Dude! Who knew?

“The American taxpayers spend millions of dollars to protect birds like piping plovers,” he said, “and yet here are these cats killing the birds, and nobody’s doing anything to stop it.”  
 The next morning, Stevenson decided to act. He loaded his .22 rifle in the van and took off for San Luis Pass. He spotted the same cat under the bridge. Stevenson put the animal in his sights and pulled the trigger.  
 “The cat dropped like a rock,” he said.
Cat hunters!

People can get wigged out about anything, Bunky.

But we're still scared so that's OK

The 3 Most Absurdly Outdated Internet Laws | Mother Jones

[Computer Fraud and Abuse Act] was birthed in 1984 by a bunch of lawmakers freaked out over the movie WarGames—a clip was shown during congressional testimony…

What I don't get is…

Detroit bonds drop, judge seeks to halt bankruptcy filing | Reuters
Investors dumped Detroit's municipal bonds a day after the city's historic bankruptcy filing…
…who do they sell this stuff to?

Good news

It's supposed to cool down all the way to 88º today. That may not sound like much to you but it's ten degrees cooler than yesterday. Not that I'm counting, you understand.

Secret laws are secret laws and that's that

NSA Phone Snooping Cannot Be Challenged in Court, Feds Say | Threat Level | Wired.com
The Obama administration for the first time responded to a Spygate lawsuit, telling a federal judge the wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United States is in the “public interest,” does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans and cannot be challenged in a court of law.
If I had a law degree from Harvard I'd want my money back.



Yellow by Ted Compton
Yellow, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Viewing note

Now That Detroit's Filed For Bankruptcy, What Happens Next? : The Two-Way : NPR
With its bankruptcy filing Thursday, Detroit became the largest municipality in the United States to seek Chapter 9 protection.
As it turns out, we watched the movie, Detropia, two nights ago. It's a poignant picture of Detroit's condition, and also the best-made documentary I've seen in many long, weary years. (And yes, I've seen Sugarman too.) Check it out. (Since it has, as far as I can remember, no kissing, it's going on the movie list.)

Plus, you'll have to move to India to get a job

Want to Be the Next Nate Silver? That'll Cost You $60,000 | Wired Business | Wired.com
The University of California at Berkley is now accepting applications for an online master’s program in data science.…Tuition for the 12- to 20-month professional degree is a whopping $60,000.

Whoa, stop right there

ABC’s The Bachelorette: Des Hartsock knows there aren’t enough words for love. - Slate Magazine
What I wouldn't give for hair like Brooks'. Thick, shiny, luscious, undulant—adjectives don't come close to doing hair like his justice. Brooks has hair you want to make a home in.
Really, dude?

Fortunately this is about a TV show I won't ever have to see, not owning a TV myself, and even if I did have a TV wouldn't watch — can you spell "no way"?

But still. Ick.

"Always room for one more" - Joe

Biden: 'America's Back' - Defense One
In a sweeping new speech designed to lay out the Obama administration’s priorities before the start of a major Asian security conference, Vice President Joe Biden declared the U.S. can turn toward Asia and the Pacific region without losing focus on a growing list of global security threats the administration already is embroiled.

Bet you wish you'd known this a long time ago


Photos from the 1890s

Alice Austen's Type of Town - NYTimes.com

Buy Hertz

Police Documents on License Plate Scanners Reveal Mass Tracking | American Civil Liberties Union
...increasingly, all of this data is being fed into massive databases that contain the location information of many millions of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years.

I was wrong: *This* is the end of civilization

Sweat being the topic of the day around here, in pursuit of some historical perspective I asked Google "How sweaty was Cleopatra?"

Turns out Sweaty Cleopatra is the name of a rock band. Just like everything else, more or less.

And speaking of sweat

Swedish Machine Turns Sweat into Perfectly Good Drinking Water! | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
Apart from a high-tech filter developed at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the machine is actually fairly simple to make with basic parts – including a regular clothes dryer. A pile of sweaty clothes goes into the dryer in order to spin out the water. This is then exposed to UV light before it passes through the high-tech filter to remove salt and bacteria. And lastly, the water is funneled through a coffee filter to remove clothing fibers.
I think I just decided to quit wearing socks. JIC.

It's hot...

...but that's cool warm. I don't mind a little sweat (and coats and ties are not required at the laundromat). So, bring it. (But cooling off a little over the weekend would be fine.)

OK this really is the end of civilization, right?

'Goth Barbie' sells big; Barbie sales slump - CSMonitor.com
Monster High dolls, which are based on teen characters that are offspring of famous monsters, have been a huge hit for Mattel since they were introduced in 2010.

Don't drone on me

Town considers licenses for 'drone hunting' | Crave - CNET
The town of Deer Creek, Colo., is looking to begin offering "drone hunting licenses" and actually paying rewards to anyone who presents proof that they were able to bring down an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the United States federal government, according to reporting by Denver TV station KMGH.


Wanting a sock in a shoe just doesn't sound all that odd to me

Nike Jumps Into Barefoot Running With a New Knit Shoe | Wired Design | Wired.com
Years back, when Nike was just starting to feel around for its Next Big Thing, its designers asked athletes what they really wanted in a performance shoe. The answer, oddly enough, was something like a sock...

It just doesn't get any better than this

Undernews: Great moments in management gobblygook
Improbable Research - Those interested in the management of organizations may already be aware that the concept of ‘Ignorance Management’ has its own page at Wikipedia.

Get used to it

RealClearDefense - 5-Nation Spy Alliance Too Vital for Leaks to Harm
American information is so valuable, experts say, that no amount of global outrage over secret U.S. surveillance powers would cause Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to ditch [their] relationship.

It used to be too cold

Now it's too hot. But as soon as it's just right I'm going to dust under the bed. And I mean it, too.

But might function perfectly well in the Congress

Artificial intelligence has the verbal skills of a four-year-old, still no common sense | ExtremeTech

Dude, there's got to be a pony in here somewhere

World Trade Center owners want $8.5 billion: Can they get it? - CSMonitor.com
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan plans to announce his decision from the bench as soon as several witnesses conclude testifying in the trial expected to last about three days.

And about time, too

Skechers Now Sending Money to Idiots Who Bought Magic Shoes
The source of their sudden windfall? Think of it as a fairy's reward for a pure, childlike belief in magic....

You have to buy your share of the junk, says TV guru

Going a la carte would destroy pay-TV industry, analyst says - latimes.com
“Our calculations suggest that if the TV bundle starts to degrade, $400 million of market capitalization will turn into $200 million over 10 years, based on the datapoints from music and newspapers,” Martin wrote in a note to clients Monday.
There's no "free" in free enterprise.

The weird thing about these photos...

America in ruins: how States of Decay captures beauty in derelict buildings - in pictures | Art and design | guardian.co.uk

...is how many of them include artifacts - fixtures, furniture, toys, a telephone - abandoned along with the buildings themselves, as though people had just spontaneously vanished one day.

And the award for monumental moronitude goes to...

DHS warns employees not to read leaked NSA information
An internal memo from DHS headquarters told workers on Friday that viewing the document from an “unclassified government workstation” could lead to administrative or legal action.
(This is the kind of thing that gives justified security policies a really, really bad name.)



The Apple iWatch may be the most-hyped, least-desired product ever

You can have your cake and choke on it too

Hunger Games, U.S.A. - NYTimes.com
To fully appreciate what just went down [with the farm bill], listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.”  
It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy.

Aways look on the bright side

Egypt's Citizens Love the People That Have Ruined Their Country | New Republic
If there is one underappreciated aspect of the chaos in Egypt, it is the startling amnesia with which the country's majority has greeted this month's coup...

I suppose it's possible

Love in the Time of Spyware - Boing Boing
Like all of Bill's stories, this one is a concoction that blends social/technological speculation and a fine, bittersweet human story in perfect proportion...

Who will play Putin in the movie?

