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

So the media is currently ulcerating over Trump suggesting that he’d like to see NFL owners fire players who decide to disrespect the US flag & anthem before games. Here’s the thing:

1: It’s the players right to disrespect the flag, the anthem, the US.

2: It’s any citizens right to say that he’d like to see these people fired.

3: It’s the team owners right to keep them or fire them

4: And it’s the fans right to stop spending time and money on games with players who are over-paid rude jackholes.


The NFL gets neither my time nor my money, so the NFL doesn’t care what my opinion is. But when you have an audible fraction of the people in attendance in the stadium *booing* the players behavior, the NFL should probably take some notice. And if you’re one of those fans who watches and/or attends and you’re booing? Stop watching, stop attending. Pretty simple free market stuff.

A few decades ago, professional athletes didn’t get paid diddly squat. Now they get paid more than most CEO’s, certainly more that the vast majority of the STEM majors, cops and soldiers who actually make life not only better but *possible.* They now seem to be an entitled class of dimwitted self-important boobs, paid stupid sums of money to do something fundamentally unimportant. And given how dependent upon politics the NFL is for a large fraction of their vast profits (sweetheart tax deals, getting the military to expend time and treasure for flyovers and the like), you’d think that something the NFL would want their players to be is *non* political, at least on the field.

So if you are a fan who is offended that a lot of the players are disrespecting your country because they are upset that even though black criminals are shot by the police at a lower rate than white criminals, they want that ratio to be tilted even further (that might not be what they *say* their reasons are, but that’s what it comes down to), then there is a simple solution: turn the game off. Stay home. Imagine how much more time and money you’ll have if you’re now going to a stadium to spend several hours watching tattooed millionaires play eleven *minutes* of sportsball and get paid more in that time than you will all year.

If stadiums emptied and the TVs were turned to something else (heck, if you are a “football family,” maybe y’all could play Monopoly or something instead), perhaps the rather obscene amount of money being squandered on this ridiculous pastime could finally be put to some better use. What better uses? Hmmm. Let me think…

The NFL brought in enough money last year to pay for 10 Pluto missions

 Posted by at 4:38 pm
Sep 242017

So, Star Trek Discovery plopped onto the airwaves tonight. My review:

It was certainly pretty, but all those visuals were spoiled by a whole lot of “WTF am I looking at?” Especially with the “Klingons” who bore almost no relationship to any prior iteration of the Klingons, in biology, aesthetics or culture. Heck, they even have Klingons  hating on other Klingons based on skin color, something that has *never* been indicated before. And of course they have cloaking devices, ten years before the Romulans invented the friggen’ things.

And Star Fleet bridge officers who attack other officers and try to mutiny. Yeah, sure, happens all the damn time in Starfleet. The rest of the story just didn’t really inspire much interest.

The first episode ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. Of course if you want to watch the second episode and those beyond, you’re supposed to pay up for the CBS All Access streaming service. But the episode left me cold, no more interested in shelling out to stream the episodes than before I saw it. So…

At least there’s still “The Orville,” a show that actually seems to get Star Trek.

 Posted by at 9:41 pm
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
Sep 222017

Kalashnikov statue changed because of German weapon

Woopsie. A statue commemorating Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47, was unveiled in Moscow this week. Looks like a good statue.  At the base of the stature there’s a sculpted “exploded view” diagram of the AK-47. Well… of the German StG 44, in fact, not the AK-47. They look similar to be sure, but they are not the same. And once that mistake was discovered, they delicately chopped the diagram off with an angle grinder. The link above shows the before and after photos.

This sort of screwup is not as uncommon as you might hope. Sometime circa 1994 I attended the unveiling of a veterans memorial on (or near, I forget exactly) Rock Island Arsenal. It consisted of polished black marble slabs, one for each war on up to the Persian Gulf War. Each slab had “art” laser or chemically etched into the surface; pictures rather than actual sculpture. I had a difficult time not making a scene when I realized that the Persian Gulf War slab showed what was *supposed* to be an AH-64 Apache, but was actually an Agusta A129 Mangusta, an Italian attack helicopter that the US military most assuredly did *not* use in Iraq.

This is also not an AK-47. Or is it? Hmmm…


So where are the statues of Eugene Stoner, Edward Teller and John Moses Browning? I suggest for every statue of Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee taken down, they be replaced with prominent American weapons designers.

 Posted by at 11:44 pm
Sep 212017

UC Irvine aims to transform public health with record-breaking $200-million donation

The donation comes with a bit of a hitch: it’s to be used to promote homeopathy.

On Monday, UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman announced that the Samuelis have donated $200 million to launch what he billed as the nation’s first universitywide enterprise to embed integrative health approaches in research, teaching and patient care.

“Integrative health approaches” in this context means “alternative medicine.” You know what we’d call “alternative medicine” if it actually worked? “Medicine.”

I suppose if it’s used to actually do good science on crap like homeopathy and reiki and psychic vampire repellent sprays, sure, fine, whatever. But I suspect that it’ll be used to ram woo into the medical industry *despite* the science.

 Posted by at 11:54 pm
Sep 212017

There is a time and a place for critters. My cats, for instance: their place is “my house” and their time is “all the time, because this is their house too.” But their place is *not,* say, the grocery store or the restaurant. Nor is it appropriate for women to take their genetic mutant fishbait yapdogs into restaurants and the like simply because they want to keep them nearby.

On the other hand: service animals, generally dogs. (NOTE: *real* service dogs, trained and certified) Their place is “pretty much everywhere.” Because they not only do a job, they’ve been *trained.* Cats and dogs, as I’ve said multiple times before, are On Our Team. But service dogs are even more so… they are *professional* members of Team Humanity. They get to go wherever the person who needs them gets to go.

The proper response to a service animal is, almost always, to *ignore* it. Sure, you see a dog and your instinct is to start baby-talking like an idjit and to come over and pet it… but it’s doing a job. Leave it alone. Your petting it will not only distract it, you could well cause a system failure.

There was a time when the only service dog you were likely to see was a seeing eye dog for the blind. But now there are dogs who can detect when their human is about to have an epileptic seizure, or go into sugar shock or something like that. And there are now service dogs trained to aid people with psychological issues, anxiety and PTSD and the like. You coming over and pestering the dog will not only throw it off, you might actually set off the issue that caused the person to need the dog in the first place. I admit, a decade or two ago I thought the idea of a service dog for mental issues was nonsense, but all evidence points to them being fully functional, real and useful. A PTSD service dog is no more nonsense than PTSD is. So if someone has been properly diagnosed with PTSD and the people and organizations who regulate PTSD dogs sign off on that someone having a service dog… I got no problem with that. And neither should anyone else.

But of course, the world is full to overflowing with people who missed out on the whole “rationality” and “empathy” development programs. Take this magnificent example of NSFW insanity:

Note how the dog remains calm throughout, as does the veteran. You know who else remained calm throughout? The womans husband/boyfriend/whatever. The look on his face, though… *priceless.* Ya gotta feel for the guy. How many years of this before *he* needs a therapy dog?


Repeat after me, kids: Leave. The. Dog. Alone.

So, let’s say you’re in a restaurant and you see someone with a service dog, and it is behaving itself. And your first thought is something like “ewww, the hygiene, the hygiene,” and your impulse is to get up and complain. Well, I have a very simple test for you. Look around. Does the restaurant allow *children?* If so:

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Sep 192017

Feel free to insert your preferred political rant HERE. I’m’a go with “something something anti-science where are Penn & Teller…”

Psychic Vampire Repellent

A spray-able elixir we can all get behind, this protective mist uses a combination of gem healing and deeply aromatic therapeutic oils, reported to banish bad vibes (and shield you from the people who may be causing them). Fans spray generously around their heads to safeguard their auras.

One might be tempted to think this is a gag gift, And for the Newage sucker in your life, it might serve fine in that capacity… but not for no damn thirty bucks. Behold:

“Sonically tuned gem elixers.”

Sonically tuned gem elixers.

Reiki charged crystals.

Seriously, somebody’s raking in the cash and laughing their keisters off. *At* *best* this would be…. what? Water that was poured over a rock? Has some sand or sand powder in it? Or is the photo accurate, and the spritz bottle actually has some aquarium pebbles in the bottom of it?


But wait! There’s more!

Chill Child – Kid Calming Mist

For getting the kiddos to chill, this aromatherapy mist is incredible: in addition to uplifting rosewater, cleansing sea salt, and therapeutic-grade oils of lavender, jasmine, chamomile, and geranium, it also contains a blend of sonically tuned gem elixirs (amethyst, jade, selenite, and rose quartz) and tiny, Reiki-charged crystals. It also smells incredible—misted into the air, this magic elixir can instantly soothe virtually anyone’s energy. To use, shake gently, then spray into the air around your wild child’s aura to restore peace to the environment (avoid spraying near the eyes, and do not ingest or inhale).

Honetly. Why don’t *I* ever think of things like this? Can you imagine a better way to get idiot newagers to throw money at you than to fill small spray bottles with municipal tap water and a spoon full of colored pebbles? I sure can’t… and sadly, I didn’t.

But, maybe this gives me a very bad idea: homeopathic nuclear bombs. I just need to find a sample of muromontite (a naturally occurring mixture of uranium and beryllium which results in trace amounts of plutonium) and then put that sample in a gallon of water, then mix that gallon of water with another thousand gallons or so, then pour it out into two-liter bottles and slap an “all natural H-Bomb” sticker on the side and sell to the Norks. I wonder if that’s the sort of thing the FBI and NSA would allow to happen, or if they’d shut it down because they, too, have been infected with newage and think that maybe it would actually work?

Or how about this: take the idea of a spray bottle with some shiny rocks in it, slap a label yammering on about all the psychic benefits… but instead of “psychic vampire repellent” or the like, say it’s “Nazi repellent.” It’d probably sell like hotcakes on many a college campus, and chances are really good that you could claims that it works successfully, because what are the chances that anyone’s going to actually run into an actual Nazi these days?

Alternative: call it “authoritarian fascist repellent,” and fill it full of cadaverine and sell it to campus cause-heads, with instructions that say to spray it on *themselves.* If they complain that it makes them stink and they don’t like it, point out that apparently it’s working correctly.

 Posted by at 5:55 pm
Sep 182017

When your movement takes up the challenge of trashing libraries, you’ve lost the argument.

Protests over Stockley verdict leave behind property damage


Businesses in Central West End clean up after protests

The St. Louis Public Library’s Schlafly Branch had a number of windows smashed and books tossed. Not clear how much damage was done, but intentionally damaging a library is not exactly an action that has a history of glory.

 Posted by at 12:41 am
Sep 172017

The second episode of “The Orville” was supposed to begin 35 minutes ago. My DVR dutifully began recording. My TV, however, shows that Fox is not showing “The Orville,” but instead a game of sportsball, which doesn;t look like it’s going to wrap up anytime soon. A check of the schedule shows that Fox isn’t going to re-run this episode of “The Orville” anytime soon, so anyone who planned on watching the episode later after having DVR’d it is SOL.

Yeah, this sort of thing will really help bolster those ratings.

 Posted by at 6:39 pm