Feels like a new pet is alive in the house. (No, seriously!)

Since my last post on the subject, I finally had a breakthrough with my 3D metal printer.

For weeks now, I have been trying every possible variation of every possible combination of every possible code setting in every possible firmware, and yesterday I finally managed to get lucky.

Here it is, running G-code for an actual part (in dry mode):

It has really been insane. Like looking for a needle in a haystack by carefully examining each piece of straw.

From here it’s all uphill.


What part of “Congress shall make no law” don’t they understand?

A bipartisan bill in Congress would prohibit “overzealous PhotoShopping” of models and celebrities:

A new bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives aims at curbing overzealous photoshopping of models and celebrities in advertisements.

Called the “Truth in Advertising Act,” the bill was co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of California.

Advocates for the bill want more regulation for photoshopped images that appear in advertisements and other media.

“An increasing amount of academic evidence links exposure to such altered images with emotional, mental, and physical health issues, including eating disorders, especially among children and teenagers,” reads an excerpt of the bill. “There is particular concern about the marketing of such images to children and teenagers.”

Members of the Eating Disorder Coalition (EDC) met with lawmakers last month to lobby for the bill.

Seth Matlins, a marketer and an originator of the bill, said seeing his children react to advertising images without understanding they were manipulated made him want to work on the bill.

“In simplest terms we’re trying to protect the consumer,” said Matlins a partner with the EDC. “People are saying enough is enough. We are and have been manipulated by these ads for so long.”

“We” have? I couldn’t care less whether a celebrity or model is real, cleverly photographed, partially or completely photoshopped, or entirely fake. I cannot recall the last time I felt “manipulated” by any ad, except perhaps by having to expend the energy to switch a channel with the remote, or click with the mouse to get rid of an annoying popup. I consider misuse of the “we” word to be far more manipulative than even the most outrageously overzealous act of photoshopping.

So why don’t they propose making it a federal crime to misuse the word “we” in a manipulative manner?


And if photoshopped images are a “health issue,” then is there anything that isn’t?

I am not surprised, though. There is absolutely nothing that the enemies of freedom on the left and the right do not want to regulate in some manner.

I only hope they’re stupid enough to prohibit “photoshopping,” because that is a proprietary term and would allow advertisers to use software other than Adobe PhotoShop for their overzealous manipulations, and the ever-petulant Adobe could file a lawsuit to have the law thrown out.

What I can’t figure out is whether this proposed law is a product of despicable fools catering to pathetic dupes, or pathetic dupes catering to despicable fools.



“every noose of a rejection letter”

Until today, I had never heard a a rejection letter described as a noose, but I guess there’s a first for everything.

A young woman is irate that her grades and test scores didn’t qualify her for admission to the University of Michigan, and she blames racism. Moreover, she claims that she has been rejected for her “morals”:

“I believe that I have been rejected because of the morals that I stand for! I am Harriet (Tubman)! I will take back my freedom as a tool to help the others. I have left the plantation. …

“I am Ida B. (Wells)! I will make it my civic duty to document every noose of a rejection letter that the university produces to our black, brown and red bodies!”

Oh, boy.

The latter was Mitch Albom’s editorial comment, not mine. What caught my attention is that Albom is refusing to play her silly game, and behave in the usual unquestioning manner. Instead, he asked her some good questions — to which she had no answers:

When I asked Brooke why it’s wrong for U-M to set a similar bar (she was denied admission with below the U-M averages of a 3.6 GPA and a 23 on the ACT) she said U-M needed to “represent the state. Blacks are about 14% of the population, so it should be 14% roughly.”

I pointed out that whites were 79% of Michigan’s population, but officially 57% of U-M’s, so should we adjust that up? “That’s ludicrous,” she said, claiming it should only apply to minorities. I then noted U-M was 11% Asian American, but our state was only 2%. Should we adjust down?

“I don’t understand what you’re asking,” she said.

She does understand one thing, however. She didn’t get into UM, and she thinks she can bully her way in.

In the process, she is belittling the victims of slavery and lynching.



I have gotten the 3D metal printer I’ve been building to talk to the computer but as you can see, it’s not yet functional as a printer.

Mechanically, the printer was built according to the specifications here.

At this point I have spent countless hours going over the firmware looking for anything I might have entered wrong, all to no avail. As you can see in the above Youtube video, the printer does respond to some commands entered manually; I can move in X, Y, and Z directions incrementally, but I cannot home the printer, and when I try, it behaves very erratically, ignores the endstops, and will keep going up or down, or else slam against the sides.

