WikiPedia on your PDA/iPod. It fits in 400MB

April 28, 2005

JkOnTheRun reports that you can now download WikiPedia to your favorite device. For those who know my obsession with downloading everything, you know I love this one!

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CNN Being Evil: Using CommentSpam and Keyword Suffing!

April 28, 2005

Nick Lewis detects CNN using comment spam to promote their shows and keyword stuffing to depress the search ranking of blogs that criticize CNN. This goes beyond news coverage to being actively evil. Wow.


Testing New Anti-Spam Software

April 27, 2005

Based on my sysadmin’s recomendation, I am experimenting with CRM114. CRM114 is a system that needs training to operate well. It requires training on error rather than training on a corpus of prototypes. So, I wanted to have it installed so that all legit mail comes to my inbox and all my spam to a spam folder. While training I will check both folders, saving false positives in a teach-non-spam folder and false negatives in a teach-spam folder. For this to work I needed a program to grab the contents of my teach folders and pass them to CRM114 for training. So I wrote some code that I actually put into production! If it works, I will put into into production for the other people on this server. It works for anyone using an IMAP server with access to shell. Now I have cron run it every 5 minutes and I am now training. Yay. The source is here. Feel free to use it and tell me what you think.


Integrity and Religion

April 27, 2005

In a prior post I talked about the advantages that the religious have over the less religious. This Optimize Magazine Article is an interview with the author of The Integrity Advantage about the importance of integrity in business. One of the examples from the book is baseball player Ace Greenberg’s decision to celebrate Yom Kippur rather than go to the ballpark in 1934. He uses Warren Buffet as another example. Perhaps it is not religion per se that results in success, but simply being high integrity. Maybe religious observance is just an integrity marker.


WMD Transfer To Syria?

April 27, 2005

Captain Ed says the recent ISG report says that they cannot rule the possibility that Iraqi WMD were transferred to Syria. But can’t investigate because they lack access to Syria and the Bekka valley in Lebanon. He quotes the WaTimes:

But on the question of Syria, Mr. Duelfer did not close the books. “ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war,” Mr. Duelfer said in a report posted on the CIA’s Web site Monday night.

He cited some evidence of a transfer. “Whether Syria received military items from Iraq for safekeeping or other reasons has yet to be determined,” he said. “There was evidence of a discussion of possible WMD collaboration initiated by a Syrian security officer, and ISG received information about movement of material out of Iraq, including the possibility that WMD was involved. In the judgment of the working group, these reports were sufficiently credible to merit further investigation.”

But Mr. Duelfer said he was unable to complete that aspect of the probe because “the declining security situation limited and finally halted this investigation. The results remain inconclusive, but further investigation may be undertaken when circumstances on the ground improve.”

Sundries Shack quotes the WaPost

Although Syria helped Iraq evade U.N.-imposed sanctions by shipping military and other products across its borders, the investigators “found no senior policy, program, or intelligence officials who admitted any direct knowledge of such movement of WMD.” Because of the insular nature of Saddam Hussein’s government, however, the investigators were “unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials.”

If WMD end up being found in Syria or Lebanon, it will be the anti-war folks who are to blame.


Why is CNN gaining on Fox News

April 27, 2005

CNN is gaining against Fox News in the ratings. The question is why now? My theory is that CNN is more convenient to watch (default) and people care less about its ideological blinders when we are outside of election season. Note I don’t watch either network so it is also possible that CNN has simply improved and Fox degraded. But if so, why would that be?


What the NYTimes sells

April 26, 2005

A friend forwarded a link to this NYTimes article which claims the Marines are upset about implicitly the Bush administration denying them armor and needed manpower in Iraq. As a Vietnam War veteran, he was outraged at the Bush administration at this stuff. Subsequently I found this blog post which did the homework on the NYTimes article only to find that the real issue is interservice communication problems not civilian decision making.

I told him that this is a common pattern for the NYTimes. It selects and produces content in order to produce outrage at the political enemies of its readers. Clarifying details are often left absent. Recall that the first NYTimes coverage of the swift boats was an incredibly one-sided article about its funding rather than its claims. Recall the NYT coverage of the Al Qaqaa arms depot from just before the election that turned out to be entirely bogus.

The NYTimes provides value to its readers by making them believe they are reading all the news that is fit to print while actually providing all the news that fits their worldview.

If something in the the NYT is making you see red, don’t assume that your anger is actually justified. Its more likely just dramatic entertainment.