Friday, July 13, 2007

Blog Hiatus

I'd planned to write more, but ran out of time. Like to toon above says, see you when I see you.

Don't mess up the planet.

That's my job.



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Plastics V. 5,642

Finally, us bio geeks will steal a march on the computer geeks. At least according to Freeman Dyson, nipped from IP:

It has become part of the accepted wisdom to say that the twentieth century was the century of physics and the twenty-first century will be the century of biology. Two facts about the coming century are agreed on by almost everyone. Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century. Biology is also more important than physics, as measured by its economic consequences, by its ethical implications, or by its effects on human welfare.

It's about getting my chocolate in your peanut butter. And vice versa.

Great end to a short week

Picking up my allotment of ambien at my local doc. Come outside, and see this nice lady has managed to ram her car into mine.


On the other hand, got a fully liscenced copy of Parallels running now. Pretty cool. It took the screenshot in mac and just dragged it over to windows.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Flesh made new?

Plastics, young man. Plastics.

More on J. Craig Venter, from the New York Times:

That hasn’t stopped synthetic biologists from dreaming. “Grow a house” is on the to-do list of the M.I.T. Synthetic Biology Working Group, presumably meaning that an acorn might be reprogrammed to generate walls, oak floors and a roof instead of the usual trunk and branches. “Take over Mars. And then Venus. And then Earth” —the last items on this modest agenda.

Doods been getting a ton of press, lately.

The Future of TACAIR

Look, I can applaud the Air Lords for recapitalizing the A-10 fleet. At eight million dracma a bird, they'll keep 252 A-10s flying for another couple of decades.

That same cost would buy you about six to eight F-22s.

But given the knife's edge the Air Lords have kept the A-10 program, I'm skeptical of their grab for the Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


And instructive. I posted a short over at the Baen's Bar and got taken to the proverbial woodshed by pros. All valid critiques. If your a poor writer like myself, I'd suggest posting there. And improving.

Pretty awesome

Start small, and stay there.

My new motto.

Thomas P.M. Barnett links to the global incident map and finds it of marginal usefulness. He goes on for a bit and the says:

That was my primary reason in defining the Core-Gap breakdown in the first place: the Core has all sorts of rule sets, the Gap largely lacks them.

Now, work with me for a moment. We recently went through the "Immigration Debate." There's still plenty of fallout to occupy your attention, but let me tease out this: the idea that immigrants (largely code for Mexicans, let's be honest) are coming to Merka for a better life. Of course they are. Unless you're one of the oligarchs fortunate enough to be positioned in the soft-european elite that make up Mexico City, Mexico stinks. So you move.

Brings me to this from my mindmap:

Pretty simple, right (but then most things are)? Compared to the U.S., Mexico is a dysfunctional oil republic, so of course people move. Now, this disrupts our borders, impacts our health care system, and forces change within Merkan borders. So we need to adjust our practices to absorb the influx of people seeking a better life, Right?

Or, we can effect change within Mexico. Get Mexico to start acting in it's own best interest. Which means trending towards a more minimalist rule set. Effect this over time, then Mexicans will only cross the borders to host the Nightly News, like Cannucks currently do (well that and healthcare).

But Mexico is not "our" country. So? It is our problem. Borders bleed.

Now let's extend this.

Barnett's latest in Knoxnews is entitled "Army America needs versus the wars Americans prefer to wage."

Second graph:

The big-war crowd wants to write off Iraq as an aberration, preferring instead to focus on conventional war with rising powers like China. The small-wars faction envisions a future in which messy insurgencies are the norm.

Reminds me of the whole global warming debate. See, global warming is the problem we wished we had.

Sea Fighter. The original Littoral Combat Ship.

Now, the Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense, went from the above, to testbedding the USS Freedom and Independence. Now, I'm not a certified navalogist, but this seems like a dead stick to me (spot the obscure movie reference?). The beauty of sea fighter was in cost (cheap), replication (many copies) and value (crew aside, damn near disposable). She'd give the Navy the ability to be everywhere at once.

But instead, the
Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense went with this slimmed down Arleigh Burke version of the Littoral Combat Ship:

All hat, no cattle. A 2.5in pea shooter (were standard 5inchers considered too aggressive), cost overruns, fewer copies. They're "Big War" hedges. Call me crazy, but which picture represents the foreseeable fight:

There is a big divide, in the ether of Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense.

Between big, expensive and sexy:

And cheap, effective and ugly:

Interesting quote from the wiki:

Some believe that LCS is a "preemptive strike" intended to create a successor to frigates before former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could replace them with "Sea Fighter": a concept for a series of corvette-sized attack boats.

