Wednesday, November 09, 2005

ABC News: Why Bill Gates Is Giving Away His Fortune

So this is why Bill Gates Is Giving Away His Fortune. I hope ABC doesn't move this link. It is an enlightening (if somewhat superficial) look at why Bill Gates put so much money toward charity. I read an article in Time (I think) a couple of years ago about Bill's charity. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was not a stingy rich man or an uninvolved philanthopist. He seems truly concerned about these issues and sees his fortune as a way to make a difference. He is also concerned about the effect of too much wealth on his children. Fascinating. I do not know much about him, but from what I have seen, I am, as I said before, pleasantly suprised.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This is a bug (I assume some form of cicada, but that is just a guess) outside the house yesterday... nearly made me jump out of my skin when I almost put a hand on him!
Oh, and I forgot to add, the cicadas here, make even more noise than the ones at home! It is almost painful sometimes, and it is certainly irritating. Oh well, what can you do? They don't live forever.

Here is a picture of a marker at the tropic of capricorn. Took us one year, but we finally made the laborious 10-15km journey to see it. Also found a geocache nearby!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Slashdot | DARPA Awards $53 Million for Solar Power Research

DARPA Awards $53 Million for Solar Power Research. This article isn't half as interesting as the comments about it. The police are going on a stakeout. That isn't a headline. Police captured Bin Laden Running a Hotdog Stand in Central Park. That is a headline. Anyway enough about that. The discussions that followed were a good read. I am still intrigued by the idea of living off the grid (power that is) and maintaining a reasonable degree of self sufficiency through farming. The ideas of what kind of solar cell would be most useful and ideas about DC vs AC and gas vs. elec and batteries, flywheels, and windmills. The topic is huge. I anticipate some great advances being made. Maybe even with DARPA's money. Stranger things have happened.

Netflix settles lawsuit

Users gain as Netflix settles lawsuit. I saw this (also seen here) and had to wonder once again at the problems with our court system. Evidently (and yes I am making an assumption here), this guy sued Netflix b/c in his eyes they failed to provide him unlimited movies with one day turn around.
Now if they said they could give a one day turn around, I didn't see it. But, even so, you gotta have a little common sense here. They are selling a product. Am I the only person who would look at an ad like that and think to myself "One day? Yeah right. Maybe if I lived across the street from the disto center and was personal friends with Bob the delivery guy". Besides, don't people realize that if they like netflix, which I assume they do if they remained a member all this time, that to take this is going to possibly hurt the company that gave them this service in the first place? I did notice, as /. pointed out, that the service does not stop after the first free month. So anyone who takes this has to stop it or start paying for upgraded service. I can't imagine that slipping by the judge unoticed. Hmmm, that may restore some of my faith in the court system right there.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Telegraph | News | Middle East factfile

Telegraph | News | Middle East factfile caught my eye today, while I was reading the news. How can an article go wrong when it is concerned not only with history, but also religion and politics! Seriously, I do not know how unbiased (and what does that boil down to anyway?) and accurate these articles are, but they seem to be put together quite well and lend some much needed information and organization to what is by anyones reckoning a convoluted issue. Let me know what you think.

Monday, September 26, 2005 - All The News That's Fun To Print

Found this through - All The News That's Fun To Print is apparently a website devoted to the positive side of the news. I have read a couple of articles and editorials recently lamenting the lack of a postive outlook on current events. This site appears to be an answer to that dearth. I will have to look in on it occasionally and see what all they cover.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Solution from PC Magazine: Upsample Your Images

Perhaps someone with a camera phone would care to try this and tell me if it works? Solution from PC Magazine: Upsample Your Images is an article discussing taking a camera phone or other low resolution image and turning it into a more framable larger photo.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Kakistocracy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saw this on J-Walk -Walk and had to follow the link. Kakistocracy is a Wikipedia defined term for a government or organization run by incompetents. Think Dilbert. I am actually suprised this hasn't been used more. Someone is always unhappy with who is in charge and of course "I am unhappy"="The people in charge are twits" in the minds of most people. Once again, I believe this is why Dilbert struck a key with the masses.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Learn Morse code

