Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Whats wrong with health care today?

Of course the reasons for why health care is so screwed up in this country are complex - I wouldn't pretend to know any simple solutions.

But one thing that strikes me as major is that we don't focus on "health care" - maintaining the well-being of our people. Instead, we focus on "sick care" - curing people who are already sick.

If you look at America today, you'll realize that while our ability to cure people is better than ever, the so-called "healthy" people are anything but. We are fat, we eat bad food, we smoke way to damn many cigarettes, etc. The former surgeon general said that if trends continue, our life expectance will start to go down soon. Ain't that an accomplishment?

If we really wanted to be healthier, we need not only advances in medicine, but also a change in lifestyle. Perhaps ten years from now we'll figure that out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The wisdom of crowds

I've started reading this book:

Very cool book so far. I'll post a review when I'm done.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

My Counter Strike: Source review

Valve sure has a wining strategy on their hands - bundle Counter Strike: Source with Half Life 2.

In case you don't know, CS:S is Counter Strike 1.6 (minus riot shields) redone with the source engine (the one that powers HL2). For those of you who don't know what Counter Strike is, well, I don't really have an answer for that.

Like I said, this is basically the same game as CS 1.6 - if you don't like the old CS, then you won't find anything to like about this one. The gameplay mechanics are identical. Which for the most part, is a good thing.

The one big change from 1.6 is that they tweaked the weapons a little. Also I hear that they changed the play hitboxes. Either way, the "feel" of the gunplay is definitely a little different. I like the change though - it feels like I have more control over my gun now.

The source engine itself is very impressive. It runs very smoothly on my p4 2.4, radeon 9600XT, 512mb RAM system. I doesn't slow down too much during the action - although the lag gets you sometimes. The textures are very crisp, and the shader 2.0 effects add a nice (if unnecessary) visual touch.

I was a little disappointed that the Havoc engine wasn't put to better use - it was so impressive in Max Payne 2. Ah, well, I guess it must screw up the netcode a little (havening to send the coordinates of all those things would add a lot to the bandwidth requirements.

The whole thing has a very polished feel to it - there are so many cool little things about it (like the incredibly detailed destroyable computers)

All in all - a great game.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

That warm, fuzzy feeling

Last night's debates gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside - for about 90 minutes, I felt as though I was truly watching democracy in action. I could sense millions of people actually deciding who they would vote for not because of party affiliation, not because one guy has better hair than the other, but actually on their merits. Bush was a lot more on top of his game this time, and Kerry is finally laying out a plan for his presidency.

For a moment there, I actually stopped despising both of them.

Unfortunately, it finally ended, and it was back to "politics as usual". What a Pity!

Friday, October 08, 2004


I'm getting a cold, and tomorrow I take the SAT. How's that for luck?

I'm not worried - just annoyed.

To continue on Wednesday's topic, I think the SAT is a bad system. I know some smart people who suck at standardized tests - they just can't handle them for some reason. And a not-so smart person like me does so well just because I have a talent for multiple choice questions. It's so arbitrary. It's good they're putting an essay into the new one (I'm not taking the new one, fortunately). I think writing skills are an important measure of one's capability to be productive in the modern world.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Grades suck

Why do we strive to define everyone's worth with a number?

Someone asked me if I had a 4.0. When I answered "no" he asked "well, what do you have then?" "I dunno" I replied. He looked at me like I was infected with the plague. I guess it would probably be good to know my grade-point average, but honestly, why should it define me?

Cool site:

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The next-gen handhelds

Sony wins on the case design, hands down.

Pretty snazzy looking. I like the trend towards simplistic beauty in electronics (not that overblown look that makes your computer look like a prostitute).

I don't know whether Sony will be able to usurp Nintendo's domination in the market(my gut tells me no). Its pretty ridiculous when a company can just dominate a market not because their product is good, but just because no-one has ever HEARD of anything but a GameBoy (there have actually been about a dozen 3rd-party handhelds that have competed with the GB in the last ten years. All have been met with utter destruction before the unstoppable behemoth that is the GB). I don't think Nintendo even TRY's anymore - its as if God has decreed that the Gameboy must be the only handheld.

I'm sort of wishing for something to come out that merges a PDA with a gameboy. That why I'm rather interested in the Zodiac, and not very interested in the PSP - I don't if I want an mp3 (or OGG) player, I'll buy an iRiver. A gaming PDA... I would buy that in an instant.

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Vice Presidential debate

This coming debate will be entertaining. A slick-talking trial lawyer versus a grumpy old man. Not to say that Cheney is an unworthy opponent - he's damn smart, and he has a heck of a lot more experience.

Be we all know how its gonna go down:

I'll be getting the popcorn out for this one.

I'm less enthralled about the next presidential debate. To sum up my basic feelings about the two candidates: George is a doofus, and Kerry has all the charisma of a two by four.

Just wait until 2008.

A cool page:

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Uh-oh for hotmail/Outlook Express users

Seems that Microsoft is getting rid of outlook express support for hotmail - despair!

Actually, I think this is a good thing. I've been waiting awhile to ween myself off of hotmail, so that I could replace my email once and for all with my gmail account. And what about websites that I signed up to with hotmail? No problem - I can use fastmail to migrate my accounts, and still be able to access them with outlook (or any email client!). Here is an explanation of how to do that. You need to make a fastmail account, but thats ok, since its free.

This is a big break for third-party email clients like thunderbird and poco mail. Now they are actually USEFUL to hotmail users (like myself).

Here is a cool site: Newegg

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Windows has a crappy logo

I mean seriously, this logo just makes me yawn:

Compared to the apple logo, which is simply badass:

Yes, it IS badass - its simple and shocking. No, it isn't gay!

The linux mascot, now THAT's gay:

I'm kidding, it isn't gay - I have a linux penguin on my monitor at this very moment. Not that I use linux - I just think its sort of a fashion statement - albeit, a very nerdy fashion statement...

Here's a cool site: Penny Arcade

Friday, October 01, 2004

Let there be posts!

Welcome to my blog. Excuse the bad spelling.