October 31, 2008


Sweet overload for the day (via Digg ofallplaces):

posted by sstrader at 1:14 PM in Politics | permalink

One more reason to love Obama or one more reason to hate Wikipedia

October 30, 2008

Mother of violence

During voting, we were repeatedly told to turn off our cell phones because they interfere with the voting machines. I'll ignore the conspiracies that could be spun from such a fabrication and charitably blame it on bureaucratically inspired misinformation. Yesterday at work, someone spammed the entire dev department with a notice about Bad Candy from China. The information was true, as far as it went, but the person failed to read further than the warning to see that the candy was only distributed in Canada. No offense intended to Canadians, but we have no offices in Canada. In a recent Science Friday, Judy Estrin spoke about how the current environment suppresses innovation because the main message sent out from our government in response to external threats is fear. In contrast to the archetypal space-race, our generation hasn't responded to the Sputnik-like threats with a moon landing. Instead, we remove rights and suppress information. She ties this, without mincing words, to the Bush administration's disregard and suppression of science. From Ms. Estrin: You turn off the leadership function in each individual [when you scare them instead of inspire them].

All of this--responding with ignorance and fear--seems endemic from the top down. As the PATRIOT Act takes away rights to protect you, it punishes individuality and leadership. Science is mocked as a methodology to vet knowlege of the physical world and replaced instead by political statements. People defer to a false authority and so are susceptible to believing whatever information is placed before them without even a cursory examination. Fear allows lies to spread more quickly when inquiry is abandoned.

posted by sstrader at 1:18 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

October 29, 2008

Scat, man!

[ via Scott Spiegelberg, my new god ]

posted by sstrader at 2:03 PM in Music | permalink

Overheard at the office

"Obama is a socialist... when did $250,000 a year become a wealthy salary? There are lots of families making that and struggling to make ends meet."

I, as they say, kid you not.

posted by sstrader at 11:31 AM in Politics | permalink

October 25, 2008


Ah, memories:

posted by sstrader at 8:28 AM in Politics | permalink

October 24, 2008

Notes on Resident Evil: Extinction

Rewatching the movie. We'd originally seen it (pretty drunk) at the drive-in. A few weeks ago I impulse purchased all three from Amazon on the cheap.

  1. Resident Evil
  2. Resident Evil: Apocalypse
  3. Resident Evil: Extinction

We've been rewatching (also drunk) late nights when we get home and don't have the minds to focus on anything, shall-we-say, coherent. Watching Extinction now:

  • Milla Jovovich Resident Evil 3 v. Milla Jovovich Fifth Element has matured and become more attractive.
  • Each movie--though essentially a video game as GH had commented to me--has it's own set/mood. Underground claustrophobia; apocalyptic city-scape; world dessert.
  • I like the different scenes in Extinction: underground outpost, Milla, and Damnation Alley convoy.
  • Pros of Milla riding a motorcycle in such a situation: gas mileage, versatility; cons: exposure! But I guess a car is not that protective against zombies.
  • Alternate title for the movies: Milla Jovovich Wakes up Naked and Wears a Sexy Dress.
  • Desert color scheme throughout works well.
  • Two female leads. Yes, they're basically sexy bitches, but still GRRL PWR.
  • When symbolism is so heavy-handed, any social/cinema insight is going to be more meta. I don't have any insight yet, but I know it's there.
  • Milla Jovovich is the female Keanu Reeves, but because she's female she can get away with it. Definitely not a complaint.
  • Resident Evil > Tomb Raider. RE has fun; TR takes itself way way too seriously.

All in all, good fun, seven thumbs up, etc.


Comment thread on Reddit discussing (as a digression) how interactions in one domain affect your expectations in others.

  • Try looking at a book and the monitor and moving your mouse expecting the cursor to move from the monitor to the part of the book you are looking at.
  • I find myself looking for the arrows to vote no matter what website I am on.
  • I started drawing again reciently... every time I make a mistake my left hand makes the ctrl+z movement before I realize I need to pick up the eraser.

I just ranted to friends about the uselessness of comments without comment-voting. It's painful to even have to read that crap.

