Sunday, December 31, 2006

AP's Jamil hussein found badly beaten in US hands


Eid holiday racks up 1,000+ victims in Turkey alone

Islam - the religion of edged weapon incompetence ;->

Over a thousand Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha in emergency wards on Sunday after stabbing themselves or suffering other injuries while sacrificing startled animals.

At least 1,413 people - referred to as "amateur butchers" by the Turkish media - were treated at hospitals across the country, most suffering cuts to their hands and legs, the Anatolia news agency reported[...]

A lie detector you can hook to your phone

Only works with Skype though...

[...]The lie detector can be downloaded free either from Skype or from two-year-old KishKish. It monitors in real time the stress levels in a speaker's voice and alerts users when these levels start to rise. Higher sound frequencies are a telltale sign that someone is being dishonest, according to BATM[...]

The great Dan Moffett Army aptitude test challenge

I just sent the email below to Dan Moffett, one of the editorial writers for the Palm Beach Post. In THIS ARTICLE Dan characterizes Army aptitude test results in a very deceptive manner by stating:
Mr. Chu has admitted that about 40 percent of recruits the past two years scored in the bottom half of the military's aptitude test.

------------ email to Moffett -----------

Your recent characterisation of the Army aptitude test results appears to be deceptive.

When I took the test back in 1977' a passing score was in the range of about 9 out of 100 (or maybe 7/100, I've forgotten after all these years). I aced it back then, scoring a perfect 100 which was virtually unheard of.

Having only a M.S. degree in the sciences, I realize my analytical ability is of course limited compared to that of a vaunted omniscient "journalist". However, that range of acceptable scores suggests to my vastly inferior mind that perhaps, just perhaps, this test is designed to distribute recruits directly onto a normal curve and that 40% falling under the 50% mark is in fact an indicator that maybe the Army's recruits are actualy better than the population in general.

What do you think Dan? Apply some of that journalistic atom splitting mind power and let me know.

Here's a challenge to you. Why don't you take that test and report on your results? That would certainly establish your cred and "moral authority" to be making judgmental comments about it.

In fact, why don't we both take it at the same time.
I'll blog the event for the whole world when we square off. Are you game? I am, and I'm serious as a heart attack about it. I'll make sure all the high profile milbloggers (Black 5, GreyHawk, Mudville Gazette, etc) get a feed on the results. Of course you can contribute whatever you want to the blog text of the story and I promise not to censor or edit a single word of what you have to say and I further promise to link any followup article you write for the Post.

Just say the word and I'll make it happen. I'm going to blog about this anyway, so you might as well take this opportunity to defend yourself.

Toilet high jump

You'll need to have animated GIF's enabled to see this.

H/T Bobbarama

John Conyers ethics violations swept under the rug

Democrats - the rules are different for them.

The Hill
[...]"We have concluded that this matter should be resolved through the issuance of this public statement."[...]

RomneyCare -- manufacturing criminals

This is an old story, but one aspect of it was largely overlooked - Mitt Romney wants to make criminals out of people who don't buy this health insurance plan of his.

The "car analogy" is of course fatuous since people can opt to not drive a car and are not be punished as criminals should they choose to do that.

I'm going to say it right now. ROMNEY IS NOT FIT TO BE PRESIDENT. I will work actively against him in the most strident legal manner possible should he try to run in the primary. I will vote against him in the general election even if that means voting for the odious Hillary.

The Massachusetts legislature approved a bill Tuesday that would require all residents to purchase health insurance or face legal penalties, which would make this the first state to tackle the problem of incomplete medical coverage by treating patients the same way it does cars.[...]

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam execution - the official French reaction

Not too many tears shed...

French Foreign Ministry
Q - (…) Does France think Saddam Hussein’s trial was fair? What do you think of the death sentence? Can we have your reaction?

We’ve already stated our position on this matter. We said that from our point of view it was a sovereign decision made by the Iraqi court and we recalled our customary opposition to the death sentence. Those are the two points we commented on. We’ve not changed our position.

Q - Do you think Saddam Hussein’s execution will make the situation in Iraq worse as France said a few months ago when the verdict was given? There’s an impression today that France is backing off a bit?

I don’t recall that we insisted on that point in particular. What we can see is that the situation in Iraq is far from stable, has even deteriorated somewhat. Let me say again, we consider the decision that has been taken to be a sovereign decision by the Iraqi court. We’ve also taken note of the fairly calming words from Saddam Hussein himself in a letter. We can hope that these appeals for calm are heeded.

(…)Q - You don’t have a political point of view about the decision?

Yes, I’ve just said we consider it a sovereign decision by the Iraqi court.

Q - But that’s not political.

You’re the one who says so. I also told you that we condemn the death penalty all over the world and in all circumstances, including in this specific case.

Q - Are you in contact with the Iraqi authorities and are you working with them to ensure that the sentence isn’t carried out immediately?

I’ve no knowledge of any particular intervention with respect to a sovereign decision by the Iraqi judicial authorities.

Parsing the Associated Press on Saddam's demise

There is THIS AP STORY on Saddam's well deserved demise. One particular section struck me as odd as I read it:
U.S. troops cheered as news of Saddam's execution appeared on television at the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in eastern Baghdad. But some soldiers expressed doubt that Saddam's death would be a significant turning point for Iraq.

"First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial," said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. "So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?"
Note carefully the word "some" and the single example that follows it. Knowing AP's history and extreme bias, it must have pained them greatly that they were unable to scare up enough moonbat soldiers to warrant the word "many" and had to settle for "some" and a single lonely example.

This particular choice of wording could be no accident, nor was this plainly tortured ploy to inject stealth editorial content into a "hard news" story an accident. One malcontent is not "news". If AP had found ten malcontents at that base and used the word "many" (as would have been warranted in that case) then they would have had a story.

Jet assisted personal flight

Hit THIS LINK like a crack crazed gerbil and view the vid on that page. You won't be sorry.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The friday night ROCKet scientist and the cops

I'm standing in my yard and I overhear a cop questioning some young punk at a house across the lake. The cops is laying into him pretty good over something. Can't hear too clearly what its about for a while, and I can't see them there's a fence in the way. Then I hear the cop very clearly holler:

Son, what possessed you to think you could pick up that rock and throw it at this guys car when there were two officers sitting here watching you?

Situations like this happen all the time of course. They never go reported in any of the media, and the perpetrators escape largely unscathed with maybe, in an extreme case, a trip to family court and a wet noodle lashing from a judge.

Kids these days seem very prideful. Hiding these minor offenses under the cloak of relative anonymity is not doing them any favors. It lets them keep their faux-pride intact when what it really needs is a righteous smackdown followed by some genuine contrition and a change in future behavior.

200 years ago this would have been handled with the stocks and some baskets of rotten fruit/vegetables. No amount of phony unwarranted pride survives the wet smack of rotten tomatoes and squash upon the body and the jeers of the crowd. The effects of same are likely to be "life lessons" of a caliber some family court judge can't possibly match. The sting and smack of the tomato is something one remembers for quite a while.

Just saying...

"ghost riding" attempt gone bad


H/T commenter Scot at Ace's

Carjacker dragged at 45mph by victims -- sweet!

Vid shows the moron clinging to the side of the victims car with the cops rolling up right in back of them.

LOCAL6 (video)

I couldn't get the vid to play in Firefox, but it started right up with Internet Explorer. YMMV.

Martin Ganzglass -- asshat extraordinary

Rocket scientist, Martin Ganzglass, "special adviser to former U.S. ambassador Robert Gossende during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1993.", and all around asshat poobah extraordinary, writes THIS LETTER TO THE EDITOR in the Washington Post.

Newsflash to Ganzglass. NOT ONE FRIGGING THING you whined about has come to pass. The Ethiopians have kicked ass, the ICU has fled like dogs, the people are happy and Somalia is returning to what passes for normal over there.

The difference now of course, being that you won't be executed for watching TV or playing soccer, or not praying 5 times daily on the dot.

Seriously - where the hell do we find such morons as Ganzglass who are so eager to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? A pox upon the whole lot of them.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Harry Reid & Dick Turbin stiff arm the dead guy

South American vacations on the taxpayer's dime always trump having some class and doing the right thing. Couldn't cancel...right. The president of the United States is shuffling his schedule, so can Harry "flaky land deal" Reid.

...Harry Reid will miss the state funeral for former President Gerald Ford...

Snakes predict earthquakes days in advance

Can they pick Lotto numbers though?

Times of India
China has come up with an earthquake prediction system which relies on the behaviour of snakes[...]

[...]"Of all the creatures on Earth, snakes are perhaps the most sensitive to earthquakes," bureau director Jiang Weisong was quoted as saying[...]

[...]"When an earthquake is about to occur, snakes will move out of their nests, even in the cold of winter,"[...]

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Theatres reopen in Mogadishu, ICU leaders missing

[...]When I visited the north of the capital just half an hour ago, I could see that the Khat leafy, which was already banned by the Islamists, is being sold publicly. Cinemas also began to open for viewing.

All the khat dealers and consumers seem to feel relief. Some are happy to get back to their normal life.

“I am very happy that Islamists go away and the government came in because the Islamists made the life difficulty and blocked me to get access for my daily life and feed my children as they banned the sale of Khat leafs,” Amina Haji, one of female khat dealer told SomaliNet.

Here Mogadishu, no one knows whereabouts of the leaders of ICU including Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and others.

ICU leaders resign in Somalia

The rats are fleeing the sinking ship...

SomaliNet News
The top leaders of Islamic Courts Union in the capital have announced on Wednesday that they resigned and are ready to hand over the administration to the people in Mogadishu to avoid destruction and bloodshed in the city.

After having crucial and urgent meeting tonight in the capital, the leaders of executive and Shura councils of Islamic Courts Union and deputy leader of executive council of ICU, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and Sheik Abdirahman Janaqow resigned and issued a joint press statement over the current situation in Somalia particular in Mogadishu[...]

Robbing NYC kids -- democrats just can't resist

First Air America robs them, now a State Senator. Those kids must be getting pretty paranoid by now. How soon before we find out that Schumer or Hillary was shaking them down somehow too? I'm not sure I'd bet against it at this point...

NY Sun
[...]the unsealing of a new indictment against a Bronx state senator, Efrain Gonzalez. His constituents are among the poorest in the most poverty stricken county in the state. Yet when given the opportunity to bring some resources back to his district, Mr. Gonzalez, prosecutors charge, instead stole the money to finance a lavish personal lifestyle.

The senator is charged with diverting some $423,000 in public "member item" funds that he obtained for a group called Pathways for Youth, an affiliate of the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club. The latter was the group that inappropriately loaned $875,000 to the now bankrupt Air America radio network.[...]

Ethiopian forces within 70km of Mogadishu

مال في اديس أبابا عبد الكريم فرح ان القوات الاثيوبية باتت على بعد 70 كيلومتراً من العاصمة الصومالية مقديشو وربما تسيطر عليها في غضون يوم أو يومين[...]

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Possums hold key to male prostate problems

NZ Herald
Horny possums may hold the key scientists have been looking for to help treat some prostrate problems in men.

Scientists at AgResearch and the Otago Medical School believe the prostate gland in the bush-tailed possum is anatomically identical to humans[...]

Kiwi highways holiday bloodbath

NZ Herald
Police estimates that 10 more people will die and 120 will be injured on the roads before the new year are unacceptable, the Candor Trust road safety organisation says[...]

When someone wants a SSN for no good reason

Give'em Richard Nixon's: 567-68-0515. He don't need it anymore ;->

Monday, December 25, 2006

Putin to get green light for unilateral worldwide economic sanctions

[...]n the last revision, the bill says that special economic actions could be taken in case of emergence of some aggregate circumstances that calls for the immediate response to the globally illegal deed or unfriendly action of a foreign state or of its bodies or officials threatening the interests and security of the Russian Federation and/or violating the rights and freedom of its citizens[...]
Also of note, the final report on the Beslan school wipeout is in.
[...] The report’s main conclusion is that federal and local authorities, as well as the crisis center, are not guilty in the tragedy that took away 333 lives. The report admits that North Ossetian and Ingush authorities might have made some mistakes, but says they could not control the events. [...]
And Moscow is having a hotel construction boom...

Interesting read on the utility of deterrence

Worth reading the whole thing.

Peter Hitchens

A $30M bikini?

Ummm, yea...

H/T Jules Crittenden

Ineffective government programs -- the whitehouse comes clean

This of course from the "most secretive administration" ever ;->

Hobbits making a difference in Iraq

Hobbits you say? What do Hobbits have to do with Iraq? Well, these are special Hobbits -- read more HERE.

H/T Haft of the Spear

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wasting tax dollars: govt pays to enable web surfing in Egyptian hieroglyphs

The National Endowment for the Humanities is a US government organization.

I've always felt there was something missing in my life. know a non-specific kind of void...the kind of thing that just leaves you uneasy and feeling unfulfilled. Now I know what that void is -- I've been unable to surf using Egyptian hieroglyphs as my native text.

UC Berkeley
New research awards just announced will enable the Script Encoding Initiative (SEI) at the University of California, Berkeley, to continue for the next two years its pioneering work to allow users of the native scripts for all writing systems - from ancient hieroglyphs to Hungarian Runic to Aramaic and more - to use the Internet.

With nearly $300,000 worth of new funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Google, the four-year-old initiative will concentrate on encoding eight scripts in 2007 and a like number in 2008.

Modern scripts slated for Internet encoding include Javanese and additions for Native American languages such as Naskapi, Blackfoot and Cree. Historical scripts earmarked for work include Mandaic, the liturgical language of the Mandean religion; and Tangut, the script of an extinct Sino-Tibetan language formerly spoken in northwestern China...

Fake gay hate crimes

Sean Gleason has the scoop HERE.

In a nutshell - a couple of whacko lesbians decided to manufacture a "hate crime" to generate publicity for their cause and carved bizarre messages into themselves to support their claims of an attack.

Sean is offering a big cash bet for any moonbat who thinks the story is true. No takers so far. Now he's offering 10:1 odds rather than even money.

Being a sporting kinda guy, I'm going to throw another $500 in to double the pot at Sean's same 10:1 odds. As an old skydiving friend of mine Richie says: "never bet on anything that ain't rigged".

H/T Digital Brownshirt

Friday, December 22, 2006

AP fake news gets a new name - "faith based reporting"

Faith based reporting - I like the sound of that. You want something to be true so badly that you just make up "facts" and a narrative to support what you know in your BDS addled brain must be true even if you don't have any actual facts to support it.

I have to credit Confederate Yankee with coming up with the term.

Terrorist kidnappings in Washington D.C.

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on US 95 south, just outside Washington DC . Nothing is moving north or south.