SECDEF (R) Rumsfeld was always a small wars kind of guy. Without any references whatsoever, I believe he sat down in his den, late the night of Sept 11, 2001, scotch in hand, and saw a threat matrix that was mutatable and adaptive. He cheered SOF on horseback, favored Sea Fighter, and killed the Crusader and the Comanche. He did favor going light into Iraq, but didn't foresee the cultural quagmire, one where Merkin soldiers laid down a base of fire on Haifa street, while insurgents responded by laying down a base of fire on E. Capitol St NE. Conventional Popularity is harsh on old Don. History will be kinder.

Somewhere, Don is smiling.

Here's why.

The small war crowd wins. One reason. Necessity.

So, you want a war with China? And you've got it penciled in for the 2040-2050 timeframe? Sure, you're violating one of my geo-strategic maxims, namely, Don't War the People who Cook Well, but hey, have your Big War.

Your problem is getting there. Crossing the badlands.

I'm beginning to see the entire Withdraw from Irak debate as an unimportant side show. Stay, go, no matter. Look, the world's not going to go away because we decide, pace the New York Times Editorial Board, to pick up our toys and go home.

Why did I start with Mexico? To illustrate that one point. Borders Bleed. Mexico's a piker compared to the general nuttiness that out there. If and when we retreat from the great outdoors, and retire to our caves, the general nuttiness will track our footsteps back.

Sure, we'll try to uparmor our culture, but ultimately defensive measures are employed by those unwilling or unable to deal with root causes.

Immigration Reform (dysfunctional Mexico)
Insurgency (Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh)
Poverty (Bad Governance)
Ecological Disasters (Bad Governance)


There is an absolute limit to the amount of uparmor a culture can add (shoeless check-ins, CCTV, cavity searches), before it tips over and falls in a ravine. We'll get there, I suppose.

Barnett ends with this:

This intra-military debate should focus America's attention on the real question at hand: Do we see a future world full of messy Iraqs and Somalias and Haitis? Or should we pull back from that long war focus and prepare for conventional conflict with China?

Given the course of events since 9/11, which pathway seems more realistic to you?

China can wait. But I don't think that's truly the debate.

There's serious money in Big Sexy War. It's an argument the Ground Pounder has been losing to the Air and Sea Lords since the last necessity. WWII. But you know what, you go to war with the Republic you have....

But the nation needs small and ugly.

The Lobster Summit

Back when I was a phrap, and American and Soviet leaders met, there was always a lot of yammering on afterwards about ground breaking Salt and Pepper treaties.

Well, Presidents Bush and Putin meet......and crickets.

There was some brief mention of Russia integrating into the missile defense sheild, but aside from that, nothing.

You know, nuking Europe, Kosovo and Nazi America aside, I wonder if Putin came with something more substantial. I mean, it's too late for CoDominium, right, but I wonder if Putin wants in, wants further integration into the core. A strategic alliance, of sorts.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I ask...

How is a New York Times "Editorial" different from an anonymous blogs, asks this anonymous blogger:

The United States has about 160,000 troops and millions of tons of military gear inside Iraq. Getting that force out safely will be a formidable challenge. The main road south to Kuwait is notoriously vulnerable to roadside bomb attacks. Soldiers, weapons and vehicles will need to be deployed to secure bases while airlift and sealift operations are organized. Withdrawal routes will have to be guarded. The exit must be everything the invasion was not: based on reality and backed by adequate resources.

The army doods should like, you know, move their stuff, and then....oh look, a mojito.

But then I paraphrase.

(UPDATE: That was unfair of me. Though they write in the aggregate, they're pictured as individuals here. In apologia, I post my own photo:

thank you.)

Sad, but true.

1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d t0 g37 l41d.

via Neatorama.

Fred Thompson Must Die!!!

Set astroturf blasters to kill.

NYT: Fred Thompson and Abortion

AP: With substance lacking....

NYT: Will her face determine his fortune?

LAT/NYT: Abort-o-rama gotta scandal

AP: Too friendly with Nixon before pithing him

Thompson was supposed to announce sometime this past week. So saith conventional wisdom. And, despite their read, these articles don't write themselves. They were in the shoot, and had to go.

But you know, you'd think a man lacking in substance, with a trophy wife, pro-abortion creds and a hand in taking down Nixon would be a media l33t darling.

But not in Absurdia, the land we live.

