Some recent photos of the Soviet BOR-4 lifting body test vehicle were posted here:

And wow, has it seen better days.

Another fine example of aerospace history being left to turn into garbage.

“Star Wars” with lazy sound design is surprisingly entertaining:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

The B612 Foundation put together a video showing recent kiloton-range explosions caused by asteroid impacts on the Earth.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt




Via CBS News, a (rather uncomfortably presented) description of an HL-10-based lifting body spaceplane (known as the “Yellowbird,” not that you’d be able to guess from this black and white video). Not particularly enlightening about the taxi itself, but kinda interesting in the presentation.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

This taxi was also included in the Martin film “Rendezvous in Space.”


Over the past few days I drove from Illinois through Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming back home to Utah. There is a whole lot of empty along that stretch. If you don’t have satellite radio (and I don’t), your car radio will be constantly picking up and dropping radio stations. And so over twenty hours or so on the road, I heard a great variety of different stations. And of a lot of what I heard gave me a sad feeling.

1) Religious radio: especially in Iowa and Nebraska. Just a whole lot of Jesus going on. I listened to a lot of it, as I have done for decades, trying to figure it out. And as always, it remains largely impenetrable to me… it’s like listening to a foreign language that just happens to use words that sound a whole lot like English words, but the meanings are all shuffled.

A lot of the religious radio was, due to it having been Easter, very, hmmm, “religious.” Celebratory “He Is Risen!” stuff, which obviously doesn’t seem as exciting if you don’t buy that he is, in fact, risen.”Frodo lives!”  doesn’t have much emotional impact to any but some hippies and the like from the 60′s.

Listening to people lose their marbles over news that’s pushing 2000 years old just doesn’t make sense to me… kinda like bursting into cheers if a historian or political commentator shouts “And John Hancock signed the Declaration!” Just seems very alien to me.

Equally alien: getting giggitty over the notion that “God loves you.” Yeah, but… God apparently also loves Lady Gaga. And Justin Beiber. And Pope Francis. And Barack Obama. And Vlad Putin. And Vlad Tepes. And Adolph Hitler. And Scarlett Johannson. And Warren Buffet. And some drunken bum. And some crack whore. And some auto mechanic. And some goat herding tribesman. Supposedly, *everybody* who is, was, or ever will be. What makes love special is that it’s supposed to be rare and discriminatory, not a shotgun blast that covers the entire universe. That makes it as rare and precious as the Higgs field, and as worth being all thrilled about.

Less alien but more saddening was religious radio that tries to come off as logical and failed spectacularly, while at the same time being a dick about it. Again, it was Easter, so lots of references were made about the alleged resurrection. If you want to believe in that, fine. But if you want to use it as a logical *proof*, be careful. More than once I heard some nattering nincompoop claim that the final clinching unarguable PROOF of the historiocity of the Bible is “the empty tomb.” Basically, the argument seems to go that since the Roman authorities didn’t carve giant stone panels decrying the early Christians for believing in the “empty tomb,” then the “empty tomb” must have been a real event, and thus… the Bible is For Real and anyone who doesn’t believe is either an idiot or willfully evil (and I’m not exaggerating… this is what I’ve heard, many times). The reasoning is just mind bogglingly atrocious, but it keeps being used.

2) Pot. Especially while passing through Colorado, talk radio was filled with jibberjabber about marijuana. On April 20 – 4/20 – there had apparently been some big celebration of legalized pot in Denver. In previous years, 4/20 was a protest, now it’s a party. And to listen to some of the talking heads, this was a terrible tragedy.

One major complaint was that the 4/20 event was the main front page news story in some paper… when the same day was not only Easter, but also the anniversary of the Columbine shooting. Well, here’s the thing: newspapers are supposed to be about *news.* A major public event dealing with a hot-button political and legal issue is news. And unless Jesus or the Columbine victims came back, Easter and the anniversary aren’t really “news.”

One talk show host was convinced that legalized pot has and will lead to “carnage.” To bolster his claim, he mentioned two recent event… some college student ate a legal pot cookie, went buggo and chucked himself off a balcony to his death. Some other guy consumed some concentrated form of legal marijuana, went buggo and shot his girlfriend dead. Tragedies, sure. But… would these – or equivalent – tragedies have happened had the drugs been illegal? And two people dying… well, sad for those involved, but how many people died due to legal *booze* in the same period?

The complaining about pot I heard on the radio all seemed to come from “conservative” (i.e. deeply religious) commentators. The same people who would screech their heads off about individual liberty in any other subject area, completely lose their minds when the individuals are enjoying themselves in a way the commentator doesn’t personally agree with. Bah. Sadly, killjoy control freaks aren’t restricted to the ranks of left-wing fascists, but also many of those who supposedly push “freedom” also want to micromanage other peoples personal lives and will use nonsensical arguments to achieve that.