Suddenly a man knocks on his window. The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What happened...What's the hold up?"

"Terrorists have kidnapped Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and John Kerry. They are asking for a $100 million ransom. If their demands are not met, they are going to douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. We are going from car to car, taking up a collection."

The driver asks, "On average, how much is everyone giving?"

"About a gallon"

Shamelessly stolen from a comment over at Ace's

Florida Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis arrested on DUI

Big news all day down here on sports radio. It happened in South Beach last night. In addition to the DUI, he apparently was double parked and pissing in the street at the time too.

When you gotta go and there's no facilities in the immediate vicinity, you gotta go.

I can appreciate that. However, 30 years ago I learned the trick for doing it properly from a NYC cab driver. You don't think they drive around all day without peeing do you? Of course not. They do it in the middle of the streets in broad daylight too.

How you say? Its as easy as 1-2-3.
  1. Pull the car over, tell your fare(s) that you think the motor is overheating and you want to take a look at the radiator.
  2. Pop the hood, and pee on the radiator/grille while appearing to examine the motor.
  3. Close the hood and go on your way.
The fares never know you took a bio-break, and the cops ain't gonna bust you because they know exactly what it means when someone is pissing on their radiator ;->

WuzzaDem takes down the Associated Press

Funny stuff

EU: Germany must import French rats

The EU - soft on terrorists, hard on declining rat populations.

Der Spiegel
Germany, warned five years ago by the European Union to revive its field hamster population, has brought a French pair of the rodents to get busy in a hamster-decmiated eastern state[...]
H/T Don Surber

"Hello World" programs


More HERE, and a C program to interpret this programming language HERE

Yes, this idiotic stuff does indicate I've hit an "operational pause" in my current project ;->

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Terrorist whines about lack of employment opportunity

The 41-year-old, a former militant who is now unemployed...

Microsoft treachery - C 6.0 versus C/C++ 7.0

Microsoft's C 6.0 compiler was the last version to support OS/2. They never offered a C++ compiler that supported generating OS/2 apps. That's fine, I understand that.

However, it seems they took measures in their C 7.0 product (and subsequent 16 bit compilers like VC 1.52) to actively thwart anyone who might try to use C 7.0 as a replacement raw code generator. IOW, keep using the C 6.0 headers, libraries, startup code, and linker, but use C 7.0 compiler to generate linkable OBJ's.

How did they do this? Well, it seems the C 7.0 compiler altered the way it emits CodeView debug information. One would think this might not be a problem -- just tell the thing to not produce debug info and barge ahead right?

WRONG - even when you tell it to omit debug infos it STILL emits some SEGDEF records for the "special" segments they hide CV information in(even though the segments are zero length). The problem is that the new SEGDEF records are SEGDEF32 records rather than the SEGDEF16 records that C 6.0 emitted.

Why this change to a 32 bit segment record for a product that is still fundamentally a 16 bit compiler? Why even emit it when there is no debug infos called for?

The most plausible explanation, so far, would appear to be that the 16 bit OS/2 linker that came with C 6.0 does not understand that record type and won't link C 7.0 generated .OBJ's rendering the 16 bit C 7.0, Visual C++ etc OBJ's unlinkable under any circumstances in an OS/2 environment. OS/2 of course was "the enemy" at that point in time.

Clever. Obscure. Treacherous. The majority of programmers who might want to do compiler mix-n-matching in projects trying to integrate blobs of code from many different languages would be stopped dead in their tracks by this trick.

Microsoft motto: "any color you like as long as its black"

Well BillG, you can lick my salty balls -- the gig is up. The .OBJ hacking app I've been working on now has the ability to repair this treachery and can transmute those SEGDEF32's into SEGDEF16's (and morph the similarly destructive LLNAMES record the C 6.0 linker doesn't understand into an LNAMES as well) and emit an altered .OBJ that can be used with the C 6.0 tools and under OS/2.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WWII - not quite over yet for Norway

It seems in the last days of the war, the Nazis tried to send a submarine to Japan hauling a HUGE amount of mercury. The sub was intercepted and sunk in about 500' of water off Norway.

Now, that 60 year old Nazi mercury is leaking out and causing all sorts of contamination...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dealing with an old house with antique wiring

Geoff in the comments to THIS POST asks the question:
"We just moved into an older house with no ground wires to most of the outlets. Will these GFCI cords work with that?"
With a 2/3 prong adapter it should work OK. The function of a GFCI is based on current balance between the hot and neutral. A ground isn't necessary for its operation.

HOWEVER, lacking a ground, the GFCI isn't going to be able to give all the protection it is capable of when a ground is present. Ex. the case of an older power tool with a metal housing that has a 3-prong grounded plug. On that generation of tools, the ground wire is connected to the metal frame of the tool. If there is an internal problem in the tool that caused the frame to become energized (ex. hot wire insulations worn off and contacting the frame), the design relies on the ground wire to cause a short circuit that will trip a breaker or blow a fuse to clear the fault before the thing has a chance to electrocute you. So lacking the ground wire back to the panel, the frame of that tool WILL remain energized even when a GFCI is present. In this case you would have to grab the tool creating the current imbalance that trips the GFCI.

IOW, with ground present, the GFCI would have seen a current imbalance when the hot wire shorted to the frame and sent current down the ground wire -- it would have been an instant trip as soon as the situation developed. Without ground, the GFCI has to wait for something else to come along (i.e. YOU) to grab the tool and create the imbalance. You'd feel a little jolt in the few milliseconds it takes the GFCI to respond, but it won't be fatal. GFCI's trip on approx a 5 milliamp imbalance. It takes ~40ma to cause an electrocution.

Another not too hard thing you can do in a house like that is just install some GFCI breakers in the panel (if its a modernish one that GFCI breakers were made for and not a fuse box).

The GFCI breaker will then protect the whole length of the cable and all recepticles on that branch circuit. That's a good thing. [update]The bad news is if the circuit involved is a multi-wire branch circuit, the 2-pole GFCI breaker that would be needed on it is going to set you back about $100. Multiwire branches, which are quite common, are not something for an amateur to mess with. There are issues involved. Details and cautions HERE and HERE[/update]

If its an antique panel or fuse box that doesn't have breakers available, and you don't want to spring for a new service, you can have some GFCI receptacles hung near the panel and route existing branch circuits through those GFCI receptacles and let them protect all the downstream stuff. Most basements in older places don't have anywhere near enough receptacles available anyway!

When there are receptacles downstream being protected by a GFCI device (i.e. another GFCI receptacle feeding through or GFCI breaker), the National Electric Code would allow you to replace those 2-prongs with 3-prongs. You put a little sticker on the cover plates that says "GFCI protected, no equipment ground". There may still be no proper ground at the 3-prong receptacle of course, but it allows 3-prong stuff to be plugged in at least. Not ideal, but its "legal" and will pass an electrical inspection.

Depending on how an older place was wired, you may already have a viable (although unused) grounding capability at the boxes with those 2-prong receptacles. If the place was piped with EMT or rigid conduit, all the boxes would have a continuous metallic pathway back to the panel that can serve as a ground. If the place was wired with type AC cable then the cable armor can act as a valid ground path.

WARNING: not everything that looks like "armored cable" is type AC. There's a lot of older stuff out there that doesn't have this:
The Standard for Armored Cable, UL 4 requires an uninsulated bonding strip of aluminum not smaller than 16 AWG throughout the entire length of the cable
The old stuff lacking the bond strip is dangerous stuff. Its armor can act like a high resistance light bulb filament and get VERY HOT if there is a short somewhere. The resistance can be high enough that there won't be enough short circuit current to trip a breaker or blow a fuse.

