May 282015

Yikes. A graph depicting the ongoing death toll of workers in Qatar building the facilities for the 2022 World Cup:


Parents: don’t let your kids be a part of this travesty. Teach them that there are alternatives to soccer. Safer, less violent, more socially uplifting alternatives… not to mention more interesting and useful. Baseball. Basketball. Rugby. Gunrunning. Dungeons and Dragons. Smoking dope. Chess. Mortal Combat. Watching paint dry.

Soccer: not even once.

 Posted by at 6:01 am
May 212015

Some people try really hard to be clever and/or cute. Trying hard is no guarantee of success. Sometimes it’s the fast road to things blowing up in your face. Like… here:

Welcome the real world, kid. Of course it could have been better; she could have come up with a “no.” or my personal favorite from back in the days when I tried: “Good God, no.”

 Posted by at 5:19 pm
May 202015

So I decided to check in on the Amazon Kindle versions of the US Bomber Projects (available HERE) to see how they’re doing, after I recently uploaded a bunch of new ones. As it turns out: wow. Bad. So, that’s that, I guess.

I also decided to check on the reviews, of which there are very few. Now, checking reviews of stuff you’ve worked hard on is always asking for trouble; *maybe* someone will say something complementary; *maybe* someone will give a negative feedback that provides useful information. But as this is the internet, you’re like as not going to get a response like this:


Huh. Not a fan, I guess.

Interestingly, the same reviewer posted an equally negative (though grammatically confounding) review of another issue of the Kindle USBP back in February. One wonders why he would buy a second issue if the first was so bad, but he has posted 140 separate reviews of items, indicating he likes to review stuff, I guess.

Just in case, here’s the recent issue in question:

 Posted by at 10:10 pm
May 182015

It seems that between about 3.2 and 3.5 billion years ago, Earth got whacked at least three times by *big* impactors. Keep in mind that the rock that killed the dinosaurs was on the order of 10 kilometers in diameter; these earlier impactors were on the order of 50 to 100 kilometers in diameter (or up to 1000 times the impact energy). There was life on Earth at the time in the form of primitive single cell organisms, but these impacts would have played hell with them. Estiamtes are that the impact would have driven the planetary air temperature to over 500 Celcius for weeks, and above the boiling point of water for over a year. Sea levels would have dropped by up to 100 meters as the upper levels of the oceans boiled away.

Rocks this old are fairly rare, but examination of some examples show showers of BB-sized “droplets” of molten rock kicked up by the impacts.

Ancient Asteroid Impacts Boiled the Oceans and Made Life on Earth Hell

A 100-kilometer impactor is *exactly* the sort of thing that mankind would not be able to do diddly-squat about, other than to send a small remnant of terrestrial life to, say, Mars. Certainly wouldn’t want to go to the moon; the moon would almost certainly get pummeled by chunks of Earth blasted into space.

 Posted by at 10:11 pm
May 172015

If you can skip over ISIS news because it’s just too far away and/or just too big, here’s a closer story on a smaller scale that’ll make you question the validity of the notion that all human life is precious:

Masked intruders attack disabled woman in Deerfield Beach, kill kittens

Woman, 61, cut with shards of broken glass, has body sprayed with paint, BSO says

 Posted by at 11:51 pm
May 042015

As a “2001” nut, it was my goal to incorporate as much of the relevant technological backstory into my history of how to get from 1968 to 2001 as was available. A new bit of “2001” data has come to my attention… and, wow, I’m having a hard time rationalizing it.

In the scene where astronaut Frank Poole is shown blandly eating his meal on the Discovery’s centrifuge, you can see him reading something on his paper-thin tablet device. There is of course zero possibility of making out just what he’s reading. You’d expect it to be just a page of random text… but no, this was a Stanley Kubrick film, and the whole page was fiction created just for this. And apparently that page of text was preserved and published in the “Stanley Kubrick Catalog,” which I’ve not seen. But a small scan of the “newspaper article” was posted HERE, and is just barely legible. I’ve blown it up and cleaned it a bit, and the whole thing tells a rather remarkable tale.

It seems Atlantic Airlines flight  423 was presumed lost somewhere between New York and London. That’s not terribly interesting in and of itself. But AA flight 423  was a Mach 3-capable HEP/COMM 11-Z4 airliner with 12 engines, 2,109 passengers and 199 crew (including 11 pilots). Why the hell an aircraft capable of Mach 3 flying from New York to London would need *eleven* pilots is anybodies guess.

In the world of “2001,” I can easily assume the existence of Mach 3, 70,000 ft-altitude jetliners. I can grimace and kinda accept Mach 3 airliners with more than 2,000 passengers. But 200 crew? Nope. Sorry. Willing suspension of disbelief system failure.

2001 NYT article

Note that supersonic aircraft are described as “Mark 2″ and “Mark 3″ capable, which I’m guessing means an editing failure, as it would’ve made more sense for them to be “Mach 2″ and “Mach 3″ capable. I know, shocking… the press making dumb errors about techmologicamal stuff, even in the far distant era of 2001.

 Posted by at 11:04 pm