Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday fun from Dr. Internet

(Hey, it's Friday night! You shouldn't be reading blogs; you should be out having fun!)

Here's something from Dr. Internet (here or here).

Dear Dr. Internet:

I am afraid that I'm becoming a network nerd. How can I tell for sure?


Dear Geek-or-not:

How many syllables do you think there are in the word "coax?"

Dr. Internet

This sentence no verb. This sentence short. This blog entry done.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

How appropriate!

Here's something interesting: according to an AP report, two Cornell University scientists paid tribute to Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld by naming three new species of slime-mold beetle after them. (The only better tribute in these lines would be to name new strains of gonococci after 'em.)


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A thought from Rowan the librarian and research goddess

I got this in just the other day and I think it'll be of interest to the folks what read this blog. She says:

One of the library blogs I read was lamenting (after a loooong day at the reference desk) that it wasn't possible to send particularly clueless patrons here.

*LOL* Ahem, not that I think google is a substitute for good reference help! *chortle*


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Joined the Unitarian Jihad yet? Here's your name:

The Unitarian Jihad is growing! Go here or here to get your name from the Name Assignment Committee.


Monday, April 11, 2005

RSS & Atom feeds

Okay, I have gotten two comments about needing an RSS or an Atom feed. The thing is that this website is enabled for RSS--the little RSS icon shows up in Firefox just like it's supposed to and I've built a live bookmark for myself. But you should be able to cut and paste into a bookmark and lo! you'll have a live bookmark, too. Or just use Firefox and you can do it automatically through the browser.


Good radio interview and PR

We got interviewed on Let's Talk Computers about the Firefox book on the 9th. They interviewed the three of us and boiled it down. I'm very pleased about the PR we're getting for the book.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Just an epigram

I heard this years ago--don't recall who said it, but it's lovely.

"When you kill time, you wound eternity."


"We Are Unitarian Jihad!"

The original article can be found on here.
Friday, April 8, 2005 (SF Chronicle)

Friday, April 8, 2005

The following is the first communique from a group calling itself Unitarian Jihad. It was sent to me at The Chronicle via an anonymous spam remailer. I have no idea whether other news organizations have received this communique, and, if so, why they have not chosen to print it. Perhaps they fear starting a panic. I feel strongly that the truth, no matter how alarming, trivial or disgusting, must always be told. I am pleased to report that the words below are at least not disgusting:

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.

Startling new underground group spreads lack of panic! Citizens declare themselves "relatively unafraid" of threats of undeclared rationality. People can still go to France, terrorist leader says.

Michael row the boat ashore, and then get some of the local kids to pull the boat onto the dock, and come visit with


Old thought about Star Trek: The Next Generation

Okay, this is something I've always wondered about. If you recall your STNG, particularly the later seasons, you'd periodically see a bunch of people sitting and playing poker: Worf, LaForge, Data, Troi, and Riker. Now, here's the deal:
  • Worf, being a Klingon, is a master of strategy and could bluff and feint with the best of them. Nobody would be able to fake him out at a poker table.
  • LaForge has that vision widget that (as was established early on in the series) lets him see all sorts of things not normally visible to the unaided human eye, including microscopic temperature changes in and around human skin. He can actually see the changes in perspiration and skin temperature in another person, making him a human polygraph.
  • Data doesn't just count cards, he can calculate odds for absolutely anything. Even more, with his total recall, he could analyze patterns of play for each player based on all their past games and even come up with percentages in different situations.
  • Troi (the perennial cutie) senses everyone's emotions around her. If someone's feeling anything about the hand they're playing, good or bad, she'll know it right away and be able to bet accordingly.
With all this going for these four, you'd think that no-one would stand a chance of beating any one of them and, at a table with all four, anyone without an edge of their own would get skinned alive and the only discussion left would be which of the four would get the lion's share of the proceeds.

So I always wondered why it was that, faced with all this skill, that Riker was always the big winner. Imagine that: a man with no special skills, no gadgets, and no significant training except for that which he got in Starfleet OCS to become their ranking officer, always took the table every time. It seemed to me that his loyal troops would be sitting there and going "Gawrshk, Mr. Riker, hyuk hyuk hyuk, how dew you do that so orf'n?!?!!?"