“If it’s green it’s trouble, if it’s fried get double.”

— Roy Biggins, from Wings

“Boy beats off angry bear”


No, not that way. This way.

There are a lot of things I could say about parents who ship “troubled teens” off to special camps where trained professionals promise to supply some actual parenting, but that’s way out there in After-School Special Land, and I don’t want to go there.

No, I want to question the incredible idiocy of schlepping a bunch of suburban teens around for six weeks in bear country in Alaska (redundant, I know) without so much as a goddamn cap pistol. Nothing but pepper spray and a flare gun, with who knows how many kids under their “protection”. Blech.

Win a lottery without even playing!


The email of my dreams! A lottery you can win $500,000 in without ever buying a ticket! Even better, you don’t even have to know that it exists at all! Just post a comment to someone’s weblog and wait for the robots to come by and scrape your address! And it’s backed by Mr. Bill Gates himself, so it’s got to be real! Oh boy, am I lucky!

Oh, wait, it’s just spam…

more...

Food addiction: “Nothing to see here, move along”


Here’s the news media’s latest attempt to spin the over-hyped obesity “epidemic” as an addiction. In a study of 12 people who were forced to fast for a day, exposure to food increased metabolism “in the whole brain” by 24 percent. The specific areas of the brain that were most stimulated were “associated” with addiction.

Gee, I wonder what their brains would look like if you deprived them of oxygen for three minutes and then offered them a chance to breathe.

Special privileges for special people


A US Representative on his way back to DC was stopped and politely questioned as to why he was carrying a handgun in his briefcase as he passed through airport security.

According to his press secretary:

"He was asked a couple of simple questions. They just wanted to verify that he wasn't going to do anybody any harm."

I see two reasonable responses: treat this negligent asshole the same way anyone else would be treated, which is pronounced “felony conviction,” or treat the rest of us the way they treated him. Sadly, the reality is that we get worse treatment for packing nail clippers than this clown got for packing a piece.

Note to Indiana residents: he’s up for re-election this year.

Update: he’s been cited for a misdemeanor with a fine of $500 (and the slim-to-none chance of up to a year in jail), but no federal felony charges have been filed. Oddly enough, this might still be enough to permanently revoke his right to own a firearm.

And, yes, it was not only loaded, it was one of those eeeeeevil plastic pistols that the gun-control lobby insists are designed to be smuggled through airport security.

Safari: righting wrongs


For some time now, I’ve been mildly annoyed by Safari’s “Open in tabs” option at the bottom of every menu entry in the Bookmarks Bar; it’s too easy to select by accident with certain pointing devices. This is second only to my annoyance that the Bookmarks Bar doesn’t obey the same UI rules as standard Mac pulldown menus.

Well, I’m still stuck with the second one, but I just discovered that someone on the development team recognized that it was a little too easy to wipe out all of your open tabs and replace them with thirty new ones. It’s not obvious, but immediately after selecting “Open in tabs”, the back button acts as an undo.

Gaming the system


Finally downloaded a new set of results from the beta iTunes Music Recommendation system. My previous run was more amusing than useful, but it had potential.

This time? Utter nonsense. Some clowns decided to corrupt the database by uploading garbage. There’s no other reasonable explanation for the results I got, in which the first 32 of 50 tracks recommended all come from albums named “Unreleased” by such famous bands as Syph Clap and the Orgasmic Meatrats, Marc Coulter, z..Marco, and Vital Cry.

If they allow this to continue, in a few months their data might be as unreliable as CDDB.

Update: things have improved, either through database maintenance or, as the creator would have it, the natural consequences of increasing the size of the database. I’m betting on the former, myself. Suddenly all the garbage went away, restoring the results to the quality of my initial run. Much faster now, too, enough to justify spending a little time tinkering with the data to see what happens.

What is Western Civilization good for, anyway?


I think this graph gives a pretty good answer:

female life expectancy, 1840 to present

More personally, US-specific data suggests that if I’d lived 100 years ago, I could have expected only another nine years of life. Instead, the odds are good that I’ll be around for another forty. Or more; the funny thing about progress is that it keeps progressing.

“And I don’t mean good musicians, I mean jazz musicians.”


A short history of drug prohibition in America, with choice quotes from the legislative literature. Fun reading, and it should ring a few bells for people familiar with the criminalization of alcohol use and firearm ownership.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”