Monday, October 30, 2006

What's Old Is New Again

And what's true is true again.

Looking back, I deeply regret that I did not force a probing debate on whether it would ever be possible to forge a winning military effort on the foundtation of a political quicksand. It became clear then, and I believe it is clear today, that miltary force--especially when wielded by an outside power--just cannot bring order to a country that cannot govern itself.

If anyone should know, and from bitter firsthand experience, it would be the author of that quote. That would be Robert McNamara, Lyndon Johnson's Secretary of Defense, in In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Marty Kaplan on the Republican response to the NK nuke test

#4 is, to me, the forehead-slapper. Why didn't I realize that before?

RNC North Korea Talking Points

1. It's Clinton's fault.

2. Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger, too.

3. Be afraid.

4. Connect the dots: 9/11-Saddam-Kim Jung-il-gay marriage.

5. Iran. Syria. Poland.

6. Stay the course.

7. Tax cuts.

8. George Soros.

9. Hillary Clinton.

10. De-nucular-i-zation.

Excellent APOD today

The Astronomy Picture of the Day today features...

An unusual spot has been found on Mars that scientists believe is not natural in origin. The spot appears mobile and is now hypothesized to be a robot created by an intelligent species alien to Mars.

Friday, October 06, 2006

When WGA Attacks

Infoworld's Ed Bott documents the ugly sequence of events when "Windows Genuine Advantage" decides that you're running pirate Windows.

Real pirates are not going to be intimidated by the guilty-until-proven-innocent bent. But Aunt Tillie sure will be, even if she has a valid copy of Windows on which WGA has suddenly gone postal.

But of course that will never happen. Copy protection and DRM schemes never have bugs. Nothing can possibly go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...

Speaking of Aviation Pictures...

AvWeb's "Picture of the Week" contest had some good ones lately.

If you're flying into Milford Sound, New Zealand, my advice is not to overshoot the base-to-final turn for 21. And I haven't checked the A/FD, but I'm guessing that it's left traffic:

And this one just makes me grin:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tired of the same old online role-playing game?

Try Kingdom of Loathing. Here is the initial character-picker page, just to give you the flavor of the thing.

Seal Clubber
Seal Clubbers hail from the frigid Northlands, because one character class always hails from the frigid Northlands. They rely on their Muscle to survive.
Turtle Tamer
The Turtle Tamer's mystical connection with his terrapin brethren imbues him with great power. He excels at moving very slowly and winning footraces with smug satisfaction. His Muscle is the key to his success, and to his long lifespan.
With his mastery of the arcane secrets of Noodlecraft, the Pastamancer is a force to be reckoned with. He relies on his Mysticality to get ahead in the world.
Long engaged in an uneasy truce with the Pastamancers, the guild of Saucerors protects the secrets of the Ancient Brotherhood of Gravymakers. Their Mysticality is their most important attribute.
Disco Bandit
The Disco Bandit boogies to and fro, hither and yon. Whence comes he? No man knows. Whither strikes he next? All men live in fear of him and his Moxie.
Accordion Thief
The scourge of mariachis and polka bands, the Accordion Thieves have plied their malign craft since time out of mind. Their Moxie serves them well in both their adventures and their interactions with "the ladies."
Disco Bandit

Hamster Wheel Spins As You Type


From The Register (who else?):

What can we say that the headline doesn't? It's a hamster wheel. It connects to a spare USB port. Plug it and and watch that furry sucker run for dear life. Round and round. The clever bit - Hammy matches his pace to your typing speed. The faster your fingers, the quicker the hamster's pace. In short, we have at long last a USB toy your boss will approve. Expect a flurry of frenetic keyboard activity as the nation's office works try to out-type and out-run each other. Hammy can be yours for a mere 25 quid, courtesy of Crazy About Gadgets. ®