Archive for March, 2006


Monday, March 27th, 2006

Is the intent to provide incentive to create, or to provide opportunity to create? To me, providing incentive is the equivalent of dangling a carrot in front of the hitherto idle musician. He will only create when the reward is sufficient. Is that a philosophy within which great art is created?

The opportunistic musician, on the other hand, creates constantly without needing any incentive to do so – the copyright privilege, when invoked, lends to him the economic opportunity to devote his time exclusively to artistic pursuit.

I believe there is a fine distinction here that is missed by both sides of the copyright debate. Incentive is a nice thing economically, but pure incentive, like the ownership metaphor, should not be the end goal of copyright – copyright should be viewed first and foremost as a mechanism to provide _opportunity_ to advance the sciences and useful arts. Would-be artists who only cash in and create something when the incentive is sufficient were not who the framers had in mind… and since they are only pandering and not advancing the state of the art, we shouldn't pay them much heed when they demand more and more protection in order to continue creating.

“The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but '[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.'” – Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the majority in Feist v. Rural Telephone Service Company, Inc. (1991)

If vim suddenly won't display help…

Monday, March 27th, 2006

I was getting this strange message when attempting to invoke vim help:

Sorry, help file “/usr/share/vim/vim64/doc/help.txt.gz” not found

What was strange is that path did not exist even. I was about to file a bug when I checked my $HOME/.vimrc, and lo and behold this little gem was in it:

” Debian uses compressed helpfiles. We must inform vim that the main
” helpfiles is compressed. Other helpfiles are stated in the tags-file.
set helpfile=$VIMRUNTIME/doc/help.txt.gz

Commenting out that last line fixed the problem.

Oh, and if you want to reformat a text document where the lines are too long:
:set textwidth=60 (or some other reasonable number)
Then highlight the text in question, and hit 'g' then 'q'.

Automatic grub reconfiguration after Debian kernel update

Monday, March 27th, 2006

In /etc/kernel-img.conf:

postinst_hook = /sbin/update-grub
postrm_hook = /sbin/update-grub
do_bootloader = No
do_initrd = Yes

do_bootloader needs to be No counterintuitively, because “bootloader” actually means LILO, and we aren't using LILO. do_initrd = Yes suppresses the warning about configuring your grub menu.lst for use with an initrd kernel.

Legal and mostly safe highs

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Salvia Divinorum
Material – Leaves/Extract
Active Ingredient – Salvinorin A
Kappa opoid agonist, so produces effects similar to those known as “opium dreams”; unrelated to mu-opoid agonists (such as opiates) and no addictive potential whatsoever. Purely hallucinogenic (geometric visuals, warped feeling, “higher power” presence). Leaf must be smoked in a water pipe, extract is recommended for easier ingestion (water pipe not required). Mixing with cannabis enhances effects. Trip lasts 10-15 minutes, effects 30-45 minutes. No hangover. This is not a party drug.

Morning Glory
Material – Seeds
Active Ingredient – Lysergic Acid (LSA)
Trip similar to LSD but more laid back; mental coherence during the trip is greater than LSD. Seed extraction should be performed since the seeds are unpleasant to consume; basic extraction is to simply hull the seeds. Trip lasts several hours. Hawaiian Baby Woodrose (HBWR) is the best seed species. Seeds and crude extract are legal to possess, but not pure LSA. It should go without saying not to use any drug during pregnancy (with the exception of cannabis, which has been repeatedly proven safe), but especially DO NOT USE LSA OR ANY ERGOT-DERIVED PSYCHEDELIC DURING PREGNANCY, SPONTANEOUS ABORTION MAY RESULT. This is not a party drug and should be done in an outdoors setting for best results.

Psychedelic Mushrooms
Material – Whole Mushrooms
Active Ingredient – Psilocybin/Psilocin
Similar in effect to LSD/LSA but more closely related to DMT in chemical structure (as a tryptamine). 4-6 hour duration trip. Sleeping will be difficult afterwards. Minimal hangover. Overdose unlikely, but do not re-dose until an hour or more has passed. Only FRESH mushrooms are legal to possess, not dried or extracts. If using dried mushrooms anyway, consume at least 1 and no more than 4 grams. Caps are more potent than stems by weight. Caution: combining with MAOI chemicals or foods will roughly double the effect/dose. It is generally recommended to grow these rather than attempting to pick them in the wild, since mistaking a poisonous mushroom for a psychedelic one is possible. This is not a party drug and should be done in an outdoors setting for best results.

