Unmouse, mostly

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Things get a little slow around the 16th Century or so…

…but if you ever counted the days until your Captain Midnight Secret Decoder Ring arrived in the mail, or wrote a note with lemon juice, or read an Ian Fleming novel, this book’s a treat. And an eye-opener, no matter what. And fun. It’s Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies: The Story of Invisible Ink from Herodotus to al-Qaeda, by Kristie Macrakis. (And it’s complete with recipes you can make at home.)


Here, or on the list.

Finally, something constructive for the lawyers to do

"Obama has issued 182 executive orders in his presidency, through the end of June. The tyrant.

"The sainted Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders. The benign Dwight Eisenhower rolled out 484 of them. And Calvin Coolidge — Silent Cal, hero of young fogies in bow ties, asleep at the presidential wheel — signed more than 1,200 executive orders. Sue ’em all, retroactively."

–Midwest and Elsewhere Bureau

Dreams of glory, one more time

Bears Training Camp Digest — Day 1 | Voices

"It was only the first day of training camp and without pads, but …"

There he is

Rick Perry’s Operation Strong Candidate - Mark Fiore - Truthdig

I lost track of Mark Fiore a few years back but here he is on Truthdig with, as always, a funny toon. Click the link.

This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.*

French blogger owes $2,000 in damages over review 'too prominent' on Google - CSMonitor.com
"The blogger's critique of a restaurant was so high in Google's search results that it damaged the restaurant's reputation, a French court ruled."
*The Hollow Men

Be afraid

Russia has lost control of a gecko sex experiment in space | The Verge

But don't worry, they're still allowed to write laws

Who’s banned from editing Wikipedia this week? Congress | Ars Technica

"The ban comes after a series of wild 'disruptive' edits that appeared following the creation of @congressedits, a bot that monitors anonymous edits from congressional IP addresses and announces them to the world via Twitter. The account was created just over two weeks ago and already has more than 23,000 followers."

And maybe when they’re a little more grown up we’ll let them write a postage stamp or two.

Good thing I kept my slide rule

Why Do Americans Stink at Math? - NYTimes.com

"A 2012 study comparing 16-to-65-year-olds in 20 countries found that Americans rank in the bottom five in numeracy. On a scale of 1 to 5, 29 percent of them scored at Level 1 or below, meaning they could do basic arithmetic but not computations requiring two or more steps. One study that examined medical prescriptions gone awry found that 17 percent of errors were caused by math mistakes on the part of doctors or pharmacists."

(OK, you don’t know what a slide rule is, there’s a link in our Work Avoidance List.)


Just plain uniformly bad

The Great Recall (Cont.) | The Weekly Standard

"General Motors recalled another 718,000 of its vehicles yesterday to correct defects serious enough to require the action. This puts the number at 'nearly 30 million vehicles since the start of the year, by far a record for any automaker and more than half the vehicles recalled by the industry as a whole.'

"Many of those 30 million were built buy the ‘old GM,’ which the taxpayers bailed out …

"The vehicles recalled yesterday were built by ‘new GM’… "

Unclear on the concept

Minuteman Militia Planning "Operation Normandy" to Deploy 3,500 Men to Stop Border "Invasion" | The Daily Banter

"Yes, Normandy. The operation was deliberately named after Normandy Beach, circa June 6, 1944, when Allied Forces invaded Nazi-controlled Europe. What’s wrong with this picture? It was the U.S., U.K. and the Allies who invaded at Normandy on D-Day, and the Nazis were the defenders against the invasion. That means the Minuteman gang has inadvertently (I hope) cast themselves in the role of the Nazis, with refugee children as the Allies."

But leprosy

Quote of the Day: Turning Away Immigrant Children Is What Jesus Would Do | The Daily Banter

"One of the great ironies of modern American Christianity is how weaponized it is and how fiercely and diametrically opposed its adherents often are to the actual teachings of Jesus, as described in the Bible. There’s no place better to witness an example of this little phenomenon than at a Tea Party rally, especially one focusing on immigration."

George Carlin had the perfect solution to almost everything

George Carlin Had the Perfect Solution To All These Botched Executions | The Daily Banter

“…really, capital punishment is kind of a religious ritual. It’s a purification right. It’s a modern sacrament.
"‘And as long as that’s true, I say, let’s liven it up a little!"

In case you're worried

Fire-Resistant Underwear Made From Fake Spider Silk Could Soon Be a Thing | Danger Room | WIRED

"A Michigan firm has brought us one step closer…"

Oh, and did we mention…?

Solar flare nearly destroyed Earth 2 years ago: NASA | New York Post

"‘If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,’ says Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado."

Wait til these guys start sniffing your suitcase

Elephants can outsniff rats and dogs | Fox News

"In a study of 13 mammals, African elephants were found to be superior sniffers, possessing the largest number of genes associated with smell five times as many as humans and more than twice that of dogs."


Because the less we know, the better off we are

US Only Country To Vote No On UN Resolution Against Killing Civilians In Gaza | FDL News Desk

"American exceptionalism strikes again. This time it manifested itself as the US being the only country on the United Nations Human Rights Council to vote against investigating the killing of civilians in Operation Protective Edge."

And don’t tell me about carbon dioxide either. Or Congress.

Reform, but not so much

House chairman shreds VA’s $17.6B request | TheHill

"House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) on Thursday ripped the Veterans Affairs Department for requesting $17.6 billion in new funding, saying the money will only entrench the agency’s ‘perverse culture’ "

Once upon a time in an age long, long ago…

Barack Obama locks out the press — again - Edward-Isaac Dovere and Josh Gerstein - POLITICO.com

"Despite constant complaints from the press corps and promises from White House officials, access to the president continues to be limited. The constantly repeated line that they’re running the ‘most transparent administration in history’ tends to prompt snickers. Halfway through Obama’s West Coast swing, it’s tipping toward outrage."

…Democrats got all twisted out of shape because they couldn’t find out what energy industry moguls were meeting with Darth. Now, though, they’re beyond all that, more civilized.

Senator (D) cheats

Plagiarism Raises Ethical Alarm at Military School - NYTimes.com

"‘There is malevolent cheating and incompetent cheating…This is a case of the latter. This is college kid stuff.’"

The back-up sight is a handy feature

Dear Friend of Liberty,

"That's why C4L is giving away a brand new Colt LE6920MP-B AR-15 equipped with a red dot sight.

"The AR-15 will come with Magpul stock, pistol grip, handguard, and vertical grip and back-up sight."

Thanks, Ron Paul. And H/T PEA POD

Not that we don't trust you but…

Kerry screened by metal detector before meeting Egypt’s president | New York Post

"Kerry appeared for only a few seconds in the footage, which showed his senior aides walking through a stationary metal detector and being checked with a handheld wand.
"At least one was asked to empty his pockets. "

Don't let the National Guard scare you

Child-migrant crisis: Will Obama help rally Democrats to back a GOP plan? - CSMonitor.com

"The suggestions include deploying the National Guard to the border to help with humanitarian care of minors"

Sending the National Guard to the border to “defend” it (basically, to scare would-be immigrants away, which is about all they can do since they have no power to detain) is dumb, but using Guardsmen as babysitters is not a half bad idea. The Guard is full of young men and women, civilians, many of whom have young children of their own. They’d probably do a fine job.


And you thought we were having fun before

Is Donald Sterling a racist or just a savvy tax planner? | Shawn Stoller's Blog

"thanks to a tax law that applies only to forced sales or other ‘involuntary conversions,’ Sterling’s profits [from selling the L.A. Clippers] may all be tax-free."

You're free to have your gun…

…but not near us go away getoutofhere!

Congressional Staffer Brings Gun Into Congress | ThinkProgress

"Rep. Tom Marino’s (R-PA) press secretary was arrested on Friday for bringing a gun into the U.S. Capitol building. Ryan Shucard, press secretary for the congressman, allegedly brought a 9mm handgun and magazine into one of the House office buildings, reports Roll Call, but was promptly stopped by Capitol Police and detained. He is being charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a felony."

But not too much

Hunting Humans: The Americans Taking Immigration Into Their Own Hands

"Down the road, a woman sauntered near the entrance of a ranch, her military green T-shirt hugging her plump curves and blending into the background. "

And a new dragon is born

Exclusive: Ukraine Asked U.S. for Tech to Counter Russia's Jet-Killers - The Daily Beast

"‘These are highly sensitive systems, we don’t trust Ukrainian military folks on this,’ this official said. (The Ukrainian military is believed to be thoroughly penetrated by Russian intelligence.)"

If a tree falls in the forest…

HCJ continues to approve punitive house demolitions and the policy of harming the innocent | B'Tselem

"A policy of punitive home demolition is fundamentally wrong, irrespective of effectiveness. It contravenes basic moral standards by punishing people for the misdeeds of others."

Doing something? Stop now.

Duluth Harbor Cam: Roger Blough arrives Duluth 7/22/2014 during lightning storm

Blogrunner topic: Squirrels

Squirrels - Blogrunner

Not all of it is breaking news

The 9/11 Commission Is Back With a New Warning for America - The Daily Beast

"‘The Congress of the United States is failing us, and failing us badly,’ declared former Republican Governor James Thompson, who served on the 9/11 Commission."

Could this be the entertainment event of the century? (And so soon!)

Michele Bachmann on running for president: "There's a chance" - CBS News

"The Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate told RealClearPolitics on Tuesday that she is considering a second White House run."

There's trendy, and then there's nuts

How the Paleolithic Diet Got Trendy

"There are, of course, lots of ways to resist progress. People take up knitting or quilting or calligraphy. They bake their own bread or brew their own beer or sew their own clothes using felt they have fashioned out of wet wool and dish soap. But, both in the scale of its ambition and in the scope of its anachronism, paleo eating takes things to a whole new level."

Just imagine the thrill of it

Thank God for Rick Perry | RedState

"As the rest of the world sizes Barack Obama up as a man who pees sitting down, the Texas Governor, not prone to wear mom jeans, has ordered his National Guard down to the border."

Oh oh

Celestia: Home

"... The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X."

Knowledge is power


You wouldn't want to die in a fiery crash with a woman who has ugly toenails, would you?

Roadshow: Woman painting toenails gets first prize for distracted driving - San Jose Mercury News

"She had her left foot up on the dashboard in front of the A/C vent so the cool, dry air would blow across her toes, and she was painting her toenails as she drove during the afternoon commute. I'll confess to being a 'distracted driver' when I witnessed it. I drove alongside for a minute to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me. Sadly, they were not."

Would you hire this man?

House, Senate chart separate courses on border - San Jose Mercury News

"'Unfortunately, it looks like we're on a track to do absolutely nothing,' Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said."

So when you're planning your next trip…

Many flights soar over conflict zones - CNN.com

"Every day American Airlines Flight 7 travels from Dubai to Atlanta and soars over Iraq.…
United Flight 82 each day goes over Afghanistan as it travels from Newark, New Jersey, to Delhi, India."

Two, at least. 



I just watched the first half of the pilot episode of a (presumably new, or newish) TV series called "The Lottery" on Hulu. It manages to hit every single known cliché in 30 minutes flat. It's difficult to find that kind of efficiency these days.

Gotta love it

Does this mean they're un-succeeding now?

Rick Perry’s bizarre babysitters club: A new “solution” even too daft for him - Salon.com

“[Sending National Guard to the border is] going to cost the Texas taxpayers 12 million dollars a month. That’s some mighty expensive babysitting. But Governor Perry says they needn’t be concerned.

"’Once we show this works I will insist we send a bill to the [Obama] administration.’"

There'll always be an England

Queen's horse Estimate fails drugs test - CNN.com

Will this be the first time a horse is sent to the Tower?

Is there any other kind?

Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy

We earn a testimonial

"Man, I never should have opened this up again . . . talk about wasting time…"

Thanks, Big Mike

Where were these guys?

When I was a kid (yes, really) the back pages of comic books and any other magazines read by boys were full of feuding ads from Converse and Keds each claiming their shoes (we called them gym shoes in those ancient days) would make you run faster, jump farther and higher and meet more girls


The Extraordinary Future of Shoes - CityLab

"Athletic Propulsion Labs's biggest claim to fame is that its Concept 1 basketball shoes were banned by the NBA in 2010 for giving 'unfair competitive advantage' by increasing vertical leap."

Woohoo! And still help you meet more girls…

But out on the street, everyone told me how great they looked.

Ramping up the GOP Follies of 2016

I’m Ronald Reagan! No, I’m Reagan! No, over here, I’m the real Reagan!

"Once again the ghost of Ronald Reagan looms large. Though his record in raising taxes and adding to the deficit, and his involvement in redrawing the map of the world, would make him ineligible to become the nominee were he still alive, the contestants are already comparing themselves with the only Republican president whose conservative credentials are made of the same material as earned him his nickname, the ‘Teflon president.’"

