Saturday, July 03, 2004

Getting the last word

Here's how to respond the next time some liberal or lefty wants to start a flame war....

Lefty taxonomy

By Arthur Koestler via OxBlog.

Watermelons busted

John Ray enjoyed posting this
Wow! It looks like there has now been a major backdown by the authors of the original "Greenhouse" article. The crooked scientists behind the Greenhouse scare (Mann, Bradley and Hughes) have at last been forced to own up to fudging their data. The very foundation of the "greenhouse" scare has been kicked away....a clear admission that the disclosure of data and methods behind MBH98 was materially inaccurate. The text acknowledges extensive errors in the description of the data set. Even more important is the new online Supplementary Information (SI) site, which concedes for the first time that key steps in the computations behind MBH98 were left out of (and indeed conflict with) the description of methods in the original paper.
But the scientists behind the original study are still fighting, of course
The Corrigendum and the SI contain the gratuitous claim that the errors, omissions and misrepresentations in MBH98 do not affect their results. If this were true, then a simple constructive proof could have been provided, showing before and after calculations. This is conspicuously missing from the Corrigendum and the new SI. We have done the calculations and can assert categorically that the claim is false.
But even if these guys rolled over and admitted that at best they'd goofed, don't expect greens to shut up. They'll try honesty, but if that doesn't work they'll try something else.

The Virginia State Ballroom Championships July 15-18 in Reston, VA near Dulles

Right here:
We are hosting the Virginia State Championships at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia. This resort-like hotel offers superior accommodations with the comfort and satisfaction of guests in mind. Located in Reston Town Center, the Hyatt provides easy access to shops, restaurants, golf course, biking and jogging trails, as well as its own fitness club, and a magnificent 12,300 square foot Grand Ballroom. Whether you are an avid Dance Sport competitor or ballroom dancing enthusiast, you will not be disappointed, and will leave the event wanting to attend for many years to come.
The schedule is here.

Better yet, get off your butt and dance yourself! It's low impact for sure, and you needn't be in shape to start - I recently saw some women I would have thought barely capable of walking turn in respectable waltzes. You can relive your misspent youth with hustle. Or you cut loose with jive, swing, cha-cha or salsa and get a respectable aerobic workout without even realizing it.

Here around DC check out DC DanceNet, or shoot me an email for suggestions on starting.

Browser Helper Objects et al - yeah, I'm talking to YOU!

Pardon me this fit of geekery to suggest something that might earn a place on your PC if you use MS Internet Explorer. It's only a couple of paragraphs and it's for your own good...

First, there's CLSIDs. It's something of a globally unique identifier for certain types of Windows program objects, created by a special program from Microsoft: To a very high degree of certainty, this function returns a unique value – no other invocation, on the same or any other system (networked or not), should return the same value. Program components that run in Windows as COM or DCOM objects (which applies to about everything having to do with MS Internet Explorer) have to have them. The relevant information is stashed in your registry. Among other things, Windows can "blacklist" or otherwise alter its treatment of objects based on their CLSIDs.

There exists this critter called a Browser Helper Object (BHO). For übergeeks you can look at this for more info. For the rest of us, you need to know that a BHO adds functionality to your browser. For instance, the Google Tool Bar, which I'd hate to live without, is such a critter.

But like any other neato feature of IE, some dirtbags are using them malignantly -from the above:
...there is no restriction on what a BHO can do your system; it can do anything any other program can do: read or write (or delete) anything on your system. Usually, software is installed on your system explicitly by you; when you do so, you are, in effect, saying that you trust the vendor. BHOs, however, have a history of being installed without the users knowledge (fine print notwithstanding)

Given that (a) BHOs can do absolutely anything to your system, and (b) they are often installed without your knowledge, there is a distinct potential for abuse by vendors. The problem is, until now you had no way of knowing which BHOs are on your machine, who put them there, and what they do.
. So you do care about them, and it would be nice to know more about when you have them and what they're doing for - or to - your PC.

Voila - we have BHODemon
Think of BHODemon as a guardian for your Internet browser: it protects you from unknown Browser Helper Objects (BHOs), by letting you enable/disable them individually. BHODemon is free, runs in the tray area, and works on Windows 95 or later operating systems.
. So download it already!

If you're like some I know, you're already infested with adware or worse. One answer for this is Ad-aware, from Lavasoft. Available in free or a paying version, it knows spyware and makes it easy to get rid of. Just be aware that some software you have might quit working if you disable adware willy-nilly (ya tightwad!).

Ad-aware is like treating a disease, and then there are vaccinations. SpywareBlaster takes that approach - it can prevent running known spyware from running on your PC before you even encounter it. You'll find it here.

All of the above require updates periodically, because new programs with new CLSIDs are forever coming out. It's not much trouble and doesn't take long, even on a scuzzy dialup line like I'm using right now.

Of course it goes without saying that anyone intelligent and discriminating enough to read this blog already is running a firewall like ZoneAlarm and some sort of virus/malware/Trojan checker like Norton AntiVirus. Especially if you have broadband. Right? Don't make all of us come over there and kick your butt....

