Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Forces of evil vanquished after an epic struggle, Doug’s Darkworld reemerges from the darkness. In English: There’s a special place in hell for people who write viruses and trojans. Snarl.

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I sat down yesterday to write my daily blog…and my computer exploded. Not literally of course, but pop-up windows were flying all over the place, many of them containing alarming warning messages. The fact that the computer was taking about five minutes to respond to every key stroke also clued me in that something was not right. Sigh. And thus began an epic twelve hour struggle to liberate my computer from the clutches of the evil Trojan. I’m pleased to report that I emerged victorious, if a little hoarse from shouts of dismay. (“Shouts of dismay” is a polite euphemism.)

Still, all’s well that ends well. This is the first time I’ve ever had a serious problem with a virus, I’m pretty careful and have layers of protection. At least it wasn’t a destructive virus, or I’d have been completely hosed. My Mac friends are of course all looking smug, so I just remind them that a Mac laptop power cord always breaks after a few months, usually just before a key presentation. What’s up with that?

OK, the day’s news and other items of interest. The dollar has sunk to new lows against the Euro. Housing starts in the USA are way down. An expert warns of an upcoming global crash at a major financial meeting/conference in Dubai. And worst of all, the Taj Mahal is no longer accepting dollars. The experts I have talked to (I actually know some CEOs and world class economists, who would have guessed?) all seem to think that the dollar is basically toast and that within a few years if not sooner, it’s going to fall a lot further. Gee, we can’t continue the fine “borrow and spend” tradition started in the Reagan/Bush era forever?

Looks like they are having a lot of strike problems in France. Sounds like quite a mess. I don’t really know enough about the situation to comment on the specifics, but, I do see it as a good sign. Strikes are a sign that one lives in a free country, and frankly are part of life in same. It’s always a bit inconvenient travelling to such countries because there’s usually some basic service on strike or slowdown, but so what? The alternative is slavery. It’s sad that the powers that be in the USA have so managed to demonise the left and control the legislature to the point where strikes are almost unknown. Despite our supposed love of freedom in America, people have less of it every day…and worse, have been taught to think there is something wrong with exercising it. I knew we were in trouble twenty years ago when Bush senior talked about the “privilege” of freedom of speech. There is a world of difference between a privilege and a right, why is that so hard for some people to see?

Speaking of hard to see, I just read a curious article on “crackpot realism” which touches several points I have been trying to make for some time. Basically it illustrates my credo “Once someone understands what is going on, that’s when they are truly f**ked.” More generally, I am saying that the world is a very complex place, and things almost never turn out the way they were confidently predicted. So when people and leaders make decision based on the fact that they “know” this is the right thing to do, it usually doesn’t turn out right. And of course instead of modifying their thinking, most of them simply find someone to blame. The flip side of course is that most people prefer a leader who says “God is on our side” as opposed to a leader who says “I pray we are on God’s side.” The former is easy and popular, the later is hard and unpopular. Which is why we get so many Bushs and so few Lincolns in the White House.

Speaking of Lincoln, a historian thinks he has spotted him in the picture above, which would make it the second known Lincoln picture taken the day of the Gettysburg Address. Don’t waste any time looking for him, he (or a tree or someone else or something) is just the tiniest blot at the far edge of the back of the crowd. A blown up image can be viewed here. I just think it’s neat that someone is scouring old images looking for famous people. As facial recognition software gets better and more ubiquitous, and more pictures go on line, I expect more discoveries like this will be made. Heck, many of the people in the image above might someday be identified, though some of them it may be the only image of them ever taken. Heck, their image above may be all that remains of some of the people in the picture, their image preserved for history, their identity and lives lost to us forever. Is that immortality or tragic irony?

I will have more posts on Lincoln in the upcoming days, I think I’m on a roll. Have a great week everyone.

(The above image was taken in 1863 and is public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 20, 2007 at 10:24 am

2 Responses

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  1. The dollar dive. I saw two articles from the Economist that were very realistic re: the possible factors that may roll out short term. Killing the greenback tracks to China. That’s where I’m looking. The Euro is peaking. (fingers crossed but with some backing by money guys) Take care and don’t forget the gravy.


    November 20, 2007 at 11:53 am

  2. Countrywide and its ilk have made a lot of bad loans that are never going to be paid. These loans have been bundled and resold to other investment houses, many of whom have no way of even appraising these assets now.


    November 21, 2007 at 11:23 pm

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