Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Newspapers Taking Aim @ Google

Gotta love old media -- threatened by a changing economic landscape, they do what the threatened usually do -- they lash out first. This is starting to happen as Google News leaves beta and hits prime time. Google News provides an aggregating service, where they scan world of online media and provide a few lines of content to give a potential reader a sampling of what the article may entail. Then, they send content to the publisher. Sounds like a library to me. Sounds like a good deal for the newspapers too. They get more traffic to their site. This is no different than other aggregators -- or aggregating software that leverages RSS feeds. What these old media types are really pissed about is the fact that Google is making money. Of course they're making money! They've become the distributor! Old media however doesn't get left out, like they would have you believe. They get increased traffic.

Google should let those who wish to opt out, opt out. It should be a simple matter of telling webcrawlers not to follow the links into their sites. I'd love to see to who's the first to opt out.

Gimme Some Ganja, Man!

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan have found that high doses of a synthetic cannabinoid, HU210, increased neurogenesis in the hippocampus of rats by about 40%. Nerve cells are constantly being produced in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with learning, memory, anxiety and depression. Recreational drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine and cocaine suppresses growth of new nerve cells -- but apparently, HU210 doesn't. The effect is reportedly akin to the way Prozac works. Before you decide to toke up however, you should know that HU210 is synthetic, and other studies have shown no neurogenesis from using 100% natural ganja.

Go figure. There is no justice in this world!

See more in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, published in Oct. 2005: Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects [PDF]

Monday, February 27, 2006

Republicans Unfit to Adopt

Bill Robinson has written a great opinion piece in the Huffington Post in response to Ohio State Republican Ron Hood's proposed law banning homosexuals from adopting children. In opposition to Hood's proposal, Ohio State Senator Robert Hagan has introduced his own proposal that would bar Republicans from adopting. Hagan sites research that shows that children raised by Republicans are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities." It's a hilarious read ... until you realize that while we're all laughing, Ohio will be enacting a law based on hatred for someone's sexual orientation.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Michael Wolf's China Suite

Check out Michael Wolf's China Suite -- photography from his travels in China. Wolf is a freelance photojournalist based out of Hong Kong, doing a lot of work in China. His work is featured predominantly in Stern magazine. Of his photography online, especially profound, is the series titled Architecture of Density, which explores housing development in Hong Kong. So many people, so little space. Makes me wonder where we're heading.

Gamma-Ray Burst Detected

Left, "before" image, from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Right, "after" image, from Swift's Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope. The pinpoint of light in the centre is the GRB, which outshines the entire host galaxy. Click image for the high resolution image [8.7MB tiff].

NASA's Swift telescope has detected a gamma-ray burst (GRB), a usual harbinger of a supernova, very close to our galaxy, in the constellation Aries. The GRB was detected on Feb. 18th, at 440 million light-years away, lasting 33-minutes -- quite the departure for GRBs, which are usually detected billions of light-years away, and lasting only seconds at most. Speculation is that the GRB may be a result of a very massive star collapsing into a black hole, then exploding.


NASA animation showing the collapsing star scenario that is the leading contender to explain gamma-ray bursts.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

MPAA's Anti-Piracy Assault

The MPAA is making a major push to bring pirating sites down. They've launched an assault against P2P sites, across the spectrum -- bittorrent, edonkey and newsgroups. In the lawsuits filed, the MPAA is going after indexing sites -- sites that catalogue the files available on the different P2P networks. This is an escalation, and one has to wonder if the MPAA will succeed. Indexing sites serve the same function as search engines. They don't host the content -- they just make it easier to find the content. Even Google can be used to search for torrents if the filetype flag is used in a search.

This latest move is just another example of the MPAA's bullying tactic. The tactic has hardly worked in the past, and only serves to demonstrate the MPAA's ignorance of the technology it's fighting. Wake up people! There's billions to be made if you just get on the bandwagon and exploit the technology.

Women's Soccer a Toe-hold in Sudan

Even though conflict continues in Sudan, the shaky peace between the Islamist north and the Christian/Animist south has created fertile ground for women wishing to dust off the years of oppression under sharia. For the first time, six women's soccer teams are playing in a competition that they are hoping to grow to form a national competitive team. Islamic laws restrict women from participating in sports -- and even when they pushed those boundaries, the had to be covered from head to foot. Yet, with determination and perseverance, the women have risked it all to play. If only they can now get support from the country's football association.

This is yet another example of why Africa needs to be saved. Despite all the conflicts; the pandemics; the scourges that are attempting to rout life from the continent, life and human spirit flourishes. For these girls, and others like them, there is hope. We just need to help that hope.

Target Iraq

Iraq was a target of the Bush Administration since September 11, 2001, after the terrorist attacks in the US. New information, obtained by blogger, Thad Anderson, via the US freedom of information act, reveals that defence secretary Rumsfeld ordered a sweep for information linking the terrorists with Iraq -- and specifically, was looking for targets to strike within Iraq.

As the Guardian reports, Iraq has always been a target of the Bush Administration -- 9/11 simply provided the opportunity.

A Scanner Darkly


The latest Wired Magazine features a cover article on digital animation's taking of Hollywood, as exemplified by the latest Philip K. Dick's story to be adapted to the big screen: A Scanner Darkly. The movie utilizes an effect called rotoscoping, which employs software to digitally trace live-action footage. The results are stunning, and well suited to the story it tells.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Meaning of Tingo

The Meaning of Tingo by Adam Jacot de Boinod is a book of words -- and also a book of the world. de Boinod developed an obsession for foreign languages, and has compiled a book on the linguistic quirks and differences of languages from around the world. The book, like its content, sounds like it would make an odd addition to most collections.

Some examples of what you'll find in the book:
  • Kummerspeck -- A German term for the weight people gain from emotion-related overeating.
  • Neko-neko -- The Indonesian word for someone with a novel idea that actually makes the situation worse.
  • Olfrygt -- How the Danish describe the nagging fear of being unable to find a beer while out of town.
  • Iktsuarpok -- The Inuit way of describing the act of repeatedly going outside to check if someone is coming.
  • Dozvonit'sya -- The Russian expression for ringing a doorbell or calling a phone number over and over until you get an answer.
  • Fucha -- Polish for using company resources for personal reasons.
  • Xiaoxia -- What the Chinese call new Internet users. Literal translation: small lobsters.
  • Plimpplamppletteren -- The Dutch word for skipping stones.
  • Pana-po'o -- Hawaiian for scartching your head to remember something.
  • Tingo -- Rapanui for a person who borrows items from a friend, one by one, until everything's gone.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Three Lectures by Hans Bethe

Theoretical physicist Hans Albrecht Bethe passed away last year, at the age of 98. In his career, he won the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis; and was the head of the Theoretical Division of the Los Alamos Laboratory during WWII, playing a key role in developing the nuclear bombs of the Trinity test and "Fat Man" weapon. He later went on to campaign against nuclear testing and the arms race.

