Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Wednesday, 2021.04.21
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of
it.

		Mark Twain

2008.06.30

Who’s Boat Is This, Anyway?

“Running your own blog” is a relative phrase. For most bloggers, the meaning doesn’t go beyond authoring the posts and monitoring the comments. Having the password to the admin page constitutes “running their own blog.” But if you’re hosting your blog with some vendor, such as blogspot or wordpress, that’s a bit like renting a cabin on a cruse ship and feeling like it’s your boat to command. If the crew decides they don’t like you, they just might lock you in your cabin. Perhaps even throw you overboard.

This looks to be what is happening to several pro-Hillary, anti-Obama blogs over at Google’s blogspot. Assuming some other explanation doesn’t emerge from these suspicious coincidences, it’s another showing of Google’s increasingly obvious political bias. Their anti-American bend has long been on display since they acquired YouTube – jihadist and US soldier snuff videos a-plenty, pro-American videos…not so much.

Stories such as this serve as a reminder as to why I accept the extra work required to run the server on which this blog is hosted. It’s my boat. And if some pouty elitists with a leash to a Google Goon get tied up in knots over the content, best they can do is sail on by…or break the law.

[Edit History]

2008.07.01

More on this from the New York Times which, oddly, has this in the “Technology” section.

2008.06.03

Rules Strictly Enforced…

…except when they’re not.

2008.01.31

No Knock, No Knock…

The latest police drug/SWAT raid gone bad:

The parallels to Cory Maye are pretty striking. You’ve got a young guy minding his own business, with no criminal record, whose worst transgression is that he smokes a little pot from time to time. A bad informant and bad police procedures then converge, resulting in police breaking down his door while he’s sleeping. He fires a gun to defend himself, unwittingly kills a cop, and now faces murder charges.

The difference here from most other botched “no knock” raids is the homeowner defended himself, killed a cop (which he didn’t know was a cop) and is now facing murder charges. When the tables are turned, the home owner’s family buries their dead and the police bury the incident under an “internal investigation.”

There are far too many of these botched raids across the country every year and they are growing at a disturbing rate. It’s the consequence of literally giving police departments military surplus weapons with no culpability for police when they screw up. The idea of a SWAT team descending on you for jaywalking, while still laughable, is a little less so with each botched, unnecessary military-style police raid for misdemeanor crimes. I believe it was Napoleon who said: “You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.” If you literally give the police this power, they will find a reason to use it. It could even be said they must find a way to use it. We pay them to do that. The problem is, it’s moving down the path of unrestrained abuse. And it’s long past time to put some much needed checks and balances in place.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change soon and a good reason for not tolerating drug business in your neighborhood. Not just because of the drug dealers but because the increasing probability the police will screw up their raid with deadly consequences. Maybe even to you.

2007.12.11

Jeanne Under Fire

Jeanne Assam, a woman of remarkable poise under fire – both from bullets and the press.

There is a Buddhist koan wherein a monk is on a boat with 100 people. One of them is a murder. What does the monk do? Kill the murderer and save the lives of innocent passengers or does he stay true to his vow to take no other life? Perhaps there is a Christian counterpart to this koan and if so, it would seem Ms. Assam faced that riddle. No matter how many interviews she gives, only she will ever know if she answered the challenge correctly. That’s as it should be.

Watch for the control freaks with a specialty in gun control work to vilify her – because they simply can’t let a heroine stand here – and the press to do the same – because that’s what they do.

Personally, I breath a little easier knowing there are people about in the world like Jeanne Assam. One of Plato’s remnants revealed.

[Edit History]

2007.12.11 14:20

News on the Tubes indicates the gunman died of self-inflicted wounds. As I mentioned above, the gun control control control control freaks will work to pull Ms. Assam’s efforts into the mud. And so they are. As Michelle Malkin notes:

“The anti-gun extremists who are desperate to shoot down Jeanne Assam’s heroism will grasp at this detail as vindication somehow. But if not for her courage and her steady aim, he would not have gone down.”

The AP article linked above tosses in an “Oh, by the way” smear at the end of the article:

“Also Tuesday, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said Assam was fired from the Minneapolis force in 1997 for lying during an internal investigation. Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said police were investigating a complaint that Assam swore at a bus driver while she was handling an incident on a city bus.”

Question for AP: What makes this relevant to the events on December 12th? Is this a juvenile attempt to establish that only “bad” people have guns? If reporting twisted truth and abject bias was lethal, the legacy media would be the biggest mass murder of all time. Soooooooo predictable.

