Thoughts Gallery June 2001
June 1
Image of the Day
I decided to use the image of the day for the background, some photographer in Canada, made a roll call for people to show up and pose nude for a outdoor shoot and he thought maybe 60 people would show up, when 4,000 people ended up showing up.

Still in the process of stripping down my house so that I can get around to start replacing and remodeling the space.

June 2
Image of the Day
 Here's the latest government approval armored tactical vehicle, equipped with computer surveillance, gps and satellite tracking equipment.  Now all you need is the $130,000 to buy this thing fully equipped. 
June 3
Image of the Day
 This is what one bored New Yorker decided to do.  Nothing like returning from a day long adventure of climbing the local bridge only to discover that you have to pay a $4500 fine for that adventure.
June 4
Image of the Day
 You too could be finding sunken treasure in this city that is located off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt.  Most of the city is only under 15' of water, so all of the average scuba divers like myself could be in for a treat.  If only we new where to dive.....
June 5
Image of the Day
Paid my first mortgage payment today.... wouldn't I like to be the owner of a bank and receive all those payments at the beginning of every month.

I got the gas turned back on today, so I FINALLY have hot water again to enjoy a nice HOT shower.

June 6
Image of the Day
It's nice to come home today to a nice 78* house and it not be 90* like is has been the last week.  I guess it pays off to be patient with the air condition repair  homeshield warranty companies.
June 7
Image of the Day
My new appliances showed up today with my father in a Uhaul truck from Houston.  I have even less room now in my living room, there's barely a space for you to walk from the front door to my kitchen.
June 8
Image of the Day
Supposedly about 35,000 lab animals drowned in the basements of medical centers around Houston, TX.
June 9
Image of the Day
The ceramic tiles for my downstairs living area are about 30% laid today.   I love the dark green tiles that I chose to complement the light green wall paint and dark green trim.  Unfortunately I'm without hot water again, as we had to disconnect the water heater to late tiles under it in the utility room.
June 10
Image of the Day
After a nice long day of work I relaxed to the new movie Swordfish. An excellent movie, I'm surprised that they didn't spend any more advertising money as it has a few interesting twists in the plot line that make it good.  I think that the $500,000 dollars they spend to get breast shown by the main actress would've been better spent on more sound bites to get word of mouth or in opening up the film in more theaters.  Nothing like the cold air of the theater to make your mosquito bites itch more.  I spend several hours today trimming trees and removing garbage and wood from my property.  I still have 5 more trees that I need to chop down in the near future.  My new ceramic tiles are about 85% laid down 
June 11
Image of the Day
Supreme Court Rules Thermal Imaging Is a Search
By James Vicini
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that thermal imaging to record the amount of heat emanating from a house, a police practice often used to help detect illegal drugs, represented a search covered by constitutional privacy protections.  The court's 5-4 ruling was a setback for the U.S. Justice Department, which argued the use of a thermal imagery by law enforcement officers to detect the heat emitted from a house was not a search and was not covered by the privacy protections.

Justice Antonin Scalia said for the court majority that when the government uses a device not in general public use to explore the details of a private home that would previously been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a search and requires a warrant.  He said use of the device, aimed at a private home from a public street to detect, constituted a search.  To withdraw such a minimum expectation of privacy against unreasonable searches would permit ``police technology to erode the privacy'' guaranteed by the Constitution, Scalia said.

Scalia rejected the Justice Department's argument that the thermal  imaging was constitutionally allowed because it did not detect ``intimate details.''  The case began with an investigation by William Elliott, an agent of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management , into a possible conspiracy to grow marijuana in Oregon.

Suspecting that Danny Kyllo might be involved, the agent examined Kyllo's utility records and found he used an abnormally high amount of electricity -- which could suggest the use of intensity lights to grow marijuana in his house.
Elliott then used a thermal imaging device from a parked car on a public street and found that unusually high levels of heat were coming from the roof of Kyllo's garage and one wall of his house. Kyllo's house emitted more heat than the neighboring houses.

               Only later did Elliott get a court warrant authorizing a search of the house, where agents discovered an indoor marijuana growing operation.  Kyllo pleaded guilty but moved to suppress the evidence recovered from the search of his residence, arguing that the thermal imaging device constituted an impermissible search.  A U.S. appeals court ruled that use of the imagery did not constitute a search.  Scalia said the appeals court was wrong. He said the information obtained by the thermal imagery in this case was the product of a search.


June 12
Image of the Day
Hackers Hit Computers Running Calif.'s Power Grid

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - A computer system that controls
 much of the flow of electricity across California was under siege from hackers for at least 17 days during the height of the state's ongoing power crisis, the Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday.

The cyber attack, while apparently limited, exposed security lapses in the system that the California Independent Systems Operator (Cal-ISO) uses to oversee most of the state's massive electricity transmission grid and connect to the grid for the western United States.  While some familiar with the breach said hackers came close to gaining access to key parts of the system and could have interrupted the movement of electricity around the power-hungry state, officials at Cal-ISO said the grid was not threatened and that they had remedied the situation.

The Times cited a ``restricted'' internal agency report, which indicated that the attack began as early as April 25 and was not detected until May 11.  ``This was very close to being a catastrophic breach,'' a source familiar with the attack and Cal-ISO's investigation of it, told the Los Angeles Times.  Cal-ISO officials, however, downplayed the event.  ``It did not affect markets or reliability,'' said Stephanie McCorkle, a Cal-ISO spokeswoman.  Cal-ISO officials also said there was no link between the hacking and rolling blackouts that hit more than 400,000 utility customers on May 7 and 8.

The report said the main attack appeared to have been launched by someone in China's Guangdong province and routed through China Telecom. Hackers entered the Cal-ISO computers via Internet servers in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Santa Clara, a city in northern California's famed Silicon Valley.  Despite that information, Cal-ISO officials could not be certain where the attack originated.  ``We don't know where people are really from,'' James Sample, the Cal-ISO computer specialist who penned the report, told the Times.

``The only reason China stuck out is because of the recent political agenda China had with the U.S.  An ambitious U.S. hacker could have posed as a Chinese hacker,'' Sample said.  The attack came amid heightened Sino-American tensions spawned by the collision of a Chinese military jet and a U.S. spy plane. During that time, hundreds of attacks on U.S. computer systems by what appeared to be Chinese hackers were reported.

The Cal-ISO report said the system breach was discovered when agency investigators found evidence that hackers were trying to break through security firewalls, which guard sensitive parts of a computer system by limiting access to authorized users.  The hackers appeared to be focused on parts of the computer system that were under construction. In what may have been the most significant lapse, the report said, the system in development was not behind a protective firewall.  Sample, however, downplayed the incident and said the agency had been anticipating such an event.  ``It was a compromise, not really an attack,'' he said. 

June 13
Image of the Day
It's hard to believe the priority list of NASA these days.  Even with all the recent cutbacks it still seems that they are wasting a lot of money on side projects. This $145 million craft is supposed to take pictures of the remnant particles of the theoretical Big Bang that started our universe.

Well I finished restraining my front door, so now it looks nice & glossy with a cherry wood finish.  I also sanded down my from door light and repainted it black.  This helped to change my light from murky yellow-brown to white again.  I also switched out all my electrical sockets next to water source so that they have the gfci switches.

June 14
Image of the Day
Angelina Jolie's new movie Tomb Raider looks interesting, and with all the advertising dollars being spent it has a chance to be one of the blockbusters this summer. 

I tried a new mexican food restaurant last night off of Barton Springs.  I don't think I'll be visiting it again any time soon, my corn on the cob was ice cold, and my mashed potatoes were green and yellow.

I have been attacked yet again my some bugs, so I'm fogging my house again to try and kill them off.  Guess I need to chop down some more branches from the Bouldin Creek in my backyard.
 

June 15
Image of the Day
Here's a interesting paragraph I came across in the Boy Scouts of America's response to winning the court decision to exclude openly avowed homosexuals.  It's nice to see there's still some logic left in the world after a decade of political correctness.

Boy Scouts of America
It is ironic, in our pluralistic society, that some who champion individualism, tolerance, and diversity do not practice these
principles themselves. We cannot expect that every person will agree with every policy or principle of every group or organization in our country. That is why our forefathers came to this land: to establish a nation where citizens had the right to have differing opinions. From the beginning, Scouts are taught respectórespect for different ideas, customs, and culturesóand to recognize the right of individuals to subscribe to other beliefs. However, respect doesn't include forced inclusion of values, ethics, or morals that are contrary to your own. We would hope that our critics would allow children to remain children and not insert them into the politics of the day.

June 16
Image of the Day
We finished setting and grouting the ceramic tiles in my downstairs area and entry way.  Now the plumbing work begins. I'm still waiting to be able to get some HOT water!!
June 17
Image of the Day
Well I was up until 1:30 today trying to install a pedestal sink into my downstairs bathroom.  Is it bad that I now recognize faces at Home Depot from being there so much.  I think I visited Home Depot 10 times this weekend, in addition to visiting 2 of the 3 stores around town.  I was able to take my first hot shower in over 2 weeks tonight.  Now that is one luxury I don't think I could live without.
June 18
Image of the Day
Only one more day until my birthday.  I am exhausted from my weekend labors of renovating my house.  I think I am 90% finished for the new tile downstairs.  Now the project has been installing a toilet and pedestal sink.  My dad and I couldn't seem to get the pipe layout to not leek at one joint or another. 
JUNE 19
BIRTHDAY IMAGE
Well I turned 25 today.  Nothing like being 1/5 of the way through your life, only 100 more years to go.  I got a $25 gift card for Best Buy from the employees at work.  I went out to dinner at a restaurant called Houston's and enjoyed a nice butterflied pork chop and some excellent apple cobbler.

