cheese sandwich or frameworks

a selection from leonard de quirm's recipe for a cheese sandwich, found in nanny ogg's cookbook. it is eerily reminiscent of some software development projects using frameworks.
design breadknife. design machine for making breadknives. design an improved wheel bearing, using small balls of, e.g., steel. design shot tower for making steel balls of any size. devise a small hand-cranked machine by which bread of any size and thickness can be smoothly buttered to any depth.
consider designs of milk churns, and improve them. hear that temperature regulation in dairies is vitally important for the manufacture of good cheese; design a device for regulating temperature by means of expanding metal strips, coupled to pulleys.
send out for pizza.

related reading: benji smith's uproarious 2005 why i hate frameworks.


prismatic bullshit

publishers of prestigious and very expensive science and medicine journals are annoyed at the possibility that publicly funded research results may be open, affordable and accessible by the public that funded it, so they attack it with fear, uncertainty, and doubt on their miserable prism coalition website [and alas, put their publishing credentials to shame]

Various initiatives and proposals have been put forth by special interest groups and some legislators that would force private sector publishers to surrender to the federal government all peer-reviewed articles that report on research supported by federal research grants.

Such undue government intervention in scholarly publishing poses inherent risks and problems, including:

  • Threats to the economic viability of journals and the independent system of peer review
  • The potential for introducing selective bias into the scientific record
  • Government data repositories being subject to budget uncertainties
  • Unwarranted increases in government spending to compete with private sector publishing
  • Expropriation of publishers' investments in copyrighted articles
  • Undermining the reasonable protections of copyright holders
let's follow the droppings, shall we, in the manner of amazon. here are the negatively charged words and phrases intended to distort, misinform, and mislead: special interest groups, force, surrender, undue government intervention, inherent risks, threats to economic viability [whoo, this is a big one], threats to peer review, selective bias, budget uncertainties, unwarranted budget increase, competition with private sector, expropriation of investments, undermining copyright protection.

this sort of FUD is just stupid and embarrassing. none of their prestigious journals would publish it...

[why do i care? because more than a decade ago, i had the unfortunate task of helping university librarians and computer science faculty decide what journals to drop because the university library could no longer afford them. this was not because of a library budget cut, but because of the obscene increases in the library subscription costs for such journals. as far as i am concerned, their comeuppance is about a decade too late...]

here is a very good summary of reactions and responses from the science bloggers: This PRISM does not turn white light into the beautiful colors of the rainbow


recently noted quotes

you have a quality that just draws us in as an audience. absolutely incredible! -- nigel lythgoe [prophetically commenting on sabra johnson's audition]

it's a simple rule. If your possible choices are: 1) a shatteringly momentous event occurred in science, and 2) the journalist doesn't have a clue about what is happening, it is always wise to hold the latter as your working assumption. -- grant canyon [comments for clearly, bloggers need to take over science journalism]

I feel that I have just started to do some decent Iaido practice after more than 50 years of learning. -- iwata norikazu sensei

the way you think affects what you think about and what kinds of thoughts you get. -- jack foster [how to get ideas]

the big ideas are a small part of the process of true innovation. -- scott berkun [the myths of innovation]

You know things are bad when questions about a technical matter like security are answered by a public-relations firm. -- ed felten [e-voting ballots not secret; vendors don’t see problem]

moral of this story is left as an exercise for the reader. -- charles stross [why DRM sucks: redux]

To speak of the compatibility of science and Islam in 2007 is rather like speaking of the compatibility of science and Christianity in the year 1633, just as Galileo was being forced, under threat of death, to recant his understanding of the Earth's motion. -- sam harris [correspondence]

[i sometimes note quotes that i find amusing, even if not wise, such as the one by sam harris. problems of science and islam are well covered in a superb book by taner edis, an illusion of harmony, to which sam can only add sound bites.]

nikon d3!

finally, my dream full-frame nikon is here.
thom's comments and thom's q&a

update: thom's navigation through chaff [... and bs. required reading]

[i was very tempted to switch when canon 5d came out, but now i am glad i stayed with nikon and those exceptional nikkors, eg. 85mm f/1.4, 105mm f/2 DC and so on...]


