Having trouble locating SiEd? Fret no more!
SiEd is my favorite general purpose editor for Palm pilot. It’s great, open-sourced GPLed software, that has a bunch of neat features like writing directly to the SD card, split screens, macros. I also love the fact that it writes plain text files.
One thing I wanted to add to the program, thanks to access to the source code, was support for the full 320x480 screen and rotation. However, locating the program and its source has been difficult.
The developer’s domain, benroe.com, has for some reason been taken over by squatters. There are huge numbers of hits for a google search of sied but they all point to the same domain… ugh.
But no longer! I’ve managed to locate an older version of the source and am making both the 0.9.9 source code and the actual SiEd 0.9.11 PRC palm program here, at least until benroe.com gets back in business.
If anyone has access to a more recent version of the source, I’d appreciate a little message on where I can get it before I starting making modifications. For the moment, please feel free to download and use this great program.
I just performed a little surgery on my guitar and wanted to share the results which might eventually be useful to someone else.
The problem with my electric guitar: it’s old and cheap, the 5 position switch (used to select combinations of the three pickups) was acting up, as were the three potentiometers (volume and two tone knobs). By acting up, I mean they were adding noise, cutting in and out and generally being pains. In addition, I can’t stand where the volume knob sits as I’m touching it half the time when palm muting (causing yet more unwanted noise).
I had purchased a replacement Fender 5-way pickup selector switch (Fender part #099-1367-000), standard fare on most strat type guitars, but was hesitant to actually open the instrument up. However, tonight was more annoying than ever so I opened it up. A peak inside revealed that it was a big mess of wire with gobs of solder everywhere.
Call me barbaric but I decided to cut the crap and hook the pickups directly to the output–volume be damned, I’m always at 10 anyway, and the tone pots needed replacement. So I had a look at this very informative page about the 5-way switch and went to work.
My solution involved simply tying the ground leads from all three pickups together (black wires, in my case), along with the cable out ground and a nice little wire tied to the guitar’s bridge. Then I took other lead from the neck, middle and bridge pickups and tied them to positions N-A, M-A, and B-A as shown on the guitarnuts graphic at the bottom of the page. Finally, the common terminal was tied to the other cable out wire.
Done and done. Testing it was a breeze, just plug the guitar in and scrape a quarter against the pickups as you play with the switch. The guitar works great, without any noise or cutting out and the volume nicely maxed out. Huzzah.
One site I like to visit regularly is LiveScience to which many of our News entries here link to.
A feature that comes up often is their “Top 10″ lists, which are often less informative than they are entertaining, but normally with that geeky science twist. Examples include Top 10 Amazing Facts About Your Heart, Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind and even the likes of the Top 10 Worst Heredity Conditions.
Unfortunately, I didn’t much enjoy going through the Top Ten Unexplained Phenomena which was a disappointment. Such a disappointment, in fact, that I was prompted to write the LiveScience editors. I am making the short letter public here.
I’m a regular livescience.com reader and truly enjoy this informative site. Though not as keen on the various “Top 10″s, I’ve found some quite entertaining.
I was, however, a bit disconcerted by the recent “Top Ten Unexplained Phenomena”. A number of the items in the list would better be described as beliefs than phenomena–to be a phenomenon, you need something to detect and measure (anything that isn’t has, by definition, no impact on the world). Of course, you can say that “belief in [ESP] is so widespread”–true and, to me, THAT is really an unexplained phenomena.
I wouldn’t say I believe in ESP though I am open to the possibility… but before we hypothesize about the nature of an observable phenomenon we really must, well, observe it! The notion, for instance, that “psychic powers cannot be tested, or for some reason diminish in the presence of skeptics or scientists” might be very useful to the hucksters with such powers but it pretty much rules it outside the scope of scientific investigation.
Though I’m certain “ghost investigators hope to one day prove that the dead can contact the living” it’s like saying that my grandfather really hopes to prove there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: who cares, until he actually shows up with a leprechaun we can’t explain by other means.
Finally, I felt that many of the items had very strong implications of a dualist bent ("souls” distinct from bodies and the like) without questioning such a revolutionary assumption: NDE/Life after death, Deja vu (underscoring the possibility of “unbidden glimpses of previous lives” while brushing aside more interesting, and testable, naturalistic explanations), and Ghosts (!).
Personally, if I’m in the mood for this sort of thing I’ll head to livephilosophy.com but I’d much rather stick to liveSCIENCE
Thanks and kudos for the otherwise excellent site.
Today, as I took my customary walk to the coffee shop, I passed by at least four teams of two green-shirted youths stopping people on the street to solicit funds. I think I like Greenpeace, I just hate how they generate cash. My problem with this approach is the amount of waste: hundreds of man-hours being spent to transfer cash from one pool (the general population’s pockets) to another (the Greenpeace bank account) without any accrued value for anyone.
We can assume these are all volunteers and will neglect the amount of time they take out of the lives of passers-by. My chief objection is that, once all the volunteer time and energy is spent, the organization does have more funds to do its thing with but the world is in essentially the same state as before save for the calories spent while doing the “work”.
What if, instead, those volunteer man-hours were spent actually producing value in a manner that enhances the world. Funds would still be generated but the world would already be a better place: we wouldn’t have to wait expectantly for our contributions to have some eventual impact–goodness would already have been spread.
For example, lets say Greenpeace organized (or, even better, trained) a team of landscapers. These would still be volunteers, at least for the most part. With such a resource in hand, Greenpeace could do things like bid on the construction of parks for the municipality. Their bid, thanks to the volunteers’ contributions of expertise and manpower, would undoubtedly be below that of other companies (seeing as it only includes the cost of material + whatever contribution is appropriate).
Actually winning the city contract would provide:
- funds for Greenpeace operations;
- experience doing actual work for young volunteers;
- added value and quality of life, through the creation of the park;
- lower cost for taxpayers, since the Greenpeace bid was lower than any commercial company could afford;
- the city with awesome spin, since they managed to build a new park for lower cost while simultaneously contributing to a worthy social cause.
After all these wondrous things have rained down on the world, Greenpeace now has the funds to do whatever goodness they’d first set out to do.
Isn’t that better? Such a means of fund-raising could sustain the organism while bringing immediate benefits before the group even began pursuing it’s primary mission.
For a large organization such as Greenpeace, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to manage numerous teams in various fields (landscaping, information technology, recycling, whatever) each of which could be carefully selected to be in sectors that enhance quality of life while providing volunteers with a means of contributing that’s both more interesting than standing on a street corner and much better on their resume.
No. I don’t have any change for you, sorry.
I know a lot about panhandling, and it’s not just because I live in the city core. I think I understand it, and I spend a lot of time talking with folks who spend most of their day doing it. But I never have any cash for any of them.
The first, purely selfish, reason is that when money leaves my wallet I am buying something. Unless there’s a hole in your pocket, this is your case too. Everyone who gives a squeegee a dime is buying something. It can be pride, it can be a sense of contribution, it can be easing a guilty conscience, it can be to feel the warm glow of human compassion… It can probably be very many things but it’s always something and I haven’t felt the need to purchase any of these things in a long time.
Though I respect, and will defend, the panhandler’s right to ask for cash, I don’t think this hidden tax is beneficial to the society. Notwithstanding the direct costs (cash value transfered and not spent elsewhere), the amount of human time and energy spent doing this could be used to actually generate wealth (by performing useful acts of creation) instead of just shuffling money around. If you assume just one calorie spent per participant, per exchange, and set the average number of queries in a day to 500 and multiply that by 2000 panhandlers, you get a total of 2,000,000 calories spent on basically nothing. That’s enough to feed 1000 people (based on a 2k calorie diet). Sure, you might say “but that’s what the panhandling was for–to feed people”. Irrespective of whether the money is actually used for food, the point is that those same calories, spent doing productive work would result in a salary (i.e. cash for food) AND productive work (i.e. more resulting goodness in the world).
There’s also the question of where the cash is really going. It might be for food, it might be for booze and cigarettes. Other than the potential health or public disturbance costs, these aren’t really a big deal. But what if it’s junk or crack? There is the possible moral dilemma in helping to sustain these bad habits but to me the most important question is where the money winds up. Whether it’s the hell’s angels, the gang of Jamaicans or the CIA, until these drugs are legalized the cash is supporting a system which inflicts pain and terror on many levels. No thanks.
Then there is the panhandling set point or critical mass. A city of a given size can support a certain number of panhandlers. This number is determined by things like number of people, cost of living and average donation. Though the former are relatively stable, average donation is a function of ‘generosity’ and demand (number of panhandlers). Obviously, people can only give so much so if there’s more demand the supply will be spread more thinly. But more importantly, there’s people’s mood and if you’re getting asked for some cash every three steps you’ll eventually get so annoyed that your donations will quickly drop to zero. You could say, that by making panhandling less attractive and keeping the numbers down I’m actually helping those that are already doing it… But that might just be sophistry
Also in relation to the demand density is the fact that as numbers increase, the amount of discomfort experienced by people also increases, probably not linearly. This is, in my experience, especially true for those unaccustomed to the experience such as tourists. And when tourism suffers, the influx of cash into a city goes down and everyone, including those panhandlers, suffers.
Finally, there’s the fact that I like adults. Adults are people who are free to make their own choices and responsible for the consequences of those choices. Yes, I might enjoy it if mom and dad or some surrogate would pay my rent and habits, but in the end I think we’re all better off when people fly with their own wings. I actually support a left-leaning government with social systems in place to aid those in need. At this time, it isn’t a great life but it’s enough to live on while you find your bearings. You need only ask, and you get a place to live and food in the fridge–so be my guest and just do it. However, I’d much rather have every able-bodied individual contributing something–anything, whatever they love or want to do–rather than sustaining themselves parasitically.
That’s why, I’m sorry man, but no: I got no change.
Finally… After a few months with my new Palm OS 5 device, I’ve been itching to get some real work done on the road. Graffiti is great and all, but I need keyboard input. However, my insistence in using the Dvorak layout has been causing issues, especially since neither Palm nor MobilityDevices (apparently the new name for ThinkOutside) feel like supporting it anymore.
A rough solution might have been Ken Mankoff’s Q2D hack. Unfortunately, it seems Palm OS5 doesn’t like these hacks so much and as a result the X-Master hack manager just barfs and dies.
TealMaster to the rescue! Seems the Tealpoint folks have figured out a way to sidestep the issue, huzzah. Installing TealMaster worked and it recognized Q2D, so now I’m happily typing away in Dvorak on my Tungsten device.
Since the q2d hack basically converts any input (even from the stylus) to dvorak, this combination should work with any keyboard recognized by your Palm.
Having decided to give the local "Environment Meetup Group" (at meetup.com) a spin, I came upon the message board which included a post: "You Call Yourself a Progressive, But You Still Eat Meat?".
I’m always a bit irked at the recurring link between environmentalism (which I’m into) and vegetarianism (which I ain’t) and I cringed a bit a the title (since I would consider myself "progressive") but an open mind required I give the linked article a look.
As I was reading it, a number of thoughts, questions and objections popped up and I decided that my first contribution to the group would be to take the time to actually formulate them in a sensible manner. Turns out the post was to verbose for the message board, so I’m sticking it here. It is addressed to anyone but is specifically targeted towards the vegetarians out there.
I won’t repeat large parts of the article, but will simply point out what I’m talking about, so it’s best to have read it beforehand (though not required).
The first part, problems related to eating too much fat and being overweight, is true but simply do not apply to me and anyone can have the same results by choosing wisely and eating sanely. I am living proof that it’s possible to chow down on animals and be healthy and there are many others that are in better shape than I. It’s easy: don’t eat too much fat (or too much of anything, duh). So I’ll just skip all that…
The point about AA and other inflammatory stuff in meat… True, but it turns out that omega-6 fatty acids (e.g. from corn and other vegetable fat), Dihommogamma-Linoleic Acid (DGLA) in particular, can be converted to either the anti-inflammatory PG1 or into arachidonic acid (AA). They can even promote the growth of prostate tumor cells. It’s important to be wary of chronic inflammation and the foods that cause it but the argument against meat is weak and is either ignorant or dishonest.
The arguments against concerns about "having strength and energy on a vegetarian diet"… I can’t contradict that it’s possible to function–the question is are you really functioning at maximum capacity?
Creatine (which you get from vertebrates and can synthesize yourself), administration was shown to significantly improve performance in cognitive and memory tests in vegetarian individuals involved in double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trials. Vegetarian supplementation with creatine seems to be especially beneficial as they appear to have lower average body stores. (”Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial” or ”Sport supplement gives vegetarians brain boost” at ). The fact you’d need this supplementation to be at your best on a vegetarian diet is certainly a concern to me, and just perhaps an indication that we’ve evolved to count on outside sources.
A deficiency in vitamin B12, which is naturally found in foods that harbor B12 bacteria including meat (especially liver and shellfish), eggs, and milk products, can lead to anemia (with accompanying feelings of fatigue, weakness and lethargy). Low intake of B12 and folate are also linked to Alzheimer’s disease ("Diet and dementia" ).
