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Old Blog Posts February 6, 2007

Subject Web 2.0 Explained In Video Form
Posted Date: February 6, 2007 – Tuesday – 9:54 AM
Great video…very touching.
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Subject It’s the Question that’s Stupid
Posted Date: February 6, 2007 – Tuesday – 5:44 AM
Q: “Do you know what red smells like?”
A: “Huh? No…that doesn’t make any sense.”
Q: “It smells like elderberries.”
A: “No it doesn’t, red is a color, and colors don’t have a smell.”
Q: “But you admitted you DON’T KNOW what red smells like, so how can you say I’m wrong?”
A: “Wait, that’s not right. That’s not even wrong!”

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Subject $1Trillion and Counting
Posted Date: February 4, 2007 – Sunday – 5:13 PM
Great article on ABC by a math professor, comparing the cost of the Iraq War to other government spending.

The cost of the Iraq War is thus more than a century’s worth of Environmental Protection Agency spending (in today’s dollars),”

Or note that the annual budget for the Department of Education is about $55 billion, which puts the price tag for Iraq at about 18 EDs. Just a few of these EDs would certainly have put muscle into the slogan “No child left behind.”

Another time analogy is illuminating. A million seconds takes approximately 11.5 days to tick by, whereas a billion seconds requires about 32 years. Fully 32,000 years need to pass before a trillion seconds elapse.”

I
blogged about this a few months ago, when the price tag was only $400 Billion. Only…sheesh.
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Subject Aqua Teen Hunger Force Is the Bomb
Posted Date: February 2, 2007 – Friday – 8:52 AM
“MY NAME IS….
Shake-zula, the mic rulah, the old schoolah.
You wanna trip, I’ll bring it to ya!
Frylock and I’m on top, rock you like a cop.
Meatwad you’re up next, with your knock-knock.
Meatwad make the money see. Meatwad get the honeys G.
Drivin in my car, livin’ like a star. Ice on my fingers and my toes and I’m a Taurus
Ha, check-check it, yeah
‘Cuz we are tha Aqua Teenz, make the homeys say ho ‘n the girlies wanna scream!
‘Cuz we are tha Aqua Teenz, make the homeys say ho ‘n the girlies wanna scream!
Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Numba one in tha hood, G”

I just bought this t-shirt. I’ve been a fan of this cartoon for ages. Boston needs to dry their panties and figure out how to fix their crappy security. Nite-Brites are not bombs and are not “hoax” devices. The worse these marketers should be charged with is having bad hair.

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Subject EPA: “Lead Air Pollution Not Our Problem”
Posted Date: January 30, 2007 – Tuesday – 8:52 AM
The Environmental Protection Agency is set to abandon their monitoring of lead air pollution. Lead pollution was the original toxin that the Clear Air Act was set up to combat, even trace amounts of it are dangerous At the time, lead was being put into gasoline, to reduce engine “knocking”. Eventually, scientists figured out that this was a terrible idea, and lead was no longer added.

So why is this no longer being monitored? Per the EPA’s own website, lead is the “number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States.” the same site also states, “Lead affects practically all systems within the body. Lead at high levels (lead levels at or above 80 micrograms per deciliter of blood) can cause convulsions, coma, and even death. Lower levels of lead can cause adverse health effects on the central nervous system, kidney, and blood cells. Blood lead levels as low as 10 micrograms per deciliter can impair mental and physical development.”

So why would the EPA suddenly change its tune? I’ll give you a hint…Money. This administration doesn’t give a crap about our “safety”, regardless of the “war on terror”. The “Union of Concerned Scientists” gives us a hint as to where these bad ideas are coming from:

“A decision to completely remove lead regulation would set lead air quality control back 30 years. Science does not support the revocation of the lead NAAQS; industry does. Lobbying groups representing battery makers, smelters, and refiners have all pressured the administration to remove lead regulation from the Clean Air Act.

In 2005, EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock announced a new streamlined policy for setting the NAAQS which removes the independent assessment by scientific experts and injects political determinations much earlier in the decision-making process. This policy is being applied for the first time in the lead NAAQS review.

