Thursday, February 26, 2009

Damn you Quake live!!!!

So much for sneaking in a game before my lunch break runs out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week 3 Update, somehow still on track

So the final count is 11.743 MC.

This includes 4.130 from this week which by Friday was starting to look a little bleak.

See I knocked out a huge workout Tuesday Morning before heading down to Gastonia for the big install. That went all the way until Friday which meant concurrent 12 hour days for most of the week. Luckily I had enough steam to make it Friday, Saturday and did another monster workout today.

Pretty good all things considered. I hate having to play catch up but I am definitely feeling the results if not seeing them just yet. Natalie and some family members swear I look like I am losing weight but I still don't see it.

Maybe it's the 'you see yourself everyday and it's too gradual to notice' phenomenon but who knows. I did a weigh in and clocked 240 while wearing sneakers, boxers, khaki shorts and one of the new lightweight Tshirts. I suspect all the stuff weighed at least 5 pounds which would put the actual figure around 235.

I can live with that for now. I'm starting to see a little more tone and my energy levels are miles ahead of where they were a month ago. Just in time too or that install would have flattened me like a 12g power dive into Jupiter.

Only two days of onsite work next week so perhaps I'll fare better. And maybe I shouldn't talk crap since I was doing a good bit of pacing, lifting and grunt work during the week. Maybe that counterbalanced some of the awful eating but time will surely tell.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spin Cycle: Some ideas from an alternate reality.

Recently I read Spin by Robert Charles Wilson and found it an entertaining if a little frustrating read.

Here's a brief synopsis to catch you up on the relevant technology.

In a very close to present time Earth some aliens dubbed 'hypotheticals' engulf the planet in a 'spin membrane.' Time inside the membrane passes normally but for every earth second 3.17 years pass by. Naturally the spin mitigates solar radiation and gravity to make the earth habitable. If it didn't every second the earth would absorb 3 years worth of solar radiation and the tidal forces from the moon would turn the ocean into a giant frothing mess leading to mass extinction.

Also the friction generated by the tidal forces would be tremendous.

Now in the book the spin is used creatively to accomplish a number of otherwise impossible feats such as the terraforming of Mars and the blanketing of the galaxy with little information-crapping replicators all in a few earth years. Pretty badass right?

Well as I closed the book, satisified that I had read it to completion a few nagging thoughts kept bubbling up and I wanted to divulge a few ideas that, had I written this excellent novel, would have included. I've broken them into categories.

Computer Power Outside the Spin.

What defines the power of a CPU? The grossest measure is throughput but I'll simplify to cycles per second. A Pentium III with an 800 mhz processor is considered incredibly slow compared to a modern Quad Core i7. However even modest processing power, given the time differential outside the spin membrane could be put to excellent use.

A standard desktop computer can crunch one Folding at Home work unit in less than a day. Rather than devoting millions of distributed nodes to crunching away you could have a big chunk of processing power up in orbit chugging away for years or centuries and once done it could spit out some flash memory to dump the processed data back to earth for analysis.

A node that can operate for 50 years in space (solar powered) could in 16 seconds outperform any terrestrial computer by leaps and bounds and could probably do it economically. Let's do some napkin math.

Consider a supercomputer that can operate above Petaflop speeds. That's 1 Quadrillion Floating Point Operations per second or 1,000,000,000,000,000 Flops.

Now consider a desktop that perform 1 Teraflop or 1,000,000,000,000 Flops. Hmmm, only 1000th the speed isn't much good on earth. However take that same computer, hardened and shielded and drop it outside the spin Membrane. In space it operates at a modest Teraflop but the RELATIVE performance as observed on earth would be:

3.17 years = 99969120 seconds
Therefore 1 Teraflop x 99969120 = 99969120 Teraflops or I'll round it up to 99,969,120,000,000,000,000

Tweak it to an even number and you get about 100 exaflop computing power. That's a relative increase of 5 order of mag. Just imagine the possibilities.

For one thing completing ALL work units for every distributed processing project on earth in say, a day would be nice. Now obviously this wouldn't work as a substitution for all terrestrial super computers but it would go a long ass way for certain projects.

