Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Indoor plumbing rocks

and the good old days .. weren't.
I waked in the morning about 6 o’clock and my wife not come to bed; I lacked a pot, but there was none, and bitter cold, so was forced to rise and piss in the chimney, and to bed again.

Italics mine. Note that Pepys wasn't a prole - he was - in 1664 - a reasonably well-to-do fellow living in a cosmopolitan city in the most advanced region in the world. Who woke up cold and pissed in his own chimney.

The tools who want us all to live like peasants and get the willies about economic over-consumption can kiss my warm and toasty ass.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Gold Standard - Killer App for Space?

Mr. Poretto is going on about the gold standard - he is in favor of it - which is interesting but a bit much for my poor button-brain.

Travis replied ...
The world supply of above-ground gold increases by about 2% per year. The supply cannot be accelerated faster than that; the laws of physics prevent
I disagree. Gold mining, like everything else, responds to increasing demand. If the price of gold doubled, could we not drastically increase gold mining with a decade or so?

Look up? 99% of the resources in the solar system are not terrestrial. We think that Eros has
20,000 million tonnes of aluminium along with similar amounts of gold, platinum and other rarer metals.

In the 2,900 cubic kms of Eros, there is more aluminium, gold, silver, zinc and other base and precious metals than have ever been excavated in history or indeed, could ever be excavated from the upper layers of the Earth's crust.

That is just in one asteroid and not a very large one at that. There are thousands of asteroids out there.

People will talk about a 'killer app' that drives development in space - the one thing that will be the thing that we can't live without.

SPS could be that but putting all our hopes in such a frail basket seems unwise.

I wonder if putting the world's largest and most productive economy on the gold standard would be the killer app that drives development in space.

You may not be able to depend on energy policy or expensive oil .. but you can always count on people's hunger to acquire wealth.

It's not the inner system - it's a treasure map.

... and Armageddon sick of it

Dog toys exist to be destroyed

I guess most dogs enjoy death and destruction of toys

Half-right, for our house.

The (toy fox) terrier will take any toy and demolish it as quickly as she can.

The German Shepherd .. while enjoying a good chomping and chewing fest .. seems to take care not to destroy them. Her volley ball has a few hundred fang marks but she's never punctured the vinyl.

She still has a soccer ball that she tore the snot out of when she was a puppy - it's such a mess that you can't tell what it is aside from a floppy mass of vinyl and drool - but it's held up pretty well since she grew up.


The sub-prime mortage mess, explained

"Peter, did you read the fine print on this loan contract?"
"Um, if by "read" you mean imagined a naked lady, then, yes."

- Brian and Peter in A Fish Out of Water

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Go, Fred Go

I lack the funds and I completely lack the time to fiddle with blog widgets but ... support Fred in Iowa.


  • He's married to a complete hotty.
  • He's not Mike Huckabee.
  • He's from the South - having a fellow with a southern accent in the White House would make some people completely flip their lids. And that would be cool.
  • He's more of a Federalist than anyone else running.

Gumption Trap

I've been fighting with my Windows XP desktops (one virtual, one hardware) for the last ninety minutes - I've gotten them to crash, reboot, restart, dump memory and do everything except what I wanted them to do - which was to a) run Outlook and b) run Hummingbird Exceed.

90% of the people in this country run some version of Windows at the office. How in the hell do y'all get anything done?

Save the world, one bit at a time

You can't save the entire world. Mostly you have to do what you can, where you can and trust that everyone else is as well.

Ala'a lived in Iraq. He was nine, suffered from cerebral palsy, and an orphan. Ala'a orphanage was adopted by a unit of MPs.
To [Captain Scott] Southworth, Ala'a was like a little brother. But Ala'a — who had longed for a soldier to rescue him — secretly began referring to Southworth as "Baba," Arabic for "Daddy."

Then, around Christmas, a sister told Southworth that Ala'a was getting too big. He would have to move to a government-run facility within a year.

"Best case scenario was that he would stare at a blank wall for the rest of his life," Southworth said.

To this day, he recalls the moment when he resolved that that would not happen.

"I'll adopt him," he said.

And he did. It took a while and a mountain of paperwork and a lot of family support but . . . he did.

