Sunday Night Open Thread: It’s An Alien Life Form

Open thread.

126 replies
  1. 1
    Watergirl says:

    TaMara, do you know when that interview took place?

    There are a couple of people I would trade for David Bowie in a heartbeat.

  2. 2


  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    No lies detected.

    Also, #fuckcancer and, kids, don’t smoke. Tobacco will fucking kill you.

  4. 4
    debbie says:


    Wasn’t he awesome? Last night, my local NPR station re-ran their two-hour tribute to him after his death. What a loss.

  5. 5
    misterpuff says:

    That fucker had vision and could get it down on tape.

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    Seconded. Dad was tough as nails and lung cancer laid him out at 65. Mom quit in her 40s and lived to 88.

  7. 7
    TS (the original) says:

    Jeremy Paxman with the wrong ideas again – always. Supercilious git.

  8. 8
    Watergirl says:

    @TaMara (HFG): thank you. He was a treasure.

  9. 9
    Kristine says:

    @Watergirl: I feel the same. I was a fan since the early 70s. I remember those first videos. He knew how to use media.

  10. 10
    Wag says:

    Bowie was a true hero. The only comparable performer is David Byrne, another master and visionary.

  11. 11
    plato says:


  12. 12
    Watergirl says:

    @Kristine: Great memories of jumping up and down on my dorm room bed, as I danced to Ziggy Stardust.

  13. 13
    Amir Khalid says:

    @TS (the original):
    Paxman is a Tory. That’s only to be expected.

  14. 14
    Jeffro says:

    Love Bowie, even (especially?) the albums that most folks don’t.

    I distinctly remember telling my co-workers back in ’97 or ’98 that the internet just looked like another way for people to waste time and wasn’t going to change much about our daily lives. I’ll call that ‘half right’ ;)

  15. 15
    JAFD says:

    Requesting a favor from our Kitchen Goddess:

    Advice sought – by yours truly, recently commanded to Cut The Sodium Way Way Down – on cookbooks or websites with advice on low-salt cooking and eating.

    Fellow jackals with experiences and tips, I’d like to hear from you!

    Thanks very very much!

  16. 16
    m0nty says:

    All the dead dudes… carry the news…

  17. 17
    sukabi says:

    @JAFD: just a caution on cutting sodium, make sure you’re getting enough iodine in your less salty diet.

  18. 18
    Emma says:

    True prophet. We should have been listening to him. Lost too soon. Dammit.

  19. 19


    There are a couple of people I would trade for David Bowie in a heartbeat.

    Seems low to me.

  20. 20
    Emma says:

    @JAFD: My sister had a major heart issue more than twenty years ago. My father put the whole family on a salt diet. Never looked back.

    Herbs are your friends, your buddies, your pals. Use salt for only those things that absolutely needed and then use the minimum necessary to achieve the taste. Make balsamic vinegar your lover for all things salad. Everything will taste different at first but after a while, it is perfect.

    (edited a bit)

  21. 21
    Emerald says:

    The fact that Bowie is no longer here but Donald Trump is tells you all you need to know about the decline of the planet.

  22. 22
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @sukabi: Maybe one might switch to “lite” salt? IIUC it’s half NaCl, half KCl …. and to boot, it’ll reduce your cramps (which is why I switched to it).

  23. 23
    delk says:

    Got to see Bowie at a private show. 1400 seat theater.

  24. 24
    Yarrow says:

    @JAFD: Don’t add salt when you cook–add it at the table. You’ll taste it more and usually use less. Packaged foods generally are not your friend. There is hidden sodium in all sorts of things so read labels. Things like Costco rotisserie chicken is actually high in sodium because they inject the chicken with “flavor.”

  25. 25
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Jeffro: In 1992, I had been working on network switches for a decade. One of our R&D guys said “come see this Mosaic browser and how it displays HTML”. Pretty basic then, but I knew our jobs would never be the same again. They weren’t.

  26. 26
    Aleta says:

    With thanks to @Chetan Murthy: @Millard Filmore: @A Ghost To Most:
    The Unix problem I asked about on the Irish Alzheimer’s thread from this afternoon is finally solved. (Explanation is at #220 on that thread.) Most days I think computers are a wonder of the world. Some days I want to quit them.

  27. 27
    Bostonian says:

    @Emma: Your father didn’t do the rest of you a favor, unless all of you share hypertension. A low sodium diet may be good for you if you have hypertension; it may be bad for you if you don’t.

    According to this research, the degree to which it is bad for people without hypertension to eat a low (<3g/day) sodium diet is greater (34% increased risk of cardiovascular events) than the degree to which a high (7g/day) sodium diet (23% increased risk) is bad for people with hypertension.

  28. 28
    Immanentize says:

    Queen Bitch. Great lost song. I love Bowie.

  29. 29
    Cermet says:

    @JAFD: First, reducing salt has not been proven for most people to reduce blood pressure (about 5% it does.) Second, reducing salt too much appears in a few studies to increase morality. That all said, replacing salt (as in sodium chloride) with Potassium Chloride (called NoSalt brand) can work for many people; however, it is more salty and a bit more metallic so less is needed on food.

  30. 30
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    The President of the United States

    Donald J. Trump @ realDonaldTrump
    So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!

    Jeff Bozo. I remember on election night, I flashed on my fifth grade class room. The teacher had a sort of poster that ran along the top of the wall around the room, pictures of all the presidents, portraits then photographs. I remember thinking that little kids in the future will see that fat, stupid, glowering mug looking down with Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Obama. He’s a constant fucking embarrassment.

  31. 31
    A Ghost To Most says:

    While I am a fan of much of Bowie’s work, I was put off by his fascist phase. Fascism as art never sat well with me.

  32. 32
    HumboldtBlue says:


    I’m gonna pay for my smoking.

    Also, there is a long road ahead for the little guy but tiny steps to healing are happening. Thank you to all who have expressed your concern and love.

    Bowie was always a great interview.

  33. 33
    Emma says:

    @Bostonian: well, my doctor likes the fact that even if I am technically obese I don’t suffer from any heart-related problem. And I do eat salt, as stated above. For example, I make most of my own broths. Those need salt and it is duly used. But I don’t put it in fries and prefer herbs and spices as flavorings. So far so good.

  34. 34
    Aleta says:

    @JAFD: Penzey’s Spices (which I learned about here) has some really good salt-free herb or spice blends. They have frequent offers of free or $1-$2 deals. (Shipping is only free after $40 though.) Right now I believe they have a mail order offer that with any $5 purchase you can get a free 1/2 cup of another spice or mix of your choice. Their stuff makes even plain rice taste great. Florida Pepper is one I like.

  35. 35
    Steve in the ATL says:

    When I was in high school, there were two cassettes that were mandatory on any road trip: Hot Rocks and ChangesOneBowie. We could drive 12 hours with just those two.

  36. 36
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Aleta: I’m glad to hear you got rolling. The young IT geeks around here are much more current than I. As always, RTFM.

  37. 37
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TaMara (HFG): My God, 3 years ago already? : (

  38. 38
    MomSense says:

    This world went to hell after he left it.

  39. 39
    Mart says:


    reducing salt too much appears in a few studies to increase morality

    I wondered why I stopped looking at porn. The salt substitute did it.

  40. 40
    Emerald says:

    I have low normal blood pressure (at 68, nurses tell me that I have the blood pressure of a teenager). This is from both sides of my family. We all crave salt, and we eat it, and tend to live into our late 80s and 90s, barring accidents or cancer.

    Depends on the individual. Do what your doctor says.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    In his defense (sort of), he admitted a couple of decades later that that phase had been fueled by his cocaine addiction and the accompanying paranoia. The “Thin White Duke” was extra-skinny in that phase because of his heavy drug use.

    I also suspect that it was fueled by the approach of Thatcherism and Reaganism on the horizon since he was pretty good at picking up social trends long before anyone else.

  42. 42
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Biology Lab Strips James Watson of All Honorary Titles After ‘Reprehensible’ Race Remarks

    The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has stripped James Watson, the 90-year-old Nobel Prize-winning scientist famous for determining the double-helix structure of DNA with his partner Francis Crick in the 1950s based on research conducted by British chemist Rosalind Franklin, of all his honorary titles after the laboratory deemed his recent remarks on race “reprehensible,” CNN reported this weekend.


    However, the laboratory’s decision to revoke Watson’s honors and titles is the result of American Masters: Decoding Watson, a PBS documentary that aired earlier this month. In that interview, Watson said that his views had not changed and he had not “seen any knowledge” negating his belief that there is a genetic connection between race and intelligence, the Times wrote. He also said he took no joy in “the difference between blacks and whites” and that “It’s awful, just like it’s awful for schizophrenics.”


    As British geneticist Adam Rutherford argued in 2014, when Watson complained in an interview that the scientific community had shunned him, it revealed a “pernicious character entirely unrelated to his scientific greatness, but that is longstanding and not new.” Watson and Crick’s key evidence in their study, Photo 51, was produced by Franklin and her graduate assistant Ray Gosling at King’s College London, and secured without Franklin’s knowledge or authorization via her supervisor, Maurice Wilkins. (Franklin never received a Nobel Prize, as she died in 1958, four years before the others received theirs.)

    Rutherford noted that in Watson’s 1968 book The Double Helix, Watson referred to Franklin by the nickname “Rosy” (“despite there being no evidence that anyone else ever did”) and wrote mean-spirited appraisals of her physical appearance. In 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a report on gender harassment in science, which Science Mag used as an opportunity to discuss Watson’s condescending writings on how Franklin’s “belligerent moods” supposedly interfered with Wilkins’ ability to “maintain a dominant position that would allow him to think unhindered about DNA,” as well as that she “had to go or be put in her place.” The magazine also noted that Crick was quoted in the 1993 book Nobel Prize Women in Science as admitting, “I’m afraid we always used to adopt—let’s say, a patronizing attitude towards her.”

  43. 43
    Amir Khalid says:


    Second, reducing salt too much appears in a few studies to increase morality.

    Is that a bad thing or a good thing?

  44. 44
    Aleta says:

    @JAFD: Here are the salt-free mixtures at Penzey’s.
    (In case you don’t know them, they are outspoken, committed critics of the Tru – republican atrocities and get a lot of hate mail for it.)

  45. 45
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Us too. We roasted our Thanksgiving carcass today with root veggies, and made a wonderful soup with the proper amount of salt. My sympathies to those who must abstain.

  46. 46
    MomSense says:


    I take the opposite approach. I salt a little at the very beginning and then don’t add more later. I find that it takes more salt if added later to get the same flavor.

    Also there are so many different kinds of salt with different strengths and even shapes and it all affects the flavor and usage. My daily salt is the Diamond Kosher.

  47. 47
    Aleta says:

    @MomSense: Is the virus still giving you a hard time? I had one that really hurt in the chest a few weeks ago.

  48. 48
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: as a black man, I am deeply offended by his statements

  49. 49

    @sukabi: I know we have a few jackals who have gone low sodium, so hopefully they’ll weigh in.. I use citrus juices and various vinegars to substitute for salt. Also, any number of spice mixes (make sure they aren’t “seasoned salts”). I hope that helps. My chicken tortilla soup has no salt added – just a dash of lemon, lime, orange juices and red wine vinegar. And I’ve never missed the salt. I just made grilled chicken thighs using granulate lemon and pepper.

  50. 50
    MomSense says:


    It started in my chest – sharp pains when I coughed and then Inthink I got the flu on top of it because I’ve had fever, aches, headache – the works. Friday night I almost went to the ER but I think I’m on the other side of it now.

  51. 51
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @A Ghost To Most:
    What if the art in question is obviously satirizing fascism? Not saying that was what Bowie was doing with his character.

  52. 52
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    Watson’s condescending writings on how Franklin’s “belligerent moods” supposedly interfered with Wilkins’ ability to “maintain a dominant position that would allow him to think unhindered about DNA,” as well as that she “had to go or be put in her place.” The magazine also noted that Crick was quoted in the 1993 book Nobel Prize Women in Science as admitting, “I’m afraid we always used to adopt—let’s say, a patronizing attitude towards her.”

    Jesus. Uh, I mean, uh, “ha! proof that the laydeez are just not suited for high-powered science!”


  53. 53
    plato says:

    If gay people are a mistake, they're a mistake I've made hundreds of millions of times, which proves I'm incompetent and shouldn't be relied upon for anything.
    — God (@TheTweetOfGod) January 13, 2019

  54. 54
    Aleta says:

    @MomSense: That’s good. The chest pain was a bear.

  55. 55
    John Fremont says:

    @Emerald: And on Election Day 2016 we lost Leonard Cohen too

  56. 56
    plato says:

    Kyle Griffin

    The shutdown is hurting farmers. Federal crop payments have stopped. They can’t get federally backed operating loans to buy seed or feed. They can’t look up gov’t data about beef prices or soybean yields to make decisions about planting and selling goods.

    First, he came for the mexicans, I/we hooted and hollered. ..

  57. 57
    Jeffro says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I wondered how long it would take trumpov to tweet something childish at Bezos over his divorce & related. It’s almost funny – almost – to think that a guy who cheated on his third wife, just after she had his kid, with a porn star who thought he was disgusting, and then he had to pay her off in six figures would give the world’s richest man grief over his personal foibles. But I guess NPD is a helluva drug…

  58. 58
    Sandia Blanca says:

    @JAFD: We’ve been cooking with very little salt for about 10 years. That change, plus medication, has brought my husband’s blood pressure under control.

    As others have mentioned, herbs and spices are your best tools. There are many great herb mixes: we use Costco’s salt-free seasoning as our go-to default for meats and vegetables. Fresh herbs, of course, add the most intense flavors.

    Other flavor agents we like are liquid smoke (try it in collard greens, meatloaf, or beans); Tabasco sauce (it’s pretty low in sodium); Better than Bouillon (get the reduced-sodium version); and Tony Chachere’s lower-sodium version of their Cajun seasoning. Citrus juices and zest are another secret weapon. Good-quality oils are important (try a little sesame oil for sauteing Brussels sprouts–so good!).

    Finally, some cooking techniques add more flavor–try roasting your vegetables with a little olive oil and rosemary. You won’t miss the salt!

  59. 59
    dmsilev says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: The only thing that surprises me about that story is that it took this long. Watson has been a vocally racist/sexist asshole for many years now, one of two obvious examples of the statement ‘a Nobel Prize does not mean you are a good person’.

    (Wiiliam Shockely is the other blatant example; becoming an advocate of eugenics will do that)

  60. 60
  61. 61
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    Low-sodium diets are bad for people who don’t need them. Sodium is an electrolyte and it’s primary roles are in muscle contractions and nerve function as well as maintaining proper blood volume in the body as well as in the extracellular and intracellular spaces. If you don’t consume enough sodium, you could have heart dysrhythmias, low blood volume which will lead to a host of problems such as poor tissue perfusion, and decreased nerve function, which could result in seizures.

  62. 62
    dww44 says:

    @Yarrow: I take the opposite view of salt while cooking versus salt after cooking. Salt is a necessary flavor developer in the cooking process and negates the need to salt after the fact. The relatives in my life who had health issues from eating too much salt were prodigious salters after the food came to the table. My Mom, and 3 of her 4 kids did not salt foods after they were cooked.

  63. 63
  64. 64
    dww44 says:

    So, Digby has this post up about Trump and his new Chief of Staff.. Aptly, the title is “Poor Mick. So Soon? and The pic accompanying it is quite glorious.

  65. 65
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    According to that article, it’s been known for years, but he had apologized after he got criticized for his remarks in a 1997 interview. In a recent PBS documentary, he apparently revealed that he never changed his views and never meant his apology. That’s what prompted CSHL, where he hadn’t had much influence in over a decade, to strip him of his honorary titles. The article also revealed that all of them, not just Watson, were assholes, as Crick later admitted in 1993.

  66. 66
    dww44 says:

    @Aleta: Thanks for sharing. That was great.

  67. 67
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @JAFD: the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association has a low-iodine cookbook online. English version here This is low iodine and it may use non-iodized salt.

  68. 68
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Chetan Murthy:
    Yup, total assholes.

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I’m a white guy and I’m offended.

  69. 69
    Mandalay says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Pretty basic then, but I knew our jobs would never be the same again.

    Ditto. No disrespect to Bowie, but any notion that that interview clip from 1999 shows him to be some kind of visionary about the possibilities of the Internet is risible. He was just parroting a very widely held view.

  70. 70
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Charles P. Pierce @ CharlesPPierce
    Something big is dropping tomorrow with all this flailing.

    please be Junior, please be Junior…..

    Dan Pfeiffer @ danpfeiffer
    If your dentist posted something this weird on social media, you would immediately get a new dentist

  71. 71
    Chetan Murthy says:


    He was just parroting a very widely held view.

    Ehh …. he was a *musician* with that view. Sure, it was widely-held amongst technologists, but I don’t know how much amongst others. I distinctly remember around that time, that it was surprising to some people at Ye Olde Gynormous IT Company, that the Internet would completely change all I/T infrastructure everywhere. Not to speak of the possibility that it might change our society. I mean, that latter view wasn’t as common as we like to remember.

    And again: he was a musician, with these ideas.

  72. 72
    Gelfling 545 says:

    Regarding salt reduction, I will just say do not attempt to reduce salt in baking. It will screw up the chemistry.

  73. 73
    dmsilev says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: We can hope, but it’s just as likely that he’s suffering from Golf Deprivation Syndrome now that someone (who? Kelly is gone now.) has told him he can’t go play until the shutdown is resolved.

  74. 74
    SFAW says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting,

    If I were Bezos, and had the nigh-unlimited funds from which to draw, I’d (A) buy the Enquirer (and Fox, although that’s probably a bridge too far while Rupert is still alive), and (B) run hit pieces on Shitgibbon every day.

    I’d start by having them report that Shitgibbon is not a billionaire, has not been one in XX years, and might be worth $50M on a good day. Four weeks of that, and the Traitor-in-Chief would stroke out.

    I can think of some other more-unsavory tactics that could be used, but I’m betting there’s enough available without going there. Yeah, I realize the Shitgibbonistas won’t care, but some Rethug Senators might.

