Programmer, editor, tinkerer.
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Just Stay in Your Bunker

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You should wear a mask. You should wear a mask when you leave the house, you should wear a mask while you’re donating platelets, you should wear a mask when you’re wearing Rothy’s, and you should obviously wear a mask when you’re visiting the Mayo Clinic.

Another time you should wear a mask is when you’re touring a factory making sterile swabs for use in detecting COVID-19. As you can surely guess, Donald Trump chose not to do so when he visited Maine’s Puritan Medical Products last Friday.

“The running of the factory machines is very limited today and will only occur when the president is touring the facility floor,” Virginia Templet, the company’s marketing manager told USA TODAY in response to questions about the event. “Swabs produced during that time will be discarded.”

The above statement is obviously an attempt to downplay the problem here, but even a smll number of wasted swabs is too many. The underlying arrogance of Trump’s refusal to wear a mask in even the most straightforward of situations really shouldn’t be glossed over. However, the fact that the machines ran in a very limited capacity on the day of Trump’s tour is also a major problem, given this:

Nearly a third of Maine nursing homes reported last month they had no nasal swabs to collect specimens, the Portland Press Herald reported. Nearly 61% of those that responded to a Maine Medical Directors Association survey said they had seven or fewer at their disposal.

National shortages of swabs was part of what severely hampered early coronavirus testing efforts…Puritan, which received millions of dollars from the federal government to double production, is one of only two companies that make the kind of swabs needed in coronavirus testing.

Despite major shortages of testing swabs, the president’s actions disrupted one of the only active factories making this critical product, leaving workers play-acting instead. In any sane world, this would be a major scandal. In 2020, and Trump’s America, it’s just a scantily reported story garnering little attention as we lurch to the next massive screwup from this ill-equipped administration.


Voting Information: There are many things we can do to end the Trump presidency, but it all starts with voting. Visit https://vote.gov to register to vote, or to check your registration status. Once you’ve done that, get your friends and family registered next.

Link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/06/05/trump-maine-puritan-throw-away-coronavirus-swabs/3153622001/

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tjkirch
30 days ago
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Seattle, WA
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The Mind Boggles

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As you already know, we should all be wearing masks in public for the collective good. My mask is for you, your mask is for me, and they all help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 infection. Not wearing a mask in public makes a statement, but it’s not a good one.


Kevin Siers has brilliantly encapsulated the problem with American individualism.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that plenty of people just aren’t getting it. This Washington Post article has an article on establishments that are refusing to allow their customers to wear masks. Texas bar owner Kevin Smith was quoted giving this defense for the indefensible:

Bartenders need to see their customers’ faces to check IDs and make sure no one gets served too many drinks, he argued. Anyone with the virus, including those who are asymptomatic, should not be coming out to begin with.

Please, allow me to repeat the key line there, with added emphasis:

Anyone with the virus, including those who are asymptomatic, should not be coming out to begin with.

The mind boggles. Does Smith believe that all people who are infected are aware of it, even those without symptoms? That is of course not the case, and that’s a massive part of how the virus spreads. Thus, the only logical extension of his statement is that everyone should stay home. Indeed, we’ve done exactly that. Now, as those restrictions are being slowly loosened in an effort to open things back up safely, that means wearing masks. Learn it. Know it. Live it.

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/28/masks-not-allowed-coronavirus/

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tjkirch
42 days ago
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Seattle, WA
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Coronavirus Polling

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If you want to see the polling questions we agree on MOST, you can check out Chapter 24 of my book How To, where I got the Roper Center on Public Opinion Research to help me design the world's least electable political campaign platform.
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tjkirch
60 days ago
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Seattle, WA
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2 public comments
SimonHova
59 days ago
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Who are the 24% who DON'T feel positively about kittens?
Greenlawn, NY
petrilli
59 days ago
Who are the 14% who don't feel positively towards Betty White?
DexX
59 days ago
Diehard Bea Arthur fans...?
jlvanderzwan
59 days ago
I don't *dislike* kittens, but I feel very annoyed by how kittens are shoved down my throat and that loving them is socially mandatory
HarlandCorbin
59 days ago
Who are these sadists shoving kittens down your throat? And, are you okay? How about the kittens???
jlvanderzwan
58 days ago
I cannot answer that and I am totally not a lizard person who can unhinge his jaw
jlvanderzwan
58 days ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RqVOn-pJsY&t=2m30s
TheCrappyCoder
51 days ago
We're asking the wrong questions here; I think we should be far more worried about the 14% of Americans who trust Kim Jong-Un to do the right thing.
alt_text_bot
60 days ago
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If you want to see the polling questions we agree on MOST, you can check out Chapter 24 of my book How To, where I got the Roper Center on Public Opinion Research to help me design the world's least electable political campaign platform.

Bored? How about trying a Linux speed run?

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I have a lot of dumb ideas. I tend to write them down and then revisit them from time to time. Sometimes, the world and/or my own understanding of it has moved enough to where it can now be taken to a new place. Sometimes these ideas then "snap together" to inspire something else entirely. This is one of those times.

