atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3922: I hate caps lock.

The way caps lock worked on the old IBM selectric--IIRC--is, you had to push SHIFT and CAPS LOCK simultaneously. The caps lock key by itself did nothing, and in fact would just kind of rock a little in place unless the shift key was pressed first, so I developed a little rocking motion to turn on caps lock when I wanted it. The important thing was, you could not accidentally turn it on.

On the C-64, caps lock was an actual pushbutton that stayed down when pressed: one press and it locked in the down position; another and it popped back up. You couldn't accidentally hit it and not know you'd hit it because of the tactile feedback. Besides, it took more effort to push that key than any other on the keyboard.

Things like this made caps lock convenient for touch typists. You had to knowingly and intentionally turn it on, because you couldn't do so accidentally.

But now?

On a typical computer keyboard caps lock is just another key, and it doesn't take any special effort to toggle caps lock mode. You could be reaching for the shift key or the tab key and get it instead, and not know the difference unless you're actually looking at the keyboard. For a touch typist who rattles the keys at a useful rate, that means you won't notice the error until after you've rattled out half a dozen words in inverted case (tHIS IS WHAT i MEAN).

...and the only time I ever use caps lock, generally, is when I want to demonstrate how useless it is.

It's enough to make me want to hack the keyboard, you know? If I could figure out how to solder wires to the plastic membranes inside this thing, I would install a small toggle switch at the top of the keyboard to inhibit caps lock.

I'm just fastidious enough not to take the easy way out and remove the caps lock key from the keyboard. A keyboard missing keys is like a pretty girl with a missing tooth. It just bugs me. Besides, I'd have to disassemble the entire keyboard to get the keycap off without breaking the shit out of it.

* * *

Over at Spaceweather.com they have this to say:
MAGNETIC FIELD REVERSAL ON THE SUN: It hasn't happened yet, but it's about to. Data from NASA-supported observatories show that the sun's global magnetic field will flip before the end of 2013. The reversal, which signals the arrival of Solar Maximum, will have ripple effects felt throughout the solar system.
This solar maximum is a piker:



The blue line is the smoothed curve, and it's well below our predictions for cycle 24, which were already on the weak side. It should be peaking somewhere around 90, according to predictions, but it's some 15 short of that--and a peak of 90 is no great shakes, as cycle 23 peaked near 125 and it was weaker than past peaks.

But of course the sun has nothing to do with global temperature and the unusually cool summers of the past two years is "just weather", because man-made global warming is real and happening now! *rolleyes*

* * *

It's an aircraft carrier, which is probably why they didn't name it Yamato. Japan is building warships.
Japan on Tuesday unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a huge flat-top destroyer that has raised eyebrows in China and elsewhere because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier.
"Flat-top destroyer"? Seriously?

It's an aircraft carrier. The aircraft in question are helicopters, but it's an aircraft carrier.

...I can understand China's "concern". China needs Japan to be a pushover, and if Japan can quickly repurpose its "flat-top destroyers" to launch and recover jump jets, Japan won't be a pushover for very long.

* * *

Be surprised. Be very surprised. In the worst economic slump since the 1930s people are holding onto their cars longer.

Here's a hint: new cars are very expensive and people are hurting. Of course people are tending to buy used and keep their vehicles longer. Cripes, there's nothing wrong with my Jeep that new tires and replacing a few other wear items wouldn't cure; why would I want to blow $35,000 I don't have on a new truck--assuming I could, which I can't?

Vehicles are being made increasingly well, so people can keep them longer without being nickle and dimed to death. As long as you take proper care of the machine, it'll go right on running until the wheels fall off--and even then, usually you can stick 'em back on and keep on trucking.

* * *

The GOP is pretending to have a spine again. CNN and NBS are both saying "whatev" because they know the GOP will fold once election season begins to wind up. "Debates"? What Republican is going to be willing to skip a debate on a major network, especially when the candidates who do show up will simply rip on them in their absence? The media will portray the Republicans as cowards and they'll lose.

Better to be spineless, because at least that way they can pretend not to be. "I'm not a coward! See, I went into the lion's den...."

*sigh*

* * *

What is this I don't even--

The guy at ABC news who decided he was a woman in a man's body apparently had a bout of amnesia (judging by the comments it seems most people think it's the Hollywood variety) and he's abruptly decided that no, he is a man in a man's body after all.

...his therapist didn't catch this nonsense? Candidates for sex change surgery have to have therapy before the docs will start operating. The hormone therapy is reversible--stop taking the pills and the boobs go away--but the surgery is a lot harder to reverse.

There's a lot more I could say about this, but I'm just going to shut up.

* * *

Chicago is doomed, just like Detroit. This is the inevitable failure of the blue model.

Sarah Hoyt touches on this today:
[Members of the ruling class] too live in a world that has very little to do with the everyday world of men for most of history. They weave their web – of theories, of regulations, of the involutedly just so stories that are Marxist analysis – and then they see the world only in it, reflected in it. This is what I refer to as “drinking their own ink.”

