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Erich Bloodaxe BSN

Profile Information

Member since: Sat Mar 15, 2014, 08:23 AM
Number of posts: 14,733

About Me

Erich S Bloodaxe, PhD, MS, BS, BA, BSN, ADN, RN. (It took me a while to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life ;) Democratic socialist by nature, if not by registration atm. Spent a lot of of time on Daily Kos, decided I needed to branch out a bit. Currently spending more time at jackpineradicals.org

Journal Archives

Do we have 'Open Threads'?

One of the things I got used to over at Daily Kos was the concept of the 'Open Thread'. This was an OP that was started either automatically or by an admin roughly 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, evening) so that people could post on any topic they wanted to, without cluttering up the site with 'top level OP's. So if you had, say, a comment about Capeheart filling in for Kornacki and explaining just WHY he had to agree with the DOJ's report on 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' being a false narrative, you could, without the feeling that you then had to sit around to be on hand to respond to replies, or to do much in-depth analysis. You COULD still take a comment from an open thread and go ahead and expand on it in an OP if people thought it was a good topic, but it was a sort of 'clearinghouse thread' for one-off comments so you didn't wind up with a zillion OP's on the site that got maybe 1-2 comments.

(BTW, Capeheart explained that he felt he HAD to go with the DOJ narrative, because he felt that in order to maintain his credibility, he needed to accept the official DOJ report, because there was no more authoritative investigation to be had, and he said he felt he had to accept 'something'. That, essentially, if you called for a DOJ investigation, you had to accept the results it presented. While I can understand this, I also find it somewhat troubling in a way, because it's actually the same as calling in the police, then saying 'because there was a police investigation, we must accept what the police report says'. And we know how well that works. So it's that dynamic of 'who do you trust? IS there anyone trustworthy out there? And if not, what does it actually take to restore trust in our institutions of 'justice'?)

And also, btw, feel free to treat this as an open thread, and post on anything you want, even completely unrelated.
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Sun Mar 22, 2015, 08:03 AM (3 replies)

Creationism teaching ban to be considered (in Scotland)

MSPs will today consider a call for official guidance to ban the teaching of creationism in schools amid ongoing reluctance by the Scottish Government and teachers to intervene.

The Scottish Secular Society wants official guidance to bar the presentation of “creation and of young Earth doctrines as viable alternatives to the established science of evolution, common descent and deep time”.

Its petition, which has 651 signatories included three Nobel Prize winners and numerous parents, teachers, educators and scientists, has been escalated to Holyrood’s Education and Culture Committee.

Teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) says restricting discussion of “particular theories or belief systems” to religious education classes only would be contrary to “cross-curricular approach” of the school curriculum.


Creationism teaching ban to be considered
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Mon Mar 16, 2015, 08:41 AM (0 replies)

So let's talk about email.

I was in a thread recently in which it was fairly obvious that people were looking to reporters and spokesmen from the administration as 'authoritative sources' on what is and isn't possible to do with email. The problem was, it was fairly obvious that nobody who works with computers was being consulted by either the reporters or the administration spokesmen. So how does email 'work'?

Computers do some pretty amazing things, and they do it by building tiny basic functions up into bigger, more complex functions. I'm going to skip a few layers of explanation that probably would only confuse most folks, and start midway up, at a point where what we think of as 'data' or 'files' are sort of 'readable' by humans, rather than talking about 1s and 0s and registers and gates and so on.

So what are some of the basic things computers do? They take input, like the mechanical key presses you do on your keyboard, they store it in various ways, they manipulate it, and they move it from place to place, sometimes within a single computer, sometimes handing it off to other devices. They also have clocks, and perform tasks at set times using those clocks, sometimes in millisecond increments, sometimes on human scales of hours or days or months. When you look at a screen, the image is refreshing constantly, more quickly than your eye can detect, at set intervals, with updated information if anything has changed.

Ok, that's all well and good, so what about email? Well, an email is just a stream of data that's been stored and formatted in a standard way, so that other programs can decide where it needs to 'go', and how to 'decode' it when it gets there. When I type into any email program, all I'm doing is giving a small processing program the basic message I want to send, and some of the information about who I am and who I want to send the email to and so on. That processing program then appends and prepends other bits of information to properly format my email, and then places it somewhere that another piece of code will find it, verify that it's properly formatted, and then move it on it's way. When it arrives at its destination, it's stored where the person who wants to read it can use another program to do so.

So far so good, right? Ok, now there are several ways to 'store' email. You can keep it in what's called a 'flat file', so that each email is a separate file in a folder somewhere, you can spool it together in a single (or several) big long file(s) along with other emails on the system (all of them, for a single 'user', or for some other combination of circumstances, depending on how your mail system works) or you can store it in a database. If a person knows where to look, and has the appropriate permissions in the system, they can actually go directly to that file and read it using any sort of text editor. (For the sake of simplicity, I'm not going to talk about extra layers of encryption here.)

In every case, though, that email exists in one or more files 'somewhere' until a command is issued to delete it, either manually, or by an automated scheduler. It might be on a central server, or it might be a local machine. But because it's really just another file or set of files in a directory on a machine, a small program (what is called a 'shell script') can be written to make copies of those files elsewhere, whether on the same machine or a different one. That script can be set to simply check the directories in which email is stored, look for any new activity since the last time anything was backed up, and copy anything new off to the 'archive' directory.

This isn't even really an 'email' function, although many email servers and programs have built in mirroring or archiving or whatever you want to call it. It's simply a basic functionality that exists in every major operating system, and is used all the time by the operating system itself for various other reasons. (An 'operating system' - windows, linux, unix, etc - is a set of programs that interact with each other to make the computer 'work'.)

So if some reporter is telling you that the government servers 'couldn't' back up email, the reality is that that reporter simply doesn't know enough about how computers work, and what can be done with a very simple script written by most competent programmers who understand a bit about scripting for their particular operating system. If some administration official is telling you 'it couldn't be done', they're actually telling you that they don't understand how computers work, and how they've worked ever since operating systems were first designed. You don't need to buy any 'extra software', although, again, most email software has such functionality already written into it anyway.

They're not 'lying' to you. They're just not talking about something they actually understand, and making incorrect assumptions about what 'can be done' by computers and programmers, and not actually talking to anyone who knows what they're talking about in IT. They might even have a basic understanding of computers, and just be assuming that unless the email programs have 'archiving functionality' built in, they "can't do it". But they're simply wrong, because any such back-up can be done at a much more basic level, external to any 'email program' or email server code.
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Sat Mar 14, 2015, 08:33 PM (5 replies)

Pizza Politics.

In view of the recent posts on how pizza company political donations go almost exclusively to Republicans, I'd like to offer up another pizza-based observation.

So you've got a group of people, roughly half of whom want to eat nothing but the most unhealthy of foods, and the other half or so of whom want to eat pizza. Everyone in each of the subgroups has been somewhat peer pressured by others in their group, such that no one in either group really dares to suggest that once in a while they try to get together for salads, say.

So one group goes off and eats all sorts of sugary, fatty, horribly unhealthy stuff.

And the other group goes off and eats pizza. Maybe not all THAT much better, but certainly far better in some ways.

But there's still internal tension. Because even in the pizza group, the people in the majority demand that toppings must be chosen by voting among the group, and that the votes have to be binding, and everyone must eat pizza with the toppings chosen by the majority. And time and again, the majority votes for the exact same sorts of toppings, and everyone is always forced to eat what they want. But they declare it's all perfectly fair to everyone, because it's majority rules. So every single time, it's anchovies and olives.

Over time, fewer and fewer people bother to vote, because they don't see the point. The outcome is basically predetermined. No matter how many times the votes are cast, the ham and pineapple people never win. And if they complain, they're mocked and told that if they don't want to eat anchovy and olive pizzas, they probably are just junk food eaters in disguise. And that if they want to eat ham and pineapple pizza, they just need to get more people to vote for ham and pineapple.

And heaven forbid they even suggest a salad. Cause somehow that's even worse than junk food.

It's a rough little analogy, and no doubt needs work, but just an observation.
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Sat Mar 7, 2015, 07:51 PM (3 replies)

So go google 'clinton email ambassador fired'...

Why am I telling you what to google, rather than providing a link?

Because I actually don't know which websites are right wing places and which aren't, and I'm not going to waste my time getting hit with 'shoot the messenger' attacks if I accidentally choose one to link to that turns out to be a RW one.

Morning Joe this morning talked for a while about how a 2012 Inspector General's report brought up the fact that under the HRC State Department an ambassador was fired, among other reasons, for using commercial email services rather than State Department mailservers, and for wanting a private non State Department wi-fi hotspot so he could use his private laptop. Using the google search term above returns a lot of hits, many of which, no doubt are RWers dancing in glee over this.

I now leave it to the pro and con Hillary warriors to fight it out as to why this is pertinent/another red herring.
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Fri Mar 6, 2015, 09:13 AM (13 replies)

My Big Valentine's Day Shoutout! (crosspost from the Lounge)

It was suggested I crosspost this to GD for exposure, although frankly I'm dubious as to it really fitting under 'current events', even if Valentine's Day is an 'event', and current enough, given the timing. At any rate, feel free to lock it if I've screwed up by cross-posting here.

