Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2004:April:21 Wednesday <Tuesday, Thursday>
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2004/4/21 [Politics/Foreign/MiddleEast/Iraq] UID:13302 Activity:nil
4/21    Republicans will have to rename cigars next. "Freedom cigars"? (Al-Jazeera)
        \_ Why do you hate America?
           \_ What does this phrase mean?  Why do you keep posting it?  No
              one ever responds, it makes no sense, it never seems to be
              in any sort of context.  Please explain.
              \_ It started as a spoof of hardcore neocons who seemed to
                 challenge any criticism of the war or the President as
                 unpatriotic. It's since become a sort of catchphrase offered
                 up any time anyone says or does something not in direct
                 support of the war.  You know, like RIDE BIKE! or ED!
                 \_ ED!  ED IS THE STANDARD EDITOR!
                 \_ If this is true, it will destabilize the Middle East
                    for years to come.
                    \_ here we go again, you are not bein loyal to our
                       great leadership in the time of crisis.
                       \_ Then again, I also think Bush himself again
                          and again bring entire nation into danger... just
                          like the leader of German's National Socialist Party
                          did 60 years ago.
                          \_ "entire nation into danger"? I'm afraid to
                             walk down the street! You do not know what
                             danger is, boy.
                          \_ German street was very safe after they got rid
                             of all the commie mutants and before the Red
                             Army marched in with our help.
2004/4/21 [Recreation/Computer] UID:13303 Activity:nil
4/20    One man's take on Friendster (warning: Quicktime)
        <link deleted>
        \_ stupid shit... stop re-posting it
           \_ God, you're an asshole.  I found it amusing.  Why do you
              bother?  Eat a bug.  -John
2004/4/21 [Politics/Domestic/Gay, Politics/Foreign/Europe] UID:13304 Activity:nil
4/21    German Army Turns Into Gay Orgy:
        \_ Ok, the way it's written in the article makes it sound like a
           horrible idea.  In practice it will probably just be a bad
           \_ Come on, the Spartans didn't do too badly, although I'm sure
              it sucked to be a Messenian.
        \_ If this is true, it will destabilize the Middle East
           for years to come.
        \_ Was college a gay orgy for you?
           \_ No, but if it had been all male, it probably would have been.
              \_ That's what the Boy Scouts is about.
2004/4/21 [Uncategorized] UID:13305 Activity:nil
4/21    What are some ways to approximate geological location from a url?
        \_ whois, nslookup
2004/4/21 [Politics/Domestic/Gay] UID:13306 Activity:nil
4/21    Andrei Codrescu had a poem on All Things Considered last night,
        regarding gay marriage.  Does anybody have the text?  And before
        you accuse me of being an uppity NPR listener, I also watched Law
        & Order SVU, which really is the worst show on television.
        \_ Does this mean you have poor TV choice as well as being
           a commie pinko?
           \_ poor tv selection.
           Not as impressive in print though; it loses his timing.
           \_ A *poem*?  that's a poem?!  Wow.  I'm 100% pro gay marriage,
              but I don't find myself hating NPR any less than before.
              What shit.
              \_ He's a poet, he wrote an essay, it sounded good in traffic.
                 Like I said, it loses something in print.  You don't have to
                 be a philistine about it.
                 \_ That must have been SOME traffic.
2004/4/21 [Computer/SW/Unix] UID:13307 Activity:nil
4/21    fsck is going to run on the root filesystem of my remote server on the
        next reboot. Is there someway to capture the output without a human
        having to look at the screen while it is running. I don't have a remote
        \_ If this is linux, put a ">> filename" in /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit
           for the fsck line.  No.  I lie.  man initlog.  --scotsman
2004/4/21 [Computer/SW/Languages/C_Cplusplus] UID:13308 Activity:nil
4/21    In programming speak we call a # a hash and a ! a bang.  Is there
        a jargon name for ~?
        \_ tilde.
           \_ seconded
        \_ squiggle
        \_ twiddle?
           \_ I concurr.
        \_ I tend to call "#" a pound.
           \_ more discriminating people have tended to call this 'sharp',
              e.g. in K&R. pound is for phones.
              \_ Maybe, but #! being called sharp-bang seems odd.
                 \_ not really. #! is called shebang, which would seem
                    to be a shortening of sharp-bang.
                    \_ Far more often referred to as "hash-bang", shortened
                       to "'sh-bang."  Let's not reference Mr. Hung any more
                       than necessary.  And, btw, the only appropriate place
                       it's called a "sharp" is in music... Fuck C# --scotsman
                       \_ I agree that # is properly called hash. I hate
                          calling it a pound, that's for British currency.
                       \_ Jargon File says:
                           "The character sequence #! that frequently begins
                           executable shell scripts under Unix. Probably
                           derived from "shell bang"..."
                           In any case, like I said, I think K&R calls it a
                           sharp, and I sure wouldn't trust your judgment
                           over K&R's. Also, I don't care for your "Fuck C#"
                           justification at all -- you sound like a tool.
           \_ Wasn't the original name 'octothorp' coined by the bell
              folks? -saarp
              \_ Surely something so obtuse could only have come from IBM?
        \_ what's @ called?
           \_ yomama
           \_ at.
           \_ In Korean it's called a "snail."
           \_ it's an onion
           \_ cinnamon roll
        \_ What do you call a "*"?
           \_ star
           \_ Splat.
              \_ That's what I call it too, but only Berkeley people seem
                 to use this.
2004/4/21 [Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:13309 Activity:nil
4/21    OSC on how Bush did or did not cause 9/11!
        \_ See, this is why OSC gets a rep for being a crank.  It's possible
           to understand that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeada were responsible
           for 9/11 AND see that the Bush Administration failed to do
           enough to prevent 9/11.  OSC needs to learn a non-binary approach
           to the world.                                       /
                        What happened to your moral clarity? _/
           \_ Ooo, ooo!  What would you have done to stop 9/11 as the new
              president of the US with no idea it was coming?
              \_ We've done this before. See kchang's archives:
                 \_ Ah yes, Nothing interesting, reasonable or remotely
                    intelligent was posted.  Go motd!
                    \_ Kettle, pot, black. Plonk.
                       \_ Umm.. I was making a point that a lot of people
                          pass the blame, but nobody has any ideas.
                          \_ Yes, and you made the point through demonstration
                             just now.  Nicely done.
                             \_ Shooting down hijacked airplanes could have
                                been made a government policy. So many
                                off course planes in the last 10 years
                                were intercepted by the Air Force, there
                                really is no good excuse why the second
                                WTC flight was not shot down.
        \_ why does anyone care what a hack sci-fi writer has to say about
           \_ Because he wrote Ender's Game and people somehow think that
              makes up for the drivel he's written since then.
              \_ Ender's Game might be fun for kids and game geeks, but it's
                 really not a very good book.  -tom
              \_ He has written a number of good books since than, and
                 some crap too.  I read his opinion pieces because they're
                 online, and usually different than what I hear elsewhere.
                 I don't always agree, but it's usually a fairly
                 intelligent take on things.
                 \_ Note: Different is properly followed by from. Different
                          to, for different from, is a common English
                          colloquialism.  Different than is quite
                          inadmissible. (dict different)
                          \_ Thank you Professor Higgens
                             \_ You are welcome, my lady
           \_ The success of Ender's Game (and his other books) have something
              to do with his ability to express himself well, and (IMO) to talk
              about the truth of the human condition.  That being said, his
              hobbies are history and especially military history, and I find
              his comments to be well-studied. -emarkp
              \_ Yeah, and the next political commentator will be
                 Danielle Steele.  -tom
              \_ emarkp is being disingenuous.  The real reason he likes Card
                 is that Card is a Mormon like him.  BTW, haven't we already
                 discussed this to death on the motd before?
                 \_ Oh my gosh!  It's a Mormon conspiracy! Sorry dude,
                    that's the dumbest freaking thing I've heard in a long
                    \_ You corrected my spelling and then made a serious
                       grammatical error.  Who's the dumbass?
                       \_ You assholes did not correct anything.  You
                          interrupted posts to show what could be done to
                          correct them.  Posts fixed, idiocy removed.
                       \_ one's a typo, the other shows bad spelling.
