Clarity of Important Writing

January 16, 2012

H/T to Matt Ridley, the following is Francis Crick writing in 1953 to is son about their discovery of DNA:

Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery…Now we believe that the DNA is a code. That is, the order of the bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page pf print is different from another). You can see how Nature makes copies of the genes. Because if the two chains unwind into two separate chains, and if each chain makes another chain come together on it, then because A always goes with T, and G with C, we shall get two copies where we had one before. In other words, we think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life…You can understand we are excited.”

Smart Meters on Electrical Power Supply

January 15, 2012

Secret Scotland has a great posting “Smart Meters — Maybe Not So Smart”.

The US and UK–government and industry–are pushing hard to install so-called “smart metering technology” everywhere.

Smart metering allows two-way information exchange between energy users and suppliers, providing real-time (almost) information about supply and demand at the individual user level, allowing the level of that supply and demand to be accurately determined on a moment-to-moment basis. According to the Government, smart metering will slash unnecessary energy use, reduce emissions, and cut consumers’ energy bills.

However, as mentioned in the above posting and based on my understanding:

: I still haven’t seen the “proof” that the best interests of customers are retained. Where are the experiments showing before and after? While described as something to manage supply and demand, it is more likely a tool to manage “supply”, e.g. they will give you electricity when they feel like it and if they feel you are not justified getting it, they will cut you off.

: Security is a risk. Our society cannot protect our credit card transactions “on the net”. How will our newly-networked electrical supply system be protected and will it work? Surely there now new risks which are insufficiently mitigated. And what about “unitentended consequences”? See the paper by Anderson and Fuloria linked to by Secret Scotland.

: In today’s news I read that Which? Magazine warns of energy smart meter “fiasco”. Which? is reported to be concerned about the project execution risk–which surely is large as projects like this have a very poor track record–but they don’t appear to be commenting on the purpose/benefits. Yet the project sponsors are enthusiastically reporting on the purpose/benefits which seem to be appear to be unsubstantiated.

Remind me again why we are doing this?

Right, now explain again how we can model the climate for years and years?

January 4, 2012

See this montage of weather photos (via satellite) over 9 weeks in 3 minutes:

VPN on Mac doesn’t work correctly

January 3, 2012

I’m getting frustrated and if anyone has suggestions, let me know. I want to connect to a VPN (PPTD) server. Works fine on iPhone. Using exact same settings on Mac (current version), it will not connect. The console logs, even with verbose logging on says “connection to server”. And that’s it. It eventually gives up.

I’ve tried other VPN protocols with no luck. I’ve tried repairing disk permissions. I’ve tried resetting the VPN connections. I’ve removed the keychain entries. I’ve tried Googling for ideas.


Don’t let anyone tell you that Macs are perfect.


January 3, 2012

From Boing Boing, I saw this. I like it. I often have conversations with people who live outside the USA and are quick to make sure that I know that they know more than me about “America”. This will over their heads.

ps. I grew up in a state not unlike Iowa, and appears from the news articles I read to be just as important in the upcoming Presidential election.