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User Journal

Journal Journal: Quicken and MS Money: A Case of WHAT THE FUCK IS UP? 1

I've been tyring to find a program with which to manage how much money we have left on grants at work. So, I've tried a couple of demos. What the fuck is up with this crap? When moving money from one account to another, it will say "deposit" in both accounts, despite the fact that money was withdrawn from one account and deposited into another. I'm no fucking accountant, but I know that that's fucking bullshit. On top of that, the programs completely bork things up when you download the qif files for different accounts if money moves from one account to another. Furthermore, it's filled with fucking ads. Earth to intuit: people are paying for the product, not fucking ads and annoying pop-up reminders.
So, I looked on to get some reviews for Quicken and MS Money. Wow, what complete crap. In each case, the more recent the version, the crappier the product. Some people have even said that they've gone back to 1994 versions of Quicken, because it's gotten so crappy. Meanwhile, MS Money displays its own array of inexcuseable bugs.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to come by versions of Quicken 2000 or earlier. It's too bad that GNUcash isn't available for Windows. It's been very good to me for my personal finances. Guess increasingly crappy products are the kinds of problems you run into when you create an artificial scarcity of goods.

I mean, these programs are so fucking bad I deleted free iso's I downloaded from Kazaa. The latest is definately not the greatest. If anyone knows of any alternatives, or good versions, please do tell.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Latest on "The O'Reilly Factor" 4

O'Reilly's Insulting Opinions on Personal Behavior

One of O'Reilly's latest talking-points memosdiscussed how the health-situation of the Pope and the disorganization of the Catholic Church is allowing the Secularist Movement to progress, unchecked. It is quite clear that O'Reilly does not agree with the Secularist movement at all, though he does not necessarily think that all of the things they advocate should be illegal. The Catholic Church, however, has a long list of things which it thinks should be illegal, and has proven to be incapable of distinguishing between what should be illegal and what it [The Church] thinks is immoral.

I. The Catholic Churh should deal with its own immoral behaviour before criticizing that of others

However, he has not been idolizing the Catholic Church, either. According to the the online transcript, O'Reilly had spent three days trying to find out why the Pope (and thus, the Catholic Church) has not acted more aggressively in combating sexual abuse by priests within the Church. The Catholic Church makes official declarations every day about how what everyone else is doing is immoral: Abortion, pre-marital sex, and contraceptives are immoral; abortion, the after-pill, and Planned Parenthood are immoral; prostitution, homosexuality, and incest are immoral; drugs, euthanasia, and smoking and drinking is immoral.

Yet, somewhere in The Bible, it said something about tending to the log in your own eye before the speck in another's. So, I suggest that, before the Catholic Church continues its war on the privacy rights of consenting adults, they clean up their own act. In that regards, what I ask is simple: that they get their priests to keep their fucking hands off of our kids. Priests, being in a position of implicitly understood trusts, have all the more violated their duties and the law when the rape little children. Thus, I suggest that the Church at least test individuals who are candidates for priest-hood for their likelihood to be pedophiles. I furthermore suggest that they institute a zero-tolerance policy towards Priests who rape children. If charges of child-molestation are brought before a Priest, the Church should suspend them from their duties and banish them from Church grounds, while the matter is ongoing. They could get paid for their suspension the same as normal salary, and be reinstituted into their position, if the charges are dropped or the priests are found not guilty. Obviously, the Church should decide if the charges had merit anyways, and if they were only dropped because of technicalities, should disenfranchise the priest. I suggest that they take a similar course of action for other crimes Priests may be accused of, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, theft, and murder.

Furthermore, I suggest that the Church stop protecting criminals. If someone confesses something that is immoral, fine. The Church should keep tthat person's confidence. But if they confess something that is of a serious criminal nature (e.g., a felony), then the Church should report it. Being a Catholic should not allow you to get away with crimes. It is absurd to elevate religion so high that it is above the law, which is what it essentially is when individual's can confess to crimes like rape, murder, child-rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and expect confidence.

Now, you may say that the Church itself is not responsble for the actions of its members, nor of its followers. True. However, it is responsible for what it does once it finds out. The refusal of the Church to turn in admitted criminals is really just a move to gain more political power. Think about it. From a power-perspective, why would the Church turn in its own followers? That's no way to gain power. By offering amnesty to all criminals, the Catholic Church creates for itself a large following. The refusal of the Church to take serious and swift action to eliminate the pedophilia within its organization is, in fact, a mass cover-up action. Again, from a perspective of power, why would they add fuel to the flames? Their position has simply been to remain as low profile as possible, just ignore it as much as possible, and let it blow over.

II. What is disgusting may differ from what is immoral, which may differ from what is and should be illegal
*note: discussion of what is illegal is from a US-perspective

Now, on to the issues in question. O'Reilly states that [the secularist movement] aims to legalize "partial birth abortion, hard drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage". This is most certainly true, though other movements not under the ideal of secularism -- such as Libertarianism, a movement for people's rights -- also support these aims.

Something that religious factions often completely ignore, is that legality does not necessarily have anything to do with morality. Things that are disgusting may differ from things that are immoral, which may differ from things that are and should be illegal.. Is it immoral to drive at 40mph in a 30mph zone? Is it immoral to place a fence around the perimeter of your yard with the bad side facing your neighbor? Is it immoral to J-walk? Immoral to drive while talking on a cell-phone? None of those things are immoral. Yet, all of them are illegal. Now, you may not agree that all those things should be illegal, but the odds are, there are some things which you think should be illegal, but which are not immoral. Nor could they reasonably be considered disgusting. The common reason for making things illegal which are not immoral is that, if many people do them, the outcome can be diastrous (if many people drive much faster than the speed-limit, it could have dire consequences).

Now, the counter-point. Is going to a strip-club and lying to your wife about it illegal? Is adultery illegal? (the answer is, in 26 states yes, the rest no, but even in those 26 states, the laws haven't been enforced since WWII) What about cheating on a committed partner you're not married to? Is cursing someone out illegal? None of those things are illegal (or are not effectively illegal, in the case of adultery). Yet, you could reasonably consider all of those things to be immoral, and perhaps disgusting. You may not consider all of those things immoral (I don't). However, odds are, there are some things which you think are immoral, but yet that should not be illegal and punishable with the force of law. The common reason why some things which are typically considered immoral may not be illegal is that: (a) Reasonable people can disagree on their immorality; (b) They are not worth bothering with the taxpayers money or time; (c) To effectively illegalize them would involve draconian violations of human rights.

Finally, there are some things which are disgusting, yet which are not and should not be illegal. Do you consider eating cottage cheese to be disgusting? What about broccoli? Or brussel-sprouts? Maybe sushi? Or fried buffalo-balls? Anchovies? Odds are, you think that eating at least one of those things would be disgusting. However, it is neither immoral, nor illegal, nor should it be illegal, to eat any of those foods. Even if you don't think that eating any of those foods is disgusting, there are most certainly other things which you find disgusting, but do not think are immoral, nor think should be illegal.

III. Partial birth abortion, hard drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage are not immoral, nor should they be illegal

Now, when you apply the chain of thought I just developed to the long list of things that the Catholic Church disapproves of -- which apparently doesn't include child-rape -- it becomes clear that, even if you think all of those things are immoral and disgusting, that does not necessarily mean that any of them should be illegal. Indeed, there are many good arguments to be made for why none of these things are not immoral or disgusting, and should not be illegal.