I've also been thinking of how a cross-domain utility could be written similar to the book/cursor: It'd be nice to transfer an IM discussion to SMS--or even voice--if you have to walk away from your computer. Transferable communication media. Some transfers make sense (SMS-to-email) some don't (voice-to-email?). It also feels similar to the R&D tech video showing copy-and-paste from print-to-screen (using cameras, OCR, and software). I can't find the video, but some university had put together a demo where they could "copy" printed material and paste it into an application on the computer. Kinda neat.

posted by sstrader at 9:26 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 22, 2008


From Democratic Underground, a chart comparing the candidate's tax plans. Shown below:


In contrast to the WaPo version, this one shows each bracket in correct proportion to the whole. Obama's marked increase of taxes is now a small sliver of the graph; McCain's marked decrease equally so. As are the converse. This all could be considered part of what Arianna Huffington calls the death of Rovian politics. Something I'd hoped would come sooner (yes, still bitter about the mass stupidity that put Bush into office twice) may have finally arrived: accessible knowledge for all is squelching the free flow of willful ignorance. No question that it's still occuring, but maybe the YouTube videos and more mainstream blogs have created a greater circulation (and greater vetting) of infomation that was four and eight years ago relegated to personal blogs alone.

Anyone can make a graph. With blogs, anyone can publish it. With fact checkers publishing to millions, that graph will finally get out to millions. You may not be swayed one way or the other by the contents of it, but at least you're now getting a more accurate representation of the facts.

[ updated 30 Oct 2008 ]

Lisa found a tax consultant's comparison of the McCain and Obama tax plans.

posted by sstrader at 12:26 AM in Politics | permalink

October 21, 2008

Where was I?

Friday shenanigans with friends at Zaya then Pcheen. Zaya's food is always awesome, and they had $3 glasses/$10 bottles of wine!

Saturday was up at Mom's with my brother to start cleaning (spelled t.h.r.o.w.i.n.g. o.u.t.) junk in the basement. We found out that the dump closes at noon, so we just loaded up the truck for him to take on Monday. Finding some stuff to eventually try to sell on Craigslist including a rotary phone(!). Also found my long-lost copy of Meco's seminal piece of disco crap: Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk:

Found in my parents' basement. Jealous much? on TwitPic

I planned on framing it and was stunned when Lisa recommended the same thing. Rolling Frame Review (who did an excellent job on the prints from the Atlanta Arts Festival) should be sufficiently weirded out.

I also took tons of old books of ours to the Roswell Recycling Center and met a guy who owns an apartment building on 3rd and Juniper. He volunteers for some book donation stuff and was excited to dig through my car load.

Some of Saturday and Sunday was dedicated to cleaning, Container Store, and organization in preparation of Lisa's friend Kevin Roy's visit this Thursday-Sunday. I hate that it takes a guest to get us to clean up, but man the place looks good. And as a bonus, the piano tuner came on Monday. Get in a row, you ducks!

posted by sstrader at 12:15 PM in Where was I? | permalink

October 20, 2008


Excellent selection of stories from last week's Talk of the Nation Science Friday. The host interviews the composer, director, and lead of Dr. Atomic. I hadn't realized how wide-ranging Oppenheimer's education was: he read the Bhagavad Gita in the original Sanskrit fer Christ sakes. Lisa & I will be going to see it on November 21st at the ASO! A discussion of the Miller-Urey experiment with the scientist who recently re-analyzed the material. Amazing stuff. And, there's a short piece about climate change and dealing with the doubters. My opinion: anyone who still doubts it is too ignorant to be worth the effort. But that's just like, my opinion, man; the host and guest were more charitable.

posted by sstrader at 5:05 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 14, 2008

Data Deposit Box

While looking for software to help my brother set up a blog for his real estate business, I got lost in a cascade of tasks and never got back to address his request. First, I decided to try out Drupal for him by setting it up on my server. Ah, but to set that up, I want to first perform some database (MySQL) and scripting (PHP) upgrades that were long overdue. And before I do any upgrades, I need to fix the sorry state of backup that exists on the ether network. At this point, I've bottomed out in my spelunking adventure and can begin.

