Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Weather, not Climate - special Halloween edition

This is a scary Halloween post - scary for people who believe in Global Warming, anyway.  I've posted for years and years about how the temperature data is adjusted to show warming that is not seen in the recorded data.  I've also posted about how temperature records cannot be adjusted, and are an uncomfortable topic for global warmers to explain - for example, if world climate is getting hotter, why is the highest recorded temperature in the USA from 1913?

Well here is another example of that, from Halloween 100 years ago.  From the Wikipedia article about the town of Marble Bar, Australia:

The town set a world record of most consecutive days of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or above, during a period of 160 days from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924.

That's almost half a year over 100 °F.  you'd think that if the world were warming you would see a longer consecutive hot streak, but you don't.  So this must be an example of weather, not climate.  You remember the difference, don't you?

Weather: a local condition unrelated to global climate.

Climate: anything that proves Global Warming.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Dad Joke CCC - special Halloween edition

Why did the Game Warden ticket the ghost?  He didn't have a Haunting License.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Halloween in ancient Rome

As I like to say we only think of the Romans as rational and scientific because of the great architecture that has come down to us.  There was the other side of their psyche, superstitious to the extreme.  Nothing illustrates this better than the festival of Lemuria.

The Romans believed that particular rites had to be performed for the dead or the deceased's spirit would be trapped between their old body, unable to enter the afterlife.  Lemuria was designed to get rid of the year's accumulated ghosts.

Ovid provides a detailed description of the rites.  The head of the household (Pater Familius) would walk backwards through the house tossing black beans and reciting this nine times: I send these; with these beans I redeem me and mine (Haec ego mitto; his redimo meque meosque fabis). The rest of the household members would clang pots and pans and repeat Ghosts of my fathers and ancestors, be gone!  

That's not exactly in keeping with our view of them as rational and scientific.  More like "world domination with a side of Ouija Board".  Interestingly, you can buy you Lemuria swag here:

Jerry Goldsmith - Ave Satani from The Omen

The Omen got under my skin, back in the day.  It is one of the creepiest horror films that I remember seeing, and a decent part of that is Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar winning musical score.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Dad Joke CCIC - Special Cisco edition

In honor of the Cisco bug from hell, here are some computer networking Dad Jokes:

Five routers walk into a bar.  Who gets the car keys?  The Designated Router.

An IPv6 packet walks into a bar.  Nobody talks to him.

What did the OSPF router say to the other OSPF router?  Hello.  Hello.  Hello.

I would tell you a joke about UDP but you probably wouldn't get it.

Why yes, I am a nerd.  Why do you ask?

Tens of thousands of Cisco routers get pwned

There's not a lot worse that can happen to your network than to have the Bad Guys take it over.  That's what's happened to gobs of iOS boxes:

The main bug being used in the exploit chain exists in the Web UI of IOS XE (CVE-2023-20198). It ranks 10 out of 10 on the CVSS vulnerability-severity scale, and gives unauthenticated, remote attackers a way to gain initial access to affected devices and create persistent local user accounts on them. 

The exploit method also involves a second zero-day (CVE-2023-20273), which Cisco only discovered while investigating the first one, which allows the attacker to elevate privileges to root and write an implant on the file system. Cisco released updated versions of IOS XE addressing the flaws on Oct. 22, days after disclosure, giving cyberattackers ample opportunity to go after legions of unpatched systems.

So first of all, patch your damn routers.  Second, replace any network admin who can't grok iOS command line and disable the stupid web GUI.  I mean, this isn't rocket surgery - anyone who can figure out subnet masking can configure things via CLI.


Monday, October 23, 2023

Dad Joke CCLXXXXVIIII - Special Rum edition

A cat walks into a bar.

Bartender: What'll ya have?

Cat: Give me a shot of rum. 

Bartender fills glass, puts it on the bar in front of the cat.

Cat pushes it off the bar.

Cat: Hit me again.

It's funny because it's true.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Yo Ho Ho

For my birthday, The Queen Of The World got me (among other things) a really interesting book:

Wayne Curtis' book, And A Bottle Of Rum: A History Of The New World In Ten Cocktails.  You see, I've gotten interested in (good) rums in the last year or two, and she (heck - and you) know my interest in history.  This was a twofer.

It's way more interesting than you might think.  For example, if there hadn't been rum, there very well may not have been an American Revolution.  Really.

The book charts the history from the early funky and maybe undrinkable stuff to how rum conquered the New World in the early twentieth century - and how Prohibition almost changed it into something unrecognizable.

But it ends on a high note, with Tiki drinks - particularly the Mai Tai - is a chapter that is clearly a love letter to the lost Tiki Bar era.  It's great fun, and great entertainment.  This book comes highly recommended.

And the original Trader Vic Mai Tai is nothing like what you get in a bar today, unless you seek out one of the few great old Tiki Bars that Curtis writes about.  But we do have a recipe from Trader Vic, highlighted in this excellent Tasting History video from Max Miller:

Both book and video are heartily recommended, Me Hearties.

Thursday, October 19, 2023


I once saw a documentary about how ships were built.  It was riveting.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

This is why we can't have nice things on the Internet

Microsoft finally getting rid of Visual Basic after 27 years:

Microsoft is officially splitting from VBScript after a 27-year relationship and plans to remove the scripting language entirely in a future Windows release.

The IT giant said on Monday that VBScript, short for Visual Basic Scripting Edition, has been deprecated in an update to its list of "Deprecated features for Windows client."


VBScript debuted in 1996 and its most recent release, version 5.8, dates back to 2010. It is a scripting language, and was for a while widely used among system administrators to automate tasks until it was eclipsed by PowerShell, which debuted in 2006.

"Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition brings active scripting to a wide variety of environments, including Web client scripting in Microsoft Internet Explorer and Web server scripting in Microsoft Internet Information Service," Redmond explains in its help documentation.

I'm having flashbacks on this one.  There is a reason that Internet Explorer was the lousiest browser (from a security perspective), and VBScript was a big part of that.  ActiveX was another big part, but since you could script ActiveX controls using VBScript, this was a recursive black hole of security fail.

Good riddance.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Friedrich Nietzsche - Eine Sylvesternacht, for violin and piano

Did you know that Friedrich Nietzsche - yes, that Friedrich Nietzsche of ubermensch fame - was an amateur composer?

He was not highly regarded by the Great and the Good of his day.  Wagner scoffed at his works, but then Nietzsche had somewhat impertinently sent a piano composition as a birthday gift to Wagner's wife.  The conductor Hans von Bulow said that one of Nietzsche's pieces was "the most undelightful and the most antimusical draft on musical paper that I have faced in a long time".

Other than that, maestro, how did you like the piece?

Me, I don't think it's half bad.  It's squarely in the Romantic Period style, and is good music to listen to on a Sunday morning as you fix your coffee.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Reading old scrolls

A couple months ago I posted about efforts to read the carbonized scrolls excavated from Herculaneum.  This is an update on that - progress is being made shockingly fast.  First up, a video that gives an easily digestible introduction to the efforts being made.

Groundbreaking efforts by the University of Kentucky team, but there are a lot of teams working toward solving the Vesuvius Challenge Prize.  This article highlights some of those efforts but essentially what has happened is that teams started with what was a brick of charcoal and found this:

There very well may be ancient lost texts that can be recovered here.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Autumn Leaves

This is the platonic ideal of this song, in my opinion at least.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

America's Dinkirk

No training.  This was just what people did that day.

- One of the captains that evacuated Manhattan on 9/11 

It's not quite fair to call this "America's Dunkirk", since the English Channel is a lot wider than the Hudson River.  And the Luftwaffe had something to say in 1940, that they didn't have in 2001.

But this is a great story, well told by Tom Hanks.  About the time that the Coast Guard sent out a radio message to all boats that can help evacuate Manhattan.  This is the story of the boats who responded, and evacuated a Million people in a day.

I've posted about this before.  But this seems somehow apropos.  And click through to that post to see the comment from Friend Of The Blog Paul, Dammit! who knows a bunch of the people interviewed in this.  It's worth your time.  

And you do read his blog every day, don't you?  Thought so.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The World is a strange place

Not just stranger than you think, but stranger than you can imagine. 

A few years back, The Queen Of The World and I rev'ed up the Harley and road to Morgantown, WV for Mountainfest.  We had a blast - it was a great ride through spectacular scenery, the HOG folks were (as always) a hoot in a holler at the 'fest, and the concert was headlined by Alabama, playing "Mountain Music" and "Country Roads".

As you can imagine, it wasn't a concert, it was a sing-along.  

Well knock me over with a feather - it seems that "Country Roads" is a mandatory song at Oktoberfest in Germany, and everybody sings along.  Don't believe me?

Reminds me a bit of the bikers in Morgantown.  Found through a link from here, which includes this suggested rewrite of the lyrics for a German audience:

Almost Heaven
Kaiser Wilhelm
Lederhosen fashions!

Life is Old there,
Older than the Zee!
Younger than the mountains
in Southern Germany.

Take me on
To the Place
to Goosestep On.
Western Poland
into Russia
Take me On
I hear his voice, in the morning hour he heils me.
Der radio reminds me of my oath of loy-al-ty
And drivin’ on to Moscow, I get feelin’
Shoulda been retreatin’
yes-ter DAY!
Yes-ter DAY!


Whatever you do, don't mention the War.  I did once, but I think I got away with it.

Even weirder, it seems that the old Tennessee Ernie Ford "Sixteen Tons" is hugely popular in Russia.  Here is the Red Army Chorus (or whatever they're called now) doing a credible version of this from a couple decades back:

I like this version.  His voice is in a lower register than Ford's was, and that's saying a lot.  But Russian music has always had a bigger dynamic range than western music.  This just keeps that tradition alive.


What do you call a can opener that doesn't work?

A can't opener.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Time to patch Linux

I've run Linux for years in large part because it's been more secure.  But not invulnerable:

Grab security updates for your Linux distributions: there's a security hole that can be fairly easily exploited by rogue users, intruders, and malicious software to gain root access and take over the box.

Specifically, a buffer overflow vulnerability in the GNU C Library's handling of an environmental variable was spotted by security firm Qualys, which has gone public with some of the details now that patches are being emitted.

The flaw, dubbed Looney Tunables, arises from the GNU C Library's dynamic loader (ld.so) mishandling of the GLIBC_TUNABLES environmental variable. And because GNU C Library, commonly known as glibc, is found in most Linux systems, this is something of an issue.

Essentially, setting GLIBC_TUNABLES to a carefully crafted value can cause a buffer overflow, which could lead to arbitrary code execution within the loader, allowing it to be hijacked.

Besides the funny name, this vulnerability has a very 1990s feel to it.  In any case, if you run Linux, get patching.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Musical birthdays

Today has a bumper crop of composer birthdays, so I'll briefly highlight each. 

Heinrich Schütz is generally regarded as the most important German composer before J. S. Bach.  He led the transition from Renaissance music to Baroque north of the Alps.

Walter Kittridge was a self-taught musician and composer who wrote hundreds of songs, many with a Civil War theme.  This is his most famous one:

Pierre Chrétien De Geyter was a Belgian socialist most famous as the composer of The Internationnale.  Yeah he was a dirty commie, but even commies have birthdays.

Louis Victor Jules Vierne was organist at Notre Dame de Paris for almost 40 years.  As you'd imagine, he wrote a lot of organ music.

Happy birthday to all, even the dirty commie.

Saturday, October 7, 2023


I tried to draw a circle but it was pointless.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Michael Bublé - Beyond The Sea

I love this song, and this is a particularly good rendition.

Rest in Pease, Dick Butkis

I sure did enjoy your Miller Lite commercials, back in the day.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Which hand is better to write with? 

Neither.  It's better to write with a pen.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Vandals cut down most famous tree in UK

This tree:

Voted Tree of the Year in 2016 by the conservation charity Woodland Trust, the Sycamore Gap Tree was one of the most photographed trees in the United Kingdom. It’s also known as the “Robin Hood Tree” because it appeared in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, despite Hadrian’s Wall being some 130 miles north of Sherwood Forest.

According to the National Trust, this iconic sycamore tree was planted in the late 1800s by John Clayton, the saviour of Hadrian’s Wall, to be a feature in the landscape. 

So why would someone cut it down?  Tik-tok views:

Why would anyone do this? A question we are all confused over. Police officers are looking into claims that the tree was felled to be posted online and carried out as part of a TikTok stunt

Dumbass Tik-tockers.  Hang em.  From a tree.  As a warning to others.

Sunday, October 1, 2023


 Why can't dogs dance?  They have two left feet.