Patterico's Pontifications


Charles Johnson’s Perfection on Display

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 3:17 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

So yesterday I had a post and in it I was trying to interpret internet time stamps and I came across a designation that I didn’t understand, “UTC,” and wrote:

As for Gavin’s post, it’s listed at 1:20 a.m. in something called UTC (which I guess is one of the Asian time zones) and I am unsure how to translate it into my time.

So by the plain language of that (1) I admitted that I didn’t know something, but (2) guessed it was one of the Asian time zones.  And then in the post I found a way to work around my lack-of-knowledge and dealt with it.  Of course I based my guess on the fact that (1) he wrote for something called Asian Correspondent, and (2) it appeared to be exactly 12 hours different, which is the exact time difference between here and the Philippines, something I happen to know because my extended family lives there.  I mean that is why I was so hot on the Tsunami story a few weeks back, because in part I was worried about them.

Well, it turns out my educated guess was wrong, if Wikipedia is to be believed:*

Coordinated Universal Time (abbreviated UTC) is the time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose.

Coordinated Universal Time is a time standard based on International Atomic Time (TAI) with leap seconds added at irregular intervals to compensate for the Earth’s slowing rotation.  Leap seconds are used to allow UTC to closely track UT1, which is mean solar time at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

And apparently Chaz thinks that somehow it is the most hilarious thing in human history that I didn’t just know this, writing an entire post where he mocks me for this, accuses me of xenophobia and setting off a tweet war yesterday.  Seriously I felt like a guy being made fun of by hard-core Trekkies for being unable to speak fluent Klingon.  It’s nerd-knowledge–not exactly what anyone would call common knowledge.

I mean look, I am a law nerd (among other things).  So I can read this passage from an Onion article on the Justices of the Supreme Court vowing to lose their virginity and I would get this joke:

Asked to assess his prospects for losing his virginity within the next two months, a confident Scalia lifted his judicial robe and quipped, “Res ipsa loquitur.”

I would go as far as to say that most lawyers would get the joke.  But I am self-aware enough to know that most normal people have no idea what res ipsa loquitur means.**  And because of that, I wouldn’t call someone else ignorant for not knowing about it.  There’s nothing wrong with knowing that law latin, or what UTC is, but there is something wrong with thinking its common knowledge or something.

Oh, and if you go back to the original post to see how knowledge of UTC mattered to the subject at hand…  you will be at a loss.  My lack of knowledge can’t be attributed to any error I made.  It just made it harder to prove when a post was published on the web.  And certainly it doesn’t bear on the subject of global warming.  I mean is Chuckles trying to claim that if we went by UTC time that the UN’s prediction that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010 was not wrong?  Was that on the special secret nerd-time calendar, Chaz?

So the whole thing amounted to the cheapest gotcha one could imagine,*** proving I didn’t know something I admitted I didn’t know, that most normal people don’t know, and that had at best a tangential bearing on the subject.

And it’s funny that Chuckles did that, because you know it just so happens that he doesn’t know several items of much more common knowledge.  For instance, back during the 2008 campaign, he wrote a post that said, well… this:

…and then promptly disappeared it.  Now that is image is from Diary of Daedalus, and it’s not literally a screenshot, but a recreation of the post that once existed.  At the end of the original post (prior to updates) ChenZhen writes:

And, we can prove the authenticity of the article and contents upon email request, should the challenge arise.

Well, I won’t reveal their trade secrets, but I have had an extensive email “conversation” with ChenZhen and he more than backed up his claim.  Yep, Chuckie accused Obama of creating his own flag, probably because of the O in the blue field.  He was so sure of it he made a whole post about it and the nefarious flag of Obama…

…without running a google image serach to see the state flag of the state that Obama was appearing in that day.  I’ll give you a hint, Chuckles.  I admit I don’t know the whole history behind that flag, but there is another reason why there might be a big O in it…

So I didn’t know about the initials for computer time (and improper googling didn’t give me the answer).  He didn’t know (or think to google) the flag of Ohio.  Oh, and he also mistook the flag of Tennessee flown at a Tea Party rally for a neo-nazi flag.  Oh and also he also missed the small detail of a story being from the wrong year in another post.

