Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Wednesday, 2021.04.21
Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.

		W.C. Fields

2008.07.01

The Bungee Email Safety Feature

I proposed this idea in various conversations something like 10 years ago, before there were blogs and such. Perhaps it’s time to voice it again in this forum where any techno-entrepreneur can stumble upon it and, if we’re all lucky, run with it to some success.

Today, for the third time in as many weeks, I was the recipient of an email regretfully sent just nanoseconds after the “Send” button had been clicked. (Today’s blunder, it must be stated, was exacerbated by the “Reply All” button, but I don’t have a solution to that problem.) None rose above the level of “Major Oooops”, but we’ve all heard stories where such events have ended careers, relationships and governments to small countries. (Just kidding about that last one.)

For people caught up in the anger of the moment, too drunk to practice self restraint in front of a keyboard or those who just can’t get the hang of thinking about consequences, I propose The Bungee Email Safety Feature.

It’s simple. If you’re one of those people who feel a strong, irresistible urge to defiantly, compulsively, decidedly or with malice of forethought click the “Send” button regardless (you know who you are), then this safety feature is for you. The way it works is the email client would have a setting whereby a user could specify a number of minutes/hours/days (depending on a particular users safety threshold) that have to pass before any and all email messages they “send” are actually released into the wild. After clicking the “Send” button, their messages would sit safely in the send queue until such time the wait period had passed.

With this feature, once the sender has cooled off, found wisdom or sobered up, he can easily open up his send queue and disarm the ticking time bomb placed there prior to having attained enlightenment. And, of course, if he decides to send that message anyway, he can always cut the bungee chord. Sometimes, there’s satisfaction in that as well.

2008.06.28

Paper Wars

Turns out Eric Scheie and I are fighting the same battle today. My efforts are far more modest than Eric’s, involving one puny schredder and a few garbage bags. Still, there is a lot of paper I HAVE to keep, mostly related to Janet’s psychotherapy practice. Stuff I can’t distroy for a few years yet due to some rather vague legal reason. Ack. Nonetheless, I toss what I can.

What’s interesting about the battle in Eric’s trench is he apperently gets far mor junk mail than I. He quotes from these folks:

“The amount of paper junk mail sent each year in the USA is staggering — some 4 million tons, nearly half of which is never opened.”

The most staggering thing about that statistic, assuming it’s true, is that of those 4 million tons, over half of it actually is opened.

Who are these people?

2008.06.27

Mythological Facts In Dispute

I’m not a believer in astrology, in the sense that I find it at all useful for solving problems. But it is entertaining and kinda fun. Stumbled upon this entry in Wikipedia this morning, actually captures the essence:

It’s the “factual accuracy” that is disputed. I’ve been wanting to ask an astrologist what happened to the art when Pluto was downgraded? Or what about the other planets that were discovered in the galaxy. And arn’t they neglecting the influence of other large objects moving about in vacuums like astroids and Michael Moore?

I’m just askin’…

2008.06.03

Rules Strictly Enforced…

…except when they’re not.

2008.04.19

Right Wing Nuts

I had excellent chemistry teachers and professors in high school and college. They were tough and thorough. What I learned there paved the way toward being a successful computer programmer. Writing software is easy. Writing successfully software is a challenge. Successful software is resilient, durable and stable. To get there, a developer has to be exceptionally adept at debugging. Finding a bug often comes down to recognizing what isn’t happening.

This is probably true for any complex field. Tracing network hardware issues can depend on noticing where date is isn’t being routed, fine tuning a medical diagnosis may depend on noticing which symptoms aren’t present. I find it can also be true of people’s beliefs. The things they don’t say often reveal how thoughts are being process inside their head.

An example of how this “insight by absence” idea is reflected in people came by way of one of my friends who remarked that another friend had noted “all those right wing nuts” in my blog roll.

Busted.

They’re there all right.

Hmmmmm. But what about these?

  • Advice Goddess
  • Ann Althouse
  • Daily KOS
  • Democratic Underground
  • Eric Umansky
  • Huffington Post
  • Lawrence Lessig
  • Liberal Oasis
  • TalkLeft
  • Truthout

Interesting filter in play. The sites bulleted above are also in my blog roll and are anything BUT right wing. So presumably, they are not “nuts.” But by including the “right wing nuts” I’ve revealed myself as a “right wing nut?” I’ve just learned a great deal about this particular person – how they perceive the world, where they draw lines, how they discriminate, what bothers them.

Well, my friend, you are not alone in such criticism. I’ve also been dinged for “polluting” my blog roll with “left wing nuts.” Forming such at-a-glance beliefs is dependent upon not actually reading this blog. Doing so would reveal I throw stones at both sides of the aisle. I’ve stated more than once on these pages I’m a registered Independent, preferring to listen to both sides, dive deeper to find the source facts (or lack of them) to my own satisfaction and form my own opinions. That may sound like work, but it’s much easier than towing any party’s line.

Alas, you can neither teach nor expect people to step back for the bigger picture.

The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.Daniel J. Boorstin

[Edit History]

2008.04.12

Oooops. Took “Protein Wisdom” off the bullet list. Didn’t intend for that one to be there.

2007.12.11

Jeanne Under Fire

Jeanne Assam, a woman of remarkable poise under fire – both from bullets and the press.

There is a Buddhist koan wherein a monk is on a boat with 100 people. One of them is a murder. What does the monk do? Kill the murderer and save the lives of innocent passengers or does he stay true to his vow to take no other life? Perhaps there is a Christian counterpart to this koan and if so, it would seem Ms. Assam faced that riddle. No matter how many interviews she gives, only she will ever know if she answered the challenge correctly. That’s as it should be.

Watch for the control freaks with a specialty in gun control work to vilify her – because they simply can’t let a heroine stand here – and the press to do the same – because that’s what they do.

Personally, I breath a little easier knowing there are people about in the world like Jeanne Assam. One of Plato’s remnants revealed.

[Edit History]

2007.12.11 14:20

News on the Tubes indicates the gunman died of self-inflicted wounds. As I mentioned above, the gun control control control control freaks will work to pull Ms. Assam’s efforts into the mud. And so they are. As Michelle Malkin notes:

“The anti-gun extremists who are desperate to shoot down Jeanne Assam’s heroism will grasp at this detail as vindication somehow. But if not for her courage and her steady aim, he would not have gone down.”

The AP article linked above tosses in an “Oh, by the way” smear at the end of the article:

“Also Tuesday, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said Assam was fired from the Minneapolis force in 1997 for lying during an internal investigation. Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said police were investigating a complaint that Assam swore at a bus driver while she was handling an incident on a city bus.”

Question for AP: What makes this relevant to the events on December 12th? Is this a juvenile attempt to establish that only “bad” people have guns? If reporting twisted truth and abject bias was lethal, the legacy media would be the biggest mass murder of all time. Soooooooo predictable.

2007.12.11 14:31

Ha! The comments on Malkin’s blog are excellent…

TexasTiger:

“Matthew Murray entered the church with 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Nine hundred and ninety-nine were intended for parishoners and the thousandth for his own coconut.

Jeanne Assam’s actions convinced him to skip ahead a bit to the last round…that’s all.”

J S Ragman:

“Great news! Her conscience is clear, and he’s still dead. “

2007.11.28

And How Is Your Christmas Shoving Going?

Er…I mean Christmas shopping.

“They were having a big fight. Two ladies was jumping a lady over credit cards,” witness Sylvester Wilson said.

Nearly a dozen Wauwatosa squad cars responded to the call just before 11 a.m. Saturday.”It was a nice brawl. It came from inside to outside. If you go up there, you’ll see hair, earrings, all pulled out on the ground,” Wilson said.

Online shopping, baby. It’s the way to go.

2007.11.15

From The Two-Plus-Two-Equals-One Department

The unanswered question is, which had the greater suction, the vacuum cleaner or the black hole at the center of this guy’s head?

A man using a vacuum cleaner to suck gasoline out of a vehicle was burned and his house damaged when the fuel exploded, the Albuquerque Fire Department said.

2007.09.18

The Tough Thing About History…

…is that it goes back further than people care to study. (H/T Hot Air)

With fewer and fewer people alive today to serve as living memory and witness, I fear the unthinkable and improbable, once forgotten and dismissed, will once again become part of the plan and probable. I can envision a scenario where, as before, fueled by an economic downturn, the sheeple scan for a convenient scapegoat. Can’t happen? Witness the ease with which a significant percentage of the population orphans the weakest of critical thinking skills and easily believes the fantastic conspiracy theories surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001. Spectacular material evidence, swept away as easily as bread crumbs from a countertop.

[Edit History]

2007.09.20 –

Precedents: The world’s willingness to permit one Holocaust gives cause for concern that it will stand by, if not enable, another.

