Stupid Students of Michigan State University upset that potential ban on public urination will affect the school's party status
Feb 01, 2005

I thank Fark for this link to my alumnus newspaper. Really gives me the warm fuzzies to see it show up on a site largely devoted to links that highlight stupidity in one form or another. I wanted to point this quote out:

English junior Jennifer Lee said she does not agree with the consequences of urinating in public and sees the act as harmless.

"It would affect the party scene at MSU," she said. "It happens on the weekend when people are intoxicated."

This is almost a canonical example of one of those articles where the journalist didn't really need to seek out an opposing opinion, just for the sake of having an opposing opinion; that's supposed to be more a loose guideline than iron-clad law. But congrats to Jennifer Lee, and here's wishing her a lucrative life as a talking head, which is probably about the best she can hope for with an English degree and now an established record of partying....

Jan 30, 2005

Interesting thought for solving the Democratic identity crisus, albeit completely infeasible:

This comes up because I just saw someone rooting for a "Republican filibuster-proof supermajority", and it occured to me that is basically the worst case scenario; the Democrats providing just enough opposition to hold the Republicans together, but not having enough power to accomplish anything themselves. I'd actually rather see the "Democrats" fold entirely, because remember those interests won't disappear into thin air; complete chaos may be preferable at this point to the current order.

I'm not really seriously proposing this, and I estimate the probability at a flat zero, lost in the margin of error. But it is interesting to consider.

Referrer spam half my bandwidth??? [update - nope] [update - false positives addressed]
Jan 27, 2005

A few days ago Alwin posted about his referrer spam and a solution he is using to at least cut it down. (Once the referrer spammers move on to it'll stop working, but hopefully they don't get that desperate, because hopefully they'll realize the pressures that drove email spammers to do that don't apply to them. But expecting intelligence from spammers has proven a futile endeavor.)

I went ahead and implemented it. To my great suprise, it seems to have cut my website bandwidth usage approximentally in half. Which bothers me; I had thought the spammers would use HEAD requests and not actually download the pages, as that would slow their referrer spamming way down. See parenthetical in paragraph one. I'll have to wait a few more days to be sure, but if so, this takes my bandwidth pressure off.

However, this measure is not without its casualties. The legitimate and non-porn weblog Caseyporn once linked to me, and now I've broken that link, because I've blocked "porn". (I tried a negative lookbehind assertion (?[less than]!casey)porn, but it looks like Apache doesn't support those, at least not the version I'm using. "Less-than" replaced to avoid screwing up double-unescaping aggregators.) But "porn" is in a lot of the garbage. Sorry, Casey, I'm not sure what to do.

I'm not sure off hand what a better solution is, but if half my bandwidth is referrer spam, I've definately got a real problem here so I need to use something. On a larger weblog, the referrer spam may be a neglible percentage, but the average weblog is quite small in traffic.

Update: Nope, that wasn't it. Turns out huge chunks of my site were missing due to a botched upload for boring technical reasons. I have restored my site and my bandwidth usage is back where it is.

Update 2-4-2005: An Anonymous Coward on Slashdot points me at how to unblock certain referrers. Thanks. "caseyporn" is now allowed again. You can get my htaccess if you want; that's a symlink so it'll stay updated as I update my own server.

Myth #5: "Liberal" and "Conservative" Have Some Sort Of Meaning
Jan 26, 2005

At this point in our political discourse, the terms "liberal" and
"conservative" are meaningless labels that for historical reasons are
applied to what they are applied to. They have no reliable
relationship to their historical meanings, or the meanings used in
other countries for the same terms.

Read the rest (1006 words)

Jan 25, 2005

I'm still buckled down with work, but financial stresses are getting stronger and stronger. I had thought that was why I wasn't posting much, that and the depression (not strong, but real) this has been causing me.

But today I got up "early" for a conferance call, and while waiting for it, I've posted more today than in the last month.

Maybe I'm not posting because mornings are my "posting" time and I've been sleeping through it? In the absence of a "real job", I tend towards a sleep schedule of 2 a.m. - 10 a.m.; this makes me comfortable and seems to maximize my useful programming time. Maybe 8a.m.-10a.m. are my best posting times, though.

I've noticed other thing about daily schedules. I should not code past midnight, with the possible exception of documentation (not really coding) or pure bug-fixes with unit-test support. Otherwise, I run the risk of accomplishing negative work; for every minute of work I gain I add more than a minute of new work later. For full-on, "in-the-zone" programming my best time is around 1p.m. through about 6p.m. to 7p.m. It is also when I am most distractable by the Internet, I think, and I need to be more diligent about yanking the plug or pulling the connection. (I wish there was a good way to get just important emails, while not being on IM (which I already use for work only), or having my aggregator or any other websites available. Unfortunately, anything I've tried to set up is too easy for me to bypass, because I have to make sure my wife can flip it off with a keypress. If she can, so can I. Bummer.)

It's worth learning these things, I think, because you can't power through them, they are real. The area I was raised in is dominated by immigrant Germans who had a very, very strong work culture; I think "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise" came from this culture. (I don't know that etymologically, but it sure is plausible.) Men don't cry, and don't let little things like broken bones stop them from working. That may be great for physical labor... well, taken too literally it isn't but the spirit is helpful... but it is counter-productive for mental work, even in spirit. Given that I can only sustain around six hours a day of all-out in-the-zone effort, I might as well try to use the six hours best for me.

As a result, I have found I am much more productive when I can set my own schedule than when someone tries to force me onto a 8-5, 40-hour a week schedule. If I need a nap at 1p.m., then by golly, you'd really better let me take it, or no matter how I try to just power through, you're going to get perhaps as little as 10% of what you could have gotten otherwise. (10% is not necessarily an exaggeration, either.) Current work cultures really don't work for such intensely mental pursuits. Programming isn't exceptional, it's just a clear example with well-documented disparities between maximum performance and minimum.

The moral of this story is, I suppose, sleep well.

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