2007.12.11 14:31

Ha! The comments on Malkin’s blog are excellent…

TexasTiger:

“Matthew Murray entered the church with 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Nine hundred and ninety-nine were intended for parishoners and the thousandth for his own coconut.

Jeanne Assam’s actions convinced him to skip ahead a bit to the last round…that’s all.”

J S Ragman:

“Great news! Her conscience is clear, and he’s still dead. “

2007.10.09

Nothing Says “We Care!” To Your Customers Like A Good CYA Strategy

Saw this article on the front page of the September 7-13 dead tree edition of the Denver Business Journal: “Rising laptop thefts push prevention initiatives“.

It’s not enough simply to call in the IT people or have an expert run a “penetration test” of your company’s network, say lawyers who specialize in data security.

They insist that executives need legal as well as technical advice up front. They say companies face new data-security laws as well as evolving legal notions of what precautions they need to take.

That sounds really good. It’s a difficult task and requires a team effort. But hold on there…

[Bryan Cunningham, a principal of the Denver law firm Morgan & Cunningham] cites a key advantage to bringing in lawyers up front: “If you hire a law firm to supervise the process, even if there are technical engineers involved, then the process will be covered by attorney-client privilege.”

He noted that in a lawsuit following a data theft, plaintiffs usually seek a company’s records of “all the [data-security] recommendations that were made [before the breach] and whether or not you followed them. And if you go and hire technical consultants only, all that information gets turned over in discovery. [But] if you have it through a law firm, it’s generally not.”

So there you have it. Park the problem behind a lawyer straight away. But why stop there? Why not implement a corporate-wide strategy to shield all manner of mistakes, mishaps and negligence behind attorney-client privilege. Have attorneys supervise your employees and “consult” on safety issues. Cover the whole supply chain and service path while your at it. No more embarrassing or expensive issues falling out of discovery related to bad employee behavior, OSHA violations, service incompetence or product problems.

In actuality, this article is poorly titled. This isn’t a “prevention initiative” for data security, it’s a preemptive initiative for corporate irresponsibility.

This approach is a disincentive for businesses to provide adequate data security. It’s much more cost effective to pay a team of attorneys to “supervise” the data center than it is to implement and maintain a data security strategy (as the article notes, the threats are constantly changing and so must the security strategy.) What does a corporation care about 100,000 customer credit card records they let loose into the wild if they’re shielded by attorney-client privilege and not likely to be held accountable or responsible? Rather than caring about prevention, they will care more about squashing any news of such a loss. And this, I grant you, is a brilliant strategy for accomplishing just that.

[Edit History]

2008.05.26

Grammar fixes.

2007.05.24

Urban Scare Crow – The Fine Print

I’ve written previously about my urban scare crow. It has served me well for close to 3 years now. A recent rash of arrogant, smug, self-rightous doooooo-gooders of various sorts have seen fit to interpret the scare crow’s message, shall we way, rather liberally. “I’m not really a solicitor. I’m here for an important cause.” Well, it had better be to tell me my house is on fire, the locus are coming or you’re bleeding to death.

Turns out, their important cause is to tell me what heinous damage I’m doing to the planet animals my soul what ever gross nominalization they have printed on their clipboard and how money and/or a signature can heal my evil ways. This has prompted an addendum to the urban scare crow:

Urban Scare Crow - The Fine Print

Lucky for the clinically thick I lack the time to chase after my 50 bucks. But hey, at least I know of one hobby to pursue in retirement.

🙄

2007.04.29

The Truth Never Changes

Except when it does. The Truth defined by Claudius Ptolemy stood for some 1,400 years before the Truth defined by Nicolaus Copernicus ground Ptolemy’s cosmological Truth to dust. The Truth had changed. When one Truth, however, stands as long and has as deep a roots as Ptolemy’s, it can take a great deal of time to be eroded by the new Truth. Such was the case with Copernicus’ Truth. When so many of a society’s beliefs have been built upon a particular Truth, society is loath to relinquish the old Truth in favor of the new.

It is the same for personal beliefs and what each of us perceive as the “Truth.” An attorney friend of mine leverages this inertia when questioning witnesses in court. He begins with “Would you agree the Truth never changes?” The answer to this question is usually “Yes.” The one exception I know of was when this question was asked of a research MD expert witness. Science types, if they learned the idea of science at all, know the Truth changes. But the average bear believes the Truth, as they understand it, is as solid as a block of stone. My attorney friend then skillfully guides the witness into acknowledging the Truth of the case he is presenting. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

When the battle is between one who knows the Truth changes and one who believe it does not, my money is on the one who knows they are dancing on quicksand.

