Friday, November 30, 2007

Unintended Consequences

Charles E. Wilson, the president of General Motors in the 1940s ... as told that if the money in such programs was invested in the stock market, workers would be the owners of American business in a few decades. "Exactly what they should be," he replied.
'An Empire of Wealth' - John Steele Gordon

To all the frickin' geniusi at the Financial Accounting Standards Board who changed the accounting rules for employee stock purchase plans back in 2005 . . .

Thanks for nothing, guys. Yes you had your reasons

Statement 123(R) will provide investors and other users of financial statements with more complete and neutral financial information by requiring that the compensation cost relating to share-based payment transactions be recognized in financial statements.

but unintended consequences will happen.

In my case, the discount for the ESSP changed from 15% to 5% to conform to safe harbor standards, employee participation dropped (surprise!), and well golly gee it is not cost effective for my employer to continue the plan.

The peasantification of America continues with reckless abandon.

The Continuing Rise of the McService Economy

Holy crap - more jobs available in Bushitler's Amerikka. Not only for hourly wage slaves but for professional folks as well. From HR . .
Refer a friend to our Professional Job Fair next week, and if we hire them for any non-exempt or exempt level position in the Fox Cities, we will give YOU $500*!!
By next week they mean December 4th. By 'Fox Cities' they mean 'North East Wisconsin'. By exempt or non-exempt they mean
  • Engineering
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Technicians
  • Finance
  • Production Management
  • Project Management
  • Training
  • Leadership Development
By 'give (me) $500' they mean you have to use me as your referral source and you have to work at least 91 days.

Did I say it was cold here? By cold I meant 'refreshingly brisk'. And by brisk I meant 'cold enough to cut right through eighteen layers of clothing. But it's work, right? If you've got money you can pay the fargin' heating bill.

If you need a job and like the idea of working for a mid-sized company with a global presence that is profitable and run well .. give me a shout.

The Man from Hope

Bill Clinton displays a startling lack of awareness . . .
On Iraq, he told the crowd that wealthy people like he and his wife should pay more taxes in times of war. “Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers,” Clinton said.

There is no end of worthy charities supporting the troops. If you want to pay more on taxes the IRS is not going to return the money. C'mon, Bill - I'm from Oklahoma and even I know this stuff.

Oh, wait. Was that code for 'I think y'all should pay more taxes'?

Dang, he's crafty.

The Life and Death of Jesse James

This is long but worth your time. .. The Life and Death of Jesse James - An internet love mystery.
Jesus, that’s fucking insane.”

“You shouldn’t judge,” says Tania.

I beg to differ. This is why we have judgment.
It's got everything - love, deception, emotional rape. Plus, in a minor but key role, Harlan Ellison!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Get my gun

If this guy shows up at my door . . .

"Hello Freedom Lovers. Do I look happy? I am happy."

I won't be responsible for my actions. Creepy guys who sound like they've teleported in from a UFO cult make me itch.

Cart Before Horse

Rocky Persaud knows what space startups need.

Capital? D.D. Harriman? Tax breaks? A market?

A business accelerator.

This would be an organization that mentors new space entrepreneurs from startup and seed-stage through to its first angel investment and beyond. It would provide expertise in management, finance, accounting, product development, marketing, and perhaps some research services as well.

Maybe. Rocky is a smart guy and he's done more in the biz world than I have. And startups in this industry are cursed by having pesky capital concerns - you can't sit down with a laptop, write code for a few months and hey presto build a rocket.

For that matter I have some interesting ideas on how to wedge IT into the mix.

Still ... this seems like one of those deals where the drover is putting the cart before the horse.


And yet .. if this does take off y'all could use a good IT pro or two .. call me, eh?

Consuming seed corn

Hey, Jeff?
I dunno, man. I’d like to see us go to Mars as much as the next guy, and probably more than most people. But I can’t see us even attempting it until we’ve spent at least a couple uninterrupted years on the Moon,

Keep dreaming. Obama wants to gut NASA - the Federal agency that gets the smallest portion of the budget - to finance pre-school programs.

Sure he's just one guy but he's popular and hell, he might even win the general election. The rest of the Democrats ... well they simply have not gotten around to noticing NASA yet is all.

Wrong Address

He wrote back and apologized for sending pics to the wrong email address. Also it was a five pointer.

Now if only he'd sent the venison to the wrong address ..

Happy Dance

I'm doing a happy dance ...

Work doubled the amount of memory on my laptop. Life is good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Drill Instructor

Let me tell you about my Senior Drill Instructor.

Throw out your preconceptions; Staff Sergeant King was not R. Lee Ermey, he was not Jack Webb.

What he was was the eptiome of 'Marine Corps SNCO'. He walked the walk. He talked the talk. He led by example.

He was the most unusual SDI at MCRD. Platoon 3099 was a herd of non-marching diddy-boppers, going into third phase. This was clearly unacceptable and if we kept it up we'd embarrass ourselves.

How bad were we? At one point SSgt Q. called out a command. First and second squad heard 'By the Left Flank .. March'.

Third and Fourth squad heard 'Column Half-Right . . March'

So .. ya. The platoon is rapidly marching away from itself. In front of a brace of Captains and a clutch of Majors and Colonels. I was in First squad and had a perfect view of SSgt Q's face. I thought his smokey-the-bear hat was going to pop off from the pressure.

We were pretty bad.

SSgt King brought a metronome in and installed it by the DI Hut, had it on 24x7. Soon we're all marching around in time in the barracks. My dreams were in time with a steady 'click-click-click'. He borrowed a bass drum from the band and had a pair recruits from the sick, lame and lazy section out beating on it while we drilled.

But they could not carry it around (sick, lame and lazy) so they stood in one place, beating away while we marched around them.

.... BOOM






I don't have a lot of fond memories of boot camp - it's not summer camp - but that scene is one of them. Thanks, SSgt King.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

Good Morning, Oracle Application Server

You know it's going to be a long day when .. after a restore you crank up the ol' Oracle application server and see ...

# opmnctl status
Processes in Instance: agile.redacted
ias-component | process-type | pid | status
OC4J | home | 0 | NONE

'NONE'? Ru-oh Shaggy.

This did have a happy ending - the first thing I did last month when I started the upgrade was to un-deploy the application. One long deployment later and things were humming along.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Closed Minds and Crabby Wretches

I've been disemvoweled. And at all places a SF blog. Isn't the point of Science Fiction exploring new ideas and being open to foreign ideas?

From their 'Communications 101: How to Argue Effectively & Respectfully' page
In general:

* respect
* sense of humor
* no pissing contests
* respond to the content not the speaker

This is what I wrote - italics hers, normal print mine. From my perspective it looks like Ide Cyan violated at least three of their general rules. I was writing with respect, a gentle sense of humor and I certainly was not going to engage in a pissing contest with a pseudo-anonymous feminist on her own blog.

The only displays of affection seen between them, however, were a brief kiss on the cheek and a squeeze of the arm, and Cain smiling at Gina during a dinner party.

That’s reasonable considering the position Cain is in - she is (was? time travel and flashbacks confuse me) the CO of a warship - they’re not supposed to play sexual favorites. PDA is a huge no-no between subordinates and the boss.

she, too, was dead by Razor’s end,

A character this interesting is going to be back. Sure, we ’saw’ the basestar blow up but .. death for some in BSG is not forever (hello, Starbuck).

Good thing BSG only has one more season. If this show went on as long as we want it to the place would get as cluttered with resurrected characters as the Marvel comics universe.

she had been the one who’d first shot the civilians on the Scylla, per Cain’s orders.

It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. Shooting first would be out of character for Fisk - but he’d contribute after the fact and then go on a bender. Having one of the Marines do the job wouldn’t convey the same emotional punch.

To recover from it, the show had better have some sort of positive depiction of a lesbian or gay relationship in Season 4. That is my demand, Ronald Moore! Do you hear me?

Careful what you ask for - it could go too far the other way and then we’ve got ‘Torchwood’.

‘Torchwood’ is good TV but it seems to be less a show with gay/lesbian/etc doing cool stuff and more all about their gay/lesbian/etc issue and oh by the way they just happen to do cool stuff that demos their LGBT issues.


Don’t pull a slippery-slope argument about homosexuality on TV *here*.

Don’t mistake friendly argument for hostility, hey?

I‘m only slagging a show, not engaging in rhetorical fisticuffs .. or whatever it is you think I‘m doing.

If you want an echo chamber of agrement, then I‘ll rmove this blog from my feeder and never darken your door again.

Except Gina was a civilian, so, oops! there goes that excuse.

Gina was on board before the attack in a role that I‘m assmnging was ‘civilian contractor’. When they’rre assigned to navy ships here and now they fall under the authority of the Captain, if not the UCMJ. The Colonial Fleet is modled after the US and British Navy the writers are familiar with.

So there goes your smack down of my excuse.



Charmingly childish. Still .. your blog your rules.