About 15 years ago, I mused about the idea of having a "desert island machine". This is where I'd put someone in a room with a box that has a couple of hard drives and a working network connection. HD #1 is blank. HD #2 has a few scraps of a (Linux) OS on it: bootloader, kernel, C library and compiler, that sort of thing. There's a network connection of some sort, and that's about it.

There are no editors and nothing more advanced than 'cat' to read files. You don't have jed, joe, emacs, pico, vi, or ed (eat flaming death). Don't even think about X. telnet, nc, ftp, ncftp, lftp, wget, curl, lynx, links? Luxury! Gone. Perl, Python and Ruby? Nope.

There's your situation. What do you do?

I realized a few years later that this was just an exercise in flexing the fact that I could probably bootstrap my way up from this with the C compiler to write a terrible editor, then write a terrible TCP client, find my way out to ftp.gnu.org, get wget, and keep going from there.

Assume that documentation is plentiful. You want a copy of the Stevens book so you can figure out how to do a DNS query by banging UDP over the network? Done.

Anyway, like I said, that was roughly 2005. Tonight, while revisiting it, I turned it into a new idea.

Put it this way, perhaps you are familiar with the notion of "speed runs". This is where people with insanely good twitch reflexes and a penchant for finding neat tricks rip their way through video games, making things faster and faster.

Now you see things like people managing to do the original Super Mario Bros game from the 80s in under five minutes, and I do mean people. There are actual humans frobbing plastic controllers doing this! Just dig around on your favorite giant video-streaming site if you need evidence of this happening.

So here's the pitch: Linux speedruns. By that, I don't mean "speedrunning a game on a Linux box" (like emulation, or something). Nope.

I mean speedrunning the Linux situation itself. Start with a minimal system and get yourself to the point where you can do something meaningful (like reading cat pictures on Reddit).

I imagine if people started doing this, then eventually there would be shortcuts. Someone would memorize the IP address to ftp.gnu.org so they didn't have to speak DNS in order to get there. Someone else would memorize the byte sequence of a binary and blast it through xxd to get cranking.

Then someone would decide it's too easy if you have this thing or that thing, and they'd cut down the starting conditions. Who knows how far down the stack this could go? How much insanity could we see? Considering most of humanity is holed up trying to avoid the rest of itself, maybe this is exactly the time for that kind of thing?

Go on, Internet. Surprise me.

It can be the Baseketball of system administration.

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tjkirch
89 days ago
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Seattle, WA
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rodmatos
81 days ago
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I would place last but have a blast ;)

Comic: Kuarantine

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New Comic: Kuarantine
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tjkirch
98 days ago
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Seattle, WA
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Kari Hunter #2 is COMING!

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Hello from COVID-19 Ground Zero in the U.S.! I hope everyone is staying safe and washing their hands. Is this the point in our relationship when we open up about bathroom habits and find which of you stockpiled all the toilet paper?

Indiana Jones Toilet Paper

Hopefully, you weren’t compelled to do that. Keep calm and bidet on! Or something.

The Spouseditor and I are doing our part to stay safe and maintain social distancing, and we’re staying connected to everyone via video conferencing. But we aren’t staying completely sequestered or we may go crazy. This weekend, we took a nice walk in the park together for a little fresh air and sun. We just tasered anyone who tried to hug us. (Kidding.)

We’re also working on wrapping up Kari Hunter book #2, The Necromancer’s Knives! Despite some setbacks, we’re on track to get this book out and in your (sanitized) hands at the end of the month! That’s less than two weeks away! Are you READY?

NecromancersKnives_web

Necromancer Kari Hunter is now one of the world’s most wanted. To protect her, her sacrificial knives have decided to take matters into their own hands.

Their plans might’ve had a chance if they actually had hands.

The tour for Kari’s comeback album is brought to a screeching halt when a serial killer starts targeting her fans. Kari returns home to discover her necromancer alter-ego is one of the most wanted fugitives in the world. To stay alive, all she has to do is lay low and pretend she’s not the necromancer everyone’s looking for.

Unfortunately, nothing about Kari screams subtlety.

Her friends and family aren’t helping, either. When her cousin casts a spell that’s never been seen before, Immortal Intelligence connects the dots. They break into Kari’s house and give her an ultimatum: become a weapon of the Immortal State or die.

Kari was never good at taking orders.

*****

I can’t wait for you to read it.

While all this is happening, I’m making great progress on the Mikelis novella. This is a prequel to the Kari Hunter series told from necromancer Mikelis Priedis’s point of view. In this story, you’ll see when Kari and Mikelis come face to face for the first time. I’m quite excited.

As promised, this story will be free for all my newsletter subscribers. If you’d like a copy, sign up to get alerts on new books and receive extra freebies like Mikelis’s story.

xo,
Jen





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tjkirch
113 days ago
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Seattle, WA
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