the weBLog

Monday, May 31st

Primer

mood: Good

I just returned from the Harvard Exit theater where I watched, along with Ben, Jim, Dan, Alex, and others, the movie "Primer." It was incredible, bar none the best time-travel movie I have ever seen, and it was all done for $7000. FIRST Robotics, which is increasing its fees next year, could learn something here. But I digress. The movie was excellent, I need to see it again, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone when it becomes more widely distributed.
Arcanius on 05.31.04 @ 01:10 PM PST [link]


Thursday, May 27th

New Cable Modem & Women


Well, the Comcast Guy came and replaced our cable modem. Everything seems to be better now, I am mucho happy. I have yet to se the new modem myself, but my brother reports that it is black (woohoo!). I will ost pictures sometime maybe.

Two weeks and a day until my last final this school year. I'm stiall waiting to hear from the UW.

I saw Uniform at the Seattle International Film Festival today with Dan & co. It wasn't very good, but I've seen worse too. Primer, which I have higher hopes for, is Monday.

Clifton sent me this link, about how to get more women into Linux. My specific interest was different, how to get more women into the TRC... Reading the howto left me feeling a little guilty and a little confused and a little indignant. Guilty because once I made a sexist joke to the two most promising girls on the TRC. I meant to apologize, but I never got around to it, and now I rembmer that I need to again. Confused, because some things seem to contradict. Do we want to treat women like everyone else (as she says to do at one point), or do we want to be extra careful to let them type the commands themselves (as she claims at another point). Finally, indignant because the author cites both at once how we raise males and females differently that leads to discrimination against females. Does this differentiation in raising children not just as strongly (or, these days, even more strongly) "discriminate" against me being a nanny, for example? Of course, this isnt really discrimination, is it, since I don't really want to be a nanny. But then, what percentage or girls want to be (insert technical field here). Of course it is argued that these preferences come from differential treatment of genders in the first place. But what of that? My parents did not introduceme to the joys of autoworking as a child, and perhaps as a result, I'm not terribly interested in auto working. Does this mean I was discriminated against? If this happened to a girl, would that make her discriminated against?

I actaully wrote all that last night... enjoy!

Day after tomorrow today...
Arcanius on 05.27.04 @ 07:32 PM PST [link]


Wednesday, May 26th

My case against Comcast

music: Linkin Park - In The End, Weezer - Undone, Garbage - Only Happy When It Rains
mood: Ready to Throttle Comcast

goodcomcast (6k image) Good Comcast

badcomcast (7k image) Bad Comcast

Seen above are the same portion of two screen captures from two different games of Counterstrike. The info seen is the output of the function net_graph in the half life engine. As is normal, green means good, and red means bad. In fact, each red mark indicates a lost packet or a period of lost packets. Notice how many red marks there are in the Bad Comcast picture. Of course, that information is very anecdotal and doesn't really isolate the problem - with just that information, you wouldn't know if the problem were the counterstrike server, my router, my computer, the wireless link between them, or anything else. So I decided to roll in the big guns: the ping test.

I used the following command in four seperate command prompt windows:
ping -t -w 200 host
where
-t tells ping to ping until I tell it to stop
-w 200 tells ping to stop waiting at 200 ms and
host is either an IP adress or a hostname

Here are the results (grabbed by using control-break and copy/paste):

Ping statistics for 192.168.10.200: a computer on the same subnet, just one switch and two cat 5 cables away
Packets: Sent = 355, Received = 355, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms

Ping statistics for 192.168.10.1: this is my router
Packets: Sent = 1239, Received = 1175, Lost = 64 (5% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 2ms, Maximum = 49ms, Average = 3ms

Ok, so 5% loss is not ideal and I will try to make that better. I think I could get this to 0% with a little tweaking, but 5% packet loss hardly affects real world performace.

Ping statistics for 192.168.100.1: this is my cable modem
Packets: Sent = 1017, Received = 947, Lost = 70 (6% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 4ms, Maximum = 31ms, Average = 5ms

This is on par with the 5% seen for the router, but the test started later and there are more lost packets, so there are definitely some packets lost between the router and the cable modem... how this is possible escapes me, since they are all of a foot apart with a nice cat5 cable in between. But still, 6% loss is not very noticeable in the real world.