  75. 75
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @dmsilev: (who? Kelly is gone now

    My money’s on Kellyanne. She has a Nurse Ratched thing that probably makes him uncomfortable in way he doesn’t quite understand….

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dww44: Donald is a very shitty negotiator with peers. If he can browbeat them enough, they’ll cave. But Nancy is made of much sterner stuff than some third rate real estate magnate in New York.

  77. 77
    tomtofa says:

    So salt is, for most people, ok. Fats, too, in moderation. Seems like the only things left that everyone agrees are bad are sugar, too much protein, and white things – bread, potatoes, low-functioning caucasians. Hard to argue with that.

  78. 78
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    What the fuck is he even talking about?

  79. 79
    ljt says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Whatever was linked in the Pfeiffer tweet has been deleted. Do you know what it was? Is there a screen-grab anywhere?

  80. 80
    dmsilev says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: The National Enquirer, which can be understood as Trump’s pet attack newspaper, published some story about Bezos having an affair (I think), which lead to Bezos and his wife getting a divorce.

  81. 81
    Mandalay says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    Ehh …. he was a *musician* with that view.

    Oh FFS, don’t venerate him over this. He was an intelligent musician who was well informed about the possibilities of the Internet, just as many folks here who are not politicians were probably well informed about politics back in 1999. That’s all.

    Bowie wasn’t saying anything remotely novel or controversial about the Internet, notwithstanding the devil’s advocate schtick from Paxman in the interview. Millions of people had AOL accounts, and were chatting and using email, long before 1999. The notion that the possibilities of the internet were barely understood by only a few in 1999 is total nonsense.

  82. 82
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @ljt: the trump tweet about Bezos’ divorce I copied up above @Jim, Foolish Literalist: For a hot minute I thought trump had actually taken down a tweet, but it’s still there, I don’t know why it’s not on Pfeiffer’s feed

  83. 83
    sgrAstar says:

    @delk: I saw Bowie a couple of times. The most memorable concert was in Phoenix with Trent Reznor/NIN…it was incredible. We had press passes, so we were *right there*. Ooooh.

  84. 84
    Mike J says:

    BTW, if anyone sees Ruemara, Friday night is cool for me for a meetup.

  85. 85
    Jeffro says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: that Dan Pfeiffer tweet now links to something trumpov deleted…I wonder what that bit of insanity was?

    I see the ‘prepping’ campaign is continuing to ramp up: Max Boot and Anne Applebaum both have op-eds in tomorrow’s WaPo about ’18 reasons trumpov could be a Russian asset’ and ‘the recent revelations tell us nothing we haven’t known all along’ (about trumpov being a Russian asset). It’s almost like someone or someones are directing a general info campaign designed to both rattle trumpov and his allies, and to prepare the country for a rather big revelation…

  86. 86
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    Seriously? That’s what Trump is referring to? Bezos owns the Post, but doesn’t have any editorial control as I understand it. Who gives a shit about his personal life? That doesn’t affect the WaPo’s often excellent political reporting.

  87. 87
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Chetan Murthy:
    In the 1990s I had a job telling the public what David Bowie said about the Internet. How come he gets credit for genius and foresight, and I don’t? Pout.

  88. 88
    zhena gogolia says:


    Nothing of that sort has ever happened to Trump.

  89. 89
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Looking at the replies to Pfeiffer’s original tweet, Pfeiffer was quoting trump’s nutty tweet about Elizabeth Warren– guess what clever tack he’s taking there– that he deleted and put back up.

  90. 90
    joel hanes says:

    Stolen from Chris S. over at LGM :

    House lawyers meeting Monday to evaluate subpoenaing Trump’s interpreters: Democratic aide

  91. 91
    Chetan Murthy says:


    The notion that the possibilities of the internet were barely understood by only a few in 1999 is total nonsense.

    Hindsight is 20/20. No point in arguing about this, since it would require dick-measuring as to who was doing what in the mid-to-late-90s, and that’s sterile.

  92. 92
    Jeffro says:

    @delk: @sgrAstar: to my eternal shame, my only glimpse of Bowie in concert was…a few songs he played in his encore, in the early nineties, when a buddy of mine and I got a little hammered and went to the wrong venue (I forget if it was Meriweather Post Paviiion or Nissan Pavilion, but I got them mixed up, and by the time we got to the right one, it was 3 songs and out).

    There are other parts of that evening that are quite funny but not suitable for a family blog like BJ.

    Sorry David, you deserved better! (But you still got our money, and those really were 3 great songs…=)

  93. 93
    joel hanes says:


    Millions of people had AOL accounts, and were chatting and using email, long before 1999

    I worked for Amdahl, a computer manufacturer that was an early backbone site, and got access to Usenet starting in 1986, shortly after The Great Renaming, and years before The September That Never Ended.

  94. 94
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @joel hanes:
    Can Trump assert executive privilege?

  95. 95
    dmsilev says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: You’re expecting coherence and logic from Trump?

  96. 96
    Jeffro says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: trumpov can’t conceive that a guy would own a major newspaper and not use its staff to direct its reporting to punish his enemies. That’s where he thinks the WaPo’s stories are coming from. Not, you know, the truth. Or this thing called “journalism”. Which are sometimes close to the same thing.

    I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist saying something stupid. Yes, by all means trumpov, try to deflect your imminent world-class shaming (to say nothing of all the shameful revelations that have come out about you personally in recent years) by knocking a really, truly rich guy for fooling around and getting a divorce…

  97. 97
    joel hanes says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    two cassettes

    Need moar Whos Next

  98. 98
    The Dangerman says:

    @A Ghost To Most:


    Aye, it was Mosaic that started everything; before that time, it was Lynx, I think, and it was great in it’s way, but I don’t think I thought it would change the world.

    It was about the same time that DARPA, or whomever, said the Net could be used for commercial purposes (early on, it was “restricted”) that I thought, oh my, the World done changed.

  99. 99
    joel hanes says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    IANAL, but I think yes, because the translator works for the government.
    (My legal opinions are worth less than you pay for them; I’d wait for someone who knows what they’re talking about to weigh in.)

    But it’s a very guilty look if he does.

  100. 100
    Elizabelle says:

    I see they have finally found the cockpit voice recorder from the Lion Air crash. That has been a long time coming.

  101. 101
    dmsilev says:

    @joel hanes: I remember Endless September[*], but the Great Renaming was a bit before my time.

    [*] In the Before Times, a lot of people experienced their first taste of the Internet when starting college. Thus, every September when a new school year began, Usenet groups and other such things were subjected to a horde of clueless newbies. Who learned the ropes, of course, but it took time. Then, in the mid 90s, AOL opened up Internet access for all of their users. Enter a stream of clueless newbies whose size dwarfed any previous inrush. And they kept coming, because this was the era when AOL was sending out so many demo CDs that it was a running joke. And so, September Never Ended.

  102. 102
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    I hadn’t thought of that part: he’s a hypocrite for mocking Bezos for fooling around and getting a divorce. He’s done the same thing multiple times.

    @joel hanes:

    I did a bit of reading; the SC case that decided executive privilege only applied to subpoenas from the judicial branch. It didn’t address those from Congress. Cases dealing with executive claims of privelidge involving congressional subpoenas never made it to the SC.

  103. 103
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @dmsilev: two things that come to mind: (1) when X10.3 came out, we wanted to transfer it from UCB to Cornell (to use it), but the Arpanet was too slow and intermittent to be able to FTP such huge files without failure. So we NFS-mounted (yeah, UCB EECS offered their servers as remote-filesystems, ha! talk about insecurity) the server and dd’ed the files. Because NFS runs over UDP, UDP is connectionless, and NFS is inherently stateless. So no timeouts! Infinite retransmits!

    (2) in late/late/late 1994, I was playing music at Cornell on my Sparcstation off an FTP server at UCSD via an FTP-to-NFS translator, (over the brand-spanking-new NSFNet) backbone — was it called “Archie”? I forget. Got into trouble for that, heh.

  104. 104


    trumpov can’t conceive that a guy would own a major newspaper and not use its staff to direct its reporting to punish his enemies.

    True, but I would take it a step further. What he wants is truth, and what he doesn’t want is lies. So, he has no concept of objective truth telling that they might be doing anyway. That plays into why it’s beyond anything he can imagine that WaPo’s reporting might not be a personal attack by whoever’s in charge.

  105. 105
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @joel hanes: The interpreters ( not translators) are generally employed by the State Dept. I have no opinion on the privilege question, but I’m not comfortable with calling them to testify. It’s hard work, you have to really concentrate on the task yet be effectively transparent. There’s a good chance they might not recall the details well.

  106. 106
    Emma says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Fifteen years and counting. My doctor is very pleased with the state of my heart. Check up coming up next month. We shall see what we shall see.

  107. 107
    joel hanes says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    Cases dealing with executive claims of privilege involving congressional subpoenas never made it to the SC.

    During the reign of Bush the Lesser, Congress subpoena’ed Rove, and W claimed ex. priv., and made it stick. IIRC, he pulled the same trick with Harriet Meiers.

  108. 108
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Mnemosyne: Smoking will also kill you without cancer. My mother was a heavy smoker and complications of COPD took her out at 65. My old man made it to 80 and bladder cancer (a lesser known smoking-related cancer) got him, 6 and half months before she died.

    So – don’t smoke is very good advice.

    Also a world without David Bowie and with the Mango Mussolini in the White House is not good for my state of mind.

  109. 109
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @The Dangerman: My world really changed when my company could buy commercial network switches rather than building them. That was the big switchover to IP from all the various protocols that were common in the 80s. I was building INET daemons when I first saw Mosaic.

  110. 110
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Do you remember those Bridge terminal-switch networks? Ran over Ethernet, and presented a pile of serial-ports to which you attached terminals and computers? Man, what idiocy. I worked for SWBell, who bought a TON of that shit in 1986 …. by 1990 they had to rip it all out in favor of IP (over Ethernet, of course).

  111. 111
    joel hanes says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Amdahl built IBM-mainframe-compatibles, and thus we were heavily involved in Token Ring, because that was the IBM machine-room local network at the time. In those days the joke was that Token Ring worked in theory but not in practice, but with Ethernet it was the other way ’round.

  112. 112
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @joel hanes: In IBM’s defense (which I rarely do) many of TR’s switching capabilities were carried-over to Ethernet; turned out Ethernet was malleable in a way that other LAN technologies weren’t. The same was true of IP itself — IBM made a handy business of renting IP-over-SNA long-haul links, b/c they could be run much closer to saturation than bare IP. But then, the telcos did the same with IP-over-SONET, for similar reasons. Eventually all that died, b/c the relevant signaling got built into long-haul IP-adjacent protocols (from what I remember) but still …..

    One thing that I think is insufficiently appreciated, is the extent to which people just didn’t understand the impact of indescribably cheap “X” (for X in {CPU, memory, storage, network bandwidth, pixels}) until after it arrived. Over and over again, we saw people inventing ways to take advantage of something whose price had crashed thru the floor, AFTER the event, rather than being prepared BEFORE the event. And I wasn’t immune to this: I only figured out that massive main memories would change all database and transaction-processing problems/solutions in 2008; Google had that figured out by 2001.

  113. 113
    The Dangerman says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    I was building INET daemons when I first saw Mosaic.

    I came across Mosaic first in early 1994; Summer, 1993, I was at a Baby Bell working with fiber to a node and coax from the node to the home over the last 1.5km or 3km, I forget (fiber to the home was Holy Grail but far, far too expensive). I went to a symposium that Summer and they did a good job of predicting where things would go, though far too much time was spent on video phones, which never really played out as it was considered at the time, meaning, not counting whatever has happened on smartphones or tablets … they thought the big money was movies on demand, which was kinda right as proved by Netflix, et al…

    Being a freshly minted MBA, I had visions of getting filthy stinking rich after I left PacBell but … well, I didn’t …

  114. 114
    oldgold says:

    It may be problematic to call translators to testify as to what Trump and Putin said to one another [ I could argue that round or flat ], but it would seem acceptable to ask the translators if they were directed to destroy their notes. And, to ask: if that is the normal course; if not, what is; if there was an explanation offered for this request; and, if so, what was it.

  115. 115
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @The Dangerman: Did you hear about the Time-Warner Orlando Video-on-Demand experiment? I think that was the summer of 1994? Gynormous failure. Built on CORBA. Ridiculously fragile. Remember all those funky and specialist protocols that people developed to carry video over IP? They were all designed around “degrade quality as bandwidth decreases” and all that shit. And in the end, it all got replaced by “just buffer a lot, and use HTTP to fetch ahead, man”.

  116. 116
    Chetan Murthy says:

    Crikey. Just crikey:

    Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2019

  117. 117
    The Dangerman says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    Did you hear about the Time-Warner Orlando Video-on-Demand experiment.

    Vague recollection of it; I kinda recall the “this is going to be so damn cool” excitement but was out of there before anything happened.

    My guess at the time (a pretty good one, actually) was network capacity issues were cool, but content was going to be the money maker, so I moved to Seattle to make my fortune (no, not Microsoft or Amazon).

  118. 118
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.

    Oh boy. Sultan Erdogan of the Neo-Ottoman Empire sure won’t like this.

  119. 119
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    I meant to ask if you’d ran it by a doctor. That’s good to hear. Here’s to a clean bill of health next month.

  120. 120
    Original Lee says:

    @JAFD: Penzy’s and Spice Hunter have salt-free spice and flavor mixes that are really tasty. I love Spice Hunter’s Steak & Chop Grill & Broil – so perfect for chunks of red meat, and of course, Penzy’s blends are the bomb.

  121. 121
    JAFD says:

    Good morning, everyone !

