30 September 2014

Ghost house

Rico says that he can remember people and events in every room in his childhood home in Palo Alto, California, even though it's long been bulldozed and replaced by the immense Google-stock-funded complex in the photo above.
Starting at the back of the house, Rico remembers a moment in the guest bedroom with Susan Nelson, a fellow camper at Plantation Farm Camp, who ended up for a day at his house, en route to her home in Arizona. (No, she was 'too mature' for Rico, who was only fourteen or so, at the time so nothing, alas, happened, though Rico would've been happy to.)
Next door, in his bedroom, Rico remembers his father banging the door open during a sleepover with school friends, and ordering Rico to 'look at that wall', the kid in the middle to 'look at the ceiling', and the other one to 'look at the other wall', and all of us to shut up...
In the master bedroom, Rico remembers his mother calling him in to check out a mysterious lurker at the fence line, who turned out to be Patricia, a schoolmate who had run away from home and (amazingly) walked to and found Rico's house. (She was the young woman with whom Rico had given up, gladly, his virginity the previous year; it turned out she was being molested by her father.)
In the dining room, Rico remembers his mother dropping into her dinner plate when he innocently asked where his father had gone on the apparent business trip (Rico's clue was being unable to find his father's hairbrush, which Rico was prone to use to smash down his unruly curly hair after school), only to discover that his father had left the house and wasn't coming back. (Fifty years later, he still hasn't, though they both later remarried.)
In the living room, Rico remembers his mother's famous basket-with-green-ribbon-and-gold-ornaments Christmas tree, which always flanked the fireplace.
In the library, next to the front door, Rico remembers apologizing to his father (then a cigar smoker) for 'breathing the same air' when he went in to get a book.
In the back yard, then only dry grass to the fence line, overlooking the not-yet-Silicon Valley buildings of Stanford Industrial Park, Rico remembers his childhood dog, Dinkie, bounding over the grass in great leaps, the better to see where he was going. (All these years later, Rico still apologizes to his mother for taking the dog, her favorite, down off The Hill on a bicycle expedition; the dog later went on his own and got run over on El Camino Real, leading his mother to speculate that he was in pursuit of 'some bitch'; probably a reference to his father's departure, rather than a real incrimination of the dog...)
In the spare bedroom, which we usually rented to Stanford students, Rico committed his only rape, for which, all these years later, he apologizes to MPF (name withheld to protect the innocent), who got more than he bargained for.
On the other side of the carport (which had an immense acacia tree shading the patio) was the workroom, where Rico once took out his frustration over his then-bad relationship with his father by severely beating the poor workbench with a hammer (leaving many dents), for which, all these years later, he apologizes to his father.
All in all, a lot of momentous things, growing up. Rico says he misses the old place (built originally by Carl Mydans when he came home from World War Two, though the new house is probably even nicer...

Kim Jong Un breaks both ankles

Buzzfeed has an article about the North Korean leader (the one in the Mao suit in the middle), who had a little accident:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has been mysteriously missing from the public eye for almost a month, was hospitalized in mid-September of 2014 for surgery on both of his ankles, a South Korean newspaper reported. “I heard that Kim Jong Un injured his right ankle in June after pushing ahead with on-site visits, and ended up fracturing both ankles because he left the injury unattended,” a source was quoted as saying in The Chosun Ilbo.
An intelligence official told the paper that Kim is overweight, and his injuries may have been caused during a lengthy tour of North Korean military installations while he was wearing Cuban heels.
The North Korean leader reportedly underwent surgery at Bonghwa Clinic in Pyongyang, North Korea, which is reserved for high-ranking officials in the country, and remains there in recovery.
In a 8 July 2014 image made from video of the North Korean leader at a commemoration ceremony, many said Kim Jong Un appeared to be limping as he made his way across the stage.
Kim has not been seen in public in almost a month and missed a 25 September 2014 parliament session, the first he has failed to attended since coming to power three years ago.
Speculation about the North Korean leader has been swirling since Kim has been out of the public eye, including the possibility that he has gout, has been drinking and smoking too heavily, and even that a coup had taken place in the country.
Rico says it's too bad he didn't break his neck... (He wears the heels to try and be taller, the vain little punk.)

PA's top judge says colleagues snared in porn scandal will 'have to pay the piper'



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Of course it is

Rico says he doesn't cheat, or plan it, but it's always 11:11 when he checks the time...

