The 2005 Darwin Awards

OK… so maybe this doesn’t fall under “computer”… it does fall under “curmudgeon!” I have long called humans by the pronunciation used by the Ferengi on Star Trek, “hoo-mons.” These are cases of some “hoo-mons” that are muddying the gene pool! Here are the 2005 “Darwin Awards”:

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a holdup in Long Beach…California…would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder….He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again… This time it worked.

And now…the honorable mentions…

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat slicer…He submitted a claim to his insurance company…The company…suspecting negligence…sent out one of its investigators to have a look for himself…He tried the machine and lost a finger…The chef’s claim was approved…

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his Vehicle to find a woman had taken the space…Understandably…he shot her…

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar…a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped…Not wanting to admit his incompetence…the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride…He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital…telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies…The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days…

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train…When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit…

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K…put a $20 bill on the counter…and asked for change…When the clerk opened the cash drawer…the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register…which the clerk gave him…The man grabbed the cash and fled leaving the $20 bill on the counter…The total amount of cash he got from the robbery…$15…

7. An Arkansas man wanted some beer…So he decided to throw a cinderblock through a liquor store window…grab some booze…and run…Lifting the cinder block over his head he heaverd it at the window…Unfortunately…the window was made of Plexiglas…and the cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head…knocking him unconscious…The whole event was caught on videotape…

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store…a man grabbed her purse and ran…The clerk called 911…and the woman was able to give police a detailed description of the purse snatcher…Within minutes…the cops nabbed the suspect…put him in the patrol car and drove back to the store…The suspect was told to stand there for a positive ID…to which he replied…”Yes…officer…that’s her…That’s the lady I stole the purse from”…

9. The Ann Arbor News reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti…Michigan…at 5am…flashed a gun…and demanded cash…The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order…The man ordered onion rings…The clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast…Frustrated…the would-be robber walked away…

10. A man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street…Police arrived on the scene to find a very sick man curled up on the ground…throwing up…Police say the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline but put his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake…The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges…saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had…

iPodder, the new release is out!

iPodder, the cross-platform podcast receiver.

iPodder 2.1 is out! I am REALLY enjoying the podcast world! It is great to be able to program your own “radio” experience, by listening to things that you are really interested in. I like to listen while I am doing other things and “multi-task”, plus I find that it keeps me informed on happenings in the “techworld”. To check out great podcast possibilities from the “techworld” by checking out this link:

TechPodcasts

Geek Software of the Week: ServerWatcher

ServerWatcher

ServerWatcher is a Java application that allows you to monitor your web site (or any web site) and be notified if the site is not accessible. It is great if you have a site that absolutely MUST be up at all times and you MUST know if it is down. You can set it to send you email (or AIM or Yahoo! Messenger) if it goes down. The nice thing is it is totally free. Simply download it, unzip it into a directory, and run the .jar file. (Obviously, you must have Sun Java installed on your system. Free and Open Source! Enjoy!

REALbasic 2005 for Linux

REALbasic 2005 (Now called XoJo)

REALbasic says:

“REALbasic 2005 for Linux provides a solution to two issues in the Linux market,” stated Geoff Perlman, president and CEO of REAL Software. “First is the lack of a good Visual Basic-like development environment and the second is the lack of desktop software for Linux. We believe Linux users can benefit from using REALbasic’s powerful, visual development capabilities.”

You can get the Public Beta to try it. Interesting. So if you are an ol’ time BASIC guy (shamefaced… like me.) Then, you, too, can hack out some code on Linux. Sounds like fun!

UPDATE: They have changed their name to XoJo.

Former Linux Architect Moves to Microsoft

This article:
Former Linux Architect Moves to Microsoft
gives me pause! The “main man” at Gentoo Linux, selling out to the “Evil Empire?!?!” What is the world coming to? Also, you have to believe that they are trying to learn what they can about “the other side” in order to take them out! I don’t like it. But then, they didn’t ask me.

I do believe, however, that it means that M$ is taking Open Source as a serious treat. It’s funny that mega-monopoly M$’s biggest competitor is Open Source!

Fedora Core 4 is Out!

Red Hat has announced that Fedora Core 4 is out and on the mirrors. At the same time, CentOS 4.1 has been spotted on some mirrors as well. While I like Fedora… I really, REALLY like CentOS! I mainly work with web servers, and since I am “server oriented,� I just prefer the less than cutting edge distro for stability. So, on my servers I will stick with CentOS. As far as Linux desktops… I like Linspire. Yeah, I know, it isn’t “truly free,� but it is cool. If you want a free, and similar-to-Linspire desktop, then go with free Debian Linux. It isn’t as easy to install as Linspire… in fact, NOTHING is easier to install as Linspire… but you can set it up… and once up, the “apt get� update utility allows you to keep it current. In fact, Linspire’s “CNR� client/server update and software installation tool is built right on top of “apt get.� So, go forth and play!

L-Glutamine: The Craving Fighter!

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is quite prevalent in the body naturally. Sir Hans Krebs, a pioneer in glutamine research, stated once that “most amino acids have multiple functions, but glutamine appears to be the most versatile.” Let’s look at what L-Glutamine is, and what it does with regard to the body.

“L-Glutamine is an amino acid, and amino acids are small molecules used by the human body to construct proteins. L-Glutamine is part of many of the proteins our bodies produce, including proteins in muscles, immune cells and the protective lining of the intestines.

