Monday, August 31, 2009
Him: "It's cold." 
Me: "I could get the portable heater out .. but we don't turn on the furnace until it gets down to about 30."
 It was down to 58 F outside. I will allow this is 'brisk', given that it is August.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Kennedy's message (to Yuri Andropov) was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election.
Offering to dicker with a hostile foreign power to restack domestic politics. If that is not treason under the United States Constitution it is sure 'nuff riding on the ragged edge of it.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Ryan Oakley on Steampunk
As evidenced by this phone, it’s just a cumbersome and ridiculous affectation. It’s an aesthetic done by rote. A geekish dogma. It serves no purpose other than to make something “steampunk.” It’s aesthetic does not emerge organically from the logic of its function. Instead it’s just pasted on top of something else. It’s just copper bullshit.
When I look at the phone, I cannot think of a single way that all that effort has improved the device. It’s made it heavier, larger and clunkier. The thing is not better. The phone has just become a weapon in identity politics, an assertion of tribal loyalty to the cost of function. “I’m a steampunk,” it screams. “Pity me!”
The Czar of Muscovy: Cash for Refrigerators, Or The Impossibility of Reason
Congress has decided it has had enough of Cash for Clunkers. After all, the program proved to be unmanageable, has completely run out of funding, and still has yet to pay money to the people who were to have been saved: auto manufacturers and dealerships. GM, for example, is fronting the money to dealerships who are running out of cash due to the government’s inability to pay up.
The same folks who want to run your healthcare system, but proved incompetent at handling a quarter million basic cash transactions.
Maybe they should try something easier. Like refrigerators. Yup. Cash for Refrigerators kicks off this Fall, in hopes that the government can accomplish something quite a bit smaller without effing it up.
Government is into everything: now they're writing their own satire.
 Also, she is a cartoon character. Cute, but a cartoon.
Monday, August 24, 2009
The West comprises 14 percent of the world's population and controls 73 percent of the world's wealth:
Charts like this bother the ever-lovin' snot out of me.
The wealth was not just sitting around like dragon's treasure under a mountain. It was made from nothing into something.
This essay by Steven Dutch has no relevance to the demarcations in that map.
The more I travel, study history and read the papers, the more convinced I become of the superiority of rationalism. With that attitude, I should spend all my time traveling to northern Europe and Japan. However, fate has also seen fit to send me to many places where people think with their viscera and gonads instead of their brains. The more I see it in action, the more convinced I become that societies that place personal "honor" before everything else are truly cursed. This value system has ramifications that pervade the societies infested with it. It is, in my view, the most toxic value system on the planet. The term toxic is carefully chosen and meant to be taken with the utmost literalness because societies pervaded by this value system are deeply poisoned spiritually.
Nope - nothing to see there. Steve has nothing worthwhile to add either:
My opinion: Back when I was an anthropologist of sorts, I reached a conclusion that may have a lot to do with why I'm not working in the field.
Just as there are insane individuals, there are insane cultures.
Rationality and insane cultures have nothing to do with why that map is the way it is. It's all down to Walls keeping the Poor and Downtrodden down on the farm.
 Also annoying; the Korean DMZ is just there, without context. As if there the South Koreans just errected it one day in 1950 for no good reason except to keep out their poor relations  from the North. What .. the .. heck.
 And lets not forget that in 1950 South Korea was the poor agricultural part of Korea and North Korea had all of the industry and wealth.
In a recent column in the New York Times, editorialist Paul Krugman lead off his piece titled “Averting the Worst,” with this quote:
“So it seems we aren’t going to have a second Great Depression after all. What saved us? The answer, basically, is Big Government.”
This is a little, to my mind, like saying that a man who shoots you in the back, paralyzes you for life, and then hands you a second-hand wheelchair so you can putt around is to be hailed as a savior.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Somehow I seem to have signed up to watch my
ex-wife’sSara’s pomeranianpugs for the weekend.
They are exactly what you’d get if J.F. Sebastian had never seen a real dog but decided to build two of them.
…and had 140 meters or so of methane producing lower intestine, and decided to put them all in two very small packages.
I got this story via Jerry Pournelle who says "I have never understood why prizes are not popular. They cost almost nothing -- perhaps a million a year total to fund a commission that determines if a prize should be awarded -- and you know the total to be paid. A ten billion prize for a Lunar Colony Prize (keep 31 Americans alive and well on the Moon for 3 years and one day) would either get us a Moon Base or it would cost nothing. A reusable space ship prize of 5 billion (send the same ship to orbit 13 times in one year) would again get us a space ship or would cost nothing. We spent more than half that on the X-33 fiasco." Perhaps it is the ultimate proof of Pournelle's Law - that the prime purpose of government spending is to pay government workers & their friends & X-Prizes are devoted almost entirely to the nominal but secondary purpose of achieving results.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I sit and listen with a smile as the boys play.
It wasn't that long ago that I held them close and
nursed them upon my breast.
Not yesterday, but before.
My memories are not dimmed by their growth away from
Inside I know that the nurturing I gave them lies inside
their hearts and will be with them forever.
It will help them to become father's, husband's, lovers.
They will understand the meaning of touch, kiss, and comfort.
It is not sad that they grow further away from me,
but I wonder how the gradual increase in their independence
happened without my seeing it come.
Time does create a difference in life, but I shall always
hear the whisper of "Mommy" in my mind and feel it in my heart.
I am not losing a child - I am creating young men that will
direct the future of our world.
Right after they finish killing zombies on the latest video game.
Friday, August 21, 2009
A new menace to the planet has been discovered and validated by a consensus of politically reliable scientists: Anthropogenic Continental Drift (ACD) will result in catastrophic damage and untold suffering, unless immediate indemnity payments from the United Sates, Europe, and Australia be made to the governments of non-industrial nations, to counteract this man-made threat to the world's habitats.
