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12 February 2009

darwin continued - see previous post first!

It gets weirder. Evidence that females prefer manly men when fertile, and caring men when not... Females, like the nest-robber bird, can see big gains by capturing the choicest "extra-marital" sperm for babies, and getting the hubby to feed and cloth them.

"choice" men, for their part, can gain from this arrangement if they can detect fertile women.... or they can lose, unless they guard the "old lady" from the "wolves". my quotes.

the cost-benefit matrix is pretty simple - all women benefit from one caregiver and one or more hunks, same person or different. some men benefit from caring for one female, some from sleeping with many and caring for one or none, and some take care of others' kids!

Darwin's are examples of theories so clearly articulated as to be self-evident to the receptive listener (though he provided heaps of evidence in support thereof). Here too i see sense. The bar is the microcosm, & experiment bears it out. My fave - fertile fems prefer smell of symmetric males.

11 February 2009

Darwin Day Dr. Thornberg and the evolution of human female sexuality

By luck or by fate, his talk was moved and i managed to catch it today, the day before Darwin's 200th birthday. It's still blowing my mind.

Jumping ahead, humans are the only known species in which females don't advertise fertility, In fact, it seems they hide it.

What better place to observe female fertility concealment and mate guarding by males than at a bar. -- Ogg's ugly step-child lives on

For years i compressed music into ogg vorbis, before ultimately admitted loosing the device-war. Ipods don't play ogg, which sucks. But i have no control over Apple. (I can tell old age is coming quickly, since i don't really care too much about things i can't control anymore. It's the things i can control that i can regret at my own leisure). Drawing similarities between ogg's parent organization,, and OLPC, is tempting. They both promised to save the world in the face of staLinktic, property-ized, inferior technology (mp3 for the former, something more amorphous for the XO). They both were non-profits that, to an arguable extent, over-sold and under-delivered. The OLPC is (mostly) dead. Long live Pixel Qi. Ogg Vorbis is (mostly) dead. Long live Flac. Flac is my new favorite format. The compressor is blazing fast compared to lossy compressors like mp3 and ogg vorbis - limited, seemingly, by disk I/O. As a format, it seems to do everything better than WAV, while consuming a fraction of the space. I can't seek through them, they can't contain the most basic of meta-data, let alone real honest-to-god ID3 tags. With blank DVDs the price they are, and lossy audio codec wars heating back up with AAC, AAC+, etc., i'm stashing "the goods" away in lossless flac for future transcoding to whatever the heck i want, as needed. ----- edit: The above is a bit too harsh on, i suppose. After peering around, the have a plethora of codex alive and kicking - Speex, OggPCM, a low latency format, and HARK! Theora just hit 1.0 with a $100,000 grant from Mozilla. Holy crap! So where does that put us? The ipod video *definitely not* supporting Theora? I'm not talking about the Ipod because i have one or love one. I'm talking about it because people buy them and use them in shockingly large numbers. Firefox is capturing marketshare, and is a good vehicle to consume Theora on. Still, what format plays on the device that fits in someone's pocket has a huge impact on the usefulness of the format -- and i don't expect lossless video, really ever. What would be the point? What i really want is programmable hardware. I don't want use my laptop as a phone or an alarm clock! But I can't really program my alarm clock, let alone my phone, and that really bugs me. So, as a final and decidedly asymptotic aside, i want to mention that intel just announced an upgrade of it's Rio Rancho, NM chip fab to 35nm process (yes, there's sometimes real news in the Albuquerque Journal after all...). I mention this to highlight how few nanometers there are between 35 and 0! The race towards high transistor density is grinding towards completion. I hope (though i'm not holding my breath) that we're approaching a new era of *smarter* hardware, not just blazing fast oh-my-god-so-much-in-a-tiny-package hardware -- and my first criteria of smart is *programmable*, making the format wars obsolete. How'd'ya think big brother would feel about that?

05 February 2009

sleep cont

1 dropperful, twice a day. It's deep red, a tastes a bit like sunshine, in an earthy sort of way.

