earendil31: (Default)
After 15 years, I'm saying goodbye to the western suburbs. Now, as much as I would like it, I haven't quite mastered the art of teleportation, so..... 

Who wants to help [livejournal.com profile] earendil31 move? You have two (2) chances to help! Either loading the truck in Wheaton or unloading the truck in Chicago. Either way, you'll be handsomely rewarding with yummy pastries (Wheaton) or pizza (Chicago), and liquid refreshments in both places! (See? I'm not above bribery :P)*

I'm planning on starting at 9AM, so as to not get caught up in "weekend before Christmas" traffic after everything is over... also, it will be done with PLENTY of time left before bowling.

No need to help in both places, but it'll be a big help to have at least two people besides myself in each place.
 
*If I don't know you, and no one I know knows you, you can't help. Sorry!
earendil31: (Default)
 A lot of awesome things happened last weekend. All of them were in Chicago, none of them were in Pittsburgh:



Ah, life is good. ^_^
earendil31: (china)
I originally posted this on June 4, 2009. Back then everyone was talking about it, because it was a major anniversary. Since this year is not a major anniversary, I think its even more important to talk about it, so I'm posting it again, updated for the passing time. It's not behind a cut on purpose.

Twenty one years ago, some young people decided that they were tired of being ignored, and let their authorities know that the status quo of corruption, oppression, and indifference to such within the halls of power were no longer acceptable.  They did so within the laws of their land.  They did so according to the traditions of their culture.  And they did so without violence.

Those young people uncovered deep splits within those halls of power, and forced their rulers to take sides for and against drastic, momentous reform.  The conservatives won this political war of words through careful use of deception, manipulation, and outright dirty tricks.  But they then were free to turn their attentions to the young people, who were still exercising the rights of speech guaranteed by their land's constitution.  The young people had revealed the truth, that none of what they had been taught about the lessons of the previous generation were true, that everything old remained old, and that everything new would be swept away.  They uncovered this truth, and for it they would be punished.  And they were.  And continue to be.  And it will remain thus, until the last of them, and those in authority at that time, have vanished from the earth.

There are new young people there, now.  They know nothing of what has come before.  They care nothing for it either, the rulers saw to that; young people now are distracted and diverted with the material, the financial - success for the sake of success.  And the rulers have grown more careful; less divided, more efficient, more ruthless to those that would undermine them and their power, including the corrupt.  Above all, they have taken to heart that axiom of old, those which control the present control the past, those which control the past, control the future.  And so the young people know nothing, and care nothing, for the scars of their parents.

They cannot read this, most of them, for access to such media is denied to all but the most resourceful.  Despite this, my message remains the same, for some of them do know how to find it, and may repeat it and therefore remove a thin layer of the blanket of ignorance that smothers all great people in time.

学习中国的真历史。别忘六月四号。
earendil31: (Default)
So the whole intarwebz is up in arms about the story on Fox News about a virus that can cause obesity.  Now lets all beat on Fox for running such nonsense. But before we do that, lets look into the thing, so that we can at least say we did more research than they probably did before running the story.

Turns out, it's a real virus, that really does go around your body and cause you to create more fat cells. The name of the thing is AD 36, which stands for adenovirus serotype 36. Main symptoms you would care about are respiratory and eye infections. It does one other thing too, which is turn adult stem cells from fat tissues into fat cells. Guess what? It doesn't "make you fat". Not all infected people will magically become sumo wrestlers. But about 2.7 times as many sumo wrestlers have this virus in their systems as beanpoles, it turns out. 30% of obese people carry antibodies to AD-36, while 11% of non-obese people have antibodies. That's right, fat and skinny people have been exposed to this virus. But fat people are more likely to have been exposed.

"But it was on Fox, and they are the House of Lies!" I don't disagree with you.  But part of being a House of Lies is to have a Vestibule of Truth so that people will be tricked into coming inside. 

***EDIT*** I'm bringing this up to the main post from the replies

...the quality of the Fox writing has nothing to do with the truth or fiction of the science behind it...

***end edit***

Here's the scholarly journal abstract I got my numbers from. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17908526
earendil31: (tiger)
Every time I hear some politician, or media personality, or activist, or anyone at all talk about wind power, solar panels, or any form of electric power generation, and then spout some buzzline about "reducing our dependency on foreign oil" in the same sentence, I get mad. Renewable sources of electricity have Little to Nothing to do with crude oil.

"Lies!" they say; "America is so wasteful with oil, we must have wind farms to stop global warming and reduce oil usage!" they say.

Well I say THEY ARE WRONG.

Wind turbines, solar panels, and nuclear plants are replacements for coal. The amount of electric power generated in this country by burning crude oil (probably the most inefficient use of the stuff, btw) is miniscule in comparison to that generated by coal. Even natural gas comes up pitifully short next to coal.

