Monday, December 10, 2007

This Film is Not Yet Rated (nsfw)

A very compelling look at the MPAA, and how they have been so successful at convincing everyone that the current rating system works perfectly. If you have ever seen a movie and wondered how it ever passed standards, this is a film for you. Heck, even if you have seen the trailers for the recent push of graphic horror movies to know something isn't right.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mark Twain's "Was the World Made for Man?

I came across an essay today that I throughly enjoyed. Its from none other than Mark Twain in response to Alfred Russell Wallace's revival of the theory that this earth is at the center of the stellar universe. Wallace, that whom had been a co-author of the theory evolution by natural selection, had become convinced that the world and the universe had been created for man. This is Mark Twain's written response:

Was the World Made for Man?
Mark Twain

“Alfred Russell Wallace's revival of the theory that this earth is at the center of the stellar universe, and is the only habitable globe, has aroused great interest in the world." -- Literary Digest

"For ourselves we do thoroughly believe that man, as he lives just here on this tiny earth, is in essence and possibilities the most sublime existence in all the range of non-divine being -- the chief love and delight of God." -- Chicago "Interior" (Presb.)

I seem to be the only scientist and theologian still remaining to be heard from on this important matter of whether the world was made for man or not. I feel that it is time for me to speak.

I stand almost with the others. They believe the world was made for man, I believe it likely that it was made for man; they think there is proof, astronomical mainly, that it was made for man, I think there is evidence only, not proof, that it was made for him. It is too early, yet, to arrange the verdict, the returns are not all in. When they are all in, I think they will show that the world was made for man; but we must not hurry, we must patiently wait till they are all in.

Now as far as we have got, astronomy is on our side. Mr. Wallace has clearly shown this. He has clearly shown two things: that the world was made for man, and that the universe was made for the world -- to steady it, you know. The astronomy part is settled, and cannot be challenged.

We come now to the geological part. This is the one where the evidence is not all in, yet. It is coming in, hourly, daily, coming in all the time, but naturally it comes with geological carefulness and deliberation, and we must not be impatient, we must not get excited, we must be calm, and wait. To lose our tranquility will not hurry geology; nothing hurries geology.

It takes a long time to prepare a world for man, such a thing is not done in a day. Some of the great scientists, carefully deciphering the evidences furnished by geology, have arrived at the conviction that our world is prodigiously old, and they may be right, but Lord Kelvin is not of their opinion. He takes a cautious, conservative view, in order to be on the safe side, and feels sure it is not so old as they think. As Lord Kelvin is the highest authority in science now living, I think we must yield to him and accept his view. He does not concede that the world is more than a hundred million years old. He believes it is that old, but not older. Lyell believed that our race was introduced into the world 31,000 years ago, Herbert Spencer makes it 32,000. Lord Kelvin agrees with Spencer.

Very well. According to Kelvin's figures it took 99,968,000 years to prepare the world for man, impatient as the Creator doubtless was to see him and admire him. But a large enterprise like this has to be conducted warily, painstakingly, logically. It was foreseen that man would have to have the oyster. Therefore the first preparation was made for the oyster. Very well, you cannot make an oyster out of whole cloth, you must make the oyster's ancestor first. This is not done in a day. You must make a vast variety of invertebrates, to start with -- belemnites, trilobites, jebusites, amalekites, and that sort of fry, and put them to soak in a primary sea, and wait and see what will happen. Some will be a disappointments - the belemnites, the ammonites and such; they will be failures, they will die out and become extinct, in the course of the 19,000,000 years covered by the experiment, but all is not lost, for the amalekites will fetch the home-stake; they will develop gradually into encrinites, and stalactites, and blatherskites, and one thing and another as the mighty ages creep on and the Archaean and the Cambrian Periods pile their lofty crags in the primordial seas, and at last the first grand stage in the preparation of the world for man stands completed, the Oyster is done. An oyster has hardly any more reasoning power than a scientist has; and so it is reasonably certain that this one jumped to the conclusion that the nineteen-million years was a preparation for him; but that would be just like an oyster, which is the most conceited animal there is, except man. And anyway, this one could not know, at that early date, that he was only an incident in a scheme, and that there was some more to the scheme, yet.

The oyster being achieved, the next thing to be arranged for in the preparation of the world for man, was fish. Fish, and coal to fry it with. So the Old Silurian seas were opened up to breed the fish in, and at the same time the great work of building Old Red Sandstone mountains 80,000 feet high to cold-storage their fossils in was begun. This latter was quite indispensable, for there would be no end of failures again, no end of extinctions -- millions of them -- and it would be cheaper and less trouble to can them in the rocks than keep tally of them in a book. One does not build the coal beds and 80,000 feet of perpendicular Old Red Sandstone in a brief time -- no, it took twenty million years. In the first place, a coal bed is a slow and troublesome and tiresome thing to construct. You have to grow prodigious forests of tree-ferns and reeds and calamites and such things in a marshy region; then you have, to sink them under out of sight and let them rot; then you have to turn the streams on them, so as to bury them under several feet of sediment, and the sediment must have time to harden and turn to rock; next you must grow another forest on top, then sink it and put on another layer of sediment and harden it; then more forest and more rock, layer upon layer, three miles deep -- ah, indeed it is a sickening slow job to build a coal-measure and do it right!

So the millions of years drag on; and meantime the fish-culture is lazying along and frazzling out in a way to make a person tired. You have developed ten thousand kinds of fishes from the oyster; and come to look, you have raised nothing but fossils, nothing but extinctions. There is nothing left alive and progressive but a ganoid or two and perhaps half a dozen asteroids. Even the cat wouldn't eat such. Still, it is no great matter; there is plenty of time, yet, and they will develop into something tasty before man is ready for them. Even a ganoid can be depended on for that, when he is not going to be called on for sixty million years.