2007.06.11

Cool On Top

As in Cool Roofs:

Over 90% of the roofs in the United States are dark-colored. These low-reflectance surfaces reach temperatures of 150 to 190°F (66 to 88°C) and contribute to:

  • Increased cooling energy use and higher utility bills;
  • Higher peak electricity demand, raised electricity production costs, and a potentially overburdened power grid;
  • Reduced indoor comfort;
  • Increased air pollution due to the intensification of the “heat island effect”; and
  • Accelerated deterioration of roofing materials, increased roof maintenance costs, and high levels of roofing waste sent to landfills.


In contrast, cool roof systems with high reflectance and emittance stay up to 70°F (39°C) cooler than traditional materials during peak summer weather. Benefits of cool roofs include reduced building heat-gain and saving on summertime air conditioning expenditures. By minimizing energy use, cool roofs do more than save money – they reduce the demand for electric power and resulting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of Home Owner Association fiefdoms in the way of making something like this happen. There really are many, many simple solutions to the problem, but how do you whip up a fearful frenzy about white roofs? It’s much more satisfying to smack down a Hummer driver or gloat over that shiny new Prius in the driveway.

2007.06.08

That’s Not The Paris I Knew

I just don’t know what to think about the frenzied, feverish pitch in the press over Paris Hilton’s Plight. Give me a moment…

I got it! Nothing!

The main stream media has become worse than a parody of itself. In times past, the pen was mightier than the sword. But the pen wielded by today’s press is out of ink. But who am I to complain? Paris and the press are giving extra life to my little joke.

2007.05.28

From The Good-Doggie-Gooooooood-Doggie Department

I don’t get it. This is America. We can put a man on the moon, evaporate milk and, most miraculously of all, find a way to entertain ourselves with the likes of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. So why is it we can’t figure out a way to get coyotes to attend some anger management classes? There ought to be a LAW that makes them behave, damn it! Please, think of the pets! If is saves at least one Bichon Frise it will have been worth it.

Coyote Warning

Came across this sign while on a bike ride this afternoon. Huge sections of field and brush were marked off, crime scene tape style, with these big scary red signs planted at regular intervals. Any PETA persons available to get in there and teach these pesky coyotes how to play nice in the neighborhood? I’m sure all you’ll need to do is sit down with them and show them you care. Perhaps some hugs and kisses will help, too.

2007.05.25

TSA – Safe Haven For Creepy Cretins With Stunted Self-Esteem

Ever since grade school, I’ve had to deal with a particular attitude among hyper-insecure short people whereby they have an impulsive need to somehow “prove” themselves by doing me harm. “Get the big guy, it’ll look good and if I lose, well hey, I lost to the big guy and I sill look good.” It’s not just me. All big guys seem to have to deal with this at some point. As the big guy, it means either way you loose. In grade school, it meant getting picked on a lot and occasionally beaten up. Wasn’t much of a fighter thanks, in part, to that “turn the other cheek” crap. On the rare occassion I did fight back, it was a net loss because the poor, smaller underdog usually gathered sympathy from those unaware the runt initiated the conflict.

When the teenage years brought muscle to my lanky frame, the intimidation factor pretty much closed the door on the physical proving grounds, even though I was still clinically shy and quite the accomplished wimp. (Adding an Aikido black belt to my set-O-skills sealed this avenue off permanently.) At this point, the weak-ass diminutive efforts at sniping hits of self-esteem off of others perceived as self-confident becomes much more covert. Also at this point, it is no longer limited to just males. The covert field is a level one that offers satisfaction for both genders.

It’s easy to recognize the attempts at marginalizing who I am or otherwise confine my choices like a hawk recognizes a rabbit. Water off a duck’s back, these days. Ignoring the attempt is all I have energy for. There are, however, occasions where I have no choice but to deal with such stunted emotional growth. And it’s always situations where the self-esteem starved cretin is on the other side of the fence, taunting from the safety of Mom and Dad’s porch, as it were. The secondary and tertiary consequences of September 11, 2001, and the rise in power of the TSA security agent at airports is a real time example of this environment.

It’s a low level job with a relatively low skill threshold to qualify. But you get the uniform and, with the full weight and power of federal law, you get to ply your trade from the safety of Mom and Dad’s porch. An attractive environment for the feeble-esteemed. What a joy they must feel, knowing that with a wave of their hand they can force whom ever to do the “little security dance” for their pleasure. (The fact most of the airport security hoopla is all theater belongs in a separate post. Better yet, go here.)

When traveling, I tend to get tapped for the extra security screening. Not that I’m sporting the terrorist look, rather, I suspect, because I’m tall, muscular and probably have a displeased look on my face due solely to the fact I have to squeeze my 6′ 5″ frame into a puny lawn chair inside an aluminum tube and remain frozen there for the duration of the flight. But maaaaaaaaaaaybe, I’m just having paranoid dilutions. So I started keeping track. So far, every time I’ve been tapped, it’s been by members of the 5′ 5″ or less ruck of TSA agents.

Still…water off a duck’s back. The strategy of choice is to acknowledge the runt only as much as necessary and get the hell out of there. But like with the school yard, the runt knows they get to win and all I can do is loose. So, I do the “extra security dance”, update the mental score card and go on my way. A recent trip to Dallas was a little different. It’s the closest I’ve come to empirical proof that this attitude exists within the TSA ranks.

It was a short business trip, so I had one carry on with everything I needed, including all those extremely seriously frighteningly dangerous liquids and gels sealed in the required 1 qt. zip-lock bag. I do my dance – shoes off, belt off, watch off, wallet out, laptop out, bag of extremely seriously frighteningly dangerous liquids and gels out, boarding pass held in my teeth…

All goes fine. I’m on the other side getting dressed again and I look up to see a short, fat, unattractive female TSA agent holding up my bag of extremely seriously frighteningly dangerous liquids and gels. She has one of those half grins going. And I think, “Uh-oh.”

“Is this yours?”, she asks. (No courtesy “Sir” at the end. Uh-oh.)

“Yes”, say I.

Slowly, deliberately she takes out the toothpaste. “This is too big.” I just look at her. She unrolls the end of the tube down a bit and points to the label, “It’s 5 ounces and has to be less than 3.” I just look at her. She is holding that more than half empty tube of toothpaste up with a condescending, self-satisfied smile on her face. I imagine the same smile slithers across her face after finishing off that quart of vanilla crunch ice cream each night back at the hovel. But there was more to the vibe. If I could read her mind (scary thought), I suspect there was something like “Go ahead, you bastard. Give me a reason to take you down. Make my day.” Given this blubbery TSA hag was wearing a TSA uniform – the most powerful, illogical, contradictory, uncaring authority on the concourse that can blow my life clean out of the water – I wasn’t feeling lucky.

I trade glances with the lady next in line and think, “I’ve already lost here. But, I still can choose how much I want to loose.” I could have helped TSA hag with the math, but that would have meant getting to know TSA hag much more than I cared to in this or any other life time. I chose to loose the toothpaste.

It’s schadenfreude, to be sure. Any bureaucracy that gives this kind of power over the minutia of other people’s lives gets exploited by the emotional runts it hires to implement it’s intrusive, ineffective policies.

[Edit History]

2007.05.25

I’m sure these petty types lash out at others for similar reasons against different traits. I happen to be tall and male, so that’s the filter I get. For being pretty, well dressed or intelligent…not so much.

2007.05.27

Grammar and typo fixes.

2007.05.08

Animals Are Such…Animals!

Another case, via the Darwin Awards, of a human being surprised by the fact animals are not human:

(August 2006, Florida) A scuba diver was bitten on the lip when he attempted to kiss a nurse shark. The bite was a surprise to the diver, as he had already kissed hundreds of sharks. He explained, “You pick ’em up, rub their belly, scratch ’em, hug them, you might as well give ’em a smooch while you’re out there.”

Yes, I’m certain with over 450 million years of evolution behind them, sharks have a highly developed sense of “hug” and “smooch.” This particular shark probably and a momentary lapse into the evolutionary dark ages and confused “hug and smooch” with “slash and tear.” Oooops.

Keep at it, Diver Dan. I hear the really big sharks are just as cuddly as a bear.

2007.04.29

The Truth Never Changes

Except when it does. The Truth defined by Claudius Ptolemy stood for some 1,400 years before the Truth defined by Nicolaus Copernicus ground Ptolemy’s cosmological Truth to dust. The Truth had changed. When one Truth, however, stands as long and has as deep a roots as Ptolemy’s, it can take a great deal of time to be eroded by the new Truth. Such was the case with Copernicus’ Truth. When so many of a society’s beliefs have been built upon a particular Truth, society is loath to relinquish the old Truth in favor of the new.

