U Sank My Carrier!

Really, really interesting article written over at Wake Up From Your Slumber by Gary Brecher (self-proclaimed War Nerd, and with a title like that I'd concede the point to him). I've always been a fan of naval history - heck, I completed all the coursework for a Master's in Military History with a concentration on WWII naval engagements. So I definitely follow what he's pointing out here, and the same truth has rung clear throughout the ages: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
He was given nothing but small planes and ships-fishing boats, patrol boats, that kind of thing. He kept them circling around the edges of the Persian Gulf aimlessly, driving the Navy crazy trying to keep track of them. When the Admirals finally lost patience and ordered all planes and ships to leave, van Ripen had them all attack at once. And they sank two-thirds of the US fleet.
Definitely give this essay a read. Makes you ponder a little more deeply the ramifications of the US' international politics and the consequences thereof.


Heinlein Archives Put Online

Good news for fans of the late SF master Robert Heinlein, 2 months after his 100th birthday celebration. Per the San Jose Mercury News,
The entire contents of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Archive - housed in the UC-Santa Cruz Library's Special Collections since 1968 - have been scanned in an effort to preserve the contents digitally while making the collection easily available to both academics and the general public... The first collection released includes 106,000 pages, consisting of Heinlein's complete manuscripts - including files of all his published works, notes, research, early drafts and edits of manuscripts.
You can skip the brief article and go straight to the archives.

US Senate Fails To Reinstate Habeas Corpus

Welcome to the police state. Give Half-Life 2 a try, you can see where we're headed. All we're missing is the alien Combine invasion to complete the picture.

Story noted on Slashdot from 9/20, and yet I bet not picked up on by most "regular" news outlets.
Khyber notes that yesterday a vote in the US Senate fell four votes short of what was needed to restore habeas corpus — the fundamental right of individauls to challenge government detention. Here is the record of the vote on the Cloture Motion to restore Habeas Corpus. Article 4 of the US Constitution states that habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless in cases of rebellion and invasion when the public safety may require it.
I don't have the time to run through the vote record, but it would be interesting to see how the presidential candidates voted on this.

The Hard Science of Making Videogames

PopSci delves into the 10 greatest technical challenges faced by game developers today, and the technology that will hopefully make them a thing of the past. At the top of every dev's wish list is increased realism: realisitic fire, water, enemy AI, material physics, etc. Here directly from the developers where the tech stands today, and where it will likely be tomorrow. '4. Artificial Intelligence - Problem: Once upon a time, the bad guys in videogames wandered around mindlessly, shooting at you while they waited to die. That doesn't cut it anymore. Players demand sophisticated enemies to fight and reliable in-game allies with which to fight them. Thing is, it's freaking complicated, and it eats up processor speed. "We're faking just enough smarts to make it work," says Mathieu Mazerole, lead engineer on Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed. Status: Imbuing characters in a game with lifelike decision-making ability involves employing the kind of high-level logic theories--learning decision trees, mobile navigation, finite-state machine models--used by top robotics engineers.'

The Guild - Episode 3: The Macro Problem

I could have sworn I'd posted this already, but my niece pointed out I had neglected to do so. Here's Episode 3, where Codex's problem with Zaboo gets sidetracked by a crisis in The Guild.
Episode 2: Zaboo'd
Episode 1: The Guild

Where vehicles are left to die

On this page are some examples of vehicle cemeteries around the world, areas on earth that have unwittingly become the home to rusting, unused machines - remember, this is just a selection of the many boneyards on earth and while they often look stunning and make for a great photo, the environmental costs far outweigh the view.


Star Wars: LEGO's Ultimate Collectors Millennium Falcon Unboxed, Now Shipping with 4-pound Manual - Gizmodo

The biggest LEGO set ever, the $499 Ultimate Collectors Millennium Falcon, is now shipping, 5,000-pieces and four-pound ring-binded manual included. Yes, this thing is massive. Julie Stern from LEGO confirms: "We're a bit ahead of schedule, so some people who preordered now have their sets." In other words: "Great shot kid, that was one in a million!" Spoiler: Darth Vader is Luke's father, he dies at the end and Yoda, Frank Oz is.

(Follow the link to see the sweet pic.)


Pic of the Week 20070920


This little gem came from my Mom. True story, it happened in Utah and was on the news.

A city councilman, Mark Easton, had a beautiful view of the east mountains, until a new neighbor purchased the lot below his house and built.

Apparently, the new home was 18 inches higher than the ordinances would allow, so Mark Easton, mad about his lost view, went to the city to make sure they enforced the lower roof line ordinance. Mark and his new neighbor had some great arguments about this as you can imagine - not great feelings.

The new neighbor had to drop the roof line - no doubt at great expense. Recently, Mark Easton called the city and informed them that his new neighbor installed some decorative vents on the side of his home.

Mark didn't like the look of these vents and asked the city to investigate. He was told that there were no ordinances that regulated the size and shape of such vents.

When they went to Mark's home to see the vent view, this is what they found:


Pic of the Week 20070912

I'll get it in now while I can.

Do you ever get the feeling that a single redneck with a “bright idear” is going to trigger the downfall of civilization as we know it?

Top 10 Windows Freeware

It's always a shame when a great program is not heard about by most people - especially when it's free. Here are the top 10 freeware software that many people still haven't tried, but definitely should.

Team Fortress 2 - Meet the Engineer

Followup to the Heavy Weapons guy. I just about fell outta my chair.

Man, I am so ready to play this...


Two different and thought-provoking issues to toss at you today.

First, let's take a look at how some Islamic folk decided to commemorate 9/11 over in Europe yesterday.

And then, let us confirm the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman as proscribed by the Republican party. (Trust me, it ties into the first issue.)

Very deep and moving. Read them in order, so you can get all hot and indignant first and then cool off as you see the cost.

MIT sketching

Yeah it's been awhile, but I'll make up for it here. This is a little longer than the usual video snippets I port, but definitely worth the view.