Radioactivity Art

Greenpeace photographer Greg McNevin has created a beautiful series of photographs based on walking around areas formerly contaminated by the ongoing Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters with an LED stick connected to a geiger counter. It’s unfortunate that most people won’t be able to see the art past the politics, but I think it has value in both spheres.

aye brooks nae tangledness

Twenty years ago I worked out the words to this song. You’ll note that Andy doesn’t get them perfect in this performance! I originally misspelled the name as “MacGilavry” but I’ve fixed that here.

Donald gane up the hill hard and hungry,
Donald's come doon the hill wild and angry;
Donald will clear the gouk's nest cleverly,
Here's to the king and Donald McGillavry.
          Come like a weighbauk, Donald McGillavry,
          Come like a weighbauk, Donald McGillavry,
          Balance them fair, and balance them cleverly:
          Off wi' the counterfeit, Donald McGillavry.

Donald's run o'er the hill but his tether man,
As he were wud, or stang'd wi' an ether, man;
When he comes back, there's some will look merrily:
Here's to King James and Donald McGillavry.
          Come like a weaver, Donald McGillavry,
          Come like a weaver, Donald McGillavry,
          Pack on your back, and elwand sae cleverly;
          Gie them full measure, my Donald McGillavry.

Donald has foughten wi' rief and roguery;
Donald has dinner'd wi' banes and beggary,
Better it were for Whigs and Whiggery
Meeting the devil than Donald McGillavry.
          Come like a tailor, Donald McGillavry,
          Come like a tailor, Donald McGillavry,
          Push about, in and out, thimble them cleverly,
          Here's to King James and Donald McGillavry.

Donald's the callan that brooks nae tangleness;
Whigging and prigging and a' newfangleness,
They maun be gane:  he winna be baukit, man;
He maun hae justice, or faith he'll tak it, man.
          Come like a cobbler, Donald McGillavry,
          Come like a cobbler, Donald McGillavry,
          Beat them, and bore them, and lingel them cleverly,
          Up wi' King James and Donald McGillavry.

Donald was mumpit wi' mirds and mockery;
Donald was blinded wi' blads o' property;
Arles ran high, but makings were naething, man,
Lord, how Donald is flyting and fretting, man.
          Come like the devil, Donald McGillavry,
          Come like the devil, Donald McGillavry,
          Skelp them and scaud them that proved sae unbritherly,
          Up wi' King James and Donald McGillavry!

Don’t be a .local yokel

Wikipedia has a nice technical write up that explains why you should never, ever use the .local suffix the way Microsoft has frequently recommended.

But I like this politically incorrect version better:

Microsoft: “Gee, nobody is using the .local piece of the globally shared Internet namespace, so let’s tell all our customers that it’s best practice to use it for our totally super cool version of Kerberized LDAP service called Active Directory!”

Novell: “Oh noes, Microsoft has made an inferior competitor to our flagship technology! It’ll probably destroy our market advantage just like their inferior networking stack did!”

Linux/Unix: “Oh noes, when somebody attaches the new Microsoft technology to an existing mature standards-based network, Kerberos breaks!”

Microsoft: “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA we are totally following the standard, lusers!”

Linux/Unix: “grumble whine we will patch Kerberos even though we don’t agree.”

Microsoft: “whatevs. Did you notice we broke your DNS too? :)”

Apple: “Hey, IETF, we have this cool new zeroconf technology. We want to reserve the .local namespace for it.”

IETF: “OK, sure, you’ve filled out all the forms and attended all the meetings and there’s two independent implementations so you’ve done everything correctly. We have no valid reason to deny this allocation.”

Novell: “Hey, we were using SLP already, what did you just do?”

Apple: “Oh, whoopsie, did we just eat your lunch? HA HA HA HA HA”

Microsoft: “Hey, what just happened?”

Apple: “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA RFC6762, lusers!”

Linux/Unix: “grumble mumble whatevs. We can do mDNS.”

Microsoft customers: “OH NOES WE ARE SCREWZ0RRED”

Microsoft: “Meh, you didn’t really want Apple products on your networks anyway.”


Microsoft customers: “How much would it cost to fix this network?”

Microsoft: “What, were you talking to us? Everything’s fine here. Windows 10 forever!”

Licenses, Poetic and Other

Which do you prefer:

Jeb Bush’s license for the engraved gun he tweeted with the title “America”

– OR –

Bernie Sanders’ licensed use of Simon and Garfunkel’s song “America”

I stole nearly this entire post without permission.

I wish Sanders wasn’t so damn old.

Foswiki dependency hell

I really wanted to run Foswiki, because it seems like most of the TWiki devs ended up there, and because my employers want to run an enterprise wiki with fine-grained access and revision control driven from a corporate directory. Since Foswiki is written in perl, and Graham Barr’s excellent perl-LDAP modules can easily handle arbitrarily complex directory integration, I figured I’d just rip out all the code that checked users and groups against the Foswiki DB and replace it with appropriate LDAP calls, then send my mods upstream to the Foswiki devs. They seem like a good crowd, they’d probably appreciate a non-caching LDAP module.

But we’re heavily federally regulated, and we can’t run unmaintainable code. The number of unpackaged dependencies I’d need to run Foswiki on Red Hat Enterprise Linux is just unsupportable. I can’t find an audited, securely maintained package of File::Copy::Recursive, for example, anywhere. And there’s quite a few more (although some are available from EPEL).

I’d love to find a wiki engine that used real LDAP, instead of just caching copies of data retrieved by LDAP in a local database.


Morale is more often than not the difference between winners and losers.

“That’s quite clear,” murmured the O’Keefe in my ear. “Weaken the morale—then smash. I’ve seen it happen a dozen times in Europe. While they’ve got their nerve there’s not a thing you can do; get their nerve—and not a thing can they do. And yet in both cases they’re the same men.”

It seems to me that bad morale has far more effect than good… you can believe in what you’re doing and still fail, but it’s vanishingly rare for someone with low morale to succeed. To do that you have to be a certain kind of bloody-minded, unstoppable curmudgeon, as inexorable as a glacier, which isn’t nearly as easy or as much fun as being a high-spirited and confident person.

Fearlessness is not Bravery

Bravery lies in conquering fear. Fearlessness is a disability, although it’s one you can often leverage to good effect. Total fearlessness is indistinguishable from utter stupidity.

“A lot of people think Mohawks aren’t afraid of heights; that’s not true. We have as much fear as the next guy. The difference is that we deal with it better. We also have the experience of the old timers to follow and the responsibility to lead the younger guys. There’s pride in ‘walking iron.’” —Kyle Karonhiaktatie Beauvais (Mohawk, Kahnawake)

Advice from the Buddha

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: “Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood conceit, whose mind has not been cleansed of it, has not abandoned it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood conceit, whose mind has been cleansed of it, has abandoned it, is capable of putting an end to stress.”

People are
   possessed by conceit
   tied up with conceit
   delighted with becoming.
Not comprehending conceit, they come to becoming again.
But those who, letting go of conceit,
are, in its destruction, released,
conquering the bond of conceit,
   go beyond
 all bonds.

As Mimi told me, “being focused is just remembering what you really want.”