Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It does not become less evil because it seems necessary

We are born into a political status. We have no choice about the matter. We are … born under the dominion of politicians.… We can change our political status by emigrating from the subjection under which we are born to some other which we may think more desirable, but we cannot free ourselves from subjection to government altogether. In this respect we have somewhat less freedom today than even with regard to religion. We can avoid tithes, in many states, but none of us can avoid taxes. Public opinion has progressed to the point where it recognizes that abandonment of the church is not in itself an evil however sinful it may be from the standpoint of the clergy. But it has not yet arrived at a point where it recognizes that the abandonment of the state is equally free from evil.… But while we may have to consent to a political status and to contribute to the support of the government, we do not need to over-estimate the extent to which politicians and the political state contribute to our comfort. For government is, at best, a necessary evil. It does not become less evil because it seems necessary.

Ralph Borsodi 'This Ugly Civilization'

From Libertarian Tradition podcast episode "Robert Anton Wilson (1932–2007)"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The CIA is denying. The Pentagon is denying. And now the White House is denying that anyone refused to send help to our embattled CIA and State Department personnel engaged in a seven hour running firefight with more than 150 jihadists.

There is a ray of sunshine in this gloomy cloud of suck.

A company-sized team, with heavy weapons, surprise, initiative, and tons of time for proper planning (which prevents piss-poor performance) took seven hours to kill a handful of Americans, armed with, at best, small arms.

These are grown men, toting guns around their entire lives.  This is the best they could do?  That is embarrassing.

Any PFC out of SOI, who never saw a rifle before he hit MCRD, given 150 men, 12.5 machine guns, mortars, RPGs and 'artillery mounted on gun trucks' (whatever the f*ck that actually means) could flatten the place in an hour and home for a late dinner.

"Are these the Nazis, Walter?"

"No, Donny, these men are jihadists, there's nothing to be afraid of."

These are not people to be afraid of.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Election 2012

I may have something more intelligent and mature to write about this later.  I may not: I've got lots more better things to do with my life.  So;

To My Dear Friends Who Are Democrats,

If you vote for Obama again you are voting for more of everything you profess to dislike, throwing away your birthright of liberty for shiny pennies.

To My Dear Friends Who Are Republicans,

If you vote for Romney you are voting for more of everything you profess to dislike, throwing away your birthright of liberty for shiny pennies.

Respectfully Submitted,


Which do you prefer, assured disaster or a sporting chance?

You may say, “But Fred, how can you be so bloody arrogant as to think you can run the country?” To which I reply, “We know that the incumbents cannot. I may be able to. In any event, I couldn’t be worse: I have not that talent. Which do you prefer, assured disaster or a sporting chance?”

Fred Throws Sombrero in Ring: The Only Thing We Have to be A-Fred of is Fred Hisself

Monday, October 22, 2012


There was something on the news tonight about 'horses and bayonets'.  Something-something presidential something debate.

Apropos, I have just recalled that I did use my bayonet in the field, all the time. I used it to open up MRE boxes. And slit the tops of MRE meals.

And when they served us so-called breakfast in field kitchens? Bayonets are super-useful for opening up mini-cereal boxes.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The value of a configuration engine done right

I love my job.  Love, love, love, it.

We've been talking about the value of a configuration engine replacing our rickety install process for years.  Years.  Hasn't been worth the short-term pain.

Looked at another way, have not been able to carve the time out to make it happen.

Looked at yet another way 'If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over'?

So this go-around we have a perfect storm of a project.  I've managed to build in time to set up the infrastructure to setup the servers.  An actual project plan that says 'build the configuration engine first, then build the servers using that'.  It's important that this be done right, for a lot of tedious reaons.

It helps to be the guy who wrote the project plan.

Here is the deal: spend figuring out how to build a Puppet module to manage something on a server.  An application.  A service.  User, file ... if it's something you can touch on a host there is a way to make Puppet do it.  The more complicated the module, the more time it takes.

Edit crontab?  Took about an hour.  X Windows?  Two hours.  X is complicated.

The genius comes because forever after managing that resource on a server is a matter only of putting the host's name in the right file.

Want XWindows on a host?  Edit the right file, save.  Want it gone?  REMOVE the entry from that file, wait an hour.

If one is feeling impetuous one can shell to the host and manually force the issue.

It's even making Linux look loveable.

Love.  My.  Job.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Utilize existing UAV assets and personnel to increase the greater good

I made a petition.  And I think I liked it.

Go.  Sign.

Before they take that sucker down.

Complete text below in case of deletion

Charge the United States Air Force or such agencies of the Defense Department as you see fit to

Utilize existing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) assets and personal to

Find the 30,244 [1] dipsticks who signed the petition to 'outlaw offending prophets of major religions' and

Bitch-slap them into next Sunday.

[1] As of 2012-10-16 9:30 p.m. central

OS X is a supeior shell for running Linux

So I've got this Thinkpad, fred, running Slackware 14, but the keyboard is way over there, and it's not plugged into my monitors, getting those three monitors to work with the USB adapter and linux is going to be a pain and anyway it utterly lacks iTerm2, which is the cat's pajamas of terminal emulation.

Ah ...

$ xhost +fred
$ ssh -X brian@fred
# tmux
# firefox &
# emacs &

How 'bout that: X11 applications running on my Mac all nice and handy.

Theory: OS X is a superior platform for running 'linux' applications.

I am so lucky that I'm in a profession where I get to spend part of my workday dinking around with stuff like this.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Oh That Wacky Free Press

"The American people would rightly not tolerate this kind of concentration of power in government. Is it not fair and relevant to question its concentration in the hands of a tiny and closeted fraternity of privileged men, elected by no one and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned by government?"

Spiro Agnew

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Postliterate Red Queen's Race

A postliterate society is a hypothetical society in which multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read or write, is no longer necessary or common.

If one finds oneself in an actual postliterate society one is in big, big, trouble.

We are working our way into it one well-intentioned step at a time. 

A push at work is for work instruction software that produces lego-like diagrams for getting stuff done.  You've seen them - pictures take you step-by-step through an assembly process.  This is a great idea for a place like ours: our assembly guys can speak any of seven languages [1].  Lego instructions make a lot of sense.  That kind of thing is getting everywhere, into everything.

Lego instructions for assembling complicated electronics, glyph-button cash registers at BurgerMcDonaldsKing, wizards for installing software .. what can you do?  If you don't do this stuff you'll get run over by your competitors who do.  Then you're out of business and working a cash register and forgetting how to make change because the machine tells you what to hand back to the customer  ...

In your post-literate society there must be a corps of people who are literate.  Someone writes the lego software, the install wizards, knows how to program the cash registers.  Morlocks. 

Morlocks get stuff done.  They know how to fix things.  They're happy people, busy and productive and well-compensated. 

It's good to be a Morlock.

Except for having to live in an society that is in a Red Queen's Race to cater to Eloi.  Ever had to wait in line while the kid behind the counter drives his register into a ditch, gets a puzzled look, has to have a manager come over and un-f*ck things?

Like that times a thousand.

 Six if you count Scot as English.  Which, listening to them, is real hard.