Sunday, January 28, 2007

WWII Homework..

If'n you're interested, my homework this week:

The Battle Of Britain was the first full scale air battle fought in modern war. Germany needed to gain air superiority over Britain before it could begin moving naval and ground troops in for attack. The battle was fought between the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe between 10 July and 31 October. The Germans needed to destroy the RAF fighter forces. The goal for the RAF was to stop the bombers before they got to their targets, and to shoot down as many German aircraft as possible.

The Germans nearly won the fight - in late August, they were attacking the command airfields around London, and nearly wiped out the backbone of the RAF. However, for some reason, the Germans decided to switch targets, allowing the RAF to recover.

Beyond the significance in the face of the war, this battle was the first that used a combined command and control network blending fighter aircraft, radar and ground defenses into one unified force to stop the German attack. Before this, air defense had been an ad-hoc effort done by each station as the bombers passed over.

Propaganda is communication used to promote your ideals, or denigrate the ideals of another. It preys primarily on emotion, rather than reason, using inflammatory words, images, sounds and ideas. Propaganda can be used for good purposes - to instill a spirit of success and freedom, as in these posters:

Or to encourage greater production for a cause;

Or for less positive purposes:

For a full discussion of the techniques of Propaganda, refer to this website:

The Allies were not the only ones using propaganda - Hitler based his entire rule on "the big lie" - as he noted in Mein Kampf: "The greatness of the lie is always a certain factor in being believed; at the bottom of their hearts, the great masses of a people are more likely to be misled than to be consciously and deliberately bad, and in the primitive simplicity of their minds, they are more easily victimized by a large than by a small lie.... Some part of even the boldest lie is sure to stick." (Hitler, 1924)

You can further read his views on war propaganda from Mein Kampf at this website:

The single largest factor leading to the evacuation at Dunkirk was the surrender of Belgium on May 28, 1940. King Leopold III decided to end the fighting on Belgian territory. This freed up German forces to concentrate on the British Expeditionary Force. Because of this greater threat than anticiapted, the British Government decided to evacuate on May 28. Prior to this, the German Army had driven the French and British Expeditionary force back, but there was still hope. The Belgian army kept open the line of retreat to the sea for the French and British forces. When Leopold surrendered, he exposed a 30 mile wide hole for the Germans to exploit. Evacuation was the only option. The evacuation was covered under 'Operation Dynamo', where anyone with a boat was urged to help. Any description I put would pale beside the words of Churchill:

"[...]the Royal Navy, with the willing help of countless merchant seamen, strained every nerve to embark the British and Allied troops; 220 light warships and 650 other vessels were engaged. They had to operate upon the difficult coast, often in adverse weather, under an almost ceaseless hail of bombs and an increasing concentration of artillery fire. Nor were the seas, as I have said, themselves free from mines and torpedoes. It was in conditions such as these that our men carried on, with little or no rest, for days and nights on end, making trip after trip across the dangerous waters, bringing with them always men whom they had rescued. The numbers they have brought back are the measure of their devotion and their courage. The hospital ships, which brought off many thousands of British and French wounded, being so plainly marked were a special target for Nazi bombs; but the men and women on board them never faltered in their duty." (Churchill, 1940),9171,764003-2,00.html,9171,763997,00.html

The Maginot Line was built in order to allow a smaller force to take the offensive against the Germans. Originally conceived of by the French Minister of War, Andre Maginot, the purpose of the line was to provide a shrot-term defensive line against German attack, while a French counter attack cut off the German supply lines. The French wanted to envelop the German right flank by striking through Belgium from their own left. To do this, they had to hold the front line at Vosges with mobile units, comprising only a small part of the total force. This would give them enough men to make the counter attack. The Maginot Line was built to help in that defense - to hold the Germans back briefly while a massive counter attack took place through Belgium. However, when the Germans did attack, the French did not counter attack and only offered passive resistance (MacArthur, 1964). The Maginot Line was not designed to withstand the onslaught of the entire German army without any pressure elsewhere. Without the counterattack, the line failed.

MacArthur, Douglas. (1964). Reminiscences (p 107). New York, New York: Fawcette.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Alec building his shelf

Alec building his new shelf. He really did build most all of it -- assembled, nailed, screwed, everything. I was very impressed with my boy!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus

Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus | "Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.

“There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away,” Gonzales said."

What was I saying about 'buy more guns'?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ghost truck

hugin - Panorama Tools GUI

hugin - Panorama Tools GUI: "With hugin you can assemble a mosaic of photographs into a complete immersive panorama, stitch any series of overlapping pictures and much more."

Used to stich the photos together before you run it through Enblend...

Again, GNU - Free. Windows, Mac and Linux


Enblend: "Enblend is a tool for compositing images. Given a set of images that overlap in some irregular way, Enblend overlays them in such a way that the seam between the images is invisible, or at least very difficult to see."

GNU - Free software, versions for Windows & OSX.

Friday, January 19, 2007

iChat and Bluetooth Headsets

Check out this article on using a Bluetooth headset with iChat.
O'Reilly Network -- Listening to Bluetooth (or at least trying to): "the greatest new feature is being able to pace while chatting -- no more having to talk directly into your iSight or PowerBook's microphone. And the combination of iChat, an iSight, and your Bluetooth headset is the virtual equivalent of VOIP calling."

Reportedly it eliminates echo for the recipient of the audio, and you're freed from having to sit right smack in front of the computer!

With Bluetooth headset prices dropping ($10 for my favorite, the Motorola H500 -- Seriously, $10 at uBid, and several others!), it's really well worth it.

Install Apache 2 and Tomcat 5.5 on FreeBSD 6.1

Install Apache 2 and Tomcat 5.5 on FreeBSD 6.1 : "This guide will help you install Tomcat 5.5 and the Apache web server on a FreeBSD 6.1 machine."

Very nice, *and* it's current for the most recent versions. Written in January of 2007. More as I test it out...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Pages for Mac makes publishing easy

Just got done writing and printing a very slick (if I do say so myself) newsletter for the motorcycle club I'm in. I used Pages and it took all of 30 minutes to put this together. Take a look at the PDF newsletter for the Kansas HSTA

Pages for the Mac is really one of the biggest selling points on these computers - after iTunes, Safari, iPhoto, the iPod, the absolute lack of crashes, iMovie, . . . OK, it is among one of the big selling points for a Mac.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Snowy Photo Essay

Cold, Icy, Snowy day today - and I have a new camera phone, so a few photos and a brief story.

The roads were iced and slushed and dirty with sand, but drivable.

Ice, slush and snow everywhere. But the heat and the peace of it all was relaxing for Alec and I:

We went for a drive so Alec could find himself a new videogame with his gift-card from Christmas. Only a ten minute drive, but soon the warm and peace took its' toll:

So, we travelled westward to see what we could see. Gray, white, brown. The park was closed, the sky looming. Nothing to see here. We moved on to the video game store. Bright lights, lots of people stocking up on entertainment before the next blast of winter. After some looking, we found the game we wanted, and headed back home.

Alec was happy to be home, and settled in for a good night blasting computerized Legos into their component parts.

I settled in for an evening cheering Alec on in his virtual endavours while reading my book beside a warm and cheery fire.

The fire has gone to coals, the boy has gone to dreams. And I have pages to go in my new book.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ravioli at high speed.

I was surfing my own website and found a link to this wonderful quote:
"Thermonuclear interactions, such as hydrogen fusion, may take place in the tomato sauce."

Absolute must read. And print. And forward to anyone who knows anything about science. I dang near snorted coffee up my nose!

(updated link w.england 9/14/12)

what is it that they say about a clean desk

... A dirty mind?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Why Nerds are Unpopular

Why Nerds are Unpopular: "Kids are sent off to spend six years memorizing meaningless facts in a world ruled by a caste of giants who run after an oblong brown ball, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. And if they balk at this surreal cocktail, they're called misfits."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sprint RAZR V3m - Playing Video, Music, and Other Nonsense at ClockSkew

Sprint RAZR V3m - Playing Video, Music, and Other Nonsense at ClockSkew Fancy Shiny phone. Plays MP3, m4a, and QT video! 2gb SD memory card too. And it seems to synch to iSynch:

iSynch info 1

iSync directions

iSync plugin from Clockskew

Update 9:50 PM 1/3/07:

Well, damn - the thing works! Sprint had the Red (tm) Razr in stock and with the employee discount it came out to $65, fifteen of which went toward the fight against AIDS. Not a bad deal. Got home, checked out the info on updating the Mac and it worked! Full iSync from a Sprint phone... Very nice. Also can connect and browse the files via Bluetooth - I copied these off:

And a videoclip:

And look! iSync found the phone!