Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lazy

That would be me.  Mrs. Borepatch and I had a date at the range yesterday evening, and I didn't clean the guns when I got back.  I was getting ready to clean them today, when I realized that we were going to be shooting them later today at Sharpshooter's USA (5:00 PM, for anyone who wants to meet up before tonight's blogmeet festivities).

I'm afraid I let laziness overcome virtue.  Walked the dogs instead.

Just a reminder to folks in the Atlanta area, we're meeting up at 5 Season's Brewing Company on Roswell Rd just inside the Perimeter at 7:00.  Since the weather looks spectacular, I have a table reserved under the name "Borepatch".   

I'd like a higher caliber drivel, please

Rick emails to point out the latest drivel from the Washington Post's Richard Cohen.  Now, he was never on the Intellectual Left A-Team  - his function was not to dig deeply, laying a solid foundation for a persuasive argument; rather, it was to spout reliably orthodox leftie doctrine for the Post's reliably orthodox leftie readership.

And so it comes as no surprise that he's spouting nonsense.  It's interesting in that it's nonsense on a topic I've been meaning to post about for a couple of months, and also interesting because of the shockingly low quality of the nonsense he offers.  In a sense, he's managed to capture the entirety of my argument that the left has become intellectually enfeebled over the past decades.  As a "teachable moment", let's look at where Mr. Cohen goes off the intellectual rails.

His topic is the evils of Robert E. Lee:
It has taken a while, but it’s about time Robert E. Lee lost the Civil War. The South, of course, was defeated on the battlefield in 1865, yet the Lee legend — swaddled in myth, kitsch and racism — has endured even past the civil rights era when it became both urgent and right to finally tell the “Lost Cause” to get lost. Now it should be Lee’s turn. He was loyal to slavery and disloyal to his country — not worthy, even he might now admit, of the honors accorded him.
Well, then.  What triggered his astonishing rant is the release of a new Lee biography, which takes a revisionist view of the man.  Seems he wasn't very nice:
All over the South, particularly in his native Virginia, the cult of Lee is manifested in streets, highways and schools named for him. When I first moved to the Washington area, I used to marvel at these homages to the man. What was being honored? Slavery? Treason?
Notice how it is simply incomprehensible to Cohen that someone might find something to admire and respect in Lee's character.    Cohen makes no argument on actual historical dilemmas faced by the participants of the day; rather, he repeatedly (if inadvertently) condemns his own lack of intellectual capability.  For example, on the subject of Lee's decision to fight for his state, rather than for the Union:
He was not, as I once thought, the creature of crushing social and political pressure who had little choice but to pick his state over his country. In fact, various members of his own family stuck with the Union.

“When Lee consulted his brothers, sister and local clergymen, he found that most leaned toward the Union,” Pryor wrote. “At a grim dinner with two close cousins, Lee was told that they also intended to uphold their military oaths. . . . Sister Anne Lee Marshall unhesitatingly chose the Northern side, and her son outfitted himself in blue uniform.” Pryor says that about 40 percent of Virginia officers “would remain with the Union forces.”
At the risk of sounding like a crotchety, get-off-my-lawn old crank, let me say that this particular topic was covered in depth, starting in grade school.  Cohen is even older than I, and so it's a dead certainty that he learned the same history that I did.  He's forgotten it all - and it's an interesting thought that we'll come back to in a bit.  But in the spirit of "teachable moments" for Mr. Cohen and others like him, let me address the points that they've forgotten:

1. As to many of Lee's family fighting for the North, I learned that the War Between The States pitted "brother against brother, father against son."  This was the basic lesson we learned in class.  Cohen's a smart guy, or he wouldn't be writing for the post.  He must have learned this well enough to get a good grade on the test.

2.  The cause of the war is nowhere as simple as Cohen makes out, and this was taught in school, too - even way up in Yankeeland.  There were two primary points of conflict which - interestingly - both sides in the debate try to reduce to one.
a. Slavery was indeed the root source of the trouble.  Certainly it was an evil - Cohen is right on this point, and people (mostly southerners) who stick up for the Confederacy often sweep this under the rug.

b. However, it is clear that if the states hadn't thought they had the right to secede, the Constitution never would have been ratified.  Cohen (and those on his team) sweeps this under the rug.
And it's that last point that is the root of Cohen's intellectual enfeeblement.  The left has controlled the intellectual discussion for so long that they've sent much of the history I learned as a wee lad to the Academic Gulag.  State's right of secession?  Why that would imply powers outside of a centralized, Progressive state.  That would imply that the beauteous Progressive vision might be thwarted by annoyances like individual or state's rights.  Can't have that.

So rather than argue their point, they disappear the opposing views.  In Cohen's world, it's simply inconceivable that Lee could have thought that his State was more important than the Union.  It's a divide-by-zero error, outside the universe of what he can even think about.

And so documented historical facts like Shelby Foote's monumental history of the War are simply irrelevant.



"Before the War it was said that 'The United States are'.  Grammatically, it was spoken that way, and thought of as a collection of independent states.  After the War, it was always 'The United States is' just as we say today, without being self-conscious at all."

Or consider the correspondence between Lord Acton and Lee in the aftermath of the War.  Acton, of course, is remembered for his dictum that Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Acton strangely didn't recognize that he was writing to a monster:
Without presuming to decide the purely legal question, on which it seems evident to me from Madison's and Hamilton's papers that the Fathers of the Constitution were not agreed, I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.
Compare to Cohen:
L.P. Hartley’s observation that “the past is a foreign country” cautions us all against facile judgments. But in that exotic place called the antebellum South, there were plenty of people who recognized the evil of slavery or, if nothing else, the folly of secession. Lee was not one of them. He deserves no honor — no college, no highway, no high school. In the awful war (620,000 dead) that began 150 years ago this month, he fought on the wrong side for the wrong cause.
The poverty of imagination on display is epic.  As is this choice bit, where Cohen seems to think he is crushing the old view of Lee:
He owned slaves himself and fought tenaciously in the courts to keep them. He commanded a vast army that, had it won, would have secured the independence of a nation dedicated to the proposition that white people could own black people and sell them off, husband from wife, child from parent, as the owner saw fit. Such a man cannot be admired.
He does not seem to realize that his words apply equally to George Washington.  The piece is simply chock-a-block with examples where Cohen condemns his own poverty of intellect, like here where he is simply mystified that men of the day admired Lee:
He is always dignified in all those photos of him, dour, a perfect pill of a man yet somehow adored by his men. They cheered him when he left Appomattox Court House, having just surrendered to the far more admirable U.S. Grant. They shouted, Hooray for Lee! Hooray for what?
By his own admission, he just doesn't get it.

Richard Cohen is representative of the class of lefty pseudo-intellectuals that no longer knows how to think.  The correct answer is already known, and so there are no difficult decisions to be made, either now or in the past.  Those that make the wrong choice (translation: choose other than the reliably orthodox Progressive nostrum) are not people struggling with difficult choices; no, they are evil, to be dismissed for their moral failings.  And in Cohen's example here, compared to Nazis*.

Of course, history isn't simple.  Cohen seems impervious to the irony of him cautioning against making facile judgements as he makes nothing but.  It's only in the lefty dominated Academy that all of history's difficult problems can be reduced to a morality play, and that is only because history is selectively purged and rewritten to get rid of embarrassing, you know, facts that demolish this facile vision.

For example: The problems of National Socialism were due to Evil Men. The problems of International Socialism were due to What problems?

See? Easy!

Except anyone with a brain and a basic understanding of the World and its history knows that this is not just drivel, but astonishingly low caliber drivel.  Me, I'd like a higher caliber drivel.

* Seriously, comparing Robert E. Lee to a Nazi?  Really?  Wow.

Keni Thomas - Gunslinger

One of the problems with Country music is the fake cowboy; as they say in Texas: Big Hat, No Cattle.  Today we have a guy singing about gunslinging.  So what would he know about it?

Well, to start, he was an Army Ranger.  Decorated with the Bronze Star with "V" for Valor.  Served in Mogadishu - the Black Hawk Down situation.  You could say that he knows a thing or two about hot gun barrels.


Thomas is on the far left.  You might say that he's the Real Deal.  And if you need more convincing, try this:
Thomas is very proud of his appointment as the national spokesman for the Hero Fund (www.HeroFund.com) and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides college educations to the children of our special ops personnel killed in combat or training. A portion of all proceeds from Gunslinger will benefit the Hero Fund. Since its inception, the Hero Fund has helped provide for the educational needs of over 700 children.
You can buy a copy of Gunslinger from his web site.

Keni Thomas is the real deal.  You might even say, a huckleberry.



Gunslinger (Songwriter: Keni Thomas)
40 days, 40 fights
40 showdowns in 40 nights
town to town, in high demand
can't slow down. I'm a wanted man.

I'm a gunslinger honey
hunting you down
tell all your other boys
the man is back in town
gunslinger honey gonna
fire at will, taking aim on you and
I shoot to thrill. Gonna show you
how the west was won
lock stock barrel and a smokin' gun

Jessie James got nothin' on me
Billy the Kid better let me be
they think they're good
they think they're fast
I think they're funny
I'll shoot 'em last

I'm a gunslinger honey
hunting you down
tell all your other boys
the man is back in town
gunslinger honey gonna
fire at will, taking aim on you and
I shoot to thrill. Gonna show you
how the west was won
lock stock barrel and a smokin' gun
You're stealing my heart you're a love outlaw
You're the hottest little pistol that I ever saw
You got the moves they're legendary
Stick 'em up I'll be your huckleberry
(Image source)

Atlanta Blogmeet - Lock and Load

We will rendezvous at 5 Seasons Brewing Company in Sandy Springs at 7:00.  It's 50 yards south of the Perimeter (I-285) on Roswell Road (Rt 19).  Beer and conversation is what's on tap.

Anyone interested, we can meet at Sharpshooters USA on Alpharetta Highway at 5:00 for some shooty goodness.

Leave a comment or send me an email if you're coming.

Friday, April 29, 2011

All I will say about the Royal Wedding


Yeah, I'm bored too, kid.

Hat tip: Michael Graham.

Rifle training at the pistol range

We like our shooting range, but as with most indoor places, the maximum distance for the target in each lane is 25 yards.  That's more than plenty for pistol training (at least for me), but doesn't really allow much for rifle practice.  At least, I've always found rifle shooting at 25 yards to be unsatisfying.  Easy, sure.  But where's the challenge in that?

Well, High School geometry tells us that there are two ways to bite off this problem.  One is to increase the distance to the target, which isn't an option.  The second is to reduce the size of the target, to simulate what a full sized one would look like at distance.

And so I picked up some reduced size NRA targets at the gun show.  The target contains five bullseye rings, each about 3 inches in diameter.  They're designed for practice at five yards, with a .22 rifle.

Five yards?  I skoffed.  Well, I'll try it once before putting it back to something more challenging, like 25 years.

The target never got past five yards.  It was hard.  The bullseyes are really small, so even small variations from breathing or whatever throw the bullet way out in to 7-ring (or 6, or 5) land.



I taped a penny to the target - you can see it above my thumb - for scale.  This was quite a good challenge, and I plan on doing much more of this.


I think that these reduced bullseyes are supposed to simulate regular targets at 50 yards, so moving them out to 20 yards would simulate 200 yard shots.  There's a whole world of challenge in that.

Um, no

Is it OK to microwave fireworks?



And because it's insanely great, this is now the official "Is it OK to microwave fireworks" song:

Epic techpr0n

BS Footprint wins the Internets.

All I can add is that politics is grub-by.  Heh.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The dangers of young love

Yankee Born, Rebel Heart confesses all:

I broke the cardinal rule once…but I couldn’t help it!!! I was in love…dumbstruck love…I am so ashamed…

I have wanted a Makarov since I first saw one in a magazine…I’ve gone to shows, picked them up, handled them, put them back down…it looked so small…wimpy. Yes, I know. 9mm Russian is not so wimpy. Big deal if almost all Eastern Block countries used them. I wouldn’t laugh at a huge man with an itty bitty handgun. But still…it was just so small. I just couldn’t get past that. I didn’t want to get stuck in the stereotype of small guns are for women. Then I saw an episode of “Burn Notice” & the Phoebe character was shooting one…oh my goodness gracious…I took it as a sign from up above. 
And kudos to her beau for taking it with a Gentleman's grace when she beat him out buying it.

Me, I've wanted a Makarov ever since JayG took me shooting at his club with his.  Sweet pistol.  And why you're over at her place, check out her post on how she got into shooting.

God shoots hollowpoints

Graybeard has the scoop.  But this picture (stolen from his post) is a Rule 2 violation.


Makes me nervous just looking at it, in fact.  And is it me, or does it seem that the Large Hadron Collider would get better accuracy if they rifled their barrel?

Atlanta Blogmeet - Date and Time

Let's put a stake in the ground for this coming Saturday Night (April 30) at 7:00 PM.  Please leave a comment if you can attend. 

