“She also has a habit of catching various animals, dragging them inside through the cat door, and letting them loose so they can be chased for hours. Very cruel. To put an end to this we have built a computer-controlled device that visually determines if Flo is carrying anything in her mouth when she enters, and if she does, it simply does not let her in.”
“The commercials, narrated by Ed McMahon, suggest that you cooperate with the Neighborhood Watch Association and the Civilian Defense Force. You will be told how to spot “suspicious” characters or even people you might have known all your life, who are suddenly acting “out of character.” Then the camera pans down a row of townhouses, and there’s an American flag in front of every house. The voice-over says “inform the authorities of anything you see that’s suspicious” and then the camera stops at the one house that doesn’t have an American flag flying outside — and then it continues to pan down the way.”
God, I love python. Once again it amazes me. I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say it took less than two minutes to go from “hmmm, wouldn’t it be nice if…” to “wow, that was easy”. Again.
Potentially interesting: Screen dream, a webring is for those who keep journals of their dreams online.
Jamming devices make it impossible to make or receive calls, voice mails and text messages on a mobile telephone. France is the first country to legalize jamming devices for public use.
I particularly liked: Modern variations involving setting the absinthe alight are mere cheap melodrama.
Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures including such old favourites as towers of Hanoi, 8 queens, dining philosophers, and – who could forget – the travelling salesman. Damn, that’s real computing. ;-)
Sustrans, a sustainable transport charity, including a map of the UK’s National Cycle Network.
Unfortunately their website is rather broken in Opera. Sigh…
This is super-duper cool… A Picture Of Weblogs – a representation of many, many, weblogs and their interconnections. You can search for a particular weblog and see what other blogs it connects to, and which connect to it.
It’s not perfect, for instance it didn’t pick up any link from gimboland to misterpants, despite there being a link in the sidebar since gimboland started, but it’s funky and fun nonetheless.
Hey, I just realised why there’s no misterpants link… My link goes to his splash page (‘cos I love it), not straight to the blog page. Cool.
Overcoming ICANN – an open letter to the internet community.
Begins: “Despite its best efforts, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has proven overall to be a failed experiment in Internet policy development, implementation, and management. ICANN’s lack of meaningful representation, and its continuing pattern of drastic and seemingly arbitrary structural and policy changes (among other shortcomings), have created an unstable and suspicion-ridden environment that is detrimental to the interests of the vast majority of Internet users around the world. The resulting overly politicized situation not only threatens the stability of the Internet itself, but also invites drastic and undesirable interventions by a variety of vested interests.”
Alas, not high quality – “It’s audio, not hi-fi. We’re aiming at the eight to 16 market,” Olympia’s president, Richard May, told BBC News Online.
“So-called efficiency,” says Richard Scase, professor of organisational behaviour at the University of Kent at Canterbury, “takes the place of effectiveness, quantity of quality. The means become an end in themselves.”
I also know of at least one local authority that achieves government targets for separating waste – at great expense – but then simply mixes it all up again in landfill. Scotland Yard figures that showed it had recruited 218 people from ethnic minorities between April and September 2000 turned out to include Irish, New Zealanders and Australians. The useful figure was four.
Rejection can dramatically reduce a person’s IQ and their ability to reason analytically, while increasing their aggression, according to new research.
FAM, the File Alteration Monitor – “provides an API which applications can use to be notified when specific files or directories are changed.” Groovy.
Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia – butt ugly but informative.
The US would like to kill Galileo, but with Europe having its own rocket launching facilities in French Guyana, its own Ariane rocket and positioning technology more advanced than America’s (European atomic clocks in the Galileo system can position to within 45 centimetres compared to GPS’s 100 metres), the EU has sovereignty over its choices.
The US has breached too many international treaties and shown such a disregard for anyone’s interests but its own that we cannot trust it over satellite positioning technology, a public good that will rank beside water and energy distribution in importance in the decades ahead.
For the full skinny on the Emperor, check out this well-written wikipedia article.
Emperor Norton I was clearly much loved and revered by his subjects. Although penniless, he regularly frequented the finest restaurants in San Francisco, and the proprietors of these establishments took it upon themselves to add brass plaques in their entrances that declared “By Appointment to his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I of the United States”. This vanity appears to have been tolerated without complaint by the Emperor. By all accounts, such Imperial “seals of approval” were much prized and a substantial boost to trade for such businesses. No play or musical performance in San Francisco would dare to open without reserving balcony seats for the Emperor and his two mongrel dogs, Lazarus and Bummer. (As a sidenote, the tragic death of Lazarus, in an 1863 accident with a vehicle belonging to the Fire Department of San Francisco, led to a period of public mourning. In 1865, when Bummer pased away, Mark Twain was sufficiently moved to write an epitaph for the Imperial Canine, saying that he’d died “full of years, and honor, and disease, and fleas.”)
