...making Linux just a little more fun!
From Jimmy O'Regan
ARCHAEOLOGY: FIRST COCKTAIL 5,000 YEARS OLD http://www.agi.it/english/news.pl?doc=200509101618-1098-RT1-CRO-0-NF51&page=0&id=agionline-eng.arab
Don't dumb me down http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/badscience/story/0,12980,1564369,00.html ("It is my hypothesis that in their choice of stories, and the way they cover them, the media create a parody of science, for their own means.")
The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security http://www.ranum.com/security/computer_security/editorials/dumb (see also: http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/images/dilbert2813960050912.gif)
- Oh, and this, just because I find it amusing:
From Jimmy O'Regan
Andy Hertzfeld's Folklore.org is a 'kind-of blog', which is intended to be used for collective historical story-telling. At the moment, it only has Hertzfeld's own stories about the early days of the Macintosh (now made into a book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0596007191/ref%3Dnosim/folklore-20/002-7725544-7696029) but those are pretty interesting.
Try, for instance, Donkey (http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Donkey.txt), about one of the games that came with the original DOS PC:
"we were amazed that such a thoroughly bad game could be co-authored by Microsoft's co-founder, and that he would actually want to take credit for it in the comments."
Or "Black Wednesday" (http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Black_Wednesday.txt): '"No, you're just wasting your time with that! Who cares about the Apple II? The Apple II will be dead in a few years. Your OS will be obsolete before it's finished. The Macintosh is the future of Apple, and you're going to start on it now!".
With that, he walked over to my desk, found the power cord to my Apple II, and gave it a sharp tug, pulling it out of the socket, causing my machine to lose power and the code I was working on to vanish. He unplugged my monitor and put it on top of the computer, and then picked both of them up and started walking away. "Come with me. I'm going to take you to your new desk."'
Reality Distortion Field (http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Reality_Distortion_Field.txt)
"Well, it's Steve. Steve insists that we're shipping in early 1982, and won't accept answers to the contrary. The best way to describe the situation is a term from Star Trek. Steve has a reality distortion field."
"A reality distortion field. In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he's not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules. And there's a couple of other things you should know about working with Steve."
"Well, just because he tells you that something is awful or great, it doesn't necessarily mean he'll feel that way tomorrow. You have to low-pass filter his input. And then, he's really funny about ideas. If you tell him a new idea, he'll usually tell you that he thinks it's stupid. But then, if he actually likes it, exactly one week later, he'll come back to you and propose your idea to you, as if he thought of it."
 Linux connection: founded Eazel, who developed Gnome's Nautilus file manager. Interview here: http://www.pbs.org/cringely/nerdtv/transcripts/001.html
 As you might guess, it's a blog for the past: it has the usual blog features: RSS feeds, comments, categories, and the like; it also has fields for the characters involved, related stories, and the date field is geared towards the original time of the story, as well as the ability to rate the story and add related external links.
The site mentions that the source code is to be released under the GPL, but almost a year and a half ago.
From Jimmy O'Regan
I've already got a host of ideas for video games to accompany classic literature:
I've got to confess: I got an e-book (the lure of new pTerry weeks early was too strong to resist). Yep, DRM sucks, as does the viewer software, but I have to take my hat off to the underhanded mind that decided the ebook would be encrypted with the credit card number used to buy the thing. That's just... devious.
On the plus side, I've got a new fortune file...
See attached thud
Oh, BTW, the book is great, as is "Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman
Mrs Higgler was older than Mrs Bustamonte, and both of them were older than Miss Noles and none of them was older than Mrs Dunwiddy. Mrs Dunwiddy was old, and she looked it. There were geological ages that were probably younger than Mrs Dunwiddy.
As a boy, Fat Charlie had imagined Mrs Dunwiddy in Equatorial Africa, peering disapprovingly through her thick spectacles at the newly erect hominids. 'Keep out of my front yard,' she would tell a recently evolved and rather nervous specimin of Homo habilis, 'or I going to belt you around your ear-hole, I can tell you.'
The creature laughed, scornfully. 'I,' it said, 'am frightened of nothing.'
'Nothing,' it said.
[...] 'Are you extremely frightened of nothing?'
'Absolutely terrified of it,' admitted the Dragon.
From Jimmy O'Regan
Our users want the world to be as simple, clean, and accessible as the Google home page itself," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt at a press conference held in their corporate offices. "Soon, it will be."