Superifially, i feel more relaxed. I'm still not "thirsty" for sleep, 6 or 7 hours seems to do me, which is a bit surprising. This morning, though, the dreams. I was in a hurricane in coastal alaska. Don't ask me how... Not scary, more like thrilling, watching the waves build. Then the eye came over, and i ran out into the sudden clear, giddy. I've always wanted to see the eye of a hurricane.

I feel refreshed. The sun's out. I'm glad that, so it seems, the worst is over.

On Seasons and Sleep

"Sleeping is my hobby"

That quote from one of my bosses. I tend to concur. In the runOup to the winter solstice, i found myself with an insatiable hunger for sleep. 9 to 10 solid hours, day after day. It was magical & comforting & confusing all at once. I could weather a single night of 5 hours of sleep once a week perhaps, and then i had to hibernate. Any less sleep & i soon became a zombie, walking brain-dead.

The sun started coming back, the weather became mild, and the semester started. That last one, i'm sure, affected me most in the short-term. The sudden rush of people, ideas, and deadlines was pure overstimulation. For days at a time, i was awake at night, restless. I lay in bed, closed my eyes, and opened them a few hours later. It's not that i was "trying" to go to sleep, There was simply little sleep to be had, and little rest in the sleep that came.

I started to fall apart a bit.

I started on St. john's wort tincture last sunday. Frsh stuff, made in town.


03 February 2009

What i use, and how

I've been trying to set up my first dual-screen set up, and make it ultra-sweet. I'm using ubuntu and openbox, and i find myself searching for and rediscovering sites and techniques, along with new ones. So, here's a quick document of what i'm using on my desktop! First off, my two favorite desktop art sites are here - sooooo nice There's a nice nvidia card in this machine, so I can use the "nvidia-settings" program to set up twinview super-quick to have 2 separate X displays. To run a program on a particular one, i just precede the command with DISPLAY=:0.0 One remarkable discovery was switch2, which handles gtk themes. I'm a black-background fanatic. i can't believe i didn't find this earlier. i always assumed that the window manager handled coloring inside windows, but *obvious in retrospect* that's the application's job, with help from gtk. Yeeesh, learn something profound with each new install! I picked up some themes from here:, though it took me a while to figure out how to use them.... sigh. I settled on a theme called "kore". I really like it's Qt firefox buttons, and rounded everything. I'm using .xsession to start and position everything - using gdm, I select the "Run Xclients script". This is ***far*** from counter-intuitive. So, here's my xsession, that points out a lot of the programs i settled on... DISPLAY=:0.1 openbox & #### i have to start one on each display #DISPLAY=:0.1 ggl-gtk & ### google applets, don't work for some reason xmodmap -e 'keycode 66 = Control_L' & # Make capslock a control key xmodmap -e 'clear Lock' & xmodmap -e 'add Control = Control_L' & #DISPLAY=:0.1 gkrellm -c c2& DISPLAY=:0.0 feh --bg-center ~/.config/openbox/Underwater-City_1600.jpg ###from DISPLAY=:0.0 fbpanel & ### supports transparency! DISPLAY=:0.0 gkrellm & ### all-in-one monitoring! DISPLAY=:0.0 firefox & xscreensaver --nosplash ### i use this to lock screen DISPLAY=:0.1 xfce4-terminal --geometry 85x31+0+0 --hide-borders --hide-menubar & ### look ma! a terminal!!! #DISPLAY=:0.1 xfce4-terminal & DISPLAY=:0.0 amarok --display :0.0 & DISPLAY=:0.0 exec openbox Here's the interesting screen and here's where i do all the work - no borders, no scroll bar, just the tab indicators at the top. the mouse wheel and Ctrl-Shift-Up still scrolls, and the X paste buffer does it's duty. Hmmm, looks like gkrellmd is doing WAY more work than it needs to... For my part, real work was obviously lacking so far today! Yeesh, let me count the ways i'm not doing work... 1,2,3,4, a, b, .... -