Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I asked about this at the Mary Baker Eddy library (there's a tour) and my tour guide denied it. But, still.
Anyway, the idea is, by looking at world events with one eye on the Revelation to John, you can predict the Second Coming. Is Tom DeLay the dragon, and George Bush the beast? It's dantean musings like that that one imagines the Monitor was put together to debunk.
We have been able to send fire from heaven to earth since the invention of the ICBM, although maybe we're waiting for Star Wars to deploy. This was one of the things suggesting that Ronald (6) Wilson (6) Reagan (6) might be the beast, as he was shot and lived. Still, a bullet's more like a sling stone than a sword. But, that was one technical hurdle down.
We all got calculable numbers with the social security administration, but you'd have to do some contortions to get to 666. I think men have some new numbers coming. We can definitely see the drying up of the Euphrates and various new diseases coming down the pike with climate change.
In any case, RFID. The mark of the beast -- on your right wrist* or forehead, required for commerce, and presenting the possibility of infection -- is being proposed as a possible solution for tracking immigrants. This is wrong. I want to be clear about that. And I would expect that registered sex offenders get them first. But, it does show that one more technical hurdle (now that we have PayPass) to the Millenium has been lifted. So, we can start letting that anticipation build.
Just don't get a commerce implant.
* -- hand, in the linked Holman translation
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Now, send it to your Windows Machine and open it in MSIE. What do you see?
At least 4,332 people were killed, according to government figures, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent said at least 200,000 people were left homeless.The death toll goes up by a few hundred every time I go to Yahoo! There's a bad thing happening in Asia. The epicenter appears to be on land, so this doesn't fit neatly into my climate change earthquake link theory.
The IFRC and the ICRC, handling humanitarian a nd warfare respectively, are both subordinated by the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. And, as you know, the symbol's changed. The inconsistency of "the Red Cross and the Red Crescent" still gnaws at me. I really think it should either be "The Red Crystal" or "The Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Lion, Red Magen David and other red symbols TBD." But, maybe that's just me being culturally insensitive.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it'll jump right out. If you put a frog in an unheated pot, it'll sit there. If you turn the heat up, the frog will continue to sit there. And it will keep on sitting there until the water begins to boil and ... you save the frog. It's important to save the frog.
So this is Gore's metaphor for his lifetime in public life as related in An Inconvenient Truth. We're the frog, the aggressive obfuscation of the reality of climate change is the heating, and rescuing the frog is why, in the framing of this movie, he ran for Congress. I didn't hear anything about Climate Change until Carter became President, but Gore apparently picked it up from Roger Revelle, who first clued an oblivious nation in in 1957.
We've known about Anthropogenic Climate Change for 50 years. Fifty.
Mr. Gore's movie is great -- if you know someone who' s "willing to listen to both sides," or some such crap, send them to the movie. The former Vice President repeatedly and firmly makes the point that there is no question we are in a time of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. There are some funny parts. Mr. Gore shows a chart about how variations in global average temperature track variations in CO2 concentration amazingly well, as if there were no other influences. And we've only recently been putting more effective global warming gases in the atmosphere in serious quantities, so that's imaginable. But, then he shows the CO2 curve shooting up, as it has recently.
And talks about how foolish it is to go from climate change skepticism directly to despair without every standing in the place where you do something. Well, I think that was a viable stand in the 80s, or even in the 90s. But, the water's been heating up around this frog for 50 years. It's pretty much cooked.
Not that I'm recommending that behavior.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Mr. Bush said he regretted challenging insurgents in Iraq to "bring it on" in 2003, and said the same about his statement that he wanted Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." Those two statements quickly came to reinforce his image around the world as a cowboy commander in chief. "Kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people," Mr. Bush said. "I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner."
Funny he didn't have to express himself sophisticatedly as an oil CEO, a baseball salesperson or Texas Governor.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
And here's a little system architecture conceptual framework: there are three stakeholders for a system, the specifiers, the customers and the users.
- It's important to please the specifiers. The customers listen to them, and they pull your offering out of the vague phase cloud called the marketplace. Without connecting through the specifier that customers in your target market trust, you're not going to move a lot of CDs, much less professional services hours.
- It's important to please the customers. They pay for stuff, and their complaints and needs matter. Customers have particular drivers that you want to identify and satisfy. They're more important than the specifiers, and your relationship with them is typically deeper and lasts longer. Even if you lock a customer into a contract, you want to avoid angering that customer, as your only backup is your personal relationship with that customer's boss, which has its own pitfalls.