After all what's a few million dollars for a satelite launch when you can sequence genomes or simulate particle reactions in seconds.

Plans for the Moon:

This is another terraforming project that could have been explored. A handful of little robots that can deploy solar panels lands on the daylight side and starts charging up their batteries. Each day they acquire enough energy to make a brick or sift some lunar material in order to turn it into something useful like glass.

Even at a snails pace of construction they could build huge cities, tunnels, sewers, greenhouses and all manner of fun stuff that would be too heavy to pack on conventional rockets. Given time the little robots could transform the surface of the moon into a livable space.

Once done we could send a handful of hardy explorers packing a shit load of oxygen and biomass to land and set up a permanent settlement for human habitation. This would require a lot more ingenuity and gusto than our technology currently allows but the moon is much closer than Mars and the only time constrained missions would be those carrying people. Once settled the people could set up a miniature ecosystem using plants and algae reactors coupled to copious, you guessed it, solar arrays.

Lunar civilization could build and thrive at their leisure once enough stuff was amassed to keep the population self-sustaining. This could be facilitated by a roving band of probes that could swing out to the Oort and hunt down comets for ice. That begins to get pretty dicey so I'll leave it there.

Planet Moving:

The reason all the devices I have mentioned are solar powered are because solar power is more or less constantly available in space. Better yet the solar output increases over time so it becomes even more abundant. Other sources of energy like liquid fuel or nuclear powered stuff would be impractical since resupply would take forever and many isotopes would degrade after a few measley centuries.

If orbital power was no big deal we could just dump a shit load of nuclear waste into orbit and let it cook down for 50,000 years. That'd be about 4 earth hours. Easy money.

Now one of the technologies that features prominently in Spin is the ion engine. It's a little thruster that puts out a meager push over a long period of time. No good for earth travel but in space with minimal friction it's an ideal way to kick around. Take away time constraints and you have an opportunity to put that to even better use.

After all physics is physics and even the feeblest push over a long time will yield results. Working in the human lifespan this doesn't matter much. What good is moving jupiter a tenth of a millimeter over 50 years?

Take away the time constraint and you have a reliable way to move not just space probes but anything with mass. This could be ships, probes, Asteroids (though the spin membrane protected earth from them) or even planets.

That's right, planets.

Now you might be thinking what good could possibly come from moving planets around the solar system? After all the FSM put them there with good reason and there's not much to be accomplished by throwing them around.

Not unless you want to triple the habitable living space in the solar system. Let's consider an alternate method of terraforming mars.

Mars is small and tiny, and somewhat bleak. However a little extra mass and some liquid water could make it a fun place to live. If you can yank a few heavenly bodies to lend a hand then mars could become quite comfortable.

So you send a probe with a sustainable Ion Engine and slap it onto the surface of say...Europa. You start thrusting and thrusting, little bits at a time until you can send the moon inward through the solar system. Maybe it picks up some mass via asteroids and stellar dust along the way. Then you crash it into Mars.

All that water and mass impact tremendously and then you give a few earth years to cool off and settle down. Now you have a bigger wetter planet to work with and resources aren't quite so constrained as they were in the book.

We won't stop there by any means. Venus could be much more liveable if only we could yank it out of the relative position it currently occupies. Nudge it a little past Earth orbit, let the lead-melting atmosphere calm down a bit and slap yourself on the back. You just formed 2 livable planets within easy striking distance of earth. All that's left is to terraform and populate which, given the time dilation effects of the spin becomes super easy by comparison.

Well, the lunch break is over now so I must go back to work. I'll probably revisit this at a later date if I come up with any more fun ways to reshape the solar system or apply humble earthly technology to good effect.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gigacalorie Project: Week 2 Update

Total so far is 7.613 Mega Calories so far.

3846.154 is going to be the necessary average figure for the 260 weeks of the project.

However I'm not worried because there's always a lag period to adjust. Already I can do much more than when I first started. The biggest limiting factor lately is just time and not even time I have to spend. Had I been in town all week I probably could have had a better chance of getting in an extra MC or two.

So for not even a month I feel like I'm pretty solid at this point. Right now I'm more concerned with making sure that I stay consistent for the time being.
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Script stuff!!

