Archive for February, 2003


Dennis Henninger refers to noted

Friday, February 28th, 2003

Dennis Henninger refers to noted economist Joseph Schumpeter in his column today (subscription req’d). He points out what I think so many of us had long suspected about the protesters and their ilk. quoted below…

“If Schumpeter is correct, much of the opposition to war with Iraq is more than anything the politics of liberals here and the left in Europe who would not abide being led anywhere by a conservative U.S. administration. Hell no, they won’t go, no matter how many resolutions are outputted by the Security Council.”

Figured I’d say “Word” to that observation.

In other news, I discovered the Velociblog somehow (don’t ask me how) but if you enjoy reading this blog, it’s worth a read.



My letter to the Wrigley

Thursday, February 27th, 2003

My letter to the Wrigley corporation.

Dear Wrigley,

I recently saw your advertisement for Juicy Fruit longer lasting gum. The advertisement prompted me to purchase some of your gum, and I have been extremely satisfied with the product. However, there is a downside. As you may well have expected, all of my friends are now always accosting me for gum because Juicy Fruit has even longer lasting flavor. To remedy the situation, I am interested in buying one of your “attack kittens,” which your television advertisement indicates are “sold separately.” The local convenience store where I purchased the gum told me that they do not carry the “Wrigley Attack Kitten” and they were unaware of where I should go to procure the item. Therefore, I write to you now, hoping that perhaps you could tell me which stores carry the attack kitten, which I now believe to be a necessary acoutrement to your line of Juicy Fruit gum. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Robert J. Sama


I just read this story…

Thursday, February 27th, 2003

I just read this story

Mr. Rogers has died… We’ll all miss you.

Fred Rogers
1928 – 2003


“Not unless you think about

Thursday, February 27th, 2003

“Not unless you think about the irony!!!”
-Homer Simpson to the chiropractor

Yesterday’s blog seems to have gotten something of a reaction. Vikingzen seems to have devoted her blog entry of the day to commenting on it, and I received an email from a friend who wrote, “C. ‘Y’all need to be having more sex, and less IM.'” I guess we struck a chord.

More irony to think about… some of you may be noticing that the banner ads that Blogger has decided to place on my blog have a decidedly anti-war bent… How’s that for irony?


Calzone and I had this

Wednesday, February 26th, 2003

Calzone and I had this argument on January 29th, 2002. We were reminiscing about it yesterday, so I figured it’d suffice for today’s blog. It’s a completely inane argument about something completely theoretical, though it’s amusing to see how an innocent discussion turns into a name calling contest. Enjoy reading, and be sure to vote at the end of the discussion to let us know who’s right. (subsequently edited for content)

Calzone (3:57:23 PM): Orgasm May Be Right-Brain

samaBlog (3:58:12 PM): wow
samaBlog (3:58:19 PM): Is that the math side of teh

Calzone (3:58:42 PM): I think it’s the art side
Calzone (3:58:48 PM): yeah, it’s the art side
samaBlog (3:59:10 PM): ahh

samaBlog (4:01:33 PM): What
about C…C…?
WHere does he fit in on this?

Calzone (4:02:00 PM): he just has seizures
Calzone (4:02:25 PM): during which he hallucinates
having had sex with Cindy Crawford

samaBlog (4:06:12 PM): do you think that if they
severed his corpus collusum he may be able to have
full orgasms again?

Calzone (4:06:35 PM): good question
Calzone (4:07:13 PM): But on ehalf of his body would
miss out

samaBlog (4:07:41 PM): huh… you think?
Calzone (4:08:10 PM): yeah… like those people who
can’t put together information that they see through two
different eyes

samaBlog (4:09:36 PM): yeah, but wouldn’t the brain
compensate. I mean, if orgasm takes place in teh
right brain, what difference does sensory input from
that side of the body make

samaBlog (4:09:48 PM): You ncould just stroke teh
left side of teh penis and induce orgasm that way

Calzone (4:10:14 PM): But the corpus collosum is
responsible for relaying information between the two halves of
the body

samaBlog (4:10:54 PM): true
Calzone (4:10:56 PM): so if an orgasm happens in
the right side of the brain, he would only feel it in the left half of
his body

samaBlog (4:11:10 PM): Well, between the two
halves of the brain to be precise

samaBlog (4:11:21 PM): No, the converse isn’t
necessarily true

Calzone (4:11:24 PM): to be precise
Calzone (4:11:43 PM): but our body awareness is all
in our brains

samaBlog (4:11:56 PM): exactly
samaBlog (4:12:31 PM): Therefore, if an orgasm is a
mental state, then it would appear to be felt in teh
entire body, regardless of teh corpus collosum being

Calzone (4:13:54 PM): Not at all. The mechanism for
your right brain to share the experince with the other half is gone

samaBlog (4:14:23 PM): so what?
Calzone (4:15:04 PM): So the other half, which
controls the feeling in the other half of the body, would not be
able to color the senses of thathalf with the orgasm information

samaBlog (4:16:13 PM): I don’t believe that’s the
case. Given that orgasm currently resides in the right
half of the brain for the whole body, why would it
change that with no corpus collosum you wouldn’t
still feel orgasm in the entire body.

Calzone (4:22:12 PM): because to get to the whole
body requires going to the other half

samaBlog (4:22:21 PM): No
samaBlog (4:22:30 PM): You see, the orgasm doesn’t
come from the body.

samaBlog (4:22:35 PM): It’s generated in teh brain
Calzone (4:22:35 PM): right
Calzone (4:22:39 PM): exactly
samaBlog (4:23:08 PM): Therefore,
all you need for a FULL orgasm is enough stimulation for the brain to
know to “run the orgasm routine” so to speak.

Calzone (4:23:26 PM): hence,
the information that “hey, there’s an orgasm going on in here” never makes
it to the left side, where the left side can stimulate the right side body
parts based on that information

samaBlog (4:23:39 PM): And
because that “routine” is
a whole body sensation that resides in the right hand
side of the brain, no corpus collosum is required.

Calzone (4:23:48 PM): the right half has no control
over the left side of the body

samaBlog (4:23:52 PM): No, no body parts need to
be stimulated.

samaBlog (4:23:58 PM): correct.
Calzone (4:24:04 PM): in the brain they do
Calzone (4:24:11 PM): you have to believe they are

samaBlog (4:24:24 PM): I disagree.
Calzone (4:24:34 PM): well, you’re wrong.
Calzone (4:24:36 PM): so there
samaBlog (4:24:39 PM): Orgasm is essentially a
fictitious state of being created by the brain.

Calzone (4:24:45 PM): yes
samaBlog (4:25:04 PM): Therefore, all the brain needs
is enough body stimulation to tell it to run the
appropriate orgasm routine.

Calzone (4:25:04 PM): and the left side of the brain
determines what you believe is going on in the right side of your

samaBlog (4:25:13 PM): And the fact that bit can’t
talk to the left brain is irrelevent.

Calzone (4:25:27 PM): if the left side of the brain
doesn’t know there’s an orgasm, then you can’t feel it in the right

samaBlog (4:25:43 PM): Not necessarily for
everythjing. We know that’s true for motor functions,
but I don’t believe that necessarily holds true for

Calzone (4:26:38 PM): Why not?
samaBlog (4:27:12 PM): because otherwise you’d see
orgasm residing in both halves of the brain, and we

Calzone (4:28:26 PM): That’s ridciulous
Calzone (4:28:36 PM): the logic, I mean
samaBlog (4:28:42 PM): How?
samaBlog (4:28:50 PM): I think it makes perfect sens
samaBlog (4:28:53 PM): sense
samaBlog (4:29:06 PM):

Calzone (4:29:16 PM): In a normal person, there’s a
corpus collosum and running two different yet syncrhonized
orgasm routines simultaneously in each half is completely

Calzone (4:30:06 PM): When you sever it,
experiences that each half has are not recognized by the other

samaBlog (4:30:09 PM): But that’s not what the
article said happens

Calzone (4:30:36 PM): Ah… now for the tidbit I’ve
been holding off on

Calzone (4:30:38 PM):
samaBlog (4:30:39 PM): Look, this conversation is
becoming a waste of my time

Calzone (4:30:41 PM): Now, I’m about to take all of
that back but for an entirely different reason.

