A difficult handshake

Just not long ago, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking an advance in the peace process around British rule of Northern Ireland.

CNN highlighted other moments:

  • In 1972, on his trip to China, U.S. President Richard Nixon shook hands withMao Zedong, in a first step toward better relations between the two countries.
  • Thirteen years later, in Geneva, Switzerland, U.S. President Ronald Reagan did the same with another Communist leader: Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. The two leaders were seeking common ground on arms reduction and other issues.
  • Then, there was a historic moment in 1990. South African President F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shook hands in an iconic moment on the path to end apartheid.
  • And finally: Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat famously shook hands at the White House in 1993. The two were later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in Mideast peace negotiations.

These handshakes are highly symbolic. I wonder what went through their minds to decide for a nation whether a handshake is appropriate.

Parents worry over the wrong things

According to NPR parents are worrying over the wrong things.

These are the top 5 things parents are worrying about according to Christie Barnes, mother of four and author of The Paranoid Parents Guide:

  1. Kidnapping
  2. School snipers
  3. Terrorists
  4. Dangerous strangers
  5. Drugs

But how do children really get hurt or killed?

  1. Car accidents
  2. Homicide (usually committed by a person who knows the child, not a stranger)
  3. Abuse
  4. Suicide
  5. Drowning

And the explanation?

Why such a big discrepancy between worries and reality? Barnes says parents fixate on rare events because they internalize horrific stories they hear on the news or from a friend without stopping to think about the odds the same thing could happen to their children.

Read more at NPR.

List of cats with fraudulent diplomas

This is a weird Wikipedia article: List of cats with fraudulent diplomas. It is a list of cats getting higher education certifications. On several occasions, people who desired to expose a diploma mill have registered their pet cat as a student. Upon its speedy graduation, the cat and its diploma are displayed to the news media.

One of the cats is Colby Nolan and here’s the story from Wiki:

Colby Nolan

Colby Nolan is a housecat who was awarded an MBA degree in 2004 by Trinity Southern University, a Dallas, Texas-based diploma mill, sparking a fraud lawsuit by the Pennsylvania attorney general‘s office.[1] Continue reading “List of cats with fraudulent diplomas”

List of stop words

Stop words sometimes known as stopwords or Noise Words (in the case of SQL Server), is the name given to words which are filtered out prior to, or after, processing of natural language data (text). Hans Peter Luhn, one of the pioneers in information retrieval, is credited with coining the phrase and using the concept in his design. It is controlled by human input and not automated. This is sometimes seen as a negative approach to the natural articles of speech as mentioned above. (Source: Wikipedia)

Here’s a list of stop words, it’s compiled from Mark Sanderson’s Information Retrieval linguistic utilities stop words list. It has been formatted to a PHP array for easy use:

[code lang=”php”]var $stop_words = array(“a”, “about”, “above”, “across”, “after”, “afterwards”, “again”, “against”, “all”, “almost”, “alone”, “along”, “already”, “also”, “although”, “always”, “am”, “among”, “amongst”, “amoungst”, “amount”, “an”, “and”, “another”, “any”, “anyhow”, “anyone”, “anything”, “anyway”, “anywhere”, “are”, “around”, “as”, “at”, “back”, “be”, “became”, “because”, “become”, “becomes”, “becoming”, “been”, “before”, “beforehand”, “behind”, “being”, “below”, “beside”, “besides”, “between”, “beyond”, “bill”, “both”, “bottom”, “but”, “by”, “call”, “can”, “cannot”, “cant”, “co”, “computer”, “con”, “could”, “couldnt”, “cry”, “de”, “describe”, “detail”, “do”, “done”, “down”, “due”, “during”, “each”, “eg”, “eight”, “either”, “eleven”, “else”, “elsewhere”, “empty”, “enough”, “etc”, “even”, “ever”, “every”, “everyone”, “everything”, “everywhere”, “except”, “few”, “fifteen”, “fify”, “fill”, “find”, “fire”, “first”, “five”, “for”, “former”, “formerly”, “forty”, “found”, “four”, “from”, “front”, “full”, “further”, “get”, “give”, “go”, “had”, “has”, “hasnt”, “have”, “he”, “hence”, “her”, “here”, “hereafter”, “hereby”, “herein”, “hereupon”, “hers”, “herself”, “him”, “himself”, “his”, “how”, “however”, “hundred”, “i”, “ie”, “if”, “in”, “inc”, “indeed”, “interest”, “into”, “is”, “it”, “its”, “itself”, “keep”, “last”, “latter”, “latterly”, “least”, “less”, “ltd”, “made”, “many”, “may”, “me”, “meanwhile”, “might”, “mill”, “mine”, “more”, “moreover”, “most”, “mostly”, “move”, “much”, “must”, “my”, “myself”, “name”, “namely”, “neither”, “never”, “nevertheless”, “next”, “nine”, “no”, “nobody”, “none”, “noone”, “nor”, “not”, “nothing”, “now”, “nowhere”, “of”, “off”, “often”, “on”, “once”, “one”, “only”, “onto”, “or”, “other”, “others”, “otherwise”, “our”, “ours”, “ourselves”, “out”, “over”, “own”, “part”, “per”, “perhaps”, “please”, “put”, “rather”, “re”, “same”, “see”, “seem”, “seemed”, “seeming”, “seems”, “serious”, “several”, “she”, “should”, “show”, “side”, “since”, “sincere”, “six”, “sixty”, “so”, “some”, “somehow”, “someone”, “something”, “sometime”, “sometimes”, “somewhere”, “still”, “such”, “system”, “take”, “ten”, “than”, “that”, “the”, “their”, “them”, “themselves”, “then”, “thence”, “there”, “thereafter”, “thereby”, “therefore”, “therein”, “thereupon”, “these”, “they”, “thick”, “thin”, “third”, “this”, “those”, “though”, “three”, “through”, “throughout”, “thru”, “thus”, “to”, “together”, “too”, “top”, “toward”, “towards”, “twelve”, “twenty”, “two”, “un”, “under”, “until”, “up”, “upon”, “us”, “very”, “via”, “was”, “we”, “well”, “were”, “what”, “whatever”, “when”, “whence”, “whenever”, “where”, “whereafter”, “whereas”, “whereby”, “wherein”, “whereupon”, “wherever”, “whether”, “which”, “while”, “whither”, “who”, “whoever”, “whole”, “whom”, “whose”, “why”, “will”, “with”, “within”, “without”, “would”, “yet”, “you”, “your”, “yours”, “yourself”, “yourselves”);[/code]

And here is a list of Google stop words, I can’t recall where I got this from but there’re numerous sites with such information. Once again formatted in a PHP array which you can quite easily convert to Java array:

[code lang=”php”]var $google_stop_words = array(“I” ,”a” ,”about” ,”an” ,”are” ,”as” ,”at” ,”be” ,”by” ,”com” ,”de” ,”en” ,”for” ,”from” ,”how” ,”in” ,”is” ,”it” ,”la” ,”of” ,”on” ,”or” ,”that” ,”the” ,”this” ,”to” ,”was” ,”what” ,”when” ,”where” ,”who” ,”will” ,”with” ,”und” ,”the” ,”www”);[/code]

This is useful for filtering out common words in an English paragraph that may be deemed insignificant. This is one of the things I used to implement something like a tag discoverer based on word frequency.

George W. Bush: The Greatest Hits

Here’s George Bush with his favorite easter bunny (not photoshoped):

George Bush with the easter bunny

All politicians are prone to make slips of the tongue in the heat of the moment – and President George W Bush has made more than most.

The word “Bushism” has been coined to label his occasional verbal lapses during eight years in office, which come to an end on 20 January. (Source: BBC)

And out of the list of memorable quotes compiled by BBC, here are some worthy mentions:

  1. “They misunderestimated me.” 
    Bentonville, Arkansas, 6 November, 2000
  2. “There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”
    Nashville, Tennessee, 17 September, 2002
  3. “I want to thank my friend, Senator Bill Frist, for joining us today. He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me.”
    Nashville, Tennessee, 27 May, 2004
  4. “The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the – the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice.”
    Washington DC, 27 October, 2003
  5. “You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.”
    CBS News, Washington DC, 6 September, 2006
  6. “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”
    Townsend, Tennessee, 21 February, 2001
  7. “It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it.”
    Reuters, 5 May, 2000
  8. “Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN’s aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 6 September, 2004
  9. “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”
    Saginaw, Michigan, 29 September, 2000
  10. “That’s George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three – three or four books about him last year. Isn’t that interesting?”
    Speaking to reporter Kai Diekmann, Washington DC, 5 May, 2006
  11. “And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it, and [Tony Blair] read it.”
    On the publication of the Baker-Hamilton Report, Washington DC, 7 December, 2006
  12. “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.”
    Washington DC, 12 May, 2008

I think I’m going to miss his jokes when he leaves. Obama doesn’t make too many funny mistakes.

