Archive forDecember, 2005

Wait, what do I wear this under?

/. pointed me to an article about the Army testing cooling vests that go under body armor, currently being field tested in Iraq and Kuwait. Now comfort is important, but, probably all our soldiers should have armor first, before we start giving them things to put under the armor. (As recently as June of this year, there were still problems with soldiers not having body armor, although I am not sure of the current situation).


Television, Movies over

On the very day the Serenity DVD was released (it is the number one selling DVD on!), Entertainmen WEAKly (that was me kinda shooting the messenger) is reporting that Firefly is over.

On a secret note, my money is on this DVD selling well enough that Universal will beg Joss to do a sequel. With his fans crying for the same (and they will be), he won’t have a choice (though I’d really prefer another 8 epsiodes in the first season, to fill out the arc in moving picture format). Then again, these things take an alignment of the stars… everyone’s still waiting for the sequel to Boondock Saints.


Bush doubles down.

Huffpo has an interesting thought from instapundit.

When you think about it, it was a decent move, but also the only move. Bush is too tied to Iraq now to ever push it off on anyone else. If Iraq goes bad over the next year, the GOP’s midterm prospects go way down, and anyone Bush endorses will be in big trouble. Now, if Iraq goes well he (and the GOP) gets the better part of his double or nothing: the reward he would have gotten, plus the “sorry we doubted you” remorse vote from the middle.

Now, from a purely game of politics standpoint, when you think about it, the only response the Democrats have to these recent speeches from Bush is to present a clear platform on Iraq, about withdrawl, and whatnot. It needs to be so convincing, that they can share in the credit if Iraq goes well. If Iraq doesn’t go well, they can still say, “well we could do better if we got to be in charge.” That way, the Dems can benefit slightly from the GOP’s successes, and still seem like a viable alternative, even in the “war on terror”.



My website is interesting

Due to the recent drought in WTFbrb updates, the end of which you can anticipate in a couple days, I am going to give everyone who reads this something to think about.

If you think my website is interesting, instead of sending me spam about it, leave a comment on the post you found interesting (:

I know Christmas is coming, but that doesn’t mean I want to sign up for a service to let 75 gajillion people see my site, and seriously, no need to have all your friends send me the same e-mail every day or two (especially when it is free today only). I read it the first time. Well no I didn’t, but that is because you are a spammer. Tee hee


Accessible Almanac Abates Anonymous Abilities

Wikipedia, at the direction of its BDFL, Jimbo Wales, recently stripped article creation abilities from users who are not registered and logged in. This was done in response to some negative press in USA Today. While “anons” or “anon ips” as they are commonly called by Wikipedians like myself are still allowed to edit existing articles, this new requirement is worrisome for a few reasons.

Firstly, its not the most effective response to vandalism, while a large amount of vandalism comes from anonymous IPs, the stuff that has been tradititionally tough to deal with comes from logged in registered users—I know of two such infamous vandals: Willy on Wheels and Michael. The reason these users are tough to deal with is because they have slightly more power (like moving pages), and are generally the more dedicated vandals, and since to be successful (if thats the correct term), they create many accounts and vandalize with new ones as old ones are blocked from editing.

Also, it makes vandalism a little bid harder to catch, as users who are going to vandalize by creating new articles are now required to log in. That means your average recent-changes patroller (like myself) will not catch their edits, as we only scan edits by anons.

On a more idealistic and political note, we have now entered a brave new world that the Cabal (which does not exist…hehe) said would never exist. Users frustrated by with vandalism to Wikipedia have made repeated calls for limiting anon creation/editing abilities, almost since the dawn of time (er… Wikipedia). But, it was basically promised that this would never occur. So an article (op-ed at that) in the country’s most popular (although not most respected) newspaper blasts Wikipedia for one rather large factual error, Wikipedia has been the target of unending criticism for years, and will be for years to come. The proper way to deal with such criticism is to fight the problem at its source—deal with uncited facts. If something is not commonly available, it should be cited. Yes, I have been guilty of not citing reasonably obscure facts, but I will definately change that now. This would help resolve the real problem: misinformation, incorrect information, and non-neutral information presented in the encyclopedia.

The reason the reason above matters, aside from keeping Wikipedia free (as in speech, not as in beer), is that there is a higher adoption barrier. A first time visitor, or an editor that prefers to remain anonymous will be less likely to create a new article, even where one is desired. Since, in my opinion, Wikipedia’s primary strength right now is breadth (although its depth improves by the day), this is a bad thing.

Anyways, once finals are over (forever, as an undergraduate!), I will certainly take some time to check over articles I’ve done lots of editing on, and perhaps try to get anon creation abilities reinstated, although Wikipedia policy debates leave a yucky feeling in my tummy.

Also, if you are an expert on something, and are a user of Wikipedia, a good deed would be to review the articles on the topic you are an expert on, and add some references, check/cite facts which you are unsure of, and contribute anything you kno that isn’t covered (:

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