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Week of 6 October 2008


Latest Update: Saturday, 11 October 2008 11:04 -0500

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Monday, 6 October 2008
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12:14 - Brian Jepson just sent me a link to the National Science Teachers Association Lab Out Loud site. Although I plan to listen to all of the podcasts, the two that immediate struck me were Nobel Laureate Harold Kroto talking about science education and Steve Silberman talking about the death of the chemistry set. They're both well worth a listen.

Short shrift from now until probably the end of the year. I have more stuff to work on than I have time to do it.


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Tuesday, 7 October 2008
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09:36 - From Greg Laden's blog, How to annoy a Windows user in less than 20 seconds.


It's all over the tech news this morning that American Micro Devices is about to become Arab Micro Devices. Go Intel.


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Wednesday, 8 October 2008
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08:18 - It's funny how computers do exactly what you tell them to do. A couple of days ago, my friend Paul Jones dropped off an external hard drive with a backup of his data. I'd offered to copy his data up to my system as an off-site backup for him. I did that, sticking his 42 GB of backup data in the /home/thompson/data/pbj-backup directory.

I run a Linux application called Beagle that indexes all of the files in my home directory, as well as all of the web pages I visit. It's kind of like a personalized Google search. Yesterday, I used Beagle to look for a document, typing in a few keywords. I expected to get a few hits, but I got 50 or more. Most of those were, you guessed it, from Paul's documents.

This morning, I reconfigured Beagle to exclude the /home/thompson/data/pbj-backup directory. I wasn't sure what to expect. Worst case, I figured I might have to reindex manually to eliminate all of Paul's stuff from the index. I hoped that instead as Beagle automatically updated its index it would notice that that directory was no longer to be indexed and eliminate references to it. As it turns out, it's even better than that. I entered the exclude string in the configuration screen and then immediately searched for the keywords that had returned so many of Paul's documents. Those documents weren't returned, so Beagle instantly eliminated them from the index.



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Thursday, 9 October 2008
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08:30 - I'm working now on the fingerprint chapter of the forensics book, which will be an expanded version of the lab session I did on revealing latent fingerprints in the home chem lab book. Once I complete that, I have lab chapters on blood detection, impression analysis, forgeries and fakes, and forensic biology to write up. That'll complete the first pass, after which I have to go back to shoot a lot of images and do some rewrite. So, the end is at least now in sight, although still some way off.


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Friday, 10 October 2008
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08:24 - It can't be a coincidence that this SNL skit has disappeared from Youtube and most other on-line video repositories. I'm surprised it ever aired in the first place because, unforgivably, it tells the truth about the bailout, including, surprisingly, that the Democrats are largely responsible for the mess we find ourselves in.

I'm also disgusted watching the Obama campaign trying to distance itself from charges, originally raised by Clinton, that Obama associated with the terrorist Bill Ayers. Obama says he was 8 years old at the time the Weather Underground was bombing buildings and killing people. So what? No one has said Obama was involved in the bombings. The question is why he would voluntarily associate with a terrorist and murderer.

And, make no mistake, Ayers is as much a terrorist as is Osama bin Laden. Ayers was, with Mark Rudd and Jeffrey Carl Jones, a member of the executive committee of the Weather Underground. His group set off bombs and killed people, not to mention offering aid and comfort to our enemies while we were at war. All three of them should have been charged with high treason and executed. Sadly, all three of them are now walking around free.


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Saturday, 11 October 2008
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09:35 - I see that Marcia Bilbrey is joining Brian in pursuing a work-related college degree. She plans to minor in forensics, so we'll have lots to talk about.

I wish I had time to pursue advanced degrees. If time and resources were unlimited, I'd want to obtain several additional degrees, including an M.D. and Ph.D.'s in several fields, including multiple chemistry and biology doctorates, genomics, forensics, mathematics, astrophysics, engineering and bioengineering, nanotechnology, and even perhaps archeology and anthropology.

As it is, I'm fortunate enough to be writing books about subjects that interest me, which is probably the next-best thing to pursuing original research. And, as Mary Chervenak commented, I'm probably getting more actual lab time than most Ph.D. students.

Speaking of which, I'm currently working on a lab session about raising latent fingerprints from the sticky side of Scotch tape using gentian violet (crystal violet) stain. Watching this kind of stuff in documentary videos is great. Reading about it books is better still. Actually doing it is beyond comparison.



11:04 - Here's a Bob Seger track I'd never heard, from 1966. It didn't sound like Seger's voice to me, but Barbara said she recognized the voice as his.


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Sunday, 12 October 2008
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