Language of the Circumlocution Office

I have a small sampling of circumlocutions, collected haphazardly over the last twenty years or so, since I decided a sampler of 21st Century gibberish might be valuable.  Today is the day I stuff and mount these husks for display in the Crowndot Circumlocution Museum.

The phrase that started all this is "knowledge amid general understanding."  In 1998 the Republic Powdered Metals company, manufacturer of a waterproofing material for the interior rain gutters in metal buildings, included this documentation:
Part 1 General
1.01 Applicator's Qualifications
  1. Applicator shall have knowledge amid general understanding of building design as well as Republic's products specified for the project.
I imagine a committee trying to write a "Gutter Liner Specification" document.  I imagine some overly honest member of the committee saying something to himself, only he actually said it out loud: "Well, they ought to know what the fuck they're doing in the first place..."  Instead of being kicked out of the meeting, the chairperson agrees, and puts the question of how to say that without actually saying that

Another phrase that came into use around the turn of the millennium is "compatibility issues."  In fact, the "Y2K" era was the beginning of describing a problem as an issue.  If there's a problem, there's a possibility of blame.  If there's an issue, gee, well, everybody's got "issues"  and nobody's to blame, right?  So if The End Of The World As We Know It happened one second after midnight on the First of January, 2000 -- well, there were some compatibility issues.  That's all. 

In fact, here is a real quote from a British credit card company spokesman when 20,000 of their card-swipers failed during a "Pre-Y2K" test on 27 December 1999:
It is a software time and date related issue, which will be resolved and we're entirely confident that terminals will revert to full functionality.
On 20 March 2002 I first encountered the term "Open Issue" (meaning unresolved problem" in the readme.txt file distributed with UPS Online WorldShip software.  "We still have some open issues..." means "Shit keeps happening and we have no idea what the hell we're going to do or when or if the problems are going to be addressed!"

A story on Slashdot.com posted by Zonk on 6 January 2006 and titled "Microsoft Censors Chinese Bloggers" quotes a Ziff-Davis article saying "Occasionally, as in China, local laws and practices require consideration of unique elements..."  Unique Elements.  Which means, Microsoft never did hold any values above $ale$ Dollar$.

Product descriptions, formerly in print, and now online, receive ever less editorial scrutiny.  A listing from CDI in January 2006 for the Ultra ATX 600-Watt SATA-Ready power supply lists among specifications, "Low Acoustic Noise."  As opposed to electomagnetic "noise" I guess? It also boasted "Thermal Overload Cutoff Protection" which sounds like it means that it protects the circuit breaker from cutting off in the event it overheats. 

Circumlocution is nothing new.  Read Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (Really -- it's a great book!).  Dickens invented the term.  One of the great practitioners of the past was "journalist" Will Duranty, who sang thus about the Holodomor while telling his readers that there had indeed been "serious food shortages" in the Ukraine:  there was "no actual starvation" and furthermore "no deaths from starvation" -- merely "widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition."  Oh.  All right then. 

In 2011 I was told by a customer at the Valero refinery in Benicia, "We are rapidly becoming critical path on our coker!"  Me no know what that mean.  But I assume he means that if the repair schedule isn't shortened to IMMEDIATELY!, bad shit is gonna happen -- and when it hits the fan, there will be plenty to spread around to everybody.

In 2012 the Obama economy got worse and worse.  A spokesperson for the president insisted the economy was not in a recession or depression; it was not contracting, in his view, it merely showed numbers "consistent with a weakening growth backdrop."

In August 2016 it came to light that Defense Department intelligence assessments about ISIS had been skewed to downplay the threat and the White House (remember the "Junior Varsity" comment?) incompetence.  "The facts on the ground didn't match what the intelligence was saying out of the United States Central Command," said then-Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas), adding that the intel had clearly been "manipulated."  In response, one Lieutenant Commander Patrick L. Evans spoke from the Pentagon to say that the intelligence community assessments were "based on multifaceted data related to the security environment."  Whatever that means.

I got an email from FedEx on 13 May 2017:
FedEx experienced interference with some of our systems which caused disruptions to the FedEx Express Memphis Hub sort operations.  We immediately implemented contingency plans to minimize the impact to our customers.  We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.
The email concluded by reminding us that, "consistent with the provisions of the FedEx Service Guide, the money-back guarantee is not in effect for FedEx Express packages due for delivery on May 13, 2017."  Great money-back guarantee, that.


