Threat assessment

Since I started this blog last year, people often come up to me and ask, “Why are you so concerned about the monkey apocalypse?”  (Disclaimer: No one has ever come up to me and asked me this question.)  “Why not be concerned about more tangible, immediate threats, like government spying by the NSA and the IRS?”  (Disclaimer: The IRS and NSA are valuable organizations that fund the government and protect us from terrorism, respectively.  Neither of these crucial missions would be furthered by sending a drone to my house.)

The main reason I don’t worry about massive intelligence gathering is that it never seems to result in any intelligence.  Once you start putting together enough bits of data, you can create any picture you like, and the chances that it will be correct are nearly infinitesimal.

Let me give you an example.  As you know, the total sum of human knowledge is owned by three companies: Microsoft (which controls everyone who doesn’t like Apple), Apple (which controls everyone who doesn’t like Microsoft), and Google (which controls the flow of information between Apple/Microsoft and us mere humans).  (Disclaimer: This is a sign of a utopian society.  Please do not send an e-drone (or an Apple iDrone for that matter) to my house.)

Everything and everyone on Earth gets its information from this electronic infrastructure.  (Disclaimer: Everyone in the Kepler Space Empire still gets their information from TV signals we broadcast in the 1950s.)  In spite of this, I have been receiving a spate (more than a smidgen, less than a plethora) of e-mails which clearly indicate that the hive mind is drunk-dialing me.

For the past few months, LinkedIn has been notifying me that my various contacts have “recommended” me for my proficiency in certain skills.  The most common of these skills is “device drivers”.  Device drivers are the software that interacts directly with computer hardware (spin the CDROM drive, notice that the mouse moved, etc.).   In more than three decades as a software engineer, I have never worked on device drivers, and yet I have multiple recommendations from former co-workers, many of whom have watched me never work on device drivers.  More to the point, I have also received device driver recommendations from a woman I studied financial planning with and the decorator who remodeled my house.  Coincidentally, none of these people actually remembers making the recommendation.

The risk that any person or (apologies to Harold Finch) Machine can extract useful information out of that much data debris is well within my comfort zone.  The thing I’m most worried about is that some shadowy government black-budget entity will ask me to fix their device drivers.

Playing Without Fire

For those such as myself who enjoy their humor clean, smart, and vaguely ersatz (and who know what “ersatz” means), it is my pleasure to introduce you to the very splendid and worthwhile Joseph Nebus’s Sense of Humor. Joseph blogs about subjects across the spectrum of human experience, from accounts of his contentious interactions with a pet rabbit, to speculative history where Eisenhower fought the Cold War with miniature phonographs, to personal statistics regarding his views on, well, the spectrum. Joseph writes about life and life byproducts in thought-provoking ways, often provoking the thought, “I wish I had written that!”
This post, where Joseph brings new insights to the age-old topic of shopping for tea lights in a store under renovation, showcases what I love about his blog — his gift for turning the ordinary into the hilarious. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: After reading this, I am now consumed by the concept of tea lights as a toy.

Another Blog, Meanwhile

We got a bundle of those battery-operated LED tea lights, the kind that look like candles without those problems of open fire and wax and smoke and stuff. We were going to get just a couple, but we couldn’t find just a couple of battery-powered tea lights because the Meijer we were in is renovating so that nobody can find anything anymore. I walked along the aisles, sinking further into the helpless despair that comes from finding magazines on display next to men’s shirts or houseplants scrunched up a little too close to the mouthwash aisle. Maybe I was overreacting, but I sure felt at parts like I was going to have to survive by eating my own shoes and drinking rainwater out of a fountain drinks cup scavenged from the parking lot. Maybe I need to go to a different Meijer’s until the renovations are done.

It turns out…

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Familial Relationship Day

As true today as it was a year ago, apparently.

A Labor of Like

All day today, people have been wishing me a Happy Father’s Day.  Although I am generally father-shaped, I have no children, nor am I a priest, which means that aside from having a father, I have no particular connection to the day.

And for those who believe that people are just wishing me happiness on Father’s Day, I would like to point out that nobody wished me happiness on Mother’s Day, even though it is equally inapplicable to me.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  If some of that happiness splashes onto the rest of you, I’m OK with that, but I am not cleaning it up.

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Earth’s Mightiest Lookers

In cosmic crimefighting news, nefarious space villain The Wiggle is once again terrorizing the universe. The observations were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory*, and the Viewing League of America (VLA) Fortress of Seeing**. Emissions have … Continue reading