Archive for Dyssynergy

Health dissurance

Whatever my issues with CFI Care (not its real initials) during this Era of Massive Medical Treatment, I can’t imagine them getting this bad:

On July 1st, my wife had surgery. It was not the end of the world, but they did have to knock her out and, well, it was surgery.

As the phrase goes, surgeons gotta surge.

Afterwards we stopped by the pharmacy to pick up medication and almost everything was denied. Not “pending decision” denied but “Nopenopenope” denied. It turned out the issue was that our health insurance had, at the end of June, changed something-or-another and so we had to fill out a completely different form and had a different account number.

Our problems only started there. As it happens, the surgery itself was no longer covered at the hospital where it was performed. We live in a tri-state area where a lot of our services are provided across state lines. New policy is nothing non-emergent can occur across state lines under any circumstances. We can’t go to the hospital that’s twenty minutes away, or the one that’s thirty minutes away. The nearest major hospital in the state is actually three hours away. This new policy of course took effect July 1st, the day of the surgery.

We quote Mr Devious, the insurance agent:

Devious: Here we are. It states quite clearly that no claim you make will be paid.

Vicar: Oh dear.

Devious: You see, you unfortunately plumped for our ‘Neverpay’ policy, which, you know, if you never claim is very worthwhile, but you had to claim, and, well, there it is.

Once again, Python anticipates life.

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Didn’t even check her shoes

Parents beware:

It gets worse. At midnight the résumé turns into a strip of Charmin.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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Lessons from life (one in a series)

(Medical facility) + (new computer system) = two-hour delay, minimum.

In this specific instance, the new appointment handler overbooked by a factor of 1.5, maybe worse.

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And then there were, well, none actually

Earlier this week, Roger gave us a history of the rise and fall of Betamax, the Sony home-video format that eventually fell before the mighty VHS machine. (The professional Betacam news-gathering version lasted longer.)

But now VHS itself is coughing up blood:

Funai Electric, the last remaining Japanese company to make the units, has announced that the company will cease production on its VCR units, due to declining sales and difficulty acquiring parts.

Their VCRs are made in China and sold in many territories, including North America, under brand names like Sanyo, but last year’s figures reported just 750,000 sales worldwide.

And that would seem to be the end of that. Amazon still carries blank VHS tapes for $4-5 each in package deals; a single Sony Betamax tape will run almost $9, and last I looked they had only one left.

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A song of japes and mocks

Blatantly stolen from LeeAnn:

Why do the Lannisters have such big beds?

Still to come: how to keep Cersei and Jaime off each other, once and for all.

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It had to be you, so to speak

This seems both way cool and somewhat scary:

Soon anybody with a high-resolution camera and the right software will be able to determine your identity. That’s because several technologies are converging to make this accessible. Recognition algorithms have become far more accurate, the devices we carry can process huge amounts of data, and there’s massive databases of faces now available on social media that are tied to our real names. As facial recognition enters the mainstream, it will have serious implications for your privacy.

A new app called FindFace, recently released in Russia, gives us a glimpse into what this future might look like. Made by two 20-something entrepreneurs, FindFace allows anybody to snap a photo of a passerby and discover their real name — already with 70% reliability. The app allows people to upload photos and compare faces to user profiles from the popular social network Vkontakte, returning a result in a matter of seconds. According to an interview in the Guardian, the founders claim to already have 500,000 users and have processed over 3 million searches in the two months since they’ve launched.

As one might expect, benign uses can be easily outnumbered:

FindFace is already being deployed in questionable ways. Some users have tried to identify fellow riders on the subway, while others are using the app to reveal the real names of porn actresses against their will. Powerful facial recognition technology is now in the hands of consumers to use how they please.

Still, it’s (almost) here, and we’re probably stuck with it.

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Enough of that crap

This must be counted as a small but significant victory:

Through a dogged campaign to build toilets and educate Bangladeshis about the dangers of open defecation, the densely populated South Asian nation has managed to reduce the number of people who defecate in the open to just 1 percent of the 166 million population, according to the government — down from 42 percent in 2003.

“Once it was our habit to go to the fields or jungles. Now, it is shameful to us,” [Rashida] Begum said in Bormi, a cluster of poor farming villages just outside Dhaka, the capital. “Even our children do not defecate openly anymore. We do not need to ask them; they do it on their own.”

Bangladesh’s success in sanitation — something so far unattained by its wealthier neighbor to the south, India — came from a dogged campaign supported by 25 percent of the country’s overall development budget.

Next stop: San Francisco.

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We, the experts

I have to remind myself of things like this now and then:

[I]n any sane world nobody would pay any attention to the opinions of completely unqualified individuals on any given topic. There’s a reason I write for Road & Track and not Men’s Health, for example, and it has something to do with the fact that I’ve literally had more racing wins in my life than I’ve eaten salads. If I started pontificating about whether a particular protein supplement built more muscle mass and got you more ripped than another one, the readers would be entirely right to point out that I am not a doctor and that I have never been seen to bench press more than 255 pounds, not even once.

I’d buy this guy a salad any day — to accompany a proper steak, of course.

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As usual, I’m late

But you already knew the drill, right?

Remember: one of these days is Centaxday.

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Nice arachnid

Useful household advice:

Yep.

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Neighborly warning

On admittedly the thin side of “heighborly”:

So there.

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Nobel recommendation

The person who comes up with a hospital bed in which more than 5 percent of the population can sleep comfortably deserves everything in the world.

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The rules are known

I remember when I had to learn them myself:

Nearly all of us had security clearances. The process of getting them involved an education in the requirements of the National Security Act. That Act makes anyone with access to classified information personally responsible for it. Whether through malice or negligence, if it escapes from his hands to uncleared hands, then regardless of his intent, he is guilty of a felony violation of federal law.

At the time, no allowances were made for political considerations. But we were honest then.

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Unnecessary blowback

Erin Palette is the founder of Blazing Sword, “a project launched in order to provide firearm familiarization and basic training to anyone in the LGBTQ community who wishes to learn more about gun ownership in the wake of the Orlando tragedy. There are chapters now in nearly every state. And, perhaps inevitably, there are complainers:

What I did not expect — and what I keep getting, and what fucking ASTOUNDS me — is the amount of allegedly friendly fire Blazing Sword has gotten from gun owners. And I don’t mean the typical “How dare you ask us to pay for range fees and a box of ammo” whinge; I mean that there’s a thread over at one of the many JFPO groups (https://www.facebook.com/groups/20551025434/) where several straight people (although not all of them — thank you, Rebecca and Carl) are bitching about how Blazing Sword somehow *discriminates against or hurts heterosexuals.*

This is my mouth hitting the floor.

Really, guys? Really? Because it’s SO difficult for straight people to reach out to other straight people for firearms training? Because gun ownership is a huge stigma within the straight community? Because the very last thing that the gun community needs is diversity across voting demographics?

Let me spell it out for you turds who take offense that your special private club is being invaded (oh, I bet you pitch a shitfit when you hear about women-only classes, don’t you? If you do, then you’re an elitist prick, and if you don’t you’re a fucking hypocrite): If you can’t see the innate moral value in reaching across the political divide to teach ANOTHER HUMAN BEING how to defend themselves when their community is teaching them that’s more virtuous to be a dead sheep than an armed wolf, then how about you ponder the selfish implications of teaching an LGBTQ person how to shoot, and they end up enjoying it, and then maybe, JUST MAYBE. they will end up buying a gun and joining the NRA and start voting pro-Second Amendment?

GEE IT’S ALMOST LIKE BEING A DECENT HUMAN BEING ACTUALLY BENEFITS YOU PERSONALLY IN THIS CASE.

Goddammit. I have no problem with straight people (everyone in my family is straight, and I love them), but the whiny “OMG teh gheys are getting something I don’t” whinge has to stop. It’s not like ammunition is a rare commodity or that the number of lanes at a shooting range is so small that taking an LGBTQ person will somehow prevent you from shooting. This is taking an extra step to welcome other people into our family, and if you don’t want more shooters because they’re the “Wrong Kind” of shooters, then YOU are what’s wrong with the gun community today.

This screed is, of course, almost infinitely extensible to any activity engaged in by Teh Gheys, or by any group one prefers to disfavor.

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Surprisingly, not a Hamburglary

You may grimace just the same:

This was no happy meal.

An argument outside a Sonic Drive-In restaurant in North Carolina turned violent Thursday when a man named Ronald McDonald was shot, police said.

The 35-year-old — who happens to share a name with the mascot of Sonic’s fast-food rival, McDonald’s — was treated for non-life threatening injuries following the shootout in Lumberton, WNCN reported.

