An assortment of indigestible things

Month: December 2011

TASS coverage of the attempted coup in USSR, 19th August 1991

In August 1991, Gennady Yanayev led an attempted coup and seized power in the USSR, temporarily deposing Gorbachev. The Russian news agency TASS started sending a loop tape of statements and rhetoric as events unfolded. I was lucky enough to have left my receiving equipment running, and captured the TASS tape below.

nagboard: a big status board for Nagios

A screenshot of Nagios

Nagios doing its thing. Looks like all is well with the UPSs.

Nagios is the Swiss army knife of monitoring. Out of the box it’ll monitor switches and servers, and a few plugins later will have it watching temperature, voltage, atmospheric pressure and pretty much anything else you want. I’m a big fan.

Windows 2008R2 reports bad blocks on Sun 7110 iSCSI array

In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centuari were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. (Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy)

Another first today: my blog joins the majority of tech blogs which somewhere contain a Douglas Adams quote. I included this quote because my axiom for today is

A SCSI disk array should be a real SCSI disk array. Ditto iSCSI.

(there’s a reason I never became an author)

What I mean by this is that it should behave like a normal block device: a big bucket into which I can pour my data. Of how it organises that data I could not give a flying turd, but for the fact that the underlying structure should be completely transparent to me. It could engrave the data on glass statues of Leonard Cohen for all I care, as long as it’ll give it back to me in thirty milliseconds.

State-sanctioned child abuse: a response to Sean Faircloth’s interview with Liz Heywood

It’s not every day I sit in front of my computer and talk to it. However, yesterday I watched something that affected me so strongly that I made my first ever piece to camera. I have now joined the countless thousands on YouTube who speak their brains through their webcams into the void.

This is an interview with Sean Faircloth (of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science) talking to a woman called Liz Heywood. Ms Heywood had the misfortune to be raised by Christian Scientists, who over a long period of time failed to treat her osteomyelitis, leaving her in excruciating pain and eventually necessitating an amputation. Ms Heywood demonstrates a remarkable capacity for perspective. I do recommend you watch the whole thing (17 minutes; alternatively, here is an embedded version on the RDFRS website).

I have seen and heard such stories before, so I was naturally horrified but not overly surprised. What I found most shocking, and what prompted me to make this little video, was the fact that in the majority of US states it is legal to neglect your child in this way if you claim that you are providing ‘faith healing’ instead. Here aresome specific details of the laws involved.

This gets a bit ranty, so if you’re only going to watch one video today, please watch the interview rather than my ugly mug.

Further reading

Friendly Atheist’s blog post on the subject, including a statement from Liz Heywood which was read by someone from the Secular Coalition for America in a meeting with White House officials.

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