Nov 192017
 

I’m beginning to become more and more of the opinion that it just might be a good idea to segregate boys from girls in public school, at least up until junior high or high school. That way there’d at least be the potential of teaching kids in ways that are actually appropriate to them, and, much as it’s become popular to believe otherwise, boys and girls *are* inherently different in may important ways.

Take the source (“Prager U”) for what it’s worth, but there re some interesting points raised here:

I’ve long held the view, and expressed it on this blog, that standardized education isn’t for everyone. I don’t believe that society is best off by forcing everyone to stay in the same classes all the way through 12th grade. Some students would simply be better off if they were allowed the leave school some years earlier and be sent into some sort of trade; if nothing else, the *other* students wouldn’t need to be subjected to their bullying, criminality and stupidery. But as the video points out, there are good cases to be made for separating male from female lesson plans. Years ago I wrote about how some of the books I was forced to read in school damn near turned me off reading forever, because they’re just the wrong damned kind of books for me. But I do recall that at the same time I was struggling to give the very slightest of damns about “Sense and Sensibility” and “Little Women” and “I remember Mama” and “Wuthering Heights,” a lot of the girls in the class seemingly couldn’t get enough of it. But did we read Heinlein? Wells? Verne? Sun Tzu? Rand? Lovecraft? Oh, hell no.

Some might argue that it’s important to cram the “classics” into kids in order to “expose them to a wide range of literature blah, blah, blah.” But if the stuff you expose them to is stuff that they’ll *hate,* stuff that they’ll get little to nothing out of, what good are you doing? Chances are good you’re doing *negative* work. Not only are those students getting nothing out of the assignment and thus wasting their time and the teachers, they are also probably so bored that they’re kicking up a fuss that’s ruining the experience for those students who *can* get something out of it. So if there is a simple way to at least get a *crude* semblance of optimization out of the process – like, say, segregating boys from girls and letting boys be aggressive energetic little shits while the girls are, well girls – then huzzah, everybody is better off.

One common refrain is that at some point in the edumacation process, boys become aggressive in class. Not in the beating the tar out of people sense, but in the “Oooh, oooh, call on me, teacher, I know the answer” sense that modern progressives liken to “mansplaining” and “manterrupting,” while girls are less aggressive in that way. Well… fine. Then wouldn’t it be better to separate them? Teach them in the ways that’s best for ’em?

 Posted by at 8:55 pm
Nov 152017
 

There’s a spaceship on the screen. It is therefore a nerd-priority to determine *everything* about it, starting with “just how big is it?” Of course this exercise could be quickly negated by a simple mention of length on screen or off. But lacking that, we can logic ourselves into a rough estimate.

First up, the internet provides two photos that show canon illustrations of the ship, diagrams that appear on display screen on the bridge of the Orville:

The first shows an inboard profile of the main hull with the engine loops; the second shows a top view of the whole ship with a closer view of the cross-section of the main hull. For scaling purposes, that cross section is what we’re after. however, it must be noted right up front that the cross section, canon and used repeatedly on-screen as it is… is WRONG. it must be an earlier iteration of the designs, since there are some meaningful detail differences. The bridge, for starters, is shown further aft that it actually is. And there are lounge “bumps” fore and aft that do not appear on the final design. So it *may* turn out that the interior arrangement could be equally erroneous. However, at this time this is what we got.

Also note that the full side-view marries the 2D-drafted interior profile with what looks like 3D rendered engine loops… loops that are shown not square side-on. So, that’s also less than entirely helpful. but again… it’s what there is to work with.

OK, so how to use these images to determine scale? “The Orville” clearly hearkens back to TNG-era Trek for much of the styling. But the Orville is not a major capital ship like the Enterprise was, but a smaller vessel… like Treks Voyager. Fortunately Voyager has been well defined. There are a large number of “master systems display” inboard profile diagrams of the Voyager to pick from, including this one:

The Voyager MSD clearly shows the decks. The Orville “MSD” also shows its decks:

It’s by no means certain that the Orville uses the same spacing between decks that Voyager did… but again, it’s the best assumption that can be made at this time. So, the thing to do is to take the decks of the known-quantity-Voyager and scale the decks of the Orville to line up, like this:

Once you’ve scaled the Orville diagrams to match the deck-scale of the Voyager diagram, everything lines up looking like this:

And what this results in is the Orville being *really* close in length to the Voyager… 337 meters  for the Orville, 345 meters for Voyager. I don’t know if this was intentional on the part of the shows producers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s an in-joke here that the Orville is supposed to be exactly the same length as Voyager.

