Today's xkcd is super neat, and really captures the experience of going home for the holidays. (if you don't read xkcd, you should, its only the greatest webcomic in the 'verse (and no, it has nothing to do with Firefly (but if the author saw it, I expect he'd be a fan (I just love nested parentheses :-) )))) Just last night, I was at a friend's family's Christmas party, helping him get some stuff running on his new Kubuntu installation - we were in the middle of trying to get DVD playback running when I heard his parents cleaning up upstairs (it was about 11 at this point) and figured I'd better leave - you forget at university, when having friends over that late or later isn't terribly abnormal, that your parents' generation tends to leave at 9 or 10. Anyway, Merry Christmas all, and a Happy New Year.
Its a somewhat little known fact that Bill Gates full name is William Henry Gates III. I was curious as to exactly which of his ancestors were William Gates Sr. and Jr. A short trip to Wikipedia later, and now I know. His father, William Gates Sr., was born William Gates III. When he joined the Army to fight in WW II, he changed his name to William Gates Jr., to avoid elitism. Later, when his son became really famous, he again changed his name, to William Gates Sr. (neat, eh? - he was all three). More sanely, his father and grandfather were born William Gates Jr. and Sr., respectively. Since the third William Gates had dropped his 'III', Bill Gates (of Microsoft) got the 'III' suffix instead of 'IV', and is nicknamed "Trey" (for "three") within his family. But still, Bill Gates is (unofficially) a "IV", as am I, BruceIV. Confusing, but cool.
Thieves carried off 22 pigs in compact car - CBC News
RCMP have arrested a pair suspected of stealing 22 pigs from a barn near Sussex, N.B., in a getaway that police say was likely a very tight squeeze.
Thieves took the pigs earlier this month after smashing the locks on a barn in Knightville, rented by Moffett's Farms.
The two from Petitcodiac, aged 19 and 20, are suspected to have used one small car to haul the 22 pigs, weighing 23-27 kilograms each, from the farm to the house in Havelock where police tracked them.
RCMP picked up the trail after one of the men forgot his ID at the scene of a break-in.
Const. Jim Gass said the stench from the pigs was immediately apparent to investigators, who found a small car, filled with pig droppings, as well as sacks used to transport the pigs.
"This little car they transported them in once had like 22 pigs," Gass said. "Man, it wasn't a lot of room in the car. She would have been a noisy affair, I would imagine, and quite a wild ride. Something you see in the movies, I would guess."
Police couldn't recover all of the pigs, worth about $75 each. The suspects allegedly ate one the night of the theft, Gass said. Most of the others, police said, were sold to unknowing customers.
RCMP won't release names of the suspects because the men have yet to be charged.
Both suspects are to appear in court Sept. 24 on unrelated charges.
New figures say New Brunswick is in the middle of an unprecedented job boom.
A Statistics Canada report released Friday shows the province led the country in job creation in the first half of 2007, and its current unemployment rate is the lowest ever recorded there.
Good news. Encouraging. Like to hear more of it.
As one guy pointed out on the Ideastorm site, Dell isn't offering any Linux systems with AMD processors. As a lot of Linux people are AMD people as well (a root for the underdog type of thing), it would seem a logical move. Personally, right now, Intel has the better chips - however, AMD makes some very capable ones, and has a bit of an edge in prices. I'd like to see Dell selling some AMD Linux systems as well.
“The challenge is to find a safer, more efficient and economical way to store hydrogen so that it can be released on demand,” explained chemist Sean McGrady, the lead researcher on the project. “The way to do this is to turn hydrogen into a compound — a solid — so you can use it when you want, safely, in the amount you want.”
Hydrogen gas is typically stored under pressure in large metal cylinders, approximately four feet high. These cylinders are heavy and expensive to transport. Since they are under pressure, they also pose a safety hazard.
“We’ve reached a milestone with our ability to condense hydrogen into a usable solid,” said Dr. McGrady. “The next step is to produce a safe, compact storage system for the compound that is both lightweight and affordable.”
The full release is worth reading, but the gist of it is here.
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Now that's some fine legalese - I've had it in mind for a while now to start a student club focused on board games like Risk and Axis & Allies at school - I only hope I could do as well on the club charter as that - I can't decide whether or not to include a clause forbidding those with actual legal training from working on the charter or not.
* By somewhat bitter, I mean extremely bitter
** Transportation/shipping to be arranged by the winner
"If you look at the market, prices have dropped about 50 percent," said Niebel. "You could get an 8GB [memory chip] for $10 in December. Now you're getting it for $5.I personally think that they left a zero off each of the dollar amounts - that would put the wholesale memory prices at a more reasonable level, considering the prices of flash-based products. If that's not a typo ... wow are we all getting ripped off.
Editor's Note: Looking at the labels for this post ... that's a controversial mix ...
--Editor's Note: Oops - forgot the link for the original story While I'm editing - I told you so - Microsoft is retracting its statement, coverage here.
Two: While doing some web browsing, I set one finger on the scrolling area of my laptop touchpad, and put the other in the normal mouse movement place in the center. Funny thing is, if I held my finger in the scrolling area steady, moving the finger in the center would scroll the page - its either a bug or a weird feature, but its kind of cool either way.
As stunning an achievement as ASIMO is, the robot still has a long way to go. It has no free will. Yes, it can make millions of computations on its own to know how to navigate a flight of stairs, but all the words it spoke and dances it did at the conference were canned interactions and responses. Still, if ASIMO can run, it may, someday, be capable of decision-making, too.
OK ... so Lance Ulanoff wants his robots to have free will ... uh huh ... no thanks. Remember I, Robot, where the robots took over the world (or tried)? If robots had free will, they would replace us. Seriously - that's human territory, and I really would prefer to remain unique in that respect. Make a robot that can understand English, perhaps, and I can talk to, and get a good answer back, but not one with free will please.
Day after I got home I wanted to check out my little brother's basketball game, which was in town, a good 12 kilometres or so away from my parents' house. I had no obvious means of transportation, so I decided to walk in - that was fun, only took me 2 1/2 hours :-)
I have decided Serenity is the greatest science fiction movie ever - I bought it for my brothers for Christmas, and now must track down the DVDs for Firefly, the series which it was based on.
In other news, CBC is premiering a new series, Little Mosque on the Prairie, this Tuesday People are comparing it to Corner Gas with Muslims, so it looks quite interesting - the creator (who is Muslim) has taken some flak over it already, but I think its an awfully small person that can't laugh at themself.
To cope with the loss of daily Foxtrot (sniff) I picked myself up a one-a-day Foxtrot calendar for the new year, so at least I'll have some geeky comic goodness in 2007.
Oh yeah, and the weather is crazy - its the 7th of January, and we haven't had snow all vacation, and there's still green grass ?!? If anyone needed evidence of global warming ...
Anyway, later ... Happy New Year