Watching the state of the union address by our
moron commander in chief. I still can’t believe he got re-elected. It saddens me to watch him talk about reauthorizing the so called ‘patriot’ act. How can it be patriotic to strip citizens of their basic civil liberties?
Economy? Under the corporate-led repulican rule we have seen the middle class stripped of any hope to remain financially independent. Tax cuts for the rich? The rich should be taxed more because they have more. It is ridiculous to put the financial burden on the middle class.
He makes me so mad I can’t even think straight. Maybe I’ll write more later, but right now I need to walk away. grrr….
Pandora is a really cool internet based radio. You tell it an artist or song and it creates a radio station based on that style of music. I listened today for about an hour and heard some really good music I had never heard before. Go check it out.
We recently moved to Microsoft’s Exchange for our email at work. What a great product that has turned out to be. The one thing I noticed though, was since I have most of my mail filtered into different folders I would never get the desktop alert telling me when new mail came in since that only checks the inbox. Just to define it, a Desktop Alert is the little preview window that pops up for a brief period above your taskbar when new mail arrives. I like it because I can see who the mail is from and the subject, so I know if I need to read it right away or not. So here’s my tip for always getting the desktop alert, regardless of what folder the mail goes to:
Create a new, blank rule to check messages when they arrive.
Check ‘with size in a specific range’ and specify a range from 0 to 9999. Unless you get huge email attachments this should cover all of your email. Adjust to taste.
Set your action to ‘display a Desktop Alert’
Click next until you get to the end of the wizard, make sure that ‘turn on this rule’ is checked and click Finish.
Now every new email that comes in will get a desktop alert.
I am feeling a little better, but the side-effects of the antibiotic I am on are not fun. I guess it’s better than being sick. I still feel very run down though. So anyway, here are some quotes from Bertrand Russell that I like, I assume the first one will sound familiar to you:
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.
It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won’t go.
It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others.
There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.
The Blues Brothers is on AMC. I love that movie! At the Rays Music Exchange scene. Great bit!
So I’m on antibiotics for a sinus infection. Luckily I was able to get into the doctors early today. I am already feeling a little better, still tired. I assume I will go back to work tomorrow, unless I wake up feeling worse than I do now. At least it wasn’t an ear infection. Those seem to wipe me out worse than anything. It’s amazing how much being sick would cost without insurance. I had a $10 copay for the doctors visit, who knows how much that would have cost me. Then I need to get 2 perscriptions (one really, but it needs to get a refill). I checked it out, and I’ll wind up paying $10 in copays ($5 each), but it actually would have cost $100 ($50 each). It’s amazing how expensive health care can be.
In other news whilst sitting around feeling miserable in my waking hours I broke out the old Sega Genesis and was playing King’s Bounty. Pretty old school. But fun. I also watched a bunch of The Simpsons on DVD. If my brain was at all functional I would have liked to have gotten other things done, but I was surprised I was awake more than I was asleep today. I hope that means I’m getting better.
I am home sick today. I feel really bad, because today is Bella’s birthday party, since we had to reschedule it because she was sick last weekend. I hate to miss it, but if what I have is contagious I don’t want to get anybody else sick. Plus I wouldn’t be much fun, I get so tired and just ‘out of it’ when I am sick. I called the doctors office, but they are not open on the weekend. I guess I’ll see how I feel by Monday, whether I’ll need to call in sick to go see the doctor or not.
As I drift in and out of sleep I am watching various movies. ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ was on TV. That’s a cute movie, I really liked it when I was little, and it’s still not bad to watch. It’s amazing how much they cut out of it so they could put commercials every few minutes…. Right now I have Star Wars Episode I on. At the podrace. I’m trying to watch things I’ve seen before so I don’t mind falling asleep in the middle of it. Speaking of which, I think I’m going to go back to sleep….
I have recently completed an audio/visual web companion to an article entitled “Russian Given Names: Their Pronunciation, Meaning, and Frequency” by Dr. Edwin Lawson and Natan Nevo.
Since I found this such an interesting project to work on I thought I would discuss the technology I used to create it. The materials I was provided with were an audio tape containing the audio pronunciations of the names, which were listed in a Word document.
First I input the tape into my computer using Audacity, a very nice open source audio editior. After I had the audio digitized I cleaned it up a bit, removing tape hiss and noise. Then I created individual files for each name pronunciation. Those files I saved as 96k MP3 files.
