Warcraft III on Ubuntu 12.04

Installing Ubuntu on the MacBook recently, I knew there would be a bunch of OSX programs I would no longer be able to run but I was pretty confident that I’d be able to get some Windows programs going with wine. Having had good luck with Temple of Elemental Evil on the Elitebook last December, it was as simple as copying over my .wine folder to bring that over to the MacBook, and it seems to work well (so far). I was a little worried about WarCraft III since I hadn’t ever tried that on the Elitebook – I’d always run it under OSX, but as it turned out, that wasn’t anything to worry about either. Hey, I realize this is a 10 year old game, but its one of my favorites and I like to putter around in it from time to time! My notes on getting it set up follow.

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Libya action another affront to the Constitution?

President Obama’s war in Libya, even if it is moral, prudent and legally authorized under international law by the Security Council, is plainly unconstitutional

Michael Lind lays out the case pretty well in today’s Salon article for why he thinks Obama’s order to assist in the UN action against Ghadafi is illegal. On the one hand I really believe it would be the height of hypocrisy for America to refuse to assist any movement of people living under an authoritarian regime to overthrow their oppressors when our very existence as a nation is the direct result of French assistance to us during our struggle against the English in our own War for Independence. It seems especially hypocritical considering the sheer volume of rhetoric we’ve thrown around for 40 years concerning democracy while silently propping up the very dictators we’re asked to remove now. But on the other hand, if the president doesn’t have the authority to order military actions (even if requested by allied UN nations and required by UN treaty obligations), then he doesn’t have it. If an act of Congress is required to authorize military action in support of a UN resolution under article 42 then Congress should be asked to authorize it. I understand the time-sensitive nature of the situation, and that swift action may have been required, but certainly there is always enough time to obey the law?
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Keeping tabs on Pennsic from afar

Now that smartphones are everywhere and seemingly everyone is hooked into the social web, there are a number of different ways to keep tabs on whats going on at Pennsic in real time even from afar. I’ll keep poking around for new links and updating this post as I come across them.

Social networking info leaks

Just a short note to my military friends. Doubtless you’ll be hearing about this soon enough anyway, but just in case you do not: Tom Ryan is due to present a talk at the upcoming Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas about the dangers of revealing too much information on social networking sites. According to reports on computerworld, FOXNews, and Armed with Science [dod.mil], Ryan ran an experiment to see how much sensitive information he could glean through social networking. He created the ficticious persona of “Robin Sage”, a good-looking twenty-something, hacker grad from MIT who claimed to be an intern at Naval Network Command. In the month Ryan ran the experiment he was able to build a considerable number of social networking connections on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with active duty military personnel and officials and through these connections was able to glean military intelligence. The simplest and most obviously dangerous example of leaked information should be of immediate concern to military folks:

For example, one of Robin’s soldier friends posted a photo of his unit on surveillance duties at a mountain outpost in Afghanistan. That inadvertently exposed their location, because the photo contained GeoIP data from the camera.

Union Memorial Day

Since I haven’t been moved to write very much of late, I have promoted last year’s Memorial Day article to first post for this year instead.

Memorial Day commemorates those US men and women who have DIED while in military service. It is not a day to honor those who served and lived (Veteran’s Day), or a day to remember those killed in attacks on civilians (9/11). It has been suggested by David Blight, professor at Yale that Memorial Day has its origins at a ceremony performed by former slaves in May, 1865 to honor UNION dead. During the day long ceremony, bodies were exhumed from mass graves at the old Washington Race Course (the racecourse had been turned into a prison camp during the Civil War) in Charleston, SC and re-interred properly. There may be no connection between this touching ceremony and the observance in Waterloo, NY the following year which is often credited as the first Decoration Day (so called because the graves of Union soldiers were decorated).

This first official observance was made by General John A. Logan which proclaimed in General Order No. 11 on May 5th, 1868 that the 30th of May would be observed as Decoration Day.

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

You may note that these three origins for Memorial Day all point to the decoration of the graves of Union soldiers. Not surprisingly, most of the southern states refused to celebrate it. Mississippi, which is the final resting place of a considerable number of union dead did observe it. Hardly surprising then, is the fact that some southern states celebrate a different date – known as Confederate Memorial Day (of course now days this holiday is celebrated in addition to Memorial Day proper). Celebrated on either the 4th Monday in April or on May 10th the day gives an official nod to the Confederate dead of the US Civil War in much the same fashion as the (subtly) Union-centric Memorial Day.

Over the years Americans have forgotten some of this old enmity and most ignore (or are ignorant of) the distinction between Union and Rebel forces on Memorial Day. The day became more commonly celebrated after World War II. The name “Memorial Day” was first used in 1888 but only made official in 1967 which also ensured the day’s longevity by moving it by law to create a three day weekend. There have been several attempts to move it back to its original date (the 30th) because the three day weekend “cheapens” the holiday, but such movements (understandably) haven’t met with very much success.