URLs du Jour

2009-11-22

  • The burning question du jour is: how did Paul's Fedora 12 (F12) upgrade on his home machine go? Answer: just fine, although there was a gotcha that just goes to show that maybe Fedora's not ready for civilians yet.

    • I don't need a lot of hard drive space, so I thought it might be a good idea to install F12 in half the drive, while keeping an intact copy of F11 in the other half. When done, I can just copy over any customizations and configurations from the old partition to the new.

      Only problem was that (due to a previous lazy decision) the F11 installation created a single large root partition, gobbling pretty much the entire drive (even though it wound up using only maybe 7% of that). So what I needed to do was to shrink F11's existing root partition without destroying the data in it.

      Fortunately, there's a solution out there for just about any wacky thing you might want to do in Linux, and the one I used was from a guy IDd as "zcat", here. Tedious but effective.

    • The gotcha: It's an older machine, with only a CD reader, so multiple CDs were required for the install. Problem: after CD #1 was done, it asked for CD #2, but didn't eject the tray. The manual CD-eject button was unresponsive.

      That's a pickle, and a reported bug, unfortunately with no reported workaround. A reboot was the only option, which left the machine in an unbootable state. Woe!

      But starting over again, things just worked. Go figure.

    • And my wireless card came up without a hitch.

    On balance, one of the smoother upgrades I've had. Great job by the Fedora folks.

  • I liked Ilya Somin's take on the Sarah Palin wars, because it closely matches mine.
    … I was initially positive about Sarah Palin because her record was much more libertarian than that of most other major national politicians. Later, I had to reassess my view of Palin, as her ignorance of many important policy issues became apparent. But I also emphasized that ignorance is not the same thing as stupidity, and that in my view Palin suffers from the former, not the latter — a conclusion also reached by liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. I do a lot of research on political ignorance, and the distinction between ignorance and stupidity is one that I have often urged people to keep in mind. For reasons that I discuss here and here, even professional politicians often find it rational to devote their time to activities other than learning about major national issues.
    I think Somin is missing something, though: it's awfully easy to look (both) stupid and ignorant when confronted with a hostile interviewer on national TV. Alaska's media may not have been cutthroat enough to allow Governor Palin to develop appropriate skills.

    And of course, conservatives have to be much, much better than lefties on this score, since the national media (a) is inherently more hostile to them, and (b) will be happy to magnify and immortalize any right-wing flub, while minimizing and forgetful about those on their own side.

  • I've also been following the controversy over the leaked/hacked "CRU" collection of e-mail correspondence between global warming scientists. John Hinderaker has a couple excerpt-laden articles here and here. His comment:
    … the conclusion an observer is likely to draw from the CRU archive is that the climate alarmists are making up the science as they go along and are fitting facts to reach a predetermined conclusion rather than objectively seeking after truth. What they are doing is politics, not science. When I was in law school, this story was told about accountants: A CEO is going to hire a new accountant and summons a series of candidates. He asks each applicant, "What is two plus two?" The first two candidates answer, "Four." They don't get the job. The third responds, "What do you want it to be?" He gets hired. The climate alarmists' attitude toward data appears to me much the same as that fictional accountant's attitude toward arithmetic.
    RealClimate has probably the most effective defense of the leaked e-mail, and you should check it out if you're interested in both sides. But this seems lame:
    More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.
    If a major part of your argument is insulting blather about what's not in the e-mail, you are inviting the rather obvious rejoinder that you'd rather concentrate on that than what's in the mail.

    And it's pretty bad. The scientists are revealed to be far short of their desired image: paragons of objective analysis, fans of openly gathered, unbiased evidence, champions of transparent methodology. Instead, they're scheming, cliquish, backbiting, and secretive.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 8:55 AM EST