Petition and demonstration against Iranian mullahs

Roger L. Simon points to this petition:
A Plea For Support & Demonstration Attendance from all Freedom-Loving Activists around the world in our united fight against Terrorists, Islamofascists, and Fanaticism!

This is an invitation to join us in a worldwide demonstration against the Mafia Mullahs, Terrorists, Islamofascists, and Fanatics who intend to stop and kill the spread of FREEDOM, SECULARISM & DEMOCRACY around the World! Our unified presence in a worldwide demonstration will be the biggest blow to the Mafia Mullahs.
Ordinarily I'm not a big fan of lots of UPPER CASE EXCLAMATIONS!, but the cause is right.

I might even make it to the Washington demonstration (Thursday Jul 8 on the western side of the Capitol building starting at 11 am) to see what happens.

If you're from out of town and dreading driving or parking in DC, there's always the Metro. You can park in the sticks and still make it downtown with a few blocks' walking. Several lines have stops near the Capitol. Snoop around the site for details.

For you train lovers Union Station isn't far away. And if you want to fly in, the Reagan airport is right on the Metro (BWI and Dulles are out in the sticks).

But whether you think the US or the UN ought to be involved or not, surely there aren't many who would wish the current mullahcracy on anyone, Iranian or no. Let's give the mad mullahs something to think about besides how many infidels they or a proxy can kill with their nuclear weapons program.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Moore lies

I have a family reunion coming up soon. It's the first one that didn't involve a death in some time, and I'm really looking forward to it. It won't be huge - mostly descendants of my late paternal grandmother and their families. I'll be startled if there's as many as 50 of us there. But I'll probably get to see some people I haven't seen in 30 years plus.

Now suppose I'd recruited a bunch of goons and they'd just succeeded in flying airplanes into buildings killing thousands of innocent people. The FBI springs into action, rounding up those relatives and inlaws, and puts the screws to them. How much information would they get?

Hmm. There's no point in asking for my family tree, because it can be constructed from public records. Since I'm on the road almost constantly, only about half a dozen of them would be able to say anything about my associations at all, I have plenty of associations which no one in the family knows about for totally innocent reasons (the staff where I live, people I know socially, etc.), and if it suited me to hide associations actively it wouldn't be difficult.

Do they know if I go to church, or where? You're back to the core. Do they know how I make a living? - maybe a couple dozen know I'm an engineer, but don't know where I am now or that I'm doing IT work nowadays. About a dozen of them might know something about my politics, and it typically takes only about 5 minutes of exposure for that to come out.

They want to see how my mind works? Out of that 50, you're back down to the core again. But although they could probably tell you I have multiple web sites, they probably couldn't help you find them any better than Google can. If they know I have a blog, I'll bet they don't know the name or have never read it. (It's not a secret, it's just not something most of them are interested in and I don't promote it.) So interrogate them all you want - they either don't know anything or can't give you anything you don't already know.

Michael Moore's crockumentary has revived the old nonsense about Osama Bin Laden's family. It seems that a lot of them were flown out of the country after September 13, with the blessing of the US govt. I suppose that sounds sinister if you can't think of any good reasons why Arabs, particularly Osama Bin Laden's family, might have wanted to leave the US about right then.

The implication was that they were given special favors, and that some crucial information is now beyond investigators' reach. Well, the planes were flying again by 9/13, and the blessing for OBL's people to leave came from none other than Richard Clarke, who became a hero to the left for spreading so many innuendoes about the Bush Administration's handling of 9/11. Aw, shucks, it's not so interesting anymore.

But every last one of the relatives should have been getting the third degree, right? Why? The FBI did grill about 30 of them, which is substantially more than would have been useful in my case as noted above. And that's of the relatives that lived abroad. OBL was from a very large family - he might well have had brothers and sisters who couldn't tell you jack about him beyond his being a black sheep, and it's not as if he had never been investigated prior to 9/11.

I'm not a professional investigator and I'm in no position to evaluate the adequacy of the FBI's investigation.

But neither is Michael Moore, who nevertheless doesn't let his profound ignorance deter his spreading of anti-Bush nonsense.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Just lucky, I guess?

Thomas Sowell asks:
When you have seen scenes of poverty and squalor in many Third World countries, either in person or in pictures, have you ever wondered why we in America have been spared such a fate?

When you have learned of the bitter oppressions that so many people have suffered under, in despotic countries around the world, have you ever wondered why Americans have been spared?

Have scenes of government-sponsored carnage and lethal mob violence in countries like Rwanda or in the Balkans ever made you wonder why such horrifying scenes are not found on the streets of America?

We hear so much utterly hysterical bitching from the left nowadays that it makes me wonder just what they'd say if we had *real* problems.

But I got over it

You know, I almost felt sorry for John Kerry when I read this.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

You too, and the horse you rode in on

After years of being a jackass in Congress, Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont finally got an answer with all the charm and intellectual content he deserves. Dick Cheney isn't the only one who felt better afterward, and I only wish I could have been there to do it myself.