The point of all this isn’t to prove that Chuckles makes mistakes, or even to remind you how hypocritical he is about memory holes, although both of those statements are true.  It is to show you that he held me to a standard he can’t live up to.  Indeed, no one can.

Everyone makes mistakes.  And sometimes they are small, and sometimes they are a doozey.  We are all human and we do our best.  Therefore, a prudent and humble person does the following.  You try hard not to pretend to know what you don’t know.  And when you make mistakes, admit it openly and honestly, and don’t send it down the memory hole without so much as an acknowledgement of it.  And finally, when you catch other people just not knowing something that isn’t common knowledge or something you would otherwise expect them to know, learn to show the same understanding to others that you would expect them to show you.

In short, grow-up Chuckles.


* Usually Wiki can be believed on non-controversial topics.  So you can trust them on this or the history of a video game, but not on the Presidency of Bush or Obama.

** There is a lot to what res ipsa loquitur means, but for purposes of the joke, it more or less means that the issue is self-evident.

*** All of this is most likely impotent revenge for Charles being shown up on this site herehere and here.  This one is particularly fun because he admits to being caught hiding an outright lie in the memory hole.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

59 Responses to “Charles Johnson’s Perfection on Display”

  1. Oh, no, not another in the series of posts on Justice Scalia’s endowment!

    I typically explain “res ipsa loquitur” — the thing speaks for itself — to non-lawyer friends by reference to one of the cases out of which the negligence-law doctrine developed: Plaintiff, while walking down the street past Defendant’s brewery, was injured when a keg of beer fell upon Plaintiff’s head from the second-floor cargo door of Defendant’s brewery. The Defendant insisted that since every claimant has the burden of proving every element of his claim, this Plaintiff had to prove how the keg came to fall. The court disagreed, and excused Plaintiff from having to make such specific proof, on grounds that kegs of beer ordinarily don’t fall out of second-floor cargo doors unless someone in control of the premises has somehow been negligent. Defendant would be free to then offer its own contrary evidence explaining how the keg might have fallen without anyone having been negligent. But without such countervailing evidence, the thing — here, a keg falling from where kegs ain’t ‘sposed to fall — spoke for itself. It’s not a hard idea to grasp.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  2. Aaron,
    I was also confused a while ago when I first saw “UTC”. I was very interested in the events in Japan related to the quake and tsunami, and much of the reporting on sites like NHK World use UTC. In layman’s terms it is (roughly) the old GMT or Greenwich Mean Time, which here on the left coast is now -7 hours (GMT is 7 hours ahead of us). That would be 4 hours for you.

    Dave in OC (d1d92b)

  3. We need to take bakc the mantra of classical liberalism from these chuckleheads.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  4. Dave, the way I heard it explained is that GMT represents the actual time in Greenwich, and therefore has to be adjusted for British “summer time”, but UTC doesn’t.

    Aaron, Wikipedia can be believed on this; I first encountered the abbreviation more than fifteen years ago (but, I’m a computer programmer; this is expected in my trade. :))

    aphrael (fe2ce4)

  5. As aphrael mentioned, I was surprised that anyone wouldn’t know what UTC is, because it’s common knowledge… among computer programmers, at least. Anytime you deal with any timestamped data such as security logs, you have to deal with timezones, and UTC is the standard “default” timezone, because it never changes with Daylight Savings Time, so a UTC time is unambiguous and therefore you always know the correct conversion to local time.

    What I’d like to know is how many other people were not familiar with UTC before reading this article.

    Robin Munn (6d6ef8)

  6. All time-stamps should be Zulu!

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  7. The once-useful fairminded and highly readable LGF went mahoola long long ago. Its pointless to speculate why, but it happened and CJ placed himself squarely among the kooky angry reactionary intolerant of dissent/questions Left upon whom he formerly and correctly heaped scorn ridicule rocks and garbage..