That being said, a GFCI or Arc Fault breaker(all AFCI's these days implement a 30ma ground fault protection as well as their Arc Fault circuitry) can be used to protect that ancient non-bond strip armored cable and make it much safer. If there's a short circuit and the armor gets energized, a current imbalance will exist between hot and neutral and an AFCI or GFCI will trip long before the armor has a chance to torch up and burn your place down.

If a place was wired with old 2-wire non-metallic sheath cable, you're screwed. There is no possible existing ground path back to the panel with that stuff. You'd GFCI/AFCI protect it or replace it.

In the late 50's early 60's there was some really evil silvery cloth bound non-metallic sheath cable produced and used widely. I call it "crumble wire" because the sheath falls apart when you touch it ;-> I forget the brand name right now, but its hard to miss - it'll look ratty as hell and be falling apart these days. I prefer to rip it out whenever I can, but it can be rendered safe with GFCI/AFCI protection if that's too big a job.

If you have an old house with antique wiring, the best thing to do is get a qualified electrician to come in, evaluate it, and make recommendations. Someone who is familiar with all the old methods and materials and has done a lot of residential remodel work is the person you want. Most older places will be an accretion of many different materials and systems of differing generations. A commercial electrician or one who does only new construction is NOT the guy you want to do this kind of survey.

Oh, I forgot to mention - when you start GFCI and AFCI protecting things in an old place you may find the devices trip instantly when some circuits are energized.

There's going a few possible causes for this:

- some old fixtures lack a ground wire and have the neutral strapped to their metallic housings. When screwed down into a grounded metallic box, this creates a leakage path for current to flow in parallel down the ground wire. That'll result in an instant AFCI or GFCI trip.

- "back in the day", some electricians weren't too particular about what neutral they grabbed in a junction box full of different branch circuits. This will result in the GFCI/AFCI seeing current imbalances too. This is a real problem, because its possible some branch may have had its neutral wire overloaded in the past. Those cables could be cooked.

- There's serious problem and the device just found it for you. I put some AFCI's in a place with 80 year old wiring a few years ago and turning on a bathroom light caused an instant trip. I took the fixture down and all the wires inside were burned to a crisp and bare from arcing over the years. It had been trying like hell to burn the place down.

Oops, another thing to say: DO NOT put GFCI protection on a circuit that powers hard wired smoke detectors! That's a violation of the NFPA rules for installing smoke detectors. You CAN however use AFCI protection on that circuit. They don't want your fire protection system shutting down on a small 5ma current leakages.

Christmas lights safety warning

I would like to stress the importance of not being killed by your house this holiday season. The ubiquitous Christmas lights can be a killer if not used and hooked up properly. If you have Christmas lights, please make sure they are plugged into a receptacle that is protected by a GFCI. In older houses, it is quite possible there is no GFCI protection at all in the place anywhere. GFCI's can prevent you from being electrocuted. I guarantee you, they're cheaper than the cheapest funeral ;->

Even if you don't have any GFCI receptacles or circuit breakers in the place, what you can do cheaply and easily is buy a GFCI protected extension cord to plug your lights into. Places like Home Depot, Menards, etc will have these special cords available. The cord implements its own onboard GFCI that will protect things plugged into it. There's an example of one of these GFCI protected cords HERE

A while ago I wrote THIS POST which I'll excerpt a small secion of again here.
[...]We typically electrocute a few people a year and burn down a few houses in this country because of this blindness to the American cultural reality of Christmas lights. I caught my neighbor last year running his Christmas light off a cord pinched under his front door plugged into a non-GFCI recepticle. Two years ago, a guy in Miami was electrocuted walking around in his front yard because of such a dangerous lashup. Christmas is supposed to be a happy time. Dying because your house killed you shouldn't be part of the normal holiday plan.

A few years ago I fitted my house with a switched recepticle up under the eaves (fed by a ground level GFCI so it would be easy to reset), with weather cover that allows the Christmas lights to be plugged in while retaining rain tightness. No dodgy extension cords laying in the yard. I am a happy man[...]

Monday, December 18, 2006

Michael Bloomberg's conspiracy to commit Federal felonies

First some background about what it takes to buy a gun in this country. Not many moonbats understand this process or what disqualifying conditions already exist, so I'll go through it for everyone.

When someone wants to buy a gun from a licensed dealer(known as a FFL) they MUST, I repeat MUST fill out what is known as BATF Form 4473. The 4473 asks a long laundry list of questions about the person wanting to buy the gun, personal info etc. Lying on this form is a Federal felony (see the form at the BATF link I gave and look at the section at the bottom just above where you sign). There ARE NO EXCEPTIONS in the Federal law(27 CFR) -- if you lied on the form for ANY REASON WHAT SO EVER, you've committed a Felony. Period. End of discussion.

Now we come to the asshat mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg, and his plan to enlist PI's to lie on 4473's and go out and try to buy guns illegally. This plan is prima facie evidence of conspiracy to violate Federal firearms law. Should ATF decide to actually enforce this nations laws (not likely) and bring charges against these dupes Bloomberg has enlisted, many of them could go to prison for a year. Bloomberg as the mastermind of this conspiracy could in theory be charged and sentenced to 15 years at Club Fed.

NRA News
There's someone out there telling folks to buy guns illegally, and I think it's time we put a stop to it. He's directing contract employees to walk into gun stores, lie on the paperwork about who's buying the gun, and walk out after making a straw purchase.

Even worse, he's bragging about what he's doing. He's holding press conferences to tell the world about what he's done, but so far law enforcement doesn't seem to be listening.

Well, I think it's time we help out the ATF agents that enforce our nation's gun laws. We need to call their Illegal Gun Hotline at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (that's 1-800-283-4867) and alert them to this illegal firearms activity. Tell them that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is hiring private investigators to initiate straw purchases in several states, and you want them to enforce the law[...]
More at CY

Removing yourself from the gene pool

I see on Drudge THIS STORY about a bunch of people with carbon monoxide poisoning, and one fatality.

Seriously, WTF is the major malfunction with these retards who put gas grills and generators inside their houses or garages and then expect to wake up in the morning? Why not just short circuit all the drama and just blow your brains out?

We go through this in Florida every time there's a hurricane and the power is out for a while. Some moron, or maybe a few, manages to kill themselves doing this exact same shit even though all the papers, radio, TV, hurricane prep guides, etc warn you not to BECAUSE IT CAN KILL YOU.

N A T U R A L -- S E L E C T I O N

Law of unintended consequences - Enviro-fadists driving apes extinct

Al Gore don't like Orangutans.

The Independent
10 years to live: Orangutan faces extinction in the wild
At least 1,000 orang-utans have been killed in fierce forest fires in Indonesia, hastening the species' headlong rush to extinction within the next decade[...]

[...]to make room for plantations to grow palm oil - much of it, ironically, to meet the world's growing demand for environmentally friendly fuel[...]

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Sandmonkey shows some restraint in criticizing this person because she's a grandmother or some other such nonsense. I will not show similar restraint. Go read this blog post. The woman is 100% USDA batshit crazy -- fever swamps grade crazy. Why she could be an adviser to Jimmy Carter ;->

Here's a small taste:
More importantly, it is increasingly clear that the Israeli army is more or less dominated by messianic soldiers and officers, many of whom graduates of Talmudic schools. Needless to say, these schools teach that the Jewish Messiah or redeemer will not appear unless there is bloodshed on a very gigantic scale. In other words, redemption and salvation for the Jews depend on the occurrence of genocide[...]

[...]Moreover, we should never ever count on America. America is a country that is enslaved and controlled by Zionist Jews. It is a country that lost its free-will a long time ago and became a mere tool in the service of Zionist bellicosity and hegemony[...]

Personality test

What military aircraft are you?

F/A-22 Raptor

You are an F/A-22. You are technologically inclined, and though you've never been tested in combat, your very name is feared. You like noise, but prefer not to pollute any more than you have to. And you can move with the best.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

H/T Signaleer

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Don Thorp is historically "challenged"

In today's Palm Beach post we see a letter to the editor written by some historically challenged individual named Don Thorp. See if you can spot how Mr. Thorp rewrites history.
In "Start timer, gain leverage, share the pain" (Opinion, Dec. 9), Thomas L. Friedman has hit the nail on the head.

Like Iraq, England in the early 1800s was torn asunder by competing factions. Scottish Presbyterians sought to take over the government. Roman Catholics were willing to fight to restore their supremacy. Rural lords were in competition with one another. Oliver Cromwell's Protestant "Roundheads" said, "enough is enough." A great civil war erupted; Cromwell's forces were victorious over the Scots and Catholics. Peace, security and democracy finally were established in England.

Let the fight begin in Iraq, and may the best man win. English history is a good lesson. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Let's get out and let them settle their affairs.

Did you spot it? In case you didn't here it is -- Cromwell had already been dead for about 150 years by the time of the early 1800'. If Mr. Thorp's judgment about Iraq is as keen as his sense of history , then one must wonder about his prescriptions as well.

One also must wonder about the competence and general educational level of Pravda in Paradise's editorial staff for allowing such egregious crap to make its way into print to be presented as "fact". But then again the Post's editorial staff comes from the "Krugman school" of journalism where fact is something you make up on the spot as needed to support your political viewpoint.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Borland TDUMP v4.1 - DOS extended, but still dumb

The Borland TDUMP utility that shipped with the last version of the 16 bit compilers (Borland C++ v4.x) looks to be a DOS extender app. That's cool right? It should be able to use the whole 48M of memory on my ancient DOS development machine to process .OBJ files and handle some truly big stuff right?

Wrong. TDUMP's transition from a plain old DOS app to a 32 bit extended DOS app didn't go too well it seems.

First thing I try is stuffing an .OBJ through it that has a somewhat largish number of segments, but still nowhere near the max that the OMF format supports. 3,001 of them to be exact. This shouldn't be a big deal since they're all small -- in fact, they're only one byte each - only a byte larger than the smallest segment -- one that's zero bytes long.

Well TDUMP gets down around segment 200 or so and dies crapping out a nasty Trap-D message. That's it end of story. Do not pass GO do not collect $200.

The old plain DOS version of TDUMP had similar issues. After about segment 200 or so it started spewing trash all over the screen and acting rather unseemly.

So what have we got here? Any of you who's been in the business for a while knows the answer already. TDUMP has an indexed static array of somethings with a fixed length and its not being checked against the index running off the end and other memory being scribbled into.

What would it have cost to up this fixed limit to the theoretical max number of segments one can stuff into a .OBJ file? The theoretical max on segment indexes is 32767. The OMF supports, theoretically, having up to 32K-1 segments in any given .OBJ file. So if you had an array of pointers to SEGDEF records that was 32K-1 entries long, its only going to burn ~128K of memory for the pointer array. 128K -- not much in a DOS extended world where many megs are available.

OK, so you still don't want to burn 128K for something that only a crazed maniac would want to do anyway? That's reasonable.

Then maybe you do something like I did in the .OBJ hacking utility I'm writing - you throw the suckers on a linked list and let it expand dynamically as they're encountered. The code I've got so far handles the 3,0001 segments test file just fine using the linked lists, and it does it still being a plain old DOS app unable to access anymore than the usual 640K.

Moron fired for surfing porn chat rooms by IBM

Just noticed this on Drudge link.

Here's my take as a retired ex-IBM Boca Raton engineer. This whiny twit very likely got exactly what he deserved.

Typically, when IBM decides its time to fire someone, that person's manager has normally constructed a pretty airtight paper trail of evidence over time against them so there won't be any blowback like this. There's only a small handful of offenses that warrant immediately being stripped of your badge and frog marched out the door. That would include things like pissing on your manager's desk and setting his office on fire, or having 10 kilos of crank and a handgun in your desk. Surfing porn, on its own, normally won't warrant the instant frog march, but it would get you a warning to knock it off and keep that shit at home.

This collection of evidence phase might last several months even as long as a year in some cases. A 2nd and 3rd line managers will also be notified if there is some employee that's under the microscope for poor performance or other issues. If you're worth a hoot at all, IBM wants to try and salvage you before dropping the hammer.

If your performance is poor, you might be asked if a new position in another area might help. If you're an alcoholic or doper, counseling services will be provided. If you've got family problems weighing on your mind ruining your performance, a family leave will be arranged.

IOW, when IBM whacks someone, its the last resort. To whack someone who's been there for 19 years its really, really, really, a last resort.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate this was probably the "last straw" in a very long series of problems going back many many years with this guy.

IBM has traditionally had an amazing tolerance for what we used to call IPR's - In Plant Retirees. Those were the people who had been around for 20 years and do absolutely nothing of value at all. They always had pleasant demeanor, neat organized offices, came and left on the dot, etc. If really pressed on it, they could usually be relied on to present a report someone else had produced though. In fact that's how the IPR survives - they'll act like a remora and take a ride along with someone else who does the real work.

Dan Riehl needs your help

It would be tragic if that mushbrained retard simp Andrew Sullivan outpaces Dan. So vote early and vote often. Dan can't win, but he can put a beatdown on Sullivan with just a little help.

Blog Awards Voting

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The moonbat quiz


My score was zero - I guess I'm not a moonbat.

H/T TigerHawk

Malkin going to Iraq to search for Jamil Hussein

[...]I e-mailed my acceptance of Jordan's invitation this morning. No way should we just take the word of they guy who admitted covering up for Saddam Hussein and who resigned from CNN after baselessly slandering the U.S. military (maybe we'll find the Davos tape while we're on the search). Plus, it'll be an incredible opportunity to see Iraq and our troops firsthand. I have many friends, heroes, and contacts there I'd like to meet in person.[...]

AP fakes news again -- rewriting the Korean war this time

New York Post
[...] The most sensational account started in the 57th paragraph of the 3,448-word story, sourced to one Edward Daily. As AP told it, Daily was the only soldier at No Gun Ri who directly received orders from his officers to turn his water-cooled .30 caliber machinegun on the civilians and shoot them down in cold blood at point-blank range.

Daily's account was chilling. It was also - as AP should have known - a fantasy.

The AP story took at face value Daily's claims that he was a combat infantryman who won a battlefield commission just a few days after the events at No Gun Ri, and had been awarded the Distinguished Cross and three Purple-Hearts.

In reality, he was an enlisted mechanic in an entirely different unit, nowhere near No Gun Ri. He had fabricated his biography and credentials as well as his entire account of the events at No Gun Ri.

