Monday, July 26, 2004

I caught the end of le tour france on cable. I have to admit that cycling is truly a beautiful event. Watching the waving motions of the peloton is truly hypnotic.

I've always seen cycling as a lone wolf sort of sport. It is a challenge against one's self. I enjoy being way out on an empty country road cycling by myself grooving with nature. I never really understood why there were teams, or why people bothered competing.

Quite frankly, in recent years, I've been extremely turned off by the Utah Mountain Cylcling scene ( which is into this extreme "tear up the desert" free falls down the face of cliffs. Yes, mountain bikes can do as much damage to the wilderness as a jeep...or a stick of dynamite. I tend to limit my mountain biking to roads. Trail ride does too much damage to a trail. The mountain bike is the best way to experience canyonlands or the swell...but there's enough roads already in existence. I don't need to carve a new one with my fat tires.

Anyway, seeing, a well formed peleton is rejuvenating. I can now understand why cyclists go through all the hassles of the professional racing circuits to build up the skills ncessary to ride in such a formation. The race itself forms a work of art. If I were to try and ride in such a formation, I would twist the wrong way and knock everybody down. They other cyclists would get reall upset.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The left believes that we should centralize power through ever larger government bureaucracies and controls. The right believes in centralization of power through market manipulations and corporate consolidation.

Hmmm, I wonder where the people who believe centralization of power itself is the problem are to go?

Friday, July 23, 2004

The two new get rich schemes include a BYU Cougars Gear page and a Back to School Page

Last year, the attempt at a back to school page netted zero. Quite frankly, I think people have too much garbage. I stuck a silent plea for people to ride their bikes to school (as opposed to driving). As fo the BYU page, being a U fan, I think it would be an absolute hoot if it made any sales...if I succeed, I will need to treat myself to a beer.

I agree it is stupid the way that everyone spends so much of their day running around trying to make cash. I wonder if the message "think more spend less" could perpetuate itself when attached to an ad.

I've only seen bits and pieces of the hype surrounding the 9/11 Commission report. Everything I've seen has got my bogus meters flashing full.

The main gist of the 9/11 commissiont is that there was just too much of that freedom thing going down in the United States and now we a more powerful centralized police to protect the nation's interests. Yep, their conclusion seems to be to do unto the US what Al Quaida wished to do unto the US...curtail freedom.

The report claims that 9/11 was a failure of the imagination. Then they go on to report that the security experts are now imagining things much worse than 9/11 . The implication is that we are much greater danger because security experts are imagining more.

If anything, there is an reverse relation to what the security experts imagine and our overall safety. The fact that people are much more attentive has increased security.

Now, the fact that we are actively engaged in a war means that security risks are greater. What the experts are, or are not imagining does not dictate the extent to which the US enemies wish to do us harm. The experts' imaginations affect their attentiveness. It does not affect the sentiment of Al Quaida.

The big failure of the pre 9/11 world was not the lack of centralization of security forces, nor even the imaginations of security experts. It is the fact that the US and the western world had turned a blind eye to the oppressive regimes, overpopulation and disaffection of the Islamic world.

If the puppet governments in Iraq and Afghanistan simply turn into the corrupt nepotistic regimes that the US has installed in the past, then we have two new breeding grounds for anti American terrorists...just as the corrupt Saudi Arabia was the breeding ground for the 9/11 terrorists.

If we end up with states like those put in place by George Bush the first, then America is in deep trouble...between now and the next war, the technology gap is likely to lessen.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Here's one for the shrinks. Anyway, I dreamed that Coco, a medium sized black dog, had a zipper. For some odd reason, I had put my shoes in the pouch behind the zipper.
So, I was was walking along. Suddenly, I was in a fierce winter storm. I decided that I wanted my shoes, but Coco would not let me unzip her zipper. She kept curling up and chewing on her leg everytime I tired to open her.
Deep down, I think this dream is my subconcious telling me that dogs really do not make very good luggage even though they are just about the right size for carry on.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Well, my webhost was out for most the day and all my sites were down. Fortunately, I am finally back up. There error messages were all saying that the disk on the host was full, and all database connections were consumed.
So I am left wondering it it was a problem with my code gone wild, if it was a simple hardware failure, or if another site on the web host having problems. My logs did not show unusual activity. There were several malformed bots on my sites today. Days like this make me wish I had access to the server.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Looks like Blogger now has a program to add comments to entries.
It's typical, about a month ago,  I finally sat down and wrote a program to track blogger comments. Oh well, I would rather use the blogger program.
Anyway, I just changed my profile, and erased the links to the small number of comments that were left on my site. I apologize to the two people who took time to respond to posts in the past.
I just made my first electronic quarterly tax payment with the IRS EFTPS tax payment system; So, I saved a stamp, saved Cliff Clavin the effort of sorting and delivering mail, and saved the effort involved in having an office federal letter-opener-person open an envelope.
Having done all that, I now need to make my complaint about how stupid it is that we pay taxes on estimated amounts. I haven't a clue about how much money I will make this year.  If people visit my get rich quick scheme, I might get rich quick. In all likelihood sanity will prevail and I will keep having to work temp jobs for food.
Personally, I think the best way to handle taxes would be to define a special tax account at a bank. Taxes would be assessed as money is withdrawn from the account. If the taxes were taxen out automatically as we did our day to day business, people could better manage their tax liabilities...rather than playing this silly estimating and tax return games that the IRS requires.