Passage of History

Did you know that Microsoft Excel can't do date calculations before January 1, 1900?  True.  Hasn't been updated since that's the way it was in the MS-DOS first release and original BASIC days.  It doesn't do the logical thing and convert the negative values to absolute values and blah blah blah.  It just gives you "##################" cells.  Weird.

Anyway to deal with the past you have to shift your earliest date to after 01/01/1900 and shift all your other dates forward accordingly, which can introduce errors because 2000  did  have a February 29 leap day but normally centuries do not.  If you're striving for precision, you'll have to come up with a C++ program or something.

This came up because last week I had a hunch that turned out to be sort of true.  The civil war was as long before World War II as we now are from World War II.  Roughly.

Actually, August 4 of 2022 will be (+/- a day?) as long after the attack on Pearl Harbor as the attack on Pearl Harbor was after the firing on Fort Sumter. 


Yes Jerry Brown Vetoed This Public Safety Bill in 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bipartisan wildfire management bill in 2016, despite unanimous passage by the Legislature, 75-0 in the Assembly and 39-0 in the Senate. SB 1463 would have given local governments more say in fire-prevention efforts through the Public Utilities Commission proceeding making maps of fire hazard areas around utility lines. — Katy Grimes at flashreport.org 
This is surfacing relative to the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons, especially the deadly Camp Fire wildfire that obliterated the town of Paradise, California. 

Senate Bill 1463 would have required the California State Public Utilities Commission to "... prioritize areas in which communities are subject to conditions that increase fire hazards associated with overhead utility facilities when determining areas in which it will require enhanced mitigation measures for wildfire hazards..."

The leftist propaganda engine known as sNOPEs.com says that Ms. Grimes' report is only partially true, because "there is no evidence that Brown's veto contributed to or exacerbated the risk or prevalence of wildfires in California."  Well, yeah.  So for sNOPEs absence of evidence constitutes evidence of absence.  Which is why nobody can seriously consult sNOPEs.com any more. 

But here's what is in the back of my mind: 

As winter sets in and rain puts quietus to the fire season, we are going to go directly into flood-danger hysteria season, because Jerry Brown and his pals in Sacramento have also prevented progress on levee repair or improvement.  Their reasoning always seems to include something about "because ENVIRONMENT that's why."  And when the bad happens, wet or dry, we are supposed to believe we're to blame because Anthropogenic Global Warming!!!11!

"And," you may ask, "How exactly does that all work, again? Explain please?"

"Shut up!," they explain.


Macron puts some French dressing on his internationalist salad

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. In saying 'our interests first, whatever happens to the others,' you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it lives, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values."

-- French President Emmanuel Macron, Sunday 11 November 2018,during his speech at the Paris Peace Forum at the Villette Conference Hall in Paris, as part of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.

In other words, Macron is saying that a patriotism that is not internationalism (open borders, EU and UN first, peace-at-any-price) is not patriotism at all.  

Wow.  The dictionary thinks nationalism is a synonym of patriotism.  

That's pretty sick and culturally suicidal.  Which is to say, that's pretty French of him.  


"Birthright Citizenship" – more links piling on

Emily Ward at CNS quotes Mark Levin.

Craig Bannister at CNS has salient quotes from Senator Howard (who helped write the 14th Amendment.

So am I to understand that anchor baby citizenship was a deep state decision from the Kennedy/Johnson  years?  If the decision was made by a Department, then it most certainly can be un-made by the Chief Executive of that department. 


Some notes on the idea of citizenship

This is an unpolished collection of sources and thoughts prompted both by the so-called migrant caravan working its way up from Central America and also the daily ongoing ingress of illegals sneaking through our southern border.

= = = =

ARTICLE II, Section 1, Paragraph 5.
No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President.
= = = =

AMENDMENT XIV. [ratified 1869]
SECTION. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
SECTION. 2. [Deals with apportioning the number of the states' members of the House of Representatives by population. Basically holds that former slaves are whole persons now. (summarized for brevity)]
SECTION. 3. [Former members of Congress who went with the Confederacy in the Civil War can no longer hold office unless a special act passed by two-thirds of both houses of Congress says they can. (summarized for brevity)]
SECTION. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
SECTION. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

= = = =

Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes says, "All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are declared to be citizens of the United States." [emphasis added] This was enacted by the same Congress that had adopted the 14th Amendment after the Civil War.  They were making sure in the Constitution and in statutory law that the former slaves would have citizenship in the United States of America.

