What Is Happening Here?

Well done, you've found the website of Jeremy Modjeska, uppity bicycle snob, opinionated dilettante, voracious user of the Oxford comma, and all-purpose nerdboy. You might find some articles related to amateur commentary on legal affairs I don't fully understand, as well as some Excel and web hackeries that people occasionally find useful. For a more current and substantially less verbose window into my world, follow me on Twitter.

Posts

The Guantanamo detainee case Kiyemba v. Obama is a potentially landmark separation-of-powers case headed for the US Supreme Court in March 2010, with major policy issues and the futures of 13 detainees at stake. In this multi-part story, I will try to dig into the background and questions raised by the case. This is a follow-up to Part I: Jamal Kiyemba’s long journey home.

Part II: New borders

Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote for the majority:

Seventeen Chinese citizens currently held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, brought petitions for writs of habeas corpus. … The question is whether [they] are entitled to an order requiring the [US] government to bring them to the United States and release them here.

This opening paragraph of the decision by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in February of 2009 introduced a document that dramatically altered the fate of those seventeen men. The men had previously been ordered by a lower court to be freed inside the United States, but the Executive branch appealed, saying the lower court had no such authority. Subsequently, the question that Judge Randolph introduced above was answered: no. No, the seventeen men will not be released into the United States, and unlike Jamal Kiyemba, they can not go home because they fear persecution by the Chinese government. There are thirteen of them now; four were released to Bermuda in June. They wait, still at Guantanamo Bay, for the slow wheels of American justice to make one final revolution as their case heads to the Supreme Court.

read more …

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
Posted in Politics  |  No Comments

The Guantanamo detainee case Kiyemba v. Obama is a potentially landmark separation-of-powers case headed for the US Supreme Court in March 2010, with major policy issues and the futures of 13 detainees at stake. In this multi-part story, I will try to dig into the background and questions raised by the case.

PART I: Jamal Kiyemba’s long journey home

Jamal Kiyemba doesn’t have anything to do with the case coming before the Supreme Court in 2010. He is a free man; he lives in Uganda, and as well as anyone might expect after what he went though, he is apparently leading a normal life there. But his full-circle journey, one that spanned four continents, is necessary prologue to the legal battle that wages on today under his name.

read more …

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
Posted in Politics  |  4 Comments

NextGEN imageOne of the hacks I put in place for my new site design was to get image titles to display when you click on an image in the gallery. This isn’t out-of-the-box functionality for the NextGEN plugin; the description (which you set manually in the gallery manager) is populated, but the image title is not. The solution lies in modifying the title attribute of the a tag generated by gallery.php. To see an example of this hack in action for images with and without descriptions, visit the Space Needle pictures gallery and click on the last two images in the set. One shows only the image title, the other shows title and description. Code after the fold.

Update 11.19.2010: Now with EXIF! (maybe)
read more …

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
Posted in Code  |  73 Comments

Chinese Character Yong A short exploration of the history, controversy,  and possible future of China’s dualistic written language. And the perspective of a student trying to balance an appreciation for culture with a desire to learn the language sometime in his lifetime. 

Introduction

Many centuries of history form the foundation of logographic written Chinese. But it is only in the last sixty years that we have seen the bifurcation of that character system, and the debate that inevitably followed, when the Communist government in the late 1950s introduced what would be known as the set of simplified characters, officially eliminating the use of the previous character set (now known as traditional characters) in mainland (People’s Republic of) China. Since many were opposed to this significant change, and because other Chinese-speaking entities continued using traditional characters, the debate over simplified versus traditional characters began immediately and continues today. Now, as modern technology and globalization wield ever more influence over an ancient culture, novel arguments lend further intrigue to an already fascinating political and linguistic question.

read more …

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
Posted in At Home  |  No Comments

If you know why you’re reading this already, skip to the code below the fold. Otherwise, here’s some explanation. In a project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), tasks are organized into major tasks, sub-tasks, sub-sub-tasks, etc. as in the following example which is an actual project plan used by NASA:

1      Build a spaceship

1.1      Read wikipedia article on spaceships to determine required supplies

1.2      Buy spaceship supplies

1.3      Assemble spaceship

1.3.1      Attach top part to middle part

1.3.2      Attach middle part to thruster thingie

1.3.3      Paint spaceship a neat-o color

1.4      Set spaceship upright (facing sky)

2      Fly around in spaceship

3      Discover strange new worlds

4      Return home 

4.1      Point spaceship at Earth

4.2      Land spaceship on Earth

4.3      Park spaceship in designated parking space
 

Instead of sequentially numbering the tasks, we assign subtask numbers to those tasks that roll up under other tasks. Assemble spaceship is a subtask of Build a spaceship so it gets Build a spaceship‘s number (1) plus a subtask number (3, since it’s the third subtask) so its WBS number is 1.3. Attach top part to middle part is a subtask of Assemble spaceship, so it gets 1.3 plus a sub-subtask number (1.3.1), and so on. MS Project also bolds any items with subtasks.

Since this type of WBS or outline numbering functionality isn’t available in Excel, it requires a VBA macro. Free code after the fold.

read more …

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
Posted in Code  |  65 Comments