Monthly Archives: May 2003

5 Steps Toward Democracy in Iraq

Since the topple of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq we are seeing that country move toward a western style democracy. There have been some stumbles but with the implementation of just five little things the US/UK coalition will help the Iraqi’s become a world class democracy:

  1. The first thing that the US military to see that a Democracy is ensured is doing is making sure the airwaves are sending out the proper messages to the people of Iraq. Control of the airwaves is essential for this.
  2. There is also a need to stop the violence in the streets and make sure that all Iraqis are safe by controlling who has firearms.
  3. Housing must be found for our soldiers who are keeping the peace in Iraq until an Iraqi democracy is formed.
  4. Of course it goes without saying that we must have full cooperation in our search for and seizure of weapons of mass destruction and we must not be restrained from searching anywhere for evidence that could lead us to those items that we seek.
  5. Iraq’s oil revenues must be confiscated by the US/UK forces for the time being to pay for the rebuilding of the infrasturcture of Iraq and to see that the money is used for the good of the Iraqi people.

I suppose we could come up with five more but this is a good start toward a democracy.

Hello. God?

I’ve often seen the phone numbers in tv shows and in the movies that used the 555 exchange and thought why don’t they use a more real looking number. I figured there might be a few jerks out there that would think it would be funny to call numbers they saw appear there but those would be few. I was wrong. Bruce Almighty, the film, displays a phone number for God on Jim Carrey‘s character’s pager that doesn’t use the commonly used 555 extension and all hell breaks loose. Things like this by fellow US citizens really cause me to doubt the long term viability of our country.

NeuroCranial Restructuring

If a doctor tells you he can relieve all of these problems:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism
  • Attention Deficit Disorder, dyslexia, hyperactivity and other learning disabilities
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Concussion and other head injuries
  • Depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Dystonia
  • Ear infection and deafness
  • Glaucoma, double vision and other vision problems
  • Headaches, head pressure, migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Low energy, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue
  • Muscle spasms, neck and shoulder pain
  • Organ functioning
  • Orthodontic stress and bruxism
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease and tremors
  • Phobias
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Sciatica, kyphosis (hunchback), lordosis (swayback), scoliosis (spiral spine), military spine & other back problems
  • Seizures
  • Sinusitis, sleep apnea, snoring, other breathing and sinus disorders
  • Strokes
  • Tinnitus
  • TMD, TMJ (mouth, head and jaw pains)
  • Vertigo and other balance problems
  • Whiplash Syndrome
  • Wrinkles (NCR replaces a face lift)

by shoving a balloon up your nose and inflating it I think there is more than just a little reason to get a second opinion.

RedFlagsOfQuackery

Testing and Education

Doc Searls has some interesting things to say about education and testing. The fact of the matter is that tests don’t reveal what a student has learned and taking a test does nothing to teach the subject matter. Unfortunately, testing is the only way educators have found to measure their effectiveness as teachers and judge whether or not a student has mastered the curriculum.

I’ve got a son who tutors other students in his language arts class but his own grade in the class is bordering on failure. Why does he do this? He knows the subject matter and has demonstrated his mastery of all the concepts in classroom discussions so the teacher asks him to help those students who are struggling to understand but he doesn’t do well on the written tests and he doesn’t complete all his assignments in the class. I’ve had talks with his teacher and with him and I’m satisfied that he has mastered the subject matter so what does his grade really tell me.

Standing on its own I would summise that his problem is with the subject itself but in reality the problem is with his attitude towards doing the work in this class. Other classes he’s doing fine in, A’s and B’s,… or is he. I’m doubting the value of the grade in one class where the grade is showing he’s doing poorly why should I trust the grades that are telling me he is doing well?

For now I suppose we are stuck with what we have but a lot of effort ought to be going in to finding a suitable replacement.

Liberal Talk Radio Next Big Thing?

Thom Hartman believes that we are seeing the waning of right wing talk radio and the dawn of progressive or liberal talk radio. I hope he’s right but while a pompous right wing talker is entertaining a pompous right wing talker just leaves me flat. I have yet to hear a left wing talker who didn’t try imitating the same attitude of the right wing talkers. It works with conservatives but not with the liberals.

He does seem to have a point, though. He points to Clear Channel’s Gabe Hobbs who says that liberal talk radio has to stand on its own. In the past liberal talk radio has been sandwiched in between conservative talk radio shows. The audience for the two shows aren’t the same. He says a talk radio station has to either go conservative or go liberal, doing otherwise would be like mixing country with urban. At any rate, with it looking like Clear Channel committing to all-liberal/all-day formatting with their stations facing competition from conservative talk radio stations in their market maybe we’ll see if liberal talk radio can fly.

Microsofts Licenses Unix

Earlier today when I read about Microsoft entering into a licensing agreement with SCO Unix I didn’t know what to make of it. While their claim was that they were doing so in order to be able to work on interoperation with Unix systems without the fear of violationg SCO’s IP that didn’t quite wash with me. The timing of this just seemed too coincidental with SCO’s warning letters to industry over the use of Linux and their lawsuit with IBM.

This afternoon I came across this article by Bruce Perens that made me slap my forehead and say, “Of course.” SCO Group is a failing company who is being used by Microsoft to push their message of Open Source being a threat to IP rights. I don’t know that SCO is being paid off by Microsoft to do what they are doing but I’m sure Microsoft is using this licensing agreement more as a way of promoting their message than they are seeing it as something necessary to provide interoperability.

I really get tired of all this drama in the industry at times. I don’t mind a company keeping their source closed and requiring restrictive licensing to use it I just wish they would accept that other companies and individuals have the right to license their works in what way they see best suits them. I also get tired of hearing the Open Source crowd bash Microsoft. Maybe one of these days a company can be judged just by the software it delivers and not on their gamesmanship.

Stupid Packaging Ideas

Gerri just got back from the store with a little battery powered trimmer/razor. This thing was packaged in one of those clear plastic packages that is welded shut. Let me give you my remonstrance for this type of packaging. The only way to get into this package is with a knife or scissors so it basically means that you don’t use what you buy until you get home.

I don’t like being restricted like this. At the least its an inconvenience, at the worst it means that the whole purpose behind purchasing it is negated by the fact that it can’t be immediately used. Luckily I’ve generally carried a pocket knife with me since I was a kid and I’ve had something to open the packaging with but with the paranoia society has with people carrying knives these days that’s becoming less and less of an option. This is especially true when you’re traveling by air.

I don’t understand the continued usage of this style of packaging. Surely the manufacturer understands that this aggrevation at getting the packaging open can’t leave the consumer to being in a mood conducive to a positive first impression of the product. I know it makes packing and shipping of their product a piece of cake but look at the cost. I avoid purchasing things packaged like this any time there is an alternative.

Sex Toys Still Banned in Alabama

Yesterday the good legislators of Alabama voted against a bill that would have removed a ban on sexual devices, such as vibrators, from the state’s obscenity law. I am so relieved that the state of Alabama is taking such strides in protecting their citizens from the dangers of mechanical sex.

Poetry, RDF and Finding Things

Shelley is working on a little project that may have ramifications far outside of the intended target of her project. She’s looking for a way to locate metaphors in poetry that relate to a specific theme. At first glance I thought, “Hey, this is kind of neat.” Then I looked at how what she is doing could be applied outside of poetry and metaphors. This could possibly be the key to the intelligent agents that I’ve been looking for if she is successful with the project.

Now, what I’m talking about may have been obvious to the folks that know more about RDF than I do, I still haven’t gotten a grasp of how RDF is suppose to work, but to me I’m seeing ways that I can search for conceptual types of stuff and finding things relating to a common concept but perhaps not related closely enough for a plain old keyword search to work. This would be a wonderful way to pull together resources from a multitude of resources that relate only on some abstract conceptual level.

Another thing that excites me about this is the possibility that maybe some of what Shelley develops could be incorporated into RSS feeds somehow. Think of an RSS aggregator that grouped items according to concepts. Items that normally couldn’t possibly be automatically sorted using current methods could be grouped together.

A bunch of ideas of what could be done are floating around in my head. I suppose that’s enough of a reason for me to go get a grasp of what RDF is and what it is capable of doing. There’s just too many interesting technologies out there for me to know as much about all of them as I’d like.

Boy For Sale

Most likely most of y’all would take an offer like the one in the title as a joke. It would be even more obviously a joke if an ad for a kid for sale had a disclaimer of the child not being too good at doing dishes because he was too short. A Canadian woman didn’t understand the humor. I don’t understand folks at times.