Rattlesnake Sign on my Commute Home


I rode my bike home from work for the first time since I've been in California and got a kick out of this sign which greeted me on the way onto the trail home:

Trail Head Notice:
This is a wilderness area
characterized by certain
inherent dangers. These
dangers include mountain
lions, rattlesnakes, poison
oak, poisonous insects, swift
moving water, rugged
terrain, and other natural
Minors (under 18 years old)
should be under adult
supervision at all times.
Your safety can not be
Stay alert to Potential

Then of course the sign showing me the rattlesnakes that threaten me. Now it would be one thing if I was in the back country of Yosemite or something, but I barely lose sight of a Starbucks during the entire bike ride home. And is poison oak really the same caliber of danger as moutain lions? Also, where exactly am I going to run into these class 5 rapids? In the storm gutter perhaps? I suspect this is a generic anti-litigation sign.

Stay tuned for photos of rattlesnake sightings.

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I resent the obscene marketing encroaching on my entertainment on this site. Isn't this, beneath you?

Posted by: Nate at December 31, 2005 7:03 PM

Yes, it's beneath me. Unfortunately it is also self-defense in case one day I post something that takes off on the Internets like a wild-fire in California. In such a case, my bandwidth costs would soar. The ad-revenue generated will allow me to break even.

Posted by: Don at January 1, 2006 7:57 AM

Veteran's Monument in San Juan Capistrano


Sighted in a park at San Juan Capistrano was a monument with this inscription:

This monument is dedicated
to the valiant of the armed
forces who ventured far,
fought bravely, gave their
time for service, and for some,
gave their lives to preserve
freedom and liberty in our
land. This monument is a
testimony to the manner in
which they lived, worked,
and fought to achieve the
victories in order that America
may live and that we may
all live in freedom.

I am very impressed with this sentiment. It neither glorifies war, nor degrades the sacrifice of our veterans. It doesn't imply that America is always right, or that veterans are all valiant and noble. But it does honor those who made and continue to make sacrifices for things which are bigger than themselves.

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Merry Christmas Yule Log Video for the iPod


This one is for Nate-Dog. Now, hot on the heels of WB's Christmas broadcast of a burning log, is the video iPod version (WGNTV.com | Chicago's WB | Portable Yule Log!) Now you too can watch a Christmas log burning no matter where you are!

Merry Christmas!

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We've digressed. I just now saw an on-screen advertisement, for a burning log. No particular occasion such as a Christmas yule-log anymore. I think this is called ubicomp, in the biz.

Posted by: Nate at January 13, 2006 10:18 AM

Copyright History Tidbit


Given all the furor on the internets about copyright (e.g., file-sharing, P2P, Google Print, Lawrence Lessig, etc.) It is interesting to note this bit of history which I came across in a certification of an old Bible:

"The King James Bible was printed exclusively in England under the king's copyright. During the British embargo, prior to and during the American Revolution, the Congress of the United States usurped the king's copyright and authorized the first English printing in the New World in 1782. From then on, America would take the lead in distribution of God's Word to the ends of the earth."

Funny how Congress, copyright, and Bibles all came together in 1782.

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Critique of Evangelical Christianity's Reponse to the African AIDS crises


Rob Smith, the founder and president of the Agathos Foundation (see earlier blog entry), has wriiten an excellent article: The AIDS Crisis in Africa - Who Cares?. This article, in a journal with which I am not familiar, the Other Journal, explores why the more evangelical an African is, the more likely they are to have AIDS.

The Agathos Foundation is a great organization. They are all Christians and as a result of their relationship with Christ they feel compelled to address the horrible AIDS crises in South Africa. Rob is from South Africa so he has both the perspective and the authority to do something about the problem.

Agathos' method of helping those who have been made orphans and widows by AIDS is to raise money to buy farms. Professional farmers then run the farms. The widows and orphans live on the farm and are cared for by the profit from the farms. At the same time, Agathos undertakes aggressive education and spiritual training to try and raise a generation of men who will break this cycle.

Some of the statistics that come from the article include:

  • The same number of people that were killed by the recent tsunami are killed every three weeks by AIDS in Africa.
  • The more evangelical an African country is the higher the rate of AIDS.
  • The countries with the highest rate of missionaries per capita have the highest rate of AIDS.
  • The more Moslem a country is the lower the rate of AIDS.
  • The more Evangelical, as opposed to Roman Catholic, the higher the rate of AIDS.

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Samorost2 Flash Video Game


Samorost2 is a beautiful Flash based video game. It's not the type of game that gets the adrenaline pumping. It's more like Myst in that it is a puzzle game. But the enjoyment of this game comes from watching the artwork enfold as though it were primarily an interactive story. A story about a small white gnome-guy whose dog is stolen by space aliens.

