11 Sep 2001 ksandstr   » (Journeyer)

Somebody set up U.S. the bomb

So. Last I heard, the bodycount is up to about 10k dead (estimated and rising). In a city of seven million, I'm not worried for my half-sister's daughter who happens to be in NYC at this very moment (she also phoned her mother some time ago, so we know she's alive though stuck on manhattan for the time being...).

Let's instead take a look at what has happened: A major landmark (of U.S. economic might, among other things) was destroyed by what is arguably but a display of power. The party responsible probably wants to show the world that the U.S. is not as invulnerable as they may appear. After all, the terrorists probably could have used a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon in the attack if they'd wanted bad enough (or had been fucking crazy enough) -- from what I've heard, there are more than 100 warheads unaccounted for in Russia so at least some of them may be in the hands of the so-called "rogue states". The same must hold for at least some of the biological and chemical weapons developed in Russia during the cold war.

All in all, what happened today was far from the worst case. I'm just hoping that dubya and his perceived military might have noticed this as well. From what I can tell (from the media), that isn't going to happen -- it'd be "admitting defeat to the terrorists", "putting our collective hands up", "letting foreign nationals dictate U.S. policy" or some equivalent nationalist rhetoric.

What surprises me though, among other things, that the attack came relatively early -- I'd have estimated that certain parties in the middle east and around there would not have done this sort of thing for at least a couple of years more.

(personally, I'm waiting for the death threats to roll in after this diary entry is posted. to reduce the count, I've [wisely?] not titled this with the old <nelson>Ha ha!</nelson> "almost smells like schadenfreude" joke.)

Hacking

Browsed through the PVM manual and rewrote my small experimental still image vector quantization encoder so that it'll quantize input vectors against a codebook in parallel. It seems to scale pretty well, at least for the asymmetric 5-processor setup I have here (two of which share a bus). The master architecture doesn't keep all the CPUs occupied 100% of the time (minus communication overhead) though -- I'm a bit uncertain whether fixing this is something worth pouring time into as the under-utilization only happens between quantization iterations.

Update: fixed the "terrorists win!" link.

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