s. The main compensatino for this apparent retrogression was that they were brand new P-40N-25-CU models with about six hours on each. They were terrific and we later loved them. Then Miami was a P.O.E. on July 4, 1944. We went by C-54 to Borinquin Fld (later Ramey AFB), Puerto Rico, on to Georgetown, British Guiana , then Belem and Natal, Brazil. We hopped the S. Atlantic to Asencion Island, and then to Accra, Gold Coast, Africa. We next stopped in Maidugueri, Nigeria, and on to Kartoum, Anglo Egyptian Sudan. The last two stops before Karachi, India, were at Aden, Arabia, and Mesirah (Misery) Is. At Karachi, we became a bit disillusioned and disappointed by the long lag time before going to China. And Landhi Field, we were supposed to get one final phase of training before combat. This training was to be administered by homeward bound pilots from the 14th AF. The trouble was, there weren't enough of them and Landhi Fld. did not have enough planes. We knocked around Karachi doing odd jobs through July, August, and September. In October, my group got to Landhi. To keep flying, I had taken a job with the Flexible Gunnery School, the principle duty being to make passes at B24s and B25s who shot at us with film. This could have been valuable, but I never saw a real Jap bomber in the air to shoot at.

Finally, in early November, we were each presented with a brand-new Mustang and pointed towards China. We flew unescorted across India, ended up in the Assam Valley at Mohanbari Fld., where we picked up a B25 escort to provide navigation over the Hump. This was S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) but I don't really know why as guys had been fighting over the Hump route for years without a "Big Brother". Well, I landed right at what became my home field, Chengkung. We turned in the new Mustangs, went to Kunming to the 51 Ftr Group HQ, and received our assignments. By supper time I was back at Chengkung and a member of the 16th Fighter Squadron. In some squadrons, the newest pilots may have felt left out, but in the 16th, the atmosphere was different. We all felt welcome. There was an odd occurence which to me was briefly discomforting, but the veteran pilots were quite understand. You see, the 16th was just beginning to equip with the P51 and my small group had to teach the old boys how to fly them. We stood in awe of these 25 to 50 mission men, but in return they seemed to respect us for our Mustang knowledge. We got a bit of training in tactics but it was kept to a bare minimum due to the eternal fuel shortage.

My first real mission was to escort B-24s on a bomb run over Hanoi, a city to become much more famous two wars later. It was rather uneventful, the big boys dumped a fine load of explosives on the Japs, we caught a little flack and one engine on one B-24 went out, probably from fatigue. We had a few more rather ordinary missions, mostly southeasterly target-of-opportunity flights. They were a gentle baptismal for rookies and we did some damage to the Japs.

Finally, my big adventure began on 18 Dec 1944, and it got off to a lousy start. Eleven of us were told to pack the musette bags for a three day TDY to North China to escort B-29s on a big raid. Our radio crystals were changed to the N. China frequency and drop tanks were filled. Radio silence was the rule. If your wingman had trouble and turned back, you had to go with him for safety. A couple of hours into the flight, and my leader pulled up and over me and headed home. I pursued him but took several miles to catch him. When i finally overhauled him, he signalled me back to the flight. I chased the other nine planes for an hour, but never saw them.

As it got dark, I gave up and headed home. The whole of central China was solidly socked in and I was flying on top with no radios or navigational aids, just a compass. By now my fuel situation was deteriorating, I was lost and hungry. My luck improved after a while, when the dense cloud bank ended. I saw a town ahead, and then all the lights in town went out - they thought I was a Jap! Finally, Kunming came into view and they too, blacked out. The big lake was all I needed to navigate by, so I headed to Chengking, but it was totally black. I decided to lower my gear, turn on the landing light, and search for my runway. This was never necessary as, suddenly, the runway lights came on.

(continued later - page 3).

12 mistakes while investing

Pinyo from moolanomy shares the mistakes he's made in the past decade or two while investing. Great read!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Warren Jeffs - Guilty as sin

Rot in hell, scumbag.

She said she repeatedly told Jeffs that she did not want to be married and was uncomfortable with her new husband's sexual advances. Jeffs advised her to pray and to submit to her husband, learn to love him, and bear his children -- or risk losing her "eternal salvation," she said.

