Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Consequences Of Terrible UI Design

(“BMD False Alarm” is a new link, just added)

They couldn’t even bother to separate the DRILL stuff from the real stuff with boxes or some colors or a bold font? Put them on different tabs with giant “DRILL” and “REAL” labels at the top?

Up From the Memory Hole

Every time some new report about Trump being totally out of touch with policy matters and how his staff tries to keep him away from the levers of power, I think back to this:

Donald Trump and John Kasich’s teams are at war over whether the Republican presidential nominee ever seriously wanted the Ohio governor to join the ticket.

Multiple sources close to Kasich said Trump’s son, Donald Jr., tried to entice Kasich with a position as the most powerful vice president in history, but he turned it down. Kasich would have been in charge of all domestic and foreign policy in a Trump White House, Kasich sources said.

Sure he denied it because it makes him look seem weak and out of his depth. But he denies everything, and he is weak and out of his depth.

Trump never wanted to be President. Maybe he wanted to win the contest, but he was never up for the job. And we’ve known this the whole time.

Mental Viruses

He saw that these Arc proteins assemble into hollow, spherical shells that look uncannily like viruses. “When we looked at them, we thought: What are these things?” says Shepherd. They reminded him of textbook pictures of HIV, and when he showed the images to HIV experts, they confirmed his suspicions. That, to put it bluntly, was a huge surprise. “Here was a brain gene that makes something that looks like a virus,” Shepherd says.

That’s not a coincidence. The team showed that Arc descends from an ancient group of genes called gypsy retrotransposons, which exist in the genomes of various animals, but can behave like their own independent entities.* They can make new copies of themselves, and paste those duplicates elsewhere in their host genomes. At some point, some of these genes gained the ability to enclose themselves in a shell of proteins and leave their host cells entirely. That was the origin of retroviruses—the virus family that includes HIV.


After much debate, we resolved to turn the tables on three of our esteemed public officials. We embarked on an unauthorized sightseeing tour of their garbage, to make a point about how invasive a “garbage pull” really is–and to highlight the government’s ongoing erosion of people’s privacy.

We chose District Attorney Mike Schrunk because his office is the most vocal defender of the proposition that your garbage is up for grabs. We chose Police Chief Mark Kroeker because he runs the bureau. And we chose Mayor Vera Katz because, as police commissioner, she gives the chief his marching orders.

Each, in his or her own way, has endorsed the notion that you abandon your privacy when you set your trash out on the curb. So we figured they wouldn’t mind too much if we took a peek at theirs.

Boy, were we wrong.

White Hands

Trump continues to disappoint.

Among President Trump’s worrisome nominees to the judiciary, perhaps none is as alarming as Thomas Alvin Farr, a protégé of Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator, and a product of the modern white supremacist machine that Helms pioneered.

Farr, nominated to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, began his career as counsel for Helms’ Senate campaigns, where he participated in racist tactics to intimidate African-American voters. This alone is reason to reject his nomination, as is his apparent lying on the topic to the Senate Judiciary Committee. But Farr’s connections to Helms’ white supremacist causes and political network go much deeper.

Farr’s former law partner, Thomas Ellis, was Helms’ top deputy for decades. He also served as a director of the Nazi-inspired, pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund and used funding from that organization to create and bankroll a network of interlocking organizations to support Helms and other political candidates who espoused the notion of a superior white race and opposed civil rights.

Together, Helms, Ellis, and their protégé Farr unleashed a huge propaganda machine that incited hostility toward African-Americans. Farr served as a lead counsel to Helms’ 1990 Senate campaign, which ran the now-infamous “White Hands” television ad, designed to inflame white voter anxiety over Helms’ black opponent, Harvey Gantt. It showed a pair of white hands balling up a rejection letter while a voice said: “You needed that job and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota.” The same campaign also sent more than 100,000 intimidating postcards to North Carolinians, most of whom were blacks eligible to vote.

Farr represented the Helms campaign in 1984, when it circulated photos of his opponent, Gov. Jim Hunt, with African-American leaders in an attempt to foster white resentment. The racist nature of that campaign was so pronounced that a federal court cited it as an example of how bigotry in elections continued to flourish in North Carolina politics.

When Farr graduated from law school, Helms and Ellis brought him into their fold. Farr joined the small law firm of Maupin, Taylor & Ellis, where all of the named partners were openly hostile to civil rights.

Most recently, Farr has carried on Helms’ legacy by helping North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature create and defend in court discriminatory voting restrictions and electoral districts, which were eventually struck down by numerous federal courts that found them to be motivated by intentional racism. In fact, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that the state’s 2013 voter suppression law was aimed at blacks with “almost surgical precision.”

I couldn’t find this many white-supremacist assholes if I wanted to, but Trump seems to have no problem digging them up.