Have you guys tried Annonzilla?

posted by anwar on 07.02.21 at 19:13, Engineering, technology, null, 2 comments Permalink

It looks like an interesting proofreading/annotation engine for webpages.

Does anyone else know of similar software? I wonder if it works on dynamic pages...


Comment from: anwar [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/anwar.php
The annotations stay loaded -- but if the dynamic page changes, the region information [for the given annotation] will be lost.
Permalink 02/21/07 @ 19:16
Comment from: collin [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/collin.php
Is this for Cate? Does it have anything to do with my poor speeling?
Permalink 02/21/07 @ 19:36

No Walled Garden for Me

posted by anwar on 07.02.16 at 13:20, Economics, technology, null, 1 comment Permalink

I have come around to Marco's view that maybe phones could be useful computing devices.

If I ever bought a smartphone it would look like this:


Free - as in speech.

Comment from: ben [Member] · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
I'm actually pretty sold on the usefulness of Blackberries. I like how it polls the mail server... now if it weren't all proprietary with the mailness... and if it only had a camera... and the ability to run programs I write... and... wait, I just want a Windows Mobile phone... damnit.
Permalink 02/17/07 @ 22:49

You can't cross the same river twice

posted by anwar on 06.09.19 at 22:40, Engineering, null, null, 1 comment Permalink

So there I am, wandering around Cornell this evening during some free moments on a recruiting trip, and I'm overcome by this feeling that I'm walking through a ghost town.

Aside from a new building here and there, its almost exactly as I left it. The crisp autumn breeze, scores of stars overhead, and the hourly rings from the clock tower.

Walking around a little more, I see the benches I used to sit on, the trees I would read under, and even the little divot on Libe slope that I'd nap in.

As much as its all the same, the campus -- devoid of my friends and past life -- doesn't remember me. And so I find myself an interloper -- trespassing on places that have new owners and new meanings.

Comment from: scott [Member] · http://ink08.net/~cederber/
This comment is a little late, but when I first saw this post I was for some reason too retarded to remember how to log in.

I went back to Stanford shortly after moving back out here... it was strange. You do an excellent job of putting the feeling into words; your post really captures how I felt. (And in so doing, makes me feel a little better about feeling that way.)
Permalink 10/05/06 @ 19:44

Love الحريه ? If so - get out ! Your kind is not welcome here.

posted by anwar on 06.08.21 at 17:22, Economics, news, null, Leave a comment Permalink

[Also posted on BoingBoing]


Passengers on a Manchester-bound flight have described how two men were removed from the plane because other travellers thought they were speaking Arabic.

Heath Schofield, a passenger on the flight from Malaga, described it as being a "bit like Chinese whispers".

Monarch Airlines said passengers had demanded the men were removed because they were acting suspiciously.

Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood said it was disgraceful the pair seemed to have been judged on their skin colour.

The men - reported to be of Asian or Middle Eastern appearance - were taken from Wednesday's flight ZB 613 and questioned but were allowed to fly back to the UK later in the week.

Refusal to board

Mr Schofield, who was travelling with his wife Jo and their children, said: "We all started boarding the flight.

"Our daughter noticed a couple of guys that were perhaps acting a bit strange. They went to the front of the queue, went to the back of the queue, and then they went and sat down by themselves.

"Anyway, we got on the plane and we boarded and it became apparent after we were already supposed to be flying that several of the passengers had refused to board the craft.

"A few rumours went round, it was a little bit like Chinese whispers, and then some more people decided they were getting off."

Plane finally took off

He said Spanish police officers came on to the plane and took the two men's passports and 20 minutes later the pair were removed from the plane.

All the passengers were then taken off and the plane and all the luggage was swept for explosives. Three hours later the passengers boarded again and the plane took off without the pair.

His wife said: "We still don't know what was said, or whether it was anything to be alarmed about."

She said: "A lot of mums were trying to calm the children down - they were getting quite panicky because of what they'd seen on the telly.

"It became apparent that the reason that some of the people didn't board the plane was because somebody had overheard the gentlemen in question speaking - I think it was Arabic."

'Tight procedures'

Mr Mahmood said it was "absolutely disgraceful" that passengers had taken it on themselves to label people.

"That is not what we want. The colour of your skin shouldn't identify what you are. It is a sad state of affairs that that has happened."

