Tuesday July 29th, 2014

RT Quinn Norton ‏@quinnnorton:

Those who would trade security for “security” have not being paying enough attention to this NSA bullshit.

Tech in education in Hoboken

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WNYC: Why Hoboken is throwing away all of its student laptops. Yet another technology in education boondoggle.

I'd say "failed", but it probably succeeded in getting some school administrators wined and dined, and transferred taxpayer dollars to private vendors, so considered in that light it was successful.

Considering retirement at 99

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Birthday bash to celebrate laser inventor Charles Townes’ 99th:

Only now nearing retirement – he plans to shutter his physics department office this summer, but will continue to make daily visits to his office at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory – Townes’ career highlights include a 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the laser ...

notorious for their extensive plumage

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Daily Dot: I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax, on how a couple of stoned pranking teenagers changed the history of Amelia Bedelia forever, and why you should never look to Wikipedia as a primary source (and vet the sources it references).

When I spoke to my co-author Evan on the phone the other night, he admitted he shared my guilt. “I guess I do kind of feel bad now that I know it’s been up for so long, and so many people repeated it,” he said. “We were just doing it because it was funny. And it was. It was really fucking funny.”

Polarization in political donations

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Vox: A stunning graph on how money polarizes politics. Which isn't really that stunning, we promote a cause when we believe in it:


Via an Ezra Klein tweet.

Thinking about modal separation light

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Thinking about modal separation (light rail, bus rapid transit, HOV lanes) in light of problems with bicycling in automobile traffic...

Giant spirograph

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Manufacturer funded outcomes

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Flutterby at Sinfest

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From Shadow, as well as my daily comic reads, yesterday's Sinfest has flutterbies!

Monday July 28th, 2014

Concealed weapons & murders

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Larry social mediad this, need to read further: Applied Economics Letters: An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates:

The purpose of the present study is to determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state-level murder rates. Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).

C-store clerk is also semi-pro MMA fighter

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Gas station clerk with MMA training surprises thieves. Because some times ya need a little heartwarming surveillance video in your life...

FIFA killing migrant workers

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As if you needed more reasons to be skeptical of sportsball (in this case soccer): Workers Who Built Qatar's World Cup HQ Haven't Been Paid In A Year:

The situation for migrant workers in Qatar, which one international organization believes will result in more deaths than 9/11, doesn't appear to be getting any better. The Guardian, which has been all over this story, has a new report on migrant workers who have not received payment in over a year and have been living in roach-infested flophouses.

Time travel

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RT Brandon Jones ‏@Tojiro:

Time travel will never be a thing, because otherwise masses of confused time travelers would have appeared at midnight on Jan 1, 1970.

Bechdel Test

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RT Charlotte ‏@chazzy_bbz

Two women walk into a bar, one says "you heard of the Bechdel test?", the other: "yeah my boyfriend told me about it the other day..."

(ref for the clueless)

TDD & type checking

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RT Mario Fusco ‏@mariofusco:

TDD replaces a type checker in a dynamically typed language in the same way that a bottle of whisky replaces your daily problems

Sunday July 27th, 2014

New circuits and receptacles are

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New circuits and receptacles are live! Still need to staple in the crawlspace and patch plaster, and install the smoke & CO alarms...

Conceding that in a world gone mad

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Conceding that in a world gone mad, sanity is still defined by the majority: installing the electrical sockets with the ground pin down.

Patent Trolls

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Saturday July 26th, 2014

Long day at a square dance caller

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Long day at a square dance caller workshop in the south bay. Home, with no energy for rewiring...

Friday July 25th, 2014

Still need to do stapling and put in a

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Still need to do stapling and put in a bunch of receptacles, but running wires and cutting holes for the new electrical is done!

Flower Power

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[1998 Coachman StarFlyte with Flower Power] Now the RV is ready for a trip across country to Burning Man. None of the mechanical or electrical stuff matters compared to adding a smidgen of whimsey. Nancy had a great time putting on these stickers from Hippie Motors.

Grrr: CMSs which think quotes are anything other than ASCII 34, and source code.

Minna Stess drops in

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I don't wanna say anything about parenting styles, but... 8 year old Minna Stess drops in on the MegaRamp at Woodward West in Tehachapi.

... When she was 3, she went to see the X Games 3D movie and saw Burnquist riding the MegaRamp at his house. As soon as she saw it, Minna poked her mom and said, "I want to do THAT!" ...

(Connection: She's a Petaluma resident.)

