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The world according to David Graham


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Recent entries

  1. PMO Staff Run Government; Ministers Represent It
  2. On A Mostly Harmless Birthday
  3. The Trouble With Political Communications
  4. Politics: War By Other Means
  5. On the function of Social media
  6. C-18 is an existential threat, not a benefit, to democracy
  7. On Missing A Little More Than A Sub
  8. The Realpolitik Of Open Nomination
  9. What Is An Open Nomination, Really?
  10. Alberta election about identity, not policy
  11. The Trouble With Electoral Reform
  12. Mr. Bains Goes to Rogers
  13. Question Period
  14. Why do lockdowns and pandemic restrictions continue to exist?
  15. Parliamentary privilege: an arcane concept that can prevent coups
  16. It's not over yet
  17. Trump will win in 2020 (and keep an eye on 2024)
  18. A podcast with Michael Geist on technology and politics
  19. Next steps
  20. On what electoral reform reforms
  21. 2019 Fall campaign newsletter / infolettre campagne d'automne 2019
  22. 2019 Summer newsletter / infolettre été 2019
  23. 2019-07-15 SECU 171
  24. 2019-06-20 RNNR 140
  25. 2019-06-17 14:14 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  26. 2019-06-17 SECU 169
  27. 2019-06-13 PROC 162
  28. 2019-06-10 SECU 167
  29. 2019-06-06 PROC 160
  30. 2019-06-06 INDU 167
  31. older entries...

All stories filed under satire...

  1. 2001-01-30: Geek delicacies from around the world: Macaroni and cheese
  2. 2002-08-18: August 18th, 2002 (from Advogato)
  3. 2003-02-22: February 22nd, 2003 (from Advogato)
  4. 2003-08-24: Microsoft seeks law to retroactively ban Finnish immigration
  5. 2003-08-31: Linus Torvalds enters race for California Governor
  6. 2003-09-07: Microsoft Way goes nowhere
  7. 2003-11-02: Nestl� to buy Google
  8. 2004-03-16: March 16th, 2004 (from Advogato)
  9. 2004-03-21: Proven: Windows is more secure than Linux out of the box
  10. 2004-04-01: Linus ends free lunch
  11. 2005-10-16: Horton AV announces avian flu vaccine for Linux
  12. 2006-06-14: O Canada in the Commons
  13. 2006-07-25: Why lawns suck
  14. 2006-10-27: Harper demands equal treatment for Canada
  15. 2008-04-15: Tories forgot a word...
  16. 2008-05-03: Happy press freedom day!
  17. 2010-06-10: Keeping Track - Lawn mowers: our most pampered and successful pets
  18. 2016-05-11: 2016-05-11 14:07 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  19. 2019-04-01: 2019-04-01 14:12 House intervention / intervention en chambre

Displaying the most recent stories under satire...

2019-04-01 14:12 House intervention / intervention en chambre

International relations, Montana, Statements by Members

Déclarations de députés, Montana, Relations internationales

Mr. Speaker, it has come to our attention that there is a petition across the United States that calls on Canada to buy Montana for a trillion dollars. While we appreciate their interest, we would like to present our counter-offer.

We will annex Washington state, Oregon, California, New England and enough of New York to get the rest of Niagara Falls and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, with her values, would be a pretty average Canadian. We will offer, in exchange, to take over Puerto Rico and make it a province, to provide the 74 million new immigrants created by this deal universal free health care, regardless of what they believe or wear, and to take Montana.

We believe that this is a fair deal that would also help compensate for our century-old reticence to accept the Turks and Caicos, which was a grave error, we now recognize. In that spirit, if they are not intending to help make Britain great again, we could also make room for Scotland in our Confederation

Monsieur le Président, nous avons appris qu'il existe une pétition aux États-Unis qui demande au Canada d'acheter le Montana pour un billion de dollars. Nous sommes certes heureux de cet intérêt, mais nous aimerions faire une contre-offre.

Nous annexerons l'État de Washington, l'Oregon, la Californie, la Nouvelle-Angleterre et une partie suffisante de l'État de New York pour que nous puissions obtenir le reste des chutes Niagara et Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, dont les valeurs rejoindraient celles de l'ensemble des Canadiens. En échange, nous proposons de prendre Porto Rico et d'en faire une province, d'offrir aux 74 millions de nouveaux immigrants par suite de cet accord des soins de santé universels gratuits, peu importe ce en quoi ils croient ou ce qu'ils portent, et de prendre aussi le Montana.

Nous croyons qu'il s'agit d'un accord juste qui permettrait aussi de compenser notre réticence, depuis 100 ans, à accepter les îles Turques et Caïques, ce qui a été — nous le reconnaissons maintenant — une grave erreur. Dans cet esprit, si les États-Unis n'ont pas l'intention d'aider la Grande-Bretagne à retrouver sa grandeur, nous pourrions également faire de la place à l'Écosse dans la Confédération.

