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User Journal

Journal Journal: 1950s TV 3

If this won't render properly just go here

        A year or so ago, an executive from an electronics company (Apple, if I remember correctly) spoke of the lack of innovation in television sets since the 1950s, and my reaction was âoeHeâ(TM)s either stupid or thinks I am.â
        In the 1950s televisions had knobs on the set for changing channels. Remote controls were brand new, expensive, limited in capability, and used ultrasound rather than infra-red.
        The screens were vacuum tubes, and most were monochrome. Color television was brand new, and it was nearly 1960 before any stations started broadcasting in color. Rather than being rectangular, color sets were almost round; even black and white sets werenâ(TM)t true rectangles.
        They had no transistors, let alone integrated circuits; the IC had yet to be invented, and transistors were only used by the military. They were a brand-new invention. TVs didnâ(TM)t have the âoeno user-servicable partsâ warning on the back. When the TV wouldnâ(TM)t come on, as happened every year or three, the problem was almost always a burned out vacuum tube. One would open the back of the set and turn it on. Any tubes that werenâ(TM)t lit were pulled, taken to the drug store or dime store for replacement. If that didnâ(TM)t fix the problem you called an expert TV repairman.
        The signal was analog, and often or usually suffered from static in the sound, and ghosts and snow in the picture.
        There was no cable, and of course no satellite television since nothing built by humans had ever gone into space.
        However, there is one thing about television that hasnâ(TM)t changed a single iota: daytime TV programming.
        In the 1950s most folks were well paid, and a single paycheck could easily pay for a familyâ(TM)s expenses. Most women, especially mothers, stayed home. As a result, daytime TV was filled with female-centric programming like soap operas, game shows, and the like. Usually there were cartoons in the late afternoon for the kids.
        Today the rich have managed to get wages down so low that everyone has to have a job. The demographics of daytime television have radically changed as a result. Now, rather than housewives (of which few are left, and we now have house husbands), who can watch daytime TV? Folks home from work sick, both men and women, folks in the hospital, the unemployed, and retired people.
        Yet daytime TV is still as female centered as it was when I was five. Soap operas, talk shows with female hosts and female guests discussing topics that would only appeal to women, and game shows.
        Whatâ(TM)s wrong with the idiots running our corporations these days?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Astute Article on the Turkey/Russia Kerfuffle 30

A Necessary Conversation

The clash between the Turkish Air Force and Russia is dangerous because it violates the first rule of proxy warfare which is principals don't fight principals. The whole point of proxy warfare is that only the seconds are allowed to cross swords. The duelists are forbidden from engaging each other directly, a convention intended to limit the scope of war.

Read the whole thing.
We mostly discuss international politics as though it were chess, when it really tends more toward of a mafia-driven, mezcal-drenched poker match with arbitrary players every hand.
The ME isn't really "sides" as much as it's a garbled graph problem. Every node is connected, more or less, to every other.
Thus, the principles chosen as a framework for how to react to the current crisis are the least squishy conversation one can have.


Journal Journal: Trump - a warning from the present 8

I don't believe for a second Trump believes a word he's saying.

What I am concerned about is that Trump could, very realistically, be elected because of the views he's espousing. That says something terrible about too many people at the moment, and also makes possible the frightening scenario whereby someone who believes what Trump is currently saying could be elected too.

In the mean time, Trump is also validating the opinions of many extremists.


Journal Journal: Capituation 17

Just a rather obvious observation that nobody seems willing to make. Responding to a terrorist event by banning people who are trying to escape those terrorists does not hurt the terrorists in the slightest. It's actually what they want.

And giving terrorists what they want generally doesn't stop terrorism.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ask Slashdot: What SF Magazines do you read? 2

I'm actually looking for two things: good magazines I haven't found, and good magazines to submit science fiction stories to. I also want to know where I can find your favorite magazines; I've been getting them at the Barnes&Noble in town, but they sell out quickly. Once all they had was three copies of F&SF, and I found it to be excellent. Another time I found five titles, but I haven't seen Asimov's there, and I always liked that one.

Analog was excellent as well, as they've always been. The British Interzone was very well designed, with excellent layout and large amounts of excellent artwork, but I didn't like any of the writing. It just didn't suit my taste.

I have yet to find any decent online mags, I'm sure you guys can supply me with that.

The Military

Journal Journal: There's a reason it's called Terrorism, not Endofcivilizationism. 30

For the next few days, weeks, months, the usual suspects will channel their fears and hatred towards both those who murdered in France two days ago, and those who disagree with them on how to tackle it. They'll whip themselves up into a hatred-filled frenzy against those who are unfortunate enough to share the same religion as the terrorists, and they'll blow the "threat" up out of all proportion.

These people are simply stupid. Don't get angry at them, ignore them. They're victims of terrorism in its purest sense - they're the people shitting their pants at what just transpired, in a way nobody in Paris, New York, or London is doing, or will do. They're weak, scared, and pathetic, and they're lashing out at everyone from ordinary Muslims to Liberals because ISIL just played them like a violin.

Tomorrow is another day. It'll be like Tuesday of last week, except there'll be 150 or so fewer people to enjoy it thanks to a group of religious extremists who represent nobody but themselves. We'll miss those who are gone, but life goes on. Dealing with those who cause such horrors involves reason and human decency. ISIL's plan involves us having neither. Their success requires we have neither.

But we're better than they are.


Journal Journal: Pale Moon

I broke down and installed Pale Moon as my default browser. For those who haven't heard of it, it's Firefox 3.x with updates.

Comments so far? Well, it seems snappy, but then most browsers do if they don't have any crud from a year's worth of browsing sessions. Compatability looks OK. Memory usage is not off the wall but not awesome either - I've suspected for a while that the out-of-control memory usage of Firefox has more to do with how Javascript is being used these days than anything Firefox itself is doing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: How Does Cheney Do It? 35

It's important to rephrase all news as a conspiracy theory for the consumption of you-know-who. So, with this Clinton Foundation accounting tidbit, the proper question would be "How did Dick Cheney infiltrate PWC and cook the pristine books to make Her Majesty look bad?" Do I get an "A" for the day, coach?


Journal Journal: Media bias 8

It has to be said, in defence of the whole "Lieberal media" nonsense, that the media has been telling a lot of lies about Ben Carson recently, albeit most of which sourced from his autobiography.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Public Service Announcement About Public Service 3

As a serving military member, my political interest pretty much ended at casting a ballot, at least until 2008. Around that time the portion of the oath where we swear to [emphasis mine] ". . .defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic" kicked in.
The argument that some prior sin of omission in failing to criticize the Bush Administration precludes further criticism of #OccupyResoluteDesk is specious. Ignorance is an excuse unless you remain mired in it, and I've striven to overcome the deficiencies of my education since understanding what a job the Commies have done on our public schools.
Snark away. As a veteran, I support and defend your Constitutional right to soil yourselves as required. Please don't get any feces on me.

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson