I just found out that XS Orlando will be receiving a Para Para Paradise machine!! Woo Hoo!!!! No word yet on when exactly it'll come in, but I'm just happy one is coming. For those unfamiliar with PPP, it's a Japanese arcade game that you "dance" with; you use your arms (or legs or anything else) to break 5 sensors located around you to the beat of the music. I've never had the chance to play one (because they are extremelly rare outside of Asia, I believe Florida will only be the 3rd state to get them in the US) but I'm definitly looking forward to it.
Now this is what every dorm hall needs, a Bathroom Server. That way you can tell from the comfort of your own dorm room how busy the bathroom is. You gotta love MIT for their great imagination.
Well UF won over Marshall Saturday in an unsuprising win. It's definitly interesting to be able to see the #1 team in the nation in action. Plus the act of going to a stadium full of 85,000 Gator fans is a sight within itself. Next week should be an even bigger blowout.
Today marks the official one year anniversary of my first time playing Dance Dance Revolution. I had been looking for a DDR machine ever since I had first heard of the game back in 1999, but alas every arcade I had visited did not have one. Finally, on September 4, 2000, I found one at Islands of Adventure, the old US Mix. To say I was happy was an understatement. The first song I played was Brilliant 2 U, because I had already downloaded the mp3 of the song and I liked it. Needless to say I failed it horribly. However I put in some more quarters and played Have You Never Been Mellow, passed it, and then failed at Butterfly. This continued until my normal set of songs was HYNBM, Boom Boom Dollar, and finally Butterfly. It took forever to pass Butterfly, but eventually I got it down. Now I can pass just about all trick/difficult songs, and even a few SSR/Maniac/Expert songs. This game is the most fun of any other videogame I've ever played, and I HIGHLY suggest anyone with a machine by them go play it at least once. Then you'll get hooked. The feeling you get from having people clap and cheer for you is incredible, and it's just soooo much fun anyways. I love this game!
Watch out for the OpenVirus. It's suprisingly efficient in spreading.
No More AOL CD's!. Finally a site that has a good idea, they want people to send them unused AOL CD's and once they reach one million AOL CD's (17 tons worth) they will haul them over to AOL's headquarters and dump them. I still remember when the cd's were only good for 5 hours free, now they're up to 1,000 over 45 days. How times change eh?
It looks like Russia might be starting its own space station, this one though specially made for space tourists. It would be a commercial station, that people could pay millions of dollars to go up for up to 20 days. It would also help Russia pay for the ISS, since they are currently cash stapped. I know I'd be willing to pay the price if I had that much money, it'd be like a dream come true. The future of space tourism is beginning, and I can't wait to see where it takes off to.
Everyone needs to run to Toys R Us on September 24th, because that's the date that Gamecube kiosks will be set up to try out the Gamecube. They'll have the Luigi game, as well as WaveRace to play. I can't wait.
Here's another new picture of me. enjoy!
Scientists have discovered the world's funniest joke. However it might have some unintended uses, since you literally die from laughter. On a slightly more serious note, there actually is a website built to find the world's best joke. Check it out and rate them yourself.
There is new evidence that a black hole exists at the center of our galaxy. It supposedly has the mass of 2.6 million suns, and is slowly sucking in the stars around it. Very cool stuff.
Yesterday, September 8, 2001, at 9:46:40 PM Eastern Time the Unix clock hit 1,000,000,000 seconds. Unix recognizes the midnight of January 1, 1970 as "zero" time, and it's from that epoch that it counts it's seconds. Fortunatly changing to 1 billion doesn't have any adverse affects on comptuer systems, so there wasn't any Y2K like concerns. Anyways, it's just one of those things that might show up in a trivia contest somewhere.
Check out Drempels, it's a program that makes your Windows background "move" as you use your comptuer. It looks really, really cool when you use it, and can also be used as a screensaver.
I watched Sneakers again for the manyith time last night. Gotta love the movie. It also has a lot of good quotes like that "There's a war out there, old friend, a world war. And it's not about who's got the most bullets, it's about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think, it's all about the information." And it's so true.
There's a very interesting article on Legos and intellectual property that talks about what happens when a company lets it's products be "hacked". It talks specifically about the Mindstorm collection, and how hackers created their own operating systems and programs for this device, without Lego's permission. But at the same time, it was these hacks that made Mindstorm such a huge success. So it's a question of do you want to bite the hand that feeds you by suing. The article brings up a lot of good points, and it's a good discussion about how company can deal with threats to their intellectual property.
