Wednesday, January 31, 2007

go to Phonetrace dot org and put in your cell number, it will show a satelite image of your house...right down to the room your phone is in
overheard on the internet. haven't checked it out.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I think this worked.
Step 1: make comic at www.stripcreator.com
Step 2: save as a .png file.
Step 3: convert to jpg, save in my documents.
Step 4: save to photobucket.
Step 5: post to blog using img src tag.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ok this format isn't working.
If I save it to photobucket and link to it, I can resize it to fit. I am going to make an editorial decision that I don't have time to mess with that tonight.
the full size comic is here. http://www.stripcreator.com/comics/arbi/381634/.
That's all for today.
Must sleep, must start new job on time tomorrow.
One of my 2007 goals is to figure out how to post my webcomic to my blog,
or else how will I ever catch up with Penny Arcade.
So far my new years resolutions are going well.
I got a job, I've been on some dates, I'm selling the house.
I expect to lose both of the lawsuits I've filed, but I can't do everything.

Post on Moore's law as made to slashdot.
if I'm posting at slashdot, I'm probably not getting my work done.
In response to
Re:Dupe reply - why is moore's law a law?

(Score:2)by arbitraryaardvark (845916) <gtbear.gmail@com> on Sunday January 28, @05:02PM (#17792484)

(http://vark.blogspot.com/ | Last Journal: Thursday February 17, @07:49PM)
"Why it's Moore's Law a law? It just sounds like a theory to me, it just has been surprisingly accurate to date, that's all."

Theories that remain suprisingly accurate over time tend to be known as laws. Unlike, say, axioms, where one counterexample could break a paradigm, a law only has to work often enough to be useful. If a prediction works 95% of the time,and fails to account for 5% of the data, we can still call that a law. Feel free to call it Moore's pretty damn good conjecture. It's not intended to be rigorous,and we don't need to claim that that it will work for the next 10,000 years. It's enough to understand the general point that the cost of an information processing system is cut in half every two years or so by developing technology, and that can only have profound changes on culture and economy.
It's useful to be familar with a couple of additional concepts: 1) austrian economics, which shows how markets function to drive technological change,and how technological change functions to drive markets. 2) the singularity. aka "the rapture for nerds", the singularity
is the idea that the rate of technological change is speeding up, driving innovation in ever shorter cycles, in a hyperbolic curve (y=x squared), so that at some point, probably in this century, the rate of change will be going basicly straight up,and that on the other side of the singularity, things look weird.
So there are at least three options:
1) Moore's law is an overstatement in the long term. At some point physical limitations set in, the low hanging fruit has already been picked,and a new plateau is reached where the cost of information systems is low compared to today, but has leveled out and is no longer decreasing.
2) Moore's law will continue to be suprisingly accurate for many years to come.
The cost of information systems will keep decreasing by about half every two years,and that will continue to drive economic transformation and social change.
3) Moore's law is descriptive at the elbow of the curve, where we live now, but as change builds on change Moore's law will be found to be wildly conservative,and the cost of a given information system will drop by half in shorter and shorter cycles, until information system costs approach zero, with consequences that include AI, space travel, life extension,
gene hacking, and stuff we can barely imagine now.

As formally stated in terms of doubling of transisters on a chip, or in terms of the cost of a transister, per period of time, moore's law only applies to the time since the invention of the transister and some unknown point in the future at which it no longer applies, perhaps because we use something else besides transisters. It remains useful in describing the period
from about 1950 (or 1970) through 2007 up to at least until either limits are reached or the pre-singularity effects kick in and shorten the doubling time. I expect measurable pre-singularity effects by 2012. Some would argue Moore's law is itself an example of noticable pre-singularity effects.
4) two cups of Moore, 1/2 cup of salad dressing = moore slaw

More thoughts on the prisoner's dilemma. Uchicago notes.

