Monday, March 30, 2009


Because dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

If you don't recognize the title, it's an acronym: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. It's from Robert Heinlein's magnum opus, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

So's Simon here.

UPDATE 31 March 2009 9:47: I don't think I was clear on this post. There's a movement forming, and if you click on Simon here, it will take you to a whole set of info on what, why, and what you can do. Doesn't say who Adam Selene is, though.

Bacon Doughnuts

No comment offered, because none is necessary. Other than what a great country.

Warning: annoying ad at the beginning of the video. Via the Corner.

UK Police let family burn to death

But that's not the worst of it. They stopped neighbors from saving the family, because the firemen weren't there:
Davey Davis, 38, a friend of the family, said: “It was the most harrowing thing I have ever witnessed. Michelle was at the bedroom window yelling, ‘Please save my kids’ and we wanted to help but the police were pushing us back and not allowing us near. We were willing to risk our lives to save those kiddies but the police wouldn’t let us.
The police department denies that anything is wrong:
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The senior officer in charge is confident we handled this incident as professionally as possible. In a situation like that you could end up with more deceased bodies than you had in the first place.”
From the department of Doesn't Get It. In the place that Great Britain used to be. Past tense:

“I thought the police were there to protect lives. At one time they would have have gone inside themselves to try and rescue them.

“When a family is burning to death in front of your eyes, rules should go out of the window – especially with kids. Everybody wanted to try and help.”

Not in the NuLabor Britain. Follow the rules. Know your place. Your intellectual superiors have everything well in hand, and don't you forget it.

The whole thing reminds me of another example of greatness passed, with a stunted generation unworthy of their noble predecessors.

To those who think we should be more like Europe with its kinder social model, wake up.

New car bling, yo!

Now that we've nationalized General Motors, here's the new GM Fed.Gov "Commissar" model, for the 2010 model year! Yes, it looks boxy and clunky, but it was built at the "Card Check" plant by the New Soviet Democratic Labor.

In Soviet Russia America, your Ride pimps you!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cancer bleg

Dad's prostate cancer is back, and may be worse than before. This time, it seems that he can't have radiation. The doc is talking about hormone therapy to manage the illness, but my father-in-law didn't like that at all.

Not been a good weekend.

If anyone out there has any knowledge of recent developments in prostate cancer treatments, I'd be mighty obliged for a pointer. Please leave a comment, or you can email me at borepatch at gmail dot com.

And those with a mind to remember dad in your prayers, I'd be mighty obliged for that, too.

UPDATE 1 April 2009 8:15: Thanks, Brigid. And thanks to everyone coming from her place, especially those who've left comments.

Hamlet's Facebook page

This is one of the cleverest things I've seen in quite a while: the story of Hamlet, as told by Facebook.

Click through to see the rest, although you may need a Facebook account. I haven't run across Sarah Schmelling before, but I'd think she has a good future as a comedy writer.


This is what things were like when I was a kid. Really.

And an earlier post is maybe worth a re-read, Princesses, Cowgirls, and Sarah Palin.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Who do you think that Gun Control laws are aimed at?

Overheard Chez Borepatch. The scene: #2 Son (age 13) and I are watching Weaponology, the episode about automatic weapons. One of the people interviewed, when discussing the AK-47, mentioned that you can buy these in the marketplace in Mogadishu for $15.
#2 Son: $15! Can I get one? I'll use my own money!

Me: Sorry, the Gun Control laws don't allow kids to own guns.

#2 Son: But kids get them anyway.

Me: So what does that tell you about Gun Control laws?

#2 Son: They don't work?

Me: Well, you don't have an AK-47, do you? Pretty effective at controlling that. So who do you think that Gun Control laws are aimed at?

#2 Son: (realization dawning) @#$%!
Right quick on the uptake, that lad.

Protect your (Victorian) garden

Won't damage your trees! Sixteen shillings. Time machine not included ...

Jack Ingram - Love You

This week has been filled with chicks and guns (and what's not to like about that?), so this Saturday Redneck will highlight a chick with a gun. Sadly, she doesn't also have a bayonet.

Jack Ingram
is one of the many ten-year "overnight sensations" - his first album (Jack Ingram) was in 1992, but it wasn't until 2007 that he hit the big time with This Is It. His music is pretty representative of "crossover" country rock. This isn't great art, but it's fun, and up-tempo, and doesn't hide its attitude. In a way, it's classic rock 'n' roll, as it used to be Back In The Day.

Plus, the video makes me grin. And the shotgun is nice, although the filming did involve a violation of the Four Rules.

Love You (Songwriters Jay Knowles, Trent Summar)
Dang the sun; dang this day
An' I'm just tryin' to stay outta your danged ol' way
To heck with this; to heck with us
An' shoot if I'll ever look back on where I've been
Shoot if I'll ever give away my heart again

Love you, love this town;
Love this mother-lovin' truck that keeps breakin' lovin' down
There's only one four-letter word that'll do:
Love you

Love your cat; love this house
Well, I can't believe myself that I'm lovin' gettin' out
Love talkin'; love fightin';
Thought of never seein' your lovin' face
There's some words that some words just have to replace

Love you; love this town;
Yeah, I'm sick an' lovin' tired of all your lovin' around
There's only one four-letter word that'll do:
Love you

Love you; love this town;
Yeah, I'm sick an' lovin' tired of all your lovin' around
There's only one four-letter word that'll do:
Love you

Love you; love this town;
Love this mother-lovin' truck that keeps breakin' lovin' down
There's only one four-letter word that'll do:
Love you
Love you
Love you
Love you, honey

Friday, March 27, 2009

This blog is certified Vampire-free

I just wanted to clear that up. The jury is still out on Boston Latin School, although the Headmaster has sent a strongly worded letter home to parents, saying that there is no cannibalism in the Royal Navy are no vampires at Boston Latin.
After stories spread that vampires were strolling the campus of Boston Latin School, the headmaster of the prestigious college-prep school put a stake in the rumors. Lynne Mooney Teta sent a notice out Thursday to faculty, students, and parents denying the presence of bloodsuckers. She declined, however, to offer details about the rumors.
And by "no", we mean that the problem is relatively under control ...

Note: while this blog is indeed vampire-free, we unfortunately cannot say the same about Zombies.