Rememeber when you were a little kid and thought you could shake the earth by jumping up and down a lot? Turns out you can. British researchers wanted to find out if millions of jumping school children could create a small earthquake, and it turns out that it can. Some two billion joules of energy were calculate to be released by them jumping, which occurred at exactly 11 AM local British time. Man, and to think they get paid to get school children to jump up and down.
Chess legended Bobby Fischer is supposedly playing online chess versus Grandmasters anonymously. British Grandmaster Nigel Short says that he's played against him, and it seems like the only person with that much skill and knowledge about 1960's chess could be Bobby. For those who didn't know, Fischer was one of the greatest chess players ever, and he has been in hiding since 1992. And if you havne't seen the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer", I highly suggest it.
The day that no one will forget for a very very long time.
For all the news and links you could ever want, check out this site. It has a huge photo gallery as well as updates about how the news websites are holding up. Earlier in the day just about all the news sites were not responding due to the huge load put on them by people trying to find out information. The New York Times also has a lot of good stuff, including some incredible eye witness accounts.
As for my story, I found out about it at about 9:50. I had woken up at 9:30,
checked my email, took a shower, and then loaded up Slashdot, where I see the first headline "World
Trade Towers and Pentagon Attacked". I immediately go to cnn.com, only to find out it's not responding. So I
turn on the TV, and see a picture of the World Trade Center on fire. Needless to
say I am in total disbelief by this time, and I skip breakfast to continue
watching. Then they announce that one of the towers just collapsed, and they
have video of the HUGE cloud of dust that rises up. Unfortunatly I had to get
off to calculus class, but on the way there I was talking about it, and this one
girl said her friend's dad works at the WTC, so she was getting freaked out. We
took a short quiz, and then I rushed back to my dorm to stay glued to the TV for
pretty much the rest of the day. They cancelled classes at about noon, and there
are incredibly long lines to give blood on campus. I'm going to try to give
tomorrow, because today there is just too many people. I'm still in the state of
shock at the thousands of people who died today and how someone could do
It's also interesting to note that the major networks are going on 10 hours without any commercials, and that ESPN, MTV, and VH1 are all showing news instead of their regulary scheduled stuff. Gotta love breaking news stories. I'm a news junkie, so I'm on an adrenline high at the moment. I have also been to the WTC, because that's where there is a subway station that connects New York with New Jersey. So I know from first hand experience just how incredibly tall they are. And once again I am still in disbelief.
Yep, no updates for a week, I know I know.
Ok, this is getting scary. No, not the terrorist attacks or the threat of war,
but the way American society, government, and corporations are reacting to this
tradegy. The WTC event is being used to lead us down the slippery slope of our
rights and liberties being taken away. Censorship is running rampent in the name
of "protection" and soon all kinds of privacy violations (reading emails,
monitoring phone calls, intercepting mail) will become commonplace in the name
of safety. The latest
incident, Clear Channel (the monopolistic radio company) had declared a list of songs banned from
playing because of questionable lyrics. Wired has some more info on that.
Cartoon Network has already stopped showing some cartoons or episodes of
cartoons because of either violent content or showing some buildings in New York
being destroyed. Do we really want to live like this forever?
Richard Stallman has also written a great essay on how these events could lead to our civil liberties being taken away. Already Congress is clamoring for encryption backdoors in software so that the government can read whatever it wants to. Slashdot also has a great piece on what you can do to help save what little "Rights Online" we have left before they're all taken away. Congress reconvenes on September 21, so hurry and write those emails and make those phone calls to your represenatives. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also has some sample letters that you can base your's off of. Wired has another article asking if civil liberty is the next casualty in this great tradegy.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for finding those responsible and trying to prevent future acts like this from happening. But I don't want my country to become a police state in order to achieve this.
In other related news, ZDNet and Wired have some great stuff on how the web really came through with the new form of media by amatures. The web has also allowed people to put up hundreds of pictures and first person accounts that one would normally never get to see or hear through normal media channels. Online donations are also soaring to record levels. Slashdot was key in how I got a lot of my information and pictures, and was actually how I first heard about it since it's my homepage.
Some more various links: newspaper
headlines, engineering analysis of why the towers collapsed, a very large pictures of
the dust, and a radar picture of the NYC area. (Unfortunatly those last two
pictures are no longer up)
This attack has also affected even things like The Onion which is rerunning past
editions in light of the tradegy. It'll be interesting to see how they
handle the attacks, as they satire just about everything, even the Columbine
shootings. Course the way I always deal with stuff like this is to laugh at
it, so the sooner they get back up to speed the better in my humble
Hmm, now no updates for over a week. I gotta work on my time management huh?
