Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Creationing. Evolution

I've never cared much about the so-called debate between Creationism and Evolution, instead it's always bothered me that the argument exists in the first place seeing as though evolution explains how organisms get to where they are today by a incremental series of random genetic modifications and Creationism tries to explain the entire existence of the universe (I believe this is the Grand Unified Theory that keeps physicists up at night -- if only they opened their damn bibles for once).

I never understood why it has to be one or the other. Can't both be valid? If evolution doesn't try to explain the creation of the universe then isn't it possible that because God is so smart he would have created everything including the ability for biological life to evolve? In fact, I'm pretty sure He did. Does Jesus not teach us to learn and grow and change to the benefit of our fellow man? Do we not want our own sons and daughters to be better than ourselves? It looks like we've got a whole lot of evoluting going on here folks!

Besides, if everything is God's plan, why wouldn't evolution fall into his plan? I'm sure it did, it's more likely that back then Moses forgot to jot that one down. He was one of the early models after all. Or maybe he did make a note; isn't it even more possible that one of the scribes in the middle ages had a hand cramp so bad that it was just easier to leave that part out. And for the record: in the last 150 years almost every person on Earth (well, at least the ones God cares about) has evolved a set of buttons at the end of their fingers that all but eliminate the labourious task of writing.

I just realised how vexing it must have been for Adam to copulate with his rib, but after all these thousands of years look how far womankind has come -- their sexing bits are now soft and wet. It's a difficult task to explain that without evolution!

And in any event, I would rather these crack debaters changed the focus to Creationism vs. the Big Bang. This one is obvious to me. Both are origin stories. One recorded from God's word, the other looked at by time travelling telescopes. The best part though, is this would be a quick debate indeed, for I would expect the Creationists to embrace the Big Bang as this was obviously the point when God said, "Let there be light."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rolling Jubilee

Rolling Jubilee: A bailout by the people for the people. Clever, I'm surprised it took someone this long to think of (and implement) this.

Right now they are buying distressed debt at a factor of 30:1 ($1 buys about $30 of debt).

Prediction: this ratio will reach an equilibrium closer to 1:1 within let's say the next five years.

Update (August 8, 2013): Currently $1 buys $20 of debt. On the downward slide we go...

Friday, October 26, 2012

"The streets are there to transport people"

NYC Mayor Bloomberg states,

"The streets are there to transport people," he said. "They're not there necessarily for cars, they're to transport people, and there's lots of different ways of transporting people," he said. "In fact, one of the original ways was walking."

This is the first time I think I have seen this point made so directly and so correctly. Well done.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Not sure what to make of it but it looks really neatTreeSheets is a free form data organization application. Looks like a cross between Excel and OneNote (actually, it sort of looks like how I wish OneNote worked). Free. Windows, Linux OSX.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Standing Desk: Day 12

This week is feeling good. My legs feel OK, my heels hurt a bit. Last night my left heel felt numb -- sort of like when you wake up in the night and you've been sleeping on your hand and it feels thick. It went away after a little while.

An interesting thing I noticed is that it doesn't feel weird that I'm standing. While the novelty has worn off this feels normal. I bought a bar stool for sitting and it's still wrapped up. I'm thinking about returning it because I don't have a use for it.

I've started doing some leg stretches and I walk around a little bit every so often. My wood floor creaks so I have to keep this to a minimum during phone calls (or put the call on mute if I can) and it's not really appropriate during more formal video conferences.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Standing Desk: Day 8

On the weekend I got a chance to toss out my old desk and move my standing desk into positition. Here is how it looks:

The desk in its new location

It is now the end of Day 8 and my heels hurt, but not much else. I didn't notice them hurting until just a little while ago. I'm guessing this means my body is adjusting to my new daily routine.

I've also definitely noticed I don't feel like procrastinating as much as before. As I finish tasks I'm already thinking "what's next?" Maybe this will change as I get used to it, but for now it's a welcome side effect.

When I took the measurements before procuring my supplies, I more or less copied the dimensions of my old desk. It was immediately obvious that I should have made a bigger desk. First, I have less space. The old desk had a keyboard tray where I stored my notebook. While I prefer to have the notebook open on my desk, my surface is tight on space with it, the laptop, and my mouse pad. I've been wanting to get a keyboard but if you look, you'll see there's not really any place to put the laptop if I did this. Also, I can't fit two monitors unless I move the printer somewhere else (maybe a network printer is my answer here).

The space to the left of the desk is great -- there is an 18" gap from the edge of my desk to the other desk you see in the foreground, though even then that other desk is as far from the wall (with the clock) as the front of my desk. A 60-64" surface would easily fit and would probably provide a good amount of work space.

The angled posts to the second level are annoying. I should have only used two or three as this would have opened up room for the laptop to sit (closed). The space under the shelf works well for my network devices (modem, switch, router, VPN appliance) and I very much like my phone where it is, sitting atop a well-worn copy of Code Complete (first edition!).

Alot of the jetsam you see on the wall shelf is crap that was liberated from the surface of my old desk. I figure that if I deal with this stuff I can reclaim about 50% of its surface for ... well, I'm not sure.

The play mats and rug seem to work. I do wonder if I should be wearing a good pair of running shoes instead.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Standing Desk: Day 5

Today was the first day where my feet (heels) hurt when I woke up. I've been standing for the past 4 hours and it already feels like hour 6 or 7 from days past.

My legs don't hurt so much lately, at the end of my days they're stiff but they're not hurting.

I'll I can think about is either walking or sitting.

What the fuck MSN?

What the fucking fuck!

I spun up a Windows 7 Enterprise VM and opened Internet Explorer for the first time. When this happens, normally some lame MSN page loads up. Today, it popped up an error that MSN could not load and then this is what it decided I needed to be searching for on my corporate LAN:

Bing Results: kate upton wardrobe malfunction

I can prove I didn't try to search for this myself: I never use a comma in a search query. Who does that?

Maybe I'm overreacting; they didn't link me to some tube site.

Thanks MSN.

(Clicking the back button took me to the expected ca.msn.com home page)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Standing Desk: Day 2

I'm almost about 7 hours in today. This morning my legs were a bit stiff and interestingly enough, I spent the 6 hours before work more or less standing so I guessing I'll be standing for about 15 or 16 hours today. Nuts. Anyway, my legs were a bit stiff this morning, though not really any pain. I was craving the need to sit but as it got closer to work time I was getting excited to use my new desk.

Last night I went for a walk after work and found it OK. Just before the walk I sat down and when I asked my legs to stand up again they told me to beat it.

My heels have been hurting for a few hours now. I notice I don't really stop moving all day, which feel completely different from when I would sit for 8 hour spans of time. I had another video conference this afternoon and it went a bit better. I can't wait to move my desk though, as the wall behind me has a shelf with a mass of cables and is not very attractive. A benefit of where my desk is now however is that I can use the window to light my face so it's not as dark as it was when I was sitting at my old desk.

Every muscle in my legs are sore. I can feel them as I bend and move around. They feel like I've just finished a long run or a few sets of squats.

My back and shoulders feel fine, I think my lower back might be a bit stiff but not any more so as it is when sitting. I've also noticed my ass doesn't hurt during the day as it used to when sitting. I unlocked the "sit for 8 hours without ass pain" achievement long ago so while there is not technically a difference, I don't have the feelings of guilt about destroying my body that accompany a long sit.

The mats and rug seem to help. They feel like standing on like a gel or foam (well, technically they are foam). After standing all day though my feet and ankles can't tell whether I'm on mats or concrete.

In spite of all the standing I don't feel physically exhausted, and in fact I feel like exercising. If I could figure out how to type with my thoughts or speech I would consider getting some weights.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Standing Desk: Day 1

Over the weekend I went to IKEA and bought the components to make a standing desk that is very much nearly the same as this Wide Standing Desk on IKEA Hackers. While in the end I paid about the same as I would have had I bought wood from a lumber yard, I went this route because I'm not confident in my carpentry skills. I liked that the Vika Byske legs are adjustable, something I wouldn't be able to replicate with wood.

I put the desk together early this morning, from about Midnight till 3. I didn't have time to set it up in place of my old desk so it's sitting here in a temporary location over my heating register.

I've been standing so far for the past 7 hours. I started the day sitting at my old desk and then threw caution to the wind and quickly set up my equipment with wires tugging from their old homes. Later this week I'll move everything for good.

Standing desk at right right, old desk at left, third desk (!) at bottom left

I'm quitting soon; my hope is to crank out a quick summary each day if there's anything I feel relevant.

How my day went: Right now I have a bit more space because I haven't moved all the stuff from my old desk. It was nice to not have to move my phone around. It's hard to take notes -- I used to keep my notebook in my keyboard shelf but now it's on the table. I think I took better notes today (at least in keeping track of my time) because the book wasn't hidden. I had a video conference that was a bit weird -- the camera shot seemed very close to my face and that was all that was visible. When I used to sit my upper body would be in the shot, I suppose this means the monitor is closer to me now. I had to keep moving which I'm sure was a bit distracting to the other participants. My wood floor squeeks a bit and the noice was loud enough to draw comment.

In general I felt more more motivated to do work. I'm not sure if this is because I changed my routine or if I felt like I had to keep progressing so eventually I could earn the right to sit down.

How I feel: My legs hurt (heels and balls). My knees hurt.  My shoulder hurt when I woke up this morning (I think I overexerted myself in the pool yesterday) but now it feels loose. My back is fine, I just noticed that it's a bit sore. In spite of my lack of sleep I'm not tired, though my body is exhausted. I'm standing on two play mats and an area rug. The mats stick to my bare feet so the rug helps with this.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Software companies should publish pricing

Why do software companies hide their pricing information? The cynic in me says they do this so they can size you up as a customer to figure out how much you can pay. Fine, whatever. But at least provide some sort of pricing information (server licenses, CALs, etc) to give me an idea of how this thing will be bought. And I shouldn't have to call you up to find this out.

Some vendors seem dead set against suggesting that you can even buy their software. Nowhere on the site is a link to buy the product. I guess they expect me to use their contact us link.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Smoked salmon and maple syrup

Delicacies you will find at any tourist shop in the country, presented as if these are two staples of the Canadian diet. I wonder if tourists think our grocery stores are stocked with only these items.