Marc's Public Blog - Misc Public Entries


All | Aquariums | Arduino | Btrfs | Cars | Cats | Clubbing | Dining | Diving | Electronics | Exercising | Flying | Hiking | Linux | Linuxha | Public | Rc | Sciencemuseums | Snow | Solar | Trips




More pages: May 2017 April 2017 December 2016 November 2016 September 2016 June 2016 May 2016 September 2015 May 2015 April 2015 October 2014 September 2014 July 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 October 2013 May 2013 April 2013 January 2013 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 May 2012 April 2012 December 2011 November 2011 July 2011 April 2011 March 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 May 2007 March 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 June 2006 May 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 October 2004 August 2004 June 2004 May 2004 March 2004 September 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980



2009/05/31 Makers Faire
π 2009-05-31 00:00 in Public
I hadn't been to Markers Faire so far, but went on to fixing that this year, especially since Daniel was visiting and it made for a good excuse to get out during the weekend.

It was an interesting mix of Burning Man folks and contraptions, computer and other geeks, and generally creative folks. It was quite an interesting mix :)

Electric Miata
Electric Miata

Big hand that could take metal and crush it
Big hand that could take metal and crush it


Remnants from Burning Man :)
Remnants from Burning Man :)



All those objects are fakes that came from a 3D printer
All those objects are fakes that came from a 3D printer

Radio controlled battleship battle
Radio controlled battleship battle

Lifesize Mousetrap I saw at burning man a few years ago
Lifesize Mousetrap I saw at burning man a few years ago

Victorian keyboards
Victorian keyboards

with matching laptop
with matching laptop


wirewrap 4Mhz CPU
wirewrap 4Mhz CPU

running a modified Minix
running a modified Minix



The beloved Diet Coke and Mentos guys did their show
The beloved Diet Coke and Mentos guys did their show

And a repeat of the famous youtube video
And a repeat of the famous youtube video

See more images for Makers Faire
2009/05/28 Evolution 7 parter on Nova and "creationism"
π 2009-05-28 00:00 in Public
I just finished watching an older Nova series on Evolution, from how Darwin came up with Evolution back in his day. It was a very interesting series, which explained some things I didn't even know like how evolution obviously applies to virii and bacteria, and how they recently found out that after the AIDS virus becomes resistent to new drugs, they're actually better off stopping all drugs, letting the drug resistant virus be taken over by the non drug resistant one because it can spread quicker in a drug free environment, and then try to kill that one again with drugs.

Anyway, the low point of the show was when they had to address how effectively we're no better now with regards to science vs christians who still feel very threatened by evolution since it obviously contradicts Adam and Eve, than we were 200 years ago.

The part I didn't know was how the church leaders knowing that they can't get so called "creationism" (nice word that makes it sound like science) into classrooms if it's not science, to do anything they can to pass it for science even there is obviously not a whole lot to back it up.

The pretty despicable part was the very careful and misleading statements that they had fed to school children so that the children themselves went to the school board and asked stuff like

  • "we want special creation to be taught the facts, we should be be able to know about both scientific views" -> There is nothing scientific "creationism", it's just a story from a book.
  • "because creationism is not religion" -> right, throwing away gobs of scientific evidence and reproducable experiments for a story from the bible has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. But they have to pretend that since you can't teach religion in public schools.
  • "there are facts we don't have" -> right, a story from a 2000 year old book with nothing to back it up is absolutely a fact
  • "I grew up in a church, where god created everything, that's how it's always been and how it'll ever be" -> Yes. If any other evidence shows up, just dig a deeper hole in the sand, put your head in it and chant la-la-la-la-la.
  • But the part that was more worrying was the flat out brainwashing they were doing in some churches where they were teaching all their churchgoers how to deny and push back evolution without giving any critical though into it of course. They also had cute evil little songs that were teaching the little drones how to respond. Scary, really.

    And all this because some people can't admit that maybe some stories in the bible may just be stories, or they may have been simplified to something that people at the time could understand. Neither case should invalidate faith in general or the existence of a god. Even if you push evolution all the way back to the big bang (and while I'll defend evolution all day long, I'm the first to say that the big bang is really a lot more of a best guess theory and just the best we can come up with without current knowledge), there is still nothing wrong with whoever your favourite god is, to have created the big bang, or the universe.
    But no, conservative Christians can't deal with such a happy medium because it contracticts the bible, and the bible must be right everywhere, or many feel their whole life would have been a lie, and they can't have that.
    Now, the good news is that they are only a portion of Christians out there, many others don't have a problem taking the bible with a grain of salt with regards to taking its general message, but giving details like how long creation took (like a day being a metaphor for 1000 years or somesuch), some leeway. Whether you agree with that or not, at least they have a belief that makes sense, and don't have to feel threatened by scientific discoveries or theories.