They made it to Wisconsin late Jan. 20, 2005. The next morning, Ala'a awoke to his first sight of snow.

He closed his eyes and grimaced.

"Baba! Baba! The water is getting all over me!"

"It's not water, it's snooooow," Southworth told him.

I can sympathize about the snow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hooray for Wendy

Hooray for Wendy.
Wendy, the little girl who cried every single day when she went to school, who was told and thought she was stupid, and who became our first guinea pig in the home-school realm…

Has made the Dean’s List.

I won't say 'hooray for homeschooling' - as tempting as it might be - because it's not about how you get it done, it's about the kid.

Edward 'NIMBY' Kennedy

Sam Dinkin has a take-down of Scientific American's grand plan for solar power - worth a read.

The real gem is in the comments ..
[solar power is] viable, as long as you can't see the vast cell farms from Sen. Kennedy's house.



Culture matters.
Each class at the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy is allowed to choose a slogan that is printed on its graduation programs, and the class of 43 graduates came up with "Don't suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it."

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, who attended the Dec. 14 graduation, pointed out the slogan to the academy's director, Jeff Black, minutes before the ceremony began, Raney said. A photograph of the program was e-mailed anonymously to news outlets throughout the state.

"That's not something we encourage or condone," Black said. "It shouldn't have been there. It was inappropriate."

Mr. Black is being disingenuous ... or he's a victim of the Peter Principle.

I am reasonably sure the academy does not have a course of instruction detailing 'how to be an ass' .. but the students did not come up with that on their own. That kind of stuff gets stuffed into a person's brain housing group by culture and the attitude of the instructors.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

I dare you to click this

Vendor Follies

Hi, I'm reinstalling an application server. The license key doesn't work. This is the key: REDACTED

Vendor: That's a version 9213 key, you need a 9214 key.

I don't have one of those. But we did upgrade from 9213 to 9214 six months ago ..

Vendor: Right, you need a 9214 key. Copy the key from your 9214 environment and use that.

The version 9213 key is the only one I have. So I can run an existing server with an obsolete key, but I can't install a new one. I sure am glad I'm having this problem now and not on a weekend with flaming chunks of server falling around my ears and crazed users pounding on my door wanting their critical application restored right now! Because if I were having this conversation then I'd be really pissed irate instead of bemused.

Three cheers for licensing schemes that work sorta kinda sometimes.

This isn't really appropriate for this, but it is funny.

The More Things Change

Electronic equipment from 1939.

The rack and cable management could be moved into a 21st century server room without attracting any attention.

I suspect that server rooms in the 23rd century will still be using a 22 inch rack. Some of them may even have antique Sun hardware running in them to enable backwards compatibility that some biz guy just can't live without. And they'll talk to the equipment using VT100.

His and Hers

I can't quite explain but this works out quite nicely. The psycho-babble not so much but there it is.


I am a classic spoons!
Find your own pose!


I am a seatbelt!
Find your own pose!

Tis Two Nights Before Christmas - A Poem

She's a poet - and she knows it.

'Tis Two Nights Before Christmas...

Tis two nights before Christmas and all through the house
Not a sign of one ornament, I must be a louse.
The presents are unwrapped all lying on the bed,
and thoughts very un-Christmassy still run through my head.
The tree still undecorated, only lights lit.
I guess i should get up and try to fix it.
But if only I could forget the presents I must wrap
and put them in Wal-Mart bags, be done with this crap.
The children are waiting to see what Santa brings,
but I have been ready to be done with these things.
But the children keep me going and I know I must try
to keep up tradition, so I'll start now with a sigh.
I'll decorate the tree, make cookies, and smile.
I'll try to remember celebrations aren't a trial.
And when Santa shows up with his red sack filled with toys
He'll find our house ready with happy little boys.
And he'll know that in spite of the cold and the snow,
I'll open my heart and mind and go with the flow.

So Merry Christmas my friends that are both far and near.
I may sound hum-buggy, but I wish you good cheer.
May you find every wish that you have in your heart,
and I hope that your New Year has a wonderful start.

Merry Christmas!


Ain't she gorgeous?

I'm a lucky guy.

The 21st century is an amazing place

If the Marines don't have these now, they will soon; R/C airplane, with real-time video feed to a goggled display on the ground. The operator can swivel the POV as desired.

Google Video 'Bromont golf club'

Not a UAV from Boeing, but a hobby job. I'll bet you could slap one together from off-the shelf parts for the cost of a fire-teams's worth of small arms. Rockin'. There might be problems ...

Captain Cool: Sergeant, I need you to recon hill 465. Strap on your goggles and get airborne over the target by 1345. Go in low and slow and loiter - I need imagery crisp and clean. S4 has laid in a req for more birds from Brigade so if they do bring one down, no biggie.

Sergeant Schmuck: Aye-aye, Sir.

CC: And .. the Colonel shot me an email a few minutes ago. He said bravo zulu for spotting the fire mission this morning but knock off the victory rolls - the Air Force is getting jealous.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Horror and moral terror are your friends

If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared.

Last night I had one of the most frightening dreams a man can have. I dreamt that someone, who hated me very deeply, got me a new computer for Christmas.

Subject line hattip.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I put it on your Visa

Campaign commerical: Hillary is wrapping presents for Christmas, attaching cards to each package . . .
  • Universal Health Care
  • Alternative Energy
  • Bring Troops Home
  • Middle Class Tax Breaks
  • Universal Pre-K
Merry Christmas, I put it on your Visa.

I hope she doesn't forget to include a gift receipt. Maybe she should have just gotten us all gift cards. Sure, they feel so impersonal but .. your recipient can get what he actually wants and you don't have to fool around at the customer service desk with eleventy billion other people.

Unrelated thought: perhaps they do things different in Arkansas. Where I grew up people wrote the recipients name on the cards, not what the gift is.

Update: edited to remove verbosity.

Who Homeschools

A criticism about home schooling is that only well-to-do will homeschool. The rich will abandon public schools to the poor downtrodden masses, class divides will deepen, cats and dogs will live together ...

Maybe not so much.

Friedman summarizes survey data from the National Center for Educational Statistics . . .

Classified by household income, the percentage of children home schooled is essentially constant for the first three categories (under $25,000, $25,000-$50,000, $50,000-$75,000), a bit lower for the top ($75,000+) category--presumably because higher income parents have easier access to the private school alternative.

Common sense trumped by data. Umpossible!


He's pawing through the pocket litter on my dresser.

"What's this?" Little Monkey asked. "Oh, it's a multi-tool."

Swiss Army Knife

It's a Swiss Army knife.

"It looks like a multi-tool."

I conceded that it was a sort of multi-tool, but that when I was growing up we didn't have multi-tools as such so .. it's a Swiss Army knife. I deployed the various tools and showed him what they were for. Concluded with the ritual warning about knives and other sharp objects. Endured a small eye-roll: yes dad, I know that part by now.

Kids are neat.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Rachel Lucas said
I’m pretty sure Sunny’s looking to score some primo.

I'm pretty sure that Sunny is a narc looking to bust some druggies.

Crustacean uber alles

First they model machines on lobsters ... then they cram lobster intelligence into machines .. then we're living in a Strossian future and no one wants that.

Well the lobsters do. Or they would if they were self-aware. Which they will be.

Wake up America!

Think of the children!

What has a bigger carbon footprint - delivering a Christmas card or a pound of banana bread?

Things that I'm amazed everyone doesn't know

The perfect country and western song. You Never Even Called Me By My Name', performed by David Allen Coe, written by Steve Goodman and John Prine.

Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison.
And I went to pick her up in the rain,
But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned old train.


Eat local - unless it's inconvenient

In which we hear from Bruce 'Sourpuss' Gagnon about consuming . . .
Let this holiday season be the time of our personal liberation from the chains of shopping, consumption, materialism, and the death of real spirituality.

To everyone I know I say........I will still love you if you don't send me a holiday card or a present. Send me an email instead or bake me some banana bread. Or maybe just call me to say hello.

Shop local, eat local, and walk local.

Except for those tasty bananas, which don't grow in Maine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Not just a good idea, it's the law

Mike Huckabee
I think we ought to be out there talking about ways to reduce energy consumption and waste. And we ought to declare that we will be free of energy consumption in this country within a decade, bold as that is.

