2014-09-26

on the realism of space battle of Star War vs Star Trek

the most realistic space battle is depicted in Star Wars, where massive ships loom large by inertia, plasma bolts fly like raining swords, and the giant explosion only possible in outer space. On the other hand, Star Trek is not realistic in just about every way. The oddly shaped ships are not space-dynamic, and teleportation has unsolved philosophical issues, the aliens are humans with horns, and silly evasive maneuver, wrap-drive, time travel, holodeck, lol, figment of desire of scifi nerds.

2014-09-24

Knowledge is Power my Hindquarters

they say, knowledge is power. But that's humanity speaking. Take you, for example. Suppose you study math, and is god at it. What's your fate? You'll be a professor at some university, at best. A javascript web monkey will make more than you. Say, you are top of the game, you won prestigious math awards. Thy power will be below a joe blow at Google, who have better car than thee.

lets put superhuman powers in you. Say, you not only is a genius of math, but is a master of world history, politics, humanities, sciences, arts, equivalent to say 10 university degrees. Well, there are quite a lot people like that. Ever seen the Jeopardy show? they are house wifes or mob toilets at McDonalds.

2014-09-23

geek + hack = geekhack, on keyboard & keybinding

these days, when seeing so so many whizbang ergonomic mechanical keyboard out there, now i'm more daring in thinking that any keyboard that's traditional PC shape is idiocy of the idiocy.

have you seen geekhack or deskthority? There, is where keyboard creatures live… drilling down every detail on keyboard, makers history, electronic schemas, molding of key plastics, key cap shape design schemas, with a million photos and drawing boards.

yesterday i was reading this http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=62444.0

though, typical of hackers, usually they are lame on keybinding. In fact, you don't find much info about keybinding layout anywhere on the web. All you EVER hear about keybinding, is emacs vs vi, and Swap Caps Lock and Control.

in my study of keyboarding, one surprise is that, a programer typically type more keybinding than letter input 〔➤ Emacs's Command Frequency Statistics

So, this means, Qwerty vs Dvorak vs Colemak vs NEO… key layout is less important for programers. It's the command keybinding layout that whacks your hand.

thanks to Jon Snader for inspiration.

A Old Friend, on the Run for 14 Years, Captured by FBI

Perm URL with updates: http://xahlee.org/Periodic_dosage_dir/Neil_Stammer_arrested_by_FBI.html

something personal just happened. In 1986, in Montreal, when is was 16 and a street juggler, i met this guy, named Andrew Allen (who later changed name to Neil Stammer). He is a renowned world-class juggler, holding some world records in juggling. He is a street guy, wandered about from country to country, speak and read/write several languages, including Chinese and Old English (and German, French...).

i know him only briefly for about a year, but we are somewhat very close. But i left Montreal Canada in 1989 (when i was 21), and we haven't been in contact.

about a decade ago (around 2001 or about), i discovered from juggling forums, that he's been arrested and charged for pedophilia related things.

I recall, he is a nice guy, and when he was with me, he… (i rather not say), but we haven't had sex (of any sort), nor did he forced or anything in any way. (i am not gay, but he is bisexual.)

And right now, while reading news about FBI's new face recognition software, i ran into this article. Apparently, he's just been captured last month.


Here's the mirror of FBI's page, in case it goes away in the future.

Long-Time Fugitive Captured: Juggler Was on the Run for 14 Years By FBI. @ http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/august/long-time-fugitive-neil-stammer-captured/long-time-fugitive-neil-stammer-captured

Long-Time Fugitive Captured

Juggler Was on the Run for 14 Years

Neil Stammer captured poster screenshot

08/12/14

How do you catch a fugitive who has been on the run for 14 years, has traveled extensively overseas, speaks a dozen languages, and could be anywhere in the world?

The answer to that question, as Special Agent Russ Wilson learned, is a lot of hard work — and a little bit of luck.

Neil Stammer, a talented juggler with an international reputation, was recently arrested in Nepal and returned to New Mexico to face child sex abuse charges. The events that led to his capture are a testament to good investigative work and strong partnerships, and also to the strength of the FBI's fugitive publicity program.

Here's how the case unfolded:

Stammer, who once owned a New Mexico magic shop, was arrested in 1999 on multiple state charges including child sex abuse and kidnapping. He was released on bond but never showed up for his arraignment. New Mexico issued a state arrest warrant in May 2000; a federal fugitive charge was filed a month later, which allowed the FBI to become involved in the case.

Stammer, who was 32 years old when he went on the run, told investigators that he began juggling as a teenager to make money, and he was good at it. Before his 1999 arrest, he had lived in Europe as a street performer and had learned a variety of languages. At the time of his disappearance, it was reported that Stammer could read or speak about a dozen of them.

Given his overseas travel experience and his language skills, the juggler could have been hiding anywhere in the world. With few credible leads, the case against Stammer went cold. Nepal Locator Map

Fast forward to January 2014. Special Agent Russ Wilson had just been assigned the job of fugitive coordinator in our Albuquerque Division — the person responsible for helping to catch the region's bank robbers, murderers, sex offenders, and other criminals who had fled rather than face the charges against them.

“In addition to the current fugitives, I had a stack of old cases,” Wilson said, “and Stammer's stood out.” Working with our Office of Public Affairs, a new wanted poster for Stammer was posted on FBI.gov in hopes of generating tips.

At about the same time, a special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) — a branch of the U.S. Department of State whose mission includes protecting U.S. Embassies and maintaining the integrity of U.S. visa and passport travel documents — was testing new facial recognition software designed to uncover passport fraud. On a whim, the agent decided to use the software on FBI wanted posters. When he came upon Stammer's poster online, a curious thing happened: Stammer's face matched a person whose passport photo carried a different name.

Suspecting fraud, the agent contacted the Bureau. The tip soon led Wilson to Nepal, where Stammer was living under the name Kevin Hodges and regularly visiting the U.S. Embassy there to renew his tourist visa.

“He was very comfortable in Nepal,” Wilson said. “My impression was that he never thought he would be discovered.” Stammer had been living in Nepal for years, teaching English and other languages to students hoping to gain entrance into U.S. universities.

Although Nepal and the U.S. have no formal extradition agreement, the Nepalese government cooperated with our efforts to bring Stammer to justice. “We had tremendous assistance from DSS, the State Department, and the government of Nepal,” Wilson said. “It was a huge team effort with a great outcome.”


Fugitive Neil Stammer in Custody By Frank Fisher, Fbi Albuquerque. @ http://www.fbi.gov/albuquerque/press-releases/2014/fugitive-neil-stammer-in-custody

Fugitive Neil Stammer in Custody

FBI Albuquerque July 19, 2014

Public Affairs Specialist Frank Fisher (505) 889-1438

Neil Stammer, a former Albuquerque resident wanted by the FBI since 2000 on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, has been returned to the United States following his arrest in Nepal.

Special agents from the FBI and the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) escorted Stammer from Nepal to Albuquerque International Sunport on a flight that arrived Saturday afternoon (July 19, 2014).

An arrest warrant had been issued for Stammer on May 15, 2000, in New Mexico, for failure to appear for arraignment on multiple charges including sex abuse charges and kidnapping.

On June 9, 2000, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Stammer by the United States District Court, District of New Mexico, for the charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

DS special agents assigned as Assistant Regional Security Officer-Investigators (ARSO-Is) at the U.S. Embassies in London and Kathmandu, Nepal, identified Stammer using investigative photos from FBI files. Working with the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs and Nepali authorities, these agents determined that Stammer had entered Nepal using a fraudulent passport and assisted in locating him.

Stammer, 47, had been working in Nepal under a different name for approximately eight years.

“This is a great example of multiple government agencies and nations working together to capture a fugitive wanted for allegedly preying on children,” said Carol K. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque FBI Division. “I want to thank the government of Nepal for its excellent cooperation, as well as the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, units of the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Second Judicial District Attorney's Office, and the Albuquerque Police Department.”

“With over 100 specially trained passport and visa fraud investigators in more than 65 countries around the world, Diplomatic Security works with our international and federal law enforcement partners to bring fugitives like Stammer home to face justice,” said Barry Moore, DS's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations.

Upon arrival, Stammer was turned over to local authorities to face state charges.

“We are pleased to work with the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department in the apprehension of Mr. Stammer,” said District Attorney Kari Brandenburg. “His extradition to New Mexico means that the state and the alleged victims will finally have their day in court. We have been able to locate each of the alleged victims. We will continue to work with them and, in the end, hope to bring them some measure of justice.”

“The Albuquerque Police Department is grateful for the hard work and perseverance of our federal law enforcement partners and the government of Nepal in locating this extremely dangerous fugitive,” said Police Chief Gorden Eden, Jr. “We can only hope that during his time as a fugitive that he did not commit similar terrible crimes on others.”

