Panic Attack

While flying back home from Boston, I was reading a book that described a panic attack and I came to the realization that the last scene of the Sopranos was all about making the audience experience a panic attack. There was a scene that would have been normal for any family in the United States, but many seemingly small details of the scene caused anxiety for the viewer. It all started with Tony coming into the room and checking everyone out. The camera flits back and forth like you had darting eyes. He sits facing the door, looking up quickly as people come in. Another person walks in and Tony darts his hand into his pants, only to pull out change for the jukebox.

After Carmela comes in the camera still wanders around the room, seemingly assessing people for their potential threat. It lingers on suspicious people. A man walks in in front of AJ, and the camera lingers on him, too, until AJ starts to sit down. We see the guy sitting at the counter who seems suspicious, and AJ seems to be nervous. We observe in excruciating detail Meadow's seemingly careless and clumsy parking and crossing the street. The camera linger son the car like we're expecting an accident.


The man at the counter walks past and goes to the bathroom. Tony looks at him and assesses. AJ acts nervous. Two more guys wander in and seem to loiter. We hear a car long before it passes safely behind Meadow as she runs into the restaurant.

And then there's sudden silence after Tony looks up, with a look more like surprise than recognition of his daughter.

What I'm trying to say is that the scene fills with growing tension before the sudden blackout, just like an unexplained anxiety before a panic attack and blackout. I think David Chase wanted the audience to have an panic attack like Tony experienced several times during the series. I'm not sure if he was trying to give people a glimpse of how Tony felt every day at the beginning of the series, or just pointing out that's what his life is like all the time. After all, we had quite the vicarious thrill following him up to that point.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Dec 5 2010 08:04 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Nov 24 2009 05:55 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

LA County Needs a Fair

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Aug 30 2009 01:00 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

“Craigslist” by Weird Al Yankovic

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Jun 16 2009 06:50 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

My Back

I had an MRI yesterday to help diagnose some numbness I've been feeling on the outside of my right leg.

my_back.jpg

Looks like one disc in particular has an issue. This T2 scan shows white for water content. Discs that are black have dehydrated and may indicate Degenerative Disc Disease. The disc above should be white with water like the one above it between L4 and L5.

The little piece sticking out may be a protrusion or an extrusion (I don't have a doctor's analysis yet), depending on whether it has herniated past my posterior longitudinal ligament.

I looked at ChiroGeek's MRI Tutorial to figure out this much. I have to talk to my doctor to find out the real deal.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Jul 23 2008 03:05 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Statler & Waldorf Discover The Internet

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Jul 22 2008 08:44 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Led Zeppelin Reunites for Concert

Led Zeppelin, without John Henry Bonham, got together and did a concert in London last night.


Reviews have been pretty positive. I'm sure it was an awesome show.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Dec 11 2007 06:22 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Greater IBM Connection

I ran across the Greater IBM Connection today, and its blog. This organization is for former and current IBM employees and features a LinkedIn Group as well as a Xing network. Sigh. Time to join another social networking site.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Nov 15 2007 04:34 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

YYZ

Seems like I'm posting nothing but videos lately.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, May 29 2007 07:50 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Blogging Inspiration

(Hat tip to Signal vs. Noise.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, May 22 2007 09:44 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

MIT Admissions Dean Lied on Resume

Speaking of ironies, the Dean of the prestigious MIT's admissions office was found to have lied on her resume about her three degrees, and that same admissions office routinely does not accept into college those who are found to have lied on their admissions materials.

Marilee Jones is said to be a great person, who struggled to turn-around the expectation that massive overloads are required in school to obtain admissions to elite colleges, but that will all be overshadowed by yet another case of resume inflation via faked degrees.

She did write a book, though, on stressless college admissions.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Apr 27 2007 09:18 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Personality Tests

A couple of personality tests making the rounds:

Which Political Leader are You Most Like?
Which Historical Military Leader are You Most Like?

My results after the jump.

Political leader: Andrew Jackson
Military leader: Teddy Roosevelt

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Apr 3 2007 07:01 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Happy Festival of Lupercalia

Rather than focus on today being a celebration of a (three?) martyrs, one can focus on the original festival of Lupercalia, honoring Juno, Queen of the Roman gods. Per Wikipedia Plutarch wrote this of Lupercalia:

Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.

Is this better than sending flowers and cards to celebrate the martyrdom of a cleric that conducted illegal marriages? Well, usually it's pretty cold in the US this early in the year, so I think running around naked is out. Cards and flowers it is!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Feb 14 2007 02:45 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Barring Citation of Wikipedia

According to Inside Higher Ed Middlebury College has barred citing Wikipedia in academic works, referring to the frequent problem of inaccurate or incomplete entries. However, this raises a serious issue: academics are supposed to cite any reference or work they used to develop their own publications. Anything less is dishonest!

I would never advocate Wikipedia as a single source of information, but it's a good source to get started on the search for more information. While some entries are controversial, for the most part the information there is a decent summary and a long list of additional references to go explore. If a student used this as a starting point, it deserves credit in a paper!

The academics have their heart in the right place, though:

He [Don Wyatt] stressed that the objection of the department to Wikipedia wasn’t its online nature, but its unedited nature, and he said students need to be taught to go for quality information, not just convenience.

While people shouldn't solely go to any encyclopedia for their information for academic writing, places like wikipedia are often a better source for discovering the underlying controversies present in a particular subject area, or disagreements amongst sources or experts. That sort of information in invaluable in research, and should be cited if used to direct one's study.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Jan 26 2007 09:24 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

1978 Star Wars Holiday Special

Possibly some of the worst television ever made, the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special is online: part one, part two. Where else can you find a show that inexplicably starts with nothing but Wookie dialog, features the first appearance of Boba Fett (in cartoon form), and a drunken singing Carrie Fisher (prompting a Star Wars don't drink and drive commercial?).

There is more detail than you could possibly want about this special on wikipedia.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Dec 21 2006 08:36 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Funniest Thing on the Penn Jillette Radio Show

While in general the Penn Jillette Radio Show is not kid-friendly, I was struck by this extremely funny item in the November 30, 2006 show on iTunes (time 16:53):

Like in CSI, you know, they're doing DNA tests without hair nets, so they're looking down at the petri dish going, “Wait a minute! I did this crime too!”

I've never been a big fan of faux realism on television, and while other's like it, I don't enjoy ER or CSI. Real life emergency room and forensic investigations are not like that, folks. Just like people in real life don't always have the snappy comeback. (My best snappy comebacks are usually invented a day or so after the conversation.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Dec 1 2006 02:24 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Got My PMP Packet

I got my PMP packet from the Project Management Institute yesterday and I wasn't impressed. It came with a welcome letter, a special pin, a promise for a newsletter to arrive quarterly, a copy of the code of conduct to sign and keep in my folder, a CD with a copy of the PMP logo to be used only on business cards (not resumes or web sites), and a crumpled certificate.

I'll get the certificate replaced, but it wasn't the gold-plated experience I had hoped (warning, project management pun).

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Nov 29 2006 08:58 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Peter Jackson Will Not Direct The Hobbit

Announced over the weekend, we discover that since Peter Jackson decided to audit profits from The Lord of the Rings they are seeking another director for The Hobbit.

Peter did a really good job with LOTR, but they did take some liberties with the source material. One is left to speculate whether another director would take more liberties, since it was clear that Peter and his team were unabashed fans.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Nov 20 2006 08:33 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Passed the PMP Exam

Today I passed the Project Management Institute's Project Management Professional exam, the final step in PMP certification. Therefore I may refer to myself as “Josh Poulson, PMP.”

It may not excite you folks, but I needed to do it to maintain my status at work.

Update: They quickly listed me as certified.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Nov 10 2006 05:23 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Officially an Unofficial IBM Blogger

I've been added to the Unofficial List of IBM Bloggers at Elias Torres. Thanks for the welcome!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Nov 8 2006 10:39 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Response to “Meaningless Evolution”

Friend Howard Abrams writes about evolution and I felt a need to respond.

Are we so vain and arrogant that we can assert evolution is not God's plan in the first place? On what basis? It all boils down to definitions and the inadequacy of language and metaphor.

All living organisms on earth have traits dictated by a genetic structure. The theory of genetic drift explains that mutation and other factors can lead to random changes in genetic codes in offspring. The theory of speciation is that inheritable traits in species that can produce viable offspring eventually lead to new species from different ones. The theory of natural selection is that certain traits are more desirable in certain environments leading to the triumph of species good enough to thrive there over those other species who struggle to produce viable offspring. The theory of universal common descent is that because of the massive common sequences in the genetic code of current and historic species that all life on earth derives from a common ancestor (that appeared on Earth approximately 3.5 billion years ago). The theory of evolution takes these concepts together to conclude that the long life of the Earth and the diversity of environments has led to the diversity of species we have today.

Since all religious myths must be taken as metaphor, how could any religion not claim that God's plan to create the modern world was not accomplished in this way? The Bible says God created the beasts, why is it not possible that the way God created those beasts was through evolution? The Bible says God gave man dominion over the beasts, but why is not evolution of sentient tool-using man a way to implement that plan? The Bible says man is made in his image, but with the commonality of genetic code amongst all life is not all life in his image (with enough diversity to make things interesting)?

So, why is is distasteful for those who are religious to understand and acknowledge evolution as a suitable explanation for the diversity and change of species we now observe on Earth? Because the explanation offered above does not ascribe special meaning and uniqueness to human life. It is simply a variation that developed attributes that allowed it to thrive. This is what I feel is vanity and arrogance. We are God's chosen so we must be different than everything else around us. We must be special.

To me all life is special, and we are just as special as life. Treasure it more than the minor differences in genetic code that make us capable of being smart enough to argue about it. Treasure more the experiences that allow you to argue about it standing on the shoulders of giants that brought us this rich diversity of thought in the first place.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Nov 8 2006 10:39 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Argh!

Well, one always expects the first scratch soon after getting a new car… but I just found out the “Top Banana” was backed into and had the driver's side all crunched up. First estimate back is $2500 of damage.

Wah!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Oct 18 2006 05:17 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

PMP Exam Imminent

I'm scheduled for a PMP Exam on Friday, November 10th. Pre-tests have me passing, but just barely. I'm officially in crunch mode.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Oct 15 2006 09:37 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Cowboy Blob Photoshopper Extreme

I love Cowboy Blob's photoshopping (it's one of the reasons he's on my blogroll, another is frequent submissions to the Carnival of Cordite), he's not always safe for the kids, but he always has some gems:

ipod.jpg

Keep it up!

Update: Oops! It wasn't one of his photoshops!

Here's one of his for sure:

squirrel_chariot.jpg

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Oct 13 2006 08:25 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Have You Been Practicing Your Trick Shots?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Sep 18 2006 09:35 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica Season 3 is coming October 6th, and the folks at the SciFi channel are giving us a preview (and backstory) via video from their web site until then.

So far we have just the first installment. We get new ones every Tuesday and Thursday for the next month.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Sep 5 2006 12:05 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

What's With Amazon and Harvard Business School Books?

A series I enjoy from Harvard Business School Press is “The Results Driven Manager” series and I'm seeing some promise in the Harvard Business Review “Management Dilemmas” series. However, when one tries to find these series on Amazon.com misspelled titles makes it hard to find items.

For example, some titles are “Results-Driven” others are “Results Driven”. Some have the series title in parentheses. Others do not. Some have “The“ others do not. Then there's miserable examples, such as “Business Etiqeutte: The Results Drive Manager” (not just a dropped letter from the series title, but a misspelling of “etiquette”).

Switch to HBR's series and you find three titles with dilemma spelled incorrectly: “When Your Strategy Stalls (Harvard Business Review Management Dilemas)”, “When People Are The Problem (Harvard Business Review Management Dilemas)”, and “When Marketing Becomes a Minefield (Harvard Business Review Management Dilemas)”. Sure, it's spelled “dilema” in Spanish, but I'm looking for the English ones, thank you.

