Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Manatee Christmas

Christmas was sunny and in the mid-70's, so we did what we were planning to do last weekend and ventured out to find Blue Springs Park. Like most of Florida, the whole place looked like the set for an episode of Scooby Doo; neither of us would have been surprised to hear Velma exclaim, "Jinkies! I have a clue!" (Click on any of the photos for bigger versions):

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We saw our first real live Florida Alligator:

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A dare-devil Turtle (Look ma! No feet!):

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It wouldn't be Christmas without a partridge in a pear tree:

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And the stars of the show; the manatees:

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The manatees hang out in the hot spring when the water in the St John's river gets cold. There aren't too many yet; they'll be more or less stacked in there in January and February. My parents want to go see them when they get done enjoying December in Michigan and get back down here to Florida. [Edited to finish what I was trying to communicate: We should have better manatee pics in a month or so when we take my parents to Blue Springs. This is what happens when you trying to write at 1am.]

A while back, Debbie got to chance to tour the Norwegian Epic. From the outside, the ship looks like the unholy spawn of an oil tanker and an aircraft carrier:

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But the chandelier is cool:

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and the carpet is guaranteed to increase requests for sea-sick pills by 70%:

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I also finally got around to putting up the photos I took of the inside of our apartment back in August. I'm nothing if not timely and efficient.

And Mickey's big hand says it is waaaaaaay past my bedtime.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Flotsam

In all the random debris on the Internets, the occasional jem:


Next year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address occur on the same day, February 2nd.

As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition of events: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication while the other involves a groundhog."

I'm sitting here in our ghetto apartment with no running water for the fifth time since we moved here in August. I have no idea what the problem is, but given all the crap we had to go through to simply get the kitchen sink hooked up to the sewer instead of running out on the floor, I can guess.

And just to keep things interesting, the power goes out at least once a week.

Yea. Gotta love the ghetto.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!!

Merry Christmas to all you wonderful people out there. Wish we could spend the holiday season with you. Hugs to all!

Monkey bread is in the oven and almost done -- our traditional Christmas breakfast.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

I'm posting this now just in case we get too involved in the Criminal Minds marathon to post later.

On Christmas Eve, 42 years ago, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders became the first humans to directly observe the far side of the moon. While they were there, they took what has become one of the most iconic photographs ever:


I was one of those privileged to witness the first humans walk on another planet. It's looking more and more likely that I will also be witness to the last. We seem to have lost our nerve, but at least the Chinese are running hard; lets hope they can out-run Hubbert's Peak.

On a lighter note, how geeks get marshmallows into their hot chocolate:



Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Almost Something Interesting

I almost had something interesting to write about, but we got shut down by some serious rain. Given the general lack thereof and local concerns about drought, it was hard to complain, but it still sucked slightly. We had planned to make a run out to the local hot springs where the manatees spend the winter. Would have been cool. Ah well. I doubt the state park will be open over Christmas, so maybe sometime in January if I'm not buried in taxes.

This is from the Library of Congress photo archives. Apparently a cat wandered in during a photo shoot.


That's one cool cat.

From the What World Do You Live In department:

According to a new study conducted by the Parents Television Council (PTC), Hollywood is shockingly obsessed with sexualizing teen girls, to the point where underage female characters are shown participating in an even higher percentage of sexual situations than their adult counterparts: 47 percent to 29 percent respectively.

This isn't a Hollywood problem. This is a social problem. Teen girls are sexualized in every way possible in our culture: clothes, magazines, movies, TV, books. Advertisers use sex to sell useless crap to them, and use them as sex objects to sell useless crap to everyone else. Meanwhile, our government works tirelessly to jail any girl caught taking a photo of herself in anything more revealing than a chadri. And people wonder why so many teen girls have mental problems.

If you or I were to dump our trash some random place, we all know what the government would do to us. As if it were needed, more proof that our overlords expect far less of themselves than they do of us:

Bush Stadium in downtown Indianapolis was built in 1931 as a field for Negro and minor-league baseball teams. Today, it’s a historical relic holding hundreds of rusting vehicles traded in under “cash for clunkers,” a spooky memorial to waste.

The perfect monument to the stupidity that flows like an open sewer from Washington DC.

Another great idea in crowdsourcing:

DriveMeCrazy, developed by Shazam co-founder Philip Inghelbrecht, is a voice-activated app that encourages drivers to report bad behavior by reciting the offender’s license plate into a smartphone. The poor sap gets “flagged” and receives a virtual “ticket,” which may not sound like much until you realize all the information — along with date, time and location of the “offense” — is sent to the DMV and insurance companies.

