Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Web Browser usage as a predictor of the Gap

Firefox 3 pledge map vs. the Pentagon’s new map

One interesting quote that I found:

Non-Integrated Gap countries with the most pledges are Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Peru, and Indonesia – interesting list. Seems to suggest that many of the countries the US tries to isolate are actually the most connected.
We have to do something with Iran, but I am becoming less and less convinced that bombing them is going to work. If we have to use military force, I would say a blockade would have the desired effect with the best ROI. We need to engage the Iranians and figure out a way to work with them.

They seem to lack many of the labor issues of other nearby countries (see previous post) and already have decent local industry (largest car production in the middle east, could be because of their relative population size (~70 million (more than Saudi Arabia + Iraq + Jordan combined)), but its still something). The car production is 4% of GDP and matches Australian or Thai output. They even are exporting cars/production to Venezuela.

Messed up economy due to too much government interference, but isn't that the problem in most places. If we could help them curb their "death to infidels" urges, we might be able to help turn the country around to a productive member of the world economy. I'm thinking that China will beat us to this.

Jobs and perceptions

I am feeling blog-y as of late, it seems.

When the Minister Becomes a Waiter

The population of Saudi Arabia needs to change some of its perceptions about different jobs. Things like this minister becoming a waiter in Fudruckers seem sort of silly, but are vital.

Jobs and proper education are what is going to solve the global islamic terrorism problem, not bombs. Importing low wage workers to do work like being a waiter is no longer feasible in Saudi Arabia, and using local young jobless males is going to help solve the problem of idle angry frustrated males.

Someone needs to do each and every kind of work, don't look down on anyone solely because of their job.

Unless they help port VSIPL to GPU architectures.


Truces and Sovereignty

Hamas says it will not police truce with Israel

I love the first quote:

The militant group Hamas said it remains committed to a cease-fire with Israel, but will not act as Israel's "police force" in confronting militants who breach the truce.

I am confirming my original suspicion that Hamas had no clue about what it was getting into when it won the election. Hamas is the elected government of the West Bank and Gaza (but only recognized as de facto sovereign over Gaza). It gets more complicated, because no state except Israel has claim to the West Bank (as occupier), but thats better saved for another time. I'm going to simplify things a bit and just say that Hamas runs Gaza and attempts to lay claim to sovereignty there.

I'm a fan of de facto sovereignty, as what is higher than a state right now that can enforce the de jure? I suppose only other states or 'superpowers'. As it stands, the Hamas vs Fatah government spat really has no significance in Gaza. Hamas is supposed to be in charge and fought for control. Israel accepted the de facto rule of Hamas over Gaza and negotiated a truce with them. (Last week or so)

Coming to recent (last few days) events, some rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. This was after the truce. I see that Hamas wants to have it both ways. They want to be the de facto and de jure government of Gaza. As the government they wanted to be able to negotiate truces and treaties. But, they also do not want to be responsible for their citizens. They do not want to 'police' their own people. The way I see it, either they broke the truce because they condone and do nothing to stop the rocket attacks, or they are not the de facto government of Gaza. I am not saying that they can stop every attack as that would be impossible. What they can do is not proclaim that it is not their problem. As the people in charge, it is their problem.

Imagine (you have to try really hard) that Bush just negotiated a promise to not attack Iran if they stopped their nuclear weapons activities. Blackwater (everyone's favorite PMC to hate on) decides to invade Iran. The United States would most likely use its own military or civilian measures to stop Blackwater. In that case, we would be allied with Iran against rouge elements based in our country. We would take care of Blackwater because their actions undermine US national interests (remember, we made a truce) and also undermine US sovereignty.

Hamas needs to step up. They need to hold "a rifle in the face of a resistance fighter." even if it doesn't make any one "enjoy a happy moment". That is part of the responsibility of governing a group of people.

I found a perfect word to describe Hamas and a few other groups that have elections that don't mean anything. Anocracy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Word of the Day

My word of the day, found while reading "Scheme: A Interpreter for Extended Lambda Calculus"


I hope that my thesis defense is perspicuous enough such that even Andykerr can understand it.

I now know that functional usage is more perspicuous than continuation passing though. (according to Sussman and Steele)

Open thread #1

When a blogger has a writing block, the blogger has two options:
1) Don't post and lose readers
2) Create an open thread so people can talk about random stuff

I'm going with 2).

What is everyone doing for July 4th?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Military triggers and their characteristics

I pulled out the ol'AR today, I was feeling the itch. Range time is going to be a requirement soon, or I'll end up buying a new firearm. I alleviated the itch by zeroing the pellet gun and noting where it shoots at the bruise setting.

I am glad to report that after over 6 months (I don't think I have been to the rifle range w/AR since at least Jan) I still know how much slack I can safely pull out of the trigger. Its almost like a little internal safety, when I am ready to shoot and on target, I take up the slack. When I move off target, the slack is released and the finger is outside of the trigger guard.

Its sort of like I have a two stage trigger, but its all in muscle memory and my head. Take up slack, squeeze the toothpaste, then its like the proverbial 'rod of glass'. I dunno if it is bad form, I guess I just speed up the squeezing process by pre-squeezing a set amount, then the slow-dunno-when-it-will-fire pull.

I am not as proficient with the trigger of the 1911, although I still take up some of the slack. Dry firing more regularly should fix that, I am just surprised that my body remembers the AR trigger more than the 1911 trigger (the 1911 trigger has been used more often more recently).

Also, a good side effect of practicing with the 1911... My hand is dead steady with the Wii remote. No jitters from this video-gamer.

Kerrminator, hows the new trigger? I know you haven't taken it to the range yet, but I assume you have dry fired it?

Chipped Tooth

Going back to the creek adventure, Sara noticed something weird about one of my teeth.

I have a chipped tooth from the encounter,
Exhibit A:
A non-chipped matching tooth from the other side

Exhibit B:
A chipped tooth

Exhibit C:
A cool pic I made of myself while taking photos of my teeth in the mirror. (actually, I used the mirror to see the back of the camera, and took the picture with the camera facing me...)

I suppose I need to do something about that? What downfalls are there to a chipped tooth?
That reminds me, I need to figure out who my dentist is...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fat lip and weekend adventures

Last weekend I went tubing with Todd and Sara. Matt and Denisse were in a kayak with Bella (dog). Right at the beginning Matt threw a beer can at my face, and I cut my lip on my teeth. I also got a bruise.

The water there is really cold. In the inner tube, your butt is sitting in the water. I was being silly and decided to get Bella into my lap for a while. She was ok, but didn't like having some of her body in the water. I decided to let her go back to the boat, but when she jumped off she tore a hole into the inner tube. I had to keep a finger in the hole the whole time after that. It was about half way, and the trip was about 5 hours long. Todd needed to get somewhere in a hurry, so Denisse and Matt left Sara and I with a paddle and zoomed away. With me sinking and having only one useful arm, we traveled very slowly. Sara kept us moving, and I tried to help with the paddle, and ended up getting a blister on my finger from it. By the time we got to the exit point, i was mostly in the water and contemplating either swimming or getting out of the water to warm up.

Anyway, bring a canoe or kayak if you start at bufford dam, that water is COLD. Boats also travel MUCH faster than an inner tube on a slow moving creek. The inner tube wins on going down rapids though. Wear enough suntan lotion (ahem, Todd/Sara) or else you will be hurting the next week (and also have cool lobster tans with great patterns).

Monday, June 02, 2008

Thought of the Day #2

I was walking along, and was thinking about big screen tv's.

I think that most of the people that are going to buy a big screen tv for sports have already done so. The real killer app for big screen tv's is video games. Social video games (Guitar Hero, Rock Band, first person shooters, etc) require large screens so that everyone playing can see their characters and what they need to do. In first person shooters the game is normally split into quadrants, so the individual screen size is 1/4 of the size of the screen. In Rock Band the players basically split the screen into thirds, but the top of the screen is taken by the vocals.

Once you have played on a big screen, you don't want to play on little screens. Since many of these games bring together groups of people, they will start wanting the proper equipment.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Microsoft Word and Organizations

Microsoft Word sucks for any sort of team report creation exercise. Strong leadership is required and short projects can suffer from a lack of standardization, without getting into classical Microsoft Word problems.

Silly people that dress up their contributions of text and bulleted lists with custom bullets and funky fonts should be put in stocks.

Next time I am telling everyone to give me an ISO 8859-1 compliant text file.

The benefits to LaTeX are enormous. Separating content from the display of the content allows consistent formatting and reformatting if required. The fact that it is a text file allows you to merge and track changes easier (for example, with tools designed to help you do that and not manually).