Sunday, July 30, 2006

A fine rant

William is in fine form ranting at Human Iterations
The Left is dumb on Geopolitics.

So fucking stupid it boggles the mind. So self-absorbed, self-deluding, pretentious, naive, petulant, irrational, close-minded, gutless, ignorant, hypocritical, strategy-less, and petty it can only survive through leech-like populist parasitism.

Can't tie its own shoes unsupervised or get within reach of plastic bags because the doctor says if it idiotically asphyxiates itself any further its whining, wheedling, wheezing voice will finally warble into completely unintelligible sonic pollution, splattering acidic drool down its pressed polo shirt.

...What I'm trying to say is that Stephen F. Cohen is certifiably retarded, has only a cocktail-party understanding of Russian politics and his article in The Nation is a load of shit.

It's a fine rant and to reproduce it would only water it down - it should be read in context. The conclusion is priceless.
Goddamn fucking Left. Utterly useless. Except maybe to the all the tyrants that aren't our own.

Untitled by Jeff Harrell

I'm not sure where Harrell is going with this but .. I like the first chapter.

The Shape of Days: Untitled: part one
Charlie Newbauer never subscribed to a newspaper. He found politics incomprehensible, current events dull. So when the war came, he was even more surprised than everybody else.

That morning, like every morning, Charlie started his day with two pieces of dry toast and a cup of coffee with a finger of brandy in it. The coffee got him moving, the brandy took the edge off and the toast soothed his upset stomach. Out the door, locked twice with heavy bolts because it was that kind of neighborhood, down the stairs and out onto the street. It was a twelve-block walk to the bookstore, but he saved his train fare for the coldest and wettest days.

More at the link.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

If you fail to take advantage of X you can't complain about Y

Five weeks ago Abe* sent a message around a local user list: "I'm graduating and I need a job"

I forward his message to Betty, Cc:ing Abe: "Here is a guy who needs a job, I know you're looking for a recent grad. Abe, sent Betty your resume."

Three weeks ago I ask Betty if Abe sent his resume. No. An email? No.

Last week Abe wrote in a reply to another email on that list
Charley: I think this (a headhunter cold-calling) is one of those signs that the economy is kicking along ...
Abe: Just not here.
I think if you fail to take advantage of opportunity you should loose your right to bitch. Maybe that is just me.

*Names changed to protect the clueless innocent.

Stealing Wireless

I don't have this problem - my neighbors are too distant - but if you do ...
My neighbours are stealing my wireless internet access. I could encrypt it or alternately I could have fun.
Goes on to describe how to use iptables to forward all traffic to Kittenwar, how to flip all graphics or make the internets look blurry. Great fun.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Beyond Marriage

Some interesting ideas here.  They advocate
Ø   Legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families – regardless of kinship or conjugal status.

Access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital
government support programs including but not limited to health care,
housing, Social Security and pension plans, disaster recovery
assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.

Separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and
recognition of relationships, households and families.

Ø   Freedom from state regulation of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities and expression.

Less government is a good thing, nuVia.

Ron Patrick's Street Legal Jet Powered Beetle

Via Tom "Gandalf" Nugent comes Ron Patrick's Street Legal Jet Powered Beetle.

Click. It's worth a few Keanu Reevesian Whoas

Bangles 'Real World'

The Bangles first video, 'Real World'. This makes me an official old phart but I think it holds up well. Or it could be I've always like the rocking Bangles doing the 60s retro and homage thing better than when they were trying the 80s glam look .. okay I'll stop.

And yes, for any pedantic Bangles fans who wander by, I know they were the Bangs when it was recorded.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thou shalt not covet

Steven "The Town Crank" Erbach has a stellar modification to the 10th commandment. Keeping in mind the crowd yelping about obscene profits recorded by Exxon-Mobil . .

The Town Crank: Why aren't they buying shares?
The 10th Commandment says "Thou shalt not covet". Old Moses knew what he was about. It is human nature to covet and to wish ill on those more prosperous than we are. But isn't the entire history of the human race enough to show us that we should get over our jealousies and grow up? I just wish the 10th Commandment could be amended to say: "Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt buy as much oil stock as thou can lay thy hands on." Now that's a Commandment with some relevance!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Anti Mopery - July 26, 2006

Women from New Jersey, dopey producers from NPR, Hezbollah, cops who sue their employer because they made themselves a laughingstock ...

Ah.  Yes that's better.


God must love the common man

Letter to the Editor by Joann Warkala, Runnemede, New Jersey, published in the Courier Post Online. Monday, July 24, 2006

Yet another space shuttle mission completed.
Am I the only one who thinks this is such a totally ridiculous waste of money?
No kidding. We should have Orion ships exploring the asteroids by now ..
I shudder when I think of how much money has been invested -- wasted, in my opinion -- over the years. And for what? There is so much to be done here on Earth, how about spending some of that money here?
Little known secret - every Shuttle flight they carry tons -- tons, in my opinion -- of greenbacks for deposit in the Luna City First Federal Bank.
I would like to see the government place a 10-year moratorium on NASA missions and anything space related. We could pay off the national debt, finally come up with a health program that could benefit all Americans, perhaps find cures for dreaded diseases, house the homeless, feed the hungry, educate the illiterate . . . who knows how much more. And we still would have spare change.
And I am Marie, Queen of Romania. In other words, when pigs fly. How much of the Federal Budget do you think NASA gets? Over the next ten years it's projected to get .. $200 billlion. That's a lot of free lunches in Runnemede but the debt you want to pay down is .. $8.4 trillion.

Better cut out those free lunches then..
In the meantime, perhaps if we were to stop punching holes in the atmosphere, it may just slow down global warming.
Because the holees we're punching in the crystal sphere holding in our atmosphere are like tearing holes in your attic insulation, yep.
Forty years ago, people laughed at my mother when she said every time they sent up a rocket, it rained for a month. Less than 2 hours after the shuttle went up recently, it started raining.
They didn't teach logic at your high school, did they?
How about it America? Charity begins at home, and our home is this planet.
Words fail me.


Neil deGrasse Tyson - Video

Music of the Spheres: Read This Interview!
I happened to notice this link to a video feature page in my daily New York Times news email. It's a wonderful interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, author, and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York. I've seen Tyson on TV and read some of his work, and I know him as an articulate and passionate proponent of space exploration, astronomy, and science education. But in this 30 minute interview (in 7 short "chapters"), he gets right to the heart of what matters to him and why it matters to all of us.

Second the notion - it's good video.

Radio for smart people

Next time you find yourself listening to NPR remember that (some) of the guys running the show are dumb as dirt inexperienced. - 60 years later, NPR's Schorr is still a 'precious resource'
Daniel Schorr is used to producers popping into his Washington, D.C., office at National Public Radio to ask, on deadline: Which war came first, Korea or Vietnam? (Answer: Korea.)

But when one asked, "You covered the Spanish-American War, didn't you?" Schorr couldn't help but respond, matter-of-factly: "That was 1898."

