“ NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared "Pluto Planet Day" at the legislature. ”
—New Mexico State Legislature
In August I am going to be in the only state in the Union where Pluto is (as it should be) recognized as full fledged planet.
I don’t usually get misty-eyed when reading legislation, but I did when I read “New Mexico’s excellent night skies.” The night sky in New Mexico is pretty, and NM is definitely the Land of Enchantment.
2007 US Tour
Some of you already know this, but for those that don’t, I will be in the USA for most of August to visit good friends, go hiking, and to eat some mighty fine New Mexican cuisine. Here are the approximate dates:
|Hiking, hanging out in the city, bar fights, museums, movies, enchilada night, breakneck ridge, awesome friends|
|hiking, heat, enchiladas, breakfast burritos, posole, chilies rellenos, green chili and of course green chili cheeseburgers|
|Jack in the Box, Vasquez Rocks, Castlevania, Wii, sushi, petquakerstalking, and more!|
If you think you might coincide, let me know. You too can be part of the action. And knowing is half the battle.
- somewhat flexible
- just kidding
- somewhat flexible
- that place where Kirk kicked the Gorn’s butt with his home made cannon
Back in high school my friend wingated and I used to totally snow Sean “Little Man” O’Dork (also known as Sir Spawn the Mediocre) with our computer jargon, which mostly consisted of real terms, but was strung together to be meaningless. On the Thursday edition of the Report, Colbert had an amusing rant on the new Apple iPhone, which reminded me of those days:
“Computers aren’t supposed to be easier or cute. They’re supposed to be intimidating punch card reading hulks of metal that take up an entire refrigerated room and force you to manually implement recursive procedures and abstract data types in FORTRAN 77.”
—Stephen Colbert 1/11/07
I’m clearly a computer dork though, because while I enjoyed the “uphills both ways in the snow” nature of this rant, my first thought was but you can’t do recursion in FORTRAN 77.
“ “I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”
Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the non-stop frenetic news reports on the television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see...”
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “Why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.” ”
—Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks For all the Fish
“Useful Advice: 2/10
The game opens with the soon-to-be-famous proverb, “Never Trouble Trouble Til Trouble Troubles You.” Of course, it's pretty hypocritical since dressing up in a yellow diaper and kicking any random midget you see is just blatantly Troubling Trouble.”
—The 20 Worst Games of All Time on the NES classic Bad Street Brawler
Please do not ever mention George Bush. And Winston Churchill in the same sentence again, even if you must break all the rules of grammar to do so.Also in this weeks issue was the Big Mac index, which I find vaguely amusing. I was even slightly tempted to have a Big Mac for lunch today, but thankfully thought better of it.
The Economist letters page
In 1794 a group of German speakers in Virginia petitioned Congress to publish federal laws in German as well as English. The intention was not to supplant English but simply to supplement it. A House committee recommended publishing German translations of the laws, but on January 13, 1795, "a vote to adjourn and sit again on the recommendation" (apparently an attempt to keep the measure alive rather than killing it immediately) failed by a vote of 42-41. Frederick Muhlenberg (1750-1801) was in fact Speaker of the House at the time, but how he voted is unknown. Tradition has it that he stepped down to cast a negative vote, apparently being the German-speaking equivalent of an Oreo. Not that it mattered. The vote was merely procedural; its success would have not guaranteed passage of the measure, and in any case German translations of federal statutes are a far cry from making German the official language of the U.S. A similar measure came up a month later and was also voted down, as were subsequent attempts in later years.In addition to being factually incorrect the above "reason to vote" is misleading because it is usually worded to imply that the one vote that made a difference was made in a referendum, rather than in a vote among representatives. I actually think that everyone should vote, and if you don't (and assuming you have the legal right to do so) you've no cause to complain about the train wreck which is our government. Therefore voting is really about guaranteeing my right to complain, not to actually make a difference.
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty--if we deny the right of the individual to be wrong, unpopular, eccentric or unorthodox--if we deny the essence of racial equality then hundreds of millions in Asia and Africa who are shopping about for a new allegiance will conclude that we are concerned to defend a myth and our present privileged status. Every act that denies or limits the freedom of the individual in this country costs us the ... confidence of men and women who aspire to that freedom and independence of which we speak and for which our ancestors fought.Yesterday Kathy invited my to see Good Night, and Good Luck with her. Watching this movie about events in the 50s, where everyone is a chain smoker, is a bit like watching a sci-fi movie about an alien culture, except I think the sci-fi alien culture would probably seem considerably less alien. The actor playing Morrow was terrific, and the performance left me wishing that more people were capable of using language as well. Many of the things said by Morrow in the movie are well documented actual quotations. Joseph McCarthy is portrayed by himself using contemporary footage. I've never much liked George Clooney, but he did a great job directing this film. ( Read more... )
Edward R. Morrow
 here: http://www.slate.com/id/2127595/?nav=mpp
I always take an interest in immigration issues, and I read an article in this week's Economist about Britain's citizenship quiz. The newspaper contrasts that quiz with the American equivalent which is drawn from 100 patriotic questions, including seven which are about the flag, and conclude that Britain is more hesitant and lacks patriotic certainties.
Sir Bernard Crick, who wrote two chapters of the booklet [that trains potential new citizens to take the quiz], explains that the national culture is poorly defined, thanks to the lack of revolutionary heritage or a constitution. Britishness, he says, consists mostly of living in Britain. Instead of ideals, the nation has (unwritten) rules. "If you spill a stranger's drink by accident," trainee citizens are told on page 101, "it is good manners (and prudent) to offer to buy another."I like the idea of a society where moral certainty is less important than being courteous.
My next computer will be a Thinkpad T43 named crux, the Latin name for the Southern Cross. I intend to use it for mobile (notebook computing) mapping as well as other activities (storing pictures from my new digital SLR and general mobile computing). My current mapping computer is named polaris, after the north pole star, which is not visible in the southern hemisphere (where I am headed), which does not have an equivalent pole star. In the old days navigators in the southern hemisphere used the Southern Cross to figure out which direction South was.
 BTW- if asked the civil war was fought to free the slaves. This answer may not provide complete historical coverage, but it is expedient if you want to pass the test.
 I have always felt that elevating the value of a piece of fabric above one's values was dangerous, but I'm just a programmer, so what do I know.
Today's controversies over high petrol prices and fuel-guzzling SUVs in the huge American market offer only a partial picture of the future facing the industry as a whole. It may well be fully mature in markets such as North America, Europe and Japan, where over-capacity continues to sap profitability. But globally the industry is set for huge expansion with the motorisation of China and India. Within a few years China will replace Japan as the second-largest national market after America. Some experts predict that over the next 20 years more cars will be made than in the entire 110-year history of the industry.I have some pictures and stories from my Washington trip (I just got back from Washington DC). I hope to post them tomorrow.
The Economist 8 September 2005
Technology firms are pushing a futuristic vision of home entertainment not because consumers are desperate for it, but because they [technology firms] themselves are
The Economist 1 September 2005
I was reading about the idiocy which is “high” “tech” and was writing an lj poll about technology and complexity, when guess what? My notebook died. (Yes, a notebook I purchased from the employee purchase plan from The Company).
I am constantly bothered by my interactions with customers, because the software that I work on is too complicated for anyone to understand, and generally speaking my customers are geeky engineer types. I’m not entirely sure if that makes it better or worse. I can’t imagine what the corporate bigwigs of companies who are selling to consumers think they are doing selling stuff that is too complicated. Take a look at your VCR. The time is blinking isn’t it? It is on mine. That’s because all I need a VCR for is to play videotapes. Timed recording is an added complexity that I don’t need to deal with.
In order to take the poll, you need to sign up for an account, but please do. It’s free and you can use it to read private entries and leave comments for me.
Register here: http://journal.whitedactyl.com/create.