packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
Post edited ~5:20p EDT - thanks, [ profile] zwol!

Well, I'm coming back into blogging with a fury, aren't I? First politics, and now religion!

Those of you who do not follow the atheist blogosphere may not be aware of the long, boring back-and-forths between the "New Atheists" and the "accommodationists". To summarize: the latter frequently accuse the former of being mean to theists (people who believe that one or more gods exist) and the former retort that the latter are being intellectually dishonest. What's annoying about it is that the argument never actually connects to the essential disagreement, edit: rarely gets back to actual questions of fact. The latest brouhaha, for example, relates to a question which "New Atheists" answer in the negative and many "accommodationists" answer in the positive: do any people have sufficient intellectual justification to believe that a god is real?

And for that reason, I want to congratulate Larry Moran, who is addressing this question.

This brings me to my challenge. I challenge all theists and all their accommodationist friends to post their very best 21st century, sophisticated (or not), arguments for the existence of God. They can put them in the comments section of this posting, or on any of the other atheist blogs, or on their own blogs and websites. Just send me the link.

(Link via pharyngula.)

If anyone in the audience believes that there are good reasons to believe that a god exists (or has a friend who so believes), please contact Prof. Moran (or have your friend do so) by Saturday, October 2.

As a footnote, though: I realize that there are a subset of people who would answer in the affirmative to the question above without answering Moran's challenge: some people believe that they possess evidence good enough to convince themselves, but that their evidence cannot be communicated to anyone else. Whether this is true is a philosophical question, and one which I would be glad to discuss ... but unrelated to the announcement.

Remember: if you believe that a God exists and you can prove it, or if you know someone who so believes, tell Larry Moran by Saturday, October 2.

packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
Via kirabug, a proper description of the instinctive drowning response:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Read the rest, and read the prequel about cold water survival.
packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
As you know, Bob, I have been switching from Livejournal to Dreamwidth as my primary social network blogging hub, due to repeated unkind behavior by the LJ overlords.

Well, part of that is canceling my paid subscription. I will no longer give Livejournal my money, and as of July 1st that will mean that my LJ account will be reverting to some kind of basic presumably-ad-supported form. Please do not buy me a new subscription.

Thank you for your time and trouble.
packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
Via [ profile] roaminrob: Arithmetic, Population, and Energy by Dr. Albert A. Bartlett, uploaded in eight parts. ~75 minutes.

Part One.

I've posted some links because I was curious about your opinion; this one I think is important, clear, and convincing. Unfortunately, I don't see a good way of summarizing it - wonderingmind42, who uploaded it, did a pretty iffy job with the title, in my book - but I'll try: the lecture is about the nature of steady percentage growth (e.g. 7%/year) and the policy implications that come out of the arithmetic. You don't need anything more than multiplication and division to follow the reasoning - the most difficult calculation is for the doubling time, and that goes

years to double = 70 / % growth per year

which is accurate to one part in twenty for any growth rate up to 12%/year.

I think it's worth at least 90 minutes of your time - 75 minutes is a steal at the price.
packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
As a number of people have noted, Livejournal placed into their software for a period of time code which would do two rude things:

1. Alter links to ecommerce sites to forward users to a particular company's URL.
2. Replace affiliate markers on such links with a different affiliate marker.

...and do these things on every link on Livejournal, regardless of context. [ profile] shatterstripes looked into this from the technical side, and made a series of relevant informative posts, but the implications are clear: they were mining money from everyone on Livejournal without telling anyone that's what they were doing.

I personally like my Dreamwidth+crosspost solution, and have three invitations on hand, but I'm not going to remove all my LJ content. If you are staying on LJ, I will still be paying attention - if you are migrating elsewhere, please let me know so I can find you there.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
I apologize for the perfunctory and belated nature of this notice, but ...

... I have a problem. My life habits are ill-suited to being a regular Internet denizen - like an alcoholic, I invariably binge, rather than partake, and I find myself interrupting or putting off things I need to do, like working, sleeping, eating, to refresh, archive-trawl, and read and comment.

