"Misc" Archive

Of Weblog software and twitters

This is the 500th post on that blog! There have been more but various bloggy housekeeping deleted a bunch some time ago..

It is only fitting that 500th blog post is actually a twitter link.. This weblog runs Movabletype, which died a while back and now I'm sick of the rotting smell. So until I get around to modernizing it, that thar twitter feed below is the new microblog...

In case you missed it, here it is again: http://twitter.com/ko

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October 4, 2010 | Misc | Comments

That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stranger

So, the old rule of thumb that you're never as tired as you think you are is true:

A spate of recent studies has contributed to growing support for the notion that the origins and controls of fatigue lie partly, if not mostly, within the brain and the central nervous system. The new research puts fresh weight to the hoary coaching cliché: you only think you're tired.

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October 6, 2009 | Misc | Comments

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.

I hate to give the game away right here at the beginning of a whole book devoted to the subject, and I'm tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a couple hundred more pages or so. I'll try to resist, but will go ahead and add a few more details to flesh out the recommendations. Like, eating a little meat isn't going to kill you, though it might be better approached as a side dish than as a main. And you're better off eating whole fresh foods rather than processed food products. That's what I mean by the recommendation to "eat food," which is not quite as simple as it sounds. For while it used to be that food was all you could eat, today there are thousands of other edible foodlikesubstances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages elaborately festooned with health claims, which brings me to another, somewhat counterintuitive, piece of advice: If you're concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it's not really food, and food is what you want to eat.

You can see how quickly things can get complicated.

The above is from the introduction of a new book by Micheal Pollan, In Defense of Food. Read the whole introduction to the book here. It's the single best, most concise food advise I've ever read.

His last book was, The Omnivores Dilemma was eye opening, and this book is now on my list of must read books. The Google page on the new books has some reviews.

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February 11, 2008 | Books , Misc | Comments

On Censorship

Scott Adams on censorship:

One of the things I love about China is that they set high goals, as in "Let's build a wall around the entire country" and more recently "Let's have Internet access but without the part where people can access the Internet."

If you know the history of the Great Wall, it was highly successful in keeping out animals. But invading armies just bribed the guards and walked through the gate. I'm guessing that your smarter animals, say porpoises, could have found a way in also. But porpoises had no interest in conquering China, so we'll never know. Something tells me that blocking all the unacceptable content on the Internet will be about as effective as the Great Wall.

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October 19, 2006 | Misc , Pakistan | Comments


Mr Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I've ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. - from the movie Billy Madison.

The quote most applicable to many discussions found on the internet.

March 15, 2006 | Misc | Comments


if you’re bored, it’s because you’re boring.

November 18, 2005 | Misc | Comments

Where do people go for news?

Where do people go for news? In the good old days this was a simple answer. You had your local newspapers and a few news channels, and not much else. These days, it's an entirely different ball game. Old media required a massive investment in time and money to reach an audience. The Internet changed everything. It lowered the bar for publishing by such an extent that everyone can maintain their own website on an equal footing with much larger corporations.

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May 8, 2005 | Misc | Comments

Watching TV Makes You Smarter

The New York Times says that watching TV makes you smarter. They make sense too:

For decades, we've worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a path declining steadily toward lowest-common-denominator standards, presumably because the ''masses'' want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies try to give the masses what they want. But as that ''24'' episode suggests, the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less. To make sense of an episode of ''24,'' you have to integrate far more information than you would have a few decades ago watching a comparable show. Beneath the violence and the ethnic stereotypes, another trend appears: to keep up with entertainment like ''24,'' you have to pay attention, make inferences, track shifting social relationships. This is what I call the Sleeper Curve: the most debased forms of mass diversion -- video games and violent television dramas and juvenile sitcoms -- turn out to be nutritional after all.

I find it hard to watch older sitcoms like the 70's shows or Fraisier - they're just to simplistic. There's nothing to keep track of as everything is spoon fed to the viewer. This is what this article is about - that what everyone has assumed since time immemorial may be wrong: that the most debased forms of mass diversion -- video games and violent television dramas and juvenile sitcoms -- turn out to be nutritional after all - the idiot box has hit rock bottom and is now turning upwards in a Sleeper Curve.

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April 24, 2005 | Misc | Comments

On Writing

This text is being knocked out faster than... faster than... a typewriter? The music goes on, and on, but words get harder to write. Well the music gets harder to - see most music bands. The majority seem to lose whatever it is they had once upon a time which enabled them to churn out the good stuff.

So that's why they have this thing called writer's block. Perhaps it's better to have writers block than to spew out words as fast as they can be typed. (well, maybe a little slower thant that.) And wait a minute - this is a weblog. So it ain't even technically writing in the first place.

Anyways, it's the words that matter. Soon they'll be back, given time.

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January 17, 2005 | Misc | Comments

TV vs Books

TV vs Books

January 9, 2005 | Misc | Comments

White Jeep Sketch

White Jeep

Pencil sketch by Fasih Uddin Toor.

October 9, 2004 | Misc | Comments

Acceptance speech from the Sunburst Awards

Nice speech:

No writer is an island, no idea is original, no effort is a solo effort. We stand upon the shoulders of giants, we collaborate with our colleagues and with the immortal words of our dead literary ancestors. Literature -- indeed, all human endeavor -- is dignified and uplifted through collaboration and cooperation. We sit atop a great erected infrastructure of human invention and effort, all of it embodied in the bricks and boards that surround us, and, most importantly, in the traditional knowledge that allows each generation to improve upon the bricks and boards of the last one.

The writer is engaged in dialog with the world and with posterity. Our words go on to form a layer of the substrate of human creation. Those who tell us that our words, our art and our posterity are best served with strong locks and high fences are not on our side. No writer could pen a single word but for the rich humus of public domain effort with which we garden our notions and conceits.

So thank you all, and thanks most of all to our ancestors, the bringers of fire and the inventors of the wheel, the Judith Merrils and the Phyllis Gotleibs, the Gilgameshes and the golems, the Turings and the Teslas. Thanks to the brave pirates who continue to preserve our posterity in the face of outrageous insult to creation. Thanks to the readers and to you all.

September 24, 2004 | Misc | Comments

The english language

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary." - James D. Nicoll

September 3, 2004 | Misc | Comments

Change This

Change This:

Welcome to our new kind of media. A form of media that uses existing tools (like PDF files, blogs and the web) to challenge the way ideas are created and spread. Poke around, give it a spin and share the best parts with your friends. And don't forget to subscribe.

Some of the manifesto's are really good. So is their outlook:

People call the team at Change This optimists because we don�t believe it has to be this way. We don�t believe humans evolved to be so bad at making decisions, so poor at changing our minds, so violent in arguing our point of view. We�re well aware of how split our country and our world have become, but we don�t think the current state of affairs is built into our very nature.
>> ChangeThis: About Us

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August 26, 2004 | Misc | Comments


"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." - Calvin Trillin

It's not just leftovers of last nights dishes, it's leftovers of food which no one can even remember eating. Sometimes it's food which might even have been good if served fresh.

July 25, 2004 | Misc | Comments

Gadgets Galore

Stuff to possibly get:

TV products:
Unites your network with your home entertainment center, allowing you to share, access, and enjoy your digital media-whether it is music, videos, or photos-in the comfort of your living room.

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April 27, 2004 | Misc | Comments

Automotive Tech

Automotive tech is akin to black magic in Pakistan. Most new cars in Pakistan are electronically fuel injected (EFI) now, even the locally assembled ones. In fact, on the bigger cars, EFI has been quite common since the late 80's. So as time has gone by, these EFI vehicles have started trickling into workshops around the country, mechanics all over the country are tearing out their hair (and emptying the owners' wallets) in frustration.

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March 15, 2004 | Misc | Comments

Website Redesign

Warning: This corner of the web has encountered a temporal anomaly - adjusting style-sheets to compensate. Alarms. "Cap'n, it's not working! The box model hacks are overloading the temporal capacitor's ability to compensate! They cannae handle it, Cap?n!"

"Get a grip on yourself Scotty! We licked them nested tables and by gosh darn we'll get them boxes!"

"Goddamin't Cap'n, why did they have to turn it into some kind of rocket science! I thought this web thingamajig was for the masses!"

"It is, Scotty, it is, it's just that some websites are uglier than others."

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February 13, 2004 | Misc

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