I'm thinking about 5 Seasons Brewing Company in Sandy Springs as a venue.  It's North side but not excessively so, and just off the Perimeter (I-285) for anyone coming from out of town.  Alternate suggestions are welcome.

If folks are interested, we could rendezvous at 5:00 at my Range, Sharpshooter's in Alpharetta.

Sony nukes Playstation Network from orbit

By now, most of you have heard that Sony has shut down Playstation Network - Sony's on-line Internet service that lets PS3 owners play online.  The service has been down for a week.  Here's what we know.

1. They got hacked, by persons unknown.  Someone got inside their network from the outside, so badly that Sony is rebuilding the servers that run Playstation Network.  What this means is that the intrusion was so bad that Sony wasn't really sure just what might have been installed on their servers.  Rather than trying to forensically identify changes the Bad Guys made, they're reinstalling the server OS and application software ("Nuke from Orbit").  This means that it was a very severe intrusion indeed.

2. The Bad Guys got persona information - including credit card numbers - on everyone who uses Play Station network.  If you have a PS3 and use Playstation Network, they have your credit card number.  Watch your billing statement for the next 6-9 months for strange transactions.  When Playstation Network comes back up, change your password, duh.  Probably no good reason to change the credit card number - the Bad Guys already have it, right?  Absolutely you should change your password and the the security question you gave them.

3. Rumors say that the hack was in retaliation for Sony's lawsuit against the guy who reverse engineered the PS3.  Possible, but two things make me think that this is at best just a cover: (a) Sony settled with the gentleman, and (b) Bad Guys dig stealing millions of credit card numbers (77 million, in this case).

4. The legal jackasses are already circling Sony's bleeding carcass.

5.  One rumor is that the hack came from a PS3 console.  I'm skeptical.  Playstation Network is an Internet service, so by definition you can get there from any Internet device.  There are far better hacking platforms than a PS3 (i.e. Windows or (especially) Linux boxes where you can install general hacking tools.  Not impossible on a PS3 (see #3, above), but not the path of least resistance.

6. Sony has handled this pretty poorly.  The information about the situation has been coming out slowly, and has been changing day by day.  While the lawsuit is idiotic (Sony didn't tell you to change your credit card number?  Dude, the Bad Guys already have your credit card number!  You want to give them another?), Sony hasn't exactly covered themselves in glory by being forthright to their users.  Rebuilding is The Right Thing, but they should have told everyone earlier what they were doing, and why.

Happiness is a dirty gun

Ever notice how after you haven't touched a basketball in ages, all the shots you toss near the hoop go in?  I think it's because you're so happy to be back out on the court that you don't fight yourself - you drop into the Zen groove, for the sheer joy of the moment.  Without your brain to outsmart you, suddenly it's nuthin' but net.

It was like that at the range last night.  It had been weeks since I'd been - and with a partially broken in 1911, to boot, which was making Baby Vulcan cry.  Even though it was late, I stopped by the range - it's OK that "It's going to close in half an hour" if you only live ten minutes away.

Time enough for fifty rounds - 7 magazines.  Not a single malfunction.  Pretty good grouping, for me.  It really was a moment of Zen.


If you want to be free,
Get to know your real self.
It has no form, no appearance,
No root, no basis, no abode,
But is lively and buoyant.
It responds with versatile facility,
But its function cannot be located.
Therefore when you look for it,
You become further from it;
When you seek it,
You turn away from it all the more.

- Linji


Nuthin' but net.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"If you can't yodel in Nashville, Tennessee, we're living in a communist country!"

Southern Belle brings the yodeling, and it's top shelf stuff.  Yeah, I see you looking funny at me - don't make me change my tone here.  This is Dolly Parton, Jewel, and Patsy Montana.  Go watch.

Srlsy.

And it reminded me of this old post, a prime time TV tip o' the hat to Patsy Montana, on the late lamented "Nashville Star" show.  Watch this all the way through to see just how horrified the judges were at hearing yodeling in Nashville.



Phil Vassar (the first judge) was pretty funny about it, but Anastasia Brown was just beside herself.  You can't yodel in Nashville.*

The next week's celebrity judge was Larry the Cable Guy, who made the comment that became the post title:
Last week when they was getting on you for yodeling, I was madder than a one-legged waitress working at the IHOP. If you can't yodel in Nashville, Tennessee, we're living in a communist country!
Yup.  Country Music - love it or leave it!  Heh.

All I can say (other than go read Belle's post) is that I'd pay cash money to hear Belle yodel.  And double money to hear her yodel a duet with Pistolero ...

* GuardDuck in the comments to my old post wins the Internets with this:
"this is Nashville, you can't sing country songs here."

or

Gentlemen, There is No Fighting in the War Room!

Paging Rob Allen

Your wardrobe has arrived ...


Via #2 Son.  It's a long story; don't ask.

Gas is up to $4/gallon, so let's shut down drilling

Brilliant:
Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”

The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.

The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.
I'll bet they were.  Clearly, these environmental groups hate Native Americans.  Racists.

So let's recap: a company invested $4 Billion of their own money into gas exploration off the Alaska coast.  (Note: this is not ANWR)  After pocketing $2.2 Billion of this money, the EPA pulls the plug, because of a rounding error.  Almost 30 Billion barrels of oil are now off limits - almost three times as much as all the oil we've gotten so far from Alaska.  Ever.

Next time you gas up, think how Obama's EPA has Top Men working on this problem.  Top Men, yessir.

If the Republicans can't beat the Democrats within an inch of their lives with this, then they really are the Stupid Party.

Via Watts Up With That.

Atlanta Blogmeet

OK, there seems to be some interest from the following folks:
Keads
George
Robert Slaughter 
Tony Trauring
Carl
1911A1
Daniel
Next weekend is Mother's Day, and then I'm traveling until probably Memorial Day.  How would this Saturday evening (4/30) or Sunday afternoon (5/1) work for everyone? Sunday has the advantage that we could all talk about freedom and personal responsibility, and make hippies cry on May Day.

Also, what venue works for everyone?  North side Atlanta is preferable (Roswell/Sandy Springs/Alpharetta) but I'm open to driving some.  I'd rather get a bigger turnout.

Please leave comments on data/time and location preferences.

Also, I know that there are some folks a little further out: Bob in Charlotte, Kdzu in Athens, RobertM in Birmingham, probably a bunch of other folks I don't know.  Any interest there?

Math is hard

Especially in Cuyama, California.


Boy, it's a good thing that California pays its teachers so much!

From the sadly defunct This Is Broken.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Livebogging Top Shot

Southern Belle is doing it.  Party!