Under the new rules, high-level political appointees are involved right from the start, working with staff scientists to create a document containing “policy-relevant science” that “reflects the agency’s views” instead of the independent scientific paper that staff scientists have put together in the past. Under previous rules, staff scientists worked with the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee to create a scientific assessment of risks and recommend appropriate standards. Only after the scientific review was complete would the administrator create the final policy.”

OMFG…”Policy-relevant science”. IE: If the science supports policy, we keep it, otherwise we throw it away. Of course, this is to be expected, when our government is full of people who are quite good at ignoring science when it’s inconvenient to policy.

link to take action.
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Subject It Bothers Me That I Have To Go
Posted Date: January 25, 2007 – Thursday – 10:19 AM
Here’s a touching article by a 93 year old blogger., ruminating about death. His words are refreshing and real, it’s awesome to see older people jumping into the blogosphere.

So even when you’re 93, looking your own death in the face can be painful. The “might have beens” add up, and old regrets come to the surface. Shoot, I’m only 30 and I’ve experienced that!

Since I don’t believe in heaven and hell, it’s harder to offer comforting words when faced with mortality. There is something inherent to self-awareness that makes it difficult to think of our own non-existence. The best we can come up with is the idea of a long sleep, or we just avoid it completely and take comfort in promises.

Sure, death is ugly, but it is also beautiful and necessary. I’ve thought about this, and come up with some things I tell myself and others.

“Death is not a punishment; it is a necessary and natural thing”
The “Death Penalty”. The wages of sin is death. This is a very common belief, that death is a punishment. But it’s simply not true, it doesn’t fit the facts. Death leads to Life, and Life leads to Death. One cannot exist without the other. We accept this for plants and animals, but we consider ourselves to be above them, and not subject to the same law. But we are.

“You only exist because of countless lives and deaths. Your life has meaning to those who come after you.”
Some people think that if they are good, they will benefit from it in the afterlife. Others think that if they are good, everyone will benefit from it after their life. I am one of the later, and find that a very powerful reason for living a good life. If you are looking for a reason to live, this should be enough for you.

“Be thankful for what you have been given instead of desiring what is not yours.”
This is a hard one. We are the wealthiest people on earth, and yet we still lust for more. It seems that desire is something that can never be satiated, and will eventually burn you up if not controlled. Acceptance is much better than desire, or so the Buddhist monks tell me.

“You’re not alone. Every living thing will eventually die”
Live together, die alone. But not really, you are preceded by those who already died, and will be followed by those you leave behind. Birth and death are two things everyone experiences (and oddly enough, we remember neither).

“Your birth and death are mere instances, and your life is everything in between”
If you let these instances overshadow your whole life, then you will be poorer for it. Don’t waste what you have fretting over what you won’t have. Recognize the amount of living that you have done/will do, and how much longer it is than either your birth or death.

We stand on the top of the shit-pile of life…literally. Eventually we are no longer on top, we are gone and our bodies are added to the pile for others to stand on. You die now so that others will live in the future. Others have died so that you live now. They will feed off your rotting body, and will breathe the air and drink the water that you breathed and drank while you were here. This is simply the way things work.

Comments?
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Subject “There is no war on terror”
Posted Date: January 24, 2007 – Wednesday – 7:40 AM
The UK’s director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, has some very common sense things to say about the war on terror.

“London is not a battlefield. Those innocents who were murdered on July 7 2005 were not victims of war. And the men who killed them were not, as in their vanity they claimed on their ludicrous videos, ‘soldiers’. They were deluded, narcissistic inadequates. They were criminals. They were fantasists. We need to be very clear about this. On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a ‘war on terror’, just as there can be no such thing as a ‘war on drugs’.

“The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by their infringement.”

“We wouldn’t get far in promoting a civilising culture of respect for rights amongst and between citizens if we set about undermining fair trials in the simple pursuit of greater numbers of inevitably less safe convictions. On the contrary, it is obvious that the process of winning convictions ought to be in keeping with a consensual rule of law and not detached from it. Otherwise we sacrifice fundamental values critical to the maintenance of the rule of law – upon which everything else depends.”
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Subject Gonzales is a Big Fat Idiot, part II
Posted Date: January 23, 2007 – Tuesday – 12:02 PM
Slashdot has picked up the Gonzales story. Lot of interesting comments, as usual. Here are a few:

Amendment IX:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

So even if the constitution does not explicitely GRANT the right of habeas corpus (instead, it limits the governments ability to suspend it), then those rights would be reserved to the people, or the individual states. Someone else had this to say:

How can you suspend something that doesn’t exist, then?

