Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Remembering Jerry Pournelle

His son's eulogy is up, and worth a read.

But it reminded me of when I met him, installing a firewall at Chaos Manor.  He was a great story teller, and was reminiscing about when he had gone to Greece.  They drove to the ancient battle site of Thermopolae, which is today a super highway.  They stopped at the turn out to visit the site, which had the usual array of multi-lingual signs telling the tale of the battle.

But he said that something was wrong.  He remembered his classical education, and how in the tale the 300 made their final stand against the Persian host on a low hill.  There was no hill.

Looking around, he spotted a low hill across the motorway.  Crossing the super highway, he walked to the hill and climbed it.  There he found a simple stone plaque with an inscription only in Greek.  It was the location of the battle, but marked only for the locals.  And visitors educated, smart, and determined enough.

So if you ever go to Thermopolae, remember this story.  If you go to that hill, tell the 300 that Jerry sent you.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Wow. Trump is smarter than I thought

That's some top shelf mockery, right there.

Why cats and dogs don't live together

With apologies to Bill Murray.

Be wary about what you read on Wikipedia

They use (ahem) interesting sources.  Check out footnote number 1.

I mean, the source is pretty interesting and everything, but does this rise to the level of expert opinion?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Screw the NFL

They made their call, which is to flip the bird to the Republic.  Fine - their league, their call.  And I can make my call, too.  Long time readers will recall all the times I've live blogged the Superbowl.

No more.  Screw them, and the horse they rode in on.

The Steelers are an interesting case.  The owners supported the player's protest, as they all remained in the locker room during the anthem.  All except one:
Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger and graduate of West Point, visibly stood outside the tunnel at Soldier Field with his hand over his heart during The Star-Spangled Banner while his teammates remained under cover inside the stadium.
One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson
The rest of the players?  Screw 'em all.  It's still baseball season anyway.  Go sawks!

UPDATE 24 September 2017 21:13: The Queen Of The World found this on the Book of Faces, memories of when taking a knee meant taking a knee:

The classical influence on rock and roll - Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale

Procol Harum's biggest hit is without doubt A Whiter Shade Of Pale.  The tune has essentially cribbed 100% from J.S. Bach's Air On The G String.  First Bach:

Now Procol Harum:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hiking in the Rachel Carson Reserve

We took a tandem kayak over to the island from Beaufort and went hiking. It's not unusual to see a few wild horses in the Reserve and there is plenty of information about keeping a respectful distance to prevent being kicked, bitten, stomped, and otherwise reminded of the wild part in wild horse.

Lots of birds, a bright blue sky, and then on the far side of the island where you can look across at Shackleford Banks, a group of about 10 horses came out of the woods to graze. With them was a very young foal. I don't know how old, but here's what it looked like.

(Taken with approximately 1000mm of zoom. I was actively trying to avoid all the aforementioned horse interactions.)

Are You a Proper Range Chef - A Brigid Guest Post

Our home is simply known around the Blogosphere as "The Range".  The original home was out in the country and now is in a small village within a big city but still, the atmosphere inside has never changed. On weekends there is always activity in the Range kitchen, experimenting, baking or just laughing with my Partner in Grime while we try something new, between tearing our walls and floors as we renovate this (as is!) 100-year-old Mission Bungalow.
No one ever formally taught me how to cook, I just learned a bit by watching Mom and my Swedish Grandma who lived with us until her death, and I read a lot of cookbooks.  A cookbook is just like a Aircraft Operating Manual.  If you follow the directions and stay pointy end forward you usually have a successful mission.  But over time, I realized my cooking style had sort of evolved, to what friends call Home on the Range cooking.

 How do you know if you are a Range Chef?  Take our simple quiz.

1.  Your apron looks like.


2.  You are served a bowl of vanilla/bacon ice cream.  You:

a.  jump up and shout "Bacon Ice Cream!  It's a crime against nature!" and look for plain yogurt.
b.  mutter nervously, prod it with your spoon and ask "is that BACON?"
c.  wonder if this would make a better ice cream sandwich with Devils Food or molasses cookies.

3.  Last nights dinner came from:

a.  a bio-sustainable farm where the crops are sown according to the phase of the moon and the tofu is slaughtered to the soothing melodies of Yani while being massaged with aromatherapy oils.
b.  a gas station.
c.  500 acres a friend owns in Indiana

4.  Which of these foods can blow up?

a.  popcorn
b.  popovers
c.  gravy

5.  You join Weight Watchers to lose 10 pounds before that holiday party.  The first food you look up to see how many "points" it has is:

1.  an apple.
2.  a 100 calorie pack of crackers.
3.  bacon wrapped lamb shank with bacon garlic smashed potatoes.

6.  Which root vegetable is not put into mirepoix?
a.  carrot
b.  potato
c.  Slim Jim

7.  What is chipotle?

a.  a popular chain restaurant that makes burritos the size of a raccoon
b.  a cross between a chihuahua and poodle
c.  a smoke-dried jalapeno pepper

8.  You have a whisk in your bug out kit.

a.  What's a whisk?
b.  false
c.  true

9. Your spice cabinet is organized in:

a.  newest in the front.
b.  alphabetical.
c.  binary.

10.  You've cooked dinner with:

a.  liquid nitrogen.
b.  an acetylene torch.
c.  a Bunsen burner.

11. The way to a man's heart is thru his stomach?

a.  false
b.  true
c.  girlfriend, you need an updated diagram.

Honey - can you whip up some liquid nitrogen?

12.  Frozen Swanson pot pies are good for:

a.  a quick and easy dinner.
b.  door stops.
c.  replacements for bowling pins at the pistol match.

13.  Your cooking style is:

a.  Martha Stewart
b.  Julia Child
c.  Alton Brown meets Red Green

14.  The menu at the Cajun place says "blackened on request".  You respond

a.  "I've got an envie for some blackened fish!"
b.  "Huh?"
c.  "Heck, I can do THAT at home!"

15.  You like making popovers because:

a.  They're warm and filling
b.  They impress guests
c.  It's like making your own personal edible steam engine!
16. You wish Pillsbury had a can that popped out an inexpensive "Poppin' Fresh":

a.  donuts
b.  muffin
c.  biscuit
d.  1911

17.  You know the difference between:

a.  a steak and tofu
b.  a bag of flour and a bottle of juice
c.  solid foams, gels, sols, and suspensions

If you answered mostly "c's" and "d's" you are well on your way to being a Home on the Range cook.  To know for sure, ask yourself this final question. . .

Have you ever made a foot long hot dog with two regular dogs and a long piece of bacon to wrap it with?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Idiots with chainsaws

I quite frankly can't understand how some of this didn't end up in the Darwin Awards.

A summary of Trump's speech to the UN

In 97 points:
1. Welcome, thanks for being here.
2. Thanks for offering help with hurricanes, but we don’t need any.
3. I’m the best President
4. America FUCKING ROCKS!!
5. It’s the current year!
6. I know some of you bitch-ass bitches in here support terrorism. I got my eye on you motherfuckers.
This is pretty funny, in a "Ha Ha Only Serious" way.  Language warning, though.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How not to land a rocket

The eagle-eyed Queen Of The World spotted this - SpaceX created a blooper video of their failed rocket landing attempts.  It's pretty funny, and shows that they have a good sense of humor - and more importantly, a sense of confidence from a long string of successful landings.  They can afford to poke a little fun at their past "learning events".

NSA has made its job harder

This is big, big news:
An international group of cryptography experts has forced the U.S. National Security Agency to back down over two data encryption techniques it wanted set as global industry standards, reflecting deep mistrust among close U.S. allies. 
In interviews and emails seen by Reuters, academic and industry experts from countries including Germany, Japan and Israel worried that the U.S. electronic spy agency was pushing the new techniques not because they were good encryption tools, but because it knew how to break them.
Germany, Japan, Israel - these are our allies.  They clearly do not trust the NSA.  One of the researchers is quite explicit on this:
“I don’t trust the designers,” Israeli delegate Orr Dunkelman, a computer science professor at the University of Haifa, told Reuters, citing Snowden's papers. “There are quite a lot of people in NSA who think their job is to subvert standards. My job is to secure standards.”
There is an old saying in the Intelligence Community: there are friendly governments but there are no friendly foreign intelligence agencies.  I don't think that they really believed that applied to them, at least Back In The Day.

I suspect that we've reached Peak NSA.  Even our friends no longer trust it.  This likely will greatly compromise its effectiveness.

This is a very good article.  Recommended.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Koala goes for 10 mile joy ride

Luckiest Koala in Australia:
There’s at least one animal from Australia that won’t poison you or bite you in half and it is as durable as it is cuddly. This koala, a lactating mother, rode in this car’s wheel well for 10 miles. It must have been very stressful. 
The unidentified driver of the car didn’t notice anything until he started hearing“crying,” which is when he stopped and discovered the animal. He also called for help. Firefighters showed up and took a wheel off in the course of the rescue.

Well done to our keen eared hero, who pulled over.  The Koala has been released back into the wild.

Dog interrupts soccer game

This is hilarious.  The pup just wants to play with the ball.