Jan 312013

One of the last aircraft proposed by the Curtis-Wright company (early 1960’s), this version of the Model 300 featured a single main wing with wingtip engine pods. Each pod contained to Wankel rotary internal combustion engines; each engine drove a broad-bladed propeller (one at the front of the pod, one at the rear) of the type that had been successfully demonstrated on the Curtis-Wright X-19 VTOL aircraft. In order to attain vertical lift, the forward propeller would tilt up, the aft propeller would tilt down.

At the time, there was considerable interest in fast short-ranged VTOL transport. The idea was that small VTOL aircraft would operate from various small “ports” in and around major cities, flying to and from the nearest major airport (along with other transportation hubs). The VTOL would provide a bus service for the busy businessman on the go, who might need to leave his office in a hurry and catch the next jetliner to, say, London. While no VTOL aircraft such as the Model 300 were built and put into service for this role, several attempts to fill the “VTOL bus” role were attempted with helicopter, but due to noise and cost the concept never caught on.

 Posted by at 8:14 pm
Jan 312013

About a week or two ago a new cat came wandering by… a very beat-up, undernourished and emotionally defeated cat I called Starvin’ Marvin. Yesterday I managed to grab hold of him… with no fight whatsoever. He thought that being picked up by a human was just the awesomest thing ever. Me being a sucker, I brought him in so he wouldn’t freeze to death; after feeding him I noticed that not only was he a she, but she had a fat belly indicative of being With Kittens. After a night in the basement, I took her to the vet for a basic checkup. Good news: no feline leukemia (had there been, I’m not sure there would have been a more humane reaction than a needle). Bad news: she’s not pregnant. Might be a tumor, or something else messing with her innards. Any further testing will require more spending.


So I brought her home and set her up in one of my bathrooms until I can figure out what to do with her. My dim plan right now is to fatten her up and see if she can get otherwise back into shape, then spay and release. I really *don’t* want a new cat in the house (and neither do Raedthinn nor Fingers). But tonight while petting her I found *two* small (1/8″ or so) spherical nodules directly under the skin. They are hard, and they are mobile, and they seem to be the same size. They are either cysts of some kind… or perhaps shotgun pellets.  Either way, it’s back to the vet tomorrow. On the practical side, I *don’t* want to spend money on yet another cat; on the other side, if someone shotgunned this cat, I want to know about it and do what I can for it. It may be that her skinniness yet tubby gut is due to damage from getting shot.


So, an X-ray would seem to be in order. The vet today said such a thing would run about $150. Anybody want to pitch in and help out? Not really sure what I can do to repay except give a hearty “thanks” from me, a half-hearted “Meh” from Marvin and  a passel of photos of Marvin as she, hopefully, gets better.

So, you know, if interested…


 Posted by at 7:21 pm
Jan 312013

Very likely this is old news to y’all, but just in case…

1) A pastor and her friends (a total of more than 20 people) go to Applebees. Applebees system automatically puts an 18% gratuity on the bill for more than 6 people (the actual group was more than 20). The pastor scribbles out the 18% and writes in: “I give God 10% why do you get 18” and writes in “0” for the tip.

2) Another server at Applebees photographs the bill, and posts it to the Atheism page on Reddit… without obscuring the pastors signiture

3) The Internet does what it does, and finds the pastor. Pastor calls Applebees and demands that everyone involved be fired.

4) Applebees fires the server who posted the photo, because “customer privacy.”

5) The Smoking Gun interviews the pastor, one Alois Bell, and splashes her photo across Teh Intarwebs.

6) *Now* the pastor is embarrassed.

There are three dumbasses here. The pastor, the server, Applebees management. The pastor was, I think, the worst of the bunch: the server was just a little thoughtless in not cropping the signature; Applebees management are probably much like any collection of corporate drones, incapable of thinking outside of some rulebook. But the pastor was beyond thoughtless, she was *mean.* And some might consider a worse problem was that, as a pastor, she’s something of an ambassador for her faith. And who wants to sign on to a faith where the local figurehead is such a jackass?

Well, not too many, it seems. Her “church” is a rented storefront, with a congregation of about 15. The pastor claims to tithe 10% of her income from another job to the church… but since she pretty much *is* the church, I fail to see any heroics there.

As for Applebees… they’ve just dug themselves a PR nightmare. Wait till Anonymous or the /b/tards get hold of this…

A comment I saw on one of the Youtube videos noted the irony that it took an atheism discussion board to teach this preacher some humility.

