RSS Bandwidth Problem already solved?
Sep 11, 2004

RSS Bandwidth is coming up again, as I said it would almost exactly a year ago. As I laid out in that post, and to review today, there are(/were) two basic problems:

  1. The entire RSS file is transferred on every request.
  2. There is only on source for an RSS file, and no matter how svelte you make a request for an RSS file on the network, eventually you will take down the server and eat through tons of bandwidth in a world where millions of people may ask for a file every hour.

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New Guard Documents Forgeries
Sep 09, 2004

People are cautiously dancing around declaring the new Bush documents forgeries. I feel no such compulsion. This is absolute, positive proof. No question. It is utterly inconceivable that anything in 1973 would match the default Microsoft Word document of 2004, letter for letter, automatic superscript for automatic superscript, kern for kern (particularly impossible). The probabilities boggle the mind. The minor discrepencies are clearly artefacts of the aging process or deliberate smudging.

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Aug 27, 2004

Reading this article somewhat indirectly prompts me to wonder how far the protesters are going to go in New York.

It makes me think some of the "radical" protesting ideas, like splitting everybody into groups of ten and taking as many street corners as possible may be the only sane thing for the protesters to do, because I think "mob mentality" is going to be the greatest danger to the protesters there is.

Protesting a convention already makes me nervous; you may think you are protesting policy but it looks an awful lot like you are protesting the democratic process, which I would consider an act of war. You do not have the right to "correct" the choices of the rest of us through the use of violence. If violence occurs, that I will be forced to conclude that the violence is against the democratic process and we will be fully justified in calling it what it is: Terrorism. Violence applied because you did not get your way in the legitimate democratic process. Not a stretch of the word at all.

To the protesters I would say: You walk a thin line. Be sure that nothing you do can be construed as an attack on the democratic process itself, a danger you already face by having these ill-advised protests anyhow. I know for a fact many of you already are enemies of democracy anyhow. Do not fall for the temptation of turning that animosity into action. I strongly recommend that you re-study your own history of non-violent protests. Ghandi and King both knew that only non-violence would work for them, not just for ethical reasons but also because an attempt at violence would only beget even more violence in return. Peaceful sit-ins need to be your model.

Update: This post was hard to write but I felt I needed to get it out. I'm not sure I got the tone right. For the record, this is intended to convey worriedness and nervousness, not a threat. Violence will hurt the leftists most of all, but taking down the civility level of the public discourse hurts us all.

Aug 19, 2004

I've got a lot of big writing projects going on right now, and that is sapping my desire to post here.

But I did want to share one interesting link I found while working on one of them: Reflections on Relativity. It is a free, online book covering relativity (not just Einsteinian but also pre-Einstein conceptions), in a highly mathematical fashion that manages not to be so drenched in equations as to be incomprehensible without serious study, an extremely delicate balance.

I've only worked my way up to about page 58 of a ~600 page book, but even if I never make it past the first chapter I think it is worthwhile.

The book, at least to this point, has mostly just needed an understanding of calculus, but it is an intensely mathematical treatment in terms of how it approaches the subject methodically, building up from the bottom. Worth a try, if the subject interests you and the usual simplified-to-the-point-of-wrongness explanations are tiring.

Slashdot: Are we alone in the Universe?
Aug 06, 2004

Slashdot points to a CNN article that has been justly taken apart for falling prey to a biased sample fallacy; we are currently only capable of detecting planets in close solar systems such that the planets we can detect preclude the formation of planets conducive to life as we know it. (The gas giants we can detect are too close to their respective stars to even have a habitable moon, as I understand it.) Ergo, of all the solar systems we have detected planets in, 100% of them are unsuitable for life.

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