A. Partial birth abortion, though it may be disgusting, is not necessarily immoral, nor should it be illegal.

There is little denying that partial birth-abortion is disgusting. It is not a procedure you would want to watch being done while you eat. Never-the-less, neither are lipo-suction, root-canals, or rectal exams things that could qualify as television suitable for watching on a tender stomach. Certainly, none of them are immoral or illegal. So, the fundamentalist scare-tactic that tries to convince people that partial birth abortion should be illegal by showing disgusting pictures is fallicious. Many things -- regurgitation, for example -- are disgusting, but not immoral, nor should they be illegal.

Now that that argument has been dispatched, we can proceed to immorality. Surely, if you believe that the foetus is a person and that the right to life is of paramount importance, then, if you are consistent, you must believe that partial birth abortion is immoral, must you not? Not necessarily. What the hard-line antagonists of partial-birth abortion often neglect to mention is that the vast majority of partial birth abortions are not elective, but are done for medical reasons -- the safety of the mother. Think about it -- why would anyone in their right mind wait out the first 6 months of pregnancy -- while abortion is safer than birth -- only to elect to have an abortion during the last 3 months in the 3rd trimester? They wouldn't. Alternatively, even if the abortion is elective, there are other rights aside from the right to life -- such as the right to body, which is under the law in cases of extreme duress, just as important as the right to life. Homocide is justifiable to protect the right of another to his or her body from extreme violation, such as rape, torture, assault, or child-molestation -- even if the offender can't help his or her violation of the vicitm (e.g., if the offender is insane).

In any event, even if you believe that elective partial birth abortion is immoral, that doesn't necessarily mean that it should be illegal. For one thing, it is an issue that, as one man said, "informed and well-intentioned individuals can reasonably disagree on". In another regard, the illegalization of it would be undesireable for other reasons. It would require massive violations of privacy, and would encourage women to take matters into their own hands, rather than consulting a professional -- which would mean that the abortions would still be taking place, but women would be at significant risk. Furthermore, should every woman having a partial birth abortion need to provide proof that it was medically necessary or adviseable? Doctor-patient confidentiality goes out the window, because the Cathoilc Church has issues with abortion?

B. Hard drugs, though they may be disgusting, are not necessarily immoral, nor illegal

There is no denying that what hard drugs can do to an individual is disgusting. For a powerful real-life example of how drugs can destroy a person, watch the dramatized biography, Gia, with Angelina Jolie playing Gia. A fictional movie, A Reqium for a Dream also paints an effectively horrifying picture. However, many things that are legal can destroy a person's life, and we must remember that it is ultimately individual action which destroy's his or her life, not drugs. Alcohol can cause one to kill others while driving, lose one's job, and generally become a complete failure in life. Smoking can cause one to experience a painful and torturous death. Yet, neither of these things are -- nor should be -- illegal. It is arguable that the reason the mafia persisted strong until the 90s is because of the ill-advised prohibition on alcohol in the 30s. We are seeing the negative effects of the government's insane taxation on cigarattes here in the US -- people go to Indian Reservations and buy trunk-loads full of cigarattes. The prohibition on drugs is also what keeps black-market associated crime strong in the US. The reason drug-dealers and drug cartels prosper is because drugs are illegal -- thus overpriced -- in the US. The last people who want to see drugs legalized are those who rely on selling drugs for their income. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that drugs shouldn't be regulated -- as is alcohol. One cannot drive while drunk, due to the effects of alcohol. Likewise, it would be reasonable to say one can't be stoned while in public, due to the dangers of hallucinations to others.

C. Gay marriages, though some may consider them disgusting and immoral, should not be illegal

The role of the state in marriages is not to condone some marriages as religiously acceptable or not. As a legal matter, the sole purpose of marriage is to join assets, create certain tax advantages (along with some draw-backs), and create official recognition that two people are "together". It has nothing to do with the union of two soles before god. Now, you may consider gay marriage -- and the implied gay sex -- to be disgusting. However, you may also consider many kinds of sex that occur between heterosexual husbands and wives to be disgusting (e.g., fisting), but yet not immoral, and certainly shouldn't be illegal. You may even consider it to be immoral, but that does not necessarily mean it should be illegal. You may also consider certain kinds of sex occuring between man and wife (again, fisting, anal sex, bondage, etc) to be immoral; but that does not necessarily mean that they should be illegal. Illegalizing them would require severe violations of privacy.

But, I've drifted a bit. The issue here is about homosexual marriage, not sex. Again, as a matter of law, marriage has nothing to do with the union of souls, eternity together, or any of those other religious connotations. As a matter of law, when the law considers you married, all that means is that you are treated as a different entity in terms of taxes, debts, loans, property, and so-on and so-forth. In most cases -- provided competent legal management by the married couple -- that treatment is beneficial (e.g., larger tax exemptions). So, the issue here is that it is undeuly prejudicial for the law to only allow this advantage for those who happen to be heterosexual.

D. Prostitution, while you may consider it disgusting and immoral, should not be illegal

I have made a case for why prostitution is not disgusting or immoral, and should not be illegal, in another article. You can click on "dh003i's stories" and find it. I will only make a few points. The opinion that prostitution is disgusting is purely subjective, and insubstantiatable. Even if you view it as disgusting from a health-hazard point of view, health-hazards associated with it can be avoided by practicing safe-sex. Some may find it immoral, because, they say, it encourages infidelity. Well, that is hardly the fault of the prostitute, if a husband or wife strays; nor can they reasonably be asked to query all clients for that knowledge, because clients would lie if they thought prostitutes wouldn't sleep with them because of marriage (so it's pointless). Other's have argued that it's immoral because it devalues women and is degrading to them. Never-the-less, many individuals have found extreme power from prostitution and other sex work (see FeministStripper and Prostitute's Network). Other's have argued that it reflects badly on all women. Yet, this is fallicious reasoning -- since when do the actions of a few members of a group generalize to the entire group? Individual's are responsible for their own actions only, not those of any others. Finally, even if one views it as being immoral beyond repair, that does not necessarily mean it should be illegal. The effects of illegalizing prostitution have been so harmful as to justify its legalization to ameliorate them.

IV. Why I still respect O'Reilly

Everyone is entitled to their opinion as to what they think is immoral, disgusting, and should be illegal. Yet, I particularly respect a man or woman who can say that, though they think something may be disgusting or immoral, it should not be illegal -- for both practical and human-rights reasons. It is important that individual's understand that that which may disgust them may not necessarily be immoral; that that which they think is immoral should necessarily be illegal; and that, for many things, equally informed and intelligent well-meaning individuals can disagree on the morality of. O'Reilly, who said that -- though he disagrees with the "libertine" philosophy -- he agrees with the Supreme Court's decision that sodomy laws are unconstitutional due to privacy violations.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Krause the louse

Welp, the wicked witch is metaphorically "dead".

Of course, Krause is known for his unforgivable blunders. He took a 6-time championship team and destroyed it by pushing Phil Jackson, then necessarily Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen out the door. He alienated Jordan and other Bulls team-mates by saying that "players don't win championships, organizations win championships". He put together a squad of losers after the winners left, and the Bulls have endured 5 seasons of total and complete crap.
It's a real shame that the Bulls dynasty was broken up. If they'd stayed together, they would have still been sure-picks for NBA champions for another 2 or 3 years. The LA Lakers would never have amounted to anything. And we wouldn't have to hear this bullshit Kobe Bryant being the next Michael Jordan.

