Dec 172015
 

Enrique Marquez, Syed Farook’s former neighbor, likely to be charged

Seems Ricky here bought the two AR-15’s used in the attack. That’s not illegal. But he bought them for Syed because Syed didn’t want them listed in his name (even though he would have been legally allowed to buy them). This is a “straw purchase,” which is illegal. He also planned a terror attack with Syed in 2012, but they chickened out. This may or may not have been illegal, based on how far they got in planning. Shockingly, Ricky was a convert to Syeds religion. Purely coincidental, surely.

enrique_marquez

Yup, that’s him.

Feel free to caption. Possibilities include:

“Oh Boy! I get to further the political ambitions of Diane Feinstein!”

“Oh Boy! I’m gonna be *real* popular in prison!”

 Posted by at 9:44 am
Dec 172015
 

Creationists expanding institute to include the ‘Dallas Museum of Science and Earth History’

Oy. The same cranks and crackpots that brought the world the “Institute for Creation Research” now want to build a dubiously named “Dallas Museum of Science and Earth History” that will teach that the Earth is a grand total of 6,000 years old. Even better, they’re proposing to build a 3D planetarium, also to promote the 6,000-year nonsense, in direct contradiction to everything astronomy has discovered.

Kinda like making a laser light show to prove that coherent beams of monochromatic light are a myth.

Behold the bullshit (yes, I generally prefer to avoid such colorful metaphors in posts… but there’s really no other world for the idiot lunacy spouted here). And before you hit “play,” ask yourself this: “Are they going to ask for money? ARE THEY?!?”

 

 Posted by at 2:10 am
Dec 142015
 

Following in the grand tradition of the likes of such progressive thinkers as Adolph Hitler, Margaret Sanger and Peter Singer, ISIS has *apparently* gone ahead and decided to improve the gene pool via eugenics. Not by the messy, slow process of getting the best to breed more; no, they’ve gone the route of “let’s kill all the babies with Down’s Syndrome.”

ISIS ‘issues fatwa ordering suffocation of babies with Down’s syndrome’

Of course, we’ve heard this sort of thing before and it’s turned out to be overblown or outright false. But in this case, I can buy that a group of religious nuts that are ready and willing to have their children blow themselves to bits would be willing to exterminate kids that don’t quite come up to code.

Before long it’ll be pretty clear that the whole region should be doused in a thick cloud of G-23 paxilon hydrochlorate. Sure, a small percentage will be turned into murderous psychotic animals… but at this point, who’d even notice?

 Posted by at 6:55 pm
Dec 122015
 

The latest strategy is outlined in this piece in the rampagingly-leftist Guardian:

Are scientists easy prey for jihadism?

In short, the argument boils down to this: scientists and engineers are too easy to see the world in terms of right and wrong answers. Thus scientists and engineers need to be retrained to not draw such binary conclusions.

The problem, of course, is that the world often *does* boil down to “right and wrong,” or at least “correct and incorrect.” While there may not always be a right answer to an issue, there are always wrong answers. You need an airplane with longer range. Will range be improved by replacing the jet fuel with distilled water? No, you won’t. There’s a clearly wrong answer. Will you improve the range by painting the plane with culturally inclusive and diverse murals that celebrate the wide range of genders that people can express? No, you won’t.

You want to decrease the CO2 levels in the atmosphere while maintaining the standard of living for the west and increasing it for the rest of the world. Can you do this by banning nuclear power? No, you can’t. You want to build a 200-story skyscraper in an earthquake zone that is frequented by hurricanes. Cane you build it out of bamboo and brick? Maybe, but not for anything remotely resembling a budget.  A plague has broken out. Can you effectively deal with it with homeopathy, holy water, smoke signals and bloodletting? No, you can’t.

The story in the Guardian, and the report it reports on, claims to be about how to deal with ISIS. But in the larger sense, the goal would be to water down engineering and science. Is this an unintended consequence, the authors simply didn’t think it through and realize that if they corrupt STEM, they’ll trash the future? Or is it an effort to intentionally do exactly that?