Given this, I'm dropping all of it - webcomics, weblogs, Wikis, and fora - for the foreseeable future, and I will probably never be active in the way I was. There is a chance that I may revive a few of the less busy feeds, the more idiosyncratic and compelling feeds, to read in small bits at irregular intervals - I was thinking Plan B, possibly Thirteen Ribbons - but this blog and the other will probably fall fallow, and my Twitter, definitely.

Be well.

(P.S. My final bookmarks file.)
packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
A man in crazy pajamas atop a skyscraper rains laser death down on the streets. He's laughing as he does it.

Below, fires bloom for the news cameras. Reporters duck debris as they yammer on about demands and manifestoes and terror.
Meanwhile, in the background, the screams of scorched innocents melt into the wail of sirens.

It makes me angry. My cheeks burn with it -- or that just might be from the wind.

The madman grows closer and closer, impossibly fast. His eyes widen as he lifts his weapon in my direction. He won't make it in time.

My hands tighten into fists as I brace for impact.

I have a set of crazy pajamas of my own.

Truth & Justice is a superhero RPG Eric Burns-White (nee Burns) recommended ages ago.

I desperately want to play this thing.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (twisty little passages)
...are a toxic mix, for unknown reasons - the third causes the second to crash the first. Forum thread here - the short version is, "go into Mail's Preferences, and in the GrowlMail pane set Notifications to 'Show a summary of received emails'. Or uninstall Safari 4."

Edit: Courtesy of [ profile] codeman38 at [ profile] macintosh, a third way: go into the GrowlMail pane and delete the line in the "Description:" box which says %body.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (nomicide)
The world's most active Livejournal Nomic*, [ profile] nomicide, is running a game of Mafia! The entry poll is open all week, but only to current players, so if you like the idea of a game where changing the rules is a move, there's no better time to join than now! Nomicide Mafia - it's where it's at!

(geez, I feel so weird when I shill this thing.)

(I wonder if I should repost this to [ profile] community_promo...)

* Also the world's only active Livejournal Nomic, but that's surely unrelated.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
Let's face it. You're in a blog rut.

Most of the time, you write about more of the same kinda stuff that you usually write about.

Maybe it's your day-to-day life, the stuff you did. Maybe it's topical news response. Maybe it's short fiction. Maybe it's re-linking random stuff you see on the internet. Maybe it's LOLCAT porn. (I hope it's not LOLCAT porn.) Maybe it's here on LiveJournal, or it's over on Vox, or Blogspot or Blogger or Blogblog or Postablogablowablog, or WordPress or Facebook or FacePress or FacePlant or maybe it's just your Twitter account. It's what you're comfortable with, I know, I know...

...but why not try doing something different, just for a day?

Tuesday. January 27th. Rabbit Hole Day is coming.

Pass it on.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Earth:Harmless/WikiGuide)
[ profile] goblinpaladin pointed it out here, and I managed to track back a step to here, but I don't know who actually wrote it. It doesn't matter, though. It still needs saying.

Cut for triggering potential. )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
Some good advice, acquired via the Battleship Puzzle-A-Day Desk Calendar: when you have made a list of possibilities and have eliminated all but one, try to eliminate that one too. If you find that you can, you will know you have made an error.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
From Making Light: A Japanese company, Genepax, has announced and demonstrated a new fuel cell system that runs on water..

Allow me to be careful for a moment. This is important enough - and I happen to be well-trained enough in the relevant field - to make strong statements about, and I do not want to leave a false impression.


It is impossible to make a fuel cell system that runs on water. Further, it is impossible to devise a process for separating water into hydrogen and oxygen that costs less useful energy than the fuel cell produces by recombining the two. Any person claiming to be capable of doing so is, to borrow a phrase, a lunatic, a liar, or Lord of the Cosmos.