In 1999, he delivered three lectures on quantum theory to his neighbours at the Kendal of Ithaca retirement community. The lectures are available online with accompanying slides.

Quantum computer solves problem, without running

If I had stayed in school, maybe I would understand this fully -- what I do understand however, is that quantum mechanics is really, really weird. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have managed to combine quantum computation with quantum interrogation to produce a result from an algorithm, without ever running the algorithm. The researchers demonstrated what is known as counterfactual computation -- inferring information about an answer -- by exploiting the nature of quantum interrogation using a photon based quantum computer. What this result point to is the potential infer answers from an algorithm without ever executing the algorithm.

[Thanks for passing this along, Naj!]

Staying Awake

  • Design Observer -- a blog about design and culture. Some interesting stuff!
  • The Rising Stock of Black Directors -- 84% of the top 200 S&P companies have black directors on their boards -- and more companies actively seek black directors (and other ethnic minorities) because of the unique perspective the bring. I wonder what other ceilings the hunt for profits will break?
  • Tesco: California Dreaming? -- retail continues to evolve, and the limits of the big boxes have probably been reached. Where's the next growth? Think small ...
  • The Office Chart That Really Counts -- ever wondered about the informal interactions of employees at work? What would happen if an organization could really map the relationships formed from informal interactions? A wealth of social information would result -- which if used properly, could result in some really innovative ideas being realized. For more, see:
  • Even In Death, Gene O' Kelly Wanted To Succeed -- At 52-years of age, Gene O'Kelly was diagnosed with inoperable late-stage brain cancer. He had months to live. The then CEO of KPMG decided to take his death, and what was left of his life, into his hands. He managed his death with dignity and courage that most of us will wish we can do when our time comes. He wanted to succeed in his death, as he had in his life. In his last few months, he set about closing the relationships he had formed; and writing a book about his dying -- the last gift he wanted to give to his daughters. In his death, he leaves behind a lesson for all us still living -- balance. Unfortunately for O'Kelly, it was a lesson he learned when he had ran out of time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Global Free Press

Just found this site. The Global Free Press is a "community supported, progressive audio, video & image archive." [Found via The Huffington Post's Contagious Festival, via Amal's World View.]

Seduction of the Innocent

The above is a real panel from an early comicbook. It's amazing how time changes the interpretation and makes it hilarious!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Extraordinary Rendition: The Outsourcing of Torture

"Extraordinary rendition" -- what exactly does the term mean? I just came across the term in reference to Maher Arar, a Canadian of Syrian descent, who had the horrible luck to be greeted with the practice when he landed on US soil, coming back from a family vacation in Tunisia. He was accused by American officials of being a terrorist with affiliation to al-Qaeda. He was interrogated, then shackled and flown to Syria, where he spent 3-years being tortured in prison. The crime? "Extraordinary rendition" -- a practice that is illegal, and it nothing more than state sponsored torture and murder. Yet it is a practice that continues, and is legally accepted in the United States.

Must we become evil to fight evil?

From Wikipedia:
Extraordinary rendition refers to an American extra-judicial procedure, widely believed to be illegal, of sending criminal suspects, generally suspected terrorists or supporters of terrorist organisations, to countries other than the United States for imprisonment and interrogation. Critics have accused the CIA of rendering suspects to other countries in order to avoid US laws prescribing due process and prohibiting torture and have called this "torture by proxy" or "torture flights".

Media reports describe suspects being arrested, blindfolded, shackled, and sedated, and transported by private jet or other means to the destination country. The reports also say that the rendering countries have provided interrogators with lists of questions. Although Egypt has been the most common destination, suspected terrorists have been rendered to other countries, such as Jordan, Syria, Morocco, and Uzbekistan. According to former CIA agent Bob Baer, "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them to Egypt."

In a number of cases, suspects to whom the procedure is believed to have been applied later appeared to be innocent.

Rendition is an extension of a long-standing policy of confining political prisoners to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where they are beyond the jurisdiction of American courts.

The procedure allows American government agencies to interrogate and torture suspects without intervention by civil authorities, or protection of the law. The methods employed are illegal in both America and the host country. Therein lies the risks inherent with the procedure. The evidence obtained would be inadmissible in a court of law, and the procedures used to obtain it harms America's international reputation. There also exists the significant risk that the agencies and officials involved could be prosecuted for their criminal activities.

Creationists Lower Standards in Higher Education

Creationists are going to university now -- to take science, and are failing since they're arguing that Darwin got it wrong. Freshly brainwashed by religion, these students show up to British classes already knowing the scientific fact, that God created the world and people, as explained in the Bible and Qur'an. It's disturbing that students studying biology -- medicine -- don't believe evolution is real, because passages from the Bible and Qur'an tells them it God created everything.
There is no scientific evidence for it [Darwin's Origin of Species]. It's only a theory. Man is the wonder of God's creation. -- Muslim Medical Student.

This worrying trend has got the UK's Royal Society up in arms. They've decided not to sit back, but to confront the situation first-hand. Geneticist Steve Jones will be delivering a lecture on creationism and evolution at their next meeting -- and he's challenging proponents of creationism to debate the issue with him.
There is an insidious and growing problem. It's a step back from rationality. They (the creationists) don't have a problem with science, they have a problem with argument. And irrationality is a very infectious disease as we see from the United States. -- Steve Jones

The Ultimate MS Paint

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Check out the ultimate MS Paint creation -- done by Stanley William Moore II. Quite impressive.