Oil goes mostly into cars. Not your ceiling lights. Not your air conditioner. Not your electric stove. Cars. The gas that runs them and the plastic they are made of and the vinyl or whatever synthetic you are sitting on in the seats.

What is it about this that is so hard to understand? Why must everyone get it wrong? If we built 50,000 wind turbines tomorrow, and had them running by next week, we would be using the same amount of oil because nothing was done about the cars.

Why is this so hard to get across???
earendil31: (Default)
Me (17:52:42): did you know there's a casket section at costco
Me (17:52:57): I found it today.... right between the TVs and the printer paper
ff (17:53:13): HAHA oh my gosh
ff (17:53:22): Well, I know walmart sells caskets online
ff (17:53:27): but damn that's funny
Me (17:53:31): online is one thing.....
Me (17:53:51): but they had a whole display in the store
ff (17:54:02): that's friggin awesome :D
ff (17:54:15): Well, I mean, I'm sure people will go to costco for their casket
ff (17:54:18): why not.
Me (17:54:19): I don't know about you, but I don't really like being hit with my mortality when I'm looking for 4 lbs of butter :P
ff (17:54:20): they'll get a good deal
ff (17:54:26): HAHA
ff (17:54:29): So true
ff (17:54:38): It's kinda like if you buy something on amazon
ff (17:54:51): "other people that bought 4 lbs of butter bought a casket"
earendil31: (darker)
California is a strange place, and I will never understand it.
earendil31: (Default)
                                               

Stars and Stripes vs. Maple Leaf

North vs. Further North

The Battle for All Time
to determine nothing less than
The Fate of The World!!!

UNITED STATES vs. CANADA
SUNDAY FEB 21, 2010
6:00 PM CST
MSNBC
in not so crystal clear Standard Definition!
because NBC wants to up the ratings on MSNBC, it isn't giving this hugest viewership event to a HD channel. booooooooo.

WHERE WILL YOU BE?

earendil31: (Default)
I just found this article at the excellent Danwei.org.  It is a description of the daily routine in a Beijing municipal jail (kind of like a state penitentiary here) by a foreigner that had either the bad luck or the bad judgment to do something bad enough to end up there for seven months.  He was pretty lucky to end up with white-collar criminals, as opposed to the rest of the population which were there on life or death sentences for Much Worse Offenses.  Its the first time I've read anything on the jails in the capital, as pre-Olympic Beijing preferred to deal with foreigners either much more leniently (fines or deportation) than regular Chinese criminals. 

All in all, it sounds incredibly benign compared to what I know (from study, not experience) the rural jails are like.  Perhaps because the foreigner in question was going to be released and cuol dbe expected to report his experience quickly thereafter.  In any event, I would not have a problem if U.S. jails (for non-violent offenders such as these) operated in the same manner.  It certainly wouldn't work for the hyper-aggressive emotionally uncontrolled train wrecks you see on shows like MSNBC: Lockup.  But for people that are physically harmless but in for extended sentences, e.g. Bernie Madoff, I think something like this would work just fine.
earendil31: (Default)
Last weekend I went to Florida with [livejournal.com profile] jet_der_hund to watch the launch of STS-130, a mission of the space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station.  The launch, though it was delayed one day by weather, was amazing, and I'm glad I went, and very glad I could see it with fellow aviation nuts Jet and [livejournal.com profile] fraudulentfox , who was able to join us only because of the scrub and some.... creative ticket buying.  NASA, I love you, but the airport you are not.* 

Between the launch and the Saints beating up the Terminator, it was a great way to end the lunar year.  This weekend, the US will go crazy over little candy hearts and overpriced flowers.  Everywhere else, though, it's Chinese New Year.  This will be the year of Yang Metal Tiger.  What's that you say? You thought there was only an animal? What's this "yang metal" thing about? Don't worry, I'm going to tell you. 

The Chinese calendar has more than just animals.  Yin and yang, as well as the five Chinese classical elements (water, earth, fire, wood, metal) are all critical to a real Chinese astrological reading.  I, for example, was born in October of 1981, so I am not just a rooster, but a yin metal rooster.  It gets more complicated than that, you can go down to the minute of your birth for an extended sign.  Mine is yin metal rooster, double water ox, wood rat.  Since I'm not using an LJ cut for this, I'll let you all discover what this means for yourselves here and here

The point of it all, is that since I'm a yin metal rooster, and this year is yang metal tiger, I've got one opposed, one in favor, and one neutral force impacting me this year (no, the tiger does not eat the rooster, and it also doesn't care two bits for fictional characters).   So a pretty balanced year, in all.  I'm traveling a lot this year, so I'll be glad for the stability.  



