Photo by somebonnie

Q: How many kids with ADD does it take to screw in a lightbulb?


(Musings) Permanent Link made 2:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Messing up the databases


After realizing that by contributing money both to Campus Crusade for Christ and Amnesty International I had successfully managed to destroy the neat little demographic buckets that some data miner was trying to stuff me into, I have come across my next trick. For all subsequent flights I am going to choose a different "special" meal. First I will choose a Kosher meal. Then when the department of Homeland Security sniffs me I will be 90% likely to be Jewish. Then I will eat a Hindu meal and I will be some bizarre Kaballa thing. Then I will eat a Muslim meal and be a terrorist who wants to kill 90% of myself. Then I will eat a Vegetarian meal and be an anarcho-socialist communist who hates Starbuck's. (For the record I thank God for Starbuck$ when I am not in Seattle, when I am in Seattle I curse their bourgeois approach to coffee). Finally I will eat special low sodium diets so that I will be over 50 in the magic database and will get applications for AARP in the mail.

There is no such thing as privacy anymore. The only safe harbor for those concerned is to hide in the noise - break the models that successfully bucket all the other people. Start dirtying the databases entries of your information now, or you will be pigeon-holed when it matters.

(Musings) Permanent Link made 2:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


Conspiracy theorists unite! I've been fed up with the Starbucks oppression for quite a while.

Posted by: Nate at November 10, 2004 11:47 AM

I need to vent against the aformentioned Starbucks tyranny. Having just moved, literally just around the corner, I am slowly departing from my previously held belief that going to Starbucks is a personal decision. There seems to be a strange force eminating from the counter at Starbucks, drawing to it, unsuspecting owners and their depleted wallets. It has the power to disengage rational thought processes that might sway a coffee drinker to do the unthinkable, and make a cup of coffee IN THEIR OWN KITCHEN! This unfortunate law does not extend just to heated beverages, but to pastries and other confections as well. This latter iteration has recently aflicted me in the form of a soft molasses cookie. My ability to resist is slowly eroding. Read this as a plea for mercy. Give me Duncan Donuts or Caribou Coffee...anything but Starbucks!!

Posted by: Nate at November 30, 2004 6:29 AM

Cornell's Call to Engagement


Cornell University's new president Jeffrey S. Lehman began his term with a one year extended conversation with the University and extended community centered on a set of questions that sought to determine the future directions of Cornell University. The result of the engagement was a wide variety of perspectives and input from alumni, students, professors, and the greater society. Many people submitted many comments ranging the entire gamut of political and social philosophies and agendas.

Now in his second year, President Lehman is poised to absorb this input and generate a direction for the next ten years.

The image on the left links to the 84 page report

The report is long and very broad. It will be quite a challenge to try and distill it into a meaningful direction because it reads like a litany of the challenges facing society today. Nonetheless, I am proud of the diversity of responses generated for my alma mater. Good for President Lehman for beginning his term in this way. I pray that Cornell can be a powerful positive influence on the next decade of the global village.

(Stuff That I've Read For "Fun") Permanent Link made 8:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Why Apple is better than Windows


So here is a reason why I like Mac better than Microsoft. I bought this cool new album, "The Light of Things Hoped For" by Brave Saint Saturn (click on the image on the left to buy it). It's about as hip as I get. I pop it into my Windows box and the obnoxious Windows CD player launches and tries to go to some "partner" to get the track names and album information. Of course it fails because it is an obscure album. Does this happen on the Mac also? No. It uses the community supported database GraceNote and everything works the first time with no effort.

It's just a pain to use Windows

(Musings, Stuff with Buzz) Permanent Link made 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


U2 and iPod Vertigo Video


U2 has a new video out for their "hit" single Vertigo. It's a cool video. I like the whole iPod-video effect, but the U2 song isn't really a dance-able song, so the people in the video who are dancing with iPods don't really work for me. Nonetheless I'm waiting for the whole album to come out on the iTunes music store so that I can slurp it into my iPod.

How is it that U2 can continually be so cool? They are always fresh and edgy and pop-artistic. Someone is very talented.

(Stuff with Buzz) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


I'm a swing voter


I know that I'm a swing voter because in the mail today I got a fund raising letter from the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee. Clearly I have succeeded in messing up the database entries about me.

Click on the image on the left to go to Sojourners website. Where, among other things, you can get a bumper sticker like the image.

(Musings) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Cool Duvet Covers


Cool bed cover with iconic people images.

Click on the image to go to the designer's website.

(Musings) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


On believing something and teaching...


"We need to know our biases, but we also need to know our passions. Some religious scholars are passionately anti-religious. They enjoy putting down religions and showing their dark side. At times this is helpful; it is a disenchanting process that is necessary. At other times it is gratuitous and one wonders why scholars study subjects that they detest."

This is from an excellent article on teaching and believing.
Article by
James Wellman, University of Washington
Assistant Professor
Comparative Religion Program
Jackson School of International Studies

(Stuff That Matters) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Fun with Matlab


Try typing "why" as a command in Matlab.

