Tuesday, February 19, 2019

If we're going to shut down the government again, how about the ATF?

Asking for a friend.

Police corruption in Houston

Lawrence has a very interesting update on the "no knock" raid in Houston that went catastrophically wrong: both homeowners dead and five officers wounded.  It's long and detailed (spoiler alert: it appears that one of the Undercover officers made the whole thing up, lied to the Court to get the warrant, and that this isn't the first time he's done it).  Here's his sum up, but you should read the whole thing:
So it turns out that two people died and five cops were shot in a no-knock raid of an alleged dealer’s house where no significant narcotics were found on information provided by, well, possibly no one. Something obviously stinks here.
There's no word that describes this other than "appalling".  Prosecutions should result.

Top Gun 2: Does the Military hate Hollywood?

om Cruise?  There's a sequel to Top Gun in the works, with a lot of the original cast back (Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer) and even featuring Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" song.  Filming is under way right now.

But there's a lot of scuttlebutt that Cruise has pissed off the rank and file:
Tom Cruise is filming Top Gun 2 on the mighty USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), a US Nimitz class super carrier. The crew has been ordered to not look at Tom Cruise or to talk to the arrogant Scientology OT. Tom Cruise will make a fortune from Top Gun 2 pretending to be a US Navy officer and yet he shows no respect to for the men and women who serve aboard the Theodore Roosevelt.

Tom Cruise has the same arrogant behavior going on in Scientology: No one is allowed to look at him or talk to him unless he grants permission.

Scuttlebutt from the crew of the “TR” has made its way onto social media — and special thanks to my colleague Intergalactic Walrus for making today’s article possible due to his timely commenting at the Underground Bunker.

Now it's probably good to be skeptical of the site since it's strongly anti-Scientology.  However, Cruise has a history of disrespect for the military:
Famed actor Tom Cruise recently said that his job is comparable to being deployed to Afghanistan, according to court documents obtained by TMZ.
 I know people at NAS Lemoore, and will ask what they hear - filming will be there later this month.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Never Get Out Of The Boat

In Apocalypse Now, there is a scene where a couple of the men go into the jungle and run into a tiger. They survive this and as they get back on the boat one of them is panic stricken, shouting over and over "Never get out of the boat!" The scene ends with this:

On the internet, the closest comparison is, "Never go to the comments!" Never. If you're on a news site and there is an article you have an opinion on, let it go.

I just looked at the comments on the latest news on Jussie Smollett on USAToday. Not posting, just reading. The state of our country seems more hopeless than it did 15 minutes ago.


The best and worst US Presidents

It's not a real President's birthday (Lincoln's was the 12th, Washington's is the 22nd), but everyone wants a day off.  So sorry Abe and George, we're taking it today.  But in the spirit intended for the holiday, let me offer up the annual Borepatch's bestest and worstest lists for Presidents.

Top Five:

#5: Calvin Coolidge

Nothing To Report is a fine epitaph for a President, in this day of unbridled expansion of Leviathan.

#4. Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson is perhaps the last (and first) President who exercised extra-Constitutional power in a manner that was unambiguously beneficial for the Republic (the Louisiana Purchase).  He repealed Adam's noxious Alien and Sedition Acts and pardoned those convicted under them.

#3. Grover Cleveland. 

He didn't like the pomp and circumstance of the office, and he hated the payoffs so common then and now.  He continually vetoed pork spending (including for veterans of the War Between the States), so much so that he was defeated for re-election, but unusually won a second term later.  This quote is priceless (would that Latter Day Presidents rise so high), on vetoing a farm relief bill: "Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character." 

#2. Ronald Reagan

He at least tried to slow down the growth of Leviathan, the first President to do so in over half a century (see entry #5, above).  He would have reduced it further, except that his opposition to the Soviet fascist state and determination to end it cost boatloads of cash.  It also caused outrage among the home grown fascists in the Media and Universities, but was wildly popular among the general population which was (and hopefully still remains) sane.

#1. George Washington

Could have been King.  Wasn't.  Q.E.D. 

Bottom Five:

#5. John Adams.

There's no way to read the Alien and Sedition Acts as anything other than a blatant violation of the First Amendment.  It's a sad statement that the first violation of a Presidential Oath of Office was with President #2. 

#4. Woodrow Wilson.

