Jun 232017

… for McDonalds.

McDonald’s hits all-time high as Wall Street cheers replacement of cashiers with kiosks

In short, a major corporation has concluded that machines are better than no-skill humans, even at minimum wage. And here’s the thing: as time goes on, the machines will get better, more reliable and cheaper… while no-skill humans will remain the same.

This to me is a pretty good argument for reducing the minimum wage to something nearly trivial… say, $3 an hour.  Min-wage burger flipper jobs are *supposed* to be entry-level temporary work, work that helps teenagers learn the ropes of responsibility. Show up on time, do decent work, learn to take orders, figure out how to advance. But if the minimum wage is raised so high that minimum wage jobs simply go away, then what will unskilled kids do to get skilled? Go straight from Junior High to jobs making $30K/year? I don’t think so.

 Posted by at 12:31 pm
Jun 222017

New photos released from Star Trek: Discovery show three things of interest:


1: Have these people never seen a transporter room in *any* star Trek series? STD is set approximately at the same time as the original Star Trek pilot, “The Menagerie.” Which looked like this:

2: They’re wearing some sort of minimal body armor. Not entirely new for Star Trek… security guards wore armor (including helmets) in ST:TMP and STIII)

3: Their phasers, at least, look like they are actually based on TOS-era phasers. It would be odd if the one design element that they actually carry over from actual Star Trek is the one design element that they should feel pretty free to change. After all, during “The Menagerie,” starfleet’s sidearm looked like this:

 Posted by at 8:33 pm
Jun 222017

As anyone who has watched cable/satellite news since at least 9/11/2001 knows, when the all-important “Breaking News!” thing flashes across your screen, you can rest reasonably sure that they’re not going to tell you anything they haven’t been telling you for the last 10 hours. The BBC had a magnificent example of that just a few days ago when their system glitched out and for about 4 minutes the “News At Ten” kept flashing “Breaking News” and random clips interspersed with a silent and rather glum looking anchorman Huw Edwards. It’s surprisingly entertaining, for all that virtually nothing happens.

 Posted by at 12:46 am
Jun 192017

Russia to Target US, Coalition Aircraft Over Syria

Oh, good. Russia shooting down Malaysian airliners over Ukraine is bad enough, but shooting down American combat aircraft? That’s a whole new level of stupid.

Now, there is a valid argument to be made over whether the US should be in Syria at all. A case can be made that we shouldn’t, thus freeing up ISIS forces to dominate the region, spreading death and decay, and forcing the Europeans to either man up or begin the process of knuckling under. But so long as we’re there, US planes should do their job, which includes wiping out Assads criminal military actions. And if Russian forces try to shoot down US planes, they should be counter-attacked in response. And that sort of thing tends to escalate.

 Posted by at 4:49 pm
Jun 192017

If you are a female cat, there’s no more desirable place to be than right next to or – if you’re ambitious – right on top of a big, fluffy male cat like Raedthinn. This, however, is a situation that Raedthinn rarely approves of, preferring to keep to himself.

 Posted by at 11:49 am
Jun 192017

Over the last week or so there have been a whole lot of stories about Elon Musks plans for colonization of Mars. Good, great, fine. But some stories are better than others. And one way to get into the “others” category is to have some factual error or just plain bad writing. For example:

Elon Musk claims Mars colony dreams critical to avoid ‘Doomsday’ event

Out of all the options currently open to us, Venus is a cooking pot of pressure and acid, Mercury is too close to the sun and the planet’s moons are difficult to reach…

The moons of Mercury are hard to reach? Yeah, I imagine they are. They’re as hard to reach as Alderaan, Dune and The Land Of Honest Politicians.

It is estimated that sending a single person to Mars could cost up to $10 billion at the moment. … Therefore, Musk wants to eventually reduce the cost to the average price of a house in the US — roughly $200,000 — but in order to reach this goal and slash the expense by five million percent, a number of steps will need to be taken.

Errrrrmmmm… cutting a price tag from $10,000,000,000 to $200,000 is cutting the cost by 99.998%, not “five million percent.” If you cut the cost of something by 100%, you make it free. If you cut it by *more* than 100%, you actually get paid.

 Posted by at 11:02 am