Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Caroline Kennedy

It's not all adoration for poor Caroline.

The New York Times said "she seemed less like a candidate than an idea of one: eloquent but vague, largely undefined and seemingly determined to remain that way."

Duh. Last time the Democrats ran one of those, he won the presidency.

But the NYT thought vague-and-undefined looked good on that one, so, yeah, I guess it's different.

Monday, December 22, 2008

STFU, Gun Dude

Just recently took to operating one of those little L-shaped black things that turn money into a loud BANG. So I'm reading up on this and that, and I got to wondering what a "two-stage trigger" is. You figure Google is the place to start with a thing like that, but maybe not:

So let's understand [sic] the differences between "take-up" and "creep." Take-up is a wonderfully replicated feeling/action, found in 2 stage triggers, in preparation of firing, and creep is when you think you are trying to fire, but you just seem to keep pulling the trigger & it does not break cleanly. Creep is found in both single & double stage triggers.

Well, there it is: A two-stage trigger is one that has a "wonderfully replicated feeling/action", except that some of them have the other thing, which is something else, and you don't want that. Whatever it is. But so I took my pistol out and tried dry-firing it, and while for all I know the feeling/action may have been "replicated", I don't beleve it was wonderfully so. Therefore, I may have a two-stage trigger, or I may not. Which is a comfort.

There are some subjects I do know something about: Electric guitars and amplifiers, and programming computers, within certain limits. When I see somebody wasting a novice's time with non-information or anti-information about tube amps or intonation or operator overloading in C++, or JavaScript in general1, I can see the humor in it.

So it's fairly weird to find myself, well on in adulthood, being the one whose time is arbitrarily wasted by fools.


1 Last I checked, pretty much 99% of what there was to be read about JavaScript online was clueless bullshit. They returned tuples in arrays. They didn't know what closures were. Sad stuff. The people who write about it are not programmers. I don't know what the hell they are.


But look at it this way: If pain is the sensation of weakness leaving the body, this kind of frustration is the sensation of knowledge entering it. If it's unfamiliar, it must have been too long since you learned anything new.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Compulsory Biodegradable Euro Committee

Mick Hartley informs us that the Oxford University Press is helping acclimate the youth of Britain to their new habitat, by updating their Junior Dictionary. They're sweeping out silly old words like "vicar" and "blackberry" to make room for "compulsory", "biodegradable", "Euro", "committee", and others.

Imagine the sadness of balanced meals, stepping on a human face, forever.


Wait, they're getting rid of "Blackberry"?!

Well, that's the way it goes with folks like that: Up to the minute, always, but the minute they're up to had its day a decade back.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

If it weren't for that darn Constitution...

Tamara K says:

A contentious theory I've often heard advanced is that if you told the police in any major metropolis "One hundred people. You know who they are. Go round them up," and they actually went out and got The Usual Suspects off the street at the same time, that crime in the burg in question would virtually dry up overnight

...and wonders what readers think about that notion. She's asking for input from law enforcement, not from random assholes with excessive self-esteem, so I won't leave a mess of my own in her comments.

But it sounds like a common species of wishful thinking: "The government could trivially fix this problem if only they had arbitrary powers."

Look at it that way, and ask yourself when any government with arbitrary powers ever fixed anything. Or more specifically, when any police force with arbitrary powers ever put a stop to anything.

Some law enforcement types may believe they could do it. Personally, I think they're mistaken.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


You can't hide the facts from The Associated Press:

In this image made available in London, Thursday Feb. 28, 2008, Britain's Prince Harry mans a 50mm machinegun, at an observation post close to Forward Operating Base Delhi, in Afghanistan, on Wednesday Jan. 2, 2008. ...

Fifty millimeters? That's two inches. .50 maybe? Bit small for that isn't it? A .50 BMG cartridge is almost six inches long. Betcha somebody at the AP either saw "7.62x51 NATO" on the press handout and helpfully "corrected" it, or saw "machine gun" and threw in "50" just because he vaguely remembered the number "50" has something to do with machine guns, and then "mm" because he vaguely remembered millimeters have something to do with guns in general.

Best and fondest wishes to Prince H, by the way, and to all who serve with him. Finest traditions and all that. Makes a man proud to have, through no virtue of his own, been born in a country where people speak English. Whatever's wrong with his dad, I guess it's not inheritable. I hope they don't make him go home now the story's leaked.