For what its worth

I'm going through the process of making many of my old posts friends-only, based on appropriateness for general consumption.

If you're reading this, and not on my friend's list, and would like to be, leave a comment and let me know why. I'm forward dating this, for that purpose.

Hey developers who use Eclipse:

I'm biting the bullet and trying to get Eclipse working for my personal development. I am, however, running into a weird syntax highlighting issue -- whenever I open a file, the highlighting is correct, but once I start to edit, the highlighting starts to drift off by a few characters. For instance got a line od code <namespace><scope operator><class> <identifier> but the highlighting is <namespacesc><ope operatorcl><ass iden><tifier>

Is this common? Is there a known fix? I can't find anything with a websearch on it. =/

I think I broke up with Rachel Maddow

I can be a political junkie. For a while, I was watching anything and everything I could that dealt with (lefty) politics. The Young Turks, Olbermann (before he committed career suicide), MSNBC's evenings and weekend morning programming, Meet the Press, the Daily Show and Colbert (although I've never found Colbert all that funny; his humor just doesn't speak to me. Maybe if his Satire wasn't so close to some actual political positions, I'd find it funnier).

I have since cut down to a reasonable amount. Which has translated to one talking head show a day and occasionally Stewart and/or Colbert. The talking head I had been watching was Rachel Maddow. She is relatively balanced for a lefty, tries to get people on her show who disagree with her, and covers a lot of political stories that are not highlighted elsewhere.

Except, I think the quality of her show has gone steadily downhill over the past year. It ahs decayed into exactly what I don't want in a talking head -- endless repetition of a small number of stories, to the total ignorance of other important items.

The last straw has been her continued references to Rubio's Republican Response to the State of the Union. it hasn't been to the substance of what he said, but an unfortunate aspect of its staging.
Specifically, somewhere in the middle of the speech, Mr. Rubio needed to take a swig of water. Given that it isn't exactly a short speech, that seems perfectly reasonable. The problem was that whoever was responsible for making sure he had access to water put it well out of reach, so Mr. Rubio had to lean over to grab it.
The day after the response, Ms. Maddow did a five minute sketch on the appropriateness or inappropriateness of taking a drink during a presentation, during which she took a swig of water roughly every 10 seconds. Which in and of itself was highly annoying and petty. Her show then continued to run the 5-second clip of Mr. Rubio grabbing a water bottle and taking a swig at the bottom of the screen for the next 5-10 minutes of the show.

There were plenty of items to lampoon from Mr. Rubio's speech -- referring to things the president said when the president did not; challenging the president's position on items that were identical to the positions Mr. Rubio was advocating, and Mr. Rubio generally not being very good at a spontaneous refutation. Lampooning a staging issue that was probably the result of a poor decision by an intern and had nothing to do with the politics at hand was going a little too far.

The real step beyond has been Ms. Maddow making references BACK to this staging issue, weeks after the event. Maddow has generally avoided the petty political bullshit that has become integrated with most political commentators. This is her falling prey to the unfortunately habit.

I have other issues with Rachel Maddow that has caused me to stop watching her; her interviewing technique, while relatively balanced, involves Ms. Maddow giving an introduction of her guest, a summary of interview topic, and a summary of the interviewee's position. She then asks the guest for any corrections or amendments to her presentation.

This would generally be fine, except the show frequently has 3 interviews a night. The introductions are often longer than the rest of the interview, and her presentation does not let the guest give any particular nuance to their positions or ideas.

There are also segments that contain near zero content. I generally agree with Ms. Maddow's positions on voter registration and access, abortion rights and access rights, union rights, and gun control. However, she frequently has segments, several nights in a row, on the same subject. The problem is by the 3rd, there is almost new content, and these topics can run for weeks. Yet the same time is given to each segment, night after night. There is preaching to a choir, but this is just wasting time. Further, there are plenty of other topics she could cover, while giving each of these subject a paragraph each night (at least until there is a significant update).

So, that's why I'm leaving Rachel Maddow. Not that anyone asked.

