A quarter century ago I worked at a K-Mart. This was an era when they needed people to come in and work on Thanksgiving… but to get those people, they had to ask for volunteers. Did I volunteers? It was time and a half, so you damn betcha. This was also the era of the Cabbage Patch Doll, when shoppers would go feral if the Blue Light Special got anywhere near the toy department. One year we had two broken arms, one broken *femur* and one woman bit another woman on the inside of the thigh (try to imagine the dogpile that must have been responsible for *that*).

So… this movie trailer seems strangely familiar…

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And likely contra-indicated by the owners manual. Probably violates the warranty.

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Finally, at long freakin’ last, a Twitter hashtag has come along that has actually punched through my disdain and engaged my interest:


This is where public school kids go to post photos of the news and improved lunches that they’re getting, based on new “health guidelines” driven by noted  dietician Michelle Obama. You know, for kids.

I think public school food has always been bad, certainly so since the Department of Education took over and began the task of ruining education in this country. But a lot of these… yeesh. I can state confidently that my cats would promptly try to bury a lot of this “food.”

Perhaps most interesting of all is how the Obamas seem to be losing the younguns.


You weren’t expecting this, 007. But…BLOFELD’S BACK! Bond will be having kittens as evil foe returns – with double Oscar winner Christoph Waltz tipped to play him


On the one hand, law enforcement folks doing their jobs deserve respectful treatment. On the other hand, law enforcement folks doing something that’s *not* their job, such as demanding to impede travel or inspect private property at “immigration” checkpoints *far* from the border, deserve a firm but non-threatening “NO.”

Americans have the unquestioned right to travel from state to state without  the fear of unreasonable search and seizure. This includes answering pretty much *any* questions that do not arise from Probable Cause. This video collects a number of such incidents. Interestingly, a lot of the border agents here demand that the drivers “pull over there” for further intrusion… and when the drivers just keep telling them “Nope, I’m'a gonna go on my way unless you whip out a warrant,” they eventually just relent.

This is obviously not a universal. If the police pull you over for speeding or running a red light or having a tail light out… that’s permitted. The drunk driving checkpoints I guess have passed Constitutional muster (though I wonder what happens to *sober* drivers who pull over but otherwise refuse to play along). But it *seems* from these and a few other videos that the border agents know they don’t have the legal authority they are pretending that they do, and just give up if the driver is sufficiently stubborn.

So, once again, cats show us the way.

Obviously, the great majority of folks who find themselves in this situation will just answer the questions and be on their way in moments. But it’s interesting to ponder what would happen if this sort of passive resistance became the norm. One result *might* be that the agents would become so tired and dispirited that they’d simply stop trying. And that would be awesome.

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And as it turns out, the Bible happens to be effective in this situation. Depending on your location, keeping  a King James, a Book of Mormon, a couple issues of Watchtower or a copy of Dianetics in your car might do wonders towards speeding your way through unwanted checkpoints. Finally, a practical use for religion!

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In mid-December the Syfy channel will run a three-night miniseries called “Ascension.” The idea seems interesting enough… in 1963, with JFK freaking out that nuclear war was soon going to wipe out mankind, the US secretly launched a starship on a 100-year mission to another system. Little snippets have been shown of the show; of course it’s much more “human drama” (they’re 50 years into their mission and the first murder happens, there’s social trouble on board, lots of unrealistically sexy people having sex, etc.) than actual science fiction, but I was curious to see what the ship would be. until recently only a part of the ship had been visible int he available trailers, but Syfy has released some videos that show that it is in fact an Orion-type nuclear pulse vehicle.  It’s a ship the size of the Empire State Building, and with decks laid out like in a skyscraper (a whole bunch of small decks stacked atop each other as opposed to a smaller number of really long decks, like on a cruise ship).

The science… well, she seems to be the science we’ve come to expect from Syfy, even though David Brin is the tech advisor. They’re fifty years into their mission, and the claim is that they are now at the point of no return… when in reality that point would have been very, very soon after the *beginning* of the mission. The ship also has gravity, oriented as in a skyscraper; this is done either by Magic Gravity Generators (1963? bah) or by having the ship *still* under a 1-g acceleration (after fifty years of that, ship time, they would have crossed the known universe thanks to the beauty of relativity… see HERE for the math), which seems to be the approach based on what Brin said.

So unless the imagery is inaccurate and it’s actually tumbling to generate G’s… well, there it is, I suppose. Some vids:

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And some screenshots illustrating the ship:


A display model showing the ship. It’s not a precise match for the ship shown in space, though.   Image10 Image11  Image5Image15

A series of pullback shots, starting at a window up front.


Interior of the “good” part of the ship.

Image9 Image13

Two views of something that doesn’t look like the Ascension. Maybe the Soviet equivalent, bopping along out there? Or the Ascension 2, built circa 2014?



Because every starship needs to have a deck where people shovel stuff into furnaces. The Enterprise D had one. oh, sure, they never showed it, but that was only because the Federation is really good at covering up the grungier stuff. But there were *hundreds* of sweaty, meaty guys below the engineering deck shovelling dark matter pellets into the Enterprises boilers.


Looks like something to add to the Nuclear Pulse Propulsion book.

Actually, a lot of days like this.

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Yesterday, for one…

I had a pair of ferrets when I lived in Colorado. Little balls of fur, fight and personality, they were. Often wondered how they’d get on with my cats. I suspect it wouldn’t be pretty.

A tiny, postage-stamp-sized illustration in a double-page advertisement for Lockheed in a July, 1988, issue of Aviation Week shows a CAD diagram of a jet fighter. This appears to be a twin-engined stealthy air superiority fighter. The illustration appears to be a photo taken of an old-school CRT monitor, and mirrored for some reason. Sadly, none of the text is useful or readable, and dimensions are undeterminable.

av week 1988-07-11 b

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

The “labor force participation rate,” basically the percentage of the civilian population over the age of 16 who actually have jobs, is 62.8 percent for October, 2014. This means the *actual* rate of unemployment in the US is nearly forty percent; the only reason why it is generally listed as being much lower is because most of the unemployed have stopped looking for a job, and are thus no longer considered unemployed (it doesn’t make a lick of rational sense, but this is politics we’re talking about here).

And the rate has been dropping steadily:


So clearly, what the US needs is Even More low-skilled foreign workers flooding in.

Yay, imperial fiat!


Finally, a candle of Toht, the Gestapo scumbag who melts at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Melting Toht Candle


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