“President Bush isn’t a fascist, and I can prove it.

“We’ve seen what American bookstores and publications and universities do when confronted with real fascists: they knuckle under. You might not be able to find those Danish cartoons anyplace respectable, but you’ll sure find lots of anti-Bush stuff.

“Ipso facto, America is doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.”

— Stephen Green draws a line in the sand

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.

Garmin Forerunner 201


Garmin Forerunner 201

This is my latest toy, a GPS-based pedometer with calorie counting, lap timers, pace and distance alerts, interval training support, basic waypoint navigation, and even an animated “virtual partner” to compete against in a session. It tracks up to two years of workout data, with daily and weekly breakdowns, runs for up to 15 hours on a charge, and can be connected to a PC through the supplied cable.

more...

Test, ignore


Hmmm, looks like updating OpenBSD may have broken MT posting through Ecto.

Ah, I think it’s just a version mismatch in the chroot environment.

Sigh, that solved most of it, but not all. It looks like I’m going to have to reinstall a bunch of Perl modules, and then rsync them into the chroot.

No, wait, it seems Ecto allowed me to insert an invisible character into a blog entry, that it subsequently refused to translate into something that could be uploaded via XML-RPC. Blech.

[clarification: thanks to its NeXT roots, the standard OS X text widget supports a limited subset of Emacs editing keys. Unfortunately, while it lets you use Control-Q to insert literal ASCII characters, it doesn’t know how to display all of them. While typing my mini-review of the Forerunner 201, I somehow managed to type Control-Q Control-N, and Movable Type’s XML-RPC interface coughed up a giant furball when Ecto sent it this unescaped control character.]

Update: The response from Ecto support is “Should be fixed in next version.” Cool.

Update: And, indeed, it’s now fixed.

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