"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Friday, February 25, 2011

The iPad 2 is Coming

Hat tip to Grade B Guy.


Government Shutdown: Everybody Panic!

One week and counting. Next Friday, the authority of the Executive to spend will expire, as a consequence of that pesky old living document, the Constitution: "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law . . . ." Ho, hum.

We find ourselves in agreement with Bill Quick:
As I’ve said before - keep the major entitlement checks coming - SS, Medic-blah, Unemployment, and close Health, Education, Energy, BATF, and a host of other warrens of parasites, and I think the real horror will come when Democrats understand just how little the public in general cares about that stuff. They’ll be begging to surrender inside of two weeks. Hide and watch.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where's Joe Wilson When We Need Him?

The Associated Press reports:
VIENNA – Iran is expanding its covert global search for the uranium it needs for its nuclear activities and a key focus is Zimbabwe, says a new intelligence report acquired by The Associated Press.

The report is in line with international assessments that Iran's domestic supplies cannot sustain its nuclear program that could be turned toward making weapons.

An intelligence report from a member country of the International Atomic Energy Agency — shared with the AP by an official from that nation — says Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met secretly last month with senior Zimbabwean mining officials "to resume negotiations ... for the benefit of Iran's uranium procurement plan."

"This follows work carried out by Iranian engineers to map out uranium deposits in Africa and assess the amount of uranium they contain," said the two-page intelligence summary.

The report — confirmed independently by an official from another IAEA country — was shared as an Iranian delegation led by the head of the Cooperative Ministry Abbas Johari was meeting Thursday with "agriculture and mining interests" in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.

The official confirming the intelligence described the Salehi visit as part of an international Iranian effort that stretches across Africa, Asia and South America and may involve more than a dozen countries. Both officials — whose countries closely follow Iran's nuclear program — asked for anonymity in exchange for discussing intelligence matters.


Just Keeping Up With New Social Trends

Old: Stay-at-Home Wife.
New: Stay-at-Home Girlfriend.


Missing Donald Rumsfeld

In this clip of the first part of an interview by Andrea Mitchell of the former Secretary of Defense, Mitchell's faith-based "everybody knows" assumptions repeatedly conflict with Rumsfeld's reality-based responses. The interview becomes almost surreal, as Mitchell eventually seems to be channeling Roseanne Roseannadanna.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cat Laser Bowling

This should be an Olympic sport. If curling is an Olympic sport . . . .


Friday, February 18, 2011

Useful Technology

The abstract of a paper published in December by the United States National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health:
Robust object detection has many important applications in real-world online photo processing. For example, both Google image search and MSN live image search have integrated human face detector to retrieve face or portrait photos. Inspired by the success of such face filtering approach, in this paper, we focus on another popular online photo category - animal, which is one of top five categories in the MSN live image search query log. As a preliminary attempt, we focus on the problem of animal head detection of a set of relatively large land animals that are popular on the internet, such as cat, tiger, panda, fox, and cheetah. First, we proposed a new set of gradient oriented feature, Haar of Oriented Gradients (HOOG), to effectively capture the shape and texture features on animal head. Then, we proposed two detection algorithms, namely Bruteforce detection and Deformable detection, to effectively exploit the shape feature and texture feature simultaneously. Experiment results on 14,379 well labeled animals images validate the superiority of the proposed approach. Additionally, we apply the animal head detector to improve the image search result through text based online photo search result filtering.
The paper includes as Figure 12, "Detection results on the cat data set."

More succinctly, some really smart guys have invented a LOLCat Detector.


Real Men

Real men don't wrestle girls.

Father Z opines: "Inter-sex wrestling should only be private and after the marriage is witnessed by the Church."


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

You would do well to view the related videos.

It's obvious that the person being interviewed -- who's in a position to know -- knows that radiological weapons have been intercepted.

Unconnected to this specific story, in commenting on a New York Times article titled "A Legal Manual for an Apocalyptic New York," Professor Reynolds observes and asks:
Hmm. I’m all for preparedness, but I do wonder what’s spurring this flowering of interest among the authorities. If there were a Republican in the White House it would all be put down to paranoia. So if it’s not paranoia, then what is it?


Chickens. Roost. We Told You So

Obama budget: Life is short, eat dessert first.

Modern politics has become the art of persuading 51% of the voters that you will give them something they want, while making the other 49% pay for it. Other variations include persuading them that what they want is actually free, or doesn't have to be paid for, or will be paid for after they're dead.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It's a Dallas phone number.  Go ahead.  Google "214-748-3647."  We'll wait.  When we checked, there were about 69,000 hits.  Googling your own residential number, by contrast, should result in something less than 200 hits, picking up the various data directories in which you're listed.

So who the heck is it in Dallas whose number shows up so often?  Listen up:
Working on something this morning, I needed to know what the largest number is that can be stored in a 32-bit signed integer. A 10-digit number starting with "214". In other words, a Dallas phone number.

So, out of curiosity I Googled "214-748-3647" to see who has the number. After a handful of blogs noting the coincidence (and that it's a prime number), there are 1500+ websites with that phone number showing up. Why? Because some programmer somewhere didn't learn his lesson from Y2K, and decided to store phone numbers as a single integer instead of a string of characters, but only used 32 bits and didn't check for overflow. So any time someone enters a phone number that's larger than 2147483647, the system stores it as that Dallas number.

Somewhere in Dallas, some poor bastard is wondering why his phone rings off the hook with calls for the Nevada Division of Mental Health & Developmental Services, the Jackson County Florida Chamber of Commerce, a yacht club in New York.....


Monday, February 14, 2011

It Was 20 Years Ago Today . . . . !



Saturday, February 12, 2011

If You Build It, They Will Steal

WalMart proposes to build a store in the District of Columbia. Actually, they propose to build four store which, when opened, would provide about 1,200 new jobs.

But some DC residents aren't so sure this is a good idea. We're used to hearing that arrival of a Walmart will drive small, local retailers out of business. Of course, that's because Walmart sells more things at lower prices; which is a good thing if, like most people, you're a potential customer rather than an inefficient competitor.

But opponents of the proposed stores in the District have, according the the Washington Post, raised some . . . er . . . um . . . "unique" objections:
First, would a new Wal-Mart there really stock the same quality of food and products as its stores do in better-off, suburban communities?

"I'll believe it when I see it," Mya Harris, 24, said skeptically. "Sure you can put the store here, but what are they going to put inside it?"
Cat food, Mya. They're going to stock it with cat food and beef jerky. None of those paper towels, light bulbs, vitamins, clothing, or electronics. Nope. It's a conspiracy by The Man against District residents. Yup, yup, yup.

Even better, however, is this gem:
Second, and I was amazed when this anxiety was aired in fully half the interviews, residents worry that the store would suffer severely or even fail because of petty theft.

"There'll probably be a lot of shoplifting going on. They'll need a lot of security," Terriea Sutton, 35, said.

Brenda Speaks, a Ward 4 ANC commissioner, actually urged blocking construction of the planned store in her ward at Georgia and Missouri avenues NW partly because of that risk. Addressing a small, anti-Wal-Mart rally at City Hall on Monday, Speaks said young people would get criminal records when they couldn't resist the temptation to steal.
So it's a bad idea to try to sell stuff in DC, because the kids will just steal all that shit. and they'll get in trouble, and that would be bad.

Who knew DC hoods had such a penchant for boosting cat food and beef jerky?



Each ear moves independently of the other; they are digitigrades, walking on their toes; when walking, they place the hind paw almost exactly in the track of the forepaw, minimizing noise and track evidence; the forearms are attached to the shoulders via free-floating clavicles, permitting them to pass their body through any opening through which they can pass their head. Cats lack taste buds sensitive to sweet.

Except for the cat, all domesticated animals were sought and tamed by humans for food, commodities (leather, wool, etc.) or to do work.  It is currently thought that cats, instead, sought out human settlements where early man stored grain, which attracted vermin, thus providing a target-rich hunting ground.  Put another way, unique among animals, cats domesticated themselves for their benefit, rather than the other way around.

In ancient Egypt, to kill a cat was a crime punishable by death.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Changing Times


Also Works With Boxes, Couches, and Tables


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why We Love Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics (for work having nothing at all to do with the topics upon which he opines) on January 28:
I don’t know anything [about Egypt], have no expertise, haven’t even ever looked at the economic situation. Hence, no posting. If there comes a point when I have something to say, I will.
Paul must have been terrifically busy in the week after he posted that, because by last Sunday, February 6, he had it all figured out:
The consequences of this food crisis go far beyond economics. After all, the big question about uprisings against corrupt and oppressive regimes in the Middle East isn’t so much why they’re happening as why they’re happening now. And there’s little question that sky-high food prices have been an important trigger for popular rage.
And the cause of the "food crisis?" Why, global warming, of course.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

New Malcolm Gladwell Bestseller

A must-read. More HERE.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Facebook Stalker: Karma is a Bitch

Creepy guy allegedly sending creepy stalker-type messages via Facebook to . . . Mark Zuckerberg.


National Anthem Screwup



Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science turned their trusty computers loose to crash through the underbrush of the Twitter Universe, and have found something a bit strange.  While one would think that the Internet creates a community unconnected to the actual non-virtual geographic location of the speaker, that turns out to be false;  Tweeters have regional dialects:
Postings on Twitter reflect some well-known regionalisms, such as Southerners' "y'all," and Pittsburghers' "yinz," and the usual regional divides in references to soda, pop and Coke. But Jacob Eisenstein, a post-doctoral fellow in CMU's Machine Learning Department, said the automated method he and his colleagues have developed for analyzing Twitter word use shows that regional dialects appear to be evolving within social media.

In northern California, something that's cool is "koo" in tweets, while in southern California, it's "coo." In many cities, something is "sumthin," but tweets in New York City favor "suttin." While many of us might complain in tweets of being "very" tired, people in northern California tend to be "hella" tired, New Yorkers "deadass" tired and Angelenos are simply tired "af."

The "af" is an acronym that, like many others on Twitter, stands for a vulgarity. LOL is a commonly used acronym for "laughing out loud," but Twitterers in Washington, D.C., seem to have an affinity for the cruder LLS.

Eisenstein said some of this usage clearly is shaped by the 140-character limit of Twitter messages, but geography's influence also is apparent. The statistical model the CMU team used to recognize regional variation in word use and topics could predict the location of a microblogger in the continental United States with a median error of about 300 miles.
Story HERE, full paper HERE.


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Pop Legend Rick Astley is 45 Today

Here's his "Together Forever" from 1988.

No, really.  I promise.  I swear that's where the link goes.  Would I lie?  I would not.  It really, really goes there.  Truly.  Honest!  Cross my heart.

We had momentarily forgotten just how horrid the 1980s were.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: The Ex

Knife-holder with attitude, only $69.99, and eligible for prime shipping from Amazon.


Stress in Unlikely Places

Paul Maybury is a graphic artist. Once upon a time, he drew promotional posters for Whole Foods. He explains:

This is the sign that more or less got me pushed out of Wholefoods. I apparently offended a lot of people with it. One older white lady didn’t like the angry black man yelling at her. And a Vegan didn’t like that Mr. T. pitied her because she wouldn’t eat meat.

That’s a true story.

We're not sure why a Vegan would be shopping at Whole Foods. Isn't the place ritually unclean?


Idiot Bird, Those Are All Disgusting Veggie Bits


Friday, February 04, 2011

Cats Have Far More Self-Respect


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

We Don't Believe It

There's a story making the rounds that at a recent dinner attended by all sorts of big-wigs, Senior Adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett (Stanford '78) mistook a multi-starred General for a waiter, and gave him her drink order.  Which he filled.


Mexico Seizes Drug Catapults On U.S. Border

Except it's a trebuchet, you ignorant buffoons.


Misdemeanor Pea Shooting

Weaponized Pea-Shooter

Oh, my. When swirlies are outlawed, only outlaws will be . . . something or other. The latest example of public school "zero tolerance" comes to us from Spotsylvania County:
Andrew Mikel II admits it was a stupid thing to do. In December, bored and craving attention, the 14-year-old used a plastic tube to blow small plastic pellets at fellow students in Spotsylvania High School. In one lunch period, he scored three hits.

"They flinched. They looked annoyed," Mikel said.

The school district saw it as more than a childish prank. School officials expelled him for possession and use of a weapon, and they called a deputy sheriff to the scene, said Mikel and his father, Andrew Mikel Sr.

The younger Mikel, a freshman, said he was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault.
The story includes the explanation that the boy will be "cleared of the misdemeanor criminal charges if he participates in a year-long diversion program." Which won't be of much help when he answers "no" to the employment application question, and his prospective employer nevertheless finds vestigial virtual tracks.

Everyone with their head screwed on properly can agree that this is silly. But if I were the principal of a public school these days, it's neither the normal parents nor the normally obnoxious teen boys I'd be worried about. Instead, I'd be looking over my shoulder for the hovering litigious parent whose tender snowflake got spit-balled.  In a sane world, this problem would be solved by one of the assault victims smacking Andy upside the head.  But, of course, that kid's parents have probably told him that violence never solves anything.

In other news, if you're an obnoxious teen boy in the Plymouth-Canton school district outside Detroit, and you're a Sikh, you have a religious right to carry a blade at school.  One wonders what proportion of the student body will declare themselves Sikhs before the end of term.  Perhaps the school board can set up a panel of inquisitors to sort out the real Sikhs from the fake Sikhs.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

On the Trivialization of Superlatives


Marijuana is to Crack as Bacon is to . . .

. . . a Quarter-Pounder with Cheese.


Florida Judge Strikes Down Obamacare

President expected to become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.