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 http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=6879 , 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.

D.C., Maryland hospitals evaluating two patients who have Ebola-like symptoms

Either It Has Begun and It Will End In Fire, or we’re just beginning on the up-slope towards Peak Panic. Either way, the cold and flu season should prove incredibly entertaining this winter. I fully expect that surgical masks and latex gloves will be all the rage in fashion, and there’ll be a run on bleach.

As the topic on Fark.com so succinctly put it…

If you watched NBC News tonight and thought “Why the hell is Dr. Nancy Snyderman in the Liberian village where that guy caught ebola?”, you weren’t paranoid, because her cameraman just tested positive for ebola

Or just the less interesting ABC headline…

Doctors ‘Optimistic’ About Prognosis for American Journalist With Ebola, Family Says

“Hey, let’s go film an Ebola outbreak.”

The proper response is… “Nope.”

GIFSec.com

When I was struggling, a quarter century ago, to get my aerospace engineering degree, it was abundantly clear that there was a distinct disparity between the numbers of males and females in the engineering, math and science courses I took. It was not unusual for a class of thirty or so to boast a whopping four of the fairer sex. This tended to make those four very popular. Granted my memories of the time are faded, jaded and biased, but I don’t recall so much “oh, boo, there are girls invading our traditionally male-only spaces” so much as “oh, boy! Girls! Interested in the same stuff as us!! Maybe they’ll notice us!” Grant also that I have no idea what it is like to have several dozen hormone-driven nerds take an interest in me, so maybe that was less thrilling for the gals in the classes than it may have seemed to the guys.

I do remember more than a few run-ins with  femynist cause-heads who would for some reason berate me for that male/female disparity… but when I asked them if *they* were planning on taking Differential Equations and Calculus Three, never mind Statics, Dynamics, Orbital Mechanics or any of the rest, there was not a whole lot of “well, yes, sign me up.” The simple fact seems to be that the reason why there are (or at least *were*) fewer female-types in the engineering classes was because fewer female-types *wanted* to be engineers.

Why might that be? I am sufficiently politically incorrect and observant to suggest that there are some differences between the sexes that cannot be glossed over with post-1960′s propaganda. And some of these differences might simply make women naturally statistically less interested than men in becoming engineers. But it is also abundantly clear that there is at least *some* cultural component. While there have been women scientists and engineers for a little short of forever, they have, at least until recently, been viewed by society as odd or worse. One might’ve thought that those days should be over, at least overtly. Ever since Barbie got a talkin’-to over stating that “Math is hard,” it has been bad form to suggest that girls give STEM a pass.

But then this happened:

‘Science’ Center Teaches Boys Rocketry, Girls Makeup.

The Carnegie Science Center is shown advertising a series of science/engineering related workshops for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The listings for the Boy Scouts actually looks pretty good… I know that if they had been offered to 10-year old *me,* I woulda been all over ‘em. But the listing for the Girls is… well…

carnegie-science-classes

What is “Science With A Sparkle?” Apparently it has nothing to do with pyrotechnics or Cerenkov radiation. Instead:

Prepare to be dazzled! Dive into chemistry and learn how science relates to health and beauty products. Become a cosmetic chemist and concoct your own creations to take home.

 Ahhh…

George_bush_scratching_his_head

“Health and beauty products?” Now, if the “health” products that the workshop were aiming towards were cures for Ebola, cancer and socialism, hey, that’d be great. But I suspect that’s not really it. More like “this is how to use makeup,” I’m guessing.

Now, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts are, to the best of my recollection, wholly unrelated organizations, sharing only a portion of their names. But for  activities like this, can anyone come up with a good reason why the two organizations can’t work together to create *joint* science & engineering courses? Any good reason why they must be segregated? And if there’s a valid reason for the segregation, any reason why they can’t simply use the same facilities, equipment, books and instructors and such *twice?*

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On a related matter: I keep hearing about sexism among comic book fans, sci-fi fans, gamers, cosplayers, etc. To a certain limited degree, such things are inevitable. But to a larger degree… dude, if’n yer a nerd, what THE HELL are you doing making life rough for a girl who shares your interests? What, are you a fricken’ moron? Forget the moral and ethical reasons for not treating females like trash. Simply do the math. If you don’t already, you will, soon enough, be attracted to women and want them to be attracted to *you.* But here’s the thing: if you are a sci-fi/comic-book/gamer/whatever nerd, most women *won’t* be naturally attracted to you, because you are a social outlier. How do you change that without abandoning the interests that give you some measure of happiness? Well, it’s *not* by bitching about how The Hot Chicks just want the Dumb Jocks. What you want to find are females who *share* your interests. And being a scumbag to ‘em will not help. Not only will you immediately mark yourself as a scumbag, you will make them less interested in those very hobbies that could have made them interested in *you.*

So if’n yer a geek-guy and you see another geek-guy being a dirtbag to a geek-girl, whap the dumbass upside the head. Not so much in order to make him re-evaluate his life and improve his chances of finding true love, but to make him stop driving females away from *you.* (Note: do no do this publicly. Do not advertise it to women. Nobody likes a “white knight.” You and your metaphorical fedora will get mocked.)

