Catching up with Terry Jones

I hadn't checked Terry Jones' opinion articles in some time. Catching up all at once has been a pleasure I'd like to share with you. Here are links to these articles in the Guardian, along with a small quote to tease you there.

A man-made tsunami

So, are deaths caused by bombs and gunfire less worthy of our pity than deaths caused by a giant wave? Or are Iraqi lives less worth counting than Indonesian, Thai, Indian and Swedish?

Vote Draino

I put it to him that his policy had been a disaster. "You said you were bombing Iraq to make Britain safer," I said, "and yet the only terrorist threat to the UK now comes from those in the Islamic world who object to you bombing Iraq."

God: I've lost faith in Blair

"If Tony Blair thinks his friendship with George W Bush is worth rubbing out a couple of hundred thousand Iraqi men, women and children, then that's something he can talk over with me later," said God. "But when he starts publicly claiming that's the way I do the arithmetic too, it's time I put my foot down!" It is well known that God has a very big foot.

A splendid achievement

Of course, your unstinting efforts to make torture an internationally accepted aspect of human life have surpassed everything we could have ever hoped for. I don't think there is a single member of the league who could have imagined, six short years ago, that our activities in tormenting our fellow creatures would once again be recognised as acceptable, civilised behaviour, as it once was in the middle ages.

Julius Caesar had Gaul; Bush just has gall

It seems that, as commander-in-chief, George W Bush instructed his soldiers not to count the enemy dead. So the fact that he still sticks to an estimate of only 30,000 dead Iraqis, even when a recently published study in the Lancet suggests he's slaughtered at least 655,000, can only be the result of his extraordinary modesty.

Even the comments are good. Here's an example from "A splendid achievement"

As an American, I officially invite all you Brits to cheer us on at our third attempt at democracy in this century!

I'm proud to announce that more than half of our electorate may show up to the polls this year. This is an awesome achievement. Despite all our political infighting, many of us will show up to make another valiant attempt at choosing which of two people we want to represent us. Through our get-out-the-vote efforts, our upper-middle class, conservative turnout may reach a whopping 65%! In 2004, Afghanistan managed to get 69% of its total population to vote, but who can blame them? They're a fledgling, war-torn democracy.

True to our steadfast pioneer roots, even though there's no guarantee our votes will be counted, we will still be there. Despite the fact that experts have expressed doubts about the accuracy of our digital voting machines, we will use them to try to show you who we want to govern ourselves. But if you want proof, you'll have to go elsewhere, because, unlike grocery store cash registers, we're so confident in these machines that we don't need receipts!

Dark humor for dark times....

Now pull yourself together and go vote on Tuesday.

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Posted November 5, 2006 in politics . | 192 Trackbacks, 0 Comments |  Permalink

Deus Ex Google

It brightened my evening to write this email reply:

On Fri, 2006-08-25 at 00:18 -0400, wrote:
> A colleague from Fresno State sent me this unbelievable fluke:
> 1. - Go to
> 2- Type in the word "Failure."
> 3- Look at it the first listing and laugh at what comes up first
> JR

Just to add insult to injury, I'd like to elaborate a bit to investigate
this "fluke". A fluke is something has an element of accident or chance
happening. Yet I don't think this is a fluke at all. I think Google's
trying to tell us something... something important and illuminating.

Let's investigate, shall we? Enter "miserable failure", doubling the
words and multiplying the number of pages that will form our data set.
Google is lightning quick to return the same answer as before. This
isn't another page about the same person, this is the exact same link to
the exact same page. This provides us with new and important
information. Google is telling us that he's not only a failure, he's in
fact a special type of failure, a miserable one.

But wait! Isn't it logical that exact link would be the first result for
both queries, given that "miserable failure" is just a subset of
"failure"? Doesn't the method of aggregating data sets explain how we
get the same results?

Not having the source code to Google PageRank personally, I can't prove
to you that it doesn't work that way. But I can provide the same proof
by changing that variable from miserable to something else. Does he come
up first under "sexy failure"? What about "forgivable failure"? No sir,
he's not a part of the result in any form with these queries.

So there's some evidence to support the argument that Google is being
clear, specific, and consistent in what it's saying.

Now I'm going back to play with my Ouija board some more. :)

-- Craig

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Posted August 25, 2006 in other things that matter . | 669 Trackbacks, 0 Comments |  Permalink

Automatic Kernel Header Updates

The Ubuntu Dapper kernel has been updated a couple of times and with that, I've had to update the custom compiled VMWare modules to run Windows XP on my laptop. The new kernels are important, but I do still need VMWare and Windows for Quicken. Worse, I keep forgetting to update the headers when I get a new kernel.

I found there is a package called linux-headers-*** that automatically installs the latest kernel headers, so I don't need to install them manually each time. There are 4 flavors of this package: 386, 686, k7, server. If you don't know which one you need, execute.

uname -r

It will give you something like 2.6.15-26-k7 or 2.6.15-26-686

Now that you know the right flavor, you can install it by executing

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-***

Replace the *** with 386, 686, k7 or server. Now when Ubuntu releases a new kernel, it will automatically grab the new headers and I won't have to hunt and find it.

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Posted July 22, 2006 in linux . | 46 Trackbacks, 0 Comments |  Permalink

FPS and glxgears

After upgrading, I found I wasn't getting frames-per-second information with glxgears any longer. I've since been using other applications to get a rough benchmark of my ATI 3D card's performance. Just recently I stumbled across the solution: you must turn use a command-line switch:

$ glxgears -iacknowledgethatthistoolisnotabenchmark

Silly, isn't it? I'm also a bit baffled as to why someone would think this switch is necessary as I doubt printing frames per second would get anyone into legal trouble.

Whatever the case, I thought I'd post it since there's neither a --help switch to get information, nor any man or info pages to reveal what the switches are.

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Posted July 21, 2006 in linux . | 34 Trackbacks, 0 Comments |  Permalink

Deleting Files Recursively

I periodically convince myself that recursively deleting files of a certain type is something that the rm command can do. Let me save you some man page reading. It can't.

I found myself wanting to delete .LCK files (created by Dreamweaver's check in/out functionality) scattered all over the web directories on a Linux server. I found the find command offers an -exec switch which you can use to call rm to do the work.

find . -name "*.LCK" -exec rm {} \;

Being command-line lazy, I created a quick and dirty script and saved it in my personal bin directory.

# script to delete files recursively by file extension
if [ $1 ]
   find . -name "*.$1" -exec rm {} \;
   echo "usage: rmtree ";
   echo "example: rmtree LCK";
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Posted January 21, 2006 in linux . | 8 Trackbacks, 0 Comments |  Permalink