Entries for March, 2003

Tabulas BETA finally goes LIVE.

YES! This calls for an embarassing picture!

Posted by roy on March 16, 2003 at 01:35 PM | 7 Comments
If you type in (BREAK) (with brackets instead of parenthesis), it will break your entry into portions so part of it will only show up on your comments page. This is if you have a *very* long-winded post you don't want to clutter your friends page up with! :)
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Currently feeling: mellow
Posted by roy on March 16, 2003 at 05:38 PM | 1 Comments
Whoa. Some cool ideas in the making ...
Posted by roy on March 17, 2003 at 09:07 AM | 8 Comments
So our CHEM141L is an intersting class... I've never had a consistent lab before; I've always shifted between Wednesday and Monday labs.

I had this Monday off, so I went in today to be a guinea pig for a new lab they're testing (on fluorescence).

In any case, so me and my partners are being lectured by this dude who's telling us how to use the FLUORMAX3 (haha what a funny name). Suddenly, the other TA goes, "what's that smell!" At first we thought it was one of the chemicals we were working with (it smells REALLY REALLY REALLY bad). but the thing was capped off ... so we continue working.

10 minutes later, the smell still isn't gone. Then they realize "hey, this smell is seeping through the vents (or drainage they didn't know) throughout all the morehead labs!

so they evacuated us ... man who KNOWS what chemicals are in my body right now! i might be dying from a mysterious ailment when human lung tissues come in contact with a mysterious gas... haha.

Yeah.. my head still hurts. And now I need to go into lab twice next week. Blech.
Currently feeling: worried
Posted by roy on March 19, 2003 at 08:55 AM | Add a comment
These are all stolen from here

They are GREAT!

your new glossary!
Opposition to United States policy. Often expressed in simplistic terms.

The complete lack of action from the United States no matter how many must suffer or die.

Hans Blix on TV for six more weeks

Crushing of Dissent/McCarthyism:
Publicly disagreeing with someone more noble. Publicly pointing out flaws in the arguments of those more noble.

Things that get in the way of Truth.

Something that must be believed regardless of facts. Example: 5,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan. Did not actually happen, but the US wanted to kill that many and more so that means it is truth.

Thinking non-whites shouldn't have to live under oppressive, murderous tyrants.

Public nudity to tell those who would be stoned for public nudity that, hey, we care because we're naked.

Doing what the French want.

Going forward without the support of the New York Times.

When it ain't the Jews, it's this.

imposing 17 UN Security Council resolutions over 12 years, then deciding that military action may be the only way to achieve disarmament.

Posted by roy on March 19, 2003 at 09:24 AM | 1 Comments
It's started. I'm going to refrain from any lengthy discussion of my feelings towards the war, as most of you are already aware of them.

All I will ask is that if you do want to be anti-war, do not post ludicrous arguments. I have spent the better half of the past few months debating endlessly against the peace protesters. Trying to get them to understand this is the only way.

Here is a list of the most common concerns of the war and my (short) rebuttals. If you want to discuss this in person, I'm more than willing to.

1.) Saddam is the target. Why go to war against the Iraqi people?
Iraq is not America. Dissenters within Iraq are shot and murdered. This war requires the removal of not only Saddam, but also the removal of the power structure that supported him. Assassinating Saddam, Qusay, and Uday (his two sons) would not accomplish anything if someone like Taqiz Aziz or a high-ranking general took power.

2.) What about the civilians who will die?
Civilians will die. But you know what? I could never summarize the feelings as well as an Iraqi refugee. He says:
"Yes, civilians will die. My cousins will die, maybe, Allah forbid. But here is a certainty you do not understand in your simplistic Nickelodean diplomacy is that you are guaranteed to have civilians die under Saddam."

3.) N. Korea, Pakistan, Iran ... all these countries are actively developing nuclear weapons (or already have them). Why don't we go after THEM?

Here is the one argument that will anger me more than anything. You cannot APPLY a "cookiecutter" situation to countries that are vastly different. I will focus primarily on N. Korea for my rebuttal.

N. Korea HAS nukes. Seoul sits 30 miles from the DMZ. If we attempted military action, there would be disastrous losses. You do not go after a country that is beyond your scope of handling. The war in Iraq can be done with relativey little bloodshed with little losses to American personnel. Furthermore, the very fact that many Iraqis inside will SUPPORT the American troops creates a far different environment than in N. Korea.