The Speed of Gravity

Here's an interesting read for budding theoretical physicists and others who don't get a headache when they find the words, relativity, causality, and gravitation, in long run-on sentences. Einstein's theory of general relativity doesn't support faster than light travel, but accounts for gravitational effects happening faster than light by viewing gravity as a geometric phenomena due to curvature of space-time. In this article, the author supposes that gravity is not just a geometric effect. Like the other forces, it would be mediated by radiation -- radiation that would travel faster than the speed of light -- greater than or equal to 2x1010c actually.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Subway Omnibus

  • A Sotheby's For Inventors -- Ocean Tomo is looking to take advantage of your patents. The firm wants to be the auction house for patents. Many businesses with a wealth of dusty (and not so dusty) patents are going to Ocean Tomo looking for a sale. For once, market demand is driving the value of patents.
  • Is Verizon a Network Hog? -- what's with the network-nazis lately? Verizon wants to prioritize traffic running over its network, giving itself 80% of the capacity for its own traffic -- everybody else, gets to fight over the remaining 20%. WTF?!
  • Why The Economy Is a Lot Stronger Than You Think -- BusinessWeek's cover article declares that we're worrying too much about the economy. The traditional measures of an industrial economy doesn't necessarily apply in a knowledge-based economy. While that may shed a warm glow on economic thinking, it could also mean that today's (and tomorrow's) economy could be a lot more volatile than we may be comfortable with.
  • The New Ethics Enforcers -- ah, how business has changed ...
  • No Union, Please, We're Wal-Mart -- an excerpt from Anthony Bianco's The Bully of Bentonville. The story of how Wal-Mart left Jonquière after the Quebec government certified the store as only unionized Wal-Mart in North America.
  • Creativity Loves Constraints -- a short article by Google's VP of Products and User Experience, Marissa Ann Mayer.
    Constraints shape and focus problems and provide clear challenges to overcome. Creativity thrives best when constrained. But constraints must be balanced with a healthy disregard for the impossible. Too many curbs can lead to pessimism and despair. Disregarding the bounds of what we know or accept gives rise to ideas that are non-obvious, unconventional, or unexplored. The creativity realized in this balance between constraint and disregard for the impossible is fueled by passion and leads to revolutionary change.

MSM Sellout to PR Firms

Paul Graham writes a great article about the role of PR Firms in the MSM. PR Firms feed the MSM information -- and what the MSM does with it? Just publishes it. Why? MSM is lazy. Bloggers on the other hand -- we don't want to be mouthpieces for anybody, and that is the challenge facing PR Firms. Just how do they crack that rather fickle group?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sign O' The Times

Time, time -- Some say a man ain’t happy, truly -- Until a man truly dies

What world are we living in, when a politician can put a price tag on the life of someone? Yaqoob Qureshi, Indian minister of Minority Welfare in the state of Uttar Pradesh, has offered £6m to anyone who beheads one of the Danish cartoonists that drew the images of the prophet Muhammad. He also said that the killer would receive his weight in gold. I have to wonder how Muhammad feels about hits being ordered on his behalf. I also have to wonder if Qureshi has the money to fund such an offing -- and more importantly, is the Indian government going to do anything about him? Let's not forget that India wishes to obtain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Time, time -- But if a night falls and a bomb falls -- Will anybody see the dawn

Qureshi of course was probably just trying to up the ante on Imam Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi, who offered $25,000, a car and promised that a local jewellers would cough up $1M, in prize money to the killer of any of the Danish cartoonists. The Imam made the announcement in during prayer service in Peshawar, Pakistan. I wonder if the Danish cartoonists would offer to commit suicide for the money?

Time, time -- U turn on the telly and every other story -- Is tellin’ u somebody died

Meanwhile, protests continue around the world, by people who have never seen the cartoons. And people are dying. In Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan, ... and elsewhere around the world, the ignorant are falling -- not because of Danish cartoonists -- but because of failed leadership. The political and religious leaders are not leading. Instead of showing leadership, they are instead feeding the mob frenzy. It's a simple and effective tactic to maintain control. Feed the hysteria and distract the populace from the real problems of their everyday lives.

Time, time -- Sign o the times mess with your mind

Is the Muslim world capable of coexisting with the rest of the world? The rest of the world that is free? How will the rest of the world cope with the Muslim world? In the US, right-wing conservatism is on the rise. In Canada, we just elected Bush's lapdog. In Europe, countries are struggling with how to deal with the increasing immigrant population. More and more, leaders are being elected that carry an intolerant edge. The world seems to be moving to polar opposites. When will cooler heads prevail? Or will they be the first heads to roll?

One love! one heart! -- Let’s get together and feel all right.

Test 3

Blogger is still clobbering posts.

God Doesn't Exist

... but the dangerous combination of the stupid and religious, does -- and they've managed to claim more lives in the name of their absent gods than the gods themselves have. I'm now firmly on the opinion that true-believers are the ones placed here on Earth to bring about the Apocalypse.

I will now pick on the Islamic fanatics -- because, really, they're so easy to pick on. According to news reports, Iran is heading rapidly towards a confrontation with the rest of the world. At a conference in Tehran, titled, “Analysis of ways to act against the offensive of Global Blasphemy" -- an event to mark the anniversary of the Ayatollah Khomeini's call for the murder of Salman Rushdie -- Mohammad-Ali Samadi, spokesman for the Headquarters to Commemorate the Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, an Iranian government-orchestrated campaign to recruit suicide bombers, said that more that 52,000 “volunteers for martyrdom-seeking operations” have been registered by his organisation. I want to believe that this is just posturing, but it would hardly surprise me if this, and the associated numbers, aren't for real.

Such statements are made of course, with the express consent of the Iranian government -- and more importantly, the Iranian religious leaders. The collusion of the two have managed to put a stranglehold on independent and critical thinking in Iran. Those that can think for themselves, try to get the hell out of the country as quickly as they can while they still have their heads. It's a sad state for the Iranian people. They are being led astray and abused by their leaders. Iran, since the Islamic revolution, would make a great case study for an up-and-coming psychopath.

On a side note, here's a little biography on Iran's President, and Chief Terrorist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. With people like that leading the nation, is there any doubt where they're heading?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Secrets from Google

The Silicon Valley Sleuth reports on a demonstration by McAfee's SVP, George Kurtz, at the RSA conference, on how much "goodies" are available online -- made easier to find by Google. The stupidest things that people leave lying around on their sites are passwords. johnny.ihackstuff.com for instance, posts some of these stupid finds. With a link from johnny.ihackstuff.com to a Google search for instance, I found a server.log file that gave me the following two incredibly stupid lines:
07-08-05 18:06:13,WARNING,Info,SERVER, admin account info: username: admin password: ie47ed 07-08-05 18:06:13,WARNING,Info,SERVER, superadmin account info: username: superadmin password: by63bs
Can security really be that lax?

[This was orginally posted 2/17/2006, then Blogger deleted it.]
[It was then reposted on 2/18/2006, then Blogger deleted it.]

Red State, Meet Police State

Boise Weekly is running an article on Dwight Scarbrough's encounter with officers from the US Homeland Security. Scarbrough, a federal employee, and veteran, was harassed by the officers because his vehicle is plastered by anti-war stickers and signs. What's the big deal? It seems very clear to me protesting the war in the US is not something that sits well with the government and law enforcement. What is happening to America the free? Especially disturbing is how the officers in question became very hard to track down after they visited Scarbrough at his workplace and harassed him. The Boise Weekly reporter had the most difficult time finding people who would first acknowledge that the incident occurred -- then, to comment on it. Scarbrough was accused of being in violation of some law that makes it illegal to have signage on a vehicle parked on federal property. Meanwhile however, there are other laws that specifically allow political statements to be made -- including the use of bumper stickers, on federal property. The whole episode is just plain disturbing.

Test 2

Will this post disappear? Will Test 1 disappear?

Test 1

Blogger has been giving problems of the last couple of days. Posts have been disappearing, and nothing new is making it on. Images have not been appearing. Here's hoping that this works!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Newly Forming Solar System Has Planets Running Backwards

Click for larger image
NASA researchers, using the VLA radio telescope has discovered an astronomical shocker -- a solar system, some 500-light-years away, with two flat disks rotating rotating in opposite directions around a young star. Planets haven't formed from the disks as yet -- and probably won't for millions of years -- but when they do, the astronomers expect they will be orbiting their star in opposite directions. This is a first in solar system astronomy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Slime Mould Robot

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Researchers from the UK and Japan have successfully linked the Physarum polycephalum slime to a six-legged robot. Physarum polycephalum shies away from light, preferring moist, dark and humid places -- and that preference was used to direct the robot away from light sources. In the experiment, the slime was remotely linked to the robot. Light sensors on the robot relayed signals via a computer to the slime mounted on a circuit board. The circuit board detected the movement of the slime, trying to get away from the light, and relayed the slime's responses back to the robot -- which used the directive to move away from the light source.

Researchers expect that they will be able to have the slime on board the robot, and will then have to conquer the problem of feeding the slime. Once accomplished, autonomous slimeborgs will proliferate and take over the world! (Bwah-ha-ha-ha!)

Related: The researchers' findings -- Robot Control: From Silicon Circuitry to Cells.

Erosion of Fair Use

ars technica is reporting on the new offensive by the RIAA and pals to offend, misuse and with much prejudice, abuse, their customers. In a response to the US government's review of the effectiveness of the DMCA, the RIAA dunces have decided to go even more hardline than previous. They are now claiming that making backup copies and ripping CDs for MP3 players does not constitute fair use. Why? Cause you can buy another copy of the content silly!

Hate and Intolerance

The UK Telegraph has two opinion pieces that are a good read, concerning the latest incursion of Muslim society into our western-democractized-free-liberal-world. Specifically:

Nigel Farndale writes a piece that suggests that "sometimes a liberal democracy needs to show a little intolerance." He is of course referring to our need to show some courage in the face of the waves of "cartoon protests" happening around the world. This is not a time for us to show tolerance -- to show fear. The Muslim world has the right to be offended. No one argues that. That most of who are offended have no clue why they're offended, is another story. What they do with their anger however is very much a concern. They show no tolerance for our values. Their belief is absolute and leaves no room for ours. That level of intolerance should not be accepted.

Nonie Darwish also writes of a culture of hate that is fostered from childhood in the Muslim world -- hate for the West; hate for the Jews. Every problem of the Muslim world has a face and a name -- it is that of the infidel west and the Jews. The leaders of the Muslim world use their people. The Muslim people have little to no value to their leaders. They've been so indoctrinated into hate that any questioning of their leaders or beliefs inspires a violent reaction. How do they stop the hate? Darwish suggests that apologizing for the cartoons is not the solution. She's right. It's not. Her suggestion of having hope and tackling the root of the problem is empty however. I go right back to Nigel Farndale -- show some intolerance.

On a related note, check out Cox & Forkum's posts on the "cartoon jihad" and the support for free speech from Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch Muslim politician.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Atomic Beauty

"Ever wondered what an atomic blast looks like before it obliterates everything around it? Before the smoke, the mushroom cloud, the devastation, it's really quite amazing to see the first few fractions of an atomic bomb upon detonation."


Photography by Harold Edgerton.

10 Best Sci-Fi Films (That Never Existed)

David Wong over at the Pointless Waste of Time has a great top 10 list -- Sci-Fi movies that never existed. Read his article for the details, but what made his top 10 are as follows, in reverse order:
  • The "Real" Alien 3 -- the one where the aliens actually came to Earth. Think Alien (first movie) being crossed with Blade Runner.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- no, not that one. The one that would be more like Shaun of the Dead.
  • Star Wars Episode VII -- trying very hard to forget the last lame trilogy.
  • Star Wars Episode VIII
  • Star Wars Episode IX
  • Doom -- that didn't suck.
  • Starcraft -- yes, turn the strategy game into a kickass movie.
  • Snow Crash -- an adaptation of Neal Stephenson's novel.
  • The Matrix Prequel -- the story of the machine war, when the humans lost.
  • The Matrix Sequel -- just one movie!

Check out the article -- it's an entertaining read for genre fans.

Oracle Buys Into Open Source

Larry's buying spree continues -- and this time, the one-stop software shop is looking to rival IBM as the benefactor of the open-source movement. (Yeah, I know, it's got a far ways to go -- but don't tell Larry or his ambition that.) Oracle is apparently in deep talks with JBoss, Zend (PHP) and Sleepycat Software. A successful acquisition of those firms would put Oracle in the position to shift its revenue model from licensing to subscriptions. Since open source software is free, Oracle would sell maintenance, support and consulting. Oracle already had a deep and wide customer base, so they're setting themselves up to capitalize on that base. In effect, Larry is continuing on his master plan to be the one-stop software shop for businesses.

