Archive for April, 2009

Kwik Hits

Busy couple days at work, coupled with flaky internet at home, means no real posts. Sorry. By way of compensation…

The text, such as it is, of the oh-so-controversial coloring book A Scary Thing Happened;

Free market supply and demand in action, marijuana-style: Authorities destroy a half-million dollars of dope, and Hells Angels in Canada are stockpiling it to drive the price up. Yay, capitalism at work!

I’d like a Coke, a basket of fries, and an Uzi, please. Do you take cheques?

Yay, the the nine-year-old bride in Saudi Arabia has divorced her 50-year-old husband. (Ick.)

Suspicious statistic of the day: According to a British Rail spokesperson, people trespassing on railroad tracks in Britain “costs the rail industry millions of pounds a year”. How on earth do they arrive at that figure?

Last and least, from Wikileaks, Intelligence Exploitation of Enemy Material, a 2006 USMC publication.

Published in: General | on April 30th, 2009 | No Comments »

Iranian Ship Sunk Off Sudan?

Haaretz today says that the Egyptians are reporting an Iranian vessel carrying arms bound for Hamas was sunk by a foreign power off the coast of Sudan last week. The details are kind of sketchy – it was torpedoed, or maybe “bombed” by a “warship” – but whatever the details, if it’s true, it’s one hell of a provocation by whoever did it…

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to whether all the international warships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are all entirely concentrating on anti-piracy patrols, or whether some of them have “other” tasks they’re carrying out? :)

Published in: General | on April 28th, 2009 | No Comments »

Of Mountains, Molehills, and Numbers

Once upon a time, there was a woman, who, together with her husband, engaged in several acts of what might be termed criminal environmental activism, or, by some, eco-terrorism. She and her husband didn’t like Monsanto, and other companies and organizations and even individuals associated with the production and development of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. And, really, who can blame her? GMOs are the suck. Thing is, she wasn’t content just going around telling everyone “GMOs suck, don’t buy or support them”; no, she apparently felt the best course of action was burning things down to make her point.

A little immature, perhaps, but I guess it gets the point across pretty well.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, History | on April 28th, 2009 | No Comments »

Not Your Grandfather’s Intelligence Analysts

I recently picked up a copy of the new edition of Jerome Clauser’s An Introduction to Intelligence Research and Analysis, which was first published way back in 1976. As editor Jan Goldman points out in his introduction, the new edition is “an abridged version of that book.” What was removed? Lots of outdated stuff, that’s what. Goldman again:

“The chapters that were removed dealt with how to collect basic information during the initial phase of research. The chapters describe in detail where to find and how to utilize a card catalogue in the library and how to develop specific punch-card procedures to help extract information from referenced work.”

Okay, fine, good. But, you see, there’s a footnote after that passage, and the note reads:

“A card catalogue was the location where index cards were kept for each book in the library’s holdings and punch cards were perforated cards that would be turned into data when fed into a very large computer.”

Do college students and people in the intelligence community these days really not know what card catalogs and punch cards were? Okay, I guess I can understand the punch cards, but card catalogs?

Other than the strange generational-gap thing there, so far it’s an extremely interesting book.

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on April 27th, 2009 | No Comments »

Ian Talty, 1978 – 2009, RIP

I just received word that a Twin Cities photographer and urban explorer named Ian Talty drowned this morning after rain swept him and a friend out of a storm drain they were taking pictures in on Saint Paul’s west side.

A WCCO article is here, and you can see the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s coverage here.

Urban exploration is, in large part, about breaking the rules and getting away with it. Alas, it’s very easy – and very dangerous – to get complacent from this, though. Some rules and guidelines are meant to be broken; others pretty emphatically are not. Among the latter is the trite-but-true “when it rains, no drains”.

Ian’s not the first urban explorer to be swept to his death in a drain by rainfall; here’s hoping he’ll be the last.

Rest in peace, dude.

Published in: Urban Exploration | on April 26th, 2009 | No Comments »