Yea, I don't see any problems here. For every report of someone driving impaired (drunk, texting, arguing with kids in the back seat, reporting to DriveMeCrazy, etc.), there we be fifty from the steady line of asshats acting out scenes from Grand Theft Auto on their morning commute complaining about everyone else getting in their way. I predict this will last until the first lawsuit against any DMV or insurance company stupid enough to use this data.

One reason why I feel voting is a complete waste of time is that so much of what the government does is no longer controlled by elected officials. The FCC's insistence that it must fix a problem that doesn't exist is one high-profile example.

Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government's reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling. 

This isn't a case where Congress or the courts left things a muddle and the agency needs to make it up as they go along. That happens every time Congress passes one of its 1900-page bills that no one has bothered to read or the Supremes hand down a decision more opaque than their ridiculous robes. No, this is a case where Congress and the DC Court of Appeals directly told the FCC, "Do Not. Do. This." And they do it anyway. Regardless of your position on net neutrality (and nothing the FCC is considering sounds like net neutrality; more like rent-seeking), this is terribly disturbing. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's name has never appeared on any ballot in any election. If he cannot defer to those who have, he needs to be removed.

Speaking of disturbing (and sexualizing teens), Amazon has stopped selling a number of books that contain fictionalized accounts of incest. This includes deleting books already purchased by Kindle owners from their book archive and refusing to refund the purchase price. Here is the dark side of e-books and the cloud. Granted, this particular instance isn't likely to garner a great deal of sympathy, and it is likely that "Erotic Incest Fiction" isn't a category Amazon is eager to blaze across its home page. And as a retailer, Amazon has every right to not sell any particular title or author for any reason or no reason whatsoever. It has the right to remove any title or author that it currently sells for any reason or no reason whatsoever. It DOES NOT have the right to remove previously-purchased items from individual's Kindles for any reason, no more than it has a right to break into my home and remove a physical book that I purchased and Amazon later decided to stop carrying. Sorry Amazon; you are completely, absolutely, 100% wrong on this one. And before anyone gets all prudish, I do find it interesting that Amazon continues to stock countless versions of a popular book that contains what it claims is a factual account of incest, involving likely-underage girls and their father.

Well, time to go apply at potential employers that I'll never hear from again.

Christmas Economy

Before getting to the economics, more from the stupid season files:

Atheists vs. Christians: Score-keeping taken to the absurd.
Nina Totenburg apologizes for speaking the word "Christmas".
Rescue a deer that breaks through the ice, get a fine.

Here in the United States, jobs are still in the toilet with the worst states being the usual suspects: Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, California, Nevada, etc. None of this is news to anyone looking for a job. Any openings here have 100's if not 1000's of applicants. The last time the library I volunteer at had an opening for someone to shelve books (the very bottom entry-level job that I do for free), they had over 100 applicants, most with Masters degrees. One factoid from the article that I found interesting: The employment hotspot of America is North Dakota with 3.8% unemployment. Maybe we should move.... I also got a giggle:

Another report showed the economy is poised to pick up in 2011. The index of leading economic indicators increased 1.1 percent in November, the biggest gain in eight months, the New York-based Conference said today.

Would that be the same index that showed the economy picking up in 2010? I think we need to go back to chicken entrails.

More banks closed on Friday including one in Florida. I don't know about other states, but the problem here has moved beyond residential real estate (which isn't doing well, just less bad) to commercial real estate. Plenty of empty strip malls and abandoned projects everywhere you look. If the recession is over, you can't tell it from driving around Seminole county.

Cities and states are in trouble. Tax receipts from sales, property and income taxes are all in free-fall. A logical person might think that all the extra money raked in during the boom decade would be enough to carry through a couple bad years, but like a bunch of ignorant children, not only was all the extra money spent, record amounts were borrowed besides. Perfect.

Our clueless overlords at the Federal Reserve keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. What they have managed to do is shove food and energy prices up, both of which are excluded from the inflation figures used to calculate such trivial bits like the COLA for Social Security benefits. Ya know; because food and energy are such a small share of household budgets and not nearly as important as flat screen TV's and iPhones (which are included).

An article about Michigan and how the decline in auto manufacturing has decimated the economy there. No big surprises to anyone who has lived there other than the over-educated who continue to believe in the fantasy of re-training:

Gluskin Sheff's Rosenberg says that if he were in charge "I'd have a shovel in the hands of the long-term unemployed from 8am to noon and from 1pm to 5pm I'd have them studying algebra, physics and geometry."

