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Comment: Re:Gee, maybe OO is sensible after all? (Score 1) 439

by Latent Heat (#49062163) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?
To say we need more ships is not snark, it is a legitimate concern from someone campaigning for president. Remember the Missile Gap?

For Mr. Obama to counter with the facts regarding present-day threats and the level of force recommended by DoD to meet those threats would not have been snarky at all. The remark about "horses and bayonets" as a "debate zinger" was not only cheap snark, it exposed the President's ignorance regarding military affairs where horses and bayonets may not be big budget line items, but they have their place.

It is perhaps a good thing that you were not advising the President because the comparison Mr. Romney was making was not to the WW-I or the WW-II navy but to the "600 ship" Cold War navy under President Reagan. And "Tablizer" can lay off the lame political references if we are to believe his case against OO.

As to snark, it was "Tablizer", the self-proclaimed Internet Troll in (his?) Slashdot sig, the man who will save us from the sirens and snares of Object Oriented (OO) programming with his table-driven or database-driven programming paradigm. It was Tablizer who said that candidate Romney wanted "horses and bayonets." This is simply untrue. It was President Obama who said that candidate Romney wanting more ships in the US Navy was the equivalent of favoring expenditure on weapons systems of yesteryear such as "horses and bayonets."

So "Mitt began with nonsense." I watched that debate, I remember Mr. Romney's argument, and I remember the President's response. I really don't know whether the US Navy has enough ships or needs more ships, and I am not confident labeling Mr. Romney's argument as nonsense. We have a civilian command authority, and it is the President who gets to say we have enough ships and not the admirals. That the admirals say we have enough ships may be their respecting the elected president and following his orders. What is so strange about that?

The proper force level is a matter for candidates to debate in our civilian command-authority system. I wanted Mr. Romney to bring this up, and if the number of ships is adequate, I wanted Mr. Obama to lay out the case. The zinger about "horses and bayonets" was not becoming of the office or of the man holding it.

Comment: Gee, maybe OO is sensible after all? (Score 2) 439

by Latent Heat (#49057825) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?
Mr. Romney was talking about the number of ships in the US Navy.

It was Mr. Obama who offered the snark about "horses and bayonets."

At the outset of the Afghan War, our Special Forces learned to ride horses so they could cover terrain to designate targets for PGMs. The bayonet or knife or some form of edged weapon is the last-ditch defense when the enemy appears within arm's length. Which is not an unusual tactic for enemies our forces have faced, given our ability to pound them from the air when they separated from us by rifle distance.

The Commander-and-Chief was showing his usual ignorance of military affairs, and Mr. Romney was showing his awkward inexperience for letting this remark ride.

Comment: Scott Walker 2.0 (Score 1) 255

by Latent Heat (#49026749) Attached to: Jeb Bush Publishes Thousands of Citizens' Email Addresses
He is addressing a 2 billion dollar "budget hole" by wanting to pull 300 million out the University of Wisconsin System, unstaffing the guard towers at the state prisons during third shift (at night, when the prisoners are in bed anyway dontcha know), and by borrowing the rest. There is a plan to borrow 200 mil for a new stadium for a Milwaukee basketball team that no one follows.

During his reelection campaign, his opponent hammered at the pending 2 billion dollar budget hole, to which he replied, "I fixed the state's finances. What budget hole?"

What does appeal does this college dropout hold to any geek around here, Republican or Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, or Libertarian?

Comment: To boldly go where no . . . (Score 0) 25

by Latent Heat (#48951331) Attached to: NASA Launches Satellite To Observe Soil Moisture
. . . partially-PC-but-sexist-by-recent-standards television series producer has gone before!

Bolder project? It may be a necessary project, it may be a long overdue project, but what is bold about orbiting robotic spacecraft with imaging gear? That it is somehow bold to offend climate-change deniers? That NASA is risking everything in that the Repubs in Congress may zero out their budget over this?

Driest month in recorded history? Driest since Pliny-the-Elder? Since Josephus?

Or since white dudes came to LA? What about Mayan-Aztec-Toltec inscriptions? Oral tradition?

Comment: A 2x4 sized chip on the shoulder (Score 1) 316

by Latent Heat (#48838353) Attached to: Eric Holder Severely Limits Civil Forfeiture
So Attorney General Holder on behalf of President Obama takes one action, one single action upon which the Administration and some Administration critics can find common ground, and the call, no, the demand goes out that the critics bow in supplication.

Practical, pragmatic politics is about factions and coalitions and deal making, and offering people who, yes, hate you something they want in exchange for them backing you on something important to you.

For example, Lyndon Johnson as a white person from a poor background was for Civil Rights as a deep, heartfelt, personal value that he was willing to fight for, and fight for it he did in his unique style of political coalition building and persuasion. His party was deeply split between North and South whereas the Republicans were for Civil Rights because Lincoln, but many could just as well break out the popcorn to watch the Democrats fight each other.

So President Johnson threw money around. You voted for Civil Rights, and your state got a bridge or a road. Republicans were going to vote for Civil Rights anyway because Lincoln, but why not get a bridge or a road for something you knew in your heart was right instead of sitting back to watch the Democrats fight?

President Obama campaigned on some vague kind of New Politics where he was not going to revert to Washington-as-usual deal making. In retrospect, President Johnson's style of politics was corrupt, even if it got us the Voting Rights Act?

I guess President Obama's New Politics turned out to be scolding people -- a lot. The Republicans scold right back, Putin comes right out and instructs him to put it someplace, and the leaders of China let it go in one ear and out the other. And I guess the people who support Mr. Obama are into scolding Republicans -- before the Republicans are given half a chance to agree with him.

Yes, there are some people on Right-wing Web sites finding a cloud enclosing this silver lining. They are saying that A.G. Holder is doing this to lock the heels down of local police over Ferguson and Staten Island.

Maybe Mr. Holder is "going after" local police, and maybe this is long overdue, and maybe it took tragedy in the minority community to make this happen. A lot of the Libertarians in the Libertarian-Conservative-Republican-Right coalition have been talking about the police being out-of-control -- in the war-on-drugs, the seizure thing. A lot of people on the Right have been torn about Ferguson. Maybe in their hearts are not in the correct place with black people, but Randy Balko at Reason has long championed the case of black persons getting on the wrong side of heavy-handed police tactics.

But the protest response to Ferguson was scold-scold-scold-scold. You are Conservative, you are white, and you are racist for thinking that a black man should not reach for a police officer's gun when that officer had gotten all fascist on him.

People on the Right have been saying for years that Mr. Obama ought to "triangulate", offer them something they could agree on. This order by A.G. Holder is the first major instance I can think of the President triangulating with the Right, maybe splitting off the Libertarian Right from the Law-and-Order Right.

Yeah, moderate me Troll, I've got Karma to spare, but the folks coming out swinging against people who want to agree with them on something have a lot to learn about politics. You do one thing that your political oppositions favors and you "deserve accolades"? There is a lot in politics and life to be learned.

Comment: I expect this to be evidence of a crash site (Score 2) 132

by Latent Heat (#48696755) Attached to: Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501
That they found debris and human remains is evidence that they found where this plane ended up . . . in contrast with the Malaysia flight where the authorities may never find out what really happened, and people in the affected countries will never be sure of the fate of their family members.

Comment: Is a lame Seth Rogen flick worth dying for? (Score 2, Insightful) 221

by Latent Heat (#48634791) Attached to: Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower
My question is whether a Hollywood B movie is a cause worth anyone -- our military and diplomatic people, civilians movie goers -- risking their lives?

I am not saying I have an answer for that.

This is not a First Amendment question because in this case a corporation that regards themselves in the business of entertaining people has decided that they don't want to risk releasing this movie right now. Yes, they are caving to a threat, but the movie is their property under Copyright to do what they choose, and they choose to not show the movie as of now. They could have just shown the movie, shown the movie but put metal detectors and guards up around the theatres, or maybe even demanded protection from the threat by the government.

There is a broader embrace of free expression in our society going beyond the First Amendment, and caving against the threat undermines free expression. But there is no law against giving in to blackmail -- there are only laws against taking justice into your own hands in acting against a blackmailer. We only wish, sometimes, that the Westboro Church, the book-burning Florida cleric, and the Egyptian movie-making dude would give in, and this wishing out loud by Administration officials gets pushback regarding First Amendment concerns, but there would be no wrong if those people had caved in light of the threats facing their free expression.

