Grotesque!

Go read all about how the US government determines whether someone should be listed as a suspected terrorist, denied the right to fly on airlines, and so on.  It’s Orwellian!  Nowhere will you find any mention of civil rights, due process, or judicial overview. Big Brother . . . he’s worse than Orwell ever imagined. Peter

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In Memoriam: Group Captain Peter Petter-Bowyer

I wrote in May about the development of the Alpha cluster bomblet in Rhodesia during that country’s brief and violent existence.  The person most responsible for its development was Peter Petter-Bowyer, who rose to the rank of Group Captain (equivalent to Colonel) before Rhodesia lost its war and became Zimbabwe.  I wasn’t aware when I wrote those words that he had died a couple of months before.  It seems he had an allergic reaction to treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I had the privilege of meeting Group Captain Petter-Bowyer on more than one occasion in South Africa during the 1980’s.  He

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Tokyo to San Francisco in 83 seconds

Here’s a time-lapse video shot from the cockpit of a Boeing 747 airliner on a flight from Tokyo to San Francisco, speeded up to portray the entire flight in just 83 seconds.  The sunrise starting at 0m. 43sec. is spectacular!  I recommend watching in full-screen mode. Peter

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Kindle Unlimited: changing the reading game?

There’s a lot of controversy among authors (particularly independent authors such as myself) about the likely impact of Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited program.  Briefly, for those who haven’t yet heard about it, it’s a subscription library for e-books.  You pay $9.95 per month, and can ‘borrow’ up to 10 books at a time.  As soon as you finish one and ‘return’ it, you can download another. Authors have to enroll in the KDP Select program, publishing their books exclusively through Amazon.com, in order to participate in Kindle Unlimited.  They’ll receive a fee per book borrowed (provided that the borrower reads

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Beware Google’s obsessive e-mail security mindset

I learned a lesson this morning, one that’s going to take a while (certainly days, perhaps weeks) to sort out. When I sat down at the computer this morning, our Internet service was out.  A message appeared on screen asking the account holder (our housemate) to contact the service provider about unspecified issues.  (It turned out that a re-issued credit card with a change of expiration date had screwed up the billing and payment cycle, and we’d been caught in the backwash.)  It’s going to take a day or two to sort that out. While waiting (because Internet access is

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Kittens in unison!

Here are seven kittens from the Triskel Maine Coon cattery in Quebec.  They were lined up for a group picture when one of the staff decided to wave a toy over and around them.  The resulting synchronized kitty-gymnastics made me smile. Olympic class synchronized hunting, right there! Peter

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So much for salad bars . . .

I had to laugh at an article titled ‘How Chinese Ingenuity Destroyed Salad Bars at Pizza Hut‘. In China, Pizza Huts are either take-out only or somewhat upscale sit-down restaurants that even serve steak. A while back, it became a fad of sorts to build enormous fruit and vegetable structures at Pizza Hut salad bars. The reason was that customers only got one plate and one trip to the salad bar, so they wanted their visit to be worth it. And was it ever. The result was truly amazing and wonderfully creative plates of food. There’s more at the link,

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Yet another reason to avoid keeping private information on a smartphone

Ars Technica warns that functions in Apple’s iOS permit unrestricted access to your confidential data. Apple has endowed iPhones with undocumented functions that allow unauthorized people in privileged positions to wirelessly connect and harvest pictures, text messages, and other sensitive data without entering a password or PIN, a forensic scientist warned over the weekend. Jonathan Zdziarski, an iOS jailbreaker and forensic expert, told attendees of the Hope X conference that he can’t be sure Apple engineers enabled the mechanisms with the intention of accommodating surveillance by the National Security Agency and law enforcement groups. Still, he said some of the

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