Now it gets interesting:
Ping statistics for 24.18.144.1: this is my router's default gateway
Packets: Sent = 1230, Received = 864, Lost = 366 (29% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 10ms, Maximum = 480ms, Average = 63ms

All of my packets have to go through the default gateway, as this is my only path to the internet. And from here to there and back again (without touching the internet along the way), I loose almost 30% of my packets. This is all after my router, mind you, I have no control over anything at this point.

Now, for the real world test:
Ping statistics for 216.239.57.99: this is google.com
Packets: Sent = 1480, Received = 872, Lost = 608 (41% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 31ms, Maximum = 489ms, Average = 84ms

Once we get out into the wild, nearly half of my packets never find their way home. And this is with no load whatsoever on the system.

"Pour sore misery down on me..." (I'm only happy when it rains)


Arcanius on 05.26.04 @ 09:52 AM PST [link]


Monday, May 24th

More Comcast Lovliness

music: Linkin Park and Evanescence (or however you spell that)
mood: Frizickin

Internet was down most of the day while the cable modem reset itself over and over,, perhaps due to line conditions. Its back now, so yay, but really, comcast, get a life.


Arcanius on 05.24.04 @ 11:06 AM PST [link]


Tuesday, May 18th

Discuss!


Good comments on the last post.
Arcanius on 05.18.04 @ 09:39 PM PST [link]


WSP: The Conceit of the Annointed


While driving north on 405 to work today, I was passed by a Washington State Patrol vehicle doing better than 85 (I tried to pace the car briefly). The policeman behind the wheel was the sole occupant of the vehicle driving in the HOV lane. I smiled to myself when he got stuck behind a driver going the speed limit in that lane just a short ways ahead of me. Then I got indignant when I saw the cop pull off the road to set up a speed trap for other motorists.

I think John Stossel coined the perfect phrase for this kind of behavior in his excellent book: "The Conceit of the Annointed."

The police view themselves as the annointed enforcers of some select laws of the land, but in that capacity, they often don't feel that they are subject to the same rules they enforce. This behavior erodes the legitimacy of their mission and the laws they are charged to uphold. Along with the facts that the speed limit law is universally broken and arbitraily and sporadically enforced, the intentional and blatant breaking of the law by Washington's "finest" damages the Rule of Law which is the foundation of our very society.

If I am ever a cop, I will pull over exclusively other cops to give them a taste of their own medicine. I have been told by some more knowledgable than I that this will lead to me being beaten in locker rooms and fired with the mildest excuse. All I can say is that I will have a camcorder running.

Arcanius on 05.18.04 @ 12:36 AM PST [link]


Sunday, May 16th

A Letter to the Editor

mood: Decent

In response to the Tuesday, May 11th article entitled, "In science and math, our kids need to step it up."

It comes as no surprise to me that Washington State lags behind other comparable states in producing a high number of mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. However, these facts, exposed in Tuesday's article, surprise most people, because everyone thinks of Boeing and Microsoft when they think of Washington companies - two worldwide engineering and technology powerhouses. Furthermore, there are many other technology and engineering companies throughout the state. It would seem then, that students of these fields would find a great amount of encouragement and support throughout high school and college. However, as the founder of a high school robotics club, my experience has been the antithesis of this: Washington State companies largely ignore fledgling engineers and the groups that cater to them.

For evidence, we need not look any further than our largest educational institution, the University of Washington. In 2002 and 2003, the U.W. hosted the Pacific Northwest Regional for the FIRST Robotics Competition. These two years, the competition was largely funded by out-of-state corporations and organizations, with the hope that local companies would see the enormous potential of the event to promote science and technology in Washington State and begin funding the event themselves. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of hundreds of aspiring engineers in high schools throughout the Puget Sound region, this hope was never realized. This year, the Pacific Northwest Regional of this renowned national robotics competition moved to Portland, Oregon, where more corporate support was found.

