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Journal Journal: VP candidate Sarah Palin Wants to Teach Creationism

The Republican ticket is now complete, with John McCain picking Sarah Palin, the Republican Governor of Alaska as his running mate. And sure, she is hot (safe for work) but it would appear she is also a proponent of teaching creationism alongside Evolution in public schools. I don't mean to start a flame war here (ok maybe just a little) but seriously, how can anyone take a candidate seriously when they shamelessly pander to the stupid lobby?
User Journal

Journal Journal: Bad Astronomy Blog: Oklahoma One Step from Doom!

It seems Oklahoma has passed a law stating that Earth Science students must be given a passing grade even if they deny the very principles of Earth Science.

A school district shall treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the district treats a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject and may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject

I raise the issue not to bash OK, nor to start a flame war. However, I believe it raises some interesting questions. What should be the legislatures role in determining school standards? It seems clear to me that our legislators lack an understanding of science fundamentals which is prerequisite to passing laws that make even an ounce of sense. What steps do we the informed electorate need to take to open a dialog with our government about science education. Of course there is the "contact your congresscritter". Since there's little we can do once they are elected, how might we go about opening a more sincere dialog during the election process to raise issues which are important to the scientific community?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Red Team Go! Steal an election that is.

It seems there is a UC Davis Study where students were charged with hacking into the most common 3 kinds of voting machines.
From the Executive Summary:

Each "red team" was to try to compromise the accuracy, security, and integrity of the voting systems without making assumptions about compensating controls or procedural mitigation measures that vendors, the Secretary of State, or individual counties may have adopted. The red teams demonstrated that, under these conditions, the technology and security of all three systems could be compromised.

If thats not bad enough:

The key one is that the results presented in this study should be seen as a "lower bound"; all team members felt that they lacked sufficient time to conduct a thorough examination, and consequently may have missed other serious vulnerabilities.

Oh and they were able to overwrite the firmware on each machine without trouble.... more than a little disturbing.

Data Storage

Journal Journal: Deluxe Notebook Drives... 160G Has Never Been Sexier!

Tom's Hardware is running a comparison here [Tom's Hardware] of three Notebook HDD's. Fujitsu's MHW2 BH Series, Seagate's Momentus 7200.2 and Toshiba's MK1637GSX. All 160G's but available at other capacities as well. Seagate comes out the clear winner, mostly due to the advantage of 7200 RPM (vs. 5400 for Fujitsu and Toshiba) and it's ability to utilize SATA/300 to it's full potential, beating the competition into submission on every benchmark except energy consumption. FTA...

In addition, the 7200.2 comes with Seagate's new free fall sensor called G-Force Protection, it offers a wider operating temperature range, and comes with a comforting five year manufacturer's warranty. The 7200.2 also is one of the most expensive notebook hard drives, at $240. In contrast, we found the Fujitsu drive for as little as $140, and Toshiba's 160 GB product is available for only $120. Seagate wins, but it makes its product hardly affordable, which I guess makes the decision a bit more difficult.

Is it wrong to think HDD's are Sexy? They sure are a great place to store all that pr0n [CNN Money].

Data Storage

Journal Journal: Dell offering 160G 7200RPM SATA drive on XPS M1710

Dell is now offering a 160GB 7200RPM Hard Drive on it's XPS M1710. For the small one time price of only $250 you yourself can get one of these suckers. I was going to buy one yesterday and this option wasn't there, now it is. I dunno for sure but this is the largest capacity 7200RPM drive ive ever heard of.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Chickens lose

Recently the Reptile Gardens has come under fire from a group called United Poultry Concerns for training chickens to do various tricks (playing basketball, tic-tac-toe...). The local paper has even given them a little press. A spokesman for the Reptile Gardens had this to say. Disclosure: Reptile Gardens was started by my Grandpa
Internet Explorer

Journal Journal: IE7 to beat Firefox?

Information Week has published an article about IE7 Beta 2 claiming the final release of IE7 may take back market share from Firefox, while giving credit for most of the 'new' features in IE7 as getting their inspiration from Firefox. They even pose the question "Are Web Standards Still and Issue". The bottom line? Firefox will always be better because more people are willing to develop it into a useful product rather than merely "Leveraging the Browser Market to ..(Insert quip about M$ being evil here).."
United States

Journal Journal: Iraq is now 5th longest war in US history

My uncle brought this to my attention. It is pretty intesting. Here is the text of his email. Hello everyone, Today is a sad anniversary. (And I don't mean because it's the day I officially turn 51-and-a-half.) No, you see today is the day the the Iraq War officially becomes the 5th longest war in American history, surpassing the Korean War which lasted 3 years, 8 months and 12 days. The only four wars which lasted longer are, in order, the Viet Nam War, Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War Two. I just figured this out myself using data from the World Almanac supplied by the Dept. of Defense. And unfortunately, the way things are going, the current mayhem should have no trouble passing World War Two for the number four spot. This will happen on November 21 of this year. It's hard to believe this madness has gone on so long. Anyway, maybe if you have the time, you could pass this info along and generate some buzz. As I implied, I haven't heard any of the media talk about this, and it's probably something more people should be aware of. Jeff B.

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