It may just be me, but I thought this explanation of Why Can't We Divide By Zero facinating, the answer to a longstanding question that has always itched at the back of my mind.
There's a lot of mathematical mumbo jumbo, but it boils down to this: if Z = A/B, then A = Z*B, right? Well, if you had a zero in the denominator, that would make A = Z*0, which is impossible for any number A that doesn't also equal zero.
Anyway, I am still not convinced that is truly impossible to divide by zero, even though this example proved rather insightful. Rather, this shows how flawed and unsatisfactory our base-10 mathematical system truly is. Perhaps if we were utilizing some other construct every fundamental question of the universe would already be answered!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
It may just be me, but I thought this explanation of Why Can't We Divide By Zero facinating, the answer to a longstanding question that has always itched at the back of my mind.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The greatest New York Mets article of all time -- at least to this humble geek -- had to come from, of all places, The Onion: Struggling Mets Combine to Form Carlos Voltron.
Leaving behind blue and orange vapor trails as they soared across the sky, the Mets were reportedly surrounded by a crackling electrical field as they folded their limbs into their bodies to ready themselves for assembly and to protect the team's home record.
Although Manuel said he had to settle an argument over who got to be the robot's head, his final lineup was David Wright and José Reyes forming the legs, Ramón Castro and Ryan Church making the feet, Nick Evans and Johan Santana completing the arms, Carlos Delgado and Luis Castillo joining to create the torso, and Carlos Beltrán forming the head.
Meanwhile, defending a comfortable 600-0 lead in the top of ninth, the Mets decided to rest up Carlos Voltron by moving him to the outfield and replacing him with reliever Aaron Heilman, who lost the lead and eventually the game after giving up 618 runs to close the inning.
Ouch, that last paragraph hurt, yet seemed sadly feasible.
Sadly, I searched through several pages of Google Images for the one over on the right, and not a single result for "Voltron" returned the alternate Vehicle Team version. That disappoints me; those spacecars freaking rocked.
Oh well, time to say a silent prayer and go watch Johan Santana and the Mets battle for at least one more day today, backs against the soon-to-be-destroyed walls of Shea Stadium.
H/t to MetsBlog.
Friday, September 26, 2008
7) It's Not Even Close
On one side, John McCain had at his disposal a vast array of facts, ideas, and well-considered policies. On the other, Barack Obama could barely muster a "GEORGE BUSH!" between his stammering uh, uh, uh's. Aides and allies of McCain referred to the event as the strongest he has ever been, and I have to agree. That old man looks like a spry, inspired youngster.
6) Barry Is Classless
Obama repeatedly referred to McCain as "John" -- when he wasn't mispronouncing it as "Tom" or "Jim." McCain exclusively addressed his opponent as "Senator Obama." Just a little food for thought on the candidates' overall attitudes and levels of respect/seriousness. If you would like me to state it more clearly, OK: Barack Obama is an elitest douchebag.
5) Al Qaeda Is Stronger???
Really, Senator? I'm as fatalist as anyone, but from my office in the second-tallest skyscraper in New York City even I am convinced that the United States is safer today than it was right around the time of 9/11. Al Qaeda is scrambling and hiding in caves in the most uninhabitable region on the earth, having been driven from not only Iraq but our own shores. Abu Musab Al Zarkawi is dead, Osama Bin Laden may very well be. Hundreds--thousands--of AQ leaders and operatives are either in jail or pushing up poppies. Get with the program, Barry.
4) Stop Talking About Old News
My gosh, how much did Obama harp about the reasons why we went into Iraq? Look, we will all likely never agree on this topic, and in fact in hindsight given all that has changed in the world it's difficult for even me to come up with many lasting justifiable reasons for why we invaded Iraq. That being said, that ship has sailed. We are there. We are actually winning now. What do we have to do to win -- now -- win definitively, and then get the heck out? That is the real issue.
3) The Peanut Gallery
The running live commentary over at Ace of Spades HQ had to rank as one of the all-time greatest blog threads in history. I was rolling with laughter at the number of Barack is x, McCain is y (which always beats x) jokes. It really felt like 2004 again, when the blogosphere first really inspired me to start writing regularly on politics and anything.
