Jack's family tree…



Hey, we've driven just about everywhere else

DRM in Cars Will Drive Consumers Crazy | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Forget extra cupholders or power windows: the new Renault Zoe comes with a "feature" that absolutely nobody wants. Instead of selling consumers a complete car that they can use, repair, and upgrade as they see fit, Renault has opted to lock purchasers into a rental contract with a battery manufacturer and enforce that contract with digital rights management (DRM) restrictions that can remotely prevent the battery from charging at all.

Albania wimps out

Albania rejects plan to destroy Syrian chemical weapons | TheHill

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had hoped that Syria’s chemical weapons could be shipped out of Syria and destroyed in Albania.

Come on, Albania, just because we want to dump a bunch of chemical weapons in your landfill…


Feeling a little nostalgic there, Bunky?

Google BBS Terminal

Click the link and try Google as an old-style (circa 1980's) BBS—it works just fine.

(And some serious vertigo)

These Beautiful "Place-Hacking" Photos Will Give You an Adrenaline Rush | Mother Jones

Maybe we should buy some insurance on the insurance thing

HealthCare.gov targeted by more than a dozen hacking attempts | Ars Technica

The social security numbers, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, and other personal information collected by the site make it a high-value target for financially motivated attackers.

Imagine our relief

U.S. Investigates Currency Trades by Major Banks - NYTimes.com

“Do the big banks make money from this advantage? Yes, they do,” he said. “Is it a ton of money? No.”


Everybody wants to be a critic

How Music Could Be Used as a Weapon at Sea - Defense One

It is believed that sound waves can "jump the air gap” -- or hack a machine that is not on a network -- to paralyze a ship's control systems. Instead of using a blockade or firing Tomahawk missiles…the United States could use malicious tones. 

Relax, darlin, it's only Texas

Chevron pipeline explodes, burns in rural Texas - Yahoo News

All the R's had to do was just shut up

Obama announces change to address health insurance cancellations - The Washington Post

President Obama announced Thursday an administrative change in one of the bedrock ideas of the new health-care law, allowing insurers to continue offering individual insurance plans for another year even if they do not comply with the law’s rules for minimum benefits.

Clowns can make you laugh or make you cry

Audience laughs at Ted Cruz for saying he “didn’t want a shutdown” - Salon.com

Speaking with Fox News’ Chris Wallace in front of a crowd for the Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum, Ted Cruz claimed he “didn’t want a shutdown” — a comment that was immediately greeted with laughter.

When the weather gets cool like it's been the last few days…

…certain persons of the wooden persuasion, like the little guy who sits patiently on my bookcase and holds my hats, need their bolts tightened, or they will collapse in a heap. For others here in this corner of New England, signing up for classes serves the same purpose, pretty much. Bulletin boards and shop windows blossom with fliers and posters describing classes in everything from feng sui to Microsoft Word. This, presumably, offers another way to avoid collapsing into heaps.

Personally, I am a heap sort of guy, especially if there are lots of warm blankets involved.

Before we get all outraged let's try to figure out what it is we're outraged about

George W. Bush Still Plans to Appear at Jews-for-Jesus-like Event Tonight | Mother Jones

Where is it you were thinking I would think?

On snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

For the GOP's Obamacare Dream to Come True, It Just Had to Get Out of the Way - Philip Bump - The Atlantic Wire

Obamacare has taken a sudden and spectacular dive in public opinion, according to a new poll from Gallup.


Because sex is ickier

Of Course PG-13 Movies Have Lots Of Gun Violence. Americans Aren't That Worried About It. | ThinkProgress

Mmmm, dronehacking

The Aviationist » German Heron Drone Hacked and Crashed by Taliban in Afghanistan

In previous article about a German Heron drone that crashed into a C-160 at Mazar-i-Sharif in 2010, we reported the harsh comments by Bild newspaper that defined athe German Army experience with drones in Afghanistan “an infinite history of failures, crashes and embarrassment.”

Why does this report make me want to dive under the bed?

Speaking of which, this might be a good time for a visit to…

…the Civil Defense Museum

Supplies In Fallout Shelters

During the Fallout Shelter program the Office of Civil Defense provided
supplies to be stocked in marked community shelters. These supplies were
very minimal survival supplies which would have provide shelterees with
food, water and sanitation needs for an allotted 2 week shelter stay. The
plan was to provide each shelteree with 1 quart of water per day, 700 calories
of food per day, sanitation supplies and radiation detection instruments.


Facebook Patented Making NSA Data Handoffs Easier - Slashdot

"In June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blasted 'outrageous press reports' about the PRISM surveillance program, denying that Facebook was ever 'part of any program to give the U.S. or any other government direct access to our servers.' What Zuckerberg didn't mention, and what the press overlooked, is that the USPTO granted Facebook a patent in May for its Automated Writ Response System. Like the NSA-enabling systems described by the NY Times on the same day Zuckerberg cried foul, the patent covers technical methods to more efficiently share the personal data of users with law enforcement agencies…


Free markets! Free markets!


Jeff Lautt, CEO of Poet, which operates ethanol refineries across the country, including in South Dakota, said it's up to farmers how to use their land.

"The last I checked, it is still an open market. And farmers that own land are free to farm their land to the extent they think they can make money on it or whatever purpose they need," he said.

