Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2017.12.15
That secret you've been guarding, isn't.

2007.01.31

Dangerous Cuteness III

The pups at 6 weeks.

Trio - 6 weeks

Previously:

Dangerous Cuteness II
Dangerous Cuteness
A Dog Needs A Dog

2007.01.30

Return Of The Anti-SPAM Code

The dreaded comments CAPTCHA has returned to JZ:TOL. I dislike these, but the volume of comment SPAM has increased dramatically since this blog has been linked by several higher traffic blogs. There are also several common Google searches that seem to land here. I’ve been selectively banning IP addresses (virtually everything from China) for several months, which has helped, but it wasn’t enough. Hence the reintroduction of the anti-spam code requirement to post a comment. Hopefully, the balance between convenience for the commentators and sanity for the webmaster will be tolerable.

2007.01.25

Sponges Who Use Sponges

Bold prediction: There will soon be warning labels on sponges. Why? Just examine the evidence:

[A] study that found microwave ovens can be used to sterilize kitchen sponges sent people hurrying to test the idea this week — with sometimes disastrous results.

But several experimenters evidently left out the crucial step of wetting the sponge.

“Just wanted you to know that your article on microwaving sponges and scrubbers aroused my interest. However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and pissed me off,” one correspondent wrote.

Maybe there should be a law that says you have to be smarter than a sponge to use a sponge.

(H/T Slashdot)

2007.01.24

Dangerous Cuteness II

The pups at 5 weeks.

Trio - 5 weeks

Previously:

Dangerous Cuteness
A Dog Needs A Dog

2007.01.21

Operating Room Tantrum

Ouch. But you’ll be delighted to know the surgeon “has already been punished enough after having his medical licence [sic] suspended.” Suspended, not revoked.

The medical costs will be paid by the hospital’s insurer, but doctors’ unions have criticised [sic] the decision that the money for the damages has to be paid by the doctor.

They say the move sets a dangerous precedent and that Professor Ciomu, a urologist and lecturer in anatomy, has already been punished enough after having his medical licence [sic] suspended.

A “dangerous precedent?” Dangerous? The Romanian doctors’ union needs a better understanding of what “dangerous” means. An unstable surgeon with a knife standing over an unconscious patient is dangerous.

Vice-president of the Romanian Doctors Union, Vasile Astarastoae, said: ‘Ciomu’s case is a dangerous precedent for all Romanian doctors. In future doctors may have to think very carefully about what work they undertake.’

Because obviously, the last thing you want is a doctor thinking carefully about the work they’re doing.

Obviously, if you are a Romanian doctor, that is. Consequences for destructive behavior commensurate with the damage done are a good thing. It’s the difference between dangerous and deterrence.

[The surgeon] told the court it was a temporary loss of judgement due to personal problems.

No kidding. I wonder if the physically damaged patient, in lieu of the monetary damages awarded by the court, would be allowed a moment alone with the good doctor for a “temporary loss of judgement due to personal problems” of his own. It is stunning to see other Romanian doctors circle the wagons around Naum “The Hacker” Ciomu, referring to his mutilating conniption as “a mistake.”

I have to say, though, the caption to the picture in the article is, shall we say, rather ill conceived.

[Edit History]

2007.01.21

Added thoughts related to the position taken by the Romanian doctors’ union.

2007.01.20

Blog Haiku #14

This here is
Your here.
And still not the same.

2007.01.19

Blog Haiku #13

This unseen cloud
That blocks your view
Does not exist.

2007.01.18

Dangerous Cuteness

The pups at 4 weeks.

Trio - 4 weeks

I’ll have a pick of one from two of these three (it’s set math, but I have faith you can figure it out.) Clearly, it won’t be easy.

Previously:

A Dog Needs A Dog

2007.01.17

Lemming (Previously Duke) 88

Welcome, dear reader. You’ve come to hear the tale of Aquaville, no doubt. A place where blue and green people live in relative harmony and where all the buildings are painted a sparkling, bright nondescript color.

Well, almost all. A small number of blue people buck social convention and paint their house blue. Or perhaps just part of it. Or maybe a pale shade of blue. Or perhaps all the rooms inside are painted blue.

Same for a few green people who feel the town should be green and so paint their house green. Or perhaps just a part of it. Or maybe a pale shade of green. Or perhaps all the rooms inside are painted green.

One day…SCANDAL!

Egads! Someone, a person of green it turns out, has been doused with a bucket of blue paint. “I’ve been blued!”, the greenie cries. “And those blue derkreuz players did it!” There is now a person in Aquaville who is both blue and green. The Horror! Not in Aquaville! No!

Yes!

The Aquaville DA was the first to the microphone: “Twists and turns, this story has, yessssssssss it doesesssss, My Precious.” he says to the angry greenies and the dumbfounded bluies.

So, too, the Aquaville University Intelligentsia determine (at the weekly Ivory Tower Society Of Aquaville University Intelligentsia meeting) there is Obvious and Universal and Unquestioned Outrage at this heinous event. “Let us go forth to declare and impose our judgment upon the nematodes who pay our salaries.”, they proclaim. And thus they splattered their perspective upon the citizenry by way of a sacred “ad.” As in “advertisement.” You know, one of those thingies marketing types use to sell you all manner of shi…er…shiny objects.

We are listening to our students. We’re also listening to the Aquaville community, to Aquaville University staff, and to each other. Especially, to each other. Actually, only to each other. We don’t give a rat’s ass about the police investigation, what is apparent everyday now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of discoloration and splashism, who see illuminated in this moment’s extraordinary spotlight what they live with everyday. The clueless bastards, but bless their molded minds. They know that it isn’t just Aquaville University, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster. Which is to say it’s nobody. But it is a disaster nonetheless. These students are shouting and whispering, simultaneously all at once, about what happened to this young greenie and to themselves. And we hear them.

Non-descript Universal Power be praised! Our Department of Discoloration and Splashism Studies has been saved! The agenda lives!

Aghast, were the four score and eight Ivory Tower Intelligentsia, at the base and growly response reflected from the cretins at their feet. “Pay your child’s tuition and be gone with you!”, they pronounced. But alas, the din from the great wealthy unwashed would not abate. So they did speak again unto the foul mass of check writers.

Recently, the Aquaville University community was rocked by terrible news. We heard that a greenie hired to perform at a party thrown by our derkreuz team had accused members of the team of discolorization. Neighbors, we were told, heard splashist epithets called out at the greenie. The criminal proceedings and the media frenzy which followed are perhaps beginning to wind down. But we won’t let that happen for we shall perservere and fan the flames once again. For us at Aquaville University, the issues raised by the incident, and by our responses to it, are not. How DARE the masses contradict our proclamations!

The ad we previously posted has been read as a comment on the alleged discoloration, the team party, or the specific students accused. Worse, it has been read as rendering a judgment in the case. You idiots. It’s not a rendering. Its a suggestion. Got it? Good! We understand the ad instead (and it is OUR understanding that counts, don’t you know) as a call to action on important, longstanding issues on and around our campus, an attempt to channel the attention generated by the incident to addressing these. We reject all attempts to try the case outside the courts, and stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence, except insofar as it makes us look bad and prevents us from achieving the agenda from the Ivory Tower.

Come on, people! Just think of all the vast numbers of blue-green people who suffer each day under the yoke of discolorization. Have you NO sensitivity to the ISSUES of SPLASHISM? We. Need. This. Victim. Keep it up and you will force us to WRITE IN ALL CAPS!

There have been public calls to the Intelligentsia to retract the ad or apologize for it, as well as calls for action against them and attacks on their character. We reject all of these. Fie, we say to all you vermin! We think the ad’s authors were right to give voice to the unsubstantiated anonymous quotes we used, whose suffering is every bit as real as our world. They have tenured suffering and that must be respected. We also acknowledge, without the concomitant empathy stuff, the pain that has been generated by what we believe is a misperception that the authors of the ad prejudged the discoloration case. How were we supposed to know the masses would, like, you know, actually figure that out?

We stand by the claim that issues of discoloration and splashist violence on campus are real, and we join the ad’s call to all of us at Aquaville University to do something about this. Damn it! Get a Federal grant and DO SOMETHING! Hellooooooooo! We hope that the Aquaville University community will emerge from this tragedy as a better place for we Intelligentsia to live, study, and occasionally work.

Sadly, for the Intelligentsia, the overwhelming preference from the community was for the Intelligentsia’s head to emerge from their collective Intelligentsia arse.