Under normal circumstances, the body is capable of manufacturing all the L-Glutamine it needs to create these proteins. When the body is under stress from illness or even vigorous exercise, muscle tissue releases L-Glutamine to meet immediate demands in other parts of the body.

Some nutritionists believe that the body’s demand for glutamine may exceed its ability to produce it when the body is under stress for a long period of time, as in HIV infection. One study presented at the 1989 world AIDS conference suggested that the glutamine levels in people with AIDS are 30 per cent lower than they are in both HIV-negative people and those who are newly infected.”1

Under these circumstances (stress or exercise,) supplementing L-Glutamine would therefore be recommended. Stress can also come in many forms. In one of my natural health classes, my instructor, Dr. Dennis Frerking said, “There are three forms of stress: structural, emotional or spiritual.” Any of these types of stress can deplete the body’s nutrients and lead to disease (dis – ease,) that is, a lack of “ease” in the body. That can be one definition of disease. And, in fact, many recent studies indicate the importance of stress with relation to disease. Supplementing L-Glutamine can benefit immune response.

“Glutamine is an important component of many of the proteins in human white cells. Ensuring the body has adequate levels of glutamine at its disposal may also help it to maintain its levels of immune cells. One small study of patients who had undergone bone marrow transplants and were being fed intravenously showed higher levels of CD4+ and CD8+ cells during recovery in those given glutamine. Several studies have shown that people recovering from serious illnesses and operations have fewer infections when they’re given supplements of glutamine. It is not clear what sort of effect glutamine would have on the immune system of an HIV-positive person.”2

This is not to suggest that L-Glutamine is a “cure” for HIV infection. Simply that L-Glutamine helps support the immune system. Therefore, it is beneficial in maintaining good health.

One of the main reasons to consider L-Glutamine supplementation, however, is “closer to the heart” of those on diets! That is, it’s ability to relieve symptoms of craving. L-Glutamine appears to act on the brain directly to naturally suppress and relieve cravings.

“Glutamic acid, with the help of vitamin B6 and manganese, is also a precursor of gaba (gamma-aminobutyric acid), an important neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Glutamic acid helps transport potassium into the spinal fluid and is itself an excitatory neurotransmitter. (gaba, however, is inhibitory.) Glutamic acid thus has been used in the treatment of fatigue, parkinsonism, schizophrenia, mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, and alcoholism. Supplemented as L-Glutamine, it penetrates the blood-brain barrier and can be used as a brain fuel. Research has shown that L-Glutamine, in a dose of 500 mg. four times daily, decreases the craving for alcohol. This amino acid is now commonly used in alcoholism clinics. L-Glutamine also seems to reduce the craving for sugar and carbohydrates and so may be helpful for some people in dealing with obesity or sugar abuse. It may also help in the healing of ulcers.”3

So we see that L-Glutamine is extremely useful in fighting cravings, especially those related to carbohydrate and sugar! This is a major reason to consider L-Glutamine if you are burdened with uncontrollable desire for carbohydrates. In one study, on a college campus, two groups of students were allowed free access to vending machines with high sugar foods. One group was given L-Glutamine while the other was given a placebo. The placebo group consumed four times as much sweets as the L-Glutamine group.

L-Glutamine has been used, with great success, in fighting other types of cravings and addictions. In a controlled study a group of Alcoholics were supplemented with L-Glutamine without their knowledge (L-Glutamine is odorless.) A reduction in alcohol consumption was seen in 77% of the cases.

“The amino acid (protein building block) glutamine appears to blunt the craving for alcohol in human research studies. Take 200 mg glutamine in tablet or capsule form 5 times daily for 6 weeks. If effective, your response should be improvement of sleep, lessened anxiety, and a reduced desire to drink.”4

Supplementation with L-Glutamine is recommended to suppress cravings while dieting, or while fighting any uncontrolled urge. L-Glutamine is the “craving fighter!”

1 and 2 “L-Glutamine” Michael Smith, Associate Dean of Research, The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, January 2000

3 “Staying Healthy with Nutrition, The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine”, Elson M. Haas, M.D., Celestial Arts.

4 “The Doctor’s Complete Guide to Vitamins and Minerals,” Mary Dan Eades, M.D., Dell Publishing Group, May 1994.

Censorship and Technology

Should we censor ourselves because a country like China doesn’t want its citizens to hear nasty words like “freedomâ€? and “democracy?â€? BetaNews reports today that: “Following the lead of competitors Yahoo and Google, Microsoft has blocked the use of words such as ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ in some of its services for Chinese users – including its Spaces blogs. The move is likely to appease the Chinese government, which has strongly urged Web sites to self-censor themselves.â€? Should we “cave” to such requests? In a word, “No!â€? We shouldn’t refrain from saying exactly what we think. That is the beauty of the Internet, and blogging, specifically… if you don’t like what I say, you can comment, or you can write your own blog… but such “ominousâ€? concepts as freedom will still get through to Chinese readers even if the ‘net at large does try to appease China’s oppressive government. Freedom is like a virus… it is communicable, and it spreads!

We should continue to say what we think, be free to speak our minds, and engage in critical thinking! “Big Brother,â€? whether in China, or any other country, has no right to force “his” thoughts on the citizenry. I have found technology to be a force for freedom, and freedom of expression. The Internet, and its related technologies certainly is! And, by quickly, and efficiently, disseminating information, I believe it will continue to “spreadâ€? freedom of thought… even if some try and use censorship as the “cureâ€? to it!

So, come on American corporations… stay on the side of freedom… don’t take a stand against it!

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