Why Can't They Stop Computer Viruses
It's no secret that the Internet is flooded with viruses and spam. A recent
that 95% of all email is spam. In fact, the spam and viruses
go together. The spam contains attachments or links that infect your
machine with a virus, and one of the main jobs of a virus is to spread itself by sending out more
spam. Call it viruses, worms, or Trojan horses, adware, spyware or bots, it's all
malicious software ("malware") and it's a problem.
In this article, I try to outline why viruses are so hard to deal with, and
how the industry got into this situation in the first place.
What to Do About Health Care?
As a disabled person myself, I have some opinions about the health care system
in the United States. Charles Hugh Smith, who runs his own blog
(Of Two Minds) asked me to
write a piece for him.
I try to make some basic points here about the effectiveness of health care,
the common problem of comparing life expectancies instead of comparing the
outcome of medical procedures, and the problem of blaming the health care
system for life style choices. I also point out that you won't get the best
results with a single system that tries to do everything. Patients fall into
different groups with very different needs.
Hoping Not to Find Life in Space
Ever since people speculated that the stars were distant suns, or that the planets
in our own solar system were worlds like the Earth, we have wondered if there
was life elsewhere, even intelligent life like our own. Given all those stars
and all that time, it seems like a sure bet. Yet we don't see any evidence of
life elsewhere in our solar system, or any evidence of intelligent life out among
the stars. This puzzle is called the Fermi Paradox, named after
physicist Enrico Fermi, who is supposed to have said something like "if aliens exist,
why aren't they here? There's been plenty of time."
This article discusses the Fermi Paradox and what it means to us.
An old newsgroup posting of mine on nanotechnology. Plays around with the idea
of Grey Goo -- self-replicating machines that will Destroy The World.
No one takes this idea seriously... But just you wait!
Global Warming: Our Story So Far
An attempt to explain the entire debate, in one easy-to-read article. It has links
to climate debate sites and Wikipedia graphs showing long-term trends. I review three
- Anthropogenic (Man-made) Global Warming. Industrialization using fossil fuels
is releasing more CO2 which is heating the atmosphere.
Solar cycles and other natural variation. The output of the sun changes, long-term
cycles shift and the earth warms. CO2 is released by the oceans in response.
Bad data. Nothing in particular is happening. Random variation in the climate has
scared us into producing theories backed up by incomplete computer models and really
NASA and the Warmest Year
Back in August, 2007, there was a flurry of news items about how NASA had revised
its temperature measurements and was now showing 1934 to be the warmest year on
record, not 1998. The global warming story was one of steadily increasing temperatures,
so this sounded very significant.
Curious about this, I did some research using the
NASA GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) web site. You can follow the links
and produce your own graphs of the data. Many interesting discoveries.
Reading the "ClimateGate" Emails
My reading of the notorious "ClimateGate" emails. I'm still critical of climate science
and this has done nothing to help, but I'm not as critical as other bloggers of the CRU itself.
I think the politics have put research centers under intolerable strain, and there's a mismatch
between the stakes of the debate and the norms of traditional science. I also think
there's more skepticism in the emails themselves than CRU is given credit for.
Converting a Bus into an RV
My attempt to convert a used wheelchair transit bus into an accessible RV.
With pictures and costs. Not recommended as a guide for those considering a similar
project, since I did not know what I was doing. More of a warning!
Uses the "genetic algorithm" to evolve a small program (state machine) that will
follow a trail on a map. You can see the population search for solutions, alter
the odds of mutation, change the population size, etc. A good illustration of
the principles of evolution, with many surprises.
Sea of Memes
My impossible dream -- a peer to peer online world where you can actually do
useful work. No progress lately.
My Photo Collection