Watch | HansardEcoutez | Hansard

hansard parlchmbr satire statements tv 377 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 20:26 on April 01, 2019

2016-05-11 14:07 House intervention / intervention en chambre

Fictional works, Science and technology, Statements by Members

Déclarations de députés, Oeuvres de fiction, Science et technologie

Mr. Speaker, 15 years ago today, with Arthur Dent well established in his new life, Ford Prefect returned to this mostly harmless place for Douglas Adams. Marvin the paranoid android was, of course, left behind.

Anyone who has read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is aware that planet Earth is little more than a computer, built on the orders of mice, to determine the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

While I must wrap up this statement, brought to some of us by our resident babelfish, before it is destroyed to make way for a hyper-partisan bypass, it is a great honour to know that all of our colleagues, brought together here today by the infinite improbability drive, will forevermore have our names listed together on a plaque.

The plaque will be here in Centre Block marked, without ever having determined the question, with the answer to life, the universe, and everything, the number of our Parliament, 42.

Monsieur le Président, il y a 15 ans aujourd'hui, étant donné qu'Arthur Dent s'était bâti une nouvelle vie, Ford Prefect est retourné à un endroit globalement inoffensif pour Douglas Adams. Quant à Marvin, l'androïde paranoïde, il a bien entendu été laissé de côté.

Tous ceux qui ont lu Le guide du voyageur galactique savent que la planète Terre est plus qu'un ordinateur, construit sur les instructions des souris, pour trouver la réponse à la grande question sur la vie, l'univers et le reste.

Puisque je dois terminer ma déclaration, qui a été comprise par bon nombre d'entre nous grâce au poisson Babel de cette institution, avant qu'elle soit détruite pour faire place à une voie express hyperpartisane, je tiens à dire que c'est un grand honneur de savoir que tous les députés, qui sont rassemblés ici aujourd'hui grâce au générateur d'improbabilité infinie, verront leur nom être inscrit sur une plaque pour toujours.

Cette plaque sera installée dans l'édifice du Centre et elle portera le numéro 42, celui de notre législature, même si nous n'avons pas encore trouvé la réponse à la grande question sur la vie, l'univers et le reste.

Watch | HansardEcoutez | Hansard

hansard parlchmbr satire statements tv 371 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 20:26 on May 11, 2016

Keeping Track - Lawn mowers: our most pampered and successful pets

If I wanted a carpet outside my house, I would put down a carpet instead of a lawn. I've always had trouble with the concept of exceedingly short grass and wonder what the purpose is. There are plenty of plants that stay short on their own, are prettier and less allergenic than grass, require no mowing, and in some cases even produce perfectly good food. Wild strawberries, for example, are aggressive, short, and produce absolute delicious food. Creeping Charlie is considered a weed, but is anything but. It has all the advantages of grass with none of the disadvantages. But instead of these practical solutions to having carpets outside of our homes, we grow lawns, and my column this month is a nod to the most successful domestic species in the world: the lawn mower.

As a society, we're too good to our lawn mowers

Summer is once again upon us. I can tell, not because of the date, nor the sweet sound of chirping birds, nor even the flowers in bloom. Summer's arrival is heralded by the ubiquitous sound of grazing lawn mowers.

The noisiest and least social animal humans have domesticated, the lawn mower generates some of the world's most toxic flatulence while producing no useful byproducts.

Unlike many of its grazing ancestors, this survivor of the modern urban jungle has evolved to chew grass, and return it from whence it came.

It produces only foul smelling gases, yet it is one of the most popular pets known to humanity. Its ancestors on our lawns, the goat and the cow, produced milk used for many aspects of cooking and baking, as well as large quantities of fresh, healthy meat, but were seen as unsightly and messy because of the organic fertilizer they produced. In some areas, another popular grazing animal, the sheep, has been replaced by lawn mowers as growing wool for clothing has gone out of style.

Some older, endangered breeds of lawn mower chew up the lawn and spit it out, allowing the grass to decompose back into the soil and strengthen the lawns, but most modern species of lawn mower hold their meals in large stomachs that have to be emptied by their human masters when they get full.

Many people are so embarrassed by the digested remains of their lawn mower's meals that they hurriedly stoop and scoop the partially eaten grass, quickly hiding it in yard waste bags to be fed to the mower's distant cousin, the garbage truck.

As lawn mowers are known to have a voracious appetite, many of their masters feel compelled to chemically induce their lawns to produce more and, particularly in droughts, divert limited potable water to their lawns lest their lawn mowers become malnourished. Watering lawns is not always legal but many lawn mower owners do it at night, or have their children play with the sprinkler system.

While some citizens let their lawns languish in this dry weather, many people believe that this results in inhumane treatment of lawn mowers which must be fed at least once every two weeks to stay properly fit.

Some rare species of lawn mower are so difficult to feed, municipal governments set up entire parks just to provide enough for them to eat.

These heavy but nimble lawn mowers waste little time enjoying their meals, and spend much of the year trying to eat as much of each city's grass supply as its minders will allow, the better to prepare for their long winter hibernation.

The very best lawns are set aside for the elite. Their life of privilege is funded by generous people who care deeply about the health of these grazers; pampered fairways are subject to continual inspection by club-carrying foursomes, assuring the quality of the grass. On these large, exclusive properties, delicacies, known as greens, are cultivated to the finest tastes of the most demanding lawnmowers.

Lawn mowers are not a social species. They are solitary creatures, rarely ever seen in packs. This far north, they have evolved to hibernate for the winter, although in warmer climates they must be fed year-round.

Lawn mowers reproduce asexually, frequently speciating, and not inheriting evolutionary advances found among their peers.

They are known to react very aggressively to being petted, particularly on their underbellies. However, as lawn mowers are one of our most sacred species, it is very rare for them to be put down for such an outburst. Most lawn mowers are vegetarians, but they have been known to eat a wide variety of small amphibious and land animals that seek shelter in lawns.

Most cities have laws that effectively set minimum standards for the number of lawn mowers that must exist within its limits. If a lawn mower has not had access to a particular lawn in so long that the lawn's height exceeds eight inches, a landowner can be severely penalized for lack of compassion for their lawn mower. As a result, population control for lawn mowers is very difficult and in many areas their numbers have grown to exceed both dogs and cats.

Some people are beginning to see this prolific species as a pest.

With no natural predators, their numbers are increasing and some desperate groups are proposing reintroducing endangered residential grazers like goats.

Prolific consumers of grass and weeds, they could displace lawn mowers in the same habitat. These grazers would reproduce naturally and provide humans with an indirect means of eating their own lawns; feed a goat for the summer, and it will help feed your family for the winter.

The future of the lawn mower is looking very bright. As its world population continues to rise and farmland is replaced with lawn mower grazing fields freshly established in each new urban development, and as grasslands continue to expand northward as lawn mower flatulence works its way through the atmosphere, its food supply and habitat is growing by leaps and bounds.

Indeed, lawn mowers may be one of few species in the world to benefit and thrive from climate change.

columns satire 1018 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 20:26 on June 10, 2010

Happy press freedom day!

The Conservative Government has removed the Coordination of Access to Information Requests System This post has been censored by order of PCO.

politics satire 26 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 12:30 on May 03, 2008

Tories forgot a word...

According to Kady O'Malley's blog, the tories have released a statement about the RCMP and Elections Canada's "visit", but it's missing one important word...

It reads, "Today Elections Canada visited the Conservative Party of Canada Headquarters. This is related to an on-going court case initiated by the Conservative Party of Canada in the spring of 2007. The Conservative Party has provided Elections Canada with all the information that they have requested."

It should perhaps now read: "... The Conservative Party has involuntarily provided Elections Canada with all the information that they have requested."

Accuracy is important.

politics satire 100 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 22:00 on April 15, 2008

Harper demands equal treatment for Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants the US to remember Canada when it builds its 1,100 km fence along the Mexican border. Calling for a "Peace Wall", Harper believes it is only fair for both borders to be properly defended.

"The United States' security is at risk from Canada, too," Harper said at a press conference today, "and we believe a defensive fence should be built along our border by the United States."

The US' northern fence, Harper says, should go along the Canadian border everywhere except Alberta, where the fence should swing north on either side of the province, linking up along the 60th parallel.

The Whitehouse did not immediately return requests for comment, but an official said on condition of anonymity that, "We support Prime Minister Harper's idea for a fence along our northern border. When Canada gets electricity and running water, we can review it."

Liberal leadership hopeful Michael Ignatieff also supports the plan, suggesting that Canada is a known source of criminals entering the United States. "The American constitution should be reopened to block Canadians without PhDs from entering," he said in a statement.

satire 193 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 23:04 on October 27, 2006

Why lawns suck

As my grass begins to look more like a plant than a carpet, I wonder again why it is that we feel a societal need to have -- and mow -- lawns.

Grass is a widespread natural plant, found on a large proportion of the world's surface. It is the primary food source for many grazing animals, from elephants to rabbits. Over the last few centuries, it has evolved into a cosmetic accompaniment to most homes in the West.

It is often planted in arid parts of North America where grass is not a native plant. It has difficulty surviving and requires frequent watering to maintain its healthy green appearance. In some areas, this usage makes up more than half the total residential water usage. The more scarce the potable water supply, the more of it is used to water the lawn.

During hot, dry seasons, and in the winter months, grass goes to a dormant, brown state. There is nothing wrong with the grass in this condition, but many people believe it is unsightly and unhealthy. They therefore water it until it is green again.

With enough water, grass grows. With more water and the strong sunlight associated with dry areas, it grows faster. Then it needs to be cut. Many people use lawn mowers that bag the cut ends of the grass. These are then thrown out, clogging up landfills and taking nutrients out of the soil. With the nutrients gone, lawn owners call chemical companies to fertilise their now unhealthy, fast growing, water-consuming lawns.

It doesn't make any sense to me. In fact, the more I think about lawns, the less logical they are, at least in their current implementation.

In a sane, rational world, we would still have lawns, but our lawns would be diverse, containing broad-leaf plants as well as grasses and clovers. We would not cut them, but we would, instead, have animals grazing our lawns, keeping them short and healthy. A couple of lambs could keep the lawns of a few houses short all summer long, for example.

The animals used to keep the grass short can feed off of the lawn while keeping it short and fertilised all summer long. In the winter, they can feed the owner of the lawn and their family. In the spring, the process can start over with a new grazing dinner in waiting.

This, to me, would be a rational use of lawns.

essays satire 410 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 16:05 on July 25, 2006

O Canada in the Commons

It turns out there *is* one thing that the new government does better than the old.

Parliament's weekly discordant rendition of O Canada before question period every Wednesday has actually become listenable since this government took office. I'm not sure if parliamentarians have been distributed tuning forks, but something has changed!

It used to be that everyone present, government or opposition (except the Bloc), would crowd around together and sing something that sounded approximately like our national anthem, some singing it in English, some in French. Now only the Tory Tenors sing, and only in English.

Amusingly, this week's rendition and question period were preceded by 'the Entertainer' on CPAC.

I hereby coin 'Tory Tenors' to describe the singing classes of the Conservative caucus.

satire 129 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 18:14 on June 14, 2006

Horton AV announces avian flu vaccine for Linux

Reacting to fears that the avian flu outbreak recently reported in Turkey could spread to Linux, anti­virus vendor Horton AV has released what it calls an effective vaccine.

"We know that Linux is vulnerable to viruses," claimed Horton AV spokesman Bob Sinister, "but up until now we have been unable to identify any legitimate threats, in spite of our industry's frequent announcements. Avian flu, however, is a serious threat to Linux, due to Linux's close association with penguins."

Sinister insisted that all Linux users should purchase the vaccine immediately to protect their systems.

"We're answering President Bush's call for a vaccine that is rapid to produce and distribute," Sinister said.

Horton AV's quick reaction to President Bush's call and the outbreak has other anti­virus companies scrambling to come up with their own avian flu vaccines for Linux.

SalmonTec has just released an announcement that they, too, take the avian flu threat to Linux seriously. "SalmonTec believes that the avian flu is the first demonstrable viral threat to Linux due to Linux's security and permissions infrastructure. No other known virus can go around the security and go straight for the heart of the system. The avian flu is highly evolved, having travelled from Vietnam to Turkey in just two years, we expect it to reach Linux by the middle of 2006," read a statement from the anti­virus company.

Distributed Evaluation of Corporate Emergencies and Internet Threats (DECEIT) Coordination Centre spokesman William Sturgeon agreed with SalmonTec and Horton AV's assessment of the avian flu virus, stating, "It is a very dangerous virus. Users should be careful not to open email attachments received from affected countries."

Tux was unable to comment on the advice of his doctors.

Originally posted to Linux.com 2005-10-16; reposted here 2019-11-24.

foss satire 300 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 17:52 on October 16, 2005

Linus ends free lunch

Following in the footsteps of the XFree86 and Apache projects, Linux founder and leader Linus Torvalds has announced licensing and development changes for the Linux kernel.

Effective with the 2.7 development series, anyone using or installing Linux will be required to pay a royalty of $1 per CPU to Linus Torvalds and $.25 per CPU to each programmer responsible for any driver that person uses. Linus says the new fees will greatly improve the development process of the Linux kernel by providing financial incentive for people to contribute drivers to the kernel code base.

In a long email to the Linux kernel mailing list, Linus explains: "Linux contains the intellectual property of many people, and I believe it is fair to ask that those using our intellectual property pay for that right." The average cost of a Linux Intellectual Property License from Linus would be no more than $5, Linus points out, still a bargain compared to other intellectual property and proprietary software licenses. Unlike most software, music, and movie ownership licenses, the entire amount would go directly to the people doing the work ­­ in this case, writing the code.

Reaction from all quarters has been swift.

SCO spokesman Blake Stowell was among the first to speak out against Linus' move. "How can Mr. Torvalds claim to license our intellectual property?" he asked pointedly. "We are examining his right to do this and we may sue him or a member of his family."

Eric S. Raymond for his part believes Linus is making a good decision. "The community is behind you, whatever you need," he says, addressed to Linus. "You have made a lot of new friends." Jumping on the bandwagon, Raymond's Open Source Initiative site now requires a $2.50 payment to Eric S. Raymond to reprint any of his material on the site in any form.

Richard Stallman issued a terse press release insisting that the project must now unequivocally be called "Linux," not "GNU/Linux."

If you are using kernel 2.7 or later, you will be able to register your official Linux Intellectual Property License by sending the licensing fee by PayPal to an address at osdl.org, along with the number of CPUs used, the kernel version used, and all the drivers being used.

"We are making progress," claims Linus. "With a pay scheme for Linux, people who believe the only good software you can get is software you pay for will be happy, Linux developers will have money in their pockets, and no one will get gouged."

Note the publication date. This story is a joke. Do not take it seriously ­ NewsForge Editors

Originally posted to Linux.com 2004-04-01; reposted here 2019-11-23.

foss satire 447 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 01:36 on April 01, 2004

Proven: Windows is more secure than Linux out of the box

After years of petty squabbling between the most innovative company in the software industry and a few pesky upstart hippie developers over which of their operating systems is more secure, the verdict is finally in. Microsoft's flagship Windows software is more secure than Linux. You can demonstrate this for yourself just as we did.

Most consumer Linux distributions come in both downloadable and boxed versions. Similarly, Windows may come either pre­installed or in a box. For purposes of comparison, we will consider only the boxed sets.

Operating system boxes, whether Linux or Windows, typically contain one or more CDs, a manual, and licensing information. Linux CDs often come in a paper envelope and can be removed and directly inserted into a computer. Windows boxes, however, come with a certificate of authenticity that Linux distributions lack. You are meant to remove the certificate of authenticity from the box and carefully scrutinise it to ensure that it is legitimate. In other words, if the features of the certificate match the description of the features of the certificate, then the software in the box is most likely genuine.

This extra security is invaluable in protecting Windows software from many of the evils that can plague a computer once it is set up.

In contrast to the flimsy paper envelope holding the Linux CD, the Windows CD is typically in a plastic case that is secured shut with a label that warns you to be sure you are in compliance with the licensing terms found elsewhere in the box before opening it. This security seal is designed to prevent worms from getting into the CD case and infecting your Windows installation before it is installed, and is an invaluable security asset.

Clearly Windows has the edge in physical security, but what happens after you slide each CD into the computer?

Once the Linux distribution CD has finished installing, the computer requests that a superuser and regular user account be created by the person. This obvious lack of security involved in having more than one user on a computer that can be logged in simultaneously has driven Linux into relative obscurity.

The Windows CD, at a similar point, demonstrates its superior security again. As the Windows installation process begins, it insists that a serial number be entered before continuing. Without this vital secret information, you can not continue installing. Most new Windows users are not aware that a Web search using the now­functional Linux box will turn up valid serial numbers, so this bit of security is the most powerful defence of all against unwanted back­doors in a Windows computer.

Once installed, Windows can easily be set up to connect to the Internet and be used to browse the Web, check email, and run productivity software without any flaws, and unlike the insecure hacker operating system Linux, will quickly and without complaint run any software offered it from any Web site or email attachment as requested.

We are forced to admit that, with the use of certificates, stickers, and serial numbers, Windows vastly outpaces Linux security out of the box.

Originally posted to Linux.com 2004-03-21; reposted here 2019-11-23.

foss satire 534 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 01:33 on March 21, 2004

March 16th, 2004 (from Advogato)


Guess I haven't written in here for a while.

Remember Segfault? It's been gone a while.

Humour in this community is not, though. I've tried my hand at a bit in the last few months...

Linus Torvalds enters race for California Governor

Microsoft seeks law to retroactively ban Finnish immigration

Nestl to buy Google

Microsoft makes RMS its friend

Microsoft Way goes nowhere

Watch for more...

Train chasing has really taken off, too... I have almost 8000 train pictures and over 400 train videos on line now. It's tonnes of fun. If you're in the area and are into trains, come along for the fun!

That site (railfan.ca) is written entirely in a bit over 500 lines of good old bash... who needs perl, anyway? :)

Oh. And I got a new car. My old one died.

satire 143 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 23:47 on March 16, 2004

Nestl� to buy Google

Friday, reports surfaced that Microsoft was interested in buying Google. Instead, food giant Nestl� announced that its sweetened offer to buy the Internet search engine company has been accepted.

Google will complement Nestl�'s long list of well­known brands, including Perrier water, Stouffer's, LifeSavers, and Nesquick. Nestl� says Google will be renamed NesGoogle and have a recipe section added to its main page.

"We believe that this acquisition will be good for the consumer," says Nestl� CEO Peter Brabeck. "Now anyone on the Internet can connect to NesGoogle, which will automatically determine their region and point them to retail outlets for Nestl� products."

Sources close to the deal disclosed that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was coerced into accepting the deal with Nestl�. Mr. Brabeck is alleged to have placed a large bowl of Nestl� Crunch Pieces in front of Mr. Schmidt during their discussions, refusing to allow him to eat any until agreeing to the takeover, while promising a free lifetime supply upon completion of the deal.

Asked to comment on the deal, Mr. Schmidt had very little to say; his only comment sounded something like "Mmmmmm."

Nestl� CEO Brabeck, asked what Nestl� plans to buy next, replied that NescroSoft has a nice ring to it.