3) On Sunday NPR ran a long piece on  “coincidence.” Fairly interesting and entertaining, but still based on unreason. Sure, it’s personally remarkable when you unexpectedly meet someone from your distant past somewhere terribly unlikely, say, at the top of an Aztec pyramid. But is there some cosmic significance? Well… no. Most people run into a *lot* of people. Truly vast numbers. And so those unlikely occurrences become almost inevitable, statistically speaking. But as with “mediums” and cold-reading magicians who can tell you Amazing Things about yourself, people generally only remember the interesting “successes.”

Let’s say that you have a twin, but you were separated at the age of three and adopted into different families on the opposite sides of the world. If you just happen to run into each other at the local Circle K… why, that’s an Amazing Coincidence that really must Mean Something. God his own self must have directed you two there at that very moment! And yet… you *don’t* hear too much about the time the two of you came within six feet of each other in that bus station, but didn’t notice each other. The physical reality was no less statistically interesting, but the fact that you didn’t come away from the event with a startling epiphany strips the event of any meaning it could have had.

4) I caught a portion of a left wing talk show, someone standing in for well-known idjit Ed Shultz. As annoying as conservative talk radio can sometimes be… left wing talk radio *wallows* in that level of unreason at all times. The topic was the Keystone pipeline, and how it’s just plain evil. The reasons given for why the pipeline is bad were just… bad. For starters, the Canadian tar sands the pipeline will feed from have a worse carbon footprint than more conventional hydrocarbon sources. Well, ok. Let’s assume it’s true (probably is), and let’s assume that more carbon = bad news (probably is true, to some small degree). Well… the Canadians want to extract the hydrocarbons from the tar sands because they want the money. If the Keystone pipeline isn’t built, some *other* means of transporting the gas & oil will be. The carbon will still come out of the ground and into the air.

Second, the claim is made that the pipeline itself will add X billions of dollars in “environmental costs” over its lifetime. OK, I guess. But if the pipeline isn’t built… that oil may find itself being transported via truck. Can you think of a way to make  oil more financially and environmentally costly to transport over long distances than a pipeline? I can. It’s called “trucking.”

Third: the “expert” didn’t want the pipeline built because – paraphrasing here – do we really want to live in a world with pipelines? Ummm… well, I’d really rather live in a world with a thousand major nuclear powerplants being built annually, but you “green” jackholes have successfully torpedoed *that* dream, so… pipelines it is.

5) And then… this poll on science.

Holy crap:



Seems the only way to avoid encountering mountains of unreason would be to just stop listening to people.

I’m home, just in time for a wind storm to take out the power. So. Posting using the phone. Woo.   UPDATE, 5 AM Wednesday: power is still out. According to the power company, power is out to tens of thousands. I imagine this means that power might be out for days or longer. This has definite negative consequences… UPDATE, 5:30 AM Wednesday: Yay, power’s back on. The long tradition of things changing just after I bitch about ‘em continues.


Whenever someone says something along the lines of “Uh-oh, Britain has expanded sharia,” someone else will point out that sharia, under British law, applies only to Muslims, doesn’t actually replace British laws, doesn’t mean that Britain is being taken over, etc.


‘Muslim morality squads’ accused of confiscating students’ Easter eggs in U.K.

Note: by definition, the students with Easter eggs and bunnies and such are *not* Muslim, and thus should not be subject to sharia rules. Especially in secular schools.


State schools ‘isolating’ non-Muslim pupils

Inspectors found the schools are illegally segregating pupils, discriminating against non-Muslim students and restricting the GCSE syllabus to “comply with conservative Islamic teaching”.

They reported that girls in one school were forced to sit at the back of the class, that some Christian students were left to “teach themselves” and that an extremist preacher, with known al-Qaeda sympathies and anti-Semitic views, was invited to address the children.

Articles on this latter subject indicate that there is some dispute about just how serious the issue is, up to and including claims that the whole thing is a hoax. But if it’s a hoax, it’s a *believable* hoax. It’s the perfect confluence of  weak-kneed adherents to political correctness being faced with people from an alien culture who not only hold vastly different views regarding right and wrong, but are willing to act on them.
I suspect what Britain really needs is an influx of foreigners holding, say, Odinist views. Now *THAT* could lead to some interesting times, when schools who are confronted on the one hand with Islamists who want to repress females and ban booze and the like, and on the other hand with Odinists who want to arm their womenfolk with shotguns (the modern equivalent of a spear, which you are explicitly told to not leave home without) and to splash about the mead and beer.

As may be fairly apparent to long-time blog readers, I’ve been traveling. Where was this?

rainbow1 rainbow2

© 2014 The Unwanted Blog Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha