General Archive

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Iraq Death Toll - Rebuttal to a Chain E-mail

The other day, I got an e-mail titled, "Statistics on Military Deaths," claiming to put into perspective the deaths caused by the Iraq War. It examines total military fatalities since 1980, showing that there were actually higher fatalities in the 80's than there are now, during the war. Since the information came in an e-mail forward, I was skeptical right off the bat, and decided to research it a little. The total death statistic is accurate, however, it's misleading in a number of ways - ignoring the causes of deaths, and ignoring the total number of people in the military over that time span. So, for anyone who's gotten this chain e-mail, I'm posting the reply I wrote to clarify it.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

A Note About the Amazon Links

If anybody looks around this blog and my main website, they may notice that I've begun putting more links to Amazon. Yes, I will earn a bit of money if you buy something after clicking on those links. I debated putting the links up, because it seemed an awful lot like advertising which would cheapen this site. But, I figured that since I'm only linking to books that I'd normally be writing about, anyway, that it's not so bad. I could look at it as providing a service, offering people a way to buy the books, instead of having to go search through Amazon on their own. It's not like I'm using Google AdSense or something obnoxious like that. So, I feel justified in putting those links on my site.

If anyone's curious, I've always had a small link at the bottom of my Autogyros page. I think in all the years that I've had my website, I've earned enough comission to buy two books from Amazon, so it's not exactly a huge profit making enterprise. I'm hoping that putting more links on my blog might get me a little more, maybe enough to buy a book per year, if I'm lucky. But it's certainly not anywhere near enough to pay the Web Hosting company that serves this site, or the yearly fee for my domain name, so my website's still a net loss, financially (but definitely worth the cost, as a fun hobby).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

5 Degrees to Kevin Bacon

Modern Marvels Screenshot 1Modern Marvels Screenshot 2Last week, I had my 9 seconds of fame. Carter Aviation Technologies was featured in a segment of Modern Marvels on the History Channel, and they actually used some of the footage they shot that had me in it. Between one scene talking to my boss, and another looking past the back of my head to see what was on my computer screen, I was on screen for about 9 seconds all together.

So, now that I've been on TV, and my boss has been in several documentaries, I can count my degrees to Kevin Bacon (technically, I was very briefly in another documentary a few years ago, but it was so brief you had to pause the video to make me out). Anyway, here goes:

Jeff Lewis -> Jay Carter, Modern Marvels
Jay Carter -> Bob Simon, 60 Minutes
Bob Simon -> Larry King, Larry King Live
Larry King -> David Hayman, The Jackal
David Hayman -> Kevin Bacon, Where the Truth Lies

So, I've got a Bacon number of 5. (Yeah, I realize documentaries and news aren't exactly the kosher way to do it, but that's the only way I can.)

Modern Marvels Screenshot 1Modern Marvels Screenshot 2Added 2007-10-01: Well, I was in a hurry when I wrote this entry originally, and there are two things I'd like to add. First, I wasn't the only one to get some screen time. A few other co-workers who aren't normally in documentaries also got their chance to call up relatives about being on TV. (That shot where they're all walking out of the trailer took 3 takes to get it just right.)

I also wanted to add that we all thought the documentary was very good. Carter Aviation Technologies has been in other documentaries before. Sometimes it's such a short mention that it's hardly worth it, and sometimes the documentary makers just get things wrong. But Modern Marvels did a very good job of explaining our concept.

Friday, September 14, 2007

No New Entries

Well, once again I've been so busy responding to comments in previous entries, that I haven't had time to make a new standalone entry this week. But, I think my two responses in those threads are pretty good, so read them if you're interested.

I've decided to slightly modify my update per week goal. I will still try to post an update per week, but if I make a change to my main website, the entry where I describe that will count towards meeting my goal (I used to not count the Website Updates as a real blog entry towards my goal). It's all to do with the limited amount of time I have to work on this - it's mostly during lunch breaks at work, after all. So, if I take the time to modify my main site, I figure that's enough effort put toward the online world for that week. And hey, it's still new content that I've come up with being advertised on the blog. It's better than simply posting links to other people's web pages.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Highest Form of Flattery

Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but plagiarism irks me a little bit. Look at these pages:

aerodynamics of the autogyro
how autogyros work

Now, look at my autogyro page:
Autogyro History and Theory

Notice anything familiar? (Hint, hint: look at the diagrams that somebody must have spent hours creating, and the text that somebody wrote to explain them.)

Why do people do that? I mean, all they have to do is ask. I've never told anybody that they couldn't use any of the information from this site, just that they give me credit for it and a link. It especially irks me that that the second of those pages is copyrighted. Don't go around copyrighting plagiarism!

Oh well, I sent them an e-mail. Hopefully my name and a link to my site will show up there pretty soon.


Update 2007-08-30
Well, the problem's been taken care of. There's now a note at the top of each of those pages, giving me credit and linking to my site. In response to my original e-mail, I received a reply from someone named John, telling me that a lot of the work on those sites was done as student projects. The students were warned not to plagiarize, but, alas, this seems to have snuck through. I can't say it's the first time. I've run across websites plagiarizing me before, and it usually turns out to be student projects. I wonder, just what type of software is out there for professors to detect plagiarism. Actually, a quick Google search found TurnItIn.com. I guess the challenge now is getting more professors to use it.

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