And what a cast:

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) now enjoys support from 11 percent of Republican voters, a point or two ahead of scandal-ridden New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. Paul is three points ahead of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), former vice presidential candidate and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This crowded field also includes Senator Marco Rubio of Florida with 6 points and Texas Governor Rick Perry with 3.

We can’t wait.


Not to beat a dead horse…Whack! Whack!

Amazon includes the Kindle edition of Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street and Babbitt in its subscription Kindle Unlimited selection, and several of Lewis’s lesser-known novels—all of which are also available free from Project Gutenberg, but not Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry (I’ve been thinking about re-reading that one), or It Can’t Happen Here.  There is nothing exotic about any of these books and you can probably find them all in your local library (or the one in that town over there) and read them that way if, as I’ve said, you can figure out where the power cord plugs in. 


And, I seem to remember reading not too many hours ago…


"The action at offshore wind farms seems to be happening above the waves, with those giant, spinning turbine blades. But there's something interesting going on below, too. Some seals flock from miles around to swim among the turbines' support structures, tracking from one to the other as if completing a grid."

…sharks are attracted to seals. Great White sharks, at least. Nature is weird. I try to stay as far away from it as I can.

Sure, rub it in why don't you

The Rude Pundit: On the Immigrant Children: No, We're Not Really Better Than This

"The belief that…'We are better than that' is as much a myth for the left as the belief on the right that we can return to some kind of utopian past that never existed."

Running the numbers

Children at the Border - NYTimes.com

"More than 52,000 children have been caught crossing the United States border alone since October. "


The capacity of the Ohio State football stadium is 104,994. (Michigan’s is bigger.)

Which is not to say 52,000 is not a big number, or that what’s going on with children at the southern border isn’t a vey big deal requiring a concerted, compassionate response. It is to say 52,000 people over seven or eight months is not an overwhelming number—more than twice as many people pass in and out of the stadium in Columbus every week during football season. 

We should be able to responsibly handle this number of children, and we should get busy and do it.

ADD: Texas Gov. Perry sends 1,000 troops.

Time for a remake of Jaws

Shark sightings off Cape Cod a boon for tourism - The Washington Post

"‘I mean, truthfully, we’ve probably grown about 500 percent in terms of the sale of our shark apparel,’ he said. The T-shirts, hoodies, hats, belts, dog collars and other accessories bear the iconic, torpedo-shaped image of great whites and sell for between $10 and $45."


And when Ted Cruz's buddies get scared you, Bunky, are in trouble

Silicon Valley’s Libertarian revolution - Darren Samuelsohn - POLITICO.com

"Vincent Harris, an Austin, Texas-based Republican operative who spearheaded Sen. Ted Cruz’s digital campaign in 2012 and noted during one of the Saturday panel discussions that his current clients would be ‘scared’ to hear some of the libertarians’ musings on social issues."

But wait! That's our business plan you're talking about there!

NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden's surveillance revelations explained | World news | theguardian.com

"Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA to build what it calls ‘a pattern of life’, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with them."

(Oh. Sorry.)

Plus, Silicon Valley could become its very own gated State

Chocolate Chip Mint: Create Your Own State (Everyone's Doing It)

"This is serious stuff…"

Maybe yes, maybe no: Don't toss your library card just yet

Turns out Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited subscription service is not quite as unlimited as one might think—there are a bunch of books (and typically, the higher-priced ones) not included in the deal. Also, looking closely at the words of the thing—and the presentation on Amazon’s web siteit’s not entirely clear whether “unlimited” books remain in one’s library if (or when) one’s subscription is discontinued. 

None of which, of course, is automatically a deal breaker. Amazon remains an excellent source for reasonably-priced current e-books—and its software is best in class—but getting the maximum benefit from Kindle Unlimited will require a little strategic thought. And in the meantime, public-library e-books (and audio books) and the offerings of good old Project Gutenberg need to remain in the mix.

Plus, of course, there are those paper things, if you can figure out where the power cord goes.

Yes there are still some real men left

Amazon.com: Hanes Big Mens Full Cut Boxer # 239B: Boxer Shorts: Clothing

"Well, there should be white boxers available somewhere. I looked far and wide for good old white boxers…"

…and other comments.