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Journal Journal: Oh, Dear -- The Things You Can Find in the Bible... 20

Controversial issues, aside, I was pointed to this article, today and just thought I'd share this bit of zen:

...Is this true? Are there actual verses decrying gay marriage? Are they anything like those other Biblical verses, about the rules and regulations surrounding marriage that are making the rounds on the Net right now? Real verses. Actual verses. Verses o' sanctimonious fun. Have you seen them?

Like this: "Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take multiple concubines in addition to his wife or wives." (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21).

Or maybe: "A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be stoned to death." (Deut 22:13-21) Isn't that cute? Isn't quoting Bible verse fun? Ask your local pastor about that one. ...

Thank God (pun, intended), for the New Testament.

As the differences between New and Old Testament show, things change, ust like things are changing now. Hopefully these changes, in whatever form they finally settle into, are for the better.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Zen Garden of Content Style Sheets 7

So maybe I'm just behind, but I've found the CSS Zen Garden to be one of the best examples of what CSS can do. Why more websites haven't embraced CSS (let's not mention Slashdot, please) amazes me. Of course, CSS does look more verbose than HTML, and I'm wondering if there are any editors out there that can generate compliant CSS that validates while providing a visual interface to the user.

What CSS sites have you seen that push the envelope and make good use of the technology?

With CSS having this kind of capabilities, do you think XHTML/CSS will bring anything new or useful to the table?
User Journal

Journal Journal: Jungalists, Unite! 3

I've been grooving for the past few weeks on Internet Radio. Now these streaming stations might not be for those who dislike breakbeats, bass, and intense sound, but I love this stuff. If you find you think that description satisfies your aural interest, may I present the following links for your perusal:

Hop on board the Jungle Train

24 hour Drum 'n Bass, on the net.

And let's not forget, a long-time fav of mine:

Soma FM!

If anyone knows of other streams that play a decent selection of Atmospheric Jungle, Darkstep, Breakbeat, or similar, please let me know.

This has been a Public Slashdot Announcement. If you hear the sound of deep, thruming bass, do not be alarmed. The system is working as intended.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Did I Wake Up on the Wrong Planet, Today? 14

Now this is just surreal. I had to do a triple take and make sure this wasn't one of those tricky URLs that look like one site but is really another in disguise. Nope, it isn't. If you're counting, that's the fourth take. Now I'm going to go and grab a Mike's Hard Lemonade. Maybe I'll feel better.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Democrats -- Remove the Kid Gloves, NOW! 25

The GOP impeached Clinton over "improper sexual conduct", and hounded him over Whitewater with $50 million dollars spent, and a handful of convictions. Might someone have more exact number of convictions that resulted from Whitewater, since the cited article was from 1998? I found this page, but it seems awfully one sided...)

Now we have this gem, picked up by Slashdot , as originally reported by the Boston Globe. I wonder how long it will take the rest of the media to follow suit, if they decide to follow suit at all.

Meanwhile, the media is silent on the possibility of potential Vice Presidential wrong-doings. Do I really have to mention Enron, one of the largest bankruptcies in American history, in to all of this? Probably not, but I'll do it, anyways.

So where is the Democratic outrage in all of this? Where is the media? Why haven't the GOP been catching as much hell as Clinton because of the corruption in our government that appears to extend all of the way to the top?

I don't know, but it's an election year. If it doesn't show up soon, it never will.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Contemplation 5

A man sits thinking
On life and the universe
Writing poetry.
User Journal

Journal Journal: What are We Really Teaching in Our Schools? 10

Something from the submissions bin that I felt wasn't necessarily apropriate for an "Ask Slashdot". Of course, that doesn't mean it won't make a better JE:

Bamafan77 asks: "Earl Mardle's blog entry has gotten me thinking about something that has bothered me for a while -- the state of America's education system. I personally think it's fairly bad way to teach anyone anything and John Taylor Gatto agrees. Mardle links to an essay by Mr. Gatto called the, "The Six Lesson School Teacher",which explains what schools really teach young people and that success in school has little bearing on future success. Oh BTW, John Taylor Gatto was New York 1991 Teacher of the Year, but subsequently resigned after becoming fed up with the system. I only wish I had teachers with the insight of a Mr Gatto or a Marva Collins."

Thanks to Bamafan for the submission.

