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Stuff I liked

POSIWID, QotD 20210904

  “The purpose of a system is what it does.” —Stafford Beer, 2001  


Wilhoit’s law of conservatism, QotD 20210903

I’m glad to see this blog post comment has caught on a little bit. It stunned me when I first read it, and now I’ve seen it in such disparate places as LGM, Jalopnik, and Charlies’s Diary [1] [2].   Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law […]


The true name of bears and wolves

I have no idea if this is true or not [1], but we don’t have the real name for bears and wolves. Like actors can only talk about the Scottish play, and some religions can’t say the names of their gods, our linguistic forebears didn’t say the actual true name of the animal, but described […]


Another example of BWare’s Law of Security Breaches: Whatever the first number they tell you is, it’s wrong, and it’s not going in the good direction. I think this is a contra to Hanlon’s Razor: never assume malice when stupidity will suffice. Surely these folks lowball it every time. They don’t want the big number […]

Jet lag

Everyone has a recipe for getting over jet lag. Food, timing of meals, entraining sleep before leaving [1], not eating on the plane, blah blah blah. And believe me, I have suffered from the jet lag. I have read a shitload of books at 3 am, and faceplanted uncontrollably more than once in the cleanroom […]

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We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us. –Winston Churchill

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Bob Dylan and me

Are both big fans of Moby Dick and The Odyssey. Now I’ll have to read All Quiet on the Western Front.


I might have been in my fourth decade before I figured out that I had been taught to tie my shoes incorrectly. Pro-tip: It’s a square knot, not a granny knot. It’s still a bit of a mental catch to tie the laces correctly, even though I’ve been doing it right for all of this […]

Be careful what you wish for, Alice

The government again wants backdoors into all your encryption. This is a bad idea for many reasons – well, actually just one: backdoors for anyone are backdoors for everyone. But, wish granted! The VPN encryption that’s mandated to protect ITAR: What a surprise. From the folks you brought you the OPM, and Anthem attacks. You […]


Didn’t see that one coming

Paris. Either time. Nor any of the others. Too busy monitoring everyone’s GPS and email in the US, I suppose. Including the senators who are supposed to have oversight. Shut down the NSA. Salt the earth in Langley. Nothing good will ever grow from that ground.

Credit where due

the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually […]

I welcome the House investigation of Brennan’s AOL account

Coming any minute now, one assumes. After they finish with Hillary's email server and Benghazi. Brennan is, after all, a man of such moral rectitude that I am sure he welcomes a full and open investigation.  

Piling on

Warning: spoiler. Matt Damon doesn’t die. My small contribution to the scientific errors of The Martian that took me out of the movie: duct tape just doesn’t work in those temps. Unless there’s some special NASA-grade low temperature duct tape that isn’t available in the 171 stockroom [1]. There is tape that’s good to -4 […]

Thanks, NSA!

Yet more proof that the slow-rolling Internet breakage caused by the NSA’s illegal activities continues. Was it worth it? Total up the damage to the hardware companies, from organizations that will no longer by Cisco routers or American airliners, or use Google or Amazon web services, to cloud companies that are going to have to […]

What are we going to do tonight?

Moore’s Law of Mad Science: Every eighteen months, the minimum IQ necessary to destroy the world drops by one point. –Eliezer Yudkowsky   Soon enough, it will be genetically modified mice we have to worry about hacking into OPM. I wonder if this takes into account the Flynn effect – IQ scores rise ~3/8 point […]