I Now Understand Annie Wilkes

I just finished reading "I Work For Bigfoot", three Dresden short stories available as part of the Urban Fantasy Story Bundle.

The bundle includes ebooks by David Farland, Elizabeth Bear, Carole Nelson Douglas, Rhiannon Palle and Kevin J. Anderson.  You can pay what you want, but if you cough up $14 or more, you also get bonus ebooks from Vicki Pettersson, P. N. Elrod, Peter J. Wacks, Michael A, Stackpole and - of course - Jim Butcher.

So... yeah. I basically paid $20 to get three new Dresden short stories, and a bunch of other stuff that looks interesting.

Totally worth it.

Community? NOT.


There was one line in the story that kind of torqued me off, though.
Jessica Abels, who lives near the spot on Cronk Avenue near Illinois Avenue where the woman was found walking bloodied and naked, said she looked out the window when she heard a woman screaming for help around 2 p.m. Sept. 26.
She saw the woman jump out the window of a nearby vacant home, she said. 
"Her eyes were all swollen and she had blood all over her and in her mouth," Abels said. "She was pretty messed up." 
That's when the community jumped into action. 
Several area residents offered the 21-year-old woman clothing and comfort while a man who holds a valid concealed pistols license ordered the suspect out of the house at gunpoint, according to Flint police.
Emphasis mine.

Now, gather 'round and listen closely, ye who would claim to be reporters.  I know that you have almost certainly been taught that "social justice" and "journalism" are effectively synonyms. However, now that you are actually out in the real world, and doing real reporting, please do us all a favor, put that attitude away on the shelf next to your diploma, and keep that SJW nonsense out of the freaking facts of the matter, will you?

The "community", whatever the heck you think that is, did not "jump into action".

Individual people saw what was happening.  Each individual then made a personal decision to step up and do something.

I am pretty sure that things happened quickly enough in this case that the "community" was not involved at any point.

I sincerely doubt that a "community" meeting was called in order to reach consensus and collectively decide the proper course of action vis-a-vis this situation.

I will admit that I cannot be absolutely positive this was the case.  However, I do believe the circumstantial evidence is on my side.

Note the complete lack of a hashtag campaign, for example.  The absence of a slipshod protest against the dirty Koch Brothers and the notable absence of any "organizers" on the scene is a pretty good indication that the "community" was not involved.

Finally and most importantly, there is the simple fact that something was actually accomplished, which in my experience is a near-certain indication that the wonderfully ambiguous and amorphous "community" was not involved in any way, shape, or form.

"Community", my shiny metal... er.

Sorry.  Channeled a bit to much of my  inner Tam there.

Epic Drumming

A friendly drum line competition between the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) Band and the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Band.

I wish there was a better angle on the second half of the clip!

So, You Think You Understand History?

I need to write this down, because I forget things sometimes, and I think what I heard today was important. Not to me, the time for me or almost anyone else alive on Earth today to make a difference has passed, but someone, somewhere might be able to make something of this, or at least find it helpful, or something. Once I'm done, I'm going to seal it up in a pipe, coat it in wax, and chuck it into the ravine. Maybe someday someone will read this, and try to put things together. If they're allowed to. 
I'd love to start at the beginning, but I'm honestly not sure when the world started to end. 

Technically True


From Adroit Films comes "Regcession: How The EPA Is Destroying America":
The documentary makes clear that the Green Movement is a "big business" not a "big cause".  
It is not only a big business for those directly involved in the Green Movement like solar and wind companies but it is also big business for the media;  the politicians, their friends and their families;  foreign countries;  multi-national corporations (many of which brand themselves as American companies); and even American colleges and universities.  
The use of the word regcession in this essay and in the documentary is not a mistake or a misspelling.  It is a word we have created in an attempt to brand the economic decline in America as what it really is.  America's economic decline is not a cyclical recession as the government would have us believe, but rather a 24 year reduction in American manufacturing jobs caused by excessive regulations.   We know we are not experiencing a recession because recessions do not last for 24 years and they do not put countries 17 trillion dollars in debt.  Ironically, not only are excessive nonsensical Environmental Protection Agency regulations bankrupting America and American citizens, they are also increasing worldwide pollution.  All of this is occurring as the politicians hide the truth by producing flawed and misleading unemployment statistics, and by moving millions of Americans on to government assistance and out of the workforce.

Stay Cold!

My younger brother's company.  Proud of you, Mike!

Stay Cold™ discs fit underneath any size aluminum can to help keep your drink ice cold from the first sip to the last. Just pop your Stay Cold™ discs in the freezer and in minutes they're frozen solid.

What MOS Would That Be?

The New York Times reports that the Iraq Army is attempting to draw deserters back to the war on ISIS:
QUSH TAPA, Iraq — The Iraqi military command has begun a campaign to re-enlist soldiers and officers who abandoned their units, a crucial step in its effort to rebuild an army that has been routed in battle after battle by Islamic State jihadists. 
Even as the government has continued to equip volunteers, the de facto amnesty for deserters is an acknowledgment that the army desperately needs experienced soldiers — even ones who ran — for a force that is sustaining heavy losses despite the American-led airstrike campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
In my imagination, the recruiting conversations go something like this...
"You country is thankful for your dedication, Private Said. You must understand, though, even with the amnesty, you will most likely be assigned to different duties than the ones you were originally trained for. Let us see... ah, yes. Your new post will be, mmm, as 'anti-tank round ablative armor'."
"Fortunately, no real retraining necessary there, eh? Take him away and strap him to something with an engine, will you, Sergeant?"
Why, yes, I have been reading Tom Kratman's Carrera series.  Why do you ask?

Tesla's Problem

A while back, I did a quick, back of the envelope calculation comparing a Tesla Model S to a Toyota Corolla, and figured that the Model S would have to come down in price - a lot - in order to compete purely on cost over a five year period. [1]  The price of a Tesla really only makes sense if it costs about $12,000 more than a Corolla.  (Interestingly enough, that is the reported cost of a Model S battery pack.)  That works out to about $30,000.

In other words, once I can buy a Tesla for 30 grand, it will become a worth looking at as a possible worthwhile investment for me.  Depending on the expected life of the car, and the price of gasoline, it might even be worth it at a higher price point.

So I've been keeping an eye on the Tesla Model 3, which was supposed to approach this price range.  Current opinion, however, seem to be that the price will end up in the $50,000 range.

I am sure you can see the problem.  I might, someday, be interested in buying an electric car.  I doubt that there will ever be a day when I would be particularly interested in buying a luxury car that happens to be electric.

A shame, really, since they seem like such interesting cars.  Unless something changes, though, it looks like there is no Tesla in the near future for me.  Well... no new Tesla.  I will have to wait and see how well they hold their value.  It may be that a used Model 3 with a good usable lifespan might fall into the "worth considering" range.

[1] Rough figures: $62k for a Tesla Model S, $18k for a Toyota Corolla that gets 27 MPG.  If you take the difference in price ($44k) and put gasoline at $4/gallon, the Corolla can go 297k miles on $44k worth of gas.  At 15k miles/year, that is almost 20 years worth of gasoline for your Corolla.  With that price differential, you can by a new Corolla, drive it for five years, then buy another Corolla, drive it for another five years, and still spend less than you would on the Model S.  Keep in mind that is without considering the charging costs for the Model S at all.

Notes on SCIP (Small Child Interaction Protocol)

Since getting to/from the Outer Banks for vacation involved a 10+ hour car trip in each direction, I found myself in an excellent position to study and take notes on the Small Child Interaction Protocol (SCIP).  Up close and personal.  In the wild, as it were.

Here, I present my findings to date.

The Small Child Interaction Protocol (SCIP)

SCIP begins with one of two interrogatives ("Mama?" or "Dada?"), originating from the Child and directed at a Parent.  In theory, the particular interrogative is chosen to establish the communication channel with a particular Parent.  In practice, however, the opening interrogatives are issued in broadcast mode, and the Child is generally happy to connect with whichever Parent happens to answer up first.

If neither Parent is able to answer a connection request immediately, the Child will pause momentarily, and then begin issuing a repeated stream of interrogatives ("Mama?  Mama?  Mama?").  As far as I can determine, there is no rate limiting mechanism employed by the Child when entering into this state.  There is in fact some evidence that the Child will typically employ a negative exponential backoff if there is no ACK to any of the first half-dozen connection requests.

Upon receiving the interrogative, a parent is required to ACK the interrogative.  The actual form of the ACK is apparently very flexible.  "Yes", "Uh-huh", "Hold on", "Wait a second", and even "Who are you?" are all acceptable responses from the Parent.  The actual text of the response may be interpreted by a more advanced Child implementation and used to set communication protocol parameters; however, this is not required, and for most Children, the actual presence of the ACK is enough to finalize the establishment of the communication channel.

A conforming Child implementation will acknowledge the ACK from the Parent by issuing another interrogative.  This may seem redundant, but experience has shown that many Parent implementations will ACK an initial query without bringing any actual processing resources online to deal with the communication stream.  This actually makes sense, as any given Child instance may close down communications when a priority interrupt (ex., remembering a cookie, a sibling Child instance moving, a particularly interesting dust particle, etc.) occurs within 0.0001 ultra-micro-picoseconds of the initial ACK.  Thus, the Parent avoids a potentially unnecessary context switch by waiting for the second interrogative.

A Child will indicate to the Parent that it has avoided a priority interrupt and is fully ready to communicate by issuing a second interrogative.  The format of this interrogative will indicate if the data to follow is a simple statement (and not requiring a reply from the Parent) or a query for information from the Parent.  At this point, the Parent will context switch, bring processing resources online, and prepare to receive data from the Child.


C: "Mama?"
P: "Yes, dear."
C: "Can I tell you something?"
P: "Go ahead..."
C: "I liked swimming on vacation!"
P: "That's nice, honey."

C: "Mama?"
C: "Mama?  Mama?  Mama?"
P: "Yes, yes.  What?"
C: "Can I ask you a question?"
P: "What is it?"
C: "Um... I forgot."

C: "Dada?"
P: "Yes'm?"
C: "Can I ask you a question?"
P: "Sure."
C: "Do dogs have dreams?"
P: "..."

C: "Mama?"
P: "Um-hm?"
C: "Can I tell you something?"
P: "Go ahead..."

Related Protocols

Unfortunately, as Eldest Daughter spent the majority of the trip both ways drawing while listening to her new iPod, the chances to study the Young Teenager Interaction Protocol (YTIP) were minimal.  Keep in mind, though, that YTIP is simply a subset of The Surly Teenager Interaction Protocol (STIP).  If you are familiar with the main-channel and back-channel communication mediums for STIP (i.e., random vocalizations coupled with arbitrary eye rolls and an almost palpable disdain for anyone over the age of 25 or younger than they are), then you're pretty much set as far as understanding YTIP goes.