"Oh, sorry, of course," the younger man said, excusing himself.
You'd think a network that prides itself on appealing to the intelligent minority (paraphrase from pledge week) would hire producers who are not so damned dumb that they have to pester an old guy in lieu of looking up the answer.

USA Today looses points by pandering to their readership for including the answer in parenthesis.


Things that make you go 'hmm'

WorldNetDaily: Is this World War III?
If the radical Islamic jihadists in the Middle East – the mullahs of Iran, their puppets in Hezbollah, the suicidal maniacs of Hamas and their patrons in Syria – had the power to destroy every Jew in Israel, they would do it. Does anyone doubt that for a minute?

On the other hand, the Jews of Israel do possess the power to destroy their enemies. Yet, there is no question in anyone's mind that they would never resort to such an option unless they were somehow faced with annihilation themselves.

THIS is why having a business blog is a good idea

Nyein Aung from Liftport reports on his day with Neil Tyson and crew from PBS Nova, and a demo of one of the older lifters. Tom Nugent posts about the same day, different perspective.

DEA Agent Lee Paige and a practical application of gun safety

"I'm the only one in this room professional enough, that I know of, to carry a Glock 40 (BANG)"

Travis has more details and commentary.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

England Your England by George Orwell

It feels like this essay was written during a much earlier age. - 1941 is distant in more than just calendar years.

Never hurts to return to the classics now and again.

England Your England - England Your England and Other Essays - George Orwell, Book, etext
AS I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.

They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any the worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil.

One cannot see the modern world as it is unless one recognizes the overwhelming strength of patriotism, national loyalty. In certain circumstances it can break down, at certain levels of civilization it does not exist, but as a positive force there is nothing to set beside it. Christianity and international Socialism are as weak as straw in comparison with it. Hitler and Mussolini rose to power in their own countries very largely because they could grasp this fact and their opponents could not.

Also, one must admit that the divisions between nation and nation are founded on real differences of outlook. Till recently it was thought proper to pretend that all human beings are very much alike, but in fact anyone able to use his eyes knows that the average of human behaviour differs enormously from country to country. Things that could happen in one country could not happen in another. Hitler’s June purge, for instance, could not have happened in England. And, as western peoples go, the English are very highly differentiated. There is a sort of back-handed admission of this in the dislike which nearly all foreigners feel for our national way of life. Few Europeans can endure living in England, and even Americans often feel more at home in Europe.

Someone call the waaambulance

Chair Force Engineer spent the day as pee officer . . .
That's right--I had to monitor the random drug tests that the Air Force administers.
That's funny. I don't recall my lieutenants watching me pee into a bottle. I'm pretty sure that was the corpsman's job since you need to have attended months and months of Corpsman school to recognize what is going on down there.  There was an officer involved in the process but he or she was (I recall) doing .. officer stuff. Sitting at a table and signing off on the process if I recall.
It's a known fact that Air Force lieutantants are routinely called upon to perform "shit jobs" that have absolutely nothing to do with your primary duties or your qualifications. Most of my days consist not of "chair force engineering," but buying office supplies, paying Blackberry bills, changing out equipment checklists, begging people to donate to the Combined Federal Campaign, or managing the facilities where I work.
A great deal of everyone's job consists of doing 'other things'; welcome to the Army Air Force But I digress. CFE's prescription?
The Air Force needs less lieutenants and more entry-level, unskilled workers to get the shit jobs done. It doesn't take an aerospace engineering major to make micropurchases or run press releases around the office for signatures. It doesn't even require a high school diploma.
These guys are called enlisted and the Air Force has a scat-load of them running around.

I suspect it's not an 'Air Force' problem but a problem with CFE's command that isn't utilizing their enlisted guys as well as they could be. Some things need an officer to okay - that's the way the game is played. But you have to delegate your tasks to your enlisted guys and trust 'em. Or rather trust your SNCOs.

Pick up a rifle

I can't find much to comment on with Harrell's latest. I've snipped only a part of the meaty middle. It is worth a read, I think.

The Shape of Days: Where are all the revolutionaries now?
With a few notable exceptions, the state of Israel has no direct qualm with any individual Lebanese citizen. Just like, with a few notable exceptions, the United States has no direct qualm with any individual Iraqi. But eventually, patience like all things must expire. Our Founding Fathers started a revolution over excesses they deemed intolerable by the standards of their day. Unreasonable taxation, judicial legerdemain and offenses against the English tradition of laws constituted a tyranny those men were willing to die to end.

Halfway across the world, the people Syria, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Sudan and other likewise tyrannical states sit idly by enjoying their satellite television while their governments — elected and otherwise, legitimate and otherwise, sovereign and otherwise — wage guerilla or proxy wars against the people of neighboring and distant lands.

Pick up a fucking rifle, people. You are accessories both before and after the fact to the most horrible crimes we have names for: mass murder, terrorism, even genocide. You sit there while your leaders, the ones you tolerate even if you didn’t explicitly endorse them, carry out these acts, or support others who carry out these acts, or fail to stop those who carry out these acts within your borders.

Norton Undelete - where did you go?

From Jake Ludington's MediaBlab - Recover Deleted Files
For simple recovery of deleted files, one of the easiest solutions I've found is Restoration. The app works by scanning your hard drive for sectors containing files marked for deletion and then copying the files to space on your hard drive the operating system has marked as available disk space. In my tests with Restoration, most data recovery is successful. This is especially true when recovering small files like Word documents.
When did Norton Undelete go away why didn't I miss it? I'll plonk this in my toolbox.

Geek Overload

Dave is right.  That video kicks ass.

Garfield Ridge: Battlestar Galactica Geek Overload.
Well, thanks to YouTube, someone was kind enough to compile all the space battles from Season 2 into one long movie, set to to Rob D's "Clubbed to Death" (you know, the "bad ass" song from The Matrix).

That's just about the geekiest thing I've ever seen. And I loved every minute of it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Anti Mopery - July 23, 2006

Anti Mopery - July 23, 2006


Pat Dollard

Pat Dollard spent his own money videotaping Mariines doing their job south of Baghdad. Great - and distrubing - combat footage. But the money video are the interviews with the grunts.

Not safe for work, or children for that matter. But if you want to know how the troops feel - here are some data points.

Semper Fi, guys.


95 Theses of Geek Activism - hot air or a good idea?

I doubt this fellow is going to find himself in nearly the hot kettle that Martin Luther did. Stilll ..'95 Theses of Geek Activism' is interesting.  I'm not sure if it has the legs the original had.

Geeks are not known to be political or highly vocal (outside of our own circles)- this must change if we want things to improve. So here is my list of things people of all shapes, sizes and sides of the debate need to know. Some of these are obvious, others may not be meant for you. But hopefully, some of these will inspire you to do the right thing and others will help you frame the next discussion, debate or argument you have on these topics.

In particular these caught my eye

8. Use TOR for privacy and anonymity.
16. Proprietary data formats must never store public information.
17. Some corporations are on your side- find them and reward them.
21. Treating your customers like criminals- or potential criminals- will turn customers away.
66. In the US, put a few technologists in power in Washington. Abroad, do the same for your own seat of government.
68. Read what your founding fathers said before taking someone’s word for it. Quote the founding fathers back at them- there were so many of them, and they said and wrote so much, that you will find a quote for each situation.
73. We do not lock the door to our bedrooms or bathrooms because we have something to hide. We do not secure our networks, conversations, emails and files because we have something to hide.
78. Know your rights and be prepared to defend them.
95. Most of all - have fun.
 8. - Done
17 - Liftport has good intentions along those lines.  Just saying.
66. - Newt for President.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

If brains were lard, his wouldn't grease too big a pan

Selected phrases from 'The Beverly HIllbillies' via Wikipedia
  • feelin' lower than a well digger's heel
  • frisky as a flea on a fat dog
  • If brains were lard, his wouldn't grease too big a pan
  • pretty as a bag filled with striped candy
  • pretty as fresh-churned butter
  • pretty as a mess o' fried catfish
  • rootin' around like a hog in a new pen
  • We-e-e-ll doggies! (Jed's characteristic expression of impressed astonishment)
  • You're green enough to stick in the ground and grow
  • You're totin' water with a leaky bucket
  • You're dropping your bucket down an empty well
  • One of these days I've got to have a long talk with that boy
  • I'm gonna fetch my shotgun
What would we do without Wikipedia?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Steve Jobs now in blog form

I thought he'd use something in the domain but ..whatever.

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, Aged 51 1/2
Name one useful idea that has ever come out of the MIT Media Lab in its entire history. The one time I visited those guys they were friggin around with this like "robot" contraption that emulated a cockroach or something. "Yeah, and it can kind of like, uh, learn and navigate around its environment, so it's kind of like artificial intelligence or whatever." Great, you've spent fourteen million bucks in DARPA grant money to make a friggin Roomba.

Except yours lacks the useful vacuum cleaner feature.

A profound love for humanity

It's gone from the original website, but Free Republic saved a copy.

Account of Ashley Judd in Africa - saved from the lawyers!
Meanwhile, we went to clinics. We went to an orphanage. We went to Soweto. And we saw horrible things. Dire things. Things like a kid so poor he glided past us on a single rollerblade. Yeah -- one on one foot. That impressed me. And every place we went, Ashley Judd swooped down like a good Southern matron and hugged the small children. She cried with destitute mothers. She stroked the heads of poor black people. The photographers from Glamour and Conde Nast loved it. And then, she's back in the car, and Ashley is tired, and Ashley is sick, and Ashley needs acupuncture. I asked the (deprecated) senior person whether maybe Ashley was a bit spoiled, and she told me the story of how Ashley refused to do their first promotional tour to Cambodia unless she was allowed to fly British Airways first class all the way. That's quite an expense for us as a humanitarian organization....but we ended up having to do it.

A profound love for humanity, but no time for humans: the very picture of the narcissist celebrity leftist.

In defense of Ms. Judd, this stuff happens. Well not quite like that but recoiling from icky things far from home .. happens.

Our battalion was the sponsor of an orphanage in Okinawa. What that meant in practice at my level was that every so often a group of us would 'volunteer' to chop brush and do scut work at the place. On Saturday. Thanks, Top.

Japanese orphanages (so I was told at the time) are places where the refuse ends up. If you're gimpy, and an orphan, you're going to be spending your life there because no one is going to adopt damaged goods. You see that in America but over there it's an iron clad cultural rule. Got a gimp? Are you retarded? Defective in some fashion? Are you an orphan? Get used to life at the bottom.

Or so I was told. That could be all wrong of course and Japanese people just adore imperfect kids and adopt them by the bushel. There sure were a lot of gimpy, retarded kids running (and gimping) around at the orphanage.

ANYway. In the course of the brush chopping and avoiding habu a retarded child with a gimp came up and hugged one of our WMs. Ewww the look on her face said he's .. touching me.

I can only imagine that if Ashley Judd was poor and white trash instead of a rich boob playing Samaritan she might have acted the same way.

Via Dave.

Human Achievment Day my ass

Bert Murray wrote to the NSECC list
Today is the 37th Anniversary of Niel Armstrong's landing on the moon -

Seeing a number like that make a tad melancholy. 37 years since mankind went to the moon. A few years later we just .. stopped going.

What the hell is up with that? All my life (I'm 40) all I've seen are flights going up ... and coming home again after a few loops around the field.

Ya, I know, preaching to the choir. Pass the beer and mourn the lost decades.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Anti Mopery - July 19, 2006

Wayne Newton - Clas Act

Chuck got a little dinged up in Iraq last year - he's got a picture on his blog showing just how dinged up he was, and it's not pretty. Taking a long planned vacation to Vegas . . .
Diffidently, I approached the counter, where a fashion-model look-alike lady assisted me with check-in. I was in the spa tower, room 27631, and I’d need a special key to access the suite, and the elevators leading up to it. I kept asking “Are you sure this is my room?” “Is this going to cost more than what I booked it for?” “Are those strawberries free?” And finally “Why am I in this suite?”

“Let me look it up sir… Oh I see. You were upgraded at no charge by the CEO, after contact from Wayne Newton. How many keys would you like?”

Astonished, Carren and I grabbed our bags and headed for the elevators. We got to our room. The Bellagio penthouse suites are 1500 square feet of luxury. A guest potty, and a his and hers potty. Hers with a whirlpool bath, sitting area, potty and water fountain bidet, his with a glass-door shower that is also a steam room with bench seats and potty. A king size bed with two huge ceiling to floor windows with automatic drapes and curtains, a living room, wet bar, and entertainment area.

About the time we picked our jaws up off the marble floors, the doorbell (yes, doorbell!) rings, and a man with a bucket of champagne and two glasses arrives, carrying a note: “Sorry we couldn’t be in town this week, hope you like the room and enjoy your stay.—Wayne Newton!”

So, yes, there are some people who care.

Inbox by Douglas Rushkoff

A smart little short-short SF story by Douglas Rushkoff.

Bravery » Blog Archive » American bad-ass
American bad-ass…

A customer at a city grocery tackled an armed robber and beat him with a can of applesauce when he refused to drop his gun, police said.

Not taking away from his bravery - but I wonder if Mr. Santana knew the guy was armed? Probably. But the bravest thing I ever saw was an NCO - Corporal B - tackling an armed Marine - PFC Z - who had . . .

a) shot up the front gate and sentry booth - avoiding a homicide charge only because the bulletproof glass worked well against buckshot - then

b) held a pistol to his head an said he was going to kill himself.

Corporal B arrived with the second reaction team (I was on the first reaction time behind a big rock keeping my ass down) after A) and before B). Had no idea that A) happened (the lengthy tale of that night is a case study in how f*cked up things can get in a hurry).

Corporal B gets in close sweet talked PFC Z then tackled him. BANG goes the last round out of his pistol, killing a window.

Corporal B thought that the entire thing was an excercise. He was mighty shaken to hear and see the gun discharge and a round fly by his ear. Bravery caused by failure to appreciate the situation?

Using Delicious to deliver an open letter or pitch

Interesting Delicious hack

Using' network feature,
Ozgur has developed a hack to send messages people you want to connect
with, even if you don't know their email address. Basically, you find
the ID of the person or people you want to send message to,
you add them to your network, write them a message at,
then bookmark this URL on and tag it for: username. You
could send the message to several people all at once, including all of
the most prolific bookmarkers on the site.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Anti Mopery - July 18, 2006

South of the border .. down Mexico way ...


Every Southpark Ever

I am not sure if this is a good thing or a sign of the end times.

Every Southpark ever.

BZflag - What to do when it fails to load

Put here as a reminder for myself.

BZFlag 2.0.04 (OS X) will once in a great while fail to load. The initial screen loads but it fails after that. The solution is to rm ~/Library/Application Support/BZFlag/2.0/config.cfg

This may not be ideal but it works.

Best Post Ever - Launching Stuff to Orbit Catagory

Best Post Ever - Launching Stuff to Orbit Catagory - by William Gillis.
Capitalism, fuck yeah!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Israel. Hezbollah. Hamas. Flames.

Josh Feit at the Stranger's blog writes a long, reasoned and non-knee jerk blog post on the Israel-Hezbollah War of 2006.

Certainly, Israel’s response (which will likely backfire) has been brutal, but it’s weird to me that in the conversations I hear around town, and in the conversations I had myself over the weekend, the conventional wisdom—the given—is that Israel is so clearly in the wrong. Typical line, “I mean Israel is bombing Northern Lebanon! Hezbollah is in the South.” I wonder if these same critics wonder with as much vigor why Hamas continued to attack Israel from Gaza, when Israel was no longer in Gaza.

It seems to me that Israel, having withdrawn from Lebanon, from Gaza, and getting ready to withdraw from the West Bank, was robbing radicals like Hamas and Hezbollah (and Iran, which backs Hezbollah) of an issue that allows them to maintain some power and legitimacy.

And so, cleverly, Hamas and Hezbollah drew Israel right back in. Israel took the bait. Israel seems to be the only thing that can unite Shiites (Hezbollah) and Sunnis (Hamas). But why is Israel condemned for taking the bait, when the radicals who set the trap aren’t denounced as well? Or, if they are denounced, it’s with a sense of “understanding” … while Israel is just “out of control.”

Indeed.  I wonder of those guys would be so 'meh' about the thing of a radical group was lobbing rockets from Vancouver B.C. into Seattle.

Tune in to the comments thread for strum and drang.
all sides share blame, and israel in particular deserves blame for acting unilaterally. withdrawing from gaza and building a wall while refusing to engage a democratically elected palestinian government in two-state peace talks is not a solution.

Like this guy.  How dare they withdraw from occupied terrority and adhere to UN mandates. The cads. Or as James Lileks said in his latest Bleat

It takes a certain kind of person to see a liberal free society attacked by Islamicists, and find himself wondering: what are those crafty Jews up to now?

'The Space Elevator' by Deborah P Kolodji

The poem 'The Space Elevator' has been removed by the author's request. I did track down the author by Google search (the original blog post did not have a link) and wrote Deborah Kolodji a quick note. She replied

Dear Brian,

Thanks for your kind words on "The Space Elevator." I'm glad you enjoyed my poem so much. It was a fun one to write.

The poem is currently not online anywhere else, including my own blog ( I had posted it to an e-mail list that Robin and I belong to after I posted news of its win in a poetry contest and I did not realize she was going to post it on her blog. The poem is due to be published in June of 2007, so I would prefer it not be readily available on the internet, and would ask that you please remove it for the time being. After it is published next June, I would be honored to see you post it on your Liftport blog.


Deborah P Kolodji

So .. it's gone. We'll post it next June after it's been published, with the author's permission.

Did you miss it? Sorry - it was pretty good. You've heard that computers merely allow people to make very fast mistakes? It's true. I should have contacted the author first.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Why couldn't I see that before?

Michael Kinsley recently underwent brain surgery to implant a device to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. His first words after surgery?
Kinsley's surgery took place on July 12 and went fine. His first words were, "Well, of course, when you cut taxes, government revenues go up. Why couldn't I see that before?"

Israeli Peace Movement

Bruce writes
This morning I was watching NBC TV's Meet the Press Sunday Morning news show. Tim Russert had a live report from a correspondent in Israel. Russert asked the reporter if there was opposition to Israel's bombing of Lebanon and the reporter replied, "No, there is 100% support inside Israel for this military action."

This of course is an outright lie and the reporter knows it. Israel has a strong and long established peace movement. Within hours of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon protestors gathered outside of the Israeli "Defense" Ministry to protest the action. They are now planning a large national demonstration to protest the war. NBC knows all this.
And the rest is Gagnon-ish polemic.

But .. an Israeli peace movement? It sounds .. odd at first blush but a democratic country can support any number of foolish interesting notions.

Wikipedia cites two peace groups. Their politics are as convuluted and - to my American bias - as wacky as anything in that mad part of the world. Assuming that Bruce is talking about political movements but not organized parties we have

Peace Now
Peace Now is the largest extra-parliamentary movement in Israel, the country’s oldest peace movement and the only peace group to have a broad public base.
Sounds like the right kind of group to be holding a large demonstration. Nothing on their news page about it. Maybe their web guy was called up by the army.

Gush Shalom
Gush Shalom (Translated from Hebrew, the name means "The Peace Bloc")
is the hard core of the Israeli peace movement.

Often described as "resolute", "militant", "radical" or "consistent", it is known for its unwavering stand in times of crisis, such as the al-Aksa intifada.

For years now, Gush Shalom has played a leading role in determining the moral and political agenda of the peace forces in Israel, as well as in breaking the so-called "national consensus" based on misinformation.

Gush Shalom is an extra-parliamentary organization, independent of any party or other political grouping. Some of its activists do belong to political parties, but the Gush is not aligned to any particular party.
They even have the picture Bruce posted. They even have text that Bruce could have written
The reaction of passers-by was much less hostile then anticipated. Some drivers shouted curses at the activists, but quite a number honked in agreement. Most drivers seemed to be fatalistic.

How hard would it have been for Bruce to post a link to Gush Shalom?


Yesterday was Menasha's First July Sidewalk Sale. Aidnan, game trooper that he was, stayed at the store the entire day. After closing he was pretty tired ...

This is in the back of Rammro. There is couch, several chairs, wireless internet access. And puppies.

Standing out

Tony Pierce has been inserting images of beauty contestants in his blog.

Eleventy dozen pictures of mostly tall, lithe women in bathing suits. Yawn. No, really. I just don't get the attraction - you see one tall skinny woman you've seen them all. Big whoop.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Except for Miss Thailand - Charm Onwarin Osathanond - here. Ah the power of looking just a little bit different from the run-of-the-mill. Note the difference is something of an illusion - she's 5'8 which ain't as short as the picture might make her appear.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Musings for Independence Day

From IS Survivor

Musings for Independence Day     

The Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States -- our two most important founding documents -- are remarkably secular. Rebukes to English governance, which claimed its legitimacy from God through the divine right of kings, they state with complete clarity that the legitimacy of governments is obtained, not from Heaven, but from the consent of the governed.

The words are clear and accessible to anyone who is at all literate and has the patience to read them. That this was the consensus of this nation's founders is not in serious doubt.

Also not in serious doubt is the respect our nation's founders had for consensus itself, perhaps because it is the purest form of the governed's consent. In each case they spent a very long time discussing and debating what they should think and how that thinking should be expressed; also in each case, different factions compromised to reach the final decisions. Both documents were results with which each group and faction might not completely agree, but to which they could and did completely commit.

It's become popular to consider the Constitution's framers as selfish, wealthy, racist landowners interested solely in preserving their status. But this oversimplifies the complexity of their circumstances. When they led the Revolutionary War, they had quite literally risked their lives and fortunes to gain independence from England. Their sincerity of purpose in creating a resilient nation seems more likely than otherwise.

As for slavery, it is beyond doubt that many of the framers abhorred it (many with more moral courage than, for example, Jefferson, who abhorred slavery in principle but not so strongly as to suffer the personal inconveniences to be experienced from its elimination). The Constitution's allowance of slavery demonstrates the nature of consensus better than any of its other features: Even those who hated it the most valued preservation of the nation even more. They understood, perfectly, the need to give way on some points -- even those held very strongly -- to achieve the larger result.

Consensus is falling out of fashion in leadership circles these days, and we're the poorer for it. Three reasons seem to dominate this shift, all the result of too-limited understanding of the subject:

*    Wrong definition: Consensus is the form of decision-making in which a group might not fully agree with the final decision, but does commit to the final decision specifically because it is the decision of the group. It is not what some detractors call consensus -- a process in which a group argues until it gives lip service to a decision which those who approve adhere to and those who don't feel free to ignore.

*    Wrong priority: Achieving consensus is not a quick process. To those who participated, the Constitutional Convention seemed eternal; it did, in fact, require almost four months.

Consensus is the wrong process to be used when speed is essential. Conversely, speed is sometimes the wrong priority for leaders to choose -- there are many times when commitment is more important than velocity. In business, excessive speed can lead to undesirable results, among them "leaders" who leave those who are supposed to be following too far behind them; and leaders able to win every battle while fighting the wrong war.

Metaphorically speaking.

*    Wrong technique: Voting is the process where everyone argues, and then tallies up preferences so that the majority wins and the rest lose. Consensus requires an expectation that everyone involved has to give way on some points. It also requires that all concerned do more than allow others to speak while they formulate their rebuttals. It requires actual listening -- working to understand the other person's point of view. That, in turn requires patience, an art practiced extensively by those who participated in our nation's founding, as the prevalent style of speaking at the time was both windier and more formal than what we practice today.

In general, consensus results in more commitment, but to a relatively poor quality result. Because consensus requires compromise, this generality can't be entirely avoided. But listening -- recognizing that others have wisdom as well -- can offset the effects of compromise, making the final result better than what any single individual can achieve.

It's been said that no committee ever painted the Mona Lisa. That is, of course, true. It's also true, though, that it was a committee that wrote the Constitution of the United States -- a document that is, in its own way, as much a work of art as anything ever created.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

IGN has the first 24 minutes of 'A Scanner Darkly'.

Very very interesting.

Making a buck from space

A minor but good benefit of privately owned spacecraft? Eye candy.

From Spaceflight Now via Space Pragmatisim
Bigelow said the cameras positioned outside the module have been affected by poor resolution due to glare and other phenomena. The team is still looking to see the Genesis 1 name on the outer hull of the craft, and a few colors have been off, according to Bigelow.

Much of the communication so far between Las Vegas-based ground control and Genesis 1 has been through UHF and VHF radio systems, which are primarily used to relay telemetry data.

The S-band communications system allows the spacecraft to beam back data and images more rapidly than UHF or VHF. Once a good connection is made, images should flood into Bigelow's mission control room. When this occurs, a page on the company's web site will begin to refresh daily with new photos from the orbiting module.

Desktop eye candy from orbit. From a craft that is going to be up there for years. How nifty-keen.

It Goes Into Space

From Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy via Dave at Garfield Ridge

NASA has released some truly stunning video of the Shuttle launch on July 4. Webcams were placed on the rockets, and we now have different views of the Orbiter during ascent. There are several different videos on that page, but I need to point out one in particular.

Let me be very, very clear here: This is the coolest footage of anything I have ever seen.

He's right. It is awesome. I'll let Mr. Plait have the final word

I am not a huge fan of the Shuttle as a program, as I have made fairly clear. But it’s still an amazing ride, and it does something too few machines do: it goes into space.

That’s what makes this video — and all the others on that page — so very, very cool.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

TJIC - Calvin Coolidge and Teddy Roosevelt in one tidy package

overeducated and underpaid
Spare me from victims.

The only thing that’s required to be a warrior is to think like one.

Everyone wakes up in the morning with a full day ahead of them.

They can spend it as a warrior, or they can spend it as a victim.

Don’t tell me about the box society has put you in, or how you’re ill-prepared for the challenges of the day.

Tell me about how you’re going to shatter rocks, move mountains, and breath fire

Let's just do it

Jasper Bouwmeester is earning his masters in space systems engineering at Delft in the Netherlands. He's interning this summer at Liftport. What does he think about America?

LiftPort Staff Blog » Blog Archive » My first blogpost
What I think of the USA? Well I like the ‘let’s just do it’ attitude.

Me too. Of course I'm from here so I'm biased.

Greatest Generation Redux

advanced nanotechnology: Building new worlds become the greatest generation
Al Globus has a vision and plan to use $4 billion in government prizes and programs to catalize a larger space colonization effort. I think it is a good plan and hope that it can get implemented.

Even better is if we used it and other plans like it to start taking up the challenge to become the greatest generation. Tom Brokaw wrote about the World War II generation as the greatest generation for rising up to stop Hitler from conquering the world. This generation could become the greatest generation ever by building new worlds and conquering space. From Mars, the moon and space colonies in asteroids we could tap in resources and living space that is hundreds of times what is available on earth. Again Al Globus quantifies the benefits and scale of what needs to be done.

If we had the will we would mount a D-Day scale invasion of space.
He had right up to the last bit.

D-Day didn't happen because some guys woke up in 1941 and decided to make the world a better place. It happened because some truly evil men attacked their country. D-Day was a limited operation whose ultimate goal was to let millions of boys finish a dirty job so they could go home.

I'm all for the space colonization goal - but 'Greatest Generation' and 'D-Day' is the wrong metaphor. I'll take realistic plans and notions of how this all gets paid for over rhetoric, any day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Headhunters. Bah.

