June 2000 Archives

This interview with Eric Lander puts much of the human genome hoopla into perspective. Worth reading if you’ve been wondering what the big deal is, or what effect the ‘completion’ of the sequence will have. (Short answer: Not that much, especially not in the short term.)
Nicked from snowdeal {bio,medical} informatics.

A review of a book about the history of tattoo culture, which was interesting up until the point where I realized the critic was more into scoring academic wank-off points than telling me what the book was about. Nevertheless, the book might be worth a look.

More sequencing follow up: Wired News tackles the real question: Who did Celera sequence? James Watson apparently volunteered, back when the effort was just getting started; I think the smart money is all on Venter at this point.

Good news for Bay Area people looking to move: Home prices went down in May. Median home price in May was only ~US$460,000, down from US$469,000 in April.

I’ve been into space exploration since I was a teenager — exposure to Heinlein at an early age seems to have that effect — but I’d never heard of the Mercury 13 until I saw this Salon piece. Sort of sad that this didn’t even rate a paragraph in The Right Stuff or some sort of mention in the excellent From the Earth to the Moon series on HBO.

I had a slew of human genome articles bookmarked, but I’m getting sick of the story already, and I figure most of you have probably already heard it elsewhere, so I’ll spare you.

I think coming down with something. Too much stuff and not enough sleep this week.

So, today was the big day! Human genome done, blah blah blah. I’ll get to, eventually, but I’ve got some other stuff to work though first…

CMS meta: I went ahead and started the Sourceforge project. I’ll point to it when there’s something there. If you’d like mail when that happens, let me know. I think that by the end of next weekend I should have everything set up, and have a preliminary release that handles publishing of static content with page templates. If I don’t, please smack me around, and ask what the hold-up is.

When genehack.org went off the air this weekend, I was also having trouble getting other places on the net, and I found andover.net’s Internet Traffic Report somewhat useful.

LinuxOrbit reviewed GnomeHack the other day. It’s curious, I’m a die-hard XEmacs user, but I don’t care for NetHack, which is the emacsen of ASCII dungeon crawlers. I’m an Angband fan, which would be vi in this very superficial analogy. If you find this interesting, please, seek help.

This review makes Bold Science sound like it might be worth a read. I’m currently reading Flu, which details the study of the 1918 pandemic, and it’s been pretty interesting so far.

People still stereotype based on names. I find myself doing this too, to some extent. My most recent was seeing a commercial featuring a man named Darcy, described as a “construction worker”. No way, say I, is somebody named Darcy a construction worker. Then I see this story and go, “Umm. Yah.”
How much mail am I going to get from my large construction worker audience over this, I wonder?

Research suggests that a transposon called mariner has jumped species at least seven times, in recent evolutionary time. Troublesome, because other groups are using mariner as a gene delivery vehicle for making transgenics — opening the possibility of the ‘escape’ of the modifying gene into other organisms. Based on some recent talks I’ve been to, horizontal gene transfer is going to turn out to be a major evolutionary force.

Semi-interesting Alan Cox interview.

As a follow-up to last week’s science fiction blog thing (still no time to look for one), Steven Kitt passed along Peanut Press, which has PalmOS versions of Analog and Asimov’s, among other e-text offerings.

The RIAA continues trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. This would be amusing, but for the fact that the longer they dick around without providing a decent, usable way to provide music, the worse the damage to smaller artists is going to be.

Somebody want to do a Linux version of this? It’s a telnet client that displays text like the opening part of Star Wars.

<sigh> The recent “Python Fscks” talk at YAPC won’t be available in transcript form. Lots of other interesting things there, however.

Okay, onto the genome stuff. First, link blitz:

My take on the whole thing? I’m basically with the genomics people quoted in the Wired article — this is a big accomplishment, a necessary first step, but it doesn’t actually solve any medical problems. There’s still a lot of work to be done, to re-iterate a common meme present in all the articles. Nevertheless, this is still a huge result. Regardless of how you feel about Craig Venter, (Anonymous HGP scientist in a recent New Yorker article: “Craig Venter is an asshole.”) much of the credit for the speed of the sequencing has to lie with his belief that shotgun sequencing of the human genome was possible. Without Celera’s pace-setting work, the HGP would still be plodding along with the original plan, and would still be years from completing the first draft sequence.