But, Krause was also responsible for assembling the Bulls 6-time championship team. He inherited MJ, but brought in the rest of the pieces -- most importantly, Jackson and Pippen and later Rodman -- that made the Bulls champions. He had an incredible eye for talent. But the success of any team under Krause was surely limited, because he was a bumbler. He wasn't a people-person. Period. He often mis-spoke and was mis-interpreted, because he just didn't know how to say things right.

When he said, "players don't win championships, organizations win championships" what he really meant to say was that it was the combined effort of everyone in the Chicago organization -- players, coaches, management, janitors, doctors, masseuses, and so-one and so-forth -- that resulted in championship victories. He did not mean to take away from what MJ and Pippen and Jackson had accomplished, nor that the Bulls could have won a championship without them. What he meant was that the hard work of everyone on the team was necessary to win. That's true.

But he just didn't say it right. It came off sounding like he was trying to grab all the credit for himself and marginalize the monumental play of Jordan and Pippen, and marginalize the exceptional coaching of Phil Jackson. This is basically how Jordan, Pippen, Jackson, and the rest of the world took Krause' comments -- as marginalizing their critical and enormous contributions. This incident and a slew of others like it lead to the ever-increasing alienation of MJ, Pippen, and Jackson from Krause, and it's what destroyed one of the best dynasties in NBA history.

All of this was because of Krause' inability to effectively communicate and socialize with others in the organization. As I said, he simply was not a people-person. He also certainly wasn't media-presentable. Here was a short, fat, stubby, and quite frankly ugly guy, who had a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, when he really meant to say the right thing at the right time. Really, what Krause needed was a personal translator and media-ist. Someone to translate from Krause => English. From what Krause means to something that the rest of us could have understood properly.

This is not to excuse what the guy did to the Bulls. He was undoubtedly responsible for the destruction of a dynasty, and just because it all resulted from years of miscommunication on his part doesn't excuse him of responsibility. Maybe he wasn't the grinch, but because he was so rough around the edges and such a poor communicator, that's the way he came accross to the rest of us, and that's all that mattered. So the flaw of Krause which destroyed the Bulls was not recognizing his own limitations. He was by no means a competent communicator, so he should have just shut up and stayed focused on acquiring talented personel. Because Krause never seemed to recognize that he was a worse communicator than Al Gore, that he was less inspiring than a log, that he mis-spoke almost every time he opened his mouth, the dismantling of the Bulls was inevitable.


Journal Journal: Freedom of speech threatened by chattel laws 2

According to this article, the chattel laws have been used to shut down freedom of speech. A court has ruled that it is ok for an individual to be sued for sending "unwanted" e-mail to corporation employees. It should be noted that this "unwanted" e-mail is not e-mail that the employees didn't want, but e-mail that the corporation didn't want the employees to see, because it criticized the corporation. Even more disturbing than this, chattel laws have been used to stop competitors from gathering information for comparative pricing from competitor's websites. These types of things threaten the very fibre of the internet, which fundamentally relies on free linking, not requiring a web-owner's permission to link to his site, or any sub-site within it. This is what makes the net efficient and useful to users.


Journal Journal: Suggestions for New WM?

I'm looking for a replacement for my current WindowManager in Debian GNU/Linux. Right now, I use PWM. Here's my criteria, with the most emphasis on those points regarding hide-away docks/etc, universal file menu, and tabbed windows, in that order.
  1. Tabbed windows. Notice in the screenshot, how the instances of Netscape are "tabbed" together, as are those of Xterm. Tabbed windowing is a great way to save desk space and switch between windows -- it even reduces the need for a "task bar" or "dock," either of which often shows you what windows are available. All windows in almost every WM I can think of have "title bar". Often, this title bar extends the length of the screen -- which wastes screen real-estate. Those that don't, and haved "tabbed windows" like BeOS, often don't take advantage of it. One should be able to arrange tabbed windows in a maximized form, like a configuration box. This allows many windows to be maximized at once, but yet gives us (the users) a way to easily switch between them -- just like in a control panel. Ideally, when all windows are maximized, there should be tabs for the application along the top of the screen, and tabs for the specific instance of that application running along the right hand side of the screen. I.e., the top of a screen would look something like this going accross -- Galeon, Rxvt, GIMP, OpenOffice, Pine; the left side of a screen, assuming Galeon in focus, would look something like this going accross, and with the text at 90 degrees -- Slashdot, InfoAnarchy, FreeIPX, WSJ. Furthermore, when tabbed windows are not maximized, instances of the same program should automatically be grouped into a horizontal tabbing. There should also be dynamically customizable tabbing of windows -- i.e., the user should be able to manually group certain windows together into tabs.
  2. Cascade retention. Part of the reason why things like minimization, tabbed windows, and docks were invented is because of crappy cascading. Cascading is great, until you decide to bring a window to focus at the middle of the cascade -- then the whole cascade is sent into anarchy. A cascade should be automatically retained, so that bringing one window in a cascade group to the front causes the others to be automatically rearranged to maintain the cascade, and not give you a sloppy mix-mosh. There are two ways in which the cascade can be rearranged (and retained) -- minimal rearrangement and order retention. Under minimial rearrangement, the only thing that changes is the window select -- it moves to the front and the right, while the others adjust to maintain the cascade: i.e., A, B, C, D, becomes A, B, D, C when window C is selected. Under order retention, the cascaded windows automatically retain their circular order when one is brought to the front: i.e., A, B, C, D becomes C, D, A, B when window C is selected.
  3. Window Arrangement. The user should have flexible choice on how to arrange his windows -- not to mention the ability to create his own window arrangement schemes and rules. There should be more than cascade, tile vertically, tile horizontally, maximize all, tab. There should be options like tile horizontally, with formats like 1,2 for 1 window on the top of the screen, 2 on the bottom. And so on and so forth. Users should also be able to define their own arrangements, as well as arrangement rules.
  4. Window Switching. Pressing ALT+TAB should switch between the different applications, ALT+~ between the various instances of the application in focus, and ALT+ESC between all windows. Pressing ALT+TAB repeatedly should allow one to switch from app to app, and should also bring up a temporary (so long as ALT is held down after TAB) menu, as such:

    1 App1 >
    2 App2 >
    3 App3 >
    4 App4 >

    In this menu system, pressing 1, 2, 3, or 4 could select the different apps, while the arrow keys could select a particular instance of the app which the highlight is over.

