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Ontario Emperor Blog
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Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Third and Fourth and Fifth Parties in the Canadian Elections
Here are vote results from the province of Ontario for the recent Canadian elections (visit http://enr.elections.ca/Provinces_e.aspx for more detail on our northern neighbors:

Canadian Action: 2,223
Christian Heritage Party: 26,064
Communist: 1,289
Conservative: 1,592,724
Green Party: 226,014
Independent: 14,626
Liberal: 2,260,172
Libertarian: 607
Marijuana Party: 8,621
Marxist-Leninist: 3,697
N.D.P.: 915,310
No Affiliation: 88
PC Party: 8,873


Even California doesn't have as many political parties as Ontario. It's interesting to note that the Marijuana Party outnumbers the Communists and the Marxist-Leninists combined - red eyes over red politics, I guess. I don't know whether the PC Party is politically correct, or personal computer users, or both, or neither.

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More on "Talent Management"
Here's just a bit of what Naomi Moneypenny has to say:

I'm seeing a worrying trend at some large organizations....What is it? Lack of people....[I]t seems like everyday I'm talking to clients and leaders at large organizations who have a culture or change problem, or just a plain 'shorthanded' problem. Why - because the people who 'survived' the downsizing and cost cutting over the last few years, may not be the people who want to grow and change the organization.

...So let's see - there were bubble times, where the 'creative' and up and coming types were perhaps involved in more risk taking things like incubators, venture units and intrapreneurship. Pop went the bubble, and the first to go were the loss making wild ideas....So who's left after those who were close to retirement, voluntarily or involuntarily, departed? The people who don't like to take risks, who embody the traditions of the company, and kept their heads down during the cost cutting. Now, most organizations incented these behaviors during cost cutting, and now suddenly enterprises are waking up to the fact that employees have retrenched and are probably feeling highly over worked and under valued. So let's pull the rug from out under these people, and try to change the culture, threaten them with offshoring and the need to grow... I hate to think of the consequences...

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Cut Costs and Make Your Employees Happy?
The Aviation Now jobs website includes a survey that is typical of the ones that companies themselves give to their employees. Here are two of the questions:

8. Do you feel secure in your current job?
Yes
No
Somewhat

9. Do you feel valued as an employee?
Yes
No
Somewhat


I would bet that a lot of companies are getting numerous "no" responses to these questions. And they may even be wondering why they're getting these no responses.

The answers are out there, especially for companies with unsatisfied employees after one (or more) layoffs. Here's an excerpt from an article in the Blue Ridge Business Journal entitled "The dangers behind cutting employment":

A study of 5,479 "changes in employment" found that those companies that simply reduced headcount didn't achieve much profit....Consider the impact of downsizing on the emotions of those who keep their jobs, whom the company must rely upon to shoulder more responsibility....At first, people feel relief that it wasn't them. Then they feel bad for feeling good while others, whom they know and care about, suffer. Then comes anger over what happened to their colleagues. Finally they fear future job cuts may affect them. "If they've done it once, they can do it again" is the thinking. None of these feelings drives greater efforts....[Planners] might even expect that fear would increase motivation, and it may in the very short term. In the long run, anxiety and anger sap energy and creativity. Quite often the company winds up with a compliant work force, one that will do exactly what it is told but not one that does the extras nor takes the risk of creative thinking. High fear and creativity are incompatible.

The BBC aired a radio program on this topic. Here are some of the highlights:

In their book, "Competing for the Future", which came out in 1995. Hamel and Prahalad start off by pointing out that you can improve your results in two ways: by cutting your costs, or by increasing your outputs.

But too many companies focus on the cost-cutting. So why don't people concentrate more on the output than the costs? Because their strategic vision is too narrow. It is defined by what the competition is doing.

It is, says Hamel, important to think about what is NOT there. That done, you need a strategy for doing something about it. A "Strategic Intent", forces one to think beyond the present and to contemplate new worlds.


And finally, here are some comments from Robert Sutton:

Bankruptcies, involuntary job transfers, forced and unpaid vacations, layoffs, hiring freezes, tiny or nonexistent bonuses, pay cuts and business travel on the cheap—they've all become facts of organizational life for most of us. Don't even think about holding an office party: You just might have to pay for it yourself....

