I know, right?

The Democratic Party’s Twitter account circulated this image following last night’s Republican debate:

Donald Trumpified emoji

(I got this from Dawn Summers.)

Addendum: Added a link to the original tweet.

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Good against remotes

I’m sure I need not explain this:

At the very least, she’ll no longer be a little short for a stormtrooper.

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Shed shed

From late in the fall, and fall is the operative word here:

Gale-force winds for much of Wednesday came awfully close to blowing my old metal shed off its concrete block. There wasn’t much of anything out there worth saving — a bottom-of-the-line broadcast spreader was about it — but the structure itself looks like about two and a half seconds before the end of a round of Jenga.

You may safely assume that it didn’t gain any additional stability in the last hundred days or so, and yesterday I had it torn down. No great loss.

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I hear you knocking

But some of you, at least, can’t come in:

What is “this”? This:

No political or religious soliciting!
We already know who we're voting for and where we're going when we die.

I suppose that’s kinder than “Please wait while I reload.”

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An overdose of PHP

Not that you asked, but the servers behind the scenes here are running PHP 5.6. This is “Recommended” by the host; they still support 5.5, but no earlier version.

But they’re now offering 7.0, which they describe as “new and scary.” Maybe it is; I wouldn’t know. It’s been out since December, and is considered a stable release; the current install is 7.0.3. The shade of Ned Ludd tells me I probably should wait until 7.1, but what the hell does he know? And besides, I’m on a new server as of yesterday, so none of the statistics are statistically significant, at least for a little while.

(Before you ask: there is no PHP 6.)

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Attack of the hungry sea birds

Best explanation for this game: the Thunder shipped their defense via air freight from Dallas to New Orleans, and somehow it ended up in Saskatoon. Whatever defensive brilliance Oklahoma City used against the Mavericks was conspicuously absent against the Pelicans. Radio guy Matt Pinto might cite some weird calls — for example, with 6:14 left, Anthony Davis earned a foul for knocking Steven Adams down, but Adams got one too, presumably for hurting Davis’ arm — but the real issue was failure to shut down the New Orleans offense, which shot better than 50 percent all night, even from the three-point line. With four minutes left, the Pelicans were up by 11 and smelled blood; with 1:14 left, the Thunder managed to shave that lead to three, and a minute later to two, but a pair of Jrue Holiday free throws put it out of reach. New Orleans 123, Oklahoma City 119, the only Pelican win in this series this season.

New Orleans wound up hitting 52 percent from the floor, and a solid 60 percent (12/20) from outside; what’s more, they missed only one free throw (of 18) all night. The Birds also outrebounded the Thunder 39-36, and outassisted them 29-25. But this may be the clue: Holiday, Ryan Anderson and Toney Douglas, the three Pelican reserves to score, picked up 60 points. Thunder bench? 20. Of course, Kevin Durant was Durantlike (32 points, 14 rebounds), and Russell Westbrook was otherworldly (44 points, 9 assists), but that wasn’t enough to hold off the Birds, led by 30 from Davis.

Good news: next game is at home. Bad news: next game is against the Golden State Warriors, who last lost during the Eisenhower administration.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Song of the sewer

About a decade ago, the city opted to replace the sewer line that runs along the west side of my property. I made a point of not watching the operation in progress, mostly because I have a certain familiarity with the concept:

The slogan at the base of the Sewer Statue of Liberty reads: Give us your pooped, your piss poor, your tangled masses of toilet paper yearning to swim free, the wretched refuse of your Happy Meal, but stop dumping grease down the drain you jerk.

The typical grease trap in a McPtomaine’s is maybe a couple of feet wide, a couple of feet deep, and perhaps four feet long. The top of it is flat, and it’s set just above the level of the concrete slab. When tile is laid atop the concrete, the top of the trap is level with the finished floor. It’s got a diamond-plate lid that’s bolted down hard — for a good reason. Its contents are the foulest smelling thing in the world.

It’s hard to describe the smell of a rancid grease trap to a civilian. Opening up a neglected grease trap is like sorting out corpses after a mustard gas attack on a Passchendaele trench. That was my grandfather’s job, by the way. The trench sorting, not cleaning out grease traps. So anyway, a little poop never hurt anyone. The sewer you send it down can kill you, however.

This is, not incidentally, why you never neglect a grease trap. I spent the better part of two years toiling behind Mickey D’s grill, and if it was any less lethal four and a half decades ago, it was only because the volume of business was lower in those days.

(Title in fond memory of Ed Norton, who, you may remember, was a “sub-supervisor in the sub-division of the department of subterranean sanitation” in the City of New York.)

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The remotest remote car hack

Once upon a time, it was discovered that if you can splice your way into the car’s wiring, you can do all sorts of wicked things to the computers that run everything. But that was over five years ago. Last year, it was revealed that such things can be done remotely, if you know how to take advantage of certain vulnerabilities in the operating system.

Which brings us to this year:

Last month I was over in Norway doing training for ProgramUtvikling, the good folks who run the NDC conferences I’ve become so attached to. I was running my usual “Hack Yourself First” workshop which is targeted at software developers who’d like to get up to speed on the things they should be doing to protect their apps against today’s online threats. Across the two days of training, I cover 16 separate discrete modules ranging from SQL injection to password cracking to enumeration risks, basically all the highest priority security bits modern developers need to be thinking about. I also cover how to inspect, intercept and control API requests between rich client apps such as those you find on a modern smart phone and the services running on the back end server. And that’s where things got interesting.

One of the guys was a bit inspired by what we’d done and just happened to own … the world’s best-selling electric car, a Nissan LEAF. What the workshop attendee ultimately discovered was that not only could he connect to his LEAF over the internet and control features independently of how Nissan had designed the app, he could control other people’s LEAFs.

The guy’s experiments proved to be reproducible:

Nissan, of course, will have to implement a fix.

It’s a different class of vulnerability to the Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek Jeep hacking shenanigans of last year, but in both good and bad ways. Good in that it doesn’t impact the driving controls of the vehicle, yet bad in that the ease of gaining access to vehicle controls in this fashion doesn’t get much easier — it’s profoundly trivial. As car manufacturers rush towards joining in on the “internet of things” craze, security cannot be an afterthought nor something we’re told they take seriously after realising that they didn’t take it seriously enough in the first place.

And it’s a great argument for fixing up that old ’96 Maxima, which is mostly immune to stuff like this, unless you’re right there with the wires.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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Ol’ Bacon Hair is back

So I was thumbing through Tumblr pics on the general theme of “Happy and Vaguely Artistic Nudes,” and suddenly I was propelled through time and space to a body of water not far from Canterlot High.

I mean, is this, or is this not, Sunset Shimmer?

Cropped section of nude photo that looks vaguely like Sunset Shimmer of Equestria Girls

This is the full-jaybird version, probably not safe for work, and definitely not safe for work if you scroll down to the “More You Might Like” section.

I’m going to have to start watching for Sonata Dusk.

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Forth and back

There are basically two types of Dallas-Oklahoma City games: excruciatingly close ones that wreak havoc on the cardiac patients in the audience, and complete and utter blowouts. Tonight was Type A through most of the third quarter, and then B-ness took temporary control: the Thunder opened the fourth with a 15-0 run, running a modest six-point lead to twenty-one. And then suddenly it was all Mavericks; after missing a dozen shots in a row, they hit seven straight. But the Mavs would get no closer than eight, and Rick Carlisle raised the home-white flag with a minute and a half left. OKC 116, Dallas 103, and a reminder that this year, anyway, whichever type of game it is, the Thunder win it: the season series is duly swept, four-zip.