I am not even joking. Of course, in this case, I'm betting it's (a) or (b), for a very simple reason: the machine described in these articles violates conservation of energy. To quote Sean Carroll's Alternative-Science Checklist:

Scientific claims — whether theoretical insights or experimental breakthroughs — don’t exist all by their lonesome. They are situated within a framework of pre-existing knowledge and expectations. If the claim you are making seems manifestly inconsistent with that framework, it’s your job to explain why anyone should nevertheless take you seriously. Whenever someone claims to build a perpetual-motion device, scientist solemnly reiterate that the law of conservation of energy is not to be trifled with lightly. Of course one must admit that it could be wrong — it’s only one law, after all. But when you actually build some machine that purportedly puts out more ergs than it consumes (in perpetuity), it does a lot more than violate the law of conservation of energy. That machine is made of atoms and electromagnetic fields, which obey the laws of atomic physics and Maxwell’s equations. And conservation of energy can be derived from those laws — so you’re violating those as well.

Genepax is pulling a scam, intentionally or not. The only possible way their device could work is by annihilating the entire modern structure of physics and chemistry simultaneously, and destroy them far more thoroughly than general relativity and quantum mechanics destroyed their respective predecessors. Do not even dream of betting against those kind of odds.

One final note, for those who may be curious: it was not any special wisdom of mine that allowed me to come so rapidly to the above conclusion. It was a simple three-step process:

1. Diagram the claimed process - where the fuel comes in, where the energy and known waste comes out. (You have to have waste come out - that's the second law of thermodynamics.)

                ________________________    _____________
water (fuel) -> | Genepax's MEA system | -> | Fuel Cell | -> water (waste)
                ------------------------    -------------
                                                      L----> energy

2. Add up the known outputs and subtract the inputs. (The inputs are always known. They're the things you have to pay for.) Compare to zero.

(energy + water) - water = energy > zero

3. If the answer is greater than zero, it's a scam. Q.E.D.

If any part of the above is unclear, I will gladly explain in the comments. Thank you for your time.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I don't know how many of you have been following the LJ Advisory Board elections ([ profile] lj_election_en), but here's my preferred slate: tango, sollitaire, and lordandrei. From what I know (including my brother's slight personal acquaintance with [ profile] tango) these three seem to be the best qualified to work with Livejournal for improvement and most knowledgeable about the problems the advisory board may face. In any case, the election voting closes Thursday at 9 p.m. PDT.

Carry on.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (sad mac)
Dunna work.

Or, if you prefer, EPIC FAIL.

(Summary, as far as I can tell so far: Mac OS X 10.5 uses the new, fancy, consistent standard that works perfectly with new, fancy, consistent networks, if you ever find one. When faced with a router with the old firmware - like any of them at UMD - the new OS, unlike XP, Linux, Mac OS X 10.3, and other such, breaks.)

(It's Comcastic! And, ironically, very Windows Vista.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse) (ironically) borrow a phrase.

Just did a flist purge. Let me know if you noticed and want back on. Don't have time any more for some of this stuff - if, as your brain thinks, anything you make time to do is important, I'm making way to much crap important. (Will be doing a blog purge anon.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (wtfcu)
Interesting (in a very whiskey-tango-foxtrot sort of way) fact of the day: Sunny D contains canola oil.

Best, [ profile] packbat
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (butterfly)
Via [ profile] the_gneech, [ profile] crisper, [ profile] goblinpaladin, and [ profile] active_apathy (I steal the post outright from the last):
"I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else." (Source)

Ernest Gary Gygax, 1938-2008

(And, for the terminally irreverent among you: Penny Arcade, The Ferret's list.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

May 5 Is Online Comics Day!

Every year on this day, Internet comic makers and fans get out to help build community in and build awareness of the world of great comic strips and graphic novels that people make available online. Many are free, many others inexpensive; some serials, some short stories, some daily gags, some personal journals; some beautiful in their artistry, others amusing in their sloppiness; some with millions of readers, others only a few loyal fans; and all available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

If you are already a fan, go ahead and tell your friends to take a look around today. If you aren't, then check out these links for some of my personal favorites - you may find something new and wonderful you've never seen before.

(Comics marked with an asterisk (*) are teen-safe. Or, well, teen-safe enough for the newspapers - use your own judgment.)

Online Comics Day 2007 -
The hub for this year's celebration of comics on the Internet.
Freefall - *
A silly yet serious hard SF comic, following the crew of the Savage Chicken as they work towards fame, glory, discovery, and not getting blown up on and near a newly terraformed planet.
Schlock Mercenary - *
The galaxy-spanning hard science fiction epic of Tagon's Toughs, a crew of mercenaries, as they run from the law, blackmail and double-charge their clients, and set off interstellar wars.
A Miracle of Science - *
The complete story of a government agent assigned to apprehending sufferers of Science-Related Memetic Disorder - mad-scientist disease - and the member of the Martian group intelligence he's partnered with.
Dicebox -
A beautifully-illustrated graphic novel about a pair of interstellar itinerants in a futuristic world.
Get Medieval - *
The zany adventures of a group of outcasts hiding on a primitive planet in an minor spiral arm of an average-sized galaxy - that is, fourteenth century Earth.
Bruno -
A down-to-earth story about a confused young woman wandering through life, seeking meaning. Complete story.
Freebird - *
The story of an ex-housewife wanderer leaving her old life to start anew in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Planet Karen -
The optimistic and good-spirited graphic diary of Karen Ellis, goth and comic artist in England.
Malfunction Junction -
The pessimistic and irreverent (and hilarious) graphic diary of Matt Milby, artist and gas station attendant in Columbus, Ohio.
Kaspall -
The fantasy tale of inhabitants of a town built on a swarm of dimensional portals as a supernatural mystery unfolds.
Mnemesis -
The complete story of two people waking up in an odd afterlife with no memory of who they were. Exciting and tragic, with a unique look.

Unofficial Online Comics Day poster by Robin Zimmermann - please copy and distribute!

RTF file.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
(I didn't know "midwifery" was a word – did you?)

In celebration of ... none of these, actually, a piece of news: Matt Boyd is first fired for talking about target shooting, then visited by the police for webcomicking about it.

List of suggested 'new-to-webcomics'-comics later.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
As one who cares deeply about the idea of accurate product labeling, I am appalled that the FDA is considering loosening its regulations. To use the only example that has been made public, allowing food like cocoa with vegetable oil to be referred to as "chocolate" is certain to be detrimental to the health of millions of Americans who seek out the genuine article in part for its demonstrated beneficial properties (the antioxidants help reduce strokes and heart failure), not to mention the millions of Americans with allergies to peanuts, canola oil, and other common substitute ingredients.

Can it fail to be obvious what will result from legislation along these lines? Our country is in the midst of what has been widely described as an "obesity epidemic". One even sees in new immigrants a sudden surge of heart attacks during their first months here. And regulations like the proposed would make it impossible for naive customers to protect themselves from yet another source of unhealthy fats.

I say again: I am appalled that the institution that was founded because of the 1906 Food and Drugs Act precisely to prevent "the addition of any ingredients that would substitute for the food, conceal damage, pose a health hazard, or constitute a filthy or decomposed substance" - and the vegetable oils replacing the cocoa butter would qualify under both the first and the third of these - would consider such a destructive regulation.

See Making Light's post for links to further information – the period for public comment on this docket ends April 25.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Giuliani's no good, and Romney maybe not much better.