Not only did he revive the spirit of Adams' Sedition Acts, he caused a Presidential opponent to be imprisoned under the terms of his grotesque Sedition Act of 1918.  He was Progressivism incarnate: he lied us into war, he jailed the anti-war opposition, he instituted a draft, and he was entirely soft-headed when it came to foreign policy.  The fact that Progressives love him (and hate Donald Trump) says all you need to know about them.

#3 Lyndon Johnson.

An able legislator who was able to get bills passed without having any real idea what they would do once enacted, he is responsible for more Americans living in poverty and despair than any occupant of the White House, and that says a lot.

#2. Franklin Roosevelt.

America's Mussolini - ruling extra-Constitutionally fixing wages and prices, packing the Supreme Court, imprisoning US citizens in concentration camps, and transforming the country into a bunch of takers who would sell their votes for a trifle.  At least Mussolini met an honorable end.

#1. Abraham Lincoln.

There's no doubt that the Constitution never would have been ratified if the States hadn't thought they could leave if they needed to.  Lincoln saw to it that 10% of the military-age male population was killed or wounded preventing that in an extra-Constitutional debacle unequaled in the Republic's history.  Along the way, he suspended Habeas Corpus, instituted the first ever draft on these shores, and jailed political opponents as he saw fit.  Needless to say, Progressives adore him.

Sometimes You Know

Jussie Smollett, a gay, black actor living in Chicago, claimed to have been attacked by two white men wearing red "Make America Great Again" hats. They purportedly beat him, poured bleach on him, hollered "This is MAGA country", called him the name that cannot be named, insulted his sexuality, and put a noose around his neck.

Unbelievable. Not unbelievable in the sense of how could someone do that? Unbelievable in the sense of there is no way this is real. On one of the coldest nights of the year, two men in MAGA hats carrying a noose and bleach were wandering the streets of a Chicago neighborhood looking for someone to carry out a racial and LGBT attack on?

I would have accepted that someone had hollered out the car window at him and thrown a beer bottle. There are lots of people that harbor racial hatred. White, black, or any other group you like. But this was like a meme of an attack that seemed to be hitting every stereotype. It felt fake from the start.

I suspect that even the MSM knew it was a bad story or they would have wallpapered the internet with it. CNN has claimed they were skeptical from the beginning. But many outlets and individuals jumped to support Mr. Smollet. It played into their belief system. It supported the meme that racism in America is worse than ever because Trump.

The Chicage police treated this like an armed land mine. Carefully investigating, making no public statements, they worked through it until they unraveled the story. Jussie Smollett apparently paid two minor actors from the show to rough him up and put a noose around his neck. He is still denying it. The story has not completely resolved yet and it is unclear if Mr. Smollett will be charged with any crime.

But it's over. Just like when the buttercups bloom in my yard in late March, I know winter is over, this is over.

Nancy Pelosi had tweeted the following on January 29th, 2019.

Yesterday it was deleted from her account without comment.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


Arcangelo Corelli - Concerto Grosso in D Major

Archangelo Corelli was the one who helped create and popularize the sonata and and concerto, and today's selection is one of his most famous concertos.  Born on this day in 1653 in the Papal States, he had a long career in Rome and directly influenced both J.S. Bach and George Frederick Handel.  He was so famous that people from later ages made up anecdotes about him: for example, Rousseau told how Corelli went to Paris as a young man but was chased off by Louis XIV's court composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully.  Rousseau seems to have thought that this demonstrated the corruption of society, although there seems to be no evidence that Corelli ever went to France.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Rest in Peace, Bruno Ganz

Bruno Ganz, the actor who played Adolf Hitler in the film "Downfall" - and which has the scene of Hitler ranting that has been turned into its own Internet meme - is dead at 77.  I have a post tag for "Hitler Video" because there are almost three dozen of them that I've posted.  Here is the original scene:

This one may be my very favorite parody version of them all (yes, it's about Global Warming):

Or this one abut Global Warming.  I'll have to give back my Nobel Prize ...

And of course, there was one for Obamacare.  Hitler is infuriated that his insurance got canceled even though "If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor."  And he was going to buy a Harley with the $2500/year that Obamacare was going to save him.  Heh.

Of course, there's a Computer Security one, too:

Here's an interview with Ganz on all the parody videos that have been made.  He was pretty tickled by them:

Thanks for the performance, Mr. Ganz, and for all the fun that resulted.  Rest in peace.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Self-Driving cars: unsafe at any speed

A Tesla on autopilot drove itself into a wreck.  The failure mode is interesting:
Yet another example came to light on Monday when a driver in North Brunswick, New Jersey wrecked his Tesla on a highway while the vehicle was in Autopilot mode. According to a report published by News 12 New Jersey, the driver said that the vehicle "got confused due to the lane markings" at a point where the driver could have stayed on the highway or taken an exit. The driver claims that Autopilot split the difference and went down "the middle", between the exit and staying on the highway.

The car then drove off the road and collided with several objects before coming to a stop. The driver claims that he tried to regain control of the vehicle but that "it would not let him".
Insty is skeptical, but I'm not.  This is exactly the kind of situation that you should suspect the software could handle badly: confusing input from signs or lane markers leading to a failure to navigate the car on a safe route.  It's not a software bug, it's a gap in the algorithm used to control the car.

I'm not sure that this is solvable, either.  The way software developers handle these "edge cases" is (a) ignore them if possible (I can't see Tesla being able to do that, or (b) write a special case condition that covers the situation.  The problem with the later option is that there can be hundreds of these special cases that need to be coded in.  That makes the software a huge bloated mass that nobody can really predict how it will work.  Validation becomes really hard and QA testing becomes essentially impossible.

And this is without postulating software bugs - this is all trying to make the algorithm suck less.  Of course, the more code you have to write, the more bugs you will have - remember that validation becomes really hard and testing well nigh impossible?  You'll have an unknown number of potentially fatal bugs that you probably won't know about.

Until we have a different type of computer (probably one that is not based on von Neumann architecture).  If you want to get really computer geeky (and I know that some of you do), automotive autopilot problems are almost certainly NP-Hard.  For non computer geeks that means if you want to code one of the then good luck - you're going to need it.

The bottom line: I have absolutely no intention to ever trust my life to software that is NP-Hard.  I know (and admire) many software developers, but this is flying too close to the sun.  Someone's wings will melt.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

From the Department of Dodgy Climate Statistics

This is hilarious:
Looking at short trends in the global surface temperature data, the analysis shows that global temperature has not increased under Republican presidents, only Democrats.

There's an old saying in statistics that if you can use three variables you can derive an elephant, and if you have four variables you can make him dance.  I posted almost exactly ten years ago about dodgy stats in climate science.  What's funny about this is the same folks who would have disputed the term "dodgy" in that post would absolutely use the term here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The earliest commercially practical color photography

Image de la Wik
The first black and white photos date to the 1820s and the first color one to 1842, but color photography wasn't practical as other than a laboratory exercise until the Lumière brothers patented a strange Autochrome technique in 1907.  A glass plate had various colored starch granules applied; the granules acted as color filters allowing actual practical color photography - as the 1917 Nieuport 23 fighter shows.

It's surprising what we have from this period, for example Mark Twain from 1907:

It's interesting just how old some still common technology is.  I posted years ago about Thomas Edison's recording of Brahms himself playing one of his compositions.  The recording comes not on wax cylinder but via Youtube, just as the photos above are on your computer screen rather than printed on paper.  But they are both still recordings and photos, from over a century ago.

Not to mention the first four engine strategic bomber from way back in 1913.

The Laws of the Universe impose limits

Hacker takes over Google Nest security cam

Talks to family's baby:
An Illinois couple said a hacker spoke to their baby through one of their Nest security cameras and then later hurled obscenities at them, CBS station WBBM-TV reports. Arjun Sud told the station he was outside his 7-month-old son's room Sunday outside Chicago and he heard someone talking. "I was shocked to hear a deep, manly voice talking," Sud said. "My blood ran cold." Sud told WBBM-TV he thought the voice was coming over the baby monitor by accident. But it returned when he and his wife were downstairs. The voice was coming from another of the many Nest cameras throughout the couple's Lake Barrington house. "Asking me, you know, why I'm looking at him -- because he saw obviously that I was looking back -- and continuing to taunt me," Sud said. Later that night, Arjun Sud noticed the Nest thermostat they have upstairs had been raised to 90 degrees. He suspected the hacker was behind that too. Nest's parent company, Google, said in a statement that Nest's system was not breached. Google said the recent incidents stem from customers "using compromised passwords exposed through breaches on other websites."
Let me, err, Google Translate that last bit: Google said that if you use one of these damned things you'd better be a security expert or J. Random Hacker will set your house temperature to whatever he wants and teach your baby interesting vocabulary.

Your mileage may vary, but I will never have one of these things in my house.  And I am a bit of a security expert, thank you very much.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Now that's marketing

This is awesome.

What the heck is wrong with the Virginia Democrats?

I was a Democrat in the 1970s and I didn't think that sort of thing was funny.  But that was in Maine.

You know that the Green New Deal has already been tried?

Southern Australia has been trying it good and hard for ten years or more.  The latest madness is a judge refusing to authorize the construction of a coal fired electricity plant because of "Climate Change".  So the GND madness is not unique to these shores.

So what are the fruits of that tree?  You know, no fossil fuels, 100% reliance of "renewable" energy?  That sort of thing?  A billion dollars for a single day's power bill:
The cost of electricity on Thursday in two states of Australia reached a tally of $932 million dollars for a single day of electricity. Thanks to David Bidstrup on Catallaxy for calculating it. 
In Victoria, per capita, that means it cost $110 for one day’s electricity. For South Australians, Thursday’s electricity bill was $140 per person. (So each household of four just effectively lost $565.) In both these states those charges will presumably be paid in future price rises, shared unevenly between subsidized solar users and suffering non-solar hostages. The costs will be buried such that duped householders will not be aware of what happened. Coles and Woolworths will have to add a few cents to everything to cover their bills, and the government will have to cut services or increase taxes. No one will know how many jobs are not offered or opportunities lost. This is the road to Venezuela. 
If Hazelwood had still been open, the whole bidstack would have changed, quite probably saving electricity consumers in those two states hundreds of dollars. Eight million Australians could have had a weekend away, gone to a ball, or bought brand new fishing gear. And this is just one single day of electricity. If Liddell closes, things will get worse, no matter how much unreliable not-there-when-you-need-it capacity we add to the system. Indeed, the more fairy capacity we add, the worse it gets. NSW will soon join the SA-Vic club. 
This is what happens when an electricity grid is run by kindergarten arts graduates who struggle with numbers bigger than two.
$500 per family for a single day's electricity.  There's your Green New Deal.  The only question is why Australians are not rioting in the streets and burning their politicians in effigy.  Maybe the reason is that we see voters going for this madness here, too: Georgetown Texas household electricity bills rise by $1200/year due to "100% renewable" power.

Frankly, I can't think of a more regressive tax - it falls heaviest on the poor and the only benefit is to let smug upper middle class liberals feel even smugger.  Tagged with the post tag "evil" because, well, you know.  What a nasty class war tax it all is.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Republicans and Democrats actually understand each other

A parable:
A woman in a hot air balloon realizes she is lost. She lowers her altitude and spots a man fishing from a boat below. She shouts to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am." 
The man consults his portable GPS and replies, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude. 
She rolls her eyes and says, "You must be a Republican!" 
"I am," replies the man. "How did you know?" 
"Well," answers the balloonist, "everything you tell me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you're not much help to me." 
The man smiles and responds, "You must be a Democrat." 
"I am, replies the balloonist. "How did you know?" 
"Well," says the man, "You don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and now you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but, somehow, now it's my fault."
Via the Queen Of The World.

Cops ask man to breathe into a breathalizer

Hilarity ensues.

I love how the cop cracks up.

Johann Melchior Molter. Trumpet Concerto No. 2 in D major

Johann Molter was a baroque composer well known in his day.  A prolific writer, we have 140 symphonies among his many other works. Here's a baroque trumpet concerto, because who doesn't like a baroque trumpet concerto?

Happy birthday, Johann, born this day in 1696.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Metallica - You're Looking At Country

This is one of the coolest things I've seen in ages:
Welcome to the colliding of your two little musical worlds, where that classic country connoisseur and twang hound in you meets the hard-driving metalhead who punched a hole in your bedroom wall in 7th grade while listening to Master of Puppets. This is what occurred when Metallica showed up in Nashville Thursday night (1-26) for their first show in Music City in 10 years, and were graced by the presence of other than country music legend Loretta Lynn who was there to soak it all in. 
About halfway through the show, frontman James Hetfield took a break, and guitarist Kirk Hammett and bass player Rob Trujillo took the opportunity to play a stripped down version of Loretta’s 1971 hit, “You’re Lookin’ at Country.”
That's so awesome that it's in danger of collapsing into a black hole of awesome - not least that Loretta went to their concert.  The video quality is pretty bad here but it's a cool moment.

And who knew there was a web site called Saving Country Music?

Ode to a pocketknife

This is a tale from a Country long ago:
Growing up in rural Northeast Alabama in the foothills of the Appalachians, I was privileged to catch the tale end of what was an era marked by ruggedness and self-sufficiency. I grew up around men that were willing to fix what was broken and take the time to do it right. My father was a Vietnam veteran and the product of growing up farming the hills of these same mountains where I was raised. He always carried a small pocket knife much like the one pictured. He had an affinity for Case knives, but would carry the occasional “Old timer” or “Buck” or even “Schrade”. One thing was for sure, that he had one with him, wherever he was. You could also be pretty sure that his pocket knife would be so sharp that if you were to stare at it too long your eyeballs would bleed. Now that's pretty sharp.... The pocket knife was an important part of his life. Whether it was to slice a freshly picked apple, or to cut some twine, (coincidentally twine can patch most any broken farm implement until you can get home) he was always prepared. At Christmas time, my father always had his knife waiting to help open those pesky gifts that needed cutting open as only a father can do best.
I too got my first pocketknife from Dad, back around 1970.  I have a new Benchmade one that the Queen Of The World got for me that I keep clipped in my pocket.  It feels weird if it's not there.

And the love affair that men have with their pocket knives goes back a long, long way.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Socialism Explained II

The corn is everything from Medicare and Social Security to farm subsidies to welfare.

Thoughts on the State of the Union address

Trump is really not very good at delivering prepared speeches - although not many of our recent Presidents were, either.  Reagan was unusually good, but you'd expect that from a Hollywood background.  Trump didn't have the verbal elegance of a truly great speaker,  It doesn't seem to keep him from communicating effectively, though, but it's prose not poetry.  It's been said that poetry is the art of letting the word be heard behind the words, and that's just not his forte,

But the last minute or two of the speech was different - he did bring out the words behind the words.  It was a message that I don't recall hearing, at least not in a long, long time.  The word behind the word was unity.  He struck me as completely sincere about this.

Alas, I am starting to think that there are too many factions that think their path to power is by disuniting these United States - chief among these may be the media.  If Trump means to fight this battle then this is big, big stuff.  That's inspirational, but there's quite a good chance that he will lose, going down in history as a tragic hero fighting a lost cause.

I wish him luck.  I'd never seen him as a Martin Luther figure before.  He sure gave us his 99 Theses of American Greatness last night.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Linky, not Thinky

Several items are worth your time.

I hadn't known that not only could you actually go into King Tut's tomb, but that it had been restored.

The Red Sox and the New York Yankees are perhaps the greatest rivalry in Baseball.  It's cats and dogs, oil and water.  So it's a pretty strong statement of character when a died in the wool Sox fan meets Mariano Rivera.  As a Sox fan, I have to agree - Rivera has always been 100% class.

The EPA's newest science advisor is John Christy.  He runs the UAH satellite climate database - in my opinion the gold standard of temperature accuracy.  This seems like a very good sign.

The Silence of the (Climate) Data

I've posted before (a long, long time ago) about how many weather stations have been tracking temperature.  The whole Global Warming panic is based on world wide measurements, but the measurements are surprisingly (shockingly?) sparse.  The problem is worse, though - the weather stations are very strongly clustered in the Northern Hemisphere, specifically Europe and the United States.  But we're told this is a global temperature.  Just how global is "global"?

Short answer: not very.
This is the foundation of the whole Global Warming narrative. Then a huge layer of statistical manipulation is layered over it to attempt to hide the data quality and quantity issues. Kriging, interpolation, homogenizing, “the reference station method” of making up a number based on a temperature up to 1200 km away. None of this can fix the real problems with the underlying data. They can only burry it under a layer of bafflegab.
How bad is it? 
These are the months of data, that is not a missing data flag, for each wmo number in the Antarctic region (country starting with a 7). Note that the very first one has 10 years of data, that’s all. 120 months. THE longest is 1356 or about 113 years, then the next is 1212 months, or 101 years. Long for a human lifetime, nearly nothing in geological time scales and climate cycles. Most of the rest are around one human lifetime or less.
Even worse, these are surface stations (South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and Antarctica).  Almost all of the southern hemisphere south of 45° is ocean.  How many readings are in the climate database from ship reports?


This is a great example of why I put MUCH more trust in the satellite climate data - it's a true global measure.  And it doesn't show essentially any warming in two decades.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Socialism Explained

And then you just keep trusting they'll refill your bottlecap.

The Lord forgives

I'm not so sure about Sign Guy.

Well that certainly didn't age well

One week ago:
On the quest to become one of Los Angeles’ most revered sports institutions, a victory Sunday in the Super Bowl is only the start. What comes after will be almost as important for the Rams.
If President Donald Trump invites them to the White House, they have to decline.


Problem solved, I guess.

Why Virginia Governor Northam has to go

And why it's for the greater good that he's going to hang around twisting in the wind for a while before he goes.

Not for nothing is Tam known as the Queen of Snark.  Northam is trying to hang on but that's really just embarrassing and damaging his party now.  Five years ago this all would have been dealt with quietly, with Approved tut tutting and "mistakes were made" noises from the GOP side.  No more:

Northam has done what few pols accomplish - stepping into it up to his chin twice in two consecutive days.  The last time a Governor has been this amusing was when South Carolina Governor Mark Stanford hiked the Appalachian Trail all the way to his mistress' apartment in Buenos Aires.  

The Press is, of course, outraged.  Not at Northam, although privately they're mad that he's peed in their punchbowl - no, they're mad that people like Tam are mocking a Democrat.  And that she's being joined in the free for all by the Mocker In Chief.

What they're really mad at is that the tools that they used to monopolize - mockery of your political opponent - are now available for everyone, and are being used against their political allies.  And quite frankly, this is why Northam has to go after a long, agonizing, and damaging time (weeks?) of twisting in the wind.  You see, the power that the Press used to monopolize was used corruptly, and there are mathematical proofs that using this back at them will tend to reduce their corrupt use of it in the future.

Really.  I've written before about this:
Game Theory is a field of mathematics originally developed to try to mathematically derive optimum solutions for card games in the 18th century.  It has developed into a major field of analysis used in computer science and even the design of crypto systems.  Any of you who saw the film "A Beautiful Mind" have at least a passing familiarity with the subject. 
You probably even know the most famous example of Game Theory: The Prisoner's Dilemma.  Two prisoners are (separately) offered a deal - rat out the other guy or keep silent.  If they rat and the other guy doesn't, they go free and he gets a long sentence.  If neither of them rat, they both get short sentences.  If they both rat, they both get long sentences.  And most importantly to the prisoner, if he doesn't rat but the other guy does, he gets a long sentence while the other guy walks. 
It's a one-time deal, which makes the math simpler.  Real world situations are not so simple, and a variant of the Prisoner's Dilemma has incorporated this.  Tit For Tat is a sequential set of prisoner's dilemma events where the strategy is to play what your opponent played in the previous round.  If your opponent was cooperative, you will be cooperative; if he screwed you, you will screw him back.
What's interesting about Tit For Tat is that mathematical proofs have shown that it leads to the outcome with maximum combined utility.  If your opponent always screws you, you're no worse off playing Tit For Tat, but if your opponent is always cooperative or also plays Tit For Tat then both of you derive the maximum benefit.
Politics has been played as a disconnected series of Prisoner's Dilemma rounds.  The Republicans have pushed their own to resign in the face of scandal, but it's only been the last year that the Democrats have shown a sign of doing the same.  This has been good politics for Democrats over the last 15 years or so.

This is why Northam has to go.  House GOP leader Steve King was stripped of his posts within a day or two of an interview that (depending on who you listen to) may or may not have been taken out of context or misrepresented for political purposes.  If these are the new rules, then Northam has to go because he admitted to (and later changed his story) the events.

I don't think that the Republic is well served by scalp taking, but it is even less well served by scalp taking applied to only one side.  The math tells us that we maximize the Republic's welfare by taking scalps from both sides.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Thoughts on the Superbowl

The NFL clearly laid down the law on taking a knee.  None of the players I saw did.  The NFL knows that this is ratings poison and didn't let it happen.

Despite what the haters will want to say, this should pretty much end the debate on who is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time.

It probably should (but won't) end the debate on what the greatest NFL franchise of all time is.

The Halftime show was idiotic music, but there wasn't anything politically controversial.  The Queen of the World recognized him but I didn't have a clue until they played that song that was covered by the Axis Of Awesome.

A lot of the commercials were hilarious.  Michael Bubble and T-Mobile had us laughing out loud.  The Verizon commercial with the guy meeting the EMTs who saved his life was touching.

All in all, we did not expect a Superbowl with basically no political bull***t.

Johann Georg Albrechtsberger: Konzert für Maultrommel, Mandora und Orchester F-Dur

Image von der Wik
Some different concepts often don't seem to go together.  "Beethoven's music teacher" and "composer of the Jew Harp" seems a great example.  But actually, there's a whole tale here that involves some pretty interesting music.

Johann Georg Albrechtsberger was an Austrian composer who became so famous that Ludvig van Beethoven sought him out for composition lessons.  Beethoven had originally studied with Josef Hayden but Beethoven's temper kept disrupting the study and so Hayden recommended his friend Albrechtsberger as a replacement.  Since Albrechtsberger had published the (to that time) definitive book on music theory and composition, Beethoven eagerly agreed.

What was a surprise to me was that music for the Jews Harp was a thing in late 18th Century Vienna, and that Albrechtsberger was considered one of the greatest composers for it.  It's not at all what you're expecting, although today's musicians don't seem to play multiple Jews Harps at the same time as did musicians of the day.

Johann Albrechtsberger was born on this day in 1736.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

A Groundhog Day prediction

Harold Bradley - too many songs to name

Harold Bradley died in his sleep this week, after 93 years on this good Earth.  He was one of Nashville's greatest studio musicians and the co-founder of Music Row.  His obituary in Variety makes an attempt at listing the hits that he played on:
Bradley was a part of Nashville’s recording scene for more than seven decades. A member of Nashville’s famed “A-team” group of studio musicians, Bradley played on many of Nashville’s greatest hits. His staggering list of credits includes Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces,” “Crazy,” She’s Got You” and “Sweet Dreams,” along with Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Elvis Presley’s “Devil in Disguise,” Roy Orbison’s “Crying” and “Only the Lonely,” Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry,” Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” Eddy Arnold’s “Make the World Go Away,” Alan Jackson’s “Here in The Real World,” Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Red Foley’s “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy,” Johnny Horton’s “Battle of New Orleans,” Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John,” John Anderson’s “Swingin’,”  Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man,” Conway Twitty’s “Hello Darlin’,” the Everly Brothers’ “Ebony Eyes” — and so many more that a complete discography would turn this piece from an obituary into a book.
Add in Hank Williams, Burrell Ives, Perry Como, Boan Baez, Buddy Holly, and Connie Francis.  I don't know that this makes him the most important studio musician in history but I don't know that it doesn't.

Interestingly, he was a fan of Django Reinhardt, who we've seen here before.

In any case, here are some of the hits that he played on.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Bradley.  Thanks for all the great music.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Wolfgang didn't do this

But he likes to bite up a mouthful of snow.

Should you use a GPS watch to track your kid's location?

Oh hell no.  Only if you want every perv on the planet to be able to track them too:
the Norwegian Consumers Council published the excellent ‘WatchOut’ research that demonstrated trivial access to kids GPS locations through vulnerable tracker watches, including the Gator.
It received plenty of press coverage and resulted in several kids tracker watches taking swift action to secure their systems.
A year on, we decided to have a look at the Gator watch again to see how their security had improved as a result of their actions.


Guess what: a train wreck. Anyone could access the entire database, including real time child location, name, parents details etc. Not just Gator watches either – the same back end covered multiple brands and tens of thousands of watches
The bottom line is that these watches (including but not limited to brands Gator, Tinitell, and Xplora) have NO security in their database and allow ANYONE to access ANY USER'S DATA without having to log in.  This is a year after a Norwegian government report on this, and NOTHING HAS BEEN IMPROVED.  This is perhaps the worst example of a saying I frequently roll out: security wasn't an afterthought, it wasn't thought of at all.

In short, if you think it's really cool to be able to know where your kid is at any given moment, realize that Joe Blow can do it, too.  And the watch company simply doesn't give a damn.

My recommendation is to throw the damned things into the garbage to keep someone from accidentally using it in the future.

It's funny because it's true

But if you torture the data it will confess to anything.

I must say that I'm digging this meme.  For those unfamiliar with it, back during the days when government policy encouraged off-shoring of manufacturing jobs there were a lot of articles in the press that laid off factory workers should learn to code.