                       \_ Not the same person either.
            \_ Did he say anything about not disbanding the Iraqi army?  If
              so, he is already ahead of Bush Jr and his advisors.
        \_ Dear Mr. Card,
                I am sorry that you were not born in a time when America had
        stand-up enemies to fight (like the Nazis).  I, too, wish that America
        had an enemy that would unite us in a universal morality, an enemey
        that we could point to as a negative reflection of everything that we
        stand for.  Then we could point to that great enemy and say, We are
        the opposite of that.  We could declare ourselves the good and the
        right in the face of utter evil.
                Unfortunately, all of our enemies these days exist on the
        fringes of morality.  Many of them are our children come back to
        haunt us. Few of them have the military might or geopolitical will to
        inspire much more than a street-to-street city gunfight or individual
        suicide bomb attacks. None of them are the bogey-men we need to truly
        galvanize the nation (and the world) into the world-wide benevolent
        dictatorship that we need.
                Neither do we have the leadership to truly lead us in a
        benevolent world-wide dictatorship dedicated to the betterment of
        humanity. There are no wise Hegemons to bring us to a new
        Enlightenment; no Hari Seldons have stepped up to guide us to our true
        potential as the rightful rulers and benificent caretakers of our
        planet and our quadrant of space.  No, our leaders, both Republicans
        and Democrats, are much more interested in the short-term gain in
        power of the next four years and the long-term acquisition of profit
        for the foreseeable future than they are in the betterment of mankind.
        Our leaders have allowed themselves to be led by past grudges and
        debts of honor to follow bad counsel from weak and self-serving
                It is right and good to want a strong, united America.  It is
        wrong and bad to mistake brutality for strength and sheepish
        acquiescence for loyalty.  It is criminal to turn a blind eye to
        corporate greed and war profiteering especially when it is done in the
        name of building democracy.  We owe it to ourselves and the America
        we dream of to open our eyes and see the wrong done in our name as
        well as the good.  Only by doing this do we have any hope of seeing
        that America come to pass.
        \_ Funny you use Nazis.  They were on the fringe of morality in
           their time.  Evil always trys to make itself look moral.
           \_ that is the problem, the word "evil."  Nothing is black n
              white, there is no such thing as absolute evil.  You need
              to learn that, eventhough most people learned that at age of 4.
              \_ I wonder how many victims of violent crimes are moral
                 relativists.  I wonder how many people who saw their children
                 tortured and killed in front of their eyes agree with you.
                 Moral relativism is a product of a safe and prosperous age.
                 It was easy to believe in evil when you had to face it every
                 day. -- ilyas
              \_ Evil exists but it's not a phantom force floating around.
                 It's simply the case when people decide not to respect the
                 rights of others in the pursuit of their own goals. Nazi
                 Germany did some evil things, but then so did the USA, Russia,
                 and Israel. Nations generally have more reasonable rationales
                 for their actions than sadistic psychos whose "goals" are
                 merely enjoying the infliction of suffering and pain. It seems
                 to be the norm historically that cultures have different
                 standards of ethics towards outsiders, often glorifying the
                 destruction of other tribes.
              \_ I must respectfully disagree. - Cthulhu
              \_ I must disagree also - George W. Bush
                 \_ w00t!
              \_ No, there really are people who will just cause pain, or
                 steal, or do any other number of ethically repugant
                 things for fun or profit.  If they want to do it on a
                 large scale, they will rationalize it with pretty words,
                 but it's still evil.  Besides, it there's no such thing
                 as universal morals, why don't we just nuke thw whole
                 middle east and be done with it?
2004/4/21 [Politics/Domestic/President/Clinton] UID:13310 Activity:nil
4/21    Do you notice a lot of non-Indian, non-Asian, non-Caucasian
        CS/EECS students these days?
        related article:
        \_ It could be that the College of Engineering's sundry programs
           for recruiting underrepresented minorities and making
           sure they graduate in CS/EECS is actually working. (I believe
           Cal's is headed by a black, female Materials Engineering
           graduate who also distinguished herself as one of Cal's few
           Rhodes Scholars.)-elizp
        \_ tell me how smart or dumb the incoming class is.  don't tell me
           what race it is.
           \_ or how privileged.
              \_ it would be great if uc adjusted admission based on socio-
                 economic status (or lack thereof) rather than on race-
                 substitutes.  (btw, i believe i saw reference to a study
                 that said, based on se status, asain attendance would
                 go up, whites stay flat, and other privileged minorities
                 would drop.  sorry, no ref, so may just be faulty on my
                 \_ Why?  Why not just have smart people rather than stupid
                    poor people?  Oh wait, I forgot... -John
                    \_ we are.  poor kid who did well tend to be smarter
                       than rich kid who performed at an equal level.
                       take bush and clinton for example.  if clinton
                       has low IQ like bush, he would not have made it
                       to governor of arkansas.
                       \_ The Clintons are poor now?  -- ilyas
                          \_ Bill Clinton grew up poor. Are you purposely
                             being stupid?
                             \_ Well I am not a Bill Clinton scholar or
                                anything, nor did I read any of his
                                biographies.  Quick internet search turns
                                up at least middle class, given the jobs
                                of his mother and step-father.  But yes,
                                Tom, I am purposely being stupid. -- ilyas
                                \_ that wasn't me, twink.  I'm not sure you
                                   can help being stupid.  -tom
                                   "Clinton grew up in a turbulent family.
                                   His stepfather was a gambler and
                                   alcoholic who regularly abused his wife,
                                   and sometimes Clinton's half brother
                                   Roger, Jr." Search harder padawan.
                                   \_ I grant that he was a gambler and a drunk.
                                      But poor?  No way.  Look up what Clinton's
                                      parent did for a living again. -- ilyas
                                      \_ "He rose from poverty to graduate
                                          from Georgetown University with a
                                          degree in International Affairs"
                                          It does not matter how much money
                                          you make, if you gamble it all away.
                                          Your refusal to even bother reading
                                          the first few paragraphs of the
                                          refernce I found for you only
                                          demonstrates your desire to
                                          stay ignorant, the definition
                                          of stupidity in my book. -!tom
                                          \_ Well, I have a choice.  One is
                                             to take wikipedia's word for it,
                                             and another is to look at what
                                             his adult family members actually
                                             did for a living...  I ll take my
                                             chances with that.  I ll grant you
                                             my stupidity if you want, just
                                             to avoid having to talk about it
                                             anymore.  A short blurb from
                                             wikipedia doesn't prove your
                                             argument for you.  I offered a
                                             reasonable piece of information
                                             for why he didn't grow up poor.
                                             You just flamed. -- ilyas
                                             \_ gambling can make you poor
                                                even if you have a decent job.
                                                \_ Yeah it may.  Or not.  It
                                                   would be nice to actually
                                                   look into that.  But let's
                                                   just quote wikipedia some
                                                   more instead. -- ilyas
                                                      If you really are
                                                   \_ I am not the person
                                                      who quoted wikipedia.
                       \_ and rich kids who did well tend to be smarter
                          than other rich kids who did less well.  so let's
                          control for se status.
                          \_ Cal does a "comprehensive review" which includes
                             looking at socioeconomic status.  -tom
                             \_ And here I've been thinking that "comprehensive
                                review" is just court approved smoke screen
                                for "let's accept members of privileged
                                minority classes rather than members of
                                nonprivileged minority classes".  Silly me.
        \_ Somewhat related question.  There have been many studies along
           the lines of: send in white and black candidates for job/loan/
           apt/whatever and observe white candidates getting better
           response.  Has there been a study where they sent in college
           applications for black and white students of identical background/
           grades/scores/recommendations/etc. and observe the admission
           \_ the scariest study of that nature I saw was one in which
              computer-generatred resumes were sent to perspective employers
              with fake randomized personal and profesional information, but
              with some having "black sounding" names that are typically
              associated with african americans, and some having more WASP
              sounding names.
           \_ Well who would this benefit? That's why it won't be studied.
              Merit-based admission is the dream, but won't happen until
              the educational playing field is leveled - which will be
              \_ Gee, isn't it worthwhile to find out if there's racial
                 discrimination in the college application process?
                 Color me curious.
