John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica



 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Monday, April 05, 2004
Chomsky blog


check out some Chomsky DVDs

Last month, you might have heard me ranting about the media.  I mentioned the Chomsky work, Manufacturing Consent, to give you some clue behind the topic I was talking about, or why I was ranting about it. 

( Now just FYI, I have some handy-fucking-dandy access to Amazon stuff, so I'm going to use it to serve up grafix here from time to time.  Mainly because if I continue creating my own grafix for all of Thunderstorms' blog entries and store them on the server my friend, Hygelic, provides for me, I'd quickly create a file space and bandwidth monster there.  So, get used to the idea that I've partially solved that problem by creating an account with Amazon and also with deviantART. )

Back to Chomsky.  I recently read on diepunyhumans that someone is helping Chomsky do his own blog over on Zmag.  Pretty friggin' cool.  Zmag hosts the Chomsky Archives.  Go check out Noam Chomsky's blog, Turning The Tide.  It just started with some entries this past week.

[mini-rant]
It may be educational for your friends that base all their thinking on world events from what the talking heads on their nightly news serve up like super-sized fast food portions of mind-numbing propaganda.

Especially since your idea of the situation in Iraq may be culled from the soothing sound-byte McNuggets from the Bush administration and you're not likely to see images of the latest shit hitting the fan from Iraq when U.S. forces go after the locally popular (but decidely anti-american) Shiite cleric, Sadr.

Why the hell not?  We stepped on our dick going into Iraq in the first place, so let's just stay the course.  Who next to hate us?  Wahabbi, check.  Suni,  check.  Now, Shiite.  Double-check.  The Kurds are left ... until civil war erupts full-scale in Iraq and we have to choose between backing Turkey or the Kurds in northern Iraq. 

Ah well ... you go, Dubya!  No, really ... just go ... back to Kennebunkport*.
[/mini-rant]

*Crawford isn't funny.  Back to KenneBUNKport is.

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Friday, April 02, 2004
Fraggin' Friday: Q3A - Trem and Karith Station


Godmil's Karith Station - Click for larger image!
 
This week's Fraggin' Friday is more of a preview than a review.
I wanted to get a hold of the very promising Q3mod
Tremulous, but I haven't had an IRC client installed since the time when many us used to brag about how low our MIRC IDs were before MIRC was bought by AOL and there followed 40 million friggin' MIRC users.  The Trem game has not officially been released yet, but some of my insomniacal late-night browsing has shown that this up-and-coming Q3mod may just take the gaming community by surprise.  A very talented group of developers have been working on this idea for some time now, and Tremulous is a name you'll likely hear bounced around the net this year.

For those of you not familiar with what a Q3mod even is, visit the official Tremulous site and read the About Section.  After that, another good site to get the idea about Trem is Tremulous Digest by one of the developers, Timbo.  He has a few screenshots organized into groups for you to check out.  If you want to see the idea of Trem and the work these guys have put into it evolve before your very eyes, check out the huge collection of Trem screenshots on their official site.

Bleh!   Click to view larger image

Shown here are just two thumbnails of screenshots I took while wandering around a Tremulous betamap by Godmil, called Karith Station.  Another developer, Jex, is doing some work on Trem weapons.  Jex recently released an excellent Q3 map called Eulogy, for which I just posted a player review here and on ..::LvL.  It was my admiration for Eulogy which lead me to look at the Tremulous Q3mod.  While I can not give you a player review for Godmil's betamap Karith Station because it would be ridiculous to review it out of context with the game mod it is for, I can say it looks promising and is very well done.  I liked the details, such as the Trem soda machine (shown) and the broken flourescent light fixture that swings back and forth from the ceiling.  Like I said, this is more of a preview of things to come, instead of a review of a map done.

I encourage you to follow some of the links I provided here and bookmark them for future fraggin' reference!


more quake map reviews


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Thursday, April 01, 2004
Alabama Changes the Value of Pi to be just 3


Even YOU are smart enough to play this

The Associalized Press

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned & infuriated after the Alabama state legislature narrowly passed a law yesterday  redefining pi, a mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry.   The bill to change the value of pi to exactly three   was introduced without fanfare by Leonard Lee Lawson (R, Crossville), and rapidly gained support after a letter-writing campaign by members of the Solomon Society, a traditional values group. Governor Guy Hunt says he will sign it into law on Wednesday.

The law took the state's engineering community by surprise. "It would have been nice if they had consulted with someone who actually uses pi," said Marshall Bergman, a manager at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. According to Bergman, pi (p) is a Greek letter that signifies the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is often used by engineers to calculate missile trajectories.

Prof. Kim Johanson, a mathematician from University of Alabama, said that pi is a universal constant, and cannot arbitrarily be changed by lawmakers. Johanson explained that pi is an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits after the decimal point and can never be known exactly. Nevertheless, she said, pi is precisely defined by mathematics to be "3.14159, plus as many more digits as you have time to calculate".

"I think that it is the mathematicians that are being irrational, and it is time for them to admit it," said Lawson. "The Bible very clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the altar font of Solomon's Temple was ten cubits across and thirty cubits in diameter, and that it was round in compass."

Lawson called into question the usefulness of any number that cannot be calculated exactly, and suggested that never knowing the exact answer could harm students' self-esteem. "We need to return to some absolutes in our society," he said, "the Bible does not say that the font was thirty-something cubits. Plain reading says thirty cubits. Period."

Science supports Lawson, explains Russell Humbleys, a propulsion technician at the Marshall Spaceflight Center who testified in support of the bill before the legislature in Montgomery on Monday. "Pi is merely an artifact of Euclidean geometry." Humbleys is working on a theory which he says will prove that pi is determined by the geometry of three-dimensional space, which is assumed by physicists to be "isotropic", or the same in all directions.

"There are other geometries, and pi is different in every one of them," says Humbleys. Scientists have arbitrarily assumed that space is Euclidean, he says. He points out that a circle drawn on a spherical surface has a different value for the ratio of circumference to diameter. "Anyone with a compass, flexible ruler, and globe can see for themselves," suggests Humbleys, "its not exactly rocket science."

Roger Learned, a Solomon Society member who was in Montgomery to support the bill, agrees. He said that pi is nothing more than an assumption by the mathematicians and engineers who were there to argue against the bill. "These nabobs waltzed into the capital with an arrogance that was breathtaking," Learned said. "Their prefatorial deficit resulted in a polemical stance at absolute contraposition to the legislature's puissance."

Some education experts believe that the legislation will affect the way math is taught to Alabama's children. One member of the state school board, Lily Ponja, is anxious to get the new value of pi into the state's math textbooks, but thinks that the old value should be retained as an alternative. She said, "As far as I am concerned, the value of pi is only a theory, and we should be open to all interpretations." She looks forward to students having the freedom to decide for themselves what value pi should have.

Robert S. Dietz, a professor at Arizona State University who has followed the controversy, wrote that this is not the first time a state legislature has attempted to redefine the value of pi. A legislator in the state of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to have that state set the value of pi to three. According to Dietz, the lawmaker was exasperated by the calculations of a mathematician who carried pi to four hundred decimal places and still could not achieve a rational number.

Many experts are warning that this is just the beginning of a national battle over pi between traditional values supporters and the technical elite. Solomon Society member Lawson agrees. "We just want to return pi to its traditional value," he said, "which, according to the Bible, is three."


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Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Amazon search engine


HFD

I started using Amazon search recently.  A GAH-zillion things are there.  For some reason, it's sometimes easier to find the author of a book, or DVD movie title, or some such thing quicker on Amazon than it is wading through hits on Google lately.  Especially so, if I just want to put a link to refer to something tangible but I don't want to  spend a long time sifting through every friggin' mention of the term "Ensign Wesley Crusher" on 10,000 pencil-necked geek's fan sites to point to STNG as a passing reference.

I can't put the inputtable search engine form in this blog entry due to the way blogdrive formats their pages, or their java script editor or something.  So just for me, I stuck it on the left side panel so I can use it like I do alot of links over there -- as my personal open-a-new-browser-window-and-don't-lose-my-train of-thought-in-the-other-four-open-browser-windows thing.

And then I thought about it.  You guys buy all kinds of stuff anyway.  When you are looking for your stuff, use the HFD search here, and buy it on sale at Amazon.  That way, you get your stuff and I might get a few nickels thrown my way for helping you find your stuff.

A house. A place to put your stuff, man. - George Carlin.


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Monday, March 29, 2004
dA Nah'lins pix


 red sauce

I started to upload some pix over on Morphine Dreams @ deviantArt.  Here is red sauce, taken while in the French Quarter in Nah'lins in a galaxy far, far away.  Not that Nah'lins is very distant actually, but I've lost those sunglasses and that beard.  Oh, and the girlfriend whose jean jacket is laying on the empty chair is long gone but I still have the Red Wings jersey.

Those two pix were already scanned in.  I just re-sized/reformatted them as friendly downloadable .jpg files.  Now I just have to decide what set of pix to tackle next.  Once I get things rolling, I'll have better URLs to give you because the dA site lets you set up a certain amount of organization in your galleriesThen, you won't have to look at my infantile digital coloring book or endless Quake-related screenshots everytime you just want to view some nifty pix of other stuff.

Bare with me for a while though.  I really should put some of the stuff I already have in digital format from scans or the digital camera up on that site first.  Then there's the old sepia/brown and B&W photos I'd like to dig into before my great-uncle leaves town.  He's the only one I now know that can identify most of the people in those pix.  The majority of those pix are unlabelled and loose. 

You can judge in what decade some of the photos were taken by the hairstyles or articles of clothing (like hats in the 30s).  Some pix have names.  One photo of about a dozen dirty, shoeless, Our Gang-looking kids with a school marm has a date of 1875.  My great-uncle is pretty old, but not that old.  I better do the research now, as next year may not come.


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