Dec 282015

Inexperienced, Undereducated Truck Driver Destroys Indiana Bridge Built In 1880

The driver took a thirty-ton truck over an old iron bridge rated for six tons. From the police report:

Ms. Lambright was aware of the iron bridge stating she had driven on it several times in her personal vehicle and was also aware of the posted signage “no semis, weight limit of 6 tons”. When asked by Paoli Police why she continued through the bridge knowing the weight limit was only 6 tons she admitted to not knowing how many pounds that was.

The down sides to this story are obvious: inconveniencing the people who rely on that bridge, costing her employers buckets of money, damaging a historical artifact. On the plus side: some people will be getting a new bridge, and here’s an opportunity to discuss the miserable state of the Department of Education.  Also… one has to wonder how often this sort of thing will happen with robo-trucks.

 Posted by at 8:17 pm
Dec 272015

Interesting news article:

Woman’s body acts as ‘brewery,’ so judge dismisses DWI

Some anomaly in her GI tract causes digesting food to sometimes be fermented into alcohol; she was repeatedly tested with a blood alcohol level above 0.30 without the benefit of booze. People with this condition seem to be able to get along because their bodies have grown adjusted to being drunk, but I gather that they’re still tipsy. And of course it’ll still trash their livers and such.

It occurs to me that this might be a *useful* condition. If it could be made into something that could be given to someone, I can see all kinds of utility in something that will make an enemy combatant constantly drunk. *Especially* an enemy combatant in a society that sees getting likkered up as an affront to an angry invisible sky wizard. The people born with this get used to blood alcohol levels of 0.3 and above, but imagine what sudden onset Auto-Brewery Syndrome would do to some dude in his twenties who has never had so much as a beer. The entertainment value alone of suicide bomber drunkenly weaving around and setting themselves off prematurely would be worth the development cost.

 Posted by at 5:12 pm
Dec 262015

This is both sad and enlightening:

Pope Francis offers hope to faithless, says atheists can go to heaven

The subject of the thread is of much less interest than the sheer nastiness of the commenters. Doesn’t matter what your religion or your politics, there seems to be little that brings out the vitriolic vengeance-fantasy more than the idea that The Other Guy will be crushed under a giant boot heel. Here it’s the idea that “people who don’t believe just the same way I do will be cast into a lake of fire.” An equivalent leftist version holds that gun owners will be wiped out by government troops… those stooopid gun nuts who think that their guns will protect them from a tyrannical government will find out how wrong they are when the government drops nukes on them, yessiree! But still, nothing seems to beat the thrill that many people seem to get when envisioning the eternal torment of millions of otherwise perfectly fine people who simply don’t belong to the same fan club. Can’t wait until the Church of Trek and the Jedi Temple start going at each other like this.

 Posted by at 9:18 pm
Dec 262015

I’m certain that Xur and the Kodan Armada will be lining up for this:

Cabot Meteorite Pistol Set

The “Big Bang Pistol Set” will be a pair of left and right handed 1911’s made from meteoritic metal. Rather than melting the meteorite, the components will be cut from the meteorite. if it all works out, the Widmanstattten patterns should result in some spectacular looking firearms. It’ll also result in firearms you couldn’t pay me to pull the trigger on; inconsistent alloying and structure would seem to make them more very complex pipe bombs than reliable firearms. However, since they estimate that the auction price of the pair will be half a million to a million dollars, I suspect that I won’t be tasked with shooting these things anytime soon.

Bear in mind that Cabot’s “entry level” 1911 runs $3,675. So they’re used to “pricey.”

Here’s a photo of one of their 1911’s with meteorite-metal grips:

 Posted by at 6:48 pm
Dec 252015

Again with the “Star Wars.” Someone found and scanned the 1977 Sears “Wish Book,” which contains interesting nuggets of history such as the first release of the Atari video game system… and a whole lot of fashions and furnishings that illustrate just how awful the year Star Wars came out was. Conveniently, the 1977 prices are given, along with the 2015 equivalents. Such things as color TV’s were *insanely* expensive a 19-inch model running $1445 in todays dollars..


