Monthly Archives: October 2005

BMEbooks Update

First, I wanted to remind people that there is now only one week left if you'd like to apply for the contract doing the Best of BME QOD book. More details are posted here. If I have received your application, I have ack'd you back an “I got it” note, so if you didn't get that, please be sure to resend (and IM me for confirmation if you want).

Other than that, I've got Quark installed on this computer and am pushing through the second edition of Ed Cushman's wonderful book Losing a Hand, and hope to have it ready for the presses in about two weeks. Other books in the queue include a project by Orbax, a follow-up to the ModCon book by me, the QOD book above, and one other very amazing book that I don't want to mention because I'm currently negotiating the translation rights.

Optimization Trivia

I've been running various code optimization tests since on a large CPU intensive project every bit of improvement you can make in code speed translates into real-world savings in hardware purchases. So anyway, here's a two pieces of trivia:

  • The speed increase gained by moving variables from being standard data stored in RAM to being register variables (ie. stored on the CPU) is aproximately 350%.
  • The overhead for calling a function in a linked DLL versus including the code in the module itself is approximately 5% as a lower limit (ie. DLL contains only code that is actually used). If the DLL contains other functions, the overhead for using the DLL version climbs to 40% or higher.

I've done some other tests like converting some portions of the code to assembly language which is giving me decent gains as well but I'm rusty enough that I can really only do that for fairly simple stuff right now. Work, work, work… the more things I complete the more I have to do…

It's like a hydra or something…


A while back I was reading this blog entry titled Your Food is from China about the large scale industrial production of vegetables in China, DNA manipulation of foodstuffs, and so on.

...The individual greenhouses were twice the length and width as a football field. The growing situation was a pond with blocks of styrofoam floating on the water. Each block had a multiple lettuce plants dangling their roots through holes into the water. Above were light fixtures that could illuminate the plants.

I also saw other research-type activities. One place was a hi-tech R&D company that was working on cattle. ... Biotech companies have long been interested in producing rare and important human proteins with pharmaceutical benefits in cow's milk. For example, why not produce human interferon in cow's milk rather than produce it via DNA approaches in yeast? The answer is that the yeast has a difficult time producing the modifications of human proteins exactly as those substances would be synthesized in people, but the cow can make them correctly.

Anyway, I've been reading various dire predictions from the EPA, insurance companies, and others about the rebuilding of New Orleans and there's all this worry about whether it's even affordable number. That's strange to me, because the US really is the richest country in the world and should be able to do this stuff in its sleep… But the problem with the US isn't that it's out of money, the problem is that its money is stolen by the wealthy corporate friends of politicians and the rest is squandered, so little is left for the taxpayers themselves.

Let's look at how China would face the problem of having to recreate a city? Well, they just handed British engineering company Arup a gazillion dollar contract to build — from scratch: there's only a swamp there right now — a metropolitan city larger than London, UK. Oh, and they're building 4,000 kilometers of highway every year and have a space program. And their coalfields are on fire, they've got bird flue, they're on the edge of environmental collapse, they have a population of one and a half billion, and the US is deeply in debt to them and their economies are linked.

So they're a hyperpowerful nation that's transforming at breakneck speed and headed straight toward a major collapse, unable to support its population without expanding into new territory… have I mentioned they've got plenty of nukes and ICBM delivery systems?

But I've been thinking what's going to save the US when the shit really finally hits the fan and everyone realizes we've gone around the curve, there's no turning back because the road behind us has collapsed, and things change radically… it's going to be the strange dichotomy in America between rich and poor, metrosexual and hillbilly. Yeah, the US can build you a computer, but it can also noodle you a catfish when the world infrastructure fails.

That said, if everyone doesn't cut down on burgers, maybe those rivers will have dried up by then anyway and there'll be nothing to noodle.

Blah blah blah.

I … BME Boys

So Ryan's been asking me to mock up a new “I <3 Tattooed Boys” shirt since there's demand for a re-run of those… On the airplane home I read the truly ignorant book “Porn Generation” by Ben Shapiro. I should have known better because of the recommendations from Ann Coulter and “Dr” Laura Schlessinger, but you've got to know your enemy, right?

Anyway, it's a long diatribe against sexual expression (even masturbation) by anyone not married, with blame for this being leveled at just about everyone as dubious statistical links are drawn, the whole time calling women such as Madonna who express themselves and influence others “dirty no-talent whores” — the book reeks of anger and depression against women in general, and anyone who's sexually active. The author claims we are moving to a “utopian live and let live world” where all behavior that people enjoy is acceptable if it's not hurting anyone else. Um… and that's a bad thing?

Anyway, in celebration of a big fuck you to Ben Shapiro, here's a blatantly Diesel Sweeties inspired idea (they have a similar but much nicer shirt).

That's not a final design or anything, just a joke moke-up. But if someone wants to take the time to draw it (or something similar) up properly and submit it to the t-shirt contest, I make no claims to the concept and you'll get the full reward for your drawing time.

Death Penalty for Dick Cheney?

So Patrick Fitzgerald (you know, “Plamegate”) is now looking into pre-war intel. That is, the White House cabal is not only being hit with money laundering and financial crimes and the issues of leaking a CIA operative to try and discredit anti-war statements, but actually of faking the intel that took the US to war in the first place (for nothing more than profit).

With now almost 2,000 Americans dead (and 30,000+ wounded), unless I'm missing something, wouldn't that make Cheney-Bush-Libby-Rove-et-al guilty of felony murder? If they knowingly broke the law and it resulted in thousands of Americans being killed, should that not be their legal fate? Is that not the only option if America truly is a democracy and these men are not untouchable? The only thing left to decide should be whether it's life in prison or the death penalty.

I'll be interested to see how this proceed with Fitzgerald stars requesting Diebold source code.