So for now, and until I see something better, I’m going with a length of 337 meters for Orville. Given the lack of a “secondary hull” the Orville thus seems to have substantially less internal volume than Voyager, so probably a  smaller crew. But interestingly the Orville is *much* faster than Voyager. In the episode “Pria” it is claimed that Orville can fly at 10 light years per hour. If it was suddenly dumped 70,000 light years from home as Voyager was, it could fly home in 7,000 hours… 291 days. “The Orville” could thus copy the “ST:V” model by having the ship tossed to the other side of the galaxy – say, a season finale – and could wrap things up entirely within the next season. When the Orville gets back to Earth, rather than being met with celebrations, it’s met with “where the hell have you been? You’re late.”

Sanity check – a comparisons of the lounges and shuttlecraft between the two ships:

Looks about right.

 Posted by at 11:46 pm
Nov 142017
 

The BBC website has an autoplay video covering a recent “Flat Earth Society” convention in North Carolina. It certainly seems to have been better attended than it should have been. But the perpetual question about flat-Earthers is: how many of them are actual believer, how many of them are there as a lark, how many of them are outright pretending to believe? Flat Earth is such a patently ludicrous notion that it seems like it would be reasonable to suggest that most people who claim to buy into it really don’t. But then you look at the vast spectrum of stupid that humans glom onto with a passion and… yeah, I suppose there really can be that many people who actually think the Earth is a flat disk.

Why do people still think the Earth is flat?

As with most conspiracy theories, I doubt that most true believing Flat Earthers could be logicked or evidenced out of their belief. And the harder you try, the harder they’ll dig in their heels. It provides them a sense of wonder coupled with a sense of “I’m one of the *special* people because I know *The* *Truth.*” Such a feeling cannot be reliably countered with “No, you’re not.”

 Posted by at 9:28 am
Nov 122017
 

Anyone who has paid thirty seconds of attention to the news in the last few weeks has been unable to miss all the reports of powerful men being called out for sexual harassment on up to assault, by both men and women in lesser positions of power. Most of the complaints have been against Hollywood types, but also several political types.

It’s a sad but undeniable fact that when the accused is someone who you like or is on your side politically, you are more likely to respond with skepticism about the accusations than if the accused is someone you dislike or disagree with. A truly honest person would be skeptical of *all* claims until either the accused confesses, sufficient evidence is produced, or the accusers tales are properly vetted. But let’s be honest, it’s *really* easy to believe that some of these power-mad fantasy-land-dwellers are scumbags, and so the general response to these accusations is to just accept them at face value.

In the current political climate, it’s probably accurate to suggest that a sexual harassment accusation is more PR-damaging than an accusation of conventional physical violence. If, say, Kevin Spacey had been accused of getting drunked up and pummeling some people 30 years ago, I doubt there’d be much hoopla. How many rap stars actually *bolster* their “cred” with an actual felony rap sheet? But things are what they are; if you are suddenly announced to have been pervy decades ago, you become culturally toxic *now.*

As a consequence, we’ve got Ridley Scott rushing to replace Spacey in a movie due out in *weeks.* Netflix promptly shut down and cancelled production of Spacey’s “House of Cards.” Louis CK’s new movie “I Love You Daddy” has had its premiere cancelled, and may get stuffed down the memory hole; Louis CK was working on a new animated series with TBS called “The Cops,” this has now been cancelled. The Weinstein company may wind up going down in flames, even after they fired the guy the company is named after.

Lets assume the accusations are correct (and in Louis CK’s case, he’s confessed that they are). So you hear about this guy acting badly, and as a result his career blows up in his face, and your initial response is likely some variation of schadenfreude. “To hell with that guy, good riddance.”

But here’s the thing: these movies, TV shows and whatnot are not just the products of that one guy. The cast and crew of “House of Cards” are now SOL. There is every possibility that there was an actor or makeup artist or *somebody* in one of these now-trashed shows that that job that they busted their butts on was going to be their big break. Maybe the Weinstein Company had just signed a deal to produce some young filmmakers dream project, and now it’s vanished like a fart in the wind.