The Palaeozoic time-limit having now been reached, it was necessary to begin the next stage in the preparation of the world for man, by opening up the Mesozoic Age and instituting some reptiles. For man would need reptiles. Not to eat, but to develop himself from. This being the most important detail of the scheme, a spacious liberality of time was set apart for it -- thirty million years. What wonders followed! From the remaining ganoids and asteroids and alkaloids were developed by slow and steady and pains-taking culture those stupendous saurians that used to prowl about the steamy world in those remote ages, with their snaky heads reared forty feet in the air and sixty feet of body and tail racing and thrashing after. All gone, now, alas -- all extinct, except the little handful of Arkansawrians left stranded and lonely with us here upon this far-flung verge and fringe of time.

Yes, it took thirty million years and twenty million reptiles to get one that would stick long enough to develop into something else and let the scheme proceed to the next step.

Then the Pterodactyl burst upon the world in all his impressive solemnity and grandeur, and all Nature recognized that the Cainozoic threshold was crossed and a new Period open for business, a new stage begun in the preparation of the globe for man. It may be that the Pterodactyl thought the thirty million years had been intended as a preparation for himself, for there was nothing too foolish for a Pterodactyl to imagine, but he was in error, the preparation was for man, Without doubt the Pterodactyl attracted great attention, for even the least observant could see that there was the making of a bird in him. And so it turned out. Also the makings of a mammal, in time. One thing we have to say to his credit, that in the matter of picturesqueness he was the triumph of his Period; he wore wings and had teeth, and was a starchy and wonderful mixture altogether, a kind of long-distance premonitory symptom of Kipling's marine:

'E isn't one O'the reg'lar Line,
nor 'e isn't one of the crew,
'E's a kind of a giddy harumfrodite [hermaphrodite] --
soldier an' sailor too!

From this time onward for nearly another thirty million years the preparation moved briskly. From the Pterodactyl was developed the bird; from the bird the kangaroo, from the kangaroo the other marsupials; from these the mastodon, the megatherium, the giant sloth, the Irish elk, and all that crowd that you make useful and instructive fossils out of -- then came the first great Ice Sheet, and they all retreated before it and crossed over the bridge at Behring's strait and wandered around over Europe and Asia and died. All except a few, to carry on the preparation with. Six Glacial Periods with two million years between Periods chased these poor orphans up and down and about the earth, from weather to weather -- from tropic swelter at the poles to Arctic frost at the equator and back again and to and fro, they never knowing what kind of weather was going to turn up next; and if ever they settled down anywhere the whole continent suddenly sank under them without the least notice and they had to trade places with the fishes and scramble off to where the seas had been, and scarcely a dry rag on them; and when there was nothing else doing a volcano would let go and fire them out from wherever they had located. They led this unsettled and irritating life for twenty-five million years, half the time afloat, half the time aground, and always wondering what it was all for, they never suspecting, of course, that it was a preparation for man and had to be done just so or it wouldn't be any proper and harmonious place for him when he arrived.

And at last came the monkey, and anybody could see that man wasn't far off, now. And in truth that was so. The monkey went on developing for close upon 5,000,000 years, and then turned into a man - to all appearances.

Such is the history of it. Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man's share of that age; and anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would, I dunno.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Have we reached the 9th of 10 steps to close down a free society w/ HR1955?

This article points out the 10 steps necessary to close an open society, and it seems that with H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, the 9th step of Dissent = Treason is finally coming to fruition, with this new act labeling US citizens as terrorists if they have "an extremist belief."

read more | digg story

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Ultimate Black Friday Deal Guide

Other than the one of two clearly awesome deals per store, it's tough to know if standing your butt in the cold all night will actually save your more money than doing some online comparison shopping from the comfort of your own home. So we've done the comparison shopping for you and listed the REAL savings on all the best tech deals hitting Friday.There are a couple of deals that I'm currently scoping out, but for the most part I already snagged what I wanted a few weeks back (a shiny new HD DVD player!) If you want a more complete list of what is out there, I recommend for a good centralized site to check out all the deals. One thing I'm grabbing for sure is some extra memory for my camera, 2 Gb SD card for $15. With the way the economy is going these days, I predict people will be done shopping early this year and people will be more selective about what they buy. I'm guessing less gifts on average, but people will probably opt for a larger single gift at the expense of smaller gifts. That translates to a lot of people looking to get the most bang for their buck, and black Friday would be a particularly good day to find those deals. Happy Hunting.

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Universal vs. YouTube and MySpace takes its first casualty: Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor describes how Universal's desperate, potentially devastating lawsuit against YouTube and MySpace has prevented him from launching an innovative new website: "We are challenged at the last second to find a way of bringing this idea to life without getting splashed by the urine as these media companies piss all over each other’s feet."

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trent Reznor and Saul Williams Discuss Their New Collaboration, Mourn OiNK

The two talk about Oink, the record industry, Radiohead, and more. Very interesting read.Talk about hitting the nail on the head. Sure, there are a ton of teenage punks out there that feel entitled to downloading free music. But in all honesty, they are probably downloading crap like Britney Spears, or some other overly marketed piece of tripe. I see a new trend developing in which the consumer is able to play a physical part in the new distribution model of the goods they desire. It needs to be a fair system, but to be sure, it needs to be one balanced by a proper price point. Why have CD sales dropped through the floor? The answer is really simple, people are tired of paying $15, $16, and sometimes $19 for one, maybe two good songs on a CD. Then once you fork over your hard earned cash, you get handcuffed on how you will use the music that was just purchased. There are two solutions to this, either bring the production value of the CD up to meet the price (better quality songs, less filler songs) or allow the market to reset the price. The industry has dug themselves into a deep deep hole, and instead of trying to adapt to the new emerging market, they insist on digging deeper, insuring their eventual collapse. I do still buy CDs, on a very rare occasion, but most of my purchases are downloads these days. The CDs that I have bought have been done to support Artists that are trying to break out of the mold. The past two CDs that I purchased have been the last two NiN releases, and its articles like this that show exactly why I will continue to support Trent and his future endeavors.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Update on its way.