For union members upset about a lower wage scale for new hires and laid-off employees returning to their jobs: "There won't be a job for them" if the concessions aren't approved, Schwabero said.
Here is a tally of the economic damage from a nay vote by the Union.
The Union's take on all this?
"I can tell you that no one on the bargaining committee is going to vote for this," said Mark Zillges, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge 1947, which represents Mercury's 838 factory workers in Fond du Lac.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Today's box included 'Romeo and Juliet - Edited and Rendered into Modern English by Alan Durband'. The idea is lame, but what matters is how the target audience reacts, nu?
He laughed even harder than I, then read samples aloud to show how goofy the idea is.
'Tis but they name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? It is nor hand nor foot
Nor arm nor face nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O be some other name.
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff they name,
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
It's only your name that's my enemy. You'd be the same,
even if you weren't a Montague. What's a "Montague"? It's not
a hand, or a foot, or a face or any other part
belonging to a man. Take some other name! What's in a
name? What we call a rose would smell as sweet, whatever
word we used for it. If Romeo weren't called Romeo, he's still
retain his own dear perfection without his name. Romeo,
give up your name and exchange for that name, which is
not part of you, take all of me!
Shakespeare knew what he was doing. Y'all educators need to leave be and understand this: kids get it without dumbing down the material.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
This is what he was talking about: The PRC-77 radio was designed so that you could cram in it's battery only one way - so the prongs on the radio would mate with the hole in the battery.
Except that you could - if you tried really, really, hard - push the battery in wrong. And then if you kept on pushing really, really hard you could shove the battery in and mash the prongs and break your radio. And then, if you were far, far, into the woods without a radio, you were up the proverbial waterway without sufficient means of mobilization.
In other words - 'Don't horse f*ck the radio'.
Guess what I did at work today? Just replace 'radio' with 'server' and 'woods' with 'data center'.
 Infantry Training School.
Going in a Bad Direction Without Wanting To
I discussed the matter with a group of friends who, like me, are roughly in their mid-sixties—that is, who remember the United States as it was years ago. We agreed that we are seeing an anger in the United States, chiefly directed at government, that is new to us. There was widespread anger during the war in Vietnam, but it was directed at the war, not the government in general. Today we have something different.
There is a sense that the government now is not only hostile to the public, which it never was before, but out of control. The degree of intrusiveness has grown from almost none to almost unrestrained—or so people feel.
Fred is always worth a read - this time more so than usual.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
My study is NOT as a climatologist, but from a completely different prospective in which I am an expert. Complex data from disparate sources can be processed and presented in very different ways, and to “prove” many different theories.
For decades, as a professional experimental test engineer, I have analyzed experimental data and watched others massage and present data. I became a cynic; My conclusion – “if someone is aggressively selling a technical product who’s merits are dependant on complex experimental data, he is likely lying”. That is true whether the product is an airplane or a Carbon Credit.
Rutan is one of those guys that Verne was writing about.
Subject Line call back.
Nothing can astonish an American. It was often said that the word "impossible" didn't exist for Frenchmen, but this observation is off the mark. Only in America can everything seem "simple" and "easy." Not a single real Yankee would allow himself to discern any difference between Barbicane's plan and its accomplishment. No sooner said than done. [My translation.]
The Cape Province asks for bids on a tunnel through Table Mountain. Germany bids $50 million, the U.S. bids $75 million, and van der Merwe bids $100.
"But, van der Mere, how can you dig that tunnel for $100?"
"Ach, man, I'll start on one side, my son will start on the other, and we'll dig toward each other."
"What if you don't meet in the middle?"
"Then you'll get two tunnels for the price of one."
Monday, August 17, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Air Force will train more drone operators than fighter and bomber pilots combined for the first time this year, signaling a fundamental shift for the 61-year-old service, records and interviews with top officials show.
The Air Force will train 240 pilots to fly Predator and Reaper drones compared with 214 fighter and bomber pilots for the budget year that ends in September.
Left unsaid in the story is why, in order to pilot an armed remote-control aircraft, one must first be awarded a college degree, be commissioned an officer and gentleman, then graduate pilot training.
Whatever rationale was used to eliminate flying sergeants  it makes even less sense when the pilot sits in a padded chair in an air-conditioned room in Nevada, and almost every sergeant you meet has an actual college degree.
Perhaps someday we'll see the return of flying sergeants.
 As an excellent writer once wrote about paratroopers and static lines ... 'He can just imagine the staff meeting where they dreamed up the concept of the static line:"For God's sake, General, they're just enlisted men! As soon as they jump out of the airplane they'll probably start daydreaming about their girlfriends, take a few hits from their pocket flasks, catch forty winks, and before you know it they'll all pile into the ground at a couple of hundred miles an hour!" '
No doubt the high priests of technocracy with their gospel of automation -- their love affair with the architecture of control, and acolythistic faith in unending "progress" -- don't want you to see this video which exposes the inherent character of their religion for what it is: a shibboleth of unspeakable proportions, with no purpose besides our alienation from the natural world.
1.Try to secure the upper hand before attacking. If possible, keep the sun behind you.As always, 'rules for combat' apply to life.
2.Always continue with an attack you have begun.
3.Only fire at close range, and then only when the opponent is properly in your sights.
4.You should always try to keep your eye on your opponent, and never let yourself be deceived by ruses.
5.In any type of attack, it is essential to assail your opponent from behind.
6.If your opponent dives on you, do not try to get around his attack, but fly to meet it.
7.When over the enemy's lines, never forget your own line of retreat.
8.Tip for Squadrons: In principle, it is better to attack in groups of four or six. Avoid two aircraft attacking the same opponent.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
-- Elizabeth Bishop