Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm sorry, internet

You know I didn't mean those things I said. After all, you've given me so much. How could I stay mad at you?


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Google is ruining everything!

The old internet is dying, and it is all Google's fault-- somehow.

When I first returned from my mission in 1894, I got a free CD in the mail and installed America Online on the computer that had been handed down from my father to my sister to me. (Its hard drive held less than 100 MB.)

I put up my first personal web page there on AOL, and when I left I exported my web page to Geocities. A few years down the road, Yahoo purchased Geocities, and that made me happy because I thought Yahoo was a company with staying power.

Then I stopped updating my webpage. And I guess everyone else did, too. And now Yahoo is dropping the axe. In a few months, Geocities will be dead. It's sad. But I guess the internet changes.

Even worse, Yahoo killed Launchast a few months ago. I'd been using that site for almost ten years, and had rated tens of thousands of songs on the way to building the most awesome personal internet radio station in existence. Now it's all gone.

Thanks a lot, internet.


PS - Enjoy this before Yahoo buys it and kills it, too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poor Old Hugo Chavez

President Obama has been making a lot of diplomatic gestures aimed at improving US relations with other countries, including rogue states like Cuba and Iran, and rogue-ish states like Venezuela and Russia. Trying to improve foreign relations is a good goal, and of course to do this will involve lots of high-level talks between representatives of our government and their governments.

Obama wants to do more than improve intergovernmental cooperation, though. He wants to conduct public diplomacy, to speak to foreign publics directly and try to improve their feelings about America. That's also a fine goal.

But Obama needs to remember one important thing: all heads of state represent their governments, but not all heads of state represent their people. This is particularly important to remember when you are feeling apologetic. Because dictators like Hugo Chavez do not represent the oppressed. They are oppressors.

Consider Cuba, where the case is even clearer. Many people believe that President Obama will relax the half-century-old US embargo on trade with Cuba. When he does so, it would fit with his foreign policy style to apologize for the suffering that the embargo has caused in Cuba. Okay, but who can he apologize to? Not Castro. Because Castro does not represent the suffering Cuban people. He is the chief cause of the suffering of the Cuban people. He is an oppressor.

Obama needs to remember as he goes around the world that some of the smiling men who shake his hand are vicious thugs who have murdered their political rivals, chased them out of the country, or thrown them in jail. It's the fate that lots of loony lefties kept thinking was right around the corner for them during the Bush years. Except that Bush was not a dictator. He didn't cancel the elections. Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore and all the other paranoid moonbats spent the Bush years on CNN, not in jail.

But in Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, etc., the people who speak up against the oppressors really are in jail. So as President Obama travels around the world, I just wish he would ask himself one question before he shakes anyone's hand: "How will this look to the people in the camps?"


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Return of the right-wing terrorists

So the Department of Homeland Security has published a report warning that the US might see increasing numbers of right-wing terrorists in the next few years.

Here's the key paragraph:

The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.

I have two responses.

1) Duh. Of course.

2) No, this doesn't mean that Obama thinks all Republicans are terrorists.

Any questions?


PS - Read the report. It's only like seven pages long. And it's a little bit interesting, even for non-specialists.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Unfortunately true

Interesting thoughts on habits from 4-Block World. Share and enjoy.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Some stuff I read about

Nerd news:

* Some guy rates movie trilogies. He's mostly right, although totally wrong about Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

* The SciFi channel is changing its name to SyFy. John Scalzi has even better reasons for thinking this is stupid than I do.

* Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, has passed away. Nerds, pour out a Mountain Dew for a fallen brother.

* The last book in the Wheel of Time series is going to be released in three volumes, with the first being released this November. Hooray!

Wastes of time:
* Ever wonder what anagrams could be made from your name? Wonder no longer! My favorites: Jean Navy Did Hop, A Hand-Jived Pony, Vend Any Jihad Op.

* Robot Chicken video clips from Adult Swim. Awesome!

Crazy foreigners:

* Japanese people are paying money to hang out with cats. Oddly enough, this insane new fad from Japan appears to have nothing to do with sex.

* French people who are afraid of getting fired lock up their bosses until they get what they demand. Apparently, kidnapping is not a crime over there. (Although I would advise French people to beware of Liam Neeson.)

* Swedes + Guidos = Swedos!

* Yet more proof that Brazilian prisons are the world's crappiest. Or that Brazilian prisoners are the world's awesomest.


BONUS: Cry havoc and unleash the scooters of war!


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Super freaky

I just learned that Richard Alpert and Batmanuel were played by the same guy. That's freaky.

You got one freakier than that?


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Adventures in cooking

So tonight the missionaries came over for dinner. I cooked, and thought I might share with you, my imaginary readers, what worked and what didn't.

This was the menu: Stir-fried chicken with vegetables, rice, a green salad, and a fruit salad. Also, Mr. Potter went down to Lyndells and picked up some apple tarts, which were pretty good.

The chicken was the weakest link, I think. I cut the raw chicken into bite-sized bits and let it sit in a marinade for twenty or thirty minutes. (I got the marinade recipe from this cooking magazine my brother subscribed me to for Christmas.) This was mistake number one. I should have let it marinate for longer-- overnight, maybe? The chicken was not bad, but I think it would have been better if I had let it soak in more flavor.

Anyway, after marinating, I threw the chicken into a skillet and cooked it. Then I added a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables. This was the second mistake. Fresh vegetables are always better; these were mushy. Worse, adding so many veggies to the dish diluted the spices and made it all bland.

The third mistake is that I didn't have any corn starch to thicken the sauce. So, like I said, this dish was the weak link. But it was still okay.

The salads were better. For the green salad, I started with a recipe for Asian carrot slaw, which I had made on Tuesday and really enjoyed. I used three green onions, but only one carrot, and added cabbage and lettuce. It was quite good, but could have been even better if I had waited until the last minute to toss it with the dressing. (Also, I tried toasting the sesame seeds before sprinkling them on. I didn't notice any difference, so I think that was probably a waste of time.)

Last, I did a very basic fruit salad. I chopped up two oranges and one apple, and tossed them with some peanuts and craisins. That's it. No dressing or anything. But very good. I think that might be the first time I've ever made a fruit salad, but it was a successful experiment. Very tasty, and it went well with the other dishes.

Actually, I think everything went relatively well together, and that is probably the thing I am happiest about. I can usually get a single dish to taste good, but I have trouble getting a whole meal to work. But this time I think the meal was pretty well coordinated. And next time I have some ideas that might make it even better.

And of course if you have any ideas, put me some knowledge in the comments.

Yay food!