Daily Archives: January 7, 2012

In Utah, you can carry a concealed weapon on campus

And apparently that’s the only state where you can do that.

So, what’s the score card:

Number of times a mass killer started shooting people on campus but a student, staff member, or faculty member pulled out a gun and ended it right there: 0
Number of times a student was walking along on campus with a legal weapon concealed, that happened to be loaded and with no safety, and the gun went off and he ended up shooting himself in the leg: 1

We are not impressed.

Source.

Spider Silk on the Radio, Sunday Night

Skeptically Speaking # 146

This week, we’re looking at some of nature’s most accomplished materials scientists, and the amazing substance they produce. We’re joined by Leslie Brunetta, co-author of Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating. We’ll discuss the form, function and uses of the sticky wonder material, and the ways that its study can help us understand evolution. And on the podcast, science writer Ed Yong tells us about silkworms with spider genes and the hybrid silk they spin.

We record live with Leslie Brunetta on Sunday, January 8 at 6 pm MT. The podcast will be available to download at 9 pm MT on Friday, DATE.

Click Here for Details

Software Needs and Nerds

I have two items for you. First, I’d like you to inspect this brilliant computer game and come up with a bash equivilant (or something that will run from the Linux Command Line). The current version of the program is 32 megabytes of some kind of DOS based source code. I’m sure we can do this in perl or awk as a couple of one liners kobbed together.

Second assignment. This could get you the prize in the now-getting-stale Land of Lisp Book Giveaway. Here’s what I want. I keep snippets of code and stuff in text files. For instance, I have a standardized org-mode header that sets a lot of common options I like fr making html files (I use it for these to process Ana’s Feed) and another for pdf files. Here’s what I want, and there is more than one way to do it:

I need a utility that quickly and easily with no fuss and no muss sucks the contents (text) out of a text file (well, a copy of it) and puts it on my clipboard. I might like this to be the X clipboard so I can use it anywhere, but I’d be happy with it going onto the kill ring. But, it has to be something implemented from a gnome interface, or nautilus. For instance, as a nautilus macro that calls some code that affects the currently running instance of emacs, so I can find the file with the snippet in nautilus, right click on it and chose “suck the text out” and then, magically, the text is now on my clipboard.

Thank you very much.

Guitar Hero, Real Guitar and Linux Mix!

There is a new kind of guitar. It is the electronic version of a guitar in the same way that a MIDI keyboard is an electronic version of a piano. And, it runs on Linux and is OpenSource!

The Misa Kitara consists of three main components: a full fretboard, a multi-touch screen and an onboard polyphonic synthesizer with sounds and effects.

The kitara’s neck has 24 frets, but instead of strings each fret contains buttons.

You play notes by touching on the screen. The position and movement of your touch determine how the sound is generated and processed.

You can assign one sound to all six strings, or assign different sounds to different strings. The kitara can control compatible MIDI devices too. Everything is configurable. It runs Linux and is open source.

Get yours here!

Huxley already has his:

Hat Tip: Joe

Report Suspicious Behavior

A black four door older model caddy in need of some body work and a new muffler turned into our street. The car drove quickly but furtively, the driver seeming to not quite know where she wanted to go, to the end of the faux cul-du-sac off of which each development’s street radiated. A sharp left turn brought the vehicle next to a large storm sewer inlet, and out of the car flew a suspicious black thing with wires. The car roared off, too quickly to get the plate but not too quickly to be able to describe it and its occupants.

An electronic, repetitive, alarm-like noise emanated from the sewer, presumably from the object left behind.

A phone call is made.

“911, state your emergency” Continue reading Report Suspicious Behavior

Police response time, gun control, and the end of civilization

It’s a meme* Since the police will not arrive at your home to protect you from intruders, you must arm yourself with guns. Efforts by commie libruls to restrict gun ownership are tantamount to going from farm to farm and shooting all the babies in the head because gun control takes away the ability of hard working farm families to protect themselves from daily threats of armed intruders, who have probably gone out to the country side from their rat infested urban lairs to prey on the innocent. Central to this meme is the idea that the police a) won’t arrive at your home for a very long time after you’ve called them and b) the police are not even required to go to your home if you call them. (I’ll deal with the first, but not second of these here.) The outcome of the ‘logic’ that uses this meme is that we must heavily arm ourselves pretty much no matter where we live. The meme is fed by occasional reports of very long response times by police, such as this one recently discussed here. Continue reading Police response time, gun control, and the end of civilization

study links climate to severe habitat loss

In a world first, University of Queensland and CSIRO scientists have measured the relationship between current climate, climate change and habitat loss on plants and animals on a global scale.

Their results, published recently in Global Change Biology indicate that areas with high temperatures and where average rainfall has decreased over time increase the chance of a species being negatively affected by habitat loss and fragmentation.

“Human population growth has caused significant habitat degradation across the globe, typically in support of agriculture and urban development,” lead researcher Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle said.

“This alone has negatively impacted many species, but combined with rises in temperature and reduced rainfall as a result of a changing climate, there could be catastrophic results for some populations. Serious declines are already a reality for many species.”

I’ve not yet read the study, but I thought you’d like to see the Press Release.

Spider Silk with Leslie Brunetta

Skeptically Speaking # 146

This week, we’re looking at some of nature’s most accomplished materials scientists, and the amazing substance they produce. We’re joined by Leslie Brunetta, co-author of Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating. We’ll discuss the form, function and uses of the sticky wonder material, and the ways that its study can help us understand evolution. And on the podcast, science writer Ed Yong tells us about silkworms with spider genes and the hybrid silk they spin.

We record live with Leslie Brunetta on Sunday, January 8 at 6 pm MT. The podcast will be available to download at 9 pm MT on Friday, DATE.

Click Here for Details

Atheist Talk: Deconstructing Mormonism

“Deconstructing Mormonism” Thomas Riskas on Atheists Talk #149, Sunday, January 8th, 2012 — Minnesota Atheist Talk Radio

If you think you’ve learned all you need to know about Mormonism from South Park episodes and the broadway musical, Book of Mormon, you must join us this Sunday! Atheists Talk will be interviewing author, lecturer, and secular humanist, Thomas Riskas about his book Deconstructing Mormonism: An Analysis and Assessment of the Mormon Faith, which is introduced in the forward by philosopher and professor Kai Nelson.

Thomas Riskas converted to Mormonism as a young man and spent 20 years in the Church. He rose up through the ranks of leadership, acting an Elder, Seventy and High Priest. He was a missionary, a mission leader and mission president for seven years. He had a family and raised his children in the Church. Years later he came to believe that the claims made by Mormonism – and by all religions with similar belief systems – are not only untrue, but an empty nonreality. In Deconstructing Mormonism, Mr. Riskas examines in detail the Mormon concepts of God, the “Plan of Salvation”, and faith in God and Christ, and then breaks down these ideas by illuminating the contradictions in Mormon faith and examining the psychosocial effects of the faith on its believers.

Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists.Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show.

Click Here for More Details