Russell's Blog

New. Improved. Stays crunchy in milk.

AUCTeX rules.

Posted by Russell on January 26, 2006 at 9 p.m.
On a lark, I started playing with the preview features in AUCTeX. Awesome.

The infamous high-beta paper, writing at last

Posted by Russell on January 25, 2006 at 10:10 p.m.
Just a few days after hearing that Pierre's paper is finally in press (I'm the third author), I'm starting work on my first real paper. I finally have my software for the project working more or less correctly, so I can actually start writing the paper (since I know what I can actually do now). Holy Hell, this took a long time. I can't wait to start working on new stuff, but I've got to get this out the door first. With any luck, I'll have a draft ready for my adviser when he gets back from his trip.

Justice served

Posted by Russell on January 22, 2006 at 1:57 a.m.
After nearly a year arguing with the City of Los Angeles Parking Authority (or whatever they call themselves), I'm finally vindicated!

Yes, folks, you can drive your car without a front plate in the state of California, provided:

  • Your plates were issued before 1987
  • You don't mind arguing with bureaucrats a lot

Gunther is now re-registered and insured. Once again, I am mobile!

Winter School

Posted by Russell on January 11, 2006 at 2:52 p.m.
This week's lesson: If you know anything about computers, and your boss doesn't know it, under no circumstances should you allow them to find out!

This week is the Winter School. Third day, and I think I've heard about as much about magnetic reconnection as I can absorb.

Winning the "Culture of Corruption" Point

Posted by Russell on January 08, 2006 at 9:32 p.m.
To beat the Republicans in 2006 and 2008, the best message the Democrats have is to highlight the corruption of the Republican party. The Republicans will be unable to refute this accusation, and so their strategy will be largely based on accusing the Democrats of similar corruption. To date, the Democratic response to this message has been, roughly;
  • We're not in power, so how can we be corrupt?
  • We're not corrupt.
  • OK, maybe we've been corrupt, and maybe a few of us still are, but we're way less corrupt.
I'm exaggerating a bit, but it's not too far from the mark. This is a lame refutation. We'll need something stronger.

Fortunately, such an argument can be formulated simply by articulating changes underway in how the Democrats are raising money. Thanks largely to Howard Dean's leadership at the DNC, the Democratic Party is transforming into a member-supported party. The best answer to the too-familiar refrain of false equality on the corruption issue is;
  • Once up on a time, the Democrats and the Republicans financed campaigns mostly with money from big lobbing groups. This was how corruption seeped into both parties. The Republicans are still financed in this way. We are not.
  • If we seize control of Congress, we will take immediate action to strengthen ethics rules in the House and Senate. The ethical rules we plan to implement are simple, and should be publicized ahead of the election as part of the general campaign strategy. We should promise to swiftly censure or eject any of our own party who violate these rules.
  • Once in control of Congress, if we begin to follow the same pattern of corruption now rampant in the Republican party, then we deserve to be voted out.
  • The Republicans believe in a double-standard with respect to corruption. Some of them have noble goals, but as a group they take the attitude that the ends justify the means. And so, they freely engage in corrupt and illegal acts, but still condemn any infraction on the part of a Democrat with the utmost shrillness. As the majority party, Democrats will promise to respect the rules, whatever our goals.

When it comes to corruption, we have to articulate how the Democrats are fundamentally different from the Republican party. Arguing matters of degree isn't good enough. If we don't show a clear, obvious distinction in the structure of our party, the Republicans will blow their false equality horn, and they'll win the point.

(Cross posted on DailyKos)

lighttpd working

Posted by Russell on January 07, 2006 at 7:26 a.m.
With a hat-tip to Chris, I have my fresh install of typo on lighttpd+fastcgi up and running on biscotti.

There was much rejoicing.

Server Software:        Russell's lighttpd
Server Hostname:
Server Port:            80

Document Path:          /
Document Length:        4892 bytes

Concurrency Level:      2
Time taken for tests:   0.36696 seconds
Complete requests:      100
Failed requests:        0
Write errors:           0
Total transferred:      512900 bytes
HTML transferred:       489200 bytes
Requests per second:    2725.09 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request:       0.734 [ms] (mean)
Time per request:       0.367 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate:          13625.46 [Kbytes/sec] received

Biscotti Lives!

Posted by Russell on January 07, 2006 at 5:53 a.m.
Our new colo server is up and running, and I'm finally getting around to putting something here. I've been too busy to fiddle with this stuff these days.