October 2004

September 2004 -- 2004 -- November 2004

October 4, 2004

What's this? Another update finally? Yet again I managed to escape another hurricane (sup Jeanne) for the most part unscathed except for a leaky window and a few power surges. We did get school off last Monday which was nice though, not that I did anything productive. And one of my best friends crashed at our apartment for the weekend, so much fun was had by all. And here's a picture of me pretending I'm a weather man and doing exactly what they say not to do during a hurricane, and standing outside.

Tonight I also went to see the infamous Michael Moore creator of Fahrenheit 9/11 speak at UF. Yet another perk of going to a huge university! As with any speaker you have to set your BS meter accordingly, and there are many screws loose up in his head and I don't agree with everything he says, but he does have a lot of great points. It was a really good speech overall and really funny. Today was also the last day to register to vote in the Nov 2nd election in Florida, so there's been a mad dash to get as many as possible to register. For some reason I've always been really big on voting, maybe because I love taking surveys (and this is one survey that actually matters) and because if you do follow the news and events of the world, you do see how your votes do count and what the leaders that people elect are up to. I've voted in every local and national election in the last two years, and try to get other people to go out and vote for the non-presidential elections, since it's the local one's that most directly affect your day to day life.

As for who I'm going to vote for, there is no question that it will be for John Kerry. I consider myself a moderate voter leaning left, which I find a lot of people say they're "moderate" which I still don't understand why there isn't a moderate party. But that also means that there are several points on the Democratic platform I disagree with, some very strongly being pro-life and all, and there are some things I like about the Republican platform (reducing Affirmative-Action and most of the Healthcare issues). And it's these reasons that if I had been old enough in 2000 I would have voted for Bush. But after four years of seeing what he's done to our country and the horrible actions he's undertaken, there is no way I could vote for him again. The Bush that ran in 2000 is in no way the Bush that ran the country these last four years. In 2000 there was all this talk of "Compassionate Conservative". A compassionate conservative does not try to make a constitutional amendment to prohibit the basic rights of gay couples and even put on their platform to end any civil union rights. I explicitly remember the in the 2000 debates (which I watched closely as I was still undecided) him saying that he did not want to invade a country to force a regime change. Say hi Iraq! Which the whole Iraq war is a quagmire in itself, and which I've always been opposed to. The Afgan war I completely support and was justified and needed to be fought. But Iraq is resulting in the needless deaths of 1000's of American's, increasing terrorism (hint: Iraq was not a hotbed for terrorists before the US invaded), and was advocated under questionable intelligence. Meanwhile North Korea goes ahead with it's KNOWN nuclear program and Sudan is in the middle of a genocide. And then there's all the broken treaties and hurt alliances because Bush wouldn't even consider world opinion. Which yes, we cannot have other countries dictating policy and we have to make our own decisions and act when we feel it is needed. But we live in a true global world that needs to get along as best as we can, and if Bush had really wanted to fight terrorism he would have not squandered the goodwill that other countries had shown us. There is also the environmental problems that Bush doesn't care about, and the US goes even further into debt to pay for Bush's war and his taxcuts to the rich. Oh sure it's not our problem now, but our grandchildren are going to hate us. Assult rifles are legal again because Bush wouldn't extend the ban. And as someone who enjoys freedom and the whole separation of church and state thing, appointing John Ashcroft of all people as his Attorny General is downright scary. And yes I'm strongly pro-life, but at least the democrats encourage sex education so there aren't as many unwanted babies that would be aborted. I don't blame Bush for the economy however, I also remember very well that the economy was on it's way down far before Bush took office, and if you've taken an economics class, the president doesn't have as much control over how the economy acts as most people would like to think. In summary, yes, I will be voting for Kerry and encourage all the American readers to do their own research, watch some Fox News, read some Salon.com and make up your own mind. But I live in Florida so my vote counts a lot more than everyone else's :)

Speaking of something good Bush has done though, is try to advance the space program to loftier goals than simply a space station above the earth. I'm a big fan of the space program, and today another landmark was reached with the awarding of the X-Prize which gives $10 million to the first private spacecraft to reach space twice in the span of two weeks. The first civilian spaceflight happened in June, and this was the same team that then won it today with their succesful flight 71 miles above the Earth's surface. The exciting news though is what this means for the future of spaceflight. No longer is it the domain of government agencies and specialized people, but of anyone with enough cash to take the ultimate trip. Science fiction is becoming reality, and within 5 years there is hope to have regular flights at $200,000 a pop. Which I can already tell you if I ever won the lottery that'd be the first thing I'd spend it on. And as with all new technology, the price will continue to drop, and for the first time there is actual real hope that even someone like me could one day go into space. And as a kid who always dreamed of reaching the stars, I can't wait!

October 25, 2004

Next week I have two big papers duem a huge programming project where I'm simulating the execution of an 8-stage microprocessor, and a math test. So this gives me a great reason to give my first update in about three weeks!

Saturday was the Southeast Regional ICPC. Which means my team of 3 tried to program 10 different problems in the span of five hours. We didn't do so well (only got 2 to get 37th out of 75) but it was still a lot of fun. It's never a bad time when you get over 200 of the nerdiest computer people in the Southeast all in one room. Here's the makeup of the 2004 UF team.

Zook was also fired today, after losing to then 0-5 Mississippi State on Saturday. I didn't even watch the game as I was in the programming competition, and assumed we'd wipe them out. It'll be interesting to see who becomes his replacement, which hopefully it'll be Spurrier like everyone wants.

Midnight Madness was a few days ago, and we had William Hung as a surprise guest. Some people didn't like him, but I think he's awesome. Also one of the high jumpers on the track team won the slam dunk competition by dunking from the free throw line, which was really impressive. And as our football team isn't doing so well, I'm really looking forward to this years basketball season.

A survey by University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes found some really interesting conclusions by asking what Bush and Kerry supporters thought about various world events.

The highlights:
  • 72% of Bush supporters believe Iraq had WMD's or had programs to make WMD's at the time of invasion, which the Duelfer Report says is false.
  • 75% of Bush supporters believe Iraq provided "substantial" support to Al Qaeda
  • 20% of Bush supporters think Iraq was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks (!)
  • 69% of Bush supporters believe he supports the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
  • 72% of Bush supporters believe he supports the land mine treaty
  • 51% of Bush supporters believe he supports the Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse emissions
  • 53% of Bush supporters even believe that he supports the International Criminal Court even as he denounced it during the debates.
  • 66% of Bush supporters believe the world is either neutral or approves the war, even as it has proven very unpopular overseas.
  • 90% of Bush supporters believe other countries favor his re-election or are evenly divided. In an international poll of 35 major countries, 30 of them favored Kerry by an average margin of 2 to 1.

And while I'm sure this survey won't sway anyone's vote (assuming they already know the truth) it does anger me that Bush's administration has mislead so many people into supporting him and his war, and they don't even know the truth.

September 2004 -- 2004 -- November 2004