Looking for new Tenants

Anyone need a 2 bedroom place? I'd like to rent to friends over complete strangers. For people I know, the rent is somewhat negotiable.

Feel free to pass this along to others.

2 bedroom Apartment, 1800$

Newly Renovated 2 BR (Near Tufts) - Available Immediately

Rent is $1800. First, last & deposit to move in.

Owner paid natural-gas heat/stove/hot water.

Unit is first floor of an owner occupied duplex. Open and Affirming household.

No-smoking, recreational drug free. No dogs/cats (except service animals).
Caged rodents, birds, reptiles, and similar are fine.

Renovated 18 months ago with (then-) new kitchen & appliances, new carpet, and new bathroom.
5 rooms (including both bedrooms), full bath. Washer/Dryer hookups.

Plenty of storage in basement. Usable yard and vegetable garden.
Free on-street parking, room in 3-car driveway.

On the 80/94/95/96/101 Bus Routes, 10 minute walk to Tufts, 25 to Davis Square.

Back bedroom
Front bedroom

More photos on request

iPad Mini: My Reaction

Apparently, everyone and their mother is disappointed at the price point for the iPad Mini. I'm actually surprised at that -- expecting Apple to compete dollar-for-dollar with the Nook and Kindle is unrealistic. Apple has never been price-competitive with the low end of the market; if you want to compare the iPad Mini to existing items in the market, look at the 7" Samsung and HTC models, not the lowest cost machines (which may or may not be sold for a loss). In that light, starting at 329$ isn't unexpected.

Besides, if the iPad Mini were competitive with the Nook or Kindle, it would be (at least in my mind) undermining their own iPod Touch. The functional capabilities of the machines do not differ significantly, and the Touch is only slightly more portable than the Mini. If the 16G iPad Mini were priced around 200$, the 32G model would be at or cheaper than the Touch's 32G model. Which might make sense in a technical sense (smaller components cost more), but that wouldn't translate to the market. Or Apple would have had to drop the iPod Touch's price.

What does surprise me is that the Mini is not being shipped with a Retina Display. What is or isn't a Retina Display is a matter of some debate, but anything under 200dpi is not a one; either this will be the easiest model rev ever, releasing an otherwise unchanged machine with a 1600x1280 display in 6 months, or it seems like apple is not convinced the retina display is more than hype.

TO Space, and Beyond!

With respect to this article where a guy says we should build a USS Enterprise (Star Trek-esque, minus warp drive) Real Soon Now:

I'd love to see a project like this underway. I'm confused by some items, but what the hell. Why not try?

(Specific issues:
The USS Enterprise is far from an ideal design. Too many distinct planes -- the components should all be co-planar, or on 2 perpendicular planes.

I have no idea what the ideal size of a vehicle would be for the thrust-to-mass ratio, but something smaller would seem to be a better first-generation design. Instead of an ~450m diameter gravity disc, reduce it to 200m -- also, there is probably no need for generating a full g of artificial gravity. Something in the .5-.75g range is probably sufficient.

4 Nuclear engines? That's going past necessary redundancy. The Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers have 2 reactors that operate at 600 MW each, and there are land based reactors at 2GW. 3 reactors at 1.5GW should be well within reach -- Or even 2 at 2.5 GW.

The only reason I see to have a 4th reactor is if you're using a Thorium fuel system and need a breeder reactor to generate more fuel. Any design needing an active breeder reactor should probably be avoided, regardless.

Also, how exactly does a person transition from the rotating ring to the other parts of the ship? Only having exit ports through the axis of rotation is a bottleneck and inconvenient (you would have to transit the radius of the gravity ring to get almost anywhere). A system at the edge of the ring would have a -1g acceleration (which is surmountable, but also annoying). I'm assuming this is answered on the website, but the site is being hammered.

The ship can be designed and built in 20 years, but new instances are only being created every 33 years? Given that the build portion of the cycle is 11 years, and creating the second instance is going to be cheaper (accounting for inflation) than the first, that seems unnecessarily long. Given the size of the potential crew, and that no other rescue vehicles exist that could respond to a disaster on this vehicle, it'd see like you would want at least 2 available at all times (one in earth orbit serving as a station/port/rescue vehicle, the other in exploration).