I have these books. The titles are spelled correctly on them. I just don't get it. I have used Amazon's feedback mechanism and it doesn't seem like things are getting fixed. I'm not used to this level of error in Amazon entries, so it bemuses me that a bunch of Harvard stuff is so broken.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Aug 31 2006 04:52 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Pachabel

Firing the Canon with an axe:

Clearly a classic!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Aug 29 2006 07:18 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Best Argument Against Intelligent Design

What intelligent designer runs a sewer through the middle of a recreational area?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Aug 22 2006 03:18 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

We Have Twelve Planets In Our Solar System

The international conference in Prague is likely to vote for this definition of a planet:

A planet, they decreed, is any star-orbiting object so large that its own gravity pulls in its rough edges, producing a near-perfect sphere.

So, Pluto remains a planet, but we get three new inductees to the club:

  • Ceres, currently the largest asteroid, is one.
  • 2003 UB313, dubbed “Xena” by its discoverer, would be another.
  • Charon, considered a moon, is inducted because its mass is so similar to Pluto's that they orbit the sun as a double planet, rather than as a planet dominating a much smaller moon.

Start coming up with a mnemonic:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Ceres
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • Pluto
  • Charon
  • Xena

Update: Most Voluptuous Earth Mothers Can't Just Stay Under Ninety Pounds, Can't Xena?

8/29 Update: I should have updated this entry earlier. They voted the other way. Pluto is now a dwarf planet, a second-class citizen of the solar system, along with the others that should have been destined for greatness.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Aug 15 2006 09:28 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Dark Matter Announcement

A dark matter discovery destined to be announced August 21:

Astronomers who used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 21, to announce how dark and normal matter have been forced apart in an extraordinarily energetic collision.

Gee, have I become the astronomy blog this week? No, but I'm always curious about such things. I am a Science Major after all.

Update: I suppose I should explain that the reason they call it “dark” matter is because we do not have tools to detect it, yet we theorize its existence in order to explain the observed behavior of planetary and galactic systems. It's not dark just because we can't see it. It's dark because we don't know how to see it. This discovery may change that.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Aug 15 2006 03:09 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Pluto in the Dog House

Another battle on the edges of science. How do you define a planet?

At a 12-day conference beginning Monday, scientists will conduct a galactic census of sorts. Among the possibilities at the meeting of the International Astronomical Union in the Czech Republic capital of Prague: Subtract Pluto or christen one more planet, and possibly dozens more.

Will 2003 UB313 become Planet Xena, or will Pluto get kicked out of the planet club?

Lots of scientific inquiry gets into a shouting match over definitions. Astronomers, however, are likely to be quietly debating this in Prague.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Aug 14 2006 11:22 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Close to the Edit

Way back when I was a huge Art of Noise fan, and the latest Ann Althouse vlog lead me to this:

That takes me back a few decades…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Saturday, Aug 12 2006 10:41 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Earthquake Centered a Couple Miles From Us

Last night we had a 3.8-4.0 earthquake, enough to wake us up and wonder what the noise was. The quake was centered between Ridgefield, La Center, Battle Ground, and Cherry Grove. We happen to live between Ridgefield and La Center ourselves.

Update: Located at N45.80 W122.61 and 14.1km underground.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Aug 3 2006 07:33 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

ASLET No More

According to ASLET Updates, the American Society for Law Enforcement Training has filed for bankruptcy.

It took a long time for the mortally wounded ASLET to succomb, but we were pointing out the damaged financial condition of the organization a year ago. I have posts here from 2004 indicating serious financial troubles at the organization, before my appointment to the Finance Committee. Of course once I was a committee member I had to be circumspect in what I said about ASLET Finances.

I have a huge email trail of warnings and dire predictions. I guess they weren't taken seriously enough by many who should have known better.

Farewell, ASLET.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Jul 20 2006 02:39 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Arrests in Memorial Medical Center Katrina Deaths

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina thirty-four patient deaths at the New Orleans Memorial Medical Center raised suspicions of mercy killings. Rapid investigation of the bodies was delayed by their decomposition. Today they have arrested a doctor and two nurses and charged them with “principal to second-degree murder.”

According to Fox News, conditions were bad at the center after Katrina:

Memorial had been cut off by flooding as the Aug. 29 hurricane swamped New Orleans. Power was out in the 317-bed hospital and the temperatures inside rose over 100 degrees as the staff tried to tend to patients who waited four days to be evacuated.

Even so, it certainly doesn't sound like things were so dire that mass euthanization of thirty-four patients was justified in those four days.

One has to wonder what it would take to justify such a thing. Perhaps no hope of rescue and constant suffering would be key justifications. Perhaps the doctors and nurses were watching the pronouncements of doom in the major media at the time and came to that grisly conclusion. Most of those pronouncements, of course, just weren't true.

Does that mean the cliché “Society is to blame” is actually true in this one?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Jul 18 2006 08:48 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Poulson & Associates, PLLC

My folks were visiting this past week in order to attend my graduation. At the same time we worked out a bit of the content for the website for his legal practice. I'm hoping that we can leap ahead of the web presence of other lawyers in Hillsdale Michigan and it's off to a good start!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Jun 4 2006 08:57 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Google Mail and [spam]

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.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Apr 3 2006 09:02 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Feelings

Humor via email…

Do you have feelings of inadequacy? Do you suffer from shyness? Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Tequila.

Tequila is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. Tequila can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything. You will notice the benefits of Tequila almost immediately, and with a regimen of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live. Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past, and you will discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start living, with Tequila.

Tequila may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Tequila. However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it. Side effects may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, erotic lustfulness, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all-night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth Or Dare, and Naked Twister.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Jan 30 2006 09:26 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Amazon Best of 2005

Amazon.com has posted their best of 2005 lists. I'm not surprised that I'm horribly behind on my science fiction reading, but amused that a lot of my picks for non-fiction made it to the Editor's Choice lists.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner comes in at the top of the editor's choice list. I enjoyed the book, although I found some of the links to be strained. I appreciated the humor, but I have most of my doubt reserved for the claim that easier abortions caused a decrease in crime in the past 25 years.

The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman is another set of interesting cloth-bound claims. Much of what he says rings true, especially with respect to the spread of knowledge work around the globe. Where the book loses steam is when it moves from descriptive to prescriptive writing. Friedman has three Pulitzer Prizes for his work at the New York Times, but I won't hold that against him. (Despite his association with the NYT, I recently purchased Friedman's Longitudes & Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11.)

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell is a great exploration of snap decisions, and how to train them, and when to trust them. I haven't actually purchased this book except in Audiobook form. The other two above I have in both hardback and Audiobook.

As for books I haven't bought, but I've read summaries and articles about, number one on my list and appearing on the Editor's Choice list, is Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. I've read my share of Harvard Business Review coverage of this book, and I need to add it to my shelf.

The book I think should be on the list and didn't appear? The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun, hands down. If I ever need to teach Project Management, this book will be on my list. Far more down to earth than most books on the subject—and I've read more than my share—I heartily recommend it to anyone thinking they understand how to manage the business of making software, and a few others besides. Other picks from me would include Database in Depth by C. J. Date and Disinformation: 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror by Richard Miniter.

We'll see how the new year works out. I'm done getting piles of books for class, unless I start taking new classes in April—unlikely after the two year push to finish my MS. I suspect I'll finally have time for fiction again. I have a ton of Harry Turtledove to read (he is quite prolific, and two years of downtime has buried me in unread novels from his various series). I've always wanted to read the Results-Driven Manager series from Harvard Business School Press. And, based on a great start, O'Reilly's Theory In Practice series (of which Database in Depth and The Art of Project Management are the start) is probably a must read. I guess I'm going to be busy.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Jan 3 2006 07:19 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Sushi

Ever wonder about sushi? this video explains it all, but it's rather silly.

(Hat tip to Joi Ito.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Dec 19 2005 08:17 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Not Able to Read Audiobooks

One problem with my new situation of working from home most of the time is that I no longer have two or three hours in the car to listen to audiobooks. I haven't even ventured out in my car in a few days. Suddenly my subscription to Audible.com went from vital to a burden. I now have several books in my queue to be “read” when I used to be hungry for new material.

Amazing what a little change makes.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the fact that I'm not spending a fortune on gas, raising my stress level fighting traffic, and so on. I get two hours of my day back, but I'm not spending it listening to books.

Part of that might be that at home I'm the only one interested in listening to books. We'll have to see how this pans out. In the meantime, every month I get two more books from the folks at Audible.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Nov 30 2005 07:28 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Firefox 1.5

You can now get Firefox 1.5 from mozilla.com.

I have been a beta tester for this new release of Firefox and I have greatly enjoyed its new speed and new features. I strongly suggest checking it out. I certainly prefer it to Internet Explorer. I am addicted to tabbed browsing and IE didn't add that feature until very recently. Now the only reason to use IE is for web sites that were designed poorly.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Nov 29 2005 07:38 PM  |  Permalink  |  4 comments  |  No trackbacks

Travails of the Satellite Dish, Part 2

Well, long ago I posted on the problems with my satellite Internet service and finally it is solved. I have partial T1 to my rural home. Sure, it costs more, but not that much more since I can now work from home. Changing my status to “working from home” saves me from having to pay Oregon Income Tax.

Thus, my T1 is already paying for itself, thanks to Electric Lightwave, Lennie Green, and especially Dan Sweet.

I'm going to call Direcway and cancel service now. 23 months of horrible latency and weather sensitivity are over.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Nov 16 2005 10:47 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Numenorean

Numenorean
Numenorean


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Saturday, Nov 12 2005 03:35 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Stress Therapy

Many out there have probably already seen the “Trunk Monkey” advertisements, but for those that haven't, I highly recommend them.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Oct 24 2005 08:17 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Snowball Is At The Vet

Snowball went into the vet today, who determined she was dehydrated and suffering with a fever of 106. She had been getting less and less active, and was starting to hide instead of being social like before, so Misty's instincts kicked in. I was surprised that Snowball was that sick (she had even lost weight since we took her into the vet 3 weeks ago). She'll be there overnight why they try to get her liquids and food up and her temperature down.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Oct 19 2005 05:55 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Google Print

I've shown up in Google Print, here and here.

Of course, I recommend Jackie Hamilton's books, CGI Programming 101 and CGI Programming 201 as well as the other book floating around the net with me in it, Zen and the Art of the Internet by Brendan Kehoe.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Sep 21 2005 09:00 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Seismic Slips, Volcanic Bulges, and Hot Lava

Via Doc Searls Weblog article “Creepy” we hear that the is a “slow seismic slip event” occuring in the Pacific Northwest. More from LiveScience:

The slip began Sept. 3 on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State and has migrated north to the Vancouver Island area, Cassidy wrote. Victoria moved 0.12 inches (3 millimeters) to the West over the course of two days. The events are thought to last six to 15 days.

Not a lot, to be sure, but it means that the potential for a mega-quake is elevated:

“The probability of occurrence of a megathrust earthquake is about 30 times higher during this approximately two-week window, than during the rest of the 14.5 month cycle,” [geologist John] Cassidy told LiveScience. “Having said that, 30 times a small number is still a small number.”

If that's not enough slow-moving geologic events for you, we also have a volcanic bulge near Bend, Oregon, as reported by the US Geologic Survey (email, 9/13/05):

A large, slow-growing volcanic bulge in western Oregon is attracting the attention of seismologists who say that the rising ground could be the beginnings of a volcano or simply magma shifting underground.
Scientists said that the 100 square-mile bulge, first discovered by satellite, poses no immediate threat to nearby residents.

That bulge is growing 1.4 inches per year.

Since I live 40 miles from Mt. St. Helens, all these tectonic happenings, however slow, are of considerable interest. Alana's favorite books are about volcanoes. Ryan often talks about “hot lava” insisting the adjective is important, since cold, tepid, or even warm lavas are boring.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Sep 15 2005 09:50 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The iPod Mini is gone

iPodMini.jpg

(Taken from my desk…)

With Apple's introduction of the iPod nano it appears that they have silently discontinued the iPod Mini.The old dedicated web page now redirects to the Apple store. With two of these in my house, both of which being somewhat quirky (Misty's still has a “just turns itself on” issue, mine sometimes gets errors starting up making it lose my bookmark on the current song), I think I'll still miss them.

The iPod nano sure is tiny though:

iPodNano.jpg

(Taken from the apple.com website…)

However, now that I've filled with Mini with books from audible.com, I was hoping to see a 8GB Mini.

Update: I forgot to mention that the iPod nano uses flash memory instead of a tiny little hard drive. I suspect my freezing issue won't be there (it sure seems like it takes time to spin up the disk and cache the song I'm trying to play.)

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Sep 8 2005 09:35 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Give to Katrina Victims Through the Red Cross

Per Glenn's flood aid posting:

Give to the Red Cross to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina

I'd like to have a link to an Amazon.com honor system page, too, but apparently they don't think Katrina victims need that sort of organized support.

Update: Amazon.com apparently changed their tune, but I'm leaving up my earlier comment because of the long delay in getting even this link.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Aug 31 2005 02:22 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Boycott Drudge?

Paul over at Wizbang has proposed a personal boycott of the Drudge Report until Matt removes all the annoying popup advertisements. Judging by all the comments Paul's posting received it's a popular idea. Matt's site remains a great source of unusual links, but it's clear that he has ruffled the feathers of his readers.

I use Firefox and still get popup ads from Matt's site. As a result, I added the Adblock extension to Firefox and filtered a bit more. I put in the Tabbrowser Preferences extension to at least open popups in a new tab and in the background. As a result of using all these tools I have not seen popups from anywhere except the Drudge Report and I've filtered a ton of other ads. Matt has managed to reduce the revenue of other web sites because of his tactics!

This arsenal of tools still isn't enough, though. I'm still getting obnoxious popup windows from Matt's site. Drudge is the only site left that still manages to have “cheater” popups appear for me. It's aggravating, so I'm joining Paul's boycott.

Update: petebevin.com tells us how to disable popups from plugins.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Aug 15 2005 09:42 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  1 trackback

Flag Day

13-Star American Flag

Today in 1777 the Continental Congress approved the Stars and Stripes as the national flag. However, it's first use as an American battle flag was (probably) not until September 11th, 1777. Remember that Francis Scott Key didn't write his song about the flag, then called the “Star-Spangled Banner” until mid-way through the War of 1812, quite a bit later.

Gadsden Revolutionary War Flag

My favorite flag is the Gadsden Flag, with the snake and the legend “Don't Tread on Me.” A slightly different flag was used by the Culpepper Minutemen who added the slogan “Liberty or Death.” The version pictured above has been flying at our home (along with the modern US flag) since the 2003 Independence Day barbecue…

You can find more early American Flag clip art here.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Jun 14 2005 08:22 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

$50M on Opening Day

The latest Star Wars grossed $50M on opening day. We all wish we could do so well with wooden acting, poor dialogue, a plot known in advance but amazing special effects.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, May 20 2005 12:24 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

25th Anniversary of Mt. St. Helens Eruption

May 18th 1980 Eruption of Mt. St. Helens, USGS

25 years ago today a 5.1 magnitude earthquake caused a massive slide of material off the north side of Mt. St. Helens releasing a tumult of pyroclastic flows and ash that devastated 150 square miles of beautiful Washington wilderness.

I live a little over forty miles from Mt. St. Helens now, but when it blew it's top I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska. I missed out on the ash that covered everything out here. I also missed out on the beautiful red sunsets that the midwest enjoyed.

May 18th sticks in my mind as well because May 18, 1995 was also the infamous “Day 10,000” for Pick-based databases. At the time I worked for ADP Dealer Services, which used Pick databases for its turnkey systems for car dealerships. I was part of a cross-functional team that found and corrected any Day 10000 problems in our products (it turns out there weren't many). This was a dry run at Y2K problems later on.

I've been up to visit Mt. St. Helens since I moved here, including the eerie Ape Caves lava tube on the south side of the mountain and the tourist traps on the north side. It's worth taking a look if you're visiting the Portland area.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, May 18 2005 09:25 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Lileks Bleats at Star Trek

Over at Lileks' Bleats James Lileks opines about all thinks Star Trek combined with an analysis of the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. his analysis is enough to make me consider actually watching the series. I gave up on the modern TV series somewhere in the middle of the third season of Star Trek: Voyager and only watched the last couple of seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD.

Misty is as much of a fan as I am of the series, but had never really seen it end-to-end like I did by buying all of the DVDs and watching the shows in order. There are some episodes that are not on syndication. There are definitely some that shouldn't be.

There's a lot of funny moments in his bleat so go read the whole thing, but only if you are a Trek fan. Otherwise much of the humor will go over your head.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, May 16 2005 03:58 PM  |  Permalink  |  4 comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of the Cats

The Carnival of the Cats is posted at Aptenobytes. This carnival has thumbnails of every cat. That's a lot of work!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, May 16 2005 03:31 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Barry Poulson, JD

Barry Poulson

Today my father graduates from Ave Maria School of Law.

Congratulations Dad!

(Now on to the bar exam…)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, May 15 2005 10:07 AM  |  Permalink  |  3 comments  |  No trackbacks

Mr Know It All?

I drew a link and a reciprocal offer from Mr Know It All today. The site appears to be a link collection like Yahoo.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Saturday, May 14 2005 11:07 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Boy King

Face of King Tut recreated by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities

Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities has worked with CT scans to recreate what King Tutankhamun's face would have looked like when he was alive:

Three teams of forensic artists and scientists—from France, the United States and Egypt—each built a model of the boy pharaoh's face based on some 1,700 high-resolution photos from CT scans of his mummy to reveal what he looked like the day he died nearly 3,300 years ago.

This is the first time this technique has been used to reconstruct the likeness of a mummy:

The CT scans—the first done on an Egyptian mummy—have suggested King Tut was a healthy, yet slightly built 19-year-old, standing 5 feet, 6 inches tall at the time of his death.

At least I was taller than the king of the world 3,300 years ago. It also looks like there's a new theory as to why the boy king died:

Some experts on the scanning team said it appeared Tut broke his left thigh severely—puncturing his skin—just days before his death, and the break could have caused an infection.

This is hardly the first, or the last, time someone was endangered by a skin break. I acquired cellulitis a few years ago and didn't realize I had a problem until I was in danger of going septic. Three thousand years ago they didn't have antibiotics, and it took over a month of antibiotics to bring me back from the brink.

I'm looking forward to more reconstructed pharohs in the future.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, May 11 2005 08:36 AM  |  Permalink  |  9 comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of the Cats #59 is up

Carnival of the Cats #59 is up at Conservative Cat. My Dust Bunny picture from Friday is linked. Apparently they think I'm a punster, although I haven't been as funny lately.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, May 9 2005 08:51 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Star Wars and Kids

I saw Star Wars when I was a kid. It was a mounumental event in my young psyche. I remember seeing nearly a dozen times in a year. I remember watching it in Spanish once in Puerto Rico. It was an exciting kids' movie.

When the new epsiodes came out, I remember being somewhat disappointed because they didn't evoke the same exitement in me. They were spectacular, sure, but they weren't visceral anymore. I remember being similarly disappointmed with Return of the Jedi. I remember, also, being appreciate of the “all grown up” mentality of Empire Strikes Back.

I was crushed when my 7-year-old girl said Star Wars was boring and too violent. Even the boy didn't want to go on to see Empire and the rest.

Now we hear that later this month the last installment, Revenge of the Sith will be the first film in the Star Wars franchise to be rated PG-13:

Episode III—Revenge of the Sith is the first Star Wars tale to receive a PG-13 rating. The movie was screened for reporters Tuesday night at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, and the PG-13 rating—“for sci-fi violence and some intense images”—is well-deserved.

Is the franchise in search of a customer base? Jedi, Menace and Clones were a little facile, puerile, juvenile, whatever. Now Lucas runs to the other side of the path with a movie unsuitable for his target audience?

“We're getting a lot of flak from parents, a lot of people saying how can you do this? My children love these movies. Why can you not let them go see it?” Lucas told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “But I have to tell a story. I'm not making these, oddly enough, to be giant, successful blockbusters. I'm making them because I'm telling a story, and I have to tell the story I intended.”

Maybe we liked the story to be more fantasy and less Passion, Mr. Lucas. The original movie was swords and sorcery writ large with stunning special effects and sci-fi action. It was how some of us wanted the pulp science fiction we read to be visualized on the big screen. The story is no longer as compelling as the original vision was.

I'm reminded of the downfall of the Matrix. They should have left well-enough alone… and Greedo really didn't need to shoot first.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, May 4 2005 01:54 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Asterisk previews Backpack

D. Keith Robinson of Asterisk got a golden ticket and previewed Backpack.

What benefits does Backpack bring?

It seems in many ways to be a personal version of Basecamp. It’s got some of the same features, a similar UI and the philosophy behind it is basically the same. It’s a personal information manager and organizer. It’s got a to-dos, notes, calendaring, reminders and thing like that.

Apparently it has a feature for sharing calendars, to-dos and reminders with individual pages, as well as the capability of sending reminders over SMS to your phone.

How did he like it?

I’m sure after I’ve used it a bit, I’ll have more to share, but for now, looks really good and mighty useful.

Backpack launches tomorrow. We'll see what it brings.

I also wonder if some of these features will get enabled in Basecamp. I use Basecamp for a lot of things that apparently Backpack is good for. The evolving integration of the two would be interesting to see.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, May 2 2005 11:43 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Backpack from 37signals

The folks at 37signals have put out some more previews of Backpack: Number three and number four.

Backpack takes a fresh look at email. However, instead of just sending email to someone else’s email address, Backpack will receive an email and turn it into something useful on the web. This isn’t just about posting flat content to the web via email, it’s about turning flat emails into functional web pages.

Judging by how much email I get (approximate 1000 messages a day between work and home) this sounds like a great idea.

Backpack will launch this coming Tuesday, it appears. While that day will be dominated by a massive group presentation for MST 523, it'll be fun to look at that evening.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Apr 28 2005 01:21 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

It’s Blogcess—24

It's Blogcess

This week's “It's Blogcess” is about living la vida luna:

This week there have been a few news articles about countries who hope to travel to the moon within the next decade. These types of articles always make me wonder what is taking everyone else so long to get there since the US was there in the late 60’s—or were we? This week “It’s Blogcess” is all about the moon.

Let's go to the moon!

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

1) Do you believe the moon landing was faked?

No, I don't.

2) Why or why not?

I haven't found the discussions about strange lighting to be all that compelling. The deep dark blacks of the shadows and the obvious reflections from silvery lander modules and white space suits work pretty well for me. The only diffusion I see comes from the silvered and smoked faceplates of the astronauts' helmets.

The sheer number of people who would have to be “in” on a conspiracy big enough to fake the moon landings would be impossible to contain. This is the Achilles Heel of any large conspiracy.

Beyond this, all of the advances that appeared in aerospace as well as computer science that can track their lineage back to the Apollo program (for example, FMEA) point to a heck of a lot of work for just a conspiracy. One could say that NASA seems to not use FMEA now, though, so it may have come from some Air Force UFO program instead.

3) Let’s say they finally get it right and we are able to travel to the Moon and you are chosen to go along for the ride. They tell you they will provide everything you need, but they will allow you to take one personal item, one grooming item and one food item of choice.

What would you take?

Personal item: hacky-sack or juggling balls, I have to know!
Grooming item: purple listerine for Klingon space blood recreations
Food item: Tang!

4) Let’s spread some “It’s Blogcess” linky love?

I thought I’d share some moon sites for those interested in reading more about the hoax – nonhoax theories:

Update:

After reading the attached websites, I realize I forgot an obvious source of “extra” light: the surrounding lunar landscape!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Apr 21 2005 12:47 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Basecode Firefox Extension for Basecamp

Poking around the Basecamp blog I came across a reference to Basecode, a Firefox extension that automatically inserts formatting commands into Basecamp messages. In fact, it also has a time log tool that can enter time logs into your messages:

Time log: 1 hours| Total time for this item: 2 hours

The fact that Basecode generated that inside Movable Type's entry screen is an added bonus.

If you like Basecamp, check it out for free for thirty days. After that it'll cost you 10 Euro to use.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Apr 20 2005 09:43 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Pope

Cardinal Ratzinger becomes Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th pontiff. Pity they like to change the name. “Pope Ratzinger” is pretty jazzy.

