Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Some Changes

Remember this?

More Islands and Sea

Today it looks a bit like this:

The Lovely Daughter is off to camp. A whole week without relatives of any sort pushing her around. She's had a rough go of some things but I think a corner is being turned.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Oil, Delivered Right To Your Door

WISCONSIN - Canada’s Enbridge Inc. raced on Sunday to repair a major pipeline that spilled more than 1,000 barrels of oil in a Wisconsin field, provoking fresh ire from Washington over the latest in a series of leaks.

The spill on Friday, which comes almost two years to the day after a ruptured Enbridge line fouled part of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, has forced the closure of a major conduit for Canadian light crude shipments to U.S. refiners and threatens further reputational damage to a company that launched an over $3 billion expansion program just two months ago.
And hey, what do The Terrorists make of a giant pipeline full of flammable stuff snaking across The Great Satan?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Suing People is the Model

How to make money from art:
The record labels that successfully sued The Pirate Bay for millions on the grounds that the network had infringed upon artists' copyrights have announced that it will not share any of the money it receives from the suit with those artists. Instead, the money will be used to bankroll more "enforcement" -- that is, salaries and fees for people who work for the industry association.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Believing the Hype

Via Yglesias via Atrios here is an article about Microsoft's various and continuing failures. This is the kind of thing that's fun gossip - who doesn't like to see the impediment to what they do take a kick in the teeth? - but more than that it's a frustrating demonstration of how much bullshit about making things has been internalized by people who think they're experts.
Microsoft’s low-octane swan song was nothing if not symbolic of more than a decade littered with errors, missed opportunities, and the devolution of one of the industry’s innovators into a “me too” purveyor of other companies’ consumer products.
There are fifteen mentions of some form of the word "innovate", which is interesting because I can't really think of any Microsoft innovations. Were there some? I'm sure I'm missing one or two. Or is this standard middle-management language that justifies middle-management positions? Yglesias, eyeing a future in management, sees this bullshit and follows with:
The basic issue facing Microsoft over the past ten years has been this—innovating is really hard.
He says some other boring stuff too. As a long-time unwilling Windows user I cannot recall wanting them to innovate, I just wanted them to clean their fucking systems up, make tasks take less clicks, show me the information I wanted, et cetera. Microsoft got where it did by having The Stuff That Is On The Machine, not by "innovating". Everybody else beat them to the good stuff and they fucked it up, from MS-DOS forward, but they did good business so that was what you got. FUCK INNOVATION, LET ME DO MY WORK. The Atrios take is right in principle:
I think the real lesson is it's okay to be a big company with a stable revenue and stable predictable dividends.

That used to be the norm.
That's true, but Microsoft produced stuff that people always seem happy to abandon where there's a viable alternative. The lock on the pre-loaded OS has always been their big strength. They can't just cruise along because they've never built the good stuff. They're the god of the gaps, needed by those who don't see or understand the alternatives. If Windows or Office were inherently satisfying their position might be different.

Now we infuriate mikey. I think I'm going to investigate 10.8 largely because of Dictation. It could make my mom's life a lot easier if it works well.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Just Not Bothering

Kevin D. Williamson:
A little perspective on the gun-control debate: According U.N. data, the number of homicides committed with firearms in the United States runs typically between 9,000 and 10,000 a year, with the numbers going:

2009: 9,146
2008: 9,484
2007: 10,129
2006: 10,225
2005: 10,158
2004: 9,385
2003: 9,659
2002: 9,369
2001: 8,890
1999: 8,259*
1998: 9,257

According to the Journal of American Medicine, the number of deaths caused by U.S. cardiac patients’ not bothering to refill their heart-disease prescriptions is about 113,000 per year. (The cost of filling prescriptions is of course a factor, but not the only factor. More from Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog here.) In one category of disease, skipping meds causes about eleven times as many deaths in this country each year as all firearms murders combined. One of these things is treated by liberals as a national emergency, the other is not. This is a curious thing for people proclaiming themselves to be empirical, evidence-driven rationalists.
In a classic case of putting the punchline before the pantomime horse, the item is entitled
Laziness Is 11 Times More Dangerous than Guns


Where is the liberal outrage?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Lay of the Land

Mike "Gamecock" DeVine has a question about the Chick-fil-A stuff:
But seriously, are there enough gays, lesbians, transvestites, transgenders and even gender questioners anywhere except San Francisco and Mid-Town Atlanta to make an ongoing boycott discernible? I’m asking, and shouldn’t boycotting same-sex marriage advocates be defined as intolerant, anti-parental-diversity-for-children-o-phobe bigots?
I am guessing that Mike "Gamecock" DeVine has been to one big city and it is Atlanta. Perhaps it was fun.

Getting Your Own Seat On the Bus

Yes, it's a long-awaited portrait of me riding the bus and looking especially dashing. For those with the temerity to experiment with Quartz Composer it turns out there's a face-recognition widget. Follow the file path thisaway and you'll discover all the special effects modules in the nearly useless Photo Booth application, which can bug your eyes out or whatever:

Since those thingies were only intended for Photo Booth they won't work in Quartz Composer without you adding the video input patch, but that's easy enough, and then they provide an example of how to extract positional data about the face it finds, allowing you to manipulate to your heart's content:

You too can be a Resident.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mitt's Charisma Advantage

Thomas Sowell, on side for his team:
After the charismatic -- and disastrous -- Woodrow Wilson presidency, the voters did not elect another president in the next decade who could be considered the least bit charismatic. Let us hope that history repeats itself.
Mitt Romney hentai


Via a bunch of vias and I'm sure there will be a bunch more...bottom to top:

James Taranto is an asshole.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Ann-Marie Murrell:
Comparing the differences, I finally understood why so many Democrats remain Democrat no matter how unreasonable and unintelligent it may seem.

In food terms, Republicans are the healthy (yet boring and tedious) meat, potatoes and vegetables of a meal. They are there to nourish, and to keep you strong and fit. Although Republicans represent the most responsible and important part of the meal, they’re nothing to really get excited about--unlike the sugary, yummy excesses of dessert.

Which is exactly the part of the meal that Democrats symbolize.

Ah, dessert. It’s what most children would rather eat first, skipping the “healthy” portions altogether.

Children don’t care about nutrients, vitamins, minerals—they just want the stuff that tastes good in their mouths. They don’t care how it’s made, who made it, how it got there--they just want it in front of them so they can scarf it all down. Or as Veruca Salt famously said in Willie Wonka, “I want it and I want it NOW!”

In real-life terms, Republicans will talk a thing to death, providing details and data and reasonable, logical facts while Democrats thrive on as few words and sentences as humanly possible: Things are fine! Go Green!


So how can boring, wordy Republicans compete with the “desserts” of the world?
Add delicious toppings.

Mitt Romney hentai


The Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel:
The Yezreel Valley – extending across the Lower Galilee from the hills of Nazareth to Mount Gilboa – was settled a century ago by Zionist pioneers. Working the land of the scriptures, they seized the opportunity offered by this fertile land to build a new nation, and created a bridge between ancient and modern Israel.

In this same pioneering spirit, the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College is extending opportunities for a better future for its students, faculty and the citizens of the Northern Periphery.

We invite you to join us in cultivating the Valley – where our vision for a vital and equitable Israeli society is being built day by day.

In the 1870s, the Sursock family of Beirut (present-day Lebanon) purchased the land from the Ottoman government for approximately £20,000. Between 1912 and 1925 the Sursock family (then under the French Mandate of Syria) sold their 80,000 acres (320 km²) of land in the Vale of Jezreel to the American Zion Commonwealth for about nearly three quarters of a million pounds, who purchased the land for Jewish resettlement[13] and the Jewish National Fund.[14]

British Mandate

Following these sales, the 8 000 Arab farmers who lived in 22 villages working for the absentee landowners were evicted. Some farmers refused to leave their land, as in Afula (El-Ful),[15] however the new owners decided that it would be inappropriate for these farmers to remain as tenants on land intended for Jewish labor, and they also followed the socialist ideology of the Yishuv, believing that it would be wrong for a (Jewish) landlord to exploit a landless (Arab) peasant. British police had to be used to expel some and the dispossessed made their way to the coast to search for new work with most ending up in shanty towns on the edges of Jaffa and Haifa.[16]

Topical Music

Monday, July 23, 2012


Pam Geller is a crazy monster.

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled on Friday that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority violated the First Amendment rights of a pro-Israel group when it rejected an advertisement the group wanted to place on city buses on grounds that they contained demeaning language.

The group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, had proposed an ad that said, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.”

Then, between two Stars of David, the ad said: “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

The transportation authority said the ad violated its prohibition on ads that demeaned individuals or groups on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin and five other specific categories. The group was given the opportunity to revise the ad, but it refused, and claimed in a lawsuit that the agency’s “no demeaning” language restriction was unconstitutional.

The judge, Paul A. Engelmayer of Federal District Court, ruled that the rejected ad was “not only protected speech — it is core political speech,” expressing a “pro-Israel perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict” and implicitly calling “for a pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy with regard to that conflict.”

As such, the judge held, the ad “is afforded the highest level of protection under the First Amendment.”
The article has more on the rationale, which seems asinine to me. If no government agency can block free speech, however, I assume government employees will be able to say whatever the fuck they want with no consequences, right?

Whoops, wrong link.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Low-Quality Movie Day

The depravity of George Lucas has been mentioned here before, but, uh, Howard the Duck?

On the positive side the film has a value to science as it is, to my knowledge, the first representation on film of the preliminaries to anatidalian masturbation. A little wine and a bubble bath sets the mood. Opening scenes, kids!

Hmmm, what should go in the alt and title tags?  ANNE GEDDES PHOTOGRAPHY?

They Are Only Invisible In Your Eyes

the truth about vermin in house lies deep in the dark
Brief: People think they’re free from vermin simply because the harmful insects are not easily visible. BUT that is not the truth; the truth about vermin in house lies deep in the dark. To alert the deceived customers who think they’re cockroach-tree, our goal is to effectively pre sent to the people the Home care science ZAPS.


Saturday, July 21, 2012


The Lovely Daughter liked Brave very much. Perhaps she would enjoy a doll:
A quick Internet search indicates that Mattel’s other Merida dolls aren’t much better. Their 13-inch fashion doll version is priced at $17.95. You will notice the incredibly long eyelashes, the impeccably groomed eyebrows, the rosebud lips, the gentle expression, and the dainty body language. Also, she is wearing the dress Merida is depicted as hating in the movie, for she is obliged to wear a restrictive corset beneath it.

For a few dollars more ($20.99), Mattel also offers a “Gem Styling Merida Doll,” dressed for archery … and sparkly fashion fun.

The product description on Amazon explains that girls can “decorate Merida’s hair or outfit with sparkly gems,” and that “girls will love reenacting their favorite scenes from the movie.” (Um, sorry, Mattel – there are no gem styling scenes in the movie. Poor Merida!)

The Wait

More tasteful than Bouffant's toilet?  YOU BE THE JUDGE.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to the Golden Age

K-Lo starts off a post celebrating yet another goddamned lawsuit with this:
"What Martin Luther tore asunder, the Department of Health and Human Services has brought together," Philip Ryken, the president of Wheaton College, quotes one lawmaker as saying to him this week on Capitol Hill.
That's what getting Protestant and Catholic together is about: lawsuits. Perhaps a reunited Christendom can once again have a gay pope.

The Pope's head exploding.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making the Rounds

A self-penned obituary:
Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say. As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn't even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters "PhD" even stood for. For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, I'm sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work. Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it. I did notice a few years later that you did get Old Faithful working again. To Disneyland - you can now throw away that "Banned for Life" file you have on me, I'm not a problem anymore - and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this.
More here.

Trolling the Zombie

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Look out, Miss Novosibirsk State University of Economics and Management pageant! Miss Novosibirsk State University pageant is hot on your heels with an interactive Flash website including virtual hair-fingering, breast rubbing, and a sexily-objected-to crotch-grab!

I think of all the education that I've missed, but then my homework was never quite like this. Welcome, Russia, to the western world and the demands of the free market.

Technology On the March

Thanks to Apple’s new simplified naming system, you can now choose among a MacBook Pro, a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Pro.

But clearly it’s the Cornea display (choice #3) that’s getting all the attention now.

To achieve greater economy while staying true to Apple’s high standards, the Cornea display aims for quality, not quantity.

“The Cornea display has only 10,000 pixels compared to the Retina display’s 5 million pixels,” according to Apple’s press release. “But they’re incredibly good pixels.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Finally A Liberal Steps Up

Richard Cohen:
Products or services that can be produced more cheaply abroad will be offshored. This is a rule. Products that can be produced by robots will be produced by robots. This, too, is a rule. What is not a rule is that the debate about this has to be conducted on a schoolyard level about when, exactly, Romney was running Bain. It hardly matters who was running Bain when some steelworkers were fired and their jobs sent across the great ocean. If Romney was really in charge, he was doing what he was being paid to do. If Romney was not in charge, others did what he would have done — and he, the record shows, did not complain. He merely deposited the checks. (This is similar to the way Romney conducted his primary campaign, taking no responsibility for what his surrogates were saying.)


In the meantime, our great and protracted political debate is concerned with when Romney ran Bain and this matter of outsourcing. The underlying reason for the loss of jobs and for outsourcing is almost never mentioned — an education system that ill-prepares young people for the job market. We turn out unskilled people who can’t work as cheaply as someone in India or as skillfully as some robot. Worse yet, we extol a culture that denigrates hard work and study and that insists, as virtually the entire Republican Party does, that somehow the font of all education wisdom is the local school board. It always knows best.
Thank god someone on the left understands that the market cannot be restrained and that CEOs are themselves chained to its whims, especially when the money-funnel is aimed in their laps. The solution? BE LESS STUPID, IDIOTS!

A Deal

The record industry is cruel cruel cruel:

Alas, I can't afford upkeep on the backup dancers.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Problem with Zombies...

Is that it all ends in gory no-holds-barred take-no-prisoners battles in the courtroom:
A product with a high APC hints at of poor sanitation or problems with process control or ingredients. APC testing was done on Zombie Blood and Blood. Harcos is accusing Power Brands' co-defendants Silliker, Inc. (testing lab), Primal Essence Inc., American Bottling (both beverage packaging companies), and others (DOEs) of ignoring the APC results.

The World Is...

You can take a look at [Romney's] successful business decisions, his "turnaround" of the scandal-crippled Olympics, or his time in Massachusetts. Or you can talk to a cab driver from Nigeria, one who's been a U.S. citizen for 16 years, having come here after living in Germany. He's always voted Republican, but he's had misgivings about Romney and this whole "repeal Obamacare" business. "You're just going to tear it down and walk away?" he'd wondered. On his cab radio, he heard about the "repeal" but nothing else. He was a bit perplexed, given that Romney seems to know a thing or two about health care, and has more experience with it than the average pol -- something that, oddly, tends to be brought up by his detractors more than his advocates.

All of the seniors-will-lose-out scare tactics from the Left had been getting to him, the cabbie told me while we sat in D.C. traffic. And then Romney spoke to the NAACP. "For the first time since coming here, I heard what I've been waiting to hear from a presidential candidate," he said.

A Kliban Illiterate

A Tacoma man has been charged with first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud after he tried to collect a $20,000 insurance payment for a dead cat.

Trouble is, the cat never existed, contends the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
The lesson here is ALWAYS BUY AND KILL THE CAT.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Museums of Dead Things

The Dr. Eldon Tyrell Death Museum is a nice operation.

Most of the informational plaques do a little chest-thumping about things that have been found in the area, but you know...that's true.

The only live exhibits have been properly glassed in.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Thursday, July 12, 2012


This post from N__B was a helpful one for me, as I am now doing some family-type stuff in Calgary and Calgary sucks. Where I am right now the sidewalk simply disappears once you exit from a main road: clearly there is no use for walking, and woe betide the pedestrian who wants to risk death trundling or rolling through the suburban wastes to the nearby Dairy Queen for a sundae. Really, best to drive the block-and-a-half.

But back to N__B's post, which, apart from the usual death, was about the injustice around what real estate gets used for.

Lately I pass through a certain intersection, which at rush hour is busy while the rest of the day leaves each section of road involved pretty jaywalkable. It is big. What else could fit there?

For some reason Google Maps likes to scale Brooklyn and Calgary a little differently, so with a little brute force and a lot of imprecision we scale The Biggest Penis in Brooklyn (outlined in throbbing red) to a typically boring Calgarian intersection like this:

So then the game is to figure out how many of Ned's penises - granted generous size compensation I think - you can fit into this intersection. The northwest corner is kind of hilly, but that didn't stop New Yorkers: WILL IT STOP YOU?