peristaltor: (Default)
When you find yourself in an uncomfortable waiting room, vomit loudly. You will be whisked to somewhere more private lickety-spit!

(Ooo, maybe not a great word choice to close THAT sentence….)

In other updates, still no diagnosis.
peristaltor: (Default)
…there are any doctors reading this, do deign to listen to your patients, especially when they tell you they are in a great deal of pain.

I did not appreciate having to find another doc that could prescribe the pain killers and antibiotics I said I probably needed in the first place.

Another doc, this time in an Emergency Room.

At 1:30.

peristaltor: (Default)
I know, I know, I don't post enough. So why not?

Back in July, I shared a bit of excitement about how I found a loophole in our work contract, one that had gone unnoticed for three years, but that enabled the company to hire fewer people and still cover the work. Well, phase one of the grievance has gone by with no change.

Essentially, the Union President found language that obviated the problem. He presented the finding at the grievance hearing. The result? To paraphrase: "That language is not in the contract." To continue the paraphrasing: "So there. Nyaahh."

I've been told that the grievance will continue, perhaps to a lawsuit. Should be fun.
peristaltor: (Default)
I got a good shot of… hard to explain.

An eclipse at 92%
as viewed through cedar trees.

Essentially, a whole wall at work was filled with the same crescent image. It was cool.
peristaltor: (Default)
So, like many out there, I have this pocket phone. It's neither the latest nor the greatest, and it never will be; I have simple needs. Some calls made, some calls received, a bunch of texts. I don't even have the data plan connected. I can't be bothered with that.

But since I've had the number for many years over many phones, a lot of people know that number and use it.

Including, as of about two months ago, spammers.

My phone used to sit in my pocket and not make so much as a peep for days. Now, especially during business hours on weekdays, it can chime away with calls from Florida, Maryland, California, New York, New Jersey, and a bunch of the other states, places where I know maybe one or two people. If I don't recognize the number, I don't answer. But seriously, ten junk calls a day is one too many.

We have become hostage to these assholes, these direct-dialing phishers of info, these hucksters trying to indebt me further or sell me a craptastic thing. Actually, according to the name on the texts, sell some asshole named Jeremy those things, since it seems he is the jerk wad who entered my number wherever numbers go to be so cursed.

Yes, I am aware that I can block numbers; but I would have to block individual junk numbers. Just a glance at my call history screen will tell you that I have many, many of these numbers to block.

Two days ago, though, I got a wonderful, awful idea.

The phone companies have those numbers in their system, don't they? They should be the ones blocking the numbers, and not just for my phone. They can probably look at their call logs and see exactly what numbers pollute their customers and plague their systems. They should be the ones to take the first action.

Ah, but they would first need some information, some flag that an abuse has occurred.

And then it hit me: We could give them that flag.

Imagine this: You get a junk call. Immediately after that call, you dial *86, as in eighty-six, the slang term for get rid of something. I'm not suggesting that this single entry would block that number for you, the end user. (Well, maybe, but not just yet. Bear with me.)

The value added to this feature is that it is a collective ability. Once the number gets enough people flagging it with *86, the company would have to open a file. Get too many of these flags, and a warning letter would be sent to the owner of the number. Get waaay too many, and the number would be blocked at the dialing phone, meaning that number would get not a dial tone, but a message saying something to the effect of "We're sorry, but this number has been flagged for abusive use. To hear the exact information that has generated this action, press one" or something like that.

Until they go through a process to clear the number's record, they lose their dialing privileges. If nothing is done, the number is deleted from any and all systems.

I could expound on the difference between positive and negative freedom of speech and other esoteric philosophical musings, but for now I just thought I'd throw that out there and see what others, like your own good selves, think about the notion.

So, what do you think? Good idea? One worth pursuing?
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I'm not complaining, not at all. This, though, is fascinating:

Although the Oxford English Dictionary offers no etymology for the word “Honeymoon”....

The term most likely comes from an old English tradition that dates from the Middle Ages. Mead was drunk in great quantities at weddings, and after the ceremony nuptial couples were given a month’s supply of mead—sufficient for one full cycle of the moon. It was believed that by faithfully drinking mead for that first month, the woman would “bear fruit” and a child would be born within the year. Incidentally, raw honey has been shown in clinical studies to be a powerful fertility booster.

Mead! Mead! Mead!
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You've probably heard the nugget going around lately that using your phone to search a quick tidbit of info uses enough electricity to power two refrigerators. Okay. First things first. Every time we hear a meme like this, I feel we should be immediately skeptical. Seriously, why do we as a species spread information we have not personally checked for accuracy?! Sadly, we do, so I suspect that we are just info spreaders by evolution. Sometimes, like a garden sprinkler snick-snick-snicking needed water onto a parched lawn, we spread good information; other times we spread the greenish-brown stuff that the enormous sprinklers used to spread on the pastures near my childhood home. (NB: I grew up next to a dairy farm.)

