Oct 012015

So yet another nutburger goes and shoots up a joint. Any rational person would say This Is A Bad Thing. But for some people, This Is An Awesome Thing. It took approximately two seconds for *some* people to determine that todays mass shooting in Oregon is a fantastic opportunity to try pushing for their civilian disarmament programs. Yet again.

And elsewhere the mad scramble to find *anything* about the shooter that can be used to push a chosen political agenda. So far I’ve heard (note: any or all of these could be dead wrong):

  1. He was a conservative Republican
  2. He specifically targeted Christians
  3. He was “mixed race,” half white, half black. So… he was white, unlike Obama, who is half black and half white, thus black. Or something.
  4. He used a pistol, which means we need more controls on assault rifles
  5. He was a fan of the Nazis
  6. He was a fan of the IRA
  7. He was a Muslim convert
  8. He was a quiet loner
  9. He was born in England. Not sure how that’s relevant. Probably a sign that the Crown is finally starting it’s big move to recapture the Colonies.

Somebody wake me up when there’s an incident of a crazy person going buggo and politicians *don’t* promptly jump on it to push whatever their agenda is.

At least it should knock Clochmed out of the headlines.

 Posted by at 11:28 pm
Sep 222015

Saw this at a roadside rest stop day before yesterday. Through random happenstance, I was on the scene before the police or other emergency personnel; fortunately the driver, the sole occupant, was standing some distance away, unharmed and on the phone to someone. I can proudly say that I was relieved to find that I didn’t have to make the decision of whether or not to try to pull someone out of that.

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Someone else there on the scene in an RV mentioned, rather hesitantly, that she had a fire extinguisher. My point of view was based on two points:

  1. There are no humans or critters at risk
  2. That truck is, at that point, trashed.

A fire extinguisher would be unlikely to put out *that* fire (the truck driver told me that he had *just* filled the tank, so there were a whole lot of gallons of gas in it), and would stand a good chance of endangering the person wielding it. At best, you’d turn an “utterly ruined” truck into a “pretty much utterly ruined” truck. When the police arrived, their response was the same… cordon it off, let ’em burn until the actual firefighters showed up.

Until I found that the sole occupant was fine and standing *over* *there,* I had that uncomfortable feeling of “this is *really* gonna hurt” as I pondered the possible need of pulling someone out of that. Fortunately, sometimes the only real solution available is to do nothing., and this was one of those times.

Just a few days before that, I knuckled under and bought one of those $40 dashcams from Wal Mart. It records videos in 3 minute chunks, immediately starting a new file after the end of the previous one. When the memory card is full it deletes the oldest file and starts a new one, thus keeping a constant “loop” of video. Once I pulled away from the scene I decided to back up the relevant clips from the dashcam; there were four or five that covered the incident from the time I first saw smoke until I pulled away. The first video ends just as I pull into the rest stop. The second video, with the bulk of the “action,” such as it was… is corrupted and won’t play. *Of* course.

 Posted by at 6:07 am
Sep 202015

My old laptaps battery was turning into mush, so I ordered a new one. But the new one seems to have a problem… as soon as the power cord is unplugged, the computer shuts off, deader’n hell. Do I have a defective battery, or is there a problem with the computer? Sadly the old battery, which at least held a *bit* of a charge is unavailable.

 Posted by at 7:50 pm
Sep 192015

Remember a few years ago when the nations media was spellbound at the idea of a little kid trapped in a free-floating balloon, and it turned out to be a hoax? It seems that may be the case with Ahmed Mohamed and his clock, too.

Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock… and Ourselves.

In short, that clock this kid built? It seems that he didn’t so much build it as simply remove the guts of a commercially available mid-1980’s digital clock and stick them into a hard-shell pencil box. If this analysis is accurate – and it sure appears to be – this kid didn’t “invent” a damn thing except for a media circus. Note that his father is well practiced in the art of PR, having run for President of Sudan. You have to wonder how much of this was intended as a publicity ploy for the family, or an attempt to garner some of that sweet  “oh, boo hoo, come and see the Islamophobia inherent in the system” sympathy.

The clock the kid took apart was made by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidiary. It’s an odd looking thing, but has the advantage of being pretty simple by modern standards… the sort of thing that might *look* like a a smart kid cobbled it together. But apparently…he *didn’t.* Still, for a minimum expenditure of time and resources, he’s looking to make out like a bandit.

Ahmed Mohamed gets a new Surface Pro 3, Band, and more from Microsoft

 Posted by at 12:37 pm
Sep 172015

The internet is aflame over the story of Ahmed Mohamed and his home-made clock. In short, his piece of electronics got him suspended and arrested because the school thought it was a “hoax bomb.” As would have been entirely predictable, since the kid ain’t lily white, and since he is a Muslim, the claims are going around that this is clearly a case of unwarranted Islamophobia, a result of America’s racist demonization of our peaceful Islamic brethren.


You know, there might be a case to be made here. Except… hmmm. Let’s take a look at the clock in question:

Hmm. That’s kinda… dodgy. Sure, it’s probably just the electronic bits needed to make a clock (in a not-in-the-slightest-suspicious hard-shell case). But imagine trying to take that through the airport as a carry-on. Does it look like a bomb? Well, I don’t see any explosives. But does it look like what a lot of people seem to think a bomb looks like? Well… yeah, I guess. Is it over-reaction on the part of the authorities? Almost certainly. Is it Islamophobia? Is it racism? Hmmmm…









Now, if you can make a case that that Pop-Tart looks as much like a real gun as that briefcase-clock looks like a briefcase bomb, then *maybe* you’ll have a case that Ahmed is the victim of racism or Islamophobia, more than he’s a victim of “zero tolerance” policies. Let me know when any of these *other* kids get invited to the White House like Ahmed did.

 Posted by at 12:15 pm
Sep 172015

Color me stunned:

Orion astronaut flight faces delay to 2023

Orion, NASA’s modernized Apollo capsule, is looking at a two-year delay until a manned flight. This is due to developmental issues, which can also probably be linked to funding shortfalls. Which might seem a bit odd considering that the amount spent on Orion so far is several *billion* dollars, while SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has only seen a tiny fraction of that amount. Yes, yes, Orion is meant to be capable of a more energetic entry than Dragon, but still…

 Posted by at 10:03 am
Sep 162015

On Star Trek: Voyager, the character Kes was supposed to kinda bring in the eyes of pimply adolescent boys. But the problem was… she was an alien of the Ocampa race, and was something like three years old. Dude, naw, naw, dude. So the character was written out of the show, replaced with the Borg character 7 of 9 and her amazing cybernetic implants.

It seems things haven’t gone well for Jennifer Lien, the actress who played Kes.

Star Trek: Voyager’s ‘Kes’ charged with exposing herself to children in Harriman



Given that a case can be made that the elimination of the character Kes from Voyager led to Barack Obama being elected President, I guess the sense of guilt must’ve been overwhelming


 Posted by at 7:20 pm
Sep 152015

A lot of horror movies have villains/monsters that I’d like to think that, were I a character in the movie, I’d have the smarts and guts to realize that I could deal with by either setting ’em on fire, jamming something sharp and pokey into them, filling ’em full of lead, or even just turning on a good flashlight. But Guillermo del Toro’s new movie “Crimson Peak,” which comes out in a month? Were I to see this, I think my reaction would be to tell the proprietor of this fine establishment “I’m’a gonna FO” and the next you see of me is a dot on the horizon, substantially red shifted.


Del Toro *really* needs to do a straight-up Lovecraft movie.

 Posted by at 8:09 pm