With a gasp and a CHKDSK

So I arrived at the Sharknado Tank at my usual 6:30ish, clicked the Big Red Switch on the power strip, and watched the work box fail to boot.

Thirty-four times. (Normal is just short of 2.)

The New Hardware Kid stumbled onto the premises, popped open the box, and stared in disbelief as the CPU and the heat sink/fan combo finally got the separation they’d been yearning for, ever since the plastic bracket that used to hold them together started to disintegrate.

Fortunately for me, corporate policy has always been to buy a whole lot of mediocre commodity machines rather than a handful of good ones, so it was a matter of minutes before NHK turned up an identical-looking box with an identical-looking motherboard. Various components were swapped, and I was back up and running by noon. The alternative — take delivery of a newer box and start moving a quarter of a million files — was too horrible to contemplate, though it will be forced upon me when Microsoft finally declares Windows XP dead next spring. (How old are these boxen? We’re talking Socket 754 here.)

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Not to mention various Yares

A piece about the Levin ZR variant of the Toyota Corolla, which apparently will not come to the States — those crazy Americans hate hatchbacks — drew this quasi-lexicographical comment:

  1. Could it be that Toyota wants to sell their Matrixes before introducing a car that would halt the sale of Matrixes.
  2. Shouldn’t the plural of Matrix be Matrices?
  3. Does Toyota name cars with the sole intent of subverting the English language when they pluralize the name?

As Troilus would tell you, there is only one Cressida, faithless though she be. (This remains my favorite model name ever.)

Then again, one must deal with Prii.

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An extra helping of phish

After all, I presumably will be able to afford it presently:

Dear Email Owner,

My name is Gloria C. Mackenzie, i am 84 years old, and I am from Zephyrhills, Florida.

On June 5, 2013, I was declared the winner of $590 Million Dollars, the largest Powerball jackpot in history.

After much consultations with my attorney, My Son and I have voluntarily decided to donate the sum of $1,500,000.00 USD to your email address, this being part of our 2013 Millionaire Donation Project to financially support seven(7) lucky people and ten(10) charity organisations from different parts of the world.

Your email was luckily selected via a Google & Facebook sponsored email-draws, and we decided to put this on the internet for the world to see in other to relinquish any doubts. Please follow the News Link below for more info.

The News Link goes to an actual ABC News story about the Powerball win, but that’s not part of the highly dubious form I’m supposed to fill out.

And I’ll believe dogs and cats living together before I believe Google and Facebook could be teaming up on anything.

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Quote of the week

There is ordinary butthurt, and there is Special Edition Butthurt:

[I]t’s a butthurt wrapped in an agenda shrouded in a vendetta drizzled with pettiness and rolled in a crunchy nougat of simple greed.

If you’re curious, and you probably should be, Tam was referring to this.

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Needleless to say

Yet another advantage to all this “extra” carbon dioxide in the atmosphere:

[T]he chemical predecessor necessary for manufacturing heroin, morphine, increases in poppy plants when carbon dioxide goes up. In fact, since atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased from 300 ppm to 400 ppm over the past 100 years, morphine levels in poppy plants have followed suit. This trend will continue into the next century, as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. Not only that, the higher carbon dioxide makes for larger plants with more and larger capsules (poppy straws) where the morphine is extracted from. So, like big-ass, potent poppy plants with loads of morphine.

The Wicked Witch of the West is probably cackling about it even as we speak.

(Via Tim Blair.)

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Your home for classic gravel

From Mel Bracht’s straightforward Oklahoman story about the upcoming bloody dismemberment of KRXO in favor of yet another sports station:

Classic Rock KRXO, which had been at 107.7, will move to a new frequency at FM 104.5, the company announced. According to the news release, KRXO’s lineup of Bob and Tom, Cara Rice, Buddy Wiley, Kelso, Unkle Dave and Rick Caldwell are expected to move to a much smaller signal on 104.5.

How much smaller? A query to the FCC and a subsequent Google Maps overlay produced this map of the station’s “60 dBu Service Contour,” which defines the area in which a station is protected against interfering signals on the same frequency, and which is generally considered to be the station’s service area:

Service area for K283BW translator to carry KRXO programming

And there are stations on 104.5 at Pryor (this is Z104.5 the Edge in Tulsa), Mooreland, and eventually Wynnewood. I’m sort of amazed they could squeeze even a 250-watter (which is what this is) in the midst of all that.

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It’s probably about 666 now

Now the phishers are playing the credit-score angle:

This morning 07-10-2013 11:22:51, all 3 major credit bureaus approved an increase to your credit score.

However, the increase cannot take effect without your verification.

Please take the time to review this info for its accuracy —>

No need. Its accuracy is quite obvious: zero. None. Zip. Zilch. Bupkes.

Weirdly, this is alleged to be signed by one Vivian Jacobs at postingoh.net; the sneaky links in fact go to postingoh.net. Amateur fraudsters, these. (And since Whois says this domain was created yesterdayrank amateur fraudsters.)

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She’s got your number, son

If you come to see She & Him, you will quickly discover that She doesn’t want you taking pictures:

The American indie duo made up of Zooey [Deschanel] and M. Ward have been on tour with album, Volume 3, in the US since June.

But the stunning actress and singer/songwriter has been putting up signs to stop people from frantically snapping pictures and recording videos because she wanted her fans to enjoy the music.

So we will have none of this:

Zooey Deschanel at the piano

“Not much of this,” I suspect, is more likely.

