[Money]...or lack thereof.

The Federal Reserve has released a report (but good luck finding the exact one, I was lost in cross-link hell) that shows decline in the average American's income between 2001 to 2004. Something that contrasts sharply with Bush's rose colored glasses view put forth in the State of the Union address last month.

To quote Tim Grieve from salon.com:

Of course, income averages tell only part of the economic story. Some of the other numbers are worse, and they suggest that the rich-getting-richer, poor-getting-poorer dynamic is alive and well in America today. For the poorest 20 percent of America's families, the Fed says, median net worth dropped 11 percent, to $7,500, between 2001 and 2004. For the richest 10 percent, it rose by a respectable 4 percent, to $924,100.


[Work] Holy crap its late

Or rather early. 2 hour changed turned into all night. 22 hours since I last slept. Looking forward to bed.


[War] Some reflection...

"I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators." - Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003.

Looks like we've liberated them, alright...

Unintended consequences are a bitch. Muslim internecine civil war is probably inevitable. Maybe next time you'll consider living in the 'reality based community' instead of thinking that you can just craft reality to your own liking. Manipulation, corruption, cronyism, and military force are only earning you quagmire and blowback.

Then again, perhaps we get what we deserve when we allow the election of a puppeteer of the American Presidency who gets drunk with his mistress in Texas and shoots one of his supporters with a shotgun in the face.

[Politics] South Dakota Abortion Ban

Has passed the SD State Senate. This is the one out of all the current abortion laws being passed in various states that will be the final showdown for Roe v Wade in the SCOTUS.

[WTFcopter] Japan to ban the sale of 2nd hand goods?!?

Story here and here.

from the story:

So from April 1st 2006, ALL electronic products sold in Japan before 2001 will be prohibited from the 2nd hand market!

Consumerism out of control. This tops what the RIAA/MPAA is doing, holy shit, blows the mind.

[Picture] "I'm a War President"

Laughed so hard I almost spilled my tea.

But on a more serious note, this picture came from this blog post by Joshua Holland. I recommend reading it as I found it to be enlightening. This issue is about trade, not terrorism or security. Port operations, not port secruity. If we did hold these companies responsible in the event of a failure of security, it would be scapegoating for the Department of Homeland Security, who is ultimately responsible for port security. It is DHS' responsibility to check containers and cargo manifests.

That being said, how Bush is going about it is wrong, and ultimately does not help the average citizen, only corporations. I would like to see this open a discourse about how lots and lots of money are being spent on 'Homeland Security' but very little of what is being spent is actually benefit or making America safer (such as increasing US Custom's ability to inspect containers). Things that will make us safer are little things, like locking the doors to the cockpit, inspecting containers, educating people, not further eroding civil liberties, fighting unjust wars, unilaterialism, and scaring the populace into a facist state.


What we're reading

Recently completed and highly recommended:
Italo Calvino, Cosmicomics :Anthropomorphized astral detritis tells the story of the origin of the cosmos. Trippy and engaging.
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities: As Marco Polo describes the world to Kublai Khan, it becomes apparent that Polo has only ever been to one place.
Jose Saramago, Blindness: Vision helps to maintain our connection as a society to each other and our individual selves. What would happen if we were all blind? This book deserved the Nobel Prize it won.

In progress, perhaps more comments later:
Umberto Eco, On Literature (for the philosopher-critic in all of us)
Paul Auster, City of Glass (too new to comment)
(Many authors) Neurobiology of the Neurotrophins (NOT recommended)
John Searle, Consciousness and Language (tentatively recommended)

Currently running alarmingly low on books to read, but have luckily been swamped with coursework and experiments. Thank God I'm in graduate school.

[GIMP'd] Baby Ferret Pirates of the Green Sea

Originally uploaded by Geist.X.

I gimp'd this image of baby ferret's for one of Nerdwife's neuroscience presentations. The concept comes from a study where scientists would put eye patches over the eyes of baby ferrets to test and demonstrate monocular deprivation and cortical plasticity.

Naturally, if they have eye patches, they must be pirates.

Here was the original image:

[Politics] Hamas, Israel, the US and a clown

The clown is Bush, of course (and is used just for effect).

I don't get it, well I do, but it still doesn't seem right. We pressure Palestine to have elections, they do, the people elect freely (according the UN inspectors) the gov't they want. This gov't is not what Israel wants, because the party elected into power wants the destruction of Israel. The US cries foul (because they elected a group we didn't want, terrorists as Bush says) and now will not recognize them.

WTF people. We called for free elections, they elected the gov't they want, cope. Yes Hamas has in its charter the destruction of Israel, but they have shown a willingness to come to the table and be a responsible gov't, its too early to condemn them.

In our global crusade on the 'War on Terror' we (and by we I really mean the Bush Administration) has called for the spread of freedom and democracy (which is a good thing, but needs to be done properly). Democracy is starting to spread, we can't immediately turn around and then condemn people when they hold elections and elect a gov't or leader we don't like, it is sending a conflicting and bad message. If the UN inspectors deem the election fair, then it should stand, we must re-learn how to work with other countries.

Condemning free elections (which in recent cases have been more open and cleaner than America's last two Presidential elections) is as bad as supporting vicious dictators (speaking of which I still can't get over that Saddam Hussein's defense lawyer is a former Secretary of State).

[Comics] Dilbert makes a point about oil

Sunday's Dilbert cartoon (this image linked from news.yahoo.com) has Dogbert making a valid point.


[Answer?] Cheney on CNN

Transcript of Cheney's interview on CNN.

Still evil. But at least he regrets shooting the guy. Interview feels a bit soft, but oh well.


[Question] Aboveness of lawitude

If Harry Whittington dies of another heart attack (perish the thought) related to the buckshot embedded in his cardiac tissue by Dick Cheney, will the Texas police charge the vice president with manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide? Discuss.


[Politics/Tech/Profit] Ghost of Internet Future

Great absurdist dialogue here about a battle over the Internet. Basically telco and cable providers like Verizon and Comcast want to charge both subscribers and content providers for bandwidth. Basically this to me seems like biting the hand that feeds you as content providers are the ones who create demand for broadband, which consumers buy (at a pretty expensive rate) from the telcos. When big companies fight over stuff like this, we all lose. Whoever has the best lawyers and most lobbiest win, consumers lose (but believe they win), society takes another step back.

All hail the mighty dollar, destroyer of worlds, virtual and real.


[Music] Busting my chops...aka learning the bass guitar, year 12

I've been interested in playing the bass guitar since 1993. I have had many false starts and even purchased an amp (which I later donated to a starving bassist I knew who lost his). I had a bass given to me by a friend who no longer wanted it, it needed a lot of work, so it sat in my closet for many years. Nerdwife for my 30th birthday surprised me with it, she had taken it and had it fixed. There are some things that cannot be completely fixed, but it is in playable and more importantly learnable condition.

I have taken the plunge finally and am starting to learn. It is hard, I have zero musical talent. I am learning everything from scratch. People say music is easy because its math, but I still haven't been able to wrap my mathematical mind about music. I understand the basic theory mind you, it all fractions and such. But I have always been analytical, not creative. Creation of things like stories, poetry and especially music was hard for me. I saw everything in terms of math and science. As I've aged I've started seeing things more philosophically, and artistically. I have an artist in me crying to get out, but that artist is an infant. I need to nurture him.

Learning music is hard.

[DVD] Electric Company 4-disc set

Holy crap! Gen-X flashback!



[Tech] Anticipation

We installed our first 10Gb ethernet card. I am anxious to see how it will perform.

[Musings] Its 1am, do I know where I am?

I am having problems getting to sleep. I was tired, but now I am awake, sort of tired, but not really. I decided to occupy myself by doing some work. I am currently attempting to load Solaris 9 9/05 into our JET (Jumpstart Enterprise Toolkit) server. I am having NFS issues, I think because of the primary network interface on the JET server. I have switched to an alternate gigE interface and the NFS time out errors seem to have gone away. I set up a static route on the JET server to my workstation that is forcing it to send packets out a faster, more reliable network.

I was also a little worried because I was getting these errors on my solaris 10 workstation (where I am sharing out my DVD-ROM to the JET server so I can load the image remotely):

Feb 9 00:55:56 workstation scsi: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@1e,600000/ide@d/sd@2,0 (sd3):
Feb 9 00:55:56 workstation Error for Command: read(10) Error Level: Retryable
Feb 9 00:55:56 workstation scsi: [ID 107833 kern.notice] Requested Block: 1176 Error Block: 1176
Feb 9 00:55:56 workstation scsi: [ID 107833 kern.notice] Vendor: TOSHIBA Serial Number: 12/15/03
Feb 9 00:55:56 workstation scsi: [ID 107833 kern.notice] Sense Key: Not Ready
Feb 9 00:55:56 workstation scsi: [ID 107833 kern.notice] ASC: 0x4 (LUN is becoming ready), ASCQ: 0x1, FRU: 0x0

(hostnames have been changed to protect me in case my boss is reading)

The errors worried me at first until I realized it was just from my DVD-ROM spinning up.

I inherited this JET environment from the previous Sys Admin regime at work and it has never been quite right. I would like to eventually burn it to the ground and rebuild from scratch. But this is not an option at this time due to the high and constant pressure to get systems built and into production (our workload is only a year behind, which is good, when I started a year ago, it was 3 years behind).