The optimal strategy in prisoner's dilemma games is cooperate, then retaliate. Cooperate in a first move, then respond as the opponent did. Alexrod, the Evolution of Cooperation.
My own strategy seems to be, "slow boil." Forgive, forgive, forgive, massively retaliate.
Something like that. This relates to contract performance, and being a landlord who lives in the ghetto. I make contracts with people. Sometimes formal, sometimes informal. I expect people to honor their contracts, and I generally honor my own. I was raised that way. If I'm not meeting someone's expectations under a contract, it's usually because there's some dispute about the terms.
Here in the ghetto, it's "efficient breach" - break a contract any time it suits, and be willing to pay the costs of breach if compelled.
Somebody agrees to pay rent, or borrow an item, or ask a small favor.
They fail to pay the rent on time, don't return the item or the favor. How hardass should I be about immediately trying to collect? Uusally, I'll be patient, and extend a reasonable time, with or without late fees, and up the price of future transactions based on the lowered credit rating, or just refuse to deal in future transactions.
Currently, I have two nonpaying renters, from whom I'm getting occasional favors in lieu of formal rent on which they are behind. For example my roommate is spending today putting in windows broken by other former tenants, because he's late with the rent and doesn't want to be evicted into 13 degree weather. he has a poor track record of ever repaying back rent,and a good story about how he will have the money soon.
I have two former renters who stole stuff of mine, broke windows, promised to return the stuff and haven't. Do I a) call the cops b) put a price on their head to my underworld connections c) do nothing yet?
So far I've been doing c) nothing yet. Slow boil. Forgive forgive forgive massively retaliate.
I'll want to spend some time this year evaluating my strategy, trying to optimize it, trying to do a better job of building in safeguards against non-performance.

Puzzle heard on Click and Clack's Car Talk just now.

Three guys* decide to fight a duel.**

Mr White is to shoot first, and has a 1/3 chance of killing - he's a bad shot.
Mr. Brown is next, and has a 2/3 chance.
Mr. Black fires last, and never misses.
They fire in turn, the firing continues until 2 are dead.

The puzzle is, who*** should Mr. White shoot at?
My answer below, scroll down.

* It's usually guys. Woman are less likely to duel with guns - they use words.
**(is it still a duel if there are three instead of two? Is the problem one duel between three, or a series of duels between two?)
*** I'm with Willian Safire, 1972 column, on this, that "whom" is dead except after a preposition. I've ended the sentence with a preposition - these things happen.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What I'm reading:
Reel Futures, an anthology of SF stories that have been made into movies, By Forest J Ackerman.
Mostly stuff I've read before, like Zelazny's Damnation Alley and Barry Longyear's Enemy Mine.
Longyear is great - I've read two of his circus world novels and the sequel to enemy mine.
Enemy Mine won the arbi award for worst movie from best book.
Also reading Edgar Pangborn's And still I persist in Wondering, a collection of stories in the Davy universe. Has a forward by Spider Robinson, just gushing about how wonderful Pangborn is as a writer and a person. I'm inclined to agree. Robinson was all set to write Pangborn a fan letter but Pangborn died. I've had that experience. Robinson mentions that Pangborn wrote outside of SF, mysteries and an obscure but good historical novel. During the Golden Age of Science Fiction ("twelve"), I was a geeky kid with a library card so I worked my way through the two science fiction shelves at the Wilmington Library, which is the basis for my scientific literacy which led to an interest in computer internets and geek culture.
My time to read and blog may be reduced - starting a new full time blue collar job monday.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dueling problem (see above post from sunday)
Mr. White has to fire at Mr. Black.
This seems trivially easy, but then I scored a 99% on my LSAT, but needed help last night from two mechanics changing lightbulbs in my car.
or maybe it's harder than I first thought - how does it play out?

If Black is killed, White will then try to kill Brown.
Brown also must try to kill Black.
Black has a 2/3 chance of surviving white times a 1/3 chance of surviving brown = 2/9.
7 of nine tries, Black dies.
If Black lives, he will kill Brown.
Second turn, White gets another shot at Black. 2/9 times 2/3 chance of surving white's second shot. = black kills brown and white = 4/27ths. About 15%. If he misses, black kills him, game over.
If white kills black in the second round, he must then face brown.

If white shoots at brown in the first round and hits, black kills white, game over.
But maybe white shoots at brown and hopes to miss.
Nah, couldn't be.

If white kills black, brown shoots at white and has 2/3 chance of killing and winning, first round.
2/9 chance of this scenario.
If brown misses, it's white's turn. 1/3 chance of winning on second round, 1/3 chance of surviving to round 3.

