Saturday, October 30, 2010

Egypt author threatens to sue over Hebrew translation

Egypt author threatens to sue over Hebrew translation
by Marwa Awad; Editing by Peter Graff - Sat Oct 30, 1:35 pm ET

CAIRO (Reuters) – "An Egyptian author said on Saturday he would take legal action against the publishers of an unauthorized Hebrew translation of his bestselling novel, released without his permission by a Jerusalem-based group."

Hmm... Anti-Semitic or pro-copyright? I wonder how the different viewpoints will see this. If the author has the work copyrighted, and it's virtually certain it is, then he is right.  Even though I believe the copyright laws are incredibly horrible and need to be tossed and rewritten from scratch, The "Right to Copy" is, like the rest of the US Constitution's Bill of Rights, an important one.

Microsoft Looking Like An End-Stage Company

Microsoft Looking Like An End-Stage Company
By Paul McDougall, InformationWeek
October 30, 2010 04:00 AM

"I believe that Microsoft as we know it may not be around in another decade--maybe not even in five years. There's hardly a single tech industry trend line pointing in Redmond's favor right now, and some of those curves are about to get a lot steeper, real fast.

So it's hardly surprising recent Microsoft-related news has been pretty much on par with where things stand for the company these days — mostly all bad.
"

It is no secret what my opinion is of Microsoft, the company and their products. But putting that aside, I think that the author here has some very valid points. Microsoft might be the 800 pound gorilla but when things change at light speed that size becomes a handicap. Adapt or die. Microsoft has not been doing well at the former.

Rare Korean reunions go ahead despite gunfire exchange

Rare Korean reunions go ahead despite gunfire exchange
By Jack Kim – Sat Oct 30, 9:09 am ET

SEOUL (Reuters) – "One hundred aging South Koreans drove across a tensely guarded armed border into North Korea on Saturday to be reunited with relatives they had not seen since the 1950-53 Korean War despite tensions between the two sides."

This is interesting in that no one actually got shot.  Makes me entertain some unthinkable thoughts.

Clinton urges calm after China-Japan row at summit

Clinton urges calm after China-Japan row at summit
By Yoko Kubota and Arshad Mohammed – Sat Oct 30, 7:48 am ET

HANOI (Reuters) – "The premiers of China and Japan met at an Asian regional summit in a bid to defuse a territorial dispute on Saturday, while the United States urged Asia's two big economies to cool the standoff and proposed three-way talks."

Somebody needs to sit these two sides down and give them the Gibbs Head Slap.  You know, if Chiang Kai Shek had prevailed instead of Mao, Japan would probably not be a sovereign country today.  But that's beside the point.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Walkman Obit: Remembering the portable player

A Walkman Obit: Remembering the portable player
By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer – Mon Oct 25, 9:01 pm ET

NEW YORK – "The Walkman, the Sony cassette device that forever changed music listening before becoming outdated by digital MP3 players and iPods, has died. It was 31 years old. Sony announced Monday that it has ceased production of the classic, cassette tape Walkman in Japan, effectively sounding the death knell of the once iconic, now obsolete device."

"Memories...  Like the corner of my mind."

I remember when this came out.  It was the Summer between my junior and senior years in high school.  You can't imagine what kind of impact it made.  Before that it was all about carrying the biggest Boombox.  That was fun, but those things got a tad heavy after a while.  Also, the Walkman did more for running/jogging than any shoe company ever did.  (Side note: I never ran or jogged with one but that's only because I never ran or jogged)

Friday, October 22, 2010

WSJ: MySpace, apps share user IDs with advertisers

WSJ: MySpace, apps share user IDs with advertisers
– Fri Oct 22, 8:28 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – "MySpace has been sharing with its advertisers data that can be used to identify user profile pages, but the company doesn't consider that to be a problem."

It's that ever fluctuating definition of private data that'll get you every time.  It doesn't matter who it is or what they profess to be (e.g. "Do no evil"), when it comes to money (re: advertisers), all bets are off.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DADT Conflict Explained: Why Obama Administration Lawyers Fight For A DADT Policy Obama Opposes

DADT Conflict Explained: Why Obama Administration Lawyers Fight For A DADT Policy Obama Opposes
MARK SHERMAN | 10/21/10 06:57 AM | AP

WASHINGTON — "President Barack Obama opposes the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, so why are Obama administration lawyers in court fighting to save it?"

This was interesting. It's a good look into the workings of the Federal Government. At first, it seems counter productive. But once you think about it, it isn't so bad.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oldest Object in Universe Found

Oldest Object in Universe Found
By Irene Klotz
Wed Oct 20, 2010 01:00 PM ET

THE GIST
* The earliest known astronomical object is a galaxy appearing about 600 million years after the universe formed.
* The previously known most distant object was a short-lived gamma ray burst.
* The newly discovered galaxy is interesting to astrophysicists trying to understand how these early objects changed gas in interstellar space.