In a statement, Lumberton police said McDonald was arguing with 24-year-old Sonic employee Telvin Drummond around 7 p.m. when things turned ugly.

McDonald briefly left the fast-food restaurant, where his wife is a manager. When he returned, things got serious.

Um, Ron, if I may call you Ron: this is not how you Sonic.

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Such behavior will not be tolerated

This is the kind of thing that gets you suspended these days:

An eighth grade student at Killeen’s Gateway Middle School was suspended after taking a classmate who was having an asthma attack to the school’s nurse, and the boy’s mother isn’t happy about it.

The boy, Anthony Ruelas, said the girl who sits next to him complained about not being able to breathe.

The teacher, following school protocol, emailed the nurse, but in the meantime, the girl fell out of her chair, he said.

He said he feared the girl could die, so uttering an expletive, he carried the girl to the nurse’s office, which is in a separate portable building on the school’s campus.

When he returned to class, he says, he was suspended for one day for leaving class.

Pretty obvious what message the school is trying to send:

“Kids, let’s not have any more of these life-saving, caring about your fellow classmates shenanigans!”

Live by the rulebook, die by the rulebook.

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Gatherers, not hunters

What kind of people sign up to become part of the Mainstream Media these days? This kind, says Kurt Schlichter:

Instead of the colorful ink-stained wretches of the past, today’s journalists are social justice twerps whose daddies can shell out north of $59,000 to get a degree in what old school reporters learned on the job — though old-school reporters didn’t have the dubious benefit of leftist indoctrination and diversity seminars. Today’s cloistered creeps utterly missed the anger among normal Americas that led to Trump, but then they don’t think much of normal Americans. Recently, Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post took umbrage at one of my tweets and sneered, “Beginning to understand why you will never #readabook.” Her bio indicates I have more degrees than she does. Nice reporting there, Scoop.

No wonder public regard for journalists hovers somewhere between “Raw Sewage” and “Herpes,” yet they still assume they are better than everyone else. I’ll remember that when I toss Karen a quarter out the window of my fine German sedan as she and her pretentious dinosaur media pals stand by the freeway off-ramp with a sign reading, “Will Reinforce the Leftist Narrative for Food (Locally Sourced Only).”

As a general rule, people who want to Change The World don’t actually want to go to the trouble of seeing how the world works in the first place.

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Oozing source

If there’s a Rule 1 of Research, it’s this: “Don’t cite Wikipedia as a primary source.”

I think Rule 1-A is now in effect:

Just because it’s a procedural, doesn’t mean it can tell you the procedure.

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Where the feck is

Remember when reporters for New York papers were tough, street-smart, hard-bitten folks? The last vestiges of that image spiraled down the drain this week when some feckless wuss from the Daily News got some serious sand in his vajayjay from exposure to an AR-15.

To contrast with his total lack of sack, we present a seven-year-old girl:

I was heartened when Dad explained that “this is gonna be harder than your .22, okay?” And the very last line is pure gold.

(Via Steven Crowder.)

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A Bear of Very Little Vision

It wasn’t the bear’s idea, I’m pretty sure:

Bear with a coffee can on its head

Reporting from the scene:

A black bear that wandered onto the Alaska Highway near Tok with a coffee can stuck on its head Monday drew a helpful response from passers-by, with one even attempting to remove the container before state biologists arrived.

Randy Rallo, the owner and operator of Tok-based 40-Mile Air, said he was en route to Midway Lake to do maintenance work on one of the company’s floatplanes when he encountered a semitrailer stopped — its driver still in the cab, but not pulled to the side of the road — near Mile 1297 of the highway, about 15 miles from Tok.

“So I pulled up alongside him, and he said there was a black bear walking around with a can stuck on his head,” Rallo said.

The bear was shot with a tranq dart, and then the can was cut away:

Official statement from an official biologist:

[Jeff] Wells emphasized that anyone who encounters a wildlife issue should contact the nearest Fish and Game office rather than deal with it themselves.

“The bear may have looked small, but at the end of the day a 100-pound black bear can certainly do some damage,” Wells said. “If they had removed the can, the first thing they had seen would have been that person.”

Hence the tranq dart.

(Via Amy Alkon, who quipped: “I just want to say that it is totally rude to tweet this picture of me in the morning.” Not buying it. It’s a black bear, she’s a redhead. Although “100 pounds” sounds about right.)

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You can’t spell “toilet” without “to let”

They say it’s purely voluntary, and maybe it is, for now. But I suspect this is the future of apartment hunting, like it or not:

The personal data you share with Facebook and other social platforms is a treasure trove of information that can, according to one UK startup, prove whether or not you would be a good tenant.

Score Assured wants to take the data you share privately and publicly with social media and sell it to individuals, employers, and landlords. Tenant Assured, the first tool in the company’s potential suite of data mining-and-selling resources, will connect with your social accounts and give landlords a report based on your data.

The company says it uses machine learning software to predict what your data means—from your personality to “financial stress.” It also rates the “risk” you would be as a tenant. Cofounder Steve Thornhill declined to tell me how exactly the company pulls private data from Facebook, claiming it was part of the company’s intellectual property.

Piece of cake. They went up to the Zuckerborg and said “Can we have a custom API? Here’s a whole bunch of sterling.”

In order to scrape your data and assess your worthiness, you have to give the company full access to your social accounts, from news feed posts to messages to tweets to employment data. You can pick which accounts you permit to be scraped, but if a landlord is asking for it and you’re desperately trying to find a new place to live, then you’re probably going to succumb to their requests, no matter how invasive.

“Users can feel reassured that this is not an invasion of privacy but always done with their explicit consent,” Thornhill said in an email. “We are empowering tenants to make a choice as to whether they would like to use their social media information to support their application for a rental property that they have got their eyes on.”

Another reason to justify why I’ve pretty much thrown the book open on everything I do: I figure I’m probably no worse off than anyone else, and data jackals aren’t getting paid for my life history.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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With a single jerk

I’m not entirely sure this individual has a grip on the concept:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How do I find uploads that have been deleted from the internet?

The operative word, apparently, is “loads”:

For the longest while I’ve been told that you can never delete something from the internet. I was browsing pornhub the other day with the intent to pump one out; I had intended to use reliable material to get the job done. To my dismay I found that the said material had been deleted from pornhub. So there you have it, I’m on a quest to find this video so I can get my rocks off.

Shake hands with a loser. Or, better yet, don’t.

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Improving precision

I’m sure you can see the necessity for this Wikipedia correction:

They should be so careful with all their entries.

(This is the Talk Page in question. Via Holly Brockwell.)

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Get lost, but stylishly

There’s no argument about Florence’s claim to being the Cradle of the Renaissance, but God help you if you’re looking for something other than the standard tourist traps:

Finding an address in Florence can be confusing. It has a unique address system with two number systems running side by side. Generally speaking, residences have a number in black or blue, while businesses have numbers in red (rosso in Italian), which is usually written with a little ‘r’ following the number. This gets confusing not only when the same number appears twice on the street (in red or in black) but also when you are trying to find an address and the door numbers appear mixed up.

For example, the office address of Walkabout is Via dei Neri, 30/32r (red) to signify a business and it is next door to number 6 (in blue on a white background), which is a residence.

This is about to change for the better, or at least for the easier:

The red numbers were introduced to Florence in the early twentieth century to differentiate businesses from houses. To this day they have remained one of the city’s curiosities, although twenty or so ‘red numbers’ are removed every year.

In an article in Corriere Fiorentino, city councillor Andrea Vannucci commented, “The city administration would like to do away with the red numbers … which complicate life for postmen, delivery men and taxi drivers, with red numbers that are sometimes hundreds of metres away from their corresponding black number. When new businesses open we assign them a black number accompanied by a letter: a ‘5 rosso‘ will always be next to a ‘5 nero‘.”

Vannucci continued: “Anyone can ask to change their red number into a black one. All you need to do is apply at the Comune. And I invite everyone to do so in order to speed up the process towards a more continuous and linear numbering system.”

There are about 23,000 “red numbers” still in Florence.

(Via Nicola Williams.)

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Some sort of thingamajig

Regular visitor Georganna Hancock has one of these contraptions, and she’s not quite sure what it is:

It might be a tire gauge, or it might not

She explains:

The well-made, apparently stainless steel object has an opening at one end, pocket clip at the other, and a sliding gizzie with two fixed settings. I’m guessing it’s a fancy tire pressure gauge, though the setting part confuses me. I haven’t tried it out.

What frustrates me is that I remember actually encountering a similar device, and I thought it was a tire gauge, and I was assured that it was not. What it was, though, I can’t recall to save my unworthy soul.

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Can kicked slightly further

I wasn’t all that surprised to find a Washington Post app on my tablet; the tablet came from Amazon, and Amazon chair Jeff Bezos is the owner of the WaPo through his Nash Holdings operation. Six months, no charge. This is the follow-on deal offered me:

We hope you are enjoying your 6 months of free access to The Washington Post. Your limited-time trial will expire on June 17, 2016.

In order to continue enjoying the same access to The Washington Post, we would like to offer you the following special subscription rate: 6 months for only $1.00. Once your 6 month promotion comes to an end, your subscription will continue to renew for just $3.99 monthly.

Since Amazon has been dealing on lots of things, even sacred Prime, lately, I suspect the price this December might actually be a tad less than $3.99. I mean, I wasn’t expecting any kind of discount at this point.

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Tried and retried and true

It wasn’t her idea, but Fillyjonk has gone back to a normal thermostat:

The new one is not programmable or wi-fi linkable, but I am okay with that. I figure fewer brains in the thing means less chance of those brains getting scrambled by power blips. Also, I used the programmable feature for a while when I first had the thing, but I quickly learned that if we had a power outage of anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes, the thing “forgot” what time it was and I had to reset the clock, and if the power was out for more than five minutes, the thing forgot ALL its programming and I’d have to go through and painstakingly reset the times (there were four times per day: wake up time, leave-house time, return-home time, bedtime) and the temperatures for them. And the thing would default to a temperature of 85 F (if the ac was on) or 60 F (if the heat was on) if it lost its programming and you didn’t reprogram it. So that would not be too cool when you were away for an extended time.

It was 1953 when Honeywell introduced the T-86, better known as the “Eyeball,” thermostat. It is programmed by turning a knob to the desired temperature. More than that, I will not ask of a thermostat. Yes, they do make the fancier stuff. I don’t care.

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We got your counterexamples right here

Everybody and her sister knows Rule 34 of the Internet: “If it exists, there is porn of it — no exceptions.”

They say you can’t prove a negative, and maybe that’s true, but there are at least 34 known exceptions to Rule 34. Now whether they will remain exceptions, we do not know.

(Via Selena Larson.)

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An actual Trump success

Warren Meyer has kind words for Donald Trump’s International Hotel Las Vegas:

I have in the past been a fan of his hotel on the strip in Las Vegas. The hotel provides a screaming good value (you can almost always get a huge discount off rack rate) for an exceptionally nice room in a good location — and in a non-casino hotel to boot. I used it for years as a low-cost location for manager meetings. The staff there is great — the only problem is one has to look past the tacky gold gilding on everything and the goofy Trump-branded swag in the gift shop. I will add, though, apropos to this post, there is no way on God’s green Earth that this hotel makes money, at least if it is paying all of its capital costs (it is possible there was a bankruptcy at one point where Trump said “you’re fired” to the bondholders). If you ever stay there, by the way, it has the best view of the strip in Vegas because it is right at a bend and can look straight down the street. Ask for a high room on the south side.

Curious about the lack of casino — hell, even Chevron stations in Vegas have slots, or so I’ve heard — I went searching, and turned up this quote:

“We have no problem getting a gaming license, but we wanted to do something different here,” said Eric Trump, Donald and Ivana Trump’s third child. “We wanted a true luxury resort experience. It’s hard to have a high-quality product when you walk into ‘ding, ding, ding’ and there are people walking around in Hawaiian shirts with big plastic drink mugs.”

And while there doesn’t seem to be a specific bankruptcy, there were lawsuits, which were resolved in Trump’s favor.

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Vacuum abhorred

Four hundred miles down Interstate 35, there’s the uncomfortable arrival of reality:

Surprising exactly nobody who is not an economic retard, black market ridesharing has popped up to replace Uber and Lyft, which famously quit Austin after voters sustained onerous regulations imposed by the city council. So reasonable regulation and corporate oversight is now eclipsed by no oversight. But we got international humiliation out of it so that’s something.

I include this for the benefit of the members of our local Whining-American community, who simply can’t understand how our own little metropolis (population 630,000, about two-thirds that of Austin) is failing to keep up with the Texans. Then again, we are surely awash in economic retards.

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