The Longest Now

Volunteering around the globe
Thursday August 21st 2003, 11:58 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

Bryzek remains at large.  But where have all the volunteers gone?  Where is the vitality and spirit of youth, when not being coerced into spontaneous throngs? 

And where is the unified Harvard calendar of my dreams?

Volunteering around the globe …

Action campaigns.
Wednesday August 20th 2003, 1:33 pm
Filed under: popular demand

Lots of presidential campaigning going on.  And everyone wants grassroots support… guess it’s all the rage. Even Bush/Orwell is into action campaigning.

Preparing for Academia
Wednesday August 20th 2003, 5:36 am
Filed under: metrics

Sometimes you just have to do your own thing.  Good on you, Eva.  Apparently, rocks.

sunrise, sunset…
Tuesday August 19th 2003, 10:39 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

The good lord certainly knows how to elate that everlasting spirit. Ran into Dave on the way home tonight, while talking to a new friend; hello again.

Kucinich: A Real Political Blogger
Sunday August 17th 2003, 7:37 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

Kucinich is my hero this weekend.  I just finished reading his guest posts on Larry Lessig’s blog (scroll down in the August archives to see them), and they’re damn good.  He writes at length and from the heart, takes on difficult issues that commenters raise, and seems to be devising his answers on the spot.  In contrast, Dean (the previous month’s guest-blogger for Lessig) stuck to short, carefully-phrased paragraphs about the standard issues which he covers at every speech and public forum. Kucinich also has his own, sporadically-updated blog, which is similarly well-written.

For this, he gets top billing on the story I’m working on about the current Democratic Candidates.  If you know of any similar overviews, or have candidates (or almost-candidates) you’d like me to include, let me know!

I also want very much to find such an overview for CA-recall candidates.  So send those links my way.

Baghdad looting catastrophe, exaggerated
Sunday August 17th 2003, 5:56 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

I know I’ve posted about this before, but I was so deeply upset, both at the initial coverage and at the recent equally-unprofessional retractions, that I’m pointing to another few articles on the subject.

Russell, too, had heard of the secret vaults. “They won’t talk about it, but almost everything was saved,” Russell said.

Redux: some 10,000 items have been lifted from museums and archaeological sites; most professionally, and most items which cannot be melted down.  Thousands more were damaged.  Around 30 priceless items, of both public an research value, have disappeared.  The Warka vase was returned, once more broken along its ancient cracks.

Baghdad looting catastrophe, exaggerated …

‘Lectric Company
Sunday August 17th 2003, 2:02 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire

Here’s what the Eastern Interconnect looks like, extending into tiny parts of Wyoming and Texas.  Small pie charts resting on the lines indicate what percent of total capacity the lines are carrying.  Lines carrying over 60% are flagged with blown-up pie charts (Note that some lines near  NYC are carrying over 100% of capacity… but the page doesn’t seem to update).

And here are the specs for a high-voltage circuit breaker.  I guess it’s not so easy to route huge surges into the ground without melting down key equipment…

‘Lectric Company …

Fraud in Modern Voting: CA’s Recall
Thursday August 14th 2003, 1:43 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire

Aaron Brown on the scary prospect of using Diebold electronic voting machines in the upcoming recall election in Berkeley:

Berkeley uses the Diebold Accuvote DRE machine. Somehow the source code to these machines leaked onto the Internet… several well-respected security researchers took a look at it, and found it riddled with flaws. Without any access to the code, voters could vote multiple times, view partial election results, or even close the polling station. Poll workers could do far more damage. And the machine doesn’t authenticate the remote server when reporting results, meaning that an ISP on the path between the voting machine and the backend vote tabulator could manipulate ballots, results, etc. 

Pretty damn scary.

After Rubin’s paper came out, Diebold wrote a hasty hand-waving rebuttal, and then spent some time publicly ridiculing the academics who wrote the paper, hoping to mollify their clients.  As a result, they produced some incredible propaganda which includes, among other gems (emphasis mine):

It was most unusual to find the industry leader [Diebold] being discredited by a couple of Johns Hopkins University graduate students… [in] a report that directly contradicts information provided by Robyn M. Downs, elections administrator of Prince George’s County, Md., for a story on her implementation of electronic voting….  We believe Ms. Downs. Like most Black people in high-profile jobs, she is not in a position to make mistakes and survive.

