Friday, December 02, 2005

This Shirt Is A Weapon

Oops, no morning weigh-in...

Got the car last night, then went to physical therapy. Looks like that's winding down, not much more they can do for me... Home, computer, got an email that Art was in the house making some custom chili, so it was down to Which Brew for dinner. Nice night, nice crowd and really good "Italian chili" but I was back home pretty early. Late bedtime anyway, played with the computer until past midnight.

Bring back the crypto wars: So, I see that some researchers have succeeded in making a quantum byte, a major step towards the mythical quantum computer. Oh well, so much for computer security, that'll put a major hole through RSA and pretty much all current encryption schemes.

Once upon a time (early nineties), "hard encryption" was illegal to export from the USA: the technology was deemed a weapon and restricted for purposes of national security -- too bad it was laughably easy to implement, and everyone on Earth interested in the subject knew how to do it. Dudes used to make tee shirts in protest, with simple shell scripts implementing RSA and "this shirt is a weapon" written on them -- I've even seen a tattoo -- and photograph themselves overseas.

Now technological advances are threatening to undermine almost all "hard encryption," and I can't help but notice that this particular cutting-edge research did not happen in the USA. I also noticed that the cure for cancer will not be developed in the USA either, at least not if it depends on the work of the leading researchers, who are decamping to Singapore's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. Well, once the Third World is rich and we're poor, I sure hope they'll let bygones be bygones, and practice enlightened drug-pricing policies.

Speaking of drugs and the Third World, here's some good news: I see that the "triple-drug method" has been found to be as effective in managing AIDS in poor countries as it is in rich ones. It's a start...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Onset Of Chaos

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 14.5% BF

Got home last night, checked on car: almost but still not quite ready, should be done today. Went home, played with computer, cooked dinner: stir-fry of (boiled) tempeh in onions, ginger, thai chilies and broccoli -- I really must go shopping, I'm just tossing junk in a frying pan. Tasted good though.

It was pretty late after that, but I went out for a run anyway, two miles in a little over twenty minutes. I think the "evening run" concept is a pretty good way to go, much easier to accomplish than the morning version.

Thirty-two thousand generations in the blink of an eye: So anyway, I got home from the run, and decided to play around with some more population dynamics stuff, specifically, this form of the logistic equation. I am less than enamored of that particular equation; I have my reasons which I'll maybe get into someday (really, it's just that it's not as emotionally satisfying as some other forms), but this one does have the advantage of being easy to play with, and it does exhibit fractal and chaotic behavior. Mmm, buzzwords... math buzzwords...

Since it's pretty simple, I set up a Gnumeric spreadsheet, a thousand iterations for each of thirty two different values of the reproduction rate, from 0.125 to 4. Copy, paste, blink -- and it was done! The calculation is admittedly pretty lightweight, but I expected at least a second or two for crunching. The results were pretty much what you'd expect from the article; I'll probably graph a few samples and post them tonight.

Other stuff for tonight: get the car, surrender the rental car, go to physical therapy, hit the gym; I'll be leaving work a little early to get it all in. Next week starts overtime.

Meantime, I see that Wikipedia is in a little hot water...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Requiem For A World

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 14% BF

I ran across this interesting but somewhat incoherent paper the other day while musing about Olduvai Gorge, and in that paper I found the following quote:

"The human species, considered in broad perspective, as a unit including its
economic and industrial accessories, has swiftly and radically changed its
character during the epoch in which our life has been laid. In this sense we are
far removed from equilibrium — a fact that is of the highest practical
significance, since it implies that a period of adjustment to equilibrium
conditions lies before us, and he would be an extreme optimist who should expect
that such adjustment can be reached without labor and travail. … While such
sudden decline might, from a detached standpoint, appear as in accord with the
eternal equities, since previous gains would in cold terms balance the losses,
yet it would be felt as a superlative catastrophe. Our descendants, if such as
this should be their fate, will see poor compensation for their ills and in fact
that we did live in abundance and luxury." -- Alfred Lotka
Looks like there may be a misprint or two in there, but you get the idea... Anyway, I looked up Alfred Lotka and came across this set of differential equations for predator-prey population relationships, and this one for interspecies competition. Bingo! This may be just what I've been looking for, for quite some time; more on this later...

