Spring has definitely hit the DC area. If it didn’t hit 80 degrees
today, it came damn close. I worked from home, with all the windows
thrown wide open, and had a wonderfully productive day. I was really
looking forward to having a nice wheat beer on our balcony after the
sun had gone down, but it started raining about 8:30, which put the
kibosh on that idea. Aside from that, it was a spectacular day.
And now I’ve finally got a few spare hours to clean out my link
backlog. Some of these are pretty old; you might have seen them
elsewhere, but just in case, here they are.
bodies, bodies everywhere!
While I’m doing the personal meta/ramble thing, earlier tonight Lor
and I watched “Naked States”, the HBO documentary about photographer
Spencer Tunick’s cross-country tour. (No direct link, because it
requires Flash, but you can get there from here.) Unless you’ve been under a
rock, you’ve likely seen some of Tunick’s work — he does urban scenes
featuring nudes, often dozens or hundreds at once. Every shot of his
that I’ve seen has been gorgeous, and watching him actually
recruiting people to pose (he eventually got people from all 50
states!) was very interesting. Tunick himself came off as a bit of a
prima donna (actually, the phrase I used during the show was
“whiney bitch”), but he’s a prima donna with a very good
eye. The show premiered this past Sunday, but watch for repeats if
you’ve got HBO.
One of the things I did today was upgrade to the CVS version of Gnus, which is a mail/news reader that runs
inside XEmacs or Emacs. Every so often, I’ll play around with another
MUA or news reader, but I always go back to Gnus, usually within a
couple of hours.
If you’re just getting started with Gnus, this tutorial is
worth a look.
Once you’ve got the basics down, socha.net has some
pointers to more advanced resources that will help you customize Gnus
to within an inch of your life.
…and speaking of emacsen
Here’s a couple three more emacsen-specific links:
One of the cool things about editing files in emacsen is that they
have the ability to transparently use FTP to access files on remote
machines. One of the uncool things is that this brings along all the
security issues of FTP. The answer? TRAMP
(Transparent Remote (file) Access, Multiple Protocol), which does the
same thing, only with secure tools like ssh and scp. I haven’t tried
it yet, but it’s on the TODO list.
Clearly, I’m a big fan of using XEmacs, not only for mail and news
with Gnus, but for pretty much all the development and systems
administration I do. Mark
Stosberg sent along a pointer to some tips he has for web and
database development in XEmacs. (Mark is the guy who wrote the BBEdit
user’s guide to choosing a Unix text editor, which I pointed to
back in March.
Finally, if you’re just getting started with Emacs, you might find
the new Emacs
Beginner’s HOWTO useful.
working to keep speech acceptably free
Like Lyn, I’ve been
closely following Declan McCullagh’s updates on the Jim Bell case (most
recent story). Seems like the Nuremberg Files decision should make
this case mostly moot, but “some animals are more equal than others”,
to steal a phrase.
I’m especially disturbed by statements from the prosecution that
Bell’s refusal to “renounce his beliefs” is at least part of the
reason he’s being prosecuted. “Renounce his beliefs”? Did somebody
reconvene the HUPAC and not tell me?
give ‘er more power!
Is the response to the looming electricity crunch going to be more
nuclear plants? Watching the interplay between NIMBY-ism,
environmentalism, and pragmatism as this gets sorted out is going to
be fun — as long as we’re not watching by candle-light, that is.
i will fear no evil
A doctor from Cleveland has transplanted a monkey head onto a
second monkey body. First, how perfect is it that this happened in
Cleveland?! Second, the feat is actually less impressive than it
sounds — there were no nerve connections between the head and body,
just vascular and respiratory ones. However, keeping the
resulting hybrid alive “for some time” is probably a decent first
I can understand the criticism of this work on the grounds that
it’s unethical. However, the same researcher who makes that criticism
says that the proper way to help “the quadriplegic community”
(presumably a big “target market” for such a procedure) is to work on
spinal nerve regeneration — if we figure out how to regenerate spinal
nerves, what’s to stop head transplanters from using those techniques
to attempt to join the nerve networks of the head to the new host body?
that dna looks human!
