Monday, March 21, 2005

Would you start taking some medicine without first consulting a doctor?

No this isn't about meds, but the idea still holds. The Bush administration has gotten to the bottom of the barrel (hit bottom quite a while ago) and kept digging. The idea of making policy ideas that are contratary not only to what experts in the rest of the world say but also contrary to what experts in your own country say just amazes me. To add insult to dibilitating injury surveys taken are saying that many in the scientific (almost 50%) say they feel pressure *not* to publish/do/say things that run contrary to the Bush policy machine. So swallow hard people, its going to take a while to reverse this kind of damage.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Amusment with Proxies

I am constantly irritated with the Thai governments’ tendency to censor and meddle with my attempts to surf the web so as a result I have been learning more than I ever wanted to about using proxies. Everything from transparent & anonymous ones, to programs that help you use multiple proxies, to daisy chaining local (proxomitron) and remote proxies, ways to get to blocked proxy lists (Google cache) and am working on figuring out tunneling... sigh.

Anywho, I find myself having to switch remote proxies almost daily and most of the time they are not in the US so sometimes I get errors in the language of the country where the proxy is located, or Google assumes I am from some other country, etc etc etc.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Testimony to its popularity - NPR & Podcasting

I think i said before at some point that NPR should so be doing podcasts (here, and here); the instant i found "All Things Considered" I subscribed only to have it stop a few days later. About 2 months later i come accross the podcastdirectory (one of many sites that list podcasts) and on its list of all time most popular podcasts? yup, "All Things Considered". So going on for (I think) less than a week, and 2 months after it was taken off it still remains the 1 of the 3 most popular podcasts. I heard that "it was too much for them" I don't know if they are refering to bandwidth (I have heard that is what made them cut thier streams short after 9/11) or what, if bandwidth then why not torrents? Anyway, I still look forward to the day I can listen to my fav NPR shows on my MP3 player, on my time, not some fixed time.

Typical corruption...

The king of swaziland has now outlawed the press from taking pictures of his limo fleet. The manic corruption that takes place in some of the worlds poorest nations will never cease to amaze me.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Third world countries need photo/bio degradable plastic bags

I'm not sure which is more unrealistic, getting people not to litter or getting countries to use photo/bio-degradable plastics (especially plastic bags). The perfect example would be Cambodia. In truth I have never seen a place with more litter (outside of a dump) but upon closer inspection you will see that most of it is plastic bags. Khmer are *really* good about recycling stuff they can actually get money for (testimony to the dire poverty), I tested this multiple times by placing plastic and glass bottles out in plain view only to have them swiped in less than 20 minutes, where as plastic bags would never move. In the rivers, streets, yards I would see plastic bags everywhere. The best thing would of course be not to have them, use paper or cloth but that is probably the most unrealistic.

In the US many grocery stores (especially the larger chains) use photo (will breakdown in light) or bio (microorganisms can break it down) degradable plastics; I think this is still a really poor idea in countries of comparable wealth but changing developed countries can sometimes be harder than changing the developing countries.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Clean Squatting Toilet

Squatting Toilets are nothing new to me, tons of them in Moldova. They are all over here as well, they are cleaner than some of the outhouses I found in Moldova and this one was particularly clean. Squat, do your business, then scoop some water into the toilet for a flush.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Google Cheat Sheet

I just came across the "google cheat sheet", pretty cool, it tells me alot of what i already knew about but also some new things i didn't. Here is a short list:

That stuff may or may not be useful to you but I use some of it quite often.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Ok, so the president smoked weed, I can think of worse things, but not only does it add to the list that already has (though unproven one way or another) cocaine, (totally prooven) drunk driving, and shirking military duty on it but it makes him a hypocrite (again), the tapes that everyone is talking about now (not that it matters, he is on office and ain't leaving). "In the tape, Bush mocks former Vice President Al Gore -- who fought him for the presidency in 2000 -- for admitting he smoked marijuana." A friend of mine who has political views that are night and day from my own once said he "just didn't trust him", him being Gore. Gore was boring, lacking charisma, and a goodie goodie... but i really wish he had won, the world would be a better place.

"Because I can"

I had always liked that phrase, until recently. I was reading a bit about John Gilmore and his privacy work. He sounds like a borderline conspiracy theorist at first but I thought about it a bit. Remember the parents saying "because I said so..." when you were little? I remember a neighbor talking about his kid who had just gotten to the "reasoning stage" who asked him simply "why?" the father was stumped. Looking at (and sometimes being the victim of) all the government "security" really makes me wonder sometimes. Most people just scoff and say "I'll do it for the extra protection" but is it really extra protection? 15 years ago if i told you that i could find out where you live, get your phone number, and produce an aerial photo of where you were living in about 10 minutes you would think i was the Gestapo or something but its a reality that has been introduced bit by bit so we really don't "feel" it. Now we have to cough up ID for every freaking thing and for some (me) its making me grow older faster. This is just a rant, being one person who isn't even in the US right now gives me a (false?) sense of security but who knows... sigh.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Panoramics, PanoTools and PT Gui keep getting sweeter

Damn, just found out and figured out the "color balancing" option in PT Gui (Note: there is an open GUI as well, refer to Hugin and Panorama Tools Open GUI). I would have saved a ton of time if I had found out about that alot earlier. Before I had been using photoshop and and "match color", and before that trying to balance them manually! (ugh). Oh well better late than never.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Internet access as a public service

There is continued talk about internet access to be provided as a public service. To me this sounds like a stretch. Why not have offered telephone access as a public service? To possibly answer my own question, perhaps it is that the Internet has more uses than telephony, like VoIP telephony, access to tax info (including submission), phone books (up-to-date and less cost to provide), pay tickets/fines (potentially cheaper than physically doing it) etc. I think there is already a community in Georgia that has this, and Philadelphia (or is it Pennsylvania) is thinking about doing it. But for whatever reason (the pessimist in me?) every time I hear about some place offering internet access as a public service I just start to wonder how realistic it is.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Whiter Lips

Originally uploaded by gaikokujinkyofusho.
This is just an example of the quest-to-be-ligher fanatisism in parts of Asia. Don't laugh too much, remember in the US we have "Coppertone"!