Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Alien-like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Drilling Site

Kelly Hearn for National Geographic News reported on this on Monday. Why is it that sci-fi aliens often look so similar to this squid thingie? Did a science fiction writer at one time see one of these things, from then on influencing how sci-fi aliens appear in movies and comic books?

[ Link ]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Processing, The Flashbulb, iTunes, and Benn Jordan

This dope album by The Flashbulb is pretty good. It is mostly instrumental songs. After watching this amazing video that some guys did using processing for Java I did a search on

In the album directory with the mp3s was this little file, Please_read.html. So I opened it in Firefox. You should too.

I have no words to express how happy it made me to read those words.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Watched a movie

Just got done watching Six Degrees of Separation. I enjoy movies that make me feel something unexpected, by allowing me to put myself in a character's place and imagining I feel what they feel. Putting myself in Louisa's and John's place makes me feel squeamish, embarrassed and in a sort of self-reflecting mood. Not as much as watching Six Degrees, but I get a similar feeling of embarrassment when I read this. I saw RZA as Bobby Digital a couple months ago up in Austin. Not to mention Talib Kweli, and Nas. They were both good shows, and everyone there was having a great time. What is the purpose of reflection on the racism of affluent European Americans? Is it to keep from repeating the past by knowing a history of violence? Maybe to explain it away to an American liberal media-developed guilty conscience? What do I mean by guilty conscience? Listen to NPR. What do I mean by American liberal media? Listen to some vintage Rush Limbaugh and he'll spell it out for you with desk-thumping punctuation. It is amazing to me how the media in this country always seems to get blamed for the woes of the politically disenfranchised. In 1992, it was conservative republicans who saw their incumbent president, George Herbert Walker Bush, beaten by an elated liberal media darling, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton. Oh who can forget old Bill? With his saxophone, and his shades. You have to give the man some credit. After him, it seems that you simply cannot become president without having used some illegal substance. Now that's trend setting. In 2000, Albert Arnold Gore Jr. was beaten out of the presidency by a friendlier, more like-able George Walker Bush. The long-wavelength side of the political spectrum has since been in a perpetual state of media blaming. I mean, holy hand grenades of Antioch, Batman, that's some extremism. And now that the pendulum has once again swung back (click the "voting shifts" tab),
we're stuck hearing people 65 and older and their favorite children complain about how once again their only source of truth can be found in the because the rest of the media has a liberal agenda. They're right, but they're right in the same way that someone who tells you that littering is illegal, as if their lifestyle as an American isn't one of the most wasteful in the world. It's rightness, but it's futile, useless, palm-tree-standing-up-to-a-tidal-wave rightness. Just like the world of academic science is liberal. Just like artists are liberals. So what? So, if you hold conservative values dear, do you scoff at academic publication? Do you roll your eyes at orbiting fruit? Do you rage against the media machine? Perhaps, but maybe you also find it in your heart to reach out and try to understand your neighbor and try to share your ideas and values. The media, of course, is just a feedback loop on our collective consciousness. The media is our imagination. It not only lets us reflect on our own lives, but it also cultivates desire, ambition, and motivation. It directs, at the same time it reflects. The next time I feel a need to reflect, I'll just remind myself that when Paul Poitier-Kittredge said that it is cowardly to put blindfolds on rather than deal with yourself, he was just trying to get attention. We all need to be acknowledged, and not like a curiosity, or as a charity case, but as equals. So, use your imagination -- none of us are equal, but we're all the same deep down, and we all get drug down into the gutter by our deficits at some point in our lives.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanks Mike! (Apache Tomcat SSL Certificate Keystore Configuration)

Today at work Mike helped me out with my Tomcat SSL crap.

The Tomcat SSL Connector in the conf/server.xml file seems to want to use a java keystore file.

That keystore file is usually created with the $JAVA_HOME/jre/bin/keytool program. Unfortunately, I was given a key file by my sys admin, and keytool requires that the pem file containing the key is X.509 encoded.

The openssl program will happily take care of encoding the pem file containing the actual certificate file:
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work for the actual key file:
So, I asked Mike if he happened to know anything about SSL and Java keystores. He gave me this script (slightly modified from the original):

His script basically automates the process of getting a personal certificate, or rather, converting between a SSL chain certificate pem file and a Java keystore file.

It does this by first using openssl to create a PKCS12 encoded version of the pem file given piped thru stdin, and then using PKCS12Import to store the PKCS12 entry into the Java keystore. Very nice.

Further reading:
Extracting private key from Java
Some Java source code for the com.sun.xml.wss package at

In summary, Mike is cool. Thanks, Mike.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bye @MarsPhoenix

Nels Nelson
@MarsPhoenix: Thanks for all the fish. One small triumph for a robot, some thousands of envious geeks.
less than 5 seconds ago from web
in reply to MarsPhoenix

shedding a tear for @MarsPhoenix:
20 minutes ago from TwitterFox

[Ops: Retweet @alexismadrigal:@MarsPhoenix is finally frozen on the Martian arctic plain. Veni, vidi, fodi. RIP:]
24 minutes ago from web

[Phoenix Ops: We promised Phoenix to continue to update here its
discoveries and future news. Another goodbye from Mars: ]
about 1 hour ago from web

[Phoenix mission ops:We bid our good friend a fond farewell. Phoenix did us proud: ]
about 1 hour ago from web

[From Phoenix mission ops: Phoenix is no longer communicating with
Earth. We'll continue to listen, but it's likely its mission has
about 1 hour ago from web

01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3

about 1 hour ago
from web

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gives me chills

When I look at this image.

And yet, the Devil's hint at a joke makes me ill.

Peace and God speed, Congressman Paul.

Trying to understand science

No, not really. But I am thinking about going to church tomorrow.

I am also trying to close all the tabs in my web browser. This leads to finding stuff like this:

"I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead."