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

The headline is more than a little misleading. “Mad Mike” here isn’t a rocket scientist; in fact, this actual-Flat-Earther states quite clearly that he doesn’t believe in science. Still, he spent a whole lot of money building himself a “skycycle”- like rocket vehicle with which to lob himself into the air.

If you have time to kill and want to chuckle sadly, take a look at this winners Facebook page. He’s not just any Flat Earther, he’s one of those belligerent ones. He thinks that somehow lobbing himself a short distance into the sky will “prove” the Flat Earth delusion to be true… where somehow decades of high altitude balloons, sounding rockets, orbital flights and missions to the moon and beyond somehow all seemed to miss it.

And if there was any lasting doubt that the news media is just not very good, here’s a collection of headlines that will make aerospace engineers – including former rocket engineers like myself – want to pull their hair out:

Self-Taught Rocket Scientist Mad Mike Hughes Plans to Launch Over Ghost Town

This barmy self-taught scientist called ‘Mad Mike’ is going to launch himself over California in a homemade rocket

Not only is there a whole lot of copying off each other – rather than, you know, actual journalismizing – there’s the repeated mis-use of the word “scientist.” Even disregarding the fact that he doesn’t believe in  science, there’s the basic fact that he’s not actually *doing* any science.

 Posted by at 11:12 am
Nov 162017

Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It


While this accusation seems about on the same level of banal scumbaggery that has torpedoed a number of Hollywood careers, I do wonder if this one will be the one where The Important People will decide that accusations aren’t enough, that before there are career implications that there needs to be an actual investigation, that “it’s not that bad.” Because this time the implications of the guy losing his job would have “unfortunate” political implications.

Personally, I think he should be treated just like Kevin Spacey. Cancel his current employment and go back and erase him and his votes from the Senate. It would be only fair.

 Posted by at 9:10 am
Nov 162017

The proprietor displays an astonishing level of patience. Must have a lot of practice with this sort of thing due to the proximity to benighted Evergreen College.

Private Sector Arms in Olympia, Washington, looks like they have some neato stuff on the walls.

It would be entertaining if the end result of this interaction was that their sales go up.

 Posted by at 12:30 am
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 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 082017

It’s important to know just what kind of modifications are possible with an AR-15:

The internets favorite suggested modification:

A chainsaw bayonet. Yup. USA Today suggested that as a serious possibility for the AR-15.

Yes, chainsaw bayonets exist. But they are not exactly practical.

And of course the ultimate in evil: never mind Communism, here’s an AR-15 with a chainsaw bayonet being bump-fired:



 Posted by at 5:34 pm
Nov 032017

Memphis police put ankle monitor GPS devices on dozens of domestic assault victims

Yes, you read that right: they’re putting the GPS trackers on the *victims.*

Now, it’s not quite as bad as you might be thinking. In fact, on a certain level it’s a good idea: the system alerts the victim if the person who assaulted them, who is also wearing a GPS tracker, comes within a specified distance. But… there is a more obvious, less distressing way to go here: instead of tracking a monitor strapped to the ankle of the victim, just track their *phone.* These days it’s a reasonable assumption that just about everybody has a GPS-equipped phone of some type and keeps it near them. If the villain gets too close, the victims phone starts going buggo with warnings and text messages. Perhaps authorities would even call or Skype to speak to the victim and warn them and check on them. No answer, or a lack of the proper code response, and the cops are sent to apply a beatdown to the villain.


 Posted by at 11:09 pm
Nov 012017

Our betters, those fine Hollywood types who are forever going on about how enlightened they are, how tolerant and diverse and whatnot they are, and how those of us in flyover country – you know, the little people, the deplorables, the unenlightened – should leave our backwards ways and be more like them… it seems they have themselves a bit of a problem:

Andy Dick Fired From Movie Over Sexual Harassment Claims

Jeremy Piven accused of sexual assault on set of ‘Entourage’ by actress Ariane Bellamar 

Kevin Spacey: More allegations of sexual harassment surface

NPR’s top editor placed on leave after accusations of sexual harassment

Dustin Hoffman accused of sexual harassment

‘Sex and the City’ heartthrob was ‘a piece of meat’ for Hollywood execs

Six women accuse filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct

… and so on.

On a surface level a lot of this just simply doesn’t make sense: if you are rich and famous (at least, if you’re rich), you don’t need to use force to obtain sex. You can just easily pay for it. But it seems to me that a whole lot of this seems to be less about the actual sex and more about the exercise of *power.* That’s certainly what it seems to have been with Weinstein.

But here’s the thing: the infotainment industry seems to have more than its share of this problem right now, which would seem to indicate that it has more than its share of people who are in it for the *power.* Which should, I would hope, inform public opinion about the wisdom of listening to these people when they start yammering on about political issues. Couple their excess in preverion, their lust for power and the fact that they live in a world of make-believe and fantasy, and you’d think that people would be smart enough to not ever listen to them.

 Posted by at 7:08 am