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Future of Computing March 23, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Artificial Intelligence, Master's Thesis, Robotics.
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This might be useful reading for the thesis.  A snippet:

In the last two decades advances in computing technology, from processing speed to network capacity and the internet, have revolutionized the way scientists work. From sequencing genomes to monitoring the Earth’s climate, many recent scientific advances would not have been possible without a parallel increase in computing power – and with revolutionary technologies such as the quantum computer edging towards reality, what will the relationship between computing and science bring us over the next 15 years?

Definitely have some reading to do.

Office 2004 for Mac will Not be Universal Binary March 19, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Apple/AAPL.
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According to the Office 2004 FAQ on Mactopia:

There are no plans to re-release Office 2004. With Rosetta, Office 2004 runs well on Intel-based Macs.

It will be sometime later this year or even next year before the next version of Mac Office is released as a Universal Binary. That sucks. I really want to get Linnie’s Intel iMac off of Rosetta. Having corrupted the OS once already, I’m really not fond of Rosetta at all. It can’t handle heavy loads, and she’s definitely running circles around Rosetta with Word, Excel (some), Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, etc. The Genius at the Apple Store in Towson recommended that we go from application to application–closing one before opening the next–rather than keeping them all open at the same time. Which, of course, completely defeats the purpose of upgrading to 2 Gigabytes in memory. Would’ve been nice to know that before I blew $600, yes?

Which OS are you? March 19, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in General Programming.
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You are Debian Linux. People have difficulty getting to know you.  Once you finally open your shell they're apt to love you.
Which OS are You?

Oh yeah, that democracy March 18, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Uncategorized, WoT.
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From Best of the Web, a nice set of quotes that pretty much sums up the Left’s selective amnesia about Bush’s many justifications for invading Iraq, made before the actual invasion, not after the fact. Even better, it’s all brought to us by the New York Times:

“President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a ‘free and peaceful Iraq’ that would serve as a ‘dramatic and inspiring example’ to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict.”–editorial, New York Times, Feb. 27, 2003

“One prominent neoconservative, Francis Fukuyama, asserts in a new book that the administration embraced democracy as a cornerstone of its policy only after the failure to find unconventional weapons in Iraq. The issue was seized upon to justify the war in retrospect, and then expanded for other countries, he says.”–New York Times, March 17, 2006

An argument I’ve had with many “left-of-center” anti-Bushies has been over this very thing. They absolutely insist that Bush never, ever, ever, ever, in a million gazillion years, said that promoting democracy was part of the justification of the invasion. Never, never, never! Bush Lied!!!!

Like I said: selective amnesia.

McAfee Screws the Pooch March 14, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Uncategorized.
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Gotta love this. McAfee updated their DAT files on Friday, and it caused some “problems”. It identified hundreds of programs as viruses (or virus infected–I’m not sure which), resulting in their deletion.

I had a run-in with this lovely problem yesterday. One of our company websites is hosted in Miami (we’re in Columbia, MD), and the hosting company uses McAfee. We have a batch program that runs off of that server every morning, and yesterday morning, it was indicating an error. Of course, Windows error messages are less than useful, so we spent some time crunching around the server, trying to figure out what the hell happened. In a flash of inspiration, I checked the McAfee logs. Sure enough, about 30 different programs were removed, including a DLL used during the batch process. And it tried to remove SQL Server! That would have really screwed us!

Had to run a recovery off of our backup system, which took about 4 hours, all told. My boss was suitably impressed that I had figured it out. Heh! Slashdot comes through!

George Clooney–Like Fish in a Barrel March 13, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Politics (Ghahh!), WoT.
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Here’s a rather righteous smack-down of George Clooney. Kinda like boxing with a paraplegic, if you ask me. Oh, wait. Was that too un-PC? Oh, well. I’ve got some nits to pick with the blogger (Reliapundit), which I’ll outline here. Overall, though, he’s spot-on with his analysis. I’m going to quote the entire post here, and intersperse my comments in the body:

CLOONEY spits out more Left-wing nonsense in a post at HUFFINGTON, titled “I Am a Liberal. There, I Said It!” In it he attacks Democrats who voted for the resolution authorizing Bush to attack Saddam. Essentially, he calls their vote for the resolution a “profile in cowardice.”

And I’ll give this much to Clooney: he might very well be right about most Democrats; they might truly be doves who were too cowardly to vote that way. And Clooney deserves credit for saying this and then forthrightly proclaiming himself essentially a Leftie appeaser and a dove (though he calls himself a liberal).

In fact, he opens his post by proudly asserting that he’s a “liberal” – and then he ties his attack on the cowardly Democrats and on Bush and the War in Iraq to previous, historical Leftist attacks which he thinks were good and noble.