Why any weaponization? Until, and unless, there are hostile forces in space, that seems unnecessary and just adds an additional technology that needs to be designed and built.)

Potential Fic Seed

(Not that I write fic, or even read much, but what the hell?)

Agent Phil Coulson (SHIELD, Ultimate Marvel-verse Film/TV version) and Agent Canton Delaware (FBI (retired), Doctor Who, restart version). Same person? Alternate universe versions of the same person? Potential soul mates (Ignoring, or not, that Canton has a canonical, off-scene boyfriend would-be-husband)?

Only the internet can tell.

Galen Reviews Anything: ST:DS9 Season 5, Episode 12. The Begotten

This episode could be subtitled 'Condoning Child Abuse'.

And no, I'm not joking.


There are 2 stories in this episode. The first is Collapse ). In this, the boys bicker and fight for dominance in a stupid pathetic-alpha-male men-can't-handle-childbirth. It is a poor excuse for a B-story line, but it happens. This isn't horrific in any aspect other than the writing. And the acting isn't good. Alright, it is almost amusing in watching actors wreck their careers.

The other story arc is the problem. There will be spoilers and this might Collapse )

A Modest Proposal that Might Work but Will Never Happen

Less than 12 hours her final interviews on Anderson Cooper 360 and with the BBC, Marie Colvin of the UK Sunday Times was killed by government shelling in Homs, Syria. She was on the show to raise awareness of the continued violence and counter Syrian officials statements that they were only attacking legitimate military and terrorist targets. The specific subject of the interview was the death of a young child after getting hit from shrapnel from a shell (I think he was two; I was not very awake when I saw the interview). The boy was just one of over 100 deaths in Homs during that day.

Along with Marie Colvin, French photojournalist Remi Ochlik and over a dozen others died in the same shelling of a make-shift medical facility. Rami al-Sayed, a local resident turned international journalist who had been endeavoring to continue to report from Homs after the withdrawal of almost every foreign journalist, was also killed in Homs. The dead in Homs totaled over 60 yesterday.

I'm all for International Consensus and the United Nations, but the violence in Syria is past that point. The Syrian regime has lost all pretense of trying to portray themselves as the legitimate government of Syria; they are targeting civilians, regardless of their political affiliation, in an effort to terrorize the populace into surrendering. If Russia and China are unwilling to allow a Security Council resolution, maybe it is time to consider removing their veto authority -- I'd be fine with removing the veto authority of all five permanent members, for that matter.

Regardless, this is my proposal.

Send in peacekeepers and humanitarian relief forces. Radical, I know. Follow Nike's example, and Just Do It.

Specifically, send it peace keeping troops and logistical support from Jordan, Greece, and Azebajan or Georgia. The king of Jordan has a vested interest in stopping any violence in Syria and being seen to be responsive to the needs of the civilian population. He often seems (and may legitimately be) the best of the reigning Monarchs in the area. Greece is relatively close, but also desperately could use the UN Funding for maintaining peacekeepers. Georgia and Azerbajan are also close geographically to Syria. These four nations are unlikely to be seen as puppets of the US or major European powers, and being regional, have a vested interest in stopping the violence which could poor over. They are not so close as to have a large historical bias in Syria, and would be able to represent the vestiges of the 1980s 3-world view (1st World, Western; 2nd World, Communist; 3rd World, Muslim).

That, however, isn't it. The crux of the plan is to send in medical and relief support from joint mission between the Magen David Adom (Israel's member body of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent) and Palestine Red Crescent Society. No armed personnel from Israel or Palastine, just doctors, nurses, cooks, and other volunteers. The PRCS has experience with these sorts of trauma cases, the MDA is well equipped and ready for a fast response, and the two governments need to get used to working together, and both governments need to improve their reputations with the international community.

It will never happen; I know that. It is too radical, and involves too many independent groups with their own motivations. It, however, would go a long way to end not only this violence, but help provide stability in that part of the world.