Sunday, April 29, 2012


After seven years I am still not really sure how to "do" evangelisation. Worse still, for the last five years I don't think I've even tried very hard to find out. A few months ago a priest friend of mine said "James, I remember when you used to care about evangelisation" and it hurt. It hurt because it was true.
From CALI. Harsh words indeed - I wonder what I've stopped caring about in my life.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Government collects all data just in case

Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for "cybersecurity" or "national security" purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blogger updates

Well, it seems that everything changed when I wasn't looking, and now I can't figure out how to link a post title, or what's up with my comments. Please hold while I ponder what the problem with the old interface was.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Also, butter knives suck at cutting steak

And I don't eat butter anymore, so why do people still use butter knives?

Or, what happens when people start writing an article about how much they hate Microsoft Word, and at the end reveal that reason that they hate it is because it generates dirty HTML.

Thank you Slate for another insightful article.

HT to TMN.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

A trenchant quote or two

First an observation about SCOTUS

Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense (the deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act got through the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed to survive a filibuster and passed 219-212 in the House), saying that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that violates the Constitution is like saying that Kansas City is the capital of Kansas.

and then a bit of duplicity observed

Oddly enough, Prof. Obama didn’t seem too concerned about “an unelected group of people” overturning a “duly constituted and passed law” when we were discussing all those famous Fourteenth Amendment cases – Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, Romer v. Evans, etc.

That is basically the situation.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zip codes

When I see a quote like this:

Ziptastic is a simple API that allows people to ask which Country,State and City are associated with a Zip Code.

The purpose for this service is to STOP the madness of having to fill those information out on webforms. If you've ever filled out a webform, then you have probably gotten to the address section and simply entered in your street information and then your city, state, country and then your zip code. This has always bothered me because the 3 fields prior to the zip code can be determined from the zip code!

I always think of this:

For example, approximately 85% of the area served by the ZIP code 85254, to which the place name Scottsdale, Arizona, is assigned, is actually inside the city limits of neighboring Phoenix. This is because the Scottsdale post office serves this area. This may lead some residents of the ZIP code to mistakenly believe they live in Scottsdale when they actually live in Phoenix.

Similarly, Missouri City, Texas, straddles Harris and Fort Bend counties. The portion within Harris County is within the ZIP code 77071, which must use the city name of Houston instead of Missouri City. At the same time, a small portion of the city of Houston is in Fort Bend County in the ZIP code 77489, and residents there must use the name Missouri City for their address even though they are in Houston.

And so on. Perhaps something that hits close to home since I must write one city for my mail, but I really live in a different city and vote and whatnot accordingly.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My developing philosophy of education

Coincidentally, most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met so far are the ones who didn’t pass school with flying colours but are the ones who barely or didn’t get through. The ones who had just enough grades to go on to the next year. Why would you want to put in all this effort to obtain an excess of grades that are useless to you? Just get enough and spend the rest of your time on stuff you enjoy.

I'm beginning to think this is basically true.

A tip of the hat to HN.

Oh and Happy Easter to all, except those who celebrate Passover, in which case the appropriate holiday may be substituted.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The wording of the matter

CALI makes the interesting observation that it's somewhat pointless to argue about the wording of legislation when that legislation is designed to redefine words.

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Monday, April 02, 2012

Crystal Cox is bad, Marc Randazza is good

And here's why:

I agree with Marc that Crystal Cox is no journalist. Journalists don't offer their services as reputation managers to the people they are reporting on. Journalists don't engage in bizarre and incomprehensible rants. (Well, OK, not counting cable news.) Journalists don't engage in the writing equivalent of spam. But I'm not convinced that this should matter. I think that Crystal Cox — like me, or Marc Randazza — should enjoy the same protections as a journalist. But with that comes responsibility. If she destroys someone's life — as she did to Padrick — and he can prove that her claims were false and that she had the requisite mental state, then she should pay. If the Ninth Circuit reverses here, despite Crystal Cox's warts, she should get another trial — and then I hope that Padrick thoroughly cockroach-stomps her again. Given the freakish nature of her filings, that seems like a probable result, no matter what standard she is held to.

And what to do?

First, every time Crystal Cox attacks someone, we can band together — as bloggers did for Marc Randazza
when Crystal Cox attacked him — and write fair and factual posts about the target. That substantially blunted Crystal Cox's attempt to destroy Randazza's reputation by spamming numerous nutty blogs about him, pushing her efforts off the first page. As a team, we can render Crystal Cox powerless and largely irrelevant. More speech works. (Now you know why I put up that mysterious Popehat Signal.) It might be nice to start by offering this gesture to Kevin D. Patrick, her victim in the Oregon case. But if you're out there — if she's gone after you, or threatened to — we can help you, too. We'll throw up the Popehat Signal and gather a more-speech team and flush her off the first pages of your search results.

And so on. I have a pretty low ranking in the world of Googly goodness, one would imagine, but every little bit counts.

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EPA and property rights

A little scary - the EPA can declare you in violation of their regulations and fine you $70K a day at their will, and you can't contest it until they get around to suing you. Pretty gross.

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