Sep 292013

Gunmen open fire on sleeping college students in Nigeria

It seems 21 students at the College of Agriculture Gujba were gunned down by members of Boko Haram. BH, as I’m sure you’ll all be stunned to hear, is a jihadist organization devoted to imposing sharia. Their full name, translated into English, is Congregation and People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad; Boko Haram itself basically translates into “Western education is sinful” (“haram” is the Arabic word for “sin,” while “boko” is derived from the English word “book,” which has come to represent “western learning”). So, yeah. In Africa, a continent famous for its famines and plagues, a bunch of idiots gun down a  bunch of students trying to learn how to grow food.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm
Sep 292013

Prior to 9/11/2001, the accepted wisdom was that if you were on a plane being hijacked, you just sat there and waited for it to be over. If you tried to do something, you’d only make it worse. But on 9/11, people began to realize that not fighting back *was* the worst thing they could do. Kenya, it seems, has reinforced the importance of this lesson:

Terrorists ripped off noses, gouged out eyes of hostages in horrifying Kenya mall attack

Hostages were mutilated, castrated, beheaded. Infants were stabbed to death, eyes were gouged out, noses ripped off with pliars.

The lesson: when faced with jihadis… surrender is not an option. Fight to the death. Preferably theirs, but better to die fighting and earn a spot in Valhalla than to end up as a jihadis plaything. Given how the media in the US has been going bonkers in the last few days talking up how  vulnerable US shopping malls are, it’s not unreasonable to expect that home-grown jihadis might try the same thing here.

 Posted by at 2:36 am
Sep 292013

Someone put together an animated video illustrating 4 Rules that could make the Star Wars franchise great again, by going back to it’s roots:

[youtube _joDNOpeWWo]

Gotta say, these all seem like good ideas.

And related, an article that expands upon this in a political direction: one of the reasons why the original Star Wars was great was because it was set in a very capitalistic universe. The arguments are sound, with numerous examples. Contrast that to the world of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where mankind has been conquered by and subjugated to a socialist “utopia,” where ambition is beaten down and only the elites in Starfleet get to travel around.


Of course, if you want great Star Wars but can’t wait for the movies, Lego has you covered:

[youtube 7Utcy2EaOaI]

Seriously. This is some damned funny stuff right hyar. “That is a subject of some debate.”

 Posted by at 1:54 am
Sep 282013

Diagrams of the RL-10A-3-1 and RL-10A-3-3 rocket engines, some of the workinest rocket engines out there. Design work began more than 50 years ago, and new variants of the engines, and vehicles meant to use it, are still being designed.



 Posted by at 9:14 pm
Sep 282013

Some weeks ago I was in bed asleep at something like 3AM when I was awakened to the sound of a bear trying to claw his way into my house, just outside my bedroom. After a few seconds of bleauuurrrgh as I woke up, I realized the crazy sound was real. So I grabbed the flashlight, the cell phone and the 1911, sneaked around to the front of the house and stepped out the front door. What I found was, instead of a bear, a whole friggen *army* of racoons who had taken a sudden interest in my place. Half a dozen of them were in the process of actually climbing my walls, right outside my bedroom. Another was climbing up a post on my porch, about 4 feet in front of me. Many more were milling about in the yard. When I turned the light on ’em they got angry; fortunately they got spooked when I yelled at them and ran off. Good thing, too. Not sure what .45 hollowpoints would do to a raccoon at 4 feet, but I’d bet there’d’ve been a mess.

About a week later I heard screaming late at night. It was some sort of critter, but it was loud and relatively close. Once again, phone, flashlight, .45. The screaming was coming from an open farm building across the road; when I turned the light on it (one of those nifty cheapo 500 lumen lights), eyes looked back at me. *Lots* of eyes. Couple dozen of ’em. I figured it must’ve been Raccoon Fight Club, something I wanted nothing to do with, so I started back. On my way I walked along the field of corn I swept the light along it and saw a face looking back at me. One with lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a dolls eyes. After the initial startlement, I figured out what it was. Took photos the next day, including this craptacular cel phone shot:


Someone hung a  stuffed deer head in the corn. Awesome. Just a little disturbing at 3 in the damned morning on a pitch-black night with screaming hordes of angry critters. Critters that, I noticed, had spilled out of the farm building and followed me home. As I approached my front porch I heard something, swept the light back across the road to the corn, and saw that army of raccoons spilling out of the corn and swarming across the road at full gallop, heading my way.

Juuuuuuuuust a little odd.

 Posted by at 4:03 pm