I guess that settles it then.

Findlaw is amazing.
Tuesday August 12th 2003, 9:38 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

George Foreman‘s life-long sponsorship:  $110M.  Thanks for the link, Dave.

Findlaw is amazing. …

The Passion
Sunday August 10th 2003, 3:26 am
Filed under: indescribable

Here’s a movie that’s sure to attract a big audience.

[Mel Gibson] has spent nearly $30 million of his own money to produce, co-write and direct “The Passion,” starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. Filmed entirely in the languages of Aramaic and Latin, it has yet to secure a distributor.

You know times are tough when even niche art films cost $30M to produce.

Friday August 08th 2003, 11:52 pm
Filed under: indescribable

Alright, the new Syslist is coming out, and it’s wicked awesome.  You can get it in Spanish, Dutch, and (very soon!) in German.  You can’t check out the Syslist Installer without ordering a copy, unfortunately, but it’s really something — especially if you’re on a Windows network

Syslist! …

Public journals and politicians, II
Tuesday August 05th 2003, 11:25 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

Someone has written this article about my topic of the day, in some detail, and with a better collection of references (a British parlimentarian who is a real blogger!).  Excellent.  I predict four years before we see a sea change; less if Dean keeps it up through the primary.

Luxuries — Reading, Freshness
Tuesday August 05th 2003, 9:34 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

So I’m just sitting down to read my mail at leisure for the first time in a few days, and am getting back to 100 messages a day, despite getting rid of most of my mailing lists and spam (mostly excited discussion about our new machine, but the social and professional melodrama count is also on a steady rise).  And it is so nice to have that luxury.

I have juicy hate mail from a loved one, a short love letter from a stranger, two fascinating technical discussions which pertain directly to my current life, and serious philosophical exchanges with my mother, an old friend, and a sparring partner.  There is an ongoing conversation about how to lighten the atmosphere of my beautiful house, and planning for various houseparties to meet new housemates, neighbors, and old friends returning to Boston.  Then there is new feedback on two projects that excite me greatly, and which provide total contentment while I am working on them… so there are ten or twelve hours of wonderful work I can put in without coming up for air.  And there are a few charming letters from people I don’t know well but would love to know better, which is always a recipe for delightful correspondence.

But there’s something special about waiting a moment to note all of this, and to smile at the luxury of having enough time to digest, respond to, interact with it all — and of having this language and channel for connecting with the outer world.

Communication Overviews: Warflying
Sunday August 03rd 2003, 4:14 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire

Here’s what I’m wondering:

Mike up in Portland takes up the gauntlet and prepares to map every wireless node in his town.  You know the FCC is loving this.

    1. Does anyone have a decent small yet sensitive antenna that I can borrow?

    2. We have a GPS installed in the plane that should be able to connect to the laptop via an rs-232 port, But I’m wondering if a handheld is recommended that would work well with NetStumbler for Win98. If so, does anyone have one I can borrow?

In exchange I would definitely offer the logs and lat/long data to the project. I’m hoping that we can pick up almost every detectable wifi  etwork in the Portland area within 2 hours at 120MPH!

Man.  How often does this happen around here, I want to know.

Shared server grows legs
Sunday August 03rd 2003, 1:39 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire

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We have our box now; I took a candid shot as we popped in a new main board – a Soyo Dragon.  Now we have only to install and tweak our fave tools… if you have a fave tool, or some advanced build suggestions, let me know.

The Shallowness of Modern Reporting
Sunday August 03rd 2003, 10:08 am
Filed under: international

In its latest issue, Science tackles the outrageous misreporting of the looting of the Baghdad museums.  This comes far too late for my taste, but I’m very glad that it got out — and that the looting is discussed by a few different authors in the same iss.  I remember reading before the war about the storing away of the major artifacts, and then not being able to find that needle in the haystack of war journalism afterwards [and being roundly ridiculed for suggesting such a thing]… 

Few things get my blood boiling like the lack of independence among the various reporters, writers, publishers, academic experts.  The current state of world knowledge is miserably narrow, with no obvious path towards improvement [but instead towards similarly narrow, but ever-incremented, knowledge-sets]. 

If you have a Harvard U. PIN, you can read the Science article online.

Amazing Lives
Saturday August 02nd 2003, 7:09 pm
Filed under: null


Amazing Lives …

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