Wednesday, March 31, 2004

map of the blogosphere

map of the blogosphere

Want to have the most popular Blogs linked in one easy-to-find location? try this map. :D

proof of life on mars (a long time ago)

proof of life on mars (a long time ago)

My friend Chip Shults has continued work on the images being returned by Spirit and Opportunity, and every passing day strengthens his case that the rovers have found fossilized macroscopic life on Mars.

Most notably, Chip has found four separate blueberries with the exact same distinct markings on them, each marking having the same relative size, position, and orientation. This is simply not possible with a strictly geological process. In fact, only one process with which we are familiar can reproduce these results: biology.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

This city has the strangest weather. Today we are supposed to hit a high of 24 C (75F)... and tomorrow, the forecast calls for snow. March: in like a lion, out like... a kangaroo.
The 9/11 hearings going on in the states have people pointing fingers at each other, and for all the wrong reasons: "Bush could have done something to prevent the attacks"...."Clinton didn't do enough after the first 9/11 attack"....."Clarke is grandstanding"...blah blah blah...

Fact is, the last nine or ten presidents could have prevented this form of attack. So could the supreme court justices that served over the last several decades, and even FAA officials.

If Americans were allowed to exercise their second amendment rights aboard aircraft, then it would be impossible to hijack any aircraft, particularly a large one with many passengers. A team of five could not prevail against hundreds of potentially-armed passengers, even if only a small percentage was actually armed.

By the way, for those who think that discharging a firearm inside an airplane at 40000 feet will instantly bring the plane down or suck everyone out, you've been watching too many movies. Aircraft can survive (and land) with much bigger holes than that - check out the Aloha Flight 243 website.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Well, it took me five days, but my system is clean again. Those were some nasty worms. They mainly attacked the windows/system32 folder, with programs named things like "ntrootkit.reg" or "svchost.cmd" or "tftpd.exe", among several other names. They also had a nasty habit of shutting down my antivirus software, and occasionally my computer would attack itself.

Two decades- plus of programming experience comes in handy once in a while, when one wants to use DOS or DEBUG. That same exprience does not keep me from making dumb mistakes like letting Trojans onto my system. (Note to self: Java updates are set to automatic, a pop-up window claiming to be a Java update is probably a Trojan)

It did keep me from losing any information on my hard drives though, and now I will know exactly what to look for the next time i get hit with a big attack; repairs won't take nearly as long next time. (update: now thanks to windows update and a copy of linux, attacks won't be as severe)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

I got hit pretty hard over the weekend with a virus... several of them, actually, although I'm sure some are just variants. MSLaugh, Spool, Lovsan, Raleka, Nachi, and probably a few more, have been worming around my system. So now the battle is on, the virii versus the antivirii.

I've been programming computers for a long time, more than twenty years. This is the first time I've been hit really hard with a virus or worm. I've spent almost five days working on this, and it looks like I've finally got it contained.

Thankfully, due to careful partitioning and dual boot and regular backups, I haven't lost any information. It will take me a few days to get everything back to normal though.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

My friend Charles M. Shults III has been poring over the data from Spirit and Opportunity, particularly the pictures of the "blueberries" returned by Opportunity. What he has discovered is nothing short of astounding - clear evidence that the blueberries are in fact fossils of animals much like starfish, trilobites, and sea urchins.

There are markings all over the blueberries, just as one would find on any rocks. However, these markings are the same and in the same relative positions on numerous blueberries. No geological process could form such markings, all in identical positions, orientations, and sizes (relative to the size of the individual blueberry). Only Life could do that. The markings are the surface features of organisms which have rolled themselves into balls (probably a sessile state; some creatures on earth do something similar when the water they inhabit dries up, waiting for the next rainfall).

NASA will be taking a closer look at the blueberries when Opportunity visits the "berry bowl", a depression in the rock into which a great many of these have rolled over time. The bottom of the berry bowl is completely covered in these berries. By analyzing the bowl with a Mossbauer spectrometer and then subtracting data obtained by looking at non-berry-covered soil, the composition of these berries may be inferred. That, and further pictures will be taken of the berries; if even one more berry exhibits the surface markings seen in earlier images, then my friend Charles will be pretty darn famous in a few weeks, as the discoverer of extraterrestrial life.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Memo to online versions of newspapers:

If I click on a link, and, instead of being redirected to content I get sent to "sign up for an account with the KCstar/WaPo/NYmade-upTimes", I leave. Ask yourselves: if I leave before reading the story, am I seeing any of your advertising?

You lose potential advertising revenue by trying to force me into your database; I don't accept, so I don't see any ads. Think about it.

Monday, March 01, 2004

In this week's Space Review, Jeff Foust discusses some possibilities for the private sector to get involved with NASA's new mission plan, at least in the early phases. He mentions the proposed 2008 launch of a lander/rover combination on the moon and the hi-res imaging of selected areas of the moon as obvious starting points for public-private partnerships.

While I agree with the gist of Foust's article, I can't help but think that the private sector is already one step ahead of NASA, and will be pulling away from the NASA peloton before 2008. The impending claim of the Xprize will be a key turning point, the spark that starts the fire. Then follows a chain of races, all purely commercial: the first to send a group of people into orbit affordably, then the first to build a space station worthy of the name, then ... my crystal ball, it fades...