 Posted by at 11:10 pm
Dec 252015

It dawns on me that today is a holiday of some note. It also dawns on me that I have bills to pay. So, until midnight-ish (mountain time), I’m running a sale on all US Aerospace Projects and Aerospace Projects Review downloadable issues. Still can’t run a convenient Paypal “coupon” or any such thing, so as with previous sales, you buy something and I’ll refund you the difference.

So, for the duration of the sale, get 20% off all APR and USXP orders of $10 or more. And get 25% off for all orders over $100.

Sale has ended.

 Posted by at 3:07 pm
Dec 252015

A 1965 General Dynamics/Convair concept for using obsolete Minuteman I ICBMs as upper stages atop the Little Joe II. This setup would put 2,000 pounds of payload into a 100 nautical mile orbit.


 Posted by at 12:26 am
Dec 242015

Assuming this is true, it’s not good:

The Typical American Lives Only 18 Miles From Mom

Americans are becoming less and less mobile, staying put where they came from. The article declares this to be a result of a lack of adequate government care for the elderly, but I have to wonder if a big portion of it might also be a result of a drop-off in a culture of ambition and dreams. Used to be that coming of age meant heading towards a brighter horizon, which most often meant to go elsewhere to find your life… because what are the chance that you would be born and raised in that one place you were meant to be? If your dream was to become an astronaut, staying in Manhattan ain’t gonna do it. If you want to be a big rap star, Thatcher, Utah, ain’t the place. If you want to be a forest ranger, Los Angeles seems like not the place to ply your trade. But if you have become convinced to just be a paper pusher, a burger flipper, or some other entirely interchangeable, meaningless career… well, I guess you can do that just about anywhere.


 Posted by at 9:35 pm
Dec 242015

Yes, I’ve mentioned this TV abomination before, but what the heck. After the success of Star Wars, anyone who had anything to do with it tried to make an extra nickel from it. This included not only George Lucas, but TV execs at CBS. Together, they foisted the “Star Wars Holiday Special” on the public in November, 1978.

Yes, I eagerly watched this the one and only time it was broadcast. Even as an 8 year-old steeped in the misery that was 1970’s popular culture, I could tell that this was just plain Not Right. Still, it was Star Wars in a world desperately clamoring for more Star Wars. Plus it was the very first introduction to Boba Fett. But that couldn’t save it from what t really was… a dreadful 1970’s variety show wearing Star Wars costumes. Perhaps the best reaction to it came from Carrie Fisher her own self, who has said that she starts playing the Holiday Special during parties when she wants the guests to leave.

When last I brought it up three years ago, the Holiday Special was available on YouTube only in scattered and incomplete chunks. Recently complete versions had been uploaded… watch ’em quick, because Disney doesn’t like this practice and gets YouTube to take ’em down. I suggest downloading them and burning DVD’s, to put in pride of place next to your fourteen different formats of Star Wars in VHS, Betamax, Laserdisk, SelectaVision, DVD, BluRay, with the original editions, directors cuts, Special Editions, Japanese Edits and what all else.



And because why not, here’s the RiffTrax (i.e. MST3K) version:

 Posted by at 2:03 pm
Dec 242015

Two years ago today I was hammered with the start of the worst bronchitis event of my life (it was merged with the H-whatever N-whatever flu for extra fun), which nearly *ended* my life. The day started OK and by the time I realized what was happening the doctors had closed up for the day; the next day was Christmas and they weren’t there; the day after they were full up. So it was only the day after *that* that I got in to get treatment. In retrospect I probably shoulda sucked it up and paid the $600 or so for the emergency room, but when a 104 degree fever is rampaging through your brain, your lungs aren’t feeding you oxygen, and you don’t *have* $600, I guess it made sense to me to stay put and wait.

Since finally getting over that – sometime around March of 2014 – I haven’t had another case of bronchitis. It’s the longest I’ve gone without it for a long time… in 2013 alone I had it three times. You might think that being free of it for an extended time would make a feller dance a jig, but it mostly just keeps me kinda paranoid. Every last cough or headache? Clearly, it’s bronchitis coming back to finish the job.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm