Saturday, January 27, 2007

"It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them."

- P. G. Wodehouse

Cryptaid (DOS)

"This program is designed to aid in the decoding of simple substitution aristocrat ciphers, i.e. each letter in the original message is replaced throughout by a unique cipher letter code, while punctuation and spaces are unchanged. Although this package is designed to help solve aristocrats, it can also be used to create them."

Other cryptanalysis software (probably better than the above):

Friday, January 26, 2007

Interview and debate with Dinesh D'Souza:
The Enemy At Home
Did the Cultural Left Cause 9/11?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Berkeley DB | Oracle Embedded Database

"Oracle Berkeley DB is a family of open source embeddable databases that allows developers to incorporate within their applications a fast, scalable, transactional database engine with industrial grade reliability and availability."

Islands in the War: Part 1 - by Richard Fernandez of the "Belmont Club" blog

"The long war between Manila and the Muslim Moros in the Philippines is fought in the shadows; a deadly mirror image of the terrorist wars in the Middle East. The difference is that the search for a solution has been going on for more than a hundred years."

New technique for easily identifying explosives in luggage

The new technique has advantages over traditional methods of detection: unlike x-rays that are currently used in airport security, it can distinguish between different types of white powder from flour and salt to drugs and explosives. It can also be used to detect landmines, an advance on the traditional method of using a metal detector which cannot distinguish between bits of metal in the ground and an actual mine.

The technique relies on nitrogen nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR) which detects atoms of nitrogen (an element found in many explosives, including TNT) in different positions in a molecule. For example an atom of nitrogen attached to a carbon atom will have a different resonance to one attached to an oxygen atom. Because the molecular structure of each explosive is different, the resonant frequency will be different.

Professor Itozaki continued: "We have successfully developed a machine that can pick up very low resonant frequencies by using a SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device). The SQUID operates at a temperature of 77 Kelvin (minus 196 degrees centigrade) which we achieve by using liquid nitrogen. This will not hinder the equipment from being used in places such as airports as liquid nitrogen is becoming much easier to deal with and is already routinely used in hospitals and laboratories."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Link count - a list of the domains of links added each day to Wikipedia, and who added them

Complete 911 Timeline - from 1977 to the present

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Undercover Mosque" Transcript

"A Dispatches investigation has uncovered a fundamentalist message, spreading from the Saudi Arabia religious establishment through mosques run by major UK organisations which claim to be dedicated to moderation and to dialogue with other faiths."


Romancing Araby - review of a book on the American war with the Barbary Pirates

"TO FACE the pirate threat of the mid-1780s, ambassador to France (and eventual president) Thomas Jefferson suggests constructing a formidable navy at the expense of $2 million, and establishing a NATO-like force of US and European ships to patrol the Mediterranean. European governments reject the mutual defense pact, however, and Congress balks at the cost of building a navy. It chooses instead to pay $70,000 to bribe the brigands of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco and Algiers.

Seizing on America's weakness, the pirates raise their demands for "tribute" to nearly $1 million. By the late 1790s, with the North African city-states first attacking American ships and then negotiating bribes (protection money, if you will), as much as 20 percent of America's annual revenues are being sent to the unscrupulous deys and pashas."

When the Warrior Returns - text of the original version of "Star-Spangled Banner", on the Barbary Wars

The stanza quoted in the article above:

In the conflict resistless, each toil they endured,
'Till their foes fled dismayed from the war's desolation:
And pale beamed the Crescent, its splendor obscured
By the light of the Star Spangled flag of our nation.
Where each radiant star gleamed a meteor of war,
And the turbaned heads bowed to its terrible glare,
Now, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

In China, Obedience Isn't a Virtue Anymore

"A growing number of bishops, priests, and faithful of the official Church are refusing to submit to the communist authorities. The pope and cardinal Zen are encouraging them: 'Enough with the compromises.' And a book breaks the silence on the Catholic martyrs during the Mao years."

How the left caused 9/11, by Dinesh D'Souza - An interview with the conservative polemicist, who accuses the cultural left of provoking al-Qaida's attack in his new book, "The Enemy at Home."

Letchik Leha Photography - photos taken by a pilot in flight (nice clouds, etc.)

More (the above can be found in the "nebo" category)

The Body Count

"It's the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and since the Left is so fond of body counts, try this one on for size: 46,000,000 per year

"That's the estimated number of abortions that occur each year around the world."


Mail editor slams 'Orwellian' BBC - Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has accused the BBC of "perverting political discourse".

Mr Dacre, who has been the editor of the Mail for 14 years, was delivering the annual Hugh Cudlipp lecture at the London College of Communication.

