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Journal: Bush hid the facts... AGAIN!

Journal by FornaxChemica

First, let's remember — I know I didn't: Bush hid the facts

Today, I spent most of the day doing some tests with PHP, writing binary and text strings to files. Later in the day, when I was about to stop, I opened one of the files I had written to that was supposed to contain 10000 numeric characters. But to my utmost incomprehension it was filled with a garble of Chinese characters!

Comment: Not bad, actually (Score 1) 211

by FornaxChemica (#34459348) Attached to: Facebook Rolls Out Redesigned Profile Pages
They fixed some compatibility issues it seems. I still use Firefox 2 and Facebook looked so "broken" it was pathetic, now it's almost all correct. Funnily they dropped some web 2.0 features, the page reloads entirely when you check another in-page tab. The ads are invading but the design overall is better. First time they actually improve something, at least in my books. But of course, it still is just the same old useless Facebook we could all live without...

Comment: Bollocks (Score 1) 420

by FornaxChemica (#34423824) Attached to: Tofu Activists Spoof Meat-Based Indie Game

Reading comments like these, generously dissing PETA, you'd think the organization was actually set up by people who hate animals and whose only aim is to get them tortured and killed. Seriously, you guys are way off.

Everytime there's a news item related in some way to PETA, anywhere on the web, you can be sure there's a delegation of haters who are going to make these preposterous posts that get more and more implausible as you read: first PETA is described as inefficient idiots, then as liars inclined to cruelty until they are no more than a bunch of sadists and extremists. You would have people believe they eat pups meat or whatnot.

I find this totally bewildering. It's misinformation at its best; they can't just be disliked or disregarded, lies have to be spread about them in a propaganda fashion. Clearly, none of you know what PETA does for animals. All you have is this deep-rooted prejudice made of hate and ignorance, fueled by things you've read here and there online from other people who knew no better and had a grudge against them. It's just a long chain of slanders without actual knowledge of the facts or the people involved. For starters, PETA is certainly NOT against adoptions. Straight from the mouth of their president, Ingrid Newkirk (source):

"If anyone has a good home, love, and respect to offer, we beg them: Go to a shelter and take one or two animals home. The problem is that few people do that, choosing instead to go to a breeder or a pet shop and not "fixing" their dogs and cats, which contributes to the high euthanasia rate that animal shelters face."

Yes, they have to make tough decisions like euthanizing animals, because there's overpopulation, they explain it. They also explain that no-kill shelters, that someone mentioned, simply don't work (in short, they reject animals they don't find suitable for adoption or store them in cage until further notice; the lucky ones are sent to normal shelters that do perform euthanasia).

Dogs, cats and others pets are sexually mature within a year, have short gestation periods and easily half a dozen babies in one litter. Do you realize how many animals can be born in a few months time? What do you do with them? Release them all in the wild? That's why PETA has many campaigns to raise awareness on the importance of neutering and spaying, among other things.

I know some people who work for PETA. They're brave and kind, have to deal with a lot of foul-mouthed idiots on a daily basis. The only thing you could blame PETA for is to like animals too much. But this is a hardly a fault in their line of work.

As for the way they spend their funds, think of it this way: they have enough money to do both all the stupid things you complained about (ads, parody games, etc) AND all the other important things, for the animals. How did they get so much money ? Through donations and endorsement. How did they get so much support? By being talked about and known by everyone. How did they achieve that? By doing all the stupid things you complained about. Circle closed.

Classic Games (Games)

36-Hour Lemmings Port Gets Sony Cease and Desist 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the found-a-cliff-real-quick dept.
Zerocool3001 writes "The recently featured 36-hour port of the original Palm version of Lemmings to the iPhone and Palm Pre has received a cease and desist letter from Sony. Only one day after submitting the app for approval on the two app stores, the developer has put up a post stating that he 'did this as a tribute to the game — we can only hope that Sony actually does a conversion for platforms like iPhone and Palm Pre in the near future.' The text of the cease and desist letter is available from the developer's website."
Australia

Man-Made Atomic Clocks the Best In the Universe 267

Posted by timothy
from the take-that-you-buncha-pulsars dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The widespread belief by astrophysicists that pulsars and white dwarfs are the best clocks in the universe is wrong, say two Australian physicists. John Hartnett and Andre Luiten from the University of Western Australia have recently shown that man-made terrestrial atomic clocks take the crown, contrary to numerous claims in astrophysical literature that the natural timing provided by pulsars and white dwarfs is the most precise. The preprint of their paper, available on the arXiv, shows that terrestrial clocks exceed the accuracy and stability of the astrophysical 'clocks' by all sensible measures, in some cases by several orders of magnitude."

Comment: another take (Score 1) 942

by FornaxChemica (#29871817) Attached to: Save the Planet, Eat Your Dog

This is an oversimplification. When you say "people would rather use prisoners for medical research than animals", I know what you're referring to, I may even agree with the idea, but this is not about using ANY kind of prisoner, you're wording it so that it would sound inarguably wrong. The prisoners we're talking about would be the most deviant, vicious kinds: murderers of children, serial killers, those who enjoyed torturing, etc. The question is, in the balance of life, is an innocent sentient being (an animal) worth less than a wicked human being (a murderer)? I'm sorry, but siding automatically with the human being because you're of the same species doesn't seem like the best of arguments to me. For a misanthrope, you seem to hold your species in quite high esteem. ;)

Anyway, some people say this out of sheer anger when reading about animals being tortured, I don't think all of them mean it and would actually support the process throughout. Their ideal being that no living creature should have to suffer for the prosperity and comfort of humanity.

