Jun 302012

The manufacturer, Qwonn, claims that “Block-Ops Plastic” is an opaque black to the naked eye, but transparent to black & white cameras. This… confuses me a tad. I’m guessing that it’s transparent to IR, but the details are lacking.

The point of the stuff is that you can conceal a B&W camera in or behind a black plastic item, and the camera will see right through it.

 Posted by at 6:06 pm
Jun 302012

So I check spaceweather.com and see this:

What this says: right now the northern lights are going absolutely bonkers. So I dash outside and see… the sky all lit up by the nearly full moon, washing out any hope of seeing the faint aurora on the horizon. Grrrr. The moon well and truly setting is an hour away; these aurora displays tend to be good for *minutes.*

 Posted by at 12:38 am
Jun 292012


Space Monolith Action Figure

Product Features

  • Properly proportioned to those in the movies 2001 and 2010 (1:4:9 – the squares of the first 3 integers)
  • Made of semisynthetic, organic, amorphous, solid materials (AKA plastic)
  • Zero (0) points of articulation
  • Astronaut in the photo is not included. He’s ours. Get your own.
  • Dimensions: .75″ x 3″ x 6.75″
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Durability: Educational: Fun:
I placed this on a table and whenever we need a little evolution we give it a touch. The cat is now writing software manuals. The only drawback is that the roaches are really good at UNO now.


 Posted by at 10:47 pm
Jun 292012

An analysis is HERE, but what it boils down to is this:

2014: Families––$285 or 1 percent of total household income, whichever is greater. Individual adults––$95.
2015: Families––$975 or 2 percent of income, whichever is greater. Individual adults––$325.
2016: Families––$2,085 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater. Individual adults––$695.

Note that the poll tax does not kick in until 2014… well after the 2012 election. Thus come November, many people will still probably think it’s “free.” But by 2016, the tax will be $695 per person.

Granted, that’s not much compared to the price of private health insurance… it’s one month’s worth or so, or potentially much less. But it’s still a poll tax, something rather new in America.

Now that it has passed Constitutional muster, other poll taxes would seem obvious. The idea behind the Obamacare poll tax is that everyone needs healthcare insurance,” and thus it’s appropriate for there to be a single tax-price for every individual. Well, national defense is something that covers each American equally. That SM-3 ballistic missile interceptor that stops the nuclear missile from vaporizing Seattle protects  the homeless bum no more or less than the billionaire, the baby no less than the octogenarian. Thus, a National Defense Poll Tax would be appropriate. Since 2012 defense spending is about $1.4 trillion, and the US population is about 313 million, that means that a national defense poll tax of about $4473 per individual would be appropriate. For a family of 4, that means $17,891 per year.

Now, you can bribe your way out of the Obamacare Poll Tax by sending large sums of money to government approved corporate entities. What would be an appropriate way out of the National Defense Poll Tax? I come back to buying guns and ammo, but perhaps also crew served weapons, anti-tank ordnance, jet fighters, whatever. The law would have to be changed to allow for the purchase of destructive devices, but I’m sure that could be buried within the  two or three thousand pages of the National Affordable Defense Poll Tax law.

 Posted by at 9:13 pm
Jun 292012

America’s most wanted paedophile wins fight to stop extradition from UK on grounds it will breach his human rights to be put into a sex offenders’ treatment programme

Translation: if the US simply promises to put a criminal in a “treatment” program, the Brits will hold onto them forever. So, the implication is clear: we can empty the violent types out of our prisons into supertankers, drive them over to Britain, dump them off… and they are no longer our problem. We just need to promise that we might put them into open-ended treatment programs if they ever come back.

 Posted by at 9:37 am
Jun 292012

Even better: *spray* paintable batteries.

‘Paint-on’ batteries demonstrated

I imagine that as batteries go, paint-on batteries probably stink from an energy-density standpoint. Still, the ability to have thin-film batteries that follow structural contours would certainly have a lot of applications.

Eventually, paint-on batteries will be covered with paint-on solar cells.

 Posted by at 9:19 am
Jun 282012

Here’s a mid-1980’s Martin Marietta painting depicting a satellite  capable of holding and launching a multitude of missiles. As this came from a promotional video dealing with the Star Wars program, these missiles are presumably anti-missile missiles. Oddly, they seem to launch from both ends of the satellite.

Was this painting derived from a serious engineering design? I don’t know, but I do know that it bears an uncanny resemblance to the Soviet bomb satellite model built for (but cut from) “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

 Posted by at 11:15 pm