Daily Archives: March 7, 2008

One form of Linux beats another form of Linux

From Slashdot:

“After major improvements in SMP support in FreeBSD 7.0, benchmarks show it performing 15% better than the latest Linux kernels (PDF, see slides 17 to 19) on 8 CPUs under PostgreSQL and MySQL. While a couple of benchmarks are not conclusive evidence, it can be assumed that FreeBSD will once again be a serious performance contender. Some posters on LWN have noted that the level of Linux performance could be related to the Completely Fair Scheduler, which was merged into the 2.6.23 Linux kernel.”

Schools should put faith in science

Scott Rowed published an Op Ed piece in the Calgary Herald last October that has just come to my attention. It is about evolution in schools in Canada, and provides an interesting perspective.

Should we reward them with taxpayers’ money to pass on these wonderful insights to the next generation? Should our future leaders learn to smother their critical thinking and make decisions based on faith rather than evidence and reason? From Canada, we don’t have to look too far south to see how tragic these faith-based decisions can be.

Read the whole thing here. Scott has another Op Ed piece coming out shortly. I’ll pass on that link when I get it.

Life Science Teachers….

…. Have you ever had this happen: You are minding your own business, teaching your life science course, it’s early in the term. A student, on the way out after class (never at the beginning of class, rarely during class) mentions something about “carbon dating.” This usually happens around the time of year you are doing an overview of the main points of the course, but before you’ve gotten to the “evolution module” (more on the “evolution module” another time … or come to the Bell on Friday to hear me rant about that in person).

Jeanne d’Arc was a very influential 10th grader. I understand she gave her Life Science teachers a very hard time. This is the only contemporary depiction of Joan of Arc. Some say the banner reads “IHS” but I’m pretty sure it says “AIG.”

The student is talking about C14 dating and how it “has problems.” But you are a life science teacher and can’t think of a single point in your class that you really touch on C14. Dating in the evolution section does not involve C14. This is for later time periods, more in the area of archaeology, and you know nothing about it. So you brush off the question but are left with an uneasy feeling.

Continue reading Life Science Teachers….

Rambling Geek Rants on IE 8

Internet Explorer 8 passes the Acid2 test. Huzzah!But waitaminnit… What’s this stuff about forward compatibility by adding some new X-UA-Compatible header to my pages or my server? Am I reading this right? Are you telling me that in order for IE8 to use its fully compliant rendering, we have to add something new to our pages? And that if we don’t, it will fall back to rendering pages just like IE7? Is that what this means?That’s just dumb.[source]

Hat Tip TUIB Guy

Some Military Leaders are asking you to NOT vote for McCain

… Because they are concerned about that “who’s going to answer the phone at 3:00 AM” thing.

while the consensus is that the 3 a.m. ad helped Clinton, it has also drawn criticism as a tactic that ultimately benefits John McCain, particularly if he is to face Obama in the general election. In essence, Clinton has now turned the debate about commander-in-chief readiness into a contest of résumés. And the conventional wisdom is that John McCain — ex-fighter pilot, former POW and war hero — wins.But that’s not necessarily the case, say senior military officials and political analysts. In interviews with Salon this week, several experienced military officers said McCain draws mixed reviews among military leaders, and they expressed serious doubts about whether McCain has the right temperament to be the next president and commander in chief. Some expressed more confidence in Obama, citing his temperament as an asset.It is not difficult in Washington to find high-level military officials who have had close encounters with John McCain’s temper, and who find it worrisome. Politicians sometimes scream for effect, but the concern is that McCain has, at times, come across as out of control. It is difficult to find current or former officers willing to describe those encounters in detail on the record. That’s because, by and large, those officers admire McCain. But that doesn’t mean they want his finger on the proverbial button, and they are supporting Clinton or Obama instead.

There’s a lot more in this piece at salon. Here.

Nature News

Groups seek more room for bison to roam from PhysOrg.com
Give bison running room in a cattle-free zone in Montana outside Yellowstone National Park, wildlife advocates and homeowners said.[]

Loggers Invaded Butterfly Haven, Photos Show

Illegal loggers have chopped their way deep into unique forest reserves in a mountain range in central Mexico where millions of monarch butterflies from eastern North America roost for the winter, according to researchers who posted satellite photographs of the area on a NASA Web site Wednesday evening.

Covered in the New York Times.

Expanding deserts

Scientists have long projected that areas north and south of the tropics will grow drier in a warming world — from the Middle East through the European Riviera to the American Southwest, from sub-Saharan Africa to parts of Australia.These regions are too far from the equator to benefit from the moist columns of heated air that result in steamy afternoon downpours. And the additional precipitation foreseen as more water evaporates from the seas is mostly expected to fall at higher latitudes. Essentially, a lot of climate scientists say, these regions may start to feel more like deserts under the influence of global warming.Now scientists have measured a rapid recent expansion of desert-like barrenness in the subtropical oceans — in places where surface waters have also been steadily warming. There could be a link to human-driven climate change, but it’s too soon to tell, the scientists said.

Nice piece in the New York Times