Project IP

See what your browser reveals about you as you surf the internet: Project IP.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Doom the Movie

I recently saw Doom, starring the Rock. It's a movie trying to capitalize on the video game. I guess id wanted to make some more money off the franchise, and Hollywood, lacking any good ideas slapped something together. Put a big name action star, with lots of guns, monsters, special effects and Mars, and the result would be something called Total Recall -- I mean, Doom! While Total Recall had a story, Doom was totally lacking one. It's about a bunch of tough guys, testosterone seeping from their pores, sent to investigate what went wrong on a Martian colony. Apparently genetic engineering gone awry is the problem. The results: zombies (and innocent bystanders) getting shot.

It's no different from the video game. Which is the problem -- as it's no fun watching someone else play the game. If you lower your expectations, this is a passable action flick.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

LMAO

Yes, sometimes I am curious as to why people get to my site. This morning though, I got this one that just made me lmao! Someone from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, went to Blogger Search and searched from "fuck my ass." (I removed the originating IP to protect the sinner.) When you search for those terms on Blogger Search, a page on my site is ranked number 2. Unfortunately, I don't think they found what they were looking for. Too funny! And then again, not too funny. Poor person would probably be flogged or killed if they got caught.

Patents Gone Wild

The US Patent Office is in need of a serious lobotomy. There was the JPEG patent claim that resulted in millions being paid out to Forgent. The latest claim comes from AT&T, covering core MPEG-4 technology. And in the last few weeks, RIM has been battling with NTP over patents that cover -- ridiculously -- where email is temporarily stored when a BlackBerry is outside coverage area. Thankfully, RIM seems to have developed a workaround that should allow it to continue doing business, while giving NTP the finger.

I have no love for patent speculating companies. They do nothing but sit like vultures waiting to deploy their army of hungry lawyers. The problem has gotten so bad in recent years, that now some of the silliest processes, concepts and technologies are being patented by large corporations. While some of those companies may be trying to curtail future patent suits by locking up generally understood concepts, the practice could prove potentially harmful for industry. For instance -- who's to say that the benevolent ideals of today won't turn nefarious under different management and circumstances in the future? And what if the license fees for some of the basic concepts prove unreachable for startups? Innovation and growth could be stymied.

The US Patent Office (and their ilk around the world) are in serious need of lobotomies. If only governments would develop the intestinal fortitude to stand up to business and lawyer interests, and instead focus on the economic viability of their nations.

Gmail for Your Domain

Google wants your email! They will configure, host and sell advertisements against your email! The plan is simple. Got a domain? They will provide Gmail for it. A limited beta is now running. Check it out. Soon, Google will take over the world. Join them! Google is inevitable!

Middle Managers May Be Useful ... After All

Rick Hackett of McMaster's DeGroote School of Business has recently published a study, suggesting that middle managers may be useful for more than just landfill after all. Hackett proclaims that middle managers serve a purpose in work life, by standing between the executive leadership and the workers that toil day-in and day-out to actually generate the company's profits. Middle managers represent the organization to the employees. They are the ones with the day-to-day interaction with staff -- and they play the pivotal role of translating and transmitting the warbles emanating from senior management. Middle managers are the ones that have a much more profound impact on employees. They're the ones that can inspire or suck the life out of staff; the can ensure success of daily tasks; provide career opportunities; encourage, etc. Middle managers are the ones who build trust and engender loyalty in an organization. They are essential to organizations -- and care must be taken in choosing them for their roles.

I think I need a raise.

Related reading:

Fuck Google Maps

This one's got crop circles beat! It is as seen from space, via Google Maps.

Click here
to see the Google Map.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Censoring Truth

Here's a little tale of how a 24-year-old appointee of the Bush Administration, with no qualifications whatsoever, was able to censor and impose his ideology on science being communicated by NASA. It's scary when the truth becomes a political commodity that is manipulated to suit the needs to the latest party in government. Have they forgotten that they are only administrators -- and not a ruling class?

Google Spies

Just what is up with Google these days? They've now irked the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is warning users to be careful how they use a new "feature" of Google's Desktop software. The new functionality allows users to have Google's Desktop Search index their computer and upload the content to Google's severs. Why? It allows users to search for content across computers. Interesting idea -- but suddenly, the contents of your home PC is at Google, making Google the one-stop place for hackers or law enforcement agents to obtain information about you. Just like the latest brouhaha over the US Justice Department issuing a subpoena to obtain information from the search giants -- a subpoena could be issued to obtain your personal information, where today it would require a warrant to get into your home PC. Google has suddenly become a device for Big Brother.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Boycott Egypt

The Sandmonkey has published on his blog an interesting find. Back in October of 2005, during Ramadan no less, the Egyptian newspaper Al Fagr published the offending Danish cartoons. He remembered the cartoons and dug up the old newspaper. The publication in Al Fagr followed the publication in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Postenseptember, yet didn't receive the violent response that the newspapers in the rest of Europe received at their show of solidarity. What gives? And does anyone know the definition of the word "hypocrisy?"

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Iranian Girl to be Hanged

An 18-year-old Iranian girl, who fought off three attackers intent on kidnapping and raping her (she was 17 at the time) and her niece (16 at the time), was sentenced to death by hanging. She was so condemned by an Islamic court after one of her attackers later died in hospital. This travesty of justice of course does not provoke a lot of uproar in Muslims around the globe. There are no embassies being attacked; no death threats; no anger like what we've seen in the past couple of weeks. If the sentence is upheld in higher courts, 18-year-old Nazanin was will be murdered by her country in the name of Allah and the Prophet Mohammed. That is okay -- I just can't understand how it is.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, Louise Arbour's silence on this topic speaks volumes. At the US State Department, Kurtis Cooper's silence screams American condoning of the continued murder of children and women. And the rest of you kowtowing wusses out there: where the fuck are your protests now?!.

Self-doomed to Failure

What went wrong in the Arab world? The Economist has an article dating back to 2002 on the United Nations Development Programme's Arab Human Development Report 2002, authored by Arab researchers, that takes a critical and honest look at the region -- its strengths and failings. UNDP has been publishing the Human Development Index (HDI) for a number of years now -- but this was the first attempt to focus directly at a region. Subsequent reports have been published in 2003, 2004, with the 2005 report soon to be released. The HDI traditionally looked at life expectancy, education and income -- on which the Arab countries traditionally don't score very well. For this regional focus however, the authors came up with the Alternative Human Development Index (AHDI), which added the measures of: use of the Internet; carbon-dioxide emissions; and, record on freedom. It excluded income from the measures. On the AHDI scale, the Arab world fared even worse.

The good news from the report -- and yes, there was good news. Life expectancy had increase over the last three decades; infant mortality had dropped; income had increased.

The bad news, and there was a lot of bad news, should come as no surprise -- especially with the latest row over freedom of the press and cartoons. Although the region was, and continues to roll in black gold, the wealth isn't evenly distributed. One in five Arabs lived on less than $2 per day, and growth in income had been dismal. (The only region worse off was sub-Saharan Africa.) No growth with a rapidly increasing population, meant a continued increase in joblessness. 15% of the region's labour force was already unemployed in 2002. The barrier to growth wasn't seen as the lack of money. The authors of the report pointed to three deficits of the region: Freedom, Knowledge and Women's Status.

The report threads lightly when dealing with the influence of Islam on the region. The Economist gives the following interpretation:
One of the report's signed articles explains Islam's support for justice, peace, tolerance, equilibrium and all good things besides. But most secularists believe that the pervasive Islamisation of society, which in several Arab countries has largely replaced the frightening militancy of the 1980s and early 1990s, has played a significant part in stifling constructive Arab thought.

From their schooldays onwards, Arabs are instructed that they should not defy tradition, that they should respect authority, that truth should be sought in the text and not in experience. Fear of fawda (chaos) and fitna (schism) are deeply engrained in much Arab-Islamic teaching. “The role of thought”, wrote a Syrian intellectual “is to explain and transmit...and not to search and question.”

Such tenets never held back the great Arab astronomers and mathematicians of the Middle Ages. But now, it seems, they hold sway, discouraging critical thought and innovation and helping to produce a great army of young Arabs, jobless, unskilled and embittered, cut off from changing their own societies by democratic means. Islam at least offers them a little self-respect. With so many paths closed to them, some are now turning their dangerous anger on the western world.

It is interesting to note -- especially when viewed in context of the latest waves of violence in protest of the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed -- where certain countries are on the HDI [PDF]. Denmark ranks at #14, and the highest ranking Arab country is Qatar (40). There are only four Arab states in the list that are flagged as having "high human development." One doesn't need to wonder -- the truth speaks for itself.

Read the details on the Economist, and check out the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States site for the latest reports.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Orleans Seeks Foreign Aid

The Mayor of New Orleans, disappointed with George Bush's execution of his pledge to spend billions to rebuild New Orleans, has said that he may seek assistance from foreign countries to rebuild his city. There have been a lot of foreign dignitaries flowing through the city to view the devastation -- the latest being from the French government. New Orleans was founded by France back in 1718, and the French Transport Minister has said that France does want to help.

Now, I know the situation isn't funny, but I couldn't help but get a chuckle at that.

LEGO Difference Engine

Andrew Carol has built Babbage's Difference Engine, capable of calculating 2nd or 3rd order polynomials up to 4 degrees of precision -- out of LEGO. He doesn't say why. Just because I suppose.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Somebody is Sorry

This is a start. Somebody (or bodies) seems to be making an attempt at being sensible. Unfortunately, it's anonymous. So who knows who it really is.

We Are All Danes Now

Hindus consider it sacrilegious to eat meat from cows, so when a Danish supermarket ran a sale on beef and veal last fall, Hindus everywhere reacted with outrage. India recalled its ambassador to Copenhagen, and Danish flags were burned in Calcutta, Bombay, and Delhi. A Hindu mob in Sri Lanka severely beat two employees of a Danish-owned firm, and demonstrators in Nepal chanted: ''War on Denmark! Death to Denmark!"In many places, shops selling Dansk china or Lego toys were attacked by rioters, and two Danish embassies were firebombed.

Read more in the Boston Globe.

And have some backbone you wusses! Stop kowtowing to intolerance, hate and fascism. Every single time the world tries to appease a fascist minority, the price is paid in blood of innocents.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Your Search History

Whether you're logged into Google or not, the search company keeps track of every search you make. Your IP address is recorded. This information remains in the hands of Google and their search engine brethren such as Yahoo! and MSN. This information can be subpoenaed by a court. What does your searches reveal about you? You'd be quite surprised. Without even aggregating your searches to determine patterns, just your plain searches could potentially cost you.

ZDNet did a survey of Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL -- and what they found was startling to say the least. Of the four heavy weights, Google was the least open about what it does, and the least conciliatory with respect to recognizing privacy issues. On the other hand, the recent US Justice Department subpoena for search data from the four garnered cooperation from Yahoo!, MSN and AOL. Google was the lone standout in refusing to hand over any search data to the government.

Whassup!!!

Budweiser Whassup!!! campaign certainly made the most of phrase. One of the weirdest -- and funny -- spawn from the campaign, features Osama bin Laden, Momar Khadafi, Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush. Four very dangerous men to be playing fun with. But maybe they like Bud.

Super Bowl Banned Commercials

I've never seen the Super Bowl; or the Super Bowl show; or care the least about it. Apparently it gets a lot of people excited however. For those who care then, it may be of interest to note that the commercials to be aired during the show have been scrutinized by CBS' censors, and a few haven't made it. Those deemed in bad taste are available online however -- so even if you were planning on missing the show -- or would have missed it -- you can still see some commercials. Surprisingly, a QuietAgent.com commercial was banned because it made fun of George Bush. Go figure.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Crazy About Mohammed