This is one aspect of the Democratic party that has truly irritated me (and when I’m in a foul mood, pissed me off). They’ve allowed their message to be hijacked by the hard-left. Michael Moore, International A.N.S.W.E.R., Cindy Sheehan, etc. Rather than put on the brakes and take a principalled stand, they’ve lost their message to a bunch of lunatics.

By doing this, he unknowingly proves that the Left was wrong then, and they’re wrong now. Here’s what he wrote:

“… that McCarthy was wrong, that Vietnam was a mistake. And that Saddam Hussein had no ties to al-Qaeda …”

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Here is the truth:

1 – The Vietnam War was NOT A MISTAKE, abandoning our South Vietnamese allies was a mistake. The truth is, the Vietnam War was a noble war – and one we were winning.

The South Vietnamese were fighting largely on their own when the DEMOCRAT LIBERALS in Congress pulled the plug on them in 1975 – that’s TWO YEARS AFTER ALL U.S. TROOPS HAD BEEN WITHDRAWN!

This financial ABANDONMENT of the emerging democracy in South Vietnam led to their collapse against an INVASION by the North Vietnamese Marxist tryants – in violation of the Paris Peace Accord. This led dierctly to 2 million Vietnamese refugees – The Boat people – fleeing Marxist oppression. Another 500,000 South Vietnamese were put into “re-education camps” – (real “GULAGS,” not like Gitmo). And, the collapse of South Viethnam led directly to the vitory of Pol Pot in Cambodia and to the 3.5 MILLION people murdered there by Pol Pot’s Marxist tryanny – THUS PROVING THAT THE DOMINO THEORY WAS TRUE.

(YUP: THE DOMINO THEORY – A MAJOR REASON FOR OUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE VIETNAM WAR, WAS TRUE. AND AFTER VIETNAM FELL, SO DID OTHER NATIONS IN SE ASIA, AND SOON AFTER, SO DID AFGHANISTAN. AND THEN, THE JIHADOTERRORISTS TOOK OVER IRAN, AND THE LONG WAR BEGAN. ALL WERE THE RESULT OF THE DOVES AND DOVISH APPEAEMENT OF THE USSR. ONLY THE HAWKISH POLICIES OF REAGAN REVERSED THAT. I OPPOSED THEM AT THE TIME, BUT LOOKING BACK, I CAN SEE THAT REAGAN WAS RIGHT.)

If we had stuck by our allies in the South of Vietnam – the way we have our allies in South Korea, then today the South Vietnamese would be as rich and as free as South Koreans instead of being as tyrannized and as poor as North Koreans!

We, as a country, as represented by our leadership, have made some big mistakes in the name of Realpolitik. We’ve done some things that are reprehensible (although, I wonder how much is real, and how much is made up bullshit, spewed by our lovely, uber-patriotic press and their allies in the Democratic party). In our battle against Communism, specifically against the USSR, we lost site of our principals, in many instances, and lost the moral high ground, when we really didn’t need to. I sit here wondering, seeing the above ‘domino theory’ spelled out, how differently the 70s, 80s, and 90s would have turned out with respect to our foreign policy, if we had stuck with South Vietnam and built them up until they could stand on their own–much like we are trying to in Iraq at this very moment. Did our foreign policy devolve because of the bitter “defeat” in Vietnam? I truly wonder. And there’s really no way to know. Makes for an interesting moment of navel gazing, if nothing else.

NEED MORE PROOF THAT WE WERE RIGHT? HERE:

The Vietnamese communist tyrants – who TODAY still throw people in jail for just trying to exercise their human rights, like freedom of expression! – are now BEGGING for USA investment. YUP: the Vietnamese now WANT THE USA TO INVEST IN VIETNAM!

Well, if – instead of fighting us for a decade – they had let us and our allies in the South redevelop Vietnam, then they’d have had THAT INVESTMENT FOR THE LAST 40 YEARS – and 2 million Vietnamese wouldn’t have died in the war.

YUP: if the Vietnam War was a mistake for ANYONE, it was a mistake for the North Vietnamese – who now beg for the very same capitalist investments that they fought against from 1963-1975. What a waste. And it proves that THE NORTH VIETNAMESE MARXIST WERE WRONG, NOT US.

I KNOW ALL THIS STUFF BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS; I was a teenage dove then – against the Vietnam War and a Leftie. AND, NOW I CAN ADMIT THAT ME AND THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT WERE WRONG, AND WHAT WE DID WAS BAD. Clooney should grow up and admit it , too.

2 – McCarthy was NOT wrong, and he was not on a “witchhunt”.

McCarthy was ONLY trying to expose communists, and communist sypathizers in the State Department and the US Army. AND GUESS WHAT? There were Soviet agents in the Army and the State department. Since the collpase of the USSR, this has all been proved. Hiss WAS a spy. The Rosenbergs were SPIES. And so were all the other people McCarthy exposed.

