Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke

Tabbi hits this one out of the park.

By eschewing criminal prosecutions of major drug launderers on the grounds (the patently absurd grounds, incidentally) that their prosecution might imperil the world financial system, the government has now formalized the double standard.

(link) [Rolling Stone]

22:37 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Linux 3.7 released, bringing generic ARM support with it

Linux moves closer to ARM. Microsoft is already there. Apple's been there, done that. How long can Intel hold on?

Linus Torvalds has officially announced that version 3.7 of the Linux kernel has gone stable, and that means good news for developers who work with ARM-based CPUs: among its other changes, Linux 3.7 is the first Linux kernel to include generic support for multiple ARM CPU architectures, reducing the amount of effort required to get Linux-based operating systems running on phones, tablets, and ARM-licensed developer boards like the Raspberry Pi.

(link) [Ars Technica]

09:23 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Copyright trolls, biz scum, freetards - it's NOT black and white

Interesting new organization, trying to restore some sense of balance to the whole copyright/IP domain. Necessary, no doubt, but given the current political climate, I can't see much hope for success, unless you count maintaining the current gridlock as successful. Rolling back the ridiculous changes of the past 20 years is what's needed, but alas, I see no hope for that at all, no matter how reasonable your proposals.

A new intellectual property rights organisation has popped up in the United States called New Media Rights. New Media Rights strikes a different balance than most intellectual property organisations; they champion the rights of independent creators as well as those of individual consumers.

(link) [The Register]

09:20 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

To save this endangered breed, eat it

Nice article about a very endangered breed. I suspect, however, that the taste described has more to do with the way the cattle are raised on grass than it does wioth the breed itself. Savvy marketing.

Ask Joe Henderson any question and odds are he’ll give you a very thorough answer. But ask him how to save one of the most endangered breeds in the world, the Randall Lineback, he’ll give you a very short retort: You have to eat it.

(link) [Eatocracy]

23:50 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

To Steer Students to Jobs in Demand, Florida May Cut Costs for Select Majors

A singularly bad idea on a lot of different levels.

Exactly what role is the state university filling here? Have we reduced our institutions of higher learning to nothing more than taxpayer supported vocational schools for the benefit of corporate interests? I always thought the goal of education was, well, education. Silly of me, I suppose.

Furthermore, there are going to be several unexpected economic impacts from this. The professions they're talking about driving students towards with reduced tuition are already on the higher end of the pay scale - if you increase supply, what happens to the price? Or second thought, maybe that effect is not so unexpected...

But worst of all will be the subtle impact on quality of work. We already have too many people picking a career based on how much money they'll make, and this will only drive that trend. Would you rather have a doctor who's interested in medicine, or one who became a doctor because the state subsidized his tuition and "steered" him away from English Lit? Would you rather drive a car whose gas tank was designed by an engineer who really cared about physics, math and mechanical interactions, or one who engineers because he makes more money than he would doing community theater?

I can't count how many mediocre programmers I've run across over the years who only got into it because "software's where it's at", and "computer people make a lot of money". The irony here is that none of them ever got to where it really was, and none of them made very much money at it, either.

Now, looking for more value on the remaining dollars, Governor Scott and Republican lawmakers are prodding Florida’s 12 state universities to find ways to steer students toward majors that are in demand in the today’s job market.

(link) [New York Times]

22:22 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Christmas tree growers suffer from drought

More fallout from the past summer, in a crop most people don't think of as a crop. But it is, as surely as corn or beans. But unlike a row crop catastrophe, this one will take 8 years to roll through.

The drought has presented a tough year for Christmas tree growers, and it will continue to in the years ahead.

(link) [AgriNews]

09:10 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Poem of the week: Musk-Ox by Jane Yeh

I rarely find a modern poet whose words resonate this way - here's a link to the title poem from the book mentioned: On Ninjas.

This week's poem, "Musk-Ox", is from Jane Yeh's second collection, The Ninjas, recently published by Carcanet Press, and deservedly welcomed in a recent Guardian review by Aingeal Clare. Jane Yeh is an American poet based in London. Her voice, to my ear, has a distinctly English quality. Combining fantasy, melancholy, precision and gently-disturbing wit, it suggests at times how Lewis Carroll could have written, had he been a young 21st-century postmodernist.

(link) [The Guardian]

11:03 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Demon Face

I've posted about the krampusse traditions before, but this is the first time I've seen them tied to Perchta rather than the Wild Hunt. It's nice to see a tradition like this that's still going strong.

Tourists or foreigners have to look twice when attending a Perchten festival in the western Austrian region of Tyrol. Some probably think there is something wrong with the countryfolk – dressing up like demons, wearing head to toe animal skins and wooden masks, behavior that could easily be associated with some kind of a devil’s cult. It just doesn’t seem to be normal.

(link) [Reuters]

via The Wild Hunt

11:36 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Why the ARM architecture is shaped the way it is

Really interesting history, proving that design tradeoffs, compromises and shortcuts can still lead to great products.

It is arguable that ARM and Intel, the two companies locked in head-to-head processor competition, represent two different poles and philosophies.

(link) [ee Times]

11:23 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

An Imperfect God

I don't know whether to be delighted or infuriated. On the one hand, this is a thoughtful piece by a learned man which comes to what I would consider basically sound conclusions. On the other, the implicit monotheism hangs there like a bizarre pinata, waiting for me to take a swing.

I guess polytheists don't exist. Or at least aren't theists.

I wonder if the author recognizes the irony of his argument? The imperfect and sometimes capricious deity of his conclusion is very much in keeping with characterizations of the gods and goddesses in pagan mythological sources. Except there's more than one of them. Polytheists have understood this for quite a while.

Is God perfect? You often hear philosophers describe “theism” as the belief in a perfect being — a being whose attributes are said to include being all-powerful, all-knowing, immutable, perfectly good, perfectly simple, and necessarily existent (among others). And today, something like this view is common among lay people as well.

(link) [New York Times]

23:29 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Beards of Silicon Valley

I guess I'm either a Unix admin or a founder who left before the IPO ...

In Silicon Valley, the beard is everything — unless you’re a woman or you’re Mark Zuckerberg and you can’t grow one. For everyone else, a beard is essential to Silicon Valley success. But not just any beard. You must carefully grow your facial hair to suit your particular role in the tech ecosystem.

(link) [Wired]

22:57 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

How Political Campaign Spending Brought Down the Roman Republic

Well, whaddya know? Somebody else noticed the parallels...

Ancient politicians were just as skilled as modern ones at identifying and exploiting loopholes in election law. In Rome, the key loophole lay in the fuzzy distinction between ambitus (electoral bribery) and mere benignitas (generosity). Roman elections were often won on the strength of free food, drinks, entertainment, and sometimes hard cash offered directly to voters and financed by private fortunes. In fact, Roman campaign slogans were sometimes inscribed on the bottom of commemorative wine cups—you could drain the cup and find out whom to vote for. Most of the Roman elite relied on the gentleman’s agreement that the line between bribery and generosity would not be strictly patrolled. At worst, rank vote-buying was something your opponents engaged in; you, on the other hand, were simply being a good neighbor.

(link) [Slate]

22:55 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Poor management, not union intransigence, killed Hostess


The firm emerged from bankruptcy with more debt than when it went in — in with $575 million, out with $774 million, all secured by company assets. That's pretty much the opposite of what's supposed to happen in bankruptcy. By the end, there was barely a spare distributor cap in the motor pool that wasn't mortgaged to the private equity firms and hedge funds holding the notes (and also appointing management).

(link) [Los Angles Times]

14:35 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

When the Drought Broke

Storm Front 8-16-12

I have been remiss in posting of late, but we've been very busy. So busy, in fact, that we'd forgotten to download pictures from the summer off the camera. This one was taken on August 16thwhen I noted the storm was moving in ...

12:45 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

That Was Fast: Hollywood Browbeat Republicans Into Retracting Copyright Report

Why am I not surprised?

So, late Friday, we reported on how the Republican Study Committee (the conservative caucus of House Republicans) had put out a surprisingly awesome report about copyright reform. You can read that post to see the details. The report had been fully vetted and reviewed by the RSC before it was released. However, as soon as it was published, the MPAA and RIAA apparently went ballistic and hit the phones hard, demanding that the RSC take down the report. They succeeded.

(link) [TechDirt]

08:21 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link