Let's look at what is being spread here. )
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Full disclosure: I don't have much of an opinion of Sam Harris. He had books. He was interviewed. I didn't read his work, I didn't listen to what he had to say. A lot of people were either enchanted with him or hated him. Whatever.

But now I learn he has a podcast. I've dipped a toe and heard a few. It's not bad. He's a bit arrogant, but if you're interesting, I can overlook that.

There is, however, a line between arrogant and insulting. And he crossed that.

I guess he interviewed this guy who gave his book a bad review. Again, I've read neither the book nor the review. I don't have a dog in this fight.

But he dredged up one of my most hated, condescending phrases. He told this guy, "Let me educate you." Oh, Harris, you fucking idiot.

It doesn't matter if you have greater knowledge that you could share. It doesn't matter if you teach a course on the topic, even. Unless the person to whom you are speaking approaches you and asks you to be a teacher, you cannot educate. You can only share, or inform. To assume that the person to whom you are speaking is a pupil is to demean that person, to belittle that person, to denigrate that person.

Not only that, in the podcast to which I've linked, he is actually defending his actions, reviewing an interview that he felt did not go so well. He actually played the section where he says "Let me educate you" as if he were unaware of what he was saying was so incredibly insulting. That shows a complete lack of awareness socially.

His interview guest, as everyone should expect, explodes. He's just been personally insulted.

And Harris discounts his reaction as childish.

Well, Sam, let me educate share with you a little something: You've just proven yourself worse than childish.
peristaltor: (Default)
When reading:

Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, told CNN he was on third base during the baseball game when he saw Mr Scalise, who was on second base, shot.

He said Mr Scalise had a bullet hole in his leg, but was saying: "I'm OK, I'm OK."

He "had a bullet hole in his leg, but was saying: 'I'm OK, I'm OK.'"

Republicans can never stop lying.
peristaltor: (Default)

xkcd, of course.

But if the glacier is big, so too are the piggiebacking eratics.

It's been around, as this 1948
archive file shows.

And before the house (which is still there),
it was around then, too.

And I can walk to it easily in less than 10 minutes.
peristaltor: (Default)
Spent yesterday puttering about the yard listening, among other things, to Chris Martenson's Peak Prosperity podcast. In a recent one, he interviewed G. Edward Griffin, author of The Creature From Jeckyll Island. Despite the silly name, it has been cited by many in the "alternative" crowd as a major influence on them, especially those with a focus on finance's domination by private banking.

Full disclosure: they're right, at least about how finance has warped the public's understanding of banking. A lot of money has been spent covering up what banks actually do, probably because of the lesson provided by the Bank of North Dakota. If a State (or any other municipality, for that matter) can own a bank, cycling the profits involved in lending directly into the State itself, why would that municipality bother paying interest and fees to private entities? It's a good question, one a few here in Seattle are considering.

But never mind that. Let's get back to Griffin.

In the interview, he revealed something that should be better known considering Wikipedia:

Now, Wikipedia is fine on, I guess scientific information, or... Historical information. As long as it doesn’t impact on the control mechanism of this elite that we’re talking about....

Now, once you get into those areas, then Wikipedia becomes the lapdog of those forces. Because all of the major corporations, I think that’s fair to say. Have to admit though, I haven’t check all of the major corporations to see if this is true. But I believe it is, that all of the major corporations, especially those that are dealing with ideas and products that relate on this control mechanism.... I’m talking about money. I’m talking about healthcare and that kind of thing. They have full-time people contracted to monitor Wikipedia 24-7. There’s always somebody from those corporations watching it.

So, the minute any entry is made touching on their sphere of influence.... They immediately change it or correct it. And they have, because they have done that so often, and they’re paid to do it, so they can devote their lives to it. They move up in rank and become editors because they do spend time doing it. And they become the ones who are the gatekeepers for the information on Wikipedia.

(I emboldened and deleted removed Martenson's conversational noises.)

Conspiracy in private industry is not unknown, of course. What turned Griffin on to this, he says, was a whistle-blower, one who called him one day. She said,

"I’m an editor of Wikipedia."... She says, I don’t know if you know it or not, but we’ve become deeply involved in a controversy among the editors at Wikipedia. I said, really? Over what? She says, over you....

Me? Why me? She said, well, she said, we didn’t know anything about you, but we thought when we saw your biographical information, the way it was being changed, we thought it was curious. So, we started to look into it. And we thought that it was very biased on the part of a small group of other editors in our organization....

So, we started to challenge it. And she said, if you’re interested, she said, it’s all on the internet. Most people don’t know, but the challenging mechanism by which one editor challenges the other is all available if you know the codes to get into the back room.... So, she gave me the codes. And my gosh, this is a roaring fight going on.... It was like a cat and dog fight over me.

I thought, well, that’s interesting. So, anyway, they fight, she lost the battle. She and her friend were told that if they didn’t drop this line of argument, they would no longer be qualified as editors.

(I did it... again.)

This fact that there are professionals out there who do nothing but scrub new media for the benefit of their employers should come as no surprise to anyone. That these industries can afford enough people to do the job that they insinuate themselves into that new media, also not surprising. Where billions of dollars are at stake, a few tens of thousands a year makes for a worthy hedge investment.

And so, today, we have Griffin's name somewhat tarnished with the following: "G. Edward Griffin (born November 7, 1931) is an American far-right conspiracy theorist, author, lecturer, and filmmaker." And indeed, given the bulk of his views, I would say that this description seems accurate.

For even though he is absolutely correct in describing the Federal Reserve's function, those other items of his interest? Holy crap. HIV/AIDS denial? Climate Change denial?! What the flying fuck?

And that got me to thinking. He has experienced a life changing event few get even close to witnessing: the discovery of a for-realz practice that, if broadened beyond private industry, could do wonders for our civilization.

And the blow back he got from the literally vested interests must have put the whammy-jammy on his brain, perhaps causing him to see conspiracy freakin' everywhere.

I must say, though, the interview was entertaining in Martenson's response to some of Griffin's nonsense. When he came out and started ticking off the Climate Change Denial talking points, Martenson, a phD scientist himself, got very polite. I like what commenter ParaDime had to say:

Griffin appears to be in the global warming skeptic camp. Chris handled this part of the interview in a gentle way, but did gingerly probe at the possibility that "faith-based skepticism" (my words, not his) might be putting in an appearance.

peristaltor: (Default)
One of the siblings gathered at Mom's yesterday brought up a fascinating factoid: According to Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of the show, the template for the characters on Gilligans' Island were the Seven Deadly Sins. For reals:

Years after the show ended, its creator, Sherwood Schwartz, admitted that each of the characters represented one of the seven deadly sins.

Trouble is, the 2008 interview listed Gilligan as the avatar of Sloth. Watch the show, and you see that, despite the occasional smacks to the head with his skipper's hat, Jonas Grumby (aka the Skipper; his name was only revealed in the pilot) got far more work out of his little buddy than Mrs. Howell ever put in. Further, when it came to gluttony, nobody could beat skinny Gilligan. And more than once, Gilligan's envy over whatever put the cast in a pickle. He could also out-pride the prof, though he always did it in an adorable manner.

Based on that, others have suggested a looser, alternate role call. The Cast of Defects, (in reverse order of the song* that lists them):

Mary Ann = Envy (she had to compete with Ginger)
The Professor = Pride
The Movie Star = Lust
His Wife = Sloth
The Millionaire = Greed
The Skipper = Wrath, Gluttony

This makes a bit more sense, since Lovey did absolutely nothing to lift a finger toward making meals, gathering food or firewood, or helping with one of Samuel Hinkley's technical innovations. (Yes, the Professor's name was also only mentioned on the pilot.) And though one never did see him eat a gazillion of Mary Ann's coconut cream pies as Gilligan did, something had explain the Skippers' girth.

Which makes Gilligan himself ... the Devil. He was clad in red. And to embody the foibles of the others would make also perfect sense.

Which meant, as the title of the show implies, that the island was Hell. Which goes a long way to explaining why they couldn't seem to ever leave. This would also explain why what Gilligan himself did would eventually be the cause of their failure to leave: though it resembled a bumbling screw-up of a born goof, the act—including, let us never forget, the wrecking of the Minnow—these were acts of a vengeful entity bent on inflicting torture and suffering.

Hell? Well, it was warm.

*In an interview with both Bob Denver and Dawn Wells, the interviewer asked Ms. Wells about the theme song for the first few seasons where she and the Professor were listed simply as a dismissive "and the rest." After she answered, Mr. Denver noted that the theme song was changed because of him.

As he explained, he went up to Mr. Schwartz and said that listing two major characters as just the rest was stupid, and that the song should be changed. Schwartz refused; money and all that. So Denver threatened to invoke his contract. Since he was the title character, and since he had the celebrity ju-ju none of the others had (thanks to his former hit role as Dobie Gillis), his contract said he could demand the producers list him anywhere in the song that he wanted, so he wanted to be sang last, which would be stupid. Schwartz relented.