These are two examples of vitality/energy problems with vegetarian diets I know off the top of my head, there are probably more. Of course, vegans aren’t dropping like flies so it’s possible to survive and probably get around these things, if you have the knowledge and the means. But there is no denying we evolved as omnivores (about 2.5 million years ago) and, to me, it’s a lot more natural and easy to live fully as such.
Now we get to the part that’s actually relevant to the environment and, presumably, why this was posted on the Environmental Meetup group. The rain forest is being chopped down for animals and to grow soy for animals so that we can eat animals. From the article "it takes many pounds of soy or other plant foods to produce just one pound of animal flesh". I agree with this fully. Thing is: I, like most of us here, am animal flesh. Ergo, it takes many pounds of plant foods to produce (and then maintain) one pound of me.
Thermodynamically speaking, there must be waste from doing it with an extra step like:
plants -> chickens -> me
rather than just
plants -> me
What bugs me is that they’re always acting as if a person who replaced eating 10 chickens with eating soy would only eat the amount of soy a single chicken gulps down, rather than that for many or all the chickens they’ve replaced. This is patently false.
So if you’re going to make this argument, give me some numbers please… How much soy would we really save if I ate it directly? The argument isn’t worth much discussion without these figures.
As a side note, would everybody be happy if we made the process 99% efficient, say by making less wasteful chickens (i.e. chickens that don’t waste any soy for growing useless stuff like beaks, and intestinal tracks and feathers or for moving around) or would that be objected to as GMO-grossness?
In any case, we obviously need as much vegetable foodstuff per pound as other animals, most certainly more owing to our high-energy-consuming brains. On top of this, eating meat actually reduces appetite ("Why high-protein meat may curb appetite") compared to veggies, so you can eat less calories (i.e. less foodstuff) to reach the same level of satiation (meaning less resources to feed you and a healthier you because you’re eating less calories).
The article goes on to state that "no reputable scientific or medical body believes that eating animals is good for us". Uhm, what?
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) states that red meat is the richest source of iron and research has also suggested that the elderly would benefit from eating red meat, as the iron could prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The FSA goes on to say that "the iron in animal sources is absorbed easily by the body. There is also iron in pulses, dried fruit, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. The iron in these foods is not so easily absorbed by the body."
Lindsay Allen, of UC Davis, brewed a storm with the vegetarians when her study on Kenyan children found that "adding as little as two spoonfuls of meat a day to their starch-based diets dramatically improved muscle development and mental skills". The shit hit the fan when she commented "there’s absolutely no question that it’s unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans" because of the dire consequences of such a choice on their health (born small, grow very slowly and are developmentally retarded, possibly permanently). Yes, the study was on poor children–i.e. probably those with the smallest ecological footprint and no means of importing exotic plants to meet their nutritional demands–but it showed dramatic changes in the children given the meat, and to a lesser extent the milk or oil. This guardian article goes over both sides of the question rather well.
A number of studies have shown that Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA, found in found primarily in the meat and dairy products of ruminants) increases lean tissue and is an anti-carcinogen.
The author of the AlterNet article seems happy to ignore these and all the studies that have found eating meat to be more efficient (e.g 3 ounce serving of beef contains as much iron as 3 cups of spinach and it is more easily absorbed) and potentially healthful if done right (e.g. the Japanese diet, which includes lots of fish and meat, somehow leads to the highest life expectancy in the world).
In the end, we could go on all day finding studies which show great properties of meat-including diets and others showing the dangers of the same. The difference between these is a question of what and how much… there are distinct benefits related to eating certain meats and this almost faith-based approach that states "all meat is bad" or the lesser "nothing good comes out of eating meat", which you simply can’t question without being a treated like a right-wing, redneck dimwit is really narrow minded and annoying.
The only remaining point is that of animal cruelty. First off, the whole political incorrectness of eating meat embodied by the "meat is murder" catch phrase really gets to me. Murder is normally defined somewhere along the lines of "unlawful killing of a human being by a human being". The restriction to intra-human killing is evident to any fluent english speaker, as no one would say "Jeff was murdered" if he were eaten by a tiger.
If you take "human" out of the definition, eating cows still isn’t murder because it isn’t unlawful. If you then take "unlawful" out of the definition, you’re left with the "killing of a being by a being" as the definition of murder–in which case, you’re guilty when you eat a potato. So it’s a catchy phrase but doesn’t make sense and is, in my opinion, disingenuous.
The short version is that life feeds on life and that ain’t murder. That doesn’t mean we have to be cruel. So what is the difference between plants and animals in this context? It is the capacity to feel and appreciate pain. Animals have a greater capacity for this than plants, obviously. But the thing is, some animals have more than others. Single cell organisms… uhm,not so much. Bugs, hardly. Bigger, more complex, brains: more capacity for pain. And we, as humans, top the list in my opinion. Thus, I’m a lot more interested in ending human suffering–for this reason and, yes, just because they are my closest kin–first. Then maybe we can talk about chimps, and cows, and the rest.
I actually do have a solution to the whole cruelty aspect and some of the health concerns… we just need to stop using animals as our source of meat. I can envision a turkey plantation, where turkey breasts are grown in vats (powered by hydro-electricity/solar energy) and nourished by recycled waste. Many people think the idea of tissue farms are disgusting but we could make the meat as healthy as we like (lean, omega-3 packed etc.), have a smaller footprint (ecological and geographical) than traditional farms (both animal and plant) and avoid inflicting any pain (since we won’t waste any time/energy growing brains). If it turned out to be more ecologically friendly than growing plants and artificial hormone/saturated fat free would you be willing to switch to test-tube-turkey and vat-veal?
I’ve never had a profound love of taxis, whose drivers seem to think their special permit comes with a host of privileges not accorded to the mundane little people the rest of us are. Optional use of flashers, reckless driving, using horns as a form of speech, urinating on the buildings adjacent to taxi stands–these rights and many more are magically granted once you get that cab driver permit.
But what motivated me to write this was an advert I saw proclaiming that using a taxi is environmentally friendly. The gall.
True, using taxis may reduce the number of cars in circulation. But the environment doesn’t much care about how many cars there are, it’s all about how much they get used (i.e. burn fuel).
I have a propensity for living next to taxi queues, and I can attest that–at least here–these vehicles are always on. The taxi stand next to this place has a capacity for 8 cabs (so there are usually about 12 hanging around) and their engines run and run and run. For the radio, the air conditioning, the heating… for the pure joy of hearing the engine purr. I don’t know why, exactly, but these things run 24 hours a day. We passed a law requiring them to shut the cars down. Seems it doesn’t apply if you’ve got that permit.
If those 12 cabs were replaced by 100 cars, those 100 would still be parked most of the day and hence not be filling the air with hyrdrocarbon residues. Yes, it would make the parking situation worse. But that is a good thing, from the environmental perspective–the more terrible parking gets, the more people will give up their cars and using public transit. We have an awesome subway system, and you never need to fill the meter.
So, thanks to their insolent and false advertising, I’ve decided cabs are off my list of possibilities–even if I’m running late. The earth will thank me later.
Here is my confession: newly single, I decided to give online dating a try. Oh my!
To be clear, I’ll admit I haven’t given it a fair chance (haven’t tried much and since I refuse to actually give pimps any cash, I only went to various free sites) but I don’t think I’ll be doing any more "research"–ugh!
My main rant is the astounding number of impersonal personals you come upon. E.g.
- "I never know what to write in these things." Why not start with "This is the first sentence" Useless verbiage.
- "I’m good looking." Uh, is that ISO-2006 good looking or are you sticking with the ANSI standard? This is so relative that a bit more detail might just be helpful…
- "I like music." Arg, can’t you at least specify a type if not a few bands?! Same goes for movies, books or whatever.
- "I like to have fun." My personal all-time favorite, a rare and unique trait–highly distinctive: you’re my type of gal, fer sure. Gaah!
The real kicker is the sheer amount of misrepresentation. If the goal is to actually meet someone in person, how does one expect to pull off all that BS? It just makes me wonder if these people really believe all that crap about themselves. I sure hope not…
The moral of the story is that if you:
- were born after 1981;
- don’t deviate from the norm by more that 2% in any manner;
- enjoy pop culture, pop music and pop everything;
- are ready to say whatever it takes to make another person like you.
Then you’ll probably have resounding success as an online dater. Otherwise, enter at your own peril.
Yes, I know I just sound bitter. I guess I might be… I thought it would be an easy way to hookup with that feeble percentage of people I really get along with but, alas, they are elsewhere.
In any case, there are so many variables involved in this type of interpersonal relationship that I’ve always trusted my senses and brain to pick up the subtle cues, ranging from body language and pheromones to verbal skills and philosophy, and perform the integration for me. This simply isn’t possible online, where your mind has a tendency to make up the missing pieces of the puzzle, often with idealized fantasies and the associated dire consequences.
I’ll be sticking with real life, going outside and doing stuff I like and will just see what happens. For those who are still game to give it a shot, you can check out these free sites:
- OKCupid. A nice system, with profiles and a pretty awesome matching algorithm (provided you take the time to honestly answer a number of questions). Young and superficial crowd.
- Plenty of Fish. An ugly site, which seems to attract the downtroden.
- Craig’s List. Mainly brief descriptions, no profiles and often no pics… lots of scams and spammers
Enjoy and good luck.
A friend recently introduced me to Couch Surfing and it is an amazing concept. The idea is to reunite people interested in learning about other cultures, meeting diverse and interesting folks and travelling dirt cheap.
Though some people can’t resist the urge to try and use the site to find cute potential mates, the couchsurfing FAQ is clear that it is not meant as a dating site and its users will quickly snap you back into proper behavior if you try this… so don’t bother. However, if you’d like to have some awesome conversations with open minded and adventurous people, there’s no better way.
As a couch surfer, you have access to thousands of places to crash in pretty much every country on the planet. More importantly, when you’re surfing your host will be there to give you the inside scoop on his or her hometown: you’ll find out where to shop, drink and hang out, what to visit and what to avoid and generally get a crash course on living as a local.
As a host, adventure comes to you. You get to meet travelers, learn of different cultures, hear lots of interesting tales and, often, rediscover your own city by seeing through the eyes of a newcomer.
Finally, as a CS member, you can join any of the many discussion forums and participate in all sorts of activities, from random parties, hiking expeditions, community kitchens and more–all in your own city.
The Couch Surfing site is open to all and is free… well, it’s member supported so you’re encouraged to donate (specifically through the verification process). But you don’t have to and can get started right now by creating an account and setting up a profile.
Give it a spin and you’ll be hooked.
The news that’s making me happie is a brand new install of Opie on my iPAQ PDA. This software is solid, polished and performs well. To learn more about it, see my latest addition: the Getting Opie Ready to Rumble review/article. Get happie with Opie today
I am appalled and disgusted by the recent attacks by Israel on Lebanon. For the first time I am leaning towards the position that Israel has no place in the middle-east, other than that of a general shit-disturber and destabilizer, and should just go away (or at least, cease getting such boundless support from the civilized world).
I am also extremely disappointed with the Harper government, putting Canadians a the position which supports this unwarranted attack (more than 300 civilian deaths to date–supposedly in retaliation for *two* professional soldiers: insanity!) against a sovereign nation, thanks to its unending U.S./Bush ass kissing.
I invite all Canadians to write the Prime Minister’s office (pm AT pm dot gc dot ca) and to speak out publicly so the world will know we’re not as stupid as the (minority) government that supposedly represents us.
Here is a letter, written by Helene, that might be useful to all the frenchophones out there.
Vous avez la responsabilité, en tant que le chef d’un état *souverain* et civilisé, de condamner les bombardements au Liban.
Le Québec et le Canada ont exprimé leur opposition à la politique américaine en Irak et au Moyen-Orient. En tant que représentant d’une société démocratique, vous avez le devoir de parler pour la majorité des canadiens.
En tant qu’être humain responsable, vous avez l’obligation de défendre les droits et les valeurs fondamentaux de tous contre les intérêts de quelques individus.
Les actes présentement commis sont terribles et scandaleux. Ne devenez pas un criminel dont les méfaits resteront inscrits à jamais dans notre mémoire collective, comme le président Bush le sera sans doute.
Monsieur Harper, rendez-nous notre fierté: condamnez fermement les bombardements au Liban.
Agissez en canadien.
One month ago today I was in the middle of one of the most difficult weeks I’ve ever experienced, watching my father waste away at a palliative care unit in Longueuil, Qc.
Frank Deegan passed away January 18th 2006, at the age of 75. Dad gave us a final gift for which I will always be grateful: time. Time for his entire family to get to know each other better than ever before and grow together. Time for all of us to show him all our love and say goodbye.
In honor of my father, and for all who missed the memorial and others who requested them, I’m adding the text of my November letter to dad which I read as well as a transcription of Shannon’s thoughtful and touching words.
