Saturday, December 28, 2013

the really important Stories below the fold

Heh. Colombia is no longer the top provider of Cocaine: That "honor" has passed to Peru.

I guess they never heard of Shakleton:

Tourist ship to Antarctica stuck in ice.


Court says snooping on everyone is okay.

 so much for that pesky constitution that the elites want to replace:

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

exactly what part of "probable cause" do they not understand?
Presumably my "LOL CAT" emails to the middle east make me a prime suspect.

Belmont club notes:

In Texas, Search Warrants Can Now Be Based on a “Prediction of a Future Crime”, writes the Dallas Observer. There is increasing interest in crime-predictive computer models in California.

and when you have to collect too much data, you end up missing the important things, like "headsup" from Russia that some Boston students were planning to bomb the place.

I've written about the same problem in medical records, where to get paid you have to document a lot of trivia, and are so busy inputting nonsense for the bureaucrats that you don't have time to talk to the patient and therefore miss the real problem.

and most of us know what a gigabyte is, thanks to "Back to the future", but here is a new term:Vottabyte: from Belmont club:

But a yottabyte is a thousand zettabytes.  Most of us think Big Data is a couple of terrabytes. The NSA thinks in Yottabtyes. From Wikipedia:
“As part of the Global Information Grid and Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative, the US National Security Agency (NSA) is building a $2 billion Utah Data Center facility to process (not store) yottabytes of information.
To store a yottabyte on terabyte-size hard drives would require ten billion city block size data-centers, as big as the states of Delaware and Rhode Island. If 64 GB microSDXC cards (the most compact data storage medium available to the public as of early 2013) were used instead, the total volume would be approximately 2500000 cubic meters, or the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza.”

and, of course, why worry about the NSA when facebook knows where you are and who are your friends, when businesses already are using the information.

From PJMedia:

Data brokers collect a huge volume of detailed data about consumers, from what illnesses they may have, to what car they own and what types of soap they buy. They use this information to create consumer profiles that categorize consumers, or “score” them, without their consent.
Data brokers also identify financially vulnerable consumers by putting them into categories like “rural and barely making it,” “ethnic second city strugglers,” and “credit-crunched: city families.”
A few days ago, Barbara Walters decided Obama was not the messiah. 

Barbara Walters recently told Piers Morgan that she was disappointed in Barack Obama. “We thought he was going to be the next messiah”, she said.  Both host and guest were presumably crestfallen...
And they thought he was going to be the Messiah? Why?

Nice of us to know this. Wonder why we didn't know it before the elections?

the latest joke on right wing blogs: Vote Republican, and let the press go  back to finding what is actually going on in the government.

asking the really tough questions on the Hobbit 2: 
  •  Is it ever sunny and dry in Bree?
  • Where does Beorn keep his pants post-skin change?
  • Does Tauriel secretly have an “I (heart) Hot Dwarves” t-shirt under her outfit? ( Legolas must be jealous.)
  • Gandalf appears to use the Patronus spell during his encounter with The Necromancer Saaauuurrron.  What form would it take?
  • How would Smaug have known the name ‘Oakenshield’, unless he leaves Erebor for the occasional pint at the Prancing Pony?
  • Did the dwarves REALLY think that a little molten gold would hurt a fire-breathing dragon with impenetrable scales, or did they just think a little bling would soothe his hurt feelings?

the answer to the molten gold one was that they didn't expect the hot gold to kill him, but to harden around Smaug to keep him imprisoned. Too bad they didn't harden it quickly with a little water.

The dwarves melted the gold using coal and the mold that grandfather Thrain had designed and was ready to cast (a fifty foot gold statue of himself? Sounds like he was indeed bonkers).

The real question is if the gold had hardened, would the methane flame of the dragon melt gold (presumably dragon fire is from belching methane in his stomach, and setting it on fire...). Long discussion on melting gold in the Game of Thrones suggests yes. more at Wikipedia...

The real question: how did Smaug manage to take off with all that extra weight?


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