Mar 092017
 

UPDATE:

Sage the cat died this afternoon.

——-

This led off the local nightly news tonight.

Clearfield family finds beloved cat shaved, beaten

There are photos that will ruin your mood and, if you’re at all like me, make you want to set up a second reward. The first rewards is $5000 for anyone who can provide tips that lead to an arrest. But I kinda want a second reward set up for *after* the suspect is found, arrested, tried and convicted.

Chances are good that this was done by a kid. If so, I expect to see family members yammering on about “he’s a good kid” or some such factually indefensible rubbish.  Whether perpetrated by a kid or an adult, though, society doesn’t need him among us. If someone can provide a good, valid reason why a jail term followed by deportation to Somalia isn’t a proper response for such behavior, I’d like to read it.

The Humane Society of Northern Utah is paying the vet bills. As of the news report, it was far from clear that Sage the cat would survive. I certainly hope he does… partially just on general principles, partially because this cat, after being tortured and broken and blinded, managed to find his way home and crawl in through the dog door.

www.humanesocietyofnorthernutah.com

 

 Posted by at 3:36 am
Mar 082017
 

… here are two Thunderf00t videos discussing recent projects that have consumed lots of money but which were based on bad science, bad math and bad engineering.

The self-filling water bottle remains a stumper to me. The basic idea is quite simple: a solar powered dehumidifier. Not exactly staggeringly new technology. Yet, the math behind the concept is available and accessible for anyone to do… and the math shows that the idea is *monumentally* impractical. And still people shovel truckloads of cash at these efforts.

 

 

 Posted by at 5:12 pm
Mar 032017
 

Recently there have been a lot of antisemitic weirdness in the US. Vandalism (including knocking over gravestones), graffiti, and a whole lot  of bomb threats against Jewish community centers and schools and such. Predictably, these acts have been glommed upon by the political yammering heads… claims that these are the result of neo-Nazis/white supremicists  somehow being “emboldened” by the election of Donald Trump have been pretty common.

Finally, an arrest has been made. And hoo boy, does the accused not fit the narrative:

Ex-journalist arrested over US Jewish centre threats

The feller arrested is one Juan Thompson, a 31-year-old Missourian. The Official Preferred Narrative would have had Mr. Thompson being a Confederate flag-waving Trump-worshipping racist white redneck… but, sadly, he’s not really fitting that description all that well. It seems he fits the “racist” part of it reasonably well… but his racism is directed *at* whites.

Whoopsie.

It seems that Mr. Thompson was sending out bomb threat after bomb threat to sow actual terror… but not necessarily at the Jewish centers, but at his former girlfriend. It seems that he was attempting to frame *her* for these acts because he’s, y’know, a nutburger. It’s very likely that the best decision the ex-girlfriend ever made was getting the heck away from this guy.

He’s an entertaining headline:

Disgraced Left-Wing Reporter Charged With Making Several JCC Threats in Plot to Frame Ex-Girlfriend

The “disgraced”  comes from some actual “fake news” that Mr. Thompson produced during his time as a journalist. He seems like a real piece of work… “fabulist” seems a rather understated descriptor. He seems to have been utterly delusional:

Before Bomb Threats, Juan Thompson Unraveled — and Terrorized an RFT Reporter

Perhaps most impressive, Mr. Thompson wrote articles about Dylann Roof (the racist white guy who shot up a black church a couple years ago), in which he interviewed Roof’s cousin Scott Roof. Scott provided details like the fact that Dylan was normal until he started listening to White Power music, which warped his tiny little mind. There’s one small problem with the story, though… no such cousin as “Scott Roof” actually exists. This sort of thing led to him being a “former” journalist.

Juan Thompson is no stranger to controversy

Now, Mr. Thompson is not suspected of being responsible for all of the antisemitic acts and threats lately. It’s thought that he’s just a copycat, and that there are a number of other scumbags out there doing this nonsense. But I think he is instructive in pointing out that when it comes to scumbaggery, politically useful narratives can *easily* be dead wrong. Especially when we live in a world populated by actual crazy people.

 Posted by at 5:29 pm
Mar 012017
 

Some ideas are so dumb that not only are they not going to work, not only are they going to make the problem they claim to want to fix *worse,*they are so dumb that a good case can be made that the idea was actually planted by the opposition. Here is a *fantastic* example:

It’s Time for White People to Pay for Privilege: The Equality Tax

The short form: every white person should pay thousands of extra dollars per year, money to be just handed over to a “person of some color other than white.” Because reasons. But even better, white men pay more than white women; straight whites more than gay whites.

Obviously this is a bad idea on many levels. It’s unConstitutional, for starters. Second, taking money from a low-income working white laborer to pay his black boss is ethically indefensible. Third: how long does the author think it’ll be before a bunch of white folk realize that if there are no more “people of politically correct color,” then they won’t be fined just for the color of their skin in order to pay them? This whole proposal is little better than an invitation for race war.

Now, here’s the thing. The opinion piece here *seems* to be written by a Social Justice Warrior. But given the inevitable result not only of the implementation of this proposal, but of the mere *existence* of the proposal… how do we know that this wasn’t written by some smarter knucklehead at Stormfront? There’s even a hint that that’s what actually happened. At one pint in the piece, the writer notes:

According to TaxFoundation.org, white Americans pay 83% of the federal income tax.

And then a little later:

According to InfoPlease.com, whites account for 63.7% of the population (a population of 308.7 billion based on the 2010 census).

Hmmm. Note the discrepancy… whites are 63.7% of the population but pay 83% of the taxes? Nobody who really wanted to seriously suggest that whites need to pay more would openly note that whites *already* pay more.

In the comments section of a post a day or two ago, I noted that in the science fiction I write I posit that the 21st century becomes not a happy fuzzy period of coming together, but yet another century of bloodshed. The more interesting stuff of course if the likes of Pakistan and India nuking the bejesus out of each  other… but of no less importance will be the result of decades of political and racial divisiveness causing societies like the US to tear themselves to bits. Interestingly, we’re just about at the one century anniversary of the creation of the word “Balkanize,” which perfectly describes the end result of these sort of proposals:

Word Origin and History for Balkanize

v.

1920, first used in reference to the Baltic states, on the model of what had happened in the Balkans; said to have been coined by English editor James Louis Garvin (1868-1947), but A.J. Toynbee (1922) credited it to “German Socialists” describing the results of the treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Either way, the reference is to the political situation in the Balkans c.1878-1913, when the European section of the Ottoman Empire split up into small, warring nations. Balkanized and Balkanization both also are from 1920.

Do you want more Alt Right? Because this is how you get more Alt Right.

 Posted by at 5:32 pm
Feb 232017
 

I have some small hope that anybody reading the title of this post won’t actually believe that I believe it. I would hope that *nobody* would believe the title. But as with so many of my hopes, this is another one that has been dashed. For there are people – not just uneducated jerkwater morons, but educated university professors such as Georgetown University’s Jonathan Brown – who believe that slavery, when done under the rules of one particular religion, is a wonderful thing. And that rape doesn’t exist because it was never mentioned in his favorite book of religious fairy tales.

Professor Uses Lecture to Defend Islamic Slavery

The lecture was sufficiently vile that even fellow Muslims were appalled.

It seems Prof Brown is a recent convert. There’s no fanaticism like that of the recently converted… the newly minted vegan or non-smoker or non-drinker or… but to get *really* nasty, nothing beats the new convert to a religion. Especially when you think that your new religion not only puts you right with some divine moral absolute, but also gives you the right to be a monumental dick.

Of course, this lecture has received some discussion and debate in the days since it was publicized. And of course Prof Brown is trying to walk it back, with the usual “I was taken out of context” scheme we always see when someone is recorded saying something indefensible.Brown even starts out his lecture by announcing that he will be saying hyperbolic things and that he’ll be taken out of context.

It was clear that he wanted to make sure that he controlled the debate as he had a “Jihad Watch” reporter expelled prior to his lecture. But what’s extra-remarkable is that the audio of the lecture was uploaded to YouTube by… prof Brown his own self. Clearly he thought that his advocacy and defense of the indefensible was perfectly wonderful.

Here’s a simple test: if you are being a dick and your understanding of your deity backs you up on your dickishness… consider that perhaps either your deity is a dick and does not deserve your worship and belief, or that you are simply a dick and have chosen a belief system to confirm your dickish nonsense.

Here’s a shorter video of the lecture. Better audio, though edited.

 Posted by at 5:35 pm
Feb 232017
 

I mean, other than anybody…

Soda companies, supermarkets report 30-50 pct. sales drop from soda tax

Short from: Philadelphia institutes a high tax on sugary drinks. The end result is that people have stopped buying them… or at least, stopped buying them in city limits. And the end result of *that* is:

One of the city’s largest distributors says it will cut 20 percent of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring.

Good job.

The funniest part of the story is this panicky email from the Mayor:

I didn’t think it was possible for the soda industry to be any greedier … They are so committed to stopping this tax from spreading to other cities, that they are not only passing the tax they should be paying onto their customer, they are actually willing to threaten working men and women’s jobs rather than marginally reduce their seven figure bonuses.

Huh. You raise a tax on a product, and the people selling the product don’t cut the price of the product so that the customer pays the same? How scandalous!

The real question in situations like this is: are the people who push for this sort of thing, then act surprised when the inevitable happens, stupid, deluded or just lying? When you tax something, you get less of it. When you subsidize something, you get more of it. This not only just makes sense, it’s also historically supported.

Extra betterness: the city is relying on the soda tax to fund its schools. They had planned on $7.6 million per month in tax revenues for that purpose, but only drew in $2.3 million the first month. So, once again good job: linking childhood education to a tax scheme that you had to know would be a disastrous failure.

Even more betterocity: the results of this have meant that far less soda is sold in town, which means far less soda needs to be moved into town via truck, which means there’s less work for truckers, which means members of the Teamsters Union are seeing up to 70% pay cuts. Good job, Democrats who supported this: you’re ticking off the Teamsters.

For some fun reading, take a look at the Wikipedia page of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. Right after the section on the sugary drink tax he pushed is a section on his opposition to Donald Trump… with extra emphasis on how he’s going to maintain Philadelphia’s status as a crime-enabling “sanctuary city.” Yeah. I’m sure that’ll work out greeeeeaaaat.

 Posted by at 3:32 am
Feb 212017
 

Here are two more images to haunt your dreams and harrow, yes, your very soul. Two ads from the early 70’s that demonstrate not only tragic notions of what makes good mens fashions, but also incomprehensible notions of how to sell said fashions. I’m guessing that this was a result of the fetish for “machismo” that filled the 70’s… not so much actual masculinity as a theatrical parody of it.

Pictures after the break to protect fragile minds.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 1:41 am
Feb 182017
 

‘Blind sheikh’ convicted in 1993 World Trade bombing dies in U.S. prison

Omar Abdel-Rahman has died at the excessive age of 78 due to complications from diabetes.

There are those who say that no matter how horrible the actions of a person or persons, they take no joy in those people’s deaths. To these presumed moral superiors I say:

You try to kill a bunch of folks because you got some crazy ideas from a crazy book written millenia ago by some crazy semi-literate monster who headed a death cult? Yeah… we don’t need you.

 

 Posted by at 11:11 am
Feb 172017
 

Ugh. I feel several points dumber for having watched this. I shudder to imagine how idiotic I’d feel if I paid money to see the full thing.

It is pretty sad that so much time, effort and resources are expended on patently false nonsense. More than a century after the facts become universally available that shoot down the pillars of the argument here, people still trot this rubbish out. Sigh. But then, centuries after communism was shown to be disastrous, people still trot it out. Millenia after the Earth was shown to be spherical, flat Earthers still exist. Astrology. Ghost hunters. Dowsers. It seems that being objectively, provably false just makes some ideas immortal.

Especially sad that it is readily shot down, line by line:

 

 

 

 Posted by at 11:41 pm
Feb 172017
 

Yay, modern toys! I don’t recall the talking dolls from *my* childhood posing this problem…

German parents told to destroy Cayla dolls over hacking fears

Short form: looks like your standard plastic doll for little girls. Has some electronics in it… electronics that include a Bluetooth device that is hooked up to the internet. It can understand speech and will hold conversations with the child… apparently not unlike Siri or other modern voice recognition systems. On one hand, it is an obvious application of technology that is now several years old. On the other hand, it’s new enough that the basic idea still seems pretty creepy just on its own. But it gets better: apparently the Bluetooth system is not very secure and is readily hackable. This means a few fun possibilities:

  1. It can be turned into a listening device.
  2. Since it can talk, a hacker could use it to tell your children… things.

Imagine *that* one. A young child has a beloved talking toy that suddenly starts telling the child subtle and evil things. “Mommy doesn’t love you anymore.” “You’re too fat.” “Tell Daddy to vote for the Democrat.” “Pour gasoline on the puppy.” “Satan is your friend.” “Allahu ackbar.” “Give your little brother a special hug with the kitchen knife.”

Yeeesh. No wonder the German government is telling parents to simply destroy the thing.

 Posted by at 6:27 pm