Pay no mind, this is work related.

net use N: \\server\c password /user:username /yes

Old Backup
ntbackup backup "@c:\(company)\Tech\Daily.bks" /j "Backup1" /f "Y:\Backup1.bkf"

robocopy c:\ Y:\Backup1 /mir /xd "c:\windows" "c:\documents and settings" /xf "*.tmp" /xa:sh /copy:datso /r:0 /w:0 /zb /np /tee /log:c:\(company)\tech\Backup1.txt

Pworks Addend:

Net stop "Pervasive.SQL 2000 (relational)"

Net stop "Pervasive.SQL 2000 (transactional)"
Net start "Pervasive.SQL 2000 (relational)"

Net start "Pervasive.SQL 2000 (transactional)"

Softdent Addend:

c:\server\termapp.exe -auto

Softdent CS Addend:

c:\server\termapp.exe -auto

c:\server\ctstop.exe -auto



Schick Addend:

Net stop "CDR Dicom Server"


Net start "CDR Dicom Server"

Monday, February 9, 2009

Gigacalorie Project: Reboot!

In case you missed the travails of my sadistic quest to burn 1 million kilocalories last year here's what happened.

I made steady progress over the months and the last post ended up with me at around 37 mega calories. Then the wedding/honeymoon/my relapse into smoking pretty much obliterated the gains I had made and for months I languished. This is where I ended, with a whimper.

07/24/2008, 245lbs, 36.23Mc

What little tone I had was gone, what little weight I lost surely came back. It was pathetic.

But 2009 begins anew and I have canceled the progress so far in favor of upshifting the date to February 1st, 2014.

So I have five years (less 8 days at the time of this posting) to burn a million kilocalories.

After all a semantic 'calorie' is in reality a kilo calorie and calling a 400 calorie work out a 400,000 calorie workout is a little misleading.

Hence, the name remains the same and yet we start over at 0.0 MC. The only other notable difference is that I am rejecting the idea of weighing myself at each report since this will essentially profit me nothing and just discourage me.

The goal is not to lose weight but to lose fat and fluctuations in water, bowel and muscle content are sure to discourage me at first. Once I have made visible progress I may begin tracking but for now all you get is the 'before' stats.

Feb 1st, 2009
Weight: 236 pounds (urgh)
Progress 0.000 MC

Sad sad day. Interestingly enough my weight is considerably lower than it was at the termination (fizzle) of the last gigacalories quest by about 10 pounds. However there's really no cause for celebration as I attribute this to muscle atrophy and loss in bone density. I don't look or feel any better starting this time around than I did last time.

Then again, it's tough to say whether or not the added stress of being a new dad caused me to put on some extra poundage. 10 lbs could get lost pretty easily in my roundish physique pretty easily.

While we're on the subject the 236 figure comes from a recent physical for my life insurance. It's a little disheartening since most people guess that I only weigh around 200-210. It's not that I'm walking around on giant gelatinous sausages and waving sails of flabby man breast tissue around I just don't know where the disconnect comes from.

I suspect a lot of it, nay most of it, is in my gut which as of now is fairly prominent but there's quite a bit kicking around my thighs and legs. I usually say I have fairly dense bones since I have consumed ungodly quantities of milk for my entire life but there may or may not be any correlation.

At any rate the ideal weight for a man my age and height is roughly 170 pounds so it seems reasonable that I can at least get into the 190 range over the next year or so. The caveat being I don't give a fuck how much I weigh as long as more of it is muscle than fat, at least to the untrained eye.

This is the time when having a Zombie switch would come in handy.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And they lived happily ever after...40% of them that is.

I just read this article.

It begins by pointing out the obvious downfalls of a monogamous married relationship: monotony, boredom, homogeneous sexual experience (or infidelity) until death do you part.

Here's a quote "Monogamy may be good for us, but it doesn't mean we have to like it"

The author proceeds to raise a huge imposing red flag dyed with the hymen blood of adolescent female fantasy.