List of Ubuntu derivatives

Was at Wikipedia checking out more information about Linux distributions when I chance upon an article on Ubuntu distributions.

  • gNewSense is designed for users who wish to use only free software. It is officially supported and recommended by the Free Software Foundation. The project has also produced a set of scripts that allow anyone to create a free distribution.
  • Goobuntu is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that Google uses internally. It is not released outside Google.
  • gOS early versions used the Enlightenment window manager, featuring Google Apps and other web-based applications.
  • Linux Mint‘s purpose is to produce an elegant, up to date and comfortable Linux desktop based on Ubuntu.

There’s so much distributions. They are all unofficial distributions by the way. And some are religion-related:

  • Ubuntu Christian Edition (also referred to as Ubuntu CE) is a distribution designed for Christians. The first version of Ubuntu Christian Edition was announced on 24 July 2006.[4] Ubuntu Christian Edition features fully integrated web content parental controls powered by DansGuardian, as well as a graphical tool to adjust the parental control settings specifically developed for Ubuntu Christian Edition, and includes several popular Bible Study Programs such as GnomeSword.
  • Ubuntu Muslim Edition (also referred to as Ubuntu ME) is a distribution designed for Muslims. Ubuntu Muslim Edition is a free, open source operating system based on Ubuntu. Its main feature is the inclusion of Islamic software, such as prayer times, a Qur’an study tool and a web content filtering utility.
  • Ubuntu Satanic Edition (also referred to as Ubuntu SE) is a series of dark themes for Ubuntu, and a parody of Ubuntu Christian Edition. It’s not a derivative distro, the themes can be installed on any Gnome or KDE based distro.

 I laughed when I saw Ubuntu Christian Edition which is now, by the way, suspended: Continue reading “List of Ubuntu derivatives”

The 10 essential vi editor commands

This is just so annoying. I had to use the vi editor and it’s hard for me. I’ve gotten use to the mouse and backspaces and enter and all the Word shortcuts. To downgrade to this vi editor sucks.

Ten vi editor commands

  1. To insert – a (INS works too it seems)
  2. To insert on new line below the cursor – o
  3. To replace the one character under your cursor – r
  4. Left Down Up RIght – h j k l (Arrow keys works too it seems)
  5. Undo – u
  6. Delete the line – dd
  7. Delete the character on cursor – x
  8. To get out of the Editing mode – ESC
  9. To quit the bloody editor without saving – :q!
  10. To save and quit – :wq

This is by no way the complete list, the complete list have hundreds of commands that only a true geek who reaches the stage of nirvana can remember.

This post is more for my personal note. I encounter editing when using the visudo command.

Five things you probably didn’t know about me

Okay, here’s five:

  1. My favorite numbers are 5, 7 and 12. I dislike the numbers 6, 8 and 9 maybe because they’re too round or something.
  2. I don’t have something I really like, don’t have something I really hate. Many a times I’m pretty much undecided. (Asides for numbers I guess.)
  3. I can’t work with loud music but I like loud music. (See – can’t decide.) I enjoy turning up the volume to cover the background sounds such as the aircon or my computer sounds.
  4. I enjoy listening to people talking, but they often take too much of my time unfortunately. Sometimes time passes so quickly, you just forget about… well… time. Sometimes I just listen till I forget I have work to do and my day is kinda ‘wasted’ in a way.
  5. I think a lot when people talk to me or when I talk to people. It’s as if my mind keeps churning and churning and registering information and indexing them. Even when I am talking, my mind keeps thinking. Because of that, sometimes it appears that I am not concentrating.

Maybe you can compile your own five things too.