October 31, 2005


MySQL was down on the Ether server most of the day today so by around 2 PM everything was down. This is the second time something like this happened ... I had left Eclipse running on my development machine although I can't imagine that it gobbled up database connections for no good reason. I really don't want to hunt this down, so I'm going to ignore it and blame it on:


Halloween gremlins.

posted by sstrader at 9:45 PM in Personal | permalink

October 30, 2005


Through a series of recovery-induced cogitations on TV shows, I remembered a series of a few years back called FreakyLinks (The Blair Witch Project was on today, as was a movie called They. I think the creators of BWP were involved in FL, and one of the actors in They was the main character in FL. Kinda freaky, huh?). FreakyLinks had the feel of the original The Night Stalker that early X-Files had, but without the unfortunate over-seriousness. I miss FreakyLinks, but it appears that it'll never be on DVD. TV.com has descriptions of all 13 episodes.

In my Googling for FL, I found a site called FreakyLinks which contains various forms of weirdness (hosted in WS, which I learned a while back is Western Samoa). Containing an image of a lime green skull with a swastika on its forehead, it declares itself as your portal to disturbing sites on the net. They have a considerable amount of questionable content, but I went right for their Video Mayhem section. Ooooh. I'm drooling for some of these bad, bad movies (unfortunately only on tape). Lots of extreme violence, gore, hardcore sex, and general bad taste to a degree that believe me you cannot imagine. Highly recommended even if you only go there to read the movie descriptions. It reminds me of a similar site I found when I was on sabbatical called 5 Minutes to Live. They have DVDs.

posted by sstrader at 11:48 PM in Cinema | permalink

October 29, 2005

String theory's sad demise?

I can't keep up with modern physics as much as I'd like, so I was kinda shocked when I heard string theory outed as the emperor's new whatever last Friday on Talk of the Nation's Science Friday (not yesterday, but a week before). On it, Lawrence M. Krauss was talking about his latest book Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions, from Plato to String Theory and Beyond (from Amazon's comment, apparently everyone listened to that show). I read Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe when it first came out and loved it--nice overview of string theory and everything leading up to it. Etc. Everyone's either read it or read of it, so that hardly needs to be repeated (his second one was a little more dense and needs a second reading). Now, Lawrence Krauss seems to be tearing down string theory by using the same concerns that we've read about: it lacks provability or disprovability with our current understanding. While these have always been issues to be resolved Krauss is saying that it's been too long and that they can never be resolved.

Definitely a book to-be-read. Hello wishlist. Several of his other books look familiar too.

Anyway, it got me digging through and old chart I made of the standard model in order to organize the basics in my head:

Continue reading "String theory's sad demise?"
posted by sstrader at 1:30 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 28, 2005

Blogdex offline, part 2

Blogdex may be offline (or, maybe back on now?), so try out the BlogsNow aggregator for its general aggregatory goodness. Includes categorization of links (MP3, flickr, Wikipedia, etc.). I may be out of the loop, but why aren't there more Blogdex 2.0s out there?

posted by sstrader at 12:57 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

October 27, 2005

Blogdex offline?

I've been noticing some weirdness for the Blogdex feed in my RSS reader (reduced entries, repeated source links, more spam than usual), but thought it would pass. Now Blogdex appears to be offline. Trusting that I'm certainly not the only one to notice this, I found only one other person (Kevin Burton asking the question two days ago) who seems to have noticed. What's going on? How can something as valuable as Blogdex fall off the face of the Earth with no notice? Everyone can't be as dismissive of weirdness as I am.

posted by sstrader at 8:29 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

October 26, 2005

Connected roots

Lady Crumpet's recent rant re the New York Times and J.M. reminded me of a Language Log exegesis from earlier this week examining the syntax of the source materials.

If Miller was unaware that there was a campaign to discredit Joe Wilson, then how would she be able to think one way or the other about whether she was a target of a campaign of which she was not aware? There are Zen koans that are easier to decipher.

Well, I never said they found any answers, they just expounded on some of the non-answers.

posted by sstrader at 10:01 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

Who do you think you are?!?

CmdrTaco got his name taken away in an online game and posted a thoughtful piece on identity. Reminds me of when Elaine changed her phone number and became an outcast because of the new area code.

KRAMER: Oh! Jeez! Well, you've got a maid. It's a whole different world downtown-- different Gap, different Tower Records, and she's a 646.

ELAINE: What? What is that?

JERRY: That's the new area code. They've run out of 242s, so all the new numbers are 646.

