Periodic Table of the Operators

What a cool idea! I might have to get the poster from CafePress, especially if I do much more Perl.

At his code blog Mark Lentcner writes: "A while back, I saw Larry Wall give a short talk about the current design of Perl 6. At some point he put up a list of all the operators - well over a hundred of them! I had a sudden inspiration, but it took a few months to get around to drawing it..."

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Catching Up Again ...

It's been an interesting couple of days. Storms kept us offline for a good portion of the time, and when the storms weren't active, we were - outside. Which explains the lack of posts.

Our meat chicks arrived last week - 201 of them. The company throws in one free "rare breed" chick with every 200 ordered! And being the only colored one, he (or she, I hope) is quite noticeable! They stayed warm in our scratchbuilt brooder until yesterday, when Kris built them a small runout with some poultry wire and temp posts. In another week or so they'll be big enough to be safe from the cats, and we'll turn them out in the east paddock until they're ready to go - should be done about the middle of July, if not a little sooner. We gotta get a picture of the brooder at night up here - it looks like something from an 'X-Files' episode!

While Kris was busy with all that, I was deboning sheep feet. Yes, you read correctly ... Kevyn sent about 20 of his meat sheep to the Muslims last Friday, and delivered their legs (at my request), which request he was quite surprised by, I might add. But I've found a potential buyer for the knucklebones, who manufacturers a medieval games called, appropiately enough, Knucklebones. Waste not, want not! Getting the bones out of the feet wasn;t that much of a problem, but cleaning them properly may be a royal pain. If anyone out there has any ideas ...

This morning we hit an auction and got Donner and Blitzen something to do - we bought a goat cart! It'll take two or three goats, and we'll be using it for several "petting zoo" type projects. More on those later on.

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At (Your Name Here) Arena, Money Talks

I still refuse to call our local stadium by it's corporate name: we Indiana taxpayers built it, and I'll call it the Hoosier Dome until it's rubble. If a company wants a stadium to bear their name, may I suggest that they build it!

There is a fast-growing marketplace in which companies craving public recognition and customers vie for the rights to christen arenas and stadiums after themselves.

(link) [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

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Manhattan Stonehenge

From Secular Blasphemy comes this link to the 'Astronomy Picture of the Day' from NASA for May 28th. As you can tell, it's not a space picture at all ... follow the link to find out why, and if you're in New York on July 12th, be sure to watch the sunrise and sunset.

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Insurance industry warned of nanotechnology risks

I'm thinking this may be a good way to address a lot of other "problems" with technology. Like, for instance, GM foods and plants. How does one begin to measure the risk inherent insuch things?

A major reinsurance company has advised insurance companies that they may need to reconsider covering products manufactured using nanotechnology until more is known about any possible side effects of the technology. 'As a major risk carrier, the insurance industry can only responsibly support the introduction of a new technology if it can evaluate and calculate its inherent risks,' says Swiss Re. 'A risk needs to be identified before its consequences can be measured and a decision can be reached on the optimal risk management approach.'

(link) [Science Blog]

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Drug Farms Forced Underground

Gee, this makes me feel better ... a lot of the quarrries in question are in the southern part of the the state, right in the midst of the Corn Belt. But of course, it must be safe. After all, it's a bunch of major corporations that are funding it, and we can trust corporations to be forthright and honest, can't we?

Companies that want to make drugs by growing them in plants have met a lot of resistance, but at least one is keeping up the fight -- from an Indiana quarry. By Kristen Philipkoski.

(link) [Wired News]

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GAO report: Feds need to do better at tracking animal antibiotic use

This is another problem with feedlot cattle: they have to be fed "sub-therapeutic" does of antibiotics just ot keep them alive and functioning.

Scientific evidence has shown that certain bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are transferred from animals to humans through the consumption or handling of meat that contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, researchers disagree about the extent of harm to human health from this transference. Many studies have found that the use of antibiotics in animals poses significant risks for human health, but a small number of studies contend that the health risks of the transference are minimal. Federal agencies have expanded their efforts to assess the extent of antibiotic resistance, but the effectiveness of their efforts to reduce human health risk is not yet known.

