Sunday, May 31, 2009

Return to Civilization

Your Humble Snarkatron has recently returned from a tour of duty at a certain undisclosed location, so remote there are no stoplights for 70 miles. It also takes about a day of pure traveling misery to get there. I especially appreciated the (completely full) flight that appeared to be evacuating an orphanage. Every row had at least one squirming, unhappy child. Mine had THREE. One suspected if a row did not have a kid the flight attendants issued you one from a bin of spares.

That said, the flights were uneventful. No engines fell off, the pilots always remembered to lower the landing gear, and the wings were gremlin-free. What I found interesting was we were always #3 or lower for takeoff immediately after leaving the gate. Previously there had been a lot of hurry up and wait, but not this time. Fewer flights?

My return put me at one point in Bangor International Airport, home of the famous Troop Greeters. They were even assembling to greet a flight when I was there, but alas! Boarding call for my flight came before the troops did. I would have loved to see them in action.

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Someone has to clean up after the elephants...
-TwoLumps The little-known classic, Curious George and the Man in the Red Hat.
-Girl Genius Lots of explosions and boyfriend troubles...

Not Updated, last I checked ...

-No Need For Bushido
-Dresden Codak
-Lackadaisy A multipage update is promised soon.

Monday, May 25, 2009


(repost from Memorial Day, 2007)
They shall grow not old,

As we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them,

Nor the years condemn,

At the going down of the sun

And in the morning

We will remember them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Funnies

Snark Patrol humbly apologizes for the lame lack of posting. I am currently in a secret, secure location far away from civilization and have been for over a week. There is a meeting of the escape committee in a few days. If I didn't have my little netbook, my mental health worker would be writing this post. And by the way, I hate blackflies with the passion of ten thousand burning suns. Little bastards did their best to drain me dry.


Look, funny things!
-Schlock Mercenary Sgt. Schlock is having issues keeping up his cover.
-No Need For Bushido Check Monday for the biweekly update. Given that Ina managed to incinerate an entire cavalry detachment in the last episode, I can't wait to see what she does for her next trick!
-TwoLumps The Surgeon General does NOT recommend allowing your cats to have access to blowtorches.
-Girl Genius Gil displays highly unusual abilities. One suspects Mamma Gika gave him a double dose of the Jaegercure...
-Dresden Codak has a handy-dandy chart for third-act twists. With illustrations!

Not Updated, last I checked ...


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Clams don't have family reunions!

And what, you may well ask, provoked that response? Your Humble Snarkatron, discovering that the National Science Foundation has provided over $1.8 MILLION dollars (pinky to mouth) for the sole purpose of illuminating the family tree of the clam. Oh, they dress it up better than that. The official title is "Phylogeny on the half-shell -- Assembling the bivalve tree of life". Link is to one of the three grants with that name, each to a different institution.

Proceeding further into the morass, we find the delightful "Kuril Biocomplexity Project: Human Vulnerability and Resilience to Subarctic Change" weighing in at a mere $2.9 million. This is an archaeological project to determine how humans in the Kuril Islands adapted (or didn't adapt) to changing environmental conditions. Yeah, that covers all the bases. I can state with some authority if you live on an island, tsunamis are bad for your health. Gimmee the money.

I understand scientific curiosity. I'm a scientist myself. I just don't see how, when the government is busily spending TRILLIONS of dollars we don't have, why we need to worry about molluscian family connections. I suppose the Kuril study will be useful, though. When it is plain we are in a global cooling disaster, they probably had some nifty survival techniques.

See the whole sad, sordid story for yourself. Searchable NSF grant database

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Schlock joins the circus.
-No Need For Bushido Check Monday for the biweekly update. When we last left our heroes, the cavalry chasing them had developed a severe case of unseen gopher holes ...
-TwoLumps If your human is on drugs you can usually persuade them you haven't been fed. Multiple times.
-Girl Genius Agatha lays down the law. I want a giant robot panther.

Not Updated, last I checked ...
-Dresden Codak

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Cherry blossom drifts
Thirty miles per hour, I think
Gentle Spring, my a**

Yeah, haiku was never my strong point. I got the seasonal reference in, though! We're having a bit of a windstorm here in the soggy corner of the map. Lost part of a young maple tree, but the roof is still on so I'm happy.

I really did see cherry petals go by my window. Horizontally. I don't think that is what the Japanese Masters had in mind. I certainly don't feel tranquil and/or enlightened. My Buddha-nature is atrophied.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Easy to Find=Easy to Steal

Electronic medical records sound like a wonderful idea, especially if you aren't a software geek. Any doctor you see can magically call up your entire medical history, with all the appended details, and the era of misdiagnoses, drug interactions, and hospital gowns that expose everything clothing is supposed to cover will be over. The trouble is easily accessible records are also easy for hackers to get their sticky fingers on. (via Instapundit) And once it gets loose, you can't get it back. Sorry, but I want all that information under control. All computerizing records will reliably do is allow medical staff to screw up in five minutes what used to take them an hour.

I can haz law degree?

I see that people are finally catching on to what I pointed out all the way back on March 26 of this year, that government grabbation of property is in fact unconstitutional. You know, the Constitution? Piddly little document that gives the president and Congress their power? Ace's Gabriel Malor has the skinny. I just want to know if Mr. Lauria, brilliant legal mind, only just now came up with this, 38 days later, why am I not raking in the big bucks? (DISCLAIMER: I have no real beef with Mr. Lauria. Snark for purposes of amusement only. This offer not valid in Nevada. I know lawyers work very hard for their degrees and genuine python loafers are very expensive. Please don't sue me.)