Been awhile since I posted something personal. I'll be sure to post something from the past couple of weekends, had a great time out in Seattle at Greg's Wedding.

More to come...


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BREAKING: Stanford Team Finds Blood Test to Identify Alzheimer's Disease

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a potentially pathbreaking blood test that, according to preliminary studies, is able to identify patients with Alzheimer's disease - an ailment that has been notoriously difficult to diagnose.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

15 Ridiculously Useful Websites

Here is a diverse list of useful websites - some you may know, but many you probably don't, that are there just to make life a little bit easier. From fitness and travel, to online coupons and recommended reading lists, this collection has a little something for everyone.

read more | digg story

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Is your Doc on your Buddy List?

Dr. Jay Parkinson has taken a the old model of house calls and personal contact and given it a decidedly 21st century twist. Feeling under the weather, send him an IM. Just had a bike accident and worried about your knee, fire off a text message. I hope this catches on, I would love to sign up for a Doc that offers something similar.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 01, 2007

9/11 Is Over - by Thomas Friedman

"I will not vote for any candidate running on 9/11. We don’t need another president of 9/11. We need a president for 9/12. I will only vote for the 9/12 candidate.What does that mean? This: 9/11 has made us stupid. I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11 has knocked America completely out of balance."

read more | digg story

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hercules Hits 130.7mph On a Bicycle

Markus Stoeckl just broke the World Speed Record for series mountain bikes, hitting an incredible 130.7mph, on a freaking mountain bike, people!Mr. Stoeckl is nicknamed "Hercules," not only because he drank the milk of a lion when he was younger, but also because he is 6'4", weighs 220lbs and travels at 130.7mph on a bicycle.Holy Jubezus! That's freaking flying! For the 40 sec run, at that speed, he would have traveled 1.45 miles. Absolutely crazy.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Trent Reznor: Steal My Music

Reznor to Fans: "Has anyone seen the price come down? Okay, well, you know what that means - STEAL IT. Steal away. Steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealin'. Because one way or another these motherfuckers will get it through their head that they're ripping people off and that that's not right."You may not like his music, but you really have to respect his integrity. He stands by his music, and it highly upset at its explotation. This is one artist who doesn't just cash the check and look the other way as the recording industry scams over the fans.

read more | digg story

Thursday, September 06, 2007

An open letter to iPhone owners from Steve Jobs

We have decided to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store.I was a little on the fence about the whole $200 price drop announced yesterday. I purchased my iPhone as my birthday gift at the end of July. There were two major reasons for this 1) My previous phone had just died and 2) I was banking on an updated phone either by the beginning of 2008 or a price drop in November to cash in on the Holidays. Since I was phone less, and needed a new one, my pain was not as severe as it would have been if I had solely based my decision of the pricing in point 2. It still stung that I was out $200 that really shouldn't have happened as quickly. As an early adopter, I was taking on the full retail price and the risks with a new technology. I understood that fully, but to cut the price a mere 10 weeks after launch (I've had my phone for around 6 weeks now) was unsettling. I'm pleasantly surprised by this move, and while I was willing to bite the bullet about my loss (I'll go over my rational later) this is a very generous offer by Apple's part and I greatly appreciate it.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzales Has Resigned as Attorney General

Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned.I only have two words for this:ABOUT TIME!...and that is all I have to say about that. Well that, and the world has gotten a little brighter today.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Very creative

Just wanted to share this. Things like this always cheers up the optimist in me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Something is better than nothing.

I know I promised an update, but a synopsis will have to suffice. Here is what has been going on in my life for the past two months.

  • Spent some good quality time with the boys. (which in its self needs an entire post dedicated to it)
  • Melanie started her Comps for her PhD. Basically its the series of tests that will decide if she is allowed to move forward to her dissertation. The dissertation will decide if she is awarded her degree, so Comps is a big deal.
  • Worked a near record (but not quite) 15 days in a row, averaging 10hrs plus per day. The reason? Melanie was out of town conducting research on the JMP-ACL project at the Air Force Academy, and I was helping to cover for an injured co-worker. Basically I worked everyday from July 5th till the 19th.
  • Prior to the mega work stretch, I traveled with Melanie to California and had a chance to catch up with my good friend Owen and some of our college friends.
  • Just got back from Melanie's High School reunion in Pullman WA. In the process of doing that we 1) Missed a massive heat wave that hit NC 2) Enjoyed marvelous 80 degree weather in Pullman 3) Celebrated Melanie's birthday 4) Had a surprise visit from Mel's brother whom had traveled 6 hours+ after work to get there 5) Went to the reunion and 6) Ran past a burning grain elevator. By ran past, I do me ran past, the trail was four feet from the grain elevator.
  • Got a spiffy new iPhone.
  • Found Melanie the perfect birthday gift.

There are some other things out there too, and most of this I have just glossed over. Things are going quite well, and obviously busy.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Update coming.. stay tuned.

