• epiphyte commented on the diary post Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Joe Haldeman by dakine01.

    2014-01-25 23:41:59View | Delete

    I must have read a thousand sci-fi books over the years. Maybe fifty of them more than once. “The Forever War” is in that class.

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post Pope Francis Seems to Be Making Republicans Nervous

    2013-12-01 00:04:28View | Delete

    If he keeps going on like this I’m going to have to baptize my children…

    …never would have thought it.

  • “What was so hard about doing MediCareForAll? What part?”

    The part about making your lobbyist’s clients rich. Duh.

  • epiphyte commented on the diary post Billionaire Spongers and Tax Dodgers Want to Buy Their Own Randian Paradise near Detroit by Phoenix Woman.

    2013-02-16 23:34:12View | Delete

    Wow. $300K to live out your life on an anarchic island in the rust-belt with 34,999 other sociopathic parasites. Sounds idyllic.

    …and I thought the people who shelled out good money for a week on a Carnival cruise were dumb.

  • epiphyte commented on the diary post Monsanto and the banality of evil by David Seaton.

    2013-01-30 22:34:57View | Delete

    In 1990 saw a play called “Gasping” By Ben Elton at the Haymarket Theatre in London, about the privatization of air. At the time I thought it was somewhat overblown. Now we have Monsanto contaminating organic crops with genetically modified traits, and when the farmers complain that their produce is now worthless they get sued [...]

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post Class, and the Lack Thereof

    2012-09-20 21:44:15View | Delete

    also sonic + microwave-based crowd-control, etc.

    … but technology doesn’t take sides. Who’s to say that the Guillotine 2.0 (TM) won’t be an arduino-directed robot flying through people’s bedroom windows? I have a ninth-grader who could certainly build such a thing if he were ever to conclude that that’s what he wanted to do. Earlier this year I spent three days in a stadium full of kids who are just as capable. Almost none of them are destined to become members of Hoi-Oligoi.

    Governing in good faith would seem to be merely sensible in this context.

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post Class, and the Lack Thereof

    2012-09-20 20:24:53View | Delete

    The french aristocracy used to have a saying; “Noblesse Oblige“.

    …Not long after they stopped using it, they were all beheaded.

    Just saying.

  • epiphyte commented on the diary post As We Ruin Our Kids’ Planet, They Take Us to Court by David Swanson.

    2012-04-10 20:51:59View | Delete

    This, BTW, is an approach that might concievably sway some Republicans. “You are on the side of the people that are trying to stop David koch from killing your grandkids, right?” The thing that Rush Limbaugh knows which dems never seem to catch on to is that all that it takes to make lazy thinkers [...]

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post Late Night FDL: Game Theory

    2012-03-22 19:42:07View | Delete

    I used to think that Doublethink was just something I read about in high school…

    … but now I know I’m not a muppet… I’m a “Soon to Have!”

    … so it’s all doubleplusgood.

  • Not helpful. Here’s my suggestion. The fiscal- conservative, social libertarian faction of the republican party should be encouraged to recognize that their natural home is now the (presently incumbent in the Senate & Whitehouse) establishment wing of the Democrats. Objectively this shouldn’t be too hard since Obama is comparable to Saint Ronald in this area.

    Everyone will just have to hold their nose and vote for the incumbency this time around because the alternative is just too horrible.

    In 2013, the progressives can split from the democrats, and call themselves the Democrats. The remainder, republicans & establishment democrats, can start calling themselves Republicans. At this point we can reset the socio-political clock to 1980, with the only point of agreement between the new factions being that the Taliban can go fall off the edge of the world for all we care…

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post Brother Bobo’s Missionary & Temperance Expeditionary Force

    2012-01-31 20:46:28View | Delete

    If you think that the top 20% have it so good, then you’ve missed the whole point.

    Brooks wants to make families working hard in highly productive jobs to earn $250k/year think that they are part of the “upper tribe” , & should therefore ally themselves with the kind of people who think nothing of spending $5M on a boat race.