He called for air passengers to understand that once people were allowed through security "they should be OK".

In a statement, Monarch said: "The captain was concerned about the security surrounding the two gentlemen on the aircraft and the decision was taken to remove them from the flight for further security checks."

David Reynolds, from the British Airline Pilots Association, said there were "very tight procedures" in place to ensure only the "right sort of people" boarded flights.

"Clearly, we can't have a situation where one passenger decides that another passenger isn't going to fly," he said.

Single Pipe Steam Heating

posted by anwar on 06.08.02 at 23:06, Do It Yourself, null, null, 3 comments Permalink

So I am an idiot -- turns out the radiators in my condo are the "single-pipe-steam" variety (linked) not the forced-hot-water variety.

This means that the temperature adjustment has a very important difference (from my old, hot-water radiators).

Attached to the pipe leading to the radiator is a valve. This is a shut-off valve. It shuts off the radiator; that is all it does. This is definitely a nugget of information worth remembering.

The first mistake people make is to assume that they can control how hot the radiator is by turning the knob on the shut-off valve. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing you could do. Since the condensed water runs back down the same pipe that the hot steam comes up, you will force the steam and the water together, making bubbles. When bubbles burst inside a metal pipe or radiator, they make horribly loud banging noises. Keep the shut-off valve fully open or fully closed, and concentrate on the vent.

That's right -- all those *horribly loud banging noises* [water-hammering] last winter -- completely my own damn fault for not paying closer attention to the radiator.

Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...but nope - its a chicken!

Comment from: collin [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/collin.php
So I guess those thermostats won't work. Are your radiators angled?
Permalink 08/03/06 @ 07:42
Comment from: ben [Member] · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
Permalink 08/04/06 @ 00:57
Comment from: collin [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/collin.php
So... buy an ugly radiator, from England, that doesn't work with steam. Makes sense.
Permalink 08/04/06 @ 05:53


posted by anwar on 06.07.28 at 00:56, Economics, Engineering, null, null, 4 comments Permalink

1998 General Purpose CPU Manufacturers [w/active development]

  • SGI: Rx000
  • DEC: Alpha
  • HP: PA-RISC, Itanium
  • AMD: x86
  • IBM: Power, PowerPC, 390
  • SUN: Sparc
  • ARM: Various
  • MIPS: Various
  • INTEL: x86, Itanium
  • SAMSUNG: Alpha
  • FUJITSU: Sparc

2006 General Purpose CPU Manufacturers [w/active development]

  • INTEL: x86, Itanium
  • AMD: x86
  • IBM: Power, PowerPC, 390
  • SUN: Sparc
  • ARM: Various [Embedded]

2010 General Purpose CPU Manufacturers [Projected]

  • INTEL: x86,
  • AMD: x86
  • IBM: Power, PowerPC
  • ARM: Various [Embedded]
Comment from: ben [Member] · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
My god, it's bad enough that I'm awake... what are you doing up... other than decrying the death of the Alpha that is...
Permalink 07/28/06 @ 01:26
Comment from: ben [Member] · http://ben.nonplatonic.com

Motorola and TI are still in there, right?

Things that run Mobile 5.0:

HP iPAQ 2490     Intel PXA270 520MHz
Dell Axim X51v     Intel XScale PXA270 624MHz
HP iPAQ RX 1950     Samsung SC32442 300MHz
HP iPAQ HW 6515     Intel PXA270 312Mhz

These are all wacky RISC processors, right? Do they count?

Permalink 07/28/06 @ 01:55
Comment from: anwar [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/anwar.php
Freescale and TI have exited the high-performance cpu markets.

They still manufacture embedded chips.
Permalink 07/28/06 @ 12:17
Comment from: collin [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/collin.php
Hey, you forgot Transmeta. What were those anyway? Below the x86 translation layer that is.
Permalink 07/30/06 @ 11:04

Classic SOM Design

posted by anwar on 05.06.29 at 07:31, Engineering, null, 1 comment Permalink

Now this is an excellent design. Clean lines, tall, elegant. (Contrast with the previous Superman II Ice-fortress design).


Comment from: graham [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/graham.php
It sounds like they spent about 30 seconds coming up with a name for the building.
Permalink 06/29/05 @ 22:35

The secret word is "Asinine"

posted by anwar on 05.06.27 at 15:46, Economics, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Apparently this group pickets the funerals of soldiers (chosen at random?) in protest of the tolerance of homosexuality (that is tolerance by American culture, not the particular dead soldier).

