Tam sums it up nicely:
If you are prepared for the dead to walk the earth in search of human brains, then a hurricane or attempted mugging is no big deal.
I'm more prepared for a hurricane than the living dead, but I should be okay for a while in either event.

And while you're preparing, here's a handy tip. We used dimes in the Army. Somebody says quarters are harder. Now I'm wondering what the physics implies.

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As people around the world desperately try to misuse science to pursue various political goals, it's worth reflecting on science and how it works. Since I am not a scientist, I'll simply refer you to someone who was. His thoughts on the matter are close to 40 years old, but are still as relevant as anything you'll find.



Random Monday Thoughts

Afghanistan is a failure of the Westphalian system. Not in the usual sense of a failed nation state, but a failure in trying to impose an alien paradigm on a populace which is having none of it. Much of Africa has the same issue.

Walmart is starting to have ammo back in stock sporadically. Even with tax, I can get .45 ACP cheaper at Walmart than I can buying in bulk.

I found out today I need a tux by Friday. I hate it when that happens. But I'm still better off than J, who has to figure out what to wear. Formal wear is so much simpler for guys.

Facebook got a lot more pleasant once I figured out how to block applications. I don't give a shit about Mafia Wars, Farmville, or any of the rest of the nonsense.

Joe Klein is a dipshit who wouldn't know sedition if someone slapped him in the jaw with the definition.

As long as we're on sedition, how does the Smith Act square up with a document that says throwing off a despotic government is not only a right but a duty?

I realize it'll happen when hell freezes over, but I'd like it if either Microsoft or Apple started including FLAC support in their products.


On that note, I'm out and home for a drink, some dinner, and tux shopping.

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Genre Confusion

As a quick reminder of how you got screwed by "affordable" health care, here's a list of new taxes before tomorrow, when YPS will officially become unhinged over taxes for the day.

Anyhow, I was amusing myself looking for new music on the web the other day. I have come to the conclusion that sites which use social recommendations, like amazon, or have some kind of similarity engine, like Pandora, are really your best bet. Genre labels in the new millennium are, broadly speaking, next to useless.

The larger, overarching categories still have some use. If somebody tells you a band or artist is country as opposed to rock or pop, that has some small measure of validity. I say small because the three categories I just mentioned are bleeding into each other rather seamlessly. Turn on GAC or CMT and see if the music you hear would be out of place on a Top 40 or Alt Rock station. From my admittedly jaundiced perspective, I can't see much difference.

Of course, I listen to a lot of Metal and Industrial. Even these labels aren't much use, since there are a lot of bands that don't fit neatly into one category or the other. So in an attempt to differentiate between sub-classes of each, people have invented a bewildering variety of categories that are, frankly, completely meaningless except to the three guys who came up with them while arguing over music late one saturday night.

One band I was looking up was listed in the following "genres":
  • Metalcore
  • Thrash Metal
  • Groove Metal
  • Death Metal
Aside from the fact that I don't even know what some of these are, (groove metal? WTF?), if your genre labels have 4 different possibilities for one band, they're not much good. Another band was described as "a mix of progressive metal, grindcore, and hardcore". Umm. Yeah. Does that mean something to somebody, or is some music nerd with a journalism degree trying to justify his existence? I mean, I've been listening to metal in various incarnations for 25 years or so now, so I think I've got a decent grasp on the music. The labels? Not so much.

This is where Amazon, allmusic, and Pandora come in handy. I don't want to spend my time figuring out what all these bullshit labels mean. I want to listen to some good new music. Amazon tells me what CDs people who bought my CDs also bought. allmusic tells me what bands are similar to bands I like. Pandora, through the magic of their genome project, just plays music at me their engine figures I'll like. All three work pretty well, but the radical profusion of genres and sub-genres and terminology isn't real useful.

Anyhow, since writing about music is like dancing about architecture, here's a tune I found in the process. Perhaps you'll like it.

Lamb of God - Set To Fail (Official Music Video)

On the other hand, if you don't like it, you now know I am not a reliable source for music recommendations for you. Perhaps there's some websites that might be able to help you...

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God Hates Fred Phelps

Today, I learned that freak Fred Phelps of the "God hates fags"/Westboro "Baptist" Church "fame" ran for public office in his home state of Kansas 5 different times as a Democrat. His family also hosted a fundraiser for Al Gore, which both Mr. & Mrs. Gore attended, at his son's home in Topeka. Phelps also served as a Gore delegate to the 1988 Democrat National Convention.

This was a bit of a surprise to me, as every representation I have ever seen of this guy he's been portrayed as some right wing nut bag, when in reality, he's part of the Democrat establishment. That really does explain a lot about why this guy hates our military men and women, protests their funerals, and harasses their families.

Actually, it explains a lot in general.


Monsters Everywhere

So, I bought The Fame Monster a week or so ago. Little did I know the nefarious scheme my money unwittingly supports.

Yes, sadly, Lady Gaga is a willing agent of the Illuminati.

I leave it to you, gentle reader, to draw you own conclusions.

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Why Congress Is Stupid

Actually, Congress is an emergent system which, by definition, can’t be stupid as it has no consciousness. However, as our fearless congresscritters and other functionaries in and around DC try to manage the business of a vast, unimaginably complex collection of disparate individuals, it’s important to consider the limits of their knowledge. Congress may not be stupid, but Congress does make bad decisions.

One of the reasons why was explained 65 years ago by a guy named Freidrich Hayek. The short version (long version here) is coordination of any complex system requires too much information for any one individual to collect and process in time to make rational decisions which will affect the system. Computers, strangely, made this problem worse because the guy trying make decisions is going to be overpowered by the multitude of computers everywhere else. He can't possibly keep up with the data. It's a simple truth, but one that everybody ignores.

As recent events have proven, Congress can't even keep track of their own information, much less any other information. Congress just passed a 2,300 page bill none of the members had read in its entirety. What effect the bill will have on the 266 volumes of federal law and regulation, nobody yet knows. So, once again, I have to ask: in what universe was passing this bill a good idea?

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It's Not News, It's Research!

In a ground-breaking piece of research from my alma mater, we learn that people, even if you give them complete information, often make shitty choices that benefit them short-term but screw them over the long run.

For examples, I suggest the whole of human history. Or any entitlement program of the US, if you're looking for something closer to home.

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