I would try to remember what "zero sum" actually means but it's time for Jersey Shore

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks to U.N.: “Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region."

Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani may not yet see eye-to-eye on Iran’s nuclear program, but they do evidently like to pepper their speeches to international audiences with the same clichés.…

Obama told the General Assembly this morning, “let’s remember this is not a zero sum endeavor.…"

Whoa here's a shocker, Bunky

Professional Cheerleaders Face Exploitation, Low Pay and No Benefits | Alternet

Whoa — stop right there

I'm recalling a New Yorker cartoon…

…in which two Thurberesque characters, a man and a woman, are dining on one of those tiny balconies that hang off the apartments of a certain kind of Manhattan high-rise dwelling, and one character says to the other, "Hurry up and eat your soup, Dear, before it gets dirty." 

It appeared in the magazine 50 years ago, when I lived there. So this headline from today's Christian Science Monitor…

Cleanest air in 50 years! How did New York do it? - CSMonitor.com

…may be taken with a small grain of salt. Manhattan's clean air is not exactly mountain-fresh (or even high-rise fresh).

But all the same — good work, New York.


We are not especially relieved

Pentagon will furlough civilians, curtail military operations in shutdown - The Hill's DEFCON Hill

"The department will, of course, continue to prosecute the war in Afghanistan ..."

Of course. The Library of Congress, meanwhile, will be closed, books and stuff not being as essential as wars. 

Wait, what?

GOP bill allows guns on military bases - The Hill's RegWatch

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) proposed the Safe Military Bases Act, H.R. 3199, along with six other House Republicans…Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Randy Weber (R-Texas).

(You may notice the name "Texas" showing up there from time to time.)

Yeah, this is just another variant of the "if more people had guns there would be less shooting" argument. Which sounds a little suspect to me. And anyway, if the military doesn't have the chops to secure its own bases we have bigger problems to attend to.

Is this the tiniest, most insignificant news story ever?

Ctrl-Alt-Delete Defenders Tell Bill Gates It Wasn't A Mistake : The Two-Way : NPR

The news that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates now says it was a mistake to long ago force Windows PC users to type "Ctrl-Alt-Delete" at start-up is getting tons of attention because his public mea culpas are rather rare.…

But PCWorld thinks "Ctrl-Alt-Del was the best mistake to happen to PCs"

Probably. I mean, Ctrl-Alt-Del defenders? Come on. In the first place, WTF, and in the second place, see place one.

Of course ~, now, that's a different story.

Maybe we should get these guys some Spandex tights and let them make a movie

Somehow that sounds safer.

Let's be real here: Who?

Snoops are bad unless they're good

Three years after distracted driving ban, police start to get hang of enforcement. - Metro - The Boston Globe
Some troopers stay in unmarked cars on the side of the road to catch texting drivers. Others slowly cruise the middle lane to watch as people pull out their phones. Still other troopers may try standing in plain clothes at intersections, watching people text, then radioing ahead to other officers who pull the driver over.… 
“They’re getting a better sense of how they can best see people in their cars and feel more confident they’re doing something wrong,” Larson said.
Maybe the NSA can tell who's texting while they drive. Oh oh.

Morgan would pay $11 billion to make sure it doesn't get caught doing something really bad

JPMorgan seeks to quell probes with settlement - CSMonitor.com

JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday, seeking to make sure a possible $11 billion settlement will end the bank's pain from mortgage-securities probes, a source said.


98? Who is this new guy?

How Google algorithm manages complex queries - CSMonitor.com

"Remember what it was like to search in 1998? You'd sit down and boot up your bulky computer, dial up on your squawky modem, type in some keywords, and get 10 blue links to websites that had those words," Singhal wrote in a separate blogpost.


China is very big…

as you can see for yourself.

Don't look up


In addition to the money spent by the FBI and ATF, the Justice Department has awarded $1.26 million for drones to at least seven local police departments and nonprofit organizations since 2007.

Or do look up. 



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

You're gonna have to look this one up


And we missed it (!)

It's National Punctuation Day : The New Yorker

Mr. Houston has marshalled some fascinating information, and he obviously loves his subject. He gives history and usage for “the sensuous ampersand,” the @ symbol, the irrepressible hash mark (a.k.a. the pound sign and the octothorpe), and the upstart interrobang, as well as the pilcrow, emoticons, and the search for an enduring irony mark. (Read his recent post for Page-Turner.)

But not by much. And maybe next year (…)

The inestimable Charles Pierce weighs in on the whole Ted Cruz thing

Dylan Byers Ted Cruz Filibuster - Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The Infinity - Esquire

Conservative whining about their status as victims no longer qualifies as news


Instant paranoia!

Social apps help track flu cases across U.S. | abc7news.com

Flu season is sweeping the nation and now, you can watch it happen in real time online.…

"So, I'm sitting at home, I'm feeling pretty miserable, just sick, horrible," said VentureBeat writer Christina Farr.

