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Counting Cats itself

Site down

Just to let you all know, the site disappearing over night had nothing to do with equipment failing.

Problem description:  While Australia slept the cat knocked the router off the shelf and the cable fell out.

Temporary solution:  Plug the cable back in and leave the router on the floor.

Long term solution:  Shoot cat.

Source of the problem


To all who may give a toss…

I will upgrade to WordPress 3.6.1 this weekend.

If this goes without hitch, then we might be down for three or four or five minutes, maybe. You probably won’t even notice,

If there is a hitch?


I expect to be berated by my long suffering Ko Kounters.

Still, better than taking the cowards route and letting it go on for years without upgrade, like the last incarnation of this site.

Spreading out

We Kitty Kounters tend to be a pretty cosmopolitan lot you know, and no, I do not mean that in the manner of the old judeophobic ‘rootless cosmopolitan’ smear.

Me? Born and raised in Australia, spent half my life on the UK with stints in the US, and now back living the good life on Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast.

There is NickM, RAB, SaoT, Lynne and Paul scattered around England, Sam in Scotland. We have Julie near Chicago, and, maybe, we will start hearing from from Daphne again – a fine southern belle and a straight shootin’ gal from Texas.

Now, we seem to have a new star on the horizon…

Look, I’m not an objectivist. Hell, I can’t even read Atlas Shrugged, but even so I gotta be chuffed that a celebrity like John Galt is willing to join us. All the way from Malaysia no less.

I dunno if he gets off on dissing The Prophet, in public anyway. That can be a real risky business in some parts of the ex empire – the Malay peninsula especially. Getting banged up for being impolite about some dead guy can be a real downer.

Anyway, looks like we are expanding into Asia and who knows, any Indians, Chinese, Ecuadorians or Senegalese out there want to give their opinions on the state of the world? From a freedom loving perspective, that is.

Look, I thought of heading this posting with the obvious question, but Nick used to get pissed off at me for always asking “Who is Lindsay Lohan?” any time anyone was foolish to mention her. That is one cliché I am going to avoid in this instance.

I am sure John Galt is perfectly capable of telling us who he is, should he care to.

Just to clear everything up

CCinZ degraded somewhat in reliability and performance the last couple of years.


Starting upstream and moving down, We now have a new service provider providing three times the bandwidth, a new front end router, a new physical server running a new install of a new host operating system with three times the memory and five times the processing power. We have a new virtual server with four times the memory and three times the processing power, with a new and clean install of the latest FreeBSD, and a clean install of the latest release of WordPress.

And yesterday I installed a new backend router, behind the server, although that doesn’t affect you at all.


I will be mightily peeved if this system starts acting up any time soon.

Got all the pictures

and stuff copied across now.

Starting to fart around with the theme. This one is called Dragonskin.

Bit bright, although I do like the drop down search on all postings by a given Kounter tho.

Sorted – I think

Ok, it has taken me three weeks to get this bloody thing sorted, but here we go.

We have lost all postings since the database corrupted (sorry Julie and RAB), but there were only a small number of them.

Anyway, we are now running on new physical hardware, and the error forced me to do a badly needed complete rebuild of the virtual machine as well. We are up to the latest releases of both FreeBSD and WordPress.

The VM is running with four times the memory, five times the free disk capacity and double the number of processors.

I am sure I will hear about any problems.

Bear with me while I get the theme (look and feel) sorted.

Vote for Gary Johnson.

Here’s a handy cut-out and keep reminder of why whether it is Obama or Romney it matters not the mote in the eye of a weasel.

(Apart from to the assorted vested interests and corporations who have been cosying up to Dumbo or Eeyore).

I don’t think Allen will mind my theft here!

Please don’t vote for the lesser of two weevils. That way nothing changes. Please don’t vote “Anyone but…” because that perpetuates the vile farce. I know Johnson hasn’t a water-boarding cat on Titan’s methane seas chance of winning but sometimes that is not the point. A modest boost for the Libertarian Party is a result. It’s a start and it has to start sometime. Let that be now.

Is Romney anywhere near being a small-government conservative let alone a libertarian? No he isn’t. So why are some people on this blog hoping for him to win? This is supposed to be a libertarian blog so why are writers and commentators so keen to hope, when they get off the cattle truck, to able to choose to go down the trap to the slaughter manned by the guy who’s better with the humane stunner than the other? Jumping the fence instead almost certainly won’t work – this time – but is this the point? Why not vote for the Libertarian Party candidate and be damned and not feel icky coming out of the booth? Why not just be yourself! Isn’t that at the core of the liberty?

Isn’t that what any genuine democratic process has to be about – saying what you really want, not what the duopoly wants?

Isn’t it always better to do what is right than what seems expedient? In the long-run anyway. You never know what might happen. It might even just work out, eventually.

Live Free and Die Hard.

Vote Johnson. Make yourself known as a Libertarian. Why claim to be a libertarian (or even Libertarian) and write posts or comments to that end and then not support the Libertarian candidate?

You know it doesn’t make electoral sense (in a way) to vote for Johnson but you know it’s right and you know where the journey of a thousand miles starts. In the dark but at least heading towards the light.

No vote is wasted if it can be built upon. Eventually. But people have to start voting for what they really want otherwise what is the point?

No vote is wasted if it is cast from the heart and the head. And if enough people do that… It starts, slowly, but it starts. But you have to stand-up and be counted and not just bellyache on blogs until the 11th hour and then you rally round a “major” party because you either have never really been a libertarian or you don’t care or you just want one of the “biggies” less than the other. They might not be the “biggies” for all time but it takes one person at a time to change that. And isn’t individuality rather than the herd what we are all about at our best?

(Again from Allen).

Make it so…

Can we remove that rotten sidebar about gay marriage?

Firstly it doesn’t do it’s job. Cats put it up to support His Grace Cranmer. I doubt a casual reader would clock that. It just makes it look like the Kitty Kounters are against gay marriage and I’m not. As I’ve said umpteen times here this is not exactly a gay rights issue anymore. There are certain religious groups who actively want the right to legally marry same-sex couples. These groups such as the Quakers and certain branches of Methodism and Judaism already have the right to marry heterosexual couples. This also makes it a religious freedom issue. But essentially that video just doesn’t come over as supporting freedom of speech.

Secondly although the ASA getting involved is too put it mildly bizarre and possibly a dangerous precedent nothing came of it. The ASA were also technically right (even if it ought not to be any of their business) and the 70% figure is undoubtedly wrong. I support free speech but I will be buggered if I’ll support it with a video that is to put it mildly disingenuous.

Thirdly. It’s old news and Cranmer is still delivering his sermons (and long shall he do so I hope). He is someone I read at least once a week. I agree sometimes and disagree some other times – not that that has anything to do with his inalienable right to say what he pleases. I wouldn’t want to read a blog I agreed with 100% all the time. All my posts would become “What that guy said!”

Finally. It’s bloody irritating. It runs too fast. It is really distracting.

And even more finally… I find the idea of a moral issue being argued about in terms of a majority – whether real or fanciful quite unpleasant. We’re all individuals – right?

Alan Turing

Today would be Alan Turing’s 100th birthday. Alas it never transpired. He died in still debatable circumstances when he was in his prime. Was he a great pure mathematician? Yes, I’d put him almost as high as Gödel and that is like comparing a footballer to Pele. Both of course were not normal men. Turing had some fairly odd ideas and Kurt Gödel starved to death. Gödel was paranoid and refused to eat any food not prepared by his wife, then his wife died. Now Gödel was a nutter. Perhaps everyone who scales such (literally) infinite heights is going to be a bit unusual. It is hard to say what killed Turing. It has entered the popular consciousness that he was a sort of gay martyr (the statue of him in Manchester is in the gay village and not where it ought to be – in front of the University) and this is possibly true. He was convicted of “gross indecency” for having sex with another man. If there is a great villain here it is the law. My understanding is Turing had sex with Arnold Murray in his own home in Wilmslow and it all came out when he reported a burglary by his shagging partner. I fail to see how anyone can be “indecent” in their own home.

But it is possible the cyanide coated apple was a mere mistake. It has been mooted. Certainly Turing (a pure mathematician not schooled in lab discipline) was new to the game. And trust me as a physicist I have worked with lethal things and I wouldn’t trust a mathematician in my lab. Mainly those lethalities were in the sense of serious voltages and radioactive stuff and not any biohazard or poison*. So maybe? Who knows! Who cares! I am typing this on a Lenovo S205. That is what matters. It is certainly possible that the female hormones Turing was ordered to take after his conviction that caused him to grow breasts outraged him because he was also verging on being a world-class long-distance runner or following his conviction (not unrelated to the Cambridge spies) he lost his security clearance (for being gay – unlike the Cambridge spies he was not a KGB agent, just gay) or even the fact he was only a reader at Manchester because the security about Enigma/Lorenz had left a “black-hole” in his career. A fundamental thing here is that we were moving from Empire at the time and gave as a parting gift Enigma machines we’d snicked from the Germans but we didn’t want them to know we could break the code. Sneaky? Brilliant! But it meant nobody involved with Station X or Ultra got the credit. You can compare and contrast with Manhattan. Of course that was for obvious reasons much harder to keep on the QT.

There are people who define centuries. Roughly the Stephensons defined the C19. The C20th was invented by Nikola Tesla. Our time belongs to Turing. If you are reading this you are reading this on a Turing Machine. Much the same as the Turing machine I am writing this on. I got my first Turing machine (a 48K Speccie) in 1984. I felt like a king – I had a computer and they had been huge things maintained by fit librarian-type birds in lab-coats with clip-boards and owned by Bond villains in Mao suits and cats. I wrote a game even – it was very poor – but hell’s buggery – I wrote a game! I learned maths and drew fractals from outlines of programs from Scientific American my Dad nabbed from work. Alan Turing made it so. The game BTW was called “Orc Fighter” and was truly dreadful.

So fill your cups for Alan Turing. He made us. We have a category here called “Transformative Technologies”. Turing is certainly up there. He is up there with George Stephenson and the Wright Brothers. He is there in the pantheon with Tesla and Newton. And I don’t say that about many folks.

*My final university experimental project was… Well I built a magnetometer out of bits. It worked down to very few fractions of a Tesla. Nano Tesla I think. It annoyed some profs because I had proven data of car movements in the car park… Not everyone was actually clocking in or out at time. But that was not my original scheme. Oh, no I wanted to play with magnetotactic bacteria as a model for certain solid state systems. Three problems. A budget of GBP35, the fact these buggers come from New England swamps and thirdly nobody in the physics department having the slightest idea on the H&S issues. The magnetometer was built in the end with scavenged parts for about a tenner. God knows what happened to it.


I just noticed today the number of approved comments here is now broken the 25,000 mark.

A warm thank you to all our readers who chip in! I not saying we couldn’t have done it without you. Of course we could! But without comments we wouldn’t have done it without!

As Alice said, “What is the point of a book without pictures or conversations?”


Captain Carrot!

I guess I have written loads of stuff here on a whole variety of subjects ranging from war and peace to aviation and buses. I have written on religion and politics, on culture both contemporary and esoteric. I have even dabbled in the dismal science of economics and yet something was always missing…

Well it was until Friday night when I made carrot and coriander soup and I saw this in the bag…


No blog can ever be complete without a post about an amusingly shaped vegetable. Certainly not when a clearly circumcised vegetable quite literally falls into my lap. Certainly not whilst I’m peeling it back [just stop - Ed].

PS. If anyone wants my recipe for “Carry and Cozzer” let me know. It’s bloody good. The “recipe” is somewhat Nanny Ogg because I have done too many hours in the physics lab with tediously exact measurements to treat cooking the same painstaking way.

PPS. At no point hitherto has the WordPress phrase “insert into post” caused such hilarity. Well for me anyway. I shall now get my coat.

Did You Miss Us?

No, thought not, you miserable buggers!

Well it’s the sort of thing that can only happen to us here at Counting Cats. Cats himself is on a luxury cruise liner somewhere off the coast of New Zealand for a couple of weeks (lucky bugger!) and with only infrequent internet access, and the person he has left looking after his house in Queensland thought he’d save him some money, so he turned his computers off. Doh!

Nick is in Poland and the wife and I have just bought a new car, a Toyota Avensis, so we are going over to Cardiff to give my mum a little spin in it up through the Wye Valley and back, before the leaves are all gone.

So, as I keep saying, Momentum Momentum Momentum, if Paul, Ian or Sam have any posts on the go, bung them up quick lads!

Our usual abnormal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Thank you all for your patience.

Full disclosure

I just want to make clear, in the spirit of openness pioneered by George Monbiot, we, the Kittie Kounters, will not accept payment from any questionable sources at all. With this restriction in mind we limit ourselves to contributions from Exxon, the CIA, Mossad and the Koch brothers.

I cannot disclose the level of payment yet, we are still waiting on the cheques.

I hope that clears the air.

Yeah, like we care…

I see via Dick Puddlecote that we were voted 45th best libertarian blog by the TotalPolitics mob. Not bad considering we never asked anyone to vote, although we do seem to be trailing behind people I’ve never even heard of (ahead of the Freedom Association though, which is quite amusing).

But somebody must be reading this nonsense besides ourselves. So that’s nice.

Server outage

Sorry people.

A network interface on the CCinZ server died earlier today. It took me a couple of hours to diagnose the problem, find and fit a replacement, and then configure the new interface.

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