Dec 012017

Here we have on display that can-do, screw-you spirit of awesomeness that saw Americans through the dark times of FDRs New Deal Depression Expansion programs, World War II, the Cold War and the early Justin Beiber years.

Waffle House customer cooks his own meal after finding staff sleeping

A hungry, slightly inebriated man knew just what to do when he stopped by a South Carolina Waffle House early Thursday only to find the restaurant’s staff snoozing: He cooked up his own meal, snapping selfies along the way.

Best line of the year: “I give all the credit to my old friend vodka

Couldn't sleep so I went to waffle house….guess what…everyone on shift was asleep

Posted by Alex Bowen on Wednesday, November 29, 2017




 Posted by at 4:44 pm
Nov 302017

Turns out that a few days ago character actor Rance Howard died. He had a small role on Babylon 5 as Captain Sheridans dad (and as dad/Kosh). He was 89, so this one is not exactly shocking. Rance Howard was the father of Ron, and was in a *lot* of movies.

So, to update the list:

Rance Howard, Played captain Sheridans dad, died November 25, 2017

Stephen Furst, played Vir Cotto, died June 16 2017

Jerry Doyle, played Michael Fraggin’ Garibaldi, died July 27 2016.

Robin Sachs died in February 2013, played a number of aliens… Narns Na’Tok, Na’Kal; Minbari Coplann and Hedronn

Turhan Bey, played the Centauri emperor, died in September 2012.

Michael O’Hare, who played the station commander Jeffrey Sinclair for the first season, died in September 2012, two days before Bey.

Jeff Conaway, played Zack Allen, died in May, 2011

Johnny Sekka, played Dr. Kyle in “The Gathering” pilot, died September, 2006.

Andreas Katsulas, played the inestimable G’Kar, died February, 2006

Tim Choate (Zathras) died in September, 2004.

Richard Biggs, played Doctor Franklin, died May, 2004

Paul Winfield, played Doc Franklin’s dad, died March, 2004





The Babylon 5 cast in their prime.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Nov 302017

Nobody, that’s who.

‘Pence rule’: How vice president steers clear of any sexual misconduct scandal

Oversimplified, Pence steers clear of all women he’s not married to. No lunch dates with colleagues, no closed-door meetings, no booze if his wife’s not about. I have no idea if Pence is incapable of not being handsy without strict rules… but it will certainly reduce if not quite eliminate the possibility of any sort of accusation. If Pence is known to never be alone with a woman, the chances of a woman claiming to have been harassed by him would see to be virtually nil.

 Posted by at 1:53 am
Nov 292017

Garrison Keillor fired amid claims of ‘inappropriate behavior’; his ‘Prairie Home’ rebroadcasts end

The claim of sexual harassment here is disputed by Keillor. He doesn’t deny that something happened, but his explanation of it – the only explanation currently out there – just doesn’t sound like sexual harassment:

Keillor detailed one of the encounters to the Star Tribune, writing that he was fired because he put his hand on a woman’s bare back as he tried to console her.

He said in an email to the newspaper that he was trying to pat the woman’s back after she had told him “about her unhappiness.” Keillor wrote that the woman’s shirt was open and his hand went up about 6 inches.

On the one hand, I’m a bit confused about the geometry of the situation. Her shirt was open? I suppose there are some shirts that open from the back rather than the front… but why would such a shirt be open in  business environment? On the other hand, patting someone’s back is a common gesture. If there was indeed something going on that was consolation-worthy, a pat on the back would be *very* understandable.

Details are sparse. Perhaps there was more to it than this, but if not, it seems that companies may be getting a bit too trigger-happy when it comes to firing people based purely on accusations. If a pat on the back can get you fired, then telepresence can’t come soon enough.


 Posted by at 5:41 pm
Nov 292017

Seems they’re stepping up their game:

North Korea missile launch: The most important things to know

The most recent missile reached an altitude of about 4,475 kilometers. Experts believe that this missile has the range to reach *all* of the United States. However, the warhead, which the Norks of course are claiming was super heavy, might have been light; it might have even been another stage. Still, even if they were only chucking a soccer ball at Florida, it’s an impressive achievement for a nation full of intestinal worms.

I would be utterly unsurprised if the missile is not even remotely accurate… they shoot it at Washington, D.C. and it hits Ohio. However, it would be a much less challenging mission to deposit a single warhead a few hundred kilometers above the central US in order to set off an EMP. If they were successful in pulling that off, the death toll would be horrendous. Estimates I’ve seen go up to a death toll of up to 90% of the American population due to the subsequent collapse of the power and transport infrastructure; famine would quickly follow, but not as quickly as major cities like Chicago and New York eating themselves. However, an EMP that takes outt the US civilian power grid would do close to diddly squat to the US military… so for a few days at leas thte US military would lash out and turn North Korea into ruined wasteland. it’s a safe bet that the moment the Norks launch that EMP weapons, they’ll launch an attack on South Korea. So the death toll in North Korea would be close to total; the death toll in South Korea could be millions. And the Japanese might get in on it.

