signify!

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Tomorrow I head off to New Hampshire, where I’ll meet Lor (currently in Boston), get a car, and drive to West Topsham to visit Jessamyn. I’m pretty excited; I need a bit of recovery. (·)

To follow-up on the question I asked Mike in the last entry: Mike responded in his 18 October entry. Here’s what I emailed back to him:

i don’t read the editorial page of the post, but i did see that one of the debate summary articles made the same point about the majority of the 300,000 being military reductions. it went on to point out that the growth in texas was relatively minor (~3%, IIRC).

as for being ‘impressed’, i don’t know what to say. i think my expectations have been diminished pretty far, all things considered. <shrug>

do you happen to know how the budgetary numbers work out as percent of GNP, rather than absolute numbers? i’m not an economist, but it seems that tax revenue (and hence expenditures) should scale linearly with the economy — and the economy improved a lot between ‘92 and ‘99.

oh, and since we’re on the topic, i’ll ask you one more (possible stupid/naive) question: why do the candidates let themselves take the fall for things that weren’t really their fault? specifically, i’m thinking of the medicare reform thing that bush has been harping on in the debates — “they’ve had 8 years to reform it and it didn’t happen”, that sort of thing. (not trying to pick on bush; gore did this too; i just can’t recall specifics off the top of my head for him.)

IIRC, (and maybe i don’t), medicare reform legislation _was_ proposed in the congress, possibly multiple times. given the gop majority, it seems like the failure to pass some sort of medicare reform should lie with them — not with the executive branch. so how come gore doesn’t say this?

No response as of yet; let me know what you think.

XEWA Workshop is going to attempt to lay the groundwork for a common set of schema that will unify bioinformatics services.

Gentle guide to DocBook. So many things to learn; so little time.

Ebola is back.

“Licking your wounds” might soon be more than a metaphor.

Achilles is an Open Sourced 3D artifical life simulator that uses OpenGL and neural networks.

The other day, I came up with the perfect solution for those parents who are worried about the influence of violent television, video games, music and the ‘net on their children: Skinner boxes. Not only can you completely control what the child sees, you can punish ‘deviant’ behavior, or reward ‘good’ behavior, as you see fit! Unfortunately, skinnerbox.com is taken, but both skinner-box.com and skinnerboxesforchildren.com are available — get to it! (In case you were wondering about the meme that Skinner himself did something similar with his daughter, I’ll let you know that that’s an urban legend — but that’s all good; no pesky prior art to block that business model patent.)

Lately, I seem to have been running across a lot of stuff on how the ‘net is changing the nature of academic publishing: Jorn had some thoughts, Wired News had an an article, and this message, about free online archives of scientific papers, moved across bionet.journals.note.

The Anti-Defamation League has put together a database of tattoos, logos, and symbols characteristic of hate groups. Of course, since there’s so much context involved in the use of signifiers, they had to cast a pretty wide net: (1) (2) (3). Curiously, the Christian cross isn’t featured, even though some hate groups do use it.

New Zealand seems to be taking a sensible approach to deciding what to do about genetically modified foodstuffs.

Judge rules that cursing out cops not illegal.

Oregon school targets Hispanic males for sexual harassment education.

This could be useful at some point: What is data mining?

Also very useful, very soon: Probability Theory: The Logic Of Science (Thanks to Greg at Nodalpoint for this one.)

Is it just me, or is that new Fox show Freakylinks about a group of kids with a blog? Or what some Hollywood producer thinks is a blog, anyway — the site’s way over-designed, they’ve got a Flash splash screen on the site (the link above by-passes that), and a pop-up window on exit. So, it’s like a blog, but ‘cooler’, in that superficial, stupid television way.

Okay, time to go get ready for the trip. Hope everybody has a good weekend; I’ll see you on Monday.

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