Wednesday, December 28, 2005

64-bit Mach Kernel with BSD Userland Unix Workstation

Gramma B got her first real computer - an iMac G5. 64-bit IBM Power-series CPU, Mach kernel with BSD Userland, Darwin PPC architecture and all that.

And it plays solitare real dang fast. :-)

Congratulations, Gramma B!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Alec got a build a bear gift card; I want a build a beer gift card!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Final grade for Principles of Management


I got a 23.50/25 on the final, which would have dropped me under 100%, but the lowest quiz grade (1.8/2 for week 8) was dropped, so I stayed over 100%!


Now on to EN306, Business Writing.

21 more hours to graduate.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Friday, December 16, 2005

Nita Criswell

- former wife of Jeff Criswell.

Raytheon: Jobs

Raytheon: Jobs: "positions include competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package. For the time you are in Antarctica compensation also includes travel to and from the ice, room & board,"

Ah, yeah. If that year in Hawaii got to you.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Raytheon: Jobs

Raytheon: Jobs: "Candidates must be willing to commit to a minimum of 1 year in Kauai."

Oh, FFS, not *another* year in the tropical islands!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Fourth Marine Regiment - China Marines

Everyone grouses about using the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945. I think we were right to:

Allied commanders knew that an invasion into Japan would be one of the costly events in the history of warfare. When the tiny island of Corregidor was recaptured, five thousand Japanese defended for eleven days to the death and only twenty were taken prisoner. The battle for Iwo Jima captured 200 prisoners out of 21,000 Japanese soldiers. The capture of the island had cost nearly 25,000 American casualties.

More reading at:

Fourth Marine Regiment - China Marines

Caution - realistic description of what was going on back then. Makes this little war on terror look like a school yard scuffle.

It's interesting to see the Marines viewpoint of General Douglass MacArthur. Neal Stehenson characterizes it well in Cryptomonicon as "[...] a sinister consipriacy between the Japs and General MacArthur."

(wandering off now - I'm out of scotch whisky)

My favorite quote from Cryptonomicon is still "Father John snaps awake, and Mr. Drkh looks as if he's just taken a fifty-caliber round in the small of his back. Clearly, Mr. Drkh has had a long career of being the weirdest person in any given room, but he's about to go down in flames."

I blame my mom for making me look up Chinese History. :-)

About mass-market publishing

Terry Carr, the one-time editor of Ace Books, was reputed to have said:

"If Ace Books ever came out with an edition of The Bible, both books would be edited down to 40,000 words, and they'd be renamed "Master of Chaos" and "The Thing With Three Souls."

Note: Ace Books was known for pulp-publishing and some dodgy practices. See

The TCP/IP Guide - The TCP/IP Guide

Found a good pair of resources for everything about TCP / IP networking:

The TCP/IP Guide - free


IBM Redbook on TCP/IP

Bathsheba Grossman Sculpting Geometry

Bathsheba Grossman Sculpting Geometry: "an artist exploring the region between art and mathematics"

Fancy mathematical sculptures, created by 3D-printing. Yes, it's for real.

Someone buy me some!

Neat site -

Just about every kind of aircraft photo you could imagine.

Grade from final paper


The teacher apparantly liked it. His comments:

Outstanding job! The only thing I want to see is your org chat. I guess I did not have the correct program to view it so if possible send it to me. Just remember to put it in a format/program that most readers may have on their computers or add a link to download the program. Overall, I was very intrigued with your paper! I enjoyed reading it and was amazed on some of the culture differences that a company of this size must overcome to conduct business! Well done!

My only comment to him was that I asked him three times if I could submit it as a PDF file (which is viewable on all computers from Windows to Mac to Linux to FreeBSD) instead of a proprietary MS Word format. He said no. So, instead of using the righteous typesetting program LaTeX, I had to try to keep MS Word under control for 23 pages. And hand-format all my sources. Sheesh.

Anyway, class grade so far: 71.70/70(102.43%)

Still to come this week: One more discussion post, a quiz and the final.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Final Paper for Management Class

Got that done. About 16 hours work, all told. FPOS microsoft word and it's formatting.

Anyway - for your review, my final paper about the Sprint PCS web development organization.

Click for 111kb PDF file (23 pages)

Final is Friday. Alec is looking forward to it - he gets to go to Kids Park while I go downtown to take the proctored exam. :-)


Friday, December 09, 2005

A Picture Share!

Sunset at sprint

About the Malcom Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

Yet another discussion post for school . . . Maybe someone will find it interesting.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US gives the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards. Dating from 1987, the award is designed to help improve organizational performance practices, capabilities and results and to promote communication of best practices between organizations.

The award helps management align quality operations control with daily business practices. This results in delivering more value to customers, improving the organizations effectiveness and developing individual skills within the organization. All of these results contribute to the success of an organization (Wikipedia, 2005).

The awards that I find most remarkable are to the public school districts. The common theme about education is that it needs more money, with no discussion on how the money they have now is spent. However, recipients of the award have improved their practices to enable them to spend more of the taxpayer dollar on students, instead of overhead. For example, the 2001 Award Recipient, the Pearl River School District, has increased spending on instruction 43%, primarily through increasing operational efficiencies. The 2003 Award Recipient, the Community Consolidated School District 15, improved across the board, with measured performance per dollar spent higher than the other school districts in the area

These schools improved by creating goals, focusing on their goals and involving stakeholders from the community, faculty and partners in the community. This involvement helps to gain acceptance in the plans from all the involved parties. District 15 uses a “Plan, Do, Study, Act” cycle to continuously improve quality. Both school districts have created easy to understand metrics to measure success. This helps to facilitate fact-based management. Constant review of performance and adjustment of areas of concern mark the processes involved in both school districts.

These principles of quality have been used in many organizations, including my own company. We use and define metrics to measure performance, perform constant reviews to continuously improve quality. We reward quality performance by employees and teams. One area we fall short in is involving all the stakeholders in a project. Some decisions are made without the input of all concerned parties, and the quality of those projects reflects the lack of understanding and participation.

While other school districts remained stagnate or fell in performance, these two public school districts demonstrated that application of the principles of quality to public education could deliver substantial, measurable results.

I learned that it is possible for public school bureaucracies to change and implement quality management practices. This is very encouraging to me, in these days of shrinking school budgets and swelling government deficits.

Wikipedia. (2005) “Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award” Retrieved 12-09-2005 from

Grade so far:

41.90/40 (104.75%)

Kansas HSTA -- The Best Deal on HID lighting

Kansas HSTA - The Best Deal on HID lighting: "Warchild, the Chief Technical Inspector for the Iron Butt Rally, has arranged for the best deal on HID lights"

Check out the links and the prices. I'm impressed.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I like my grade for last week:

5/3 (166.67%)

That just rules.

For the class so far (5 weeks down):

35/33 (106.06%)


Leadership (homework)

Week 6 of my management class was about leadership - our assignment was to write a post about leadership development and leaders.

Leadership is a quality that can be learned. People are not born to be leaders, but develop the traits, characteristics and confidence to lead other people. Training people to be leaders is always going to be difficult because true leadership comes from within. Training to be managers is much simpler. Management is a set of activities that can be documented, repeated and productized. People can follow predictable scripts to achieve repeatable results. However, many parts of leadership are pure instinct. Jack Welsh, former CEO of GE, notes that as a leader, you must know yourself (Chapman, 2005). The theme of self-leadership extends back into history; William Penn, founder of the Pennsylvania Colonies was quoted as saying, “No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself.” (ibid.)

Personally, I have been working on developing leadership qualities for the past 15 years. This is not an easy task, nor is it one that is ever complete. By associating with leaders, reading books from people who are leaders, and learning from the best, you can develop the skills, traits and characteristics that make a leader. When I am in a position to lead teams, I use a democratic to autocratic style. I want everyone to get involved, make a contribution, but I will not wait for laggards to catch up – when it is time to make a decision, I will make it. If it is right, great – praise my team, they provided the input. If it is wrong, blame me, for I am the one who made the decision. I follow President Truman’s maxim here – "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." (ibid.) Have I ever had to use a leadership style that I was uncomfortable with? Yes. When I first began leading teams, I was very unsure of myself and unwilling to take an autocratic rule to get things done. However, as years have passed, I have learned that decisions have to be made. I have learned to believe in my own judgement and make the decisions.

