Give this guy a medal!

Dude sprays pepper spray to subdue a pack of misbehaving motorcyclists (is there any other kind?).

What's wrong with this sentence?

In the beginning—about 12 years ago—there were structured data, and it was good.
The correct answer is absolutely nothing.  The word data is plural.  Datum is the singular.

It irks me when the word data is used as the singular.  One might have a single collection of data.

Data are.

A collection of data is.

This isn't hard.  Kudos to Ars for getting it right, even if the sentence is unwieldy.  

EDIT: they have since uncorrected the article to introduce the error of a singular data. 


Think about it

I've heard the phrase I wouldn't piss on X if they were on fire from time to time.  It's pretty self evident what it means.

Now think about it for a second.   If I detested somebody so much that this phrase would be applicable to them, then I definitely would piss on them if they were on fire.

Here's my reasoning.  If the fire is too big, then simply urinating on it can't possibly put it all out.  On the other hand, if the fire is small enough that urinating on it would be sufficient to extinguish it, then it would be easy to aim the stream away from the flame and direct the it to non-burning parts of the body.

Either way, it seems to me that the best course of action when confronted by a detestable individual, laying aflame on the ground, is to urinate on them.  If only to add the insult to injury.


Via Wonkette.  Seriously, watch the video and go read their analysis.

I hope my employer-provided Cadillac insurance policy covers skull fractures due to facepalming.

How many virgins do I need to exsanguinate to fill this bathtub?

The dark lord commands it. 

Atheist vs Agnostic

That theist drivel in the Times reminded me of a talk I heard where Aron Ra argues that one is either theist or atheist, and that there's no agnostic third choice.

I think he's mostly right, and highly recommend reading the entire thing.

Revisiting the previous post, it seems both Aron Ra and William Irwin are lumping what are commonly referred to as agnostics into the atheist camp. Which is valid, but there's an imprecision of language that is problematic.

There are, in fact, three categories one can be in regarding the belief in the existence of a bearded magical sky fairy:

  1. That the fairy doesn't exist
  2. That the fairy does exist
  3. Uncertain.
The language we use to describe these three states is theist for number 2 and atheist for 1 and 3 collectively.   The reason for this is these words describe what one is, not what one is not.

One is a theist if one believes in the existence of invisible pink unicorns, or whatever euphemism one wants to use in place of the 'g' word.

Conversely, an atheist is one who does not positively believe that flying spaghetti monsters are floating around, spiritually molesting us with their noodly tentacles.   So those who remain uncertain, are atheists.

Aron is right that agnostic is useless, but what we need is a word to describe those in category 1 as distinct from category 3, because they are different populations.

[and as an aside, really, what William Irwin was arguing is that we need a dialogue between categories 2 and 3 to the exclusion of category 1 with the "honest atheist" argument.  This exploits a confounding of the precise meaning of atheist with the colloquial meanings of atheist and agnostic in order to rhetorically present the idea as inclusive, when it is anything but.

And that's what really irked me about that article. ]

Aside, aside; Aron's own words on the why agnostic isn't really useful:

 Gnosis refers to knowledge of God rather than belief in God.  Most theists are gnostic in that they pretend to know what no one even can know.  There are also many theists who are agnostic, saying that they believe in some vague concept of god, but “who can say for sure who that god is or what prophets he really spoke to?”  Most atheists are agnostic, saying that since it is impossible to test any knowledge claim relating to anything supernatural then no one really knows anything about gods, devils, ghosts, psionics or any other purportedly paranormal thing, and that is certainly reason enough to reject such beliefs.
So when we boil the atheist vs agnostic argument down, we're left with the term agnostic applying to both sides.  Nobody is gnostic.  Period.  People can believe at anything as hard as they want, but sincerity and persistence don't make something true.

Aron calls himself a gnostic atheist in that his experiences and knowledge of how the world works make the existence of a god exceedingly unlikely.  Basically, by recognizing how arguments for the existence of god are flawed, they are rejected. The problem is like Russell's teapot, a negative can't be proven, so one can't really claim to be gnostic either way.

We have the same problem if we use the terms believe and non-believer. Since both still combine the uncertain and negative populations into a single set relative to the positive.

So how do we refer to the three distinct populations?  Our language is good at binary, either-or logic, but doesn't do so well when there are more than 2 states.

God isn't the question either

I don't think this guy understands, you know...words.
Any honest atheist must admit that he has his doubts, that occasionally he thinks he might be wrong, that there could be a God after all — if not the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition, then a God of some kind.
Not really, if the word atheist is to have any meaning at all. Atheists don't question the nonexistance of god.  Ever.  That's what makes them atheists! 
People who claim certainty about God worry me, both those who believe and those who don’t believe. They do not really listen to the other side of conversations, and they are too ready to impose their views on others. It is impossible to be certain about God.
Both sides do it?  Not really.  Believers tend to demand more special accommodations in public life than non-believers.  And the idea that a secular state should remain religiously impartial is somehow an atheistic plot to "impose their beliefs" on believers is nonsense.

And the same argument that this author uses as the atheist position against Pascal's wager is the very reason why the both sides do it argument is bunk.  Not acknowledging any belief is a recognition that there are many competing sects, and not favoring one over another is the only way to accommodate them all.

So again, it's not non-believers imposing their non-belief on believers.

And because one philosophy type can't conceptualize the idea of certainty, he dismisses the concept outright.
 What is important is the common ground of the question, not an answer. Surely, we can respect anyone who approaches the question honestly and with an open mind. Ecumenical and interfaith religious dialogue has increased substantially in our age. We can and should expand that dialogue to include atheists and agnostics, to recognize our common humanity and to stop seeing one another as enemy combatants in a spiritual or intellectual war.

What dialogue?  Outside the ivory tower of academic philosophy, there is a real-life zero sum culture war being waged by believers against non-believers.   Charlatans like Dave Barton go around rewriting history to try and recast the nation as christian in origin, however untrue that may be.

Or the ambitiously titled One Million Moms (all 64,000) of them, that are now boycotting Olive Garden, not because of Olive Garden's shitty food, but because Lucifer is too sexy?  That's not non-believers doing battle against faith.

God isn't the answer, and god isn't the question either.  What we need is for incredulous philosophers, who dismiss unbelief out of hand, to stand aside and not speak for those of us who genuinely do not believe, and never will.

