[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 7 most recent journal entries recorded in
|Saturday, October 9th, 2004|
|Sunday, February 2nd, 2003|
|I love the small of defrags in the morning!
I forgot just how much a good hard defrag can do your computer... long slow grinding hard drive accesses, delays delays delays... Gahh. All gone now. Fast load times, fast startup, fast memory dumps.
Me happy now.
Now if only I could defrag my cpu to get about 4ghz out of it... Current Mood: bouncy
|Wednesday, January 29th, 2003|
|Politics BAH! Kill 'em all and let the electorate sort 'em out!
God damn I must have been in a pissy mood today... here's a whopper for ya...
Saw the State of the Union Address last night. I'll admit, I consider Bush to be one of the best orators I've seen in the Whitehouse - a plain speaker, but showing (hopefully not faking) clear conviction and just enough emotional content to get you on your feet, but not so much that you want to find a rock to hide under. I like the way he puts even the most obvious things. I even agree with him, politically, on more issues than I disagree with him on. On the other hand, I seriously worry that our "evidence" does not exist or means little... that it's all a power play being taken too far for our own good. But what REALLY pissed me off... actors and actresses on paid advertisements around the country, just before the SotUA last night, making passionate appeals to viewers - and all were for ONE agenda. It's a little like if, just before an address of Clinton's, a number of stars came on tv and used scaremongering to make us utterly and totally afraid of not defending ourselves immediately. That alone is low... low, but all too common for the US. And it wasn't the appeals or the ads that got to me - everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What got me was that they chose to air their opinions right BEFORE the Address... AND they used movie stars. That is friggin low... that's actually kind of disgusting.
What the hell's going on with the democrats? I used to side with them more than republicans (not out of political beliefs, but by how they conducted themselves)... but for the past few years the've been constant whiners with some pretty shady political tactics. I voted for Clinton... in both 92 and 96... but except for a few notables like Gephardt and some of their most recent crop of newbies, they all seem to have gone ultra-liberal (and I'm a moderate at heart - ultra-anything has never done this country a bit of good). One of the main reasons why they've lost almost all their power, and seem to be getting less and less popular, is because they've started losing touch with the populace (especially in a post 9/11 world). They promote their own ideas just as is normal, but the current batch can't seem to do so without personal and political mudslinging. This last election was a good example - Bush stayed more or less to the point, and Gore's side (or his people anyway, I don't think Gore was really behind much of it) couldn't seem to play nice... even to the point of being sore losers (how many times can you demand a recount and cry foul before you start to sound like a damned fool?). Even losing their majority rule in congress was viewed by them not as a mere change in the ballance of power (the usual stance), but is suddenly a horrible act of stupidity/etc. They've grown so incredibly partisan that I'm starting to have a hard time siding with them on much of anything, because I know that if they don't get their way, they'll mope and bitch and whine about it for months.
Hmmm.... sounds a lot like the Republicans just before and for a little while after Clinton took over. Ever notice how a party is only in prime shape after they've been out of the white house for a while? Two terms of a party's presidency seems to be more destructive for them than any political mistake. Give them another year under the republican's heel, and they'll be back to their old selves again, while the Republicans will slowly degrade themselves. You can already see it starting now. It's inevitable, it's just the way of things in this country.
And for the record, don't ever accuse me of being a Republican. Or a Democrat. Or anything else. People who vote for parties rather than people are next to worthless as far as citizenship goes. Ok, maybe that's too strong a statement, but I get annoyed when a Dem or Rep will evangelize on which party is rebuilding or destroying the country... and, honestly, objectively... ask yourself. Going purely by results, and not by what you believe will "work", can you say that either party has either failed or succeeded compared to the other? Just look at our recent presidents... Ford (nice guy, intelligent, but a weak leader), Carter (great man, patron saint of diplomats everywhere, but a piss poor president), Reagan (some of his ideas backfired, but overall he made us strong again), Bush Sr (another great man, and another piss poor president), Clinton (cigar jokes aside, once he stopped letting his fanatically ultra-left ice-queen quit talking for him, he proved to be right up there with Reagan in terms of accomplishment - and no, I'm no fan of Hillary, politically speaking), and now Bush Jr (too early to tell if he'll be a success or a blunder - honestly we're due for another blunder by now - but when he's not going overboard with the threats, I like him).
So, as I see it, you have two bouts of poor leadership from both parties, a strong republican followed by a weak one, then a strong democrat. I go by results. Not what I personally think is a good idea or "works" based on what I expect... I look at what actually happened when a policy was implemented. And going by that, I do not believe that either party is innately better than the other. As for values, I'm more or less in between the two. I tend to side with the conservatives when it comes to basic morality, but consider them a little too stodgy and too willing to force their beliefs on the populace at large - plus I don't particularly believe in any sort of deity, so I'm not "right" in their book. I consider a liberal outlook to be critical - being a little more open and a little too eager to demolish the status quo. On the other hand, I consider them idealistic to the point of being a little unrealistic. They're often so dovish that you wonder if they read the same news the rest of the world does. And, far more than with conservatives, I get the strong impression that quite a few liberal causes are more to start a ruckus than because they really honestly care about the issue. An activist on ONE issue, something important to them or that they've been thrust into, I'm willing to listen to, if they're polite, can see the other side's reasoning, are somewhat calm, and understand that an emotional appeal is not an argument in itself. But if they seem to show up to right every "wrong" they see, are involved in a number of issues they really don't know that much about, are completely one-sided, and think that screaming and yelling means a damn thing to me... like the whole Abortion issue. Don't even get me started on that, all I'll say for now is that #1
: it's not a black and white issue, and anyone who thinks it is merely does not wish to think about it at all. #2
: they're making all the wrong arguments, and for all the wrong reasons. I'd like to see more anti-abortionists walking around with their adopted children (since that's the biggest problem with their idea), and I'd like to see pro-abortionists start thinking about the kids themselves (who they seem to ignore) and quit fussing about "choice" when that responsible adult MADE their choice a few months back. If a man has to take responsibility, why doesn't a woman have to be responsible for her own actions? Sometimes it's warranted, often it's not. But it's not about choice - that's just a rallying cry. You make your choice when you fuck, to put it bluntly. The one issue that everyone declines to discuss is the fact that it's all about the little protohuman at the core of the argument, and not about someone else's judgemental morality or the choice to cover up a mistake.
And for the record... I voted for Bush. Not because I particularly wanted to see him win (I liked him a lot less before he took office), but because the idea of Gore becomming our national leader honestly scared me. If his politics had been what he said they were, I'd have gone for him with few reservations. But, he's never done more for education than a few token (and relatively meaningless) acts, his environmental battlecry only seems to apply to anything that does not personally affect him (his corporate interests are some of the worst polluters in his home state, and mr Gas Efficiency drives a friggin SUV), claims he wants to improve healthcare yet constantly fought legislation that targetted the more obvious frivolous (often fraudulent) malpractice suits that KEEP our medical rates so sky-high (did you know that most doctor's insurance bill is roughly half their income? And that's just the ones who've never screwed up). Worst of all, for all his fairly lackluster participation in legislation as a senator and as a vice president, he always found the time to particularly... closely... and vehemently... support the darkest bills that have come across capitol hill... the V-Chip initiative, Clipper Chip, Computer Decency Acts I and II, Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and a plethora of other bills, initiatives, and plans that had the goal of protecting us and making our lives safer... but in most cases had glaring issues that showed a complete disregard for personal privacy or freedom. The Clipper Chip disgusted me - his reasoning for wanting to make it not only the de-facto standard for all civilian encryption, but the only fully legal one primarily involved the idea that we shouldn't have anything to hide unless we have something to hide. (I should note: the clipper chip, unlike standard encryption, had a federal backdoor that would allow the government to read any damned thing they wanted). The CDA is of course the worst of the lot - it effectively allowed almost any federal agency to force access to your computer...
...bah, enough bitching and howling.
My point. Both parties, as a whole, have both proven incapable of "fixing" things, even when they have all the power to themselves for a while... and if they have to share it, they'll both see to it the other gets nothing done. I have never... ever... seen an argument from either side that does the least to convince me that one side is superior to the other. True, there are times when we need conservative leadership, and others when we need liberal. Conservatives make the best leaders in times of trouble, whereas Rooseveldt was the only liberal I've seen this century who didn't either lock up or try to micromanage the whole thing when the shit hit the fan. Alternately, liberals are pretty good at revitalizing the country during periods of peace, wheras conservatives are often too afraid of change to make proper use of such times.
In other words...
If you vote a straight party ballot, why do you vote at all? Current Mood: grumpy
|Saturday, January 25th, 2003|
|The horror... the horror...
I saw them...
Damn my eyes, I actually looked upon them...
I opened the tiny little plastic dixie jello cup thingy that was brought over, at MY request no less. I called for it, I accepted it, and I looked inside. I brought it on myself.