Letter to my father, Patrick Deegan
Who is Frank Deegan? I’m not certain…
He was a boxer, a salesman, a people person, a professional scout, at times a conman, he was "the machine". Frank Deegan is the father of five, he is my father, and many other things. But what are his passions, his unfulfilled dreams, what worries wake him in the night? In the more than three decades that I’ve known him, there’s much I regret I’ve never learned. What I do know best of my father are the things he’s given me: what he taught me and, more importantly, the man he made me.
I am a very different person than he. I’m not an athlete or even a sports fan. I’m not a parent. I can hardly put a name to a face. And yet, I am very much my father’s son. The lessons he taught me, through his stories and his actions, are a part of me every single day.
Frank could be stone cold with others but at the same time his heart would melt at the sight of our dog pleading for a snack. For the lucky few in his inner circle, his family, he would make any sacrifice. He showed me that, no matter where you go or what you do, family comes first.
Since my earliest memories Frank has been the definition of worry, always thinking of his next move or anxious about his children’s well being. And yet, in the toughest of times he’d lay down his last dollar—literally—with no regard for the future so we could have some measure of fun. Smiling, he’d say "Between having $10 and nothing… what’s the difference?" and we’d go and spend it on something frivolous and enjoyable. In this, he taught me to cherish the now and live each day to the fullest.
With a wink, he’d profess "What your eyes see, your heart must believe" and then proceed to show me how the world was in fact a subtle, multi-layered place where most things actually aren’t what they appear.
He taught me a formula to ground me when things are going well and to bring joy in hard times: "This, too, shall come to pass." It was a reflection of his unending tenacity and it taught me to never surrender.
More than all else, Frank was always a boundless reserve of absolute, unconditional love and confidence. Though I’ve done my share of admittedly stupid things, in his eyes I could do no wrong. Ever. What some might believe a recipe for spoiled brats turned instead into a cornerstone of my personality: a limitless inner store of strength and self assurance. It unlocked the greatest secret of life that I know, embodied by the constant echo of his voice saying "You can do ANYTHING." It is the foundation on which all my past and future successes lie. For that, more than anything, I thank him.
Frank Deegan is my father and you will always be able to see him here, standing behind the best parts of me.
I love you dad.
Reflections on Uncle Frankie, Shannon Deegan
I would like to first offer my sincerest condolences to Dallas and all of Uncle Frankie’s children. And to his brother and sisters. I had so hoped to be there to celebrate Uncle Frankie’s life and am disappointed I had to be in Vancouver today.
Fortunately, like many of us, I feel I had an opportunity to celebrate Frankie’s life on boxing day, where Uncle Frankie became the only person I know who had the opportunity to attend his own wake. What a wonderful evening that was. To be successful in anything, I think a person needs encouragement and the confidence of a strong network of supporters who offer advice, encouragement, and the knowledge, that should things go wrong, or should someone have a bad game, there’s always another day, another game. In life, we are lucky if we have a friend who offers that unconditional support, and while I have had the tremendous fortune of having parents who offered me that, I was doubly blessed to reap special love and support from Uncle Frankie.
Everyone no doubt has an anecdote about Uncle Frankie, and no doubt we’ll be telling them for the rest of our lives. But more than a story or two, I have a lifetime of memories of the man who had a tremendous impact on my childhood and, because it was such a major part of my childhood, on my hockey career, and my life. Anyone who spent time with Uncle Frankie quickly realized that he had an amazing ability to be completely blind when it came to the people he loved. They could do no wrong, and they could do anything. After my first exhibition game with the LA Kings skating alongside Wayne Gretzky, I rushed to the hotel to phone my folks, then Uncle Frankie. I relayed the awe of the several shifts I played on arguably the greatest player in history’s line. Cutting me off, in all sincerity and with deeply held conviction, Uncle Frankie gave me the following most amazingly ridiculous advice ever. Advice that makes me laugh to this day: Don’t be in awe of Gretzky, he barked, you’re as good as he is!
From the age of probably seven or eight until I went off to Vermont at age 17, Uncle Frankie was at my every game. Every time I stepped on the ice I would look up into the stands to find my mom and dad, and Uncle Frankie. While my parents were usually sitting quietly, I would usually spot Uncle Frankie up in the corner behind the last row off seats. He would be pacing up and down, talking in his famous "bop-bop-bop" style to the rink rats that owned that section of every rink. As I got older, those rink rats were more often than not, scouts. Eventually, Uncle Frankie joined their ranks, becoming a junior scout and then, to his and my great delight, an NHL scout working for the Buffalo Sabres’ Scotty Bowman.
A couple of years ago in New York, I attended a dinner for former pro-hockey players living in the city. I was delighted to see Scotty Bowman sit opposite me at the round table for ten. When we each introduced ourselves around the table, upon hearing my name, Scotty said: "Shannon Deegan from Verdun who played at Vermont?" "Yes," I replied, shocked that he remembered. After a few nice comments about seeing me play, Bowman turned to the rest of the table and declared: "This young man’s grandfather was the greatest left-handed pitcher I ever saw. I grew up watching Lefty Deegan play at Atwater Park in Montreal." Continuing, Scotty said, "And this young man’s uncle, Frankie, was one of the best scouts I ever hired. The guy would watch a hockey game, giving a running commentary on every player in the league while studiously watching the game. He sent me some of the best unsung players I ever had. He had a hand in building some of my Stanley Cup teams."
I relayed that story to Uncle Frankie when I last spent time with him at the hospital. He too beamed proudly and reached over and squeezed my hand. Suddenly, I found myself choking back tears. "Thank you for everything Uncle Frank. You have had a tremendous impact on my life. Thank you so much," I repeated, squeezing his hand.
And I repeat today: "Thank you so much, Uncle Frankie".
Francis James Deegan, 1930 - 2006
Notice published in the Montreal Gazette on 1/24/2006
Peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at the age of seventy-five. Beloved partner of Dallas Cuco. Devoted father of Julie (Dr. Gordon Miller), Brendan, Patrick (Helene), Marie-Pascale and Jonathan. Loving grandfather of Mathew, Erin, Christopher, Gabriel and Charlie. Will be sadly missed by his step children and step grandchildren. Survived by his brother Brendan (Katie) and his sisters Madeline and Kathy (Dan) and many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his parents Sarah and Frank (Lefty), brothers Fred (Helen), David (Rita), Kevin (Roberta) and sisters Margaret (Ed) and Joan (Lu). The family will receive condolences at a Memorial Get-Together on Friday, January 27 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Verdun Lawn Bowling Club, 6000 LaSalle Blvd. Verdun, Quebec.
I’ve got a certain domain that for various reason (well, ok, mainly laziness) has a catch-all address setup. This means that any email you write to some email@example.com will wind up in my inbox.
Of late, this has meant an increase in spam that is hovering just below the level at which I’ll actually get typing and do something about it. In the meantime, I’ve been getting a number of phishing scam emails, pretending to be from ebay, paypal and other places that might be likely repositories of my considerable wealth.
Of course, these messages usually get marked as junk by Thunderbird and always end up reported to SpamCop but before I trash them I try to take the time and be a real phisherman’s phriend.
Thanks to the magic of automation and cheap bandwidth, these scammers send out millions of these messages in the hopes of catching those remaining gullible folks that still click on spam, actually buy stuff from informercials, fall for Nigerian scams and generally make the world a sadder place. However, this can work to our advantage: there are millions of us and only a handful of scammers… Ergo, we can perform a distributed denial of service of our own.
In the time it takes to fill a form or two, you can bask in the warmth of the knowledge that you’ve wasted a scammers time and/or resources. How? Just click on that link! By apparently giving the phisher what he’s after and filling that form with bogus information, you can guarantee that his hand wringing and evil laughter will soon turn to anguish–at the very least annoyance.
Part of the art of being a true phisherman’s phriend is knowing what to enter. Don’t just put in random values… sometimes the form will repeat itself to validate your data, so you need to remember what you put in. More importantly, you can use this as an opportunity to make a statement by choosing to enter information based on someone you’d like to see, let’s say, more motivated to effect change in this area. Government officials/congress men and women/senators can all be good choices. So are high ranking police officers, for instance someone from the US Attorney’s office CyberCrime Task Force or the RCMP.
In addition to some fake paypal, ebay or whatever login info, you’ll usually be asked for some credit card data. Make sure you:
- Don’t enter any real information (doh!),
- Enter fake info that actually passes muster.
Credit cards have in-built checksums, so only certain numbers are in fact valid. If you’ve got a computer that can run Perl, such as pretty much any Linux machine, then you can download this small credit card generator script and create your own or just do a quick search.
The only things you need to be wary of are:
- Browser autocomplete: you probably want to avoid saving this junk in your browser,
- Malicious code: avoid using inherently unsafe browsers, such as Internet Explorer (IE),
when accessing a phishing site (you don’t want a free gift to linger after your done, now).
Go with Firefox instead, for example, and you might
- Tell your friends to do the same but maybe keep your mom or other non-savvy users from playing
with this. We want to avoid any confusion…
Share this page and turn your friends into phriends! We may yet get rid of this type of annoyance
Psychogenic is pretty much a Linux shop. The technologies we use–such as MySQL, PHP, Perl and Apache–all work under multiple operating systems but development, testing and, most of the time, deployment all happen on Linux boxen. That is, with one exception: design and integration.
To date, everyone on the design and integration sides of the enterprise have been Mac or Windows based. In most cases, the will was always there to switch but the problem has been the tools they rely on: specifically, PhotoShop and DreamWeaver.
Although there’s a definite learning curve involved in switching from PhotoShop to the powerful Gimp, we’ve found that the Gimp is more than enough for our requirements. The major thorn remaining was DreamWeaver.
DreamWeaver, in our opinion MacroMedia’s finest offering, has been at the core of all our integration work. Unfortunately, DW is still unavailable under Linux. The truth is that 95% or more of our HTML integrators’ work could be done with any plain text editor. But the remaining 5%, such as using the built-inWYSIWYG to visually inspect a page and quickly jump to a particular table cell, offers such great gains in efficiency that its been impossible to drop DreamWeaver.
We have often discussed using CodeWeaver’s CrossOver Office to remedy this situation. CrossOver
allows you to install your favorite Windows productivity applications and plugins in Linux, without needing a Microsoft Operating System.
However we’ve resisted this approach for a number of reasons, not the least of which include the extra layer of complexity (and possible problems) as well as the purely philosophical objection to encouraging a product that doesn’t support our OS of choice.
The Solution: Quanta Plus
A recent discovery has changed all that: Quanta Plus!
Quanta Plus (or Q+ to friends) is a feature rich web development environment. Its list of features and interface are so compelling that Helene, our lead integrator, jumped on the chance to use it after a short trial run and she is now our latest 100%-Linux convert.
For a complete description of Q+, you’re better off perusing the documentation and tutorials or, better yet, the program’s own help system. To give you an idea, here are the aspects that have impressed us most, so far:
Quanta Plus allows multiple views of your document including:
- "VPL" (Visual Page Layout), a WYSIWYG view;
- Source editor;
- DOM tree (structure view).
The most useful view to date has definitely been the split VPL/source editor, with the WYSIWYG view on top and text editor below (as depicted above).
Text Highlighting and Auto-completion
Quanta Plus also provides for a lot of handy autocompletion, including for HTML tags (e.g. <p>), the tag’s available attributes (e.g. align) as well as possible values for the current attributes (e.g. center). You can see an example of the autocompletion popup in action, in the image above. <Opened> tags are also </closed> automatically.
Autocompletion is available for other languages, such as PHP–and this can automatically include custom values, for instance for the methods available in an included class. Wow!
Full PHP Support
This includes not only advanced PHP autocompletion (which works for externally included PHP classes as well), but also a complete indexing of functions in the DOM view and tie-ins for a real-time PHP debugger (using Gubed).
Full support for a host of management features, like project creation, updating from and committing to CVS, accessing local or remote files (through multiple protocols including FTP and "fish" for secure connections) is available.
In addition to the Q+ help itself, the program provides quick access to full documentation for:
- HTML 4.01;
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS);
- PHP; and
We are still testing this addition to the Psychogenic toolkit but are quite impressed so far. Quanta Plus fills an aching need on the Linux desktop and we believe we’ll be using it, and hopefully contributing to its growth, for a good while. Try it out!
There are two kinds of end-users who regularly interact with Microsoft products. There are the muggles who can sometimes or usually get by but will call upon a knowledgeable niece, neighbor or friend to get them out of the occasional problem they can’t seem to solve. And then there are the nieces and nephews, neighbors, friends and coworkers that devote a portion of their time fixing up the muggle PCs: installing drivers, installing anti-viruses, getting rid of spyware, setting up networks and printers and the like.
Towering above the IT world, Microsoft’s dominance is assured by an army of volunteer workers: people who devote their knowledge, time and energy to the mega-corp without a thought towards compensation. Here I’d like to address the members of that army.
On the surface, going over to Dad’s place to help setup his email or get rid of the latest W32BlastMyWhatever worm is the decent thing to do. After all, it would take him forever to figure out, while you already know the ins and outs of the system and should be able to fix it in 20 minutes (this usually turns into one hour but, hey, whatever). The problem is that by doing so, the support-volunteer that you’ve become is upholding an entire system, one that’s become a foundation of the MS empire.
