Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Underpants gnomes path to salvation

Step 1.  Accept the entirety of Progressive dogma.  Don't worry that a lot of it seems to be nonsense.

Step 2. ???

Step 3.
Political domination!  Err, I mean Salvation!
If you don't understand this dynamic, please go back to step 1.

Blessed is the lamb


With spices, rosemary from our garden, and olive oil, on a bed of root veg.  Plus home made dinner rolls rising.

Happy Easter to all, and keep in mind that the Feast is not only for the body, but also for the soul.  Maybe even mostly for the soul.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,
But a broken spirit drieth the bones.
- Proverbs 17:22

Pride

There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. ... There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. ... The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility.
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
The deadly sins are the mortal sins, the ones that will see you separated from God.  The greatest of the Seven Deadly Sins is pride. Dante wrote of pride as a "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbour".  More than a technical foul there, when you think that agape is the commandment to love one's neighbor.

The ancients knew of this sin.  The Roman Christians called it as superbia, and considered it a deadly sin as early as the fourth century.  The Greeks called it hubris (Ὑπερηφανία) but they too knew it as a deadly sin; a study of Greek literature shows little else.

This seemed a bit odd to me when I was younger.  Surely, I thought, there were graver sins.  Murder, that sort of thing.  And yet pride tops the list.

Gustave Doré illustration to Paradise Lost, book IX


Lucifer is said to be a fallen Angel, expelled from Heaven for the sin of Pride.  If so, then perhaps Angels and Men are not so very different, at least in their vices.  Lucifer is called the "seducer" turning good intentions and words towards the darkness.  This is the core of why pride assumes pride of place in the pantheon of mortal sin: the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Because pride can be uplifting, can inspire you to great achievement, to see through to an unexpected and seemingly unlikely success.  That's the bait dangled before us.  Hey, if a little is good, then a little more must be good too, right?  And this is where we should hear Dante again:
love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbour
The least of the problem is that it leads easily and effortlessly to other Deadly Sins; contempt can turn to anger when pride is felt to be snubbed. 
Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is…the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.
-Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking
The Devil smiles.  It's hard to see how you get there without pride.

But that's the least of the problem.  The true problem of pride is that it can - and often does - stand in the way of Grace.  The proud man might turn his back on that gift, turning from the fertile field to gaze upon the desert.  There's a whole school of Country Music about what comes from Foolish Pride.

Because none of us are as strong as we'd like to be.  We're surrounded by Grace, not just this Easter Day, but every day - grace offered by family and friends.  Offered by those we love.  Grace that literally saves us:
But she carries me, when my sins make me heavy,
And she loves me like Jesus does.
...
Yeah, she knows the man I ain't,
She forgives me when I can't,
None of us are as strong as our pride would like us to be.  That's OK - this Easter day reminds us that we don't carry this burden alone.  And if we look with eyes that will see, we'll realize that Grace is not found only in the chappel, but under our very own roof.



If we can find the strength to turn that pride to an honest humility, we might even realize that we don't just receive that gift of Grace, but we also can give it.  It takes a strong man to fight the pride that Lucifer so loves to see in us.  A pride sometimes stronger than we think we are.
That devil man, he don't stand a chance,
Cause she loves me like Jesus does.


 A man can take some pride in winning that fight.

UPDATE 31 March 2013 15:24:  I am a theological dilettante, but a professional is saying much the same thing.  Worth your while.

Georg Friedrich Handel - "The trumpet shall sound" from "The Messiah

We mostly hear The Messiah at Christmas tide which is a bit strange since it was originally performed at Easter tide.  Easter calls for music that reflects the triumph of the occasion, and Handel delivered that in spades.  Best known to most is the Hallelujah Chorus, and while it's probably not true that His late Majesty George II stood due to its grandeur, grandeur it has nonetheless.

My favorite from the oratorio was the Easter offering here a couple years back, Worthy Is The Lamb.  I guess that this is third string, but c'mon - it's The Messiah.  There is no third string here.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Justin Bieber is turning into the new Michael Jackson

#1 Son emails to point out the breakdown:
BERLIN (AP) — Justin Bieber had to leave a monkey in quarantine after landing in Germany last week without the necessary papers for the animal, an official said Saturday.
The 19-year-old singer arrived at Munich airport last Thursday. When he went through customs, he didn't have the documentation necessary to bring the capuchin monkey into the country, so the animal had to stay with authorities, customs spokesman Thomas Meister said.
Bieber performed in Munich on Thursday, beginning the latest leg of his European tour. He later tweeted: "Munich was a good time. And loud. The bus is headed to Vienna now. U coming?" He didn't mention the monkey.
No word as to whether his plastic surgery makes him look more like Liz Taylor.

Because bacon



This seems legit, even.

Via Mrs. Doubletrouble, the lovely and gracious hostess of the New England blogshoots who writes that this seems made for me.  Heh.

Prediction: No new Federal gun laws for 2 years

Probably more, but that's a 2 year minimum.  The Czar of Muscovy has a very interesting thought up about what's going on with people buying guns.  Specifically, why people are buying guns:
The sheer number of people waiting in impossibly long lines to get their legal documentation in order is evidence that the anti-gun arguments are so bad that ordinary, reasonable, unbiased people are motivated to wait in those long lines.

As Mandarin pointed out, this isn’t just a case of the average American saying “Huh. Well, now that I have heard both sides, I might just look into getting a permit some day.” Rather, the average person is saying “Holy crap! I need to get a weapon now more than ever; and I don’t care how long it takes or what hoops I have to jump through.” That is how bad the gun control debate has gone for them. It doesn’t just suck: you’re driving them to the other side.
Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, and Michael Bloomberg don't care, which is why they've been spouting off their mouths - which is pouring gasoline on the fire.  Harry Reid and the Red State Democrats (and the Purple State Democrats) do get this.  I doubt very much that Reid was lying when he said that he didn't have 40 votes. 

Democrats are nervous, other than the ones in very blue states.  Gun control is something that is seen as a Democratic Party issue, and has been for 20 years.  The fact that millions of new gun owners are in a panic trying to get guns and ammunition tells you that this issue has penetrated the consciousness of middle America.

As the Czar says, the Democrats are finding that they're driving the electorate into the arms of their opponents.  Remember, an election looms next year.  Memories are short, but not that short.

Some people are worried that a bland vanilla bill will make it to the Senate floor and then a swarm of extremist amendments will be rammed through via legislative sleight of hand.  This won't happen, for many reasons:
  1. The Red state and blue state Democrats don't want to vote on anything here because it's radioactive.  No matter the sleight of hand, at the end of the day you have to vote.
  2. The more extreme the amendment, the more radioactive it will be.  Dianne Feinstein doesn't care, but Joe Manchin sure does.  Harry Reid, for all his faults, knows how to count votes.
  3. The House won't pass it, no matter what the Senate does.  David Boehner has done a masterful job trapping the blue and purple state Democrats: by saying that they'd take up any bill the Senate passed, he gave the green light to the most radical wing of the Democrat Party to push their unwilling middle strongly towards the left.
I believe that the Senate will vote gun control down, in a massive defeat to Obama personally and the radical wing of the Democratic party.  But the damage has been done.