  5. Hard Focusing. I hate sloppy focusing. Sloppy focusing allows one to accidentally switch the focus from one window to another. You may say that's ok -- just switch it back. But its really annoying when one is typing.
  6. Automatic Cursor Movement. The mouse cursor should automatically move to the active application and the default location (i.e, default button). This saves the user alot of hand motion. The user should also be able to define automatic mouse movement; i.e., maybe the user doesn't want the mouse to automatically move to a certain program when launched.
  7. Complete Keyboard Control. One should not need a mouse at all. One should be able to completely control one's WM from the keyboard. By the way, the old menu/keyboard system was vastly superior to the new one. F1 should bring up menu 1, F2 menu 2, and so on and so forth; this will probably mean that F1 brings up File, F2 brings up edit, F3 View, etc. Why should the user have to press two buttons (i.e., ALT+F) when one (F1) will do?
  8. Minimization. Sometimes, we want to put a window away -- even though tabbed windowing is nice, sometimes we still want to minimize. Also, minimization should not be chaotic. Windows should minimize to a specific place, and preferrably that would be the dock -- not a separate minimization place, as is used for WindowMaker. This is the way minimization (and new programs not on the dock) are dealt with in MacOSX. Well, partly. When a window is minimized, it should go to its appicon on the dock. If there isn't an appicon for that program on the dock by default, one should be temporarily placed there when that application is run. Holding clicking on the appicon would bring up a list (iconified or not) of the various instances of that application running.
  9. Universal Hide-Away File Menu . Apple has seen the light of the universal file menu, so has lwm. Why hasn't anyone else? Its idiotic to have a separate menu for every window open, when one universal menu at the top of the screen will do. This saves alot of screen space. Also, to save more screen space, that menu should automatically hide away when the mouse isn't at the far top of the screen. This saves more screen space.
  10. Universal Hide-Away Toolbar. Just as its dumb for every window to have its own menu, its also dumb for every window to have its own toolbar. Why hasn't Apple figured that one out, you'd think it would be an obvious step along with making a universal file menu. This just wastes space. There should be a universal toolbar at the bottom of the screen for all programs, which would change when diffferent programs are brought into focus; alternatively, one could attach the universal toolbar to the universal file menu at the top of the screen, making them one “panel” and hide-away. Also, this universal toolbar should be hide-away, as is should the universal file menu.
  11. Unique features for Right/Middle Mouse Clicks. Idealy, right clicking should bring up options menus, while middle clicking would bring up program menus. Why make the user go to the menu, when the menu can come to the user? I.e., middle clicking would bring up the file menu for that program, while right clicking would bring up options for the thing that's being right clicked on.
  12. Root Menu . Should be brought up by middle click on the desktop. Should effectively be like the Apple Menu in OS X and the Start Menu -- provide alot of options/configurations, and all of the programs, utilities, and commands on your system.
  13. Pinnable Menus . Users should be able to stick menu's -- dynamically -- in places they like them. Menus, however, should not have a title bar -- that just wastes space. Hold middle clicking on a menu and dragging it should "pin it".
  14. Hide-Away Dock Docks are great, but they take up alot of space. Thus, they should hide away to the far left side of the screen, as can MacOSX's dock. Docks, however, should not shrink icons when there are many on them -- a "scroll down" feature (i.e., by hovering over a down arrow, or using the wheel button while over the dock) should be provided. By the way, while we're on docks, lets get rid of the squares in the WindowMaker like docks, and make the docks look more like OSX's dock -- not transparent, or animated, or that fancy stuff, but simply seamless, without the hard box-borders. Also, dragging a icon off of a dock should quit that program; middle clicking and dragging it off should remove that icon from the dock.
  15. Desktop. For the most part, docks make desktops completely obsolete. Some people feel that docks are bit too rigid -- they feel trapped by them. I can understand that, as in WindowMaker, the dock is all icons enclosed in a square -- this does make you feel kind of trapped; however, this need not be. But despite the nice ordered benefits of docks, sometimes it nice to be able to go crazy with a desktop -- though I'm not in favor of forced desktop chaos. More options than "auto arrange" and "clena up" should be provided for the desktop. Users should be able to create icon alignment templates -- to, for example, automatically align icons in A L-shape.
  16. Virtual Desktops. Sometimes, niceties like a dock for all applications running just aren't enough to manage what your doing. One may have several projects opened at once, and may want to organize them on entirely different "screens".
  17. Column file navigation. Ok, this really doesn't have to do with the WM -- more to do with the file-navigator. But, still, this type of file navigator is great. I do not, however, encourage people who make WM's to get into the MS crazyness and blurry the boundaries of what's what. But perhaps a suggestion, for example, to try out the column file navigator would be good. Maybe even a link to the download.
  18. Minimalism, minimal screen use, minimal resource utilization. None of these features require the WM to be a CPU/memory/hard-drive hog, nor do they require the WM to hog up screen space, nor do they require useless features like animation or the "X-clock". (clocks should be text-based). No one needs useless gadgets like the "resource graphs". A WM is not that cool; its not too sexy for me. I do not need to see it when I'm doing whatever I'm doing -- I need to see what I'm doing, not the WM. A good WM should be nearly transparent -- both in resource utilization and screen-space utilization.
  19. Open Source Software/Free Software. This one is so obvious I almost forgot to mention it. If a WM is to succeed, it needs to have the benefits of an Open Source Software / Free Software community. This prevents it from being locked into a proprietary format. It also ensures that anyone can contribute to the code, or just look at it to analyze it. This means it would be covered under the GPL, LGPL, BSD, licenses, or any other license certified by the Open Source Inititive of the Free Software Foundation.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Quit slashdot today! 8

I hope that at least some of my fans are reading this, but if not I'll be sending an e-mail to all of my fans that I can.. I recently read an article titled, Quit Slashdot Today and basically agreed with it. Slashdot is filled with a non-thinking, group-think mentality, overseen by a dictatorship of editors, who decide which stories get accepted and which one's don't. The moderation system is insanely complex.

But the main reason I'm advocating you quit Slashdot is because we have no control over what articles get accepted. As you can note by reading a previous journal entry of mine, the most important scientific breakthrough of the year (RNAi) was rejected as an article, while complete bullshit about man's latest banal voyage into space was accepted.

I suggest that you all go to Kuro5hin instead. Kuro5hin lets everyone moderate any comment, except their own. I think this is much better than Slashdot's "let a few moderate, and then metamoderate": the law of the averages will eventually cancel out the negative effect of those who moderate unfairly. Trusted moderators can moderate troll comments down to 0 (the lowest level). Editors can also delete troll, flame, and spam comments. The best part is -- the users decide what articles get posted in the various sub-sections, and which of those get put on the front page! It isn't subject to the ad-hoc preferences of some narrow-minded editor. There is also a nice editorial feature, which allows you to receive feedback on your submitted story and modify it for 2 hours after submission, or to get feedback from the editors before posting it. This way, you're story improves. And if it's rejected, you can improve on it and resubmit it.

Another nice thing is there's a gripe section for meta-comments specically about Kuro5hin, where people can voice their requests, complaints, concerns, etc.

The other thing I like about Kuro5hin is that there is a specific subsection for diary you're diary entries go into that subsection, where the entire community has easier access to them (just as easy access to them as any other subsection). This means more people will read your journal entries.

My overall impression of Kuro5hin is that it is much more democratic than Slashdot, that better stories get put on that site, and that better comments go there.

I might still check in on Slashdot once in a while, but I doubt I'll find anything of interest. Most of the time, few of the things put up interested me in the first place, because they were so banal, or so restricted to topics I'm not particularly interested in. That's the other nice part about Kuro5hin: it covers a broader scope, including a subsection for politics.

User Journal

Journal Journal: An erotic/comic poem

I wrote this a while ago. I had fun writing it, and think its a little bit funny, a little bit erotic, and a little bit nasty/taboo. Nothing of any significance.

    a poem

    The Goblins had already won
    Had their impious fun:
    The rape was over and done.
    Two Sister's sat beneath a peach tree
    Hoping to again be free.
    One raped at fourteen
    Her Sister sixteen


    The elder and younger sister
    They looked at the fruit as if a mister;
    One sister got behind the other
    Their feminine feathers did flutter;
    The young one grasped the fruit
    Giving it a cute coot
    Holding it to elder sister's mouth
    Who liked the idea and looked down South.

