Saturday, July 30, 2005

Astrologers Sue God

The breaking news about a "10th" is the last thing Astrologers want to hear.

After the news of a Russian Astrologer sueing NASA over Deep Impact, a new planet [in this case 2003 ] must really screw things up. The story is a lot more interesting than that, however, since it all kind of hinges upon exactly what a planet really is. Simple, I hear you cry, I'm standing on what. Aha! But what about the Plutonians? Are they planet, or asteroid, or some other rocky body bound?

Here's a summary of the article:
Astronomers have discovered an object in our that is larger than Pluto. They are calling it the , but already that claim is contested. The new world's size is not at issue. But the very definition of planethood is.

"This discovery will likely re-ignite a healthy debate about what is and what is not a planet," Alan Boss, a planet-formation theorist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington said.
So, either we will have ten planets, or "they" will decide, finally, that Pluto isn't a planet afterall, so we will have eight. If they do make this a planet, it seems a lot more bigger hunks of rock could be found pretty soon, because of technology advances in telescopes. So, 10 planets might be the tip of the iceberg.

Here's an artists rendition (erm, mine) of what all those planets might end up looking like:

Either way, looks like its back to the drawing board for those astral charts. And in this case, its not 's fault, so the Astrologers will probably want to sue God.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Beautiful People Site Ugly

I found out about this new web site through a Yahoo! News Article this morning. Of course, considering myself incredibly beautiful (!) I thought I should take a look.

As a Firefox user the first message I got was that I had to use IE " is only supported by Internet Explorer." Doh!. For they are surprisingly dumb. At the bottom of the message is a link that says " If you do not wish to update your browser but would like to continue even though BeautifulPeople will not work as is intended, click here:"

So I did. What I got was, as expected, as mess:
Pretty Ugly.

So, to find out what its all about I had to swallow my pride and us IE (which I also have to browser compatibility testing). Looks like they've gone with a pretty complex window (actually floating IFRames) approach with lots of JavaScript and that's why it doesn't work in FF.

The site basically uses a membership by approval scheme. In order to do much there, you have to create a profile, which I did, and add a picture. Most of the pictures of guys are from some model portfolio, and probably not real, so I added my cartoon BXCellent gif for a laugh. In order for me to become a member I have three days in which to gain enough votes to be deemed beautiful. I do have access to others profiles, but can't vote until I'm a member.

The most popular woman and guy are both "moderators" - go figure.

I'll check back in a few days to see if my cartoon made it as a member. I'm not holding out much hope...

Friday, July 22, 2005

America dominates stupidity

Or so it seems. The 2005 World Stupidity Awards are about as Global as the baseball World Series. However, in several categories, they have a point, so its probably worth voting.

There are a number of categories in which excels. Here's my take:
  1. Stupidest Man of the Year :
    • US President - for believing that anyone can still believe in him. Lets hope the whole episode leaves a trail of mile high breadcrumbs back to the oval office and is nigh.
  2. Stupidest Statement of the Year :
    • They never stop thinking of ways of harming America, and neither do we.- US President George W. Bush. Oooh, I can just feel the irony oozing out of that one
  3. Dumbest Moment of the Year :
    • Prince Harry showing up to party in Nazi suit. Shame it was a family heirloom as well.
  4. Stupidest Movie of the Year :
    • Alien vs Predator. Never got the point of this, although there are many others that should have made this list. I think Mimic would have beat the pants off both of them.
  5. Stupidest Woman of the Year :
    • The Runaway Bride. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Although the mom of that tart who's missing in Aruba comes a close second for thinking her daughter is innocent.
  6. Stupidest Trend of the Year :
    • Religious Fundamentalism of all kinds. This is too serious to belong here.
  7. Stupidest TV Show of the Year:
    • The Simple Life. They should try crab fishing off Alaska - the most dangerous job in the world. Hopefully they won't get another series that way.
  8. Dumbest Government of the Year :
    • The Government of the United States of America - for all those in the administration, senate and house that believe anything Bush has or is saying
  9. Stupidity Award for Reckless Endangerment of the Planet :
    • US President George Bush - and worse, believing he's doing it for the best
  10. Media Outlet Which Has Best Furthered Ignorance :
    • Fox News - and worse, believing in what they're doing, despite being Murdochs patsies
  11. Stupidest Award Show of The Year :
    • The Daytime Emmy Awards - anyone who watches TV during the day should be euthenized. Even when I'm at home, I don't watch TV. But then, I've got the Internet and, er, worthwhile pastimes like this ; )
  12. Lifetime Achievement Award for Stupidity:
    • George Bush Senior - for failing as a president, for pushing the Shrub into office and, even after this fiasco, still wanting Jebb to have a go
Lets see how the voting turns out and how close I am. I'll be reporting back after the show...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The moon is made of cheese

In honor of the Apollo 11 moon landing 26 years agao, has launched its own shot Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites.

But zoom in really closely and you see the truth...

I wonder what the closeup of will show in 50 years when we're celebrating the 26 year anniversary of the mars landing?

