Alana and her strong bridge design:
Laurence Simon at This Blog Is Full of Crap proposes a new feature called “Ask The Cats” and today's question is:
What do you think about illegal immigrants, professional protestors and their celebrity defenders screwing up The Star Spangled Banner?
Snowball: Shh! I'm writing my own version. Everyone should be able to capitalize on this stuff.
Church: Could someone please turn off Snowball's piano?
Late evening shot of the fountains at the Pacific Science Center. The sculpture on the right I named “Helix”:
The floor is done, trim is going in, and the dining room looks great:
Church, Snowball, and feline hygiene:
Eddie, Pam, Misty, and I started putting in the floor in the dining room yesterday, expecting to finish today:
Today's installment is Rex, of the Pacific Science Center, demonstrating the scientific method as applied to learn more about those mysterious peeps:
Finally I see it in my online transcript:
Awarded: Master of Science
Major: Management in Sci & Technology
Degree Date: Apr 20, 2006
Onward to the PMP!
This past weekend Alana, Misty, and I went to a camp-in at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. I took a bunch of pictures and I'll post a few in the next few days.
Today's installment is a butterfly:
One of these landed on Alana's head and scared her, but they seem pretty tame to me.
According to Ars Technica, the State of Michigan is now requiring high schoolers to have online experience as part of their coursework:
Schools and teachers have two general options to meet this requirements: develop entire online courses, or add online components to all of the state's required high school coursework. With the bill signed into law just last week, Michigan becomes the first state to require “online” course work in this way.
I remember working with Widener University on their basic skills requirements for college students, but this is a pretty interesting requirement for high schoolers. I wonder if this is part of making students more employable after high school?
I think distance learning will pretty much be a given for adult education, but I think that distance learning providers will have to learn to make their offerings better rather than requiring students to learn to use the flawed systems of today. Still, if students come out of high school exposed to an online discussion where spelling counts the world can only benefit.
Jakob Neilsen has posted research results on the reading patterns of web users confirming something I suspected from my own use of the web, and justifies much of the design I've made for this blog and my web pages.
People who browse the web (and, in my experience, those who browse emails) quickly scan the first two paragraphs horizontally, followed by a quick vertical scan of the left. This must be why I was bothered by having the strip on the side of my content on the left. I lke it much better on the right. On the left it was distracting. For web applications it makes sense to have the toolbar on the left, but most of the time I'd like the margin to be clean.
Also, when I reply to an email I prefer to have a single paragraph of what came before with my response, preferably in a single paragraph, below it. Some people think I'm terse and gruff, but I like to think my email style is quick and to the point. I also don't go for elaborate signatures and I like to trim away as much as possible of previous emails in the thread, reducing my missive to the relevant context.
Last year I pointed this out but it bears repeating:
So, today is the anniversary of the start of the American Revolution (Battle of Lexington and Concord), the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 (started today and fought on for four weeks), the fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993 (in order to save the children they burned them alive while shooting into the compound) and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 (supposedly as revenge for Waco, but the BATF office was empty and the Murrah Federal Building's daycare center was not).
If there's a “repeating day of death” today is a front-runner.
From the infamous South Park episode that Comedy Central censored:
Freedom of speech is at stake here, don’t you all see? If anything, we should all make cartoons of Mohammed and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want. Look people, it’s been really easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades, we haven’t had to risk anything to defend it, but those times will come. And one of those times is right now. And if we aren’t willing to risk what we have, then we just believe in free speech, but we don’t defend it.
(Hat Tip to Patterico's Pontifications.)
I realize I've been remiss in posting pictures for the past two weeks, so I'll make up for it today.
First we have Snowball claiming one of my shelves in my office:
Then we have Church and Snowball immediately figuring out where the hearth was on my fireplace tile template I was laying out on the floor:
Finally, we have them together in my office window after catching them watching birds:
The Right Brothers tell us that “Bush Was Right”:
It's hard to disagree with the items they list, although they don't include immigration and holding back government spending…
The infamous DEA agent who shot himself in the foot moments after claiming to be the only one in the room professional enough to carry the gun is suing the DEA because of the Internet distribution of the video. Apparently his cover has been blown and he is no longer desired as a motivational or educational speaker.
The Smoking Gun, and the complaint, say he accidentally discharged his Glock. From what I saw in the video, I'd call it negligence, if not reckless endangerment. I harped about this in my first posting in reaction to the incident.