Indian Chicks with guns

These ladies are competing in the air gun competition in the Kila Raipur Rural Sports Festival, held each year in Kila Raipur, Punjab, India. It's quite an event - the largest in India - and includes all sorts of competitions, from normal to, well, abnormal. Like guys being run over by tractors. On purpose. Competitively.

No, I'm not making that up - why do you ask?

We need to listen more closely ...

... Sorry, what did you say?

Hat tip: Steve Johnson at Pragmatic Marketing. They run a really good course on how to listen more closely to your customers and use what you hear to make a better product. Highly recommended if that's your bag, baby.

Gun Nuts Radio homework assignment

Greg Morris has a simply outstanding idea:
Caleb, co-host to Breda on the fastest hour on teh int3rwebz, and captain of a burgeoning gun-centric media empire has mentioned on a few occasions that there is a chance that a representative from AHSA might come on his show to answer some questions.

I personally doubt it will happen, seeing as how they are actually an astro-turf organization whose sole purpose is to get Democrats elected... and they only have about 6 members, including Bob Ricker's mom. However, there is still a chance one of those 6 members will actually make an appearance on the show.

Since I know Caleb is busy practicing for the Bianchi Cup, chasing squirrels, and trying to find a therapeutic dosage of Ritalin, and Breda is busy being an awesome, gun-toting librarian, I thought I'd offer my assistance in formulating some questions:
He then goes on to offer some questions for our heros to ask in the event that AHSA has the stones to call in. But it's not fair to ask Greg to do all the heavy lifting by himself. All of us listeners (and that includes you - if you don't, you should) need to offer a couple questions, to help in "Battlefield Preparation."

Here are mine:
  1. What would you say are three idiotic (useless, superfluous, counterproductive) existing gun control laws?
  2. Can you name some common misrepresentations you see/hear in the media when the subject of gun control comes up?
All y'all have your assignment. Get to it. It's OK to do this homework in the Library during free period, but keep your voices down ...

That's quite a sign there

El Cerrito, California.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Truth in Advertising

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Hat tip: Arbroath.

What did you learn at school today?

Maybe the tyranny of the petty education bureaucracy?
Corsages, tuxedos, limos and breathalyzers are coming to high school proms and dances this year, at least in some schools in the country. In yet another effort to curb underage drinking and driving, various high schools are requiring students to take breath tests before allowing them to attend and participate in prom night festivities.
While we're on the topic of school proms, how about telling the parents of a dead student that you're suspending her?
The parents of a girl who died suddenly two months ago have been sent a letter from her school demanding she improves her attendance. Signed by the deputy headmaster, the letter threatened to ban Megan Gillan from the end of year prom.
Nonsense, grumble the easily led. This is an aberration, a one-off, the exception that proves the rule. OK, how about strip-searching teenage girls because you think they may have an ibuprofin at school?

An assistant principal, enforcing the school’s antidrug policies, suspected her of having brought prescription-strength ibuprofen pills to school. One of the pills is as strong as two Advils.

The search by two female school employees was methodical and humiliating, Ms. Redding said. After she had stripped to her underwear, “they asked me to pull out my bra and move it from side to side,” she said. “They made me open my legs and pull out my underwear.”

Ms. Redding, an honors student, had no pills. But she had a furious mother and a lawyer, and now her case has reached the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on April 21.

But don't worry - the search, as the school's attorney said was “not excessively intrusive in light of Redding’s age and sex and the nature of her suspected infraction.”

Or how about the government seizing your assets and keeping them, without ever charging you with a crime?
Americans are losing their homes, cars, cash and other valuables - to the police. Civil forfeiture - an ancient legal doctrine expanded to prosecute the war on drugs - allows the police to arrest property, charge it with a crime and hold it indefinitely, though the owner may never be charged with a crime.
A.I.G. executives? Pariahs. Local school administrators? Untouchable. Probably the only exposure that most kids have to repression is their day-to-day existence at school. What's surprising is that people are surprised by this sort of petty officialdom: there's quite an extensive body of literature describing it.
No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets.

- Edward Abbey
UPDATE 26 March 2009 19:40: Minor edits and rearranging. If you read this before, this version is more polished.

Space station snapshot

Blurry, you say? This wasn't taken by some government space program. It was taken by Mr. Ralf Vandenberg. From his back yard.

Pretty nice shooting, there, Tex.

A tragedy, and a song

On this day in 1965, a truck lost control driving down Moosic Street in Scranton, PA. It crashed, killing the driver. That is the tragedy part.

The song, of course, is Harry Chapin's 30,000 Pounds of Bananas.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

See Dick. See Dick get directions from his GPS.

See Dick almost drive off a cliff. But there's an explanation, really:

Jones explained: "It [the satnav] kept insisting the path was a road, even as it was getting narrower and steeper. I just trusted it. You don't expect to be taken nearly off a cliff.

"I rely on my satnav. I couldn't do without it for my job, and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened. I guess I'm just lucky the car didn't slip all the way over the edge but it's been a bit of a nightmare."


Fortunately, Police Constable Plod is on the case:
A police spokesman concluded: "Nobody was hurt, but when someone nearly drives off a cliff it shows a lack of care which needs to be investigated."
Lack of care? Boy, howdy.


On this day in 1955, the U.S. Customs Service seized 520 copied of Alan Ginsberg's poem Howl as they were imported from London. The charge was that the poem stank to high heaven.

Actually, the charge was hate speech obscenity. The poem did indeed stink to high heaven, but also had all sorts of homoerotic imagery that, ahem, left little to the imagination. The Federales hastened to charge the importing bookstore - City Lights Bookstore - with hate speech obscenity.

An important precedent was set at the trial, when Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that even “the slightest redeeming social importance” provided absolute first amendment protection from charges of hate speech obscenity. The rest, is publishing history.

You know, there's probably an analogy in here, if I could just put my finger on hate speech it.

What, you want proof that it stank to high heaven? OK, how about this:
Who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedies among the scholars of war ...
Those with strong stomachs can get even more stinkitude by clicking through. You've been warned ...

I, for one, welcome our new Martian Robot overlords

Robot rover "Opportunity" amidst martian sand dunes, viewed from orbit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I won!