    What he craves most nowadays is negative attention from the righty blogosphere of which he was once quite duly a leading light.

    “Do Not Feed the Trolls” is a cliche for a reason, Aaron. Rise above it.

    Mike D (cfd823)

  8. The democrats are far-left not cener-left the blue dog democraps are just back stabbing morons.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  9. Mr. Johnson is an exceedingly petty person not unlike that union thug cop whore what put that guy in jail for cracking a joke.

    You know what are disappointing is people.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  10. Yea, DoD uncovered all of Johnson’s memory-holed threads (just under 300 in all). So far, we’ve found three instances where CJ posted an article about a story that was at least a year old, and then promptly made the thread vanish in broad daylight in an effort to avoid embarrassment. Funny stuff. In fact, here’s another one:

    For tactical reasons, we won’t reveal how we’ve come across this info at this stage of the blog war. But it’s legit.

    ChenZhen (82e3f1)

  11. You just wait until Charles wakes up from his nap. You are so dead, people.

    beed (89328a)

  12. I know what UTC is because I spent years working in International satellite telecommunications, and that’s the time standard that you use when you log events, perform scheduled tasks and whatnot. That’s because you’re working with people all over the world and it would get confusing if everyone was using their own local time. If I tell some guy in Japan I’m taking a modem offline at 0300 hours, he doesn’t have to worry about whether I’m talking Japan time or California time. He knows I mean UTC time.

    Most people don’t use UTC, they use local time, so they don’t need to know what it is, and it’s no big deal if they don’t.

    In overly simplified terms, 0000 hours in UTC is the same as midnight in Greenwich, England, and everything in UTC is expressed in 24 hour clock terms, like military time (i.e. 1900 UCT is about 7 o’clock P.M. in Greenwich, England).

    Dave Surls (dacc3d)

  13. UTC is GMT is Zulu……..

    if you’d been in the service this whole mess could have been avoided.


    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  14. Seriously I felt like a guy being made fun of by hard-core Trekkies for being unable to speak fluent Klingon

    And that bothered you?

    steve (254463)

  15. Another, current Johnson imperfection – the mistake Johnson continues to denybooger-gate.

    nils (fdddd8)

  16. “UTC is GMT”

    Not exactly, but close enough for government work.

    Dave Surls (dacc3d)

  17. Generally what are Dickweed Johnson’s academic credentials?

    kansas (1fc602)

  18. Don’t forget Booger Johnson quotes Francis Bacon, them makes fun of people quotinf Francis Bacon.

    Your Booger is cooked Chuck

    doppelganger (0c1de3)

  19. Robin, I never knew what UTC was before I heard about it in a computer security context.

    Anyway, Aaron is only human.

    What’s really disturbing about Charles’s post is how he asserts this shows Aaron to be racist. And then he boasts that he hopes this will goad a response out of Aaron. I’m not surprised Aaron wants to respond to the viciousness. It’s not really that impressive that you can call someone a racist, and they want to note that you’re wrong.

    This led me to read LGF’s last few blog entries. They are mostly angry little ad homs. They aren’t even creative. I get it already… Charles doesn’t like ‘teabaggers’. Yawn.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  20. I didn’t know what time zone UTC corresponds to until I read this. And personally, I prefer the old fashioned GMT.

    Of course, I have been known to refer to the grandsons of King James VII and II as Kings Charles III and King Henry IX, so perhaps I’m letting my preferences rule me too much.

    kishnevi (07cf78)

  21. Just for completeness …
    UTC is also known as Universal Coordinated Time
    sometimes it is referred to as “Zulu time

    Neo (03e5c2)

  22. Ignore Chas Johnson.

    He has ceased to be relevant. When they look back on the internet, Johnson will be placed in the Deb Frisch category.

    Jack (f9fe53)

  23. For Pete’s sake Aaron. Consider the source.

    Jack (f9fe53)

  24. “I prefer the old fashioned GMT.’

