Wednesday, August 30, 2006

MLB Stats

Despite being a stat driven game, I don't get over to look at the MLB standings all that much. I went to check to see how the Reds are doing, and although they're still in the division/wild card race, the team records are tight, much more tight than I ever remember seeing them this late in the season. In the NL there are realistically 10 teams (out of 16) still in competition for the four playoff slots. It's less so in the AL with about six teams, but it's interesting that Cleveland in the AL Central considers their season to be somewhat of a failure even though they only have five fewer wins than the Reds who are playoff contenders in the NL central. Or how about Detroit in the AL with 82 wins, and with thirty games left to play they could theoretically only win 1/3 of their remaining games and still make it into the playoffs; if they keep up their current win percentage they'll clear a remarkable 100 wins for the season.

On a different note, why is the number of teams in each league so goofy? Why does the NL have a division with six teams while the AL fields one with four?

And another thing, when are American teams going to start being named after ham production companies like they are in Japan? And better yet, when are they going to cheerleaders as well? Maybe I'd check their 'stats' more often...


I love their team motto: "Continue buring the soul"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Titan Coach

Some interesting fun last week. The company I work for gave a sizable donation to a local charitable organization (God bless 'em) and I got to go to the receptions that were given for large donors. The first was a luncheon where the keynote speaker was Coach Herman Boone, whose coaching experiences were dramatized (some have said overly so) in the movie "Remember the Titans".

Before I level any criticisms to some of the things coach Boone had said, let me say that he appears to genuinely care about helping disadvantaged kids. Even later in the day, when he was obviously under the influence of more highballs than I'll drink in my life, he was quite adamant about the need to help kids and to keep them on the right path. I plan on putting him in my "very well intentioned, but mildly misguided" file.

However, in the course of talking up betterment of kids at the luncheon, he made disparaging remarks about Daniel Patrick Moynihan's The Negro Family: the Case for National Action, a report Moynihan had written up while working at the department of labor under the Johnson administration. The basic gist of the report is that the high rate of out of wedlock births in the black community was/is going to cause grave social ills for American blacks.

Coach Boone went into how Moynihan had bad mouthed black women in his report and how it was long on racism and short on solutions (I greatly paraphrase). He then went on to detail issues facing the black community including high crime*, poor education, lack of ambition, etc., in other words, the very things that Moynihan had predicted in his report! How would the coach rectify this I wondered? It was obviously a huge hole in his logic, but since he had blabbered on for about fifteen minutes since last mentioning the report I figured he'd drop it. However, he knew that he'd left the main topic of his discussion weakened (how to best help kids in bad environments) by bad mouthing one of the main things being pushed in order to help (responsible, family behavior)**. He then continued to paper this hole over by accusing Monyiahn of pushing a stereotype of unsuccessful blacks that both blacks and whites decided on their own to accept. I couldn't help but to roll my eyes, at which point I noticed that most (all) of the audience had long since tuned him out; his argument being too stupid for the more learned and too boring for everyone else.

------

Later that evening, the charitable organization held a smaller get together at The House of Blues in downtown Cleveland. Since I went with Mrs. Sandmich and I was nominally a representative of my workplace, I decided not to take advantage of the open bar (oh the pain!). As a bonus though, Coach Boone and some of the players from his old team were selling posters that had been signed by all the members of the team that the movie is based off of. In the process of obtaining the autographs, Coach Boone (who had taken advantage of the open bar in my stead) was kind, and drunk enough to get his picture taken with the Sandmich:



*He repeated the canard of there being more black men in prison than in college; I'll not get into it now, but that's akin to saying that there are more oranges grown than there are cars produced - the two are, for the most part, unrelated.

