Oct 032017

Some videos of the suite that the Mandalay Bay shooter was in, taken by prior inhabitants. This suite is *huge.*

In the grand scheme of things, the question “what do we do with the room” seems pretty minor, compared to the scope of the carnage and the likely political ramifications from those who will try to ride this travesties coat-tails to further their grip on power. But still, it’s an interesting question: what does Mandalay Bay *do* with the room? Once it has been swept by the cops, the windows replaced and any other damage fixed up… do they return it to service? Do they put anyone who requests it on a watch list? Do they turn the place into a museum of sorts? Or do they make the room unavailable, either perpetually or for some number of years? I have no idea what the economics of a place like this is. If the room is locked off, is it going to be an important economic impact to the hotel? Or just a minor blip? Seems like it might be a decent enough place to serve as a storage room.

Economics is going to be important to Mandalay Bay in the coming years. Far as I can tell, they did nothing wrong here; they simply rented a room to someone they probably rented to many times before. Hotels don’t run renters baggage through X-ray machines or otherwise go pawing through it like the junk jugglers at the TSA. Still, you *know* the lawyers are salivating over the chance to sue the bejeebers out of Mandalay Bay… they have the deep pockets, after all.

Unless I’ve missed some recent news, there *still* isn’t clue one about what this guys motives were. He went to a *lot* of trouble, with considerable planning, time, effort and expense devoted to carrying out the massacre. This implies a form of rationality, even if he was crazy; he didn’t just snap. But usually the authorities can reasonably quickly figure out what the perpetrators motives were. Revenge? In this case, for what, and against who? Religion? Politics? Neither seem in play. Was he just in a “my life sucks, I’m’a gonna lash out” spiral? At least so far nothing seems to indicate that… his finances were apparently good; he’d just sent a hundred grand to the Philippines (presumably his girlfriend, who was there at the time).

So, in lieu of any actual facts, here’s my Whackadoodle Conspiracy Theory:

1: His finances in fact weren’t so good. His gambling had gotten out of control, and he’d gotten in trouble with the mob.

2: The mob realized that he was about as boring a person as possible, with virtually no digital footprint.

3: The crime rate has been dropping for the last twenty years, while gun rights have been increasing. This is bad news for criminals, organized and otherwise.

4: So some clever mobsters come up with a plan: force this guy to carry out a senseless massacre (using, say, threats against his girlfriend) using “assault weapons.” The mobsters know that by doing so, using a guy with no known politics or religion, that their useful idiots in the press and the government will immediately latch on to the story and use it to try to ram through new anti-gun regulations.

5: With mob-luck, whole classifications of firearms will get banned. The civilians will be disarmed; the criminal element will be free to relive the good old days of the high crime rate.

6: Profit!

Likelihood of this being the real story: approximately zero. But nothing much else seems to fit yet, so…

 Posted by at 8:03 pm
Oct 022017

On one of the great tragic days in American history, we’ve got us a college (adjunct) professor deciding that the thing to do is to make it worse. Reports are she had an “episode.


 Posted by at 6:42 pm
Oct 022017

I’m constantly hearing about how Americans are too freaked out about terrorism, how Europeans have a more laid back, adult and rational response to it, how they just get on with life, don’t freak out about it. And then this happens:

Wimbledon station commuters flee train in ‘Bible’ panic

In short, some guy started reading aloud from the Bible on a British commuter train, so other passengers actually forced the doors open to get away from him.

Seems a bit of an over-reaction.

 Posted by at 3:06 pm
Oct 022017

So, someone opened fire on a vast music festival crowd on the Vegas Strip with a fully automatic weapon. So far, two dead, 24 wounded; the police report that the shooter is dead. The videos I’ve seen on CNN seem to indicate that the shooter fired a magazine, reloaded, fired another magazine, reloaded, emptied a third. Hard to tell how many rounds were fired, but if those were standard capacity thirty round mags, that’s 90 rounds. One quick lesson to learn here: full auto is an inefficient way to carry out a massacre… 90 rounds shot into a  crowd with something like ~30 people shot.

UPDATE: the police just issued a statement… at least *20* dead, 100 injured. A good chance that a number of the dead & injured weren’t shot, but trampled. They know who the shooter was, but are so far refusing to ID him, other than he was a local. They are looking for one Marilou Danley. I’ve already seen internet sleuthery that has located the online info about one such woman and her very leftist -apparent-husband (who the net-sleuths have determined based on nothing that he is the shooter), but given the poor track record of such things (recall the Charlottesville initial reporting), it is at best unwise to start pointing at individuals based on just a name.

ANOTHER UPDATE: 50+ dead, 200+ injured. Shooter ID’ed as one Stephen C. Paddock. Looks like this is the worst mass shooting in US history.

OK, so, now comes the time for rampant unsubstantiated speculating for political purposes. The weapon was full auto, which is an unusual occurrence; was it a legal full auto weapon, shot by the owner or someone who procured a stolen one? Was it an illegally modified semi-auto? Was it a legally modified bump-fire conversion, or some sort of crank-fired gun? The gunfire *seems* to be slightly variable in rate of fire, so maybe the latter.

The shooter is reportedly dead, and reportedly alone. So was the shooter a lone whackjob? Was he a Trump supporting white supremacist… shooting into a crowd of country music loving white folks for some reason? An Antifa/BLM anti-Trumper/anti-white-folk terrorist? An ISIS supporter? This being Vegas, other options are available. Was he some guy who was perfectly fine a day or two ago, but went to Vegas for a fun weekend and wound up losing his lifes fortune playing the slots and it drove him over the edge? Some guy who’s upset about the Reptilian Conspiracy (again, this is Vegas)?

My unwarranted speculation: not a jihadi. This shooting was carried out at some considerable distance; jihadis seem to prefer to kill people up close and personal.

Right now there are a *lot* of people saying “please don’t be one of mine, please don’t be one of mine…” And when the identity of the shooter is released, there will be a lot of people going “Yay, ammunition I can use against my political opponents!” and lots of people going “Damn, I can’t use that.”

Apropos of nothing: CNN is interviewing a lot of people who were on the scene, as you’d expect. And a *lot* of them seem to be Canadians. Is Vegas particularly popular among Canucks?

 Posted by at 2:10 am
Sep 292017

So the Russians have some seriously badass off-road vehicles, including some surprisingly large vehicles capable of going prit-near anywhere. They pretty much *have* to , since they have a whole lot of territory, and apparently not such a good road system.

For a really WTF example, take a look at the following video. It’s a collection of Wacky Videos From Russia, including the usual collection of stuff you might expect. Most of the clips are the sort of things you could see anywhere, but at about 1:33 there is a short clip showing a paved asphalt road that is… I don’t know what it is. It ain’t right, and I can’t explain it.

If anyone can explain that road and just what the frak happened, I’d love to hear it.


 Posted by at 1:27 am
Sep 282017

There is a time and a place for most things. Kneeling during the National Anthem as a form of protest… it can be insulting, but so long as it’s in a venue where the people who feel insulted can withdraw their finances from you, that’s fine. But you know where such form of protest *isn’t* appropriate? Let’s take a look…


There is question about just what’s going on here. The origin of the photo itself is a bit of a mystery… it’s entirely possible that this occurred *before* the current obsession by tattooed millionaires for “taking a knee,” maybe he’s just typing his shoe, etc. But if it is what it looks like – intentionally disrespecting dead soldiers – then it’s monumental jackassery.



 Posted by at 6:19 pm
Sep 262017

This… this struck many a nerve. Back in my aerospace engineering days, I had a *lot* of meetings that went more or less like this.

The end result, both in the video and in reality, is for the engineer to just give up and say “yeah, sure, I can do the crazy incomprehensible thing you think you want.” Work from that point forward then becomes an effort not to produce the impossible thing, but to plan out in advance how you’re going to blame who for what.

There were times when I was told to design a component that would only be physically possible in a reality with four physical dimensions. There were *many* times when I had to actually invent something (not just design, but invent, as in come up with a new propellant combination and propellant geometry that had apparently never been tried before, with all the tests and undoubtedly failures and revisions that would require) and I had to tell management in advance how much it would cost and how many man hours it would take, to within a few percent accuracy. There were times when I was told to replace an electrical conductor with a non-conductor, but to make sure that it maintained its conductance. Told to make a rocket motor that performed as well as a standard one, weighed the same, cost the same, but didn’t have a hot exhaust plume. And so on. And every time I made an objection I was told I was being “negative” or was told “that’s your job” or “make it work.”

This also works as an allegory for “a rational man among the social justice warriors.”


 Posted by at 3:15 pm
Sep 252017

Argh. Facebook is not my favorite thing. But, apparently, it’s where all the cool kids hang out, so the Aerospace Projects Review Facebook page that I cobbled together years ago, I’ve started posting things in again.

One of the weird things about Facebook is that you (apparently) can’t see a page unless you are signed in to Facebook, and if you are signed in, your own Facebook page when displayed to you has a bunch of editing features plastered all over it. Mine does, at any rate. So I can’t see what my own APR Facebook page looks like to other folks. Meh. So I don’t know if it looks ok or not. Anyone wants to wander by and let me know, that’d be great.


 Posted by at 2:16 am
Sep 232017

A deli worker was attacked, someone came across the counter and slashed at him with a knife. He fought back with a  knife of his own, and the other guy got the worse of it. So, what happened? Did the city of New York throw the deli worker a ticker tape parade? Give him the keys to the city? A commendation for improving the streets and the gene pool? Nope:

Harlem deli worker charged with murder after fatally stabbing man who tried to attack him behind counter

Left unexplained in the article is why a guy who, according to the description given in the article, was simply defending himself has now been charged with murder.

 Posted by at 6:04 pm