Kyon headshake

Boom. No boom today.

I'm reading back through the blog archive of Tenser, said the Tensor, which centers largely on linguistic matters and science fiction (and was incidentally the blog that corrected Stephen Colbert on the distinction between Angband and Thangorodrim). I just now hit a post from June which mentions a meteor that hit northern Norway. Initial reports had it ranked as a Hiroshima-scale blast (and a new record recorded impact), though that was later corrected to a 100-300 tonne equivalent blast -- "at most, around 3% of Hiroshima's yield", says Wikipedia.

What I want to know is, why don't people tell me these things? Potential kiloton-scale impacts and I don't find out 'til four months later. Nobody tells me anything.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed

I *heart* Apple Font Handling

One of the things I love best about Apple and Macintoshes is that-- well, this requires some background.

Unicode, the character encoding standard that is attempting to map all the glyphs in every language to a single fixed code point, has several stretches termed "Private Use Areas". These are places where computer/OS/font developers can put various symbols that aren't/can't be mapped elsewhere in Unicode. Trademarks are the primary intended use for this; Apple, for example, puts its open-apple and closed-apple glyphs here. But there have been other semi-official usages for this space as well, for such non-supported character sets as Klingon and Tolkien's Fëanorian script.

Because not all fonts are going to have all 98,884 (and counting) graphical glyphs in them, the various modern font-handling things will, when tasked with a non-represented character, fall back on other fonts known to have the character. Apple takes this a step further; they have a LastResort font, which has one glyph for each of the Unicode ranges (represented in each code point for that range) -- a glyph representative of the range (a latin character A for the old ASCII range, the katakana "ka" for that range, and so on) enclosed in a box indicating the name of the range. That way, it's obvious it's not the glyph you were planning on, but it's also not a blank square to wonder about.

But the love best part: in the LastResort font, the character displayed for the Private Area range, pictured below and as my icon for this post:

is the letter Wum, from Dr. Seuss's On Beyond Zebra. (See also this).

Geek love.
  • Current Mood
    geeky geeky

From Jim Macdonald:


You are not required to obey an unlawful order.

You are required to disobey an unlawful order.

You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The Constitution states (Article VI):

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Here is article 3, the common article, to the Geneva Conventions , a duly ratified treaty made under the authority of the United States:

Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is straightforward and clear. Under Article VI of the Constitution, it forms part of the supreme law of the land.

You personally will be held responsible for all of your actions, in all countries, at all times and places, for the rest of your life. "I was only following orders" is not a defense.

What all this is leading to:

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, it is your duty to disobey that order. No "clarification," whether passed by Congress or signed by the president, relieves you of that duty.

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, this is what to do:

1. Request that your superior put the order in writing.

2. If your superior puts the order in writing, inform your superior that you intend to disobey that order.

3. Request trial by courtmartial.

You will almost certainly face disciplinary action, harassment of various kinds, loss of pay, loss of liberty, discomfort and indignity. America relies on you and your courage to face those challenges.

We, the people, need you to support and defend the Constitution. I am certain that your honor and patriotism are equal to the task.

Original post and thread on Making Light

  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated

Okay, that time I saved Sesame Street

From my notes at the time:

Flipping channels, I came across one of the shows that I loved as a child, Sesame Street. It's been running for many years, but has always strived to keep up with the times.

In today's episode (2/26/2002) Oscar the Grouch was shown watching a television ad for a Grouch amusement park (an abusement park? annoyment park?), and a web address was given: . I thought it was funny, and decided to see what they'd put up for this.

Turns out they hadn't put anything up. Turns out they hadn't registered the site at all. Turns out that any random person could just go out and register it and put whatever they wanted on it.

I think this was a bad idea.

As a random person concerned about this, I registered it, and threw a very simple page up titled "This is Not a Grouch Amusement Park". It told kids to be careful on the internet, and praised parents who were checking out the site before their kids did, and (kind of harshly, and then amended to mildly after a friend's feedback) told off CTW/Sesame Workshop for not having registered the thing and put a safe page up, and told them I'd give them the domain if/when they asked. The bit above I put at the bottom as a bit of explanation.

I mean, really, ? I half expected something like Stile or to put up something completely offensive.

I got quite a few email messages from parents who were thankful that I'd done this to keep their kids safe. That was really nice.

By a couple of days later, Sesame Workshop did contact me. They told me that they had _meant_ to register the site, but that the paperwork had gotten lost, or bogged down, or some such, and we arranged to move the registration to them. I believe it still points to a page on their site.

They sent me a tshirt, which my wife wears from time to time, and a nice little mug, plus a cast shot signed "Your friends from Sesame Street".

Now I only need to save Christmas and I'll be even with Elmo.
  • Current Mood
    productive productive

Star, the superhero of Boise, Idaho

Superheroes (and the Make-a-Wish Foundation) are awesome:
Most days, 6-year-old Aubrey Matthews spends her energy fighting a brain tumor growing behind her eyes. But the first-grader managed to foil crimes and chase an arch-nemesis through Boise on Friday [June 16], serving the city as the superhero "Star" with assistance from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho, The Idaho Statesman reported.
Here's the AP story, via this post on the seebelow community.

(There's a video from a TV news story linked, but I've not seen it since the station requires WMP10, of all things.)

(Oh, oh, and one of Star's superheroic friends in the endeavor was named House Lifter. Go, House Lifter! Go Star!)
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful
Haruhi fingerspin

Mutant meme

You scored as Beast. Beast is an intelligent, politcal spokesman for the X-Men. He has a Ph.D in Genetics and is well versed in literature. He may look like a blue fuzzy monster, but deep down he's very benevolent and logical. Powers: Enhanced strength and agility




Jean Grey








Emma Frost












Most Comprehensive X-Men Personality Quiz 2.0
created with

I kinda wanted to end up Nightcrawler, because Nightcrawler is awesome, but the other guy who's fuzzy and blue is cool too.

(Which reminds me: I have a long-standing desire to see, in the comics or in video, Nightcrawler and Beast on Sesame Street, singing with Grover, Harry, and Cookie that they are fuzzy and blue. Wouldn't it be good mutant PR to be associated with friendly Sesame Street monsters? Would CtW/Sesame Workshop go for it?)

(Also reminds me that I still need to write up the whole saga of how I saved Sesame Street, but that's for another time.)
  • Current Music
    Fuzzy and Blue

(no subject)

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.

It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
-- Emily Dickinson

I broke a tooth last Friday.

I was just chewing some breakfast cereal and there was a not-quite-right sounding crunch and a bit in my mouth rather harder than the cereal.

So tomorrow I'm getting a root canal and a temporary crown, and later I'll get the permanent crown put in. I'm trying this new (to me, at least) sedation dentistry -- I get put mostly out for the duration of the procedure (semiconciousness with some hypnagogic time-loss), as well as getting something to sedate me tonight in preparation. Kinda looking forward to that.

The tooth doesn't hurt much, but it doesn't help the generalized pain, either.
  • Current Music
    Tenderly - Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem