Apr 232018
 

This video was recently posted by a woman listening to a repetitive explosive sound. It sounds very much like a large gun of some kind going off at a regular rate (a hail cannon or some such similarly useless device, perhaps). But what does sound strange is the sound *between* the booms, like the cannon is shooting some sort of whistling projectile. Ideas?

 Posted by at 10:38 am
Apr 222018
 

Here’s an interesting thing:

Back to the wild! How letting Mother Nature reclaim prime farmland and allowing cattle and ponies to run free produced breathtaking results

Short form:

If the writer is accurate, there was a 3,500 acre British farm growing barley and maize, and doing a poor job of it. Due to sitting on not very productive clay, the farm was barely breaking even. So the farm owners tried something different: “Screw this,” sez they, “let’s just let nature take its course.”

Rather than undergoing some complex and micromanaged conservation program, they just let the land alone. Neighboring farmers were displeased, thinking that this was going to result in a weedpocalypse. And early on they were indeed overrun with weeds. And then the butterflies came and the resulting caterpillars ate up the weeds. In the years since, with no effort on their part except for stocking a few species of critters like a native British breed of longhorn cattle, their land is now close to what Britain *used* to be like in the days before agriculture. Even better, the cattle that live there are well-fed, healthy and apparently damnfine producers of tasty beef; their numbers need to be culled to keep from over-populating. The place is now exploding with multiple bird species, deer, horses, wild pigs, insects.

A couple things:

1) Cool. Nature is spiffy.

2) This experiment takes a *giant* dump on some of the more important arguments made by vegans. The claim is often made that growing animals just to eat them is an inefficient way for humans to get nutrition and calories, since the vast farms that grow corn and whatnot to be turned into cow/pig/chicken feed could more easily just straight up feed humans. But here’s the thing: in this 3,500 acres, humans are apparently expending approximately *zero* effort, and the plants that are growing there are largely inedible to mankind. And yet… this dismal farmland, barely profitable with a whole lot of effort, is now cranking out foodcritters that are claimed to be healthier and tastier than  farmed beef. This is likely no great surprise to those who hunt their own venison and the like, but as far as I know wild cattle are much less often consumed.

I live in rural Utah farmland. The farms around here suck up a *lot* of water to turn this place into profitable land for wheat and corn… not surprising given that it is, after all, essentially the desert. But here’s the thing: I have my own nearly five acres of land. Before me, it was farmland. When I moved in, my plan was to do *nothing* with it, a promise I’ve kept. I grow no crops. And wheat and corn don’t exactly spring up on their own on this now un-irrigated land. But you know what? It’s nevertheless *alive.* It’s not at all unusual to have weeds two or three feet high out back, several acres of the stuff. Now, my land, only a few acres, is too small to be turned into some sort of nature park. And as alive as it is, it’s much too dry around here to really come to life like that British farm. But if even this dusty patch of Utah can spring to life on its own, imagine what a lot of Americas farms could become if properly non-managed. There would be a few potential advantages to re-wilding a few million acres:

  1. Stop draining aquifers. Some big ones are getting kinda close to DOOOOOOM levels of empty anyway.
  2. Meat without effort. Meat without hormones and antibiotics.
  3. Less expenditure on fertilizer and fuel. More CO2 yanked from the air and turned into oxygen.
  4. Less farmland to work… less need for farm workers. Back across the border ya go!
  5. If it’s not actually a farm, then it doesn’t need to be taxed like one… nor does it need or deserve the subsidies.

I’m not at all sure how to go about this on a major scale. Eminent domain is one way, and it is of course a desperate evil that should only be invoked in matters approaching National Security level (though using it to snag large stretches of, say, Detroit, bulldoze it and convert it into woodlands seems like an actually good use). Perhaps if farm subsidies were simply done away with, that might do it: farms that cannot economically compete without subsidies can be convinced to re-wild, perhaps via something like a twenty-year subsidy of its own. Instead of paying farmers to grow corn, you pay them – for a strictly limited period – to re-wild their land, seeding it with appropriate species of plants and animals and basically just leaving it alone. The surrounding farms would of course also lose *their* farm subsidies… but then, they are also losing competitors. Less corn and wheat on the market.

Vast privately owned stretches of nature could make money a number of ways. If the British model can be replicated, a whole lot of meat – cattle, pigs, deer, antelope, rhinos, buffalo, bison, mammoths, camels, elephants – will be self-sustaining and prosperous. Within a certain number of years their numbers will begin to push the lands carrying capacity… and then you start harvesting. Maybe some places will have some sort of industrial process where the herds of paraceratherium will be driven into pens and a certain number extracted. Others can let hunters pay to go take ’em down themselves.

 Posted by at 5:31 pm
Apr 192018
 

He’s a screaming leftist harpie, but every now and then he makes a valid point, such as here: stop trying to litigate things that happened in the past that broke rules that did not yet exist.

 

His timeframe seems to stretch back only to the 1980’s, but the principle applies no matter how far back you go. And thus a whole lot of the effort to tear down all memory, certainly all celebration, of the Dead White Males who created the civilization we currently live and prosper in is based on them violating social norms that only came about later.

He makes the point that everyone today tolerates things that in a quarter century society will have decided are intolerable This is undoubtedly true. But I wonder just how many of the future intolerables would be things that we used to not tolerate, now tolerate, and in the future will not tolerate again. Or the other way around. Consider: back in the day, people tolerated (heck, knew nothing else) “free range parenting.” Kid comes home from school, you give ’em supper them kick them out to go raise hell with the other brats until sundown. Starting in the 80’s, Stranger Danger made that sort of thing damn near extinct. But perhaps it will come back n the future. Future kids may someday see the current trend of kids being glued to screens as a weird blip in history. Kids may have *jobs* again. Schools will have shooting clubs. Eugenics (a popular thing in the US until the National Socialists crapped all over the concept) may become quite the trend, doubtless aided by genetic engineering. “Progress” isn’t always a line; sometimes it’s a circle.

Heck, maybe big hair, shoulder pads and leg warmers will make a comeback.

 

 Posted by at 11:51 pm
Apr 192018
 

Taco Bell Space Station? It’s possible, panelists say

The panelists in question are at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, and they are discussing the concept of corporate owned and corporate sponsored space stations. *NOT* rebranding the ISS, but paying for their very own space stations, and naming them after the corporation that owns them. And… guess what. Prepare to be amazed.

A number of the panelists actually understand that if you pay for something, you own it, and you’re not beholden to anyone else for what you supposed to do with it or even call it. Huzzah!

I’m in favor of a Taco Bell branded space station. And Wal Mart. And Exxon. And Weylan-Yutani. And Tyrell Corp. And Facebook. And PETA. The more the frakin’ better.

 Posted by at 10:25 pm
Apr 182018
 

The nearest town to me is Tremonton, Utah. It is a truly terrifying place… filled with country folk, ranchers, farmers, Republicans, conservatives. I’ve more than once seen the mind-snappingly frightening scene of a rancher come into one of the local restaurants or grocery or auto parts stores with a pistol on his hip, in plain view of everybody. Where even *children* can see those murderous murder machines, ready to mow down everyone in the establishment. Clearly, this preponderance of armed right wingers is what has led to this place being such a hotbed of criminality such that the headline on the latest issue of the local newspaper is this:

Tremonton sees first homicide in over 50 years

That’s two murders in only half a century! Clearly, this is a crime rate unprecedented in the civilized world. So, let’s check some math. For comparative purposes, how about the *previous* place I called home, the not-dissimilar Hollister, California. Both are relatively small, relatively dusty rural towns. According to Wikipedia, the population of Tremonton in 2010 (last census) is 7,647, that of Hollister is 34,928. Hollister is thus about 4.6 times as big as Tremonton. So if Tremonton has a murder every fifty years, Hollister should see one every 50/4.6 = 10.9 years. But then… Hollister is in the enlightened, utopian state of California, the state with the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989, which banned the ownership of Evil Assault Weapons along with the sale of magazines capable of holding more than 10 bullets. So clearly Hollister should be that much safer than blighted Tremonton. So what’s the murder situation like in Hollister?

