As I mentioned earlier this week, my friend Danielle is returning today from Peace Corps duty in the Republic of Kiribati. For her entire tour she has lived in a place that almost never gets below 30°C (86°F). At this writing she's waiting at LAX for her flight home.
Here is what home looks like as of 15 minutes ago:
The airline claims her flight is on-time. I guess I'll find out later tonight...
Update, 3:56pm CST/21:56 UTC: The airline now reports a two-hour delay, so technically Danielle won't be getting home today.
Late update: The airline cancelled her flight after all. Still waiting...
Yesterday at the gym's coat check, I got claim check 404.
The coat-check guy didn't find this nearly as funny as I did.
Even more funny—to a software nerd, anyway—was that when I gave him check #404 after working out, he found my coat.
One can imagine other possibilities. But 404 is the best, I think.
The record-breaking 2005 hurricane season may finally be over. National Hurricane Center forecaster Avila writes this hour:
CONVECTION HAS VANISHED AND EPSILON IS NOW A TIGHT SWIRL OF LOW
CLOUDS. THE CYCLONE IS WEAKENING RAPIDLY.... I HOPE THIS
IS THE END OF THE LONG LASTING 2005 HURRICANE SEASON.
Good news for North Atlantic shipping, I suppose.
In Chicago, however, we have a good winter storm on its way. I'll keep you posted. Look for art around lunchtime (1:00pm CST/19:00 UTC).
Read, understand, and then fix your compiler warnings.
Compiler warnings let you know that you've either done something wrong, or you've done something non-standard. Either way, ignorning compiler warnings shows a lack of discipline and skill; it's something like ignoring big red "warning" signs in real life.
I'm working on a .NET solution that, when last compiled, generated over 60 warning
messages. A couple of them I put in to let other developers know about problems
I found, but most warned about things that actually needed to get fixed.
For example, the following line of code:
if (comboBox.SelectedItem == "Do stuff")
generated the warning, "Possible unintended reference comparison; to get a value
comparison, cast the left hand side to type 'string.'"
In other words, the if statement was evaluating whether the object comboBox.SelectedItem
was the same object as the string "Do Stuff," which is an impossibility.
So the comparison would always fail, making it look like the feature was
failing. Yet the compiler warned the developer about the problem, and even said
how to fix it.
If you're wondering, the corrected line looks like this:
if ((string)comboBox.SelectedItem == "Do stuff")
Chicago today banned smoking in restaurants starting January 16th. We've now joined New York, Los Angeles, and a number of other cities that also ban smoking in some public places. Reports the Tribune:
Smoking is allowed in freestanding bars and taverns, and within 15 feet of any restaurant bar, until July 1, 2008. A tavern is defined as an establishment that earns at least 65 percent of its revenues from liquor sales.
My previous entry, about Kansas University Professor Paul Mirecki's beating by religious extremists, may not have hit the correct note of irony and outrage.
I've just read the reports from Mirecki's local paper, the Lawrence Journal-World. The essential sequence of events was this:
- Mirecki wrote in an online forum that his upcoming course, "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism, and other religious mythologies," would be a "be a nice slap in [the fundies'] big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category 'mythology.'"
- On November 29th, the Lawrence Journal-World broke the story about how some Kansas legislators called for hearings to look into Mirecki's conduct.
- Mirecki, or the University, cancelled the course. The University president went so far as to call Mirecki's comments "repugnant."
- Mirecki then apologized publicly, saying it was "an ill-advised e-mail I sent to a small group of students and friends that has unintentionally impugned the integrity and good name of both the university and my faculty colleagues."
- Thugs beat the snot out of him.
Let me re-phrase that:
Thugs beat the snot out of him.
The Journal-World bound up some of Mirecki's postings from the Yahoo! discussion group he participates in. A quick read through those postings shows him to believe religous extremists are irrational, intolerant, and a threat to the American way of life.
Good thing those boys knocked some sense into that egghead.
A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.
—James Madison, Federalist No. 10
For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.
—Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1
From today's Chicago Tribune:
Creationism-as-myth professor beaten
LAWRENCE, KANSAS—A college professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he derided Christian conservatives said he was beaten by two men along a rural road.
The Lawrence Journal-World has a long series of stories about this.
For my money, I'm hoping there are enough rational people in Kansas to prevent them blowing up statues and the like.
My friend Danielle is finishing up her tour with the Peace Corps. She's been in Kiribati, where the temperature never seems to get below 30°C (86°F).
Danielle, if you have a chance, you may want to check the weather here before getting on the plane. It's supposed to go below -18°C (0°F) tonight.
From yesterday's column from Paul Krugman (reg.req.):
Over the last few years G.D.P. growth has been reasonably good, and corporate profits have soared. But that growth has failed to trickle down to most Americans.
So where are all those corporate profits going, I wonder?
It was on this day in 1933 that Prohibition ended.
Shortly afterward, marijuana was criminalized, in no small part because the alcohol lobby has always been more powerful, and in the 1930s popularly associated with a different ethnic group, than the marijuana proponents.
I was going to provide links to scholarship to support this point, but there isn't a lot of it out on the Web right now. Even the relatively de-politicized National Institutes of Health and the Journal of the AMA have a dearth of information about the relative dangers of pot vs. booze. (And yes, despite the flap about Plan B, I think the NIH are relatively apolitical. The FDA, on the other hand, not so much under this administration.)
I did find a link to a site about Reefer Madness, which is hi-larious. But it's not really scholarship.
Note: I'll stop parroting the History Channel's daily list for now. But if you're interested in histroy, you should subscribe to it.