The funny part for me is simple. Dawn Wells, sitting, again, right next to him, was looking at him the whole time surprised. She had no idea this had happened, since during the show and its short-lived sequels he never told anyone. When she mentioned that, he just shrugged and smiled.

Maybe that's why she sent him the ganja. Hey, she was, apparently, most herb-friendly herself.
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There's a new bridge under construction here in town, a floater (just like the old one) that bobs atop Lake Washington between Seattle and the north part of the East Side (as opposed to the bobber that bobs betwixt Seattle and Mercer Island, farther south). I've been driving across the newest section since the day it opened to traffic. Compared to the old bridge (still being demolished right next to the new) it's a smooth ride.

With one exception, that is.

Since this is a floating bridge, and since the level of the lake varies from day to day (sometimes from hour to hour, in a heavy downpour), the bridge requires a flexible section bridge people call an expansion joint. You feel these joints when you cross bridges, generally; they're like an old cattle crossing gate, a series of bars perpendicular to the road's direction of travel. As the bridge flexes with the movement of the water below, the bars either get closer or farther from each other. Given the number of bars involved, this allows quite a bit of movement. Think about it: put twelve bars down and an inch difference between the bars is a foot of overall travel.

There is one grumble from the neighbors, though. Since they opened the East section, peeps living nearby have noted the noise. It has increased compared to the old bridge.

There were some significant changes, of course. The new bridge is taller, for one. And I believe the expansion joint is larger. Whatever the cause, be it placement of the noise maker or the overall size of same, the state bridge builder has been scrambling to find a solution.

So, Wednesday comes along, and my friend secures me a tour of the new section, still under construction. And I see this thing.

It's called a sinusoidal plate.

Sinusoidal, like the wave form. (The construction guys giving the tour, though, kept calling it a sinus plate, which my friend and I found pretty funny. Nose jokes galore.) Look carefully, and you can see the parallel straight bars below the waveform plates; those are the standard compression joint elements with the waveform pieces simply bolted atop.

Here's another pic, but not as crisp, due to [reasons].

The theory, and it's a good one, is simply that car tires hitting that plate will not hit the plate in the same perpendicular plane at once. Rather, the leading edge of the tire footprint will hit the nearest "point" and follow the curved sinusoidal shape. Different impact points means a smoothed impact sound, just like a muffler allows the escaping exhaust gases to not bang out the pipe, or a spiral cut gear doesn't clack when it rotates.

Sadly, given the size, the other compression joint on the east side (we were touring the west side, still getting built) cannot be easily adapted. Replacement would be required, and that would cost multi-millions.

Here's a thought: could you just buy out the neighbors? Pay for the houses they cannot easily live in?

Here's another thought that should put that cash outlay in perspective: the neighborhood affected by the rumble of passing freeway traffic has as one resident Bill Gates. He's about a mile from the rumblin' joint.

It'll be interesting to see what they can do.
peristaltor: (Accuse!)
I have a small problem with studies like this one:

Dr Jesse Preston in the Department of Psychology has demonstrated that people are often negatively affected by climate change helplessness — the belief that climate change is so massive and terrifying, as to be out of our personal control, and that our actions are too small to help.

This feeling of helplessness, however, makes people less likely to bother with individual eco-friendly actions – and actually leads to higher energy consumption.

Here's a question: How are people "who bother with eco-friendly actions" likely to do a damned thing about climate change?

This was the problem I had with Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, the end credits, where silly words on the screen diminished the immensity of the problem the movie everyone had assumedly just seen to "replace your old light bulbs."

"Eco-friendly" actions will not reverse climate change. There, I said it. At least (I should clarify) the kind of "eco-friendly" actions like the study considers to be actually "eco-friendly." Sorry, Sunshine, but "driving less, hanging washing on the line instead of using the dryer, using less water, or turning the heating down" will not do a damned thing to take CO2 molecules out of our atmosphere.

Not a damned thing.

Am I being too curmudgeonly? Quite possibly. I am also correct, though, no matter what dismissive sneer word you might choose to diminish my statements.

Take the examples from the study I just mentioned. All of the goody-goody actions listed there will reduce the amount of carbon gas added to an atmosphere that should, at the current rate, cook our ecosystems back to an ice-free polar reality. That will flood our coastal cities, reduce most of our agricultural output, create deserts with unlivable heat indices, just to name a few Problems.

Oops. Let me correct myself. These and the other myriad changes we are likely to experience are not mere "problems," simply because "problems" can be solved. Climate changes cannot be solved, only adapted to. These changes are better termed "predicaments."