Have thoughts to share on the above? Please do. That's what Journal's are for. I'm interested in hearing what you all think about this issue.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Using ".*" Almost Always Results in Something You Don't Want 14

OK, this might seem like an unnecessary rant, but I, like this poster have been caught by the ".*" bug when issuing Unix commands. I think it's kind of rediculous that most unix commands will do an UPWARD recursive traversal (thanks to the ".." directory entry) as well as a downwards traversal. Most folks, when dealing with TREE structures only expect the latter, not realizing that the former is always possible.

Why is it that Unix commands, expecially rm, and chmod deal with the ".." directory entry without a specific flag telling them to do so? I think it's downright misleading and this feature will cause more problems than it solves as people learn Unix.

Yes, you can replace ".*" with ".[^.]*", but it's extra typing an unintuitive for most people, so why not add in the extra flag.

Basically, this is me writing a journal entry trying to tell a computer to "Do what I say, not what I mean!"

Bored am I! Move along, now. Nothing to see, here.
User Journal

Journal Journal: This Disgusts Me... 26

This is a general message to the userbase at large. If you agree with it, spread it far and wide...

Is it any wonder why people hate the general perception of the Average American, these days? Let me present this piece of evidence to the court. Now why is it that the Average American, let's call him "Joe Sixpack" has to make everything into an US-vs-them issue?

For the record, BOTH Mars missions were a daring effort. One lander has crashed and is presumed dead (but hopefully not), the other has landed, seems to be OK, and the people that put it there are very happy, and have a right to be so. Does that make the other agency less able? Hell no! Space is dangerous, space is hard, and unlike what you see on the average space opera, sending a pile of metal one orbit out and millions of miles away is not easy. If the average "Joe" tried it, he'd be lucky to get something into orbit, much less to Mars.

So why is it that the "Joes" are acting like so many children? When did they all revert to effective age of an Elementary School toddler? Is it any wonder why on the very next frontpage mention of the Mars Mission that it was crapflooded to hell?

Now, this crapflood itself, is reprehensible, but after reading both stories, I can begin to understand the reasons why it might have happend. Let me clarify: I understand, I don't excuse. Crapflooding hurts everyone, and I wouldn't be surprised if there may be talk of cutting out anonymous comments because of this. Before you ask, I don't have the power to influence that decision one way or another. That decision is up to others. However anonymous comments were put in this site for a reason, and crapflooding is not that reason.

But back to the topic in general. I'm seeing this type of behavior more and more in this country (yes, I'm American) and it's beginning to really disturb me.

A quote from someone who will remain nameless. It's not who it is, but what he is saying that's important:

...the average american today is growing up with a steady dose of anti-foreigner Fox news "I love America - don't you love America too?" bullshit being fed into their head, every single day. Is it any surprise?

World War III will be the rest of the world vs. the USA. Not for some years yet, but it's coming.

If this crap continues, he'll probably be proven right.

People of all nationalities, "why can't we all just get along?" -- is it really that hard? Is it really that hard to act our age, especially in online forums where our true identities are masked (and masked less than you think) by online pseudonyms?

Here's a challenge for you: The next time you say something online ask yourself: "Would I say this in a crowd of people I don't know as myself" -- If the answer to that question is "No.", then it might not be worth an online mention, either.

Here's another challenge: Put the shoe on the other foot before you say something. If you feel that you'd be offended by someone...anyone saying something similar to you, maybe it's not worth mentioning at all!

It's the 21st Century folks. This may be the last chance we all have to grow up.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Largest Snake in the World? 9

The statistics: 49' long, and weiging in at 980 pounds.

I think it was found somewhere in Nepal, but I may be mistaken. Aparently some brave (for lack of a better word) villagers went out and captured this thing and since then the village has been keeping it in captivity. It now resides in a zoo.

All I know is that I would hate to be one of the caretakers for that thing. It might take too much of a liking to me and you wouldn't find me in the morning.

I also can't imagine having to clean out that things cage. *shudder* -- Yes. I used to have large issues with snakes. I still do, they've just shrank a bit since I've had actual experiences with them. My irrational fears are no longer irrational, they are quite rational based on personal experience. ;)

I saw a picture of the thing on the news. It's head is almost as big as mine.

Pardon me while I drink the memories of that thing out of my head, before I start having nightmares. Lucky for me it's New Years Eve.
Movies

Journal Journal: Who was the Best Bond Babe? 32

OK, so I have to admit, I've been watching the "007 Days of Christmas" on SpikeTV and watching these films (many of them much worse than I remember them) I am struck by the inconsistency of Bond's leading women. Some are strong, others are just there for the scenery. So I though I'd ask my JE circle (those interested, of course) who their favorite Bond Babe was.

