He just needs a cool henchman and sexy kept woman with a double-entendre name

An exile from his home country, he's a world traveler. A charismatic fellow with a distinctive look, he has a physical quirk, prematurely greying hair. He wouldn't look out of place dressed in a tux at an exclusive European casino. He has an indeterminately European-sounding name. He speaks somewhat strangely, and has a flair for the theatrical. His mission is to change how the world works, redesigning it according to his own ideals. If he succeeded in his dream, it would massively disrupt the status quo of international relations and global business. He's on Interpol's most wanted list. Governments around the world have denounced him, and are trying to apprehend him. He lives in secrecy, moving from country to country, sometimes altering his appearance. And his operation is housed in a nuclear-bomb-proof mountain bunker.

Tell me Jullian Assange isn't a Bond movie villan? Read More...

The Threat Advisory System Explained

Bruce Schneier notes that DHS is getting rid of the unloved color-coded "terrorism threat level" system.

I don't remember the last time the threat level changed, but at one point the threat index was lowered to "Elevated", which I found a bit confusing. I wrote the following, lost in my unpublished items until now, which I hope explains the system more clearly:

The terror level has been lowered to elevated. It was high, which is more elevated than elevated, but high isn't as high as the highest level. The highest level is severe, which is the level that is more elevated than high, which in turn isn't the highest level, but is more elevated than elevated and guarded, which is less high than high and elevated, but more elevated than low. Less severe than severe, high, and elevated is guarded, which is higher than low but less elevated than elevated. Low is the lowest. Guarded is more severe than low, but less elevated than severe which is higher than high which is elevated more than elevated which is more elevated than guarded.

Got it?

America's least interesting climb?

I heard a story on the radio about a teenage boy who is planning to climb Everest, having previously completed Mt. McKinley and several other world-class climbs. Asked what he would do after that, he said he wanted to climb the highest points in all 50 states. I though to myself, "Self, there have to be some pretty boring climbs in there. I mean, how high can the highest point here in Florida be, after all?"

Very low, it turns out. In fact, we have the lowest high point of all 50 states. Britton Hill in the Panhandle is a mere 345ft above sea level. There are 16 states -- Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming -- that have lowest points higher than that. It would take almost 10 Britton Hills stacked on top of each other to reach as high as America's highest low point, in Colorado, and almost 59 stacked to reach as high as the highest point in the US, the top of Mt. McKinley. If you stuck Britton Hill into America's lowest point at -282ft, in Death Valley, its top would reach only 63 ft above sea level.

We have buildings in this state taller. The Four Seasons Hotel in Miami is 789ft, more than twice as tall.

Notwithstanding the difficulty of finding a Sherpa in Walton County, Florida, I don't think that kid is going to have any trouble with this one.

I'm joining Ted's Band

Ted's Band/The Worthless Peons/The Blanks performed in the cafeteria at Broward General Hospital today!

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Software Engineering...
Shipping and receiving...
On-site property management including pest control, nighttime security, non-arboreal gardening services, and tenant-related easements and liens...


This made my week.

I'm such a dork...


Details were available

This just came across the CNN.com RSS feed:

Christopher Kelly, former chief fundraiser for ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is dead, according to a statement Saturday from the former governor. Details were available. [...]

So... they were available, but you didn't bother to get them? Or you got them but you're not sharing? Are you still mad that I made fun of that Michael Jackson/Psychics story?

Early Attempts at Success

I was reminded of this line -- that NASA doesn’t have failures, just early attempts at success -- when I saw the following fantastic quote from Jim Coudal in a very interesting intervew with The Design Glut (via Daring Fireball):

People always ask, “What is your greatest failure?” I always have the same answer – We’re working on it right now, it’s gonna be awesome!


Thank You, CNN

With all the unimportant distractions like the economy, major changes to our healthcare system, unrest in Iran, a couple wars, and so on, it’s nice to see that CNN is focused on what really matters:

Psychics see magic in Michael Jackson's life

Highlights of the story include:
  • Numerologist says Michael Jackson's numbers add up to charisma
  • Paranormal professionals see Jackson as out of this world
  • Psychic believes Jackson will be reincarnated within 20 years
  • Loss of Jackson "creates a vacuum" psychic consultant says

I stand in awe. With insight like this, it’s easy to see why CNN gave itself the nickname “The Most Trusted Name in News”.



“I wonder if they’d let me join?

Probably not...”