Reason commenter 'de stijl'
In this election, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Best .. Response .. Ever.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

I heart OS X

Why do I heart OS X?

Because it let me run 'Windows' as an application. That way when it crashes while Outlook is running it's rules on eleventy-dozen messages from my server I can cruise along doing other stuff while I wait for it to get over it's hissy fit.

Ugh, Luddites

A: We've got Luddites!
B: I thought we sprayed for those last month?
"I'm fond of the old and suspicious of the new," he says. Mr. Rice explains all this over a rotary telephone from the 1970s.

His phone connects from the 1970s, but it's connected to a network that lives in the 21st century. One suspects he wouldn't like using his 1970 phone on a 1970 phone network .. but who knows?

Mr. Rice will often write a letter on his typewriter, scan it into his computer, and then send the image as an e-mail attachment. "Some people are tickled by it," he says. "Some people are absolutely annoyed."

If I had regular corespondance with the guy .. that would get old, quickly. Not the fact of the attachment but the kludge involved.

Update: Best comment from Noah D.
Don’t spray for Luddites. Wastes ammo. Aimed single shots, or short controlled bursts.

Update 2: Good follow up from ScottH . .
Use sabot rounds - give ‘em a taste of their own medicine.

The Atlantic Ocean - with pasta

Since she had her heart attack we've been taking it easy on the salt - not just table salt but reading the ingredients on packaged food with diligence and care. This is what you do if you want to stay alive long enough for Medical Science to come up with a 'cure heart disease' pill.

Still - the kids don't have to follow our diet. Little Monkey asked for this in the store so ... why not? Two cans went into the basket.

The snack that bites back . . Now with sea water flavoring!

Older Monkey had a can for lunch today. He ate a bit. Ate a bit more. Made a face . . .

Him: I don't want this.

Why not?

Him: I'm not .. hungry.

I tried a slurp. Ever gotten a snoot full of salt water at the beach? It tasted like the Atlantic Ocean off the Delaware beach, with pasta. Bleh.

I'll bet the other can will work out well as broth over the dog's food.

Senile Demntia

Just . . . wow.
I literally spent at least half the day just sitting and talking with her, doing my best to help her remain calm and not obsess over contacting her parents or going “back to school”. Even with all my experience and what I’ve learned about distracting her and redirecting her attention, it was an almost constant battle.

And in the middle of it, I got an email from another friend with a link to this video.

That’s basically the last six years of my life compressed into six minutes. You want to have some idea what it is like to be a care-provider for someone with Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementia? Watch it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

When you get the lawyers involved everyone looses

From Atomic Fungus
Mother threatened with jail for homeschooling. No one told her that our government and its shills on the Left are very protective of the government's monopoly on education.

I saw this when the teacher's union won their lawsuit to have my children's state-wide charter school put out of business, just this month. Now, I don't think that every commenter is part of a vast Left wing conspiracy but ...

". . . right-wingers and the Bradley Foundation profiteers . . . "

As if bricks and morter schools don't contract will all kinds of private corporations for cafeteria services, books, and just plain stuff. Profiteers, the lot of 'em.

"The state is paying for homeschooling."

No, my kids are enrolled in public school, but they learn at home.

"It's against the law, it always has been".

A court read the law in a way favorable to the teacher's union. A lower court decided in terms favorable to the school. We might assume that WIVA was launched after the lawyers read the applicable law and provided advice, and we might further assume that that advice was not "you guys are going to get shut down in a few years but .. go have fun, you wacky kids" The state supreme court has yet to hear the case.

The legislature makes the laws, the judiciary interprets them. This is what they do, but it does not mean that the school was illegal from the beginning.

"Talk to your representative, don't bitch about it online".

We are. Blogging is a PR tool - which is part of the process for change.

"The point of teaching and school should be and is socialization and interaction with people who are not your parents."

Gee - I thought the point of teaching and school was education. As for socialization - do you imagine that we keep them under lock and key 24/7? They have friends - online and off. My kids interact with people who are not their parents all the time.

What is so troubling about this is the rabid zealotry and ignorance displayed by some people. Whatever we've been doing with the public schools these last thirty years, it ain't working. More of the same is not the answer ... Brother, I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.

You get paid to solve the hard problems

Food for thought from Joel Spolsky

The trouble is, the market pays for solutions to gnarly problems, not solutions to easy problems. As the Yorkshire lads say, "Where there's muck, there's brass."


No, I don't listen to lyrics of most songs. They're catchy, it's hummable - so who cares if I don't know all the words?
My personal favorite are the Pepsi ads featuring "Brown Sugar" from the mid-1990's. Nothing like raping slaves to make one thirsty for Pepsi.
Do .. what?
Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields,
Sold in a market down in New Orleans.
Scarred old slaver know hes doin alright.
Hear him whip the women just around midnight.
Ah brown sugar how come you taste so good
Well for Goodness' sake.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's a guy thing

Homosexual culture has a dark side according to Steve Baldwin because - among other reasons
"Research on the homosexual lifestyle confirms it is almost exclusively a youth-oriented culture," Baldwin wrote. "Very few gays exhibit preference for older men."

"Some admit to focus on teenage boys," he said, "some on prepubescent boys, and many cross over between categories."

Dude. Have you watched much TV? Read any 'guy' magazines? Watched an episode of Nip/Tuck?

That isn't a gay thing - it's a guy thing.

Things I did not know this morning

I did not know there was a name for joining a word or a phrase without spaces . . .
CamelCase (also spelled camel case) or medial capitals is the practice of writing compound words or phrases in which the words are joined without spaces and are capitalized within the compound — as in "BackColor" or "iMac". The name comes from the uppercase "bumps" in the middle of the compound word, suggestive of the humps of a camel.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

I missed it, it seems. As if I don't act dizzy and disorientated at the best of times . . .

You must spend the entire day in costume and character. The only rule is that you cannot actually tell anyone that you are a time traveler. Other than that, anything's game.

Remember, the only real rule is staying in character and try to fit in. Never directly admit you're a time traveler, and make really, really bad attempts at keeping a low profile. Naturally, the dystopian future has a little more leeway. And for the record, I've already tried out all of these in real life, in costume. It is so much fun you want to pee yourself.

Interesting idea. Talk Like A Pirate day was cute back in the day but if everyone is walking around sounding like extras from that pirate movie (or this one) then it's kinda lame and mainstream.

Dressing and acting like a time traveler for the entire day - that takes commitment.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Ok ... now you're warm - but it's four miles to the tavern . . .

From Colebrook Ski-Bees Snowmobile Club.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Child Training

A fellow on his blog asked as an aside
Speaking of which, if anyone has any tips on getting a six-month old baby to stop waking up every two hours at night I’d sure be thankful.
To which one reply was
As far as the baby goes, if you get up and go to him when he cries in the middle of the night, you are encouraging him to cry for attention. It can be difficult but try to let him just cry himself to sleep. It takes a few days / weeks to train him but once you do, your life will be much easier. Promise!
Sweet Jesus on a ferris wheel.

The Drill Instructor
You call yourself a father, Private Pyle!?!

It's a baby, not a dog. You're raising a human being not crate training a puppy. He's not crying for attention you, unremarkable stain, he's crying because it's dark and he's alone and he's scared. He's an itty bitty primate and loves to be cuddled and held and sung to.

You want life to be easy? The moment your sperm lanced into her egg it stopped being easy and became a lifetime slog of burps, barf and heartache. The only consolation is to see your children grow up into self-sufficient adults.

This is what it's all about.

I saw this as no particular expert in anything. I'm not the world's best father and I frequently fall short of my own expectations in that regard; I have a bad temper, at times I have absolutely no patience with them.

But with all my faults I know that you don't train babies to lie still and alone in the dark you hold them and love them.

Which HeavyInk founder am I most like?

Which HeavyInk founder am I most like? Damn this is scary ...

I'm most like TJIC, the President

You are most like TJIC, the founder of HeavyInk. You like to read and watch science fiction, in the comfort of your own home (who wants to go outside when there are books, dogs, and computers so close to the fireplace?). Skateboarding, frisbee, and travel all sound like great ideas...if only there was some way to do them while surfing the web. People often let you have your way, but it's not clear whether this is because of the obvious correctness of your opinions, or your membership at the local rifle range. Someday you're going to write a great science fiction novel...right after the last customer feature request has been added to HeavyInk.

