Friday, March 30

Gettin Wordie wid'it (and more)

+ Found a cool, new social networking philologist site the other day and commented 26 times. Puts me in the top 10 commenters for this week. Anyway, it's called Wordie. I'm going to add my Wordie page under my picture. Fun!

+ And, from Wordie comes Ninjawords. 'A really fast dictionary... fast like a ninja.'

+ Probably the most prescriptively proper way to do an internet dash is ' -- ', ie space hyphen hyphen space. For my part, I think ' - ', space hyphen space, does the job. It's distinct enough from just a plain hyphen with no spaces. What do you think?

(Most likely answer: Nobody thinks about this stuff but me ;-)

+ Similarly, the most prescriptively proper way to write an ellipsis is ' . . . ', space period space period space period space. That seems like overkill to me. Even better would probably be the html code for an ellipsis, '&hellip', which produces … .

Note the most proper end of a sentence with an ellipsis: … .

Contrast that with typical ellipses ... and my own ellipses at the end of a sentence with no spaces and no extra period...

Seems like overkill to me. Look at the html. I've got some real, html special character ellipses in there. Is it worth it? Not in my judgment.

We professional writers think about this stuff ;-)

+ Of course, subsequently, it occurs to me that we can compare standard internet dashes ' -- ' with an html em dash, coded '&mdash': —

Pretty, yes. Worth it?

Don't even get me started on the almost non-existent difference between em dashes and en dashes ;-)

More complete view of the world from a song by Billy Joel

1. Sharing a drink they call loneliness
2. Drinking alone
3. Not drinking alone ;-)

Thursday, March 29

Theaters, swimming, passwords and the BA

+ Well, I was right about the Old Capitol Mall transitioning to UI control. But they're calling it 'University Capitol Centre'. Hey, James Bond. In America we spell 'Center' with 'er' at the end! ;-(

Anyway, the Campus 3 Theaters are closing.

That's kind of sad. Saw lots of movies there. Let's see: Man with One Red Shoe, Arachnophobia, Howard's End (with Christine pre-engagement :-), Lady and the Tramp, Cannonball Run, and ... tons of others I can't remember right now.

+ kottke points to these Google directions from NYC to Dublin which include:

23. Swim across the Atlantic Ocean   3,462 mi

Is this some kind of joke?

+ I found this guy's post very sobering:
How I'd Hack Your Weak Passwords. I knew my passwords weren't strong enough, but this spurred me to action. Took his advice: downloaded and installed Roboform.

+ Finally, for now, a comment I left over on Tom's weblog, copied here for your edification:

John C: you have a point. failure in Iraq will probably set back nation-building. however, Tom does not see it as a 'single point of failure' for his ideas.

Tom has been promoting Iraq solutions since before the invasion. he supported the war. but the Bush Administration has continually screwed up the peace, perhaps most of all because of their unwillingness to listen to anyone but themselves. the BA wouldn't listen to other nations in the run up, so we've had much less nation-building help. they wouldn't listen to Shinseki and we had far too few boots on the ground. fast forward to the Iraq Commission, and, perhaps most of all, the electorate.

so, the question should rather be, why hope for listening, solutions, even competence from this crowd? best to hamstring them for the rest of their term so they don't do something really stupid, like attack Iran.

Wednesday, March 28

Quick hits

I've had these links floating around for a couple days without time to write them up. So here they are, with very little commentary:

+ The Easter Bunny Hates You.

If you don't do anything else in response to this post, watch this video!

+ John McCain MySpace infringement and hack.

+ Divison II Basketball Championship... Barton vs. Winona St. Amazing finish via Matt.

+ defective yeti pans Superman fragrance for boys.

+ Man Dies After Recording Own [Meth] Addiction

+ Christopher Tolkien is publishing The Children of Hurin from his father's notes. I've got it on pre-order at Amazon. Comes out April 17th. I'm optimistic...

Sunday, March 25

Two links to collision detection

Mark is getting credited in the latest Wired based on a comment he left at the author's website. Congrats, Mark!

I found a couple of posts I liked over there.

1st is an article Clive had in the NYT quite a while ago. I may have even linked to it. It's about how celebrities look different in HD. Some look better. More look worse. The comments get more into what genres work best in HD. Sports is the big winner. I noticed this at my brother's house. The NFL playoffs were amazingly... HD. But then afterwards you see the press conference and Peyton's face looks pretty blotchy.