It is a nice blog and I enjoyed reading it. I‘m confused as to why you’d have a blog and then discourage polite and reasonable conversation.

So it’s without malice and with a little puzzlement that I'm pulling your feed from my reader. You won’t miss me but closing your blog off from minds that don’t strictly conform to your world view seems weird - the whole point of SF is to broaden your mind, nu?

If people spew hostility and rage at random passers by who don't agree with their party line they shouldn't wonder why most of us find them humorless and crabby wretches.

Turdy Point Buck

To the person with the Verizon cell phone from the 419 area code who sent me the pictures of someone crouching at the head of a buck . . .
  • Congratulations!
  • Who the heck are you?
  • The resolution sucks on the pictures - how many points?

Title hat tip.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Horse Soldier!

A music reviewer I ain't; read at your own peril.

What to say about Corb Lund's 'Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!' except that I like it a great deal. It's country music for people that don't like country - it ain't a bit Boot Scoot Boogie and Lund has a way with music and lyrics . . .
I tried my best to stop them, yes, I tried to make them wait
And I appealed to their decency show mercy on this day
I issued them strong orders on pain of death and disarray
But in the end they would not listen and raised their lances anyway

Men of no account they were, their breeding crude and low
With not a trace of wisdom, Grace or virtue in their souls
Yet trained them long and hard I did to bend them to the crown
To act as tools of justice, follow edict handed down

You see these were not militia men, a-fighting for their homes
Nor fathers, sons nor husbands, sire, but foreigners on loan
Mercenary killers, career soldiers to a man
Lashing out with vengeance one cannot accept or understand

I could not instill the discipline 'twas duty to inspire
And they responded in the end to instincts of the basest kind
Now on my knee before you here, I drop my eyes in shame
Albeit little consolation take my head for I'm to blame

O, so spoke the leader on losing control

~ A Leader On Losing Control

Now, I'm not an English Lit major and I know ol' Rudyard is not well thought of but ... that would not be out of place in Barrack-Room Ballads, nor would this, if Tommy Atkins were from somewhere south of the Mason Dixon . . .

I wanna be in the cavalry if they send me off to war
I wanna good steed under me like my forefathers before

Courageous at first we took their worst, our positions we held stout
We clung to belief and we hung on the speech from our trusted leaders’ mouths
Overwhelming odds and a hopeless cause and our cities overrun
There were them that said we was badly led and God were we outgunned

I lost count of the worthy mounts that from under me were cut
My favourite mare with her head in the air took the cannons in her gut
In the first two weeks on that bloody creek my brother lost his arm
Was only sixty days till all we prayed was get us home unharmed

~ I Wanna Be In The Cavalry: Reprise

So .. ya. Country music for people that don't like country.

'I Wanna Be In The Cavalry' on YouTube - click here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pumpkin Pie

Little Monkey has never had pumpkin pie before last night. He tried a bit.

He liked it "except for the top crust - the orange stuff was mushy and didn't taste good."


It was a little chilly here last night . . .

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Turkey Algorithm from 'Making Light'
Says Jon:
“For a turkey of greater than ten pounds, the roasting time should be equal to 1.65 times the natural log of the weight of the bird in pounds, cooked at 325 F.”
If you’re not a person who normally calculates natural logs, go to Google. Say you have a 20-pound turkey. Type in natural log 20 and hit the search button. Google will tell you that the natural log of 20 is 2.99573227. Multiply this by 1.65. The result will be 4.9429582455, or five hours.
Math is cool and all but I like my wife's method:

Cover the turkey with something. What that is is not divulged, but it's critical.

Oven to 350 degrees.

Cook until the bird's meat falls off the bones.

This is not precise - my brain demands to know exactly how long this all takes and she can't really say beyond 'when it's done' - but I can't argue with the results: yummy.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

My wife, on Black Friday
You'll have to offer me better than 30% off to get me out of bed that early.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


"Night is when the competition sleeps."

From Nivi


Nothing says 'get my gun' like the thought of a 8 foot long scorpion.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This is not adaption

More from Bruce . . .

Much of the newsletter of course centers on reports from activists who have been working hard to deal with the space technology issue.
No, sorry. What you and your peers are doing is getting in the way. Y'all are so damned busy being against stuff you have no time to contribute to making anything better. You are an obstacle.

I've been trying to sell my car lately but the bites are few as most people are not in the buying mood. Money is tight and folks are hanging onto what they've got.
Maybe the asking price is too high. Maybe you are not advertising the thing effectively.
Soon, I think, we'll see more creative adaptations as you see in the photo above.
An adaption would be a new carriage made out of light-weight material, with a heater and shock absorbers.

Gutting a truck and hauling the shell around with a donkey is not adaption and it is not creative.

It's failure.

FALCON - America's newest weapon in the war on everyone else

Intrepid activist Bruce Gagnon bravely writes in from Bushitler's Amerika to warn us
Each year the Space Command performs a war game set in 2016. In that war game the new military space plane, the Falcon, flies across the planet at six times the speed of sound and delivers 12,000 pound bombs against the "Red" team. Red team means China in Pentagon language.
I do not think that phrase means what you think it does.
In wargaming, the opposing force in a simulated military conflict is known as the Red Team, and is used to reveal weaknesses in current military readiness.
And .. what a new space plane? How cool. Except, not so much.

The FALCON project includes:

Calling FALCON - a program with 6 vehicles (and one cancelled) in test - a new space plane is stretching the truth a bit.

One for the phrase book

Fred On Everything with a catchy saying . . .
My love of country is great: I will use no Chinese mayonnaise.

And then I’ll bring back the one-room school house. Many will denounce me in the public prints as retrograde. Well, when you have driven your car into a swamp full of underfed alligators, retrograde is what you want to be.
I'm adding that to my phrase book.

Mayonnaise? I won't explain it - go read the article.

Vial of Life

Well, hunh.
The Vial of Life or Vial of L.I.F.E. (Lifesaving Information For Emergencies) is a program which allows individuals to provide medical information in advance that can be used by emergency personnel in the case of an emergency. Vial of Life programs are usually sponsored and promoted by Senior citizen's organizations, local Fire Departments, or hospitals, although it may be utilized by anyone. The materials required are usually available for free and some may be downloaded and produced by the individual.
Emergency responders are trained to look for notes in the refrigerator. Makes sense, if a bit odd sounding at first - everyone has a refrigerator.


Steve Browne is back from his extended stay in D.C. with a sobering thought
In this scary world, the thought that our rulers are people not too different from ourselves, trying to deal with the incredible power this nation commands is really scary.
All the reason in the world to limit government powers and push it back to the States and the People.

Mission Statement

Great Britain is looking for a new motto. No, really: the UK is looking for a mission statement.
"Once Great: Britain," offered one contributor. "Americans who missed the boat," read a second. "At least we're not French" quipped a third.

That wasn't a quip.

There will always be an England

Speaking of the UK I found this note on how the RAF used to arm their nuclear weapons to be charmingly English . . .
Newsnight reveals that RAF nuclear bombs were armed by opening a panel held by two captive screws – like a battery cover on a radio – using a thumbnail or a coin.

Inside are the arming switch and a series of dials which are turned with an allen key to select high yield or low yield, air burst or ground burst and other parameters.

The bomb is actually armed by inserting a cylindrical bicycle lock key into the arming switch and turning it through 90 degrees.

There is no code which needs to be entered or dual key system to prevent a rogue individual from arming the bomb, although RAF crews were supposed to always work in pairs if they were near the bomb or had the keys for the bomb.

Opening up the hatch with a coin - then using an allen wrench (for the love of mike) to adjust the darn thing - and then launching with a bicycle key - is a touch worthy of Monty Phython. Mary Poppins would appreciate the thriftiness demonstrated; Yanks would spend billions on a special key system from Boeing. The Brits just ran down to the hardware store one day and called it good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We've always lived in danger

Awesome speech from Guilliani, via TJIC.

I get very, very frustrated when I . . . hear certain Americans talk about how difficult the problems we face are, how overwhelming they are, what a dangerous era we live in. I think we've lost perspective. We've always had difficult problems, we've always had great challenges, and we've always lived in danger.

Do we think our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents didn't live in danger and didn't have difficult problems? Do we think the Second World War was less difficult that our struggle with Islamic terrorism? Do we think that the Great Depression was a less difficult economic struggle for people to face than the struggles we're facing now? Have we entirely lost perspective of the great challenges America has faced in the past and has been able to overcome and overcome brilliantly? I think sometimes we have lost that perspective.

Do you know what leadership is all about? Leadership is all about restoring that perspective that this country is truly an exceptional country that has great things that it is going to accomplish in the future that will be as great and maybe even greater than the ones we've accomplished in the past. If we can't do that, shame on us.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gettysburg Address

On this day in 1863 . .