Mr Dacre suggested in Monday evening's speech Mr Cameron should not take the Mail's support for granted at the next election.

"The Mail's a Conservative paper. It would be very surprising if we didn't support the Conservatives.

"Whether the present Conservative party is Conservative I don't know. We shall see," said Mr Dacre.

He claimed Mr Cameron's decision to move the Conservative Party towards the centre ground of British politics had been influenced by the BBC's treatment of former Tory leaders.

"Today's Tories are obsessed by the BBC. They saw what its attack dogs did to Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard.

"Cameron's cuddly blend of eco-politics and work/life balance, his embrace of Polly Toynbee, a columnist who loathes everything Conservatism stands for, but is a totemic figure to the BBC, his sidelining of Thatcherism and his banishing of all talk of lower taxes, lower immigration and euroscepticism are all part of the Tories' blood sacrifice to the BBC god."

He also accused the BBC of stifling debate and being against the conservative values held by millions of Britons.

"The BBC, which glories in being open-minded is, in fact, a closed thought-system, operating a kind of Orwellian newspeak.

"This, I would argue, is perverting political discourse, and disenfranchising countless millions, who don't subscribe to the BBC's world view," said the Mail editor.

He said the BBC was part of a "subsidariat", which he defined as the parts of the media which could not survive in the open market place.

This was dominated by the BBC "behemoth," argued Mr Dacre, which was creating a "monoculture" and distorting Britain's media market place.

Monday, January 22, 2007

On a new book by Dinesh D'Souza:
Dinesh D'Souza - The Enemy at Home: Introduction

"In this book I make a claim that will seem startling at the outset. The cultural left in this country [...] is responsible for causing 9/11.


"The left is responsible for 9/11 in the following ways. First, the cultural left has fostered a decadent American culture that angers and repulses traditional societies, especially those in the Islamic world, that are being overwhelmed with this culture. In addition, the left is waging an aggressive global campaign to undermine the traditional patriarchal family and to promote secular values in non-Western cultures. This campaign has provoked a violent reaction from Muslims who believe that their most cherished beliefs and institutions are under assault. Further, the cultural left has routinely affirmed the most vicious prejudices about American foreign policy held by radical factions in the Muslim world, and then it has emboldened those factions to attack the United States with the firm conviction that "America deserves it" and that they can do so with relative impunity. Absent these conditions, Osama Bin Laden would never have contemplated the 9/11 attacks, nor would the United States today be the target of Islamic radicals throughout the world. Thus when leading figures on the left say, "We made them do this to us," in a sense they are correct. They are not correct that "America" is to blame. But their statement is true in that their actions and their America are responsible for fostering Islamic anti-Americanism in general and 9/11 in particular."

Interview on "The Enemy at Home"

Lopez: This weekend, a reviewer in the Washington Post summed up your new book as arguing "Falwell was onto something." Is that a fair nutshell assessment?

D'Souza: Falwell's point after 9/11 was that God was punishing America of its sins. My point is entirely secular: Why did the guys who did it, do it? Surely five years after 9/11, it's reasonable to ask this question. And both the Right and the Left have been operating under illusions. The radical Muslims are against modernity and science and democracy. The radical Muslims are upset because of colonialism and the Crusades. It's all nonsense. That's not what the leading thinkers of radical Islam say. And Bin Laden's own views are quite different. In his Letter to America, issued shortly after 9/11, he said that America is the fount of global atheism and it is imposing its morally depraved values on the world. So Muslims must rise up in defensive jihad against America because their religion and their values are under attack. This aspect of Bin Laden's critique has been totally ignored, and it's one that resonates with a lot of traditional Muslims and traditional people around the world. A second point is that unlike Falwell I don't think "America" is to blame. Muslims in Indonesia and Egypt and Pakistan don't see "America," they see the face of American popular culture that is projected by our television and movies and music. They see the dimension of America that in their view corrupts the innocence of children, and undermines the family, and promotes homosexuality as a normal way of life. In fact, this is the America of the cultural Left. What the Left considers "liberating," much of the world considers a scandalous assault on modesty and decency.

POV-Ray: Newsgroups: povray.general: Lightsys IV question - on the correct size for an area light to simulate the sun's physical size

"I have always found 10% of the distance to be about right."

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Painter's Keys Art Directory - links to artists' websites, including thumbnails of their work

Category:Programming Tasks - Rosetta Code - a wiki containing computer code in various languages for performing a variety of tasks

On going to Mecca undercover in the 19th century:
Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah by Sir Richard Francis Burton