A Very Nice Environment Variable Solution

Snniffing around on a CentOS machine on which I am supposed to have extremely limited access – certainly no root access – I ran across an older gcc (3.4) that didn’t complain when I tried to use it. So I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to give myself Haskell – a Very Nice…

A Weird Scoping Issue with Javascript in Firefox 2

My day job/research project here in Computational Linguistics graduate school is a web-based ICALL application for Russian – intended to be similar to Ohio State’s Tagarela project. For some time we’ve been scratching our heads over a strange bug that only shows up in Firefox 2, and today I finally tracked it down. It’s worth…

All Double-Priced Items now 50% off!

Here’s a MENSA question. A store doubles its prices, but immediately offers 50% off all merchandise. How much do you, the customer, save as a result? That’s right: $0.00. Because half of double is what you started with. It’s one of those “if you spent more than 10seconds coming up with the answer to this…

Love Doesn’t Scale

I’m always on the lookout for neat aphorisms that nicely encapsulate important points of Libertarian thought. This is because I think Libertarianism argues from a weak position in modern society. There aren’t very many of us to begin with, and our views are rarely, if ever, given a fair hearing in the public forum, so…

Casting Stones

A friend sends an article claiming that it is comforing news that less than 1% of American teens need cholesterol medication. Apparently, we are supposed to conclude from this that reports of childhood obesity in America are overstated. The friend then adds that he and I have agreed that there is too much obsession with…

When Dogma and Clarity Collide

I’ve always thought it ironic that we say “arguing semantics” to refer to tedious, pointless, vacuous, impractical arguments. It’s not that I can’t see where it comes from: after all, names are arbitrary, so if you’re arguing about what a word should mean in defiance of how people actually use it you’ve not only misunderstood…

C’mon – it’s Netanyahu

Israel held an election yesterday and the winner was … nobody, at least according to official reports. But the official reports are wrong. Netanyahu won and should be the next PM. I don’t really know why precisely, but parliamentary systems seem prone to situations like this, where the country faces a choice between following the…

How to Kill a Recovery (with bipartisan support)

It’s official: the Republicans are now every bit as stupid as the Democrats. The link goes to an article in which Senate Republicans are claiming “victory” in wrangling over the now $1trillion+ ironically-named “stimulus” bill for having “forced” the Democrats to agree to an expansion in the first-time homeowner buying credit. And a hard-fought “victory”…

My Vista/Gentoo Dual Boot

I’ve just dual-booted my Dell Inspiron 513S with Windows Vista and Gentoo Linux, apparently with success, so I thought I’d post the step-by-step. (The steps specific to installing Gentoo are given in much more detail in the Gentoo Handbook.) Best case: install Vista FIRST. Reason being: Vista overwrites the Master Boot Record with its own…