Vladimir Putin This Close to Leaving Post-It at Moscow Airport Asking Snowden for “His Share of the Rent” | Vanity Fair
Russian bromander-in-chief Vladimir Putin has requested that Edward Snowden kindly gather up his Luna Bar wrappers, dogeared copies of Star, and mini Chardonnay bottles and make his way toward the exit of the Moscow airport. “As soon as there is an opportunity for him to move elsewhere, I hope he will do that,” Putin told reporters today.
(Oh, also and BTW: Bromander)

Yes, it's grim

Undernews: The collapse of conscience and concern
Liberals have become indifferent to the sort of economic policies that once characterized the Democratic Party. They have redefined themselves as an elite demographic rather than as a political movement, one that has impermeable faith in its own virtue, and holds in contempt those who do not share its values or accept its hegemony. But given their small numbers, even their good policies stand little chance of success.

Remember you can always be a Walmart greeter (wait, I forgot)

Study: Later retirement may help prevent dementia
BOSTON — New research boosts the "use it or lose it" theory about brainpower and staying mentally sharp. People who delay retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, a study of nearly half a million people in France found.

The whole business about sharing information between intelligence agencies...

Intelligence Community Backs Off Information Sharing - Nextgov.com
A recent solicitation issued by the Defense Intelligence Agency suggests the intelligence community has started to back away from developing a common technology architecture to foster information sharing -- a concept officials touted in February prior to revelations that National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was leaking top secret information to the press.
...is made a whole lot more complicated by the Snowden affair (and others. similar). Because why would one agency want to share with another if that other is obviously and most publicly leaking? Better cooperation is not necessarily the ideal.

A provocative piece from a new web site...

Why the Founding Fathers Would Object to Today’s Military - Defense One

...passed on without comment, but with endorsement.

Or maybe they just want to be on our side

Pakistani Taliban creating camps, sending fighters to Syria - Bailey Cahall | The AfPak Channel
Members of the Pakistani Taliban told Reuters on Sunday that they have set up training camps and claimed they have sent hundreds of men to Syria to help the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters).  One Taliban commander said the request for help came from the group's "Arab friends," while other observers have suggested the move was aimed at strengthening the group's ties with al-Qaeda's central leadership. 


As is often the case, The Onion has the final (and most accurate) say

Zimmerman Found Not Guilty, Technically, But C’mon | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
“The jury acted within the letter of the law, I guess, if you want to be official about it, and acquitted Mr. Zimmerman of both second-degree murder and manslaughter charges,” said legal scholar Jeffrey Frazier about Zimmerman’s culpability in the events of February 26, 2012, which, trial or no trial, have been pretty clear all along, right? “Mr. Zimmerman did not violate any Florida state laws—although, please, give me a break—and is an innocent man, I suppose, if you’re sticking to the strict legal definition of that word.”

As opposed to a necessary shooting?

Killing of Trayvon Martin an ‘unnecessary shooting,’ Holder says - Nation - The Boston Globe
Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday the killing of Trayvon Martin was a ‘‘tragic, unnecessary shooting’’
Why is this guy Holder still on the payroll?

It's a hot day

Really hot. I love hot days. One reason I love them is I take them as a license to be lazy. As in, let's make some iced tea and sit around in the shade and maybe read a book lazy. Which is not exactly conducive to posting a lot of blog stuff. Unless, now that I think of it, lemonade.

You are what you hear?

Undernews: Congress approves use of government broadcast propadanda on American airwaves
Foreign Policy - For decades, a so-called [sic] anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform [sic] passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform [sic] initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.


Makes perfect sense

Robot-voice Obama explains the difference between his administration and Bush's - Boing Boing
Another important difference between my administration and the Bush administration is that when the Bush administration secretly spied on you, the Bush administration could not point to a single judge willing to say their program was legal. We, on the other hand, can point to such a judge. I'm not going to tell you who this judge is, or why he or she thinks our program is legal. If I did that, it would, obviously be harder for me to convince you that the program is legal.

If they invent one that can actually do the writing by itself, I'm in

Why Pens Are Popular On Kickstarter And What It Means For Crowdfunders | TechCrunch
While I usually only need a pen when I mark up a take-out menu before I order, there is a subset of the Internet that goes batty for nice writing instruments.

Snowden's new pals

A Russian court's conviction of a dead man, Sergei Magnitsky, made headlines this past week because the case was so bizarre.  
But Kremlin critics say it's just one in a string of recent prosecutions in which President Vladimir Putin's government is using the courts to silence whistle-blowers and muzzle dissent.