    She licked her tongue round her lip
    Then gave the fruit a quaint quip;
    Her tongue did lick round the peach
    Lips dining, sucking like a leach;
    That peach, she did embrace with her lips
    Warm juice aflow down her body in drips;
    Its aroma flowed to her nose
    Reminding her of a sweet rose.

    The juice in her mouth was savoring
    Similar to honey flavoring;
    It became one with her tongue
    Which had been in heaven flung.

    She swallowed:
    Joy followed:
    Longed for more
    With much ardour;

    She took another look, another bite;
    That then, that when, felt as if in a flight;
    Again, her teeth would chew
    Again, her soul was anew.

    She was too new to this fruit
    It made a sound like a flute
    As she sucked. She would not rush
    Not make Sister fuss and blush;
    No, she would take a lazy pace
    Eating from her sister with grace.

    Her tongue felt a tickle
    Lingering and fickle:
    'Twould come and go
    As a grape sway-
    ing to and fro;
    The taste of this fruit savored;
    This, the fruit Sister favored.

    This, the first white peach tasted
    This, the first time not wasted;
    She took another bite; three bites now:
    'Twould end before Sister would alow!
    She slowed her passionate pace
    Slowing down a now slow race
    Each moment, long lasted
    Sisters' lust, not fasted.

    Her senses in light joy delight
    Delight in the texture, so slight;
    Her passions consumed her
    Making her life a blur;
    Her teeth enchanted in another chunk
    Her satin tongue having plenty of spunk.

    She thought the fruit her life:
    Life with Sister, no strife;
    The fruit, her waning ecstasy
    A dream of lilacs
    Of birds in flocks, of fantasy;
    And so she ate the fruit with heat
    Vowing never again to eat red meat.

    She ate from Sister's comely hand
    Ate, with more supply than demand;
    She could eat Sister's fruit forever
    Never minding the sun, rain, or wind;
    This, that joy waiting for existence
    This, that joy pursued with persistence.

    She wouldn't let
    Sister's fruit go
    It pleased her so;
    In her watering mouth she felt its Heat,
    A Heat whose temptation she couldn't beat;
    It was so pleasing she had to yell out
    For who could avoid an ecstatic shout?
    This fruit, her sister, where her love lay:
    This, a sparkling, crystal-clear bay.

    She sucked and sucked, more and more
    Taken in by Sister's ardour;
    She licked and licked and licked
    For Sister's juices were
    Slick slick slick!

    And Sister's juices ran down her mouth
    Down her mouth and down her chin
    Down her neck and between her breasts
    Down her breasts, over her stomach
    Lower and lower to her
    Southern Valley of warmth.

    So that juicy fruit was slowly eaten
    And when gone she felt beaten.

    So she raised herself up to her poor sister;
    That soul, raped by many a mister;
    Gave her a light kiss on the cheek
    As into her bruised soul did she peek.

    She saw sombre sadness in those eyes:
    They seemed to say
    "Is that all,
      Have you no more love,
      Only her demise?";
    Those eyes, where sadness lay.

    So, she plucked a fruit, held it to her mouth
    Hoping for her younger Sister to go down South.

Ok, so I got bored.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot editor's priorites way out of wack 4

Ok, before I start, I want to ask you to decide. Small RNAs Make Big Splash, [free registration required] an article on Science, discussing what Science thinks to be the most important scientific break-through of the year (RNAi); or Kosmotras Launches Again ? Which one do you think is more deserving to be on Slashdot under the Science section?

I'll tell you: Small RNAs Make Big Splash. This is considered the most important scientific break-through of the year, and will have long-lasting implications in research, medicine, and our understanding of cellular biology. It's a 10 on the richter scale. Kosmotras launches again? Maybe a 1.

I submitted Small RNAs Make Big Splash to the Slashdot editors and they rejected it. Normally, I don't gripe about stories being rejected. My submissions get rejected all the time -- fine. In fact, only one of my submissions has been accepted, the one on Craig Ventor using his own DNA for Celera's human genome sequencing. That article, though interesting, was not significant at all, and did not compare to my latest submission.

Reject my stories? Fine. I don't care: alot of them aren't important. Reject the most important scientific break-through of the year in favor of some boring, worthless, and trivial announcment about man's latest banal voyages into space (which has not generated a lot of comment)? Not fine.

Well, tell me what you think. Am I right, or out of line?

PS: Even prior to reading this article, I've done some reading regarding RNAi, and now I'm doing a little bit more. As you will note from my previous journal post, RNAi may have many beneficial uses. I'll read a few more articles, and post a brief review of the RNAi phenomena, its role in cellular processes, its possible use in scientific experiments, and its possible use in medical treatments.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Of Michael Jordan and Evander Holyfield 1

I'd like to let it be known, first off, that I'm a big fan of both Michael Jordan and Evander Holyfield. Then again, who isn't?

But what I'm not, nor is the rest of the public, is their personal adviser.

I'm getting very sick of people saying "Jordan shouldn't have come back from retirement," or "he should have retired again after the first year". I also get sick of people saying, "Evander Holyfield is over the hill: he needs to retire before he ends up like Ali."

I've never been a fan of telling someone who's career and life has been sports to retire and move on, just because they aren't what they once used to be: aren't quite as fast, strong, durable, or endurant. Is this how we treat great men who have given the game or the sport everything they've got? Apparently so.

Apparently so, and it disgusts me. You don't hear Michael Jordan or Evander Holyfield telling the reporters in the press that they're over the hill and should quit their job, move on, do you? No, because it's not their business. Nor is when MJ or Holyfield retire any of our business, nor do we have a say in it.

What really angers me is the arrogance of some of these column writers, presuming to give personal advice to athletes. You know what I'm talking about, the never-ending comments like, "Michael, please retire for your own good," or "Holyfield, please retire before you end up like Ali." As if either of these men -- or any athlete -- should base his decision on whether or not to continue playing on the opinion of some unworthy reporter who makes his or her living by leaching off of other people's greatness.

The simple fact is, in their respective sports, MJ and Evander are among the 10 best athletes ever. I'd say there's a good argument to make for each of them being the best ever in their respective sports. Aside from being among the greatest all-time, these two men share two more things in common: miles and miles of heart and a love for their sports, things which are sorely missing in the NBA and boxing these days. I'd rather watch either of them at age 40 than the rest of the NBA or the boxing world at 25.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Search for good music? 1

If anyone's reading this, I'd like to know the names of some of the street music in Paris and Venice. For those of you that don't know, street music is the romantic music that you'll hear on the streets of Paris and Venice. Indianna Jones and The Last Crusade features one scene which had some of Venice's street music.

Another thing I'm looking for is violin implementations of Beethoven's great piano pieces (and other piano pieces). I have downloaded a version of Fuer Elise played on the violin -- lovely. I'd love to have a version of the three parts to the Moonlight Sonata in violin (it'd be interesting to see the 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata played on violin).


Journal Journal: OggVorbis support on "MP3-player" firmware?