By devoting your Sunday afternoons to MS-related tech support, you are perpetuating this system and lending credence to a number of insidious myths. The most important of which are:
- Myth 1: Microsoft’s operating system and applications are intuitive and easy to use.
If this is true, why are you always getting these desperate cries for help from everyone and their uncle?
- Myth 2: Microsoft products are backed by a solid company and well supported.
How many people do you know that have actually called MS tech support (no, calling their ISP doesn’t count unless it was an actual network problem)? Of those in the limited number that have, how many actually resolved their problems? How many of those got it done for free, as part of the support included with their product?
You aren’t alone in this: there are likely millions in the same position, devoting countless man-hours to upholding the status quo and keeping Microsoft coffers full. The influence of this monopoly is so great that even hardware vendors (creating drivers and configuration programs) and ISPs (fielding tons of unrelated "my ‘puter don’t work" calls), are effectively working for Microsoft for free in order to satisfy their user base. These corporations don’t have much choice, considering that doing anything else will alienate their dependent users–sending them elsewhere. You, on the other hand, do.
My own father, at 75 years, isn’t about to learn much about a system’s internals or configuring a wireless network. No matter what, I’ll still need to occasionally help out. The question becomes: how can my technical savvy benefit my entourage the most. My experience has shown that opting for a better solution both reduces the number of support calls I need to field and shrinks the time it takes for me to actually get any snags resolved.
To date, this better solution has been setting up Linux systems. This has worked for my father, for the furnished apartments my mother provides for short-term leasing and many others.
With Linux desktop systems, down-time is next to nothing, viruses pretty much non-existent. All the applications these people need are available in free packages with familiar interfaces, the main ones being:
- Firefox, for browsing;
- Thunderbird, for email;
- OpenOffice, for word processing and spreadsheet work;
- Gaim, for instant messaging through AOL, MSN and jabber
- Gimp, for image manipulation
Another advantage is that, so long as the network is still functional, I can do any work through an SSH connection and this includes running graphical applications, such as Thunderbird to mess around with email settings, etc.
If you are one of us–the real front-line workers–those that everyone calls when they can’t figure out what to do next, then I encourage you to consider installing Linux. Start with the most clueless of your unofficial clientele: I’ve found they are most open as any operating system is as wondrous a mystery as the next to them and the learning curves are identical. You can have them try out one of the commitment-free Live CD distributions, such as Knoppix, to avoid any "where’s my windows??" freak-outs.
The advantages of converting your entourage to Linux are many, and include:
- Reducing support requirements (number of calls);
- Reducing support time (quicker resolution, remote management);
- Freeing your users from headaches (virii, spyware, etc.) and illegality (warez,
unregistered or cracked commercial apps);
- Avoiding doing volunteer work for a huge corporation and instead investing those hours into making the world a bit more free;
- Hearing yourself say: "Microsoft Windows? Sorry, we don’t support that."
If you haven’t tried Linux out yourself, head over to Knoppix or Ubuntu and download one of the ISO files–just burn it to a CD, reboot into Linux and see for yourself!
A new article section has been inaugurated for our favorite Linux-based handheld: the Linux iPAQ!
Within, you’ll find care and feeding tips for your Linux-converted PDA. The section currently contains tutorials on setting up a wireless connection and on accessing all your iPAQ applications from the desktop.
More tutorials will follow as time permits, while quick tips and personal experiences will continue to be related in this blog.
Having recently moved to a very high-traffic area, we became interested in augmenting the quality of our indoor air through the use of plants. Presented here are our motivation and the preliminary results of our search.
To start, we found that:
- It isn’t uncommon for indoor air to be many times more polluted than outdoor air (up to 70 times!);
- Traffic isn’t the problem: most of this indoor pollution is due to chemicals we use within home and office and to out-gassing;
- Much of it is carcinogenic and causes short term discomfort and disease. Indoor air pollution is considered the main culprit for a 60% increase in asthma over the last decade.
We can reduce the toxic baddies by making informed choices when purchasing, thanks to helpful sites such as Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia’s Guide to Less Toxic Products.
Out-gassing, on the other hand, is more problematic. There are tons of materials in use that release toxic gas for months or years after fabrication. These include carpeting, polish, glues, vinyl and all sorts of plastics… basically anything that gives off something resembling "new car smell". These gasses contain things like:
Found in plywood, grocery bags, waxed paper, fire retardants, etc.
Found in inks, oils, plastics, paints, detergents, synthetic fibers, etc.
Found in inks, varnishes, adhesives
These and other chemicals commonly released into indoor air can cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chest pains, asthma, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, recurrent sinus infections, mood swings, loss of sleep, cancer and other goodies.
The chemicals may also act as "sensitizers", causing people to begin reacting to exposures to other substances that had never been bothersome before (for instance perfumes, paint, felt tip marking pens, cigarette smoke, etc.). This chemical sensitivity is caused by an inability to metabolize or detoxify the extra burden of chemicals.
Making informed choices will help reduce the sources of out-gassing in your environment (for instance, you can replace vinyl or PVC blinds with bamboo or curtains) but getting rid of all toxic sources is next to impossible. One easy and potentially enjoyable way of removing these substances from the air is the house plant.
A NASA study, aiming to find plants for air purification on a future off-world base, identified a number of plants that are quite efficient in removing formaldehyde, benzene and other nasties. Another NASA study (1989) showed that houseplants were able to remove up to 87 percent of toxic indoor air within one day and later work showed that one spider plant could detoxify a 100 cubic foot room polluted with formaldehyde, within six hours.
To be truly effective, you need numerous plants: a potted plant per 100 square feet is recommended (though some sources suggest more than seven per room!). You also need a complete ecosystem… It was found that the plants don’t perform the detoxification work wholly on their own: the combination of soil, plant and helpful bacteria was much more effective at removing toxins than an isolated plant (for instance, in a hydroponic system). The plant must therefore be potted, ideally in a way that maximizes the plant root-soil area’s exposure to air.
The following is a list of plants that are known to function as efficient air detoxifiers (as well as producing yummy oxygen, of course). There are other house plants that have similar impact on air quality. We chose these because of their high efficiency and low maintenance, although points were also awarded to plants with low light requirements or were esthetically pleasing.
|Name – Sci.
||Look & Feel
– Aglaonema sp.
|Tolerate full shade.
||Removes Formaldehyde. Large leaves, happy in the shade. Avoid cold water when watering.
– Hedera helix
||Removes Benzene. Enjoys indirect sunlight but will be happy in lower lighting conditions. Non-variegated varieties tolerate more shade. Has a lower temperature range than most (down to 7 degrees C, doesn’t enjoy temps greater than 18C), avoid placing near heat source. Water moderately and regularly.
|Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
– Epipremnum aureum
||Removes formaldehyde (one of the top three removers).
Water regularly. Leaf drop == over watering.
|Sansevieria / Snake plant / Mother-in-law’s tongue
– Sansevieria trifasciata
|Wide range, full sun to partial shade.
||Removes formaldehyde. Tough plant, handles extremes. Growth will slow but is ok in partial shade. Comfortable at room temp (18-21C) but can deal with 12-30C. Prefers a dry spell to being overly watered: water sparingly.
– Chlorophytum comosum
|Partial shade, bright but indirect.
||Removes formaldehyde (in the top three plants for this purpose).
|Schefflera / Australian umbrella tree
– Schefflera actinophylla
|Bright, indirect light.
||Grows quickly in light. Ok with slightly lower temperatures (though never below 13C).
– Dracaena deremensis
|Bright, indirect light.
||Removes Benzene and Trichloroethylene. Keep between 18 - 24 degrees C. Well-drained soil, let dry between wartering.
– Ficus sp.
||Removes formaldehyde. Tough plant but doesn’t like change – select a location and avoid moving. Likes well-drained soil, water moderately. Avoid cold drafts.
– Aloe barbadensis
||Very efficient formaldehyde absorber at lower concentrations. Well-drained soil, let dry between watering.
Happy breathing to you all.
Copyright © 2005 P. Deegan, All Rights Reserved.
I did a little dance of joy when the used iPAQ I purchased, from a company in Texas via a popular auction site, arrived at our door. Unfortunately, though it was accompanied by its USB cradle, it was lacking the power adapter required to actually recharge the PDA.
The battery had no charge and the iPAQ had been shipped with the “on/off switch” (hidden behind a small sliding door beneath the computer, next to the external power supply input) in the On position – a definite faux-pas as it seems the battery may be damaged by periods completely discharged in this manner (in as little as two weeks!).
Repeated attempts to get the seller to ship the power supply weren’t getting anywhere and I was itching to get started with my new PDA. Though there are some who have modified the USB cradle to suck power from the USB port in order to recharge their iPAQs, I wanted to avoid this method because:
- I didn’t want to carry the cradle around on every little excursion
- I wasn’t certain how much juice the recharge required and,
if I remember correctly, the USB specs say you need to advise
the port how much current you require, something the cradle surely doesn’t do, and
I think the port has the option of shutting your device down if it surpasses these limits
- I didn’t want to have to take my (only) cradle apart, just yet.
It turns out the standard iPAQ power supply, for the 3600 series and my 3765 at least, is a regular wall-wart providing 5 volts DC and rated for up to 2 amps. That’s more current than I expected, but it turns out the lithium-ion batteries used have high current charging characteristics (sucking in about 1A during the first hour of charging). In order to minimize risks, I went about searching for a replacement adaptor with the same voltage and current ratings that would fit into the iPAQ’s jack as well a provide the correct polarity.
Though more expensive than necessary, I did find a perfect match at Radio Shack (now the horribly named "The Source by Circuit City" in Canada because of a trademark dispute). I made the purchase despite the CAD 19.99 price tag, as it was just what I needed and I couldn’t wait to start playing with the PDA. The item in question is a "Sector 7 PSP Power adapter" (RadShack/TheSource part number 581-4207). This particular device provides just the right combination of voltage, current, jack and polarity–the neat thing is that this may also be true for any Sony PSP adapter (your mileage may vary – be careful).
Plugging the iPAQ to the PSP adapter provided instant gratification, as the noisy WinCE bootup began and I got the chance to calibrate the device by aiming for the cross hairs with the stylus. Huzzah!
The sad part was that no matter how long I left the iPAQ recharging, it would die the instant the power supply was removed. On a few occasions reinserting the power adapter simply turned the PDA on but most of the time the disruption caused a hard reset and the iPAQ rebooted, starting from the calibration screen again. What was wrong, why wouldn’t the iPAQ hold its charge? Was the battery dead because of its long inactivation, was it because of the power supply substitute used?
The iPAQ battery is a complex device: a high energy density lithium-ion polymer battery, bundled with electronics that (I believe) handle the charging and provide interfaces to query the battery’s state through a 20-pin connector. My Compaq 3765 had a danionics DLP 305590 installed, a 1000 mAh battery. In the hopes that the battery was the issue, I ordered an inexpensive (CAD 12.00) Chinese replacement, from an ebayer in Vancouver, Canada, with a good reputation (terry66mart). The great thing with this battery is that it has a 1600 mAh capacity, is suitable for 3100/3600/3700 iPAQs and even comes with a Torx screwdriver, suitable for opening up your device.
As soon as I inserted the new battery, the iPAQ began chirping its happy bootup noises: it worked, and even showed a %50 charge. I immediately plugged it into the PSP adapter and waited for the yellow light to stop blinking for the first time. After a while, I unplugged it momentarily to have a look at the battery state which displayed a message to the effect the charge was unknown. This had me worried but only until the battery level indicator reset itself to 65% or so… it seems the battery state is polled periodically in WinCE™–phew! Back to charging for around an hour and, finally, the yellow light ceased its tiresome blinking. Success.
With the battery fully charged and a power supply adapter that is now know to work, I can finally proceed with my plan of replacing the bootloader and then getting rid of the OS for an upgrade to Linux.
For anyone familiar with Unix, the shell (command line prompt) is an addiction worth maintaining. Once you get over the initial learning curve, it is usually the quickest and easiest way to gain intel and solve problems on a web server. But, when it comes to shell access, many web hosting companies suffer from split personalities: on one hand they’ll refuse to grant SSH access while on the other they will let any of their clients upload executable code (CGI programs and PHP scripts) without a second thought.
This foolish behavior is rooted in the myth that shell access is used by “hackers” (by this, they actually mean “crackers”, i.e. a hacker with malicious intent) whereas CGI/PHP is seen as a tolerable threat. This is nonsense:
- There are more positive uses of the shell than negative, on a well maintained host;
- As an unprivileged user, you only have access to your own home directory and files;
- The webserver process, by definition, runs as a particular users – one that must be
able to access directories for all the users with websites on the system;
- A script run by the webserver has the privileges of the webserver user, and has potentially
greater access than anything you could run as another user.
There are exceptions to the above, such as ways to restrict webserver or script permissions (e.g. Mandatory Access Control, or PHP “safe mode"), but in general today the hosting company will bar ssh access and provide full webserver privileges to any random script. This quickly becomes annoying.
To get around this hindrance and actually manage to get things done, we’ve created and released PHPsh – web based shell access for webservers. From the PHPsh homepage:
- A simplified version of sh or the bash shell, that allows you to execute arbitrary commands, remotely, through PHP
- A handy way to run simple commands and maintain a history of executed commands
- A helpful environment that allows you to browse the filesystem and fetch or upload files
- PHPsh is freely available for personal or professional use
If you would like shell access to a webserver but are stuck with FTP, then try it out. There are a few conditions on its use but PHPsh is free!
I’ve finally made the move to go 100% Linux, with my recent purchase of an iPAQ. Until now, while home and office have been populated by various Linux systems, my PDAs have all been based on the Palm OS.
Though I still love using my Clié and have never had any problems syncing it with my Linux systems (thanks to jpilot and the pilot-link utilities), the disjunction between the two platforms has restricted my mobile computing to PIM and composition… What I really want is to have access to my usual toolset, that with which I’m most accustomed and efficient for everything from development to browsing. Enter the Linux iPAQ.
The iPAQs, initially introduced by Compaq in 1999 and now distributed by HP, are a family of powerful handheld systems. Though sold with a pre-installed version of MS Windows, Compaq was instrumental in encouraging the development of Linux for the platform, notably through the Handhelds.org site. Though I have yet to receive the actual device, I’ve begun investigating the process of getting Linux up and running on the iPAQ.
When you get an iPAQ it is probably loaded with WinCE or somesuch operating system that you don’t want. There are a great deal of sites with detailed descriptions of the Linux installation process (which can be done through a serial connection, from a compact flash card, and in other ways).
The core replacement for WinCE is the ”Familiar Linux” distribution. When downloading Familiar, you are offered a choice for your palmtop environment, the windowing system and applications with which you will be interacting when using your device. At this time, it’s pretty much a choice between OPIE and GPE.
This document is meant as something of a personal analysis and comparison of the two, as well as a short tutorial that should allow you to make your own initial comparison without having to perform multiple installs on your iPAQ.
Searching the web, you’ll find a large number of opinions on this potentially flammable topic which is in many ways comparable to the KDE vs. Gnome discussion. My first impressions are that:
- OPIE (Open Palmtop Integrated Environment) has a longer history, broad user base (it started out on the Sharp Zaurus before growing to support iPAQs) and a nice polish to it. It’s based on the Qtopia environment, which means a lot if your a developer (in terms of technological and licensing restrictions).
- GPE is based on the GTK+ widget toolkit and uses the good old X Window System. It includes PIM software but is more like a standard Linux system (using X, providing shared libs, SQL, etc.).
Both environments are a bit “bare-bones” when installed but both support ipkg feeds (which seems to allow you to install software in a way pretty much identical to Debian’s apt-get, in fact the `file` command recognizes .ipk files as “Debian binary package (format 2.0)"). You can search amongst the 30,000+ packages in the database at ipkgFind to get an idea of the possibilities.
Instead of simply relying on hearsay, we can do some snooping around on the filesystems installed by either option. To do so, start by downloading both the GPE and OPIE versions of familiar for your device from the Familiar Linux site . In my case, I wound up with the bootopie-h3600.tar and bootgpe-h3600.tar files. Untaring both you should wind up with a directory with the following files (replace h3600 with your specific device):
The BootBlaster file will be used under WinCE to bootstrap the installation process. For now, all that interests us are the .jffs2 files – these are JFFS2 images of the GPE and OPIE environments and one will be used to fill the filesystem during the install.
In order to get a preview of each environment, we want to mount the JFFS2 filesystems on a regular Linux desktop system. The problem is that attempting to mount the JFFS2 files using the usual loopback tricks, say:
# mount ./gpe-image-h3600-20050407124742.rootfs.jffs2 /mnt/flash/
-t jffs2 -o loop=/dev/loop1
results in ”wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/loop1” error messages on the console and
Attempt to mount non-MTD device "/dev/loop1" as JFFS2
messages in the system log. The reason this is happening is that JFFS2 is specifically designed for MTDs (Memory Technology Device), such as flash devices. In order to get a peek into the contents of the JFFS2 filesystem, we need a way around this issue. One easy way is to create a fake MTD device in RAM, using the mtdram module. The MTD device driver modules were all installed on my stock Fedora system (mtdram, mtdcore, mtdblock, etc. where all present in /lib/modules/… )–these procedures will only work if it is also the case on your box.
To start we load a few modules, creating a fake 32M flash device in RAM and ensure we have appropriate /dev/ entries:
# modprobe mtdcore
# modprobe mtdram total_size=32768 erase_size=256
# mkdir /dev/mtdblock ; for i in 0 1 2 3 ; do mknod /dev/mtdblock/$i b 31 $i; done
Then we write the contents of one of the JFFS2 images to the MTD RAM device, and take a look:
# dd if=gpe-image-h3600-20050407124742.rootfs.jffs2 of=/dev/mtdblock/0
# mkdir -p /mnt/ipaq/
# mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock/0 /mnt/ipaq
# cd /mnt/ipaq; ls;
The output will be something like:
bin boot dev etc home lib media mnt proc sbin sys tmp usr var
So, as you can see, your mount point is now the root of the Familiar + GPE system. Because this filesystem expects to be mounted on ‘/’, many of the softlinks within will be invalid. Also, remember that these executables are all compiled for use on the iPAQ, e.g.
# file bin/busybox
bin/busybox: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, ARM, version 1 (ARM),
for GNU/Linux 2.4.0, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), stripped
so they won’t be usable on your x86 machine. However, this does give you a good chance to look around. You can start by creating a list of the files with:
# find . > /tmp/familiarfiles-gpe.txt
From here you can move around on the filesystem, have a look at the various files in bin/ and usr/bin, check the config files in etc/ and the services setup in etc/init.d/
To have a look at the OPIE filesystem, umount the directory and clear the RAM device, then repeat as above, like:
# cd ~
# umount /mnt/ipaq
# rmmod mtdram
# modprobe mtdram total_size=32768 erase_size=256
# dd if=opie-image-h3600-20050407124742.rootfs.jffs2 of=/dev/mtdblock/0
# mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock/0 /mnt/ipaq
# cd /mnt/ipaq; ls;
Now a quick find will allow you to compare files in each distribution, for instance:
# find . > /tmp/familiarfiles-opie.txt
$ cd /tmp/
$ grep 'bin/' familiarfiles-gpe.txt > bins-gpe.txt
$ grep 'bin/' familiarfiles-opie.txt > bins-opie.txt
$ wc bins-gpe.txt
340 340 5866 bins-gpe.txt
$ diff bins-gpe.txt bins-opie.txt | grep '<' | wc
100 200 2454
$ diff bins-gpe.txt bins-opie.txt | grep '>' | wc
35 70 1075
This tells us that GPE and OPIE share 240 files in various …bin/ directories, while GPE has 100 bin/ files that OPIE doesn’t and OPIE has 35 bin/ files that are omitted from GPE.
Looking at the actual file differences gives us an idea of how things will be on each system. GPE has many X-related binaries, of course, but it also has lots of network related goodies like gpe-aerial and prismstumbler (wireless LAN discovery tools) and iptables.
Comparing libraries in a similar manner:
$ grep lib/ familiarfiles-gpe.txt | grep -v ipkg | grep -v fonts/ > libs-gpe.txt
$ grep lib/ familiarfiles-opie.txt | grep -v ipkg | grep -v fonts/ > libs-opie.txt
$ wc libs-gpe.txt
381 381 15817 libs-gpe.txt
$ diff libs-gpe.txt libs-opie.txt| grep '<' | wc
148 296 4814
$ diff libs-gpe.txt libs-opie.txt| grep '>' | wc
43 86 1665
Indicates that the two environments share 233 libraries, most of the differences being the large volume of X and GTK+ libraries found with GPE.
In terms of services, both environments are sensibly the same. GPE has X services like xmodmap which I’m sure to use being a dvorak keyboard user, though I’m certain OPIE has some manner of support as well. It may be that OPIE allows you to enjoy the wealth of Zaurus apps available, I just don’t know if they are actually binary compatible.
In the end, I’m hoping to install a number of my usual development tools, like perl and gcc, from the ipkg feed and it may be that either environment is suitable. However, from the comments I’ve read and the analysis above, I think that GPE will be the most Linux-standard experience and is probably what I’ll be starting out with.
Resources of interest:
Familiar, GPE and OPIE
Copyright © 2005 Pat Deegan
All Rights Reserved
Software is all around us. The most blatant examples are those programs we’ve wilfully created and that permeate modern society: from computer programs that fetch email to those running on controllers embedded in cars and traffic lights and toaster ovens.
I love programming–the act of creating this software–but must admit that it is still the most dull and primitive example of programs.
A program is an information processor. It reacts to information that comes in from the external environment according to a combination of preset rules, current state and, in some cases, previously stored information. A software’s reaction to input is to affect the environment in some way–in the most simple case, by outputting new information.
Following this, you can view any earth-born living organism as a well-debugged program, written in the language of DNA. A termite senses its environment, be it through touch (tactile input), smell (input from chemical sensors) or other input pathways. If conditions are right and the termites are homeless (state), they will each perform small sequences of actions that affect the environment (output) which in turn affects what they see (input) and their current state, in a feedback loop.
The end result of this function in the termite program is an organized, emergent collaborative behaviour that impacts the landscape in important ways, creating towering structures that can last many years.
In the end this and all other termite behaviours are subroutines of a larger program, whose ultimate goal is the creation of more termites.
This is a common theme to all organism programs. Any programs that didn’t include a replication mechanism stayed with a single copy in the world. No matter how great, given enough time, that single copy is doomed to get hit by lightning, drown in a river, get used for spare parts by another (i.e. eaten) or meet some other demise–bringing the number of copies in existence back down to zero.
Even in cases where the program has some resilience built in through redundancy, it is also eventually doomed to extinction if replication isn’t its first priority. In the fierce zero-sum game of wildlife, if your program devotes energy to any other goal, a more focused replicator will inevitably find some wiggle room in your niche, increasing its numbers at your expense until a tipping point is reached and the number of your copies falls to zero.
The point is that all behaviour can be seen as the output of the massively parallel computations performed by each cell by reading the DNA program. Some may feel that this view is limiting and doesn’t fully explain the human experience. For some cases, such as seemingly elaborate behaviour or counter-intuitive examples like intra-species cooperation, pure “pre-programmed by DNA” evolutionary models do suffice (for instance, see Dawkins’ excellent The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype). In other cases, such as obviously self destructive behaviour, I agree–the DNA program view is insufficient. The interesting thing, however, is that the “replicating program” explanation does manages to describe these if you take into account the fact that what differentiates humans from most (if not all) other organisms on this planet is that they support two distinct programs that sometimes have conflicting interests: genes and memes (self-propagating units of cultural evolution).
Though they follow the basic replicator "law"–replicate with as much fecundity, longevity and fidelity as you can muster or face extinction–memes are different than (most) genes. They can be stored outside of biological hosts, in inanimate retention systems such as books, only to be re-animated on contact with a suitable brain (somewhat like dormant anthrax spores in soil). They can travel horizontally (between brains of the same generation, like viruses). They are extremely quick, easy and inexpensive to duplicate (like computer software, MP3s and other digital content).
It is our collective memes that have allowed the creation of the super-organisms that exist in human minds and the space in between we call society, whose "bodies" are composed human individuals and their behaviours, like governments and the scientific community and parent-teacher associations and religious sects and the fast food giants and so many others.
The human individuals that comprise these bodies are essential but, like skin cells, highly replaceable. Many of these super-organisms are self assembling–an idea spreads and is refined, bringing people together for mutual benefit or whatever reasons make the meme successful. Some, like systems of government, are so important to us that we’ve encoded the program regulating their behaviour: we’ve taken those meme complexes and set them down as law.
A corporation, from corpus (representing a "body of people"), is a group of people authorized to act as an individual set up in accordance with a governmental framework. It is an important example of these memeplex-derived super-organisms. Corporations, in most cases, are setup with the increase of shareholder value as their prime objective. In the words of the Indian Head Mill Co. manual:
The objective of our company is to increase the intrinsic value of our common stock. We are not in business to grow bigger for the sake of size, nor to become more diversified, nor to make the most or best of anything, nor to provide jobs, have the most modern plants, the happiest customers, lead in new product development, or to achieve any other status which has no relation to the economic use of capital. Any or all of these may be, from time to time, a means to our objective, but means and ends must never be confused. We are in business solely to improve the inherent value of the common stockholders’ equity in the company
Whether this interpretation has force of law or not is debatable. But many companies operate under the assumption that this is the case or at least that it is their sole or primary responsibility. Under these circumstances, what any rational person would view as inappropriate behaviour makes perfect sense.