The next step was to make the slides that would accompany the audio, which would contain the name, the pronunciation and the meaning. I was hoping to use all open source programs for this, but did not like how GIMP handled the text, so I wound up using Photoshop instead. I used several layers for the different bits of text, and then saved the entire slide as a JPG file.
To create the movie files I used Windows Movie Maker, which I was very pleased with its ease of use, especially since it comes with Windows XP.
I mainly used Notepad ++ to code the HTML for the webpage. The one thing I really liked about that editor was that it included line numbers. I found this usefull, since when you validate the HTML it tells you which line number the errors are on.
This was a very labor intensive project to work on, but it was a lot of fun to do. I really enjoy doing these types of things and hopefully people are pleased with my work. This description is obviously not a step by step procedure of what I did, but more of an overview of what tech I used to accomplish this project. Although I used a Windows PC to do this project, it could have just as easily been done on a Mac. As I discussed previously my comfort zone is Windows, so that’s what I used.
A while back I was asked to do an audio/video web supplement for an article that was to be published. After much work and after several revisions I believe that it is in its final form. I am very excited to be a part of this project and to have had the opportunity to do this. So without further ado, here are the details:
Dr. Edwin Lawson and Natan Nevo had an article published entitled “Russian Given Names: Their Pronunciation, Meaning, and Frequency” and I was asked to take the audio content and make a web page to act as a supplement to the article.
Here is the website: Pronunciation and Meaning of Russian Names
woke up this morning to find a few inches of snow on the ground and the wind blowing so hard it was almost white-out conditions. The forecast I saw said the high was going to be 43, but that must have been in the middle of the night. It never hit 30 today and it snowed for most of the day. This is the kind of weather you would expect this time of year, but after the string of warm weather we had it seems worse than usual.
I think if I ever had to write a paper again, I would investigate good and evil in childrens cartoons. As Bella gets older and starts to watch more cartoons I am reminded of the cartoons I used to watch. A lot of them contain blatant elements of Good Vs. Evil. It’s interesting to me that they paint such a black and white picture of things. You are either a ‘good guy’ or a ‘bad guy’. What about the good person who does a bad thing? Or the bad person who finds redemption? And what exactly makes a person ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Some examples:
GI Joe, both the comic book and cartoon from the 80′s. I grew up with these and can still remember a fair amount of the ‘plot’. This pits the para-military ‘good guy’ force of GI Joe against the ‘evil’ terrorists of Cobra. Why are the Joe team the good guys? Because they fight for the US Military to further their plans for
world domination peacekeeping. Why is Cobra evil, because they fight AGAINST the US Military to further their plans for world domination. Sound familiar? I suppose if they remade the cartoon today instead of a hood Cobra Commander would wear a turban. Both sides were fighting for what they believe in. Is one inherently good or evil? Since this is a childrens cartoon you can take out the element of death. No one ever gets killed by all the gunfire. Just lots of stuff gets blown up. So what lesson do we learn from all the gratuitous violence? It’s OK to wage war against someone just because you THINK they are the ‘bad guys’ and as long as you fight for ‘good’ you are washed of any responsibility of any bad things you might do to achieve your goals.
Thundercats: This is the one where the ‘good’ Thundercats fight the ‘evil’ Mum-Ra and his henchman. This is the stereotypical good vs. evil cartoon. Mum-Ra is the embodiment of evil and like most other of his genre is incapable of doing anything for himself. So he surrounds himself with incompetant evil underlings to try to do in the heroes. The message is supposed to be that good will always prevail over evil, but what if Mum-Ra hired a decent human resources firm to screen his underling applicants? Maybe with some competant help he could have gotten somewhere with his plans. But I digress. Why are the Thundercats ‘good’? They never do anything ‘bad’. So what kind of model is that for children? Instead of saying ‘You know, everyone makes bad choices in life, but that doesn’t mean you are an evil person’ we are telling our kids if you do somehting bad you are evil. That can’t be healthy.
These are some of the things I’ve been thinking of as I watch variuos cartoons with Bella. The examples above are shows I used to watch, and so far Bella has not gotten into the real conflict based cartoons yet (if they even still exist). Although I was surprised to see the elements of good vs. evil in the care bears. I never knew they had an evil nemesis, but it’s interesting that he has the same staffing issues as every other ‘bad guy’ in cartoon history.