Monday, November 22, 2004


If you've been following events in Iraq, you are probably aware of the brouhaha surrounding the apparent marine shooting of a subdued, unarmed insurgent. In times of war, these things -inexcusable as they are- do happen. The idea that somehow 150,000 heavily armed, trained and primed soldiers mostly in their late teens and early twenties under severe stress somehow posses the diplomatic skills and judgment of an ambassador under hellish conditions is ridiculous. These kids make mistakes. Some of these mistakes are criminal in nature, if not intent. We shall see what U.S. Military justice decides the appropriate fate for the individual under investigation is. What we should not do is somehow draw the conclusion that we are no different than the enemy we face. We are quite different and clearly on the side of moral and civil values in this conflict. There should be no mistake about that. Additionally, we should not shoot the messenger. Kevin Sites, the MSNBC reporter who shot the footage of the incident has been an exemplary correspondent throughout this conflict. At all times he has shown respect, admiration and forged deep friendships with the soldiers he embeds with. To suggest that his actions are traitorous and agenda-driven is odious to me as it should be to anyone who has been following Kevin's adventures on his blog. His recounting of the story can be found here.

UPDATE: From a Marine who was there.

UPDATE II: This is from a US Army future combat systems scenario demonstration. It's worth noting that all of the systems being used in the animation are either in service now or in active development. The small peanut-shaped drone, in particular, has eerie shades of Star Wars in it. Life is not going to be getting any easier for enemies of the US Armed Forces anytime soon.

Monday, November 15, 2004


if you've ever asked me about my profession, programming, and whether I'm any good at it, I've probably said that yeah, I'm a decent programmer. What I do is mostly along the lines of scripting and integration, i.e. programming the glue that holds different high level prebuilt components together. Such sexy pursuits include: integrating Lotus Domino with third party LDAP servers and document management products, etc. I do some medium-wieight programming as well, but nothing, strictly speaking, that could be considered rocket science. The true rocket scientists of the trade, I always said, are the game programmers. These guys -they are all men as far as I can tell- design complex mathematical engines for the creation and management of incredibly realistic audio-visual experiences that perform seamlessly and enjoyably -to the delight of millions of ardent game players worldwide in four dimensions. They are the Einsteins (and Von Brauns) of the computer science trade. Backing up my assertion is the realization that John Carmack, a leading member of this august group, is indeed a rocket scientist in his spare time. Carmack co-founded and co-owns id software, which published some of the most popular action games of our time. I first began following Carmack's other company, Armadillo Aerospace, almost two years ago when my interest in the x-prize began. I've found this small company to be my favorite of the contenders, notwithstanding the realization early on that Scaled was going to be the team to beat. Carmack and his small cadre of hobbyists are seriously vying to build an affordable and reliable space transportation device. Check out their site, it's fascinating stuff.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Happy birthday to me! I'm a palindromic 33 today. Yay! The lovely Lorraine threw me a beautiful birthday smash last night in the new (and Improved!) Chez Ochs on the Hudson Passaic. I got an Aeron chair for my office nook, so I'm one happy camper this morning. Thanks Sweetie!

Who would swipe a yellow "support our troops" magnet off of a car! It's unpatriotic, that's what it is.

South Park was singularly and uncharecteristically awful this week, bwaah!