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Get a job you damn hippie

I know that our economy is turning into a McService industry with welders from GM and Ford working at McDonalds (never mind who all those middle-aged welders are selling hamburgers to, maybe each other, which would make McDonalds a sort of economic perpetual motion machine) but if you're in the upper Midwest my employer is looking for people to fill manufacturing jobs.
Attention (Redacted)/(Redacted)* Employees:

As you all know the (redacted) business is continuing to grow across the (redacted) campus. With that being said, we are looking for additional hourly production labor (contract employees) to help us with our customer commitments. (Redacted) will be hosting a job fair in Building (Redacted) on (Redacted), XX xxth from xpm - xpm. Please share this information with neighbors, friends and family that may be looking for employment.

For those that may be unable to attend the job fair please have them contact (Redacted) at the number listed below...

If you're one of the legion of McService employees looking for meaningful work in Bushitler's Amerikaa - get your ass up here and snag a job.

You do have to pass a drug screen, be intelligent enough to dress yourself and show up on time. A fair number of contractors do stay on and become 'real' employees, so this isn't a 'work 'em for ninety days and drop 'em' deal.

Also it's friggin' cold in the winter - you have been warned.

*Information redacted so as not to associate my employer with this blog. I don't speak for them, all opinions expressed here are my own. If you're close to where I live and you want a job, contact me and I'll forward you the details.

Oh the fun you can have

Darn. I used to have a public wifi on Main Street . . . oh the fun I could have had.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

So it's strictly one step at a time for Bangladesh

Bangladesh has been hit by a cyclone
DHAKA, Bangladesh (CNN) -- More than 1,000 people have died in Bangladesh after a devastating tropical cyclone ripped through the western coast of the country, and the toll is expected to rise, a government spokesman tells CNN.

15,000 people hurt, 1,000 missing - it will be worse before it gets better. Villages are flattened, wells poisoned by salt water flooding, crops ruined .. ugh. Puts natural disasters in the West in perspective, hunh?

Oh and the fleet will be ashore soon
U.S. military officials said Friday that Defense Secretary Robert Gates was ready to dispatch Navy vessels carrying 3,500 Marines to the region to help in recovery efforts.

It is expected that the USS Kearsarge and USS Wasp would move from the Gulf of Oman. The USS Tarawa recently left Hawaii, and it could go to Bangladesh as well, officials said.

Semper Fi - again. I'm sure the Army barracks we used at the airfield in Dhaka in 1991 are still there, as are the spiffy flush toilets connected to the open sewers. Watch your step at night, is all I can say - in a country that is pool-table flat the sewage doesn't flow so much as amble.

Subject line hat tip

Friday, November 16, 2007

Market Anarchy

I am not sure that I'm a market anarchist ... but I'm glad that people like William are committed to it and willing to do up excellent table literature about the topic and write about it on their blog.

The state of Market Anarchist propaganda has been pretty dismal. Despite a ton of resources on the internet, there are few books, pamphlets and articles available in the real world. And--aside from a few glossy and expensive volumes published by the Mises Institute--what there is just isn't that pretty or appealing. (Insert standard ironic joke about Market Anarchists being crappy at marketing.) Anyway, to fill that void and maybe make things easier for the Market Anarchist who wants to go tabling or stock their local infoshop I've gone ahead and put together an easy-to-print series of pamphlets/zines on Market Anarchy. As the back of these pamphlets say:

"This Market Anarchy Series was created to republish and showcase historical articles from our tradition that highlight our relation to the revolutionary left and explain Market Anarchist theory in general terms."

All that and links to literature at the Mises Institute.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

None of this makes much sense. Don't worry about it.

You gotta work to make a book report about Oedipus Rex this entertaining.

Imagine your like jamming your mom and like you have 4 kids , then the feds come to your house and say that she wuz your mom, and you were like ya? So? And they were like, well that's gross and illegal.

I know, I know. Probably not real. But it should be.


232 Reasons Why the Marine Corps Kicks Ass

232 Reasons Why the Marine Corps Kicks Ass, from the Marine Corps Times.

Cherry picking, we have ...
2. Civilians have to find time to go to the gym. Marines get paid to go.

4. There's no such thing as an "ex" Marine.

8. "Every Marine Into the Fight."

18. The lance corporal underground.

22. "No better friend, no worse enemy."

23. Typhoons approaching Okinawa often spark islandwide beer runs

26. 10 rounds from the 500-yard line.

36. Running cadences that mention napalm. And Eskimos.

55. As if ranks that include the words "master" and "gunnery" aren't intimidating enough on their own, the Corps uses them both. At once.

60. Marines predicted the WWII campaigns in the Pacific years earlier and prepared for the inevitable. So when a Marine says, "Hey, I've been thinking ." perhaps you should take notes.

61. Give a Marine some free time, and he'll rip down your dictator's statue.

83. Chuck Norris was in the Air Force. Steve McQueen was a Marine.

90. Arty guys who do civil affairs. They blow it up, then they fix it. Circle of life.

140. Gunnery sergeants. Don't know the answer? Ask the gunny. Need something? Ask the gunny. In trouble? Avoid the gunny.

153. Shirt stays. Or garters. Whatever you call them, they're a triple whammy, keeping your shirt tucked, your socks up and removing all that unwanted leg hair.

199. "8th and I." Ten bucks says you have no idea where the Army chief of staff lives. Commandants don't hide.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

Setup a net on the side of the road so we can toss our wallets in

Don't get a parking ticket in Washington D.C. - you can't contest it.
"DMV will complete the phase-out of in-person adjudication of parking tickets in favor of mail-in and e-mail adjudication by December 2008," the Fiscal Year 2008 DMV plan states.

Well you CAN but it's by email or letter. Which the DMV employees can reject or ignore .. and how can you object?

No reason not to put a credit card machine in the cop car and cut out the middle man.

Space Elevator Calendar

Marc Boucher is selling Space Elevator Calendars ..
I've selected some of my better images taken at this years 2007 Spaceward Games to create The Space Elevator 2008 Calendar. I hope you enjoy it, orders yours today.
  • Each page measures 11" x 8.5"
  • Measures 11" x 17" when hung on wall
  • Full bleed dynamic color
  • 100 lb cover weight high gloss paper, wire-o bound
  • January 2008 - December 2008, 2009 preview, US holidays marked

Looks keen.

Cross posted to LiftPort Staff Blog.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dresden Codak

Dresden Codak - "a celebration of science, death and human folly."

Excellent web comic. Any comic that has Burt Lancaster stomping an evil William Jennings Bryan - while declaiming 'Stick to free silver, Mack' - is automagically cool. But there is more! Time traveling AI, trans-humanism and Dungeons & Discourse, which is the coolest cartoon I've seen in a long time ...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, Marines

United States Marine Corps - 232 years old, today. Happy Birthday!

Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of it's existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the nations foes. From the battle of Trenton to the Argonne. Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term Marine has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

A Birthday message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway

Since the birth of our Nation, our liberty has been purchased by valiant men and women of deep conviction, great courage, and bold action; the cost has often been in blood and tremendous sacrifice. As America's sentinels of freedom, United States Marines are counted among the finest legions in the chronicles of war. Since 1775, Marines have marched boldly to the sounds of the guns and have fought fiercely and honorably to defeat the scourge of tyranny and terror. We are Marines — that is what we do.

In the words of President John F. Kennedy: "In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger." Magnificent heroes fought in the wheat fields of Belleau Wood, in the snows of the Chosin, and on the streets of Hue City. Your generation bears this obligation now, and it is borne on mighty and capable shoulders. Just like the Marines at Belleau Wood — we are once again engaged in sustained operations ashore. Just like at Belleau Wood — the Marines have been given the toughest sector and have prevailed over a resilient and determined enemy — who has made us pay for our gains. Once again, as in any struggle, the road ahead is far from certain, but as Marines, we are not dissuaded by the challenges of war or the tough conditions of a warrior's life. Indeed, we don't just accept our destiny — we shape it.

On our 232nd birthday, to every Marine — those still in uniform and those who have served honorably in the past — be proud of who you are and what you do. Know that your citizenship dues have been paid in full; you are part of this Nation's elite warrior class. Cherish our families who offer marvelous support, abiding resolve, and steadfast patience. Remember those who have served and those who have fallen — their names are chiseled on the roll call of America's heroes. Those who have carried the battle colors of our Corps have forged our heritage, and today's generation of leathernecks chart our future. Carry the colors with pride; carry them with honor.

Happy birthday, Marines!

Semper Fidelis,
James T. Conway
James T. Conway
General, U.S. Marine Corps

That was not the correct code

Mark relates a biz story
That was not the correct code.

Click for a belly laugh.

Reading is fundamental

Little Monkey, reading a book.

I love moments like this.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Invisible Hand

The mobbe hath spoken: the cost for a CD of new music?
Around £2.90, it would seem.
Six bucks then, according to Radiohead. Not bad.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Ain't it the truth?

Monday, November 05, 2007


This thing has grown legs, gotten up and galloped - as anyone could have predicted.

This letter is in response to the recent news item in WorldNetDaily. You know, the one about how you tried to tell a resident of your city that she was "not authorized" to have a link from her Web site to the site of your city's police department.

