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Enlightenment

Journal Journal: Drill to Hell with the Trinity Broadcast Media

Background on the "Drilling to Hell" story (extract taken from here). Enjoy:

'Are you the one who sent information to a Christian television network in the United States about scientists drilling into hell?' I asked.

'Yes,' he said without hesitation.

'Well,' I continued, 'Do you have any way of knowing whether it is true?'

'Yes I do,' he replied.

'Tell me about it,' I asked.

'None of it is true,' he said. 'I fabricated every word of it.'

Rendalen went on to explain that he had visited the US a few weeks earlier and had seen the host of a Christian television program enthusiastically relating the Drilling to Hell story. He told me: 'I couldn't believe that the hosts really thought the story was true and that they would broadcast it without apparently having checked it out.'

When he returned to Norway, Rendalen sat down and fabricated the graphic story of the bat-like creature and sent his letter to the television network. His prediction was that they would use the story without investigating it. To make an investigation easy for them, he included his name, address and telephone number on his letter. He also included what he claimed was an article on the story from 'Norway's largest and most reputable newspaper'. In fact, the article, which he falsely translated, was a piece in his local community paper about a building inspector.

Ludicrous.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Star Wars DVD 2008

It's really interesting to see the first leaked plans for the 2008 Star Wars digitally re-remastered DVD bundle planned by George Lucas. For those of you who don't know, a table napkin was recovered at one of Lucas's recent 3 hour lunches which listed some of the small changes George Lucas has his electronic wizards working on to make the Star Wars IV-VI experience even more authentic to the original vision.

The full list can be viewed here.

Yoda will be coloured blue

And will be more "repellantly sluglike"

Jabba the Hut will be reinstated as a short fat viking.

Luke's name will be redubbed to "Pete" in all dialogue

Han will not only shoot first, but will also violate Greebo's corpse, crying and laughing all the time

The light sabers will change colour, and Luke's will feature Obi Wan's ghostface, shouting obscenities at Darth Vader whenever their blades meet.

Leia and Princess Chewbacca will switch roles, as was originally intended

The asteroid field will have 58% more rocks

C-3PO will wear a tiara in every scene in episode V

The swimming pool scene will be reinstated to Return of the Jedi. The hilarious bakery scene is re-instated to the end of The Empire Strikes Back.

Insignias on the Imperial Stormtroopers uniforms will be mirror imaged, so appear correct to Darth Vader, the only person who cares.

Reflections will be added to Figrin D'an's eyes, a detail that has been infuriating George Lucas for many years now.

Luke's voice will occassionally crack, and go high pitched, as befitting his supposed prepubescent status in Episode IV.

The Tie Fighters will be remodelled into the original Lucas-inspired shape, a matchbox glued to a biro.

R2D2 will be completely removed, his place covered by a hairy ape man called Dref'r'tan Murbar'Eh'tan'For'T'r'e's'Open.

Luke's pornographic video collection is once more visible in Chapter IV

A number of DVD easter eggs are also planned, including Cast Interviews in Spanish, Cast Interviews with Director's Commentary (In Broken Spanish), and an exclusive Spanish trailer for SW IV-VI DVD 2009. Another tantalising rumour (unconfirmed) is that the DVD will also feature a analogically remastered version of scene one, created by feeding badly fingerprinted film through an old projector and filming the result in a shaky handheld video camera. Each DVD will be painstakingly wrapped in some of George Lucas's shit, with a hand written note from the director telling them to fuck off.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Settling the Free Software Argument Once and For All. 2

I, like many people, am utterly sick of the seemingly neverending argument over whether Open Source software is superior to Closed Source software. The same points have been canvessed over and over again, usually using Linux vs. Windows as a comparison. This is a poor analogy since this discussion takes place on Slashdot, where the majority of users are biased, and encouraged in their bias by editors following a policy set by their parent company VA Software (a Linux distributor).

In this latest kick ass thesis, I aim to sidestep the usual pitfalls of Open Source and Closed Source contentious debate points such as TCO, security, ease of use, technical proficiency required etc. by staging the debate in a more useful genre which allows an unbiased comparison between free software and non-free software.

Let us then compare Open Source and Closed Source software systems by comparing the relative merits of Open Source Nethack and Closed Source Half-Life 2.

END OF PART 1

Coming soon PART 2: Graphics

User Journal

Journal Journal: Friday Afternoon Timewaste

Looking for something to occupy your attention? Stories on the frontpage the usual boring shit? Here, have a website that you can happily spend quite obscene amounts of your time looking at: tvgohome.com. Tvgohome is (or rather was) a spoof TV listing site which looked suspiciously like the British Radio Times. Amazingly unPC and offensive, it's a joy to read for anyone with a decent sense of humour.

Some highlights: long running serial spew of hate against PR people "Cunt" starring Londoner Nathan Barley, "Yo! Diary of Anne Frank", "You Gay Fag", "Moviewreck" and others too numerous to mention. The author has something against Ralf Fiennes which is never satisfactorily explained. Check out the archives here if you've a few minutes to waste.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Joys of Vigilantism

I noticed yet another new vigilante troll list being created, PoliticalTrollOptOut who aims to join the illustrious likes of List Of FAILURES, (CmdrTaco approved) No More Trolls and Apple Fanbois and countless others. Join them in writing an introductory post, foeing two or three people a week for about a month and then getting bored and never updating again, that is.

Political Troll Opt Out is notable in the extreme length of their introductory blurb, written in handy FAQ format. Some questions they're anticipating being commonly asked: How are we supposed to talk about politics without being labeled a political troll? To which the answer is a 13 point manifesto that boils down to debate fair, kids. Having some experience of the type of political debate that takes place on Slashdot, it is lucky that the next question addresses You only have so many foes slots, so what happens when you run out? (Answer: Create yet another account)

I have some issue with their "I've been flagged as a troll! Not fair! Waaaaah!" FAQ further down as it implies any opponent to being foed is childish. Obviously implying your opponent is emotionally stunted contravenes rule 1 of their own manifesto, meaning they should foe themselves from the off. Sadly Slashcode is missing this useful functionality, so I am composing a bug report to get the crack Slashhack team onto it.

Still, it will be interesting to see who appears on the list. I will be watching that space. In the meantime, I am aiding in the creation of user=NoBlockListsList, a handy account which will let you automatically assign penalties to any blocklist via zoo.pl, as soon as I can be bothered setting up another gmail account.
The Media

Journal Journal: Some good advice I once read on Slashdot 1

For a good time on Kazaa, search for "inbox.dbx" or any file with "dbx" in it. Inside the file will be that user's Outlook Express emails.

Also, searching for "ICQ and DAT" or something close to that will return logs from ICQ conversations, same with ".log" files.

Finally, find out the filenames that digital cameras output, such as "IMAGE001.JPG" or "MVC0001.JPG" or "DVC00001.JPG" or "DSC00001.JPG" and search for those to find naughty pics people never intended to share.
User Journal

Journal Journal: The BSD style license is an abject failure 5

The only thing preventing me from trying out one of the BSD's is (leaving poor hardware support aside) my theological problems with the BSD license.

The thing that always makes me chuckle at BSD zealots of any flavour is their frantic clinging to the absurd notion that the BSD license is somehow purer, freer and more useful than the GPL (Gnu Protective License).

Let's take a step back and assess the purpose of the BSD style license in a civilised and open-minded manner. The main purpose of the BSD style license is to freely share the benefits of a coders work among whoever wants it, while allowing this "taker" any rights to repackage and sell the work, as long as he/she/it credits the original author correctly.

What was the purpose of creating this license? It was to give freely to large corporations, in the hope that they, seeing the benefits, would be filled with a sense of generosity and thus help support BSD projects with gifts of hardware and technical expertise that the BSD pastime need so desperately.

If you actually look at what is happening now, as I write these words, this has not come to pass. The supposition of the original authors of the BSD license has been shown for the wooly minded nonsense it is. To believe large corporations would act in any way benevolent, rather than looking to the shareholders bottom line, is the worst kind of wishful thinking which grew popular in the peace movement of the 60's when the BSD license was created. This paradigm simply doesn't fit into the modern world as we know it.

Is it any wonder then that increasingly BSDs are relying on donations from an echochamber of rapidly dwindling numbers of zealots? The dream of corporate back scratching in return for free code is a sham. This is why I cannot use BSD. The fundamental license precepts are not based on reality as we know it.
Sci-Fi

Journal Journal: Finally caught Blade 3


Don't like spoilers? GO AWAY

Blade 3 is the slow kid next door. It's mildy entertaining, tries hard but is too stupid to really like. And, like that mildy amusing kid, after seeing it, you won't be disappointed if you never see it again.

The problem with this movie isn't the action, which is entertaining while it lasts and decently paced throughout the film. It's the dumbass script that requires Blade to get captured and Whistler killed in the easiest way ever (how did these guys survive so long?), before giving him the most useless bunch of sidekicks I have ever seen.

