I've had a new insight about atmospheric carbon dioxide. It's not something you'll see published elsewhere, because it's nuanced, and public discussions of global warming don't tolerate nuance. Anyway: the great weakness in atmospheric simulations is that they have no way at all to model cloud cover. Nobody knows what the effect of anything will be on cloud cover, despite that cloud cover affects absolutely everything climatic. (Some people have pretty good evidence that cloud cover is affected by solar activity and even by cosmic ray flux.) This means that even the very best models can't really tell us anything about the climatic effects of CO2 under conditions where cloud cover is changing, despite that a different climate will certainly have different cloud cover.
Why, then, should we worry about CO2? First, it clearly has been a primary influence on runaway global warming so far, and that ought to be enough to freak out anybody. (Cloud cover shows no sign of jumping up to save us yet!) But even if cloud cover were to jump and save us (and, who knows, plunge us into an ice age?), CO2 is certainly a direct cause of coral bleaching (via dissolution in the ocean, forming carbonic acid) and the crash of reef ecologies, the basis of the ocean ecosystem. We take millions of tons of food from the ocean ecosystem every year. Any sane person should find that enough reason, alone, to move heaven and earth to cut CO2 releases. Uncertainty over the effect of CO2 on the climate only redoubles the urgency.
I'm just back from the C++ Standard meeting in Toronto. For the next ISO C++ standard, the Standard Library will have regular expressions, threads, and sockets, and the language will have lambda (i.e. code in brackets passed as an argument) and auto variables (i.e. the variable or argument declaration takes its type from the value used to initialize it). Equally interesting, but mainly to library authors, is concepts, which allows writing (even more!) powerful libraries that give actually-readable error messages at compile time if you misuse them. I say "even more" because with concepts the library can compile to different code if it's passed (e.g.) a literal string than if passed a pointer. The combination of regular expressions, lambda, and concepts means we can write yacc as a C++ library, and offer both better error messages and faster parsing than yacc can.
I'll be in Toronto (actually Markham) next week. Anybody who wants to visit, come to the ISO C++ Standard meeting. Or write to me.
Got, ostensibly for my wife, a Sandisk Sansa e250 2GB music player (not e250R, not c250!). Actually, I got a Creative Zen V Plus first, for US$40 less, but couldn't mount it, and libmtp couldn't see it, so took it back. I promptly installed Rockbox. It was distinctly ugly with the default theme, but given a third-party theme (e.g. "Sansa e200" from rockbox-theme.org), it's wonderful.
The great surprise was the completely programmable equalizer: I can tune it to match exactly the response of my ears, which suffer a sharp dropout around 3.9KHz. The only real problem happened when I turned on "clear backdrop", just to see what it was, and now can't read the menus to turn it off. I will probably need to hand-edit the config file. Also, the Doom plugin fails on startup. I wonder why there's no Tetris plug-in... One of the nice things about Sandisk players is the microSD slot allowing memory expansion; Rockbox supports that now. [Update: copied the "backdrop" line from the theme file to the config file, and all is OK now.][Update 2: thanks to sneakums: tetris is "rockblox" and Doom needs WAD files. BTW, that 3.9KHz dropout is called "4K dip" by pros. Rockbox needs a hearing test plugin.]
I spent too much time trying to configure X (via /etc/X11/xorg.conf) to look good on a Samsung SyncMaster 225BW 22-inch 1680x1050 LCD monitor connected via an analog VGA cable. In short: that monitor sucks. It had an HDMI cable, too, but I didn't try it. Somebody else plugged one into an iMac via the HDMI cable, and it looked a little less bad. My old ViewSonic VX2025wm is a bit smaller, but I appreciate it a lot more now.
Built linux-188.8.131.52, patched with Suspend2 and the current bcm43xx wireless driver, for my Dell D620 laptop. Suspend sometimes hangs when "trying to free 24M", unnecessarily.
Today a rare moment passed: 07-06-05 04:03:02.01. I slept right through it.
Sunday was more significant: my son rode a bicycle by himself, without training wheels, for the first time. He said "I feel the most big-boyest feel ever." My daughter insisted on having hers removed, and is well on her way. Now I do too.
I have finally obtained an ultrasonic humidifier to go with my air ionizer (buying retail would have been cheating) and am ready to proceed with ionized-cloud plasma simulation experiments.
redi: It's never too late to revive a meme. When the sun has gone cold and all the earth is but dust, memes will lie quietly awaiting re-animation in the plasmonic brains of our far-distant successors.
The movie "Hot Fuzz" turned out to be better, in every way, than "Shaun of the Dead", despite reviews asserting otherwise.
Finally switched from Galeon to Epiphany+extensions. (Without the extensions it would be intolerable.) Final thanks to the Galeon guys for your hard work, and thanks to the Epiphany folks for making yours faster. Now all Epiphany needs to be fully usable are a "clone tab" command, and NoScript. (But JS seems several times faster, so maybe NoScript is not so necessary, except in principle.)
Took my daughter camping for the first time, at Point Reyes. Was too cold for her. Spotted a bobcat, though.
In Vegas for the first time ever, for four days. Four days is four days too long. Never been anyplace so dull. Didn't even drop a quarter, but a colleague dropped $1500. Figured it out, though: the entire city is an enormous mini-mall.
Got the DVD of "Star Wreck: Imperial Edition", with completely re-rendered spaceship scenes. Looking forward to "Iron Sky", hopefully well before 2013. Supersonic Aluminum Nazi Hell Creatures from the Dark Side of the Moon, anyone?
Can't somebody please print bumper stickers that say "See Dick Fry"?
cinamod: There's no software solution to a worn-out battery. However, if you decide to buy something new, the Nexblack takes ordinary AA rechargeables, and a CF card, and plays Oggs. No Rockbox for it, though.
mjg59: your diary posting deserves to be an article. It's not too late to do that. Anyway, thank you; it was enlightening.
Contratulations to the Monotone folks on release 0.35. Onward and upward! Thanks to Matthew Gregan for improvements to socketpair, and for making it into a contribution to Monotone. Now I know two MJGs who amaze me. I wonder who the other 57 are.
New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.
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