In a world that’s facing an increasingly chaotic climate, a world that needs more and more physical and energy resources, a world that *needs* to expand out into space… what sort of man suggests that what we need are *fewer* effective and competent scientists and engineers?

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if there might be some transfer of funds, or at least suggestions, heading towards these sort of people from places like Beijing. *They* would seem unlikely to mind if western STEM programs were turned into sources of muddle-headed dingbattery.

 

 Posted by at 10:59 pm
Dec 112015
 

No, not that one. This one:

Scientology faces ban in Belgium amid fraud allegations

Belgium, of course, does not have a First Amendment/Freedom of Religion. The idea of banning Scientology wouldn’t fly in the US, but I guess it might over in Europe. And if Scientology is successfully banned… I can imagine another religion or two that the Europeans might be interested in taking a look at.

 Posted by at 7:03 pm
Dec 042015
 

San Bernardino shooting: Attacker pledged allegiance to ISIS, officials say

It seems Mrs. Shooty McJihadpants pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook during the course of the attacks.

The whole thing seems to indicate a shocking level of amateurism. The bombs they made were apparently crap; the planning seems to have been non-existent. Extremely oddly, the landlord let the news media tromp through the couples apartment (apparently law enforcement officials are Shocked and Appalled by this); it seems reporters have found things like a half-eaten sandwich apparently abandoned on a moments notice.  What that seems to indicate to *me* is that these two were planning on carrying out an attack some time in the future, but Farouk went to the Christmas party, got all P.O.’ed for some reason (perhaps his Secret Santa gave him a canned ham), raced home and told the missus “We Go Now.” Perhaps the planned target of the attack wasn’t the place that actually got attacked, but they just didn’t have the self control to wait that long. *Perhaps* that’s for the best. If they’d had more time, *perhaps* they would have made more and better bombs. But then, *perhaps* they would have been found out and arrested or, even better, they would have accidentally blown themselves to bits while making more crappy bombs.

 Posted by at 12:20 pm
Dec 032015
 

There have been, and will continue to be, a whole lot of stories about the San Bernardino massacre. This one is mostly just like the others:

Authorities Search Redlands Home Tied To Suspect Syed Farook

It ends with an un-named person describing how he had seen things in previous weeks that made him suspicious, but decided not to report it for fear of “racial profiling.” Is the person telling the truth? Was what he saw *truly* suspicious? Impossible to tell without more data. It would be interesting to follow up and see if the person is being interviewed by the police and/or FBI. But on the off chance that he did actually see something that could have been actionable, then a dozen people died in part due to political correctness.

 Posted by at 9:01 am
Dec 032015
 

A few days ago I pontificated on the difference between “nuts” and “terrorists,” and lo and behold, today one “Syed Farook” and one “Tashfeen Malik”  go ahead and give me the perfect test case. Since there are two, “terrorism” would seem to be the most likely explanation; but since the guy (apparently) shot up his own co-workers, it would seem to be a “workplace violence thing.” The two apparently put some thought into the project ahead of time, which decreases the likelihood of “nutjobs” and pushes it towards “terrorism.” However the facts shake out, you can bet that there will be a great many trying to downplay any religious motivation (while playing it up for the Planned Parenthood shooting).

Of course, before much of anything about the shooters was known, Blatherer In Chief Obama bloviated thusly: “For those concerned about terrorism, some might be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes, bu those same people who we don’t allow to fly, can go into a store right now in the U.S. and there is nothing we can do to stop them. That is a law that needs to be changed.”

Neat. So those who are on the no-fly list should have their Second Amendment rights withdrawn. OK, sure. Why not. But then you have to ask: if these people have been adjudicated to be so much of a risk that they should not only not be allowed to buy a gun (legally), they should also not be allowed to fly… why are they being allowed to roam the streets? Shouldn’t they be locked up? If with the stroke of a pen one of their Constitutional rights can be wiped away, why not others?

