Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Obamasims

More than anyone else, Steve Sailer has been all over Obama. Some of what he says is flattering to the self involved candidate, but much of it isn't too pleasant. For me, this is the 'money post':
Another half-white son of Barack Obama Sr., Mark, a physics student at Stanford, disturbs Obama with his individualism, well-adjusted personality, and lack of black racialism. He looks so much like Obama, but his values are so different.
It goes on to tell the story (in Barack Obama’s own words no less) of the closeted black radical Barack Obama and his more level headed brother. Reading that post tells you all you need to know about the presidential wanna-be.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bad Apple

I loved this article that detailed a PR campaign by Apple to trash the reputations of some security researchers who were looking into vulnerabilities on Apple products (specifically their wireless product). End result?
Apple continued to claim that there were no vulnerabilities in Mac OS X, but came a month later and patched its wireless drivers (presumably for vulnerabilities that didn't actually exist). Apple patched these "nonexistent vulnerabilities" but then refused to give any credit to David Maynor and Jon Ellch [the two security researchers Apple attempted, nearly successfully, to destroy professionally when they said that Apple's drivers (or specifically, one's like it) had flaws]. Since Apple was going to take research, not give proper attribution, and smear security researchers, the security research community responded to Apple's behavior with the MoAB (Month of Apple Bugs) and released a flood of zero-day exploits without giving Apple any notification. The result was that Apple was forced to patch 62 vulnerabilities in just the first three months of 2007, including last week's megapatch of 45 vulnerabilities.
Whoops! Professional "hackers" are not really a group you should seek to cheese off!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Adwar

So after on monstrous upgrade to Valve's Steam client, I hop onto the CS server and see some additional artwork has been added:

Typically I don't mind ads in video games...when the fit; and fit it doesn't in a map which has an Aztec ruin theme. As well, I'm more open to it in new games, but this version of Counter-Strike was last updated in what, 2004? And even then it was only to force it to be compatible with Valve's Steam service which is billed as a fancy game distribution system, but it has the added benefit of being a nice piece of command and control software as well.

As well, I'm sure Valve also updated the user agreement for their software to say god knows what (you're unable to spray or other wise mangle the ads).

Anyway, what Valve has done is deployed ads into an old game, which formerly didn't have any ads* in order to fund their newer software projects, because you're certainly not going to get any added game functionality for all that ad viewing (though I'm sure Valve would say they need the ad money to fund Steam so that they can afford the bandwidth to stream more ads).

*In fairness, a few of the maps have 'fake' ads (backalley) or are ad free urban environs (assault), both of which could be (and probably have been) improved with some real ads. Though I must say I don't care for the Intel ads; that's like selling out to the man. Gimmie more video game and graphics card ads!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Milk Man

Mrs. Sandmich happens to be watching the baby of one of her friends. While perusing the leftovers in the refrigerator I noticed a bottle of milk from said friend sitting in the door. Now when I say from in this case I mean directly from if you catch my meaning. I thought it was rather unpleasant to have such a thing sitting in my refrigerator. My mindset was something along the lines of "bottles of bodily fluids from a strange person are sitting in my fridge!"

I still haven't squared this with the fact that below that bottle was a whole gallon of the same fluid from a creature that's not even human AND which I have no problem drinking. Maybe the degree of separation has to be larger in order for it to be less disturbing?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Times

I know I had written of this before, but let me state again my distaste for monkey-ing with the time. I, and many others, spent much of yesterday cleaning up a mess that is every bit the fault of our great U.S. Congress. Why do they mess with the time? I'm thoroughly convinced the reason is 'because they can'. I'd say that justifies some public floggings, no?

If they love the friggin' time change so much, just change it and leave it there and quit screwin' around.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mankind Cashes In His Chips

I'd lost my link to this article and it took me two years to dig it back up. It deals with industrial demographics; the whole thing is good but here's the money line:
If worldwide fertility rates reach levels now common in the developing world (and that is where they seem headed), within a few centuries, the world’s population could shrink below the level of America’s today. Of course, it’s unlikely that mankind will simply cease to exist for failure to reproduce. But the critical point is that we cannot reverse that course unless something happens to substantially increase fertility rates. And whatever might raise fertility rates above replacement level will almost certainly require fundamental cultural change.
Kurtz makes note of the possible use of 'pro natalist' policies (income tax credits for kids, baby bonuses, etc.), but in another of his articles elsewhere (that I'm too lazy to find) he notes that these two are ultimately self defeating since they set up a vicious cycle of:
  • Raising taxes to pay for the benefit
  • Taxes are too high for young people to start a family
  • Raise benefit and repeat
The whole article is one of the most depressing things I've ever read and I grew reading stuff about the impending nuclear holocaust. I guess we know all those other enviro doomsday stories and whatnot are 99% BS and we figure mankind will find a way to cheat the system again; but it's pretty hard to fake your way out of not having enough kids.

Monday, March 05, 2007

You Got It All Wrong

This video played on the screen when we were at Dave and Busters over the weekend; a real catchy tune with a not so uncatchy video. Although not dirty, your boss or boss-type person in your life probably wouldn't understand if they saw you watching it (or they would understand, which would be worse):

I guess the song was pretty popular when it was released a couple years ago, though this was the first time I'd heard it. I was cheezed at Yahoo's LaunchCast service for not working a song like this into my cycle since it has the same sound as several of my favorites; just to further cement my idea that LaunchCast is a glorified payolla service.

Another World

At work I'm used to receiving weird mail that's outside of the scope of my job, or is addressed to one of my predecessors which has been gone for years; but somehow my name at work got a mis-association along the way and I now receive this magazine. Unlike previous mailings which were at least tenuously related to my job, these people got the impression that I'm some sort of genius (they obviously haven't been reading my blog) and it features such article titles as Focused-ion-beam thinning of frozen-hydrated biological specimens for cryo-electron microscopy:
Cryo-electron microscopy can provide high-resolution structural information about cells and organelles in the nearly native, frozen-hydrated state. Applicability, however, is limited by difficulties encountered in preparing suitably thin, vitreously frozen biological specimens. We demonstrate, by cryo-electron tomography of Escherichia coli cells, that a focused ion beam (FIB) can be used to thin whole frozen-hydrated cells in a convenient and essentially artifact-free way.
It’s gotta be a blast to translate that muck into Chinese and what-not!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Congressional Idiot Watch

I've had my gripes with the previous congress, but this may be the single worst piece of legislation to pass in at least my living memory:

It shouldn't be surprising that many workers who sign these cards [to form a union] later have second thoughts after getting the employer's side of the story. Workers sign cards for all kinds of reasons, including peer pressure and intimidation.
Union intimidation? I can hardly believe it!

Did HillaryCare pass the House in the early nineties? If so, it's second worst.
Hardly a recomendation.