books on my future shelves

tom flynn, the new encyclopedia of unbelief [i know, i know, amazon thinks it is not available. amazon is out of date; prometheus books announced its availability in the latest issue of free inquiry]

john w. loftus, why i rejected christianity: a former apologiest explains

bruce sterling ascendancies: best of bruce sterling [a review of this book appears in this month's locus]

mignola and golden, Baltimore,: Or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire [mignola is amongst my top 10 comic illustrators. that list also includes bachalo, cho, giraud (moebius), alan davis, skottie young et al.]

clay shirky, here comes everybody: how digital networks are transforming the ways we connect and cooperate [anyone who has read clay's insightful writings would be ordering this sight unseen...]

allen steele, galaxy blues

cass sunstein, worst-case scenarios


clearing mind [haiku]

moku-so -
clearing mind
ankles in pain.

[moku-so is the brief meditation before starting a training session in some martial arts]


recently noted quotes

three stooges were more grounded in reality. -- richard roeper [review of rush hour 3]

I'll have you know, though, that I took the test [asperger test] and scored a 24, an "average math contest winner." You need a 32 to suggest Asperger's, and a 15 is the average. So there. I don't have Asperger's, I'm just cruel and insensitive. -- p. z. myers [i'm mostly normal]

i'm an entropy buff. -- george carlin [napalm & silly putty]

i would pay a premium to stick with [windows] xp. -- ron winacott

you ought not to be regarded as the light of the world when even your most eloquent defenders can say only that your record is not quite as bad as that of the greatest monsters or most pernicious ideologies of history. -- keith parsons [atheism: twilight or dawn?]

what really distinguishes dance from other shows -- including idol -- is contestant quality. fortunately for us, dance is a criminally underappreciated art -- being a good dancer is just harder than being an idol-style pop singer. -- alynda wheat [happy feet, EW jul 20]

instead of wanting to innovate, a process demanding hard work and many ideas, most want to have innovated. -- scott berkun [the myths of innovation]

the secret tragedy of innovators is that their desire to improve the world is rarely matched by support from the people they hope to help. -- scott berkun [the myths of innovation]

when one accepts that the natural world is the only world, one can see that it is actually better than any that can be made up.
but when you are done, you are done - read your lucretius. - jennifer m. hecht [a conversation, free inquiry]


books on my future shelves

charles stross, halting state and merchants' war [book four of the merchant princes]

john allen paulos, irreligion: a mathematician explains why the arguments for god just don't add up [i have been reading paulos since innumeracy, one of my all time favorite books. i am happy to see his entry in the ongoing discussion of imaginary deities, and their mathematical [im]possibilities.]

arnie and cathy fenner, the comic art of frank frazetta

karen paik et al. to infinity and beyond!: the story of pixar animation studios

dick grune and ceriel jacobs, parsing techniques (2/ed).

connie willis, the winds of marble arch and other stories [i had the privilege to meet her in ad astra a few years ago. she is extremely smart, and very charming. i have become a big fan.]

terry pratchett, the wit and wisdom of discworld [wonderful, but only 178 pages!?] and making money

karl schroeder, queen of candesce: book two of virga

alberto manguel, homer's the iliad and the odyssey: a biography


slightly aged notes...

down the drain: i had noted scalpel magazine a couple months ago. alas, it died horribly. here is a large part of the story [i tracked the site with some interest and can confirm the publicly visible parts of the story] it was/is a worthy goal: criticism of genre fiction without [as bill stott once put it] the gobbledygook of bad social science, slobbering professionalism and good old b.s. double sigh.

art in motion: two of my favorite pieces from so you think you can dance were dominic and sabra's hip-hop routine [shane sparks] to ne-yo's make it work, and lauren and danny's contemporary routine [mia michaels] to celine dion's then you look at me. both thoughtfully choerographed, and both very affecting. [i think sabra johnson is a remarkably talented and charming dancer, and i hope will go far]

i laughed, i coughed: pete lacey's spot-on skewering of the soap/wsdl madness [from last year] is here.