Management gets things done. But without leadership, no organization will survive. Leaders who have no management skills will fail through entropy. Managers who have no leadership skills will fail through indifference. I feel that it is important to have a balance of both. Larger companies seem to have more management without leadership - just follow the rules and don't rock the boat. Today, though, companies are looking to slim down, react quicker and be more like the small startup companies. That requires leadership and empowerment on all levels.

Regarding the rules and axioms (in the textbook) -- they are a good foundation and express some of the core beliefs of leadership. Regarding what could be added – an entire lifetime of experience multiplied by the age of the world. The key to learning leadership is to find people who speak to you, to your experiences. There are very few things to learn to be a leader, but a thousand different ways to express them. To learn the ideals behind leadership you must find an author that speaks to you and puts the keys in terms you understand.

Chapman, Alan. (2005). “Leadership (Online)”. Retrieved 12-02-2005 from

ABC News: Costco CEO Finds Decency Is Compatible With Profitability

ABC News: Costco CEO Finds Decency Is Compatible With Profitability: "'Wall Street is in the business of making money between now and next Tuesday,' he said. 'We're in the business of building an organization, an institution that we hope will be here 50 years from now. And paying good wages and keeping your people working with you is very good business.'"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More Bird Flu

I posted a link to my previous bit on the bird flu scare to a motorcycle e-mail list I am on. I receved a response that disagreed with me, so I burned an hour and did a bit more reading to craft a response to him.

I agree - there is a chance of a pandemic. However, mortality on the scale of 1918 (~1% to 2% of the worlds population, 66 to 132 million dead today), I am doubtful.

We have some vaccines. We acutally have health care - a large number of the deaths were from opportunistic secondary infections, pneumonia among others. We are paying attention to what is going on.

Mortality rates for the two flus are different as well - the 1918 flu had roughly a 3 to 5% mortality rate, allowing people to continue to circulate and spread the disease. H5N1 currently has over a 50% mortality rate in humans, which limits transmission vectors - dead
people can't spread flu.

Finally, the breeding conditions for human vectors of the flu just don't exist. According to evolutionary biologist Paul W. Ewald of the University of Louisville, [the 1918 flus'] lethality evolved in the trenches, the trucks, the trains and the hospitals of World War I. (

Why the stink about it?

More or less, "Follow the Money".

The biggest benefactors to flu scare are health organizations (David Nabarro, WHO) and drug makers. The drug makers are relatively quiet, but Mr. Nabarro, who stands to gain much influence, prestige and funds for this cause, is beating the drums of war, with statements like "150 million dead" and that this H5N1 is impacting "the survival of the world as we know it". (

Dr. Morris Chaftez says "[...] I don't know if the avian flu is gonna come, but the threat of it is the way people get power and resources." (

Tamiflu, one of the vaccines against bird flu, is being ordered in container loads, creating a good profit for Gilead Research. By the way, Fortune Magazine reported that Donald Rumsfeld, US Sec. of Defense and another drum-beater, has a $25-million stake in Gilead. Follow the Money. (

Enough there - I'm starting to sound like a tin-foil hat dude.

Anyway, I'm sceptical. Any time I see something on CNN night and day, the bullshit detectors start going off. The news media are glomming unrelated quotes and facts together to scare people and drive advertising sales - "There is a bird flu" + "A pandemic (if it happened) would kill a lot of people" does not equal "This bird flu IS a pandemic and WILL kill people", but the media fails to address that. Headlines of:

Killer Asian Bird Flu to kill 150,000,000!

sell more papers than headlines like:

Bird Flu May Infect Humans

Or even better:

Scientists Don't Know If Flu is Coming

(that one is from Scientific American, 11/2005)

Normal Handwashing Prevents Disease

(again from SciAm)

Anyway, you get the point. Yes, we need to research infectious diseases. And everyone should have a 2 week stockpile of food and water in case of any emergency - blizzard, flood, flu, hurricane, civil insurrection, job loss or terrorist attack. Or just if you get hungry! But this fear mongering by the politicians, power seekers and profit mad media makes me sick. Is there a vaccine for that yet?


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Creationism / ID finds a home at KU - News Archive - KU Course Seeks To Debunk Creationism: However, that "[...]home is in a course offered by the religion department, titled 'Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies" The course would explore intelligent design as a modern American mythology.

Nice touch.

Update, 12/7/2005:

The professor teaching the course made some ill-advsied comments on a public forum about "fundies". The course was pulled, and the professor has tendred his resignation.

Monday, November 21, 2005

At school, when alec colors, he scribbles. But at home, he always colors inside the lines!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Creeping Collectivism!

I have no idea, I just liked the sound of that, and found this odd little image out at this Japanese art site - some cool hand drawn monsters. If you read Japanese (Heather!), check out his Main site. Really cool characters drawn there. Wish I knew anything about it.

got the idea for 'creeping collectivism' from the Friedman stuff two posts below.

Other tags for this blob:

"fundamentally subversive doctrine" as in "High, I'd Like You To Meet My fundamentally subversive doctrine".

More? Post a comment!

Wired News: Truckers Choose Hydrogen Power

Wired News: Truckers Choose Hydrogen Power: "'We vehemently disagree with governments picking the fuel cell as the single path to a cleaner environment,' he said.

Thanks, Mike, for the link!

Friedman and my midterm

Creeeping Collectivism!
creeping collectivism

Working on my midterm here and that same "Social Responsiblity" question came up again. if you'll remember, last time that question was posted on a test, I answered with some quotes from Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, who believed that social responsiblity was the Communists trying to tear down the capiltalist marketplace and steal our precious freedoms while polluting our bodily fluids.

So, here's the question again, and this time I acutally have the book, so I have to post something resembling a correct answer. Follows is my answer:

(sorry, no Friedman quotes this time - I have the book, so here is page 116)
Social responibility can be implimented by contributing time and money to charitible, cultural and civic organizations. Responsibility can also be demonstrated by limiting the impact on the environment their operatiosn make. Socially responsible companies hire a diverse workforce. They also adopt policies to contribute to the quality of life of their workers.

(Wow - the book never even mentions Friedman. I figure with a NOBEL PRIZE in economics, he'd be at least given short shrift, but no! just mealy mouthed comsymp statments like "most experts agree that socially responsible firms will eventually be rewarded by their markets and stakeholders" Holy bat, Crapman! Call Joe McCarthy - this book is part of the Red Menace!)

Last time I got the answer right - wonder what he'll do with this one. Click the Time and Date below to see the commets, where I posted the answer I used in the last quiz....

Friday, November 18, 2005

Three hours to pay bills and clear the paper!


Anxiety (N)

Emotional distress, especially that brought on by fear of failure

Every payday, I encouter anxiety looking at the pile of bills and stuff to be gone through. Generally, I only clear out the junk mail every two weeks - make a half a box of recycle paper, and a 6" pile of to-be-shredded stuff from all the mortgage offers and so on.

This payday was worse than usual - I have to come up with extra to pay court costs for the divorce filing. I had thought it was $220, but upon re-checking with the courts website, it's only $111. Whew! Just made $109 in 30 seconds! Added, re-added, minimized, maximized, shuffled, folded, spindled and mutilated bills and paychecks, and once again, come up with enough to pay the bills and eat some inexpensive food.

I still laugh when I look at the federal bankruptcy worksheets on my desk - even with a 'reorginization', where I still pay off my debts, the Feds would allow me to have nearly 3 times more money in my pocket than I do now. Not really an option tho - that's a 10 year stain, where this tight spot will really only last till next September when Alec starts public school. Two years after that, the truck pays off (never, ever, ever buy new!) Couple more years and everything else starts paying off. I can live with 10 more months of eating dog food.

Christmas is right around the corner - Alec has said he'd be happier with several small toys, rather than one large toy. Off to the 'Dollar' store I go! $25 will buy a righteous stack of crap there. Not doing any travelling over Christmas, so that saves a few hundred right there.

Christmas last year was amazing - over 10 days we traveled over 1,500 miles! We had 5 different gift openings - Winfield at Nats', at Grammas', home a few days later, then up to Gramma and Grampas in Chicago, and at the Christmas party in Chicago. Whew! Still was a good time, but not an experience I care to repeat.

