Two articles today on everyone's favorite constant: pi. They both talk about the randomness of pi, or more spefically, if it is truly random at all. For as this article points out, there is no conclusive proof that all the digits of pi are in fact random. It could be we just haven't found a pattern yet. The second article talks about proving the randomness of pi through normality. The real weird part of all this is that all this research has no practical purposes other than as a brain exercise, but yet it's sought after so much. Such is the quest for knowledge.
Tropical Storm Barry is hitting Florida right now, before it leaves off toward Texas. We didn't get much rain here at Gainesville, but my family in Tampa got poured on all day. At least it's not a hurricane just yet.
I have a headache.
Salon has some good ideas on protests to free Dmitry Sklyarov. For those of yall who aren't keeping up with the saga, the FreeSklyarov.org has a good background article. Essentially Dmitry was arrested in Las Vegas during DefCon, because he had written a program that violated the infamous DMCA. He lives in Russia so violating a US law isn't that big of a deal over there, but once he was in America, Adobe gave the police a tip and they arrested him. Anyways, the whole hacker community is an uproar with protests across the country, and a bail hearing is set for August 6th, so that's the next big date for this thing. Here's to hoping he'll be freed.
Mozilla .93 was released a few days ago. It's not drastically different than .92, but it is an improvement. It's getting closer and closer to that magical 1.0 release.
Modern medicine strikes again, this time with a ingestible camera. It was designed to take pictures of the small intestine as it goes through your body, in order to try to figure out what is wrong with the patient. It then comes out the other end in 8 to 72 hours. And the capsule is only $450 a pill too.
College computer labs are awesome. This update is brought to you courtesy of the UF CIRCA computer labs.
Vmyths.com is one useful site. It talks about all the virus myths going around (Good Times anyone?) and also about how the mass media reacts to virus stories. The guy who writes it is really harsh on some of the antivirus companies, but I guess someone needs to expose the kinds of FUD that they spread.
Sklyarov has been released on $50,000 bail today. He's still going to be prosecuted, but at least he won't have to stay in jail.
The web died on July 18th just in case you didn't know. Quite interesting eh?
Well I'm now back in Tampa for one week of chilling before I head back up to UF for the fall semester. Time to relax and get some sleep finally.
ZDNet is running a special on the 20th Anniversary of the first IBM PC. On August 12, 1981 IBM released the 5150 with a 4.77 MHz chip, 64K of RAM, and DOS 1.0. It's also when Intel and Microsoft both got their first big starts into the multi-billion dollar companies they are today. Ahhh, the memories.
Netscape 6.1 was released a few days ago. It's supposed to be a lot stabler and more efficient than 6.0, so that's good. Of course you might as well get the latest milestone of Mozilla since that's what Netscape is based on.
And now for a special treat. I have a new, though low quality, picture of me. This was taken about 2 weeks ago for that engineering program. So without further ado, me.
CNN has an article on fewer black admissions into the University of Florida (the school I go to). This came about because of Jeb Bush's plan to do race blind admissions. However for some reason the NAACP is in an uproar over this, but I don't really see why. What Bush wanted to do was make sure people who have the right grades and activities get into college, and that people with less qualifications do not. How can a race blind admissions policy be racist? It's things like this that make me so opposed to Affirmative Action, because if someone does not have the qualifications to get into a college, then they shouldn't get in just because of their skin color. That right there is racism. UF is the toughest public school to get into in Florida, and while it may be unfortunate that statistcally blacks are less educated than whites, it doesn't mean that there shouldn't be a race blind admissions process.
Yesterday we went to Orlando for one last visit to Sea World and Disney, and we also saw The Princess Diaries (if you like Disney stuff, it's good, otherwise it's just ok). But the real excitement was the trip home. About half way home we ran into a bunch of rain so that it was hard to see the road, but the worst part was the lightening. They dont' call central Florida the lightening capital of the world for nothing. I'd say there was like one strike every 3 seconds, and some of them were really close. We actually saw a bolt hit a power transformer about 50 feet away from our car. And then on two separate occasions, the lights on the side of the road would go out after a bolt would hit a pole and short them all out. So it was weird to have all this light and then to be plunged into darkness. We made it home safely though thank goodness. And yes, I was driving, I figure I got some good driving experience out of it :)
Wow, I totally forgot that it was a little over two years ago (August 12th) that I first booted up Linux. The only thing that reminded me was reading a story about how the 10th anniversary of Linux's birth is coming up. I know personally that it has come very far in the two years that I've been using it, and it continues to get better and more user friendly every day. Yea Linux!
Here's an article on how the Internet will not always be the free place it is now. It talks about the three myths that net libertarians believe, but that aren't necassarily true. The scary thing is that the guy makes a lot of good points about how slowly but surely the internet will not remain free but instead be regulated and controlled by governments and corporations. I'll just have to enjoy it while I can.
Pumpkin pie is good.
A study was done on light pollution which has strong warnings about future humans being able to view stars. It turns out that 2/3 of the world doesn't have access to a truly dark sky, and less than 1% of the poople in the continental US or Western Europe have the luxury of being able to look up into the sky and have a totally un-lightpolluted view of the stars as our ancesters saw them. I'm not a hardcore astronomer, but I have always liked space and just gazing up at the stars on a dark summer's night, but it is really hard to see even the brightest stars in Tampa at times, and I can only imagine what it must be like for the sky to be completely dark. The closest I've been to that is on my grandparents' farm, where you can see the Milky Way just barely. Check out the International Dark-Sky Association for more info.