And of course, once you determine that Constitutional rights are negotiable for those who have not committed a crime and been tried by their peers, ya gotta wonder whether Trumps hypothetical Muslim Registry would be equally popular.

So far I’ve heard nobody suggest that Syed or Tashmeen were on the no-fly list. So far I’ve heard that at least one of the guns they used was purchased legally, which in California certainly means both Federal and State background checks and registration. So once again… what new gun laws would have prevented this?

 

 Posted by at 1:09 am
Dec 022015
 

Hawaii Supreme Court ruling invalidates permit for construction of telescope on volcano

Not just any telescope, but the Thirty Meter Telescope, which would have been ground breaking in its capabilities. The construction permit has been yanked because Mauna Kea is “sacred land.”

Bah.

You know, if I had me some “sacred land,” you know what I’d do with it? I’d put a freakin’ telescope on it. What sort of religion holds that exploring the universe *isn’t* just about the most important thing you could do? Even if you were very, very religious… wouldn’t you think that Understanding God’s Creation (or words to that effect, translated into your religions terminology) would be just what your god would want you to be doing?

Bah.

A number of years ago (15?) I saw some “true video” TV show that had hikers in Hawaii, either in a canyon or next to a cliff, being showered with rocks from way above. The realistic explanation? The rock walls are made out of structurally crappy lava rock, and it falls apart from time to time. Basically, Gravity Happens. But the *local* explanation was, IIRC, that some local pig-like deity didn’t like intruders and was chucking rocks at people. So the advice was Don’t Go There, and Appease The God.

I sat there and thought to myself… “Huh. That’s not what I’d suggest.”

If there was *truly* a local pig-god attempting to injure people… it’s time to grab a spear and a .50 Beowulf and go boar hunting. Sounds like the makings of one *hell* of a luau. Also sounds like Sæhrímnir escaped from Valhalla, so not only would you have one heck of a cookout, you’d have one heck of a cookout *every* *day* from here on out.

 Posted by at 9:11 pm
Nov 302015
 

In the last few years a particular talking point has become as inevitable after a domestic mass killing as a sunrise after night: “is this a crazy person or a terrorist.” This becomes increasingly obvious when the mass killing is carried out by a White Non-Muslim Male, such as the “Planned Parenthood” shootings a few days ago. The argument goes, since it’s a White Non-Muslim Male, it will be declared an act of mental disorder, not terrorism; but if the perpetrator is Non-White or, better, Muslim, it’ll be declared terrorism, because, you know, racism.

In a Venn diagram of “nutjobbery” and “terrorism,” there is of course a whole lot of overlap. Consequently, taking an incident and confidently parking it under one descriptor but not the other is often dubious. But I do have a simple test that would work at least sometimes to parse out those acts that are best described as “terrorism:” How many people were involved?

If it’s one person working alone, such as, say, Sulejman Talović (a Muslim immigrant who killed five people at a mall in Salt Lake City some years ago, an act I’d bet most people have either forgotten about or perhaps never heard of in the first place), or the Unabomber (a white leftist with a hate-on for modern technology), or Christopher Dorner (the black anti-gun-nut who led the LAPD on a merry chase a few years ago) it could go either way. But if two or more are working together? Like the Beltway sniper case from years ago, or the Boston bombings, Charlie Hebdo, the more recent Paris attacks, 9/11 and so on? Well… that would seem rather harder to blame on nuttery rather than terrorism.

People with similar political and/or religious ideologies finding each other and working together? Sure, I can see that happening, easy. Complete whackos finding each other and finding that their whackoism just happens to align, so they work together to do whacko things? Hmmm… that’s less likely. And when the number of perpetrators gets to three or higher, the statistical likelihood of it being just nutjobbery, as opposed to terrorism, seems to drop vanishingly low.

So. One guy? Nut. Two guys? Probably terrorist. Three guys? Definitely terrorist.

 Posted by at 1:03 pm