This was more or less Hamilton’s argument against a Bill of Rights. He predicted arguments such as this, based on interpretation of the specific “grant” of right.

But as he pointed out, under the Constitution rights are not granted by the Constitution. Rights, in a government of, by and for the people are held by them in the first place, not doled out by a government that is merely their social tool.

The Constitution is not a grant of rights to the people, but The People imposing limits on the powers of government to infringe and usurp their innate rights. If the government is not allowed the power to infringe rights, no code is necessary to enforce them, and no code exists to be warped into its Newspeak antithesis.

The government only has the power attributed to it by The People. Power is to the people. The Constitution is a limit on the government’s power, not your rights. Have we got that?

But The People have come to think of government as the source of power and the doler of rights. Essentially Monarchial. That’s why even the term “Liberal” now means a grant from the government, rather than the freedom of the people, and why even “Liberal” in the modern socialist sense is a legitimately bad word in terms of American political philosophy. It implys you are a ward/serf of the state. Someone to importune for a handout, when in point of fact the power, money and services are yours, by ownership and by right.

That these people are being allowed to pervert the system in the name of “Conservatism” to install an Orwellian fascist state is a crime against The People. Literally. The People ought to send them to jail. They belong there.

I fear, however, that instead I, and those like me, shall be sent to exile at best; and the wall at worst.

Very well put.

“Nazi” is a particular group with particular views. Bush doesn’t hate Jews. He is not a Nazi.

Bush hates the rule of law. He hates having to share power with the other two branches of government.

Bush is a proto-Fascist. He does not care about the Rights of the People if they get in his way of performing his “job” the way he sees fit. To him, the Presidency is above the Law. Fascism is seductive. It promises “safety” and “order”. And all it asks is that some people you probably didn’t like anyway lose their Rights.

In a Democracy, the President is constrained by the Law. He must choose the courses which achieve the objects WITHOUT violating the Rights of the People. Any of the People. Any of their Rights.

Fascism begins when the efficiency of the Government is more important than the Rights of the People.

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Subject Blakeslee Family Genealogy
Posted Date: January 23, 2007 – Tuesday – 10:52 AM
Attention Blakeslee family members! Here is the genealogy of the Blakeslee family, all the way back to Sidney S. Ford Sr., who was born May 10, 1801, over 200 years ago!

I’m a little confused as to why this geneology follows Annie Laura Ford (b. app 1880) instead of Nathan Blakeslee, as he was our earliest ancestor with the Blakeslee name. His son, Benjamin Blakeslee, married Annie Laura Ford on Jan 10, 1900, in Aberdeen WA!

Aberdeen, the same city I grew up in! The most amazing thing to me is how long our family has been in the Pacific Northwest. Sidney S. Ford Sr. settled in Centralia, WA in 1845, over 150 years ago. My ancestors were some of the first white people in the area. We also have indian ancestors, most notably Tuweequshun (mother of Annie Laura Ford), a member of the Chehalis tribe. So technically me ancestors go back to before the white man even showed up! I had no idea my roots ran so deep in the area…it’s truly amazing. They were indians, pioneers, soldiers, and trappers. Maybe they were “trash”, but I’m proud to come from such sturdy stock.

I’ll post more about this later, as I do more research. But to my family members, print this document out and give it to your parents/children; they will love you for it.

A very BIG thanks to my brother Corey for getting this from our aunt and uncle, scanning it in, and posting it on his website!

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Subject Attorney General: Constitution does not grant Habeas Corpus
Posted Date: January 19, 2007 – Friday – 8:06 AM
Here’s what our freakin’ attorney general has to say about Habeas Corpus.

GONZALES: The fact that the Constitution — again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But it’s never been the case, and I’m not a Supreme —

SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?

GONZALES: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.” It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by —

SPECTER: You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.

Source.

My God, does anybody think this makes any sense? If Gonzalez does not want to be subservient to the Constitution, than under what authority is he Attorney General?

Either 1) The constitution is valid, and the government does NOT have the right to suspend habeas corpus except during a rebellion or invasion, or 2) The constitution is not valid, and hence the authority derived from it is also invalidated.

If they can’t get us one way they’ll get us another way. In certain situations, civilians are to be tried under military law.
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Subject Colbert on O’Reilly, O’Reilly on Colbert
Posted Date: January 19, 2007 – Friday – 6:20 AM
Apparently Stephen Colbert and Bill O’Reilly agreed to appear on each others shows. Hilarious. O’Reilly is an embarrassment to this country, but he certainly has big steel balls.

Colbert on O’Reilly’s show

O’Reilly on Colbert’s show

Thanks, Alex!
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Subject Poker Abbreviations
Posted Date: January 18, 2007 – Thursday – 5:02 AM
This is more a post to myself than anything. My buddy Nick posts interesting poker blogs, but sometimes I don’t understand his abbreviations. So this one’s for you, Nick:

COMMONLY USED POKER ABBREVIATIONS

Game
HE – Texas Hold ‘Em
NL or NLHE – No Limit Hold ‘Em
LHE – Limit Hold ‘Em
OM or OH – Omaha
PLO – Pot Limit Omaha
OM8 or O8 – Omaha Hi-Lo, 8 or better
7S – Seven card Stud
7S8 – Seven card Stud Hi-Lo

SS or LL – Small Stakes or Low Limit
HU / HTH – Heads up / Head to Head
SNG or STT – Sit ‘n Go or Single Table Tournament
MTT – Multi-Table Tournament

Position
SB – Small Blind (also can mean Small Bet, i.e., preflop or flop bet)
BB – Big Blind (can mean number of Big Bets if preceded by a number, e.g., 4BB per hour)
UTG – UTG, first to act pre-flop
EP – Early Position
MP – Middle Position
LP – Late Position
CO – Cut off, person immediately to right of the button
OTB – On the Button

Bets
SB – small bet (Limit term for preflop or flop bet)
BB – big bet (Limit term for turn or river bet)
PF – Pre Flop
PFR – Pre flop raise®
CK – check
c/r – Check raise
c/c – Check call
c/f – Check fold
b/c – Bet and call a raise
b/f – bet and fold to a raise

T$ – Tournament chips, not real money ($ is the amount)

EV – Expected value
EV+ – Positive expected value
EV- – Negative expected value

Cards
Xs – Spade
Xc – Club
Xh – Heart
Xd – Diamond
AKs – Ace King suited (or AK spades) often just indicates suited
AKo – Ace King offsuit
AXs – Ace and unspecified suited kicker
Ax – Ace with unsuited random kicker
X – blank card, not remembered, or not important to hand

Hands
TP – Top Pair
MP – Middle Pair
BP – Bottom Pair
TPTK – Top pair, top kicker
TPGK – Top pair, good kicker
TPNK – Top pair, no kicker
TPWK – Top pair, weak kicker
OESD – Open-ended straight draw
OESFD – Open-ended straight flush draw
ISD – Inside straight draw
BDSD – Back door straight draw
BDFD – Back door flush draw
FH – Full house
ST or str8 – Straight

Players (There are lots of variations – These are some common ones)
LAG – Loose Aggressive
LAP – Loose Passive (alternately Loose Aggressive Pre Flop)
TAG – Tight Aggressive
TAP – Tight Passive

General/Misc.
BR – Bankroll
B&M – Brick and Mortar, a live game

PT – Poker Tracker
GT+ – GameTime+, Poker Tracker add-on for Heads-up display during games

ROI – Return on Investment
ITM – In the Money, paying place in a tournament
VP$IP – Voluntarily put money in the pot
W$SD – Won money at showdown

Online Poker Sites (commonly used ones)
FTP – Full Tilt Poker
PP – Party Poker
PS – Poker Stars
UB – Ulitmate Bet

Forums
BTP – Bet the Pot
UPF – United Poker Forum
RGP – Recreational Gamblers Poker

Source.
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Subject Crazy Asian TV Show
Posted Date: January 16, 2007 – Tuesday – 3:34 PM
To funny!
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Subject Two Good Movies in the New Release Section
Posted Date: January 16, 2007 – Tuesday – 8:26 AM
I always love the beginning of the year, as this is when many of the academy award hopefuls put their movies on DVD. Usually November and December are good times to see movies in the theater, and January and February are good times to watch movies at home.

