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Sick Scott Sprockets

I�m still sick. I made it up to about 85% recovered and I�ve just hovered there ever since. Its very annoying, and not at all usual. I want to be well again!

I�ve started to recover my counterstrike skillz. I started out 6-12 today, but then went on to get to 30-18, meaning that I was, for that period, 24-6! That�s pretty good methinks.

I got to talk to big Scott for the first time in a long time. This is why I miss him:

Scott: yooooooooooooooooooooo
Me: hi there’
Scott: hey
Scott: wazzup in Ryan land?
Me: um
Me: I want my teeth to have that after-dentist feeling, so i amusing my leatherman on them
Scott: cool
Me: also, I enjoy photography, but not photography teachers so much
Scott: did you know that the amount of integers (positive and negative) is the same amount as just the positive odd integers? Is that messed up or what?

Tomorrow, bright and early, I get to call all around to try to secure two sprockets, a 32 tooth with a hub and a 45 tooth plate, both #25. We need them by noon on Tuesday, so we�ll probally be paying more in shipping than for the actual sprockets. It�ll be interesting. Then comes math and we find out if I get to continue playing counterstrike. Then I get to spend the rest of the day in the photo lab. Wahoo.

Dubiously Useful Information

I think I aced the calculus midterm. In celebration, I played Counterstrike. The ban will return, though, I suppose, if I don�t end up getting the grade I expected. Nevertheless, it was nice to get back into the game� My skills aren�t nearly as refined as they were when they left, but the instincts are still mostly good, and I�m hovering around 1:1 ratio-wise.

I visited the robotics �team� at the school today during testing. All of one student was there� Hopefully we get a better showing at the practice competition tomorrow. The arm still pops chain quite easily at half power, and its painfully slow, my fault. But the autonomous code is buggy as all-get out � Larry and Dave�s fault. There is plenty of blame to go around. J We�ll see how we are compared to other teams, and hopefully we�ll keep working on the robot for a few more days instead of packing it up tomorrow.

I saw Secondhand Lions � the idea was decent, but it was pretty overacted. The flashbacks were fun, but the touchy-feely parts of the movie were so forced it lost significance for me. Can�t suggest it too much, unless you�re into that kind of movie�

Adam: i drank red bull today
Adam: it didnt give me wings much less energey
Adam: have you ever had red bull?
Ryan: never
Adam: do you know what it is
Ryan: I have a friend who drinks them before he goes snowboarding
Ryan: he seems to think they helpo
Adam: lol
Adam: i drank a 24 ounce uh… something
Adam: it didnt do anything to me
Ryan: I’ll add your lack of energy experience to my repository of dubiously useful information

You know you’re too old when someone asks “do you know what it is” is reference to Red Bull…

Time for more CS or sleep, whichever comes first�

On International Voting, Politics, and Democratic Rights

In another attempt to delay studying for calculus, I was visiting Passive Digressive, the blog of a friend of a friend (of a friend?)’ Anyway, it’s often interesting, as was the case today. Today, Chris was promoting, a worldwide initiative designed to give “people all around the world a voice in the forthcoming U.S. Presidential Election.” While of course unofficial, the idea is interesting. I left the following comment at Passive Digressive, and will repeat it here for those, like me, who are be too lazy to click on over:

According to the website, right after I registered to vote:
People registered to vote:

Africa 137
Asia 181
Australia 109
Europe 4712
North America 493
South America 28

Europe seems to be much more politically active than any other region… but then, this initiative started in Europe, so I guess that is to be expected. For a worldwide sampling, Asia, Africa, and South America are terrible underrepresented, and as far as North America is concerned, the location of the only people that actually get a real vote, its odd that we are outnumbered by our friends in Europe 10 to 1.

Furthermore, it seems as if a given person can sign up however many times he or she wants as long as they have enough email addresses to go along with the sign-ups. And of course, people with shared email addresses or no email addresses are disenfranchised.

