Archive for December, 2010

Twilight of the Chicken Tenders

December 23rd, 2010 No comments

From John Michael Greer comes this reflection on the value of from-scratch cooking with basics:

I want to talk about something a good deal more basic: the awkward fact that the food you can produce in your backyard garden, or acquire in any other way likely in a deindustrializing world, does not magically appear in the forms that most Americans are used to consuming. A nation used to eating factory-breaded chicken tenders and JoJos to go is going to face some interesting traumas when food once again consists of live chickens, raw turnips, and fifty-pound sacks of dry navy beans.

It’s easy as well as entertaining to poke fun at America along these lines, but the difficulties involved are very real. A very large fraction of today’s Americans, provided with a plucked chicken, a market basket of fresh vegetables, and that fifty-pound sack of navy beans, would be completely at a loss if asked to convert them into something tasty and nourishing to eat…

You may be thinking that it’s all very well to praise home-cooked meals produced from raw materials, but cooking that way is a very time-consuming process, not to mention one that involves a vast amount of hard work. You’ve seen the gyrations that actors in chef hats go through in cooking programs on TV, you’ve glanced over the forbidding pages full of exotic ingredients and bizarre processes that make today’s gourmet cookbooks read like so many tomes of dire enchantment out of bad fantasy fiction, you’ve seen racks of women’s magazines that treat elaborate timewasting exercises disguised as cooking instructions as a goal every family ought to emulate, and you’ve unconsciously absorbed the legacy of most of a century of saturation advertising meant to convince you that cooking things for yourself from scratch is an exercise in the worst sort of protracted drudgery, and probably gives you radioactive halitosis and ring around the collar to boot, so you really ought to give it up and go buy whatever nice product the nice man from the nice company is trying to sell you.

If all this has convinced you that you don’t have time to cook, dear reader, you have been had.

Read the whole thing.

Dear Santa

December 15th, 2010 No comments

What I really want for Christmas is a shiny new Android tablet.  Is that too much to ask?

Categories: Crass Commercialism Tags:

I Hate Being Right

December 11th, 2010 No comments

Looks like I called it right back in 2003:

Microsoft Opens Source to China
. Then think through the national security implications if Jim Allchin’s sworn testimony is actually true.

So, is Jim Allchin guilty of perjury, or is Bill Gates guilty of treason? You decide!

Fast forward to late 2010.  Now, due to Wikileaks, we know the following:

Chinese security firms with ties to the Chinese military have hired hackers, including the group responsible for the original Blaster worm, U.S. diplomats alleged in a 2009 cable published Saturday by WikiLeaks.

The companies also have access to the source code to Microsoft Windows.

According to the U.S. State Department’s daily security briefing of June 29, 2009, Topsec of Beijing had employed “a known Chinese hacker” from June 2002 to March 2003. Identified as Lin Yong, aka “Lion,” the hacker served as a senior security service engineer to “manage security service and training.”

America researchers and security analysts have long suspected that China’s military has extensive cyberwarfare capabilities. In 2007, a Department of Defense report claimed that the PLA had first-strike know-how, and had created military units charged with developing viruses to attack enemy computer networks.

Looks like we can clear Mr. Allchin of the perjury charge.

That leaves the treason charge against Bill Gates…

I eagerly await Sarah Palin to call for Bill Gates to be “pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders” for this “treasonous act” of compromising our military security with respect to a potentially hostile foreign power.

But I won’t be holding my breath.