6.7.11

Freedom isn't Libre.


Freedom is not worthwhile unless it is exercised. Every action that erodes our freedoms erodes our ability to do the things we need to do in order to succeed.

This is why the TSA is Harmful. The NSA. Spy cameras. Street Cameras. Fingerprints. Body Searches. Cavity Searches. Taking my slippers of at the airport. All of these choices have made us afraid of ourselves, afraid to be ourselves and our slow decline will continue as long as we keep giving in to the forces of aggression, security, insecurity and war. If you've lost your job, lost your house, lost your life as you knew it. The best thing you can do is to say no. Say no to the next Financial Advisor that gives you a call. Say no to backscatter X-Rays. Say no to checkpoints and warrantless searches. Say no to things that are making America Un-American.

The point of freedom is so you can exercise your free will, to invent, create and modify the world as you see fit. If you had the power to feed every man, woman, and child on earth, but not the freedom to use that power you might as well not have it. When citizens lost the ability to choose their own destiny, they also lose the ability to modify the destiny of everyone else around them.

This July take a look around you and ask yourself if your country is progressing or reverting; If we are realizing our destiny or cowering from it. Without the freedoms that made us what we are, without the option to make mistakes and to have those mistakes be just mistakes not crimes or threats against the state. Without the freedom to fail. We are nothing.

Others feel as I do. Gruber and Inhatko recently quoted John Adams "It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, “whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,” and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever."

Our freedom dies when our feeling of security is extinguished by those who claim to protect us.

27.4.09

Attn: Baby Boomers

Hey,

You remember the whole free love, sharing is caring, Tune in, Turn On, Drop Out stuff right? Yeah, well here's the thing every time we try and give something away for free, your lawyers sue us and your lobbyists try and stop us. So yeah, can you please cease and desist that shit?

- Your Kids

9.4.09

Caffeine

I want to take a few moments to comment on every techie's favorite fuel. Partially, because I just finished my eighth shot of espresso and realized I won't be able to concentrate on anything else for about 30 minutes.

