June 29th, 2005

Texas

One solution to gang warfare

Left-wing kook Nick Coleman, in today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune, decries the rash of gang shootings that are hurting innocent kids and driving honest people away in droves. At the end of the column, they added a note about a "Rally and Walk for Peace and Justice".

Just how much rallying and walking do they think it will take to get the gangs to find honest pursuits? I know how much I think it'll take: more than is possible. Gangs will continue to shoot up neighborhoods until it's shown forcefully to them that that isn't going to be tolerated.

One neighborhood in Arizona has the right idea. I looked for a reference online, but was unsuccessful. It seems that a carload of gangbangers tried a drive-by shooting. They were met by return fire from multiple houses. The car crashed into a light pole and caught fire, and at least one gangbanger was heard screaming as he burned to death. It seems the fire department wasn't called until it was far too late.

That neighborhood hasn't had any trouble with gangs since.

Gangs are conducting war on honest people. It's time that the honest people treated it as a war and started answering in the only language the gangs understand: hot lead.
  • Current Music
    Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good
Splut

Of course we're not alone

Tom Cruise's latest round of stories in the news, after jumping on couches and slamming psychiatry, is about how he thinks we're not alone in the universe.

This is NEWS?! OGMAFB!

You don't have to be a $cientologist to believe that we're not the only sapient life in the universe. With as many stars as there are, and as many planets as those stars are likely to have, the probability is not that there are other more-or-less Earthlike worlds, but rather that there are uncountable numbers of them. It would be extremely unlikely that life could arise only here.

In fact, I'm reasonably convinced that we're not the only sapient life on Earth. There's a ton of evidence that dolphins are sapient, and a growing body of evidence that other primates may be, as well.

Those show the biggest problem we've got in that regard: We don't know how to handle a first contact problem. If we can't communicate with sapient species when they share the planet with us, with essentially unlimited time to figure out how to communicate, how will we even recognize it in aliens, much less communicate with them? I suppose a little green man (or whatever) landing his spacecraft in Times Square would be proof positive that he's intelligent. (Well, maybe not Times Square. New Yorkers probably wouldn't notice, or think him out of the ordinary.) We still have no idea how to communicate with him, though, or even where to start in making the attempt.

I suspect we won't find answers to this until we have to - and then, it may be too late.
  • Current Music
    Stealers Wheel - Stuck In the Middle With You
Computers

Sun, a good value?!

Sun has announced its Ultra 20 workstation, with a 1.8 GHz Opteron (model 144, whatever that means), 512 MB of RAM (which they'll double through July 8), an 80 GB SATA disk drive, ATI Rage XL graphics, and a DVD-ROM drive - for $895. It comes with Solaris 10 preinstalled, but also supports Linux and Windows XP, both regular and x64 editions. Dunno if that's a smoking deal, but it's not bad, not bad at all. They'll let you use it for 90 days at no obligation, too, or get it by joining the developer program and paying $30 a month for 3 years.

I'm considering it, as a Hercules engine...since the past few days have shown that a 1 GHz Pentium III isn't going to cut it with recent OSes.
  • Current Music
    David Bowie - Space Oddity