Sunday, March 27, 2005

until we say goodbye

Alright, here is my first experiment with my new digital camera. Sorry for the warts in the performance. It was done in one take and much of it is new.

Monday, March 21, 2005

women literally a different species

Take a look at this article in Nature from last week.

A dude's 46th chromosome is the Y that only determines our sex. A woman's 46th is another X chromosome that does much more than determine sex. This yields increased gene expression and effectively traits that men will never exhibit. Well, with evolution, never say never. It just takes a long time from a human's perspective.

This reminds me of a time when I once told a woman that I had feelings for her. She immediately began to cry. Utter confusion gripped me. You know that feeling that you get when you flush the toilet and the water starts coming... up. It has to be one of the worst possible feelings that a human being can ever experience. You'll do anything to stop it. That is the type of immediate hysteria and ultimate helplessness that I was feeling. I would've done anything to stop those tears. I took the emotion I most commonly associated with the behavior I was witnessing and immediately attributed it to her. I thought it was sadness, but now I'm thinking it was something else.

For months I just stared at the floor and tried to get it. I didn't even remotely (and probably still don't) understand what was going on until just recently. It was despair. It was the result of finding one's self in a truly difficult situation. At least that's what I've concluded so far.

Maybe the tools with which I was born are simply incapable of determining the truth here. Maybe my powers of rationalization are rendered useless when faced with the infinitely vast spectrum of emotions conjured by the second X chromosome.

Maybe, for these cases, there are no plungers.

Friday, March 18, 2005

administration's fake news so isn't awesome

I'm getting pretty numb at this point, but i'll try anyway... America rules. Ra, ra, ra. Go team... all that jazz. Now with that said, some of the crap that the white house is pulling right now is really pissing me off. Keep this definition in mind...

propaganda: n. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

The Daily Show and The Onion are not the only sources of fake news in this country. The standing practice that so causes my skin to crawl was, once again, expounded in the New York Times recently...

At his news conference yesterday, the president bristled a bit when a reporter reminded him that after it was revealed that his administration was paying columnists to shill for agency programs, Mr. Bush had ordered that such tactics cease. But, as the reporter noted, the administration is still using government money to produce stories about the government that are broadcast with no disclosure that the government is producing them. David Barstow and Robin Stein wrote in The Times on Sunday that at least 20 agencies had made and distributed fake news segments to local TV stations; the administration spent $254 million in its first four years to buy self-aggrandizing puffery from P.R. firms. The president joked that he could tack on an "I'm George W. Bush and I approved this disclaimer." But then he said he wouldn't - that it was up to local stations to reveal the truth. He said his Justice Department had found that the fake news programs are "within the law so long as they're based upon facts, not advocacy."

Consider this fact published in the New York Times on February 19th of this year...

The comptroller general has issued a blanket warning that reminds federal agencies they may not produce newscasts promoting administration policies without clearly stating that the government itself is the source. Twice in the last two years, agencies of the federal government have been caught distributing prepackaged television programs that used paid spokesmen acting as newscasters and, in violation of federal law, failed to disclose the administration's role in developing and financing them. And those were not isolated incidents, David M. Walker, the comptroller general, said in a letter dated Thursday that put all agency heads on notice about the practice. In fact, it has become increasingly common for federal agencies to adopt the public relations tactic of producing "video news releases" that look indistinguishable from authentic newscasts and, as ready-made and cost-free reports, are sometimes picked up by local news programs. It is illegal for the government to produce or distribute such publicity material domestically without disclosing its own role.

November's national voting majority either doesn't believe it, condones it, or doesn't know about it. I shudder to contemplate the numbers that fall into the latter category.

Monday, March 14, 2005

the birthmark

One of my favorite short stories is Hawthorne's The Birthmark. I have been reminded of it recently and began reading it again. This passage inspired me to conjure this post.

The mind is in a sad state when Sleep, the all-involving, cannot confine her spectors within the dim region of her sway, but suffers them to break forth, affrighting this actual life with secrets that perchance belong to a deeper one.

Translation: You're probably deeply affected by something if you are talking about it in your sleep.

Friday, March 11, 2005

my eyeballs hurt and my building is made of toast

I just got home from a long day at work. I was lucky enough to be pulled away for a break at about 8pm by my friend Allen who lives in San Fransisco but flies in to St Louis every week to work on the project. Things are very stressful right now. I have new responsibilities and the pressure is on to complete things in short order. I did order a new camera from amazon last week and it has been great. My new storage media came in the mail today. I can now store up to 188 5-megapixel images or 22 minutes of low-frame-rate video. Rock on. Expect some guitar videos soon, unless i never find time to play while my upstairs neighbor is away. These ceilings are so thin. In the mornings i hear her walking around and sometimes, depending on where she steps, crumbs will fall on my head. I wish i was kidding. Every time i come home, i have to brush off my desk and bed. Apparently my building is made of toast.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

good methodology does not guarantee good architecture

A friend at work sent me this link to a good brain dump today. Following a good methodology like the Rational Unified Process is a good idea, but if your goal is to have a well architected solution, not just a well documented one, then you must also be a good software engineer. The methodology does not do this for you.

And at the core of RUP is a small area where you have to use OO design talents... if you don't have them, it's like having a methodology for running the 100m.
Unfortunately, the outcome of RUP is that you end up with extremely well documented TERRIBLE designs. Unless you have a good OO designer to start with. In which case they'd have come up with a good design anyway, but on less paper.

Most projects don't even attempt to create an illusion of having a good design by way of such documentation. The design and documentation is bad to start with. After much has been done in this vein, not much can be done to remediate it. As my dad used to say so eloquently... "You can't polish a turd, son."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

censorship is bad m'kay

Rolling Stone sums up a censorship bill that just passed the House on February 16th.

"If the bill passes the Senate, Bono saying 'fucking brilliant' on the air would carry the exact same penalty as illegally testing pesticides on human subjects. And for the price of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl, you could cause the wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home and still have enough money left to create dangerous mishaps at two nuclear reactors."

Ridiculous? I think so.

sardines and sleep

Alright, i'm starting to get tired now. I just finished sprinting through a few hours of setting up my new dell flat-panel monitors, setting up an blog site locally, not liking it, coming back to blogger, and configuring that. So there you go.

I also have an "all hands" meeting tomorrow morning. It sure seems like all 150 people on the project are crammed into this one room on the 4th floor of 55 westport plaza. I'm sure its not but, man, we get sardined in there. If the digital camera i ordered had arrived today, i could post a photo of the sardined team, i'll have to wait; maybe next week.