The 2nd post is about a guy who did an annual report on his own life with some crazy stats and high design . I think it's amazing and wish I would take the time to do something like it, in my own Seanish way ;-)

Ok, now I'm really going to take a break from this laptop ;-)

Great coaches [updated]

Speaking of Coach Wooden, I wonder if I could make a decent list of coaches I admire. From the outset I will even dare to rank them! ;-)
  1. John Wooden - The Standard.
  2. Dan Gable - Unbelievable success as an athlete and coach.
  3. Dean Smith
  4. Roy Williams
  5. Bill Walsh
  6. Mike Krzyzewski
  7. Bobby Stoops
  8. Tony Dungy
  9. Lute Olson - Hard to forgive Lute for going to Arizona, but still a good guy.
  10. Bill Belichick - Doesn't win any nice-guy awards, but amazingly successful in this era of parity, with an impressive legacy.
  11. Hayden Fry - I was always disappointed that Hayden didn't take the Hawkeyes farther - winning a Rose Bowl and contending for a national championship. But his legacy is amazing...
  12. Kirk Ferentz
  13. Tom Davis
Ok, how am I basing these rankings? I'm only ranking coaches I like, based on character and success.

I'm not really interested in debating these rankings with you. They're mine. But did I forget anyone?

Further, who are your favorite coaches and why?

Note on the update: Marshall mentioned Coach K in the comments, and I really should have included him.

Saturday, March 24

Coach Wooden

SI had a really nice article last week about Coach Wooden's first championship team (which I can't, for the life of me, find online). One little factoid for those of you keeping score at home:

Coach Wooden took over UCLA at 37. He was 53 when he won his first national title. And he wasn't focused on winning. He was focused on playing to potential.

Is it fair to call Coach Wooden a late bloomer? I think so. And here's to us late bloomers! ;-)

Thursday, March 22

One off

defective yeti carries this nice joke:

What do you call the sketchy math used by global warming alarmists?    

Al Gore-ithims!

(Note: technically, given the spelling of 'algorithms', the punch line should probably be 'Al Gore-ithms')

Monday, March 19

2 unimportant items

+ My buddy Kurt sent the video of Chris Rock's opening monologue from SNL last week. This is funny stuff (of course, I almost always think Chris Rock is funny). Road to the White House (an analysis of the current field of candidates with a long discourse on white women v. black men):

(Let me also throw the URL up here since Firefox and Blogger are giving me some sass. Sadly enough, it looks fine in IE :-(

+ Also, I just created, in an email to Christine, a new smiley: ;-(

The winking frown! 'I'm pretending to be sad.'

I know. This is genius.

Before I'd have to do a regular frown :-(

and then be like ;-)

(Just kidding! jk)

Now I've got'em in one emoticon baby!

(I am not saying no one else has ever done it. I'm sure someone has. But I never saw it. I came up with this out of my own brain, too! ;-)

Wednesday, March 14

More thoughts on climate...

... moving further afield.

This rambling post began with more climate heterodoxy: The Great Global Warming Swindle, BBC Channel 4 Documentary (74 minute video). I found it over at subadei's weblog after he commented on my Green SI post.

The Wikipedia article does a good job of summarizing the ideas behind this video and the critiques against it as propaganda. Sounds like some of the propaganda charges are probably true. A few ideas:
  • One big problem with global warming theory: Trying to clamp down on CO2 emissions stunts development in parts of world that need it the most, after we have already developed using those technologies. Leapfrogging is something else...
  • Could weather and climate be more closely tied to solar activity?
  • Also, they say that cosmic rays, solar wind, and cloud formation could be critical.
Here's the 'further afield', into the philosophical part.

Could part of the presupposition of catastrophic global warming and climate change be our modern tendency to overestimate the impact of humans?

I use the term 'modern' advisedly, in the philosophical sense, evoking the Enlightenment and philosophical thought before Post-modernism.

Back in the Enlightenment, Erasmus said 'Man is the measure of all things'. See?

I also want to revisit a comment I have made before. The Post-modern critique has not substantially penetrated the scientific community. You still find very modern ideas over there about the nature of truth and the capability of humans to understand and master and control our world. Time and again as I read science fiction by scientists or read scientific journalism I come across 'modern' thinking.