Thursday July 24th, 2014

great look at our gas tax vs

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A great look at our gas tax vs infrastructure spending: http://www.strongtowns.org/jou...on-the-gas-tax.html#.U9FtnvFEpOh

Not generally a Rand Paul fan

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Not generally a Rand Paul fan, but: reforming civil asset forfeiture! http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1204

Wednesday July 23rd, 2014

Wat, take 2

Wat? Fuuu... broke something.

Never give up, never surrender!

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A few from shadow

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Just closing off a few tabs from Shadow:

Tuesday July 22nd, 2014

Foreign and Domestic

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Arizona’s Checkpoint Rebellion: Liberals, libertarians, retirees, and activists protest against immigration patrols far from the border.

“I am not politically active,” says Richard Rynearson during a Skype call from South Korea. “I am a military officer, and I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from foreign and domestic enemies. When I am deployed I focus on foreign enemies, and when I am here, I focus on the domestic ones.”

Via MeFi.

Meta sign is meta

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Monday July 21st, 2014

Manufacturing terrorism

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Government agents 'directly involved' in most high-profile US terror plots:

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system's ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

Uber and the Denver PD

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My Uber got pulled over by the Denver police — and then things got really weird.

Did I really want to take a ride from an individual who clearly lied to me, then was evasive when I asked one basic question?

Believe me, this is not an easy thing to do when we are taught as youngsters to respect authority, the uniform, the badge, the gun (which was clearly visible in his holster).

I’m proud of my decision. I’m proud of my Uber driver (he was very professional, honest and calm).

reckless driving on a bicycle

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It's good to see that reckless vehicle operators are getting charged. Now if we can get reckless motor vehicle operators charged... Court rules that even on a bicycle, it's reckless driving.

Velasquez's lawyer sought to have the charge dismissed and said bicycles aren't considered vehicles under California's traffic laws. The defense cited a law that defines a "vehicle" as a device that can carry a person or property on a roadway, "excepting a device moved exclusively by human power."

The court found that a 1982 law determined that a bicycle operator "has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle." Which we know isn't true, but worked for the sake of this argument. But it is interesting that we have this place carved out for vehicle operation, rather than "dude got drunk and attacked somebody". Seems silly that the law carves out categories for what weapon the drunk was wielding.

CJR talks with Lucy Morgan

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RT Derek Willis ‏@derekwillis:

Whenever I get too proud of myself, I remember that Lucy Morgan's reporting in 2 FL counties sent 250 ppl to jail: http://www.cjr.org/united_stat...orida_newspaper_hall_of_fame.php

That is real journalism.

critiquing CUNY

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CUNY Professor Throws Shade on the Whole Damn System, Man: Epic resignation letter from a very disgruntled teacher.

I'm predisposed to agree with the critiques of the system, but there could be some hyperbole here. However, I hope this is so well written I really hope it leads to a book deal.

Red light cameras & fraud

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I am actually generally a fan of automated traffic enforcement. However: Chicago Tribune: Red light cameras tag thousands for undeserved tickets: Analysis of 4 million violations recorded since 2007 reveals suspicious patterns at dozens of intersections, raises questions about system's management.

Seems like two issues: First, this "partner with an outside company, they share the profits", rather than "buy the damned things like we do signals" is fraught with motivation for fraud.

Second: People in positions of law enforcement power, be they police officers or bureaucrats changing light timing and sensors, need to be held accountable to very high standards.

ie: This is the sort of thing that should have a guilty party looking to flee the country because life as an international fugitive is better than the punishment for trumping up a few quarters worth of reports.

New Republic: The Russian Public Has a Totally Different Understanding of What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. On how the Russian media are promoting conspiracy theories about the shooting down of that flight, and how that's impacting attitudes around Putin and response from the rest of the world.

Also worth thinking about how media outlets everywhere are probably doing similar things, ie: the various changing headlines and reframings of what's happening between Israel and Gaza right now.

Sunday July 20th, 2014

I know I have whined before

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I know I have whined before, but: FU engineers who spec 50 in/lbs on pot metal bolts w/straight cut screwdriver slots in electrical panels.

It's just eight o'clock I'm already

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It's just eight o'clock & I'm already into thinking about ripping out & replacing all the stuff the contractor who worked on this last did.

Am exploring retooling my productive coding environment, again. One driving factor is updating everything to the "improved" MySQL connectors in PHP, or using a database abstraction layer to be able to support MySQL/Maria 5.6 or other databases. Another is better supporting some of the good stuff in HTML5. I've been browsing various PHP frameworks this morning and I still find them overly abstract. I might as well learn a new language as well. Am seriously considering writing, from scratch, again, everything.

How often do most of you "retool"? ie: Start over with the same tools using what you have learned, or with a completely new language/toolset?

Or maybe I can make a living as a metal sculpture artist?