BBC - Travel - A train to nowhere in Siberia : Russia


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'Anti-Facebook' platform Ello attracts thousands - BBC News


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NFL player Husain Abdullah 'gets penalty for praying' - BBC News


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Fwd: religion and the "burned-over district" -- 9/30/14

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Begin forwarded message:

From: delanceyplace <daily@delanceyplace.com>
Date: September 30, 2014 at 3:42:53 EDT
To: mseymour@proofmark.com
Subject: religion and the "burned-over district" -- 9/30/14
Reply-To: daily@delanceyplace.com

delanceyplace header

Today's selection -- from The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand. One of the most fervent outbursts of religion in American history was in western New York state during the Second Great Awakening (roughly 1790 to 1850). Nationally during this time, there was a profusion of new sects and denominations and the number of preachers per capita tripled. Western New York saw so many revivals and new sects, including Mormonism, that it became known as the "Burned-over district":


counties of New York considered part of the "burned-over district"

"'There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains greater influence over the souls of men than in America,' wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, and the remark has been cited many times since as a rebuke to people who prefer to see a secular morality prevail in American public life. It's true that the role of faith in the formation of American values can be underestimated by nonbelievers. But it's also the case that when Tocqueville visited the United States, in 1831 and 1832, religious exuberance was at an unusual pitch. Even if Tocqueville had not been the amazingly quick study he was, he could scarcely have missed it.

"The Second Great Awakening, which had begun in New England at the turn of the century, had spread westward, spinning off denominations as it went. Between 1776 and 1845, the number of preachers per capita in the United States tripled. Methodism, in the eighteenth century an insignificant offshoot of Anglicanism, grew to become the largest church in the nation; Mormonism, the Disciples of Christ, Universalism, Adventism, Unitarianism, the many Baptist churches, and the African-American church -- along with Transcendentalism and a number of spiritually based humanitarian movements, including abolitionism -- all emerged in the same period. It was a sectarian frenzy. 


1839 Methodist camp meeting

"It was also, taken as a whole, a mass movement, and its tenor was populist. As Protestant revivalisms tend to be, it was pointedly anticlerical, and it therefore mixed a great deal of popular superstition and folk therapeutics with traditional Christian mythology. From one point of view, the Second Great Awakening, which lasted from 1800 to the eve of the Civil War, was, as Tocqueville interpreted it, a kind of democratization of European Christianity, a massive absorption into American popular culture of the Protestant spiritual impulse, stripped of most of its traditional hierarchies and formalities. But from another point of view, it was the last blast of supernaturalism before science superseded theology as the dominant discourse in American intellectual life.

"For a dissolute young man looking to be struck by evangelical lightning in the 1830s, western New York State was the place to be. The spirit of revivalism had arrived there in the 1820s, and it persisted for so long and generated so many diverse sectarian waves that the region began to be called the 'Burned-over District,' or, sometimes, the 'Infectious District.' "



The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America
Author: Louis Menand 
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Copyright 2001 by Louis Menand
Pages: 80-81

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History for the day

On 30 September 1938, British, French, German, and Italian leaders agreed at a meeting in Munich that Nazi Germany would be allowed to annex Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.

Rico says yeah, and we all know how well that turned out...

Quote for the day

"It just boggles the imagination and is deeply destabilizing in terms of public confidence in the Secret Service and how it is carrying out its mission."

REPRESENTATIVE GERRY CONNOLLY, Democrat of Virginia, about security on the day an intruder entered the White House.

Rico says he wonders if they'd been happier if the Secret Service had just shot the poor sumbitch...


Rico says that his nocturnal schedule is now so synchronized with his cats (not a real photo of them, sorry, but similar), that they don't even have to stomp him to get up and feed them...

29 September 2014

A pilot’s view of New Zealand

Rico's friend Dave forwards a link to a splendid video about flying in New Zealand.

Married in Venice

Sam Frizell has a Time article about a celebrity wedding:
Hollywood’s most-eligible bachelor is officially a bachelor no more. George Clooney (photo, left) married the human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin (photo, right) in Venice, Italy, in a private ceremony. A brief statement from Clooney’s representative, Stan Rosenfeld, was the only communication on the marriage, which has seen a lot of hype, but few remarks from Clooney.
Clooney, 53, was joined by friends to celebrate his marriage to the 36-year-old Alamuddin at Aman, a luxury hotel overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice. Families and close friends, including Matt Damon, John Krasinski, and the Oscar-winner’s producing partner, Grant Heslov, were in attendance, according to People.
Clooney had managed to keep their courtship out of the spotlight until he shared the news of their wedding date on 7 September 2014.
The couple was married by close friend Walter Veltroni, who is the former mayor of Rome, Italy.
Rico says that his impending nuptials won't be covered in People...

