Apr 292016

That’s the claim, anyway:

The train goes up, the train goes down: a simple new way to store energy

It’s basically a giant battery. Electric locomotives haul massive concrete slabs up a shallow hill, using grid power when there is excess capacity. When there is greater need for electricity, the locomotives coast downhill, using regenerative braking like an electric car. Should be simple and rugged… rails, rail cars, locomotives and concrete slabs are well understood and not exactly delicate.

This would of course be most useful when applied to fickle weather-power systems like wind and solar.

 Posted by at 9:18 pm
Apr 292016

Belgium to provide its entire population with iodine pills in case of a nuclear accident at one of its ageing power plants

In short: the anti-nuclear movement has been so successful at halting the development of new reactors that old reactors have had to remain in place, serving well past their originally intended use-by date; with the result that the Belgian government is apparently in something of a panic about their reactors.

Good job, Greens. Thanks to you there may soon be radioactive Walloons running around. And does anybody know what sort of superpowers a person would get if they’re bitten by a radioactive Walloon? I sure as hell don’t.

 Posted by at 8:37 pm
Apr 292016

Protests rage outside Trump rally in Orange County; 17 arrested, police car smashed

Anti-Trump protesters displayed their dismay over the Horrible Evil No Good Trump by:

stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists …  smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car.

The also chucked rocks at passing cars and used benches to block a freeway entrance.

But always remember, it’s the Republicans who are the violent ones.

 Posted by at 9:07 am
Apr 292016

Well, that didn’t take long. The fine young example of rational progressivism displayed a few days ago at U Mass Amherst has been granted a name by the internet: Trigglypuff.

It *seems* she may have been identified (an archive of the suspects Facebook page is here… be warned, there are selfies). The college bio page of the student who has been identified – by the internet, so this could be erroneous – describes her thusly:

She was first introduced to social justice through youth-led community-based groups in the Boston area, such as the City School and Sub/Urban Justice. From here, she developed feminist, fat liberation, anti racist, and anti capitalist perspectives, which she believes all play an integral role in working towards collective liberation. As a fatty, she’s very eager to see fat justice and all its intersections with gender, race, disability, queer/trans liberation, class, and anti capitalism, become part of radical movements.

Regardless of anything else… all reasonable people should be aware that when they see someone describe themselves as “anti-capitalist,” they’re unlikely to be dealing with a calm, reasonable person.

Spectacularly, her meltdowns have been turned into remix fodder. As always when dealing with excited lefties, note that the audio is NSFW.

She has a Know Your Meme page now.

It would be interesting to check back in on her in a few years. Will she have matured? Will she be professionally medicated? Will she continue to go ’round the bend? Will she appear on an episode of “The Internet Ruined My Life?”

 Posted by at 1:59 am
Apr 282016

Still, it’s cool, and not a bad hoverbike for a few weeks work. Looks like it’s firmly glued to the ground effect so it won’t be carrying anyone more than a few inches up. It seems that apar4t from throttles this thing is wholly devoid of mechanical or electronic control systems. This was due to weight concerns; the pilot aided in that area by not weighing the vehicle down with such trivialities as helmets or even goggles.

 Posted by at 9:14 pm
Apr 282016

What a time we live in. We keep finding new places in the solar system… and places orbiting places.

Hubble Discovers Moon Orbiting the Dwarf Planet Makemake

Makemake is a little over 1400 km in diameter (about 2/3 Pluto), and orbits from 38.6 AU to 52.8 AU. Hubble has recently spotted a 100 km diameter chunk of something resembling coal orbiting some 21,000 km from Makemake. The new moon has been nicknamed, unsurprisingly, MK 2.

 Posted by at 8:33 pm
Apr 282016

This seems like it was a blast:

UMass Amherst students throw temper tantrum at free speech event

In short… this last Monday a few people dared say something politically incorrect, and the social justice warriors melted down. For example, behold this clip:


Take special note of the fine young lady who tries to make the whole thing all about her. You know, I try to avoid making fun of people based on their appearance, but sometimes some people behave like *such* jackholes that you cannot help at least cranking out the jokes at their expense in your own head. And, man, this person is so far on one side of the bell curve in terms of both behavior and appearance that it’s hard to not point and laugh. One is left to wonder if she will look back on her performance in shame, recognizing that she pretty much single-handedly proved the speakers right in suggesting that political correctness on campus has gone to far; or is she so messed up that she is beyond recovery and will spend the rest of her life in a  haze of misery, false victimhood and unreasoning hate?

Some other vids from the event:

And a long one:

 Posted by at 6:25 pm
Apr 282016

That’s not how any of this works.

Athol man sues state employee citing “Law of Moses”

Because Mosaic Law says nothing about needing a drivers license or license plates, this feller believes he doesn’t need ’em and that US/Idaho laws are a “fiction.” And so he has decided to sue for $5.6 million the Idaho Transportation Department employee who sent him the letter explaining that since he didn’t have a license he didn’t have the right to drive a car on public roads. It seems, though, he’s suing in a state court, so figure *that* out.

So… sure thing, dude.

Now, I’m all in favor of people who don’t want to live under the laws of the land being allowed to do so. You don’t like it here, go live somewhere else… the universe is vast and appears to be almost entirely empty. Or use the system in place to change the laws you don’t like. But like the “Sovereign Citizen” movements (there are two… a “rural, white” version, and an “urban, black” version), just deciding that the laws don’t apply to you because you’ve got some crackpot paperwork you worked up yourself? Not gonna work.

Image not related.

 Posted by at 10:42 am
Apr 272016

Elon Musk has announced that SpaceX is planning on using a Falcon 9 Heavy to launch a modified and unmanned Dragon 2 space capsule to Mars. In 2018.




Seems the Dragon 2 has been designed to be an all-round planetary lander, supposedly good for “anywhere in the solar system” (oh, yeah, smart guy? Like, the sun? Jupiter? Detroit?). That’s certainly handy, but they’ll need an ascent vehicle if they want to send (and recover) humans.

 Posted by at 5:02 pm