Except, of course…

This expansion of the Corn Belt is fueled in part by America's green energy policy, which requires oil companies to blend billions of gallons of corn ethanol into their gasoline. In 2010, fuel became the No. 1 use for corn in America, a title it held in 2011 and 2012 and narrowly lost this year. That helps keep prices high.

…it's actually a government market. So there's that. And not all that "green" after all.

And just crawled inside the bag and…

News from The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- A spy whose naked, decomposing body was found inside a padlocked gym bag at his apartment likely died in an accident with no one else involved, British police said Wednesday - a tentative conclusion that is unlikely to calm conspiracy theories around the bizarre case.

…well, you know, locked it. Somehow. (Sure.)

Conspiracy theories? Oh, those Brits.


Reading a James Patterson novel…

…is sort of like eating a bag of potato chips—this one, Private, co-authored by Maxine Paetro, packs 124 chapters into 335 or so pages. You can't read just one. Private turns out to be the name of a detective agency and the book, Private, the first in a series. Which adds up to a whole lot of chips, maybe more than is entirely healthy. But still it's a way to pass a lazy evening, beats, marginally, staring at the late late show, and so it is on our list.

Dog faces

Reunion Clips of Soldiers and Their Loved Ones Have Become Just Another Form of Entertainment - The Daily Beast

I once heard someone say there are two things all Americans love: puppies and veterans.

Possibly not a good thing: Nuke plant missing a few parts

Vt. Yankee discovers flood seals are missing | The Recorder

BRATTLEBORO — For the third time in 18 months, inspectors have uncovered missing flood seals at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant…

Inspecting for flood seals has been a Nuclear Regulatory Commission priority since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima…

In last Wednesday’s instance, Entergy Nuclear failed to correct missing and faulty flood seals that were discovered last spring in underground pipes, Sheehan said.

He said Entergy Nuclear had hired a contractor to replace the missing seals, but the contractor had failed to do the job…

Oh well then, contractor's fault, no sweat. Let's crank this sucker up.

Only for unredeemable geeks

The FTP Site Boneyard : Free Software : Download & Streaming : Internet Archive


iPhone photo/art: Phil Compton

Give us a break here, Dude

Spying Scandal Alters U.S. Ties With Allies and Raises Talk of Policy Shift - NYTimes.com

Almost never before has a spying scandal — in this case the revelation of the monitoring of the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — resulted in such a concrete, commercial backlash.

Amost never? Is that like sorta never? Or more like not never? Or probably not often but I'm too lazy to look it up?

Or just seldom?

Pop quiz: What famous mountain is 533,333 bras high?

China’s One-Day Shopping Spree Sets Record in Online Sales - NYTimes.com

Tmall.com, one of Alibaba’s shopping sites, said Chinese bought 1.6 million bras, which it helpfully noted would reach three times the height of Mount Everest if folded and stacked, and two million pairs of underpants, which if linked together would stretch 1,800 miles, all before the lunch hour.


Well that settles that

Tony Perkins: Denying women birth control is “why the Pilgrims came here” - Salon.com

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins wants private companies to be able to deny women contraception coverage because he believes that depriving women of basic healthcare is “why the Pilgrims came here.”

Also, who needs Obamacare when we have leaches? 


Oh oh, look at that

I popped open my favorite snow forecasting app for the first time since maybe March and whoa, just in time. It's supposed to snow tonight. Around 0.4 inches, during the wee hours. Tomorrow will be warm enough to melt it off so nothing to worry about. But at least I know to stay in bed as long as possible in the morning and not look out the window until I've had at least one cup of coffee.

Oh, come on, let's not get all worked up here

Steve Strauss: Why I Hire English Majors

I love English majors. I love how smart they are. I love their intellectual curiosity. And I love their bold choice for a major. Most of all, I love to hire them.

There's always an excuse…

…for cookies. Just pointing out.

Goo-goo-googely eyes*

Porn Stars Forced to Wear Goggles if Draft of California Bill Passes | TIME.com

Unless you have a fetish for hazmat suits** and science lab equipment, you probably won’t be too excited for the newest draft of California Bill AB 640, which is meant to protect the pornography industry from the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

* Barney Google



No more Freedom Fries, hooray!

McCain: 'Vive la France' | TheHill

Sen. John McCain on Sunday hailed France for its "courage" to hold up a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Duck wins big, woohoo

He's The One! Rubber Duckie Joins The Toy Hall Of Fame : The Two-Way : NPR

Saying that "one toy stretches our gray matter; the other expands our sense of childhood wonder," the National Toy Hall of Fame announced Thursday that its 2013 inductees are the game of chess and the rubber duck.

Also…bonus…the National Toy Hall of Fame looks like a pretty serious work avoidance tool.

Welfare for billionaires (but not you, you mope)

Billionaires Received U.S. Farm Subsidies, Report Finds - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON — The federal government paid $11.3 million in taxpayer-funded farm subsidies from 1995 to 2012 to 50 billionaires or businesses in which they have some form of ownership, according to a report released Thursday by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based research organization.…

“The irony is that farm subsidies are going to billionaires at the same time that there are proposals to kick three to five million people off of food stamps,” said Scott Faber, vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group. “This clearly highlights the need for reform to our farm programs.”