legalize it: according to 2007 world drug report, 16.8 percent of canadians between the ages of 15 and 64 have used cannabis. this, in a country which had the historic opportunity in 2003 to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, but missed it. [it is unlikely that the current [wannabe-republican] conservative minority government will open the issue before the elections; to reverse-echo the post, another profound reason not to give the conservatives a majority.]

hmmm: a few weeks ago, i posted a particularly funny bit from an a.c. grayling essay on a rather bizarre tag used by some christians [eg. oxford apologist alister mcgrath] to try to discredit strong and vocal atheists. it turns out that the essay can an atheist be a fundamentalist? is available online. [related reading: james morrow's hilarious towing jehovah, where the humor of "a divine foot or buttock" gets its full perspective...]


flew over...

i keep an eye on up-and-coming titles on atheism; i pre-ordered hitchens (ed) portable atheist. i also noted a new one by anthony flew, once a "leading atheist", now a believer in some form of god apparently not bumper-stickered by existing religions: there is a god: how the world's most notorious atheist changed his mind.

Flew earned his fame by arguing that one should presuppose atheism until evidence of a God surfaces. He now believes that such evidence exists, and There Is a God chronicles his journey from staunch atheism to believer.

[i have no doubt philosophy students can hardly wait for, say, a variant of principle of sufficient reason, therefore god. let's hope it is less turgid than some of his earlier writings and provides sufficient novelty.]

related readings for the philosophically inclined:

[update: fixed the missing parsons book link]


recently noted quotes

Indeed, boredom could be considered one of the driving forces of ingenious invention, not only in science fiction, but in our rambunctious civilization as a whole. -- david brin [singularities and nightmares: extremes of optimism and pessimism about the human future]

i would say that gumbo is more indicative of american cousine than apple pie is, probably. -- alton brown

Here's what you can still do: just sit there and don't make any sudden moves. Pretend you are using Microsoft software instead of GPL'd software. Don't think. Don't modify. Don't share. Don't explore. Don't improve. Don't innovate. Don't distribute. Don't sublicense. Don't do "unauthorized" things. Don't do nuttin' or you might get sued. -- feldegast [on disgraceful microsoft/lispire patent deal]

politics is when you sell your daughter to bandits and your daughter and yourself are then both set free. -- ka'a Orto'o, gnomic utterances, xxxi ii [the tough guide to fantasyland]

please restart any running iceweasels, or you will experience problems. -- debian apt notice

from newfies to yorkies, from weimaraners to water spaniels, from dalmatians to dachshunds, as i incredulously close this book i seem to hear mocking barks and deep, baying howls of derision from 500 breeds of dogs - every one descended from a timber wolf within a time frame so short as to seem, by geological standards, instantaneous. -- richard dawkins [inferior design]

to differ from the "different," make no claims. to photograph is enough. -- david vestal [being different]

DRM is Lysenkoism for the digital age. It's an ideologically correct lie that's been concocted to bilk the entertainment industry out of a fortune. -- cory doctorow [copy killers]

there is something in the way i think that women can relate to. that comes from growing up in a house full of women. it was me, my sister, my mother, my grandmother, and about five of my aunts all in the same house. so any drama that a woman can go through, one of the women in my house went through it, and i was right there to soak it up. i just might have a little more insight than the average guy. -- ne yo [music interview, globe and mail]

the thing is, when it comes to things like flavor, you can't sort of chop it up and be all nice about it; you have to bash it up, you have to make a bit of a noise... -- jamie oliver [jamie at home]



  • firefox can no longer properly display the OK button for an image download in blogger's editor. i suppose this is not noticed by anyone except people like me who often use the native inteface to create entries. the image for the beautiful code entry was initially linked from picasa, because it could not be blogger uploaded.
  • omniweb cannot even run the blogger editor properly. edit html and compose tabs are missing, so are the font controls, link and quote in the editor bar. check spelling and add image are present, but the latter does not work.
  • safari has the same rendering problem as omniweb [no surprise, as they share rendering engine] but at least the add image button actually work. [this is how the dicey image got on this page]