Skunks though, maybe, or racoons

Portland will flush 38 million gallons of water after man urinates in Mt. Tabor Reservoir | OregonLive.com

"Portland administrators will flush 38 million gallons of water from Mt. Tabor Reservoir 5 after a 19-year-old man urinated in the city’s drinking supply.

"‘Even though there is very minimal public health risk, the bottom line is that our commitment is to serve water that’s clean, cold and constant,’ said Water Bureau administrator David Shaff. ‘That doesn’t include pee. Not from people, at least.’"

(Just for the record, the normal capacity of the human bladder is about a pint. Most of that pint is, well, water.)

When everybody knows your name—and your smell

Biometric identification that goes beyond fingerprints

"Valid as the privacy concerns are, they are very much first-world problems. Most who worry about the privacy aspects of ID technology already enjoy the benefits of being identified, Gelb points out, like having passports, bank accounts and the ability to vote.

'When you look across the world, you see that those with the least access [to ID] are the poorest and the most excluded,' he says. 'To argue that these people live in some blissful state where no one knows who they are — this is bizarre.'"

A happy find

Book Series: Chicago Shorts

"Longer than a tweet, shorter than A River Runs Through It. Introducing Chicago Shorts—distinguished selections, including never-before-published material, off-the-radar reads culled from the University of Chicago Press’s commanding archive, and the best of our newest books, all priced for impulse buying and presented exclusively in DRM-free e-book format."

From the University of Chicago Press. Definitely worth a look.


It's only The Onion, right?

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

"WASHINGTON—Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a ‘highly credible terrorist threat,’ the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord."

No bashing allowed

Too Big to Jail - Newsweek

"'I was told not to come,' Black recalls. 'The staff said they were afraid I would engage in too much bank bashing.'"

About that Op-Ed in the Guardian

The Lies Edward Snowden Tells - David Frum - The Atlantic

"To write about Russia as a normal state, in which normal methods exist for discovering and discussing truth, is to share culpability for a lie—and a lie that, at this very moment, is shattering the peace and security of all of Europe."

Mmmm, atrocities r us

Domino’s just replaced its pizza crust with fried chicken - Salon.com

"The pizza chain Monday announced its newest menu item: Specialty Chicken (motto: ‘Failure is an option’). It’s a ‘delicious’ combo of sauce, cheese and toppings spread over ‘12 bites of lightly breaded, 100 percent whole breast white meat chicken.’"


Whoa! Think of the children!

See How Cadbury Hatches 350 Million Goo-Filled Eggs a Year | Gadget Lab | WIRED


Obama: Next Democratic Nominee Won't Necessarily Run For My 'Third Term'

Encryption is buggy, so let's encrypt everything!

It’s Time to Encrypt the Entire Internet | Enterprise | WIRED

"The Heartbleed bug crushed our faith in the secure web [Awww –Ed.], but a world without the encryption software that Heartbleed exploited would be even worse."

The day after the first encryption scheme was invented (it had to do with substituting one letter for another, and still does), the very day after, somebody figured out to hack it. And that’s been pretty much the story ever since. And isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Get over it.

We cannot imagine anything ever going wrong with this (unless, of course, something goes wrong)

Avoiding another Fukushima: Nuclear power generation could be put to sea — RT News

"A report by American scientists to be presented at the Small Modular Reactors Symposium, hosted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, suggests that a nuclear power plant could be built in a form of standardized floating offshore platforms similar to modern drilling oil rigs and anchored about 10km out into the ocean."

No help from The Onion

Snacking May Help Minimize Spousal Conflict | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

"‘But most of our fights are about who ate all the snacks.’"

This is like saying, "or else"

White House Preps New Russia Sanctions | Fortuna's Corner

"The White House said Wednesday it had prepared new sanctions against Russia over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, although it stopped short of detailing what or when new penalties may be levied.

It is accurate to say we have additional sanctions prepared and we will impose them as appropriate, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One."

Look, you can go read all about this stuff that’s going on in Ukraine somewhere else. There are plenty of places.* But, well, it’s just pretty amazing to me that a guy with two teen-aged kids in his family still thinks he can get away with this "drawing a red line” thing, or saying “or else,” Come on, dude. Really?

*Like this.

Getting old is like driving a really old car

Still runs fine, but harder to start on cold mornings. Like this one. It's still only 32°. OK, that's not cold, but it's pretty chilly, which is all I need to feel a little sorry for myself. Fortunately, hot coffee. 

Finally, signs of Spring

The 10 most horrifying fast food gimmicks of all time - Salon.com

"It was incredible, really, that no one ever thought to do it before: a chicken sandwich in which the bread is replaced with chicken."

Imagine our relief

#PUTIN to #SNOWDEN: special services strictly regulated by law, don't have NSA-style power & tech WATCH LIVE http://t.co/QRXWuUMPeq
4/17/14, 7:05 AM

Maybe we should just design cars that run on seawater (might not be so difficult)

The Deepwater Horizon Threat - NYTimes.com

"We would never have imagined so little action would be taken to prevent something like this [the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico] from happening again. But, four years later, the Obama administration still has not taken key steps recommended by its experts and experts it commissioned to increase drilling safety. As a result, we are on a course to repeat our mistakes. Making matters worse, the administration proposes to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic and allow seismic activities harmful to ocean life in the search for new oil reserves.



Because busses will turn us all into hippie commies

Tennessee Passes Mind-Boggling Ban on Bus Rapid Transit | Autopia | WIRED

"After the vote… opponents revealed that the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, founded with the support of brothers Charles and David Koch, had lobbied in favor of the bus ban."

Maybe he paints better too

Undernews: Bush was tougher on Wall Street criminals than Obama

"I mean, it wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth, and nobody went to jail, so that we’re now in a place where we don’t even recognize the importance of keeping up appearances when it comes to making things look equal."

Snow and the City

When April Snow Showers Blanket Spring Flowers | FiveThirtyEight

"It’s the middle of April — and it’s snowing as I write this in New York City. This isn’t quite as unusual as you might have gathered from the reaction on Twitter.…"

I've thought for many years the Bears should do this

Let the audience decide your fate in new Twitch-backed game

"Choice Chamber takes the idea of the audience deciding what happens onscreen to a new level and injects Twitch chat into the game's DNA; here, the peanut gallery has a direct impact on the player's progression. "

Seriously, what harm could it do? My idea is, let the fans submit plays, put all the plays into a big bowl, and draw one at random for each series of downs. They could even announce credits:

“The following play was submitted by Joe Novotny…"

And if one actually works, well, something has to eventually, doesn’t it?

Raise your hand if you can spell "fat chance."

So this means no more potholes, right? | Shawn Stoller's Blog

Able was I…

Chocolate Chip Mint: Palindromatic

"Getting back to normal . . ."

Landlubbing in style

Here's the Benson Ford shiphouse in Put-In Bay, Ohio. It's the front end of a Great Lakes ore carrier once owned by the Ford Motor Company.

 Read more about it (and see a lot more pictures) here.

(H/T Charlie from Wisconsin)

A block and a half from here

Despite Rise in Spills, Hazardous Cargo Rides Rails in Secret - NYTimes.com

"American railroads have long operated under federal laws that shield them from local or state oversight and provide a blanket of secrecy over much of their operations.…

Local and state officials complain that they receive very little information about when hazardous materials are shipped through their communities or how railroads pick their routes. "

Oh yes it did


Oh wait, we thought it was all NSA's fault

Google kept Heartbleed bug hidden from the government — RT USA

"American Civil Liberties Union technologist Chris Soghoian said that American cyber firms are likely hesitant to share information with the NSA after it became clear in the wake of the first Snowden leaks that the agency will risk undermining the security of the entire internet if it means it can use an exploit to hone in on a high-value intelligence target."

Well then, that explains that.

On coming attractions

Ted Cruz Is Beating Rand Paul in the Tea Party Primary - Molly Ball - The Atlantic

"'I like Rand Paul, I agree with a lot of what he says, but as far as charismatic leadership, I've got to go with Ted Cruz,' Robin Parkhurst, a state-government worker from Newbury, New Hampshire"

Well, yeah, that

Snowden And His Accomplices Have Enabled al Qaeda, Others To Avoid Detection, Surveillance | Fortuna's Corner

"‘The public justification given by Mr. Snowden for his actions was, ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sorts of things,’ — surveillance of its citizens — ‘I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.’ So where does he choose to go? Russia. In a bizarre and perverse video statement in October, he said of America’s intelligence techniques: ‘They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative; to have relationships and to associate freely.’ This from a man who is snuggled up with Mr, Putin’s [sic] henchmen.’"

