Jul 252016

So a few days ago a German-Iranian goes buggo and shoots a bunch of people in Munich. An Afghan refugee stabs people on a train in Wurzburg. Yesterday, a Syrian refugee in Reutlingen, Germany, chopped a pregnant Polish woman to death at a bus stop with a machete. Today, a Syrian asylum seeker tried to suicide bomb a music festival in Ansbach, Germany; he didn’t have a ticket so he set off his bomb, filled with nails and screws, outside, killing himself and injuring a dozen.

The suicide bomber had actually been denied asylum in Germany more than a year ago but Germany failed to deport him because reasons. Good job.

I have this feeling that carrying out acts of terrorism left and right against Germans might not result in universal happitimes. The Germans, as memory serves, have kind of a mean streak.

 Posted by at 1:06 am
Jul 242016

At this point, news that the current Olympics is a disaster for someone or other is less a “revelation” and more a “well, duh.” When Chicago lost their bid a few years ago, it was one of the best things that coudl have happened to that blighted burg; being saddled with the infrastructure that, after the games, nobody  wants to use or maintain would be just another nightmare. And the Rio games continue to just pile on.

So, how to fix this? A few ideas occur. The first: cancel the Olympics. Let’s face it: the idea of athleticism seems to have had its day. Doping, genetic manipulation and cybernetics, never mind outright pure robotics, make a joke of the idea of human physical excellence through nothing but grit and will. Maybe replace track and field with a “Call of Duty” contest?

But assuming we want to continue the Olympics… pick a spot. Stay there. The idea of roving Olympics was cool for a while, but it is now clear that it’s a disaster. So… let’s say we go back to the Athens Olympic arenas. Fix them up. Make them the *permanent* home of the Olympics. We have this thing called “television” now, so the games can be broadcast to the entire world in 4K resolution.

This would save untold billions in wasted construction costs around the world. By having a single fixed emplacement,  maintenance over time would be made much more efficient. By having a single site, the local economy would actually get a regular boost, and shouldn’t suffer the collapse that seems to inevitably follow the games packing up and leaving. I suspect the money currently being spent by cities around the world just in lobbying and bribery in order to get the Olympics to come to town would pay for the maintenance of a permanent Athens Olympic site.

 Posted by at 12:40 pm
Jul 242016

So yesterday I was on the road at about 9 AM when I noticed that the power lines were smoking or steaming or something. I didn’t have a good camera with me, just my phone, and it did a miserable job of taking pictures of the phenomenon, but you can kinda see it. It wasn’t a brief event, but lasted for at least several minutes, and was occurring along several miles of lines. I assume it is the result of some interplay of sunlight, humidity and the power going through the lines, causing water vapor in the air to condense around the lines… or something.

WP_20160723_011 WP_20160723_010 WP_20160723_009 WP_20160723_008

 Posted by at 11:45 am
Jul 232016

A new trailer has been released for “Doctor Strange.” I know nothing of the property other than he’s… a Doctor who can do magic, I guess. Since this is all part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at some point in the future we’ll probably see Doctor Strange encounter Bruce Banner and/or Tony Stark; with luck, the Science Bros will be able to figure out Strange’s magic and turn it into an iPhone app.

But durned if the trailer doesn’t have some freaky weird visuals. Somewhere between the strange alien geometries of the Great Old Ones and an acid trip, I imagine.

 Posted by at 9:36 pm
Jul 232016

First teaser for the new Star Trek TV series that you won’t be able to see next year because it’s being “aired” on “CBS All Access,” an online streaming service you have to pay six bucks a month for. The ship is the USS Discovery, NCC-1031… clearly set between “Enterprise” (NCC-01) and “TOS” (NCC-1701). And yes, the ship design is influenced by Ralph McQuarrie concept art pre-The Motion Picture.

And if you think the CGI here looks a little… well, lame, you’re not alone. Presumably they’re still working on it. Though maybe they know that given the lameass way it’s going to be shown to the public (i.e. only to a very small number of die-hard fans who either pony up the cash or download pirated versions), there’s no point in going all-out.

 Posted by at 9:06 pm
Jul 232016

Move along, this ain’t it.

Chatsworth church builds submarine for vacation bible school

The claim: while the submarine doesn’t have an onboard nuclear reactor, the church itself *does,* and they’re working on hooking up the reactor to recharge the batteries on the sub. As to the engineering of the submarine itself:

The submarine is made of wood and covered with a fiberglass coating.

*Maybe* they’re being cute and the nuclear reactor they’re talking about is the sun, and they’re working on setting up solar panels to recharge the batteries. But the way it’s worded doesn’t really indicate that. And there’s not a chance in hell I’d put a kid on that “sub” and try to submerge it even half an inch. It looks like an ill-constructed *boat.*

So, they call it a sub, when it (apparently) is not a sub.

They say they have a small nuclear reactor, which is almost certainly untrue.

Hmm. They’re a Christian church. I’m neither a Bibleologist nor Bibleonomist, but isn’t there *something* or other in that book that speaks unfavorably about telling untruths?


 Posted by at 8:42 pm
Jul 222016

On the whole it was pretty enjoyable. It was a *lot* funnier than “Ghostbusters;” how can it not be when Spock learns and properly applies the term “horsesh!t” in reference to something McCoy says, or using The Beastie Boys as a weapon of mass destruction. I laughed my ass off at that bit.


As with all of the NuTrek movies, there are some logic problems. The Enterprise is now three years into it’s 5-year mission, hell and gone away from home. And yet they easily find themselves near the Yorktown, which is a new starbase. Which would be ok, except that this Starbase is much more impressive than Spacedock. It’s more like something the Galactic Empire would build. If the Enterprise is Way Out There, should they be, you know… Way The Hell Out There BEYOND Every Damned Body, rather than right next to a massive Federation engineering project?

About the Yorktown: it is a *funky* design for a space station. It is, to be blunt, roughly the sort of thing that I would have thrown into *my* sci-fi as the sort of project built by a bunch of rich artsy types who are trying to show off. It makes substantial use of the apparent ease with which the Federation can manipulate gravity.

The movie dealt with the fact that Nimoy died in a good, logical and appropriate manner. McCoy and Scottie seemed to get more screen time than before; Karl Urban continues to kick substantial ass in getting McCoy just right. Especially his little freakout after being transported by a 100-year-old transporter. Snerk. And giving Spock hell for… well, a gift that Spock gave Uhura that McCoy points out has some questionable connotations. That one scene made me laugh more than the entirety of “Ghostbusters.”

At one point there is a throwaway reference to a “glowing green space hand” having snatched a starship. If you stick around during the credits, there is, as with the previous two NuTrek flicks, a “tour” through some bizarre planetary systems, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it view of a Glowing Green Space Hand.

Not perfect, but much better than “Into Darkness.”

 Posted by at 11:56 pm
Jul 222016

Russia Bombed a U.S. Base in Syria

Oh, neato.

A Russian aircraft last month bombed a base in southeast Syria secretly used by American and British forces in order to pressure the Obama administration to better cooperate in the stricken country, U.S. Defense officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Huzzah. And guess what: it worked.


 Posted by at 5:47 pm
Jul 222016

So a few days ago somebody went a little silly on a train near Wurzburg, Germany… took an axe and  knife and went after the passengers, injuring five before getting shot. Today in Munich someone (potentially up to three someones) opened fire in a shopping mall in Munich, Germany, killing at least 8. The motive for the latest attack has not yet been determined. It is far, far to early to begin even guessing what might have caused this.  Disgruntled Tea Partiers? Self-hating closeted homosexuals? Trump voters? We may never know:

A witness who will only be identified as Lauretta told CNN her son was in a bathroom with a shooter at the McDonald’s. “That’s where he loaded his weapon,” she said. “I hear like an alarm and boom, boom, boom… And he’s still killing the children. The children were sitting to eat. They can’t run.” Lauretta said she heard the gunman say, “Allahu Akbar,” or God is great. “I know this because I’m Muslim. I hear this and I only cry.”

Nope. Got nuthin’. Maybe it was some kid who was driven to kill because he played too much Call Of Duty or Grand Theft Auto or Pong or some such vile murder simulator. Perhaps he was a fan of heavy metal and backwards-masked exhortations by Satan to shoot up a McD’s twisted his fragile little mind. We may never know.

So yet again another terrorist attack in the west, with many, many people making expressions of sadness and horror. But in even the darkest times, there are those who find such things to be the cause of levity:

 Posted by at 4:39 pm