Scotland vs. England

DelanceyPlace.com has a selection from A Short History of Europe by Gordon Kerr:
Only days ago, the citizens of Scotland came close to voting their independence from England and, with 45% of the vote cast for independence, the matter is still far from settled. Scotland has long bristled at its ties to England. It fought two nation-defining wars of independence against England, the first from 1296 to 1328 (in which William Wallace gained fame), and the second from 1332 to 1357, and retained its independence after each. However in 1603, James VI, the Stuart king of Scotland, whose family had ruled Scotland for almost two hundred years, was given the throne of England after a succession dispute since he was great-great-grandson of England's Henry VII. He immediately moved to England, the largest of his realms, only returning to Scotland once in 1617. He ruled as James I and is still famous for his sponsorship of the King James translation of the Bible. The Stuarts were enforcers of the state religion, the Anglican church, at a time when Protestantism was rising in both England and Scotland. The Stuart kings and queens ruled both independent kingdoms until the Act of Union in 1707 merged the two kingdoms into a new state, the Kingdom of Great Britain. The attempt of the Stuart king James II to reimpose Catholicism cost the Stuarts their dynasty:
For some monarchs, absolutist ambitions brought dire consequences. In the case of the Stuarts in England and Scotland, they resulted in revolution, execution and, ultimately, the end of their dynasty. The crowns of England and Scotland had been united in 1603 on the death of Elizabeth I, when James VI of Scotland was offered the throne and also became James I of England. His son, Charles I (who ruled from 1625 to 1649), made life and worship very difficult for the Protestants in Scotland and England; Presbyterians and Puritans, respectively. His ill-considered attempt to impose the Anglican Prayerbook on the Scots resulted in them invading England. Then, as he tried to get Parliament to pay for an army to fight the Scots, they rebelled, issuing the Grand Remonstrance against him, condemning the policy that had led to this situation. Bloody civil war broke out in 1642 and Parliamentary troops, mostly Puritans, led by Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), defeated Charles at the Battles of Marston Moor in 1644 and Naseby in 1645. Charles I was eventually captured and executed in 1649. 
England became a republic for the only time in its history, with Oliver Cromwell as, effectively, head of state for the next eleven years. From 1653 to 1658, he was officially designated Lord Protector of England. On Cromwell's death, however, the Stuarts were restored in the shape of the former king's son, Charles II (who ruled from 1660 to 1685). When Charles died, his brother, James II (who ruled from 1685 to 1688) rapidly displayed that he had learned nothing from the problems encountered by their father. Indeed, he espoused the Catholic cause, and even showed signs of wanting to reign absolutely. It proved too much for the English, who deposed James in a bloodless coup known as the Glorious Revolution, and offered the throne to the Protestant Dutch aristocrat, William of Orange (who ruled from 1689 to 1702), James' son-in-law. In 1689, William and his wife, Mary (who ruled from 1689 to 1694), became King and Queen of Great Britain after their acceptance of a Bill of Rights that, amongst other things, made the monarch subservient to the law of the land. Britain's future as a constitutional monarchy was secure, and a model was created for the rest of Europe. 
Rico says he always remembered the line of succession as Jimmy, Charlie, Ollie, Charlie, Jimmy...

History for the day

On 29 September 1957, the New York Giants played their last game at the Polo Grounds, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1. The Giants moved to San Francisco, California for the next season.

