Tala Ko

Archive for September 2008

So, society – specifically, a perceived lack of support from parents and teachers – is to blame. That doesn’t surprise me, but the study and its results do add fuel to the fire.
clipped from www.sciencedaily.com
New research by a team that includes vocational psychologists at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) indicates that the self-confidence instilled by parents and teachers is more important for young girls learning math and science than their initial interest.
more attention should be given to building confidence in their abilities early in their education
Many young students, particularly girls, see math and science as difficult, and don’t take any more classes than they have to, not realizing they are cutting themselves off from lucrative opportunities in college and careers.
Both boys and girls perceived that teachers thought boys were stronger at math and science. For boys this represented a support, while for girls it acted as a barrier.
it’s perception, more than reality, that affects the person’s academic and career choice
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… not that we didn’t know that already. But it’s nice to have scientific proof.
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk
Musical tastes and personality type are closely related, according to a study of more than 36,000 people from around the world.
“One of the most surprising things is the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal. They’re both creative and at ease but not outgoing.
“The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things.”
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I’m writing this post from Google Chrome. Can I just say how happy I am, that although it probably resembles Vista more, the title/tab bar reminds me of Ubuntu? *sniff*

I first read about Chrome this morning, when a co-worker brought it up. I had a lot of fun reading the comic (learned a lot, too), but to be honest, just doing my usual online activities and seeing how FAAAST everything is seems to have blown my geekery out the window. It’s like when our battered family couch was reupholstered this summer – the new look and feel just gave family couch time that extra zing, even though we knew that the same old squishy cushions were inside.

Except, based on what I’ve learned from the comic, Google Chrome doesn’t have the same old squishy cushions inside. More like, they decided to take the couch apart, find out why (besides shifting butts) it needed reupholstering in the first place, and build it from the ground up, all the way to the woven blanket my mom throws over the pillows. This foam will last longer, is just as soft, and won’t start to sag in the middle, they’re telling me.

So it’s fast, more efficient, safer from crashes, and prettier. I want to know now, what about my extensions? :( For instance, ever since I started using AdBlock Plus a few years ago, browsing hasn’t been the same. That’s one of the reasons I was so happy to finally be free of Internet Explorer (more on that later) at work. No matter how pretty and comfy this new couch is, if it doesn’t have room for Mom’s sewing kit, Dad’s can of Pringles, and my brother’s security blanket, we’re not really going to enjoy it.

Till then, I’m going back to Firefox.

And, speaking of Firefox, I wrote before that once we got our new computers in, I’d no longer need to run apps off my USB stick. I remember thinking as I booted my unit for the first time on Monday, “First thing I’m gonna do is install Firefox, the GIMP, and Pidgin.” I’d already downloaded the .exe’s the previous week, in anticipation of this golden moment that I’d be back in FOSS’s arms.

Then, I found out that IT had done something that prevented me from installing programs. I was a guest user in my own computer. (-_-‘) Apparently, any desire to do more customization than changing the wallpaper had to be cleared with them and scheduled.

I don’t know how they do computers in your office, but for me, this was just wack. I cast my USB stick an apologetic look and proceeded to fire up FirefoxPortable.

I got a prompt saying that I was attempting to run it off a disk in read-only mode. Did I want to un-write-protect my USB stick, or would I be fine copying FirefoxPortable to the Desktop and running it from there? I blinked. Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

But as IE begrudgingly unhooked its claws and slunk off into the Unused Desktop Shortcuts folder, where it belonged, my feeling of relief was mixed with annoyance. Why did I have to resort to such a workaround? Couldn’t I be trusted not to break anything?

(The answer, of course, was no. I haven’t been at the office six months, so IT doesn’t know me or how much fun I find all this geekery.)

So, of course, I had to wait till I got home to try out the Chrome.

Another hiccup caused by this no-installing-by-yourself policy is that they forgot to install a PDF reader. Anytime I get a PDF now, I have to upload it to Google Docs or convert it with Zamzar.

This reminds me of the height of the liquids ban at airports, when one lady’s baby nearly died of dehydration because some idiot wouldn’t let her take the baby’s formula on the plane. To loosely quote Banksy, somebody save me from the people who’re trying to save me.

Yes, yes, I know. To compare my situation to that is a bit of an exagerration. I must behave. I’d even go so far as to remind myself that the Bible tells me to submit to appointed authorities.

It’s just… I’m so used to having such freedom with computers that every wall I come up against – first Webwasher, and now this no-installing thing – feels like a huge injustice. :(

Hang on, now I remember something that’s a little more serious. I found a bar311 virus in my USB stick (I’m not going to point any fingers, but I know where the stick’s been). AVG didn’t find it, but ClamWinPortable did (so it’s a win for ClamWin. Hehe). I couldn’t manually remove it, and the cleaner I’d downloaded off the web wouldn’t work, either – all because I’m not allowed to edit the computer’s registry.

I decided not to tell IT, because they look pretty busy. Anyway, ClamWin told me that the virus wasn’t in the computer’s hard drive; it was just in my USB disk. So I waited till I got home (again), hooked up my Stella Baby to my relatives’ peripherals, and manually deleted the infernal files while in Ubuntu. When I opened up my USB disk at work this morning, bar311.exe was no longer a process listed in the Task Manager. (Another win for FOSS.)

*sigh*

I know, I can’t always get what I want… without having to resort to some kinda workaround.

=*=

Other stuff: I’m teaching myself more stuff and can’t wait till I can mess around some more with MODx. :D

They’re just using small, four-foot-long helicopters now. But I smell a rogue robot helicopter movie on the horizon.
clipped from www.sciencedaily.com
Stanford computer scientists have developed an artificial intelligence system that enables robotic helicopters to teach themselves to fly difficult stunts by watching other helicopters perform the same maneuvers.
The stunts are “by far the most difficult aerobatic maneuvers flown by any computer controlled helicopter,”
The dazzling airshow is an important demonstration of “apprenticeship learning,” in which robots learn by observing an expert, rather than by having software engineers peck away at their keyboards in an attempt to write instructions from scratch.
Stanford’s artificial intelligence system learned how to fly by “watching” the four-foot-long helicopters flown by expert radio control pilot Garett Oku. “Garett can pick up any helicopter, even ones he’s never seen, and go fly amazing aerobatics. So the question for us is always, why can’t computers do things like this?” Coates said.
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I could cry.
clipped from newsinfo.inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines—An environmentalist group Sunday condemned the “gruesome slaughter” of age-old trees in a plaza fronting the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila, a week before the celebration of Creation Month which starts Monday.
Ecowaste Coalition said 29 healthy narra, mahogany, mango, neem, fire and Indian trees in Plaza Roma were cut down last Monday in violation of the cutting and balling permit issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The DENR issued a permit to the Intramuros Administration on Aug. 5 to make way for the latter’s plan to re-landscape Plaza Roma.
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Fly-dey senses.
clipped from www.sciencedaily.com
Using high-resolution, high-speed digital imaging of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) faced with a looming swatter, Dickinson and graduate student Gwyneth Card have determined the secret to a fly’s evasive maneuvering. Long before the fly leaps, its tiny brain calculates the location of the impending threat, comes up with an escape plan, and places its legs in an optimal position to hop out of the way in the opposite direction. All of this action takes place within about 100 milliseconds after the fly first spots the swatter.
“It is best not to swat at the fly’s starting position, but rather to aim a bit forward of that to anticipate where the fly is going to jump when it first sees your swatter,”
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