...I am especially surprised by how many firms turn to layoffs rather than less drastic measures at the first hint of trouble....studies all suggest that layoffs send a negative signal to the market. True, payroll is reduced, but there are hidden costs, such as severance pay, reduced productivity and less innovation, fueled by employee fears that any risky ideas or out-of-the-box thinking—even ideas that could help the company boost profits—might put their jobs at risk.

A careful case study of Analog Devices...showed that a once-thriving total quality management (TQM) program ground to a halt after a 12 percent layoff in 1990 because "people didn't want to improve so much that their job would be eliminated." Indeed, Hewlett-Packard listed Analog as one of its best suppliers in 1987, but listed it as one of its worst after the layoff....

...Psychological research on negative events and case studies of troubled companies suggest four basic management guidelines that matter most:

• Prediction. Be sure to give employees as much information as possible about what's happening and who will be affected....

• Understanding. Give people detailed information about why actions, especially those that could upset and harm them, had to be taken....

• Control. Give people as much influence as possible over what happens to them, when it happens and how....

• Compassion. Convey concern for the emotional distress and financial burdens that laid-off workers face....

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Bill Schmill
As reported in Michael Hanscom's Eclecticism blog and MacMinute, Apple took a few potshots at Microsoft during their latest Worldwide Developers' Conference. Here are some of the banners:

Redmond, start your photocopiers.
Introducing Longhorn.
This should keep Redmond busy.
Redmond, we have a problem.



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Friday, June 25, 2004


The Pontificate Project
This evening's goal - litter Head in the Clouds with dozens of posts using the word "pontificate" or a form of it. Actually, it will be fairly easy...

Updates:

Most three word stories are affected.

The majority of the one word story thangs are affected.

Most of the 1-10 word stories are affected.

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Is the World Wide Forest Ready for d00d Time?
http://slashdot.org/submit.pl

Is it ready?

Uh, not ready. oempoweb can't extend to Slashdot. Among other things, I still have to understand it.

Wait..."Many of these are older phenomena inherited by Slashdot originated on Usenet." OK, that resonates...

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Sports Blogs Part Two
Well, after my investigation, I subscribed to the Lakers and Redskins RSS feeds via sportsblogs.org. I then got into bloglines and settled down to read ALL of the Lakers blog entries generated over the last couple of weeks of turmoil...

...and got two entries, one of which had to do with the Dodgers.

What gives?

Well, it appears that sportsblogs coverage of basketball is relatively new. Leaving the rss section of their website and going to the entries section, I saw that (as of 6/25/2004 12:30 PDT) sportsblogs had full coverge of every major league team, but spotty coverage of the other three major U.S. team sports. sportsblogs depends upon user submissions, and no users have apparently submitted the URLs for blogs covering the following teams:

Buffalo Bills (0)
New England Patriots (0)
New York Jets (0)
Dallas Cowboys (0)
Baltimore Ravens (0)
Cincinnati Bengals (0)
Cleveland Browns (0)
Chicago Bears (0)
Detroit Lions (0)
Green Bay Packers (0)
Minnesota Vikings (0)
Houston Texans (0)
Indianapolis Colts (0)
Jacksonville Jaguars (0)
Tennessee Titans (0)
Atlanta Falcons (0)
Carolina Panthers (0)
Denver Broncos (0)
Kansas City Chiefs (0)
Oakland Raiders (0)
San Diego Chargers (0)
Arizona Cardinals (0)
San Francisco 49ers (0)
Seattle Seahawks (0)
St. Louis Rams (0)

Miami Heat (0)
New Jersey Nets (0)
Orlando Magic (0)
Philadelphia 76ers (0)
Washington Wizards (0)
Dallas Mavericks (0)
Denver Nuggets (0)
Memphis Grizzlies (0)
Minnesota Timberwolves (0)
Utah Jazz (0)
Atlanta Hawks (0)
Chicago Bulls (0)
Cleveland Cavaliers (0)
Detroit Pistons (0)
Indiana Pacers (0)
Milwaukee Bucks (0)
Golden State Warriors (0)
Los Angeles Clippers (0)
Los Angeles Lakers (0)
Philadelphia Suns (0)
Portland Trail Blazers (0)
Sacramento Kings (0)
Seattle Super Sonics (0)

New Jersey Devils (0)
New York Islanders (0)
Philidelphia Flyers (0)
Pittsburgh Penguins (0)
Chicago Blackhawks (0)
Columbus Blue Jackets (0)
Nashville Predators (0)
St. Louis Blues (0)
Boston Bruins (0)
Buffalo Sabres (0)
Montreal Canadiens (0)
Ottawa Senators (0)
Calgary Flames (0)
Colorado Avalanche (0)
Edmonton Oilers (0)
Minnesota Wild (0)
Atlanta Thrashers (0)
Carolina Hurricanes (0)
Florida Panthers (0)
Washington Capitals (0)
Anaheim Mighty Ducks (0)
Dallas Stars (0)
Los Angeles Kings (0)
Phoenix Coyotes (0)

So, as you can see, no Lakers blogs are listed on the site. Guess I gotta keep on searching for my "all Shaq all the time" blog...

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Sports Blogs
I wanted to see if there is a blog for everything yet, so I searched Google for shaq blog all shaq all the time.

What I did find is sportsblog.org. From their "About" page:

Like to follow your favorite sport or team? Tired of the usual coverage the media gives your sport/team? Then Sports Blogs is for you. Sports Blogs allows you to keep up to date on your favorite teams/sports from the local fan's perspective....

On an hourly basis, this site goes out and crawls many blogs for new entries to aggregate here. Organizing blogs (and their entries) by sport and team will allow you to easily keep track of your favorite sport or team....

If you are an advanced user and like to read your blogs through an RSS Reader, we've got you covered as well. We have RSS feeds for all sports, by sports and by individual team. Check them out on our rss feeds page.


So, to get my Shaq feed, I just have to subscribe to the Lakers feed...and the Mavericks feed...and the Nets feed...and the Queens feed...

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Thursday, June 24, 2004


Of *COURSE* the reformers are going to go after the Feds
My reading of RSS feeds is helping me to free my mind (or at least expand it).

My feed from Security Focus included the following excerpt:

News: Feds urge secrecy over network outages
The Department of Homeland Security wants details of major service outages kept out of the public eye.


So, I went and got the article:

Feds urge secrecy over network outages

By Kevin Poulsen, SecurityFocus Jun 23 2004 5:34PM

Giving the public too many details about significant network service outages could present cyberterrorists with a "virtual road map" to targeting critical infrastructures, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which this month urged regulators to keep such information secret.

At issue is an FCC proposal that would require telecom companies to report significant outages of high-speed data lines or wireless networks to the commission. The plan would rewrite regulations that currently require phone companies to file a publicly-accessible service disruption report whenever they experience an outage that effects at least 30,000 telephone customers for 30 minutes or more. Enacted in the wake of the June 1991 AT&T long-distance crash, the FCC credits the rule with having reversed a trend of increased outages on the phone network....The commission is hoping for similar results on the wireless and data networks....The proposal would expand the landline reporting requirement to wireless services, and generally measure the impact of a telecom outage by the number of "user minutes" lost, instead of the number of customers affected....The reports would include details like the geographic area of the outage, the direct causes of the incident, the root cause, whether not there was malicious activity involved, the name and type of equipment that failed, and the steps taken to prevent a reoccurrence, among other things.

To the Department of Homeland Security, that's a recipe for disaster. "While this information is critical to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in the system, it can equally be employed by hostile actors to identify vulnerabilities for the purpose of exploiting them," the DHS argued in an FCC filing this month. "Depending on the disruption in question, the errant disclosure to an adversary of this information concerning even a single event may present a grave risk to the infrastructure."

If the FCC is going to mandate reporting, the DHS argued, it should channel the data to a more circumspect group: the Telecom ISAC (Information Sharing and Analysis Center)....Data exchanged within the Telecom-ISAC is protected from public disclosure.


So, what was the first thought in my head? Was it "Doesn't this infringe on my rights as a consumer to ascertain the quality of a carrier?" Was it "Doesn't this offer a roadmap to terrorists that will infringe on my communications capabilities?"

Neither. My first thought was, "Where have I heard the name Kevin Poulsen before?" I can't keep track of all these guys, and only remember Mitnick, Pengo, and rtm because they were in Cyberpunk.

So, for others who can't keep track of the .Net celebrities, here's the answer:

Kevin Poulsen

Handle: Dark Dante

Claim to fame: In 1990 Poulsen took over all telephone lines going into Los Angeles area radio station KIIS-FM, assuring that he would be the 102nd caller. Poulsen won a Porsche 944 S2 for his efforts....

Current status: Thanks to an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, Kevin Poulsen was arrested and spent three years in prison. He was then forbidden to touch a computer for another three years. Poulsen is now a self-proclaimed "reformed and penitent" journalist, and serves as editorial director for Security Focus.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2004


What I Read
If you want to see (some of) the blogs which I'm reading via my RSS aggregator, look here.

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I'm finally starting to figure out the RSS world
From http://www.bloglines.com/:

Bloglines is a free service that makes it easy to keep up with your favorite blogs and newsfeeds. With Bloglines, you can subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs, and Bloglines will monitor updates to those sites. You can read the latest entries easily within Bloglines.

Unlike other aggregators which require you to download and install software, Bloglines runs on our servers and requires no installation. Because your Bloglines account is accessible through a web browser, you can access your account from any Internet-connected machine.

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A Link Between OMD and Laurie Anderson
From the "Notes" section of the "Crush" page on the official OMD website:

The Lights Are Going Out was inspired by the Laurie Anderson song 'O Superman' which used a vocal sample as a rhythm track. OMD used a sample of Maureen Humphreys singing individual notes which were then fed into an Emulator. During the recording of the song, the studio was actually plunged into darkness by a power cut.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004


It is a poison ivy outbreak, we think.
www.camp-directory.com includes a list of "results of the most popular music camp related searches." You know, where you take your trumpet (or, in some cases, a flute) and go somewhere over the summer and PLAY.

More ontario music camps information can be found at these sites....

Music Links
... Cyberspace Music of Jeff Harrington ... MIDI Page Ontario Emperor ... Microworks Camps (mac) Midi Autoscore Music Lessons Musitek ... Grand Fergus, Ontario University ... Worldwide Music Resources on the ... Including Ragtime, Dixieland, Blues, Bluegrass, Christian, Classical, Country, Folk, Jazz, Zydeco, Sheet Music, Midi, Midi Powered Sites, CD/CDROM Mastering, Radio & Broadcast, Production, Audio Stores, Software, Hardware, E-zines...
http://www.rtpress.com/links.htm#midi


rtpress specifically links to my "Diversion" MIDI collection, with the songs "Soldier" and "Week." Incidentally, this points out how MIDI is similar to HTML; the MIDIs were originally written on a Mac using QuickTime, but "Soldier" especially sounds very different when I play it with Windows Media Player.

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Monday, June 21, 2004


Things Can Take A While
Which brings us to the 27th Amendment, which only took a couple of centuries to be ratified.

Amendment Text

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Annotations

Regulating Congressional Pay

Referred to the state legislatures at the same time as those proposals that eventually became the Bill of Rights, the congressional pay amendment had long been assumed to be dead. This provision had its genesis, as did several others of the first amendments, in the petitions of the States ratifying the Constitution. It, however, was ratified by only six States (out of the eleven needed), and it was rejected by five States. Aside from the idiosyncratic action of the Ohio legislature in 1873, which ratified the proposal in protest of a controversial pay increase adopted by Congress, the pay limitation provision lay dormant until the 1980s. Then, an aide to a Texas legislator discovered the proposal and began a crusade that culminated some ten years later in its proclaimed ratification.

Now that the provision is apparently a part of the Constitution, it will likely play a minor role. What it commands was already statutorily prescribed, and, at most, it may have implications for automatic cost-of-living increases in pay for Members of Congress.

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What's In A Name?
The Supreme Court decision in the Hiibel case can be found here. The question rasied was as follows: is a person who has been stopped by a police officer compelled to give his or her name to the officer? Hiibel argued that compelling him to provide his name violated the U.S. Constitution's Fourth and Fifth Amendments. In split decisions, the Nevada Supreme Court (4-3) and the U.S. Supreme Court (5-4) rejected Hiibel's argument.