An international team of scientists may have discovered that the speed of light has not always constant after all. They're basing this assumption on some gas clouds 12 billion light years away that were not behaving like they should. There is still room for debate in this matter, and some speculate that perhaps some more mundane explination will come up. But if it is true, it could rock the phyics world and the laws it created. It would lead to credulance for the string theory (theory that there are more than 4 dimensions) and would force scientists to question other assupmtions about the laws of phyics. Gotta love modern science.
My shift key is sorta broken, which stinks. It still works, but it doesn't always spring back up, so typing with it is sorta weird. Guess that's what I get for typing so much so fast.
For those of yall who haven't heard, CNN's Headline News is being revamped to make it attract younger viewers. This is one of the many many effects that the AOL/Time Warner merger is having. Well in typical Onion style, they decided to make an inforgraphic of how to really get young viewers. The last one is the best imho.
Now for a political rant. A bill has passed the House and is now up for debate in the Senate that would prohibit the desecration of the American flag. Specifically it is S.J.RES.7. Now while I personally don't burn any flags, I at the same believe that we should have the right to free speech, and that the burning of an American flag is free speech. Free speech covers even that with which we don't agree or particulary like, but part of the value of the flag is that we have the freedom to say bad things about our country without fear of persecution. This bill would change that.
I originally became interested in this topic after doing a report on Texas v. Johnson, and discovering that every year someone tries to put in an admendment that would basically overturn the Supreme Court's decision and make a bill that bans the burning of the flag constitutional. So what I'm asking of you is to think about what freedom really is, and to write your two state senators urging them to vote against this bill. You can find a list of the Senator's here and they will each have contact information on their website. It doesn't take long to send an email, and it's statistically said that for every one piece mail they get, there are 100 others who feel the same way. So you're one mail can count as a 100. If you want some arguments to use in your letter, or you are still not convinced that this bill is wrong, check out the ACLU's flag burning page and read some of the quotes on there. The last time this went to the Senate, it was only narrowlly defeated (63 yeas to 37 nays, and you only need 68 yeas to pass), so each and every voice counts.
I'm now back at UF. Moved in yesterday, and so today is my first full day living up here for the fall. I have a smaller room than I did in the summer, and a communal bathroom this time, so that part stinks. But my dorm location is a lot better and it's nice to see and meet new people instead of the same people over and over like in the summer. My roommate seems pretty cool, so I think we'll get along just fine. Classes start on Wednesday, but I'll be staying busy all week with various talks and other activities. Ahhh, college rules!
Well the powerball's $175 million winning prize is generating a lot of news for slow news days. But you know what they say, the lottery is just a tax on people who are bad at math.
The best website in the world, otherwise known as Slashdot, has unveiled a new backend for their site, known as Slashcode 2.2. There aren't a lot of changes up front, but a lot has changed with the various features and stuff. It's about time Slashdot finally upgraded their code.
Heh, no updates for 5 days. Not hard to tell I'm back at college is it?
Nintendo's Spaceworld started yesterday, with major new movies of Zelda and Mario games. Mario looks pretty cool, but the Zelda footage is drastically different than anything we've seen before, and it hopes to showcase the Gamecube's cell shading skills so that it looks like you are playing a cartoon character. Should be interesting to say the least, but I'm just worried that once again Nintendo will get the image of being a "kiddie" system. Do they not ever learn? Also you might remember that it was at last years Spaceworld that Nintendo first showed off the Gamecube. It really doesn't seem like it's been that long does it?
AOL is the least trusted company on the internet according to a new survey. I wouldn't trust them either. Microsoft also isn't too high up on the list either. I'd trust them even less with all the stuff they've pulled in the past.
Today is Linux's 10 Birthday. It was on this day, 10 years ago on August 25, 1991 that Linus Torvald for announced on the Minix mailing list that he was working on a new operating system based on Minix that would be open-source. Of course, some say that the true birthday is September 17th, which is when Linus first posted the source code for his new operating system. Regardless, if you have not tried Linux yet, and you have the technical know-how to handle it, you are doing yourself a disfavor by not using it. Once you start, you never want to stop. The BBC also has a story on the birthday.
A new asteroid has been identified, breaking a 200 year old record for the largest known asteroid. It hangs out over by Pluto, and also puts into question Pluto's classification as a planet. Many astronomers now believe that Pluto is not truly a planet, but a "minor" planet, because it is so small.
Frisbee is fun.
Well it's bad news for Dmitry Sklyarov. He has been indicted for digital copyright violations. That makes him the first person that will be prosecuted because of the infamous DMCA. His arraignment will be held on Thurday, so we can only hope for the best.
In better news, someone has finally come up with a solution to the DMCA problem. Granted it is streaching it a bit far with creating a religion, but I've heard of weirder things. I mean in Australia they wanted to make Jedi a religion. Gotta love urban legends.
According to a new study, one of the greatest challenges that future explorers to Mars will have is losing their teeth. Floating around in zero gravity increases the rate that you lose bone density, and with a 2 year mission to Mars, the explorers would come back with no teeth. It's always those little things that no one thinks about that end up being the big problems.
Well first UF gets a DDR machine, and now a club has started for it as well. There are actually a suprising number of DDR players up here, and a lot of them are quite good. I know I've been impressed.
There is a facinating article on Legos on Fastcompany.com. It talks about the history of the company as well as it's struggle to stay afloat in a high tech toy world. I personally have always loved Lego's, and come to think of it, I really wish I could find some of those huge buckets I had as a kid. It's amazing the kinds of things you can do with Legos, from building spaceships to tanks to houses, everything your imagination needs is in that one big bucket of blocks.
And speaking of Legos, Tinkertoys are fun.