There's the nearly-get-killed, listen to music, master of the bow, Some Chick. This badass takes on 4 vampire guys in her setting-the-scene introduction (which abruptly cuts in without explanation, disturbing the flow of the film), letting them get close enough to almost kill her a few times so she can show off her mediocre fighting skills. She seems to rely on ridiculous gimmicks like wrist blades and "hot as the sun" UV lasers to give her a chance. You don't doubt for a second that she will survive, especially when you count the bad guys and the good guys and realise they suspiciously pair up rather well (bad chick v good chick, dumb wrestler v wisecracking guy, Blade v Dracula)

Then there's Chandler Bing with muscles, Funny Guy. His constant wisecracks are bloody awful, with the audience I was sitting with laughing as much as Blade did (though I was laughing in his torture scene Ha Ha. Die, Chandler Bing-wanabee). Much to my disgust, Funny Guy didn't die, though God knows he deserved to. His Kung Fu was far from unstoppable, though he managed to outwit implausibly three dogs and a wrestler. After nearly getting killed by a weedy ill-looking ex-girlfriend skagbitch, he gets saved at the end by the magical plot fairy.

The rest of the team were even more woeful. If you're a kick ass vampire killer you don't want on your team

A blind girl

A kid

A fat sweating computer nerd with a fetish for weaponry (like the whole film really)

A basketball loving security expert who doesn't watch surveillance cameras
They all deserved to die. Sadly one survived.

OK, the weaponry fetish bits were weird as fuck. Chandler Bing shouts things like "This oiled up baby can hurl 10,000 rounds per minute through your typical vampire punks...blahblahblah..leather...blahblahblah...turns me on...explosives." whilst clicking things and stroking his weapon. It was weapono-porn, and it was seen before in Blade 2. I got the impression that these damn things had cost so much as props to make that the whole film crew wanted to make love to them liberally.

The hand to hand fighting was OK, but suffered from the "Hollywood Hit", where two fighters do a sort of Pat-a-cake of grunting karate chops, obviously not connecting, but even if they did obviously not about to do any damage. Daredevil was the pits for this. Just watch the scene in the playpark again. Woeful. Wesley did OK, but Some Girl was terrible. Also Chandler Bing got beat up for about 12 hours, then felt fine 10 minutes later.

Finally, the product placement was nausea inducing. This time, iPod was the culprit. For no reason at all, just as a plotless advertisement in a film I'd already fucking paid for Funny Guy decides to mention (in a low, intense voice) "Some Girl...she always listens to music when going out on a kill...(mentions something about building a playlist (no shit...he really mentioned a fucking playlist))" Cut to scene of Some Girl easily selecting songs thanks to Apple Computers TM revolutionary WheelTM technology on a very obvious white iPod. The only other obvious product placement was Nokia phone (just as gratuitous, but at least it didn't get its own pointless plotline.) Anyway, none of this made any fucking sense at all. Like you would go hunting something dangerous with music headphones on, cutting down one of your senses that could help you survive. Why not get drunk instead. Or fight vampires whilst watching a crystal clear SonyTM screen playing your favourite DVD on a portable player? That would make just as much sense ie. none.

Maybe instead Apple could have bought a full five seconds of film, and just had in big letters halfway through "BUY AN IPOD, OK? KTHNX" So blatant it wasn't funny, like the Guiness advert in Minority report. Disgusting. I hate product placement. No more Hollywood for me for a while.

And the end made no sense whatsoever. It's like the Director suddenly thought...right guys we need to wrap it up...hmmmm...killer virus. All vampires dead. But somehow Blade's still errr..fighting people. Not sure who he's meant to be fighting.

Anyway, ill formed rant over, though I could go on at length about the fact none of the characters cared when they were shot at, you never really felt any major character was in the slightest danger of dying, and they totally missed opportunities to actually make Blade more interesting, such as exploring what would happen if he ever did fully win his battles (get a job?), what he would do if he was the only vampire left (kill himself?). Count Dracula says at the end Blade's hybrid strain will mean the race of vampires never dies out, even if he kills him, but noone seems to care that Blades offspring will create a new resistant form of vampires just as bloodthirsty (one would assume).

Blade 4 will be even worse.

User Journal

Journal Journal: iTunes now reported to European Commission 1

I see on the BBC that the Office of Fair Trading has now reported Apple to the European Commission. If you missed the story, it's based around the fact that Apple charges Britons 20% more for the same songs than it charges French or German consumers, in obvious breach of the European Unions laws on free trade across EU borders. It is analogous to Apple charging different states in the US different prices which, if it were to occur, would provoke uproar.

Apple also prevents fed up British customers from simply downloading the same songs from France or Germany, by only allowing registration to these European services by residential addresses in the respective countries, and payment to be made only through local online payment agencies.

Britain has had across the board higher costs on items from cars to clothes for several decades now, coining the phrase "rip off Britain". Apple and its apologists say the pricing decision is based on competition in each country, which is a somewhat strange argument to use for online music providers. I mean, how is a customer in the UK going to have different online music choices than a customer in Germany?

