already paid the price--Facebook has my name, birthdate, email address,
and IP address--so I'll leave the account active and just lurk. I've
de-friended most of the people I friended, leaving only a few
actual close friends.
money down a rat hole. The Greece bailout continues to the tune of a
trillion Euros, and looks to be turning into a real mess. No surprise
there. The surprise was that the European Union ever allowed Greece--a
small, poor, profligate Balkan country--to join the Eurozone in the
first place. Once they did that, the outcome was predictable and
inevitable. The Greeks are rioting to protest "austerity measures" that
amount to little more than a band-aid. What the European Union should
have insisted on as a condition of providing any assistance was
immediate and permanent cuts of 50% to 80% or more in Greek government
spending. What they got instead was essentially a small reduction in
the rate of increase.
This massive bailout simply delays
the inevitable, and not for long. Greece is heading for default, with
Spain and Portugal not far behind, and Italy not far behind them. As
the weaker dominoes continue to topple, they'll drag down the stronger
nations in the Eurozone until only Germany is left, as a shell of its
former self. The UK will come to bless the day that it refused to join
- Still churning away on the PC book. I'm working on the
home server chapter right now.
this really pisses me off. I see that the local, state, and
federal governments aren't the only ones who want tax money from us.
Now the UN
is trying to get its snout into the trough,
with plans to directly tax residents of the US and other first-world
countries, supposedly for the benefit of third-world countries but in
reality for the benefit of the UN. I say not just NO, but HELL
is long past time that the US withdrew entirely from the UN and
expelled it from US territory. The UN does not and never has acted for
the benefit of the US or US citizens. The UN is our enemy. It's bad
enough that we pay any attention to anything the UN decides, let alone
pay a grossly disproportionate share of UN costs. Pull out of the UN,
eject UN personnel from the US, and tear down the UN building. We can
decide for ourselves what is or is not in the best interests of US
citizens, and take unilateral actions accordingly. If someone takes
strong exception to our actions, well that's what our carrier battle
groups are for.
Are you qualified to edit a book? Find out now by taking this simple
test. Which three words in the following paragraphs from the home
server draft is my editor likely to
Even today, a re-purposed
system is by far the most common type of home server. That's
unfortunate, because an old system is about the worst possible choice
for a home server. Granted, a typical home server doesn't require much
processor horsepower, but that's about the only way an older system
fits the requirements for a home server.
Think about it. You'll
probably load up your home server with gobs of data that really matter
to you: irreplaceable digital camera images and home video footage,
your porn collection, all of your documents, your old tax returns and
business records, and so on. Do you really want all of that precious
information residing on a system that's near the end of its design
life, with a five-year-old motherboard and power supply? That's a
disaster waiting to happen.
finally saw something in the MSM that I'd been wondering about since
the Gulf oil leak hit the news. When Barbara and I were watching an
early news report about it, I turned to her and asked why they didn't
just detonate a baby nuke near the bore hole. They could dial it down
to a kiloton or ten, and the detonation would crush the borehole and
melt enough of the rock to seal it forever. The environmental impact
would be small, certainly much smaller than a continuing 200,000 gallon
per day oil leak. Any residual radioactivity would be quickly diluted
down to the parts per billion and then parts per trillion level,
indistinguishable from background radiation.
Now, as it turns
out, that's just what the Russians are recommending. I wasn't aware of
it, but they've actually used that method on five similar oil leaks
over the last few decades, and it worked on at least four of them. I
don't know what happened on the fifth, but I'd guess they used too
My editor, Brian Jepson, has weighed in. He says the only change he'd
recommend is to correct a spelling error: "porn" to "pr0n".
still cranking away on the book. We should begin actual builds in the
next couple of weeks. Based on which components we already have and
which we're still waiting for, we'll probably build the mainstream
system first, followed by the home server, the media center system, the
budget system, the appliance system, and finally the extreme system.
put the extreme system last in the queue because we're hoping to build
it around an unannounced Antec case, which we may or may not be able to
get a sample of before the book deadline. I can't say anything about it
yet, but it looks to be a very nice product. The extreme system will be
my new main office system, and will be more than twice as fast as my
current main office system. Ironically, despite its age, my current
main office system (a Core2 Quad Q9650) is still much faster than any
of the other new systems we're building. In fact, with performance
higher than the fastest Intel Core i5, it's faster than 99% of
new systems currently sold. We'll probably clean up the Q9650 system
and turn it into Barbara's new main office system.
system will become my new den system, replacing the current Core2 Duo
E6750, which is about as fast as the new budget system and about three
times faster than the Intel Atom system that will replace it. That new
Atom system will be in an Antec ISK 300 case, which is bigger than a
Mac mini, but smaller than any other case we've ever used. The E6750
system ended up as my den system because it was available, not because
I needed that much power for web browsing and the other casual tasks I
do on it. The Atom system will be fast enough, and much less obtrusive.
system Barbara is anxiously awaiting is the media center system, which
will sit next to our new HDTV. In particular, she's been waiting almost
a year to watch series two through six of Crossing Jordan. We
rented series one from Netflix last spring. At the time, the official Crossing Jordan
web site said they expected to release the other series as soon as they
were able to clear up some music copyright permissions. They apparently
weren't able to negotiate permission, because that page has since
disappeared and it now seems series two through six will never be
released for home video. We'd be happy to rent these other five series
from Netflix if they were available. If necessary, we'd be happy to buy
these other five series, if they were available. But it looks like that
isn't ever going to happen, so if we really want to see them BitTorrent
may be the only option.
