Monthly Archives: February 2004

Email Troubles

Due my recent hosting problems, I’ve discovered that my david (at) rationalmind.net address has lost a ton of email. If you’ve sent me anything during the last week(s) and I didn’t reply, please send it again, and CC it to capt_david (at) hotmail.com just in case. Hopefully, things should be back to normal soon.

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Sorry, the "land of the free" is now closed to the opressed.

Cubans hoping to ‘drive’ to freedom aboard a converted Buick are stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard near the Florida Keys — and now face repatriation, exile leaders say. You can find a discussion of the issue here.

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When Gay Animals Attack

Interesting NY Times story:

Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan, are completely devoted to each other. For nearly six years now, they have been inseparable. They exhibit what in penguin parlance is called “ecstatic behavior”: that is, they entwine their necks, they vocalize to each other, they have sex. Silo and Roy are, to anthropomorphize a bit, gay penguins. When offered female companionship, they have adamantly refused it. And the females aren’t interested in them, either.

What implications does this have for humans? None:

Infanticide is widespread in the animal kingdom. To jump from that to say it is desirable makes no sense. We shouldn’t be using animals to craft moral and social policies for the kinds of human societies we want to live in.

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Wardrobe Malfunction

I experienced a “wardrobe malfunction” during a caving trip this weekend. Fortunately, the bastards at the FCC can’t censor these photos…yet. It was a lot of fun, and I hope to start going caving with ASS (Aggie Speleological Society) every other weekend or so.

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New PC

Check out the new computer I put together. I think I’ll call it “The Ghost”

My New Computer Night My New Computer Night My New Computer Day

The Specs:

Case: Aspire X-Dreamer II
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2800+ Barton
Cooling: Thermaltake Volcano 9
Motherboard: MSI K7N2 Delta-L (nForce 2)
Memory: 512-MB PC3200 DDR (w/shims)
Hard Drive: 120GB Generic 10K RPM
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon 9600
Speakers: Altec Lansing 251 5.1 Surround
DVD-ROM: Pioneer 16X Slot Loading
CD Burner: 48x16x48
Monitors: Mag 19″, NEC 17″, & Gateway 14″ (+ tv out as needed)
…and last but not least:
Mouse: Logitech iFeel Optical
Keyboard: Logitech Internet Navigator

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Death By Environmentalism

There are four well-known cases of environmental regulations that forced engineers to use ineffective flame-retardant compounds and may have led to loss of life: the Columbia space shuttle, which had to use the less-efficient foam insulation rather that Freon (see this, this, and this), the Challenger space shuttle, which had to use defective O-ring putty after the original was banned by the EPA for containing asbestos, and the World Trade Center, which was the first major skyscraper not to use asbestos, and hence collapsed sooner than it otherwise would have. Here is another case with less drastic but much more widespread consequences:
Continue reading “Death By Environmentalism” »

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Where did my site go?

Here’s the scoop:

The good news is that my website surpassed 5 GB of
traffic 2/3 into the
month.  According to my webhost, this should be enough for a “high
5-digit” number of visitors.  According to my own calculations, if
each visit consumes 50K of bandwith, I should be good for approximately
100,000 hits/month.  So, passing 5GB halfway into the month means
that I was getting about 150,000 hits/month.  I say was because the bad news is that my
host shut down my site when I went over the 5GB bandwith limit, and
becuase of my technical arrangement, I was not able to purchare
more. 

Normally, I could just switch to a backup server, but my site happened
to go down at the same time that I was putting together a new computer,
so I can’t access any of my files either.  So, I’m out of luck
until the 12th, when my monthly quota is reset (or so I hope). 
Till then, I’ll be sitting on my ancient Pentium 233 (with MMX!)
Mandrake Linux pc and checking the FedEx tracking website every 5
minutes to see when all the components for my new computer will
arrive.  Or maybe I’ll actually go spend some time outside.

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Dear Valued User.

Email from [email protected]:

Dear Valued User.
At 0 : 12 Eastern Time on Thursday-January 29, 2004,
Microsoft started investigating reports of a variant of a new virus “Mydoom”, known as Mydoom.A.
This worm reportedly stops access to some websites, including our Microsoft.com websites. The worm is noticed to entice electronic mail recipients into opening a message with a file attached. If the file attached is opened, virus installs malicious code on the computer user’s system and sends itself to any contacts in the user’s address book.
Please download the latest security patch available from Microsoft.com website or download this digitally signed attachment.

[Attachment:Windows-KB823989-x86-ENU.exe]
(The attachment was the MyDoom.B virus, which had little effect on my Linux system.)
In a related story, I really hate getting email notification reporting a comment to my blog — which turns out to be spam.

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You know there's something wrong with your religion when…

…Your deity wills mass death during the grand finale:

Nearly 250 Muslim worshipers died in a hajj stampede Sunday during the annual stoning of Satan ritual in one of the deadliest tragedies at the notoriously perilous ceremony.
The stampede, during a peak event of the annual Muslim pilgrimage, or hajj, lasted about a half-hour, Saudi officials said. There were 244 dead and hundreds of other worshippers injured, some critically, Hajj Minister Iyad Madani said.
“All precautions were taken to prevent such an incident, but this is God’s will. Caution isn’t stronger than fate,” Madani said.

…Last year, 14 pilgrims were trampled to death during the ritual and 35 died in a 2001 stampede. In 1998, 180 pilgrims died.

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Building a New Computer

I made the dubiously wise decision of selling my current computer to my dad, after not being able to fix his old one. My intention was to fallback to my Linux box, but I discovered to my horror that my hard drive is not supported by my backup pc, so I won’t have access to my data until I get a new computer put together. I tried to check my email via the web, and discovered that I had 120 emails from the last day, 99% of which were spam – and the mail interface didn’t make it easy to sort it out. So, I won’t be checking or replying to much mail until I build a new pc. I’m thinking of following the guide at SharkyExtreme as a model, though the Athlon 64 looks pretty temping. Any suggestions?
This will be my fourth computer, and the third I’ve built myself, though I’ve done so many upgrades to all of them, (it’ll be my 6th motherboard) that like Theseus’s ship, it’s hard to say where one computer ends and another begins.
Update: I ordered all the components today, and should be online on the new pc by next weekend 🙂

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