Southern Man

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Supercomputing Conference Day 2

We are now in full Learn MPI mode so the morning was devoted to lecture on how to parallelize a large problem (by the dymanic and always entertaining HN) and the afternoon was spent actually doing it. Teen Daughter the Elder sent a text asking "What are you doing?" The answer would be "Simulating galaxy formation on a supercomputer. And eating ice cream."

And of course plotting the next geocache.

After dinner we gathered with the LittleFe gurus to rebuild our LittleFe, which has had lots of problems with connectivity but which they promise will all be amended by the latest release of BCCD.

Mobeen and Dr. S hard at work.

The Gods of Supercomputing.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Supercomputing Conference Day 1

The morning tutorials and exercises were all about accessing the supercomputer. Southern Man has been through this drill a few times now and after completing the exercise was able to circulate around and help some of the new users.

The supercomputer is, like most, a fairly vanilla cluster of fairly vanilla PCs that are not unlike what you may have in your lap or on your desk. The "vanilla" part is actually important, as it ensures that any problems the system has are well known and easily solved. The cases are different - they are standard "pizza box" servers so that they fit nicely in racks - but with ordinary processors and memory and cheap hard drives.

A rack of pizza boxes.

The "supercomputer" part is that there are a lot of them and they communicate on two distinct neworks - one with high bandwidth (to move data) and one with low latency (for communications). It runs RedHat Enterprise Linux (which has broad support) and the LFS job scheduler.

And it sits under about a hundred tons of air conditioning. It was about 45o in the "cold tunnel" last night. Photo by OSCER.

Programming is strictly old school: a Linux command prompt, the vi editor, and the C programming language. Today we spent a lot of time learning (or in Southern Man's case relearning) MPI, a set of routines for parallel processing. After a few introductory programs we set to work computing the value of π from basic geometry.

So Southern Man solved this familiar problem using one core, then on many cores (with one trapezoid per core), and then on many cores with many trapezoids per core...

Southern Man hates vi.

More computing cycles were consumed to bring you this result (which used a grid size of a million) than the USA used in the 1960s to put a man on the moon.

That actually took until dinner, and afterwards.

They feed us dinner in a nice dining room in the Student Union. The fellow in the center is the designer of the LittleFe mini-supercomputer.

These three grad students (who Southern Man first met at SC11) are doing most of the work.

So the first full day of the workshop was fun and productive. Onward to tomorrow!

Supercomputing Conference Day 0

This was Teen Daughter The Younger's last day with Southern Man. After church we met with Southern Parents and Teen Daughter the Elder for lunch, and then went to the airport with plenty of time to spare so naturally we breezed through ticketing and security and spent an hour at the gate playing word games and chatting. Southern Man saw her board, texted her mother, and then headed to work to pack up the LittleFe supercomputer for the conference at Enormous State University about half an hour south of Southern City.

Our host is HN, lord and master of Enormous State University's brand-new Top-500 supercomputer and guru of all topics related to high-performance computing. His presentations are energetic, informative, and hilarious. Tonight's lecture was over familiar material but Southern Man pays close attention to the way he said it so he can steal bits and pieces for his own lectures.

"Back in the olden days, and by that I mean February..."

A good turnout.

This young man, now a colleague at a state school a bit to the north, was Southern Man's student during his very first year of teaching twenty-five years ago. Somehow, he survived.

Dr. S has been a long-time participant at these conferences.

The evening ended with a tour of the new supercomputer, which was completed a few months ago and sits in about the middle of the current Top-500 list.

The conference will run a week and will focus not so much on learning how to use high-performance computing systems, but how to teach others how to use high-performance computing systems. It should be fun and informative and Southern Man is going to pretend that he's really away at a conference instead of a mere hour or so from La Casa.

Friday, July 27, 2012


And not just any old Friday, but the end-of-the-summer-semester Friday! And it was a busy one.

After breakfast with Teen Daughter the Elder (who is slowly recovering from her bout of shingles) she headed out to yet another top-secret meeting with her military masters and Southern Man checked Craigslist, as is his habit, and saw an offer for twenty free cinderblocks. Now Southern Man is a building materials whore and will jump on something like that in a hot minute but the lister said they were just stacked up by the curb and he'd delete the post when they were gone. So there was not much chance of getting them but it was on the way to work so Southern Man leaped into The Titan to check it out. The address was strangely familiar and it turned out to be a guy from whom Southern Man had gotten a load of firewood a while back. The cinderblocks were still there, plus he had PVC pipe that he'd used to build a little greenhouse and some bricks. In fact the entire pile was from tearing down his greenhouse and since he's moving he gave it away. So Southern Man got a full truckload of goodies. There was no rush so he brought it all home and switched to The Hyundai for the rest of the day.

A Titan load of goodies. The battered north roof of The Barn is the next major project.

