Focusing On The Big Picture

Joe Doakes from Como Pak emails:

My office staff person is a millennial who cares about saving the planet.  She doesn’t use K-cups because plastic – ugh.  She insists we must go paperless to save the trees.  So she converted a bunch of paper files to electronic which freed up space in the filing cabinet and exceeded our recycling goal.  Then she set about reorganizing the electronic folders to be more efficient, deleting the ones we don’t need anymore.

Including the one she just created, with all my converted papers.  Deleted.

I.T. won’t guarantee they can recover the data, something about retention cycles, they’ll get back to us.  The data might be gone for good.  She’s crying because she feels awful.  I’m about to start crying because I remember what a gigantic pain in the neck the project was.

But at least the planet is safe.  So we’ve got that going for us.

Joe Doakes

Always back up everything before a millennial enters your office.

Ripped From Social Media – As Far As You Know

Q: “Did you see that episode of “The Office” where…

A: “See it? I don’t even own a TV! All TV is crap!”

Q: “Huh. Oh, I see Chris Cornell died…”

A: “Who? Some singer? I don’t listen to any pop music after 1970. I don’t even own a record, cassette, 8 track, CD or MP3 player!”

Q: “All right. So did you see that talk about…:”

A: “Talk? The English language is so debased. I only communicate in Kings’ Anglo-Saxon…”

(And SCENE)

Your Obligatory Feel Good Story

Fireman catches baby dropped from third-story window:

With heavy smoke billowing from the windows of the apartment building and the size of the fire inside unknown, Knoxville Senior Firefighter Eric “Bo” Merritt said he could only see one option – the father would have to drop the baby from the window.

Merritt made the “once-in-a-lifetime” catch to save the life of the one-month-old boy, who was among dozens of residents inside the Lakewood Building at Magnolia Apartments, 2730 E. Magnolia Ave., in East Knoxville when someone set a fire in the rear stairwell Sunday morning….”So before we even got the ladders set up, I told him to drop it – and hope for the best. He thought about it for a second and I guess he realized, too, that was the best option. I didn’t know how bad it was on the inside, if the fire was growing or not, so I didn’t want to take the chance of the baby staying up there.”

On the one hand, I love a good “saving the baby” story.

On the other – everyone else got out – right?

When Mob Justice Isn’t Good Enough

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Computer hackers got into the hotel’s electronic key system and locked guests out of their rooms until management paid a ransom.

 It’s a variation on the ransom-ware scam being used with other computer users.  Pay up or you won’t get your system back.

 This is modern-day piracy.  There should be world-wide jurisdiction to pursue them, and bounties paid for their scalps.  

 Joe Doakes

No argument here.  In fact, we‘ve touched on this before.

Next Week’s Trivia

Question:  Name a book that Trulbert may have outsold?

Answer:  Chelsea Clinton’s debut tome.

Almost no one is buying the Clinton title, co-authored by Devi Sridhar, a Global Public Health Professor at the University of Edinburgh.  It currently stands at No. 74,374 on the Amazon Bestsellers Chart.

The book profiles global health organizations and the work they do. Chelsea is Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation which prioritizes improving global health.

Published by Oxford University Press, the book is well-intentioned but bland in the extreme. And there is no answer given to the question “Who Runs the World and Why?”

In related news, “the Peter Principle” may soon be re-named “The Chelsea Principle”.

What The Heck Ya Gonna Do?

I’ll cop to it – I’m a sucker for language geekery.  I focused a lot on Linguistics in college, and still enjoy the subject, even though I don’t actually do it for  any kind of a living.

Daniel Foster in NRO reviews two new books on the subject – with some fascinating insights tucked in.

While I urge fellow language geeks to read the whole thing, I liked this bit in particular:

Bergen’s treatment of slurs is slight and tentative compared with his coverage of other subject areas, but he’s Kanye West compared with Adams. Consider that Bergen’s first chapter is titled “Holy, F*cking, Sh*t, N*gg*r” sans asterisks. It hits like a freight train, producing first an uncontrollable guffaw and then a pupil-dilating scandal. But the formulation is actually much more innocent, a shorthand for the ingenious theory that all languages are sortable into four categories according to whether their most taboo words are blasphemous, copulative, scatological, or bigoted. Spanish, for instance, is a sex language, while the French, for all their fallenness, consider sacrilegious speech most offensive. German, infamously, is a language obsessed with “scheisse.” And English, Bergen argues, is among the relatively few languages where the biggest taboos are slurs.