"Is monogamy good for us? If you put any stock in studies undertaken by university scientists, you will find myriad examples of the benefits of marriage: 60% of single women reach the age of
sixty-five, whereas 95% of married women do. Drug and alcohol abuse among 500 000 young test subjects dropped sharply among those who married. The University of Chicago recently conducted a study that showed married people make twice as much money, have twice as much sex and experience half the domestic violence as those who co-habitate, and
the numbers are likely even higher when compared to those who don't
live together."

Ooh, a masquerade of science. Do we see any citations for the 'university scientists?' Is there a link to the source of those quoted statistics? Of course not.

I did some checking and found some more interesting statistics. Here's a taste.
Guess what I'm not breaking it down into little tidbits because if I do you'll miss the point and come away with misconceptions. Read it. Pay attention. It's pretty dry but you'll learn something.

As for the U of C study I haven't been able to find it. Closest I got through 20 mins of google work was this BS. Keep in mind that's from a propaganda site. Again it's the closest I could find.

Now we move into the attack phase! Check out some of this venemous rhetoric.

1"One taste of unfettered promiscuity and they're hooked, deadly diseases or not. These are the people who seek sanction for their philandering, and try to convince the rest of us that monogamy is unnatural, and ultimately unsustainable, and that we're all just kidding ourselves if
we try to pretend otherwise."

2"One of their favourite arguments is that, as animals, it is our biological imperative to disseminate our DNA as widely as possible. We are driven, they maintain, to have sex with many, many partners in our lifetime so that we have the best odds of living on in the next

3"The simplest answer to this argument, before even getting into the obvious benefits of monogamy, is to realize that human beings are animals in physical form only."

I detect the makings of some religious bias underpinning the entire premise of the argument that monogamy is the healthiest way of life. Let's consider these three salvos and what each of them implies.

1) Promiscuity, regardless of disease, is assumed to be universally negative.
2) This is a gross oversimplification. For one thing we ARE driven to procreate, if we weren't no one would have kids. Kids are messy, gross and expensive. If we didn't love them we sure as hell wouldn't be concerned about 'living on' through them.
3) Physical form only? So in other words YES WE ARE ANIMALS. This point is the most egregious and conveys (among other things) that the author has little or no comprehension of basic biology/physics/chemistry.

Continuing on this thread the author lauds the accomplishments of the human race above our contemporary mammaliam peers. It's funny because she jabs at dolphins and gorillas for not accomplishing things we humans have only accomplished pretty late in the game. She also makes the laughable assertion that "our ability to reason, form concepts, [and] to think is unique to us.

For the record: Animal intelligence cannot be described by the following pie chart:

Now keep a close eye on the logic train as it derails and spawls out into the station killing everyone in it's path.

"There is nothing on earth like a human being, and therefore no comparisons to animals are valid, especially when it comes to something as complicated and ultimately brain-oriented as sex."

Wrong! We can learn a lot about monogamy by studying people, our closest cousins (despite the great apes being behind on novel writing and space travel) and various other examples in the animal kingdom. Oh but you provided some examples already, I bet they are super relevant.

"While animals mate out of instinct - and sometimes at their own peril, like the various spider and insect males who give their lives to the female after mating - no human being ever mates without engaging their mind on some level."

Sigh. I want you to look up the difference between R-selection and K-selection. Insects and spiders are usually R's and humans/chimps/most mammals are K. Maybe even all of them.

Next bit of idiocy: "We have sex for more than procreation, whereas animals, with extremely
rare exceptions, mate only during their fertile phases and only for the purposes of creating offspring."

Just for procreation huh? Well...except for bonobos, black swans, penguins, flatworms, sheep, dolphins, seahorses and lions. Check Wikipedia if you don't believe me.

Another round? "We also continue to love and care for our children even after they're weaned, which animals don't. Humans and animals are more different than we are alike; arguing that we should be as indiscriminately sexual as they are is ridiculous."

Oh that's just sloppy. I'll give one meta example to prove how retarded this is.

Predatory animals require years to learn the necessary skills of stalking and hunting. This requires parental guidance and protection for many years beyond suckling. This literally applies to lions, tigers and bears. Oh my, what a pwning.

The author gives a bloated account of polyamory and how it prevents seeing value in exclusive relationships. I end with a quote before I return to the fray:

"It's more fulfilling, they claim, sharing your life with several partners, never being truly intimate with anyone."