Now ,what we are dealing with here is a three person version of a re-iterated prisoner's dilemma, with specified probablilites.
This is an example of game theory, the work for which John Nash won the Nobel prize and was played by Russell Crowe in the movie A Beautiful Mind. I've read the book, not seen the movie.
There is probably a short elegant way to work out the answer.
I don't know it.
It may be possible to look up the answer on google.
But what search terms? three-player prisoner's dilemma?
Using brute force, I've sorted out that Black's chances don't look good, that Brown has a pretty good chance, that white has some chance, but I havent worked out the numbers,and I don't want to spend all day on this. I have work I'm avoiding.
If you have the answers, leave a comment. No one ever coments at this blog - maybe I don't have comments enabled?
gtbear at gmail.
I'll ponder this a bit, try a google search, update later.

Thanks for sending in your puzzler answer. Imagine how excited you'll be if we choose your response as the correct, winning answer! In case you were wondering, here's the process we go through to select each week's winner: (pun filled process omitted)
Tom and Ray Magliozzi
Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers

Will Baude took a course on game theory at the university of chicago. This seems to be the notes from that class, discussing the three person prisoner's dilemma. It doesn't translate precisely to this problem, but it's listed for people who want a place to start. Not that I have much reason to think anyone reads this blog.

maybe I'll make this a blog contest, and solicit answers from the five people I know who would at least recognize the problem - 4 ex roommates, if i count my brother as an ex roommate,and Mr. Baude. Grand prize a random used T-shirt - i cleaned my closet today-, or perhaps a whisk, or some hawaii sea salt. Maybe I'll even mail volokh if I get ambitious.
The question isn't "who should white fire at?" It's more, submit a formal proof in English of why white should fire at black, unless I'm wrong, but better, since I wouldn't be able to understand a proof, what are the odds for white brown and black.
Bonus: If they know the odds, do they still play the game? They were already commited to a roughly 2/3 chance of death. A sort of assisted suicide.
If you read this blog, you get a day's head start - I won't send out any emails till tomorrow at least.

Monday, January 22, 2007


What I'm not reading:
One of my mentors, a former state department employee herself, is reading a tell-all book by Julia Child, the French Chef,1912-2004. Turns out Child was in the OSS during the war. She learned to cook while posted to various embassies in sundry war zones.
Sounds worth a read. A little old lady from Pasadena, Child attended Smith,and was recruited into the OSS, which was heavily ivy league. She was posted to DC Sri Lanka and China,and then lived in Paris with her husband, attended Cordon Bleu, opened her own cooking school, L'ecole de Trois Gourmandes,and wrote the Art of French Cooking, which was like a bible to my mother, who was born outside Paris to American parents.
Meanwhile judging from the traffic noises the Colts won and are headed to the Superbowl.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What I'm reading: The Rainmaker by John Grisham. I like Grisham, but hadn't bothered to read this one because I'd already seen the movie, one of the first starring roles for Matt Damon. No comment here about Grisham's own recent legal troubles. I'm reading a lot lately because it's a useful stress management tool if I don't overdo it. When I was a kid, I read escape fiction to escape from some family stress and the sensory deprivation of life in the suburbs. I never studied in high school, didn't have any motivation to, but I was pretty well read which formed a good basis for college and law school. Knowing now what I didn't know then, I would have studied, applied to good schools and majored in sciences, but at the time I was sheltered and naive and thought that as a national merit scholar with ambition, I'd find some sort of career someday.
I became internet addicted for similar reasons. I don't program, and missed out on the whole dot.com boom, jumped in in time for crash of '01 and lost my, shirt.

The book is about young man who gets through law school with no money, can't find a job, finds a case with potential, a streetwise shady partner, but has trouble collecting his fee. It's my life, told better. His books are well enough written that it's ok that I know how it will turn out.

It gave me a few ideas about how I should go try to market this one case I have right now, a challenge to Indiana's Voter ID rules. Next up, The Firm, another Grisham I hadn't read because I'd seen the movie with Tom Cruise. From imdb, I learn Grisham wrote the screenplay, but no novel, for Mickey, a legal thriller that's mostly about the cutthroat world of little league baseball. Stars Harry Connick Jr., who can act if given a decent role. The reviews aren't good, but I might like this. trailer.

1 The American Black Chamber, Herbert Yardley.
2 Marco Polo if you can, William F Buckley.
3 Living History, Hillary Clinton.
4 Maui Revealed.
5 Another day in the frontal lobe.
6 Me, Katherine Hepburn.
7 The Rainmaker, John Grisham.
8 Some kid's book about a talking pinata who learns a moral about short change.
9 The Firm, Grisham.

