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Hindsight: Views on the Iraq War

Warning: the following is my current opinion. As my sagely nephew often says, Opinions are like a$$holes…

George W. Bush (“Dubblya” to his friends) said that the American people had to strike against the “axis of evil”. Thousands went to war, and I think the battle went as cleanly and quickly as any of us could have hoped. But what was it about? And what happens now?

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This guy is nuts…but what if…?

There is a guy currently in jail in New York for the crime of making too much money too quickly on the stock market. He started with $800 and, in two weeks, had a stock portfolio worth over $350 million. He did this on in a mere 126 trades, every single one of them successful.

But that isn’t the interesting part. The interesting part is that he says he’s from the future…

Andrew Carlssin says that he’s from the year 2256, and that he travelled back in time with the knowledge that our time period was one of the low points in the stock market’s history. He also had a list of the key stocks and dates to buy. All he wants to do is go back to his time machine and travel back to his own time: if he’s set free, he’ll reveal the location of Osama Bin Laden, and will provide a cure for AIDS.

Okay, the guy is nutty as a fruitcake. But the claim that he is benefitting from insider trading seems pretty darned far-fetched as well. 126 perfect trades? 126 different stocks? This guy must have a freaking huge list of “insiders”, all of whom know exactly how some announcement or another is going to drive their stock. Doesn’t this seem just the teensiest bit unlikely?

So, how did he make 126 perfect and ultra-highrisk trades in a row? Furthermore, there is no record of this guy existing prior to December, 2002. Maybe he is from the future…

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I R a Geeneus…

You may recall that I was lamenting earlier this week that several of my news feeds had choked and died. I don’t give up easily…

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Server 99% rebuilt

Its official: the new server hardware for this site is now in place!

My apologies for the sporadic availability of this site during the last few days. All three of you are probably incensed 🙂 But as with any upgrade of this type involving hobbiest hardware and configurations, it wasn’t smooth.

There were a ton of bits and pieces that I had installed software-wise over the last year, some of which were critical to operating certain pieces of the site. Stuff like php-cli, nc, and other things of that ilk. But to add insult to injury, the new versions of several key pieces of the site (E.G. Apache, PHP) now handle configuration files differently. As “obvious” as certain directives no longer working, and as subtle as required environment variables now needing different initial values. So I couldn’t just copy over my old config files and call it a day.

With all of this hassle, you are probably wondering why I did this. I refer back to one of my previous entries here

The old server was an 866 MHz Pentium III. More than adequate for my needs. But now the server is running on a dual processor “2000+” (1.66 GHz) AMD Athlon configuration. Processing-wise, at least, I now have four times as much power. And a larger hard drive: nearly twice as big.

Of course, the most important thing is that I’ve freed up some hardware to use for building Irene a new computer. Yeah, that’s the ticket… 🙂

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Site stability…

The website has been down quite a bit today. I’m installing upgrades and, as is often the case with such things, it hasn’t gone perfectly

Right now the server is running on the new hardware. I have to run some restart tests a little later…once that’s done and I’m satisfied its working properly, I’ll […]

Darn news feeds…

Half of the “stuff” on my site seemed to break all in one weekend. And it wasn’t even my fault!

I’m referring to the newsfeeds I have here. Two of them died- my Google news (top of the page) and Slashdot (formerly lower left of the main page).

Google news normally sits at the top of the main page. The headlines are “scraped” from their site ever couple of hours (supposedly). Well, the RSS service I was using stopped being updated late last week. I think I’ve may have figured out why: based on some testing I did with some scripts I found for doing this, it looks like Google is blocking attempts to read the site with tools that don’t identify themselves as certain “standard” browser types. I hacked a workaround using php-CURL (which lets me change the client agent (browser) identification header sent when my server connects to Google. Unfortunately, its not quite working properly yet. Hopefully later this week- for now, those links at the top of the page are dead.

Slashdot…it seems my server has been “banned” (check this page out, and look for “My RSS reader tells me I was banned!” for details)for accessing their site “too often” or something. I have two web pages that used to do hourly refreshes. Barring something freaky, this shouldn’t generate more than two queries an hour…but maybe Slashdot has gotten more picky lately. Also, maybe someone has spoofed my server’s IP- I sent a message to Slashdot to see if they can give me some clues why my server has been banned. For now, I’ve turned my Slashdot feeds off.

Oh, and I have all the parts for rebuilding my server here (see my previous article), but between having to work this weekend, sick cats, and the problems mentioned here I didn’t end up with any time to spare).

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Have you ever tried…

…to medicate seven sick cats? Two of which, in addition to needing antibiotics, also need forced fluids and feeding? Well, it kind of works like this…

  • get medicine ready
  • get towels ready
  • get firstaid kit ready
  • search for cat #1
  • find cat hiding under bed
  • try to grab cat from under bed
  • watch cat suddenly develop jet assist and VTOL capabilities
  • apply first aid kit to various wounds from cat’s escape
  • find cat hiding under sofa
  • grab cat and drag to appropriate medicating location
  • apply medication
  • find applied medication in left nostril, ear, or under nearby furniture
  • apply medication again
  • remove teeth and claws from sensitive body parts while not releasing cat
  • reposition cat from its location on head to appropriate medicating location
  • force fluids into cat’s mouth
  • clean fluids from arm, chair, floor: note that cat’s mouth is still dry
  • successfully force fluid into cat’s mouth
  • use first aid kit on various claw marks on head, arms, and face while holding on to cat
  • reposition cat from its location on back to appropriate medicating location
  • force “palatable nutrient paste” into cat’s mouth
  • remove “palatable nutrient paste” from eye, elbow, and wall: note that cat has not eaten any food
  • successfully force paste into cat’s mouth
  • attempt to clean cat
  • conclude that cleaning cat is not worth any further scars
  • release cat and apply first aid kit to various wounds
  • search for cat #2…

Yes, being a pet owner is rewarding…. […]

Sick cats, sick me…

The little cat Irene brought home seems to have been a feline version of Typhoid Mary. She came complete with some sort of upper respiratory tract infection that has spread through our other cats.

I can hear you saying “but don’t you keep new cats in isolation?” And the answer would be “uhm, yeah, sort of, well, for a few minutes, maybe.” I think there was an element of “the kitten is cute: she should meet the other cats” mixed with “it sure would be nice to get past this awkward stage where our house is totally disrupted” feelings. Anyway, she was only in isolation for about 24 hours. And she was sick within 48. Here we are a week later, and half the cats in the house are under the weather.

Rommel, of course, is the worst hit. I say “of course” because I am a firm believer in Murphy. If you are about to go on a long car drive, that’s the day your car will break down. If you have nearly maxed out your credit cards, thats just when you’ll lose your job. And, if a cat is going to get really sick, its naturally going to be the cat that is the worst possible patient.

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