Friday, August 28, 2009

Hokies - Be cautious, be aware, be careful!

Update: Police continue investigation into Virginia Tech students' deaths. Still no suspects. Everybody be careful out there.

A double homocide of two Virginia Tech students Thursday morning.

The bodies were discovered about 8 a.m. by a man walking his dog. Metzler’s body was inside a car; Childs’ was outside, [Sheriff Tommy] Whitt said.
He did not say how many times or where on their bodies they appeared to have been shot. No weapons were found, he said.
Caldwell Fields is a popular weekend hangout spot for Tech students, authorities said. “We are going to step up our patrols in that area even though we think it was a random act of brutal violence,” Whitt said.
There are apparently no suspects at this time. Whoever did this is still wandering around free, and there's no telling if he's still in the area or not, or if he'll do it again.

Maintaining condition yellow is highly recommended until this killer is found. So is carrying, if you can.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quote of the Day - 10 Aug 2009

from DMFA webcomic.

"Friends don't let friends become zombies."

Wow! Some Grade A PSH from Time!

Now this is some serious PSH. Just in the first paragraph:

The camcorder shakes as it films the thud of thick .50 caliber bullets ripping through a steel plate target in the heat of the Arizona desert. Panning across the jagged rocks and cacti, the camera then focuses on the shooter: a smiling Mexican sitting down on the dust as he uses both hands to fire the huge state-of-the-art weapon that can tear through tank armor. He was the happy customer, having bought the killing machine from an Arizona gun shop for about $21,000. The grainy video was seized by ATF agents in a raid on a weapon traffickers' safe house in Yuma. One man in the film was arrested and faces charges. But the man who showed off his shooting on the video is believed to be south of the border using the cannon-like gun to wage Mexico's relentless drug war.

Lets see:
a smiling Mexican sitting down on the dust as he uses both hands to fire the huge state-of-the-art weapon that can tear through tank armor.

If all it takes to "tear through tank armor" is a .50BMG, why do tanks have to carry that much, much larger gun and use depleted uranium rounds to do the same thing? Why does the A-10 Thunderbolt II need it's 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling gun, also firing depleted uranium rounds, to do that?

He was the happy customer, having bought the killing machine from an Arizona gun shop for about $21,000.

Loaded phrasing. Bad Reporter!

But the man who showed off his shooting on the video is believed to be south of the border using the cannon-like gun to wage Mexico's relentless drug war.

More loaded phrasing. Don't they teach journalism in journalism school anymore?

Remember, that's just the first paragraph. I haven't even finished reading the rest of it yet. I may do more later.

Show me the Money!

The bailout money, that is. Seems that nobody can figure out where it all went.

WASHINGTON — Although hundreds of well-trained eyes are watching over the $700 billion that Congress last year decided to spend bailing out the nation's financial sector, it's still difficult to answer some of the most basic questions about where the money went.

Despite a new oversight panel, a new special inspector general, the existing Government Accountability Office and eight other inspectors general, those charged with minding the store say they don't have all the weapons they need. Ten months into the Troubled Asset Relief Program, some members of Congress say that some oversight of bailout dollars has been so lacking that it's essentially worthless.

Everybody who's surprised about this, raise your hand.


Did you really think such a massive outlay to private companies that were going under because of bad financial practices was not going to be misappropriated and hidden?

Did you really think that the same government "oversight" that failed to notice these companies artificially inflated values and financial reports would be able to keep track of all that money once these same companies got hold of it?

Do we really want the same government that couldn't keep track of the massive TARP funding to be in charge of our health care?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Problems with blogger

Update 2: Looks like it's working from home, too. Thanks Google!

: It seems to be working from work, now. We'll find out about home in about 30 minutes.

Is anyone else getting this? When I try to access my blog page, I get this message:

We're sorry...

... but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.

See Google Help for more information.

When I go to the help link, it says there may be a CAPTCHA box, but I don't get one, so it says to "contact my service provider" to find where the automated queries are coming from, and they'll give me access when the queries are stopped. I used the "send more information" link, but there's not much there.

The confusing part is, this is happening both from home and from work - 2 totally separate networks and locations, and on computers using two different operating systems (Linux at home, and XP Pro at work), and only with blogger. I can access other Google pages with no problem from the same computers. From home, it started while I was there for lunch, and at work, it started when I got back from lunch.

It's not happening with every blogger site, either. I can access Jay G's blog, but not Tam's. It's also not affecting anything except blogger.

If I try a different access route (from my google accounts page, or from the "new post" link) I can access it, but only once. Subsequent attempts from the same origin point give me the "We're sorry" page again.

Google, if you're reading this, this is a more detailed description than I could give from the help pages. PLEASE FIX IT!!!

Bad news for TGSCOM, Inc.

According to this story at the Roanoke Times (which appears to be an AP story):

The gunman who killed three women and wounded nine others at a Pittsburgh-area health club bought accessories for a handgun from the same Wisconsin-based dealer that sold a gun to the Virginia Tech shooter.

Forty-eight-year-old George Sodini bought the accessories from TGSCOM Inc. of Green Bay, Wis.

Note that he only bought accessories, not the actual weapons. There's no indication of what kind of accessories, or whether they played a part in (or have any relevance to) the actual shootings.

I fully expect yet another PSH anti-gun editorial from the RT soon, calling for TGSCOM to be shut down, or for banning internet gun sales, or something similar. I'll point it out if I see one.


TGSCOM Inc. sold a Glock Magloader and a Glock Factory Magazine to 48-year-old George Sodini for $46 in April 2008, company president Eric Thompson said.

It was not immediately clear if Sodini used the accessories during his attack on a health club in Collier Township, Pa., on Tuesday.

So they still don't know if this is relevant, but they're going to report on it anyway.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Pet Peeve #1 - Comparison Shopping

You know how every once in a while, Yahoo will have one of those "how to save money" or "where you're wasting money" articles on their main page? One thing they like to suggest is "comparison shopping" at the grocery store. You know, comparing price per ounce for an item, which usually shows that the bulk packaging is cheaper, or that one brand in a different size is cheaper than another? It irritates me, because I always find one glaring problem when I try that:

The store's tags are never in the same unit from one brand or size to another.

Just as an example, I had to buy toilet paper the other day. Brand X only came in a pack of 6 rolls, Brand Y only came in a pack of 12. I've used both brands before, and I really don't find one to be better than the other, but it was getting towards the end of the month (and the end of the paycheck), and this wasn't a discretionary - or even precautionary - purchase. So I decided to check the unit price of Brand X compared to Brand Y, and found the problem.

The shelf tag for Brand X listed price per roll. The shelf tag for Brand Y listed price per square foot.

Now, they both listed the total number of ft^2 in the package, and I am capable of doing that kind of math in my head. But it gets difficult to do that math in my head while also keeping track of the total amount I'm spending on groceries. I really don't want to lose that total, because overdraft fees suck.

I've noticed this with other products, too. You try to compare food brand A to food brand B, but brand A shows price per ounce, and brand B shows price per cup. How many ounces are there in a cup again? Even worse are the ones where one brand has the unit price in imperial measurements, and the other has it in metric units. Is a 6-pack of 12 oz cans more cost effective than a 2 liter bottle?

Different brands of the same item should have the same units shown for the unit price. It shouldn't be that difficult for the same computers that print the shelf labels to standardize them.