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Note:These pages make extensive use of the latest XHTML and CSS Standards. They ought to look great in any standards-compliant modern browser. Unfortunately, they will probably look horrible in older browsers, like Netscape 4.x and IE 4.x. Moreover, many posts use MathML, which is, currently only supported in Mozilla. My best suggestion (and you will thank me when surfing an ever-increasing number of sites on the web which have been crafted to use the new standards) is to upgrade to the latest version of your browser. If that's not possible, consider moving to the Standards-compliant and open-source Mozilla browser.

August 25, 2008

Our Pathetic News Media

The USA/Today reports

While Obama leads McCain 48%-42% among women in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll released Sunday, Biden’s family life and his legislative record on women’s issues could help win disappointed fans of Hillary Rodham Clinton and enlarge that gender gap.

First of all, 48%-42% was McCain’s lead over Obama among men. In that poll, Obama lead McCain among women by a whopping 49% – 39%. To achieve that large a lead among women overall, his lead among women Democrats must be overwhelming.

And yet, our benighted news media are so insistent in their narrative about “disappointed fans of Hillary Rodham Clinton” that they need to resort to misreading their own polls to propagate the story.

Posted by distler at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Followups (1)

August 20, 2008

Instiki + IE7

Somehow (doubtless, because I try to stay as far away from Windows as possible), it eluded my attention that there was a serious bug when viewing Instiki pages in IE7+MathPlayer. The problem doesn’t occur with IE8β+Mathplayer or, as best I can recall, with IE6+MathPlayer. But, with IE7, instead of displaying the page, it showed you the XML source tree instead.

The problem turns out to be involve the HTTP Content-Type header. If you send IE7+MathPlayer the header

Content-Type: application/xhtml+xml; charset=utf-8

you trigger the bug. If, instead, you omit the charset parameter,

Content-Type: application/xhtml+xml

all is well.

Getting Rails to omit the charset parameter turns out to be surprisingly difficult. If you want to see how to do it, search for “MathPlayer” in this file.

Technical details aside, the latest version of Instiki finally works with IE7+MathPlayer.

Thanks to Timm Wrase for reporting the problem (best of luck in Munich, Timm!), Neil Soiffer for confirming its origin, and Sam Ruby for working to ensure that Rails 2.2 will solve the problem in a less convoluted way.

Posted by distler at 12:49 AM | Permalink | Followups (1)

August 2, 2008


From time to time, I’ve been asked what I think of the Connes-Chamseddine-et al “Noncommutative Standard Model”. I haven’t had anything terribly profound to say, but recently I got involved in a conversation with Urs Schreiber about it. So, perhaps it might be useful to summarize what was said.

Posted by distler at 3:14 AM | Permalink | Followups (10)