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Something to agitate

The Consumerist suggests this feature on your next washing machine:

Auto-load sensing: Instead of guessing what is a “small” or “large” load and wasting water accordingly, the machine figures it out for you.

“There are small loads?” — Every Mother, Everywhere

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Minor site issues

Load times were creeping upward this weekend, then jumped into the stratosphere shortly thereafter. I have shuffled the plugins slightly and reworked the cache, which may have helped somewhat. Also, while perusing the logs, I discovered an anomaly: bots of some sort trying to leave spam on the old Movable Type blog, which hasn’t existed for nearly five years. About fifteen minutes later, I had what I think is a permanent solution for that, including a redirect to Sheol.

Please report any anomalies other than the usual ones.

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Nothing but the tooth

Is the dreaded root canal on the way out?

Scientists have made advances in treating tooth decay that they hope will let them restore tooth tissue — and avoid the painful dental procedure. Several recent studies have demonstrated in animals that procedures involving tooth stem cells appear to regrow the critical, living tooth tissue known as pulp.

It’s still experimental, but there is hope:

Dental stem cells can be harvested from the pulp tissue of the wisdom and other types of adult teeth, or baby teeth. They can produce both the hard tissues needed by the tooth, like bone, and soft tissues like the pulp, says Dr. [Rena] D’Souza, a former president of the American Association for Dental Research who will become the dean of the University of Utah’s School of Dental Medicine Aug. 1.

She and colleagues at Baylor and Rice University focused on regrowing pulp using a small protein hydrogel. The gelatin-like substance is injected into the tooth and serves as a base into which pulp cells, blood vessels and nerves grow.

I have sacrificed a couple of back teeth rather than enter the Torture Chamber, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

(“Faster, please,” says Rand Simberg.)

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Some Edam want to get used by you

Behold the lyrical power of cheese:

Cheese by Eurythmics

(Harvested by Miss Cellania from Pleated-Jeans.)

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This post has been scheduled

The following was originally posted by Morgan:

My Mom saw a sultry and subtle evil behind passive-voice sentences. When she was still alive, I didn’t quite understand the rationale for this … it’s just a construct of the English language, which like any other, might make sense in some situations. With each year I see come and go, I get a little bit more wise to the true nature of her complaint. Verbs should be connected to subjects. Oops, uh, pardon me … writers should connect verbs to their subjects. The “who’s doing it” should, at the very least, exist as a common and successfully-communicated idea, between writer and reader, speaker and listener … whether or not it’s stated specifically, it should be spec’d out in some way. To fall short of that goal, is to deceive.

Perhaps the most blatant failure on this count is “Mistakes were made,” so common it now rates a Wikipedia article, tracing usage beyond Nixon’s henchpersons to Ulysses S. Grant, who tossed it into his 1876 State of the Union message — though Grant did finish off the phrase with “I admit it.”

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And then there were fifty

Even Illinois, which arguably has been heading downhill since I left in late 1954, is capable of buying a clue:

[Tuesday] the Illinois legislature overrode Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill allowing state residents who comply with certain objective standards to carry concealed fireams. Illinois, the last state to impose a blanket ban on concealed carry, is complying with a December decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit said that policy violates the Second Amendment. Under the new policy, which will take effect in nine months or so, people 21 or older who have state-issued firearms owner identification cards can obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons provided that have clean records and complete 16 hours of training.

Why nine months?

The new law gives the Illinois State Police six months to make applications for concealed-carry licenses available. It has to issue a license within three months of receiving a valid application, so it could be nine months before the first Illinois gun owner is licensed to carry.

The key phrase there is “has to.”

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Quibbling over genres

About half of my music acquisition these days has been by way of the ponyverse, which has a thriving music scene and hundreds of worthy composers; if they haven’t yet produced a John Williams or a Thelonious Monk or a Joni Mitchell, well, it’s not for lack of effort.

A lot of the items I check off for future investigation are labeled “trance,” “ambient” or “chill.” Now “trance” I understand, more or less: faster than house, strict adherence to 4/4, and the breakdown somewhere in the middle of the track. The other two are not quite so clearly defined, so I went to someone who has had more MP3 tags than I’ve had breaths, and he explains it thusly:

Basically, if it can’t ever wake me up, it’s Ambient. If it’s something I can see playing while I’m standing on the balcony of a ship, it’s Chill.

On the basis of the above, I think we can call this Chill:

Though that ship had better be well out of port, I think.

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I blame neutrons

The atomic weight of carbon is quoted as 12.011, not because there are any carbon atoms out there that actually measure 12.011, but because while most carbon is in fact C12, there’s a substantial amount of C13 and a smidgen of C14 out there. (Which latter variant, incidentally, is radioactive, which is why carbon dating works, just in case you’re a carbon-based life form needing a date.) These variants are called “isotopes,” like the Springfield Albuquerque baseball club.

Now the distribution of carbon atoms is pretty consistent. Some other elements, not so much:

The standard atomic weights of magnesium and bromine will now be expressed as intervals to more accurately convey this variation in atomic weight. For example, bromine commonly is considered to have a standard atomic weight of 79.904. However, its actual atomic weight can be anywhere between 79.901 and 79.907, depending on where the element is found.

This variation will not affect your late-night tumbler of Bromo-Seltzer, which hasn’t actually contained any bromine since 1975.

(The Friar caught this before I did.)

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