On the lower stress side - finally going to get my bike back together this weekend, and assuming it is above, oh, 5 degrees and no ice, I'm going riding for Thanksgiving weekend. Down to Winfield for dinner, up to Wichita for a new tire on Saturday, and who knows where on Sunday. Nice test for cold weather - Jeff and I plan to ride to Hyder, Alaska next June, and up there the average daytime high temp is only in the low 50s. Going to be a couple of dang cold days!

Speaking of bills and money and stuff, I finally got my new sole-owner checking account set up and direct depositing and so on. Kind of liberating - one more string cut. One less anxiety trigger.

Live. Love. Learn.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Picture Share!

Alec frosts daddys cake too

A Picture Share!

Alec makes daddys birthday cake

Google Video Upload Program

Google Video Upload Program FAQ: "Google Video lets you search a growing archive of televised content -- everything from sports events to dinosaur documentaries to news programs. In addition to televised content, we'll also host video from anyone who wants to upload content to us. "

Like, anyone. Including you. Or me. Whoah.

Weird playback though; it's all ripped into a Flash player. Good resolution, tho - 720x480.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Picture Share!

Alec is 3' 8" today! (finally got the measuring stick bolted up to the wall)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Idea: encourage kansas to spend money on tourist friendly features like overlooks and twisty back roads.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Wired News: Scientists Offer Hydrogen Fix

Finally - people getting a clue about how to make Hydrogen: Use Nukes. Great quote follows to about the safety of a nuclear power plant.

Wired News: Scientists Offer Hydrogen Fix: "You can fly a 747 into a nuclear reactor and it's very bad for the 747 but it won't actually do anything to the meter-thick concrete around the reactor core,"

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Google Local for mobile

Google Local for mobile: "Google Local for mobile is a free download that lets you find local hangouts and businesses across town or across the country — right from your phone. "

And, it's a local app for the phone - no dinking with a crappy web browser!

Question: if a phone company has a service to pay for third party products do you have to pay phone taxes on those purchases?

To do : develop app for cell phone to post to blog and pod cast with itunes tag support

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Scientific Methods Info

Since Kansas is refusing to teach the scientific method, I figure I'll start. Couple of posters:

Color poster

Simpler B&W

Now for some discussion on the issue

Why Inteligent Design is not scientific (From a comment on Slashdot. ):

Project: Prove that no intelligent being had a hand in the creation or evolution of life.

Can't be done - it's a textbook example of proving a negative - logically insoluble. The only way you can prove a negative is by empirical evidence - I don't *know* that we're not actually being held down by thousands of tiny invisible fairies flapping their wings, but I *do* know that things in a vacuum fall done at the same rate, and flapping wings can't help you fly in vacuum, so I consider this theory disproven, so empirically I can prove that no fairies meeting this description are causing the illusion of gravity.

[editors note: Philosopher Karl Popper cannonized this in his writing Science as Falsification with this statement: "[...] the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability." ]

Intelligent Design has no such empirical test - the theory that we're being pulled down by tiny invisible fairies is in fact a scientific theory in a way that I.D. isn't, because I can design a test to disprove it. Go through enough iterations of my testing the theory, and modifying the theory to fit the new test (They're unbreathing fairies, with tiny 'lil rubberbands holding them down), and we'll find that eventually I have 'fairies' that look astonishingly like gravitons. Personally, Physics is easier than stubbornly staying with the fairies theory, but the nature of the scientific method means I will, after many iterations, home in on the same truths.

Continuing on:

Evolution is not a theory - it is a fact. It happens, it is observable. The *why* of evolution, or the mechanics of how it works, are still being investigated, and new facts and evidence are being added toward the various theories. By the way, in the scientific world, "theory" means "a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed", as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary.


Nat has a good post on his blog with some fine quotes from the democratically elected members of the Kansas Board of Education. Remember these quotes come election time . . .

Witfits has a neat post from the Vatican

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Alec telling us what he's learned in school

this is an audio post - click to play

My son, Alec, age 4, reviewing what he's learned in school. That's his Mom you hear in the background also. Posted via Audioblogger and my SprintPCS phone.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

How NOT to answer a test question

When asked to provide ways that a company may act socially responsible, it's not a good idea to quote Friedman in your 'short answer':

The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits, by Milton Friedman: "[...] the use of the cloak of social responsibility, and the nonsense spoken in its name by influential and prestigious businessmen, does clearly harm the foundations of a free society"

We'll see what I got for a grade on this one by Wednesday...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Adding 'Safety' to Space Flight?

NASA made the best of a bad set of circumstances. They were using outdated technology, with little option to discard the bad technology. They had to make use of the shuttle because of political concerns - current plans by the Bush administration still call for over 25 more missions with the current shuttle! (Bell, 2004) If the shuttle were cancelled, there are many technically superior and more cost effective launch platforms available (ibid.).

The engineers at NASA looked at the statistics for space travel - it is an inherently risky business - and concluded that spending billions of dollars for escape hatches, ejection seats and more was not a worth while use of taxpayer money. The escape methods would only be of use for the few seconds that the shuttle would be within the atmosphere on liftoff and descent. Even the escape pole installed after the Challenger disaster is only useful when the orbiter is in a controlled glide above 20,000 feet - an unlikely scenario for a disaster( Halvorson, 2001). NASA shuttle program development manager Elric McHenry admits the escape pole would not be effective under most failure scenarios (ibid.). Political pressure to "do something now!" most likely led to the installation of this flawed escape tool. More effective systems that would protect the whole crew from a wide variety of failure modes require extensive reconstruction of the shuttle, cost over a billion dollars to install, and reduce the available payload, already low at 50,000 pounds (Halvorson, 2001). The decision was rational to meet the political pressures. However, from a true safety standpoint or a budgetary view, it was irrational - it adds little to crew safety and added a large sum to the cost of the shuttle. The decision to install the escape pole was a classic example of a satisficing decision - to obtain an outcome that is good enough, rather than excellent. It is a sad state that NASA, once the paragon of maximising actions now makes decisions like this to meet political pressures.

If I were in charge of NASA, I would have made a different decision - that the shuttle has outlived its' usefulness, and we should instead concentrate on newer technology, like a space plane, and use old, proven technology like big dumb rockets for package launches. However, the shuttle is a politically popular spacecraft, and is the symbol for the American space program. Replacing it with cold-war era missiles would not be a popular decision. Additionally, major US aerospace firms have a billion dollar a year vested interest in keeping the shuttle in place - Boeing, Rockwell, Lockheed-Martin, among others (Meyer, 2002).

The decision to add safety measures to the shuttle, along with the decision to keep the shuttle flying, should be revisited by NASA and the government. The four-billion dollar a year investment, along with the 30,000 employees that keep the shuttle running, could be better directed toward R&D. Ideas like maglev launch, nuclear engines, and the space elevator require major funding (Meyer, 2002). Funding that could come from the failed shuttle program.

Bell, J. F. (02/19/2004). "Is The Shuttle Grounded Forever?" Space Daily website. Retrieved 11/04/2005 from

Halvorson, T. (04/11/2001). "NASA Studies Advanced Shuttle Crew Escape Systems (Online)". website. Retrieved 11/04/2005 from

Meyer, C. (11/01/2002). "Scrap the Shuttle Program (Online)". Space Daily website. Retrieved 11/04/2005 from

How essential is manned spaceflight?

How essential is manned flight? That depends on your goal.

If your goals are strictly commercial and military - stuffing more black boxes in orbit to deliver movies, pr0n and 24 hour home shopping, or taking pictures of desert installations of weapons of mass destruction - then no. All of that can be done better, cheaper and faster by unmanned booster rockets. The US, with the largest space budget in the world, has fallen to less than a third of the world space launch market share (Meyer, 2002).

If your goals are more future minded - establishing humanity on more than one planet, to ensure future survival of the species - then yes, it is critical. We must learn how to move, survive and travel in space. We must learn how to build generation ships to send colony groups to nearby stars. We must create technologies to provide continuous acceleration with minimal mass. The human condition demands expansion and exploration.

An article published in the December, 2004 issue of The American Enterprise sums it up quite well:

"European cultures were vastly invigorated during the Renaissance by the discovery of the New World. Columbus, Vasco de Gama, and Magellan became heroes who defined the West for centuries. Cultures that pioneer seem to thrive, while those that stop pioneering often fester and degenerate. "Human beings either look out or they look down," said [Louis] Freedman [of the Planetary Society]" (Tucker, 2004)

Meyer, C (11/01/2002). "Scrap the Shuttle Program (online)". From Space Daily Website. Retrieved 11/04/2005 from

Tucker, W. (12/2004). "The Sober Realities of Manned Space Flight (online)." The American Enterprise. Retrieved 11/04/2005 from

A Picture Share!

