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"Word processors and other text-based have had spelling and grammar checking for years, but could IBM's Watson technology go a step further and provide a familiar squiggly underline for sentences that have no supporting evidence to back them up, while automatically link to the most authoritative source for sentences that are based in on fact? How might such an evolution in communication affect our consumption of news, topics of debate, science, and so on?"
I've been a big fan of Ubuntu for several years but until recently never had a problem with monitor support.
Apparently someone has removed the ability to hand-tweak monitor settings, therefore relying solely on Ubuntu's monitor detection abilities for determining available screen resolutions, refresh rate, etc. Unfortunately, when it can't detect a monitor, the user is left with no reasonable recourse but to move on to another operating system! That is what I have been forced to do on two systems now. So it looks like I will be returning to Fedora Linux which supports my monitors nicely.
I hope Ubuntu fixes this problem - looking at the forums there is no shortage of public outcry.
There was a discussion recently about what types of CD and DVD media were good for long term archival.
For the record, I've copied 6+ years old CDR media from TDK and Sony and have not had any problems.
One media I stay away from is Memorex. I've been unable to recover many CDRs of that brand. Once bitten twice shy baby.
LimeWire countersues recording industry
"The proprietors of the P2P file-sharing program LimeWire, who were sued last August by a coalition of the major names in the recording industry, has filed a countersuit in the U.S. District Court in New York, claiming that the RIAA is using its copyrights over recorded works as a weapon to disable competition from anyone in the Internet distribution business."
Get educated on the darker side of WalMart:
Is WalMart good for America? (and the rest of the world)
Looks like georgebush.com has switched away from Windows to FreeBSD:
whereas johnkerry.com has been running Linux:
If only these important facts could have been surfaced before the final votes were cast.
The court case between SCO and IBM is an interesting one. SCO reminds me of certain kinds of people. You just know they are full of it, yet they piss you off and you sometimes just lack something to say in defense until later when you're steaming and like "man, I shoulda said blah..."
I hope someone writes a details book about this court case. I'd be interested to read how IBM defended themselves and about some of the psychology of the case plus the author's own insight.
What is really going on in the United States with President Bush at the wheel? Definitely read this PDF on a speech given by Al Gore entitled "Institutionalized Dishonesty in the Bush Administration". It's really worth taking the time to read!
Some hilights (typos are mine):
The kinds of unnatural, undemocratic activities in which this administration has engaged in order to aggrandize power have included censorship of scientific reports, manipulation of budgetary statistics, the silencing of dissent, the ignoring of intelligence. And although there have been other efforts by other presidents to encroach upon the legitimate prerogatives of Congress and the courts, there has never been this kind of persistent, systematic abuse of the truth and the institutionalization of dishonesty as a routine part of the policy process.
Moreover, in contrast, in sharp contrast to the courageous 93rd Congress that helped to save our country from Richard Nixon's sinister abuses, the current Congress, controlled by the president's party, has virtually abdicated its constitutional role to serve as an independent and coequal branch of government. Instead, this Republican-led Congress is content, for the most part, to take orders from the president on what to vote for and what to vote against. The Republican leaders of the House and Senate have even started blocking Democrats from attending conference committee meetings, where legislation takes its final form; and instead, they let the president's staff come to the meetings and write key parts of the laws for them.
First of all, more than 6,000 documents have been removed by the Bush administrations from governmental websites...
To muddy the clear concensus of the scientific community on global warming, the White House directed major changes and deletions to an EPA report -- changes that were so egregious that the agency said it was too embarassed to use the language insisted upon by the political employees at the White House.
And another example. When mass layoffs became too embarassing, this administration simply stopped publishing the regular layoff report that economists and others have been receiving for decades.
He [President Bush] will be seen as justified in acting to selectively suspend civil liberties, again on his personal discretion. He will continue to intimidate the press, and thereby distort the political reality experienced by the American people during his bid for reelection.
What we have now, however, is the result of decisions taken by a president and an administration for whom the best law is no law, so long as law threatens to constrain their political will. And when the constraints of law cannot be prevented or eliminated, then they maneuver it to be weakened by evasion, by delay, by hair-splitting, by obstruction and by failure to enforce on the part of those sworn to uphold the law.
As of June 23, 2004
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I don't agree with everything that Jerry Falwell says, but this letter struck a chord with me. I am passionately against partial birth abortion. I agree that a woman should have a right to abort within the first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy. After that, however, I fail to see the reasoning for late term abortion. It is unhuman, grisley, and is cold blooded murder in my books. That the law disagrees in the USA is mind blowing.