The secret word is "Asinine"

posted by anwar on 05.06.27 at 15:46, Economics, Leave a comment Permalink

Apparently this group pickets the funerals of soldiers (chosen at random?) in protest of the tolerance of homosexuality (that is tolerance by American culture, not the particular dead soldier).

What Underemployed Engineers do for fun...

posted by anwar on 05.06.22 at 07:27, Engineering, null, Leave a comment Permalink

(Shamelessly stolen from boingboing)

Sunnyvale traffic signal prankster on the loose

Police in Sunnyvale are keeping an eye out for a highly skilled and frustratingly elusive prankster who has been tampering with the city's traffic lights...


posted by anwar on 05.06.16 at 12:28, Engineering, null, Leave a comment Permalink

I went to see the office pranks page and noticed sadly that all office cube farms are identical, everywhere.

posted by anwar on 05.06.07 at 06:12, Economics, null, 1 comment Permalink

...because I pulled myself up by my bootstraps (all by myself).


Comment from: collin [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/collin.php
My favorite part...
I will be pro-death penalty and anti-abortion, pro-child but anti-child care, for education but against funding of public schools.

As an aside, I read this Mallard Fillmore comic in today's [?] Boston Globe. I don't really read it that often [not carried in Denver/Chicago papers?] but it seems kinda asinine to say the least. Although looking at the quote and comparing it to the comic, objectively they aren't that different [besides the objective fact that Republicans are evil]. Maybe I just expect my editorial cartoons to be, well, on the editorial page.
Permalink 06/08/05 @ 00:31

...but some do it better than others

posted by anwar on 05.06.04 at 09:16, Economics, null, Leave a comment Permalink

After $1.3 billion in subsidies, about 160,000 homes have solar power systems. Solar power remains two to three times as expensive as the electricity supplied to households. But homeowners say that with time, the "free" electricity pays for the high installation costs. And the government is willing to devote taxes to the effort, preferring to spur rural employment through solar power installations to help reduce payments for foreign oil, coal and gas.

Governments shape behavior

posted by anwar on 05.06.03 at 08:36, Economics, null, Leave a comment Permalink

This is exactly the kind of forward thinking civic policy we need in today's world! Oil is plentiful, energy is cheap, and no link has been found to prove human activity influences large scale climate change. w00t!

Shanghai, home to about 9m ordinary bikes, aroused a flurry of media criticism last year by banning them from main roads in the centre. But they are less and less used these days.

Since the late 1990s, however, housing has been largely privatised. Many state-owned factories have closed down or been shifted to suburban areas to reduce pollution in the cities and make way for new development. The economic boom has been spurred by a building frenzy, which itself has been fuelled by reckless bank lending and by the government's readiness to allow developers to bulldoze the inner cities. Close-knit communities have been scattered, often to the suburbs, to places ill-served by public transport and far from places of work.

posted by anwar on 05.06.02 at 07:33, Economics, politics, Leave a comment Permalink

US Airways Managers

Well, that's odd ... I've just robbed a man of his livelihood, and yet I feel strangely empty. Tell you what, Smithers - have him beaten to a pulp.

When the airline needed about $1 billion annually in labor cuts, the AFA filing said, the airline had argued that "in light of management's sacrifices, it would be 'inequitable' for labor not to take commensurate reductions."

The objections they have raised in bankruptcy court surround the company's request for up to $55 million to hand out in bonuses and severance pay to executives, managers and salaried workers.

The money essentially would wipe out the $56 million in concessions given by management and salaried employees, according to an objection filed in bankruptcy court Wednesday by the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents mainline and regional workers in the airline.

Smithers, for attempting to kill me, I'm giving you a five percent pay cut!

The AFA filing pointed to the different treatment in union workers, who were saddled with court-imposed 21 percent pay cuts for four months, while management saw only a 5 percent pay cut, "on the heels of a nearly commensurate prebankruptcy pay increase."

Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators

posted by anwar on 05.04.25 at 06:59, Engineering, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Another item in the list of "Things that are HOT"

There have been five known accidents involving RTG powered spacecraft. The first two were launch failures involving U.S. Transit and Nimbus satellites. Two more were failures of Soviet Cosmos missions containing RTG-powered lunar rovers. Finally, the failure of the Apollo 13 mission meant that the Lunar Module which carried the RTG reentered the atmosphere and burnt up over Fiji. The RTG itself survived reentry of the Earth's atmosphere intact, plunging into the Tonga trench in the Pacific Ocean. The US Department of Energy has conducted seawater tests and determined that the graphite casing, which was designed to withstand reentry, is stable and no release of Plutonium will occur. Subsequent investigations have found no increase in the natural background radiation in the area.

Global supply chains

posted by anwar on 05.04.21 at 09:15, Economics, null, 2 comments Permalink

Here's a very interesting article that describes the nitty-gritty details of how Dell manufactures computer systems and who their suppliers are, followed by some unsolicited political commentary about how Dell is responsible for preserving world peace.

Comment from: collin [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/collin.php
In an earlier book I argued that the extent to which countries tied their economies and futures to global integration and trade would act as a restraint on going to war with their neighbours. I first started thinking about this in the late 1990s, when, during my travels, I noticed that no two countries that both had McDonald's had ever fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald's. (Border skirmishes and civil wars don't count, because McDonald's usually served both sides.) After confirming this with McDonald's, I offered what I called the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention. The Golden Arches Theory stipulated that when a country reached the level of economic development where it had a middle class big enough to support a network of McDonald's, it became a McDonald's country. And people in McDonald's countries didn't like to fight wars any more. They preferred to wait in line for burgers.
Permalink 04/21/05 @ 23:56
Comment from: ben [Member] · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
...and in the 60's Arthur C. Clarke was talking about how WWIII was impossible because of ever increasing international trade. This is not a new idea.
Permalink 04/22/05 @ 01:45

Dr. Feynman would be proud: HOT chips!

posted by anwar on 05.04.21 at 07:25, Engineering, Papers, math, Leave a comment Permalink

These IBM guys have some wicked good material-science kung-fu. They've figured out how to reliably integrate PFETs (on 1-1-0 silicon) and NFETs (on 1-0-0 silicon)

Its amazing how on the ball Dr. Feynman was about the angstrom-scale world...


"I would like to describe a field, in which little has been done, but in which an enormous amount can be done in principle. This field is not quite the same as the others in that it will not tell us much of fundamental physics (in the sense of, ``What are the strange particles?'') but it is more like solid-state physics in the sense that it might tell us much of great interest about the strange phenomena that occur in complex situations. Furthermore, a point that is most important is that it would have an enormous number of technical applications."

Cuba, US, Health

posted by anwar on 05.04.13 at 07:07, Economics, null, 6 comments Permalink

Collin's post about Cuba got me thinking about health care...

..if you don't like these measures for health care, which ones do you propose we should use for comparisons?

From the CIA World Factbook:

Infant Mortality Rate (deaths/1000 live births)
-World 50.31
-USA 6.63
-Cuba 6.45
-EU 5.3
-Canada 4.82
-Japan 3.28

Avg. Life Expectancy at Birth
-World 64.05
-Cuba 77.04
-USA 77.43
-EU 78.1
-Canada 79.96
-Japan 81.04

Comment from: anwar [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/anwar.php
Some ideas of better metrics (the idea is that these need to be relatively easy to measure):

%Chance of living to age 18

[this weeds out long term effects (that may not necessarily be dependant on the health policy) like radiation poisoning, health problems from smoking, etc]

# of able-bodied years (time in workforce?)

This might have some problems, as you will get skewed results in countries where there are incentives to work less/retire early.
Permalink 04/13/05 @ 09:30
Comment from: ben [Member] · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
Comparing the numbers without error bars is pretty meaningless... though the samples are probably the entire population of a country, so the errors are very small.

I've seen the median used as a single indicator because it is less susceptible to bias from any outliers.

Then there's the question of what sort of quality we are considering. I would guess that in countries with socialized healthcare, the care an individual receives varies less than in a country without socialized healthcare. My guess would be that the US has higher quality healthcare, but it is not available to everyone. I wonder what happens if you consider the statistics for the US population with health insurance, or with some minimal quality of health insurance.