Alec says "thanks for the card, gramma and grandpa!"

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Great quote

From a Marx Bros movie:

"OK, just sign here"

"I uh forgot to tell you - I can't write"

"That's OK - there's no ink in the pen anyway!"

Friday, October 28, 2005


Just heard on TV someone talking about a pirate accessory for a costume - an eye patch. I wasn't paying much attention, and was wondering what new model of Apple music player (iPod) they were talking about!

Measuring Boredom

Alec is measuring boredom in pounds - school is one pound boring!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wired News: U.S. Cell Phone Tracking Clipped

Wired News: U.S. Cell Phone Tracking Clipped: ". . .judges rejected the location tracking portion of the request in harshly worded opinions, concluding investigators cannot turn cell phones into tracking devices"

W00t! Checks and Balances Do Work.

Wired News: Web 2.0 Cracks Start to Show

Wired News: Web 2.0 Cracks Start to Show: "Web 2.0 is very open, but all that openness has its downside: When you invite the whole world to your party, inevitably someone pees in the beer."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Build Your Own PVR

Build Your Own PVR: "The “You have ten seconds to drop your weapon.” Robocop School of Software."

An amazingly funny look at Microsofts' Media Center 2005. The dude built a *monster* system.

A few other fun quotes:

no where close to a vintage Tivo

What Media Center does really well is [...] allow you to practice starting in “safe mode”

People from the non-geek world who bite on this instead of Tivo or the satellite/cable DVRs are going to be unhappy.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

What makes a good conversationalist?

I asked this question on the ST1100 e-mail list, and I got a great answer back:

InterestED vs. interestING has a lot of truth to it, but I don't believe it should be taken as an absolute. To me, a good conversationalist is a person who draws out my opinion, and makes me believe they care. Not just by nodding and agreeing, but by offering input on certain points, asking for clarification and forcing me to more clearly define my beliefs, or by interjecting alternate notions, theories, etc., without commandeering the conversation. Not just a passive listener, but a contributor, catalyst and inspiration to further discussion.

A good conversationalist will have the strength, skill and discipline to not let someone trap them in a monologue for half an hour without a break. They will do it in such a way that the motormouth does not take offense.

A good conversationalist is able to segue smoothly from one topic to another without the other party feeling that they have been cut off from their story. This, in my mind, is especially important in the case of returning to a boring conversation after an interruption. The good conversationalist will take them back to where they were, and then gently guide them to a more interesting place.

A good conversationalist will try to involve, or at least acknowledge all participants within a small group or cluster.

Most importanly, they will laugh heartily at my jokes. And they will make me believe that they meant it.

Hmmm. Seems that I have just described what I would like to be, rather than what I am. Going to have to work on that.


Paul Forkheim
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip for Mac OS X

Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip for Mac OS X: "MPEG
Streamclip is an application that converts MPEG files (including transport streams) into muxed, demuxed, QuickTime, AVI and DV files with more than professional quality, so you can easily import them in Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro and Toast 6."

More importantly to me, I can rescue my old MPEG-1 home movies from 6 years ago and re-encode them to the latest standards for inclusion on my video blog

Blog Vlog Schmog

Blog Vlog Schmog: "Video blog by Will - old (and new) movies ripped to iPod ready format. Look - a Podcast! Once I get a bit of clue, I plan to publish to iTunes." (defunct)

Update: What a PITA. Blogger doesn't have the right kind of feed - they use Atom, and ITMS requires an RSS 2.0 feed, with special tags. So, I have a blog set up at Mylanders but that server doesn't grok M4V files - tries to dump them out as plain text. Sigh. Fix the mime.types, now it works.

Try this blog

Download standalone Quicktime 7.0 Player

Apple - QuickTime - Download - Standalone QuickTime Player

Skip the 30+ MB download of iTunes and just get the player so you can watch my videos!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

Yes, you can use dual monitors on a G5 iMac :: View Forum - iMac: "The ultimate Mac screen spanning resource!"

Ok - it's not supported, and it's a hack, but folks have been using that patch for 6+ months and reporting no problems.

(Nat - checking to see if you read this thing!)

Note - the iMac G5 only has analog VGA out - your second monitor must accept analog VGA.

Watch NOVA online from PBS

NOVA | scienceNOW | Watch Online | PBS: "Watch any or all of the six segments from the October 18, 2005 broadcast of NOVA scienceNOW. To see previous episodes go to past stories."

Fancy. Just need a fast connection and a modern computer. The window is a bit small, but quite watchable.

Side Note: they do some really cool things with Quicktime.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Picture Share!

Sunset in kansas

Pete Townshend - free book

Whoah. Pete Townshend, from "The Who", has written a book, and is now giving it away free on his 'blog, one chapter at a time.

Way too cool.

Paper Houses

A company by the name of Global Village has been creating rapid assmbly refugee shlters from paper -- !

Rated to withstand 80MPH winds, and treated to be water and fire resistant - these things are just cool. Bigger, stronger and cheaper than cabin tents. And, they can be printed with sponsors logos - "this hurricane relief effort brought to you by Coca Cola and the Ford Motor Company"


More on this sort of stuff in an article by Wired Mag.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Welding the ST1100 subframe

Shane welding the sub frame - unfortunately he ran out of inert gas, so the second half of the welds are pretty rough. It'll hold, but he volunteerd to re-weld it next weekend with a TIG rig, supposed to make some pretty clean, strong welds.

Grinding the ST1100 subframe

Shane repairing the rear frame for my st1100. He first had to grind the break smooth, then fabricated extra bracing to reinforce the frame. This is the part where the top case attaches -- extra support is always a good thing.

A Kodak Moment, 2

Father and son

Over at Nathans - ethan had to get in the action.

A Kodak Moment

Grandmother and grandson

(The traditional routine at Grammas - eat popcorn and watch cartoons)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Vatican astronomer ponders baptism of extra-terrestrials

Vatican astronomer ponders baptism of extra-terrestrials

While it sounds like something out of Weekly World News, it is a serious Jesuit astronomer with a degree from MIT asking these questions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Apple - iPod - OMFG!

Video. Photos. Music. HUGE space. And the store now has ABC / Disney TV shows to download. That you own forever! OMFG.

iPod Page

iTunes Page about video

Synch your own videos to the iPod too using Quicktime 7 (hey - copies of my DVD's for the car for Alec?)

Looks like the pirates are already taking advantage - see this Cult of Mac blog post.

iPod can either play the new H.264 video (see clips below) or old-school MPEG-4 compliant stuff (think 3ivx!)

OMFG to the Max!

A Picture Share!

A squirrel was checking out our deck this morning!

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Picture Share!

View from school in downtown kansas city.

Bird Flu for a Police State?

Wow - wild stuff.

1) There is a pile of news out there about "Avian Flu" and a new pandemic. Today on CNN, they had clips from the 1918 flu pandemic all day long on TV. Google news reports over 8,000 stories matching the keyword "avian flu"

2) The current administration has stated that they will use military force in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 to enforce quarantines for "bird flu".

(Update April 2009: Dead links.  Heres a Google search for Bush Bird Flu Military - do your own reading...)

SO, you have the administration with the military poised to attack the US of A, and the media banging the drums of war.

You draw your own conclusion.

By the way, a flu pandemic is just about impossible these days. The 1918 pandemic was only possible because you had umpteen thousand people stuffed in trenches in France under the most impossible sanitary conditions, sharing viruses back and forth, allowing it to mutate into the most virulent possible virus. (a virulent virus. Hmmm).

Anyway, once out of the trenches, the virus basically died off.


A) we don't have trenches today, and
B) we have medicine, communication and technology to see and stop outbreaks of the flu.

Ex: in 1917, in Fort Riley, KS, the entire fort became sick with a flu-like virus. After folks started to get better, they were sent over to fight in WWI trenches. Over 500 died at Fort Riley alone. No one knew they were sick, no one cared, and no one talked about it. Today, 6 (six!) people died on a small island in the pacific from Avian Flu. It's front page news.