(Musings) Permanent Link made 5:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)




One of the nice things about having my own domain and hosting company ( is that I can do cool things like install MediaWiki. A wiki is a webpage that is editted by the visitors to the site. It's most famous use is the Wikipedia, a user edited encyclopedia that is half-way decent if it has info on what you want. I plan on using the wiki to document projects and help pages that I wish existed on the web. Also I want to run a family gift registry on a wiki.

(Stuff That I'm Messing With) Permanent Link made 8:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Pink 5 Jedi


This is a hilarious film-short on Atom Films about a valley girl Jedi. Favorite quotes:

"This is so cool, because they almost never let me fly"

"I sort of zoned out during the briefing"

"Why don't you talk. All the other robots talk - it's not like it's that hard."

Click on the image on the left to go to Atom Films and watch Pink 5.

(Stuff with Buzz) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


The Twenty-One Balloons


This is a wonderful kid's book that I read as a child and just recently finished reading to my son. It is a winner of the Newberry award for children's literature. It tells the story of Professor William Waterman Sherman and his thwarted attempt to stay aloft in a balloon for a complete year so that he can get away from the children that he teaches in a school in San Francisco. His nascent trip is cut short when a seagull plunges through his turn-of-the century rubber and silk balloon. The Professor is sent plunging down to an island in the Pacific as a result.

His real adventure then begins as he discovers a refined society of psuedo-English gentleman who have built a society out of the diamonds that are plentiful in the base of the island's volcano.

The book is full of creative ideas that are explained as if you were reading an engineering text book from the 1900's, complete with engineering illustrations. The island society is clearly supposed to be genteel, but ends up being extremely nerdy in an endearing sort of way. At least endearing to any self-respecting geek.

(Stuff That I've Read For "Fun") Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Jan Krist Rocks


Jan Krist rocks. She is a talented singer and songwriter whose music I enjoy. Sort of a folksy rock sound, although anytime I try and genre-ize music someone always comments on how badly I've done it.

Click on the image on the left to go to her website.

(Stuff with Buzz) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Noam Chomsky


I like Noam Chomsky. He thinks about what he says. He has facts to back it up. He has a philosophy which guides his critique and he refuses to back down even when the pressure gets high. Don't be tricked into thinking he's a Democrat though...

Click on the picture on the left to go to an archive of some of his writings.

(Stuff with Buzz) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


BugMeNot Website Registration Avoidance System


BugMeNot is this great service that provides usernames and passwords for websites that require you to register before seeing content (e.g, the New York Times Web Site). The way it works is that you make a browser bookmark using a bit of JavaScript that BugMeNot provides. Then when you surf to a page that wants you to register, you click on the new bookmark. Up pops a webpage with a username and password that you can use to register on that website with. It is great for random surfing and doesn't require you to run a program or anything complicated on your home machine. Dubiously legal.

Click on the image on the left to go to BugMeNots website.

(Stuff That I'm Messing With) Permanent Link made 5:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Shouldn't Virii Make You Feel better?

Photo by Mr. D Logan via Flickr

Now, I am no evolutionary biologist, but... following a strictly evolutionary model, I would not expect that when one gets sick one would necessarily feel worse. Why for example don't I ever catch a cold and get really hopeful and energized? Why don't I catch a cold and just have to go out running for 12 miles? The effects of sicknesses are always negative - depression, exhaustion,etc. Does this mean that we tend to survive better when we feel worse? Why would a virus have a better chance of reproducing when its host feels worse?

This is just an example of how the same confimation bias that affects anecdotal religious observations affects evolution. I think I can make up a story about why any trait of any animal would be enhanced by evolution. Why does a peacock have enormous feathers? To attract a mate. Why does a penguin, not have enormous feathers? To swim fast and swiftly so that it may catch prey. Sort of opposite conclusions that can be made up to support any evolutionarily biased trait. I think people do this when they look for answers to prayers, and see their future unfold just like a horoscope says etc. We are very good at seeing patterns it data. Trying to figure out whether or not they are "real" is hard.

(Musings) Permanent Link made 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Foosball Rocks

Bush playing foosball
President Bush playing foosball with the President of Mexico, Vincente Fox.

I heart foosball.

Foosball is becoming an addiction, fortunately I'm not the only one so it's not dysfunctional by definition.

If you're at the University of Washington, you can click on the image on the left to go to Jon Ko's foosball scheduling page to schedule a just in time foosball game. It's hot!.

(Stuff with Buzz) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Little Snitch

Little Snitch Logo

This is a nice program for Mac OS X that monitors all outgoing network connections and uses rules to decide whether or not to allow them to pass. Some of the rules include asking your permission first. This is nice if you worry about programs randomly sending information out to the Internet for what ever reason they want. This program would also help identify a malicious program running on your computer by looking at unauthorized network access.

Click on the image on the left to go to Little Snitch's website.

(Stuff That I'm Messing With) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


The Strangerhood Machinima


Strangerhood is a new machinima series from the guys who are making "Red vs. Blue." It is a web movie which comes out weekly and is "filmed" by playing The Sims 2 video game and recording the video. Then the video is overdubbed. Hilarity ensues. The Red vs. Blue series was/is really funny, so this looks promising.

Click on the image to go to Strangerhood's website.

(Stuff with Buzz) Permanent Link made 5:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)