I think that it's even worse for the Democrats.  The main provisions of Obamacare are taking effect this year, and will be entirely in place by 1 January 2014.  Costs will skyrocket, people will be forced to drop their insurance (and be fined for doing so).  We already see hours being cut back for hipster baristas, and this will accelerate.  It will also become very clear just how much Obamacare extracted money from the working class to fund insurance for illegal immigrants.

The costs will bite.  If 5 million people are energized by the spectre of gun control, 20 million will feel the pinch of Obamacare.

And then people will remember that it was the Democrats and not the Republicans that forced this bill on them ("Obamacare", dig?).  There may be mutterings about the illegitimate legislative process that they used to do this.  Republicans of course will have no reason to "fix" the bill; as its unpopularity grows and the voters become increasingly enraged, they will say "Hey! I have an idea!  Let's get rid of this because it's a nightmare".

Next year's elections will be about Gun Control and Obamacare, and nothing else.  The Democrats see this.  That's why no gun control can pass.  Maybe they can ride the rapids of a single massively unpopular bill, but they can't survive two.

Eric Church - Like Jesus Does

I have come to believe that by and large the human family all has the same secrets, which are both very telling and very important to tell. They are telling in the sense that they tell what is perhaps the central paradox of our condition—that what we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else.
- Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets
The intersection of that hunger and that fear is where we find the gift of Grace.  For many, the fear overpowers the hunger, and they never reach out for that saving gift.  The fear wins, because in a very central way you have to simply give up to be receptive to the gift.  It's not something that you do, it's something that you're given.

But she carries me, when my sins make me heavy ...
Yes, there's a Country Music song for that.  Mostly these days only Country Music has a song for that, and today's is a great one.  Eric Church is a newish Country singer/songwriter who worked his ways from dive bars to a record deal on the strength of the songwriting he started when he was 13.  He has an old Nashville sound which is a big on an anachronism in this day of "New Nashville" (Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts) - and is very likely the core of his fan appeal.  He has a bit of the I'm more country than you which some find a little much, but his is an honest working man's Country music, filled with Country themes.

Like Grace.
She forgives me when I can't ...
We're surrounded by Grace, if we'll just open our eyes.  Songs like this tell us some of the places to look.  If we dare.
Faith is stepping out into the unknown with nothing to guide us but a hand just beyond our grasp.
- Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat



Like Jesus Does (Songwriters: Casey Beathard, Monty Criswell)
I'm a long gone Waylon song on vinyl,
I'm a backroad sinner at a tent revival,
She believes in me like she believes her bible,
And loves me like Jesus does.

I'm a lead foot leaning on a suped up Chevy,
I'm a good ol' boy, drinking whiskey and rye on the levee,
But she carries me, when my sins make me heavy,
And she loves me like Jesus does.

All the crazy in my dreams,
Both my broken wings,
Every single piece of everything I am,
Yeah, she knows the man I ain't,
She forgives me when I can't,
That devil man, he don't stand a chance,
Cause she loves me like Jesus does.

Always thought she'd give up on me one day,
Wash her hands of me, leave me staring down some runway,
But, I thank God each night, and twice on Sunday,
That she loves me like Jesus does.

All the crazy in my dreams,
And both my broken wings,
Every single piece of who I am,
Yeah, she knows the man I ain't,
She forgives me when I can't,
And the devil man, no, he don't have a prayer.
Cause she loves me like Jesus does

Yeah, she knows the man I ain't,
She forgives me when I can't,
That devil man, he don't stand a chance,
Cause she loves me like Jesus does.

I'm a long gone Waylon song on vinyl

Friday, March 29, 2013

Congratulations to Chris and Melody Byrne

Parents of a new born baby boy.

Good luck banning guns, Lefties

Problem the first: Defense Distributed to have plans for fully 3-D printable gun next month.

Problem the second: 3-D printers to be under $2000 by 2016:
"Widespread adoption of 3D printing technology may not be that far away, according to a Gartner report predicting that enterprise-class 3D printers will be available for less than $2,000 by 2016. 3D printers are already in use among many businesses, from manufacturing to pharmaceuticals to consumers goods, and have generated a diverse set of use cases. As a result, the capabilities of the technology have evolved to meet customer needs, and will continue to develop to target those in additional markets, Gartner says."
But Progressive ideology is the Vanguard Of The Future™, right?  And Progressives are so much smarter than everyone else that I'm sure they'll figure out how to handle this.


I'm a bit skeptical about the printed guns we're going to see in the next few months, but I'm not at all skeptical about how technologies improve as they move through their adoption cycle.

Want

So want.


Oof

Corporate VP was in town last night and so we had a dinner meeting.  He's a good guy, and it was a good meeting, but it was a late evening.  Ice cream will be late today.

One thing that was an interesting experience was that the restaurant had karaoke.  The third rendition of "Margaritaville" was our signal that the evening's festivities had reached their logical conclusion.  If I ever make noise about going to karaoke night, someone please put me out of my misery.






Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cry me a river

Cue the world's smallest violin:
Since 2003, print ads have fallen from $45 billion to $19 billion. Online ads have only grown from $1.2 to $3.3 billion. Stop and think about that gap. The total ten-year increase in digital advertising isn't even enough to overcome the average single-year decline in print ads since 2003.
Gee, I wonder why?  We used to get both the New York Times and the Boston Globe.  Then I figured out that I wasn't paying for news, I was paying for lefty slanted political indoctrination.  And sudoku.

And so I don't get a paper anymore.  And there are millions of people like me, and what do you think happens to the advert rates when we all cancel our subscriptions?

Via Free Northerner who explains what happens using only three words: Let it burn.

Prince William of Beta?

I LOLed. [warning: strong, and possibly NSFW language, especially if you have One Of Those HR departments]:
So yeah, everybody is chatting away about this and that and ruggers and then, quick as a flash, the Cyprus thing comes up on the news. First I've heard of it. So I put my whiskey down. I edge towards the box and listen in to get the jist of what is going on. Turns out there is a [redacted] "tax" on deposits. I'm shocked, clearly. Clearly, these German [redacted]  aint all sunshine and gravy en aw. So, amidst the fact that the EU did something more reminiscent of Soviet [redacted] Russia just there, the fact that Putin and friends are bleedin fuming away because Cyprus is a dirty moolah Russian oligarch sex party, and the simple, brutal point that if this is happening in Cyprus, it can happen here, I look around and try to get a reaction. Not a damn thing. Barely a whimper. Like I be saying, langers, just langers like. Lads and laddies get back to it thereafter, and suddenly I'm pounding back shots like no one's business.