Nevertheless, regardless of the strange numbers, and the decidedly skewed results this will produce (as would most any attempt; the problem is much too large and complex), the results of Theworldvotes poll will be interesting to see…

So of course this gets me onto the topic of politics, which is not something I’ve discussed much on this here Blog, despite my very opinionated nature on the topic (just ask any of my friends who have ventured into the realm with me). And having an opinion on politics is as good as having an opinion on just about anything and everything else, because politics is really about everything. Sure, its about taxes and foreign policy and transportation (or the lack thereof) in a given metropolitan area; those things that are covered by the media as political topics that ‘the people’ care about. But its also about what you can do in your backyard, what you can learn in your school, how much money you can make, why you get paid the same as the guy next to you when you do the job three times better, why criminals get better in jail, and why rape victims suffer for the rest of their lives in private hells. Politics includes whatever you’re thinking about now, touches on the music you might be listening to, influences the tv show you’re not watching because you’re reading this; it even played a major role in forming my ability to think and write about this, and your ability to access and view it. Anyone who claims to be uninterested in politics either doesn’t know what politics really is, or is genuinely uninterested in life. For most people, I suspect the former reason.

I think that’s a good taste of what is to come if I am to really get onto the topic, which will be more and more likely to happen as the major elections of 2004 grow closer. But back to the reason I started talking about politics in the first place, that ‘’ website. From that site: ‘Who can vote? All citizens around the world who are committed to building a democratic international system of governance that is based on respect for universal human rights.’

Wow, what inspiring words! A democratic international system of governance! Respect for universal human rights!
What do those phrases mean?

Who determines if a particular right is universal or not? For example, there are some, perhaps many, who believe that universal healthcare is a right. I don’t agree (To remain more concise, I won’t go into specifics why here). There are others, perhaps the same people, who believe that people have a right to work. Again, I don’t agree. Who is right? Are these false ‘rights’ to be included in the ‘universal human rights’ that this ‘international system of governance’ is based on? If so, am I not allowed to vote because I am not committed to building such a system? Is then the system still democratic, having excluded me?

Food for thought until next time’ I have more, but I also have a calculus test.
Oh yeah, go sign up and vote, we need to represent the good ole USA.

Running Away

I am in terrible shape. I went for a run � or rather, tried to go for a run � and it ended up being a glorified jog down and a walk back up the hill. It didn�t help that I am still a little sick (75% recovered, but not yet whole), and I was coughing by the time I got to the bottom of the hill, but still, I have a long ways to go before I get back to the condition I was in September of 2001. I think it is worth the effort, though. All the better to play ultimate with, which I will be doing a lot of when I start at the UW (hopefully on both playing and starting).

I had a plan to study for Math when I got home today. I somehow ended up getting almost none of the plan accomplished. Instead, I very efficiently wasted time until I finally started watching Donnie Darko (which is not a waste of time) for the second time in 24 hours. If language and a very mysterious plot don�t turn you off, then take some time to watch it.

This got me to talking to a friend about my early exposure to movies:
Me: I used to not like movies much
Me: I didn’t see them very often; when I did, they were generally bad experiences
Friend: serious?
Me: I once saw two movies in the same day: Bevis and Butthead Do America and Mars Attacks
Me: B&B was the superior movie
Me: which is really kind of sick
Friend: I saw Mars Attacks, thought it was really dumb
Me: yup

Which brings me back to the original topic, I�m not so good at studying, because I�m not so good at staying on task, especially when I�m around a computer (and thus the wandering of topics and the hour it takes me to write this one page.

While on the jog/walk, I took a shortcut back through the woods. While not exactly scary, since I was in Bellevue�s Lakemont area, it did get me to thinking about some of the topics covered in John Eldredge�s book �Wild at Heart,� which I have been slowly reading (thanks to Heidi for the excellent gift!). That is, part of my heart does long for danger, to prove to myself that I can overcome difficulty. My experience in this arena is limited. Hikes and camping trips touch in the area, but they have always been so controlled, so planned. The road trip was a good step in the right direction, but it was too limited also. My calculus class doesn�t look like it�ll be the one since once again I�ve found a way to not care about studying when it really counts. A midnight hike around Salt Lake�s foothills with Clifton was a good experience, as was the climb to the top of a peak as a thunderstorm approached and my brother called me off during my Spring term down at BYU. It hasn�t been enough. Of course, I should finish the book too.

