"Peak Cat"

“You don’t have a cat, you have a horseman of the apocalypse.”
“Exactly. Want it?”

The What Now?

... by Martin, George A.; 4 editions; First published in 1892; Subjects: Design and construction, Gates, Fences, Bridges, Accessible book
Holy cow. The book is interesting, but the Open Library? How did I not know this existed?

They even have an online copy of Thirty Years a Detective!  Woot!

When Spooks Speak

Bruce Schnier notes:
The NSA has published declassified versions of its Cryptolog newsletter. All the issues from Aug 1974 through Summer 1997 are on the web, although there are some pretty heavy redactions in places. 
Wikipedia comments that Cryptolog is "Published Monthly by PI, Techniques and Standards, for the Personnel of Operations".

Heavily redacted, indeed.  Still, it should make for some interesting browsing.

Hope'n Change

Just in case you thought "Hope and Change" was something new under the sun...
It's the nature of war these days: not to win, exactly, because that implies a loser and losers must be protected by statute, but to keep going until the population finally catches on to the fact that all their time and all their treasure has been squandered by people who, were they not fighting this war, would have to get real jobs instead of Changing The World.
Of course, those people Changing The World (TM) have a lot on their plate.
Part of Changing The World is mocking the efforts of those who are actually doing good while failing to follow the script. 
Too much, in fact, to have something as menial as a job - you know, the type of thing that pays the bills:
Someone who wants to Change The World would have turned up her nose at such a thing because it was so, you know, totally mindless and not at all contributing to her brave new world where there are no poor people, except maybe for the guys who work for the lawn service, and at least they're making something beautiful, you know?
We can hope for a better world, but frankly, it's not very likely to change.
The stupid, like the poor, we will always have with us. And a War On Stupidity would cost every gram of wealth on the planet, and the next two besides.

In The Queue

Just making note of a couple of books I  mean to buy:

Maybe I Should

So I walked into the bathroom at work today, and noticed that there's a new sign up in there - "Employees Must Wash Hands."

I immediately thought, "Well... when?  You don't specify.  Before?  After?  Both?"

Maybe I need to take a break from writing test plans for a bit...

World Discoverer

Abandoned World Discoverer Ship in Roderick Bay, Nggela Islands, Solomon Islands, Oceania.

More images at the link...

Ace Ventura VI : Return of the Snark

I'm selling this Jim Carrey Autographed B&W 8X10 Photo (mint condition) in hopes that I sell it for enough to buy a GUN to protect my family. 
I'm thinking of getting the Glock G30S .45 ACP Pistol which retails for $640 U.S. Hopefully I can get at least that much for the autographed photo. If it sells for more than I'll get a laser sight for it and take some gun safety classes and get my "concealed carry" permit.
The Snark is strong with this one.

I'm just a poor software developer, but I'm sure there's someone out there with some extra cash on hand who could help this man divest himself of his now sullied property.  Seems like it would make a pretty good dartboard, f'rinstance.

After the Crowd

If you've ever run a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, you'll know that managing what your backers have ordered and their delivery addresses can be a pain point in what should be a fun process. We want to help you make that step pain free.
A very sweet idea.  I just used their product to manage a pledge... and it went very, very well.

I wish I had thought of this.

A Medium Verging On Large

Medium is based on the belief that the sharing of ideas and experiences is what moves humanity forward.
More concretely, Medium is a system for reading and writing. A place where you can find and share knowledge, ideas, and stories—specifically, ones that need more than 140 characters and are not just for your friends. It’s a place where you can work with others to create something better than you can on your own.


Two fascinating stories.

On July 22, 1851, on a day when a visitor to London had any number of amusements at his disposal... a group of men assembled in a small room in Westminster. 
They were drawn by a curious invitation: “To witness an attempt to open a lock throwing three bolts, and having six tumblers, affixed to the iron door of a strong room.” 

My grandfather was - at 39 - already an old man by military standards when he joined Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in the early years of World War II. So it was perfectly plausible when he told my grandmother that they kept him well away from the front line, out of harm's way. 
His story was that the Admiralty had got him doing dull, technical stuff, poking around in the innards of new torpedoes and mines. But that couldn't be further from the truth, as my family discovered just a couple of years ago. 
In fact my grandfather, Lieutenant Theo "Rusty" Ionides, had been handpicked by none other than Ian Fleming to be part of the Bond creator's top secret crack team of commandos.
There's your history lesson for the day, Horatio.

Mega Fanboi Squee


Ubisoft... please, please, please, please, please don't screw this one up...

The Ides of March, Gobbler's Knob Edition

Does Punxsutawney Phil deserve to die? 
Punxsutawney Phil may have given his last forecast.
A prosecutor in Ohio is seeking the death penalty for the world-famous groundhog who emerged from his Gobbler's Knob home on Feb. 2 and did not see his shadow. His handlers proclaimed: “And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, an early spring for you and me.”
Michael T. Gmoser, prosecuting attorney in Butler County, about 20 miles north of Cincinnati, said on Thursday that Phil's misrepresentation of an early spring warrants the death penalty for the irrepressible rodent.
“Let's face it, Punxsutawney Phil has let us down,” Gmoser said, tongue firmly in cheek, after filing the necessary court documents.
My wife's granmother used to eat groundhog on occasion.  Given the snow on the ground this morning, I am more than willing to break out the hot sauce and see what a Punxsutawney burrito would taste like.

Comment of the Day

A friend on Facebook, commenting on an article about how we now live in a world where more people have mobile phones than clean toilets:
Hey, if you made me choose, I'd probably take comms infrastructure over indoor plumbing. I can haul and boil water to make it safe to drink, but I can't brute force a communications network into existence. It's a very defensible choice in my view.

Continuing My Kipling Explorations

I re-read "Rikki-tikki-tavi" from The Jungle Book:
At the hole where he went in
Red-Eye called to Wrinkle-Skin.
Hear what little Red-Eye saith:
"Nag, come up and dance with death!"
That, and the opening paragraph makes me quiver with excitement and anticipation: 
This is the story of the great war that Rikki-tikki-tavi fought single-handed, through the bath-rooms of the big bungalow in Segowlee cantonment. Darzee, the Tailorbird, helped him, and Chuchundra, the musk-rat, who never comes out into the middle of the floor, but always creeps round by the wall, gave him advice, but Rikki-tikki did the real fighting.
Definitely going to have to read this to da goils. 

Ye Too Canne Be A Hero In Sixe Eafy Leffons!

Christopher Taylor talks about samurai vs. knight, and how the outcome of matchup is not as clear-cut as you might think... because your thinking is probably wrong:
If you have heard any geek or teenage boy discussion of blades, you probably have heard (or participated) in a debate over which would be the more dangerous warrior: The romantic European knight or the stylish Japanese Samurai? Europeans usually are declared the loser because they're supposedly slower and more clumsy and their swords aren't as good, etc. 
Except research is starting to show that almost all our understanding of medieval European knights is in error. We know their behavior wasn't as courteous and chivalrous as the more romanticized tales of King Arthur would have you believe, but what's changing is the understanding of basic elements of medieval warfare.

PTSD And Thee

Myke Cole talks about What PTSD is:
I’ve talked before about genre writers who have been very open about per­sonal trials, par­tic­u­larly the kind of depression/anxiety con­di­tions that I feel are a nat­ural part of the uneven ter­rain all authors have to walk. I’ve always appre­ci­ated their will­ing­ness to go public with these issues, as the first (and false) thing that most people suf­fering from these sorts of things think is a.) that they’re alone and b.) the problem is unique to them...
... I’d seen the ads on AFN, showing young men with gun­powder still on their hands, often fresh off the bat­tle­field, having trem­bling flash­backs of a fire­fight where their best friend went down right next to them. THAT was PTSD.
Except, it wasn’t.

My comment last night was that going by this view, for most of human existence, PTSD has been the norm.  It makes me wonder how we might change out foreign policy interactions - say, in Afghanistan - if we were to recognize that for many populations in the world, this is still the norm.

I also hesitate to say it, but... traditionally, the military has been a conservative institution (and I'm using "conservative" in the "civilization vs. barbarian" meaning of the term).  I wonder how much of that is exactly because it is made up of individuals with a very different world view than then general populace; individuals with an understanding at a very visceral, personal level that the world is not a safe place.

