Dec 102017

So I got pretty far along with modeling when Brain 1.0 got a 1201 alarm and I had to step back from it for a bit. Now I’m back working on it. I continue to add windows and such details to the upper surface, along with fixing divide by zero errors and Einstein-Rosen bridges in the model, that sort of thing. Work continues, just not quite at the original pace.

I’ve also take a preliminary experimental stab at 2D diagrams. Let’s face it, this is a Trek ship… and you can’t have a Trek ship without a Booklet Of General Plans. The actual work on creating the diagrams won’t really begin until the modeling is done, but I just wanted to see if the rendering system could make a fair diagram from the existing model. Seems ok.

 Posted by at 12:42 pm
Dec 092017

Realistically, something like UBI is probably coming. While the idea of simply giving people free money for simply existing maybe morally or ethically dubious or downright repellent, we’re *already* doing that through the welfare state. As the video points out, things could be vastly more efficient if the welfare system was swept aside and replaced with direct payouts.

There are about 250 million adult US citizens. With the videos suggestion of $1000 per month per adult, that would be about three *trillion* dollars per year. The 2018 US FedGuv budget is $4.1 trillion, with $440 billion in deficit. The expenditures are $1 trillion for Social Security, $582 billion for Medicare, $404 billion for Medicaid. Replacing Social Security with a flat $1000/month would be a political nightmare.

As previously mentioned on this blog, there’s not enough current welfare spending to simply replace it with a UBI that provides an above-poverty-level income. Additional funds would be needed, and I have doubts that jacking up taxes on the rich, as the video suggests, would do the job. They would simply find ways to dodge the taxes, and who could blame them. The only way to make the UBI work at current economic levels would be to reduce the excess population, or to accept a below-poverty-level UBI. Personally, though, an extra, say, $500 a month wouldn’t bother me too much, especially since I don’t benefit from any welfare programs despite being poor.

Replace low-skilled labor with robots, maybe the economy would grow enough to support a proper UBI, dunno.




 Posted by at 8:07 pm
Dec 092017

As with every nation, there’s a lot you can look at in Russia and frown or shake your head at. The excess booze on the roads. The invasions and annexations of bits of sovereign neighbors. The continued political dominance of Pooty and continued reverence for the Commie era. But one thing you gotta give the Russian props for is the Beriev Be-200. That is an aircraft of a type the US has not built since the 1950s… a flying boat with jet engines. Hell, I don’t think the US has built a flying boat *at* *all* since the 50’s, apart from itty bitty light planes.

The Be-200 is a *beast* when it comes to doing it’s job. And one of it’s jobs is fighting fires. A jet plane  goes fast; a  flying boat can land on a lake and scoop up water fast. Put the two together and you really have something.

Official: Russia offers to help fight wildfires by stationing aircraft in Santa Maria

This sort of thing would be *fantastic* on many levels, from the purely practical to the diplomatic. And California? Imagine what that state could do if they stopped throwing money at hare-brained schemes for high speed rail lines and instead spend their billions on procuring planes like this. Hell, for the amount California has blown on phantom bullet trains from LA to SF or LV, they could fund the development of an all-American flying boat of this kind, capable not only of water bombing but, say, flying passengers from LA to SF.

Along with new firefighting aircraft, California would be well advised to start planning for a more burny future as the climate changes. This means not only a drier climate meaning more fires, but also less water coming in from the Sierras and the Colorado River. Fortunately, California has a backup source of water: the Pacific Friggen’ Ocean. With a few terawatts of new powerplants – preferably in the form of thorium reactors, but latest-gen uranium reactors are good too – connected to new desalination plants, California could easily supply itself with all the water it needs for its people and agriculture. By doing so it would reduce the need to tap resources like the Colorado, allowing that water to be used for better things elsewhere.

California could demonstrate its forward-thinkingness by creating such a power and desalination surplus that it could actually pump billions of gallons of water annually up into the hills and mountains, creating reservoirs for use in fighting fires.

Interesting to note: the official Be-200 promotional vids I found on YouTube all look and sound like the sort of promotional videos I saw American aerospace firms crank out in the 80’s. The video quality is undoubtedly better, but otherwise… man, 80’s flashback.

 Posted by at 6:49 pm
Dec 082017

Boeing CEO Says Boeing Will Beat SpaceX to Mars

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg: “Eventually we’re going to go to Mars, and I firmly believe the first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket.”



One of the worst things to happen to the space race was when the Soviets conceded. If we can get American aerospace companies competing against each other… we can get this train moving again. Its a pity there’s been so much consolidation among US aerospace companies… a perfect future would have involved things like Ceres being acquired by Grumman, Phobos by Republic Aviation, Pluto by General Atomic, with Mars divvied up by Boeing, Lockheed and Walmart, with Europa in contention between Northrop and McDonalds, Ganymede being fought over between Chrysler and Ford.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:27 am
Dec 072017

After the depressing grrr-worthy video a few days ago, here’s kinda the polar opposite:

Man rescues rabbit from wildfire on side of Calif. highway

I’m not sure how wise it is to put your life at risk to rescue a wild rabbit from a raging fire, but compare the bravery and *care* to that of the scumbags who go out of their way to harm animals for fun. How much of this is down to simple genetics? How much to upbringing… home life and larger culture?

The guy has apparently been found by the press but didn’t want to be interviewed. Would be interesting to find out what happened with the rabbit. You wouldn’t think the bunny would be too tolerant of being captured and held by a giant monster… the feller probably got bit for his troubles.

 Posted by at 9:45 pm
Dec 072017

Democrat Representative John Conyers Jr. has resigned for multiple allegations of sexual harassment, coupled with using taxpayer funds to pay settlements to keep things quiet. He has endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him (fortunately for the people of his district, the transition should be a smooth one since his son was arrested earlier this year for domestic abuse, including stabbing his girlfriend). Democrat Senator Al Franken  has announced that he’ll soon resign for having assaulted some women a whole back. And now Republican Representative Trent Franks has resigned because… well, it’s a little unclear: “after two former staff members complained about discussions he had with them about efforts to find a surrogate mother.” The topic in and of itself doesn’t seem like it should be troubling, but maybe he suggested to his staffers that *they* be the surrogates. That’s all I can think of. If his given reason is accurate, it seems like he’s quitting because he *said* something inappropriate, while Franken and Conyers *did* something inappropriate. So at least at this very basic level there’s a disparity between the Reps and Dems. Of course, there’s also Roy Moore; while not in the Senate, he *may* soon be, and there is a lot of thinking that if he wins the election, the Senate may refuse to let him in, or may immediately begin proceedings to eject him.

I fully endorse the resignation of any and every member of the House and Senate. Especially anyone who has been there more than one term. Serving in Congress shouldn’t be a friggen’ career, but rather something that people do for a little while then go *back* to the private sector.


 Posted by at 5:50 pm
Dec 062017

House OKs GOP bill expanding gun owners’ rights

Marriage licenses and drivers licenses are issued by individual states, but recognized by all. Marriages and driving are *not* explicitly called out as rights in the Constitution… but bearing arms is. And perversely, up until now states have often *not* recognized the concealed carry licenses issued by other states. This may be about to change, at long friggen’ last.

But some politicians never let an opportunity to slander millions of law abiding citizens pass by unremarked. Example: Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., called the bill an attempt to “allow dangerous criminals to walk around with hidden guns anywhere and at any time.” I wonder if it might be possible to sue her for slandering law abiding concealed carry license holders, who she has just said are “dangerous criminals.”

 Posted by at 10:41 pm
Dec 052017

This is some truly astonishing reading right here:

What Really Happened At The School Where Every Graduate Got Into College

Short form: a large percentage of the “graduates” are academic disasters. One-fifth missed more than half the school days, unexcused. Half missed more than three months. And the school passed ’em anyway, because that way they get bonuses. As one recent graduate points out: “I felt at a point around getting toward winter, I ain’t have to be there no more.” Sure. As one does.

I don’t know if we can do this with teachers, but can we replace school *administrators* with robots yet? Robots that don’t give a damn about bribery or threats?

You’ll be shocked, SHOCKED to find out that this school is in the Washington. D.C. district.

 Posted by at 5:49 pm