Friday, October 9, 2015

I Have Been Away

And I am not really back. Just had access to a computer tonight. I will return in a couple of days to regular posting.

In the meantime, I offer you this.

Remember, barbeque is not a verb.


The Queen Of The World and I are heading out for the weekend to see family.  I've always liked long distance driving, but it's extra nice with a co-pilot.

Austin blogshoot alert

Lawrence emails to point to tomorrow's Austin blogshoot:
Dwight Brown of Whipped Cream Difficulties and I are putting on a gunny/VRWC blog shooting meetup/Tweetup at the Eagle Peak Gun Range in Leander on Saturday, October 10, at 5 PM, to be followed by a group dinner at the Oasis at 7 PM. Bring ear and eye protection as well as any weapon you’d like to shoot (no full metal jacket ammo, as per range rules). You can come to the shoot and skip dinner, or vice versa.
If you’re interested in attending, drop me a line (lawrenceperson at gmail dot com) so I know how many people to expect at the range and for dinner).
Dwight and Lawrence are old buddies from my Austin days, and this sounds like a ton of fun in the area.  Plus you get to eat at Oasis and speculate on just how long it will take for Lake Travis to entirely evaporate.

Anyone in the Austin area should check this out.

The War on Terror bears bitter fruit for US Tech Companies

This is enormously, indescribably bad for Silicon Valley:
In a decision with widespread implications for the international transfer and processing of data - and the companies that provide these services - the European Court of Justice has ruled the EU-US Safe Harbour pact invalid. Experts are warning of massive disruption to international business.
What, you may be wondering, is the Safe Harbour pact?
The agreement was reached in 2000, following the introduction of the European Union Directive on the Protection of Personal Data which became effective October 1998. The Directive prohibits the transfer of data outside the EU to third party nations that don't meet the EU test of “adequacy” with regard to privacy protections. The Safe Harbour Decision enabled US organisations to “self certify” that their data protection systems met the EU adequacy test so they could lawfully transfer personal data from the EU to the US for the purposes of storage and processing.
OK, so who peed in the corn flakes?
Today's decision striking down Safe Harbour came about after an Austrian law student, Maximillian Schrems, a Facebook user since 2008, lodged a complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner that his personal data was being unlawfully processed by Facebook in the US. His claims were based on revelations by Edward Snowden regarding cooperation between the US National Security Administration (NSA) and companies such as Facebook to access the personal data of social media users.
Well, well, well.  How's that whole Eye Of Sauron thing working out for you, Fed.Gov?  The implications of this are wide ranging:
Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said: “In the wake of the Snowden disclosures, European citizens and policymakers are understandably concerned about privacy safeguards in U.S. law. But abruptly revoking the Safe Harbor agreement was the wrong way to address those concerns. It will disrupt not just the thousands of U.S. and European companies that currently depend on the Safe Harbor to do business across the Atlantic, but also the broader digital economy. Aside from taking an ax to the undersea fiber optic cables connecting Europe to the United States, it is hard to imagine a more disruptive action to transatlantic digital commerce. Policymakers in the United States and EU should work together swiftly to implement an interim agreement so that we do not shut down transatlantic digital commerce overnight.” [Emphasis by me - Borepatch]

Someone just figured out how to change things.  Remember, when they say the issue is one of principle, it's all about the money.  This will be massively expensive for US companies to address - basically they will have to replicate their entire infrastructure in the EU and put up firewalls between their EU and US operations.  That will show up in the bottom line, and that will make their stock prices nosedive.

And that will hit Silicon Valley where it hurts.

Keep your eye on this - this is perhaps the biggest (i.e. most expensive) security news in history, and the ripples will be felt for a long, long time.  Maybe even all the way to Ft. Meade.

Well played

Thursday, October 8, 2015

James Burton - Working Man Blues

I think I'm done getting Camp Borepatch ready for inspection to put on the market.  May or may not give the front door another coat of pain; got to drop another load of stuff off at Salvation Army.

But oof.  May take a soaky bath in the soaker tub.  Only done that two or three times (like when I added the pond).  Not used to working for a living, and at my age I need an ibuprofen cocktail.

So rock me out, Jimmy ...

Climate models run provably hot

Burt emails to point out this:
A MATHEMATICAL discovery by Perth-based electrical engineer Dr David Evans may change everything about the climate debate, on the eve of the UN climate change conference in Paris next month.
A former climate modeller for the Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office, with six degrees in applied mathematics, Dr Evans has unpacked the architecture of the basic climate model which underpins all climate science.
He has found that, while the underlying physics of the model is correct, it had been applied incorrectly.
He has fixed two errors and the new corrected model finds the climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2) is much lower than was thought.
People have been saying this for years and years.  What's different is that Dr. Evans has demonstrated this mathematically.
“Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades”.
And this actually sounds reasonable.  This means that the projected warming of up to 4°C in the 21st Century would actually be up to 0.4°C which maps pretty well to what we saw in the 20th Century.

Of course, Dr. Evans will never get another research grant, because he's fixin' to upset all the sweet, sweet government funding.  And he won't get tenure because he won't get any grants.  But well done on doing some actual, you know, science.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Air Force Jet

Already looking to upgrade the F-35:
THE PENTAGON — The Pentagon released a report today requesting Congressional authorization for 500 gold-plated F-35 fighter planes.


The new variant, dubbed the F-35G, is proposed as an upgrade over existing F-35 models. In addition to 24K gold plating encasing its exterior, its cockpit is trimmed with wood grain paneling harvested from the endangered African blackwood tree and leather upholstery from the hide of the northern white rhinoceros. Its GAU-12/A 25mm rotary cannon is able to fire solid platinum rounds at a rate of 3300 per minute. Each round is handcrafted by a Swiss jeweler.
What's funny is that the story is plausible, given the F-35's chequered history.  And this bit is pretty funny:
It also remains to be seen if the F-35G’s combat performance will be able to deliver on the program’s promises. At present, the added weight from the gold plating has prevented the F-35G from achieving flight. Its first test was a disaster, as the prototype F-35G rolled straight through the end of the test runway and careened into oncoming traffic on a nearby highway, resulting in 12 fatalities.
 The Duffel Blog delivers.

Quote Of The Day #2: Gun Control screws poor people

The Czar of Muscovy looks at the disaster that is Chicago and observes that disaster is not evenly distributed.  Not only is crime concentrated in poor (mostly Black) neighborhoods, the onerous cost of firearms licensing there is prohibitively expensive for those same (poor, Black) people:
So if you’re an impoverished Chicagoan who wants to take back the neighborhood for decent folks in the fastest way possible—an armed and defensively ready neighborhood—be ready for a few neighbors to shell out about $2,000 each. That might be a monster-sized chunk of your annual income in those neighborhoods, but you can do it, right? After all, the super-trendy neighborhoods in Chicago all did it. Maybe you could stop blowing your cash on stupid stuff like kale, arugula pesto, and tawny ports, Greshamites. Maybe you Englewood residents could have your kids not attend Minecraft camp for one summer, like the folks in the upscale Beverly community did?
Seems Democrats are hypocrites.  Who'da thunk?

Quote of the Day: Europe's view of America's gun laws

This hits center mass:
Meanwhile, while I read all this self-congratulatory bollocks about how much more violent Americans are than the peaceful gun-loathing British, I am sitting somewhere in Tower Hamlets, one of the world centres of ISIS recruitment. One of Britain's most important exports right now is young men who are performing beheadings and crucifixions, for fuck's sake, in the cause of committing actual genocide. They are killing and torturing and enslaving innocent people by the tens of thousands.

But yeah, nine people dead, and it's America that has the big violence problem.
This is from a Brit, looking at his countrymen with a (rightly) jaundiced eye.  What was most memorable from my year living in Blighty was the uniiversal, casual assumption by the Brits that they were smarter than we Colonials.  And the assumption that they all had better taste.  Buried in Squander Two's excellent post was this line that made me smile:
In short, it should occur to you that American laws might to some extent be based on American votes, and that Americans might know just a teeeensy bit more about living in America than some wanker from Haringey who once spent a week in Orlando but doesn't want to go back because he found it crass.
I spent a weekend in Weston-super-Mare once, and found it a bit tacky.  Ya know, if you go to tacky touristy spots, you might find a tacky touristy spot.

RTWT.  It's a refreshingly sane view from the far side of the Pond.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Finally, an honest debate about gun control

Obama has triggered what is looking to be a debate about gun control where people actually tell the truth for a change:
President Obama is clearly fed up. His speeches after mass shootings — speeches that have become a bit of a morbid ritual, given how regularly the shootings occur — have grown angrier, more emotional, and more disgusted at America's gun violence problem and Congress's unwillingness to do literally anything to stop it. "This is a political choice that we make," Obama declared Thursday night, after the 294th mass shooting of 2015, "to allow this to happen every few months in America."

But let's be clear about precisely what kind of choice this is. Congress's decision not to pass background checks is not what's keeping the US from European gun violence levels. The expiration of the assault weapons ban is not behind the gap. What's behind the gap, plenty of research indicates, is that Americans have more guns. The statistics are mind-blowing: America has 4.4 percent of the world's population but almost half of its civilian-owned guns.
Realistically, a gun control plan that has any hope of getting us down to European levels of violence is going to mean taking a huge number of guns away from a huge number of gun owners.

Other countries have done exactly that. Australia enacted a mandatory gun buyback that achieved that goal, and saw firearm suicides fall as a result. But the reforms those countries enacted are far more dramatic than anything US politicians are calling for — and even they wouldn't get us to where many other developed countries are.
That's Vox, a reliably leftie new media site.  It doesn't shrink from calling for confiscation:
The US doesn't just have a gun violence problem because of its lax gun regulation. It has a problem because it has a culture that encourages large-scale gun possession, and other countries do not. That, combined with Australia's experience, makes large-scale confiscation look like easily the most promising approach for bringing US gun homicides down to European rates.
But what's interesting is Vox's conclusion:
Large-scale confiscation is not going to happen. That's no reason to stop advocating it.
So finally we have an honest debate.  This is about confiscation.  Even the Left doesn't think that's going to happen.  But at least we can reject the grotesque lies that have been put up as a smoke screen ("common sense gun control").  Truth is a Very Good Thing Indeed.

A year ago

I was riding along the beach in Florida, never expecting what would happen the next day.  It just takes a moment to go from this:

to a hospital bed.  It's been an interesting year, and the rest of 2015 looks like it's fixin' to continue interesting.  But it feels like it's turned a corner, and there's good reason to believe that the interesting bits, while bittersweet, will have a lot more sweet than bitter.

That's a nice feeling.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Quote of the day: idiot leftists edition

Smartest guys in the room:
The idea that taxes cut into existing productive activity, and that as a cost, will be passed on to consumers (such as the financial transaction tax passing on costs to bank clients, shareholders, etc) doesn’t occur [to leftists]. No, taxes are part of that wonderful magic money tree. Why stop at a pathetic 50 per cent? Why not tax the lot? Give it all to the State, so those clever people can spray it around and make us richer, except of course the money has that odd way of disappearing from our paychecks……..Sorry, excuse me, time for my pills.

You do have to wonder what a century or more of compulsory education has wrought.
Actually, no you don't.

Seen inside the Camp Borepatch perimeter

Danaus plexippus.  Click to embiggen.

"I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn"

It seems that this caption works for every cartoon published in The New Yorker.  For example:

There are lot more.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Chet Baker & Paul Desmond - Autumn Leaves

I've been busy.  Life's been loud, but for once in a good way.  In the meantime, the leaves are falling at Camp Borepatch, so here's some autumn jazz for the occasion.

Friday, October 2, 2015


It's funny because it's sort of true.

Your thought for the day on gun control

The Usual Suspects™, led by our Divider-In-Chief are dancing in the blood of the victims again.  They don't know what the problem was, but they're convinced that the answer is more gun control.

Remember, sometimes it's easier not to do something stupid than it is to do something smart.  

The gun grabbers forget this every single time.  Every. Single. Time.

I'm not opposed to gun control, just to stupid and counterproductive gun control.  Like prohibitions on campus concealed carry, which prevented all of the victims from defending themselves.  Every gun control proposal should be immediately challenged - the proposer should have to explain why it's not stupid or counterproductive.

Armed or Not

When the wolf comes, make a stand.

When the police arrive, what do they bring? Guns. Lots of guns and men trained and prepared to use them. But the most important thing they bring is the will to act. Even without the guns, that's what makes them effective.

Know there are situations where you will be disarmed. (Airplanes, schools, courthouses, etc.) Plan accordingly. Find something that  makes sense to you. Train regularly. Plan. Armed or not, make a stand.

If someone says to you this week, "Never again", agree with them. Never again should healthy adults stand there and answer questions about their religion and wait to be shot in the head.

We should train our children, too. In a classroom full of people, one shooter should be buried in book bags, chairs, and desks, and neutralized as a threat by trained and motivated people. At the first sight of the weapon, everyone should respond. We train for fires, why not other threats?

Hack the Po-Po

Well, the cruiser, anyway:
A state trooper responding to a call starts his vehicle, but is unable to shift the gear from park to drive. The engine RPMs suddenly spike and the engine accelerates, no foot on the pedal. Then the engine cuts off on its own.
The unmarked 2012 Chevrolet Impala from the Virginia State Police's (VSP) fleet has been hacked -- but luckily, by good hackers.

This is what police officers could someday face in the age of car hacking. It's just one in a series of cyberattacks waged on the VSP's Impala and on one of its 2013 Ford Taurus marked patrol cars as part of an experiment by a public-private partnership to test how state trooper vehicles could be sabotaged via cyberattacks. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in May first announced the initiative, which was aimed at protecting the state's public safety agencies and citizens from vehicle-hacking.
Actually this is a very good thing.  I've had "White Hat" hackers do this sort of analysis in the past, and you always learn a lot that improves the security of the system.  More of this, please.

It's not often I say "Well done" to the government's security program, but well done indeed.