Friday, February 28, 2014

Stupid damn bitch

Not the female German Shepherd that bit Wolfgang at the Dog Park. Rather, her owner, who let her bite him three separate times. The last one got him good.

He's going into surgery right now. More later.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

UPDATE 28 February 2014 19:50: Home now, and Wolfie is resting in  his crate.  He never goes into his crate, but his wound is still oozing, and the confined space will keep him more still.  He's sleeping.  And the Cone Of Shame is not an attractive fashion accessory.

This was all just more fun than I want to have in a long, long time.

Well, you would get a new holiday out of it

Good on ya, mates.  Mind the sheep.

Onward, Comrade!


Timelords all

I will kill you in the spring

Don't think I won't ....

I feel like I've been rather grumpy lately, and am working on an uber post which is grumpy, and that's a whole lot of grumpy.  And so today will be comedy day.  However it works out, it won't be grumpy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Top 10 NSA pickup lines in bars

Ladies, forewarned is forearmed.

Emailed from a Secret Squirrel buddy.

Climate science as currently practiced is not just corrupt

It's more corrupt than you can possibly imagine.  And some of you have quite good imaginations ...

Dr. Judith Curry is a major figure in climate science - a frequent publisher in peer-reviewed journals, co-researcher with Dr. Muller's Berkeley Earth Science Temperature (BEST) data set, and chair of Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.  In other words, she's not one of those beastly Deniers like you and me.  And she has been slandered by Michael Mann (of "Hockey Stick") fame.  Some people have suggested that she sue Mann just as Mann has sued Mark Stein.  She isn't, but raises some incredibly important points about the diseased state of the scientific establishment:
All this is becoming quite the soap opera.  Apart from the entertainment being provided for the climate blogosphere, there are three really important issues at stake here:
  • freedom of speech
  • academic freedom
  • media access to information
I come down stalwartly on the side freedom of speech and media access to information.

With regards to climate science, IMO the key issue regarding academic freedom is this:  no scientist should have to fall on their sword  to follow the science where they see it leading or to challenge the consensus.  I’ve fallen on my dagger (not the full sword), in that my challenge to the consensus has precluded any further professional recognition and a career as a university administrator.  That said, I have tenure, and am senior enough to be able retire if things genuinely were to get awful for me. I am very very worried about younger scientists, and I hear from a number of them that have these concerns. [emphasis mine - Borepatch]
Tenure is an amazing privilege for academics. And now we see in the Mann/UVa case, that the establishment academics are worried about  fear of embarrassment by public disclosure and fear that those who dislike their findings will conduct invasive fishing expeditions in search of a pretext to discredit them.  Come on, big boy pants please.  We are talking about publicly funded research, and a primary concern is supposed to be avoiding embarrassing the scientists?

For the past decade, scientists have come to the defense of Michael Mann, somehow thinking that defending Michael Mann is fighting against the ‘war on science’ and is standing up for academic freedom.  Its time to let Michael Mann sink or swim on his own.   Michael Mann is having all these problems because he chooses to try to muzzle people that are critical of Mann’s science, critical of Mann’s professional and personal behavior, and critical of Mann’s behavior as revealed in the climategate emails.   All this has nothing to do with defending climate science or academic freedom.

The climate science field, and the broader community of academics, have received an enormous black eye as a result of defending the hockey stick and his behavior.  Its time to increase the integrity of climate research particularly with regards to increasing transparency, calling out irresponsible advocacy, and truly promoting academic freedom so that scientists are free to pursue research without fear of recriminations from the gatekeepers and consensus police. [emphasis mine - Borepatch]
Remember, Dr. Curry is a climatologist.  By her own admission, she has precluded further advancement of her scientific career by straying from the "consensus" view in her scientific publications.  Only tenure protects her from more draconian retaliation.

This is not the sign that climate science (as practiced in mainstream scientific institutions) is healthy.  And this isn't by any means the first time that we've caught a glimpse of the velvet clad iron fist.

I created this four years ago.  Look at the last bullet - people have been losing their jobs because they don't toe the line.  This has been happening for a long time

If there is a "War On Science", then the Empire is striking back.  This is really important stuff, and I recommend that you read all of Dr. Curry's post, as well as the one of mine here.
PHRENOLOGY, n. The science of picking the pocket through the scalp. It consists in locating and exploiting the organ that one is a dupe with.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

The White Man's Burden ...

... is to civilize the African continent:
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law Monday, February 24, the “Anti-Homosexuality” bill, which stiffens penalties against homosexuality, already criminal under Ugandan law.


UPDATE: The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have frozen or redirected millions in aid to the country. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States is reviewing its relationship with Uganda after the president signed the law.


UPDATE (6:45 p.m. ET 2/26/14):
Secreary of State John Kerry has likened Uganda's anti-gay bill to nazism and apartheid saying, "You could change the focus of this legislation to black or... Jewish, and you could be in 1930s Germany or you could be in 1950s, 60s apartheid South Africa."

UPDATE: (8:37 a.m. ET 2/27/14)
: At least three European countries have already begun the process of cutting foreign aid to Uganda.
And now, a musical tribute to the Finest Minds™ in the West:

Man, not much has changed in the last 60 years.

The cleaning lady has more brains than the rest of them

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Associated Press, NPR, Washington Post et al. v. National Academy of Sciences et al.

An upcoming Virginia Supreme Court ruling in litigation involving access to Michael Mann/University of Virginia e-mails raises thorny media access and freedom of information concerns involving potential scope of decision.

Pitting the interests of academic freedom against transparency, media access, and freedom of information, a high-profile case before the Virginia Supreme Court involving climate scientist Michael Mann is expected to be decided over the next few weeks.


The key issue in the pending case over the quest for Mann’s e-mails involves the extent of Virginia’s state freedom of information laws, which ATI is using to request Mann’s documents. That issue has galvanized a coalition of 18 heavyweight press groups — including the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Associated Press, Reuters, NPR, Dow Jones, Politico, The Washington Post and others — who somewhat quietly penned a friend-of-the-court or “amicus” brief favoring disclosure of this type of e-mail.

Meanwhile, the National Academy of Sciences and a number of large higher education associations and other academic interests are supporting Mann’s position with their own legal brief. Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has written about relevant background for the scientific community. “The court clearly understood the potential consequences of the actions it is being asked to take,” Halpern wrote after attending the Virginia Supreme Court’s January 2014 hearing, “with multiple justices talking about how the interpretive standard they set will apply not just to this case but to tens of thousands of cases.”
Wow, just wow.  While the article has the expected careless bias showing (talking about the "hacked" CRU emails which were leaked, not hacked; blather about how the scientists were exonerated - Stein's lawsuit is precisely about how this is not correct), this is turning into an epic showdown between the too-comfortable scientific establishment* and a Press that is actually standing up for needed transparency.
The Washington Post’s printed editorial position, just to take one example, illustrates the unusual turns the case has produced. In 2010, the Post’s editorial board weighed in heavily in support of Mann as he fended off what were widely seen as Cuccinelli’s ideologically motivated attempts to gain access to documents. The paper on its editorial page has continued to do so, pointing to what it calls a “witch hunt.” In May 2011, the paper’s editors called for a stop to “harassing climate-change researchers,” specifically citing ATI’s lawsuit and saying the university was “right” to claim a proprietary exemption.

“Academics must feel comfortable sharing research,” the Post’s board wrote then, “disagreeing with colleagues and proposing conclusions — not all of which will be correct — without fear that those who dislike their findings will conduct invasive fishing expeditions in search of a pretext to discredit them.”

And yet the Post’s management and legal department are nevertheless a party to the amicus brief against Mann and the University of Virginia.
My interpretation of this is that the MSM establishment has written off Global Warming and that while they individually are almost certainly sympathetic to the goals of the Big Green Machine, they don't see it going anywhere - and certainly not anywhere worth a weakened Freedom Of Information Act.

* You don't get more "establishment" science than the NAS.

Apple fanboys, update now

Apple just closed a pretty nasty security hole:
Apple has released OS X 10.9.2 which, you'll be delighted to know, improves the "accuracy" of the unread message count in Mail, and fixes the autofill feature in Safari among other little tweaks.

It also just so happens to snap shut a gaping security vulnerability that potentially allowed hackers to hijack users' bank accounts, read their email, steal their passwords, and compromise other SSL-encrypted communications.

On Friday afternoon, the Cupertino giant updated iOS 7 and 6 for iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Apple TVs to squash a flaw that knackered the integrity of SSL connections: a programming bug caused Apple's SSL code to skip over vital checks of a server's authenticity when establishing a connection. Apps affected by the flaw were left with no way to securely prove who they were talking to over the network.
The updates are for iPhone (you will by now have seen the message saying that an update is available) and for OSX.  The OSX update is here.  iPhone update is available via iTunes.

If you have any question whether you need the updates, take your safari browser to a test at

Thank you, Gentle Reader

One can acquire everything in solitude except character.
- Stendhal
I had a nice chat with Brigid last evening, about dogs and what they mean to us, and family, and cabbages and Kings.  Over the last few years she's become one of my favorite people in the world, and we've never even met.  The Blogosphere has brought us together, and enriched my life.

And quite frankly, it's the same for you.  There's quite a crowd that gathers here every now and then, and all of you enrich my life through your comments, and linkatude, and general awesomeness.

So thank you, Gentle Reader, for coming here and enriching my life.  I don't think I've said that in a while, but it means quite a lot to me.

And it's all through the magic of the Internet.  It looks like it's fixin' to get unseasonably cold here for a few days, so Al Gore must be in town.  If I see him, I shall thank him for his most excellent Information Superhighway, without which I would never have met Barkley and Brigid, or Blogfather JayG, or you.  It breaks down the miles that make our solitude, and is a wonder for which I am quite grateful.
Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.
- Lin Yutang

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton - Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Just to get all y'all in the mood for Mardi Gras.

Very good primer to how Alexander the Great became the Great

Isegoria has a series of posts that covers the topic in a way that I've never seen before.  If you are a military history enthusiast, then you should take a look.

The Macedonian Army

A Semi-Barbarian Upstart

Diplomacy and Logistics

That last one is particularly interesting - the old saw goes that when conflict looms amateurs talk strategy while professionals talk logistics.  It also casts some light on the gap in time between Alexander's first two big battles with the Persians, and the final one.

I'd like to see a post about the dynamics of the Persian Empire itself.  It expanded rapidly and collapsed quickly.

In a dog's eyes

We see ourselves reflected in your dog's eyes, not as we are but as we would wish to be.  Brigid has lost her beloved dog, Barkley.

Her's is a fine epitaph, no less his due.  All of us who share our lives with dogs know that their - and our - fate is to go before us, leaving a hole in our hearts where once unlimited devotion was found.
Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

- Lord Byron, epitaph to his Newfoundland, Botswain

Leaked photos of "Smart" gun testing

It's worse than I had feared.

Inspiration from Ken in the comments here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Now this looks like a scary movie

Hat tip: 2cents, via email.  And yes, you should start blogging again.

Valhalla welcomes another hero

Stephen emails to point out that another warrior has joined the last muster:
He said: ‘My regiment had been given the order to fight to the last man and the last round and not to retire, and this painting shows our position after a long day's battle. I fought in that battle.

‘The regiment was almost wiped out - but by some miracle, I was the last man virtually, and I fired the last round. That round, which was at about six o'clock at night, hit a Mark IV tank.

'Then the man standing at the side of me was killed because a German tank had come up behind us and fired its machine gun, almost point blank. And I took a deep breath and waited for mine.

'For some reason the tank didn't fire and I survived and am still here. You feel guilty for having survived.
What happened next is incredible:
Mr Ellis was captured and taken to a prisoner of war camp, but launched a daring escape and found shelter with a sympathetic family.

He was shipped from Libya to the camp in Italy but escaped by marching out of the main gate as if on a work party and hid in the mountains for a year. A young girl discovered him and led him to the farming family who sheltered him.

Mr Ellis named one of his daughters, Nerina, after her, and has returned regularly to the hill village of Massa Fermana, near Ancona, to visit the family who kept him alive.
God speed.

Oh. My. God.


Most of the people I know in high tech have had personal experiences exactly like this.


Pondering "Smart" guns

T-Bolt asks if you would get one.

A bunch of people have been musing on the reliability or lack thereof of this technology, and saying that they'd demand that the cops have them too to demonstrate adequate reliability.  Me, I'm not so sure.  My starting position is that the software quality is almost certain to be miserable, but (while I'm admittedly nasty and suspicious) that's not my beef.

This uses wireless communications between the gun and some sort of fob (watch, ring, bracelet, etc.).  What are the communication protocols?  Nobody says.  Has there been an independent security examination (a "penetration test" in technical jargon)?  Nobody says.  That silence is all you need to know that the security of the system is a sewer of vulnerability.

And so it's entirely plausible that someone could make up some sort of fob that scans for these guns and then runs an exploit against them, disabling them.  In other words, the "Bad Guy" Smart Gun® wristwatch beats the Good Guy™ wristwatch and when Good Guy pulls the trigger there's no boom.

If these sorts of guns ever become popular (because all others are banned), I expect to see this sort of attack pretty quickly.  The Computer Security crowd leans pretty heavily towards gun rights, and pretty much hates most forms of Big Government douchebaggery, and so this would get a lot of attention for the guys who pulled it off.  In other words, the motivation to do the investigation is high.

But that's not why I'll never own one of these.  This is:
State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) on Friday is expected to introduce legislation requiring all smartphones and tablets sold in the state to contain a so-called "kill switch," which would render the device inoperable if it was lost or stolen. The bill, which is sponsored by San Francisco Attorney General George Gascón, would apply to any device sold after Jan. 1, 2015.
So once only "Smart" guns can be sold, how long until there's a legally required backdoor in the software that allows the Authorities to disable the weapon from a distance?  Do we measure that timespan in minutes or milliseconds?
To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them.
- George Mason
The government of Athens, TN would have loved to have this.  J. Edgar Hoover would have loved to have had this.  Viktor Yanukovich would have loved to have had this.

And quite frankly, I suspect that the people who think that you can be forced to buy insurance you don't need or want, who think that TV news content should be regulated by FCC Commissars, who like the IRS auditing their political enemies, and who think that people who advocate for decentralized government in line with the text of the Constitution are "Domestic Terrorists" - I suspect that they'd like to have this sort of capability, too.

And so the problem with "Smart" guns isn't that the technology might not work.  The problem is that it might work all too well.
A government resting on the minority is an aristocracy, not a Republic, and could not be safe with a numerical and physical force against it, without a standing army, an enslaved press and a disarmed populace. 
- James Madison 
Actually, this quote nicely captures the activity of the IRS. the FCC, and gun control laws.  Got all we can use, thanks.

Bootnote: There's no question as to whether the NSA has the expertise to crack this technology.  No question at all.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Guess what's the least dangerous sport in the Winter Olympics?

Go ahead and guess (hint: it involves the use of live ammunition):

Strangely, the WaPo article somehow didn't mention to its readers that Biathlon involves the keeping and bearing of arms.  I'm sure that it was an innocent oversight.


No turning aside

Photo credit: SERGEY GAPON/AFP/Getty Images
But He knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.

- Job 23:10-11
The priests in Ukraine are the most badass priests on Earth, and I say that reverently.

Photo credit: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
- Psalm 23:4
Photo credit: Konstantin Chernichkin/Reuters
Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.

- Psalm 25:8-9
Badass.  Here endeth the Sunday lesson.

Butt-hurt anti-gun Police Chief is butt-hurt

The 9th Circuit actually strikes down a California gun ban law:
Last week, a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel struck down San Diego County’s approach to issuing concealed-carry gun permits, in a case that has statewide and even national implications. Critics of the decision, such as San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne and gun-control activists, argued that allowing more people to carry guns outside their homes increases dangers to the public.
Yeah, I know I'm late posting on this topic.  Everyone else was doing a such a great job of mocking the mockable that I didn't really have anything to add.  Until now.  "San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne" - does that ring a bell?  Why yes indeed:
San Diego Police Chief, William Lansdowne said in an interview that the implementation of new gun laws will take guns off the streets of America within a generation.

According to San Diego 6, Lansdowne said that it may take a generation but guns will eventually be taken off the streets through new laws like Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban:

“Chief Lansdowne, who plays an active role in the western region of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) association, said it may take a generation but guns will eventually be taken off the streets through new laws like Senator Diane Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban legislation. Some of the items his organization is addressing include; a ban on assault weapons, restricting high-capacity magazines, closing loopholes that allow firearm sales between private owners without background checks, and implementing much stricter background checks by using a comprehensive database.”
Awww, the 9th Circuit made Chief Bill "All Your Guns Belong To Us" Lansdowne into a sad panda.

It's not often you get to drink a cocktail of hippie tears mixed with Police Chief tears, but it's shadenfreudalistic!

Claudio Monteverdi - L'Orfeo

Image via Il Wik
Country music flirts with telling epic stories, but opera is defined as epic stories.  This isn't an accident: opera grew out of the Renaissance desire to recreate ancient Greek theater, where the Chorus (and maybe all parts) were sung.  The stories told in the early operas were solely from the ancient Greek and Roman canon.  The use of these stories was common in the late 16th Century, and in fact Shakespeare is full of them (Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus).

