Monday, July 18. 2011
Here's something not everybody seems to realize or appreciate: Twitter, and identi.ca (another "microblog" service, less commercialized, and free software) have 140 character limits. The 140 character barrier is well-known, even among people who don't tweet. Occasionally, as a tweeter might want to say something you believe ought to be re-tweeted. But: retweeting lengthens your original message! So if you want your WHOLE message to be retweeted, it has to be less than 140 characters. You have to do some math.
140 - (5+ # of letters in user name). So for me, that'd be 140 - 13 (from "RT @dhrasmus ")
Getting close to the limit? If you're sharing a link, time to learn about link shorteners. But if your whole tweet is only, a link, how about sharing the title? You can be even more useful by adding words such as "video" if it's a video, or "comic" is a comic. People who click unlabeled links come to immediately regret their choice 70% of the time, versus labeled links, in which only 40% of links are regretted. I made this statistic up, but please, be kind to people using mobile devices or slow computers. If you're sharing a link, give the reader some idea what it is.
This knowledge will bring you that much closer to the fame you deserve. Good luck!
Monday, July 4. 2011
People frequently ask what I'm up to. I'm often at a loss of words to explain. Sometimes this is because I can't remember. Other times I might engage in a bit of self-censoring (offline filter bubbles?) because I don't feel like explaining myself, or I'm pretty sure the person asking isn't interested. At a funeral a couple years ago, a distant relative asked "what I do." Upon finding out that I "wasn't working," she swiftly terminated our conversation.
Friday, July 1. 2011
GPredict is a program that shows a map of the world and plots out where the International Space Station is. It also uses lots of terms I'm unfamiliar with. "TLE" was plastered everywhere. It's apparently "Target Location Error," the distance between the expected and actual location of an object.
Wednesday, June 29. 2011
I spent too much time reading Wikipedia today. Here's a nice phrase I learned.
Hopefully it's clear which text here is mine and which is from the articles? Let me know if it's not.
I quite like "Gone for a Burton" (a WWII phrase meaning "to die," also "gone missing" or "disappeared" Burton is/was a beer) and "Fuddle duddle" (look it up).
"Verschärfte Vernehmung" gets redirected to the English page for "Enhanced interrogation techniques," which I find odd.
It's important to listen to people who don't express themselves very well, but preferable to know how to do it right yourself. A "that doesn't sound right" alarm going off in my head lead to this website, containing the delightful phrase "BTQ Abuse."
What is "Begging the Question?", http://begthequestion.info/
Lifetimes of cryptographic hash functions, http://valerieaurora.org/hash.html
The chart at the bottom is great!
New York Times:
When Fashion Meets Fishing, the Feathers Fly
“For someone to use them as a fashion statement is just sacrilegious,” said Bob Brown, 65, a fly fisherman who lives in an recreational vehicle parked in Kennebunk, Me. He said he had been tying flies for 50 years and this is the first time he had ever heard of a feather shortage.
On the Art of Puttering, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/opinion/25sat4.html
Short op ed. My favorite part:
As Robert Benchley once noted, “anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.”
Utopia on the Hudson
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: “A father, maybe 60 years old, came up to me and said, ‘You know, I have a gay son, and I never really accepted him and I shouldn’t have needed you to tell me that it was O.K. to accept my own boy. But I did.’ ”
Extra Vitamins? A Great Idea, Except in Denmark
“It’s quite well documented that most vitamins are toxic, depending on the amount taken in”
“You won’t see a lack of vitamins in the Danes, and the opinion of researchers is that they do not need further fortification”
Meatless Mondays Catch On, Even With Carnivores, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/17/us/17meatless.html
New York Public Library Buys Timothy Leary’s Papers
“I solved the secret of the universe last night, but this morning I forgot what it was.”
Backward at the F.B.I., https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/opinion/19sun1.html
"Under the new rules, agents will be allowed to search databases without making a record about it. Once an assessment has started, agents will be permitted to conduct lie detector tests and search people’s trash as part of evaluating a potential informant. No factual basis for suspecting them of wrongdoing will be necessary."
