March 31, 2013

We're not so different, you and I

...[H]e’s omnipresent. It’s not just the slogans over the sound system; Samsung’s internal practices and external strategies—from how TVs are designed to the company’s philosophy of “perpetual crisis”—all spring from the codified teachings of the chairman. 


 Now where have I heard that before? 

March 30, 2013

More on the military-industrial complex

Store 'em with the B-1s...

March 29, 2013

Actual photograph from a space-ship


Wish someone in power would fix this

Kuala Lumpur has a nicer airport...and a nicer road into town...than you do. (link) -via Krugman

You knew this was coming

Citicorp advises: it would be great if you all kept working past retirement age. That really helps make the numbers work, kthxbye... (link)

This is The Shit

March 28, 2013

Thank you, The Other Front

This was the first time Twitter had me hyperventilating.


Welcome to the Borg

Amazon buys Goodreads.


Nothing get me fired up like Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution.  Reflecting on it, I think this was the first patriotic thing I ever heard about, when I was like, five.  Here's Holmes' poem when they were going to scrap her:

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;--
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;--
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!

And also, I think those waves are painted pretty well:

Alienation NOW

In the Laird's vein, I noticed a certain look in that Google Express image.

Google Unveils

Google Shopping Express is here.

Here's what happened last time.  AmazonFresh (the dream will never die!) still, amazingly, exists, making Whole Foods look like WalMart, price-wise.

Checking in on the "Truly Needy"

Social scientists say the median age [of the homeless] has been steadily increasing for many years, supporting the “big bang” theory that many of today’s street people hit the gutter back in the 1980s era of recession and slashings of social programs...without special attention, most of that “big bang” group of homeless people will die in the next 15 years.


March 26, 2013


March 25, 2013

Linkedin: your stuff is perfectly safe, except when people steal it from us

Sure, mac, sure... (link)

More Wabi-Sabi, I'd Say

March 24, 2013

March 23, 2013

Is this how memes work?

Greater social utility in some hedge fund guy's bedroom, apparently

"The Pied Piper" by artist Maxfield Parrish had been displayed for many years in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco until it was removed and shipped to an auction house on Friday, March 22, 2013.


March 21, 2013

This Will Explain a Lot

Still laughing?

Baghdad Bob was right about a lot, e.g.

"The crook Rumsfeld said yesterday that they are hunting mass destruction weapons in Baghdad and Tikrit, and yesterday I replied to that cheap lie."

"I assure you that those villains will recognize, will discover in appropriate time in the future how stupid they are and how they are pretending things which have never taken place."


March 20, 2013

The Australian girlfriend

Seahawks Get Respect from East Coast Media Cabal!

Seahawks are ranked #1 in the ESPN power-rankings.

March 19, 2013

That's my cow, because it's a cow

According to Maasai legend, Lengai (God) entrusted all the world’s cattle to them for safekeeping when the earth and sky split at the beginning of time. To this day, the Maasai believe that all cattle on the earth essentially belong to them.


March 18, 2013

The strong man diet

#2 son asked who would be the strongest man in the world.  After a brief fit of Googling, this fellow looked like a candidate.  Here is a quick rundown on his diet:
My energy comes from my diet. Breakfast is 10 eggs and two to three pounds of bacon. Between meals, I eat lots of candy. In the morning, it will be several 3 Musketeers and/or Snickers bars; I need them for energy. Lunch, at 1 or 2 PM, is a double meal of a Polish pork chop, sauerkraut and potatoes. An hour later, I work out, then take lots of supplements: magnesium, creatine, amino acids, all that stuff, and more chocolate. Dinner is whatever meat I can grab—steaks, pork chops, bacon—plus more sauerkraut and potatoes. At 9 or 10 PM, I work out again. Afterward, I have a protein shake and more chocolate. At 3 or 4 AM, I wake up and have more chocolate, then go back to sleep until morning.
(This is similar to mine, except I don't work out or anything.)

Because Voila Mon Passporte

Will that be in FORTRAN or COBOL?

Mr. Priebus did propose some genuinely new approaches to campaign mechanics, including more fully integrating digital operations with the strategy and fund-raising divisions of the party. He said he would open a field office in San Francisco to connect with the technology community and hold “hackathons” in tech centers like Austin and New York to develop new campaign tools.


Not really the Republican way, though.  Arbitrarily narrowing the labor pool works fine in most systems - dicatorship, oligarchy, class system, whatever - you promote your son-in-law or some chump to an important job, and as long as he looks right and sounds right, it will mostly be ok.

The one place where it doesn't work, however is one in which actual skills are needed for success.  You can't put your pal's son in charge of heart surgery at Mt. Sinai without exposing the corruption and idiocy of your core beliefs.  This is especially true when the necessary skills are evolving too quickly to allow rigid classification.  In that kind of world, your customary policies of segregation by race and class, overt or covert, by any means necessary, will be outcompeted by less stupidly rigid belief systems, such as the one that posits that we are all created equal.

But don't give up.  You could send a nationally recognized Republican out here periodically to get the Party's message across (we don't get many).  Maybe Haley Barbour, or possibly that guy from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has noticed that we messed up our business climate and people can barely do business here.  It was all we could do, in this hostile socialist regulatory environment, to invent the personal computer, the Internet router, iPhone, iPad, the entire semiconductor industry, Internet search, and 87 flavors of social networking, not to mention some of the most successful cancer drugs in the history of the world.  And you know what else?  Some of the people doing the inventing were gay.  Some were from foreign countries.  Some were ethnic.

So please, bring your hackathons to the Bay Area, and bring along your message of authoritarianism and intolerance, too.  That will help us all remember why we moved here.

If Anyone Asks You Who Started Up With All the Bombs

The Germans.  Quite a lot really, seen in this remarkable modern chart of every bomb in the London Blitz.

Surplused B-17s in Ontario, California, just after WWII

The field looks like about 2000 aircraft, which is remarkable, as they built about 13,000, and 5000 were lost in operations.

There seductive appeal of form of the B-17, like the Vargas girls painted on the sides of so many, speaks to other things; it flies in our imaginations like the Spitfire and the Mustang, beautiful aircraft that seemed in their aesthetics to represent the best version of the anti-fascist cause.  But it is never to be forgotten that in the course of stopping an unimaginably greater horror, as it faded from history, the B-17 took with it hundreds of thousands of souls. As one B-17 pilot put it, on the day orders shifted from military to civilian targets, "It was worth it if we accomplished Justice. Otherwise, it was just mass murder." 

War confuses us horribly: by the charismatic beauty of weapons and weapons systems, by its prizefighter excitement, by how statistics and abstractions and ideologies are reveled in to the point in which the humanity of everyone involved is all but erased.  War nostalgia must be handled with terrific caution, for it can over-bait the imaginations of men, and it can normalize war-making, tangling our identities up in vengeance over ghosts, and conjuring a fresh hell where none exists. 

The whole point of the B-17, not as a pretty plane, but as a weapons system, was to bring the world to this point, in 1946, with a couple thousand aircraft slowly weathering in an open valley, most beautiful on the cusp of their disintegration, with no reason to fly.