*Ask me in person or over DM what this means.
earendil31: (Default)
Oh, it's February already?  OK, time for an update. 

China did exactly what I thought they would, they tried to blame it all on the US, then got all angry about other stuff, like Taiwan and the Dalai Lama.  Nice to see the Party is still the Party.  The wheels grind slowly.

In happier news, I'm off to Florida this Friday to watch a space shuttle launch!  This means I won't be throwing my usual Super Bowl party, but never fear all you rabid football fans out there, other arrangements have been made.....  I, meanwhile, will be watching the big game from the awesomest sports bar [livejournal.com profile] jet_der_hund and I can find in Orlando (assuming the launch goes up on Sunday...otherwise we'll be in the awesomest sports bar in Kennedy Space Center since we have to be on site at 1030 the night before the launch).  About the launch.... this is something I've wanted to see since I was old enough to know what the space shuttle is.  I'm fully expecting I won't be able to sleep on Thursday night before my flight.  If there is anything left in this world that will make me into a little kid again, this is it.  Well, a little kid with a really big camera and several lenses... I have no idea how to photograph this thing, it's going to be a night launch essentially, and I don't know anything near enough about night photography for my liking.   Jet is, I think, bringing a Nikon with a Long Lens, so I'm hoping that he'll be so busy with that that I'll be able to use his Canon white lens? Pretty please? With a cherry on top? =^_^=
earendil31: (Default)
Google has caught Chinese hackers in the act of attacking their servers, and those of at least 20 other companies and groups.  This attack was aimed at acquiring intellectual property, and the email accounts of several prominent human rights activists.  Google, in response, has stopped censoring its Chinese search results in any way.  They have also committed themselves to withdraw from China entirely if the gov't does not allow them to operate uncensored.  This withdrawal would include the firing of thousands of highly paid Chinese nationals.  Google has handed over the entirety of their investigation - results, methods of attack, extent of success or failure, probable attackers, etc. - to US authorities. 

This is not a small incident.  This will have large repercussions, economically and diplomatically for the US, and possibly socially for the Chinese.  Right now, the Chinese gov't cannot block Google.cn.... the unfiltered servers are behind the great firewall, and uncensored results regarding the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, the riots last year, the various human rights abuses in Tibet, everything, are now viewable to the Chinese people. 

The Chinese gov't will be running around in a frenzy right now, figuring out who to blame, who to sacrifice to us, and who to throw in jail.  This is a huge loss of face for the Chinese government.  Not only were they caught red-handed (that Google is willing to pull out of the country entirely is indication that they know exactly who did this, where they were, and how they did it, and that this was gov't connected), everything that was done has been laid bare and turned over the the US government.  As I said, a huge loss of face; but more importantly an even larger loss of strategic position.

Chinese spokespeople will be working long hours this week.  They will say nothing publicly until the central government can figure out how exactly to spin this into them throwing Google out for breaking Chinese laws.  Anything before that is a sign of true panic behind the scenes in Beijing.  The fact that they have not yet blocked Wikipedia, however, is a sign of their initial confusion. 

This is a big deal.  A lot is riding on how China responds to this, and more for the Chinese than for Google.  Watch this carefully.

***EDITS***

01/13/2010 0948AM CDT - Google.cn has been at least partially re-censored.  Searching for "Tiananmen 1989" brings up fewer images of the massacre, more modern tourist photos.   Main search results still bring up results not usually accessible i.e. the Wikipedia entry on the massacre.  Searches for "Falun Gong" bring up equal amounts of Chinese propaganda and factual information (normal results from Google.cn are 100% propaganda).

01/15/2010 - Sources indicate the US gov't is going to send a diplomatic note to China asking for a formal explanation of the cyberattacks on Google and several other companies.  China will probably respond by denying all involvement, claiming itself as a victim of attacks as well, and trying to discredit Google (but not by name) for "propogating pornography."

earendil31: (old man)
It's coming for you, Poomie... You may look 14 now, but just you wait.  You're going to wake up one day as Mr. Miyagi.  But for now.... ahhh, who am I kidding.

*grumbles* stupid azn genetics...

Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] invncble 
earendil31: (old man)
Happy birthday to another Ancient Specimen.  This Antediluvian has worked hard to add further years to an already Prodigious Lifespan, but is thwarted at every turn by his alter ego, Captain Intense.  Thus, though he can't quite claim the title of Eldest, he already has the practiced gait of one several decades his senior.  And an old lady's dog.   

Happy Birthday [info]roby_panther!