If the end of the world happens and you can't see it, does it still count?

Full lunar eclipse delights Americas, 1st of year - Yahoo News

"CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Sky-gazers in North and South America were treated to a full lunar eclipse — at least those fortunate enough to have clear skies."

Right. No chance of clear skies here so if the world does end, we won’t know. Or maybe it will be on the TV. We’d hate to miss it. 

This is what trains were all about

Huge Big Boy steam locomotive coming back to life - Yahoo News

"'Something that's so large and powerful and magnificent, we didn't think any of them would ever come back,' he said."

Back in the 1940’s when I was a pretty little guy we lived in a Chicago suburb (Downers Grove) and my Dad commuted to his job in Cicero on a train, the old Burlington line, and the train was pulled by a steam engine. It was not nearly as big as this one but for a little guy it was efreakingnormous and astoundingly, gloriously loud. I used to love going to the station with my Mom to meet Dad. 

It was also dirty, this engine, because it made a lot of smoke (which was where the choo-choo came from). In the days before air conditioning the passengers would open the windows in the cars and the people who had window seats would often rest elbows on the sills. I could tell if my Dad had had a window seat because if he had, one elbow of his white shirt would be black. 

A decade or so later I traveled on a train from northern Minnesota to southern California and back and the big steam engines that hauled us over the mountains made the commuter-train engines look like dwarfs. Possibly one of those engines was this very Big Boy. But on the flat, relatively easy pull across, say, Nebraska, we traveled behind a diesel. Diesel engines were OK—quieter, cleaner, faster— but they didn’t look like real engines. Only the steam engines looked like real engines. Still do.


Apparently everything worth writing about has already been writ

How Do We Know the Earth Orbits the Sun? | Science Blogs | WIRED

"Sure, the textbooks all say that the solar system is heliocentric. But how do we know that? More importantly, how can YOU tell which is the better model?"

Or nothing

Is Tuesday's 'blood moon' eclipse the end of the world?

"Tuesday's first of four lunar 'blood moon' eclipses will mark a major earth-shattering event, depending on your viewpoint — either the possible start of the end of the world or Tax Day."

Fortunately not often…

…but once in a while, very once, I do something so spectacularly boneheaded on my computer that it takes me the rest of the day to put things back together, plus a restless night of waking up every 12.7 minutes thinking of yet another thing to check, verify, or tweak. Yesterday was such a day, just after noon. If I could have a USB port installed in my head I could fix these things pretty quickly (it’s all up there), but in reality I have to recover manually which, in this case, meant restoring from a backup and losing about five hours in the process. And they had been pretty busy hours. So a lot of stuff had to be redone. Even now, some 23 hours later, I’m sure there are still a few potholes to be encountered, no doubt at exquisitely inconvenient moments.

But at least I’m now good to go for a nap.

Suddenly there's a war shortage

In New Officers’ Careers, Peace Is No Dividend - NYTimes.com

"For the first time in 13 years, the best and the brightest of West Point’s graduating class will leave this peaceful Hudson River campus bound for what are likely to be equally peaceful tours of duty in the United States Army."

BTW it's National Library Week

How could we miss this?

Entertainment & Sports Figures | Library Quotes

"'I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.'

–Groucho Marx (1890-1977)"


Who woulda guessed?

Stephen Colbert Is Popular on the Internet | FiveThirtyEight

I do not want to hear about this so please shut up

Rockies, Midwest bracing for wintry blast, lower temps

"Up to two feet of snow is forecast for parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska by Sunday night, while several Midwestern states and the south central U.S. will receive a cold blast that could drive temperatures in some regions to record April lows."

We have some rain in the picture for next week, and some chilly nights, but the days look at least livably warm—50º or 60º, say. Montana can have all the snow it wants but keep that stuff away from here.

And anyway we're not worried; we can always buy our information from China (like everything else)

Report: NSA Exploited Heartbleed to Siphon Passwords for Two Years | Threat Level | WIRED

"Update: The NSA has issued a statement denying any knowledge of Heartbleed prior to its public disclosure this week."