"Book burning is just the beginning," said Google co-founder Larry Page. "This fall, we'll unveil Google Sound, which will record and index all the noise on Earth. Is your baby sleeping soundly? Does your high-school sweetheart still talk about you? Google will have the answers.
From Jimmy O'Regan
No, read it!
[Suramya] Nice one. Check out an American's guide to speaking British: http://www.effingpot.com
[Thomas] I just couldn't pass this up, without a reply.
[Sluggo] I knew you wouldn't be able to.
[Sluggo] That one's great. Comments:
FOOD & DRINK
Ugh. OK, my comments (as the closest thing to a resident bacon expert)...
[Sluggo] So that's why Canadians call Canadian bacon "back bacon".
[Jimmy] It's called 'back bacon' because... (drum roll...) it's made from the pig's back. Better quality meat. Usually, the bacon that's made into rashers comes from the pig's stomach (pork bellies are one of the more important agricultural commodities), and "dinner bacon" usually comes from the legs.
IIRC, 'back bacon' is actually ham
[Thomas] Hehe, so now you see? Indeed, one thing that I am quite annoyed with over here, is that pre-packed bacon tends to have the rashers packed with water --- so that when you cook then (fry it, usually), it doesn't fry but boil. The net result is that the rasher shrinks to nothing.
Well, there are two views you can take on this. Either: a) that's the idea, or, if you know a little more about bacon curing (which, unfortunately, I do), b) that's an unfortunate side-effect of making bacon more affordable.
(Or maybe even: c) a little from column A, a little from column B)
[Sluggo] Blancmange & pudding. My British friend said our pudding is "blanche menage". Not quite what this thing says.
[Thomas] Hehehehe, that's a nice play on words.
[Kat] I haven't read the link yet, but when Ben relayed "blanche menage" to me last night, I responded with "I've heard it called 'blench mange'" (pronounced as in the skin ailment, not as in the French).
[Sluggo] Doner. My mom used to make shish kebabs on a skewer, sans pita. Yum! A vertical lamb on a spit is a vertical lamb on a spit, not a doner or a gyro. Although you might call it "gyro meat". Now, what's the difference between these and a shaverma? (Note: gyro is supposed to be gyros (singular), although nobody except Greeks pronounce it that way.)
[Kat] Doner/gyros/shawerma-shwarma-shwerma-etc.: No difference that I have detected other than the national/linguistic origin of the cook/vendor. (Turk/Greek/Arab)
[Sluggo] Like Greek coffee vs Turkish coffee vs Arabic coffee.
[Ben] For me, there's actually a difference between Armenian and Turkish coffee , although it may well be connected to the specific areas of Armenia and Turkey from which the people who made the stuff for me have come. (I actually have a lot more experience with Armenian coffee, even after all these years in the US. Go figure.) I strongly suspect that there's a lot of overlap, particularly in regions that border on each other, but my sample set has not yet included that.
 As Sirdar Argic cheers his idiotic head off...
[Ben] Why, you turkey - OOPS!!!
[Jay] Benjamin Okopnik's criminal Armenian grandparents are responsible for the conversion of linuxgazette.com to a CMS.
[Sluggo] English muffin. What a hoot. What about Australian toaster biscuits (which I think are called crumpets in England). They're like an English muffin but more solid and sweet.
[Thomas] Hmm. A muffin is a muffin (unlike a crumpet, which is very airy, muffins are somewhat more solid, and have a much more floury taste).
[Sluggo] Scone. The hospital I worked at served them with raspberry jam. No clotted cream, tea, or strawberry jam. That may be highly gauche but they're great tasting that way.
[Thomas] Indeed. Mmmm, clotted cream is nice with them, though. As is just honey.
[Sluggo] Clotted cream sounds very tasty from all the descriptions I've read.
[Kat] There's an American tendency of late to doctor the dough itself with fiftykajillion additions, making it darned near impossible to find the standard thing other than in "tea shoppes".
[Sluggo] Scoff. Closest equivalent is "scarf it down". Kind of the reverse of the ass/arse thing. Scoff is what I would do if Ben said, "I'm an innocent lad who has never done anything wrong."
[Thomas] Indeed. The meaning of 'scoff' to show contempt has always been a much lesser use. But both usages are now acceptable.
