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Topics - quadz

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Science / The Ye Science Thread
« on: December 19, 2008, 08:39:17 PM »
Greetings, Salutations, and Benificent Quantum Entanglements!

My wife forwarded me these illustrations this evening.  I thought they were too awesome not to post...
(I don't know where these originated, but I'm happy to credit the original author if anyone knows?)

On a related note, here's a link to the badass 1977 Powers of Ten movie by Ray and Charles Eames:

Also, this is one of the most freakishly fractally awesome things I've seen...

"One is only micrometers wide. The other is billions of light-years across. One shows neurons in a mouse brain. The other is a simulated image of the universe...."

. . .

Feel free to post and discuss random and awesome science-y stuff!


Tech Junkie Lounge / windows vs. linux system call complexity
« on: December 18, 2008, 12:31:12 AM »

This has long been my intuition about windows vs. linux from a programmer's perspective... but it's amazing to see it visually!


Both images are a complete map of the system calls that occur when a web server serves up a single page of html with a single picture. The same page and picture. A system call is an opportunity to address memory. A hacker investigates each memory access to see if it is vulnerable to a buffer overflow attack. The developer must do QA on each of these entry points.  The more system calls, the greater potential for vulnerability, the more effort needed to create secure applications.

The first picture is of the system calls that occur on a Linux server running Apache. According to Netcraft this is pretty much the most common web server configuration on the Internet.

The second image is of a Windows Server running IIS, Microsoft's web server application.

Image: Linux / Apache System Calls Graph

Image: Windows Server / IIS System Calls Graph


/dev/random / Letterbox vs. Pan & Scan
« on: December 15, 2008, 05:57:53 PM »
[Spoiler Alert: If you don't already know the ending of the original Planet of the Apes, this post will spoil it, so be warned...]


So... I DVR'd the original Planet of the Apes the other night from a commercial-free movie channel. (Encore, I believe.)

I have gotten used to expecting these charlatans chopping up movies to make them "fit the screen"... but it still pisses me off every time.

As goofy as Planet of the Apes is, it's still one of my favorite top 5 or 10 movie endings ever.  Look what these disgraceful hacks did to the movie.

Here's the original:

Here's the Pan & Scan version.  (And yes, they actually made it start at the right and "pan" over and stop at this frame below... and the "pan" is very linear and stops abruptly, unlike what a camera operator would do.)

...I mean, sure, there plenty of more substantial things in the world to be outraged by.  But that said, I hate Pan & Scan.  And yet I've actually spoken with people who claim to prefer it to letterbox.  (But then, they seemed to believe letterbox "cut off" the top and bottom of the movie, so.... I mean... Uh...  :exqueezeme: )


So here's a vitally important poll on the subject! ;)



Bishop of Pretoria Joe Seoka called on churches to pray for his removal, South African Press Association reports.

His comments came as the US ambassador to Zimbabwe warned that the country was turning into a "failed state".

On Thursday, Mr Mugabe said a deadly cholera outbreak had been stopped, as aid workers warned it was worsening.

He said Western powers were plotting to use cholera as an excuse to invade and overthrow him.

The World Health Organization says the outbreak has not been contained and the death toll has increased to 792 people, reports the AFP news agency.

The UK minister for Africa Lord Mark Malloch-Brown said he did not know which world Mr Mugabe was living in.

However, Mr Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said the president's comments had been "sarcasm".

The WHO has warned that the total number of cases could reach 60,000 unless the epidemic was stopped.

US ambassador James McGee blamed the outbreak on Zimbabwe's political crisis and the failed economic policies of its government.

He told reporters in Washington that hospitals in Harare remained closed, there was no rubbish collection and people were drinking from sewers.

President Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been deadlocked in power-sharing negotiations for several months.

"The situation is truly grim. One man and his cronies - Robert Mugabe - are holding this country hostage," Mr McGee said, AP news agency reports.

Bishop Seoka said that Mr Mugabe was a "person seemingly without conscience or remorse, and a murderer".

"I believe it is now an opportune moment for all the church leaders to follow the retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, to call on God to cause the removal Mugabe from the office of the President of Zimbabwe," he said, calling for the prayers to be held next Tuesday.

"The church in South Africa has done this before with the apartheid regime and there is no doubt that God will hear our prayers even today."