Seems like the world has gone crazy about Mohammed. Even in my little corner of the world, it seems people are just falling over themselves going ape-shit over the once-holy prophet. In Toronto, some "Muslim" stores now bear signs saying, "We no longer carry any product from Denmark," on empty shelves. Word on the street has it that some Muslims, even more confused than the radicals, are even avoiding danishes -- reducing the risks of finding one of Saddam's lost WMD in their crib. It seems once quiet Muslims -- quick to point out that they are not radicals -- have suddenly found their religion. Mehmet Solmaz, owner of Tahsin Market on Danforth Avenue is quoted in the Toronto Star as saying, "I am not a fanatic and the issue here is not money. It's about the respect of one's beliefs." This kind of thinking is even getting backing from some of the most credible and expert organizations on the Islamic faith -- like the US State Department, which said via spokesman Kurtis Cooper, that, "These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims. We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable." I have to laugh-my-ass-off at this whole situation -- because it seems the world has indeed gone fucking insane. When the US State Department comes out on side with the rampaging-hate of Muslims who want to chop heads off and blow shit up -- you know it's time to move to the country and build yourself a bomb shelter inside the ground. For Solmaz and his ilk -- those freshly minted Muslims taking offense -- I've got to wonder. Where the fuck are you people when suicide bombers are blowing up innocents on the streets around the world in the name of Mohammed? You choose to take offense over a cartoon, yet when the blood of innocents -- including Iraqi children -- soak the dusty streets of the world, you keep your chicken-shit voices to a murmur. It's OK to go threatening a bunch of journalists -- but to disagree with the devil in your mosques, you hold your tongue. You people are nothing but sheep -- and the ignorant flocking is dangerous. The cartoons don't incite hatred and racism. Imams who issue fatawa for violence against a wide swath of people do. Yet, when the pronouncements from the mosques from the Middle East are made, you're strangely silent -- even a bit embarrassed. In the Gaza Strip, a preacher told his flock, "We will not accept less than severing the heads of those responsible." In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees call for Osama bin Laden to defend the faith. Sheikh Abu Sharif of Osbet al-Ansar declared that "We will not be satisfied with protests. The solution is the slaughter of those who harmed Islam and the Prophet." In England, protesters took to the street chanting, "Kill, kill Denmark!" The Muslim faith has been taken over by hate, racism and violence. At every problem, Muslims preach violence, then blow stuff up and kill people. It's not a religion anymore -- it's a movement by a group of people who live off pass glories as they embrace a future of darkness. There isn't much the world can do to save them. They are not looking for love or understanding. They need none. They've fooled themselves into believing there is a promise land, where all women are virgins and everlasting happiness awaits. If you are Muslim, this is what's left for you. The faith of your religion has been in the making for sometime now -- the signs were all there -- you did nothing about it -- and continue to do nothing about it. This latest episode is just a sign that even those without a fanatical bent, are being swayed to darkness. Somewhere up in heaven, Mohammed is abandoning the whole lot of you -- just as you're being marginalized and abandoned here. Update Feb. 8, 2006
  • The BBC has some video clips online covering some of the protests in Europe.
  • The cartoons -- here's what the fuss is all about. [They can be found here too.]
  • Danish Muslim leaders and imams on a tour of the Islamic world, were handing out copies of the offending 12 cartoons, plus 3 additional false images. The three false images portrayed Mohammed as a pedophile; in an act of bestiality; and with a pigsnout for a nose. And that's how things really got escalated. Apparently the original 12 were not sufficient to incite an angry response.
  • Iran has decided to retaliate. The Hamshari daily will be running cartoons satirizing the Holocaust. Should the Jews just ignore it? Yes. Are the Iranians justified? Nope. Will the Jews react the same way as hardline Muslims? Nope.
Update Feb. 9, 2006
  • I posted about a 2002 article in the Economist that reports on the United Nations Development Programme's Arab Human Development Report 2002.
  • I also posted of the publication of the cartoons in question in Egypt a few days after they were published in Denmark, back in October 2005. There wasn't a violent reaction to the publication in Egypt as there was when European newspapers republished the cartoons.
  • Meanwhile in the US, like here in Canada, there has only been cowardice in the press. Few have shown the intestinal fortitude that the press in Europe has shown, in standing together with the Danish newspapers.
  • Al-Jazeera reports in 2003 on the educational crisis in the Arab world as found in the UN's Arab Human Development Report 2003. Rich, uneducated, with hardly a potential for a future -- this from a people that were at the forefront of scientific thinking in the Middle Ages.
  • Cox & Forkum as two excellent posts on this topic, heralded by two excellent cartoons. Check them out: A Right to Blasphemy and Undeniable.
Update Feb. 11, 2006 ... and the beat goes on ...
  • Muslims' Fury Rages Unabated Over Cartoons -- a Washington Post article on more protests. Protests have raged in the following countries: Kenya, Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Israel and Jordan. If nothing, it has been demonstrated that Muslims can unite -- in hate. In Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia, thousands of protesters at the Danish embassy shouted, "Destroy Denmark! Destroy Israel! Destroy George Bush! Destroy America!" Context for this stupidity can be found here: Turmoil Over Cartoons Began Quietly Among Danes.
Update Feb. 12, 2006
  • Not to be out done, a European Islamic group has published a cartoon of Hitler in bed with Anne Frank. They did it to support freedom of expression. Surprisingly, there has been no call for boycotts -- or better yet, not one has issued threats of beheading; committing acts of terrorism; burning embassies; attacking people. Hmm ... I'm sure I'm trying to make a point here.
  • Cartoons -- a Jewish perspective. Regardless of it being the Danes that published the cartoons of Mohammed, fanatical Arabs seem to have a perpetual hard-on for the Jews. It all seems to come back to some conspiracy led by the Jews, or benefiting the Jews. So, publishing a few lame caricatures of Mohammed equals denying the Holocaust to the fanatics.
  • So, the Prophet Mohammed walks into a bar … a well written opinion piece by Michael Kinsley in Slate.
Update Feb. 15, 2006
  • I posted a short blurb about fighting hate with intolerance today.
Overboard: Cox & Forkum.
Update Feb. 19, 2006
  • God Doesn't Exist -- Iran is now openly sponsoring terrorism. Targets are US, Israel and those who say nasty things about Muhammad.
  • Sign O' The Times -- leadership failure in the Muslim world is the biggest hindrance to them coexisting with the rest of the world.
  • Why I Published Those Cartoons -- Flemming Rose, editor of Jyllands-Posten, speaks out in the Washington Post, to answer his critics on why he decided to publish the cartoons of Muhammad.
    I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam. And I still believe that this is a topic that we Europeans must confront, challenging moderate Muslims to speak out. The idea wasn't to provoke gratuitously -- and we certainly didn't intend to trigger violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Our goal was simply to push back self-imposed limits on expression that seemed to be closing in tighter.
  • CNN's Despicable Double Standard -- Gateway Pundit reports on the MSM media's hypocrisy. In this example, CNN refuses to show the cartoons of Muhammad, yet on Feb 9, 2006, shows anti-Semitic cartoons on air. Why? CNN isn't afraid of a bunch of Jews. You can find a similar post at the National Review Online.
  • 40% of Muslims in Britain want Sharia Law -- a recent poll in the UK reveal some startling results. Conclusion: Muslims continue to drift from the mainstream. Do they even want to join the mainstream? If not, why the hell did they leave their backwards countries to come to the west? You don't like western society? Go home.
Update Feb. 21, 2006
  • Toonophobia
  • Anatomy of the Cartoon Protest Movement -- a summary of cartoon protests past.
  • In Nigeria, Muslims took to the street, in protest -- no, in hate -- and up to 15 Christians were murdered. Rioters threw a tire around one man, pour gasoline over him, and set him ablaze. Three children were among those murdered.
  • Imams hit road to beat extremism -- and some good news. Not all Muslims are nuts. But, will the cooler heads prevail?
  • Offensive Cartoons and Need for Standards of Decency -- an opinion piece by Mirza A. Beg, which I don't entirely agree with. She claims the reprinting of the cartoons is nothing but bigotry. I disagree. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. While we have laws to temper the activities of holocaust deniers for instance -- freedom of speech allow those individuals to continue to preach their brand of hatred. While I disagree with their beliefs and actions, they have the right to have and express those views. Those "freedoms" are widely practiced in most Middle Eastern nations, where cartoons offensive to Jews are published on a regular basis.
Update Feb. 24, 2006
  • Christians Attack Muslims in Nigeria
    Source: BBC.
    In an apparent show of brotherhood for the Christians in Nigeria's north, attacked by Muslims pissed over cartoons, Christians in the south of Nigeria went on a rampage, attacking and killing Muslims. In this AP photograph, corpses burn under tires set ablaze. What the fuck is wrong with these people?!
  • Muslims Attack Muslims in Iraq -- meanwhile, in Iraq, the Sunnis and the Shias go at it. It seems quite clear now that Iraq will fall into a bloody civil war soon as the Americans leave and there are no more foreigners to kill. This has nothing to do with the cartoon protests, but a whole lot with how violent religious people are.
Update Feb. 27, 2006 Update March 5, 2006 Update March 11, 2006
  • Meet Sabina Begum -- who fought for, and lost, the right to wear a jilbab to school in England, and lost. Her story demonstrates the problems in the western countries with immigrant Muslim populations. If only they would integrate into the societies they're coming to ...
    Image from Headscarf.net.