Avatar

Dec. 19th, 2009 10:34 pm
earendil31: (Default)
This was a good movie. Go see it. In 3D IMAX, if possible. You'll need to buy new pants after the movie, but it's well worth it. All the hype about this being a visual game-changer is well deserved. The story, well, yeah.... you've seen this plot before, it was called Dances with Wolves, Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within, The Last Samurai, and there are others but you get the point. Fact: None of those movies even remotely compare to Avatar. Especially the first half. This goes beyond character design and powerful computers. By far the most immersive and enjoyable movie experience I've had since...well, ever. Case in point: by the end of the first quarter of the movie, my brain was convinced that the theater was 1) hot and sticky, 2) filled with flying insects, 3) tall skinny blue people really exist in our physical world, and 4) that guy has useless legs in real life. Go See This Movie, you will not be unhappy. Now, to answer one little thing that people keep bringing up....

SPOILERS AHEAD
10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

UNDER THIS CUT ARE SPOILERS

UNDER THIS CUT ARE SPOILERS )

 
earendil31: (Default)
I know the end of the year can be a little crazy. But really, y'all need to calm down. It's only a month, January will come, and February after that. Just because it's a change of numeral on your cell phones (who has a calendar anymore?) does not mean that you must all go crazy. Take a deep breath, walk around your room a couple times. Eat a cookie. You'll feel much better.... trust me.
earendil31: (old man)
I wanted to take this time to pay tribute to the oldest of the old, most ancient of elders, he who has the Most Experience, whose muzzle is used by paint companies everywhere as a reference color for "grey".

Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] tzup !
earendil31: (happy)
And now, Kale's Method of making Perfect Rice through Accidents and Forgetfulness! (patent pending)
 
1) after bringing rice and water to a boil, cover, and accidentally disconnect electric burner from power by moving the pot

2) forget rice for 1 hour while lost in internet

3) remember rice, and uncover to reveal perfect fluffy rice!

^_^
earendil31: (Default)
This is a direct response to [livejournal.com profile] quasiskunk 's post on the choice of Rio as host city for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

As someone with 0 political connections in Chicago, a commuter, and the son of an Olympian, I can say that I for one would have been very happy if Chicago were picked.  While I am glad that they ended up going to a new place instead of Japan (had it before) or Madrid (Europe again???), I would rather have had it here in my home city.

Exotic, you say? For most of the countries in the Olympics, and particularly the developing nations, Brazil is far closer to their everyday lives than the United States.  As for the money, only in the US are cities expected to pay for the Games themselves with no higher level fiscal aid.  With the Corporate Olympics in Atlanta '96 as the result.  I would have been more than willing to pay a little more for the chance to show off my city to the world.  But that makes me a part of an isolated minority in this country: I don't mind paying to have nice things.

The first round loss... that has as much if not more to do with the internal politics of the IOC than it dos the bid itself.  The USOC and the IOC have been at odds over nearly everything from funding to trademarks to broadcast rights for years now, and some IOC members would have voted against Chicago even if the other cities were Pyongyang and Chernobyl, just to spite the USOC.  Also, the "natural geographic voting blocs" enjoyed by the other cities were far larger than that of the US.  It will always be an uphill battle for any US city to get the summer games.

Finally, while the benefits of the Games to Chicago were always a point of debate, losing the Games in this manner will only be bad.  All political motivation (to say nothing of political capital) to improve the city has effectively vanished.    Since there isn't an impetus to make things better, and since the Council will block everything the Mayor does from now until he's out of office.... I don't think I really need to go on. We now return you to our regularly scheduled problems of roadwork, snow removal, and bad schools.

The really unfortunate part, is that if the IOC decides that this new "pattern" (new and obviously overlooked country - safe city - new and obviously overlooked country) is the new way of things, the next chance for Chicago won't be for some decades.

Enjoy the Games, Rio, you won them well.
Better luck in 2040 Chicago.

***EDIT*** A lot of people are also saying, in essence, the following:

"Chicago is corrupt and so the IOC decided not to vote for a corrupt city where the "same old guys" would profit from everything."

Are you joking? This is the same IOC that voted for BEIJING, CHINA.  The "same old guys" have been profitting over there for 60 YEARS.  And as if Rio doesn't have corruption and crime issues?  If you really think that a crime report had any impact on people, some of whose countries are fighting active insurgencies right now as we type, I'm sorry, I can't help you.

earendil31: (Default)
Got my official "no" from the State Department.  They say I'm qualified, but I didn't rank high enough among applicants to be sent to the next step.  I figure this means a lot of veterans applied as well, and since I have 0 points to start and they have 5 or 10, well, there it is.

No bed or couch yet, but [livejournal.com profile] invncble gave us some end tables, and a shelving unit, and a bookshelf!  If anyone needs to make room, get rid of something, or dispose of halfway decent looking/working furniture, don't forget about [personal profile] little_wolf and I! ^_^

No party in early October.  It will happen.... but it is delayed indefinitely.

Jay Cutler, stop making my life miserable.

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