*Favorable interest in Moynihan's report isn't a monopoly held by conservatives. Moynihan himself was a lifelong Democrat of course, but
this article details just a little of the favorable press it has gotten:
Both the Baltimore Sun and the New York Times ran series on the black family in 1983, followed by a 1985 Newsweek article called “Moynihan: I Told You So” and a 1986 CBS documentary, The Vanishing Black Family, produced by Bill Moyers, a onetime aide to Lyndon Johnson, who had supported the Moynihan report. The most symbolic moment came when Moynihan himself gave Harvard’s prestigious Godkin lectures in 1985 in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of “The Negro Family.”

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bento - Variations





I've eaten so horribly lately (again) that I decided to try to do more bentos (again) . My first attempts were veggie centric and left me starving by the end of the day, the last attempt worked best (as far being filling) by rounding it out with a bigger bit of meat and using kim che for a 'vegetable'.

Also on the last attempt, I (mostly) followed a miso soup recipe out of my cookbook and put in a cut up slice of bacon instead of bonito flakes (flaked, dried fish). Along with a slight bit of sake I figured it was going to be a fairly revolutionary miso; it would change miso history and have the appeal of crack cocaine! When I finally got to taste it, it tasted like....bean with bacon soup, oh well.

On a side note, I stopped by the local Korean grocer expecting to find a treasure trove of kim che, but instead found a lame selection that was about the same as might be expected from a regular grocery store. I guess real Koreans make their own. One interesting tidbit is that although Koreans have been making kim che since the 7th century (supposedly), hot peppers didn't make it to the region until the mid-1600s. Before this time kim che would have been just regular old sauerkraut.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Standing on the Corner...

Looks like more than one elected official is happy with the idea of the U.S. becoming a third world backwater, from here:
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and others got it right—the knaves have, by and large, behaved, and their actions largely reflect in some way the will of the American people. Americans do not need to engage their politicians in an uncivil way—as happens most elsewhere—since the ballot box, the media, and other constitutional tools largely suffice. Indeed, the American political system works remarkably well. However, there are a handful of topics where the elites do not act in the interests of those they govern. Of these, the most notorious is the contentious issue of immigration. Why are politicians so keen on mass immigration while the common American is not? This has perplexed analysts.
Whole thing is worth a read, but it will hardly tell you anything you don't already know, so maybe not.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Remote Sticker Shock

A $400 Universal Remote.
Maybe there's something to all that noise about a decadent society.

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Error

I was in Excel and got this error, which is a new one on me!

I'd relate the task I was performing when I got this error, but I think we can all agree that Excel doesn't suffer from any failures that the average human would consider 'catastrophic'.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Whores

I sat down to bore myself to death with one of my trade mags when I came across an article on the front page (which is about as far as I usually get into this mag) that noted a business by the name of Banyan Technology that resides in a Cleveland suburb. The article made note of how difficult it is for tech startups in the midwest to get venture capital, but somehow Banyan had the good fortune of coming by a couple hundred thousand in cash.

Of course it didn't take much of an investigation to discover that ol' Banyan got their cash from one of the various corporate whore funds that's been propped up with taxpayer money. Here's what our esteemed governor said about Ayalogic, another Ohio corporate whore:
“We’re committed to creating the conditions for entrepreneurial success in Ohio,” Taft said. “But it is only through technology pioneers like Ayalogic with the ingenuity, innovation and entrepreneurial energy to create a new generation of products, and venture capital firms like JumpStart, Draper Triangle Ventures and Early Stage Partners willing to place a bet on promising entrepreneurs with great ideas that we will reach our full potential.”
Some 'bet', nothing beats gambling with other people's money! However, I'm sure the governor went out of his way to appoint top notch people who would insure a highly ethical and upstanding process, right? Yeah right:
In November, 2003, Gov. Bob Taft made seven appointments — including Terrence Gasper, the chief financial officer of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation — to a new state board designed to spark investment in firms started by Ohio entrepreneurs. In October, 2004, Gasper was forced to resign from the bureau because of the bureau’s $216 million loss in a Bermuda-based hedge fund. But Gasper remained a member of the Ohio Venture Capital Authority until June 6, 2005, when he submitted a resignation letter as the bureau disclosed the hedge-fund loss in the wake of the scandal over its rare-coin investment with Tom Noe.
...
Three weeks ago, Gasper pleaded guilty to public corruption charges, admitting that he traded investment business for personal gain, including use of a Florida condominium from two brokers and $25,000 from Noe, whom he helped get $50 million from the bureau to invest in rare coins.