Google, usually the font of all knowledge, didn't bring up the Todd and the Talking Pinata book, but it gave some clues - apparently you can get the book as part of a taco bell happy meal. There were talking pinatas for sale though. I looked into getting one for my teddy bear gt bear, whose pull-string voicebox was already broken when he came to live with us in 1986. It was his urgings that compelled me and my girlfriend to go to law school, so that we could buy him a ferrari. That part never quite worked out.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pirate Bay hopes to buy Sealand, reports Drudge.
Thus implementing the cryptonomicon plan for an autonomous offshore data haven. It's not a done deal.

Blogging will be light for awhile while I run around looking for work.
Today (thursday) I saw a Hepburn/Cary Grant movie that I'd read about in Hepburn's book. She plays a girl pretending to be a boy, while Grant plays a heel. In the book it says it's not a very good movie, and I have to agree. Might have worked with a younger actress. Sylvia Scarlett.

It’s a significant and purposeful mode of worship to get up in the morning to do your job as best you can, to go to bed at night and not to worry too much about whether the best that you can do is good enough or not.
That's Baude quoting Chief Justice Roberts describing Rehnquist. This blog is less crescat centered than it used to be, for assorted reasons.

According to slashdot, there's a comet so bright you can see it in broad daylight.
Wish I'd known that on Maui a couple weeks ago - Indianapolis currently is not featuring broad daylight. Haven't seen the sun, or a comet, all week. Makes it hard to get up in the morning.

What I'm not reading: The Night of January 16th. Ayn Rand.
I don't have a copy handy,and it's not in public domain.
It remains one of my favorites of her work. It's a short peice of experimental theatre. It's a play. The audience is the jury, and votes to convict or acquit.
An actress friend of mine once suggested we get together on january 16th and do a reading, but we didn't get around to it. Rand is pen-named for the Rand Institute, which is short for Research and Development, R and D.
The Fountainhead, another great Rand book, was made into a movie with Gary Cooper that I'm told is pretty bad - I can't be objective.
Banks and government offices, and this library, will be closed tomorrow to prepare for The Night of January 16th, so I'll probably be hanging out at the coffeeshop.
The story of my job interview at the coffeeshop is told at my webcomic.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What I'm reading:
Another day in the frontal lobe. Katrina Firlik.
Amazon. 2006, Random House www.atrandom.com

Mind hacks.
I picked it up yesterday while out looking for work and vegetables.
This morning a call from a creditor had me on edge so I decided to relax in a hot bath with a good book,and picked this one. (Katherine Hepburn, "Me", is next in that stack.)
The opening paragraph grabbed my attention.
Chapter 1
Scientist and Mechanic
The brain is soft. Some of my colleagues compare it to toothpaste, but that’s not quite right. It doesn’t spread like toothpaste. It doesn’t adhere to your fingers the way toothpaste does. Tofu -- the soft variety, if you know tofu -- may be a more accurate comparison. If you cut out a sizable cube of brain it retains its shape, more or less, although not quite as well as tofu.
I read until early afternoon, at which point I went and got things done for awhile.
The book reminds me of one of my many unfinished schemes. Last xmas I read a book gifted by my sister-in-law about neurofeedback, machines which help you track and train your delta, alpha and beta brainwaves. Currently the machines are at the artisan level, specialized expensive rare devices. I'd be interested in encouraging a cheap mass produced model, the i-mind or whatever. It goes on the list of ideas I'll never turn into products via business start-ups that I'll never start up. Had some fun meetings about those in Hawaii.

Friday I didn't get out of bed till I finished the book, so I didn't get anything done today except confirm a job interview for Monday.
I dogeared a few pages to make notes about later, maybe do a link to longer post at some point.
Like the rhinoscerous autopsy, or the story about why to suture a dying suicide-by-gunshot.
This is a readable fun and informative book. One of its undercurrents is how there are more neurosugeons in her tony connecticutt neighborhood than in most of africa, and the strange distortions of the medical economy in the US.
It sounds like it's an area well suited to medical tourism - locate medical facilities somewhere like costa rica of thailand, and fly people there for less than the cost of malpractice insurance in the us. What she pays per year for malpractice insurance is approximately my lifetime's earnings so far. Granted, she does something useful and valued and risky, while I blog, and not very well.

