Marginal Devolution

The recession got personal for me today, when I learned the reason a man I’ve been gaming with at my regular Friday night group hasn’t been showing up lately is because he’s broke and in a homeless shelter. I’m going to ask the Friday night gang for help for the guy — not money, but… Continue reading Marginal Devolution

Categorized as Politics

On being against torture

I’m against the horror of therdiglob. All right-thinking people should be against therdiglob; civilized societies have long abandoned the practice. Therdiglob makes us look bad in the eyes of the world. If you’re not against therdiglob, someone may do it to you someday. Eh…what? The above statement is meaningless, because “therdiglob” is undefined. It has… Continue reading On being against torture

Being an oracle is weird

In some areas of computer science, “oracle” is used as a term for a magic box that delivers solutions to undecidable problems. Or, sometimes more generally for any machine that generates answers by a process you don’t understand. One of the roles I play with respect to the Battle For Wesnoth fantasy game is as… Continue reading Being an oracle is weird

Who bears the costs of moral vanity?

A high-ranking Taliban commander is captured in Pakistan, and the (now entirely predictable) dance begins. Says the Guardian: Mullah Barader has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with US and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials. Though Barack Obama has banned US agencies from using forms of torture… Continue reading Who bears the costs of moral vanity?

Categorized as Politics

Phil Jones blows the gaff

The AGW true believers who determinedly reasserted their faith after the Climate Research Unit emails leaked have just been embarrassed by one of the high priests of the cult. Phil Jones, the former head of the CRU, now admits that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

When you see a heisenbug in C, suspect your compiler’s optimizer

This is an attempt to throw a valuable debugging heuristic into the ether where future Google searches will see it. Yesterday, my friend and regular A&D commenter Jay Maynard called me about a bug in Hercules, an IBM360 emulator that he maintains. It was segfaulting on interpretation of a particular 360 assembler instruction. But building… Continue reading When you see a heisenbug in C, suspect your compiler’s optimizer

Categorized as Software

LORAN, we hardly knew ye

There’s been some upset in the blogosphere over the shutdown of the LORAN system of radionavigation beacons. This post at Chicago Boyz is representative (hat tip to Instapundit). The author worries “I’m not totally sure that this was a good decision.” and various commenters are much more emphatic, bemoaning the lack of a backup for… Continue reading LORAN, we hardly knew ye

Now I understand the Viking Era

So I’m sitting here, looking out my window at the 3-foot snow and the 5-foot icicles, reverting to ancestral type. Thinking: “Fuck this. Let’s go sack Miklagard.”

Categorized as General

Opening Pandora’s Music box

I’ve been meaning to experiment with Pandora Radio for a while, and finally got to it today. It’s based on something called the “Music Genome Project” that categorizes music by how it expresses a large number of “genes” — traits that describe features like song structure, instrumentation, genre influences, and so forth. According to Wikipedia… Continue reading Opening Pandora’s Music box

Categorized as Music

The Great Blizzard of 2010

This is a bulletin for those of my regulars who know that I live smack-dab in the middle of the mid-Atlantic-coast region of the U.S. that’s just been hit by epic snowfall. We’re OK. It’s dangerous outside and we’re not planning on stirring out of sight of the house until the blizzard is over, but… Continue reading The Great Blizzard of 2010

Categorized as General

Naming and shaming the AGW fraudsters

James Delingpole, in Climategate: Time for the Tumbrils, noting the public collapse in credibility of AGW “science” utters a fine rant summed up in this wise (parochial references to British political figures and organizations omitted): I’m in no mood for being magnanimous in victory. I want the lying, cheating, fraudulent scientists prosecuted and fined or… Continue reading Naming and shaming the AGW fraudsters