We also need those that demand that society remake itself around a particular sectarian dogma to learn their place, and realize that official recognition of one is discrimination against all others and the only way for neutrality is to avoid the both the question and the answer altogether.

You can be a religious as you want at home and in church, but if you demand a bathtub mary outside city hall, you've crossed that line.

And no, non-belief, or atheism isn't a religion.



I don't post anything "below the fold," or however you want to put it.

One Sided

Esquire published a slideshow of their picks of the 50 most powerful photos.  It's very negative.  In fact the only positive photo in the only slideshow is number 37.

(well, Tank Man is pretty good too)

But what about:



or even:

There are many powerful images that are moving for positive reasons.  The world isn't all doom and gloom.   Who needs to see W begin his 7 minutes of uncomfortable fidgeting when we could have the   Afghan Girl, Earthrise, or the New Horizon's imaging of Pluto?

She is haunting.  The other three are amazing scientific achievements that should inspire future generations to continue the search for knowledge.   As much as I feel for the little girl killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, or Elian Gonzales, we can't lose sight of the positive things that are also powerful.

And the pale blue dot.  That bright white speck in the leftmost orange vertical line is the planet Earth as viewed from far outside the orbits of the planets.

Inspiration is also power; it isn't only heartbreak, or pain.

Close but not quite

io9 ranks superhero movies.  They get it mostly right.  I'd swap Guardians of the Galaxy with The Avengers, and Orgasmo with The Toxic Avenger, though.

A surprisingly comprehensive list.  Somehow Pumaman (pronounced with the yod) and Howard the Duck beat out both the new Fantastic Four and Batman and Robin.

110 movies ranked in all.  Had a chuckle or two as I read through it.


Roger was right

Robert Ebeling, one of the engineers who warned of problems with the space shuttle Challenger, has died.

This is a man who was haunted by the ghosts of the people we lost for 30 years.   The NPR story was absolutely heartbreaking.  He blamed himself for the tragedy, and the response to that NPR report was finally able to put him at ease.
I asked him one more question. "What would you like to say to all the people who have written you?"
"Thank you," he said. "You helped bring my worrisome mind to ease. You have to have an end to everything."
Ebeling then smiled, raised his hands above his head and clapped again. Kathy Ebeling called that a miracle.
This man is a hero for sounding the warning.  He bears no responsibility for the decisions of the launch manager to proceed despite the danger.

And I am happy he was able to die in peace; not tortured by his inability to stop the launch of the Challenger.

Rest in peace, Bob, you've earned it.


Eureka, I guess

I am not a biologist.   I know this because I've taken biology classes in middle school, high school and college.  When I read this excellent post from PZ, I suddenly realize the point of exposing everybody to a broad range of sciences in the primary, secondary and post-secondary education.

The point isn't to create an army of experts in genetics, physics, geology, or any of the other sciences; the point is to inform the general population enough about the complexities of the sciences that they are able to recognize the expertise of those who do devote their lives to scientific study.

It's about teaching people what they don't know.

Basically, it's how we as a society are supposed to fight a widespread Dunning-Kruger effect in STEM fields.

Maybe what's needed in STEM, in addition to the current pedagogy, is to acknowledge the difficulty of the field, and point out that while not everybody is suited to every subject, it's important to know that people are capable of becoming experts, and that some baseline is required to recognize when one's own knowledge isn't enough.

I've always found the idea that the purpose of the educational system is to churn out ready-made cogs in for the economic machine instinctively offensive.  I'm not really the best advocate for liberal arts, but I had always appreciated their value, but now I think I actually get it.  We all need to know some stuff, at least enough to have an idea of what we don't know.

And here's where I think our educational system is failing.  

Horror Story

This is an absolute horror story.

In January one of the storage controllers of the DDN system malfunctioned. While the system operated normally, we had to schedule replacing it fairly quickly: If the backup controller had failed before the replacement, it would have caused unplanned break and probably some serious risk to the data. To ensure safety of the replacement, we decided to do this during a maintenance break. The break was scheduled for Tuesday February 9th.

DDN storage controllers can be replaced live.  They operate as a pair called a 'couplet' in DDN lingo.  Each half of the couplet acts as the primary controller for half of the attached disk storage and backup controller for the other half.

Failover is completely seamless.  They're really amazing beasts.

The DDN controller replacement went quite smoothly and around 10 a.m. we were ready to bring the system back online. However, when restarting the Lustre filesystem, the metadata server reported anomalies in its filesystem and requested to do a filesystem check (fsck). Typically these are fairly routine operations, especially when the filesystem has been up for a long time. Any problems that the check finds are typically fixed automatically with no impact.

In this case, however, the tool could not fix all the problems it identified. A faulty inode persisted. Trying to bring the Lustre up resulted in a system crash (kernel panic) with this inode a very likely cause.
The controller replacement likely had nothing at all to do with this.  This would have happened regardless of whether or not anything was replaced, by virtue of the shutdown for maintenance itself.

This is also where my heart dropped.  They lost the metadata.  In a lustre file system, that is what describes the layout of the actual files on the object storage targets.

It seems that the corruption wasn't necessarily to the underlying ldiskfs file system on the mdt, because they were able to perform a file-level backup.

The impressive thing is how they were able to MacGuyver together a 3TB ramdisk to accelerate the data transfer.

As a workaround we created ramdisks on a number of Taito cluster compute nodes, mounted them via iSCSI over the high-speed InfiniBand network to a server and pooled them together to make a sufficiently large filesystem for our needs.

Initially this was considered somewhat of a long shot, but it paid off: The approach clearly outperformed the other experiments and copied the most difficult large directories in hours instead of weeks. Combined with running multiple copies in parallel we were able to achieve well over 20k IOPS.

That is fucking genius!  There is no other way to put that.  Let this sink in for a second.

They took compute nodes of another cluster, created a bunch of ramdisks, then mounted said disks on the mds using ib_srp and aggregated them into a single volume!

Give the guy who came up with that a fucking medal!  I mean seriously, that is some weapons-grade lateral thinking.   

I think I might play around with our lustre testbed to try and implement a mdt snapshotting scheme via LVM.  If I could snapshot the mdt, perform a file-level backup of the snapshotted target, and then destroy the snapshot, I'd be left with a map of the data on the file system, for DR that's managable in size.

