Archive for October, 2013
27 Oct 2013

That Tea Party Conspiracy

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Hat tip to Vanderleun.

27 Oct 2013

Carl Loewe: “Heinrich der Vogler,” Opus 56, No. 1

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Karl Scheidemantel, 1902 Gramophone Concert Record 42870 (831 x).

26 Oct 2013

Star Wars Myers Briggs Chart

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Myers Briggs Type Indicator

Lord! I’m Princess Leia, but (Ha! ha!) my wife Karen is the Emperor.

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

26 Oct 2013

Full-Auto 1911

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In the 1920’s and 30’s Hyman S. (Hymie) Lehman was a small time Jewish gunsmith who worked out of a leather and saddlery shop in San Antonio, Texas. At the height of his career he invented a new type of firearm based on similar concepts used in World War I; the machine pistol. Essentially Lehman took a Colt 1911, chambered for either .45 ACP or .38 Super, and converted it to fully automatic. At full auto the 7 round magazine of a 1911 would be instantly drained, so he combined his new weapon with a custom 20 or 30 round magazine. In addition, for more control when firing the weapon he attached the foregrip from a Thompson Submachine Gun, and installed a compensator on the muzzle. The result was a very small weapon that could pour out a ton of firepower.

Obviously an ingenious design, surely the military or police would be interested in such a weapon. In fact Lehman probably could have become rich if he was awarded a government contract. However, Lehman’s clientele was made up of some very seedy characters. Infamous names such as John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Roger “The Terrible” Touhy all purchased one of Lehman’s baby machine guns. Indeed, Lehman’s machine pistols became a part of the violence that was the gangster era. Baby Face Nelson even used his to kill Federal Agent W. Carter Baum and wound two others during a shootout at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Wisconsin. When questioned about the sales, Lehman simply maintained that he had no idea that the men he sold them to were dangerous criminals.

In 1934 the National Firearms Act was passed into law, outlawing the manufacture or possession of fully automatic firearms without a special government tax stamp. Early Texas had passed a similar state law. In 1935 Lehman was arrested for violating that law. Despite two trials he was never convicted. He died due to complications caused by Alzheimer’s Disease in 1990.

Wikipedia

Via Ratak Monodosico.

26 Oct 2013

CNN: Team Obama “Nasty to Deal With” & “Not Afraid to Threaten Reporters’ Jobs”

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Newsbusters:

CNN’s Carol Costello admitted on Wednesday that President Obama’s staff “can be quite nasty” to deal with. Given Costello’s propensity to be a bleeding-heart liberal, her admission is all the more striking.

“I felt it first hand when I was, you know, reporting on the presidential race,” Costello noted. “I mean President Obama’s people can be quite nasty. They don’t like you to say anything bad about their boss, and they’re not afraid to use whatever means they have at hand to stop you from doing that, including threatening your job.

25 Oct 2013

Kyūdō

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Kyūdō: 弓道 is the Japanese style of Archery.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

25 Oct 2013

Seattle Taking 103-Year-Old Woman’s Parking Lot (Because They Can)

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Statism on the left coast takes the most colorful forms, as this eminent domain taking by the city of Seattle proves.

q13Fox:

The city is forcing a 103-year-old Spokane woman to sell her parking lot in Seattle to make way for, well, a parking lot.

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to take the lot near the waterfront by eminent domain, using a portion of the $30 million provided by the state to take care of parking issues around the waterfront. Hundreds of public parking spaces will be lost when the state begins dismantling the Alaskan Way Viaduct for the digging of the tunnel. The construction will last until 2020.

The lot is owned by Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson. She doesn’t want to sell, so the City Council voted unanimously to use its power of eminent domain to take it after paying Woldson “fair market value.”

None of the City Council members would speak about their vote, but property rights advocates call it ridiculous.

”In this case, the city of Seattle is using eminent domain to seize a parking lot, so they can use it as a parking lot,” said Glen Morgan of the Freedom Foundation, which is an Olympia-based, conservative, free-market think tank. “There’s no public good in that at all.”

Morgan said there are several bills in the Legislature that would revamp eminent domain and give Washington property owners more rights.

“Eminent domain was originally intended for stuff like roadways, expanding roads, schools,” said Morgan. “Situations that are for the public good.”

Hat tip to Scott Drum.

25 Oct 2013

The Palestine Ownership Question Elucidated

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25 Oct 2013

Unisex Marine Headgear Proposed

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Traditional Marine white barracks covers left, Obama-proposed new white barracks covers right.

The blood of Marines everywhere must be boiling over the administration’s idea of spending $8 million to change the iconic Marines’ male white barracks cover to a reduced unisex version.

NY Post
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Thanks to a plan by President Obama to create a “unisex” look for the Corps, officials are on the verge of swapping out the Marines’ iconic caps – known as “covers” — with a new version that some have derided as so “girly” that they would make the French blush.

“We don’t even have enough funding to buy bullets, and the DoD is pushing to spend $8 million on covers that look like women’s hats!” one senior Marine source fumed to The Post. “The Marines deserve better. It makes them look ridiculous.”

The thin new covers have a feminine line that some officials think would make them look just as good on female marines as on males — in keeping with the Obama directive.

