22 June, 2007

My name is Rather. And I’m a dick.


Not much money, but they didn’t ask too many questions and they didn’t have any nosy “fact checkers.”

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t little Katie Couric,”

She stood there, perky and defiant, atop a pair of muscular cheerleader’s calves that looked powerful enough to snap a co-anchor in two.

“Oh Danny, Danny, Danny!” she sobbed. “I’m in an awful fix! The auditors found over three million missing from the Nielsen account, and they’re blaming it on me!

20 June, 2007


I'm not paralyzed but I seem to be struck by you

I want to make you move because your standing still

If your body matches what your eyes can do

You'd probably move right through me on my way to you

Finger 11

Buy it here

12 June, 2007

Gods of Fusion

Funny but geekily twisted

"I would not want to be taken prisoner by people who entertain themselves by burning puppies to death."

That's a quote from this post at Classical Values.

I have to agree with it and will go quite a bit further. I have been following Balko's tracking of these incidents and the tragedies related to SWAT raids for quite some time but they had become numbing to me.

Like a lot of blog topics you see it over and over again until interest wains. Of course in this case that reaction is horrible. These are human beings (and in the dogs case humans property [and friends]) that are being killed or harmed in these false or stupidly incorrect raids. Unfortunately I was pretty numb to them. I would check Balko out periodically but what can you really do?

This weekend I saw something that woke me up to it again (at least for a little while) I was watching a COPS type show on the Dallas SWAT team and what I saw appalled me. The show was glorifying it and clearly playing up the "hero" factor but I saw a bunch of nearly juvenile thugs. There were three raids in the show for all three put together they must have gotten almost a pound of marijuana and a dozen or so crack rocks. To clear the obviously massive amount of illicit material from the streets they literally pulled the side of two houses off and destroyed the doors and windows of the third. The tear gassed and held children (3 to 7 year olds) at gun point and clubbed clearly disoriented (but not resisting) people of many ages.

I'll admit they found some drugs in each house but the amount in each case makes me believe it is far more likely that it was the family's teen that had it than any trafficking.

So these people's houses were destroyed, the children traumatized, the parents beaten, machine guns shoved into their heads, professional lives probably ruined (can you imagine explaining why you need time off for something like this) because their teenager had a few cigarettes worth of illegal drugs.

The culmination of the show was them using a .50 cal rifle to take out the engine block of a hijacked semi. This one was a little bit closer to acceptable to me because of the fact that there was definitely an armed and dangerous person on board but I couldn't help but thinking this was a needless action. Where was the semi going to go to? It couldn't possibly outrun the police and it was being driven by a sane person (even though she was at gun point). Which is more likely to make the hijacker freak out and kill the driver? Running out of gas after a 4 hour cooling down time or being shot at with a .50 cal sniper rifle from the back of an armored personnel carrier? Well? At least they didn't shoot her dog when it jumped out of the cab.

Don't get me wrong I am all for police being able to defend themselves and even aggressively pursuing potential culprits. I am not a drug legalization freak either. They are increadably harmful (even weed) and need to stay illegal. I think that police need to be given a great amount of leeway in how they deal with threats. I also think they need to do everything in their power to deescalate and there has to be some accountability. This is triply true in the case of mistaken identity.

In my job I can get fired and in the case of SoX possibly sent to jail for unknowingly making a mistake. Are you telling me a demonstrably innocent person can get killed and the police involved don't get any scrutiny at all? Or only a few days suspension. I am sorry that is just unacceptable.

I am also of the opinion that it isn't always directly the officer's fault. Someone running the department created the environment where these things can happen. In the case of accidental deaths in forced entry of the wrong address the police chief should be at least as culpable as the CEO of a mismanaged company.

This is just wrong.

11 June, 2007

Bigotry of Condescension

Very interesting interview with Spiegel

Money Quote

"So you end up with some African biochemist driving an aid worker around, distributing European food, and forcing local farmers out of their jobs."

Via Instapundit

08 June, 2007

Same as it ever was

Tesla did this a long time ago.

I kind of wonder what kind of ionizing effect this has on cells (Specifically the DNA in the cells) exposed to the energy. I hope they study that some first.

07 June, 2007

Disturbing Babies from Wired

I am not sure which is more disturbing the Cthulhu baby


The Giant Robot Baby

Has Wired be acquired by the Enquirer while I was reading some Lovecraft?

Bit Bucket Reasearch

From Wired

Mildly interesting article.

06 June, 2007

All he said was, 'Retired captain. USMC.' I said, "You'll do"

Believe it or not a great article at the Boston Globe

Money Quotes

"a couple of grandfathers took care of the situation."

"I figured he would go up there and step on somebody's neck, and that would be the end of it."

Found Via BlackFive

Neural Networks in Process Control Environments

This is pretty interesting at Emerson

I found it via the Emerson Process Control Blog

I would think you would have to be very careful on how feedback paths (internally to the controllers or within the process itself) effect variability in the control functions (especially unforeseen cascades) but it does look like it has quite a few interesting applications.

04 June, 2007

Quote of the Week

So I was discussing the relative merits of the US and Canadian health care systems with a Canadian friend of mine at lunch and he was pointing out for most services the Canadian health care system is exactly like the US one but free.

He then put out a deliberately snarky quote that made me laugh till I couldn't breath.

"I'd rather have a life threatening disease in the US though..."

Radiation Eating Fungi?

This is a pretty interesting Article from Sci Am