Originally posted on Linux.com 2003-11-02; reposted here 2019-11-21.

satire 217 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 04:39 on November 02, 2003

Microsoft Way goes nowhere

Microsoft Way is a northsouth road in Redmond, Washington. A study of Mapquest's map of the road reveals a number of startling features of this particular road.

For one thing, Microsoft Way originates on Ne 39th Street and ends at Ne 31st Street. Both of these streets are oriented east­west, and neither of them continues after encountering Microsoft Way. Microsoft Way, from start to finish, is about half a mile long. It appears to have no meaningful start and no meaningful end. It is merely a blip on the map that goes from nowhere to nowhere.

Mapquest, interestingly, shows Microsoft's campus in a somewhat blueish colour, which its legend reveals is reserved for "Educational Facilities." While using Microsoft products can be an educational experience in a variety of areas, there is no evidence that Microsoft's campus, is, indeed, an educational institution. In the centre of campus there is a large, circular road that has only a few intersections with other roads, and never meets Microsoft Way. Inside this circle are at least six other circular roads, many of which are listed as being one way.

This lends to the possibility that entering Microsoft campus by a way other than Microsoft Way could be a one way street to an infinite loop of infinite loops on a blue screen of educational cul­de­sacs.

Perhaps this would explain the proximity of the Eastside Hospital to the edge of the campus.

More telling, though, is that a careful inspection of the otherwise inexplicable layout of Microsoft Way, Ne 31st, 36th, and 39th streets reveals that the roads together appear to form the letter "f." More importantly, 159th and 163rd avenues combined with Ne 36th Way ­­ the post­intersection name of Ne 36th Street ­­ make up the distinct shape of the letter "u."

The campus map of Microsoft does not show any straight lines from one point to any other point. In fact, one Microsoft employee, M. Hutfles, confided in us that the "campus, when viewed from the air, looks like a side from the Hellraiser puzzle box and is about as easy to get around."

With Microsoft's own employees being confounded by the endlessly complicated layout of the campus, we can only assume that Microsoft Way and its surrounding streets were laid out the way they were for some other reason.

Perhaps it is a blueprint for their software?

Originally posted on Linux.com 2003-09-07. Reposted here 2019-11-21.

foss satire 406 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 19:33 on September 07, 2003

Linus Torvalds enters race for California Governor

< In a surprise announcement this morning, Linux creator Linus Torvalds says he will enter the race to be the governor of California.

Linus' announcement came in the form of a message to the Linux Kernel Mailing List (lkml). Linus says he believes none of the California leadership race's 135 existing candidates can bring real change and improvement to the economy in the state, but that he does have a solution.

"There is a good state here, and it can use some improvement," Linus wrote in his announcement, "but I'd like to try creating my own. This race is a great opportunity to try."

As part of his governing strategy, Linus promised to open the government to contributions from anyone who wishes to contribute, and he will accept or reject those contributions by the people based on their merit and applicability to the situation at hand. "In this way," he wrote, "every citizen of California will have an accessible government. We will work together to develop and maintain a government capable of keeping up with the times which is always willing to try new things."

Governor Gray Davis, upon hearing the news late this morning, was overheard by a reporter telling an associate that Linus had no hope of winning the recall election because proprietary governments were much better than open governments. "No government that listened to changes proposed by an average citizen has ever succeeded," Mr. Davis said. "Ideas have to be developed in­house and sold to the public when they are complete. Public discussion of public policy is merely an illusion. The government passes laws and the people abide by them, whether or not they like them."

Linus knows that people can't win elections without substantial financial backing, he assured his supporters in the Linux community. Prior to his announcement he had already secured more than $3 million toward his campaign from various Linux and Open Source companies, which he has been in touch with over the last few weeks.

One of the hurdles facing Linus' campaign is that the nomination period for candidates has ended. Linus hopes to get around this problem by encouraging fans of freedom and openness looking for a new way of governing to write in his name on the ballot. "California election law allows write­in ballots," he said. "Use them for all they are worth."

With the tens of thousands of Linux developers and the millions of users of Linux around the world likely willing to help his campaign, Linus says he believes he can win the election. "California will be an open society and a wonderful place to live on my watch."

Originally posted on Linux.com 2003-08-31. Reposted here 2019-11-21.

foss satire 455 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 19:30 on August 31, 2003

Microsoft seeks law to retroactively ban Finnish immigration

In his latest attempt to quell the Linux uprising, Microsoft mastermind Bill Gates has pledged over $2,500,000.00 to George Bush's 2004 election campaign if he passes a law that bans anyone born in Finland from working in the United States, and condemns all existing Finnish natives living in the US to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba's Camp X­ray, where they are to be collectively punished for the un­American ways of one unidentified resident Finn.

A Finnish citizen working in the U.S., who we will call "Linut" to preserve his anonymity, says he does not believe this effort is directed at him.

"I'm just here having fun working on my pet project," said Linut in a telephone interview earlier today from his office at the Open Source Development Lab.

Gates says his efforts will help maintain the purity of yesterday's software industry. "The software industry is finished with these scandalous Scandinavians," he told a business audience in Seattle last Friday. Gates continued, "They are destroying the very fabric of American life ­ profits, theft, abuse, and slander!" which was greeted with thunderous applause from the audience of more than a dozen executives.

George Bush, for his part, said that the banning of all Finns from the United States was an excellent and patriotic idea worthy of little study and quick, thoughtless execution. At least, that's what we think he said. France's Jaques Chirac reacted this afternoon, saying that this effort would be a boost to his country's software industry, but suggested that the banning of all Finns from the United States would require a United Nations Security Council resolution before it could be carried out.

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen's office released a statement last night that all Finland's remaining software contracts with Microsoft would be cancelled if this effort went through.

President Bush has ordered the Microsoft Windows­operated USS Yorktown to the North Sea to await further instructions.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has been dispatched to Finland to offer inexpensive software deals to the Finnish government.

Linut, meanwhile, says he is not un­American. "It used to be illegal to profiteer in the United States," he said, "who is the criminal?"

Originally posted on Linux.com 2003-08-24. Reposted here 2019-11-21.

foss satire 372 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 19:28 on August 24, 2003

February 22nd, 2003 (from Advogato)

Mmmm... nice new monitor.

I've taken up the hobby of railfanning, or if you prefer the British terminology, trainspotting, and my first 3 weeks of this activity have yielded over four hundred pictures and nearly 30 short video clips the camera I am borrowing takes.

But I kept missing something out there, on the tracks, often in good Canadian weather of 50 km/h winds and blowing snow.

What I kept missing was the trains.

So yesterday, I went to downtown Guelph to find a scanner. Freight trains emit a signal every 30 seconds from what's called an "end of train device". They also make extensive use of clear radio signals to communicate, relaying their positions to the trains in front and behind them and to dispatchers. Every so far along the tracks are detectors, devices that look for dragging equipment, overheated wheels, and even derailments. All of these broadcast in the clear, and I wanted a scanner.

After searching two pawn shops in town, not wanting to pay full fare for a brand new scanner, I stopped in at the sole remaining pawn shop and asked the employee (yes, there's only one - the employer and one employee run the store) if he had any radio scanners, not wanting a flatbed scanner which seems to be the first thing people think of.

He didn't but on the way over to check, I passed a couple of flat screen 21" monitors - Trinitron p1110 with Dell labels. After much ponderance, I bought them both - one for me and one for my roomate - at a combined total of some CAN$630 after taxes.

I never thought that I would find anything that would make my 17" monitors - or my television for that matter - look puny, but damn.

But I'm still without a scanner. I want to get a scanner and GPRS, plug the laptop into my inverter and camera into laptop and the gps on my dash to my laptop and scanner to line in and GPRS in... and then I can keep accurate audio-visual-scanner video and pictures with date/time/lattitude/longitude stamp and immediately upload them to my railfan web page. And I can work (telecommute) from the tracks at the same time.

Except that then I don't get to use my new monitor.

Them's the breaks.

satire 392 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 23:44 on February 22, 2003

August 18th, 2002 (from Advogato)



They don't look very close to me.

Nevertheless I can listen to my 2.4GHz wireless telephone on my 43.50MHz walkie talkie. These items have nothing in common except that a) they use radio frequencies to communicate, and b) they both came from Radio Shack.

I'm still trying to determine which is worse...

At 43.50MHz anyone with a radio can listen to my conversation quite happily.

At 2.4GHz it risks interfering with the 802.11b network I am providing to my housemates.

Or perhaps 802.11b really runs at 43.50MHz too, and maybe I can listen to network traffic on my walkie talkie as well.

After all, I got my 802.11b nic at Radio Shack, too, and it does use radio frequency to communicate...

If that is the case, then perhaps I can learn to make ticking sounds into my walkie talkie and simulate network traffic.

It wouldn't be very fast though. I'd have to pretend I was at the outermost point of signal with my access point. I'd also have to learn the protocol...

Or maybe my walkie talkie really runs at 2.4GHz. But it says on it "43.30MHz-43.70MHz" and has five channels. My phone talks on channel C (well, sometimes. Once it showed up on channel B - 43.40MHz.)

Sometimes I can't hear my phone on the radio at all. I think that it spends that time interfering with my wireless network.

Incidentally my wireless network also seems to be interfered with by ... well ... me.

See, my access point is upstairs, and I have a nic plugged into an ancient ISA PCMCIA adapter sticking out of the drive bays in the front of the firewall - a full tower desktop box which really doesn't look like it should have PCMCIA cards in it. (This computer did not come from Radio Shack, however it does seem to broadcast on a very large number of frequencies, interfering with the walkie talkies, phone, shortwave radio, television, and just about anything else that dare attempt to use radio frequencies near it.)

That's fine and good and all, but if I stand up, I get between the nic and the access point, and that's just enough to block the signal and kill the connection.

Ah well. Some things just never seem to go the way you want them to.

radio satire 392 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 23:39 on August 18, 2002

Geek delicacies from around the world: Macaroni and cheese

We sit around all day, lights off, door closed, blinds shut, heating and lighting our rooms with our computers. Many of us have microwaves on one side, fridges on the other, and most of us eat the simplest, fastest food possible. We call ourselves "geeks," and we call our food "geek food." I have tried to outline some of the most popular flavours of geek food, here, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the concept, and those studying culinary arts wishing to broaden their horizons.

In its primary form, geek food consists of some form of polygelatinous glop which we proudly give to our guests. This particular delicacy is often referred to by its commercial name "Kraft Dinner," and consists of macaroni, cheese, and milk. This meal is very popular because it can be made quickly with only a few movements away from the keyboard.

Another popular food eaten by geeks is sushi, or its Korean counterpart, kimbap. Consisting of thinly cut vegetables, fish, eggs, rice, rice vinegar, and seaweed, it can be made at the rate of about a roll every 30 seconds, once the vegetables are cut and the rice is cooked. A large quantity of this can be made at one time, and it can be left beside the keyboard to be eaten for prolonged periods. This is particularly popular among coders and editors of sites such as this one, who spend a lot of time staring at their screens, looking for inspiration.

Another key category of geek food is food­on­demand, also known simply as "delivery." At the top of importance in this category is the popular dish consisting of cheese, bread, tomato sauce, and an assortment of toppings that could include pepporoni, green peppers, mushrooms, or more obscure toppings such as corn, anchovies, or artichoke hearts. We call it pizza. Its complex appearance belies the fact that it was generally someone else who made it.

Also on this list is submarine sandwiches, Chinese food and the local pita joint, all of which are popular for much the same reason as pizza: each requires only two movements to acquire. The first is calling the delivery place, the second is paying the delivery person. Eating it should be left to the imagination.

The key to geek food is the simple premise that food should neither take a long time to cook, nor should it take a long time to eat. This genre of food should require little effort, no thought, and a clear idea of what the masterpiece is supposed to look like at the end. Geek food often contains a high level of pasta or other carbohydrates due mostly to the large amount of energy required to type at over one hundred words per minute. Vegetables, while popular in much of the world, do not grow very well in the dark houses of geeks and, as a direct result, are not very popular.

All geek meals are ended with fortune, popular for providing insight into all you ever wanted to know about everything you never cared about. Unlike its Chinese counterpart, the fortune cookie[1], fortune can give as many quotes as the diner would like and does not spoil the taste of the meal that person just had. Fortune is neither edible, nor is it animate, but is still an essential part of any complete, nutricious geek meal.

Most cultures around the world have specific forms of utensils with which they eat. In the West, for example, people generally opt for various comical looking cutlery such as knives, forks, and spoons. In the East, people often opt instead for a pair of bamboo sticks they call chop sticks. In a large part of the world, no cutlery is used at all. In geek culture, we're fortunate. Every time we buy a new computer, acquire an old computer, or add hardware to someone else's computer, we gain free utensils. Backplates ­­ the covers that protect unused expansion slots in the backs of computer cases, reinforcing the structure and preventing dust from getting in ­­ provide excellent utensils. A backplate left alone can easily cut through and serve a pizza. Using two backplates together, macaroni and cheese can be eaten, and sugar can be added to coffee with the bent end. With the help of strong backplates, other geek kitchen utensils such as ice cream scoops and mixing spoons can be fassionned together. Because of their wide availability in any geek household, this is the utensil of choice for most people raised in geek culture.

Nearly anyone can cook geek food, but there are only very few truly expert geek food chefs, much in the way nearly anyone can cook Chinese food, but only few are masters of the type.

Based on the facts presented here about geek food and geek culture, I propose an addition to the Japanese food show Iron Chef. It is known for pitting masters of Chinese, French, Japanese and Italian cooking against challengers, and I believe one category should be appended to the list of great foodmaking nations. This is the nation of geeks.

This is the master of all food eaten by computer programmers, tech writers, sysadmins, and otherwise computer­oriented folk. This Master Chef should be called: "Iron Chef: Geek."

The Iron Chef of geek food will provide, for once and for all, legitimacy to those of us who sit around all day, lights off, doors closed, blinds shut, heating and lighting our rooms with our computers, eating the simplest, fastest food possible, for we are geeks.

If you have any favourite geek recipes you would like to share, or have any comments on this or any other story you have seen on NewsForge, feel free to do so on our discussion page.

[1] It is worth noting that fortune cookies are a Western addition to Chinese cuisine and their bad taste does not reflect the over­all quality of Chinese food.

Originally posted January 30, 2001 on Linux.com; backposted here November 21st, 2019.

foss satire 1008 words - whole entry and permanent link. Posted at 18:27 on January 30, 2001

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