Friday, June 24. 2011
about to head over to freegeek.org for another volunteer shift. coffeeing up in the neighborhood. beautiful weather in portland, almost a shame to spend any of it indoors.
watched the movie "psycho" last night, a film i had never seen in its entirety. the soundtrack was brilliant. it could have made "toy story" horrifying. the theater a few blocks from where i'm staying shows classic films, one every week i think.
on leaving the theater, i walked past a pair of young women. the only part of their conversation i overheard was "the thing about apple is, i know they make a superior product." yawn.
read an article about identity theft in "the oregonian." they talked to some bank, which recommended checking your account online "a few times per week." does anybody do that? seems a little extreme. online banking is a pain. why are bank accounts not available as an rss/atom feed? that'd make it way easier to stay on top of things. "date, time, amount spent/deposited, balance, available balance." it could be a huge, complex, unguessable URL with no personally identifying information attached to it, and that URL could change every so often, just in case "hackers" (i'll use the common industry term for them) manage to guess it.
i read a lot of articles from the new york times. at the bottom of each article, you almost invariably read that the article's author has written a book about the subject they're opining on. i think, great, another person who's written a book. the colbert report, daily show never have guests who aren't promoting an upcoming movie or newly released book. could they if they wanted to? do none of these celebrity writers/actors/directors have enough money or time to discuss things that aren't in their financial interest? if somebody wanted to come on the show who wasn't selling something, would they be allowed?
Saturday, June 18. 2011
Monday, May 3. 2010
A couple weeks ago, I finished reading the book Bright-Sided, by Barbara Ehrenreich. She's the author of Nickled and Dimed, which I read several years ago. I enjoyed Bright-Sided quite a bit. Now that I'm about to bring it back to the library, here's a choice passage from it.
Why resent the swelling overclass -- the CEOs earning an average of $11 million a year, the owners of islands and yachts--when you are aiming to join their ranks? In reality, Americans are less likely to move upward from their class of origin than are Germans, Canadians, Finns, French people, Swedes, Norwegians, or Danes. But the myth, fortified with bracing doses of positive thinking, persists.As two researchers at the Brookings Institution observed, a little wryly, in 2006: "[The] strong belief in opportunity and upward mobility is the explanation that is often given for Americans' high tolerance for inequality. The majority of Americans surveyed believe that they will be above mean income in the future (even though that is a mathematical impossibility)."
Ehrenreich packs a lot of information in this one book without it ever getting tiresome. I would recommend reading it if you can find the time.
Publisher's link: http://us.macmillan.com/brightsided
Thursday, March 18. 2010
Seymour Hersh, referred to below as S.H.
Sun Room, Iowa State University. 2010-03-09.
I did my best to take notes and present them here in a way that is accurate (or at least non-misrepresenting) and makes sense. - Dan Rasmussen.
S.H. talks for a while. A few minutes into it, somebody realizes microphone is turned off. S.H. urges audience to speak up if they can't hear!
You can't do anything w/out anonymous sources, but that can lead to sleazy, too.
Bush & Cheney really took constitution apart. Worse than you think! Guantanamo better than it was. Lots of abuse - there's still torture, rendition, no due process. (Something about flimsy evidence - ?)
Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) still have secret prisons. Obama has shut down some "black prisons" but we've still got them.
McCrystal is an apparatchik. Killing civilians.
Military = "Praetorian guys" (? - military kids, die at age 21, 22). Nothing good will come of our handling of the Taliban. Pashtum Expert dismissed from meeting with top brass (a couple levels away from Obama. Maybe this was during Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld days, not sure - Dan) for speaking his mind. Not 30,000 more troops going in - more like 38,000 (military always gets more than it publicly asks for). 100k soldiers, ~60k contractors will be needed. Problem: lots of ambushes!
(Somewhere, maybe not here chronologically, S.H. holds up Washington Post, which has printed 3 full pages of US military war dead's faces, every one they can find, everybody who's died from September 2009 - March 2010.)
Military is paying $400/gallon for gasoline due to transportation costs, bribes to pass certain areas, everything else. All war cost estimates mean *nothing*.
There's still enormous military intelligence, but the good guys aren't speaking up. They don't want to pass up on promotions, or be hounded by FOX News.
We're wasting $billions in aid to corrupt Pakistan. (Aside: "Mr Zadari (sp) is known as 'Mr. 10%' ").
Khalid Sheik Muhammad - waterboarded, etc.
USA not used to concept that terrorism is really a part of society: Spain and Basque, England and IRA, Germany and Baader-Meinhof, Italy and Red Brigade.
We've got lots of assassins in military. Bush smirked said of 3,000 people we captured, they'll never see the light of day again. Speculation (?): meant murder, not imprisonment.
