October 31, 2004


Matt has pictures from the party last night.

In General

Posted at 10:39 PM | Permanent link

Just how golden is Josh Staiger?

19:56:47 joshstaiger: I have a presentation to give tomorrow and I haven't had any time during the week to work on it
19:56:49 joshstaiger: so I have to do it tonight
19:57:30 edawg1701: what is your presentation on
19:58:01 edawg1701: "Just how golden is Josh Staiger?" -- presentation title
19:58:55 edawg1701: "At the tender age of 4, Josh was touched by King Midas. Since then computers have bent to his will."
19:59:08 joshstaiger: hahahaha
19:59:16 edawg1701: thats how you should start
19:59:21 joshstaiger: where do you come up with this stuff? :)
20:00:09 edawg1701: its like I get all the random shit of being on drugs without having to take the drugs

Thanks, Evan :)

In General

Posted at 08:04 PM | Permanent link

Skins Lose

"Senator John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts today was elected the 44th President of the United States by a decisive 28-14 margin.  Although the race remained within the margin of error right up until its final moments, Senator Kerry managed to overcome 4 turnovers to prevail behind Brett Favre's 288 yards passing.

"In a post-election speech, Kerry promised to immediately withdraw U.S. forces from all overseas posts, disband the effete Marine Corps, and devote the Justice Department to investigations of Republican wrongdoing.  Kerry spoke from his Presidential ranch near Paris."

(from a comment at tacitus.org)

Cosmos, don't fail us now.

In General

Posted at 07:55 PM | Permanent link

October 30, 2004

78℉ in Raleigh

I was commenting on how having my laptop on the deck was much less stressful, and how I hadn't noticed that the leaves were so pretty. Amy Chan suggested that I take a picture.

In General

Posted at 01:21 PM | Permanent link

October 28, 2004

A slammin' social atmosphere

I, for one, will not be donating one cent to Case until the University stops pulling shit like this (taken from the banner advertisement here).

Way to go, Hundert...you ass.

At least we can say that we were the last class to see the glory days of what was once a respectable academic institution.

In Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 12:25 AM | Permanent link

October 25, 2004

Physician Salaries

Philip Greenspun has recently linked to a very interesting article on physician salaries.

According to the most recent results published in Physician Socioeconomic Statistics 2003, the average physician in the U.S. makes around $200,000/year after paying malpractice insurance and all other expenses.

Food for thought for those of you currently in med school, and not currently in med school.

This, of course, reminds me of Philip's quote in his essay, Tuition-free MIT:

"My top students in Course 6 are all telling me that they don't want to be engineers. They are heading for professional school. We will live in a society where the best educated engineers are not designing anti-lock brakes. They are either managing comparatively poorly educated people who are designing anti-lock brakes, stitching up wounds in people who were injured by faulty anti-lock brakes, or defending companies that got sued for their anti-lock brake systems that didn't work."

In Matters involving the art of avoiding sloth

Posted at 10:18 PM | Permanent link


I've finally gotten around to giving Skype a try. I haven't had a good opportunity yet to actually "use" it so it's difficult to form an opinion. For anyone else who uses Skype, my username is joshstaiger. Give me a buzz sometime.

In General

Posted at 01:01 AM | Permanent link

October 24, 2004

Chicken Marsala


Tonight I made chicken marsala courtesy of the recipe at Cooking for Engineers (very cool site by the way - there is an RSS feed).

It came out pretty well. Good stuff :)

In Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 08:42 PM | Permanent link

October 19, 2004

Jeff's visit to MIT

My conversation with Jeff last night from his Boston hotel room:

01:25:18 uncledirtae: oh yeah, GUESS WHAT, I saw Philip Greenspun's dog
01:25:26 joshstaiger: REALLY!!!?
01:25:33 joshstaiger: wow, I'm really jealous now
01:25:34 joshstaiger: Alex?
01:25:40 uncledirtae: yeah, Sean showed me Stallman's office
01:26:24 uncledirtae: and Hal Abelson's office is near Stallman
01:26:40 uncledirtae: Sean was going to introduce me, but Abelson was talking to someone
01:26:49 joshstaiger: damn...
01:26:59 uncledirtae: so we peeked around the corner and Alex was sitting there
01:27:07 uncledirtae: he was talking to Philip Greenspun

Going to school at MIT must be like going to school at...Disneyworld.