    Scientific types don’t like the old standard, because the time periods keep getting longer as time goes by. Each solar day is longer than the one that preceded it, due to tidal forces constantly slowing the rate at which the earth rotates.

    They wanted a standard where seconds were always the same length. That’s why they went to a standard based on atomic decay rather than use an ever-changing diurnal period as the basis for measurements of the passage of time.

    Or, so I’ve heard.

    Dave Surls (b58d01)

  25. Seriously I felt like a guy being made fun of by hard-core Trekkies for being unable to speak fluent Klingon.


    malclave (1db6c5)

  26. The Francis Bacon is delicious.

    Formercorpsman (358d98)

  27. I first became familiar with GMT when I was a Ham back in the late 70’s.
    When I went into the military I had gotten re-familiar with it.
    I wouldn’t expect anyone to know this stuff without a background that would lend itself to it.

    Chuck is just looking for attention and a few hits to bring his failed blog back to its glory days…I think it would be best not to give him to much attention, however his perpetual meltdown is fun to watch.

    Mr Caps (92a21e)

  28. This here’s an integral domain, and Charles? Well, you’re just a zero divisor.

    …what, you don’t get it?


    CliveStaples (dcd961)

  29. Like the rational numbers, Charles is dense and incomplete.

    CliveStaples (dcd961)

  30. Okay. To avoid future embarrassment, let’s all circumcise our watches.

    Briareus (639179)

  31. Tired Binary Joke:

    There are ten kinds of people. Those who think Charles Johnson is a lazy and dumb debater, and those who know Charles Johnson is a lazy and dumb debater.

    I’m still laughing that he leaps from ‘you didn’t know what time zone that was?’ to ‘You’re probably a racist!!!!’

    I seem to recall Charles used to be able to hold his own in a debate, but this is just too dumb. The guy is a few thousand protestors short of a Tea Party rally.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  32. The maxim “it is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt”, is variously attributed to Twain, Lincoln and others. There is some wisdom in the saying, but I’ve added the following: “He who is silent stays a fool forever.”

    Aaron has benefited from violating the original. I have found that when I put an idea out into the world, it is immediately subjected to critique and I am educated on my errors. For free. If you are brave and say what you think, there are thousands of people out there willing to teach you better. If you are open to learning from feedback people will think you wise, not foolish for trying to put your ideas into play.

    People who make fun of others’ ignorance to put them down don’t have much class. They are destroyers, not builders.

    Jeff Mitchell (481f2a)

  33. Nobody knows everything. And, there’s no shame in not knowing everything.

    For example, I just found out by reading up on it, that Cesium clocks don’t work the way I thought they did. I always thought they measured atomic decay, but I see that they actually measure change in energy levels.

    “The principle of operation of an atomic clock is not based on nuclear physics, but rather on atomic physics and using the microwave signal that electrons in atoms emit when they change energy levels. Early atomic clocks were based on masers at room temperature. Currently, the most accurate atomic clocks first cool the atoms to near absolute zero temperature by slowing them with lasers and probing them in atomic fountains in a microwave-filled cavity. An example of this is the NIST-F1 atomic clock, the U.S. national primary time and frequency standard.”–wiki

    I didn’t know that.

    Learn something new every day.

    Dave Surls (b58d01)

  34. Everyone makes mistakes.

    Aaron, I’m not sure your claim qualifies as a mistake. You clearly said you don’t know what UTC stood for, and that you were guessing that it was an east Asian time zone. Your guess was wrong, but the whole point of making it clear that it was a guess is to qualify it to the effect that that you’re not making a definitive statement. If someone asked me what year Cheez Whiz first hit the markets and I said, “Ummm, I don’t know … 1947?” It would be weird to say I had made a mistake since it is clearly a guess. On the other hand, one could say my guess was mistaken, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Jim S. (4736b0)

  35. Catching up on missed comments yesterday.


    > As aphrael mentioned, I was surprised that anyone wouldn’t know what UTC is, because it’s common knowledge… among computer programmers, at least.

