Hashemian Blog
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God vs. Science

by @ 11:33 pm
Filed under: religion — Tags: , ,

Parts are taken from Dawkins' books and lectures, but they bear repeating.
http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/12/19/a-holiday-message-from-ricky-gervais-why-im-an-atheist/

Sun Chips Noisy Bags

by @ 11:11 pm
Filed under: business,social — Tags:

Wouldn't call myself a fan, but I like the regular Sun chips and I sometimes get a small bag to go with my sandwich. I've been hearing about the new noisy bags for some time but until last week I had no idea what the complaints were all about.

So last week I was at the grocery store where I spotted large bags of Sun chips on the shelf with the words "100% Compostable" on them. As I reached to grab one, I suddenly understood what the fuss was all about. The bags are really loud, but unlike some other people my reaction was one of amusement and interest.

I actually like the noisy bags, and one my kids does too. In fact she mentioned that it's crazy that the company is reverting to the old bags because of a few complaints. I don't know, seems to me that Sun chips actually has a winning formula with these bags. They're not only better for the environment, but their noisiness sets them apart from the other bags. I actually bought another bag yesterday. Am I becoming a fan now?

Check out the noise from the bag here: Sun Chips Noise

Gawker's Hack, Spammers' Treasure

by @ 11:40 pm
Filed under: hacking — Tags: , ,

Today, out of curiosity, I downloaded the hacked Gawker files from The Pirate Bay. I'm not sure if I broke any laws by doing that, but I was only interested in checking out their PHP source files. You can learn a lot by looking at production code other than your own.

While my intentions were harmless, I'm sure many others downloaded the files for more sinister purposes. I was blown away by the size and scope of the membership file dumps. There are thousands and thousands of records of login name, passwords and emails. One of the first things the bad guys will do is to try breaking into the members' bank accounts, email accounts, and Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and eBay accounts since many tend to use the same password everywhere online.

I hope people change their passwords quickly enough to mitigate the damage from the criminals, but there is one damage that will be hard to contain, and that is the sheer number of valid emails that spammers will promptly exploit.

Granted, most emails appear to mysteriously land in spammers' databases almost as soon as they're created. Nevertheless, even those users who guard their emails tooth and nail, had better be ready. If they had a Gawker account, they will be getting valuable offers from a number of spammers real soon.

God Hates Elizabeth Edwards - Wonderful

by @ 10:17 pm
Filed under: religion — Tags: , , ,

Elizabeth Edwards once said:

"I don't believe that we should live our lives that way for some promise of eternal life, but because that's what's right. We should do those things because that's what's right."

This woman was as courageous as she was honest. Not even the specter of death shook her conviction that the imaginary power in the sky is just, well, imaginary. A life lived well is not about serving an invisible and unsubstantiated force, but it's about doing the right things and aspiring to attain one's highest moral and ethical potential.

Indeed, when the vile Westboro Baptist Church pickets a funeral as they have decided to in Elizabeth Edward's case, she must have been a noble human being to have earned that honor. I can only hope that god will hate me too when I die and the Westboro imbeciles will picket my funeral. No honor can be greater.

Middle-Class Squeeze

by @ 10:44 am
Filed under: financial,politics — Tags: , ,

I haven't looked at the details of the latest tax agreement reached between Obama and the Republicans, but judging by its face value, it's yet another jab at the middle-class who's always the punching bag of everyone else.

So let's get this straight. The super-rich get to keep their unfair tax advantages squirreling away their monies in their foreign accounts and gold and enhancing their hedonistic lifestyles. In other words they'll just keep richer and filthier. The unemployed continue to receive their unemployment checks well beyond the reasonable term the unemployment insurance was meant for. In other words they'll just get lazier and keep coasting along on other people's dime.

The twisted logic is that by making the super-rich even wealthier, they'll be motivated to hire more people thereby spurring job growth. An the other end of the twisted logic the longer the unemployed receive checks, the more they're encouraged to spend thereby spurring economic growth. The flaw in both arguments is that neither case has been able to definitively prove its intended results.

What's proven is that these reckless policies have helped balloon the country's deficit to unsustainable levels. Soon enough the US will not even be able service its debt and guess who'll have to dig the country out of the mess, the shrinking middle-class.

