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2009 August 12 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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View From The Right Side Of The “Pond”

The BBC comments on American Bloggers debate British healthcare.

Basically it’s about the ignorance on display in the Investors Business Daily editorial that mentions Professor Hawkings. The writer doesn’t actually take sides in the battle, but it isn’t really necessary when the issue is whether it’s a lie or an incredible display of ignorance.

I come down on the side of a lie based on ignorance and sloth. It’s so tough typing Stephen Hawking into the search box [well, you don’t have to type the whole thing of course, because Firefox figures it out quickly and corrects your spelling].

Why is anyone surprised about what happened to the economy when this is the level of research skill present in a publication for investors?

August 12, 2009   8 Comments

Dying From The Oldies

The CBC reports that the Plague outbreak in China traced to marmot

A wild marmot was the likely source of an outbreak of pneumonic plague in China that killed three people, according to the World Health Organization.

“According to the epidemiological investigation, the source of this outbreak was a wild marmot, which had contact with the dog of the index case,” the United Nations agency said in a statement Tuesday.

Pneumonic plague occurs when the lungs become infected by the bacterium Yersinia pestis — the same microbe that causes bubonic plague, an infection of the lymphatic system. Pneumonic plague can spread from person to person through the air, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is curable if treated early with antibiotics. The three deaths have been attributed largely to delayed treatment, WHO said.

“Marmots are members of the genus Marmota, in the rodent family Sciuridae (squirrels).”

They are called ground squirrels in many places and groundhogs in the US. Prairie dogs are a different genus, Cynomys, in the same family. The dog was the first to die, before the people.

August 12, 2009   2 Comments


The BBC reports on what could be a nasty bit of business for M$: Judge bans Microsoft Word sales

A US federal court has ordered Microsoft to pay over $290m (£175m) for wilfully infringing on a patent by Canadian firm i4i.

The patent relates to the use of XML, a programming language that allows formatting of text and makes files readable across different programs.

XML is integral to Microsoft’s flagship word processing software Word.

Texas district court judge Leonard Davis also filed an injunction preventing Microsoft from selling Word.

The row specifically relates to the use of Extensible Mark-up Language, or XML, documents.

I4i filed a patent in 1998 that outlined a means for “manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other” invoking XML as a means allowing users to format text documents.

The write up is a bit confusing about what is involved. I4i developed algorithms for converting text formatted in different formats. It looks like they separate the actual text from the formatting and store the two parts in different tables. This enables the text to be formatted the same way, regardless of the source of the formatting directives table used. The concept is simple to understand, but not always simple to implement, especially if you want to do it for a large number of formats.

August 12, 2009   11 Comments

La Brea Update 8-12

FireThe fire in the San Rafael Wilderness area has now burned over 21,150 acres and is 10% contained. Structures to the North of the fire in Cottonwood Canyon are now under threat and evacuations have been ordered.

There have been 2 minor injuries fighting the fire which has already cost almost $2.7 million.

Currently there are 23 engines, 34 crews, 12 dozers, 5 tankers, 10 helicopters, and 1,277 total personnel assigned to the fire.

Links: The KEYT La Brea Fire article, the Santa Barbara Independent La Brea Fire page, InciWeb La Brea page with a map, and KSBY has videos.

These are semi-permanent links to pages that are updated constantly, or provide specific links to all of the related stories.

August 12, 2009   4 Comments

Tropical Depression Two – Day 2

Tropical Depression TwoPosition: 14.0 N 36.3 W [10 PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: West [260°] near 14 mph [22 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 35 mph [55 kph].
Wind Gusts: 45 mph [70 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1006 mb.

It is 800 miles [1285 km] West of the Cape Verde Islands.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

August 12, 2009   Comments Off on Tropical Depression Two – Day 2