August 28, 2003

Disturbing Spam mail

I got a very disturbing spam mail sent to me -- of all email accounts, it was sent to my school account (how do these people get my email address?). Well, rather than describe to you the email, I'm posting it below. I realize you have better things to do than read spam, but read it and if possible resist the urge to go to the website (that just encourages the spammer). No, I haven't gone to the website myself either. I'm still wondering whether I should laugh at this email, it sounds too preposterous to be real.

Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 05:35:02 -0400 (EST)
From: Destiny Hunter
X-Mailer: The Bat! (v1.61) Personal
Reply-To: Lang_Anthony@att.net
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
Message-ID: <4412550178.76601308694024@att.net>
To: xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Earn profits, earn dark profits.

Welcome to the site http://www.darkprofits.com, it's us again, now we extended our
here is a list:

1. Heroin, in liquid and crystal

2. Rocket fuel and Tomohawk rockets (serious enquiries

3. Other rockets (Air-to-Air), orders in batches of 10.

4. New shipment of cocaine has arrived, buy 9 grams and get 10th
for free.

5. We also offer gay-slaves for sale, we offer only such
service on the NET,
you can choose the one you like, then get
straight to business.

6. Fake currencies, such as Euros and US
dollars, prices would match competition.

7. Also, as always, we
offer widest range of child pornography and exclusive lolita

galleries, to keep out clients busy.

Everyone is welcome, be it in
States or any other place worldwide.

ATTENTION. Clearance offer.
Buy 30 grams of heroin, get 5 free.
Prepay your batch of rockets
(air-to-air) and recieve a portable rocket-lacuncher
for free.


This offer won't last! Only until 20th of August all our clients
will also recieve
a pack of 2 CDs, with best selection of child

Posted by johnvu at 11:15 AM | Comments (2)

August 27, 2003

Lizard spit

Forbes.com: Lizard spit drug controls diabetes and cuts weight. I think this title is hilarious. It definitely did its job and caught my attention.

Posted by johnvu at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2003

Open access synopsis

The Scientist :: Economics of open access

Using income tax records, however, Willinsky conducted an analysis of publishing costs as a proportion of total operating costs of scholarly associations. Of the 20 associations he surveyed, 14 did not generate enough income from their journals (through subscriptions and royalties) to compensate for the cost of producing the journal and often used membership dues and other revenue sources to subsidize the journals.

This is a great short article about the current state-of-affairs of the open access model for scientific literature.

Posted by johnvu at 11:13 AM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2003

Rolling cliches

Follow my lead, see how far we can take it, or start your own:

All's fair in love and war of the roses are red violets are blue collar job and shove it never rains, it pour the baby out with the bath water into wine...

Posted by johnvu at 12:27 AM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2003

Energy INdependence

Home Power Magazine - Your Small Scale Renewable Energy (RE) Source. Seeing how we are so dependent on our power, evidenced by yesterday's power outage in the Northeast and Canada, I thought it was apt to dedicate one entry on some information on the net about renewable energy or "green" energy. The people extolling the virtues of guerilla solar power stood out above the rest. Imagine being able to generate power during the day, enough for you, your batteries, and then some. And, imagine being able to "resell" the extra power that you generate and feed it back to the main power grid for others to use! Well, some people have been doing this very thing -- legally and not so legally (hence, the name guerilla solar). Many of the solar power people have cut their energy costs to mere dollars a month because they are able to resell their extra energy.

I'm sure some of you are up on the latest fuel cell technology and the next generation hydrogen power concept car of GM. But for those of us wanting to "make a difference" now and are itching to generate his/her own fuel source for his vehicles, it may be worth it to check out biodiesel. Diesel power is more popular in Europe than it is here in the U.S.; however, consider this, a fuel source that is organic, rather than drilled and mined. Some hardcore hippies wanting to make their own fuel, actually "buy" the used frying fat from restaurants and convert that to diesel! The process is called transesterification, which "means taking a triglyceride molecule, or a complex fatty acid, neutralizing the free fatty acids, removing the glycerin, and creating an alcohol ester." So not only do you get fuel out of the process, but you've also created glycerin which could be used to make soaps (or freeze down your bacteria or whatever else you want to do with it). For those of us who are lab geeks, there are plenty of recipes on the net on how to make biodiesel (check google), but pictures are worth a thousand words. So what do you do with the biodiesel once you've made it? Put it in your vehicle silly! Make sure your engine is diesel, obviously.

Posted by johnvu at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2003

Pho for Thought

Looking Up an Old Love on the Streets of Vietnam. Ahhh, pho for breakfast, pho for lunch and pho for dinner. Until you've had the pleasure of a well cooked piping hot bowl of pho, you probably don't know what I mean. Pho is pho for the soul (yes, I mean pho for the soul, not food for the soul). Time definitely flies when your having pho. I may be pho king, morning, noon, and night, if there was only a pho place near where I work. Baltimore is just a ripe market for pho, but not many people see it. I just want one around me, so I can satisfy my cravings when it hits. Call me a pho phanatic, I see myself normal, compared to the rest of my family.

