BC ferry loses power, crashes through marina

Holy crap. A BC ferry loses power during docking, and does a slow motion crash through a local marina. Amazingly, there are no injuries.


CNN — has link to video (Windows Media Player)

Seattle Times — has link to AP video (RealPlayer)

A good aerial side view

NBC mistakenly reveals face of Saddam's judge

Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News led off the Tuesday March 1
newscast with an "exclusive" that the presiding judge in the trial of
Saddam Hussein had been assissinated.  Although a judge was
assassinated, it was not the lead judge in the Saddam case.  Oops.

Not surprisingly, nearly everbody has blurred out the lead judge's
face and never referred to the lead judge by name.  But NBC,
believing that the lead judge was dead, aired footage of the judge without his face blurred.  Double oops.

So now, anybody who saw that newscast knows what the judge who will decide Saddam's fate looks like.

I first heard about this on the

Speed variance kills (not simply speed)

For a given road and conditions, it's not how fast you drive, it's how much faster (or slower) you drive relative to the rest of traffic.

Of course, if you are on a road by yourself with no other traffic, then at a certain point too high of a speed will kill you because you'll run off of the road. But since most of us drive on roads with other traffic, it's the relative speed that is most important.

Below are some excerpts from various studies to support this basic fact (from a Dec 2 2000 posting in the Yahoo Groups forum for "Corbin Sparrow Electric Vehicle Driver's").

Continue reading "Speed variance kills (not simply speed)"

Capitalist goals and free-software (GPL) goals

 A lot of the confusion around how capitalism and GPL can both be successful can only be understood when you realize that each philosophy has completely different goals (money for capitalist & good code for GPL), and each philospophy is attempting different kinds of "efficiency" (maximum wealth for capitalism & highest quailty code for GPL).

This Slashdot poster said it best:

Re:I can't take much more of this (Score:5, Insightful)
by mcc (14761) Alter Relationship <amcclure@purdue.edu> on 2003.10.27 19:04 (#7325176)

The way I look at it is this.

The GPL mindset is designed, at the very core, with the sole end goal of making the best computer program possible. Everything else– the financial success of companies like Redhat included– is merely a means to that end, or coincidental.

The capitalist mindset is designed, at the very core, with the sole end goal of making a bunch of money. Everything else– creating a good product included– is merely a means to that end, or coincidental.

People can sit down and found an open source or a commercial software products with these not being their goals, but the open source project or the company will, in time, take on a life of their own. The project will fork, and leave the hands of the maintainer, if the maintainer does not do everything he can to promote it being the best program possible. The company meanwhile will eventually pass out of its original creator's hands, usually into the hands of a board of directors who care only about making the most money possible.

Because these different mindsets are so different, things the open source community does tend to seem completely mind-bogglingly nonsensical to the commercial community, and vice versa. Both sides would have an easier time understanding each other if it were understood on both sides that with a GPLed program, it is not the people, it is the source code, that is in control; and with a company it is not the people, it is the corporate culture, that is in control. Some groups of people do a better job of keeping a reign on their code/corporation than others, of course, but this is still what things seem to tend toward.

Continue reading "Capitalist goals and free-software (GPL) goals"

Don't worry, be happy

A little off-topic from my usual posts, but it was kind of inspiring. From http://www.kisrael.com/mortal/wasting.html

There's a good chance that you'll be happier if you're not a crusader, or at least not a crusader all the time. So once you figure out what part of your life you need to devote to the causes are important to you, once you take into account the time you need to spend at work, to keep body and soul together, your time is yours. If you can fill it with exciting adventure, living one big beer commercial of a lifetime, that's good. If you live in simpler circumstances, if you rarely look beyond a night of tv, a few beers, a good book… that can be fine as well, so long as you can be fine with it. (Romantic love help as well; most people can find if it they search, but almost everyone will be stuck without it for some period in their life.)So figure out what makes you happy, and do it; be content in the fact that you can do things to make you happy, and don't worry that time is wasting or that you don't have forever to waste time in; you have your own lifespan, and that's all anyone will ever have or has ever had.

Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors/creators than piracy

Tim O'Reilly wrote an essay
on the value of online file sharing without the need for onerous
digital restrictions (aka Digital Rights Management) or draconian
"intellectual property" laws (eg. DMCA).

Below are the 7 lessons (which he discusses in detail in the essay):

  1. Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.
  2. Piracy is progressive taxation
  3. Customers want to do the right thing, if they can.
  4. Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy.
  5. File sharing networks don't threaten book, music, or film publishing. They threaten existing publishers.
  6. "Free" is eventually replaced by a higher-quality paid service
  7. There's more than one way to do it.

Unintended consequences of competition

An allegedly true story about unintended consequences:

I worked as an accountant in a paper mill where my boss decided that it would improve motivation to split a bonus between the two shifts based on what percentage of the total production each one accomplished.

The workers quickly realized that it was easier to sabotage the next shift than to make more paper. Coworkers put glue in locks, loosened nuts on equipment so it would fall apart, you name it. The bonus scheme was abandoned after about ten days, to avoid all-out civil war.

This was from Scott Adam's Dilbert Newsletter #44, so you might want to take it with a grain of salt.