The Poor House

New builder finished his forensics work on the new house. He says it’s roughly 1/3 complete, with about 1/3 of the construction loan’s worth of work done (which, coincidentally, just about totals the amount of the liens that the former subs have put on us). That’s not awesome because there’s only 1/3 of the construction loan left.

Also, he says the original builder grossly under-estimated the cost of the house, so we were on track to be stuck with a big bill at the end, no matter what. Also there are multiple outright code violations and a few questionable spots.

As it stands now, we simply don’t have the funds to finish the house. Chopping it way back to the minimum possible to be called a livable house wouldn’t be enough to get it into our budget (and then we’d have a really expensive but kindof crappy house). And the new builder is reluctant to start without a sizable down-payment, which we don’t have.

We have no idea what we’re going to do.

On the bright side, it’s looking like the old builder is about to become the subject of a State Bureau of Investigation investigation. If he’s convicted, there might be a chance we could declare our losses as theft. That could help with taxes, eventually.

Sternidae Peristalsis

Let’s listen to me!

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You’re welcome.

As Your Governor…

When I took the oath of office, I swore to do everything I could to protect the citizens of this state from harm. There is nothing more important to me than ensuring that we are safe and can gather in our public places without fear of mass, indiscriminate violence. The nightmare scenario — the one that keeps me up at night — is the one where some individual could easily and legally obtain a firearm and use that firearm to kill innocent American citizens and also that the individual doing the killing is Syrian.

Dynamic Camouflage

There’s a specific technique for finding the optimal solution to complex problems (typically mathematical or computer programming problems) by breaking them into simpler sub-problems – each of which only needs to be solved once, optimally – and then combining the results of those sub-problems to arrive at the final solution. It’s called “Dynamic Programming“. Sounds sexy! But when you get into it, you notice that there’s really nothing dynamic about it. When you start down the DP path for a problem, you don’t find yourself in an exciting world of fast and forceful – dynamic! – things to think about; rather, it’s more about carefully and deliberately rethinking the problem at hand until you find a way to flip it on its head, or turn it inside out, or maybe even solve it backwards.

And the name doesn’t actually refer to computer programming. It’s about mathematical programming: finding the best possible solution from the set of all possible solutions, given some definition of ‘best’. That DP is often used in computer programming today is coincidence.

So where does the name come from?

The man who came up with the name, Richard Bellman, explains:

“I spent the Fall quarter (of 1950) at RAND. My first task was to find a name for multistage decision processes. An interesting question is, Where did the name, dynamic programming, come from? The 1950s were not good years for mathematical research. We had a very interesting gentleman in Washington named Wilson. He was Secretary of Defense, and he actually had a pathological fear and hatred of the word research. I’m not using the term lightly; I’m using it precisely. His face would suffuse, he would turn red, and he would get violent if people used the term research in his presence. You can imagine how he felt, then, about the term mathematical. The RAND Corporation was employed by the Air Force, and the Air Force had Wilson as its boss, essentially. Hence, I felt I had to do something to shield Wilson and the Air Force from the fact that I was really doing mathematics inside the RAND Corporation. What title, what name, could I choose? In the first place I was interested in planning, in decision making, in thinking. But planning, is not a good word for various reasons. I decided therefore to use the word “programming”. I wanted to get across the idea that this was dynamic, this was multistage, this was time-varying. I thought, let’s kill two birds with one stone. Let’s take a word that has an absolutely precise meaning, namely dynamic, in the classical physical sense. It also has a very interesting property as an adjective, and that it’s impossible to use the word dynamic in a pejorative sense. Try thinking of some combination that will possibly give it a pejorative meaning. It’s impossible. Thus, I thought dynamic programming was a good name. It was something not even a Congressman could object to. So I used it as an umbrella for my activities.”

They Hate Us For Our Freedom

… our freedom to kill Americans!

“While the Paris attackers used suicide vests and grenades,” Dale wrote, “it is clear that firearms also killed a large number of innocent victims. Can you imagine a scenario were [sic] a refugees [sic] is admitted to the United States, is provided with federal cash payments and other assistance, obtains a drivers license and purchases a weapon and executes an attack?”

While those applying for refugee status must complete “the most stringent security process for anyone entering the United States,” those attempting to purchase guns through private sales at gun shows in Texas and many other states are not required to undergo any background checks whatsoever. Virtually none of the millions of refugees admitted into the United States since 1980 have become terrorists, but the U.S. leads the world in mass shootings — almost all of which are perpetrated by people born in America.

GOP Guvs Rely on ISIS Lies

One of the Paris attackers was supposedly found with a Syrian passport—leading Republican governors here in America to vow to block Syrian refugees from entering their states.

But that passport was a fake, French officials told The Wall Street Journal, which means the governors’ freakout over refugees was likely based on a lie.

French officials told the Journal that Ahmad al-Mohammed, who blew himself up outside the Stade de France, was carrying a counterfeit Syrian passport made for him. Al-Mohammed’s fingerprints matched those on the passport found near his body, the French added.

Greek officials said the information on Al-Mohammed’s passport was run against police databases after he landed in Leros on Oct. 3 and nothing was found. Another man carrying a passport with identical information, but a different photograph, was being used by a man in Serbia who was arrested on Monday.

Daily Beast