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The Continuing Relevance of C
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:56 am EDT, Apr  4, 2008

When I’m writing Scheme code, I get the feeling that there’s some kind of music being played; and from time to time I’ll actually hear a snippet of something. The answers all come to me in time, slowly unfolding, whispering to me light as the breeze.


All this, of course, means jack when you know what the problem is, you know how to solve it, and the damned computer keeps on getting in your way with its silly, arbitrary and aesthetically disgusting rules. LISP has no inherent concept of a 32–bit address space or a 64k memory segment, but the Intel 80x86 architecture sure as hell does.


When the rubber meets the road, you want to be the one holding the gun to your computer’s CPU. Practical languages are that gun. Write in Ada95, in C, in C++—it doesn’t matter, really, anywhere near so much as does the fact that you have Godlike control over the hardware. “You,” you can shout, “I want a full 32–bit far pointer from you, right now, and don’t give me any lip! You! Over there! Yes, you! You’re my new 64k address space.


When I’m in the middle of a deep C groove, I can almost hear Maxwell’s demons screaming in agony as they flip the transistors inside my CPU, begging, pleading for mercy. The output of my C code is a gift made by millions of subservient, recalcitrant malcontents, an offering to the crazed god who demands of them “flip this” and “set that”.

The Continuing Relevance of C

Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing 03-23-2008
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:07 pm EDT, Mar 24, 2008

And you know it hurts my feelings, if nothing else, that the Swiss franc is worth more than the dollar.
-Paul Volcker in an interview this week with Charlie Rose

Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing 03-23-2008

The Internet? Bah! |
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:17 am EDT, Mar 23, 2008

Then there's cyberbusiness. We're promised instant catalog shopping--just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet--which there isn't--the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

The Internet? Bah! |

Choose, or Lose in November - New York Times
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:11 pm EDT, Mar 21, 2008

We are blessed with two fine candidates, but it’s entirely possible that when primary season ends on June 3, we will still lack a clear nominee. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could each still believe that the nomination could be his or hers at the national convention in Denver in August.

In that situation, we would then face a long summer of brutal and unnecessary warfare. We would face a summer of growing polarization. And we would face a summer of lost opportunities — lost opportunities to heal the wounds of the primaries, to fill the party’s coffers, to offer unified Democratic ideas for America’s challenges.

If we do nothing, we’ll of course still have a nominee by Labor Day. But if he or she is the nominee of a party that is emotionally exhausted and divided with only two months to go before Election Day, it could be a Pyrrhic victory.

Here’s what our party should do: schedule a superdelegate primary. In early June, after the final primaries, the Democratic National Committee should call together our superdelegates in a public caucus.

Of the 795 superdelegates, over 40 percent have not announced which candidate they are supporting; I’m one of them. While it would be comfortable for me to delay making a decision until the convention, the reality is that I’ll have all the information I reasonably need in June, and so will my colleagues across the country.

Choose, or Lose in November - New York Times

Targeted malware attacks against pro-Tibet groups - F-Secure Weblog : News from the Lab
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:33 pm EDT, Mar 21, 2008

Somebody is trying to use pro-Tibet themed emails to infect computers of the members of pro-Tibet groups to spy on their actions.

Targeted malware attacks against pro-Tibet groups - F-Secure Weblog : News from the Lab

Rails on the Run - Ruby on Rails: the Duplo generation
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:36 pm EDT, Mar 17, 2008

Duplo bricks are eight times the size in volume, twice the length, height and width of traditional Lego bricks, and are easier to handle for younger children. Despite their size, they are still compatible with traditional Lego brick.

Duplos are great to introduce kids to the concept of Lego bricks and to get them to think about building their own creations. However you would freak out if your kid would grow up and not want to start playing with Legos and building more advanced/custom stuff.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what's going on in the Rails community right now. We created a generation of Duplo developers.

Rails on the Run - Ruby on Rails: the Duplo generation

RE: French ban on Red Bull (drink) upheld by European Court
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:11 pm EDT, Mar 13, 2008

Worthersee wrote:

Red bull + Vodka = the most self destructive drink evah!

Not quite. :)

Here's what the Encyclopaedia Galactica has to say about alcohol. It says that alcohol is a colourless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars and also notes its intoxicating effect on certain carbon-based life forms. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. It says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for one and what voluntary organizations exist to help you rehabilitate afterwards. The Guide even tells you how you can mix one yourself. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sells rather better than the Encyclopedia Galactica.

Above quote borrowed from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as quoted in the relevant Wikipedia entry. Fictional, of course, but that has not stopped people from attempting contemporary earth based equivalents. One must immediately appreciate the self-destructive nature of a drink inspired by the description "the alcoholic equivalent to a mugging: expensive and bad for the head".

RE: French ban on Red Bull (drink) upheld by European Court

Can you feel it? We're having a 6.7 quake now | KOMO-TV - Seattle, Washington | News
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:41 am EST, Mar  7, 2008

Did you know the ground beneath is rumbling again right now? You can't feel it, but it is moving about 25 miles below us.
"It's nothing very interesting to look at on the seismograph, it just looks like wind noise," he said.

But, for Creager and his colleagues, this is exciting stuff. Those 25 miles below us, they can watch the earth move in real time.

Scientists call this a slow tremor. It happens once about every 14 months.

They mapped it for the first time in July 2004. Even though the ground's moving beneath us again, we can't feel it. If we could measure it, it would have a magnitude of about 6.7. And that's just about what California's Northridge and our local Nisqually quakes were.

However, those happened over a period of about 15 to 20 seconds. The ground moving below us right now will occur over about 15 to 20 days.

"It's still releasing the same amount of strain energy, but it's just taking a long time so it's not felt, it doesn't do damage," Creager said.

This slow tremor started Sunday and may last another week or more. But the movement is so slight -- just a fraction of an inch -- that researchers needed a new network to track it.

EARTHQUAKE!... err, movement?

And we end with the scientist establishing street cred:

Does that mean a major earthquake could be just around the corner?

"The general consensus is that we don't really know enough about the problem yet to say anything concrete about it yet, but it's possible," Creager said, adding possible, but not probable.

Can you feel it? We're having a 6.7 quake now | KOMO-TV - Seattle, Washington | News

March 6, 1937: Birth of a Soviet Hero, First Woman Into Space
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:13 pm EST, Mar  6, 2008

March 6, 1937: Birth of a Soviet Hero, First Woman Into Space

March 6, 1937: Birth of a Soviet Hero, First Woman Into Space

Delta-Northwest deal could mean fewer cheap seats - Feb. 19, 2008
Topic: Business 2:40 pm EST, Feb 20, 2008

Delta-Northwest deal could mean fewer cheap seats
If a big airline combination is approved, frugal fliers could feel the pinch.

NEW YORK ( -- It may be time to wave goodbye to some of those discount fares. If Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines complete a merger to form the largest U.S. airline, travelers can expect fewer deals and higher fares on some remote routes.

A combination has been rumored for weeks and reports Tuesday indicated that a deal was close.

Airlines generally try to keep flights as full as possible, and the proposed new carrier would continue that trend. "If all the planes are full," said Rick Seaney, founder of fare search site FareCompare, "they can increase prices and have them stick."

With fewer available seats, airlines cut back on the supply of cheapest seats first.

Delta-Northwest deal could mean fewer cheap seats - Feb. 19, 2008

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