"If you understood everything I said, you'd be me" - Miles Davis
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
"Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" - Homer Simpson

Utility Fog Banner

Operators Are Not Standing By
Even if we don't have any current openings that are right for you right now, if you are interested in working at Double Fine, send in your stuff anyway! We are always interested in making contact with talented and experienced programmers, artists, animators, designers, and production people. Even if you're not looking for work right now, it's good to stay in touch because YOU NEVER KNOW.

I can't guarantee that we will be especially good about responding to each and every email we get. Sometimes we get busy and ignore that mail box for months on end. But don't give up hope. Eventually, the mail server will get full, and we'll need to delete some of the applications, so we'll all get together and read through the resumes in there and make fun of people's spelling errors or read their "Job Objective" statements in sarcastic voices and stuff like that.

But maybe we'll see your samples or your web page and all at once the laughter will stop, and our jaws will drop, and then somebody will say, "Whoa." And then I'll look a them and I'll say, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" And then someone will yell, "I'm way ahead of you buddy!" as they pull up in the company bus/monster truck and as we all pile in, somebody shouts out, "LOCK AND LOAD!" And we drive full speed to your house and you come out and say "D-D-D-Double Fine? But--" and we put a finger to your lips and say, "You had us at hello!" And then your parents try to stop us because they don't understand, so we duct tape them to a streetlight and peel out, popping a wheelie all the way down the street while "Sweet Home Alabama" blares out of the radio and then you and I try to say something at the same time because we're both so excited, so then we both shut up so that the other can talk, and then we both say, "No, you go!", but then we both start talking again at the same time, and we have to just laugh until we're crying tears of joy, and we sense in our hearts that we will all be best friends forever and ever, and never think about what or who we were before. We will just enjoy the ever-unfolding kaleidoscope of happiness and discovery and adventure and laughter that lie before us.

And then we pull up to the office and I yell, "Alright, back to work suckers. And no talking!" And weld the door shut with everyone inside as I laugh and laugh and laugh. Oh, the fun.
Link
Via Mooselessness

Handy Hint
Don't burn mono wav files to CD. They get played back at double speed. You either have to resample the file at 88200 samples/sec or convert it to stereo.

Drug War Victims
Annie Rae Dixon
84 years old
Tyler, Texas
January, 1993

Bedridden with pneumonia during a drug raid. Officer kicked open her bedroom door and accidentally shot her.
Link
Via Metafilter

Whatever You Say
rats with stretcher
"The Battle of the Rats and the Rabbits shows that
when outsiders interfere, trouble can result. These rats
carry a dead comrade back to their base."
Link
Via Plep

On a Lighter Note
HISTORY OF THE SHOPPING CART
The shopping cart was conceived in 1937 by Sylvan Goldman, one of the original self service grocery retailers who, in observing the shopping habits of his customers, realized he could provide better service and sell more groceries if only he had some means of helping them carry more merchandise. From this simple observation the shopping cart was born, along with the tremendous growth in self-service mass market retailing that continues today.
Via thingsmagazine.net

Votescam 2004
It's a shell game, with money, companies and corporate brands switching in a blur of buy-outs and bogus fronts. It's a sinkhole, where mobbed-up operators, paid-off public servants, crazed Christian fascists, CIA shadow-jobbers, war-pimping arms dealers - and presidential family members - lie down together in the slime. It's a hacker's dream, with pork-funded, half-finished, secretly-programmed computer systems installed without basic security standards by politically-partisan private firms, and protected by law from public scrutiny.

It's how the United States, the "world's greatest democracy," casts its votes. And it's why George W. Bush will almost certainly be the next president of the United States - no matter what the ***people*** of the United States might want.

