Carnival of Cordite #60 is up at Resistance is futile!
Carnival of the Cats #114 is up at Niobium.
Carnival of Liberty #47 is up at New World Man.
The beta test for Movable Type 3.3 is expected next week, and today the folks at Six Apart released a feature list.
The feature that interests me the most is adding templates to search results. I have long despaired that my search results page looks very little like my other pages.
What I'm surprised not to see is a comprehensive spam control solution. Everyone on the web is dealing with spam in a variety of forms (and this blog gets plenty of comment and trackback spam attempts) and anything that MT can do to remove the daily drudgery of deleting the more astute attempts would be great. I think my provider would appreciate it too.
Snowball enters the matrix:
While this hack is currently available for MacBooks, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone implementing the idea in Linux or Windows. It's a cute trick to use the accelerometer used to protect laptop hard drives from sudden movement as a human interface, although I wonder if some game manufacturer has a previous patent for this.
Of course, desktops don't have accelerometers, but how long before some monitor maker adds one?
The NRA's Personal Protection Outside the Home course is finally going to see the light of day and may even be offered by instructors near you by the end of this year. This course will build upon the successful and comprehensive Basic Personal Protection In The Home course by offering basic instruction for those who have concealed carry permits.
For years I have groused about this developed but not released course that has been languishing inside the Training Department at the NRA, putatively on hold awaiting approval from the legal department. Starting June 10th of this year, Senior Training Counselors will receive training in hopes of minting instructors for this course and perhaps offering instruction later this year.
Already the handbook for this course is available from the NRA Program Materials department although I do not see the handbook available from the online catalog. You can order it directly by calling 888-607-6007, pressing 2, then 1, then asking for catalog number ES30000. I have done the same but I don't expect to get my shipment for a week or so.
Rest assured that once a local Senior Training Counselor (STC) has been trained I will be among the first in line (as a Training Counselor) to get my certification updated for this new course. Then perhaps we'll see NWSAFE offer this material later this year. We've got plenty of folks that have taken our beginning pistol and personal protection courses in the past few years.
So today I did a little tweaking.
First, there was a deal on blogging icons at IconBuffet so I have integrated those into my design.
Also, I found the new Calibri font online (as part of a WindowBlinds theme!), so I have enabled its use in the blog. If you don't have it the CSS should fall back to Arial or Helvetica. It's a little smaller than the Helvetica, so the right side strip metadata uses a little less space.
This Sunday, early in the morning, the cooling tower at the decommissioned Trojan nuclear power plant (just a few miles downstream of our house) was imploded. The cooling tower was a prominent landmark on the drive from Portland to Seattle and has been standing for 30 years.
Dan Sweet had front-row seats for the implosion and took some amazing pictures (click the picture for a full-resolution image):
A moment of sunlight before the implosion:
Just before the implosion:
The first charges fire (the entire implosion took less than eight seconds):
The next shot as soon as Dan could trigger it, the tower is already fallen and raised a giant cloud of dust:
Afterward, an altered skyline:
The family watched (some by TiVo) the implosion on the Newschannel 8, which had great camera angles (including from the air) of the event. They have a basic story here, but it's worth poking through their complete coverage.
All of these images are Copyright 2006 by Dan Sweet. He's reserving all rights to copy and distribute them.
Carnival of the Cats #113 is up at IMAO.
I just got invited to take the latest Zogby Poll, something in which I participate around once or twice a quarter. They always seem to poll about the latest hot buttons but this one focused on returning rights to felons and not immigration as I had expected.
This one also refers to the right to vote and the right to own firearms as “privileges!”
I knew Zogby was biased but this was a slap in the face. A political pollster that fails a basic Civics concept that most legal immigrants would know is a tad shocking.
Carnival of Cordite #59 is up at Resistance is futile!
Carnival of the Cats #112 is up at sbpoet's Watermark.
Gullyborg, who runs Resistance is Futile! and frequently hosts the Carnival of Cordite, has completed his Juris Doctor. Visit his blog and drop off your congratulations.
Misty snapped a picture of the newly-completed posts for the front porch this morning:
We're expecting to put in gutters right away, but we're not sure we should put them on the porch. We considered a downspout integrated into the posts, or chains instead of a downspout, but now we think that there's just not enough surface area to justify gutters on that small roof. Plenty of other gutters to install on the house (especially for the four big valleys that accumulate so much rain).
The other big step is finishing up the landscaping. Monday we will have more topsoil and Hydroseed.
My folks are visiting around Memorial Day (and they are attending my graduation), so we are scurrying to finish all the remaining items.
Far from being a cube farm “fortress of servitude,” my office is starting to take shape nicely:
(Click the image to get a full size picture)
Church and Snowball are bent on world domination!
The Gun Guys run a regular mailing list (ostensibly for their fellow petty tyrants) where they tout control fantasies and smear pieces on their own ilk before they get sent to the general public. Today they wrote a screed intended to decry the salary of Wayne LaPierre, putatively the CEO of the NRA:
A million dollars is a lot of money, even when you're talking about the NRA. According to our calculations, that means 35,000 NRA memberships have already been spent, before any gun lobby crony's campaign funds ever see a dime.
