One, Almost Two

One final down (almost two), and two (almost one) to go. Yay.

Java programming final was real straightforward — I’m just waiting for clarification information on my architecture final before I finish up the few remaining problems there and focus entirely on discrete math.

It’s been real nice to be able to be clear up in Bellingham, work on my finals, but still be able to take a mental break and go out. I could do this down in Olympia, of course, but in some ways, this is better — different scenery, more options available in a shorter distance, etc. Nothing shocking there, I suppose.

As collegiate graduation ceremonies approach for some schools (and have passed for others), we would be wise to listen to Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s thoughts on diplomas.

Milk Cartons

I went up to the College Activities Building this morning on my way to class and got my breakfast and chocolate milk, as I always do (doughnut this time, no croissant or maple bar). I sat down in class and looked at my chocolate milk, noticing the expiry date: June 3rd. As soon as a date begins appearing on milk cartons, I begin to feel a little better. That’s when my class stops meeting for the year, after all.

I could, I suppose, wax philosophical, but that would likely be a precious waste of space, time, and energy. The fact is, the year’s ending, and even the milk cartons know it. Of course, this means finals, finals, more finals, and make-up work (no, not cosmetics), and faculty evaluations and self evaluations and packing and — ugh. What’s left:

  • Discrete Mathematics Homework: Due 5/27 (Thu)
  • Java Programming Final Exam: Due 6/1 (Tue)
  • Computer Architecture Final Exam: Due 6/2 (Wed)
  • Discrete Mathematics Final Exam: Due 6/3 (Thu)
  • Compete Programming Assignments: Due ???
  • Self-Evaluation for Fall/Winter/Spring: probably due 6/4
  • Faculty Evaluation (x2): due at evaluation appointment
  • Pack up for moving out / move out
  • Check out of Housing

Whee. It’ll all be over in about two weeks. I’m looking forward to it.

In addition to that, I’m going to Bellingham and getting the Hell out of Dodge for Memorial Day weekend. Yay.

If the Trailer’s Rockin’….

Interesting. We’re apparently waiting for a long, slow, beautiful earthquake in order to predict when the next disastrous earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest (Washington State, of course, included).

I do, of course, remember the Nisqually Earthquake that occurred back in 2001 during my senior year in high school and which heavily damaged the Capitol Dome down here in Olympia, while also causing major damage in downtown Olympia itself and on Evergreen’s campus (not to mention Seattle and a number of places within a fixed radius of the epicenter itself). That was a 30-second log quake which measured as a 6.8 on the scale. I was right in the middle of my Studio I class in one of the newer buildings on my high school campus, which is why I remember it.

Here’s hoping we don’t get anything that catastrophic anytime soon. I value my sanity, and an earthquake wouldn’t help that out much.

Edit (5/25/2004): Shame on me as a writing tutor. I don’t know what a log quake is, but it was definitely a long quake. Amanda suggests that it’s “when a tree’s scared”. I think that’s woodpeckers, myself.

Why are Evergreen Students so Damn Stupid?

Current Music: James Taylor – Hourglass – Up Er Mei

Okay, I’ve heard what is quite possibly the best example of the absolute stupidity that I’m convinced is genetic on this campus.

A good friend of mine who lives in one of the other dorms on campus reported to me recently that his closet door was stolen. “What?” you say. “Why the hell would anyone steal a closet door?”

That was my exact question. I told him to call Police Services, but after checking with one of my more knowledgeable roommates, changed that advice to calling a Residential Maintenance technician. Oh, and this wasn’t a standard door, either; this was a sliding door from one of the huge walk-in closets we’re provided with. In order to steal one of those, you have to unscrew a small guide in the floor (if you can do so after moving the doors around in a rather haphazard fashion), then completely take the door off its runners. Then you have to be able to leave the room with a very freaking heavy door in your hands.

As it turns out, it wasn’t a burglar, it was another roommate that did this. This is absolute and utter stupidity; not only do they risk exorbitant Facilities charges if they don’t replace it (in the range of about $60-$80 for malicious damage of property), but once the RMs get pissed off during checkout screening, they start noticing every little detail, which ultimately makes damages much more expensive.

