Category Archives: politics

FOSE was gunning for business

FOSE is the largest computer conference and exhibition in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region. At one time, it had days of meetings, classes, speeches, and other educational events, plus miles and miles of aisles filled with the latest computer hardware and software. Every single hardware and software company of any note was there, either with their own branded booth or with a Beltway partner acting as a proxy.

This year, FOSE probably had more guns than computers. For a show that began life as the Federal Office System Expo, it was a bit alarming to see racks of shotguns, automatic pistols, machine guns, assault guns, silencers, ammunition clips, ammunition belts, special holsters, special transport containers for weapons and ammunition, body armor, and all manner of things not normally found at a computer show or an office. Unless you were planning on shooting a computer, it is unlikely this weaponry would make computers any more secure.

These assault rifles, manufactured by Heckler & Koch, a German arms manufacturer, were on display at FOSE, the largest computer show in the Washington, DC, region.

These assault rifles, manufactured by Heckler & Koch, a German arms manufacturer, were on display at FOSE, the largest computer show in the Washington, DC, region. The sales representative sported a US flag, with no sense of irony.

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Early version of Google

This was the early version of Google. Using these humble wooden drawers, generations of scholars and researchers, desperate students and cunning spies, despairing parents and fanatical bibliophiles, and every other shape and size of reader delved into the depth and breadth of human understanding.

Something worth considering: Google contains only a fraction of the knowledge once cataloged by card catalogs. Technology has digitized and indexed only that which is easy to digitize and index; most journal articles, newspaper articles, books, scientific papers, notebooks and other written material are still confined to physical forms, and unknown to Internet search engines.

How I miss card catalogs.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder's of the world's past and the future of the universe.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder’s of the world’s past and the future of the universe.

Tudor’s biscuits?

One thing that separates the United States from England is the humble biscuit. We simply cannot agree on what a “biscuit” is, and this disagreement was one of the flash points of the American Revolution. (Possibly baking points rather than flash points?)

But apparently not all traces of British occupation were removed by the Revolution, as this bulwark of Britannia can be found in West Virginia. The Tudor dynastic linkage suggests that the establishment even predates the Revolution.

Tudor's Biscuit World, found in the wilds of West Virginia.

Tudor’s Biscuit World, found in the wilds of West Virginia.

Any curiosity about the biscuits were squelched by this sign:

Tudor biscuits, spaghetti and pizza, and a drive through.

Tudor biscuits, spaghetti and pizza, and a drive through.

Great moments in marketing

Women’s clothing stores spare no expense to advertise their wares and put them in the best light. Just look at this lovingly crafted display in an upper end clothier.

Bottom. That's all you need to know.

Bottom. That’s all you need to know.

Women’s clothing is also, apparently anti-slavery, which is a good thing. Even though it seems oddly depressing.

Free people? Does that mean they have no cost, or that they are not enslaved?

Free people? Does that mean they have no cost, or that they are not enslaved?

Also, check out Adventures in retail display.

Bottle cap Flag

In the United States, you can start a riot, or sink a political campaign, or fill nightly newscasts for a week with a real or implied desecration of the American flag. But apparently there is nothing at all wrong with creating a flag out of beer bottle caps.

Beer bottlecap flag over bar in Northern Virginia

To be honest, this really is an impressive piece of artwork.

It is worth noting that the American Revolution was fomented, in large measure, in the fermented confines of taverns.

Official Fourth Estate

Here we see a newspaper box at George Mason University in Northern Virginia. Note that the title of the newspaper is “Fourth Estate.” Then notice the slogan at the top: “Broadside and Connect2Mason present George Mason University’s official student news outlet.”

George Mason University has an official Fourth Estate, just like other well-known totalitarian regimes.

George Mason University has an official Fourth Estate, just like other well-known totalitarian regimes.

We can only assume that George Mason either lacks a department of journalism or lacks a history department, or both.

Medical advice

Profound advice from a bumper sticker on profound advice:

Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for you.

Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for you.

Fun fact: the United States and New Zealand are the only countries that allow direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising.