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September 17, 2006

PHP 5.1.6

   I need to recompile PHP to include support for CURL, so  I went ahead and did this with PHP 5.1.6.  The CURL functionality is part of a project I'm trying out to see if I can't adapt my photoblog scripts to make posts on other systems-- kind of a write in one place, post in many. 
   Pictured is some turbulent water by the damn in downtown Beloit.
   So I've noted several IP addresses in the ratrap very close together, likely part of the same subnet. I wondered if they were "legitimate" search engines. As it turns out, one of them happens to be the MSN search robot. Despite clearly being forbidden to access the directory /ratrap/ by robots.txt, MSN is doing it anyway. There is no way I can believe that the one of the Internet's top search engines is doing this by mistake. My only conclusion is that MSN is knowingly ignoring the rules. The question then is, why?
   The comment below by "ken" refers to this picture I posted on his myspace page to wish him a happy birthday.  Ah, the joys of spending 5 minutes with google image search and Paint Shop Pro.
   Pictured is an old truck for sale on a trailer along Highway 51.
   Between homework assignments, I managed to get in an 11.6 mile bike ride.  Photographed this duck at Riverside Park in downtown Beloit.

1 comment has been made.

From ken

janesville

September 16, 2006 at 8:08 PM

you are a sick, sick man. with way too much free time. but thanks! haha
   Typically Wednesdays are homework.  But I have a math quiz and thus, no math homework.  So for the alloted time, I looked into what all my majors require.  Maybe it's sad, but I found myself excited reading the course descriptions of the various math classes.  Titles like "Introduction to Splines and Wavelets", "Introduction to Fourier Analysis", "Queuing Theory and Stochastic Modeling"... good stuff!

September 12, 2006

Ratrap bans first malicious bot

Angie

Angie

   The ratrap makes it's first catch today. Looks like a malicious bot was going through www.TazzDavies.com at about 5 pages per second, fell into the ratrap and got kicked out. The bot only got in 52 requests before it was firewalled and locked out of the system.
   Angie last night at coffee.

September 11, 2006

Atheists, Speak Out!

I have been an atheist most of my life, ever since I first asked the question "what do I believe?" It was a documentary by Jonathan Miller called "Brief History of Disbelief" in which Miller asked why we have a word that describes not believing in something. An "atheist" is "Someone who denies the existence of God" (8). But there is no such word for someone who "denies the existence of unicorns" or "denies the existence of bigfoot." British evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins points out in his documentary "The Root of All Evil?" that "we are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." (17)

The term agnostic is define as "A person who doubts truth of religion" (9), or more over that "theological claims regarding the existence of God, gods, or deities are unknown, inherently unknowable, or incoherent, and therefore, irrelevant to life." (10) There are some who believe a agnostics simply haven't found or subscribed to a belief in god. If that were the case, they would more accurately fall under the category "theist," which is "One who believes in the existence of a god or gods". Note being a "theist" does not carry with it any assumptions of the god or gods other than their existence. Therefore, a Wiccan witch and a Catholic priest are both theists, sense both acknowledge deities. (11,12) Atheists and agnostics then share the view that god is irrelevant to life. There has been some misunderstanding regarding weather one is an atheist or agnostic. Some simply claim agnostic because while they do not think there is a god, they believe claiming to be an atheist means they have proof that god does not exist. The majority of atheists don't claim to know god doesn't exist-- they just don't see any proof god does, or reason why god needs to. Still others choose the title of agnostic because it's less radical and therefor less shunned then being an atheist. Indeed, there is reason to question openly being an atheist.

Atheists have been disliked throughout history. In 1677 England there was "An act for the punishing of atheism and blasphemy" which stated that "for any person being the age of 16 years or more, not being visibly and apparently distracted and out of his wits by sickness or natural infirmity or not being a natural fool void of common sense shall after this act by word or writing deny that there is a God ... there shall be judgment of death pass upon him and execution shall follow without pardon or reprieve" (1) While you won't find such laws in western countries today, there are countries like Iran where being a non-believer is punishable by death. Indeed, "Among the seventeen great sins, unbelief is the greatest, more heinous than murder, theft, adultery and so on." (2) In the U.S., there are laws that are suppose to guarantee freedom of religious choice, in which atheists, agnostics and the like are covered. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ..." (3) This does not stop people from discriminating. In Guymon, Oklahoma (which, despite being a town of 10,000-- I've been there), Nicole Smalkowski was kicked off her high school basketball team for refusing to recite the "Lord's Prayer." Her father, Chester Smalkowski, went to the house of the school principal, Lloyd Buckley. Buckley struck Smalkowski, starting a fight between the two men. Buckley then filed misdemeanor criminal assault charges against Smalkowski. The District Attorney told Smalkowski the charges would be dropped if he and his Atheist family left the county. Smalkowski refused and the charges were elevated to felony. Over the course of almost two years, Smalkowski and his family were harassed and spent tens of thousands of dollars for their defense. The jury found him not guilty on all charges. (4,5,6,18) This isn't an isolated event. A study by the University of Minnesota Department of Sociology found "Atheists [are] identified as America's most distrusted minority." (7) The report continues, "Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years."