              \_ It would be interesting if we can attach a value for being
                 a member of <minority> in the college application process.
                 Someone enterprising might be able to take advantage of
                 that.  A very straight friend joined all the usual gay/
                 lesbian/bi/transexual clubs as part of his med school
                 application process and got into some pretty impressive
                 schools that he thought he'd have no chance at.  With no
                 control, it's hard to know what the effect of his club
                 membership might have had, but it'd be an intersting thing
                 to find out, no?
        \_ We should screen for hot females.  Old-time MIT-boys still tell
           me how great the class of '86 was.
2004/4/21-22 [Recreation/Computer/Games] UID:13312 Activity:nil
4/21    Does anyone archive funny/cute flash games posted on the motd?
        I really need to do something fun before I am officially laid
        off on Friday.
        \_ try this you pathetic depressed laid-off silicon valley engineer:
        \_ In my day we surfed porn and planted at bombs. Kids these days.
  (with sound)  -John
        \_ -- awesome
        \_ Why do you hate america?
2004/4/21-22 [Computer/HW/Drives] UID:13313 Activity:nil
4/21    Do all firewire enclosures for 3.5" disks have fans?  Couldn't an
        aluminium enclosure in contact with the drive go sans fan?
        \_ Kind of like this?
           \_ Yeah, exactly like that. Do you have one of these?
              Do you have the loose-connection problem discussed
              in the newegg user forums? What chipset is in this device?
              Does it work with Linux?
              \_ I don't have one.  Prolific chipset.
2004/4/21-22 [Politics/Foreign/MiddleEast/Iraq] UID:13314 Activity:nil
4/21    Doonesbury's got me wondering: are there any stats for the number
        of soldiers maimed in the current war?  I've heard the new body
        armor is superb at protecting the torso, but that means (potentially)
        more soldiers losing limbs instead of dying.  Does "700 dead" tell a
        reasonably accurate story?
        \_ An old article, but it does begin to address your query.
           I would imagine the numbers have increased quite a bit given the
           past month's events. -- ulysses
        \_ 700 is not purely accurate no matter how you slice it. It's just
           the number dead in Iraq from hostile and non-hostile action. The
           number of wounded is a much higher ratio than most war conflicts
           due to improved body armor, equipment, supply, and tactics.
        \_ a much more interesting question to ask is how many civilian
           iraqi casualties have there been? would it suprise you to find
           out that it's >10x this number?
2004/4/21 [Uncategorized] UID:13315 Activity:nil
4/21    Yay!  "By that time, the 27 visa waiver countries will be expected
        to have so-called "biometric passports" for its citizens. Such
        passports will include fingerprint and iris identification features
        that make the documents virtually impossible to counterfeit."
2004/4/21-22 [Consumer/Camera] UID:13316 Activity:nil
4/21    I'm looking for a good zoom lens for my 300D (Digital Rebel). Any
        recommendations as to which Canon EF-S (or other brands) to consider?
        How about buying a used lens from craigslist? tia.
        \_ stick with Canon lenses.  use ebay for used lenses.
                                     \- ebay has been a boon for sellers
                                        not buyers on things like lenses.
                                        might be ok for filters.
                                        often things in good cond
                                        sell for 90% of what you would
                                        pay to bhphoto. --psb
           what zoom do you want?  Digital Rebel has a 1.6x cropping factor
        \_ My guess is that you have no idea what you want, no? What kind
           of lenses do you want?  another places you can try (much better
           than ebay) is  Go for the "bargain" grade.
                        --happy keh customer who never own a single
                          new lenses
                \_ I'm looking for something like a 28-105mm or 28-135mm.
                   I mostly take pictures of wildlife (birds, &c.) while
                   I'm out hiking/traveling. I don't really need the wide
                   angle that the 18-55 provides but I also don't want to
                   carry two lenses, one for zoom and one for regular shots.
                   (I'm not sure if I explained that very well). I'll check
                   \_ then get the 28-135 then.  But don't forget
                      about that 1.6x
        \_ Tamron lenses are a good alternative to canon lenses, and
           somewhat cheaper.  There isn't too much drop off in quality. -meyers
        \_ Buy Nikon lens, they are better!!
2004/4/21-22 [Academia/Berkeley/CSUA] UID:13317 Activity:nil
4/21    To whoever wanted the sound bite of Ice-T talking about the "down low"
        a couple of weeks ago on L&O:SVU: /csua/tmp/down_low.mp3 and
2004/4/21-22 [Academia/Berkeley/Classes, Academia/GradSchool] UID:13318 Activity:nil
4/21    A tangent from the underrepresented minorities in CS/EECS
        thread below: Why don't many Cal grads apply/get Marshalls
        or Rhodes Scholarships? In my experience teaching at both
        Ivy League and BIg Ten universities, it's certainly not
        that Cal undergrads aren't up to it. COuld it be that
        the university doesn't do enough to promote the
        scholarships (the RHodes interview, from what I've heard
        requires a bit of coaching)? Or that perfectly accomplished
        & brilliant Cal undergrads, after four years of getting
        their egos bashed, just want to apply to grad/prof.
        school and move on with their lives? Just speculating. -elizp
        \_ I believe it is mostly because Cal undergrads have
           a lower opinion of themselves than is warranted. -ausman
           (in general of course, there are many exceptions)
           \_ That sounds right.
              Remember, boys & girls: don't let the system get
              you down. Seriously. -elizp
           \_ After a few years at Cal, I felt pretty bashed.  Then I entered
              the real world where falling into the 92% range wasn't an "F"
              any more and recovered.  In fact, the rest of the world is so
              dumb compared to the weakest Cal grad that you can skim by in
              life doing 35% and still do just fine.  I'm on cruise control
              at 70% and doing really well.  The bell curve in life is much
              different than the bell curve at Cal.  The fact that almost
              every Prof and TA will happily treat you like shit doesn't help
              students either.  Screw Cal, join life, win big.
        \_ I know of 2 Cal undergrads who later got Marshall scholarships.
           One (EECS ugrad) declined a Gates Scholarship (this is a wannabe
           Marshall / Rhodes scholar), and another got a Luce scholarship.
        \) cal has one marshall scholarship this year but the farm has 5
        \_ Cal had a Rhodes scholar last year.
           \_ ankur. eecs & business.
        \_  ``Cyrus is a black belt karate instructor, a downhill skier,
            and a published photographer. He is also blind.'' --rhodes scholar
                How can that shit be real?
            \_ I can explain the black belt, I think.  A lot of modern black
               belts are meaningless. -- ilyas
               \_ Don't nitpick, Ilya.  You still don't get handed one for
                  walking in the door and being able to write your name. -John
                  \_ As long as sparring isn't a part of promotion I'm confused
                     as to why a blind person wouldn't be able to learn karate
            \_ A lot of such scholarships are just jokes.
               \_ If it's free money, why not apply?
2004/4/21-22 [Transportation/Motorcycle] UID:13319 Activity:nil
4/21    Hey Crackhead (craigslist posting):
        \_ Hey, this is very similar to the reason _I_ hate drug addicts..
2004/4/21-22 [Uncategorized] UID:13320 Activity:nil
4/21    What are your favorite useless lines on motd? I'll start:
        -Attitudes like this will destabilitze the whole middle east.
        -emacs user was here
        -RIDE BIKE! USE L1NUX!
        -go back to English/Rhetoric/Econ/History 1A
        \_ [tech threads deleted because of censorship of political threads]
        \_ why do you hate america?
        \_ "<Useless snide comment or insult> -tom"
        \_ spelling corrections
        \_ Questions easily answered by spending 5 minutes with google
        \_ It's on Slashdot. Go post there if you care.
2004/4/21-22 [Academia/Berkeley/CSUA/Troll/Ilyas, Academia/Berkeley/CSUA/Motd] UID:13321 Activity:nil
        "Thomas Holub", "Tom Holub" -> There were no records found matching your request.
        "Partha Banerjee" -> There were no records found matching your request.
        When did they graduate? Degrees?
        \_ Graduate? Degrees?
        \_ Old motd saying: The ways of men do not apply to psb.
           As for tom, maybe it was a tragedy of the commons.
           "The majority of the online csua community was composed of older
            legacy Associate Members, creating a "ol' Boys Club" which
            actively created an atmosphere in which the newer members were
            treated as inferior sub-citizens... "
           Paolo is talking about tom. It's been a long time since this has
           been tried, but I think now is a good time to squish tom.
                \_ paolo wrote that like 4 years ago, why do ANY of
                   you care?  who is cranky old tom-hater?  I still
                   don't know.  i am sad about your pathetic life.
           \_ sup party peepz!  That wasn't about tom. - pst (who didn't
              know about tom until 6 months after he wrote that).
           \_ First, you need some non-anonymous person to complain.
              \_ It works best if the complainant happens to be the girlfriend
                 of a polit bureau member.
           \_ What misconduct specifically are you accusing Tom of?  He's not
              even participating as much as he used to, so it's hard to make
              the case that he's creating a more hostile environment than has
              been cheerfully tolerated in the past.  He hasn't walled
              anything about twink points in quite some time.  I also believe
              that he labels his motd posts, and the nastiest, most evil
              posts are always anonymous.  --PeterM
              \_ I'm hurt, peter.  I try my hardest to be evil, and it just
                 goes unnoticed.  You don't send me flowers.  --scotsman
              \_ My posts are always nasty and evil, and I sign too... -- ilyas
                 \_ Your non-nasty post is much like the statement "this
                    statement is false."  I find it amusing.
                    \_ Sorry, I ve been taking a lot of recursion theory
                       recently. -- ilyas
              \_ Actually, tom walled about twink points yesterday.
           \_ not even worth further comment.
2004/4/21-22 [Politics/Foreign/MiddleEast/Iraq] UID:13322 Activity:nil
4/21    Anyone have any insight on what is involved in war planning that
        it would cost $700 million?
        \_ 20-30K more U.S. soldiers for 3+ months longer (and this is only
           with respect to the $700 million figure)
           \_ Planning.  Not deployment.
              \_ Who says planning costs $700 million?  From what I've read,
                 this is total cost (and is an underestimate).
                 \_ This is in reference to the alleged $700 million taken
                    from the fund authorization for Afghanistan action to
                    form a new Iraq war plan.
        \_ It takes 700 million dollars to plan this shit?? fucking dickheads!!
2004/4/21-22 [Computer/Theory] UID:13323 Activity:high
4/21    Cute problem:  You are given n bits which resulted from flipping a
        biased coin n times (you don't know the bias).  The problem is to come
        up with an algorithm which will produce as many unbiased independent
        random bits from this string as possible (on average).  You have no
        other sources of randomness except the input bits.  One possible
        algorithm would be to pair up the bits, and produce a random bit 1 if
        the pair is 01, 0 if the pair is 10, and ignore the pair otherwise.
        This isn't optimal on average, however.  -- ilyas
             \_ assume n is sufficiently large, first calculate the (biased)
                expected value over the n bits. then instead of pairing up
                bits, sample m bits at a time, and if there are more than
                (expected value * m) bits with 1, output 1 or 0 otherwise.
                slide the sample "window" down and continue.
                \_ How do you sample without any additional randomness?
                     -- ilyas
                     \_ a simple example of the sampling logic is to take
                        bits 0~m, then 1~m+1, 2~m+2, etc. this does not
                        require added randomness. a more sophisticated
                        variation would vary the next sample depending
                        on the previous 0 or 1 output (unbiased).
                        \_ The problem is if you use more than $n/m$ windows
                           the resulting bits will not be independent anymore,
                           yes?  -- ilyas
                           \_ yes for the simple logic. what do i win for
                              spelling out a more sophisticated logic?
                              \_ 1 mid sized cupie doll.
                \_ eh?  expected value?
        \_ I am interpreting "on average" here to be, "it doesn't have to
           be perfect, but come up with something good".