Yea, right. Because those on the left side of the bell curve are so good at algebra, physics and geometry. Even assuming we live in Lake Wobegon where everyone is above average, just what are these newly-minted geniuses going to do? Instead of trying to turn everyone into Stephen Hawking, how about just teaching them how to add? To read? To tie their shoes? To show up on time? To shut up, sit down and listen? I'll make it real easy: How about teaching them the alphabet so I don't have to spend half my time at the library cleaning up behind the illiterate high school volunteer who thinks M comes after D? Oh right; that's "drill-and-kill" learning and we can't have that interfering with Self-Esteem Training.

Meanwhile, the Europeans continue their death spiral with the Euro looking like a worser idea by the minute, France looking to lose its AAA bond rating and riots in Greece, the UK and Italy. Kunstler may be right; the idea of Europe being the world's tourist destination may itself be going on holiday.

Merry Christma... Oops! Sorry about that! Happy Saturnalia!!

Climate

Here in Florida, we are getting back up around normal temperatures after a week in the deep-freeze. Which means getting back to high-60's/low-70's instead of high's in the 50's and lows in the 30's. I realize that's a joke to people who live up in the tundra in places like northern Michigan, but our apartment got a bit nippy; contractors in Florida assume that because it doesn't get very cold that buildings don't need such amenities as insulation, double-glazed windows, exterior doors with less than an inch-wide crack around them, functional heat, etc. Europe is still having a mini ice-age complete with people camping for days at airports trying to get on a flight home. (Remember when snow in England was a thing of the past? You would think the global warming hysterics could get something right even if by accident.) China's coal stocks are running low due in large part to politics as well as the cold weather increasing demand on the centralized heating systems.

All this should be expected, of course. Our overlords were in Cancun discussing our future. They thought they would be safe from the Gore Effect this year by 1) not having Al Gore at the conference and 2) holding it it the tropics instead of Europe like last year. It didn't work. Cancun set record low temperatures for six days straight during COP16. And unlike the fake record low temps elsewhere (lowest temp since 1998 or 1973 is not a record regardless of what the hysterical Energizer Bunny weatherman says), these were all-time low temps. I've yet to figure out the point of these conferences: The richest 0.00001% of the people from all over the world get together to generate more CO2 with their private jets, limousines, built-to-order hotels and conference centers, and flown-in food, booze and whores, than will be saved by the Mexican president's announced ban on incandescent light bulbs in 100 years. This is going to save the planet how? A four-part series from the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley gives a flavor for what these little shin-digs are really about:

From Nopenhagen to Yes We Cancun
Yes, we have no bananas
The abdication of the West
Mercury rising

And while we are on the subject of alarmists and never getting it right, global cyclone activity continues to defy the hysterical WORST YEAR EVAAAR predictions made by the climate politicians. The crazy old lady at the county fair with buggy eyes and a crystal ball is better than these guys.

Monday, December 20, 2010

14 Years Ago Today

December 20, 1996: Carl Sagan Dies.

I remember watching Cosmos. Surreptitiously, of course; Sagan is only one letter away from Satan, a common argument made by teachers in both my school and church as to why good little Christian boys shouldn't watch such filth. Seriously. Anyway, I re-watch the series on Hulu at regular intervals. It has aged well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The North Point iBand

This is the kind of stuff that gives me serious Apple-lust:

The Problem with Work

Other than it being work, of course:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

I don't think I'd want to live in a universe devoid of a Jim Henson.

Monday, December 13, 2010

But Seriously...

I'm past due for a normal post. Not that we've done anything other than freeze our tukases (what is the plural of tukas? Tukases? Tuki? Anyway...). We did venture out yesterday to spend the day with my parents before they head up to the Great Frozen North. They were in their church's Christmas program last night, and they've been after us to come hear their pastor. So we dragged our butts out of our nice warm bed at 6:30am and drove over in time to meet them at their place and do the morning church thing, then joined the rest of the Baptists at the buffet. We did the gab-gab until it was time to head back for the program. It's not a very big church, but the program was a fairly large, well-done production. We had a lot of fun and managed to get back to the apartment by 10:30pm.

And that's the highlight of our exciting week in Sanford, Florida.

