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United States

Journal Journal: New federal "security" regs on hundreds of common chemicals 3

Big brother is at it again. The Department of Homeland Security is issuing new regulations requiring reporting on, and guarding of, hundreds of common chemicals with "terrorist applications" (such as propane, hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, ...). This impacts farms, universities, industries from pool supplies to medicine to janitorial, small business, startups, and the general public.

Wireless Networking

Journal Journal: Total bandwidth with MIMO and "smart antennas" 5

A thread in the Slashdot article The 700MHz Question drifted into a discussion between me and rcw-home/rcw-work on using multiple antennas to synthesyze multiple patterns. This allows a particular hunk of bandwidth to be reused to generate several full-bandwidth links simultaneously - either between a base station and several remote stations or even between the base station and a single remote station that itself has multiple antennas.

The thread is beginning to horzon out on my user info history. So this journal entry is a new venue for its continuation after rcw-*'s most recent post.

I'll respond to that after he posts here to indicate that he's also making the move.

User Journal

Journal Journal: car repairs 6

So I took the mustang to the shop the other day and told the service manager "See it pops out of gear when I drop out of warp."

He looked at me like I was a dork. Of course the mechanic found nothing wrong. Why does that always happen? It's like when I goto the shop they never can replicate the problem I am having. Is it just me?

So $700 later the car is running fine again. Needed some kind of air valve, and all the fluids changed, and the drive belt has been replaced. I'm all kinds of poor, now.

Movies

Journal Journal: Hollywood vs. Sealand 3

In a slashdot posting titled "Hollywood vs. Sealand" on April 2 2007, I:
  - Made a movie proposal,
  - Asserted copyright,
  - Offered to license it,
  - Threatened possible infringement suits if such a movie is made sans license, and
  - Directed anyone wishing to license it to contact me by leaving a message in my journal. B-)

This journal entry is to receive such messages.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Well... where to begin! 1

Well... Things haven't improved much since my last posting I see!

North Korea tested a nuke...kinda. I guess it misfired or something. Good thing they don't have weapons of mass destruction and are hell bent on destroying the world like Iraq was... oh wait. Oh their country doesn't have a strategic commoditity on it. I wonder what'll happen with Kim Jong-il chokes on a bon-bon and slinks off this mortal coil. Hopefully cooler heads will pervail, though I highly doubht that.

I suppose I have to talk about Iraq. I'm not sure what else to really say about it. Our government and by extension, us fucked up. That's right, we're to blame. Luckily in the last election those of us who voted explained in clear language we thought that Congress rolling over and not providing any oversight and giving the president a blank check was a mistake that they should lose their jobs. I could go on about this, but so much has been said and written that I think my musing about it would merely be a full repeat. However, go read "Fiasco" by Thomas Hicks. It's horrifyingly educating, but like anything else, realize that your seeing one side of the argument and keep that in mind.

There's something that a good freind of mine said and I'll repeat it here because I think it's really intelligent point of view on the overarching "War on Terrorism". I'm at best paraphrasing, but you'll get the jist.

After September 11th, George Bush had an opportunity to take this country in a different direction. He in that single moment in history could have stood up at the podium and said "Listen the people of America. Those who just attacked us, were funded by us. Everytime you fill your tank, you're funding terrorism. America will no longer be beholden to the oil barrens of the middle east. I propose by the end of this decade that America will cure itself of it's oil addiction. I know that this will be hard and America will have to sacrfice, but I know that our tenacious spirit and unparalled wisdom will prevail." He could have then gone on to explain how we were going to build massive wind farms and decommission all of our oil fired power plants. How we were going to build massive Thermal depolymerization plants that would turn our organic waste into usable oil. He could have mandated that the big three and any auto maker that wanted to sell cars in America would have to meet super strict emission and fuel economy standards.

And you know what, we would have gone along with it. We as a nation would have looked at the craters in NY and the blacked facade at the pentagon and said "Your right, we need to change course". We all know that oil is a dead end enterprise. That at some point we're going to have to get off that bandwagon. However, the future argument is always made. The idea that over the horizon is some super techology that's going to fix everything. Well, unless we start working now, that super technology might never come.

Tragically, instead we went down this path instead. Five years later and we're arguably in a more precarious security situation. Our military is streched to the limit. We're using use more oil then we've ever used.
User Journal

Journal Journal: domain name junkie

I wonder how many people buy domain names for themselves?
I just checked out of curiosity how many I own and it is 17!
Some of them are permutations of my name, and others are just completely wacky, like things I made up during full-moon late night mania. Other ones are speculative businesses that I dream about running some day, such as a small publishing or design company. A few are hobby oriented.

Domains are so cheap now -- it costs about $14.00 to register a name which includes private registration. When I add it up that's about $238 a year -- which is a lot -- but I rationalize it by saying it feeds my dreaming and perhaps this sounds lame, but it fosters hope -- Hope that someday I will have my own business. When I look at my list of 17 domains I see how unfocused I am in exactly what I want to do. I don't know if it is worth $238 to pander to my "what ifs" and psychological game I play with myself.

I've never bought one purely for speculation on reselling it but I know people who have done that. All 17 of mine I view as "mine" and like my cluttered room full of books, I do not like to think about parting with them even though they sit unread, and so the domains sit unpublished.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Thinking of getting a new PC, or a Mac

I sadly have come to realize my 4 year old computer with the AMD Athlon XP 2200+ chip, cannot go above a 512K RAM. I stupidly spent money on Adobe and Macromedia stuff for Windows and so now I am faced with a hard decision. Do I buy a new PC and transfer all of my shiny graphics software to it? Or, do I buy a new Mac (which would be much cooler) and buy all new software? This is an expensive option and one I do not want if there's a way around it. So I'm wondering if the new Intel Macs will run Adobe and Macromedia Windows version software and if so does it run it well? Will I be able to upgrade my current CS2 (Win) to Apple and pay just the upgrade price?
User Journal

Journal Journal: A curse on both your houses. 7

This is, already, turning out like I predicted. From the wire:

"She [House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi] said she would be "the speaker of the House, not the speaker of the Democrats." She said Democrats would aggressively conduct oversight of the administration, but said any talk of impeachment of President Bush "is off the table."

In the Senate, Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record) of New York, the head of the Democrats' Senate campaign committee, said, "We had a tough and partisan election, but the American people and every Democratic senator - and I've spoken to just about all of them - want to work with the president in a bipartisan way."

Fuck it. Give me the Republicans back. At least I can respect them on a "political demagoguery" level.

The serious prospect (no matter how futile) of justice for all is the only thing that would shock this complacent nation out of its stupor.

Compare and contrast:

Whitewater, Enron
Lewinsky, Warrantless Wiretapping
Travelgate, Haliburton

You could say we've impeached for less.

Where is Kenn Starr when you need him?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Well, happy election 5

Well, like after every election these days, I'm disgusted - the same way I would have been disgusted if Al Gore or John Kerry took the Whitehouse with a 51-49 split.

It's foreboding - even today Republicans can send so many candidates back to Washington that it's close.

Something is deeply broken in this country's social machinery, and a few years of the world's most tepid opposition party is not going to fix it. The architecture of the new conservative movement took generations to build, and it will take generations to tear down.

At this point, I almost wish conservatives didn't have this small abberation to contend with. Why let some of the slightly more responsible theives (Democrats) back in the game? What can they possibly do to clean up such a collossal, epic-making mess?

Iraq can be abandoned but it cannot be "solved" - it's a no-win situation, thank you neocon hawks.

The government's finances can only be saved with the dramatic readjustment that must come whenever the party ends and your loans come due - service cuts and tax hikes.

Our economy is deeply endangered, and the world knows it, and quietly buys Euro-denominated assets... and gold ($600-$700 per ounce anyone?).

You have to envision individuals rather than numbers. Elections hide that, which leads to a dangerous complacency.

What would it take for someone to shake this manufactured faith? An American who voted twice for Bush, who is pro-forced-birth, who believes that opposition to the war supports the terrorists, will certainly not understand the subtleties of how you futilely try to fix this mess. I see many of these people still patiently trolling liberals on slashdot even in some hypothetically ruined America, where the economy and the government have collapsed and such activity can only be a brief respite from dealing with another Great Depression. I think if a Nuke went off in Washington, or gas hit $10 a gallon, they could look you in the eye and blame the liberals.

What's so dangerous about the conservative movement is that it is built with not only the same self-satisfied superiority to truth that Hitler and Lenin enjoyed, but even some of the same extremeties of belief.

If you doubt messianic Christians and athiest oligarchs have the same capacity for self-deception, lawbreaking and violence that messianic Muslims do, turn on your television. Sometimes I wonder - is this a movement that could go quietly, when its successor arrives? Parents homeschooling their children to hate religious rivals and liberals sounds exactly the way it sounded to me to hear Palestinian parents (not violent extremists, just ordinary people) teaching their little children about Jews. When you take it that far, when does it ever end?

To be clear, American conservatives are not suddenly winning after a long American past full of respect for Enlightenment principles and the Bill of Rights. They're turning around a brief, 50 year losing streak. In many ways they are conceding defeat - by trying to accept other races, if not other religions, and trying to accept women (though read the fine print). The Catholic Church is even rumored to be considering liberalizing its ban on condoms.

It's time now to look at what's changed over the last 50 years, and think carefully about how we made the progress we have. My first hint is, you have to fight hard - much harder than this new generation ever has. That was perhaps easier when there was a draft and people could see politics as a life or death struggle. But it always is.