Sick, both me and the robot

I�m still really sick, so I�m trying to get as much sleep and vitamin C as possible so I can recover in time to study and pass my next math midterm on Friday.

Today I went to classes, picked up my parents at the airport (they were ~40 minutes late due to strong headwinds), then stopped by the school to see that Atlas, the robot, had broken its arm chain (#25, rated at more than 900 pounds!) and blown a couple of 20 amp compressor fuses, so basically only the drive train worked.

Sickness, Science, and Robotics

Using: Mozilla Lightningemu and Mozilla Superbug

I am sick and I feel terrible. I think I picked something up at the concert; I haven�t felt up to snuff sense. Also, I had trouble getting to sleep; I�m attributing this to a lithium dependence � although having no schedule also contributed. And the lack of sleep contributed to me getting sick. It�s all one vicious circle. It did get me to thinking about things, however � because of scientific advance, I who know very little of the biological sciences that can be known, know far more already than almost everyone just 50 years ago, and certainly more than everyone a hundred years ago. The same goes for most scientific topic � physics, chemistry, economics (although this country is woefully economically illiterate). I�m not sure it works with astronomy, where those proposing new theories seem to have gone off the deep end� seriously, how much more convincing is the big bang theory (�boom and it was all there�) than the creation theory (�boom x 7 days and it was all there�)�? Seriously, more than any other division of science � but not exclusive of the other sciences by any means � astronomy has become the religion of disproving the need for a creator. Where I am right now, I don�t claim to know either way � but at least I know that I don�t know. As the old saying goes, �It is better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.� Which is not to say that I don�t encourage scientific thought and theorizing. As I stated early, the scientific method has brought the quality of life forward leaps and bounds. It has done far more that can be seen by the average person than any other philosophy or religion. But that doesn�t mean that blind speculation that happens to match with some results is a legitimate theory either.

Arcanius steps off soapbox�

Today was another late start, but not nearly as bad as before. I fixed a program on my mom�s computer at her office (its great having the password of the IT guy there� oh wait, I am the IT guy there), and then I went to IS to watch the Robot drive around. We already broke the arm (its too powerful, I guess that�s my fault)� but the ball-picker upper and dumper thing worked pretty well once when we turned off one of the motors. We later removed that motor and assembly to save weight, and will test tomorrow whether the new system works. After testing, we returned to Larrys where new pillow blocks were constructed for better turning and Dave, Tim and I built a goal grabber. Larry then started working on fixing the arm. Saturday we get to test the thing out on as close to a real field as we will see before the real competition. That is the date we are shooting to be complete by. I still think we should use the next five days we have to tweak things, but people are getting pretty tired of the hectic schedule.

I�m off to sleep off this sickness and dream of lightweight mechanisms to lift a 130 pound robot five feet into the air.

Progress on oasis

Currently using Mozilla Powercat and Mozilla Waterjackalope.

Seen on oasis earlier today:

oasis plan # who
ryan pts/0 Feb 15 21:46 (
root pts/1 Feb 15 21:58 (
bob pts/2 Feb 16 00:09 (
ryan pts/3 Feb 16 00:53 (

Its symmetry is so beautiful I could almost cry.

Progress on oasis is going very well. Today, I finished up the install procedures, and then Bob and I got normal user accounts set up and starting making tweaks to our shell environments while we began emerging the programs that will make oasis the most capable and robot server yet. It is considerably slower than the testing I was doing on Kleinoscope, but that�s what you get when you use a processor with less than one quarter of the clock speed. Nevertheless, oasis has RAM and to spare � 640 mb to be exact � and should be an excellent server machine. I am even experimenting with file system backups � I may yet be a legitimate sys-admin.

That comprised most of today, along with some reading and whatnot. Tomorrow is robotics; we�ll be test driving the robot in the closest thing we�ve encountered to the real field to date.