So, that’s my take — Drop me a line and let me know yours.

Busy weekend — actually got some work done on my vaporware project^W^Wcontent management doodad. Might even be semi-usable in the foreseeable future, shockingly enough. Any interest out there in me making it publicly available? It’s going to do some things that (I think) are unique, but I’m concerned that the target audience for a ‘output html then upload’ CMS that’s dependent (at the moment) on MySQL is too small to bother with. On the other hand, Sourceforge makes these things fairly easy…

We used a coupon recently to get some film developed via the mail by Seattle FileWorks. I decided to get them on CD, too, which is something I hadn’t done before. To my disappointment, they ship them in some crappola proprietary format. Fortunately, tools to convert to JPEG format were only a Google search away. Writing the Perl script to batch them is left as an exercise for the reader.

From the “People Who Just Don’t Get It” category, Dr. Laura seems to have a pathological inability to shut the hell up:

“Not being able to relate normally to a member of the opposite sex is some kind of error,” Schlessinger said in the interview. “We were biologically meant to give birth to more people.”

“Normally” has apparently been re-defined to mean “make babies with”. Or maybe “take nude pictures of”. Take your pick.

In the “Keep Your Crypto Dry” category, Congress is so concerned about the FBI’s ability to effectively wiretap that they gave them more money than requested, in order to get more tap-able network infrastructure built.

“Funny Search Referral of the Moment”. And I come up number one — don’t ask why.

Lots more stuff in the queue, but I don’t have time to read it tonight. Check back tomorrow for more, including (unless I just get too disgusted) some post-mortem on the “Hey we’re done, but we’re really not” HGP/ Celera announcements. Any bets on how the market treats Celera and the rest of the biotechs before and after?

Oh, and I actually had a large update this weekend — keep reading if you weren’t here this weekend.

Sorry about the lack of updates over the past couple of days; social engagements kept me away from the keyboard during prime update hours. I was still collecting links during the day, however, so you’re getting two or three days worth dumped on you — hopefully it’ll make up for my slackness.

Need a book about Perl? Check out this list. Fairly short at the moment, but it looks like it’s under active development.

I’m a bit late with this one, but mark me down in the disgusted column over the peta.org flap. Hopefully the decision is over-turned on appeal. In other animal-rights news, Sluggy Freelance’s PETA Castaways/Survivor parody has been pretty on target.

Here’s a nice BBC article that uses a recent paper to springboard into a recap of what we know about nanobacteria. Jury appears to still be out on this one, but if I had to bet, it would be on the ‘they exist’ side. Evolution is powerful, and life is pretty malleable.

Maybe I should pick up a copy of The Geek Handbook for Lor, as an anniversary gift. The Salon review made it sound pretty interesting.

The most interesting thing about a new tethered gene expression system is not the ability to test sequential regulatory interactions — although that’s cool too. I’m much more excited about the ability to generate protein microarrays — those would enable all kinds of fun things.

Geek nostalgia alert: C64 emulator for Wintel. If you used a C64 at all, you should have a look, just to see the animated GIF on the site.

For my biotech brothers and sisters — getting paid enough? Have a look at a recent salary survey of personnel in core biotechnology facilities. One interesting piece of data:

Differences in salary based on gender. A total of 125 males and 110 females responded to the survey (two individuals did not declare their gender). There was no significant difference in gender ratios in the ABRF vs. non-ABRF respondents. An analysis of salaries based on gender and degree is summarized as box plots in Figure 2A.