Second hint: fight smarter. Conservatives didn't just run on the treadmill faster. They build their own high schools. Train young recruits in the competitive and twisted debate team culture they've fostered. Created bent law schools and launched bent newspapers (and television news networks). They coordinate their PR campaigns with viciously effective, neurolinguistically vetted talking points authored by scientists.

Well, back to today. I am disgusted. But the day is not without its satisfactions.

The conservatives' inner circle is forced to live quite a bit more in reality than most members. It's the only way they can shape it. It's been fascinating to watch their anguish. I imagine most "true believers" are fairly insulated from these sad moments, and will wake up in the morning fully tuned up to exploit a returning scapegoat for a little while.

So with that, I leave you with some quotes by famous neocon hawks. You know, the people who said Iraq would be a cakewalk, and that they'd throw flowers at our troops' feet. Courtesy of Barista.

        Richard Perle: 'The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.... At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.... I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."

        Kenneth Adelman: "I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."

        Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute freedom scholar: "Ask yourself who the most powerful people in the White House are. They are women who are in love with the president: Laura [Bush], Condi, Harriet Miers, and Karen Hughes."

        Richard Perle again: "I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that."

To me, the strangest line comes from David Frum, who wrote the 'Axis of Evil' speech:

"I always believed as a speechwriter that if you could persuade the president to commit himself to certain words, he would feel himself committed to the ideas that underlay those words. And the big shock to me has been that although the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the root of, maybe, everything."

If you spurn the reality based community, and live in a world of will, you have to believe the spell as you cast it.

Otherwise, you may accidentally call forth the Golem, and it will punish you, and not your enemies.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Saddam verdict on Sunday, U.S. election on Tuesday...

(A post I just made...)

So, Saddam Hussein's verdict, the death sentence, is read 48 hours before the U.S. midterm elections...

That's just a coincidence, right?

But, when Republican congressmen are discovered to be gay pederasts, or famous evangelical ministers are outed for using methamphetamines with male prostitutes and the news comes out in the weeks prior to the election...

That's a deliberate attempt to time the news with the election, right?

What do you believe?

If you are an American Republican, you will incur the wrath of your fellow party members unless you answer yes to both questions.

What do you think the Iraqis believe?

Given that there are very few Republicans in Iraq, do you suppose it's possible that they might take a more cynical view on the timing of the verdict?

Could an appearance of impropriety by the Iraqi court could be, by far, the most reckless of the "October Surprises"? (Though neither in October, nor a surprise...)

U.S. troops could actually die in greater numbers because of such blows to the credibility of Iraq's supposedly new, independent government (and its courts).

User Journal

Journal Journal: geek fit

I found this interesting website/blog podcast at Geekfit. I haven't had a chance to listen to the podcasts yet but it looks like a humorous approach to fitness.
User Journal

Journal Journal: racism?

In an online journal community I read a post from a guy who took umbrage to a lawsuit filed by a white student who wish to be admitted into a minority based journalist organization. He said:

"Programs such as these are designed to attract future journalists at a young age and groom them into professional reporters and editors. By allowing white students into these programs, we're defeating that very purpose."

I responded:
"It would help to understand what this group's mission is. If it is to train/educate journalist to focus on minority issues, then I think what does it matter what your race is? Would it make it more acceptable to you if they gave minorities preference in the scholarship process, but still admitted whites? There are white journalists, lawyers, and activist who are advocates for minority issues. Cutting them out just shrinks the pool of people minorities have to lend their voice.

I will give you an example of my thinking. Do you know what Open Source software is? It is software that is free to distribute, but also the base code that makes it is open for anyone to modify and build their own additions upon. Teams of people, and sometimes it's just one person, create this software then put it "out there" for the world to consume.

People join in as a "community" and work on making it better. They know no race, no color, nor does it matter what country you come from. The idea is to make the software work better. There is no feeling of competitiveness because there is a higher ideal -- that if another team comes along and makes a similar piece of software -- it is viewed that *we all* benefit and that it increases the distribution of Open Source software, it's "visibility" in the world, and that is the higher ideal.

I'm wondering if you can see the higher ideal of increasing journalistic endeavors which bring attention to minority and race issues, above the smaller issue of what color the contributors are."

~~~~~

So my thoughts are, is this true though? Is what I said true, or is it some kind of pie in the sky way of thinking and I just wish it were so? Should I break out the tie dye and birkenstocks?

I'm unsure why I even thought to use Open Source collaborative process as an example, but I think in the back of my mind I was remembering how non-discriminating the develpment process is in terms of things like race -- you can't see someone half a world away, to make those kinds of judgements. But I am reminded that even when sending correspondence through the Ether, people will try to make race an issue even when it isn't possible [CmdrTaco].

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