In Technology and Software

Posted at 09:19 PM | Permanent link

Xanga RSS Fixer for PHP

I recently received a comment from a fellow named Michael Huynh, regarding my Xanga RSS Fixer script. Apparently he has ported the Xanga RSS Fixer to PHP, complete with sourcecode.

Thanks, Mike! Cool stuff. Check it out here.

In Projects

Posted at 06:43 PM | Permanent link


I first discovered Podcasting about a month back after seeing a link to the iPodder website in an ITConversations RSS feed. There has been a lot of noise about this in the blogging world as of late and for very good reason I think. In my opinion this is going to be *huge*.

I think that one of the most interesting things about Podcasting at the moment is that it *is* such uncharted territory and such rapid leap forward. It's awesome to listen the pioneers experimenting with what they can do with this new medium - both artistically and technologically to make that artistic expression possible. There is a feeling of genuine surprise and excitement that one rarely has the opportunity to witness in life. Just listen to an episode of Adam Curry's Daily Sourcecode or Dave Slusher's Evil Genius Chronicles to see what I mean.

I didn't get online until 1996. I was fourteen and, unfortunately, oblivious enough to the world around me to think that learning HTML was more important than learning how to pickup women...but I imagine that this had to be something like what the web felt like when it was still new.

There is just something about the material that is so refreshing and so down to earth. Where else can one listen to a show where the host gets interrupted by his daughter coming home from school momentarily and doesn't skip a beat, or another by a guy who is recording by speaking into his laptop while waiting for a plane at the airport? or pure hilarity like this?

No commercial pressures to produce content that appeals to the lowest common denominator, no FCC...

Ever since I got my Griffin iTrip, I've barely touched the actual radio. I almost wish I had a longer commute...

In Technology and Software

Posted at 01:07 AM | Permanent link

October 18, 2004

Reflections on fall

It's 54° out right now with a high tomorrow of 72. There is just barely that fall smell in the air in the mornings. I love this weather.

It's been kind of an eerie feeling living in a different climate and experiencing the seasons change for the first time. Up until now, October really hasn't felt like October at all. The leaves have barely begun to change here and I still haven't bothered to put on a jacket.

Meanwhile, when they call, my parents are talking about sitting in front of the fire, and the autumn leaves being at their peak. In some ways I miss that - in others I don't.

In General

Posted at 02:08 AM | Permanent link

A little bit of remodeling

I'm redoing a few things in my site, so don't be alarmed if you suddenly see some funky color schemes.

Firstly, I have renamed my weblog from "Josh's Weblog~" to "Josh Staiger's Weblog~". This is all part of my coop attempt to become the number one ranked page on Google for a search of "Staiger". Damn you Staiger-Fahrrad! You will fall yet! (And yes, I realize that my linking to them is not helping the cause, but it's good for morale) The real reason for this change is that I think it makes my site title a bit more distinguished in RSS readers, Technorati, Feedster, etc...

Secondly, I have upgraded to Movable Type 3.11. I was mainly hoping to take advantage of the new dynamic templating system, but it now appears that I won't be able to do that until I start using MySQL as my database on the backend. That will have to wait for another day for now, but I'm excited about the possibility of dynamic templates as it will make tweaking the appearance of my page much less of a pain in the ass.

Speaking of the appearance of my page, I have fixed the individual entry page so it no longer displays comments in a completely retarded manner. However, this fix is causing other CSS weirdness. Hence the all-white background for the moment until I have time to look into the problem.

On the topic of comments, even though it is entirely unsurprising, I am quite unhappy with the way that the number of comments I receive has taken a serious dive since I started using requiring a valid TypeKey profile. The good news is that I just noticed that MT-Blacklist is finally available for Movable Type 3.1 (another reason why I wanted to switch to 3.11). The bad news is that it is still in beta and on attempting to try it, it spewed forth all kinds of nasty error messages. I spent a few hours trying to hack it to get it to work, but to no avail. This, too, will have to wait for now.