As Falwell says, more and more babies are being aborted because of simple defects like malformed feet, a cleft lip, etc. WTF? Talk about people being desensitized.
Do yourself a favour. If you don't yet know what partial birth abortion is, read up on it from the side opposed to it and I almost guarantee you will also be against it. Don't be fooled by proponent's using euphamisms to cover up the grusome nature of the procedure.
Date: June 4, 2004
From: Jerry Falwell
WE ARE LOSING GROUND IN THE ABORTION BATTLE
It is apparent that the culture of death is intensifying its
This week, a federal judge ruled that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
(PABA), which was signed into law by President Bush last November, is
unconstitutional. President Bush's signing of this important law came
Congress overwhelmingly passed the legislation. But since its signing,
PABA has been the target of hysterical abortion-rights groups that want
absolutely no limitations on that disingenuous catchphrase - "a woman's
right to choose."
Furthermore, a British study has revealed that growing numbers of women
becoming so calloused in terms of abortion that they are choosing to
their unborn children simply because they are discovered to have
problems such as Down's syndrome, malformed feet, and even cleft
lips/palates. The culture of abortion has brought about a sense of
fashion in terms of unborn babies; if the baby doesn't fit the parent's
desires, it is cast off like an out-of-style suit.
This week, Federal Judge Phyllis Hamilton predictably fell in line with
radical abortion-rights community when she ruled that the PABA
an "undue burden" on women seeking abortion. The Clinton appointee
PABA is "unconstitutionally vague" because it does not include a health
exception for women seeking a partial-birth abortion. Her ruling
for now 900 Planned Parenthood clinics which carry out such abortions.
Abortion-rights supporters want women to have the unregulated ability
determine that they need an abortion. A health exception in terms of
partial-birth abortion allows doctors to formulate any number of
reasons to call for abortion for a patient wanting one. A so-called
exemption would essentially render powerless the partial-birth abortion
Following Judge Hamilton's PABA ruling, Wendy Wright, senior policy
for Concerned Women for America said the judge was "pre-disposed" to
ruling. She also noted that the American Medical Association has said
especially barbaric type of abortion procedure is never medically
She said, "Judge Hamilton did not allow key, relevant testimony such as
pain felt by unborn babies and records that would prove that
abortions are never medically necessary."
Roberta Combs, president of Christian Coalition, added that "judicial
tyranny" was responsible for the ruling. Identifying the leftist
this judge, she highlighted the fact that Judge Hamilton "is the same
who (last year) allowed a San Francisco-area school district to force
children into 'becoming Muslims' for two weeks as part of their world
history unit on Islam."
Radical judicial activists like Judge Hamilton are imposing their own
of America on the nation. It is apparent that their perspectives on
and liberty are far different than most Americans, and certainly poles
from our Founders' beliefs.
Witnessing these types of irrational rulings makes clear the importance
electing a pro-life president who will place responsible judges on our
federal courts. I believe that a vote for a presidential candidate who
favors abortion rights is an outright betrayal of the unborn.
ABORTION AND THE DISABLED
According to 2002 statistics recently released by the Office for
Statistics in England and Wales, handicapped children in the womb are
the increasing risk of abortion. The organization found that abortion
Down's syndrome babies elevated 17 percent, from 690 in 2002 over 591
2001. In fact, the study found that more Down's babies were actually
aborted in 2002 than those that were born with the disease.
Nuala Scarisbrick of the British pro-life group LIFE said these
abortion statistics are troubling, especially to people who are living
fulfilled lives despite their disabilities.
"The message is being sent out to disabled people that they should not
been born," Ms. Scarisbrick said in a statement published on The Drudge
Learning of this report caused me to recall the book "Another Season,"
renowned football coach Gene Stallings who recounted the unexpected
blessings that came into his life through the life of his son Johnny,
has Down's syndrome. In addition, as a minister of a large church, I
frankly report that I am aware of countless parents who say they would
change a thing about their children born with disabilities.
The permissive culture of death has made it acceptable to simply kill
unborn baby that requires additional attention. What a tragically
perspective on life this is.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The most important thing that can be done is for pro-life Americans to
off of their couches and out of their church pews in order to become
proactive in terms of speaking out for the unborn.
Volunteer in a local home for unborn mothers, start a church-based
organization, bring pro-life speakers into area schools, call your
to encourage them to vote for pro-life legislation. And most
vote only for legislators and national leaders who revere life for the
unborn. Let's join together to take the momentum away from those who
contempt for the unborn!