Are you out of your mind?!

As a result of reading the news story, I have posted a link from my own personal Web site to the Web site for the Sheboygan Police Department. And, as you can see, this column now also contains such a link. I did not ask anyone's permission, nor will I. I will not remove said link from my personal Web site until I'm ready, which will be at a time of my personal choosing. If you wish, then you are certainly free to order your city attorney waste the tax dollars of the people that elected you by writing me a letter telling me to "cease and desist" from having such a link on my Web site. But, such a letter would be totally unenforceable. (It would become a case of trying to "push puffballs.") In short, it is my Web site. I pay for the Net space, I built it, I write all the content, I write all the HTML code to make it function, and I have chosen to have a link to the Sheboygan Police Department. And, I hereby encourage everyone that reads this column to click onto that link, and to put such a link from their own Web sites.

I wonder if anyone who is in charge in Sheboygan is aware that 'Sheboygan' is becoming synonymous for 'laughing stock'? Mayor Perez, thanks for doing your part to make Wisconsin look like it's home to a bunch of dorks.

Quote of the Day

QOTD from Selenite
A discussion on Transterrestrial Musings wandered on the subject of people who've had successful careers without ever getting degrees. Someone suggested forming an association to explore how common that is. Jay Manifold commented:
the anthropology of such a group would presumably be a hilarious inversion of the usual credentialism, where the college dropouts are ranked above the graduates, the people who never went to college at all are higher up, the ones with GEDs are still higher, and so on until some guy suckled by wolves is running the thing.

Or not - wolf-boy is busy running around devouring his competition and utterly lacks the time (or the interest) to run such a group.  He would delegate the task to one of his minions and call it a day.

Stross on Japan

Charlie Stross went to Japan and wrote an essay ...
They've got our future, damn it.

It's not the shiny future of jet packs and food pills — oh no, that's not what Japan is about. Nevertheless, they've got it and they're living in it, damn them. They've got express trains that run on time and accelerate so fast they push you back into your seat like an airliner on take-off. They've got skyscrapers with running lights, looming out of the sodium-lit evening haze — a skyline just like the famous nighttime scene from Blade Runner except for the shortage of giant pyramids (and they're building one of those out in Tokyo bay). And they shave their cats.

In the future we will all have shaved cats. And six story high pornography boutiques that sell Hello Kitty! novelty toys on the ground floor. And 200mph super-express trains blasting between arcologies through a landscape scorched by the waste heat of a hundred million air conditioning units. And beer vending machines on street corners. And skyscrapers cheek-by-jowl with temples that are modern reconstructions of buildings dating back to the eighth century (said reconstructions only slightly older than the Christopher Wren iteration of St Paul's Cathedral).

Sounds keen. It's crowded and weird and they are (sort of) in a place we'll be at in a few hundred years. Not a place I want to live in, or at least not forever, but a mighty fine place to visit for a few months or years. Caveat; I know no more - and probably less - about Japan than you do. I was stationed in Okinawa for 19 months a long long time ago but that just means I know a little bit and I probably have that much all wrong. Okinawa bears the same resemblance to mainland Japan that Key West does to New York City. If Key West was invaded by acquisitive New Yorkers in 1609 and who then never let the Key Westians forget they were part of New York but would never be New York.

So .. Japan is our future. We really need cheap space launch so the malcontents and borderers can have their frontier.


Saddest thing I've seen all weekend . .

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It Could Happen To You

Link to the Sheboygan Police Department's web site. Why?

Sheboygan Police

Because using the police to silence political opposition is pretty shoddy - and hassling a citizen for linking to the police department's web page is retarded. Why should you care about small-town politics in a fly-over state?

It could happen to you.

The Sheboygan PD Website link is! Link and enjoy.


In response to this
Armed with a Georgetown University diploma, Beth Hanley embarked in her 20s on a path hoping to become a professional world-saver. First she worked at nonprofit Bread for the World. Then she taught middle school English in central Africa with the Peace Corps. Finally, to certify her idealism, she graduated last spring with a master's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University.

there is only one thing to say . . .
"If I knew a man was coming to my house with the fixed intention of doing me good, I would run for my life,"
~~ Thoreau

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sheyboygan Shenanigans

The police are harassing a blogger in Sheboygan. For linking to the Sheboygan Police Department website. Info here as well.

Because linking is a bad bad thing. Don't do it - The Man gets mad.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Y'all cut that out

Professor Barry Sanders* is back with a reply to his critics: "Y'all quit picking on me!"

Kidding. I am sure that Professor Sanders is sophisticated and would never be caught dead throwing 'y'all' about in conversation.

His reply does seem a tad whiny. It's not his fault, you see, because the military operates behind a scrim of secrecy and it's really difficult to get information out of them. You'd think the military is some kind of bureaucracy or something.

That and people were correcting his mistakes in a way that was not respectful. Shame on y'all. Professor Sanders is from the academic world where people are more polite and don't call bullshit in such vulgar ways.

Let me begin by saying that this is a new world for me, the world of blogging.

One could be unkind and reply that the world of logic, facts and clean prose is new to him as well.

As a friend told me from the outset, one cannot take on the military in this country, without getting knocked about.

Is there a lot to criticize about the military? Darn right there is. My own beef is not that he is taking on the military but that he did so with a poor logic and ratty data.

As for the Standard, Goldfarb does not like the line, "The USS Lincoln helped deliver the opening salvos and air strikes in Operation Iraqi Freedom." He says the Lincoln has no "guns." I took that line from the Navy's own web site. If I am wrong, the military has it wrong.

Reading comprehension is clearly not Professor Sanders strong suite - the Navy web site doesn't mention guns but ordnance. Ordnance is typically defined as 'stuff that goes boom', but they don't mention guns. Clearly the Navy is wrong for not being specific and inserting verbage like this

Lincoln delivered a big bunch of boom stuff by airplane. Because that's what aircraft carriers do.

Or something like that.

He (Goldfarb) claims that only one aircraft carrier is not nuclear powered and so my claim about "ship tracks" is wrong. First, does he not think that nuclear power pollutes, or that no danger exists from an accident? What does he think one should do about spent fuel rods?

The article is titled 'The Military's Addiction to Oil' so the confusion might be understandable. Goldfarb took his argument from the title - if he is wrong, Professor Sanders has it wrong.

The USS Independence did move out to the Gulf in the first Gulf War, in 1991. I mixed up the dates for the two Gulf Wars and inserted the wrong one.

The article centered around current activities and never mentioned a conflict more than a decade in the past. Yet one key point was meant to jump back sixteen years and talk about a now decommissioned ship. Maybe - he's clearly not the most organized thinker.

Also, I inadvertently left out the word battalion in the sentence, "a pair of Apache helicopter battalions can devour more than 60,000 gallons of fuel in a single night's attack

The sentence as published was "Just one pair of Apaches in a single night's raid will consume about 60,000 gallons of jet fuel." Ya - inserting battalion in the middle of that makes a whole bunch more sense. Sure, Ace. And I am Marie, Queen of Romania.
Let's now turn to the question of the number of carrier task forces in the Gulf. First, from Reuters: "On January 20, 2007, the USS Stennis set sail for the Persian Gulf as part of an increase in US military presence within the Middle East. The Stennis joined the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the United States Fifth Fleet of operations. On May 23, 2007, the Stennis, along with eight other warships including the carrier USS Nimitz and amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, passed through the Strait of Hormuz. US Navy officials said it was the largest such move since 2003."

How many ships does this total? Ten or Twelve? How many "carrier task forces" does that constitute?

This is not difficult - only an academic would make it so. A 'carrier task force' requires a carrier.

Now - all of this has a shooting fish in a barrel feel. I wrote this as a follow-up for yesterday's post out of a sense of obligation and in the hope that by showing people like Professor Sanders he can't use obfuscation and bad data in his arguments we'll get honest data and real discussion.

If not we'll get to make fun of them, which ain't bad either.

*Take a look at his bio page: the title of two of his books is spelled wrong. I don't know where the Huffington Post gets this data but one suspects that Professor Barry Sanders lack of attention to detail is to blame.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

British Humor

In general he doesn't know what to make of the Brits because they appear (in his personal observation) to be the only other people on the face of the earth, besides Americans, who possess a sense of humor. He has heard rumors that some Eastern Europeans can do it, but he hasn't met any of them, and they don't have much to yuk it up about at the moment. In any case, he can never quite make out when these Brits are joking.

-- Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

And this from Perry de Havilland at Samizdata
I was watching the Channel 4 news coverage of the state visit of the King of Saudi Arabia to Britain, when something I saw nearly made me fall off my chair laughing.

So what does the British Army band for the guard of honour strike up as The Man himself steps out of his limo to high-five Her Majesty?

The Darth Vader March from Star Wars (click on 'watch the report' to see for yourself). I kid you not.

Someone somewhere deserves a medal.

They're always be an England - thank God!