December 6th, 2013
It seems that big data, big media, and big energy have managed to accomplish by stealth what they failed to do the first time after much public outcry. Our government is set to introduce legislation to ban cyberbullying that will go far beyond that one purpose, and they’re also trying to sneak ACTA through the back door, as well as gut what few remaining environmental protections we have.
A few links for your education:
I probably should have titled the post “Fascism by stealth” because that’s where all this is headed.
December 5th, 2013
A friend pointed me to YouTube for a documentary called Nukes in Space – The Rainbow Bombs, about the high-altitude nuclear tests that the U.S. carried out in the 1960s. And listed in the side bar were a whole bunch more. I’ve only watched one of these so far, The Engines that Came in From the Cold – The Soviet Moon Program, and it’s great, with lots of information and footage I’ve never seen before.
Here’s a few more:
And there’s many more.
December 4th, 2013
“At worst he personally ordered it done and chose the people who executed the plan. At the very least he fostered an attitude within the party, chose the managers of the people who committed these crimes and completely and utterly failed to exercise any oversight, supervision, or leadership. In the end it doesn’t really matter where his actions or lack of them fall on that scale. He is the leader and a leader is responsible for the actions of the people he leads. If he had a right or honourable bone in his body he would admit that and resign immediately”.
Stephen Joseph Harper to Paul Martin during the Gomery inquiry.
December 3rd, 2013
If you have to document, or even worse, write sample code, you need to be able to check the code’s syntax. If you’re not a programmer, this can be a problem.
Sarah Maddox offers some tips for checking the syntax of Java source code. Having had to document Java APIs in the past, I think her tips make a lot of sense. She explains how to work from the command line and also how to use the Eclipse IDE, which is ubiquitous in Java programming shops.
The Java compiler (
javac) is part of the developer toolkit that comes with Java. You can run
javac directly from the command line. Eclipse is a free and open source IDE (integrated development environment). For checking Java syntax, I prefer Eclipse because it’s smarter about figuring out the root cause of the problem, and the messages it gives are easier to understand.
I’m using a Mac running OS X, and Eclipse 4.2.1 bundled with the Android Developer Tools (ADT).
Kind reader, please note that I’m not a full-time Java programmer. I’m a technical writer building up her Java skills, and sharing information as she goes. So if I’ve made some silly mistakes, please tell me about them, and do it kindly.
December 2nd, 2013
Like most childen growing up in the 1950s, I watched the Disney show every Sunday evening. My favourite shows were those featuring the “World of Tomorrow” segments, and one of the best was “Mars and Beyond’, with a 50s vision of a trip to Mars inspired by Wernher von Bruan and art by Chesley Bonestell. You can watch it here on YouTube.
November 30th, 2013
Work is underway to cover the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, with a giant steel sarcophagus that should last for at least 100 years. The current concrete and steel covering is close to collapse, which could release vast amounts of radioactive dust into the atmosphere. It’s a huge engineering project – building an arched structure similar in size to Toronto’s Skydome and moving it over the reactor.
At 110m (360ft) tall, the structure could house the Statue of Liberty, and at 257m (843ft) wide, there would be room for a football pitch. There are acres of metal panels in the roof, to seal off the reactor and the dangerous mess inside. The whole lot will be held together by 680,000 heavy bolts.
With these gigantic dimensions the arch would be difficult to build anywhere, but it is being assembled in one of Europe’s more remote corners, a site surrounded by forest and marsh in northern Ukraine, far from the factories of Western Europe where its component parts are made. This autumn, as the project reached the half-way point, it was more than a decade behind schedule, although engineers believe work will now go more quickly and it could be finished in 2015.