I watch movies in almost every genre. Truly, EVERY genre. I’ve watched movies in genres you’ve never heard of. :) In general I’ve found that some genres produce a higher percentage of crappy movies than others.

The other day I rented “Mozart and the Whale” and “Crank”, a Romantic Comedy and an Action Movie, respectively. These are two genres I would put in the “high percentage of crap” category. Imagine my suprise to find that one was great and the other one was awesome.

Crank” is an in-your-face action film, with plenty of fights and blood and guts. The premise is that the hero of the story will die if he allows his adrenaline to drop. This is because he’s been poisoned, and the rest of the movie is him rampaging through town in search of his killers. This is a movie where a plot device does not allow the movie to slow down AT ALL, and it’s exploited to the max. Pure non-stop action done well.

It’s cool to see indie movies go for the gusto. It used to be that you had to be long, boring and self important to be an independent film. These days there are many exceptions to that rule, thank god.

Mozart And The Whale” is a Romantic Comedy/Drama, and was even better than Crank. The two main characters both have Asperger’s syndrome. Josh Harnett plays a rather hapless cab driver who heads up a autism support group. He meets the character played by Radha Mitchell when she comes to the meeting, and they hit it off splendidly.

Usually the good stuff in romantic comedies come from the tension between the lovers. There is usually some block between them, one isn’t interested in the other, class distinctions, betrayals, etc. In this, the block is the basic inability to empathize with another person. This is a symptom of autism, and one could argue that it’s a symptom of being human, and autism just highlights it.

I don’t want to spoil it, but you should see this movie. It is incredibly warm hearted, well acted, well written, and just plain fun.

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Subject 12% Raise, unasked for. W00t!
Posted Date: January 15, 2007 – Monday – 10:01 AM
I had some great news today. I’ve worked for my current company for a little over half a year, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. When I got hired, I was offered a lower than average salary, due to my relative newness to the SQL programming language, even though I’ve been in IT for over 7 years now. I took the job anyway, as the new salary was still $11K more per year than my old job, which paid me somewhere between jack and shit (not that I’m complaining…at the time I was very happy for the salary, as the dot com bust had reduced me to working as an administrator for a law firm in Seattle).

Anyway, they figured out that people who had been hired recently were making more money than people who had been hired years ago. In order to rectify the situation, they decided to review all salaries for people who have been here over a year (less than half the company, if you can believe it). Apparently I’ve been kicking so much ass that they decided to include me in the salary review, even though I haven’t been here a year.

So today I got a 12% raise, completely unasked for and completely unexpected! Great news…drinks on me! When I hired, I told my boss I’d want a review and a salary increase after a year, and we are only halfway there. Not only that, but I’m still going to get my yearly review in 6 more months, and I’ll (probably) get another adjustment at that time, as long as my performance stays as good as it has been and the company continues doing well.

Good stuff.

Other items of interest:

Robert Anton, co-author of “The Illuminatus! Trilogy”, died last week at the ripe old age of 74. I blogged about these books a few months back; although they were written in the mid seventies they are still fresh today.

Bush plans to screen all Americans for mental illness
. Does this creep anybody else out as much as it does me? Anybody seen Equilibrium? It should, and you should. Look out, the thought police are here! I would like to blame this on the mind control plans of the Illuminatti (see above), but unfortunately it appears to be much more banal than that. The new bad boys in town is the company Eli Lilly, who stand to make a very decent profit off this policy:

“”Eli Lilly, manufacturer of olanzapine, has multiple ties to the Bush administration. George Bush Sr was a member of Lilly’s board of directors and Bush Jr appointed Lilly’s chief executive officer, Sidney Taurel, to a seat on the Homeland Security Council. Lilly made $1.6m in political contributions in 2000—82% of which went to Bush and the Republican Party.””

This reminds me of something my old pastor warned my about as a boy. Evil is not fun and exciting, evil is banal and stupid. Bush and his cronies are destroying our civil rights and our environment, all to make a quick buck. Sickening.
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