Yes, it's a day early, but tomorrow looks to be really busy. First, a thank you to those who have given me 'hearts' on here, along with all of those who have responded graciously or with thought to my more considered posts. I still post too many 'off the cuff' or sarcastic comments for my own liking, but even though I've learned the joys of putting a few people on 'Ignore', most folks have at least been willing to invest some of their most precious resource - time - in actually thinking when responding, whether they have agreed with me or not on any give issue or politician.

So I hope you all are all able to take some time tomorrow to invest a little more of your time with those who make you want to be better people, those about whom you worry, those for whom you care. And if you can't be physically with those you love and care about, that you at least spend time thinking happy thoughts about them, whether you're simply separated by distance and time, or if they've moved on from this life.

I'm going to try and spend at least part of the day working on a crafting project for a couple of friends (Aji and Wings) who are having probably the toughest year of their lives, simply trying to survive down in a red state, living rough while still trying to bring more beauty into the world. (there are galleries of his jewelry creations and photographs at that site, and I've also pinned some of the recent highlighted items created by Wings and other artists.)

I'd love to spread a few hearts around this place myself, but I hope you can forgive me for instead using that money to try and help them try to keep food on the able, and at least occasionally get the medicines they need. The holiday season didn't go well, so if anyone needs presents for friends or family, you can do good by some good people having a really tough time by maybe buying something from them, or even just sharing links to their jewelry store site on your own social networks, or recommending them as a place to shop to friends and family.

So again, thanks for the welcome I've found on this site, and a seriously big thanks in advance to anyone who decides to help out my friends earn their livelihood.

Yours,

Erich S Bloodaxe, BSN

Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Fri Feb 13, 2015, 02:37 PM (0 replies)

My big Valentine's Day shout out.

Yes, it's a day early, but tomorrow looks to be really busy. First, a thank you to those who have given me 'hearts' on here, along with all of those who have responded graciously or with thought to my more considered posts. I still post too many 'off the cuff' or sarcastic comments for my own liking, but even though I've learned the joys of putting a few people on 'Ignore', most folks have at least been willing to invest some of their most precious resource - time - in actually thinking when responding, whether they have agreed with me or not on any give issue or politician.

So I hope you all are all able to take some time tomorrow to invest a little more of your time with those who make you want to be better people, those about whom you worry, those for whom you care. And if you can't be physically with those you love and care about, that you at least spend time thinking happy thoughts about them, whether you're simply separated by distance and time, or if they've moved on from this life.

I'm going to try and spend at least part of the day working on a crafting project for a couple of friends (Aji and Wings) who are having probably the toughest year of their lives, simply trying to survive down in a red state, living rough while still trying to bring more beauty into the world. (there are galleries of his jewelry creations and photographs at that site, and I've also pinned some of the recent highlighted items created by Wings and other artists.)

I'd love to spread a few hearts around this place myself, but I hope you can forgive me for instead using that money to try and help them try to keep food on the able, and at least occasionally get the medicines they need. The holiday season didn't go well, so if anyone needs presents for friends or family, you can do good by some good people having a really tough time by maybe buying something from them, or even just sharing links to their jewelry store site on your own social networks, or recommending them as a place to shop to friends and family.

So again, thanks for the welcome I've found on this site, and a seriously big thanks in advance to anyone who decides to help out my friends earn their livelihood.

Yours,

Erich S Bloodaxe, BSN
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Fri Feb 13, 2015, 10:01 AM (9 replies)

No 'What's for Dinner?' tonight?

I admit I have no idea how this is organized, or even if it is organized, but I was really looking forward to posting my 'Chicken parm you taste so good...' comment in tonight's 'WFD', since I almost never actually have chicken parm, but did tonight.

Also getting most of the rest of the holiday tray items together for our vet and her staff, the folks at our local bird food supply store, and a few other local small businesses we frequent. Did the chocolate-dipped strawberries tonight, and finishing baking up a few more batches of cookies to go along with the jam. That finally frees up the kitchen for me to get started on springerle, which mostly go to friends and family. I've been gifted with several new springerle molds to try out this season, so I'm looking forward to doing some non-traditionally flavoured peppermint wreaths, maybe do some in orange or coffee or maple for the sleigh mold.
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:59 PM (8 replies)

People who say 'DU does not reflect Dem voters' are right.

But probably not in the way they mean it.

