Commander General

On December 1, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that General James Mattis, former US CENTCOM, would be nominated to serve as United States Secretary of Defense in the coming administration. Foreign Media were quick to pick up on the nickname “Mad Dog”. It seems he is more than that. See what his former PAO (back when he was Commander general of the US Marine Corps) learnt from him about Real Leadership.
You can also read the original (written in milspeak) CG Staff Guidance (pdf).

Gretel C. Kovach, a San Diego journalist who specializes in USMC, pointed out in 2013 (the year he resigned from the Corps) that James Mattis also goes by the nicknames of “Chaos” (his callsign) and “Warrior Monk”. But the press prefers Mad Dog…

Secret travel agent

Hacking the Global Distribution Systems (GDS). Joseph Cox reports on the findings of SR LabsKarsten Nohl and Nemanja Nikodijevic: It’s Incredibly Easy to Tamper with Someone’s Flight Plan, Anywhere on the Globe (Motherboard)

Armed with these techniques, a hacker might be able to track someone, finding out where they’re flying to and from. Working with the German TV station ARD, the researchers were able to change the flight booking of a reporter, putting him on the same flight as, and in an adjacent seat to, a German politician.

Original conference 27 Dec 2016 @Chaos Communication Congress (Slides)

(via Boing Boing)

Crystal Ax

APA/Andreas Blaickner/Institut für Archäologien in Innsbruck
APA/Andreas Blaickner/Institut für Archäologien in Innsbruck

Thomas Bachnetzer from the Institute of Archeology at the University of Innsbruck (…) speaks of a sensational discovery: “The stone ax is probably to date in the end of the Neolithic period, beginning Bronze Age. From this epoch there are scarcely any large rock crystal artefacts, a hatchet is otherwise not known at all”.

Google translation of Beil aus Bergkristall als Sensation, an article in German.
Found in 2012, 70 km West from the Ötzi site. See Old snowshoe.
Currently on display in the exhibition “Bergauf Bergab – 10,000 years of mining in the Eastern Alps” (more) at the Vorarlberg Museum in Bregenz.

via Joe

Mines néolithiques

Le village de Spiennes, à 6 km au sud-est de Mons (Hainaut), recèle sur près de 100 hectares les vestiges d’une activité minière vieille de 6 000 ans. Dès le milieu du Néolithique, le silex extrait du sous-sol fut taillé sur place, essentiellement pour la production industrielle de lames et de haches. Pour atteindre la matière première désirée, les mineurs de jadis n’ont pas hésité à creuser un nombre considérable de puits, certains dépassant 16 m de profondeur! L’essor de ces mines exceptionnelles correspond à une époque où, un peu partout en Europe, se développent des centres voués exclusivement à l’extraction et à la taille du silex. Parmi ceux-ci, Spiennes s’illustre tant par son ampleur, que par ses techniques minières originales. Ces qualités, alliées au potentiel archéologique du gisement, lui ont valu la reconnaissance de l’Unesco en décembre 2000.

Hélène Collet : Un centre minier néolithique inscrit au Patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco – tiré-à-part de la revue “L’Archéologue – Archéologie Nouvelle” 2002
Plus d’infos sur le site Minières néolithiques de silex de Spiennes et le blog Autour de Spiennes de la Société de Recherche préhistorique en Hainaut.

Remember the trick

Remember that wait-ten-minutes-then-randomly-reload-to-see-if-anything-changed trick. It’s the sign of excellently designed consumer software.

Said Zeldman. Who adds:

…there’s a principle here. Several principles, actually. Tricking kids is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Building a beautiful front-end but neglecting customer service is wrong. Mainly, I’ve just had enough of 2016’s bullshit.
Fuck you, 2016.

Get it

The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money.

  • Understand That Working Class Means Middle Class, Not Poor
  • Understand Working-Class Resentment of the Poor
  • Understand How Class Divisions Have Translated into Geography
  • If You Want to Connect with White Working-Class Voters, Place Economics at the Center
  • Avoid the Temptation to Write Off Blue-Collar Resentment as Racism

What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class, Joan C. Williams, Harvard Business Review, Nov 2016.

(via Dave Pell: What the Hell Just Happened?)

Update: Read also Mike Konczal, Learning From Trump in Retrospect

Stanley Box

…anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write War and Peace in a bumper car at an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling

Via Kottke

No sanction, no assistance

…the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
(…) May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy

From George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, 18 August 1790
Moses Seixas to George Washington, August 17, 1790 From George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, 18 August 1790

Details here. Additional background there: Haven – From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America, an exhibition at the Library of Congress and permanent exhibition at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Safety… Third

That guy is Mike Rowe. He says it even better in his reply to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News: ‘Dirty Jobs’ guy says Safety Third is “a conversation worth having”.
More from wher this came from at Defenitively not the motto of this famous youtube guy.

I found this while investigating the meaning of the sticker this other guy (his website) had on his workbench.

