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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Ash's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, February 10th, 2008
2:37 pm
in Boston
So I know I haven't posted in a loong time. Real life caught up.

I'm in the Cambridge-Boston area this week.. 2/14-17 (Thursday-Sunday). If you're going to be nearby, let me know! I'd love to see you.
2:12 pm
I find it very difficult to understand the - for want of a better phrase - dramatic perspective, in epic science fiction. To me, half the stories read like this:

T'giuw'j Vhhrel hovered dreamily upside down near the shuttle console. She was playing space solitaire with floating cards. "Place the ten on the jack", whispered a mysterious disembodied voice, and she did so, even though the ten and the jack were of the same suit.

Over the next four thousand generations, the shuttle, the sun it orbited, and most of the galaxy crumbled to dust in an interstellar war.

The End.
Sunday, August 19th, 2007
6:15 pm
Saturday, August 18th, 2007
2:48 pm
you'll never guess where I got this link
Although Winkler was charged with first-degree murder after she confessed to shooting her 31-year-old husband and leaving town with their daughters, jurors convicted her of the lesser charge following testimony of the abuse she claimed to have suffered under her husband, who she said demanded sex she considered unnatural. Winkler was sentenced June 8 to three years in prison but had to serve only 67 days because of credit for time in jail before her trial, the nature of the offense and lack of a criminal record.
The "unnatural sex" part sounded curious, so I did some more reading.
Jurors were shown a pair of tall, platform shoes and a black wig Winkler said she was pressured to wear during sex.
She spent 67 days in jail. She blew the guy away with a shotgun!
Wednesday, August 15th, 2007
1:38 am
Too good to miss.  The URL says it all.
1:28 am
Met up with Philip downtown this evening.
He's doing well.
Saturday, June 30th, 2007
7:01 pm
stop the presses
'Answer people,' the folks who contribute much of the value in the Internet, are a small minority of all online users.... We found that answer people predominantly contribute one or a few messages to discussions initiated by others, are disproportionately tied to relative isolates, have few intense ties and have few triangles in their local networks.
Wednesday, June 27th, 2007
1:53 pm
the strange


Custer's Revenge 

"Custer's Revenge," released in 1983 for Atari by the erotic videogame company Mystique, managed to offend gamers simultaneously with its misogyny and racism and with its fantastically primitive gameplay. Players controlled a naked image of the titular General Custer, dodging arrows in an attempt to cross the screen and, believe it or not, rape a pixellated image of a American Indian woman bound to a post. The game was heavily protested by both American Indian and feminist groups.
Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
4:56 pm
I got fired today.

Not really, it was voluntary resignation with 3 weeks notice.  But since I'd accepted an offer from a rival company, HR and my dev manager showed up in my office out of the blue and "requested" that I move up my termination date to... today.  Then they followed me back to my office where I packed my personal belongings in a box and turned over my cardkey.
Dev mgr.:  Could I look through this envelope you're packing?
Me:  They're photographs.
Dev mgr:  *mumble*... you know, I'm just following the rules... *riffles through pile*.

Didn't really think it would end like this, but eh, that's life.

Now I get an extra week of (unpaid) vacation.
Monday, June 18th, 2007
12:16 pm
An answer to my question from last week.


But the Amex? Forget it. There are no exchange-traded funds, open- or closed-end mutual funds, options, futures or warrants pegged to the American Composite, a decision no doubt based partly on the exchange's relative lack of liquidity. An active day for Amex-traded Nabors Industries (NBR) is 3.7 million shares, while Nasdaq-listed Cisco Systems (CSCO) will trade that in the first 15 minutes.

Friday, June 15th, 2007
12:02 pm


Quote from page 2

"Mr. Clinton also has $15,001 to $50,000 in Easy Bill Ltd., an India-based company that works on electronic transactions and business services for Indians.

Shortly after the Clinton campaign released the financial information, the campaign of Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat, circulated to news organizations — on what it demanded be a not-for-attribution-basis — a scathing analysis. It called Mrs. Clinton “Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)” in its headline. The document referred to the investment in India and Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raising efforts among Indian-Americans."

Criticizing the investment is one thing (are politicians not allowed to have offhosre investments at all? $50,000 is chump change for these folks).
But they also blast her for fund-raising from Indian-Americans... that seems... a little questionable. 

In other news of the dumb.

A federal judge in Los Angeles last week ruled (PDF) that a computer server's RAM, or random-access memory, is a tangible document that can be stored and must be turned over in a lawsuit.
Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
5:53 pm
money matters


To make things more sane, let's just look at the markets post April 2003.



