Sunday, June 15, 2008


I have long felt that much, if not most, U.S. foreign aid is wasted. We give this money to governments that use it to bolster their corrupt regimes. But political realities keep us from better allocating those funds.

So what can we do?

We can vote for people who will change the system or processes that allow such corruption, but that takes time. Instead of relying on the government to do something that is not their job, I think that we should individually support smart charities and businesses that creatively help the impoverished and needy of the world.

Here are a few places that I have been looking into:
  1. Kiva
  2. OLPC
  3. Solar Ovens

I will add more as I discover them.

Read this post about donating your old eyeglasses.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Firefox 3 is set to be released on June 17, 2008. I am pretty excited, I have been using Firefox, and Mozilla before it, for I guess 5 years now and I love it. So I decided to check out one of the Release Candidates for version 3. I went to and grabbed the RC2 installer that they had and dove right in.

Here are some "Things I Have Noticed":
  • It's faster, it launched faster, it loaded pages faster and it ran faster even with many tabs open.
  • The addon manager will list recommended addons and will allow you to search for addons from the manager interface!
  • A little star icon has been added at the end of the address field. When you click the star, the page you are on is bookmarked, if you click it again you get the dialog to name, organize and tag the bookmark.
  • Bookmark Tagging. I love this, you can add your own tags to the bookmarks that you save allowing another dimension for organizing and searching.
According the the release notes there are a lot more features than what I have listed here, so check it out!

Keep in mind that some of your addons may not work with the new version.

Oh and try to download it on the 17th if you can. They are trying for a world record for most downloads in one day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I am really digging...

"Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show". It is a web comedy, on You Tube, created by Greg Benson and Kim Evey the husband and wife comedy team behind Mediocre Films.

GTCMS is a weirdly compelling parody of the American view of Japanese pop culture married to something akin to Pee Wee's Playhouse. It is fraking hilarious and everyone should watch it.

The most recent episode guest stars Wil Wheaton, and is well worth the view. He plays a smarmy Hollywood Agent trying to get Kiko (the star of the show) to sign up with him.

Go. Watch. Enjoy.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My first attempt at Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction is basically very short short stories. I like this idea since it seems to be a way to work on writing skills in smaller bites. Having such a limit on the length of the story it can allow the story to be finished in as little as a single sitting. So without further ado, here is my first attempt:


The light from the twin suns seemed to flutter in and out of the shadows in the thick dark atmosphere on the planets surface. I was having trouble with the corrosive gases that swirled like smoke from a pipe. The air of this planet was scoring the view panel of my helmet. I could only guess what it was doing to the rest of my HES suit.

We should have waited for the readings to complete before we attempted a landing. The shuttle lost altitude too fast; the pilot did not expect the odd turbulence that we experienced. It was all I could do to sit still and let him fly. But he got us down, what good it did him. Or me for that matter. He told me to wait and stepped out of the forward airlock. I heard his screams start almost immediately, then they abruptly stopped.

The airlock took forever to cycle, but by the time I got outside it was too late. The pilot had stepped from the airlock onto what appeared to be solid ground, obfuscated by the hazy fumes that passed for air on this godforsaken rock. But what looked solid turned out to be a small pond or lake of some caustic liquid. As I tried to reach for him he sank beneath the surface of the hellish acid lake his HES suit rapidly disintegrating as it sank.

Carefully I reentered the shuttle and took the rear airlock out. Using a sonic range finder from the survey equipment I was able to verify that the ground was solid so I stepped out and looked around the shuttle. Besides losing the pilot I could tell that the front of the shuttle was in the lake, and it's integrity was already compromised.

I was trapped, the shuttle losing integrity, and unable to reach the ship in orbit. My suit had maybe two days of water, supplements and air.

So I stopped the simulation and took a D in that class.