The things that show up in your inbox!
Attn: Email Bearer,

This is to formally inform and congratulate you on the result of the
online cyber lotto which was conducted from an exclusive list of
1,000.000 email addresses of individual and corporate bodies selected
by an advanced automated random computer ballot system from the
Your e-mail address emerged as a winner in the category "A" with the
following information enclosed.
You are therefore to receive a cash prize of $2,500,000.00. (Two
Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).
To file in for the processing of your prize winnings, you are advised
to contact our Certified and Accredited claims agent for category "A"
winners with the information below:
Name: Mr.Henk Wolter
Phone: 0031 633 690 563
Fax: : 0031 847 553 129
Amsterdam . The Netherlands
You are adviced to provide him with the following necessary
information for vetting process which is a standard practice
just to ensure that we are dealing with the right individual.

Telephone/Fax number:
Winning Email:
Out of a million email addresses, I win the prize! I see that the Obama Administration's Want Inflation Now (WIN) program has added a couple zeros to the end of the number, though ...

Happy New Year

If you're still using the Julian Calendar (and I hear that all the Cool Kids are), then this is the last day of the year. Don't over do it with the noise makers and Champagne, you whacky hipsters!

Of course, the Julian calendar is named for Julius Caesar, because he had the Roman, err, calendar makers create it. Back in around 45 B.C. Since it was off by a quarter day a year, by 1500 A.D. or so, things were really out of whack. Like Mid-winter coming in spring out of whack.

Pope Gregory had the, err, roman calendar makers come up with a new one - the Gregorian calendar. With an extra quarter day a year - a leap year every 4 years. They also put spring back where it belongs (in spring). So New Years was moved back to, well, New Years, where it remains to this day.

Some old conservative fuddy duddys (probably Republicans or something) didn't like this at all. They kept celebrating the New Year with a week's worth of part-ay at the end of March. Still hung over on April 1, they were the "April Fools".

Seen on my iPhone

I have no idea what this is, but maybe I can get a NEA grant from the stimulus fund.

I call it "Untitled No. 17"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Northeast Blogshoot

It's been a long day, so I'll post about the blogshoot tomorrow. But a big, BIG thank you to JayG for putting this together, to Ambulance Driver for a great excuse to a get together, to Liz and Bill for a great venue. Special thanks to everyone who offered guns for us to shoot, especially To Old To Work Too Young To Retire who let me shoot his SMLE (yes it sounds bad; it wasn't).

And here's a taste. The guest of honor at the naughty end of the range was a Pokemon ...

Old motorcycles and guns

What's not to like? From November, 1914.

Unauthorized changes

Unauthorized changes are a symptom of bad security, not a cause. Something that shouldn't change does - there's a ghost in the machine, and that means a bad day for the security guy.

The TXJ incident where millions of credit cards were exposed is a good example: a server somewhere at TXJ all of a sudden got a new bit of software running on it. 50 million cards later, someone fixed it.

Now there's news about the "smart" power that's going to come to your house over the next few years - the one where the power company can remotely configure things, to maximize efficiency and "help the environment." Seems that these devices are vulnerable to Bad Guys who can turn your power off:
Is it really so smart to forge ahead with the high technology, digitally based electricity distribution and transmission system known as the "Smart Grid"? Tests have shown that a hacker can break into the system, and cybersecurity experts said a massive blackout could result.
Other than that, it's an awesome system. And people are in a hurry:
The Smart Grid will use automated meters, two-way communications and advanced sensors to improve electricity efficiency and reliability. The nation's utilities have embraced the concept and are installing millions of automated meters on homes across the country, the first phase in Smart Grid's deployment. President Obama has championed Smart Grid, and the recent stimulus bill allocated $4.5 billion for the high-tech program.
Once the Bad Guys are done shutting off your power, you'll get an idea what Change can look like. But your problems will be minor compared to the Power company's:
Experts said that once in the system, a hacker could gain control of thousands, even millions, of meters and shut them off simultaneously. A hacker also might be able to dramatically increase or decrease the demand for power, disrupting the load balance on the local power grid and causing a blackout. These experts said such a localized power outage would cascade to other parts of the grid, expanding the blackout. No one knows how big it could get.
Let's see: millions of angry customers, a damaged electrical power grid that would take weeks to repair, the country paralyzed by (possibly foreign) adversaries.

Lord save us all.

UPDATE 23 March 2009 08:30: More at Slashdot, especially this:
The problem that could arise from a large number of Smart Grid computers being pwned is if a worm triggered them off at exactly the same time, this is called a "load rejection" event. It would cause oscillations in the power flow which could end in a blackout but, generally, load rejection is not as bad as generation rejection, which happens when a power plant is cut off.
One way to deal with this vulnerability is to make the power companies and device manufacturers liable for damage in the event of unauthorized use. Actually, that would just keep the technology from being deployed, since you can never guarantee that. However, that might be an improvement over what we'll very likely get. And this really gets to the heart of the stupidity around things:

Let me get this straight. Pennell wants the bug to kept undisclosed because it will be too expensive for the utilities to fix. Yet, someone whose clever, maybe those folks who hacked into the grids in other countries, may do it to the utilities here in the US; which will be vulnerable because the bug is "too expensive" to fix. Meaning, that the grid is vulnerable and subject to the damage that everyone is afraid might happen since the bugs exist. I guess if the bugs are kept secret, no one else is capable of discovering them because nobody is as smart as the researchers?

OooooooKaaaaay. Riiiiiiight.

Like you can keep something like this secret from the people who are most dangerous.

Thanks, Jay

Thanks, Jay, for organizing the blog meeting with Ambulance Driver. Of course, it was at a suitably themed restaurant.

Mmmm, lever gun! And if you look closely, you can see the reflection of bloggers in the glass!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Martini made with Bacon vodka. No further comment necessary.

Chicago Pistol Accessories

It looks like this was a distributor, not a manufacturer. Probably from the 1950s. In Chicago.

Different world.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicks with Guns - Lego version

Brickarms has some wild guns, realistically designed (see M21 sniper rifle, above) and sized to fit Lego figures. I particularly like the Garand, SMLE, and Broomhandle Mauser, but I'm a sucker for old guns.

#2 Son is still somewhat into Lego, so we will likely see these here at Chez Borepatch.

ZOMG! Lego Zombies!

Click to embiggen. I love the firefighters with the chainsaws.

And you can build your own, with one of these.

Includes a 500 S&W revolver, in case you run into any Lego lions.

Impossibly cool

I have absolutely no idea how to take a picture like this, other than to video it and grab a still from the MPEG stream.