Aside from the downtime, this story has a happy ending.  To my production-focused mind, the length of the downtime was unacceptable.  The problem is with systems of this scale, it can't really be avoided (unless they had the DR mdt backup waiting in the wings).

Impressive, though, nonetheless.


At work the drive is for simplification, but simplification from a "stakeholder" perspective.   The six sigma customer is now a stakeholder in the new paradigm.

I'm not complaining, it is easier to control good processes, or in other words good processes are those that stakeholders follow, requiring fewer external controls.

So for quality outcomes, it's very important that stakeholders be able to navigate a process effectively.

With the MBA-speak out of the way, this simplification drive results in greatly increased complexity on the back end (in HPC anyway).

As a researcher, I have a simulation job that I need to submit to our compute resources.  The job requires a certain number of processors to execute optimally.   It also requires a large amount of very fast scratch storage during execution, and a smaller amount of stable long term storage on which to store the inputs and results.

What I do today is go to the web-based job submission portal, select the application, tell it the name and location of the input files, and how many processors I need.  

This is simple!  I have no need to be aware of the underlying hardware architecture, or manage the location of the data, since the middleware does that all for me!

But I'm not a researcher.  I develop and manage that middleware, and it's complicated. 

First, we have to take that one number of processors requested and map that to hardware with varying numbers of processors per machine.  This is an NP hard bin-packing problem; it's computationally very expensive to calculate an optimal solution, but fairly simple to approximate a valid solution.  

This is easy when the number of processes map one to one to the number of processors, but that is no longer the case with OpenMP.   Now our tasks have multiple threads and performance can suffer if a task is split between CPU sockets.

What this means is a checkbox for the user, and another layer of calculation on my end, all in the name of simplicity!



Broad Brushes

I'm well aware that guilt by association is a logical fallacy, but if you don't want to get covered in shit, don't stand next to the fan.

My point is that stuff like this is pretty much what I think of all motorcyclists.  Period. 

A Texas grand jury indicted 48 more bikers Wednesday in connection with a May 2015 shootout outside a Twin Peaks restaurant that left nine dead, bringing the total number of people facing felony charges to 154.
They're eating away at your little club there, buddy.
Mad Max was a documentary.


Cartoons from intentionally dumbed-down geek experiment to end up somehow in actual "science" textbooks.
[redacted links removed, because fuck the author], creator of popular webcomic XKCD, recently published a new book called Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, in which he uses only the thousand most common words in the English language to explain how a variety of things work, from locks to nuclear bombs.
This is why the word science above is in scare quotes.  Explaining things using only the one thousand most common words is not some noble undertaking designed to foster greater understanding; it is simply an exercise in geek masturbation.  It is an experiment the sole purpose of which is to answer the question: is it possible to do such a thing?

Now I fucking hate XKCD, and for very good reasons, which I won't focus on here.  The problem here is this is the antithesis of what education is about.

Back in middle school, we had to take classes in etymology.  We analyzed the greek and latin origins of words, or more specifically, the roots of words.  That's important to how one might figure out what new, unfamiliar words may mean from context.

Etymology, or 6th-grade reading skills are reinforced by science text books that don't dumb down their content.  The words learned in actual science books reinforce the understandings derived by studying etymology.  Science requires precision, language is the mechanism by which scientific precision is communicated.  You can't have one without the other.  Calling an elevator a lifting room undermines this process. 

I'm not eloquent, or erudite, but I am fucking literate, and all I can say is this: ungoodthinkwise speakteach doubleplusungood.


Fuck FiOS

Seriously. Updating my Macbook, downloading the update would take 10 hours.  I connected to VPN, and now it's 26 minutes!

Jeezus.  Verizon sucks.

EDIT: for specific values of "sucks."  Verizon's connections with other networks are insufficient to satisfy customer demand.   VPN services route around the congestion, so the offer better performance than Verizon alone provides.

EDIT 2: That 26 minute download ended up taking 4 minutes.


I think I've run into a bit of a plateau therapy-wise.  I've been at the point where I thought I was ready to bring others into my life, like I'm finally able to sympathize (a word I've had trouble even pronouncing in the past), empathize, etc.

Now the problem is that I can't seem to see the forest for the trees.  Or more specifically, my therapist will establish a hypothetical situation, and since I'm now so averse to jumping to conclusions, I tend to want to establish context so I can make the correct emotional response.

So what is happening?  Am I hitting a plateau, or am I in the type of phobia exposure therapy an ophidiophobic would go though confronting snakes?  Next meeting, I need to ask, because pondering the options isn't really helping anymore.

On the bright side, the anxiety is still at bay, and since that was the biggest obstacle in my career advancement, it's a good thing that's gone.


Vulgar nerd content ahead (related to the title of my last post).

One of the (slight) commonalities between programming languages and natural languages is syntax.

We're all familiar with infix.  It's math:  a + b  = c.  The addition operator exists between its operands (infix).  This is opposed to RPN (reverse polish), where the operator follows the operands.

RPN notation in computing has an advantage over infix, because it isn't ambiguous to a simple stack based parser.

Now what follows really doesn't have anything to do at all with the above, since in math and programming infixes have lexical significance.  On the other hand, most people have at least encountered a math problem, so the idea of an infix, in this context, would be more broadly relatable.

English doesn't really have infixes, except one in particular.  The rules for its usage are here.  Emphasis is original.

The English expletive fucking (or as it is often pronounced in casual speech, fuckin'), along with several other similar words, can be infixed into many words.  (This infix fucking is and affective morpheme -- it doesn't add lexical meaning, but its use reveals something about the speaker's attitude.)  As examples like Massafuckingchusetts show, even non-complex words consisting of only one morpheme can have fucking inserted  -- neither massa nor chusetts is meaningful on its own.
It continues.
So how is fucking placed in the word? Its position is not random, as shown by ungrammatical examples like *Massfuckingachusetts or *Massachufuckingsetts...Fucking [is positioned] relative to the prosodic structure of the word (the arrangement of its sounds): it is always infixed before the word's main stress syllable... 
(seriously, go read the whole thing, it's such a dryly clinical explanation of the linguistics behind the proper infix use of fucking that it's  fucking hilarious).

So the post title is: Yosemite-Fucking Sam.  In that phrase the syllable 'sam' has the primary stress, as opposed to Yo-seh-mah-fucking-TEE had Yosemite been the only word.

Now go forth and insert fucking, appropriate-fucking-ly, into every-fucking-thing.

(and if you're anything like me, you'll spend the next several years periodically revisiting this rule, randomly, and find yourself parsing large words to figure out where fucking is most appropriately inserted.  Not to mention figuring out how to google this linguistic book at work without setting off any of the content filters)

EDIT: Because I'm infuckingsane, I can't decide whether hifuckinglarious or fucking hilarious is correct.

Yosemite-Fucking Sam

What's this about?  

Statistics, of course!  Something of a YANSS post.

Lately, YANSS has been devoting a "seasons" worth of podcasts to logical fallacies.  They're pretty good, and it's very worthwhile to listen to them, but they just don't have that "wow, holy crap" factor that the more self-delusion focused episodes have for me.   That's probably because I'm generally much more familiar with formal logic, at least from a mathematical standpoint.

So as far as Yosemite-Fucking Sam goes, episode 71 covers the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, which is somewhat similar to confirmation bias, but is a little more nuanced (this episode doesn't appear on the website yet, but is available wherever overcast syncs from).

And yes, I'm aware that Yosemite is in California!

Now the reason I'm writing this isn't necessarily to call attention to this particular podcast, or fallacy (but listen to it anyway), but to take issue with how nearly completely one of the guest experts dismissed statistics as a cause of the fallacy, rather than when properly applied, the best solution to the same.  I'm by no means an expert in statistics; I rarely need to calculate anything more meaningful than variance on the data sets that I work with regularly (parallel file system performance data, mainly).

None of this is to say that statistics is immune to the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy, but understanding a little bit about basic statistics can help one avoid it, and recognize when it is happening.

Inferential statistics (the kind used to model and draw conclusions about a population) generally begins with the null hypothesis, that is a general position that no relationship between the studied phenomena exists.  The null hypothesis is assumed to be true, and the analysis of the population data (sampled or not) generally attempts to reject or disprove this hypothesis.

The most obvious way that the TS fallacy can creep in is when an inappropriate null hypothesis is chosen.  For example, if a relationship is assumed to exist.   It can also crop up if the wrong statistical model is applied to a valid null hypothesis.

What models, selection criteria, sampling methods and confidence tests are available and how they should be applied to various data sets and situations are way beyond my specific realm of knowledge, and most peoples' as well.  How do we trust that the statistics presented in support of an argument are valid and not suffering from the TS fallacy?   That's a difficult question.

One of the experts suggests questioning the motivations of the person/entity that proffers the statistics.  I suggest questioning the source as well. 

If CERN tells us that they've reached 5 sigma on the discovery of the Higgs Boson (go CERN!), one can be fairly certain that they've done the appropriate tests to compute that confidence interval (99.9999%).

If a blatantly biased organization is using numbers, than we'd be better suited to question the validity of the analysis that drove the results.

It isn't important that people necessarily understand the ins and outs of statistical analysis, but it is important to understand the basics, and the basics include knowledge that various analysis methods exist.  Right now, to most people statistics is a black box (to say nothing of the overall innumeracy of Americans), and that makes it particularly easy to lie with numbers.


The Wings of Your Dreams.

Somebody needs to hang this in this guy's jail cell.

A man described by authorities as an antigovernment “sovereign citizen” is accused of plotting to overthrow the state government in West Virginia, hoping to establish a prototype for extremists to follow in other states.

Let's see that plan!

 His intended plan was to remove several state government leaders from their offices, charge them with treason and replace them with sovereign citizens. After apparently setting up a sovereign citizen-style court system, those found guilty of treason would be put to death.

Forgive me for recycling this, but it really does illustrate how this type of thing is likely to go down.


Hairy Balls*

Pro-tip: Don't let the internet name things.
The official name of a new multi-million pound research vessel could be the RSS Boaty McBoatface after the internet was asked for its ideas.

Here's a picture.  I think the name is quite apt.

* Title reference:


Irony died.

So violent threats against people with whom one disagrees are suddenly pro-free speech?



Those who know me in real life might wince at the title.   However, in this case I'm referencing the main character of Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano.

The reason for this is, it's okay to start liking Boston Dynamics again!

Google's parent company Alphabet wants to sell Boston Dynamics, the firm's robotics division, because it doesn't seem likely to generate solid revenue.
Of course it won't.  Not in the near term anyway.   Boston Dynamics is a pure research company that was largely funded by DARPA.  In fact, Alphabet (nee Google) rejected funding from the very same, which is how the venture was most likely to drive revenue.  They certainly aren't going to be crowding the sidewalks with humanoid robots that print and distribute google ads to pedestrians...

I don't think research into robotics will necessarily lead us to the future predicted in Player Piano.  But if we allow a company that derives its entire revenue stream from showing you things you don't want to see to drive the future of consumer technology, we'd end up living in The Zero Theorem.

And because it's not possible (or polite) to post anything about Boston Dynamics without including some sort of video. 

Careful there, don't want to make it resent humanity too strongly!


Random thought

If you were walking down the street and ran into a famous person, would you ask them to take a selfie with you to prove the encounter happened?

Now what if it was Vladimir Putin?

Is there a level of reprehensibility that would cause one to ignore such an encounter? 

For me the answer to the first question is "it depends," and I'm sure that's true of most people.  For the second the answer is yes.

Kim Jong Un, the answer is no.  He's just batshit insane.  Dennis Rodman?  Only if he's wearing a bridal gown at the time, or oddly, walking arm-in-arm with Mr. Kim.

Hitler?  Trump?

Martha Stewart: Cannibal.

I laughed.


Missed Opportunity

I think I understand the long game on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.  It's a sit and wait strategy, like how the FBI dealt with the Oregon Moron Militia.

The first part is to avoid confrontation by nominating a very moderate, consensus choice.  One that represents the best the GOP could hope for given the current president (or any Democrat for that matter).  Any subsequent obstruction to a moderate centrist would undermine any effort to obstruct the nomination by rendering it ridiculous.

Just like Oregon, we're now going to step back and let the obstructionists hang themselves with the rope that they've just been given.

