2010-04-23

No Flash on the iPhone

I've written before of Apple's crappy attitude towards developers. Here's the latest example with Adobe:
Mr Chambers also commented on Apple's revision of its terms and conditions. He wrote: "...as developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at any time."
And what a bunch of hypocrisy from Apple:
Apple responded in a statement to technology news site CNet in which it described Flash as "closed and proprietary". Apple preferred to support more open standards which replicate everything Flash can do, added the statement.
This coming from the vendor of the most proprietary and tightly controlled of popular computing platforms.

2010-04-21

Miscarriage blamed on non-fussy uterus

Very interesting:
FAR from being a passive container, the human uterus seems to be highly selective about which embryos it accepts. Women with less "fussy" uteruses may be at higher risk of miscarriage.

Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy, with around 1 in 3 embryos lost before 6 weeks of pregnancy and a further 10 per cent before 12 weeks. For years, faulty embryos or problems such as abnormal clotting or immune responses have been blamed.

Jan Brosens at Imperial College London wondered if another process was at work. He had noted that many women who had repeated miscarriages claimed to have conceived incredibly quickly. "Each one of their pregnancies was conceived within one or two months of trying," he says. What's more, some studies have hinted that embryos implanting outside the normal window of uterine receptivity were more likely to miscarry.

[... article ...]

2010-04-20

The doghouse: US Postal Service

A month ago, I ordered a shipment from the US. Unfortunately, the only shipping method available was US Postal Service. The shipment was supposed to be delivered from a sender in Colorado to me in St. Kitts, and the quoted time was 10-14 days.

Now look at these admirable tracking details:
Electronic Shipping Info Received, March 25, 2010
Arrival
International Dispatch, April 05, 2010, 8:14 pm, ISC MIAMI FL (USPS)
Arrived Abroad, April 09, 2010, 12:38 pm, BAHAMAS
Origin Post is Preparing Shipment
Inbound International Arrival, April 13, 2010, 3:25 pm, ISC MIAMI FL (USPS)
It is now April 20, and the shipment spent this time going from Miami to Bahamas and back to Miami, and is now apparently still in the States.

A courier service would have delivered this in 2 days.

2010-04-19

Omni-fix for Windows?

Nice!
Microsoft has launched "Fix It" software that keeps an eye on a PC and automatically repairs common faults.

The software basically adds the automatic diagnostics system in Windows 7 to older versions of Microsoft's operating system.

[...]

Once installed, the software gets updates about known issues with Windows or any connected devices, and regularly checks to see if a host machine has fallen victim. Once fixes become available it will tell users they are ready or attempt to apply them.
Let's hope this takes off and becomes more effective over time. There's really no reason why Microsoft shouldn't proactively fix common problems on people's machines, including malicious software removal. It is a major opportunity for Microsoft to make Windows friendlier to users who don't know much about software, and invariably end up with machines bogged down by malware and other problems.

2010-04-15

Abortion should be legal after birth

Kids like these are why abortion should remain legal for quite a long time after birth:
At first all seems well, but as time goes on the boy begins to display disturbing behaviour, spitting, hissing and kicking his new mother, threatening to kill family members, reacting violently when denied a new toy, attempting to beat a relative with a statue when asked to correct his math homework.

Finally, when the child not only threatens to burn down his house but draws pictures of the conflagration, the adoptive mother hatches a desperate plan. She puts the boy on a plane back to Russia with a note saying that he has severe psychological problems, she was lied to by the orphanage, [...]
Looking at some of the comments under this article, I am bewildered by the attitudes some of these commentators take:
This is a new variation on child abuse. The disposable child abandoned by airplane.
narcissistic single woman who should never have been permitted to adopt a child and now rightly deserves to be facing criminal charges of abuse and/or abandonment.
This selfish woman was unprepared to deal with a difficult child.
It is telling how far we have fallen that these attitudes are taken as self-evident and normal, rather than the insanity they are.

The following points lead me to believe such attitudes are insane.
  • The sum of a society's unamortized investment in a human being is not nearly maximum at age 7. It is when the said being has stopped studying and is about to start working. Depending on the country and the child's education, this could be anywhere from age 18-28.
  • When a person dies, the true cost to the world is (1) emotional, as in the sum of unpleasant emotions felt by others over the loss; (2) loss of investment, as in when the child has already undergone significant medical attention and schooling (especially when paid by taxes and others' contributions, rather than by family).
  • A severely damaged child is not going to improve and is only going to become a damaged, and quite possibly dangerous, adult.
  • We, humans, are animals. Our experience differs from the experience of animals in details, but not in its essence. We all experience life, thoughts, emotions. Only the degree of complexity differs.
  • We kill animals for joy and profit all the time. Our civilization is a lean, mean killing machine that you help propagate each time you bite into a sandwich.
  • Learning about the cruel nature of our civilization shocks many people, me included. But even knowing that meat in our sandwiches comes from slaughter, 95% of humans will not stop eating meat. Almost every one of us, most likely including you who are reading, silently endorse the slaughter we do on a daily basis.
See the disparity here?

On the one hand, we kill on a massive scale without blinking. On the other hand, the life of a psychotic child, one who's probably going to grow up to cause massive damage to life and property, that's sacred.

It's not sacred. It's an investment gone wrong. Investments like these should be terminated, before more resources are sunk, or possibly some innocent bystanders who are actually contributing get hurt in the process.

2010-04-07

Fruit and veggies don't make you healthy

I've suspected this for quite a while, and evidently, it's true. The claim that fruit and vegetables are inherently healthy is baseless:
In the best case scenario, an extra two portions of fruit and vegetables each day could prevent 2.6% of cancers in men and 2.3% of cases in women, the study concluded. [...] Fruit and vegetables could [...] be beneficial just by virtue of taking the place of more calorific fare, health experts say.
The following is the best article I've read so far on what we actually know about nutrition:

Science and Pseudoscience in Adult Nutrition Research and Practice

I stick to the following rules myself:
  • Calorie budget. I write down the number of calories in everything I eat. I do not allow myself to exceed my daily calorie budget. I pace myself throughout the day, eating 100-300 kCal every 1-3 hours, so that I can have a final meal of protein before I go to bed, without exceeding the budget.
  • Protein. I try to get at least 20g of protein every 3 hours. I get it from a variety of sources, including meat, yogurt, cottage cheese, fat free cheese, fat free milk, and protein powder.
  • Exercise. I go to the gym several times a week. Primarily weights, with cardio on some days.
  • Vitamins and minerals. I take one multivitamin pill each morning in an attempt to make sure that I get the vitamins and minerals I need. I choose a pill that has a 100% recommended daily dose for all the vitamins, and a variety of minerals as well.
I have found that exercise is definitely what makes the major difference, but keeping to a calorie budget and getting enough protein lets me keep my weight down and muscle mass up even when I get lazy about exercise for a while.

2010-04-04

Dubai stinks

Dubai, the Arab world's most "cosmopolitan" and "secular" destination, sentences a British couple to 1 month in prison, based on a 2-year-old child's allegation that she noticed them kissing in the restaurant they were at.

Also for enjoying alcohol illegally with their meal.