Posted by johnvu at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2003

Innate vs. Learned

I was once told that individuals who started out not playing well in a sport up until a point when "something clicked," turn out to be the best coaches. The reasoning was that the person finally understood and learned the intricate nature of the sport that was required to perform well. Whereas those individuals who are "naturals" tend not to coach as well. There may or may not be some truth to this, but you can't help but wonder if this pertains to other aspects in life. Are those who are just "naturals" in designing and running experiments any better or worse at training other scientists compared to people like me, who were struggling (I have yet to have "something click") and then it all dawned on them? Food for thought.

Posted by johnvu at 03:39 PM | Comments (2)

August 10, 2003

New pybliographer website

Pybliographer - News. Frederic Gobry, creator and project manager of one of open sources' most comprehensive bibliography manager, has moved the pybliographer website page from sourceforge to a new address: pybliographer.org. He's calling for website designers volunteer their time and work in giving the site a new fresh look. There's been a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity in the development of pybliographer -- i.e. porting it to Gnome 2, which may be available soon! For those of you who are good in Python and would like to help out, please check out the site and contact Frederic.

Posted by johnvu at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2003

WiFi Fun

net stumbler dot com. I had the chance to play around with netstumbler and an interesting thought came to me. What if you were able to IM those around you who were wifi enabled, without actually requiring internet access? In other words, what if my wifi card was able to detect all other wifi users around me and I was able to exploit this to instant message them without having to go through an access point. This could add a level of fun to wardriving -- say I'm wardriving (or warwalking, warstumbling, what have you) along and I find a fellow wardriver somewhere in my vicinity and would like to message him or her without necessarily needing to know anything about him/her besides the fact that he's using the same software that I am for wardriving. As long as the fellow wardriver enables and allows wifi IMs to be displayed, he could get the message. Think about it, this could have some serious uses for commuters. Before my commute, I could just turn on my wardriving system with IM enabled and let's say I hit unexpected traffic. I'll quick send an automatic IM (continuous) letting people know where I am and how long I've been there and how bad traffic looks. And for those people who have a wardriving system, they'll receive the message as they're heading to the congestion and could take a detour in the nick of time. I know some cities here in the US are testing out similar congestion control systems using cellphones instead of wifi. I wish this was a feature that netstumbler implemented.

Posted by johnvu at 11:28 AM | Comments (2)

August 06, 2003

Beowulf clusters and parallel processing

Advanced Research Computing (ARC), OIS. For whatever reason, this sounds like and interesting conference. Wish I had the time to trek down there to listen to the speakers. If only my project required huge processing power, I could convince my mentor to let me go. Oh well, those of you in the DC Metro area, this may be of interest to you.

I went through a major move this weekend. Took me (and the rest of my fam) the entire weekend to move to the new place and I'm still feeling the repercussions of it. Lots of little odds and ends that still need to be done at the new place -- it's neverending!

Lastly, on a strange but serious note. I was watching TV and there was an ad that talked about Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. It made me really re-evaluate my mental health. While it doesn't excuse me from egregious mistakes that I've made in the past, I am sadly struck by some of the words in this article: Adults with AD/HD are often bored with tedious, repetitive tasks. They may also trouble with planning and organization. Procrastination is common. Impulsivity may lead to frequent job changes, troubled romantic relationships, financial problems and a tendency to interrupt others. College students may have trouble staying focused on paperwork or lectures. The AD/HD adult often becomes frustrated or angry rapidly, but may cool off equally quickly. He or she is then left wondering why everyone else is still upset at the blow up. Because of difficulties following through on commitments, the individual is often called selfish and immature. Ahhh. Maybe I'm just making excuses for my recent problem of easily becoming distracted. There should be a study of net surfing among those with adult ADD.

Posted by johnvu at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2003

Cheaper than most other MP3 players

J&R Music and Computer World: Archos Jukebox 5000 Portable MP3 Player. I have had the Archos Jukebox Studio 10 MP3 player for over half a year now and I cannot imagine life now without an MP3 player. I just so happened to come across this deal when reading the NY Times during lunch today and just had to let everyone know that it's a steal! People over at rockbox
have hacked the Archos Jukebox/JB Recorder to death! You can buy this cheap unit and upgrade the hard drive to a whopping 60 GB or more. The sky's the limit. That's three times as big as the biggest Apple iPod that you can buy at the moment at a quarter of the price. You must be thinking to yourself, "what could I really do with this player? do I really need to spend that money?" Here's what I use it for:

1. Listening to music while doing monotonous lab chores.
2. Listening to music or songs while commuting to and from the lab.
3. Have the headphones on, pretending not to be able to hear your boss griping in the lab as he walks by.
4. Use the unit as an external hard drive to store powerpoint presentations that I copy to the laptop controlling the projector.
5. Use the unit as a backup drive to store other important data.
6. I am planning to use the unit to play MP3's of recorded talk shows recorded from the radio -- e.g. Car Talk.
7. Would also be nice to rip audio books (borrowed from the library) to listen to while working or commuting.

I wish I had this unit when I was still taking classes. I could have easily gotten lecture audio and listened to them again while studying.

Posted by johnvu at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)