This is beyond cool.

I know, I'm a total geek.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider
Oct 19, 2010 By Carl Lundstedt in

"Muons and mesons and quarks—oh my! Never fear, Dorothy, the Large Hadron Collider and open-source software willsave the day.

What is at the heart of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments? It should not surprise you that open-source software is one of the things that powers the most complex scientific human endeavor ever attempted. I hope to give you a glimpse into how scientific computing embraces open-source software and the open-source philosophy in one of the LHC experiments.
"

Open Source and the LHC. Two of the greatest things to happen in the last 100 years.
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Groups challenge expanded Mass. obscenity law

Groups challenge expanded Mass. obscenity law
By Denise Lavoie, Ap Legal Affairs Writer – October 19, 2010 - 15:38

BOSTON – "Internet content providers have asked a judge to stop Massachusetts from enforcing a portion of an expanded obscenity law that includes electronic communications that may be harmful to minors."

You know, at some point we have to ask ourselves just what are we protecting our children from? The less they know about the world the more trouble they get into. Don't teach them about drugs, they go and do drugs. Don't teach them about sex, they go and have sex. Just banning information that is arbitrarily designated as "harmful to minors" is ridiculous. The only way that this could be accomplished is to remove the Internet, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, everything.

One other thing about this that angers me is the lack of responsibility that parents are taking for their children. Instead of raising and teaching their children, they want the government to do it. Now, I'm not going to claim I'm the best parent ever, but I'm not going to pass off my responsibility as a parent to anyone else.
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Military recruiters told to accept gay applicants

Military recruiters told to accept gay applicants
By Anne Flaherty, Associated Press Writer – Tuesday 19, 2010 13:12

WASHINGTON – "A Pentagon spokeswoman says recruiters have been told that they must accept gay applicants, following a federal court decision striking down the ban on gays serving openly in the military."

As so it begins. I hope that things go smoothly during this initial foray into don't ask do tell.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Water Crisis - Blog Action Day 2010

Seventy-one percent our planet is covered by water. There's more water than anything else on the surface of the world.

Yet thousands die for lack of it.

Recently we have seen two disasters that have done major harm to the water; the Gulf oil spill and the sludge pouring out of Hungary. Yet these two "disasters" are, if you'll pardon the metaphor, like spitting in the ocean compared to the 2 million tons a day of waste polluting the worlds water supply. What is this waste?

It's shit.
Literally human waste.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.
Join the global conversation around water on October 15th.

What can be done about it?

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Year in Sanity: Constance McMillen

The Year in Sanity: Constance McMillen
When her high school tried to exclude her and her girlfriend from prom, the teen kept a cool head -- and won big
By Thomas Rogers

"Teenagers have endless reasons to be crazy -- the stress of school, the rush of hormones, Justin Bieber's haircut. So just imagine being Constance McMillen. Last winter, the gay 18-year-old was told by officials at her school, Mississippi's Atawamba Agricultural High School, that she couldn't bring her girlfriend to her senior prom. From that low point, things just got worse. After McMillen circulated a petition to protest the decision, the school board canceled the prom altogether, turning her into a target of peer scorn and her cause into a national story."

Hopefully this story will be a lesson to the future bigoted schools. I doubt it, though. Closed minds that hate aren't changed no matter how much they are punished. It just makes them even more stubbornly closed minded.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Judge orders military to stop enforcing 'don't ask, don't tell'

Judge orders military to stop enforcing 'don't ask, don't tell'
By Adam Levine, CNN
October 12, 2010 8:58 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- "A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the U.S. military to stop enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, putting an end to the ban on openly gay troops.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' permanent worldwide injunction -- praised by gay rights organizations -- orders the military "immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced" under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"

A step in the right direction. Still, if the "soldier on the ground" doesn't buy into this there will be problems. If this is going to work the Brass need to make this look like it's not being forced on the military.

Good luck with that.
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MoH to Green Beret Killed in Afghanistan

MoH to Green Beret Killed in Afghanistan
October 06, 2010
Associated Press

"With the war in Afghanistan about to grind past another milestone, President Barack Obama on Wednesday honored the sacrifice of an Army Green Beret who died there by awarding him the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor."

The stories of these MoH recipients can't be told enough times.
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Missionaries of Hate: Vanguard Trailer

Missionaries of Hate: Vanguard Trailer

"Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Uganda to trace the influence of American evangelical leaders on a proposed law that could make being gay punishable by death."