In the “what’s the date on that story?” file, British scientists think
they may have found some Yeti
fur. No, really, and the date on the story is April
2nd. Personally, I’m waiting for the Nature article before I commit to
a position on this one.
Initially, I thought The
Hacker’s Diet was a joke, mostly because of the subtitle: “How to
lose weight and hair through stress and poor nutrition”. Poking around
a bit, it looks serious:
I’m an engineer by training, a computer programmer by
avocation, and an businessman through lack of alternatives. From
grade school in the 1950’s until 1988 I was fat—anywhere from 30 to
80 pounds overweight. This is a diet book by somebody who spent most
of his life fat.
The absurdity of my situation finally struck home in 1987.
“Look,” I said to myself, “you founded one of the five biggest
software companies in the world, Autodesk. You wrote large pieces of
AutoCAD, the world standard for computer aided design. You’ve made in
excess of fifty million dollars without dropping dead, going crazy, or
winding up in jail. You’ve succeeded at some pretty difficult things,
and you can’t control your flippin’ weight?”
Through all the years of struggling with my weight, the
fad diets, the tedious and depressing history most fat people share, I
had never, even once, approached controlling my weight the way I’d
work on any other problem: a malfunctioning circuit, a buggy program,
an ineffective department in my company.
As an engineer, I was trained to solve problems. As a
software developer, I designed tools to help others solve their
problems. As a businessman I survived and succeeded by managing
problems. And yet, all that time, I hadn’t looked at my own health as
something to be investigated, managed, and eventually solved in the
same way. I decided to do just that.
This book is a compilation of what I learned. Six months
after I decided being fat was a problem to be solved, not a burden to
be endured, I was no longer overweight. Since then, my weight hasn’t
varied by more than a few pounds. I’m hungry less often at 145 pounds
than I was at 215. I look better, feel great, and have more energy
for the things I enjoy. I spend only a few minutes a day maintaining
this happy situation. And I know I’ll be able to control my weight
from now on, because I have the tools I need, the will to use them,
and the experience to know they work.
I saw a lot of bloggers make New Years resolutions about weight
loss; have a look.
mommy, what’s an ‘omics’?
From UCDavis, What
is genomics?, which should come in useful the next time I need to
explain to a relative what I do for a living.
if this goes on…
Debra Hyde, she of the Pursed Lips,
passed along a pointer to a story about a genetic
component to early female puberty. I talked this over with a
couple of cow-orkers who are more evolutionarily oriented than I am,
and it seems like the long-term consequences of this could be pretty
big. There are also some nice theoretical complications if it turns
out that the version of the gene responsible has opposite effects on
male puberty. And that’s not even getting into the societal
yet more stuff to read
Free online geek books that I might have time to read someday:
Ruby has been getting some really good buzz lately; anybody playing
with it yet?
don’t tread on my .org
People who own .org domains and other interested parties are invited
to sign the petition at www.org-domain-name-owners-lobby-against-icanns-sellout-to-verisign.org
protesting any changes in the rules governing the .dot namespace.
After a hiatus, whim &
vinegar is back with a beautiful new design. I think it’s getting
to be time to banish the darkness of winter around here, but I’m not
sure when I’m going to have the time.
The page title says it all, really: Genius.
A brief quote (all spelling and punctuation is as in the original:
GENIUS 147+ I.Q. SEEKING WORK
WOULD YOU LIKE TO
I.Q. TEST ME? Thats FINE by me You can have a qualified Psychologist
test me, or a qualified Proctor test me, or you can save money and get
some I.Q. tests from Book Stores (if they dont have them, they can
order them), or you can pull IQ Tests off the Net (search engine).
I.Q. Test me, I.Q. Test your staff, Test yourself. But use an IQ
TEST, as I.Q. is not a test of knowledge, a Math or English test will
There’s more, much, much more. Just look.
all your muggles are belong to us
JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, is being sued by what
appears to be an obvious nut-case. Nevertheless, the case got a bit of
media play last week, in what may be the beginning of a larger Potter
backlash. There’s a CNN
chat transcript, the site of the woman seeking
rebuking the claims.
Wow! I’ve cleaned out the ole link-pouch! Now to just get caught up on
the email front. More tomorrow, I hope.