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Also: behold the irony. This blog post is based on the above-linked posting at “Wonkette,” which appears to be a feminist political blog. Fine. But at least on my screen, the right-hand side of the page has vertical banner ads… including a Calvin Klein ad with women in an incomplete state of dress. Men get in trouble for looking at semi-nekkid women. But apparently feminists make money by displaying semi-nekkid women to other women. Shrug.

There is nothing left to invent. Creativity has ground to a halt.

Not a joke: A Tetris movie is being made

Someone turn out the lights.

Woo!

Patient at Dallas hospital isolated after showing signs of Ebola virus

Patient apparently had travel history in Ebola-land. All other details lacking.

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UPDATE: Yup.

Ebola case is the first diagnosed in the U.S.

A few things:

1) It’s not the first case of Ebola in the US. There was a minor outbreak of Ebola in Reston, VA, in 1989/90, but fortunately while the Reston variant turned Rhesus monkeys into molten puddles of misery, it didn’t really do anything to humans.

2) When the patient flew in from Liberia, he was infected but asymptomatic. He didn’t start showign symptoms for another 4 days or so. The conventional wisdom is that Ebola is not infectious before symptoms emerge. I guess we’ll see…

Man beheads woman in Oklahoma, officials say

The story has the traditional level of detail we’ve come to expect (i.e. almost none), but what we get is that one Alton Alexander Nolan beheaded a woman, tried to kill another and then got shot by a deputy (he’s expected to survive). No motive for the beheading was given, nor the circumstances behind it.

If you go elsewhere, you can find some interesting and possibly telling details. Such as these bits from Mugshots.com:

Who is Alton A Nolen? (note slight difference in name spelling… *might* be a different guy)

Scars / Marks / Tattoos:
  • TAT ABDOM: NCIC AS-SALAAMU ATAIKUM
  • TAT CHEST: NCIC JESUS CHRIST
  • TAT L ARM: NCIC RIP LIL KRIS, JUDAH
  • TAT R ARM: NCIC PRAYING HANDS

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ISIS calling for ‘lone wolf’ attacks inside US

Draw whatever conclusions you like.

___________________________

UPDATE, later in the day:

Huh.

Vaughan Foods, man beheads woman: Alton Nolen suspected of beheading woman, stabbing another

Nolen recently had been trying to convert co-workers to Islam, Lewis said. “After conducting interviews with co-workers of Nolen’s, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert some of his coworkers to the Muslim religion.”

Indeed, huh.  All those of you who saw the very limited information that I posted earlier this morning and drew Certain Conclusions about whether or not there may have been a religious implication to this story should feel very, very ashamed for having correctly surmised the situation.

That said: he had just gotten fired, and it sounds like he was a lifelong scumbag who simply snapped. His violence may well not have had anything to do *directly* with his religion. But it does sometimes seem like a certain type of person is drawn to a certain type of religion, doesn’t it. It’s odd that Nolen didn’t convert to Hinduism or Buddhism or Wicca while in prison.

The Latest Ebola Projections Are Absolutely Horrifying

Dire new estimates show that people who contract the deadly Ebola virus have a 70.8% chance of dying — and the disease is on course to spread even more rapidly than ever. The latest projections propose a worst-case scenario in which 1.4 million new cases will emerge in the next four months.

 

That works out to 990,000+ dead folk in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Note that these are only those who die directly from the disease. Not counted are all those who will die because they depended upon people who died of the disease. You know… kids and old folk and the infirm and such. And then there are all those who will die because of the cultural freakout that’s pretty much inevitable from an epidemic like this.

And if you get an epidemic killing hundreds of thousands in just a few months, it’s a safe bet it’ll travel.

Of course, this may all be BS, and ebola will burn itself out. Who knows.

Earlier the Unwanted Blog was running kinda screwy and the Aerospace Projects Review blog was just plain dead. According to Hostcentric tech support, this was due to some database work being done somewhere in Massachusetts. Obviously the Unwanted Blog is back, but the APR blog is still offline. Feh.

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