When I later confronted AP editors with the facts and records that showed their source Daily to be a fraud, they blew me off. What would a historian know about this topic after all, or a soldier?

The AP didn't issue a retraction, or even attempt to reinvestigate; and it certainly didn't withdraw the story from the Pulitzer competition. Instead, it attacked the messenger.
More AP fakery at Hot Air

Saddam's connections to terrorism

Even if only 1/10th of what is presented here is true, its pretty clear that Saddam was very cozy with a bunch of terrorists and AQ. Even a democrat congressman is convinced Saddam was tight with AQ.

Regime of Terror

Iraq news - if it don't bleed, it don't lead

Imagine that - people going to work every day in the middle of a supposed civil war where the streets are running with blood How can this be?

[...]He directs a staff of 30 U.S. military and civilian personnel along with 50 Iraqi engineers who have the goal of turning Baghdad back into a great city. “It was the birthplace of civilization and today we’re investing huge of amounts of money to rebuild 30 years of neglect as residents regain their confidence that this city has a future. It’s hard when you’ve been repressed for that many decades to stand up for what you believe and that’s the challenge we’re facing.”

But Revolinsky is optimistic and that viewpoint starts with the Iraqis on his staff. “They’re awesome individuals. They put their lives on the line every day going out in the community to oversee the work going on. They sincerely want to help their country, they want to do a great job, and it’s a shame the hardships and danger they and their neighbors have to put up with. I respect them immensely. They want to make Baghdad a better place.”

Most of the Iraqis working for USACE are educated engineers trained at Baghdad University. “They visit the projects, write the reports, provide recommendations and suggest courses of action, and our intent is to eventually transition our office over to them as we work ourselves out of a job. They’re breaking the mold of listening to dictatorial orders that they grew up with and today are solving problems on their own. I’m very pleased with the direction we’re going.”

Throughout Baghdad Province, Revolinsky’s team is managing more than 300 projects valued in excess of $1.2 billion. That work includes $300 million for three major sewer trunk lines, more than $100 million for replacing the electric distribution network in Sadr City, refurbishing 18 gas stations, renovating hospitals, building new primary healthcare centers, new courthouses, new water distribution networks, repaving roads, repair of area schools and the construction of several new ones.

Nine new fire stations have been built in Baghdad decreasing response time from an average of 15 minutes to 5 or 6 minutes. “Residents can see first hand that their government is working, that improvements to their neighborhoods are taking place, that there’s reason for hope.”

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The US non-Energy Policy produces some non-results

LED lighting is THE wave of the future. It is available today in limited form factors. Power consumption is roughly 1/5th that of Compact Fluorescents for equivalent light output. CF's are roughly 1/4th the power consumption of incandescents. The LED lights are expensive though compared to CF's or incandescents. This RPI development should start to increase the economic viability of the LED units.

Imagine having your whole house lit up like Times Square for the cost of burning an ordinary 100W incandescent bulb...and not having to change a light bulb for 10 years? That day is coming very very soon.

Can a significant reduction in US energy usage be as simple as changing some light bulbs? Yes, yes it can. Here's a flood light that only burns 6 watts.

RPI News
[...]compared to commercial white LEDs, prototypes of the new SPE LED technology produced 30 to 60 percent more light output and luminous efficacy — light output (lumens) per watt of electricity. This means more visible light is produced without increasing energy consumption.[...]

[...]The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy

Reuters: David "KKK" Duke is an "academic"

If David Duke is an "academic", so is Homer Simpson. Seriously, WTF?

In related news, noted "academic" Paris Hilton will be giving a talk at Stanford on splitting atoms with her pooter.

[...]The conference was inspired by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who since coming to power in August 2005 has sparked international condemnation with comments referring to the Holocaust as a "myth" and calling Israel a "tumor".

Among the participants was U.S. academic David Duke, a former Louisiana Republican Representative. He praised Iran for hosting the event.

"There must be freedom of speech, it is scandalous that the Holocaust cannot be discussed freely," Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader told Reuters. "It makes people turn a blind eye to Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people."[...]
H/T Say Anything

Teddy stiff arms Kerry

Kerry has become such a pathetic laughing stock I almost feel sorry for the guy...almost ;->

Boston Globe
Senator Edward M. Kennedy Monday dropped his public commitment to support Senator John F. Kerry in a 2008 presidential race, saying that he won't wait "indefinitely" for Kerry to declare his intentions while the Democratic primary field takes shape[...]

Monday, December 11, 2006

James Baker - flashback to 1994

Lets see - the Iranians have become nuttier, have demonstrably been shown to be providing fighters and weapons to the terrorists in Iraq, have demonstrably been shown to be supplying weapons and fighters for Hezb's attacks, have demonstrably been shown to lie about aid in fighting illegal drugs (Brit NV gear sent to Iran ostensibly to fight drugs, showing up in Hezb hands in Lebanon), and are now actively engaged in the development of nuclear weapons and promising the elimination of Israel, etc, etc, etc.

Yet, in spite of all that -- TODAY Baker believes they're going to help stabilize Iraq. Simply put - James Baker is a dangerously naive incompetent. He's senile. He's gone soft in the head. He needs to spend his days fly fishing or something.

Middle East Forum
In a discussion in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 1994, with Daniel Pipes and Patrick Clawson:

[...]"Obviously, the idea of reaching out to moderates in Iran was a nonstarter. On the other hand, for the full four years that I was there [at the Department of State], we were quite prepared to sit down at an official level with the government of Iran--there's no surprise about that--provided they understood the first topic on the agenda would be their support for state-sponsored terrorism. We were unwilling during our four years to have any of this back-channeling stuff. So, those are two different situations"[...]
H/T to a commenter at Iraq The Model

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nice Space Shuttle pic

To this day I remain amazed that Rockwell trusted a young punk engineer straight out of college to work on this incredible machine's flight computers back in 1980. But they did and I didn't let them down.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Since Jamil Hussein is nowhere to be found, the only rational conclusion is that Associated Press has kidnapped him for their own nefarious reasons.

H/T Flopping Aces for the pic

WaPo's David Ignatius's shocking stupidity

Can you envision a person as naive as Ignatius? I find it hard to, but yet here he is. Of course Iran/Syria will say "yes", then they'll continue to do as they've been doing all along. Syria will continue to aid jihadis entry, Iran will continue to provide IED's, and fighters in the south, and keep supplying the Hezb. The Iranian IED sourcing has already been well established, and the Brits keep catching Iranians in the south. What "diplomatic offensive" could possibly be launched that will get them to reverse actions which they previously and currently feel to be in their own best interests? We will get lip service.

Seriously, what fantasy world do these morons like Ignatius live in?

I like this "New Diplomatic Offensive"...As for Iran and Syria, the great advantage of asking them to join a global effort to stabilize Iraq is that if they say no, it's blood on their hands. As the report notes, "An Iranian refusal to do so would demonstrate to Iraq and the rest of the world Iran's rejectionist attitude and approach, which could lead to its isolation."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Food fight at the Daily Kos!

Saw this Kos post link mentioned at Jules Crittenden's blog.

Kos suggests (almost, but not quite sanely, because his reasoning as always is retarded) that impeachment might not be such a good idea. Then read the comments to that post where "the faithful" start a food fight. Good stuff, really good stuff. The natives are restless and pissed off. I just selected a few comments below, there's scads more where those came from.
"What kind of message would that send to the country and the world? Our leaders are proven criminals, but we don't care because we're worried about the next election."

"I don't trust our "leaders" to do anything at all on behalf of the people.I have no choice but to push hard for impeachment ASAP."

"Kos, Bowers, and the new, upwardly-mobile Democratic elite want the American people to install and fund oversight solely as subsidies to Democratic Party 2008 election campaigns. Justice, governance, popular will be damned. And the outgoing Republicans will agree, to keep that revolving door of Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton rolling.
If Congress impeached Nixon, or even tried him after his resignation, would Reagan/Bush have had such an easy 1980 election after just 4 years?

What a gang of suckers. Them for thinking their copout protects their power, and us for listening to them."

"based on what I saw today in the Bush/Blair press conference of more of the same to come in Iraq, I think the Democrats might actually come to believe that in this case impeachment is governing."

Bugs, bugs, bugs -- when your tools fail you

One of the software tools I'd come to rely on was Borland's TDUMP utility. This is a little program that dumps out the records in a compiled .OBJ file in human readable form. Its been very handy in the past for examining compiler/assembler outputs and the modifications that my current project applies to those .OBJ file.

It seems TDUMP has some pretty egregious bugs when the count of LNAME strings start to grow beyond the trivial. It starts spewing worthless garbage.

OK fine, I'll try something else. MetaWare shipped a little utility called BD in their compiler packages. BD performs basically the same task as TDUMP and even gives a bit more information in some cases I'm interested in, a bit less in others. BD seemed to not choke on lots of LNAME strings, so that was a good thing.

However, the MetaWare BD utility seems to die with some sort of heap space issues when the number of segments (SEGDEF records) in a .OBJ file starts to get high. One of my test files I use to test my program with has thousands of segments in it and thousands of LNAME strings.

I believe Watcom shipped/ships a utility similar to TDUMP/BD in their compilers. This is a good excuse to load up some of the Watcom compilers which I need to test with anyway...

If the Watcom utility also fails, then I guess I'll have to write my own .OBJ dump utility. That wouldn't be a big deal really -- 90% of the work is already done since the program I'm working on reads .OBJ files and parses them anyway. Its just a matter of cruising through my internal record list and printing out what it contains.

At least my program doesn't choke on thousands of segments or LNAME strings, so I'd be in better shape right from the git go.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Microsoft MASM versus Borland TASM - two different architectures

Previously I noted you can tell a lot about a compiler's internal structure by examining the structure of the .OBJ modules it spits out. In the case of the Microsoft Macro Assembler (MASM) versus Borland's Turbo Assembler (TASM) this also turned out to be true.

MASM appears to be architecturally a multi-pass assembler, whereas TASM architecturally looks like a single pass assembler (with some limited multi-pass capability for compressing forward jump offsets).

How do I come to this conclusion? LNAMES records. The LNAMES record(s) in a .OBJ file specify the name strings representing segments names, segment groups names, and segment classes names.

When there are multiple segments in a .OBJ MASM collects up all the names used, removes duplicates, and (typically) emits a single LNAMES record. Since segments and group definition can be scattered all over a .ASM source file, of necessity one must scan the whole thing to the end to encounter them all. The fact that MASM eliminates any dupe names before emitting a LNAMES record in to the .OBJ shows it had to scan the .ASM file all the way to the end and adjust all the SEGDEF and GRPDEF record name indexes accordingly when the dups are zapped.

TASM takes a different approach. TASM emits a LNAMES record for every segment it encounters. This suggests that TASM doesn't make multiple passes to collect up name strings. Nor does TASM bother to remove duplicate names. The LNAMES records TAMS emits will contain duplicate strings, and there will be a lot more LNAMES records than MASM would emit. From a .OBJ semantics POV both approaches are identical. The TASM approach however results in .OBJ files that are plumper and make a linker do more work.

Single-pass - faster generation of result, plumper result.
Multi-pass - slower generation of result, more efficient result

In reality, MASM will generate multiple LNAMES records too when the total record length of a given LNAMES rec would exceed 1K bytes in length. TASM never encounters this issue because its emitting scads of tiny LNAMES records. Apparently there are some tools somewhere that imposed a 1K limit on the size of a record in a .OBJ. Internally, the project I'm working on deals with LNAMES in an idealized manner and collects up the whole wad in a manner MASM does, so I had to insert code to do the 1K parceling out of physical LNAMES when I emit an .OBJ as well.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How many sex offenders live near you?

Just punch in a zip code. I got "lucky" - only 2 in my development.
Family Watchdog

NASA to announce discovery of UFO launch site on mars

I made that headline up, but it caught your eye didn't it? Hey, I could be a reporter for AP. I can make up sensational shit just as good the professionals.

Water? Major geological revelations? Confirmation of Mars global warming?

WASHINGTON - NASA hosts a news briefing at 1 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 6, to present new science results from the Mars Global Surveyor[...]

SCOTUS 8:1 Thomas dissenting

Apparently Clarence Thomas is the only judge not having their head firmly inserted in their ass.

Seriously - don't we already have enough American citizen illegal drug users, that we don't really need to be importing more from overseas? This is nothing but a huge slap in the face to the American taxpayer who winds up footing the bills for incarceration, other crimes committed to support habits, babies born to them while they're here, etc etc.

These people are NOT American citizens.

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that legal immigrants cannot be deported when convicted of relatively minor drug-possession offenses, a decision likely to affect thousands of people.

By an 8-1 vote, the high court handed a setback to the Bush administration and ruled the immigrants cannot be deported for drug offenses that are felony crimes under some state laws, but less serious misdemeanors under federal law[...]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How the Philippines deals with foreign demonstrators

Manila Standard
FOREIGNERS taking part in any political rallies against the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Cebu City next week will be arrested and deported, the Bureau of Immigration said yesterday.

Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. also said that those arrested and deported would be put on a blacklist and would not be allowed to return.

Foreigners do not have any business interfering with the political affairs of the country,” he said[...]

USMC Lance Cpl convicted in Philippine rape case

Sounds like he actually did it from the article's description. 40 years is a little on the high side by US incarceration standards, but I really have little sympathy for those who would abuse the locals in this manner.

Manila Standard
A MAKATI court convicted US marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith of rape and sentenced him to 40 years in prison yesterday in a landmark case[...]

[...] In his ruling, Pozon cited 14 pieces of circumstantial evidence that proved Smith raped Nicole.

These included Nicole’s vaginal injuries and bruises on her legs and arms, the testimony of prosecution witnesses who saw Smith carrying the unconscious Nicole out of the Neptune Bar, and Smith’s admission that he had sex with the complainant[...]

When you're out of options...

Monday, December 04, 2006

How leftists in Fiji deal with "dissent"

Sydney Morning Herald
[...]Speaking on television in Fijian, Commodore Bainimarama all but said dissenters would be arrested when his government took control today, by saying the military would "go and see" any outspoken right-wingers.[...]

Ace reports from Iraq

Associated Press has a new stringer in Iraq. His reporting on the escalating violence appears to be top notch Pulitzer quality stuff.

Ace of Spades
[...]R A M A D I -- They came in the dead of night. In the four am desert cold, a gang of ten to twenty masked men raided the small village of Bina'il, systematically raping women and girls, some as young as eight.

None of the victims of the rapes would speak openly about the event with Acewire News Service, owing to the Muslim taboo against victims of rape[...]

The pig farmer versus the muslims

Mr Minority
There is trouble brewing in Katy, Tx (just west of Houston), where the Katy Islamic Association wants to build a mosque and the neighborhood doesn't want it. But it gets worse[...]
Dar al-Islam, catch the fever! The Caliphate is reaching out for us and probing to see just how much it can get away with.