Remember, I'm not arguing for Post-modern thinking. I'm arguing for thinking that takes into account both Modernism and the very effective Post-modern critique.

Something else I'm always arguing for: civility. Let's find a place we can meet in the center. If the scientific community has truly concluded that humans are contributing to global warming, great. Where is the place for scientific, civil dissent? Scientists who believe in global warming should not shout down civil questions. The scientific method does not admit politics or rhetoric.

In our emerging global culture with massive, instant communication we have become used to polarized, sound bite attacks. This isn't debate. It's almost always preaching to the choir. Neither Al Franken nor Ann Coulter are trying to convert anyone on the other side. They're trying to mobilize and entertain and sell to their own base (and maybe convert some people in the middle). People like this only degrade the debate.

So, on the issue of climate, does An Inconvenient Truth help us? I don't think so. Al's being a politician and Al's being a pundit. He's not trying to be objective. he's not trying to foster debate. In the same way, vehement, polemical climate warming deniers don't help the debate. Ridicule of the other 'side' does not foster dialogue.

Of course, all of these same principles hold true in the Creation/Evolution debate.

Can there be meaningful dialogue between avowed positions in climate and Creation/Evolution? I don't know. At least in the latter debate, the presuppositions are so different. I believe there's a God who created and acts and they believe that presupposition is out of bounds. Hard to dialogue from there. In this case, we're probably only trying to win converts from among the unconverted in the middle, not from the other side.

But I still don't think rhetoric and incivility are fair play. I don't care what anybody else, on either side, does. I'm not going to play that way or listen to anyone who does.

Tuesday, March 13

Does green make sense for SI? [updated]

The Sports Illustrated cover story this week is global warming. Ugh.

Flame on!

Objections in sequence:

1. What's the carbon footprint of sports? Add up the arenas, the travel of teams and fans. Etc.

Or, put it another way: How many resources, not to mention dollars, are essentially wasted on sports? You know, if you want to get down to the 'redeeming social value of spectator sports 'level?

- Granted, the oceans may rise one meter in the next 100 years. That would be a bad thing. But they might not. And maybe we can stop it. The human race is pretty resourceful that way. Overpopulation? Found new resources that put the nails in Malthus' coffin. Nuclear destruction? Everyone kept their cool.

Solar shade. Seed the clouds. Something else. It could happen. I think it will...

2. Please give me a break about golf courses. You cite one golf course that's gone green in Ohio. I can cite you 100 in Arizona with a couple of minutes' work that are not much more useful than a massive waste of fresh water.

3. Everyone's answer: buy more efficient light bulbs. Oh, and contribute to charity X, along with these celebrities. For example:

Join tennis and swimming stars John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova , Jim Courier, Janet Evans, Aaron Peirsol and others, who are signing on as ambassadors to provide clean water to developing nations with the Global Water Foundation.

This really chaps me. What percentage of their time and money are they giving to this foundation? Would it equal, by percentage, my hundred dollar check?

Example from something I love myself: 'This NFL player can't drive all of these people around, so could you please help the United Way?'

What a bunch of crap! Same question: 'What percentage...'

This statistic doesn't lie: wealthy people give less, as a percentage of their income, than poorer people. Bottom line.

Last example in this section: We're on the Disney Cruise and there's some deal about Disney's commitment to the environment and how they've given $10 million to...

Back up: $10 million! Who cares? That's a drop in the bucket for them! I'm not even going to dignify that statistic be looking up what they made last year!

Light bulbs and charities are little, almost negligible, answers when big answers are needed by and for the people who are really doing the damage!

Sure, fight global warming. Go for it. But do it in a way that makes sense. These suggestions are asinine.


Jason emailed me with some comments and corrections, so let me add 'em:

1. NASCAR! I meant to put it in! How on Earth could I forget it? NASCAR/NHRA/etc. Enough said!

2. Had to correct my 'sites' to 'cites'. Duh. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? ;-)

Monday, March 12

Athlete's electric championships

+ Sports Illustrated had an Athlete's Bill of Rights in their last issue. I'd like to post it and link it and talk about it. Why in the world can't I find it on their site or anywhere else. Can you?

+ Remember the last time I quipped about Al Gore's carbon footprint? Ward Carroll has the info on what electricity usage is at Casa de Gore (and it ain't small).

+ Wartburg got 2nd at the D3 National Wrestling Championships last week.

Back from vacation

To celebrate my new job, we took a Disney Cruise. It was a good trip.

I will have a few more things to say about this later. For now, I'll just link to Christine's pix and commentary.

Monday, March 5

Mihai Parparita is a genius!

Mihai Parparita has written 6 Greasemonkey scripts for Gmail.

If you use Gmail a lot, or if you'd like to use it better, you need Mihai's Macros script, at a minimum.

I'm in love again.

This is the stuff I've been wishing for in Gmail.

No brainer: Mihai works on the Google Reader team. Why in the world doesn't the Gmail team integrate these commands?!

Here are the normal Gmail keyboard shortcuts:

"C*" : "Compose",
"/" : "Search",
"Q" : "Quick contacts",
"J/K" : "Move to an older/newer conversation",
"N/P" : "Next/Previous message",
"<Enter>" : "Open*, expand/collapse, press button",
"U" : "Return to the conversation list",
"Y" : "Archive/remove from current view",
"X" : "Select a conversation",
"S" : "Star a message or conversation",
"!" : "Report Spam!",
"R*" : "Reply",
"A*" : "Reply All",
"F*" : "Forward"

Here are Mihai's enhancements:

"H" : "What are the keyboard commands?",
"T" : "Trash conversation(s)",
"E" : "ArchivE conversations(s) (always)",
"R" : "Mark conversation(s) as Read",
"Z" : "Mark conversation(s) as unread (vs. Ctrl+Z undo)",
"D" : "Discard (read & archive) conversation(s)",
"O" : "Expand/collapse all messages in a conversation",

"V" : "PreView a conversation
(requires Gmail Conversation Preview)",

"G+label" : "Go to label (including inbox/starred/trash/etc.)",
"L+label" : "Label conversation(s) as label",
"B+label" : "Remove label from conversation(s)",

"-X+key" : "Select " +
"A - All, " +
"N - None, " +
"R - Read, " +
"U - Unread, " +
"S - Starred, " +
"T - UnsTarred"

Heck, being able to type 'h' to bring up the keyboard shortcuts is worth the price of admission alone!

'l' means 'add label' (and then you get to choose). 't' means trash. Come on, Gmail - these should be built in!

(Note to my less technically inclined readers. To use this kind of stuff, you have to install the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox, then install additional scripts into Greasemonkey. But it's really easy! For example (from Mihai's site):

1. Install Greasemonkey from
2. Restart Firefox.
3. Click on the script link. (Eg, Macros)
4. Click on the "Install" button that's displayed in the upper-right corner of the page.
5. Visit/reload Gmail.

Not too bad, huh? ;-)

When you're done with all of those, you might want to check out this script that'll integrate Google Reader right into your Gmail. Whoa.

Inbox zero

I've done it, gotten my physical inbox and Gmail inbox to zero.

It was easy - you just move everything elsewhere ;-)

The truth is somewhere in between real empty inboxes and simply moving stuff.

Let me back up: I'm planning on a fairly strict implementation of Getting Things Done for my new job. Rereading the book. Sorting things around the house. Getting my Gmail inbox to zero.

In some ways, the Gmail wasn't too hard. I had about 100 threads. I answered those I could in 2 minutes or less. (Some of you got some of those unimpressive emails ;-) I deleted a lot. I labeled a lot '*maybe' and archived them. And I starred and archived a lot of them. Bingo.

And I've kept it up through the day. She's still empty.

And I sorted some physical stuff I've been meaning to process for a long time. I didn't do a complete collection like Allen advocates. I created a box of stuff to just put in the garage for now (extra USB cables and such) and a box of papers I just don't want to process right now. Maybe the 'open loops' will psychically leach me, but I don't think so

There are a lot of ways I'm not doing pure GTD, but they seem like more peripheral issues (like buying a labeler). I fully intend to get everything for my new job into a system I can trust, and many other things besides.

Got a few more piles to process and relocate tomorrow, but I think I've made a really good start. I guess time will tell...

Etruscan kidney disjunction

+ How'd I miss this good story?

Ex-Cowboy Donates Kidney to Ex-Teammate : Former Dallas Cowboys Player Everson Walls Donates Kidney to Ex-Teammate Ron Springs

(Possible answer: the MSM conspiracy against good news! ;-)

+ The Glittering Eye has a ginormous post on Etruscan origins (via ZenPundit).

+ Thanks to Jaq for the congratulations.

+ Name I llike from the Hype Machine: Ether Aura

Sunday, March 4

An Inconvenient Truth (About Mommies)

Christine is a fragile ecosystem.

Thursday was her last day at work. They had chocolate cake at work and, since they gave her a Starbucks gift card (don't ask what my work got me :-( ), we also got Mochas to celebrate.

That night she had an upset stomach and couldn't sleep because of the sugar and caffeine.

Friday morning she still felt out of sorts. So she didn't have breakfast. But then, when we were running errands, she started to get really droopy around 10. Who wouldn't?

Christine hasn't consistently slept well since before the twins were born. She often falls asleep while lying down with Bethy, then is awake in the middle of the night.

One of the major goals of having Christine not work is to try to restore some equilibrium for her. I want time for her to be healthy, to catch up on her sleep, to take a nap if she needs to and then sleep when the rest of us sleep. And we both need to get some exercise.

But back to the title of this post: It's hard being a mom. A mother's work is never done. I don't have scientific proof that all mommies are fragile ecosystems. But I wouldn't be surprised. Are you? Is yours?

Saturday, March 3

Defense cost overruns

The Lockheed Martin-built USS Freedom (LCS-1) is already about 100M$ over budget.

Did Lockheed Martin make any mistakes in the process? What were their profits last year?

How about this: maybe they could absorb some of that cost...

Correction: I had a 'B' above where I should have had an 'M'. My first defense-related mistake in print. Glad I got that over with! ;-)

Condolences don't seem enough

Dan tdaxp is my friend.

His father died recently, unexpectedly, too young, and too quickly. Dan is heart-broken and wrote this very sad letter to his dad .

I am sorry for your loss, Dan.

Lotsa surf, not much turf

Hmm. Been surfing lots of stuff on the intarweb, just not posting much.

(And, no, Jim, I haven't been spending my time on Facebook and MySpace instead ;-)

+ Names I like from The Hype Machine:
  • Pajaro Inflamable
  • My Awesome Mixtape
  • Please Don't Blame Mexico
+ David says the Air Force needs to kill the F-35 to free up funds to recapitalize the rest of the fleet. Makes sense to me.

+ Things I Desperately Wish Women Would Say to Me on First Dates (via kottke). Best one: "Is that an XXL Magic: The Gathering shirt? Plus five to Gryffindor!" (Though shouldn't it be 'Five points to Gryffindor!'? ;-)

+ Stupid: South Carolina has a 200 year old law on the books banning all games with cards or dice.
Stupider: People still get arrested for it, including
Seventy-nine-year-old Amelia "Midge" Cheseborough.

+ Saved up Words of the Day
  • Apogee means 'the highest or most distant point; climax', but it came from the Greek words meaning 'far from Earth'.
  • Sychophant means 'self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite', but it came from the concept of 'informer, slanderer, accuser'.

Friday, March 2

Paidion hellainikon

(That's a HORRIBLE Greek translation for 'Greek children'. Anybody want to help out, I'll accept it :-)

We're into Greek Myths around our house these days. It started with the Disney 'Hercules', but happily progressed nicely into the real classics. It's sent me to the library to pick up some good kids' books and to Wikipedia, etc to refresh my own memory. And I found this cool site as a result: Theoi Project.

Eirainai ;-)

A big thank you

Thanks to everyone who has emailed or commented congratulations on the new job. We really appreciate it!

Special thanks to those who have posted: Macon, Brad, and Mark

Thursday, March 1

More on the new job

Though I'm not on payroll yet, I'm doing some work to get up to a little better speed, so I surfed over to the McGraw-Hill website.

And, dude, it's a really big publishing company.

I mean, I knew it was, especially in text books, and I knew Aviation Week was the leader in its field, but, Standard and Poor's, Business Week, J.D. Power: those are pretty big names.

First DTI story?

I'm thinking of covering this. What do you think? ;-)

Americans in Okinawa

Well the Raptors finally made it (their own Y2K-like International Date Line crisis notwithstanding), and so did David.