I think that when you have an orgasm, the brain releases a
bunch of chemicals into your blood stream, and so does your
endocrine system. ALl those chemicals make their way
throughout your body without having to cross the corpus

samaBlog (4:31:19 PM): We’ve been discussing this
for a 1/2 hour now.

samaBlog (4:31:24 PM): I’ve had enough.
Calzone (4:31:32 PM): So, I was arguing only
because of the logic problem

samaBlog (4:31:49 PM): Fair enough.
Calzone (4:31:53 PM): Well, no need to get all huffy
samaBlog (4:31:57 PM): But your logic is still flawed.
Calzone (4:32:07 PM): My logic is emmaculate
samaBlog (4:32:36 PM): And like the immaculate
conception, without a proper understanding of

Calzone (4:34:36 PM): If there were no chemicals
coarsing through your body, then, without the corpus collusum,
there would be no way for the right side of your body, controlled
by the left half of your brain, which, according to the given
information does not have an orgasm center, to have any
change occur in it as a result of the orgasm being experienced
byt the right brain, which in turn tells the left side of your body
what to feel.

samaBlog (4:36:25 PM): Calxone, it’s this simple.
Orgasms are all an illusion. Your body isn’t feeling
anything. Orgasm isn’t a two way street where the
body tells the brain to have an orgasm, and then the
brain literally stimulates the body in return. The brain
has the orgasm when told to do so all by its
lonesome. It doesn’t NEED to speak to teh body at
all. You could have an orgasm if all you were was a
brain in a jar.

Calzone (4:36:45 PM): I am in complete agreement
with you

samaBlog (4:37:02 PM): excellent. SO I was right all

Calzone (4:37:39 PM): But
how is the LEFT side going
to KNOW to “have” an orgasm if it is NOT communicating with
the RIGHT side (considering the LEFT side DOES NOT have an
orgasm center)

samaBlog (4:38:19 PM): THE LEFT SIDE NEVER

Calzone (4:38:39 PM): That is not exactly true
Calzone (4:38:57 PM): The left side stores the
perceptions for the right side of your body.

samaBlog (4:39:25 PM): but orgasm isn’t a
perception. It’s a hallucination.

Calzone (4:39:27 PM): Thus
your perception of
having an orgasm in those regions depends on the left side “knowing” about
this new situation

Calzone (4:39:33 PM): perception = hallucination
samaBlog (4:39:37 PM): WRONG!
samaBlog (4:40:09 PM): If you were nothing but a
right half of a brain in a jar, you would wtill have a
FULL BODY orgasm!

Calzone (4:40:11 PM): Go talk to a biologist
samaBlog (4:40:20 PM): Go talk to a logician.
samaBlog (4:40:35 PM): 40 MINUTES.
Calzone (4:40:35 PM): That’s because I would belive
there was no right side of my body

Calzone (4:40:49 PM): You go talk to a logician
samaBlog (4:41:01 PM): No. The only time you’d be
aware of teh right side of your body would be when
you’re having an orgasm!

Calzone (4:41:14 PM): It doesn’t work that way
samaBlog (4:41:28 PM): Yes it does. That’s precisely
the way it works.

Calzone (4:41:43 PM): The right side doesn’t have a
sudden awareness or belief of the right side of the body when it
becomes active

Calzone (4:42:13 PM): if that were the case, then
the right side could control the right side of the body

Calzone (4:42:17 PM): but it can’t
Calzone (4:42:23 PM): not under any circumstances
samaBlog (4:42:27 PM): Well, correct, sort of. If it’s in
a jar, there’s no body to be aware of at all. All it
knows is that teh body is orgasming.

samaBlog (4:42:46 PM): Motor functions are different
samaBlog (4:43:58 PM): Orgasm is not a motor
function. The analogy doesn’t necessarily apply.

samaBlog (4:45:55 PM): What’s happening here is
that you, being an artsy type, are failing to use the
left half of your brain adequately to understand the

Calzone (4:46:09 PM): I
am not seeking to deminish the brain’s orgasm–which I now believe is
all you are refering
too when you speak of orgasms… but you have to recognize
that people do not feel anything physical in their brains. Their
brains always asign some part of the body for feeling (other than
emotions–but even those are not “felt” in a localized fashion).
When you have an orgasm, that entire experience is something
that you attribute to your body. Not your brain. That is a
physical experience, whether real or imagined.

The right brain cannot ascribe anything to the right side of the

samaBlog (4:47:09 PM): How do you know that? All
we know is that the right side of the brain:

1) cannot control the motor functions of teh left side
of the body

samaBlog (4:47:12 PM): and
samaBlog (4:47:32 PM): 2) that the right side of teh
brain cannot feel sensations originating from the left
side of teh body

samaBlog (4:48:00 PM): But that leaves it entirely free
to imagine, e.g. through an orgasm, a sensation
occurring in the left side of teh body.

Calzone (4:49:48 PM): 1. A full brain in a jar, when
orgasming, would believe for that time that there was a full
body having an orgasm.

2. A Left brain in a jar would never have an orgasm

3. A right brain in a jar, when orgasming, would believe for that
time that there was a left side of a body attached, and that it
was having an orgasm. It would not notice the right side of the
body missing, exceopt for cognitively

4. A full brain with a severed corpus collusom, in a jar, would
behave like 2 and 3 simultaneously

samaBlog (4:50:18 PM): CORRECT!
samaBlog (4:50:51 PM): Waitr
samaBlog (4:50:52 PM): Wait
samaBlog (4:50:56 PM): 3 is incomplete
samaBlog (4:51:27 PM): in 3, the right brain in a jar
would have the same orgasm that a full brain in a
jar would have.

Calzone (4:51:57 PM): No, because the right brain
has no concept of a right side of the body (other than

samaBlog (4:52:08 PM): Orgasm takes place in teh
right brain. It needs no left brain to complete the

samaBlog (4:52:19 PM): Orgasm is Orgasm.
Calzone (4:52:24 PM): The right brain is incapable of
creating the illusion that a right side of the body exists

samaBlog (4:52:45 PM): That’s a bold statement.
Calzone (4:53:18 PM): Yes it is. However, I know this
from watching Nova

samaBlog (4:53:27 PM): ROTFL
samaBlog (4:54:18 PM): AN orgasm is a mental
state, pure and simple. If orgasm takes place in the
right side of the brain, then everything to the left of
teh corpus colosum is irrelevent.

samaBlog (4:57:05 PM): Look, if you had your corpus
colussum severed, and you had an orgasm, you
wouldn’t have the sensation of just a left side
orgasm. You would have a full orgasm. Now
granted, the left brain wouldn’t know about that,
and may well instruct teh right hand body to solve
long division on paper while having that orgasm,
but the orgasm would be full and complete

Calzone (4:57:10 PM): Assume, for one moment, that
in your brain, exactly as it is now except for one significant
change, an orgasm was generated.

Now, here is the change in your brain. Your brain has
mysteriously become compltely unaware of your body. It is
incapable of even believeing there is a body attached. It
cannopt control any thing nor feel anything on bahlf of

How exactly do you experience this orgasm?
samaBlog (4:58:02 PM): To answer your question,
you’d experience the orgasm as you experience any
other orgasm.

samaBlog (4:58:25 PM): DO amputees experience
different orgasms than normal people? How about
blind or deaf people?

