And not the 1-900 type. This type. As used by newspapers since forever.
In the on-line era, two things have changed. Well, a lot more than that, but two come to mind that relate to the topic at hand.
Firstly, on-line editions of local papers now potentially have a global audience, so the Fulton County Weekly may be read by someone in, say, Denmark, who has not the slightest clue which Fulton County is meant. The expansion is temporal as well as spatial; the reader may be several years in the future, so a reference to "last Tuesday" is less than enlightening.
And, secondly, the whole concept of a dateline seems to be getting lost; articles are routinely published without any clear indication of where and when.
This gets confusing! I was just looking at a story datelined PILSEN, which apparently is part of Chicago, and not in Czechia as I'd initially thought.
So, folks? How about including a complete dateline, for the readers who are outside the area and possibly not looking at the current week's edition?
And how about including complete geographic information in the masthead (or nameplate, as I'm informed we Yanks call it)? Again, readers may not be local, and may have not the slightest clue where your city or county is located, especially if it shares its name with another location or several.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Yukiya Amano also cited a case in which an individual tried to smuggle a small amount of highly enriched uranium about four years ago that could have been used to build a so-called "dirty bomb".
Build a dirty bomb with HEU? Really? Not very dirty, is it?
What you want for a dirty bomb is something nasty. Spent fuel fresh from a power reactor would be favorite, assuming your bomb-making personnel are expendable. Any radioisotope you can steal in quantity from an industrial or medical user, and disperse before it's decayed too much, fine.
But an α-emitter with a half-life of 700 million years? Oh, sure, people will panic, and the usual idiots will claim that the contaminated area will be uninhabitable for billions of years. But nobody will die of the actual radiological agent, nor even get sick from it, unless he inhales a significant dose (in which case, he's probably standing close enough to the bomb to have bigger worries than inhaling the dust). It's not all that much more radioactive than depleted uranium; while plenty of people have been killed by DU, that's because it was moving very fast at the time, not because it's radioactive.
Really, these guys are supposed to be the Great International Experts, and they can't do a simple reality check like this before sending out a press release?
Apportionment of Representatives is based on the Census, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.
Now, remember the history behind the "three fifths" language formerly included. 'Twasn't that the Founders all thought that a Black was worth only 60% of a White; oh, no. The slave-holders wanted slaves (those "all other persons") counted fully; the abolitionists didn't want them counted at all.
Because, of course, slaves didn't have the vote, so any representation based on their numbers would actually be representing their owners. Own more slaves, get more representation for the enfranchised men of your district.
Consider the situation right now, here in Silicon Valley. A substantial (and growing) fraction of the population is non-citizen guest workers. Now, what does the 14th Amendment have to say about them? Right. Nothing. It says nothing about citizens, eligible voters, none of that: just the whole number of persons. (Many of the guest workers are in fact Indians, but not that kind, and they are taxed).
So... they don't have the vote, but their presence here is counted for purposes of apportionment. The plantation owners fulfill their ancient wish, and get the full measure of extra representation for every serf toiling in their cubicle farms.
Oh, and it's the same deal with illegal immigrants, to the extent that the Census can find them. No vote, but extra representation for those who do have the vote.
... dissolve the People and elect another, anyone?
Actually, two fans. One points into the office; the other, into the lab. They're useful for circulating the air, especially on warm days. On cold nights, I point the office fan upward, so it'll redistribute the hot air that pools on the hallway ceiling.
A few nights ago, the office fan started going wub-wub-wub. Oh, great: the bearings are getting all wobbly. Also, it doesn't seem to be running as fast as it used to.
Around midday today, the wub-wub-wub suddenly got moderately louder. A few minutes later, the fan shut itself off, never to run again*.
Oh, well. The afternoon meeting not actually having gotten onto the schedule, I hop in the car in search of a replacement tiltable floor fan.
At OSH, such things are nowhere to be found. Fans are out of season**. (This is the Murphy bit.)
Well, how about Target? (Actually, that's where I should have gone first. Also, I have several Target items on my shopping list.)
They have one model of box fan that sounds just about right, apart from the lack of a tiltable stand, which, on reflection, is important even for the daytime use. There are various pedestal fans and such, but it's not clear how tiltable they are. Also, they're somewhat pricey. (Being up off the floor would be advantageous in terms of not sucking up cat hair, though.)
That leaves another copy of the thing I have pointed into the lab: nominally a desk fan, a Honeywell knockoff of the Vornado. Fairly cheap. Doesn't move a huge amount of air, but I'm not expecting a lot of hot days in the next few months. I guess it'll do.
* Not without more effort than it's worth, and possibly not even then.