    It's too bad that for so many other people however, church and critical thinking are incompatible. I suppose many of the critical thinkers just become "spiritual, but not religious", which I can understand a lot more easily. Of course, I'm going to guess that some of the church leaders don't want that to happen since they can't quite control the "spiritual but not religious", nor get money from them, so it sure looks like they suppress critical thinking as much as possible to stay in control.

    But eh, if they insist, I think it's only fair to also teach about the_tons, and how X_enu came with his spaceship and dropped all the bad souls in a volcano on earth, which in turn created us. I mean, that sounds like a perfectly good explanation. That's called scien_tology and there is even "science" in the name, so it must be true. I think it's only fair that this be taught in schools side by side with evolution.

    Anyway, carry on, I just had to rant a bit. Thank you for indulging me :)

    2009/05/19 Sopranos Disappointing
    π 2009-05-19 00:00 in Public
    I just finished watching all 6 seasons of the Sopranos.

    So, the show was enjoying for the most part, even if they were missing some continuity between some episodes, but I was disappointed by the ending.
    It just felt cheap and rushed. That last episode just looked like just another episode, except that none was coming after :-(

    2009/05/17 Reality And Movies
    π 2009-05-17 00:00 in Public
    I was watching the Transporter 3 (yes, yes, I know). So, on one side I'm willing to suspend disbelief when you land on a train with a car, or it comes to being able to breathe underwater from a car tire (although mythbusters tried it out, and not so much), or how you can take an Audi from the bottom of a lake and get it to run again in 2mn (eh, top gear kind of did that with a truck after a few hours).

    But, a cell phone call from inside a car that's sinking under water? Seriously? Really?
    I wonder if they're ok with it because most viewers don't know any better, or maybe this only bothers me because I'm willing to suspend disbelief when it comes to aliens or stunts, but not basic physics and science unless we're talking the Matrix where physics are negotiable :)

    2009/05/06 50k Emails
    π 2009-05-06 00:00 in Public
    I passed the 50,000 sent Email threshold in my personal inbox recently. What records I was able to keep go back to 1996 (unfortunately, everything before that got lost).
    Now, that doesn't count work Emails for instance, in my last 6.5 years at google, my sent box says I sent over 41,000 Emails. Looking at some incomplete records I have, I sent 918 Emails while at netapp (9 months), 613 Emails while at SGI (9 months), 13684 Emails at VA Linux (3 years).
    So, for whatever that's worth, I sent a few more work Emails in the last 10 years than I sent personal Emails in the last 13 years, for a total of over a 100,000 Emails sent. Not bad :)
    2009/05/03 Misc Updates
    π 2009-05-03 00:00 in Public
    In the random news department, my Onkyo TX-SR705 receiver started failing by going into firmware upgrade mode for no reason and being unusable after I moved it to a cabinet, and jolted it a bit during the install (at most).
    Amazon was fantastic there, I was able to get them to take the receiver back and send me another one (this is the second receiver that failed and that they swapped, past their own 30 day return window). This is even more amazing because the price had gone back up from their $400 special to $800, and they sent me their last one with free shipping and a label to return the old one for free too.
    After a few hours of work, the 3rd one is setup and working again. I'll make sure not to breathe on it too hard :) but seriously Amazon went above and beyond the call of duty here.

    I got a free scooba 5900 from work. I was never really sold on the scooba, and indeed it looks like a finicky little device that needs a lot more help and care than a roomba, to the point that you may not save that much time compared to mopping yourself. It's also unclear that it's safe to use on our stone and hardwood floors, which might not be fully sealed. It also seems that the battery on the one I got is mostly dead, but eh, it was free :)
    Maybe it's worth using it as credit for a newer scooba 350 or so, but I'm not sure.

    In the good news department, after trying and ordering 3 pairs of hiking boots at REI, I think I finally found a pair that will work for me (i.e. that is wide enough without being way too long, which is otherwise bad for a hiking boot): Lowa Renegade GTX Wide. So far those seem both lightweight, which is nice, and willing to give more in the toe area. Hopefully they won't destroy themselves in a few days, but it seems like they may just work for my wide feet (I'm a 9 E wide).

    Last, but not least, I've been spending a lot of time in the last weeks reading our 4 books on Hawaii and its Islands and working with a travel agent to plan our 3 week honeymoon. Those books are fantastic and have so much info, it's not even funny. In return, it's taking a lot of work to read all the useful info but it's allowing me to plan a very good honeymoon. Hopefully all that work will have been worth it :)


    More pages: May 2017 April 2017 December 2016 November 2016 September 2016 June 2016 May 2016 September 2015 May 2015 April 2015 October 2014 September 2014 July 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 October 2013 May 2013 April 2013 January 2013 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 May 2012 April 2012 December 2011 November 2011 July 2011 April 2011 March 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 May 2007 March 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 June 2006 May 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 October 2004 August 2004 June 2004 May 2004 March 2004 September 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980