ELAINE: I was a 718 when I first moved here. I cried every night.

posted by sstrader at 1:27 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

October 25, 2005

Balance of power, part 3

(Continued from part 1 and part 2.)

/. continuing the debate of Internet governance (I still like the title "War to Liberate the Internet") triggered from a WSJ article. A few good entries: AC provides a little more schooling on the whole issue. Later, daveschroeder pulls the ownership card but gets smacked down nicely here and here.

posted by sstrader at 4:50 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 22, 2005

Sarah the Jew

Finally got around to reading the Sarah Silverman article in the recent New Yorker (impossible to keep up with that subscription). I first saw her a few years back when Bravo reran The Larry Sanders Show. I had heard-of-it-but-never-watched-it when it first came out, and was completely hooked when it ran on Bravo. Hey now! Sarah Silverman was a writer on the show and in one episode did a very funny stand up routine. She's cute and disarming and has such a unique comic voice that ends up being really really menacing. Some quotes:

Continue reading "Sarah the Jew"
posted by sstrader at 6:01 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

Where was I?

The Wife out of town with friends for an LSU game in Baton Rouge, my bro' had an unexpected free night so he headed ITP and we got sloshed and had a great meal at Mitra. Many topics were argued, few were resolved. Or remembered. And our wine cellar at home (aka, our wine rack) was low before last night, now it's shamefully deficient and must be remedied.

Continue reading "Where was I?"
posted by sstrader at 12:51 PM in Where was I? | permalink

Internally inconsistent

Two items found next to each other in a side banner on Daily Kos:

Kill ads! Subscribe now.
Advertise on the top 50+ trafficked Liberal Blogs -- the Liberal Blog Advertising Network.

This seems like a system about to have catastrophic breakdown.

posted by sstrader at 11:21 AM in Science & Technology | permalink


A couple of days ago, Lisa went to Target and got: Halloween candy, miniature Magic 8 Balls (!), Halloween paddle-ball paddles with a rubber ball attached by springy rubber bands, and cleaning supplies.

There's this spray cleaner that she started buying a few months ago called "method." I'm completely hooked on it: non-toxic, biodegradable, naturally derived (?), and never tested on animals. And it smells like grapefruit. Aaaaad they thank me for recycling. You're welcome.

Anyway, Target, despite often having things in confusing locations, has always been high on my list of where to get STUFF. But wait: Lisa just got word that they've joined the evil empire by apparently allowing their pharmacists to deny birth control based on their belief system. I found a reference of it on Daily Kos along with contact numbers and related articles. After complaning to Target, the author got a (basically meaningless) reply.

"Will Target stop denying medication to women?"

"Outlook not so good."

Continue reading "Target"
posted by sstrader at 11:11 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

October 21, 2005

(work here (or here (or here)))

Virtual machine reader on the cheap, yo. With a handful of virtual machines for download, including a browser appliance that can be used as the ultimate firewall. [ via /. and not yet tested ]

posted by sstrader at 5:30 PM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

Science and the single professor

When the ID trial began, I had some concern based on the reporting. Several articles trotted out the ID redefinition of "theory" without once presenting the scientific meaning. Shame on them. Maybe the media is evil!?! But, no matter how many kneecaps you'd like to break, a good debate can sometimes reveal truths. Attorney Eric Rothschild gets the money quote by cornering Behe into admitting that not only is his definition of theory equal to NAS's definition of a mere hypothesis, but that astrology would fit into his definition. Egads.

Continue reading "Science and the single professor"
posted by sstrader at 1:26 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 20, 2005

Faith in humanity, or something like that ... whatever

A couple of week ago, on October 5th, FAB angried up everyone's blood by relaying a less-than-endearing story involving the Atlanta police. I suggested that people contact the Office of Professional Standards, took my own advice and emailed them on the 6th, and just today received a response (on the 20th) with a letter from the Chief of Police dated the 11th. Here's the story thus far:

Continue reading "Faith in humanity, or something like that ... whatever"
posted by sstrader at 11:46 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

The Scientist, The Madman, The Thief and Their Lightbulb : The Search for Free Energy

An (even-handed) history of the quest for free energy: energy that doesn't consume matter and doesn't produce waste. Much of the hope rides on electricity and magnetism and the research is as old as our modern study of electromagnetism.