What the US needs real bad right now is a good dose of austerity. That means some new taxes (yes, for the rich people too), and spending cuts (yes, for the unemployed too). But the gutless politicians are too craven or too connected to the special interest to even try it. Keeping the pressure on the middle-class is hardly a formula for economic success, it's fast-track to economic ruins.

Deep Blue Sky

by @ 7:17 pm
Filed under: environment — Tags: ,

A couple of weeks ago while hiking in the back woods and taking some pictures, I decided to take a picture from the sky. When I looked at the picture afterwards, the deep blue color of the sky really struck me.

Hope you enjoy the photo as much as I do. Don't know if the camera had made any internal adjustments to the colors when I snapped the photo, but other than scaling down to post here, no editing of any kind has been done to it. It's straight from the smartphone camera.

deep blue sky

Amazon.com and Pedophilia

by @ 9:09 pm
Filed under: law,money — Tags: ,

amazonFirst amazon.com accepts a book that apparently promotes, or at least condones, pedophilia (I haven't read the book, nor do I plan to). Then basks in the publicity as complaints begin to pour in and the media covers the story ad-nauseum. Then it stokes the flames more by hiding behind the first amendment, realizing that it will drum up even more business. Finally when the calls for boycotting start to get louder, it silently removes the title from its site, and it refuses to answer any questions about its decision.

So which is it, amazon? Did you suddenly decide to violate the first amendment rights of the author and yank the title? Or did you decide to be a moral corporate citizen? The answer: none of the above. Just a hypocritical company riding the wave of publicity and doing the right thing only when profits are in jeopardy. It's anything for a buck, even instructions on child abuse.

Disclaimer: I have a gripe against amazon.com for unjustly accusing me of wrong-doing.

Gold Keeps Rising

by @ 12:07 am
Filed under: financial,money — Tags: ,

goldIt seems like there's no way of stopping gold from its upward march. Even with the stronger dollar today, gold surpassed $1,410 an once, setting a new price record.

Clearly the market is nervous about the world economy and the dollar's viability, so it keeps pouring money into gold. As with everything else, at some point, if not already, gold will become a bubble and it will crash. Of course that threshold is unknown, it could be next week or next year. It could start deflating now or it may continue to $2,000 an ounce before it implodes.

Right now, as things appear, gold seems to be a safe bet, so chances are that it will keep on climbing. But beyond $1,500, it could be considered over-bought and the risk of collapse becomes a real concern.

Emergency Pleasure Droid

by @ 11:45 am
Filed under: google,music — Tags: , ,

pleasure droid

Still shot from 'You are the Girl' - The Cars

Apparently The Cars knew about Droid back in 1987 and seems like their version was more fun that Google's smartphone version of today 🙂

Yep, that's Ric Ocasek getting ready to unleash the "Pleasure Droid". If only the product and the song were released at the same time. Google and Motorola could have used this clip to promote their Droid platform.

Oracle Collects on Sun

by @ 11:15 pm
Filed under: business,google,law,technology — Tags: , , ,

Oracle SunBack when Oracle acquired Sun, you really didn't think that it was going to continue with the free open source model, did you? Of course not. This is Oracle, and Oracle is all about business. It has expensive products and even more expensive support and maintenance terms. And if someone like SAP starts to offer cheaper support, Oracle has the legal resources to sue them out of its turf very quickly.

Those lawyers are now busy suing Google over Java license violations in its Android platform. Meanwhile OpenSolaris is seeing its last days in the sun as the focus shifts to its commercial counterpart, Oracle Solaris, where there's money to be made.

It won't be long before Java, MySQL, and OpenOffice will be history too, at least in terms of their current forms. In Oracle's world if a product doesn't substantially contribute to the bottom line, it's axed. That's an unfortunate hit on innovation and open collaboration.

Oracle has a good track record of successful business ventures and profitable acquisitions. But the company is basically reliant on old legacy systems from itself and acquired companies to drive its earnings. When is the last time you heard of an innovative or exciting product coming out of Oracle? Probably in 1977 when its flagship product, Oracle Database, was conceived. And even then Oracle Database wasn't that novel. It was based on an existing IBM database product.

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