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The ultimate geek network joke. Be warned, it's brief, yet painful. =:D

PBS's ScienceNOW recently covered epigenetics, a means by which genetically identical individuals may, through their environment, develop quite differently physically and mentally, leading to identical twins who nonetheless look quite different. The 13-minute segment's available on their site as a progressive stream, QuickTime and WM, as mycroftb noticed.

Cerberus has a new (to me, at least) Flash animation out: The Nut Job. Definitely not to be missed. ^_^

Anime for the week has to be Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei ("Goodbye Despair Teacher"), a remarkably stylishly animated show about a desperately suicidal teacher and his class, packed with dry wit and background jokes. (And the lead looks a lot like a human version of jirris_midvale, ne?) If you know the joy of depression, this may have a particular appeal.

Okay, who at Six Apart thought it would be fun to house both primary and secondary DNS at the same datacenter? Bad admins, no cookie. (Is all of LJ in one location, no automatic geographical distribution?) There's a little more information available regarding the generators' failure to start over here.

austin_dern found this photo of a heroic rabbit who chose to meet a tiger cub, and left unharmed.

mycroftb reminded me about the Asus Eee, a 2lb laptop coming in August, for around $200-250. Minimal spec, of course, and all subject to Chinese whispers and more: 900MHz Dothan, no optical drive, 4GB flash only, 512MB, 4 USB2.0, 10/100Base-T, 7" 800x480 (an additional 10" 1024x768 model in early 2008), Intel 910 chipset (GMA900 graphics). So, it might just about be okay for SL use - not something to go clubbing with, but at that price, who's complaining?

If you'd like to attend YearlyKos, but can't easily get to Chicago for the grand shindig, there's also YearlyKos in Second Life, with registration a modest $25. Sam Seder of Air America will be along for a pre-convention meet'n'greet on Thursday, 6pm SLT. ("Last week's chat with Glenn [Greenwald] was a lot of fun, especially because he found the intoxication of being able to fly hard to resist.")

foxymoonheart notes moves to block aerial gunning of Alaska's wolves: "Alaska's brutal practice of aerial gunning has already claimed the lives of at least 670 wolves, with state officials even proposing to offer a $150 bounty to increase the killing. And now even the Greater Yellowstone wolves could face this barbaric killing as Idaho and Wyoming propose aerial gunning programs of their own. A conservation champion, Rep. George Miller (CA) will soon introduce legislation -- the Protecting America's Wildlife (PAW) Act -- to restrict this awful practice. But his bill needs your support to win passage of this wolf-saving measure."

Via ristin, word of more US border jollity: "In a strongly worded document drawn up in response to the plan that will affect the 4 million-plus Britons who travel to the US every year, the EU parliament said it 'notes with concern that sensitive data (ie personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and data concerning the health or sex life of individuals) will be made available to the DHS."

"Under the new agreement, which goes live at the end of this month, the US will be able to hold the records of European passengers for 15 years compared with the current three year limit. The EU parliament said it was concerned the data would lead to 'a significant risk of massive profiling and data mining, which is incompatible with basic European principles and is a practice still under discussion in the US congress.'

Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has written to the EC expressing his 'grave concern' at the plan, which he describes as 'without legal precedent' and one that puts 'European data protection rights at risk'.

Hustinx warns: 'Data on EU citizens will be readily accessible to a broad range of US agencies and there is no limitation to what US authorities are allowed to do with the data.'"

And some wonderful political snark in a superb ripost to Bill O'Reilly: "We shall not be defeated. Once the revolution comes, the American right will be crushed under the mighty weight of our agenda. We shall confuse them all by being nice to children and the elderly; we shall sap their resolve by allowing black people to vote unhindered. We shall confound them via our insistence that illegal actions even by rich people should be prosecuted. They will be wounded by our commitment towards health care for all, then we will double the injury by treating their wounds using the very same programs. Their lungs will burn from the oppressively clean air: their green, lush yards will be choked with our expanding forests. Freed from the toxic scourge of DDT, Bald Eagles will return to the countryside and crap on their cars. We will call it Freedom Crap, and it will contain fish bones of Justice and unidentifiable, jelly-like chunks of Liberty."
 
 
 
 
 
 
So, it might just about be okay for SL use - not something to go clubbing with, but at that price, who's complaining?

At 900Mhz, an Intel 900 chipset in Linux and probably no swap memory drive (given there's only 4gb in total), I'd be amazed if that'll be doable. =;)
Oh, I'm not thinking it'd be anything like an animated appearance - just enough to render a scene and the typing animations, say.

I wonder what sort of magic the flash controller's having to pull.. bear in mind flash cells wear out with use, as the process of resetting a bit gradually erodes the physical wall defining the bit. Normally not a problem, of course, but when you've got a plain filesystem accessing the same regions of a drive, that becomes an interesting problem.