2007.01.13

Rocky Mountain High

Spent most of the day in Breckenridge (Colorado) visiting my brother and nephew who are visiting from New York for a ski trip in the glorious Rocky Mountains. This is the view from I-70 about the Genesee exit.

Rocky Mountains

Simply breathtaking.

2007.01.12

The Culture Of Pure Fantasy

Bad enough we have Senator Ted Stevens (Republican, Alaska) exposing his profound ignorance by claiming the Internet is “a series of tubes“. Now we are blessed with Representative David Wu (Democrat, Oregon) spelling out the difference between “real” and “fake” Klingons for us:

Fantasy, my friends. Scary, scary fantasy. These guys wouldn’t know a terrorist if it blew up in their face.

[Edit History]

2007.01.13

Something about this video really bugged me, but didn’t put my finger on it until last night. Rep. Wu is reading from a prepared statement. He actually thought this through, if you could call it that. When you put your ideas to paper, actually write them down, you give them their first audience and from there you begin to think about a wider audience. Good writers consider how their ideas may be perceived and what the audience reaction might be. Good writers seek to provoke the reaction they originally intended – outrage, humor, debate, edification, etc. So Rep. Wu is either a brilliant orator and knew his congressional audience will enough to craft his SiFi message or he is an idiot.

2007.01.11

“Natural” – The New “New And Improved!”

I’m not surprised the marketing mavens interested in pushing as much bilge water and the like at the least possible cost for the highest possible price would slap the word “Natural” on their products:

Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal shelter and advocacy organization today criticized the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “natural” label as misleading and meaningless. The organization submitted comments to the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA opposing the “natural” label on products from animals raised on industrialized factory farms or “derived from animals whose lives have been otherwise altered and manipulated in blatantly unnatural ways.”

People want to trust the producers of their food stuff and are easily assuaged by soft, fluffy and friendly words like “Natural”, “Wholesome” and “Enriched”. The producers know this and exploit it to maximize profits.

A nationwide Zogby International poll of 1,013 likely voters, conducted from January 5 through January 9, 2007, found that 73 percent consider it “inappropriate” to label meat, milk or eggs from animals kept confined indoors, crowded in cages, and standing on metal or concrete floors as “natural.” In addition, the poll showed that consumers prefer to purchase foods labeled as “natural” over those without such a label.

Well, “Fie!” to the likely voters. The large food factories think such ways of treating animals so as to maximizes profits is quite natural. It must be, after all, consumers keep buying without complaint or apparent concern. All’s well in the all natural market economy. So naturally, they put “natural” on the packaging. Thing is, they’re not to be faulted. They’re doing what large businesses do. They are doing what the market (that just might include you) demands.

Words like “natural” are highly subjective nominalizations. It means to consumers what they want it to mean. Many consumers may not care if their food was “derived from animals whose lives have been otherwise altered and manipulated in blatantly unnatural ways.” Maybe all they want to know is that it’s carbon based and, like the famous Powdermilk Biscuits, good for them mostly. So the word “natural” on the package will give the consumer a warm fuzzy about buying the product. And unless the word “enriched” is followed by the word “uranium”, that one is likely to make them feel like the food producer really cares about them.

What’s a consumer to do? More laws that end up being gutted or ignored? I think the better approach is to express yourself by where you put your dollars. Read beyond the label and make more informed choices about the food you buy. Read Nina Planck’s book, “Real Food”, as a start. It’s not hard and actually not much more expensive. Certainly not when you factor in the long term issues of better health and attitude. Demanding and seeking better quality food is less expensive in the long run. But it’s a choice you have to make and a responsibility you have to take.

2007.01.10

A Dog Needs A Dog

Somewhere buried in this new techo-widget I got several weeks back, beneath the MP3 player, the still camera, the video camera, the web browser, games and the manual only knows what else, there is a phone. Once I figured out how that worked the rest became so much cruft to be ignored. A few days back, an almost need arose for a camera in an unanticipated situation. So it was time to learn how the camera feature worked. Pretty simple and the quality was better than I expected. Here’s the old lady:

Jasmine 1Jasmine 2

Since Mac Duff’s departure, Jasmine has been slowly sinking. She’s a fabulous companion for me, but alas I’m wholly unqualified to be a good dog. On walks where we encountered other dogs, Jaz would light up. Clearly, she needs a companion dog. It doesn’t help that most of the sidewalks around here are pretty much buried under ice and snow. That makes it difficult to walk a small dog, especially and old, slightly arthritic one. Hence the search began more than a month ago for a buddy to Jasmine. Happy to say, it looks like I have one lined up.

