Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vick's second chance!

If you love people who torture dogs, be sure to watch the NFL in the near future after Michael Vick shows "remorse".

This guy captures my feelings on the topic so very well.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mood enhancing foods

Foods that were already making me happy ...
  • Chocolate covered almonds
  • Avocados
  • Whole wheat in general (since it usually has a more complex flavor)
... are also making me happy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Women happiest at 28?

This article bothers me on all sorts of levels but the psychology certainly makes sense.  I'm just hoping for a broad cultural change that doesn't make late 20s the only time women are supposed to be more than just content.

News flash

Michael Jackson is dead -- musicians several orders of magnitude better than him still hard at work.

In related news: major media outlets celebrate the announcement by a California coroner that a cause of death won't be determined for several weeks. Plans to drag the story as long as humanly possible in the works. Inevitable speculation by news anchors about Jackson's return from the dead not treated with any skepticism will herald a new journalistic low and the dawn of the end-times.

Update: upon reflection, I think this post is more about Jackson's less-savory past than upon his actual talent; a quick look at wikipedia shows that he wrote most of his songs. I'm a fan of Hunter Thompson's writing, but I also acknowledge he was a shitty person.

Update Update! Wow, did I ever call it: MJ's Ghost! Hahaha! (Of course quickly debunked.)

Getting off meth

After some very ugly experiences with Meth, its easy to get cynical about one of the most addictive drugs out there. It doesn't seem possible that someone could kick the habit even with a lot of help. Here's one story about that process from A&E's Intervention series.

Another excellent story, this time with over-the-counter meds.

Better compression on Mac

The integrated "Compress" tool in the Finder window is wonderfully simple compression method, but far from a heavy-duty. Rarify is free software that helps you tighten your archives, named for its use of the RAR format.

Where this matters:
  • When backing up 100s or 1,000s of database or text files, this can mean a space savings of 10-30% vs. regular zip files.
  • When you're archiving something to CD or DVD and space is still a concern.
  • If you want to password-protect a file you're sending.
Where this doesn't matter
  • A few files you're emailing to a friend. A little extra space here and there isn't going to matter.
  • Don't re-compress ZIP files nor JPG or MP3 files. These files are already compressed. PDF files will sometimes compress more, sometimes not.
Setup suggestions
  1. When you install, the program will pop up with an annoying notice about downloading the RAR binary but the program will download the files automatically for you. If it asks, select "Install inside rarify". Then start the program and select "Rarify" from the menu.
  2. In the preferences, turn the compression meter all the way to the right. This is because if you want a speedy, normal compression, you should be using OS X "compress" program instead.
  3. To compress, just drag a file or files onto the purple-green-and-blue dock icon:
Note that most Macs cannot open RAR files by default. Recipients of your files will need a program like Unarchiver.

Crossover users: I strongly recommend the Windows 7-zip program in OS X. Its .7z format is similar in speed and compression to RAR and has tons more features.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Republican party surges back! Oh wait, no nevermind.

So South Carolina governor Sanford's office said he'd gone hiking on the Appalachian Trial, which is something I've always wanted to do. My respect for the man went up and his status as a possible 2012 candidate really sounded cool. As it turns out, that wasn't the truth -- he was having an affair with a woman in Argentina.

This is shortly after Senator Ensign, a Republican from Nevada just admitted a fling with a member of his staff. Wow.

I consider myself a creative person but couldn't write shit this good.

Update: A good review of the Republican situation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happiness is ...

... breathing helium and getting tased. This video is hit-and-miss, but what it gets right is somewhere between watching Bill O'Reily get his ass kicked by a midget on Friday and riding a go-cart off a ramp out of an exploding building.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Huckabee and Stewart on Abortion

Since its so very rare I get to see a conversation on this topic with any real value. Stewart handles it brilliantly.

Note: sorry -- had a bad link, now fixed... thanks Kimberly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Nations of burden walking upright. The cold of the day ripping me up and making me old. There may be hope in the clearing of some distant forest away from everything where there are no expectations. I am criminal with desire for food and drink both of an evil sort named for
the ugliness as well as luster. I'm brittle and cresting into a new world. Any slower and I'll die of distaste.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Maher again -- this time against Obama

Been real impressed with Bill lately. One of the problems with Obama's pragmatism on many issues is that -- just like ignoring Global Warming -- it just isn't going to work in the long term.

Update: His followup to the reaction -- jump to 2:00 into the video.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

You're doing it wrong

Turns out there's a better way to handle certain movies and music:
  • Play Club Dread from about the middle -- its much funnier without the intro. For some reason the beginning just ruins the film.
  • Start SLC Punk also from about the middle. Otherwise, you already know who the guy with glasses is -- one of the best characters -- and that's not very interesting. Then watch it from the beginning to the middle.
  • Play And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead "Worlds Apart" in reverse order - its much better that way
  • Dune sucked but if you watch the extended edition with an intro about the world and setting, its a great movie. Its NOT short.
  • Haven't tested this but I'm told the 6th star wars movie (episode 3) is good if you just skip past any part with Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman. Because this movie made me bored with light sabers, I don't plan on trying this.
  • Serenity - just skip the beginning sequence with the dude getting stabbed by falling on the sword. The movie is better without it.

If you accidentally delete something on a Mac

My recommendations:
  1. Turn off the Mac immediately.
  2. Ask yourself how much you want that file back. If the answer is several thousand dollars, send it to a professional data recovery service. (The only one I can recommend is OnTrack.) You will need to remove the offending drive.
  3. If its not worth that much money and trouble, get some data recovery software on a bootable CD to run on the machine. I recommend the commercial Data Rescue II, which will let you recover one file under 5 megs with the unregistered version. The software requires an external data source (like a USB drive) and my experiences with the software were mixed, as were a MacWorld article on the software. However, Data Rescue II is made by the same company that makes the excellent Drive Genius software so it might just be that data recovery on Mac drives formatted with HFS is just difficult.
  4. My tests with commercial recovery software StellarPhoenix also lacked good results and the software doesn't come on a bootable CD, which may make recovery more difficult.

: Free software that does this on Windows

Update: I found some free, cross platform, and open source software that does this: TestDisk. For recovering media files: Photorec.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Snuggie cult

Someone took a commercial for snuggies and redid the voiceover.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Great places to visit

Wikipedia can be unintentionally hilarious. For bonus points, try reading this article out loud.

Additionally, if you've heard the term BFE, this is probably what they were probably talking about.

(Thanks Switch)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Microsoft threatens to leave the US

They like so many things about the US but when they get the bill?

Comments below the article are also quite good.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Interactive technology

Microsoft's answer to the Wii. Although I have little doubt the first version of the software will be painfully below expectations but version 2 or 3? Wow.