The overall trends reported in Figure 1 of higher median salaries for industry versus academics and government, and higher salary for more advanced degrees, were evident for both men and women. However, there are no significant differences between salaries for men and women at the same degree levels whether the labs were academic, industry, or government. This is in contrast to national trends that still show a persistent wage gap between men and women at all educational levels and in all job sectors9. A closer look at these subsets revealed no obvious discrepancy that might explain the surprising similarities. For example, both men and women were closely matched by age and by the number of years they had been in their current position in each of the subdivisions.

Bookmarked because I’ll want it at some point: Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think” essay from The Atlantic, July 1945. It would be interesting to see a point-by-point comparison with the recent Microsoft.Net fantasy fest.

I hate to pick on Wired News, but it seems every time I read a biology related story there lately, I spot some flaw. For example, in a recent story about sequencing pufferfish to determine the number of human genes, it’s stated that “Pufferfish and humans have about the same number of genes” — the core point of the whole article rests on this statement, and there’s zero supporting detail! It is to weep…

Another one for the permenant bookmarks: Dinkum C Library Reference covers all the standard C library functions, breaking them down by header file.

A couple bibliography related links, jake, a database of journal names and abbreviations, and dblp, a bibliography database resource. Both culled from recent discussions on the Pybliographer mailing list.

linuxuniversity.org may be an alternative to a community college course if you’re looking to pick up some new skills. The downside would be a lack of formal accreditation.

It was bound to happen. Watch this space for the forthcoming Genehack Linux distribution…

I’ve been thinking about documentation a little bit as I code things at work; especially as I think I’m going to be taking some stuff I’ve written for personal use and basing web applications on it. So, this page explaining why POD is not literate programming was interesting reading. Similarly, this intro to DocBook may prove useful.

A little birdie tells me the announcements mentioned in this Discovery News brief will be happening at 12:30 EST Monday. The White House thing apparently didn’t come together; it’s going to be in a DC area Hilton. Celera and the HGP are going to play nice and make a joint announcement — expect Celera to be trading heavy all next week, but in what direction?

Salon talks about how Consumer Reports online subscription model is under attack by services like Epinions and Deja.com. On one hand, it’s unfortunate to see an ad-free, presumably un-influenced source doing poorly. On the other hand, most every time I’ve looked at a Consumer Reports article about a type of product that I was expert on, they were wrong (based on my experience, of course).

Boy, I’m beginning to wish I was going to ISMB 2000. In addition to the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference before ISMB, there is also the Bio-Ontologies Meeting after ISMB. Maybe next year…

(You sensitive, non-negative blogging types might want to just stop reading here. I’m not gonna get all virulent or anything, but I don’t want to offend any more than neccessary.)

Yesterday, I noticed a new ‘blog in my referrer logs. When I checked it out, I found it was a meta-‘blog — aiming for that snarky tone pioneered (and mastered) by Sally Tenpenny of Bloat! fame. Unfortunately, “Steven Sturgeon” misses the target badly. The site doesn’t have the lovely Algonquin Round Table-esqe wit of Bloat!, and many of the comments display a shallow knowledge (at best) of the ‘blog world. For example, back in the day, when Jorn was updating the bottom part of Robot Wisdom, he talked about personal stuff with some regularity.

And, most importantly (at least to me), he’s totally missed the point of this site. It’s never been about telling people “what’s up in the world of genetics”. The point is to tell people who are interested what I’m looking at on the web, and what I think about that, or about anything else I care to mention. If you want to bitch about how I write, or how wrong my opinions are, fine — drop me a mail, or put up a web page — more power to you. If you don’t like what I’m writing about, read something else! Except for Steven — you should curl up in a corner, fuck off, and die, ‘kay? Ankle-biter.

Those of you still with me — have a good weekend, and I’ll hopefully see you back here on Monday. Oh, and Graham? The link thing was a joke, really — don’t hurt me — put that down…astehsat*NO CARRIER

“Still the only band the matters”… It’s been all Clash, all the time for the past couple of days here. Unfortunately, I managed to scratch disc 1 of “The Story of the Clash” right in the middle of “Straight To Hell”. Luckily, I had ripped a backup mp3 the day before…

One more thing to read in Copious Free Time: Far More Than Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About… more things Perl-ish than you can shake a stick at.