It’s interesting, reading “Beowulf” and seeing how very comfortable English speakers in that era were with scatological talk, but how very carefully they avoided blasphemy.  Given we’re a nation of immigrant’s, it’d seem we are little hinky about pretty much all cursing, one way or the other.

Three Centuries

This is the sort of statistical oddity that I obsess over.

In the entire world – eight billion people – there is one person alive known to have been born in the 19th century.  And she turns 117 today:

Born November 29, 1899, [Emma Morano] is the world’s oldest living person and the secret to her longevity appears to lie in eschewing usual medical wisdom.

“I eat two eggs a day, and that’s it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth,” she told AFP in an interview last month in her room in Verbania, a town in northern Italy on Lake Maggiore.

Apropos not much.

Alert The Nobel Committee

Our knowledge of the universe keeps expanding. Every year we make discoveries about the world and universe around us that make the Nobel Prize breakthroughs of previous years seem like nursery rhymes. Every new wave of discoveries pushes out the frontiers of human knowledge to levels that would leave the greatest thinkers of days gone by standing slack-jawed and agog.

And yet even the most brilliant of theoretical physicists knows that there are things that mankind may never, ever have the instrumentation, the knowledge, and even the imagination to measure.

Like my hatred of Twitter.

Happy Anniversary!

Nobody who was in Minnesota in 1991 needs to be reminded; today’s the 25th anniversary of the Halloween Blizzard.

I’m not sure if the blizzard caught everyone by surprise, but it sure fooled me.  I remember seeing the first snowflake that morning as I picked my mom up for the airport – she was back from Turkey – against a fairly pleasant-looking October sky.

By that evening, we were thoroughly stuck out at my in-laws, with a 3 month old, a 10 year old, my at-the-time wife and my mother.

For three days.

So yeah, I remember it.

On a more clinical note?  I did not know that the Halloween blizzard was in part a consequence of the so-called “Perfect Storm” of Hollywood fame.

Enjoy the relatively warm day!

A Luddite Of Things

I’ve been deeply ambivalent about “the Internet Of Things” (IoT) for as long as geeks  have been jabbering about it.

Now, bear in mind, I work in technology; I design how people and technology (at various levels) interact.  My home office looks like Chloe O’Brien’s cubicle, or Vernon Reid’s effects rig.

But I gotta draw the line at an internet that communicates between discrete machines and the people who run them.

Net-controlled home security?  Cars?  Ubiquitous online connections to everything we interact with in life?

Well, not after last Friday, where apparently cheap, insecure IoT devices in various online-enabled appliances – DVRs, video cameras and the like – were harnessed by incredibly sophisticated hackers to launch a denial of service attack that took down vast swathes of the internet.

I’ll drive my own car and lock my own doors, thanks.

The One Time Bernie Sanders Was Right

Well, partly

The former presidential candidate, Democrat rigging victim and socialist once famously complained that Americans had “too many choices” in the free market (to audiences of bobbleheaded millennials and vacuous hippies whose lifestyles would not exist without the surplus wealth the free market creates).

He was an idiot, of course.

But he was right about one thing; one Saint Paul brew pub has given drinkers a choice that, to a real beer drinker and confection fan, is not a choice at all; they’ve combined two flavors that never, ever belong together.

Don’t make me come down there.

Synergy!

Marty Neuman – who took over Keegans when the great Terry Keegan retired – is bringing another of my favorite brands to Nordeast across from Surdyk’s:

The owners of Keegan’s Irish Pub are opening a franchise location of Red’s Savoy Pizza next door to their University Avenue location, in what was formerly the clothing boutique Mona.

Keegan’s Owner Marty Neumann says he bought the franchise for the location. He’s looking to have the Red’s Savoy open by Jan. 1st.

No word whether Alondra Cano has criticized the deal for appropriating Italian culture, but this is otherwise fantastic news.

$ sudo happy birthday > you

Today is the 25th birthday of the Linux operating system – which has morphed from Linus Torvalds’ hobby into the operating system running the vast majority of the world’s servers, including the ones bringing out this blog.

Here’s the current Linux family tree:

Click to enlarge - if you need to. *shrug*

Click to enlarge – if you need to. *shrug*

In my home, we have a couple of Macs, a couple of Linux machines – and, since nobody is paying me to use one, no Windows boxes at all.

 

Planning

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails in re tomorrow’s “Gun Buyback for Artists” in Minneapolis:

Minneapolis is having a gun buy-back [tomorrow].  I’m thinking of dumping some relics from my gun locker.  I need SITD readers to check my reasoning.

After Hillary is elected, the economy collapses and the Zombie Apocalypse hits, when there is no ammo left on the shelves, we’ll have to scrounge for ammo which means bartering with thieves who steal it. 

Where will they steal it?  From government storage, as the government will be the only ones with a supply line.   So we’re looking at standard government calibers; the government doesn’t stock weapons chambered for exotic ammo so that will be impossible to find.  Weapons chambered in exotic calibers will be useless, even for barter. 

What will be considered “exotic” at that time?

.45 ACP was popular after WW II and Special Forces use it now, but ordinary military does not.  They won’t be stocking it in quantity after The Crash.  That ammo will be highly desirable but hard to find.  Exotic.

.38 Special and .357 Magnum were popular cop revolvers until about 2000; nobody carries wheel guns as primary weapons.  They won’t be stocking that ammo in quantity after The Crash.  Backup guns and snub-nose hold-outs, maybe, but how much ammo will they store for them?  Not much.

.40 S&W was popular with cops for a short time because the FBI tried it; but as of June, the FBI is going to 9mm.  St. Paul PD switched from .40 Glocks to 9 mm Glocks five years ago.  I suspect law enforcement is going softer and smaller because women and minorities can’t handle the bigger pistols with the hotter loads but the reason doesn’t matter – what matters is what ammo they will have in stock.

Okay – so police, federal law enforcement and military are all going 9 mm.  That’s the pistol round I’ll have the easiest time scrounging.  Which means dump pistols chambered for .22 LR, .380, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP. 

Now for rifles, it’s a different story.  .22 LR in a rifle is a fine squirrel/rabbit gun.  And everybody shoots .223/5.56 in the AR15.  Those will be fine to keep around.  I might even consider a Hi-Point 9mm Carbine; the maximum effective range is only about 100 yards but since the ammo is compatible with my pistol ammo, I only need one caliber in the backpack.

But for pistols, I’m seeing a shift in the prevailing wind away from exotics.  I might as well take some items to the gun buy-back: liberate space in the gun locker and get paid by Liberals to do it.

What do you think?

Joe Doakes

I think there’s no better way to start a bunch of gunnies duking it out that to broach this topic.

Which is fun!

File Under “Things Mitch Will Never Do”

Uber inks deal with Volvo for self-driving cars.

Starting later this month, Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved. Google, widely regarded as the leader in the field, has been testing its fleet for several years, and Tesla Motors offers Autopilot, essentially a souped-up cruise control that drives the car on the highway. Earlier this week, Ford announced plans for an autonomous ride-sharing service. But none of these companies has yet brought a self-driving car-sharing service to market.

I’m never going to ride in, much less own, a self-driving car.

Partly, it’s because driving is just plain fun.  Not always, of course; navigating 494 when it turns into an Andean goat path after a major blizzard is no fun (and would be less so in a self-driving car).

Partly because I know programmers, and especially project management – and I drive better than they program.  All due respect.

So just…no.

The Kids Are Not Really Alright

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I get calls from people wanting to know how to fix problems with real estate title documents, almost always sound like 20-something women, who treat commas as question marks with a rising voice inflection.  It’s painful to listen long enough that I can give the obvious answer.

 “Hi.  My name is Kelli?  From Big Title Company?  I just have a quick question and I’m hoping you can help me.”

 “Okay.”

 “We have this customer?  And she got married?  And changed her name?  But she used her old name on the documents and the County won’t accept them for recording because the name doesn’t match.”

“Okay.”

 “So how do we fix that?”

 “Throw them away and start over.  Do it right this time.”

 Maybe the hesitancy is a generational thing, afraid to make a statement that someone might pounce on as offensive?  I don’t notice it with male callers or older women. 

 Joe Doakes

I don’t know.

But I do know the Millennial generation is on track to replace the Baby Boomers as the most overanalyzed, overhyped generation in history.

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I blame Boko Haram.

Brain Bleach

Technology has wrought many wonders.

But this might be too much of a good thing:

BBC filmmaker Ted Harrison has claimed that it could just be a few short years before developments mean that they can create the feeling of human touch…the technology could be developed that would leave the door open to fans imitating sexual contact with their idols.

Which, in a world where pornography eats up about a seventh of the internet’s capacity, the idea that people will eventually use technology to simulate the wango tango is a dog sniffs dog story.  Duh; of course they will.

Perhaps it’s a sign that I do too much political blogging that the first thought that crossed my mind with this story was this question:  given the fanatic loyalty liberals have for their politicians, if this technology had been available over this past year, how often would Hillary (and Bill) Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been the subject of, um, transactions?