Saturday, December 30, 2006

What Social News Sites Drive the Most Traffic?

This is a question I'm trying to answer for myself, but am now looking for empirical research to back it up.

There are all sorts of social news sites around now. Digg, Reddit, Netscape, Newsvine, Slashdot, etc. Which one of them is most beneficial for the content producer, or for the interested individual, to be posting on? Which delivers the most bang for the buck?

I had my own initial results with many different social news services, and the resultant traffic they can drive to one's site. Everyone knows that Digg has the best Alexa ratings out of all these, but is it the best for actually directing interested people to on-topic news?

My initial response to it all would fall under the concept of "publics". In an essay called "Wrong Publics", an essay written for people in business, PR and Marketing, L. Ron Hubbard discusses the need to only promote to correct publics, and not go after wrong distinct publics. The "people" aren't just "the people". They're cynical college kids or high-school girls or they're housewives or whatever. You can't put the same stories up on Digg and expect them to be gobbled up if they're for the 60-yr-old housewife public.

I've noticed this on posts that I've done, and that a friend of mine did on Scientology Volunteer Ministers. Now, firemen nearly escaping death, and excellent stories showing such is definitely a newsworthy item. It's a story of hope, and bravery and camaraderie. Now, you'd think this sort of thing would rise up in social news services. Of course, it doesn't. What does instead? Well, let's take some of the top stories in Reddit right now:

Inkless Metal Pen Never Runs Dry
Duke Nukem Forever approaches *10 years* of active development

It's terrible. Why do dorky articles outpace meaningful ones?

It does come down to who is reading them, and what audience they're destined for. The selfsame article that went nowhere on Digg, erupted on Reddit. Similarly, articles that went nowhere on reddit erupted on Netscape.

It is indeed a matter of looking at what you're writing, and then write for the people that will be reading it. I.e., if you're writing for the 22-yr-old Linux hacker, definitely post on Digg.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Integrating Reddit Buttons Onto your Blog

I've become quite enamoured with Reddit of late - partially because it's so easy to use, and partially because it does seem to have an uncanny ability to drive quite preposterous quantities of visitors around -- assuming you have decent content to send them to.

On, you'll find a number of little Reddit buttons that you can add to news stories, web pages or blog posts. These put a nifty little reddit box onto your page, like you see on this post.

This is done by adding a tag like this to the HTML code of your blog post

Now, one thing that I've noted which is an impediment to using a service of this nature is that just about every blog provider I've seen will strip out the "" tags out of your HTML. Wordpress does it, does it, Clearblogs does it, etc. Now, Blogger seems to do it too -- and gives you a big, gnarly "dangerous code detected..." warning when you go to post. However, if you simply check the checkbox that says to ignore further errors, the post will post, and the script tags will end up on your blog post. The only other one that I've seen work is on, where it still allows you to just slap script tags right on to the HTML.
I still haven't gotten the Digg JS to work on Blogger, but the Reddit JS seems to work like a bomb.

Another nifty article on Duplicate Content and SEO

This is another such article I've found on duplicate content, for those who have found themselves nailed by Google's duplicate content filter:

From the article, "This duplicate content that I’m reporting on should provide some good insights. Why? Because these sites aren’t attempting to spam the search engines. Instead, they’re just typical efforts by business units to brand something on the web with no consideration of the SEO consequences. You might also ask why, as someone involved with SEO, I’m not doing anything about it? Partly because the sites are eventually going to disappear as they are replaced by yet another recipe search and partly because examining the data should be quite educational."

Outstanding SEO Guide

Browsing around, I just found this incredible site on search engine optimization, which has one of the better explanations of things like duplicate content, importance of titles and backlinks, and so forth.

Here is their mini-book on SEO - which I would definitely encourage any SEO to study up on.

I. Introduction – What Is SEO

1. How Search Engines Work

2. Differences Between the Major Search Engines

II. Keywords – the Most Important Item in SEO

1. Choosing the Right Keywords to Optimize For

2. Keyword Density

3. Keywords in Special Places

a. Keywords in URLs and File Names

b. Keywords in Page Titles

c. Keywords in Headings

III. Links – Another Important SEO Item

1. Why Links Are Important

2. Inbound and Outbound Links

3. Anchor text

4. Link Practices That Are To Be Avoided

IV. Metatags

V. Content Is King

1. Topical Themes or How to Frequently Add Content to Your Site

2. Bold and Italic Text

3. Duplicate Content

VI. Visual Extras and SEO

1. Images

2. Animation and Movies

3. Frames

4. JavaScript

VII. Static Versus Dynamic URLs

VIII. Promoting Your Site to Increase Traffic

1. Submitting Your Site to Search Directories, forums and special sites

2. Specialized Search Engines

3. Paid Ads and Submissions

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What are Volts & Amps? The Hydraulic Analogy for Electronics

I had a friend who had a hard time getting the difference between volts, amps and so forth and what it all actually means in the real universe. As anyone who knows L. Ron Hubbard Study Technology will tell you, a misunderstood word can be one of the nastiest things there is, in terms of its impact on one's ability to learn and work. So, here's my favourite analogy which explains this, excerpted from

The electronic Hydraulic analogy (derisively referred to as the Drain-pipe theory by Oliver Heaviside) is the most widely used analogy for "electron fluid" in a metal conductor. Since electric current is invisible and the processes at play in electronics are often difficult to understand in an intuitive way, it is common to teach electronics using analogies to more common sense objects and processes. The analogy is made to a hydraulic system of water in pipes. The "electron fluid" in a metal conductor has many similarities to such a system, and the various electronic components have similar hydraulic equivalents. Electricity (as well as heat) was originally understood to be a kind of fluid. This hydraulic analogy is still of some use in teaching, not only for the fact that the names of the quantities are often struck by analogy. The water analogy is very useful in describing some aspects of electricity, but it breaks down for others.

Basic ideas

There are two basic paradigms:

  • Version with pressure induced by gravity. Large tanks of water that are held up high, and the potential energy of the water head is the pressure source. This is reminiscent of electrical diagrams with an up arrow pointing to +V, grounded pins that otherwise are not shown connecting to anything, and so on.
  • Completely enclosed version with pumps providing pressure only; no gravity. This is reminiscent of a circuit diagram with a voltage source shown and the wires actually completing a circuit.

Component equivalents

All pipes are completely full of water, and none ever has an open end. If a pipe were to go somewhere without reconnecting to the circuit, it would have to have a cap on the end. This is because the wall of the pipe is like an insulator, and a wire just sticking out into insulating space/air is like a completely pipe-surrounded rod of water.
Equivalent to pressure.
Also called potential difference. A relative difference in pressure between two points
The amount of charge (i.e. electrons, electron holes or ions) passing through a cross section of conductor per given time, much like a hydraulic mass flow rate.
Ideal voltage source
A pump with a pressure meter on both sides. It varies the speed of the pump to keep the difference in pressure constant.
Ideal current source
Also a pump, but with a current meter (little paddle wheel). The pump changes speed to maintain a constant speed of the little paddle wheel.
A pipe with a small width. "So what makes this different from a regular-width pipe?" Nothing. All pipes have some resistance, just like all wires have some resistance.
A capacitor driven by an AC source through a diode.
A capacitor driven by an AC source through a diode.
One-way valve or check valve. If it has a rubber flap it can be blown out permanently by too much reverse bias, which is similar to the real thing.
Big spherical tanks with a sheet of thick rubber separating the two halves.
All flowing water has inertia, which has similar effects to inductance. A large, heavy, frictionless paddle wheel is like a dedicated inductor. As you try to increase a DC current, you encounter resistance as you speed up the paddle wheel, but after it is going, you can send a current at the same speed as the paddle wheel with no effort. If you try to put AC through it, the wheel will present a great resistance, as its inertia prevents you from moving it back and forth. Any real paddle wheel will have some friction associated with it, just as any real inductor has some resistance. The DC to DC converter uses inductance to change voltage in the way that a Hydraulic ram uses inertia to change pressure.
A device similar to an EGR valve, where a diaphragm controlled by a low-current signal (either constant current — BJT, or constant pressure — FET) moves a plunger which allows a larger current to flow through another section of pipe, like a globe valve.
A combination of two MOSFET transistors. As the input pressure changes, the pistons allow the output to connect to either zero or positive pressure.

Principle equivalents

EM wave speed (velocity of propagation)
Speed of sound in water. When a light switch is flipped, the electric wave travels very quickly through the wires.
Charge flow speed
Particle speed of water. The moving charges themselves move rather slowly.
Constant flow of water in a circuit of pipe
Low frequency AC
Water oscillating back and forth in a pipe
Higher-frequency AC and transmission lines
Sound being transmitted through the water pipes
Inductive spark
Used in induction coils, similar to water hammer, caused by the inertia of water

Equation examples

Some examples of equivalent electrical and hydraulic equations:

type hydraulic electric thermal
quantity volume V [m3] charge q [C] heat Q [J]
potential pressure p [Pa=J/m3] potential φ [V=J/C] temperature T [K=J/kB]
flux current ΦV [m3/s] current I [A=C/s] heat transfer rate \dot{Q} [J/s]
flux density velocity v [m/s] current density j [C/m2s] heat flux \dot{Q}'' [J/m2s]
linear model Poiseuille's law \Phi_{V} = \frac{\pi r^{4}}{8 \eta} \frac{\Delta p^{\star}}{\ell} Ohm's law j=-\sigma \nabla \phi Fourier's law \dot{Q}''=\kappa \nabla T

Limits to the analogy

If taken too far, the water analogy can create misconceptions. For it to be useful, we must remain aware of the regions where electricity and water behave very differently.

Electrons can push or pull other distant electrons via their fields, while water molecules experience forces only from direct contact with other molecules. For this reason, waves in water travel at the speed of sound, but waves in a sea of charge will travel much faster as the forces from one electron are applied to many distant electrons and not to only the neighbors in direct contact. In a hydraulic transmission line, the energy flows as mechanical waves through the water, but in an electric transmission line the energy flows as fields in the space surrounding the wires, and does not flow inside the metal. Also, an accelerating electron will drag its neighbors along while attracting them, both because of magnetic forces.
Leaking pipes
If a hole is made in a hydraulic system, the water can leak out. But the movable charges present within electrical conductors are always attracted to unmoving opposite charges in the material. The "electric fluid" can be forcibly removed from metals, but enormous voltages arise if even a tiny amount is removed. For this reason, the surfaces of conductors act as if they always have a high energy-barrier preventing leaks. Also for this reason, continuing electric currents require closed loops rather than hydraulics' open source/sink resembling spigots and buckets.
Wrap a long water-filled hose around a barrel, and the water's large mass behaves as a significant "inductance." However, in real coils the adjacent turns interact via magnetic fields, and the value of inductance increases as the square of the number of turns. It's as if we could create four times the mass of water by only doubling the length of the water hose.
Fluid Velocity
As with water hoses, the carrier drift velocity in conductors is directly proportional to current. However, charges' velocity within a conductor is typically less than centimeters per minute, and the "electrical friction" is extremely high. If charges ever flowed as fast as water can flow in pipes, the amperage would be immense, and the conductors would become incandescently hot and perhaps vaporize. To model the resistance and the charge-velocity of metals, perhaps a pipe packed with damp sand would be a better analogy than an empty, water-filled pipe.
Quantum Mechanics
Conductors and insulators contain charges at more than one quantized level of atomic orbit energy, while the water in one region of a pipe can only have a single value of pressure. For this reason there is no hydraulic explanation for such things as a battery's charge pumping ability, a diode's voltage drop, solar cell functions, Peltier effect, etc.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Digg Passes the 20 mark on Alexa Ratings