           \_ I think "optimal on average" has to mean something like it
              produces more bits (on average) than any other such algorithm
              that also works over the full range of possible biases. I don't
              see how it could be optimal for each possible bias (e.g. to
              be optimal in the case where there is no bias, it would have
              to output n bits for any input, but this would obviously not
              work if there is bias). - Johnny Von Neumann
              \_ With all due respect Mr. von Neumann, if the bias is 1,
                 no algorithm will output any random bits at all.  You simply
                 have no randomness to work with in that case.  To put it
                 another way, the 'optimal' number of bits you should get on
                 average isn't fixed, but depends on the bias.  The metaphor
                 here is 'refining oil'.  The 'tainted' randomness you get as
                 input is like crude oil.  The 'unbiased' randomness you
                 get at the output is like refined oil you get after processing
                 the crude.  The amount of stuff that comes out depends on how
                 much crude you have to work with, and how 'crude' it is.
                   -- ilyas
                 \_ With all due respect, you don't seem to have understood
                    what I wrote. An algorithm can't be optimal for the
                    _unbiased_ case (in which case it would have to have
                    no waste product) and also work in other cases, unless
                    you could distinguish this case in advance.
                    \_ I can see why you would think so, but surprisingly,
                       it can. -- ilyas
                    \_ I think ilyas means "optimal" in the sense that a
                       competing algorithm would produce less random bits
                       over the entire space of possible input strings.  The
                       "optimal" algorithm is the one most successful at
                       producing the most random bits over the entire space of
                       input strings, relative to all other lame algorithms
                       that produce not as many random bits.  Algorithms which
                       produce ANY non-random bits are super-lame and do not
                       qualify for consideration at all.
                       \_ Yes, this is what I think he means, too, and is
                          pretty much what I said above. He seems to be
                          claiming something stronger, which I still think
                          is impossible, but perhaps I have a blind spot. My
                          intuition is that you can do about twice as well
                          as the simple algorithm above.
           \_ Interpret it as "the expected number of random bits produced by
              the algorithm, given the input distribution determined by the
              unknown bias must be as high as possible."  I mean "on average"
              precisely.  It's good to think about why is it that the algorithm
              isn't caring what the input distribution is, essentially.
                -- ilyas
              \_ How about something like this:
                 Suppose you saw k heads out of n flips.
                 Lexicographically order all n-choose-k
                 sequences of n flips that have k heads,
                 find the index i of the actual sequence
                 of observed flips amongst these n-choose-k
                 possibilities, and take the binary expansion
                 of i. This requires some fiddling when
                 n-choose-k isn't a power of two, though ---
                 maybe leaving out the last bit in i in this case.
                 \_ This is one correct algorithm, well done.  This is called
                    a 'codebook based on the method of types', I think.
                    Another algorithm: run the string through gzip.
                    This algorithm and yours work for the same reason.
                    In both cases you get n*H(p) unbiased random bits out,
                    (which is the optimal number),
                    where p is the unknown bias, and H is the entropy.  The
                    reason we don't care about the actual value of p is
                    because the algorithms in question are 'universal source
                    coding algorithms'.  This is why people use gzip on just
                    any old file, and expect it to work well.  Mr. von
                    Neumann's contemporary by name of Claude Shannon worked
                    all this out in a famous paper.  -- ilyas
                 \_ What does "n-choose-k sequences" mean?
                    \_ It's a function often used in combinatorics.  You can
                       google for its definition, and you can ask google to
                       compute it for you (e.g. "10 choose 5"). -- ilyas
        \_ I'd get a better coin.  It sounds like someone shaved yours.
2004/4/21-22 [Politics/Domestic, Politics/Domestic/SocialSecurity] UID:13324 Activity:nil
4/21    This administration stole $700mm from Afghan budget to attack Iraq.
        The public needs to know about this.  Email
        Tell him to cover the story, and tell him it's front page material.
        \_ I don't think this is true, because it would indicate this
           Administration has a clue.
        \_ they stole the election, stole from SS and medicare...hmmmmmmm,
           sounds like a pattern, but not enough care. So bizness as usual.
2004/4/21-22 [Politics/Domestic/Election] UID:13325 Activity:nil
        Wow!  Kerry's military records were just stellar!  He may be
        diplomatic and charismatic, but he sure is decisive when fighting
        those vietcongs!
        \_ Explains why the French like him.
        \_ he's a runner scum in a speed boat shooting civilians
2019/04/22 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2004:April:21 Wednesday <Tuesday, Thursday>