I'm still curious to try a bayesian filtering solution for comments and there is such a plugin available for MT, but as the author of the plugin clearly states there are many problems with this approach at present, namely that unless you have a very high-traffic weblog, it is very difficult to get a sufficient volume of comments (both good and bad) to adequately train the system. There are some obvious solutions to this, I think, such as having a central spam corpus repository (or tapping into such extensive collections that may already exist for email). More things to think about...

In Site News

Posted at 01:57 AM | Permanent link

October 12, 2004

On Case getting artsy

"A university trying to shed its geeky science reputation and attract more liberal arts students will get a chance to shine nationally Tuesday night."

(similarly quoted from three different articles prior to the vp debate)

What the fuck is this, high school? Since when did being a university focused on science and technology become bad thing?

Perhaps while President Hundert M.D. was psychiatrizing around, he neglected to notice that the people making the most money, doing the most interesting things over the past twenty years have been geeks.

And the last time I checked, no all geeks are depressing and weird (just most of us).

Let's become mediocre all around and spend a lot of money on marketing in the process. That's certainly the ticket. Those engineering professors that are leaving? We never liked them anyway.

In Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 11:30 PM | Permanent link

October 04, 2004


For whatever reason this past week, it dawned on me to check Everything2. Everything2 was perhaps my single most favorite website at one time. I still visit every once in a while, but not nearly as religiously as I once did.

This was my everything2 profile, and these were the things that I had written (with this one straggler on my original account).

I used to be such an idealist just a few short years ago didn't I?

On the subject of badass websites, one of my newest favorites is deviantArt. Here is my profile there.

In General

Posted at 01:18 AM | Permanent link


A lot of people have been asking me how I've been lately. I'm okay. Nothing terribly new of note.

Rafting was a lot of fun last weekend. Our raft hit a rock and flipped over. That was pretty cool.

Otherwise, been working a lot? But that's normal, right?

In General

Posted at 01:07 AM | Permanent link

October 02, 2004

On reading the news being considered harmful

I would like to mirror and flesh-out my comment that I posted to Jeff's weblog in response to his comment on Philip Greenspun's latest entry "Reading the news considered harmful".

In short, Philip makes the very interesting observation that people's fascination with reading the news may in fact be an indication of "economic and intellectual stagnation".

I find that the best way to combat this is to be very discriminative about what reads. I try to only read very high-quality content (like Philip Greenspun's weblog for instance) on a daily basis. I try to avoid subscribing to any "high volume" feeds (such as more traditional news outlets that have multiple new items per day). Lately, I have also been eliminating a lot of the feeds that I don't think are up to snuff.

This means that at most I will get a handful of new item to be read each day, but each item that I read is likely to be sufficiently intellectually stimulating. It also means that there is no temptation to continually wast time checking my feedreader because I'm aware of the fact that there will likely not be any new items available to me.

I think that Philip G's assertion that keeping up on the news on a daily basis in effect makes one "stupider" is an interesting one. I know that for a while I was trying to get into the habit of picking up a newspaper every Sunday and reading it "cover to cover" on the premise that I should be more aware of my surroundings. I have fallen out of the habit lately and had been somewhat berating myself for it, but perhaps my unconscious was just trying to tell me something.

What new things did I usually learn week to week? George Bush said such and such really stupid thing. John Kerry said such and such utterly unprofound thing. More people died in Iraq. Israelis and Palestinians hate each other. North Carolina is losing jobs.

I find that anyone who does not completely live in a cave will ultimately learn any really important news simply as a product of their environment - either by hearing it from other people or being hit over the head with it. I first heard about the Sept 11th attacks by word of mouth - not by watching CNN.

Usually late-breaking news is so speculative anyway, and one has to sift through so much kruft on the off chance of tripping over something mildly important. It's much more efficient to wait until the news has more time to be digested and filters down to the higher quality channels that have commentators who have actually taken the time to think about what they are saying.

I know that when I was in college I very rarely had time to keep up with the news at all. At the time I largely considered this to be a bad thing. But what did I really miss? There was something about some politician and an intern that my mom was really excited about when she would call me on the phone. Gary Condit I think his name was? What else? Laci Peterson? Perhaps this is an ideal I should be getting back to.

In Matters involving the art of avoiding sloth

Posted at 12:11 PM | Permanent link