[Kat] Well you should scoff there, it'd be utterly lacking in style points!
[Sluggo] Stuffed. "I'm stuffed," means very full, not just full. Especially used around Thanksgiving. It may have an additional meaning in Texas.
[Thomas] It's usually a very common saying around Christmas time (having just spent three hours eating a turkey and all the trimmings).
[Sluggo] Water. Why would you ask a salesman in a washing machine shop, "Is water metered here?" What does that mean?
[Thomas] 'metered' as in the amount of water used is registered on a meter (that is in units of something or rather).
[Sluggo] It sounds like "Mind the gap" or "Does the red light not apply?" (as a Dublin garda said).
[Rick] The latter does sound wonderfully Irish.
That's an Irishism? I suppose it must be: doubly so, as it reminds me of a story
I was walking down the street with my son's mother, many years ago when we were still a couple. She wasn't watching where she was going, and bumped into a man with a labrador who was coming the other way. He said nothing, and kept going; she decided that he bumped into her and inhaled deeply to start throwing abuse (she has a pretty short fuse).
I grabbed her arm and dragged her along. This shocked her into silence (I was hen-pecked, I can admit it) for a few seconds, before she started to protest.
"What's wrong with him. Is he blind?"
"Yes. Did the guidedog not give it away?"
[Rick] On the other hand, I think I wax positively English in the caustic wording I employ for notes on windshields of people who'ved blocked handicapped parking zones:
I'm afraid that being morally handicapped doesn't count."
[Brian] Whereas the missive I'd prefer to leave on a windshield or five is caused by people with temporary (or permanent) handicap stickers, but literally no mobility or visible handicap I can discern that warrants being able to park specially. However, in many of these cases, I've been able to find another reason for their markings:
"I've been following you about to see whether the Handicapped Sticker was for your driving or parking (I hesitate to use the word 'skills', under these unfortunate circumstances). I'm so sorry that you seem to be doubly cursed."
[Kat] A gentle note here:
Mobility impairment does not necessarily manifest visually as lurching or limping or halt movement. It may be a case of something like congestive heart failure or some other incapacity of stamina rather than motion.
(This is not to say that I'm not aware of the tendency of some physicians to issue spurious placards for the benefit of conniving persons. Just that not all cases of invisible handicap equate to lack of need.)
[Sluggo] Yes. My mom is not visibly handicapped but it's hard for her to walk more than a block without resting, and the hot sun can exacerbate her condition (MS). So those handicapped parking spaces make a big difference. God forbid somebody should decide she's "not handicapped enough". People don't realize the enormity of problems handicapped people deal with...
[Rick] You might wish to know that "enormity" is not a noun used to denote magnitude. It means "great and notorious wickedness".
That's a common usage error. I'm guessing that someone once encountered a phrase like "sentenced for the enormity of his deeds" and erroneously concluded that "enormity" must be something like "enormousness". And thus the misconception became established.
I hadn't realized it either. Course, it's less out of place in Mike's comment...
[Sluggo] Weird. I've only heard it the other way. Unless I've been misunderstanding it all this time.
[Sluggo] (a) being turned down for Access vans because she can use the bus lifts. "It's not using the lifts that's the problem, it's walking to the bus stop, which are now a half mile apart." And getting hit by cars crossing the street to said bus stop, as has happened twice.
(b) Section 8 (the apartment subsidy program) demands an inch-thick set of forms every year to justify the voucher, with doctors' statements, income and expense receipts. (That's the program Bush has frozen and wants to eliminate in a couple years.)
(c) an apartment manager with anger management problems.
(d) her car is an '84 Toyota held together by prayer. If it conks out, getting to medical appointments becomes a much bigger ordeal.
(e) writing to drug companies asking for reduced-price medications. Some companies require little paperwork; others a lot.
Just doing this, and grocery shopping, and looking for an apartment with a nicer manager is a full-time job in itself.
[Sluggo] All these verbs sound too formal for the situation. The equivalent here would be, "Do you have to pay for water around here or is it free?" But it's still a strange question to ask a washing machine salesman.
[Sluggo] Everyone buys water by the cubic foot, yes. Although in some cities the landlord has to include it in the rent so it's a de facto flat rate.
[Sluggo] One thing I noticed in England was a hotel with a machine in the shower charging for hot water. I was incensed.
[Thomas] That sounds stupid to me, too.
[Sluggo] I already paid for my room, dammit. Isn't a hot shower one of the basic things you expect in the deal? Unsure if electricity's really that expensive in England,
[Thomas] It is getting more expensive yes, as is gas.
[Sluggo] and if so, why tankless water heaters (which use a lot of energy) are so common.
White tea. If white tea means black tea with milk, what do you call real white tea? http://coffeetea.about.com/od/typesoftea/a/whitetea.htm
[Sluggo] You mean your white tea isn't?
Bang/chat up/cram/fluke/haggle/hanky panky/hunky-dory/nookie/not my cup of tea/piece of cake/puke/put a sock in it/round/sacked/sloshed/suss/twit. All used here.
[Sluggo] Cheesed off. That's the funniest one on the list. It doesn't really work here; it sounds too much like cheesy or cheesehead.
[Thomas] c.f. (although not strictly related): "Hard Cheese".
[Kat] ...? Where here? Works for my set, but it's a tainted sample as it's full Anglophiles.
Kat, who's been horrifying Ben by spouting "Southernese"
[Rick] Which, I would think, remains vanishingly rare in Florida, whose cultural orbit oscillates mostly between Long Island and Havana, I had thought.
[Jay] Florida's not in the South; surely you knew that?
[Rick] That would have been my strong suspicion -- though my brother-in-law from the Panhandle makes (embodies) a pretty good argument for those aforementioned pockets of Dixie.
[Jay] Well, yeah, some of the South is in Florida.
Cheers, jr 'and it's always acceptable to be a redneck' a
[Rick] Except in Pensacola and like that.
[Ben] Oh, Northern Florida is quite the country unto itself. Twenty miles inland, the whole "southern cracker" thing is alive and well - including the slave camps (a.k.a. "labor pools", recently exposed in a few of the local papers), the accents, the attitudes... hell, up until the late '70s, Bunnell - about thirty or forty miles south of St. Augustine - was the state HQ of the KKK. I take especial joy in riding through that kind of places with Kat behind me and watching those jaw muscles tighen up; I wish they would say something to me.
It's a high-contrast place we live in; lovely, friendly, St. Augustine , with half a dozen yoga studios, visiting Tibetan monks, and a liberal arts college - and labor pools twenty miles away. Meanwhile, the (local) accents here are an amazing lazy-mouth gumbo, damn near a Louisiana/Alabama mush with an occassional burr thrown in for variety. It can be lovely as a flavoring (say, in a librarian from Hastings whom I met at a party, who sounded like fine velvet feels), but feels like a chainsaw two inches inside your ear when used in its raw form.
Kat hasn't gotten that one down yet, and I'm quite grateful.
 Named, mind you, after the most vile, intolerant, rigid, asexual freak - oh, and a brilliant logician - who ever poisoned a religion from the inside... did I mention "contrast" already? Oh, good.
[Sluggo] Healthful vs healthy. Not sure what he means. People are healthy if they're not sick. Food is healthy or healthful. But a healthy snack is a big snack, which is probably not healthful.
[Thomas] Apply Modeus Tollens to that, to see where you get. Indeed, we know what we mean by it.
[Sluggo] Apply what? Is that like Igpay Atinlay?
[Rick] Modus tollens. Contrapositive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens
[Sluggo] Knuckle sandwich. Also used here. But it's more of a 50s expression.
[Thomas] Yeah, that's like so last year.
-- Thoomas Adam ^^
Is this the all new, super modern, Object Oriented Thomas?
I looked up kebab & co. in the dictionary (Webster's New World), then 'dict', then meandered to Wikipedia, and along the way found out some stuff about Old Bailey.
Webster's says both kebab and shish kebab mean cubes of marinated meat on a skewer with onions and tomatoes. That's what my mom used to make. When I later encountered them in pitas, I wondered, "Why would you want to muffle the wonderful taste of a shish kebab by imprisoning it in a pita? And why are they calling them kebabs when they're gyros?" Webster says kebab is an Arabic word but claims shish is Armenian.
Wikipedia discusses the variation and also gets into doners (doener, donair).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kebab "There are many varieties of kebab and the term means different things in different countries. The term kebab without specifying the kind refers to döner kebab in Europe and to shish kebab in the United States." OK, that squares with my experience.
"Take-out gyros is quite popular in the United States where it is usually beef and lamb, shawarma is available in ethnic neighborhoods but döner kebab is unknown." Yes. Thomas (I think) mentioned a class difference between gyros and doners, that gyros were acceptable but doners were the province of yobs drinking after 11pm. Interesting that we don't have doners, but we don't have gyros after 11pm either. We do have yobs but they're called frat boys , and their favorite food after 11pm is... nothing, just alcohol. Well, maybe late-night pizza. If you did open a late-night doner stand, your first hurdle would be people asking, "What's that?"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyros Mentions gyros' relationship to souvlaki, which are essentially shish kebabs (sans pita).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawarma "In Russia Shawarma (Шаурма or Шаверма) (shaurma or shaverma) became one of the most popular street foods. Originally from the former Soviet Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, shawarma in Russia is generally eaten with a variety of julienned vegetables, tomato sauce, and garlic sauce that is wrapped in lavash." OK, that's what I encountered in St Petersburg, called shaverma but looking to all the world like a gyro. (And I quickly started eating them every day for lunch, and pel'meni for dinner.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelmeni
The shavermas I got at a stand, but the pel'meni I bought frozen and boiled at home, much to the surprise of an old WWII widow who lived in the same communal flat. The gas stove scared me since I'd grown up with electric, especially since you had to light it with a match. Said babushka let me use her jar of matches. One stove in the other kitchen always had a burner on low. I asked why. She said, so the guy doesn't have to buy matches. (Gas was free, although electricity was, er, metered.) I was incredulous. "He can't afford to buy a box of matches?" She said, "He's a drunk."
Regarding bailey and Old Bailey (a courthouse in London, which I first encountered in A Tale of Two Cities ) , I had assumed they were related to bail/bailiff, and were called that for some unfathomable reason. But Webster's says bailey is "the outer wall or court of a medieval castle; term still kept in some proper names, as in Old Bailey".
[Rick] Oddly enough, on a recent unplanned trip to London, I found myself with an entire afternoon in which my only obligation was to travel about 7 km to Liverpool Street Station, so I did it by shank's mare -- and one of several places I stopped to gawk was the Old Bailey.
It's so named becase it was built next to Old Bailey Street, which lay just outside the perimeter wall -- the "bailey" -- of the mediaeval walled city. The original building fell to the Great Fire (1666), and it's been rebuilt more or less completely several times since then.
I also dropped into Hyde Park, stopped at St. Paul's Cathedral (how could I skip that?), wandered around the "City" legal district and the Barbican Centre, visited Dr Johnson's house, looked around the Guildhall, and probably visited some other places I'm forgetting at the moment.
(I had to make an unplanned side-trip into London from Glasgow because my passport had vanished, and so I was obliged to visit the US Embassy to get a new one. The whole gory tale is here: http://deirdre.net/posts/2005/08/glasgow-ricks-departure )
 Before you ask, it's an 18th C. Scottish tongue-in-cheek coinage. "To shank it" meant "go on foot", borrowing from the English "shank" for one's leg portion from ankle to knee: The joke based on that expression lay in referring to a "shank's nag" or "shank's mare" -- the mare of your shank being your own foot, in the absence of more-luxurious transportation. A modern analogue would be when someone suggests I buy some ludicrously expensive part for my bicycle to save weight, and I rejoin that I'd be "better off concentrating on lightening the bike motor".
And "bail" is the convergence of no less than four different words:
(1) [Old French baillir: to keep in custody, deliver] money deposited with the court to get an arrested person temporarily released.
(2) [Old French baille, bucket] a bucket or scoop for dipping up water and removing it from a boat. What Ben will be doing when he gets back to Florida.
(3) [Middle English beil, from Old Norse beygla, to bend] a hoop-shaped support for a canopy, a hoop-shaped handle for a bucket or kettle, a bar on a typewriter to hold the paper against the platen
(4) [Old French baile, from Latin bajulis, porter; this one is related to bailey] formerly an outer fortifictation made of stakes, a bar or pole to keep animals separate in a barn, a Cricket wicket.
From Jimmy O'Regan
For anyone who enjoyed Ben's gibberish Perl script back in issue 89 (http://linuxgazette.net/issue89/lg_mail.html#mailbag.2), there's a Perl module! http://search.cpan.org/~gryphon/Lingua-ManagementSpeak-0.01/lib/Lingua/ManagementSpeak.pm
I especially like the comment in the POD: "By the way, if you're reading this far into the POD, you've earned the privilege to gripe about any bugs you find."
And now a break from hurricane news....
"A gunman on a motorcycle fired several shots into the air after he was kicked out of a Belltown bar early Friday, then shot into a crowd of people before he was brought down by police gunfire."
[Jimmy] Referring to Mike's forthcoming article. Check next month's issue!
It's a bit rambling. Does it go into too many topics? Would it be better split into multiple articles?
[Ben] Nope - works fine as a retrospective (which, given your long gray beard, shambling gait, absence of teeth, and the vacant look of someone who lives almost totally in the past, is highly apropos.
(http://linuxgazette.net/gx/2003/authors/orr.jpg , for those who don't know Mike and want to view the 92-year old physical wreck - the bier isn't quite finished, so we had to prop him against the nearest wall. Tisk, how some people let themselves go...)
I really enjoyed reading this thing, including the linked article by Ted Nelson:
In a way the first luncheon speaker and his enthusiasm perfectly embodied the ideas and controversy of the conference. This was Representative Charles Rose, who wore a strinking plaid jacket.
I hadn't realized that there was a portmanteau word that encompassed "striking" and "stinking" ; I'm shocked by the fact that the original Committee That Designed English omitted it, and I'm glad, well and fully satisfied, that this terrible injustice has finally been corrected. I will surely find many uses for it from now on - say, at the end of every sentence, strinking.
 Oh, his poor audience. To be visually and olfactorily assaulted at the same time... I'll be his voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard, too - just to make the experience complete. That's why so many people left the conference, as Ted reported.
Oyster fishermen and hurricanes
Rita's looking as bad as Katrina, depending on where it lands and how much it weakens by then. When I woke up yesterday morning it was category 3, when I got into work it was 5, and when I left our guys in Baton Rouge were on the edge of evacuating. This morning they were packing.
The media is treating these as two flukes, but there are some dozen storms forming in the Atlantic, so a reasonable chance at least a few of them will be nasty. I would just go to the northeast or midwest for a couple months to avoid the in-again-out-again.
[Ben] [sigh] I wish. If NOAA had upgraded their estimate sooner, or if everything on the boat had worked, or even - now that I've got the welder, etc. going - if I didn't have to go to L.A., we'd be on our way north right now. As it is, well, all I can do is hunker down and hope.
Also note that it hasn't been much of anything in the Atlantic, at least not in the classical sense - the typical pattern being a low moving off the coast of Africa, picking up heat and water off the edge of the ITCZ, getting spin off the Coriolis effect, and making its first appearance on Broadway somewhere around, oh, 17N65W. Instead, it's been "depression forms in the Bahamas OH MY GAWD IT'S A HURRICANE!", with NOAA having damn near zip lead time on these things - of course. Totally not their fault, but not having that two-to-three week window to watch these things mature is unsettling, to say the least.
There seem to be three factors converging:
1) Climate change (we're not supposed to say g%*@!% w*%!!&) is increasing the temperature fluctuations, exacerbating the storms.
2) We're coming out of a 30-year calm cycle for Atlantic storms. So what's "extreme" now is people's short memories. I think we've assumed that the calm period during most of the 20th century was "normal".
[Ben] [Nod] I'm definitely aware of the historical perspective, having studied the weather fairly intensively. Yeah, it's been a very quiet time, comparatively.
I feel the worst for the Carribean islands. They get most of the storms passing through every year. And they don't have a dry place to flee to.
[Ben] "De hurricane, she do blow." There's two very effective ways of dealing with a 'cane there - you either stay close to the water and build 6'-thick walls out of limestone (coral), like the Dutch did at the St. Thomas waterfront, or you go high and build large houses with huge shuttered windows and a strong below-ground basement (with water storage), as they did at Mountaintop. In the second case, when the 'cane is coming, you take all your stuff into the basement and _open the shutters_ so your house offers nearly no resistance to the wind. After the 'cane, you sweep out the leaves and bring your furniture back up. Needless to say, bamboo and other light construction for said furniture is strongly preferred...
Standard US construction - balloon frames, sheet rock, etc. - is beyond stupid. And yet, most people in the islands do it - because those are the construction methods and materials that are available.