Buzz is that they'll vote to confirm him if and only if a Democrat is elected.   So they intend to wait until after the election (finally using the lame duck term properly). What hasn't been said is if the nomination will be withdrawn on election day, which is what I think will happen.   The GOP has shown its hand, all Obama needs to do is wait until the election and then withdraw the candidate on 11/8, even before the results are in.

If it comes to this, then the conditions are much more favorable that a younger, more liberal justice becomes the nominee.

If the GOP is capable of thinking ahead, and it's unlikely based on past performance that they are, then they'll accept the moderate choice.  The court balance shifts either way from conservative majority, to swing court, and remains that way for a short time, relatively, given Garland is 63.   The GOP would not come off as obstructionist, and would have a better chance of restoring the balance in their favor when Ginsburg retires in the next few years, likely in the next presidential term.

The only way this isn't win-win for Obama and the country is if for some reason, we all collectively begin huffing spray paint, snorting paste and bashing our heads against large rocks for the next 8 months and enough of us become stupid of enough to vote for Trump.

Litmus Test

If you don't hear Europe's The Final Countdown when you view this gif, then you don't belong on this planet.


1000 words

From NYT we have everything wrong with Donald Trump (and anyone with more money than taste, sense, class, or discretion) in one picture.

It's not JUST a piano!  It's a 1927 STEINWAY BABY GRAND!
Ask yourself, why is it important that people know not to place anything on the 1927 Steinway Baby Grand piano?  Steinways aren't rare, and I'm sure there are many from that era still around.   This seems less about not placing anything on the piano, and more about some utter philistine bragging about how classy he is.

I honestly haven't read the whole thing, but what I have been able to get through pretty much confirm the conclusions that one would draw from the sign in this picture.

EDIT: Is it Hamburg or New York?

KKK for Hitlery!

No, seriously.

Will Quigg, a grand dragon of the Klan’s California chapter and responsible for recruitment in the western United States, is less keen to give Mr Trump the dubious benefit of his support. 
“We want Hillary Clinton to win,” Mr Quigg told The Telegraph. “She is telling everybody one thing, but she has a hidden agenda. She’s telling everybody what they want to hear so she can get elected, because she’s Bill Clinton’s wife, she’s close to the Bushes. [But] once she’s in the presidency, she’s going to come out and her true colours are going to show.
Uh huh.  And Oh, but there's this:

 Asked why he was not therefore supporting Mr Trump, Mr Quigg replied: “We don’t like his hair. We think it’s a toupee. He won’t do what he says he will do. He says he’s going to build a 20-foot high fence along with border with Mexico and make them pay. How’s he going to do that?”
So at least his decision is rational, relevant and well thought out.  There's no possible way a metaphor for this change of heart would be elementary schoolers trying to convince each other that 'gullible' isn't in the dictionary, could there?

Prof Levin, a former New York police officer, was sceptical of Mr Quigg’s renunciation. “Based on his past statements, it doesn’t appear highly credible that he has changed his effusive allegiance to Donald Trump,” he said. “The timing seems suspect. I think this is a function of not wanting to undermine the Trump campaign.”
I can't wait for the Oklahoma Goat Fucker to endorse Hillary.  That'll be great!


I don't post about Linux too much, mostly because it's arcane, and my particular expertise is highly specialized, and thus not relevant to most casual Linux users.

It is sad though, since slashdot (no link) has devolved into a festering malebolge of anti-sjw butthurt, there is really only one other site that focuses on Linux related news: phoronix.

This is problematic for two reasons.  First, the misogynistic cancer unfortunately infects much of the open source community, has metastasized and spread there as well.  First ESR has some very controversial beliefs, and second, Breitbart is hardly a reputable enterprise.  It's a mind-boggling lack of judgment on the part of the phoronix proprietor, Michael Larabel.

The second reason is that a great deal of the time, ML has absolutely  no clue what he's even reporting about.  I mean stopped clocks finding the occasional nut and all that.  But the important information isn't in his incestuously interlinked postings, but in the source material (often simply summarized) that's usually, but not always, the final link in any particular "article."

Basically, the problem is the what is this, and why should we care questions go unanswered.   Specifically, with VMD, there is precious little information out in the wild about what it is for, and what hardware supports it.  In cases like these, it would be better not to report something, than to pretend to know what it is.

Basically, it seems to be specific to PCI-E attached storage devices in the md driver, but I'm not sure of that.  

Anyway, despite the well earned criticism, phoronix manages--accidentally, one would presume--to perform one good function (see the post by Sander_Marechal):

 Uh, yes they do. Phoronix isn't just running benchmarks. They have built a large testing framework and computerfarm capable of running many different benchmarks over many distributions and configurations automatically. It's even integrated with the Linux kernel's git repository. When there's a large performance drop (or increase) in a specific benchmark, the framework can automatically git bisect and rerun the benchmarks until it fins the exact commit that caused it. That's a huge contribution to development. It's been used quite succesfully in finding and killing performance regressions.


From this to this

From this to this.


(learn vi)
Editor's Note: here's what spitting on the floor upon the mention of Michigan was a reference to (try not to end that sentence with a preposition and still sound like you speak english!).

BTW: the clip is from Corner Gas, a Canadian TV comedy.  It is fantastic in its first few seasons (up until about season 6, when they flanderized Lacy--She started as a smart, cosmopolitan woman, understandably unfamiliar with rural life, and suddenly turned her into a ditz).

Here's the very opening of the entire show.  It's a great first impression.

Pi day

It's 3/14.  

One heartbeat away

So let me guess, Todd was trying to jump is "snow machine" [sic] from a frozen river and land it on the outdoor ice-hockey rink in his back yard.

Here's footage from the ICU.


The hoops I jump through to avoid this shit.
  • I am Linux based.  Bare metal OS is openSUSE Leap 42.1
  • For Windows 7, I run it in a KVM virtual machine.  The storage are LVM volumes on top of a RAID 5 array powered by this guy (and yes, I have the cache battery).
  • Windows update is completely disabled.  The update service is turned off.
  • When I do make a system change, such as updating the video drivers, I snapshot the volume at the LVM level.   Windows 7 is completely unaware of the snapshots.
  • I also periodically snapshot the running VM, and do a block by block copy of the LVM volume to an equivalently sized backup volume (currently both are 700GB).  This takes 50 minutes or so.   The offline backup is my last resort if Microsoft somehow manages to breach my defenses and push windows 10 on my machine.
  • My laptop is a retina macbook pro, late 2013.
Maybe one of these days I'll detail my virtualization adventures, and how one might be able to shove 2 pci-e x16 GPUs (from different vendors), a pci-e x8 SAS card into a single socket system, and still have some lanes free for USB3 controllers...


A beautiful word...

What's this about?  Rocket engines, of course!

Specifically the RS-25, which was recently successfully test fired for 500 seconds in testing for the SLS (Space Launch System).

There was some minor controversy a few years ago as to what would power the SLS, solid-fuel or liquid-fuel rockets.  Ultimately the Utah delegation attempted to mandate the use of SRB (solid rocket boosters) in the initial design.  According to New Scientist, this is not the best option.

Claiming that solid rockets are necessary for a heavy-lift launcher is obvious nonsense. The US’s previous heavy-lift launcher, the Saturn V, used no solid rockets and lifted a bigger load than the new launcher is required to carry.

What’s “practicable” depends very much on who analyses the problem. Usually the devil is not in the details, but in the assumptions [emphasis original] .

One key assumption involves the engine used to power the launcher’s first stage, which is used to push the rocket off the ground. The launcher will probably weigh 2000 tonnes or more at takeoff (the Saturn V weighed about 3000). That requires a lot of thrust, which can be attained with either a few big engines, or a large cluster of smaller ones.
Practicable doesn't mean "existing," or even "practical."  It means capable of being done, or used.  Besides, there are downsides to solid rockets that make liquid-fueled alternatives more attractive.
For one thing, shutting solid rockets down in an emergency is difficult. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not impossible, but it’s a somewhat violent process and that creates its own problems. (Solid boosters were chosen for the shuttle on the assumption that they could be shut down on command, but the decision wasn’t reconsidered when that proved to create impossible structural loads.)

For another, while solid rockets can be fairly reliable if you spend enough money on them, when they do fail, their failures are often catastrophic. (Ailing liquid-fuel engines, by contrast, usually just shut down when they fail – this happened several times on the Saturns.)
It's important to plan for when things fail. A proper FMEA should (and probably will) be done by NASA when they select the next iteration of the booster stage. 


What Rachel Said

Seriously, go watch it.

Now that the RAFs are going apeshit, time to take another quiz.  I am 16.48% RWA.

Right-wing authoritarians want society and social interactions structured in ways that increase uniformity and minimize diversity. In order to achieve that, they tend to be in favour of social control, coercion, and the use of group authority to place constraints on the behaviours of people such as political dissidents and ethnic minorities. These constraints might include restrictions on immigration, limits on free speech and association and laws regulating moral behaviour. It is the willingness to support or take action that leads to increased social uniformity that makes right-wing authoritarianism more than just a personal distaste for difference. Right-wing authoritarianism is characterized by obedience to authority, moral absolutism, racial and ethnic prejudice, and intolerance and punitiveness towards dissidents and deviants. In parenting, right-wing authoritarians value children's obedience, neatness, and good manners. 
And beating up protesters.


Just Cause

Just picked up Just Cause 3.  It seems ok so far, none of the excessive cut scene nonsense that MGS5 imposes on the viewer.

Anywho...the reason I'm bringing it up is JC3 did something very, very good.   On Playstation 4, most games need to be installed to the internal hard drive before play.  JC3, is no exception, but there is a mini-island sandbox (Boom Island) that one can play while the install is underway.

This isn't actually new.  The Corel Linux installer had a playable solitaire game that would run as the OS was installing.

I wish more games would do something like this.  Most games have an initial tutorial level where the controls are explained.  If this could be playable while the main game is installing, it would be a wonderful improvement.   It's technically possible, now more studios need to do it.

Take the quiz.

According to the quiz, I'm feeling the Bern.  I'm 92% Sanders, 91% Clinton on the issues.   What I find troubling is this:
I side with Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders on most science issues.

 Ted Cruz?  This guy?

This individual [Cruz] understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner. That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president.
I suppose on science, accuracy isn't really the goal.  The quiz asks exactly one question on science issues, so it's not surprising that by chance, Ted Cruz managed to answer it correctly.

Frankly, I'm for the Democrat with the longer coattails. Clinton's minority support is great, but as the open primary in Michigan (spits on floor) shows, "independents" seem to go for Bernie.


First hit's free

This is going to end well.

In business, you do NOT EVER question the decisions that the administrators have made regarding updates.  EVER.

And for the operating system vendor to do it is just...I don't even...fuck.

Like maybe some businesses are evaluating whether the mandatory all your data are belong to microsoft, complete with the uploading of file content for "troubleshooting" might violate HIPAA, ITAR, EAR and any number of other data classification laws.



It's finally over!  We made it, barely and only 1.5 hours late.
  • 8 DIMMS
  • 6 ANCs
  • 4 QPDCs
  • 1 HPDCs
...and plenty of PBS python troubleshooting as well.  

Not Quite

By now it's obvious that the NYT is my primary news source.  That said, I take severe issue with this characterization:

WASHINGTON — President Obama, resigned to his failure to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, is looking past his time in office and weighing a plan that would preserve at least the principle of a two-state solution for his successor to pursue.

That wasn't Obama's failure so much as it was Netanyahu's total refusal to negotiate in good faith.  Besides, the various other slights of Bibi against Obama (and us) are well documented.

It's past time to pretend the holocaust is still a justification for state imposed ethnic apartheid. 

Btw: outage still ongoing. 

Maybe I'm wrong

I totally did not expect this.
I lived through the embarrassment and fear, and decided to say who cares, do better, move on. I shouldn't have to constantly be on the defense, listing off my accomplishments just to prove that I am more than something that happened 13 years ago.
Let's move on, already. I have.
I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.
I had always considered Kim to be a cultural punchline; somebody representative of the rot of anti-intellectualism and escapist celebrity worship. 

This post, and seriously read the whole thing, shows a depth of character that one wouldn't pick up on from the minimal exposure one receives by not living under a rock in a cave next to the unibomber's shack.

She's not some vapid, mindless drone; she's absolutely right.

I had no idea it was international women's day today.  My mother was (is) a woman!  I know one or two of them!   