  • Ogg is a great file-format. IMO, its much better than MP3 and WMA, both from my personal experience and from studies I've read. It provides better quality at lower bitrates. It sounds more like real music. Best of all, its better for the kind of music that I love: Classical.

    That's not to say I don't like all kinds of other music -- I love Morris Day and Wilson Picket, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and Shania Twain and Celine Dion. In short, I like a whole array of different types of music, almost everything, even a little country (I even like Johnny Cash). But the vast majority of music I like -- if only because there's so much of it -- and the music I can listen to again and again, is Classical, particularly Beethoven. And Ogg is particularly good at Classical, whereas MP3 and WMA tend to screw it up.

    Despite Ogg's virtues, it has one critical flaw which prevents me from using it in practicality: it isn't suppoerted by my MP3-player, the RioVolt SP100. I've asked SonicBlue (makers of RioVolt) to consider adding Ogg-support, but they've (predictably) not responded to me. This thing cost me some 150 bucks, and I'm not going to spend another some hundred bucks to get another one that supports Ogg (if there even is an MP3-player that supports Ogg).

    So what I suggest is that the folks at OggVorbis work on making a firm-ware upgrade which allows RioVolt (the most popular MP3-players) to play Ogg files. Any comments?

Responses from Companies

  • Frontier Labs
    Dear Sir,

    We are pleased to inform you that we are working on Ogg Vorbis for the NEX
    II/IIe and our upcoming new player NEX ia. Expected release date for the
    Ogg Vorbis firmware for NEX II/IIe is 2nd qtr, 2003.

    Thank you.

    Customer Support
    Frontier Labs.

    Evolution Technologies
    Evolution Technologies, Inc. is committed to support our consumers music appetite. We
    will support the formats that are consistent with both their desires and good
    business practices. While we have not ruled out supporting "open source"
    formats, we must first evaluate the acceptance levels with the buying public so that
    our organization can justify the expense of developing a new compatible CODEC. When
    the demand is sufficient, we will support the technology

    Jesse Meyer
    Director of Business Development
    Evolution Technologies Inc.
    'Evolution Through Technology'

User Journal

Journal Journal: Robbed at gunpoint!


  • While walking home today at about 6:00, I was robbed at gunpoint by three men, and a fourth accomplice in a car. Though this was disturbing, I was rather fortunate: (1) I did not have my wallet on me; (1) I was completely unharmed; (2) No personally identifying information was on me; (4) I only lost 20 bucks; (5) My jacket, which I was wearing, was not stolent: thus, I walked home in relative comfort. However, I am, unfortunately, set back 20 bucks -- which is one less private dance at the strip club.

Fact Summary:

  • I commute between my university and my home, about 20 minutes away walking. Normally, I get a ride to and from the university, but once in a while I walk. I walk from the university to my house through a park between the two, on a road going through the park. When I was about half-way home, a somewhat old black or blue boxy car pulled in front of me, pulled over to the right, and turned off the headlights. Behind the car, three men were walking, covering the entire width of the road.

    They were wearing hooded sweaters, and were either black or hispanic -- it was too dark to tell. They walked up to me, asked me for the time, then pointed a gun at the back of my head. One of them searched my pockets and stole my house & car keys. Another said "check his bag" and told me to get any money I had in the bag. I put the bag on the ground and took out twenty dollars which I had in it. While doing this, one of them said "hurry up". After I gave them the money, they walked back to the car, telling me to "keep walking the way I was walking before", and drove off in the opposite direction.

    Fortunately, I had no personally identifying information on me, nor my wallet, nor any money in excess of 20 dollars and house/car keys. I feel fortunate, however, that I had 20 dollars to appease them. I also feel fortunate in that my jacket was not stolen, in which case I would have had to walk another 10 minutes at 0 degrees in a normal shirt.

    When I got home and reported the armed robbery, calling 911, I was told I had to go into the city and call 911 from there. I live in the suburbs, but the crime took place in an area that is technically part of the city. So the city police had jurisdiction. However, I was told that I had to go to a city-area to report it to the city-police. Eventually, someone put me through to the city police, and I told them. We met at a location on the university and I filed the report.

    The initial crime happened at approximately 6:15PM or so. I called 911 when I got home at 6:30. They gave me the jurisdictional run-around, and then put my through to the city police: it was probably 6:45 by them. By the time I had contacted the police face-to-face, it was about 8:30PM. By the time I had finished filing the police report, it was about 9:20PM. The perpetrators could have been on the expressway and on their way to Syracuse while I was going through all these jurisdictional issues.


  • I am proud to say that I did not panic and freak out. Rather, I calmly handed them what they requested. I am also most-pleased with myself that -- despite facing a situation where I very well could have been killed -- I did not succumb to some kind of religious cowardice, praying to god that he save me. I realized that like in all other situations, I had some control over my fate. That is, by calmly doing as was requested of me, I did not alarm or agitate my assailants. I am also somewhat pleased with myself that I handled the situation rather stoically: there was no sense dwelling on that which I could not control, but only on that which I could. If they shot me, they shot me: the ultimate act was beyond my control. However, I did exert some influence in my favor by remaining stoically calm, though breathing heavier.

    That said, I would not have been happy to die. I have not yet done enough in my life to label it a finished work as-is. For example, I have not contributed enough to the causes -- that is, both economic and social freedom and rights -- which I care about. I have not yet done enough in my field -- molecular biology -- to be happy calling it a lifetime's worth of work. Nor have I had enough sex yet to be satisfied calling it a "lifetime's worth of sex". Thus, I am in some way grateful that this has happened to me, as it has given me some perspective on time. Now is the time to contribute to the causes I care about; the time to come through with scientific results in the molecular genetics of S. cerevisiae; the time to have the sex of a lifetime.

    If today was your last day alive, would you be happy with what you've made of today?

    PS: The cops who I talked to were very polite and did their job as best as they possibly could, given my vague description. But it really annoys me that these type of crooks could be caught by having police officers walk around as decoys, and arresting people who attempt to rob them. For example, have a cop walk through areas like this in layman's clothes, and other cops hiding nearby. This type of tactic could also be used to catch other violent criminals, like rapists, by using decoys. But they only use these bait-'n-catch tactics on prostitutes, who harm no one. The street-walkers in the city aren't threatening me or anyone else, but these violent criminals are. I'd suggest that the PD's get their priorities in order. I don't know who sets these priorities, but who-ever it is should get their priorities straight. Of course, it's alot more dangerous using these techniques to catch real criminals, who probably have weapons, than to catch prostitutes, who are defenseless and pose little or no threat.

United States

Journal Journal: Suggestion to Libertarians

Ok, maybe this is a little bit meant to be funny. But, hey, it could work if we all became procreation machines.


  1. The Free State Project is great. However, I think I have a better suggestion to Libertarians who want to have a Libertarian government: be fruitful and multiply -- alot. Have 10 kids or so, and raise them to be libertarians. Right now, there are ~300,000,000 Americans in the US. Libertarians probably account for 1% of the US -- that is, 3,000,000 people. So, let me make a few assumption and predictions.


  1. Successful Libertarian couples produce 10 children in 10 years. That is, 5 children per person.
  2. Meanwhile, the average copule produces 4 children. That is, 2 children per person.