Originally aired Wednesday, July 14 at 10/9c on Current TV, this is one of the most frightening things I've seen in a long time. Words can't explain how insane things are getting.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Schneier on Security: Stuxnet

Schneier on Security: Stuxnet
October 7, 2010

"Computer security experts are often surprised at which stories get picked up by the mainstream media. Sometimes it makes no sense. Why this particular data breach, vulnerability, or worm and not others? Sometimes it's obvious. In the case of Stuxnet, there's a great story."

The more we know about security the better prepared we are to react to attacks. Bruce Schneier is one of the top experts in computer/technology security. Well worth following even if you aren't a techie.
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Officials: wall of Hungary sludge lake will fall

Officials: wall of Hungary sludge lake will fall
By Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writer – Sun Oct 10, 9:10 am ET

KOLONTAR, Hungary – "The wall of a reservoir filled with caustic red sludge will inevitably collapse and unleash a new deluge of red sludge that could flow about a half-mile (1 kilometer) to the north, a Hungarian official said Sunday."

As I said earlier, this has the potential of being much worse than the Gulf oil spill. These are the kind of environmental dangers we should be working on. Instead, we send millions to the fictitious "Global Warming/Climate Change" racketeers.
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Saturday, October 09, 2010

North Korea Opens up Internet for National Anniversary

North Korea Opens up Internet for National Anniversary
Martyn Williams – Sat Oct 9, 10:00 am ET

"North Korea appears to have made its first full connection to the Internet. The connection, planning for which has been going on for at least nine months, came as the reclusive country prepares to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea with a massive celebration and military parade."

Interesting, this. One might be tempted into thinking that maybe there are some cracks in the wall of North Korea's isolation. I, however, am skeptical. An old saying comes to mind, here.

"A leopard can't changes its spots."
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Friday, October 08, 2010

Women in tech: The reality and the movies

I happened upon two articles recently that made a good bookend to the topic of women in technology. The first was published in Salon and titled Female programmers on "The Social Network". This one looks at how women are portrayed in the now film. The second, published in Radar by O'Reilly, is titled Women helping women get into tech.

The former basically shows women as, and I quote, "gold-diggers, drunken floozies and that 'bitch' who got away." If this movie were made as late as the early 90's it wouldn't be an unreasonable assumption (though it would still be incorrect). But we're into the second decade of the 21st century. Women have proven that they are at least the equal of men in the industry. In my experience they are usually better. The latter article is an interview with Sara Chippsco, founder of Girl Develop IT. This is a "place where all questions are OK and everyone can learn in a supportive environment" that is focused on helping women.

My career in the Tech world started in 1982 but I've been a techie allot longer than that. Over the decades I have seen the kind of reactions the male dominated world of tech, particularly the arena of computer programming, women receive. While it has gotten better (subjectively, I admit), most of the time women are either seen as not smart enough so they got the job by "other" means or are hit on by everything with a pulse. In all honesty, I have been guilty of the second characteristic in my youth. But I digress.

During my time, however, I have met some women who were incredible programmers. For a while I worked with a girl named Stef who was, well, I'll never be as good at programming as she was. I have met women who are extremely accomplished programmers that now teach programming. Some have even been my instructors. There was some research recently (apologies, I can't find a reference for it) that showed girls are more capable of understanding and dealing with math than boys. It is only the sociocultural stereotypes that make girls think they can't do math. This is something we need to fix. The Girl Develop IT program is a great step towards rectifying things.

Half the world is girls. To not cultivate and nurture that resource is only holding the advancement of the human race back by centuries. If not eons.
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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Hungary: Toxic red sludge has reached the Danube

Hungary: Toxic red sludge has reached the Danube
By Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writer – 19:14 Oct 7 2010

KOLONTAR, Hungary – "The toxic red sludge that burst out of a Hungarian factory's reservoir reached the mighty Danube on Thursday after wreaking havoc on smaller rivers and creeks, and downstream nations rushed to test their waters."

More ecological disasters. No one is going to be going ballistic over this one, though. This one has a far greater potential to cause damage than the Gulf oil spill.
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Change.org|Start Petition


"An infant born in sub-Saharan Africa is 520 times more likely to die from disease than a child born in Europe or the United States."

This is tangentially related to my previous post about Gliese 581g.

Found: The Holy Grail of Planetary Science

Found: The Holy Grail of Planetary Science
Michio Kaku on October 5, 2010, 4:06 PM

"Recently, a nearby earth-like twin was found in outer space—perhaps capable of harboring life. The planet is called Gliese 581g, and is 20 light years from Earth (about 120 trillion miles). In width, it is about 20% to 30% or so bigger than the Earth, but weighs about 3 to 4 times more. What is exciting is that the planet is inside the Goldilocks zone—meaning it is not too close to its sun (where water would boil) or too far (where water would turn to ice), but just right to have liquid water, one of the most precious substances in the Universe."

This is incredible news. It's the first hard evidence that there really could be life out there. That the possibility isn't just speculation.

I am excited about this
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