Apparently, Digg has officially broken the 20 mark for most visited websites in the United States. Digg now comes in at 19th place in the rankings where can be found here.

This is pretty impressive considering that digg has only been on the wire for a little over 2 years now.

Digg falls just behind Microsoft and IMDB while it beats out some very big names which include: The New York Times, Wal-Mart,, Mapquest, Best Buy, etc.

According to Seth Godin's Web 2.0 traffic list, that puts it a good ways ahead of Reddit (1400) and Newsvine (3490). Curious Reddit always seems to pull more visitors every time I post something. Oh, well. Reddit's faster too, so I'll stick with that.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Scientology Volunteer Ministers in Australia

Photo: Media inspect a fire some 30 kilometres south of Mansfield. Firefighters battling Australia's massive wildfires amid soaring temperatures and fierce winds are looking forward to a white Christmas to dampen the bushfire emergency, officials said.

Funds are still needed to support the volunteers. If you can help, go to the Volunteer Ministers website and fill out the contact form they have there.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Miracle Stories of Scientology Volunteers in the Philippines

Scientology Assist technology can produce products routinely that many might consider "miracles". To the average Scientology Volunteer Minister though, this is all part of the normal day's work.

Two Scientology Volunteer Ministers giving assists to children in the evacuation center.

There have been so many miracle stories that have come in from the Scientology Volunteer Minister activities in the Philippines.

Two young girls they helped were devastated. Having lost both parents in the typhoon, they were overwhelmed with grief. They calmed down, stopped crying and both of them experienced some relief. Nothing the Volunteer Minister could do would bring their parents back, but at least they could now get on with their own lives, and start caring for themselves and each other.

In another room the volunteers helped a whole family that seemed to have given up after their home was destroyed. It started with an assist to a woman who was clearly very sad. She was lying listlessly on a mattress on the floor, and told the volunteer she felt very lonely. After her assist she got off the floor and started watching the volunteer as he gave an assist to a little girl nearby. She was so interested that he asked her if she wanted to learn how to do this too. She was very emphatic when she said she did, because the child the volunteer had just helped was now giggling and smiling. And that child was her daughter. The volunteer then taught the mother and daughter how to use this technique and the daughter gave an assist to her father. When she began the assist, her father was lying down and said he couldn't move. But after his assist he felt much more energetic and he got up to prove it!

Using Dreamweaver on Linux

I've been trying for the last 2 years to find a decent web development platform for Linux, and still can't find one.

I truly don't understand what the big deal is with porting Dreamweaver to Linux. It already works on the Macintosh, so what would the big deal be making it work on QT or GTK+?

I think that if there were a decent Dreamweaver port for linux, that would end up converting a TON of people to the Linux camp. Seriously, for everyday work, I find GIMP totally acceptable for most photo work that I need to do for sites. Sure, I love Fireworks and I love Photoshop, but it's not a big block to getting website editing and development done. I can make it work.

But in terms of development environments, all I've found for Linux are:

  • Quanta: Great for PHP hackers, and great for the way that I develop sites (i.e. the site upload feature is very similar to dreamweavers). However, the visual editor is terrible. 90% of the time that I'm using the visual editor in Dreamweaver, it's for the purposes of SPEED. I'm trying to select something, fix it, and move on. Not navigate through someone else's messed-up code and table layout to find something. The Quanta visual editor doesn't work at all, really - crashing on even the simplest of pages.
  • Bluefish: Just a glorified gEdit, as far as I'm concerned.
  • Aptana: Looks really nifty, but I can't get it to work at all on my FC6 box. Also, has no visual editor, like Dreamweaver.
  • Mozilla Compozer: Would be almost usable if (a) it had a site upload / management setup like Dreamweaver (i.e. doesn't assume you're directly editing, via FTP, the files that run your website) and (b) if it didn't horribly mangle your source code every time you make an edit.
I'm all for open source software, but in this case I can't get around the NEED for Dreamweaver. Anyone have any clues how to persuade Adobe to move ahead on this?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Linux Driver for HP 2600n

Just in case anyone has ever needed a Linux driver for the HP LaserJet 2600n, a wonderful article on how to make it work with Linux is here. It works like a charm. Just follow the instructions one after the next, and it goes right on. Even works in Color!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Technology: How Bushfires Spread

As I've been covering quite a bit on what Scientology Volunteers have been doing, as relates to the Bushfires in Australia, I figured I'd find out a bit how these bushfires spread and what one can do about this.

Found this interesting one on BBC news:

One home was destroyed at Stonyford, in Victoria's south-west, despite the efforts of firefighters working in temperatures of 41.1C - the hottest December day in more than 50 years. Dozens more houses are under threat.