    Thanks very much for all the advice.

    As I mentioned, both my cardiologist and my PCP are very attractive women. half my age, I want them to smile at me ;-) I do what they say. Different strokes…

    Penzey’s & The Spice Hunter, checking them out. Really oughta get my act together, look into shops of Manhattan.

    Reading all the food labels, now, some surprises there.

    Hope everyone has good week.J

  122. 122

    Regarding the comments on Bowie’s fascist phase, it’s a black mark on his career for sure, but I think there’s solid evidence that it wasn’t at any point Bowie speaking out in advocacy of fascism. It was the Thin White Duke, whom he deliberately constructed as a representation of the id, and he got lost in the character due to a combination of cocaine, paranoia, and cocaine-induced paranoia. I think it’s telling that Bowie never again performed music as a character after the Duke.

    Bowie’s actual beliefs seem to have been libertarian socialist, though he didn’t express them in his music all that often. However, apart from the Duke period, most of his career, especially later on, was marked by sharp criticism of racism at several points. In particular, he explicitly and directly criticised MTV for its unwillingness to play videos by black artists at the time. Not long after then, Michael Jackson became a superstar, and there’s no question in my mind that this isn’t related. Various other works he was responsible for also contain criticism of racism, and I’ve always taken the line “To be insulted by these fascists is so degrading” from “It’s No Game” to be his mea culpa for the Thin White Duke period.

    In any case, I feel like the key to deciphering Bowie’s work is actually an often-forgotten work from Hunky Dory entitled “Quicksand.”

    I’m the twisted name on Garbo’s eyes
    Living proof of Churchill’s lies, I’m destiny
    I’m torn between the light and dark
    Where others see their targets, divine symmetry

    The lyrics are a bit oblique outside of the context of the song, but Bowie is explicitly attacking the idea of black and white morality here and acknowledging his own fallibility. It’s worth noting that Churchill’s ethical flaws weren’t widely acknowledged in polite British society at this point; his horrific attitude towards colonialism, for instance, simply wasn’t mentioned much.

    There’s also the often-misunderstood chorus of the song.

    Don’t believe in yourself
    Don’t deceive with belief
    Knowledge comes with death’s release

    Bowie isn’t actually saying to give up on life and wait for death here. He’s advocating ego death: the loss of any false beliefs about oneself. Don’t deceive yourself by believing you’re some sort of infallible hero. The third verse clarifies this a bit:

    I’m not a prophet or a stone-age man
    Just a mortal with the potential of a superman
    I’m living on
    I’m tethered to the logic of Homo Sapien
    Can’t take my eyes from the great salvation
    Of bullshit faith
    If I don’t explain what you ought to know
    You can tell me all about it on the next Bardo
    I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought
    And I ain’t got the power anymore

    He’s explicitly disclaiming the role of saviour here, as well as any sort of false pretences about one’s identity. Of course, on his very next album, he would portray the explicitly messianic Ziggy Stardust, and people who knew him at the time said that after a few beers he would start to believe he actually was Ziggy Stardust. So it’s not surprising to me that the role of the Duke eventually consumed him, and he stopped portraying such characters afterward.

    (Incidentally, I’d place Station to Station in my top five or six Bowie albums, alongside Low, Blackstar, Ziggy Stardust, and “Heroes” and/or Hunky Dory – I go back and forth on the fifth.)

    At any rate, he at one point published a list of his 100 favourite books, and it included a lot of left-leaning fare like George Orwell and Howard Zinn, so I pretty severely doubt that he sincerely held any fascist beliefs. He may not have been a flawless human being, but he certainly was a consummate artist with a lot of keen insight about life, and it’s a goddamn shame he isn’t still with us.

  123. 123
    Fair Economist says:

    @Bostonian: There are indications that ratios of electrolytes are more important than absolute levels of sodium (which makes sense biologically). Sodium/potassium ratios are a better predictor of stroke than sodium intake. It’s easier to get potassium uptake up with light salt and vegetables than to get sodium really low.

    I suspect raising magnesium intake might help too. It tends to be deficient in the standard American diet.

  124. 124
    Fair Economist says:

    @MomSense: Take care; this year’s flu seems scary. There was that conservative journalist who died of it a week or two ago and one of my son’s friends’ mother died of flu associated pneumonia last week. She was only about 50.

  125. 125
    Mike G says:

    This is, unfortunately, not a joke —

    Ivanka Trump is reportedly under consideration to lead The World Bank

  126. 126
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Chetan Murthy: I worked primarily in protocol converters for X.25, bisync, hdlc, and async into GE’s internal network, which at that time was the largest private data network in the world (23 time zones).

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