In Honor of Dave Barry...

... I present to you The Band Name File.  Set up by a friend of mine.  As he notes, "The Universe keeps providing wonderful names for musical groups, and we capture them here."

Personally, I would love to have me a "Cosseted and Feral" t-shirt.  Just sayin'.

Jude 22

"And of some have compassion, making a difference..."
Jude 22
From the Humans of New York Facebook page:

"Are you lonely?"
"It's been a lifetime of loneliness. I decided early on that I better get used to it.
I go to movies by myself. If the movie theater is completely empty, I'm even happier.
I learned early on that if I wanted to go to restaurants, I better learn to go by myself.
One benefit to being big is that people don't bother you. I'm shocked that you came
up to me. Nobody's ever done that. When I started to go to therapy, it took me several
sessions before I even spoke a word. I'd just sit there and cry. And honestly, you
caught me on a tough day. I was sitting here feeling really bad about myself.
Because I went to the doctor today, and I was sure that I'd lost weight.
But I'd gained some."
I am feeling a mixture of shame, anger and empathy, here. I want to remember this as a reminder for myself, and hopefully, it will be a reminder for you, as well.

The next time you see someone that looks a little out of place, a little lonely, a little different, a little odd... remember this. And remember that you have the ability to potentially keep someone from that pain. All it takes is a kind word, a few moments, and a little bit of a conversation to plant the seeds of friendship.

Will it grow? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe they are happy where they are and how they are.

But... what if they are not?

Do not walk on by. Stop. Turn back. Remember a man so powerfully and painfully lonely that he went to a therapist and could not do anything but cry.

Do not count on someone else to make the difference.  He lives in a city of over eight million people, and it seems as if each and every one of them made the same choice: to pass him by, and let someone else reach out. Decide now that you will be different, and that you will make yourself the difference in someone else's life.

Set Fire To Your Hair...

Remember, kids!  Fracking - injecting water into the earth to help release natural gas - is a horrific abuse of nature!  It can cause all sorts of bad things to happen!

On the other hand, tossing explosives into an active volcano is SCIENCE! [1]
In one of the biggest-ever seismology deployments at an active volcano, researchers are peppering Mount St Helens in Washington state with equipment to study the intricate system of chambers and pipes that fed the most devastating eruption in US history. This month, they will even set off explosions to generate their own seismic waves. The work could inform research into how volcanoes work throughout the Pacific Northwest and in similar geological settings around the world.
Next up, I understand that they are planning to poke a grizzly bear with a sharp stick to see what happens.

[1] Well, actually, yeah, it is.  This is pretty cool stuff.  I am wondering where the environmentalists are on this, though.  It seems like the sort of thing they claim to get upset about.

Truthiness In Law Enforcement

Indy Week reports that several Durham police officers lied about non-existent 911 calls to persuade residents to allow them to search their homes.
According to a department memo, the officers used fabricated 911 calls for the purpose of obtaining consent to enter residences where they believed wanted individuals with outstanding warrants might be living. However, officers were willing to use the ploy to cast a broader net in at least one case — the hearing where the tactic surfaced involved a defendant charged with marijuana possession after the officer discovered marijuana in her home.
Honest mistake, really. I mean, did anybody specifically tell them, as part of their training, that lying was wrong? What we have here is a failure of the system. We are all to blame, really, for letting these poor officers down.

Of course, if you violate a section of the penal code so obscure that the DA has to dig through 100 year-old documents to find mention of it, that's different, scumbag. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Unexpected Competition

I imagine that The Onion never expected competition from mainstream news sources.

[1] If there were any justice in the world, this headline would end "... you idiots."

Boundaries, Fences and Teh Intarwebs

When I got my first cellphone in 2004, I immediately noticed something. “These things are designed to help people cheat,” I pointed out to my then-husband. They really were: you could delete sent texts one by one or erase a whole thread, you could save someone’s number as something totally innocuous (“Chimney Guy”), you could even change the date or time on outgoing and incoming messages. You could send pictures. This was before smartphones, so the cameras were terrible, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see the inherent potential for someone who likes sneaking around. 
Now that technology has basically infested every aspect of our social interactions—do you even remember anybody’s phone number anymore? Because I sure don’t—we spend a lot of time communicating with people we may not exactly know very well, using tiny powerful computers that we carry in our pockets. And, just as in 2004, the possibilities for cheating seem endless. From flirting through repeated “likes” of someone’s posted Facebook photos or commenting on their every status update, to setting up surreptitious OKCupid or Ashley Madison accounts, cheating looks very different in 2014 than it did ten years ago.
Three personal commitments of mine:

  1. In any private online conversations with a member of the opposite sex outside of work, I try to ensure that they're always between "wife & I" and the other person.  If that's not possible, I do my best to keep the Lovely Mrs. Robb updated on the conversation.
  2. In offline conversations between myself and a member of the opposite sex, I make sure to mention my wife & kids.  Fortunately, I rarely have to make an effort at this - I enjoy talking about my family.
  3. I have a PIN on my iPhone so I can leave it on my desk at work without tempting my fun-loving colleagues.  The Lovely Mrs. Robb knows the PIN, as do the kids.  I have no problem handing my phone off to any & all of them for whatever reason, and I will keep it that way.
There are other personal boundaries I have set for myself in this area.  Not because I imagine that I am an irresistible stud-muffin who has to carry a stick to drive off the hordes of slavering women after my hotness, but because I know that I am a sinful man living in a sinful world, and it is far, far, far easier to bear a burden if you never pick it up in the first place.

Nice Charity You Have There...

Despite the fact that Open Source Software foundations have existed for years, the IRS has apparently just decided that they are not allowed to be non-profits.
In a disturbing precedent, the Yorba Foundation, which makes apps for GNU/Linux, has had its nonprofit status application rejected by the IRS because some of projects may benefit for-profit entities.
Here's the thing: I do not think that this has anything to do with OSS, specifically.  I think that OSS just happens to be a nice starting point for the IRS to test out a nice, new, shiny +5 Phrase of Vaugeness against a soft target that has little or no capability of fighting back.
"May benefit for-profit entities."
Think about it.  There is a lot - an awful lot - of potential tax money there for the taking, after all. They just need to come up with a way to justify it, and get a few examples on the books to establish a precedent.  With this phrase, they do not even need to show that a non-profit is actually doing anything in particular.  Just suggesting that they might do an unquantifiable something for an unidentified someone at an undisclosed sometime is enough to yank their 501(c)(3) status.

Anyone want to lay odds that some of those annoyingly conservative non-profits are going to be hearing this phrase in the near future?