There are, of course, areas of human experience where the unacknowledged absurdity of immutable Truth make the experience what it is. Take this for example…

The Bean

It’s “The Bean”, as the locals call it, in Chicago. I took this picture last week while there on business. Is it art? Does it reveal a Truth to you?

Most of the visual arts are lost on me. I know what I like. Asian calligraphy and the works of David Lee and Frances Ku are particular favorites. But “The Bean” wasn’t revealing any Truths for me that day. That is, not until I looked no further than my own feet. There it was. The Truth revealed just as clearly as if it had been, well, chiseled in stone.

AT&T Plaza

It’s a commercial. (I did say most of the visual arts are lost on me. That’s probably why I play piano and cello rather than muck about with paint or clay.) But what about this…

Wacker 1

Found this after wandering East on Wacker to Lake Michigan. Again, no Truths were revealed, not even chiseled in stone. But I do know it had puppies…

Wacker 2

I shall leave the subject of Truth from Art alone and instead focus on the Truth that drives, reassures and comforts most of us. It’s the Truth of “reality.” But here again, there is an often unacknowledged contamination of subjectivity. There is the Truth of facts and the Truth derived from those facts, the interpreted Truth.

Just West of where I live can be found baked into the stone footprints from some long dead giant lizard. Virtually everyone agrees to this fact. The footprints are there. The creature, and any such creatures like it, have long since vanished from the planet. Where the Truth of these footprints becomes schizophrenic is in how the fact of those footprints are interpreted. My interpretation, and the resulting Truth I carry around, says those footprints were left there millions of years ago. Others interpret those prints has being no older than a few thousands years, what with the Earth not being older than some particular reference claims. A single Truth of fact with two associated, yet incompatible interpreted Truths.

A popular and politically correct Truth to hang your hat on these days has to do with global warming and whether or not it’s an established fact. My read is that it isn’t. Man’s experience with the weather is just too small a window from which to claim having any kind of clear view of what the global climate is doing. One hundred years ago, some scientists and much of the press was all abuzz with claims that the next ice age had begun.

I believe it is a good thing to reduce the amount of pollution we, as a species, spew into the atmosphere. I’ve believed that since high school when the high pollution alerts in Denver, compounded by the city’s infamous temperature inversions, left the air smelling like a sewer for weeks. Today, even with the population having growing significantly, the air is much cleaner. The global warming hysteria has not deepened my conviction in this regard.

So Al Gore is burning tons of jet fuel to haul is ass around the globe in order to set up circus tents and parade his “An Inconvenient Truth” dog and pony show. (Sidebar: When was it the Academy created a slide show category for it’s award?) I’m left with several questions. Who’s Truth is Gore selling? Inconvenient for whom? How can such a complex issue contain just one Truth? Frankly, I don’t think the Earth gives a damn about us. 4 billion years ago it was a sea of molten rock with no atmosphere. Life has been wiped clean from the surface and recreated anew probably more times than we know. The hysteria about global warming is a self-serving one and those on Gore’s band wagon are more interested about their own skin that saving the planet. The planet will save its self and will do so with the same indifferent cruelty and violence from which it began.

Listening to Gore and his evangelists leaves me with the creepy feeling that the solution to the “problem” of global warming is for others to solve (usually through some sort of sacrifice) so that they can continue living the life to which they have become accustom. (Man, are they going to be pissed if some killer asteroid is discovered for which they can’t buy impact offsets.) Setting the problem to rights, assuming it exists, will take something Al Gore and the eco-elites are apparently incapable of: An Inconvenient Effort.

[Edit History]

2007.05.01

Interesting article from ScienceDaily (“Earth’s Climate Is Seesawing, According To Climate Researchers“) illustrates my point about our window to the nature of Earth’s climate being rather small. For all their credentials, the scientists really don’t know for sure what is happening with the climate. Those that claim to be sure, probably aren’t honest scientists. (H/T Bryan at Hot Air)

2007.05.02

Added link to David Lee’s work at Lahaina Galleries.

2007.04.25

Flying Pig From Seattle, WA

Looks like Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments “found” my $2,000 deposit. Apparently, “posted no later than March 31st” means “April 16th” on the Jensen business calendar. I’ll find out tomorrow if the bank is impressed. Assuming it’s good, it means a modification to the Jensen Musical Instruments web site. Until Mr. Jensen compensates me for lost interest and the cost of the Jensen Musical Instruments web site, it will stand as a warning to others who may be considering doing business with Mr. Jensen. I have heard privately from several people similarly burned by Mr. Jensen that my efforts to shine light on his business practices have yielded positive results for them as well. To that end, I am satisfied and consider it a small miracle my $2,000 deposit was ever returned.