  1. First generation. The population of Libertarians grows 5x, from 3million to 15million. Meanwhile, the rest of the population grows 2x, from 300million to 600million.
  2. Second generation. The population of Libertarians grows another 5x, from 15million to 75million. Meanwhile, the rest of the population grows 2x, from 600million to 1200 million.
  3. Third generation. Libertarians: 75mil to 375mil. Rest of population: 1200mil to 2400mil.
  4. Fourth generation. Libertarians: 375mil to 1875mil. Rest of population: 2400mil to 4800mil.
  5. Fifth generation. Libertarians: 9375mil. Rest of population: 9600mil.

Thus, it has taken only five generations (about a century, assuming consistent reproduction of 1 child per year from 20 years to 30years of age). Thus, in a century, Libertarians will outnumber those who don't hold Libertarian values. So, the key to a Libertarian and free future -- where your rights are respected -- is to have lots and lots of sex. Could you think of a more pleasureable way to produce a free future? Rather than trying to out-debate freedom-stealing Democrats and Republicans, we should out-fuck them.


Journal Journal: The Aging Brain and Dietary Restriction


  • Dietary restriction (DR) is a diet in which animals are fed 40% fewer calories, and is the most reliable way to lengthen life span and reduce deterioration in old age. Recent experiments show that DR ameliorates age-associated protein damage and cognitive- and motor-function degradation (i.e., spontaneous locomotion, sensorimotor coordination, and active avoidance learning degradation). DR may ameliorate behavioral deterioration because of its ability to reduce free radical (FR) concentrations as FR accumulation in aging mice (fed ad libitum [AL], a normal diet) appears to cause cognitive and motor deterioration.

Free Radical Generation and Neutralization

  • FRs are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. FRs include superoxide, hydroxyl, hydrogen peroxide, alkoxyl, and nitric oxide. FR sources include extracellular sources of oxidant species from Maillard reactions and glycosylation; dehydrogenases and oxygenases; and oxidases (Freeman, 1984; Kristal and Yu, 1992). Mitochondria, microsomes, and peroxisomes are primary FR sources in the cell (Yu, 1996). Because of the brain's demanding energy needs, it is mitochondria-rich and thus particularly vulnerable to FR and oxidative damage. The production of superoxide (SO), a highly reactive FR, is organ-dependant, but highest in the brain (Sawada et. al., 1992). Dopamine deamination in the brain also produces toxic metabolites, including hydrogen peroxidase (Archer and Harrison, 1996). FR accumulation in turn leads to protein damage in the cell.

    Enzymatic and dietary antioxidants neutralize FRs. Dietary antioxidants include Vitamin E, 2-Mercaptoethylamine, Santaquin, Tocopherol-p-chlorophenoxyacetate, d-Tocopherol, and Sulfhydrl agents (Yu, 1996). Enzymatic antioxidants include catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) [Wickens, 2001].

The Aging Brain and DR's Ameliorating Effect

  • FR levels are empirically determined by ascertaining the extent of oxidative protein damage in brain tissue. Whole brain homogenates of old mice relative to young mice display an increase in protein oxidative damage, as indicated by protein carbonyl content (Dubey et. al., 1996). Oxidative damage in old mice varies between different brain-regions. The greatest increase is in the striatum, then cortex, midbrain, hippocampus, cerebellum, and finally hindbrain, where there is no significant increase with age. While the striatum displays the greatest increase, the hippocampus has the greatest amount of oxidative damage in young and old mice, as indicated by protein carbonyls. Decreased membrane protein sulfhydryl content, another measure of protein damage, shows that protein damage is uniform across different brain regions, except the hippocampus, which displays no change (Dubey et. al., 1996). Uniform sulfhydryl content indicates that different regions of the brain are susceptible to various forms of protein damage. Generally, the brains' of aged mice exhibit more oxidative protein damage; thus, FR levels are higher than in young mice.

    DR mice display lower oxidative protein damage levels in old age relative to AL mice (Dubey et. al., 1996). Protein carbonyl content in the whole brain of old DR mice (relative to old AL mice) indicates that DR attenuates oxidative protein damage. DR produces the greatest attenuating effect on the striatum, where oxidative damage increase is the greatest with age; and lesser so in the cerebellum, midbrain, cortex, and hippocampus. Conversely, no significant attenuating effect is observed in the hindbrain, where there is no oxidative damage increase with age. The reduced protein sulfhydryl reduction in DR versus AL mice is roughly uniform across different brain regions of old mice, except for the hippocampus, where DR produces no ameliorative effect.

    Studies on DR and AL mice also reveal that DR attenuates age-related deteriorations in avoidance learning capacity, motor performance, and spontaneous locomotion (Dubey et. al., 1996). Active avoidance learning deteriorates in AL mice, but DR retards that deterioration. Likewise, coordinated running ability deteriorates in AL mice, but DR retards that deterioration. Finally, spontaneous locomotion decreases in AL mice, but not in DR mice.

    Aging mice display deterioration of learning and memory capacity, motor coordination, and spontaneous locomotion (Forster et. al., 1996). The deterioration rate varies and occurs independently for different functional losses. As protein carbonyl content indicates, cognitive impairment correlates with increasing protein damage in the cortex, while motor deficits correlate with increasing protein damage in the cerebellum and hindbrain (Forster et. al., 1996). In addition, cognitive deficits do not correlate with motor deficits and that protein damage in one brain region does not correlate with damage in other regions. Hence, protein damage varies in different brain regions (Forster et. al., 1996). Confirming Forster et. al. (1996) and Dubey et. al. (1996), Ingram et. al. (2001) show decreasing locomotion in rhesus monkeys with aging; however, Ingram et. al.'s (2001) results are mixed with respect to the ameliorating effect of DR on decreasing locomotion with age.

    Consistent with other results, Carney et. al. (1994) find an accumulation of protein oxidation in the aging brain, which correlates with decreasing cognitive performance, cytoskeletal function, and creatine kinase and glutamine synthase activity. Manipulations that increase reactive oxygen species (ROS) worsen oxidation-related effects, while those that decrease ROS concentration ameliorate such effects. Hence, Carney et. al. (1994) provide strong support for the theory that protein damage is a cause of brain aging and behavioral deterioration. Thus, it is likely that the ameliorating effects of DR are partially due to DR's ability to reduce FR concentration.

    Discerning the effects of DR, Prolla (2002) uses microarrays to determine the gene expression profiles of old DR and AL mice. Gene expression profiles of old AL mice suggest reduced neural plasticity and neurotrophic support, oxidative stress, and inflammatory response; however, profiles of old DR mice indicate that DR attenuates age-associated increases in stress responses and inflammatory protein production (Prolla, 2002).

    Several conclusions regarding protein damage in aging mammals and the deterioration of motor- and cognitive-function, as well as the ameliorating effect of DR, can be made. (1) Age-related protein oxidative damage varies in different brain-regions. (2) DR ameliorates age-associated deterioration of behavioral functions and some types of oxidative protein damage, prominently in regions that display heavy oxidative damage with age. (3) Brain aging, cognitive function deterioration, and oxidative damage correlate; suggesting a possible causation in which FR oxidative stress promotes protein damage and causes brain aging and behavioral deterioration. (4) Varying levels of protein oxidative damage may be the cause of individual variations in age-related deterioration. (5) Age-related decline of motor and cognitive-function progress independently and involve oxidative damage to different brain regions. Further studies on the deterioration of cognitive- and motor-function in DR and AL monkeys are needed.