No NRA membership money goes to lobbying. Lobbying is paid for solely by donations to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. The ILA is an independent organization within the NRA which conducts all lobbying activities.
NRA membership money goes into other activities, like training (both for police and private citizens), magazines for the members to read, firearms range development, and firearms competitions.
Of course, they don't mention that there are four million members of the NRA, therefore the “35,000” who pay Wayne's salary are a drop in the bucket. They also don't mention that many members are life members (or beyond—for example, I'm an “endowment” member).
Make no mistake, the NRA is a large organization devoted to teaching people how to be safe with firearms and shoot well. It's the largest police firearms training organization in the world. It promotes hundreds of competitions with the intent of safe, accurate, and fun shooting. But are the members money wasted on Wayne LaPierre? Doesn't the third largest lobby US deserve the finest CEO they can afford?
If you're going to smear an organization, at least get your facts straight.
So, ever wonder why these guys know LaPierre's salary? These anonymous fear and smear campaigners pulled the information from his tax forms! Quick! Alert the ACLU!
Update: The Gun Guys corrected their posting to indicate that they looked at the NRA's Form 990, but the email they sent out said this:
Because according to tax forms obtained by us, the guy's making almost (if not more than) a million dollars a year.
Sounds different, doesn't it?
Can you guess what Alana's science project is?
Carnival of the Cats #111 is up at pages turned.
When Porter Goss became the Director of the CIA in 2004, I mentioned the needed housecleaning in the leaky intelligence organization. He fired a few apparently ineffective middle managers, and I especially highlighted the removal of DDO Stephen Kappes, one of the anonymous leakers. Of course, since then we've seen NIO Mary McCarthy leave as well.
Now Porter Goss has left, and it is rumored that General Michael Hayden will be brought forward to succeed him (and it will be a fun confirmation process since the General has previously run the NSA). Since the NSA's supposedly low profile activities to gather information on terrorists inside and outside the US have been repeatedly leaked to the Press there will be axes to grind on both sides of the aisle. I hope that pointed questions about Able Danger get raised.
And the porch:
I didn't spring for special colors and patterns like Clayton Cramer did, and I guess that's a good thing.
A little bit of a combination platter: cats and hardwood…
Sorry I missed Feline Friday yesterday. I got busy.
Butterflies and moths like oranges:
Zacarias Moussaoui, the supposed “nineteenth hijacker,” was apparently not deadly enough for knowing the plans to kills thousands and not revealing those plans to the FBI when he was arrested for immigration violations. Not enough the jury was convinced that he intended to hide everything of the plot possible, but instead that he was enough of an idiot not to really know what was going on. Therefore he earned life in prison, not death. This is going to cost the US a bundle, but we keep our moral law intact.
C'est la guerre.
For one dollar you get a big piece of glossy paper and five minutes on the “Harmonograph,” a heavy pendulous platform with a pen on a solidly fixed arm:
George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, and Oprah have discovered there's genocide in Darfur, although they are coming to the party late. I pointed out the US invoking the UN charter on genocide (the first nation to do so, ever) back in September 10, 2004, earlier than even Michelle Malkin noted in her latest Vent on Hot Air.
Another terror trainer, Mustafa Setmarian Nasar (also known as Abu Musab al-Suri), has been captured in Pakistan. It appears he may have been nabbed and questioned some time ago, so perhaps we didn't do our normal habit of ruining a source of intelligence by releasing the information that we have it. Even so, there's no indication that he has been cooperating.
Nasaar is a direct link to recent attacks in Europe:
Media reports have linked Nasar, who holds Spanish citizenship, to the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people, and to the July 7, 2005 attacks in London that left 56 dead, including the four bombers.
I suspect for Europe Nasar's arrest is very good news indeed. It would be interesting to see if a very public trial of Nasar in Spain would change that country's flight from the global war on terror. Nasar has had some history in Spain. He has Spanish citizenship, and is wanted for Islamic terrorist incidents there going back to 1985.
Another bridge design:
Over the weekend, Amazon's A9 search engine switched from using Google to Microsoft's search.
While I enjoyed the Amazon.com discounts because I used A9, I guess I need to stop now. For one thing, I lost image search. For another, I like Google and dislike Microsoft (as underscored by my recent beta tests of Office Live and Google-hosted email—the Microsoft solution stinks on ice).
I had noticed a difference earlier today, but assumed that the Google interface was broken temporarily. As far as strategic decisions go, I don't fathom this one.
Am I alone in America when I say, “What boycott?” I have seen zero evidence of economic impact out here. Boycotts only matter on the macro level if they last for a long time, not a single day. If they got here illegally and they aren't going to work they should be deported.
Update: There's a great Vent about this at Hot Air by Michelle Malkin here.
Carnival of the Cats #110 is up at Furry Paws.