2) Slow Start
It's clear who I thought won, but McCain had a really rough start and I cringed in anticipation of the debate turning into a potential trainwreck. Fortunately, it only took a few minutes for him to regain his bearings, and then eventually unload an absolute can of whoop-ass on an arrogant young punk.
1) Best Debate Ever?
Filled with substance, aggression, attacks, and actual differences between the candidates, this was an absolute enjoyment to watch and a great old-fashioned, knock-down debate. If you are remotely interested in presidential politics and were bored or didn't think it was great, well, what the heck do you want, exactly?
All in all, an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes on a lonely Friday night -- far better than suffering through another Mets loss. I'll leave y'all with one paraphrased quotation: "I'll wait until I'm actually President before setting up my meetings list or coming up with my own seal."
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The first semi-major recall of Apple's iPhone Era has begun, affecting all 3G users pretty much across the civilized Western World (including your humble blogger).
Apple has determined that under certain conditions the new ultra-compact Apple USB power adapter's metal prongs can break off and remain in a power outlet, creating a risk of electric shock. We have received reports of detached blades involving a very small percentage of the adapters sold, but no injuries have been reported.
Yeah, electrocution would pretty much suck. Fortunately, the good folks at the best technology company in the world have made the recall process as seamless as possible; just enter some basic information into a contact form on the Web and your new adapter will be on the way in a few weeks.
In the meanwhile, I will likely continue to use the one I have, because I like to live dangerously.
Some other thoughts on the Wonder Device of 2008:
Make no mistake, I love the damn thing almost more than I do my friends and family. The iPhone has become so integral to my life that I practically don't even go to the bathroom without it coming along for the ride (I know, "yuck!"). If you have been reading my work for any period of time you know I'm a little...obsessive...at times so having this near-constant plugged-in ability to check any call, e-mail, or text at a second's notice definitely scratches my inner crazy geek itch. Of course, it would be nice to have more phone calls, e-mail, etc. to check, but I digress.
The interface is flawless in its intuitiveness and ease of use. Every option is accessible with a mere flick of a finger and can be rearranged into any order the user desires. The range of crazy, unique, and ingenious applications that can be downloaded at a moment's notice also put the system ahead of any other mobile device on the market. I can do anything with this damn phone: play a game of Tetris, listen to Pandora Internet Radio, check baseball scores (and view video highlights), the list goes on and on.
So what doesn't work?
As reported all over, the battery sucks, yo. When I had "push" set up to have my work e-mail instantaneously sent to me ala a Blackberry the battery would routinely die by mid-afternoon (assuming a full charge in the AM). That is flat-out unacceptable, and of course you cannot replace or upgrade the battery on the iPhone due to its integrated design. Now, thanks to the Version 2.1 firmware update and some tweaks to my e-mail settings, the phone at least will survive 24 hours, but still the need to charge every day is annoying to say the least.
Internet connectivity is also not particularly something to write home about, either. When set up to access my AirPort Wireless connection within my apartment, the phone calls up pages and documents at near-broadband speeds. When forced to use the vaunted 3G connection, though, it feels like 1997 all over again. That is, when it even connects to 3G at all. I am fully aware that this generation of mobile broadband is emerging technology and a work in progress, but if it doesn't work in the largest market in the world (presumably, where the most towers have been set up to accommodate it), then I shudder to imagine what the rest of the world must have to put up with.
Otherwise, the phone does crash from time to time, forcing a reboot, and it's incredibly frustrating/nigh-impossible to figure out how to get a custom ringtone onto the damn thing, but the positives do far outweigh the negatives. For $250 and less than $100 a month, the iPhone really does deliver everything you could possibly want or expect in 2008.
Plus it's such a beautiful, damn sweet and elegant status symbol. What did Tyler Durden say about the things you own end up owning you?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
It was time to update the "Random Snippets From My iPod Playlists" feature on this humble blog, and I was interested in having a little Alice In Chains rock the Box, so to speak. Maybe something harder-edged like Grind or Man In The Box, or perhaps a more-acoustic gem such as Heaven Beside You or No Excuses. So I went onto YouTube to start my search, and indeed there are any number of AIC tracks ready and available for play.
Too bad they were all put there directly by Sony/BMG, and embedding has been disabled on every track. Even the copies of the videos put up by other users have a disclaimer that the song is "owned" by Sony and embedding is prohibited as a result.
Seriously, why the fuck is embedding such a problem? I find it incredible hard to believe that the company believes someone will post a video to his/her Web site and pass off the music as his/her own original composition and production. It's Alice In Chains, one of the biggest bands of the 1990s, and one amidst a career renaissance thanks to a new lead singer and multiple world tours.
And how, exactly, does it make any difference if I watch from an embedded Web site versus directly on YouTube?
In the example of Geek Soap Box, all that would be happening is that I would be actively promoting the music of a great band--one of my favorites of all time. Maybe some random user will stumble upon the video, realize how utterly awesome the music is, and actively then go out and try to purchase some album. There is no "losing" proposition to the company here; I am not profiting or benefiting from this endeavor in any way...it's just a little means of enjoyment for me and free publicity for Sony.
But of course the lawyers likely beg to differ, and in fact a team of oppressive corporate brownshirts are likely on their way to my abode as we speak, ready to enact their own private standard of retarded justice.
So, in the end, take this to heart Sony/BMG--you get nothing from me now. I went with Plush from the Stone Temple Pilots instead this week.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
From TMZ comes the incredibly sad and pathetic tale of former WWF star and well-known drug addict Jake "The Snake" Roberts' weekend at an independent wrestling card.
Here's the video, and here's a snippet of the description:
During the match, Roberts was clearly unable to perform, barely responding to the barrage of "fake blows" he received from the other wrestler, J.T. Lightning. Around one minute into the match, Roberts' opponent -- clearly frustrated with the situation -- whispers to the ref to end the fight. Afterwards, Lightning grabbed the mic and told Roberts, "I've wrestled drug addicts ... you are a piece of s**t, Snake. You gypped these people. F**k you."
After the verbal assault, Jake pulled down the front of his pants and exposed his penis to the crowd.
Still, Roberts has it far better than so many of his former peers--after all, he's still alive.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
It wasn't pretty, it wasn't dominating, but a win is a win and the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS are officially 1-0 to start the National Football League regular season. Brett Favre had his moments where he was...well, Brett Favre, hiking deep passes down the field with occasionally little consideration for whoever was in the vicinity, but all in all his leadership and playmaking proved the difference. With Tom Brady possibly out for the season, does this give a mediocre Gang Green an opening to a run at greatness?
Sunday Night Numbers: Back in 2004 I used to always visit Real Clear Politics and publish the projected aggregate poll results, just as a means of not only managing expectations but analyzing how the election went the preceding week. So, what do we got this time?
General Polling: Obama 46%, McCain 45.2%
InTrade Market: Obama 56.3, McCain 43.4
Electoral College: Obama 273, McCain 265
It's been a great week for John McCain. The base is energized and ready to support him as their candidate for the first time ever. Choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate has seemingly also thrown his opponents completely for a loop, as they scramble to revise the message and throw any detestable attack they can muster her way. But we ain't there yet, and it's going to be an uphill battle. I've talked a lot of smack to anyone who will listen this week that the election will eventually wind up a McCain Landslide, but we clearly ain't there yet and my mood definitely can use some tempering.
iPod Snippet of the Week: Going with a 1996 favorite from Sheryl Crow, If It Makes You Happy. Probably the hardest track in the Crow catalogue, and with a video that features her at her most aggressively made up and alpha female. The song somewhat reflects some of the hard questions I've been asking myself a lot lately: if it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?
Lots of work and school this week, should keep me busy. Remember to check out my Twitter feed in case I don't have time to post formally.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
As Barack Hussein Obama's campaign slowly spins down the slop-sink drain of history, his sycophantic supporters on the left in the world of celebrity have become increasingly unhinged.
It started with the Queen of All Women Herself, Oprah Winfrey. You would think that someone who has so shrewdly positioned herself as the spokeswoman and representative of all womandom would find it inconceivable to not have vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on her show.
But, of course, because she's already backed Hussein, that simply won't happen, and she was forced to utter the ridiculous spin --
"At the beginning of this Presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates."
-- a statement that doesn't even make sense considering how often she's had Obama on the program.
It's also most interesting that such a prominent black celebrity figure would go so totally into the bag for the first black presidential candidate. It's almost nakedly racist in its undertones, but of course nobody is allowed to even express such a divisive sentiment.
Anyway, all of the stuff like this has led me to the inevitable decision that Geek Soap Box must relaunch a feature that was once its staple -- the Nixonian Enemies List. And for her ridiculously incomprehensible and shallow games, Oprah has earned herself the honorary first slot.
Congrats to her, and here's hoping that Ellen kicks her butt in the ratings this year!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
One of my favorite blogs--Queens Crap--recently discovered and linked to a Pajamas Media article from earlier this summer that boldly declared what so many in New York are in denial over:
As a mayor, a man, and a political figure, Michael Bloomberg has really sucked.
It’s about all his legacy will amount to, and it is not an accident. His entire political career has been designed, down to the carefully released rumors about his presidential ambition, as an experiment in governance through public relations. Barack Obama loves him, John McCain loves him, Time magazine loves him, 70% of New Yorkers loves him, and yet if I stopped writing right here to ask what, exactly, Bloomberg has ever accomplished, not many people could come up with an intelligible answer. They might mutter something vague about “education reform” without being able to explain its manic-depressive vicissitudes, or cite any concrete evidence of its success. Crime? That’s been down since the days of Giuliani, and anyone might have been able to maintain an already successful law enforcement program.It's really amazing the culture that Bloomberg has fiendishly cultivated throughout his bureaucratic empire. His top henchmen are mostly sycophants and yes-men forever ready to prop up and do the bidding of their billionaire overlord, perhaps hoping for one tasty lap off of his financial teet. Businesses and real-estate moguls are allowed to run rampant throughout the landscape, constructing massive concrete Towers of Babel with little regard to public safety (I don't remember many construction crane accidents or building collapses pre-Mayor Mike) or surrounding infrastructure (NY's spate of flooding isn't global warming--it's because all of the water-sucking topsoil and flora have been eliminated).
Behind the po-faced façade of a competent but bland CEO of America’s toughest metropolis lurks a breathtakingly calculated mediocrity, a man who silences his critics with cash and is then the first to tell you just how popular he is.
It allowed Bloomberg’s nanny-like encroachments on property rights and civil liberties to go largely unlamented by machine Republicans. He’s added laws to the books that fine storeowners for having too many letters in their awnings, or ticket cars that are rendered immobile by snowstorms. And don’t even think about lighting up in a bar, sitting on a milk crate, or putting your bag down on the adjoining subway seat. The kind of velvet fascism that rules American corporate culture now rules Gotham, a city once celebrated for its louche glamour and gritty countercultural style, something many puritans wrongly misremember as being only coexistent with rampant crime. (Oh yes, there was middle ground between Mean Streets and Sex and the City, a time when “poverty” could be comfortable, and Times Square was a navigable cesspool far preferable to the Disney World it’s become.)
And yet the residents of the City take it all. After all, to many, Bloomberg is either at heart one of them--an elitest pseudo-intellectual who revels in telling the little people what to do--or their City's Sugar Daddy, ever ready to dole out that sweet little $400 tax rebate.
It was a total, sad joke that Mike actually thought he had a shot to run some sort of maverick outsider third-party campaign for the most prestigious office in the land. Then again, maybe the whole thing was one gigantic circle-jerk mindfuck of public relations for the hell of it.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
When I was fresh out of college in 1998, I knew that I did not want to join the millions of sheep-like AOL users when slowly dialing my 56K modem onto the Information Superhighway; I merely wanted an ISP that would get me online and then get out of the damn way.