Me, by Katherine Hepburn. I'm writing this Sunday January 14. As I sit here at the computer, surrounded by piles of business correspondence in various levels of crisis that I need to work on, after having had my usual breakfast of maybe too much coffee, I experience anxiety. It's already 4 pm and I'm starting my busy day. I'm on page 105 or so of the Hepburn, having covered her childhood, upperclass progressive parents, Bryn Mawr education, early acting career. Bryn Mawr (sp?) is not far from where I grew up, but is a world away socially. My family was upper middle class, ivy league, suburbal, but a number of rungs down on the social ladder from the Connecticutt (sp?) world of Firlik, Hepburn, and, say, the Prescott Bushes. I once in college drove some kids out to a Piladephia main line Unitarian weekend retreat near Valley Forge and got to see a little of that liberal and monied lifestyle. Where I stayed in Hawaii last month was just down the road from such places, but my brother in law is the help, a gym trainer, rather than one of the rich himself. So Hepburn grew up with a supportive family, with progresive ideals about women's rights and birth control and such, so that they were first shunned and then valued by their social register neighbors. She was both shy and self-confident. Like LBJ or the Kennedys, she was brought up with high expectations, useful social connections, and devoted caring parents. People tend to turn out to be who they are raised to be, with occasional misfires. I have two siblings who are highly successful, one who is happier living in a cabin in the woods with her kids,and then there's me who can't seem to make a go of either the high success route or the muddling through. Hepburn had a brother who hanged himself, probably accidentally, as a teen, which was a big shock to Kate, or Jimmy as she was known in her tomboy days. The book has a distinctive style of storytelling, little snatches of things that she remembers told in a light and amusing but serious way. She writes the way she talks, communicating her history, her values, her mannerisms. It's endearing, and no wonder the book was a best seller.
I'd like to write a book like that someday, which would not be a best seller, because I haven't done anything or been anybody worth reading about. I think I have some history and values and quirks to communicate, that might be a good story if I could learn to polish it, but I have to accept that it's a story with no built-in audience since I am deservedly obscure. I started this blog a few years ago to get some practice at story telling, at writing down my thoughts about life as happens, after I was encouraged to take my words outside the narrrow circle of Wil Wheaton's online forum, where I'd been writing a lot, and where Jyoti Mishra encouraged me to write a book. I know from the hit counter that a few thousand people stop by each year, mostly googling for something else,and from the lack of links to here, no emails, no comments, that I don't actually have any set of steady readers. I write this for myself to help me from going further crazy. At Wheaton's, I at least had a set of steady readers, a community there, a poly-logue, where I was responding to their thoughts and sharing my own. I haven't kept up with that because it's too much damn work and I have a few real world responsibilites I should be attending to instead, but I do miss the sense of community.
I need to spend some time this year plugging back into Raccoon Creek, a cohousing group outside Bloomington that I'm loosely part of. I'm just back from a trip reconnecting with my family. There's a bit of community over at stripcreator where I do my webcomic, there's some regulars at the cofffeehouse, there's a party every saturday at my tenant's that I go to every week, but for the most pat I'm socially isolated and alone. Sorry this turned into a myspace-like rant all about Me; I was trying to dispassionately review the book I'm reading, also labelled Me.

Blogging has been a success for some people and groups,and a successful blog is self-reinforcing,and continues, but like media consolidation elsewhere, a lot of the bloggers are starting to wonder why they blog,and drop out, or get caught up in other things. I've been interviewing for jobs a bit this week, and will continue until I find one. For most people, fulltime work and fulltime blogging are incompatible, especially for people with families. Some bloggers are incredibly productive people,and have support staff, while others have found ways to make blogging pay off,and most of us do it just as an occasional side activity. Some are driven by a sense of needing an outlet. I started my comic strip a couple years ago out of a need for art therapy,and updated daily at first, but now it's more of a now and then.
My election blog gets updated rarely, but at least the one new post per month that was all I promised when I started it. This post is becoming a monster, and I'd better just stop.

1 The American Black Chamber, Herbert Yardley.
2 Marco Polo if you can, William F Buckley.
3 Living History, Hillary Clinton.
4 Maui Revealed.
5 Another day in the frontal lobe.
6 Me, Katherine Hepburn.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

as posted to slashdot in response to this: (my comments in italics.)

Why do so many people miss the economics?!?
(Score:3, Insightful)
by A nonymous Coward (7548) * Alter Relationship on Wednesday January 10, @07:59PM (#17549716)
The OLPC can be justified on simple economic grounds.