Any religion that requires childbirth as a way to salvation is immoral and not fit to be a religion.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

CNU prof gets last life lesson

Story here. He's 46 and has terminal pancreatic cancer. The 5 year survival of this type (according to the article) is 5% (seems right to me). Very saddening.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Victory in Ramadi

Mike Totten has a truely exceptional piece about the rise and fall of Al Qaida Iraq in Ramadi. I think they've (i mean Iraqi and American forces) broken the back of AQI in this region, which used to be their safe zone. This is the fulcrum upon which the entire war will swing. If we lose this area again, the war is lost. If we maintain momentum, and this spreads to other regions, victory is ensured. It still could go either way.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Billions wasted in Iraq

Story here. No surprise, really, but this quote is eye-opening.

To date, America has spent twice as much in inflation-adjusted dollars to rebuild Iraq as it did to rebuild Japan—an industrialized country three times Iraq's size, two of whose cities had been incinerated by atomic bombs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Still life

Martin Klimas destroys a lot of clay to make his art. Combining the silence of Eadweard Muybridge’s horse pictures with the association-rich composition of a still life, Klimas breaks recognizable objects so they become something else, and stops us just at the moment of transformation.

The pictures are definately cool. Link here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Radiation absorbing mineral

Found in Russia, so this report says. Must be true, heard it on the web.

Reminds me of this Python skit.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New image rescaling technology

WOw, amazing.

A la carte airline

Wow, what a great idea.

Glenn talks about this stuff at length, and I agree, the hub and spoke model is antiqudated. If the internet ran like the airline industry, 10% of the people would be connected, and it would crash every half hour.

Reign of the Fallen

An hour long indie Star Wars film. Check it out!

Lukes Lightsaber in space

This image greeted me this morning in the newspaper. Cool!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Airline Bill of Rights

Sign it here.

Joss Whedon interview

From Amazon, via instapundit.

Multicore processors and you

Something i've noted for a long time; with the exception of the operating system, there are very few applications designed to run multi-core processors well. This Wired article sums up the issue and notes that new tools are being developed to overcome this hurdle.

Key quote:

Indeed, the potential benefits of multicore chips are rendered obsolete if the software itself isn't coded to take advantage of its primary selling point: namely, parallelism.

But for now, i still say you'll get 99% of performance if you just buy the fastest single-core CPU for your PC.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

World record tumor?

Holy freaking cow, i can't believe this is real. Warning, pretty damn ugly.

Update: And in the catagory of Worlds Largest Hand is this fellow, who's hand continued to grow during his lifetime (whereas this growth is stopped in adulthood usually).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mike Totten in Iraq

Story here.

This part is just critical to the whole effort I think.

“We support you,” the man continued. “You support our back, we support your back. But you must understand: If you pull back, we will pull back. I will have no choice but to pull back if I can’t depend on you. It will be much harder for us to stand together. But as long as you stand firmly behind us we will support you against Moqtada al Sadr and the other bastards in the area.”

“Are they Sunnis?” I said to Lieutenant Pitts. Moqtada al Sadr leads the radical Shia Mahdi Army militia.

“No,” he said. “They are Shias. But they don’t like any of the idiot groups, regardless of sect. They want peace.”

Interesting marriage proposal


Friday, August 17, 2007

Birds and Bees

You know, *that* talk. But things didn't go as expected in this household. Freaking hilarious.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Video game cheaters

Oh my!
It's mostly about gold farmers in WoW. To me, that's bad, but circumvented largely by having a limited amount of things you can actually buy in the game. Most of the really good stuff you can't just buy, you have to quest to get it (by killing certain monsters). So, yeah, it's not that much of a problem to me. The real problem is when said gold farmers ruin the economy by flooding the market, driving prices through the floor, making it impossible for people to sell items, and thus acquire enough gold to buy what they need. Still, the main use for the currency in the game is to buy special mounts at certain levels; things you can do without, for sure.

Fight the good fight

Slate has a great article about the lexicon of Al Qaeda in Iraq (aka AQM); its nice to hear such things coming from Slate, which usually (to me) is very negative in its opinion writers (we're losing, etc)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Test post

This is a test.

My old (powerblog) blog is here. Site meter stats are here

My LiveJournal blog is here.