And the hits keep coming:

Maine school board puts teacher on leave after she traveled to Dallas

A teacher visited Dallas, attended a conference *ten* *miles* from Dallas Presbyterian Hospital, and has been put on 21 days suspension because some parents freaked out. The cool thing for the teach? It’s a *paid* suspension. A three week staycation, away from the horrible little brats with the nightmarish helicopter parents.


A Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist for the Washington Post, who photographed Ebola victims in Liberia in September, was disinvited from a photojournalism workshop at Syracuse University even though he showed no signs of the disease for 21 days after his return to the United States. On Thursday, a woman flying on an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Chicago vomited in the airplane, and was subsequently locked in a bathroom by flight staff. In Hazelhurst, Mississippi, a crowd of parents pulled their middle school students from class Friday after learning that the school’s principal recently had traveled to attend a family funeral in Zambia, which is in southern Africa and about 3,000 miles from the outbreak in West Africa.

Collating the data would be a chore, but I’d be interested in seeing what the Venn diagrams look like of “people who are freaking out about Ebola” and “people who think that vaccinations cause autism” and “people who think that alternative medicine isn’t nonsense” and “people who think evolution is a myth.”

There’s being cautious, and then there’s freaking out. A bit too much of the latter going on these days.

Goliath Encounter: Puppy-Sized Spider Surprises Scientist in Rainforest

Photo at the link. Knock yourself out.

But wait! There’s more!

The sound of little hooves in the night

The “hooves” in this instance are the claws of the puppy-spider in question clicking on rocks and stuff as it goes stomping around.


So, huzzah. My right shoulder has improved to the point that I could actually reach to the top of my head to wash my hair. Woo. Granted, there was a point between A and B where the nerves still went bonkers, but once past that, things worked. I can pretty well run a mouse now. Woo.

On the one hand, there is a good, rational case to be made for not freaking out, for not panicking, for maintaining a rational outlook. On the other hand, there is a good case to be made for caution. But Ebola seems to make people ignore both of these. And it seems to be making people *stupid.* For example:

Thomas Duncan*knew* he had been in contact with Ebola, yet thought it’d be a good idea to fly halfway across the planet.

Nurse Amber Vinson, who worked with known Ebola victim Thomas Duncan, decided to hop *two* jetliners and fly across the country.

A worker at the same hospital who “may have” handled Ebola samples thought it’d be a good idea to hop on board a *cruise* *ship* and has now been quarantined in the Caribbean.

It’s almost as if one of the symptoms of Ebola is an unaccountable urge to travel and spread the virus.

But at least now President Obama has selected an “Ebola Czar” to deal with the issue. Who? One “Ron Klain,” someone not immediately familiar. So who is this guy? What are his medical credentials? Well, fortunately he has a Wikipedia page:

Ronald A. “Ron” Klain is an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents – Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011).[1][2] He is an influential Democratic Party insider. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White during the Court’s 1987 and 1988 Terms and worked on Capitol Hill, where he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election.



South Carolina Prosecutors Say Stand Your Ground Doesn’t Apply To Victims Of Domestic Violence

No commentary necessary.

Well, crap. My plans, developed yesterday after my car died and got left at the shop, was that I’d spend this weekend working on CAD drafting and modeling. But a small issue has arisen what stomped on those plans.

Starting a few weeks ago, I developed a recurring pain in my right shoulder. Some days it was there, some days not. At it’s worst, it would prevent me from raising the arm very far, but that mostly inconvenienced thing like raising items over my head. Didn’t interfere with the computer or driving. Yesterday it was fine.

This morning I awoke to agony. I have been unable to raise the arm at all, except for straight out to the side (which is not terribly useful for most common applications). The right hand and elbow function, but the shoulder? It hurts hanging straight down; it screams in any other position. The end result is that I can position this little netbook so I can type and post my gibberish, but proper manipulation of a mouse has proved impossible so far, stymieing my plans to get some damned work done.

Like as not, tomorrow (Sunday) my shoulder will be more or less fine. But it’s also possible that the pain will be worse, and then there’s Monday when I still won’t have my car.

A few years back I had tennis elbow; this feels much like that, except on a grander scale. Choking down as much aspirin and ibuprofin as I feel comfortable with has not noticeably knocked down the pain, nor slathering on stuff like Ben Gay or Voltaren. The tennis elbow took more than a year to fade away, but there was one treatment that resulted in pretty substantial pain reduction: jamming a big-ass needle into the joint and pumping it full of steroids. If the same sort of issue is the problem here… I shudder to imagine what sort of icepick of a hypodermic would be called for. Bleah.

No, I’m not referring to Wicca or the Druids, but to something much worse.

Reports of Witchcraft-Related Child Abuse On the Rise in London

As if importing Ebola from Africa wasn’t bad enough, the West seems to be importing the dumbest of belief systems: anything bad is due to demonic possession, and the proper response is to abuse the hell out of kids.

Brilliant. Put these Christian jackholes together with the Muslim kiddie diddlers of Rotherham and you’ll have a temptingly-nukable target.

So, I was driving home from Logan (about 30 miles and one shallow mountain pass) when I heard an odd, intermittent  slipping or grinding sound. It got progressively worse, so I decided to pull into the repair place in Tremonton (about 7 miles from home). As it was only a half hour from closing, they briefly looked at it and declared that most likely it was due to some belt slipping, not a problem, bring it back Monday. About half a block out of the parking lot, the radio couldn’t decide if it wanted to stay on, every light on the dashboard lit up and the power steering decided to go on vacation. I managed to horse it back to the repair place, where the explanation now transitioned to “sounds like your alternator’s screwed up.” They still couldn’t get to it until Monday, but they wanted to pull it into the shop… but putting the key in the ignition and turning it resulted in little more than a brief “uhhh” from the engine compartment then… nada. So, we pushed it in and I got a ride home.


Well, if your car *has* to die, I guess ten feet from the repair shop’s entrance is the place to have it happen.

Why the hell do people refuse to think things through and continue to allow the tyranny of public artists and their Archimedian solar death ray machines?

City pulls sculpture after visitor’s jacket singed by reflected rays

Yet another piece of “sculpture” causing damage via focused sunlight. Feh.

You know, though, I’ve long wondered why we haven’t seen this sort of thing weaponized. Not militarily, as such as the weapons are too big and the damage potential too small for actual military use, but by protestors. Imagine if a quarter of all the sign-waving yahoos at the next Occupy rally had their placards made not out of cardboard, but out of 1/16″ mirror plexiglass, with a sheet of paper taped over it. Or even just foamcore with a reflective sheet of mylar. With enough sunlight and enough solar hippies working in concert, all manor of havoc could ensue.

In 1972 the Holland America cruise ship S.S. Statendam set sail for a spot off the coast of Florida where the passengers got to watch the launch of Apollo 17. Also held on board was the 4th Conference on Planetology and Space Mission Planning. This conference, as described at , was a complete disaster. It was a sad, sad tale of lost opportunities and odd choices. It has also largely faded from memory.

I have a photocopy of the brochure selling the cruise and conference, and have scanned it in as a PDF. The quality is not spectacular, but it’s nevertheless an interesting bit of aerospace history. I’ve posted the PDF for $5 APR Patreon patrons over HYAR.

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