Links for 2011-5-18 through 2011-5-21

Links for 2011-5-18 through 2011-5-21:

  • Google Prediction API – Google Code The Prediction API enables you to make your smart apps even smarter. The API accesses Google's machine learning algorithms to analyze your historic data and predict likely future outcomes.
  • Birtherism, the debt ceiling, climate change, evolution: Are Republicans losing their grip on reality? – By Jacob Weisberg – Slate Magazine Christie is not part of the natural constituency for Darwin-denial. He's an intelligent man, a lawyer, a fiscal rather than a social conservative. But Christie is also someone who might want to run for president someday, or be selected as someone's running mate. For those purposes, he must constantly ask himself the question: Am I about to say something to which a white, evangelical, socially conservative, gun-owning, Obama-despising, pro-Tea Party, GOP primary voter in rural South Carolina might object? By this standard, simple acceptance of the theory of evolution becomes a risky stance. To lie or to duck? Christie chose the option of ducking while signaling his annoyance at being put in this ridiculous predicament.
  • How to send messages safely to your server This post describes a general method of sending messages to a server in a way that prevents hackers from acting like your app. Specifically, I’ll tell you exactly how to add HMAC authentication to your app’s network messages.
  • Top 20+ MySQL Best Practices | Nettuts+ Database operations often tend to be the main bottleneck for most web applications today. It’s not only the DBA’s (database administrators) that have to worry about these performance issues. We as programmers need to do our part by structuring tables properly, writing optimized queries and better code. Here are some MySQL optimization techniques for programmers.
  • Use Daylight White Balance for Outdoor Shooting, Not AWB | Digital Photography insights Auto white balance sounds like it solves every issue regarding colors in your pictures, but it doesn't. For example, when you shoot at sunset or sunrise, AWB wants to 'correct' the golden tones that we love so much when the sun is close to the horizon. It desaturates the yellow and red portion of the spectrum, and the colors look weak and disappointing. By contrast, if you shoot with daylight white balance, you will capture the colors you see. The yellows, reds, and oranges will be saturated and dramatic.

Posted by Postilicious

Do the Republicans see the irony here?

For a good laugh (or cry), read the Oklahoma Republican platform (or download the PDF).

I fail to understand how they can reconcile their belief in “The sanctity of human life, from the moment of conception to its natural end” with this statement:

We support the death penalty and swift execution of criminals who have exhausted the appeals process.

Elsewhere, they state:

While the objective study of philosophy and religion can be beneficial, public schools should not be endorsing any specific religion or philosophy. We believe that students and teachers should enjoy the right of free exercise of religion.

Yet the very next paragraph says:

We support posting the Ten Commandments and our Nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” in all public schools in recognition of our religious heritage.

The Republican party isn’t only the Party Of No; they’re also the Party Of Contradictions.

Something very scary is happening

The attacks and rhetoric we’re seeing from the McCain-Palin camp now goes far beyond run of the mill gutter politics to something far more dangerous. Campaign events for McCain & Palin look more like KKK rallies with shouts to “kill him“. They’re tapping into seething racism to fire up the base.

Andrew Sullivan points out how dangerous this can be:

But they are also very very dangerous. This is a moment of maximal physical danger for the young Democratic nominee. And McCain is playing with fire. If he really wants to put country first, he will attack Obama on his policies – not on these inflammatory, personal, creepy grounds. This is getting close to the atmosphere stoked by the Israeli far right before the assassination of Rabin.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin and her husband have been involved with a genuine terrorist organization, the Alaskan Independence Party.

If McCain had one shred of decency, he’d denounce these verbal attacks and tell his supporters to show some respect for Obama.

Deja Vu

After the collapse of several investment banks in less than a week, John McCain said: “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” echoing Herbert Hoover, who said on Oct. 25 1929 “The fundamental business of the country, that is the production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis.”

The day before Hoover made that statement became known as Black Thursday, when the stock market lost 9% of its value in heavy trading, triggering a collapse of the banking system, which resulted in the Great Depression.

But this time it’s nothing, since we’re just a nation of whiners, according to McCain’s former financial advisor. Everything will be just fine if we bury our head in the sand and just ignore what’s happening.


This comes awfully close to a racial slur. Even today in the south you rarely hear the word “uppity” not followed by the N-word. I’m sure most of his target audience mentally added that word to his remark.

Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the racially-tinged term “uppity” to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday.

Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.

“Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity,” Westmoreland said.

Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

Forgetting the past

We’re always told to remember the past, but I’ve come to believe it’s the wrong idea. Sometimes forgetting the past is a good thing.

Yesterday I got a forwarded email about previous Democratic presidents’ records on Social Security and other issues, although it says nothing about Obama. You can’t judge a current candidate by earlier presidents. Obama is not Johnson, Carter, or Clinton. There’s no reason to believe he’ll follow similar policies.

Similarly, Republicans like to bring up Lincoln to play up their commitment to civil rights. That’s completely wrong and irrelevant since today’s Republican party has nothing in common with Lincoln’s party, and today’s Republicans, including McCain, have actively opposed civil rights.

The only way we will have real peace is by forgetting the past and moving on. As long as people will keep dredging up something another group’s ancestors did to their ancestors a few hundred years ago, old grudges will never die and we’ll never be able to stop fighting.

Links for 2008-08-12 through 2008-08-13

Links for 2008-08-12 through 2008-08-13:

Posted by Postilicious