Thursday, January 20, 2005

What's on my Flash Drive

I received a 256MB Sandisk Cruzer Micro flash drive for Christmas. I've been slowly loading it up with stuff (an ongoing process), trying to think of creative uses for it.

Here's what's on it so far:
  • A README.TXT file containing contact info in case I lose the flash drive.
  • A 20MB 128-bit Blowfish encrypted Cryptainer volume. The cryptainer volume houses my Data directory.
  • An unsecured data directory called Lore.
  • A Books directory containing eReader, a couple of Palm Doc books, and a couple of PDF books.
  • A MP3 directory with Coolplayer in it (but no MP3s yet).
  • A Games directory containing Asteroids, Tetris (both from, and Chess-It.
  • A Utils directory with 7za.exe, Upx, MD5Sum, Split32, Nano, and GnuPG.
  • A Tools directory containing installers for AntiVir, Spybot S&D, Adaware, Firefox, Miranda, Putty, 7-Zip, Irfanview, and AxCrypt.
Any standalone executables on the drive, such as the games or utilities, have been compressed with UPX so that they use up only half as much space.

I've been thinking about putting portable versions of Firefox and other programs on the drive, but I don't want to put excessive wear on it. It's easy to carry an installer and "upgrade" any computer that doesn't have a program I need, and keeping portable working versions would take up a lot of space. As it is, I've got room to carry around some big files (like OpenOffice) and still have lots of room to spare (over 100 MB). I might try putting a copy of Slax on the drive for fun.

So, do you have any interesting uses for your flash drive?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Tsunami Death Toll a Drop in the Bucket

Without a doubt, 140,000 deaths so far is certainly a tragedy. In the localities affected, the death toll and physical destruction certainly constitute a disaster.

However, on a global scale, this is not even a drop in the bucket. In fact, it's not even unusual.

There are roughly 6,000,000,000 (6 billion) people living on Earth today. To make even a minor (1%) dent in the population, we'd need to have 60,000,000 (60 million) people die.

If we inflate the tsunami numbers to 600,000 dead, that's a mere 1/100th of 1% of the world's population. If we inflate them to 6,000,000, we're still only up to 1/10 of 1% of the population.

In the time since the tsunami, roughly the same number of people have died of AIDS. Hundreds of millions of people around the world are living in abject poverty, starving, and diseased.

Where is the world's compassion for those people? It's sickening to watch the news. Ongoing problems in the world are blithely ignored, but as long as you've got a good sound bite or video clip to go with your tragedy, North Americans will cry on the news and go on and on about compassion and the need for relief funds. It shouldn't be surprising, I suppose. This myopic vision is a defining characteristic of human society.

Burgeoning human population and enthusiastic use of technology without thought of consequences has thrown the Earth's ecosystem as a whole out of balance. In just the past hundred years, humans have accounted for countless extinctions of plant and animal species, changed the Earth's climate, and dramatically increased our own population.

In many ways, natural disasters such as extreme weather (from hurricanes to droughts), earthquakes, and outbreaks of new and old diseases, can be interpreted as Mother Nature trying to restore balance to the Earth.

As a species, we need to wake up and start treating our home with respect. We have to curtail population growth, and live in a sustainable manner. We also need to devise effective solutions to ongoing problems in the world.

Otherwise we're playing chicken with Mother Nature, and we're going to be unprepared when she decides to make a major correction to human population.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

What to expect from this blog...

I've had my own web sites for years (since 1995... they started as gopher sites), and mostly they're done by hand (HTML in Notepad). Recently I was researching some modern tools to update the look of my web pages (Web Page Maker has a beautiful interface), and I ended up researching blogs. Then I discovered Blogger.

Blogger was so amazingly simple, and the templates created such beautiful sites, that I had to start my own blog. In fact, the blog solved an old problem for me. Originally my sites were intended to be more blog-like, but I found I needed them to provide static information. So, a blog is a perfect complement to those static sites (see my sidebar).

So, on abstract intuitive (named because that's the mode my brain works in most of the time) you'll find all sorts of stuff. I don't intend it to focus on a particular topic at this time. I'll just meander a bit and hope what I write is interesting to somebody. I'll do my best not to let it become too vapid. In general, I'll post specific stand-alone articles that can be referenced rather than wishy-washy stream of consciousness stuff.