= = = =

Constitution Amendment XIV Section 1 uses the qualifier "...and subject to the jurisdiction thereof."

The law in Section 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes uses the qualifier "...and not subject to any foreign power."

= = = =

"Framer of the Fourteenth Amendments first section, John Bingham, said Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes meant 'every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.' If this statute merely reaffirmed the old common law rule of citizenship by birth then the condition of the parents would be entirely irrelevant."  This quote is from the Federalist Blog – Read the whole scholarly article!  Michael Anton from Hillsdale College has an article in the commie WaPo that sheds some light if you can get past the formatting, disclaimers, and possible paywall – including this: "The notion that simply being born within the geographical limits of the United States automatically confers U.S. citizenship is an absurdity – historically, constitutionally, philosophically and practically."

= = = =

Seems to me all the President of the United States needs to do is direct the Departments of which he is the chief executive to read "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" and "and not subject to any foreign power" to mean that persons entering the United States illegally are extrajudicial invaders who are actually subject to the foreign power of their native land, and are to be apprehended and prosecuted under existing law.

= = = =

House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly said in an interview, "You cannot end birthright citizenship with an Executive Order."  Ryan is wrong.

= = = =

Adding another link 10/31/18, 11:58AM –
Matt Walsh at PJ Media has more analysis.


I told him not to click those chum boxes...

Had to fix one of the computers at work.  I won't say whose....

Original complaint: customer email with attachment not opening.

Foxit PDF reader was not working at all.

Uninstall and reinstall Foxit.

No go.

Uninstall Foxit, bite the bullet, and – even though I hate Adobe – install Adobe Acrobat PDF reader.

That works.

Email works, attachment opens.

Routine cleanup -- ran Malwarebytes, just because.  Client uses Avast antivirus because, "Well, I always have!"  

Sigh.  He's an old guy.  So am I, but he's an even older guy, so whatever.

Malwarebytes finds like 500 suspicious / malicious files.  Looks like this person gets like all their news and information from chum box click-bait junk sites.  So I quarantine all those files because who has time to sort it all out?

Did I mention this machine is running XP, and has a pirated copy of the student version of Autocad, and a really iffy looking installation of MS Office, and . . . Oh hell, what do I care? The attachment opens now.

Okay bye. And don't click those sidebar- and bottom-dwelling links!

"Well, I always have!..."


Our 'Spotless' Sun

This is from NASA latest solar image “movies” available here. This shows a 48 hour time lapse of the surface of the sun, 15 October to 17 October 2018.  The surface of the sun is currently “spotless” in that there are no “sunspots.”  But as you can see, it is hardly featureless; in fact a coronal hole pointed our way may cause visible aurora if you live in a dark place close enough to the poles.   


So now they are ESJWs?

Not just Social Justice, but Eco-Social Justice!

From Canada, but probably coming to an Ivy Covered Tower near you:  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are RAYCISS!!!  And STEM is probably all the other double-plus un-good negatives-du-jour.

The little paper by sociologists (social scientists? social engineers? socialists?) Marc Higgins, Maria F. G. Wallace, and Jesse Bazzul, writing in "Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education," (September 2018, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 187–192) urges us to get woke to
 "...directly addressing the central role that STEM plays in (re)producing individual and systemic racism."

Math.  Is. Racist.  I mean, look at it.  Sure, they have an "equal" sign, but what about the sinister power of "greater than" and "less than?" 

Engineering. Is. Racist.  I mean, look at how the roadbed of a suspension bridge is locked into the system of dependency.  Slavery! Colonialism!

Technology. Is. Racist.  I mean, look at programming.  Say you come across a program containing "memcpy()."  That's a built-in C++ function.  "Function."  Think about that.  How would that make you feel if you were dysfunctional or "differently functional" yourself?  And what makes the C++ programming language think it's so superior with its double-plus, hmmmm???

Science. Is. Racist.  I mean – Old White Men.  Like Marie Curie, and Hedy Lamarr, or even Ralph Bunche.  Oh, never mind -- it's mostly Old White Men.  Who are evil or something for some reason or other.

So get woke already, especially you Canadian STEM teachers, or else Marc, Maria, and Jesse are going to be (re)producing some really downer vibes.


Oh Canada, You're Doing It Wrong

Today is Columbus Day (Observed) in the United States.

But it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada.  That is because by mid- to late-November the air in Canada freezes into a thick snow-flavored Slurpee® and life comes to a winter halt until, like, June.  In thanksgiving for their few months of non-lethal weather, Canada moved their Thanksgiving holiday a few weeks toward the autumnal equinox – just enough to avoid being buried under, like 80 feet of snow.

That was a smart move.  But the implementation lacks the genius of the American Way.  Canada's Thanksgiving is always on a Monday.  (See where I'm going with this?)  

In the Good Old U. S. of A., we follow the Pilgrim tradition of throwing a feast the Right Way.  Start on Thursday.  Overindulge.  Enjoy the leftovers over an extended weekend.  That's the way to Give Thanks!

In fact, in an Ideal World, there would be a Thursday-start holiday every two months or so.  I could get behind that.  That's a winning platform.

We didn't need a Monday Holiday Act.  It's been 50 years.  Time to fix it!  What we needed was a Thursday Holiday Act.  


Forgive myself for all of my mistakes

[I originally wrote this June 9, 2006, not quite six years after my mother died suddenly, and not quite a year after my father died of cancer.  I'm offering this today very slightly edited.] 

Every Halloween we are treated to images of ghosts with rattling
chains.  In Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Mr. Scrooge is
confronted by the shade of his old business partner.  Marley's Ghost
is chained and burdened by cashboxes, coin purses, locks.  The things
that occupied Marley's thoughts are supposed to bind him to earth
after death.   
Bah, humbug!  The image may function for the plot of Dickens' ghost
story, but it hardly jives with my world-view, let alone my
In my dreams my mother walks without a limp.  In my dreams my father
is healthy, unworried, well-rested. 
No, I don't think it's the shades of those whom we have lost who bear
the chains.   
The chains are the ones I carry.  The chains are the burdens of
accumulated grieving, loss after loss.  The chains are the regrets and
second thoughts and wish-I-hads.  The chains are the freedom I dare
not grant myself -- perhaps the freedom to be angry at Dad.  Or
perhaps the freedom to create my own standard for being ME, a
standard that would not be always a comparison, a relative judgment
about me *as* son, or me *as* friend (or me *as* blogger).   
Are my chains, my burdens, ones I *choose* to carry?  Why should there
be something inescapable, something inevitable, about the burdens
*others* put upon us?  Oh, how I wish I knew the ins and outs of the
countless little habits I have developed over the years, habits for
making my chains seem normal, necessary, even *deserved*.
Many of the links in my chains are negative memories.  Some of the
locks are believing that I failed to meet expectations.  Here is a
coffer full of guilt.  Here is a cashbox filled with the coin of
Every relationship -- even the very best --  has challenges and
difficulties.  I keep saying that one of the principal tasks of grief
is to find a way to keep our love alive in spite of the fact that the
one we love is gone.  I am barely beginning to learn how to deal with
the fact  that the challenges and difficulties, the bumps and
barriers, have not gone away.   
But now the relationship is a bit single-sided, no?  If the bumps are
going to be smoothed, it is I who will have to do the smoothing.  
I know:  how 'bout if I work on forgiving ME for the failures and the messes?   
Mom would if Mom were here.  Dad would if Dad were here.   
There is a song by Aeone that says in part:
From a point of faith within my head 
I believe in all the choices I have made;
From a point of love within my heart
I forgive myself for all of my mistakes.

That would be nice, wouldn't it...  
Peace and happy dreams, 

Point of Faith - Aeone


Ceterum autem censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.

How has it happened that after seventeen years militant Islam is still in the world?  And not the ridiculous remnants that occasionally hold a rally in an Illinois park, like the National Socialists with their Hitler fanboy cosplay.  Seventeen years of Global War On Terror and the goblins continue to issue forth from their hiding places, determined to spread, in their own destructive way, their own particular death-cult interpretation of  "Dar-al-Islam."   Seventeen years.  How can that be?  The mollycoddlers who can not countenance the actual rooting out of the evil have no right go wailing for someone — never themselves! — to go out in peril of death to distant places to perform fractional measures temporarily to safeguard their security at home.  

What follows below the break was originally posted 10 April 2013, under the title "Kill It With Fire."  


"It can only be killed by fire while awake and by using the Rite of Exorcism if found in its grave during the day."
-- Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
, Jonathon Maberry. Kensington Publishing Corp: New York, 2006. p 16-17, from the Wikipedia article on Vampire folklore by region (South Slavic belief).

At the end of World War II, Hitler's body was burned, pulverized, and flushed into the sewers.  Nazi symbols were destroyed and banned.  Men like Eisenhower forced German citizens to face the atrocities they had actively or passively allowed.  "Never again," they said.

They can never all be found and exorcised while asleep.  The evil is always active while seeming dormant.  We are the ones who sleep.

But the evil continues.  Its undead hunger wakes.  

"I think that September 11 ought to be made a day of mourning everywhere in the West. After all, it will undoubtedly be a day of celebration all across the Dar-al-Islam. 
"We ought never to forget. Never, until the focus of this filthy plague is a hole in the ground, sowed with salt. Never, until Islam is one with the worship of Moloch and Baal. Never, until we can say, 'Mecca delenda est''."
    -- Gerard Vanderleun, What I Saw: Notes I made on September 11, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights, re-posted at American Digest 11 September, 2012.

There is that evil that can only be killed by fire.

 "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the elfstone, Dunadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor.  Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again!  Will you aid me or thwart me?  Choose swiftly."
    -- Aragorn, in Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien.

Tolkien knew that isolationism did not work — regretted the fact, but admitted it; sometimes the Men of the West have to travel to the gates of Mordor because that is the right thing to do.

North Korean "President" Kim Jong Un threatens nuclear mayhem -- and [Obama's] U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel tells reporters on 10 April 2013 that Korea is "skating very close to a dangerous line."  Hagel does not appear to be preparing use of a big Pacific Theater flame thrower to Kill It With Fire.  His ilk seem to be off on another Carteresque episode of Why-do-they-hate-us and Is-this-Kim-crazy?  Um, guys?  When the man has the loaded gun pointed at you?  Then it really doesn't matter why he wants you dead or whether he is sane.  Kill It With Fire.

Every time.

Find it.  Kill it.  Burn it.  Pulverize it.  Flush it.  Again.


Remember Remember the Tenth of September

September 10, 2001. 

The day before the Towers fell. 

The day before I knew/cared what FDNY stood for.

The day before the Global War On Terror interrupted American serenity and prosperity.

What I remember is that, listening to the radio as I drove to work every morning, I would tune in the Tech Report which included geek tidbits like AMD's new (!) x86-64 CPUs, and ads for Dell desktops with 100MHz clock speeds and 256 GB hard drives. 

The Tech Report also included news about Tech stock prices.  Up and up and up they went.  I would tune in and think, "Wow, wouldn't it be great to be a millionaire with money to invest without a care; wouldn't it be be great to make a bundle on these tech stock things?!"

Wouldn't it be great?

The next day they weren't talking about computer geek stuff.

From the studio in New York City, the tech editor was talking about the World Trade Center.  Both towers were on fire -- somehow. 

I hadn't even had coffee yet.

An airplane hit the buildings?  Somehow? 

And then it happened.

On 11 September 2001, at 6:59AM Pacific Daylight Time: WTC2 (South Tower) collapsed.  Before another half hour, WTC1 (North Tower) collapsed.

That was a strange day at work.  All the planes grounded.  People trying to get news.  Talking about the falling man.  Engaging in conjecture.

But looking back, it's September 10th of 2001 that seems strange.


What is the diameter of a tree trunk?

There's a standard method for coming up with a single nominal measurement for the tapered and non-geometrical reality of a tree trunk.  First you go up 4-1/2 feet from ground level.  Then you measure the circumference of the trunk at that height.  Then you divide by pi .  What you end up with is an average diameter at an arbitrary height.  Not very meaningful in itself, but if you get that measurement and compare from year to year to year, or from tree to tree to tree, you might start to see a trend.  Careful, we might learn something. 

But I didn't want to talk about trees.

Let's talk about guns!  Specifically, ammunition.  One of the meaningful metrics for the manufacture of ammunition is pressure.  Because nobody wants to KBOOM their gun.  Yet we want consistency within certain parameters from one ammo manufacturer to another, and from one lot to the next.  There came into being the Sporting Arms Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI), where smart guys write up the "SAAMI Specs" for every recognized ammo type, from rim diameters to chamber dimensions to maximum pressures. 

It takes a lot of pressure for the machine we call a gun to throw the ball we call a bullet at desired velocities, often well beyond the speed of sound.  You can't measure pressures like that with a hydraulic bourdon-tube pressure gauge.  So one question is, how do you even measure these very high pressures? 

In the olden days, they came up with an indirect measurement.  They created a contraption known as a crusher gun, with a piston that communicated with a hole drilled through to barrel; the piston pushed on an arbitrarily standard artifact:  a hollow, enclosed tube of lead or copper of a known length.  The firing of the cartridge would send the piston pushing into the calibrated tube, crushing it.  Measuring that tube's length after firing gave you a relative datum known as Lead Units of Pressure (LUP) or Copper Units of Pressure (CUP).  As you can imagine, this kind of pressure testing of ammunition was expensive and slow. 

During the 20th century, the development of electronic strain gauges for severe environments led to using electronic means to measure ammo pressure.  SAAMI was right there on the leading edge of that technology, and created standards for type and placement of the strain gauges for each cartridge type. These electronic instruments produce data in the form of change in electrical resistance over time, often with a considerable amount of "noise" -- but with tweaking and filtering, the Institute was satisfied with a method, enough to start calling this indirect measurement a reading of Pounds per Square Inch. 

This is great!  Now for each type of loading you can look up recommended maximum pressures per SAAMI spec PSI.  What could be simpler?  What more could you want?

I dunno.  Something.  For some people, anyway.

Enter the Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (CIP) -- Euro jerks for whom SAAMI was just not good enough.  CIP decided to take a giant step back to slow and expensive ammunition testing that uses a special (!) strain gauge that actually sits inside (!) the brass cartridge case, requiring: drilling the case, inserting that case into the chamber and lining it up with the strain gauge hole, inserting the strain gauge, securing the whole shootin' match, and then touching off the round to get the data.  (Did I mention that they are drilling! into a live! cartidge?!)

But that's not what I really wanted to talk about. 

What I really wanted to ponder is the ongoing insistence that military ammo somehow has a higher maximum pressure specification than civilian ammo.  "Oh, don't shoot 5.56×45 NATO ammo in a .223 Remington gun!!!11!  5.56 is 62,366 PSI and .223 is only rated for 55,000 PSI man!"

That kind of talk makes me feel tired.

Yes, the CIP's drilled through EPVAT measurement is 430 megaPascals (62,366 PSI).  But look what you're doing there:  you're measuring the tree trunk at a different height. 

Minor variations in chamber specs notwithstanding, .223 Rem = 5.56×45 if you use the same measurement methods.  Period.  The U.S. Military SCATP method just is the SAAMI method and the rounds under both names yield a pressure of 380 megaPascals Maximum, or 55,000 PSI. 

Please don't confuse yourself.  You're just measuring the tree trunk closer to the ground. 


On the subject of Amazon.com

The online retail distribution giant seems to be changing from Amazon in the sense of "earth's biggest river" (whence the "earth's biggest bookstore" of yore), into Amazon in the sense of heavily armored warrior bitch of myth.  As in Beware! Stay Back! Psycho Chick Ahead! Abandon Hope of Customer Service All Ye Who Enter Here!

Yes I still have Prime.  But then I still have a car and a California driver's license, and that's a pain in the backside, too.


Maximum Randomness Meets Its Match

Years ago when Ernő Rubik's Cube was a hot gift idea, the brother-in-law introduced me to the mathematical concept of maximum randomness.  Apparently there is a position of the colored pieces of Rubik's Cube from which ANY move takes you closer, not farther away from, the solution: the maximum order of a single color on each face of the cube.

Maximum chaos, or maximum randomness.

Like the sign in the hands of the panhandler says: "Anything would help."

An interesting math concept.  When brother-in-law handed me his mixed-up Rubik's Cube and announced that, for once, anything I did would help, I of course had to take it on faith.  He's a bright guy and takes his mathematics quite seriously, after all.

"Maximum chaos" has bounced around in my mind [I know: "Is he talking about the concept or the usual background noise in his brain now?" And how could I tell?] since the early 1980s.  But I'm not sure I ever really believed in the idea until last week.

I have met maximum randomness in the real world!  It's not pretty.

Opening a new box of blue nitrile gloves from my usual supplier, I beheld not 100 blue nitrile powdered gloves, size medium, lying flat and docile in a stack like Kleenex; I beheld a box packed with the shriveled carcasses of withered blue cocoons, a mass grave of blue nitrile prunes preserved clutching each other in their final agony, an expended and dessicated worm-orgy of rubber gloves packed, pressed, sealed at the factory in Thailand so I could save my delicate digits from the ravages of the industrial workplace.

The picture is a handful of gloves.  Six? Eight? Hard to tell.

How do you even put these on your hand?  There's no opening.

Somebody once said, "You must find the way."  Maybe it was Lao Tzu.  Maybe it was somebody who merely looked like Lao Tzu (which come to think of it is probably most of everybody, ever, on on the planet).

At this point maximum randomness is your friend.  Reach out and pinch a little piece of blue glove anywhere.  It doesn't matter where.  with your other hand pull the wad of wrinkly glove away from the pinch.  There.  You have introduced ORDER to the system.  You will now be able to see the glove shape, to find the opening, and to introduce your hand to the inner sanctum of industrial safety.

Why did I write this?  I figured, "Anything would help!"


Bücherverbrennung 10 May 1933

It might start with burning books, but it ends with piles of corpses.  It starts with "purification" of thought and speech, and ends up with secret police enforcing the will of the State.  It starts with the self-appointed cultural elite having the "correct" ideas, and becomes a death cult. 

On this day 85 years ago, 10 May 1933, the Deutsche Studentenschaft student group staged a massive book burning at the Opera Plaza in Berlin. 

[photo credit Liz Sheld's PJ Media Morning Briefing]

German Wikipedia pompously explains:

"On May 10, 1933, in National Socialist Germany, book burnings took place as part of an action against the non-German spirit of the German student body. Tens of thousands of books by Jewish, Marxist and pacifist writers were publicly confiscated and burned in 22 university towns, beginning with the Berlin Opera Square. In June 1933, and in the months thereafter, numerous other actions followed. The staging and the cult ritual, the systematics of performance have given this auto-da-fé the rank of uniqueness in the continuity of the historical series from antiquity to the most recent present." [thanks, google translate!]

Side note. The German wiki authors seem to be hedging their bets, striving to place the late National Socialist unpleasantness in a wider historical context. "Continuity of the historical series." See! Even St. Paul condoned burning the books of the pagan sorcerers! Yeah, Acts 19. Hmpf. The big difference, though? The Mages of Ephesus voluntarily converted and brought their own books for destruction.

One thing burning is good for: totalitarians. Kill the beast, cut off its head, burn it, grind the ash and flush it down the sewers.

As Gerard says,

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by bell, book, and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.


Okay so now I'm conflicted

My default reaction to all things Starbucks is negative. Starbucks is not really a place I would choose to spend time or (not very often anyway) money.  Plus, the coffee is not that great.

So when Starbucks upper echelon decided to close stores one afternoon in May to conduct training on racial "issues" etc., my reaction was negative.  For one thing, a manager who throws an employee under the bus is not a good manager; as a military officer who throws his unit in the way of blame or danger is not a good officer. A Starbucks executive who throws a Starbucks manager under the BLM bus is not a good executive.  For another thing, Law/Order. 

But now the Starbucks training decision is being criticized because the anti-bias training session agenda is planned to include information from the (Jewish) Anti Defamation League. Black Lives Matter and the Women's March people are screaming this morning because, in fine,  JOOOOOS!  The cited article quotes Linda Sarsour calling the ADL "an anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian organization that peddles Islamophobia."

That's my conflict point. 

See, I'm all in favor of being against antisemitism ("I hate Illinois Nazis!"),  so Crowndot must risk being classified as a anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian organization that peddles Islamophobia, and commend Starbucks for including the ADL even if the idea of anti-bias training is repellent to me. 

As I get older and older, life in the starkly divided United States actually seems to become easier in this:  if the enemy of my friend is my enemy -- the enemy is more and more likely to declare his position these days in no uncertain terms. 

But in this conflicted instance, the friend (ADL) of my (usually) enemy (Starbucks) is actually my friend.  Rules were not made to be broken, but rules are often contraindicated.


Thirty-six to Forty-eight Hours Later...


I don't remember who I was talking to about what, but the word I was looking for at the time was definitely "malcoordinated."

Which I realize is a neologist pseudoscientific let's-see-how-many-times-I-can-offend-spell-check kind of word.

But all I could think of at the time was: "Krônick and Klûmsi" -- who were the Bordurian agents (Eastern Bloc counterparts of Thompson and Thomson) in the Tintin book The Calculus Affair.

Oh migraine brain! 

I try to find it humorous.  Habitual cheerfulness may be a survival skill when part-time migraine brain is replaced as I age by full-time brain fade. 


And the rest . . . is history

Having been given a mission by United States President Millard Fillmore in 1852, and having been pecking away at Asian diplomacy in various places, and having made overtures to the Edo powers in 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry was given permission to land at Kanagawa near what is now Yokohama, on 8 March 1854.  During the following weeks he and his counterparts in Edo worked out what is called the Treaty of Kanagawa, opening Japan to American trade.

Ostensibly about trade in the general sense, the mission was largely about coal, since this was the dawn of the steamship era.  Be that as it may, trade commenced.

Yeah there were some speed bumps on the road to understanding, but now the people of Japan even beat us in baseball sometimes, which is the definition of  friends.

So we owe it to Commodore Perry and President Fillmore that we now have Daiso, Ghibli movies, manga, Akitas, sushi, red bean buns, and a host of other wonders!    ^_^ 

What's old is new again

The upper image is the cruiser Olympia, launched in 1892 (commissioned in 1895) as U.S.S. Olympia (C-6).  She currently lies in the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia.  The museum site says Olympia is the oldest steel warship still afloat!

The lower picture is the new super-duper stealthy guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Zumwalt (DDG-1000).  Yeah, the one with all the problems, like the ammo-less main gun...

But what struck me is that the hull designed to let naval gunfire bounce off (it didn't work that well...) has been brought back to let radar beams bounce off (well, off and up, not off and back to the source).


Sociopaths in public life

What if there was a way to identify the bad apples before they go postal?  

If only we had a test!

Then we might be able to identify psychopathic, sociopathic,  histrionicnarcissisticborderlineparanoid  personalities before they do their damage. 

A land of liberty must always balance the extremely high value of individual self-determination against the extremely low possibility that the average sociopath might go full pissed off postal jihadi.  Err on the side of freedom and accept some collateral damage is wisest.


A note in the file might help law enforcement triage their welfare-check stops when they have complaint after complaint about some individual

Every time I receive a voter information pamphlet I think how much more informative than personal statements would be to have in addition each aspiring public servant's score on the PCL-R.  It might serve to weed out some of the worst before they are able to do their worst, anyway.

Public policy kills more people (1788 per day in USA in 2014) than guns or knives or any other thing. That killing goes on every day on a massive scale.  And that's just one kind of murderous public policy.  (Consult your average Venezuelan for other examples.)

Test all candidates for public office. Publish the results. Let's start there.  It's time we enacted common sense measures to help stop the violence.  Once we get the politicians sorted out, we can talk about testing some of the discipline-problem kids in schools; by then we should have more reasonable policy makers to carry the torch of liberty as well as "safety."


The Internet: Designed for War

Next time someone declares that your modern modular rifle system is a "weapon of war" that has no place in civilian hands, remind them of this:  the internet as we know it is the evolutionary offspring of the "web" that connected national computer centers to improve survivability in the event of a nuclear event taking out some of the nodes.  "The US Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s, including for the development of the ARPANET project." (cite)

The web itself -- the INTERNET! -- was designed for war. What possible use could it serve in uncontrolled civilian hands? 

Besides, the old dead white guys that wrote the U. S.  Constitution never foresaw telegraphs and ARPANETs and internets and computers and tablets and iPhones... any more than they foresaw lever action carbines and turnbolt rifles and AR-15s.

(Yeah, but those guys were rich racists or whatever.  Or something.  Good night.)