Not so much new linkage today; I probably wouldn’t have posted, but I wanted to follow up on yesterday’s stuff…

First, on the Wired story about the fly knockouts, Herbert Smith pointed me to a more detailed story over at sciencedaily.com, as well as the original press release from NIGMS.

Herbert and another reader, Milos Tanurdzic both pointed out that the work was published in last week’s Science: Rong and Golic, Science 288: 2013-8. I suppose I should try to get on Science’s ToC mailing list…

On the SF blog tip, Stephen Kitt points out this extensive link list, which I’ll try to mine in the next few days. Stephen also notes that Analog has some reviews on their site, under “The Reference Library” (that URL looks like it changes monthly — watch if you care about seeing the most recent version).

Yesterday’s downtime was courtesy of a blown motherboard in the server that hosts genehack.org. Sorry ‘bout that; not too much I could do.

Okay — that’s it for today — I’m off to attempt to deal with my large-and-growing mail backlog. Gee, bitch about being in a bad mood, and tons of people mail you — strange, that. 8^)= If I haven’t gotten back to you yet, rest assured, I will.

Feeling pretty misanthropic today. Not even sure why.

Maybe it was this news, from last week. Words escape me; just go read the story.

When I’m in this mood, Whisky Classified could be a useful resource.

Apparently, a reliable gene knockout technique for Drosophilia has been developed. I say ‘apparently’ because the Wired reporter didn’t see any need to burden the reader with either a description of how this feat was accomplished or a reference to where the original work has been published (or, more likely, when it’s going to be published).

Why I became an Emacs user. Interesting if, like me, you like stories about why people use the tools they do. Also interesting because of the variable hyperlink density — the first quarter has a lot of inter-textual links; the last three-quarters almost none. If I had to guess, it was either written in advance and is being hyper-textualized more gradually, or the author just ran out of steam. I found the more densely hyper-linked portion more interesting, but slower to read, because I was mousing over most of the links to see where they might take me.

While we’re on the topic of The One True Editor, I’ll point you to this link collection. Interesting if, like me, you find geeky editor references amusing.

Things I’d like to find: a weblog or online news site covering (note: not necessarily devoted to, just covering) science fiction literature. New releases, reviews, that sort of thing. Don’t care so much about films, videos, or mags, just books. Any pointers?

Speaking of science fiction films: Went to see Titan A.E. this weekend. About (an estimated) ten minutes before the end of the film, the fire alarm went off in the theater, and we had to evacuate. Unless something pretty amazing happens in that last ten minutes (and I kinda doubt it), you should probably save your money until the video release. After that, I came home and watched Ghost in the Shell I, which was much better. Question for the trivia buffs: Which used the falling nonsense type effect first, Matrix, or Ghost? If it was the former, was there anything original about that flick?

Site meta: Aryn implemented a Ratbastard decoder-ring-inna-web-form, for those of you who couldn’t get the Perl thing I posted last week to work but still care about the contents of the encoded messages despite being too lazy to hand decode them.

Personal meta: I turned 29 Sunday. Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s not the reason for the misanthropy, but thanks for asking. Yes, Lyn’s Medley and I share a birthday. No, I didn’t do anything really exciting for my birthday — the above mentioned film was about it. A friend sent a gift certificate, which was converted into half of a Leatherman Wave, and Lor gave me a spiff pocket watch, which I had requested because I’m always taking my wrist watch on and off due to the typing I do at home and work, and I figure the pocket watch will solve that problem.