We've got thousands of these fucking things, amounting to tens of thousands of individual memory chips in the big machine and now I'm being held up by this:

ERROR: c7-0c2s11n3 - 372 - Node BIOS communication error

N1.C3.D0.R1: MemTest Failure!
N1.C3.D0.R1: B0:B3 = 0x0
N1.C3.D0.R1: B4:B7 = 0x1
N1.C3.D0.R1: ECC = 0x0
N1.C3.D0.R1: FPT strobe = 4!

 FaultNum:  2
 Type:      1
 Flags:     0x00
 CodeMajor: 0x30
 CodeMinor: 0x1C
 ApicId:    0x00
 CpuNum:    0
 Timestamp: 03/09/2016  01:52:56
 LogData:   0x01030001

 LineNum:  8929
 FileName: s:\alh\workareas\hsw_up02_patch\GrantleySocketPkg\Library\MemoryQpiInit\Mem\InitMem.C

A warning has been logged! Warning Code = 0x30, Minor Warning Code = 0x1C, Data = 0x1030001
S1 Ch3 DIMM0 Rank1

Warning upgraded to Fatal Error!
(ANC) c7-0c2s11 log # rlogin: connection closed.

1 Fucking DIMM out of 17000! 

And I still have to finish installing the management software, apply about 8 updates to the various firmwares, and then install another 10 or so security fixes.

And I've been at it for 14 hours already.


Not going well

Took the hardware people 3 hours longer to finish than what they had promised.

Now chasing away the gremlins, making sure the cables are all seated correctly, replacing hardware that failed, etc.

This is going to take a while, and the service technician is a moron. 

Outage Day!

Hooray!  It's finally our planned maintenance period.  On my list for today:

  • Upgrade our big Cray's management software.
  • Install security patch sets on the big Cray and the external login machines.
  • Upgrade the batch software on the big Cray
  • Configure our production scratch space to be mountable on our small test/development Cray.
  • Assist others on my team as needed.
We have a great deal of hardware repair that is being completed by on site personnel between my first two bullet points.  It's going to be a fairly long day.   I've got the rest pretty much done, so I'm waiting for the hardware work to be finished.

Low risk, though.  Thankfully. 

And if everything else outside of my own individual list goes well, then we'll eliminate many of the little headaches we've been dealing with for the past 6 months or so.


I predict

...that on Wednesday there will be a total eclipse, which will end the preceding Tuesday.

No, really.

Two Nuts in a Ballsack, Yo

Carl hearts Trump.  Because of course he does. 
The messages released by the New York-based outlet contain provocative pictures of naked women in revealing positions and engaging in sexual activity. Paladino included brief notes in some instances when he blasted out the images. More than once, he wrote, "awesome," while on a different occasion he said, "for andy this is better."
Two vulgarians separated at birth.


What Charlie Said

On the passing of Nancy Regan.  Given my age, I remember her most for "just say no."  But unlike her husband, she was a good person.

When Scalia kicked it, I threw a metaphorical party.  I have nothing bad to say about Nancy, so I'll leave it at that.


Invalid poll

If they wanted an accurate result, they should have placed the faces on every other urinal, as per protocol.

Unless men's room etiquette is different in the UK.


Found elsewhere.



  • Alcyone
  • Maia
  • Electra
  • Atlas
  • Merope
  • Taygeta
I just got back from a quick walk around the neighborhood and I am thrilled to say that the above are what I was able to see from the pleiades,  Even better, they're right outside my front door, at least when the moon isn't full.

The universe rules!

Now for nerd level 11, my home computers are all named after stars in the pleiades, and as a former subaru owner, their logo is based on the constellation as well.

Edit: Nerd level 12: the ringtones included with the HTC One Google Play edition are named after these (and other) stars.  Probably true of all Nexus phones.  

Working backwards to the Witcher 3.

Let's start here:

The Cheese is a minor god who is worshipped by the Tyromancers. According to Wowbagger, the Cheese isn't a particularly powerful god, his only powers being the ability to send out cheese dreams and divinity. At some point, he tried to kill Wowbagger at Wowbagger's request. He tried to kill him with a cheese fondue, which failed but made him lactose intolerant.

(did he also burn the roof of his mouth? that always happens with fondue)

Anyway this was one of the links in a Google search for tyromancer.  Which followed a Google search for spanish cheese, because I can't recall ANY cheese associated with Spain (my most severe shortcoming as a person, I know).

Anyway.  Here we have turophile, which I suspect may be a typo of tyrophile, though both earn the squiggly red underlining in the composition pane.

And why did I bother with tyromancer?  In The Witcher 3, there is a quest that involves a "cheese wizard."  Turns out it's probably a real, if bizarre, thing.

So while I remain frightfully ignorant of the plethora of cheeses Spain has to offer, and least I learned some arcane fact from playing a video game.

(on a side note, I have very mixed feelings about The Witcher 3, but that can wait until later)

Edit: TW3 also mentions oneiromancy in another quest.  I didn't find this one quite as bizarre as tyromancy.

Please, I don't want to be that guy

Zach hits it out of the park again.


As I confessed in my "Cows coming home to roost' post, I love malaphors, and to a lesser extent, malapropisms in general (There's no plate like chrome for the hollandaise).   Also any related tropes.

So this might inform why I come up with such bizarre titles at times.I do try to make the [mixed-]metaphor[-gotten] fit the underlying situation described in the post.   I'm certain that the daily Chrome on Macintosh visitor knows this already.  For the others, here are some explanations of recent titles and how they actually relate to the post content they describe.

