Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Political Haiku #1

Our Liar-in-Chief
Accidental honesty
War for a "lesson"

(Also, an interesting analysis of the "Warrantless Wiretapping Scandal" ruling, and how the Department of Justice refused to dispute the merits of the case, thereby basically botching their defense and leaving Judge Taylor no option but to rule in favor of the ACLU.)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Catching up...

Been slacking, lots to catch up on...

Since Mattbear is bringing up celebrity sightings, I thought I'd share mine. I was in the Las Vegas airport, heading home after a weekend at DefCon, and there was a section of the terminal blocked off by my gate, with a bunch of people standing around. Being in a hurry, and having stood in the security line for half an hour, I probably would have breezed past it without looking, but I stopped to buy a pack of gum, and the cashier pointed and said "Brad Pitt and George Clooney are over there". I wandered over, and sure enough there they were, with Matt Damon, apparently shooting "Ocean's 13". The scene had the three of them were just sitting in airport chairs by the terminal, so during the shoots they would do some dialog, and one of them would get up and walk out of scene. They were far enough away that it wasn't worth taking pictures with my phone, and you couldn't hear them talk. Every few minutes the crew would shush everyone so they could shoot. I only had a few minutes, and then I had to hop on my plane. All the stewardesses were bitter because they had had to come in through a security entrance and didn't get to walk past the set.

Added a link, over there on the right sight of the page, to my Pandora station. I call it No-Doz, since its main purpose is to keep me awake and upbeat at work. I need music with a good beat, but that I can tune out so I can concentrate on coding or whatever. If a song has lots of words, I tend to listen to them and get distracted. So, good beat + no vocals generally equals some sort of downtempo or ambient techno. If that's your thing, give it a listen. If you haven't checked out Pandora, the concept is that you give it the names of artists and songs that you like, and it creates a "radio station" on the fly based on music similar to your input. It's slick and well-designed, I really like it.

On the political front, I ran across a well-written article called Flies vs. Hammers: How Asymmetric Warfare Works, which I highly recommend reading. It's an excellent analysis of the goals and tactics of the "Occupier" and the "Insurgents" in any given asymmetric conflict. The conclusions you can draw from this with regard to Iraq is that: 1. The Bush administration's arguments against announcing a timetable aren't valid. 2. Unless we can win the "hearts and minds" in Iraq, it's almost inevitable that the insurgency will only grow, quickly making it too costly for us to remain there, in dollars and bodies. Since our budget at this point is targetting like 95% towards killing iraqis, and 5% towards rebuilding the country, it seems pretty obvious how this is going to turn out. Of course, the question that always gets me is: "If it's obvious to me, how come the (theoretically) best military planners in the world couldn't figure this out?"

I have a pipe dream of buying a significant chunk of land somewhere around the puget sound, and dropping a cheap structure on it that my family can live in for 4-5 years while we build a house. And I mean build the house, with our own hands as much as possible, the goal being that at the end of the process we'd own a house, on some land, with no mortgage. For the "temporary house", I've mostly been looking at dome houses, or a haybale/stucco structure, but recently we found the site for a "green architecture" group,, that shows off the concept of "Cargotecture"... buildings contstructed from used shipping cargo containers. Some of them are pretty ugly, but it's a cool concept, and pretty cheap to implement (apparently you can buy 40' shipping containers for about $1900). You can buy the "Studio 320" unit from these guys directly, but I don't have a price. I'll update as I get more info.

I found an interesting new (about a year old) TV station called It's channel 366 on Comcast, and is largely sponsored by Google. I call it "stream of consciousness TV", because it's not scheduled, per se. It's sortof like modern public access, although they have editors and such so that it's actually worth watching. People upload video segments called "pods", and Current seems to just grab some stuff off the internet, but I've found it to be mostly interesting, and somewhat addictive. They will also put in "news" stories and blurbs about whatever topics are popular on the internet, based on Google's zeitgeist data. If you go to their website,, you can see what's coming up, "approve" pods for air, read the tutorials on how to submit your own videos, and all sorts of other stuff.

All I've got for now...