Feb 022017
 

… to burn the joint down.

Protests, Violence Prompt UC Berkeley to Cancel Milo Yiannopoulos Event

Leftists responding with a terroristic temper tantrum?

Here’s a woman being interviewed and then getting assaulted for having the wrong politics:

And here they are beating a man down in the streets, and then continuing to beat on him once he’s down:

Probably safe to assume that we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of this sort of thing. A few days back someone sucker punched Richard Spencer in the street. Not that big a deal on its own… just one guy hitting another guy. Spencer is the “alt right” guy who did the “hail Trump” nonsense a while back, a “neo-Nazi” feller. After Spencer was punched, there was a *lot* of chatter online about whether it was ok to physically assault Nazis, and the general consensus seems to have been “yes.” On one hand… fark Nazis. But on the other hand, the Left has spent *years* tossing the “Nazi” epithet around, calling anyone who disagrees with them a Nazi or a fascist. So they have in essence been making the argument that it not only acceptable but *praiseworthy* to physically assault Republicans, libertarians, centrists… anyone they don’t agree with. Hell, **I* have been repeatedly called a fascist over the years when I have argued in favor of a small government that is Constitutionally restrained and limited in power with minimal negative impact on the freedoms of the citizenry. These jackholes don’t know what “fascism” really means, but they do know that it’s ok to attack fascists and that they can declare anyone they like a fascist.

So… yeah. Get used to this.

 

 Posted by at 10:17 am
Jan 312017
 

… otherwise they might be working on nuclear weapons systems.

Iran tests ballistic missile in defiance of UN resolution, US officials say

The Khorramshahr medium range ballistic missile seems to be on the scale of the Scud.  Hard data on it seems hard to find, but it looks likely to be scaled such as to reach Israel with a single small nuclear warhead.

 

 Posted by at 12:08 pm
Jan 282017
 

President Giant Middle Finger has been busy signing executive orders left and right. Friday he signed one banning the importation of refugees and such from a few specific countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The idea, apparently, was to preclude the arrival of Jihadis who want to commit acts of terrorism in the US.

On the one hand, he is enraging the left and causing them to expend substantial effort, energy, time, political capitol and funds in protesting. Every day he signs an executive order that causes the causeheads to rant and rave; this by itself is neither good nor bad, though given how wrong and generally silly the leftist causeheads have been these last few decades I’m generally given to support whatever they oppose. This, of course, is pretty much what led to the Trump Presidency in the first place. Many leftists have taken the opportunity to crank up their hysterical hypobole generators all the way to eleven, such as:

As Trump severed the torch-bearing arm from the Statue of Liberty and the US went dark overnight on Friday…

The US went dark? Trump chopped the arm off the Statue of Liberty? Huh.

However, the refugee ban is problematic for a few reasons.

Firstly, it seems to have been slapped together without a whole lot of thought given to some of the ramifications. Thousands of legal US residents who were out of the country – such as former Iranians who have gone back to Iran to visit family – are now kinda up the creek, unable to board planes back to the US. Worse, it blocks Iraqis who aided the US military – translators and guides and such – from coming to the US. Unlike the vast majority of the “refugees,” those Iraqis who worked for the US are exactly the people we *should* be importing… not only do we want their kind (i.e. people who want to work for our interests), it is *right* to rescue those who have served our cause.

Second, while the nations on the list are understandable, there are some nations mysteriously left off. What about Pakistan? Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Turkey? These countries crank out the jihadi whackos as fast as the others… and they have a history of actually getting terrorists into the US.  It has been pointed out that Trump has no business dealings in the nations he’s banned… but he has substantial dealings with nations he didn’t. Hmmm.

And on another matter… during the inauguration protests, a limousine was vandalized with spraypaint then set on fire. There were a few layer of irony here. First the limo was spray painted with “We the people.” then set on fire. Which mean the protestors were setting “we the people” on fire. Second… the owner of the limo? Guess what. Muslim immigrant. Way to show your support, folks.

 

 Posted by at 9:51 pm
Jan 262017
 

Some time back I kinda inherited a bunch of old magazines (you may be able to guess which one…). The idea was to sell ’em, but a bit of research showed that they have almost no resale value. Turns out, magazines that were printed in the millions and *not* thrown away didn’t really become collectors items. Didn’t help that the internet came along and, gee whiz, if you’re looking for a certain kind of, ahem, portraiture, there are now easier ways to get ’em.

So, they’ve sat here taking up space. But being the student of history that I am, I looked through ’em all. And there were a number of interesting things. Perhaps most entertaining are the ads. Sure, most are utterly forgettable. But some… some kinda jump out at ya.

So, because why not, I’m starting a new category of posts: Antidote To Nostalgia. Nostalgia is an interesting thing; on the one hand it can be fun to think back on good times (or times that are remembered as good), on the other hand, it is a dandy way to get history wrong and screw up your future by focusing on the past at the expense of the future. So what will be posted are things that are cringeworthy. If you are nostalgic for the late 1960’s-1970’s (the era of the magazines), there will be a whole lot of men’s fashion ads that should make you reconsider your priorities.

First up, though, is  an announcement for a piece of consumer electronics. There were always ads for electronics, but it seems they really began to ramp up towards the sort of electronics we know today starting in 1978 and really accelerating in 1979. This device from 1979, though, is a device that would be wholly useless, and largely incomprehensible, today: a calculator specifically to tell you how much a long distance phone call will cost. Counting for inflation, this thing would run you the equivalent of about $165, for a device that today would serve no purpose whatsoever.

1979-04-b

Yeah. In the late 1970’s, it made sense to some people to blow a day or mores wages on something that would tell you how much a phone call would cost. Go ahead and be nostalgic for *that.*

 Posted by at 12:24 am
Jan 252017
 

Weather has been rather aggressively wintery of late. For example, I am getting a serious uncomfortableness about the amount of snow and ice built up on my roof. Conditions on the roads have been similarly dodgy from time to time. So it wasn’t entirely shocking to hear on the news this last weekend that a Fed Ex truck got smacked by a commuter train in Salt Lake City.

But today the police released some dash cam footage that put a bit of a different spin on things. There was a police car *right* *there* when the incident occurred and good footage was obtained. You might think the truck driver is an idiot for pulling out in front of the train. But pay attention to the train crossing signals and barriers. More importantly, pay attention to the *timing.*

Ruh-Roh…

Note that there’s no audio. I *really* want to hear the audio. I bet it’s entertainingly expletiv-riffic.

 Posted by at 2:40 am
Jan 192017
 

Is your main problem that you are just too cheerful? Is an overwhelming sense of optimism ruining your worldview? Well, boy howdy do I have the cure for you!

Back when I was a kid in the 80’s, it seems to my dim and rusty memory that the airwaves were *filled* with doom-and-gloom. Initially we were all going to die in nuclear fire, but soon enough AIDS was also going to do us in (I have particularly strong vague memories of people freaking the hell out when rumors began to spread that skeeters could spread AIDS). And then there was the crack cocaine and crime in general. It’s kind of a wonder than *any* Gen X’er ever managed to intentionally reproduce.

All y’all too young to remember the 80’s can’t really grasp just how shocking it was when the wall came down and the Soviet Union fell away *without* the world going up in nuclear fire.

 

 

 Posted by at 5:11 pm
Jan 162017
 

Eugene Cernan has died, age 82. In December of 1972, as commander of Apollo 17, Cernan was the last person to leave a footprint on the moon as he was the last man to step back into the lunar module. Consider that: someone born just after Cernan stood on the moon would now be well along in his or her career. And if this hypothetical person joined the NASA astronaut corps in order to go to the moon, *that* person is now pushing age limits. And by the time NASA *might* get back to the moon in the mid to late 2020’s, that person would be well into their fifties.

 Posted by at 3:33 pm
Jan 152017
 

Hidden behind SpaceX’s successful Falcon 9 launch and landing was the unfortunate failure of the Japanese SS-520-4. This is a three-stage derivative of the SS-520 two-stage sounding rocket; it was hoped that it would put a 4-kilogram satellite into a 180X1500 km orbit. Sadly, somethign went wrong and the second stage did not ignite. If the SS-520-4 can be made to work, it’ll be one of the smallest space launch systems developed… 31 feet long, 20 inches diameter, 2.9 tons at liftoff.

