Unintended consequences.

August 27th, 2015

Part 1:

Two years later, an assessment commissioned by the city finds that the ban is having an unintended effect –- people are now throwing away heavy-duty reusable plastic bags at an unprecedented rate. The city’s good intentions have proven all too vulnerable to the laws of supply and demand.

Part 2:

And in New York City, where heroin goes for about $10 a bag, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration official, a pack of cigarettes costs $12.85 or $10.29, depending on which of the two surveys you consult.

Obit watch: August 26, 2015.

August 26th, 2015

Legendary Houston surgeon Dr. James “Red” Duke Jr.

Dr. Duke was one of the founders of the Life Flight service. He attended John Connally after the Kennedy assassination. He inspired a short-lived TV series with Dennis Weaver.

Hunting and fishing in the surrounding countryside, he became lifelong friends with another redhead, Willie Nelson. Later, as a doctor, he was given to bursting into Nelson songs without warning.

Edited to add 8/27: NYT obit.

TMQ Watch: August 25, 2015.

August 25th, 2015

Well. Well well well. Well.

We’ve been wondering when the first TMQ of the season was going to show up. We’re well into the pre-season and there’s no TMQ on the ESPN site. We’ve been watching Easterbrook’s Twitter: usually he links to his columns there, but there’s been nothing.

Apparently we missed the news. We fired up the Googles, and according to a certain website (one we have a policy of not linking to), Easterbrook’s deal with ESPN wasn’t renewed at the end of the 2014 season.

We would figure that Easterbrook would take TMQ elsewhere, and that he’d link to it on his Twitter, but perhaps he’s grown weary of writing it?

Tonight, when we get home, we’ll pour out a blueberry-almond martini for TMQ. If the column does show up someplace else, we’ll let you know, but we won’t promise that we’ll link to it or resume TMQ Watch: if Easterbrook goes somewhere like Salon or Slate, for example, we won’t follow him there.

Historical note, suitable for use in schools.

August 21st, 2015

By way of the invaluable NYT obits Twitter feed, I have learned that today is the 75th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky. I don’t know what I would have done if this anniversary had gotten past me.

(Technically, I suppose it is the 75th anniversary of Trotsky’s death. Ramón Mercader, or whatever his name was – he seems to have had multitudes – attacked Trotsky on the 20th, but he lingered until the 21st.)

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so how about a little musical interlude?

This might push a few buttons.

Obit watch: August 21, 2015.

August 21st, 2015

Brigadier General Frederick Payne (USMC- ret.)

Gen. Payne was 104 when he died, and was the oldest surviving US fighter ace.

During two and a half weeks in 1942, from behind the guns of his Grumman F4F Wildcat flying over the Pacific near Guadalcanal, Mr. Payne, a major at the time, downed three Japanese bombers and two Zero fighters, having already shared credit with another pilot for bringing down an enemy bomber.

Gen. Payne received the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions.

With Mr. Payne’s death, there are 71 surviving aces, said Arthur Bednar, coordinator of the American Fighter Aces Association.
According to Mr. Bednar, only 1,450 American pilots qualified to be called ace, a distinction reserved for pilots who downed at least five enemy planes in aerial combat during World Wars I and II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam; in addition, six aces are recognized from the Russian Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, the Sino-Japanese War and the Arab-Israeli War. Mr. Payne was credited with five and a half kills.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#V of a series)

August 20th, 2015

The question of the day is: will we get to “Z” in the series?

Austin police Chief Art Acevedo is a finalist for the police chief of San Antonio Police Department.

(As a side note, I’ve always wondered what Sue Grafton’s going to do with Kinsey Millhone after she gets to “Z”. Two books to go.)

Quickies: August 13, 2015.

August 13th, 2015

Hugo Pinell died yesterday.

On August 21, 1971, Pinell, George Jackson, and several other inmates attempted to escape from San Quentin. Three inmates and three guards were killed in the attempt.

Pinell received a third life sentence for attacking two officers, slitting their throats, in that escape attempt, and had spent the majority of his time since then in solitary confinement and had participated in a 2013 statewide hunger strike protesting those conditions.

Pinell was killed by another prisoner during a riot.

Noted: Warren G. Harding apparently did father a child with his mistress, Nan Britton.

Also noted: VonTrey Clark was allegedly offering $5,000 for the murder of Samantha Dean. (Previously.)

My great and good friend Joe D. and I have had past discussions about death at the Grand Canyon and at Yosemite (although I can’t find them now). In that light, this is interesting: “Forget bears: Here’s what really kills people at national parks”.

Short version: if you do die at a national park, it will probably be a drowning or a car crash. But statistically, the odds are low that you will die at a national park.

DEFCON 23 notes: August 12, 2015.

August 12th, 2015

More slides! More stuff!

DEFCON 23 notes: August 11, 2015.

August 11th, 2015

The Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek paper, “Remote Exploitation of an Unaltered Passenger Vehicle” is here. Sorry I don’t have much to say beyond that; I’ve been frantically busy all day and haven’t had a chance to review their paper (or much of anything else) yet. But I did want to get this up, because I’ve been waiting for it.

(Also, one of my cow-orkers owns a vulnerable vehicle, and I’ve been giving him a little bit of grief about that. Only a little bit, though, because he has problems with the vehicle that go beyond Miller and Valasek’s work.)

DEFCON 23 notes: August 10, 2015.

August 10th, 2015

More when I have it; possibly tonight or tomorrow.

Obit watch: August 10, 2015.

August 10th, 2015

I was too young to remember Frank Gifford‘s playing days, but I do have fond memories of him from Monday Night Football in the 1970’s.

Interesting bit of trivia:

While at U.S.C., he developed a persona, however modest, beyond the football field, gaining Hollywood bit parts. In the 1951 Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis football movie “That’s My Boy,” it was Gifford who kicked the winning field goal as the stand-in for Lewis. A handsome campus hero, Gifford made his mark in contemporary literature as well, serving as the glittering object of envy for one of his classmates, Frederick Exley, whose 1968 memoir, “A Fan’s Notes,” is a staple of the genre (although the author freely acknowledged that some of it was fiction).

DEFCON 23 notes: August 7, 2015.

August 7th, 2015

I kind of skipped over yesterday, because Thursday is traditionally slow. And it is a little early for stuff to be up today, plus many of the good presentations are scheduled for tomorrow.

But! BlackHat 2015! Not everything from BlackHat gets duplicated at DEFCON, and vice versa, but there’s always some overlap. Some things that are already up:

There are a couple of other overlaps I’ve found (specifically the Josh Drake presentation on Stagefright and the Valasek/Miller car exploit) but those don’t have any slides or other material attached yet.

More links and stuff as and when I find it and am able to post.

Edited to add: Just noticed this on the DEFCON 23 site. Download the conference CD optical disc here. Woo hoo woo hoo hoo. (The .rar file is 419 MB. Good thing I work for a networking company.)