Sunday, March 30, 2003
I used the H&R Block program again this year. The program is straight forward and quick. It cost $30 to file the return. At least it didn't take too long. I hope to someday make enough money to pay an accountant to do this for me.
Saturday, March 29, 2003
In theory, the invasion of Iraq is supposed to show that the UN will have the resolve to carry out its dictates.
Instead we have a UN in shambles while dictators are learning even worse brutality and worse convolutions of thought from the war.
An explosion rocks hits a civilian area in Baghdad. The Muslim world ignites.
The US is naive if we believe that we can fight a war with no friendly or civilian casualties. There is not a quick and convenient path to regime change with a surigical application of cruise missiles. The US also probably has miscalculated the extent to which brain washed religious fanatics will find ways to filter information that reinforces their world view.
The followers of Sun Tzu would laugh at the US for believing that there are rules to war. The art of war would cast aside the notion that there are rules. The whole point of a war is that it is a time without rules...this is why revolutionaries tend to call for total war...total war means the suspension of all logic, just simple brutality. It is the chaos that sickened minds such as Nietzsche adore.
Perhaps having the world see the polluted reasoning in actions like this, people might some day start readdressing epistemology and openly acknowledge that wealth comes from a general acceptance of sound principals of reason.
The Arab world has great cause to be angry at today's events. Killing is horrible. Yet it is not a US v. Arab world problem. It is a matter of the perverters of reason against civilization that is the real problem. Such people exist everywhere. Perhaps the greatest examples were the international forces that helped Saddam get into power in the first place.
Friday, March 28, 2003
The appearance of bad clusters generally means the drive is about to fail. When a bad cluster appears, you need to immediately back up the data, then run scandisk...I like to back up the drive before running scandisk because there is a chance that the entire drive will fail during scandisk. Imagine for a moment there was a speck of dust of the drive. A disk intensive action like a scandisk could expand the problem or cause a catastrophic failure.
These bad clusters appeared in an area on the disk that had never been used. It is possible that what I am seeing is a software error and not a eminent hardware failure. It is also possible that there was a virus in the email that I was deleting when the bad cluster first showed its ugly head.
Since my budget is tight, I am willing to live on the edge for a bit...I will run scandisk once a day for the next several weeks. If another bad cluster appears, then I know the drive will die shortly. However, I have had drives in the past that had bad clusters that went several years without problems. I will never be able to trust the computer with data, but it will work as a web browser. After all...the incredibly important info in my blog is stored at blogger...not at home.
Back to the WarI saw a report on the war about the Fedayeen Saddam. This is a paramilitary group that is really designed to dig in during the war, and to terrorize the Iraq people. They will fight by hiding in civilian clothes. The Fedayeen pulls off stunts like fake surrenders (killing a few Americans and making it harder for Iraqis to surrender) or they might simply shoot Iraqi troops that surrender.
News reports suggest that there are about 20,000 members of the Fedayeen Saddam. As a paramilitary group, the problems of the Fedayeen goes way beyond the logistics of the war, and haunts the logistics of the peace. A paramilitary groups of 20,000 thugs is likely to simply sink into the populace and become an insideous organized crime.
My first reaction to reports on the Fedayeen Saddam is that the only way to win long term peace for Iraq would be to kill as many members of the Fedayeen as possible. The US would have to become like Saddam to win against Saddam. But can the US really win freedom for the Iraqis by killing a large number of Iraqis?
Of course, the existence of the Fedayeen is new to me. The US would have had this information prior to engaging in war. Which means that they knew in advance that they would need to take an extremely heavy handed approach to this group before the war began.
I will stick with my clusters, and hope that living peacefully might someday help peace prevail.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
IMHO Rather than trying to save the file that was infected, it is much better to restore or lose the affected file than having the program try to save the file. BTW, scandisk is still running....my poor little laptop. I hope it gets well soon.
This, of course, reminded me of a conversation I had with a born again fundamentalism. I asken him about the rapture. He said, and I quote:
"The rapture is a glorious event in which all the righteous ascend into heaven...bringing a paradise to earth."