Fortunately, the city of Hollister maintains a website with some crime stats (although why should they need to, duh… everybody knows that California is safe as clams, what with the criminals being turned into harmless puppies by the state gun laws). According to that page, it seems there was one homicide in 2017. And there were zero in 2016. And zero in 2015! Well, case closed! Certainly no need to look further back, like to the three homicides in 2014, the four in 2013 or the one in 2012. And as for that one homicide in 2017, one need not question the confusion over the fact that there was this homicide and also that homicide, which the untrained mind might decide actually seems to indicate two homicides, not just one.

So, see? Tremonton, with its homicide rate of one per half century shows that Utah’s relatively lax gun laws and red-state culture is a terrible place compared to Hollister, where a mere nine (or is that ten?) homicides in a vast six year span show just how idyllic Californias gun laws and culture have made the place.

 Posted by at 6:40 pm
Apr 182018
 

To really no surprise, Barbara Bush, wife of George HW Bush, mother to Dubya, died yesterday:

Barbara Bush, Wife of 41st President and Mother of 43rd, Dies at 92

Babs was a dignified lady, and she sounds like she was a hoot. She and GHW celebrated their 72 anniversary a few months back… and I would not be in the least bit surprised if he joins her soon.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s meet the face of the modern left wing as they deal with Barbara Bush’s passing: Randa Jararr, professor of English at Fresno State in California:

 

 

 

 

She is a *tenured* professor, which makes it quite difficult for the school to fire her (the whole point of tenure). And *should* the school fire her for her personal views, expressed on her own time and not on school equipment or systems? I believe… no. She should *not* be fired. But then, I don’t believe  that anyone expressing conservative, libertarian, scientific or Republican views should be fired either.

That said: being a publicly funded dickhole in a position to spread venomous propaganda to the generation that thinks that snorting condoms and eating Tide pods is a good idea? Yeah, there should probably be some sort of consequence. Suggestion: any parent sending their Lil Tyke to Fresno State should make sure that they don’t take any classes from Jararr.

Now, something that probably*should* result in in direct action against her and/or her bank account is a tweet should made in response to the flak she was getting. She posted her phone number in case anyone wanted to call her. Interesting, right? Except no.The phone number was actually that of the Arizona State 24-hour crisis hotline. The entirely predictable result was that the hotline was bombarded by people calling to complain to her… potentially clogging up the lines for someone who might have actually needed the service. I don’t know what if any laws that might violate, but it seems likely to be legally problematic.

Did we care about Jararr before this? nope. Doubt much of anyone had actually heard of her. And I’ve little doubt that she’ll be remembered even a few weeks from now, unless she does a masterful job of keeping herself in the news. but she is instructive about the views of many on the left: they was people who disagree with them to die, and they will celebrate those deaths. And the fact that Jararr was largely unremarkable before this is instructive: it’s not like the left was disavowing her *before* this.

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Apr 152018
 

Sure, bombs, poison gas, cruise missiles, threats, nuclear war, blah, blah, blah. But then this:

Russian Lawmaker Says Russia Should Halt Space Cooperation With U.S.: RIA

It’s not news that, *insanely,* the US is dependent upon the Russians to send our astronauts to the ISS. If the current situation gets bad enough that the Russians no longer will launch US astronauts, then there are two possible outcomes:

  1. NASA pulls its thumb out and hurries up with launching astronauts on Dragon, the CST-100, the Dream Chaser… whatever.
  2. NASA finally abandons the ISS. In which case: good riddance. Either turn it over to the State Department, which is where funding for it has long belonged (ever since it stopped being “Space Station Freedom”), or turn it over to the DoD for target practice. Either’s good. NASA can then contract with Bigelow and SpaceX to orbit a bigger, better space station with artificial gravity and blackjack.
 Posted by at 1:26 pm
Apr 142018
 

“The Amazing World of Gumball” explains some complex subjects in ways that are enlightening and, let’s face it, accurate.

The stock market and economy:

The meaning of life turns out to be a whole lot more Lovecraftian than most kids shows would have you believe, on both the small and large scale:

 

Video games are dangerous. But are they the *most* dangerous?

 

 Posted by at 5:13 pm