I really hate Twitter, and I hate Twitter Lovers, because what they're always trying to do is stampede people into adopting a position without thinking about it. They fire their Twitter Pistols to get the herd stampeding in whatever direction they like, and count on the first few moving cows to get the rest of the cows moving in the same direction.
I object to this on basic heuristic grounds: Anyone trying to get me to adopt their position while deliberately trying to keep me from thinking about the position's veracity first is essentially a home invader of the mind, and not to be trusted.
Not just Twitter; I've long held the same position with regard to you have to see this video, or, back in the day, you need to hear about this amazing business proposition, which you can only learn about by listening to our audio tape.
If it's important, please put it in writing so I can read it at my own pace and take fact-checking breaks. In the Age of Hypertext, you might even include links to sources.
Twitter does, admittedly, add the social-media-stampede aspect, as does Facebook, or any other platform for you have to see this video / meme / bumper-sticker slogan now and share it with all your friends right away.
Not QOTD, but from later in the same item:
And so my ultimate conclusion would still be: Vote Trump. If we're to have a serial victimizer in the White House, I'd prefer it be one who would fire James Comey (or ask for his resignation, if he has no power to fire him) and appoint a special prosecutor to take an unbiased look at Hillary's crimes.
It has long been the custom for the President to have on file the resignation of every appointee, to be accepted at the President's convenience.
I kind of assume that Obama has continued this tradition... but he could always burn the as-yet-unaccepted resignations on his way out of office if he doesn't like his successor.
OK, so the morning went OK, more or less, as long as I wasn't minding the world financial markets. But then, hm.
I'm still plodding along on that PC board layout. Make changes, save work, run autorouter, check for issues, rinse, repeat. Also, I had a few circuit and/or component changes to make today, just to make life even more fun.
While the computer is chomping on that, address the thing with the Kinetis KEA and MQXLite. For some reason, the latest iteration of the test program dies at the 1000.000 second mark, with apparent disregard for the number of iterations of the main loop in that time. The actual failure seems to move around, but for now it involves an interrupt handler posting to a semaphore and apparently getting a wrong address for the control block of the waiting task. Curiouser and curiouser!
And! The project with the PC board layout is supposed to have a design review Real Soon Now - the layout doesn't have to be done (though a demonstration of plausibility seems a good idea), but maybe having a printed copy or two of the schematic would be a good idea. My inkjet printer that can do B-size paper hasn't been getting much use, and needs its heads cleaned. Also, it's out of yellow ink, and cyan is nearly empty.
Well, I have yellow and cyan cartridges on hand (and only those; time to re-order, assuming the printer can be coaxed back to life). The printer, being a multi-function thingy (because it was cheaper than a simple printer that could do B-size), is exceedingly bulky, and has to be extricated from under the bookshelf so I can open the lid to change the ink cartridges. This also means moving a lot of stuff out of the way.
Cartridges changed, I run a cleaning cycle and print a test page. Phooey. Well, another cleaning cycle, then.
While I'm mucking about with the printer, Southmoon decides to vacate her hiding place beneath the table, and on the way out snags the USB cables of the two eval boards involved in the KEA project, pulling the boards off the table and pulling out the jumpers that connect them. Grrr. Now I'll have to look up the connections again.
Oh, and now the printer has a paper jam, which can't be cleared without hauling it out again and opening the lid.
Several cleaning cycles later (some all heads, some black-only), the printer will render the CUPS test page more or less legibly, though there seems to be an issue with bidirectional printing not lining up right. Argh. Oh, well. We shall see whether the schematic prints out legibly, but not until the current autoroute job completes so EAGLE will let me at the schematic again.
I almost miss the days of Nicolet Zeta pen plotters.
Update: Um. The KEA program likes to die at a large power of 16, or a large power of 10, or, sometimes, something else entirely. That "1000000 base something" suggests that printf's integer helper is recursing one level too far and causing a stack overflow and an overwrite of something else. I thought I'd already bumped the stack size? Well, that's something else to try, after I hook the jumpers back up.
Update 2: Yeah, enlarging the stack seems to have done the trick. Thing about stack overflows is, they cause memory overwrites, and the overwritten memory generally doesn't cause a visible problem until sometime later.
While I was at it, I noticed that the aforementioned integer helper had the remainder declared as long long, which is silly given that the value can't reasonably be more'n 15 (this implementation doesn't support base 36). Changing that to an int makes the stack frame four bytes smaller, which is helpful when being recursive on a target with limited RAM.
Update 3: Yeah, so I took the few minutes to write a low-stack version of the integer helper. Seems to work, and has the added benefit that trying to format a large value in a long long as binary won't cause overwrites. (The number buffer in the printf core's stack frame was sized on the assumption that integer values weren't bigger than about 36 bits, which, in the mid-1980s, was a reasonable thing to assume. On the other hand, the formatter as originally written would work correctly in EBCDIC, and I haven't changed that aspect. And who would have thought, back then, that I'd eventually be worrying about formatting 64-bit integers on a 32-bit system with only 4K of coreRAM?)
Yeah, already been done in the People's Republic of Kalifornia, though at least we still have voting booths here (and even got back our mark-sense paper ballots).
It's interesting to note that there are multiple factions already casting doubt on the validity of the upcoming election.
Ol' Combover, of course, has long been spreading the notion that Team Hillary will rig the general election, as they rigged the primary*. We can expect, then, that the Trumpalos will riot if their guy loses. Or maybe they'll just go sulk; they haven't shown much actual propensity for violence so far.
But! Various Democrats (some representing the Party, and some the Administration) have been putting forth the claim that our scattered, state-run voting systems are dangerously insecure, and that the Russians are rigging the election in favor of The Orange One (who will surely start a war with them if he wins).
Thus, both sides are undermining trust in the system, and laying the groundwork for riots when the wrong lizard gets in.
And, that business about state voting being insecure? Naturally, there are calls for nationalizing the election system. Which, given how smoothly the Obamacare website rollout went, and how reliably nonpartisan the federal government has shown itself to be lately? What could possibly go wrong?
And now, it seems, Ron Wyden wants to take it a step further: nationalize the election system, and go to all vote-by-mail.
No, no, no, no, no!
Bad Senator! No bribespeaking honorarium!
A vote-by-mail ballot, as I've noted before, is not private. Voting anywhere but in the privacy of a voting booth enables vote-selling, and intimidation by spouses, bosses, shop stewards, and so on**.
Absentee ballots should be reserved to those who are genuinely unable to show up in person at the polling place on election day. Everyone else should be voting in the booth, on the day. There are reasons for this!
This is just a colossal pile of bad ideas. Kind of like the PATRIOT act: let's use any handy pretext to rush through a compilation of everybody's dreadful wish-lists.
* Both primaries, as it turns out. Remember, Trump got the nomination with the help of the disgruntled-Democrat crossover vote in open-primary states.
** I'm very nearly an absolutist where the First Amendment is concerned, but a prohibition on ballot selfies (or, in general, sharing of marked ballots) seems like a Really Good Idea, for much the same reason.
Bonus nightmare material: What with the horrible choices on offer this season, and the likelihood of large numbers of protest votes, consider the possibility that Hillary could win the election with, say, 37% of the popular vote, and low overall participation. Throw in the damaged trust in the integrity of the election (for which you can thank both sides). Funsies?
Been fiddling with a PC board layout - I've got the general placement under control, but now there's the iterative process of running the autorouter, seeing what's not being handled nicely (or at all), pushing things around, doing some more hand-routing, doing another test route....
Well, it's close. The last test route using EAGLE v6 got everything connected, but clearances around vias caused a few traces to get disconnected from a plane, and one of my fill areas was severed by a trace routed through it.
But... somehow, the optimization passes had done some pessimization. Two close-but-not-touching fill areas with the same name, which I'd neglected to connect by hand: it runs a trace between them. And another. And it puts a sort of weird squiggly border of drunk-routed trace along the edges of one fill area. Really? And, elsewhere: a signal that had a nice straightforward path to its destination has for some reason been rerouted, adding an extra via or two and an inch or so of trace, much of it on the ground plane. Hmph.
Now, having made some tweaks and protected the edges of my favorite fill areas, I'm running a test route using EAGLE v7. It's too early to tell how well the conventional router is doing (except that it did manage 100% completion on the route pass), but the TopRoute process... aieeee! It's leaving meandering cobwebs all over my lovely board! It remains to be seen what the end product will look like, but I think I'll be sticking with the conventional, non-topological router, thank you very much.
Seems a sooper-sekret international terrorist group is using a roll-your-own encryption utility. It identifies its output thus:
### Begin ASRAR El Mojahedeen v2.0 Encrypted Message ###
If you're really trying to keep your secrets from the intelligence agencies of the world, flagging all your encrypted messages with something that obvious is maybe not the best move.
Clearly, they need a tradecraft school. Someone should open one. Learn infosec from a real NSA insider! Learn field work from CIA operatives! And we totally won't let any governments get ahold of the class roster and yearbook photos!
I dunno, really. I certainly don't talk like that.
From my personal observations? Straight men don't talk like that when I'm in the room (maybe because I look so religious). Gay men don't talk like that when I'm in the room. Straight women don't talk like that when I'm in the room.
Lesbians sometimes do talk like that when I'm in the room; maybe they're trying to get rid of me?
But, then, I'm the guy who's never been offered any illicit recreational drugs. Your experiences may vary.
Lookin' at the Putin Propaganda Channel this morning, for no adequately explored reason.
There's this item about a U.S. aggressor squadron using planes painted in Russian colors. The article itself makes it clear that this is usual practice, for training against units using the tactics of various potential adversaries. But it quotes some wildly paranoid tweets, e.g.
US concocting a false flag incident where one of their FA-18/A jets in Russian colors sink US Navy ship; USS Liberty style new PearlHarbour?
Er, wait. Is he saying that Pearl Harbor was a false-flag operation?
A pilot project launched by Google’s startup incubator and a British IT company will target potential Islamic State recruits – and also the American far right – with new software that pairs violence-related search entries with anti-extremism ads.
Um. Thing is: how is American far right to be defined? According to the Establishment rhetoric, that shifts quite rapidly, and may include anyone who takes (verbal) exception to the Progressive doctrine of the week.
And much of the actual political violence in the U.S. seems to come from the left side of the aisle, no? So how come that's not a target?
While recuperating from the afternoon's manual labor, I stumbled across the Seconds From Disaster episode on the Hindenburg.
Sure took a long time to get around to the conclusion that sure enough, a spark set off some leaked hydrogen.
Silly point: making a big deal about the fire having started at the top. Er, no. The fire was first visible from the outside at the top. If it started partway down, it could flash upward very quickly indeed, and first become visible when it broke through at the top.
Now, it happens (maybe this is why the SFD episode showed up in my U-Toobs) that I'd watched this original newsreel footage just yesterday evening. Mentioned right there: the airship was repeatedly dumping water ballast during the approach, to try to level out, because she was down by the stern.
Now, absent a load shift or something, what could cause an airship to be out of trim toward the end of the voyage? How about: buoyancy gas leaking out of the aft cells?
And dumping ballast is yet another way, on top of all the others, to acquire a static charge. Add in the fact that the fire started just after the anchor ropes touched the ground, and looking for saboteurs seems a bit paranoid.
Credit to SFD, near the end, though: they (or Greg Feith, anyway) did explain (1) how a gas cell could have been lacerated by a wire snapped by the strain of a sharp maneuver, and (2) a plausible mechanism for getting an internal spark.
Also, they tested the burn rate of the doped fabric: just as unimpressive as I would have expected.
Some things are best done on a warm afternoon, regardless of one's personal tolerance for working in the heat. Smearing roof goo on questionable seams is one of them.
I just spent an hour or so up on the flat garage roof lugging around a near-gallon of goo (eventually diminished by about half) and a small disposable putty knife, smearing the goo over such seams as looked least healthy and attempting to bung it into any and all cracks (insert Are You Being Served reference here).
This was done mainly in a squatting position, so one can no longer say that I haven't done squat to prepare for winter.
There are still seams that could use goobering-over on general principles, and there's still half the near-gallon left, but that's for another day and another disposable putty knife.
I'm thinking long pants might have been a good idea - I got a bit scraped hauling myself over the edge of the roof. Also, gloves. And sunscreen.
The question everyone's asking: will Trump finally take the gloves off tonight?
Clarification: Trump is a Clinton buddy. Despite the tough talk and outsider pretensions, he's never had any intention of going after Hillary on substantive issues. Having successfully disrupted the Republican primary (by running as, so far as I can discern, a populist Democrat) and unexpectedly gotten the nomination, he's now the emergency backup Clinton in the race.
Where will tonight's large meteor appear? Stay tuned!
Remember, folks: Trump is dangerous because he's sure to get us into a war with Russia. Also, he's much too friendly with Tsar Vladimir, and will sell us out to Russia.
We all know what a Trumppence is: traditionally 1/120 of a pound sterling; post-decimalisation, 1/50 of a dollar. Basically, just about worthless.
But what's a Hillarikaine? Is it like a Sharknado, only much, much bigger, and filled with clowns?
Imagine, if you will, the reaction if Trump's remarks about women had been uttered by a Democrat. Oh, wait: Trump was a Democrat when he said that stuff. And he's still a Democrat. But he identifies as a Republican at the moment, and the members of the press respect that, so instead of circling the wagons around him, they're making a huge stink, just as they would for an actual Republican.
[Update: No need to imagine. Turns out the powers-that-be at NBC were perfectly happy to cover for Trumpwhile he was their employee.]
Seriously, guys: surely there's plenty of real dirt on Trump, much of which would alienate the working-class-men demographic. Why make a fuss about frivolous stuff that just shows that sometimes his private speech matches his odious public persona? And why pretend that this is some sort of astonishing revelation?
Update: No meteor? None at all? SMOD is really failing to fall down on the job. One last chance, Big Guy!
And: Seems Trump and the Clintons are no longer pretending to be friends. Or they're pretending no longer to be friends; take your pick. Now he's promising not to pardon them - which is about as credible as any other campaign promise.