Sunday, May 31, 2015

Harley AAR

I boughtmy first tank of gas for the Road Glide.  It doesnt get the mileage as the Shadow, but 750 cc isn't the same engine as 103 cu in.

Around town it's VERY hard to get out of second gear.  This is new to me.

Riding two up, it seems easier for the passenger to get on while the kickstand is down, and then you stand the bike up.  Any thoughts?

I 75 stinks.  That road surface is torn up but good.  I think I'll avoid that in the future.

Related: how do all y'all do riding back roads on longer trips?  Atlanta to Savannah is around 2 to 3 hours on I 20.  I expect it would be a lot longer on the back roads.

The Harley Owners Group app for Android seems pretty damned cool.

Next weekend I have a business trip, but after that I think a ride to the Georgia mountains is in order.

Riding cuts into blogging time.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Damn Soccer theatrics

Always trying to draw a foul ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Lawrence on social justice warriors and Twin Peaks restaurants: there's a business opportunity for the SJWs:

Lots more top shelf mockery at the link.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The science is settled!

An epidemic of false claims in science:
False positives and exaggerated results in peer-reviewed scientific studies have reached epidemic proportions in recent years. The problem is rampant in economics, the social sciences and even the natural sciences, but it is particularly egregious in biomedicine.
Exaggerations and bogus results getting published.  Now how could that possibly happen?
The problem begins with the public’s rising expectations of science.
Ah.  It's all the public's fault.  Got it.
Being human, scientists are tempted to show that they know more than they do. The number of investigators—and the number of experiments, observations and analyses they produce—has also increased exponentially in many fields, but adequate safeguards against bias are lacking. Research is fragmented, competition is fierce and emphasis is often given to single studies instead of the big picture.
Now that's more like it.  Scientists (like other people) are tempted to sometimes shade the truth in order to get their career ahead.  And the scientific establishment is lousy about picking up on that.
Much research is conducted for reasons other than the pursuit of truth. Conflicts of interest abound, and they influence outcomes. In health care, research is often performed at the behest of companies that have a large financial stake in the results.
In climate science there's pressure from politicians to get the right results.  The more right results you get, the more grants you get.

Nah - that's crazy talk!  The politicians are pure as the driven snow and absolutely have no ulterior motives!  And the scientists [who hid the decline - ed] are noble pursuers of holy truth!  Settled!  It's all settled, I say!

Back to Scientific American:
The crisis should not shake confidence in the scientific method. The ability to prove something false continues to be a hallmark of science. But scientists need to improve the way they do their research and how they disseminate evidence.

First, we must routinely demand robust and extensive external validation—in the form of additional studies—for any report that claims to have found something new. Many fields pay little attention to the need for replication or do it sparingly and haphazardly.
Or in the case of climate science, they pay absolutely no attention to how the actual results track the predictions:

And the SciAm article ends with this interesting tidbit:
Eventually findings that bear on treatment decisions and policies should come with a disclosure of any uncertainty that surrounds them. It is fully acceptable for patients and physicians to follow a treatment based on information that has, say, only a 1 percent chance of being correct. But we must be realistic about the odds.
A big complaint about climate science is the lack of discussion about uncertainties.  Perhaps the best article on this is Judith Curry's Uncertainty Monster, but the climate science establishment won't discuss the subject.  Rather, we keep hearing that the science is settled.

Of course, Scientific American won't discuss these issues in climate science, or Dr. Curry without slandering her.  There is something deeply broken about science as it is practiced today.

Dutch town tends American war graves for 70 years

There's a waiting list to get a grave to tend.  Wow.


Tired, stressed, busy

Work, kids, siblings, the house - everything is hitting all at the same time.  got completely exhausted last week at work, then over the weekend, now looking at more of the same for work plus a family crisis.

Bah.  I'm getting too old for all this.  And I need to ride more, damn it.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Motorcycle ride: success!

More to follow, but scooting around the block led to going around town.  It's much heavier but is very stable.  The weight makes me ride differently but that's likely a good thing.

I need to keep upping the miles I ride, but this works nicely.

Johannes Ockeghem - Requiem

Memorial Day honors the fallen soldiers, and nothing quite brings a tone of reflection like the Missa Pro Defunctis, the Requiem Mass for the Dead.  This version by Ockeghem is the oldest surviving Requiem that we know.  It is an a capella performance in the newfangled (at his time in the 1400s) polyphonic style with multiple singers singing different notes at the same time (as opposed to the old Gregorian style where all singers sang the same note).

This Memorial Day weekend remember the fallen.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat aeis.  Amen.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

If the ACLU has any cojones at all ...

... it will file suit on June 1 for force an immediate end of the bulk collection of metadata from Americans.  We'll see.  IANAL, but this would seem an open and shut case, as it looks like the PATRIOT Act will expire then.

And we'd see if a Court would have the cojones to stop a program with no legal authorization.

Hat tip: In the MIDDLE of the RIGHT

The Statler Brothers - More Than a Name on a Wall

Image via Wikipedia
A lot of people seem to think that Memorial Day is "thank a veteran" Day.  I guess that could work, but only if you were at a cemetery.  The roots of Memorial Day go deep, all the way back to the American War of Southern Independence, where "Decoration Day" was reserved to take flowers to the graves of the Fallen.  Late May was chosen because flowers would be in bloom in every corner of the Republic.

Nowadays it's the long weekend that starts the summer season.Trips to the lake, grilling out, and cold beer push the original meaning aside.  Few take flowers to the graves anymore, which is a damn shame.  The Fallen deserve a day of remembrance.

As you'd expect, there's a country music song for that.

The Statler Brothers are old school country from the 1960 to the 1980s, before the new pop-crossover sound got popular and pushed everything off the airwaves.  Johnny Cash gave them their big break* and they ended winning a bunch of CMA awards as well as three Grammys. Now you hardly ever hear them except if the radio station plays Gospel on Sunday.   They sang a lot of that.

This song came at the very end of their career, but shot up to the top of the charts.  Timing no doubt had something to do with that - the song was released the month before Memorial Day in 1989.

More Than a Name on a Wall (Songwriters: Jimmy Fortune, John Rimel)
I saw her from a distance as she walked up to the wall
In her hand she held some flowers as her tears began to fall
And she took out pen and paper as to trace her memories
And she looked up to heaven and the words she said were these

She said Lord my boy was special and he meant so much to me
And oh I'd love to see him just one more time you see
All I have are the memories and the moments to recall
So Lord could you tell him that he's more than a name on a wall

She said he really missed the family and being home on Christmas day
And he died for God and country in a place so far away
I remember just a little boy playing war since he was three
But Lord this time I know he's not comin' home to me

She said Lord my boy was special and he meant so much to me
And oh I'd love to see him but I know it just can't be
So I thank you for my memories and the moments to recall
So Lord could you tell him that he's more than a name on a wall
* They wrote a funny tribute to Cash, We Got Paid By Cash.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why do people hack?

Because that's where the money is:
Hackers have struck one of the world's largest internet dating websites, leaking the highly sensitive sexual information of almost four million users onto the web.

The stolen data reveals the sexual preferences of users, whether they're gay or straight, and even indicates which ones might be seeking extramarital affairs. In addition, the hackers have revealed email addresses, usernames, dates of birth, postal codes and unique internet addresses of users' computers.


Within hours of the data being leaked, hackers on the forum said they intended to hit victims with spam emails, and Mr Harper has been targeted with virused emails since his information was made public.

Online crime experts believe the after the initial spam email campaign, hackers will now begin trawling through the data for potential blackmail targets.
Blackmail seems to be the big win here, although there's obviously more risk than your usual hacking situation.  But organized crime has been a big player in the black hat community for ten years or more, so this is just a new source of data that they'll use the same way.

And I love this part:
Shaun Harper is one of those whose details have been published. "The site seemed OK, but when I got into it I realised it wasn't really for me, I was looking for something longer term. But by that time I'd already given my information. You couldn't get into the site without handing over information.

"I deleted my account, so I thought the information had gone. These sites are meant to be secure."

You keep using that word.  I do not believe that it means what you think it means ...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Who is up for a ride this weekend?

The bike awaits.  Time to cowboy up.

Send me an email at borepatch at gmail if you are in the Atlanta area and want to meet up for a short ride.  I'm just getting back in the saddle, so it will be short but could end at a pub.

The NSA is the reason that we can't have nice things on the Internet

It seems that encryption was deliberately broken by the NSA, and now everyone is getting hip to how to read all your data.
Tens of thousands of HTTPS-protected websites, mail servers, and other widely used Internet services are vulnerable to a new attack that lets eavesdroppers read and modify data passing through encrypted connections, a team of computer scientists has found.

The vulnerability affects an estimated 8.4 percent of the top one million websites and a slightly bigger percentage of mail servers populating the IPv4 address space, the researchers said. The threat stems from a flaw in the transport layer security protocol that websites and mail servers use to establish encrypted connections with end users. The new attack, which its creators have dubbed Logjam, can be exploited against a subset of servers that support the widely used Diffie-Hellman key exchange, which allows two parties that have never met before to negotiate a secret key even though they're communicating over an unsecured, public channel.

The weakness is the result of export restrictions the US government mandated in the 1990s on US developers who wanted their software to be used abroad. The regime was established by the Clinton administration so the FBI and other agencies could break the encryption used by foreign entities. Attackers with the ability to monitor the connection between an end user and a Diffie-Hellman-enabled server that supports the export cipher can inject a special payload into the traffic that downgrades encrypted connections to use extremely weak 512-bit key material. Using precomputed data prepared ahead of time, the attackers can then deduce the encryption key negotiated between the two parties.
NSA was involved in all the discussions on export grade encryption in the 1990s.  Their fingerprints are all over this.

This is still developing but looks like it is very bad indeed.  This would let a Bad Guy get your online banking password, among other things.  The idea that NSA could get a back door in important code and that the back door would remain secret was always pretty dumb.

Keep your eye out for a pop up from your browser saying there's an important security fix.  You absolutely will want this one.  As far as I can tell, Internet Explorer is the only one patched so far.

The secret life of a blogger


Monday, May 18, 2015

Boy, a few good thunderstorms in the ATL sure do a number on flight schedules

Probably a good thing because the roads were a mess and it took forever to get to Hartsfield.

Now I'm in the tender care of the United gate agents. I kind of see what Uncle Jay is talking about.

I could use a good stiff drink ...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Quote of the Day: Biker Gang Hangouts

Lawrence is all over the Waco Biker Gang War like white on rice.  And he brings this about the locale where the (ahem) dispute took place, the Twin Peaks restaurant:
Twin Peaks is a lot like Hooters, but without so much refinement and class.
I shouldn't laugh after this body count, but that's some top shelf snark right there.


(gasp, wheeze)


Hat tip: Claire

Did GM kill off the streetcar companies in the 1920s?

No.  It was (surprise!) short sighted and intrusive government that killed the street cars.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Who's up for a motorcycle ride in Atlanta?

I think that in a week or maybe two I'll get back on the bike.  As you can imagine, I'm a little nervous.

I know that there are some bikers near here that read this - any interest in a (probably short) ride?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Quote of the Day: Amtrak Subsidies edition

In my recent post on Amtrak, a number of commenters said (quite rightly) that all modes of travel are subsidized.  However, rail is subsidized at a much higher rate per passenger mile than any other form.  How high?  The Antiplanner crunches some numbers on the subsidy on the Amtrak Chicago - Milwaukee route:
In other words, the [Amtrak] subsidy alone would have been enough to give every single Hiawatha rider a free trip on Greyhound or Megabus (at the low cost of $7 per trip).
When the subsidy is high enough to entirely cover the ticket price of a competing mode of travel, you're in a whole 'nother world.  So why do we do this?  The Antiplanner hits center mass:
Until that happens, now you know why you should be happy that your tax dollars are going to subsidize Amtrak: so that a few snobs who won’t ride ordinary buses can get subsidies to ride expensive and mostly empty trains.
Yup.  Class warfare in action.

Deflategate - the legal ramifications of Tom Brady's suspension

By buddy Rick is a lawyer (admittedly not a labor lawyer as he asks me to point out).  But he's looked at the recent suspension of Tom Brady for 4 games by the NFL commissioner (as a punishment for under-inflated footballs) and emails me his analysis.  With his permission, I'm posting it here.

Google Jeffery Kessler.  I have forgotten half of the cases he has slammed the NFL on.  I do not believe he has ever lost.  I now think it is never even getting to the “merits” of the case.  Kessler will have it thrown out based solely on the fact that they based the suspension on his failure to “cooperate” by giving them his phone.  Unlike any of all of the talking head analysts on tv and radio, I downloaded and read the entire NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement.  There are several sections where the League collectively bargained for the ability to do discovery as part of a dispute.  See, for example, Article XI entitled “Non-Injury Grievance” where the rules for discovery conducted by each side are clearly laid out.  An example of this type of dispute would be one involving the terms/requirements in a player’s contract.  If the player disputes the league’s/teams interpretation, it brings an arbitration/appeal under this Article and per the agreement that has been collectively bargained for, the member of the union must submit to discovery, including one would assume, discovery of his electronic devices.  However, the appeal of a suspension is governed by Article XI entitled “Commissioner Discipline.”  It does not contain any agreement by the players to be subject to discovery.  Put conversely, it does not empower the League to seek discovery of electronic devices.  Of course, the League can always ask as Wells did, but members of the union (i.e. Brady and Gostkowski as opposed to everyone employed by the Pats) do not have to give them anything.  The League expressly sanctioned Brady for his failure to do something the is not required under the CBA and for which they have never collectively bargained.  Kessler is going to slam the NFL.  So much so that I go back to wondering if this wasn’t done by Goodell intentionally.  To everyone else, he appears to be hardassing the Pat’s and Brady, but when the dust settles, his buddy Kraft is at least partially placated in the hopes it will blow over.

Brady should win [if he sues].  He has to go through the charade/farce of an “appeal” to the Commissioner.  After that he will go to the NLRB, I would imagine.  He as a dispute under the NFLPA collective bargaining agreement.  If he really wants to get nasty, he may be contemplating an anti-trust suit.  Kessler cut his teeth on anti-trust.  That prospect may scare the crap out of the League.  And I still don’t think the merits of the case will come in.  The argument would be as follows: The only reason Brady is in the position he is is because the NFL is an illegal monopoly.  I.e. it is acting in an anti-competitive manner.  Since the League is an illegal monopoly, it is a legal nullity.  If the league is deemed a monopoly, then there is no Office of the Commissioner.  No Office of the Commissioner, no power to suspend.  No power to suspend, no Brady punishment . . .

And don’t forget, it was Kessler that won the anti-trust suit that got the NFLPA free agency.

Kraft, on the other hand, agreed to the League constitution and franchise agreements.  He has no right of appeal and a very tough case.
It's a very interesting question as to whether Brady could sue the NFL Commissioner for damaging his reputation in this episode.  I think that's quite unlikely to happen - indeed, I expect that after all the big headlines die out there will be a very quiet resolution of this that revokes the suspension and substitutes some wrist slap as a fig leaf for the NFL.  By the time the season starts this will all have blown over.

Otherwise the NFL would have some very interesting information come out during the discovery process in the lawsuits, information that would almost certainly be very damaging to the Commissioner's office.

R.I.P. B.B. King

Thanks for all the great music.  Sad that the Thrill really is gone.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Thoughts on the Amtrak accident

By now you've heard of the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia.  At least eight are dead and many more are hurt.  I expect that this will soon fade from the news because unlike airplane crashes, train accidents seem not to get the 24/7 over hype that you get from, say, a Malaysia Air crash.

Even though as many people are killed by trains.  Maybe more: at least 1400 dead in the last decade.

Passenger rail is a big problem, for several reasons: It's slower than air travel on all but a handful of routes (say, Boston city center to New York city center), and that's mostly because the TSA screening processes at airports add 60-90 minutes to the travel time.  This even applies to new rail technologies, like Japan's new Tokyo-Osaka 500 kph mag lev line. It's less convenient than air travel - the train only goes where there are tracks (duh!) while the airplane can fly to any place with an airport.  There are also many more departures by air than by rail, so the traveler will have many more options on when to go.  Lastly, it's much less expensive.  While rail ticket prices are competitive with air, they are heavily subsidized by government.  After all "sustainability" means "as long as the grants keep coming".

Can you think of any other mode of transportation that is still around despite that it is slower, less convenient, more expensive, and no safer than an alternative?  The question is why is it still here?

The answer is that rail projects give big shot politicians prestige projects where they can, say, entertain visiting big shots in the grand new terminal or on shiny new high speed trains.  High speed rail (and Light Rail) take money away from other transport projects that would, say, help the poor (e.g. increased urban bus frequency) to flatter the egos of those feeding from the public trough.  It's actually the best example I can think of why "Technocratic Government" (management by the highly educated) is a mirage.  A true technocratic government would kill Amtrak subsidies tomorrow and allocate the funds to something that would provide real value.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Quote of the Day: Goose-stepping Creep edition

I damn sure didn’t go to war for this country twice to come home and be told by a bunch of homely chicks with daddy issues, effete literary fops scandalized by the notion of resistance to Third World pathologies, and nimrod sons of politicians playing at journalism what I can and can’t say. And I don’t think most Americans are ready to have everything they speak, write, or think perused for possible hate criminality by these same goose-stepping creeps.
Amen.  I must thank Al Gore for his most excellent Information Superhighway which brings this most excellent beat down of his ideological allies to us.  Awesomesauce!

Monday, May 11, 2015

I confess

Image copyright Borepatch, 2011

I watched Taking Chance.  I expect that most of our readers have already seen this, but it was the first time that I screwed my courage to the sticking point to sit through it.  You see, I knew the ending.

For those who haven't seen it, it's the story of a Marine Lt. Colonel who escorts a fallen Marine back to his home town for burial.  I myself have flown with one of our fallen heroes, and I must say that it's not something easily forgotten.  Kevin Bacon won a Golden Globe for his performance which was well deserved.

But there was a part of his performance that hit close to home.  As the officer who escorted the fallen Chance Phelps home, he was invited to a gathering in Chance's home town VFW hall.  Bacon's character ends the evening talking with an old Korea Marine vet, saying that his great regret was that when the war heated up in the early aughts. he chose a desk job at home so that he could spend time with his wife an kids.

That one hit home for me.  I was 43 years old when the planes hit the twin towers, and almost 45 when we went back into Iraq.  But I thought long an hard about signing up.  The service wouldn't likely have wanted me at that age, and certainly wouldn't have sent me to the sandbox (likely if they would have taken me it would have been for a boring old computer security posting).  In any case, I heard the call of home and hearth, just like Bacon's character.  I didn't go.

But the words of the Bard echo in my dreams every now and then.
And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
- William Shakespeare, Henry V,  Act 4, Scene 3

Strange to find my youth to be peaceful and my middle age to be the time when I heard - and passed by - the call.  Bacon's character says something similar in the film, which hit home.

This is quite a film, but one that may make you think longer than you like on things that strike close to home.

The Seven Year Itch

Next month this blog turns seven years old, and it's increasingly hard to get motivated to post.  I'm not sure what's causing that.

People have said that my writing is at its best when it's about personal things - it was a great comfort to write about Dad's final struggle with cancer.  But that really can't be the whole thing: life hasn't suddenly turned into sunshine and puppies, and in fact a year ago this month was bad enough that for a while I just simply stopped posting.

I'm not sure why the muse doesn't hang around here much anymore.  This used to be an outlet for me, but now is increasingly a chore.  Not sure what to do about that.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Damn. I came back from Washington D. C. a day too soon

I missed one of the largest flyovers of World War II airplanes in history.

That's the only flying B-29 in the world.  It participated in the tribute over the National Mall yesterday at noon.  Damnitall.

More pictures of the war birds here.

Shocker: Smart Power meters have lousy encryption

It's a basic axiom of cryptography that you should not create your own encryption cipher (for real use; it can be pretty interesting doing this just to learn crypto).  After all, as they say, everyone can design a cipher that they can't break.  The implication, of course, is that someone else might be able to break it, perhaps without much work.  In other words, for anything other than a toy application, use known secure encryption.

The people who designed the "Smart" power meters didn't listen to this, and rolled their own crypto system.  And guess what?
In the three years since its inception, the Open Smart Grid Protocol has found its way into more than four million smart meters and similar devices worldwide.

And like its SCADA, industrial control system, and embedded system brethren, it’s rife with security issues.
This is me, with my surprised face one.
The weaknesses discovered by Jovanovic and Neves enabled them to recover private keys with relative ease: 13 queries to an OMA digest oracle and negligible time complexity in one attack, and another in just four queries and 2^25 time complexity, the paper said.
Picky, picky, picky.  Other than being able to read all the data, spoof data, and pretend to be a different device (jacking someone else's power bill up), the system is like TOTALLY secure.

Or something.

I see lawsuits against the power companies in the future.  Or unscrupulous consumers getting a lot of free power while the power companies slowly go bankrupt.  Idiots.

Neil Diamond - You're So Sweet, Horseflies Keep Hangin' Round Your Face

I hadn't realized that Neil Diamond wrote some Country music.  He had already gotten a lot of success as a songwriter (The Monkee's biggest hit I'm A Believer was penned by Diamond) and had just started recording on his own.  As a lark, or as a challenge, he wrote this as a Country song.  It appeared on the Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show LP which went Gold.  Next came Sweet Caroline, and Diamond never looked back.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, and nobody is sweeter than Mother.  May your Mother's Day be so sweet that horseflies hang around your face.

You're So Sweet, Horseflies Keep Hangin' Round Your Face (Songwriter: Neil Diamond)
You're so sweet,
Horseflies keep hangin' 'round your face
Kentucky moonshine
Could never take your place
And your eyes
Could give me goose bumps down to my toes
Feel like the only rooster in the hencoop,
And I guess it shows.

Mary Lou Jane (oh Mary Lou Jane)
Oh what a fine name (what a fine name)
And you're nothing like them females
From Dover City
(nothin' at all)
Front teeth missin'
(hee, you got your front teeth missin')
And that's fine for kissin' (oh, feels so good)
You're more loyal than my dog Sam,
And twice as pretty (and that's goin' some)
You're so sweet,
Horseflies keep hangin' 'round your face
Kentucky moonshine
Could never take your place
And your eyes
Could give me goose bumps down to my toes
Feel like the only rooster in the hencoop,
And I guess it shows.
I can't forget (oh, no)
When we first met (first)
Well, it was bull wrestling time
At the county fair rodeo
(or is it ro-de-o)
And I almost cried (wept)
When you took first prize
(first prize, sweetheart)
You just looked them critters in the face
And down they'd go
(they never had a chance)
You're so sweet,
Horseflies keep hangin' 'round your face
Kentucky moonshine
Could never take your place
And your eyes
Could give me goose bumps down to my toes
Feel like the only rooster in the hencoop,
And I guess it shows.
You're so sweet,
Horseflies keep hangin' 'round your face
Kentucky moonshine
Could never take your place
And your eyes
Could give me goose bumps down to my toes
Feel like the only rooster in the hencoop,
And I guess it shows

Friday, May 8, 2015

Why the rich vote Democrat

It's not because they're for "social justice". It's because they're greedy bums.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why do you need a gun?

Because "give them what they want" looks really different when they have a shotgun pointed to the back of your head:

According to a spokesperson with DeKalb County, two men tried to rob a check cashing store before eventually attempting a robbery at the Paradise Island Smoke Shop in Lithonia around 1 p.m.

One of the robbers put a shotgun to the back of the employee's head, according to police.

The employee turned around, grabbed the shotgun, pulled out his own gun and fired several shots the robber, killing him, according to police.

[pauses to let cheers die down]

The late perpertator's partner in crime is now in custody.



Stupid airport is stupid

Dulles, of course.

Just try to get from Concourse B to Concourse C without riding the stupid bus or taking the train back to the terminal. I dare you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Beignets for desert last evening at Mokomandy'sin Sterling, VA. Recommended.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quote of the Day: War on Terror

Granted, it's more than just a little disappointing to be paying jillions of dollars for a giant surveillance state with a microscope up everybody's butt and double-secret probation lists that you can't even find out if you're on, only to have one of those listees turn up in Garland with guns blazing. Still, we pay jillions of dollars for a gigantic war on crime with an incarceration rate that boggles the mind and you still can't leave your car unlocked most places, so the inefficiency of the terrorism watch list thing shouldn't come as a surprise. If government is competent at one thing, it's incompetence.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I did not expect that

I'm in Washington DC for meetings. My drive to the Airport in ATL yesterday was delayed by an accident. It seems that a semi carrying a load of composted cow manure caught fire and they shut down the highway.

I wouldn't have expected a delay from that until I got here ...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jihad, Texas style

Lone Star Parson tells it like it is.  Not everywhere is as tough as Texas, I guess.

Global Warming science explained in one picture

This may be the most famous science cartoon ever.  The humor comes from the explicit inclusion of Bravo Sierra in the proof scrawled on the chalkboard.  Even someone who never got no highfalutin edumacation can see the BS for what it is.

Interestingly, people are.  The kids are alright:
Consequently, young Americans are often unsupportive of government measures to prevent climate change that might harm the economy. Less than a third of those surveyed agreed with the statement, “Government should do more to curb climate change, even at the expense of economic growth,” and only 12 percent strongly agreed with it. Again, the youngest survey respondents were more conservative than any other age group, with only 28 percent of 18 to 20-year-olds in agreement and eight percent in strong agreement with that statement. In contrast, other age groups varied between 30 percent and 34 percent in agreement and 11 percent to 14 percent in strong agreement. Not only are the newest voters less convinced of climate change as a reality; they are also less likely to support government funding of climate change solutions.
Maybe it's because they've heard too much of this:
Governments are running out of time to address climate change and to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures, an influential UN panel warned yesterday.
Greater energy efficiency, renewable electricity sources and new technology to dump carbon dioxide underground can all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the experts said. But there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more. [Emphasis mine- Borepatch]
The date that last one was published?  Eight years ago.

Prediction is hard, especially about the future.

Inspired by an email from Rick.

How do you define "Lack of Governmental accountability"?

DEA under cover agent gets a job at a trucking company.  His boss asks him to take a truck to the garage.  Agent was going to fill the truck with weed (without his boss knowing anything, 'natch).  Los Zetas ambush the truck, killing a driver and causing $100,000 damage to the truck.

The DEA says that they're not liable for the cost of the damage or the death.  Ooooooh kaaaaaay.

Hat tip: Phil via email.

Hey CNN - your bias is showing!

The mug shots of the Baltimore police officers who were charged in the death of Freddie Gray:

Here are the mug shots that CNN put on their "news" report:

You know, I'm starting to wonder just how straight they report the news ...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Joan Ambrosio Dalza - Renaissance Lute music

What kind of music would be played at a renaissance court, say, of Henry VIII or Francois I?  It would be something like this. 

Joan Ambrosio Dalza was a composer in the Italian renaissance around 1500 A.D.  Almost nothing is known of his life - no birth or death dates on record.  All that's known is that he was from Milan and that he wrote songs for the Lute that were popular enough that they were collected in one of those new fangled books from Herr Gutenberg's new printing press.

In fact, we wouldn't know anything at all about Dalza if it were not for his contemporary Ottaviano Petrucci who published probably the second book of sheet music in history, and included Dalza's music in his 1508 book Intabolatura de lauto libro quarto.  It was influential enough that it spread across much of Europe and has come down to our day.

This accident of fate makes you stop and think about what great music existed in prior days.  Never written down, it survived only in the musician's head and went with them to their grave.

Back again to the Renaissance Faire where I no doubt will not hear this type of music.  The Faire isn't so much about historical accuracy as about dressing up and having fun.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The ultimate Borepatchian film

I just watched National Treasure and enjoyed it more than I've enjoyed a film in a long, long time.  It's the perfect Borepatchian film: full to the brim of history nerd clues and puzzles to figure out and with the happy story about happy people with happy problems ending that I like.  It also has Sean Bean (who doesn't die in this film; go figure) and is perhaps the most I've enjoyed Nicholas Cage since Moonstruck.  It's kid-friendly, too (as you'd expect from Disney).

If you haven't seen this then you're in for a real treat.  Highly, highly recommended.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The sweet tears of hipsters

Ironic irony is ironic:
A number of early Apple Watch adopters have complained that their tattoos cause an interference with many of the new product’s key features.

According to multiple tattooed sources, inked wrists and hands can disrupt communication with the wearable’s sensors installed in the underside of the device leading to malfunction.

Owners of Apple Watch have taken to social media to voice their frustration using the hashtag #tattoogate and sharing their disappointment over the newly discovered Apple flaw.
"Tattoogate".  LOL.

Hipster got to hip.