[The theories] are not creating any new energy. The systems are doing at least one of two things: they have either found--as in the case of some cold fusion cells--a new way of accessing chemical, nuclear or other forms of energy locked up in the system's components parts; the other possibility is that they are getting their energy from the 'zero-point fluctuations of the vacuum'. This zero-point energy is the 'background' or 'ether' energy of the universe, and is also called vacuum energy, or the 'quantum fluctuations of the vacuum'.

So the hope is that we can tap into the larger machinery of the Earth and the universe itself and convert its fundamental processes into useful energy. There are many quack-y stories in here but some fascinating all the same. I was astounded that even in the earliest days of fossil fuel use, many scientists were warning that we shouldn't become dependent on it. In 1900, Nikola Tesla says:

In some countries, as in Great Britain, the hurtful effects of this squandering of fuel are beginning to be felt. The price of coal is constantly rising, and the poor are made to suffer more and more. Though we are still far from the dreaded 'exhaustion of the coal fields', ... it is our duty to coming generations to leave this store of energy intact for them, or at least not to touch it until we shall have perfected processes for burning coal more efficiently. Those who are to come after us will need fuel more than we do.
Continue reading "The Scientist, The Madman, The Thief and Their Lightbulb : The Search for Free Energy"
posted by sstrader at 10:34 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (5/5)


Wonderful. This movie had me in tears laughing during the madcap ending, and I'm still smiling about many of the scenes today, however I don't want to spoil anything by describing any of the bad puns (with Gromit rolling his eyes throughout) and sight gags. Classic Nick Park. In the theater (Phipps) with Lisa and I were one person a few rows up and a parent + children a few rows back--all of us snickering. Even the security guard who snuck in at the end was cracking up. There were enough details to warrent a second viewing (just looking at the IMDB information brough up gags that I missed).

Just really, really, very fun and sweet.

Continue reading "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (5/5)"
posted by sstrader at 11:51 AM in Cinema | permalink

October 19, 2005


I have this weird urge to wear a 100% Perfect Replica Rolex and buy some KOKO PETROLEUM (KKPT) stock for $1.85 a share.

posted by sstrader at 5:05 PM in Culture & Society | permalink


First, AP reports that "Bush Thanks Soldiers in Rehearsed Talk." Then, one of those soldiers calls them to task. Have you ever been in the uncomfortable situation where an impassioned individual attempts to defend their belief? Get ready.

Continue reading "Patriotism"
posted by sstrader at 1:34 PM in Politics | permalink

What's weird is that their convenience store is run by an American!

This just in from the Wife, The Simpsons are going to the Middle East! I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for bootleg region 1 DVDs or VCDs of the hilarious exploits of Omar Shamshoon and his reprobate son, Badr. Mmmmm, falafelishious...

posted by sstrader at 11:20 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

October 18, 2005

Where was I?

Back from Mason's wedding but not completely recovered. What happened?

Continue reading "Where was I?"
posted by sstrader at 10:16 PM in Where was I? | permalink

October 13, 2005

Where will I be?

Heading out to Folkston, GA for the weekend for Mason's wedding. Again, we have a huge, carniverous dog protecting the premises, so don't get any ideas.

posted by sstrader at 1:57 PM in Personal | permalink

October 11, 2005

Why should I care?

Got my haircut today (if this isn't the archetypal boring blog entry, I'm not sure what would qualify).

Continue reading "Why should I care?"
posted by sstrader at 11:51 PM in Personal | permalink

October 10, 2005

What happened to All Star Pizza?

Last night, the 14th Street All Star Pizza took their increasingly bad service a step further and delivered us two sideways pizzas. It was gross and unfortunately discovered after the delivery guy left. Whyohwhy don't I check it at the door?!?

They'd been my favorite choice over the 10th Street Dominos. That Dominos has constantly changing employees and managers, and the deliveries often had mistakes or missing items (drinks, etc.). And if you're unwise enough to go pick up your order, you'll expect the same high quality service with an added wait that will probably be longer than delivery. I dropped them for All Star and now think I'll give up on delivery pizza completely.

What do I expect? Their primary customers are college students, so they're probably trying to get away with as much as their customers. I've considered complaints of some sort, but I'm pretty pessimistic about customer service. Return the pizza and go to the grocery store: I'll probably be waiting for the manager no matter how noisy I am then begin the actual foraging for food elsewhere. Add the initial wait for delivery, the drive to complain, the wait to complain, the drive to the grocery store ... anyway, cut to three hours later when we're finally eating dinner. I flirted with the idea of calling them, but what response can I really get from that? "I just wanted to call and complain," or "give me a coupon for one of your free crappy pizzas."

