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User Journal

Journal Journal: yo

Censorship is obscene.
Patriotism is bigotry.
Slashdot is unusable without noscript.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Justice 1

Rioters in England cause millions of dollars worth of damage in 2011. 3000 arrested.

Bankers in England cause billions of dollars worth of damage in 2008. Zero arrested.

This is what passes for justice these days.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Supreme Court is broken. 1

"God Hates Fags" -- Protected Speech
"Bong Hits for Jesus" -- Not Protected Speech

What the fuck is wrong with this country?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Metamoderation, wtf? 2

It used to be that metamoderation was just that, moderation of moderation. I haven't metamoderated in a while, but something has gone horribly wrong. When I go to metamod today, none of the comments are moderated. All I see is "Score: 1". What use is it for me to judge whether a comment has been moderated appropriately , when there's no moderation applied?

Just another reason Slashdot 2.0 sucks.


Journal Journal: Legitimacy 5

A government exists to protect it's citizens. Any government that doesn't, doesn't deserve to exist. Let's look at the US government.

In 2004 crime in the US cost its victims almost 16 billion dollars. [cite(pdf, table 82)]

The criminals behind the current financial crisis have cost the US *trillions* of dollars. Clearly, theft, fraud, and all other property crimes are insignificant in the face of this disaster, and our government did nothing to stop it, and is holding no one accountable. They have utterly failed in their responsibility to protect us.

The WTC attacks on 9/11/01 killed nearly 3000 Americans and caused losses reaching 1.7 trillion dollars in the stock market. [cite]
In response, Bush went to war with Iraq. This war has killed over 4500 Americans and will cost over 3.5 trillion dollars. [cite(pdf, p.1)] Not only did the US government fail to protect us, they harmed us worse than Bin Laden did.

Let's keep going. In 2007, 775,138 people were arrested for marijuana possession. In contrast, 597,447 were arrested for *all violent crimes combined. [cite]. As you can see, the US government victimizes more of its citizens than it protects.

So what's left to justify the existence of this government? Majority rule perhaps? Well, Barack Obama got 62.98 million votes in 2008. The voting age population in 2008 was 230,117,876.[cite] That's 27% of our population that voted for this president. That can in no way be interpreted as a mandate to rule.

From all these facts and figures, one conclusion is clear. The US government has no claim to legitimacy whatsoever.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My platform

I'll add to this as ideas come to me.

There shall be a right to trial by jury in all cases.

Abolish sovereign immunity.

Restitution must be made to innocent people falsely accused, if no charges are filed, or if a person is found innocent the state must bear their legal fees, lost wages, etc. Similarly, those who sue and lose should bear the costs to the defendent.

The punishment for legal negligence should be equivalent to the potential damage caused by the negligence. If a prosecutor neglects to produce exculpatory evidence during discovery, then he should get the same penalty that the defendant would have gotten.

There should be something akin to habeas corpus for evidence.

The president gets 2 weeks vacation per year, as do congressmen.

Congressmen must show up for work, i.e. they must be present to vote unless they're on vacation.

Congressmen must read and understand every bill they vote for. Perhaps bills should be read aloud before a vote, or maybe there should be a quiz.

Probable cause should be just that, probable. If any judge issues warrants, or officer makes arrests, and these warrants or arrests lead to convictions in less than 50% of cases they must lose their authority to issue warrants or make arrests.

Given the widespread practice of 'testilying', it shall be presumed reasonable to doubt any testimony given by a police officer. Everything an officer does while on duty must be recorded.

All jurors should be informed of their responsibility to nullify unjust laws.

Passing a law that is found unconstitutional will result in impeachment.

No corporate personhood.

No victim, no crime. If there is no actual, specific, individual victim, no crime has occurred.

User Journal

Journal Journal: memory

For my future reference:

User Journal

Journal Journal: NLP 3

I had a little thread going about NLP. Last entry is here. Any additional comments anyone has are welcomed.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Sony Rootkit Allegedly Contains LGPL Software 1

This is a letter I'm sending to the authors of the
relevant software:

Dear Devs,

No doubt you've heard of the controversial "rootkit" bundled with
many of Sony's CDs to prevent unauthorized copying. By now I hope
you've been informed that this rootkit contains and uses code from
your Free Software projects. (LAME, id3lib, mpglib, bladenc: see I write as a concerned member of
the digital community in hopes that you will seek punative damages
against Sony, to ensure that this never happens again.

Statutory damages for copyright infringements go as high as
$150,000 per copy. Given that there are at least 20 cds, selling
hundreds of thousands if not millions of units even a modest
settlement quickly adds up to the largest copyright infringement
lawsuit ever. You all stand to earn tremendous judgements; think
of all the Free Software you could write when independantly
wealthy. But more importantly, this is a chance for the common
person to fight back.

I would urge you not to settle however. For far too long,
mega-corporations have been allowed to buy and sell the law, run
amok, and generally ruin the lives of common people. Until now,
even the largest class action lawsuit could be written off as a
cost of doing business. If we are ever to correct bad behavior
we MUST apply real punishment. A judgement that bankrupted Sony
would be a wakeup call to every corporation in the world, and
I urge you to persue this for the sake of social justice

It's pretty ironic that Sony violated copyright in software
designed to prevent copyright infringement. I like irony, and I'd
also like to see the irony of the media industry being bit by the
very teeth they lobbied into the law in the first place. Thanks
for reading this, and good luck.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Intelligent Design 2

Whew, long topic on ID. While reading through it, I was reminded of a passage from an ecology book I once read. I paraphrased it from memory, I hope its relevance to ID is obvious:

Let me tell you a little story about long shots and averages and how not understanding the two lead to an incorrect hypothesis. Some time ago ecologists were interested with the rate that trees would repopulate a volcano after an eruption. They observed the trees, and figured out the average distance that a seed would fall from the tree, and from that they calculated an expected movement of the treeline.

However this was wrong, the trees repopulated much more quickly than expected. While the ecologists had figured out the averages correctly, they failed to realize that a small proportion of seeds would be carried much further than the average. The seeds that came from these trees would have a head start and some small portion of the next generation would be carried even further.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? Are you sure that in your calculations of expected rate of evolutionary change you're not making the same mistake these ecologists did?

User Journal

Journal Journal: More OS X gripes

At work I've been playing with a knoppix system(on CD) and some old imacs. The processors are comparable 500 vs 400 MHZ (and supposedly a PPC MHZ does more than an x86 MHZ) They have the same amount of ram, 500MB. Side by side KDE blows the shit out of OS X, for one simple reason. Finder in Jaguar can't even scroll large directories smoothly. Konqueror has no problem. OS X is god awful slow. I can't think of any reason firefox should take longer to open from a hard drive instead of a compressed cdrom file system, but it does.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Usable?

iTunes is one of OS X's "killer apps" And one would think it would "just work." Not so. One of the most trivial things to expect from an audio player is that when you load a playlist it will play those files, and only those files, in order. However when I download an m3u, itunes opens up and it puts the contents into the "Library" with every other music file I've ever played. What's more, is that it intercalates the songs in the playlist amongst the other files with no regard for the order in the .m3u. In order to play a .m3u playlist in order I must download the m3u, create a new playlist, then drag the m3u onto itunes. And then I STILL have to click the bar on top to get them to sort properly. Does this "just work"? I think not.

User Journal

Journal Journal: silly putty

As a followup to my own post, here is the correct Silicon full recipe

Preparing "Silly Putty", a silicone polymer (a methyl silicone, polydimethylsiloxane), via the hydrolysis of dichlorodimethylsilane with simple lab tools.