(Something about Israelis demonstrated against their government/military when it committed a massacre). (Something about how he wouldn't go further into a topic, "I'm not into S&M").
Iran: goings-on there won't make sense. Green Movement not going anywhere. (Hersh references the Wood Allen movie "Bananas"!!! "Cheney and the robot factory"). Iran's having trouble enriching uranium, despite what we read in the paper. (Something about a bunch of natural uranium near Danville, VA, and how if we don't just leave it in the ground, it'll contaminate everything.)
Obama started out great but maybe raised our expectations too high (~"Oops!"). Everywhere but USA (Europe, Asia, Middle East), the presses are disgusted by the "Iraq Election," not at all excited/optimistic like the US press.
"I'm being Merry Sunshine here."
Pakistan's worried about our entanglement w/ India. Russians gave up on mountain area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. They wrote about this, but nobody in the USA seems to be interested. Their experience: 250,000 troops is not enough!
My Lai story, Vietnam. Background: S.H. born 1937 in Chicago. WWI was as foreign to him as Vietnam is to young people today. Viet Cong was against US, not necessarily pro-Communist, as we portrayed them, but they probably were (Dan: if only to have allies?). McNamara, like others in government, mostly a bunch of psychotic liars. In draft time S.H. would be giving this talk in a basketball stadium. Draft dodgers (something about 100k - 100k draft dodgers, maybe?).
S.H. worked with McCarthy. Phrase, "change color of corpses." Started using more minorities in military. My Lai: 90 people originally, 20% dead. Areas full of mines. S.H. explains, soldiers fight for their buddies, not for their country. The soldiers want payback. After a night of drinking & smoking, they execute 555 people (that's the # of bodies they found, anyhow) - old men, women, children. Atrocities committed by rural white kids. Not by blacks, Mexicans, etc, who shot high, not wanting to completely disobey and be shot themselves. Gruesome story about baby shot in the head. Mine blows off a guy's leg. S.H. tracks him down. His mother says, "I gave them a good boy, and they sent me back a murderer." (Talks about his some more).
S.H. disclaimer: ~"I'm just one person talking, may not be right about anything. I make no claim."
Q&A session starts.
Iraq: Billions of dollars disappeared (unaccounted for). That's what happens in war. Shipments of weapons sold to other parties, etc. Iraq "gonna be a bloodbath no matter what. I'm for getting out." US media portrays Mullah Omar as Hitler. Opinion of Europe, Asia, Middle East: talk to the guy!
Atomic bombs: Al-Qaeda: wouldn't know what to do if they had an atomic bomb. Eat it! Pakistan wouldn't use atomic weapons on USA - they'd use it on India.
Obama: smart, good. Smartest we've had in a while (digs at Bush, says something nice about Clinton.) Obama knew intricacies of health bill!
Mumbai assassinations: "Look, there's no system that can't be beat."
Still don't know everything about 9/11 terrorists! (Makes inaudible joke about the TSA.)
Writing for New Yorker, articles are run past three editors! One of them is a grammarian, another, a sibilant checker (ensures that no sounds are too frequent!)
Rumsfeld had the power to do anything to anybody.
People do bad things in war.
Monday, January 5. 2009
The danrasmussen.org blog is now alive. This post is proof.
After researching all of the options (it took ages) I settled upon Serendipity as the blog engine. It appears fairly secure, and it has a great plugin system, and plugins are written with Smarty, which is on my list of things to learn. I'm happy enough with this theme, but might make my own, and I'll likely add some plugins at some point. Anyhow, the basics are here. It's exciting to finally have it going.
It's early January. I've spent the last couple weeks pigging out on all sorts of Christmas cookies and chocolates. I've baked a few nice batches of muffins, read the book Homo Faber in English, read some other various things, and have been watching a bunch of videos on the Netflix internet box. I've seen a good deal of Little Britain and 30 Rock. Both are hilarious.
The family has been playing lots of games. Strategy games: Settlers of Cattan, Carcassonne, and card games: Killer Bunnies, and 500. Andrew and I have been playing quite a lot of GridWars - the video game that makes geometry fun! Ok, not exactly. Lots of pretty colors and lights though. Not many games get the adrenaline going and are also not bloody. Andrew has the blood covered, thanks to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, the game I bought new and barely played - turns out I'm more a fan of the classic, Wolfenstein 3D.
It's time to have lunch and play with dogs. The end. As they say in broadcast, stay tuned.
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