Military personnel have been mobilised to help volunteer civilian fire crews fight the bush fires.

Specially modified planes and helicopters are dumping water on the flames from above.

Environment department spokesman Stuart Ord said crews were being stretched by trying to tackle fast-moving fires on several fronts in extreme conditions.

"There is no doubt the fire will hit settlements, the question is which ones?" he said.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has compared the situation to the state's "Black Friday" in 1939, when 71 people died in bush fires.

No-one has died in the current emergency, but Mr Bracks said the danger remained critical.

"We expect the next two weeks are going to be really like standing on our toes, waiting and hoping the communities are protected as the fires rage and move through," he said.

He condemned arsonists who, early on Sunday, lit grass fires on the outskirts of Melbourne that threatened homes before they were brought under control.

"The full force of the law will be brought to bear to find these people, to bring them to justice," Mr Bracks said. "We have increased penalties in place."

Volunteer Resources on Bushfires:

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Scientology Volunteers in Victoria, AU


Scientology Volunteers are still needed in Victoria, AU, more than ever.

Contact any of the following locations to find out how you can help.

Resources to contact:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Typhoon Utor - Volunteer Help Needed

DOUBLE DISASTER. Over a week after Supertyphoon “Reming” left 90 percent of all houses either destroyed or damaged in Marinduque, including this hut, Typhoon “Seniang” battered the island-province again yesterday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
DOUBLE DISASTER. Over a week after Supertyphoon “Reming” left 90 percent of all houses either destroyed or damaged in Marinduque, including this hut, Typhoon “Seniang” battered the island-province again yesterday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Talk about an engineering nightmare. Scientology Volunteers are still needed desperately in the Philippines to help patch up their villiages literally blown apart by Typhoon Utor. Contact the Scientology Volunteer Minister Coordinator for more data on how you can help.

Monday, December 11, 2006

3,000 Firefighters Needing Help

Apparently, there are currently over 3,000 firefighters on the ground fighting the Australia bushfires. However, there are barely any support personnel keeping those firefighters on their feet, which is the problem. Anything anyone can do to assist those firefighters would be most welcome. One should contact the Scientology Volunteer Ministers hotline for more on how they can help.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Technologies of Being an Effective Volunteer

There are two major disasters going on right now in the ANZO area (Australia, New Zealand and Oceania) -- with the fires going on in Victoria, and the Typhoon which just hit in the Philippines. Now, Volunteer Minister teams are being dispatched to both locations -- but what are the technologies they use which makes them so effective? Governments praise them, the people on the ground wonder at why they can just get in and get things done -- but they're just people.

What's the difference between what they've got and what other groups might lack? The difference is that Scientology Volunteer Ministers are studied and drilled heaviliy in L. Ron Hubbard's organization technology -- for handling situations which seemingly are a confusing mass.

They're also drilled on L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology Assist Technology, which is a technology anyone can learn to help others. That in itself -- that anyone can learn it -- is something that Scientology Volunteer Ministers use to the hilt -- because when only a few hundred Scientology Volunteers hit a three-state disaster zone line Hurricane Katrina was, it's imperative that as many people as possible become empowered to themselves provide effective help to each other.

So, as an engineer concerned with Technology, that's where I salute the PEOPLE technologies like was created by L. Ron Hubbard and is put to use by Scientology Volunteer Ministers all over. I learned it -- and I think anyone else who could possibly run into similar such situations (which, if you live on earth, is you) -- should learn it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Needed -- Victoria, Australia

CFA volunteer Tony Tynan inspects a burnt-out house and car at Rose River.
Scientology Volunteer Ministers need help in Australia, fighting fires which are now burning out of control just north of Melbourne. Contact the Scientology Volunteer ministers coordinator to find out how you can help.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Needed in the Philippines

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Needed in the Philippines to Help in the Wake of Typhoon Durian Volunteer Ministers from Taiwan, Japan and Australia are traveling to the Philippines to help the people of the region recover from the devastating typhoon that ravaged the area leaving as many as 1,000 presumed dead and 40,000 homeless; and Scientology churches from around the world are assembling teams to join them.
(full story >>)

How Bayes Spam Filters Work

I just got sent a really nice article on how Bayes spam filters (aka bayesian analysis) work. I've excerpted part of it here, as I think it's quite insightful:

Recognizing spam is not as easy as it might seem. For example, Yahoo! Groups put ads at the end of every e-mail, but if your users subscribe to such a group, they probably want to get the e-mail anyhow. Most users would just as soon discard any e-mail containing the word “Viagra,” but if you’re a pharmaceutical company, that might not be a wise policy. Press releases look a whole lot like spam, but discarding them would be a real problem for a working journalist.

Early spam-fighting products relied largely on keyword filtering to spot dubious messages, on the theory that words like “Viagra” and “FREE Offer” and “unsubscribe” only appeared in spam. There are two problems with this approach. First, unlikely though it may be, such words do appear in legitimate e-mail as well. Second, spammers quickly caught on and started sending mail with creative spellings such as “V1agra” and “FREEE Offer” and “un$ubscribe.”

The spam-fighting landscape changed dramatically in August 2002, when Paul Graham published his article “A Plan for Spam” on the Internet ( Graham proposed a method of detecting spam by what’s known as Bayesian statistical analysis. While you should go read the article for details, the basic idea is surprisingly simple. Start with a large corpus of spam and a large corpus of “ham” (good e-mail), say several thousand messages of each. Now count the individual words that appear in each corpus. What you’re looking for is words that tend to appear more often in spam than ham, or vice versa. For example, these days the word “Abacha” in my mail occurs exclusively in spam (of the Nigerian swindle variety), while the word “galleys” turns up only in ham (when my editors want me to review galley proofs). By looking at every word in every message, you can build up an extensive list of words and their probabilities of occurring in spam messages. Some words (like “Abacha” and “galley”) have a very high or very low probability of occurring in spam, while others (like “the” or “home”) are distributed pretty evenly.

