Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where's The State Certificate?

Now that Obama has released his birth certificate, I wonder how long it will take the birthers to begin questioning the Statehood of Hawaii. My guess: tomorrow, though we won't hear about it for a month, when their inane blathering reaches critical mass for news media.

As for the answer, they should ask Dan Quayle.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Naturally Accumulated Biological Energy Repositories: The Future of Energy

Life has existed on Earth for more than a billion years. During that time, many life forms accumulated energy and died. As time went on, they were buried underground and compressed by the earth, forming, literally, organic energy sources, born straight from life itself. These Naturally Accumulated Biological Energy Repositories, or NABERs, are widespread, many remaining untapped throughout the world.

This sounds bizzare, but with a simple, exothermic oxidation process, energy can be extracted from NABERs. The results are nothing worse than what emerges from typical biological processes.

A NABER reactor is safer than a nuclear reactor, as it lacks the possibility of a meltdown. It is less tacky than a wind turbine and requires less space than solar power. Additionally, there are nearly 3 yottajoules of NABERs available worldwide--that is 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules, so we'll clearly never run out.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

IDLE is Awful

When I first started working in Python, I used the built-in interpreter on the Mac. I was working in an astronomy lab at the time as an undergrad. For editing, I used the built-in text editor, TexTedit or whatever, and would run the Python scripts in a terminal window. They ran smoothly, and all was well.

When I started using Python at home, I started using Python for Windows. With it comes "IDLE (Python GUI)." It seemed nice enough at first, and I used it for a while.

It's only in retrospect that I can see that it was downright awful. The interface felt buggy. It forced upon me that four space shit--I know it's the convention; I don't care. Tabbing in any other text editor produces a tab, not four spaces. As a result of the "convention," the four spaces locked me into IDLE and made transitioning to any other editor difficult.

I'd had enough when I started testing applications that used Pygame. Nearly everytime I ran them, the editor would freeze and crash. Having to restart IDLE everytime I wanted to test my code made me very diligent about debugging but grow very distasteful of Python.

What brought me back? I had an idea for something, didn't want to write it in Java, and, although Lisp curious, didn't want to start on a new language. I wanted to prototype this thing, quickly.

Without IDLE, I happily exist on a crossbreed between VIM and command prompt. I know I could probably run my scripts right out of VIM with some hacky scripting wizardry--I don't care. I like my "IDE." My console window is a real console. My editor is my editor. They don't need to touch.

IDLE's so bad, it hurts Python and programming in general. When the IDE goes bad, new programmers blame programming. Programmers new to Python blame Python, even if subconsciously. I was all about programming in Python--after fighting with IDLE for a month, I stopped the project I was on all together. With IDLE being the most easily available approach to programming in Python on a Windows PC, can't something better be made available?

Of course, to use something better than Windows would be the first step.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


As long as I can remember, and long before that, people have been pushing products to magically reduce people's weight. They come in all sorts of forms--tapeworms, pills, exercise gizmos. They all swear they'll make weight loss easy and flawless while rattling off a list of quasi-technical jargon to validate their claims.

People must buy these things; otherwise, no one would keep making new ones. Do these consumers ever step back, look at the whole set of them, and think "hmm, if this last claim to easy weight loss didn't work out, is there any particular reason for this one to be different?" Other than catching up with the latest fads in marketing and design, the new varies little from the old.

Maybe, people think they'll be the exception this time. "Sure, that last weight loss drug was potentially lethal; this one, I doubt it." In fact, many people seem to think that almost all the time, and not just when contemplating which fat burner to buy. "If I speed, I'll get away with it because I'm special." Then, it's the cop's fault when they end up with a ticket.

Everyone lives in the best country in the world. They also practice the best religion in the world, which is different from all the others because it is theirs, and their religion must be right because all the other religions are wrong. After all, when they read from the Holy Book, they have tears in their eyes. That other Holy Book is a bunch of choppy, poorly-translated joke language. If it were a good religion, it would have been translated well into--or written originally in--their language, the best language.

Of course, because I'm aware that I'm not an exception, that makes me an exception and better than all the people who aren't exceptions. The smugness I feel is legitimate, unlike the smugness of all those other people, which is just unexceptional smugness.