Let's annex the Sudetenland fourteenth hole

Huh.  I never knew that there was a Hitler's Cup trophy for golf:

The Hitler Cup, one of sport's most unusual trophies, has turned up in a businessman's display case in Glasgow, solving one of golf's strangest mysteries.
Competing theories have been aired in newspapers and golfing journals about the whereabouts of the amber-encrusted brass salver, which provoked a temper tantrum from Adolf Hitler when it was won by English golfers.
Weird.

Hold the presses! Los Angeles Times is biased!

This is me, looking shocked:
A minority approves of Jerry Brown’s performance, and a very large majority disapproves of the Democratic-controlled legislature. A plurality (41 percent) believe the deficit is due to “State leaders having been wasteful and have not spent wisely in recent year” – a much larger percentage than those who blame either “the national recession” (20 percent) or whatever the hell “not enough help for the struggling middle class and working people” means (13 percent).


So what headline does the copy desk choose? “Californians support tax hikes to help close budget gap.”
It's all so very tedious.  It's not just drivel, it's low caliber drivel.  I'd like a higher caliber drivel, please.

Or hurry up and go out of business.  I'm so very tired of you thinking that I'm dumb enough to fall for this sort of Minitruth writing.

1911-pr0n

Tranquility Lost has a set of 19-by-God-11 sweetness for you, from the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.  Some are a bit garish for my taste, but of the two dozen or so, more than half would be a nice addition to the gun safe.

And I so am heading up to Waco to this museum, next time I'm out in Austin.

The China that can say 'no', and why it doesn't matter

There's a lot of buzz about how China is fixin' to pass the USA by.  The buzz isn't just from the Usual Suspects, but from some smart folks, too (although ASM826 doesn't comment other than to say RTFA).

The Borepatch take is: it ain't going to happen.

The reason is somewhat subtle, and all about how Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is calculated.  GDP is one of those things that everyone has run across so many times that they don't much think about it.  However, there's a technical definition for the term, which is exceedingly important to the topic at hand.  GDP is:
Gross domestic product (GDP) refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. It is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living.
The interesting word there is "final".  It really means "sold", because that's really the only way we have of keeping score.  And this is where the whole ZOMG China is pwning us!!!1! goes into the ditch.  Consider:

Suppose someone [*cough*ASM826*cough*] were to set up a sweet reloading rig that he bought from a buddy for cash.  Doesn't show up in GDP (there's no reporting, see?).  Further, suppose someone [*cough*ASM826*cough*] had a buddy who gave him a mess of lead ingots.  Suppose said hypothetical person [*cough*ASM826*cough*] cast his own bullets and reloaded his own .45 ACP.

Why, GDP would show an increase of around a nickel a round.  Primers and propellant, that's about it.

Now imagine another guy [*cough*Borepatch*cough*].  He's a lazy slob.  He also has no reloading skillz.  He gets a deal at his range on 100 rounds of .45 ACP for $37, or around seven times ASM826's cost.  GDP is nicely enhanced, by a factor of seven.

In both cases, we have precisely the same result - 100 rounds down range.  So point #1 is that GDP doesn't measure everything in the economy.  In some economies - Greece, for example - so much of the economy is "off book" that the government's finances are a shambles.

Point 1: "Off book" activity (almost always caused by government interference - makes GDP values unreliable.

The next point is a corollary of point #1, but in mirror image: government waste almost always shows up in GDP numbers.  Consider John Maynard Keynes' argument that the "stimulative" power of government extends to the government paying people to bury pots of cash in the ground.  It actually works like this.

Desired: one "shovel-ready" stimulus project to reduce unemployment.  Take 100 unemployed people.  Pay then $12.50/hr to dig a series of holes down the side of the road.  Take an additional 100 people, and pay them $12.50/hr to follow group 1 and fill in all the holes.

At the end of the day, the GDP will be higher by $20,000.  The "final" product was labor, and although anyone with two neurons to rub together can see that the result was precisely bupkis, GDP reflects the wages paid.

Point 2: Government waste typically gets scored 100% towards GDP.

So what, I hear you say.  The Chinese economy is growing so fast that it doesn't matter.

Well, that's what Paul Krugman says.  Of course, he doesn't talk about the new Chinese ghost towns:



China is building ten (!) brand new cities each year.  However, it's built with borrowed (leveraged) money, and so rents are high - so high that the cities are deserted.  The Great Mall Of China has 1 - that's one - store open.  There are 64 Million empty Chinese apartments.

It's not just city construction: China's much touted (by Thomas Friedman, and even Barack Obama) High Speed Rail network is supposedly an example of a "moon shot" project.  We have to "keep up with the Chinese".  Except the trains are ghost trains:
Here’s the latest from the South China Morning Post on the dismissal of the nation’s Railways Minister and the engineer in charge of the system’s R&D. Seems there were “severe violations of discipline,” which is usually code for corruption. The larger issue with the vast (16,000 kilometers planned by 2020) endeavor is that it isn’t, in fact, so appropriate to China’s needs. Rather, it may be another symptom of a bubble economy in which vast sums are misspent on underutilized assets.
The high speed trains are wildly expensive, because the (Chinese government owned) rail network had to issue $300 Billion in bonds to build the network.  And so fares are very high, and people take the slower (but much less expensive) old trains.

But that $300 Billion gets added to China's GDP score.

So here's the question of the day: just how big is China's economy, once you strip away the government vanity project and asset bubble waste?

That's what's going to pass us in 5 years?  Srlsy?

Like I said, ain't happening.

And here's the final argument against this low caliber drivel: we've heard all this before.  Remember the Japanese buying Rockefeller Center?  The Japan That Can Say No?

That was nicely sandwiched between lousy predictions.  First there was the CIA's the Soviet Union is the World's Second Largest Economy:

In an essay in The Washington Post on Oct. 27, 1980, Mr. Birman dissected the CIA’s estimates on the Soviet economy, including the agency’s belief that the Soviet standard of living was equal to about half of that in America.

The reality, Mr. Birman argued, was starkly different, with a standard of living closer to one-fourth or one-fifth of that in the United States.
Doubled the size of the economy?  Whatever.  Finest Minds in the Free World.

Then there was the EU, which was going to put those "Cowboy Capitalists" in their place once and for all with their ever-so-wise technocratic management of the European Continent's economy:

The Lisbon Strategy, also known as the Lisbon Agenda or Lisbon Process, was an action and development plan for the economy of the European Union between 2000 and 2010.

Its aim was to make the EU "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion", by 2010.[1] It was set out by the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000, and by 2010 most of its goals were alleged by some as not achieved.
"Alleged by some as not achieved".  Whatever.  And note to whiny euro-lefties: that linked article was before the collapse of Greece, Ireland, Portugal (any day now) and the rest of the euro zone dreamland.

This time it's China that will really, srlsy, this time for sure pass the USA.  Oooooh kaaaay.



Must need a different hat.

It's like the old joke that fascism is always descending on America, but somehow always lands in Europe.

Bottom line, I don't trust the (Chinese Government's) GDP figures (hello, off book accounting!) any more than I trust the Global Warming databases.  There's every reason for governments to play fast and loose to get a more agreeable number, and so I'm particularly skeptical of intellectuals who use it as a yardstick when they're trying to measure two very different economies.  Strangely, these intellectually always seem to come to the conclusion that America is doomed, doomed do you hear me!!!11!!one!

Sadly, this won't stop Paul Krugman - and other so-called "elite" types who want to use your and my money to play nobless oblige games - from spouting this sort of drivel again. 

As always your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag under penalty of law.  But I do see all of this as a particularly low caliber intellectual drivel.  I'd like a higher caliber of intellectual drivel, please.

Again, ASM826 is a smart guy - he's just not trained in Economics. I expect that if he has wasted his youth in Econ school (like me) rather than serving his Grateful Republic in the Marine Corps, he would have done this post.  And note to self: I need to buy my .45 ACP reloads from him - off book GDP, of course.  I'd pay him a quarter a round ...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dionysus wept

Kentucky man fights high gas prices with a bourbon powered car:
With fuel prices rising like they are going crazy, a man from Kentucky probably came up with what is thought to be a solution to gas prices of today. A 62 year-old man, Mickey Nilsson, of Bardstown, Kentucky, made a bourbon-powered junk car. He got the idea from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (a movie from 1968 directed by Ken Hughes and staring Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries and Benny Hill) and the stars of American Pickers. Nilsson said that his inspiration came from a character played by Dick Van Dyke in the classic Disney movie. The character in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang assembled a flying car from junk parts.
This does not get the Borepatch seal of approval, even if the car in question does look sort of cool, in a Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang sort of way:


And because it is obligatory:

Rule 2 FAIL

Times three.

Quote of the Day - Essential Services edition

I pretty much passed over the whole ZOMG-teh-gubmint-is-shutting-down!!!1!!one!! thing.  Not interested in political kabuki.  But I was derelict in not linking to Who's your Nanny parsing CNN's report on just what will (and what won't) shut down:
FBI, Federal Marshals, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, federal prisons continue to operate (Of course. These are essential after all. And anyone who understands the nature of the State understands why these are essential.)
CNN in bold black, Who's Your Nanny in bold red).

That's your view on your government's view of "essential" government.  Jefferson would have wept.

Mercenaries: the Dot Com Startups of their day

The guys who do Unskippable at The Escapist - sort of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 for video games - remind us that righteous graphics coprocessors won't save you from being totally l4m3, if your game is totally l4m3.



This bleeding turkey offered for your amusement courtesy of #2 Son.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mouse Cat 1, Lizard 0

Crash the wondercat saw a lizard in the basement of Camp Borepatch today.  His AAR: Eventually the lizard stops moving, but if I toss him, I can still chase him.

I like cats in general, and Crash in particular, but every now and again we get a glimpse into the Cat Soul.  A hunter lives there, no matter how domesticated you think they are.  A hunter who got very unhappy when I went to dispose of the carcass trophy.

But overall the situation is entirely satisfactory, as I'm keen on house cats, not house lizards.

UPDATE 24 April 2011 19:09: D'oh!  Hat Trick leaves a comment gently suggesting that I meand "Cat", not "Mouse" in the title.  I did indeed.  Too much digging in the rose garden under the hot Georgia sun.

Happy Easter

Grace tells us to be patient, even with the poor spellers.


Maybe especially with poor spellers.

Beacon

Free Will is a mixed blessing, to be sure, but it's a thing without which life would not be worth living.  There's a whole blog post category here about freedom, all of which would be meaningless without Free Will.

This is a gift, one that makes us uniquely human:
But man is freer than all the animals, on account of his free-will, with which he is endowed above all other animals.
- St. Thomas Aquinas
Easter is a very old holy day, one of the oldest still celebrated.  Things don't stick around that long if they don't speak to something deep in the soul.  If they don't speak from an upwelling from some mysterious depth of great wisdom.  The mystery, and the great strength of Christian doctrine is that it captures the human cycle of growth, middle age, and old age in a view of two gifts: Free Will and Grace.

As a child, we have no Free Will that anyone need respect.  Children hold a special place in society and Law precisely because of this.  In a sense, they represent mankind from the days before the Fall, innocence that calls for protection provided by more capable beings.  But you can't stay a child forever.  Free Will must develop, and the child must set sail, setting his or her own course as they will.  Adults are exposed to risks that we would protect children from.


To never have the chance to risk is to never fully be human.  The chance to take these chances is a gift that most don't much think about.  They should.
No Noble Thing can be done without risk.
- Michel de Montaigne
But the other side of the coin is Grace.  As the Child must go into the world to find his own place, so must the Man return from his journeys.  We watch our children grow, and gain independence.  Sometimes that independence causes friction, or worse.  Sometimes the young adult becomes cut off from the old, because of careless words or foolish pride.

For the longest time, I was confused about the Crucifixion.  Sure, I understood what happened, but I simply couldn't understand why it was needed.  Now I think I know: it's a beacon, lighting the way back.

As we go about our days, exercising the gift of Free Will, we have a marker for our return.  And we should remember that as we are given Grace, so must we also give it.  That we are also beacons, marking the safe return for those loved ones who might even now be seeking safe harbor.   That we should shine out of the darkness of hurt feelings and foolish pride, telling them that their safe harbor is here.  With us.
[God’s love] is at God’s initiative and choice; it isn’t given out on the basis of my performance. God’s gospel love is not wages that I earn with a model life; it is a gift. It is a gift that I cannot earn; more than that, it is a gift that I do not even deserve. God loves weak, ungodly, sinful enemies. The gift is the opposite of what I deserve. God ought to kill me on the spot. Instead, He sent His Son to die in my place.
- David Powlison, Seeing With New Eyes

Instead, he sent his son as a beacon for us.  As an inspiration for us.

Shine.

(Image source, Image source)

Music for Easter Sunday: Worthy Is The Lamb & Amen from Handel's Messiah

Easter was always my favorite Holy Day, once I was old enough to not believe in Santa Clause anymore.  I think that it's because the day celebrates a triumph of the spirit, a triumph freely shared with all of us.  Even the Episcopal church with its weak tea hymnal would have Jesus Christ Is Risen Today; when accompanied by a particularly skilled and inspired organist, it never failed to get the heart pumping.

These days, we mostly hear Handel's The Messiah at Christmas, which is a bit odd since it is about the Passion.  Indeed, the first performance in 1742 was during Lent.

Handel wrote the entire score in just 24 days, while staying at the grand country estate of a patron, Charles Jennens.  Jennens liked to dabble in the arts, and adapted the text of the Bible for the piece.  He said in a letter to a friend that Handel wrote some "pretty music" for "his" (Jennens') piece.  All righty, then.

But the Spirit must have moved Handel, because there is more triumph in a single word - the Amen chorus  than in just about any music I know.  The finale (about 6:30 into this recording) precisely captures that feeling of awe, and triumph, and joy to be in this world that I remember from those Easter Sundays years ago.



Worthy Is The Lamb (Revelations 5:12 - 14, music by George Frederic Handel)
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,
and hath redeemed us to God by his blood,
to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour,
and glory, and blessing.

Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him
that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.

Amen

Saturday, April 23, 2011

They told me that if I voted for John McCain ...

... that people would be jailed for trying to protest outside of fundamentalist's places of worship.

Sigh.  This is blue-state Michigan, not red-state Mississippi.  I guess that in some parts of the country - the blue states - you have the right of free speech so long as you don't say anything offensive.

Kudos to the ACLU, though, for fighting for this one.

Now that's a smart phone


Via Jim, in the comments here.

When Mario Party goes bad



Via #1 Son.

Trace Adkins - My Way Back

Perhaps the great question that any religion must deal with is the problem of Free Will.  Christianity in particular has a cycle, all wrapped up in this problem.  The Fall leads to free will, and to original sin.  The Resurrection leads to the return.

Unsurprisingly, there's a Country song about that.

Trace Adkins sings of that cycle, in more prosaic terms.  We all of us must strike out on our own, pointing our wheels towards that sunset, or we never really complete that journey from child to adult.  But that free will comes at a cost, as perhaps anything truly worth having must.  In the midst of that struggle, we can forget where we came from, and what's gotten us here.

This Holy Day weekend is a reminder that in the midst of that maelstrom that is life, and even when surrounded by the things of this world that free will and hard work have gotten us, that we should not forget where we're from.  Or that we always have a way back home.



My Way Back (Songwriters: Neil Thrasher, Tony Martin)
Momma put a Bible in my glove box
And hot homemade apple pie on the passenger seat
She said you'll always be my baby
And she planted a kiss and a couple of tears on my cheek
Dad slipped me some travelin' cash
Threw a map with a highlighted route on the dash
And I realize, as I look back, that

They weren't just saying goodbye
They weren't just seeing me off
They were just making sure that I
Don't forget where I'm from
Go out there and do your family proud son
Momma loved and Daddy worked
And lived their lives just to make sure I know
My way back home

I can still smell Momma's kitchen
And feel every single prayer she says for me
I can point these wheels toward that sunset
Without a fear, without a doubt, Daddy says, "Go get that dream"
I left behind a pie-crumb trail
Just in case I get lost, fall flat, or fail
And if the wind should leave my sail

They weren't just saying goodbye
They weren't just seeing me off
They were just making sure that I
Don't forget where I'm from
Go out there and do your family proud son
Momma loved and Daddy worked
And lived their lives just to make sure I know
My way back

To that door that's always open
And that light that's always on
To the love that's always waiting
After being gone too long

They weren't just saying goodbye
They weren't just seeing me off
They were just making sure that I
Don't forget where I'm from
Go out there and do your family proud son
Momma loved and Daddy worked
And gave their lives just to make sure I know
I always know, I always know
My way back home
My way back home
(Image source)

Friday, April 22, 2011

So where are the Toons now?



A cautionary tale to us all, to be sure.

Chicks, Flicks, and (Machine )Guns

It sounds terrible:
Viva Maria! is the sort of movie that could only have been made in the 60s. Only in the 60s could someone have come up with the idea of doing an epic western combined with a sex comedy combined with slapstick combined with a Marxist political tract. And getting Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot to star in it, as two women who invent striptease and in their spare time lead a Central American revolution.
And yet it's Brigitte Bardot with a water cooled machine gun.

Maybe if you watched it with the sound turned off.  Or with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys doing snarky accompaniment ...

Whatever happened to ...

... "how dare you question my patriotism!!?!!1!??"

If a fictional character in a piece of literature from an author you admire commits some acts that would likely result in a felony conviction, does that mean you’re a proponent of felonious acts? That’s the deductive logic David Cay Johnston, the 2001 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting, displayed on MSNBC’s “The ED Show” Monday night.

In a segment about Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to reduce the deficit, which includes simplifying the tax code and eliminating deductions to lower overall rates, Johnston called in to question Ryan’s legitimacy, as he’s a fan of Ayn Rand. And according to Johnston, in Rand’s book, “The Fountainhead,” the fictional character Howard Roark blows up a building, and that means people should evaluate the possibility Ryan is a proponent of blowing up buildings.
Oh yeah, I remember: the Democrats won a couple elections.

Look, I don't even care that these people are idiots.  But it's insulting that they think I'm dumb enough to fall for that sort of low caliber drivel.  I demand a higher caliber drivel.

Minecraft Nazi Zombies

Some people have too much time on their hands, but this is insanely cool anyway.



Whatever you do, don't tell T-Bolt.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So long, iPhone

I ordered one of these:

I've put up with not being able to manage it (i.e. load music on it) because I run Linux, and The Steve® doesn't want me to.  I've put up with Al Gore's Intarwebz not working because there's no Flash (because The Steve®) doesn't want it.

But it's not cool when you spy on me:

Security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronised.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program.
There's a program you can download to see where your iPhone has recorded you going.  The biggest concern is that apps that you run on your phone could access the data.  Apple has (so far) refused to comment.

Note that this information is derived from triangulating cell tower location, so turning GPS off won't make a shred of difference.

And guess what?  The EULA terms and conditions contain this gem, buried in the 15,000 words:
Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.
Screw you, Apple.  You think that you can slip some Lark's Vomit into the chocolate collection, and that it's OK because you list the ingredient at the end after Monosodium Glutimate, you're idiots.  Trust is hard to establish, and easy to blow away, and with your attitude, you're not getting it back.

And all you iPad fanbois, it's keeping track of you, too.

Note to the Oak Ridge National Lab security team

Quizikle left a comment to yesterday's post about the unfortunate subversion of the ORLN network:
Here's how to make a computer 100% secure:
Don't connect it to the Internet.
Don't turn it on. No...come to think of it, that doesn't work. Don't plug it in.
It made me think of Marcus Ranum's classic Ultimate Firewall, now updated to include Intrusion Prevention and Deep Packet Inspection Application Security.

That's some security, right there.

If you are interested in security, or want the distilled security wisdom of the ages, this is a good place to start.  Painless, too.

I have a bad feeling about this

I often ride the Atlanta subway - MARTA - to the airport.  Maybe not anymore:
Two Delta Airlines employees say they were attacked by a mob of teens on a MARTA train as they headed to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The men say the teens robbed and beat them at the Garnett Street MARTA station.


According to the police incident report, the teens got on the train at the Garnett Street station. MARTA police say they boarded the train as a pack of about 20-25 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

Police say the group attacked the two airline employees. They say one of the men was hit in the eye with a soda bottle, and the other was punched in the face— both by the same teen, who was described as being about 5’5” tall with a pink shirt.

The men say the teens surrounded them and grabbed their wallets.
As it turns out, you can carry a concealed gun on MARTA as long as you have a Georgia Weapons Carry License.  I do.

But I'm not sure that I want to be in a situation facing two dozen teenagers.  There's not a lot of places in the train car that you can avoid being surrounded, and I really don't think that I want to shoot a 13 year old.

Security types call this a "Resource Poisoning" attack, where something that was previously valued and trusted becomes worthless because of abuse.  Godwin's Law is basically a statement that if an email thread goes on long enough, it will get poisoned by its participants.

MARTA has been poisoned.  Oh well, it had a good 32 year run.  [rolls eyes]

And because it must be said:



http://youtu.be/Drkh0YLF8rI

Be a Secret Agent

The U.S. Government's six oldest declassified documents.  From 1917 and 1918.  I'd tell you what they're all about, but then I'd have to kill you.

And because it's obligatory:



Don't bother telling me about the Devo version; it hasn't aged well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Altanta Blog Meet?

I'm a bit sheepish that I've met some blogish folks in Austin, and haven't here in the Altanta Metroplex®.  A couple of folks are interested (on the north side); anyone else interested in getting together?  This weekend is Easter, but if we looked at next weekend (April 29/30/May 1) is anyone interested?

If Sunday works then, we could go light off some ammo in honor of the Defense Of Liberty™ against the Global Communist Mennace® on May Day.  Heh.

Leave a comment or email if you're interested.

Muddy Waters - The Blues Had A Baby (And They Named The Baby Rock And Roll)

Just because.



From the BBC, from back in 1977.

Why the Fed.Gov's Internet ID program is a persistently bad idea, part 2

Yesterday's post discussed the theory of why it's a bad idea.  Today we see the practical side.  Top Secret U.S. Weapons Laboratory hacked:

One of the most sensitive science labs in the US has shut down all internet access after attackers exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to steal data from some of its servers, according to published news reports.

The security breach at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is at least the second time since 2007 that computers have been hacked when employees were duped by phishing emails. The most recent compromise was initiated by messages that were manipulated so that they appeared to come from the lab's Human Resource Department, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
Nearly sixty employees clicked on the dodgy email, which exploited an Internet Explorer vulnerability to download custom malware.  The ORNL security team don't think that gigabytes of sensitive data were disclosed, but there's unlikely to ever be a precise accounting.

Now imagine that the Fed.Gov gets Grandma a nifty keen Internet ID - to keep her from having to remember so many passwords for secure sites, and everything.  How long do you think it will take before the Bad Guys are sending emails that look like they're from the Fed.Gov, saying there's a problem with your Internet ID and please click here to fix it?

And unlike the employees of Oak Ridge, Granny doesn't have a Top Secret security clearance with lots of special security awareness training.  As if it would help, anyway.

This is a huge, utter stinking hole of FAIL.  The only explanation is that it's the beginning of a power grab by the Fed.Gov, designed to eliminate Internet anonymity.

The Borepatch recommendation is do not touch this stinker with a ten foot pole.  And tell your family not to bother, too.

Only 27?

I hang my head in shame.

How many Justin Biebers could you take in a fight?
Created by Oatmeal

Via #2 Son.

Deal on .308 Winchester ammo

Bulkammo.com has a special: 1000 rounds for $550.  Seems a darn good price there.

Special price good through April 21, so you'll want to hurry.

They also have 1680 rounds of .380 ACP for $365.  That's probably enough ammo to get you arrested in Massachusetts.

Disclaimer: I still owe Steve and company a review from earlier, but this is something I found just poking around their web site.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Federal Aviation Narcolepsy Administration


Heh.  And double heh:


Via Theo Spark.

And who would have suspected that Exploding Head Syndrome is a real medical condition?

Why the Fed.Gov's Internet ID is a persistently bad idea

The Fed.Gov's Internet ID plan is back:

As we reported, on Friday the United States Department of Commerce and a host of privacy and security experts met at Stanford University to discuss the mapping out of an "Identity Ecosystem" for cyberspace.

That would be a place, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke explained at the event, "where individuals and organizations can complete online transactions with greater confidence... putting greater trust in the online identities of each other... and greater trust in the infrastructure that the transactions run across."

We know what you're thinking. Locke knows it too.

"Let's be clear," he quickly added. "We are not talking about a national ID card."
And the original Income Tax was going to be capped at 3% ...

But that's not why this is a bad idea.  It's not even the very weak tea used to justify the plan (click through to read the extremely unpersuasive example scenarios that this "solves").

The problem is that a central, authoritative database of user identities is a huge target for the Bad Guys.

Imagine that the Fed.Gov establishes this program.  Imagine that it actually is useful - as useful as they plan.  You can get all sorts of validated access to sensitive data, based on their database vouching for you.

What Bad Guy wouldn't want to get access to that?

Furthermore, the security of the database system itself will be pathetic, its guardians incompetent, and so the data in it will be subject not just to disclosure, but to tampering.  How do we know this?

Because the Fed.Gov can't keep malware out of even its classified networks.  You know, the ones protected by large staffs of well-trained security gurus using all the latest security technology (no, I'm not being sarcastic here).  And it's not just them.  RSA, one of the world's premier security vendors, was hacked recently.  The Bad Guys were after information on how to break RSA's two-factor authentication tokens (basically, a password replacement device).  These devices are used by every security-conscious organization on the planet.

Even with all their skill and technology, even with the motivation to keep this from happening, RSA got hacked:
The number of enterprises hit by APTs grows by the month; and the range of APT [Advanced Persistent Threats, industry jargon for custom trojan horse malware - Borepatch] targets includes just about every industry. Unofficial tallies number dozens of mega corporations attacked; examples are in the press regularly, and some examples are here, and here.



These companies deploy any imaginable combination of state-of-the-art perimeter and end-point security controls, and use all imaginable combinations of security operations and security controls. Yet still the determined attackers find their way in. What does that tell you?

The first thing actors like those behind the APT do is seek publicly available information about specific employees – social media sites are always a favorite.  With that in hand they then send that user a Spear Phishing email. Often the email uses target-relevant content; for instance, if you’re in the finance department, it may talk about some advice on regulatory controls.

The attacker in this case sent two different phishing emails over a two-day period. The two emails were sent to two small groups of employees; you wouldn’t consider these users particularly high profile or high value targets. The email subject line read “2011 Recruitment Plan.”

The email was crafted well enough to trick one of the employees to retrieve it from their Junk mail folder, and open the attached excel file. It was a spreadsheet titled “2011 Recruitment plan.xls.

The spreadsheet contained a zero-day exploit that installs a backdoor through an Adobe Flash vulnerability (CVE-2011-0609). As a side note, by now Adobe has released a patch for the zero-day, so it can no longer be used to inject malware onto patched machines.
And the Fed.Gov thinks they can prevent this from happening to their uber-identity database?  Good luck with that.

So the problem with this proposal is not that it's an idiotic crock full of FAIL, the problem is that it might just succeed well enough to become the Mother Lode target.  That's why it's a bad idea.  So why is it a persistently bad idea?

Law Enforcement has a strong, almost visceral dislike of Internet anonymity.   This is an institutional dislike, meaning that there's very little difference between the two political parties.  Other countries have an even deeper dislike for Internet anonymity, and would like to eliminate it as a means to better control their populations.

At the bottom, governments are hierarchical structures comfortable with top-down control.  The idea of a self-organizing population is a divide-by-zero error.  And so we see repeated attempts by the government to impose some sort of top-down control onto the Internet.  It's a bad idea, because control always means restricting access to part of the information on the 'Net, which means that the population has less access to information, which means that the 'Net is less useful.  The governments always tell themselves that the reduced productivity that comes from their plans will be small - tiny, really, almost undetectable.

Oooooooh kaaaaaaay.

I'd be more impressed with their ability to forecast the future if they weren't steering the FAIL Boat full speed towards the shoals that RSA just pitched up upon.

So the proposal is a bad idea, it's always been a bad idea, it will remain a bad idea, and it - sadly - will keep coming back.

To the People of Texas & all Americans

Belle has it.

The rest of the story is here.  But Blackfork asks where is the Texas Government?

Giants strode the Earth in those days.

Oops

We've been hearing for ten years now that we're running out of Internet addresses.  As with anything we hear for ten years, we've discounted this as scaremongering from a credulous media.  Oops:

The provider of IP addresses to the Asia Pacific region has activated a major change in the way it allocates them after becoming the first registry to deplete its number of older addresses to fewer than 17 million.

APNIC said the depletion of all but its final /8 block of addresses was a “key turning point in IPv4 exhaustion” meant that it was no longer able to meet current demand for the older addresses. As a result, the registry has immediately instituted a draconian rationing plan that will limit both the number of IPs issued and the organizations that are eligible to receive them.
Asia/Pacific (APAC) has been more aggressive in pushing the new IPv6 addresses, so it's not surprising that they've been the first to run out of addresses.  But the end is coming for the rest of us.

What will be interesting to see is whether IPv4 (Old School Internet) from your cable modem, combined with Network Address Translation (NAT) to IPv6 (New School Internet) will let us ignore what's going on.  My guess is that Skype users will be the first to know ...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Go ahead and bite me ...

... If you're a Zombie, I'm not afraid.

The Zombie Bite Calculator
Created by Oatmeal


If you're a Nazi, you need to read this.

If you work for the TSA, just bit me.

"I so appreciate good guys."



God bless you, Kaziah Hancock.  A grateful Republic thanks you for what you do.

Via email from cousin Mike.

Ouch

Just met with #1 Son's College admissions officer.  He's been accepted, and so tuition payments will start in about 3 months.

Ouch.

Oh, well, it's not like we had kids because they're cheap ...

New blogs!

It's been a while since I last updated, because I've been
lazy
busy.

Shepherd K blogs about the important stuff over at Preachers and Horse Thieves
Like any 12 year old boy stuck in a man's by, I love anything that goes fast, makes a loud noise or does both at the same time.
Sounds like a job for the Air Force, right there.  But who doesn't like that?

Matt at Troublesome Times are Here connects the dots between Brigid's post on why women should carry firearms, and last week's abduction in Tennessee.
I've been to this community before having lots of extended family there. You'd never expect something like this to happen there, thus I'm afraid that's why it did. People tend to leave their guard down when they feel secure and having a gun won't foil all attempts during home invasion, but I'd rather have one around than not. This being a big hunting and outdoors area, there's a good chance she was probably at least familiar with the use of firearms, but that is speculation on my part. However, the story above is a good reason I think everyone, especially women, should know how to use a firearm, even if they choose not to carry outside the home.
Meanwhile, Teke over at God's Caliber focuses on the important things.  He emailed to let me know he'd blogrolled me, which was nice.  Tracking Sitemeter referrals back is increasingly unreliable as the traffic grows.

CoolChange is at Tranquility Lost.  Another biker with guns, he also offers an important public service to us all.  Heh.

Sports Firing blogs over at Whipped Cream Difficulties.  He got a sweet Winchester for BAG Day, one that is positively drool worthy:

Yes. that’s a Winchester Model 9422 Legacy. Tex-Guns sold it new to someone back in 1986 (if I remember the date correctly), and they came back in a few months ago and put it on consignment. It came with the original box and paperwork.

I need another .22 rifle like I need another 1911, or another hole in my head, but this one is beautiful; I’d put it at 99%+. I’m not even sure it has been fired. And it goes well with my pre-64 Model 94.
Drool.

Keads emails (yay!) to point out that he's blogrolled me.  Another Day ... Another ... is focused basically on nothing but shooting (not that there's anything wrong with that!).  But he also finds useful stuff for the kitchen, like the Kimber Pepper Blaster II (not on Massachusetts Approved Spicing Roster, sorry).

Quizikle blogs over that the Eponymously named blog.  He distills deep truth about How The World Works:
An experienced technician will take less than 5 minutes to find the correct wrench needed to pound in a loose screw.
Heh.  And so, so true.

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