When a new message arrives, the Bayesian algorithm compares the words in the message to those already in your corpus, looking for the most interesting (defined as having a high or low probability of occurring in spam) 15 or 20 words. Looking at the probabilities of those individual words, you can come up with a probability that the message containing the words is spam. If that probability is high enough, you can be nearly sure that the message was, in fact, spam.

Soon after Graham published his results, Bayesian spam filters started appearing—first on the client and in POP3 proxies, and then later on the server. Bayesian filters now boast a spam recognition rate of 95 percent or better in many settings. The experimental CRM-114 implementation ( refines the Bayesian notion for a recognition rate over 99 percent.

The nice thing about Bayesian filters is that it doesn’t really matter what the spammers do; as long as their mail is different from real mail, the filter will learn to recognize it. Word substitutions, for example, end up working against the spammer; the likelihood that a message containing “V1agra” is spam is nearly 100 percent, and after the first few times that goes by, a good Bayesian filter will automatically stamp messages containing that word as spam.

Friday, December 01, 2006

SpamAssassin Benchmarks - Fighting Spam Faster

I've been working to combat the recent wave of spam we've all been experiencing - waves upon waves of St0ck Reports, and Vlnnagra and Home M0ortgage Appr0vals. In doing so, I've done some benchmarks on SpamAssassin with its various options that some Google searchers might find ineresting:

The following numbers were produced on a test server of mine - a Gateway E-9315R server, 3.0Ghz Xeon, 512MB RAM, 80GB SATA, Fedora Core 3, running Postfix 2, MailScanner, and SpamAssassin.
  • All features turned on: 4.8 messages/min
  • Bayes filtering disabled: 19.1 messages/min
  • SpamAssassin disabled, but RBL still turned on: 74 messages/min
  • RBL+XBL, Pyzor, Razor and DCC disabled in spam.assassin.prefs: 76 messages/min
  • RBL+XBL disabled in MailScanner.conf (line commented out: Spam List = ORDB-RBL SBL+XBL): 320 messages/min
  • RBL+XBL disabled, but SpamAssassin turned back on: 64 messages/min
It's pretty clear that Spamassassin, Bayes and RBL are each pretty serious CPU hogs, but RBL is more network I/O bound than CPU bound.

I'm pretty tired of those spammer bastards cutting my communication lines (a subject most Scientologists feel strongly about, as communication is pretty much the most core element in Scientology), so I'm definitely looking for creative ways to process mail fast, but also more effectively. Comments welcome!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Live Spaces - Scientology VM Blog

How about this one:

MSN, or the artist formerly known as Hotmail, is now offering blogs under the "" guise. This one goes over Scientology Volunteer Ministers and what they're doing around the world.

Looks clumsy to deal with, but at least th Volunteer Ministers content is good.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Still lamenting lack of Flockdom

Now that there's Scientology Media all over the place, I have all manner of things to blog about. However, this just makes me all the more peeved that I can't use my newfound Flock to blog with. Blogging is such an integral communications tool these days - it's a lot like the first time I was able to to one-click e-mails so that I didn't have to hassle my way back into Outlook to send an e-mail. Well, now that I'm blogging all the time, I just want to be able to BLOG THIS when I find something of interest, otherwise it's rapidly forgotten in the 12.8 Trillion pages of the Internet. Anyone know of any other good BLOG THIS type tools for Firefox that will work with Blogger beta?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tom & Katie - Scientology Wedding: Mission Accomplished

From People Mag:
Tom & Katie Marry! | Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes
It's official: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are now husband and wife. The couple exchanged vows Saturday in front of more than 150 guests at the Odescalchi Castle in Lake Bracciano, Italy, their rep, Arnold Robinson, confirms to PEOPLE.

"The wedding was absolutely beautiful," says a guest.

With thousands of fans, photographers and TV cameras watching from afar, Cruise and Holmes were joined by family – Katie's dad Martin walked her down the aisle – and a slew of celeb pals, including Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy, Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, and Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, among others.

The sunset ceremony was performed by a Scientology minister, according to a statement from their reps. The wedding party included Cruise's children, Isabella and Connor, the best man was Cruise's best friend, David Miscavige – the head of the Church of Scientology – and Katie's sister Nancy Blaylock served as the matron of honor.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Slide show of 49 famous Scientologists

Thought this one was nifty:
12 of 49
Scientologist: Beck Hansen, musician

It's a slide show of 49 famous Scientologists.

AMD Quad-Cores

Just found this one on
core. Beginning in Q3’2007 AMD is expected to release its first Stars quad-core processors. The new quad-core processors are based on AMD’s Agena and Agena FX cores. Targeting AMD’s 4x4 platform is the Agena FXAgena FX will only be available on Socket 1207+ and offer dual processor functionality. The vanilla Agena core will be available on single processor socket AM
2+ platforms.

As a pretty die-hard AMD supporter, I still find it hard to believe that these first quad-core processors will be all the way until Q3 2007, what with quad-core Xeons about to come out, Quad-Core Core2 CPUs already shipping, etc. What's with the wait?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

All Flocked Up

I just downloaded Flock on my Fedora Core 6 box. Ran like a charm with absolutely no problems at all. It has some seriously nifty features which really make it a bit of a competitor to using something like Stumbleupon -- in terms of how fast you can save / blog something and move on to the next.

