Archive for Miscellaneous

Well, I think that was a first.

Don’t think I’d ever uttered the sentence “I need to report a robbery.” before.
Got out to my car this morning, hit unlock on the keychain, got in the car and noticed there was some stuff sitting on the passenger’s seat that I didn’t remember getting out. Then I looked at the dash and there wasn’t so much a radio there anymore. Bastard got my radio, the FM transmitter for my MP3 player and the recharging cord for my cell phone.
Reported it to the police, not like they’re going to find it. And I think the total will fall about $750 below my deductible on my insurance so no help there. Guess I’ll have to try and dig up my old radio and see if Circuit City can stick it back in.

What the hell?

Did this stuff use to happen? What is up with all the deranged people trying to rip babies from mothers’ wombs?

A Pennsylvania nurse was charged yesterday with bashing a pregnant neighbor on the head with a baseball bat and then slashing her belly in a ghastly attempt to steal her unborn baby.
Authorities said Peggy Jo Conner, 38, hit Valerie Oskin, who was eight months pregnant, with the bat early Wednesday, drove her to a secluded woods northeast of Pittsburgh and used a razor knife to cut along an old Caesarean section scar. The horrifying ordeal went on for six hours before a 17-year-old boy on an all-terrain vehicle stumbled on the bloody scene and foiled the gruesome plot.
The baby was delivered by emergency C-section at Allegheny General Hospital, where Oskin, 30, remained in the trauma ward late yesterday. Authorities said the baby was in stable condition but would not release any further information.
New York Daily News

“Did we lose a war with Nerdistan?”

Time has a good article up on how geek culture has been assimilated into pop culture.

There was a time–yes, my children, the legends are true–when J.R.R. Tolkien was not cool. Really. Very much not cool. Also video games, and Spider-Man, and the X-Men. There was a time, not even that long ago, when you could get beaten up by jocks in the woods behind the backstop for being down with the X-Men. Not that this happened to me personally. Friend of mine. Friend of mine’s cousin, actually. Lives in Canada. You wouldn’t know him.
The point is, things like that don’t happen so much anymore. Over the past few years, an enormous shift has taken place in American culture, a disturbance in the Force, a rip in the fabric of space-time. What was once hopelessly geeky–video games, fantasy novels, science fiction, superheroes–has now, somehow, become cool.
It’s as if the economic hegemony of the geek in the 1990s, when high tech and the Internet were driving the economy, has somehow been converted into a cultural hegemony. Rappers and athletes trick out their Hummers with Xboxes. Supermodels insist in interviews that they used to be losers in high school. Jon Cryer–Jon Cryer? Duckie from Pretty in Pink?–has a hit TV show. Did we lose a war with Nerdistan?

It’s not hard to see how this happened. It’s partly good business: nerds are highly employable, bursting with disposable income, and the entertainment industry has discovered them as a prime demographic to be marketed to, the same way it discovered teenage girls after Titanic. On a deeper level, there’s something about the nerd’s principled disdain for (or inability to abide by, same difference) ordinary social conventions that strikes Americans–a nation of nonconformists–as noble.

Ok, can anybody explain this to me?

I moved last Friday. Stove doesn’t work but other than that it’s going ok.
I ordered my phone line from SBC on Monday and it will be installed on Friday. So far so good. But I also want to order their DSL service. (It’s $14.95 a month if ordered online.) I try doing it online but because my new phone number won’t be live until Friday and the very first question they ask online is for your phone number I can’t order online until Friday.
Ok, since I CAN’T order it online I’ll try ordering it over the phone. I call them up.
“I ordered a phone line on Monday and it’s being installed Friday. I’d like to see if I can order DSL before then.”
“Ok, let’s see if it’s available, what’s your address?”
I give her my address.
“Ok, it is available there and we can go ahead and get that added. It’s normally $49.99 a month but you qualify for a $20 discount so it will be $29.99.”
“Online it’s $14.95 a month, can I get that?”
“That’s if you order online. You don’t have any qualifying long distance so I can’t give it to you here.”
“But I can’t order it online, it won’t take the phone number yet because it won’t be live till Friday.”
“Well, you’ll have to wait till Friday night, then if it still won’t take the number then give us a call and we can do it.”
This conversation has established two things.
1) They can take my DSL order before my phone number goes live. They’re more than happy to do that and charge me $29.99 a month.
2) The can give me the $14.95 a month price over the phone. If the web won’t take my number on Friday they’ll be happy to do that.
So they can do both of the things I want them to do for me, they CAN let me order my DSL before my phone number goes live and the CAN give me the $14.95 a month price over the phone… they just WON’T!
What kind of messed up, bureaucratic logic leads them to do stuff like this? It just makes no business sense!

Ok, I think this needs to be said

I think a lot of people are vastly underestimating the complexity and the difficulty of the rescue/recovery/relief efforts going on New Orleans. I keep hearing unfavorable comparisons to other hurricane responses or to the Tsunami response. These are not comparable. This isn’t even comparable to a future terrorist attack.
What is going on in New Orleans is not a standard hurricane response. In a standard hurricane, or with the Tsunami, buildings are destroyed… people are killed… but afterwards the ground is dry. People can move around, they aren’t stranded where they took shelter. Relief trucks can roll in.
This is a unique situation. A major American city is under water and will stay that way for quite some time and there are scores of thousands of people stranded there. You can’t simply roll in a convoy of relief supplies and tell everybody to come on down to the town square and pick some up.
To try and cram the relief efforts into the same box as standard hurricane relief is to simplify things far too much. New Orleans is a situation all its own. Recognize it for what it is.


The scale of the tragedy is truly mind-boggling. It may not rival the Tsunami in the number of deaths but sooooo many people have been displaced. New Orleans is a… was a…. city of almost 500,000 people and it will simply be shut down for months.
If you’re looking to give I’ll just offer up that this is the group I gave to.

Is it Friday yet?


An explanation of the lack of bloggage

As you may have noticed, this is my first post since Monday. There’s a reason for this. On Tuesday I had a job interview. They said they’d get together Wednesday afternoon and decide. Turns out they decided much faster and called the consulting company I’ve been working with 10 minutes after I left and asked if I could start the next day. So I spent the remainder of Tuesday filling out paperwork and showed up to work on Wednesday. For the time being I’ll be circumspect and just say it’s a large IT company in Dayton and I’m doing Web Development for them. Don’t have my own space yet, or my own computer, or working e-mail there and I’m of course working on trying to learn their specialized way of doing things so I’m feeling a little bit like the new guy in the past week’s run of Dilbert strips. All-in-all though I’m excited about the opportunity.

Are scientific journals censoring dissenting opinions on global warming?

A report in the Telegraph says yes.

Two of the world’s leading scientific journals have come under fire from researchers for refusing to publish papers which challenge fashionable wisdom over global warming.
A British authority on natural catastrophes who disputed whether climatologists really agree that the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, says his work was rejected by the American publication, Science, on the flimsiest of grounds.
Radcliffe on Sour power station with Dr Benny Peiser (inset)
Radcliffe on Sour power station with Dr Benny Peiser (inset). He disagrees with the pro-global warming line
A separate team of climate scientists, which was regularly used by Science and the journal Nature to review papers on the progress of global warming, said it was dropped after attempting to publish its own research which raised doubts over the issue.
The controversy follows the publication by Science in December of a paper which claimed to have demonstrated complete agreement among climate experts, not only that global warming is a genuine phenomenon, but also that mankind is to blame.
The author of the research, Dr Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, analysed almost 1,000 papers on the subject published since the early 1990s, and concluded that 75 per cent of them either explicitly or implicitly backed the consensus view, while none directly dissented from it.
Dr Oreskes’s study is now routinely cited by those demanding action on climate change, including the Royal Society and Prof Sir David King, the Government’s chief scientific adviser.
However, her unequivocal conclusions immediately raised suspicions among other academics, who knew of many papers that dissented from the pro-global warming line.
They included Dr Benny Peiser, a senior lecturer in the science faculty at Liverpool John Moores University, who decided to conduct his own analysis of the same set of 1,000 documents – and concluded that only one third backed the consensus view, while only one per cent did so explicitly.

From the stupid criminal department…

Gregory Alston called police Tuesday morning to say his white Nissan Maxima had been stolen from in front of his apartment building.
Trouble is, the car wasn’t his. Police say he had stolen it at gunpoint two weeks earlier. The only reason he couldn’t find it was because the victim had spotted it and called police, who towed it away.
Not only did Alston not get the car back, police arrested him and jailed him on charges of armed robbery, possession of a stolen car and a handgun violation.
Why did Alston call police?
He had left his wallet in the car and wanted it back.
Even hardened Baltimore police officers were astonished. Detective Gregory Jenkins signed off his report with, “Again, this really happened.”
Baltimore Sun