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Life Intrudes

I’m trying to get an apartment ready for the first of next month or sooner, so my computer time is limited.

I would like to note the passing of Ursula K Le Guin who was a great story teller who also happened to be a novelist and poet. She was on the level of Azimov and Bradbury with multiple Hugos and Nebulae for her trophy case. Her novels are worth rereading every so often as things change as you change.

In other news, the First Lady went to Mar-a-Lago with the President* but was not seen in his company at any time. She has cancelled her trip to Davos with the President, and there was no noticeable celebration of their 13th anniversary. It looks like some turbulence from Stormy weather.

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Lieutenant Colonel US Army (retired) has announced that she is expecting her second daughter to be born this Spring, the first sitting Senator to give birth.

I will now return to the installation of a sink and doors…


1 Badtux { 01.25.18 at 12:45 am }

I loved LeGuin’s 60’s and 70’s novels and stories. Her later works… meh, too many axes grinding drowned out the drama. Still, she was intelligent and vital until the end. She was working on editing a new book of essays to be published later this year when she got sick and died.

She was definitely a giant of the field, even if her later works were not to my taste.

2 Bryan { 01.25.18 at 9:52 pm }

She wasn’t shy and had opinions. Some people in publishing annoyed the hell out of her, and she let them affect some of her work as she responded. That said she was one of the authors who could fully create an alternate reality with internal consistency, which is important to drawing people into the world.

I needed to escape from my real world from time to time to rebuild my inner self for when I reentered the reality of the military or law enforcement. That is what attracted me to science fiction and fantasy. I didn’t really take up mystery novels until after I was out of the ‘game’.

3 Badtux { 01.26.18 at 2:47 am }

Yeah, I imagine reading mystery novels while you were still an active peace officer would have been as annoying as when I watch NCIS: Somewhere, which I’ve never managed to do without throwing something at the screen and yelling “video surveillance technology doesn’t work like that, you bint!” Sheesh. As you know I work in that industry. I know what can be done and not done. Because of that, those shows are forever ruined for me.

4 Bryan { 01.26.18 at 9:17 am }

Yeah, the apparent ability of the cameras in TV shows to provide unlimited magnification when we both know that that ain’t happening. Most cctv recordings I’ve gotten weren’t HD, I was lucky if they were color and VGA. There isn’t a cop shop in the country with the facilities and budget of any of these “crime scene investigations”. Hell, fingureprints would take days for local searches, and weeks if you send them to the Feds. Minutes on TV take days in reality, hours take weeks, and days take months. I want to know where they are getting all of this equipment on a law enforcement budget?

5 Badtux { 01.26.18 at 11:43 am }

The average age of the video surveillance gear installed base is ten years old or so. The analog VGA cameras have gone the way of the dodo, but ten years ago was 1024×768 or 720p (1280×720) IP cameras that aren’t *that* much better. On my cat cams (which are about the same vintage), I can see if my cat is squatting over his cat box, but I can’t see what kind of product came out, and I can see whether there’s any kibble in my cat’s food bowl, but I can’t read the large dial-type thermometer on the wall behind him. If a dude stares directly at a camera I can get a good enough face picture that a detective in a neighboring city might recognize him as a known bad guy if we circulate it around, but that’s about it. If he never stares directly at a camera all we got is garbage.

Thus my throwing erasers at the TV when I see that stuff where they’re enhancing, rotating, yada yada…. you can’t get data from garbage!

6 Badtux { 01.26.18 at 11:48 am }

BTW, fingerprint matches come back a lot faster now thanks to improvements in computer technology, but it still requires days to get results back from the FBI, because there are so many potential matches returned by the computer that it takes that long to sort through them using the Mark II Eyeball and find the most likely match. And even there, it’s not a perfect science. Just ask Brandon Mayfield about that one….

7 Bryan { 01.26.18 at 8:33 pm }

You have better cameras for your cat-cams than banks or convenience stores down here. If you look at the video that the local police are releasing to the media you can just about figure out that it is a person and you can make a reasonable guess as to race, but if they aren’t bare chested sex is probably out of reach even for a guess. It really is ridiculous to expect anything from having the cameras in the stores if they can’t take a decent picture., especially given the cost of the new HD cameras.

Fingerprints are really iffy even with the vaunted California NEC system. Their use has realiy been depreciated. Juries want DNA, but they don’t like paying for the cost involved. As for the FBI, they have spent more money on failed IT than any other government agency. Their RFPs are held up as examples of how not to do it. They have trailed all of the large cities in their use of of IT, even for office functions. I hated filing out their annual crime report because there categories didn’t correspond to New York penal law. Sending in a request for them to do some evidence testing meant the trail was going to be delayed as you waited for results.