Scotty: "Beam me up"

I just felt I had to pay my last respects to a man that helped shape the dreams of at least one generation - , or as he was known to the world. Every time I look at my cell phone, I think of Star Trek. As I watched the original series episodes as a kid, I hadn't a clue that the genial man with the broad scottish accent was actually Canadian. Then again, as a British kid, Canada seemed as far away as the voyages of the enterprise at that time.

To me he spoke one of the best movie lines of all time: "A keyboard, how quaint!"

And fathered a child at 80 - that was one law of well, not physics, but some other science, that he was able to change. His project estimating skills are still the basis of many a plan of mine.

Estimate - it'll take at least 6 months.
Question - can you do it 3?
Result - do it in two and you're a miracle worker.

His plan to have his ashes scattered in space is befitting of a career centered off this world, but a reality that never took him there in life.

Scotty - RIP.

Monday, July 18, 2005

In two minds about LaFave

There's an old joke:
"I used to be schizophrenic, but I'm in two minds about it now."
That's the way I feel about Debra and her pleading insanity in the latest teacher having sex with minors case.
She is claiming that "she was insane due to emotional stress and did not know right from wrong when she had numerous times with a 14-year-old student..."

Her attorney added, "What teacher in her right mind would do something like this?"

That is really an important question and one that I have been philosophizing over for a while. What does it mean to commit a crime while "". In fact, what does "insane" really mean?

If its "not being right in the head", "not being of sound mind", or just generally "non compos mentos", haven't we all been that at some time?

How many times have you, or someone you know done something that was "out of character"? Did you ever do something you regret when you were drunk? Or just something you regret and when you look back say "What was I thinking?"

There's a school of thought that says there are actually hundreds of different "yous" all vieing for airtime within that skull of yours. Your actual personality is a mish-mash of the more dominant ones. Although you feel like one person, the different aspects of your personality may be controlled by individual self-centers.

So what happens when you do something that wasn't in keeping with your normal actions? Could it be that the more usual dominant parts are repressed somehow? Or another piece of the personality puzzle gains strength?

There are lots of examples of this in movies, many of the more famous ones played by Jim Carrey - The Mask, Me Myself Irene, The Riddler, to name but a few. In all these cases a subdued personality suddenly becomes dominate, often taken revenge on those that caused the, often weaker, personality misery.

If Ms Lafave truly was insane, it may just have been a subdued piece of her that was suddenly set free. I'm not arguing her case, I don't think what she did was right, and I'm not going to go into the "I wish I had teachers like that" story line, but at the end of the day, how does one go about proving she was, or wasn't "all there" at the time?

Science really needs to focus on this more. There are many questions: what is consciousness? What defines a person? Are we always responsible for what we do? When does consciousness begin and end? How does the notion of self, and the inherent personality change over time?

If it turns out that we are lots of mini-selves all vieing for airtime, which selves should get punished if one misbehaves? Can you just incarcerate one of them? Prosecuters wouldn't like that answer.

Me, I'd just like an answer. Until then, I'm in two minds about it...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

SOA Blueprints & OASIS

It looks very much like OASIS has adopted my SOA Blueprints as part of their reference model initiative. Its not directly referenced by OASIS yet, but a couple of postings at and say the same thing:

In an effort to establish a common nomenclature for SOA, OASIS has created an SOA Reference Model (RM) technical committee. A group of vendors is also working to create an SOA Blueprints technical committee at OASIS. Formerly created by The Middleware Company, the Blueprints will leverage the RM to define a functional specification that vendors and end users can implement for real world SOA projects.

Before coming to OASIS, SOA Blueprints was an industry initiative led by Mountain View, Calif.-based The Middleware Company (TMC), in conjunction with a consortium of vendors and thought leaders in the enterprise Java market.
That is, written entirely by me, with lots of input from the guys at BEA and Microsoft. Shame I can't be as involved now, but my career has taken me in different directions. Still, its nice to have written an important piece of work, that has comments like:
The SOA blueprint published by TMC last year had more development related detail, which included a petstore kind of stuff for an HR module.It was more in depth even touching the areas of process modelling.

Wish that intitative had been carried forward.
I'll make the originals available here if anyone is interested. I have lots of nice Visio diagrams as well...

Bon Appetit Indeed

Carrying on from my Father's day blog and interesting ingredients, I have just been informed about another potential candidate that leads to very colorful dishes indeed - Frog.

This "serving suggestion" is an actual photograph taken at a Silicon Valley cafe in late June.

The name of the Cafe? Bon Appetit. How apt! All that was missing was a smothering of garlic and side of snails.

4th July Fireworks

I only saw some fireworks on TV this year. Then again, if you've seen one firework, you've seen them all. Except, of course, if they are caused by crashing a washing machine sized impactor into a comet at 22000 miles an hour.

Pretty impressive stuff. My prediction didn't come true though. Since all this happened 83 million miles away, the odds of anything bad happening to earth was pretty small. The only words I wasn't hoping hear were:

NASA: "How were we to know there was a 1 billion year old galactic destroyer hibernating beneath the ice, hell-bent on blowing up the earth?"

Didn't happen this time, but the pictures are damn good.