I recommend the Fruschetta Brick Oven frozen pizza (it's square!) for around $5.

posted by sstrader at 8:43 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

October 9, 2005

wartuning (definition)

v. intr. To scan the FM frequencies from 88.1 through 89.5 in heavy traffic in order to find another driver with an FM transmitter connected to an MP3 player. See also wardriving.

posted by sstrader at 12:27 PM in Culture & Society , Language & Literature | permalink

Balance of power, part 2

More nationalist chicanery as the War to Liberate the Internet has begun. /. seems firmly in the camp that the UN is more corrupt than the US, so let's just keep the status quo. And, oh yeah, we invented it, motherfucker! Although one poster asked the question Would you say that nobody should have the right to control their own zoning laws except Iraq because the first known zoning laws were invented by the Babylonians? Indeed.

One odd argument against UN control is that law enforcement restrictions and monitoring could be inserted into protocols. Re-read that sentence again. People are worried that countries other than The United Patriot Act States of America will abuse surveillance powers w/r/t the Internet. Others repeat the shibboleth "oilforfood" as if they US government never had any management debacles that shifted money to the wealthy and unscrupulous. Again, nationalism can be so forgetful.

Having read the range of arguments that are out there, I still support international governance (but that's just how I lean anyway). Although many are rightfully ringing the warning bells for what could happen, the root servers have that odd mix of total knowledge and limited power. China already firewalls their citizens' access and gets Yahoo! to assist in imprisoning dissidents without even having a root server on their soil. Can UN control change that? News.com suggests Bush's squeamishness with the proposed .xxx TLD and the UN's penchant for proportional dues based on GNP are what we have to fear. The Guardian ends menacingly and vaguely with the line The internet will never be the same again, after stating that there are many unanswered questions.

Finally, this pithy assessment from Three Wise Fellows on /.:

>> The US did invent the internet, and has always owned and controlled the root servers.

> Well fine. I'll go invent my own internet, with hookers! And blackjack!

Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

posted by sstrader at 12:39 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 7, 2005


A very productive week of coding was spoiled on Thursday by a pesky Crystal Reports problem which was unsolved by the Internet! Heavens. Anyway, if you get error 0x80043acc, "IDispatch error #14540," returned from IApplication::OpenReport(), you probably have the wrong version of the DLL registered. It got solved today, so the week ended on a high note.

Aaaaand, driving home in horrible traffic, I got to hear NPR's review of the newly discovered Thelonious Monk/John Coltrane live session (spectacular) and of the new George Clooney directed movie, Good Night, and Good Luck. (also spectacular). A good end all around.

Double-aaaaand, we'll be a-celebratin' Lisa's b-day (late) with friends at Eclipse di Sol tonight.

posted by sstrader at 7:39 PM in Personal | permalink

October 6, 2005

Life lessons as I catch up on news

What I've been told by some of my more virulent conservative friends:

Continue reading "Life lessons as I catch up on news"
posted by sstrader at 9:48 PM in Politics | permalink

October 2, 2005

Search and Google

After bitching about Google, and then continuing my internal dialog out loud last night against the sounding board of non-techie neighbors of my brother, and then re-reviewing the validity of my statements this morning, I found Google Watch's assessment of Google's long-term cookie (which expires in 2038, an absurdly long life for a cookie, but not that unusual. unfortunately). GW was reviewed in Salon back in 2002. As an alternative to Google, GW points towards the unpleasantly named Clusty, which got only honorable mention in secondary categories of this year's Search Engine Watch Awards. Oddly, the one feature that impressed me with Clusty (still don't like that name), the clustering of results under semi-descriptive headings, is declared as not all that special compared to directory results. Doesn't that miss the point that they have filled one of the feature gaps between directories and search engines?

posted by sstrader at 1:00 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

The Seven Friend

A story by my niece, written around a year ago, which was the result of an impulse expressed upon returning home from school and declared simply as "I need to write a story":

Continue reading "The Seven Friend"
posted by sstrader at 12:33 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

October 1, 2005

Balance of power

Two related issues: GoogleNet and the International Internet. We live in interesting times.

Continue reading "Balance of power"
posted by sstrader at 3:05 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

Review: Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (4/5)

This film could've had a much longer release that one week. The plot, varied characters, and camera work are enjoyable and fresh even 50 years later.

Continue reading "Review: Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (4/5)"
posted by sstrader at 12:44 PM in Cinema | permalink

Where was I?

Working, that's where.

Continue reading "Where was I?"
posted by sstrader at 11:54 AM in Music , Where was I? | permalink