Only problem so far is that I can't get it to work with my Shadows account or my Blogger beta account (i.e. THIS blog). This was the blog I wanted to use for such, so it makes it a bit difficult. Unfortunately I then need to divert this to some other blogging program. It's got some promise though!

Re-Usable Rockets

After seeing a CNN Article on Jeff Bezos's company, which is apparently bankrolling a whole re-usable rocket program for the purposes of space tourism, I decided to search around a bit.
I ended up running across a whole website on various private, reusable launch vehicle programs (RLV), done by all sorts of people, companies and countries. Even John Carmack (the Doom/Quake programmer guy) has his own space ship.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Incredible Adverts Put Out by Amnesty International

Just "stumbled" on an incredible set of advertisements when stumbling around on stumbleupon. Amnesty International is putting out this ad campaign to let people know that "it may not be happening in front of you, but it's happening."

I think it's a fantastic stab at the problem of raising public awareness on the subject of Human Rights violations, which many people don't even know are happening.

Awareness is only the first step though - as one needs to know what Human Rights are in the first place, so one can know if they're being violated. Which is why the Human Rights campaign that Youth for Human Rights is doing and the Human Rights campaign from the Church of Scientology International is so important -- as it briefs people, and especially children, on what Human Rights are so they can stand up for their rights when violated. Clearly any religion such as Scientology will have an impossible time trying to reach any manner of improvement in the life of its parishioners if human rights violations are happening all over.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Things That Only Happen in the Movies, but Not Real Life

Okay, I found this one on another fellow's stumbleupon page, and found it too good to resist reposting:

From the page: "Did you ever notice that certain things only happen in the movies, but never happen in real life? For example:

1. It is always possible to find a parking spot directly outside or opposite the building you are visiting.
2. When paying for a taxi, don%u2019t look at your wallet as you take out a note. Just grab one out at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.
3. Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at the precise moment it%u2019s aired.
4. Creepy music (or satanic chanting) coming from a graveyard should always be closely investigated.
5. Any lock can be picked with a credit card or paperclip in seconds. UNLESS it%u2019s the door to a burning building with a child inside.
6. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.
7. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are going to explode.
8. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to learn to speak German. Simply speaking English with a German accent will do. Similarly, when they are alone, all German soldiers prefer to speak English to each other.
9. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off. Even while scuba diving.
10. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris.
11. Any police officer about to retire from the force will more often than not die on their last day (especially if their family have planned a party). (Caveat: Detectives can only solve a case after they have been suspended from duty).
12. Getaway cars never start first go. But all cop cars do. (They will also slide to a dramatic stop in the midst of a crime scene).
13. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises wearing their most revealing underwear.
14. On a police stake-out, the action will only ever take place when food is being consumed and scalding hot coffees are perched precariously on the dashboard%u2026
15. All grocery shopping involves the purchase of French loaves which will be placed in open brown paper bags (Caveat: when said bags break, only fruit will spill out).
16. Cars never need fuel (unless they%u2019re involved in a pursuit).
17. If you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts, your opponents will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around you in a threatening manner until you have defeated their predecessor.
18. If a microphone is turned on it will immediately feedback.
19. Guns are like disposable razors. If you run out of bullets, just throw the gun away. you will always find another one.
20. All single women have a cat.
21. Cars will explode instantly when struck by a single bullet.
22. No matter how savagely a spaceship is attacked, its internal gravity system is never damaged.
23. If being chased through a city you can usually take cover in a passing St Patrick%u2019s Day parade - at any time of the year.
24. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. Nobody will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building undetected.
25. You will survive any battle in any war UNLESS you show someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
26. Prostitutes always look like Julia Roberts or Jamie Lee Curtis. They have expensive clothes and nice apartments but no pimps. They are friendly with the shopkeepers in their neighbourhood who don%u2019t mind at all what the girl does for a living.
27. A single match is usually sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.
28. It is not necessary to say %u201CHello%u201D or %u201CGoodbye%u201D when beginning a telephone conversation. A disconnected call can always be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying %u201CHello? Hello?%u201D repeatedly.
29. One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at once (this is known as Stallone%u2019s Law).
30. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in you room will still be visible, just slightly bluish.
31. Plain or even ugly girls can become movie star pretty simply by removing their glasses and rearranging their hair.
32. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their enemies with complicated devices incorporating fuses, pulleys, deadly gases, lasers and man-eating sharks.
33. All beds have special L-shaped sheets that reach to armpit level on a woman but only up to the waist of the man lying beside her.
34. Anyone can land a 747 as long as there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.
35. During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
36. You can always find a chainsaw when you need one.
37. Most musical instruments (especially wind instruments and accordions) can be played without moving your fingers.

Friday, November 10, 2006

That Bike Racing Photo

Well, I did end up finding a way to get this mountain biker photo uploaded. It's a little low-res, but fine -- you get the idea.

I used to be totally in to the whole mountain bike racer thing, actually was fairly good at it for a while, despite mediocre equipment. Found that it was a great way to get out and fill my lungs with some air, and also promote Scientology and Dianetics at the same time.