Then there are dietary and exercise considerations...
Permalink 04/13/05 @ 13:37
Comment from: marco [Member] · http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~barreno
Ben wrote:
Comparing the numbers without error bars is pretty meaningless... though the samples are probably the entire population of a country, so the errors are very small.

It depends on what you're counting. If the numbers truly come from the entire population (counting all deaths/births or whatever with reasonable accuracy) and if the statistic is something like "Infant mortality rate for 2004," then the statistics are population statistics so error bars would be meaningless. However, if you're trying to say something about the sustained rate over a period of years, then you could treat each year's rate as a data point, or you could use sampling to estimate the birth and death rates over a period of 20 years.

I do wonder how realistic it is to assume that the statistics are compiled by counting all births and deaths (or whatever you're counting). It's true that, at least in this country and probably most developed countries, birth records and death records are routinely kept. But there are plenty of people outside of the system, especially the very poor and illegal immigrants, who wouldn't necessarily be recorded. I wonder how they come up with numbers for those people.
Permalink 04/13/05 @ 14:07
Comment from: devin [Member] · http://www.hwaethwugu.com/blog
Ben wrote:
Comparing the numbers without error bars is pretty meaningless... though the samples are probably the entire population of a country, so the errors are very small.
Marco wrote:
I do wonder how realistic it is to assume that the statistics are compiled by counting all births and deaths (or whatever you're counting). It's true that, at least in this country and probably most developed countries, birth records and death records are routinely kept

As Marco points out, sample error is not the issue; systematic error is, especially in developing countries. In fact, Cuba's reported mortality rate rose during the early 60s. This is because afte the revolution, the Ministry of Public Health improved data gathering. (Source: Waitzkin, Howard. _At the Front Lines of Medicine_, a book I'm trying to slog through right now). In the case of Cuba, the Former Soviet Union, et. al. there is also the issue of whether you trust the government to accurately report their mortality statistics.

Permalink 04/13/05 @ 14:18
Comment from: collin [Member] · http://nonplatonic.com/collin.php
So Marco, you contend that even in the US the government is aware of every birth? This is the problem with statistics (as opposed to probability theory), in the real world you cannot measure an entire population. I'm not saying that there are huge error bars on something like the infant mortality rate in a country like the US, but they're still there. Basically my point is that there will allways be sample error.

And as for something like "Life Expectancy at Birth," Jesus H. Christ that's complicated. Seriously, how is this computed? If it's just "for what age x are half the people of that were born in year now-x still alive" then "life expectancy at birth" is a horrible misnomer. I can't think of a sussinct explination of the extrapolations needed to make that phrase meaningful, but hopefully you can see my point. Ergo, I vote that error bars are needed for these measures to be meaningful. Do any of you know how you construct error bars for a sample when you don't know the size of the population? Things like this have never been explained to me with the rigor I want in order to believe them.
Permalink 04/13/05 @ 21:02
Comment from: ben [Member] · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
My original point with the error bars was more that you need to know something about the relative sizes of the populations.

Also, I think the best way to model it is to treat the population as drawn uniformly from an infinite distribution since drawing a full population from a finite distribution would conglomerate additional stochastic processes with example selection. I don't know if that made any sense... I'm not sure how to explain what I'm thinking.
Permalink 04/14/05 @ 01:32

The Car Matrix...

posted by anwar on 05.04.06 at 16:04, Economics, 1 comment Permalink

So here I am -- about to buy another car. What car will he buy, he's not going to buy another Civic is he? Well no.

The car matrix has been narrowed down to three choices: Honda Civic Coupe, Scion tC (non-customized), and the Mazda 3.

Yes, they are japanese-econo-boxes. (The estimated TCO @150Kmi of these cars is more than only two cars: Toyota Echo, Corolla)

If these cars were OSes they might be VMS boxen (or maybe its cheaper even uglier cousin, FreeBSD). Ugly, but with ridiculous uptimes. And that matters.

As someone who relies on my car to get me to work 100+ working days a year (2-person carpool), I can't really afford to get in the car and have it not work. Depending on what you currently do for a living, this may or may not make sense to you.

Sure I'd like a Porsche, maybe as a second pleasure car. But until I move out to car heaven, where parking is free, the roads have wonderful s-curves and are impeccably dry and paved - I'll stick to the econo box.

Comment from: ben [Member] · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
914+350=dependable death
Permalink 04/10/05 @ 02:22