According to popbitch, the Colombian word for rabbit is “bunnylingus”. Not that I believe everything I read in popbitch, mind… ;-)
American atheists becoming increasingly marginalised, ostracised, demonised. [null] Worrying article, with some very interesting quotes…
Scary stuff from former President Bush during a 1988 presidential campaign stop: “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God.” This is a democratically elected president speaking, apparently ready and willing to remove citizenship (hey, why not go the whole hog and say human rights?) from a group based solely on their (lack of) religious belief. Go USA!
How about the atheist position on ethics: “We are very ethical. We do the right thing because we think it’s right — not because we think we’ll be rewarded or punished in the afterlife based on our actions.” Definitely – and that’s much harder to do, which should, I think, result in even greater rewards in the afterlife for decent atheists. Oh, hang on…
And finally: “Children grow out of belief in their make-believe friends, even though they bring them comfort. For me, growing up was realizing that reality is what I can see and feel and reason out, not what I wish for.” I don’t completely agree that reality is “what I can see and feel and reason out”, I personally think it transcends that, but I like the general sentiment.
Text Processing In Python – online draft of a dead-tree book yet to be published (or, indeed, completed).
apt-get install spectemu-x11
Quines. A quine is “a program that generates a copy of its own source text as its complete output”.
I particularly liked the parenthesised part of: “30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).”
Groovy python idiom: Making the members of a list unique by converting it to a dictionary and back again.
Oh. My. God. My homepage five years ago.
Oh wow: the twinkle. Memories…
I hope you’ll agree that I’ve come a long way…
The Water Margin. I must find more Water Margin links – and, er, read the books. :-)
links, a text-mode browser like lynx but somewhat more fully featured (eg it can render tables). Very nice.
Optik, “a powerful, flexible, extensible, easy-to-use command-line parsing library for Python”. Might make my proposed “using getopt” howto obsolete… ;-)
Skip Montaro’s ideas on how best to contribute to python.
Stuff I could write a howto on:
Using urllib to fetch webpages.
Using mimetools/mimetypes/multipart/etc. to build a multipart MIME message.
Dynamic imports using __import__
Bugs I could attack:
Plenty there to be getting on with, I reckon…
And on this subject: Becoming a python developer.
Battle of the browsers!!! I’m interested to learn that both Galeon and Mozilla now support tabbed browsing, which is one of the reasons I love Opera so much. Also interested to see this note on improving Galeon’s load time. Time to have another look at Galeon I think…
Hmmm, yeah – it’s definitely improved greatly since the last time I looked and it’s quite nice. But I still have a few gripes with it:
It renders the tables on Gimboland badly (some spaces between cells are one pixel, some are two – ugly (I later realised this was because my stylesheet specified the gap in points instead of pixels – now fixed)), which is a Gecko/Mozilla thing, I realize.
When downloading a page, there’s no graphical indication that anything is happening – no progress bar, etc. Sometimes I wonder if it’s doing anything, then the page suddenly appears. Compare with Opera, which tells you how many images are left to load, etc., and it’s much less fun.
The zoom control doesn’t have a drop-down selector like Opera does – big lossage – I usually view at 100% or 150%, and it’s a drag to step through 110, 120, 130, 140 on the way…
I don’t like its text input much, eg the box I’m using to write this – for some reason it’s put in a horizontal scrollbar, and is showing 90% of the width of the text – why???
I think I’ll stick with Opera for now, but I’d like to switch to Galeon soon, as it’s ideologically far more sound. ;-)
On Saturday, the London Eye was stopped after it started rotating too fast. Nice.
I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday and went up to the Golden Gallery, at 280 feet. Strange, it didn’t look like I was much lower than the London Eye (450 feet), but I guess appearances can be deceptive, especially witn the Thames in between us. ;-)
The advantages of the gallery over the wheel are that it’s stationary and you can stay there as long as you want. The advantages of the wheel over the gallery, on the other hand, are that it’s not bloody freezing cold, and you don’t have to climb hundreds of steps to get there…
Sketch – a vector drawing program for Unix. Written in C/python, scriptable in python.
Playing with it a bit, it’s not exactly CorelDraw – but hey, it’s free! ;-)
I visited William Blake‘s grave at Bunhill Cemetery, London, on Friday, and was delighted to find that someone had left some flowers on the grave: a jam jar with some bluebells in it. Sweet.
“… a system that, if not reset by a given time, will automatically carry out a series of tasks, such as posting messages to websites like Ars, sending e-mails to loved ones (or hated ones), and encrypting or destroying sensitive files…”