The criteria were fairly straightforward. No large dogs and no nano dogs. Most of my experience is with terriers so to minimize the learning curve as well as insure the greatest compatibility with Jasmine, my skills and the house/yard configuration, the choice came down to either a Silky terrier, a Cairn terrier or a West Highland terrier.

I looked at all the rescue organizations for each of the breeds, but the wait was too long or the expense was too great once travel/transport was factored in. Some of the dogs also had behavior problems which would not have worked with the combination of Jasmine’s age and me not being able to be at the house 24/7. A puppy would be easier to work with in this regard, but they rarely show up on the rescue dog circuit – at least not for the breeds I was looking for.

So the next option was to look for a breeder. I looked at quite a few. Some had rather…um….extensive requirements and made adopting a child look like shopping at Wal-Babies. Agree to unannounced visits for the life of the animal? I don’t think so. First right of refusal for the life of the animal if I have to give it up? Nope, not after I paid for air transport. I want breeders to work to place their animals in good homes and I expect some level of checking. But once I’ve been cleared, the deal is done and I start carrying the bills, the breeder should be out of the picture except for any guarantees they may have offered.

I have found a dog breeder with whom I am comfortable doing business. I won’t mention the breeder until the puppy is home and settled, but so far so good. For a Silky or a Cairn, there would have been the added expense of air travel. But a Westie breeder with several recent litters was found within a few days drive. Close enough I can bring Jasmine along for the road trip. Around mid February, I’ll have my pick from two of the following three female puppies (shown at 3 weeks):

Trio - 3 weeks

Hmmmmmm. What to name the puppy…

2007.01.09

Blog Haiku #12

Without a pen
the keyboard
scribbles upon the blogosphere.

2007.01.08

The Duke 88 Nifong Themselves

Cathy Davidson of the Duke 88:

On the other hand, most of my e-mail comes from right-wing “blog hooligans.” These hateful, ranting and sometimes even threatening folks don’t care about Duke or the lacrosse players. Their aim is to make academics and liberals look ridiculous and uncaring.

I suppose posting this makes me a “blog hooligan” in the tiny mind of Ms. Davidson merely because I posted this post dissenting from her narrow little hypocritical rant. Ah well, little worlds, little worlds, little worlds…

My aim is not “to make academics and liberals look ridiculous and uncaring.” Rather, to point out that it is the Duke 88’s very behavior which makes them look ridiculous and uncaring. That would be the behavior which the Duke 88 thought up, which they committed and from which Ms. Davidson is now going to shrill strains to abrogate responsibility. It appears, for Ms. Davidson and possibly the rest of the Duke 88, this is more about their personal social agenda and not about the presumed innocence of the accused regardless their color.

The ad we signed explicitly was not addressed to the police investigation or the rape allegations. The ad focused on racial and gender attitudes all too evident in the weeks after March 13. It decried prejudice and inequality in the society at large. “It isn’t just Duke, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster,” the ad insisted.

Ms. Davidson and the Duke 88 cannot separate their exploitation of the Duke rape case for their own purposes that easily. If they are not for the presumed innocence of the accused and due process, then the “prejudice and inequality in the society at large” that has them fretting will be the prevailing character of society. Luckily for Ms. Davidson and the rest of the Duke 88, I will presume their innocence as well as their naiveté and lack of depth.

The Duke 88 have embarrassed themselves and they lack the humility to acknowledge that fact. This isn’t the Emperor without clothes. It’s the Emperor who’s underwear is showing.

[Sidebar: Ever since the Duke 88 came to light, I cannot help but envision some goofy team of whatnots along the lines of the Crazy 88’s from Kill Bill.]

[Edit History]

2007.01.09

La Shawn Barber has the depth.

2007.01.10

As does KC Johnson.


All content copyright © 1994 - Gregory Paul Engel, All Rights Reserved. The content or any portion thereof from this web site may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written consent of Gregory Paul Engel. Queries may be sent to greg dot engel at javazen dot com.

Page 1 of 212

No posts for this category or search criteria.