An OLPC comes with ebook textbooks. The cost of the OLPC is at worst the same as paper textbooks. The OLPC textbooks can be updated as often as necessary instead of being obsolete castoffs, and they are in the native language instead of a foreign language. The child can carry all of them around without weight penalty.
They also provide light from the screen if necessary, and they provide communication with the other OLPCs and with the big wide world. Parents can get medical advice. They can find the best market for their farm goods instead of having to walk ten miles with thir goods and hope they get the best price possible.
The idea that kids can learn about computers is NOT the main goal of OLPC.
These are TOOLS.
Don't give your right name, no no no --- Fats Waller

Mod parent up, but let me expand a little. People, maybe even slashdotters, can create content deliverable over the one laptop per child (olpc). "how to build a solar still to provide drinking water, using a recycled trash bag." "how to order child immunizations cheap from a veterinary medicine wholesaler" "how to build a solar oven" "how to use a waterwheel to charge your laptop, distill and pump water, and run a pirate radio station." "seasteading for dummies" "microfinance brokerage services" "how to take back your government" "how to bounty hunt nigerian spammers for the organ trade" "camwhoring for survival" "roomba hacks for desert and jungle" "avoiding hiv and hepatitis"... whatever it is that people want to do "instead" of the 1lpc can be done cheaper/better/faster "with" the 1lpc, at least to the point of having at least one per village. At some point you get diminishing returns, but meanwhile ubiquitous computing keeps getting cheaper smaller smarter, so the transition keeps spreading, and the spontaneously arising networks from the 1lpc help bring the singularity to your neighborhood.
This got an interesting chain of responses:

You have a good point
by DavidShor (928926) on Wednesday January 10, @11:14PM (#17551812)
But lets be realistic, information transfer has both negative and positive impacts. How long until we see aid workers being lynched because of rumors that the new vaccine is a western plot to make locals impotent?
Until we see Al-Qaeda recruiting third world kids using IM?(The countries they are sending the laptops to are poor but transitioning economies where food and water issues have been figured out, but where were are still serious macro-economic problems. This is where terrorism usually thrives.)
I support the laptop roll out , but I hope someone is planning for these problems.
More discussion.

< rant > The newly Dem. house continued its war on the poor by making it illegal to work for less than $7.25 an hour, to be phased in over a few years. In most parts of the county this will do little harm to most people because market wages are already there.
But there are places where the cost of living is low, the value of labor is low, and this bill will do real damage. Nationally, the impact will be hardest on teens, the elderly, native americans, especially native americans who identify as black, who come from cultures which don't fit well with high hourly wage employment. For example, I was just in hawaii, which has a "relax - dis ain't da mainland" atttitude, where some people would rather work less hard for less pay, than hustle for the man. However, wage rates there are high anyway. My 12 year old nephew makes more per hour as a videogame tutor than I made at my last job grading exams. The job I didn't get tonight would have paid $10/hr. Coming up, as an Aardvark-american, I had years of unemployment, disguised as a student, because I couldn't get my foot in the door and develop job skills over time. I have a doctorate,and I'm a pretty good dishwasher, but I can't weld or program or fix things, so finding employment is sometimes tough. The minimum wage hike will drive many jobs out of the country. I've misplaced that site that shows how someone making x per year stands in relation to other people in the world. My guess is that someone with a 40 hour job at $5.15/hr is in the upper half of world income, so the bill makes it illegal to be middle class. This war on the poor, by failing to look at the global economy, is racism of the sort that is typical of the Democratic party. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful reminds us that it's not how much you make that matters, it's how much you like your job. I had a job once at $5/hr, below the then minimum wage, because it gave me an excuse to hang out at the bar without having to buy drinks. At the Snow Lion, I made about $10/hr, but I wasn't there for the money; I wanted to see if I could learn anything from the newphew of his holiness. It wasn't vegetarian, so I couldn't stick with it, but it provided a nice social life that I missed later when I quit to start the law firm. < /rant > meanwhile, the war on jaywalking heats up. Ortega takes office, Arnold imposes socialized medicine, Bush opens third front by bombing Somalia, new cheap heart disease test, amniotic stem cells, slow news day. /. reports ebay will sell the $100 laptop for $200, so the kids get a free one. Brilliant!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The computer lab was closed so I went to the coffeehouse. Ran into old friends Niswander and Joh Padgett and met journalist/blogger Ruth Holladay.
They are doing some kind of alternative press project, currently codenamed indyrats, a play on the Indy Star,the local McPaper. A site is up but so far lacks content.
I went with them to a local lesbianese restaurant.
This guy was our waiter. (A pic I'd taken of him 5 years ago is below..)
I showed them how to make cartoons at stripcreator, suggested a few stories.
Went to Joh's so I could use a computer to try to get some work done, read the Posner opinion and Evans dissent in Democratic Party v Rokita, watched a youtube trailer Dan made for the movie Bobby, discussed various possible media projects, took Dan to Joell's Party, called it a night.
update: had mail today from Ruth alterting me to Dan Carpenter's column about the voter ID case so I wrote to him and will see if that gets any response. Joh has assigned me to write something for indyrats about legislation which would expand the powers of the secretary of state to investigate voter fraud. The indyrats site is currently experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, January 04, 2007