 Posted by at 5:04 pm
Jan 302013

While I have no particular love for reporters, it’s got to be a pain to do a live shot out in public and have drunk yahoos wander into the shot and demand attention. How best to deal with them? Well, here’s an effective approach:


 Posted by at 11:46 pm
Jan 302013

In their desperation, the far-left in the media are editing tape and misinterpreting events in order to promote the false claim that gun rights supports “heckled” Neil Heslin, a father of one of the Newtown massacre victims. For example, behold MSNBC’s Larry  O’Donnell go completely bugnuts:

[youtube VwDKyPD3q3M]

And here’s Cenk Uygur (note: if you don’t know who he is, don’t feel bad. He got booted from MSNBC; he couldn’t get a real job, so went to Current TV) *massively* warping the actual events:

[youtube 4GrgjaYQeiA]

And other media:

Neil Heslin, Father Of Newtown Victim, Heckled By Pro-Gun Activists

Gun activists heckle father of child killed at Sandy Hook

Gun rights advocates heckle father of 6-year-old Newtown victim at Connecticut hearing 

Father of 6-Year-Old Newtown Victim Heckled by Pro-Gun Activists

Newtown Victim’s Father Heckled by Gun Enthusiasts at Hearing

Do a Google news search for “Heslin” and “heckle,” and boy howdy will you find a *lot* of media groupthink.

Now, what *actually* happened? Heslin spoke for 15 minutes or so to a respectful silence from the audience… and repeatedly asked the audience questions. Finally, after some *direct* demands of the audience to answer questions, some did. When you ask an audience to respond, and they do, there are two things to keep in mind:

1) They’re not “heckling” if you have invited them to respond

2) If multiple unrelated people in a crowd start responding at once, you cannot expect clear oratory, but overlapping soundbites.

The full event is here:

[youtube R_wKQaWUMGE]

The man *demanded* a response, and he got about 5 seconds worth of response (from about 15:32 to 15:37 in the above video). That was enough for the media to declare “heckling.”

 Posted by at 10:36 am
Jan 292013

Here’s a ponderable for you:

Bioethicist: Here’s why creating a Neanderthal clone is such a bad idea

Recently the idea of cloning a Neanderthal has been floating around the human noggin-o-sphere, due to a geneticist saying that such a thing may be possible fairly soon. But the bioethicist who wrote the linked piece thinks that’s a terrible idea, for several reasons. But consider this one:

Risking a deformed or dead fetus simply created only for reasons of human curiosity is not a sufficient reason to take the chance, now or ever.

Now consider: if you were the geneticist working on cloning a Neanderthal, at every stage in the process you’d have the lil’ dickens under careful 24/7 scrutiny. If during gestation you found out it was a horribly deformed mess, the logical thing to do would be to abort it, learn from your mistakes and try again. But the bioethicist is here declaring that that would be unethical. But… why would it be unethical to destroy a mutant experimental embryo, but not any of the hundreds of thousands that are aborted annually in the US? Without getting into an abortion debate, this just seems to be a basic contradiction.

The hypothetical Neander-enbryo would be created for “human curiosity,” which to my mind is *not* a bad thing. What could be learned even from a failed attempt would advance mankind infinitely more than a standard embryo aborted because it simply wasn’t wanted.

If it would be wrong to abort this one, why would it be ok to abort a million? If it’s ok to abort a million, why would it be wrong to abort this one? Or a dozen like it in the process?

The second issue raised by the bioethicist is “what if it’s not able to handle our bacteria and virii?” The third is “what if it’s violently aggressive?” Well, do these not apply to *every* baby? If a link between genetics and criminal tendency, say, is found, should not babies with that particular genetic mix be prevented? How about embryos that are shown early on to be genetically predisposed to illness? Or the parents are genetically so disposed, and likely to pass that on to the next generation?

The ethicist finishes off with the rather remarkable complaint that the Neander-baby would be created out of curiosity, not love. Ummm… honestly, how many babies are born annually out of something other than love? How many babies enter the world to a family – which may well only be the mother, or not even that – that does not love them?

Finally: how does one get to be a professional bioethicist? Seems like an easy gig.


A vaguely similar ponderable. From my experience, if a person holds one of the following views, the chances are good they hold all:

A: Abortion should not be hindered… if the mother wants it, she gets it

B: Sexual orientation is something you are born with (thus most likely genetic in basis), and all orientations are valid and should be cherished and blah, blah, blah.

C: Medical care, including screenings, should be readily (very likely: freely) available to all, especially pregnant women.

OK. Assume all are true. So, here’s the ponderable hypothetical situation:

A pregnant woman goes to her local Free Clinic for a thorough exam. A genetic test of Lil’ Dickens reveals that there is a 95% chance that the baby will grow up to be gay. Mom takes this info to heart and promptly wanders over to the Abort-O-Suck clinic and has Lil’ Dickens removed because she doesn’t want a gay kid. Are the people who are big fans of A, B and C going to be quite so supportive of this? If sexuality *is* genetic and can be tested for, and certain orientations are aborted at a higher rate than others specifically because of the orientation… is there going to be a sudden  spike in interest in maybe clamping down on abortion? Could a sudden decline in the birth rate of gay kids lead to an Endangered Orientation Act? On the other hand, if sexual orientation is proven to be a gene, not a choice… are certain religious organizations and the like that today stand squarely against abortion going to soften their stance?

 Posted by at 11:59 pm