Unlike Washington, Oregon is not thought of as an engineering or technology powerhouse – yet Oregon is setting itself up to usurp Washington’s position as a leader in technology because its corporations understand that in order to graduate engineers from universities, students must first be interested in careers in engineering. Organizations that reach students in middle school and high school are the best way to develop young people into aspiring engineers. FIRST (“For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”) and its annual national Robotics Competition, have proven in many other states to be the best method available of promoting science and technology in secondary education. Until Washington corporations step up to the plate and begin to support events like this competition and the high school teams that participate in it, they can expect that Washington will continue to lag behind in the production of the Engineers and the leaders in technology that will enable Washington to remain a world leader in technological innovation.

Programs like the FIRST robotics competition may not be the “Silver Bullet” that fixes all of Washington’s engineering education woes, but I believe it is the closest thing that anyone will find.

Sincerely,

Ryan McElroy

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have concerning information in this letter.

For more information on the FIRST Robotics Competition: http://www.usfirst.org or http://www.usfirst.org/about/2003/annualreport2003.pdf

For more information on a very deserving yet under-funded robotics club, visit http://www.titanrobotics.net

Washington State teams involved in this competition include: Roosevelt High School’s “SWAT Robotics,” Newport High School’s “NRG” (Newport Robotics Group), Eastlake High Schools “Screws Loose” (Second place at the Pacific Northwest Regional!), Issaquah High School Robotics, Bellevue High School Robotics, Nathan Hale High School Robotics, and the 2004 Pacfic Northwest Regional #1 seeded champions, The Bellevue International School’s “Titan Robotics Club.”



P.S.

Washington’s largest newspaper, the Seattle Times, must share in the blame for the Pacific Northwest regional being moved from Seattle – In the two years when the competition was in Seattle, the Times provided no more coverage than a picture and a paragraph of text. Each of those two years, Seattle-area teams came in second place and received no recognition. For example, in 2003, a well-funded team from Florida competed at the Pacific Northwest Regional and took first place. The Seattle Time’s coverage of the event consisted of two pictures of the winning team and a short blurb about how the team from Florida won the regional. There was no mention of the 12 Washington teams competing or the work they did to help put on the regional. Needless to say, people like me and other mentors of these robotics clubs who put in much of their time and energy to promote the good cause of science and technology in our public schools felt slighted at the gross omission of our cause. Many of us also feel that this lack of publicity helped ensure that no local corporations would step up and ensure that FIRST Robotics stayed in Washington. I would like to personally thank the Seattle P-I for its coverage of the robotics team I work with in 2003 and for its Tuesday article highlighting the issues facing Washington’s Tech companies.

Arcanius on 05.16.04 @ 12:03 PM PST [link]


Thursday, May 13th

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot

mood: Bleh!

I hate the Lakers.
I hate the Lakers.
I hate the Lakers.
I hate the Lakers.
I hate the Lakers.
I hate the Lakers.

"One lucky shot deserves another, my butt - Duncan is excellent, Fisher is a benchwarmer. Watch those plays again - Duncan knows what he has to do and does it in the face of adversity - competitive excellence, not luck. Fisher wasn't supposed to get the ball and just throws it up - luck, not competitive excellence. In my opinion. Thank you, now on to game 6.

Arcanius on 05.13.04 @ 08:03 AM PST [link]


Wednesday, May 12th

Finally acknoledged!

mood: Stoic

From myuw.washington.edu:

Application Status

Thank you for applying for admission to the University of Washington!
We received your application for admission as a Transfer student to the University of Washington for autumn quarter 2004 on February 17, 2004.

The status of your application was last updated on May 12, 2004.

Your application was given an initial review, and a final admission decision is pending. If further information is required, we will contact you by mail.

Applicants are notified beginning April through July, as soon as an admission decision can be made. Autumn quarter 2004 begins September 29, 2004.


This is the first change I've seen since they reported recieving my transcripts almost two months ago. Its good to see life in the machine, it means the wait will be over soon. I think I'll get in, but there's nothing quite like confirmation to warm the soul and strengthen the ego (as if I need more of that!)

In other news, I got my Diff.Eq. tst back today. A 40 was an A and I got a 44.4, so I figure thats pretty good. I'm having more dust problems in photography, and since I'm working most days of the week, I hardly have time to really make prints except when I'm rushed. Finally, work is going well, except for the recent dead head disk drive controller, SmarTeam insanity, and self-extracting installs gone awry. Its a pretty good life.

Ben and I have selected movies from the Seattle International Film Festival we'd like to see. A lot of them sound pretty cool. The next step is actually buying them. Unfortunately, due to schedules and movie selections, only one of my selections coincides with one of Dan's. If we work things right, we may be able to bring that up to two. We shall see. $45 for a six pack, two between us. Anyone who wants to see the director's cut of Donnie Darko, contact me.

Arcanius on 05.12.04 @ 12:15 PM PST [link]


Sunday, May 9th

Encrypted Chat For h4x0rZ

music: Cake - Short Skirt, Long Jacket
mood: Hmmmm

Bob, of Colorless Green Ideas came up with the idea of using SSH along with ytalk as a method of secure chatting. We are using the system right now and it works very well. I suggest it to anyone who wants to carry on questionable, anti-government, or otherwise sketchy conversations.

If you are someone who wants to participate, IM me (AIM screenname is RyanMcE), and I can set you up an accoutn on silverfir.net. then all you have to do is download PuTTY, ssh into silverfir.net, and type ychat . I'm Ryan, btw. Type w to find out whos currenlty logged on.

Have fun!


Arcanius on 05.09.04 @ 12:25 PM PST [link]


Friday, May 7th

Abortion

mood: confused anger

I watched a video on John Kerry's campaign website that showed the senator at a "women's rights" rally getting endorsed by various groups because he has a "pro-family-planning" voting record and would support a woman's right to "choose."

And it made me sick to my stomach, really. What is so sick about it is that all of these people - mostly the fairer sex - were rallying behind abortion as if it were a good thing to have around. I can acknowledge that there are arguments that abortion appears to be, from some perspectives, a better option than going through with birth, even if I don't agree with such arguments.

But why do all these people gather around and act as if we want more people to have more abortions, as if abortions are good and wonderful and help us all live better lives. Maybe we should force everyone to have at least one abortion, so they can experience the positive results of that "right."

Then the speakers at the rally go on quote meaningless statistics, like that 87% of counties don't even have abortion clinics. Oh the horror! Well, did you ever stop to think that maybe 87% of counties don't have much demand for abortions? So maybe we should use tax dollars to pay for abortion clinics to go into those 87% of counties so that even more people can be coerced into having abortions by ativist "family planners."

I do believe that it is true that some of the sentiment that "abortion is good" among pro-choice activists is really just a knee-jerk reaction against the strong pro-life sentiment that "abortion is bad." I also believe that if the pro-life crowd were to focus more on making abortions less needed than on making abortions illegal (which won't solve the problem), then more babies would be born than are today, and, just maybe, some of the "abortion is good" sentiment would go away as well.

So, clearly, I do not think abortion is good, nor do I think it should be made illegal at the national level. On the other hand, the federal government most certainly should not fund any group that condones or encourages abortion either - I think the so called "gag rule" is a good compromise between funding "planned parenthood" type groups and funding abortion. However, the real solution is to stop public money from going to these organizations at all.

Just because I would not support federal legislation outlawing abortion doersn't mean that support it. My stance against such federal legislation is a result of my strong views on liberty and the need for as few laws as possible to preserve liberty. I think, in fact, that abortion is akin to murder, and that the "choice" argument is fatally flawed. Let me explain:

My stance that abortion is akin to murder stems from my understanding of biology as opposed to some religious notion of life. An egg in a woman is not unique in the world - it is wholy derived from the woman, and as such, I would consider it a part of her body. Let her do with it what she will. The same goes for a man and his sperm. However, after fertilization, the zygote is no longer a simple combination of the man and the woman. Due to the process called crossover, the DNA of the zygote is unique in all the world. This is what defines a new individual - we have what is indeed a unique human being. To snuff this indivual out on purpose seems little different to me than to snuff out any unique person's life on purpose.

In fact, fertilization is the single place where an event occurs that causes a distinct change - after that its all just one continuous process. I do not understand how passing through an orfice in birth suddenly makes someone a person that can't be snuffed out legally (except in the case of partial birth abortions, which somehow are different, I suppose because the baby has a vacuum in the brain). While birth is a significant event, there is no justifiable reason to make this the boundary any more than, say, teething, or sexual maturity. Maybe we should let mothers kill their children until they start noctural emissions or ovulation. Or maybe menopause and middle age is a better indicator. At least then kids might behave...