(link) [Science Blog]

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The Way the Music Died

It's nothing I've not heard before, but it's nice to see the mainstream media is finally catching on...

Frontline just released a show entitled The Way the Music Died, an in-depth look at all that is wrong with the music industry. The show will be available for online viewing on May 29th. Their website includes the full text of all of the interviews done during the show, including a very interesting one with musical legend David Crosby, where he hits the reason the industry is having problems right on the head.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Online dating firm patents cupid's arrow

I must concur with the Register's assessment here: the USPTO has truely outdone itself. Patenting everything one does will lead to a world we are rapidly approaching: where stupidity has finally stifled innovation once and for all.

TrueLove: patent pending

(link) [The Register]

00:00 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

U.S. livestock industry hurt by devastating disease

Interesting ... my pastures are filled with tall fescue, and none of my cattle have this. In fact, I'd heard very little about it before this piece.

Given the figures on the loss makes me wonder exactly what kind of cattle are affected. Could our "rare breed" cows and multi-species approach (we run cattle, sheep, goats anc chickens across the same pastures, which is something of a rareity in itself) have some impact on keeping this fungus under control?

The standard remedy, proposed by the article, is to simply replace tall fescue, which is a very nutritious forage, with other grasses. I just wonder if good grazing management would work as well.

A disease caused by tall fescue, one of the most common cool-season pasture grasses in the U.S., is taking a costly toll on livestock, including both cattle and horses. Although devastating to animals, this disease is not harmful or transferable to humans. According to Craig Roberts, state forage specialist at the Department of Agronomy, University of Missouri, this disease, tall fescue toxicosis, is costing U.S. livestock producers more than $600 million each year. Tall fescue toxicosis is caused by a fungus that lives in tall fescue grass. When the fungus is not present, tall fescue is a highly-nutritional pasture grass.

(link) [Science Blog]

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Sixteen Reasons for Religion

Some interesting ideas on why people are attracted to religion. According to this academic, there are sixteen basic desires that lead people to become religious.

The desires are power, independence, curiosity, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family, status, vengeance, romance, eating, physical exercise, and tranquility.

The study included mostly Christians, but came up with some interesting results nonetheless:

The study also showed that religious people valued honor more than non-religious people, which Reiss said suggests many people embrace religion to show loyalty to parents and ancestors.

Fascinating stuff. If we heathens are on our toes, we'll look long and hard at research like this, and do our utmost to understand the best way to attract folks to their own ancient folkways.

People are not drawn to religion just because of a fear of death or any other single reason, according to a new comprehensive, psychological theory of religion.

(link) [Ohio State University] via The Green Man

00:00 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

For Some, the Blogging Never Stops

As Gomer Pyle was wont to say, "Surprise!, Surprise!, Surprise!" - a major media player is saying "blogging has supplanted e-mail as a way to procrastinate at work", and blogs are mostly "something read by five second cousins and a dog".

They don't get it, and I really don't ever expect them to get it. I can only remind them of Ben Franklin's immortal words: "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own the presses.", and bid them to watch out! They're not the only press in town, anymore.

Millions of the online journals called Web logs have been created, most to be neglected or abandoned. For certain devotees, though, blogging becomes an obsession.

(link) [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

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The Poof Factor

Over the course of some of our recent travels, Kris and I got into several interesting conversation (I love to travel with her - she can come up with some of the damndest insights while on the road). One of these revolved around the whole myth of Noah's Ark and how it was taken so literally by so many.

Of course, one immediate problem that springs to mind with taking the tale as gospel truth (pun intended) is the simple matter of fitting several of all the animals, plants, microbes, etc., into a ship of the size described in Genesis. Not to mention their feed, and the generated manure, and the crew time necessary to care for the livestock (trust me, we know all about the latter).