Let's examine a few problems with this statement. For one thing you are lumping serial monogamy into this category by intention or implication. Who's to say you can't have multiple fulfilling, intimate relationships that last 2-5 years each instead of one that lasts 40? Also consider swingers and 'open' marriage. There are still all the trappings of loyalty and filial devotion with some sanctioned booty calls. That's still marriage. Care to comment? No I didn't think so. Care to continue flaming? By all means:

"Promisicuous people are not happy. They are always looking for fulfillment around the corner, for excitement in the next encounter, for the bigger, the better, the more outrageous. They are never satisfied with what they have, but continue to strive toward something that is always out of reach."

Oh but married and monogamous folk are immune to this? No. That's a standard feature of life on earth, madam. If you're an Oprah fan google 'destination addiction' This goes on for another few sentences and culminates with the following gem.

"The inability to find and commit to someone wonderful is a serious character flaw, not a lifestyle that should be held up as a model of human behaviour."

Bit judgemental are we? Your arguments have held up so well to casual scrutiny that surely this can be taken without further skepticism. Oh wait. It's clearly an opinion of the author and I believe it should be taken as seriously as the rest of her piece.


"There's a loneliness that pervades those who simply flit from one person to the next, a sense that they are missing out on something profound and real. They know, deep down, that the height of love and the best kind of sex is found within long term, mutually exclusive
relationships. They know, or should know, that good sex depends on it.

I remember, and anyone who's read "Metamorphic Cacophany" will recognize the setting, a certain bible study where the married speaker claimed that there's no such thing as 'guilt-free sex' outside of marriage. I can dismiss this via experience as can almost every other couple that's had sex with the person that they eventually did marry. But there's such a presumption that because the author experiences life in one way that everyone who doesn't is kidding themselves or suffering psychological trauma.

I would argue that anyone who feels they are up to the task of understanding the totality of human behavior enough to summarily judge all sexuality has a personality flaw. It's called Hubris. Look it up. It goeth before the fall.

Now we've moved past the feeble attempts to deglamorize anything but puritanical morality and come to the indoctrination phase. Hype it up a bit, have fun.

"And that's the bottom line when it comes to monogamy. Monogamy affords you the best sex of your life. If you understand, as I mentioned before, that sex for humans is as much about the mind as it is the body, then it makes perfect sense that the most fulfilling sex occurs
within a mutually, loving, trusting relationship. Being with one person you love allows you a level of freedom and creativity that you can't possible enjoy with strangers. The intimate bond you form with the person whose character you love as much as their body allows you to
explore the dominant and submissive aspects of your natures, without worrying about political correctness or misunderstandings. It allows you to grow, to experiment, to savour each experience and relive it, in reality or in a shared memory. It removes you from the realm of
jealousy or competitiveness, and lets you live instead in a safe haven of sexual pleasure and freedom."

So many missed opportunities. I've heard the old adage that marriage/committment is a kind of freedom because it rescues you from the hells of single life. To an extent I'll agree. However you are out of your husband-fucking mind if you think that fulfillment and intimacy can only come out of marriage. The author describes this in such a way that, if it were true, would probably lead to a negligible divorce rate and marriage at a very young age with death being the most common cause of seperation.

This very act of attempted persuasion calls into question the ENTIRE premise of the argument. If it's so great, why doesn't everyone already know this. I'll apply the penis pill logic here. You can quote me on this:

If it really worked, half of the spam I get wouldn't be competing products claiming that it works.

We're not stupid people, madam. However much it pains you plenty of people are proving you wrong by having wild, unadulterated sticky intercourse as I type these little words into my scribefire window.

But no, press on in your crusade to filet those with sexual temptations.

"With most casual relationships, sex is a special occasion. It is the ultimate goal of the relationship, yet the one thing that always eludes the players, who chase after it and connive ways to get it and who ulitmately [sic] only get to enjoy it with relative infrequency. Monogamy
provides you with an opportunity to enjoy sex every day of your life, in every way, infusing even your non-sexual moments with a tinge of excitement and expectation."

Yes I suspect couples that have been married for 20 years are living out JUST that sort of idylllic sexual fantasy day in and day out. Or maybe they're so sick of seeing the same wrinkled sack of semen factories that they want to kill themselves. Maybe they are comfortable but not especially titillated. I would argue that the sexual aspects of monogamy are relatively minor compared to the social, economic and security concerns that we humans all share.

"Looking into the eyes of the person you admire most in the world only heightens the physical sensation of sex; looking into the eyes of a stranger only takes away from it. Your attitude towards monogamy makes you confront the question of which you want more."

Have you EVER had sex with a stranger? I mean really. Have you ever just pulled a dude off the street and commanded him to plow you? I doubt it. You can know someone for a short while before getting jiggy with them but except in some rape/prostitution cases I would guess that the number of sexual encounters with a stranger are a significant minority.

Does the girl you've taken on two dates count? What about that guy who you used to hang out with but haven't seen in two years? The lack of quantification just irks me.

Now I conclude my counter tirade.

I am married, happily so, but I consider myself one of the lucky few people who managed to locate, pursue and apprehend their soulmate at a young age. Does that make me morally superior or just lucky to have found that person?

While I have no intention of ever cheating on my wife, and hopefully she feels the same, I do not for a second think that our sex life is going to be hot as a branding iron until the day one of us dies. It's already cooled off because that's what happens to all relationships.

Ever notice the 'newlywed' phenomena. You get with someone, things are new and fresh. There's territory to explore, riddles to unravel and a wide vista of sexual conquests just ripe for the taking. Life goes on. You learn and grow into a comfortable space with that person, bring light to the darkness and peel back the fog of war (alls fair in it) to reveal a deeper understanding of that person.

You won't want to hear this but that cannot happen without physical intimacy. And what are the odds that two people meet, connect and then break things off because the compatibility just doesn't go deep enough. Does that really make you a bad person? Does loving someone before you meet your spouse diminish the love that you will later build upon and grow together?

I say nay. And I also reject the notion that promiscuity can lead nowhere good. I have no interest in simultaneous romantic encounters, one girl at a time was always good enough for me. But that's just me and a big chunk of the population. Maybe it's MOST but it's certainly not ALL.

With proper precaution, both physical and mental, multiple sexual partners is not a bad thing. Being reckless and throwing the bone at any floozy with a loose zipper is stupid and dangerous. Meeting a lot of people, trying them on for size and moving on until you find the right person is what nearly all people do before they find 'the one' and even then 60% of the time it doesn't work out. My final point is that you can be just as reckless with monogamy as promiscuity.

Consider the young religious couple that have been dating chastely for several years. They get married young, say 20, and on their wedding night they finally get to cut loose and throw some DNA around without worrying about getting caught with wet hands.

Then what? Does sex magically transubstantiate these people into compatible lovers? What if things don't synch up, what if she likes it rough and he can't go more than 20 strokes without splattering out a map of Hawaii? What if some aspect of love making is unwanted or unfulfilled?

Now you, Leanne Bell, claim that monogamy only increases desire and enjoyment. Having been with a few girls that I was not compatible with proves otherwise. You are essentially banking that lack of all other experience will turn out ok because you'll always have that one person.

Answer me this: What if that one person can't fulfill you no matter how much they want to due to some physical or emotional deficiency? And what if some accident or medical condition precludes intercourse for one or both partners? Does the one languish with the other or could love provide some other means of fulfillment?

I don't intend to answer these questions because that's some deeply personal shit. And unlike certain other bloggers I won't presume to impose my judgement onto people who I have never met with such wanton disregard for actual data or experience.

Ting a ling!

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Something scary for the nutritionally inclined.

I've been working out more lately and decided to share my secret, delicious post-workout concoction for all.

Here's what you need:

17 ounces skim milk
1 scoop protein powder
2 heaping teaspoons of Fiber Sure

The result: Just over a pint of liquid goodness sure to help you rebuild all those frayed and delapidated muscle fibers.  Here's some nutrition info for you.

Calories: 350 (17.5% RDA)
Protein 50 grams (100% RDA)
Fiber: 10 grams (40% RDA)

Oh and it tastes like liquid schwartz.  More Meatspace Adventures are in the pipe, just trying to be more diligent with my editing lately.