So how does that work?  God hasn't been paying attention to all the people dying so far, and the focused prayers of the clergy are required to get God's attention?  Or is it that God has been watching the people dying so far, but won't lift a finger to help until some of the mammals start rattling their cage more loudly?

Or what?



art, music, etc. / StSanders
« on: December 10, 2008, 11:39:41 PM »
Oh god...

Iron Maiden Shreds:

Yngwie Malmsteen Shreds:

Eddie Van Halen Shreds:

Steve Vai shreds in Denver:

Eric Clapton Shreds:

Metallica Shreds:

Joe Satriani Shreds:

... it gets old, i'm sure, but i was laughing my ass off at some of it...

:purpleshock: :WTF: :bananaw00t: :eyecrazy: :dohdohdoh: :ban:

art, music, etc. / Far Beyond The Sun
« on: December 10, 2008, 03:41:29 PM »

While I'm not some raging Malmsteen fan, I've always respected his talent for arpeggios. :bananaw00t:

And I've always kinda liked this song...

I found about a dozen attempts by various individuals on youtube to play it, but here's a guy who... in the immortal words of Taylor from Planet of the Apes, ... Finally, Really Did It.

:ubershock: :)

This op-ed piece appeared in yesterday's paper
yesterday's paper:

A way to keep marriage holy and sacred

By Roy Dixon
December 4, 2008

On election night, I was in Memphis, Tenn., attending the 101st Annual Holy Convocation of the Church of God in Christ. A little after 10 p.m., I was returning to the Marriott Hotel and while in the elevator, I heard a loud roar, thunderous applause and great rejoicing.

When the door of the elevator opened, the sound was even louder, almost deafening. Someone shouted, “They just declared Obama the next president of the United States.” I personally rejoiced at this historic event because what had just happened was something I thought I would not see in my lifetime.

After the initial celebrating and speeches had ceased, my thoughts turned to my home state of California to find what was happening, especially regarding Proposition 8. I had worked hard to get it passed and had no way of getting information on the issue that evening.

The next morning, the national news picked up the fact that Proposition 8 was leading and later that it won 52 percent to 48 percent. Then came the angry response from the opposition being expressed in many ways. I asked myself, “If the results were reversed, would we have reacted in the same manner?” The answer is, “NO!”

In 2000, voters passed Proposition 22 with 61 percent of the vote cast, which changed the California Family Code to formally define marriage in this state as between a man and a woman. In 2004, same-sex marriages were performed, which were subsequently judicially annulled. Eventually, this led to a decision announced on May 15, 2008, of the California Supreme Court, which by a 4-3 vote struck down Proposition 22.

I realize that being a senior citizen, I might be missing something and do not understand the present generation.

So, I sought the help of an 18-year-old student to express what I have taught as a pastor and his belief on the subject of same-sex marriage. His response:

“I do not support same-sex marriage and homosexuality. I believe God wants us to keep marriage holy and sacred, between one man and one woman. In the Bible, it states that 'homosexuality is an abomination.' (Leviticus 18:22)”.

Yet, that does not mean we don't want homosexuals to come to our church. We welcome them because all of us have fallen short of the glory of God. God loves all those he created. He does not hate gays, and neither does the church. God is just displeased with the behavior because homosexuality is a sin and against his will.

The Lord loves all of us because we are his children. We are the sheep, and he is the shepherd. When we sin, we stray away from the Christian “flock.” Although once we are found, God welcomes his sheep back with a loving heart and open arms. The church welcomes those who have sinned. “What would the church be if there were no sinners?”

Certainly not perfect because nothing or no one is perfect. Except Jesus. He is perfect, and he wants to love us all and take care of us in the perfect kind of way.

Proposition 8 is not discrimination. It is a way to keep marriage holy and sacred the way God intended. Have you seen a “gay” restroom? A “gay” water fountain? A “gay” waiting room? Have you even heard of a “gay” person being lynched in the news recently? No, because those things that I named are true issues of discrimination.

Homosexuality is not a race, gender, religion issue. It's about choice and behavior. Everyone has encountered discrimination, because of the way they are shaped, the way they talk or even the color of their skin. Homosexuals were not born that way. They choose to like the same sex.

God has a plan for all of us, and we should not hinder or look away from that plan. He wants the best for us. Proposition 8 is God's will. He is the father, and every father has rules. Fathers make rules because they love their children. And children should obey the rules their fathers have given them.

As a pastor of 23 years, I believe the principles of the Bible, and I will continue to use it as my guide.
* Bishop Dixon is pastor of the Faith Chapel Church of God in Christ in San Diego.

Okay then.

Question number one: How can anyone cite Leviticus as an exemplificiation of 'what God intended' when Leviticus is chock full of tribal dogma that people conveniently ignore?

Question number two: "They choose to like the same sex" ... As gays point out, they can indeed choose not to have sex.  Just as heterosexuals can choose not to have sex.  But can you choose who you're attracted to?



Religion, and the Changing Moral Zeitgeist / The Complete Book of Leviticus
« on: December 05, 2008, 10:48:28 PM »

Ran across this today.  Part of a series called, "blogging the bible: What's really in the Good Book."

These three columns focus on the biblical book of Leviticus.

Proof That God Loves Bald Men! (1)
The Most Glorious Chapter in the Bible (2)
Leviticus on Slavery (3)

My parents and I read the whole King James version of the Bible together a couple times when I was a kid (in addition to daily reading of selected non-sequential passages.)

Anyway, it's been interesting to become reacquainted with the tribal primitivism espoused in this book.  (Dim awareness of communicable diseases leading to edicts about numerous things which were 'unclean' including menstruating women, who, if they sat on something, it also became 'unclean', and if anyone else sat on that thing they were also now unclean... Such uncleanless could naturally be assuaged by a variety of specific animal sacrifies...)

The King James version of Leviticus is available online here:;&version=9;




(SAN ANTONIO) A man who rammed his truck into a woman's vehicle on a highway early Friday told authorities he crashed into her while going more than 100 mph because God told him "she needed to be taken off the road."

The truck rear-ended the car on U.S. Highway 281, both vehicles spun across a median then came to a stop along a barrier in the opposite lanes. Both drivers suffered only minor injuries.

"He just said God said she wasn't driving right, and she needed to be taken off the road," Bexar County Sheriff's Office spokesman Kyle Coleman said in the online edition of the San Antonio Express-News. "God must have been with them, 'cause any other time, the severity of this crash, it would have been a fatal."

The pickup driver did not tell police how the woman was driving. Police could not find alcohol or drugs in either driver.

A psychiatric evaluation has been ordered for the man.


Tech Junkie Lounge / French court green lights lawsuits against P2P vendors
« on: November 17, 2008, 06:13:24 PM »

Wow... so the developers of open source P2P software can now be sued... (including SourceForge, just for hosting the code for the app!!!)


Politics / The Authoritarians
« on: November 10, 2008, 12:27:12 AM »

I have put up an online version of a 22 question survey, which was published in Bob Altemeyer's book, The Authoritarians.

Click here to Take The Survey.

Bob Altemeyer has spent decades engaged in the scientific study of authoritarianism.

I've only finished the introduction and first chapter of The Authoritarians so far, but I'm finding it a thought-provoking read.  Of the numerous examples of studies on authoritarianism touched on so far in the first chapter, I'll quote a lengthy example at the end of the chapter I thought folks here might enjoy:

Quote from: The_Authoritarians__by__Bob_Altemeyer
Right-Wing and Left-Wing Authoritarian Followers

Authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their
society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people
have historically been the “proper” authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled,
customary leaders, and that means a lot to most authoritarians. Psychologically these
followers have personalities featuring:

    1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in
    their society;
    2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
    3) a high level of conventionalism.

Because the submission occurs to traditional authority, I call these followers right-wing
authoritarians. I’m using the word “right” in one of its earliest meanings, for in
Old English “riht”(pronounced “writ”) as an adjective meant lawful, proper, correct,
doing what the authorities said.1

[...skip to end of chapter...]

Unauthoritarians and Authoritarians: Worlds of Difference

By now you must be developing a feel for what high RWAs think and do, and
also an impression of low RWAs.23 Do you think you know each group well enough
to predict what they’d do if they ran the world? One night in October, 1994 I let a
group of low RWA university students determine the future of the planet (you didn’t
know humble researchers could do this, did you!). Then the next night I gave high
RWAs their kick at the can.

The setting involved a rather sophisticated simulation of the earth’s future
called the Global Change Game, which is played on a big map of the world by 50-70
participants who have been split into various regions such as North America, Africa,
India and China. The players are divided up according to current populations, so a lot
more students hunker down in India than in North America. The game was designed
to raise environmental awareness, 24 and before the exercise begins players study up
on their region’s resources, prospects, and environmental issues.

Then the facilitators who service the simulation call for some member, any
member of each region, to assume the role of team leader by simply standing up. Once
the “Elites” in the world have risen to the task they are taken aside and given control
of their region’s bank account. They can use this to buy factories, hospitals, armies,
and so on from the game bank, and they can travel the world making deals with other
Elites. They also discover they can discretely put some of their region’s wealth into
their own pockets, to vie for a prize to be given out at the end of the simulation to the
World’s Richest Person. Then the game begins, and the world goes wherever the
players take it for the next forty years which, because time flies in a simulation, takes
about two and a half hours.

The Low RWA Game

By carefully organizing sign-up booklets, I was able to get 67 low RWA
students to play the game together on October 18th . (They had no idea they had been
funneled into this run of the experiment according to their RWA scale scores; indeed
they had probably never heard of right-wing authoritarianism.) Seven men and three
women made themselves Elites. As soon as the simulation began, the Pacific Rim
Elite called for a summit on the “Island Paradise of Tasmania.” All the Elites attended
and agreed to meet there again whenever big issues arose. A world-wide organization
was thus immediately created by mutual consent.

Regions set to work on their individual problems. Swords were converted to
ploughshares as the number of armies in the world dropped. No wars or threats of
wars occurred during the simulation. [At one point the North American Elite
suggested starting a war to his fellow region-aires (two women and one guy), but they
told him to go fly a kite--or words to that effect.]

An hour into the game the facilitators announced a (scheduled) crisis in the
earth’s ozone layer. All the Elites met in Tasmania and contributed enough money to
buy new technology to replenish the ozone layer.

Other examples of international cooperation occurred, but the problems of the
Third World mounted in Africa and India. Europe gave some aid but North America
refused to help. Africa eventually lost 300 million people to starvation and disease,
and India 100 million.

Populations had grown and by the time forty years had passed the earth held 8.7
billion people, but the players were able to provide food, health facilities, and jobs for
almost all of them. They did so by demilitarizing, by making a lot of trades that
benefited both parties, by developing sustainable economic programs, and because the
Elites diverted only small amounts of the treasury into their own pockets. (The North
American Elite hoarded the most.)

One cannot blow off four hundred million deaths, but this was actually a highly
successful run of the game, compared to most. No doubt the homogeneity of the
players, in terms of their RWA scores and related attitudes, played a role. Low RWAs
do not typically see the world as “Us versus Them.” They are more interested in
cooperation than most people are, and they are often genuinely concerned about the
environment. Within their regional groups, and in the interactions of the Elites, these
first-year students would have usually found themselves “on the same page”--and writ
large on that page was, “Let’s Work Together and Clean Up This Mess.” The game’s
facilitators said they had never seen as much international cooperation in previous
runs of the simulation. With the exception of the richest region, North America, the
lows saw themselves as interdependent and all riding on the same merry-go-round.

The High RWA Game

The next night 68 high RWAs showed up for their ride, just as ignorant of how
they had been funneled into this run of the experiment as the low RWA students had
been the night before. The game proceeded as usual. Background material was read,
Elites (all males) nominated themselves, and the Elites were briefed. Then the
“wedgies” started. As soon as the game began, the Elite from the Middle East
announced the price of oil had just doubled. A little later the former Soviet Union
(known as the Confederation of Independent States in 1994) bought a lot of armies
and invaded North America. The latter had insufficient conventional forces to defend
itself, and so retaliated with nuclear weapons. A nuclear holocaust ensued which
killed everyone on earth--7.4 billion people--and almost all other forms of life which
had the misfortune of co-habitating the same planet as a species with nukes.