So here's what I notice.

  • These are all indexes (duh), we're not talking about playing the market.
  • VEIEX is a fund pegged to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.  You should follow that link, the list of countries is interesting.
  • VGTSX is pegged to Vanguard's Total International Composite Index, which tracks the Emerging Markets Index, along with indexes of more "stable" exchanges for Europe and the Pacific.
  • Post 2000, NASDAQ and the S&P have been basically equivalent in terms of yield at this scale.
  • Post 2003 nothing really beats emerging markets or even comes close.  The success of global markets is largely driven by this portion of the index.  Developed economies don't even do that much to soften the bumpiness of the ride.  The trend isn't slowing, either.
  • But during the tech boom of the turn of century, emerging markets were seriously flailing (why?).  You'd have to hold them for nearly eight years to even break even.
  • The one I don't get is the Amex Composite Index (XAX).  You never lost a lot of money on this index -- not even during 2001/2002 when everyone else burned.  Sure, it didn't keep up with NASDAQ when it exploded in '99.  And yet you saw gains -- almost at pace with the overall economy.  After 2003 it's almost kept pace with global markets, but *still more stable* -- compare the graphs for May/June 2006, for example.  ETFs are the key.

But how do you invest in .XAX?


Thursday, May 24th, 2007
12:58 pm
π seconds is a nanocentury.
Monday, May 21st, 2007
5:53 pm

This is kind of a cute app for e-ink. And, you'd have counting scores and recording games built right in.
1:01 am
apu meme
1. What do you consider your nicest physical feature?
I like to think my eyes are fairly intense. A few other people have confirmed this (not everybody, but the ones who do confirm it, confirm it quite strongly).

2. What is the most physically painful thing that you've experienced?
Can't think of anything really. Once or twice when being worked over by a dentist, I've twitched in the chair, and he immediately stopped what he was doing, changed direction etc. So that duration was so short that it doesn't even count.

3. How many pillows do you like to sleep with at night?
One, but it's nice to have a spare.

4. If your body was cremated, where would you like your ashes to be sprinkled?
Tossed from a plane so they disperse over the ocean.
Read more...Collapse )
Thursday, May 17th, 2007
3:48 pm
I posted this, a couple years ago.
Well, spring is here again.
Sunday, May 6th, 2007
4:56 pm
I got this message from some random person on orkut.
hi ashish i am anindita want 2 b ur frd pls dont deny eagerly waiting 4 ur rply
I take it for granted that I get messages like these from folks on myspace or friendster; I guess orkut is following that trend.

In other news -
Among the interesting stats, I found that "Just 3 percent of the public self-identifies as atheist", but "slightly more (49 percent) reported personally knowing an atheist."
Thursday, April 26th, 2007
12:31 am
the world is crazy
From the Dept. of Who Knew?, there appears to be a whole school of amateur manga devoted to personifying Microsoft operating systems. Windows flavors are most often depicted as saucer-eyed girls with underwear management issues. (People with a lot of spare time have tried to prove that the breast size of characters is proportional to minimum installed RAM requirements for the corresponding OS.) But we're partial to Windows 98 SE, who seems to have come to life as an angry paper bag.

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007
6:03 pm
I'm now dan ranked on KGS.
Monday, March 5th, 2007
6:01 pm
Viva La MicroWava!
This guy sent out a mass mail to all his friends a couple of weeks ago, a "friendly reminder" of how Johns Hopkins has discovered that either freezing or microwaving food in plastic containers releases harmful dioxin chemicals, which cause cancer, and otherwise poison the cells of our bodies.

So like everyone else, I snoped his ass: http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cookplastic.asp

He responded with this link.

Blah blah, Russians have outlawed microwave ovens... creates d-nitrosodiethanolamine... alpha and beta particle saturation in the food... loss of "bioavailability" and "vital energy field content"... ah, here we go.
Potential Use In Mind Control

Their residual magnetism effect can render the psychoneural-receptor components of the brain more subject to influence by artificially induced, microwave-radio-frequency fields from transmission stations and TV relay networks.

Soviet neuropsychologists at Uralyera and Novosibirsk have theorised the possibility of psychotelemetric influence (i.e., affecting human behaviour by transmitting radio signals at controlled frequencies), causing subjects to comply - involuntarily and subliminally - with commands received through microwave transmissions acting upon their psychological energy fields.
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