When a corporation drains common resources like water or strains shared infrastructure like roads to reduce costs it is only obeying its prime directive. That a company should decide to dump toxic waste into rivers while including the eventual fines as part of their cost of doing business, is justified so long as it increases shareholder value. When a company shifts operating costs to other sectors of society, leaving us to pick up the tab for health problems due to their activities, crime stemming from increased poverty, loss of quality of life from noise, pollution and destruction of the environment, we can only blame ourselves for programming them to do it. Companies, as they currently operate, a completely self-centered, shortsighted and unsustainable. They will eventually self destruct, if only after killing the last people on the planet.
Environmental protection, laws regulating the welfare of employees, special taxes (when they actually have to pay them) are all well-intentioned but inefficacious band-aids over the deeper problem. From the corporation’s point of view, it is its responsibility to use influence and cunning to bypass these measures by any means. The only complete and permanent solution is to rewrite the corporate DNA and change the basic programs that direct their actions.
Fundamentally, we need to change the laws which regulate companies in order to reprogram them such that they act in accordance with our longterm interests, instead of plodding on with a world view that dates back to a time when the planet and its inhabitants were seen as a store of infinite resources ripe for the picking. Changing our ideas about the role of corporations means supplanting one set of memes with another–like other organisms, you can expect the corporate memeplex to resist and fight back. But it is possible.
Is there anything you can do to make this happen? How do you fight a well entrenched meme, one that has backing from an established power structure? Is this all true and should you even try? Here are my suggestions and experience concerning the issue.
Observe and understand
Don’t take my word for it: see for yourself. Try to abstract away the people who form a company and see it as an independent organism. Don’t jump to blame the CEO of a company when it misbehaves, though he may be fired in disgrace–the reason this type of behaviour is endemic to corporate culture is the environment which fashions corporate evolution, the rules under which we have collectively decided to require companies to operate.
Think about it
Spend some time actually thinking about the issue for yourself. Corporation are memeplexes–they only exist within our brains, in our agreed upon and shared mindspace. How we see them and what they do isn’t wholly independent of us, of our opinions and actions. So what you think is important–spend a little time figuring it out.
Talk about it
Because corporations and other social bodies only exist within the shared consensus, discussing the issues openly really can have an impact. Talk about it, bring it up during supper, link to this page, write about it yourself–get other rational human beings thinking about it. Leaving it in the dark, or up to some vague "others", can’t help and will likely just allow the situation to worsen. Bringing it to light offers hope and will eventually lead to real ideas and plans that can get us out of this collective bind.
We are in control and can act now
You can petition the government for change, I wouldn’t expect any major change from above in the very near future–there is a certain lack of motivation, as governments and corporations often live in symbiosis. Though we are but cells in the global organism, corporations themselves are only components of the social "superplex", acting like faulty or cancerous organs poisoning the rest of the body.We can affect positive change.
You needn’t be afraid to take a stand, now. Though doing so might engender positive mental consequences–such as pride, moral contentment or social rapprochement–you can expect straightforward health and material benefits from changing your mindset and making the decision to take a stand.
When I co-founded Psychogenic.com–an Information Technology consulting firm–in 2000, we were lucky to be small and nimble enough to make a fresh start. As a corporate entity, we made a commitment to our clients, partners and to society at large.
Our commitment to clients is that we will offer our abilities and experience not only to meet their needs but to empower them to grow and become not just better, but actually "more". To our staff and partners, we have committed to provide a positive and nurturing environment, where they can grow, learn and be fulfilled through work they are passionate about. These two groups are classical stakeholders and are, under many management philosophies, considered important enough to account for. This just makes economic sense: happy clients and employees simply provide better returns.
Though we may sometimes be a bit more extreme in our dedication to human resources and clients, our key management difference lies in our commitment to the rest of the world. We will not support destructive or parasitic activities directly, by creating tools for such uses, or indirectly by working to sustain the functions of companies that are working against our global interests. We strive towards creating tools that add real value to the world. We contribute to the commons–the shared knowledge base that belongs to everybody–by creating and contributing to free (as in freedom) open source software projects.
This has lead to numerous benefits, ranging from an enjoyable work environment to widespread recognition. The clients we accept are generally more enjoyable to work with, are more than willing to compensate us fairly and have a tendency to come back for more and refer others to us.
If you own or direct a company, you can take steps to establish a clear set of commitments to your stakeholders and society at large. If you are an employee at a firm, you can voice your opinions and clear the way to a different, more sustainable, work ethic that benefits the company and the world in which it operates. You can refuse to cooperate with harmful behaviour.
How did King and Gandhi manage to effect widespread social change? Their methods were nonviolent and directed straight at the basis of power–which crumbles when the oppressed refuse to see their rulers as legitimate and to cooperate. The same holds for all consensus-bound organization. You can rewrite the corporate program, simply by rewriting it in your own mind: if we refuse to participate, they disappear.
Copyright © 2005 Pat Deegan
All Rights Reserved
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, first released in 1976 is almost 30 years old–but it is far from being dated.
Here is a bit of the blurb from one second edition’s jacket:
Our genes made use. We animals exist for their preservation and are nothing more than their throwaway survival machines. The world of the selfish gene is one of savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit. But what of the acts of apparent altruism found in nature - the bees who commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, or the birds who warn the flock of an approaching hawk ? Do they contravene the fundamental law of gene selfishness ? By no means: Dawkins shows that the selfish gene is also the subtle gene. And he holds out the hope that our species - alone on earth - has the power to rebel against the designs of the selfish gene.
The books main argument and focus is the idea of “replicator power”, a replicator simply being a thing that can make copies of itself. A replicator can be anything, from an autocatalytic molecule (one that facilitate the appearance of molecules similar to itself) to the most prevalent form of replicator on this planet, the gene.
Dawkins put forth the fact that in any system where replicators exist, the ones with the greatest fecundity, longevity and fidelity will prevail (increasing their numbers the most). Add to the mix the occasional copying error and you get evolution, where certain errors will hinder replication but, once in a while, a transcription error will actually make the replicator more successful. In a world of limited space and resources this leads to a sort of competition, an arms race between replicators: those that evolve spread, those that don’t are eventually used for spare parts.
When seen in terms of replicator competition, it becomes clear that natural selection doesn’t operate at the level of the species or even the individual–it’s all about the survival of genes. The book goes on to detail how this deceptively simple assertion, that evolution is the outcome of competition between the replicators in the world, is used as a founding principle–a way of seeing the world which provides a clear view of Darwinism and allows a host of thorny issues to be resolved. Why do organisms devote time and energy, potentially at the cost of their lives, to procreate? Why do many animals expend resources helping their sibling even sometimes participating in raising their progeny?
Seen from the point of view of genes, these all make perfect sense. A set of genes that cooperate to make an organism likely to procreate ensures that multiple copies of itself will be unleashed into the world–eventually, any organism will be destroyed, so it makes sense to make backups… A gene which encourages a sense of kinship between siblings is also more likely to spread: there’s a 50% chance that any gene you have is shared with your little sister, so if you can forgo a meal at the cost of some discomfort which saves your younger and weaker sibling’s life then you’ve again acted in a way to maximise the number of your genes in the environment, even if it goes against your own self-interest. In this way, Dawkins demonstrates that even altruistic behavior can be explained in terms of “selfish genes”, replicators only interested in maximising their own survival.
Reading this book was, to me, equivalent to learning the principle of conservation of energy in physics: it is a simple tool that clarifies all aspects of evolutionary biology. The hard part is getting the right mindset to use this tool, and Dawkins does a fabulous job detailing and demonstrating the implications of the idea. At times, it felt a bit overdone and I caught myself thinking “ok, you’re preaching to the choir… let’s move along” about half way through but you can’t blame the author for creating such a solid foundation (and it was written 30 years ago… perhaps a number of these ideas have filtered through to the shared consensus at some level that wasn’t present in the 70s).
One of the most thought provoking chapters is at the end, when Dawkins speculates about other types of potential replicators. These musings have lead to an explosion of research in memetics (one mind blowing book on this subject is Susan Blackmore’s Meme Machine, the subject of an upcoming review here).
I thoroughly enjoyed the read and recommend it to anyone interested in evolution, biology or the motive forces behind what we call life.
Copyright © 2005, Patrick Deegan. All Rights Reserved
This document presents my current personalized supplementation schedule (version 2.0), along with the rational behind it in the hopes it will be useful to others researching or fine tuning their own.
Having been doing a lot of research on health and nutrition lately, I’ve refined a personalised supplementation schedule based on my requirements and health goals. Though this program is based only my own analysis (and I am in no way a health care professional) and specifically targeted to my own needs, I believe sharing it might be useful, if only to encourage others to begin their own exploration.
The first thing you may notice is that just about all the supplements listed here go over the FDA Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) for vitamins and some other elements. The reason is simply that the RDA is calculated for healthy people in the United States such that the vast majority (~ 98%) avoid deficiencies–so the RDA isn’t an optimal amount, only the minimum requirement (to avoid things like scurvy) and, according to numerous studies, the optimal quantities of various vitamins and elements greatly exceed the RDA.
One must be careful, however. Certain supplements, such as water soluble vitamins like vitamin B or C, aren’t harmful as overconsumption mainly leads to expensive urine (the excess is eliminated). In these cases, it is a simple matter to ensure your body has more than enough at all times. For fat soluble vitamins and numerous minerals, the situation is more delicate. For instance, excess vitamin E can lead to dangerous blood thinning while over consumption of iron can lead to death. Thus, many people should be able to follow these guidelines as-is but careful research should be made before increasing dosage and consulting a doctor or nutritionist would be prudent in any case. Remember that the goal is to get and stay healthy–not to make things worse!
Daily Supplementation Schedule
Yes, this is a lot of little pills for one day. But I have found a way to make things much easier, which is described in the Organizing section. Below are a few details concerning the dose and use of each of these supplements.
|| B1/15mg,B2/10,B6/5, B12/10mcg,C 500mg
||Nervous system, homocysteine (cardiovascular disease risk) reduction, metabolizing carbohydrates/energy production, skin health
|| B6 fact sheet (NIH), B12 fact sheet (NIH)
|Vitamin B50 Complex
|| B1/50mg,B2/50,B3/50, B6/50,B12/50mcg, Folic 0.4mg
||Nervous system, homocysteine (cardiovascular disease risk) reduction, metabolizing carbohydrates/energy production, skin health
|| B6 fact sheet (NIH),B12 fact sheet (NIH)
||Super antioxydant. Proven to increase the human lifespan when taken in doses that exceed dietary levels. Prevention of cataracts, cancer, cardiovascular disease, aneurysms, gall stones, stroke, brain disease and more. A study published by the NIH in the year 2000 showed that adults whose blood plasma concentrations exceeded the 73.8 micromole level experienced a 57 percent reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 62 percent reduced relative risk of dying of cancer when compared to adults who consumed low amounts of vitamin C (28 micromole). [Am J Clinical Nutrition 72: 139-45, 2000]
|| Vitamin C Foundation, The Vitamin C Fanatics Were Right All Along, Vegetable Soup Fights Cell Damage
|| 1000 IU
|| Skeletal strength, cancer prevention, arthritis prevention
|| Vitamin D fact sheet (NIH), Fighting arthritis with vitamin D
|| 400 IU
||Antioxydant. Heart disease and cancer prevention, cataract prevention,
|| Vitamin E fact sheet (NIH)
|| L-Arganine 500mg
||Amino acid. Nitrogen donor, Thymus gland stimulation, artery/vein flexibility, muscle growth, reduces platelet aggregation (risk of heart attack)
|| Calcium is related to skeletal health, body fat regulation, muscle contraction. Magnesium is involved in the absorption of calcium and other mineral, regulating blood pressure, heart disease prevention, carbohydrate metabolism, energy production, muscle relaxation.
|| Calcium and Magnesium fact sheets (NIH)
|| CoEnzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) 30mg
||Fat-soluble vitamin-like substance, antioxydant, important in treatment and prevention of heart disease, possibly responsible for cancer regression
|| Intro to CoQ10, Cancer Facts: Coenzyme Q10 Q & A (NIH)
|| 1000 mcg (i.e. 1mg)
||Reduced atherosclerosis/stroke/Alzheimer’s through homocysteine reduction, utilization of sugar and amino acids, healthy skin, prevention of neural birth defects (e.g. spina bifida), cancer prevention (colon/breast/pancreatic), improve depression
||Benefits of Folic Acid, Folic acid ‘cuts blood pressure’ (BBC News), Folic Acid Fortification: Fact and Folly (FDA)
|| 1250mcg allicin
||Heart disease prevention, cancer inhibitor (particularly prostate, stomach and colon), cholesterol reduction, blood thinner, reduce blood pressure
||Does Garlic Prevent Cancer?
|| 40mg 1-50 extract (9.6mg flavoneglycosides)
||Improve microcirculation in the brain, slow progression of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, reduce claudication (peripheral vascular disease),antioxidant, platelet aggregation inhibitor, possibly enhance memory and brain function
||Ginkgo Biloba for Memory Enhancement
|| Grapeseed proanthocyanidin extract, 37.5 mg
||Antioxidant protection against heart disease and cancer, prolong life span of vitamin C and E, protection from atherogenesis (development of hardened arteries), hair loss prevention, possible nigh vision aid and prevention of macular degeneration.
||GrapeSeed Details (UofM),Proanthocyanidin Power
|| Strong Centrum Type multivitamin w/lutein
||RDA of most required vitamins and minerals
|| fish 1000mg (EPA 300mg, DHA 200mg)
||Reduced all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, Reduction of silent inflammation, lowering of triglyceride levels (coronary disease risk factor), lowering of blood pressure, prevention of inflammatory and auto-immune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, osteoporosis, gum disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s).
|| When "Fatty" is Good: Omega-3 Oils and Fatty Acids, Effects on Cardiovascular Disease, Effects on Cardiovascular Risk Factors
|| 50 mcg
||Trace mineral required in small amounts. Antioxidant, lowered risk of lung/colorectal/prostate cancers, heart disease and rhumatoid arthritis prevention, induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells, possible link between HIV/AIDS and selenium depletion (e.g. "CD4 tailspin").
||Selenium - what it does, Selenium fact sheet (NIH), Selenium May Reduce Colon Cancer Risk, Selenium’s Value to Prostate Health
In order to manage all these pills, I began by sticking the schedule above inside of the cupboard containing the vitamins and other supplements. Playing musical chairs with bottles quickly became annoying, as there are numerous supplements that are to be taken two or three times a day. In addition, eating out meant foregoing the supplements or having a pocket full of pills.