Take the Which HeavyInk founder are you most like? Quiz at


I like travel, but not the part about leaving the wife and kids behind. I am not a member of the local rifle range and I have no ambition to write an SF novel, nor do I work for HeavyInk. Close enough, then! Take the test - it's easy and only has a handful of buttons to push.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Idiot

'The Idiot' by Stan Rogers.

I do not generally go in for folk music but this is good. Anyone who has moved to follow a job will appreciate it.

I often take these night shift walks when the foreman's not around.
I turn my back on the cooling stacks and make for open ground.
Far out beyond the tank farm fence where the gas flare makes no sound,
I forget the stink and I always think back to that Eastern town.

I remember back six years ago, this Western life I chose.
And every day, the news would say some factory's going to close.
Well, I could have stayed to take the Dole, but I'm not one of those.
I take nothing free, and that makes me an idiot, I suppose.

So I bid farewell to the Eastern town I never more will see;
But work I must so I eat this dust and breathe refinery.
Oh I miss the green and the woods and streams and I don't like cowboy clothes;
But I like being free and that makes me an idiot I suppose.

So come all you fine young fellows who've been beaten to the ground.
This western life's no paaradise, but it's better than lying down.
Oh, the streets aren't clean, and there's nothing green, and the hills are dirty brown,
But the government Dole will rot your soul back there in your home town.

So bid farewell to the Eastern town you never more will see.
There's self-respect and a steady cheque in this refinery.
You will miss the green and the woods and streams and the dust will fill your nose.
But you'll be free, and just like me, an idiot, I suppose.

It's good to be King, baby

I also think the Eloi-Morlock distinction may show some changes over time. The first generation of “Tunnel of Oppression” designers may be highly literate and text-oriented, basing their ideas on the reading of people like Foucault–but ten years later, the Tunnels of Oppression may well be designed by people whose own ideas were formed by earlier Tunnels of Oppression, films, and other sensial interfaces.
Then those second generation tunnel builders cease to be Morlocks and become Eloi who only think they know what is going on. That will work until there is a change in the foundation of the whole works and Eloi in charge will have no idea how to fix things.

Then the Morlocks can step in, set things aright and things will go on as before.

If the change of pace continues as it has for the last fifty years (or longer) the foundations of the tunnels will always be changing.

It’s a good era to be a Morlock.

Haven't read 'In the Beginning was the Command Line'? You're missing out.

Just as I suspected

Near the end of a long working day . .

$ man make-it-all-work-right
No manual entry for make-it-all-work-right


Monday, December 10, 2007

Shotgun Marco Polo

Alternate rules Marco Polo - the Shotgun variant*

A: Marco!
B: Polo!

*Obviously rarely played due to some limitations in game play and the difficulty of finding players after the first round. Sissies.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cops and sergeants spoil all the fun

Bob is having trouble with his upstairs neighbor playing his tv (and video games) at loud levels. That worthy said . . .
"We need to fix this, I don't appreciate pounding on my floor."
Cops and sergeants (and downstairs neighbors) spoil all the fun. However it seems to be working out . . .
He could understand why I was complaining!!!!!!!!!!
I'm glad it seems to be working out.

Jean Feraca in New York City

Jean writes
I'm headed for The Big Apple this week to give a reading from I Hear Voices at the Border's on 57th St. in mid-town Manhattan on Tuesday. Whoop-de-doo! Hopefully, more than five people will show up. I've worked so hard to drum up a crowd, I've even invited my best friend's brother from high school!.

While her book does not sound like my cup of tea, Feraca is one of the better hosts on WPR. If you've got a few hours free and you're in the area it would be worth your time to see what she's about.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Oort Cloud might be far enough

I'm putting this in my .sig file ...

Can we colonize Mars anytime soon? Because I’d like to be as far away as possible from the fuckwads who think spending tax money on a War on Toads is a good idea.

Yes, war on toads. Welcome to the 21st century.

She don't need to be in here

Interesting story of a woman who avoided rape and murder, then charged by the state attorney with ... well read for yourself.
They all turned to me. What'd you do, hit your old man?

I smiled sheepishly and told them the story. By the end, Niecy called to the correctional officer, "She don't need to be in here!"

It made me feel good to know that there are people who are criminals who don't think what I did was wrong. I know it's not wrong.

Part the First
Part the Second
Part the Third

Friday, December 07, 2007

Audie 'Spindly' Murphy

Chris Gerrib on women soldiers . . .
Are women on average physically weaker then men? Well, duh. Can and does that cause problems? Again, duh. In large part, the argument is "optimal" vs. "effective." It might be optimal to have all your soldiers six feet tall and able to carry 200 pounds all day. Can a lesser mortal be effective?
I'm reminded that Audie Murphy - 5'5 and 110 pounds - was rejected by the Marines and the paratroopers for being too spindly.

Which is probably good - if he's enlisted in the Marines he probably would have been another dead grunt at Tarawa instead of the bad-ass soldier he became.
Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

That is Murphy's Medal of Honor citation. It's seems obvious that being effective as a soldier is down to what you are not how you're built.

I also agree with Chris when he says
At any rate, this argument, like many others, is unwinnable, because most of the debaters don't want their opinions confused by the facts.
Amen. So having said my bit I'll retire from the field.

Business as Usual

Coyote wrote

We offer Wi-fi services to campers and recreators in some of the facilities we manage. But I am shutting it all down if I am put in the position of policing how my customers use the Internet.

- I don't see how this could work, from a technical POV.

- Unless the provider has huge resources.

- Which a Mom and Pop coffee shop - or a firm running campsites - doesn't.

- But a huge chain would. Or the Phone Company.

- Hey - guess who wants to run a huge string of hot spots and offer wireless around the world?

Perhaps this isn't an attack on the First Ammendment but congress critters doing a favor for a well-heeled lobbyist.

Nothing to see here, citizens; business as usual - move along.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It looks like you have no clue - can I help?

Windows XP will helpfully notice that you do not have antivirus software installed .. even when you do.

Yes, slagging on Windows for these little foibles is like shooting fish in a barrel. Yes, all operating systems suck, just in different ways.

But Windows can be so lame it's past the point of funny and reached pathetic.

Java bugs me

What the ever loving heck?

We have an application that takes data from one system, magics it to be xml and posts it to a directory. Some time later a process from another server picks it up. Vendors and customers can also pick it up so it's gotta be available via FTP.

No problem - we do this all the time - we are not a financial services firm but we do ship data to and fro on a regular basis so we're not exactly new to this. The files and directories are hosted from a NAS storage array because those files can get big and doing it that way, while it was a pain to setup, is easy to manage.

All of our systems that write data to be shared do it the same way - it's a process we have. We make stuff - process is what we do.

Except this application, a new version of which we're installing, when writing files, seems to insist that the user owning the process must also be the owner of the directory Not owner

Heck the user can touch files there

# touch foo
# ls

But can Java? Oh Hell no.

Because it's it's NAS and because we have about eleventy-dozen operating systems writing files there, the permissions to allow access to that directory can be complicated so we tread with care when changing things.

I asked the developer to call the vendor and ask 'how can you do this'. I assume the vendor's response will be to gaze meaningfully into the distance, hum a bit and pretend to be intelligent. Then I'm going to dig up the documentation and very very carefully edit the permission file allowing data to flow to that directory.

But first I'm going on a date with my wife. It's movie night.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Lame Super Hero Team From the Upper Midwest!

Canada got Alpha Flight, the UK got Excalibur ... we get ... The Wisconsin Association for Justice.

I guess the trial lawyers don’t like the negative connotations of their old name.

The Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers (the Academy) today announced its members voted unanimously to change the name of the organization to the Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) at the annual meeting on Friday, November 30, 2007 in Milwaukee.

To my addled mind WAJ sounds just like a regional branch of the Justice League. Wonder Twin Powers of the Wisconsin Association for Justice ... Activate! Power of ... intestinal fortitude! Shape of .. cheese!

It's fun messing with people

Scene: A street in Washington, D.C.
LADY: (walking away) If you weren't so ignorant you really could have learned something here, I was just trying to talk to you.
ME: Where are you going? I just want you to tell me the answer! Tell me what we need to do to achieve world peace! If you walk away I win. If you walk away, it's free market capitalism for the win.
LADY: (turning back but still walking away) You should get a brain.
ME: And you should read Adam Smith! Come back! Come back or I win!
LADY: Whatever.
ME: I win!

The friendly taxi dispatcher is back ... awesome.

Sweatpants Dad

Elyse is staying at a hotel with a free continental breakfast . . .
By the way, I looked in the Comfort Inn's breakfast nook this morning and decided that never again will I fuck with a hotel breakfast. Assholes with their bowls of Brown Sugar Cinnamon Instant Quaker in styrofoam bowls or prodding a tough English muffin with a flaccid plastic fork. Thimble of Tropicana. Foil-wrapped margarine pat. Nobody can figure out the toaster. And that suddenly-ubiquitous hotel waffle iron with Dixie cups full of batter! God! Sweatpants Dad, you're humiliating yourself with that thing!

I do not understand people that willingly appear in public places in their pajamas.

Now, yes, if he is fresh from a session on the treadmill, that is one thing - but if he is then he's all sweaty and gross in the dining area so there is another faux paus.

People: sweatpants in a hotel are sleeping and exercise wear. You may pad down to the ice machine in them but appearing in the lobby for breakfast in your PJs is just all kinds of messed up.

Surrender Signal

Virtually every animal with a backbone has a reflexiive surrender signal. It applies only between species. Dogs do not take surrender from rabbits. But stags fighting for mates do not fight to kill. They fight until one turns tail - a popular surrender reflex. When a Siamese fighting fish has lost his plumage and leaves the fight, the winner will not pursue.

Members of a species will not normally kill each other even to steal food. It is common enough for one male of a group to grab all the females and the lion's share of the food - not only among lions. The rest go hungry and horny, and some die of it. You may consider this reprehensible. But it isn't murder, and it isn't war.

Lions have a problem. Too often the juvenile male challenges the head of the pride before he is ready. The elder male kills him. It's a bug not a feature, and a costly one in evolutionary terms.

Man has a problem too.

Man kept his surrender reflex. If you want to see it in action, watch children on roughhousing in a playground. A child gets hurt, he cries, and the others stop picking on him. If a bully refuses to obey the surrender signal, the others may turn on him.

'Playgrounds of the Mind' - Larry Niven

I submit that this is a surrender signal;

surrender signalsurrender signalsurrender signalsurrender signal

To me they look like so many sheep bedding down for the night. Y'all go ahead and lie down before rough men who would do you harm. This is my signal and I'll fly it proudly . . .

Don't Tread On Me

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

From The Mailbag - Peace

From a mail list I subscribe to . . .

" From: "W Ford"
" ----- Original Message -----
" From: CS
" > I am passing this on to you because it definitely worked for me and we all
" > could use more calm in our lives. By following the simple advice I heard on
" > a Dr. Phil show, I have finally found inner peace. On the show, Dr. Phil
" > proclaimed:
" >
" > "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've
" > started."
" >
" > So I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't
" > finished and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a
" > bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's, a
" > bottle of Kailua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of both Prozac and
" > Valium prescriptions, the rest of the cheesecake, some saltines and a box
" > of chocolates.
" > You have no idea how freaking good I feel. ;-)

From The Mailbag - Bebo

From the mailbag

Hi Brian

Hi Ziv!

I run marketing and business development for Bebo, the world's 3rd largest social network (after Myspace and Facebook). I checked out the new site you put together and it's just what the agency needed.


I wanted to invite you to bring NASA to our 40 million users.

Oh, that. There is a 'Brian Dunbar' who works for NASA. I am not him. I've never met the bloke.

If the above fits with your overall vision for, let me know and we'll set up some time to talk.

Don't bother hitting It's a parked page with ad links.

# whois nasa.o
Domain Name:NASA.ORG
Created On:29-May-1997 04:00:00 UTC
Last Updated On:11-Oct-2007 19:37:29 UTC
Expiration Date:28-May-2011 04:00:00 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Moniker Online Services Inc. (R145-LROR)
Registrant Name:Domain Admin
Registrant Organization:Mrs Jello, LLC

Bebo - or rather Ziv Navoth, VP Marketing & Business Development - gets a medium-sized fail for bad research.


He also gets a gah-wha? for his wardrobe - a tie with short sleeves?

Ziv Navoth - Beau Brummel, baby