Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wow, so boring

We just had a computer users meeting. Wow. I wanted to shoot myself in the head. Most of the entire meeting was conversations between two people, while 20 people in the room sat. The conversations were not even relevant to anyone else, and there was a huge problem of never actually concluding anything. It is a meeting full of talking and devoid of action.

Mr. Jobs will accept the position of God

What a great article about Apple's domination over the online music market. I love Apple, and that will never change, so you have to take my comments with a grain of salt. But I think the myopia of the music industry is astounding. Any loss in sales to online piracy (and I haven't seen convincing data that it does decrease sales) is their fault for not responding to consumer needs. There is a convincing argument that the slump in CD sales is fueled not by online piracy, but by the corresponding increase in video games, DVD sales, and in general better things to do, like use a TiVo.
My favorite quote from the article:
"I think if they're [the music industry] throwing down for a street fight," he said, "they may have picked somebody who's as good or better at it than they are."

Those Clever Writers

In an article in the New York Times, the writer wrote:
Intelligent design, a descendant of creationism, is the belief that life is so intricate that only a supreme being could have designed it.

I love that line. The only way it could have been better is if he had said: "ID, which evolved from creationism…" Well, maybe his way is better, more subtle. Article is good. The information within it is alarming.

Dear God

I can't begin to imagine the devastation that is happening in Louisiana and Mississippi right now. I recently read an article suggesting that Arkansas' governor was grandstanding when he said that Arkansas would be ready to help its neighbors after hurricane Katrina came through. I think Governor Huckabee has been vindicated, as the communities destroyed by this natural disaster need all the help they can get. I hope anyone with the means to do so will help in some way.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Happy Birthday, Alex

A friend of mine just turned 22 today. Alex Yabroff is this year the student's association president at St. Andrews. All the best to him.

Dukes of Hazzard

I just got back from seeing The Dukes of Hazzard with Garry. Not exactly the smartest movie I have ever seen. However, what it lacked in subpar acting it made up for with poor writing. Maybe this is just me, but the car was the real star of the movie. The best parts of the entire flick were watching the General Lee manuver through the dirt racing track and through Atlanta. The stunt outtakes at the end of the movie were worth the price of admission alone. Well, I almost forgot. Jessica Simpson was not so bad as Daisy Duke either.

Science under attack

My friend Prachi just pointed me towards this article, which is an excellent portrayal of the problems of Intelligent Design. I think that it is vitally important for all scientists to watch this political controversy unfold and to lend critical judgment against Intelligent Design. Obviously, evolutionary biology is at stake right now, but it would be woefully inept of us to think that religious fundamentalists will stop if they win the battle against evolution. They will then start to attack the foundations of geology, and its ancient origins. They will fight against nuclear chemistry and its carbon dating methodology. They will try to bring down astronomy and our understanding of the vast magnitude of space and age of the universe. In short, the battle of Intelligent Design against evolutionary biology is the first battle in the war of science versus ideology. Critical thinking cannot afford to lose that war.

Courtney off to Cyprus

Well, it is a guys week at 3A College Street. I just put Courtney and Kallie on the bus to Glasgow, and tomorrow morning they will head to Cyprus for the next four days. Open the beers and get out the steaks! (Well, I am still a tee-totaling vegetarian, so let's not go crazy.)

Peeping Tom

I know most people won't be able to read this article, so I will summarize. A guy set up a video recorder in a girl's bathroom to spy on them showering. Now, I guess that is wrong and he was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison (which does seem a little excessive for peeping, but I digress). However, what worries me is that he was convicted because he told his therapist that he was spying on the girls, and the therapist told the police. Maybe I don't understand patient confidentiality. I don't see the immediate "danger to others" that should be requisite to forego confidentiality. I don't understand. Oh well, it won't be the last thing I don't understand.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Happy note

I asked Courtney to marry me. It was a great little thing. I put up a website detailing what we did on Sunday. You can
read all about the entire ordeal, which turned out to be very funny and great.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Tim is a phallus

Well, everybody probably has a computer support person who doesn't really like the support part of the job. The first answer out of their mouths is always no. I have seen a bit more of this since coming to the UK to study. It seems like all around the University, anyone in a position to help has a natural inclination to say no to any request. Now, not everyone is like this, and when you find a great person willing to help you, it seems like you have just met Mother Theresa, but by and large people are not as helpful here as they are back the US.
Well, Tim is one of these people. He isn't officially our computer support person anymore, but he was previously, and he can't quite give up the position. So, he still has root password on all the machines, and he periodically checks on people's disks and processes to make sure people aren't doing what he doesn't want them to. So, it was not unreasonable to ask him to help get IDL on a machine, and his knee jerk reaction is "No." What a prat.

Still working

Well, I still haven't been able to figure out how to find phi. But, I think I should be able to do it using the law of cosines for spherical trigonometry.
In an unrelated note, I got a package from FedEx this morning. It is a really good package. Now I will be able to do something on Sunday. Very exciting.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Phinding Phi

I don't understand how to find Phi. I am reading Sudarsky's paper from January, and in it he says how to find phi from alpha, mu and mu0, but phi only goes from zero to pi. My reflections aren't symetrical, so I need to know how to find if phi is positive or negative. This might be incomprehensible. I know it is incomprehensible to me. But, if someone can help, get in touch.

The earth is _really_ old

There is a great article on NYTimes about people feeling more comfortable dismissing evolution because we don't really understand the time scale involved:
Check it out. I hope some people from the old town do also.

Welcome to here

Well, let's see how this works. I will go ahead and put up some blogs, just to see what happens. I suppose I will wait a little while to tell anyone about this, to see if it turns out sucky. Hello to everyone out there that might see this.