I thought long and hard about this piece of profound wisdom, and I think he might be right. If all the righteous ascended into heaven, the earth would be a much nicer place. I hope they take their guns, mines, dialectics, monopolies, missionaries and other tools of oppression with them.
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
My hard disk has bad clusters!!!
I've spent all day trying to do scandisks, virus checks and defrags. Scandisk takes hours, hours and hours. For some odd reason, the DOS version doesn't seem to have the option to auto fix without prompting. That means I have to stay near my poor diseased 'puter.
The problem started yesterday when I deleted a mail message that had an attachment. I wonder if there is an email virus that causes errors that just looks like a failing hard disk? Or if it is a coincident. NOTE: I did not open the email, I just deleted it.
Other broken things on my computer: The touch pad mouse, the Network Interface Card, the down arrow.
I guess I will need a new computer soon...Now, I need a way to get cash...hmmm, if you need to shop, check out my sponsors. Pretty Please, sniff, sniff, sniff. Hopefully, when I am through with all the scandisks and defrags the computer will work. If I get more bad clusters after that, then I know the computer is bound for a complete failure soon.
Monday, March 24, 2003
Is it Saddam or is it Memorex?
All of us arm chair soldiers get to play the game of guessing which reels are Saddam, which are recordings, and which are body doubles.
See, my belief is that sometime in the 80s, Saddam was drugged by one of his doubles, and that the doubles have been ruling the country ever since. When the US troops finally get into Baghdad, they will find a rail thin emaciated Saddam locked in a dungeon, and we will learn that the country has been ruled by evil imposter clones for the last several decades.
As for the coffee pot, I called the Cuisinart consumer line. They will be sending a new carafe in the mail. Wow, that is nice of them. Glass shards and coffee don't mix well.
Sunday, March 23, 2003
Dang. The coffee pot was a great deal...for those who are willing to live with a few shards of glass in their cup o joe.
The United Nations Association of Utah will have a dinner on 3/25 that will focus on the future of the United States and the E.U. That will be an interesting meeting as well.
Saturday, March 22, 2003
In order to justify the war, the US will need a legitimate international criminal court to try the war crimes of Iraqi officials. This article indicates that many of the paths the US could take are essentially closed off.
I wonder if the US will simply make sure all the leaders of the Iraqi regime are conveniently dead and the leave the justification of war up to anecdotal evidence.
The very act of shopping around for a court system shows the inherent weakness of the current international criminal process...such actions lead to a victor's court that simply white washes the acts of the powerful.
People gawk at shock and awe. Massive bombing of a city is now a fully legitimized tactic of modern war. My guess is the next Stalin wanna will adobt the shock and awe campaign style...but won't just target Versaille-like palaces filled with priceless art.
The other scary news: Looks like potato blight is back! Apparently, it never went away, but a new form of the disease is making it into the crops. Late blight also seems to have a taste for tomatos as well as taters. Add this to climate change. We might have tough time feeding our 6 billion world population.
Friday, March 21, 2003
The future looks bleak. For the next hundred years, people will point to the hasty decisions of Bush claiming might equals right. It is a very sad world for people who believe in thinking before action.
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
My post to the forum is, of course, about bikes. Man, if people would just ride bikes instead of cars...
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Why "Stabilizing" Oil Supplies is Shortsighted
Being an oilman from and oil family in an oil state and with big contributions from big oil, I have no doubt that Mr. Bush sees the world through amber colored lenses.
We all know that the oil embargoes of the 70s had an immediate effect of stifling the US economy. Even worse, the oil embargo hit during the all important years when the baby boomers were coming out of college and "finding themselves."
Since the embargo, the major goal of US foreign policy had simply been to stabilize the price of oil.
Saddam Hussein might be killing a few thousand Iraqis here and there...that didn't matter...so long as the price of oil was stable.
Every increase in the price of gas in the US causes a flood of complaints from consumers. Politicians are all but guaranteed to lose their seat in office if they fail to respond aggressively to any increase in oil. Stabilizing the price of oil is always the first and foremost concern of Congress.
