Missionary Marines in Fallujah

This is disgusting and illegal by military law, the invasion of Iraq is not supposed to be the new Crusades.

Now residents of the city are abuzz that some Americans whom they consider occupiers are also acting as Christian missionaries. Residents said some Marines at the western entrance to their city have been passing out the coins for two days in what they call a “humiliating” attempt to convert them to Christianity.

“Multi-National Force-Iraq is investigating a report that U.S. military personnel in Fallujah handed-out material that is religious and evangelical in nature,” the spokesman, Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, said in a statement e-mailed to McClatchy. “Local commanders are investigating since the military prohibits proselytizing any religion, faith or practices.”

Hopefully they’ll severely punish those responsible for the atrocious action. Read the full story here:

McClatchy Washington Bureau – Iraqis claim Marines are pushing Christianity in Fallujah

Recent FCC enforcement actions

A forfeiture order of $9,000 has been issued to Christian Voice of Central Ohio, Inc., for repeatedly broadcasting commercial advertisements. At the time of the violations they held a noncommercial educational television license for WCVZ.

Digital Antenna, Inc. manufacturer of cell phone boosters and repeaters thinks, like the goofballs selling cell phone jammers, that what they do is allowed under the rules. The guys at Digital Antenna seem to think their systems are not transmitters, Doh! To top it off they apparently violated a Commission order by willfully and repeatedly failing to respond fully to a directive of the Enforcement Bureau to provide information to the FCC. http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-08-1093A1.txt

Two more retailers caught not properly labeling analog only TV’s, Value City Department Stores, Inc., ($216,000)  and Toys “R” Us, Inc., ($248,000).

Some of the previously fined retailers are challenging the authority of the FCC to fine them for violations of Section 15.117(k). AFAIK, the FCC has not made a formal response because this is going to federal court. It will be interesting to see who wins in court, if the FCC loses on this it could undermine much of the authority they need to keep our spectrum useful in the coming century. If that happens the Congress will need to re-write the legislation authorizing the FCC so, that we can have useful wired and wireless communication and broadcasting services. I’ll be following this story closely as it develops and will post when I have new information.

How to do an invalid benchmarking test

A post on a mail list pointed me to a what was supposed to be a good benchmark test posted on a blog. The test is Ubuntu 8.04 LTS vs. Windows XP SP3: Application Performance Benchmark. I read down through the report and some of the results seemed a little odd. Then I get to the end where the equipment and software details are laid out and see this:

  • HDD (Windows XP): Western Digital, WD1600JD, Capacity:160GB, Cache: 8 MB, SATA150, 7200rpm.
  • HDD (Ubuntu 8.04): Maxtor DiamondMax 21, STM3160215A, Capacity:160GB, Cache: 2MB, ATA100, 7200rpm.

Talk about poor test design, XP and Ubuntu are running from two different disk drives from two different manufacturers. On top of that they are on totally different interface busses and have different size drive caches. It boggles my mind how someone can spend their time doing a benchmark and totally invalidate the results by giving the two OS’s different hardware to work with, duh. I guess this next bit from the details shouldn’t have surprised me.

  • I also disabled RAM swapping on both Windows XP and Ubuntu.
  • OK, you change the OS suppliers recommended default setting to a non-recommended setting and you think you’ll get a fair test, double duh. If you want to do a fair test of two competing OS’s you absolutely must use the same hardware for both OS’s and use the OS’s recommended performance settings. Anything else is ridiculous and completely invalidates the results.

    Mike Norman from Marietta GA in big trouble

    By now you’ve probably heard about the racist bar owner who sold T-shirts with Curious George on them and the words “Obama 08”. As John Lynch of Stranger Fruit pointed out yesterday, “And I’m sure Houghton Mifflin’s lawyers will want to have a word with someone …”.

    Well today Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has stated their displeasure, here’s a couple of quotes from an AP article:

    The publisher of the popular children book’s series “Curious George” is considering legal action against a Georgia bar owner for selling T-shirts that link Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to the inquisitive monkey.

    “Houghton Mifflin Harcourt did not nor would we ever authorize or approve this use of the Curious George character, which we find offensive and utterly out of keeping with the values Curious George represents,” said Richard Blake, the company’s spokesman. “We are monitoring the situation and weighing all of our options.”

    Mike had better hope that they offer him a cheap settlement and then take it without hesitation. This is because violating copyright and trademark laws can carry very steep penalties, steep enough to put him in bankruptcy. Last night I had noticed Mike Norman was trying to make himself look better by saying:

    “It wasn’t meant to be racist,” Norman said. “It was just funny to me because they look so much alike – the ears, hairline.” A friend gave him the shirts, Norman said, and he donated the profits to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

    I wondered if the Muscular Dystrophy Association had seen this story so, I sent them an email last night with a link to the story. Today I got a nice response from the MDA saying they have declined to take his money. They also said that their lawyers have sent him a cease-and-desist order so he doesn’t use their name again.

    Of course some people still don’t get it as evidenced by this comment on a blog post at the AJC:

    everybody relax, curious george is a celebrated and respected storybook character and obama should be honored to be compared to him.

    This sounds like the type of person who thinks there’s nothing offensive with the confederate flag, duh.

    Some of the articles on this subject:

    Georgia bar’s T-shirt links Obama, Curious George | ajc.com

    Marietta Daily Journal – Mulligan’s shirt drawing protests

    Curious George publisher may sue over T-shirt | ajc.com

    T-shirt draws protests | ajc.com

    Free research resources

    I’ve found a couple of great technical research sites and both offer full content PDF downloads for free. The first is from Penn State CiteSeerx alpha here’s the opening description from their about page.

    CiteSeerx is a scientific literature digital library and search engine that focuses primarily on the literature in computer and information science. CiteSeerx aims to improve the dissemination of scientific literature and to provide improvements in functionality, usability, availability, cost, comprehensiveness, efficiency, and timeliness in the access of scientific and scholarly knowledge.

    Tip of the hat to f5r5e5d for sending me there to get a great old PSRR op-amp paper.

    The other research site is Google Patents here’s a quote from their about page:

    Google Patent Search covers the entire collection of issued patents and millions of patent application made available by the USPTO—from patents issued in the 1790s through those most recently issued in the past few months. We don’t currently include international patents, but we look forward to expanding our coverage in the future.

    IMO, Google’s system to be the easiest to use complete patent search around.

    BBC threatens Dr. Who fans

    From the EFF comes this story of extreme copyright holder stupidity, Knitwit BBC Goes After Dr Who Fans.

    Like Dr Who’s Ood, fans are happy to serve their favorite franchises when treated well. But if the BBC starts treating them like this, they can all too easily rise up and attack the very brand value the BBC is overzealously seeking to protect.

    The BBC is following in the footsteps of the RIAA by threatening Dr. Who fans with legal action over knitting patterns. The BBC legal department must not be fans of the show, why else would they work to eliminate the free publicity from the Dr. Who fans.

    May 12th update

    Digging a little deeper into this story I found that there is a bit more that either makes the BBC look worse or better depending on which version is true. Over at the mazzmatazz site the knitting section has an entry for April 10th titled “I am furious”.

    I have added creative commons licenses to all patterns now, as they are NOT to be used commercially, and the patterns are NOT to be resold.

    If I continue to discover that they are being sold, they WILL be removed.

    Then on May 5th is an entry about the BBC take down. Over at the TechnoLlama blog the post about this topic has two comments that add substantially to the story. Both comments point out that someone besides the creator of the knitting patterns had started selling knitted characters on eBay. What happened next is different between the two comments. The first comment says that the BBC got eBay to take the stuff down and then told the fan to take the free patterns down. If that’s true then I’d give the Beeb a little slack, they saw a serious infringement and then kept going a bit too far in stopping it.

    The second comment states that it was the fan who had eBay take down the characters. Then the BBC went after the fan a few days later. If this is what happened then IMO, the Beeb should have thanked the fan for the help and just let the knitting patterns slide for personal use.

    If you want to see pictures of all the characters this very talented fan made check them out at the site.

    LOL Florida

    Everyone have a good laugh out loud at Land O’ Lakes Florida because a substitute teacher at the Charles S. Rushe Middle School was fired for wizardry. This is pure insanity most likely inspired by religious fundamentalism (IMO, religious fundamentalism is a mental health problem).

    Substitute Teacher Says Wizardry Accusation Cost Him Job

    The trick requires a toothpick and transparent tape. A sleight-of-hand maneuver causes the toothpick to disappear then reappear. At least, so it seems. In reality, the toothpick hides behind the performer’s thumb, held in place by the tape.

    “The whole thing lasted 45 seconds,” Piculas said.

    He said the students liked the trick. He showed them how to do it so they could perform it at home.
    One student in the Rushe Middle class apparently took the trick the wrong way, Piculas said. He said he was told the student became so traumatized that the student’s father complained.

    Traumatized by a magic trick! This child and its parents are in need of urgent psychological treatment perhaps a long stay at a mental health facility for their extreme fantasy prone personalities. I’d guess they fall for the magic tricks some fundamentalist/evangelical preachers use to convince people of their faith healing and other scams to gain followers and make money.

    LOL Florida citizens repeat after me, there is no real magic, they are just tricks for entertainment or scams to get your worship and/or money.

    See also:
    Magic trick costs teacher job
    Wizardry In The Classroom
    Back to Blogging: “Wizard” fired from teaching gig in Florida.
    Why Harry Potter will never teach in Florida
    Hexpelled: No Wizarding Allowed
    I can’t believe in Florida anymore

    Tip of the wizard hat to PZ Myers for pointing out the story and to Christopher Petroni at Allusions of Grandeur for pointing out that the abbreviation of Land O’ Lakes is LOL.

    Updates to this article are here and here.