Learn Morse code is probably one of the most succinct sites I have ever visited. But that tree is sooo cool. I had never thought of looking at Morse that way. I found this diagram on another site originally that is equally cool. PocketMod is a page that helps you design your very own disposable day planner/organizer. I tried it out (using the Morse code page of course) and it worked fairly well. It appears there is some tweaking needed for printing, but that could also be worked out easily enough hopefully. I have some other links I hope to post soon, including pictures of geocaching in New Zealand.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Telemarketer Troubles? Here is a different solution

The Anti-Telemarketer Counterscript is one way to deal with a telemarketer, I suppose. I have not had much of a problem since moving (ha ha! they lost me), but it might be interesting to try it on someone. Although, I do believe that many people do not like working as a telemarketer, but find it is one of the only well paid jobs in a depressed economic area. Maybe I would only try this with an annoying or rude telemarketer. It looks like the website would like you to send in your results. Hmmm, wonder how that works with the "complete anonymity" promises you give to the TM that gave you a name and address? Anyway, let me know what you think of the script.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Opinions on religion

This is a link to John Walkenbach's blog post about making fun of religion. In the comments section he suggested that if someone had a long response that they blog it separately and then link to it; so here I am. While I understand that I will probably not change his (or many others opinions, regardless of what those opinions are), I wanted to share my insights.

I struggle and study to understand the world around me. I can not completely explain many things. Some of them are what most would consider scientific issues (gravity, genetics, certain biochemical reactions), some are moral or religious issues (nature and existance of God, afterlife, abortion, interactions with my neighbors). One thing that facinates me is the human tendency to relegate ideas to either fact or fiction. Many people can not give a rational explanation or proof that the world is round. Even the most brilliant scientists of today and the past stuggle with the nature of gravity and light, two things that are nearly incontrovertible in their existance, yet not explained fully even today. But, by and large, we do not argue the "facts" of such things. They are science.

I also have certain beliefs about God. I study many things (the Bible, religious and secular textbooks, others opinions) in an effort to refine my understanding. Just because I can not fully explain the nature or prove the existance of God, I do not abandon my beliefs. I continue to be frustrated that some people will dismiss any discussion of religion as "irrational". Many people complain that "religious" individuals will not or can not have a rational discussion, but then disregard their opinions because those people are not being rational. It appears to me to be a catch-22.

I tend to believe that humans are neither rational or irrational. We are all a mix of both. At times any of us may express certain opinions that are one or the other. I doubt that outside of certain rare conditions any of us are every completely capable of excising either all emotional or rational thought. Just because a specific belief is unable to be completely explained, doesn't mean it is irrational.

What I am trying to say, I suppose, is that calling a certain postion or belief irrational without being able to explain why you think it is so is not very rational in itself. It is not about convincing other people that you are right. Having a reasonable discussion in which you can listen to another person's opinions and rational for thinking and believing that way, without resorting to ad hominem attacks or unsupported blanket statements of stupidity or irrationality is what is important.

I will probably think of something more to add later, but that is what I can put togther now. Let me know if this doesn't make sense, it wouldn't be the first time :).

Friday, August 12, 2005

Harrison&Ford House Gymnastics

I am reluctant to even post this link to Harrison&Ford House Gymnastics, knowing that monkeys among you might try some of these stunts and serious injuries might result. So be careful! I might try some of these, but would have to be in much better shape to attempt a xXx.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Biblical Diagrams

This was a link from J-Walk that I found the other day. The site has drawn the relationships/flow of biblical events. There is a family tree, and some historical stuff. I have not checked out the accuracy of these yet, but the idea is intriguing (especially given a visual learning bent). They also have a page that shows physical relationships of countries and states and such. Let me know what you think.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Origami House

Origami taken to a whole new level. This is a house (ok, actually more like a room with a roof) made of folded paper. They said they wanted a child's view of a house rectangles and a roof. The plans for the bricks are in a pdf on the site. I will probably end up fiddling with this, like so much other stuff. It is a good thing I have sooo much more free time than the rest of the world. ;) Enjoy!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cool shop projects! - Homemade Baby Wipes

How many times can you mix power tools and baby care together (without seriously upsetting your spouse and/or getting the authorities notified)? With another one coming up this sounds like one of the flatout coolest projects ever! Can you beat baby wipes made with a table saw?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Television Tropes & Idioms - Main.HomePage

Speaking of time wasting sites... this one is a killer. Television Tropes & Idioms details the many plots and devices used in television. One of the best is "Jumping the Shark", which refers to a Happy Days episode. The idea is when a show tries something like that, things are not going well. The producers have left the original concept in an effort to re-energize the show. Anyway, give it a read.

Monday, June 20, 2005

New Feature

I just found out that Blogger has the ability to post photos. This is actually pretty easy. I have wanted a way to put a couple of photos up for people to see for awhile w/o having to email them to everyone. This way inboxes don't get filled up with photos and I don't have to wonder if I emailed everyone. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Human Events Online is a site I think I will spend some time looking through. This link is to a page that I found from another site. It deals with some of the most damaging books of the 19th and 20th century. My problem is after reading a list like this, I usually can't think of another book, b/c my mind is already focused on the ones listed... there is a phrase for that ability, can't think of that right now either. Man, I think I will just call it a day.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Twenty-five Things I'm Glad I Am No Longer Required To Do

A defective yeti posting that just cracked me up. Twenty five things I am no longer required to do. Also his post about having the flu was pretty funny. This fellow has a remarkably funny sense of humor.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Tricks of the Trade

This is a collection of useful tricks by people who make their living doing these tasks. Mighty helpful for those of us who just perform them on occasion (I mean I rarely change the course of a battleship... not more than once or twice a year at most!).

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sorry for that lack of entries

I have not logged on in what seems like ages. I apologize for that, hope someone missed me. Anyway, I have been traveling some (Kings Canyon), celebrating 10 wonderful years of marriage and dealing with some bad news. I hope to get back on a regular schedule soon. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Want to know more about your system?

Belarc will tell you quite a bit about your system. It claims to not harvest information from your system and from what I can tell, the claim is truthful. It is a small download and a big eye-opener.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Schneier on Security: Company Continues Bad Information Security Practices

One a seriously scary/stupid note... Bruce Schneier brings you Bad Information Security Practices. The incredible story of yet another company unable to admit it made a mistake that may cost many people (just not the policy makers) dearly. Schneier often makes some really good observations about things going on in the world of security.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

ThinkGeek :: Monkeys

For all your monkey needs. Also, ThinkGeek is just a fun place to peruse, pilfer and plunder. Don't forget to check out the Clearance section.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Solar Death Ray

I thought to myself, big deal, so he made a Solar Death Ray ... Yeah, it might be cool.. but it could suck. The picture of the chocolate bunny alone was worth it. I only wish I had the time and inclination to do such things.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Math Forum - Ask Dr. Math

The Math Forum - Ask Dr. Math looks like a great place to get answers to all those burning math questions you have. I was looking for a good explanation of hexadecimal. Jerry renewed my thirst for such things, but I still have trouble thinking in hex. The searchable archives contain a treasure trove of (usually) easy to understand answers. Enjoy!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Science Toys

Not sure if the catalog for Science Toys is that legitimate or not (haven't had the chance to check it out yet), but some of the experiments look cool. I don't think that rail gun will be taking out a Mad Cat anytime soon, but the idea is cool. The site seems to plug the catalog quite a bit, so caveat emptor (can't spell in Latin to save my life... oh who am I kidding, I can't spell in English that well either).

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Greg Goebel / In The Public Domain

I am not sure who this guy is, but his articles are interesting. Doesn't appear to venture into opinion too much, just compiles the history and facts of his topics. Greg Goebel / In The Public Domain

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Make fire with a can of coke and some chocolate!

"I have made fire!" I bet ole tom wishes he would have seen this trick after a couple of hours with a stick and bow. A one-match-fire is easy... this is one more trick added to the no-match-fire repi.. repa... repetw... bag o' tricks. I am going to sit down with a can and try this. Tracker Trail - Fire - Can of Coke and a chocolate bar

Friday, May 06, 2005

10 Things to Do With Old PCs

One of the more interesting articles that PC Magazine has published. 10 Things to Do With Old PCs Of course, you can just let me have your old computers as well.

12 sided calendar

This makes one of the best desk calendars I have ever seen... sure to make your co-workers take a second look. 12 sided calendar

AA-project image gallery

Just wanted to try out the "BlogThis" feature.... wondered how it worked and all... thanks to sokmunki for the link! This is a sourceforge site doing some odd artwork w/ ASCII characters AA-project image gallery

So what should you call this?

Test Test Test... is this thing on? Hello? Ok. Did you hear the one about... no, wait. That is a poor way to start. Let me think about this. I will be back in a minute...