Apr 302014

Saudi Arabia criticises Norway over human rights record

The Saudis big beef with Norway? They haven’t made it a crime to criticize religion, and Mohammad in particular. Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende is quoted:

“It is a paradox that countries which do not support fundamental human rights have influence on the council, but that is the United Nations.”

It is long since past time that the whole idea of the United Nations be rethought. Rather than a collection of *every* nation, no matter how backwards, barbaric or just plain stupid and evil, getting together with everyone having a vote, what the western world should instead focus on are allegiances such as NATO. Exclusionary groups that choose to allow counties in based not on mere existence, but on a  shared set of values. And making it illegal to criticize some centuries-dead phoney should be a cause for exclusion.

Leave the UN as a place where combatants can come together to negotiate, and otherwise get rid of it as a bad idea.


 Posted by at 7:59 pm
Apr 292014

So there I was, wandering a convenience store today. I saw someone out of the corner of my eye, but kept walking. I stepped up to an employee who was looking in the general direction of where I’d just come. So I asked her:

“Does that grown-ass woman standing directly behind me have a babies pacifier in her mouth?”

As it turns out… yes.

Ah, the glorious spectrum of humanity…

 Posted by at 10:24 pm
Apr 292014

The San Diego Air and Space Museum has posted a great many images to Flickr, including a fair amount of concept art. One piece (you can see the best-rez version HERE) depicts a Ryan Aeronautical concept for an air boat equipped with a Flex-Wing. Date would probably have been around 1962, plus or minus a few years. The exact role here is a bit obscure… why would the Army have boats like this? Perhaps a troops transport of some type, though a helicopter would probably be a better choice.


 Posted by at 12:47 pm
Apr 282014

So a while back I wrote a story, edited it, re-edited it, submitted it to Analog sci-fi magazine for publication, and it was rejected without comment. I’ve been pondering what to do with it ever since, with ideas such as submitting it to other magazines, submitting it to online magazines, submitting it to forums set up to help aspiring authors, self-publishing on Amazon, self publishing on my blog here, making it freely available, or just abandoning it as another lame idea. The last one is, realistically, the most sensible, but I’ve decided to just go ahead and post it. I’ve concluded that the amount of effort required to hammer it into shape for conventional publication would suck all the entertainment value out of writing, and would probably still fail. Self publishing on Amazon or some such might still be a good idea, but only if people actually want to read my stuff, and how are people going to know if they want to read my stuff unless they’ve read it?

So… here it is. I’ve converted it into three formats… EPUB, MOBI and PDF. They all seem to be running fine, but if you have trouble with one of ’em, let me know. Since WordPress blogs seem to have a problem with EPUB and MOBI files, I’ve saved all three formats into a single downloadable ZIP file.

Mass Disappearance.zip

And uploaded the files separately to the website rather than the blog:

EPUB version

MOBI version

PDF version

If you read the story, let me know what you think. If you *like* the story, feel free to tell others. If you *really* like it, feel free to toss cold hard PayPal cash my way via the “tip jar.”.

If it’s successful, I’ll post more. I’ve two stories underway with the same cast of characters, and quite a number more sketched out.

Mass Disappearance

Feel free to post questions or comments.

I have included not only the craptacular cover illustration but a diagram at the end. It helps me to try to shoot for consistency if I have things mapped out, which these days means modelling the vehicles and places in 3D CAD systems. If there’s interest, I would include a diagram or two with each further story… think of it kinda like the maps you often find in science fiction and fantasy novels.


Fiction Tip Jar

 Posted by at 11:09 pm
Apr 282014

A Sky News investigation finds that hundreds of pupils, some as old as 15, are unable to use a toilet on their own at school.

Umm… eww. According to the story, these kids *aren’t* “developmentally disabled” or whatever the current euphemism is, but normal kids whose parents somehow forget to potty train ’em. Sadly, no further description of the kids was given. Were these “British” kids, or the sort of foreign imports that Britain seems to have in large numbers? Either way, it’s pretty sad.

 Posted by at 12:11 pm
Apr 272014

For the past few days, the goofy things said by Cliven Bundy on the subject of race have been the Big News. But he has suddenly been wiped off the news-radar by the racist things said by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. But here’s the big question on both news items:


C’mon. Seriously. A few private citizens are racist. SO WHAT. They aren’t elected officials, cops, soldiers, bureaucrats or any other type of person in a position to use the force of law to mess with people based on their racism. hell, in the case of Sterling, he apparently pays a sizable number of people he doesn’t like a whole lot of money. It is, indeed a triumph of the market system over both government force *and* racism… he employs the people he thinks are best for the job.

As I type this, CNN is devoting half an hour to Sterling and his racist comments. Sure, it’s nice to see them reporting on something other than a Malaysian jetliner that apparently got snapped up by a black hole… but is this really the biggest news story going today? How about the Russians and Ukraine? How about Dragon/Falcon 9 (just *try* to imagine an alternate reality where the recent flight drew as much media attention as Bundy & Sterlings comments)? How about the anti-vaxxers bringing back measles? Nope. Not newsworthy. Indeed, there is so little news in the world today that you get paid opinion-blatherers on the Washington Post posting hyperbolic pearl-clutchery such as:

the horror of Bundy’s comments

“Horror.” You read that right, kids. Some old guy yammering incoherently, saying things that numerous black commentators actually agree with (if not the wording), produces “horror.” Quick! To the fainting couch!!

Something that does not surprise me: in the bulk of the reporting about Bundys comments, he is linked to Republicans/Tea Partiers/Right Wingers who supported his cause *before* his comments. But even though they are fleeing him like rats leaving a sinking ship, you can bet that any Republican who supported Bundys cause will be tarred with his words come election time. But also unsurprising: I’m not seeing much in the major media about Sterlings politics. I wonder why that might be? Hmmm

Granted, it’s not much… a few thousand dollars worth of donations some years ago. But as we’ve recently discovered, one single $1000 political donation is enough to define a person and, if need be, ruin their career.

Interestingly, the President of the United States was able to take time from his latest round of golf to wade in on the issue of Sterling.


 Posted by at 3:08 pm