May 212016

California’s last resort: Drink the Pacific

The article mentions that a desalination plant near Santa Barbara can be brought online with the expenditure of buckets of cash… and that the plant has been sitting there, idle, for 25 years.

Apparently, it was built during a drought, and about the moment it came online the drought ended, so they stopped running the plant. But the thing that gets me: during all the time that California supposedly hasn’t needed the water, California has been draining the Colorado river dry. Which leads to *this* news story:

Lake Mead declines to lowest level in history

Yeah, desalination is expensive. But then again, so are social programs and prisons and sanctuary cities. So I have no sympathy for a state that is rich as hell, blows it’s money on silly nonsense and ignores the things it needs to do. If California would build a hundred desal plants along the cast, each with its own nuclear powerplant, much of Californias water problem could be dealt with during droughts. And when the droughts end, the nuclear powerplants would power the state.

Something California doesn’t seem to understand is that there are *other* states that rely on the Colorado River… states that, unlike California, don’t have a vast ocean coastline to fall back on. I wonder about the possibility of states like Nevada and Arizona suing the bejeezus out of California, suing them for, say, a trillion dollars. *That* might inspire the California state government to finally shake off the scourge of Greenpeace and the like and doing what needs to be done to actually protect the environment.

 Posted by at 8:42 pm
May 202016

… I gotta wear augmented reality shades.

Anyone who has read Brin’s “Existence” (or a whole bunch of other sci-fi written since the 80’s) will recognize the world depicted here in “Hyper-Reality.” It looks… awful.

The trick is going to be how to deal with the overload. The internet has become swamped with ads and spam and malware; a highly interconnected augmented reality world will as well. The obvious answer will be the equivalents of adblockers and anti-spam/malware programs, but those lead to bloat and programs running slower and slower. The other answer will be to just take the glasses off/turn the implants off. But anyone who has seen a teenager glued to their phone knows that people who grow up with this sort of thing will become dependent upon it. So… dunno. The occasional random EMP burst, maybe?

 Posted by at 5:39 pm
May 202016

What happens when you institute socialism on a national basis? Stuff like this:

Mob burns Venezuelan man alive over $US5

“Life here has become a misery. You walk around always stressed, always scared, and lynching offers a collective catharsis,” Violence Observatory director Roberto Briceno-Leon said. “You can’t do anything about the lines or inflation, but for one moment, at least, the mob feels like it’s making a difference.”

Feel the Bern!

 Posted by at 2:28 pm
May 192016

Not using transgender pronouns could get you fined

Employers and landlords who don’t use pronouns such as “ze/hir” to refer to transgender workers and tenants who request them may be subject to fines as high as $250,000.

The Commission on Human Rights’ legal guidelines mandate that anyone who provides jobs or housing must use individuals’ preferred gender pronouns.


New York City: not even once.

Is it rude to not use someone’s preferred personal pronoun? I suppose, maybe. Is it the governments job to use force and violence to force people to speak in certain ways? F&*k no. Any government functionary attempting to enforce this guideline should be fired, sued into permanent poverty on 1st Amendment grounds, never be allowed to be employed by any branch of government ever and be put on the same sort of “don’t let this person anywhere near your children” list as rapists and murderers. Any attempted enforcer of this rule needs to be doxxed and shamed online and in real life to a degree that even Trigglypuff might express some sympathy.

And anyone so self-centered and needy for attention that they would actually whine to the government that someone isn’t calling it “xe” needs to be publicly mocked and publicized to the point that random people passing it/him/her/xe on the sidewalk recognizes it/him/her/xe, and promptly calls out, “hey, it’s that asshole.”

 Posted by at 1:25 pm
May 192016

American B-52 bomber crashes in Guam

The article is pretty lean on details, but given that all seven crew managed to escape unharmed from the plane *after* it crashed (“shortly after takeoff”), and the lone photo shows the plane on fire but not scattered across the landscape, I’d guess it had some sort of engine trouble and either flopped off the end of the runway or tried to go-around but didn’t quite make it.

Whatever the cause is, I would almost certainly be unsurprised. These planes are about twice as old as the pilots who fly them. Remember the XB-70, the Mach 3 superbomber from the early 1960’s? It was intended to *replace* the B-52.

 Posted by at 7:30 am
May 182016

CBS will air the premiere of their new Star Trek series in January 2017. The few details that have leaked out in rumor-form make it sound intriguing… it will, reportedly, be an anthology series, with each season covering an entirely different cast in a different Star Trek era. The rumor is that the first season will be set between Star Trek VI and the TNG era, on a non-Enterprise vessel, with lots of doin’s with Klingons.

Too bad you probably won’t be able to see it, because after they air the premiere, CBS will promptly *not* air any more episodes but instead stream them online behind a paywall. This right there will keep the regular viewers from tuning in, leaving it only to the actual pre-existing Star Trek fans to pony up the six bucks a month for the online access. But you know what Star Trek fans tend to be good at? Computery things. Star Trek will be pirated at a rate not seen since Game of Thrones.

I expect that I’ll watch the premiere when it airs, then pick up the “complete series DVD set” about six months later.

 Posted by at 6:26 pm
May 172016

While I realize that I am often rather flabbergasted by peoples motivations, I can’t be the only one to be stumped at why some people claim to be so terribly upset that someone else won’t take their money to bake them a cake. Go somewhere else. Or go on a damn diet. Are these solutions really that difficult?

But if the motives of the Social Cake Justice Warriors are difficult enough to figure out in their most basic form, imagine someone who *fakes* a minor bit of offensiveness and then sues the supposed offender, demanding not only millions in cold hard cash but the firing of innocent people.

Remember The Fake Whole Foods ‘Hate Cake’? Pastor Apologizes, Admits He Lied

In short, a black gay pastor (I might be wrong… maybe he’s a gay black pastor. I’m not up to date on the current hierarchy of victim groups) bought a cake decorated with “Love Wins” on it, and then added a three-letter slur word, claiming that the Whole Foods he bought the cake from did it. Specifically, the “victim” claimed the gay cake decorator added it. (Surveillance footage revealed that the added word wasn’t there when he bought it.)  The “victim” then proceeded to file a lawsuit. The company sued him right back. The “victim” has now admitted that he lied, and has dropped his lawsuit…and for some reason the company has dropped their counter-suit.

Now, again I may be wrong here, but generally when Person A sues Company X, it is because they have been harmed in some way by a faulty product or fraudulent behavior or some such. I’m at a loss as to how this guy, even if his claim of a vandalized cake was true, could claim any sort of injury. If the courts were to have been insane enough to let him win because someone wrote a naughty word on his cake, rest assured that someone *saying* a naughty word would become lawsuit bait… and since that would be simply a matter of hurt *feelings,* then someone telling this pastor that his religious beliefs are wrong (because he’s worshiping God wrong, or worshiping the wrong god, or worshiping a mythical god, or… whatever) would seem an invitation to a lawsuit.

Whole Foods, on the other hand, *has* been harmed by this guy. Even if their reputation ends up intact, they still had to spend a lot of manhours dealing with this… internal investigators, PR flacks, lawyers, the whole thing. Plus the poor schmoe who the “victim” claimed scribbled the acronym for the Film Actors Guild onto his cake undoubtedly suffered considerable *real* stress. The “victim” here should, IMO, be sued into the permanent poorhouse. I’d be interested in what criminal laws can be brought to bear. With luck, someone will send him a Whole Foods cake in prison, with a file sculpted on it in frosting.

And for those on the other side: if someone comes in and wants your cake baking company to make them a cake that says something your religion disagrees with it, I have a simple suggestion: mask your contempt and take their money. Put your B Team on the job and get on with life, secure in the knowledge that you have drained their bank account slightly while filling them up with sugar and empty calories, shortening their lives.

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
May 162016

Even though there’s no chance that Bernie Sanders will be President this time, it bothers me sometimes that a man with such retrogressive Socialist ideas can gain such popularity with so many in the electorate. We’ve had an entire century now to see just how badly collectivist economic policies fail, and still… here’s Bernie.

Venezuela continues to exemplify the sort of disasters Bernienomics would provide.

After Beer Shortage, Venezuela President Threatens to Jail Factory Owners

In short: Venezuelan beer brewers have been shutting down. The last one in the country quit because they have been unable to buy the needed raw materials. The response of President Maduro, successor to Hugo Chavez and idol to Sanders, has been to threaten to jail the factory owners who cannot keep their doors open.

Socialism: magical thinking.

PS: Here’s some comedy from 2013:

Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle

The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains

That there deserves a Walter Duranty Journalism Award.

 Posted by at 8:30 pm