In order to simplify things and allow for quick getaways without forgetting any supplements, I purchased two weekly pill organizers. Merging the two sets provides up to eight separate compartments per day:
By using this system, I need only retrieve all the various vitamin and supplement bottles once a week and prefill all the compartments in a very mechanical manner by referring to the schedule above. For 8 minutes of effort, I get to spend the week carefree and secure in the knowledge that I’m following the schedule I’ve set out exactly. It makes traveling or going to the restaurant a lot easier as well.
I set up a mailing list for interested members of our extended family. It’s a place where holiday plans are discussed and minor flame wars sometimes erupt. I had the pleasure of starting one myself recently, in response to a message from my uncle. For those who can’t read french, especially my homegrown accent-free version that google seems to have difficulty translating, well… sorry translating this would be too much work but you can get a lot from the various english quotes.
The email I recieved containd this quote from some book by Philippe Roth:
On lutte contre sa propre superficialité, son manque de profondeur, pour essayer d’arriver devant autrui sans attente irréaliste, sans cargaison de préjugés, d’espoirs, d’arrogance; on ne veut pas faire le tank, on laisse son canon, ses mitrailleuses et son blindage; on arrive devant autrui sans le menacer, on marche pieds nus sur ses dix orteils au lieu d’écraser la pelouse sous ses chenilles; on arrive l’esprit ouvert, pour l’aborder d’égal à égal, d’homme à homme, comme on disait jadis. Et, avec tout ça, on se trompe à tous les coups. Comme si on n’avait pas plus de cervelle qu’un tank. On se trompe avant même de rencontrer les gens, quand on imagine la rencontre avec eux; on se trompe quand on est avec eux; et puis quand on rentre chez soi, et qu’on raconte la rencontre à quelqu’un d’autre, on se trompe de nouveau. Or, comme la réciproque est généralement vraie, personne n’y voit que du feu, ce n’est qu’illusion, malentendu qui confine à la farce. Pourtant, comment s’y prendre dans cette affaire si importante—–les autres —– qui se vide de toute la signification que nous lui supposons et sombre dans le ridicule, tant nous sommes mal équipés pour nous représenter le fonctionnemet intérieur d’autrui et ses mobiles cachés? Est-ce qu’il faut pour autant que chacun s’en aille de son côté, s’enferme dans sa tour d’ivoire, isolée de tout bruit, comme les écrivains solitaires, et fasse naître les gens à partir des mots, pour postu ler ensuite que ces êtres de mots sont plus vrais que les vrais, que nous massacrons tous les jours par notre ignorance? Le fait est que comprendre les autres n’ est pas la règle, dans la vie. L’histoire de la vie, c’est de se tromper sur leur compte, encore et encore, encore et toujours, avec acharnement et, après y avoir bien réfléchi, se tromper à nouveau. C’est même comme ça qu’on sait qu’on est vivant: on se trompe. Peut-être que le mieux serait de renoncer à avoir tort ou raison sur autrui, et continuer rien que pour la balade. Mais si vous y arrivez, vous? alors vous avez de la chance.
My response, which it seems I felt was worth sticking here, is included forthwith.
J’imagine que je me suis tromper, et que ton but n’etait pas d’inciter une tirade de ma part… mais la voici neanmoins
Bon, que ceux et celles qui sont pas ben ben intelligent levent la main!
J’imagine (j’espere!) qu’il n’y a pas eu trop de volontaire. Le fait est que la plus part des gens se croit ben smatte.
“Unfortunately, your self-perceived excellence makes you remarkably ordinary: In general, psychologists have found, whether the category is driving skills, looks, intelligence, or charm, people rank themselves above average, usually substantially above. In one typical study, 70 percent of high school students reported that they possessed better-than-average leadership ability, while only 2 percent thought they were below average. In another, 94 percent of professors said their own scholarship was better than the norm.” (The Power of Positive Illusions)
Cette tendance n’est pas negative–c’est une adaptation utile. L’explication simple, c’est que la vie est remplie de “non-zero sum games” (des scenarios ou l’on gagne a cooperer)–voir: Memes & Cooperation – et que pour des animaux sociaux etre confiant c’est utile. Dans The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins decrit la co-evolution de plusieurs mechanism en utilisant un exemple simple. Trois individus se veulent chef de notre tribu. Le premier dit “franchement, je ne crois pas qu’on va s’en tirer”. Le deuxieme recherche le gain personnel et tente de fourrer tout le monde avec des promesses vides. Le troisieme croit franchement qu’il est le meilleur choix pour diriger la tribu pour le bien de tous.
Les tribus qui choissent un defaitist se tire dans le pied. En 1532, Francisco Pizarro et 168 hommes plante une armee de 80,000 Peruviens, entre autre parce-qu’il avait l’audace de croire en leurs capacitees. Le chef qui n’est pas sure de lui sera en moins bonne sante mentale (Positive Illusions: Creative Self-Deception and the Healthy Mind et sera moins enclin a prendre des risques pour le bien de tout le monde (Overconfidence and War : The Havoc and Glory of Positive Illusions).
Les desavantages du deuxieme choix sont evidents et nos expressions faciale, universelles et innees (The Inner and Outer Meanings of Facial Expressions), sont la preuve que dans cet univers de “non-zero sum” il est en general plus profitable de pouvoir se comprendre que de pouvoir cacher ses propre pensees. Il y a eue, et se poursuit, une “arms race” entre les menteurs et les detecteurs de mensonges mais l’important c’est que nous cherchons a deceler la tromperie volontaire chez les autres et agissons en consequence quand nous la detectons. Tous ca, c’est suffisant pour qu’il y ai une pression contre la selection de leaders menteurs (cyniques et autres, inserer commentaires sur Paul Martin ici).
Le troisieme chef potentiel croit scincerement en lui-meme. Il se trompe probablement, mais ce n’est pas important. Le fait est, par l’inverse des arguments a l’encontre du chef defaitist, qu’il est avantageux pour la tribu de se choisir un chef un peu trop confiant.
Par ce mechanism, avec le temps, la tendance au illusions positives se repend a travers le pool genetique et la culture.
C’est ben beau tout ca mais: “rapport, man?”. Le rapport c’est qu’on est tous mauditement pareil, le “self-perceived excellence” n’est qu’un example.
“Chimpanzees share 99.4 percent of functionally important DNA with humans and belong in our genus, Homo, according to a recent genetic study” (Study: Chimps Belong In Human Genus). Quoique tout le monde n’est pas d’accord avec cette conclusion, le fait est que les chimpanze on 95-99.X % de similarite genetique avec nous.
A l’interieur de cette petite difference genetique entre nous et les chimpanze, il faut coder pour deux choses:
A) Code Genetique Chimp.
B) Code Genetique Chimp.
+ une steppette pour devenir humain
+ un grain de sel pour devenir un individu
La difference entre individus, quoique bien importante pour nous, est infime–du moins du point de vue genetique. Donc, y a-t-il une grosse difference entre les individus malgre leurs similitude biologique?
La lecon de notre epoque sur cette question est que le “Social Science Standard Model”–avec son idee que le cerveau humain est une tabula rasa ou le software de la culture est inscrit par apprentissage (A Rising Stare: Evolutionary Psychology)–se met le doigt dans l’oeil.
Un bon exemple est fourni par Steven Pinker (un livre excellent: The Language Instinct : How the Mind Creates Language) qui decrit l’evolution et le fonctionnement des circuit grammatical chez l’humain (voir Natural Language And Natural Selection pour une bonne intro). Il n’est simplement pas possible pour un humain d’apprendre *n’importe quel* language, arbitrairement concue. Les ‘variables’, telles que la prononciation des mots, peuvent bien etre n’importe quoi mais la constance de la structure de la langue et la facon que les concepts sont organiser sont ce qui permet a l’enfant d’apprendre a parler et a tout le monde de se comprendre efficacement.
Une conclusion qu’on retire de la psychologie evolutionnaire est que l’esprit humain n’est pas une machine a calculer generale, comme un ordinateur, mais plutot une collection de module specialiser, adapter pour des taches distincte–coder des la conception par nos genes et commun a tous les humains. Bien des differences que l’on percoit, comme celles entre les langues, ne sont qu’une tres mince couche par-dessus une vaste fondation universelle (supporte par ces modalite neural). Il existe une grammaire universel, fondee dans la biologie humaine, et on realise qu’il existe un peuple universel–l’evolution nous a fournis une batch de modules qui s’occupe d’une grande part de notre pensee, de notre perception et interaction avec le monde.
Oui, on peut quand meme se tromper… et pas seulement sur les motifs specifique qui pousse X a faire Y. Le fait est que l’etre humain n’a aucune experience directe de l’univers. Nous sommes enferme dans nos cranes respectifs et tous nous vient par l’entremise de nos sens–quand je fais une tournee du musee, je suis en fait en train de me promener dans mon cortex visuel. Les trois conclusions possible sont:
1) Il n’y a rien, tout n’est qu’illusion.
2) J’existe, mais je ne sais rien du tout concernant le monde exterieur avec certitude (demon de Descartes)
3) Il y a un monde exterieur objectif, et une certaine correspondance entre cet univers et ma representation.
Les point 1 et 2 sont bien zen et meme possible, mais completement inutile a considerer (jusqu’a ce que le “vrai” univers nous soit revele, du moins).
Pour le 3, la correspondance entre l’univers et ma representation interne peut diverger… ce n’est pas important ici. Ce qui compte, dans ce cas, c’est que :
- Vous existez
- Nous avons tous une representation de l’univers
- Notre representation de l’univers depend surtout des modalités sous-jacentes de notre cerveau
- Le hardware de nos cerveau est a peu pres identique, du moins en ce qui a attrait au module perceptifs, analytiques et fonctionnels.
Ergo, nous avons tous a peu pres le meme model du l’univers. On passe notre temps a se chicanner a propos de notre diversite d’opinon sur A,B et C mais le fait qu’on puisse meme en parler demontre notre similitude fondamentale.
Finalement, si je fais une grosse erreur c’est d’assumer que mon propre “stream of consciousness”, et par consequence celui dans la boite cranienne de “l’autre”, a un rapport quelconque avec “qui je suis”. Des etudes demontrent que la conscience n’est peu-etre qu’un echo, un “log” de ce que l’organisme a deja decide sans intervention consciente. Selon ce model, on se raconte tous une histoire, qui rationalise nos actions et les ordonnes:
“consciousness appears to be a delayed log of your thoughts, a sort of reverberating echo of obnoxious memes, rather than being the actual process of thinking. Neuroscientists have done experiments asking people to press a button and to note what time it was when they pressed the button. Meanwhile, the scientists measured at what time the brain actually sent the irreversible signal to the hand to press the button. Can you guess how it turned out?
The signal left the brain before the person reported thinking about it.
In other words, the subconscious decided to press the button, and only then did the conscious mind report it dutifully in its log. ‘Have decided to press button.’ But like all logs, it is a historical recording of what was, not a live broadcast of what is. Your consciousness is always a bit behind what is actually happening.” (Cet extrait vient d’un petit article, issue du monde sportif, qui merite vraiment d’etre lu:
IN THE ZONE: Consciousness, Basketball, and Team Chemistry).
Mais bon, de facon pratique ce qui compte c’est que j’ai l’impression d’etre conscient et de prendre des decisions. Si c’est faux, ca ne change pas mon experience subjective. Et si vous existez vraiment en fin de compte, vous etes probablement pareil.
En gros je crois qu’on profiterait tous si on cessait de traiter “l’autre” comme un alien incomprehensible, surtout quand c’est un autre primate.