This guy was a college and NFL football player as well as spokesman for the Ambassador of Nassau, Bahamas on the issue of drug enforcement. He claims to have been one of the best undercover DEA agents we had. It's amazing how a career can collapse from a careless moment with a gun. In an age where cameras are in everyone's phones, it's silly to think any careless moment won't be captured and published to the Internet moments later.
Previously on Josh's Weblog:
DEA Agent Redux
DEA Annoyed By Internet Exposure of Agent That Shot Himself
The Three Rules of Safe Firearms Handling
Let's see if I get this straight. A bill that says I have no duty to retreat from a lethal threat in my own house where my wife and children live is a License to Murder? This particular principle is known as the “Castle Doctrine” and goes back a long way in common law.
Recently the NRA stirred up a bee's nest by encouraging the various states to make this principle explicit in the law, and it seems to have attracted the attention of the anti-gunners. These folks are agitated about the fact that the law is explicitly giving a positive defense (similar to self-defense) to those that are threatened with lethal force in their homes.
It doesn't matter that prosecutors across the country have been holding back from going after homeowners that defend themselves, or that grand juries tend to return “no true bill” most of the time when asked. Enshrouding the principle in law is tantamount to conspiracy to murder in their minds.
I would have thought the NRA's play to make this law explicit was a bad idea, but the negative spin on the side opposing the Castle Doctrine has got to be hurting those folks in the mind of regular American people.
We need a constitutional amendment that bans income taxes, both for the Federal Government and for the several states. The only recourse will be property and sales taxes, paid whether you are a citizen or not. At that point the primary complaint about illegal immigration (they get services and don't pay taxes) will be reduced. Everyone that buys products, services, or land pays sales taxes, property taxes, and usage fees.
To me, the only real reason to have goons on the border is to keep out known terrorists. If others are coming to mooch on our social services, then eliminate or reduce the social services. I don't care if they vote as long as my fundamental civil rights are not violated. If taxes go up, I'll just spend less (like everyone else) and the economy will tank. Even socialists understand that a tanked economy doesn't pay for their agenda.
Wasn't the whole point of free speech to allow public political discourse? Seems like we've gone way downhill if people are getting in trouble for waving the American flag, even if it is at school.
More and more I'm thinking public schools are government-mandated youth indoctrination camps, not institutions of learning. I don't want my kids to be robot tools, I happen to think it's our collective duty to help them become free thinkers.
Sure, kids can do stupid things in hopes of annoying one another (anyone else remember the hormonal apocolypse of puberty?) and they need a bit of guidance, but recent zero tolerance efforts, and apparent characterizations of flag-waving as incitement to riot are totally out of hand.
I've been using Google Mail (gmail) for about a month when an offer came to beta-test moving all the mail-handling for my domain to the system. I get to keep the same email address I've been using for nearly two decades and I get to manage the accounts for my household. Sounds great, right?
Well, as you can imagine, having the same email address for that long means I'm on an awful lot of spam lists. For the most part, Google Mail handles spam pretty well. I was using a combination Amavis and SpamAssassin before, but they don't benefit as much from me training them as Google's userbase training its spam filters.
However, in one particular case it falls hard on its face: spam that has been marked as spam by the Yahoo! mailing lists. Yahoo! mailing lst owners have Yahoo! email aliases, and so they benefit from Yahoo!'s spam-filtering. What Yahoo! does is add “[spam] ” to the beginning of the subject line, allowing most mail clients to filter them accordingly. I am an owner or moderator of many mailing lists at Yahoo! and I get a lot of spam through this channel. I appreciate that Yahoo! performs the service of pre-filtering this email and marking it for me.
Aggravatingly, Google does not recognize mail with “[spam]” in its subject as spam and deal with it accordingly. For over a month I've been training their filter and it hasn't picked up on this pattern. I get 20-50 of these annoying messages a day. Not only that, because spam that gets this kind of treatment is relatively infrequent on Google, individuals training the filter are not likely to have much of an effect. (Google spam training benefits most from mass mailings that are all alike and the votes of thousands of mail readers.)
So I tried to create a filter to find these, but Google's search ignores my brackets! A quick reading of Google's basic and advanced search information doesn't lend us any help either. I tried my normal regular expression stuff I would expect to work and it doesn't work either!
I hope spammers don't figure this out. They could send targeted emails with “[spam]” in the header and escape the filter! I will look into a way to tell the google team that like “ADV:” subject lines, anything with “[spam]” should be autofiltered into the spam folder.