I know people on college campuses are supposed to be completely immature, moronic jerkoffs who get drunk and stoned on a nightly basis (though I realize that this is highly stereotypical and very bigoted of me), but come on — you’d think there’d be something better to do at night then steal your own damn closet door for whatever idiot function you happen to be attending (which, around here, it’s usually very loud parties. And let’s make no mistake here — Evergreen was once voted as one of the top schools to get stoned at. No, really.)

I’ll be so glad to get out of here for the summer. I’ll be even happier not living on campus next year.

Update (8:56PM): Apparently, stupidity extends much farther than this campus.

Google IPO and the Father of Linux

Google’s initial public offering just got more interesting with 31 underwriters for the offering now named. Google’s been defying every tradition we know of for public stock offerings, and this just seems to take it one step further. Whether this will all work the way it’s intended or not, I suppose we have no choice but to wait and see.

In other news, a new study contests that Linus Torvalds is the father of Linux; since it took three years to write Minix, the study contends, it’s nearly impossible that Linux could be written in nearly half the time.

I quote from Linux Torvalds’ book Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary:

One of the original problems I had with Minix was that if you had five different programs running at the same time and they all want to read different files, the tasks would be serialized. In other words, you would have five different processes sending requests to the file system . . . Under Linux, which is a monolithic kernel, you have five different processes that each do a system call to the kernel. The kernel has to be very careful that they don’t get confused with each other, but it very naturally scales up to any number of processes doing whatever they want. It makes Linux much faster and more efficient. (99-100)

The fact is that linux is more portable than minix. What? I hear you say. It’s true-but not in the sense that ast means: I made linux as conformant to standards as I knew how . . . (105)

In brief, Linux is a completely different system philosophy and can’t be based under Minix without severe alterations to Minix code. Linus also discusses how Linux started out as a terminal emulator because he absolutely hated what was offered under Minix (which wasn’t really much of anything at all). Linux evolved from there.

In addition to this, the article also states that Andrew Tanenbaum, author of Minix, even contests this study.

Hopefully, this gives some insight from Linus’ side of it.

Additional References:

Andrew Tanenbaum’s Response
Followup to Andrew Tanenbaum’s Response
Linus’ flippant response
ZDNet: Is Torvalds really the father of Linux?
Linux News: Open Source: Accusatory Study: Many Open-Sourcers Steal Code

Pull Back! Pull Back!

Current Music: James Taylor – Hourglass – Boatman

Apologies to people in the area affected by the following humorous e-mail sent to me by a family friend a week ago:

We must pull out!

Every day there are news reports about more deaths.

Every night on TV there are photos of death and destruction. Why are we still there?

We occupied this land, which we had to take by force, but it causes us nothing but trouble. Why are we still there?

Many of our children go there and never come back. Why are we still there?

Their government is unstable, and they have sloppy leadership. Why are we still there?

Many of their people are uncivilized. Why are we still there?

The place is subject to natural disasters, which we are supposed to bale them out of. Why are we still there?

There are more than religious sects which we do not fully understand. Why are we still there?

Their folkways, foods and fads are unfathomable to ordinary Americans. Why are we still there?

We can’t even secure the borders. Why are we still there?

They are billions of dollars in debt and it will cost billions more to rebuild, which we can’t afford. Why are we still there?

It is becoming clear.. WE MUST PULL OUT OF CALIFORNIA!

U.S. Energy Dependence

A friend of mine, Sean Paul-Rees, wrote on Tuesday about the rising gas prices across the U.S. I have to say, I agree with him; hopefully, this will finally induce a shift towards less dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

However, this is unrealistic; the fact is, our current leadership under President George W. Bush has simply not been pushing for alternative energy schemes, despite such projects as the Apollo Alliance, which presents a ten-point plan to reduce our energy dependence. Key partners of this Alliance include Washington’s own Senator Maria Cantwell, Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, and Representative Jesse Jackson of Illinois.

I also support the plan set forth by the Apollo Alliance, and support hybrid car technology and the improvement of transportation opportunities nationwide. I would be so bold as to suggest a national subsidy for the research and manufacture of hybrid car technology, offering tax cuts to business and organizations that choose to construct buildings conforming to LEED standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council (such as Evergreen’s own Seminar II building), and continuing to promote commute trip reduction programs for state agencies and businesses past a specific size.

Here’s hoping that the next President of the U.S. is smart enough to recognize that this should be one of the top national priorities and take steps to make it happen.