I wanted to like Halle Barry from Die Another Day, but after a fairly strong start (her first 2 scenes) she went rather flat.

Now I'm watching Moonraker, and I'm struck with how capable "Dr. Goodhead" (*groan*) was in that film. She was smart, she was strong, she could even fly a space shuttle. I guess you could call her a "rocket scientist". And to top it off, she worked for the CIA.

Now for me, I'd have to go back and rewatch most of the films. I'd park my butt in front of SpikeTV for the rest of their marathon, but taking a 90 minute movie and inflating it to 3 hours of mostly-the-same-commercials over, and over, and over again is enough to turn my brain into watery tapioca (since right now, the holidays have turned it into molasses). I'll be tuning in for spots, but if I have to see another commercial for The John Henson Show, I'm going to blow a gasket. So for now, I leave you with this helpful, but incomplete reference.

So as a guess for "Favorite Bond Babe", I guess I'd have to go with Michelle Yeoh. She was a take-no-prisoner's type and kept her wits about her. And she also kept Pierce Brosnan on his toes.

As for SpikeTV? I wanted to like it, but once the Bond marathon is over, I'm removing it from the cable line up. For something touted as "The First Cable Network for Men", I'm woefully underwhelmed.

Maybe next JE I'll ask about Favorite (and least annoying) Doctor Who companion, but I'm giving you guys some time to talk me out of it...
CDA

Journal Journal: Oh Lord. It's That Time, Again... 3

It's that time, again. The time we Americans must, in 4 year cycles, deal with the endless dronings of politicians and their promises, the endless political commercials bombarding our minds, cajoling an upholding of values amidst the refrain of "for our freedom" or "for our children". In the end, it boils down to a choice that promises, at worst, to be one between the "lesser of two-evils".

Yep. It's time for the Presidential Campaign Train to roll through an American Neighborhood Near You, and this year promises to be like most recent years: dominated by talk from Democrats and Republicans. Two median parties that pretend to be extremes, but instead are becoming more, and more the same.

Now while I do feel that it would be nice to have a political candidate who did what I felt was important, in office, it has been shown that Technological issues don't matter as much as the Social, or the Economic (let's ignore the interdependency between such issues, and how they aren't really separate...for now, just hear me out).

This brings me to the actual point of this ramble of a JE. I've always wondered whether it would be right for techies to take political stands on issues, yes, even the Presidency. The DMCA, CDA, PATRIOT, and others came about because of the representation we elected as a people, and it's obvious to me that if we continue to follow the trend of electing that we have been, the internet as-we-now-know-it could be legislated out of existence by 2010.

However "techies", "geeks" and "nerds" do not a political group make, and "Slashdot" is even worse. One has to only look at the comments in the actual story to note that political leanings do not follow a particular technological bent. This is good, actually. It shows that we're a fairly diverse bunch. But it's a killer when it comes to political issues that affect us all, and if we don't have "friends" in the Presidential Administration, things like the DMCA are just the tip of the Iceburg.

Things can get a lot worse.

This question was posed to Slashdot over 3 years ago. I didn't realize it then, but I think we might do well to revisit it again, before we lose what voice we may have had, altogether.

[ Updated ]: Please, no more submissions on this topic. While I do believe it's a topic for discussion, I think Politics makes better JEs and crappy Slashdot Articles, especially when the politics come first, and the technology is relegated to an afterthought. So if you wish to talk about this topic, talk about it here, and in your own journals. It is through the interpersonal relationships that political movements are made. JEs are like that. Word of mouth compared to the mass market, tabloid like appeal of a Mainpage Slashdot article. Thusly they tend to have a higher signal-to-noise ratio.
News

Journal Journal: To Michael Vick: Get Well Soon! 2

For those who haven't heard, Michael Vick is now expected to be out for 6 weeks due to a fractured right fibula he received in this weekends pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens.

This just kills me. It's not just the fact that the guy went to my college, nor for the fact that he was the most electrifying player this school has ever seen. No, what kills me is the fact that this was supposed to be his year. He and the Falcons were going to go far, and now this is all in doubt after a freak injury in the pre-season.

Thoughts of a Madden curse aside, here's hoping Michael Vick gets better, and out on the field, as soon as is humanly possible. It's not that I don't want him to get out on the field before he's healed properly, I just would hate for this injury to put the breaks on one of the most promising players to ever play the game.

So this is to Mike: Get well, soon! And this is the last time I'll ever say to someone "break a leg!" as some kind of perverse way of well wishing. You never know when they'll take you literally, and broken legs are not fun.
User Journal

Journal Journal: A Reading Recommendation: _Charisma_ by Stephen Barnes 2

Hello, again!

I've been failing to keep this thing up, but it seems that I only write in it when I have something to write about, and I've discovered that it doesn't have to be daily, or weekly, or even monthly, so these pages don't get much attention. It's not that I haven't been trying, it's just that the impulse to write just isn't there. So I've limited myself to writing only when I need to, and I think it's worked out for the best.

So what brings me out of my shell today? Well, if you read the title, you'll know the book I just finished reading (I just put it down, and then promptly typed in this entry). I'll repeat it again, for the title-impared =):

Charisma by Stephen Barnes

After a long and protracted break from recreational reading it's rare I read a book that affects me enough to write about it. Damn! I wish I could write like this man. It's not enough that he can spin a good yarn, but books like this are like crack (in a way)...you can't put them down, even when they get intense, and this one is no exception.

I don't want to summarize the plot, if you want spoilers, and other reviews, you can go here for them. Needless to say the one thing I find in this book that I rarely find in other books is the attention Barnes gives to his characters. None of the characters in this book fall into the category of "two dimensional cutouts". They all have backgrounds, emotions, dreams and trauma. When they speak they each have a voice and mannerisms. Maybe I'm just overly imaginative, but as I read this book, I saw the events in my head, like a movie.

I was blown away.

For those who are into philosophical discussions surrounding the age old argument on "nurture vs. nature", I encourage you to grab a copy of this book, either new or used, and give it a read.

This weekend I'm off in search of the remaining books in Jack L. Chalker's latest trilogy, if it's even half as good as Charisma or even one of Barnes' previous works. Blood Brothers, be sure you'll find me extolling its virtues, here.

Ah! It's good to be reading, again.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Anyone Playing Master of Orion 3? 1

I picked it up on opening day, and I must say after my initial flurry of excitement, my enthusiasm about this game is waning, and waning rapidly.

Now I've been playing this game on and off since I picked it up the day it came out and I still have yet to figure everything out. I even broke down and read thru (most of) the manual. While I appreciate all of the history and backstory they added into the game, I would have appreciated more, a better description of gameplay.

Maybe you all can help me out with figuring out what things mean or how to accomplish other things that I think should be easy to do (and I have yet to figure out):

  • How do you build planetary improvements like "Hydroponic Farms"? After researching this improvement, it seems that the AI just builds them itself, and I can't figure out how to apply such improvements manually. I open the Planetary Improvements section in the Budget area and it's always blank! Bug? Probably so. I'll be hoping on Infogrames website looking for a patch very soon. I hope there is one.
  • The AI is confusing. Well, that's putting it mildly. It's confusing bordering on braindead. Not to mention there are several problems with editing development plans. I keep changing an existing development plan, only to have it revert back to the old one in the same turn. Clearing the row and resetting the plan seems to fix the problem, but that's just another in several clunky interface decisions that take away from the gameplay for me.
  • The entire interface, while useable, is just strange to me. I guess I'll get used to things as time goes on, but having to make one adjustment on one screen, only to have to click to another screen to see the results of a change gets old after a while (try affecting the build times on DEAs and see how many times you have to bounce back and forth between that screen and the Economics panel in the Planet detail).
  • The technology sliders are a pain to use, I would have preferred a better interface for this. Having the "decrease" button unallocate to a "unassigned research pool" slider and the "increase" button remove from this slider would have been a better solution than what's currently available. As it is, I have to play with the sliders for minutes until I get them the way I want them, of course, adding insult to injury, the AI then changes them around the next turn anyways and I haven't figured out how to prevent this, either.
  • The game pacing seems slower than what I remember from MOO2. Of course, this could just be because I haven't played a Turn-Based game in a LONG time and I've just grown used to RTS pacing.
  • The manual glosses over a lot of detail that I would expect to be in there. I'll probably have to check the in-game encyclopedia, but there are several things that have gone unexplained to my satisfaction. The specific development plans (like "Infrastructure" and "Morale") I can only guess at what they encourage the AI to do. Also, certain icons on the economic panel are a mystery to me (ie the "!" and the "circle-cross" icon next to some of the sliders)

I'm not writing off the game yet, though. I'd be interested in seeing how many of you have noticed any of the problems I have, and would also be interested in any strategies you all have come up with for playing the game. Have any of you actually gotten the Economic AI to behave? What race do you like to play?

For those of you also playing this game, I'd be interested in hearing your experiences.

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"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_

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