I don't think that a bicycle is what you need

Seems I'm not the only one who thinks this. If you click through to the image on Flickr, you'll find this:
Not sure that I'd want to be up against a Lion with a Smith and Wesson, either. Maybe one of these:
Model 500 Magnum. I don't expect that shooting this would be pleasant, but neither would getting eaten by a lion.

Trisha Yearwood - On a Bus to St. Cloud

One of the things that keeps me listening to Country music is that in many ways it is "music for grownups." There's nothing wrong with youthful rebellion - I did my share of that, to be sure - but there is more to life than that. As Trace Adkins puts it in "Songs About Me", they're songs about lovin' and livin' and good-hearted women, about family and God.

Especially as I get older, they are sometimes songs about regret, about the path not taken.

Nobody does that like Trisha Yearwood.

She's quite the Country music powerhouse: four platinum and five gold albums.

Her story is quite interesting. A small town Georgia girl who grew up on a farm, learned how to sing like an angel, moved to Nashville, worked as a receptionist at a recording studio. She made demo tapes, and that got her a back-up vocal gig on Garth Brook's No Fences album - back before he was famous. They became friends, and when he broke out, she toured and performed with him. But she had bigger plans.

On A Bus To St. Cloud is one of my favorites. It's almost not even country - in fact, it's pretty hard to classify into any genre bigger than "songs about being human." It has minimal accompaniment; until the end, it's pretty much just Yearwood and a piano.

It's also a song that I don't think I could have understood at 20. A song for grown ups.

On A Bus To St. Cloud (songwriters Peters, Gretchen)
On a bus to St. Cloud, Minnesota
I thought I saw you there
With the snow falling down around you
Like a silent prayer
And once on a street in New York City
With the jazz and the sin in the air
And once on a cold L.A. freeway
Going nowhere
And it's strange, but it's true
I was sure it was you
Just a face in the crowd
On a bus to St. Cloud

In a church in downtown New Orleans
I got down on my knees and prayed
And I wept in the arms of Jesus
For the choice you made
We were just gettin' to the good part
Just gettin' past the mystery
Oh, and it's just like you, it's just like you
To disagree
And it's strange but it's true
You just slipped out of view
Like a face in the crowd
On a bus to St. Cloud

And you chase me like a shadow
And you haunt me like a ghost
And I hate you some, and I love you some
But I miss you most...

On a bus to St. Cloud, Minnesota
I thought I saw you there
With the snow falling down around you
Like a silent prayer
Bootnote: Trisha Yearwood is also know as Mrs. Garth Brooks. At one of her concerts, he came out on stage, knelt down, and proposed. In front of 20,000 people. That's one confident man.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Imagine if George Bush had made a "retard" joke

Also, some people don't have to apologize for their attitude towards the disabled.

Recorded a while back for the recent Special Olympics. This is how to stay classy, Mr. President.

Seems the media isn't saying much about this story. Those that haven't gone out of business, I mean. Yet.

Via the Weekly Standard.

The Treasury Department gets the Economy back upright

Well, it looks like the Treasury Department.

I'll have a pint of Fuller's and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch

Oh, wait.
Bomb disposal teams were called in and [Islington] buildings evacuated after workmen mistook a Monty Python film prop for a hand grenade.
The carnage was brutal:

Local businesses criticised the police for taking so long to realise there was no threat.

Alberto Romanelli, owner of the Windmill put that was evacuated, said: "I lost a good hour's worth of business."

Well, glad that's all cleared up. No telling what might have happened if it had been real. Maybe this:
Thousands of people have been evacuated from a town in southern Italy after a massive unexploded British bomb was unearthed at a construction site.
Presonally, I blame George W. Bush lax US gun control laws that let illegal Mexican gang members buy hand grenades. Or something. I read it in a newspaper, I think.

Oh, and it turns out that it's really, really easy to make your own Mexican hand grenade.

How to Make the Hand Grenade Mixed Drink -- powered by

Fly, Spacebat, Fly!

I cried.

Hat tip: Chad Crayton.


Now that I've changed jobs - from Big Tech Company to Security Startup Number 3 - I'm traveling to a meeting near New York City. Courtesy of all of you, there's quite good rail service on the Amtrak Acela Express.

It would never survive without the generous support of your (and my) tax dollars, but it gives a great excuse to Trainblog, Weer'd Beard style! From the iPhone.


Sure is easier getting through "security" at the train station, though.

Happy "Sun Outage" Day!

Today is the Vernal Equinox. It's the day that is evenly divided into day and night: 12 hours each.

For satellites in Geostationary orbit, it turns out that for about an hour today the satellite will be directly between the sun and the earth. Since the solar radiation is so much more intense than the satellite's transmitter, the ground station won't be able to lock on to the signal.

Happy sporadic outage day, everyone!

Oh, yeah - happy spring, too.

Quote of the Day

From The Unpaid Bill, about Phil Donahue's ignorant comment that we've "become a warrior nation":
I'm not sure what history class Phil skipped, but we have always been a warrior nation. Our country was born out of the lifeblood spilled during the American War for Independence. It was preserved by the blood spilled on the battlefields by our soldiers. It was expanded by conquest from sea to shining sea. It's only recently that people take the view that if you use force you've somehow failed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Opus 1000

It seems that I'm a bit of a Chatty Cathy. This is post number 1000, in a little over 8 months of blogging.

As the long-time reader well knows, the problem isn't getting me to talk. It's getting me to shut up.

The future officially arrives

It's a flying car, so this must be the future. Seen here hanging out with the past.

Road safe, only requires the (much easier to get) "light sport" pilot's license. Wings unfold, letting you fly 400 miles at 100+ MPH.

For the low, low price of $200,000. Line forms over there, folks.

We'll know that we're really living in the future when this shows up in JayG's friday classic car thread ...

Hat tip: The Drawn Cutlass.

Happy blogiversary

To Alan, at SnarkyBytes. Two years of, well, snarky bytes of bloggy goodness.

Congratulations, and here's hoping for many more years of, well, snarky bytes!

That's one heck of a woman

Congratulations to To Old To Work To Young To Retire, on 30 years with the Missus. He has some words of (hard won) wisdom to all the young 'uns fixin' to get hitched.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Security horror stories

Chris Byrne has challenged the collective security-fu of Al Gore's Intarwebz, looking for amusing stories. His commenters step up to the challenge. If you're a security geek, hilarity ensues.

