Dec 7th, 2006 by ravi
Hypocrisy flies like a Banana?

Andy Newman, writing in the New York Times, takes a snarky little shot at Castro with this bit about “whichever Castro brother is running the ocuntry”:

If Castro Had a Talk Show, It Might Sound a Bit Like This – New York Times

Come-hither advertisements from Cuba’s state travel agency. Reportage from last weekend’s Fidel Castro birthday parade in Havana, complete with an admiring assessment of Soviet-era tanks. Excerpts from speeches by whichever Castro brother is running the country.

Perhaps he has not noticed that our very own banana republic is ruled by an equal (make that less qualified) dynasty, which includes the outgoing governor of the very Miami he writes from.

[ Link ]

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Aug 23rd, 2006 by ravi
Ducking the ethical issues

The city of Chicago, in a moment of surprising enlightenment, passed a law banning the sale of foie gras. The response? Civil disobedience from restaurateurs and a indignation from the already overfed population. Curtailment of civil rights? No problem. Illegal and immoral war? Who cares. Lesser cruelty towards animals? NO WAY, dude!

What is pathetic about this is the lack of a meaningful response in terms of the ethical issues raised. Instead naive individual choice arguments are offered to justify personal opinion. Some counts offer the staggering number of six billion animals killed each year for human consumption (the number perhaps is approximate and is intentionally coincidental with the current human population). At least the Germans just stood by while horror was committed around them.

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Aug 18th, 2006 by ravi

The big names at LinuxWorld seem to be getting a bit defensive about their baby, as they hold forth on why Linux “succeeded” where BSD “failed”. This “success” is attributed to everything from the sex appeal of Linus Torvalds to the purported development model. BSD’s “failure” is, naturally, a failure on these fronts (and perhaps unrelated to the AT&T lawsuits and ensuing qaugmire?).

Any rhetorical adventure that includes Eric Raymond at the forefront is (to me) to be taken with a good dose of salt, and that is surely true of this discussion. The premature news of BSD’s demise is ill-substantiated by the points offered nor is it empirically evident. Perhaps anticipating the MacOS X (built around BSD and Mach) issue, one of the speakers notes:

“If Mac and Windows didn’t suck, people would’ve used them,” DiBona said.

Eh, wot? This while predicting that Linux desktops “will” be in the 15% range in 5 years. Any guesses on what the Windows and MacOS X shares of the desktop market is, today?

At least one of them had enough decency to address what Richard Stallman has correctly insisted on for years:

For Hohndel three key factors that fostered the rise of Linux: […] the GNU toolchain, without which none of Linux would have happened.

I think it was last week that InformationWeek gave us their take on the greatest software ever written:

So there you have it: The single Greatest Piece of Software Ever, with the broadest impact on the world, was BSD 4.3. Other Unixes were bigger commercial successes. But as the cumulative accomplishment of the BSD systems, 4.3 represented an unmatched peak of innovation. BSD 4.3 represents the single biggest theoretical undergirder of the Internet. Moreover, the passion that surrounds Linux and open source code is a direct offshoot of the ideas that created BSD: a love for the power of computing and a belief that it should be a freely available extension of man’s intellectual powers–a force that changes his place in the universe.

Raymond is a smart guy, but I think the above (last sentence) is much more inspiring and (in the long run) sustaining than Raymond’s “whatever compromise is necessary”. The latter is nothing more than a “corporate lite” approach while Stallman (with all his faults) offers a higher vision.

Just my 2 cents.


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Aug 11th, 2006 by ravi
Nice guys no more?

At the peril of invoking the wrath of my female friends, I have to forward this one (via BlogNYC): So this woman wants to know why it is difficult to find a guy who meets certain criteria. Her criteria?

I have been looking for a really sexy, sensual, attractive man with a “high” libido to have sex on a regular basis. Why is this “so” difficult? Basically, all you need to be single (not married), tall, attractive, CLEAN, well endowed (8″ – 9 “)w/a strong gift of knowing how to give pleasure to a woman. Also, be someone who I can have a conversation and drink with outside of the bedroom because if I am bored.

This met with this hilarious and analytical response which whittles her potential mates down using population figures and her own criteria until we get to:

Re: SBF – Why Is It Difficult!!!!! – w4m – 36 – m4w:

This brings us to your criteria. Let’s take them one at a time. I’ll wrap “sexy, sensual, attractive” up as a single requirement. Considering that these 400,000 men are still available, I’d guess that a smaller percentage than normal could be called “sexy” or “attractive”. Women are nearly always more particular about this than men (we are scarcely better than dogs), so I believe it would not be to draconian to let 300,000 of these lads off the hook. We’re now down to 100,000 single men in NYC who might be attracted to you and who you might consider attractive.

Your next differentiating requirement is “tall”. This is to women what boobs are to men or the phrase “must be slim”. Since height is distributed along a bell curve and the average American male is now 5’10”, you’ve just eliminated at least 60, probably 75%, of your dating pool. I’m going with 75% because my experience is that 6ft is some sort of holy number for some women and less than 25% of men are over 6ft.

You’re now down to 25,000 candidates in all of NYC…getting a little nervous?

Here we get to my favorite useless criteria..”well-endowed”. You even specify the number of inches (8-9). Again, we go back to the numbers and the average American male gets the job done (or,perhaps not done, I suppose) with the regulation issue 6″ penis. I have one of those and it’s been a workhorse beyond compare for these past 45 years. But no, you’re special and you need more…much more. I took gym for many years and can assure you that the number of men, even when height is taken into consideration, who reach the penis length you require is a very small proportion of the population. Since the current 25,000 member pool is already made up of very tall men, let’s assume that there’s double the number of well-endowed males. Let’s say 20 rather than 10%.

And ends up with the bad news:

We’re now down to 2,500 dudes for you. You have two remaining criteria, however, which bodes more ill for your prospects.

Turns out you want a man with the “gift of knowing how to give pleasure to a woman”. I won’t even elaborate on this, but suffice it to say that by it’s very definition of being a “gift”, no more than 1 in ten men should posess it.

250 men and dropping.

Your last demand is that the lucky joe who gets the incomparable pleasure of bedding your rare soul must be capable of “conversation” in such a manner as to prevent your boredom. Given that you’re a woman who needs tall, sexy men with 9″ dicks and a “gift” for pleasure, I suspect you’re easily bored. Shall we say 10%???

25 brave lads left to go nobly into that breach.

Finally, we hear a little about you. Not much in the way of detail, no word of your “gifts”, but you do tell us that you are “curvy” with some meat on your bones. This is CL speak for anything from a little chubby to obese. Nothing wrong with this mind you, nothing wrong at all. Personally, I prefer a woman built for comfort rather than speed. You must be cognizant, however, that these handsome, tall, articulate,well-endowed and sexually gifted men will probably already have their pick of a wide variety of, shall we say, more glamorous women? Women whose curves more nearly resemble those seen in Playboy and Maxim.

Nonetheless, I think it’s reasonable that 4 or 5 of these fellas would prefer a beefy girl like you to the anorexic waifs we see in fashion magazines. 5 guys in NYC. 5. That’s FIVE.

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Jun 5th, 2006 by ravi

Buried in an article in the NYT about Indian-American lobbying in the USA, is a bit of data that I have long suspected:

Indian-Americans Test Their Clout on Atom Pact – NYT


Although Indian-Americans have contributed heavily to both Democrats and Republicans, they have tended to favor Republicans, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Bush's campaign in 2004.


What a pathetic bunch of wannabes! Apologies for the rant, but I am sickened to the core, right now.

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May 26th, 2006 by ravi
Values confusion!

Below is a snippet of a Gallup poll on values, via PollingReport. Read the whole thing. There's plenty of bad news: if you are an animal rights proponent, like me, then there is the disappointing bit that 60+% approve of animal testing and even wearing fur. Then we have the righteous disapproval of homosexuality. And more. Read on.

Next, I'm going to read you a list of issues. Regardless of whether or not you think it should be legal, for each one, please tell me whether you personally believe that in general it is morally acceptable or morally wrong. How about …

  % %
The death penalty
5/8-11/06 71 22
5/5-7/03 64 31
Buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur
5/8-11/06 62 32
5/5-7/03 60 36
Medical testing on animals
5/8-11/06 61 32      
5/5-7/03 63 33      
5/8-11/06 60 34
5/5-7/03 63 34
Homosexual relations
5/8-11/06 44 51
5/8-11/06 43 44
5/5-7/03 37 53
5/8-11/06 15 78
5/5-7/03 14 81

So, if get this right: the public does not approve of suicide, but they approve of the death penalty. In other words, they want do kill you rather than let you kill yourself. So if you want to commit suicide, your best bet is to kill someone else, including (as the above indicates) the not yet human foetus inside a woman — then turn yourself in, and they will kill you. But make sure you don't kill a homo since the public doesn't care much for that sort of people.

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Apr 16th, 2006 by ravi
The Christian War on Yuppies!

Roundabout 2pm I pulled the Volvo around and we tooled on over to The Grove, but blimey, the Banana Republic was closed!! J. Crew? Same! No, not the GAP!!!! But yes, the Gap too had been filled shut.

All I want to know is, when did Christianity overtake Consumerism as the dominant religion of the nation?

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Mar 27th, 2006 by ravi
Security schmecurity?


Is it just my old age or is the IT industry paradoxically getting less worried about password security these days? Back in the day we used to jump through hoops to not reveal cleartext passwords. Today: my hosting provider prints the password out in cleartext in form responses and email. Various online sites (blogs and such) email you the password in cleartext (even if you didnt ask for it!). Even the MySQL command to change the password (mysqladmin password) accepts the new password only on the command line!!

What the hell?!


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