Not too much personal to say today — must have cleaned ego house with the last entry. The work situation is cool; I talked to the boss man, and he’s cool with any of the roads I’m thinking of going down. Now, I just have to decide which one I want to commit to…

We’ve got Court TV now (we didn’t in Tucson). I could care less, except for the nightly Homicide reruns — I’m catching up on the 3 or 4 years that aired before I started watching — very, very cool TV. Because of that, I’ve noticed something a bit odd. Court TV has an hour of Cops before Homicide, and I sometimes end up watching that as I eat dinner. The episodes are mostly older — you can tell by the way people dress, and talk, that it’s early to mid 80’s, maybe the first or second season. The amazing thing is how different the cops being filmed act, relative to the ones shown in new episodes airing now. They’re much, much less media savvy and the whole thing feels much more public-access cable-ish. I find myself wondering if the cops have gotten better at “behaving” when the cameras are around, or if the editing of the show has improved (or just changed).

Top reasons to go to yapc19100: the lightning talks. Sample titles:

  1. How Perl helped me win the office football pool. Walt Mankowski
  2. Perl Doesn’t Scale Adam Turoff
  3. What Is It With Those Python Fucks, Anyway? Nathan Torkington

Yah, Sabren, what is it with you crazy Python kids? 8^)=

Following up on yesterday’s plea for Mathlete info, Dan “Not really a fan” Fitch, a/k/a Dan ” Apathy” Fitch passes along a link to their disk. That leads me to my next question: Anybody know a decent indie record store in D.C., close to a Metro stop? Oh, and yes, Dan, Polvo does rock. Celebrate the New Dark Ages, baby.

See, this is where I always get hung up about democracy: The point where you start asking people who don’t know squat about a subject how that subject should be handled.

One of the PostgreSQL developers is writing a book about using PostgreSQL, and making it available online, in advance of publication — basically the book is undergoing a constant pre-pub review. Cam linked several of these the other day, but I don’t recall seeing this one — I’m sure someone will tell me if I’m mistaken.

Here’s a review of Mastering Algorithms with Perl, which I’m linking because way, way back when I bought this, and mentioned it here, somebody (sorry, don’t recall who) asked me to write something up when I finished it. Well, that day is far off (see the sidebar for one of the many reasons why), but from my limited dips into the book, I concur with the review.

In case you’re not a big blog reader, or are a big ‘blog reader, but you’ve been under a rock for the last couple days, I’ll point to Salon’s version of Courtney Love’s recent speech. Regardless of how you feel about Ms. Love and her music, and regardless of your position in the coming IP Wars, you should read this article.

I just tried to subscribe, on-line, to The Perl Journal. Their on-line form is fscked up. Ironically, it’s served from the itknowledge.com domain.

Lor will be home tonight — delayed a couple of hours due to weather. Maybe tonight I’ll be able to sleep! I’m going to try to get some coding down while I wait for her to come home. I’ll catch y’all Monday, or (very slim chance) this weekend.

Warning: Today’s entry has ended up being even more journal-y than normal; if you don’t go for that sort of thing, or couldn’t care less ‘bout my personal mumblings, maybe come back tomorrow, eh?

Whadda weekend. In lieu of actually doing anything resembling the work I had intended to do, I went to a computer swap meet/”Bargains!Bargains!Bargains!” type sale on Saturday, where I ended up picking up a copy of $GAMEOS. Strangely, the new Compaq PC that was supposed to accompany it was missing. I also grabbed a second hard drive, and on a loop through CompUSA, a collection of old Ultimas happened to fall into my lap. When I got home, I happily set about installing the new hard drive (fscking symmetric IDE cables…grr), put on $GAMEOS, a game or two, and played around for a bit.

Then, I made a critical mistake — I had a “Boy, it’d be nice…” thought. The new drive is 10 gigs — and I only need 2 or 3 of that for $GAMEOS. This would be my opportunity to back all my Linux stuff up, re-partition my main drive to fix the mistakes I had been living with for awhile (hint: a 100 MB /var really doesn’t cut it for Debian), and gain some drive space for mp3 storage. Great plan, right? Well, it was a good plan — but I fscked up a minor detail or two, and ended up re-installing Debian — which involves a lot of downloading when all you’ve got is a “slink-and-a-half” CD, and you’re trying to install woody.