Crane says he was disappointed with Romney's answer to his question the other night. Crane asked if Romney believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review. Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind. Crane said that he had asked Giuliani the same question a few weeks ago. The mayor [Giuliani] said that he would want to use this authority infrequently. (emphasis added)

I hope I don't have to explain why no human being should have this authority. If you don't already believe this, consider hilzoy's take at Obsidian Wings (I got the from her, and she got it from Glenn Greenwald at Salon).
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (butterfly)
Cherie Priest (author) is posting today a link to a program to send books to New Orleans prisoners. (I quote the title from her post.) The post talking about the program, "Books2Prisoners", is here. And I quote from that post:

So, this is the part where I tell you that books matter (but you already know that) and ask you please to do something with the many free books you have that might just make the world a better place. I'm not naive - I know that a book can not cure poverty, or broken homes or a crappy education or gang violence. But I'm also not a fool and I do know that without some movement towards positive change, nothing will happen at all. It's easy to shake your head and turn off the news and go back to your middle class lifestyle with all of its clean countertops, minivans and trips to the Gap. This is the harder part, and believe me, I'm no easier to motivate than anyone else, but I feel like with the world going to hell in a handbasket, I have to do something - we all have to do something.

This project resonates so strongly with me because I come from a life that needed the library desperately, that saw one comic book purchase every payday (every two weeks) because that was all my parents could afford. I spent all year waiting for Christmas and the chance to own some books of my own. We weren't poor, but we were close - we could see it and feel it and taste it. We lived paycheck to paycheck and I have never forgotten how close you can be to having nothing; how small the distance is from security to loss.

A book is just a book - on one level. But it's also the whole world if you haven't seen it before, it's places and people and ideas you never knew existed. Every great reader out there knows a book can change everything when it is the right book at the right time.

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (swing dismount)
I'm sure all of you have heard of the recent bomb scare in Boston following an Aqua Teen Hunger Force marketing campaign. Making Light has been doing fantastic coverage of this crisis; in addition to the post linked above, they have provided some analysis of the continuing actions of the Boston police department that is well worth reading. However, a source has alerted me to an important press conference by the two men indicted in this matter.

As a proud afro-wearer, I approve this message.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Well, it's official: [ profile] nomicide will be the LJ comm. for my and [ profile] active_apathy's Nomic game. Everyone who wants to play ([ profile] kevinpease, you said you were interested?) should answer here.

In other news, [ profile] crisper has reminded us that January 27, Rabbit Hole Day, approaches. This Saturday. As the man said, take a break from the Every Day and write about your Rabbit Hole Day. Your normal life will be waiting for you when you get back.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (swing dismount)
"The Suburban Jungle" got deleted on Wikipedia.

Right now, I am of two feelings about Wikipedia. On the one hand, it's pretty useful for a quick reference – if I'm reading my webcomics and run into a reference to Dennis Miller, thirty seconds and I know what I need to – but at least in the past year or two, it has developed a dismaying trend towards deletion.

I'm talking to [ profile] nanakikun about this, and he's pointed out a huge problem: the process is biased towards deletion. All articles are guilty non-notable until proven notable. To delete an article requires nothing but, "I don't see proof that this article is important" – a fellow could delete five thousand files a day, and some people do – while to relist takes, at the minimum, half an hour to track down sources per article.

I don't know why things are this way. As [ profile] nanakikun has pointed out, you can't change anything without knowing what is going on. But something is massively broken.

The deletion review is here, by the way.


Dec. 31st, 2006 09:57 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (swing dismount)
One piece of news I missed in the second-from-last post: I now have Skype. Just look for robin.zimm – that's me!

G'nite, 2006 people! Wake up safe in '07!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
I am going to be entirely overwhelmed these next few days with finals and final projects. (Also, I won't have a computer to play on the Intarwebs with, since my laptop's dead and my desktop going on blocks for the winter break.) I'll not be around until the 21st at the earliest.

The following links are for my own reference, mostly, but you may be entertained:

Also, two quotes for the file:

Gee, this really repetitive task that's going to take me half an hour would only take me five minutes if I spent two hours working out the right code to automate it for me.
— Fade the Cat (i.e. [ profile] fadethecat.)

[I]n my opinion nothing occurs contrary to nature except the impossible, and that never occurs.
— Sagredo, "Two New Sciences" (1914 translation), Galileo Galilei
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
You know those Gillette Mach 3® razors? You know how the blades get clogged with hairs sometimes, and it's hard to get them to come out? Today, I accidentally figured it out. If you have a few inches of water in the sink, and you swish the razor parallel to the head (in line with the blades), the hairs come right out. Darnedest thing.