  • The cows are coming home to roost: A malaphor to describe a website that collects the same.  Pretty simple
  • All those moments will be lost, like a jumbuck in a tucker bag: Juxtaposition of content from the famous Roy Batty speech in Blade Runner and the lyrics to Waltzing Matilda, to describe a mission in a video game that is a mashup of the same two works.
  • Bringing a knife to a dumpster fire:  Certain individuals lack the tools to handle a dangerous situation properly.
  • Removing all doubt: The apocryphal Mark Twain quote: It is better to be quiet and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. In context it refers to Justice Thomas' breaking of a decade long obstinate refusal to ask any questions from the bench during oral arguments.
  • Toecutter sought for questioning: A reference to the main antagonist in the first Mad Max movie, which is the most fair and accurate portrayal of your average motorcycle enthusiast that has been made to date. In context it refers to a stabbing at a Denver motorcycle show, which is to be expected because: motorcyclists.
  • Grasshopper, meet octopus:  A reference to Philip Fry's speech to Leela during the Futurama episode My Three Suns.  In context it is referring to the specific doomsday prepper as the grasshopper, and how his non-threatening jovial appearance when combined with is camouflage ammo bib would be a hit of pure pathos, were the premise behind the whole prepper movement not so hilariously misguided.  The ridiculousness of Fry's monologue is a reflection of the absurdity of the entire farce. 
  • Somewhat Unique:  Uniqueness is an absolute.  The post calls out an oxymoron, so the title is one as well.  I manage to work the lyrics to toto's africa into that one as well.
  • I've seen this movie: Reference to Bay's shitfest Armageddon.  About Zuckerberg's plan to write an AI, and how that always goes so well in the movies.   Since then I've seen Avengers: Age of Ultron in which Jarvis is weaponized against the eponymous team of heros, so even Zuck's reference illustrates how bad an idea it is.
  • Wheels within wheels:  This is a fairly well known idiom expressing complexity.  I tend to use it to indicate a nonsense conspiracy theory, or at least that's how they tell me to use it, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, it's also probably the only bible reference I'll ever use.
  • Even a blind acorn sometimes finds a hog: Malaphor for sometimes a blind squirrel eventually finds an acorn.  In context it's the hog/squirrel is Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the US Court of Appeals for the District of East Texas, a venue notorious for patent trolling litigation.  This particular judge had never ordered any excessively prolific plaintiff to pay the defense fees of defendants before.
  • WOLVERINES: A reference to the 1984 movie Red Dawn which certain segments of the population appear to be living in.
Some day I'll manage to work this one in:

Bringing a knife to a dumpster fire.

Warning: political wanking.

So the short-fingered vulgarian is the anti-establishment candidate.  Ignorant, old, white people are sick of christians being fed to lions in the streets, and strapping young bucks buying t-bones for their Cadillac driving welfare queen baby mamas and that goes double for the nigger in the white house.

And they (correctly) see the GOP as apathetic about it; the establishment is more concerned with upper class tax cuts and abolishing what few token business regulations haven't been completely neutered by a disfunctional congress.

So when the establishment goes after the orange sickbag ala Romney and the debate yesterday, they will end up elevating the flying hairpiece in the eyes of the GOP groundlings.

And this seemed to me like that Ghandi quote: 

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.

Which wasn't Ghandi

EDIT:  A less apocryphal quote from George Bernard Shaw applies to the GOP primary at this point:
I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.


Game Cartridges

This makes perfect sense to people my age.

With that out of the way, I think it might be time to rethink how video games, specifically console games, are distributed.

Starting with the fifth generation of game consoles, console manufactures began transitioning away from cartridge based game distribution, to optical discs.  The sixth generation solidified the optical disc as the only medium on which games would be distributed.

This worked well, first CD-ROM, then DVD, and finally Bluray have all very compelling price to storage ratios, allowing for more, and more detailed game content with each generation.

But what we have now, with bluray, are games that may occupy up to 50 GB of storage (or more if the content on disc is compressed), with very poor random access performance.   As a result, video game consoles (Xbox One and PS4) require games to be installed to an internal hard disk before playing.

It's possible for a player to run out of space, and have to choose to delete infrequently used game content.  Playstation users can opt to upgrade the internal hard drive themselves (which I've done; it's simple).

So what possible advantage would returning to cartridge-based distribution have?

It would solve the following problems with the current generation: space and performance.

Imagine a console that used SSD cartridges for games.  It could use a standard SSD hard drive that one might find in a laptop, with all of the game content pre-installed.  It could even provide any necessary scratch space, if the game requires it.   Consoles would no longer need internal storage, since any necessary storage would come with the game itself.

It would also solve the performance problem inherent to bluray and other optical solutions.  The SSD cartridge game could be executed directly from the cartridge; no need to install it to faster internal storage.

All of this would make consoles simpler and cheaper to produce.

But games would probably be more expensive.  Bluray media is dirt cheap (consumer BD-R discs are about $1 each).  SSD storage is going down, but it's not quite there yet.

Maybe by the ninth or tenth (PS4 is eighth) the cost of SSD storage will be low enough for it to be an attractive option for game publishers.


Truer Words

Florida is stupid

Programming languages are not "languages," they're math.   A simple reason: there are no idioms, colloquialisms, metaphors, sarcasm, double entendres, etc. in programming languages.

The vox article agrees (more or less). 
I asked this question of Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist who specializes in how language is used on the internet. McCulloch told me languages and coding are fundamentally different: "Programming is an interface between you and the computer, and a language is a conversation between you and another human being."
 There is some overlap in how natural and programming languages parse, but their fundamental uses are very different.

Florida would be better served to allow students to substitute some higher math courses with programming; to offer programming as an optional equivalent to calculus. 


Not quite.  Headline:

Mars Rover Code Used for Cyber-Espionage Malware

What has actually happened is that two generic open source libraries, OpenAL for audio processing, and OpenCV for computer vision, where incorporated into a malware package.

They also happen to be used in a number of other projects, the Mars rovers among them, but both libraries predate the Mars rover, and weren't developed as part of the rover project.  OpenAL is used in a number of games, including mainstream "AAA" titles.   OpenCV looks like a useful collection of computer vision functions, I'm not aware of any consumer applications for it, but it would be used for stuff like smartphone cameras that detect faces.

Saying the "rover" malware uses Mars rover libraries is a flat out lie.  

I'm sure anaheim is the new ruby ridge

Because of course they're peaceably assembled.  No wait.
Three white supremacists were arrested on Sunday after committing hate crimes against minorities, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
No doubt in my mind that this is retaliation for the antics of the KKK in Anaheim last week.  (The Klansmen got away with it too).

God forsaken pisshole

Aka, Schenectady, New York.

Garbage day today.  Related shopping list:
Go ahead and root through my trash again.  I dare you.  You won't survive the encounter.

To those of you out there too thick to understand what I'm implying:  My garbage can was stolen from the curb overnight.   If I catch anybody stopping in front of my house to look through my recycling or grab any other trash, I am going to beat them to death with a baseball bat.

EDIT: it was probably wind.  Still, though, fuck with my garbage and I will drop you.