So, that’s where I’ve been for the last couple of days — I just got X back up this morning, and finally got Gnus working after I got home from work. It’s good to be back in “my office”, although I keep tripping over little imperfections, and I need to have a long sit-down with dselect at some point.

The other big event while I was rebuilding my system was the delivery of our new bed. To really understand the magnitude of this, you must know that I’ve slept on a futon for the last, um, nine years, give or take. Our current one had been serving us for five or six years — and that’s too long for a 4” thick futon. I would have happily replaced it, but Lor has been having some back issues, so off to the mattress store we went. Last night was my first night on it — I think I’ll get used to it, but it’s going to take awhile. To make things worse, Lor’s away on business, and that always makes me sleep worse. (Did I mention I have to give group meeting tomorrow? Oy.) Lor got to try out the bed before she left, and gave it the thumbs up, so at least one of us is happy.

Okay, I swear I’ve got some links below, but first a bit of ‘blog-centric navel gazing:

First, to the mystery weblogers I had dinner with this weekend: It was nice to meet both of you, and I hope everything worked out with what you were in town to accomplish.

Speaking of DC bloggers, has anybody heard from Fred lately?

Ge? Germanium? Hmm, this reference tells me it’s used in semi-conductors. Great, I’m a doping material — what’s the hidden message there?! (Sorry, Nik, just trying to get into the general spirit of low-grade hostility and over-interpretation that seems to have sweep the ‘blog world in my absence…)

Hey, Debra, ya, um, finger-jabber! I wasn’t “cruising”, although I might in the future — I do seem to have some kind of interest in sharp metal bits jabbed through (other people’s) body parts. Just don’t assume it’s just penises (penii?), ‘kay? And you can just keep yer interpretations of that last bit to yerself, too. 8^)=

Oh, and in the pic (see below), those aren’t suspenders, but rather a strip of highly collectible ratbastard.org stickers. It’s curious that Deb was the one to pick on me about the shirt; I’m waiting for someone to assume that it refers to her hobbies rather than mine, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Finally, speaking of the Ratbastard, if you’re curious (like me), but lazy (um, like me), and have access to a nx system with Perl, here’s a decoder ring. Download, gunzip, chmod +x, run, enjoy the feeling that you out-bastarded the bastard, and then wonder how long until he changes to a rot-n style encoding.
If somebody with CGI access wants to whack that into a web page, feel free

It’s not just Microsoft that’s arrogant; just last week, WorldCom slammed a Michigan 911 center. It’s apparently the PHB’s world; we just have to live in it.

The Quine Page:

:quine: /kwi:n/ /n./ [from the name of the logician Willard van Orman Quine, via Douglas Hofstadter] A program that generates a copy of its own source text as its complete output.

By fave? The classic BASIC example:
10 LIST

Programming Languages Poll. Some interesting distributions in the results; I would have expected more people to know at least some Perl.

Any of you indie rawk gods in the audience know anything about a group called Mathlete? I’ve been digging their stuff on indiepopradio at work all last week, but I can’t seem to find anything online. Their apparent home page 403’s. I did find out that it’s a side project of some people from Wolfie, but that doesn’t tell me a whole lot.

Okay, that’s it for linkage — I’m going to finish up with a bit more personal things. You’ve been warned.

I’ve been at the NCBI for two months now. I’m beginning to feel like I’ve already gotten into somewhat of a rut; like I’m not taking advantage of the opportunities I have, or like I’m not challenging myself enough. I’ve been working on porting some stuff I did in graduate school from Perl to C, as sort of a learning project, and also to see if I can get it to run faster. It’s not quite done; there are some memory allocation issues that FUBAR longer (read: production-style) runs, but I’ve done enough to get a working knowledge of C, and to figure out that the code isn’t going to run that much faster than in Perl, and it’ll need more memory to boot. It’s time to move on to another project, but most of the things I’m interested in are conceptually close to the work of others in the group — a situation I’ve always been tentative about getting involved in. sigh Discussion with the mentor coming up, I suppose.