The economy might be perking up. Got a call from a headhunter. At work.

Look you; I am not looking for other employement. All things considered I like where I am and what I'm doing. I'm always willing to talk and see what is being offered but I am not - based on experience years and years ago - at all comfortable that a headhunter blindly calling based on a profile on linkedin is going to have a job I'll be willing to think about much less interview for.

The only thing worse than a headhunter calling at work? One who suggests calling you back after hours ... and then doesn't. And who doesn't call back (it's been three working days now) with an explanation or an apology.

What he said

Current View
The Jefferson Affair: Impeach the Attorney General Now

Rush Limbaugh's substitute, and many others, seem pleased with the latest court ruling that Congressional Offices aren't sanctuaries and Members of Congress are not above the law.

Put that way, everyone should be happy: but that's not what's at stake here. Apparently this radio host substitute has no idea that there may be larger issues here.

First, no one has ever said that Congressional Offices are sanctuaries. This substitute radio host says "What if he'd committed a murder in his office? Would he be exempt then?" He says that is if it somehow cleverly makes the whole matter clear; proof by reductio ad absurdem.

Of course it does no such thing. No one has said that Congressional offices are exempt from the law; the dispute is over who shall enforce it. The Capitol Police and the Sergeants at Arms have jurisdiction, and the Congress itself has jurisdiction. If the FBI really needed more evidence against Jefferson -- and really, what more did they need? -- they could have gone to the Speaker. The Speaker could have called in the Minority Leader. They consult and instruct the Sergeant at Arms to conduct the search. All is well.

But the Attorney General decided to expand the power of the executive and end this nonsense about Congress being a co-equal branch of the government, and having control of its own house.

The House ought to be considering bills of impeachment for the Attorney General, the FBI Director, the judge who issued the warrant, and the judges who have ruled in this case. What's at stake here is far more important than having yet one more charge against a crooked Member of Congress who is doomed in any case, and would already have been indicted if the executive hadn't decided to use this as a means of eroding the independence of the Legislature. The judge who issued that warrant has attempted to expand the power of the court over the Houses of Congress. He ought to be turned out to private practice.

In the movie "Advise and Consent" Hollywood decided to end the movie by having the Secret Service agents flood the Senate chamber: the President had died, and the Vice President, presiding over the Senate and about to rule on an important matter, was now President, and the Executive came into the Senate. It was one of the most chilling scenes I have ever seen in movies, most chilling because no one I know of remarked on it at the time. The notion that Presidential bodyguards belong in the Senate seemed to be utterly acceptable to all. Chilling indeed.

Of course Mr. Jefferson ought not be exempt from the law; but once this precedent is established you will find far less unambiguous cases giving the executive and judiciary power to intimidate the Members. I may not live to see Secret Service agents on the floor of Congress when the President is speaking there, but you will.
What he said.

War on Chtorr Wisdom from Usenet

War on Chtorr Wisdom from Usenet
From: Damien Neil
Date: Tues, Nov 22 2005 1:34 am
Email: Damien Neil
Groups: rec.arts.sf.fandom

Zev Sero wrote:

> If you're talking about the War Against the Chtorr, I heard him say in
/> 1993 that there weren't likely to be any more books in that series,
/> because he'd written himself into a corner and couldn't think of a way
/> out.

Huh. That's refreshingly honest.

I can think of three ways out:

- We all get eaten by worms.

- Some of us flee into space, and the rest get eaten by worms.

- The Chtorran ecology, when left alone, turns out to develop into a complex intelligence which is willing and able to converse with us. It then feeds us to the worms.

I'm betting on number three.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Breeding Part 2

"What do you get when the mother is a toy fox terrier and the daddy a dauchhund" I asked.

Four and one-half weeks ago we found out. Pixie had three pups, all female. One of which - the third - died a week later. You can't see from the images but they're tending to be stockier and longer than the mom, taking after the dad. Shorten a weiner dog's torso, add proportional legs and you've got the right image.

Blaine was first to show her face.

Fatso was the second of three to pop out. She is the jolly eater of the bunch. An enthusiastic nurser she'll flop upside down to keep a firm grip on the nippple. She's showing the same gusto for her puppy chow. And life, really.

Here she is attacking Nixie's (German Shepherd) tail.

Both of them attacking Nixie's bandanna and muzzle. Tiny 'grrs' and 'yips'.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rampant writer foolishness

Writer buys MacBook. Discovers that it doesn't come with a word processor. Shells out $400 bucks for Office. Bitches and moans in his paper's online blog

Rampant, Idiotic MacBookery
The motherfucking computer doesn’t come with a word processor. I am (allegedly) a writer. I write lots of things that I then send to people who publish them. I need a word processor. Open-source word programs aren’t compatible with my employers, and so, finally, today, I had to buy fucking Microsoft Office for Macintosh. For four hundred dollars. If a computer doesn’t have a working word processor that’s at all functional, is it realy ethical to claim that it does everything out of the box? I just want a word processor on my computer. When did this become too much to ask? How many computer-illiterate buffoons—like myself—were fucked over by Apple this way? I thought people bought Apples so they wouldn’t give a buttload of money to Microsoft.
Writer is then told about the numerous 'free' and open source options for producing .doc format files by more commenters than you can shake a stick at.

Also note that people - at least the ones I know - don't buy Apple products as an alternative to giving money to Microsoft. They buy Apple products because they are good tools and they work. Making purchasing choices to spite a gigantic corporation that couldn't give two flips about your opinion is as useless as a one-day hunger strike.

Mr. Constant, meet your researching friend, the lazyweb.

Is there anything better than a good looking application?

Good lookin' Mac apps - Lifehacker
I am totally with Phill on Transmit, Coverflow, AppZapper and Delicious Library, but Quicksilver on the Honorable Mentions list qualifies as insanity in my world. Then again, perhaps beauty = command line 'round these parts, because I would've included iTerm as well. Is there anything better looking than a transparent, tabbed terminal?
Yes. An application that doesn't crash at the drop of a hat. Terminal windows are important - having them just go phhht is not acceptable.

A hunger strike by the effete bozos among us

What's that?
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan began a hunger strike on Tuesday – and Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn and other stars are joining her in her "Troops Home Fast" protest.
Excellent - joining a long tradition. Ghandi for one. PIRA and INLA prisoners survived for 46 to 73 days on water and salt. You might or might not like their politics but 46 days on water and salt .. that's hardcore. 73 days is an awesome testement to what the human animal can do with motivation. You can respect that kind of determination.
"Everything we do is to get the troops to come home," she told PEOPLE outside the White House on Tuesday. "We want to show the world that there are Americans who are committed to peace. Fasting is such a time-honored way of protest."
Indeed. Cindy Sheehan is going to fast from July 4th to September 1st. Two months-ish. You can respect that kind of determination .. oh wait.
(Susan) Sarandon, Penn, Danny Glover, Willie Nelson and the Rev. Al Sharpton will join communities across America on a "rolling fast," giving up food on designated days and encouraging others to fast with them on those days.

