Tuesday, 29 December 2009 at 19:07
Archie feeling the rock.
Foregoing drumsticks, Bandit takes on the drum pads bare tentacled.
Memories of things that haven't happened yet, predictions of things that have come to pass.
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 at 19:07
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 at 19:00One might wonder if medical science is starting to feel the fear, as Hunter S. Thompson once put it. Disease has long been an adversary of human life; everything from the common cold to exotic diseases that could have given H.P. Lovecraft a rough night's sleep have been worthy opponents. In recent years, however, the no-holds-barred battle royale has turned into a game of four-handed chess due to the appearance of strains of common diseases which have developed immunities to commonly used antibiotics. In a nutshell, if you are instructed by your physician to take all of your prescribed antibiotics even if you feel better, follow their orders. The reason for this is because antibiotics work by building up in your bloodstream and tissues; regular doses over time maintain these levels which renders your body an inhospitible environment for infectious organisms. The idea is for the active concentration to last longer than all the bacteria do. If you don't do this, not all of the bacteria will have been killed off and the ones which remain will probably evolve a resistance to whatever it was that you were on. Maybe your body's immune system will mop up the ones that remain, and maybe it won't.
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 at 18:51On my way home after work this afternoon I stopped at the Safeway a couple of blocks from the apartment complex Lyssa and I live at to pick up a few last minute items for dinner. On my way out I stumbled across a most curious thing: a TV Kart, which appears to one of those shopping carts with the vehicle-like plastic thingy underneath that lets kids pretend they're driving with a pair of television screens attached to them. The idea is that you check one out on your Safeway membership card, unplug it from the recharging station, and wander around the store half watching television and half looking for whatever it is that you're there for. It would appear that kids need their pacifying media device also. The screens of the TV Kart I saw weren't functioning at the time so I don't know if they even work (though I strongly suspect that they do) or what they normally show. It wouldn't surprise me if they played an endless stream of commercials or adverts for Safeway. I've half a mind to go back there this weekend and try to chase down one of them just to see what's up with them.
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 at 18:45Yesterday afternoon while backstroking around in the Olympic-sized swimming pool of RSS feeds that is my Google Reader account I stumbled across a link in the blog Cyberpunk Review to an album recorded and released by Colin Timothy Gagnon called Cyberpunk. Feeling curious because their recommendations are more hit than miss, I downloaded the album from Colin's website (it's free, though if you enjoy it there is a Paypal donation link to show Colin some love), decompressed it into my .mp3 collection, and gave it a listen this afternoon. If you're expecting industrial music or something along the lines of older Hate Department or Psykosonik you're not going to find it. Between the years of 2002 and 2008 Gagnon wrote eleven tracks in the style of the background music of late 80's/early 90's sci-fi video games. The idea wasn't to write music that you'd hear if you were living in one of those worlds but stuff that you would hear if you were playing a game or watching a movie of that particular genre to provide atmosphere. Some of it's pleasant, some of it sounds like the action is about to heat up, and some of it sounds like boss music. The lead synth and associated melodies keep making me wonder if I'm listening to an Overclocked Remix of a tune that I should really remember from my misspent youth, the bass line gives me happy .mod and .s3m flashbacks, and the way the different parts are arranged sounds like it came right out of a game like Bloodnet or Burn:Cycle. I find that I can set the album playing in the background and not be too distracted to do anything else while still enjoying it.
Saturday, 26 December 2009 at 11:31For several years now, the website Wikileaks (mirrored across the global Net as well as a couple of darknets) has been the first place to go if you wanted to learn about anything shady going on. Founded as a clearinghouse for whistleblowers and do-gooders by Sunshine Press, they make it their business to archive and disseminate sensitive documents that were leaked because they provide proof of dastardly goings-on in the world, from illegal search and seizure to confidential e-mails about screwed up policies and procedures to hit lists of thorns in the collective side of the powers that be. A number of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have declared Wikileaks indispensable to their missions. It's been said that Wikileaks has been responsible for more news scoops in its three years of operation than the Washington Post in the past three decades (thus sayeth The National). It's also come under fire in court time and again for its actions and successfully won each and every case. However, Wikileaks has become popular enough that it's having trouble paying the bills because they get so many hits that they have to keep upgrading their computing infrastructure to handle the load. The project relies upon private contributions to keep running, and they can't accept funding from corporations or government organizations because it would compromise their impartiality; once you start taking money from the powers that be, the powers that be start exercising power over how you operate and that would include keeping certain documents from being released to the public.