Harold Meyerson, normally confined to the intellectually barren pages of The American Prospect, thinks this wasbad:
But we have it from Cheney himself that after he encountered Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy on the Senate floor and told him what to do, he "felt better afterwards."

If that justification came from the mouth of a Democrat, of course, it would be a sign of moral laxity and lack of seriousness.
No, it would just mean that they had boiled their approach to politics to its essentials. The Dems are the party of coercion, as exemplified by Hillary Clinton's recent gaffe - "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good". And if you don't like it...

Don't make us prove it

From the Federalist Patriot - to subscribe click here.

From a Marine officer on the Iraqi warfront with Jihadistan...

(This is an open letter to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, "Islamic Response," and the rest of the so-called al-Qa'ida "insurgents" in Iraq and elsewhere. We don't have an e-mail address for these swine -- though we are closing in on their snail-mail address, but we are forwarding this letter to Federalist Patriots around the world in the hope you good people will forward it to as many other Patriots as possible to rally prayer and support for our fellow Marine, Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun. Should these al-Qa'ida pigs spill his blood, we want them to rest assured that the contents of this letter will eventually be nailed to their foreheads. Thank you for your assistance.)

To al-Qa'ida terrorists in Iraq:

I see that you have captured a U.S. Marine, and that you plan to cut off his head if your demands are not met. Big mistake. Before you carry out your threat I suggest you read up on Marine Corps history. The Japanese tried the same thing on Makin Island and in a few other places during World War Two, and came to regret it. Go ahead and read about what then happened to the mighty Imperial Army on Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. They paid full price for what they did, and you will too.

You look at America and you see a soft target, and to a large extent you are right. Our country is filled with a lot of spoiled children who drive BMWs, sip decaf lattes and watch ridiculous reality TV shows. They are for the most part decent, hard working citizens, but they are soft. When you cut off Nick Berg's head those people gasped, and you got the media coverage you sought, and then those people went back to their lives. This time it is different. We also have a warrior culture in this country, and they are called Marines. It is a brotherhood forged in the fire of many wars, and the bond between us is stronger than blood. While it is true that this country has produced nitwits like John Kerry, Michael Moore, Howard Dean and Jane Fonda who can be easily manipulated by your gruesome tactics, we have also produced men like Jason Dunham, Brian Chontosh and Joseph Perez. If you don't recognize those names you should. They are all Marines who distinguished themselves fighting to liberate Iraq, and there will be many more just like them coming for you.

Before the current politically correct climate enveloped our culture one of the recruiting slogans of our band of brothers was "The Marine Corps Builds Men." You will soon find out just how true that is. You, on the other hand, are nothing but a bunch of women. If you were men you would show your faces, and take us on in a fair fight. Instead, you are cowards who hide behind masks and decapitate helpless victims. If you truly represented the interest of the Iraqi people you would not be ambushing those who come to your country to repair your power plants, or sabotage the oil pipelines which fuel the Iraqi economy. Your agenda is hate, plain and simple.

When you raise that sword over your head I want you to remember one thing. Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun is not alone as he kneels before you. Every Marine who has ever worn the uniform is there with him, and when you strike him you are striking all of us. If you think the Marines were tough on you when they were cleaning out Fallujah a few weeks ago you haven't seen anything yet. If you want to know what it feels like to have the Wrath of God called down upon you then go ahead and do it. We are not Turkish truck drivers, or Pakistani laborers, or independent contractors hoping to find work in your country. We are the United States Marines, and we will be coming for you.

Monday, June 28, 2004

A Microsoft blog

Not all Mac guys are bad. Really. And if you're the type who likes to start MS Word in a debugger, Buggin' My Life Away is the blog for you. It's a bit technical, full of all sorts of under-the-hood details about Word, Macs, and Microsoft then and now.

Word is almost inescapable these days. How many of us even remember the competitors? WordStar? WordPerfect? Ami Pro? I know as a matter of faith that there are plenty of bugs in Word, yet somehow I never seem to run into them.

For all the crap we hear about Microsoft products, consider this. As blogger Schaut tells us, in Word we have:
  • More than 850 command functions (e.g. Bold and Italic are the same command function)

  • More than 1600 distinct commands (e.g. Bold and Italic are distinct commands)

  • At any given time roughly 50% of these commands are enabled (conservative estimate)

  • With just 3 steps, the possible combinations of code execution paths exceeds 500 million
Whether software ought to be that complex is another question, but there's no denying that making it work for millions of customers for hours a day the world over is a formidable accomplishment.

Anyway, I'll be back there once in a while. It's definitely worth a look.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Refresher for Al Gore

Sorry Al, but people who offer corrections to partisan lies in the press aren't "digital brown shirts". If you don't believe me, ask Lileks or Powerline.

If you want to throw around the "brown shirt" idea, then use it somewhere where it applies. Like with this: Movie Goer Assaulted at Fahrenheit 9/11 Showing. Or when protesters express their opinions and are assaulted by Teamsters. The goons are on your side, Al.

But then I guess we can't expect a man who flunked divinity school during the Vietnam War to know jack about history.

Feminist c**t

Snatched from here