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User Journal

Journal Journal: The Telegraph Summarizes the Global Warming Controversy

The Telegraph reviews the scientific and political histories of the global climate debate. From the article:

No one can deny that in recent years the need to "save the planet" from global warming has become one of the most pervasive issues of our time. As Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, claimed in 2004, it poses "a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism", warning that by the end of this century the only habitable continent left will be Antarctica.

Inevitably, many people have been bemused by this somewhat one-sided debate, imagining that if so many experts are agreed, then there must be something in it. But if we set the story of how this fear was promoted in the context of other scares before it, the parallels which emerge might leave any honest believer in global warming feeling uncomfortable.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Doctorow Accused of Infringing on Ursula K. Le Guin's Work

Cory Doctorow, last noticed here bemoaning the Science Fiction Writers of America accidental inclusion of his work in a copyright infringement takedown order, has drawn the ire of Ursula K. Le Guin (Left Hand of Darkness, the Earthsea Trilogy) by publishing a copyrighted work of hers without permission and slapping a Creative Commons license on it.

Ms. Le Guin's complaints are detailed in a letter received by and published on Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor site, here. From the summary:

[S]omething that might be of interest to your readers that Ursula K. Le Guin contacted me about: Cory Doctorow of boingboing.net infringed her copyright by reprinting the entirety of her short story "On Serious Literature" on boingboing without authorization; he misrepresented her intent in his copy; he omitted her copyright notice; and he instead placed a Creative Commons license on it indicating that others can freely copy and alter her story.


Journal Journal: PC Manufacturers Give Buyers a Bridge Back to XP 523

The Telegraph is running a story on efforts by PC manufacturers to give customers buying Windows Vista-installed systems a much sought bridge back to Windows XP.

It took took five years and $6bn (£3bn) to develop, but Microsoft's Vista operating system, which was launched early this year, has been shunned by consumers - with computer manufacturers taking the bizarre step of offering downgrades to the old XP version of Windows.

Did they rush it out too fast?

User Journal

Journal Journal: iTunes Store and 2o7.net

Good old Steve. Looking at iTunes on a newly built OS X box and, even with the "just for you" option off, Steve's trying desperately to connect to 2o7 to keep up with my habits. Sorry, Steve, but if you can't play nicely the .Mac account and the iTunes transactions just slide over to the liability side of the equation. Not cool. Not the kind of behavior I like to see in people I like to do business with. You do not have my consent to use my equipment for this purpose. If you want to make it a condition of use for iTunes, then refund me the thousands I have spent at the iTunes store on DRMed music. And don't expect to see any more.

While I'm on the topic, anyone have a list of 2o7 IP addresses. Maybe I've got some you don't yet.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Browser War Nostalgia

Remember the days (before the Microsoft monopoly suits) when every Microsoft update would cheerfully re-establish Internet Explorer as your default browser?

With a gleam in his eye, Bill "I know what you want to do better than you ever could" Gates appears to have reached out with a security update today and set my default browser to Internet Explorer, the most thoroughly disgraced product in the annals of Internet security. (Those pushing Outlook for this title, I agree you have a very strong argument, but I have to lean toward Internet Explorer on this one.)

Anyone else seeing this behavior?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ice Cores, Air Pockets, and the Grand Hoax

By some miracle of compartmentalization, the UN that brought us the Oil for Food Scandal and human shield services for Hesbollah were expected by some to turn out a respectable result via the IPCC on climate change. Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, a leading expert in ice core studies, finds for experience over optimism here.

Dr. Jaworowski refutes the theory that air pockets in ice cores can be used to accurately measure ancient atmospheric composition and points to the contradiction of ice core data by other sources.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Another County Heard from on Global Warning

In the face of attempts in the UN to close debate on the topic of global warming and, especially, its being a human-created phenomenon, and advocacy by the Weather Channel for the decertification of the numerous meteorologists who dissent, the first Canadian climatologist voices his dissent.

Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

Journal Journal: UML for the Observant

In an effort to improve software reliability, NASA has mandated that the Unified Modeling Language (UML) be used in the development of software for the James Webb Space Telescope. According to an article at Byte

To insure as much quality review up front as possible, NASA is telling each participant it must design and develop software using the Unified Modeling Language, a modeling symbol and syntax that allows code to be generated from models. It's also requiring that developers use as many public software standards and interfaces as possible.

There is room for apprehension, of course. Translated literally, as many as possible could mean piling on standards and interfaces like frat boys stuffing pledges into a Yugo for the record. (And what would that do to the mission weight allowance?)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Today's Trojan: The January Microsoft Security Patch

John Pallato is steamed about the January security update for Windows, finding IE 7 slipped in to the autoupdate-channeled patch. IE 7 broke his Internet access due to compatibility issues as deftly as any malware. In his own words:

Microsoft used the January 2007 security update to induce users to try Internet Explorer 7.0 whether they wanted to or not. But after discovering they had been involuntarily upgraded to the new browser, they next found that application incompatibility effectively cut them off from the Internet.

Read the rest at eWeek

User Journal

Journal Journal: Mac OS X Rebuild

Under OS X 10.4 I just had the experience of having to rebuild the OS on my laptop after 16 months of heavy use. I was experiencing mysterious memory access errors during network use and tried reinstalling the OS as a late resort. The consumer portion of the reinstall took 3 hours starting from a 10.4 install disk and pulling updates down a highspeed DSL line to apply 10.4.8 and all the latest goodies.

Missing from the experience was the need to reinstall any of my applications (as is typical, thanks largely to the registry, under Windows). And reassert most or all of my preferences (as is also typical under Windows). The reinstall even retained my old system files in case I wanted to further isolate the problem.

No more vacation weekends spent looking for install disks? Trying to remember every important preference setting I might have used in the last x years? Less dead time to explain to clients when a laptop goes south?

Of course, I would rather that the system had "just worked", to coin a phrase. But 16 months is 10 months longer than I have ever gone without having to rebuild on a Windows-based laptop, with 3 being more the norm.

The only real gotchya in the process was that, the laptop being younger than 10.4, it could not use the built-in touchpad pointing device. Solution? Plugged a trackball into a USB port and rolled right along.

Good job.

[Epilogue: Replaced the drive for a new one with twice the capacity, and the laptop has gone from middle aged to a randy kid again. This was the first time I actually hired somebody to work on a Mac for me, the disk replacement procedure is absolutely hideous. Remember to check your logs for Error -36 on occasion.]

User Journal

Journal Journal: First Post Redundant

Metamoderating I could not help but notice an infrequent but bizarre misuse of the redundant rating as a kind of nearly-neutral dismissal, not as punitive as off-topic or troll, resulting in many first postings of a given point being moderated as "redundant". In today's exercise, the case in point was in the first dozen posts.

I suspect that, if the trend continues, we may soon see a first post moderated as redundant. If we haven't already.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yves Rossi, for the Birds

Yves Rossi, a Swiss aviator, experiments with an unusual style of solo flight. From the story:

At an altitude of some 7750ft, he leaps out, just like a skydiver. But unlike a skydiver, he does not plummet to the Alps below.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Litvinenko's Murder Not Executed on the Cheap

The Times today reported that the street value of the polonium-210 dose used on Litvinenko was $10 million and 10 times the dose required to kill. From the story:

A British security source said yesterday: "You can't buy this much off the internet or steal it from a laboratory without raising an alarm so the only two plausible explanations for the source are that it was obtained from a nuclear reactor or very well connected black market smugglers."

The story also reports that in Moscow Sunday, there was a vigil for the more than 200 journalists who have died violently since the fall of the Soviet Union.

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