Monthly Archives: April 2005

Movie: HG2G

I saw the guide last night. It was a fun movie, and parts of it were superb, but at the end I was left with a sense of this being a disappointing typical hollywood movie. At the beginning, as the dolphins left, I thought they were going to do it right, and once the first few guide scenes played out I was even more certain… but by the end they were introducing romance where they should have been laying the satire on.

Oh well, that’s Hollywood for you.

Don’t get me wrong- this movie is loads of fun (and it’s likely I’ll end up seeing it again in theaters), but I still think that the last movie (though more boring, and less good) was still more guide-ish, overall.

pcHDTV 3000

I got my pcHDTV 3000 today. For the past few hours I’ve been fighting to get it to work in Debian unstable. No luck. From some forum posts I’ve read, I think this may be on account of me using a custom kernel. Also, I may have luck when 2.6.12 comes out, as that includes some drivers of its own for this card. I installed 2.6.12-rc3, but my Nvidia drivers wouldn’t install under that kernel (and the pCHDTV 3000 didn’t seem to be detected then, either, actually).

*sigh*

Anyone have any luck getting this card to work on debian with a custom kernel? I keep getting “kobject_register failed” errors when I try to load the module…

(Totalitarian) Agriculture isn’t so harmless

I just went to a talk by Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug about the “Green Revolution” (and ties to the ongoing “Gene Revolution”). I don’t doubt the fact that Dr. Borlaug told only the truth, but that doesn’t change the fact that I hardly agreed with what he said. These types of agricultural methods aren’t always as benign as he makes them out to be.

Besides, it may be impossible to feed 6 billion people with natural methods, but if you do feed all those people you’re just going to have more people later on. Sure, it may be possible to feed 30 billion people by changing agricultural methods, but who really wants to live on a planet with 30 billion other people? You’d undoubtably have a bunch of other problems, wherein most of the world would be urban, crime would most likely increase, energy usage would skyrocket, pollution would make the air and water unpalatable, etc. Of course new technologies would likely appear to help these issues too, but this sounds like a race that we would inevitably lose.

I’m not suggesting that we get rid of people exactly, or even that we go extinct. But if we were to start having less children now, the amount of food we are currently producing would be more than enough to sustain future generations. Maybe start sterlizing people after they have two children (admittedly, guys would try to escape this more, but the details can be worked out later), or start doling out oral contraceptives with food. When asked about organic farming (and the implication that the young foolishly believe in it), Dr. Borlaug paraphrased someone, noting that we have 6 billion people and ‘organic farming’ (using 1950’s technology) could only produce enough food to feed 4 billion, asking to see “2 billion people who would volunteer not to exist”. Well, I’m not going to volunteer to die, but I did (AFAIK) never volunteer to be born either, so the way I see it, I wouldn’t particularly mind if I wasn’t.

He made other comments that were offensive to me as well, but I’m willing to overlook those about “the weaker sex” given that he is from a different era where more people believed such things were true. One theme he talked about that I do wish to mention is the idea that land not being used by people is “wasted”, or “useless”. Views like that are exactly why we need to keep the human species in check.

Hrmm… now I’m starting to sound even more like Ishmael than I normally do. My professors from my freshman year at Cook would be proud!

Asperger’s test

I just read about this in harda’s blog and decided to try it out. Here are my results:

Thank you for filling out this questionnaire.

Your score

NOW 	EARLIER
112 	122

You seem to have quite a few Aspie-traits

Most Aspies that have answered have scored above 100 (mean 134 for men and 147 for women). Many people with ADD/ADHD also have scored high (mean 115), but not as high.

I had a bit of trouble answering some of the questions, particularly the height one (oubviously I have other issues that may account for that).

I guess I may not be as weird as I thought… but then again, I don’t know what a score for a “normal” person is…

chkrootkit scare

This morning in my inbox I saw:

Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 06:26:03 -0400
Subject: Cron <root@neops1> test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || run-parts –report /etc
/cron.daily
From: root <root@terisolow.com>
To: root

/etc/cron.daily/chkrootkit:
You have 1 process hidden for readdir command
You have 1 process hidden for ps command
chkproc: Warning: Possible LKM Trojan installed

Oh no! How could this be?! I have all recent patches, two firewalls (one hardware and one software), the only port open to my machine from the outside is SSH, and I have a pretty draconic /etc/hosts.(allow|deny) setup which only allows connections from about 3 external IPs at the moment! Ahh!

Anyway, before completely panicking, I tried to reproduce the results. Can’t.

I thought maybe chkrootkit was compromised, so I reacquired it. Still can’t reproduce the results.

So, I commenced googling.

I saw something about comparing /proc to the output of ps, so I tried that. Still nothing particularly interesting.

Then I saw various pages noting how chkrootkit has a race condition that sometimes returns false positives for short processes that dissappear from /proc by the time they are scanned for in ps (or vice-versa). Looks like this may be what happened!

Anyway, yeah. That’s enough of a scare for now. I’m just glad it seems that things are still okay :)

Home again (finally!) and Cryonics

I got home to find the apartment in a complete shambles, but not particularly moreso than any other time I leave happicow with the run of the place, so that’s not really too surprising. Also, the first thing I saw when I went into my room was cat puke. Typical.

After dealing with that, I unpacked and then went out for a brief (5 miles, actually) bike ride, which I really think I needed after beeing crammed in one small meeting room for approximatedly 23 hours over the course of the past three days.

After returning home, I realized that it was odd that I didn’t seem to have any mail on my desk, being that I had been gone since Friday, so I correctly surmised that happicow simply neglected to check it all weekend. Once I went and got it, I found (among other things) a letter from the Cryonics Society of Rochester, NY, which is the real reason I am posting.

I just find the existence of such a thing so entertaining and surreal that I felt I must blog it, so I am. Here is a sample of said letter, with my comments interspersed:

Dear Friend,

Do I know you?

What if your doctor told you today that you were going to die?

I would hardly be surprised.

That a cure would be possible one day – but not now.

Darn. Oh well, better luck next time, I guess. Best to enjoy the time that I do have!

Imagine you could give yourself the extra time to reach that cure. Imagine there was a procedure available that could save not only you, but your friends, your family, and millions of others. A procedure that could extend your life by more years than you ever thought possible.

Wow, the world sounds like it’s going to get rather crowded, doesn’t it? You’re really starting to sell me on this death thing, now.

What is that breakthrough procedure? Cyonics. A technology that cools living things to the point where physical deterioration all but stops. A technology which hopes to carry people to the day when they can be restored to vital health, after their affliction has been cured or corrected by science.

Cools? That’s so last century. Don’t you people read the news (yes, I meant to say ‘read’- TV news is mostly useless to me).

Hope today – a cure tomorrow. That’s the cryonics vision.

A Chance At Life – Or Certain Death. Which Would You Choose?

Do you really believe it would be a choice given to anyone but the very rich or famous? Pha! What a wonderful way to increase the rift between rich and poor, congratulations. Luckily for the rest of us, your dystopic yearnings are not likely to come to pass anytime soon.

The letter goes on to quote Arthur C. Clarke (who gives cryonics a “90% probability” of working), and to drop inane facts about nematodes (excuse me if I fail to find much significance there, as humans are considerably more complex than roundworms). Oh, and it asks for money too (of course).

Anyway, I found this to be a marvelous example of just how silly and greedy people can get when it comes to matters of their own mortality. People die, and there’s good reason for this- they are fruitful and multiply (taking out everything that gets in their way). If people were to stop breeding… nah, nevermind. Such a good idea‘ll never happen.

Now, if people were to apply this (as of now) imaginary technology to something useful (debatedly, but it’s interesting at the very least) such as space exploration, I’d be all for it. ‘Specially if I get to be one of the ones to go s’ploring :)

Indian food, whoda thunk?

Tonight, for the very first time ever, I had Indian food which I actually enjoyed consuming. Admittedly, the only places I’ve had Indian food before are at two places back home in Ithaca, but I don’t really know how they stack against Indian food everywhere else. But this Indian Pavillion place in State College, PA was goood.

Maybe part of it was that it was significantly less spicy than the tasteless crud that normally gets served with rice in such places (super unspicy was requested, they call it ‘buffet style’, oddly enough). Maybe another part of it was that I tried another dish, which looked rather unappetizing but still managed to be quite tasty. I don’t know what it’s called, but it seemed to just be mashed up spinach and some hunks of potato.

Also, they had different varieties of naan (cheese and garlic), which I had never seen before. Still, the plain type was the best.

Oh, and the abundance of bengal spice spided tea didn’t hurt, nor did the fact that I didn’t have to pay for anything :)

It would have been nice if there were less ‘talking shop’, though… As I rarely never have anything to say when it comes to the best way to run PCR (or something)

Europe is better!

At least some countries seem to have the capability of rational thought when it comes to matters that really have no business being a political topic in the first place.

I mean, really. If the sanctity of marriage is so threatened (in certain people’s opinions, anyway) by crap like this, then maybe it’s time to really examine what it is about marriage that makes it special. And if your answer is something other than “love”, then maybe you should reconsider whether that “sacredness” is really justified.