not exactly what I said.

The BRAC Commission has decided to close Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Wow, this is brilliant. "Asset rental": for a 5% fee, this place will swear up and down that you have a bank accounting containing the full 100%. Mortgage fraud convictions forthcoming, no doubt. Morons.

Sometimes I wonder if you can tell I grew up listening to tapes of old Abbott & Costello and Burns & Allen shows. A friend at the dojo, who has a rather, um, vigorous speed of training, no matter what speed you go for, said something about " year of not hitting people." I said, "Oh? Let me know when you start." (As a postscript, I believe this past year has been the year of not hitting people, which...well, maybe he meant something different by it than I interpreted.)

Before it hit, they were they're talking up Hurricane Katrina:

"So, imagine you're the poor person who decides not to evacuate: Your house will disintegrate around you. The best you'll be able to do is hang on to a light pole, and while you're hanging on, the fire ants from all the mounds -- of which there is two per yard on average -- will clamber up that same pole. And, eventually, the fire ants will win."
NPR indicates that Louisiana and Mississippi get, indeed, get screwed over, though no fire ants. It sounds like the damage will rival Hurricane Andrew, putting Katrina on track to be America's most expensive natural disaster, at least since the 1906 earthquake.

Identity thief steals house. And while the guy with the $1 million mortgage left on a house ruined by a landslide isn't a prime target for sympathy, there are more unsettling details in here about the upcoming changes in bankruptcy law, and in particular the kinds of protections you may have waived in refinancing. Whoops.

Hey look, more intelligent design fun.

I've started serious work on my pamphlet that comes out of an operational crisis we had at work in March. I learned a whole lot that week, being still new to the company and our systems, and certainly never having dealt with such a meltdown before. I noticed details: what about our software made things easier, what made them harder, how we conducted ourselves, what could have been easier. In particular the characteristics of the software that let us solve problems brought a working title to mind: "Planning For Clusterfuckery: A Guide For Engineers". The meltdown was a clusterfuck, and when it came down, our code was, for most part, gloriously ready to help us fix everything. I've never really wanted to write anything like a book or a short story, so to have this one little thing that I'm passionate about finishing, just to distribute around to my friends and go through the whole editing and revising process with, is a lot of fun. It's also another experience of how education properly approached leads to a richer life: I can write as well as I can, focused and conveying complex ideas clearly when I try, simply because that's what one does in school.

Aikido test next week. We're in good shape for it, though my uke is occasionally frustrated by my ability to do a technique very wrong, then with a startling perfection, then very wrong again. I made my peace with that a long time ago--it's actually encouraging to have the perfection appear at all, since it doesn't for everyone--but it's newer for him and he wants me to do well. It'll be a good test, though.