Archive for December, 2008

I hasn’t realized that AOL had been imploding

December 22, 2008

Actaully, I wasn’t very aware that AOL was around any more. Apparently it is, barely, going by the posts in their “People Connection” blog. For example, people who had blogs, and other files posted on an AOL “Hometown” site suddenly lost access to their work on October 31. A blog post to the “People Connection” blog shows that Hometown users were informed of the shutdown on, November 6th. Comments users posted to that post sound desparate and angry.

Update: OK, AOL users were given a few weeks warning before Hometown shutdown. Plenty of time?

Reminds me of the time way back in 1995 when AOL bought WAIS, the Wide Area Information Service. WAIS predated AltaVista, let alone Google. The olde Mosaic browser supported a ‘wais://’ URI protocol identifier. It was the game in town for Internet search in the golden years, and AOL bought it to get their hands on search capability. If you aren’t too young, WAIS indexed popular Gopher servers of the day. Back in 1995, Gopher actually rivaled the World Wide Web as an information source on the Ingernet.

One day, AOL apparently pulled the plug on the central WAIS servers with no warning of explanation. I emailed AOL at the time about it, but got no response.

Update 2: I notice in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, I have difficulty in tagging a WordPress post.

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Who are the Southern GOP senators really working for?

December 19, 2008

There’s been a lot of speculation about the Southern senators who told the Rustbelt to go fuck themselves
(or, let the bastards freeze in the dark a la the 1970s) as regards to the auto bailout. It’s assumed that they are on the take from Japanese, Korean and German auto companies so they can blow away their US competition and rein supreme in America, with jobs for Southerners and a busted UAW for the Republican ideologues. Maybe it’s more complicated and conspiratorial than that.

Going by news reports of the past week,  Toyota and other foreign automakers would face disaster themselves if one or more of the Big Three were to fail. Has to do with their parts suppliers failing as well, not to mention the economy of  their biggest market (i.e. the USA) going into the tank. The Japanese did not lobby for the end of the UAW and the Big Three. So who did? Who is GOP really working for?

According to this, maybe the GOP is working for the Indians and the Chinese. Tata Motors and say the Chinese firm Geely would be in position to buy American “distressed assets” (that is, GM, Ford and Chrysler plants and dealerships). This could give them the advantage in taking out the Japanese, Germans, and Koreans. And their jobs of course would mostly be in the Rustbelt. (maybe something to do with the Jindal dude in Louisiana being the future of the party??)

Or, as is more likely the case in the absence of any concete evidence, the Southern senators just don’t know what they are trying to set into motion.

Cat doesn’t taste as good as dog

December 19, 2008

That is, according to a Chinese abattoir who sells cat meat for use in a Guangdong Province soup recipe. According to reports, perhaps 1,000 cats a day go to Guangdong to satisfy feline lovers (of eating them, not worshipping them). PETA has it work cut out for itself in China, the country has no animal welfare or protection laws whatsoever.

Cat is something of a delicacy, bring much higher prices than dog or chicken:

“She said cat meat sold for about $1.32 a pound, while dog meat was cheaper, at about 95 cents a pound. Chicken was the best buy at 62 cents a pound, while lamb sold for about $1.32.”

Cats aren’t the only, shall we say, unusual (to us) animal that is eaten. As a Chinese friend of mine told me, if it crawls or walks, it’s edible.

Guangdong is home to the Cantonese people, famous for being the most adventurous eaters in China. There’s a popular saying: “The Cantonese will eat anything that flies, except airplanes, and anything with legs, except a chair.”

And now, a first for the Audible Smirk, a recipe:

“There’s a famous soup called ‘Dragon, Tiger and Phoenix,'” Zhu said. “It involves cooking snake, cat and chicken together. In winter more people eat cats as they believe it’s extra nutritious.”

I’ve seen items with a similar name on menus around here. Umm..

Bellum omnium contra omnes

December 19, 2008

Latin phrase of the day, which means roughly in English, “the war of all against all.” Hobbes imagined a premodern state of mankind, before we agreed to live in states and such and respect authority. Yep, Leviathan. Life is “short, nasty, poor and brutish.” Or is it “nasty, short and brutish.” It has been posited that perhaps that authority can lead to this condition.

I’m surrounded by sociopaths

December 19, 2008

Another interesting HuffPo article discussing the ho hum topics of political and financial corruption. Definition of a sociopath:

Glibness and superficial charm. Grandiose sense of self-worth. Pathological lying. Cunning and manipulative behavior. Lack of remorse or guilt. Lack of empathy. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions.

Sound familiar?

But is it a myth that beer is better than Jesus?

December 19, 2008

Twelve myths about beer are exploded in this post. But is the hypothesis that beer is better than Jesus a myth that needs exploding as well?

Better headline – Breast implant sales sag

December 19, 2008

HuffPo post on the woes of plastic surgeons in this recession. The headline ain’t bad – “Plastic Surgery Business Sags Amid Recession, Celebrity Regrets” but could be improved.

Firefox under fire

December 17, 2008

Just a day after the bad publicity Internet Explorer 7 got, Firefox releases these critical patches. OK, we aren’t supposed to use IE, and it looks like Firefox is on the ropes. Now what?

Lynx anyone?

In Washington State, is it legal to speed on the freeway or not?

December 16, 2008

In this article about drivers who won’t get the fuck out of the left lane if traffic is backing up behind them, there are difference in opinion. There are drivers who won’t get out of the way, and those who would like for those drivers to get out of the way. As it is, states’ rights prevails and so each of the 50 states has different laws about driving in the left lane. In some states, you cannot hold up traffic in the left lane. In some you can. Some states allow drivers to cruise in the left lane, some don’t.

In Washington state, it is illegal to hold up traffic in the left lane, even if you are doing the speed limit (ranges 55 – 75 miles per hour there). According to the state trooper interviewed for the article, you are breaking the law if you are driving the speed limit and holding up traffic. That means of course that the speeders in the left lane are legal and the son ofa bitch who won’t get out of the way is the lawbreaker.

So, it is illegal to drive the speed limit if you are holding up speeders. At the same time, I assume that it is illegal to drive faster than the speed limit (accepting that the cops will give you a buffer). So it is illegal to speed and not speed at the same time, in the left lane.

Actually if you really want to drive fast around Seattle, you can pay for the privilege. Some of the freeways in King or Pierce County allow you to pay a toll to drive in an inside lane that’s cleared of traffic.

IT graduates shortages now eh?

December 16, 2008

Two postings on my CIO magazine feed.. Silicon Valley twentysomethings eating dirt now, and 25% of US IT jobs to be offshored within two years. Have a nice day.