It is the same for personal beliefs and what each of us perceive as the “Truth.” An attorney friend of mine leverages this inertia when questioning witnesses in court. He begins with “Would you agree the Truth never changes?” The answer to this question is usually “Yes.” The one exception I know of was when this question was asked of a research MD expert witness. Science types, if they learned the idea of science at all, know the Truth changes. But the average bear believes the Truth, as they understand it, is as solid as a block of stone. My attorney friend then skillfully guides the witness into acknowledging the Truth of the case he is presenting. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

When the battle is between one who knows the Truth changes and one who believe it does not, my money is on the one who knows they are dancing on quicksand.

There are, of course, areas of human experience where the unacknowledged absurdity of immutable Truth make the experience what it is. Take this for example…

The Bean

It’s “The Bean”, as the locals call it, in Chicago. I took this picture last week while there on business. Is it art? Does it reveal a Truth to you?

Most of the visual arts are lost on me. I know what I like. Asian calligraphy and the works of David Lee and Frances Ku are particular favorites. But “The Bean” wasn’t revealing any Truths for me that day. That is, not until I looked no further than my own feet. There it was. The Truth revealed just as clearly as if it had been, well, chiseled in stone.

AT&T Plaza

It’s a commercial. (I did say most of the visual arts are lost on me. That’s probably why I play piano and cello rather than muck about with paint or clay.) But what about this…

Wacker 1

Found this after wandering East on Wacker to Lake Michigan. Again, no Truths were revealed, not even chiseled in stone. But I do know it had puppies…

Wacker 2

I shall leave the subject of Truth from Art alone and instead focus on the Truth that drives, reassures and comforts most of us. It’s the Truth of “reality.” But here again, there is an often unacknowledged contamination of subjectivity. There is the Truth of facts and the Truth derived from those facts, the interpreted Truth.

Just West of where I live can be found baked into the stone footprints from some long dead giant lizard. Virtually everyone agrees to this fact. The footprints are there. The creature, and any such creatures like it, have long since vanished from the planet. Where the Truth of these footprints becomes schizophrenic is in how the fact of those footprints are interpreted. My interpretation, and the resulting Truth I carry around, says those footprints were left there millions of years ago. Others interpret those prints has being no older than a few thousands years, what with the Earth not being older than some particular reference claims. A single Truth of fact with two associated, yet incompatible interpreted Truths.

A popular and politically correct Truth to hang your hat on these days has to do with global warming and whether or not it’s an established fact. My read is that it isn’t. Man’s experience with the weather is just too small a window from which to claim having any kind of clear view of what the global climate is doing. One hundred years ago, some scientists and much of the press was all abuzz with claims that the next ice age had begun.

I believe it is a good thing to reduce the amount of pollution we, as a species, spew into the atmosphere. I’ve believed that since high school when the high pollution alerts in Denver, compounded by the city’s infamous temperature inversions, left the air smelling like a sewer for weeks. Today, even with the population having growing significantly, the air is much cleaner. The global warming hysteria has not deepened my conviction in this regard.

So Al Gore is burning tons of jet fuel to haul is ass around the globe in order to set up circus tents and parade his “An Inconvenient Truth” dog and pony show. (Sidebar: When was it the Academy created a slide show category for it’s award?) I’m left with several questions. Who’s Truth is Gore selling? Inconvenient for whom? How can such a complex issue contain just one Truth? Frankly, I don’t think the Earth gives a damn about us. 4 billion years ago it was a sea of molten rock with no atmosphere. Life has been wiped clean from the surface and recreated anew probably more times than we know. The hysteria about global warming is a self-serving one and those on Gore’s band wagon are more interested about their own skin that saving the planet. The planet will save its self and will do so with the same indifferent cruelty and violence from which it began.

Listening to Gore and his evangelists leaves me with the creepy feeling that the solution to the “problem” of global warming is for others to solve (usually through some sort of sacrifice) so that they can continue living the life to which they have become accustom. (Man, are they going to be pissed if some killer asteroid is discovered for which they can’t buy impact offsets.) Setting the problem to rights, assuming it exists, will take something Al Gore and the eco-elites are apparently incapable of: An Inconvenient Effort.

[Edit History]

2007.05.01

Interesting article from ScienceDaily (“Earth’s Climate Is Seesawing, According To Climate Researchers“) illustrates my point about our window to the nature of Earth’s climate being rather small. For all their credentials, the scientists really don’t know for sure what is happening with the climate. Those that claim to be sure, probably aren’t honest scientists. (H/T Bryan at Hot Air)

2007.05.02

Added link to David Lee’s work at Lahaina Galleries.


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