This silicone, which contains residual hydroxyl groups, will be cross-linked using boric acid (B(OH)3). This trifunctional acid forms -Si-O-Blinkages resulting in a peculiar type of gum. The commercial "bouncing putty" found in novelty stores is a silicon polymer with softening agents, fillers and coloring agents added. The actual full list of Silly Putty ingredients with colorants and softening agents is :

-- 65% dimethyl siloxane, hydroxy-terminated polymers with boric acid
-- 17% silica, quartz crystalline
-- 9% thixotrol ST
-- 4% polydimethylsiloxane
-- 1% decamethyl cyclopentasiloxane
-- ~1% glycerine
-- ~1% titanium dioxide

                This putty recipe is similar and equally pleasing:

Day 1: This reaction must be carried out in a fume hood.

Wear gloves to measure 20 mL of Si(CH3)2Cl (MW = 129.06, density = 1.064 g/mL) in a dry graduated cylinder. Rapidly transfer to a dry 250 mL Erlenmeyer flask equipped with a rubber stopper. Si(CH3)2Cl2 reacts rapidly with moisture to produce HCl gas so make the transfer swiftly. To this add 40 mL of diethylether and hydrolyze by adding 40 mL of H2O dropwise. HCl gas is evolved in this hydrolysis step.

The addition must be made slowly at the beginning of the reaction or too vigorous an evolution of the HCl will occur. The ether component will be warmed up to its boiling temperature if H2O is added too quickly. It is a good idea to have an ice-bath ready to cool down the reaction flask if the hydrolysis becomes too exothermic. The first 10 mL addition of water is very vigorous but less so afterwards. After this initial quantity, you may increase the rate of addition. The product has a very strong odor; be sure to do this in a fumehood!

Separate the ether layer at the completion of the hydrolysis step by pouring the mixture into your 250 mL separatory funnel. Wash the ether layer 3 times with 100 mL (for each wash) of 1 M Na2CO3.

This step is done to neutralize any residual acid remaining in the wet ether solution. Vigorous evolution of CO2 gas is observed at this stage as the neutralization proceeds. Add 10 mL more of diethylether to the flask after the first wash. Finally, perform on additional wash with 100 mL of water. Dry the ether solution over anhydrous magnesium sulfate in a stoppered Erlenmeyer flask, which you let rest for step two.

Day 2:

Decant the ether solution, filtering off any magnesium sulfate, into a pre-weighed 50 mL Erlenmeyer flask and evaporate off the ether using a water bath - not a hot plate. Note the yield of the dimethylsilicone oil (you should have approximately 9.5 g of material).

Add about 5% (by weight) boric acid (about 0.48 g for a yield of 9.5 g of oil), stirring continuously during the addition and for a few minutes after. This will cause the oil to become very viscous.

Heat the mixture to about 170-180 C in an oil bath and leave at this temperature for 2-3 hours. Allow to cool and remove the product from the flask by scraping it out with a spatula. If the gum is somewhat brittle, continued kneading will produce the desired gum-like characteristic. Once the gum has been removed, clean your Erlenmeyer flask with methanol.

Perform and report on the following tests:

(1) When rolled into a ball, does your product give a lively bounce on a hard surface?

(2) Does pulling sharply cause the gum to cleave?

(3) Does pulling slowly result in a stretching reminiscent of chewing gum?

(4) Does your product flow into a flat plate when placed on a flat surface?

(5) Is print transferred to the gum when test (4) is conducted on a flat newspaper?

General References

1. J. E. Mark, H. R. Allcock, R. West, Inorganic Polymers, Prentice Hall, Chapter 3, 1992.

2. D. F. Shriver, P. W. Atkins, C. H. Langford, Inorganic Chemistry, pp. 438-446, 2nd Edn, 1994.

3. F. O. Stark, J. R. Falender, A. P. Wright, "Silicones" in Comprehensive Organometallic

Chemistry, G. Wilkinson, F. G. A. Sone, E. W. Ebel Eds., Pergamon Press, Vol 2, Chapter 9.3, p.305, 1982.

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...though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"