Archive for November, 2010

Holiday Sale on Mendacities

Since everyone else is trying to shift slow-moving merchandise by having a holiday sale… two special offers on Mendacities, the humorous adventure novel I wrote earlier in the year.

First, a coupon good for 50% off the e-book edition, through SmashWords: RQ29Y will lower the price to $0.99 USD, and is good through December 31st, 2010.

Secondly, I can’t do much of anything about the price of the paperback edition (Barnes and Noble’s website has the lowest price for American buyers, for what it’s worth), but I am offering three free copies to readers. Just shoot me an e-mail (mendacities /at/ Google’s well-known e-mail domain / .com) with “Holiday contest” in the subject line, by 23:59 GMT, Wednesday 1 Dec 2010. Include your first name (or nick/handle), and what country you’re in. Two entrants from the United States, and one from the rest of the world, will be selected at random on the morning of the 2nd, and contacted for physical mailing addresses.

Obligatory disclosure: I will never spam you, sell your e-mail or snail-mail address, or otherwise do anything to annoy you. Domestic winners get their copies drop-shipped by the printer; international winner gets a copy mailed by yours truly. Winners are under no obligation to say nice things about it, say anything about it, or even read the accursed thing. :)

The clock is ticking, people.

Published in: Geekiness, General, Meta | on November 29th, 2010 | No Comments »

What’s Next For Threat Level Warning Systems?

As you’ve probably heard, the U.S. Government plans to scrap the immensely retarded color-coded threat-level thing, a move that’s been met with a mix of relief, sarcasm, and skepticism. Bruce Schneier has a good article on the thing, as do sundry others. General consensus: yay, about damned time.

While everyone points and says “I told you so”, I think it’s time to consider what will, or should, come next.

That there is going to be something new is a certainty, in my mind. The only question remains what form it’ll take, something I have a few ideas about.
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Published in: General | on November 26th, 2010 | No Comments »

Toradora: What Could Have Been

Okay, so… Toradora!. A fairly popular series of light novels in Japan (ten in all), which spawned a 25-episode anime series and a pair of graphic novels. And a gajillion yen of merchandise, I might add.

Despite having no giant robots, no ninjas, no sex, no female nudity, no gunfights, only one-and-a-half swordfights, only one or two kicks-to-the-nuts (ouchie), and two, or maybe three, of the most complicated love polygons ever imagined in such a medium, it’s still a series of sheer awesomeness and epic win. It’s right up there with Yotsuba&! in terms of awesomeness: if you don’t like Toradora (or Yotsuba), there’s probably something wrong with you.

Well, maybe.

You’ll probably never know, however.
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Published in: Geekiness | on November 24th, 2010 | No Comments »

Military Deception and Camouflage—WWI Style

From the Library of Congress collections – and ultimately from Leslie’s Magazine, and their “Photographic Review of the Great War” – comes an interesting look at some American deception and camouflage innovations of the era. Some of them are, by bleeding-edge modern standards, kind of quaint and outdated, at first glance – papier-mache dummies? Really? Truth be told, it’s not a lot different than all the fake tanks and other things encountered in Kosovo, so maybe they aren’t quite so outdated, after all. It may no longer be common practice to cover airfields (“aerodromes”, in WWI parlance) in camo netting, but the ghillie suit certainly lives on.

Anyway, for your edification and entertainment… the secrets of the camouflage artists:
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Published in: General, History | on November 23rd, 2010 | No Comments »

10,000 Lakes — and 33 Terrorist Groups? (Probably Not.)

A reporter for the local Twin Cities Daily Planet has been devoting a not inconsiderable amount of resources – by her own count, three emails and at least five phone calls, over the course of three weeks – pursuing what I strongly suspect is a non-story: the not-actually-shocking revealation that the Sheriff’s Department in Ramsey County, Minnesota – in which the capital, Saint Paul, has the misfortune to be located – has investigated thirty-three “terrorist groups”.

Given that this is the TC Daily Planet (and that the article was linked to from Twin Cities Indymedia), I have a really, really strong suspicion that these journalistic efforts – making dubious use of the state equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act – are less about discovering just how many bad people are here, and more about trying to dig up salacious, hype-able, and misrepresentable information that perfectly innocent and harmless “social justice” groups in the Twin Cities are being monitored by The Man.

That’s a non-story, Ms. Hollish. Everybody knows this, already. Besides, you’re likely mis-interpreting the County report, anyway.
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Published in: General, History, Security | on November 18th, 2010 | 1 Comment »