Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Wed Feb 18 09:12:35 2004

Whenever I forget to put on gloves before biking to work in the morning, I get a sensation in my thumbs that's a lot like a headache.. The thumbache goes away not long after I get my hands warmed up. I wonder, if the causes of headaches, were they so easily removed, when so removed would cause the headache to similarly evaporate, or would, even when gone, its echoes continue to ripple in the psychosomatic pond.. From what little I remember on the topic, and I might be completely misremembering, headaches can be caused by impurities in the blood managing to pass the blood-brain barrier, or other chemical imbalances tilting the normal mix of things in the blood out of whack. Of course, with such chemistry, without injections it'd be difficult to change the mix to within tolerances/wipe out impurities very quickly.. At least, with present technology. It may be that eventually we'll be able to insert an artificial gland into the body, with mixes of medicines and blood additives, and control it with small sensors distributed throughout the body. Perhaps nanomachines would be mixed in too.

So, there's two days left until the scheduled elections in Iran, and the Guardian Council (the instrument of government responsible for maintaining Theocratic values) hasn't backed down in the disqualification of the majority of the reformist candicates for offices. Apparently, a major sticking point between the reformists (who are not all of one party, BTW) is that several of them disagree with a particular position -- that the Ayatollah (religious leader) is the chosen representative of Allah. There are two aspects to this, firstly that those who disagree want the ability to criticize the Ayatollah, and secondly, the philosophical disagreement. Two days... A pretty severe clash between the President of Iran and the Ayatollah... probably more severe than has ever happened in the United States. Ali Abtahi, one of the vice presidents of Iran, as usual has some interesting commentary on the state of things over there. Thinking about the governmental structure of Iran, at least from what I can tell from the sources I have, it makes me wonder exactly what makes a government a Theocracy. Specifically, what constructs, statements, and people need be present for something to well fit the label.. Does Iran, with its 'second president' and Guardian Council have a structure that could be generally adapted for governments that wish to have an additional commitment, beyond representing the will of the people, to a philosophy? Does the present crisis really step far beyond the bounds of the clashes that happen in western liberal democratic republics? Western Democratic Republics don't represent the will of the people directly either, but areas in which they diverge are usually not so easily put in the spotlight.

Oh, not like it couldn't've been predicted, but Iraq's governing council is instituting Shar'ia, and while the current American administrator is aiming to block the moves, he won't be around forever. Of course, BushJr's ideas of a westernized, liberal Iraq, acting as a 'light to the region', is a bloody stupid pipe dream, and while Saddam certainly wasn't a liberal, western leader, the results of democracy will end up screwing a lot of people when Islamic law ends up shoving women back into veils and homes. All this is not a surprise -- it's been plainly visible that BushJr didn't have the faintest clue what the hell he was doing invading Iraq.. No weapons (not that that would've been a good reason to invade anyhow), no Al Quaeda links (not that that was anything more than a pretense), and not even a good result (as religion enslaves the people more firmly than Saddam did). Of course, the Kurds didn't get squat either.

This figure is pretty shocking. About 1 in 20 catholic priests.. It's a pretty firm warning to those who seek purity from isolation.

Recently, I've been shaping data in all sorts of fun ways. I learned to copy DVDs so I can bring them with me without dragging the media around (same way I make oggs out of all my CDs, and the CD/cases become just something for others to see on rare occasion I have guests in my place, something to talk about). I actually learned to do this for the sake of someone else, who asked.. Surprisingly, I've had the software to do this on my computer for ages, I just never was sufficiently inquisitive about the contents of some RPMs I installed that I thought would just include tools to play media. I've also, on other notes, been playing with tools to chop irritating headers out of songs.. I had a live performance of the Monkees where they stuck their theme song (nonlive) as an intro to the live song I wanted. About 30 seconds with mpg123, using the -k (to find and give a frame offset into the mp3) and -w switches (to convert to WAV, later to be encoded to OGG), and I'll never need to hear that intro again. It's a wonderful world we live in nowadays. Movies and music, books and papers, endless paper and pen, all compressed onto a single device, the laptop. The desktop? That's so yesterday's news, man.

Wandering through strange, mismanaged countries.. looking for the few things I need..

At work, I've spent the last few days moving our website from Apache1.x/Tomcat4.1/mod_jk to Apache2.x/Tomcat4.1/mod_jk2 .. Everything was easy apart from the last part. I initially was unaware of JkUriSet, and so was specifying each path and filetype in workers2.conf instead of having a nice single Location directive. It turned out that the new way is actually cleaner and easier to maintain than all the old JkMount directives I had to give under mod_jk 1. Also, I've been using the java/tomcat packages from JPackage.org .. it's a pretty decent way to get Java stuff. However, it's important to read the instructions -- some of their RPMs are pretty strange (incomplete-source-rpms, for licensing reasons).

Here's a neat science tidbit.