Free Software (that’s free as in free speech, i.e. a matter of liberty and not price) can be a powerful ally for businesses and individual users. Its advantages have been largely discussed. Free software can provide enhanced security and reduce costs. It gives you control over your destiny, leaving the very source code that makes up the program in your hands and keeping you from vendor lock-in and planned obsolescence. But is it possible for creators of free and open source software to find a sustainable model, where we can afford to continue maintaining and distributing software in this manner?
I started off as a Math/Physics double major, at McGill university. I’d always enjoyed programming but it turned into a passion when I discovered Linux. After my first Linux install, weeks of cutting classes turned to months of cocooning as I went through what I later found out is a common larval stage for fledgling hackers. During this period, I discovered the joys of exploring the Free Software world (that’s free as in free speech, i.e. a matter of liberty and not price), pouring over in-depth documentation on everything from compilers to modems. Having the power of a professional class Unix machine–with web and email servers, databases, compilers and programming libraries–was awesome.
Years later, Linux systems are the foundation on which Psychogenic Inc–a company I co-founded–is built and all my personal systems run the OS exclusively. Almost all the websites and programs we create run under Linux. I feel indebted to the community which built these amazing tools, for everything I’ve learnt and the path my life has taken.
That’s one of the reasons why we, at Psychogenic, have created and continue to sponsor a number of open source/free software projects (some of which we maintain at sourceforge). The VOCP voice messaging system project, for instance, has had over 600,000 page views and over 25,000 downloads since it’s inception and has an active user base and mailing list.
On the other hand, the VOCP project hasn’t been updated in a good while… The reason is that we run a business and as such require that our day-to-day activities generate profit. Indirectly, the project has been great for our name and has generated "good will". It has brought about some revenue through minor service contracts such as remote installations and configuration–but the simple fact is that you can count these on a hand or two. Is there a manner in which we could make this system, or any other free software based project, profitable enough to warrant further development?
There are examples of open-source/free-software companies making money. The big names–RedHat Linux, MySQL and others–tend to concentrate a lot of interest, have large developer communities contributing back to the project and have focused on providing service or multiple licensing schemes to create income. For a small company such as ours with projects that haven’t generated large momentum, responsibility for development rests squarely on our shoulders. Though we get many requests for support, any mention of service fees tend to clear the room almost immediately. Our focus is now turning to service based models or actual physical products (such as pre-configured systems).
Shipping hardware would be a major change of direction for Psychogenic. Our value, to date, has all been grey-matter bound–we expend time using specialized skills to meet client needs by producing software solutions. Moving to hardware is a whole new ballgame, one which requires a good deal of capital to be frozen into components, and then also spent on handling and related overhead.
In the service model we either provide added value, for instance hosting and bandwidth, or we keep a portion of the system (the remote back end) proprietary. In the first case, we’re only using the free software as a teaser, to attract clientele, and should therefore consider development costs to be equivalent to marketing expenses–with the additional downside that others may come along who offer the same services but don’t have to bear the burden of development. In the latter case, where a portion of the system is maintained exclusively by the service provider, much of the benefits of free software are lost (users no longer have access to the source code, losing their guarantees against vendor lock-in etc. and needing to simply trust the provider concerning issues like security).
At this stage it is still unclear how we can go about continuing to create free software in a professional capacity. To be continued in a future entry…
Karl Swann, of the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff, and his team have recently discovered that injecting an enzyme produced by sperm into human eggs can trick them into dividing (as if they have been fertilised). You can check the New Scientist "Zapped human eggs divide without sperm" article for more info.
The article describes the discovery as one that "could provide a source of embryonic stem cells that sidesteps ethical objections to existing techniques" and includes the statement:
This could eliminate one of the main sources of ethical controversy in this research
from a representative of Advanced Cell Technology, a cloning company.
Though the discovery is interesting in its own right, proving that phospholipase C-zeta (PLC-zeta) is indeed the "spark of life" that starts eggs dividing, the discussion is completely framed in the "ethical dilemma of stem cells" non-issue. It even includes a quote from some religious group representative to the effect that
[she’d] be happier if it was beyond all reasonable doubt that it could not become a human life
Giving the discovery this type of spin is counter productive. The fact is that this technique actually forces the egg to keep two complete sets of chromosomes (the egg normally jettisons one upon fertilisation)–though they both come from the mother, this is still a complete human cell and there is no reason it shouldn’t develop into a complete human being if coaxed into doing so.
What is worse is treating the request that it should be beyond all reasonable doubt that it could not become a human life as valid. This is insanity. If this is something we should be considering, then we are in trouble… When we understand biology well enough, we will eventually be able to convince any cell to behave as a fertilized egg, thus creating a human being from any cell. Under these circumstances, having dandruff or washing your hands will be equivalent to sacrificing countless cells that "could become human life".
Framing scientific progress in simple two-sided "controversies" and giving equal sound-bite space to the scientists who make the discovery and to some random person with an opposing view misses the point of scientific discovery and puts schizoid opinions on equal footing with actual knowledge. I’ve come to expect more from New Scientist and hope things won’t get worse.
A few discoveries, combined with the realization that certain joints have become a good deal more creaky than they used to be, have recently sent me on a quest for health-related info. Here are a few of the conclusions I’ve come to and the actions taken in response. Please note that I’m a healthy adult and these results apply to my own situation–your mileage may vary.
A person’s first heart attack normally occurs when their heart is perfectly healthy: the real culprit is artherosclerosis. In North America, up to 70% of the population has some degree of artherosclerosis–obstruction of the arteries from the deposit of hardening fatty material.
Much of the evidence concerning the 930,000 yearly heart disease related deaths in the U.S., points to the overabundance of fat in the average diet: on average, about 37% of calorific intake is from fat. There are also findings that link high fat intake to numerous other causes of death, including cancer (colon, breast, prostate, and others), stroke and diabetes.
A proposed solution, which is abundantly discussed and documented, is Kurzweil’s 10% Solution, the gist of which is ”eat as much as you need to, just reduce the proportion of calories you get from fat down to 10% of your total intake”.
This is way below the average person’s intake and even quite below the values recommended by the American Heart Association (a whopping 30%). The inflated percentage recommended by the A.H.A. is actually a compromised value, as their calculation was that a less stringent diet would be adopted by a greater number–the idea being that even if following their prescription to the letter actually saves a smaller percentage of people, this will be outweighed by the greater number of adopters, and thus the sheer number of lives saved. Of course, having a larger absolute number of lives saved means very little to you after your own painful death… which is why you want to have a go at the 10% Solution or at least the Ten Minute Guide to the 10% Solution.
The author is upfront about who he is, he isn’t trying to sell anything and, unlike me, he actually provides complete references to his facts. I read Kurzweil’s Solution over 3 days, about two months ago, and he managed to convince me.
I have made some drastic changes in my eating habits. It can take a while to get used to a new shopping pattern but it’s actually quite easy if you follow this rule of thumb:
1 gram of fat for every 100 calories
Because there are 9 calories in each gram of fat, if you stick to foods that are at or below 1g fat/100 calories you assured success. Obviously, you can go over this amount on certain foods so long as your total average remains at 10% calories from fat.
Fruits and veggies are required and pretty much free! Just eat as many as you want (be careful with fatty olives and avocadoes). Carbs, like those in pasta and such, are fine (Atkins and such followers are insane–check the ingredients and nutrion facts on any Atkins approved item and it will usually contain a ton of fat… these people are on the road to coronary failure) though you don’t want to go overboard on processed sugars of course. Meats are more difficult, as there aren’t usually any labels to inform you. Lean chicken and turkey, fish are all great. Vegetarian dishes are often ok, but you’ll notice that many have a tendency to pile on the fat as well. I’ve renounced on a few items completely, like butter/margarine/mayonnaise, but not many and have discovered a good deal more (think couscous, chick peas and loads of exotic vegetables).
After two months, friends and family have already commented on the changes they’ve noticed–everything from fat-loss to better coloration.
In terms of getting all required nutrients, I’ve established a baseline amount using supplements that nears the daily recommended values. Counting on vitamin pills to get everything your body needs is surely a mistake, but I wanted to ensure a bare minimum in certain areas. Here is my vitamin intake schedule–it looks complex but it revolves around meals, is easy to maintain and ensures I’m not just overdosing on vitamins once a day (which only leads you to invest in expensive toilet water as the excesses are flushed out through urine).
* Omega 3-6-9
* Selenium (50 mcg)
* Vitamin C (500 mg)
* Vitamin E (400 IU)
* Vitamin D (1000 IU)
* Calcium + Magnesium (333/167 mg)
* Omega 3-6-9
* Vitamin C (500 mg)
You can see that everything is spread out over the entire day, there are numerous types of anti-oxidants in the schedule.
Vitamin C is touted as a wonder-vitamin by increasing numbers and recent studies seem to concur: vitamin C fights cell damage and may increase the human lifespan. Vitamin C is triply important if you smoke.
Vitamin D is useful in absorbing calcium but the reason I’ve included it is that it’s thought to keep your immune system from attacking your own joints, as happens in cases like arthritis and other immune system blunders that run in my personal gene pool.
The calcium is taken just prior to supper as this is often the meal with the highest proportion of fat and some findings have suggested that calcium may play a role in encapsulating fat and removing it from the system. On the off chance this is true, the calcium is taken with supper. Don’t go overboard though, as high levels of calcium are also linked to prostate cancer.
Vitamin A is notably absent from this schedule. There are in fact a few thousand IU of vitamin a and beta-carotene in the Multi-Vitamin but the main reasons I don’t overindulge in Vitamin A are:
- Vitamin A is cheap–a handfull of carrots is more than sufficient for one day’s allowance
- Beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in people who smoke.
The multivitamin itself is a generic strong vitamin and mineral supplement. Compare a few of these, drug store brands vs Centrum vs whatever, and you will find they’re all very close.
That about sums up the current state of nutritional affairs on my end. Don’t take these conclusions at face value: have a look at the Kurzweil document, go over the dietary reference intakes for vitamins and minerals, do some research and get involved in expanding your own lifespan.
Scientific American: Rebuilding the Food Pyramid – The dietary guide introduced a decade ago has led people astray…
A Fatally Flawed Food Guide – …when our version of the Food Guide came back to us revised, we were shocked to find that it was vastly different from the one we had developed. As I later discovered, the wholesale changes made to the guide by the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture were calculated to win the acceptance of the food industry.
The 10% Solution For a Healthy Life – As a matter of fact, reduction in heart disease risk is just the first in a long list of benefits. I mentioned it first because it is the primary health risk in our society and is by far our biggest killer…
U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the NIH.
To paraphrase Sturgeon’s Law: Sure, 90% of blogs are crap. That’s because 90% of everything is crap.
So, to start this blog–that may well fall into the 90% of crap category, my hopes to the contrary notwithstanding–with a sputter if not a bang, I would like to enunciate the reasons I think this effort might be worthwhile.
There’s a good chance that logging the vagaries of my mind in this manner appeals to an innate quest of legacy, like raising children does for others, and is nothing more than an attempt to quell looming fears of mortality. But I maintain that this effort, and others like it, can do much more by contributing something real to shared pool of knowledge.
The Parable of the Broken Window tells of a boy who breaks a store owner’s window. The town people offer some consolation to the shopkeeper by stating ”it is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”. The argument is a fallacy because it only considers the visible economic stimulation and ignores the hidden costs–in this case the shop keeper would eventually have spent the same amount on other goods, say by commissioning the tailor for a new suit, and the world would then contain a window + a new suit. Instead, thanks to the little boy’s vandalism, after the repair the world is unchanged (it contains a window but no new suit) even though equivalent effort has been expended. The lesson is that it what is important has little to do with work in itself but with acts of creation.
I am very fortunate, as my role in society is that of wizard. Arthur C. Clarke stated that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic and to some, like my father, my work as a software architect and developer certainly qualifies. But that isn’t what I mean. I spend most of my day creating, conjuring useful systems that have never existed in the history of humankind–out of thin air. I am not alone… a vast array of professions fall into the same creative category or support them. But software is unique in that it plays such a pivotal role in our world yet involves little more than organizing electrons and produces only heat as a waste byproduct.
The infrastructure that enables all of this–electricity, transistors, computers, phone lines, the Internet–has ruptured the old broadcast pyramid model, where a select few can afford to express their views to the many. We haven’t completely broken away from this structure, as a sudden increase in popularity and few repeated storms of traffic can bring a system down or break your hosting budget. But we are definitely getting there, moving towards completely distributed systems and open wireless mesh networks. In this new World of Ends, we can speak to each other instead of being spoken to, irrespective of distance or economic standing. In this world, all the value is generated at the edges by people like you and I.
The reason we have electricity and computers is because scientists like to discover new things and sharing knowledge accelerates the process–you don’t have to discover the atom on your own, you can learn it from someone else and stand of the shoulders of countless others to peer into the distance and make your own advances. Value, in all fields of human endeavor, is constantly being created. Web logs are a means of sharing this value, of actually increasing its worth and insuring against its loss. I encourage you to begin organizing electrons as well–all acts of true creation, no matter how small, contribute to making a better world. I also encourage you to partake in these bits of creation by making an occasional trip to this site and letting me know what you think.
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