Draining away..

Dana's right on with this. Very few folks, even the otherwise (or perhaps I should say formerly) intelligent chairman of the Federal Reserve System.

Unless we continue to climb the greasy pole of technology progress, then we really are exporting away our future, and everything we do to protect intellectual property is only a protection for our economic rivals.

(link) [Moore's Lore]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Forget the Gators: Exotic Pets Run Wild in Florida

It amazes me that we still let these things in ... I would've thought we'd have learned our lesson long ago.

I made my first trip to Florida in 1976. I'd been to jungle areas before, and deserts, and mountains, and I grew up on the Great Plains, but, well, Florida was (and is) decidedly different from any of the other places I've been.

We stopped at the first rest area across the state line for a bathroom break - it was about 9 pm, and dusk. As I was walking across from the car to the building, a cockroach the side of a baseball landed on my chest. I completely freaked out - I later become all too familiar with these "palmetto bugs". Native to the southeast, they'd probably been living in Florida since the Coal Age.

My alien encounter came later that evening, as we approached my brother-in-laws house in Vero Beach. I heard something very odd. It sounded like we were driving through puddles. It wasn't raining, but the road did look, well, almost "slimy" in places. I finally stopped to investigate, and was confronted with thousands of tadpole size creatures, very fish like, pulling themselves across the road on their front fins. It was about the oddest, and creepiest thing I'd ever seen. Why did the fish cross the road?

I later learned that these were Thai walking catfish hatchlings. They'd been released by their former owners into the wild, and were doing quite well.

That was almost 30 years ago, and we're still loosing our unwanted pets into the ecosystem. I don't think we ever learn anything.

The southern end of Florida, the most tropical state outside Hawaii, is teeming with exotic beasts.

(link) [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

For Exercise in New York Futility, Push Button

This says alot about human nature ...

For years, at thousands of New York City intersections, well-worn push buttons have offered harried walkers a rare promise of control over their pedestrian lives. The signs mounted above explained their purpose:

To Cross Street
Push Button
Wait for Walk Signal
Dept. of Transportation

Millions of dutiful city residents and tourists have pushed them over the years, thinking it would help speed them in their journeys. Many trusting souls might have believed they actually worked. Others, more cynical, might have suspected they were broken but pushed anyway, out of habit, or in the off chance they might bring a walk sign more quickly.

As it turns out, the cynics were right.

The city deactivated the vast majority of pedestrian buttons at intersections long ago, even as an unwitting public continued to push on.

(link) [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

MS Security Chief: Windows Never Exploited Until Patch Available

What are they smoking in Redmond ...???

The head of Microsoft's security business and technology unit states that Windows is never vulnerable until a patch appears, and that releasing patches is what causes exploits to be developed. Good quotes: 'We have never had vulnerabilities exploited before the patch was known', and '[he] could only think of one instance when a vulnerability was exploited before a patch was available

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

The Second Question

What is the purpose of my life?

As with our first query, this one leads to a bit of a contradiction. The mere fact that we can question "purpose" shows one: a purpose of discovery.

To a large extent, life is it's own purpose. Here is where we are, and here is where we belong. Most folks, regardles of religious predilection, accept this, despite the pleas of some faiths (not Heathenry) that this world is naught but a "sad vale of tears" through which we must suffer and pass to arrive in "glory" after death.

But what is really most interesting to me about the whole concept of "purpose in life" is the underlying idea that, whatever our individual take on this is, we want it to be noticed and remembered. For indeed, without memory, without communication, the achievement of any goal or purpose becomes moot.

Cattle die kinsmen die
one day you yourself will die.
I know on thing that never dies:
Fair fame fairly earned.
                        --Havamal 76

This idea of of gaining "fair fame" - of living fully and fairly to be remembered well, is one of the cornerstones of Heathenry. Life may be a challange at time, but "grabbing the bull by the horns" is the only rational path to take, always with an eye towards your legacy.

Remembering always that we are the sum of our ancestors beings, we should strive to add to that goodly total, rather than wasting opportunity and advantage and puttering away our days.