Later on, they have a feature on your one, eh, whats her name? The good looking lassie who is hitting the wall and married to Prince William of Beta? Yeah, well she got her heel stuck in an iron grate in this St Patrick's Day presentation thing, and there was this big curfuffle and it was all amusing and [redacted]. Every fiend in the pub got a good laugh out of it and the coldness set in. You fucking [redacted]. You blatantly ignore, the fact that a dubious organization went into another [redacted] COUNTRY'S SET OF BANKS, and skimmed the cream off of the top. Then some lassie gets her stiletto caught up and it is epic lozzlzlzlzlzlzlzlzlols for the whole family. Seeya later ye daft [redacted]! All you sniveling lefties are more concerned with a bunch of lassies winning the grand slam. Bread and circuses? Corn and porn ken, corn and porn.
Quote of the Day, right there. Yeah, it' the second one of the day.  That's how good it is. And there's more - so very much more.  Europe is toast.  Don't believe me?  Read on, and think on how still waters run deep:
My grandfather broke his [redacted] back burying dead bodies, in the hope his family, his lassie, his kids, would be worth something. And what the [redacted]  do we have now? This degenerate culture where everything is a [redacted]  shamrock atop of a house of cards.
Remember, Ireland is a great victory of the Euro preservation project.  Iceland is not anything of interest to you, Prole.  Trust your betters.  Think on the Prince of Beta.  Ignore Cyprus.

We have always been at war with Eastasia ...

UPDATE 29 March 2013 08:23: Link added.  Thanks, Erich.

Traffic Lights are fascist tools of oppression

That's my story, anyway.  If I never see another one, it'll be too soon.  Sadly, the lovely and loves-city-life Mrs. Borepatch does not agree.  Our relationship is a bit like this, actually.



Man that part that starts with "You are my wife ..." sure makes me nostalgic for a lost America.  Ah well, she tells me I can always send her a post card when I go visit it.

Quote of the Day: Learning

Man, I hope that some day someone says something this good about me:
I can’t remember if I met Massad Ayoob before or after I took my first class from Jim Cirillo. Like Marty, Mas modeled an obsessive concern with safety on his range, and the work ethic he brought to his classes struck me hard. Here was a man who called his class to order at 9 am, expected them to listen to lectures during lunch, sometimes didn’t let them off the range before 6 or 7 pm – and still expected them to study in the evening. A new student, I found the schedule grueling, and said so. He smiled at me with some concern, and said, “People work so hard to get to these classes and they should have full value for it. I want to be sure everyone gets more than they expected.”
That right there makes me want to take his class.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wrecked dreams

I wonder what the story is behind this:


Because dreams there were.

"World's Biggest Cyberattack" really isn't

But it's quite a headline:
Internet speeds around the world have noticeably slowed down due to a massive "distributed denial of service" attack, reports the BBC.

These DDoS attacks bombard targeted web servers with so much dummy traffic that people trying to access a site for legitimate purposes are unable to do so. It's most analogous to a traffic jam on a highway with no one able to move.

The BBC says that security experts are describing it as "the biggest cyber-attack in history."
It may be the fastest - 300 Gbps of attack traffic is a pretty darn huge amount of traffic.  It's coming from all over the 'net, and the slowdowns are mostly local as zombie computers in a particular region spew attack traffic, clogging regional links.  There are reports of intermittent NetFlix slowdowns or outages, and it's from this.

But this really isn't anything new.  Old attacks are scaled up.  I thought the recent incident where a vast botnet army scanned the entire IPv4 address space in 30 minutes to be much more impressive.

How's that Hope and Change working out?

Boy, it's sure a good thing that we got those Civil Liberty hating Chimpy McBushitler and his Sith Dark Lord Darth Cheney out of office!  Now we can all relax while the Lightbringer's FBI getting real-time access to GMail:
Last week, during a talk for the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C., FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann discussed some of the pressing surveillance and national security issues facing the bureau. He gave a few updates on the FBI’s efforts to address what it calls the “going dark” problem—how the rise in popularity of email and social networks has stifled its ability to monitor communications as they are being transmitted. It’s no secret that under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the feds can easily obtain archive copies of emails. When it comes to spying on emails or Gchat in real time, however, it’s a different story.

That’s because a 1994 surveillance law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act only allows the government to force Internet providers and phone companies to install surveillance equipment within their networks. But it doesn’t cover email, cloud services, or online chat providers like Skype. Weissmann said that the FBI wants the power to mandate real-time surveillance of everything from Dropbox and online games (“the chat feature in Scrabble”) to Gmail and Google Voice. “Those communications are being used for criminal conversations,” he said.
Relax, lie back and let the HopeNChange wash over you, Progs.  Just like Guantanamo is groovy as long as the President has a (D) after his name, it's groovy if the FBI snoops in your bidness as long as the (D) sprinkles Righteousness Dust over everything.

And these people think they're smarter than us ...

The "Hockey Stick" climate graph has been proved!

Remember the "Hockey Stick", the graph showing a long-term stable climate that all of a sudden started going way, way up in the last hundred years?  Remember the controversy about dodgy data and [ahem] novel statistical analysis techniques?  Well, there's a new peer-reviewed™ paper in Science magazine showing that this is absolutely, positively shows that it's a hockey stick, all right.

Yup, it's a hockey stick.  A peer-reviewed hockey stick.  Yup.  Sure is.

You may have seen this in the press.  The problem is, it's [ahem] bollox:
This instantly ‘famous’ 2013 Science hockey stick paper derived from Marcott’s 2011 Ph.D thesis at Oregon State University, available here. His thesis doesn’t show a hockey stick ‘blade’ projecting above its anomaly baseline NCDC 1961-1990. H/T to Jean S, posted at Climate Audit. Something changed after the thesis was published to produce the new ‘blade’ in Science. That something was significant, since the Science paper’s Supplementary Information discussion said it did not enable discriminating such a temperature variation (i.e. a ‘blade’) on such a short a time scale.
Just to level the playing field, the link above comes from Dr. Judith Curry's site.  Dr. Curry leads the climatology department at Georgia Tech, and come down on the "we're probably doing something to warm the climate" side of the argument.  You should read both of those links, which are about as "warm" (so to speak) for the warmist side as you're likely to see in a mainstream science blog.

So what do you see on the "denier" sites?  OMG:
As noted in my previous post, Marcott, Shakun, Clark and Mix disappeared two alkenone cores from the 1940 population, both of which were highly negative. In addition, they made some surprising additions to the 1940 population, including three cores whose coretops were dated by competent specialists 500-1000 years earlier.
Let me highlight that last sentence.  This paper took some proxies that showed rapidly increasing warming a thousand years ago - during the Medieval Warm Period - and redated them so that they show rapid warming now.  They arbitrarily added 1000 years to each data point, showing ZOMG industrial Thermageddon caused by burning carbon in today's factories when in reality the carbon would have been burned by monks in the day of William the Conqueror.

Let me say that again: this article shifted a number of warming proxy series by 1000 years to show that (a) the Medieval Warm Period didn't actually exist and (b) today it's ZOMGTHERMAGEDDON!

Let me say that again: they changed the data so that it was off by a thousand years.

Ahem.

And here's the punch line: this is a peer-reviewed paper published in Science magazine, probably the most prestigious scientific journal in the world.

Ahem.

So now we know that it's OK to do massive (thousand year) surgery on your data so long as you get an Approved™ result.  Go ahead, it'll still get published in Science.  But Sarah Palin is really dumb and ZOMGREPUBLICANWARONSCIENCE!!!eleventy!!!!!

Ahem.

Remember, even "luke warmist" sites are shooting this more full of holes than the 8th Air Force returning bombers in 1943.

At this point, every Progressive who ever said the words "Republican war on science" can just STFU and sit down in the back of the room.  Grown ups are talking.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seems legit

Seen in the Mall parking lot.





#1 Son thought it was pretty funny.

Well there goes my diet

I'd like two fingers of bacon, barkeep.


The Surveillance State

Brought to you by Mr. Gore's most excellent Information Superhighway:
I'm going to start with three data points.

One: Some of the Chinese military hackers who were implicated in a broad set of attacks against the U.S. government and corporations were identified because they accessed Facebook from the same network infrastructure they used to carry out their attacks.

Two: Hector Monsegur, one of the leaders of the LulzSac hacker movement, was identified and arrested last year by the FBI. Although he practiced good computer security and used an anonymous relay service to protect his identity, he slipped up.

And three: Paula Broadwell, who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels -- and hers was the common name.

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time.

...

In today's world, governments and corporations are working together to keep things that way. Governments are happy to use the data corporations collect -- occasionally demanding that they collect more and save it longer -- to spy on us. And corporations are happy to buy data from governments. Together the powerful spy on the powerless, and they're not going to give up their positions of power, despite what the people want.
This is important stuff, and you should RTWT.

The sexist origins of gun control

Interesting:
Fascinating. Up until now, I had thought of the Second Amendment civil-rights fight as a part of the enduring struggle for liberty against the powers of tyranny.  This article presents a different perspective: that gun control is merely another facet of social control of more masculine men by women, white knights, and effete men.
Note that the whole chicks with guns thing is quite beside the point if this is true.  Err, other than they suffer from false class consciousness.  Or something.  But RTWT, which is pretty interesting.

Monday, March 25, 2013

All their other stuff is ****, but this transcends so much.



Damn, I wish that this song didn't mean what it means.
I have striven not to laugh at human actions,
not to weep at them, nor to hate them,
but to understand them.

- Spinoza
Spinoza, you magnificent bastard.  I read your book.  But thank you, Brigid.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,
you gotta put up with the rain.

- Dolly Parton
Easy to say.  And I notice that I have no "howl at the moon" category.  Maybe that's a good thing.

Puppy play

Wolfgang and Dexter. That's a lot of patience on display right there.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

It ain't bragging if you can do it

I'm #4 out of 50 Million in Google ranking for "don't let the magic smoke out".

What a very strange place it is, Mr. Gore's most excellent Information Superhighway ...

EA Origins online gaming system allows attacks on your computer

If any of you are fans (and users) of Electronic Arts Origins online store/gaming network, you are vulnerable to more or less total pwnage:
A flaw in EA's Origin game store puts its 40 million or so users at risk of remote execution vulnerabilities

The vulnerability was described by security researchers Luigi Auriemma and Donato Ferranta of ReVuln, in a paper released on Saturday.

Origin is the distribution platform behind just-launched SimCity, along with other popular EA games such as Crysis 3. It lets EA roll out updates to its games, sell titles, and also provides DRM capabilities by authenticating players' games.

But the way the software authorizes players can also be used to hijack computers and install malicious software, the researchers found.
The researchers offer what seems entirely sensible advice to defend yourself:
The issue can be mitigated by disabling the
origin://
URI globally using tools such as urlprotocolview. This means a user will be no longer able to run games via Desktop shortcuts or internet websites with customs command line parameters.

Users will be still able to play games by running games directly from Origin. This limits the usage of command line parameters. An alternative solution would be to disable the origin:// handler in the users’ browsers which supports such feature.

Users are strongly encouraged at a minimum to set their browser to prompt when handling these links.

There's a reason that horse racing regulates horse names



Hoof Hearted.  Say that three times fast.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blogmeet AAR

Boy, that sure was fun.  There was a good turnout and great conversation throughout (hey, that's the point, right?).  The consensus was to do this regularly, so I'll set up another round for late April.  No pictures this time around, but maybe at the next one.

Wolfgang liked his doggie patty (hamburger patty, no bun or fixins).  He was really good with the convention of yappy little dogs at the next table - more than a dozen little dogs of various toy breeds.  It seems that their owners get together regularly for doggy birthdays, and we suffered through a chorus of "Happy Birthday" for a Pomeranian.

Thanks to all who showed up.  As to the next one, is Saturday a better day for some people?

Smart

I know some smart people.  I grew up with some smart people, which is a mixed blessing.  I've been lucky to meet some smart folks from reading them on Mr. Gore's most excellent Information Superhighway.

Sabra is one of those people, and when she brings smart, she brings it with a bulldozer.  If I were as smart as people say, I would have written this.  It's easy to be complicated, but distilling something to its bare essence is a talent I don't much has.  But she does it.  Damn, I wish I'd written that.

Get on out of here and get on over there.  This is the real deal.

Blogmeet today

Anyone in the Atlanta area who wants to get together for gunbloggy meetup social hilarity, next Sunday is the date.

Date: Sunday 24 March

Time: 2:00 - 5:00 PM

Location: Lucky's on Roswell Road in Roswell GA (they are dog friendly on the porch, and I'll bring Wolfgang).

Wolfgang is pretty unmistakable, although a bit bigger now:

Johann Sebastian Bach - the Brandenburg concerti

Image via Wikipedia
292 years ago today, J.S. Bach dedicated these six concerti to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt.  And there begins a rather amazing tale.

The Margrave was a Prince of the house of Hohenzollern, half-brother of King Frederick of Prussia.  But Margrave was a title that came with no land, and so in 1721 Christian Ludwig was basically a hanger-onat the court of his nephew King Frederick William I.  The new King was a military martinet, creating the army that Frederick der Große would use to fight off most of Europe, and had fired all the court musicians to fund the army.

There weren't enough musicians in Berlin to perform the new works, and so the scores were filed away in the Margrave's desk.  There they stayed - unperformed - until his death more than a decade later.  His heirs sold the score (containing Bach's handwritten dedication) for 25 silver Groschen  (groats: about $22 in today's money).  Then they descended into historical shadow - we simply don't know where they were for the next century or more, only being discovered in the Brandenburg archives in 1849.

This is astonishing because these concerti are quite simply the apex of baroque music.  Other compositions may approach them, but none surpass them.  And they were unperformed for the first 129 years after they were written.

But unperformed no more.  Their musical importance is demonstrated that Youtube suspended their no more than 10 minutes in a video rule for this performance of all six of the Brandenburg concerti.  Here's 90 minutes of the greatest of the baroque, thanks to Youtube, Bach, and a simply amazing sequence of lucky breaks that kept these from being lost forever.



Concerto I - BWV 1046: 1) 00:10 2) Adagio 04:12 3) Allegro 07:55 4) Menuetto (Trio I, Polacca, Trio II) 12:03 ;
Concerto II -BWV 1047: 1) 19:21 2) Andante 24:17 3) Allegro assai 27:56 ;
Concerto III -BWV 1048: 1) 30:43 2) Adagio36:17 3) Allegro 36:31 ;
Concerto IV -BWV 1049: 1) Allegro 41:22 2) Andante 48:22 3) Presto 52:19 ;
Concerto V -BWV 1050: 1) Allegro 57:07 2) Affettuoso 1:06:03 3) Allegro 1:11:51 ;
Concerto VI -BWV 1051: 1) 1:16:49 2) Adagio ma non tanto 1:22:14 3) Allegro 1:26:41

Bootnote: Bach is often described as "mathematical" in his composition style, and the workings of the music have since his day been compared to clockwork.  Today turns out to also be the birthday of John Harrison, the discoverer of the Longitude and the most important clockmaker who ever lived - born this day in 1693.  In a stroke of coincidence no less astonishing than the circuitous route that Bach's concerti took on their way to the concert hall, and perhaps appropriate for a man who ordered and measured time as none before, Harrison also died on this day in 1776.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

So if posting a pic of your kid with a gun gets you a visit from CPS

Should I expect a knock on my door?


Suck it, Jersey.

Remember, you're not allowed to ask certain questions at a University

"University" doesn't mean "place where the universe of knowledge is studied", it means "place where the universe of Approved™ knowledge is studied".  Shockingly, this rule has been violated by a professor at the University of Texas in Austin whose peer reviewed article on the differences between the children of traditional families and gay or lesbian families revealed some Unapproved™ results:
  • 23% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother said ‘yes’ to “Ever touched sexually by parent/adult“, versus 6% of those of families with a gay father and only 2% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad, Ozzie-Harriet families.
  • 31% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother said ‘yes’ to “Ever forced to have sex against will“, versus 25% of those of families with a gay father and only 8% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad families.
  • 12% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother said ‘yes’ to “Thought recently about suicide“, versus 24% of those of families with a gay father and only 5% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad families.
  • And perhaps the worst of all (to Regenrus’s career prospects) only 61% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother said ‘yes’ to “Identifies as entirely heterosexual“, versus 71% of those of families with a gay father and with a full 90% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad families. So much for theories that acculturation plays no role!
The reaction from sociologists and their cheerleaders in the Press was predictable:
Journalists and academics on the left reasoned: these results cannot be true because we don’t want them to be; therefore, they are not true. And that’s when the frenzy started. They began by pointing out what Regnerus admits in his article as a weakness: that the “lesbian” moms and “gay” fathers might not be (but also might be) full-time lesbians and gays, but have, at least once, engaged in a “same-sex” relationship, even if married to a heterosexual. This, according to progressives, invalidates the entire study, is not a “fair” comparison, is “deeply flawed” methodology, etc.

...

Neither do the folks at the New Civil Rights Movement who resorted to the standard political trick, when they could not disparage the results, they attacked Regnerus: “His professional integrity was cast into doubt…” etc., etc. The New Republic said “It’s a real relief to see the takedowns pile up in response to” Regnerus. It sure is! The LA Times used the phrase “hopelessly flawed.” And there was more, much more.

So much more that a team of academics who wanted nothing more than a return to peace and quiet were forced to issue an open letter which said “Although Regnerus’s article in Social Science Research is not without its limitations, as social scientists, we think much of the public criticism Regnerus has received is unwarranted for three reasons.”
Click through to RTWT which includes more of the defense.  It seems that this is the most comprehensive study to date, and is backed by other studies. But no matter.  It reaches Unapproved™ conclusions, and so the auto-da-fe is organizing.

Long time readers will recall that I quite frankly don't care whether someone is straight, gay, or in between.  You'll also know that my response to someone telling me that I'm raising my kids wrong is that they can shove off with my compliments.  Not my business how someone runs their own life.

But you'll also know that I don't much care for how scientific study has been bent by Progressives - the Democrats War On Science one might call it.  For extra credit, compare and contrast with climate science.

A University is a setting, we're told, where ideas can flow freely.  But only some ideas.  What a wreck of a once noble institution.
LEARNING, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

I guess I'm not spreading mulch on the roses this morning

I'm feeling better (the doc was right, it would take 7 days), but I don't feel like pushing my luck and spending a couple hours in the cold rain.  I'll reset to next weekend.

Oddly, I feel a little apologetic for not getting going.  Clearly I'm feeling much better. 

Recycled post: Indigo Girls - Southland in the Springtime

It's now spring, all official and everything.  This is my favorite song about spring, and while this is a recycled post, it's not a bad one.

--------------------------------------------------




When God made me born a yankee he was teasin'

When we were exiled to Yankeeland, springtime was the worst.  Summer there is a delight, with mild temperatures and no humidity; autumn is simply spectacular; winter is, well, it's a wonderland.

But there's no springtime.  You have "dirty snow" season that turns into "mud season" which turns into about 3 weeks of actual springtime at the end of April, and then it's summer.
Yesterday in Roswell, I saw daffodils.  February 3rd.  The Camellia has been in bloom for weeks.  It's glorious.

This song is particularly poignant for me right now, enjoying the first blush of spring here with the family.  Thinking about the drive between Austin and Texas, which will come again all too soon but mercifully won't go on too much more.

Though I miss her when I'm gone it won't ever be too long

The Indigo Girls have been around for quite some time - this song is from around 1990, back before I listened to much Country music.  But it captures the wistful longing for hearth and home, for the place where you belong, that is so common in Country.





Southland in the Springtime (Songwriter: Emily Saliers)

Maybe we'll make Texas by the morning
Light the bayou with our tail lights in the night
800 miles to El Paso from the state line
And we never have the money for the flight
I'm in the back seat sleepy from the travel
Played our hearts out all night long in New Orleans
I'm dirty from the diesel fumes, drinking coffee black
When the first breath of Texas comes in clean

And there's something 'bout the Southland in the springtime
Where the waters flow with confidence and reason
Though I miss her when I'm gone it won't ever be too long
Till I'm home again to spend my favorite season
When God made me born a yankee he was teasin'
There's no place like home and none more pleasin'
Than the Southland in the springtime

In Georgia nights are softer than a whisper
Beneath a quilt somebody's mother made by hand
With the farmland like a tapestry passed down through generations
And the peach trees stitched across the land
There'll be cider up near Helen off the roadside
And boiled peanuts in a bag to warm your fingers
And the smoke from the chimneys meets its maker in the sky
With a song that winter wrote whose melody lingers

And there's something 'bout the Southland in the springtime
Where the waters flow with confidence and reason
Though I miss her when I'm gone it won't ever be too long
Till I'm home again to spend my favorite season
When God made me born a yankee he was teasin'
There's no place like home and none more pleasin'
Than the Southland in the springtime

Friday, March 22, 2013

Reminder: Atlanta Blogmeet on Sunday

Anyone in the Atlanta area who wants to get together for gunbloggy meetup social hilarity, next Sunday is the date.

Date: Sunday 24 March

Time: 2:00 - 5:00 PM

Location: Lucky's on Roswell Road in Roswell GA (they are dog friendly on the porch, and I'll bring Wolfgang).

Quote of the Day

Well, there's something to this:
A commenter linked to this article about a software developer who was fired “after making sexual jokes in the audience during a keynote session at PyCon, a conference for Python developers.”

Software developers are nerds who don’t know how to behave around women. Because of this, they often will make inappropriate talk like the kind cited in the article. They don’t do this because they are evil and mean-spirited, they do it because they are nerds who don’t know how to behave around women.

And the reason they don’t know how to behave around women is because girls avoided them like the bubonic plague when they were in high school and middle school, and maybe even in college, so they never got to have any experience with hanging out with the opposite sex.
You'll have to click through for the punchline.

Color film of the B-17 "Memphis Belle" from World War II

Wow.  Color film.



UPDATE 22 March 2013 16:34: Changed embed code to one that is available.

What can - and can't - be discussed at the "University"

The term "University" refers to the universe of knowledge, all of which is suitable for Intellectual study.  In theory.

As we all know: in theory, there's no difference between theory and practice; in practice, this is not true.  And so to the "universe" of knowledge considered suitable to study at the Academy.

Suitable knowledge:
I was minding my own business at work this afternoon when I get a call  from the producer to Sean Hannity’s radio show asking if I’d come on to talk about Beyonce’s use of the word “bitch” in her newest song and the feminist dialogue around reclaiming this word, Snap Chat and use among teens to spread sexually explicit images of their peers without consent, and other sexuality related things in the news.

...

He goes on about how this type of indoctrination also happened at Yale and a “sexologist” (said with belittlement and sarcasm) came to teach about bestiality and incest. “Hey, what’s a “sexologist” anyway??”

So I explained. And I explained the Sex: Am I Normal” workshop he was referencing at Yale, even though it’s old news and I’ve already explained it a million times. I explained it’s about normal vs normative, and creating a safe space, and such but he kept interrupting me with “But what do YOU think about bestiality???” I again stated the program is not about my opinion, or a space for me to judge other people’s sexual behaviors, it’s about recognizing that sexual diversity exists for better or worse, but how  can you explain reason and logic to a person who has to bend the truth to get you to talk to them, and then when you talk to them belligerently repeats “Oh, c’mon, you’re a sexologist, you must have an opinion on bestiality so what is it!?” I took one last ditch effort to explain this is not what I came on to talk about and then thought, fuck it, and hung up.
I listened to this, driving back from the dog park.  Hannity was no more aggressive in his questioning than, say, a mainstream media reporter questioning a Catholic Bishop on abortion.  She was evasive, her sense of Entitled Princess firmly on display.  And she did hang up on him.  I guess she's never had to defend her positions before.  It was a pretty astonishing performance, actually, and one that seems entirely in line with the sense at the Academy of what's proper.  No doubt she will now be a hero in the Ivy Covered Halls.

Unsuitable knowledge:
As a public service, here's something that you should read if you really want to make a liberal's head explode like the fembots in Austin Powers. Or understand why the world's economy is the way it is. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, by David Landes. The title is intentionally taken from Adam Smith, but Landes focuses less on describing economics per se, and more on the constraints that a society puts on their economy.

It traces the history of economic development over the last 1000 years, and asks some very politically incorrect questions:
  • Why did China, the world's richest and most powerful country in 1000 AD not only lose her lead, but lose it so badly that it was dismembered by the European (and later resurgent Japanese) powers?
  • Why did India, fabulously wealthy and populous, not conquor the west, rather than vice-versa?
  • Why did England, an undeveloped backwater as late as 1500 AD, ultimately lead the Industrial Revolution and become the world's most powerful country?
  • What explains the vast differences in economic development between the USA and Canada, and other New World countries? After all, in 1700, Mexico's GDP per capita was $450, not far short of the colonies' $490 (1985 dollars). In 1989, Mexico's GDP per capita was $3,500, vs. $18,300 for the USA.
These questions all tread on the line separating Approved™ racial groups from Western Aggressors™ and so cannot even be broached.  It's a part of the "universe" of knowledge that is forbidden on campus today, sort of like Darwin in the schools a century ago.  The subject cannot be discussed; moreover, it cannot even be thought about.  And so what I find interesting is the enfeeblement of Progressive thought over the last generation or two.  It used to be a robust intellectual school, able to win converts by the force of its logic:
What it ironic is that one of the giants of progressive intellectualism showed them the error of their ways, more than half a century ago.  John Kenneth Galbraith was very possibly the last of the first rate progressive intellectuals.  His 1958 The Affluent Society is something that somehow I'd missed reading.  Dad told me to take whichever of his books I'd like, and I grabbed that one for the plane ride home.

Reading it, it's easy to see why it was so hugely influential.  It is clear, it is logically consistent, it progresses step by logical step towards its conclusion.  Much of it has turned out to be wrong in the last 50-odd years, but none of it is the weak beer offered up by today's progressives.

It's quite a good read, and is well worth your while.  His discussion of Marx is outstanding; not so much in explaining the nuts and bolts of the economic theory (although it's perfectly adequate), but in laying out just why it was that Marx was instantly so influential.
Can you possibly imagine a Galbraith hanging up on a Sean Hannity?  Galbraith wouldn't have hung up,  he would have eviscerated him.

What is convincing proof of the bias in the Academy is precisely the same as what convinces that the Media are biased.  It's not what's talked about, it's what cannot be talked about.  We have lost the great questions and replaced them with piffle.  What a sad, pathetic state that the Progressive Intellectuals have in the space of a generation gone from John Kenneth Galbraith to Jill McDevitt.

Why the schools can't teach the very smart, the autistic, and boys in general

This is incredibly cynical, and incredibly right:
      The third lesson I teach kids is indifference.  I teach children
not to care about anything too much, even though they want to make it
appear that they do.  How I do this is very subtle.  I do it by
demanding that they become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up
and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with
each other for my favor.  It's heartwarming when they do that, it
impresses everyone, even me.  When I'm at my best I plan lessons very
carefully in order to produce this show of enthusiasm.  But when the
bell rings I insist that they stop whatever it is that we've been
working on and proceed quickly to the next work station.  They must turn
on and off like a light switch.  Nothing important is ever finished in
my class, nor in any other class I know of.  Students never have a
complete experience except on the installment plan.

      Indeed, the lesson of the bells is that no work is worth
finishing, so why care too deeply about anything?  Years of bells will
condition all but the strongest to a world that can no longer offer
important work to do.  Bells are the secret logic of schooltime; their
argument is inexorable.  Bells destroy the past and future, converting
every interval into a sameness, as an abstract map makes every living
mountain and river the same even though they are not.  Bells inoculate
each undertaking with indifference.
There's a lot more, all of it as breathlessly cynical and astonishingly on target as this.  And I cannot read this without thinking about the Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
... We had it, but not too much of it and only as much as an
individual wanted.  People learned to read, write, and do arithmetic
just fine anyway, there are some studies which show literacy at the time
of the American Revolution, at least on the Eastern seaboard, as close
to total.  Tom Paine's Common Sense sold 600,000 copies to a population
of 2,500,000, 20 percent of which was slave and another 50 percent
indentured.

      Were the colonists geniuses?  No, the truth is that reading,
writing and arithmetic only take about 100 hours to transmit as long as
the audience is eager and willing to learn.  The trick is to wait until
someone asks and then move fast while the mood is on him.  Millions of
people teach themselves these things; it really isn't very hard.  Pick
up a fifth grad textbook in math or rhetoric from 1850 and you'll see
that the texts were pitched then on what would today be college level.
The continuing cry for "basic skills" practice is a smoke screen behind
which schools preempt the time of children for 12 years and teach them
the seven lessons I've just taught you.
How big an Educational Establishment would you need if you only needed 100 hours (or 1000, or even 10,000) to educate the kids to the point where they could learn whatever else they needed on their own.  We're told that 10,000 hours is how long it takes to gain a mastery of any subject - rock guitar, carpentry, programming computers.

10,000 hours is about five years, working full time.  A cynic might say that's about how much time it takes to turn off a whole bunch of students from education - the very smart, the autistic (a different form of the very smart), and boys in general.

And so the furious resistance to metrics that define what success and failure mean for the Educational Establishment.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It seems that I'm a jerk

I was back at the dog park with Wolfgang (as is my wont but his bigger wont) and that dog was there again.  With another dog.  Pit bulls.

Now I have to say that I've known some sweet pit pulls, and they were nice dogs.  But this was the first time I was in a dog fight scrum with two of them.  Wolfgang was not pleased, nor was I. 
And so I waded into the fight and kicked the pit bulls off of him.  It seems that this makes me a jerk.

Mrs. Pit Bull Owner told me (after pulling her dog off) that I shouldn't bring my dog into the park on the leash "because they don't go after dogs off leash".  My response: Oh, so it's my fault?  She didn't seem to like this.  It seems that I don't have manners, or something.  Oooh kaaay.

We'll see what happens next time they're there.  I'm torn between bringing a baseball bat in the Jeep and bringing it for self-defense, or just reaching in and pulling them off him with my hands.  They'd bite me, of course, but at that point I'd just call 911 and report a pit bull attack in progress at the dog park.  Here in well-heeled Roswell, I expect 4 cop cars to show up in 2 minutes.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it would take care of the problem one way or the other.

Either way, Wolfgang won't have vicious dogs coming after him.  Like I said, this probably makes me a jerk.

Hacked by Pinkie Pie

I'm not making this up.  There's a hacker (quite good skillz, actually) who goes by the handle Pinkie Pie.  He won Google's Pwnium Challenge last year, so don't be hatin' on the bronies.  He's back in the news, with another success:
Google was offering $110,000 for pwnership (remote code execution with minimal user interaction), and $150,000 for persistent pwnership (also known as "a malware infection that survives between logins or reboots", or an APT).

However, Google just announced that it would dip into the $π,000,000 dollar prize fund to pay Mr Pie a a $40,000 consolation prize.

Well done to Mr. Pie, and well done to Google for reaching out to the White Hat community and rewarding them with prizes to make their products more secure.  And for showing that My Little Pwnie is a security model that can work.

Happy International Poetry Day!

There was a man from the Blogosphere
who'd post on the Internet for years.
Lives in his Mom's attic
but grows his blog traffic.
His content is simply cavalier.

Yes, it helps to be running a fever when you write posts like this ...

Daddy's little Princess

Is dangerous.


Macguffins - it's what's for breakfast

The Czar of Muscovy describes how I like to remove macguffins from Global Warming stories.  He gives me rather more credit than I deserve - there's nothing at all altruistic involved here, and I guess I need to confess.

I save them and have them for breakfast.  I love 'em.

Sure, sure - they're fattening and bad for my cholesterol.  That's why I only post on Global Warming every so often - the Doc says that I really need to cut back.

It probably wouldn't be so bad, except I like them best if you melt a little butter and whisk in a touch of snark, then drizzle it over the warm macguffins.  Man, that's some tasty snark for breakfast!

And so while I love it that y'all like my Global Warming posts, I'm really doing it for me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hey you kids!

Get the F off of my lawn.


I mean it.

The Titanic's last violin discovered after a century

It's disputed that the Titanic's band played "Nearer My God To Thee" in the doomed ship's last moments.  What's undisputed is that band leader Wallace Hartley and his fellow musicians stayed at their post, playing music to ease the terror of the passengers.  Hartley and all the band perished to a man.

Now, his violin has been identified, having survived the ship wreck:
The instrument used by Wallace Hartley was thought by some to have been lost in the Atlantic in the 1912 disaster.

But in 2006 the son of an amateur musician found it in an attic, complete with a silver plate showing its provenance.

...

Their research found that Hartley appeared to have strapped around him his leather valise – luggage case – in which he placed his violin moments before the sinking.

One theory is the bag would have aided his buoyancy in the water. The case and Hartley’s body were recovered together.
I find this to be very poignant.  Sacrifice hallows what it touches.


(via)

Keep your enthusiasm in check

But happy equinox!


I wonder what the Democrats are up to

DiFi's "Assault" weapon ban has been pulled because too many Democrats in the Senate won't vote for it.  This isn't a surprise - the Democrats from Red and Purple states aren't stupid (at least when it comes to re-election).

And so the situation makes me unhappy, because I don't understand their motives.  They aren't dumb, and they can count votes.  They may be ideologues, but they can count votes.  I don't see the upside, and so I suspect that I'm missing something important.

It must be more than simply whipping up their base.  The last 3 months have done serious damage to the re-election chances of Democrats in Red and Purple states, even without a single vote on new legislation.  The panic buying of guns and ammunition is showing no sign of dieing down - people aren't going to forget this soon.  So if the Democrats are going to pull a stunt like this, what's their upside that offsets the downside?

I don't see it.

Like I said, I must be missing something important because I don't think that the Democrats are this bad at politics.  Certainly recent elections do not suggest that they are.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Buddha kitteh

Is inscrutable.





Britain overturns its constitution in the course of a single generation

Britain's unwritten constitution was the pride of the Realm.  "An Englishman's home is is castle" was only one of many sayings that showed that the flame of Liberty burned bright.  Sadly, the light gutters and is being extinguished before our very eyes:
We are in the middle of a liberal berserker, one of those demented moments when "progressives" run riot and smash the liberties they are meant to defend. Inspired by Lord Justice Leveson, they are prepared in Parliament tomorrow to sacrifice freedom of speech, freedom of the press and fair trials. They are prepared to allow every oppressive dictatorship on the planet to say: "We're only following the British example" when outsiders and their own wretched citizens protest.
The motion for Her Majesty's Government to muzzle the Press passed by a vote of 530-13.  Press organizations and even bloggers (!) now will have to register with a Brit.Gov functionary or risk ruinous financial penalties.  Readers in the American Republic might consider the parallels with proposed firearms registration proposals.

Not even a quarter century ago, The Iron Lady was Prime Minister and the idea that British subjects could be stripped of their traditional right to free speech, to a fair trial, and to self defence would have been considered the ravings of a lunatic.
That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.
- John Stuart Mill
On this side of the Pond we can thank the Mother Country one last time.  Here, too, principle is cast to the gutter as Realpolitik becomes the core driver of our miserable political class.  But things are not as far along here as in Europe which is falling apart:
After speaking recently in Belgium, I declared, in response to an audience member’s suggestion that the European Union’s purpose was the preservation of peace, that “Europe”—in the peculiar, Soviet-style usage of the word now so common—does not mean peace, but conflict, if not outright war. We are building in Europe not a United States, I said, but a Yugoslavia. We shall be lucky to escape violence when it breaks apart.
We can thank the Founding Fathers as well, who scrupled to write down our own Constitution.  The First and Second Amendments are under assault here, but yet stand.  For now.

The destruction of what was good and noble in Europe is fair complete, and shall not take the remainder of the decade.  That will put an end to the idea that a European Model is worthy of emulation on the shores of the New World, at least for a couple more generations.

To my readers and friends in the UK, I offer my condolences.  It's a shame what has happened to  your country.
We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place. 

 – Horace Smith, Ozymandias
Too bad about Britain.  It used to be great.

UPDATE 20 March 2013 12:05: Welcome visitors from Blazing Cat Fur!  Take a look around - lots of pondering the works of Statist Pricks here.

"Secure? Did we say secure?"

Oops:
IDG News Service - The majority of email and Web gateways, firewalls, remote access servers, UTM (united threat management) systems and other security appliances have serious vulnerabilities, according to a security researcher who analyzed products from multiple vendors.
Most security appliances are poorly maintained Linux systems with insecure Web applications installed on them, according to Ben Williams, a penetration tester at NCC Group, who presented his findings Thursday at the Black Hat Europe 2013 security conference in Amsterdam. His talk was entitled, "Ironic Exploitation of Security Products."

Williams investigated products from some of the leading security vendors, including Symantec, Sophos, Trend Micro, Cisco, Barracuda, McAfee and Citrix. Some were analyzed as part of penetration tests, some as part of product evaluations for customers, and others in his spare time.

Err, the security industry has some 'splainin' to do.  Don't think the Marketing departments are up to spinning this ...

Ugh

This bronchitis has been kicking my butt.  There's a ton of security stuff to blog, and I still owe the Czar of Muscovy a report on the Republican vs. Democrat who's more useless cage match (before the Myrmidons show up outside the Camp Borepatch Secure Perimeter).

But jeez.

And so I don't have anything, because I watched Ghostbusters (best movie of the 1980s?) and then Mars Attacks!  I'll stop slacking off soon, hopefully.

I mean, before the Myrmidons get here ....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dog Park fail





Not pictured: lightening, thunder, hail, and the tornado siren. Wolfgang didn't even Mind retreating to the shelter of the Jeep.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Worthy Cause

Linoge is running a fundraiser for Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA):
If you all have been keeping up with the Honored American Veterans Afield fundraiser I am running, you will see that we have raised a touch over $1000 in the past three weeks, with about three more weeks to go. Honestly, that is not bad, at least not for fundraisers here.
However, there is a catch. As you can see, we have… well, a lot of stuff up for grabs if you donate to the organization – everything from a custom, one-of-a-knife Ka-Bar knife all the way down to some of my Russian Origami t-shirts I cannot manage to get rid of. I have not sat down and crunched the numbers of the total value of all those things added up, but suffice to say it would fall somewhere near, "A lot".
This strikes me as an excellent program, and well worth your attention.  So get Worthy Causing.

ClimateGate 3.0

The Czar of Muscovy emailed asking my take on the latest disclosure in the ongoing ClimateGate saga.  First, a recap for those who haven't been following along at home.

1. November 2009 saw the release of a large number of emails and some computer source code from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit by a person calling himself "FOIA".  The CRU was the organization most central to the UN IPCC reports on climate that drove the Kyoto Protocol in 1999.  The emails were very damaging to the reputation of the CRU scientists; most notorious was the email remarking that they had figured out how to "hide the decline" in recent temperatures.  This was ClimateGate 1.0.

2. The timing of the release scuppered any hopes for a follow on treaty to Kyoto.  December 2009 saw a global meeting in Copenhagen to discuss a new treaty, but the bombshells revealed in the ClimateGate release made the situation politically radioactive and encouraged already existing political opposition.  Copenhagen passed without any new agreements, and Kyoto expired.

3. Last year saw the release of a large encrypted archive of additional material.  Speculation was that this was FOIA providing himself political cover - if threatened with prosecution he could always threaten to release the password that would allow the encrypted archive to be unscrambled.  This was (rather absurdly) called ClimateGate 2.0.

4. FOIA has just emailed the password (along with a political manifesto) to a dozen high profile skeptical climate bloggers.  None of the bloggers has released the password, at FOIA's request.  Some are looking through the archive, although this is slow going (the uncompressed archive is 880 MB in size).  This is what people are calling ClimateGate 3.0.

My take is that it doesn't really matter.  We know who the corrupt scientists are already.  People who refuse to be convinced (for tribal and political reasons) that these scientists are not corrupt are unlikely to change their current position based on new information.  The public has already lost its support for major investments in climate change mitigation; while "hide the decline" was important here, the lousy economy is likely a bigger factor.

In short, the new release doesn't change the facts on the ground at all.  It may be that there is new damaging information yet to be released, but my take is that any impact will be around the margins.

As always, click on Clint in the upper right hand corner of this blog for my take on what the state of the science really is.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The pipes of Paddy's Day




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Cold calf's tongue

And Murphy's stout Mac McGee is open on Canton St in Roswell. It's awesome.




Happy Paddy's Day!

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That's some good mockery




Michael William Balfe - Cantata "Sempre pensoso e torbido"

Image via Wikipedia
On this St. Patrick's Day it is perhaps a bit mortifying to realize that Ireland's greatest 19th Century composer was known in Italy as the "English Rossini".  Unfortunate, that, if you're a Dublin boy.  And as the lovely and fine-judge-of-manflesh Mrs. Borepatch points out, a particularly dishy Dublin Boy at that.

He was perhaps the finest operatic composer of Victorian Britain (that should restore some national pride for the Emerald Isle today).  A child prodigy, he composed his first work (for performance) at age 7.    By the 1840s his reputation was established all across Europe.  Ultimately he wrote 38 operas and almost 250 other songs.

Sadly for Irish national pride, he (like so many other successful sons of Erie) retired wealthy to England.  No word as to whether he preferred Jameson's or Bushmill's, but the music is superb.


"Me and God's worked hard. Don't screw it up."

This is the best thing that you'll see all day long.  I promise.



Hat tip: American Digest.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

That sure was a fun film.  Fun with depth, but not too much depth, and not depth that challenges SWPL assumptions.

I liked it anyway, rather a lot.  Go watch it - it was nominated for a Golden Globe. The nice thing about well done films in the "adequately predictable" category is that it's the acting that makes them stand out.  It's particularly good here.

Also, it makes me want to go visit Jaipur.  That's not bad, either.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reminder: one week for the Atlanta gunblogger meetup

Anyone in the Atlanta area who wants to get together for gunbloggy meetup social hilarity, next Sunday is the date.

Date: Sunday 24 March

Time: 2:00 - 5:00 PM

Location: Lucky's on Roswell Road in Roswell GA (they are dog friendly on the porch, and I'll bring Wolfgang).

I had Wolfgang there last weekend and it's a great place for people and dogs.  If you want to bring your dog, they're welcome.