So far, more than 3,000 people from the U.S. and 18 other countries have signed up to join the fast.
A what? A "rolling fast" where you just don't eat for a day and then pass it on? Look at the defintion of a 'hunger strike' in Wiki:
A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance in which participants fast as an act of political protest or to achieve a goal such as a policy change.
In other words ... you gotta put something on the table. Stand up for something - put yourself at risk.

Ask Ghandi. Ask those nine hard-core motherfuckers on the H-Blocks in Long Kesh what a hunger strike is about.

Rolling Hunger Strike. That's not a hunger strike; that is a fucking diet. .


Mark Steyn does a much better job of snarking on these effete bozos than I do.

Oh my


You don't know if you should laugh or cry.

Via The Stranger Blog

OS X Software

Nifty software for the Mac.

Ranchero Software: Huevos 1.1.1
Huevos 1.1.1

Search anytime. No mouse required.

Huevos is a customizable search engine helper for Mac OS X. It’s easy to use: type in some text to search for, use the arrow keys to choose a search engine, then hit the Return key

Ranchero Software: TigerLaunch 1.0.3
TigerLaunch is an easy-to-use and easy-to-configure application launcher for OS X.

It displays an Apps menu at the top of your screen listing all your applications in alphabetical order—no matter what folder they appear in.

You can easily configure it to exclude applications you rarely or never launch.

This allows you to be more selective about what apps are dock-worthy, so your dock doesn’t get so cluttered. It also makes it easier to launch apps that are buried in sub-folders, such as in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.

Stunning is right

"Simply Stunning" said Keith Cowling at NASA Watch. He's right.
NASA has released a stunning movie taken of Space Shuttle Discovery as it drops its Solid Rocket Boosters taken by a camera located on one of those boosters.

Discovery will be in the Smithsonian when my boy graduates high school, which is sad. But .. damn what a beautiful machine.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I know it when I see it

Hey.. this guy is good.


Because life isn't all serious mopery and gloom.


The question of what children need is one that human beings have been asking for thousands of years. I would say that, more than anything other than the basic physical necessities, they need attention, divided into love and discipline. Children need to know their limits. If their parents aren’t stronger than they are, little kids are in terrible danger, and “act out” in terrible fear. They KNOW that they aren’t strong enough to provide for themselves. If they can manipulate their parents, dear God in heaven…who will protect them?
Here’s the point. What children need, adults need as well. Only for an adult, you have the strange need to be both adult and child simultaneously. Your child self (which correlates very roughly with the Id) wants what it wants when it wants it. Because it is, in many ways the most powerful part of your personality, it is easiest to just give it what it wants.
But that can be fatal, if you haven’t aligned child and adult selves. Remember Harlan Ellison’s definition of success: “to bring into existence, in adult form, your childhood dreams.”

Brilliant. But how do you do it? If you don’t have an instinctive, healthy connection (I’d guess that fewer than 5% of people do) it is possible to reach this part of your personality through therapy, journaling, meditation, or ceremony. In punishing my son Jason, I NEVER forget that he’s gonna be bigger and stronger than me. I imagine that the adult Jason is by my side, watching everything I do. My job is to prepare child Jason to take control of his own life. Jason wants to be a good boy, he just can’t quite figure out how. He will run into the street, stick his tongue in a light socket, snack out of the cat box. He just doesn’t know any better.

It is my job to teach him. Not to be his buddy (although I love playing “Secret Boy’s Club” under a makeshift tent with him) it is to suck it up and draw the line. To give him something to push back against. To demand that he be polite, and gentle, and genteel. And every time he learns a lesson, he gets more GENUINELY secure and relaxed. He loves knowing that he is behaving in a manner his mommy and daddy approve of.
The child part of ourselves is just the same. It will twist and turn and complain amazingly…but if you are strong enough to demand that it do its homework, or eat its vegetables, or be honest and considerate…when it learns the lesson, the benefits are just astounding. You get connection with all of that youthful energy and hope, regardless of the age of the body you now house it in. A phenomenal experience, if you haven’t had it. But it takes discipline, and maturity, and a willingness to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long term gain.

It’s worth it. Every time I look at my sleeping son, I know its worth it. Every time I realize I’ve had a good, solid, disciplined day, it’s worth it. There is simply nothing in the world more important than protecting, disciplining, and loving our children…whether they be children of flesh or spirit.

What he said - the last paragraph especiallly..


From Chaos Manor
Subject: "rights"

I am waiting for the day when we in this country wake up to the fact that our government was originally intended to only protect basic rights as recognized among 18th century Englishmen so that we might be free to "pursue" our own happiness or misery , for that matter. There is no guarantee in our founding documents of outcome or assistance to pursue that happiness. The pursuit of my own happiness does not involve how someone else lives or chooses to govern or not govern their own household unless there is a tangible effect on me or mine.

A constitutional democracy can only exist if the great majority of those in it are responsible for their own affairs. A welfare state by its' very nature dulls the senses of individuals by subsidizing failure in various ways, thus undermining the responsible. It is by its' very nature juxtaposed to the founders intent. We drastically accelerated the undermining our very basis in this country since the thirties.


Paul D. Perry

Tech Support

"Tech Support: The guys who follow the 'Parade of New Products' with a shovel and a gas mask."-- Jay Mottern


Francis Porretto is always a good - if lengthy - read.

Eternity Road
A republic is a polity in which the rei publicae are addressed by a government composed and maintained in accordance with a Supreme Law -- in these United States, our Constitution -- that owes nothing to its current masters' whims. If the Supreme Law says that elections are to be conducted in a certain way, at specified intervals, and that the results are to be determined by a defined process, then that's the way it must be. A true citizen would fight to the death to defend that process and its trustworthiness, regardless of whether its outcome was to his tastes. A pretender would attack the process as "unfair" or "corrupt" on the basis of the results, rather than according to objective evidence of perversion.

Mark Crispin Miller is a pretender. He seeks to rally other pretenders to his sulk. It doesn't matter whether he succeeds or not; the aggregate liver of such a band would be no less lilyish than his own. Had such persons not been born within our borders, they could never take the naturalization oath with a clear conscience. They would have to lie.

So much for such "citizens."

Friday, July 07, 2006

That's a first for me

I've had the cops come by because of loud dogs. Now I've had the cops come by because of loud children. This is a first for me.

Youngest Child jammed his thumb, wrestling in the yard. Screamed like a banshee - it hurt, that's what kids do. He took his cookie (a cookie cures most sniffles and booboos) and went outside, still sniffing a bit. Older son and his friend then jollied him out of his sniffs by screaming, yelling and running around - and around - and around - the house. They were being loud, I admit. But it is summer, it's just turned 9:00 p.m. - this is what kids do.

The cops came by asking about the noise. A concerned neighbor called worried that something was amiss.

I wonder which one it was and why he couldn't just walk over. I don't look like a Harley-riding thug, I don't open carry firearms and I am not a physically imposing looking male. Do they know I'm from Texas and think I might harbor a grudge against Yankees? What the hell?