The one big epiphany I had while learning C was an insight into the difference between “scripting” and “programming”. For the non-coding part of the audience, this is a classic flame-starting topic in certain circles. I’ve always been on the “it’s all the same thing” side of the argument, but while porting my stuff from Perl to C, I realized that there is a difference: in programming, data structures matter, a lot. When you’re scripting, your focus is on function — what you’re doing to the data. How it’s stored before, during, and after this is incidental to the main point — doing stuff to the data. In programming, first you have to figure out how to store the data, then revise this to fit what you want to do to it, then revise it some more. Looking at my Perl data structures without the code wouldn’t tell you a damn thing, but looking at the C data structures would tell you quite a bit about what I’m doing.

Did that last part make any sense, or am I just babbling? Mail jacobs@genehack.org and let me know.

Okay, I’m off to my new bed; hopefully to spend a slightly more restful night. See you tomorrow, maybe.

Another quiet week at GeneHack. Once again, Lor was out of town, and I spent far too much time doing non-bloggy stuff, like going out drinking with work people, and getting caught up on some reading (I finished The Mythical Man-Month and The Cathedral and the Bazaar, as well as finally finishing off Practical C Programming at work.) I also got in a bit of conceptual work on the database schema for my roll-yer-own CMS, after I found some intractable issues with the previous design. Ghu willing, I’ll be able to get some work done on that this weekend.

After last Sunday’s Sex and the City, I asked Jeeves “What’s in a Cosmopolitan?”. Doesn’t sound all that good to me, but I’m a beer and Scotch man (seperately, by preference).

Gnome Office review, over at LinuxPlanet. Wish I’d remembered this when I had the conversation with the guy in the liquor store about the feasibility of day-to-day Linux use.

That conversation got started because I was wearing my “Total World Domination” shirt, on Wednesday nonetheless. (Completely unintentional; hadn’t even been paying attention to the whole trial business..). The pic below is me, with the shirt, at the Ratbastard house party, courtesy of digital camera diva Jessamyn.

total world domination

Uh oh, KillYrBlog is morphing into the conscience of the weblog community! Irony-alert: negative blogging is bad, but negative blogging about negative blogging is good.

Mommy, what’s a frenum?
Warning: Graphic pictures of male sexual organs, with after-market parts added. You’ve been warned.

One of the other things I accomplished was (finally!) getting Squid to play nice with Junkbuster. This advice was key. If you’re on a nx system and you’re not running these, you really should look into it. A much nicer browsing experience awaits you. Now I’ve got to see if The Powers at work will let me run them there…

Texas sodomy law ruled unconstitutional: Yay! This was a bit odd, however:

“The simple fact is, the same behavior is criminal for some but not for others, based solely on the sex of the individuals who engage in the behavior,” Justice John S. Anderson wrote.

Not that it’s an uncommon name, or anything.

At the rate things have been going, I’m going to have to either (a) bind a key in Gnus to auto-mail this URL to people, or (b) just have procmail auto-mail it to any address that sends me HTML-formatted mail. Of course, the page gets URL formatting slightly wrong (people should use <URL:http://genehack.org>, dammit, it’s not any harder to type, and it would make regex parsing for hyperlinking so much easier. Most maddingly, he doesn’t address the god awful habit people have of inserting their response before quoted text — yet another Microsoft-generated innovation. Bah.
Stolen from Cam.

This is looking like it’s going to be a long night — as I said, Lor’s out of town, at a meeting in New York. I don’t have the hotel phone number, just her cell phone. She was supposed to call tonight, and she hasn’t, so I finally tried to call her, and all I get is voicemail. I’m sure she’s fine, but this is the kind of thing that smacks my Type A personality bump real hard. Sigh — getting to sleep tonight is going to be fun.
10 minutes later: She called. 8^)=

I had a nice relaxing weekend; hope y’all had the same. Did a bit of bookstoring, a bit of reading, and a bit of coding. Yes, progress is actually being made on my roll-yer-own content management system, albeit slowly. After a bit of thinking, a bit of telling stories to myself about how I was going to use the system, and a bit of scribbling schema and flow charts on paper, I started over. I’m abstracting everything much more than I was in the prior attempt, so it’s taking a bit longer to write, but it’ll hopefully be more extensible, and it’s a lot cleaner to actually work with.

While I was bookstoring, I picked up some old Yo La Tengo, and the new Black 47. I was quite tickled to see that the latter includes a rollicking little ditty called “I Got Laid on James Joyce’s Grave”. I don’t know about you, but anytime I hear James Joyce, I think Jorn Barger. Here, fer yer edification, are some lyrics:

I got laid in James Joyce’s grave
I was hopin’ his genius would rub off on me
But all I got was a kick in the head
From the caretaker who discovered me
The Swiss lady jumped up in alarm
Got her clothes on instantly
I got laid on James Joyce’s grave
I’ve never been the same
Lord have mercy on me
I was drinkin’ shots in a bar in France
When, a notion, it came over me
To see where James had bit the dust
So I hopped a train to Zurich
Customs man held out his hand
Inquired what’s my business?
I wanta get laid on James Joyce’s grave
And I wanta do it instantly
James Joyce - I got no choice
James Joyce - I was only tryin’ to find my voice
But things went wrong in Zurich town
The citizens did not look fondly
On a red-headed Paddy solictin’ ladies
To an orgy in a cemetery
Tried to explain it was all for art
But them Swiss cops didn’t have no heart
I got laid on James Joyce’s grave
I’ve never been the same
Lord have mercy on me
I met a girl at the Kon Tiki
She was doin’ the Mexican rumba
When I told her what was on my mind
She said “no big deal, here’s my number”
So I sat up on the bar of her bike
As she peddled to the cemetery
We drank Schnapps on James Joyce’s grave
The next thing I know, the place is goin’ insane
Three weeks later they threw me outta jail
But I got laid on James Joyce’s grave
I can still feel the bruises
Lord have mercy on me
Lyrics by Larry Kirwan; song from “Trouble in the Land”

Rest of the album is pretty good too. Book-wise, I picked up Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell, the second User Friendly collection. (I wish they would have just run the strips in chrono order, but I’m a little anal like that.) I also got an interesting looking non-fiction collection by Rudy Rucker, called Seek!. Of course, my to-read stack is about two feet high at the moment, and that’s just the books! (The sidebar is hopelessly out of date.) When I get around to reading it, I’ll let you know how it is.

HelixCode revved Evolution last week. This is the ‘Outlook-killa’ for Linux. Looks-wise, it’s cool, and the V-folder thing sounds like it might be nice. I keep wondering if it will be enough to lure me away from Gnus
It’s doubtful!

Hey, now that I’ve graduated (it’s official now, by the way), maybe I should put this banner on GeneHack.
Nicked from NTK.

FYI: The full text of Grokking the Gimp is available at this site, along with a large archive of royalty-free photos.

And on the outside chance you both (a) fall into a segment that’ll dig this and (b) miss it on /. and elsewhere, here’s the NY Times article on the people opening a real-life data haven a la Cryptonomicon.

If you’re (a) and (b) from above, and also really impatient, they’re called HavenCo, it’s off the coast of Britain, and there’s no word on either magnetic coil wrapped door-frames or Nazi war gold. The cool thing (well, one of the cool things) is that one of the main people behind this was the creative force behind Monkeybagel. Stay tuned for news on how long this thing actually lasts.

Aside: You’ve also got to dig the notice on Monkeybagel:

Monkeybagel.com is hereby officially on hold. I’m going to be very, very, very busy for a while. I’m going off to do the most incredibly fucking cool thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Watch this space.

Grr. One more time, kids, with feeling: Correlation does not imply causation!, and people who write press releases that imply otherwise need to be smacked. Also, “Nearly 96 percent of Americans believe in God or in some universal spirit”? That seems a bit high, doesn’t it?