Essentially we cannot take military action in N. Korea because they HAVE nukes and attempting so would be disastrous. In this case, diplomacy is the most powerful tool. Furthermore, N. Korea is surrounded by three strong powers who have direct stakes in removing nuclear weapons. I can assure you Japan and S. Korea care more about removing nuclear weapons than the United States worries about it, and that they are all actively pursuing diplomacy.

4.) This war is not justified.

Under what reasoning do you do this? 12 years, 17 resolutions ... that is not enough time? Don't forget that Resolution 1441 was a final last-ditch effort for Saddam to PROVE he had come clean, not for the inspectors to FIND the weapons. Saddam did not do this. And with reports that Saddam has already fired missiles he was not supposed to have, there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that he was not complying with resolution 627 or 1441.

5.) The US should not act unilaterally.

Unilaterally? What does that mean, exactly? Do you mean without the support of France, Russia, China, and Germany? All who have been illegally violating UN sanctions and have been dealing with Iraq?

Or possibly you think that most Americans don't support this war. You'd be wrong. Or you think we're doing this alone? How come there are 30 countries in our coalition?

It's easy to sit back and say "no, this war is bad." But you don't understand that this is for our security. Iraq is a threat to world peace, as been demonstrated through two wars (2 million deaths between the Iran-Iraq War/Gulf War), the innocent gassing of Iraqi civilians at the hands of Saddam (thousands of Kurds in Halabja were murdered by poison gas launched by Saddam's forces) ... and not to mention Saddam's inceased interest in obtaining nuclear weapons.

The fact of the matter is the diplomacy path long extinguished itself. Saddam was not complying. To even believe that it could of happened is wishful thinking.
Posted by roy on March 20, 2003 at 12:55 PM | 12 Comments
This wil not turn into another Vietnam. Do not worry about that. I'm sure by now your fears are assuaged. Even when we get into Baghdad, it will not be as bloody or deadly as you may think.

In any case, there is a lot of worry of "what is going to happen afterwards?"

It's very interesting because all this political maneuvering leaves Bush in a very good position. Of course, I'm not going to deny that Bush didn't know of these endgames before he started this, and I won't deny that these probably did affect his decision on Iraq.

In any case, with the downfall of Iraq, the US can reduce it's troops in the Middle East (good for everybody involved). But most of ALL, US can rid itself of the Saudi alliance.

The Saudis are even worse than the French. I'm not going to bother bringing up tons of links to prove it, but trust me ... the Saudis are NOT our allies. With the hopeful implementation of a government in Iraq that will pro-democracy (and hopefully be a little more liberal [not our current definition, but classical liberal]) will help plant the seeds of peace and knowledge. Hopefully Iraq can be restored to the glory it once was.

In any case, with our better "allies" the Iraqis, we can turn up the heat up on the Saudis to crack down on terrorists, fundamentalism, their crappy sex rights (women can't do crap except stay at home all day ...) ... etc.

If you're wondering, I know for a fact that we won't attack Iran. Why?

This war was to remove the power structure of Saddam Hussein. Besides the fact that Iran isn't exactly the textbook case of warmongering idiots, they have some of the most progressive-thinking youth (evidenced in this article, although the overall tone of the article I think is rather hokey). Time will solve Iran.

Once Iraq and Iran become economic and educational powerhouses, they can start to make things right in the Middle East. I'm not saying everyone will start to love the United States, but they can stop attacking the Israelis and they can stop funding terrorism.

Terrorism is best fought with education. Educate the youth and they will grow to love you.

But we gotta make sure MTV never makes it on Iraqi TV.

P.S. Very little to report from the war, but that's a good thing. In any case, here's an article about the Marines liberating a small city. And of course, we have Mr. Blix himself making some claims about Iraqis in clear violation, a wee bit late.
Posted by roy on March 21, 2003 at 05:50 AM | Add a comment
I fully realize that reporting bias happens everywhere. But the level and extent of MTV ... well.

Let me first say that MTV covering this war is a mistake. MTV ... you are a MUSIC channel. You play music videos. Stop trying to become something you're not. You do not see CNN, Fox News, MSNBC ... etc. playing 50 cent music videos.

In any case, the reporting bias in MTV is ridiculous. Everything they do is such a pro-war slant it's sickening. I was watching a little bit of MTV while eating my lunch ... they had one of their "correspondents" from the MTV studio go out and "interview" arab-americans what they thought about the war.

And guess what? They interviewed a Pakistani, some Egyptions, and a Bangladeshi. That's like asking the Mexicans what they think about the Columbians. How about interviewing the hoardes of Iraqi-Americans clearly supporting this war. And how about showing some of thise clips of the Iraqis rejoicing in the streets?

Posted by roy on March 22, 2003 at 06:38 AM | 1 Comments
Every night, 10 men met at a restaurant for dinner. At the end of the meal, the bill would arrive; they owed $100 for the food that they shared. Every night they lined up in the same order at the cash register to pay the bill. The first four men paid nothing at all. The fifth, grumbling about the unfairness of the situation, paid $1. The sixth man, feeling a little put out, paid $3. The next three men paid $7, $12, and $18 respectively. The last man was required to pay the remaining balance, $59 (59%). He realized he was paying for not only his own meal but the unpaid balance left by the first five men.

The ten men were quite settled into their routine when the restaurant threw them into chaos by announcing that it was cutting its prices. Now dinner for the 10 men would only cost $80.

This clearly would not affect the first four men; they still ate for free. The fifth man announced he would now pay nothing either. The sixth man lowered his contribution by 1/3 and paid only $2. The seventh man deducted $2 from his usual payment and paid only $5. The eighth man paid $9 instead of his usual $12. The ninth man paid $12, $6 less than before. This left the last man with a bill of $52.

Outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings, and angry outbursts began to erupt. The sixth man yelled: "I got only $1 out of the $20 in cost reduction, and he got $7," pointing at the last man. The fifth man joined in:"Yeah! I only saved $1 too. It is unfair that he got seven times more than me." The seventh man cried, "Why should he get a reduction of $7 when I only got $2?"

The nine men formed an outraged mob, surrounding the 10th man. The first four men followed the lead of the others: "Even though we weren't paying anything in the first place, we didn't get any of the $20 reduction in cost; where is our share?"

The nine angry men then carried the 10th man up to the top of a hill and lynched him.

The next night, the nine remaining men met at the restaurant for dinner. When the bill came, there was no one to pay it.

If you think the Bush tax cut plan is unfair, consider the following (the ratios are pretty accurate):

10% of the taxpayers pay 60% of the taxes; 30% pay 37%, and 60% collectively pay only 4%
Posted by roy on March 22, 2003 at 01:09 PM | 2 Comments
For some odd reason, I couldn't sleep last night. I'm not really sure what it was ... oh well.

I don't really have a point to this entry. I'm just rambling. I'm going to leave for class in about 15 minutes. I have to start studying for a midterm on Thursday and I have a lab at 1pm. GS-MS for analytical chem lab... doesn't sound too fun.

In any case, I hope everyone is doing alright ... and if you're reading my tabulas, you RULE.
Posted by roy on March 24, 2003 at 01:20 AM | 2 Comments
So I'm sitting here in Venable... about to fall asleep. I found out that I have quite a large pre-lab to do for my GC-MS lab later today.

It doesn't really matter because my 11 o'clock didn't meet today since we had an exam on Friday ... but it's funny.

I had to go through about 300 pages worth of "tutorials" to help me use the program. And the funny thing is the first time I took the "master" test to see if I understood the tutorial, I got a 70% (I needed at least an 80%).

So I took it again ... and I kind of half-assed a lot of answers based on what I thought the question wanted me to answer (I have this uncanny ability to sort out multiple choice questions and figure out what the answer is without thinking of the problem) ... and I got a 95%.

Hahhaha. I rule. Now to go eat some lunch and try not to fall asleep.
Posted by roy on March 24, 2003 at 04:16 AM | Add a comment
I've decided I want to learn Java. It's so useful ... the two apps I want to build:

1.) A gallery interface (drag+drop images that'll automatically add to your gallery)
2.) Journal interface ... read/add to your journal via a small java plugin.

I need to build a better auth system for this site one of these days. blech.
Posted by roy on March 24, 2003 at 10:48 PM | 1 Comments
Michael Moore is an idiot. This is not to say his little outburst at the Emmy's was unpatriotic - he had every right as an American to do so.

But he needs to realize that he's at the Emmy's not to voice his political opinion. The people who selected him for his win are simply paying him homage for his directing. Not to hear him rant on about Bush. This is the reason why there was probaby booing - not because there was disagreement, but because people did not want to hear it.