Secondly, some stuff is pretty screwy with some of the pages on here. I'm not sure what the deal is with that, but I'm working on it.
Remember all that stuff I wrote about at the last update with our freedom's being taken away? It's beginning. A national ID system is now being seriously considered, face recognition camera's are being pushed, weakened encryption standards are being shoved through legislature, and many more similar stories are coming up everyday. I'm sure that amendment banning flag burning will easily pass through legistlature now as well. Things are being passed on emotions, not rational thinking. The University of Central Florida is condering background checks on all it's students, with the students saying that it should be no problem if you have nothing to hide. That isn't the point, the point is that people have no right to know about one's private life. And this is all done in the name of fighting terrorism. But the only real thing we're fighting is the things that millions of American's had died for: freedom.
It also shows up in the editorials I read in the student newspapers here on campus. People wanting to arrest and deport people who want "Peaceful Justice" or who even praise bin Laden for making America question our involvement in foreign countries. Sure, I think it's pretty sick to be in favor of a terrorist like that, but to arrest someone for free speech? That just goes against everything America stands for. One woman wrote in that since the University of Florida didn't fly a flag over Tigert Hall (the main administration building) that UF was being "treasonous" and that the "federal government should take appropriate actions". Heck, I'm sure they think that I should be "investigated" for standing up for my first amendment rights to question their fanatical patriotism. Yes, I love America and I think it's the greatest country in the wold. But I don't think that means that we're always right, and I really fear that the coming years will be a dark time in the history of this country. The kind of time where 30 years from now we'll wonder how we could ever act the way we did. War shouldnt be an excuse to take away all the rights that were given to us by our independence. However history sets a bad precendent when it comes to things like this. Like the way we put Japanese into concentration camps during WWII, or Lincoln taking away habeas corpus during the Civil War. That means that people could be arrested without just cause. I can very easily see that happening with Arab looking men in the near future, or anyone making any kind of slightly anti-American comment and having it be called treason. I'd hate to live in a world where I have to fear critizing my government, as it is that right that I love so much about America. History is being made right at this moment, and how we make it will be read for centuries to come. And to think that we are fortunate (or perhaps unfortunate) enough to live through it.
Warning: The following material may offend some people who don't want to laugh at the events following the WTC attacks. If you have no sense of humor about the events, don't read the following link. If on the other hand you think some humor will help you deal with the stuff that happened (that's the way I feel) then please read on.
The Onion is back and better than over. After taking a 2 week vacation following the attacks, they've decided to confront it head on with all their satirical wit. It's probably one of the funniest editions I've seen from them yet, and it even has some really good points about the religious motives (with God telling people that he specifically said "Do Not Kill") as well as the uncanny similiarties of the events with an action movie. That particular story ends with the quote "But one thing is clear: No Austrian bodybuilder, gripping Uzis and striding shirtless through the debris, will save us and make it all better. Shocked and speechless, we are all still waiting for the end credits to roll. They aren't going to." I've really got to hand it to the Onion for trying to be funny in such a serious time, but I for one feel that it's neccassary and I'm really glad they took the risk.
Today is a very very very very good day. Oh yes.
Continuing on the tone of the below days, I am continually amazed at how crazy some people can become during times such as these. First up is that "The Flag-Burning Page", set up to protect the freedom to burn an American flag as a form of protest, is now discontinued because of death threats and assulting emails. Once again people standing up for what they believe is being considered un-patriotic.
Secondly is a great Salon article on "Democracy held hostage". It talks about some cases in the media where reporters or columnists were fired or repremandid for making any kind of statement that wasn't part of the status-quo. Things like questioning Bush's actions can get one fired. Even a White House spokesman has said "Americans need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is." in reference to Bill Mauer saying that cruise missles were "cowardly". I'm smelling 1984 here...
And finally some very scary poll numbers from CNN. 31% of American's, nearly 1/3, believe that there should be "detention" camps for Arab-Americans. I had hoped that something like that would only be a temporary black mark in American history since we did something similar to Japanese during WWII. That stat truly frightens the crap out of me. 29% favor random searches, something that before would be considered outrageous. Anther scary stat is that 59% of those polled favored holding suspected terrorist "indefinitely with no bail". Now suspected is a very very vague term, and to think that just by thinking someone is a terrorist they can be held in jail for the rest of their lives...it sounds a whole lot like that habeas corpus thing I was talking about below. It's amazing how the things I put down that I feared would happen, could actually happen. And finally, 55% of American's believe that email should be scannable by the government. What a world we live in now.