Hey folks, sorry about the lack of any original posts lately. Things have been crazy busy for me and Mel and I'll post an update as soon as I can. In the mean time, I'll keep on throwing up the posts I feel are worthy of spending time to check out.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

FOX News: When the news doesn't fit, flip the party

Once is a mistake. But what are are the odds of all this happening by accident?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

So, as of yesterday, If you protest the war, the Prez can take your stuff

Was I only dreaming or did we use to have something called "Due Process of Law?"

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Generation Chickenhawk: College Republican Convention '07

Sure they support the war, but just how many College Republicans are willing to FIGHT the war? The answer might surprise... actually, it won't. Sadly, it's exactly what you would expect.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Neocons on a Cruise: What Conservatives Say When They Think We Aren't Listening

Amazing story of a reporter who joined the crazy cruisers from the right wing nuts of "National Review". She starts with: "Is he your only child?" I ask. "Yes," she says. "Do you have a child back in England?" she asks. No, I say. Her face darkens. "You'd better start," she says. "The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they'll have the whole of Europe."

Right wing or Left, I am always open to honest discussions about the state of our Union and of the events unfolding day by day on the global stage. One particular maxim that I believe in is that deep down we agree on more things than we disagree on, and more often than not we only disagree on how to arrive at the same destination. What disheartens me the most has been the vilification of both sides. America has been split and spirited discourse has been shoved out of the way in order to maim, hurt, and/or kill of the other side. The middle ground has become a nuclear wasteland from which both sides have retreated and now only serves as the increasing divide between the two. I often think what we see now is a cosmic farce, the Cold War over and seemly forgotten, now replayed in the Political Theater of the victor. Both sides too prideful to back down, and that hubris is driving us toward catastrophe.

In times like these, I find a lot of insight of how we traveled down this dark and twisted road from articles like these. Reason has been forced out of the picture, due to its constant distortion of what people want to believe. I hold out hope that cooler heads prevail, and people are able to set aside the desire to be “right” and look up to see the dire brink we are currently standing on.

read more digg story

Friday, July 13, 2007

President Bush Spending Billions for His Executive Offices [w/pic]

Bush is the first president to go into billion dollar spending for his executive offices... I'm not exactly sure what sort of staplers cost x10 what previous presidents used... but It better have frickin lasers on it. (Historical Spending Chart)

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wedding trashers

The past year has seen the rise of a gleefully destructive post-wedding ritual: the "trash the dress" photo shoot, in which the bride models her gown while romping in the ocean, climbing up a fire escape, rolling in the mud, or, in at least one occasion, riding a horse.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Keith Olbermann's Amazing and Eloquent Call for Bush and Cheney to Resign

This passionate, powerful summation is a must-read on the Eve of Independence Day. He spells out the horrific abuses of the Bush administration and their devastating impact on our nation. Please watch the video, too, as soon as it's posted to the Countdown Web site.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

BREAKING: Bush Commutes Scooter Libby's Prison Sentence

WASHINGTON - President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term on Monday, issuing an order that commutes his sentence. Also, it should be noted that Libby is now the first person to be convicted of Obstruction of Justice and have his sentence commuted. Un-freaking-believable!

read more | digg story

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sunburn and muscle cramps

Took a day off from any training yesterday and decided to jump in a lake instead. Melanie and all the other doc students received an invite out to Jordan Lake for a day in the sun. By default, I was lucky enough to tag along. We spent the next four hours floating around and having a good time. I returned with a nice sunburn, but an even sweeter burn pattern from where I missed applying the sun screen. It was only a mild first degree burn, so I would be surprised if it even peels. All in all it was a nice break from all that is going on.
Monday I decided to do a timed ten mile bike ride and 3 mile run in order to prepare for Sunday. I finished in an hour and some change, which is OK. I'd like to improve on my first triathlon time, maybe get under 1 hour 25 minutes, but the format is different, so its hard to say what I can expect. Nevertheless, I'm pretty excited about Sunday, and to top it off, that next week I get to hang out with a good friend down in LA. The next couple of days I am not planning on pushing very hard, don't want to cause any injuries before the race.

Monday, June 18, 2007

One week left.

Have a whole lot of events coming up here shortly, and I'm looking forward to it. Next weekend is my second triathlon, and first open water swim. The first triathlon I did was a pool swim, this time is out in the ocean for me. Mel's last triathlon was in the ocean, and she had quite an experience with it (you can check it out here), so I'm looking forward to my induction to the waves. We are bringing Kiera out with us for her first trip to the ocean. I predict a bath in her near future. After the triathlon, we have Melanie's national convention down in LA. She had hoped for a speaking presentation, but it seems that this year its poster presentation for everyone. The planning committee seems to have cut short the number of speakers this year to allow for folks to head out to Universal Studios and Disneyland, which is too bad. There is always next year.
After NATA, Mel heads straight to Colorado for JUMP-ACL, the large study she has been participating in for the past couple of years. That will keep her busy for a couple of weeks out at the Air Force Academy. While she is out there, I get to hold down the fort back in NC. That's ok, since we have a couple of other trips shortly after she returns. Summer sure is flying by.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Quick run down on Tri-work out

Real quick post here. Just wanted to jot down how I've been doing with the triathlon training.

Earlier this week I mainly focused on running.
Friday I completed training for 2100 m in the pool
Today I clocked in 35 min on the the bike trainer.

Only a couple of weeks till the next triathlon. Time to push it hard this week.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Water found on Mars!

Water (or perhaps clear ice) found on Mars!!!! (with picture). A new analysis of pictures taken by the exploration rover Opportunity reveals what appear to be small ponds of liquid water on the surface of Mars.

read more | digg story

Tank Man

Documentary about the legendary tank man and surrounding events of the Tienanmen Square protests in 1989.

In this day and age when information is available to so many on such a large scale, there are many out there who do not enjoy such freedoms. This video is close to an hour, but please find the time to watch this. We must never forget the power of an idea, and what a single image can give rise to.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007

An Egghead for the Oval Office

One thing that should be clear to anyone who's been paying attention these past few years is that we need to go out and get ourselves the smartest president we can find. We need a brainiac president, a regular Mister or Miss Smarty-Pants. We need to elect the kid you hated in high school, the teacher's pet with perfect grades.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nearly 30 DOJ Officials Threatened To Quit After Ashcroft Hospital Visit

Appalled by the White House's heavy-handed attempt to coerce the gravely ill attorney general, virtually the entire top leadership of the Justice Department is threatening to resign.

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The real reason behind poor CD sales: hint, it's not piracy

Does anyone really think that consumers could buy 800 million more DVDs, worth $10 billion or more, without cutting back on some other entertainment spending?

read more | digg story

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Time to start again.

I've got four weeks till my next triathlon. Time to start kicking the training up a notch. I'm not as diligent about posting my work outs as Melanie is, but I'll try my best. So far for the weekend, I did a 5k run on Saturday, and a 7 mile bike followed by a 3 mile run on Sunday. Nothing but a dog wash for today. Tomorrow will be either a bike/run or possibly a swim.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

All hail the king |

Loyalty has always been the alpha and omega of George W. Bush's presidency. But all the forms of allegiance that have bound together his administration -- political, ideological and personal -- are being shredded, leaving only blind loyalty. Bush has surrounded himself with loyalists, who fervently

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Open Letter to Gonzales, From the ENTIRE Harvard Law class of 1982

This ad ran in the Washington Post today, it is from ALL of his classmates from the Harvard Law class of 1982. It chastises his reckless disregard for the constitution for the wire tapping, suspension of habeas corpus, and the recent politically motivated firings. Seriously, how can this guy still have a job? And how can American's sit by and not call for his removal. Ashcroft gave me the willies (come on you are really going to cover up a STATUE?!) but Gonzales seems only eager to please the White House. Having the Judaical branch this cozy with the White House is just begging for major improprieties to take place, and as if this White House needed any more abuse of power.

read more | digg story

Google Reader

I found a cool new tool to play around with when I was exploring some of the newer (to me) features of gmail. One such tool is Google Reader, a rss aggregate to goes out and fetches any new posts to sites you subscribe to. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and there are quite a few sites that have added it over the past several months. What you look for is the orange button on the left side of many address bars, or if you find the blue RSS button embedded on the sight. In a nutshell, RSS allows for sends out titles and or brief descriptions of any new posts or articles. Someone who has subscribed to a RSS feed from a sight can pull it up like a bookmark to quickly scan for any new post (often they will be highlighted or flagged) and serve has hot links.
The other cool thing is with google reader, I can mark articles that I thought were cool over in my new widget (Scott's shared stories). So keep an eye on that right side of the page.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Our Triathlon results.

I thought it would be fun to break down the results from our first ever triathlon. For the full spread you can take a look at the official results over here.

I'll start by breaking down the 5 sections of the race. There are only 3 legs to the race, but they provide time splits for the transition from one leg to the next. How this works is you have a microchip around your ankle, and there are timing pads you run across as you move from one leg into the next. Those pads will record your split time so you can see how you did in each individual event. The transition area is a centralized area where your bike and running gear is stored. When you finish the swim, you jump out of the pool, run down the sidewalk, over the timing pad (ending your swim time, and starting T1), and into the transition area. You then throw on you shoes and shirt, and grab you helmet and bike. You have to leave the transition area before you can jump on the bike and start the next leg. On the way out of the area, you cross the second timing pad (ending T1, and starting your bike). Once the bike section is complete, you run over the same pad from when you exited the area (end of bike, and start of T2) and bring your bike back to the same area as before. Then its off to the run, as you exit the the zone you cross the third pad (end of T2, start of the run). The final pad is crossed at the finish line.

Now that I have that all cleared up (clear as mud right?) I'll post our times in the following format:
  • Event: (time) place in age group / place overall

Scott - Total in Age Group: 32 Total Overall: 267

  • Swim: (6:01) 19th/146th
  • T1: (2:30) 21st/193rd
  • Bike: (47:33) 29th/237th
  • T2: (0:58) 4th/28th
  • Run: (30:16) 21st/184th
  • Finish: (1:27:17) 26th/209th

Melanie - Total in Age Group: 13 Total Overall: 168

  • Swim: (6:11) 8th/66th
  • T1: (2:22) 7th/78th
  • Bike: (51:02) 8th/118th
  • T2: (1:22) 2nd/65th
  • Run: (32:77) 5th/70th
  • Finish: (1:33:26) 8th/88th

And then there was our friend Shana.

Shana -

  • Swim: (4:12) 2nd
  • T1: (1:20) 3rd
  • Bike: (36:29) 3rd
  • T2: (1:10) 21st
  • Run: (25:17) 10th
  • Finish: (1:08:27) 3rd

As for the reason I didn't specify Age group/Overall for Shana, that's because she got 3rd overall. It was very impressive. As for the future, well I can safely say this was a good benchmark for us, but by no means will this be the final results. Mel has already signed up for her next triathlon in two weeks, and I am scoping out the next triathlon that I can do. We meet our first goals, now its time to improve on them!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Digg This: 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0

Digg won't go down without a fight. Thanks Kev for changing your mind and amplifying the voices of many! Let freedom ring, or at least go out with a bang!

read more | digg story

The death of Digg?

