Archive for the ‘Clever’ Category

Short Post Day.

Saw this today and thought it worth sharing. You might have seen it but it is new to me.

Political Correctness: The doctrine that implies it’s possible to pick up a piece of shit from the clean end.

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Note:  I typed this fast, my head is about to shear off, it is not verbatim, and I’m sure it’s muddled.  It will undergo edits over the next few days.  Please do make comments, give insights, offer other questions, and discuss it to your heart’s content.  It might not be a new idea… oh well, it’s still a fun one to bat around.

I was meeting with Spaced Diode last Saturday and what comes out of his mouth?

He says “I have this idea and you can mock me if you like…”

SD knows my tendency to listen to ideas, mock them, and replace them with my own.  But in this case I was actually interested because he looked… eager.  Engaged, even.

“Now, I realize that someone may have already thought of this, but I haven’t seen it, and it just came to…”

“Spit it out, SD,” I said impatiently.

Note:  We could debate history (below) but I neither want to teach history nor debate it.

So here’s the idea:

What happened in Alexandria?  Well, you had various asses at different points (Caesar, Aurelian, Theophilus, and the Muslims) over a period of almost 700 years do their damnedest to be spectacular asses.  We had dark ages in there and beyond that period as well.  So what do dark ages consist of?  Utter lack of intellectual advancement which typically leads to people being brutal asses to everyone else because they’ve got nothing better to do.

We can speculate whether there is a direct correlation or causation (one to the other or vice-versa) but the point is we had some dark ages and they were pretty awful.  Everyone agrees on that point.  They also agree that there’s precious little records and the loss of the Library of Alexandria was a pretty huge waste.   Lots of brainpower got burned up.

That’s pretty good incentive to try to find some other solution.

Think about what would happen if someone really tried to wipe out the Library of Congress, or if we had our own dark ages after a world war to end all world wars.  It’s not beyond the bounds of the imagination to picture us doing something stupid in the future – a few years from now, hundreds of years, thousands…  But what happens then?   What if future dark ages lead to using precious documents as toilet paper?  What if an EMP blast in multiple locations toasts everything around and not only can you not get to the information but you don’t even know where it is anymore?

Thus, the Lunar Alexandria Project.

The very first question posed to me by Spaced Diode started out simple.  “How do you build a ten-thousand year clock?”

We discussed that at some length.  I supposed that it really came down to a materials selection.

Then he asked, “How do you make anything last ten thousand years?”

I told him my idea on how to design for “forever” was that there’s damn few viable solutions and we agreed that even hundreds of years in book format was pushing limits.  Age, water damage, FIRE… DARK AGES…  But really, any format – gold discs, memristors, crystals, hard drives – all of it at the mercy of the stupidity of mankind when we really put a lot of ignorance into our efforts.  All are fragile and all may be destroyed just like the Library of Alexandria.

His next question was simply “Why not put that information on the moon where no one could get at it?  Why not put it there in a repository?”

I said “Oh yes, that will be of big help – any sufficiently advanced society that crawls out of the muck of a new dark age can have that data if they make it to the moon, well after when they actually needed it.  Wow.  Great idea, man.”

He looked at me exasperatedly.  “No (you lunatic), you put out two signals.  One is AM radio, which is the simplest kind of communications.  I can make an AM radio out of trash in my garage – it’s trivial.”

I said “Oh sure, trivial, tell that to Marconi…”

He looked at me over his glasses with his classic pitying look again.   “No, I am talking about receiving, not broadcasting.   What you do is broadcast simple instructions for how to get to the point where you can really use the library and…”

I nodded.  “Yes!  And then you can handshake communicate!”

He looked at me as if I had finally grown a real live brain.  “Exactly,” he said, “then they can surf the internet and download all sorts of data – they could rebuild civilization using all the information we’ve already amassed.”

We discussed this for hours.  Questions popped up.

  • How do you make something last for ten thousand years?  A whole new set of technologies have to be invented.
    • It has to be self-repairing
      • It should be like a factory in some ways, capable of making it’s own parts, too
      • Think “alive”
    • It has to have redundancy
    • It has to have redundancy
    • It has to be distributed
  • Location, location, location  (the poles)
  • How do you rad harden it?
  • How do you viably store that data?
    • RAID systems, cloud type arrangements
    • It has to have redundancy

He said, and I agree with him – THAT is where you should put research dollars.  THAT is something almost anyone could get behind.  THAT has technological payoffs that are incredible.

A question that just occurred to me, and it is one I have wondered about in our present day.  Do societies that have all sorts of new breakthrough technologies come all at once break down because they didn’t have the transition from lesser to greater technology over a period of time, where they could assimilate it?   Look at any third-world cockroach country.  They have this amazing mix of people still living in poverty and ignorance, some have all the benefits of Western Society, and the two are absolutely awful when mixed.  Look at any dictatorship, middle eastern country, or North Korea (redundancy there, I know).


By the by, check out the article that Mitchell posted at Center of the Anomaly.  It’s about your rapidly-disappearing-in-the-distance gun rights.


I’m thinking Anthony Weiner should look to his new career options at this point.

And this morning it hit me – he could be a rap “artist”.   His name?

I.C. Weiner

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Loofah… loofah… loofa…

Laughed my ass off.


Brave, stupid, or just lucky?  All three?

Cheating 200mph hurtling death.

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Everyone’s favorite mustelid (Weasel from sweasel.com) said she was so going to steal a quote and by golly I liked it.  The image wouldn’t leave my mind.

This is nowhere near what I had in mind but I had to work tonight, so this is ten minute’s worth of “I care, sort of”.  Think of it as a placeholder.

If you have a physics background, please note the redshifted photon…


I am shocked… SHOCKED…

As activists from groups as wide-ranging as the Girl Scouts and the World Council on Churches converge on the climate change conference in Copenhagen, some critics say it’s turning into a “circus” sideshow, with 20,000 attendees creating an international echo chamber of climate piety. – foxnews (because no one else will report anything but fuzzy puppies, rainbows, and unicorns)


The White House is really thin-skinned lately.  Challenging the performance of The One is heretical, I guess.

Asked for a response to Monday’s tracking poll, which placed Obama’s approval numbers among the lowest of any recent president in December of his first year in office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs mocked the reliability of the widely respected polling firm.

“I tell you, if I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I’d visit my doctor,” Gibbs said. “If you look back, I think five days ago, there was an 11-point spread, now there’s a 1-point spread. I mean, I’m sure a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that. I don’t put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend.”

He added: “I don’t pay a lot of attention to the meaninglessness of it.”

Love that “… a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that…”

Oh, like the hockey stick graph then?  I don’t pay a lot of attention to the meaninglessness of it.

His wording is telling.  Looks like Gibby has been attending his assertiveness workshops.


Shot tea out my nose and closely following that were my appendix and spleen.


The Dude was suggesting we use this for the door to the server room at work.  No idea where the graphic came from.

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Foremost, gotta give over some space to the firefighters that died this week.  I didn’t want to post until more was known.  Not that a whole lot is known yet, but initially almost nothing ever is known and lots of what you hear is just wrong.

Here’s part of what is known and the link to it.  Lots of fellow Oregonians there.   It’s hard on the firefighter community – you know it is a risk but it is still hard.  My thoughts and prayers for them and their families. – LK

Nine Presumed Dead in California Fire Helicopter Crash

WEAVERVILLE, California, August 7, 2008 (ENS) – Fire raging through dense forest on a steep hillside in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is making it impossible for crews to recover the bodies of nine firefighters who are missing and presumed dead after the crash of a firefighting helicopter about 35 miles northwest of Redding.The Sikorsky S-61 contract helicopter assigned to the Iron Complex of fires on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest crashed at about 7:45 pm local time Tuesday during takeoff.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which occurred in extremely steep terrain with limited and difficult access within the Trinity-Alps Wilderness area. [more…]

Along the lines of fires, here’s a link to a beautiful (and real) fire photo.  I don’t know many firefighters that could look at this picture and not say “Wow.”


Freedom of Cleverness

NOTE: This next section was meant to be a lot of deep profound cool stuff that pushes the boundaries out.  It didn’t turn out quite like that but I’m not altogether unhappy with the result.

You know, I hate the expression “think outside the box” because cliches tend to pen people in as well (and make you look somewhat like an ass).  Let’s just call these other people free thinkers.  They are not constrained and see the world differently.  You can’t sit down and say “I’m going to come up with something of a quantum leap idea today.”  Some people get them often.  Some never do.  But you NEVER will it into existence on-demand.  Some ideas aren’t of the advance-the-world-for-mankind variety.  It’s creativity, man!

  • Here’s a first example of what I mean.  This is just… elegant.  It’s new.  It is useful.  It is intuitive once you grasp the concept, and the uninitiated pick it up in no time at all.
  • Example two… why, WHY would anyone think (1) to do this, and (2) that it would WORK?  Laminar Reverse Flow, people.  Remember it!  It could save your life.  It might kill you.  Who knows?  Go check out the video.  The pic below is just a teaser.

  • A third example is the type of individual that thinks of trying things that no one in their right mind would do.  Yes, you can dip your finger into a glass of liquid nitrogen (I have) and no harm will come to you (the heat capacity of LN2 is abysmally low and you vaporize a protective layer easily if you don’t dawdle).  But these people fall into another category entirely, kind of like the much-debated (as in, did it really exist) native indian vertical chest suspension, AKA, O-Kee-Pa.  Dipping one’s fingers in molten lead is a leap I don’t think I’d take.   I have, however, touched a piece of orange-hot space tile and it is [expletive deleted] surreal.
  • This gets an honorable mention because it is cool.  I’d never have thought to do it and most of us stop at the sophomoric level of “wash me  :)”   But while this is undeniably a waste of time, it is art.
  • Thinking way-way-way out there, more in terms of how to paint a big red bulls-eye on one’s chest, is Plebian’s hilarious and partially unfortunate accounting in “A Day Chock Full of Life in Huntsville”.   Actually his blog entry is titled “Batting 1.000”, which is probably better.  I love Huntsville and next time I’m there, I’m going to look for that little toy store, right after a trip to Nolan’s Open Pit BBQ.
  • If only this could have been made to work.  How amazingly suited for men is that, huh?  Waterproof furniture…
  • Here’s some free thinking that just might get you that free ass-kicking you’ve been dying for.

Unclassifiable, I think.

UPDATE:  Kwame gets slapped again.  Bitch-slapped.

Update #2 – Oil bubble popping… (gasp)  Speculation did this? Say it ain’t so!!!

UPDATE #3 – if this isn’t the weirdest damn thing I’ve ever seen

I don’t know where to put this one.

I have no idea what the hell this is about either.  The pig didn’t cook nearly long enough for my tastes.

To tweak DoublePlus Undead’s nose, here’s an interesting tattoo.  Laugh, buddy, I’m funnin’ ya.

If you have had a HELL of a time getting NDISWrapper to work on your version of Linux (Wi-Fi for me on Fedora is nonexistent still, even after many builds), this might be an answer.  If I try it and it works I will let you know.  Or if you try it and it works, let ME know.  I’m dual-boot w/ Grub2, default to Winders, and FC6 as my latest favored flavor.

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