Then it was off to work, to deal with paperwork (including the upcoming year's contract, which includes a nice raise, and final details for the upcoming supercomputer conference, and some travel-grant applications) and grading final exams and post grades for both summer classes (one at each school). That last required a trip to the community college on the south side - yes, it's 2012, but they still require a signature on a hard copy of the electronically-submitted grade form - so Southern Man printed off a list of geocaches to hit while he was on that side of town. These were all fairly challenging, many in wooded areas, and Southern Man had a lot of fun hunting them down. But at the very last cache The Hyundai wouldn't start.

Well, it did this once a while back and Southern Man suspects that he's gotten all he's going to get out of the factory battery so he put the hood up and stood by the road to flag down help. And now an observation: not a single woman stopped, but every guy stopped. Every single one. The third had cables and a quick jump had the car running again. Then, happy and tired and covered with burrs and scratches Southern Man headed home for a shower and dinner and rest.

But when he got out of the shower the phone's voice mail light was on - it was RCJ, and could I run over to his mom's house and help him fix an air conditioner? Of course, so Southern Man threw on some clothes and headed out in The Titan. We took care of the chores and had pizza with his mom and sister and brother-in-law (they all share a big house that's only a few blocks from the mini-mansion that Southern Man and his ex bought in '04) and then RCJ went to work (night shift) and Southern Man headed out to the land to unload his truckload of goodies.

And after unloading and stacking the goodies and clearing out a corner of The Barn Southern Man relaxed for a bit in The Trailer and finally solved the mystery of the occasional stabbing pain in his left foot - a rusty nail that had come through the sole of that boot, so there will be a tetanus booster in his immediate future - and relaxed for a bit. And then he came home for another dinner (cold chicken and hot veggies and cold beer) and to reflect on a busy and productive and fun day and plan tomorrow's activities with Teen Daughter the Younger, who is back from Teen Camp but was scooped up by her grandmother until tomorrow. Lord, I'm so lucky. Please continue to bless me and my family. Amen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Busy Week

Southern Man has been a busy fellow this week, thus the lack of posts. Teen Daughter The Elder continues to meet with her military contacts in preparation for shipping out to boot camp. However she is laid low with shingles (of all things!) which is quite painful. Teen Daughter The Younger headed off to Church Teen Camp on Monday so she won't be back until Friday, then she flies back to her mother on Sunday. Southern Man is busy prepping for the last week of summer school. He actually gave his last two lectures today: tomorrow and Thursday he will give exams. Next week he will be in a nearby city for a week-long conference on supercomputing and parallel computing. It's only an hour away but they're providing a hotel so Southern Man will probably stay up there most nights. And after that with both daughters gone he will start packing up as he plans to shut down the apartment and live out on The Land for a while. And that is the news from Southern Land!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Dear Leader's recent attack on success has, as expected, produced a flood of rebuttals. This is a particularly good one. Southern Man will leave you with a couple of quotes and encourage you to read the whole thing...
Yes, the President was wrong, and I’ll give you some numbers in just a moment to prove it, but he was also boring. What he said is what progressives have said for more than a century. It wasn’t true in Soviet Russia, in Nazi Germany, in fascist Italy, in poor and oppressed Cuba, or in starving and shivering North Korea. It has not been true anywhere nor at any time. Free markets bring innovation, health, and prosperity for any who will work hard enough to get it. Collectivism brings stultification, sickness, and desperate want for everyone.
So why do people continue to attempt socialist solutions? One answer is that they are not very smart...
Barack Obama wants us to live in an America of his imagining — a magical land of perfect equality where the laws of economics and human nature do not apply, where everyone gets his own unicorn and the only ones who have to pay are the mythical “rich”, who toil endlessly to provide for us all without complaint.
The US has long had a diamond-shaped class spread, with a large middle class and relatively small populations at the bottom and the top - and getting to the top requires lots of hard, hard work. Collectivist nations are as most populations have been for most of the history of humanity - pyramids, with most at the bottom and a very few at the top. But the top of a collectivist nation is a very, very good place to be. It may be that Dear Leader and his ilk are actually very, very smart and are simply playing the long game to ensure their position at the apex of that pyramid.

And for those who think that government and infrastructure are essential to the success of a business, read what John Kass has to say about his immigrant father and the grocery business that he and his family built through grunt hard endless labor (emphasis mine):
There was no federal bailout money for us. No Republican corporate welfare. No Democratic handouts. No bipartisan lobbyists working the angles. No Tony Rezkos. No offshore accounts. No Obama bucks. Just two immigrant brothers and their families risking everything, balancing on the economic high wire, building a business in America. They sacrificed, paid their bills, counted pennies to pay rent and purchase health care and food and not much else. And for their troubles they were muscled by the politicos, by the city inspectors and the chiselers and the weasels, all those smiling extortionists who held the government hammer over all of our heads.
Some government is necessary. Big government is a burden on everyone. Big, corrupt government - which is pretty much what we have today - is downright evil. But Dear Leader thinks that we can't succeed without it.

In Southern Man's opinion this election is a referendum on big government. Sadly, the choice is between the party that wants big government and the party that wants bigger government.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In The Navy

After weeks of preliminaries Teen Daughter The Elder has enlisted in the United States Navy and having blown the lid off the ASVAB is promised work in cryptology. Boot camp is in early October.

Southern Man is very proud of her!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Blob

This article on how ordinary decent Americans are quietly revolting against the behemoth State has been making lots of appearances on blogs Southern Man follows. It's worth reading the whole thing, but here's a taste:
I bet you can think of a few dozen more examples [of how Americans skirt or circumvent the law] and increasingly we’re all in business and in personal life thinking of more and more ways to game a system which we have less and less faith in. It’s not civil disobedience that I’m talking about. It’s the opposite: Civil disobedience is meant to be noticed. It is a price paid in the hope of creating social change. What I’m talking about is not based on hope; in fact, it has given up much hope on social change. It thinks the government is a colossal amoeba twitching mindlessly in response to tiny pinpricks of pain from an endless army of micro-brained interest groups. The point is not to teach the amoeba nor to guide it, but simply to stay away from the lethal stupidity of its pseudopods.
Again, read the whole thing.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chocolate Milk

For some unknown reason Southern Man has had, for the last two weeks, an unrelenting craving for chocolate milk. Every workday on his way from the day to the evening job he stops by the store for a quart or even half-gallon of chocolate milk. Nothing else will do. It must be chocolate milk. At home he wakes up at two in the morning and goes to the kitchen and mixes up a big glass of chocolate milk. This happens almost every night. So what are they putting in the chocolate milk these days that has him addicted? Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Personality Type Comment Of The Week

Kathy Shaidle (aka Five Feet Of Fury) has a post up about her PJ Media article (hey, Kathy, like all that linkage?) on the trials of tribulations on having Meyers-Briggs Personality Type INTJ.

Full disclosure: Southern Man is INTJ, with the I and the J hard against the wall. Teen Daughter the Elder, tragically, is also INTJ. Southern Man's personality and her mother's beauty...

When Kathy was asked "Would you rather be happy or be right?" she shot back "Being right makes me happy!"

So true. So very true! And what was the Personality Type Prayer for us INTJs? Lord, keep me open to others' ideas, wrong though they may be! Amen!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Comment On Marriage

Western women have been brainwashed their entire lives about what they’re supposed to want, and women don't hesitate to tell men what they think they want. It’s no surprise that men have come to believe what women are telling them. It’s in magazines, TV shows, movies, websites, romantic comedies - it's everywhere. The great tragedy of relationships today is that most men do not realize that what a woman says she wants, what a woman thinks she wants, and what a woman really needs are often three completely different things, and as a result has no idea what his woman actually needs from their relationship.

Now, what happens when such a woman obtains everything that she says and thinks she wants? Surprisingly (to men) she feels strangely unhappy and unfulfilled, and this confuses both herself and the others around her. After all, she has everything she (or any other woman) could have ever want, doesn't she?. However, when you recognize the effects of social programming on women, the unhappiness makes complete sense: she is completely out of touch with her own needs and, as a result, her man is focused on what she says she wants rather than what she really needs in their relationship. This is not the man’s fault, because she (and society at large) have constantly fed him well-intended misinformation, day after day, year after year, about his responsibilities and what her needs are supposed to be.

So what does the man do in the face of his woman’s unhappiness? He tries even harder to please his woman. He keeps doing what didn’t work before (because he thinks he's doing what she wants) and he does it with even more vigor. And what does this have the effect of doing? It renders him undesirable, even repugnant to her. She doesn’t understand it, so she chalks it up to "no longer being in love" or some other rationalization. The man becomes frustrated – he’s done everything in his power to make her happy, given her everything she’s ever wanted, and this is the result? And when the relationship ends he (and society, and in Southern Man's case even the Church) chastises him for "not giving her what she really needed." Sadly, none of the parties involved had any idea what that was.

But all is not lost because this can be a watershed moment – when he takes the red pill and is finally capable of seeing some truth about relationships in this world. And that is the bittersweet place in which Southern Man finds himself today; filled with regret for what might have been had he gained even the most elementary education in the proper maintenance of marriage relationships, with the knowledge and ability today to have far greater success in future relationships, but at an age where that is increasingly unlikely. Southern Man will probably wake up alone for the rest of his days, and that is a sad thought. But who knows what new adventures the next twenty or thirty years might bring? And that is an exciting speculation. To infinity, and beyond!