I was using Mozy for backup, but it wouldn't install on Windows server, wouldn't grab data from network shares, and would only allow backups from one machine. To get it to kindof work, I had a Windows backup scheduled and then had Mozy (attempt to) backup the bakup file. Being ~1.5 GIG, it usually failed to upload. Several coworkers use Carbonite and several others use DropBox. I'd heard Carbonite was like Mozy, but saw that it doesn't support my older Window machines (XP and Vista only). DropBox works with a specific folder structure and doesn't allow you to "assign" folders as DropBox folders. Their interface is beatiful and simple, but if they won't grab my pst files or my database files it's of little use.

I did a quick search and found Sanjay Parekh's article from two years ago comparing various services. He has different requirements than me, but provides a good overview. From those services reviewed, Data Deposit Box ended up working the best: any number of machines, network shares, and $2/GB/month. The only downside is that it's currently Windows-only. I've been using it for maybe two weeks and--although I haven't had a restore emergency--have been completely satisfied.


(three machines from the network show up in DDB's web browser admin interface, files are shareable and retrievable anywhere)

[ updated 2 Mar 2009 ]

Reddit points to the article "Online storage, five of the best.." They compare Mozy, Humyo, Livedrive, Box.net, and GMail drive.

posted by sstrader at 11:33 AM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

October 13, 2008

Where was I?

Friday was all-Tchaikovsky at the ASO. The first of a block of eight concerts we got for the season. I was never a big fan of Pyotr, he always seemed the prissy Romantic with flowery melodies, but I'm warming up to him. Francesca da Rimini (enough drama to fill a 2-hour movie!), Violin Concerto in D (soloist Robert McDuffie, seen years ago in a recital where he played a violin+piano arrangement of Glass's Violin Concerto), and Symphony No. 1, "Winter Daydreams". After the Violin Concerto, Bobby McD brought out one of his students for a duet (Ravel piece for violin and cello). Excellent all around but Not Enough Seats Filled! That's bad for the Symphony, but good for me since maybe Lisa&I can take my Mom.


Caturday was an afternoon picnic lunch w/ Lisa and my Mom. Evening, Lisa went to watch the sad, sad LSU game and drown her liver in gin. I got caught up on piano and met her at The Vortex at midnight. We got home somehow.

Sunday was la-zy. Caught up on some TiVo (Supernatural!) and then went to see Quarantine (3/5) at Atlantic Station [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. Zombie/Blair Witch hybrid. What gorey, nerve-wracking fun! A few missteps and the people who made the poster and ads can die in fucking hell for spoiling the ending, but it was still a blast with the crowd ewwwing and clapping as bones popped out of legs and people punched the rabid hordes. Afterwards was Cypress Street Pint and Plate with our New Favorite Bartender Lindsay the Philosophy Major. Hipster music, watched Planet Earth on TV (ocean bottom then mountains?), surfed for images of cute baby hedgehogs, and had arguments about race and homosexuality. What a fun bar. I am so glad I live in Midtown!

Lisa got ill in the middle of the night with an unspecified sickness. Hopefully not zombie rabies. She assured me that I haven't planted a seed in her. No need for me to skip town. Yet.

posted by sstrader at 4:56 PM in Cinema , Music , Where was I? | permalink

October 11, 2008


Personal memories before I forget. Lisa's out watching the LSU game, so I have some time alone while I think I should remember...

Continue reading "Down"
posted by sstrader at 11:21 PM in Personal | permalink

October 6, 2008

RIP Molly the Dog

Maggie (the black one) disappeared a while back. Her sister Molly just passed away. They were my brother and sister-in-law's dogs. This is at our parents' house when he first got them (how many years ago?):


Molly was notoriously skittish. I think she only ever let me pet her once.

posted by sstrader at 5:03 PM in Personal | permalink

October 1, 2008

Updates to Twitter

My biggest fear with Twitter was that I could never get my full archives out (others seemed to be able to though). Mine would end at page 10 with 20 items-per-page. Any higher numbered pages would jack out to page one. Their update resolved that, giving me access to my coveted First Tweet: Test from IM... 11:33 AM September 14, 2007 from web. You can see the pressing importance of this feature.

Anyway, now I also have access, via their search page, to my keyworded tweets too:

For the obsessive, this is invaluable. I'd love to have a navigable, horizontal timeline too.

posted by sstrader at 7:34 PM in Personal | permalink