Daily Archive: 07/08/2010

Jul 08 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US to deliver billions in equipment to tackle Afghan bombs

by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP

Thu Jul 8, 12:29 pm ET

KABUL (AFP) – The United States is set to deliver three billion dollars worth of equipment to Afghanistan aimed at countering Taliban-made crude bombs used in the war, a US official said Thursday.

Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, have become the main weapon used against international and Afghan forces fighting to end an insurgency increasingly seen as bogged down in favour of the Taliban.

The equipment was “at least doubling” current counter-IED capacity as forces did not have all they needed to take on an escalating threat, said Ashton Carter, US undersecretary of defence for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Jul 08 2010

Punting the Pundits: Not Your Usual Suspects

Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and try not to get too depressed

Glen Greenwald continues holding journalists feet to the fire on transparency

Adventures in media transparency

Journalists like to claim that they are devoted to transparency, but it’s striking how so many of them exempt themselves and their own media outlets from those “principles.”  Here are five recent, somewhat similar episodes illustrating that syndrome:

Joe Conason tells us to listen to Niall Ferguson on the Federal deficit and then ignore his bad advice

Sure, listen to Niall Ferguson — but always ignore his bad advice

Before the inquiring minds at the Aspen Ideas Festival go totally gaga over Niall Ferguson, perhaps they ought to know a little more about the British historian’s keen desire to punish our pampered working families, and how he would prefer to see us spend our dollars.

As a celebrity intellectual, Ferguson much prefers the broad, bold stroke to the careful detail, so it is scarcely surprising that he endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s “wonderful” budget template, confident that his audience in Aspen would know almost nothing about that document. For Ferguson, the most beguiling quality of Ryan’s budget must be its bias against the working and middle classes and in favor of the wealthy. But as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities revealed in a scorching review, the plan doesn’t work even on its own terms.

Jul 08 2010

Thursday Tech Support

As my regular readers know I have 5 or 6 lives and one of them is as a computer technician.  I started out writing poetry for machines and some of my earliest training is in COBOL on Hollerith Cards.  My favorite set of tools a ‘C’ compiler with good symbolic debugging.

But there’s no money in that anymore and I got trapped in the world of hardware, building and fixing machines which there is also no money in anymore when you can buy a disposable piece of junk for $400.

For some people that’s just a month’s phone bill.

But you can get acceptable results just from assembling the piles of parts people accumulate and the resulting systems were quite wizzy bang in their time and you only have to use one quasi reliable but very common OS- Windows XP.

I don’t recommend running it in an environment of less than 256 Mb or a 450 Mhz + processor, but there’s a ton of non-dual core tech that works just fine for the usual things.

What are those?

I use Office ’97.  What else do I need?

If I’m doing a really professional presentation I use Pagemaker 6.5.

I use Firefox 1.5.0.12.  It still works, why fix it?

These all work just fine in that environment, the limitations are your memory (sometimes less than 768 Mb) and your bandwidth.  Sometimes they will only handle 60 Gb hard drives without BIOS fixes and run at the slower 33 and 66 ATA rates.

Of course my own problems fascinate me more than most and I’m still dealing with massive load time fail with Yahoo News and the kona29.kontera.com element.

My current line of attack on that may seem a little round Robin Hood’s Barn, but it serves several goals.

I have some drive space for an install of Ubuntu.  Ubuntu comes with a more up to date version of Firefox and has some organizational tools that would be helpful in producing the content.  Ubuntu is stable and virus free and has some good cross OS scans available which I could use on my own system and my nephew’s (pretty surely virused, and a laptop to boot).

So I look at this as kind of an information exchange.

Jul 08 2010

Le Tour: Stage 5

Whether yesterday could be called a good day depends I guess on if you are rooting for Lance and how hard.

It is easy, as Lance himself suggests, to look at the 17 riders ahead of him in the GC (General Classification or overall standings) and say- that’s a lot of people to get past, but it’s not really as bad as all that.

First he’s only 2:30 behind the race leader, Cancellara, at all; which makes up about 30 seconds of yesterday’s 3:+ deficit.  Secondly, not all of those 17 are contenders in the overall race.  A majority of them are sprinters who have been helped out by the fact that 2 of the 4 stages so far (including yesterday) have had dead classic ‘Sprinter’ finishes where the Peloton has caught up any break aways and teams have used drafting and team tactics to position their sprinters for a mile or less dash to the line.

The winners of these stages rarely gain more than :30 to :45 over the main body which all get the same time because of the ‘neighborhood of second base’ NASCAR scoring.

Today’s 116.5 mile ride from Epernay to Montargis is fairly flat with 2 climbs rated at 4.  It is one of the last 2 Stages before the Alps, where Tours are won and lost.

In related subjects, accusations of doping continue to dog Armstrong (who has never, ever tested positive).  He was heckled by a protester at the finish, evidently for the second day in a a row, and the Landis accusations have been taken up by the World Anti Doping Agency.

Jul 08 2010

On This Day in History: July 8

Let Freedom Ring. Your morning open thread

On this day in 1776, a 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell now known as the “Liberty Bell” rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Four days earlier, the historic document had been adopted by delegates to the Continental Congress, but the bell did not ring to announce the issuing of the document until the Declaration of Independence returned from the printer on July 8.

In 1751, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s original constitution, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly ordered the bell to be constructed. After being cracked during a test, and then recast twice, the bell was hung from the State House steeple in June 1753. Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Jul 08 2010

Crank it up

A Pillow of Winds

Jul 08 2010

Prime Time

You may think this just a vanity until you have your free TV Guide channel sucked to nothing so you can watch repeats of Ugly Betty.

I hate to talk trash, but what turned me against Arnold Schwarzenegger and his movies entirely is the misogyny revealed in True Lies, but Eraser is a close second.

9 pm Futurama is a repeat of the last original of the new batch.

10 pm Dinner Impossible is usually entertaining.

Last day of Rachel from Afghanistan.

Jul 08 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 35 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Gaultier celebrates strong, seductive women

by Gersande Rambourg and Sarah Shard, AFP

44 mins ago

PARIS, France (AFP) – “Perhaps it was pretentious, but they say couture is like a Stradivarius, a bit aggressive, a bit of a rebel, but a virtuoso,” muses Jean-Paul Gaultier at the end of his couture show for next autumn-winter on Wednesday.

For a finale his bride, in a trenchcoat, pulled out a violin and after a brief warm up, struck up in a convincing mime to a tape of the wedding march.

It was yet another collection celebrating women in full control of their powers of seduction – like burlesque artiste Dita Von Teese, who came down the catwalk in a powder pink corset boned in black, watched admiringly by her companion Louis-Marie de Castelbajac, sitting next to his designer father in the front row.