The oldest couple of operas are lost to us, but in 1607 along came Claudio Monteverdi, and suddenly opera was not just here to stay, but so was Baroque.  Monteverdi was instrumental in the birth of both forms, and had an enormous reputation during his lifetime at the time as one of the greatest composers.  But after Monteverdi's death in 1643 this opera was forgotten.  It was rediscovered by a musicologist and revived in 1904, nearly three centuries after its first performance.

L'Orfeo tells the tale of Orpheus, a tale from the ancient Greek Mystery Religions where Orpheus - the greatest musician of the Age - descends to Hades to attempt to bring back his bride Eurydice.  While the musical style appears overly formal to those of use used to letting our musical hair down with Puccini and Wagner, it's very likely similar to the style of the ancient  world.  It is in an case the oldest opera you are likely to ever see performed, as it gets rolled out fairly regularly, as you see in this performance from the Opernhauses Zürich.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spring cleaning time

Probably a bad idea.

But lookee what I found doing yard work, here at Camp Borepatch:

Probably a week late, but it was cold and snowy.  While I miss our friends from the People's Republic of Massachusetts (all y'all know who you are), springtime is a glory here in Dixie.  As are the gun laws.

Suck it, Massachusetts.

An ancient Roman perspective on out miserable winter

They could have used some Global Warming, too.

The Highwaymen - Highwayman

Image via La Wik
The enduring attraction of Country music is that it tells a story.  Sometimes it's a story of something like what's happened to you, or to someone you know.  Other genres of music do this, too.

But sometimes the stories are epic, like something out of Homer or the Chansons de Geste.  If this is your bag, baby, then you typically only have two choices: Opera, or Country.

This song could have been sung around a campfire of Caesar's Legions, or on a Viking Longship, or in Valley Forge.  It is but the latest addition to the timeless list of Epic Poetry that has come down through the ages.  Gilgamesh knew this song.  So did Roland.  The words and tune change, but the song remains the same.

Songs like this don't get much air play these days.  They are seen as a quaint relic of a less enlightened past, not useful for the cultural elites and their dreams of a transformed society.  That's why they need to be played.

Highwayman (Songwriter: Jimmy Webb)
I was a highwayman. Along the coach roads I did ride.
With sword and pistol by my side.
Many a young maid lost her baubles to my trade.
Many a soldier shed his lifeblood on my blade.
The bastards hung me in the spring of twenty-five.
But I am still alive.

I was a sailor. I was born upon the tide.
And with the sea I did abide.
I sailed a schooner round the Horn to Mexico.
I went aloft and furled the mainsail in a blow.
And when the yards broke off they said that I got killed.
But I am living still.

I was a dam builder across the river deep and wide.
Where steel and water did collide.
A place called Boulder on the wild Colorado.
I slipped and fell into the wet concrete below.
They buried me in that great tomb that knows no sound.
But I am still around.
I'll always be around, and around, and around, and around, and around.

I fly a starship across the Universe divide.
And when I reach the other side,
I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can.
Perhaps I may become a highwayman again.
Or I may simply be a single drop of rain.
But I will remain.
And I'll be back again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
The words and tune change, but the song remains the same.
But Patroclus, overcome by the stroke of the god and by the spear, drew back into the throng of his comrades, avoiding fate. But Hector, when he beheld great-souled Patroclus drawing back, smitten with the sharp bronze, came nigh him through the ranks, and smote him with a thrust of his spear in the nethermost belly, and drave the bronze clean through; and he fell with a thud, and sorely grieved the host of the Achaeans. And as a lion overmastereth in fight an untiring boar, when the twain fight with high hearts on the peaks of a mountain for a scant spring, wherefrom both are minded to drink: hard panteth the boar, yet the lion overcometh him by his might; even so from the valiant son of Menoetius, after he had slain many, did Hector, Priam's son, take life away, smiting him from close at hand with his spear.
- Iliad,  Book XVI

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Chantays - Pipeline

Because winter has gone on too long.

Why is everyone in Hockey crying all of a sudden?

Team USA Women's Hockey blew a 2 goal lead in the last couple of minutes, and so had to settle for silver.  Epic choke.  Tears were shed.

They're not the only ones.  Last April Team Canada's women lost to Team USA.  Tears were shed.

No crying in Hockey, girls.  I say that because, well, it's true.  And because Patriarchy.  But quite frankly, it's not just the girls.

Canada’s Boone Jenner cries after Canada was defeated by Russia in the bronze medal game at the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa January 5, 2013.
(REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

Dude, no crying in hockey.  You look like the girls.  I say that because Patriarchy.  Go watch Goon on Netflix.

Seriously, is there anyone in hockey that doesn't cry when they lose?


An Airman wrote a note to the military censor asking that if the photograph here were secret, to please return it to him at his base.  It was, in his words, "unduplicable".  Boy, howdy - I'd say.

Via email from Andrew.

About that Connecticut gun law that 90% of gun owners are ignoring ...

Goober brings the clue-by-four down on the lefties that are (surprise!) spouting nonsense:
One of the folks who is rooting for the prosecution of every gun owner in the state who either failed to comply, or who tried to comply but missed the deadline, is suggesting that they use the background check database to find out who bought an assault weapon, cross reference that to the folks who didn’t register an assault weapon, and then go pay those folks a visit. 
Once again, the absolute ignorance of these people when it comes to guns and existing laws is just jaw-dropping.  Also, they have already contradicted the arguments against the background check system, in that it would be used as a de facto registry – that didn’t take long.  But I’m just a paranoid nut. 
Allow me to lay a little bit of learning on you, folks…
The background check database is going to tell you three things:
1.       Who applied for a gun purchase;
2.       Whether the gun was a long gun or a pistol;
3.       Whether they were approved to purchase the weapon or not.
What it is NOT going to tell you is the following:
1.       If the gun was actually purchased after approval (it isn’t entirely unheard of that a guy changes his mind after approval and doesn’t buy the gun);
2.       If the gun was a scary black gun or one of the friendly wooden-stocked types, identical in every way to the scary gun, but without the scary looking features like the shoulder thingy that goes up.
3.       If the person who bought the gun still owns said gun.  Contrary to popular belief, it is totally legal for a man to sell his own legally owned property without asking the state’s permission.
He then does a thought experiment - what if you could actually do it (even though you can't)?  Spoiler alert - it still wouldn't work.  RTWT.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Guitar Slim - The Things That I Used to Do

Some New Orleans blues for the lead up to Fat Tuesday.