The American vote-count is controlled by three major corporate players - Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia - with a fourth, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), coming on strong. These companies - all of them hardwired into the Bushist Party power grid - have been given billions of dollars by the Bush Regime to complete a sweeping computerization of voting machines nationwide by the 2004 election. These glitch-riddled systems - many using "touch-screen" technology that leaves no paper trail at all - are almost laughably open to manipulation, according to corporate whistleblowers and computer scientists at Stanford, John Hopkins and other universities.
Link
Via Ethel the Blog

This Could Get Interesting
The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations that the White House broke federal laws by revealing the identity of one of its undercover employees in retaliation against the woman's husband, a former ambassador who publicly criticized President Bush's since-discredited claim that Iraq had sought weapons-grade uranium from Africa, NBC News has learned.
Link
Via Atrios

Busted
Remarks by
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
and
Foreign Minister of Egypt Amre Moussa
Ittihadiya Palace

Cairo, Egypt
February 24, 2001
We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.
Link

Poppa's Got a Brand New Toy
Thursday I bought a Sony DSC-P52 digital camera. It only took until late Saturday night for me to suss out the oh-so-important process of downloading images into my computer. I went out this morning and took some pictures so I could make sure I could reproduce the steps. Here's my first posted image:
red wagon
And, as a public service, here's the process I used:

Running Mandrake 9.1 Linux
Camera On and connected by USB at boot (may not be necessary)
"USB Connect" on camera set to "PTP"

As Root on CLI:
modprobe usb-storage
modprobe usb-ohci (depends on motherboard, you may need usb-uhci) mount -t usbdevfs none /proc/bus/usb

The next 2 commands don't need to done as root:
cd "directory you want pictures to go into"
gphoto2 -P

Next project: Making the modprobes and mounting automatic at boot.

Good Times
Train wreck is a way overused metaphor, but we're headed for some kind of collision, and there are three things that can happen. Just by the arithmetic, you can either have big tax increases, roll back the whole Bush program plus some; or you can sharply cut Medicare and Social Security, because that's where the money is; or the U.S. just tootles along until we actually have a financial crisis where the marginal buyer of U.S. treasury bills, which is actually the Reserve Bank of China, says, we don't trust these guys anymore ? and we turn into Argentina. All three of those are clearly impossible, and yet one of them has to happen, so, your choice. Which one?
Link
Via Follow Me Here

George W. Bush is Scary
Picture a man standing in an office, handsome, serious. It is Rand Beers, a former top Bush administration counterterrorism expert, looking into the camera and telling America the exact same words he told The Washington Post this past June when he resigned from his job with the National Security Council and joined the John Kerry presidential campaign: "The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure." (The words appear along the bottom of the screen, for emphasis: They're making us less secure, not more secure.)

Perhaps at this point a shot might home in on a document?the oath of office he keeps framed upon his wall. Then he might say something like: "I served under presidents Ronald Reagan, Clinton, and George H.W. Bush. But what I saw under this president made me do something I never thought I would do: quit the government service."

Cue close-up: steely eyes.

Stirring music.

"I decided this past June that the best way to keep my pledge to help secure my nation was to work full-time for the defeat of this president."
Link
Via Follow Me Here

Use It or Lose It
There have been no requests by law enforcement officials for any businesses to hand over their records for terrorism investigations, according to a new Justice Department document obtained by CNN.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which has drawn sharp criticism from civil libertarians, allows FBI counterterrorism agents to obtain secret court orders requiring any private business -- including libraries and hospitals -- to produce business records for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.

The law can require businesses to hand over to authorities "any tangible things," including books, records, papers, documents, and other items.

According to the document obtained by CNN, "the number of times Section 215 has been used to date is zero."
...
When the American Library Association's request under the Freedom of Information Act for the Justice Department to reveal details about use of Section 215 was rejected early this year, the group went to court.

With backing from the American Civil Liberties Union, a lawsuit was filed in Washington July 30 to compel the government to disclose the information.
Let me get this straight. Ashcroft has spent a month and a half and an unknown amount of money denying the American public the knowledge that part of the Patriot Act has never been used? How exactly would letting this vital information slip in any way damage the national security? I also have to wonder how much we need Section 215 if it has never been used even once in almost 2 years. And to be really cynical, why exactly should I believe Ashcroft?
Link

So Now You Know
During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms. Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.

Now for a more rigorous scientific explanation of why this would not be an effective hurricane modification technique. The main difficulty with using explosives to modify hurricanes is the amount of energy required. A fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20x1013 watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes. According to the 1993 World Almanac, the entire human race used energy at a rate of 1013 watts in 1990, a rate less than 20% of the power of a hurricane.
Link
Via Fark

On a Lighter Note
Dong Resin made me laugh, YMMV.

Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003
#1: The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance
#2: Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty
#3: US Illegally Removes Pages from Iraq U.N. Report
#4: Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists
#5: The Effort to Make Unions Disappear
#6: Closing Access to Information Technology
#7: Treaty Busting by the United States
#8: US/British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects
#9: In Afghanistan: Poverty, Women's Rights, and Civil Disruption Worse than Ever
#10: Africa Faces Threat of New Colonialism
#11: U.S. Implicated in Taliban Massacre
#12: Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup in Venezuela
#13: Corporate Personhood Challenged
#14: Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem
#15: U.S. Military's War on the Earth
#16: Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA
#17: Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism
#18: Charter Forest Proposal Threatens Access to Public Lands
#19: U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraq
#20: Pentagon Increases Private Military Contracts
#21: Third World Austerity Policies: Coming Soon to a City Near You
#22: Welfare Reform Up For Reauthorization, but Still No Safety Net
#23: Argentina Crisis Sparks Cooperative Growth
#24: Aid to Israel Fuels Repressive Occupation in Palestine
#25: Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment
Link
Via also not found in nature

Man In Black
By: John R. Cash, 1971 House of Cash, Inc.
Recorded February 16, 1971
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.


Interesting Times
Want to read something scary?

None More Black
The Big Mobodaddy sent this charming essay on Richard Condon's book "The Manchurian Candidate" and the more famous film. In my misspent youth Condon was one of my favorite authors. His cynical and black-humoured books will but a hurting on your head-in a good way.

There He was, Bigger than Life
I met Johnny Cash once, back in '93 or so. He must have been playing in town and he and June and a couple of cousins came into our bookstore, which freaked out the staff so much they all hid in the back room. I thought Mr. Cash might benefit from some customer service, so I went to see if he wanted any help finding anything. He was an impressive man in the flesh, taller than I expected-even with a slight stoop, weathered face, and that voice. I asked him if I could help him find anything and he said he was looking for books on the Vietnam war. He had already found "True War" so I showed him the History section and recommended Michael Herr's "Dispatches" and Tim O'Brien's "Going After Cacciato". He browsed for about an hour -June had to almost drag him out of there, and he bought both of my books.

Oh Crap
Every single person in the UK should be compelled to have their DNA on the national database in an effort to prevent crime, a senior police officer has argued.
Link
Via Boing Boing

Happy Happy Joy Joy
zombie santa
Delighted and bemused am I to report that the
"Summer Sonico3 Pushead Box" is finally available,
complete with creepy Howard Hughes zombie Santa. Link

Party Time
Global warming over the next hundred years could trigger a catastrophe which rivals the worst mass extinction in the planet's entire history, according to new evidence unearthed by scientists at Bristol University.

The researchers have discovered that a mere six degrees of global warming was enough to wipe out up to 95% of the species which were alive on Earth at the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago. Up to six degrees of warming is now predicted for the next century by UN scientists from the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if nothing is done about emissions of the greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, which cause global warming.

The end-Permian mass extinction is now thought to have been caused by gigantic volcanic eruptions, which triggered a runaway greenhouse effect and nearly put an end to life on Earth. Conditions in what geologists have termed this 'post-apocalyptic greenhouse' were so severe that only one large land animal was left alive, and it took 100 million years for species diversity to return to former levels.
Link
Via Viridian mailing list

Testify
Who, we have to wonder, was the idiot who approved use of the Mall in Washington for a three-and-a-half hour commercial for the National Football League?

If some bureaucrat in the National Park Service allowed this travesty, then fire his or her butt before they do any more damage.

Or if Interior Secretary Gail Norton authorized this shameless commercialization of federal land, then ship her back to Colorado because she obviously suffers from too many Rocky Mountain highs.

Since when does the NFL deserve this special treatment? Professional football is a business, driven by greedy owners who control teams of overpaid, muscle-bound clowns who most likely would be flipping burgers, gang-banging or selling real estate if the sport did not pay them millions to bash their brains into mush.

The NFL contributed a measly $10 million towards staging the three days of events that led up to Thursday night's kickoff of the new football season but what it paid did not begin to cover the cost of staging or security from 1,000 police officers from 35 local, state and federal agencies.

Police began closing streets around Washington early Thursday and many businesses and offices sent their employees home early so they could avoid the choked traffic on the few streets that remained open.

Tourists trying to visit attractions along the Mall found themselves shuttled out of the area so the area could be sealed "for security purposes."
And it gets better.
Link
Via Follow Me Here

The phone don't ring, and the sun refused to shine
Booknotes covers Warren Zevon far better than I ever could.

So Long Warren, Say Hi to Joe


Man, Do I Hate Pro Sports (Yes)
Greg Palast:
I couldn't make this up. This morning, the US Department of the Interior is turning over the Mall in front of the Washington Monument to Pepsi-Cola Corporation to promote their new "Pepsi Vanilla."
.....
The Bush Administration has moved swiftly to respond to objections to the commercialization of the nation's heritage sites. The complaints, from Pepsi rival Coca Cola, will be addressed by re-naming the Bill of Rights. Attorney General John Ashcroft is expected to announce today that, "those ten outdated amendments will be called 'Bill of Rights Classic,' while the post-PATRIOT Act version will henceforth be called, 'New Rights Lite.'" A spokesman for Mr. Ashcroft added that Anne Coulter will be renamed, simply, "Lite."

Mr. Dick Cheney, the nation's Vice-President for Marketing, has angrily rejected accusations that photos released by the Defense Department of Saddam Hussein drinking Diet Dr. Pepper were fabricated for the purpose of winning public support for our entry into the cola wars. Cheney has turned down repeated requests to produce notes of his several meetings with soda-pop executives.

A spokesman at the Park Service indicates the agency has nixed proposals for a monument to the "Spirit of the Pioneers" - referring to those who have given more than $100,000 to Bush family electoral campaigns. However, the plaque at the Lincoln Monument has been updated "for accuracy" at the request of the National Association of Manufacturers to read, "this government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists and for the lobbyists shall not perish from this earth."

And adding Rush Limbaugh as a commentator? 3 words: Fuck that noise.

Best Throwaway Line in a B-Movie Tonight
"I don't like it, what if something goes wrong?"
"Yea, yea, what if Yogi Bear kills the president? Don't worry about it".

Spam
What-the-hell Dept: "Earn a Criminal Justice Degree" from refugeevips.com
Got Me Dept: "Nice Blog"-that's evil

Don't Try This at Home
Leaving work today my car made a loud ringing rattle and the alternator light came on. The bar that holds the alternator taut against the belt that drives it broke. This belt also drives the water pump. It is a very important belt and it was flopping around uselessly. I "fixed" it with bungee cords. Actually, "jury-rigged" is a better term than "fixed". There is actually a bungee cord coming out from under the hood to hook onto the wheel well. That cord is holding the main cords away from the engine block because heat is bad for rubber. It all works like a charm, though somewhere a german engineer is crying. Bungee cords-don't leave home without them.

What a Maroon
Handy Hint: If you are going to write a virus that takes over a couple of million computers and then launches a DDoS attack against Microsoft don't have the infected computers report back to your easily traced personal web-page. Duh
Via Metafilter

A Full Year of Fog
It's hard to say exactly, what with my adventures in operating system updating but I feel confident in stating that the Utility Fog Blog is now a year old. And by sheer coincidence the Fog has accumulated 365 posts. A post a day, that ain't a bad average.

mmmmmmmm, Pancakes
In the market for Pancakes Shaped Decorative Pillows to complete your breakfast decoration theme? Look no further.
Via #!/usr/bin/girl -v3

Sweet
stephen hawking as a simpson
Stephen Hawking Simpsons Figure
Via Ghost in the Machine