Things are getting interesting around the workplace as  CCI may be joining with another real estate management company to form a big manangment company.  Things will get interesting a month from now after August 1st.  I am glad that I was born after the first generation of computers came out.  I'm glad I didn't have to maintain the computer to the right

June 20
Image of the Day
Went to lunch on CCI again today, the owner Doug Agarwal turned 41 today.  I am looking forward to the weekend so that I can rest a little more.  I'm not looking forward to getting my crown installed at the dentist though.  I saw the movie Atlantis today.  Overall it's a interesting mix of computer and cell animation. It's looks similiar to the animated Book of Mormon series that have been out for a while though...
June 21
Image of the Day
The next edition of The Oxford English Dictionary will include a phrase made famous by Fox Television's Homer Simpson of the animated series "The Simpsons," according the dictionary's online edition June 14, 2001. "Doh!" is defined as "expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly or not as planned or that one has just said or done something foolish.  Also implying another person has said or done something foolish." 
June 22 
Image of the Day
Vita-More's digital art piece is located on the Web at http://www.natasha.cc/primo3m+.htm. The exhibit showcases dozens of possible human body enhancements. It is not a robot, but a machine-enabled human being. ``The reality is man and machine are merging,'' said Vita-More.

Vita-More predicts the 21st century body will eventually offer the ability for the ageless upgrade of human cells, with its skin impervious to damage from sun rays. More radically, it may even come complete with batteries and interchangeable sexuality as well as a computerized brain capable of storing, preserving, and retrieving human memories.

What is a Gastrobot?
The term Gastrobot was coined in 1998 by the
Institute's director, Dr. Stuart Wilkinson, and means:
"An intelligent machine (robot) that derives all its
energy requirements from the digestion of real food" 
http://www.gastrobots.com/
 

June 23
Image of the Day
My dad and I gutted the rest of the kitchen today... non more kitchen sink anymore.  We fixed about half the electrical sockets and added a few more for the garage bedroom closet.
June 24
Image of the Day
Who would've thought it would take 3 hours to correctly wire a switch for a light.  My dad and I are learning the tricks of the trade for being electricians.  All the sockets are now working correctly.  I saw the movie Fast and the Furious this weekend.  Excellent movie, compares very well to the movie Swordfish I saw earlier in the month
June 25
Image of the Day
Hauled off a truckload of trash today to the local dumpsters.  Now all I need is to get rid of the wood pile on my driveway.  I installed a digital thermostat today, hopefully that will help keep the electric bills lower and keep it cooler in the evenings.
June 26
Image of the Day
Erin and I loaded all the wood piled up from removing my fence and doghouse into a trailer and dumped it up in Georgetown.  That ended up being a long 4 hour adventures to unload it all and drive back after a quick dip in her parents pool to cool off.  The new electric thermostat works great!

A striped half-Shetland, half-zebra foal plays with its mother Tilly, at Eden Ostrich World in Langwathby, Cumbria, England Tuesday June 26, 2001. It was born at Ostrich World in eight days ago at Eden . Veterinarians say the foal, which has been dubbed a 'Zetland' but is yet unnamed, is rare but not unknown. 

June 27
Image of the Day
I moved my new computer desk from work to home today.  The desk is larger than I thought, almost the size of a king bed.  It's nice to have a driveway to pull up to and not look at a pile of garbage and wood.
June 28
Image of the Day
This is a picture of the tabernacle from the 1880's.  Wouldn't it be nice to have been one of the few photographers of the era.
June 29
Image of the Day
Car rental GPS speeding fines illegal
By Robert Lemos, ZDNet News

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection rules a car-rental company that used GPS-equipped cars to hand out speeding penalties was in violation of state law.  Car renters in Connecticut can breathe a sigh of relief, but they shouldn't expect any more privacy.  The state's Department of Consumer Protection has sided with customers against car rental company Acme Rent-a-Car, of New Haven. In an administrative complaint filed Monday, the department charged the
company with violating state law when it tracked consumers via the global positioning system (GPS) and fined those that drove in excess of the posted speed limit.

"We alleged they have violated Connecticut law," the department's commissioner, James T. Fleming,  said. "There is no legal ability for them to charge a penalty when there has been no damage."
 

The complaint comes in answer to a small-claims lawsuit filed last year.
The plaintiff in that suit, New Haven resident James Turner, rented a car from Acme Rent-a-Car last October.  On its contracts, the company noted: Drivers of "vehicles driven in excess of posted speed limit will be
charged a $150 fee per occurrence. All our vehicles are GPS equipped." Turner, and many other customers, didn't connect the two statements, and paid for it later.

Turner apparently drove greater than 77 mph at least three times, not knowing that the car's GPS receiver was giving him away. Without providing him any warning apart from the contract, the rental company went ahead and charged Turner $150 for each incident.  Commissioner Fleming declared the charges illegal.  "If they want to track people, well, companies do that right now," he said. "The difference here is that they tracked and then they fined people without properly notifying them."

Acme Rent-a-Car's attorney could not be reached for comment but has previously indicated thecompany would accept the department's interpretation of the law.  Such acceptance would allow car renters to drive whatever speed they wanted without fear of getting fined by the rental company. However, the company would still be allowed to track the car, said Fleming.  The Department of Consumer Protection has requested that Acme sign a cease-and-desist order banning it from charging consumers the speeding fine and providing restitution to the more than two-dozen consumers who have been charged.

June 30
Image of the Day
Nothing like ending the day with a hot air balloon ride across the countryside.  Now if only fuel wasn't so expensive you could have a flight more often