Being one of the branches, along with Hinduism, of the original Indo-European mother faith, Heathenry has a concept akin to the more familiar "karma" of our Indian cousins. This is called wyrd, and it is often visualized as a great well, in which our deeds are cast. These deeds (Old Norse orlög - or primal law) are continually recirculated in the well, bubbling up to our aid or detriment. Thus is it incumbent on us to be fair and good: not only for the sake of our legacy, but also for the sake of our immediate and furture well being here on Earth.

Good deeds laid into the well also build one's luck - not exactly the casino kind, but if you consider this kind of "luck" can span generations, you're on the right track. This does not mean that we are in any way responsible for the deeds of our ancestors, only that we sometimes must accept their consequences, good and bad. Another reason to live an honest life, lest our line have it's luck diminished (and our memory get roundly cursed as a result).

Being the middle question, this has been of necessity more ambigious than either of it's neighbors - some of the reasons why we're so concerned about our legacy and memory will become apparent when I tackle number 3, tomorrow.

(original post)

00:00 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

A Catalog of Lies

Man, did this article open up my eyes a bit! I mean, I know politicans lie, but to have the whoppers (of the Republicans, in this case) laid out and dissected with such vigor is rather refreshing (if disturbingly rare).

John Kerry's Defense Defense - Setting his voting record straight.

(line) [Slate]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Amazon Sued for Patent Infringement

Reading the fine print on Soverain's site discloses that they really don't have any "products" of their own. There's somethng called "Transact", which has no demo online, nor any list of users/ No docs, either, although they offer email and tech support. The product was acquired in a bankruptcy sale, and the company lists as "technical advisors" a firm called Serissa Research, which consists of the two original developers, one of whom is also listed as an inventor on the patents.

Would anyone care to wager that the rest of the company doesn't consist almost totally of lawyers?

Amazon's 10-K SEC filing discloses that the e-tailer has been sued for infringing on Soverain Software patents for Network Sales Systems (5,715,314 & 5,909,492) and Internet Server Access Control and Monitoring Systems (5,708,780)

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Outsourcing? Try 'Insourcing'

Absolutely! Why should we buy slaves overseas when we can just use the ones we have here ...

Sending telemarketing jobs overseas to places like India continues to draw fire in the United States. Now there's a pool of labor available, very cheap, right here. You just don't see them walking around town very often.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Microsoft Releases 'Caller-ID For Email' Specs

This actually sounds like a pretty good idea, very similar to SPF, but with dieeferent implementation details.

Caller ID for e-mail would verify that each e-mail message originates from the Internet domain it claims to come from. Eliminating domain spoofing will help legitimate senders protect their domain names and reputations, and help recipients more effectively identify and filter junk e-mail.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

The First Question

Why was I born?

To some extent, this is not a question at all. A question usually implies a choice - why is it x and not y? It is impossible to ask the converse of this questions: asking "why wasn't I born?" leads to a contradiction. How could you ask it if you weren't born?

Some would say that the real question being asked here is "Why do I exist?", but that comes awfully close to the second question in the set ("What is the purpose of my life?"). I prefer to interpet the question along the lines of "What is it about me that makes me unique? Why am I 'me', and not somebody else?"

I remember when I was a little kid, it had to be when I was 6 or seven, the girl next door - was her name Becky Flores? - insisted that her mom and dad had "made" her. I was equally adament that God had made me, and her and everybody else. My Sunday school teacher said so! But she asked the obvious (and pretty perceptive) question: if God made her, why did she look like her mom?

We are, biologically, our ancestors. Here's a thought that'll blow your mind: fifty thousand years ago, somewhere in Eurasia or Africa, two humans mated. If they had not done so, you would not exist.

On a biological level, it's safe to say that you were born because all of your ancestors successfully mated, and raised their brood to maturity. Sounds kinda sterile, eh? But take a look at the emotional side...

What's the primary motivation for human mating? Is it mere attraction? Availability? Lust? I think it's probably safe to say that the primary motivation for mating, across cultures and across the centuries, has been an emotional desire. This may be for security, or to please one's family, or it may be a violent outburst (as in rape - but rapists don't have an especially good track record as parents), but commonly the emotion that motivates us to make the beast with two backs is love.

I think it's probably a safe bet to say that the vast majority of your ancestors felt an emotional bond with their mates, and that that bond was commonly what we would call love.

This love - this desire to mate and raise children, is the basis for our survival as a species. If we, as sentient creatures, are the Univere's attempt at self-expression, then love is the Universe insuring it's own propagation.

You were born because your ancestors loved.

(original post)

00:00 /Asatru | 1 comment | permanent link

Where America's white-collar jobs go: It's not just India

How am I supposed to compete with this:

The group employs 450 people, with 100 to 150 more hires projected for next year. Rookie programmers at EDS Africa make roughly $18,400 a year - and must pay all benefits, including health insurance, themselves. A comparable US worker might get $50,000, not including benefits.

That's about $9.25 per hour, and no benefits.

Ambitious nations and companies are rushing to claim their share of the US outsourcing pie.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

The Toy Fair's Top 10 Strangest Products

My personal favorite is the interactive hedgehog ...

Forget about Lord of the Rings and Spider-Man, the real stuff was an art farm that grows vegetables, a pogo stick that shoots you over the moon, 'real' shrunken heads, and an educational plush toy based on an alien invasion.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

Yahoo! Vs. Google: Algorithm Standoff

Only for those truely interested in search algorithm optimization - or for those non-tech folks looking for a quick passage to sleep ...

The goal of this analysis is to compare the keyword density elements of Yahoo's new algorithm with Google's algorithm.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Speed Cam Profiling

Well, one of the missives (from a Canadian subscriber, obviously) on a mailing list really pushed a hot button for me - so I'm reproducing my response (with the original blockquoted) ....

Talking about speed cameras, a number of years ago the Ontario NDP government of the time put speeding cameras on the highways, and lo and behold, it worked! Traffic slowed down, less accidents and fatalities, the cops liked it, most people didn't mind EXCEPT for a small vociferous minority who went on and on so that when a radical Conservative government was elected, it became a politicized issue and suddenly, no more speeding cameras, even though the cops liked it and less people were getting hurt and killed. Once again here was an issue that became politicized so that common sense no longer applied. The Conservatives grudgingly allowed red light cameras in Toronto a few years ago, so intractable their position had become. Are reductio ad absurdum "rights" more important than reduced fatalities? Or is this just another quaint Canadian perspective?


Quaint? Isn't a Canadian just an unarmed American with healthcare? ;>)

Consider this: cops in New Jersey and other eastern states loved the ability to stop people of color while driving about, because demographically and statistically they were more "liable" to commit a crime. And you know what? While this onerous practice made it a marginal crime to be caught "driving while black", crime rates in some of the affected areas actually went down! People apparently were safer, and (presumably) less lives were lost. So I presume that most Canadians would be in favor of such "racial profiling"? Ummmm, doubtful.

Consider the lives lost to AIDS and other diseases passed along by "unsafe sex". How many lives could we save by seriously enforcing sodomy laws? What would our Attorney General think about this? How 'bout bedroom cams to make sure everybody rolls over and does it right? How many lives would that save?

And am I mistaken, but aren't many folks north of our (US) border rather upset about some of the policies of the Bush administration on detention of "potential" terrorists? But if such an "inconvienence" saves 3000 live (a la 9/11) isn't that worth it?

Add to this the reports from the BBC and the Times (of London) about various offical monitors of street camaras who, um, shall we say, redirected their camaras towards more interesting targets, mostly younger ladies.... who shall watch the watchmen, indeed?

So: Are reductio ad absurdum "rights" more important than reduced fatalities?

Yes. By a country mile.... mostly because governments everywhere have a lot different conception of "absurd" than the publics they govern. When government moves from dispensing justice to "preventing crime", it's a very slippery slope indeed....

Your line for absurdity may be well beyond traffic cams, perhaps rightly so - but where is Jerry Falwell's? More importantly, where is your government's? I know how comfortable I'd be about having John Ashcroft decide what's an absurd invasion of my rights and what's justified by "saving lives"!

Dave H.

Those who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security. - Ben Franklin

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

My Daughter's Walk

My eldest daughter is taking off on an adventure this July, raising money for a good cause in the process. This cause has something of a special place in our hearts, as my mom (Rhiannon's grandma) is a breast cancer survivor. We've seen this disease up close and personal, as it were, and prefer not to see it again.

Of course, the idea of raising money involves getting folks to donate it (Dad can't do it all) so please give her page a visit and pass on a donation, if you're able.

00:00 /Home | 2 comments | permanent link