Archive for December, 2004

Maimonides and the Calendar

Monday, December 20th, 2004

For the 800th anniversary of Maimonides’ death, JNUL has made a collection of manuscripts available on-line.

Today is the 800th anniversary, in the sense that it has been precisely 800 solar years since the sad event, which occurred on December 13, 1204. You may object that today is in fact the 20th, and you’d be right. But when looking at a date from before 1582, one must always consider the possibility that it is a Julian date and not a Gregorian one. The Julian calendar had drifted 7 days by 1204; I’ve corrected for the drift.

How did I know the date was Julian? I checked it against the Hebrew date of his death, 20 Tevet 4965. You can do the same thing at this handy calendar site. This year the 20th of Tevet will fall on January 1st.


Cheesy Lady

Sunday, December 19th, 2004

I just watched “Birthright,” the Season 7 Stargate/Xena crossover episode. I didn’t recognize Jolene Blaylock as a blonde, until she opened her mouth and I started getting splinters. (Ba-dum!)

But seriously, the best thing about the episode was the cheese. I love it when the faux-Elizabethan Jaffa-speak comes out, and having the women dressed like refugees from the Thunderdome was a nice cheesy touch. The conflict over harvesting your fellow Jaffa for parts was interesting, too; the Amazon babes seemed more in Jaffa character about that than Teal’c and Drey’auc.


Saturday, December 18th, 2004

It’s a shame it’s so hard to find Firefox extensions, even when you know they exist. ColorZilla is very cool, but it took me forever to hunt it down at home after installing it at work.

Cygwin and Emacs

Friday, December 17th, 2004

Warning: Geeking ahead!

So I’ve been trying to reproduce a real operating system on Windows. The very first thing I did, of course, was install Emacs. Today I noticed that Emacs wasn’t finding RCS (my favorite version control system) even though I have Cygwin installed. I found the answer in noniq’s .emacs file:


The Horror!

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

As hinted in previous entries, I have a new job. This will mean more True Tales of the T and also assorted Windows at Work horror stories. Now you, too, can experience the clashing blue/green infamy of Windows XP from the relative safety of your RSS reader or friends list.

Today’s horror story is brought to you live by the OS. When I was AFK, innocently assembling my lunch, Windows decided to update itself (fine so far) and also reboot itself (not so good). I had all sorts of programs and Firefox tabs open at the time. Fortunately I got back to my desk while it was still counting down and stopped it. It tried again just a few minutes later. Next time I’m going to let it and see whether it really dumps all my stuff and reboots. More to follow…

Web Futures

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

Jerie said I couldn’t do a 4-word blog entry, so instead I bring you Web Design in 2005. Brown is the new black, and the worn look may be hanging on just a little longer—perhaps until it’s tattered or shredded.

Rat Brain Flies Jet

Tuesday, December 14th, 2004

This one is from a neural network grown in a petri dish learned to fly a jet simulator. I don’t think it can land, though, so we’ll have human pilots for a few more years yet.


Monday, December 13th, 2004

The 2004 Geminid Meteor Shower peaks today. Look south toward Gemini either before dawn Monday or around midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning.

Flash in the Pod

Sunday, December 12th, 2004

iPod accessory of the day: the iPod shirt

Despite John Gruber’s attempts to squelch flash-based iPod rumors (Flash Gordon, Dec. 2), mock-ups abound. The Cult of Mac has posted pictures of both a round yo-yo iPod and a credit-card sized iPod. John Gruber dismisses the yo-yo as well as yet another design, the screenless milano cookie.

Anthony Flew Gets Religion

Saturday, December 11th, 2004

You probably need to be a philosophy geek to fully appreciate this one, but renowned British philosopher Anthony Flew has gone from atheist to Deist in the space of a year. His theism will be immortalized in a new edition of God and Philosophy.

The journal Philosophia Christi has an interview with Flew available on-line and also as a PDF. Flew’s reason for his change of heart is science’s alleged difficulty in explaining “the origin of life and the complexity of nature.”

Once again, I’ve posted an extended dance version of this entry to GNXP.