How to make silly putty. (video, scroll down a bit)
1 part elmer's glue,
1 part liquid starch,
food coloring optional.

Flying home from maui tonight.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

On the desk next to me is an i-cat, one of the first robot animals i've met.

Placeholder for a post on the invasion of Somalia. I haven't seen any coverage in the western press from a Somali point of view. The players getting press include the Ethiopian troops, who want to leave soon, the puppet government, organized in Keyna probably by Ethiopean interests, the Islamicist militia which had been gaining power last year, and the UN, which would like a central government to which it can send a bill for UN funds looted by the former dictator.

Somalia is a union of two former colonies, Italian Somalia, the Mogadishu area, and British Somalialand, the relatively stable northern area. The country contains about half of the Somali culture and language region, which extends into Kenya and Ethiopea. (I just learned the northern area is currently spelled Somaliland; I've been misspelling it.)
The culture is organized by extended kinship networks. When two Somalis meet, they first establish how they are related to each other. Tribal councils of elders mediate disputes under a set of laws called Xeer ("hair".) The "Warlords" one hears about are usually a son of a member of the tribal council who acts as a general.
This is a different role than the dictators of puppet governments which come and go.
Centralized national leaders have not been an appealing model - Siadd Biarre (sp), Mussolini, Idi Amin, Bush, Stalin. The repeated efforts by the UN to impose puppet governments have been disruptive. The UN faction are not peacekeepers; they are warkeepers. The UN invasions of Somalia help show why a world government is not a positive step, but is a threat to world peace and stability. OK, end of rant for now.
www.awdal.com might have more.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I enjoyed catching up at volokh. Too much there to discuss in detail,
but a discussion of a kangaroo court reminded me of this thurber:

(caption reads, perhaps this will refresh your memory.)
Enough stalling, now I should start getting some work done.

Scotusblog, at a link i am too lazy to copy till i get home, covers Winkleman, in which the court will decide whether parents of an autistic child can procede pro se in under some federal legislation. Obscure, maybe, but I did an amicus in a case sorta like that once.

50 books for 2007?
or, what i've been reading.
The American Black Chamber, herbert yardley.
Marco Polo if you can, William F Buckley.
Living History, Hillary Clinton.
Maui Revealed.

The American Black Chamber, herbert yardley.
Excellent and riveting story of a WWI era cryptographer who while working as a file clerk broke the US diplomatic codes, and went on to head a codebreaking agency.
I got it to give to my brother, who recently sold an anti-codebreaking invention.
It turns out my mother had read the book 40 years ago - sometimes I forget she used to be a spy.
I'd like to also read the same author's book on poker.
NSA link.
Wikipedia. Amazon.

One factoid: Yardley mentions in passing a threat to poison President Wilson at the Versailles treaty meetings, and that Wilson became sick and died in that time frame - was he assasinated?

Marco Polo if you can, William F Buckley.
U-2 era espionage novel. (Eisenhower, not Bono)
Living History, Hillary Clinton.
Something to read on the plane and give to my sister. I've read enough anti-hillary books I figured I'd listen to her side. Lightweight but helpful personal insights. Nobody's a crook in their own mind - everybody does what they think is the right thing at the time. Covers her transition from Goldwater girl to hippie chick, FOB,and co-president.
Maui Revealed. Where to go, what to do. We went and did.
One nice part was visiting the church where my sister in law went as a teen.

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