In the majority and minority opinions, it was noted that disclosure of a name may serve to incriminate someone. Justice Breyer cited the examples of "Killer Bill" and "Rough 'em up Harry" (while also noting that such a name is not required to link a person to a chain of evidence).

Despite this, I maintain (and will continue to maintain throughout the World Wide Forest) that human nature and organizational nature effectively prevent creation of a Big Brother all-encompassing network of sensitive information. State A has no interest in helping State B solve crimes. I have previously stated my thoughts on this matter:

There is a common misconception that if the FBI has some information, and the CIA has some information, and the NSA has some information, they can easily put all of this information together and construct a "Big Brother" tracking mechanism. Unfortunately, the FBI and CIA have no interest in working together. I've personally witnessed situations where two different employees of the FBI were working at cross purposes. Reorganization won't help - even if the FBI, CIA, and everyone else were all managed by a single Grand Wazoo, there would still be a Deputy Wazoo for domestic affairs and another Deputy Wazoo for foreign affairs, and THEY'D protect THEIR turf and go at each other's throats.

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Sunday, June 20, 2004


oempoweb progress
The oempoweb has extended to Yahoo! Groups (well, at least one of them).

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Versus
Proof, if any is needed, that I live in southern California, not Canada:

This morning I was listening to Depeche Mode's"Sister of Night".

Initially I was thinking about the falsity of the statement "Martin writes it and Dave sings it." In most cases this is simply untrue. Dave and Martin often band together in two-part harmony, and this is what gives Depeche Mode songs their (in the words of George Harrison) extra texture.

As I thought about the recent Gore vs. Gahan debates of the last several years, my mind wandered to the hot topic down here - namely, the Shaq vs. Kobe debates of the last several years.

Is Shaq a spoiled child who takes his ball from the playground when he doesn't get his own way? Is Kobe a spoiled child who seeks to control everything and anything in the Lakers organization?

Time will tell...

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Saturday, June 19, 2004


Tweet: the Ramifications
On the oempoweb (ha), I have advanced the theory (despite a wise rebuttal from Paul Musgrave) that maybe the web isn't the best model:

We're all accustomed to thinking of a spider creating this elaborate structure, but what if Al Gore had decided to use a different model - say, a bird's nest? All of the twigs in the bird's nest are tangled together, and mama bird constantly flies away from the nest to go to other places while the newbie birds just sit around and deal with worms....

(And yes, Paul, I was joking when I referenced Al Gore as the implied inventor of the Internet.)

Well, let's pretend for a moment that my idea has merit. (After that, we'll pretend that William Hung can sing.) We would need to rewrite all of our references to webs, spiders, and the like to conform to the new model. For example, here is how I would rewrite learnthenet.com's page entitled
"What Is the Web?"

What Is the Forest?

The World Wide Forest is a collection of collections of documents (bird's nests) that are either tightly coupled together (like the twigs in a bird's nest) or loosely coupled (by adult birds flying from nest to nest).

These documents are stored on computers called servers located around the world.

The Forest has evolved into a global electronic publishing medium and increasingly, a medium for conducting electronic commerce.

While some users are able to fly through the entire Forest, other users (baby birds) remain within specific locations (nests) and only receive locally available information services (worms).


Uh oh...this is starting to make sense to me.

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Friday, June 18, 2004


Why is the web a web?
It is proper for the Ontario Emperor Empoblog to consider the question - why is the web a web? Why is it not a highway? (Whoops, it is.)

Actually, Tim Berners-Lee states: "I wrote in 1990 the first GUI browser, and called it "WorldWideWeb". It ran on the NeXT computer. (I much later renamed the application Nexus to avoid confusion between the first client and the abstract space itself)."

This of course raises the question of a mini-web - say, the oempoweb. Well, it raised the question with ME.

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Collaborative Stories
I've been published on the web. Well, I've always been published on the web in some form or another, but the following are intriguing. Several collaborative stories have been published at Head in the Clouds that include my contributions (a word, or two, or ten, here and there):

A Bright Sunny Day in Dumpty Land. Excerpt: "Claire sat down beside the buffalo and then said "I want a badger to come and tickle Ed because he is a ticklish guy with slippers." So and sew rhyme but orange doesn't eat magnets because the Queen Mother overdosed on heroin in the loo. "I like eggs!" someone shouted from a chicken's behind and destroyed the vibrating wind tunnel that was located under the round square thing called Bill Cosby's behind the sofa because its said that eskimos like dancing whilst they are pregnant."

