Archive for June, 2008

How do people this dumb make it into newspapers?

[ music | Four Non Blondes – What’s Going On ]

Tom shared this gem of an article at the Telegraph. Wow. I can’t believe this article made it past a fact checker, or an editor, or anyone without an extreme eco-agenda. Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-environmental activism, but this is just crazy.

First all, if you pay to pollute, then the stigma of polluting is gone. There is no incentive not to pollute.

First all, wrong. This would only be correct if money was infinite. This statement is blatantly incorrect in that carbon credit purchasing/trading make pollution a fiscal issue, rather than purely an environmental or moral issue. Pollution now directly affects the bottom line.

Imagine that someone came up with a plan for you to cheat on your spouse, say by paying someone else not to cheat on their spouse!

Again, wrong. Cheating on your spouse is binary, either you’re cheating or you’re not. Polluting is binary, either you are or you’re not, but the point is to pollute less. I doubt anyone’s husband or wife will be happy that their spouse now only cheats three times a week rather than four times a week, but I think everyone would be happy if we could reduce emissions of power generation plants by 25%.

Do they ever mention that the only trees that make a difference are the ones planted inside the tropics? Or that some trees actually increase the amount of carbon in the atmosphere? Or that mass tree planting to satisfy our ravenous energy appetites reduces biodiversity, displaces people and causes social disruption.

No, no one ever mentions that because it’s not true. Apparently this gentleman has never heard of temperate rain-forests, for example. I haven’t the faintest idea what his second statement is based upon. I’ve never heard of trees increasing atmospheric carbon without burning them. Also, planting trees does nothing to biodeversity because forests aren’t usually made up of thousands of different types of trees, there’s usually a few dominant species in various stands, and a number of different stands. Trees aren’t planted in places people currently live, so there’s no displacement, and certainly not more displacement than would occur if sea levels rise by only a single meter. And when is the last time a tree disrupted anyone doing anything? That one’s just absurd.

And do any of them guarantee that they will actually plant that tree on your behalf? Do they send you a picture of the thing? Can they guarantee you that the tree in question will live long enough to absorb the carbon you dumped in the atmosphere, you naughty boy, before being chopped down?

Actually, reputable ones do just that. They promise a minimum lifespan for the trees, and yes you can ever see the stands they create.

I have no clue how articles like this can make it into a newspaper with any intelligent people behind it. Apparently the standards for the Telegraph have dropped dramatically in recent times. This kind of nonsense isn’t even fit for “letters to the editors” pages.

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Another reason I love Dreamhost, and cheap goodies for you.

[ music | Goldfrapp – Ooh La La ]

If you’re just here for the cheap goodies, you’ll want to skip to this part.

So, sometimes people wonder why I like Dreamhost so much. It’s pretty simple, aside from the great price and excellent features, I like them for their honesty and customer service. Some people look at Dreamhost Status as a list of failure. I look at it as extreme honesty. I’ve used many other hosts over the years, and experienced many with more issues than with Dreamhost, and are never explained, and half the time they lie and tell me there was no issue at all. But, here’s an example of why I love their support.

Subject: bad_httpd_conf makes me a sad tree.
From: Grey Hodge
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2008 17:44:53 -0700 (PDT)
To: DreamHost Support

I went to access part of my site and got a 404. Afraid that the underpants gnomes had moved onto more profitable things like stealing pages, I hit the root of my site. For this I was rewarded with the dreaded “bad_httpd_conf” error of legend. I consulted the Holy Runes, which instructed me to sacrifice a chicken in the ways of my ancestors (that is, with lemon garnish and a side of rice pilaf). Sadly, this did not remedy my problem.

Knowing that is occasionally relevant, I went there and saw nothing relating to me. Upon seeing this, I immediately started to type out a comment there, since at the top of the page it clearly says “posting in the comments here IS NOT an official way to contact DreamHost” it seemed the most logical thing to do. After misspelling several words and complaining about how every host in the universe is better and that I’m going to move to a host my friend runs out of his mom’s basement, I recalled you had this “support ticket” feature, and decided to give it a whirl.

So, my sites give me that error, and I’d like them not to. I would much prefer to see my carefully crafted yet half completed sites welcome me with open arms. As I took the time to type out all of this text, I’m obviously in a great hurry, and would appreciate if everyone stopped for neither food nor sleep in the coming days as you labor to deliver my sites to all the internets.

Yours Truly,
Grey Hodge
Gentleman of Great Influence and Stature

It wasn’t as though the world was ending, so I thought a little humor would be appreciated. I then proceeded to stare at the clock in agony as the seconds ticked by. An inexorable 12 minutes later I got a reply. 12 minutes! I’ve had days go by with other hosts.

Subject: Re: bad_httpd_conf makes me a sad tree.
From: DreamHost Customer Support Team
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2008 17:56:51 -0700 (PDT)
To: Grey Hodge

Sir, I am dreadfully sorry that your beautiful sites have suffered this most humiliating indignation, and I have taken it upon my humble self to address the matter in the most expeditious manner possible. Not having a hammer close to hand, and with no negative reflection intended upon your previously attempted sacrifice, I employed my most powerful magic and mumbled assorted arcane incantations over the spilled entrails of a plethora of small beasts I found lurking in, and about, our offices.

The internet Gods must been pleased with my actions, as all of your sites are now back in operation and are displaying in glorious fashion.

Of course, it is also possible that running a quick re-configuration of your apache server did the trick. Sometimes, I must admit, it is hard to discern the truth of these things. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, and will make every effort to prevent it from happening again.

Your humble servant!
Robert The Junior

Now, in the past they’ve always been courteous and prompt, well humored, and even laughed at some of my past requests’ jokes, but this gent decided he’d take it so far as to join in. I loved it and he did an excellent job. I love it when folks can take jokes well.

I promised cheap goodies. I will now deliver. The previous day I got the following email from Dreamhost.

From: The Happy DreamHost Forever Team
To: Grey Hodge
Date: Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 9:25 AM
Subject: You just got five DreamHost Invitations!

Hey Grey!

This email is to let you know that you, yes you, have just been given five (5) oh so special DreamHost Invitations you can use to invite your friends and colleagues to DreamHost!

Of course, they don’t NEED an official invitation to sign up, but if you email them and tell them to use one of these five invitation codes:

[email me if you want one]

… they will get all these super special advantages not available any other way:

  • They will get four (4) times the normal disk and bandwidth! [that’s 2TB of disk space and 20TB of transfer]
  • If they choose our five-year plan, they’ll get $150 off!
  • If they choose our ten-year plan, they’ll get $200 off!

(Each code is good for only ONE sweet DreamHostering referral!)

But.. these invitations are too awesome to exist forever! In fact, they expire in just two weeks, so you should probably get to telling ASAP!

Tell your invitees to use the 12-digit code you give them in the “PromoCode” field when they sign up at:

So enter one of those codes and you’ll get 4 times the bandwidth, and potentially save up to $200 on long term plans (which I expect no one will make use of that part). Each code is one time use only, so once they’re gone they’re gone. If you order and it says invalid code or whatnot, sorry.

* Update: Someone already used one, so that means there are only 4 left!

* Update 2: I wound up getting 6, not 5, and 4 are gone. 2 left, act now, operators are standing by!

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