Calzone (4:58:53 PM): That’s
different. Amputees
frequently belive certain body parts have returned and “feel” them

Calzone (4:59:10 PM): I am talking about your brain
completely losing it’s ability to ascribe sensation to anything

samaBlog (4:59:36 PM): Well,
that’s the brain in teh jar scenario. Amputees feel “ghosts” as you describe.

Calzone (4:59:37 PM): Do you agree that the brain is
incapable of feeling anything within itself?

samaBlog (4:59:40 PM): no
Calzone (4:59:48 PM): That is a medical fact
samaBlog (4:59:50 PM): I believe that the orgasm
constitutes sucha state

samaBlog (5:00:01 PM): orgasm
is the brain “feeling
itself” as it were

Calzone (5:00:28 PM): That would make for an
interesting experiment

Calzone (5:00:50 PM): However, everything I’ve
ever read about this says the brain is incapable of feeling.

samaBlog (5:00:59 PM): Lookit, lemme prove it to

Calzone (5:01:08 PM): You can stab someone in the
brain and they won’t feel it

Calzone (5:01:17 PM): (ala, hannibal)
samaBlog (5:02:04 PM): If you took an ice cube and
placed it on your arm, or your genitals, it would feel
the same. But if you massage your arm and then
your genitals, one produces an orgasm and teh other
does not. Orgasm isn’t an externally produces
sensation like cold. It’s unique. It’s a mental
hallucination/spasm that the brain has.

samaBlog (5:02:21 PM): That’s because there are no
pain receptors in the brain.

samaBlog (5:02:35 PM): produced
Calzone (5:04:05 PM): When I have an orgasm, it is
a fuill-body experience. Sure, it’s an illusion, but nonetheless, the
part of my brain responsible for creating illusions of sensation on
the right side of my body is the left side of my brain

samaBlog (5:04:45 PM): No. The idea that the left
side of your brain is involved at all is an illusion as

Calzone (5:04:59 PM): Let’s say your ability to feel
pain was regulated by a something in the right side of your
brain. Severing the corpus collosum would mean that you
would no longer feel pain on the right side of your body

Calzone (5:05:52 PM): There is no opportunity to
connect the state of the right side of the body with information
in the right brain

Calzone (5:06:24 PM): gack. I need to get some work

samaBlog (5:06:43 PM): sort of. PAin is different. You
would no longer be able to induce pain by
stimulating the right side of your body, say with a
match. And the same is true for orgasms here. You
would have to rub the left side of your genitals to
achieve orgasm, but teh orgasm itself would be a
full and normal orgasm.

samaBlog (5:07:09 PM): I was trying to tell you that
we’ve been arguing for over an hour.

samaBlog (5:07:18 PM): Shall we pick this up again

Calzone (5:07:26 PM): sure
samaBlog (5:07:33 PM): OK, I’ll catch you later.
Calzone (5:07:37 PM): later


Bob Cringely responds to today’s

Tuesday, February 25th, 2003

Bob Cringely responds to today’s blog… reprinted below…

Dear Rob,

Look a little closer. Microsoft announced that it would be supporting the Intel 64-bit instructions, BUT NOT IN THE FIRST RELEASE. So this idea that the 64-bit product was released for manufacturing was wrong. Also, while Microsoft announced support for Itanium, they didn’t announce that they WEREN’T going to support Opteron, which this story implies. There is lots of Fear Uncertainty and Doubt here. It is well within what Microsoft says for the company to ship support for Itanium and Opteron at the same time. It is also very possible that they’ll completely change their minds. Remember Microsoft is very good at announcing intentions that are never realized.

So while I may eventually be proven wrong on this issue, I am not wrong yet.

All the best,



ok… as promised last night…

Tuesday, February 25th, 2003

ok… as promised last night…

Right around the end of the year, Bob Cringely, noted online columnist and documentary filmmaker for PBS, wrote an article about the AMD vs. Intel 64 bit chipsets. See, the issue was that the new AMD chipsets could handle both 64 bit and 32 bit instruction sets, making a migration from the current 32 bit MS operating systems to the planned 64 bit MS operating systems a bit smoother. The Intel chips, on the other hand, can run only 64 bit operating systems, and thus are blocked from offering IT managers a migration path – either upgrade whole hog or don’t upgrade at all.

In his column Cringely predicts, “So what is likely to happen (here comes my prediction) is that Intel will be forced by Microsoft to adopt AMD’s 64-bit instructions.” In other words, Intel will have to adopt AMD’s architecture in a stunning twist of fate. It seemed like a bold prediction, especially given that even by Cringely’s admission, Intel is higher on the pecking order, and has far more economic clout than AMD has. Nevertheless, it made sense, and I sort of looked forward to it happening.

Well it didn’t. Those of you who hate Microsoft and believe they’re evil may have your own conclusions to draw on here but I have my own as well (which you now must read). See, Cringely’s argument made perfect sense in normal economic times for tech, where IT managers are slowly upgrading equipment and then replacing operating systems across the enterprise all at once. But that isn’t happening today. Today, nobody has an IT budget of any significance, and stagnation has set in. I think that this move of Microsoft’s may be an attempt to “double down” as it were, to have a revolutionary change waiting in the wings instead of slowly releasing an evolutionary change. So that when IT budgets begin to inflate again, there will be a new generation of products out there, and a mandate to upgrade, because literally, there’s no going back.

All of this conniving and posturing seems positively absurd, of course, to anyone with slight interest in engineering who’s from the Boston area. See, DEC (digital equipment corporation), which was sold to Compaq and is now a division of HP had built about 10 years ago a 64 bit chip known as the Alpha chip. According to every electrical engineer I know (and yes, I know quite a few), it was apparently a work of brilliance. They taught from it at local engineering schools in the Boston area, and it was leagues beyond anything that Intel or anybody else was doing at the time. It ran the 32 bit operating systems of the day (if I remember correctly), and the 64 bit UNIX systems and should be able to run the 64 bit MS operating systems of tomorrow. So where is the Alpha chip today and why isn’t it being used or rolled out by HP, who wants to be able to compete with the likes of IBM who makes the PowerPC line of chipsets?

That’s a good question…


Just looking over the hit

Monday, February 24th, 2003

Just looking over the hit logs…

In addition to the usual major ISPs, some interesting people have been past here… including:

You can see for yourself the most recent visitors by clicking on the counter on the right. Happy investigating.

Tomorrow morning, I challenge Cringely to explain the error of his prediction…


ok. So my buddy Nate

Monday, February 24th, 2003


So my buddy Nate had been reading this book by Noam Chomsky recently, which he apparently received as a gift from the grandfather or uncle of his girlfriend, a man who by Nate’s description appears to be some sort of lefty hillbilly recluse who reads a lot and likes to discuss politics. So Nate has been reading this book, trying to get his arms around it and describing to me Chomsky’s nonsensical gibberish and gobbledygook and obviously getting frustrated by the attempt. Now Nate and I have a tendency to discuss political and philosophical matters while drinking beer, and so he came to me to ask for help in understanding what Chomsky was saying, in large measure because what he was saying seemed to be so utterly incredible (as in, not believable, not as in, amazing). I told Nate that there is no point in reading someone like Chomsky, that he doesn’t make any sense, probably even to himself, and that he tries to mask the fact that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about by intentionally confusing his readers in a mess of conceptual abstractions and confusing prose. But Nate pressed on, feeling that he didn’t want to let this book get the better of him.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across this article. It appears that scholars far smarter than me agree, Noam doesn’t really stand for anything, and is really just a big mess.

In some cases, it’s not giving in to call it quits. It’s giving in to keep the course. GWB may want to consider that tidbit of wisdom in deciding wether it’s worth his time continuing with the UN

And speaking of the UN, check out the Iraqi Explorer Error Page.

Who says liberals can’t be funny?


New season of CrankYankers starts

Monday, February 24th, 2003

New season of CrankYankers starts next week. YAY, YAY, YAYYY!!!