    Mmm, on reflection that raises an interesting point. When I went to law school, for instance, I made a concerted attempt to be aware of how I was being molded, so I could remember exactly what the differences between how lawyers think and how everyone else thinks are. But not everyone does that. There are lawyers who think that everyone knows what they know.

    Mike D

    > “Do Not Feed the Trolls” is a cliche for a reason, Aaron. Rise above it.

    I get what you are saying, but I personally prefer to confront him. His fan club hooted and hollered, but the readers who do think for themselves will look around and I had decided that every time we have this fight, I will go through the litany of where we documented his bad behavior in the past, especially him lying and using the memory hole in an attempt to cover up the truth.


    > You just wait until Charles wakes up from his nap. You are so dead, people.



    > What’s really disturbing about Charles’s post is how he asserts this shows Aaron to be racist.

    Well, technically xenophobic. And thinking for some reason I denied the validity of time zones or something.

    > And then he boasts that he hopes this will goad a response out of Aaron. I’m not surprised Aaron wants to respond to the viciousness.

    You can bet he won’t link to it. It shows what a child he is. And it reminds people of the fact that he was caught red-handed lying and trying to cover it up.


    > Qaplah!

    I don’t know which is worse. Your joke or the fact I got it. :-)

    It all makes me think of that classic skit on SNL when Shatner shouts at a bunch of trekkies “Get a life!” And Chuckles is standing around with the Spock ears.

    Jim S.

    You make a good point that i was deliberately glossing over.

    Btw, don’t you love how he took a screen shot of the post? He assumes I am going to memory hole it even though in the past i have been completely wrong and completely copped to it.

    He took a screen shot, of course, because he knew memory holing is how HE would react, and so naturally he assumed i would do the same thing. Its a very common fallacy I call “the fallacy of assuming that everyone thinks like you.” I applied that to Keith Olbermann, here:

    (but, um, language warning at the link.)

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  36. It’s pretty hard not to know what UTC means in this day and age. But I think the important point is that it is easily find-outable.

    And when you make mistakes, admit it openly and honestly….

    THIS from the guy who wrote only yesterday: “Standand & Poor’s was less impressed with Obama’s speech on the debt and downgraded our credit rating

    (Emphasis mine)

    Standard & Poor’s did NOT downground the credit rating on U.S. security or bond. The U.S. T-bill, for example, still has an AAA rating.

    But A.W. can’t admit this simple mistake.

    Kman (5576bf)

  37. Aaron’s posts are Pavlovian bells to certain salivators.

    Simon Jester (fa6855)

  38. Kman

    shocka that Kman takes the pony-tailed stalker’s side.

    > Standard & Poor’s did NOT downground the credit rating on U.S. security or bond.

    Expressio unius. duh.

    They said our credit is less trustworthy. that is a rating of our credit. that is a downgrade. you might not want to face that reality, but suck it.

    your selective citation of only one part of our credit tells the tale.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  39. AW:

    They said our credit is less trustworthy. that is a rating of our credit.

    No. Jeez. *shakes head*

    A credit rating is expressed as an actual credit rating… like AAA, or AA.

    Never mind. You seem to enjoy displaying your ignorance.

    Kman (5576bf)

  40. kman

    1) i don’t trust your mere assertion that i am wrong on anything.

    2) you don’t even claim i am fully wrong. expressio unius.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  41. Aaron, just read any news account. Like this from CNN Money:

    S&P, one of the three main agencies that rate the ability of companies and sovereign nations to repay their debts, lowered its outlook for America’s long-term credit rating to “negative” from “stable.”

    The change means that there is a one-in-three chance that S&P could downgrade the nation’s “AAA” credit rating within two years.

    There is a distinction between a credit OUTLOOK and a credit RATING. Just do a LITTLE investigation. It’ll take two minutes at most.

    But again, you can sit there with your ass in the mud and fingers in your ears and pretend to be the smartest kid on the block. Fine with me. But you’re just setting yourself up for more mockery by the likes of Charles Johnson or others. Up to you. No skin off my back either way.