And of course once the US has been shut down, it will be clear to everybody else that Team America World Cop is out of business. Russia will invade all its neighbors. China and India and Pakistan will probably go at it. The Arab world will go after Israel. The death toll could be in the billions, and civilization could come to an effective end.

With that possibility, the math on launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea starts looking better.

 Posted by at 12:45 am
Nov 272017

It’s probably for the best when nurses who want to kill babies post that information publicly. That’s *usually* the sort of thing that goes against hospital policy.

Indiana Nurse Under Investigation for Tweets about Killing White Babies

Can you imagine the cloud of legal liability the hospital would be forced to live under if they kept her on board? Even if she was the best, most conscientious nurse who ever nursed, if *anything* were to ever go wrong with a patient – especially a young white male patient – anywhere near to her care, the attack lawyers would come out in force. Such as in this case, where the presence of a hidden camera kinda changed the story about how a patient died:

Apparently the nursing home here got sued hard and agreed to some kind of settlement, even though it was the actual nurses who behaved badly not the nursing home itself. How does a hospital protect its patients – and itself – from medical staff who actively oppose the survival of the patients… unless the staff is actually caught doing or saying something along those lines?

 Posted by at 3:36 pm
Nov 252017

This story reminded me of the years of wild hedonism that defined my youth:

IUP to remove 170,000 unused books from its libraries

The  Indiana University of Pennsylvania library says that about half of its 486,000 books haven’t been checked out in 20 years, so it’s going to get rid of them.


I spent *years* visiting the libraries of Iowa State University in Ames and the University of Colorado in Boulder, slowly and methodically scanning through the stacks of books in the science, engineering and aerospace sections. I found a *lot* of stuff (oddly, I didn’t seem to find a whole lot of parties, booze and women there, but oh well). The stuff I found formed the beginnings of my aerospace history collection… vast piles of photocopies made from books I’d pull off the shelves, go through page by page, copy what I wanted, then put back on the shelf. A minuscule percentage of what I found useful was actually checked out.

I understand that the engineering library  at UC Boulder has removed the bulk of the books, moving them to an off-site location. Students can still access them… you simply need to put in a request for said books and they’ll show up some time later. That’s fine, *if* you know what book you want. But how much useful research has been done by simply browsing? How often does someone find something useful in the book *next* to the one they were specifically looking for?

The claim for the Indiana University of Pennsylvania library is that they are going to focus their cleanout on books that are available digitally. But how many books, periodicals, papers and such are available as scans that are just *horrible* in quality? The NASA Tech Report server is filled with old reports that were scanned by people who clearly thought that diagrams, photos and artwork were wastes of space, best reduced to 2-bit B&W images that if you squint real hard while at a great distance might vaguely resemble the ghost of the original.

If the library needs money, fine. Take if from the athletic program. Hell, cut the coaches salaries by ten percent, that alone should just about do the trick. Every year have an auction to sell off the naming rights for the next years football team. Charge double tuition for grievance studies courses. Open an on-campus liquor store and pot dispensary, all profits going to the library. Cut the pay of all Socialist teachers to minimum wage. There are better solutions than getting rid of books by the truckload.

 Posted by at 7:51 am
Nov 202017

Gentlemen, behold:

She Said That A Powerful Congressman Harassed Her. Here’s Why You Didn’t Hear Her Story.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”

If people in government were held to the same standards as the rest of us… there’d be no people in government. Instead, it’s perfectly fine for a Senator to get likkered up, go driving and kill someone, then not only skip out on the whole “get arrested, tested, tried and imprisoned” thing, but then spend the next generation or two being consistently re-elected and determining the fate of the nation.

Accusations are just accusations… he said, she said, due process, etc. But in Conyers case, there was a settlement, so apparently there was some admission of guilt.

Infotainment and government both share the feature that the people in ’em end up with a whole lot of power, and it’s safe to assume that anyone who make a serious attempt to make a career in either is trying to accrue power. Conyers, for instance, has been in the House since NINETEEN FRICKEN SIXTY FIVE. His term in office is older than I am. Nobody spends that long in a position of power like this without being, or becoming, a power-mad monster.

More than some understanding of the awfulness of sexual harassment, I hope (beyond reason and rationality, I admit) that this current Outrage Theater will result in something like term limits for federal officeholders. If someone like John Conyers wants power over others, let him do it the honest way: form a damn cult.

 Posted by at 10:07 pm
Nov 202017

ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before

Asteroid 1I/2017 U1 (`Oumuamua) turns out to have been reddish – like a lot of outer solar system objects – and had a length-to-diameter ratio of about ten. Funky. Overall length of about 400 meters, no detectable gas or dust, indicating solid rock and/or metal. Tumble rate was once per 7.3 hours.

Irrational hypothesizing:

1: It’s Gungnir.

2: A starship, long dead.

3: A planet killer, badly targeted.


 Posted by at 6:04 pm