When this happens in the Global Change Game, the facilitators turn out all the
lights and explain what a nuclear war would produce. Then the players are given a
second chance to determine the future, turning back the clock to two years before the
hounds of war were loosed. The former Soviet Union however rebuilt its armies and
invaded China this time, killing 400 million people. The Middle East Elite then called
for a “United Nations” meeting to discuss handling future crises, but no agreements
were reached.

At this point the ozone-layer crisis occurred but--perhaps because of the recent
failure of the United Nations meeting--no one called for a summit. Only Europe took
steps to reduce its harmful gas emissions, so the crisis got worse. Poverty was
spreading unchecked in the underdeveloped regions, which could not control their
population growth. Instead of dealing with the social and economic problems “back
home,” Elites began jockeying among themselves for power and protection, forming
military alliances to confront other budding alliances. Threats raced around the room
and the Confederation of Independent States warned it was ready to start another
nuclear war. Partly because their Elites had used their meager resources to buy into
alliances, Africa and Asia were on the point of collapse. An Elite called for a United
Nations meeting to deal with the crises--take your pick--and nobody came.
By the time forty years had passed the world was divided into armed camps
threatening each other with another nuclear destruction. One billion, seven hundred
thousand people had died of starvation and disease. Throw in the 400 million who
died in the Soviet-China war and casualties reached 2.1 billion. Throw in the 7.4
billion who died in the nuclear holocaust, and the high RWAs managed to kill 9.5
billion people in their world--although we, like some battlefield news releases, are
counting some of the corpses twice.

The authoritarian world ended in disaster for many reasons. One was likely the
character of their Elites, who put more than twice as much money in their own pockets
as the low RWA Elites had. (The Middle East Elite ended up the World’s Richest
Man; part of his wealth came from money he had conned from Third World Elites as
payment for joining his alliance.) But more importantly, the high RWAs proved
incredibly ethnocentric. There they were, in a big room full of people just like
, and they all turned their backs on each other and paid attention only to
their own group. They too were all reading from the same page, but writ large on their
page was, “Care About Your Own; We Are NOT All In This Together.”

The high RWAs also suffered because, while they say on surveys that they care
about the environment, when push comes to shove they usually push and shove for the
bucks. That is, they didn’t care much about the long-term environmental consequences
of their economic acts. For example a facilitator told Latin America that converting
much of the region’s forests to a single species of tree would make the ecosystem
vulnerable. But the players decided to do it anyway because the tree’s lumber was
very profitable just then. And the highs proved quite inflexible when it came to birth
control. Advised that “just letting things go” would cause the populations in
underdeveloped areas to explode, the authoritarians just let things go.

Now the Global Change Game is not the world stage, university students are not
world leaders, and starting a nuclear holocaust in a gymnasium is not the same thing
as launching real missiles from Siberia and North Dakota. So the students’ behavior
on those two successive nights in 1994 provides little basis for drawing conclusions
about the future of the planet. But some of what happened in this experiment rang true
to me. I especially thought, “I’ve seen this show before” as I sat on the sidelines and
watched the high RWAs create their very own October crisis.

Feel free to post your RWA scores...

My own RWA score was 24.... so I guess I'm an extremist.  :dohdohdoh:



0x1337c0de / OO Design Principles
« on: November 03, 2008, 01:17:53 PM »

0x1337c0de / OpenGL 3.0
« on: October 27, 2008, 09:16:18 PM »

So NVIDIA's beta drivers for OpenGL 3.0 were recently released...

And I'm way out of the loop on where OpenGL is headed these days... so I was reading these slides giving an overview of new features, deprecated features:

And slide #9 says that "Begin/End based rendering" is now deprecated.  I didn't realize there was an alternative to Begin/End based rendering in OpenGL. 

Anyone know more about this?  What's the preferred way to render these days?



/dev/random / Moral Orel - final season
« on: October 13, 2008, 06:45:59 PM »
Just watched the 1st episode of the final season of Moral Orel ...

A deeply forlorn, hopelessly witheringly bleak ending, in the finest tradition of the show.  :bigshades:

The beginning and ending sequences of the episode were put to this song, and it fit perfectly:
(the youtube video is unrelated.. just the music was used)

(The episode, called "Numb", involves numerous plot points from season two, so I'm not sure how much sense it would make as a stand alone episode.)

Sad the show was cancelled, but at least there are a full season of 13 episodes left.



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