About the second case, you were probably right to criticize the family if it was indeed a "100lb carnivore that was bred for aggression", I've heard of that before, small children left almost on their own with rottweillers, this is pure madness. I'm not sure though why your co-worker was mad at you instead of the family, might have been something else, I'm kind of careful with stories like that told from a single perspective.

Windows

A Tale of Two Windows 7s 770

Posted by Soulskill
from the dickens'-ghost-just-sighed dept.
theodp writes "It was the best of operating systems, it was the worst of operating systems. When it comes to the merits of Windows 7, it looks like Slate's Farhad Manjoo and PC Magazine's John Dvorak are going to have to agree to disagree. Manjoo gives Windows 7 a big thumbs-up (a sincere one, unlike Linus!), calling it a 'crowning achievement,' while Dvorak is less than impressed, saying, 'Win 7 is really just a Vista martini. The operating system may have two olives instead of one this time out, but it's still made with the same cheap Microsoft vodka.' So, for those of you who've had a chance to check things out, are things really different this time?" Multiple readers have also pointed out that there have been problems with the download and installation of Windows 7 upgrades obtained through the student discount offer, which Microsoft has confirmed.

Comment: Kind of superficial (Score 2, Informative) 139

by FornaxChemica (#29843713) Attached to: History In Video Games — a Closer Look

The content is rather shallow for an article entitled "History in Video Games", it's just a few recent cases. History plays an important part in several old video games: the majority of wargames (Civilization, Ages of Empire, Centurion Defender of Rome, Nobunaga Ambition, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, North and South, Napoleon), which he did not even mention once, semi-educative games like the Carmen Sandiego series and even your occasional action game !

I was reviewing SNK's Guerrilla War on NES last week on my website. The Japanese version, entitled Guevara, is clearly a depiction of the Cuban Revolution, all the key names and some locations have been retained; you play as Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and the final boss is Batista.

And a better example than Final Fantasy, among old RPGs, would have been The Battle of Olympus on NES set in Ancient Greece. Not to forget all the games from Japan who have references to their own history and myths, like Samurai Shodown.

Comment: Re:Do not touch Tezuka's work (Score 1) 82

by FornaxChemica (#29805989) Attached to: <em>Astro Boy</em> Director Speaks
I had heard of Pluto before but I've never read it. There's a difference though, Naoki Urasawa isn't appropriating Tezuka's universe, it's a reinterpretation, he expands on an existing story, the drawing has nothing in common and it's not even bearing the same title. The film claims to be the Astro Boy. I wasn't outraged when Disney did The Lion King, even though it's supposed to be a rip-off of Jungle Taitei.

Comment: Re:Do not touch Tezuka's work (Score 1) 82

by FornaxChemica (#29805873) Attached to: <em>Astro Boy</em> Director Speaks

Everything you said is true or consistent and this is why I didn't want to write a message in the first place, because it's so easy to dismiss what I said, perhaps rightfully, as the overstated ranting of the inevitable narrow-minded fanboy. I haven't even seen the movie and just basing my argument on a trailer, for Pete's sake!

In some cases, trailers tell you all you need to know, but regardless of that, what I meant by Japanese identity is that Astro as it is could not have come from a different country. Or if it did, it would have been altogether different and surely not as peculiar and charismatic; its about cultural identity and how it imprints on the artist's work. You can't deny popular culture from Japan has its own, strong personality; whenever artists from a different country try to write a story in a manga form, it never feels quite right, the dynamics are wrong and it fails to engross the reader. The filmmakers of Astro Boy seem to have turned the original characters and narratives into stereotypes of American animated movies. Just have a look at the characters they added. Why didn't they keep Tamao and Shibugaki, the clumsy kid with big glasses and the stupid bully? Because they didn't fit in THEIR vision of Astro Boy. But every bit they remove from the original is not just a detail, it's a component part of Astro Boy and a reason why people loved it.

(sorry for the typo in the title)

Comment: Do not touch at Tezuka's work (Score 2, Interesting) 82

by FornaxChemica (#29801571) Attached to: <em>Astro Boy</em> Director Speaks

I don't want to write this message, but I have to, because I'm an avid reader of Osamu Tezuka, because I think he's one of the greatests authors among all creative arts and because this movie adaptation, judging from the trailer, is nothing short of a blasphemy.

They didn't need to make that film, they could have come up with their own robot teen hero instead of pillaging Tezuka's ideas and sculpting them into a run-of-the-mill cartoon comedy with cool kids. This is exactly what it's going to be, you just have to hear some of the lines, the delivery or see a few of the situations to know what you're getting into. This is the killing of a Japanese icon on the altar of aseptic filmmaking and inept storytelling with all the odious cliches we've been enduring film after film in American cinema for the past 10 years or more.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad because it's a production from the US; I love American films, I love good American films. It's bad because Astro Boy, like any other Tezuka work, has so much personality and such a unique Japanese identity that if you stray from it, you're not only losing what makes it so special but you're trashing it. Tezuka could be grandiose and grotesque, humane and merciless, profound and foolish, all this in the few pages of a single story. This is precious, rare, a delight to read. Even if Astro Boy is the lighter side of his vast work, it still should be handled with great care and pertinence, which was obviously not the intention of the filmmakers: their goal was just to make it cool and trendy for modern audiences as to rake money, not critical praise from his fans and admirers.

Even though the story is completely different from the original manga, Metropolis (2001), a Japanese animation film, is certainly more faithful to Tezuka's style and spirit. Rin Taro and Katsuhiro Otomo (author of Akira, who wrote the script) perfectly grasped what made Tezuka's stories so inspiring and beautiful, the vulnerability and complexity of his characters behind the apparent simplicity. And they preserved the original drawing style! Yes, it was daring, but it was right. This is Tezuka, this is how his stories look and read, like it or not, but if you don't, leave them alone instead of trying to mend what you don't comprehend.

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

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