Aug 312015

Never mind dubious, possibly phony-bologna ex-Soviet nukes… here’s something I can actually use:

Boeing’s “Silent Strike” portable laser weapon, two kilowatts of directed energy on a gimbal. Useful for shooting down drones. Possibly also handy for long-distance magic tricks (use your imagination… can you think of anything that might benefit from suddenly spiking to two thousand degrees?).

 Posted by at 10:23 am
Aug 282015

Both from the Daily Fail, but still…

The inoffensive everyday phrases used by reporter Alison Parker that earned her a death sentence because Flanagan deemed them ‘racist’


University of Tennessee tells staff and students to stop using ‘he’ and ‘she’ – and switch to ‘xe’, ‘zir’ and ‘xyr’ instead


So, what links these two? Both are cases of people who are defined by their ability to be offended by the inoffensive. Both are cases of people who think that the imagined  slights they wrap their lives around are so serious that they feel the need to take it out on others. Both are likely pointers towards the society of tomorrow where wholly *insane* people control the very words people use.

 Posted by at 5:44 pm
Aug 282015

The concept of “anchor babies” is much in the news lately. The idea is simple… non-US citizens get into the US via means  legal or otherwise, have a baby on US soil, the baby is automatically a US citizen (via “birthright citizenship”), and now the family is “anchored” to the US and can’t be deported. And now that they’re anchored here, they can bring in even more family.

Lots of people have a problem with this, and for good reason. In the US, birthright citizenship is established via the 14th Amendment, a fact I’ve heard a lot of talking heads dispute. Some want to amend the Constitution to remove birthright citizenship for illegal aliens; others claim that the 14th Amendment doesn’t actually provide birthright citizenship for illegal aliens, that we only *assume* it does because the Supreme Court has ruled that way. But there’s a problem… what the Amendment actually says:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States” is really freakin’ clear.

Now, you might not like the fact that the 14th does, in fact, provide for birthright citizenship of the children of illegal aliens. But… it does. That’s the way it’s written. It might not have been what the writers of the amendment had in mind, but that doesn’t matter; all that matters is what the Constitution says. Re-interpretting a clearly written clause to mean something it clearly doesn’t mean is some rat-bastard skulduggery and should be wholly avoided. So, what to do?

First option would be to amend the Constitution to simply point out that birthright citizenship is only for those whose parents, at least one of ’em, was here legally at the time of birth. To be blunt… this ain’t gonna happen. Amending the Constitution in a way that would deny a whole bunch of future Democrat voters? Not going to pass.

There is, however, a simpler solution. Accept the reality of birthright citizenship. Accept the new citizens into the fold. And… kick their parents out. This is in fact the way the current legal system seems to see it; a minor US citizen cannot sponsor a family member to come into the US legally until the age of 21. So just because the kid is a US citizen means *diddly* about legalizing the parents.

Many have complained about deportations because they “break up families.” Well, boo friggen’ hoo. If a mother and father make a habit of robbing banks, the justice system isn’t going to decide against jailing them because they have kids. So, give the illegal alien parents a choice: sign over their kid to the US to go into the foster system, or take the kid with them back to their homeland. Eighteen years later the kid can return on his/her own as a US citizen, but that doesn’t mean he/she can bring other family members.

To do otherwise would be to accept that the US immigration code rewards criminal actions. I believe pretty much everyone will agree  that if a law it written so that criminality is rewarded, that law ain’t right. Changing the US code to preclude the *families* of birthright citizens from profiting from anchor babies would seem far easier than amending the Constitution.

So it seems to me the best way to deal with anchor babies is to simply enforce the immigration laws as they currently are: deport illegals when they’re caught. Simple.

Another issue about anchor babies is that a lot of people seem to assume that this is a phenomenon sorta specific to illegals from Latin America. But the majority of illegal aliens as a whole seem to be coming not from the south, but from the west… Asians coming to the US legally and overstaying their visas. Additionally, “birth tourism” seems to be a phenomenon largely Chinese in origin, where pregnant Chinese women legally come to the US on “vacation” and stay long enough to give birth, giving their child US citizenship. And then… they and their child return to China. The idea seems to be that 18 or so years later the kid can come to the US and claim citizenship and then being the process of sponsoring the parents. This seems to be a dubious prospect… why would a kid necessarily *want* to do this? It is at the very least thinking in the very long term.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Aug 272015

You’d think that basic math would be a part of a journalists edumacationization. Prepare to be surprised:

NASA Says Three Feet of Sea Level Rise Is Unavoidable


Ocean levels around the world have risen about three inches since 1992 thanks to warming temperatures owing to the burning of fossil fuels. Now, new NASA research shows sea levels will likely rise three feet in the coming decade, and it’s too late to do anything about it.

But then…

“It’s pretty certain we are locked into at least three feet of sea-level rise, and probably more,” Steve Nerem, lead researcher on NASA’s Sea Level Change Team, said on a conference call Wednesday. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”


Friggen’ factors of ten, how do they work?

 Posted by at 9:56 pm
Aug 272015

Today I picked up four large format scans from a local print shop. All were scanned in full color at 300 DPI; the B-52 diagram was so large that I had to reduce it in size a bit – from 300 to 250 DPI – to make it work in most of my image processing programs. Still… with an original 110 inches long, scaling down a bit really isn’t much of a loss.

First: a Boeing model shop diagram of a B-52B display model at 1/40 scale. Model shop diagrams are often the best bets for clear, accurate aircraft diagrams.

1-40 scale B-52 BW 1-40 scale B-52

Second, an old Boeing diagram of the Model 80 trimotor:

Boeing Model 80

Then the USAF “supersonic escape capsule” which sure looks a lot like Fat Man:

supersonic escape capsule

And then a Rocketdyne diagram of the Atlas booster rocket engine:

Atlas booster engine

These will likely be offered up to APR Patreon Patrons. If you want in on that, and to help out on the effort to procure these things (trust me, they’re *not* cheap!), please consider signing up for the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 7:17 pm