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Friday, August 26, 2005

VERY Random Thoughts

First, I've started to wonder if I'm becoming a bit of a leech in cyberspace, or at least, more than a bit of a slacker for someone who runs his own blog.  I honestly can't think of a single piece of code on my site that I didn't get elsewhere or modified from things I saw elsewhere.  The basic page layout, including background, are provided by  The counter comes from somewhere else, I have Haloscan trackback and comment functions as well as the Comment function provided by Blogger.  I'll probably be phasing that out just for clarity.  As (I believe Sheryl) pointed out, there is more than a bit of confusion caused by there being two comment links.  Do you like the fact that the links on the left open in their own window?  Although I have an HTML book, I viewed source and found that off of a site I like.  LeftyJones and JB at PettyRage, I think it was you, and apologize if I caused offense by taking that one line of HTML code.  There's also the "email this page" thing provided by yet another site, with the proper credit being attached.  Finally, there's the newest function:  The fuel efficiency conversion.  I got the basic source code from this site, and once I had done the math myself on good old-fashioned pen and paper, I modified the code that had originally been used in the example for Fahrenheit to/from Celsius conversions to come up with the two buttons you see at the bottom of the sidebar.  Damn, I sound almost Catholic with the guilt...  It isn't that I'm incapable of learning to code in Javascript, HTML, or XML.  It's that, frankly, I'm too lazy.
The newest function brings me to the second point:  Why on earth would I put that on a site?  It came to my attention that Europeans find miles per gallon to be unnatural since they measure fuel efficiency in the opposite manner.  They use volume per unit of distance, specifically, Litres per 100 kilometres.  The one surprising thing I found (though in retrospect, it should've been fairly obvious) as I laid the groundwork on pen and paper is that the same formula used to convert from Miles per Gallon to Litres per 100 kilometres can be used to do the reverse.  It should have been obvious since the basic ideas involved in each are inverted.  The American system of miles per gallon is, in essence, distance per unit of volume, while L/100km is unit of volume per distance.  So, naturally, the only thing that really changes is the variable, not the method for handling it.  The definition of gallon I used was that found on Yahoo Education.  For clarity, the conversion was from U.S. gallons to mL, moving the decimal place to the proper position to convert the result into Litres.  The formula, therefore, is as follows:  378541.1784/(x*5280*.3048), where x is the variable.
Third, lest you believe that I can actually get through a post without mentioning weird occurrences or politics or go into a rant about the teen angst I got over years ago, alas, this is not the case.  I can't help feeling that I'm going to go to hell for saying this, but I actually agreed with some editorial comments made by Fox News personality John Gibson about Code Pink.  While he's unabashedly very conservative, he does, on occasion, make some good points.  He took serious issue with their "vigil" outside of Walter Reed, and with good reason.  Soldiers have TV, radio, and print media to see their views.  Soldiers at Walter Reed are there for one of two reasons:  They're there to get better and to a point where they can get at least some of their lives back, or they're there to provide medical support to those wounded soldiers.  I agree wholeheartedly with his equation of that to spitting on soldiers when they came back from Viet Nam.  I further agree with him that if they want to protest, they should go to Crawford, TX, or the White House, or Congress, or any other organization/company they feel aided in the decision to go to war.  Just leave the wounded soldiers alone.  In short, for once, I would like it if they showed some goddamned humanity instead of proclaiming their "humanity" in the same manner that Pat Robertson proclaims his Christianity while advocating the assassination of a foreign head of state.
This brings me to my last point for now.  For the record, I REALLY don't like President Chavez of Venezuela.  I think he's a seriously bad actor, as evidenced by the people he calls "friend", one of whom is good old Fidel Castro.  I find baffling his close alliance with the current government of Iran, given the statement of either him or his Vice President that religious extremism is one of the greatest threats currently facing the world.  If these are the men President Chavez calls "friends", maybe being on his shit list isn't such a bad thing.  That being said, I think he should be removed from office, by his own people in the form of an election or impeachment proceedings, should the latter have a legal basis.  He's clearly a dangerous man and has the potential to become a serious destabilizing force in that region.  Feel free to bring on the rants.

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