Of course, Dirk was being Dirkish throughout, and he finished with a game-high, indeed season-high, 33 points on 10-16 shooting. (He also missed a free throw, which is among the most unheard-of things I ever heard of.) Apart from Nowitzki, however, Dallas ran short of offense: the only other Maverick to hit more than half his shots was newly-arrived David Lee, who went two for three. Wesley Matthews did knock down five treys; however, he missed all five of his two-point shots. The Oklahoma City answer to all this was — Dion Waiters? It’s true: Slumpy McSlumperman was 5-8 for the evening, 4-6 on the long-ball, and while this doesn’t mean he’s Back to Normal, it’s certainly a lot more appealing than the prolonged mope he’s been in. With Waiters delivering, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got to play EchoBall: they both went 8-17 for 24 points each. And Billy Donovan might have contributed to that by tweaking the rotation once more. For the first 46 minutes and change, there was no time in which KD and Westbrook both sat: one of them would be on the floor at all times. Did it work? Well, there’s that W.

The next ten days will be tricky and then some. Tomorrow night in New Orleans, followed by a brief return home, although the Warriors will be waiting when they arrive. Then back on the road for Sacramento (they can mess with your head), the Clippers (they can mess with your face), and once again, the Warriors. It’s a long, long slog, finishing out in Milwaukee, where we wait to see if Thunder castoff Steve Novak gets to play.

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More secret than the ballot

Just about everyone in the state has had this experience in the last few days:

I got no fewer than six “Unknown Caller” or “Private Caller” calls last night. I am assuming, as our primaries are March 1, that they were either representatives of one of the candidates making a “Hey, can I count on your support?” call or a pollster.

But here’s my thought: If they’re gonna call people, they should have the intestinal fortitude to code their caller ID so it turns up the name of the candidate’s campaign or says POLITICAL POLL or some such. Don’t hide behind “Unknown Caller” and hope you can TRICK people into picking up. Let people know and let them honestly decide whether they want to listen to a pre-recorded message or be asked their preferences.

My rule is not to pick up for callers that don’t list who they are, except in VERY rare cases when it’s someone I know calling from a cheap cell phone where the company doesn’t provide caller ID numbers. But you’d think a political party could shell out the bucks to be identified.

And no, none of them left messages. So maybe it wasn’t a pre-recorded “get out the vote” call, maybe it was some scammer.

These days, that’s what you’d call a distinction without a difference.

And while I’m on the subject, allow me to say that I really don’t give that much of a damn how my friends and neighbors are planning to vote: I don’t need their guidance, nor do they need mine. Besides, there’s not a whole hell of a lot I could do about it if I were concerned: even if they’re all voting for Smith, I can still vote for Jones — but only once.

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Probe being withdrawn

I’m at the age when rather a lot of people seem to want to know if I’ve ever had a colonoscopy. Short answer: yes, and I’m not looking forward to doing it again. Those wacky Canadians say I probably shouldn’t bother:

Colonoscopy should not be used for routine screening of colorectal cancer in patients with no symptoms or family history of the disease, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care advises in updated guidelines issued Monday.

Instead, the task force strongly recommends that low-risk patients aged 50 to 74 be screened for colorectal cancer using stool-based testing every two years or sigmoidoscopy every 10 years.

Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure in which a flexible scope allows the doctor to view the lower portion of the colon and rectum, not the entire colon as is the case with colonoscopy.

Stool-based tests look for signs of blood that may indicate cancer in the large bowel.

[insert “pain in the ass” reference here]

Maybe our friends in the Great White North are trying to save a few bucks on healthcare?

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As prices continue to rise

You want to see a serious Consumer Price Index, as opposed to the fudge-factory product of the US?

Or we can go even farther back:

If there’s a lesson here, it’s got to be “Don’t go to war with Napoleon.”

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It’s still required

Get your mind around this one:

“Weird Al” Yankovic’s Mandatory Tour comes to Enid, Oklahoma on the 17th of July.

For reals. In between Dallas and El Paso, the Alapalooza will be stopping in the Wheat Capital.

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Rocking world explained

This was all over Facebook yesterday:

Pooh, what makes the world go round? asked Piglet. Fat bottomed girls, replied Pooh

Sorry for the earworm.

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