Geek to Me

And technical security people wonder why no one listens to them, from here:
During her talk, she described how scripts can be used to allocate excess amounts of memory to a process, forcing the target system to page out unused code and drivers. At this stage, Rutkowska showed how shell code could be executed inside one of the unused drivers, completely defeating the new device driver signing policy being implemented in Vista to only allow digitally signed drivers to load into the kernel.

Rutkowska created a one-click tool to plant the rootkit and used special heuristics to automatically find out how much memory should be allocated to "knock the unused driver."

The shell code used in the demo successfully disabled signature checking in the rooted machine, rendering the system vulnerable to the loading of unsigned drivers.
...
Rutkowska said Microsoft should consider forbidding raw disk access from user mode, or encrypting pagefile to keep it in kernel non-paged memory. This may cause some performance impact, she said.

A third possible solution is to disable kernel memory paging entirely, Rutkowska said.
It's a nasty, complicated subject that most people don't have the time to worry about. Most people have a profession apart from from computers and they'd sooner live without them than have to worry about all the intracacies of a product that grows more complicated every day.

On a related site I caught the following pic:

I was looking this picture from top to bottom and I was like "oh yeah I like Coke, and mmm fired rice, that's what I ate all weekend, and that chair looks exactly like my office chair, and OMG my game!" I knew right away that I needed to post a disclaimer noting that this is not my office. My actual office is mildly more presentable.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Safety First!

I don't think I've posted this before, but this is a pic of an industrial safety poster that I have hanging in my office:

Although gross at first, it's actually 'C' grade horror movie cheezy since you can see there is nothing in the sleeve that is in the machine, and the guy's arm is clearly visible inside his shirt. That hasn't stopped many a person from being shocked upon seeing it (apart from the shop floor manager who thought it'd do good posted out on the factory floor).

It's from a series of posters from ERI Video and I was fortunate enough to mooch this one before our last safety inspector left. She had a whole stack of them (including that nasty 'eyeball' looking one), but I think she threw them all out (the content, whatever it's appeal, is no doubt quite reduced for women, I'd imagine). The place that made the poster makes it's main money by selling cheezy videos, the plot on this one couldn't help but draw a chuckle from me:
This compelling new meeting opener shows how taking a shortcut to save time can have devastating consequences for you and your loved ones. Every Saturday, Ted missed his son Brad's little league baseball games because he had to work. When Brad's team made it to the championship game, Ted promised Brad he'd be there. On the day of the game, Ted had to decide whether to bypass a series of safety rules during a maintenance procedure so he could get to the game on time or follow the rules and arrive late. Viewers will see how the right choice allowed Ted to see Brad play and how the wrong choice cost him his life.
The right choice was, of course, calling in 'sick' to work.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Ka Boom

I caught the movie Sahara a while ago and found it groan inducing and painful to watch. The gist of the story is that some deep sea naval salvage experts (who are of course former Navy Seals, or something) go to some African country in search of a gold coin laden, Southern ironside from the U.S. civil war and then stumble upon the worst polluting solar energy plant ever devised (?!?!?). Towards the end of the movie, when the hero is attempting to shoot down a helicopter with a civil war cannon and ordinance, I wondered how stupid the target audience would have to be; but I guess they out-thought me on at least one count! From here:
The casualty count from the American Civil War just increased by two. Two American Civil War collectors were recently injured when an 1860s era explosive shell, did just that as they were trying to remove the explosives. This is one of the oldest dud shells to injure someone, in this case nearly 150 years after the shell was manufactured.