The Trackball Telescope

Jerry Oltion claims to have come up with a new design for a telescope mount
I didn't want to be influenced by what others had done, so I purposefully didn't look for other designs until I had come up with one on my own. I followed a few false leads, but I eventually figured out that a spherical base resting in a socket would let me point the scope anywhere in the sky with equal ease, and it would let me rotate the eyepiece to a comfortable position no matter where I was looking.

That was half the battle, but one of the things I didn't like about Dobsonian mounts is that you have to keep shoving them by hand to track the stars. How could I make my mount track automatically? The answer to that came in a flash of inspiration: The stars move because the Earth--a sphere--rotates. But I was building a spherical telescope, so if I made it rotate in the opposite direction, it would track. Once I realized that, the solution was obvious: rest the sphere against an axle that points at the celestial pole, and rotate the axle.

Confident that I had just reinvented the wheel--almost literally--I went online to see how other people had done it. Surprise! Nobody had.

It looks odd. But how cool and nifty it is. And too - he's released the design into public domain.

Atomic Porn

Click here for all your A-Bomb test viewing needs.

Yes, atomic weaponry is bad for trees, children and all living things. But my what a big bang they do make. Lotsa blam there.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Oh my god my eyes .. no my brain! Oh my god my brain!

Ew. » Blog Archive » things you do not want to know about a former president
Only click here if you’ve got a strong stomach.

It's not as bad as the mouse eating centipede. Except that in some ways it is.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Can Castration Be a Solution for Sex Offenders?
"I'm all for castration for certain sex offenders," he (Jenkins) said. "I think it would do a lot to prevent recidivism and the amount of money we have to spend on treatment centers like the one I'm in."

The issue is less clear to lawmakers and the public.
The fellow quoted in the article knows whereof he speaks. From earlier in the article;
Jenkins walked to the shower in his cell. He bit the blade out of its plastic casing and stuffed an apple in his mouth to muffle his screams. Then he castrated himself and flushed his testicles down the jail cell toilet.
Great Googly Moogly. Why?
"Castration has done precisely what I wanted it to do," he said. "I have not had any sexual urges or desires in over two years. My mind is finally free of the deviant sexual fantasies I used to have about young girls."

At least one fellow who should know claims that castration works. I'm not advociating this especially, just pointing it out.


This is how a man . . .

Wretchard brings us the story of Jose Abad Santos. Mr. Santos was Secretary of Justice and Acting Secretary of Finance, Agriculture and Commerce, having been named to those posts by the Phillipine governement prior to fleeing to Australia. Captured by the Japanese, tortured for nearly twenty days for operational intelligence, then sentenced to die . . .
At approximately 2 p.m. of May 7, 1942, the Japanese interpreter, Keiji Fukui, went to the Chief Justice to summon him to the Japanese Headquarters. After a few minutes, Jose Abad Santos returned and called for his son. Both went into a small hut nearby and there the father stoically informed his son: “I have been condemned to be executed.” Thereupon Jose, Jr. broke down and wept. But the father smilingly and affectionately reproved the son: “Don’t cry. What is the matter with you? Show these people that you are brave. It is a rare opportunity to die for one’s country and not everybody has that chance.” ...

Moderns will ask where lay this 'glory', a word in which we have largely ceased to believe. Did it lie in defending the fortress of his honor; in keeping faith with his friends? Did the memories of childhood in Pampanga and young manhood in America all run together at the end for Abad Santos? Or did it perhaps consist in that he believed there were things so important that they were worth dying to defend? In that he answered the question we are all asked in life in a way we would all like to? We know the collaborators lived long and prospered. Abad Santos has only our memory, on this the Fourth of July.

This is how it's done.

Best response to a sticky situation with North Korea

I was thinking about the proper form for a response from Washington as I drove down the Joban to Mito. And decided on lobbing a dud ICBM into Kim’s lap, inscribed with the words “THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE.”

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

And .. she's off! Good job NASA - it's a heckuva an unplanned Independence Day gift.

Good luck Discovery and God bring you home safely.

KSC-06pd-1417 : 06pd1417.jpg

View of Discovery launching on mission STS-121, July 4, 2006 from Firing Room 4, KSC.

Image Courtesy KSC Media Archive.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pixie at the vet

Pixie at the Vet's office - in an oxygen kennel.

This morning quite early she started in with convulsions - back legs seized up, full body shakes. Very pathetic and she didn't stop trying to get up and walk until 'her' boy
woke up and sat with her. The problem? Low blood sugar, caused by heat and stress from nursing one large and one extra-large puppy.

We're weaning the pups - they're only three weeks old so that will be fun - and found out first-hand that the extra-large puppy really enjoys her food - she drank (per the directions) until she refused the nipple. Treble what her sister ate.

Pixie comes home tonight if all goes well.

Update: She's home. Can't say enough nice things about Sherwood Animal Hospital and Dr. Murray Hurlburt. Murray is one of the good ones.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

In which I publish an email and try to stir up some commentage

Published an email sent to the info at liftport dot com address in the blog, with it's reply. With luck the sender will happen by and and we can, like, you know, man, dialog.

The original, for reference.
The idea of a space elevator is an interesting one; however it is destined to
fail. Why? the stresses on such a device would be enormous, not to mention the
cost of trying to construct such a thing. It would also gradually and eventually
influence the earths rotation and orbit, would be dangerous to put into place,
would eventually need repairs that would cost a billion dollars and the repairs
would also be very dangerous to perform. The best bet is still a space-plane
that can fly as high as it can with jet engines and then use rocket engines to
take it into earth orbit. This can be built big enough to carry cargo or
tourist. If we can build jumbo jets that carry hundreds of people 50 and 60
thousand feet up, we can build a space plane with stronger jet engines to take
it to the point where the rocket engines can take over and take it out of
earths atmosphere. And last but not least, to design all of the equipment and
the facilities needed before the thing is even built would cost millions if not
billions of dollars. So forget about taking the elevator.

Yes, no paragraphs and he smooshes his thoughts into rough form. Granted my calling Jorge out on grammer is a case of pot and kettle but still.


Interesting article in Business Week on failure. Summary - you can't succeed without trying out different ideas, some of which are going to be failures. Get used to it, nay, embrace the idea.
"Getting good" at failure, however, doesn't mean creating anarchy out of organization. It means leaders -- not just on a podium at the annual meeting, but in the trenches, every day -- who create an environment safe for taking risks and who share stories of their own mistakes. It means bringing in outsiders unattached to a project's past. It means carving out time to reflect on failure, not just success.

Via Kedrosky.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Star Trek: The New Voyages

This is really good. New Star Trek 'Old Show' episodes, and quite well done.

How good? They've passed the 'twelve year old boy' test; I wasn't sure it would - it seemed to lean on winks and nods and references to past shows. But he liked 'In Harm's Way' it well enough.

And too

Click for large version

Julienne Irons

is easy on the eyes

which is nice.