Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Alaska political corruption investigation

An overview of the key figures, events and players

A broad federal investigation of public
corruption has been under way in Alaska for more than four years,
although it didn’t become widely known until Aug. 31, 2006. That’s when
teams of federal agents executed search warrants at the offices of six state legislators, as well as others, in Anchorage, Juneau and elsewhere around the state.

The government has since brought indictments
against five state legislators. Three have been convicted by juries and
two are awaiting trial. Four others - two former top officials with
Veco Corp., the former chief of staff of Gov. Frank Murkowski and a
private-prison lobbyist - have entered guilty pleas and are cooperating
with the government.

The investigation continues, with grand juries hearing secret testimony in Anchorage and Washington, D.C. In July 2007, federal agents searched the Girdwood home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, drawing national attention. Alaska's sole congressman, Don Young, is also under federal investigation.

Authorities have said very little about the
overall shape of the inquiry, where it’s headed or what’s being
investigated. Here’s some of what’s known:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Jetpack: From Comics to a Liftoff in the Yard

Andy Manis for The New York Times

John Schwartz of The New York Times tested a jetpack with its inventor,
Glenn Martin, left, and Ray Thomsen guiding him. The device was
unveiled Tuesday at an air show in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


1.74 miles

Monday, July 21, 2008


1.58 miles

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Review of The Fantasy Trip: In The Labyrinth

Product: The Fantasy Trip: In The Labyrinth

Author: Steve Jackson

Category: RPG

Company/Publisher: Metagaming

Line: The Fantasy Trip

Cost: $7.00

Page count: about 78

Year published: late '70s



Comp copy?: no

Capsule Review by John Laviolette on 20/05/02

Genre tags: Fantasy

The Fantasy Trip (TFT) was Steve Jackson's first RPG design (based on the microgames Melee, and Wizard) the core rules consisted of three books, In The Labyrinth, Advanced Wizard, and Advanced Melee.

TFT is a fairly rules light game, with a very simple and fairly well balanced ruleset, using a d6 based roll under attribute mechanic.

There are only three attributes, ST, Dex, and IQ.

ST determines how large a weapon one can wield (damage), and how much damage one can take (hit points), as well as carry capacity and fatigue, spells are powered by the casters hit points.

DX determines how often one hits (3d6 below dex to hit), agility based saves, and many skill rolls, as well as order of attack

IQ limits talent and spell availability, and governs perceptions checks and will or intellect saves.

Generally starting characters have 32 total attribute points, distributed (within certain limits) as the player sees fit, characters are rounded out by choosing talents (for heros) and spells (for wizards). Character designis simple and allows for a fairly high degree of customization.

The sparse, elegant simplicity of the game, which makes it easy to learn and play, and encourages variety and balance among starting PCs, is also it’s major weakness, as long time characters tend to have high attributes in all three stats, reducing the variety among the characters as they progress.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vista Crash

Windows explorer crashed.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fundamental Issue In DNS

CERT is issuing an advisory for a massive multivendor patch release
to resolve a major issue in DNS that could allow attackers to easily compromise any name server (it also affects clients). Dan Kaminsky discovered the flaw early this year and has been working with a large group of vendors on a coordinated patch release.

The issue is extremely serious, and all name servers should be patched as soon as possible. Updates are also being released for a variety of other platforms since this is a problem with the DNS protocol itself, not a specific implementation. The good news is this is a really strange situation where the fix does not immediately reveal the vulnerability and reverse engineering isn’t directly possible.

Chris Comer's Fight vs Creationism in Texas

Only in Texas could the state science director be fired for insisting on teaching only good science.

Standard Biological Parts

I find this site utterly amazing.

An Introduction to BioBrick™ Standard Biological Parts


BioBricks is a standard for interchangable parts, developed with a view to building biological systems in living cells. Here you'll find a brief introduction to BioBricks as well as the plasmids that contain them:

BioBrick™ Assembly


BioBricks have been designed to be assembled using normal cloning techniques. Find out more about the diffrent types of Assembly:

BioBrick™ Tools & The Registry


An overview of the Registry's computational tools and how one may go about using them as they look to design and develop parts, device and systems.

At the Bench


Overview & links on how to physically assembly BioBricks

DNA Part Repositories


Blood Sugar


Monday, July 07, 2008


3.12 miles, 554 cal.