Apple for the day

The New York Times has an article by Paul Mozur and Shanshan Wang about Apple:
When Apple’s latest iPhones went on sale this month in Hong Kong, Singapore, and New York City, among the hip urbanites and tech-obsessed was another group clamoring for the devices: Chinese scalpers looking to make a premium by flipping the phones to smugglers.
But the gray market for the new iPhones has already dried up, even though they will not officially go on sale in China for a few weeks, at the earliest. Wholesalers who helped orchestrate the smuggling of tens of thousands of the phones into the country are now slashing prices to move inventory. At an electronics market in central Beijing, one retailer was recently selling the low-end iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for 6,500 renminbi to 8,800 renminbi ($1,060 to $1,436), down from 12,000 renminbi to 15,000 renminbi ($1,960 to $2,450) just after the release.
“Stocks of the iPhone 6 are way too high right now,” said one wholesaler of smuggled iPhones in Beijing’s northwestern tech hub, Zhongguancun.
Four years ago, the iPhone 4 was a status symbol, with the black market booming before the product was officially introduced. Today, the iPhone is simply one option among many, as local companies like Xiaomi and Meizu Technology rival Apple in terms of coolness ,while charging less than half the price.
A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment on the smuggling.
The primary route the iPhones have taken into China is via Hong Kong, according to the wholesaler, who declined to be identified because of the illegality of some parts of the operations. Scalpers organize Hong Kong customers with local identity cards to preorder phones that the scalpers then collect outside the store, paying about $325 extra per phone. The phones are then smuggled to wholesalers in Guangdong, across the border from Hong Kong, and from there are shipped to cities across China.
When the prices were high, early last week, the wholesaler said he was making more than $163 per sale. But his profit margins have dissolved as prices have fallen. “This year the scalpers’ losses will be big,” he said.
China is a fast-growing market for Apple, which competes with Samsung for control in the high-end smartphone segment. In January of 2014, Apple brokered a long-delayed deal with the country’s largest telecom company, China Mobile, which has helped bolster sales. The largest smartphone market in the world, China accounted for 15.9 percent of Apple’s revenue in the last quarter.
The new models will help Apple solidify its position in the country. In China there are about fifty million iPhone users, according to Kitty Fok, a managing director of the research firm IDC. She estimates that the company will sell about four million phones a month, as customers swap their old iPhones for the new ones.
But both Apple and Samsung face stiff competition from local brands, which have been offering cheaper phones with high-end features. As Samsung’s sales slipped this year, the company was replaced by Xiaomi as the country’s largest smartphone maker, according to the market research firm Canalys.
“The local players aren’t only playing the price game,” Fok said. “They have products that cater to the local market, big screen sizes, optimized connectivity for China, and dual SIM cards.”
The Chinese government is not making things any easier. An intensifying crackdown on corruption in the country has led officials, who in the past were known to spend big on luxury products like iPhones, to tamp down on lavish purchases. The government has also signaled that it would take measures to curb government reliance on electronics made by foreign companies, after disclosures by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden about United States government surveillance. In a statement issued this month, Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, said the company had never cooperated with the government of any country to provide access to customer data.
At a conference this month, Wei Jianguo, the director general of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that the Shanghai government had told its employees to use Huawei phones instead of phones produced by Apple or Samsung, according to a transcript posted on the news portal Sohu, one of the sponsors of the event.
Three government officials in Shanghai and Beijing said they had not heard about any formal notice to stop using foreign phones and said many in their departments still used iPhones. One of the officials in Beijing, however, said people in his office refrained from bringing in Apple computers or iPads, because they are a more conspicuous display of wealth.
Out of the gate, Apple is already a step behind with the iPhone 6. Last year, the company released the latest model in China at the same time it did in the United States, Japan, and parts of Europe. This year, the release has been delayed as Apple awaits government approval, an often slow and unpredictable process.
The iPhone 6 is likely to get the final license before China’s National Day celebrations on 1 October 2014, according to a person with knowledge of the plans who works for one of China’s state-owned telecom providers. If that happens, the new models will most likely begin selling in China a few weeks later. The delay gives the smugglers a bit more time to get rid of their stock.
The recent scene at the electronics market in Beijing— a multistory mall crowded with stalls of vendors selling everything from calculators and hard drives to surveillance cameras and smartphones— was not encouraging. Only a few customers browsed in the narrow walkways. No stalls openly displayed the new iPhones. On request, the vendors could procure the devices from a wholesaler. One vendor said the market for the phones was far worse than in past years but said he hoped a new crackdown on smuggling by customs officers would help push their price back up.
In recent days, Hong Kong’s marine police have played a cat-and-mouse game with smugglers who use speedboats to take iPhones into China. Recently, the police ran off several men in a mangrove swamp loading boxes of iPhones into a flat wooden boat that would ferry them out to a nearby speedboat. They seized three hundred iPhones, according to a statement from Hong Kong customs. In other instances, customs has found hundreds of phones concealed in the axles of trucks and in hidden compartments in cars.
A report from China’s state-run Xinhua news service said the government would auction off two thousand iPhone 6s it had seized in the southern city of Shenzhen.
The vendor at the electronics market said that one way smugglers skirted the stricter enforcement was to walk the phones across the border two at a time. Usually those crossing the border take the phones out of the packaging to convince customs officials that the phones are their own, he said.
Tearing off the plastic on what appeared to be an unopened iPhone 6, he showed how the screen was already dotted with the fingerprints of whoever brought it into China. “Right now, at our market, you won’t find a phone that is actually in its original packaging,” he said.
Rico says he's just as happy to be able to walk into an Apple Store and buy one...