French Guys, you better check zis:

Depuis le 1er mars 1994, l’article 223-1 du Code pénal prévoit que : « Le fait d’exposer directement autrui à un risque immédiat de mort ou de blessures de nature à entraîner une mutilation ou une infirmité permanente par la violation manifestement délibérée d’une obligation particulière de sécurité ou de prudence imposée par la loi ou le règlement est puni d’un an d’emprisonnement et de 15000 euros d’amende. »

Old snowshoe

Photo: Roman Clara/Bolzano regional government
Photo: Roman Clara/Bolzano regional government

World oldest, dating late Neolithic age, between 3,800 and 3,700 BC (5,800 years ago). Discovered by chance in 2003 at an altitude of 3,134 metres (10,280ft) on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier… by an eminent dotore of Italy’s Istituto Geografico Militare. Just 500 years older than “Ötzi“, whose body was found not far away, according to “officials at a Bolzano (ITA) conference, it belongs to Otzi’s grandad

    Let’s be technical here a few seconds here:

  • Ötzi was found on 19 September 1991 “at 3210 m above sea level near Tisenjoch/Giogo di Tisa in the Schnalstal/Val Senales Valley” (according to South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano), on the Hauslabjoch (according to Wikipedia), “between Fineilspitze and Similaun in the Ötztal Alps” (Wikipedia). There is a memorial (detail) is located nearby (well, this is crowbased data, so YMMV: someone pointed out that the geodata for the detail picture is falsh). OSM data (sic) shows the “exact location” (exakte Ötzi-Fundstelle) where the body was discovered at 46.7793692/10.8404561. This is consitent with the other geographical reference used when relating to the area of the discovery : Finailspitze (sometimes spelled Fineilspitze, in Italian: Punte de Finaile), 3514m, is the nearest summit to the West and ‪(Kleiner) Similaun‬, 3363m, the nearest to the East. A mountain lodge called ‪Rifugio Similaun‬ (German: Similaunhütte) is located between the monument and Similaun, and Hauslabjoch is symmetrically located between the monument and Fineilspitze.
  • The snowshoe was found “near a pass on Gurgler Eisjoch glacier” – not sure where the glacier is, but OSM geodata for the Gurgler Eisjoch‬ pass has 46.7687911/11.0048965 for coordinates, with an altitude of 3134m

Both locations are not far from the Ötztaler Hauptkamm, a very high mountain range, one of the few things in the area which are in the same place since 3,800 BC and currently marking the border between the present states of Italy and Österreich (“Eastern Empire”, Austria). Using Andrew Hedges‘ JavaScript page based on the Haversine Formula (details and other calculator here), we compute the distance to be 12.58 km (Ötzi being West, and snowshoe East). So, yes, not very far. I would say 2 days away (walking). A few minutes in helicopter, weather (an pilot nerves) permitting, of course.

News on Bolzano’s “Iceman” museum website. The initial source (other than Bolzano’s museum piece, but as the pres conference was suposedly in bolzano, I believe they knew all about it, no?) is an article in The Telegraph (September 12, 2016): World’s oldest snowshoe found on a glacier in Italy’s Dolomites. But I like this one better: Shoe that lay in prof’s office is nearly 6,000 years old.
Question, why is The Telegram the unique single source? After all it is the newspaper who published “Oetzi the Iceman may have been ceremonially buried” (signed by Nick Squires, 26 Aug 2010). Much more interesting than:

The copper used to make Ötzi’s axe blade did not come from the Alpine region as had previously been supposed, but from ore mined in southern Tuscany. Ötzi was probably not involved in working the metal himself, as the high levels of arsenic and copper found in his hair had, until now, led us to assume. His murder over 5,000 years ago seems to have been brought about due to a personal conflict a few days before his demise, and the man from the ice, despite his normal weight and active life-style, suffered from extensive vascular calcification.

From South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano: Ötzi – a treacherous murder – with links to Central Italy


[On] February 27th, 2010, (…) in Constitución, Chile (…) a magnitude of 8.8 (…) quake and the tsunami it produced completely crushed the town. By the time it was over, more than 500 people were dead, and about 80% of the Constitución’s buildings were ruined.
As part of the relief effort, an architecture firm called Elemental was hired to create a master plan for the city, which included new housing for people displaced in the disaster. But the structures that Elemental delivered were a radical and controversial approach toward housing.
They gave people half of a house. (…)
The approach has its roots in a building methodology made popular by the 1972 essay, “Housing is a Verb,” by architect John F.C. Turner. Turner made the case that housing ought not be a static unit that is packaged and handed over to people. Rather, housing should be conceived of as an ongoing project wherein residents are co-creators.

From: Half a House – 99% Invisible
As pointed out by Jason Kottke, “they’ve built How Buildings Learn into the process of home ownership”. More posts related to HBL.


La tempête (1810?) – Auteur anonyme

Je m’en vais de par la ville,
Pour y faire mes adieux ;
Mes adieux à toutes les filles
Qui ont pour moi les larmes aux yeux,
Ainsi qu’à ma bonne amie
Qui pleure pour son amoureux.

Nous sommes cinq frères sous les armes,
Tous les cinq bien distingués :
Brise Barrière et Tranche Montagne,
Traverse Murs et Sans Quartier !
Et moi qui me nomme La Tempête,
Je suis partout renommé.

Mon grand-père était gendarme,
Mon père était lieutenant.
J’ai deux frères dans l’avant-garde,
Les deux autres sont au Piémont ;
Et moi qui me nomme La Tempête,
Je suis chasseur de renom.

Nous aurons pour récompense
Quelque boulet de canon
Qui nous brisera les membres
Et nous mettra sans façon
Par derrière nos tranchées :
Nous servirons de gazon.

Nous aurons pour récompense
Quelque boulet de canon
Qui nous brisera la tête :
Morts de mauvaise façon !

Une de ces chansons qui se retrouve aussi bien dans les milieux anarchistes ou anti-militariste que sur les CD de promos de saint Cyr!