Emergency security patches

There are two key ones:

1. Microsoft's Patch Tuesday update fixes a bug in Internet Explorer 9 and 10 that is being exploited in the wild.  If you have Windows Update enabled (and it's a very bad idea not to have this enabled) then this may already have been done.  This isn't a problem if you have a Mac or Linux, or if you don't use Internet Explorer.  If you use a company computer, and if your company has a big IT organization, then they may already have pushed this out to you.

2. Adobe has an emergency patch for Flash (the technology that powers video like Youtube).  Be careful when you get their upgrade, in that they bundle a lot of bloatware (e.g. McAfee's Security Scan) with their Flash.  You can click the box to turn this off, but you will want to pay attention during the install.

Both of these issues are rated critical, so you'll want to make sure you have the update.

I actually think that Thomas Aquinas was the smartest dude of the last millennium

But this is a pretty good 3 minute introduction to his thought.

And yes, this is worth three minutes of your time.  Smartest dude in a thousand years.  And it sort of gets to the bottom of the "Creationism vs. Evolution" controversy at argument #1 (or is it 2?  Dang, he's smarter than me).

In re: the protests in Venezeula and Ukraine

I think the opposite of "bootnote" is "hatnote" and so here's Lawrence's roundup of the Ukraine.


I was going to post on the tendency of leftist states to go all feral and repressive, but realized that I had already posted this years ago, from the Pleistocene Age of this blog (yes, back when TJIC was still posting, in other words, before the leftist Government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts went feral on him, in a very up close and personal way).

Reposted here, because eternal truths are eternal.


 "I did not read Pasternak, but I condemn him."

Via Reason, Brad DeLong has a damning chart up:

Material Well-Being in 1991: Matched Countries on Both Sides of the Iron Curtain
In his post, DeLong writes eloquently about non-economic issues, with pictures.  That got me thinking of Stalin's remark that one death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is a statistic.  The statistics are damning, but the soul crushing thought control that was the USSR deserves remembrance, too.

Boris Pasternak is best known for his novel Dr. Zhivago, which won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1958.  Considered Counter-Revolutionary, it ended Pasternak's career in the USSR.  He was forced to decline the Prize, and even had to refuse royalties from western publishers:

                                             CC CPSU
                                             16APR 1959
                                             To be returned to the
                                             General Dept., CC CPSU
Not for publication

                             CC CPSU

     B. Pasternak turned to me for advice on what he should do in
connection with the proposal of the Norwegian publishers to receive
money for the book "Doctor Zhivago."

     ...Pasternak would like to receive this money, a portion of
which he intends to give to the Literary Fund "for the needs of
elderly writers."

     I think that Pasternak should refuse receipt of money from the
Norwegian bank.

     I am asking for permission to express this point of view.


                                             D. Polikarpov
                                             April 16 1959

CC CPSU stands for Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.  Bill Mauldin, of "Willie and Joe" cartoon fame, won a Pulitzer Prize for this cartoon on the subject:

I won the Nobel Prize for literature. What was your crime?

Only an appeal from Jawaharlal Nehru to Khrushchev himself saved Pasternak from exile.  I'm old enough to remember the joke from the 1960s:
"I'm not afraid of A-Bombs,"
says Khrushchev, and he knows it.
"I'm not afraid of anything,
except, perhaps, a poet."
The title of this post comes from the Soviet era joke about the situation.  Some joke.

One man is a tragedy, not a statistic.  But Pasternak wasn't alone.  Mario Vargas Llosa just won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year.  He has been a vocal critic of authoritarian left-wing governments, most famously his denunciation of Castro in 1970.  He saw the soul crushing need for the Socialist State to silence dissent, and spoke up about it when many western Intellectuals were happy to explain it away with "Better health care" or some such nonsense.

Many still do.  After all, it must be the malice or incompetence of individuals that led to this.  It couldn't possibly be a rotten system.  They clearly don't read TJIC:
if when you attempt to implement “wonderful communism” and every single frickin’ time you get mass murder, starvation, and gulags, then that is communism
The statistics are damning.  The lives behind the statistics - crushed by an Intellectual Machine that fears all dissenting views - those are even more damning.

It's worth remembering that this Intellectual Machine is wildly popular on University campuses world wide.


Bootnote: back then I had like three readers, and nobody commented on this.  It's comment worthy (hint, hint).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another hero musters out

Major General Logan Scott-Bowden:
Major-General Logan Scott-Bowden, who has died aged 93, carried out secret reconnaissance missions to the Normandy beaches which paved the way for the D-Day landings.
Scott-Bowden was a member of the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP), a small unit which specialised in the clandestine survey of potential sites for the Allied landings in Italy and later France. On the night of New Year’s Eve 1943, he and Sergeant Bruce Ogden-Smith, clad in rubber swimsuits, swam for 400 yards from a landing craft to the area west of Ver-Sur-Mer, later known as Gold Beach.
Each carried a Colt 45, a commando knife, wire cutters, wrist compass, emergency rations, waterproof torch and an earth auger for testing the bearing capacity of the beach. The objective of their mission was to determine whether the landing area would stand up to the weight of heavy vehicles disembarking in great numbers. If armour and supply vehicles became bogged down in a hitherto undetected substratum of clay or peat bog, it would put the whole operation in jeopardy.

As they moved along the beach, they had to flatten themselves on the ground every minute as the beam from the local lighthouse swept over them. Heavy rain arrived to provide some very welcome cover and, encouraged by the sounds of New Year celebrations, the pair spent several hours collecting samples in bandoliers.
Heavily laden by the time they attempted the return journey, they were thrown back many times by the rough sea before they managed to get through the surf.
And then he fought across France and into Germany.  Resquiet in pace.

Hat tip: Jeff, via email.

633 Squadron

Brad emails:
 don't have Google+ so I can't comment, however there is another Mosquito movie which I caught part of this past Saturday:
This one is earlier than Mosquito Squadron but I bet the same planes were used.
It was filmed in 1964, not even two decades after the war's end.  Brad is almost certainly right that these were the same planes.

Rubbing is racing

I've turned into a huge Snowboard Cross fan.  Not only do you have the excitement of all the racers on the slopes at the same time, you have the added excitement of how wipe outs take out not just the wipeout-er, but the wipeout-ee,  One of the races yesterday at Sochi saw one guy fall taking out not just himself, but three other racers.

In other words, in a race that placed three, only two were left standing.  Awesome.  Reminds me of NASCAR, only snowy and wheel-less.  Waitin' for a crash ...

Cool.  I shall watch this with keen interest, in future.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A film that could never be made today

"Mosquito Squadron", from 1969.  There were still a bunch of the old birds still air worthy, and they make the centerpiece of the film.  Plus major roles played by David McCallum (Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and Charles Gray (You Only Live Twice, Rocky Horror Picture Show).  And Suzanne Neve who I'd not seen before, but who is quite dishy here.

A film like this could never be made today because it is unapologetically patriotic and portrays the military in a positive light.  It was made 24 years after V-E Day, and so the equivalent for today would be a film about the first Gulf War.  Indeed, we did see one of those made, but of a very different flavor towards patriotism and the military.

Epic geekery

This is fixin' to collapse into a black hole of geekery.

Relax, Citizen. It's for your own good.

The Gaijin emails this new Public Service Announcement from the Fed.Gov.

Just pretend they're not watching, and leave the thinking to them!

Paranoia: the New Normal

My post from a couple days ago about the Army making a training facility that looks just like Middle America seems to have gotten some attention.  In the past, I'd have given the benefit of the doubt to the Army.  Now, I'm reserving judgement.

Quite frankly, I don't see this as being paranoid.  And remember, I was trained to be paranoid by the finest minds in the Free World.  However, after years of:
  1. Hearing repeatedly that all men are "potential rapists"; and
  2. Hearing repeatedly that people who believe in what were not so long ago considered to be traditional American values are "potential terrorists"; and
  3. Hearing repeatedly that, srlsy, people who velieve in what were not to long ago considered to be traditional American values are srlsy "potential terrorists"; and
  4. Hearing that the NSA is collecting all the data on who you call, and who you email, and who you skype, and all the web sites you browse because you are a "potential terrorist";
  5. Hearing that the Fed.Gov knew about terrorist attacks and didn't stop them because of incompetence or Political Correctness, but still think that you are a "potential terrorist"; then ...
... I simply no longer see any good reason to give Government Agents the benefit of the doubt.  I actually think that a lot of them are trying to keep us safe.  I actually think that many of them are doing what they think the country needs.

But I also look at the IRS targeting the Administration's enemies, and the Justice Department targeting journalists, and the ATF running guns to drug lords.   And I haven't even scratched the surface of what's going on: INS traffic stops 100 miles from the boarder, TSA pat downs of Grandmothers and toddlers, "no knock" raids on the wrong houses.  The bill of indictment is long indeed.  The whole rotten lot of them look like they are maybe on the Other Side.


Are they?  Five years ago I would have personally hand folded you a tin foil hat.  Now?  I'm not at all sure.  Welcome to the New Normal.  If you aren't wondering, you're not paying attention.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Swarms - Flikr of ur eyes

It's what the Young Folk are listening to.  And it's not bad at all.

#1 Son played it in the car, and it was good enough that I asked who it was.

Why I'm not going to see the Hobbit films

Subtitle: A series of films with the same title as a novel by J.R.R. Tolkien:
You know it is bad when even hardcore Tolkien fans not only can't be bothered to see it, but devoutly wish to avoid ever being forced to lay eyes upon it. A commenter named Rainforest Giant summarizes the problem, not only with Peter Jackson ruining The Hobbit, but with the entire edifice of Pink and Postmodern SF/F:

"Jackson... ruins heroics because he cannot understand heroism. He ruins a fairy tale because his world lacks the deep magic. His villains are straight out of Scooby Doo. His special effects mere lights smoke and mirrors. His understanding of war and conflict as meaningless as Xena or Buffy. Tolkien understood war, sacrifice, magic (as a storyteller and father), heroes and villains, hope and despair. Jackson lacks a deeper soul thats why he writes bad fan fiction and cartoon action."
I think that Jackson lost me at the end of the Lord Of The Rings when the Eye Of Sauron said "And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids!"  No thanks.  There's so much good material he leaves out, and so much junk he creates to replace it that I'm not interested.

Chivalry isn't dead

It's just coughing up blood (language warning):

That's one smooth operator, right there.

Thoughts on President's Day

Today the USA celebrates the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  I'm torn - I list the greatest and worst Presidents in this post, naming Washington as the greatest and Lincoln as the worst.  It seems that I'm not unique in this: in Alabama the holiday celebrates the birthdays of Washington and Thomas Jefferson (which is odd since Jefferson was born in April; BTW, Jefferson made it into my top 5 list).  Also, Arkansas celebrates Washington's birthday and Daisy Bates who is certainly an upgrade from Mr. Lincoln.

I actually think that Lincoln can be correctly described as the first fascist American President.  Furherprinzip embodying the Public Will, and all that.  That's actually how it's taught, even.

But it's a day off, so enjoy it if you're in the States.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Boarder cross

I have to say that I've been enjoying the Olympics. The snow board race is a lot of fun to watch. It really highlights just how many of the events are individual time trials - a lot of the fun of snowboard cross is that you have a half dozen competitors on the piste at the same time.

But Dad, this is the wrong dog park!

First World problems for dogs. But dang, German Shepherds can be whiny and neurotic.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

New Army training facility looks like America


The US army has built a fake city designed to be used during combat training exercises.
The 300 acre 'town' includes a five story embassy, a bank, a school, an underground subway and train station, a mosque, a football stadium, and a helicopter landing zone.
Located in Virginia, the realistic subway station comes complete with subway carriages and the train station has real train carriages.
The subway carriages even carry the same logo as the carriages in Washington DC
Now I wonder who they think is the enemy in those training scenarios ...

Cognative dissonance for Progressives

On full display.  If you dare.  that first picture was hard for me. Not that the others weren't.  Your mileage may vary. 

Although if you're a Progressive and can look at these without feeling sick to your stomach, go away and don't come back.  You're not welcome here.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

We interrupt this blog for a message from #2 Son

The Olympics TV coverage only shows background on women skiers if they're hot. Thus spracht #2 Son.

Wonder where he became that skeptical about the media?

Quote of the Day, On Love

Gerhard Vanderleun:
Love frightens me because, unlike death, love cannot be understood. Love can only be given, gotten, taken or dropped. Like death, it would seem that, once discovered, there's no end to it -- or, to take Hemingway's point of view, no good end to it since one way or another death will trump love -- in this world at least.

Love is where the Poetics of life collide with the Politics. It's a collision where the possibility having to call in the MedEvac helicopter and the coroner is always present; where wreckage is assured and survival never promised. Falling in love is, as a comedian noted, like buying a puppy. You are purchasing a tragedy.

No, that's not quite right. Say rather you are purchasing a hybrid; a tragicomedy or a comic tragedy, since love always has, for those of us removed from its immediate drama, elements of the ridiculous, slices of the sublime, and not a few moments of boffo laughter at the shambling human animal.
Prose as jazz, on the greatest of the Great Questions.  They can never really be answered.  Just sung.

The most badass guy of World War II?

People will say it was Audie Murphy, but he was never asked to be the face of G. I. Joe.  Holy cow.

I'm pretty sure these aren't on the Massachusetts Approved Tail Pipe Roster*

Minigun pipes for your hog.

Not sure I want one, but cooler than heck.  They have a Ma Deuce model, too.  And a B-52 engine one.  Win.

* Found here.  In Georgia, the only reason a cop would pull you over is so he could get a closer look at the coolness.

If J. R, R. Tolkien worked on Madison Avenue

Lots more over at Isegoria.

Hank Locklin - Please Help Me, I'm Falling

No school like the Old School.  Hank Locklin was one of the early Honky Tonk singers, selling north of 15 Million records over his 60 year career.  He released 65 albums, which has to be some sort of record*.  Interestingly, he had a large following in Europe, and one of his albums was Irish Songs Country Style

He played at the Grand Ole Opry for nearly 50 years.  This video is him performing his biggest hit there.

Please Help Me, I'm Falling (Songwriters: Don Robertson, Hal Blair)
Please help me I'm falling in love with you
Close the door to temptation don't let me walk thru
For I should't want you
But darling I do

Please help me I'm falling in love with you
Please help me falling and that would be sin
Close the door to temptation don't let me walk in
Turn away from me darling
I'm begging you true
Please help me I'm falling in love with you

Hank Locklin was born on this day in 1918

* I'm here all week.  Remember to tip your waiters.

Winter sports you can't do in the South

Today is the 89th anniversary of the arrival of serum at Nome, Alaska.  It was delivered through the heart of the Alaskan winter by a sled dog team led by Balto, for a while the most famous dog in the world.  This is the event that inspired the annual Iditarod race.

Even with the recent Snowmageddon here in Dixie, you can't do this.  But with the introduction of small video cameras, here is someone taking us along with her.

#2 Son loves huskies more than any other breed.  Wonder if he'll end up moving to Alaska.

Slept late

Felt great, but need coffee. Didn't get any queued up last night because I had a date. Posting will resume shortly.

Also, thank you to the people who have used the Amazon link when they shop. I very much appreciate it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bond. James Bond.

007 got his name from an ornithologist named James Bond.  Ian Flemming was a bird watcher, and as he lived in Jamaica he of course had Bond's book.  In a letter, Flemming wrote:
"It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born."
Flemming asked Bond if he could use the name, and Bond basically said "go ahead".  And so one of the most famous film tag lines was born.

Flemming gave an autographed first edition of You Only Live Twice to Bond, with the inscription "To the real James Bond, from the thief of his identity."  The book sold at auction in 2008 for $84,000.

Sharp eyed Bond fans will recognize this book from the film Die Another Day from the scene in Havana.  The real Mr. Bond died on this day in 1989, never having had an actual License To Kill.

Gentlemen, remember that she'll like ammo today*

Except please be classy enough to personalize the holes with .38SP, not a hole punch.

* Err, if you haven't really p***ed her off.  Or maybe especially if you've p***ed her off.

Just how bad is the security of the TSA's PervScan® machines?

They run on Windows 98I'm not making this up:
KASPERSKY SECURITY ANALYST SUMMIT 2014 -- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic -- A widely deployed carry-on baggage X-ray scanner used in most airports could easily be manipulated by a malicious TSA insider or an outside attacker to sneak weapons or other banned items past airline security checkpoints.
Billy Rios, director of threat intelligence at Qualys, here today said he and colleague Terry McCorkle purchased a secondhand Rapiscan 522 B X-ray system via eBay and found several blatant security weaknesses that leave the equipment vulnerable to abuse: It runs on the outdated Windows 98 operating system, stores user credentials in plain text, and includes a feature called Threat Image Projection used to train screeners by injecting .bmp images of contraband, such as a gun or knife, into a passenger carry-on in order to test the screener's reaction during training sessions. The weak logins could allow a bad guy to project phony images on the X-ray display.
But fear not, Citizen.  The TSA is staffed by professionals.  And Government processes will ensure that the outcome is over determined:
"This reminded me a lot of voting machines. When you design these government systems under procurement rules, you end up using old stuff. No one is paying attention to updating it, so security is crap because no one is analyzing it," says Bruce Schneier, CTO of Co3 Systems. "Stuff done in secret gets really shoddy security ... We know what gives us security is the constant interplay between the research community and vendors."
Yeah, good luck with that here.
"These bugs are actually embarrassing. It was embarrassing to report them to DHS -- the ability to bypass the login screen. These are really lame bugs," Rios says.
Wonder if they're going to put him on the No-Fly list now.

Iconic photographs recreated in Lego

This is pretty cool:

Lunch atop a skyscraper:

Times Square, V-J Day:

Tank Guy:

That one needs a lot more legos if you want to do it justice:

Lots more iconic recreations at the link.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Careful with that Sriracha ...

Man, that looks hot.

Fed.Gov manipulating economic statistics

The poor (and women, minorities) hit hardest:
Poor people in Britain are suffering from a far higher inflation rate than the rich, according to research released today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) that shows the impact of soaring food and energy bills on those with the lowest incomes.

The thinktank said the least well off had experienced a higher cost of living than the wealthy for the past decade, but that the difference had widened sharply since the long, deep recession of 2008 and 2009.

In a study that coincides with the release of new official data today, the IFS said its analysis using the retail prices index (RPI) showed that the poorest fifth of households had faced an inflation rate of 4.3% between 2008 and 2010, compared to 2.7% for the richest fifth of households. RPI inflation has continued to rise in 2011 and stood at 5.2% in April.
5% inflation in Her Majesty's Scepter'd Isle, compared to a measly 1.5% in the USA.  Boy, we sure do a better job than in Blighty, right?  Well, take a look at the culprit in the UK:
... that shows the impact of soaring food and energy bills on those with the lowest incomes.
And what, pray tell, isn't included in the US inflation rate?
Here and around the world, the prices of everything from cotton to coffee have risen. The Department of Agriculture forecast for food costs in 2011 calls for an increase of 3 percent to 4 percent. And, the price of fuel is up -- a lot.

Yet, the government's measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index, barely registers an increase in the prices consumers are paying. Economists don't expect an inflation increase of more than 1.5 percent this year, "even if food goes up 3 percent and energy goes up 10 percent," says Bill Hampel, chief economist for the Credit Union National Association.


What gives? Don't food and fuel prices count in the tabulation of the index? Not really.
So who pays a (much) higher portion of their income for food and gasoline?  The poor.  So why isn't the Left screaming bloody murder about this?  Because the social programs (New Deal, Great Society) are all teetering on insolvency.  A lower CPI means that they go broke less quickly.  Sharp eyed readers will note that with inflation at 1.5% and GDP growth around 2%, these programs cost less in real terms.  That savings can be applied to other Lefty programs - say healthcare.

And so the Left is immiserating the poor and the elderly ("Chained CPI" is a blatant attempt to further reduce CPI for Social Security) in order to feed the maw of the Progressive Superstate.  For Social Justice™.  Because Shut Up.

And for some reason, these SWPL jerks feel more noble than the rest of us ...

Record cold

January had a ton of cold records broken.

Purple means record low, white means record snowfall.  This is actually pretty interesting as a demonstration of the low quality of the surface temperature database.  I'm not buying record high (red dot) in Greenville, NC, Memphis, Chicago, and Portsmouth NH.  Just not buying it.  What seems much more likely is a data error or some sort of malfunction.  The data sets are quite frankly full of this sort of thing, and the software to "correct" things adjusts the data so that temperatures appear to be higher.

But even with the data being cooked, January was record miserable weather.

Free technical education

I keep saying this, because it's true: if you're looking to get into a growth industry, the Internet Security field needs you.  Bad:
ESG [Research] is about to publish its 2014 IT spending intentions research as it does each year.  In reviewing this data, I found continuing bad news about the IT security skills shortage.  ESG research found that:
  • Of those organizations planning on adding new IT staff positions in 2014, 42% say they will increase headcount in information security.  This is the highest percentage of all IT skill sets (note:  the #2 choice was IT architects at 35%).
  • Twenty-five percent of all organizations surveyed claim that they have "problematic shortage" of information security skills at their organizations.  Once again, this was a higher percentage than any other individual IT category (note:  the #2 choice was IT architects again at 24%).
RTWT for the list of industries that cannot get and retain security talent.  This means that wages will be rising for the foreseeable time, as will job security.  In this economy, that's not a bad thing.

"But Borepatch", I hear you say, "that's easy for you to say having been in that industry since like 1066 A.D. or whatever.  But how do I break in?"  Easy - Cisco certifications.

Start with the entry level CCNA, which will open some doors just by itself.  This series of Youtube videos is very high caliber, and walks you through the entire curriculum.  You can also look at the slides here.  Spend a month or two of evenings and you'll have the material down - it's not landing a man on the moon, it's just basic blocking and tackling.  Then you take the Cisco certification test for a few hundred bucks.  Quite frankly, that might be enough to score an entry level IT networking job.

Next, take the CCIE, and then the CCIE Security specialization.  Again, high caliber online classes are available for a few hundred bucksOr free.  Followed by a few hundred for the test.  So for your time and a grand or two, you can make yourself into someone who can ride the desperate shortage of security talent into a lucrative career.

And a word to the wise: SecureWorks is looking for security guys for their Myrtle Beach Security Operations Center.  That's right - good pay, no State income tax, and living on the beach.

And nobody in the industry cares what college you went to, or if you went at all.