I keep seeing that statement used to attempt to proclaim that 'liberals' are 'too far left', and that the Party needs to be much farther to the 'right' to win elections. But the reality isn't a matter of 'left' or 'right'. It's a matter of what folks consider when they vote.

People who are more 'active' politically, more 'wonky', are more issue driven, and usually not 'single issue' even then, even if they strongly believe in prioritizing the issues the country faces.

But your run of the mill voter just isn't. They're not choosing who they vote for based upon some imaginary 'right-left spectrum'. They don't go to the polls and say 'I'm going to vote for the most liberal candidate' or 'I'm going to vote for the most conservative candidate'.

In large part, they first go to the polls and vote for incumbents. An incumbent, no matter how godawful they may be, has proven that they were able to get elected, which gives them a major advantage, both in primaries and generals. In the primary, no matter what they did while in office, they already can say 'I can win, I did it before'. Not to mention they're going to start off with more name recognition and probably a decent sized 'warchest' to help them outspend opponents. So it's no surprise that a Mary Landrieu can win her primary, both against more conservative or more liberal opponents. Her primary win doesn't really have much to do with her degree of 'conservativeness' or 'liberalness'. In the general, they still have several advantages - name recognition and money being the biggest ones, but they've already run the campaign before - they know what helped and what hurt.

But the people who can vote, who might vote, who will vote... Vote for a variety of reasons. Some do indeed vote on a scale of 'right vs left', but they're not the only voters out there by far, and you can't consistently win elections simply by chasing that one subset of voters. You have to also win the votes of voters who aren't wonks, who aren't activists, who aren't, in fact, largely 'issues driven'. People who vote based on personal charisma, personality, apparent confidence and competence, and all the other factors that go into the 'optics' of politics. The voters who can be drawn into voting against their own best interests by a warm smile, a line of patter about 'compassionate conservatism' or other non-issue, non-reality based reasons.

And this is where the 'We've got to run more conservative candidates in these districts/states' people simply miss the boat. They're focused solely on the 'left/right' spectrum, and don't think optics actually matters much. They think "progressives" 'can't win' because they're 'too far left', and completely ignore all of the voters who vote for reasons other than issues. But every election, voters come out and vote for people who are, on the issues, absolutely lousy in terms of representing those voters.

Why? Because those winning candidates actually cared about optics. They presented themselves as strong-willed, firm in resolve, willing to stand behind their beliefs. It doesn't matter that some of those beliefs are totally insane. They're actually willing to embrace them, and to proclaim that they'll DO something. Even if that something is going to hurt the same people who turn around and vote for them.

So sure, they'll lose the votes of 'issues voters' who disagree with them on the issues, but they'll win the votes of those voters who may disagree with them on issues, but see them as having the better 'character', not being a wishy washy type who weasels around and doesn't actually believe in the very things they say they're for.

So no, DU doesn't really reflect the voting public, not because 'We're too far left', but because we focus a lot more on issues and the 'left-right spectrum' than the average voter.

Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Sun Dec 7, 2014, 08:45 AM (44 replies)

Cookies and Jam. (or Jelly)

Well, the housemate has started her Holiday baking cycle, so she pulled out another two gallon bags of black raspberries from this summer's crop from the freezer to 'make room'. Which meant I had to process them into jam... But she got out of the (darn small) kitchen so late that I'd be up late into the night if I'd gone for the 3-4 batches of jam those would make. So I decided it was time to finally fire up the food mill.

I got an 'original, all-metal Squeezo strainer' (Made in the USA) with the additional screens, including the berry screen, as a Christmas gift last year from the housemate's parents, and had yet to use it til tonight.

Setup was really simple, it clamped nicely onto our dining room table, and all I needed to do was rinse the parts off, put it together, put a large bowl under the end spout to catch the discarded 'mash', and a container under the drain pan to catch that lovely antioxidant-rich juice. Oh yeah, and crank the handle a lot Once done, it cleaned up quickly and easily.

The two gallon bags of berries ended up making right about 64 ounces of black raspberry juice, and a couple of large bowlsful of seeds and mash to put out for the birds in under half an hour. The food mill worked wonderfully, the juice went into the fridge for tonight, and I'll work on making jelly instead of jam either tomorrow or the next day, rather than spending the next six hours or so making multiple batches of jam. If I can find a mold at the craft store, I'm thinking of trying my hands at making jel sticks that I can then dip in dark chocolate. I've bought orange and red raspberry ones before, and I think making my own would be fun.

So it's two thumbs up for the 'All-metal Squeezo strainer' food mill. I just wish we'd had an apple crop on the trees this year so I could have done apple butter and apple sauce as well.
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Sun Nov 30, 2014, 06:38 PM (4 replies)
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