Back in the real world: I went to Which Brew last night, did my "Drinking Liberally" thing. Saw Scott U, Karl, Fred & Lara, Ed, Megan, and Kirk, as well as Carrie & K-Jo behind the bar. Apple butternut squash soup, hot wings, Allagash White & an Aviator Red, yummy. Cool conversation with Kirk on nutrition & how tofu may not be that good for you after all, and then another one with Lara on her work, the debauchery I missed by leaving the Halloween Party early, and boobs. I love that place.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Warm and Wet

Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 14% BF

Tell me how you really feel: Weird weather last few days, drizzly and unseasonably warm. I was in CVS last night, waiting to pay for my stuff, and the checkout dork made a faux-pas joke about Bush and global warming to the woman in front of me (I would have agreed with the concept & the sentiment, but it wasn't the correct time or place -- and the comment, like the dude, was pure dork); the guy behind me said sotto voce to his daughter and me "if this is global warming I'll take it!" Ah, ha ha ha, good one you stupid fsck! You'll take it, eh? Because you're a lazy &^%$# who can't take winter -- you'll take global warming, and you'll pay for it with what, and what will you have left over to leave your daughter? Or do you figure that there will always be brown people far away to foot the bill for your golf-cart lifestyle, people in say Iraq and New Orleans? Complacent, smug, stupid, parasitic -- the more I think about this guy the more burned I get.

Anyway, rant over. Hit the gym last night after dinner, leg workout plus a few other things, then finished laundry, shopping spree at CVS (light bulbs, deodorant, shampoo, salt), then caught the third quarter at Porter's, which is apparently now dog-friendly, while the clothes dried.

Some fun stuff from the Internets: here's Olduvai George (via Pharyngula), and here's Elementropy (via Sadly, No!) -- now that there is certified coffee-out-my-nose funny.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Went out last night; did the pedestrian thing over to Which Brew, where my friend Heath (brother of Hans, husband of Margarita) was DJ'ing. Got an early start because the plan was to have dinner there and I didn't want to reenact Friday's crowded debacle... but, when I got there, the only ones in the place (other than bartenders Katrina and Jen) were Pete, myself and Ed, the place was a ghost town. Heath came in, seemed cool with the situation and started playing anyway, and by about 9:30 the place was satisfactorily crowded. I didn't stay too late, but left after dinner and a bit of conversation (Ed, Margarita, Heath -- who was broadcasting from his iPod and didn't need to physically be on stage to DJ). Probably home by 11:00.

That was too bad because I didn't have anything planned for this morning except sleeping in, but I popped awake fully rested about 8:00 AM, not early really, but much much earlier than planned. Played with the computer, had a few phone conversations and then went out to get coffee. Ran into Judy the Soupmaker at the Quadrant. (Don't know her real last name; she makes soup & bread, sells it to local restaurants including the Quadrant & Which Brew, which is how I know her.) Anyway, she came in, shared my table because the place was super crowded, and we had a good conversation -- she got an earful, which I don't think she expected since she's never encountered the "caffeinated version of Don." Also saw a very smartly dressed Cosmia there as she walked out, but she didn't seem to see me...

I went from there down to Performance Bicycle, south of Quakertown near the Montgomery Mall, my big errand for the day. I wasn't as impressed with the store as the people who recommended it seem to be -- it's just a medium-sized bike store in a stripmall, far as I could see. Picked up new biking shoes, a new Camelbak and some tights, then hit the Whole Foods store in the same stripmall for some fresh veggies.

Dinner (tempeh stir-fry, with all those fresh veggies including Thai chilies -- hot!), laundry and a little internetting, and my long weekend is complete.

And did those feet, in ancient time... Had a phone conversation with Doug this morning, about recent rumors that John Lennon used to frequent the Lehigh Valley, specifically some un-named park, possibly Allentown possibly Easton, and bring his son Sean (a preschooler at the time) to play there. This was something Doug's grandfather used to do with him when he was the same age, at about the same time period, so he was very interested in trying to guess where -- Hackett? Bushkill Park? Probably no way of ever knowing...

By the way, the light the past few days has been that silvery-white November sunshine.

UPDATE: Check this out. Ribbit! Ribbit!