Now the damn twirler (what I call the /-\| spinner sequence) is taking a LOOOOONG time to comeback. It is stuck

Copying Solaris image....
Verifying target directory...
Calculating the required disk space for the Solaris_9 product

I let it run like this two hours last time and it should only take a few minutes. I wonder if the issue is because I made have a flaky DVD-ROM, or possibly issues with the DVD-R that the image is burned on to (SUN rarely ships product media anymore, you have to download it and burn it yourself), as we have had problems with certain DVD-ROMs reading media.

Its been 20 minutes...still spinning...YES! It is now showing what I have been waiting for:

Copying the CD image to disk...

Now I hope it finishes before backups run at 3am and destroy any network bandwidth I had.

Hot tea has not helped me get back to sleep or even get drowsy. I keep processing the mental to-do list of things I have to do for work. Things keep popping in and out of the list. I am having a mental buffer overflow, I have at least 20 major, complex projects I need to be working on. Two of which I know can drop off due to age. About six are high priority should have been done a year ago. Four are new mission-critical issues. About a million are infrastructre/interest projects that I want to implement or help to implement but customer project work keeps me from them.

Progress is being made, just slowly.

Tea is finally starting kick in as is the relief this thing is finally copying. I need to get this thing installed because we have a couple of new Sunfire E25k domains that are running the Ultra-Sparc IV+ (US-IV+) procs which require Solaris 9 9/05 (Update 8) or higher. Our previous Solaris 9 standard was Solaris 9 9/04.

Tomorrow it is time to patch my Solaris 10 workstation to our latest patch bundle level (November 2005). Hope I don't h0rk anything like I did when I first patched it using the Solaris updatemanager (it still has a few bugs that need to be ironed out). I will be applying these patches via the cluster install method, so I think I should be ok.

Final note to self...run 'add_solaris_location' in the morning to finalize the load.


[Politics] No Luv 4 Google, Feb 14th

Support Students for a Free Tibet and do not use Google on Feb 14th.

(Yes I know blogspot is owned by Google, that is why I am blogging it now and not on 2/14)

I use www.google.com is a lifeline at work, I use gmail as a primary email client, and I was PISSED to hear about what happened with http://www.google.cn, I thought Google was better than that. They didn't cave against the people who screamed when they started uploading books, but somehow China can make them change.

I know, I know, we have very little power to change a corporation when boatloads of $$$ are involved, but I would rather try and fail (like with Target) than to have not tried at all.

[Humor/Sad/True/Politics] AG Gonazeles Testimony Translated

Click here to have his testimony translated.


GONZALES: While the president approved this program to respond to the new threats against us, he also imposed several important safeguards to protect the privacy and the civil liberties of all Americans. . . . As the president has said, if you're talking with Al Qaida, we want to know what you're saying.

TRANSLATION: If you’ve got nothing to hide, then there should be no problem with us listening to you. If you’ve got something to hide, then . . . well . . . we should listen to you.

[Musings] Pain and Darkness

Starting a new diet today. I am fat, well technically obese. I am otherwise healthy (physically). My new diet, some of which I have already started, is based off of the fact that my most unhealthy eating is during the day at work. I work with all things *NIX. It means I sit...a lot. Since starting my new life I have become more active, and walk a lot more, but I am still eating crappy and I am not losing my weight. In January I joined the gym at work, because it is only $5/month. I have been trying (except for when I hurt my back and even walking was painful) to go at least 3 days a week and at least 1 weekend day. I have switched from sugared coca-cola to diet coke. And still the pounds have not gone off. Since I have started exercising regularly, and cut most sugar out of my life, it must be what I eat. So here is my new diet plan:

Monday - lunch: sandwich, diet cola
Tuesday - lunch: salad, no dressing, diet cola
Wednesday - lunch: sandwich or soup, diet cola
Thursday - lunch: salad, no dressing, diet cola
Friday - lunch: sandwich, diet cola
Saturday - free menu, 1/2 portions
Sunday - free menu, 1/2 portions

I want to ease into this, all my past dieting attempts have been cold turkey and that is why they failed.

There is not much else I can cut out, I have drastically (but not elminiated) meat consumption, I eat bread, and that is a weakness of mine, but I despise the Atkin's diet and think it is dangerously unhealthy. Pizza is a problem, and one I am addressing.

My goal is not so much weight based (20-40lbs would be nice), but rather that I would like to fit into pants two sizes smaller than I am wearing now.


[Politics] Typical Bush

An article here about what Bush said is not what he meant in his State of the Union address.

From the article:

One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.


[Photo] Bush State of the Union Pose

Self-righteous ass.