Speaking of Sanford: Several numb-nuts broke into a local jewelery store with sledgehammers. A number of errors were made by said numb-nuts. First, their brilliant heist was witnessed by a long line of people with their children waiting to see Santa. Second, they made no attempt to avoid being ID'ed by the store's video cameras. Third, they helpfully left behind blood samples, fingerprints and the sledgehammer. And to cap off a fine day of stupidity, they made off with mostly cheap junk the store carries to sell to numb-nuts.

Just in time for the holiday driving season, oil is poking its head above $90/barrel in some markets. The current blast of global warming over the entire eastern half of the US certainly won't be helping.

FoxNews has a good summary of the Stuxnet code that crippled Iran's uranium processing. How it got into a secure facility with no connection to the internet is instructive: It infected home PC's physically located around the plant and waited for someone who worked there to bring documents home to work on. I'm not sure what bright boy thought it was a good idea to allow write-able media to be carried in and out of a "secure" facility, but I wouldn't want to be them. The $1 million question is still unanswered: Who wrote it? It must be killing them to know they wrote one of the greatest hacks of all time, but can't talk about it.

'Tis the stupid season: The nativity must go, but the Menorah can stay because it isn't a religious symbol. I'm sure that will come as an immense surprise to practicing Jews everywhere. And Santa gets fired after 20 years on the job for telling "naughty" jokes. What did he say that was soooo horribly offensive?

"When I ask the older people who sit on my lap if they've been good and they say, 'Yes,' I say, 'Gee, that's too bad,' " Toomey said Monday.

"Then, if they ask why Santa is so jolly, I joke that it's because I know where all the naughty boys and girls live."

I'm not sure why an adult willing to lap-dance a complete stranger in a red suit could be offended by a joke far more mild than the constant toilet humor and sex jokes in a typical SpongeBob episode. It sure is nice to know that every other problem in the world has been solved.

Two more stories from the Schools-Are-Day-Prisons category: Riots in NYC high school after principal bans taking a piss at school. With any luck, they'll burn down the school with the principal in it. And a school is reversing a ban on "dangerous" writing implements. I realize that schools stopped teaching quite some time ago (obvious from how well our best and brightest compare to the rest of the world), but most at least pretend. By banning writing implements, this bold principal had dropped the facade and completed the transition from school to day-prison.

Uh... say what? Oh. It seems the ban stemmed from something far more serious:

The superintendent provided another fact by noting that "[t]he student who was found with an altered pen was suspended ...." What diabolical instrument had this pen been altered to create?

A spitwad-shooter.

"The student showed me how it worked," said the local police chief, who said he had been approached by the student's parents after the boy was suspended for having the "altered pen." Based on his testing, the chief did not think the device posed any great threat. "I'd be surprised if the spitball traveled 4 feet," he said. "And at that, I'm not even sure it had any spit on it."

In these post-9/11 days, though, you can't be too careful. No, actually, yes you can. Searching underpants is being too careful, and so is suspending a sixth-grader for possession of a spitwad-shooting device. The superintendent suggested darkly that the police chief might have had a different opinion if he knew more about the "incident," but he did not elaborate, so I guess we'll never know.

Ye. Flippin'. Gods. No wonder alcohol and drug use is rampant in our schools; it's the only thing keeping the students from beating school administrators senseless.

Everyone knows that Bill Clinton is a media whore. That a sitting president would intentionally share a stage with the man says a great deal about said president's judgment. That he would walk off the stage and leave Clinton alone with a room-full of reporters is, well, I guess fascinating is the kindest thing I can say. We're being ruled by a complete rookie.

Obamacare is such a great deal that 222 companies employing over 1.5 million employees, including several of the unions that pushed Obamacare, have applied for and been granted waivers to keep them from dropping coverage completely. Under the new Obamacare guidelines, our insurance that we already couldn't afford will increase by another $150 per month. Remind me again how all this was supposed to make my life better?

Economic recap:

Home values likely to take another leg down in 2011.
Cities and towns swamped with property tax appeals as governments continue to ignore reality.
Food stamp rolls continue to increase.
Unemployment won't be going down anytime soon.

On the positive side, our completely-rational, totally-not-rigged, perfect-reflection-of-reality stock market is heading back up.

Well, that's enough holiday cheer for one day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Camel Crash

Why using live animals in a Christmas program is a bad idea:



Local EMS says no one called 911, so one can assume that camel and crowd were both OK.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tis the Season...

...for silly YouTube videos. How do monks who have taken a vow of silence sing the Hallelujah Chorus?



Now you know.

What Religion Should I Be?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hard Freeze!!

Like most of the eastern half of the US, we're at the leading edge of around 10 days of below-average temperatures. Against my better judgment, I flipped on the local news last night to see what was up. As usual with any local news show, the weather was the lead story. The following may or may not have actually happened during our local station's 11:00pm "news" broadcast:

(Scene: Bob, dressed in a suit he stole from Herb Tarlek, stands in front of a color-coded map of east-central Florida. One line in the pattern of his plaid jacket is the same color as the green screen behind him, causing little bitty strips of color-coded east-central Florida to appear to be shining through his body.)

We're in for a coooooold night! From here (gesturing wildly at color-coded map) alllll the way down here is gonna see a Hard Freeze! And over here is gonna have a Freeze! Not a Hard Freeze like from here allll the way down here! But it's still gonna be a Freeze! This dark blue area from here alllll the way down here is the Hard Freeze Area! This area of lighter blue is the Freeze Area! Not a Hard Freeze! Just a Freeze! (Launches into 10-minute dissertation in which he utterly fails to explain the difference between a "Hard Freeze!" and a mere "Freeze!")

For more, we go on location to Babsy Bimbo! Take it away, Babsy!

(Scene changes to barely-dressed "reporter" standing in the parking lot of one of the innumerable abandoned strip malls.)

Thanks, Bob! (giggle) It sure is coooooold out here! These babies (waggling breasts at the camera) could cut glass! (giggle) I can see my breath! (Exhales loudly) Can you see that?!?! (Exhales loudly again) I don't know if you can see that, but you know it's cold when you can see your breath! (Pulls out giant clown-sized thermometer showing the current temp as 45 degrees.) As you can see, Bob, we're closing in on the freezing point out here!

Back to you Bob! (giggle)

(Scene changes back to Bob.)

Thank you, Babsy, for that insightful reporting from ground-zero of tonight's Hard Freeze! And watch where you point those high-beams! You could put someone's eye out!!

(Camera shifts to the main "news" desk occupied by the obligatory pair of androgens ostensibly of opposite genders. Male-ish androgen speaking:)

And now for some sad news. Today, a school bus driver became agitated after learning, three days from his retirement, that his entire pension fund had been given to Goldman-Sachs executives as part of their year-end bonuses. In his blind rage, he drove through a group of children waiting to get on his bus. Just so sad. (Pauses exactly three beats with exaggerated sad face, then flashes a 100-Watt Smile® off camera.) So Bob, why don't you update us on tonight's Hard Freeze!

(Camera shifts back to Bob.)

Thanks, Male-ish Androgen! (At this point, whoever is running the green screen gets out of synch with Bob's script as he attempts to quickly run through current temps, current wind chills, predicted lows and predicted low wind chills. Sensing that things are going horribly wrong, he stops mid-sentence and begins to repeat the entire Hard-Freeze-vs.-Freeze bit from the top of the weather forecast.) ...and we're warning everyone! Both the Hard Freeze and Freeze areas! Cold! Parents! Bus stops! Children! COLD!

(Camera shifts back to now-thoroughly-confused pair of news-desk androgens. Female-ish androgen speaking:)

Um... OK, Bob.... Moving on! Now to prove how relevant and internet-savvy we are, we have a YouTube clip of some German moron who was injured doing something moronic as a participant on a moronic German reality TV show! We realize that with 500,000,000 views, it's a near-certainty that our entire audience has seen this a dozen times. But we have to fill up air time somehow!!

At this point, I shut off the idiot-box, recalling why I don't bother watching the local news....

Monday, December 06, 2010

Computer History

This is what a 5MB drive looked like in 1956:


The drive consists of 50 24-inch platters running at 1,200 rpm, and likely dimmed lights over several city blocks when being spun up.

The photo is from a Wired article listing Steve Wozniak's 9 Favorite Gadgets. Having used several of them, I don't know if I'd consider them "favorites" so much as "necessary evils."

How to Conduct an Interview

A great deal of material on life, death, regrets, cancer, and Pascal's Wager.




Saturday, December 04, 2010

...and now it's December

Winter must be here. I wore a long-sleeved t-shirt with my shorts this morning, and we had to get our summer blanket out of storage because it was getting a bit cool with just the sheet. Next week, the highs will only be in the upper 50's. I don't know if we'll survive. In the event we get snowed in, we (along with about 7.3 million other people) hit Walmart to stock up on staples (chips, Snickers bars, Lucky Charms, and a ham). We were mildly disappointed that we only saw one guy who should be featured at People of Walmart; the cold weather seems to have forced everyone else to cover up. A Saturday trip to Wally World normally serves up at least a half-dozen candidates.

Other than that, not much happened this week. I thought I had a temp assignment for the next few weeks, but given that it starts Monday morning and no one has called me with such minor details like who I'm supposed to be working for, where they are located or what time I'm supposed to be there, I guess I didn't get the job. Ah well; gives me more time to work on my last tax test. I made an attempt yesterday, but was foiled by Sec. 179 recapture rules, filing requirements for J2 visa holders and what tax credits you can claim for your non-working, live-in girlfriend's bastard child. I'll take another shot at it Monday morning when I have a four-hour block of time to work on it.

This weekend's big project is Christmas letters. Given that we hardly did anything in the last year (other than move again) it's a short one. One of these years, we'll stay in one place for two whole years so we can just send out cards instead of relocation notifications. Probably won't be next Christmas; if I manage to land any sort of job between now and next August, we're outta this ghetto apartment even if we just move a block up the road to where we wanted to live in the first place, but couldn't afford.

I did have an interesting little computer glitch when I went to print envelopes. Our printer has a bypass feed for printing directly onto envelopes, so I had the bright idea to save 75 cents in labels by hand-feeding 120+ envelopes, one at a time, through the printer. (It seemed like a good plan at the time....) I typed in the return address and mailing address, fed the first envelope and voila!! It worked! Changed the address to whomever was next in the Rolodex, fed the envelope and.... Crap! Everything is shifted like it thinks it's printing on letter-size paper. I messed with some settings, did it again and voila!! I fixed it! Changed the address to whomever was next in the Rolodex, fed the envelope and.... Crap! Shifted again. Long story short, nothing I did would fix the problem; one would print correctly, the next one shifted. Then correct. Then shifted. I spent a couple hours poking around on the web and I couldn't even determine if Open Office or the printer was the problem. I finally gave up and bought some labels while we were already at Walmart. Why fix a problem when you can ignore it? I remember a time when I would have dug around until I found an answer. Now? Meh.

Nobody will admit anything, but someone wrote a nice bit of malware that targets frequency converter drives used in uranium enrichment:

Frequency-converter drives are used to control the speed of a device. Although it’s not known what device Stuxnet aimed to control, it was designed to vary the speed of the device wildly but intermittently over a span of weeks, suggesting the aim was subtle sabotage meant to ruin a process over time but not in a way that would attract suspicion.

Iran is finally admitting what everyone suspected all along; the virus borked their entire uranium enrichment program. My guess is Israel as the source; if anyone at Langley had written it, they would have been arrested for DMCA violations.

Apple recently banned a magazine app because it primarily discussed the Android. Granted, this incident is in one sense, trivial given that 99.9% of people who would pay to read about the Android probably are not going to do so on an iPhone. But this does raise an interesting question: how is Apple's end-to-end control of the hardware, software and even the subject matter one is allowed to view, any different from Standard Oil in 1911 or Ma Bell in 1974? I have to admit to some serious gadget-lust whenever I see a MacBook or an iPad, but I'm not sure I'm ready to be borged by Steve Jobs.

Another sob-story about absurd amounts of college debt:

Kelli Space, 23, graduated from Northeastern University in 2009 with a bachelor's in sociology — and a whopping $200,000 in student loan debt. Space, who lives with her parents and works full-time, put up a Web site called TwoHundredThou.com soliciting donations to help meet her debt obligation, which is $891 a month. That number jumps to $1,600 next November.

Poor Kelli. Went to one of the most expensive universities in the country where she racked up $200,000 in debt getting a useless degree, and now is reduced to the web equivalent of begging on a street corner because the big, bad, meany bank expects her to pay back the money she borrowed. My take-away is simple: Any bank stupid enough to loan $200,000 to a clueless teenage rich girl for a degree in sociology deserves to lose their money, and any clueless teenage rich girl who would go $200,000 in debt for a sociology degree deserves to live in Mommy and Daddy's basement for the next 20 years while she digs herself out.

Breitbart is breathlessly reporting that out of 70 million people with credit cards a year ago, 8 million have gotten rid of them (or more likely, had them forcibly taken away by the issuing bank). Personally, I call that a weak start. I would have thought that number would be much higher by now. At least things are moving in the right direction.

I'll end with this:


Take a few minutes and check out some other storm photos by Sean Heavey.