The only way to solve climate change is to return atmospheric CO2 concentrations to pre-industrial levels. To make a real difference, we would have to suck from the air and put into a non-gaseous form a majority of the carbon we released from constantly burning fossil fuels since about 1800. Oh, and here's a challenge to the challenge: currently, most of the ways to sequester gases requires the consumption of energy...which, let us remember, releases those same darned gases.

If that weepy fact makes folks forlorn and despondent, so be it. They'll get over it. Or not.

Me? When I had my OS moment (like the passenger handle in most cars, natch), I realized the simplistic and simple-minded approach (like the one advocated in the study, also natch) was faaar too, well, simple. We needed to have sources of energy that produced as a by-product carbon solids that were not likely to be re-released. So when I turned up the heat, some carbon got locked away in the thousand-year format vault. If an angel got its wings in the process, well then, ding-a-ling-a-lingy-ding away.

That way, every time a goody-goody who was totally not despondent about our date with Fucked Up used energy in order to drive, dry laundry or heat the house would at least sequester carbon in the process. Multiply that by others reducing their energy consumption by, sure, "driving less, hanging washing on the line instead of using the dryer, using less water, or turning the heating down", and we may have a gnat's chance of making headway in this coming hurricane.

But until that happens, perhaps it is best if we take off the Nerf gloves and started treating people and their oh so fra-GEE-lay feelings with the same care as the climate changes soon to face us will exhibit.

Which is also analogous to the care and consideration exhibited by a falling rock on the priceless ceramic figurines directly below.
peristaltor: (Default)
Just bought butane today. I haven't bought any in.... I thought about it, and realized it was 1983. I bought a case of largish refill bottles at a police auction for $6. That same day I bought a quarter changer for $4, a microscope-shaped tube that holds $33 worth of quarters. Squeeze the bar and it dishes out four quarters. It's in the other room as I type.

I still have one of the bottles, only the nozzle broke off years ago and I can't think of a safe way to get that stuff out.

So, yeah. New butane.
peristaltor: (Default)
Anyone (other than, probably, everyone) know how to name the blogs here? As in, where I enter the title below the Peristaltor?

Not a good day for me to look for stuff, it seems, especially simple stuff.
peristaltor: (Default)
My power company sends out these Home Electricity Reports every year or so, just to let folks know how they are doing in comparison to their neighbors (those within a one mile radius, at least). Wouldn't you know it? I finally mad the naughty list of those who suck waaay too much power through that wire. Ah, but did I drastically change into a incandescent holiday display weirdo, or start practicing with my Tesla coil-based garage band?

Not me.

No. What I did is below, in the letter I just sent them. Enjoy.

Dear Power People,

I just got your "Home Report" in the mail, and I have a quibble: it's nonsense.

Don't get me wrong; this is not nonsense I noticed before, either. But really, am I now, after years of moderate use according to your previous letter, suddenly an average over-user of energy compared to my neighbors in a 1 mile radius?

No, no I am not, when one factors in that I bought an electric car last year. But then I realized: you don't know that, do you? I mean, how would you?

And that got me thinking: you don't know that my wife and I also rely on an electric water heater and range/oven as well, and that our prime television is a smaller (relatively, anyway) LCD, not a wall-sized mongo plasma monster.

Which got me to thinking even more: what if you gave everyone a survey asking about what power suckers we have in the house, uh, before you accuse us of being "energy" spendthrifts?

Until you actually do that, please take us off what I am renaming your shaming list. You're preaching to the choir here, and we're having none of it.


Perry Staltor

Oh, and I decided not to supply any other identifying information on my part because, hey, it doesn't matter to the overall Report: unless you have everyone's data, you may as well have no one's.
peristaltor: (Default)
Which is what I said over at LJ, so I repeat myself.

I'll be flipping between the two for a bit. Got a lot going on at the moment—the podcast is still going strong, and hoo boy does that take a lot of work—so this'll be a slow transition.

So far, though, I like what I see.


Perry Staltor
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
I Dreamwidthed it. Same name.

I'll still check in on occasion, since I haven't figured out how to get a lot of my feeds there yet.

But, yeah.
peristaltor: (The Captain's Prop)
Hey, LJ,

Has anyone else out there noticed that email desktop clients seem to no longer work like they used to?

Specifically, in my old client (Eudora), the program would access email, delete the email from the email server, and move to the next message.

Now, I can't seem to find a client that will do that. Instead, they all have accessed email, copy it to desktop...and that's it.

I don't want that. Is anyone else informed on this issue? Can you explain what is going on?


Perry Staltor


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