2008-07-22

 

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
- Kent M. Kieth

I also found this version, which, personally, I liked better:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Look for the best in them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Work hard and try to succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see at the end it is between you and God; It never was between you and them anyway.
.

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2008-07-21

 

"To laugh often and love much;

to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -- this is to have succeeded." - attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

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2008-07-20

 

"The accuser will speak first,"

the chief guardian instructed.

Vandara's voice was firm and bitter. "The girl should have been taken to the Field when she was born and still nameless. It is the way."

"Go on," the chief guardian said.

"She was imperfect. And fatherless as well. She should not have been kept."

But I was strong. And my eyes were bright. My mother told me. She wouldn't let me go Kira shifted her weight, resting her twisted leg, remembering the story of her birth, and wondering if she would have an opportunity to tell it here. I gripped her thumb so tightly.

"We have all tolerated her presence for these years," Vandara went on. "But she has not contributed. She cannot dig or plant or weed, or even tend the domestic beasts the way other girls her age do. She drags that dead leg around like a useless burden. She is slow, and she eats a lot."

The council of guardians was listening carefully. Kira's face felt warm with embarrassment. It was true, that she ate a lot. It was all true, what her accuser was saying.

I can try to eat less. I can go hungry. In her mind, Kira prepared her defense, but even as she did, she felt it would be weak and whining.

"She was kept, against the rules, because her grandfather was still alive and had power. But he is long gone, replaced by a new leader with more power and wisdom --"

Vandara oozed compliments designed to strengthen her case, and Kira glanced at the chief guardian tom see if he was swayed by the flattery. But his face was impassive.

"Her father was killed by beasts even before her birth. And now her mother is dead," Vandara went on. "There is even reason to think that her mother may have carried an illness that will endanger others –"

No! She was the only one to fall ill! Look at me! I lay beside her when she died, and I am not ill!

"-- and the women need the space where their cott was. There is no room for this useless girl. She can't marry. No one wants a cripple. She takes up space, and food, and she causes problems with the discipline of tykes, telling them stories, teaching them games so they make noise and disrupt the work --"
- Lois Lowry, Gathering Blue

The latest book I am reading to Tania. We recently finished reading The Giver and I thought it was better the second time around. According to Wikipedia, it is a companion novel to The Giver. There is a follow up book called The Messenger - which I shall have to try and find.

I thought this book was better written than The Giver - although, I thought it was a little weaker at the end.

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2008-07-19

 

Is it true that taking a person’s photograph steals their soul?

Yes. This is why movie stars, fashion models, politicians and pop singers have such dreadful personality and relationship problems - their souls have been severely depleted by all the photographs which have been taken of them. - from a very good Canon EOS Beginner's FAQ. Especially good is the section on lenses. I think the FAQ is general enough that any beginner with an SLR camera would benefit from reading it.

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2008-07-18

 

scritch ... scritch ...

I think I have mice in the house.

I'd found two dead mice in the basement last September, but saw nothing to indicate there might be any others, despite paying extra attention to it.

Last Tuesday morning, when most Christian people are sleeping, I heard some scratching / scrabbling noise behind me as I lay in bed. (I sleep in a windowless room in the basement because it is nice and dark and quiet - my kids, who are with me in Ottawa over the summer, sleep upstairs in one of the bedrooms.) Later that morning I heard some scrabbling noise as I went into the laundry room.

Wednesday night I heard quite a bit more scrabbling noise and even something that sounded like purring or growling. That was enough to send me upstairs to sleep.

Last night, it sound like they were running in the ceiling above me - except the basement ceiling is unfinished, so it must have been a trick of sound reflection. Anyway, I decided it was better to sleep upstairs and so I dragged the mattress upstairs. Tonight I'll probably bring the futon frame upstairs.

Now I will have to pull the panelling off the walls and any drywall that has been put up and remove the raised floor. I guess I am going to be renovating a little sooner than expected. sigh.

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2008-07-17

 

Roswell Conspiracy

Roswell is famous (or infamous) for the supposed crashing of a UFO there back in 1947, from which there was apparently at least one alien recovered.

The description of the "alien" has given rise to the familiar grey alien.

I don't believe in aliens and UFOs any longer - I did when I was younger, but that is many decades behind (well, if 2 decades counts as many) - but there are better, more probable and less convoluted ways of explaining and understanding things.


My take on it: (1) the crashed object was not a UFO, (2) it was a military test object, possible a style of plane or perhaps something along the lines of a balloon of connected to a balloon, (3) there was no alien recovered, (4) if a living being was recovered, it was human and very likely suffering from the genetic disease known as Progeria - characterized by accelerated aging, with death occurring in the early teens.


Why would I come to this conclusion? Because people suffering from progeria look an awful lot like "grey aliens" - small, spindly, humanoid, with large bald head, small mouth. Despite their illness, they are typically of normal intelligence.

I could easily imagine some child, an institutional ward, being used as an expendable human guinea pig. Perhaps being carried aloft in a large balloon into the upper atmosphere to study, determine the effects of cosmic rays, low atmospheric pressure.

Of course, maybe I am just all mixed up. After all, it is not as if governments / institutions / researchers have ever been known to callously consider some humans as less human than others. It is not as if researchers fed radioactive isotopes to "feeble-minded" children, or withheld treatment for syphilis so they could study the progression of the disease. Such things would be unimaginable. After all, humans just don't do that to other humans.

Images nabbed from here, here, and here.

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2008-07-07

 

"Perseverance is not a long race;

it is many short races one after the other.” - Walter Elliot (1842-1928)

Good advice for me. I have a tendency to look too far out and see that the final goal is seemingly unattainable. On the other hand, I have to work on reasonable short term goals. I find it easy to set trivial short term goals, unfortunately, achieving them doesn't satisfy; it is the difference between busy work and meaningful work.

Also, I have a tendency to try to do too much, instead of just enough. For example, I might decide to reorganize my chemistry books (despite my best Hell paving intentions, my books have a tendency toward chaos), but I will end up trying to reorganize everything - possibly even catalogue them. Consequently, nothing gets done. Need to focus on just reorganizing what needs to be done and forget about the rest.

Today's thought (no promise of thoughts tomorrow).

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2008-07-04

 

What brings people here

May and June saw a great upsurge in people searching for this SPAM. Normally, it makes up about half the search hits. During those months I saw it go up as high 85% of search hits. At the snapshot I have taken, it was making up 72% of search hits.

I have highlighted in YELLOW two search hits that made me wonder what people are really looking for.

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2008-07-03

 

Reading the fine print

I don't know how many of you read the fine print when you sign up for things .. erm ... I generally don't. I used to, but always found them to be draconian terms of enslavement that that basically said they have all the power and rights and you have none, forever, in perpetuity.

Recently I decided to read the Google terms of service, after all, I use Google to blog (Blogger is owned by Google), I have a gmail account, I have considered using their online office applications to store documents - leaving storage and backup to them (I reckon they are likely to be better at it than I am).

Section 11 starts off promising enough:

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

I own the rights to all the content (intellectual property) I post, store or transmit (e-mail) using Google services and tools.

Then it goes downhill:

By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

I may own whatever I post, store, or transmit through Google services, but Google gets a perpetual royalty-free license to do as they please with any and all of that material.

For most people, that probably doesn't matter, since banal chatter about my hernia is not likely to attract much interest, but perhaps discussion about my lint-ball collection might find its way into Google's Index to Weird Hobbies, when I really wished it hadn't.

If I post a photo I took in my blog and it becomes viral, being the entrepreneurial person I am (ok, that I am working to be), I decide to sell it. Ah, but Google has already been granted perpetual rights to do what it likes with it - like giving it away for free, or modifying it and using it to advertise / generate revenue for Google, printing t-shirts to give away, etc - all without obligation to you.

Perhaps I post a few stories about Flodour the Whiny Canine and it becomes insanely popular. Again, Google has the right to adapt and modify, which sounds a lot like granting them the right to create derivative works

Finally, it concludes:

This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

This limits the scope of using your work solely for the benefit of promoting Google. Ok, I didn't really expect them to use it to benefit Microsoft.

And while this is Google's general Terms of Service, other Google services may have other terms that override this one.

For the average person (and that includes me), the Terms of Service probably don't matter a whole lot. However, for someone who makes their living off the content they produce, they should exercise prudence in what they post.

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2008-07-02

 

"Getting professional looking shots of people is harder than you might think,

for one simple reason: the pros hire really good-looking models... . They're models because they photograph really, really well. So, what makes our job so hard is that we are not surrounded by fabulous-looking models who just happen to be standing around not eating. Nope, we usually wind up shooting portraits of our friends, many of whom (on a looks scale) fall somewhere between Mr. Bean and Jabba the Hut. This is why our job, as portrait photographers, is actually substantially more challenging than that of a seasoned professional - we've got to make magic from some seriously un-model-like people. This is precisely why we're often so disappointed with our portraits (when its really not our fault)." - Scott Kelby, The Digital Photography Book: Volume 2

[Updated 02-July-2008 @ 10:26: added link to author's site selling the book (no, I don't get a commission)]

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2008-07-01

 

Made me reflect, but ...

"Would someone go to Wimbeldon to play one match? Become a heart surgeon just to do one open-heart surgery and then go back to his regular life? Would someone go to law school to try just one case in court? Or go through all the trouble of opening a coffee shop to stay open for one day?" - Heather Sellers, Chapter after Chapter

My response is "Yes! I would", it is who I am. Some days, I feel I really need to be more passionate about one thing, rather than interested in many things.

You can read a sample chapter (chapter 7) here. It is a pdf, so you might want to right click and download it first (for Windows users, I have no idea how a Mac user would do it). Loved the second and third paragraph on the second page.

[Updated 02-July-2008 @ 10:27: provided link to author's site selling the book (no, I don't get any commission). Also added paragraph and link pointing to sample chapter pdf].

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