One of my friends suggested that maybe I was a little too high-profile
to talk about BitTorrenting television programs. IANAL, but my
understanding is that it's not against the
law to download
copyrighted material, only to upload
it. Certainly, in
all the lawsuits by the RIAA/MPAA, the plaintiffs charge
that the defendant uploaded
files. In practical terms, the MAFIAA hounds locate their victims by
downloading copyrighted material from their IP addresses. Short of
seizing server logs, they have no way to know who else is also
downloading that material.
So, although I can't offer legal
advice, it seems to me that anyone can legally grab television programs
and other copyrighted material via BitTorrent simply by setting their
BitTorrent client to throttle uploads to 0.00 KB/s, thereby ensuring
that they never upload a single byte. Of course, by doing that, they
become a leech, but there are worse fates.
been working heads-down on the book, but I need to take some time this
weekend to get a couple of things done in the lab. One sink is full of
glassware that had a preliminary washing and has been soaking for two
or three weeks in what originally was sudsy water. I need to get all
that stuff washed, dried, and put away. I also need to make up 500 mL
or 1 L each of 20 or 30 bench reagents, mostly 0.1 M or 1.0 M solutions
of various acids, bases, and salts.
Doing that individually as
each solution is needed is very inefficient. It's much more efficient
to do it in large batches, a dozen or more solutions at a time. That
way, I can be weighing out the 105.99 grams of anhydrous sodium
carbonate I need to make up 1 L of 1 M solution while the 249.68 grams
of copper(II) sulfate I'd just weighed out is dissolving (which takes a
long time). I'm not all that skilled a juggler, but I can generally
keep a dozen or so such procedures going simultaneously without losing
track of what I'm doing for each.
- We had dinner with Mary Chervenak last night. The
conversation was wide-ranging, as usual.
Although I disagree with just about everything Grace Slick
for politically, I've always admired her for her rigorous intellectual
honesty. There's nothing phony about her. An interviewer once asked
Grace what she'd say to her daughter, then in her mid-teens, if she
found out she was using drugs. Grace replied, "What could I say?" I
sometimes find myself in a similar position because of my YouTube
example, one young German scientist-to-be frequently corresponds with
me. He's 15 years old, and he's doing things that make me very
concerned for his safety. For example, yesterday he told me that he'd
just produced metallic sodium by electrolysis from molten sodium
hydroxide. In his home lab, which is in his bedroom. I try to
discourage him from attempting such hazardous
experiments, but he won't be dissuaded. And who am I to discourage him?
By the time I was 15, I'd done much more dangerous experiments than
he's currently doing, including synthesizing what I now realize were
quantities of mercury fulminate, nitroglycerin, PETN, RDX, and HMTD, to
name just a few.
find it very hard to take myself seriously when I tell him, in essence,
"do what I say, not what I did." Still, that's what I'm doing. I just
about choke on my own words, though.
John Albert Gardner
III was sentenced yesterday to three consecutive
life without parole for raping and murdering 17-year-old Chelsea King
and 14-year-old Amber Dubois. That's not enough. That's not nearly
enough. Torturing this evil creature to death, slowly, wouldn't be
enough. At least we can hope he'll be killed by another inmate. Prison
inmates don't like scum who rape and murder kids any more than the rest
of us do.
A modest proposal for a new type of sentence for
Gardner and others like him, which should satisfy both supporters and
opponents of the death penalty: life in prison without food or water.
- Another opportunity lost. The woman who lives across the
street from us is dating a guy who restores old cars as a
hobby. I was helping Barbara drag big tree limbs that we'd had
trimmed from a huge pine in the back yard up to the curb. Malcolm was
loose and helping me. Just as Malcolm and I arrived at the street, Bill
pulled out of Paula's driveway in his restored 1951 Packard. He came to a
stop and said what a beautiful dog Malcolm is. He then offered to trade
the 1951 Packard for Malcolm. Of course, I told him he had a deal, and
was just about to shake hands with him when Barbara arrived and put a
stop to it. "It's a 1951 Packard!," I cried. She was not amused. So he
still has the Packard and we still have Malcolm.
Which reminds me of another intellectually honest woman I knew when I
was in college. We were sitting discussing prostitution one day, and I
asked her if she'd have sex with me for $20. (This was the early 70's,
so think more like $100+ in today's dollars.) She said she wasn't a
whore. So I asked her if she'd have sex with me for $1,000,000,
expecting her to deny that she would. Instead, she thought about it,
and eventually replied, "You know, I probably would." Damn.
And, speaking of prostitution, I just watched a YouTube video that
features a bunch of real
feminists, all of whom I adore. ZOMGitsCriss leads it off.