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Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-02-27 11:07
  Subject:   Remind me why we're STILL in Iraq?
  Music:Pink Floyd - Careful With That Axe, Eugene
  Tags:  politics, reddit, usa not worth saving

As if an enormous chest wound is going to heal naturally while there's a FREAKING AXE stuck in it...

And the idea that maybe we shouldn't have been swinging an axe around in the first place? Well, that's just crazy talk! We MUST swing axes about randomly - there are TERRORISTS in the world, you know! And that means we need to randomly swing axes around, even if we're not sure a terrorist is nearby. Yup. Uh-huh.

In other news, Bush's approval rating is hovering right around 20%. This means that 20% of America are well and truly too stupid to live. Congratulations, America; 1/5th of your population is dumber than a fucking rock.
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Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-02-27 11:17
  Subject:   Worst hard drive crash ever.
  Music:Pantera - The Art of Shredding
  Tags:  reddit

Multiple 640x480 imagesCollapse )
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Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-02-27 11:21
  Subject:   XKCD ball-pit update, phase II.
  Tags:  reddit

Looking at pictures of the original, you don’t necessarily realize how cramped the people in it were. I framed the pictures to make it look larger than it actually was (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID).

"I put on my robe and wizard hat."Collapse )

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Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-02-27 12:05
  Subject:   The Rules Of Optimization Club

There was a fun article on the usual sites about the rules of code optimization: http://fetter.org/optimization.html

I think their list is pretty good for the most part, but I have my own first two rules for code optimization club:

  1. The first rule of optimization club is, you do not optimize before profiling.
  2. The second rule of optimization club is, YOU DO NOT OPTIMIZE BEFORE PROFILING!

I particularly like their Rule #3: "If your app is running faster than the underlying transport protocol, the optimization is over."
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Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-02-27 19:59
  Subject:   A cool TED talk on the future of personal fabrication.
  Tags:  slashdot


This may be the neatest TED presentation I have ever seen. This guy throws out so much information so fast I have a hard time absorbing and understanding it all. His brain is running much faster than mine, but even the small bit I can get is really cool. The general gist of the talk is that what personal computers did for information (basically allowing anyone, anywhere, any time to consume and/or create it in exactly the way they want), personal fabrication can do for real world objects. He gives numerous examples of how this works, some of which are highly amusing. He also goes into the social and political difficulties of getting this technology out. The presentation is 17 minutes long but it felt like three or four to me, due to the density of content.

The talk ends with a sort of blue-sky assertion that if we put this technology in the hands of everyone, some really amazing things will emerge. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I certainly want it to be true. But we've heard such utopian predictions before. Weren't radio, then TV, then the Internet all going to lead to all sorts of amazing things? Now radio and TV are a wasteland of corporate advertising. And the Internet is, well, what Avenue Q said.

In the end, I don't think I care whether the hype is true or not. All I know is I have a lot of ideas for things that I would personally love create, but can't because of the high cost of machine work. (SRSLY: $16.50 for a half-inch dia gear, you gouging fuckers??) So if I could get a $20k grant to buy cool machinery like mini CNC mills and run a personal fabrication shop, you bet I'd do it in a heartbeat.
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May 2015