- It's important to depress and degrade the user to the point where they don't feel worthy enough to make a stink. OK, I didn't learn that at MIT. But, it seems to be implicit in many requirements gathering processes and project plans. When it comes down to brass tacks, users don't do a heck of a lot for you, and don't make decisions that impact you. And they get in the way of providing value to customers and specifiers. Would you add 100 hours to the project plan to keep 1000 users each from spending an hour hunting for the any key? Do you really want to pay native American English speakers to write your documentation?
But, mostly I try to avoid using enterprise software. I'm like an aeronautical engineer who refuses to fly. And, I'm generally successful.
But, Oracle's Siebel caught me tonight in the full force of its glory. The human pain was all ours on the DiRT tonight, as we were in training for the new software Acquis apparently talked the American Red Cross -- and ARCGNY is the first chapter to use it -- into 'configuring'. The toughbooks and little portable printers were cool, but remember the internet bubble? Remember how introducing a browser based thin client could make you look like you 'got it' and pump up your stock valuation? Software architecture never recovered.
The first sign you're USTWaP is the two splash screens. One splash screen for a while, and then nothing. That's right. There was a visual artifact to let us know a background service was loading. Thanks.
Then the browser launches, and the browser app has its own splash screen. Shouldn't 'browser app' and 'splash screen' be exclusive concepts? It's not thin in the sense that its fast and has a small memory imprint, it's thin in the sense that it's browser based. And this is not just any browser, this is Microsoft Internet Explorer. Are you looking for speed, stability and isolation from the operating system? That's why the good Lord gave us Opera.
So, you see where this is going. Why would you need a server application on a thin client? Well, it detaches. Something's got to host the thousands of enterprise java beans that are undoubtedly in there.
It might help you if you knew what this was for. At disasters, we register people, we evaluate their living spaces for damage, we arrange housing, and we cut them debit cards. Generally those four things, although we can arrange on-site counseling, medical attention and a bunch of other useful stuff. The software centralizes the processes and standardizes the data. It increases reliability, reduces rekeying, and should improve the quality of the data and the services the client gets -- it also enables us to provide a little more of those services up front, and maybe remove the requirement for a follow-up trip to the chapter altogether. Further, it reduces the back end processing cost to the Red Cross, which is a big deal. I'm not complaining about the software because it's a bad idea.
I'm complaining about the software because its architecture is crazy! We have trained staff doing four things to a small group of people. Using ERP software. Why do we need a database management server, and application server and a web server on our very cool Toughbooks? Because we're in the field and aren't continuously connected. Does it sound like someone's solving problems backwards? To add insult to injury, we have to connect and synchronize manually and separately.
Of course, in order to connect our thin light clients to our beefy local server applications, we need hyperactive scripting and local objects to capture and report everything that goes on in the browser. This makes Internet Explorer chill out and reflect for minutes at a time. Our teacher encouraged us to use back buttons when possible -- not to gratuitously show off the session management, but because he'd been using the things in the field for weeks and couldn't work out how else to navigate. We got lost a lot, and nothing could save us.
The good news is, we're all certified. We had set aside two hours to walk through a case study, do some abstract trainings, do another case study (a third if we had time) then take a certification test, starting at 6:00. At 8:30, we just decided we'd finish that first case, break for dinner and take the test -- I only got dinner because the store failed to lock its doors and I slipped in at 9:03. We finally struggled out of there at 11:00, after having trimmed the certification portion pretty savagely.
The teacher is an actual responder (he was the staff guy in my last DiRT posting) and insists they work great in the field, so I'll withhold judgment. But, I did feel like I was being punished for every time I let expedience or thrift be my guide. Or, more likely, politics -- it certainly didn't look like it had been made easily or cheaply. So, sorry. And I'll continue to do what I can. But, you users. You've got to stand up for yourselves.
And can you guess who else the feds are training their eagle eyes on? Quakers. Seriously. There’s no joke here – I just want to point out that if they’re watching the Quakers, they sure as fuck are watching you.So funny.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
An improvement was seen within 20 minutes of taking the drug and wore off after four hours, when the patients restored to their permanent vegetative state.
Patient N had been "constantly screaming", but stopped after being given the drug when he started watching TV and responding to his family.
I guess it beats constant screaming.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Very nice. Liked the bit about Frist "shoring up" that last little problem. Favorite quote:
"[you are] still secure in [your] house. There's just a Vice President in it."
You're burning with hope, you're building up steam; what was once juvenilish is grown up and stylish you're close to your dream: 'til somebody out there loves you, stands up and hollers for more! You've got a home at the magic store.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
That's really a great answer, and could have brought the conversation in a more substantive direction. Too bad she was a terrible listener.
It's convenient when these iconic things happen. It illustrates that the wall between the real and the nightmare world is weakening.
Monday, May 15, 2006
907 AM EDT MON MAY 15 2006
RAIN IS MOVING INTO THE REGION FROM THE SOUTH AND WILL REACH MOST
OF THE AREA BY 9:30 AM. WEATHER RADAR REVEALS POCKETS OF MODERATE
TO HEAVY SHOWERS ALONG WITH SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS. THESE ARE
CURRENTLY LOCATED OVER THE OCEAN WATERS BUT ARE EXPECTED TO REACH
THE NEW YORK...NEW JERSEY METRO AREA AND WESTERN LONG ISLAND BY
MID MORNING. ONE HOUR RAINFALL RATES ARE EXPECTED TO BE UP TO ONE
TO ONE AND A QUARTER INCH PER HOUR. THIS WILL LIKELY CAUSE PONDING
ON ROADWAYS AND MINOR FLOODING IN POOR DRAINAGE AREAS.
The Service Area has asked me to survey DSHR members for their Availability for Possible Deployment because of the impending flood situation in
New England. You are receiving this e-mail because my records indicate that you have successfully passed your background check and have current First Aid and CPR training.
It is important to know who is available for possible deployment, so that we can assist with the service delivery plan for the affected areas as soon as possible.
A “normal” deployment is 3 weeks, but it is determined by each disaster.Currently, we are putting together leadership teams to be on alert. No one is being deployed yet. There is no further information available at this time.
This took me completely by surprise. Apparently that water has been going somewhere. Flooding in New England may get as bad as it's been since 1936, according to Reuters. A lot of extreme weather, don't you think?
The blog title is from the (end of the) linked article. It would sound like the setup for a science fiction morality play on industrial hubris and ecological response, if we weren't living in one.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
And, I'm thinking the Grand Old Party needs saving. They've seriously lost their way. This is how Wikipedia describes their origin.
The new party was created in 1854 in response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act that would have allowed the expansion of slavery into Kansas. Activists denounced it as proof of the power of the Slave Power--the powerful class of slaveholders who were conspiring to control the federal government and to spread slavery nationwide. The name "Republican" gained such favor in 1854 simply because as a title it connected voters with the original political organization of Thomas Jefferson in the 1790s. Thus the leaders drew upon the tradition of the National Republican Party of John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, as well as Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. The party founders adopted the name "Republican" to indicate it was the carrier of "republican" beliefs about civic virtue, and opposition to aristocracy and corruption.
I'm for civic virtue! I'm opposed to aristocracy and corruption! Not to mention slavery! Now, this somehow evolved into selling off our environment, stealing from the poor and engaging in bizarre acts of destruction meant to justify an insane defense contractor relationship.
But, I wonder if it's time the Republicans got some new leadership...
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Volunteers are still greatly needed for the Staten Island Storm Response Rehearsal to play the roles of Shelter Residents. It is critical to the success of our Spring Training that each shelter team get the opportunity to rehearse the opening, operating, and closing of a shelter with all of the blessings and complications a robust shelter population brings. Though Introduction to Disaster Services is recommended, no response training is necessary to fill this need. Family and friends are welcome to participate.
The exercise will take place Sunday, May 21, 2006 at PS 44, 80 Maple Parkway, Staten Island, New York from 8:00am-3:00pm. Breakfast, Lunch, and a debrief of the exercise are included in these times. Volunteers needing transportation to the site may meet at
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to assist.
Monday, May 01, 2006
But, since Mr. Bush is unequivocally the worst president ever -- and I don't mean that in any partisan sense, but by any metric you care to use -- we can't think we're out of the woods until he has the lowest approval ratings ever. And it turns out he's got about ten points left to go.
23 % is the lowest, for President Truman. Thank to this blog for the tip. CNN/Fox/Pew/NBC have the President at 32/33/35/36. His NBC 'very favorable' rating is at 19 %, the lowest its been since we was elected. Interestingly, 47 % of the country, according to CNN, rates him competent. Whatever they think he's trying to do, apparently they
- think he's succeeding
- don't like it