Refund Check

[Edit History]

2007.04.26

Several grammar changes.

2007.04.08

Althouse’s Law

[The blue ribbon panel of scientists at the prestigious Java Zen Institute for the Proliferation of Inconsequential Science and Humanities debated long and hard on whether the effects described herein should more appropriately be labeled “Althouse’s Catch,” but in the end settled on “Althouse’s Law.” The simple reason being that law professors ought to have laws named for them. That and a threatened law suit from the Amalgamated Union of Catchers, Baggers, Trappers and Boxers. Since it couldn’t be substantiated that Althouse has caught so much as a single cold in her life, the panel elected to avoid a reckless and litigious war of definitions. Besides, catches should be named after judges. – GPE]

Althouse’s Law: A law of discussions whereby the central point of an argument is increasingly marginalized by exaggerating, accentuating or obsessing on either the example elements of the argument or trivial, yet entertaining, side bars. The most common end result when Althouse’s Law has taken effect in a discussion is that the examples initially used to illustrate the original point or the trivial side bars become themselves the central theme of the argument. The effect of Althouse’s Law is accelerated if the examples or trivial side bars include so called “hot button” references such as breasts, divas or tears.

Similar to Godwin’s Law, when a discussion is trapped by the effects of Althouse’s Law, all meaningful discourse related to the original argument is no longer possible. Left unchecked or unrecognized by those caught in the flow away from the original argument, the extreme and ultimate end of Althouse’s Law results in the unfortunate casting of the unwitting into Althouse’s Vortex1.

Althouse’s Law was named for University of Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse, who’s personal blog was instrumental in elucidating much of the underlying effects described by Althouse’s Law.

_______________________________

1 Althouse’s Vortex is a theoretical blogosphere construct. There is much anecdotal evidence that Althouse’s Vortex exists, however no one has ever returned from having been caught in such a structure so very little is know about its nature. What is know is that those who claim to “get” Althouse generally end up in the Althouse Vortex. There seems to be a force at work in regards to the Althouse Vortex that is similar to determining whether or not one is a “hacker.” You’re not a hacker until someone else, preferably a recognized hacker, calls you a hacker. Likewise, you don’t “get” Althouse unless someone else, preferably someone on the “gets it” list, says you “get” Althouse. This quandary was at the heart of the debate on whether to call the effect defined in this post Althouse’s Law or Althouse’s Catch.

Evidence of having fallen into Althouse’s Vortex usually comes in the form of repeated ad hominem attacks against a particular author even though the attacker may, in fact, agree with the author.

[For the record, I don’t get Althouse. At all. – GPE]

2007.04.03

Worthless Words

As was easy to predict, the promise from Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments to return my $2,000 deposit by March 31 has proven to be just as vacuous as his promise to build an electric cello. Here it is, April 3 and not so much as a penny has been returned.

Lying leech.

I’m amending my demand to say I want my deposit and expenses in the form of a cashiers check. I have zero confidence in the ability of Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments to act in an ethical manner. Someone suggested he could potentially send another bell and whistle laden package which would be empty and he could then claim he sent cash. Regardless, any future correspondence with Mr. Jensen will be opened before witnesses and on video tape.

Lying, unethical leech.

2007.03.03

The Paper It’s Printed On

That’s what this is worth…maybe…

Letter From Jensen - 20070303

The letter was sent priority mail, certified and return receipt. Not sure what that was about. Mr. Jensen gains nothing with some sort of paper trail. Is he trying to demonstrate the sincerity of his intent to refund my deposit? I won’t be holding my breath until March 31st. From my perspective (That would be the one of the customer who is out $2,000.), nothing of substance has changed. In this deal, talk has been cheap and promises empty. I’ve been put off before by such chatter and promises from Mr. Jensen.

Neither will I be altering in the slightest the plans I’ve put in motion. Eight bucks of postal pomp and circumstance hasn’t inspired me to call off the dogs. If Mr. Jensen wants to impress me, he can send my money back, plus interest, and cover the expenses I incurred while trying to get his attention. And remember: the terms are cash. It will save the burden of having to spell my name correctly.

