August, 2014 browsing by month


Who needs sanctions or military action when you can post snarky comments on social…

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Who needs sanctions or military action when you can post snarky comments on social media? #proudtobecanadian  

‘Geography Can Be Tough’: Canada Trolls Russia For Ukraine Action
A tweet from Canada’s NATO delegation shows a map with two distinctly marked areas: “Russia” and “Not Russia.” It’s in apparent response to Moscow’s claims its troops have mistakenly entered Ukraine.

Huzzah! Browsing Ebay listings led me to a happy discovery: +KingBearings now makes…

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Huzzah! Browsing Ebay listings led me to a happy discovery: +KingBearings now makes main and rod bearings for the R53 Mini Cooper S! So instead of paying around $500 for OEM bearings (which, by the wear I see on them, are not made of unobtainium despite their price), I'll be shelling out around $100.

Embedded Link

King Engine Bearings Catalog :: Engine Search
Manufacturer, Engine, Years, Bore X Stroke, Cyl, CC, Set No. Mini, W10B16A, 77×85, 4, 1598, CR4537CA. Mini, W10B16A, 77×85, 4, 1598, MB5667SI. Mini, W11B16A, 77×85, 85, 1598, CR4538CA. Mini, W11B16A, 77×85, 85, 1598, MB5667SI …

Broken from the factory

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Broken from the factory. Instead of cleanly cutting each connecting rod big end in half and stamping matching and alignment marks on the sides, the R53 Mini conrods were simply snapped in half, creating uneven breaks to match and align the two halves. Never seen this before; not sure if clever or idiotic…

Does anybody actually watch the Emmys?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Does anybody actually watch the Emmys?

Embedded Link


Monday, August 25th, 2014

Reshared post from +Oscaro

Stop with the tangled extension cords. Learn how to correctly coil them.


Monday, August 25th, 2014

Reshared post from +Oscaro

Stop with the tangled extension cords. Learn how to correctly coil them.

Got a recommendation for (via the +Daily Tech News Show podcast),…

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Got a recommendation for (via the +Daily Tech News Show podcast), a service that lets me repost automatically from +Google+ to Facebook and Twitter. This is a test post… here goes nothing!

(And here's an edit to see if edits prior to the 10-minute repost delay are picked up automatically…)

Friends+Me – Share Google+ to ANYWHERE
Increase user engagement across all your social networks. Post Once, Share to any social network.

To everyone complaining about how the ALS ice bucket challenge is a waste of water…

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
To everyone complaining about how the ALS ice bucket challenge is a waste of water especially here in drought-ridden California: while true, pouring ~5 gallons of water and ice on yourself is pretty insignificant compared to the 80-100 gallons of water the typical person uses daily, and, say, the thousand or more gallons of water required to make one average beef steak.

Yes, the ice bucket challenge is silly. It's an Internet meme, so of course it is. Like other memes, it will pass. (Unlike most other memes it's done some good along the way.) Like other memes, complaining about it only serves to sustain it.

Well stated

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
I don't know if the situation is (or was) truly different back when I lived in Canada, but in my various dealings with the police in my not-entirely-trouble-free (ahem) youth, one thing was always true which was that I was never afraid of the police (nor they of me). Police encounters here tend to have a decidedly more tense feeling.

Reshared post from +Yonatan Zunger

This is a profoundly disturbing editorial. It's an op-ed written by a police officer in the Washington Post, and its message is very simple: 

"If you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?"

I wish I could tell you that this article betrayed a sense of the absurd, or that it was meant in some kind of satirical fashion. It isn't. His argument is simple: you have no idea what's going on for that cop or what the cop is going through. The cop has the right to use whatever force is needed. So if you don't want to get shot, do everything the cop says, never argue, never object. Later, he says, you can "ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated."

To list a few of the exceptionally obvious things which this ignores:

(1) All of the arguments that you don't know what a cop is going through, that this "routine traffic stop" is actually very dangerous for them, and so on, apply just as well to the person being stopped. In fact, especially if you don't look white and upper-class enough, that routine stop is even more dangerous for you than for the cop: the cop doesn't know if you're armed and willing to become violent, but (by Dutta's own admission) you do know that the cop is. Saying that people being stopped need to be respectful and do what the cop says, but that the cop isn't under any such obligation to anyone else, is an invitation for violence.

(2) These post facto remedies which he suggests are incredibly limited in their value. Go ahead and lodge a complaint; it will promptly be filed in the appropriate place. Under the POBOR (Peace Officers' Bill of Rights, a California law) and similar laws elsewhere, you get all sorts of guarantees here: for example, that if a decision is made in regards to your complaint, you will be notified of that decision within 30 days. It does not guarantee, for example, that a decision will actually be made, and in fact it guarantees that if a decision isn't made within a year, the officer will face no consequences from it. The police have a tremendous degree of immunity, and outside of very exceptional situations, are investigated only by an internal system.

(You can read the text of the POBOR here: . Other states have similar laws, but you should check your own state's laws for the details)

(3) If a police officer does something wrong during a stop, it can have serious consequences for you, which will not be redressed no matter what. As far as the police are concerned, an arrest isn't a "consequence," since the courts can easily throw it out; but go ahead and explain that to your employer when you're telling them why you didn't come to work. Being threatened and harassed every time you walk out the door in your neighborhood isn't a "consequence," because if the cop didn't have a good reason, they wouldn't have done anything.

Knowing that you might be publicly bullied and humiliated, in front of your children, your spouse, or your employer, that you may be searched, beaten, or arrested at any time — and that such things happen routinely to you and everyone around you — is something acceptable, in the view of this editorial, because you have the right to file a grievance later with the same organization which has decided that this behavior is, at a baseline, OK.

My purpose here isn't to say that people should be rude or threatening to cops. I'm saying that the obligation of police and citizens is a reciprocal obligation. It is absolutely true that the work of police is dangerous and complicated, and they require certain allowances in order to be able to do their jobs; however, if you translate that to "they must be granted unlimited authority over the citizenry, and must never be challenged, except after the fact and in very limited ways," then the police have been set up to become villains, not heroes. 

Dutta's attitude is profoundly corrupted: he has taken the real and reasonable fears of police about doing their jobs, and expanded it into a notion of the police as being a class above the public, with tremendous powers of force and coercion, and subject to not even contradiction. If you heard this sort of statement from soldiers, you would think you were living in a military junta; if you hear this from police officers, you wonder if they think we are living in a junta.

h/t +Xenophrenia for the link.

I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.
It’s not the police, but the people they stop, who can prevent a detention from turning into a tragedy.

I wish +iFixit issued repairability scores for cars

Monday, August 18th, 2014
I wish +iFixit issued repairability scores for cars. Then I would have probably given the Mini Cooper S a miss. What a PITA…

(Here's your cue, +Oscaro…)