So I chose MindSpring, an upstart young company from Atlanta as my service of choice. And, indeed, we had many great years together--laughing on USENET bulletin boards, reading the latest pro wrestling news during the sport's Monday Night Wars heyday, rejoicing that summer day when ESPN.com (my start page) proclaimed "Piazza to Mets in Apple of a Deal."
But times changed. Broadband access became cheap and easy to install, and little MindSpring found itself a small cog in a much larger EarthLink Empire. Even after my switch to cable access, I still kept that beloved MindSpring e-mail address, though. It was a friendly, smiling reminder of a simpler time, and remained my primary connection to all of my cherished contacts, and all for a mere $5.95 a month, the baseline price for service that literally just keeps one e-mail address active and usable.
Eventually though, as happens in life, I moved on. Despite the consistent chump-change forced charge on my credit card every month, I stopped checking the account altogether. In fact, it easily reached its 10MB size limit and then sat like an unloved baby, sad, alone, and uselessly and without comprehension bouncing back all communications (likely pornography and Viagra advertisements) sent its way.
Today I called EarthLink Customer Support to mercifully end the suffering. Of course, I found myself futily attempting to converse with a boy likely halfway around the world in some Godforsaken hut. What was my name, he asked? I spelled it out clearly. No results in his search. What was my account name, then? No results.
"You said 'PL..." right?"
"No, TL, as in the initials of my name, which I just spelled out for you."
"T! As in Tom!"
"OK, sir, I have it. Can I have your credit card number so I can confirm your identity."
[The fuck if I'm giving this dipshit my card] "I didn't bring it with me, ask me something else."
OK, please hold. [FIVE MINUTES PASS]
"Sir, can I have your e-mail password?"
"Sure, it's [redacted]. Can you explain why it took five minutes to figure out how to ask another question?"
"Sir, I see you have a $5.95 monthly charge. If you like, we can drop that down to $3.95..."
[Interrupts] "Why the hell would a change from five bucks to three entice me? No thanks."
"Hold please." [TEN MINUTES PASS] "OK sir I will deactivate your account as you have req---"
"WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING FOR THE PAST TEN MINUTES???"
"OK, OK, it's closed, thanks." [Click]
He actually had the balls to hang up on me for complaining about his stupidity and lack of timeliness! Bite me, EarthLink and your shitty customer service and slow-ass Web site. You are a relic of a dead age, and someone should put you out of your corporate misery.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I have such a freaking headache tonight. Basically, this is the first moment all day I've had to stop and decompress, between work, meeting with my mentor to discuss my thesis, and then actual class. Plus it's hella hot and humid again in NYC, guess Indian Summer has arrived (are we still allowed to call it that?).
Yeah, speaking of school, it's now official: I will gradumacate and earn the first-ever masters degree in LaBarbera/Seelinger/Haas/Etc. family history at the end of this coming Spring 2009 semester. As a bonus, I am locked in to finish as the quasi-valedictorian, because I'm the only student currently in the MBA Program undertaking an honors thesis. Lots of pages, lots of research, but it allows me to skip two classes so its definitely worth it. The topic? Looking In on "Green" Marketing Campaigns Within the Microblogging Community. I know, WTF does that mean? Basically, I am going to select a few noteworthy "green" ad campaigns and then troll the various prolific social networking sites (Twitter, Digg, etc.) and statistically attempt to draw conclusions on their overall effectiveness. It's actually pretty cool and fairly revolutionary research, and yes I deliberately "went green" so that I can perhaps earn a spotlight and insert some pithy commentary to boot.
To follow Twitter, though, one needs to join Twitter. So, if you glance over there on the right, you will notice a new section called "Random Thoughts and Tweets." This will be a compilation of my daily micro-tweets, entered as I see fit. And if you don't know what a "tweet" is, get with the program.
(It's a form of blogging where each content piece is limited to 160 characters or less.)
Hmm...got nothing else. Good night, fair Internet. Until tomorrow.