Warning to drivers in countries which persecute sex customers

If you live in a country like Sweden or USA, in which people who buy sex from prostitutes can be persecuted, then do not be a good samaritan if you see a woman in apparent distress on road:

Good Samaritan Sex Offender
Chicago Man Sues after Prostitution Arrest

Blogging About Disabilities

I write in this blog not only about crazy ideas, but also about accessibility and deafness.

Lorelle on WordPress wrote a blog article about people who blog about disabilities. This article repeats the old stuff (known to people with disabilities, but not widely known otherwise) about the percentage of people disabilities in the general population, mentions the relevant legal issues (specific to USA), and links to several relevant and interesting blogs.

The above article also refers the readers to Globe of Blogs – Disabled Blogs for more disabled blog links.

Blog Day 2007

Today it’s the 3rd Blog Day.

More information about the yearly Blog Day.

Five of the blogs, which I read and recommend are:

  • Freedom to Tinker (http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/) – … is your freedom to understand, discuss, repair, and modify the technological devices you own.
  • Lauren Weinstein’s Blog (http://lauren.vortex.com/) – about Internet topics, privacy and other issues relating to technology and society. The author has been active in the Internet privacy scene ever since its inception.
  • I’m just a simple DBA on a complex production system (http://prodlife.wordpress.com/) – Writing about all things production. Especially Oracle databases. The author writes about her work life as a DBA – tips, difficulties, conferences, etc.
  • Web2Spot (http://web2spot.blogspot.com/) – Covering Web 2.0 news, trends & companies made in Israel.
  • Hope is the thing with feathers (http://israblog.nana10.co.il/blogread.asp?blog=150892) – Shira Horesh’s Hebrew language blog about her life and struggles as a young woman, who got deafened at late age.

The above are only five of the 88 blogs which I routinely scan and read via their RSS feeds, using the Akregator. The first two blogs are relatively famous, and are important to follow because the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The other three are less known.

Mad Scientists!

Did you think that mad scientists exist only in pulp Sci-Fi stories and in James Bond 007 movies?

If so, The Top 20 Most Bizarre Experiments of all time will set you right!

This Web page is not for the squeamish, and it features delightful experiments such as two-headed dogs, human-ape hybrids, and getting people to kill puppies by electrical shocks.  Reading that several of the experiments were performed by Soviet scientists made me feel as if I am reading a real life enactment of the secret labs of Luthor Corp.

Three practical philosophies


In addition to major life philosophies and religions, there are also various philosophies and methods which aim at doing better various things in life. In this post I write about three such “minor” philosophies.

Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method belongs to the realm of complementary and alternative medicine. It stresses user physical movements. It is applied by people like dancers or musicians, who want to improve their movement repertoire, and by people, who want to reduce their pain or movement limitations. One famous student of the Feldenkrais Method was David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel.
Wikipedia article (also source of this summary): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feldenkrais_Method
The Feldenkrais Method Center: http://www.feldenkrais-center.com/INDEX_ENG.HTM

Eliahu Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints

The Theory of Constraints (TOC) belongs to the realm of business and organizational management. Each system (business or organization) has a goal to be maximized. Each system has also a key constraint, which limits the system’s performance relative to its goal. In order to manage the system’s performance, the key constraint must be identified and dealt with.
Wikipedia article (also source of this summary): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_Constraints

Steve Litt’s Universal Troubleshooting Process

The Universal Troubleshooting Process (UTP) belongs to the realms of repairing malfunctioning equipment and software debugging. It is a method for troubleshooting reproducible problems and ensuring that once they are fixed – they stay fixed.
The core of this process is a 10-step process, which covers preparations, actual diagnosis, repair, and post-repair work.
Longer description of the process: http://www.troubleshooters.com/tuni.htm

Wicked Problems

The subject of wicked problems is discussed in Rethinking Wicked Problems.

The following wicked problems in Israel contribute a lot of heat to the political discourse:

  • Place of religion in Israel (Israel as a state of Jews vs. Israel as a Jewish state).
  • Civil rights of Israeli Arabs vs. security of Jews by their being majority. By extension, dealing with the Palestinian refugee problem.
  • How best to help the hungry and poor in Israel.
  • Traffic accidents – human factors vs. infrastructure factors.
  • Balance of the right to make money by one’s efforts with the governance-distorting political clout caused by being very rich.

On the other hand, the problem of optimal management of the health system and health insurance does not appear to be a wicked problem.

Finally a test for aptitude for programming?

It is well known that it is impossible to use currently available tools to test for ability to program computers.

In their paper The camel has two humps (working title), Dehnadi and Bornat claim to finally have a test, which can predict one’s ability to program. Basically, their test assesses the candidate’s ability to manipulate symbols according to rules without looking for a meaning in those symbols.

A note to self:
According to the above paper, the following are the major semantic hurdles, which trip up novice imperative programmers:

  1. Assignment and sequence.
  2. Recursion/Iteration.
  3. Concurrency.

Novice declarative programmers have to leap the following semantic hurdle:

  • Argument substitution.

In addition to the above semantic hurdles, I know of one additional major semantic hurdle:

  • The concept of a pointer.

I wonder whether there are additional semantic hurdles, listed in some obscure (or not so obscure) paper published somewhere in the world – or even unrecognized so far.

Has AI been created at last?

Why Companies Shouldn’t Use Robots In Chat is a rant about customer service by chat. Rob May wanted to cancel an account, and found the cancellation process to be difficult. From the character of responses, he could not determine if he was interacting with an human or with an IRC bot.

Why do I feel as if a time machine is on the threshold of having almost been activated?