Sep 112015

Saudi offers to build 200 mosques in Germany for Syrian refugees

Gee, greeeeaaat. One mosque for every 100 migrants who showed up in Germany last weekend. What a helpful gesture! I’m sure that has nothing to do with trying to get those migrants permanently ensconced within German culture. Nope. No colonial intentions whatsoever. Just a nice way to be helpful, because clearly the thing these people – and the German people – need more than anything is to perpetuate the ideology and power structure that made things a hellhole back home.

It would be nice if Germany responds with an offer to build 200 mosques in *Saudi* *Arabia* and to ship the migrants there.

 Posted by at 10:08 am
Sep 102015

As may have been apparent, I like old-school aerospace blueprints. I’ve gone to considerable effort to develop some skill at reproducing them using the cyanotype method on vellum paper, and, while not a precise match for what would have been made 60 years ago, I still think they’re pretty good. I think they’re great art.

But then I see videos like the one below, and wonder if I’m just being sucked into trendy nonsense…

 Posted by at 11:56 pm
Sep 092015

It’s the Daily Mail, so…

Europe’s fracture continues as Denmark closes road and rail links with Germany in bid to stem the flow of migrants heading for Scandinavia

If accurate, it seems that once again Germany is causing trouble for its neighbors.

I heard an interesting theory today: the current “migrant crisis” is America’s fault. Not the usual dribble about Syria’s troubles being due to the US invading Iraq in 2003, but a longer-term issue. The idea goes that after WWII, the US basically took over the job of defending western Europe. As a result of the Europeans not having to devote much of their national budgets to defense, they were able to build up their welfare states, which has made those nations not only weaker* but also made them more attractive destinations. Kinda the “attractive nuisance” of national policies.

*Weaker because:

  1. Less national defense/border security
  2. Less national identity (and thus less interest in actually preserving their national identity)

Not sure it’s necessarily true, but it’s an interesting thought.

Also, THIS ARTICLE claims that 4,000 migrants are landing on the Greek island of Lesbos every day. The population of the island is about 87,000. Thus the locals will be outnumbered in  just about three weeks.

PS: Is this thing on? The Disqus commenting system went goofy a day or two back. Since then I *think* it’s back, but there’ve been only a couple of comments, far fewer than normal. I don’t know if that’s due to difficulty in posting, or just a lack of interest in doing so. So if you’re even remotely interested in commenting, give it a shot. If you have any trouble, shoot me an email at scottlowther AT ixDOTnetcomDOT com.

 Posted by at 8:54 pm
Sep 092015

Slate discovers the blindingly obvious:

Student Loans Might Be Driving Up the Cost of College.

In short, it turns out that when the Federal government blindly subsidizes something, that something becomes more expensive. Why? Because those who are getting paid to provide that something now are virtually assured of getting paid whatever they ask for, because the FedGuv will pay it.

Note that there is no good reason to assume that this applies to college, but not, say, to health care.

schools raised tuition by 55 cents for each $1 increase in Pell grants their undergraduates received, and by 60 to 70 cents for each extra dollar of subsidized student loans.

No kiddin’.

Lemme put it this way: I normally charge $4 for a copy of US Bomber Projects, and sell to – if I’m lucky – about 100 people. But if the FedGuv came along and told a whole bunch of folks  – say, a thousand – that they’d subsidize ’em to the tune of $3 to buy a copy of USBP, chances are *real* good that I’d sell the better part of three or four hundred. Good for me! Now, if society told those 1,000 people that if they wanted to get ahead if life they’d better buy USBP, chances are good I’d sell more than 950 of ’em. Yay! But once *I* realized that those people are bound and determined to buy USBP, *and* that they will definitely have the funds to do so… you can bet your ass the next time you check out the webpage, the average issue of USBP will be $5. And then $6. And then $8.

And those 950 buyers will still buy at $8 an issue, and will *demand* that the government give them $7 to do so. So who’d be unhappy here? Not me. Not the subsidized buyers; they get the product they want and don’t care about the cost. Not the government, because who cares who much things cost? You know who cares? Two people. The taxpayers who have to fund this disaster. And anyone who wants to buy a copy of USBP and who *isn’t* being funded by the government.


 Posted by at 3:25 pm
Sep 082015


Meet ‘Mark’, the crazy genius who designed an aeroplane while drunk

Mark, a mechanical engineering student at Michigan Tech, got blitzed, designed an airplane, then woke up with no recollection of it.

Granted, it’s of course not a complete design, but instead sketches and a bunch of math. But damn, those sketches are a lot better than some I’ve seen come out of *sober* *professional* aircraft designers. The aircraft is a wing-in-ground effect plane, designed to skim just above the surface of the water; the air compressed between the wing and the waters surface creates more lift than if the aircraft was slightly higher, flying out of ground effect. WIG craft are dandy ways of gaining fuel efficiency for relatively slow transport planes, so long as you’re cool with a bumpy ride. Which, if you’re wasted, you probably are.

The story sounds like a fun adventure in Asperger’s Syndrome;  “Mark” plunged into design work with a passion and yammered at his roommates, going through all the math in detail while they laughed. That sort of commitment to cause in the face of derision is a common feature of Aspergers. But the blackout drunk aspect of the story makes it a bit different from usual.


The real question now is: is Mark a better designer sober… or drunk? There is of course precedent.


 Posted by at 2:48 pm
Sep 082015

Two wholly separate, yet somehow similar, news stories:

Kim Davis Freed From Jail in Kentucky Gay Marriage Dispute


Muslim flight attendant suspended for refusing to serve alcohol, files discrimination complaint: advocacy group

Basically, both boil down to “I don’t want to do my job because my interpretation of my religion says not to. And any attempt to either make me do my job, or punish me for not doing my job, is discrimination. Help, help I’m being oppressed. Come and see the oppression inherent in the system.”

It’ll be interesting to see how many people who cheer Kim Davis *also* cheer Charee Stanley. Somehow… I suspect there won’t be a whole lot of overlap.

A few hours ago I watched live CNN as a rally formed around the release of Davis. While I thought jailing her was at best monumentally silly, I was rather more disturbed by the ridiculous rhetoric used by the likes of Mike Huckabee. I become further convinced than I already was that there is a strain of fundamentalist Christianity that *craves* martyrdom, that sees being oppressed as the highest display of worth. And since, let’s face it, they’re *not* being oppressed (certainly not any form of oppression that anyone burned at the stake or shunned by their family or beheaded or sold into slavery would recognize as oppression), they need to invent oppression in order to feel holy.


 Posted by at 2:19 pm
Sep 062015

I’m of two minds on this book:

  1. On one hand, this book is filled with *amazing* images… set photos, diagrams and best of all concept paintings that would make damn fine art to hang on the wall. It’s a treasure trove.
  2. On the other hand… whoever laid out this book needs to have his ass removed.

Quoting from some of the reviews on Amazon:

In what will go down as one of the most horrific decisions in book making history… these amazing and rare photos and illustrations are force fit into pages that have a useable space of about 6 inches wide, and 14 inches tall. This makes presentation of these glorious visuals an impossible task… either the images have to be shrunk to postcard size… or, and this is almost criminal… the image must be split, down the center, across the book spline. OH. MY. GOD. The CENTER of these amazing images… hopelessly lost in the curving folds between adjacent pages.


There ae incredible, beautiful, never before seen wonderful pictures and illustrations, with often interesting notes that fill up the book. VERY SADLY they are almost all cut in half by enlarging them to take up two pages, separated by the books binding. Even the many foldouts have a crease going down otherwise great pictures. This is totally annoying and disappointing and distracting. I guess they wanted the book to look like the Monolith. Instead, it should have looked like a book and given us all these pictures with no “interruptions.”

Basically… WTF were they thinking?

I have high hopes that someone will re-release the imagery in this book in a format that isn’t mind-bogglingly *stupid.*



The people who laid out this book should have used “2001: The Lost Science” as a guide. While not near as much stuff in a book that costs about the same, the format and size of the book is *excellent.*

 Posted by at 12:09 pm
Sep 052015

Britain pledges to help thousands of refugees – but rich Arab states have taken in NONE

Germany has said they’ll take in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees this year. It’s a reasonably safe assumption that a large fraction of these refugees will become permanent residents of whatever European nation they end up in. And why not? I’d sure as shootin’ rather bunk down in a European welfare state than in a middle eastern hellhole.

Arab states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia could easily take in the vast bulk of the Syrian refugees, just as they could have taken in the Palestinians. But they have not done so, nor are they likely to do so. Why is this? Well… the first answer is that refugees are troublesome. They cost money. They burden local services. They might be unpleasant to look at. They might pose political problems for the local government.

But there are also strategic reasons for not taking in refugees. Again look to the Palestinians. The Arab world has spent decades loudly decrying the conditions the Palestinians live in… while doing nothing to help them. Instead, they have only aided those Palestinians who’s crazy actions will bring down further harm onto the Palestinian people. The Arab states have done this for political reasons: it’s handy to be able to keep the people’s attention on the Evil Israelies, rather than on their own local evil government. When the people notice that their own government sucks, you get Egypt and Libya.

But a longer range strategy is very likely also in play. As mentioned, many of those refugees will become permanent residents of their respective European host countries. While Syria might lose some population, it’s not going to change being an almost entirely Muslim nation. But Germany, say, will see an increase of it’s Muslim population by several million over a few years via immigration, and millions more over the following years by births. The end result: colonization.

Now, this is not to suggest that the migrants are in on this, or that there’s some devious scheme to trash Syria specifically to create an invading army. But as famed political philosopher Rahm Emmanuel once opined:

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.


 Posted by at 9:56 am
Sep 042015

A video that seems to have been produced for the Chinese government depicts an entirely successful Chinese attack on a US aircraft carrier battle group and the conquest of (apparently) Okinawa:

Chinese Animators Envision a Future Asia-Pacific War—and Blow Up the Internet

The video apparently ends with:

China is strong, victorious wars require deaths; for all to be strong and safe, [we] face the risks and dangers of war. We wholeheartedly love peace, but must be prepared for the likelihood of war. We respectfully and solemnly commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war against Japan.


As is the way with propaganda videos, this one shows Their Side wholly successful, with their weapons and forces unfailingly accurate and capable of evading interception. Obviously a Chinese attack on a US carrier group and an invasion of Okinawa would be a whole lot messier for the Chinese than depicted here. American military tech is, at least for the moment, substantially superior to Chinese. But I don’t care how advanced you are if the enemy can simply throw waves of cheap weapons and cheaper soldiers at you. China is, after all, far closer to Okinawa than the US is; if for some reason the PLA wanted to set the world on fire, I’m sure they could eventually scrape up enough sheer blunt force to trash the US military in the region. The question is why they would want to do such a thing. The Chinese invade sovereign Japanese territory, and kill tens of thousands of Americans, someone will take offense to that. It would not surprise me in the least if, as the last American forces on Okinawa collapse under the sheer weight of a hundred thousand Chinese invaders, someone pulls the trigger on the megaton-class nuke buried under the base. And then the counter attack would begin, perhaps in the form of Tridents rising out of Ohio-class boomers lurking out int he middle of the Pacific.

Sure, it’s just propaganda. But then, so was Mein Kampf. Propaganda *can* change a country.

 Posted by at 3:02 pm
Sep 022015

‘Hero’ Cat Saves 3-Year-Old’s Life by Taking a Bullet

A “hero” is someone who knows there are dire risks and yet does what needs doing. In this case… the cat was asleep, the kid was asleep, a bullet came in the window, hit the cat and missed the kid. The claim is that had the cat not diverted the bullet, it would’ve hit the kid. The cat was more “innocent bystander” than “active hero,” but even so… You Do Not Shoot Cats.

Fortunately the cat survived, though it was of course injured. If’n ya wanna help, the family has set up a GoFundMe page to pay for the vet bills (note: the bills have apparently been paid in full, so….


 Posted by at 1:33 pm