State of the Remix


Found on the web. LMAO!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Career Model


It's that time of the year at work, and naturally, I continue to be behind -- on performance reviews that is. Last year I came up with the model above to help my team understand a horizontal career progression. We're all familiar with climbing the ladder to get to the top -- but how do you achieve progression in an environment where there is no upward mobility? Folks with technical specialities for example don't have far to go -- especially if they don't want to move into management positions or take on the responsibilities for a team. This model is just something I came up with. I'm sure there are others other there built by academia or consulting groups. I didn't have the chance to go looking for one -- I was struggling to explain to my staff how they can progress horizontally, keep having new experiences, learn new skills and grow themselves. This works for me. It may work for you too.

If you want the detailed explanation of the model, contact me. If you want to use it, get the PDF version. It's free!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New American Century


Click the play button for some liberal-leftie-commie propaganda. It makes for a scary fortune cookie. (Oh, and if you're a graphic artist wannabe, you may appreciate the delivery of the message.)

Mohammed Doesn't Give A Damn

Cox & Forkum has a post about the recent uproar in the Arab world over the portrayal of the prophet Mohammed in editorial cartoons. Apparently, the Danes have offended the Arab world in their continued portrayal of Mohammed in the press. So offended are some Arabs, that in protest, they've boycotted Danish products and attacked Danish interests.

I'm of two minds over the whole controversy. Muslims should be offered some respect for their religion -- just like every other religious group. But on the other hand, how constipated do you have to be to be offended by the image of your prophet. Yeah, I hear the crap about Islam forbidding the portrayal of Mohammed -- but Islam forbids a whole lot of other things that leaves its believers stranded in time; backwards; unable to integrate into modern, world society. Islam has lost all respect in the rest of the world, and in the minds of sane, liberal thinking Muslims. Hardline Muslims pervert Islam in their interpretation, and perpetrate horrendous crimes in the name of the religion. While Arabs are now pissed at the disrespect being paid to their religion, they have, and continue to, offend every other religion on the planet.

To those Arabs protesting the disrespect being paid to their religion -- and those bleeding heart liberals that are bowing to the protests, know this: if Mohammed was here, he wouldn't really give a damn about any of this, or any of you.

A Genius Explains

Ever wonder how a savant thinks? The UK's Guardian has an article from early last year that tells the tale of Daniel Tammet, who became a savant after coming out of an epileptic attack at the age of three. Since then, Tammet, now in his mid-20s, has been really good at math. Numbers are his friends. Unlike most other savants however, Tammet can describe what is happening in his head as he effortlessly plays with numbers in very complex ways. Scientists are studying Tammet just for this reason. He can articulate what's going on.

Savants usually occur as a result of some sort of brain damage. One hemisphere of the brain is damaged and the other compensates for it -- or something like that. Autistic savants for instance may have the right hemisphere of the brain compensating for damage to the left. The left hemisphere however is the side that governs language and comprehension. This is where Tammet differs from the norm. He is not only good with numbers, but he also has quite the capacity for language. He's already fluent in six languages, and is in the process of creating his own: Mänti. His gift of languages and numbers makes him unique -- and scientists are hoping that by studying him and the language he's creating, they will obtain unparalleled insight into savants, autism and how the brain works.

The article, especially the interview of Tammet, is a very interesting read. [This came to me via redit.]

Tidbits

  • HappyNews.com -- now why didn't I think of this? Here's a site that's all about reporting, or putting a positive spin, on the news. It's all real, and just like other online news service, provides a pretty easy-to-navigate site to get to all the happy news you can stomach.
  • PEZ MP3 -- how's this for a great idea?! Cross a pez dispenser with an mp3! Hmm ... okay, I don't get it, but maybe you will.
  • Photobooth.net -- this blog aims to be "the most comprehensive photobooth resource on the internet." I can't figure out why.
  • redit: what's new online -- this is a neat site. It's "a source for what's new and popular online" -- learning your likes and dislikes, and allowing you to vote on links or submit your own. One can actually get lost at this site.
  • Fallen Fruit -- this site advocates city planners and dwellers to plan/demand that fruit trees be planted instead of shrubs or other trees in cities. It's not an insane idea when you think about it. Millions, if not billions, is spent annually to plant and maintain trees in cities. So why not fruit trees?
  • Goobuntu -- is Google really working on a Linux distro? Are they really going to take on Microsoft's core business? Probably not, but stranger things have happened.
  • Toogle -- "the most comprehensive image buggery on the web." It's true.
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