Espresso

Tolerance and Addiction
I've become something of an espresso expert. Three years ago, my ex-fiancee (long story) bought me an espresso machine. It was initially a godsend, because two shots in the morning were enough to start a coding marathon for the rest of day until I was ready to climb into bed. However, like some addictive substances out there, there came the day when two shots just weren't enough anymore. I upped my dosage to three shots, then four... My current dosage is six shots. I'm capable of falling asleep on two. When the Barista asks for my name, I tell him to just write "Wakey Juice" on the cup.
But, to get back on topic, Caffeine works by binding to our Adenosine Receptors. Normally, when Adenosine binds to these receptors on the nerve axons, it slows down nerve function, and in a nutshell, we begin feeling drowsy. The Caffeine molecule works by binding to these receptors and preventing the real Adenosine molecule from attaching, but without slowing down the nerve's function. In case you haven't figured it out, Adenosine is the "A" in ATP (Adeno Triphosphate), the molecular storage of energy in our bloodstream. When we burn ATP for energy, we strip out the Triphosphate and are left with the neurotransmitter Adenosine, which is an important part of regulating our sleep cycle. Scientists have induced natural-seeming sleep in cats and other mammals by injecting them with pure Adenosine. As we sleep, our bodies convert Adenosine to ATP, and we feel at our peak wakefulness when our Adenosine is at minimum levels... or when some other neurotransmitter is actively preventing our neurons from receiving Adenosine...
You cannot stave off sleep indefinitely with Caffeine. Every waking moment, you are accumulating higher and higher levels of Adenosine. Eventually, the Caffeine metabolizes out of your body, and all that Adenosine attaches to your nerves with a vengeance.
Prolonged usage of coffee promotes tolerance. In addicts, like me, the nerve cells compensate for prolonged Caffeine exposure by developing more Adenosine receptors on their axons. Thus, we need that many more Caffeine molecules to block Adenosine reception to achieve the same effect as a casual coffee drinker on his very first cup. This also explains why I function normally after 12 shots of espresso while someone else's heart is exploding on his way to the hospital. That's also why it's still easy to get up in the morning: my Adenosine levels are at a minimum level just like anyone else, but I'm more sensitive to Adenosine buildup than casual drinkers, thus even mild exertion begins to take its toll until I find a means to block the extra receptors.
Fortunately, taking a long hiatus from Caffeine will generally kill off the extra Adenosine receptors, but it takes longer for them to die than to develop in the first place.
Excuse me. I'm going to get another cup.
Social Activities
Expect your love life to get shot to hell. Too much caffeine, and you'll find a prolonged case of ED. However, less sex means more time for Quake, Warcraft, Guild Wars, and all those other computer games that would have deteriorated your love life anyway. I don't know the sexual side effects of excessive caffeine on women, so, Ladies, if you would like to elucidate, feel free. There are plenty of email anonymizers out there, so don't let a little thing like identity get in the way.
The Myth
Espresso (sometimes misspelled Expresso) is amazing stuff. I have trouble believing the statistic that plain old standard coffee has more caffeine than espresso. That's because they're measuring intake by serving. That is, a single serving of black coffee is 8 ounces, while a single serving of espresso is 2 ounces. Such comparisons are meaningless to me, since I generally top off my 12 oz. coffee cup regardless of the nature of liquid within.
Health
They say coffee is good for you, but you also hear rumors of heart attacks. I've downed as many as 14 shots in a single sitting, and I've never had a heart attack (knock on wood). I've gone through muscle spasms, but eventually established that this is mainly because caffeine is a diuretic, and my muscles are responding to the lack of water. To all you prospective caffeine abusers, I say, Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate. This particular amphetamine has a nasty habit of also eliminating your sense of thirst, but you must fight the disinclination to drink (water). You'll also find the cramping goes away an hour after 4-5 cups of water. What you might be mistaking for a heart attack could also be cramped muscles in your chest that have nothing to do with your heart. Oh, and that tingly feeling you get with your first OD? You know, the one that makes you want to tear your face off with your bare fingernails? That goes away as your tolerance goes up.
Attention Span
Some people's hands shake when they OD. Some people claim they can't keep their focus. It's not the coffee, it's you. Your dopamine receptors are simply reabsorbing neurotransmitters too quickly, and you simply need to find another means to inihibit dopamine reuptake. Taking Ritalin or Wellbutrin with your caffeine dosage works wonders in this area. However, as with any other attention deficit drug, it takes time, sometimes weeks to kick in. Oh, the caffeine overdose will still kill your attention span in the first 30 minutes or so, hence my original reason for writing this article, but after that, you can stare at other people's source code for the next 24 hours and not feel tired. In fact, you start to panic when you go to sleep and realize you're not working, which leads me to my next subject:
The producers of Scarface (with Al Pacino) once commented that cocaine is the Capitalist's Drug: users often feel a sense of edginess upon intake, and find themselves compelled to be productive, making phone calls, filling out forms, and what not, even if these actual actions don't really accomplish anything productive. Bupropion (such as Wellbutrin) when combined with many common bio-alkaloids (such as Caffeine) appears to induce a similar effect... and best of all, it's legal, with perhaps the exception of my favorite, alkali ephedrine. That's the old formulation of Xenedrine in case you didn't know, which in recent years has been replaced by a safer, but less effective, active ingredient, pseudo-ephedrine.
I say OD lightly. A truly fatal overdose of Caffeine is approximately 150 milligrams for every kilogram of body weight, a fun fact bio-research has shown by injecting Caffeine directly in all manner of cute furry animals until they keel over. For a human, that would come to about 140 cups of coffee, or in the case of espresso, over 3 Super Big Gulps from 7-11. Some humans have achieved this level of overdose from Caffeine pills, but no one has yet overdosed by pure consumption of coffee alone.
Selection
It would have been tacky to bring my Espresso Maker into PriceGrabber, so I make due by purchasing my espresso directly from Starbucks or the CBATL. I've grown accustomed to espresso's bitter, acrid taste, but an amazing thing happened today. I tried Peet's. They have a very smooth espresso that goes down easily, so easily that you forget you're drinking something meant to be tarry in flavor. Yet, it's every bit as strong as many other espressos, so one must be careful about over-consumption. This is exactly the mistake that has led me to type this article.
The coffee at Equinix (our data center) is also excellent. I can see why Christopher (whom I suspect is also Adenosine Receptor Enhanced) spends a lot of time down there.
The Crash
Excessive consumption of Caffeine has another unfortunate side effect: the sense of dread that invariably develops once it has sufficiently metabolized out of the body. This manifests as a feeling of impending doom and paranoia, but these symptoms often take a couple of days to appear. Those of use who caffeinate every day may never reach this point, but just to give my body a rest, I will often attempt to cease consumption on Thursdays and Fridays, allowing me to experience my angry cold-turkey moments from the safety of my bed over the weekend. Heavy consumption on a Friday afternoon often results in a very bad Monday.
Well, that completes my 30 minute rant. Back to the grind...

30.1.09

Rejected Disney Dubai Attractions

Death to america magic carpet extravaganza brought to you by al jazera

19.10.08

Retool : Restart : Reinvent; the american way of life.

It's a time for retooling in America. WE've let ourselves go in so many ways. Our waistlines are larger than ever our highways in disrepair, our world image is in tatters, our sense of self disintegrated into many separate parts. We are no longer a shining beacon of hope we are a reminder of what can happen when good people forget themselves. WE are a shining example of what not to do.

It's time to reset. Restart. Reboot. Remind ourselves of what we are, indeed what we aspire to be. WE must step out of the fortresses we've built for ourselves to keep the world our the neighbors out. WE must let the wind pass  through us again, feel the cold of a mid-december morning, feel the warmth of the pacific ocean washing up on our sandy shores. We need to feel this land which has for so long defined us. We need to smell the pines, sequoia, maple, cherries. Watch the fish jump in our mountain creeks.

WE've spent 50 years marveling at our own inventiveness. While the rest of this world has been catching up. WE've lost the momentum we maintained for so many years. WE are defeated. And that's okay.

The important thing is that we learn from our collective mistakes and misdeeds. That we do not go quietly in mediocrity but fight and bite against it on our way down. The world still has something to learn from this great nation. Perhaps the most important lesson of all. It is up to us to wake up and make up for the wrongs WE've committed against our brothers and sisters.

Retool : Restart : Reinvent; the american way of life.

27.4.08

C-apple emacs

C-n C-p C-f C-b C-d C-h C-k C-v the navigational commands in GNU EMACS work in Cocoa Mac OS X Leopard Applications (including Safari and Mail). I was thrilled to discover this as these key commands allow the user to stay in the home position for almost all task. Indeed with the addition of Quicksilver a mac user no longer has to use the rodent device Apple popularized. The only command missing is C-j, an alias for the RETURN key, a real pinky saver. Here's to the unixification of Apple.

For more visit: deepsky.com/~misaka