Monday, September 29, 2008


Vent Your Spleen Wednesday

What is VYSW?

VYSW is shorthand for "Vent Your Spleen Wednesday." The phrase "Vent Your Spleen" means to bitch, moan, rant, complain or otherwise commiserate about something that just really upsets you, whatever that may be. The purpose for the author of this particular meme is twofold:
  1. It gives the author another reason to write.
  2. It brings the "rant" portion of "blather and rants" back to the fore.
  3. There is no reason #3


Be on the avant-garde of the blogosphere by joining us grumpy, whining never-do-wells:

  1. Join the blogroll!
  2. (Proudly) Display the logo!
  3. Rant about pointless issues!

Join the Blogroll!

Send me an email if you want to join up and soon your blog will be renowned and marked with great black splotches on all internet registries. The first hundred people will, nothing much, but sign up anyway.

Display the Logo!

For those who want a prepackaged blob-o-code...I'm working on it. Come back shortly >.<

Post Loud and Annoying Rants!

All that's left for you to do is to babble on about any topic that the voices tell you about. What do you mean you don't hear them?

Alright, for those of you who lack...inspiration just turn on the TV and watch the news for 5min. You could just spout off about how you hate commercials, the sky's the limit!

Sign up Now

So what's the delay? Remember that the people who sign up first will be remembered the longest, though maybe that's not a good thing. Anyhow, enjoy.

BYBS: Imagination

Dibbler: "The world is full of little people with big dreams!"

Victor: "What, you mean like dwarfs and gnomes and so on?"

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Speaking personally, imagination has greatly enriched my life.

In the mornings, I don't climb into my car to go sit in traffic for 20 to 40 minutes, I'm strapping into the Bandersnatch, my high-performance, interplanetary transport. While in the real world, I may be pushing down the accelerator, I'm actually going to full, 3G burn on the primary rockets, slamming me back into the seats as I take off.

I get to work either way mind you.

While the boss in the real world may be droning on and on about some tired aspect of the current system design, I can be a new, high performance chipset architecture which utilizes a simple yet powerful instruction set, including programmable DMA controllers. Their simple, unifying command set make both embedded and system applications a snap to work with.

The meeting schleps to a halt in the requisite 30 minutes. The people shuffle out.

But Lance Bigdeal, world leader, has completed yet another Important World Meeting. Lance has managed to secure a deal between Iran and the rest of the world. The sometimes isolated Middle Eastern country will gain "pebble bed" reactor technology which will solve its power generation issues without gaining an industry that could too easily be turned towards the creation of weapons. The Middle East is saved!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

BYBS: The Force of Self

one of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.

C.S. Lewis, "The Horse and His Boy"

The above quote pertains to a situation where some people were being chased by another group and were debating how much farther to go. One part thought they should keep going, while another part was in favor of resting. Long story short, they end up resting and the group chasing them catches up.

Speaking for myself, I can't say that I have ever really learned how to force myself. Being a rebellious sort who bristles at the first sign of authority, I have found myself in the situation where I need to be forced to do something but I am unwilling to accept such instruction.

College was a prime example of this: I needed to study, but there was this interesting movie or some people in the room next to mine were having this interesting discussion, etc.

There are some areas that I manage to find the willpower. Exercise and dieting are examples here. With these situations, I feel like it was that I outsmarted myself rather than showed some great reserve of willpower.

I'm also a big fan of the notion that things like this can be learned. Anyone have some examples from their own lives?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

BYBS: The System of Life

One of the things that fascinates me about life is that there are so many examples of species that work together.

For example, if you took the DNA from a termite and created a clone, you would end up with an animal that would starve to death.   Termites cannot digest wood without the help of some microorganisms.  Note the use of the plural.  The microorganisms themselves rely on other microorganisms in order to process the plant material.

The termite and the microorganisms depend on plants, or more specifically dead plants, in order to survive.  Once they have been digested, that material is fed back into the whole cycle.  Life is a system of organisms. Examining one in isolation does not tell the whole story.

Another aspect of life is that it is not static – there is no "balance" as such.  Species are in constant threat from other species such as predators, or other species competing for the same resources that they use.  Then there is the environment as a whole, which is in a constant state of flux. 

For example, it is believed that a key component of the human cell, called the mitochondrion started out considerably different then they are today.  The mitochondria seen in other organisms function in basically the same role, but in human cells it appears to be simpler and more focused on producing energy.  The containing cell, in turn, has taken over some of the tasks that the ancestral mitochondrion performed.

The water changes, but the river remains the same.