They have been schooled to such an extent that instead of testing theory in the world, they view the world through the theory. The stimulus didn’t work? More stimulus is needed. There are more unemployed? Well, we need more assistance. Health care is too expensive? Making it government controlled will make it cheap. People want to kill us? We need to stop being racist, because little brown people.
So all the debt, the spending, everything is supposed to lead to long-lasting prosperity for all. Instead, it ends up crashing down in ruin, sooner or later, because it's not sustainable.

Like Ms. Hoyt, I agree that the dystopian visions of 1984 and Brave New World would not last, not forever. They might maintain for a century, perhaps two; but sooner or later they would collapse. It cannot be otherwise.

* * *

Not that they don't try, over and over again, to make it work. One of the theses of [Release Candidate One] is that civilization is founded on a trillion little things--little choices we all make every day. Civilizations fall only after they've crumbled from inside, and they crumble because of a myriad of tiny chips at the foundations weaken them to the point of collapse.

When you see people not stopping for a stop sign because there's no one there to make them stop, that's a chip. Kids in an affluent suburb throwing rocks at an expensive neon sign just to break the glass is a chip. Parents yelling at teachers who give their children well-deserved failing grades is a chip.

You have probably witnessed plenty of chips yourself, and thought, "That's not good," and then gone on with your day, because there's nothing you can do about it. Civilization collapses after the chipping becomes the new polite, the new normal.

Police states happen by the very same mechanism, only as Karl Denninger points out in his post it's because of the aphorism that's so old we repeat it in Latin: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?, "Who watches the watchmen?" (And it was probably translated to Latin from Greek; the Greeks probably got it from the Egyptians, who got it from Mesopotamia or the Sumerians, who....)

In the United States, we have a constitutionally-mandated protection of civil rights because the people who wrote our Constitution knew that too many people are skunks and want the power of life and death over others. Until very recently, constitutional jurisprudence proceeded from the assumption that any incursion on the enumerated civil rights is bad because setting a precedent for the removal of any civil right was a precedent for removing all of them. For example, you cannot have freedom of speech when you have lost your fourth amendment rights against improper search and seizure (Advice Goddess comments</a>; also, see what happend to TJIC).

This has changed since the middle of the 20th century. Your "free exercise of religion" is trumped by the non-enumerated "right to abortion" found hiding in the Constitution by an activist court. Guns Are Dangerous And Must Be Banned. Your house is only yours as long as the local government doesn't think someone else can put the land to use that will garner them more tax revenue. If you're carrying a large sum of cash It Must Be Drug Money and it's confiscated, even though you yourself are not arrested for any crime. If you refuse to let the police use your house for a stakeout, you are obstructing justice and are arrested. Like TJIC, say the wrong thing in public and your guns are confiscated. (That's a 1st and 2nd amendment two-fer, right there.) If you refuse to talk to police, that can be used as evidence that you're a criminal. Some people are Just Too Dangerous and the President must be able to order them blown up with a remote drone strike, or held without bond or even charges filed.

...and those are just the civil rights violations I can think of off the top of my head, examples of our government going against black letter Constitutional provisions with knowledge and malice aforethought.

* * *

More anti-nuclear scaremongering, from the usual suspects. Seems that the Fukushima plant released a trillion Bq of radioactive tritium. Holy crap, we're all doomed! ...except that WORM always brings the smackdown because he knows what he's talking about:
You know those “EXIT” signs for emergency evacuation? Obviously they have to work 24/7, even with the power out. Thus they’re traditionally nuclear-powered, with tritium. How much tritium? Typical brand-new signs have up to 25 Curies of activity. A Curie is 3.7E10 disintegrations per second, or almost 40 billion Bqs. Multiply that by 25 and you get...one trillion becquerels. Per sign.

So take all of the Fukushima tritium released thus far*...and it’s less than what you find at a multiplex theater. The NRC estimates over two million signs in the United States. That’s about two thousand quadrillion Bqs, or 500,000 Fukushimas.
The point WORM is trying to make is that this is a non-story just like all the other nuclear disaster stories that have surrounded Fukushima.

The safety systems worked splendidly, considering they were subjected to conditions far worse than those for which they were designed. Fukushima is a success story, because the radiation release has been so negligible as to be virtually zero.

But you won't see it played that way by a news media which is staunchly anti-nuclear.

* * *

Pop some popcorn and pull up a chair because Og got an e-mail from Change.org wanting him to sign a petition for Trayvon Martin's parents.

Damn, that's a good read.

* * *

A terabit of FLASH RAM on a single chip. That's 128 gigabytes on a single chip, which is damned convenient. Eight of these devices in parallel gives you a full terabyte.

...have to wonder where the DRAM devices like these are. If you can do it with FLASH you should be able to do it with DRAM, and denser and cheaper to boot.

* * *

Ah, well, it's time to go make some food. I'd better hop to it.
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