Assuming it all really works (and I suppose it can, given the arrival of 2.5" form factor flash drives, albeit at astronomical prices), presumably there's nothing to prevent folks from plugging in an additional pen drive or two, especially considering they're sometimes expo freebies. ^_^
Even just rendering the scene would be hit and miss. For reference, old Bunnytop used to have a 1.1Ghz processor, one of the later series 8 integrated intel chips, and used to crawl along at between 3 and 0.2fps, with half the screen failing to even render. This was using their best DirectX drivers, under Windows XP with a proper harddrive. Given SL is badly optimised for Linux, combined with the fact Intel's OpenGL support was always barely existent, let alone their Linux driver support, I'd not hold out much hope. =:P I suppose if one were to replace the computer with a copy of Windows 2000, the chances of getting it to 'work' might increase somewhat, but it would be pushing the limited hd for space then. (Windows 2000 needing about 1.5gb, and wanting to reserve between 500-1gb for swap in order to work)

In terms of the flash degradation, I'm sure I've read with advances in technology, decent flash memory can support so many read/writes as to last for years (and the problem has been overcome for quite some time). It's just the predominance of the cheap stuff on the market which has kept the old problem alive. =;)

I'm not quite sure why they've gone for such an odd screen res, either. Surely if they'd gone with a more standard size/res combination, it would cost *less* to produce, as I'm guessing the current form needs an expensive 100% bespoke LCD panel making.
Mmm, it's unfortunate Intel doesn't seem to have a strong commitment to OpenGL, but then, I suppose that's more the domain of the OS providers, at the end of it all - and of course, their largest indirect customer has no particular interest in seeing OpenGL go anywhere further. Still, at least it's a less fragmented scene than when Acorn and Sinclair ruled the roost in UK home computing, with every maker having different graphics capabilities and Basic extensions to handle them.

It'd be an interesting experiment.. seeing what difference in framerate was experienced when in the same location, with the same prefs, with SL under OS X, XP, and Linux. Wish the client had some built-in mini-server, for such framerate evaluations.. in the absence of such, no OS/computer review ever checks SL framerates, only titles I couldn't give a damn about, like IfItMovesKillIt Quake III Arena. (Such a pity.. there are some fearsomely intelligent graphics guys at id Software, yet the game stories remain stuck in the jurassic)

I wouldn't be surprised the resolution turns out to be something different, given the claim of a 1024x768 model next year - 4:3 for one, and something wider for another seems a bit odd. Still, I wouldn't be surprised there are plenty of different resolution screens available, and they're virtually all commodity items now, given the prevalence of wide and narrow LCDs, below the leading edge models, where substantial premiums can still be commanded. (Curiously, there seem to be very few manufacturers of larger displays - Samsung's one of the very few)

It's all in the flash controller. Using raw flash modules, something like a FAT32 filesystem would kill a module in a matter of days. ^_^

Even that kind of framerate can be sufficient - gods know, I drop to a couple fps when things are lively at Pawprintz. :-P canadian_beast routinely only sees that much, on a fairly old setup, out of necessity, but it's enough to get some very nifty 50s-style robot avs designed for his store.. !

FUCK that. So the DHS has the power to evaluate whether someone coming to the USA is the "right" European. I realize it's intended to crack down on Moslem terrorists - and not, say, Sikh terrorists or incredibly Queer Germans or whatever - but this is prejudice tantamount to early 20th century immigration restrictions. And since when does the USA have the right to evaluate Britains? It's bad enough that so many Brits have died for American profiteering over the last seven years.

I swear, the Republicans believe that if they push through enough crazy fast enough, it shall become impossible to uproot.
And as Bruce S has pointed out, the problem with the 9/11 guys wasn't any lack of information, but its processing - there's no need for any such unbelievably broad snooping.

Still, it looks like Bushco's getting their wish soon enough - the House Judiciary Committee just voted to proceed with civil contempt against Miers and Bolten, to which the White House has already asserted they'll forbid the DoJ from pursuing. That leaves inherent contempt as seemingly inescapable.. and we've already seen Gonzales is perfectly happy trying to squeeze a signature out of someone who's under heavy post-op pain medication in hospital, nearly provoking a Secret Service/FBI confrontation.

Owww... that WAS painful.

As for LJ, to add insult to injury, they apparently also hosted the "off-site" status page at the same data center. Naivity much? :P (Outside of the fact that you really have to wonder why they don't use more than one hosting facility in the first place...)

The laptop sounds nice, but I'm still not sure why stuff like the Panasonic R5K isn't sold outside of Japan (to my knowledge). I probably mentioned this thing before, but... seriously, that's a *full-featured* laptop weighing in at 999 grams, and it's been available for quite a while, too. *headshakes* As usual, Japan seems to be at least a couple of years ahead of everyone else, technology-wise.