So (if presumably it was North Korea) threatened violence within our borders, they haven't violated any law because they are not under US law. On the other hand, such a threat could be construed as an act of war, submitting to such a threat diminishes our honor to the extent that free expression is one of our cherished values, and nations have gone to war over questions of honor -- many times. In other words, to cave humiliates us as a nation in our own eyes, which by definition, is a matter of honor.

Do we want to fight back for our national honor? Does honor, or the principles of honor in this dispute with North Korea rise to the level of risking lives in a war? I am not saying there is a simple answer, but when people say that going to war over "honor" is competely stupid, this example should come to mind. That North Korea effectively has veto power over what is shown for movies in US theatres is a question of honor (we will attack you if you show this movie) -- no one has died (yet), but do we want to live this way? But on the other hand, is a dumb Seth Rogen pic a cause worth dying for?

Comment: Oh yeah, he was a orthodontist (Score 1) 156

by Latent Heat (#48614033) Attached to: Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End
I believe the original subtitle of the magazine was "Running Light Without Overbyte."

Back in the day, the new "microcomputers" had limited speed, memory, and address range. The emphasis was getting those machines to do useful work.

These days, we have thrown up our hands, and we smother the problem with more hardware.

Comment: Re:Diana Spencer (Score 1) 112

by Latent Heat (#48514899) Attached to: "Advanced Life Support" Ambulances May Lead To More Deaths
France is famous for those ambulances that treat patients rather than what they derisively call "scoop and run" of U.S. practice. Diana's ambulance was said to have stopped by the road more than once to administer treatment according to the rolling medical facility model. There are certain things for which a surgical facility offers the only treatment, and they don't have that inside that ambulance.

The whole thread is about whether "Advanced Life Support" ambulances are the correct thing. Yes, there are always differences to raise an objection to any one case comparison, but these famous cases at least cause one to think whether rolling medical facilities vs scoop-and-run are better.

Comment: Measuring is really, really hard (Score 1) 367

For a long time I had tried to quantify the amount of air infiltration into my house using a measuring cup, a clock, and a humidity gauge. I am interested in this because I am interested in energy conservation, and I am interested in conservation owing to concerns about exhaustion of resources, which includes the resource of the atmosphere as a place to accept CO2.

The idea is derived from mass balance. Humid outside air entering the house displaces dryer conditioned air leaving the house. If you measure humidity inside and outside, calculate the partial pressure of H2O vapor inside and outside, measure the condensed liquid from your dehumidifier or A/C drain, voila, you know the rate of air exchange.

This is far from my own idea -- I read about it in a government report that came about in the "1st Energy Crisis" of the 70's and early 80's in the wake of the OPEC oil embargo followed by the Iranian Revolution. The usual way to measure air infiltration is with a blower door, but this way seems to require less fuss. The air infiltration number by this method, however, are "all over the place."

What went wrong? I don't have any incontrovertible "science" quantifying any of this, but I have some guesses, hypotheses to some people, beliefs to others. One, the amount of air infiltration varies with wind speed. The whole idea behind the blower door is you apply a pressure differential way in excess of the wind pressure on the day of the test to control for that. Two, and this is just an intuition, the single-compartment model must be wrong. The walls of your house act as a sink for moisture, one that is ambient temperature dependent and also has significant lags in exchanging moisture with the inside air. Three, family members add humidity by bathing, cooking, and simply breathing, but I tried to control for this by taking measurements when I was alone and limiting time of showers, etc.

I simply gave up on this method. The effect that air exchange will either increase the humidity level of the house or increase the water in your dehumidifier bucket is "science", yes, but it is a kind of incontrovertible hard science of mass balance. On the other hand, the effect I tried to measure appeared to be swamped by these effects for which I was unable to control. Furthermore, countering confirmation bias took a great effort of will -- you get these "runs" that "don't make sense" and then you get a run consistent with the model, and you go "aha, this makes sense, this is the infiltration level of this house." It is kind of like someone asks you "what kind of gas mileage you getting from your new car" and you report a favorable high reading from memory instead an average from your receipts and odometer reading showing a much lower number.

Yes, there is the contingent that dares, "Take my SUV away when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the steering wheel." But there is also a contingent that knows how much the global temperature has increased in the last century and why, and when challenged starts getting all huffy and starts using four-letter words.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.