As a firestorm rages, Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, responds. Faced with a cease and desist letter, the site admins pulled a story off the site. In response to this action, many in the Digg comunity have revolted, and have flooded the site with the very key that caused the letter to land on Digg's doorstep. Here is Kevin's post:

Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts…
In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.
But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.
If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.
Digg on,

To the staff of Digg, I can only hope those who demanded your heads will turn that energy towards the bigger potential threat on the horizon. They said "give me liberty or give me death", the later part may be something folks will have to deal with. There is a reason people have to pay attention to letters like that, just ask Napster, Kazza, and countless torrent sites. Bravo Kevin, for stepping up to the plate and offering to take one for the team. Its just hope and pray doesn't become a sacrificial lamb.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

DIGG: What's Happening with HD-DVD Stories?

"I just wanted to explain what some of you have been noticing around some stories that have been submitted to Digg on the HD DVD encryption key being cracked."Holy flying moonbat monkey shit! This is the biggest snafu I have ever seen occuring real time online. Here is a bit of the a user driven solical content news site. Meaning, its a depository of stories submitted by its users, and promoted by its users. How it works - anybody can submit a story to the site, the population of digg is then able to vote on the story as cool/interesting or borring/already submitted/spam ect. As more and more people vote on a story, the site promotes it to the front page. Its kind of a grassroots approach to the buzz on the net.What happened: Recently, the code to unlocking the HD-DVD format from its encription was leaked to the net. With this code a person would be able to defeat the copy-protection, and have access the best quality images available to consumers to do what they wish. On the dark side of the coin, they could make copies of the disks, sell them, pirate them, make the unencripted files available online, ect ect. On the oposite side, the user could just be backing up a copy of their new disk to protect the content from scratches ect ect. That is the quick and skinny of it all. But the real interesting thing is what happened to the story that was submitted to with the code.The administrators removed the story, and banned the user (I have not had a chance to verify this). You see this story put digg in a tough spot. The culture of digg has always been about the user base, relying on them to drive the site. But once their users start posting intellectual material (as was the case with the code) they will be targeted by the angy IP holder. (See MPAA v. Napster). The backlash against the action the administrators took has been swift and furrious, as the digg users are submitting a deluge of stories with the same code.Since the site is near real time with its story promotion algarythms its been possible to witness the event online. I've never seen anything quite like it. I should be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Will the actions of its users draw digg into the crosshairs of an angry IP holder? Or will the actions of the administrators, in their action to protect the site, drive off its own lifeblood?I should also state that why this is such a big deal is that digg plays a large part on the promotion and buzz of stories across the entire web. Once something hits digg, a large number of people become aware of it, seeing as digg celebrated its 1 millionth user registration only a short time ago. -Crazy!

read more | digg story

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

Race Day!

The eve of the big day is upon Mel and I. We just got back from our pre-triathlon meeting and packet pick up and we inspected the course. It looks pretty good so far, I just wanted to post a few of my goals for tomorrow.

1) Complete the race in under 1 hour 30 min.
2) Pass more people than pass me.

Simple and straight forward, I'll post the results when I get them. Wish me good luck.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bahamas Surprise

This one actually caught me off guard today. I had finished something last week that I had planned on posting here but I ran into some problems with it. I haven't had a chance to try and fix it until now, and low and behold I sat down to work on it, and it turns out its already fixed. So with out further ado, here is what I have been promising for awhile:

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Running out of time

Well, the Triathlon is fast approaching, and I am hardly what I would consider well prepared. When I do get a chance to work out, I put in some good time, but its been finding time to work out around my work that has been rather tricky. Some of it, I will admit, is applying the proper motivation when I am on my days off, but the bigger issue has been working around my schedule. Case in point, I have not been training for the swimming section, and the reason why is the best time for me to do that, the pool is not available. I will just have to be creative about it, last two weeks of training and all, should be fun.

And as a side note, I have something I've been working on that is 95% finished, so look for it soon.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


So much work to be done...

This is a map of current state of teaching Evolution in classrooms. Its truly sad how this ties into the bigger picture of a lot of the problems with our society and its concept of what science really is.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Please read:

The following is not my post but it is from:
One Man's Blog is Copyright © 2006-2007 by John Pozadzides.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

Since I found it via, I would just blog it from there, but for some reason my digg account and blogger are just not getting along quite the same ever since I switched over to the beta at blogger (now the standard). But, I truly feel this is something that everyone should know.

How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords

Digg This! (1489 Diggs, 140 comments) • Save to (186 saves, tagged: security password hacking) • Technorati: 17 links to this item • Add to Technorati Favorites! • Google Bookmark This • Add to Yahoo MyWeb2 • Add a comment

Hello DIGG visitors! Thanks for stopping by. As you may have noticed, the server is under a little bit of strain at the moment. It might have something to do with the 5,000 visitors per hour that are stopping by. :-)

The page you are viewing is a static HTML document so that it can handle the load, but a lot of people are trying to click through to other pages on the site. (Thanks for your interest by the way!)

If you try to visit another article but get a Wordpress database error you may want to try reloading it a few times. Or, if I may suggest... if you'll open the article in another window and check on it in a few hours the server should catch up and you can refresh and read the page later. Thanks again!!!

User LoginIf you invited me to try and crack your password, you know the one that you use over and over for like every web page you visit, how many guesses would it take before I got it?

Let’s see… here is my top 10 list. I can obtain most of this information much easier than you think, then I might just be able to get into your e-mail, computer, or online banking. After all, if I get into one I’ll probably get into all of them.