The NOTS-EV-1 “NOTSNIK” was a substantially smaller & lighter space launcher, but:

  1. Of ten launch attempts, none are confirmed to have succeeded (two *may* have)
  2. It was small, but it had to be hauled to altitude by an F4D-1 Skyray, which was substantially bigger than the SS-520-4.
 Posted by at 2:11 am
Jan 142017
 

Well, 2017 is off to a rollicking start…

A Woman Was Killed by a Superbug Resistant to All 26 American Antibiotics

She was seventy and busted her leg in India where she got initial treatment. The particular bacteria in question was not found elsewhere in the US hospital where she died, so it was likely something she picked up in India (or developed within herself), but chances are that this was not a one-and-done incident. We’ll see more of this.

 Posted by at 1:49 am
Jan 102017
 

I suppose like most people, the vast majority of the dreams I have are utterly forgotten when I wake. A few stick around for a few seconds and quickly fade, leaving nothing but a frustrating “feeling” of memory. But about once a year I have a dream that really sticks with me through the day, with the memory of it reasonably bright and clear. A dream like this about a year ago I scribbled down in story format; it will eventually make its way into my fiction, as it fits in quite well there. But Thursday morning just as I woke up I had another one. Normally I imagine people would have little enough interest in the dreams of others, but this one might amuse readers of this blog.

So: I’m in a lab coat. It is definitely me; while I don’t see me (it’s all first person, seen through my own eyes), I know it to be me. I am in a hurry and moving quickly. Not running, just sorta speed walking. I know that I am late, though it’s not immediately clear what for.

Where I am moving quickly *through* is what’ll be interesting: a giant factory. Brightly lit, mostly painted bright epoxy white, it is a vast facility for the production of a range of rocket vehicles, everything from (seemingly) small space launch vehicles to things bigger than the Saturn V. It’s clearly a mishmash of places I’ve actually been, such as United Tech, ATK and the VAB, along with places I’ve seen in photos and concept art. But at that moment there’s nothing much going on. The lights are on, there are boosters on the assembly lines, a *few* people poking around in the distance, but it’s clearly not the busy time. I’m moving from one vast assembly area to another. I go through a door and someone yells at me that I need a hardhat, which I grab off the wall, put on and continue on my way.

I finally enter one last facility, this one largely open space. A few hundred yards away vast hangar doors are open, mountains visible in the distance. I’m moving quickly towards the open doors. Before I can get to them, someone from my past – someone I knew in my college days – comes around the side of the open  door, heading my way; when we meet up she tells me I’m late and that everyone is waiting for me. When we get to the open doors I see a large audience in bleachers, and a smaller group of people dressed like me in lab coats seated in front of the larger group.

And then my cat Buttons started jumping up and down on me, ending the dream.

The dream showed me an alternate history… one where I didn’t go to university at some place off in northern Iowa where Aerospace Engineering was one small subset of a vast array of disparate fields of study, but instead I obtained my education at a giant rocket production complex, seemingly in eastern Colorado (Wyoming? Montana?). Instead of an aerospace education that was almost purely theoretical, with the hopes of maybe finding someplace to put that education to work, here was an alternate history where the work is being done and students get to be surrounded by it while being educated. A place where you graduate in a lab coat and hardhat, not a robe and mortarboard. And likely a place with a *terrible* football team, but that’s ok because who the hell wants to play sportsball when they could be working on rockets? A place where the SJW’s find no purchase, where STEM is dominant.

Sigh.

So, for most of Thursday I was torn between being slightly elated at the basic idea of Just How Awesome That Vision Was… and being horribly bummed out that that not only it didn’t happen, but it couldn’t happen and likely never will happen.

But just imagine: The Musk-Bezos-Drax Industries factory complex northeast of Denver, cranking out interplanetary colonization ships and boosters and spacecraft for the orbital and lunar tourism industries and solar power satellites and asteroid mining, a facility so large it is its own small city with its own university. Students from around the world come there to Space City to learn aerospace, mechanical, electrical, chemical and nuclear engineering, surrounded by actual ongoing work in all those fields, with daily launches and landings from the Fort Morgan launch site.

Awww. I think I just gave myself a sad.

 Posted by at 2:14 am