Fourth What Now?

That whole Constitution thing is so passé, you know.  It's not like anybody pays attention to it anymore, really...
Feds: No Warrant Needed to Track Your Car With a GPS Device 
The President Barack Obama administration is claiming that authorities do not need court warrants to affix GPS devices to vehicles to monitor their every move.
The administration maintains that position despite the Supreme Court’s infamous decision last year that concluded that attaching the GPS devices amounted to search protected by the Constitution.
I mean, who needs that pesky old judicial branch, anyways?

Oh, and shut up, peon.

Reality Can Be A Glitch

Presenting the "Good Vibrations" storage unit by Ferruccio Laviani:


Some Quotes

Posting has been very light lately, as work and home have conspired to keep me hopping.  I have come across several good quotes in my brief stints of wading through the intarwebs, however...
Technology won’t solve all problems but proper application of technology will reduce many problems to soluble multiple problems.

... cheap energy solves most problems; and if your philosophy is one of distribution of resources, then it helps to have a large pie to distribute.

... the law isn’t able to prevent all bad things from happening. It can only try to punish the perpetrator after the fact, and that doesn’t mend a broken life or repair a deep trauma.

Then we start doing mash-ups and before too long, you're celebrating Canada Day by eating bratwurst tacos in a pita-bread shell at a faux-English pub in Nebraska.  You want culture?  We're a heated cabinet fulla Petrie dishes and they're all kinda porous!
If you catch up to society as it’s pushing leftward and say “Hey guys, I think we should go leftward even faster! Two times faster! No, fifty times faster!”, society will call you a bold revolutionary iconoclast and give you a professorship.
Oh, one final thing.  We've apparently got mandarins, now, as well as praetorians.  Both of which would very much like us peons to just stay in our assigned roles.  Which is kind of bogus, since what we really need are more free men and women.  We're not going to get off of this mud ball if the primary output of our society are "leaders" who get all starry eyed about the failed social models of long-gone empires.


Catching up on my blog reading (it's been a busy couple of weeks), I came across this comment by the always eloquent Sarah Hoyt:
Any gate leftists get hold of starts being kept for ideology, not competence. Which means the field tends to go downhill FAST.

Zombie Web Sites

WiseWire wades through the flood of information on the Internet to deliver content that is personally relevant to you. Through a combination of the hottest sources and the latest technology, WiseWire intelligently gathers online material and quickly "learns" your interests, delivering the informatio...
Very... weird. It looks like someone, somewhere, is keeping some remnant of the WiseWire domain alive.

Linked List

Glanced at briefly, filed away for future reading, and presented here for your edutainment.
  • Obama likes The Universal Solution to all problems: take something away from you. "Thing I Know #410. When the guy telling you what to do keeps coming up with the same solution for every single problem, that’s a problem."
  • How To Green The World's Deserts.  Hint: it isn't the way you think.  It is also entirely different from how to green the world's desserts, by the way.
  • "Bring out your dead!"...  middle class.  Tyrants have always hated those not dependent on them.
  • "I can’t do that, so I don’t want you doing that either..." - that seems to be the rallying cry of the progressives. Witness that clown, wosshisname, Bloomberg... he's getting older, like all the Boomers.  Can't have salt, can't have sugar, can't have trans-fats anymore.  So by golly, if he can't have them, then you can't, either, peon.
  • Well, whaddya know!  Gun laws do nothing to prevent homicides.  Quelle surprise!  What next - a study that shows tax laws do not affect those who ignore tax laws?
  • Tam hasn't posted on Hugo Chavez because, and I quote, "His death made me sad and depressed."  After reading her post, I have to admit that I, too, am saddened and depressed by the circumstances of Hugo's death.
  • Rope.  Large lengths of it.
  • Peelian Principles.  Should make for an interesting topic of conversation for the next time I run into one of our local police officers.
  • An interesting account regarding the domestication of dogs and foxes.
  • An interesting account regarding the domestication of free men.  Oh, wait  -  no, that's the closing of the liberal mind.  Same thing, really.
  • OK, I am just going to stop posting links to Sarah Hoyt, because I just do not have enough time or electrons to link everything interesting she comes up with.  The woman spins off ideas - good, interesting ideas -  faster than Obama tosses former supporters under the bus.  Just, y'know, read her blog, and you'll be covered.
  • Note for the Times, and other pollsters: you are not measuring reality, you are measuring what people say.  So, for example, when the Times conducts a poll and finds that fewer people admit to owning guns, that does not necessarily mean that fewer people own a gun... it just means that fewer people are willing to tell you whether or not they own a gun.

      Maybe He Just Didn't Break Enough Windows

      Economist and columnist Paul Krugman declared personal bankruptcy today following a failed attempt to spend his way out of debt.
      The sweet spot of satire: when you have to check to see if you're on a parody site or not.

      I Was Rooting For Caesar, Anyways

      Researchers at Yale University have now found a molecular switch that can give an adult brain the plasticity of a young brain.
      It’s no secret that juvenile brains are more malleable and able to learn new things faster than adult ones – just ask any adult who has tried to learn a new language. That malleability also enables younger brains to recover more quickly from trauma. Researchers at Yale University have now found a way to effectively turn back the clock and make an old brain young again.
      ... wasn't this a key plot point in Rise of the Planet of the Apes?

      It's 4:20 In The Colorado House!

      Move over, Joe Salazar. Stand aside, Evie Hudak. It's time for Colorado State Representative Claire Levy (D) to step into the spotlight.
      “I make no assertion that this bill will either increase or reduce violent crime. That is not the premise of the bill.”

      You may not want to be quite so public about the fact that your position could be outsourced to an SBC running a Dissociated Press implementation.

      Of course, in their defense, you have to remember that they just recently legalized recreational marijuana use. Mind you, I am not saying that these politicians are using. It may be that they just finally feel delighted that they have a ready excuse for the increasingly frequent times when their brain disengages from their mouth.


      Via Sarah Hoyt, Bill Reader comments on the strange phenomenon of progressives pickling their leaders:
      Well, see, communists can’t stand for things to change or be unpredictable.  You’re not supposed to decay and disappear.  It’s funny because they talk about wanting change, and they talk about being progressive, but really all they want is to return to a time when the world made sense to them – which is the thirties – and when people could be sorted into the classical Marxist classes.  In the same way, people are supposed to stay in the class they were born to.  They’re supposed to act in perfectly predictable ways according to that class.  No one is supposed to change, and tech is not supposed to upend all their categories.  Communism (and its weaker sister, socialism) is a form of OCD.  They want everything separate and put away neatly in categories, even when the “things” are people.  And dear Leaders are supposed to be the same forever.
      A very succinct and honest explanation, I think.

      Progressives are only "progressive" if you happen to think that an "advance to the rear" is somehow  entirely different from a "retreat".

      Have Spaceport, Will Travel

      Texas continues its lead in private space development:
      With its goal of "going global" all but achieved, the Houston Airport System says it is now time to go extraterrestrial.

      Director Mario Diaz on Wednesday said the system is officially moving forward with a plan to turn Ellington Airport into one of the nation's first spaceports and is seeking certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

      The system completed a feasibility study last year that found it would cost an estimated $48 million to $122 million to equip Ellington for launching small space vehicles full of joyriders out over the Gulf of Mexico, more than 60 miles above Earth. 
      "It is definitely doable because, you see, space is not the final frontier, it just happens to be our next destination," Diaz said told business leaders in a State of the Airports speech hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership.

      All Hail Our Robotic Zombie Animal Overlords!

      My wife recently came across this particular image posted on Failblog, and found it amusing.

      She was completely unaware of the long history of installing Linux on... unusual platforms.

      Of course, there's the classic user notes for installing linux on a dead badger.  While these instructions may seem quaint, the technology it describes was cutting edge for its day.  As a testimony to how much effort was put into the documentation, though, you can see that the instructions for dealing with a kernel panic on boot are still applicable to moden Linux installations:
      Purple flames indicate kernel panic; douse the flames with the bucket of holy water and abandon installation site immediately. Seek shelter at the nearest church or other consecrated area. 
      If dead badgers are not your thing, or if you're looking for a more compact host platform, you can always go for the minimalist approach and install a web server on a dead fly.  While the original design used WebACE running on a Fairchild ACE1101VMT8 microprocessor, I am sure that it is only a matter of time before chip technology gets to the point where you can run an embedded linux distribution on a dead fly cluster.

      Finally, in more recent "server on dead animal" news, an undergrad researcher at Duke - no doubt after the ingestion of several fashionable adult beverages - decided that the yes, the thing to do for his research project was to stuff a miniature processor and some servos into a dead sparrow.  Information on what hardware platform and OS Herbert West David Piech used is scarce, but I am willing to bet that it was some combination of Linux and an smaller scale Ardiuno compatible board.

      And probably protective gear of some sort, now that I think about it... those reanimated zombie badgers can be testy.


      Yeah, Sergeant.  I've been there.

      Linked List

      Glanced at briefly, filed away for future reading, and presented here for your edutainment.


        This time, from Roberta X:
        Y'know, it would be paranoid to suggest that Feinstein, et. al. want you disarmed before the bottom drops out -- which the PDF linked above puts at 2027 - 2028 -- but it sure is interesting how Congress has had all manner of free time to spend plotting and attempting to justify infringing a fundamental, Constitutionally-protected right with the sequester rising up before them like a tidal wave.  Priorities send a message.  What does theirs tell you?
        The gloves are off, the Great Liberal Push (TM) is on, and the progressives are actually starting to admit that yes, they really do intend is to disarm the populace.  Eventually.  Which would be really disturbing, except that Quinn's First Law points out that liberalism always generates the exact opposite of it's stated intent. 

        Think about that, and consider - for the last few months, gun and ammo manufacturers have been  working 24/7 just to to try and meet the immediate demand for their wares. Long term demands are scheduled to keep their factories roaring around the clock for at least the next year, if not longer.  Even in a down economy, with guns and ammo hard to find, more and more people are finding the money and motive to get out and get themselves a handgun, a shotgun, a rifle... or all three.

        Sounds to me as if Quinn's First is actually holding up pretty well.

        Journal Page, Found Fluttering In The Wind Around D.C.

        Day 4 of the sequester.

        We have been reduced to eating toast with breakfast.  Toast!  Not a single organic whole grain bagel is to be found.  My partner insists that it is simply because we ran out, and that she will pick up some later today on the way home from the "Second Amendment: Evil, or Just Stupid?" seminar and rally, but I know that she is simply trying to spare me the pain of the truth. 

        It is the sequester.

        Not even the office of the President is immune from these draconian cuts.  On CNN this morning, a smirkingly solemn Barrack Obama revealed that he would be forced to only hit two buckets of golf balls on the driving range today.  Though he tried to put on a good front, you could see how deeply that affected him.  He was barely smiling, even when he announced the latest drone kills.  The poor man even said that on their next vacation, he and Michele might be forced to eat at a slightly less elegant five-star restaurant one evening.  Or maybe for brunch.

        It is the sequester.

        The barista at my coffee shop seemed unusually sullen and moody this morning.  Even her nose piercings and tattoos seemed less vibrant, less devil-may-care, less... anti-establishment than they once were, even last week.  Her lower lip quivering, she handed me my double swirl mocha cappuccino with a single, slow tear tracing a track down her cheek.  "I... I may have to rethink my plans to get a masters degree in Exploring Women's Health Issues Through Puppetry," she whispered.

        It is the sequester.

        Just spent five minutes on hold, waiting for Apple tech support to help me with my new iPhone setup.  This never used to happen.  Never.  By the time I got someone on the line, my cappuccino was cold, bitter ashes on my tongue.

        It is the sequester.

        Curse you, Republicans!  Curse you for dragging us into this fiscal nightmare!


        I have all the fashion sense of a dead snail.  My general strategy for clothing more or less comes to "wear whatever happens to be on top."

        Which is why I am impressed when another male manages anything approaching color coordination - and why I was pretty much stunned at a younger friend in church this morning who managed to coordinate a two-tone suit, colored shirt, patterned tie... and his holster and gun as well.

        Now, that is attention to detail.

        Update: He consented to a photograph for posterity's sake.

        Why, yes - he is armed, attractive, and available.
        Just in case any ladies in the Pittsburgh area were wondering.