Jan 312009

Well, whoopadeedoo! Obama wants a 10% cut in budget proposals for 2010. Now, what part of the FedGuv budget could he want these cuts in? Could it be Social Security, which is now nearly a quarter of the budget? Could it be some of the failed “Great Society” programs which together consume more than a third of the budget? Perhaps the Department of Education, which has done more to damage the cause of educating Americas children than anything else in history?

Let’s see…

Defense Official: Obama Calling for Defense Budget Cuts

Oh, of course.

The Obama administration has asked the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon’s budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent — about $55 billion — a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News.

Last year’s defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend “burning the midnight oil” looking at ways to cut the budget — looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said.

Let me guess. Missile defense? F-22? F-35?

So, in summary:


 Posted by at 4:47 am
Jan 302009

OK, the last two contests were entirely too easy. So, here’s a bit of a challenge: one year’s download subscription to APR for every (random number generator says) eight new subscribers that you bring in. If you bring in 80 new subscribers, that’s ten years free for you. If you bring in 8,000 new subscribers that’s a thousand years of APR for you, for free! (Note: offer only good as long as APR lasts. Consequently, if you want a millenium’s worth of APR, you better make sure that APR has enough subscribers to stick around that long. Offer non-transferrable.) Enter as many times as you like. I don’t care how you do it. Post handbills. Cajole co-workers. Bribery. Blackmail. Mob connections. Go door-to-door. I Don’t Care. Nothing I’ve done has worked worth a crap, so maybe someone out there can show me a better way.

I guess the easiest way to confirm your 8-or-more would be to either ask the new subscribers to pass a note along saying that you are responsible, or just email me a note with a list of people you have convinced to sign on.

 Posted by at 2:11 am
Jan 292009

I had call to make some snapshots of a few pages from issue V5N6 of APR (which is available for download or on CD-ROM). These show drawings and art of several Sikorsky “X-Wing” designs from the ’80’s. The X-Wing was a helicopter with rigid rotors… so rigid that in principle that rotation could be stopped and the rotors would serve as wings. It was a supremely nifty idea that was burdened by the problem of not working very well…  the transition from one state to the other would basically leave the vehicle falling out of the sky.

If you want to read/see more on the X-Wing program, pick up a copy of V5N6.




 Posted by at 9:06 pm
Jan 292009

Now *this* I’d love to see get passed:

U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) will introduce new legislation tomorrow to eliminate all penalty and interest charges by the Internal Revenue Service against U.S. citizens. The bill is designed to provide the same treatment for all U.S. taxpayers owing back taxes as that enjoyed by House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY).

A rule that puts The People on the same playing field as The Congresscritters? Awesome. I can’t wait to hear the arguements against this.

 Posted by at 3:22 pm
Jan 292009

A few McDonalds commercials from distant lands… and the lessons they can teach Americans.

1) Egyptian McDonalds commercial


The Lesson: violence against women is not only fun, its profitable!

2) Japanese McDonald commercial


The Lesson: there’s something really wrong with the Japanese. Maybe it’s the radiation. Maybe it’s the toxic blowfish surprise. Whatever it is, it’s made Japan the leader in the production of weird shit since 1952. For another example, look on this, ye mighty, and despair.

3) Korean McDonalds Commercial


The Lesson: Korean chicks are hot.

4) Israeli McDonalds commercial


The Lesson: Nothing sells product like eternal damnation.

5) German McDonalds commercial


The Lesson: Germans are efficient. McDonalds will annex your hunger! Achtung blitzkrieg!!

6) Swedish McDonalds commercials


The Lesson: The Japanese have competition as the masters of weird.

7) Turkish McDonalds commercial


The Lesson: From now on, when you think of Turkey, you’ll think of fun!

8 ) Russian McDonalds commercial

The Lesson: The love of overpriced coffee with polonium 210 is universal!

 Posted by at 3:15 am
Jan 282009

Three variations on a theme for the cover of the next issue4 of APR. Who likes which?

covertest1.jpg covertest2.jpg covertest3.jpg

The first two use the same photo taken from the ISS. The difference is that the lightest possible amount of “fade reduction” was done to the photo, producing the much clearer “covertest1.” “Covertest2” is the original photo. “Covertest3” is a false-color Landsat shot…more colorful, less realistic. But for cover art, I’m looking for “looks best” not necessarily “looks most realistic.”

I know the engineering of art, just not the art of art.

UPDATE: Due to seemingly everyone preferring #2, that’s what I’ll probably go with. Here’s a snippet of the full-rez version, with some additional tinkering… I’ve added some noise to take the edge off of the unrealistic sharpness of the image.


 Posted by at 9:42 pm
Jan 282009

orioncollect10.jpgHuzzah. All the modeling is done. Now to finish the writing, and create a few new illustrations from the models. Most of the writing is complete, but there’s still some to do, and a fair bit of editing. And I’m only at 148 pages!

 Posted by at 9:37 pm