Update:

Pope Benedict XVI nee Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is not a friend to moral relativism:

Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and “swept along by every wind of teaching,” looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards.

So, in his opinion, not all points of view are valid. I agree, but I find it hard to define how I judge what points of view are valid, and which are not. Since Pope Benedict XVI has the luxury of having been the “Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith” for the Catholic Church, he's had many, many years to make his definitions clear.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Apr 19 2005 09:49 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

It's Blogcess Number 23

I am posting a late entry to “It's Blogcess.”

It's Blogcess

1) When it comes to filing your taxes are you?

  1. The early bird catches the refund worm (you file the first chance you get).
  2. The flying trapeze (you file with the greatest of ease, no stress, no hurry)
  3. Better late than never (you mail it on April 15th)
  4. Tax man? Who? (you file an extension)

2) When getting your taxes ready to go are you?

  1. The DIY tax guru? (do them yourself)
  2. Have someone else do them (a friend, relative, accountant, tax prep specialist)
  3. Have TurboTax/TaxCut do it for you

3) Share a tax fact, tip, tidbit or secret?

It's not worth killing yourself to get bigger deductions, it's far better to reduce your realized income than pay full price to deduct from your realized income.

4) There is no number 4?

I guess we're a question short this week.

5) Let’s spread some “It’s Blogcess” linky love?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Apr 18 2005 06:09 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

37signals “Backpack”

I already mentioned that I use BaseCamp from 37signals for some simple project management around the house. Those same folks are working on a new tool called “Backpack.” We recently got another preview of this coming attraction. I'm interested in this comment:

Note: For all those people who dig the Getting Things Done system, you’ll especially like Backpack reminders. They are structured like a 43 folders tickler system.

Getting Things Done is a book by David Allen on how to better organize your commitments. Those 43 folders are for the days of the month and the months of the year. I'm using BaseCamp for a lot of that related to school, so maybe BackPack will better address the more calendar-y aspects of my life's projects…

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Apr 18 2005 05:55 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

More Greek and Latin

According to Wizbang scientists have discovered a way to “decode previously unreadable texts” using a special infrared technique.

There are thousands of ancient documents written on paper that has turned into mush. This technique could make it possible to recover many interesting antiquities:

The original papyrus documents, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are often meaningless to the naked eye - decayed, worm-eaten and blackened by the passage of time. But scientists using the new photographic technique, developed from satellite imaging, are bringing the original writing back into view.

Some ancient Egyptian must have done what Misty wants to do to my own library:

The papyrus fragments were discovered in historic dumps outside the Graeco-Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus (“city of the sharp-nosed fish”) in central Egypt at the end of the 19th century. Running to 400,000 fragments, stored in 800 boxes at Oxford's Sackler Library, it is the biggest hoard of classical manuscripts in the world.

I only have about 90 boxes of books, and they're stored in an airplane hanger, not a garbage dump.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Apr 18 2005 04:27 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

It's Blogcess Number 22

It's Blogcess

Uptown Girl has been running “It's Blogcess” for a long time now, and I've been tempted to join in. Since she included me in her “linky love” section I suppose I should try and participate.

As she says, this week “It’s Blogcess” is all about the last time you did something.

1) The last time you filled up your automobile how much did you pay per gallon?

$2.62 a gallon, yesterday.

2) What was the last piece of clothing you purchased for yourself?

Some jeans at Target.

3) What was the last thing you bought at the grocery?

One Liter bottles of Diet Coke. I drink two or three a day.

4) What did you do on the last night you went out with friends?

The last night we did stuff with friends was Easter dinner. They came over, we ate, and we watched Aliens and an episode or two from the La Femme Nikita TV series.

5) Let’s spread some “It’s Blogcess” linky love?

Since I'm in the list, I'll include the other ones.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Apr 7 2005 10:48 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Defective Yeti is the New Pope

Apparently Defective Yeti managed to become the new Pope. One of the better April Fool's jokes I saw, actually, although Google Gulp clearly had the best work put into one.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Apr 4 2005 10:55 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of the Cats #53

The 53rd Carnival of the Cats is up.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Mar 28 2005 08:03 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

13 Things That Don't Make Sense

NewScientist brings us “13 things that do not make sense:”

  1. The placebo effect
  2. The horizon problem
  3. Ultra-energetic cosmic rays
  4. Belfast homeopathy results
  5. Dark matter
  6. Viking's methane
  7. Tetraneutrons
  8. The Pioneer anomaly
  9. Dark energy
  10. The Kuiper cliff
  11. The Wow signal
  12. Not-so-constant constants
  13. Cold fusion

Read them all. There are still frontiers in science.

(Hat tip to Wizbang.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Mar 25 2005 03:11 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Printer Friendly

I surf the web a lot looking at news, web pages for work, web pages for school. Am I the only one that, when I find something I want to read, clicks the “printer-friendly” link, if there is one, so I read the article without the distractions of flash graphics and interspersed advertisements?

I pay for a few news sites, like the Wall Street Journal, MIT Technology Review and The Economist. I don't like the fact that I'm still hit with a lot of ads despite the fact that I'm sending money to the operators of those sites. In comparison, Harvard Management Update has no ads at all. At least both of them support the “printer-friendly” option so I can read articles in peace.

I'm feeling guilty, here, because I've made no attempt to make my articles here “printer-friendly” by providing an appropriate style sheet. However, my ads are always at the bottom of all of the content and I try to keep the sidebar mellow.

Perhaps there's some way to get the online guys to listen without hurting their ad revenue…

Update: I forgot one more reason I click on the “printer-friendly” option: when online sources break up articles into multiple pages, the printer-friendly version is just one page.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Mar 21 2005 08:28 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of the Cats

My Atticus picture has been featured in the Carnival of the Cats.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Mar 13 2005 09:40 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

OMSI, Grossology, Forces and Cardboard

Yesterday was a relatively quiet day on pun.org. We went the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) with Alana's second grade class. There were a lot of chaperones so it was a popular destination. Because the Poulson family are members, we got to wander around and be experts on the place for many of the others.

Key things to see were the Animal Grossology Exhibit, which was pretty fancy but the kids ran around trying to do the activities rather than find out what the displays were talking about, the OMNIMAX movie, Forces of Natures which was exciting for everyone watching, and another film called Secrets of the Cardboard Rocket at the planetarium. I was hoping to see Pacific Northwest Skies at the planetarium as well, but everyone was pretty tired at that point.

I think Alana had a lot of fun…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Saturday, Feb 26 2005 08:32 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Star Wars Episode 3

So, by patchng together screenshots and spoiler pics, an enterprising individual has pasted together the entire Star Wars Episode 3 storyline, in pictures.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Feb 23 2005 05:34 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Remember the Alamo!

On this day in 1836 Santa Ana took the Alamo in a town that has now become San Antonio, Texas.

Coincidentally, on this day in 1945 raised the flag over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima resulting in the now-famous picture and subsequent memorial.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Feb 23 2005 06:07 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Presents, Future and Perfect

In general, I hardly ever ask for anything for Father's Day, Birthdays, or Christmas because what I like is so doggone expensive. I also don't like disappointing the kids because they try pretty hard to find soemthing I like but don't have. The last time I asked for something I specified the Model 1 from Guncrafter Industries. Silly me, no one is going to spend three thousands dollars on a present!

Today, however, I ran across the Mackie Spike. I helped build a recording studio about a decade ago, and I liked a lot of it. Obviously I came at it from the “high tech” angle, but at the time I did a lot of the “low tech” parts like building walls, pulling cable and laying insulation.

With a Spike I suspect I'd play with podcasting if I found a reasonable but inexpensive microphone to work with, for example. Misty keeps harassing me to pick up and play my guitar again, as well.

So, why do I like the Spike? Because it offers a lot of recording power in a small, low-priced package. If we spent too much we'd all kick ourselves. This also reminds me of my old Mackie mixers and other studio toys.

Oh well, I had better stop dreaming and head home.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Feb 14 2005 02:16 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Valentine's Day

A lot of bloggers are posting rants about Valentine's Day today, ranging from calling it VD to hating rampant commercialism. I have to admit that I was never a big Valentine's Day fan myself, inspired from an early age by the obligatory schoolroom antics that the girls loved and the guys hate. Girls back then loved to see boys squirm. During the few precious years they mature faster than boys do they have power over them. Others are lonely this time of year. It's easy to see why many people hate Valentine's Day.

I'll admit that I was still a little cynical last year and got in trouble for not making a bigger deal about Valentine's Day. To me it was a a day celebrating the death of Saint Valentine, who created a phenomenon by writing love letters to the daughter of his jailer. Why celebrate love one day a year? I pay attention to my wife every day, not some random cold rainy day in February.

(Josh Poulson and Misty Poulson)

(Photo by John McEnroe at the Tugboat Brewpub in downtown Portland, OR)

I'm not going to be like that this year. I just had a weekend getaway with my wife, Misty. We disappeared to a place more symbolicly romantic than anything. It was all about spending some time together without too many outside distractions, getting to do things we don't otherwise get to do. (That means watching movies for people over the age of 8.)

At the end of it we ventured out and watched Hitch in the theaters to top it all off. It was simple innocent fun. Also, it was contrived like most romantic comedies are. We enjoyed it anyway. Normally that sort of stuff sickens us.

I love my wife. I had a wonderful weekend. There are moment I wish would never end. If that's what we celebrate at Valentine's Day then I'm all for it. If it's all about chocolate, cards and presents I'm another curmudgeon and cynic like everyone else.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General, Pictures” Monday, Feb 14 2005 09:05 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Portland International Auto Show

Today we packed up the whole family and went off to the Portland International Auto Show. Why did I go? Dodge all-but-promised me a look at the new Charger. In reality, I have a chance to win 30,000 towards any Dodge, Jeep, or Chrysler.

I did get my picture taken with this odd car…

autoshow1.jpg

And Alana, Ryan and myself appear here with the dual-hemi Jeep concept vehicle…

autoshow2.jpg

The show was a lot of fun, but at the end of it all, Misty and I agreed that conversion vans were more appealing than minivans for our needs. sure, they had lousy gas mileage, but Mommy doesn't go all that far with the kids.

I still need a sedan that's fun to drive, safe, and gets good gas mileage though. Still working that issue. I liked the 300Cs we saw at the show, but I want to try a Charger.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General, Pictures” Saturday, Jan 29 2005 07:56 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Incredibles DVD to Tell Jack-Jack's Story

Earlier I mentioned The Incredibles coming to DVD in March. Via Demure Thoughts we find a USA Today story on a new short film on the DVD, “Jack-Jack's Attack.”

Jack-Jack's Attack chronicles “what takes place at the house with (babysitter) Kari and Jack-Jack while the rest of the family is on the way to the island or on the island,” Pixar DVD producer Ann Brilz says. As the story plays out, the toddler reveals his latent powers.

The kids loved this movie and were rolling on the floor over Jack-Jack's antics. I'm sure they'll love this short feature on the DVD.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Jan 28 2005 10:10 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

33% White Trash

I am 33% White Trash.
Not Too White Trashy
The white trash in my blood will not keep me from becoming a doctor or a lawyer, but it will keep me from a good haircut and any sort of fashion sense.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Jan 24 2005 02:10 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Strep Throat

Looks like all of us have strep throat. Misty showed symptoms first and is already on antibiotics. Now Ryan and myself are showing symptoms and will have to visit the doctor and get prescribed next. Sigh.

I've been slow to post here lately. Partly this is due to the fight with comment spammers, and then comment hijackers. While we've identified and corrected the problem at pun.org, and chatted with others about it, I suspect many Movable Type users don't realize what the problem is. I hope that MT's response to this comes quickly.

School has been pretty busy too. That sure helps when you're feeling down…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Jan 24 2005 11:10 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Incredibles DVD

The Incredibles is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. It looks like it will ship in March. Yes, I ordered mine.

I love the old James Bond movie style and superhero comic book references throughout the movie. Pixar never disappoints on story, either. If there's anything I regret about this purchase its that some of the money goes to Disney.