Now, onto the argument that this is about a woman's reproductive right to choose. I'm sorry, but the reproductive choice was made when the woman choose to have sex. After the sex comes reproductive responsibility, namely carrying any potential product of the sex to term and ensuring that the potential child is cared for and nurtured into a productive adult. The man shares in this responsibilty, have no doubt, since he also made the choice. I am of course aware that this doesn't not account for sex that the woman does not choose to have - namely in cases of rape. I think reasonable people could disagree on this topic. I personally lean towards killing the rapist, not the baby.

As for Roe v. Wade, it is fairly clear to me that the ruling was not legally justified, and is probally the single best example of the damage activist judges with radical agendas can do in this our system of common law and judicial review, an extremely flawed paradigm for a judicial system.

Well, thats all for now. I'll get off the soapbox for just a while now.
Arcanius on 05.07.04 @ 02:17 PM PST [link]


Wednesday, May 5th

Meh


The power went out at the house today so I had the pleasure of restarting silverfir.net again. Hey, that’s a double repetition (kinda like a double negative, but with doing something again instead... yeah…)

The day went fairly smoothly otherwise. I got up early to go to kinkos to make transparencies out of some prints I have, then I went to BCC and started doing my cyanotypes. After math and more cyanotypes, I went to work, and then I was off to Shai’s 21st birthday party. That went till 10, and then I came back here where I got a new Belkin 802.11g wireless Ethernet bridge working, and gave the wet11 to my brother. The speed should make file transfers from my laptop to the desktop without connecting in cat 5 more manageable.

Arcanius on 05.05.04 @ 12:51 PM PST [link]


Sunday, May 2nd

Sunday Sunny Sunday

music: NBA Finals - Spurs vs Lakers Game 1
mood: Yeag!

Today:
1. Woke Up
2. Ate breakfast (Golean Crunch! with 2% milk)
3. Blogged (last entry)
4. Organized files on hard drive while downloading animatrix videos and checking TV listings
5. Watched animatrix videos
6. Folded laundry while waiting for the Spurs vs Lakers game to start
7. Ate lunch
8. (now) Watching Spurs vs. Lakers
9. (next) Wash dishes, run dishwasher
10. (nexter) Vacuum main floor
11. (nextest?) read Diff. Eq. Book, do some Diff. Eq. homework
Arcanius on 05.02.04 @ 01:25 PM PST [link]


Not So Much

music: Alanis Morisette – Ironic, Linkin Park – Frgt<10, Smashing Pumpkins – Today, Linkin Park – Step Up, Todies – Possum Kingdom
mood: Aroundabout

Occasionally, I run into a blog like Ludicrous Speed!. I learned about this particular one from Bobby after we talked about how bad the new trailer made “I Robot” look. Basically, they have taken Asimov’s classic robotics series and turned it into a high-budget on everything except faithfulness to the original story tion knock off. Turns out that it is very well stated on the particular blog, here.

Just like Bernie’s Site, this is another one where the layout is impressive and the commentary seems sculpted to perfection. So, since I tend to give up on ventures in which I don’t excel (an unfortunate consequence of the way I am), why do I continue to plug away at this blog when clearly I’m not excelling, or een meeting the standard for goodness? Heck, that isn’t even a good word!

The reason for my persistence is that this isn’t about you guys (sorry!). Its about e and needing to say things. And even though I admittedly do edit it for content (not-so-sorry!) its one of the most candid windows to my life that anyone has. An d that does something good for me. And as strangely wonderful that it is that a lot of my friends read this, and that even people I don’t know read it (thanks Bernie!) I’m pretty sure it will continue to lean much more towards a stream-of-consciousness style than trying to present any particularly useful or thoughtful information (although occasionally you may see something useful, because I happened to be thinking about it at the time).

I actaully wrote this several hours earlier today, but somehow it didn't get posted.
Arcanius on 05.02.04 @ 01:17 PM PST [link]




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