Saturday, January 7, 2017

PEDs versus everything else



It's socially acceptable to change gender via surgeries and long-term hormone treatments.
It's socially acceptable to use marijuana to treat illnesses.
It's socially acceptable to follow the latest diet craze.
It's socially acceptable to get braces or eyeglasses or plastic surgery or tattoos or body piercings.
It's socially acceptable to alter your mood or your headache with drugs; indeed, 10% of American children take drugs for behavioral conditions such as ADHD.


And I think all the above are fine, under the proper supervision.


But God forbid a guy takes PEDs to hit more home runs. That would be cheating!



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gevalia's just not that great






A couple members of my household swear by mail-order Gevalia coffee. After a recent visit from a moving van, there are several packages of Gevalia in the kitchen cupboard.

Normally, I purchase my coffee at Parkleigh in Rochester, NY, pictured above. But, I didn't want to let that supposedly premium Gevalia go to waste, so I found myself driving to work yesterday with a travel mug of that coffee.

It's a little unfair to compare the whole-bean product I buy at Parkleigh to the pre-ground Gevalia, but for what these coffees cost, they're susceptible to reviews. Plus, I use a cheap drip coffeemaker, frowned upon by most aficionados, but I make too much coffee each day to mess with a French press or whatever.

The word often used for Gevalia is "smooth", and that's appropriate, but so smooth that it's bland. It has a rather sweet taste, even though I drink it black. There's just not much to Gevalia coffee, and I don't recommend it. Shop local.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


I think I have more fun finding and downloading crazy podcasts than listening to them.

The latest is WFMU Bitslap. http://wfmu.org/podcast/KB.xml

I also learned all about Pizzagate from the ReplyAll podcast. http://feeds.gimletmedia.com/hearreplyall

Hillary is trying to shut me down.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Not Staying Fired Up over Standing Rock

MorgueFile.com

I'm having a hard time staying fired up over the Standing Rock protests. The protests are located on, and always have been located on private property, and the property owner does not want the protesters there. They're either trespassing or not, and it's a modern legal matter, no matter who might have been buried there a dozen generations ago.

Part of the protest is about water quality and other environmental quality. Of course, no water has been poisoned by the unfinished Dakota Access pipeline, so reports of frightened children are premature. It's true similar pipelines leak occasionally (generally amounts that are apparently not newsworthy). If you're not willing to shut down every pipeline, everywhere, then the localized action at Standing Rock is practically meaningless. I'm pretty sure very few Americans want to shut down all pipelines and accept higher fuel prices and limited supply.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_Access_Pipeline

Part of the protest is about the sacredness of the land surrounding the pipeline's path. Every article I have read about this seems to accept the sacredness without question or investigation. I was able to track down some of the legal submissions that do indeed discuss this. There is evidence that the affected lands have been used, and continue to be used, for religious purposes in ways that are specific to the lands. In other words, the pipeline could theoretically disturb specific ceremonial locations, and the ceremonies might not translate well to, say, a room at the local public library.

However, it appears only a handful of people (trained tribal elders, and possibly no one else) know the locations and ceremonies. Tribal experts have identified many sites in legal filings. The Meskwaki people most closely involved with protests number 4000-5000, and the Sioux people more generally number over 170,000. If a particular location was regularly the site of a ceremony involving thousands of people, we would probably have heard about it. I get the impression most Native Americans do not know the details of the sacredness and do not regularly, if ever, participate in ceremonies along the Dakota Access path. Since the tribes are against the pipeline, they are not unbiased in their identification of sites.
https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/honorearth/pages/2295/attachments/original/1477095838/DAPL_Letter_to_Corps_10.10.16_SC_HTE_IEN.pdf

That's not to say the sacredness claims don't matter. I'm trying to convince myself they do matter. I wouldn't want a pipeline running through my father's gravesite or through, say, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (a sacred Christian site). On the other hand, there are few references to specific disturbances. I am not aware that any bones have actually been unearthed, or that any of the sites are now unusable. One of the legal documents describes the dredging of waterways that resulted in the end of the formation of a certain type of smoothed stone used in ceremonies, but that dredging occurred decades ago.
http://sacredstonecamp.org/dakota-access-pipeline/

Articles describe the destruction of a sacred area in 2016 by construction vehicles even when the site was identified in advance as part of the construction approval process. However, it remains unclear what these sites looked like, how they were identified in advance by tribal historians, and how the construction workers were supposed to know about them while working. The only photos I can find are of mournful protesters supposedly hovering over sacred sites, rather than of the sites themselves. There are simply no photos or videos of a bulldozer driving through an ancient stone prayer ring. I'm not saying the DAPL hasn't disturbed any areas that had been identified, but the documentation hasn't been uploaded. The protesters blame the construction for taking place intentionally in areas identified as historic sites, and that can't be discounted, but to what end? To finish the pipeline sooner at the risk of fines? I am not accusing anyone of lying, but the tribes do, and it would seem that the tribes have more motive to lie than the construction company.

I find it ironic progressives are frustrated with a fundamentalist rural America that voted for Trump, but the DAPL protesters cite indigenous pagan historians as evidence, which is about as fundamentalist as it gets. Even if you argue Native Americans are "American" in a different way than white Christians, the native Americans are still fundamentalist. Native Americans will never be convinced to accept the bulldozing of a stone payer circle no matter what logic is used and no matter what public benefit there may be. And maybe the Native Americans are right. Or maybe not. Only their tribal historian claims to know.

Friday, October 21, 2016

SEO notes

My home page bounces all over the place with respect to search engine rankings, especially from Google. First, I found a good post about optimization.
 My own tips, in no particular order, are:
(0) Content, content, content.
(1) Remove HTML errors, include a good title and meta tags, target some keywords and use them appropriately, but all serious sites do this.
(2) Optimize for Google. If Google ranks your site well, so will the other engines, and most users use Google.
(3) Get links to your site listed on other reputable sites, to generate hits and improve automated reputation calculations. Don’t bother with disreputable link farms.
(4) Drop your URL everywhere, such as in web forums. You’ll get spam; deal with it.
(5) Individuals who meet Wikipedia notability standards will get an unbiased biography. Don’t create a bio for yourself because it hurt your reputation. Carefully edit Wikipedia articles.
(6) The DMOZ.org policies baffle me. Many categories are populated but never updated and they’re picky about editors. Still, DMOZ is well respected.
(7) I am an editor on syndic8.com. I reject most of the waiting feeds that I review, but there is some good stuff there.
(8) Make sure your target page loads quickly (within a few seconds).
(9) Reduce your link-to-content ratio and ad-to-content ratio. Links and ads are fine, but the search robots can pick out link farms and ad farms.
(10) Renew your domain registration for multiple years so that you don’t look like a temporary ad farm.

Local news on the web

Print editions of newspapers across the country are shutting down these days. I still subscribe to the print editions of two newspapers in the Rochester, NY area, but I’m looking for news sources to carry me when the inevitable finally happens. The print editions support an investigative activity that bloggers and web editions just can’t match (oh well...). In particular, I’m looking for a deep sources of local news. Lots of web sites regurgitate the top stories from the print editions, but that won’t help when there are no print editions. I'm looking for sites that can tell me about businesses that are opening, school sports results, youth group and charity activities, etc., as well as the bigger stories and weather. Comment here on how you find your local news on the web.

Historical tech post: Installing Windows fresh on a new laptop (05 Jan 2013)

I bought a new Samsung notebook PC. Overall, it works well. It came with Windows 8 64-bit, not Windows 8 Pro, but it was one of those Christmas day deals and I have the Windows media anyway. I found out that computers arrive these days without OS media, and with a restoration partition so that Windows can be re-installed if necessary. However, with separate installation media, I had the option of reformatting the whole drive and wiping out the space taken by the restoration data, which includes a bunch of manufacturer applications which I'll probably never use. Note that before I did this, I downloaded the manufacturer drivers from their support site.
 The installation of Windows 8 is slightly different than previous versions, so my process was to boot from the DVD, which required a BIOS change to allow this, so check your manufacturer documentation. I did indeed choose the advanced options to delete and recreate a single installation partition. No license key was requested because on a PC that originally has Windows pre-installed, a key is built into the BIOS. After installing the manufacturer drivers, Control Panel can be used to Add Features to Windows, where the Pro key is requested for certain features. Including a few environment tweaks, this all took a few hours, but I encountered no errors and the hardware works as expected.