I've probably guaranteed myself a long night full of nightmares, and at the very least a permenant phobia, and scar on my psyche. The object itself was free, but my rampant curiosity has carried a monsterous price.
Why, oh why, did I ask a pizza-twirling friend of mine to bring me an anchovie from work?
*sob* Current Mood: dirty
|Monday, January 20th, 2003|
|...and on the First Day the Lord said "press any key to continue."
Trust me, there is a point to all this.
A fractal is an algebraic algorithm, often a simple one like X = SC * (XP - XF(I)) + XF(I), that will often generate a complex (and visually appealing) image when plotted out. Often they're so intricate that there is no limit to their detail - close in on a portion of it and it will keep showing you new details, often infinitely.
One simple equation, repeating over and over, often self-derivative, slowly generating a complex and deceptively intricate pattern. I could write one line of code (well, you know what I mean) that would generate a picture far more badass than anything I could ever draw myself.
The more I play with fractals, the more I realize just how much this is revolutionizing my programming. I've made one program that builds plants - trees, shrubs, even grasses. I've made another that generates a complex landscape that can include a valley, shoreline, mountains, etc - detailed enough to where I've started using it instead of Bryce (a much more professional, if limited, program that's currently the best for this kind of work). I've made a third program, working with the results of the first two, that takes a landscape and populates it with the appropriate plant matter in a way that follows growth and propagation patterns, using the equations created by the first program to regenerate the plants each time from the bare equations instead of having to store the rather large amount of vertices required by a standard modeler. And the scariest thing of all - a week ago I couldn't have come close to writing something like this, and if I had tried it would have been a huge and convulted program. As it is, these new programs I've made are all very small and freighteningly simple and singleminded.
To put it bluntly, fractals are how computers play with themselves. Electronic masterbation.
A fractal can either be two dimensional, like your standard Mandelbrot or Sierpinski Triangle... or three dimensional like a Lorenz equation simulating fluid dynamics. So I wondered - why stop at 3? Why not make a 4-dimensional fractal equation. An X axis for width, Y for length, and Z for height (making a 3-dimensional model) ... and a fourth dimension I called T, for Time (yeah I've been reading Hawking again, so what?). I plotted the entire fractal (no particular set, just something I cooked up that looked nice in 2d and 3d) out to something like 20,000 iterations, filling all 3 gigs of my memory (I need a new board so I can get more). In 3d it made a cool spherical shape, mostly hollow, with a fairly intricate pattern on it. What would it do in 4d?
Then I played it back, displaying the 3 dimensional fractal sequentially translated through it's 4th dimension. I expected some freaky rippling thing that, if I was lucky, would almost look alive.
What I got blew my mind.
It formed a spherical shape with a rapidly shifting geometry. It didn't look "alive" - but somehow it looked very natural. The geometry started in a dense chaotic mess that slowly seperated out into something simply badass to see (I need to render this into an animation so I can upload it somewhere), changing and recombining constantly, all playing out on the outside surface of the sphere (more was going on inside but I can't make it out). As I watched, the pattern slowly began to break down, spreading chaos as it went. Finally it ended up an empty sphere with just a light jumble of points and globular shapes slowly roaming the outside surface. Then suddenly it shrunk and died. And that was just in a 4th dimension, a 4th mathematical axis... a 4th order fractal. What would result from a 5 or 6 dimensional one? And how would I display such a thing?
Which spawned some interesting, though probably quite stupid, ideas. As physics digs deeper and deeper into what we think of as "reality", it finds that the ground rules vary depending on your scale... and the rules themselves get simpler and simpler. Grand Unified Theory, the holy grail of quantum mechanics, is a theoretical concept - a scientific leap of faith, really - that on some basic level all the core laws (4 of them) combine into even simpler ones, with the final deduction being that... somehow... there may be ONE ultimate, singular, and beautifully simplistic, law that applies differently under different circumstances - presenting itself as what looks like many seperate and specific laws to us.
If, in a fractal, a simple equation leads to a specific and incredibly complex and potentially infinite form (always the same even if it takes a random path to get there)... and if there actually is some sort of master law at the heart of things, diversifying into all the manifold resultant laws that drive the world we see... then would that make the universe a fractal of sorts?
I don't know. But if there is one Ultimate Equation, whatever it is, I'd be willing to bet that the end result is "42". Current Mood: indescribable
|Friday, January 17th, 2003|
|Stand not in my way
I have decided.
I will download the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Why? Because I miss it and want it. All of it. All 7 seasons. Deny this not.