...I wonder if that works with all razors.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
A last note before the U.S. elections tomorrow.

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)

Attention US Military Personnel:

You are not required to obey an unlawful order.

You are required to disobey an unlawful order.

You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The Constitution states (Article VI):

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Here is article 3, the common article, to the Geneva Conventions, a duly ratified treaty made under the authority of the United States:

Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is straightforward and clear. Under Article VI of the Constitution, it forms part of the supreme law of the land.

You personally will be held responsible for all of your actions, in all countries, at all times and places, for the rest of your life. “I was only following orders” is not a defense.

What all this is leading to:

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, it is your duty to disobey that order. No “clarification,” whether passed by Congress or signed by the president, relieves you of that duty.

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, this is what to do:

1. Request that your superior put the order in writing.

2. If your superior puts the order in writing, inform your superior that you intend to disobey that order.

3. Request trial by courtmartial.

You will almost certainly face disciplinary action, harassment of various kinds, loss of pay, loss of liberty, discomfort and indignity. America relies on you and your courage to face those challenges.

We, the people, need you to support and defend the Constitution. I am certain that your honor and patriotism are equal to the task.

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (RZ Ambigram)
The Nuclear Weather Rock prints I mentioned last month are now on preorder, if anyone is interested.

(Here's the original comic, if you want to check it first.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
A little story:

A few days ago, a relatively obscure online comicist known as kirabug published a one-page comic describing the use of a nuclear reactor as a weather rock. It's a cute little comic, and she has a very high-resolution version on disk, so she asked if anyone would be interested in buying a print.

Unfortunately, she only had one nibble. Me. (It's under my forum name, "peri_renna", but it's me.)

Now, as it happens, she does have some ideas of how she might set up a print run. However, as it says in the link, she'd need 6-8 sales to break even on the deal.

So, anyone interested? Let her know.

Disclaimer: The print run probably won't happen if she can't get the sales. And, like I said, I'm the only one who expressed interest.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (RZ Ambigram)
From ^z – a sampling:

1. Engineering is done with numbers. Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.
6. (Mar's Law) Everything is linear if plotted log-log with a fat magic marker.
8. In nature, the optimum is almost always in the middle somewhere. Distrust assertions that the optimum is at an extreme point.
9. Not having all the information you need is never a satisfactory excuse for not starting the analysis.
13. Design is based on requirements. There's no justification for designing something one bit "better" than the requirements dictate.
16. The previous people who did a similar analysis did not have a direct pipeline to the wisdom of the ages. There is therefore no reason to believe their analysis over yours. There is especially no reason to present their analysis as yours.
19. The odds are greatly against you being immensely smarter than everyone else in the field. If your analysis says your terminal velocity is twice the speed of light, you may have invented warp drive, but the chances are a lot better that you've screwed up.
25. (Bowden's Law) Following a testing failure, it's always possible to refine the analysis to show that you really had negative margins all along.

And my favorite:

26. (Montemerlo's Law) Don't do nuthin' dumb.

Here is the canonical list.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
[ profile] nanakikun just found the secret to the Sega Genesis Sonic 2 game. Well, to the Casino level. Well, no, just for the final boss.

In that level, Dr. Eggman Robotnik flies back and forth in his ship, with a mine-dropping electric-zappy thing on the bottom. The only way to attack him is to hit him spinning from above. However, the pinball flippers they give you to jump up with are too uncontrolled.

However, the bottom of the screen has rounded corners. Thus, you can – charge-spin? Push down and hit the button, anyway – you can stand under the flippers and charge-spin, and when Dr. Wiley Robotnik stops to drop his mine, you move, roll up above him on the wall, and jump off the wall. You'll be able to hit Dr. Evil Robotnik once with this, and then run over to the other side "while he's busy feeling sorry for himself" (exact [ profile] nanakikun quote).

Yeah, it only defeats Dr. No Robotnik in that one level. But it's a really annoying level otherwise.

There – now all you non-retrogamers can wake up again (and answer my Truth or Happiness poll).
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
This was inspired by [ profile] the_zaniak's post about his funeral.

I think I'd like my funeral in a graveyard.

Read more... )

Oh, as for the legal stuff, the above is in the manner of brainstorming, not final instructions. That said, should I be struck by a car tomorrow, I would like knowing during my final moments that the service will resemble what I herein described.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I am sinking.

I am spending too much time wasted. I will do so no longer, at least until June. I apologize to [ profile] chanlemur – I'll read your meme story when I'm back. Everyone else: have fun without me. I need to do my work.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
[ profile] the_gneech is probably best known as the creator of the webcomic Suburban Jungle, which I don't read. (Yet.) However, he is also the author of a series of vignettes about two characters named Brigid and Greg.

These things are wicked funny. My fav., so far. One of its successors. Yet another sample. Awesome.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (RZ Ambigram)
Looking back through my journal archives, I realize that I never mentioned how good a writer [ profile] chanlemur is. I first found his writing through Narbonic (he wrote (is writing?) "A Brief Moment of Culture"), but he has consistently impressed me in his other ventures, both comic and serious. Even those which are triggered by such a minor thing as a little meme that's been going around.

Yesterday, for that meme, he wrote The Thousand and First Paper Crane. It is a gorgeous story.

That's all I came to say.

Disclaimer: Chanlemur has this journal friended, and I have his journal friended. These facts had no bearing on the above – his work stands on its own merits.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (RZ Ambigram)
One week from today!

Edit: Official one-week reminder.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
[ profile] crisper has posted an announcement reminding all and sundry of the upcoming Second Annual LiveJournal Rabbit Hole Day.

Check the comments, too – [ profile] crisper posted a couple links to Rabbit Hole entries from last year.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
From Google News:

I was alerted to this story from my mom: apparently, even after having gone to bed to sleep off their drunk, people are often still under the influence due to their blood alcohol level not having fallen sufficiently. In the TV report she saw, they tested three people, and none of them were sober the morning after (although one was under the limit, but still impaired).

So, a couple rules to remember, perhaps: (a) It takes time to clear alcohol out of the system, and (b) If you're hungover, don't drive – you might be still drunk.

Good night to all!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's birthday is one month from today, on January 27. The man is best known as Lewis Carroll, and as Lewis Carroll he is best known for his two books about Alice, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass – wondrous books, and widely loved.

In honor of his birthday, [ profile] crisper instituted the Annual Livejournal Rabbit Hole Day, to occur on January 27. It is a day for Livejournalists to post blog entries from other universes, for everyone to take a dive through the famous Rabbit Hole to land in another universe. Here's one collection of links to such entries from last year, just as examples of what has been done.

January 27. Spread the word.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
Making Light is one of the best blogs out there, with excellent writing and a community of intelligent commenters. Today a post on hypothermia appeared. Very good advice, and well-written.

I, of course, linked it purely so I could quote this paragraph:
The buddy system isn’t just for Girl Scouts. If you go into the woods, take a friend. When his teeth start chattering, his lips turn blue, and he starts acting goofy, you’re hypothermic too.

Excellent reversal of expectations there, and probably more true than it looks.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Some observations on Pearl Harbor Day:
  • This morning, the flags at the University administration building were at half-mast.
  • Making Light has a post here, with an excellent comments thread, a timetable, and the text of Franklin Roosevelt's famous speech to Congress on the following day, beginning "Yesterday, 7 December 1941—a date which will live in infamy—"
  • As someone mentioned in that thread, Wikipedia's article on the Pearl Harbor attack is quite good.

A lot of people remember the significance of 11 September, 2001. Although I didn't remember today's significance until I saw that post, and I saw no mention of it anywhere else on my regular reading list, I think that no attack on America since its inception has been so important as the one that happened sixty-four years ago today.


packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

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