Scientology Racing Team

I just found an old photo of my friends and I when I was on a Scientology bike racing team on the east coast. Stopped when I moved out here. Wish I could upload this's a nice photo. I get an error, however, every time I attempt to upload it. Firewall issues? Not sure. You'd think a network engineer would be able to work out how to upload a photo to a blog. I used to have a whole site I kept updated with photos and such. Oh, well.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Scientology Mission in Aurora, Colorado

The Church of Scientology Mission of Aurora, who recently posted a website and a blog, is yet another mission which is popping up around the Church of Scientology of Denver in Colorado. It joins the Scientology Mission of Englewood and another one Scientology Mission in Boulder to add to the growing Scientology population in the mountain states.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Scientology Blogs

Okay, and because I couldn't resist (based on my last blog post) here is one of those nifty Kaboodle slideshows, showing off all of the Scientology blogs I've accumulated:

Scientology Missions with Blogs

There are a couple of Scientology Missions I've seen now which have created their own blogs. One in particular I recently saw was in Aurora, Colorado -- where some local Scientologists there put up a blog for that particular mission.

Quite aside from the fact that the whole Denver area is a real pretty place to live, I think it's nifty to see these blogs popping up all over the place showing people what Scientology is all about and where they can get it. It's in more places than most people know about, I think - and the Internet is the ideal medium to show it off.

More Scientology Blogs are here:

Sunday, November 05, 2006

L. Ron Hubbard Clearing Congress Release by Mr. David Miscavige

It was announced by Mr. David Miscavige earlier this year at the L. Ron Hubbard birthday celebration that the Clearing Congress lectures L. Ron Hubbard gave in Washington, D.C. in the 50’s were fully restored and put into DVD format for anyone to see. This whole presentation by Mr. Miscavige was recently put on-line on the Religious Technology Center website.

As an engineer, I can definitely appreciate the amount of work that went into this. As one can imagine, over a 50-year time period, films start to deteriorate and die, leaving much to be desired on colour and detail. Just look at what they had to do with the original Star Wars films, and they were done only in 1977. They had to have serious work put in to them before their release as the "Special Edition" Star Warses. Well, honestly the amount of work put in to this pales in comparison to what was put into these lectures. It was gone over in detail at this Birthday celebration, but I'm happy to see it's now on the web as well.

Now these films are available to all - and having watched them all myself earlier in the year, I can appreciate the level of communication they now afford. I would definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to find out the nitty-gritty on what Scientology is about straight from the Founder of Scientology himself.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Getting the Message Out for The Way to Happiness

As a Scientologist and an engineer, one can appreciate the technical and physical difficulty of getting out a simple message to as broad an audience as possible, especially when it's a simple message of hope, a message that something can be done about the problems of life, and that one can be happier and more capable than one is.

So, it was with great pleasure that, at the anniversary of the International Association of Scientologists this year, Mr. David Miscavige and other Scientology executives unveiled a brand-new campaign for The Way to Happiness, a common-sense guide to morals written by L. Ron Hubbard.

Released at this anniversary were a number of extremely emotional public service announcements, all conveying an aspect of The Way to Happiness. The one that hit me the most was the one on the precept Be Competent, which is something I've always striven to do myself, and instill in those that work with me.

Anyhow, they're all available to watch on the TWTH site, so I invite you to check this out!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Everybody's Talking about the Scientology London Opening

As far away as South Africa, there were still articles running about the Grand Opening of the Church of Scientology of London. I just was meandering about, and found this one on a South Africa news zine, covering the opening, which I thought was pretty cute:

The revamped building is a short walk from St Paul's Cathedral, and sits next to an Anglican church. Some parishioners walked out of the church following their Sunday service and stayed to watch the ceremony.

The ceremony started with a procession by the London Scottish Regimental Pipe and Drum Band, finishing with an explosion of multi-coloured ticker tape. Scientology leader David Miscavige addressed the several hundred Scientologists who attended the outdoor ceremony, describing the occasion as "momentous".

"This day will go down in history. Of all the foreign lands where LRH (Hubbard) lived and worked, he called England home," Miscavige
After the opening ceremony, the public were invited inside the building to discover more about Scientology. One room is devoted to Hubbard's accomplishments, while one exhibit claims "the Holocaust was conceived and propagated by psychiatry".

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Check out the bagpipers at the Church of Scientology of London Grand Opening! I love bagpipers - gets one into the "Freedom" mood, for sure. This is from the new photo gallery the church just put up on this site with Grand Opening photos.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

David Miscavige at the Grand Opening of the Church of Scientology London

As stated in my last post, the new Church of Scientology of London is spectacular. These organizations just keep getting more and more impressive! I was at the Grand Opening of the Church of Scientology of Buffalo, and so I know how impressive that building is. But this one is twice as impressive. I can't wait until some interior shots get posted on ScientologyToday, as I really want to check that place out. It's definitely the type of place where I know it would be dead easy to go in and find out all about what Scientology's all about.

"This new church packs the full body of L Ron Hubbard’s technologies as derived from the greater well of Scientology knowledge," said Mr. David Miscavige, “and, as such, it provides the full gamut of Scientology activities for the betterment of mankind."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Extremely Impressive Scientology Organization Opened in London

Scientologists in London just opened 3 new buildings in the London area, including a new headquarters on Queen Victoria street that more than quadruples the space that organization has to care for its public.

Guest of honor, Mr. David Miscavige, was the keynote speaker at the opening event, where he said,

"This new church packs the full body of L Ron Hubbard’s technologies as derived from the greater well of Scientology knowledge, and, as such, it provides the full gamut of Scientology activities for the betterment of mankind."
A look inside this building shows that it's packed from floor to ceiling with displays, film rooms and seminar spaces so as easily show to the entirety of London what it is that Scientology offers, and what everyday people can do to improve their own areas using Scientology technology.