The world doesn't like us and it never has. Yet to repress our true beliefs because we fear being outcasts, or the subjects of discrimination, only allows the perpetrators to continue to oppress. We live in a time were religious dogma is not only ridiculous, but harmful and dangerous. The Catholic Church continues to fight against condom use in AIDS ridden areas of Africa (13) where programs that include condom use have clearly been working to combat this epidemic. (17) Fundamentalist extremists like Osama bin Laden direct suicide bombings "to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Makka)." (14) World-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking was asked by Pope John Paul II "not [to] study the beginning of the universe because it was the work of God." (15) The Pope is suggesting rather then trying to gain an understanding of the fundamentals of how the universe works and possibly upset a said deity by treading on forbidden ground, it is better to stay ignorant.

Sam Harris, author of the book "The End of Faith," argues in the documentary "The God Who wasn't There" that "it (religion) is perfectly maladaptive to planning for a sustainable future of the human race. It is maladaptive, certainly, when it comes time to avoid global conflict because by the likes of these prophecies (referring to Revelations), global conflict is the pre-cursor to Jesus coming back". (16) Harris continues, "When the president of the United States says 'I plan to appoint common sense judges who know that our rights our derived from God', I think someone in the White House Press Core should be able to stand up and say 'How is that different from thinking your going to appoint common sense judges who think our rights are derived from Zeus?' That's clearly an impotent question, but a totally reasonable question". Harris is pointing out how irrational beliefs go unchecked because it's a social taboo to question someone's religious beliefs, even if that someone holds the most powerful office in the world.

I believe we atheists, agnostics and religious skeptics have to speak out. We have to dispense with the idea that religion is a harmless act we choose not to be a part of. It is having an effect on our world, and it isn't always positive. So take a stand and don't let others run you over with 4th century rhetoric; stop backing down and attack these ridicules ideologies.

Andrew A.Que

September 11th, 2006

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?

Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?

Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?

Then why call him God?"

Epicurus, BC 341-270

  • (1) Jonathan Miller's "Brief History of Disbelief", part 2 of 3. BBC, October 2005
  • (2) http://pnews.org/ArT/ExP/ApoS.shtml - Adapted from a speech delivered at a conference entitled "Victims of Jihad", held parallel to the UN's 61st commission of Human Rights on 18th April 2005, in Geneva -Switzerland.
  • (3) http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/funddocs/billeng.htm - THE BILL OF RIGHTS, Amendments 1-10 of the Constitution
  • (4) http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/smalko2.htm - JUST ANOTHER SALEM by Chester Smalkowski, July 8, 2006
  • (5) http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/smalko1.htm - SMALKOWSKI FOUND NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS, June 26, 2006
  • (6) http://www.gdherald.com/articles/2006/07/20/news/news01.txt - "Smalkowski claims harassment" Guymon Daily Herald, July 20, 2006
  • (7) http://www.ur.umn.edu/unsreleases/find.php?from=umnnews&ID=2816, "Atheists identified as America's most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study"; Penny Edgell, associate professor of sociology, 3/28/2006
  • (8) TheSage English Dictionary and Thesaurus, Sequence Publishing, 2001-2006
  • (9) TheSage English Dictionary and Thesaurus, Sequence Publishing, 2001-2006
  • (10) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic, "Agnostic" Wikipedia
  • (11) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca, "Wicca", Wikipedia
  • (12) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholics, "Roman Catholic Church", Wikipedia
  • (13) http://www.cathnews.com/news/310/53.php, "Church in Africa continues AIDS fight without condoms", 10 Oct 2003
  • (14) http://www.ict.org.il/articles/fatwah.htm "Text of Fatwah Urging Jihad Against Americans", Published in Al-Quds al-'Arabi on Febuary 23, 1998
  • (15) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13340672/ "Stephen Hawking touches on God and science", MSNBC, June 15, 2006
  • (16) "The God Who Wasn't There", Brian Flemming, May 21, 2005
  • (17) http://www.unaids.org/bangkok2004/GAR2004_html/ExecSummary_en/ExecSumm_00_en.htm - UNAIDS 2004 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic
  • (18) http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=173&topic_id=1263&mesg_id=1510 "Its even worse if you are a liberal and have no gods", Chester Francis Smalkowski Jr., 12-09-05

September 11, 2006

Happy 2nd Birthday to the Garage

   The Garage celebrates it's second birthday.  Work completed in August of 2004 and the official grand-reopening party was held September 11, 2004.  Two years latter, it's still standing :)
   Pictured is the flag hanging on the ceiling.  The Garage has always had an American flag hanging, although it hasn't always been the same one. 
Vinny

Vinny

   Changed the mail server to Postfix—I can't stand sendmail any longer.  The change over was quite painless, but I still haven't figured out how to do everything I'd like.  The change has been on the list of to-do items for sometime, but got a boost when I was asked to setup a mail server for ChomskyTorrents.org.
   Pictured is Vinny, taking an other bath.
   An other day of home work.  Is it sad I do my precalculus homework first because I enjoy it more then reading?  Aside from homework, I've been working more with Martin of ChomskyTorrents.org.  We've got a full server FreeBSD to work with now and have been hammering out the kinks.  I managed to get Apache, PHP and MySQL up and running.  Now to get all the PHP front-ends working.
   Pictured is Jr. with a bear he won from the skill crane.  (Jr. is like the Jedi master of skill crane)