Fat Uncle Jeff's Toilet Cleaner. Excerpt: "My fat uncle Jeff owns a rather bizarre brand of toilet cleaner, which he uses for cleaning the entire house, even though it's a rental. He decided to enjoy a leisurely cruise down the Potomac BummyMan's octopus funnel, because everybody was always saying how neat it would be to if he was to create a story which doesn't flow quite right, because people would have to use their brains to work out a rather complex mathamatical equation about cows."

A Magical Girl Called Jen. Excerpt: "...which were located under the strange looking hedge in the middle of a nondescript suburban office near Pretoria, South Africa, where many people are used to waxing the body hair of a mutated hippo which had more teeth than the entire Osmond family gerbil collection."

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From Lockheed Martin to the Weatherdude
Although Al Arabiya apparently doesn't provide an English feed for its news, other sources are reporting that Lockheed Martin employee Paul Johnson has been beheaded. This follows the death of Nicholas Berg last month.

The problem with common names is confusion - for example, look at this information for Paul Johnson (Los Angeles traffic/weatherman) and U.S. Congressman Jerry Lewis.

Mention of Channel 4's Paul Johnson raises the question - whatever happened to former weatherman Christopher Nance, who was fired after allegations of "profane and menacing off-air behavior, marked by sexual innuendo and violent outbursts"? Well, his Weatherdude site is still active.

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Thursday, June 10, 2004


Cleansing the Mind...
Bad ASCII Art

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Wednesday, June 09, 2004


We're cheap, we travel in gangs, and we're coming
From multiple sources, including the June 14, 2004 issue of FORTUNE magazine:

On the frontier of artificial intelligence, mobs of cheap robots collaborate like ants in a colony or bees in a hive....

"Imagine if you could convince a bunch of robots to act like ants, and further convince them that they really like land mines," observes James McLurkin....

He is a senior lead research scientist at iRobot....the company is best known for making the Roomba floor-vacuuming robots. But iRobot also does contract research and development like McLurkin's Software for Distributed Robots project, which is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Military brainstormers think that scores or hundreds or even a few thousand cheap robots working in concert may play an important role in future operations such as land-mine disposal or taking over buildings held by bad guys....

Insects make great conceptual models for cheap robots because they have simple local interactions with one another that nonetheless add up to very complicated group behaviors....iRobot's SwarmBots are cubes measuring five inches on each side. They have rechargeable nicad batteries and a pair of electric motors inside, along with a microprocessor and some associated circuitry. A "bump skirt" helps the robots sense and avoid crashing into obstacles. Each has a small color camera for simple object recognition, as well as sensors that detect light. Communications between robots are handled by an array of infrared transmitters and receivers....

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004


LOL
I had to laugh when reading the speech that former President Richard Nixon gave at the dedication of the Reagan Library.

It has been widely and appropriately noted that this is a very special occasion because for the first time in our nation’s history five Presidents and six First Ladies are in attendance.

But as a politician I am even more impressed by the fact that we have with us today four men who were elected Governors of their states. In the past forty-five years I have been elected to the House, Senate, as Vice President, and as President. I never made it for Governor. About all that can be said for my efforts in that respect is that by losing in 1962, I paved the way for Ronald Reagan to win in 1966.


Incidentally, the page on Nixon's funeral listed the following speakers:

DR. BILLY GRAHAM
Officiant
Opening Remarks

DR. HENRY A. KISSINGER
56th Secretary of State

ROBERT DOLE
United States Senator
Senate Republican Leader

PETE WILSON
Governor
State of California

BILL CLINTON
42nd President of the United States

DR. BILLY GRAHAM
Closing Remarks

Incidentally, it's interesting to note that for all of Reagan's talk of a small Federal government, Nixon in his personal life truly lived the dream - waiving Secret Service protection, operating a privately funded library, and waiving the right for a Washington funeral ceremony.

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Challenge To Self
I was listening to "Flare" again (from the MIDI collection "Rockford Vote Stuff"). Very minimalistic, but good background music (IMHO).