And mmm, freedom crap. :) Joe the Liberal Eagle would approve. :)
I had to pass that on, as you see. =:) I do hope someone wears that as a t-shirt to the next USENIX. ^_^

I was really quite surprised - okay, LJ goes down, so you check the backup status page, which is on a different domain, so it shouldn't be affected. Except.. :-P Hopefully they've learned from that. But yes, I'd have thought they'd perform some kind of mirroring, or at least have multiple presences, so one point of failure doesn't bring the whole show down. Still, so it goes. Hopefully they'll be able to work out just why the generators failed to start up automatically, especially given they claim they do run monthly tests on them.

Mmm, Japan's been ahead in the cellphone game for a while, in particular, both with the phones themselves, and especially the range of services taken for granted. It's easy to see why Western manufacturers don't tend to have a huge presence in the Asian market, but it's more puzzling why the Japanese cellcos don't push their wares further afield, given the relatively simple state of European phones, or the positively primeval state of those in North America. (How many milliseconds would Motorola survive in Japan?) Wonder what Apple's thinking of for the iPhone's debut there.. very interesting combination of forces at work there.

Still, I suppose I'll just have to make do with Hyzenthlay's incredible bulk of 7lb. ^_^ Not bad, really, given it's a desktop equivalent (of its time, late 2005) - 2GB memory, 128MB Radeon 9700 Mobility, 17" 1680x1050 display, lovely feel keyboard with backlighting, FW400 & 800, USB 2, modem, gig-E, 120GB drive, dual-layer DVD-R, optical/electronic audio in/out, DVI, S-video.. and despite its size, the case feels remarkably solid, even when holding it just from one edge, no detectable flexing. One of Apple's best designs, I'd say, with the daft caveat of the case coating seemingly porous to sweat acids - I've got a cool array of dots where I've apparently managed to etch a nebula-like pattern where my right palm rests. =:D

Yay Joe! I'm surprised DCS hasn't been more active with IDT lately, given the wealth of material for new strips, such as Gonzales' remarkable performance the other day, or the White House's assertion that they won't permit the DoJ to pursue contempt proceedings against their staff. Should be interesting to see whether the civil contempt process is replaced by a motion for inherent contempt, which is purely under the jurisdiction of Congress, and enforced by the Sergeant-at-Arms, potentially spelling arrest and detention in the Hill's jail.

As for health care, I had to check the URL of this posting from coongt was or wasn't from the Onion..

Yeah, one can only hope that they learnt something and that they will actually host their "off-site status page", well, *off-site* now. :P Fortunately, it wasn't too much of a problem, and didn't last for too long.

As for the cell phone market... yes, true. I suppose part of the reason is that Japan is just much less inhibited when it comes to technology (especially new technology) in general; it seems that it's not something that's just restricted to "geeks" (or at least young people in general), which may be what keeps companies from seeing a real market opportunity elsewhere. (One thing I've always thought was rather cool was the fact that the Famicom - the Japanese equivalent of the NES - actually had a peripheral modem that, among other things, allowed you to access an online banking service. I have a hard time imagining the same thing in the mid to late 80s in Europe or the USA.)

And in the USA at least and with regard to cell phones at least, you probably do need a certain critical mass to actually be (financially) able to put up enough cell phone towers to get a decent coverage throughout the entire country (something that will be less of a problem in Japan). But I'm just guessing there...

As for your laptop.. damn, that thing's better than my desktop system. x.x Well, admittedly, that one was bought in 2001 already, and remains largely unchanged, except for a bit more RAM (although it's still not enough) and a new DVD writer. Of course, 7 pounds is quite a bit, and I'd still choose the Panasonic myself, but given that I have none at all, I certainly wouldn't say no to either. :P

And yeah, it's a bit of a shame that D.C. hasn't been more active there... he's still doing Ozy & Millie, so obviously he hasn't disappeared completely, but IDT seems to have stopped updating for the most part, and that's really a shame, especially since I just found it around the time when he apparently gave up. >_> And yes, it's definitely not as if there wouldn't be lots of material, either...

Ah well. Mmm, yeah, and that certainly could've come straight out of the Onion - I guess when Dubya is involved, truth is indeed stranger than fiction.


"Created by Michelle" Found it, thought of you.
HA! Oh, that's perfect. ^_^

Hmm. Wonder if anyone can do something with this landing scene..

my first thought is the US Navy's "Ouija Board"



"Ok Flopsy, you're cleared on the deck, you've got the ball."
Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, the "bunny macro" can be found here, along with a larger version of the .gif.
Hee! I really should subscribe to their feed.. that's just perfect, the animated version especially. Maybe I'll try making up a more airline advert-looking version sometime.. I've been on a font collection binge recently, so I'm sure I've got a suitable font around somewhere, if I can only find it. ^_^;

(Not without its hazards, it has to be said. One font, "Times and Times Again" was pretty cool looking - a sort of decayed gothic version - but described itself as Times, thereby causing OmniWeb and friends to think that was the one to use if a page asked for Times. Bad enough per se, but the font had bad vertical separation, causing everything Times to be squished and overlayed along the same line..)