There really needs to be a distinction between the motives of McCarthy (and his allies) and the methods used. Clearly, in retrospect, he was right. There were communist sympathisers all over the place. Hell, there still are! It was the right thing to do to try to root them out of the system, especially in areas where they could do some real damage (see Hiss, Rosenbergs, etc.). The methods left something to be desired, though. Much of it was grandstanding, much of it destroyed the lives of people who were, at worst, completely innocent, and at best, sympathetic to communism, but ineffectual in their beliefs, and better left alone. As it was, these people became martyrs for the cause, and to this day are held up as symbols of the tyrannical Right, McCarthy being the poster child-tyrant. This is, again, an example of our better selves not running the show. I don’t hold with Ann Coulter’s portrayal of McCarthy as some misunderstood lug, and the people he was after as a priori guilty of treason.

Contrary to what Clooney, and other misinformed Lefties think, McCarthy had NO INVOLVEMENT in the Hollywood “blacklist” or any other Congressional effort to combat the American communists. McCarthy was NOT even on the House Un-American Activities Committee. REMEMBER: he was a SENATOR! And remember: witchhunts are bad because there’s no such thing as witches. But there were communists infiltrating our government. Soviet agents in our Army and State Department were a real threat. People – like Clooney – who call the hunt for these Soviet agents a “witchhunt” are wrong.

Yes, McCarthy was a Senator, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t intimately involved with the House members who ran the show. Minor nit, to be sure. But we can’t just throw a blanket over it and say “nothing to see here!”

3 – Contrary to what Clooney and othe Loony Lefties think, Saddam had numerous ties to al Qaeda and other jihadoterrorist groups. This has been proven over and over again.

SURE: SADDAM HAD NO PROVEN TIES TO 9/11 – BUT THIS IS A LEFT-WING SMEAR AND A RED-HERRING: Bush NEVER SAID SADDAM HAD TIES TO 9/11.

NEED PROOF?! Well, Bush asked for – and got – a SEPARATE RESOLUTION TO ATTACK SADDAM. (This is the resolution which many Democrats supported – at the time – and this is the resolution which Clooney says they should have voted against, and would have if they had the courage of their convictions.

BUT, IF BUSH HAD REALLY ASSERTED SADDAM WAS CONNECTED TO 9/11, THEN BUSH DID NOT NEED TO GET A SEPARATE RESOLUTION TO ATTACK HIM; HE COULD HAVE JUST USED THE SEPTEMBER 2001 AUMF WHICH AUTHORIZED THE POTUS TO ATTACK THE PERPETRATORS OF 9/11 AND THEIR AFFILIATES.

And if Clooney and other Leftie doves actually bothered to read the 2002 Iraq War Resolution and Bush’s speech to the UN General Assembly in September of 2002, then they’d discover that WMD’s were only one of nearly two-dozen reasons to attack and depose Saddam.

And this is the issue I find most irritating about the Left’s arguments. It’s so completely one-dimensional. Or even better, when this is brought up to them, their response is almost uniformly “but, none of those issues were true, either! Bush lied!” Umm. Excuse me? Let me only partially list some of the violations:

  1. We never officially ended the first Gulf War. It was a cease fire. To be held in place only if Saddam honored the rules. Including: free access to all of his weapons facilities by weapons inspectors; cessation of hostile actions against our military; cessation of hostile actions against his own people. Etc, etc, etc. That went swimmingly, yes?
  2. Hussein tried to assassinate George H. W. Bush. Act of war. Case closed.
  3. Did not honor UN resolution 1771.
  4. Support, in one form or another, various terrorist organizations throughout the region. This one’s a doozy. We had no about some of the links between Hussein and al Qaeda. Now, nobody’s saying that Hussein and Bin Laden signed a formal treaty, or anything ridiculous like that (which seems to be an argument of the Left’s; I don’t get that!), but they clearly had some sort of operational agreement. There were training facilities in Iraq for al Qaeda. Sandy Berger, to this day, insists that the factory in the Sudan we bombed was, in fact, doing chemical weapons work for Hussein and Bin Laden. We’ve recently found out that Hussein was training approximately 2000 terrorists a year between 1998 and 2002. They’re still out there….

Back to Reliapundit:

And these reasons are nearly all “classically liberal” – which is to say “neo-con”; that is, based on the idea that all people EVERYWHERE deserve to be free. This is what we’re fighting for in Iraq. And this is what classical liberals like FDR and Truman and JFK believed in – and, they all believed that sometimes you have to fight a war over it.

YO CLOONEY, LOOK AT IT THIS WAY: if it was right for “liberals” to support Rosa Parks and send freedom-riders into the south (to demolish segregation and the KKK, too) – in order to help Blacks win their rights, then it is right to help ALL other people – yup, ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE – win their rights, too. In fact, it’s our duty.