However, demand for oil is insatiable. The US is consuming 20 million barrels of oil a day. Over half of that consumption is from imports!!! The problem with "stabilizing" oil is that consumption will grow expecting stable prices. People will buy SUVs and bigger houses with higher heating bills. The growth will continue until it hits the next level of instability.
It would be far better for people to understand that gas is inherently instable. As such, people and businesses would formulate strategies to cope with that instability. Smart people would find ways to be less dependent on oil.
Massive government effort and wars to stabilize the price of oil lead to complacency and worse problems down the road.
Monday, March 17, 2003
The French method of drawing out the confrontation with Iraq until it is a Vietnam style war is no better than the cowboy diplomacy of Bush. If Saddam knew he had three months for the show down, he could substantially increase the damage he causes.
This is something not something even a skillful diplomat like Chamberlain could avoid.
Blundering Bush, however, has let his enemies characterize the current events as shooting from the hip.
International laws need to be defined, then enforced.
The unfortunate truth, though, is that a heavily politicized ICC would be a thousand times worse then none. The problem with courts that simply respond to popular politics is that they will force out the good in the world, and replace it with the bad.
Saddam Hussein could twist Jacques Chirac into any contortionist pose he desired. An ICC with 11 Chiracs as judges would guarantee the rise and perpetual preservation of dictators in all third world nations.
The solution isn't for a joke of an ICC, but for a clearly defined international law interpretted and enforced by a court, a court that values the rule of law first and foremost.
Next time, America, do it with the ICC.
Sunday, March 16, 2003
Friday, March 14, 2003
I wrote up an article "Was The Elizabeth Smart Recovery a Miracle? that questions if the event was a bona fide miracle, or just something that felt miraculous. I originally thought of pasting the article here, but stuck in on Salt Lake Sites instead.
Thursday, March 13, 2003
If my parents had to come up with a photo for poster, this school shot would probably have been the only one they found. For some odd reason, people never took a lot of photos of me. They were probably trying to save money on film.
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Ever notice how many people are alienated?
Me, I do everything I can to fight feelings of alienation.
I was thinking, perhaps I should form a society of the non-alienated.
We, of course, would be shunned by the alienated majority, and cast out.
But who really cares?
The other thing I've noticed about blogs...there's an awefully large number of people who are smarter than me, and are writing about very technically complex fields. I really haven't decided the direction of this blog yet. My goal is a message a day, but naval contemplation grows old.
My great aunt Susie Kerin wrote poetry in the 1920s. She wasn't alienated. It sounds like her generation was quite optimistic about the future. I republished her works on the web: Poems of Sunny Colorado
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
I forgot what it was. oops.
I was rocked, I decided to check Google again. Salt Lake Sites was originally 67. After the "google dance" it fell to 81. It has now fallen to 290. I couldn't find any of my other sites through Google either. I guess I am now pretty much off their search engine for good.
If you were wondering, last month I spent two days making sure the titles of my pages matched the content of the page. Before, all the titles on my webs were simply the name of the site. I made the mistake of reading that I should have the title of each page match the content of the page.
As for the rest of the day, I submitted ten more resumes to the ether. The ether never seems to reply.
Monday, March 10, 2003
As for the blogspot, this overactive sense of ethics of mine is churning away wondering what I am really accomplishing with all these homepages, affiliate programs, blogs and the like. How is this preoccupation with my personal stream of thought adding anything to anyone?
I thought I might be able to make some worth while web pages that would help people, and I could pay for them with ads. Of course, the only people making cash on the net are those out actively hurting people, or those who have nothing but ads.
The proliferation of ads and spam just fill the world with clutter.
The web is breaking down the walls of the power brokers and dictators of the world, but in looking at all the clutter, I suspect that there could be an backlash. For example, the site Latter Day Lampoon provides exmormons a place to vent their frustrations with humor, but the LDS church itself now has a Satan to point to. Look what them 'postates are saying.
My personal hope is that the middle ground of reason will win, but it is far easier for the unreasonable to flood the world with absurd arguments, than for a true thinker to work hard and develop one well thought through idea.
Sunday, March 09, 2003
Could the ICC have prevented a war with Iraq?
We hear a lot in the press about President Bush and the UN Security Council. However, in an ideal world, there would rule of law governing international affairs, and a court would be involved in the international issues of human rights abuses, genocide and regime change. Perhaps, this is a job for an International Criminal Court (ICC).
There are good reasons for a regime change in Iraq. First and foremost is the the torture and misery that Saddam Hussein inflicts on his people. The suffering of his own people is followed by his funding of international terrorism and failure to adhere to UN resolutions and international treatises. The risk of not removing Saddam Hussein is equal if not greater than the risk of forcefully removing him.
The unilateral actions of Bush, however, have created a situation where it is easy to question the motivations of the American government. America's whining over its lost twin towers looks petty to those nations that have lost entire cities and millions of citizens to wars in the last century.
Bush is an oil man, from an oil family. Failure of the American government to even begin to acknowledge the problems that oil money has caused in the region only add fuel to anti-American sentiment and international envy.
If the issue of regime change had come before the ICC, it would be easier to hold the high moral ground before preceding with such a war. This leads to the question of whether or not the ICC would stick with the letter of international law, or fall into petty politics that we see in the security council.
Would the ICC be a proactive agency that aggressively sought the removal of dictators that harm their own citizens, or would it be yet another layer in the dysfunctional bureaucracies of the UN?
One of the biggest problems that occurred in both Yugoslavia and Iraq is that the dictator can make better use of delays than the UN. The US armed presence in Iraq is extremely costly. The US cannot keep up the military presence forever. Meanwhile, it is clear that Saddam Hussein is building up his war machine faster than the inspectors can take it down.
Even a half baked fool can win time by getting branches of dysfunctional bureaucracies to fight one another. The inevitable result of delays is that Saddam will get stronger, and the forces against him weaker. The year plus delay that the French hope to create in military action is likely to do little more than increase the number of casualties of an inevitable war.
UN watchers need to look at this conflict and ask if the ICC would expedite the issue, or if would it simply be another obstacle to delay action? What would be the result of a conflict of view between the ICC and security council?
I tend to optimism. I think a strong ICC could help establish a precedence for regime change. Military actions taken in accordance with a ruling by a court would appear less like an oil grab and more like legitimate concern for the people.
At this stage of the game, it is too late for the ICC to play a proactive role. However, we can hope that after the current crisis is resolved that the US will re-enter negotiations in the formation of the ICC. AMICC.org is an US organization urging the US to re-enter the ICC negotiations.
The blogging gods are probably ticked 'cause I ate their bandwidth changing styles.
But this style is cleaner.
I just wasted time in a movie marathon. I watched "Repo Man" (which wasn't quite as cool a film as I remembered). All the white cans labeled "beer" "food" "drinks" are the best parts of the movie. Odd, but if there was a little bit better language, I would have loved it.
I also watched Ben Hurr which was longer than I remembered.
Saturday, March 08, 2003
I admit, I have it in for Plato and his notion of an endowed aristocracy. Plato saw the philsopher king coming from the military class. In American capitalism, the philosopher king is the CEO. Personally, I think the ideal society doesn't have a philosher king, but allows people to pursue their own values....kind of like the American free market before wall street, robber barrons, Rockafellers and monopolies. The problem is that with even a few monopolies, your economy is forced into this strange monopoly mode that creates a big gap between rich and poor.
The short story was meant to contrast education for the sake of knowledge and education for the sake of power. Rather than saying education for knowledge sake, I should say education for wealth...as knowledge is a form of wealth.
When you enjoy the subject, the knowledge itself it the reward. However our education system seems to be formed around knowledge for power. Universities try to put themselves forward as gate keepers, rather than concentrating on the ideals of spreading knowledge.
The student in the story is learning for the sake of learning and feeling the excitement of mathematics. The philosopher king who is in an endowed position of prince holds a contempt for the subject. I am not sure if my short story capture much of the conflict. I might have to play with a few different versions.
Friday, March 07, 2003
I am doing a little bit better in All The Web. Since all the big players are optimizing for Google, All The Web will probably start being the search engine with the best results. I guess I can chalk up search engine placement as another thing I am crappy at.
Thursday, March 06, 2003
While the president is getting a great deal of criticism in all the blogs by arm chair presidents, the thing most of us miss is the fact that the present crisis has been in the making for decades. Conflict with Iraq has only been on the forefront of bloggers' minds for a few weeks. The problems of a rogue nation that is aggressively building weapons and torturing its people has been building for decades. Regardless of the White House's time frame, we the blogging public wouldn't think much about the conflict until days and weeks before the end of the ultimatum.
On the downside, I cannot help but feel that the ex oil man Bush is blinding by black gold and the love of cheap fuel. Things are not good in this great big world of ours. I simply hope that freedom survives the threats of the Islamic fundamentalism and the homeland security forces raised to fight terrorism.
As you see, last month, I did searches on the most important keywords for my site. Very few of them came in before page 7 in the Google listing. For example, my listing of Salt Lake Restaurants was on page 9! for "Salt Lake Restaurants."
A few searches on search engine optimization found that tens of thousands of other people in the same plight...They are all wondering if they will get a good ranking. The funny thing is that, the very first month that I specifically made changes so Google would like my sites better, the Google Dance is late! I have wasted hours checking to see if the changes I made had any impact, or if I am still relegated to page 9. The search box below should list the first 100 items for "Salt Lake." Where is slsites.com?
On the home front, my niece Tessa uploaded her pictures of Italy to Yahoo.
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
The problem is, of course, that I am just not doing anything. I have tons of things in the to do list, but no gumption to finish them.
I guess I have to say something each day. Recent Readings: Being trapped at the tail end of the Baby Boom*, I enjoyed reading the book Baby Boon by Elinor Burkett. It is a tale about how the Baby Boom generation sold out its ideals of youth, the women's revolution, etc., for tax breaks and new family perks. It was a fun read. Sure enough, I usually am the only person working on X-Mas and July 4th (when I am fortunate to have a job). I have no doubt that one of the reasons I was on the layoff list was that I was single.
Of course, the book I am currently reading is even better. The End of Certainty by Ilya Prigogine is about time, irreversibility, thermodynamics and other hot topics in modern physics.
I am only on page 100. So far, it has been a great read. My only disappointment is that the author incorrectly portrays past scientists as too caught up in determinism. His argument for this is that Newtonian physics used linear equations that were by nature reversible. The truth of the matter is that the scientific method had always held experimentation and verification in higher esteem than the logical models of the scientists. Prigogine tries to portray previous generation of scientists as old codgers who were absolutely certain of their pronouncements, when in reality, they were probably more open minded and less certain in their findings.
NOTE:I was born in 1962, I am part of what Coupland originally called Generation X. Generation X originally referred to the tail end of the baby boom. It was too cool of a name for that group of losers, so the younger crowd hijacked the name and it now refers to people born between 1965 and 1980. I think some others use GenX for people born between 1970 and 1990. ¿Quien sabe?
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
It is quite ironic. When I was a kid in the 70s, the Democratic Party was the party in favor of massive government controls and uncontrolled spending. Today, I am seeing more and more Democrats arguing for fiscal restraint and personal liberty. While the Republicans are falling more and more in line with the views of the Dixiecrats and Mormons...ie, massive uncontrolled federal deficits and extreme restraints on personal freedoms.
Monday, March 03, 2003
Silly little things, like the Archive link is so tiny and right next to the home page link that I doubt anyone would ever know it is there. Hmmm, it might be best to do a blog on my own site.
BTW, the DSL is working better today. I figured that fixing the problems would be a simple matter of waiting until Monday.
Sunday, March 02, 2003
Odd news on the DSL front. I cannot access Blogger via DSL. I had to log in via a modem to blog!!!! There is something screwy at qwest.
Saturday, March 01, 2003
I tallied up the take from theold web sites. February's total was $250. Not enough to pay rent in even the smallest studio aparment in Salt Lake. The actual amount of checks received was $66.00...that isn't enough to pay for the web hosting. I hate this dilemma, a web site either has to bend every single thing they do to selling, or go bust. For example Protophoto dished out over 3GB in traffic in 15,000 session. It netted less than $10.00 in revenue.
It is sad, I finally get DSL at a time when I really an just sick of computers.