Have a look at the article on the Scientology London website.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Scientology Missions All Over the World

Scientology Missions International held their annual Convention at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater. It was attended by over 300 Mission Directors and executives from 31 countries.The Conference was held to provide tools for expansion and to brief Missions on current priorities and plans as well as community programs for all Missions (Human Rights, Drug Education and Scientology Volunteer Ministers).

This past weekend was the International Mission Holder conference in Clearwater Florida for Scientology Mission holders. This was apparently quite a sight, seeing as though Scientology missions are in every corner of the world from Vladivostok through Novosibirsk to Moscow in Russia, and from the bottom of Africa to a Scientology Mission in Alaska. Quite an International crew!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Scientology Anti-Drug Program in New Zealand

Famous for its Saturday flea market, where thousands of residents and tourists come in search of bargains, fresh vegetables and fun, Otara, a suburb in South Auckland, New Zealand, is also known for its cultural diversity.
The program is based on the successful pattern developed by the Drug-Free Marshals in the USA, Africa and Asia — combating pro-drug propaganda and peer pressure by involving kids in educating other kids on the truth about drugs.

The mélange of Pacific cultures gives Otara its very unique character.

Unfortunately there is a darker side to this neighborhood as well, as statistics show that youth from Otara are more likely get in trouble with drugs and alcohol than kids in other areas of the city.

But the Drug-Free Ambassadors of Auckland have decided to change that.

And so you will see them at the Otara Flea Market, with their drug education booth, passing out booklets, inviting kids to join their team, and swearing them in with a pledge to set an example for their friends and families by living drug-free lives.

They are distributing brand new anti-drug booklets that give factual information about the most commonly abused drugs: alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, ecstasy,
cocaine, Ritalin, crystal meth (methamphetmine), heroin, LSD and Oxycodone (painkillers).

Sunday, October 08, 2006

What is a Volunteer Minister? Who are they?

I found this excellent little article today on ScientologyToday which defines a Scientology Volunteer Minister:

In 1976, L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology religion, wrote an essay titled, “Religious Influence in Society,” in which he launched the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program and described the role of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers in these terms:

“...a Volunteer Minister is a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.

“A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well.

“How does a Volunteer Minister accomplish these miracles? Basically, he uses the technology of Scientology to change conditions for the better—for himself, his family, his groups, friends, associates and for mankind.”

Also, quoted from, from a talk by Mr. David Miscavige:

"They have become internationally known and recognized for what has been described as spiritual first aid, and to that end they are ready and organized to respond to any disaster — 'man-made' or by force of nature.

"Most notable, of course, were our Volunteer Ministers at Ground Zero, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

"Everything — from logistical work on the bucket lines, to caring for the rescue workers so deeply affected in the aftermath, our Volunteer Ministers were there for the duration. As for the help they provided, they were the only civilian group invited to participate in the Police Service, in memory of rescue efforts on the one-year anniversary of September 11th.

"But, what matters to us is the help we bring, and it is literally the same story in countries across the world."

If you want to find out more about being a Volunteer Minister, just contact your nearest Church of Scientology.

Human Rights Marathon at the Kremlin

Runners, participating in the 26th annual International Marathon for Peace in Moscow. The Marathon was co-sponsored by the Moscow government, the Church of Scientology of Moscow and the Moscow chapter of Youth for Human Rights International.

MOSCOW: For the thousands of Russian runners, who raced here on Sunday, world peace is not just a slogan — it is a mission.

The Church of Scientology of Moscow joined the local chapter of Youth for Human Rights International and the Moscow government in organizing the 26th annual International Marathon for Peace.

Human rights was a major topic covered by Mr. David Miscavige in his talks to world celebrities and leaders , and in subsequent presentations since. It's a major factor of what Scientologists do, in terms of ensuring Human Rights are available for all -- not just for people of the Scientology Religion, but for all religions.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Fight Fires Too

Scientology Volunteers and Botswana Firefighters Repel Fire in Gabarone »

This one I found particularly moving. This is about Scientology Volunteer Ministers who happened to be in an abandoned section of Gabarone, Botswana when a fire broke out. As they were the only ones in a position to help, they pitched in and worked side-by-side with the Gabarone Fire Dept, braving the flames and putting out a massive fire.

This is just like Mr. David Miscavige hit on in his talk about Volunteer Ministers in his This is Scientology presentation, in terms of Volunteer Ministers giving a hand anywhere and everywhere, wherever needed. Many times, this is just in the form of helping using Scientology to save a marriage, or to give someone the tools they need in life to get their job back or whatever -- but in this case it was digging in and fighting a fire -- something the Fire Dept was immensely grateful for.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Google Analytics

I just painlessly installed Google Analytics on this blog, as I couldn't stand being without statistics for any length of time. I've been a management by statistics fanatic for years now, as it's the only way to manage anything. Not by opinion (as is way to prevalent in marketing) but by cold, hard statistics. Again, I got the notion from an extremely good Scientology event, where I decided I'd stop using the crystal ball to try to decide my future, and instead use some proven Scientology management techniques.

As noted, this install was utterly painless. I worked for Webtrends for some time, and also worked as a Web Analytics consultant, and so I'm quite familiar with web stats programs - but I have to commend Google for how well they took Urchin's ASP analytics software and integrated it into their accounts system. It's extremely informative, and was an utter breeze to put in. Now, if you're looking at this, I can probably tell where you're from!