Yet the belief in a literal ark persists - and apologists will come up with all manner of convoluted schemes to explain away the problems, tossing Occam's Razor right out the porthole in the process. But eventually, it all boils down to a very simple proposition on the part of the true believers:

God said 'Poof!', and it happened!

This is the ultimate statement of faith: 'God said it, I believe it, that settles it.' The complete and utter refusal to believe the evidence of your own mind or eyes against the ramblings of an ancient (or, in some cases, modern) 'revelation'. Every argument, debate or disagreement between anyone who holds to reason and someone who holds to faith will ultimately end up at the 'Poof Point'.

Heathens don't have much use for the Poof Factor: one of the defining characteristics of any polytheistic faith is the acceptance of other, alternate world views as equally valid and 'true' (small 'T'). We recognize that our sacred texts are not 'revelations', but rather myths, designed to explain the natural world and our relationship to it in a context that can be easily understood. Lacking the 'One True Way', and without the absolute commandments of the Powers That Be, we tend to be a tolerant and discerning folk, given to questioning and testing our path.

Unfortunately, there are very few of "us" (tolerant heathens or atheists) and a whole lot of "them" (loony fundies of every stripe). The consequences of this demographic imbalance loom large in many areas.

The article referenced as the link below puts this type of uncritical thinking (if it can be called thinking at all) into the context of fear. Which is a very scary thing, especially when it comes to making crucial public policy decisions based not on reason, but on raw, naked terror.

I am beginning to understand that the core motivation driving the supporters of such proposals [for the teaching of "creation science"] is fear. Not fear for themselves — they are too strong in their faith to be corrupted by evolutionary science. It is fear for their children and in particular, fear for their children’s souls. There is a genuine belief that accepting an evolutionary view of biological phenomena is a giant step on the road to atheism, and in learning evolutionary theory their children are in peril of losing salvation. Given the beliefs they hold, this is not a silly fear. From their perspective, atheism is a deadly threat, and evolution is a door through which that threat can enter to corrupt one’s child. No amount of scientific research, no citations of scientific studies, no detailed criticism of the Wellsian trash science offered in “teach the controversy” proposals, speaks to those fears. If one genuinely fears that learning evolution will corrupt one’s children and damn them for eternity, scientific reasoning is wholly irrelevant.

(link) [The Panda's Thumb]

00:00 /Asatru | 1 comment | permanent link

European Union lifts GM food ban

By the gods, I wish the idiot activists so publically opposing GM foods would stop trying to convince people that eating the damnable stuff is bad for them: that's not the real issue with GM crops at all! It's the reduction of genetic diversity and the "engineering" of evolution that's troubling - not to mention the concentration of power into the hands of those able to produce seeds.

Widespread adoption of GM foods will mean the end of agriculture as we know it - and if you think the economy's got problems when a few shieks in the Middle East have their hands on our energy spigot, wait until you get a taste the problems a few multinational corporations "owning" the genetic basis of the food supply will cause.

The European Commission approves one variety of genetically modified corn for human consumption.

(link) [BBC News | World | UK Edition]

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What do I awake to this morning but over 100 SPAM comments, mostly for online casinos or "banned" books (i.e. goverment program catalog scams). They weren't even kind enough to grace me with "pitchers of nekkid wimmens" - just links and obnoxious, nonsensical text. Pretty obviously an attempt to "Google-up" their own shady sites.

It didn't take a whole lot of work to remove them, but it certainly was aggravating, and has given me cause to consider just shutting off comments. But the comments in a blog are half the fun: without comments a blog just becomes a true "vanity" site. Comments allow one to engage in a sort of conversation with one's readers, and that, in my not-so-humble opinion is a large part of what makes blogging so special.

Today's attack was annoying - but if they'd hit me with 1000 it would have seriously pissed me off. Somethings gotta be done here: maybe I go to a registration scheme like orangeguru uses. It annoyed me the first time, but I can certainly see his point now.Or maybe I play around with some filtering schemes. But something will be happening - stay tuned.

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