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Get Rid of Pre-Approval Letters, Junk Mail, Spam, Telemarketing Calls, etc.

Photo courtesy of StefZ

Some handy anti-marketing help for you below.

Here is a link to get yourself off of the credit card company pre-approval lists:

And to not get telemarketing calls go here:
and here:

And to quit getting some junk mail go here:

And to quit getting some spam go here:

And to quit getting sexually-oriented mail, fill this form out and send it to the address listed here.

Some of the links will charge you $5.00 to get off the lists, but if you click the button for getting off the list by mail instead, they will pre-generate a letter that you can print out and mail.

As far as I can tell these sites are legit. Some are referenced by the FTC in the following article:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/prescreen.htm, others are run by the Post Office. If it makes you feel better, I used all of them.

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Units for Dummies

ruler.jpg Photo courtesy of S@Z

This is a funny set of measurement units that I've been collecting from various sources on the Internets (Ars Technica for example) and the physical world.

  1. the Hiroshima is the internationally recognized unit of measure for reporting the force of any destructive event.
    As in,
    The earthquake that generated the great Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 is estimated to have released the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). - National Geographic
  2. the human hair is the unit for reporting the size of very small things.
    As in,
    Nanotechnology is a catchall term for an enormous range of research and technology measured at the scale of one-thousandth the width of a human hair. - Wired (original link broke)
  3. the latte is the unit for comparing personal expenses.
    As in,
    That’s the cost of a latte a day to help a child do better in school, avoid harmful behaviors and have a chance to realize his or her potential. - Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  4. the football field is the unit for reporting the size of very large things.
    As in,
    "Matsushita's new plasma display factory near Osaka, measuring roughly 15 football fields, is a reminder that size matters but is not the only key to success in the flat screen TV business. - expired Reuter's Article
  5. the feels like is the unit for reporting extreme temperature. As in,
    The patented, exclusive AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature is an index that describes what the temperature really feels like. - AccuWeather.com

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Information Consumes Attention


From Herbert Simon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it." (Computers, Communications and the Public Interest, pages 40-41, Martin Greenberger, ed., The Johns Hopkins Press, 1971.)

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REALLY strong magnets

strong magnet

Really strong magnets from a company with a sweet name: United Nuclear

1.5 times stronger than our previous Supermagnets.

If you really need unbelievably powerful magnets, here they are. Uses include magnetic steering of nuclear particles in homemade accelerators, levitation devices, magnetic beam amplifiers, scrap iron separators, etc.

Beware - you must think ahead when moving these magnets. If carrying one into another room, carefully plan the route you will be taking. Computers & monitors will be affected in an entire room. Loose metallic objects and other magnets may become airborne and fly considerable distances - and at great speed - to attach themselves to this magnet. If you get caught in between the two, you can get injured.

Two of these magnets close together can create an almost unbelievable magnetic field that can be very dangerous. Of all the unique items we offer for sale, we consider these two items the most dangerous of all. Our normal packing & shipping personnel refuse to package these magnets - our engineers have to do it. This is no joke and we cannot stress it strongly enough - that you must be extremely careful - and know what you're doing with these magnets. Take Note: Two of the 3" x 1" disc magnets can very easily break your arm if they get out of control.

Axially Magnetized (the top & bottom flat faces are the north & south poles). We can only ship these magnets by ground UPS - they cannot be shipped via air as it will interfere with the aircraft's navigational equipment.

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Did the write-up make anyone else laugh? It made me think of an early 90's SNL "commercial". Happy Fun Ball anyone?

Posted by: Nate at December 19, 2005 8:15 AM

Fink Commander Is The Sauce

finkcommander.png I just want to give out some props to the people who wrote Fink Commander. I needed to install Ruby, a new language that is taking the geeks by storm (sort of). Normally this would be a huge pain. But, not with Fink Commander. I just picked ruby and said install and it worked. No sweat. No security problems. Mad props to the FC crew! I don't know what that means.

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A Christmas Story Reenacted in 30 seconds with Bunnies

bunnies.jpg Umm the title says it all.

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Mac OS X Screen Hack (updated)

Note: I'm resurrecting this story because I thought this had stopped working, but it started working again on my new laptop:
pantherlogo.jpg Invert the color on your screen and send it into black and white mode by pressing Control-Option-Command-8.

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Hello Kitty Vs. The Video Game Monster Movie


There are a lot of random things on the internets, but this movie of a claymation Hello Kitty battling it out with a video game monster is pretty good. I generally don't have patience for these sorts of things, but for some reason this one kept me watching to the end. Very good rendition of a Japanese arcade.

Click on the image to see it.

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I was wondering if this is the AL Gore-developed Intenets. My
internets only has News and Sports.

Posted by: Nate at December 15, 2005 7:17 AM