Inspired by this post at The Private Man.

The War On Drugs

For new readers, Southern Man will again list the three pillars of his political/social belief system:>br />
  • You are responsible for your actions.
  • Your rights end where mine begin.
  • What consenting adults do in private is no one's business but theirs.
In other words, Southern Man is an individualist / anti-nanny-statist and votes for candidates that promise to reduce the broad scope and overreaching authority of the State. That doesn't mean he's an anarchist; he simply wants the State to be smaller, less expensive, and less intrusive. It also means that you have a lot of freedom to do things that Southern Man would not approve. And he might elect to engage in activity that does not meet with your approval. This is the price of freedom.

However, when we do things that don't meet the approval of the State, they send us to prison. What, pray tell, are these un-approved actions that result in incarceration?

Hat tip to Al Fin.

Now that is frightening stuff. Over half the prison population of the US is drug-related. And Southern Man would imagine that a fair portion of the rest (particularly burglary and homicide) are also obliquely connected to the drug trade.

Imagine a world in which Southern Man's views hold sway. Personal drug use would not be illegal. Drug sales between individuals would not be illegal. The manufacture of drugs would be a zoning issue at worst. Most of the risk in manufacturing and selling drugs would vanish, and prices would drop. Without large profits crime cartels would become less interested in drugs and individuals would commit fewer personal property crimes to obtain the money they need for drugs. We would need fewer police officers and those officers wouldn't need military-grade equipment, thus reducing the cost of law enforcement. And in Southern Man's world "sex crimes," which are contracts between consenting adults, wouldn't be crimes at all. Wow - we could stay home, do cheap drugs, and get laid. In Southern Man's view this would be a Good Thing.

Unfortunately, the State sees things a bit differently. The much-discussed War On Drugs is really a jobs program for increasingly militarized police forces. Drugs are the boogie-man that drive the size and scope of modern police departments. But Southern Man would be perfectly happy to see all those drug cops working on property crime cases instead, as he still has a number of unsolved ones on the books.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Concert Review - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

It never ceases to amaze Southern Man that the music he grew up on is now called "Classic Rock" and at least some of the bands he followed as a pup are still touring. Indeed the radio is full of spots for Boston, who is playing two, count 'em, two, concerts in the area later this month. As a cynical friend put it, "That would have been pretty exciting news thirty years ago." Yep, we saw them then, with Foghat as the opening act - a reversal from the previous year, when Boston opened for Foghat. Those were good times, to hear that amazing music played for the first time on the radio. When Boston's album first came out the DJ simply said "trust me, turn your radio all the way up right now" for the first airing of Foreplay / Long Time. We did, and were blown away. I still get chills when I hear it, just from those memories.

And these are good times. Sure, it's the amusement park circuit, but Southern Man has seen some pretty good acts there over the last few years. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts played to one of the largest crowds he'd ever seen at that particular venue and they did not disappoint, playing both old and new (well, new-ish) tunes for an enthusiastic audience. Sadly Southern Man arrived late and was pretty distant from the stage so he has no pictures to prove that Joan is still pretty hot. Trust me, she is, and she's still one of the great rock-n-roll guitarists. Long live summer concerts, and I Love Rocky Road! Rock And Roll! Both!

Saturday, July 07, 2012


With all three Southern Children about there's just no end to the fun and excitement.

First off, Southern Son has a very nasty spider bite on his thumb and it just got nastier and nastier.

That would be the work of the Brown Recluse. You should YouTube "Brown Recluse Bite," some of them are pretty entertaining. We especially like this one.

He called and complained that much of his hand was going numb so rather than wait for Monday Teen Daughter the Elder and Southern Man picked him up and took him to a nearby urgent care facility where the doc looked it over and prescribed antibiotics and sent us on our way without even any dramatic draining. And all this rather detracts from Southern Man's own drama as he has his very own recluse bite as well, but all it did was leave a little crater scar on his leg.

The elder children at Walgreens.

The Southern Man went to the local amusement park for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, who played to probably the largest crowd Southern Man has ever seen at that particular venue. He probably took a dozen pictures, none of which are worth posting but here's one anyway.

This was the best of the lot, and you still can't see the big "Joan Jett and the Blackhearts" sign behind the stage.

The concert was followed by a terrific fireworks display.

Southern Man loves fireworks. Turns out Teen Daughter the Younger (who has no interest in ancient rock and was riding rides during the concert) was near the launch site and got a little scared.

And that was a Southern Man Saturday. Hope yours was equally exciting!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fourth of July Fun

At the Ancestral Manor...

Youngest Daughter with poppers...

Youngest Daughter and Youngest Nephew...

In the pool...

Sunday, July 01, 2012


The summer semester is halfway over and it looks like July will be even busier than June.

Two lovely young ladies in their Sunday best.