Monday, July 12, 2004

This is cool, the service will show you the number of times a domain is listed in DMOZ. The format of the URL is For example ( shows that my little math site is in the directory. Oddly, this info is hard to find in DMOZ itself. Searching on a domain name does not always return a result. I suspect however that this is only accurate relevant after a directory crawl.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

On 7/7 I added to the community directories sites for Glenwood Springs, Colorado and Colorado Springs. Glenwood Springs scored high on my list of place I would evacuate to if I left Salt Lake. Of course, I continue the process of spreading myself too thin. I added Colorado Springs because about every third link I find when looking for web sites in Colorado seem to come from Colorado Springs. Being a cad, I spent the last two days dropping in the ad layers for the sites. I will have to start adding content.

Monday, July 05, 2004

The project du jour was to write code for recycling the site of the day reviews. I've been thinking that perhaps the community sites had a little too much external I now link to the reviews from within the directory.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Foundational Theories and Science

Cracking open Edward O. Wilson's Consilience, I find myself thinking about unity of science. Oddly, I am now finding myself of the opinion that unification of science is really not the desirable of a goal that I once held as an ideal. Today, I think diversity of thought processeses is far more important than the establishment of a single school that has an answer to all problems.

Now, I admit, my current opinions are different from those a few years back. For many years, I lamented the hundreds of different sciences with fundamentally different belief systems and foundational theories. The world of science was clearly separating people into difference camps with different sets of jargon...completely incapable of communicating with each other.

Clearly, there is only one reality. The world I wonder around in is the same world as doctors, lawyers and physicists. Each person has a different point of view, but neither the structure of the universe, nor the real human history that built the status quo is different between us. There are fundamental differences between what I see and what others see...but there is not a difference between our shared reality. Our view points are different and we have different models for processing that data. Smart people realize this and know that listening attentively to others can expand their view point.

Time after time, I see a people, or groups of people take to one model...assume, somehow, that their model offered more than it did, then lose the ability to communicate with different people accepting different models.

The wise revel in the fact that different people see things differently and take advantage of diversity to expand their point of view. The Socrates we learned in school always one upped the person he questioned. A real Socrates would actually learn from questions...and not simply devastate his opponent.

Back to the question of foundational theories.

There is one reality. So there is a vain hope that there will be one foundational theory that can explain everything (like Set Theory ... which I dislike).

However, the very idea of a foundational theory is opposed to the true structure of human language and physical reality. Foundational theories, by their very nature, establish a single point of view for reality.

The fracturing that occurred in science is not because we lacked a unified theory of everything, but the sad historical fact that we have had so many people trying to build such foundational theories. The contention we see between sciences is the result of the friction between foundational theories.

The intellectual community is dominated by adherents clinging to foundational models without acknowledgement that there are many different perspectives, and that there are many different valid models that we can use to help navigate through our lives.

In otherwords, the unification of knowledge really should be built on the acceptance of diverse view points...and not on the illusion that a Noam Chomsky, General Authority or other guru will create the school with with universals that unite all knowledge.

Perhaps the true unification of knowledge is simply an acceptance that complex systems tend to find ways to organized themselves...and all of the different, wonderful but disjoint, observations that people have is really just part of this overall process of the accumulation and distribution of knowledge. Acceptance of diversity is itself the unifying principle.
I spent several hours on Saturday reworking the navigational structure of ad pages on the various community sites. Several of these pages had over a hundred links. I also reworked the prev and next buttons so that point directly to the previous and next page, rather than using a redirect.

The main reason for doing this was that Google's warns people not to have more than 100 links off a given page. Also, I noticed several search engines were indexing the redirect code...rather than the real page.

It is strange, but search engines tend to do a better job indexing navigational structures than pure content (not that any of the pages in the ad section really have content). In some ways, that really is not bad. The point of a navigational structure in a web site is to get people to the content they desire. Getting a person into a good navigational structure is a good 50% of the battle.

It will be interesting to see how these navigational changes affect traffic through the community sites.

BTW, the sad truth is that I have no way to make money off the local traffic in a community. So I have a careful balance that I must strike between directing people to national web services so I can pay of the site and local resources.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that the victor's court that tries Saddam Hussein will stand as a beacon of rule by law nor is it likely to spearhead the establishment of a democracy in Iraq.

The problem with all expost facto laws is that they leave a legitimate claim that the case is an example of might makes right.

The best court for handling cases of attrocities committed by a government against its people is the ICC. By nature, the ICC is always politicized. I mean, the only way to try a king involves first overthrowing the government. Overthrowing governments takes a concerted effort. Those governments that do get deposed will still claim that they are victims of a victor's court...however a healthy ICC could at least establish the precedence of law in the trial itself.

Unfortunately, the ICC destroyed itself. Avocates of a world government had hoped that the seed of an ICC could grow into a court that stood above all courts. As such the ICC was playing games like changing the wording between the documents approved in the Rome Accord and the documents sent to ratification. A world court that answers to no authority will gradually expand its rulings into every aspect of life. An ICC limited to trying rulers of state would be welcome. One that stood over the Supreme Court in any matter with international effects is not.

Clinton was correct in not signing the accord, unfortunately Bush blew a historical opportunity to get the ICC back on the correct track. Instead, Bush played with absurdities like complete immunity from any law of any land in Guantanimo Bay and the various post 9/11 wars.

Reading several of the different web sites about the ICC, it appears that the US military is one of the biggest opponents of the ICC. With a belief that they are incapable of doing wrong, the military is freightened about the prospect of other agencies trying US soldiers. Quite frankly, I think they would be happy to have someone else try soldiers that go overboard and violate human rights.

Even if crimes by military personnel is a tiny fraction of crime that occurs on US streets, there will be a significant number of crimes needing to be tried after military actions that involves hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

We can only hope that someday we will have a US administration that truly pushes solutions to problems of rogue governments. As it stands now, we live in a world where it is okay for Sudan to slaughter citizens by the score. The only countries that might ever see retribution are those that threaten US economic interests.