I tend to preorder DVDs from Amazon.com a lot because you get a decent discount. Beyond that I use their recommendations engine a lot.

In the interests of full disclosure, I admit that I am an Amazon.com associate and that if you buy things through my links I get a kickback.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Jan 21 2005 12:04 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Darth Tater

Darth Tater

Via Variblog we find this amusing Mr. Potatohead outfit. The full story is on CNN.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Jan 21 2005 10:58 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Marvel Comics Strikes Again

Looks like we get to look forward to The Fantastic Four this July. They have a movie trailer out.

While I'm a big X-Men fan, I didn't read as much about this quartet when I was young. I have to admit the things I'd really like to see next are Thor (Amazing Stories) and Uncle Scrooge the way he used to be written.

Heck, Spiderman promptly treated the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, so where the heck are the Sentinels in X-Men?

Don't mention the later Batman movies, Catwoman, Daredevil, Elektra or Supergirl to me. I'm still trying to forget them.

I did enjoy Hellboy

Update: I've learned from Demure Thoughts that Ioan Gruffudd (of Horatio Hornblower fame) is Mr. Fantastic. I didn't recognize him right away, but now it's obvious.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Jan 20 2005 09:32 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Tidbits

So, people are already wondering why I didn't post yesterday, at all, after a long string of days where I posted several times. Well, not only did I have lots of reading to do (of which I did some), there really hasn't been all that much interesting to post about. We had an ice storm on Saturday that melted off by noon on Sunday so we were perhaps a little stir-crazy. I did break out my copy of Microprose's Diplomacy for my computer and played around with it. It's far too easy to beat, though, as I remembered. Civilization III is a little too addictive, so I avoid that. I can rule the world in 15 minutes with Diplomacy.

Sure, there are allegations of massive voter fraud in Milwaukie, WI, but I'm pretty burned out from the discussions of King County and Ohio and Florida in 2000. I still think we should have a revote on the Washington Governor's race, but the proper thing is to reform what we have to make cheating and incompetence harder.

There is a Q&A session with the Clark County Auditor tonight (7:00pm at the Clark county Elections office in Vancouver) where he will address questions about the election, and I am tempted to go to see what's going on, but will it really change anything? Maybe, instead, it would mean that my name would go on someone's list. I don't really need that.

A bunch of folks are excited about the upcoming inaugural. Well, I'd like to celebrate, but I'm not a crowd of people person. I'm also not the gung-ho Republican many seem to think I am. Yeah, I fight against gun control, support cops surviving on the streets, and the War on Terror, but I also don't care as much as others about gay marriage, abortion, and religion. I'm a libertarian because I want to be left alone by everyone else.

Not many people care about my work on the MST program, so maybe I'll stop reporting on that. There's mild interest in the cruise stuff, but not much. I suspect people would be more interested in a six pound hamburger. As it is, I see that I get a lot of visits from spammers who have nothing useful to say. Pictures draw far more interest than text, too.

I'm not about to start lecturing on technology management anytime soon, if people are hoping for that. I got to lead a discussion this week in my marketing class and it wasn't a resounding success. I guess it takes a different personality than mine to drive an online discussion. It seems like that if many of these folks didn't have a grade riding on their participation they'd just read the book and be quiet. Of course, I'm a big fan of reading books quietly myself… if only the rest of the family liked that too.

Update: I admit that I've been involved in a lot of ASLET bickering on the “LETrainer” mailing list. I wasn't sure that folks find that interesting… Some of my ASLET articles here are popular, especially the report on Mark Rizzo.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Jan 17 2005 11:02 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Edward Tufte's Beautiful Evidence

Edward Tufte, best known for his Visual Display of Quantitative Information, has given us a sneak peak at a chapter from his new book, Beautiful Evidence.

Here is the first of several chapters on consuming presentations, on what alert members of an audience or readers of a report should look for in assessing the credibility of the presenter. Most of Beautiful Evidence is about helpful techniques in evidence presentations; these 3 or 4 chapters, however, will describe sources of corruption.
This draft will be posted for a month or so; I'd appreciate helpful comments.

Tufte's work has always fascinated me, and it's probably sacrilege that I have his books in the hanger in storage as opposed to on the shelf of prominence. I admit the shelf is infested with books for school at the moment, and not necessarily books of beauty.

Give his new chapter a read. I love the part about bullet lists on business plans. It is certainly something I've noticed in my travels.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Jan 14 2005 11:44 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Nikon D2X

Buddies Dan and John will be excited, the pricing and the availability of the (12 Megapixel) Nikon D2X have been announced.

Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce pricing and availability for its highly anticipated D2X professional digital SLR camera. The camera will begin shipping on February 25, 2005 with a suggested street price of $4999.95 (MSRP $6299.95).

If you're a camera buff, I recommend reading www.digitalslr.org.

Nikon D2X Picture

(Picture from Gizmodo)

Me, I could take the family on another cruise for that kind of cash, and I think I can suffer along with my old camera. In fact, I'm more in the market for a camcorder at this point…

Update: I should have mentioned that my current camera is the Nikon Coolpix 4500.

Amazon.com links

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Jan 13 2005 08:42 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

“The Memos Are Fakes!”

The Memos Are Fakes

Cox & Forkum have another hit with this little number on the Thornburgh and Boccardi report on Rathergate.

I read their blog regularly at this point. I still need to buy their books.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Jan 12 2005 02:15 PM  |  Permalink  |  3 comments  |  No trackbacks

Earth-shaking Event Changes the World

In the press release “NASA Details Earthquake Effects on the Earth” we are told

NASA scientists using data from the Indonesian earthquake calculated it affected Earth's rotation, decreased the length of day, slightly changed the planet's shape, and shifted the North Pole by centimeters. The earthquake that created the huge tsunami also changed the Earth's rotation.

Ouch!

They also found the earthquake decreased the length of day by 2.68 microseconds.

I wonder how this will affect global warming?

The net effect was a slightly more compact Earth.

We're always improving efficiency.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Jan 11 2005 05:33 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

New Dodge Charger

I was born in Michigan, so I get a little of the new car fever. Yesterday the new Dodge Charger was launched with deliveries expected in early summer. In fact, I loved the launch because they tied it to bringing out a new NASCAR stock car. I don't watch NASCAR, but I appreciate the idea of starting with a production model and making a racer out of it.

It's also a lot prettier than the updated Dodge Magnum and Durango. Even my wife thinks the new Durangos are hideous and wouldn't even test drive a Magnum. I did get her to go with me to test the 300C.

Dodge Charger Outside View

(Pictures from the Autoshow Photo Gallery at Dodge.com.)

I'm certainly interested because I also liked the new rendition of the Chrysler 300, especially the 300C which I priced out more than once (once when it launched, and again when they added AWD). Why don't I have one? Well, my Durango is going strong, despite its lousy gas mileage and, well, we're going on a cruise again this year.

Also, the 300C had a decent interior, but I hated the radio/navigation interface. I'm not alone in that. However, the Dodge's new spartan interior might appeal to me more:

Dodge Charger Inside View

If the Charger is a little less expensive than the 300C but still has all the features I want, it's going to be the next car for me. After all, it's got a HEMI.

There's several articles that were released with the launch of the Charger at the 2005 North American International Autoshow. I think their key message is harkening back to the muscle car eras of yore:

“The Chargers of the ’60s were distinctly styled, conveying fast, powerful and affordable performance,” said Creed. “That was a winning design formula then, and that’s our design formula for 2006.”

Also,

“The rear-wheel-drive 2006 Dodge Charger will provide muscle car enthusiasts an unequaled sense of exhilaration, power and control during every drive,” said Craig Love, Vice President—Rear-wheel-drive Product Team, Chrysler Group. “Our customers will appreciate the balance of characteristics drawn from the worlds of racing and street cruising.”
“Never has the time been so right to bring a bold and powerful passenger car to market,” said Love. “New technology advancements in fuel economy and safety have led to the development of the 2006 Dodge Charger as a muscle car for a new generation.”

Maybe we finally found a new cruiser Ann Althouse will like. (She thought the 300C was ugly!)

The bad news is that the initial Charger features the 5.7 Liter HEMI, but the SRT (Street and Racing Technology Group) announced a 6.1 Liter HEMI at the same Autoshow. It would have been more of a coup (no, not a coupe, that was the Charger in the 60's) to also announce a SRT8 Charger at the same show. Maybe they are saving that for later… but now I have to wait and see! They did launch a SRT8 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, though.

At any rate, now I wait for the local dealer to get one in to try out. Hopefully there's not a huge premium on them like there was with the 300 in this town (a $7K markup). I could have taken delivery at my Dad's local dealer in Michigan and driven it cross-country without paying a premium. Is the Pacific Northwest a gouging zone?

As for looks, the Dodge Charger is stellar. Although the jade 300C is pretty nice looking, I really like the traditional Dodge red on this car… but does it need a red or a white racing stripe to really set it off? How about gills?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Jan 11 2005 11:32 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

ASLET Conference a Success

ASLET had its annual conference this past weekend and it appears to have been a success. They also elected a new Board of Directors:

Phil Messina, Treasurer
Chris Yanuzzi
Bob Bragg, Chairman
Kat Kelley, Vice Chair
Pat Martin, Secretary
Mary Gifford
Chris Scaglione
George Demetriou
Jennifer Haas

They changed their name back to “American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers,” already secured a site for the next annual conference (New Mexico), brought back the gun give-aways that Frank Hackett had dissolved, and more.

It looks like they are going to rely on their state representatives a lot more. I'm not one of ASLET's state reps, so I guess I'm safe for now. No news on what the committees will be up to (I'm on the Bylaws Committee, and my name has been bandied about for other committees as well).

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Jan 10 2005 05:16 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

CBS Report Holes, as Reported By Power Line

Hindrocket at Power Line not only read all 243 pages of the CBS report on the investigation into Rathergate, but he has posted a detailed analysis of the report.

In general, the Thornburgh report is better than I expected. It criticizes 60 Minutes harshly, and is a treasure trove of factual information.

However, he doesn't think it criticizes enough in some areas. He funds the denial of political bias “unpersuasive” and directs most of his baleful eye at Mary Mapes. Just a taste:

The Thornburgh report does an excellent job of analyzing the content of the fake documents, and showing that they are, in many respects, at odds with reality as we know it from other sources. And the report discloses for the first time that, during the course of her “investigation,” Mary Mapes was told that no influence was used to get President Bush into the National Guard, that there was no waiting list for pilots, and that Bush actually volunteered to go to Vietnam.

He also doubts the lack of bias claims based on other finding in the report:

The report, often in harsh and condemnatory language, specifically finds that the program misrepresented what CBS had been told by document examiners. It says, with respect to the interview with Robert Strong, that “virtually every excerpt used from the Lieutenant Strong interview was either inaccurate or misleading.” And it concludes that the Ben Barnes interview excerpts were “misleading.” These characterizations are at odds with the report's assurance that the problems with the report were due only to haste and competitive pressure.

He also digs into faint admissions of collaboration between Mary Mapes and the Kerry campaign:

In addition to Mapes's famous phone call to Joe Lockhart, asking him to talk to Bill Burkett, she had several conversations with Chad Clanton, who also worked for the Kerry campaign. Clanton told the panel that Mapes asked him what information the Kerry campaign had gotten from other reporters about the National Guard story, and also told him about the story she was working on for 60 Minutes.

And digs deeper…

First, it notes that early in the summer of 2004, Mapes wrote in an email that the program would air in September—a time usually devoted to reruns. At that time, the story had not yet coalesced; how could Mapes state with such assurance when it would run? Then, the program was moved at the last minute from late September to September 8. The Thornburgh panel attributes the haste with which the show was put together to this schedule change, but never asks why the change was made.

Since the DNC “Fortunate Son” campaign pitch started the day after the story was run, it's a little bit too coincidental for Hindrocket.

Read the whole thing…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Jan 10 2005 04:10 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

My Favorite CBS Panel Quote

From the report by the panel:

While the focus of the panel's investigation at the outset was on the Killian documents, the investigation quickly identified considerable and fundamental deficiencies relating to the reporting and production of the Sept. 8 segment and the statements and news reports during the aftermath. These problems were caused primarily by a myopic zeal to be the first news organization to broadcast what was believed to be a new story about President Bush's TexANG service, and the rigid and blind defense of the segment after it aired despite numerous indications of its shortcomings.
The most serious defects in the reporting and production of the Sept. 8 segment were:
  1. The failure to obtain clear authentication of any of the Killian documents from any document examiner;
  2. The false statement in the Sept. 8 segment that an expert had authenticated the Killian documents when all he had done was authenticate one signature from one document used in the segment;
  3. The failure of “60 Minutes Wednesday” management to scrutinize the publicly available, and at times controversial, background of the source of the documents, [Lt. Col. Burkett];
  4. The failure to find and interview the individual who was understood at the outset to be Lt. Col. Burkett's source of the Killian documents, and thus to establish the chain of custody;
  5. The failure to establish a basis for the statement in the segment that the documents “were taken from Col. Killian's personal files”;
  6. The failure to develop adequate corroboration to support the statements in the Killian documents and to carefully compare the Killian documents to official TexANG records;
  7. The failure to interview a range of former National Guardsmen who served with Lieutenant Colonel Killian and who had different perspectives about the documents;
  8. The misleading impression conveyed in the segment that Lt. Strong had authenticated the content of the documents when he did not have the personal knowledge to do so;
  9. The failure to have a vetting process capable of dealing effectively with the production speed, significance and sensitivity of the Segment; and
  10. The telephone call prior to the segment's airing by the producer of the Segment to a senior campaign official of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry—a clear conflict of interest—that created the appearance of a political bias.

So, while it doesn't allege that there was political bias, it does indicate that CBS employees should have made the effort not to appear biased in their reporting. If there's anything Bernard Goldberg should be more proud of, I can't think of it. His books Bias and Arrogance were all about the new media's inability to recognize that bias, or at least the appearance of it, was turning viewers off.

As James Taranto noted in today's OpinionJournal, they went so far as to even mention bias beyond the segment:

In fact, USA TODAY on September 9 published a similar story relying on the same Killian documents, but has not been as criticized for its story as CBS News has been for the September 8 Segment. The Panel recognizes that some will see this widespread media attention not as evidence that 60 Minutes Wednesday was not motivated by bias but instead proof that all of mainstream media has a liberal bias. That is a perception beyond the Panel's assignment.

They might not have had a mandate to look into it, but I'm sure the blogosphere, and maybe even CBS, will.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Jan 10 2005 01:14 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

CBS Fires Four Over Forged Memos

The big news on the radio this morning (I got to listen to KPAM for an hour and forty-five minutes on my commute in this morning) was CBS firing three executives and a producer over the Rathergate Memos. The blurb from the Wall Street Journal in my inbox this morning read thus:

CBS fired four employees—including “60 Minutes” producer Mary Mapes—after an independent investigation into a report about Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard found that “basic journalistic steps were not carried out in a manner consistent with accurate and fair reporting.”

This should read as a massive victory for the blogosphere. More later.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Jan 10 2005 08:37 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Give to the Tsunami Relief Fund

Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More


One benefit of getting involved with Amazon is that they can make it easier to promote helping those adversely affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and floods in Southeast Asia…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Jan 5 2005 06:56 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

I Didn't Disappear, My Dish Did

Yesterday the DirecTV guys came over to install a $49 PVR and look into my mysterious lack-of-satellite TV issue. They found a half-melted ground block which they though might have had a power surge (and we have had power outages), but my Internet connection was working, until they replaced the block. Now I don't get enough signal to connect. Argh!

I'm back at work now, so I connect from there, but the semester I have two online courses I suddenly have no online access!

Update: they might be back tomorrow with someone who knows how the dish works so they can diagnose. The original technicians didn't understand my multi-capable dish. After all, receiving a signal is a lot different than transmitting one.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Jan 4 2005 08:36 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Happy New Year

Hooray for 2005!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Saturday, Jan 1 2005 12:00 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Top Ten Privacy Resolutions For the New Year

The Electronic Privacy Information Center's “Top Ten Consumer Privacy Resolutions.” I'm particularly glad that EPIC provided information on opting out of pre-screened credit offers. I didn't realize I could do that.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Dec 28 2004 04:22 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Comments Restricted

Well, my posting linking to the Moveable Type 3.14 update drew the attention of comment spammers, who took advantage of the setting that allowed unregistered users to comment. Even so, nothing made it to the entries because of my use of MT-Blacklist. Still, I had to delete a bunch of comments.

As a result, comments are now restricted to registered Typepad users. I'd rather write blog entries than delete comments.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Dec 27 2004 10:58 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Tiger Woods

Christmas went pretty well around the Poulson Compound(tm). While we had our share of fighting due to exhausted kidlets, everyone seemed pretty happy. Misty is enjoying the idea of cruising, even though it's 11 months away from when we'll actually go. Ryan loves Jak 3. Alana seems to like her VideoNow. And I'm enjoying Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2005.

With one Playstation in the house, there's a little bit of contention for the unit… although it doesn't take too long until there's an extended time out for one infraction or another. Kids sure like to fight when they can't decide what to do.

Amazon.com links:


Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Dec 26 2004 11:43 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Lost a Cusp

So, today I went to the dentist to check on a cracked tooth. Turns out my “K” baby tooth had cracked the cusp and only my gums were holding it in. Quick removal and smoothing and when my regular dentist is back in town I will have to talk to her about whether it should be crowned or removed and replaced witha bridge or implant. It's kinda big for an implant, though. Baby molars aren't exactly small.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Dec 22 2004 12:22 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Barry's Birthday

Today is my Dad's birthday. I hope he survived the bankruptcy final.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Dec 22 2004 10:33 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

A Couple of Late-Night Updates

I have upgraded the blog to MoveableType 3.14, mostly to continue the war against comment spam. So far I have been only lightly attacked, but a denial-of-service (DOS) issue is certainly important for good relations with my host provider.

In addition I have updated the NRA courses page to the new style. Next on my list is the schools list but that requires content updates as well.

Someday I have to update the NWSAFE web site too. I'm really behind on that.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Dec 20 2004 11:46 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

(Police) Use of Force Update

Via the Volokh Conspiracy, we find that the Ninth Circuit continues to get reversed and this time it's on a Use of Force issue, albeit in the realm of police work.

For Brosseau v. Haugen,

According to the Court, the law separating excessive force from allowable force in this type of context is so fact-specific, and the cases so sparse, that the officer's conduct did not violate “clearly established law” as is required to strip an officer of qualified immunity.

For Devenpeck v. Alford,

In Devenpeck, the Court rejected a Ninth Circuit doctrine that required judicial review of probable cause for an arrest to consider only evidence known to the officer for offenses “closely related” to the offense that the officer named when he made the arrest. If an officer had evidence that the target had violated Crime A and unrelated Crime B, but when he made the arrest informed the suspect that he was being arrested for Crime A, the legality of the arrest could not be judged by considering the evidence that the officer had for Crime B. In a unanimous opinion by Justice Scalia, the Court did away with this doctrine on the ground that it was based too much on the subjective intent of the officer and had perverse consequences.

Since Justice Scalia did the writing, we'll see if he is as bad as Senator Reid seems to think, although most think of Reid as going after Justice Thomas.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Dec 15 2004 04:24 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Books For Vacation

Yesterday I mentioned books for next term, I forgot to mention I should be reading some books for vacation, too. I just finished the alternate history novel Gettysburg on my iPod (that Misty gave me for my birthday). I have started Grant Comes East although I don't like this narrator as much as the last one. I only listen to my iPod books in the car when I'm alone, or in the shower, though, so it's slow going.

As far as real books go, I have a couple of Harry Turtledove novels burning a hole in my bedstand, including Days of Infamy.

I doubt I'll be able to get far with them. I am happy, however, that I have Misty interested in Buffy the Vampire Slayer for our normal falling-asleep watching. I haven't watched past third season (and we've rapidly caught up on that) so I'll finally be able to crack open a few DVD sets I have past that. I haven't even purchased past season six, and I have none of the Angel series.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Dec 14 2004 10:42 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Scott Peterson Draws the Death Penalty

So, Scott has drawn the death penalty. I didn't really doubt it. With the attention this case has drawn I don't doubt that society wants to sent a message about being a psychopath. We don't like it. If you can't help it, we will help you by making you go away.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Dec 13 2004 05:02 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Argh! They Recalled My Durango!

Apparently my wheels can fall off. The other two recalls I've had for my beast involved simple things like windshield washer motors.

[My Dodge]

I haven't had a picture in a few days, so there she is, my Durango.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Dec 10 2004 09:18 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Alexander v Gordian Knot

With all this buzz about Alexander maybe you want to know how to make a Gordian Knot.

One should Alexander credit for being a famous person who solved problems by thinking outside the box. Pity the Gordian Knot didn't make it into the movie, not that I'm planning to see it when it's getting such horrible reviews.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Dec 3 2004 09:37 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

After Action Report

I've been missing for the past few days because I had some sort of stomach flu/gastritis problem that knocked me out. It's not that I couldn't get to the web and work if I tried, but I was doing rather poorly. It was far better for me to sleep (when I could) and not sit up too much. I haven't worn sweats this much in a really long time.

I lost about four pounds in three days. It's not water weight because that's about all I could keep down. I certainly have become reacquainted with Gatorade.

Even so, I'm at work now and already I am uncomfortable sitting up with jeans and a belt on.

What happened while I was gone? Well, I got back my grades for my two classes this past quarter. For MST 510, “Principles and Trends in Technology Management” I pulled an A- (mostly due to my first homework being a little wildly off the mark) and for MST 571, “Managerial and Financial Accounting for Science and Technology” I made a solid A.

Since I've never mentioned my current studies on this blog before, let me point out that I'm current a student in Management in Science & Technology program at OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering. Previous classes include MST 512 (A-), MST 513 (A), MST 531 (A-) and MST 590 (passed, 1 credit courses are pass/fail).

This coming quarter I'm taking MST 520, “Becoming an Effective Manager” which should be a reasonable capstone to my fifth year as a manager and MST 573, “Technology Marketing: Planning for Market.” By completing those two courses I will have met all the requirements for the Certificate in Management in Science and Technology although I am also in the degree program on the Managing in the Software Industries track. It will also mark the midpoint of my studies towards that degree.

What remains? After the Winter quarter I described, it's on to the higher level courses. The next quarter is for attacking MST 530 “Strategic Management and Planning” and MST 572 “Financial Management for Science and Technology”, the follow-on to the accounting course I just completed. After that it is track requirements, electives and at the very end MST 550, the Capstone Program, which involves developing a technology company business plan.

I do not expect difficulties from the remaining required course CSE 516 “Introduction to Software Engineering.” After all, this year I celebrate my twentieth year in the software industry. As far as electives go, I am still leaning towards MST classes instead of CSE classes. I have done the CSE track, somewhat, in my undergraduate years. In fact, in 1998 I took the database course that is listed as a possible elective, although I doubt I'll get credit for it. So what will my four electives be? I think MST 511 “Quality Management” and MST 574 “Going to Market: Delivering Value to Customers and Shareholders” will be important ones. The other two electives are still unchosen. I should chat with my advisor about them. One course not explicitly listed as an available elective is MST 523 “New Product Development” which many students and at least one professor have recommended.

At any rate, while my grades have not yet been posted, I expect I'll have 75.71 quality points at the end of the quarter, with 20 GPA hours, making my GPA 3.79. Not perfect, but I'll take it. Misty doesn't think GPA matters much in graduate work since few employers look at that. It does affect how my other academics go if I ever decide to do that. After all, my Dad retired and then went to law school (look for him in the masthead photograph wearing the white collared blue shirt).

Why am I doing this? Well, I am learning something from the experience, IBM is willing to invest in it for me, and it rounds out my stature a little. In fact, to progress at IBM it almost is necessary. I manage nearly 20 people, many of whom have graduate degrees. Looking back, it may have been better if I stayed at Widener University to finish my MS there (after all, it wasn't costing me anything), but it did help me a lot, career-wise, to get out of Philadelphia and into the private sector. That was almost ten years ago now. My, how things have changed.

This past weekend we had Thanksgiving Dinner with friends Katherine and Clarence and a host of kidlings. The day after Ryan became 5 and we had a rousing party at the Poulson Compound. To top off the weekend we found a decent Douglas Fir for a Christmas Tree, sentenced it to death and it is now standing proudly in the living room. We're keeping busy.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General, School” Thursday, Dec 2 2004 07:20 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Storm Drains of Japan

Via Anil Dash's blog we find a link to the G-Cans Project and an amazing set of photographs of a storm drain system in Japan. As Anil points out, whoever designed it must have also designed Quake levels.

Also, they are huge. They must have a lot of run-off in monsoon season.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Nov 24 2004 07:30 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Happy Birthday to Me

Yes, I'm 36 today.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Saturday, Nov 20 2004 08:28 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

More On Law Reviews

Via The Volokh Conspiracy we find a link to a Legal Affairs debate over notoriously student-run Law Reviews: “Are Law Reviews Really Rubbish?” Judge Richard A. Posner debates law clerk and former articles committee chair of the Harvard Law Review Randy Kozel.

Excerpts:

Kozel: First, I don't think things are quite so bad at student-edited journals. Second, with respect to the problems that do exist, I'm not sure that student editing is the cause, or that faculty editing is the cure.

And,

Kozel: At my law review, we conducted our own time-intensive analysis of each article's arguments and contribution to the existing literature, but we also never accepted an article for publication without sending it for comment to a few scholars in the relevant field.

Some of the response:

Posner: I agree that showing a submitted article to a faculty member for advice on whether to publish—a gesture in the direction of peer reviewing—is an excellent idea. My impression is that it is done rarely.

This should be interesting.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Nov 15 2004 02:56 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Marine Corps Birthday

Captain's Quarters and others have reminded us that it's the Marine Corps Birthday. As Wendell Joost (of evilscoutmaster.com reminds us, you will need some important ingredients to celebrate the day:

Happy 229th Birthday, Marines!
Here is the critical information that you will need this evening.
General Jejeune's Message
Message from the Commandant
1775 Rum Punch
4 parts Dark Rum
2 parts Lime Juice
1 part Pure Maple Syrup
Add Grenadine to taste.

Dave Ries, one of the Marines I have known, died in Fallujah yesterday. The Marine Corps birthday will always be both a proud and humbling day.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Nov 10 2004 12:24 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

I Gotta Have One

When you have a nearly-5-year-old boy, you can get away with buying all sorts of weird stuff.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Nov 9 2004 12:34 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

A Law Professor Buys a New Car

Alt Althouse is buying a new car. She loves to drive cross-country and looking for recommendations between the Audi TT Coupe and the Corvette Coupe. However, I don't like either one. I'd prefer the AWD Chrysler 300C… Heck, it's cheaper than the other two options, shares some Mercedes characteristics in its construction, has a decent powerplant, and has a version of the Mercedes 4Matic (supposedly) when it's released later this year.

Her poll doesn't let me pick that nor post a comment, but I'll send her an email.

Update: She thinks the 300C is ugly!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Nov 8 2004 08:54 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

October 30 ASLET Update

Over at ASLET Updates we find a new entry from October 25.

Contrary to what a reasonable member would believe, the emergency meeting was not called to discuss the missing financial records that have apparently been removed from the ASLET Office, but rather to discuss what title the new “Operations Manager” should have! Believe it or not, this was the board’s priority!

This was indeed what I was not expecting after all the resignations and the installment of Bob Bragg at Chairman and Phil Messina as Treasurer. However, there remain board members that appear to be involved in the disaster that has damaged the society, and the next meeting is on November 2nd.

Phil told me straight out that although some board members are encouraging others to paint a rosy picture, the plain truth was this: judging from the available financial records only, the odds were very small that the seminar would come off as planned, without dipping into the Endowment Fund money, because there apparently was very little planning regarding the seminar as Hackett and others were apparently busy planning their exodus instead.
He did say that he thought with Nancy Moser, Gwen McEntire and Toni Miller working their butts off to help pull things together that there was better than a 50/50 chance there would be a seminar, and if it happened all the credit should go to them.

I re-upped my membership with ASLET after Hackett resigned, but I have not yet seen any indication of my membership returning. I assume that the mass resignations have interfered with operations somewhat. I'd rather hear about how the board encouraged the operations manager, whatever his title, to conduct operations.

I think I might have to make plans to attend the upcoming seminar. It may be the last one.

From the beginning of the Treasurer's report:

Records detailing charges made on ASLET credit cards, and reimbursements made for significant expenses charged to personal credit cards, were not found during my inspection of the ASLET office.

An important point on the cash balance:

I strongly emphasize that the current operating bills (those that we discovered) and a secret payment plan to Reed Smith made by Frank Hackett appear to exceed ASLET's non-Endowment fund cash balance.

And the bottom line:

In conclusion, it appears that the large “bills” paid in the last few months of Frank Hackett's control left ASLET with nearly no operating funds in the non-Endowment Fund accounts.

I've offered Bob and Phil my help but I don't think there's much I can do.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Saturday, Oct 30 2004 08:17 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Incredibles v Trial Lawyers?

overlawyered.com has a sneak peak at The Incredibles. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

The new movie's hero, Bob Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible, after all, has been driven into middle-aged retirement and the Superhero Relocation Program by a flood of lawsuits brought by personal-injury lawyers representing people Mr. Incredible has saved but who later complain of things like neck problems.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Oct 25 2004 07:30 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Posner on Law Reviews

Richard Posner comments on law reviews:

…in other academic fields, except law, the most prestigious journals are edited by seasoned specialists, usually professors, who have had years of experience both as editors and as scholars in the field covered by the journal.

Brian Leiter, commenting on the above article, goes on to say

…the best interdisciplinary work now appears in one of the proliferating faculty-edited journals. The “elite” law reviews are largely left with the dross: mostly bad interdisciplinary work (some good stuff at the law schools where the law reviews consult the faculty), and an occasional useful article in constitutional law or some doctrinal topic vexing the courts. Is this really worth consuming hundreds of thousands of hours of time of the nation's best law students? Hardly.

I will urge my father, on the Ave Maria School of Law Law Review to contemplate a response.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Oct 24 2004 05:22 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Harry Potter, in Latin and Ancient Greek

OpinionJournal points out the curious translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone into Latin and Ancient Greek. As someone who took two years of Latin in High School, and learned more English in the process than he did in English class, I find it amusing. I doubt I remember even the barest amount necessary to read the book.

I also find it amusing that they don't know what's driving the decision:

For his part, Andrew Wilson, the retired British secondary-school teacher who translated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (as the first Harry Potter book is titled outside the U.S.) into the language of Plato for Bloomsbury, wouldn't be surprised if J.K. Rowling, the author of the best-selling series, was behind the decision to translate it into Ancient Greek, a language so dead that modern Greeks are fond of saying of it, “It's Greek to us!”

J.K. Rowling is now one of the most affluent people in England, and I wouldn't doubt she would spend money on things that were not immediately profitable. However, as a gag gift such books may be popular after all.

Mr. Wilson, the Potter translator, is no stranger to this objection; he's been asked more than once by sniffy fellow classicists why he would bother with such a frivolous project. His answer is as refreshing as it has been, by his account, effective in silencing the critics. “I did it for the money,” he announces cheerfully. That's an answer that makes sense in any language.

So, this Christmas, keep an eye out for Hareios Poter Kai he tou Philosophou Lithos and Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis, in hard back, at $15 each.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Oct 21 2004 10:10 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Thinkpad T42 will Include Fingerprint Scanner

From Gizmodo, known for letting us know about new gadgets, they report that the IBM Thinkpad T42 will include the first fingerprint scanner biometric security device in a laptop.

It would be a nice feature if it's really secure and it gets me past all these passwords I have to store in Password Safe and Mozilla's Password Manager.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Oct 1 2004 08:24 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Changing Star Wars, Again

While I'm still waiting for my pre-ordered Star Wars DVDs to arrive from amazon.com I have been looking around on the web to see how the DVDs turned out. I ran across this story at CNN about changes Lucas made to the movies, again, since the special editions. A visual comparison appears here a the Digital Bits.

I wasn't pleased with the special editions, especially the infamous “Greedo shot first” problem, so I'm pleased to see that some of the more hinky computer generated images (CGI) changes were improved and that Greedo and Han shot a little more simultaneously. Little touches like Imperial fonts instead of English and redoing the rotoscoping job on the light sabers are nice too. Tweaking some of the characters so they merge smoothly with the prequel trilogy is fine, too, like a minor voice change for Boba Fett.

However, big changes like having Anakin Skywalker played by Hayden Christensen in the finale of Return of the Jedi may indeed be hard to take. I'm also less fond of the Han and Jabba chat in the new version of the original movie. I'm extremely less fond of the enhanced explosion of the Death Star.

Other items I'll have to comment on when I see or hear them, like this comment from the review at the Digital Bits:

There is, however, one change I can't stomach, and it has to do with the music. During the first part of the Death Star battle at the end of the film, John Williams' score has been reduced in prominence in the sound mix. This is particularly obvious right as the X-Wings make their dive down to the surface to begin the attack—the familiar “Force Theme” trumpet fanfare is now almost inaudible. Lucasfilm says this was a deliberate creative decision and I absolutely hate it. Ah well... seems like there's always something to dislike when George tinkers with these films.

The third film has always been weakest for me, maybe because I got older and didn't like the cuteness or maybe because the ending fell flat for me. However, it looks like I will like the changes to have Hayden there even less. The prequel trilogy has been a must-see for me, of course, but has not been as compelling as that summer in 1977 that redefined a genre in Hollywood.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Sep 22 2004 12:40 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

September 21 ASLET Update

The folks over at ASLET Updates have posted a pretty damning quote allegedly from ASLET Secretary Tim Dee's web site although I couldn't find it there:

Even with the insurance coverage, ASLET has had to pay out huge amounts in legal costs. To date, legal fees have amounted to the neighborhood of $250,000. This is money that could have been much better used to further ASLET's organizational goals. Instead, it boosts the bottom lines of legal firms that will endure whether ASLET survives or not.

Why is this damning? Because the audited financial reports of the society do not list any legal fees paid out. If there is a quarter million dollars spent on something, I'd expect to see it in the books. If someone else is owned this money and it hasn't been paid out, it should still show in accounts payable.

Coupled with the large number of resignations coming out of ASLET (3 board members, various paid staff), lack of notice of a general meeting, no data about next year's conference, etc. if there is a cash flow problem at ASLET the members need to know about it soon.

However, I'm not a member. I did not renew after Frank Hackett interfered with and derailed the proper operation of the Bylaws Committee (of which I am still a member until I am removed).

I'll just keep reading up on my parliamentary procedure... but what I have been reading just boils my blood. I have come across principles like, “All meetings must be characterized by fairness and good faith,” and “Trickery, overemphasis on minor technicalities, dilatory tactics, indulgence in personalities, and railroading threaten the spirit and practice of fairness and good faith.” Over the years I have seen good people run over by those who do not espouse such common sense.

(In my time on the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party of Oregon I got famous for my minority opinion on a ruling on dilatory procedures... although not as famous as some of my bi-partisan bylaw reforms that actually passed by majority vote.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Sep 21 2004 11:03 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

September 14th ASLET Update

Via ASLET Updates we find the interesting theory that Executive Director Frank Hackett may be running the organization out of money before he can be fired so that the demise of the organization can be blamed on those that follow. Golly, that sounds familiar.

For what it's worth, I'll volunteer for an audit committee when the time comes but I'm by no means a CPA.

As it is, I did volunteer to be on the nominating committee at ASLET, but Tim Dees doesn't like the fact that I'm no longer a member.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Sep 14 2004 03:40 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

September 8th ASLET Update

On August 12, 2004 I posted an update on the ASLET situation. As a piece of review, I am on the Bylaws committee of this flailing organization. My posting drew an acerbic comment from Bob Smith, who appears to have loyalties to one of the factions. I will admit that I find Phil Messina's criticisms of the organization to be particularly compelling, and I don't like seeing evidence of ethical breaches in a police trainer's organization.

Phil welcomed an opportunity to respond to Bob Smith's comments, which we'll get to in a second.

ASLET itself is heading for trouble because it's board is not fully constituted of elected members, as two are missing. The best way to fix this problem, in my opinion, is a mail ballot to cover the period until the next election, but the bylaws are silent on this issue. (I happen to recall mentioning that the bylaws are somewhat insufficient.)

Also, it appears ASLET is on the hook to hold an election for it's entire board since it has not, to date, had a fully-legal election of its board since its inception. Delaware law being particularly sticky on this point. I recall that the Bylaws committee wished to correct this problem until it was deflected from it by Frank Hackett starting to call its meetings and direct its agenda.

Here's Phil's reply to Bob Smith's comments

It appears Mr. Smith has a lot of information about ASLET'S insurance that could only come from the ASLET Board.
I wish the board was that forthcoming with all its members?

Indeed, getting information about ASLET's finances has been rather difficult.

While it is true that I do enjoy substantial support from current and former ASLET members (being one of ASLET'S highest all time recruiters) it is also true that only a very small percentage of ASLET'S members have any connection to Modern Warrior whatsoever. However, it appears that some of the ASLET board members are so arrogant they would rather believe that anyone that doesn't agree with them must be brainwashed by Modern Warrior than think they might possibly just be wrong.

I, for example, have never been to Modern Warrior to take any classes. I happen to live on the opposite side of the country. I've watched one of their videos at Firearms Academy of Seattle related to a class Mas Ayoob taught.

Those that do support me either in part or as a whole do so because they have in some way experienced the ASLET Office or ASLET Board's unresponsiveness in answering even the simplest of their questions, and they know that I will at least do my best to keep them informed of what the board is doing both in front of them and behind their backs.
The fact that ASLET is now rushing headlong toward bankruptcy has very little to do with litigation, most of which has been covered by insurance. In fact, the only cases that were not covered were those seeking corporate records, not financial damages.
I have no control over the fact that certain ASLET members have decided to use hundreds of thousands of corporate dollars to try to prevent me from running against them rather than to simply lobby to have members not vote for me in the next election.

In fact, it seems that using corporation funds to stave off lawsuits relating to the actions of individual board members is unethical to me. However, I'm one of those stodgy people that believes board members are duty-bound to work in the best interests of the membership and not themselves. Conflict of interest problems seem to infest the boards that I observe directly.

And despite the fact that the board has already had to admit that they have removed me as a director unlawfully on two separate occasions only to have to reinstate me, and have barred me from the ASLET Seminar unlawfully only to have to reimburse me, they still insist on continuing a policy of first breaking the law and then claiming that they didn't know any better or received bad advice after they've done as much damage as possible.
Now there is a new election coming up, ASLET'S impending financial insolvency can't be hidden any longer with dubious bookkeeping and the entire board has to run for office as I informed the membership before the last election.

This new election is key to returning ASLET to legal operation.

Because they now realize that the path toward bankruptcy, which started the very first year Frank Hackett took over as Executive Director (with immediate losses in annual net revenues) can't be avoided as long as he stays in that position, they have now turned their efforts toward looking for scapegoats as they try to move toward the lower decks of the Titanic, so they don't get chosen to stay with the band as the ship goes down.
The bottom line here is that Frank Hackett was never qualified to run ASLET anywhere but into the ground, and the board members who selected him never did their "due diligence" or they would have discovered it immediately.

Frank Hackett's insistence on using cost accounting instead of accrual-based accounting was my first indicator that there was something severely wrong with how the organization was being handled. Cost accounting (or, basically, accounting that's based on summarizing cash flows) misses a lot of events that are important to painting an accurate financial picture. It misses important information on the timing of receivables and payables.

In fact, gaming the timing of receivables and payables is a way to paint a rosier picture of an organization, but such practices don't last forever. You cannot defer unpaid expenses to the next quarter forever. What happens is that the size of those unpaid expenses snowballs and eventually the organization defaults on a particularly large debt to an important creditor.

Now they are in cover up mode and are looking for excuses as why they have failed, rather than expending those energies trying to avert the financial disaster heading their way.

I think this is an impossible task unless they hope the organization goes completely bankrupt before they are called to task. Members of bankrupt organizations are typically not motivated to throw good money after bad.

ASLET is in serious financial trouble and only a new board that is willing to take the issues head on can fix it. Cosmetic surgery to make the membership look bigger than it is or to fill the upcoming seminar with bodies or simply inflate the numbers with spin or out and out fabrications won't save it.

Blaming the troubles on lawsuits is a sucker bet, too, if those lawsuits turn out to be based on real problems. However, by then the organization will be gone and the members will have long since given up trying to obtain value from it.

At the rate it is going, some time next year ASLET will be forced to use its endowment fund money just to pay its operating expenses, and once it reaches that point the board might as well vote to dissolve the corporation, because it will already have failed miserably in fulfilling its promised mission.

Any board member that allows this to happen will be in breach of their duty to the organization, as well. While the organization doesn't pay board members (although it does pay Hackett) they are elected representatives of the membership and owe it to the membership to do a good job.

Although I would like to see ASLET saved, with financial documents still being withheld it is impossible for me to know if the incoming board can even take office and get things moving in right direction before the vultures are flying overhead.

One of the lawsuits turns on the fact that witholding financial information from board members is a violation of the bylaws and Delaware state law.

Of course that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
Respectfully
Phil Messina
ASLET, Board Member.

That's the extent of Phil's reply.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Sep 8 2004 10:40 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Wendell Marries Hobbit

kiss under swordsWendell Joost, a friend of mine for the last few years on the Pacific Northwest firearms training circuit, got married yesterday. I manged to be there with a camera. While we have a large quantity of raw pictures I'm not comfortable sharing them until we have cleaned them up a little. I did send Wendell the URL so you can harass him when he's back from the honeymoon. Click the thumbnail to the left for a larger image.

Wendell has been my Master Training Counselor since 2000 when I came up to Seattle for my instructor training in Pistol and Personal Protection and when I became a Training Counselor myself. We have collaborated on instructor training (and even TC training) in Oregon, Washington and even Montana.

kiss under swordsWendell and Hobbit have both been active with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. While Girl Scouts can go after any merit badge a Boy Scout can get, with their local council approval, we haven't seen a lot at our Rifle Merit Badge extravaganzas. Even so, they have set up evilscoutmaster.com.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General, Pictures” Sunday, Aug 22 2004 09:14 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

August 12 ASLET Update

Phil Messina over at ASLET Updates has posted another list of complaints against ASLET Executive Director Frank Hackett. Not only has Frank done such things as misrepresent his education and background (he had a phony Ph.D.) but he's also managed to run the organization into the ground. The entire issue started with shoddy background checks of members after September 11, 2001, but has ballooned since then.

The organization continues to lose ground and try desperate tactics to get money and to stave off Director Phil Messina's honest inquiries into the elections of the organization. I tried to fix some of the problems that were found by joining the Bylaws Committee, however our efforts were cut off by Mr. Hackett.

A lot of people have given up on ASLET and have gone over to ILEETA. I have let my ASLET membership lapse and joined ILEETA as a Charter Member myself.

I need to get Phil a real blog tool instead of his manual updates. He can then spend more time digging up information than fiddling with his posts.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Aug 18 2004 10:07 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness

For your consideration, The Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness.

My favorites include this one, this one, and this one.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Aug 17 2004 09:05 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Mark W. Rizzo Is Not an FBI Agent

Making its rounds through the various law enforcement training mailing lists I read, we get this odd story. One would have to be pretty crazy to impersonate an FBI agent at a conference, but Mark W. Rizzo tried it. Amazingly he signed up to teach eight different courses at the 2004 Seventh International Gang Specialist Training Conference in Chicago, IL. The good news is that they already took his name off the roster.

Freedom Flyer Ministries still lists Rizzo as their CEO. However, they don't claim he is an FBI agent. Rizzo's last posting to the web site is from 2003.

Other security-related organizations have picked up this story.

Update: This article gives Rizzo points to a laundry list of qualifications which turn out not to be real:

"... field representative for the American Jail Association... Board Member of the International Association of Ethics Trainers... served as a Deputy Sheriff in Pennsylvania... Administrative Aide for the Cook County Sheriff in Chicago... teaches Criminal Justice and Behavioral Science as an adjunct professor at several colleges, various police training institutions, and the National F.B.I. Academy... B.A. in Theology, M.S. in Criminal Justice, and Juris doctorate... certified trainer with the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers."

That list can be refound here even though it was deleted from the original website thanks to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

What we don't know is what really happened at the conference other than a visit by undercover investigators:

Prosecutors said Rizzo represented himself as an instructor at the FBI's Training Academy in Quantico, Va., and as a member of the FBI's National Academy. FBI officials say Rizzo has never worked for the FBI nor has he attended the academy.
He was scheduled to teach eight courses at the conference from Wednesday through Friday. Police officers from all over the world attend the conference for training and expert seminars on gangs.
When two undercover agents dressed up as husband and wife to meet Rizzo at the convention this week, he told the male agent that he "dresses more like the FBI than I do." Rizzo reportedly made reference to a firearm and badge that he left in his hotel room and said he worked for the FBI in the Behavioral Science Unit. After the FBI agents identified themselves, they said, he told them: "I lied, I don't work for the FBI."
Rizzo later told U.S. Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow that he didn't have any law enforcement credentials, "valid or invalid," but he was ordered to turn in all such identification.

I'm not willing to believe that Rizzo is a good sort but still he wasn't really trying to bust his way into the conference to cause problems. Rizzo just seems to be a motivated person trying to push the importance of chaplains to police organizations. He may have a point. He might not. His message will now be obscured by this arrest.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Aug 16 2004 05:12 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

"Never Fly Again"

Barry contributes the article about the man that inspired Steven Spielberg's movie, The Terminal.

Josh's comments: I can't imagine what it would be like to live in an airport for sixteen years. I have a hard enough time tolerating a two hour layover. It's better now that there are T-mobile hotspots in many airports and I don't travel all that often. Frankly, I consider a lot of the security precautions invasive and undignified. I'd love to support the idea of an "expert pre-cleared traveller" to get around such things if it wasn't something that would immediately be abused by those who want to kill us.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Aug 16 2004 11:52 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Adultery Not Enough for Divorce?

Misty contributes this article about a divorce case where the husband cheated but the wife resumed conjugal relations after she learned about the affair. The judge ruled the resumption of activities as forgiveness and therefore the affair was not grounds for a divorce.

Josh's comments: Seems to me that someone who cheats on their spouse would be involved in other activities that would sever a marriage, so I wonder if the wife looked hard enough for reasons.

On the other hand, liberationists who justify promiscuity by claming that sex and love are disjoint should be conflicted by this decision. The judge basically insists that the wife must still be in love because she continues to have sex with him. Since liberationists prefer consequence-free activity that should both laud the husband's victory, but also decry the link between sex, love, and marriage.

We shall see if Tammy Bruce, the author of The Death of Right and Wrong, picks up this story. She loves to skewer the "malignant narcissists" when it comes to the consequences of their extreme positions.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Aug 16 2004 11:07 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Thanks for the Portrait, John

John McEnroe came over to do a portrait for my NRA BOD application. He also did my wedding photos. My favorites: one, two, and three. He also ministered the wedding in the first place. Kind of a one-stop shop.

You can find John at the Tugboat Brewpub during most weeknights, tending bar.

Surely I should point out my own pictures of John aren't as good:
John McEnroe

John McEnroe

My best picture of John (and Dan Sweet) was this one:
Dan Sweet and John McEnroe

Compare all of those to his portrait:
John McEnroe

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Aug 15 2004 09:39 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Refreshing Headlines

Wired writes, "More Big Boobs in Playboy."

Perhaps it would be better to say, "Google Goofs, SEC Agog, Readers Gape."

Kottke has the interview online.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Aug 13 2004 02:20 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Advice about Law School from Those Who Are In It

Check out Blawg Wisdom.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Aug 8 2004 08:56 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

 

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