Dietary Restriction Ameliorates Cognitive Decline Caused by Free Radical Accumulation

  • In aging animals, various cognitive and motor functions deteriorate, and oxidation-stress induced protein damage increases. As oxidative stress damages nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins, it may cause brain function deterioration (Mattson et. al., 2001). The precise relationship between damage at the molecular level and functional deterioration at the behavioral level is not understood; however, widespread damage at the molecular level causes deterioration at the behavioral level.

    DR may ameliorate brain function deterioration through several mechanisms. DR up-regulates cellular stress proteins, which protect neurons against excitotoxic and oxidative damage. For example, DR rats display higher cellular stress protein (HSP-70) levels in the brain than do AL rats (Mattson et. al., 2001). DR also increases neurotrophic factor (e.g., BDNF) concentration in the brain, which increases antioxidant enzyme (e.g., Bcl-2) concentrations and other oxidative stress suppressor concentrations (Mattson et. al., 2001). Furthermore, DR may increase the survival of newly generated neural cells in the brain (Mattson et. al., 2001).

    DR affects oxidative stress reduction and up-regulates FR scavenging proteins and other oxidative stress suppressors. AL rat livers exhibit greater production of superoxides and hydroxy radicals compared to DR rats of the same age. Correspondingly, DR rat livers display greater mitochondrial and cytosolic SOD activity. Thus, DR reduces FR accumulation in the liver (Lee and Yu, 1990). As the effects of DR are specific to the mitochondria and cytosol, such effects may be present in mitochondria-rich brain tissue. DR partially prevents age-related decreases in glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase. Furthermore, DR reduces SO and hydrogen FR levels in liver mitochondrial and microsomal membranes.

    Summarily, DR affects biochemical composition at the cellular level: (1) Reduces age-related decreases in mitochondrial oxidation of malondialdehyde and allows better removal of oxidative byproducts in DR rats (Yu and Chen, 1994); (2) Affects the antioxidant defense systems by modulating age-related changes in ascorbic acid, catalase, GSH, GSH-PX, GSH reductase, and GSH transferase (Yu, 1996); (3) Decreases the production of toxic metabolites (e.g., hydrogen peroxide) in the brain from dopamine deamination (Archer and Harrison, 1996); (4) Reduces DNA oxidative modification in aging animals and humans (Mullaart et. al., 1990; Inoue et. al., 1993). DR ameliorates the age-related deterioration of brain function by reducing the production of FRs and up-regulating the antioxidant defense system, reducing widespread damage in brain-tissue at the molecular level.


  • Age-related cognitive- and motor-function declines correlate with increasing oxidative protein damage. Furthermore, oxidative protein damage is probably the cause of age-related cognitive- and motor-function deterioration. Interestingly, different regions of the brain are subject to different types of oxidative damage. Furthermore, oxidative damage in various brain-regions correlates with behavioral deterioration in the behavior that the region regulates. Future studies may lend further support to the theory that oxidative protein damage is the cause of the various behavioral changes; and show the various gene-expression changes that occur in aging AL versus DR animals, as well as how those gene-expression profiles change in response to increased oxidative stress and other factors. At the molecular level, further studies on the effects of aging and DR on FRs and antioxidants are needed. In the future, primate studies may be beneficial, as primates are closely related to humans.

Don't worry, references are coming. I have to scan them in.


Journal Journal: RNAi or asRNA as a medical treatment

idea in progress...facts and research to come

Well, I guess I haven't told anyone here what I do for a living -- I research molecular genetic on S. cerevisiae, a yeast. Anyways, because I'm a biologist, I take great interest in various biological developments. Most prominent among them is RNAi/asRNA.

RNAi is anti-sense mRNA: an RNA transcript of the non-coding strand of DNA. Because of its complementarity with mRNA, it hybridizes to mRNA, forming double-stranded RNA. This effectively prevents that gene's mRNA product from being translated into a protein. Thus, RNAi can be used to prevent the translation of mRNA -> protein for specific proteins.

With this in mind, it occured to me that RNAi could have a use in treating HIV, for example. HIV, as all of you know, is human immuno defeciency virus: It's a retrovirus, its genome encoded by RNA, not DNA. Once it enters the cell, its genome is reverse-transcribed by by its reverse transcriptase -- a polymerase which uses RNA as a template to make DNA. The HIV DNA is then incorporated into the genome by an Integrase, and then goes through a dormant phase, before it eventually activates and spreads. If you're interested in the HIV life-cycle, here's my summary (summarized from HIV1: 15 Proteins and an RNA) [this requires some knowledge of biology to understand].

  1. Viral transcripts expressed the promoter with Tat (a protein) greatly enhancing the rate of transcription.
  2. Regulated by Rev, spliced and genomic-length RNAs transported from nucleus to cytoplasm, where may be translated or packaged.
  3. Viral mRNAs translated in cytoplasm; Gag and Gag-Pol polyproteins become localize to cell membrane. Env mRNA translated at ER.
  4. Core particle assembled from Gag and Gag-Pol polyproteins, Vif, Vpr, Nef, and genomic RNA; immature virion starts budding from cell surface. To provide SU and TM proteins for outer membrane coat during budding, Env polyprotein released from complexes with CD4 (cell surface HIV-1 receptor), coexpressed with Env in the ER
  5. Vpu assists by promoting CD4 degradation.
  6. Env transported to cell surface, where its prevented from binding ti CD4.
  7. Nef promotes endocytosis and degradation of surface CD4.
  8. Particle buds and releases from SU- and TM-coated cell surface.
  9. Virion matures.
  10. TM undergoes conformational change, promoting virus-cell membrane fusion, allowing entry of core into cell.
  11. Virion core then uncoated, exposing viral nucleoprotein complex, containing MA, RT, IN, Vpr, and RNA.
  12. Complex transported to nucleus.
  13. Genomic RNA reverse transcribed by RT into partially duplex linear DNA.
  14. IN catalyzes integration of viral DNA into host chromosome and DNA repaired. Virus life-cycle now complete.

Note that HIV has only nine genes, encoding 15 proteins. To my knowledge, the 15 proteins encoded by the HIV genome have little homology to any proteins in the host, H. sapiens. Thus, using RNAi -- which blocks the translation of its complementary strand to protein -- one could block the synthesis of all HIV proteins, effectively preventing HIV from carrying out its life-cycle beyond integration with the human genome.

The problem with this is that HIV, like everything else, evolves. One solution to this might be to use RNAi to all of the HIV-proteins, making evolutionary adaptations more difficult. Another problem is there are many different strains of HIV, thus you would need to PCR amplify and sequence the HIV DNA from any infected person. Another problem is how to administer the RNAi, and the possible cost implications. I believe RNAi is expensive -- but then again, so are any other "treatments" for AIDS. This is a treatment, not a cure.

Just in case you're wondering, this is not just a bunch of hand-waiving I'm doing here. This is a real prospect, which others have written on and thought of before me. Take a look at my refs. I plan on writing more on this topic.

RNA interference--a new weapon against HIV and beyond. N Engl J Med 2002 Oct 24;347(17):1364-7.

Frankel AD, Young JA. HIV-1: fifteen proteins and an RNA. Annu Rev Biochem 1998;67:1-25.

Shahabuddin M, Khan AS. Inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 by packageable, multigenic antisense RNA. Antisense Nucleic Acid Drug Dev 2000 Jun;10(3):141-51

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