1. Your partner, child, or pet’s name, possibly followed by a 0 or 1 (because they’re always making you use a number, aren’t they?)
2. The last 4 digits of your social security number.
3. 123 or 1234 or 123456.
4. “password”
5. Your city, or college, football team name.
6. Date of birth - yours, your partner’s or your child’s.
7. “god”
8. “letmein”
9. “money”
10. “love”

Statistically speaking that should probably cover about 20% of you. But don’t worry. If I didn’t get it yet it will probably only take a few more minutes before I do…

Hackers, and I’m not talking about the ethical kind, have developed a whole range of tools to get at your personal data. And the main impediment standing between your information remaining safe, or leaking out, is the password you choose. (Ironically, the best protection people have is usually the one they take least seriously.)

One of the simplest ways to gain access to your information is through the use of a Brute Force Attack. This is accomplished when a hacker uses a specially written piece of software to attempt to log into a site using your credentials. has a list of the Top 10 FREE Password Crackers right here.

So, how would one use this process to actually breach your personal security? Simple. Follow my logic:

* You probably use the same password for lots of stuff right?
* Some sites you access such as your Bank or work VPN probably have pretty decent security, so I’m not going to attack them.
* However, other sites like the Hallmark e-mail greeting cards site, an online forum you frequent, or an e-commerce site you’ve shopped at might not be as well prepared. So those are the ones I’d work on.
* So, all we have to do now is unleash Brutus, wwwhack, or THC Hydra on their server with instructions to try say 10,000 (or 100,000 - whatever makes you happy) different usernames and passwords as fast as possible.
* Once we’ve got several login+password pairings we can then go back and test them on targeted sites.
* But wait… How do I know which bank you use and what your login ID is for the sites you frequent? All those cookies are simply stored, unencrypted and nicely named, in your Web browser’s cache. (Read this post to remedy that problem.)

And how fast could this be done? Well, that depends on three main things, the length and complexity of your password, the speed of the hacker’s computer, and the speed of the hacker’s Internet connection.

Assuming the hacker has a reasonably fast connection and PC here is an estimate of the amount of time it would take to generate every possible combination of passwords for a given number of characters. After generating the list it’s just a matter of time before the computer runs through all the possibilities - or gets shut down trying.

Pay particular attention to the difference between using only lowercase characters and using all possible characters (uppercase, lowercase, and special characters - like @#$%^&*). Adding just one capital letter and one asterisk would change the processing time for an 8 character password from 2.4 days to 2.1 centuries.

Password Length - All Characters - Only Lowercase
  • 3 characters - 0.86 seconds - 0.02 seconds
  • 4 characters - 1.36 minutes - 046 seconds
  • 5 characters - 2.15 hours - 11.9 seconds
  • 6 characters - 8.51 days - 5.15 minutes
  • 7 characters - 2.21 years - 2.23 hours
  • 8 characters - 2.23 hours - 2.42 days
  • 9 characters - 20 millennia - 2.07 months
  • 10 characters - 1,899 millennia - 4.48 years
  • 11 characters - 180,365 millennia - 1.16 centuries
  • 12 characters - 17,184,705 millennia - 3.03 millennia
  • 13 characters - 1,627,797,068 millennia - 78.7 millennia
  • 14 characters - 154,640,721,434 millennia - 2,046 millennia

Remember, these are just for an average computer, and these assume you aren’t using any word in the dictionary. If Google put their computer to work on it they’d finish about 1,000 times faster.

Now, I could go on for hours and hours more about all sorts of ways to compromise your security and generally make your life miserable - but 95% of those methods begin with compromising your weak password. So, why not just protect yourself from the start and sleep better at night?

Believe me, I understand the need to choose passwords that are memorable. But if you’re going to do that how about using something that no one is ever going to guess AND doesn’t contain any common word or phrase in it.

Here are some password tips:

1. Randomly substitute numbers for letters that look similar. The letter ‘o’ becomes the number ‘0′, or even better an ‘@’ or ‘*’. (i.e. - m0d3ltf0rd… like modelTford)
2. Randomly throw in capital letters (i.e. - Mod3lTF0rd)
3. Think of something you were attached to when you were younger, but DON’T CHOOSE A PERSON’S NAME! Every name plus every word in the dictionary will fail under a simple brute force attack.
4. Maybe a place you loved, or a specific car, an attraction from a vacation, or a favorite restaurant?
5. You really need to have different username / password combinations for everything. Remember, the technique is to break into anything you access just to figure out your standard password, then compromise everything else. This doesn’t work if you don’t use the same password everywhere.
6. Since it can be difficult to remember a ton of passwords, I recommend using Roboform. It will store all of your passwords in an encrypted format and allow you to use just one master password to access all of them. It will also automatically fill in forms on Web pages, and you can even get versions that allow you to take your password list with you on your PDA, phone or a USB key.
7. Once you’ve thought of a password, try Microsoft’s password strength tester to find out how secure it is.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some of the passwords you think matter least actually matter most. For example, some people think that the password to their e-mail box isn’t important because “I don’t get anything sensitive there.” Well, that e-mail box is probably connected to your online banking account. If I can compromise it then I can log into the Bank’s Web site and tell it I’ve forgotten my password to have it e-mailed to me. Now, what were you saying about it not being important?

Often times people also reason that all of their passwords and logins are stored on their computer at home, which is save behind a router or firewall device. Of course, they’ve never bothered to change the default password on that device, so someone could drive up and park near the house, use a laptop to breach the wireless network and then try passwords from this list until they gain control of your network - after which time they will own you!

Now I realize that every day we encounter people who over-exagerate points in order to move us to action, but trust me this is not one of those times. There are 50 other ways you can be compromised and punished for using weak passwords that I haven’t even mentioned.

I also realize that most people just don’t care about all this until it’s too late and they’ve learned a very hard lesson. But why don’t you do me, and yourself, a favor and take a little action to strengthen your passwords and let me know that all the time I spent on this article wasn’t completely in vain.