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What I think it a major sore point for Linux:
What do you think?
Eeek! I don't like the new look of the user page at all. Especially how the moderation and # of comments is displayed. Hope Taco changes it.
On the vein of New Years Resolutions, I've been thinking about how productive my time on Slashdot is. Is it a complete waste of time? I think not, and here's why.
For one thing, spending time here has taught me to be more patient with rude people. I am now a little better at handling frustrating situations where sometimes people are trying to 'get my goat', or sometimes that is just the way they talk.
Second, it keeps me up to date with what's happening in a relatively short period of time, assuming I don't let myself get sucked in to the discussions too much. I don't usually listen to the news on television because it's almost always the same sad shit, plus zillions of commercials and slanting the news and rehashing the same few details. Slashdot and Google news are my prime sources. I let word of mouth be my source of other major news pieces.
Third, writing discussion items helps me to think more about my position on issues. I know some people are going to jump on what I say if I can't back it up or there are holes in my logic, so I think it through some more. That has helped me be a bit more articulate.
Fourth and finally, writing is something people get better at with practice. This is a great outlet for me to write and keep up my vocabulary and expressiveness. The art of language is fascinating because it is the single best way for us to communicate our thoughts. Without it, what would we do? That's why, to me, it is very important to be able to get my point across as clearly as possible. I'm still working on it, and practice makes perfect as they say.
So, I guess you can see that I'll be here in 2004! The one thing I watch is letting trolls get the best of me and wasting my time, and I also watch not to hit "reload" too often on the front page.
Has anyone else noticed there seems to be a lack of mod points given out on Slashdot in the last 2, 3 weeks? Maybe they're tweaking the algorithm.
I think they should make the number of mod points given out a function of the number of messages posted on the system. It has never seemed that that is the way it is geared.
Has anyone else ever created at login at ABC.com? I created one using a temp. account which had never received spams in probably a year, and all of a sudden I login and I have 18 spam emails! Be wary - good thing I didn't use one of my main accounts.
"The Truman Show" movie was basically about a guy who lived his entire life inside a virtual world where everyone was an actor and he was on television 24x7.
Imagine someone similar: an life guided by the decisions of "open source developers". That is, they make the decisions collectively, and the person executes those decisions. If it could be done, what kind of effects would you see? Would the decisions evolved into better decisions and make a better person out of the one executing the decisions? The "developers" would have to get a grasp of what the person is good at, and what talents need to be honed; what's necessary to be successful; long and short term goals; happiness; and so on.
What do you think?
One of my comments regarding what Time is that I think is interesting:
If we are just being "timesliced," then an outside observer could exist in the same time dimension, but that's a very strange and specific case, and it doesn't really address how time works anyway. (because you haven't examined the underlying time dimension at all.)
There is no time dimension: time is our perception of change. Our most accurate clocks are based on the rate of decay of an atom, or the rate of spin of an electron. A wind-up clock simply runs at a speed that we have determined will keep a reasonable account of time relative to other clocks. Time does not really exist - but it is useful for us to think of "time".
What does exist is change caused by the operation of our universe. Those outside our system could measure the number of cycles our universe has run for. It's a simple quantity.
The television stations complain that people who use commercial skip technology are thieves.
I disagree, but I'm not going to argue that point right now. I have a middle ground solution.
Why not employ technology that only skips a commercial if it is not the first time that commercial has been on? That way the viewer gets to see each unique commercial once (which should please the station), but doesn't have to grin and bear it through subsequent showings of the same commercial (which should please the viewer).
Technically, I don't think it would be that hard to do.
I've been thinking about how programmer time is more valuable than machine time and storage space for awhile now - since machines are so fast today with abundant storage space. In an article by Paul Graham, this paragraph sums it up pretty well:
"What programmers in a hundred years will be looking for, most of all, is a language where you can throw together an unbelievably inefficient version 1 of a program with the least possible effort. At least, that's how we'd describe it in present-day terms. What they'll say is that they want a language that's easy to program in.
Inefficient software isn't gross. What's gross is a language that makes programmers do needless work. Wasting programmer time is the true inefficiency, not wasting machine time. This will become ever more clear as computers get faster."
Should the resolution have been abandoned? Has diplomacy now taken a back seat to military action? What is your reaction to the ever increasing threat of war?
Please see the BBC news website to make your comments heard.