Sound too radical to you, George? Too neo-con? Well, it’s what FDR said in his most famous “liberal” speech – THE FOUR FREEDOMS. I suggest you and you liberal/dove friends read it – or listen to it. It’s a neo-conservative speech if ever there was one! In fact, it could have been delivered by Bush YESTERDAY!

Clooney – like most on the Left – is misinformed, a victim of Left-wing propaganda. Propaganda which fails to pass any test of logic and any fair reading of the EVIDENCE, AND THE FACTS IN THE RECORD.

Clooney is at best useful idiot and a dupe, and like other anti-war dupes – his anti-war idiocies serve the enemy. CLOONEY SHOULD SHUT UP AND ACT.

THE REAL DANGER IS THIS:

If DOVES like Clooney (and Kerry and Kennedy) EVER take over the Congress or the White House, then they’ll do to the Iraqis and the Afghanis what they did to the South Vienamese: abandon them. And they’ll appease the jihadoterrorists the way they appeased the USSR.

(Doves are doves are doves are doves. Doves didn’t defeat Hitler, or the USSR. They won’t win The Long War, either.)

THAT’S WHY WE MUST NEVER LET THE LEFT WIN THE WHITE HOUSE OR CONGRESS.

PS: HEY GEORGE (regarding the Civil Rights Movement and Rosa Parks): a higher percentage of GOP members of Congress voted for the US Civil Rights Act then Democrats did – FACT!

As much as the Republican party disgusts me, the Dems are even worse. I have to agree with Reliapundit on this one. Wish there were a reliable third party that stood its ground on Foreign Policy, was fiscally conservative, judicially conservative, and socially liberal. Not gonna happen, though.

What’s Up, Doc(s)? March 11, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in WoT.
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According to The Weekly Standard, our esteemed Intelligence Czar (Negroponte) is sitting on the millions of documents and thousands of hours of tapes that we have confiscated from Iraq since the war. Why, is anybody’s guess, but one theory is that the evidence of subterfuge from certain third parties (aka Russia) is so damning that it might cause them great embarrassment, and a resulting diplomatic ‘flap.’

The actual contents of the documents is unknown, but given the rather explosive information of the few hours of recordings that have been released so far (Hussein’s advisors admitting to having successfully hidden elements of their WMD programs from the weapons inspectors during the ’90s), one can only think (reasonably) there’s quite a bit more of this to be revealed.

Given Russia’s role in trying to tuck Iran’s shirt in re: their weapons program, I think it’s pretty prudent of us to lay all the cards out on the table and let the world know who is playing footsie with whom (so to speak). Enough of playing nice. We are relying on Russia to keep Iran in line, and Russia may very well not have that as their end-game.

News Flash: Bonds Used Steroids! March 7, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Uncategorized.
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Fox News (among many others) has the scoop on a new book coming out by a couple of Bay Area reporters:

NEW YORK — Barry Bonds used a vast array of performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids and human growth hormone, for at least five seasons beginning in 1998, according to a book written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters.

Gee.  Really?

If the records are that complete, and apparently BALCO kept extensive records, then it seems like the asterisk after Bonds’ name in any record book is pretty much a given.

Damn.  Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy….

“Blackstar” Orbiter System Shelved? March 6, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Artificial Intelligence, Master's Thesis, Robotics.
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Here’s an article from Aviation Weekly about a Pentagon program, called “Blackstar,” to build a 2-stage to orbit “space plane” orbiter launcher.  Sound interesting.  The intriguing piece to me was that the actual orbiter that was to be deployed had a small bay that could be used to launch micro-sats.  I’m curious about the feasability of launching ‘sat swarms’.  Multiple satellites that were built to work together in various capacities.  Anti-satellites; dispersed sats for imaging large areas on the ground (or in space, for that matter); construction sats; etc..  How easy would it be to refuel them ongoingly?  How small can we make them right now?  How much smaller can they get, before they lose viability in outer space?

Lots of intriguing ideas.  From the sounds of it, the orbiter was shelved, but maybe there’s a follow-up?  What kind of work is being done privately?

The Hebrew Version of Pi. March 2, 2006

Posted by nukemhill in Family, Math/Science.
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Everything you ever wanted to know about how the ancient Hebrews calculated Pi. Truly fascinating, in that geeky, knowledge-craving kinda way.

The text of the Hebrew Bible approximates Pi to 3:

1 Kings 7:23: “And he made a molten sea [tank], ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and its height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did circle it round about”.

But an analysis of the letters in the word “line”–QVH (Qof, Vav, Hea)–both in written and oral form, presents a ratio of numbers that is much closer to the known irrational value of 3.14159… .

Like I said:  truly for the Inner Geek.

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