Friday, March 21, 2008

Proof that people can't drive

Finally, here it is: Laboratory proof that people can't drive.

Japanese scientists recently tried to replicate "shock-wave" traffic jams in a laboratory setting and succeeded.

These types of traffic jams are the ones that seem to occur for no apparent reason. You'll be driving along, minding your own business, and all of a sudden there's massive gridlock. And by the time you get up to where you think there should be an accident or a gigantic sinkhole in the road, there is nothing at all.

Watch the video to see it happen before your eyes. This must be what the helicopter traffic people feel like!

Via Autoblog via New Scientist

Friday, March 14, 2008

Barack is the company he keeps

(Video is a little NSFW)

Barack Obama's mentor, Jeremiah Wright of Trinity UCC (United Church of Christ) preaching on the notion of a black Jesus being oppressed by white people and his tirade against Hillary Clinton stating that, "Hillary ain't never been called a...."
What a racist piece of trash.

If "Jesus taught" Jeremiah Wright "to love [his] neighbor" so much that he would never be "reduced to their level" of hatred, ignorance, bigotry, etc, uh, wuddaya call that, Rev? And this guys is Barack Hussein Obama's "spiritual mentor". Rev Wright and Obama's America-hating wife, Michelle, don't bode well for the concept of the 'open minded,' 'caring,' 'hopeful' liberal that he is trying to portray. This paints a picture of a resentful, entitled, bigoted man with delusions of grandeur and misplaced priorities for a presidential hopeful, completely unable and undeserving to be our next president.

Back in January, had a very interesting article about Barack Obama's Racist Church, the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Apparently,
...its pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. subscribes to what is called the Black Value System.

While the Black Value System includes such items as commitment to God, education, and self-discipline, it refers to “our racist competitive society” and includes the disavowal of the pursuit of “middle-classness” and a pledge of allegiance to “all black leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System.” It defines “middle-classness” as a way for American society to “snare” blacks rather than “killing them off directly” or “placing them in concentration camps,” just as the country structures “an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.”

In sermons and interviews, Dr. Wright has equated Zionism with racism and Israel with South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid. On the Sunday after 9/11, Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later, Wright suggested that the attacks were retribution for America’s racism.

“In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01,”...

Obama has tried to distance himself from his mentor's most radical stands, but as the column goes on to say,
...if Obama rejects Wright’s warped view of this country, why does he continue to attend his church, raising the question of whether Obama secretly agrees with his friend and mentor? At the least, Obama’s membership in Wright’s church suggests a lack of judgment and an insensitivity to views that are repugnant to the vast majority of white Americans who are not bigots.

I suppose you can decide for yourselves whether Obama and his comrades are fit to run the most powerful country in the world. That is, unless the "Clinton Machine" gets to him first. But they, and the McCain Camp, are probably too worried about being called racist to call him out on any of this.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Not Creatures of Logic

"When we are dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bursting with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity."
--Dale Carnegie
I think that this is on reason why I have such a hard time with some people and some people's decisions. I find it even more frustrating when some of my own decisions come down to this highly illogical concept. Decisions and actions, which, at the time sound good, often end up being unreasonable and sometimes contradictory to one's own big-picture.

But most people just are not motivated by logic, at least in the short term. That is why courses like the Dale Carnegie training teach managers to try to find what inspires people to do their best work without dictating too much intangible logic. Everyone's drive is different, but we all have similarities; this is what can be leverage to get the best out of people.
Don't dictate -- inspire
Don't direct -- win people to your way of thinking
Begin with praise and honest appreciation
Build morale and earn loyalty
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
(I love some of the quaint language that they use. "A fine reputation." Uh huh, and remind them that Herbert Hoover is no longer President.)

But really, when you think about it, how do you want to be told to do something that you would rather not do? You probably don't just want it to be shouted at you by someone you don't like with no reasoning to back it up. That is not going to inspire anyone to do a good job on any task that isn't completely menial.

Now if I could just remember to use some of my Carnegie skills at work, we'd be in good shape!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bringing OCD to the Desktop

So, maybe I need to sit in front of the computer less. Maybe I should geek out a little less. Or maybe I just need to not worry about exactly how much processor time and RAM my computer is using this very second. Or maybe I need a prescription.

In any event, if you, like me, need to know precisely what your computer is doing at all times, let me be your guide.

First, you'll want to download Sysinternals' Process Explorer to replace the lousy Windows Task Manager that doesn't really tell you much. It's currently in version 11.11, so it looks like I'd better upgrade! Download the .exe and plunk it down in your c:\windows\system32 folder. Ctrl-Shift-Escape to launch it, then click on View and Select Columns. Then in the Process Memory tab, check Working Set Size and hit OK. Mess around with it a little. It's pretty spiffy, and now you're just a key combo away from knowing what's running, killing stubborn processes, and restarting the ones that actually need to be there.

Secondly, since you may actually need to get something done, and that involves not watching the Process Explorer non stop, you'll want to download Serious Samurize so you can embed some of that info (and tons more) right on your desktop.
All my configuration currently does is display the date, processor and memory use, and the current Winamp track in a little box in the lower right corner of my screen. Now I don't even have to open Process Explorer to constantly glance at my computer's resource use. (Which seams unreasonably high, but that's just another thing for me to fret about!)

I was going to try to include the configuration file so you could be exactly as cool as me, but I can't figure out how to host anything other than pictures and videos here.

Anyways, that's my little obsessive compulsive computing tip for today. Do with it what you will, but if you find yourself constantly looking at how much processor it takes just to open a new tab in Firefox, don't say I didn't warn you!