The Emmy's were supposed to be an escape for those who didn't want to hear 24/7 stories from the front line of Iraq. And when an idiot like Michael Moore violated the sanctity of the night by voicing his opinions in such a harsh and potentially offensive manner ...

It's really not fair to a lot of people because they were FORCED to watch it. It wasn't the case that people could watch to see who won Best Director and NOT see the tirade; they were forceably reminded about current world opinion.

Alas ... the idiocy of the Left. Way to isolate your position. I'm surprised more anti-war people don't feel more alienated.
Posted by roy on March 24, 2003 at 11:25 PM | 5 Comments
Today I learned a lot of important things.

For instance, I'm going to die in Turchi's exam on Thursday. I also learned why South Campus has been so quiet lately - everyone just plays on the Quad! Har har.

No really ... I learned I have no penis (thanks, Caroline!), and that Saddam Hussein can't help being a murderous tyrant; he just has a small penis and is trying to project his insecurities by murdering innocent civilians.

Posted by roy on March 25, 2003 at 08:24 AM | Add a comment
I think it's slightly amusing that a lot of people, knowing I'm pro-Microsoft, also assume I'm anti-open source. I'm not. I love open-source and I try to live by its spirit (free = good).

In any case, this entry is more of an Apple-bashing article. I remember back in the day (elementary school) when Macs were widespread in the educational systems - alas this is no longer the case.

Steve Jobs has managed to isolate each and every niche Apple used to dominate. Up until a few years ago, one could argue that Apple was better for multimedia - it's obviously no longer true.

Why is this? OS X, supposed to be the best thing to Apple since ... the creation of the G4, turned out to be ... well... not so good.

There's something to be said about the fact that Apple pretty much controls all levels of its production - the hardware to its software. Being an econ major, I've learned the value of specialization - you cannot dominate every market you enter by trying to produce everything for your product. In our dog-eat-dog capitalistic society you must learn to SPECIALIZE.

In any case, Apple has been on the downfall for the past few years now (ever since that year after the iMac), and will continue to degrade.

Tell me exactly WHAT the target audience for Apple is? It's not education. It's not high performance multimedia work (you can do everything on a G4 on a PCs now, and for upper end work you'll tend to use workstations from SGI) ... it's not even the "dumb" PC users (XP is just as damn intuitive as any Mac OS, albeit it's a little less powerful for the experienced user). I'm not really sure where Apple is focusing its production on, and because of that, I can safely say that Apple is going to continue degrading as a company for many years.
Posted by roy on March 25, 2003 at 09:02 AM | 1 Comments
There's a boycott of American goods. But check this golden quote:

Sarah Stolz, a 22-year-old German student of American studies, was headed for a Starbucks, coffee shop in central Berlin when her anti-war conscience got the best of her.

"I was thinking about going into Starbucks which I love, when I realized it was wrong," she said. "I'm backing the boycott because the war is totally unjustified."

Haha. I dunno why, but that quote is really funny. In case you didn't know, I'm pretty much against boycotting in general, as well as "renaming" food items (*cough* Freedom Fries, wtf?! *cough*). It's makes us look like little children.
Posted by roy on March 25, 2003 at 12:49 PM | 2 Comments

In other news, there is a great article here by an Iraqi. Aside from the "you anti-war people need to quit thinking we iraqis didn't want this war" rhetoric, Kanan Makiya addresses some very important issues: post-war reconstruction.

Here I worry that Bush and Co. haven't had a chance to really plan this out as much as they have the war. But it does make sense; planning a new government is much harder than planning for a war.
Posted by roy on March 26, 2003 at 08:55 AM | Add a comment
I spent way too much time debating the pro-war stance. I've pretty much resigned myself to not caring about arguing anymore unless someone brings it up.

I also have abstained from reading indepth coverage of the war, only reading broad articles on factual progress made by coalition forces.

At this point, the war is out of our hands. We must stick with our plan and follow through, and I find no comfort in reading speculation and news on what's happening with the war - it can only make us weaker of will. Hussein will attempt to use graphic images of the war to weaken the will of the coalition forces (the prisoners were one method). I refuse to give into that game.

War is ugly. You should of realized this before the war started.

But as for a final note regarding protesters who block traffic and such; you are simply alienating more people away from your position.
Posted by roy on March 26, 2003 at 04:26 PM | Add a comment
This war highlighted more than ever how heated people can become when they firmly believe in a position.

One thing I have heard over and over again is, "Don't hate the French people. Hate their government."

After thinking a lot about that, I've started to realize I don't agree 100% with that statement. As a representative democracy, your government reflects our thoughts and feelings and we should be accountable for those thoughts and feelings.

Although I'm sure not all French people are assholes that Chirac seems to be, this does not mean Americans should not be wary of the French. Their elected government; the people THEY entrusted with their foreign policy decisions, is acting in a manner that is clearly contary to US policy, and the French people should just as accountable as their government when it comes to their actions.

This is not a real theory I'm throwing out; it's more of a refined thought I had that I'm writing out. Anyone care to build?
Posted by roy on March 26, 2003 at 04:35 PM | 1 Comments
I seem to be eternally fatigued lately. Not really sure what it is - but I'm sure the fact that I'm pretty abusive to my body has something to do with it.

I worked a bit on AudioMatch - it's a website that logs your Winamp songs and also generates a dynamic image so you can link it up at forums or your webpage.

A lot of people misinterpret the aims of this site. It's purpose is not to provide you with a free service; it's to gather data about user listening habits and to extract data that may link up similiar artists.

I've always hated the idea of a musical genre - I find too many musicians cross between borders to effectively label "groups" via genres. Not to mention that most good bands tend to reinvent themselves with every album (e.g. No Doubt). Of course we can't forget bands that produce songs that sound the same over and over (e.g. Linkin Park); to these type of bands genres work fine.

But really. How do you label "No Doubt?"

Rock? Punk? Ska? What?

The idea with AudioMatch is to utilize the frequency of artist transitions within playlist. For instance, there are going to be high instances of users who listen to 2Pac then listen to Dre. Utilizing these frequencies we can determine that 2Pac and Dre are simliar artists and thus we can "recommend" them to users. Let me back up a quick second.

I've essentially determined that there are three primary methods in which people listen to music online:

1.) Some people (e.g. me) select songs on a song-by-song basis so we listen to just what we want.

2.) Via gargantuan playlists with full mp3 collection and shuffled.

3.) Via selective smaller playlists depending on mood

4.) Everyone else

For now, I'm throwing out #4, primarily because those people include ShoutCast users, and our plugin is having trouble with streams. Between the first three methods, most users will fall underneath the idea that you listen to similiar songs; whether they are matched by "genre" or by what you like to listen to when you're in certain moods (do you see where Tabulas fits in with AudioMatch?).

Now as we gather data, there are issues of ... error reporting. Obviously the people who do create gargantuan winamp playlists and listen to Stacie Orrico, then Rage Against the Machine, then Beethoven, then Tupac will obviously mess up the data validity, but I posit that these transitions will be minimal.

The user base will be large enough to marginalize any of these erroneous occurances; I'm essentially positing that as our sample size increases, there exist some clear correlations between certain artists, certain songs, and certain moods.

I do have plans on fully integrating AudioMatch with Tabulas, AND making full use of the mood feature. If I can somehow link up moods and songs, it'd be very interesting; I'm sure people with the mood "desperate" would be more likely to be listening to Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" than Britney Spear's "Oops I Did it Again."

In any case, we're still working out the basic of the site; a flexible database design and optimized PHP scripting to deal with the vast amount of raw information is what I'm really focusing development on.

Neeraj has been busting his ass on the plugin and has started planning the program that will actually do our analyzations. I do want to factor in existing ID3v1 and ID3v2 information ("genre") to help get bearings ...
Posted by roy on March 29, 2003 at 07:05 PM | 4 Comments
Read this article knowing it's a preliminary article; it may not be complete fact, but it does bring a new light and more ammunition for my "N. Korea requires diplomacy, not guns" theory.

Told you so.

China, Japan, and S. Korea will handle N. Korea. There is no need for US forces to be committed there. Diplomacy WORKS in N. Korea.

P.S. Read number 4 Although I wonder about the credibility of the facts here, this is enough to undermine any argument that the US "armed Saddam." Until I see numbers I won't be decisive about this in either direction, but I will argue against whatever side is brought into a legitimate argument.
Posted by roy on March 30, 2003 at 04:28 PM | 1 Comments
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