The firmware I compiled and uploaded is the Delta-MOST firmware from MTU. When successfully compiled and uploaded, this allows the board to connect to the computer via RepetierHost printer software. I have gone over the firmware line by line many, many times, and can see nothing that might be causing the machine to ignore the endstops, and the fact that the endstops respond correctly to the M119 command makes me suspect that somehow, something in this Geeetch Melzi board is not allowing the signals from the endstops to be conveyed to the motor drivers. (I returned a second board — from SainSmart — which refused to let me upload firmware at all, and they are sending me another one. If I can get it to accept the code and it behaves in the same manner as the Geeetech board, that will, I think, point to the firmware. The Geeetech board also compiles the Marlin software, but the board will then connect to Repetier and do absolutely nothing, so I have been unable to use that.)

Also, when I load an .stl image to run a job with RepetierHost, once I generate the G-code in Slicr and load the job, it again slams around and the effector hits the sides.When I try to connect to Cura, it times out trying to connect when I try to start the autoleveling feature, which means I have to stick with Repetier for now. (All the settings are correct so far as I can tell.)

I have also noticed that the three driver chips seem to get awfully hot after not much use. My theory is that somehow, the board is having trouble communicating back and forth between the endstop circuitry and the stepper motor driver circuitry, but I have no expertise how to test it. I don’t know whether it means anything, but when I Googled the name on the chip — ATMega 1284p au — it is described as 8mhz, but it will only allow me to upload code if (in the Arduino IDE) I designate the board as Mighty 1284p at 16 mhz.

If anyone has the slightest idea what I am talking about and might be able to help, I am all ears.

Regular, normal readers, please forgive this bizarre departure from my standard blog protocol, but I am up against a deadline and feeling the pressure.

And besides, if I can’t occasionally use this blog for my personal stuff, what do I have it for?


She still IS

How much more of this crap do we have to tolerate?

A lot, it seems.

And what am I supposed to do about it? Blame the Republicans? A lot of good that will do.



Does air discriminate?

A new study purportedly shows that people of color breathe air that is 38% more polluted than the air breathed by white people:

A study released by the University of Minnesota this week indicated that people of color are exposed to air that is 38 percent more polluted than the air breathed by white people.

In an interview with The Minnesota Post, the study’s lead researcher, Julian Marshall, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, said that “the main [factors in how polluted the air breathed in was] are race and income, and they both matter. In our findings, however, race matters more than income.”

When Marshall compared the exposure gap between high-income Hispanics and low-income whites, for example, the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations were still higher among high-income Hispanics.

“We were quite surprised to find such a large disparity between whites and nonwhites related to air pollution,” Marshall told The Minnesota Post. “Especially the fact that this difference is throughout the U.S., even in cities and states in the Midwest.”

Racism is killing people, right?

It sounds a lot more interesting than reciting well known statistics that a higher percentage of non-whites live in urban areas than do whites.

Sheesh. Next they’ll be saying that white babies are born racist.

Gee, ya think?


Eric Holder Tells The Truth About Cannabis

From: Eric Holder Admits to Putting Politics Ahead of Science on Medical Marijuana.

I think that given what we have done in dealing with the whole Smart on Crime initiative and the executive actions that we have taken, that when it comes to rescheduling, I think this is something that should come from Congress,” Holder said. “We’d be willing to work with Congress if there is a desire on the part of Congress to think about rescheduling. But I think I’d want to hear, get a sense from them about where they’d like to be.

A commenter there thinks this is a set up for an “October surprise”. He claims the TEAs will be destroyed. I’d say the Rand Paul faction will not be disturbed. The rest of them “God boys” can go to Hell.

And one other point. Holder doesn’t have to wait for Congress. From a comment at the site:


§ 811. Authority and criteria for classification of substances.

(a) Rules and regulations of Attorney General; hearing

The Attorney General shall apply the provisions of this subchapter to the controlled substances listed in the schedules established by section 812 of this title and to any other drug or other substance added to such schedules under this subchapter. Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e) of this section, the Attorney General may by rule -

(1) add to such a schedule or transfer between such schedules any drug or other substance if he -
(A) finds that such drug or other substance has a potential for abuse, and
(B) makes with respect to such drug or other substance the findings prescribed by subsection (b) of section 812 of this title for the schedule in which such drug is to be placed; or
(2) remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.

But in any case the whole thing is a sham. The Federal government has no authority in that area. I never noticed a Drug Prohibition Amendment. Did you?


What makes a job easier?

If you were a prison guard, would you rather guard violent criminals, or non-violent criminals?

I think the answer is obvious. Prison guards like people who are easier to deal with, because it makes their job easier. (Forget for now the traditional nature of a prison guard’s job.)

Well, how about if you were a teacher? Would you rather teach students who are hard to teach, or students who are easy to teach? (Forget for now the traditional nature of a school teacher’s job.)

Might that depend on what is “easy”? What if it is harder to teach students who have both willingness and capability, than those who are not? Might that depend on the definition of “teach”? To posit two extremes, suppose a teacher has the choice between teaching a mentally retarded child and a gifted child?

Is it possible that because of lower expectations, hopeless students are considered “easier”?

I’m not seeing easy answers, only an easy blog post.


Attack the techies! (Latest Commie fad.)

There have been a number of attacks on techies in the San Francisco Bay Area recently, and I just saw this one linked on Drudge:

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A man said he had his Google Glass snatched of his face and smashed to the ground in San Francisco’s Mission District Friday evening.

20-year-old journalist Kyle Russell, a reporter for Business Insider, said the attack happened as he was walking on the sidewalk with a colleague. A woman came up to him and yelled, “Glass!” and grabbed the device off his face and sprinted away, he said.

I suspect it was a supporter of a commie-Luddite group known as the Counterforce. Calling themselves anarchists, they believe high tech is evil, exploitative, and must be stopped:

…they [the techies] are drunk on their own power, caught up in a sense of importance bestowed upon them by the type of wealth most of us will never interact with. [Google employee] Kevin Rose will rise and fall with the elites of the dominant order. While we struggle to be included in the trickle-down of wealth through dehumanizing menial labor, these techies, entrepreneurs, and capitalists take over the world. Knowing that at the vanguard of this tech invasion are people like Kevin Rose only increases our desire to completely stop the current insanity.

Taken as a whole, Kevin Rose invests in startups that perpetuate the process of alienation under the guise of social technology. It is, admittedly, genius: create the technological conditions of alienation that drive people to desperately consume technological products that claim to combat the alienation produced by contemporary technological society. Tech is now about creating and selling the new indispensable commodity that everyone must have in order to be less bored, less lost, less ridden with anxiety. We want no part of this disgusting and creepy game being played by a bunch power deranged man-children.

Accordingly, these so-called “anarchists: have issued a demand:

To this end, we now make our first clear demand of Google. We demand that Google give three billion dollars to an anarchist organization of our choosing. This money will then be used to create autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. In these communities, whether in San Francisco or in the woods, no one will ever have to pay rent and housing will be free. With this three billion from Google, we will solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area and prove to the world that an anarchist world is not only possible but in fact irrepressible. If given the chance, most humans will pursue a course towards increased freedom and greater liberty. As it stands, only people like Kevin Rose are given the opportunity to reshape their world, and look at what they do with those opportunities.

I predict Google will give them nothing.

Dream on, you stupid fools…

(I’m hardly a fan of Google, but as Churchill once said about siding with Stalin, “If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”)


A new word, and a new way of thinking

I learned a new word today.


Kyriarchy (“rule by a lord”; from the Greek ??????/kyrios “lord or master” and ????/arche “authority, leadership”) is a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission. The word itself is a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza to describe interconnected, interacting, and self-extending systems of domination and submission, in which a single individual might be oppressed in some relationships and privileged in others.[1](subscription required) It is an intersectional extension of the idea of patriarchy[1](subscription required) beyond gender. Kyriarchy encompasses sexism, racism, homophobia, economic injustice, and other forms of dominating hierarchies in which the subordination of one person or group to another is internalized and institutionalized.[2][dead link]

Schüssler Fiorenza (2009) describes interdependent “stratifications of gender, race, class, religion, heterosexualism, and age” as structural positions assigned at birth.[3] She suggests that people inhabit several positions, and that positions with privilege become nodal points through which other positions are experienced.[3] For example, in a context where gender is the primary privileged position (e.g., patriarchy), gender becomes the nodal point through which sexuality, race, and class are experienced.[3] In a context where class is the primary privileged position (i.e., classism), gender and race are experienced through class dynamics.[3]

Schüssler Fiorenza writes about the interaction between kyriarchy and critical theories as such:
[T]he universalist kyriocentric rhetoric of Euro-American elite men does not simply reinforce the dominance of the male sex, but it legitimates the imperial “White Father” or, in black idiom, the enslaving “Boss-Man” as the universal subject. By implication, any critical theory — be it critical race, feminist, liberationist, or Marxist theory — that articulates gender, class, or race difference as a primary and originary difference masks the complex interstructuring of kyriarchal dominations inscribed in the subject positions of individual wo/men and in the status positions of dominance and subordination between wo/men. It also masks the participation of white elite wo/men, or better “ladies,” and of Christian religion in kyriarchal oppression, insofar as both have served as civilizing colonialist conduits of kyriarchal knowledges, values, and culture.

Elisabeth Schüssler FiorenzaExploring the Intersections of Race, Gender, Status and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies, 2009[3]

In essence, all peoples are in some form or another ‘oppressors’ to some group of people while simultaneously being oppressed by some other group of people. In an effort to end their oppression, they increase the oppression they inflict, thus creating a vicious circle of sorts.

Got that? In other words, everyone is oppressing everyone!

As to the oppressed, not only do they have every right to be rude and confrontive, but the very act of questioning their rudeness is considered another form of oppression, known as “tone policing.”

Oh yes.

When you tone police, you automatically shift the focus of the conversation away from what you or someone else did that was wrong, and onto the other person and their reaction. Tone policing is a way of not taking responsibility for fucking up, and it dismisses the other person’s position by framing it as being emotional and therefore irrational. The conflation of emotionality with irrationality is often used to silence women and people who are read as women, when they are trying to speak about anything at all. It’s also used against all marginalized people when they attempt to speak about their very personal experiences with oppression. But being emotional does not make one’s points any less valid. It’s also important to note that, by tone policing, you not only refuse to examine your own oppressive behavior, but you also can blame that on the other person, because they were not “nice enough” to be listened to or taken seriously.

Third, the implications: Tone policing assumes that the oppressive act is not an act of aggression, when it very much is. The person who was oppressed by the action, suddenly is no longer a victim, but is “victimizing” the other person by calling them out. Now, I’m not saying it’s okay to be abusive, or oppressive in response to a person who fucks up. But anger is valid. Anger is valid, anger is important, anger brings social change, anger makes people listen, anger is threatening, and anger is passion. Anger is NOT counterproductive; being “nice” is counterproductive. Nobody was ever given rights by politely asking for them. Politeness is nothing but a set of behavioral expectations that is enforced upon marginalized people.

In case you didn’t realize it already, the reason for attacking politeness while advocating rudeness is to achieve the goal of “dismantling the kyriarchy.”

What a foul and ugly world these people want to bring about. With these tactics, they have completely insulated themselves from all forms of argument and debate, as anyone who disagrees becomes oppressive no matter what.

You are oppressive if you are insulting, and oppressive if you remain polite. According to the “rules” of this Orwellian game, you cannot win.

Interestingly, I’m one of those people who has always tried to be polite. While I am not always successful, I never knew until today that my politeness is just a way of oppressing people.

Am I supposed to care?

Is polite the new rude?

What kind of insane society do these crackpots want?

And more importantly, why do they steadily gain power and influence even though the vast majority of ordinary people think they are nuts?


Just In Case You Were Wondering

LPC1114 11Dec2013

The above is what I have been into lately and my excuse for light blogging. It is a little microcontroller board based on the NXP LPC1114. Full board details, ordering information, and documentation are available at LPC1114 Devl.

This all came about because there was a project I wanted to do. But I needed some things. So I started designing. The first few designs were failures in various ways. So to keep development expenses down I did the design in sections. That worked. It also meant that a user could add bits (if needed) to get exactly what (s)he wanted.

I suppose I should add a little bit about language support. My friend Clyde (a genius in assembly language programming and his long distance friend Vic) worked many long and hard hours to get the Forth Language implemented on the processor. They did it because I wanted it. And they wanted it. Forth is probably the best language ever invented (so far) for real time programming. It is much easier to use than C and encourages programming in well tested fragments (the way it is supposed to be done). Clyde has been a friend of mine for about 37 or 39 years. Back to the days of the CACHE Club (The Chicago Area Computer Hobbyist Exchange). One of the very earliest computer clubs. We used to get reports on what a couple of hackers in California were up to from other computer clubs. Long before they became household names. Wozniak and Jobs. You might have heard of them by now. We also learned before any one else about another hacker whose name is now also a household word. Bill Gates. Clyde tuned me on to Forth. But I digress.

The Wiki gives the very basics of the Forth Language. It is said of that language that it will make a good programmer ten times better and a bad programmer ten times worse. I don’t know about the worse part. I do know that when I’m competing with C programmers on a project I can run rings around them both in processor economy and speed in getting the job done. Forth encourages good factoring of problems. And good factoring is the key to processor efficiency.

Now about software efficiency. Up ’til now no one cared about software efficiency because a program that barely runs this year will be 4 times faster in two years. But Moore’s Law is running out of steam. As documented here:

As Moore’s Law slows, open hardware rises

28nm node at the final frontier of Moore’s Law

And this short YouTube video that actually asks software developers to improve their product.

I think Forth can do that job. At the very least in the Real Time (hardware control) realm. And possibly others. It is my ambition to Kill C bloatware (nothing ever kills a computer language) for Real Time development. To that end I have a few more projects on the way. I’m working with one of our readers on one. And a noted science fiction author on another. I will announce them here when they get completed.

And if any one is interested in a custom design let me know. I have a crack team that can do amazing things. We would be very happy to port our Forth to your processor. Or design a motor controller for you. Or? And to Eric whose desire for a tool lead to this whole adventure. I have one board to test and another to complete before your design is done. But as you can see I had a few detours along the way. Some things to do. Some tools to make. I probably should also mention that Eric and a reader gave me some seed money to get started. They have been my angels.

And a note: our Forth has been tested on an LPC1114 Xpresso board. If you have one of those you can try it out. It should work on the LPC1115 Xpresso – but we have not tested it.


Attacking and vilifying a speaker is wrong, but it does not make the speaker right!

A meme that will not die in certain quarters is the idea that the Nazis — and Adolf Hitler — were gay.

It’s not an exaggeration to say homofascist because the German Nazi Party was homosexual, Hitler was a homosexual, the top Nazi leadership, all of them were homosexuals…they were creating a homosexual special race…It wasn’t this thing about an Aryan race of white people, blue-eyed, blonde-haired, white people, Hitler was trying to create a race of super gay male soldiers. That’s what he was creating…If it’s not stopped, it will end up in America just like it was in Germany but it won’t be the Jews that will be slaughtered, it will be the Christians.

This sort of conspiracy thinking tends to emanate from people who surround themselves with like-minded “thinkers” and who ramp up each other’s rhetoric until it becomes utterly ridiculous.

And of course, when such loons are yelled at or physically attacked by leftist cretins, it only convinces them that they are being attacked for being “right,” and for standing up for what they imagine is the word of God. They are of course within their First Amendment rights to think whatever they want to think and say whatever they want to say, and while it is appalling that their enemies are moronic enough to attack them, that does not make them right for being attacked, or even killed — any more than the fact that their noxious views are protected by the First Amendment imbues them with truth.

Simple logic? Apparently not.



Should the Feds enforce the law?

A recent news item about a rapidly escalating showdown between federal agents and cattle ranchers reminded me of a recent post which raised some philosophical questions.

I don’t think oppressive or tyrannical laws should be enforced.

But from there it gets complicated.


Whatever happened to Postmodernism?

I’m curious about something. Postmodernism has held sway in academia for years, right? Morality has long since been so thoroughly deconstructed that anyone making an argument based on morality could be expected to be laughed out of the classrooms or faculty lounges at most modern American universities. Morality varies from person to person, culture to culture, and there is no such thing as “absolute” morality. No good or evil. Etc.

At least, so goes the stereotype of the way academics think. It’s so familiar as to be almost tired by now.

The problem is that the stereotype is wrong. There is a huge consensus right now among academics that “income inequality” is wrong, evil, and must be combatted in any of its forms. This is not even open to question. Word has come down from high that income inequality is immoral, and that’s all there is to it. In a discussion with an insider, I was told that thoughts to the contrary simply cannot be voiced.

Now, I realize that trying to argue with religious people about sin is a waste of time, but here are post-modernist academics behaving in a very similar way, save that they don’t have a Bible to back up their claims; just a huge moral “consensus” which comes down hard on those who dare to question it.

Sure, there is a free speech right to argue that there income inequality is an ineradicable fact of life and can be a force for good, but that won’t get you an A in a course, nor will it get you academic tenure.

Conservatives who think there is no morality on the left should think again. They are making a huge mistake.

These people are as moralistic as they come, and as intolerant of dissent as the most ardent religious theocrats. Perhaps more so.


Ending Pot Prohibition Is A Failure

According to vaunted Right Wing THINKER David Frum.

An Australian study of identical twins found that a twin who started using cannabis before age 17 was 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than the twin who did not.People in Colorado had good reason to worry about teen drug use. Colorado voters had approved a limited experiment with medical marijuana in 2000.

What none of these scary studies do is account for PTSD which is in my estimation the main reason for “recreational” pot smoking.

And our friend Frum does not delve into history. How did the country survive before cannabis was made illegal in 1937? That is about 77 years – give or take. And before that? If we count from 1700 (pick a year) that would be 237+ years of legality – in North America. And cannabis extracts were in the pharmacopeia until the drug was outlawed.

Well David thinks he is on a roll. He goes on:

It is false to claim that marijuana legalization will break drug cartels. Those cartels will continue to traffic in harder and more lucrative drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Criminal cartels may well stay in the marijuana business, too, marketing directly to underage users. Public policy is about trade-offs, and marijuana users need to face up to the trade-off they are urging on American society. Legal marijuana use means more marijuana use, and more marijuana use means above all more teen marijuana use.

You break the cartels by eliminating the black markets. But yeah. Them drugs is scary. Heroin was once over the counter and meth (or similar) was given to American soldiers in WW2. Bad stuff. For sure.

Well if police can solve what is basically a medical problem why not put them to work on a cure for cancer? Except the cure for cancer has been found. Cannabis and cannabis extracts. The police – like all RIGHT thinking people – oppose it. Wouldn’t you gladly die of cancer to oppose the Drug Menace? Well actually no. Not me. But maybe, if we are lucky, David Frum will be given the option and we can see what he would choose.


The Mayor and Makers In Rockford

Opportunity in the Making. from Our City, Our Story on Vimeo.

Some other links of interest on the subject:

Can the Maker Movement Re-Make America?

With Help from Etsy, a Small-City Mayor Brings the Maker Movement to the Classroom

Lawrence J. Morrissey

Another Video

More Video

OurCityOurStory.com – about Rockford

This post came about because the first mate wanted to show a visitor the Coronado Theater, one of the gems of our city. The theater was open because the Mayor was speaking about the State of the City (Very Bad Shape with Hope). In his talk the Mayor included something about the Maker Movement. My visiting friend related it to me. So I went searching. Note that making (aerospace) is what brought me to Rockford.

I probably should mention that the Mayor and I know each other from some legal work he did for the family and his regular attendance as an observer at the Rockford Libertarian Club meetings.


Are there no incentives to be nice?

I’m hardly obsessed with cell phone etiquette, but I recently complained about assholes pacing the aisles of crowded locker rooms while talking on the cell phone (this despite it being against the rules which are only meant to be obeyed by nice people).

I guess I should consider myself lucky that the asshole in the gym was not like this psychotic lady in a restaurant:

FLATIRON — A woman trashed a Flatiron diner — smashing glass ketchup bottles against a mirror and TV in a videotaped rampage — after a manager asked her to leave for screaming into her cellphone for 30 minutes, the NYPD said.

Apparently the problem is not merely that only nice people behave politely, and rude people don’t obey rules. Some rude people will go absolutely, violently ballistic simply for being asked to stop being rude.

“She was yelling and very upset and very verbal,” Grimpas, who wasn’t present at the time, said about the incident caught on the restaurant’s surveillance cameras.

“We’re used to loud, but the cursing was very heavy.”

Brown sat in a booth without ordering anything and continued to yell into the phone for about 30 minutes, not stopping when a manager asked her to quiet down, Grimpas said.

When the manager finally demanded that she go, Brown spat in his face, threw a glass of water and tried to hit him with a glass container holding sugar packets, surveillance footage shows.

“When the manager told her to leave if she wasn’t going to order food, she got very irritated,” Grimpas said.

As the manager tried to remove the woman from the 24-hour diner, she punched him in the head and grabbed three glass Heinz ketchup bottles along the way, smashing one against a mirror, another against a wall and hurling one at a flatscreen TV.


Little wonder that movie theaters (and gyms) won’t let their staff personnel do anything about assholes. They’re afraid that the assholes will get violent, and someone will sue.

So it’s cheaper (in the short run) to let the assholes have their way.

Perhaps “asshole” isn’t the right word. I’ve already been scolded lately for using it. And to be fair, the asshole in this case happens to have been a women, and women are not normally referred to as assholes. Nor are ladies! So what is the right term for petulant, ill-tempered, rampaging humans? Malevolent feral adults? No, that can’t be right, because they are not real adults.

Perhaps the right word is “uncivilized.” The problem with that word is that it implies that they can or will be civilized.  What about those who can’t and won’t?


From bad to worse?

I hate it when I make a semi-sarcastic comment in a dark mood, only to see my sentiment confirmed, but here’s what I said:

Little wonder so many conservatives love the War on Drugs.

Which was in response to M. Simon’s comment:

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution. — G.K. Chesterton


Note: Campaign contributions for the Rs will dry up if they actually SOLVE the problem (repeal socialism). They do best with empty promises.

I hate to think that they want to prolong the problems, but if what I saw today is any indication, perhaps they do.

In theory, Republicans are supposed to be federalists who believe in small government, according to the enumerated powers in the Constitution, which translates into the right of states to decide upon their own domestic laws.

Not according to some clown named House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. In a story linked (with clear disapproval of Holder by Drudge) Goodlatte is furious that the feds aren’t cracking down on states that have liberalized marijuana laws:

On Tuesday, Republicans also grilled Holder on the Obama administration’s decision not to interfere with marijuana legalization efforts in Colorado and elsewhere, as long as states establish adequate regulations.

Goodlatte criticized the decision, saying it is tantamount to ignoring the law.

“The Justice Department’s decision not to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in states whose laws violate federal law is not a valid exercise of prosecutorial discretion, but a formal department-wide policy of selective non-enforcement of an Act of Congress,” Goodlatte said.

Holder countered that the DOJ was merely focusing on the most dangerous aspects of marijuana crime, such as trafficking or sales to minors.

“We don’t prosecute every violation of federal law,” he said. “We don’t have the capacity to do that and so what we try to do is make determinations about how we use our limited resources.”

Under Holder’s “Smart on Crime” initiative, the DOJ has altered the charging policies with regard to mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent, low-level drug crimes.

Democrats on the panel lauded the move.

“In a country where nearly half of all federal inmates are serving time for drug offenses, the harshest [punishment] should be reserved for violent offenders,” said Rep. John Conyers (Mich.), the committee’s top Democrat.

But Goodlatte said judicial decisions meant to avoid triggering “mandatory minimum” sentences would put Holder at odds with the law.

What the hell is this son of a bitch trying to do? Make me like Eric Holder? I can’t stand the guy, but this is ridiculous.

Reading that around 60% of Republicans support enforcing marijuana laws while 60% of Democrats don’t is hardly comforting.

You’d almost think that not only do Republicans just plain want to lose, they want to fuck federalism in the ass.

I guess that explains why they want to run Jeb Bush against Hillary Clinton.


Vox Stultus

So, Ezra Klein is going to make news better. He’s going to do that by assiduously avoiding the sort of problems that plague data analysis, leading to incorrect conclusions because of politics.  Great news for libertarians, right?  After all, we’re slaves to neither tradition nor feelings — libertarians, moreso than any other political orientation, are concerned with being right.

Unfortunately, Ezra’s inaugural post demonstrates why the experiment’s not going to work: like the people he criticizes, Ezra does not understand or properly apply epistemology, especially not scientific epistemology, and particularly does not seem to understand the distortion created by politics — the very problem he alleges to solve.

This will make sense to anyone who’s ever read the work of a serious climate change denialist. It’s filled with facts and figures, graphs and charts, studies and citations. Much of the data is wrong or irrelevant. But it feels convincing. It’s a terrific performance of scientific inquiry. And climate-change skeptics who immerse themselves in it end up far more confident that global warming is a hoax than people who haven’t spent much time studying the issue. More information, in this context, doesn’t help skeptics discover the best evidence. Instead, it sends them searching for evidence that seems to prove them right. And in the age of the internet, such evidence is never very far away.

But that’s not true on issues, like climate change, where action is needed quickly to prevent a disaster that will happen slowly. There, the reckoning will be for future generations to face. And it’s not true when American politics becomes so warped by gerrymandering, big money, and congressional dysfunction that voters can’t figure out who to blame for the state of the country.

Every skeptic reading this understands you could replace “skeptic” with “alarmist” in that first paragraph and it would be just as true, if not more so.  One doubts that Ezra, or his crew at Vox, is aware of this, or indeed has any valid measure by which to define which evidence is “best.”   Ezra simply assumes the “best evidence” is unknown to skeptics, as though we aren’t constantly assaulted by AGW promotion in the media.  In this, Ezra merely demonstrates that alarmists are much less likely to be aware of skeptic arguments/evidence than vice-versa — and more critically for his endeavor, that Vox itself is unaware of the very sort of blind spot Vox purports to address.

The scientific consensus is that AGW is real, at least in the very limited sense that Man has a significant effect on the climate and temperatures have increased  (this is the takeaway from the several oft-mischaracterized “97%” studies). But “hoax” is nothing more than a strawman, because virtually all “serious denialists” agree with that consensus too, as Ezra would know had he bothered to do any real research before commencing his self-righteous namecalling in the name of truth.

More problematically for the vaunted validity of Vox, the scientific consensus also says that AGW will be mild and net beneficial, not disastrous.  IPCC scenarios now include a mere 0.5 degree increase by 2100 (that’s right, the world’s primary climate change organization now accepts that there may not be any significant global warming this century), and find mild warming most likely.  And estimates will probably continue to fall given the failures of the models.  As Ridley points out, centuries of evidence demonstrate that warmth is generally a boon to mankind.  “Disaster” may be a political consensus among certain scientists and scientific organizations,  but it has very little empirical heft — heavily promoted but wildly speculative impact studies from government scientists notwithstanding.

Speaking of which, as Ezra points out one can always find data to support an AGW opinion — there’s no shortage of studies that claim AGW will have a severe negative impact. So how, then, do we judge truth from falsity?   Perhaps Ezra should have reviewed Tetlock’s 2005 work — these kinds of predictions have always had a terrible track record.  Or he could have simply sampled Steve Goddard’s Twitter feed, which documents hundreds, if not thousands, of failed predictions of climate-related disaster from as early as the 19th century and as late as the 21st, as well as raising serious questions about the state of the reported data.  I have to wonder if Ezra’s even aware of how earlier IPCC predictions have fared.  The scientific method says theories are tested by evidence — one reason why most AGW skeptics are fans of this Feynman quote:

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.

In sum, Ezra espouses some fine ideals but promptly fails to live up to them, leading to the inevitable conclusion Vox’s ostensibly divorced-from-politics, no-agenda, this-is-the-real-truth coverage is really just another front in the left’s broad “shut up” campaign.  One might not expect the average pundit to understand that four sequential updates to USHCN data that all increase the warming trend should raise red flags, or to be familiar with the litany of failed climate predictions, or to know that alarmists get tens of billions in funding (including bizarre “science” like this NSF grant for $700,000 to produce a play about global warming) while most prominent skeptics get virtually no funding (the NIPCC‘s entire nontaxpayer-funded outlay could probably fit easily into the IPCC’s travel budget — or that of Sierra or Greenpeace, for that matter), or to be aware that forecasting scientists say that there is no scientific basis for reliably estimating future climate, or to be familiar with the problems with peer review, or to know that crop yields have skyrocketed during this allegedly unprecedented warming.   On the other hand, one does expect someone claiming to be data-driven to have more interest in data.

When raising lofty standards, one must ensure one is not also hoisting oneself by that same petard.


Government assholes keep out!

Despite what some of our commenters might think, no one likes excrement. (Well, except a few exceptions who prove the general rule.) So it is not surprising that most people don’t like dog excrement. I don’t like it, and as I try to abide by the Golden Rule, I pick up my dog’s poop.

A local story about human poop in a playground, reminded a friend that at least one town was into testing dog poop for DNA in order to bust the dog owners who are derelict in their duties.

The town was Ipswich, and the idea is spreading. Startup DNA test labs like this one have sprung into action.

The plan will only work if they have a doggie DNA database, which means demanding the DNA of every dog.

Sorry, I pick up my dog shit, but they’re not getting DNA from my dogs!

This kind of crap is invasive busybody government at its worst.

And don’t expect them to stop with dogs.