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
[Search Topics]

[Bush] [Fraggin']
[Iraq] [Conspiracy]
[Florida] [Evil Thumbnails]
[Iran] [Sex]
[NASA] [Movies]
[Politics] [GooTube]
[Media] [TIDGADA]
[Sports] [LBOH]

[Tag Board] [Archives]
<< April 2004 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 01 02 03
04 05 06 07 08 09 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30

JfZ making a mess of the web
[@twitter] [@facebook]
[@playlist] [@plastic]
[@vodpod] [@zazzle]
[helpforum] [web-litter]
[verissimus] [morphine dreams]
[dark skies] [brilliant weeds]

Phreek-went Phaves
[blogs] [ezines] [rtmfd]
[eye candy] [ear candy]
[mind candy]

[Buy Thunderstorms Gear]
Get Some Effin' Gear

[Supported Causes]

Add to My Yahoo!
[+ favorites]
AddThis Feed Button
rss feed

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Privacy Policy

If you want to be updated on this weblog Enter your email here:

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
some Bike Week pix

  click for more pix like this

Just so you don't think that I'm some usenet newsgroup nut- job that only rants about news and politix all the time, I thought I'd better blog about something different and refreshing.  If you need a mental break from it all for a few minutes, feel free to browse some of the pix I've been uploading into one of my galleries at deviantART.

This particular set of pix will grow as I scan and manipulate the photos I have already taken.  Right now, I started with the Born to Ride mindset of pix, simply entitled Bike Week - Beach.  I've just put 8 in there so far.  You've already seen the one photo (shown), if you happen to see last month's one blog entry that got published as an article on Plastic.  Here's the blanket description for these pix:

No matter how many wheels are under you, it is a rule that you must cruise the beach during Bike Week in Daytona Beach.  I tried to capture people as independent spirits with the ocean and in their own little world. This was no easy feat if you check out the shots from the pier showing how friggin' crowded Daytona Beach was for miles.

You hafta know I dig my little Live Beach Cam on the left-side-panel and my Weather-Pixie, too.  If you want to see how crowded it was when I was taking pix like the one shown, view 
photo 07 and photo 08 taken from just about the same place as the cam.

[> permalink <]

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
A thought experiment

Mind numbing

"Part of the reason why I write about the media is because I am interested in the whole intellectual culture, and the part of it that is easiest to study is the media.  It comes out every day.  You can do a systematic investigation.  You can compare yesterday’s version to today’s version.  There is a lot of evidence about what’s played up and what isn’t and the way things are structured." 

 - Noam Chomsky, in "What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream".

Okay, since I just talked about Chomsky yesterday, I revisited some of my links in that entry from last month, P isn't for Politix. So, here's my little thought experiment: One story, many ways of telling it.  We report, you decide.

One story:
Originated from a February 18th, 2004 press release by Senator Grassley of Iowa:

The Associated Press seems to have run with it first. (Reuters did not)

Long-suppressed report details FBI agent firings for crimes, misconduct

Author: CURT ANDERSON Associated Press Writer
Date: February 19, 2004
Publication: Associated Press Archive Search

"An internal FBI report kept under wraps for three years details dozens of cases of agents fired for egregious misconduct and crimes, including drug trafficking, attempted murder, theft, misuse of informants and consorting with prostitutes.
The report, released Wednesday by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, found that about one in 1,000 agents was dismissed for serious misconduct or criminal offenses by the FBI during the period examined, from 1986 to 1999. The average was between eight..."

Now the fun begins with the headlines, the blurbs, and the importance of the story:

Detroit News (one paragraph national briefing):
Report details FBI agents’ misconduct

MSNBC web site parrots original AP story but the headline suggests no suppression:
FBI report on agents released after long delay
Audit finds 1 in 1,000 dismissed for crimes, misconduct
"and was accompanied by a Justice Department letter urging that it be kept confidential."

The Washington Times (full AP article editted by staff writer):
FBI disciplined 77 agents over 14-year period
The AP story with some seemingly insignificant changes in it:
"... but was accompanied by a letter from the Justice Department urging that it be kept secret."

CBS News: (AP/CBS writers with balanced blurbs with lots of related story links)
Years Of FBI Agent Crimes Detailed

Then there's Fox News: Nothing at all.

If you can find where Fox News ran this story, I'd like to see it.

I found it very interesting exploring the weight of the portions of the AP story each news outlet focussed in on.  You'd have to read each article in browser windows side-by-side, like I did, to really appreciate the subtlety involved.

[> permalink <]


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.

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*.

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

[> permalink <]

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

[> permalink <]

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."

[> permalink <]


Next Page