Previously:

Ripped Off By Eric Jensen And Jensen Musical Instruments

[Edit History]

2007.03.03

Something about this letter bugged me even after accounting for the postal pageantry and name misspelling (after first spelling it correctly.) It’s dated February 29th, 2007. Typed on a date that doesn’t exist. Perhaps that’s to match his promise? What calendar is Mr. Jensen looking at? I’m thinking the same one he uses to schedule his delivery commitments. Grateful, I am, there is a March 31st. Although, Mr. Jensen doesn’t specify a year.

2007.02.02

The Hands of God…

…and the power of a sacrificial embrace borne from love. Nothing short of stunning.

The closer a counterfeit comes to the genuine article, the more obvious the deceit. As the murderer dressed in women’s clothes walked purposefully toward his target, there was a village man ahead. But under the guise of a simple villager was a true Martyr, and he, too, had his target in sight. The Martyr had seen through the disguise, but he had no gun. No bomb. No rocket. No stone. No time.

The Martyr walked up to the murderer and lunged into a bear hug, on the spot where we were now standing.

The blast ripped the Martyr to pieces which fell along with pieces of the enemy. Ball-bearings shot through the alley and wounded two children, but the people in the mosque were saved. The man lay in pieces on the ground, his own children having seen how his last embrace saved the people of the village.

I am continually impressed by Michael Yon’s work. He is what the MSM can only dream of becoming. And I continue to support his work. Will you?

(H/T HotAir.com)

Previously:

Michael Yon Still Fighting HFM, et al.

[Edit History]

2007.02.02

A similar story. (H/T Bruce Schneier)

2007.01.25

Sponges Who Use Sponges

Bold prediction: There will soon be warning labels on sponges. Why? Just examine the evidence:

[A] study that found microwave ovens can be used to sterilize kitchen sponges sent people hurrying to test the idea this week — with sometimes disastrous results.

But several experimenters evidently left out the crucial step of wetting the sponge.

“Just wanted you to know that your article on microwaving sponges and scrubbers aroused my interest. However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and pissed me off,” one correspondent wrote.

Maybe there should be a law that says you have to be smarter than a sponge to use a sponge.

(H/T Slashdot)

2007.01.21

Operating Room Tantrum

Ouch. But you’ll be delighted to know the surgeon “has already been punished enough after having his medical licence [sic] suspended.” Suspended, not revoked.

The medical costs will be paid by the hospital’s insurer, but doctors’ unions have criticised [sic] the decision that the money for the damages has to be paid by the doctor.

They say the move sets a dangerous precedent and that Professor Ciomu, a urologist and lecturer in anatomy, has already been punished enough after having his medical licence [sic] suspended.

A “dangerous precedent?” Dangerous? The Romanian doctors’ union needs a better understanding of what “dangerous” means. An unstable surgeon with a knife standing over an unconscious patient is dangerous.

Vice-president of the Romanian Doctors Union, Vasile Astarastoae, said: ‘Ciomu’s case is a dangerous precedent for all Romanian doctors. In future doctors may have to think very carefully about what work they undertake.’

Because obviously, the last thing you want is a doctor thinking carefully about the work they’re doing.

Obviously, if you are a Romanian doctor, that is. Consequences for destructive behavior commensurate with the damage done are a good thing. It’s the difference between dangerous and deterrence.

[The surgeon] told the court it was a temporary loss of judgement due to personal problems.

No kidding. I wonder if the physically damaged patient, in lieu of the monetary damages awarded by the court, would be allowed a moment alone with the good doctor for a “temporary loss of judgement due to personal problems” of his own. It is stunning to see other Romanian doctors circle the wagons around Naum “The Hacker” Ciomu, referring to his mutilating conniption as “a mistake.”

I have to say, though, the caption to the picture in the article is, shall we say, rather ill conceived.

[Edit History]

2007.01.21

Added thoughts related to the position taken by the Romanian doctors’ union.

2006.12.07

What’s The Matter With Security?

The TSA has already banned one state of matter in the interests of better airline security. What a pain it has been to dehydrate your person so as to secure a seat in an uncomfortable lawn chair inside an aluminum tube squirting old dinosaurs out the back. Alas, I can hear the TSA bureaucrat scribes busily scribbling the next policy change to ban gases:

An American Airlines flight has made an emergency landing after a passenger with severe gas problems struck matches to mask the odour of flatulence.

Dehydrated passengers will henceforth no longer be permitted to breathe for the duration of the flight as all bodily orifices must be surgically sealed before boarding. I predict, soon, carbon atoms will be banned from passenger airline flights. Now those would be safe flights indeed.


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