Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How Much?

This is one of those things that make you chuckle, but it's more of a sad commentary on humanity than it is humorous. Ravi Zacharias uses it every so often in one of his lectures. I don't remember the context he uses the joke in, but maybe I'll remember one of these days.

Off the top of my head...
Two strangers, a man and a beautiful woman, are seated next to each other on a cross country flight. Once the flight takes off they make small talk and they find out they are both flying to the same destination for different types of business.

After a little while the man offers a shocking proposal to the woman -- he offers her a million dollars if she will spend the night with him. At first the woman is indignant and appalled at the offer, but after a half hour or so she mulls things over in her head and decides that the offer is just too much to pass up, so she accepts.

As the flight nears the destination, the man turns to the woman and tells her that he's very sorry, but he actually doesn't have a million dollars. He then asks her if she'll reconsider the offer, but for only a hundred dollars.

Now the woman is truly appalled. "What do you think I am?!" she asks the man incredulously.

The man replies "we've already established that fact. Now we're just quibbling over the price."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Los Alamos through the eyes of CBS

**explicit language warning**

I'm no real fan of news media... it's run by people with opinions, who are too self-important to extract those views to report objectively.

So imagine my reaction as a LANL employee to the following from CBS:

When Jessica Quintana wanted to sneak classified material out of the nation's top nuclear weapons lab, the biggest outrage is how scandalously simple it was.
Excuse me?

The article blames lax security at LANL for this crime of treason. We've had our problems, but let me make this perfectly clear; the problem is ALWAYS PEOPLE. We don't need more regulations, strip searches, or constant review. What we need is:
  • The fucking FBI to step up and take responsibility
  • Humans to take their jobs seriously
  • SEVERE punishment for this ignorant bitch
The FBI is completely silent on this. Why? Because they know they are the ones who gave this moron a clearance. She lived with a drug dealer, was very young, and clearly not too bright. She didn't take her job seriously, and put the country at risk. The Federal Bureau of Incompetence should have actually investigated her, and followed up. She should not have been hired by the subcontractor, either. She had no previous work experience, and no education beyond high school. Great choice, fellas. By the way... lie detectors don't work.

The people who are granted clearances are supposed to be inherently trustworthy. Any security system anywhere ultimately relies on trust, nothing else. We have to trust that people do their jobs with integrity, and that they know what it means to violate that trust. In the case of LANL, it has to do with national security. Does anyone think your average 18-year-old kid from a local underachieving high school has ANY FUCKING CLUE about integrity, security, or impact to the nation? Now add in that she's a local with serious entitlement issues.

Jessica Quintana should be put in Levenworth for a decade. She maliciously mishandled classified information, which is TREASON DURING WARTIME. Her hiring official should be out of a job and fined. Her manager should also be on the street. LANL should be smacked for allowing a subcontractor to hire such idiots.

And then there's CBS. Who the hell are they to blame LANL entirely? They make her out to be a hero. Listen up; she hurt America. SHE did it. Jessica Quintana, uneducated self-entitled minority, thought it was OK to do what the hell she wanted *knowing* she was committing a federal crime. That data belongs to the American people, and she compromised it, with full intent. Rather, with full disregard. She's not some victim, she's an ignorant criminal.

So CBS thinks they will sensationalize the story by cutting in scenes of control rooms and flashing red lights. Are they now run by the National Enquirer? What other cheap tactics could they have used to heighten drama and intentionally skew the story? Perhaps a shot from Dumb and Dumber?

Dear CBS: Fuck off and die. Thanks for playing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Abomination: Maxtor One Touch III

Okay, so after that catastrophic failure of the internal hard disk on my church server we purchased a Maxtor One Touch III external unit with 1 TB of storage. It has two internal hard disks in it with 500 MB each. You can configure it in either a RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration. I wanted data integrity/security, so I opted for the RAID 1 configuration. On top of that, I implemented a weekly backup of the device to Amazon's S3 service.

The joke's on me. Just when you think you have the bases covered, new ways of failure reveal themselves. Not even three days after installing the drive it crapped out on the server, reporting that the volume was corrupt. Since both physical drives appear as one drive on the server, the data went bye-bye. So did my faith in data security.

Fortunately I had just gone through the process of recovering backed-up stuff from DVD, so I was well versed in putting things back where they should be.

After reinitializing the drive it actually behaved as it should for about a month. With my faith a little bit restored in it (thinking maybe I just had a first-time install hiccup) I started moving other things onto it, including the new church database files. See, since the original hard disk blowup the church was still based on a system using some crusty software. The blowup provided a good reason to switch all the data over to the new system we had recently purchased. So we put the new data files on the drive, hand-converted the data from the old system, and then started updating that data in the new system.

So like I said, it was behaving for just over a month, or for a time period known as just past the store return date. Then it happened again, and of course this time a week or so worth of church data down the drain. So now I'm in the enviable position of having to back up the thing every day as well as going through the fun process of diagnosing the drive through Maxtor's tech support or online forums.

It appears that I'm not the only customer having this problem. When installing this drive (it's actually a USB device) there is software you have to install with it so that the operating system can find it. I also noticed you can't replace the drives with ones of your own, and after a little digging found out that the software in conjunction with the firmware on the device makes sure that only Maxtor drives (or possibly only the Maxtor drives that came with the unit) will work. Some users are claiming that this software/driver installed on the operating system is the point of failure causing the data corruption on the drive. And when I say data corruption, I mean the partition table is either wiped or messed up.

I guess the upside to all of this is that I'm taking data security a little more seriously these days.

The General Lee Camaro

Get yours on eBay. Thank the heavens for red neck innovation.

via: Autoblog
related: The 2005 General Lee (from whence all this blog's traffic comes)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's What's For Dinner

So that's why it's so tasty:
Then there's mechanization. Machines, which can kill 70 birds per minute (three times more than just 10 years ago), are supposed to remove the intestines but more often than not wind up ripping the birds insides, spilling [ excrement deleted ] on the body cavity and equipment. "Fingers" on the machines which are designed to rip off the feathers, also pass feces, vomit and blood from chicken to chicken.

Then there is "fecal soup." Thousands of dirty chickens are bathed together in a chill tank, creating a mixture known as fecal soup that spreads contamination from bird to bird. Consumers pay for this fecal soup when they buy chicken, since up to 15% of US poultry weight consists of fecal soup.

Garsh, I'm kind of hungry all of a sudden.

via HealthBolt

Man-Made Global Warming: Bunk

So says Reid A. Bryson, one of the fathers of climatology:
"Climate’s always been changing and it’s been changing rapidly at various times, and so something was making it change in the past," he told us in an interview this past winter. "Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?"

"All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd," Bryson continues. "Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air."
Other interesting notes in the article -- that "Greenland" had that name for a particular reason as Norse civilization and farmlands are starting to emerge from under the melting ice, and that water vapor is much more efficient in trapping Earth's heat than carbon dioxide is.