More Apple for the day

The BBC has an article about Apple in Ireland:
The European Commission will set out its case soon against Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland. The report is part of a broader EU investigation into tax policies in Ireland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Commission is examining whether these countries have unfairly favoured multinational companies including Apple, Fiat, and Starbucks.
The EU will make its case that Apple's tax arrangements with Dublin amount to illegal state aid. The Commission will also outline its reasons for launching an investigation into Fiat Finance and Trade, which is resident for tax purposes in Luxembourg.
The Commission will argue that backroom tax deals it believes were struck between Apple and the Irish government and Fiat and the Luxembourg government could constitute a breach of EU regulations on state aid.
"Ireland is confident that there is no breach of state aid rules in this case, and has already issued a formal response to the Commission earlier this month, addressing in detail the concerns and some misunderstandings contained in the opening decision," Ireland's Department of Finance said.
Ireland's corporate tax rate is set at 12.5%, but Apple enjoys an effective rate of tax of 2%, due to the way it channels overseas sales through its subsidiaries.
Ireland's flexible approach to tax is designed to attract investment and jobs to the country. But other European countries say their treasuries lose out, as corporations funnel profits through Irish-registered companies that are not resident for tax anywhere.
Apple has denied that the company agreed any special tax arrangements with Dublin.
"There's never been anything that would be construed as state aid," Apple's chief financial officer, Luca Maestri, told the Financial Times newspaper. Apple says it pays all the tax it owes.
Under EU law, state financing for individual companies is heavily restricted. However, previously, tax arrangements have not been considered. In June of 2014, when the Commission announced it would be conducting in-depth investigations into Fiat's tax affairs in Luxembourg, Starbucks' in the Netherlands, and Apple's in Ireland, Joaquin Almunia, vice-president for competition policy, said state aid rules should be applied to taxation. "Under the EU's state-aid rules, national authorities cannot take measures allowing certain companies to pay less tax than they should if the tax rules of the member state were applied in a fair and non-discriminatory way," he said.
When the inquiry was first announced in June of 2014, Apple said: "We have received no selective treatment from Irish officials. Apple is subject to the same tax laws as scores of other international companies doing business in Ireland."
Commission spokesman Antoine Columbani confirmed that the outline of the case against Ireland's tax policy towards Apple would be made public soon. "The decision will set out the Commission's reasons for opening an in-depth investigation," he said.
Following publication in the Commission's Official Journal in a few weeks' time, interested parties will have one month to submit responses. Once the Commission has reached a judgement, the EU has the right to recover illegally granted state aid from the company in question. This could amount to billions of euros, if Apple is found to have received benefits it was not entitled to.
The EU's move comes as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development begins a broader crackdown on aggressive tax avoidance by multinational companies.
Rico says he enjoyed his few visits to Apple in Ireland; a great bunch of folks. (And if you think Apple did not go to Ireland because of the tax benefits, then, as Tim, an old Apple Ireland hand, used to say, "yer smokin' yer own dope"...)

California Adopts ‘Yes Means Yes’ Sex-Assault Rule | TIME



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28 September 2014

International scam for the day

From: inoussakabre@ig.com.br
Date: September 28, 2014 at 17:29:57 EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: My Dear Friend


My Dear Friend

Contact Me To My Private Email Address inoussakabre@rediffmail.com

I am working with one of the prime bank here in Burkina Faso, can you help me repatriate the sun of 6.2 million dollar to your oversea account based on percentage.


Your Name...
Private Telephone...

I expect your urgent response if you can handle this project.

Mr Inoussa Kabre.



New York scientists unveil 'invisibility cloak' to rival Harry Potter's - Yahoo News


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History for the day

On 28 September 1924, two United States Army planes landed in Seattle, Washington, having completed the first round-the-world flight in 175 days.

It is good to be the prince, especially in Hawai'i

The New York Times has an article by Jon Mooallem about real wealth:
Larry Ellison Bought an Island in Hawai'i. Now What?How the tech billionaire came to own 87,000 acres, three hotels, a wastewater-treatment plant, a cemetery, and 380 cats.
Rico says the cats were extra...

Apple for the day

The New York Times has an admonitory article by Jeff Sommer about the new iPhone 6:
$199 Apple iPhone 6 Is Fiction, if Not FantasyInvestors as well as consumers might want to look closely at the purchase plans that carriers are offering for Apple's new iPhone 6.

Land grab

The New York Times has an article by Andrew Higgins about an unlikely real estate deal:
A Chinese businessman with deep pockets is looking to buy land in Norway, creating a frenzy of speculation about moves by China to gain a permanent foothold in the Arctic.
Rico says it's a damn shame we let them go capitalist...