    Kman (5576bf)

  42. Seriously, the fact that you even have a clue about what is posted on LGF at this point makes one doubt your maturity (vanity?) and judgement. He and his boot (or butt?) kissers went off the deep end a long time ago, and if you are not past it, if you would cause even one reader to hit his site, then you have some reflection to do.

    Smarty (b78ca5)

  43. Kman

    > lowered its outlook for America’s long-term credit rating to “negative” from “stable.”

    funny you can’t even see what your own words say.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  44. smarty

    well, honestly i wouldn’t have known about it, if he didn’t start mentioning me in tweets.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  45. You’re both right, in my book.

    Kman is correct in a technical sense: a ‘credit rating’ as issued by S&P is a code such as ‘AAA’, ‘AA’, ‘A’, ‘BBB’, ‘CCC’, ‘D’, etc. That is unchanged; the US still has an ‘AAA’ rating.

    Seperate from the credit rating is the ‘outlook’, which seems to be a statement of expectation of future change in the credit rating. That was downgraded … and an indication that they think we’re likely to become less trustworthy in the future.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  46. By responding to CJ’s post, you’ve swelled his ego. Don’t do that anymore.

    Remember the days when CJ would open site registration for a couple of hours, then boast of all the new “hatchlings” he acquired? Looks like his registration has been open for weeks now, but no boasts this time.

    gp (72be5d)

  47. lowered its outlook for America’s long-term credit rating to “negative” from “stable

    Lowered its OUTLOOK, not the RATING itself. This is English.

    Kman (5576bf)

  48. Kman, I think what Aaron is saying is that the ‘outlook’ combined with the official ‘rating’ constitute the measure of our trustworthiness, and that by downgrading the outlook, they have said they think we’re less trustworthy than they used to think.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  49. Kman, I think what Aaron is saying is that the ‘outlook’ combined with the official ‘rating’ constitute the measure of our trustworthiness, and that by downgrading the outlook, they have said they think we’re less trustworthy than they used to think.

    In his post, Aaron doesn’t say that S&P downgraded the outlook. He says, explicitly, that S&P downgraded the rating (although the article he cites correctly notes the change in S&P’s outlook).

    Kman (5576bf)

  50. Kman

    I’m not the only one who sees as the matter of our credit rating.

    > For in his April 13 speech at George Washington University, the speech to which Standard & Poor’s responded by reducing the government’s credit rating to “negative,” he seemed to think he could get all the money we need to balance the budget from higher taxes on the rich.

    Read more at the Washington Examiner:

    i know you want to avoid the unpleasant reality, but there you go.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  51. I’m not the only one who sees as the matter of our credit rating.

    I fully concede that you’re not the only one who gets it wrong.

    Kman (5576bf)

  52. Kman

    what a feeble response. bwahahahahahaha!

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  53. I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to find kmart taking Charles Lizard King Johnson’s side. I am with aphrael on this one, the rating was not downgraded, but the outlook was, so to suggest at it was anything other than a general engrave is pretty petty and mendoucheous. Which explains kmart showing up.

    JD (318f81)

  54. Turns out that the White House tried to get S&p to not do this, bsed on that “plan” that Obarcky gave a speech about. S&P apparently was not all that impressed, since it was a campaign speech, and not a plan to fix anything other than poll numbers. So, in short, kmart is a douchebag.

    JD (318f81)

  55. I always mark my email UST (Universal Sidereal Time) just to mess with people.

    Bigfoot (8096f2)

  56. Thanks to this story I now know what UTC is. However, my life hasn’t changed with having coming about this knowledge. Obviously CJ is a giant douchenozzle for ridiculing Aaron after he admitted not knowing what it meant.

    rmelvin (0b1974)

  57. And can chuckles stop calling neo-nazis far-right.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  58. The nazis war far-left just because they opposed communists doesn’t make them ultraconservatives they nationalized Vokswagen had gay gestapo agents kill political gays, denounced captialism ,persecuted christians and the KKK demonrats supported him because of his race based socialism.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

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