Updates from April, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Hober Short 2:33 am on 30 April 2009 Permalink  

    Of course, I would discover this the day I move out of the dorm:

    The NCSU Libraries offers Sony Reader, Amazon Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 eBook readers for check out to NCSU students, faculty, and staff. Both have the same 6″ E Ink “Electronic Paper” reading screens, 170 ppi, and come with protective covers and USB cables. Each holds more than 150 books in their memory or more with an SD flash memory card.

    eBooks loan to NCSU students, staff, and faculty. The loan period is one week with no renewals. Overdue charges accrue at the rate of $10.00 per day.

    Granted, this is the same group that bought iPod Touches for checkout, ostensibly for education purposes, so this is a bit of University-sponsored gadget lust. But I think of it as what the part of my tuition that goes to sports really goes to.

  • Hober Short 5:46 pm on 29 April 2009 Permalink  

    Quoting Wikipedia: “Left 4 Dead (L4D) is a cooperative first-person shooter video game. . . . Set during the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, the game pits its four protagonists—dubbed the ‘Survivors’—against hordes of the Infected, zombie-like aggressive mutants.”

    Part of the game is the level transitions which take the form of “safe houses”, reinforced rooms that have been constructed ad-hoc as places to weather zombie attacks. The objective of each level is to reach the next safe room in the path to escape (APC, Helicopter, airplane, etc). The safe rooms were implicitly built by someone else and have been trafficked by other Survivors. Although you never meet them in person, you get a sense for their personality by the graffiti they leave on the inside of the safe houses:

    And so on. More at the link. Enter in to this the Swine Flu, and we get the perfect representation of the inane response by some to the outbreak:


  • Hober Short 5:24 pm on 29 April 2009 Permalink  

    Whoa. Sounds like Microsoft is getting super-serious about security, to the point of cutting out beloved features like Autorun:

    Today, we’re announcing modifications in Windows that adapts to recent changes in the threat environment. Specifically, we’re announcing changes to the behavior in AutoPlay so that it will no longer enable an AutoRun task for devices that are not removable optical media (CD/DVD.). However, the AutoRun task will still be enabled for media like CD-ROM.

    I guess Microsoft has decided which side of the “Innovate or Die” spectrum they want to be on.

  • Hober Short 4:41 pm on 29 April 2009 Permalink  

    Cleaning my dorm while moving out, I found the flier I talked about earlier this month. The headline is “Bail Out Students, Not Banks!”, and it claims its march is “In the Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.”, whatever that means. The bullet points, labeled “We Demand:“:

    • Freeze Tuition Now!
    • Cancel All Student Debt!
    • A Jobs Program with a Living Wage, Not Jails and Prisons!
    • Collective Bargaining for Public Sector Workers!
    • Divest from Israel!

    This is followed by a link to their WordPress blog, the latest entry of which (right now) is “FIST Supports UNC Students Against Anti-Immigrant Tancredo“. There’s also a full-page version of the flier I found that adds “No Hikes in Heath Care Premiums” and “Fund Human Needs, not War!” to the list of demands.

    Nice bunch of guys. Can’t wait to see their May Day show.

  • Hober Short 11:06 pm on 28 April 2009 Permalink  

    Watching the Chuck season finale, I couldn’t help but be struck by the incredibly bad trigger control here. Notice how his barrel dives down and to the right on that long double-action trigger pull. (Warning: spoiler for people who watch Chuck. If you haven’t seen the episode, go watch it on Hulu!)

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    more about "Poor Trigger Control", posted with vodpod

    He should make like Felicia Day and get some training.

  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 12:55 pm on 28 April 2009 Permalink  

    I’m not sure whether this post is engaging in merely sloppy thinking, or intentionally misleading fraud:

    Cleansing involves changing your internal environment and specifically, removing a bunch of the stored waste that most people have trapped in their bodies. Most estimates are that the average person has ten or more pounds of stored waste just in their colon, and I’d argue far more throughout their body. In any case, many people have found that disease disappears when this waste is gone, and that when the body is clean it’s much more difficult for new problems, like viruses, to take hold in the first place. And it’s my understanding that many people who took regular enemas instead of vaccines during the 1918 pandemic made it out on the other side as well.

    I love that last sentence, which would be a misuse of statistics if only any actual facts were cited. Hmm … it’s my understanding that many people who wore fedoras also survived the 1918 pandemic. I know which method I’m more likely to try!

  • Hober Short 12:14 am on 27 April 2009 Permalink  

    Glenn Reynolds linked to a NYT article talking about flu epidemics that included this quote: “A two-week difference in response times, according to the researchers, is long enough for the number of people infected in an influenza epidemic to double three to five times.”

    So, that’s the difference between doubling three times (2 to the 3rd, which is to say, 8 ) and doubling five times (2 to the 5th, 32). That’s a very broad range, but either way, it’s an order of magnitude. Wouldn’t a rephrasing like “the number of people infected increased by a factor of between 10 and 30 times” be much more accurate?

    It seems like unnecessary complexity. Humans aren’t binary machines.

  • Hober Short 3:26 pm on 26 April 2009 Permalink  

    Some have commented on Dollhouse’s accurate depiction of guns, and I’ve concurred in general so far.

    There was the one incident I mentioned to you, dad, where an editor added a dramatic hammer-cock to a hammerless Glock (they all are, of course). Unfortunately, that editor is still around and inserted a dramatic shotgun slide-rack when the character was holding an over-under double-barrel shotgun.

    Of course, double-barrels are break-action, not pump-action, and so there is no pump to rack.

    But to someone who’s never gone shooting, a shotgun’s a shotgun.

  • Hober Short 1:15 pm on 25 April 2009 Permalink  

    Dad, my response to that shirt:

  • Pat 10:20 am on 25 April 2009 Permalink  

    Electrical engineer Jeri Ellsworth demonstrates how a floppy disk drive can be hacked to record audio on 3.5″ disks. (Not very much audio, though — only 15 seconds per side.)

    I give her a +10 geek cred modifier for having a working Tempest machine in her lab.

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