27 September 2014

More Apple for the day

Time has an article by Alex Fitzpatrick about Apple's 'problems' with the new iPhone:
Apple's stock is recovering after it took a sub-$100 dip on reports of a faulty software update and bendable hardware. After launching two new iPhones and a new mobile operating system, iOS 8, last week, Apple had a rough few days. Sure, it sold a record ten million of its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models over the weekend, setting them up to be its most successful phones ever. But no company can escape the headaches that come with almost every new launch, and Apple had three problems marring an otherwise spectacular introduction.
First, iOS 8, Apple’s new mobile operating system, inexplicably launched late last week without promised apps that used a health and fitness feature called HealthKit. Then, early this week, reports flew around social media and tech blogs showing the iPhone 6 Plus, the big granddaddy of the two iPhone 6 models, was easy to bend; some people claimed the phone bent when sitting in their pockets for extended periods, others bent the phones on purpose to prove it was possible, and everybody loved calling the whole thing “bendgazi.” Finally, Apple quickly rolled out an iOS 8 update intended to fix that HealthKit problem and other minor issues, only to quickly pull it after users complained the update had caused their iPhones to lose the ability to make phone calls.
“We are actively investigating these reports and will provide information as quickly as we can,” an Apple spokesperson told several tech blogs in a rare public statement about the iOS 8 update problems. Several days later, Apple rolled out iOS 8.0.2, which took care of the bugs iOS 8.0.1 was supposed to fix, plus patched up the brand-new bugs that update introduced. Apple later said only about forty thousand of the millions of iPhones out there in the world were affected by the iOS 8 update problems. Still, the company apologized “for the great inconvenience experienced by users” related to the issue.
While initially mum on the bending issue, late this week Apple said only a small handful of iPhone users formally complained about bent devices. Still, in a rare move, it decided to lift the veil on on its testing process, showing the world the rigorous quality control testing it conducts on every new device. That’s the latest sign the typically tight-lipped Apple is opening up: Apple also recently directly addressed an iCloud security flaw that led to the exposure of celebrities’ nude photos. Those minor moves toward transparency show an Apple that’s taking a different tack from years prior; back in 2010, late CEO Steve Jobs infamously made a non-apology apology for an iPhone 4 problem that prevented the device from making calls when it was held a certain way. While Apple acknowledged the issue and sent customers a special “bumper” case to fix it, Jobs still said the problem had been “blown so out of proportion it’s incredible”. That’s not the kind of language we’re hearing from the company under Cook, who also issued a public apology after the company replaced the widely-liked Google Maps app with its own Apple Maps back in 2012, a move met with much scorn from users and tech writers.
Even still , Apple investors initially balked at the news of the update problems and bending issues, sending the company’s stock dipping below $98 by Thursday’s closing bell. That’s a decent little dip for the world’s most cash-rich company, but there isn’t much reason to fret. Apple is still selling its new iPhones hand over fist, and it appears poised to sell its upcoming Apple Watch hand over wrist in just a few months. The company may have a little headache now, but it’s got plenty of aspirin in the medicine cabinet. Indeed, by the end of the day on Friday, it seemed Wall Street had gotten over it: Apple climbed nearly three percent on the week’s last day of trading action, ending back above $100.
Rico says we should all have such problems...

History for the day

On 27 September 1964, the Warren Commission issued a report concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy.

Fwd: 9 Myths about ISIS...


Sent from my new iPad

Begin forwarded message:

From: "ROBERT KELLEY" <kelleyinwestport@mail.com>
Date: September 27, 2014 at 8:02:23 EDT
To: "MARK SEYMOUR" <mseymour@proofmark.com>
Subject: 9 Myths about ISIS...

26 September 2014

Fwd: Now it starts...

From: "ROBERT KELLEY" <kelleyinwestport@mail.com>
Date: September 26, 2014 at 15:52:55 EDT
To: "MARK SEYMOUR" <mseymour@proofmark.com>
Subject: Now it starts...

Homegrown ragheads start domestic beheadings...Can we put a few local muslims to the chop?

Oops is now a mayorial term

Buzzfeed has an article by Michelle Broder Van Dyke about an apparent fuckup by the mayor of New York City:
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped a groundhog in front of a crowd gathered at the Staten Island Zoo’s annual Groundhog Day celebration. A week later, the groundhog was found dead in its zoo cage. A veterinarian at the zoo said the groundhog died from internal injuries, which may have been caused by the six-foot plunge from the mayor’s hands to the ground.
“That is a feisty groundhog there, let me tell you. That is quite an active animal,” de Blasio said a day after the incident. “He didn’t bite me at least. I had him for a while and then he squirmed out. We got him back.” After the groundhog was discovered dead, Staten Island Zoo officials went to great lengths to cover-up the tragedy, and even kept the news from the mayor’s office, The New York Post reported.
A few zoo supporters were informed of the groundhog’s untimely death, but were kept in the dark about the precise cause of death, the newspaper reported. “I was told he died of old age, that he went to that big farm in the sky,” Assemblyman Matthew Titone said.
The mayor’s office reportedly learned of the animal’s death from the Post. “We were unaware that Staten Island Chuck had passed, but are sorry to hear of the loss,” spokesman Phil Walzak said. The zoo receives nearly half of its $3.5 million in annual funding from the city.
But, in another strange twist, the animal that had just predicted six more weeks of winter and died was not actually the zoo’s Groundhog Day star, Chuck, but rather a female stand-in named Charlotte. The zoo made the switch out of fear the famed groundhog might bite De Blasio after a 2009 incident with then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“It’s usually whichever groundhog is the least grouchy that day,” zoo spokesman Brian Morris told The Associated Press. “This is a time of year when genetics tell them to be hibernating. They can be in a bad mood.”
Zoo workers gave Charlotte a thorough examination after the spill and insisted that the mayor was not at fault for the animal’s death. “We don’t know how the animal suffered the injuries, but we don’t think it was from the fall,” zoo spokesperson Brian Morris told the AP. “We believe it happened sometime the night before she was found dead.” But the zoo said the handler may not have been “forceful enough” when placing the groundhog in de Blasio’s glove-covered hands. “It was a complete bungle,” Morris said.
Next year, the zoo reportedly will use Charlotte and Chuck’s youngest daughter, also named Charlotte, for the event.
Rico says it's the old bait-and-switch routine...

Women in Japan

DelanceyPlace.com has a selection from Japan: A History by Mikiso Hane:
The earliest Japanese societies appear to have been matriarchal.  In the Heian period (794 to 1185 AD), the woman was the head of the household and the husband generally did not live with the family. By the twelfth century AD, as the samurai class became dominant, the husband and wife lived together and polygamy became prevalent.
Marriage between close relatives such as cousins, half-brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles was common. Even today marriages between cousins is accepted. Japan, as noted above, originally appears to have been a matriarchal or, at least, a matrilineal society. The mythical founding deity of the imperial clan was the Sun Goddess, and the ruler was a woman, Pimiku. Until the late eighth century the Imperial throne was frequently occupied by female members of the Imperial family. This practice persisted even after the samurai class became dominant and imposed a stringent masculine orientation in society. Even in the Tokugawa period (1603 to1868 AD), two of the occupants of the Imperial throne were women.
In the Heian period husband and wife lived apart, and the children remained with the mother's family. The husband was not an immediate member of the household; he came virtually as a visitor. The head of the family was thus a woman. This situation began to change as the samurai class became the dominant political-social force. In the twelfth century, husband and wife began to live together, and the patriarchal system became stronger. The Confucian philosophy reinforced the patriarchal, male-dominant character of Japanese society.
This is reflected in The Tale of Genii. The author, Lady Murasaki, has the hero Prince Genji conclude that 'women were creatures of sin. He wanted to be done with them.' Women came to be regarded as incapable of mastering the difficult Chinese writing system and were expected to rely on the simpler phonetic system (kana) that was formulated in the Heian period. However, remnants of the matriarchal practice did not disappear completely. When a family had only daughters, the oldest daughter took a husband into the family, and the latter adopted the wife's family name. The significant role that women played in the cultural realm is seen in the many creative writers of the Heian period.

History for the day

On 26 September 1960, the first televised debate between presidential candidates took place in Chicago, Illinois, as Republican Richard M. Nixon and Democrat John F. Kennedy squared off.

Movie for the day

The Equalizer stars Denzel Washington as a seemingly bookish man, who turns out to be an assassin on behalf of the wronged.
Rico says he hopes to see it soon with his friend Damon, but Rico also remembers the great television show, of the same name and premise,  that starred Edward Woodward...

Bent iPhones are 'rare'

The BBC has an article about the 'bent' iPhones:
Apple has responded to claims that its new handsets are prone to bending by saying such damage would be "rare" during normal use. Media outlets across the globe had reported that several iPhone 6 owners had complained of handsets becoming misshapen after being carried in trousers pockets without a case. Several of the US firm's rivals have also helped publicize the claims.
Apple said nine customers had told it their iPhone 6 Plus phones had bent. In a statement, the company noted that the handsets' shells had been constructed out of "anodized aluminum, which is tempered for extra strength" and also featured stainless steel and titanium parts to reinforce the areas of the phones likely to experience the most stress. "We chose these high-quality materials and construction very carefully for their strength and durability," it added. "We also perform rigorous tests throughout the entire development cycle. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of our high quality standards to endure everyday, real-life use. With normal use, a bend in an iPhone is extremely rare and, through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus. As with any Apple product, if you have questions, please contact Apple."
The BBC understands that one of the checks that Apple had carried out before launching the models was a "sit test", which is designed to simulate the effects of a user sitting down on a hard surface with the phone in their back pocket thousands of times over the course of several years.
The company also carried out a torsion test, which involved clamping a phone at both ends and then applying a twisting force 8,000 times.
Apple's share price has fallen following the publicity generated by users posting photos of bent iPhones to the internet. Apple's smartphone rivals have made fun of its problem.
News that it had also pulled an iOS 8 operating system update after iPhone 6 users complained it made their phones unable to make or receive calls had also caused concern. However, one analyst highlighted that the company had been much quicker to respond to reports about bending than it had back in 2010, when customers complained about the iPhone 4 dropping calls when gripped on its left-hand side.
"Apple took too long with the antenna problem; I don't know if this is organizational memory or not, but here Apple is going out and saying it did do tests and is stating the facts," said Ken Dulaney, who covers the mobile phone sector for the research firm Gartner. "But this is probably something Apple has to look into more. It probably did all the tests it said it did (I don't ever find that Apple really lies about anything) but I think the people reporting the problem aren't lying either."
Apple's competitors have taken advantage of its troubles. The official Twitter accounts of LG, HTC, and Samsung have all posted messages alluding to the controversy, with LG going so far as to use the hashtag "bendgate", which other members of the public had used to refer to the claims.
Apple had previously announced that it had sold more than ten million units of the iPhone 6 and its larger sibling the iPhone 6 Plus. "While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply, and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible," its chief executive Tim Cook said in a press release. Cook had earlier highlighted "record" demand for the new iPhones,
Apple highlighted the "all-new dramatically thin" design of the handsets, a factor some users had speculated might be the cause of them bending. However, it has also been pointed out that handsets by Sony, Samsung, Blackberry, and others have also bent in the past, and several analysts have cautioned that it was too early to say if the incidents involving the new iPhones were more widespread.
Rico says that you shouldn't sit on your damn phone anyway, particularly if you're as big as Russell Holly, (photo; look at the size of the guy), who works for tech site geek.com; he told the BBC that his iPhone 6 had bent:

Microsoft guy bans iPads

Time has an article about the new owner of the Clippers:
One of Steve Ballmer’s first acts as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers might be to do away with the team’s iPads. In an interview with Reuters on his plans for the NBA franchise he bought for two billion dollars a few months ago, the former Microsoft CEO (photo) revealed that the fate of all the Apple devices used by the team’s staff was one of the first things head coach Doc Rivers brought up. “It’s one of the first things he said to me: ‘We are probably going to get rid of these iPads, aren’t we?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, we probably are.’ But I promised we would do it during the off-season,” Ballmer said.
Not surprising, considering that Ballmer was the CEO of Apple’s major competitor for fourteen years, and is still the company’s largest individual shareholder. In fact, his loyalty to his old company is so strong that no one in his family is allowed to use an iPhone. So why should his team be any different? “Most of the Clippers are on Windows, some of the players and coaches are not,” he told Reuters.
If the ban goes ahead, any iPads the team uses for courtside strategy will most likely be replaced by Microsoft’s Surface tablets.
The Clippers, under Ballmer’s ownership, will hope to emerge from the shadow of their former owner Donald Sterling, who was banned from the NBA and forced to sell his team earlier this year, after racist comments he made to his then-girlfriend became public.
Rico says that's just petulant...

25 September 2014


Rico says it's been a long time since he was a carpenter, and longer since either he or the ladyfriend could have babies, but he understands the feeling...

International spam for the day

From: Banco Bradesco S/A <infoemail@bradesco.com.br>
Subject: Comunicado Importante
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Caso o recadastramento não seja efetuado, as chaves de segurança serão desativadas e seu acesso em todos os canais bradesco serão bloqueados. O recadastramento é simples e rápido, basta clicar no botão segurança, acessar sua conta e seguir as instruções que irão aparecer dentro de sua conta.

O uso do cartão chave de segurança bradesco é indispensável para evitar fraudes e garantir sua segurança e comodidade. Com o recadastramento você evitará que seu Cartão Eletrônico e Internet Banking sejam suspenso e seu cartão bloqueado.
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Rico says he didn't translate it, but you can, if you care...

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