Why wait? Get scared now!


Chocolate Chip Mint: How's That For Cute And Cuddly?

You've probably already heard about Ty Warner's tax problems and that the Beanie Babies creator plead guilty to tax evasion. But that isn't the half of it.

The thought struck me, this afternoon…

…I ought to sort out my diet in favor of more healthful and less caloric choices, whereupon I marched straight to the CVS and bought two giant bags of potato chips and a chocolate bar. This is known as preemptive backsliding. Also, a twofer on the chips. And chocolate — what more is there to say?

Maybe I will mark my calendar for another day.

And the animals are absolutely right

Zoo BANS leopard-print clothing - because it 'confuses' the lions and tigers - Yahoo News

A zoo has banned visitors from wearing leopard print - because it confuses the animals.…

Tigers may start to salivate when they notice visitors wearing zebra print tops and a giraffe could spot her ideal mate in a tall, dark, giraffe trouser-print wearing man.…

Really? Giraffe trousers? A spotted-hyena dress? I'm with the tigers on this. Lions too.

The shame of it all

Finally Reality TV Will Launch a Celebrity Into Space - Brian Moylan - The Atlantic Wire

What you do need to know is that there is going to be a reality show about space and we may not see it in America. America! We are the first in both moon landings and Kardashians and we've been beaten to the space reality show punch by the Dutch! The Dutch! Sic transit gloria America!

How many millions is a millisecond worth?

Somebody Stole 7 Milliseconds From the Federal Reserve | Mother Jones

Last Wednesday, the Fed announced that it would not be tapering its bond buying program. This news was released at precisely 2 pm in Washington "as measured by the national atomic clock." It takes 7 milliseconds for this information to get to Chicago. However, several huge orders that were based on the Fed's decision were placed on Chicago exchanges 2-3 milliseconds after 2 pm. How did this happen?

A whole lot of physics in this

Richard Feynman explains rubber bands - Boing Boing

Here's a clip from the BBC's Fun to Imagine series, in which Richard Feynman explains the amazing thing that happens when you stretch and release a rubber band.

Big freaking bird snuffs Bambi

Oh deer! Eagle kills deer in startling glimpse of alpha bird behavior. - CSMonitor.com

Three trip-camera images of a Siberian golden eagle taking down a deer are an extremely rare glimpse not only into nature at its wildest, but also into little known raptor behavior in an area of the world where hunters use the massive birds to hunt and kill wolves.

Rest is for noobs

New York to create 91 roadside “Text Stops” in hopes that you’ll lol l8er | Ars Technica

Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new initiative to stop drivers from texting on the road—turn rest areas into “Text Stops” and put up signage that lets people know how many miles they'll have to hold off on tweeting that witty tweet.…

In total, 289 new signs will alert motorists of the new texting zone locations.

Informative yet obscure

News from The Associated Press

Hopeful yet unyielding, President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani both spoke…



Obama's Favorite General Stripped of His Security Clearance | The Cable

The Defense Department has stripped Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright of his security clearance, depriving the man once known as "Obama's favorite general" access to classified data as the investigation into leaks of national security secrets continues.

Don't read this if you are easily shocked

Banned Books Week: 10 most challenged books of 2012 - CNN.com

Books from Dav Pilkey's "Captain Underpants" series, which chronicles the adventures of two fourth-grade pranksters, were the most frequently challenged books in 2012…

Stuff Google can't read (or me)

An NSA Whiz Designs 4 Fonts to Foil Google's All-Seeing Eye | Wired Design | Wired.com

It's the on and on you have to keep your eye on

Acxiom, the Quiet Giant of Consumer Database Marketing - NYTimes.com

If you are an American adult, the odds are that it knows things like your age, race, sex, weight, height, marital status, education level, politics, buying habits, household health worries, vacation dreams — and on and on.

Quite unlike the NSA, these guys are not nuisanced by any Fourth Amendment monkey business and are happy to sell what they know to "just about any major company looking for insight into its customers," according to the New York Times (link above). And even if "any major company" does not include, say, Yemen (although it certainly might), well, how far do you trust Wells Fargo anyway? This, Bunky, is what finances all that nifty free stuff on the networks and most of the paid stuff too. Does the phrase "information economy" ring a bell?

(We don't track what you do here but Google, of which Blogger is part, does. One might consider taking measures although, just saying, it's undoubtedly way too late.) 

Now Twitter, which is looking to monitize its data (read, sell your butt) (and mine). (Although I like Twitter and, anyway, don't much care because I gave up on all this "privacy" years ago. Wouldn't mind taking a cut, though.)

Enough to make it possible the NSA server farm is the safest place your digital persona can be. At least when it leaks from there it's front-page news.

The long wait

The long wait by Ted Compton
The long wait, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Hurts you more than it hurts me

Family Research Council: “Nothing more Christian” than kicking 4 million people off food stamps - Salon.com

Former Ohio secretary of state and current senior fellow with the Family Research Council Ken Blackwell thinks that kicking 4 million people off of food stamps is a very Christian thing to do because being hungry, apparently, creates a sense of Christian “self-sufficiency” that not being hungry can never match!

As Right Wing Watch notes, Blackwell went on to tell the Christian Post that there is “nothing more Christian” than massive cuts to food stamps…

New to our work avoidance list

9-eyes (noted here by the blog, Boing Boing) posts amusing (or sometimes sort of scary) photos found in Google's Street View. This could avoid a lot of work.


Early blues

Early blues by Ted Compton
Early blues, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Imagine our relief

Finally, we won’t have to power off during takeoff and landing | Ars Technica

After months of cajoling, prodding, and pushing, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to finally remove the requirement that electronic devices be turned off and put away during the takeoff and landing phases of commercial flights.…

The new rules will almost certainly not permit mobile phone calls, in-flight texting, or mobile data use that would require communication with ground-based towers.

[Emphasis mine.]

OK, but at least they will be like, you know, on. Whew.

The return of Trickshot Dick

K2TV - Wyoming's News Leader

"He (Vice President Dick Cheney) had a gun malfunction.…"

Just one week

Vulnerability Summary for the Week of September 16, 2013 | US-CERT

I get an email like this every week (you can too — there's a subscribe link there somewhere), and some weeks are not as long as this but they're all pretty long, and if you're staying up nights worrying about the NSA you're wasting good sleep time because this is where it's at. It's a jungle out there.

The bottom line: When upgrades to your software become available, install them. 

It's Banned Books Week, Bunky: Go read something bad

Banned Books Week: Celebrating 30 Years of Liberating Literature

In between, not so much any more

RIP, the middle class: 1946-2013 - Salon.com

Syracuse’s leading vocations are now education and medicine – the training of the young and the preservation of the old.


And you will never guess where

Chocolate Chip Mint: Fear the Roo

You've got to love a school that has a kangaroo as its mascot and a football team named for goulashes.

Or, possibly, you will.

Mark your calendar now

Tiny North Dakota town braces for influx of neo-Nazis - CSMonitor.com
Craig Cobb sits on a picnic bench in and undeveloped park in Leith, N.D., where he would someday like to hold a white power music festival on Aug. 26.
Someday on Aug. 26 you will want to be there. Or possibly not. Either way.


Atheism starts its megachurch: Is it a religion now? - Salon.com

The non-religious Assembly is perhaps the fastest growing church in the world -- and it's coming to a mall near you.

…I thought the mall was an Atheism megachurch. And what is the point of being an Atheist if you have to go to church anyway? 

Except of course, you know, raising money and all that.

Making a splash

The Air Force blew up this tiny ‘pirate boat’ with a 2,000-pound smart bomb, because America

If these photos don't make you jump up at your desk and chant "U-S-A" then, well, you're probably not a defense acquisitions contractor.

Now the question is, can we make it four?

Oh Crap, Syria Just Became a Three-Way War — War is Boring — Medium

The two-year-old Syrian civil war is now officially a three-way fight, pitting the regime of Pres. Bashar Al Assad versus the FSA versus the Islamists.

In other words, an unholy mess.

So when you're making your travel plans…

Undernews: Louisiana town makes twerking a crime

National Report -The dance craze twerking has become such a problem in the small town of DeQuincy, Louisiana that city officials have made it illegal.…

Maynard Wilkens who is the Mayor of DeQuincy spoke to CNN about the ban on twerking that takes effect at midnight.…"The rest of the country can keep their heads in the sand about this sexual act before marriage, but not the great city of DeQuincy,” Wilkens said. “We will still allow dancing in DeQuincy, just no jigglin’, shakin’ and ‘dry humping’ anywhere in our city limits.”

It's the law, stupid

Stupid American legal tricks: They’re not so new | eats shoots 'n leaves

In Minnesota, the law prohibits to hang men’s and women’s underwear on the same rope. Sleeping naked is illegal too. In Cleveland, Ohio, women are prohibited from wearing patent leather shoes, because men can see a reflection of underwear in them. In Oxford, Ohio, women can not undress, standing in front of a portrait of a man. In Seattle, Washington, a woman, who sits without a pillow on the lap of a man in buses or trains, will face a prison term of one year. In New York, the law prohibits the presence of naked mannequins in shop windows. In the town of Carmel, also located in the State of New York, a man faces a fine if he goes out wearing pants that do not fit his jacket. The authorities of the state of Washington went even further: it is officially banned to pretend having wealthy parents. Also in Washington, the people, who came to the U.S. with intent to commit a crime, must at first call the police and inform them about the availability of such plans.