“The Marine Corps is being ‘encouraged’ by DoD to standardize on a unisex/universal dress and service cap,” Marine brass noted in an internal memo obtained by The Post.

Male and female Marines currently wear gender-specific caps.

The controversial covers have been dubbed the “Dan Daly” hat, after a World War I sergeant from Long Island who twice won the Medal of Honor.

But some Marines love the old hat, which has been in use since 1922 and think the new hat is a glorified “porter’s cap.” The new Daly model is based on a style the Marines used from 1904 to 1918 – and then jettisoned.

“The Dan Daly cap looks too French, and the last people we want to associate our Marines with would be the French military,” wrote one commenter on the Marine Times Web site.

As of now, the new covers are only in the proposal stage.

Marines have until Friday to cast their votes on whether to adopt them or keep the old hat with modifications. Marine Corps head Gen. James Amos will make the final decision.

According to the memo obtained by The Post, requiring all troops to use the Daly cover will cost $8,221,958. Going with the traditional cap will save $284,043, because the current female caps are more expensive.

“Why are we even focused on this while we are laying troops off for no budget?” another Marine Times commenter asked.

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Some images of Marines in 1900s China, wearing the old-style cover, which was blue, not white.

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I think my father’s 1942 model looks better.

24 Oct 2013

She Was Texting While Flying

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Hat tip to Jacqueline Osterrieth.

24 Oct 2013

Obamacare Site Needs Complete Rewriting

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CNN Money
describes the problems and quotes technicians about what it will take to fix it.

Experts say the major problems with the Obamacare website can’t reasonably be solved before the end of 2013, and the best fix would be to start over from scratch.

After assessing the website, Dave Kennedy, the CEO of information-security company Trusted Sec, estimates that about 20% of Healthcare.gov needs to be rewritten. With a whopping 500 million lines of code, according to a recent New York Times report, Kennedy believes fixing the site would probably take six months to a year.

But would-be Obamacare enrollees only have until Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage starting at the beginning of 2014. Nish Bhalla, CEO of information-security firm Security Compass, said it “does not sound realistic at all” that Healthcare.gov will be fully operational before that point.

“We don’t even know where all of the problems lie, so how can we solve them?” Bhalla said. “It’s like a drive-by shooting: You’re going fast and you might hit it, you might miss it. But you can’t fix what you can’t identify.”

Several computer engineers said it would likely be easier to rebuild Healthcare.gov than to fix the issues in the current system. But it’s unlikely that the government would toss out more than $300 million worth of work.

The sheer size of Healthcare.gov is indicative of a major rush job. Rolling the site out too quickly likely increased the number of errors, and that makes the fixes more difficult to implement.

“Projects that are done rapidly usually have a lot of [repetitive] code,” said Arron Kallenberg, a software engineer and tech entrepreneur. “So when you have a problem, instead of debugging something in a single location, you’re tracking it down all through the code base.”

To put 500 million lines of code into perspective, it took just 500,000 lines of code to send the Curiosity rover to Mars. Microsoft’s (MSFT, Fortune 500) Windows 8 operating system reportedly has about 80 million lines of code. And an online banking system might feature between 75 million and 100 million lines. A “more normal range” for a project like Healthcare.gov is about 25 million to 50 million lines of code, Kennedy said.

“The [500 million lines of code] says right off the bat that something is egregiously wrong,” said Kennedy. “I jumped back when I read that figure. It’s just so excessive.” …

..The New York Times report said five million lines of code need to be replaced just so the site can run properly.

But the Obamacare website has bigger problems than simply getting people registered for health care. The code is also riddled with security holes, according to Kennedy, who outlined his cybersecurity concerns on Trusted Sec’s company blog.

“If someone can’t register, that’s obviously bad — but if the information gets hacked, you’re talking about one of the biggest breaches in American history,” Kennedy said. “I think security is an afterthought at this point.”

24 Oct 2013

America’s Finances

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24 Oct 2013

The Most Interesting Man in the World Played a Red Shirt on Star Trek and Survived!

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io9:

Jonathan Goldsmith, who plays the beer company’s Most Interesting Man in the World, appeared in the second episode of the original Star Trek series, “The Corbomite Maneuver.” He only appears on screen for a moment, but he also doesn’t get a death scene.

Allegedly as well:


• He successfully spayed a tribble.
• He was kicked off the show for having too much chemistry with Kirk.
• The Borg asked to be assimilated by him.
• Some crewmen look for lovers on Risa. He prefers Vulcan.
• When he goes to Ceti Alpha VI, he really goes to Ceti Alpha VI.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

23 Oct 2013

Copycat Architecture

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Designed by Stanford White in 1904, the Italian Renaissance Revival palazzo-style Gorham Building at 390 Fifth Avenue at West 36th Street in New York.

The vertical grandiosity of the Gorham building proved a tremendous hit, and it was copied again and again all over the United States in the course of the next couple of decades.

Shorpy’s yesterday posted this photo of the Columbus Savings & Trust, built 1905.

I’m personally familiar with this style because the tallest downtown building in my hometown of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania was the Stief Drugstore Building, at the northeast corner of Main & Centre, built in the 1920s as the Shenandoah Trust Building. They tore it down in the 1970s.

I know similar buildings used to stand in Pottsville and Reading, Pennsylvania. How many more examples can readers add?

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