When the last Rip Off Britain furore erupted over Rover cars (where the Rovers were more expensive for Britons than Germans, despite the plant which made the cars being in Britain), the manufacturers blamed local tax laws, duty, anyone they could rather than their own greed. Apple cannot use this argument: they aren't even shipping a physical product. But they try a similar argument, explaining costs of distribution rights are different in each European country. I have yet to see any evidence that Britain has higher music rights costs than France or Germany.

Despite what their apologists say, the decision by Apple to participate in the rip off of British Consumers should be condemned. I hope the European Commission will force Apple to equalise pricing in all its European stores unless it has a very good reason not to do so, and to compensate its British customers.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Longest Haiku EVAR



squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled
squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled
squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled
140 letters.
Science

Journal Journal: Monkeys with Typewriters

As a molecular biologist, I know a bit about molecular biology. Sadly. Because when I read articles like this one "Human Gene Count Slashed" I spontaneously vomit my lunch all over my keyboard.

The first wave of nausea came upon reading the story summary, a brief paragraph showing the contributor has no idea at all about the topic he purports to summarise. I'd love to believe this was a clever troll, but a brief glance over of jd's posting history suggests against this. Firstly jd shows he hasn't really read the articles he's linking to, by confusing genome, the entire set of genes within an organism, with genes, the individual open reading frames which are transcribed into RNA and then translated into protein machinery.

Jd, in his newfound bilogical wisdom, then tells us what a huge effect this will have on "genetic engineers" by making up some nonsense about how protein:protein interactions MUST then be more complex, as there are fewer genes. Well, on the balance of it, no. What jd is missing is the simple fact that a single gene may have a number of different proteins arising from it. There is a system know as splicing, where different parts of a gene, called introns, are assembled into slightly different proteins. Thus a single gene may give us many different proteins with vastly different functions, depending on the intron "cassettes" they contain. The overall number of genes doesn't matter one jot.

Then, for no reason, jd decides to throw in a reference to something else vaguely biological. Get this!: There is no mention, in a story on the revised estimate of the number of genes in the human genome, of two cases where genetic therapy to cure cystic fibrosis or SCID has inadvertantly interfered with the regulation of an oncogene, thereby causing cancer! What were those journalists thinking? Don't they realise they should cover every half baked tangential sideplot so jd can attempt to link it badly with his chosen subject?? Jd seems to believe the well understood mechanism of genetic therapy causing cancer has something to do with the protein:protein interactions that he was expounding his wisdom on in the previous paragraph. I can only hope he further enlightens the body Science with his other insights.

Finally, nearly finished beating up on him enough, he gives us the memorable throwaway line "The new estimates, therefore, are more than just idle curiosity but have the potential for impacting how the science is approached." Yes indeed jd. This morning, when I was PCRing a short stretch of the src gene for eventual cloning, I thought there were far more genes. Now this bombshell has landed, nothing will ever be the same again. Will my PCR still work? Yes. Will I have to approach my work differently? No. Was that last sentence just anally derived waffle? *grunt* *splash*

And don't even get me started on the +5 insightful posts below....
Bug

Journal Journal: Noticed this in Virtual Reality Cyrano's Journal 2

An ecode tag in a blockquote in the latest journal in your list seems to result in a strange bugs when you look at the posters comments on their ~Username page. It seems to be due to the short preview that is available of the first line of a journal entry, since somebody was careless in not closing an opened blockquote/ecode in the preview, as the closing clause is not present in the preview, the quote being too long to fit. That should just about do it. Let's test it.

Update: WOO, this is fun. Let's try bold and italics too.

Update 2: Alas! bold and Italics are ignored in ecode. I should have known that. I'll switch them around a bit.

Click me to see.

If you're wondering what the fuck this is all about, its only visible in "light" mode accessed via your preferences. Hope this helps etc. etc.

Worms

Journal Journal: Another brush with the Nazpple Mods 3

After posting this, a mild criticism of yet another superfluous Apple fluff article, I was understandably, modded down. Thanks heavens for the mod system. But then, I was surprised to see I was also strangely modded down on 4 seperate posts in my recent history within the same 2 minute period. Strange coincidence, no?

I am seriously considering registering the nick Apple Legal Team, to issue C&D and takedown notices on any poster mildly critical of any aspect of Apple Inc. I don't really have the time or inclination to expend the effort, but I'm slowly building up a sort of motivation momentum.

Anyway, back to the article. It could have been worse - it could have been the most appalling article in apple.slashdot.org history, the "MUCH ANTICIPATED HUNGARIAN MAC OS-X TRANSLATION FINALLY RELEASED". 60 comments total. 1 "+5, FUNNAY" comment. Let's see if this recent one will beat the 60 post barrier. My money's on the Hungarians.

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Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov

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