Mar 232017

Well, here’s an issue I never would have predicted:

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

In short: John Deere has made it so that if your brand new tractor breaks down, the only people who can repair it are officially sanctioned dealers. The problem is, farmers are often hours or days away from repair that way, and are of course used to doing their own repairs. So, what to do? Farmers are learning to hack their tractors.

I’m kinda torn. on the one hand… you sign the license agreement when you buy new stuff. You made an agreement.

But on the other hand… these agreements are kinda forced upon you. A new tractor is something that a farmer often can’t really see as anything other than a requirement, so a farmer is being forced to sign under duress. And Ambassador G’Kar pretty much nailed the legitimacy of an agreement signed under duress.

So… the free enterprise system is taking over. Small-time repair shops are figuring out how to game the system, how to bypass security systems, override or replace software. Three cheers for entrepreneurialism.

In a way, this system reminds me of the War On Some Drugs. Without drug prohibition, there’d be far fewer people learning the ways of criminality. Without these anti-repair systems, there’d be far fewer people learning how to hack systems. So, good jorb, John Deere… you’re setting things in place to make sure there will be a thriving system in place to hack self-driving cars and drones. You’ve doomed us all.

Who would have expected that the proximate cause of the robot apocalypse would be John Deere?

 Posted by at 1:18 pm
Mar 222017

The BBC is full of chaos just now, but it appears that there was a “mow ’em down with a car” attack on Westminster Bridge in London, injuring a number of people (including, apparently, a number of French schoolchildren), followed by someone attacking people with a knife on the grounds of Parliament. The two incidents are assumed to be linked, and they’re going out on a limb and saying that this just might be some sort of terrorist attack.

Now, let the unwarranted speculatin’ begin! Given the most recent form of media fearmongering, who might the perpetrator(s) be? Trump supporters? Alt Righters? Mens rights activists? Libertarians? Anti-immigrant racists? Brexit supporters?

As I type, a report just came in that a woman has died, others have “catastrophic” injuries.

 Posted by at 10:13 am
Mar 222017

The unceasing cavalcade of bad 1960’s/70’s mens fashion ads continues with four images that will make you question your allegiance to Earth.

Questions to ask yourself, beyond the basic “why, in Gods name, why?” include such as “did these ads actually work,” and “why are so many of the models just so damned goofy looking?”

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 1:55 am
Mar 212017

When I read the headline, at first I though that this was going to be another Amazingly Stupid Story:

A Grand Jury Just Called Tweeting an Animated GIF ‘Assault With a Deadly Weapon’

But in fact, the jury got it right. The animated gif in question is apparently one that flashes real fast in a way meant to cause epileptic seizures. The gif in question was sent by a stalker to a victim who he knew had epilepsy, in the hopes that it would cause a seizure. And the gif in question actually caused a seizure.

What a fascinating modern world we live in.

 Posted by at 11:24 pm
Mar 212017

This here feller went through the Star Trek: Discovery teaser video and some other sources and has come up with some more information about the Klingons and their ships in the upcoming show. And… well… Sigh. Just watch.

If you care at all about even pretending to continuity, or respecting what has gone before, there is really only a narrow range of possible responses, from THIS to THIS to THIS to THIS to THIS to THIS.

With all the monkeymotions the STD production has gone through, from calculating the optimally political correct casting choices to changing every damn thing in the interests of “kewl,” they’ve forgotten this simple lesson:




 Posted by at 2:49 am
Mar 142017

Sometimes the news media gives the spotlight over to someone who really doesn’t seem to deserve it. Monday, that someone was one “Jason Pollock,” a supposed “documentarian” whose claim to fame was the release of a “documentary” about Gentle Giant Mike Brown, the guy from Ferguson, MO, who got shot when he tried to take a gun from a cop. Pollock has unveiled “new evidence” in the form of previously unaired security camera footage from the small store that Brown robbed moments before he got shot. This footage was actually shot half a day earlier and appears to show a much more sedate transaction. The problem, though… what the hell does a video from *hours* earlier have to do with the events later in the day?

Pollock made the rounds on the news channels Monday. I first noticed this overactor when I turned on CNN early in the day and caught him on Brook Baldwins’ show, where he was going absolutely bugnuts. Sadly I can’t find a complete copy of the interview on YouTube; this one starts several minutes in, after Pollock performed some his more energetic theatrics:

He appeared elsewhere on CNN:

And Fox News:

So we’ve got a guy wh either has no self control, or is a very bad actor (or both) given lots of free publicity for his propaganda. From his pint of view, it’s a win… hell, he’s even getting free press *here.* But that aside, there are two takeways that occur to me:

1: If the news media wants to avid the “fake news” label…maybe they should avoid bringing on guys like this.

2: The sort of unhinged derangement on display here seems to be greatly on the rise since the election of Trump. We can look forward to a whole lot more of this. And what’s more, it’ll not be restricted to just lunatics going buggo during interviews; expect violence. Well, expect more violence.







 Posted by at 2:53 am
Mar 102017

Sunday night News Update: over $47,000.


Saturday Night News Update: It’s up to $42,600.


The news tonight announced that the reward for the arrest of the torturer/killer of Sage the cat is now up to $30,000. They gave no word on what the bounty is up to to provide the accused a therapeutic shanking.

Some may wonder why the story of a cat being brutalized is worth more time than any of a wide galaxy of news stories of *humans* being brutalized. There are probably a whole lot of reasons, but to me it kinda comes down to this: if you murder a human, unless you are particularly crazy or stupid, you probably know that the justice system may well drop a jail on you. But a whole lot of people think that if they do the same to an animal, nobody will give a damn. Consequently, there’s a whole lot of animal cruelty that could probably be avoided if those who might want to do it knew that if they get caught they could be defenestrated through a special window in the tail of a C-5 Galaxy orbiting over Syria at 40,000 feet.

Cruelty to animals is the same evil as cruelty to children. Sure, the victims may not be as important as a kid… but anyone who has ever actually known a cat or a dog knows that the *pain* these animals can feel is the same that a child can feel. I’ve said it before: cats and dogs are particularly special, because they’re on our team. When the aliens invade, it’ll be the cats and dogs fighting alongside us. OK, sure, the cats might not engage in quite the same combat… but if we need someone to shit in the aliens shoes, the cats will have our backs.

Now, I’m no whacko animal rights activist. Put a spider in front of me, I’m’a gonna smash it. If it’s a brown recluse, I’m’a gonna MacGuyver a flamethrower. And then I’ll eat some tasty, tasty cooked cow. And I will feel bad not at all if my own pack of furry murderers take down a mouse… given that mice are horrid little plague-bearing vermin, they’re low on my list of favorite things. But you know what I don’t do? Torture mice to death. Because inflicting unnecessary pain on something even as small and insignificant as a mouse serves no purpose except petty evil.

 Posted by at 11:25 pm
Mar 092017


Sage the cat died this afternoon.


This led off the local nightly news tonight.

Clearfield family finds beloved cat shaved, beaten

There are photos that will ruin your mood and, if you’re at all like me, make you want to set up a second reward. The first rewards is $5000 for anyone who can provide tips that lead to an arrest. But I kinda want a second reward set up for *after* the suspect is found, arrested, tried and convicted.

Chances are good that this was done by a kid. If so, I expect to see family members yammering on about “he’s a good kid” or some such factually indefensible rubbish.  Whether perpetrated by a kid or an adult, though, society doesn’t need him among us. If someone can provide a good, valid reason why a jail term followed by deportation to Somalia isn’t a proper response for such behavior, I’d like to read it.

The Humane Society of Northern Utah is paying the vet bills. As of the news report, it was far from clear that Sage the cat would survive. I certainly hope he does… partially just on general principles, partially because this cat, after being tortured and broken and blinded, managed to find his way home and crawl in through the dog door.


 Posted by at 3:36 am