However, it suffers from the same problem that I face with ALL of my MIDI compositions; they're affected by the software used to play the MIDI file. Things I did on the Mac with QuickTime several years ago sound very different when played on Windows Media Player.

Obviously this doesn't affect my MP3s, such as "Non Sequitur 15" on my Oppose Traffic Calming Obstructions (OTCO) music page.

My challenge - to come up with an interesting semi-ambient MIDI using the piano sound only. That's fairly consistent among MIDI players.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Good for Them (Thank You For Your Support)
fundrace.org tells you who has contributed to which presidential candidate.

A man named George H.W. Bush (retired) of Houston Texas has contributed to the campaign of similarly-named George W. Bush.

There's also a woman named Barbara P. Bush (retired) of Houston Texas who has also contributed to this campaign.

John Kerry has received a contribution from an Edward M. Kennedy, a Senator with a Fifth Avenue New York address.

The former President of Reed College (Paul Bragdon) is, of course, a Howard Dean supporter.

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Head in the Clouds
Time to Google...

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In your heart, you know I'm an American passenger

Dang.

My blog has dropped to number 53 on the list of right wing politics blogs. And its value could probably be better too.)

So, how do I influence the game to play with the value?

Answer: list links to higher-ranked right wing politics blogs.

Blogs for Bush
Cox & Forkum
Blackfive - the Paratrooper of Love

And just to confuse things, here are some progressive blogs.

John Kerry for President
The Agonist
Pacific Views

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Resurrection for a Friend

I visited my Yahoo! LAUNCHcast station for the first time in almost a year. While it seems buggy (it keeps on skipping songs), it's a nice listen. I purposely programmed it to emphasize modern dance music, with excursions into old country, rock, ambient, and other topics.

For example, here's some of the songs that my radio station has played over the last half hour:

Dave Gahan, "Bitter Apple."
Kylie Minogue, "Come Into My World."
Rolling Stones, "2120 South Michigan Avenue."
Moby, "Porcelain."
Elvis Costello, "Beyond Belief."
Madonna, "Justify My Love."
Prince, "Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance."
George Acosta, "The Sound of Goodbye."

I'm familiar with some of the songs ("Bitter Apple"), familiar with an artist but not a song ("2120 South Michigan Avenue"), and in some cases not that familiar with the artist ("The Sound of Goodbye"). All from the magic of Yahoo! radio programming.

If you're not familiar with LAUNCHcast, here's Yahoo's explanation:

LAUNCHcast is a streaming music service allowing you to create your own customized station tailored to your tastes. Rate artists and albums highly to hear them often and ban the ones you hate! You can also listen to our extensive collection of pre-made stations created by our editorial staff.

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Yes, This Will Make a Lot of Difference

Emphasis mine. Text taken from First Amendment Center

ACLU wants cross rubbed out of L.A. County seal

By The Associated Press
05.27.04
LOS ANGELES — The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding the removal of a tiny cross that is among historic symbols on Los Angeles County’s official seal.

The seal “prominently depicts a Latin cross, a sectarian religious symbol that represents the beliefs of one segment of the county’s diverse population” and is an “impermissible endorsement of Christianity” by the county government, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California said in a letter to county officials this week....

The cross was incorporated into the seal to represent the area’s settlement by Spanish missionaries who, in the 1700s, founded two of California’s famous missions in what is now Los Angeles County.

“The cross on our county seal reflects these historical facts,” Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich wrote back to Ramona Ripston, executive director of the local ACLU organization. “It does not mean that we are all Roman Catholics or that everyone who resides in our county is a Christian — it only reflects our historical roots.”...

People read about the Redlands case and then called the ACLU about the Los Angeles County seal, said Ben Wizner, an ACLU attorney....

The ACLU did not object to the Roman goddess or the name Los Angeles, which means “the angels.” Wizner said that to do so would push the issue to “extreme limits.”...

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Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Tourist Tip of the Week
In Montreal, Quebec, you can find the La basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal on one side of the Place d'Armes. The church, as well as everything else in old Montreal, is equivalent to what you can find in Europe.

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Lo-Tek
Back in the day all of us (well, some of us) (well, a few of us) would be really really amazed at the fun things you could display on a pocket calculator. For example, we'd do some calculations which ended up in the number "71077345," then we'd turn the calculator upside down. Wow.

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