Damn you Bill Gates - the saga of the "big bit"

Microsoft threw my current programming project a 6/12 curve ball today.

You see, in the Intel OMF (object module format) that more of less corresponds to what a .OBJ file is that PC compilers and assemblers spit out, there is a thing called a SEGDEF record. The SEGDEF, not suprisingly, tells what the characteristics of a particular segment are. This includes the segment's name, class, combine, alignment characteristics, and of course the segment's length.

Segments are the stuff that make up the code and data in a program. How they lay out and get managed is plainly a matter of supreme importance if things are to actually

In the 16 bit world, segments were of necessity limited to 64K in length because that's the most you can fit in 16 bits worth of addressability.

HOWEVER - its also quite legal, and happens frequently, that SEGDEF's in OBJ's may describe segments of ZERO LENGTH. Zero length segments are used for a multitude of purposes. Place holders, to force particular orderings in memory, etc.

Now there arises a problem -- the notorious "fence post" class of issues. With only 16 bits available to tell the length of a segment, the largest number you can have in 16 bits is 65535 (64K-1). With zero length segments being legal, you can't do something like say a length of zero means a 1-byte segment and 65535 means a full 64K segment.

Intel solved this issue with a thing called the "big bit". Part of the SEGDEF record includes a bit that says if a segment is a full 65536 bytes long. If the 16 bit length is set to zero and the "big bit" is turned on, then the length is really 65536, not 65535.

Architecturally, this "solved" the problem. Zero length segments are still OK, and you can have full 64K segments as well by using the "big bit".

Alas, along comes the Microsoft Macro Assembler. Versions of MASM from 1981 through roughly 1987 that I've tested don't set the "big bit" when they construct a full 64K length segment. They do however set the SEGDEF that describes them's length to zero.

This bug in MASM caused the OBJ validation phase of my gizmo to choke when it noticed that code/data was being emitted into a (apparently, but incorrectly) zero length segment.

How a bug as egregious as this one somehow managed to persist over several versions of MASM spanning around 6 years is a real mystery. I'll have to look into that apsect further. I'm going to hazard a guess and say it was maybe dealt with in LINK if it was dealt with at all.

To their credit, Microsoft eventually got this fixed. MASM 6.11 doesn't exhibit the problem and sets the "big bit" correctly.

My gizmo now includes a new command line switch: -Fm That will "fix" the broken MASM's "big bit" when it encounters a zero length segment that subsequently has code/data being emitted for it.

I could see this in the first version of MASM. Lots of the 1981 vintage tools and apps were really quite wretched and bug ridden (not just Microsoft's either). But 6+ years? Oy!

Pimp my blog

For the pimped out version of Purple Avenger CLICK HERE

You can pimp anything apparently by appending its URL to this string:

H/T Gahrie

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Telemundo censored in Venezuela?

Its an AP story, so its veracity is naturally suspect ;-> If true, I'm not surprised. Dictators don't like people shining a light on their activities.

Houston Chronicle

Grinch(s) steal epiliptec boy's Christmas

Heartless bastards.

Authorities in Osceola County, Fla., are searching for the thieves who broke into a home, stole all of the family's Christmas presents and destroyed a nativity scene, according to Local 6 News[...]

[...]"My grandson -- he has epilepsy, and he is very discouraged and confused," grandmother Tingle said. "He is having a very hard day today."[...]

Double trouble

Wow - two disk drives died on me today and started throwing SCSI errors back to the controllers (I'm a SCSI kinda guy for the most part).

A 2.1G Seagate Hawk of unknown origin (it came out of a dumpster a while ago), and a Seagate ST43400N that I'd paid the princely sum of $5 for years ago.

Didn't lose anything other than the time to grab some already on-hand spares and slap them in and reload what was on the dead ones. I always have my critical stuff replicated in many places over many different machines.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Abdelwahab Meddeb interview

Interesting stuff here. Meddeb doesn't go lightly on his religious brethren.

Michael Monninger

I have one quibble with one of his statements though:
[...]The real danger is not warlike Islam but authoritarian Islam which subjects day-to-day life in its entirety to religious practice.[...]
As a practical matter, I fail to see the difference.

Would you gross out the world?

I scored 6 out of 10. Give it a try.


H/T Mr Completely

More fun with Ryan-McFarland FORTRAN compilers

Getting deeper into the stuff this compiler (and a newer version of it) emit now. You can tell a lot about the internal organization of a compiler by the nature of the OBJ's it spits out.

The RM Fortran compiler was apparently designed to run in extremely modest amounts of memory. Packaging for the earliest version I have indicates it would run with about 128K of free memory -- not 128M -- 128K. That's less memory than the L2 caches on most PC's that have been made in the past decade.

Packaging claims aside, the OBJ's it spits out tend to confirm those modest claims. As any compiler is compiling code, its going to encounter situations (many in Fortran) where a JMP or conditional JMP to a forward memory location is needed. Usually, most compilers would calculate the addresses of these jumps and adjust itself internally as it goes along and emit the blob of compiled code in one shot.

Not so with the RM Fortran compiler. It spits out code with essentially blank place holders in the code where the JMP offsets would go. A blob of code is written to the OBJ that doesn't work because its not complete yet. THEN, after that blob is written out, it emits (many) subsequent records to adjust the JMP offsets in what it just emitted. Essentially, RM Fortran is punting some of the traditional compilation process off onto the linker.

So for Fortran code files that are large, the compiler doesn't really need to swallow them whole -- it takes them small bites at a time, writes out the code for those small bites, and punts the rest to LINK.

Obviously, RM were in a hurry to recycle the memory being taken up by the largish (in relative terms) blobs of code it was working on at any given point and saved just jump offset information. That lets the compiler puke out the code blob early.

Its an interesting concept born of the era when programmers didn't have hard disks and only had machines with maybe 256K and a couple of floppy disks. In terms of compilation speed there's no real penalty to this approach. The quality of the generated code is going to suffer some, the OBJ's will bloat up, and link times would go up some with the linker having to glue together slews of code fragments and apply fixups to them because the compiler didn't bother to do so. All in all, it was a reasonable approach for the 256K PC era (I remember paying hundreds of dollars for a meg of memory). If people were doing mostly floating point number crunching with this product and had 8087's or 287's, the necessarily lesser quality of the non-NPX code wasn't going to matter all that much anyway since those NPX's were relatively slow and integer code was usually waiting on the NPX.

DOS on a 486 as a viable development platform

I've got this development project underway where the code is straight ANSI C. It reads files does a bunch of magic stuff and writes files back out. For several weeks now I've been using plain old DOS running on an 10+ year old 486DX4-100 as my development platform.

The old 1989 vintage Turbo C 2.0 compiler (ANSI compliant) and Turbo debugger are completely sufficient to do this work. The old BRIEF editor is very fast on a 486. So far the program fits well within 640K and probably will for at least several more months worth of work.

As a practical matter, there's nothing currently that would make me move it to a faster machine or to a different OS. At some point in the future when basic functionality is settled and the most egregious bugs worked out I'll be making sure the code is truly portable among a slew of different compilers and platforms, but for now trusty old DOS and a geriatric C compiler are doing the job just fine.

Software is curious product in that it doesn't wear out, rot, rust, or decay in any discernible manner. Its as good (or bad) today as it was when it shipped originally.