Please, be safe. It’s a jungle out there.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Back from the Bahamas

Its never easy to leave, but we had a wonderful time down in Abaco. Compared to our last trip down to the Bahamas, this trip was much more low key. Last year we went down to Treasure Cay with Melanie's folks and her brother, Andrew. It was their first trip to the Bahamas, so we spent a lot of the trip exploring the island. This time, Mel and I simply kicked back and relaxed. There were a few days of exploring, but it wasn't off to the typical tourist spots. My Dad took Mel and I out for her first bonefishing experience. Several months ago, my Dad picked up a new bonefish skiff so he could enjoy his favorite sport more often. Bonefishing is a unique sport spent out on the flats in the Bahamas. The flats are sections of the ocean where during low tide the water level drops to around a foot deep. When the water drops like this, the bonefish swim up to hunt for crabs and other food. The tricky part is the flats are by no means small sections of land, they can stretch for several hundred yard and there is no particular pattern to where the bonefish will be. In a large part, bonefishing is much more like hunting than fishing, because you really have to try and track them down. I'll be posting some of our trips out to the flats later when I have a chance.
The rest of the trip was spent on the beach and enjoying the company of my parents. By the time we arrived, they had already spent a month down in the Bahamas and loving every moment of it. I have a strong feeling that from now on, I will be hard pressed to locate my parents anywhere near Montana during January from now on. They will be leaving on this upcoming Tuesday to travel up the east coast and visit with friend for a few weeks, and will then return to Treasure Cay for a few week more after that. Our return trip from the Bahamas always seems to make it that much harder to leave, and this last time was no exception. Along with a two and a half hour delayed flight from the island, our bags managed to miss the flight to Florida. From experience, we have learned that its best to arrive a day earlier before traveling to the Bahamas, and fly out a day later once you return. We had prepared for the delays both going to and coming from the island, but the missing bag was a curve ball. After we cleared immigration, we went down stairs to claim our bag and move through customs. That is when we discovered our bag, along with several others from the flight, had not made it over. That was a little upsetting, but they told us to call the 800 number on our ticket jacket. After fifteen minutes on hold, Melanie finally got in touch with someone on the phone. By this point we were already in the shuttle in transit to our hotel. That is when we found out that claims had to be made in person at the airport, and could not be taken over the phone. So we had the distinct pleasure of traveling back to the airport to a different terminal to place our claim. From there on out things did start to pick up, but it really was an unwanted headache. They did find out bag, and it was dropped of around five hours after we got home. Well, I should finish this off for now, but I will post a few more details about the trip later. Until then, cheers!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

W4: Pluses and Minuses

Decided to steal a page from my wife, and submit a quit posting while we wait for our flight. Just want to thank Ft. Lauderdale Airport for having the common decency of providing free WiFi. Seriously, does anyone ever pay for WiFi at other airports unless you absolutely have to, and I for one have never access that bad. But, back to the heart of things.
This past week of training had its ups and downs, I had a good week based of the intensity of the work outs I completed, but I did poorly based off how many days I worked out. I will have to improve on that. I started the week of with a 5k run, which I finished in just over 30 min, which is good, but I will need to shave some more time off that. The big work out came this past Thursday, when I decided to give a litmus test to my progress so far. I started out with a 10 mile bike ride, that I finished in around 45 minutes. I basically rode a modified circuit and after I returned back to the house I kicked off the running section of my workout. I grabbed Kiera, and 5 minutes after finishing my bike ride I was back on the road for a 3 mile run. I clocked in at 30 minutes for that run, and I was feeling the burn after that work out.
This next week will be interesting to see how Melanie and I will be able to adjust our training to a new environment. But, all and all it should be pretty fun, besides you really can't complain about running on the beach. That's all for now.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

W3: Condition Sore

After three weeks of training, I'm starting to feel it, and I am sore. I didn't push myself as hard as I would have liked, I probably should have gone out on some of the days I took off, but I still have time to make up for that. As payback for that slacking, I may have over done it today. I started off with a bike ride down to the store to pick up some breakfast supplies. That would have been a moderate workout for the day, but I wasn't finished quite yet. Later in the afternoon Mel convinced me to head out with her for a run with Kiera. We did a 3.2 mile run, after which my body let me know it wasn't too happy with me. But this will pass, and I better get used to it if I want to be in proper shape for when the triathlon rolls around.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Night out for Hockey

Second row! Not too shabby.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Week two in the bag

Second week of training, and things are going well. I've been doing mainly running for the past couple of weeks, but soon I will branch out to more training with the swimming and bike sections of the triathlon. Mel has been spending most of her time in the pool which has served her very well since it has helped a lot with the bike and running by building up her core strength. I did jump on a stationary bike earlier this week, and even though my endurance is up from the running, the muscle groups did not see that bike coming. The swimming part will be the toughest part for me to fit into my schedule, but I am sure I can get creative with that. Another week down, time to bump up the intensity.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Week one down.

If you happen to read Melanie's blog (which she has been more active with lately) you may already know that we both signed up for our first triathlon. As for those of you who did not know that, well.. now you do.
It was an idea that was kind of tossed out there one night when we were having a night on the town with friends. It was kind of one of those things where you look at it and say "Sure, why not.". Now its not a full triathlon, for those of you who are thinking we are heading out to Hawaii or something. Rather its a sprint marathon, which is a 300 meter swim, 20k bike, and 5k run. I got a bit of a late start on things, but I just finished my first week of training. It feels good, but we'll see how my attitude changes when we get closer to the actual race. I'll post more updates as I go. But for now,I've got to go hit the showers.. Mel and I are going out for an Italian dinner tonight.

Saturday, February 03, 2007