summer of the SHARK!
Jun 25, 2006

It looks like they're trying for another "Summer of the Shark!" journalistic feeding frenzy again.

They haven't really been able to push a Summer of the Shark through since 9/11, for obvious reasons.

Don't you think these journalists would wake up one day and ask themselves, "Is this what I went to journalism school for? So I could try to jam yet another Summer of the Shark down the public's throat?"

Pathetic. If there was some sort of meaningful risk posed by the sharks, or if there really were some summers that were way, way worse than others, maybe it'd be news. But there isn't, there aren't, and it's pathetic.

Domain Swiping
Apr 24, 2006

There have been some accusations made lately about "domain swiping". "Domain swiping" refers to the following sequence of events:

  1. You go to a Domain Name Registrar to check to see if your desired domain name is available. They say it is.
  2. You go away to think about whether you really want it.
  3. You come back in two or three days and check again, only to find out it's been taken and now if you can get it at all, you'll need to pay inflated prices. Presumably this is some rare domain name that you can expect a speculator didn't register in the meantime.

It occurred to me after reading about this that it may have happened to me. As I was deciding whether to buy (and this is back when domain names were a respectable chunk of change to a college student, not $10 like today), I looked several times, when "suddenly" it was gone, and I had to settle for for a long time was just a solicitation to buy the name, which I believe changed hands once, with the last owner actually soliciting me directly. Only in this last year is it now some sort of real site. (It's some sort of site for a particular high-school re-union, so I don't suggest following that link; I just mention it to show it's not a parked domain anymore.)

However, since we're talking about a pronouncable (if meaningless in English) four-letter domain name, it's hard to prove anything. I'm lucky to have gotten a four-letter .org.

I decided to test this a few days ago. I went to GoDaddy and queried Currently it is unregistered, and it has been for the last four days now. If there is somebody or several somebodies out there grabbing domain queries as they go buy, it's not an automated process.

Of course, now that I've made my query public, who knows if some joker will register it. (But I "nofollow"ed the link, so don't get too excited. :) )

Apr 22, 2006

I've come to realize that this isn't a "blog" in any meaningful sense. I just don't update it enough. It's more a website that happens to have an RSS feed if you care.

So as blogs go, this site is fairly poorly linked.

Nevertheless, I periodically check Technorati, just in case. I'm sometimes surprised. But at least as of this writing, the top three hits are clearly spam blogs. What I find most odd is how they pluck postings not from my current feed, but from the distant past. This is probably to foil the easiest countering methodology, which would be noticing certain blogs that just clone other blogs. (In that case, regardless of whether they are spam or legitimate aggregators, you probably don't want them in your Technorati results, if you're Technorati.)

Read the rest (598 words)

Apr 03, 2006

I've long believed that unless the Democrats really change something, they are likely to be marginalized, while the Republicans will split in two, with the two pieces dividing the remnants of the Democrats in some way until the natural near-50/50 equilibrium of our system is restored.

Something's going to trigger that, but I don't think immigration is going to be it. If an issue doesn't come close to splitting the party 50/50, then the Republicans will just follow the issue. I don't think Republican voters are anywhere near 50/50 on this. The third party will be offered some concession, and stripped of their major issue (if it's immigration), they'll take it unless they're stupid.

Money talks, but ultimately only because it can buy votes. While the Congressional Republicans may feel like they can tell their constituency to take a long walk off the short pier at the moment, if they truly have to choose between re-election and continued support from the pro-illegal-immigration interests, re-election will win handily.

I still think it's the fiscal conservatives and the libertarians that are more likely to break off.

I'm also not convinced that "supporting a third party" is a very good strategy for the Democrats either, regardless of the third party's platform. By definition, this third party's platform will be non-Democratic. The Democrats will be balancing on the razor's edge between "weakening the Republicans enough to win" and "creating two viable American political parties that aren't Democratic", making them the third wheel in a system extremely strongly biased towards two dominant parties. It's only appealing if you ignore the fact that there's a real possibility of complete loss.

Update April 14: Of course, that opinion is predicated on the idea that the Republicans would wake up at some point and smell the rebellion in their base. If that's going to happen they sure are taking their sweet time about it.

Coming from the other side, there's the Euston Manifesto, which I basically see as some people who think of themselves as Left waking up and realizing that an awful lot of the issues that currently belong to "the Right" really belong to them, historically speaking; right now, the "Classical Liberals", which I consider myself to be, aren't completely at home on "the Right" or "the Left" right now. At the moment they are more at home on the right, but that's anomalous.

Whether or not a third party does well in 2008 is entirely in the elected Republican's hands right now. If they wake up, then they may come away yet stronger. If they don't, then a third party in 2008 is a real possibility. And you know what? People talk as if the third party is an automatic Republican spoiler. I say, Perot really didn't lose by that much in absolute terms. I say the third party can win, if they play their cards right.

Personally, I'm all in favor of that, because if the third party comes out based on the current political fault lines, I will be far more aligned with it than either Republican or Democrat. Might even be motivated to do some volunteering for it, something I'd really never dream of with either current party.

Quantum Trickery in the New York Times
Dec 28, 2005
This fall scientists announced that they had put a half dozen beryllium atoms into a "cat state."

No, they were not sprawled along a sunny windowsill. To a physicist, a "cat state" is the condition of being two diametrically opposed conditions at once, like black and white, up and down, or dead and alive.

These atoms were each spinning clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time. Moreover, like miniature Rockettes they were all doing whatever it was they were doing together, in perfect synchrony. Should one of them realize, like the cartoon character who runs off a cliff and doesn't fall until he looks down, that it is in a metaphysically untenable situation and decide to spin only one way, the rest would instantly fall in line, whether they were across a test tube or across the galaxy.

"Metaphysically untenable situation" ought to become a technical term in the world of quantum mechanics; cute phrase.

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