July 11, 2006

Rorschach Missiles

Failed tests of ICBMs from the DPRK are a Rorschach test: responses reveal more about the beholder than the inkblot....

Continue reading "Rorschach Missiles"
Posted by David at 06:19 PM | Comments (1)

Back from Taiwan

I'm back from Taiwan, where Heidi and I visited two relatives who were very ill.

I am a third-generation Chinese dyed-in-the-wool American who speaks no Mandarin. I am truly a foreigner in Taiwan. And so everything surprises me. For example...

Continue reading "Back from Taiwan"
Posted by David at 07:36 PM | Comments (8)

July 13, 2006

Lebanon Bloggers

(List updated again 8/12.) Israel has cut off air and sea transportation to Lebanon. War is beginning again. But the Internet is still up and Lebanese bloggers are online. Here are some links to blogs about personal experiences in Lebanon - please let me know if you find others....

Continue reading "Lebanon Bloggers"
Posted by David at 10:02 AM | Comments (8)

July 18, 2006

Wartime Advertisements

Sometimes the most revealing parts of the newspaper are the ads.

Byron Horton, an intern for Amideast who is stuck in Beirut, posted this snapshot from a newpaper in Lebanon today...

Continue reading "Wartime Advertisements"
Posted by David at 03:08 PM | Comments (8)

July 20, 2006

A Meeting Place

During his first week of second grade, my son declared that he had joined the Cameron, Evan and Anthony club.

"It's called the CEA," he said, and it's all about selling robots and writing stories. He declared that they would be holding regular meetings at his treehouse...

Continue reading "A Meeting Place"
Posted by David at 07:27 AM | Comments (2)

July 21, 2006

Lebanon War in Google Earth

Stumbled on this today, via Ogle Earth.

BÝrre Ludvigsen's Al Mashriq website has KMZ files with Google Earth locations for many of the newsworthy events of the current conflict in Lebanon....

Continue reading "Lebanon War in Google Earth"
Posted by David at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2006

Python Curses Life

More than a decade ago I wrote a bunch of screensavers for Mac, NeXT, and Windows - they were some of the first GUI programs I wrote.

My favorite screensaver was a "Conway's game of Life" simulation. You can read about the Game of Life on Mathworld or Wikipedia. Back in 1994, computers didn't have much memory, and simulating the game quickly was a challenge. I thought I had a pretty clever algorithm running an infinite board fast.

So when this article by Tomas Rokicki on Dr. Dobbs appeared on Reddit last weekend with the enticing title An Algorithm for Compressing Space and Time - and when the article turned out to describe a very very clever way to compute the Game of Life quickly - I couldn't resist. I had to implement it...

Continue reading "Python Curses Life"
Posted by David at 02:45 AM | Comments (7)

July 27, 2006

My Landline is a Honeypot

Just answered the umpteenth call on my land line today. "Hi, this is Ann!" (Oh hi! How nice! Honey, who's Ann?) "I'm calling to tell you about..." - a recording - click.

Have you been gradually moving your telephonic life away from your land line? Almost everybody I know who needs to contact me calls me on my cell phone or on Google Talk. I keep my landline because - well, I'm not sure why.

Usually I let my answering machine pick up my landline calls, but for some reason today I picked up every call myself. And so I've discovered that my landline is a magnet for phone spam. I got a call from Comcast, one from an oil delivery company, one from Discover Card, one from a security company, one from somebody offering a "new outlook on life." And I got several calls from an extremely friendly recorded salesperson named "Ann."

My landline would make a great honeypot.

Posted by David at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2006

Masi is a Hero

My brother tells me his that his friend Masi will be one of the characters on NBC's upcoming series Heroes this September.

Apparently Masi plays a officeworker superhero who is a little bit nerdy, which is great, because he's a real-life geek! His other work in Hollywood is as a programmer for ILM and his filmography includes Star Wars Episode III, where he contributed the lava, and The Perfect Storm, where we can thank him for the ocean.

Masi has previously acted in smaller roles. I especially loved Masi's Franklyn on Scrubs, and always wished they had more of his character. I am looking forward to Heroes!

Update: a clip of Masi here:

Posted by David at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2006

Totten on Lebanon's Liberalism

"When Israel and Hezbollah reach a ceasefire at last, round two of this conflict will commence...."

In his superb Middle East Journal, Michael Totten pens an essay on the fragile situation that will face Lebanon after the Israelis stop shooting.

Most Lebanese are going easy on Hezbollah as much as they can while the bombs are still falling. But a terrible reckoning awaits them once this is over. Some Lebanese canít wait even that long...

The majority of Lebanonís people were wise and civilized enough to take the gun out of politics after the fifteen year war... No one knows if the Lebanese will be able to keep the gun out of politics after all that has happened.

Donít discount what bloody mayhem and hell a few thousand armed Druze, Christians, and Sunni can do if they decide to go hunting Shia in revenge for destroying their country. Don't forget, also, that Lebanon is now surging with tens of thousands of furious, displaced, homeless, unemployed, and undisciplined young Shia men enthralled with Iranian-style jihad..."

Michael holds on to the hope that Lebanon may be peaceful someday, but points out that there are more obstacles on the way to peace than simply Israel and Hizbollah. His essay is certainly worth a read.

Posted by David at 04:53 AM | Comments (0)