If this is the sort of thing you like, then, well, you'll like it. I sure did.

Javahead's story is my favorite, although Linoge's one about the pilot is pretty darn funny.

Why people hate security

Offered as Exhibit A in The People v. Stupid Security.

An antivirus (anonymous to protect the guilty, although ten seconds with Google will reveal all) is blocking a browser from reading a file.

The file is the Javascript interpreter.

Without Javascript, Al Gore's Intarwebz get all achy-breaky. Kaput. Termineé. This is annoyance the Greater.

Annoyance the Lesser is that the browser really (really, really) wants Javascript to work. It keeps trying to load C:\WINDOWS\System32\jscript.dll. Again and again and again.

You get one of these boxes for each attempt.

Quite frankly, this is why security doesn't work too well. If you miss malware on the way in, then shucks, lots of folks do. Nobody is likely to blame you, specifically. If you whack part of the Operating System, you get people yelling at you over the phone. You, specifically.

No wonder so much malware gets by the defenses. The defenders are more afraid of you than of the malware.

BATFE thrown out of court

9 years ago, the BATFE classified model rocket motor propellant as an explosive. Model rocketry enthusiasts were understandably upset, and the Tripoli Rocketry Association and National Association of Rocketry sued.

They just won. Won big. The Judge opened a righteous can of whoop-ass on the BATFE:
  • Granted summary judgment against BATFE, and rejected BATFE's request for summary judgment in their favor.
  • Termed the BATFE's decision as "arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law."
  • Ruled that the BATFE's claims about the nature of the rocket propellant were not scientifically valid, and were refuted by the plaintiff's evidence.
The ruling is pretty brutal. For example, "the agency's shortcoming was its failure to articulate any rationale for finding that the relevant and significant evidence in the record that conflicted with its position was unpersuasive, which it seemingly out-of-hand dismissed merely because it was contrary to the agency's ultimate conclusion."

Parallels to other policies by the BATFE are left as an exercise to the reader. Bravo Zulu, Judge Walton.

Via Slashdot, where the gun control debate is spirited, and our side is well represented.

Thermite is (ahem) da Bomb

Eseell has video. From Mythbusters. 'Nuff said.

And just a quick note: I've found a couple of folks who've blogrolled me, via Sitemeter logs. If anyone out there has me in their blogroll, send me an email. I'll blogroll you right back. ;-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shopping Safety, Texas Style

Don't know if this has ever happened to Shoothouse Barbie, but it should have. Heh.

Hat tip, Billy Ockham, who also has a great video of a truck decapitating itself under a low bridge. It's better than I made it sound.

Can't they vet anyone?

Oh, for crying out loud: Obama's nominee to be America's Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a convicted thief:
According to Maryland state records, Vivek Kundra, the White House chief information officer who took leave last Thursday -- one week after being named to the position, pleaded guilty to a petty theft charge 12 years ago.
Good grief.

In all fairness, I should point out that Timothy Geithner is not a convicted thief, because the government never prosecuted him.

And these people think that they're smart enough to run the nation's health care?

Trojan malware for ATM machines?

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph - next you'll find malware in your underwear drawer:

Security researchers from Sophos have discovered sophisticated malware that siphons payment card information out of automatic teller machines made by Diebold and possibly other manufacturers.

Sophos researcher Vanja Svajcer found three samples after combing through VirusTotal and a similar online database earlier this month. If installed, all three trojans contained functions that allowed them to log information recorded by an ATM's magnetic card reader.


Both Svajcer and Zacheroff stressed the trojan could only be installed by someone who had physical access to an ATM, since the devices, obviously, don't have floppy drives and typically run only on private isolated networks. That means the malware could most likely be installed only with help of an insider or in the event passwords weren't managed properly.

Note that ATMs manufactured by Wincor Nixdorf have software designed to thwart this sort of malware. It is possible that a knowledgeable attacker could disable this software, but you'd need more than your typical ATM repairman.

So, what does it take to switch to Open Source?

If you're the Prime Minister of India, it seems that a massive virus-caused would do it:

The office of the Indian Prime Minister has reportedly ditched Microsoft's Outlook for open-source email following a computer virus that caused a massive breakdown in communications.

The PMO has dumped Outlook Express for SquirrelMail, it has emerged, following an outage that saw emails go missing and unanswered during a three-month period last year.

Also unanswered is why it took 3 months for someone to notice that the PM wasn't getting any email. I guess he must be more of a Facebook sort of guy.

Everything you need to know about the Banking Crisis

Banks are in dire straights. The administration and congress said that it was so bad, that there had to be a $700 Billion bailout, administered by nameless bureaucrats, accountable to nobody RIGHT NOW OR WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!1!

Well, let's look at a bank. East Bridgewater Savings Bank is a local bank in Massachusetts. Is it in dire straights?
Bad or delinquent loans? Zero. Foreclosures? None. Money set aside in 2008 for anticipated loan losses? Nothing. ... The bank even squeaked out a profit of $87,000. And its Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 31.6 percent, or more than three times higher than many community banks in Massachusetts. “We’re paranoid about credit quality,” Petrucelli said. The 62-year-old chief executive has run the bank since 1992.
Well, no. Has it asked for bailout funds? No. You'd think they'd get a medal.

So what did they get?
Yet the FDIC has turned up the heat on Petrucelli's bank, giving it an apparently rare "needs to improve rating," for not making more risky loans under the Community Reinvestment Act. Here is how the FDIC puts it: “There are no apparent financial or legal impediments that would limit the bank’s ability to help meet the credit needs of its assessment area. The FDIC examiners also faulted East Bridgewater "for not advertising and marketing its loan products enough. The bank, which does not have a Web site, offers fixed-rate mortgages."
The Fed.Gov nails them for not lending to people who can't repay the loans, and not going out of business while doing it.


Irony is dead, it seems. The same idiots who created laws that have bankrupted the entire financial sector have created a machine that - in the midst of the grazed-to-the-soil, barren public common that used to be the banking sector - homes in on the one small tuft of green left in sight.

This simply won't change, because as I pointed out a while ago, Congress doesn't give a fig for you and me. The care about the political machine, about patronage, about the big political donors. About payola: earmarks for donations.

Throw them all out. Every man Jack (and woman Jill).

Reprinted here is what I proposed would be the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
Section 1. No person shall be elected to the House of Representatives more than thrice, and no person who has held the office of Representative, or acted as Representative, for more than one year of a term to which some other person was elected Representative shall be elected to House of Representatives more than twice. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of Representative when this article becomes operative, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of Representative, or acting as Representative, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of Representative or acting as Representative during the remainder of such term.

Section 2. No person shall be elected to the Senate more than once, and no person who has held the office of Senator, or acted as Senator, for more than three years of a term to which some other person was elected Senator shall be elected to Senate. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of Senator when this article becomes operative, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of Senator, or acting as Senator, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of Senator or acting as Senator during the remainder of such term.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
No extra charge, folks, it's all part of the service.

Meet the New Guy


Hat Tip: 13 Crows.

If he'd done this, maybe he'd be President today

Even the MSM mafia calls him Mister!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Well, it's almost the same


And which calls this to mind:
The Bustard's a fortunate fowl
with almost no reason to growl.
Saved from what would be
by the grace of a fortunate vowel.

BBC flogs malware

If you or I did this, it would be a felony (a serious one, not a boneheaded one).
BBC Click has admitted paying cybercrooks thousands of dollars to buy access to a botnet as part of a controversial cybercrime investigation, broadcast over the weekend.


BBC Click used the botnet of 22,000 machine to send spam to webmail addresses it established and launch a denial of service attack against a test website by security firm PrevX which advised on the investigation. It then changed the wallpaper on compromised machines with a message of its own, advising affected users to clean up.
A hearty shout out to all you folks living in old Blighty - your TV tax license fee funded this.

Let's see: paying thousands of dollars to buy a botnet to make money pimp Viagra spam: bad hacker! No biscuit! Paying thousands of dollars to buy a botnet to make money pimping TV ratings: courageous journalism.


Ever wonder why there are so many felonies?

So that the Federales will get you to cop to a lesser offense, instead of fighting a ridiculous charge:

A Los Angeles man who pleaded guilty in December to illegally uploading nine Guns N’ Roses songs onto his music site could be thrown in the slammer for six months if federal prosecutors in the case get their way.

Kevin Cogill was arrested last summer after posting tracks on 18 June from GNR’s album Chinese Democracy to his Antiquiet website. He saw the copyright violation charge against him reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor after he admitted to streaming the pre-release tunes.

A felony for uploading nine tracks? Felony?

The only way that this is remotely understandable is Congress selling votes taking campaign contributions from the music industry fat cats.

Sit down, shut up, and don't get in the way of your betters, or they'll throw you in Club Fed.

God save this honorable republic.

Malware knows where you are

Sitemeter logs show the IP address of people reading this blog. Geo-IP can translate this into a physical location.

Malware is starting to use this for targeted attacks:
A new variant of the Waledac worm uses an email message claiming a "dirty bomb" explosion in order to tempt the gullible into visiting a maliciously-constructed website posing as the homepage of news agency Reuters. This website uses a GEO-IP lookup to customise the story so as to appear that the explosion appeared in a city or location near the surfer viewing it.
Of course, the link in the email points you to a web site that tells you that you need to download something to "view the video". The download is the malware package.

We've been seeing advances in this sort of Physhing technique for several years, as the Bad Guys use psychology graduates to craft a more effective message.

Any time you're told that "you need to down load xxx" to view a video, you're under attack.

Learning to be a punk

Someone should tell little Tommy that this sort of thing gets you talked about. In the Police Blotter.

Ah, the 1950s.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I made her laugh today. Twice.

My six words.

UPDATE 17 March 2009 17:49: Welcome visitors from MArooned! Take a look around; I'm usually (ahem) a bit more verbose than this ...


The moon has always cast a spell on Man. Because we live in a scientific age, we look for scientific explanations for this - the moon effects the tides, the menstrual cycle seems linked to the moon. These miss the point.

The werewolf legend isn't linked to any of these scientific justifications. Neither was the royal court of Ur, where the entire court was entombed alive with the dead king. There's something deeper, primitive.

The moon is unique in the heavens, in that it changes in a way that is obvious to the naked eye. Full moon, gibbous moon, half moon, crescent moon, new moon.

New moon. Why not "gone" moon, or "dead" moon, or "empty" moon?

The new moon is pregnant with symbolism - it's the start, not the end. The moon represents the cycle of time: planting and reaping, birth and death, spring and winter. For primitive man, it was time. The royal court of Ur didn't care that the moon was linked with the tides. They did care about the cycle of time, and birth and death - and rebirth - yea, even unto death themselves.

The picture is from NASA, the crescent moon and the crescent Venus (click to see the whole thing, it's quite striking). We can't know what the ancient Babylonians would think of this picture of the Moon and Venus/Ishtar, but we can imagine.

There is no Dark Side of the moon. We always see the same face - literally, the Man In The Moon, because tidal forces have locked the moon's rotation to the earth. There is a far side of the moon that we never saw until the lunar probes of the 1960s, but both faces go through light/dark day/night cycles.

At the time of the new moon, near sunset and sunrise, you can sometimes see the dark face weakly illuminated. This is called Earthshine, and is light reflected off the earth illuminating the moon. Light in darkness.

But this is wandering into the realm of science, too. The fear of the werewolf isn't explained by any of this. Instead, it's the battle of light vs. dark that is in each of our souls. With the werewolf, darkness has won, at least temporarily.

Mithra was a cult in ancient times, the only real competition to the new Christian religion - you find temples to Mithra all over the Roman empire, especially where there were army camps. The cult was explicitly about this battle of light vs. dark, and used even older symbols (that were still recognized in that day) as part of its sacred story. The Bull played a big part, which seems odd for us today. We've forgotten that the Bull was associated with the moon - the crescent horns are an image of the crescent moon. Ancient kings of Ur, as well as the Pharaohs explicitly referred to themselves as representatives of the Bull God. He who controls the cycle controls society.

The climax of the Mithraic ceremony was the sacrifice of a bull, the breaking through the cycle of time, the victory of light over darkness. The parallel to the Mass is striking. In both ceremonies, there is the turning point. Earthshine.

And so to the soul, or the psyche. There is light and dark in each of us, which waxes and wanes in a different rhythm. Depression is a perpetual state of the waning moon, of autumn, with no promise of spring. The new class of medications that have emerged in the last 20 years are a brake on the runaway waxing tendency. Restoring the cycle to balance.


Mighty Linux admins from little acorns grow

New EeePC just arrived, and it's now set up as dual-boot XP and eeBuntu. #1 Son and I have been doing it together, as it's a good skill set for him to have, and I just like spending the time with him.

This morning, he was going to add my account on eeBuntu. Not finding the right graphical app, he dropped into a command shell and typed sudo adduser ted. I never showed him that, he figured it out all by himself. I'm so dang proud I could bust.

Not my EeePC in the pic - I'll post on it until y'all wished I'd stop - but just like the idea of Metasploit on this tiny thing. Sort of like a snubby in .357. Heh.

Open Carry

This could very possibly get you arrested in Massachusetts.

Beware the Ides of March

March 15 is known as the Ides of March, from an ancient Roman holiday celebrating the half moon. Yes, they had a solar calendar but this was based on a Lunar one; it was an excuse for a party, sort of like St. Patrick's Day.

And in 44 B.C., the party got downright jiggy, as Marcus Junius Brutus and his posse did a Notorious B.I.G. number on Julius Caesar.

As with most parties that get a little out of control, the hangover wasn't exactly pleasant.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

God Bless America, indeed

My kids like watching G4 TV. I can see why - this is made of AWESOME.

Via Northeast Shooters Forum.

I'm 22. And very petite.

And a Minx.

From 1968.

Happy birthday Linux kernel!

On March14, 1994, the Linux kernel 1.0.0 was released to a grateful world. As someone who felt stuck on 0.99 just about forever, it was happy dance time.

I pretty clearly needed to get a life, but y'all know that anyway.

Pour encourager les autres

Sir John Byng was an admiral in the Royal Navy during the 18th century. Britain and France spent almost all of that century at war - The War of the Spanish Succession, Queen Anne's War, King George's War, and so on.

During The Seven Years' War, Admiral Byng commanded a fleet charged with the defense of the island of Minorca from a French fleet. The inconclusive battle was very interesting, and we'll come back to it in a minute:
The French badly damaged the leading ships and slipped away. When his flag captain pointed out to Byng that by standing out of his line, he could bring the centre of the enemy to closer action, he declined on the ground that Thomas Mathews had been dismissed for so doing. The French, who were equal in number to the British, got away undamaged.
Now it seems that not only had Admiral Mattews been dismissed for being insufficiently aggressive, but Lt. Baker Philips was shot by firing squad for being overly aggressive.

It seems that Byng wasn't a great commander, and had his position more due to influence as to talent. So it's unsurprising that he didn't handle the situation with elan. It was surprising that they shot him by firing squad, on this date in 1757.
The severity of the penalty, aided by a not unjust suspicion that the Admiralty sought to cover themselves by throwing all the blame on the admiral led to a reaction in favour of Byng both in the Navy and in the country which had previously demanded retribution.
William Pitt the Elder, then Leader of the House of Commons, told the king: "the House of Commons, Sir, is inclined to mercy", to which George II responded: "You have taught me to look for the sense of my people elsewhere than in the House of Commons."
The royal prerogative was not exercised and John Byng was shot on 14 March 1757 in the Solent on the forecastle of HMS Monarch by a platoon of musqueteers.
This small-minded, legalistic atrocity was immortalized by Voltaire in his novel Candide. The hero (Candide) is in Britain, and witnesses the execution of an officer. He is told "in this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others." Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.

Byng's epitath captures the disgust of the British nation to the whole sorry affair:
To the perpetual Disgrace
The Honble. JOHN BYNG Esqr
Admiral of the Blue
Fell a MARTYR to
March 14th in the year 1757 when
were Insufficient Securities
For the
Life and Honour
of a
I've written about Obama's inability to hire strong subordinates, and to support them once hired. We've seen what happens in these cases - e.g. to poor Admiral Byng - and that may contribute to a reluctance to serve the current president.

Why can't Obama make good hires?

It's actually kind of hard to keep up with the Who's Who of dropouts:
Here's what we know so far:

1) Richardson - Nominee for Sec of Commerce - Federal Corruption Investigation - Withdrew

2) Geithner - Nominee for Sec of Treasury - Serial Tax Cheat - Confirmed because he's the only person smart enough to save the economy

3) Daschle - Nominee for Sec of Health/Human Services - Yet another tax cheat - Trying to get him pushed through because he's on board for socializing our medical system but likely to withdraw [Yep, he withdrew]

4) Nancy Killefer - Nominee for Chief Performance Officer(aka Performance Czar) - Oops another tax cheat - Withdraws

5) Eric Holder - Nominee for Attorney General - Controversial pardons of Marc Rich, FALN terrorists and generally pathetically weak on terrorism - Confirmed. (Try to remember when America was safe)

Running total: 2 Nominees withdraw, 3 nominees with tax issues.
That's from six weeks ago, and doesn't count March 6, when three nominees withdrew.

Lordy. What's going on?

What's going on is "nothing's changed" - Obama has never been able to hire well. He has a long history of blaming his staff for his own mistakes, as ABC's Jake Tapper wrote last summer:

[Lots of stuff deleted - go RTWT]

So, for those keeping track at home, that's ten instances of Obama publicly blaming his staff for various screw-ups.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!

(You of course could also add Austan Goolsbee, Samantha Power, Gordon Fischer, and retired Gen. Tony McPeak.)

That would be 14. We will continue to keep track.

He can't hire well, by his own admission:
President Obama acknowledged yesterday that he had "made a mistake" in trying to exempt some candidates for positions in his administration from strict ethics standards and accepted the withdrawal of two top nominees, including former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle, in the first major setback of his young presidency.
I'm sure that he would phrase it differently than I did, but we're seeing serial failures of a sort that we simply haven't seen maybe ever. That suggests that the problem isn't in the trenches, it's in the CP. It's him.

You can't blame him, though:
The problem of unqualified employees rising through the ranks is well chronicled in Laurence Peter's 1969 book, "The Peter Principle," which argues that people in business organizations rise to their level of incompetence. But are these climbers, who are surrounded by the cult of ambition that pervades most corporations, really at fault for striving for what an organization rewards? What about the one person in close proximity to whom the manager's incompetence isn't tortuously obvious: the fool who promoted him?


High-tech executive Paul Kedrosky also believes "the people who wrong-headedly promote these ragingly incompetent people and don't do anything about it" are the problem. He once had a sales manager who called weekly meetings, asked all the wrong questions, told his subordinates they were idiots and spent the rest of the week frantically making sales himself to cover for his "incompetent" staff. "We spent a great deal of time golfing," Kedrosky says. "To my knowledge, (the man) was still in the job 10 years later, as bad as ever."
51% of the voters put him in this job. If President Obama doesn't stop screwing up regularly (the reset button, snubbing our allies, flip-flopping from panic-city to don't-worry-be-happy on the economy), then the voters will need to act like the Board of Directors, and ask the CEO to stop down. Given Obama's history, that's looking like where the smart money will bet.

Toby Keith - I Wish I Didn't Know Now

Toby Keith is one of the biggest names in Country Music, with ten Platinum albums and two that "only" went Gold. He's perhaps best known for the controversy around his post-9/11 song, Courtesy Of The Red, White, and Blue, which was banned from ABC's Fourth of July show by Peter Jennings. He initially only sang the song at concerts that he did for the troops, until the Commandant of the Marine Corps told him it was "his duty as an American citizen" to record the song.

Oh, yeah, the Dixie Chicks hate him.

But that's not the point of today's Saturday Redneck. We've seen a lot of "buyer's remorse" recently from conservatives who had convinced themselves that Obama was a moderate. Country Music - naturally - has a song about that. Well, about a spouse that you thought was something other than he/she really is.

David Brooks and Jim Cramer, this Saturday Redneck's for you.

I Wish I Didn't Know Now (songwriter: Toby Keith)

I've never ask you where you're goin'
I've never ask you where you've been
I've never called and checked your story
You stayed out with all your friends
I've never tried to catch you lyin'
I didn't want to know the truth
I'd rather go on lovin' blind girl
Than go on lovin' without you

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then
I wish I could start this whole thing over again
I'm not sayin' it's you could never be true
I just don't wanna know how it ends
You'd still have my heart in the palm of your hands
I'd still look like a fool in front of your friends
Yeah I wish somehow I didn't know now what I didn't know then

I've always said what I don't know
Couldn't hurt as bad as leavin' you
Turns out I knew what I was thinkin'
It ain't an easy thing to do
Well I guess I should be goin'
I sure found out too much to stay
Please don't say your sorry
I might wait another day

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then
I wish I could start this whole thing over again
I'm not sayin' it's you could never be true
I just don't wanna know how it ends
You'd still have my heart in the palm of your hands
I'd still look like a fool in front of your friends
Yeah I wish somehow I didn't know now what I didn't know then

You'd still have my heart in the palm of your hand
I'd still look like a fool in front of your friends
Yeah I wish somehow I didn't know now what I didn't know then
Yeah I wish somehow I didn't know now what I didn't know then

Friday, March 13, 2009

I can't wait for government-run healthcare

From the formerly Great Britain:
A SHEPSHED school has apologised for sending a letter about truancy to the mother of a boy suffering from leukaemia after she asked to take him out of classes to meet the Pope.


Ms Yates said she thought her son deserved some discretion given his illness.

She told the BBC: “You’re not talking about a kid playing truant here, it’s a terminal illness.

But I'm sure that your public masters servants in the Obama administration will be much wiser and understanding with our health care.


On the evening of March 11, 1970, Company G, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines engaged the enemy in Quang Nam province. As they tried to evacuate a badly wounded Marine, the enemy counter attacked. One enemy soldier broke through the lines, throwing a grenade into the middle of the group evacuating their comrade.

S/Sgt Allan Jay Kellogg, Jr. stomped the grenade deep into the mud, and then dove on top of it. He saved his team. He also survived, though wounded himself, and fought on, getting his badly-wounded friend to the medevac chopper. For this, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Uncommon valor. He had a lot to live for, but did it anyway:
At the time of the action which earned him the Medal of Honor, Sergeant Major Kellogg was married to the former Carol Diane Haviland of Queens City, New York, and had one daughter, two step-daughters, a brother, and three sisters.
That's not why I'm posting this, although it's a lot. The comrade he saved is a friend of mine.

Sgt. Kellogg, in the unlikely event you ever see this, thank you for your service, but especially thank you for saving Patrick. He's a good man (as you know), and a danged good Internet Security guy - Lord knows we need more of them.

But mostly, he's a friend. "Thank you" seems such a small thing to offer in return.

You'll shoot your eye out with that

From the early 1960s. I would have loved this back then - I was just a little younger than the kid in the ad - but $7 was a lot of money back then. As a point of reference, my allowance in 1965 was a nickel a week, which actually went pretty far. At least for a six year old.

Happy Blogiversary ...

... to you
Happy blogiversary to you
Happy Blogiversary dear Dad
Happy blogiversary to you!

And many more ...

Diffusion of Responsibility

Kitty Genovese would have been 74 today. Her killer, Winston Moseley, is still alive, althought the parole board keeps turning his requests down (most recently a year ago).

A lot of research was done after her death - how on earth could 38 people stand by not just while she was attacked, but also when the attacker comes back later to deliver the coup de grace? 38 people is a platoon, for crying out loud.

Diffusion of Responsibility happens when something needs to be done, and there are clearly a large number of people who could do it. The more people, the smaller the chance that anyone will step forward to do what needs to be done.

You get paradoxical results, where people will allow something to happen that they would never have let happen if they had been there alone. A lot of big organization paralysis (the Dilbert Syndrome) can be explained with this.


Today in 1842 saw the passing of Lieutenant General Henry Shrapnel (born June 3, 1761). He is best known for his 1784 invention of an exploding shot-filled anti-personnel shell. It wasn't adopted by the British Army until 1803, but it was particularly effective against the massed infantry columns favored by Napoleon.

He is immortalized in the US national anthem, the bombs bursting in air. Shrapnel Shells were used by the British during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry in Baltimore harbor.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kitten murderers

It seems that one of my posts from December 2008 has appeared on site, with no link or attribution.

Original post (December 18, 2008).

Their post (January 10, 2009).

The posts match word for word.

You do have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of my page, but there is indeed a copyright statement. To save you the 5 seconds of scrolling, here it is:
Fair use is encouraged. For all other use, God kills a kitten. You've been warned.
Looks like these guys are kitten murderers.