Opium Poppy (Papaver Somniferum)
Material – Dried/Closed Flower Pods
Active Ingredient – Morphine, Codeine, other opiates
Remove stems and seeds, grind several dried pods (approx 5 per 8oz cup of tea) in a coffee grinder or blender, and mix with water and citrus juice (for flavor and to expedite extraction). Stir/steep for 5-10 minutes, then filter and discard solid material. Disguise flavor with more juice or honey. Use a small amount first to calibrate dosage and tolerance, and do not drink more tea until 2-3 hours have passed since your first cup; the come-up is slowest of all methods of opiate ingestion. As a safety measure, do not use more often than once per month and NEVER more frequently than 48 hours, tolerance and dependence to poppy tea will happen quickly with regular use due to the combination of opiates it contains. Seeds are legal; plants, pods and tea are quasi-legal; any form of opiate extract or commerce in plant materials is ILLEGAL. Hens & Chickens is known to be a potent strain. Do not combine with alcohol. This is not a party drug and should be taken SERIOUSLY.

Cough Suppressant
Material – Liquid Capsules or Syrup
Active Ingredient – Dextromethorphan HBr
Do NOT consume any cough syrup which contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and avoid preparations with ingredients other than DXM HBr in general since many are included to induce vomiting at recreational doses. Do NOT combine with MAOI antidepressants or any foods which contain natural MAOI ingredients, toxicity can result. DXM effects and dosages are highly dependent on the individual, the effects are not always pleasant, and there is a possibility of permanent damage with continued high dose usage. Experimentation with first and second plateau doses is regarded as safe given that the precautions in the DXM FAQ are undertaken. This is not a party drug.

Nitrous Oxide
Material – Gas mixture
Active Ingredient – N2O
This is the ingredient of “whippits” or “hippy crack”. Obtain a commercial whipped cream dispenser (metal body is the best), several whipped cream chargers, and some “punching ball” balloons (the thick type). Use the screw-in handle to “crack” a charger. Place a balloon over the nozzle and dispense all of the gas into the balloon, pinching the neck of the balloon as you remove it from the nozzle. Then inhale the contents of the balloon in several deep breaths, pausing for a deep breath of air in between. Wash dispenser internals with soap and water after extended use. Short duration, intense, dissociative trip, very addictive. A mild hangover will occur and vitamin B12 should be taken after using Nitrous to avoid a deficiency. Recycle the used whippits at a facility that takes steel. DO NOT CONFUSE NITROUS WITH TETRAFLUOROETHANE AKA “AIR DUSTER” AKA R-134A REFRIGERANT LIKE MANY NIMRODS DO! TETRAFLUOROETHANE IS NOT SAFE FOR USE AS AN INHALANT!

PS: When referring to legality, I am referring only under US federal law. State laws may place further restrictions, and laws in other countries may be different.

how to ssh with multiple servers on same host

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

OK, this is a pretty common scenario, where someone has many machines with SSH servers behind their router, and only one external IP address, so the internal SSH servers are forwarded from different external ports. Unfortunately, this gives you problems managing SSH host keys, because SSH only associates the hostname (and not the port) with the key by default.

The way to fix this is to create an alias for each server that is behind the firewall. Create a stanza such as the following in your $HOME/.ssh/config:

Host leenux
Port 2206
HostKeyAlias leenux

Then, when you want to connect to that particular internal machine, use 'leenux' as the host when you invoke ssh. When you use that, it will connect to the host, but it will store the key under the alias instead of the actual hostname. So as long as you don't have conflicting aliases, you should not encounter key conflicts anymore.

What's your problem with evolution?

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

Is it that you don't believe Darwin's theory of natural selection adequately explains why evolution occurs?

Is it that you believe evolution does not adequately explain the origins of life?

Is it that you believe evolution does not adequately explain the origins of sentient life?

Is it that you reject the set of observations collectively referred to as evolution as invalid? If so, why?

Would you accept that evolution occurs, were it accompanied by the caveat that a powerful invisible entity was required to initiate the evolutionary process from some starting point?


Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

I'm seeing a lot of people giving advice to Debian users to use update-rc.d to REMOVE links for a package to prevent it from starting up. That's nice, but update-rc.d saves no state, so the next time the package is installed, all the links will be reinstalled! The correct way to disable starting of program foo is to remove /etc/rc2.d/S??foo and not through update-rc.d. If you use any other runlevels, remove the link from those as well.

udev rules

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

You might find several nice udev tutorials on the web. But when you place your rule snippet in /etc/udev/rules.d, udev doesn't seem to pay any attention to it. The secret is that the file must be executable, and must have an extension of '.rules', or it will be ignored.