Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   explode at the head
Monday, March 22 2010
I'd gone to be early last night but at some point during a period of wakefulness Gretchen had informed me that health care had been approved in the House of Representatives. It was big, exciting news.
Now, like many liberals, I'm no completely thrilled with this particular bill. I would have preferred a singular government takeover of our broken medical system. Health is something that all of us are at risk of losing at any time. And when severe illness comes, it's like a personal Hurricane Katrina. Insurance was designed to spread that risk out, but it has been becoming increasingly ineffective as health care companies purge their roles of the people who actually need health care the most. So I think the provision of health care should be a government responsibility. But I know that will never happen in my lifetime in this country (one of whose mottos is "fuck you, I got mine"). And so we had Obama's health care package, a list of modest though important reforms. It was all that could be managed at this time in this democracy, and even that, limited as it was, just barely succeeded. Still, the collective head-explosion of right wingers made it all worthwhile. Today was a day spent largely in rapturous schadenfreude as I watched the douchebags of America squeal like spoiled children about to be spanked in public. End of democracy! Communism! Socialism! Maoism! These tards were still stuck in the 1950s.
In watching the delicious response on (and other places) I couldn't help but notice that these people had failed to mentally prepare for a future in which Obamacare had passed. Their certainty about how things would play out rather reminded me of the Bush administration's preparations for the invasion of Iraq. They believed theirs was a godly cause, and there was therefore no need for a Plan B. Liberals, progressives, and Democrats have lots of flaws that have been exploited through the years by the Right, but I think this inability to prepare for bad outcomes is one of the Right's Achilles heels. They are resolute, they are certain, and so when they're defeated, all they can do is explode at the head.
Another striking thing about this Obamacare story is what it says about the difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to the wielding of power. This is an oversimplification I know, but the basic difference is that Democrats believe in the value of government and campaign so that they can win elections and then do things to improve government and run it competently. Republicans, on the other hand, don't believe government has any value and so campaign so that they can win elections so they can do the things necessary to win more elections and consolidate their power. This was summed up nicely in Gingerich's remarks about health care just before it passed in the House, "[If Democrats pass health reform,] they will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years [by passing civil rights legislation]." Not only was he saying that Democrats had just done a foolish thing by passing a bill that hadn't been polling well, but he was also implying that their passing the Civil Rights Act had been foolish because it hadn't been in the service of holding onto power. These guys are all completely Machiavellian, and it's great that we have days such as today when their masks are ripped off and we are shown, to be frank, how evil they are.
This morning I repeated a mistake I'd made before. I took delivery of a Linksys WRT160N wireless router that I'd thought would accept an open-source firmware (in this case OpenWRT) only to discover that it was an incompatible version of the hardware. By incompatible, it's possible that Cisco deliberately sabotaged its hardware to give it better control over the uses to which its products are put. The whole episode is infuriating, because I'd been led to believe (based on the comments at that all I'd have to do would be replace the firmware with OpenWRT. So I had to get a RMA and pay for shipping back to Newegg, something I rarely do even when there is a fuckup, because after you've paid all the extra costs you end up hit for a large fraction of the item's value.

In the evening I began exploring the possibility of using WinLIRC to remotely control my main computer, but instead of sending the controls with infrared, I'd use 315 Megahertz digital radios. Small transmitters and receivers can be purchased for cheap from SparkFun, and it seems like it would be a straightforward task to intercept the output of a universal remote to send via radio (as opposed to infrared). The advantage to radio is that its signal penetrates walls, which would allow me to control the computer from throughout the house. Ideally I'd like to be able to pause and jump around in my computer's audio playlist as I listen to it at a distance from a simple FM receiver. The 315 Megahertz radios sold on Sparkfun have a range of 500 feet, which is a good start. And if that works, I can graduate to cheap Motorola Talkabouts.

Hard rains fell for much of last night and throughout the day. I like that sound on the roof but Gretchen has trouble sleeping with all the racket.

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