    At the same time, he wants to drive a wedge between different strata of wage slaves. Comments like yours are making it happen.

    We pay someone to clean our house (for 1 day every 2 weeks). She actually takes home roughly the same monthly net income as myself or my spouse. The money we pay her is a necessary expense if we are going to both hang onto our jobs and spend any time at all with the kids.

    Brook’s “20% upper tribe” is just the most disingenuous piece of crap ever.
    He might just as well claim that penguins and polar bears should all stick together because they are both in the top quintile of fish consumption of all the animals in the arctic ocean.

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post The Soft Revolution

    2011-07-12 18:19:45View | Delete

    I had occasion to look into one of these cases last week: Triam/HCTZ is a generic diuretic which has been available for decades. I have been taking it for several years, paying $5/90 days supply from target. Suddenly it is no longer available anywhere. Turns out that there are only two suppliers on the whole planet, and neither was able to offer the FDA any explanation for why they have stopped shipping it.

    As it happens, my Dad, God rest his Soul, was a chemical/pharmaceutical company executive in the UK several decades ago. After I moved to the USA (around the time the Clintons were trying to tackle healthcare) we had several conversations in which he explained to me how ridiculous it is to suppose that a system with one or two suppliers and thousands of customers could ever work in the public interest. To me, this is just another in a long series of affirmations of that observation.

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post The New, Old Mission in Afghanistan

    2011-06-22 18:48:09View | Delete

    If you were to put George W Bush back in the Whitehouse and hand him that speech, He’d deliver it without batting an eye.

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post Late Night: Nothing to Lose from Destruction

    2011-06-13 19:52:04View | Delete

    On the rare occasions that I find myself in the company of obscenely rich people, I always take the time to ask how much a billionaire of the mid-21st century would pay not to have to hire bodyguards for his kids so they don’t get kidnapped on the way to school. It’s one of the few ways I’ve found of temporarily connecting them with the ugly reality they are in the process of creating.

  • If Kris Kobach defines you as something other than a citizen, what rights does he deign to grant you?

    Do you still have the right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”? Maybe just Life; grudgingly; and even then only until the moment you’re actually born. Otherwise you’d have to let illegals have abortions; and that wouldn’t do at all. Who would Kris have left to dehumanize then?

    In my line of work I come across many clever, motivated people from countries such as India and China. Most of them were educated in the USA. For the Indians, at least, the first question they ask when they get here is “Where is everybody?”. Just as with previous generations, there’s plenty of room for those who are motivated to succeed. Conversely, it’s a small world and if those people end up somewhere else, their success will be at our expense, rather than to our benefit.

    For my money, the only test for US citizenship should be that you should want it badly enough to make an effort.

    What’s more, being a US citizen shouldn’t confer upon you any rights that you didn’t already have, other than the vote.

    That’s it.

  • epiphyte commented on the blog post Stuxnet: A Way to Nuke Iran without Using a Bomb?

    2011-01-31 17:37:12View | Delete

    This paper: Symantec w32.stuxnet dossier goes into quite some detail on the windows attack/propagation side of the story. Its a bit out of date in that it was written before the details of the PLC attack were well understood, but those arent necessary to appreciate the windows-related aspects.

    A couple of points which may not be clear to everyone going by earlier comments on the thread:

    1) PLCs do not run windows, they run machine code which has been downloaded into their non-volatile memory. The ultimate windows-based target for stuxnet was a the dll responsible for uploading the code (which is cross-compiled on the windows computer running a suitable development environment) to the device. When connected to the right PLC, it would silently alter the code it was uploading.

    2) all of the clever windows infiltration/propagation was needed because the machines used to program the PLCs were never connected to the internet; possibly never networked at all. The worm had to find its way onto a usb drive, which would be mounted on one of the programming machines, which would at some point upload a new program to a PLC, in order to find its way to the target.