OK, here’s the ponderable. Should the bad behavior of One Guy torpedo the work of hundreds or thousands? Let’s put it in terms that readers of this blog might be more directly amenable to: let’s hypothesize that Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk is accused of the same sort of thing. Should Blue Origin or SpaceX dry up and blow away as a result? If Seth Macfarlane turns out to *gasp* convert to a Trump supporter, should “The Orville” be promptly cancelled? Heck: there is a small but non-zero chance that my own chance for fame and fortune evaporated with “Man Conquers Space,” my role as technical advisor, prop maker and vehicle designer gone due to the movie project folding because… well, reasons are unclear but claims are made and unsubstantiated in the comments section HERE.

Granted, I’m not really seeing a whole of of alternative in a lot of these cases. Hollywood is by definition all about Public Relations; when someone suddenly falls out of favor, their careers often instantly tank. Charlie Sheen, that kid who was on 2.5 Men, Mel Gibson, OJ Simpson, Bill Cosby, Paula Deen, even Fatty Arbuckle Way Back In the Friggen’ Day all found that accusations (some true, some unfounded, some on full public display) were enough to end careers essentially overnight. You tick off the public, the public may well decide to stop throwing money at you. But when these people go down, they take a lot of other folks with them.

So: when one actor or director or producer turns out to be an accused scumbag… what should happen with the work they’re doing? Work that hundreds of others rely on for paychecks, and millions of others rely on for entertainment?

 Posted by at 11:02 am
Nov 112017
 

NPR today ran an hour of interviews on the subject of “the West,” in the context of the clash of civilization between The West and, well, the non-West. The first interview was with Victor Davis Hanson who did a good job of defining just what is “The West.” The concept of The West is much like that of the United States… neither are based strictly on a geographic region, nor of a particular ethnicity or religion. Instead, *anyone,* no matter where born or raised or how indoctrinated, can become a Westerner by accepting the basic precepts of Westernism. Thus places like Japan and South Korea can be reasonable described as “Western.”

A New Clash Of Civilizations?

The precepts Hanson puts forward include:

  1. Free market economics
  2. Protection of private property
  3. Free speech
  4. Free expression
  5. Secularism
  6. Diversity of religion
  7. Emancipation of women
  8. Trust in rationalism and scientific inquiry
  9. Induction rather than deductive or religious superstition

Hanson also wrote about these assumptions a month and a half ago regarding the current fad for stuffing Columbus Day down the memory hole:

It is fashionable to trash the civilization that created Columbus as destructive and pathological, but those who do so often have never experienced the alternative first-hand or at length, and assume that their own prosperity, security, and protected freedoms are birthrights rather than fragilities that exist largely only in the West and Westernized Asia or emanate only from the Western anomalies of self-criticism, secular rationalism, unfettered inquiry, free expression, constitutional government, free-market economics, private property and religious tolerance.

Hanson ended that piece with this important observation:

In some strange reductionist and iconic way, the symbolic world of the Aztecs is romanticized — and left far behind; the world of Columbus is still demonized but constantly sought out.

This being NPR, though, this first good interview that defends the worth, value and importance of The West and argues for the preservation of it is followed by a series of interviews that smear the West and Westerners and those who support The West as being Nazis, rapists and Islamophobes. Because Of Course.

The final piece is about the history of contact between Elizabethan England and the Ottoman Empire. It’s interesting, but there’s one particularly telling bit. A British history professor, who has written a book on the topic, is asked by the interviewer to tell of the “wonderful stories” of Englishmen who “freely and openly converted to Islam.” And what’s the story we get? An English merchant named Samson Rolly (sic?) was kidnapped by Turkish pirates circa 1570, forcibly converted to Islam, *castrated,* and somehow winds up being the chief eunuch and treasurer of Algiers. Around ten years later an English ambassador asks Samson (now with a new name) if he wants to go home, and the guy decides to stay where he is. This “wonderful” story, which the professor chuckles his way through and calls “funny,” is the story of someone kidnapped, mutilated, brainwashed and deep within the throes of Stockholm Syndrome. And yet, it’s those who want to defend the West from exactly this sort of thing that are the bad guys in the bulk of the piece… and in a whole lot of modern culture.

Guh.

Well, the first bit with Hanson is certainly worth a listen. If the embedded player doesn’t show up below, you can download the audio file HERE.

 

 Posted by at 5:56 pm
Nov 092017
 

I tried to scan some documents tonight, and the results were rather disturbing. I’ve seen this sort of thing before, but now it’s *really* bad. What could cause this, and can it be fixed… or is it time to take this scanner out into the woods and use it for target practice?

Note the lines. They *should* be straight. The paper original has straight lines, and the paper itself is good and flat, so it’s clearly something in the scanner itself.

 Posted by at 12:05 am
Nov 072017
 

Yes, this $375 ‘antifa’ jacket from Barneys is actually real

Anybody who would spend $375 on this deserves to be separated from their (likely trust fund) money. I only wish it was being separated my way.

Imagine the embarrassment if two Lil Snowflakes showed up at a protest both wearing the same thing.

“Dry clean only.”

The thing I find Damned Funniest, is if you go to the actual Barney’s page, you see this:

Pre-ripped jeans, no doubt. But here’s the thing that made me larf out loud:

Our model is 6’1”/185cm and wearing a size Small.

BWAAAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I’m pretty sure any one of my cats daily eats a heartier meal than the vegan bag-o-antlers they hired to model their edgy jacket gets in a years time.

What kind of anarchists are we raising these days? Too lazy to take a sharpie and scribble their own childish mottos onto some army-navy surplus jacket stolen from a homeless bum, but somehow equipped with buckets of disposable cash.

 Posted by at 12:38 am
Nov 032017
 

Two years ago, Bruce the cat fell into my possession via the simple process of walking up to me at the post office and yelling at me… and then stretching up to me when I reached down to pick him up. As y’all may recall, one of the first things I did with him was take him to the vet and get him checked for Horrible Diseases… and he tested positive for Feline Leukemia. The vet said that this was a death sentence, with a lifespan to be measured in a handful of increasingly painful and unpleasant months, and suggested that the best thing would be to put him down promptly. Because I’m a sucker for a hard luck cat, I instead opted to give him his vaccinations anyway and to give him the best life I could for a few months until things got bad, and then make the hard decision.

This is him as of a week or two ago:

There is, it seems, a narrow window when a cat can show positive for a recently acquired case of leukemia, and yet the virus can be cleared out of the cats system via vaccination. I would imagine it’s something like rabies: an essentially 100% fatal virus that you can be virtually 100% “cured” of if you get vaccinated against soon enough after infection. Bruce, it seems, got *real* lucky. Kicked out of his apartment, living on the streets next to speeding cars, infected with a fatal virus, he yelled at just the right soft-hearted schmuck at just the right moment and now he’s living in the lap of luxury.

 Posted by at 9:07 am
Nov 022017
 

4chan is not exactly known as a repository for great political thought. Yet, a recent stunt that was promoted there seems to have elicited exactly the unhinged and disproportionate reaction that was expected:

Md. high school won’t ‘fall victim’ to ‘okay to be white’ flyers

In short, 4chan suggested that people simply hang up stickers or fliers that say, simply, “It’s okay to be white.” That’s it. And the result is SJWs freaking out and getting the cops involved. Because, apparently, to a whole lot of people is is distinctly *not* okay to be white.

Imagine if instead of “white” they said “black” or women” or “gay” or “trans” or “Klingon.” Would anybody complain? I doubt it.

“It’s okay to be white” signs stir controversy on campus, around country

It’s only controversial if indeed it’s actually debatable if it’s ok to be white.

 

 Posted by at 8:22 pm
Nov 012017
 

Since yesterdays Cultural Enrichment Event in New York, I’ve heard more than a few politicians on the right argue that the driver should be dealt with not as a criminal, but as an enemy combatant. from a certain point of view this kinda makes sense… the guy is not a US citizen and he was pledged to a foreign political entity and an alien ideology. But the thing is, though… if he’s an enemy combatant,that makes him a prisoner of war. And there are two problems I have with that:

1: There is dignity and honor in being a POW. This feller has neither.

2: POWs go home.

There are two preferable outcomes for the driver after a proper trial: execution or life in a deep dark hole. Can’t execute a POW. The upside, though, is that POWs go home when the war’s over… but this war? I can’t see how it will *ever* be over. Who’s the leader on the Surt Worshipping Cultist side? Who has the power and authority to surrender or draw up an armistice? And even if someone did, does anyone honestly think that the attacks would stop, the radical would de-radicalize, the jihadists would convert to quiet Lutheranism, Mecca would become a world famous tourist attraction known for its welcoming acceptance of all creeds? No, this war is never going to end, so the POWs would remain POWs forever… or until some weak-willed administration decided to trade them away.

Treat the guy like what he is: a criminal. A good, honest trial followed by a life sentence in general population.

 Posted by at 7:59 pm