31 July, 2007


No, not either Bill O'Reilly or Mike Stark, his new-found stalker. (Although to be honest, both of them probably qualify.)

These guys, courtesy of Ed Permutter's monthly newsletter.

New Scam Targeting Military Spouses

The American Red Cross has learned about a new scam targeting military families. This scam takes the form of false information to military families. The caller calls a military spouse and identifies herself as a representative from the Red Cross. The caller states that the spouse's husband (not identified by name) was hurt while on duty in Iraq and they couldn't start treatment until paperwork was accomplished and they needed the spouse to verify her husband's social security number and date of birth. The American Red Cross representatives typically do not contact military members/dependents directly and almost always go through a commander or first sergeant channels. Military family members are urged not to give out any personal information over the phone if contacted by unknown/unverified individuals. The Department of Defense will contact families directly if their military member has been injured. Should any military family member receive such a call, they are urged to report it to their local Family Readiness Group or Military Personnel Flight.

Chinese water torture using lemon juice on fresh paper cuts is not evil enough punishment for these guys. Being forced to listed to Ward Churchill speak on any given subject not in his allegedly academic field is not evil enough punishment. Nor is a constant droning of the Hillary Clinton campaign theme song at full volume. Nor would any demented technique born from "extraordinary rendition" experiments.

Support the troops. Forcibly castrate a scam artist.

[Disclaimer: The author in no way suggests that forced physical castration is an appropriate punishment for these individuals. The author further regrets that forced castration is as severe a punishment as his imagination will allow him to go, particularly when he has been sick.]

Carpe jugulum.

25 July, 2007

Color Me Unsurprised

Two bits of news that didn't even move the Official Off Colfax Shock-O-Meter:

PC Industry Disappointed With Vista

CU Regents Fire Ward Churchill

Nope. No astonishingly obvious results here. Move along, folks.

18 July, 2007

Creation Of Evidence

Something I just gleaned from the comment section of the “Payment Received” cuneiform tablet that Robert brought to our attention on Sunday, which goes hand in hand with my comment here, is this story.

“Fingerprints of Creation”

While most of the article is too technical for me to follow in the entirety, I was able to follow the conclusions themselves quite clearly. The existence of a single molecular formation in some types of granites is said to be proof of the instantaneous creation of the planet. Now, I am no geologist; theoretical, practical, amateur or otherwise, this field quickly gets beyond my comprehension.

Yet this article follows the same neo-Randite logic that is condemned from the highest hilltops by the Young Earth Creationist community: if all of the arguments are logically coherent and you agree with one point of the argument, you must therefore agree with all points of the argument as they are a direct continuation of the piece of evidence that is presented by using Aristotle’s Law Of Identity (A is A.) as the logical vehicle.

Just as with Babsy’s hailing of being able to “ride a dinosaur” as being complete and total proof of Creationism. A is A.

Anyone who prefers the evidence of evolutionary processes that has an intellectual honesty this side of Richard Dawkins will admit that there are plenty of holes in the theory, which is precisely why it remains a theory rather than scientific law. Yet there remain those, like Dawkins, who see the development of drug-resistant microbes and herbicide-resistant plants as being the necessary and sufficient proof for Darwinian processes throughout the history (and prehistory) of life on this planet. A is A.

Fact: There was not a single member of species Homo sapiens on this planet when the Earth was formed. Not even the most rabid Creationist can dispute that, as their major source of evidence, Genesis 1, clearly states that man came after the Earth was fully formed.

Fact: We have no way of establishing time travel, so we cannot go back to the year 4006 B.C.(E.) and see whether the world was here or not.

Fact: Therefore, we cannot know for certain precisely what is or is not factual about the establishment of life. There is no way to gather evidence. There is no way to record the sequence of events. There is no way to even determine which of the conflicting evidence sets is accurate.

Until these base facts change, there will be no absolute proof as to what really happened at the start of this planet’s existence. Until then, all we have are theories and hypotheses: testable yet inconclusive statements as to how life began on this rock.

We can support one over the other, yet we can never find the absolute truth. The only thing that can be found here is belief. And regardless of how we might wish for a simple yes-or-no answer to one of the most penultimate questions about human existence, it will not be so easy.

Presentation of evidence is one thing. Insistence that the most minor detail that confirms your belief system over another is conclusive and argument-ending is quite a completely different matter.

[Crossposted from Creative Destruction]

06 July, 2007

Customer Service Done Wrong

Last November, I resolved to never buy any music published, distributed, and/or associated with Sony BMG. With their massive Charlie Foxtrot by installing rootkits onto computers just by playing a music CD, I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw a building. Keeping your intellectual property safe is one thing. Violating customer privacy and security was something quite different.

And now, after what Megan has been going through just to get a box delivered to her, not even a full one but an empty box, I'm simply going to never purchase a Sony product. Ever. Period. The real money shots come in the updates down at the bottom of the post.
Update They left me on hold for an hour, then hung up on me. I'm starting to believe it is deliberate.

Update II The plot thickens. It seems the reason I haven't gotten my second box is that . . . Sony has no record of ever having sent one.

Update III That's right. Apparently the somewhat English challenged help-desk interpreted "Okay, send me a box" as "I'll call you back" and put my request in the circular file.

Customer service is not rocket science. Yet this story displays a basic ignorance of the entire topic, and, when compared to the complete failure to properly resolve the XCP rootkit scandal, suggest that the incompetence is systemic throughout the corporate hierarchy rather than simply isolated incidents.

So yes. I will never have to worry about Sony VAIO customer service, for I will never again be a customer of Sony.

(Fortunately for the geek in me, rumor has it that Sony's PS3 lost the exclusivity contract with Squaresoft, the makers of the Final Fantasy series, after the extraordinary difficulties of the BluRay backlog. So I won't have to miss out on Final Fantasy XIII due to my self-imposed boycott.)

(I was wondering how I would sneak Megan's suggested googlebomb into this post. Amazing that I was actually able to do so!)

05 July, 2007

I Need A Tip Jar

And why would a small-time, ZZ-list, dime-a-half-million-dozen blogger like myself want a tip jar?

The 46 pounds of Sprint phone records, stored meticulously over the D.C. Madam's 13-year escort service, is a scandal in waiting that looms large over the nation's capital.

And if the current court-ordered injunction is lifted, allowing Deborah Jeane Palfrey access to her files, she vows to send every last name and phone number to any journalist, blogger or private detective wanting them.

46 pounds equals one heck of a shipping charge. Plus my morbid curiosity is about to get the better of me, just begging to wonder what it is that she has hanging over so many as-yet-unnamed heads...

Plus it is a way to continue procrastinating on that mother of an immigration post I've been trying (Read: failing.) to write over the last week or so.