  1. The National Center for Science Education, for instance, has an excellent resources page 
  2. The NCSE has a list of statements from scientific societies, all in support of evolution.
  3. National Association of Biology Teachers
  4. National Academies
  5. Society for the Study of Evolution.
  6. UC Berkeley online tutorial, Understanding Evolution
  7. PBS has an evolution site that introduces you to the basics.
  8. Tree of Life project is a overview of systematics and the diversity of life on earth.
  9. The Talk.Origins Archive  a place where you can ask questions and get replies to major criticisms of evolutionary theory.
  10. Douglas Theobald's evidence for evolution page is a thorough overview of the many different lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution.
  11. Index to Creationist Claims contains rebuttals to the most common creationist canards.
  12. Also check out the blogs Aetiology, Afarensis, All-Too-Common Dissent, Ask The Scientician, The Daily Transcript, De Rerum Natura, Evolgen, Evolution 101, EvolutionBlog, Evolving Thoughts, Good Math, Bad Math, The Intersection, Living the Scientific Life, The Loom, Mike the Mad Biologist, The Questionable Authority, Recursivity, The Scientific Activist, Stranger Fruit, Thoughts from Kansas, and Thoughts in a Haystack.

Blood Sugar


Sunday, July 06, 2008


To Dr. Joseph Priestley(April 9, 1803)

To Dr. Joseph Priestley

Washington, Apr. 9, 1803

Dear Sir, -- While on a short visit lately to Monticello, I received
from you a copy of your comparative view of Socrates & Jesus, and I
avail myself of the first moment of leisure after my return to acknolege
the pleasure I had in the perusal of it, and the desire it excited to see
you take up the subject on a more extensive scale. In consequence of some
conversation with Dr. Rush, in the year 1798-99, I had promised some day
to write him a letter giving him my view of the Christian system. I have
reflected often on it since, & even sketched the outlines in my own
mind. I should first take a general view of the moral doctrines of the
most remarkable of the antient philosophers, of whose ethics we have sufficient
information to make an estimate, say of Pythagoras, Epicurus, Epictetus,
Socrates, Cicero, Seneca, Antoninus. I should do justice to the branches
of morality they have treated well; but point out the importance of those
in which they are deficient. I should then take a view of the deism and
ethics of the Jews, and show in what a degraded state they were, and the
necessity they presented of a reformation. I should proceed to a view of
the life, character, & doctrines of Jesus, who sensible of incorrectness
of their ideas of the Deity, and of morality, endeavored to bring them
to the principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes
of God, to reform their moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice
& philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state. This
view would purposely omit the question of his divinity, & even his
inspiration. To do him justice, it would be necessary to remark the disadvantages
his doctrines have to encounter, not having been committed to writing by
himself, but by the most unlettered of men, by memory, long after they
had heard them from him; when much was forgotten, much misunderstood, &
presented in very paradoxical shapes. Yet such are the fragments remaining
as to show a master workman, and that his system of morality was the most
benevolent & sublime probably that has been ever taught, and consequently
more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers. His character
& doctrines have received still greater injury from those who pretend
to be his special disciples, and who have disfigured and sophisticated
his actions & precepts, from views of personal interest, so as to induce
the unthinking part of mankind to throw off the whole system in disgust,
and to pass sentence as an impostor on the most innocent, the most benevolent,
the most eloquent and sublime character that ever has been exhibited to
man. This is the outline; but I have not the time, & still less the
information which the subject needs. It will therefore rest with me in
contemplation only. You are the person who of all others would do it best,
and most promptly. You have all the materials at hand, and you put together
with ease. I wish you could be induced to extend your late work to the
whole subject. I have not heard particularly what is the state of your
health; but as it has been equal to the journey to Philadelphia, perhaps
it might encourage the curiosity you must feel to see for once this place,
which nature has formed on a beautiful scale, and circumstances destine
for a great one. As yet we are but a cluster of villages; we cannot offer
you the learned society of Philadelphia; but you will have that of a few
characters whom you esteem, & a bed & hearty welcome with one who
will rejoice in every opportunity of testifying to you his high veneration
& affectionate attachment.

from the Library of America edition of
Jefferson's writings

Merrill D. Peterson, editor


3.00 miles, 540 cal

Blood Sugar



1.38 miles

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Chris Comer strikes back

AUSTIN – A former state science curriculum director on Wednesday sued the Texas Education Agency and Education Commissioner Robert Scott, alleging she was illegally fired for forwarding an e-mail about a lecture critical of the movement to promote intelligent design in science classes.

Christina Comer, who lost her job at the TEA last fall, said in a suit filed in federal court in Austin that she was terminated for contravening an "unconstitutional" policy at the agency. The policy required employees to be neutral on the subject of creationism – the biblical interpretation of the origin of humans, she said.

The policy was in force, according to the suit, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism as science in public schools is illegal.

"The agency's 'neutrality' policy has the purpose or effect of endorsing religion, and thus violates the Establishment Clause" of the U.S. Constitution, the lawsuit said.

Blood Sugar


Wednesday, July 02, 2008


3.05 miles, raised the incline, also did 1.00 miles this morning.

Flashlight Runtime Test

Flashlight finally started to dim.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Blood Sugar


Edward A. Villarreal. Powered by Blogger.


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