2014-09-21

list comprehension, python, semantics & syntax, and the hacker idiocies

Guido wants to remove {lambda, map, reduce} in python. He wants us to use list comprehension exclusively. see Lambda in Python 3000.

if you don't know what list comprehension is, see Python Tutorial: List Comprehension

list comprehension is no good. see Computer Language Design: What's List Comprehension and Why is It Harmful?

still, the python hacker idts defend it by “its faster”. In which, python compiler idcy comes forward to defend python language idcy, like a snake eating its tail.

however, there's one important semantic advantage of list comprehension. That is, using expressions to build complicated list. The advantage is seen especially with multiple variables. This would be nested map, which is cumbersome. This is also why, Mathematica has the Table[] construct http://reference.wolfram.com/language/ref/Table.html, which is a functional form of list comprehension. (in Common Lisp, the analogous is its loop. However, only Mathematica's syntax is functional. Python and Common Lisp loop syntax are imperative warts on drugs.)

by the way, idts will start to talk about list comprehension as analogous to math's set comprehension and stuff. U no unstand.

math's set comprehension is a idiocy, first of all. see:

or Google search for “calculational proof” by Dijkstra or others, or “calculational math”.

secondly, list comprehension has nothing to do with math's set notation, unless you are talking about purely declarative functional languages or proof system language that actually have some form of comprehension, such as coq or HOL, see:

by the way also, “list comprehension” is one of those fuzzy thing. Any lang that does loop with a non-“for loop” syntax is likely be seen as “list comprehension”. So, on pages such as Wikipedia, you have one hundred languages all trying to demo its list comprehension. Like, “regardless how idtc i am, also ran is my very advanced feature the list comprehension, witness.”.

2014-09-19

xah's rumination extempore: on bike sheding problem

xah's rumination extempore: on bike sheding problem

(xah's rumination extempore is when i type as fast as i can, you rip the incumbent fruit)

there's a problem called bike shed problem. that is, people tend to spend dispproportional time on trivial stuff.

the story is roughly this: nuclear power plant has lots decisions to make, but the problem most people spend time and argue about, is the design and size of the parking lot. Because it's a issue everyone can understand and have a opinion. (you can Wikipedia for detail)

this is quite interesting. worth a laugh. but it's also true. (is it scientifically true? as can this be verified or already confirmed in social science? i don't doubt it's true, but that's another topic)

so, it's quite a interesting issue. am thinking, how to classify, or address, this? like, first of all, is it a problem? if so, how can we solve it? has this problem plaque humanity throughout? like, you'd want overall view of the issue, exam its validy, degree of seriousness, its nature, and finally if there's a solution, if needed at all.

ok, but there's other similar things. Such as white female problem. I forgot what's the proper phrase, but basically, whenever some date rape or kidnap happens in USA, when it's a cute girl, the whole nation gets involved. While, much worse happens daily to black girls, or guys, everyday.

the bike shade also happens in programing. Mostly idiots argue about syntax. (i'll have to add a personal touch here: freshmen thinks syntax is most important, because that's what they see. After they graduate, they become sopho-morons, realizing that semantics is more important, because that's what computes. The ultimate sage will tell you, syntax is most important, because that's what language is. All the rest is side effect.)

ok, after thinking about these for about 20 min, i think i have a conclusion. The thing is that, human animals, and their thoughts and activities, are a process. For example, do you actually plan your life and try to optimize what you do according to a goal? WHAT is your goal? Strickly speaking, none of us had any goal, and there's no ultimate meaning of life. We live, and do things, as we go. We might have a goal today, short term or long term, such as get a degree, or open a business, or be better at something, etc, but it's not set in stone, changes, and different for everyone.

if, for example, for some reason all of us has a definite goal, of making the world a better place, as absolute, else we'll die within a year, then, bike sheding and lots other problems will be resolved, automatically. Unfortunately, no god's gonna effectively tell us that. So, even if we realize there's bike sheding problem, but so what? that's part of life. Gossipe, watch tv, go to bars, fool around, or whatever, have fun, they said. That's what we do.

so, in conclusion, the bike sheding problem isn't exactly a concrete problem. It is as problem like watching tv is a problem, or wasting time in general. It is simply a phenomenon of human behavior, human nature.

2014-09-18

Linus's new keyboard: CM Storm

so, Linus got a new keyboard, and it's Cooler Master Storm.

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid Keyboard SGK-4000-GKCL1-US
Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid Keyboard

See https://plus.google.com/+XahLee/posts/Tted66P1qy2

what's the best coding style?

Emacs: Tabs, Space, Indentation Setup#comment-1595298993

any coding style guide or concern should be ban'd. The only valid coding style advice is when it makes a algorithmic difference. Anything else, is hacker idiocy (to the extreme), and language idiocy, and the downward spiral and dead habit.

like keyboard & keybinding, the best hope is waiting for death to take care of the problem. (as Steve Jobs and Douglas Crockford said.)

the only tool allowed for formatting related coding style, is one where you press a button and the entire file or directory is reformatted. (golang does it). Anything else, such as paredit, or most “lints”, is hacker idiocy.

the most idiotic programers, are the hacker types. The types that read hackernews, reddit, stackoverflow, (and graddaddy slashdot) etc everyday, and don't hesitate to tell you what you should do, about idioms & styles.

the worst language, is a language that has lots of tricks & idioms. Perl is the dad, but went out of juice. Now Python. Ruby is designed to be sans coding style, but idiots create a style guide nevertheless.