My dead run office

I had to upgrade dead run portable office to the 1440 pelican case. Same day it came, my Rapidographs arrived. Pretty cool. I haven't used them to draw with in awhile. Looking to get back in the groove.

Helpful tips:

Dick Blicks having a firesale on rapidographs.

Cut rate pelican cases here.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Repair and upkeep. Fancy name for plenty of wood, nails and hand tools. DeWalt, preferably.

You take deploy with your assigned weapon, you redeploy with it. Take along enough R&U and you'd be surprised what you can build. This guys a carpenter, that guy dabbles as an electrician.

CPT Manchester wants to haul it all in a Pandora's Box. Fascinating article on the coming revolution in fabrication technology and it's uses in war, over at Small Wars Journal.

More here on the edge.

The odd things found.....

Surfing the google for maps of the solar system (I'm an itinerant diarists....but that's another story) I come across:

1) Silflay Harka, a blogger I haven't visited in a good while, and his clip of TPMB speaking.

2) This spaceship looking version of the solar system. Kind of looks like a pre formed dyson sphere. All that's left is rearranging the furniture and plastering the walls.

The net's an odd place of relations.

I'll keep this short

A couple two, three days ago, Cory Doctorow linked to a manifesto by Lewis Shiner. Shiner is beginning the process of posting his shorts online.


I have the geeky capacity to speed read. A book generally takes me a day or two to read. If I kept buying books at the rate I can read, I'd be homeless. Well read, but homeless. So I love shorts. I get to know the author, and decide whether or not I want to drop dracmas on longer works. That's how I got into Doctorow. I downloaded his work, read it on screen (shorter shorts) or printed it out, double sided, eight point font (thick glasses) for more leisurely reading. Scalzi, same thing.

Upper limits.

I've never been able to do novel length works onscreen, however. Tried putting them on the old iPod Photo no good. I think the Sony ereader is ridiculously overpriced. I have high hopes for the iPhone 2.0 (along with video capabilities, more storage etc). So when I come across a hard back of an author I like, I'll by it. I read Eastern Standard Tribe that way.


We deal with a twenty four second news-cycle and short attention span theatres. Here's my hoping that the market for shorts bouncing back. Here's me thinking it will:

Velocity: my life moves fast, and I've got a lot competing for my attention. Reading a book is a commitment, on my part. But there's plenty of time for hippocket reading. Something I can pull out and read in the nooks available. Like what the Pamphlet Guys offer. The return of serials would be nice.

Cost: I can't buy ten hardcovers a month. That's about two hundred dracma plus I could be spending on something else. Sorry. Just the way it is.

Delivery: there's the nub. I need something I can put in my pocket, and go. I lose it, lend it, rend it, the no harm no foul. If you could do it electronically on a suitably eye ball friendly medium with decent micropayments, then I'm yours.

Another thing, I could see doing either a netflix like lending "library" (with books printed on something tougher than your average paper) or use those car sized bookbinding machines, staffed by friendly baristas to print on demand.

Hard copy reading is not going away. Not as long a trogs like myself are around.

But yeah, the market's got to move forward.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike (mines just tags along and throws popcorn).

Over at Dan Simmons site, some thoughts by Richard Curtis on the future of publishing:
But this is the 21st, and publishing is becoming virtual. How about this alternative: amazon prints all five thousand copies at its BookSurge plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Booksurge then ships the books directly to the customers who pre-ordered them months ago.

He talks about and booksurge. Zooba's your netflix model. Hell, I may join it myself. Paying 10 dracma for a hardcover is a steal. Booksurge, on the other hand, offers a sort of print on demand, for short run publishing. Amazon just bought them out. There's plenty of print on demand companies out there, LuLu and iUniverse just to name two. These techniques are aimed at producers.

Here's where the publishing industry has an opportunity to fuse trends. Now, I'm a net fanatic, but not an absolutist. There's plenty that editors and publishers add to the creative process. Polish for one thing. Experience. Imprimature in other words.

Now go read Kevin Kiley's post on Cool Tools:

This high tech machine is finding a home in clean rooms of printing plants; you feed it digital files; it looks like a long copy machine. For print runs of less than 1,500 copies, this process will be cheaper per book; beyond that it's cheaper to print with ink. The advantage of this short-run zone is that there is little penalty for printing only a few books; the cost per copy remains the same, unlike in most print jobs. Technically, since you aren't producing each book as you need it (that's true books on demand) but in very small lots, this type of printing is called Print Quantity Needed (PQN).

You see where I'm going here?

Here's your bookstore of the future:

Look ma, no books!!

This is your front end. Your back end has some sort of print on demand machine. You've got a deal with Amazon, you're linked into Gutenberg. Now, when I stroll in, and what Doctorow: The Anthology, you print it up. Or if I want those damn hard to find D.K. Moran books, you print them up. Publisher's collect royalties on all books sold. Books don't go out of print, in my magic bookstore.

Of course, you got to give people something tactile, something to browse. Those overpriced sony readers are one option. But if you really want to get sexy, you're going to help Microsoft monetize surface computing.

I'm talking Books-A-Trillion, here. Best part, you don't need some megalot to open your bookstore. It's the perfect nook and crannie store. Hell, maybe you don't even bother with store, but franchise the technology to already existing small bookstores. That's up to you.

Now go forth, capitalize and make a fortune.

Send me a post card and tell me how it went.

Heinlein Centennial

Scalzi, Spider Robinson, Pohl, Bova, Clarke and others. Tomorrow is going to be an embarrassment of riches in K.C.M.O.

I should have never moved!!


Well, maybe a little down the road, when Putin becomes CEO. From Global Guerrillas I get this:

A Bill passed yesterday by the Duma, the parliament’s lower house, would allow Gazprom and Transneft to recruit and arm their own security forces, giving them greater powers than private security firms.


Free Companies, of a sort.

During the later Middle Ages, Free Companies (or Free Lances) were formed, consisting of companies of mercenary troops. Nation-states lacked the funds needed to maintain standing forces, so they tended to hire free companies to serve in their armies during wartime. Such companies typically formed at the ends of periods of conflict, when men-at-arms were no longer needed by their respective governments. The veteran soldiers thus looked for other forms of employment, often becoming mercenaries. Free Companies would often specialize in forms of combat that required longer periods of training that was not available in the form of a mobilized militia.

Cleaned up my template

I like this alot better. Cleaner, easier read.

Note to a Neighbor

Man's castle, and all that.

But check this out, close your fuc*ing patio door. KAI? If you want to engage in three ways with the dood in the black car, that's your issue. But when I'm sitting on the back stoop, looking at the stars, I really don't need to hear your wife (or yours) ass getting smacked. I don't need to know your religion (your wife frequently evokes the name of God). I know you're the last house on the lane, and you think things are semi private, but I'm getting a little tired of being involved in your sex life.

What you do in your four walls is your business, but when you open one to the air, you make it everyones. Being a good neighbor is a two way street. I'm respecting your thing, but you need sure as fuc* respect mine.

Seriously doods, close your fuc*ing door.

(Note: my wife and I, sexy biracial couple that we are, do not swing. Keep eying her when she takes out the trash, and I'm going to fuc*ing adjust your variables. Seen the Body Exhibit yet?)


Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Doctors Plot 2.0

I'm fascinated by the latest jihad trick, the Doctors Plot. It's fun watching the permutations play out, but it reminds me of the old saw, "what's the difference between a doctor and God? God doesn't think he's a doctor."

Of note, this latest the the doctor's firing mechanism, a syringe, failed. Kind of contrast with the earlier coverage that this was the "gang that couldn't bomb straight." They built a firing mechanism. I don't know how to build a firing mechanism. Do you?

Curious Yellow:

The infected victim, upon encountering a "clean" A-gate, would then feel compelled to switch the gate into debugger mode, enter a set of commands, then upload him/herself, after which the gate would execute the infected boot-loader in his/her netlink, copy it into its working set, and thus become infected in turn.

I finished reading Stross's Glasshouse. Well recommended. Even if he won't draw direct parallels ("Let's roll!!") I will.

Spoiler alert.

Curious Yellow vectors through established A-Gates (assembler gates). It's designed, virus like, to corrupt the established backbone of the Republic of Is, civilization at that time. Instead of time stamps and authentication, trust as it were, the Curious Yellow perverts the A-Gates and spews death.

Like jihad, methinks.


Jihad spreads through our societal A-Gates, vectoring through aviation one moment, trains another and medicine, of late.

Eventually, we'll respond, I guess.

The best writers comment, without commenting. Stross did just that, with Glasshouse.

Salmon Hatchery

In late fall, they close of the river and divert the flow of salmon up into a run. From, there the salmon are held until gravis. The spawn go in here:

They grow here, until about six inches, when they're released. There's a white spot on each back, where their dorsal fins are removed by state law. Helps to differentiate them from wild salmon. Imagine cutting the fin off of a couple of million smelt sized fish. Labor intensive.

The river they'll return up, three years hence.