Thursday, 24 December 2009 at 21:11It is common knowledge that many forms of cancer have environmental as well as genetic components: for skin cancer, overexposure to sunlight can trigger its development. Lung cancer, of course, is blamed on smoking for lengthy periods of time. However, sometimes the genetic component can express itself without external assistance. Thus, it is worth noting that the genetic mutations which cause these two afflictions have been pinpointed by geneticists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute of the United Kingdom. The errors are very specific and should be readily detectable with a genetic workup. Something which I find surprising is the sheer size of the genetic defects: the mutation for skin cancer consists of 30,000-odd discrete errors in DNA while the mutation for lung cancer requires the presence of over 23,000 errors. The research team hopes that this knowledge will make it possible to develop treatment protocols customized to the patient as well as make it possible to develop tests which could detect the signs of cancer before the tumors are too far advanced for ready treatment.
Thursday, 24 December 2009 at 20:24Much of the DC metroplex is still digging out from under what has been dubbed Snowpocalypse 2009. At least where I live, the main roads are in pretty good shape, albeit they're down about three feet of clearance so they're more like one-and-a-half lanes in both directions. The side and back streets haven't really been plowed and are still touch and go should you need to drive on them. Generally speaking, unless stoplights are involved the snow removal strategy seems to consist of sunlight melting the snow, brave drivers breaking up the ice as they go, and the powers that be hoping that the gutters don't clog up. Traffic into and out of DC is even worse than usual when you take into account the holiday season. On Tuesday night, on my way home from work it took a little over two hours to make the drive from Greenbelt to the car dealership in northern Virginia.
Monday, 21 December 2009 at 20:45Here's a picture of a stuffed squid posting on the Eclipse Phase forums:
Monday, 21 December 2009 at 20:42
Monday, 21 December 2009 at 16:28Whatever holiday you celebrate this season, go out and try to do a good deed for someone. This is a rough time of year for a lot of people.
Monday, 21 December 2009 at 13:33This morning I took a short drive around my neighborhood to survey what damage I could from my car. I didn't take too many pictures because, frankly, it's not safe to drive and try to take pictures at the same time. The apartment complex Lyssa and I live in seems to have suffered damage to only a couple of evergreen trees, but seeing as how I haven't gone hiking to see what was going on I don't feel comfortable being quite so optimistic.
Monday, 21 December 2009 at 13:07I finally got the pictures from the Nervous Cabaret/Who Killed Amanda Palmer concert edited and put online. You can view the album here.
Saturday, 19 December 2009 at 20:02My .plan file has been updated. As always, there is NSFW content therein. Use discretion.
Saturday, 19 December 2009 at 19:38The Net is still on fire about what happened to Dr. Peter Watts a few days ago on his way back to Canada. Not too long ago, someone posted in Dr. Watts' blog that they witnessed the whole thing on the bridge that day, and Dr. Watts desperately wants that person or people to contact his lawyer (Doug Mullkoff) at phone number 734-761-8585. It's very important, and relevant to his impending trial.
Saturday, 19 December 2009 at 16:14After my utter failure to get to the store to stock up for the winter storm that I didn't expect would actually happen (cynical cat screwed the pooch this time), Hasufin and Mika cleared some space for me at their place while I packed up enough kit to last me a day or two. Nothing major, you understand, but there's a good chance that I won't be able to get home until Sunday night so I figured that I'd better be prepared. Hasufin and Mika are more than ready for the blanket of snow that brought the DC metroplex to a halt, and he was kind enough to brave the weather in his four wheel drive to pick me up and drive me to his place. Lyssa's in Pennsylvania visiting her family while I wrap things up in preparation for the Yule holiday so she's okay, too.
Saturday, 19 December 2009 at 11:56Yesterday morning, the newswires were burning up with winter weather warnings, effective midnight last night for a region of the eastern seaboard as far north as Manhattan and as far south as North Carolina. A Pittsburgh native, I said "Yeah, right," and proceeded to battle the DC beltway, which happened to be clogged with people who forget how to steer or accelerate whenever they think something is going to fall out of the sky. This included a multiple-hour drive home last night which culminated in my getting in the front door around 2230 EST5EDT after a cut-short dinner at a nearby diner.
Sunday, 13 December 2009 at 00:08One of the mainstay tropes of fiction is sunken treasure: pirate treasure, ancient payrolls, treasure of the ancients... to quote The Goonies, "rich stuff". Gold. Gems. Artifacts. Stuff that would make Indiana Jones push his professorly duties off onto his overworked and underpaid grad students, grab his khakis, fedora, and bullwhip, and make a beeline for the middle of nowhere. However, since diving and its associated technologies have advanced over the years sunken treasures are growing more and more rare. Maybe there is only so much treasure to go around and a lot of it's been salvaged already. Maybe the tide and the shifting sediment have covered up much of it through the centuries. Perhaps a lot of it was lost in depths that humans have yet to really explore.
Saturday, 12 December 2009 at 23:29
Friday, 11 December 2009 at 18:35Note: additions are being made after the cut and edits are
Thursday, 10 December 2009 at 23:13
Thursday, 10 December 2009 at 23:08
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 at 22:30H1N1, the disease that's kept supplies of vaccine low, doctors' offices and emergency rooms packed, and way too many people feeling like crap this season has thrown the medical community a curveball in recent weeks. Beginning early last spring Tamiflu-resistant strains of the virus started appearing around the country, most notably in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington state. The antiviral compound Tamiflu is one of those administered to the sickest of patients, and this means that physicians will have to figure out another drug or combination of drugs because their best treatment thus far is likely to become less effective as time goes on. It is thought that treating patients for extended periods of time with Tamiflu had something to do with resistant strains of H1N1 developing; it's also worth mentioning that the resistant strains were found in people who already had compromised immune systems, which may also play a part in the virus' mutation.
Sunday, 06 December 2009 at 17:27A couple of weeks ago my old Treo started acting too wonky for comfort (such as refusing to hold a charge for any reasonable length of time) so I started hunting for a replacement. Interestingly, Sprint (my cell carrier) started offering a number of smartphones running the Android OS from Google back in October. I waited as long as I could while keeping an eye on the newswires to see what the going opinion of it was (as well as camped out at my local Sprint store for a while to play with all of their demo Android phones) and finally bought one the first weekend of November. The Sprint store was kind enough to copy my contact list (though none of my data) into my new phone when they activated it which saves a lot of time when you're getting set up. One of the things you will have to do if you want to get any real usability out of it is linking it to a Gmail account. This will pull your Gmail contacts into your phone book, which I find slightly irritating because it effectively quadrupled the number of entries that have to be traversed to find the correct person to call. This also means that one person can have more than one entry but you won't know which it is (Gmail, cellular, home phone, business card) until you actually look at it. I wish that the contacts app worked more like the Treo's in this respect in that it was context sensitive (if you accessed a contact from the SMS app it only displayed cell numbers, while the e-mail app would only display e-mail addresses).
Saturday, 05 December 2009 at 15:44
Thursday, 03 December 2009 at 23:11
Thursday, 03 December 2009 at 19:21One of the big draws at Dragoncon every year are the costumes: all shapes, all sizes, all genres. You name it, chances are there are two of 'em wandering around, a third trying to cool off in the late summer heat, and one more camped out by the Cruxshadows' table waiting for an autograph. But sometimes, just sometimes, you see something that's downright amazing. Harrison Krix, the brains and hands behind Volpin Props, along with his fiancee' Emily amazed everyone at D*C this year with costumes from the videogame Bioshock - Emily went as one of the Little Sisters, and Harrison as a Big Daddy. Harrison's suit netted him two awards, "Best Journeyman" and "Best Professional Design" at the end of the con. A couple of weeks ago they got together with Dim Horizon Studio and did a photoshoot at the Georgia Aquarium. They arrived before the aquarium opened to be photographed near two of the exhibits, Tropical Diver and Ocean Voyager. If you've ever played Bioshock you'll be amazed; it's hard to not think that these are promo shots for the game because the costumes fit in so well with the aquaria as the background. The Big Daddy suit is picture-perfect, and the first time I saw Emily as one of the Little Sisters I shivered a little because she looks absolutely deranged.