I will also download all of Enterprise. I didn't like it at first but I've grown rather fond of it. It shall be mine. Woe be unto he that should bar my way.
I will likewise acquire the Original Series. Roddenberry's crowning achievment. Sex, booze, and phasers. Cheap effects, canned music, crazed Vulcans, and howling Scottsmen. Let those lesser men who look upon my works know them and dispair.
I shall take all of Voyager as well. I never liked it much, but it had some cool effects. Praise be heaped upon me for time immemorial.
I can and will download all of Deep Space Nine. Actually, forget that last one, I couldn't stand that rancid piece of dog shit. Begone from my sight ye devilspawn!
My media drive is going to hate me for this.
As it is written, so let it be done. *clap*clap* Current Mood: busy
|Monday, December 30th, 2002|
|May Pythagoras rot in hell
Just a random sampling of the weird shit that runs through my head day and night...
Two and a half thousand years ago, you had this entire region where civilization had reached a golden age of sorts. Some people work hard... in fact most people worked hard, and ate little. That was the way they liked it. This also gave them plenty of free time, much of which was spent in contemplation of the world around them, in debate, and generally in philosophical contemplation (damn I was born a few millenia too late). This was Greece, Hellenic Greece to be exact. (Hellenic was more or less the period before Alexander the Great. They tried to bring it back later, but by that point they spent all their time as Persia, Macedonia, and Rome's bitches... thus they were Hellenistic Greece. Sounds about the same, but don't tell a historian that or you might end up being found dead in a dumpster). Back to the Greeks. These people had a particular belief, among others, that everyone ("everyone" being limited to landholding citizens, not the slaves or the women) not only had the right to participate in local politics, but was in fact greatly encouraged to. One of their words for "fool" carried the connotation of one who didn't concern themselves with politics. It was considered normal for every citizen to take some part in local politics - as everything from a senator or military leader, to simple a civil servant of some sort. And this was almost always unpaid. Damn I love that place. They also wore a folded robe, much like a toga, which happened to also be what they slept in. And sandals. Maybe underwear, but the writings of Plato and Socrates never seem to mention that aspect of daily life. I can only assume they defecated at some point during the day.
Now, there was a point in there somewhere. Oh yeah. You had this great civilization, full of amature philosophers and engineers. People like Aristarchus and others who went so far as to work out the size of the earth, the diameter of the moon, the moon's distance from the earth, and the fact that the earth went around the sun, and the moon around the earth. A man named Hero came up with the basic concepts of steam power and propulsion (and applied it to a few limited and slightly weird applications). They had mathematical concepts that made the Babylonians before them look like failing arithmetic students. They understood metalurgy in ways that others had to discover on their own much later. They had friggin navigational and computational devices that reeked of primitive computers. They were beginning to experiment with long-range communication, not only using fire but also chemical flares. They had yet to develop the reaching architectural and engineering feats of the Romans who followed, but they had everything you'd look for in a civilization working it's way towards an industrial era.
What the hell happened?
For whatever reason they seemed to quit looking at the world around them, and instead turned to the idea that the world should follow certain laws, and that those laws could be worked out by pure deduction - not experimental deduction, but logical deduction. The type you could work out in discussion, based on clearly visible facts. Men like Pythagoras and his lackeys forced their idea of innate mathematical perfection on their own work, to the point of holding certain freaky shapes sacred and secret (such as the Dodecahedron - a 12 sided solid), and had been known to do everything they could to keep the concept of an irrational number secret - such things shouldn't exist, and therefore musn't. Others like Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle carried this to extremes, arguing vehemently against being too "rational" about exploring the world, deciding that logic was all you needed. They became popular, and their ideas with them (it sort of fed the Greek ego, which was a little like feeding an 800 pound gorilla with a major coke habit). Those who had evidence that the world was not quite what it seemed (like the earth is not the center of the universe) tried to push ideas that went against what you saw when you looked outside - and were thus shunned.
What would happen if, having a time machine, you went back to 500 bc or so, and capped Pythagoras in the back of the head with a Colt 45? Without his influence, who knows what would have happened? With further advances, Greece might have been more able to fend off it's neighbors, grown stronger, and become far more dominant militarily. Rome never would have made it's impact, and you could have had working steam engines used for everything from transport to mechanical power (and they showed the knowhow to apply it - they just never got that far). How would the world be different if the world had seen an industrial revolution around 100 bc?
And, btw, WTF *ARE* the words to "Louie Louie"? Been racking my brains over that one... Current Mood: contemplative