And the quiet woods around.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A problem with edges

That's what my parasailing instructor described my fear of heights as, earlier today. A problem with edges. Parasailing, jumping out of planes, issue dude. But edges? They are like my Room 101.

After parasailing, my wife and I went up to Ecola Park, here abouts. Beautiful place

See this cliff? We went over and took some pictures, and then started walking towards the high point. As we walked, saw a blonde Russian girl walking down into the crevice. Yellow top, tan skirt and soft sided shoes. Odd. We passed her friends as they shouted "we were only joking (wife translating)." Kept wondering where the girl was going as we rounded the corner. Looked back on last time, and saw a crowd gathering on the prominence.

The girl fell down the cliff an into a cove. No outlet. Tide coming in. These two doods jumped dwon to go after her. We watched them climb down, as we made our way back. On the cliff, we saw the first dood get to her.

Now see, here's where I figured I should have climbed down after them, and offered assistance. Instead, I called 911 described the situation and her location. Gave them my number and hung up. They called back once more (it's damned important to keep eyes on and give out a good contact number when calling 911) for a final fix. Ten mikes later, Fire and Rescue where on the cliff.

The girl.

Her friend calls the girl, and we find out that she has a broken leg. Fire Rescue tries rappelling, but that's not going to work.

The girls other friends observe.

The Coasties return and she is rescued.


My problem with edges kept me from leaping bodily to her rescue. But I'm damned glad I called 911.

A happy 4th of July

At 3,000 feet.

That was a rush.

A little more.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


...And tragic. The Beach Patrol converged on a spot half a kilometer from us. When we went back out, a Coastie helicopter was hovering overhead. It looks like the undertoe has claimed another.

They've been searching an hour, or so. Prayers to the family.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cooper Anderson: Comedian

I usually don't watch his show, but it's on in the background. Alot of wall to wall Libby coverage (and some snippets about the Doctors Jihad), but good old Coop made me laugh when he said "we don't take sides. we just keep the government honest."

People are making a big deal out of the "special treatment" Libby got from President Bush. But let's face it, he got "special treatment" throughout this entire process.

People went hunting for the administration, and now even their "All I got was this Stupid Libby" t-shirts are played.

Or am I missing something here?

Loopy Loo

My new word for the day.

Stench rises

From the New York Times:

BAGHDAD, July 2 — Iranian operatives helped plan a January raid in Karbala in which five American soldiers were killed, an American military spokesman in Iraq said today.

Probably the Cheney War Machine running amok, right? Or simply war made new (again).

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Oddly enough

I was digging around the internets, looking for the full quote to Joe Haldeman's book, "All my sins remembered." Shakespeare? That line's up there with "We are all broken, and heal by living." D.K. Moran, methinks.

Anyhoo, came across this interesting google response:

Fascinating. A fuller explanation over here:

We want our users to feel safe when they search the web, and we're continuously working to identify dangerous sites and increase protection for our user

Right. Very angelic.

For me, "Something's got to give. Now"


Nice piece:

For a while, Heinlein concentrated on short stories for the pulps and short novels for teenage boys. As with all great science fiction, his work constantly speculated about technology, social progress, good government, and so on. By the early 1950s, married for a third and final time, he was drifting away from his left-wing past and adopting a new brand of politics. Slugs vs. iowa

Government: It's about Bringing People Together

Looking up information on Craigslist's Craig Newmark, I find his blog (and yes, I know this is like claiming I've discovered 'air'). Of interest is his post about Larry Lessig leaving the Copyfight to fight, well, let's call it honest, government pork.

Here we have forming a citizen's alliance. Porkbusters. Sunlight Foundation. Et al.


You know, it's hard to "hate" each other when the Homeland Bureaucracy keeps getting in the way.

The European Empire?

After I finish Stross' "Glasshouse," I'm going to tuck into Heather's "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (no beating around the bush with all that Decline business).

So I fired up wiki to go looking for any modern day empires. America? Check, got it.

But the Eurosphere? That's a new one to me. I always saw Europe as getting rolled in the Euromed partnership or by GAZPROM. But who nows, maybe that old dog's got some life in her yet.

LORDY. If you want a description of the Eurosphere in Orwellian bureaucratese, then go here:

EUROSPHERE is a European Commission-funded Integrated Project within the 6th Framework Programme.

A tale of two doctors....

So a few doctors were involved in the attempted terror campaign in London. Unknown if they were driven mad by jihad or the NHS.

(An argument for large caliber weapons. Doods trying to detonate the bomb)

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