Sep 302016

Only thing better than a doomsday story? *Two* doomsday stories on the same day:

California’s chances of having a magnitude-7 or greater earthquake in the next couple days just skyrocketed

Short from: 200+ small earthquakes under the Salton Sea have caused some geologists to wonder if the San Andreas fault is next to snap.

But wait! There’s more!

Kashmir: Pakistan calls emergency meeting amid ‘deteriorating situation’

Conflict on the border saw two Pakistani soldiers killed. Good thing that region of the world is renowned for rational behavior.

 Posted by at 9:43 pm
Sep 302016

Twenty years ago I worked for a guy who loved to self-promote on the subject of space exploration. One of the results of that was that I, Minor Peon #2 at the company, somehow got barraged with emails and messages and letters and packages from people who wanted me to pass on to The Boss Guy their crackpot theories, ideas and designs. Initially it was a whole lot of “what the hell is this” and trying to make sense of it all, in the naive belief that these people were on the whole *not* whacko. But once childlike innocence was replaced with proper adult cynicism, things got easier. And once the Crackpot Index was discovered, good times could be had by going through the writeups and totaling the points. If you are of a mind to, this would also seem to make the beginnings of an effective drinking game, if the goal of the game is to get blind stinkin’ drunk with great efficiency.

The next time you are going to go to a UFO conference or anywhere where Elon Musk is going to make a presentation to people likely to be fresh from Burning Man, make sure to print out a couple copies and keep them handy. Have a non-player with you with 911 on standby, because ethyl alcohol poisoning is a near certainty.

The full Crackpot Index is after the break.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:37 pm
Sep 302016

So some people have a problem with personal pronouns like “he” or “she,” Mr.” or “Miss.” Because, you know, they cannot be contained and defined by binary gender descriptions, blah, blah, blah. And modern American universities, being the hotbeds of idjit coddlign that they are, are leadign the way towards enforcing a diverse, tolerant tomorrow by lettign people pick how they want to be described. Well… apparently they didn;t get the memo from Boaty McBoatface or Nukely McMeltface that if you let people participate in a process that’s silly, you’ll get silly results.

Student officially changes his personal pronoun to ‘His Majesty’ on campus roster

As a result of this new policy, professors are now expected to call students by their personally designated pronoun, even if it has no basis in their biological sex. … With that, Grant Strobl,  a conservative student at the University of Michigan and chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors, decided to change his preferred pronoun to “His Majesty” — in an attempt to make the point that this policy has no basis in reality.

What other personal pronouns can you come up with that might make the point?? A-number-one, top of the list would seem to be:


Ho-lee-carp. Imagine someone ballsy enough to put that one down.

Others: Sir. Sire. Master. Boss. His Highness. The Man. Der Fuehrer. El Jefe. My Lord.

 Posted by at 3:32 pm
Sep 302016

From Wikipedia:

Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ге́льевич Ду́гин; born 7 January 1962) is a Russian political scientist whose views have been described as fascist[4][5][6] and who calls to hasten the “end of times” with all out war.[7][8][9][10][11] He has close ties with the Kremlin and the Russian military,[12][13] having served as an advisor to State Duma speaker Gennadiy Seleznyov[14] and key member of the ruling United Russia party Sergei Naryshkin.[15] Dugin was the leading organizer of the National Bolshevik Party, National Bolshevik Front, and Eurasia Party. He is the author of more than 30 books, among them Foundations of Geopolitics and The Fourth Political Theory.

He focuses on the restoration of the Russian Empire, through bringing back control over former Soviet republics such as Georgia and Ukraine, and unification with Russian-speaking territories, especially eastern Ukraine and Crimea.[16][17] In the Kremlin, Dugin represents the “war party”, a division in the heart of the leadership concerning Ukraine,[18] and is seen as the driving conceptual force behind Vladimir Putin’s initiative for the annexation of Crimea by Russia.[19] In 2014 he expressed the view that the war between Russia and Ukraine “is inevitable” and appealed for Putin to start military intervention in eastern Ukraine.[19]

That’s swell. I feel greatly comforted by our candidates in November… one who thinks that Putin (and by extension his cronies and advisors, like Al here) is just neato-keen, the other who is too weak and disrespected to stand a chance of standing up to Putin and his cronies.


Yeah, apparently that’s actually a thing.

Read the rest of the Wikipedia article. It’s quite entertaining. You think American politicians and academics are bad? Ha.


 Posted by at 2:44 pm
Sep 292016

Well, this looks fun:

Heavy price of India-Pak N-war: 21 mn may die, half of ozone layer will vanish

If India and Pakistan fought a war detonating 100 nuclear warheads (around half of their combined arsenal), each equivalent to a 15-kiloton Hiroshima bomb, more than 21 million people will be directly killed, about half the world’s protective ozone layer would be destroyed, and a “nuclear winter” would cripple the monsoons and agriculture worldwide.

Well, at least that’s a load off my mind… no more worrying about global warming.

I need these guys to hold off on their little nuclear war for a few decades, otherwise it’ll mess with some stories I’m writing. And that would be a tragedy.

 Posted by at 9:53 pm
Sep 282016

‘Th’ sound to vanish from English language by 2066 because of multiculturalism, say linguists 

That there is a primo example of a headline that’s not very accurate. The article specifically discusses the English spoken in London, England. The native English are apparently being replaced by non-natives, with the result that:

Already Estuary English – a hybrid of Cockney and received pronunciation (RP) which is prevalent in the South East – is being replaced by Multicultural London English (MLE) which is heavily influenced by Caribbean, West African and Asian Communities.

The conclusion being drawn is that the English language of London will become a dumbed-down, linguistically simplified gibberish with fewer consonants because the speakers won’t be able to distinguish between ’em. I gather that it will sound like a combination of “ghetto” and the “chav/yob/pikey/whatever-the-hell-they’re-called” indecipherable mush that you can hear in the movies “Attack the Block ” and “Harry Brown.”

Interestingly, we’re living in a time when English *should* be able to remain stable. Centuries ago it’d change because, well, languages drift. But we now have more than a century of audio recording s of *proper* English, widespread literacy and ready access to decent educations. But it seems that English is mutating faster than ever. Some of it is good and natural… the more words for the more concepts, the better. As James Nicoll pointed out:

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.

But dumbing it down? I believe George Orwell wrote a book a little while back about efforts to dumb down English into “Newspeak.” If you limit a persons ability to communicate, you limit their ability to conceptualize. You limit their horizons.

And people said I was mad when I decided to base the late 21st century of Earth in my Zaneverse stories on a combination of “Idiocracy” and “Elysium.”

 Posted by at 10:58 pm
Sep 282016

I’ve paid little attention to that NFL player Colin Whatshisname who refused to stand during the national anthem Because Reasons. Because… who cares? Some guy I’ve never heard of who’s getting paid buckets of money to play a game I’m uninterested in, decides to disrespect the US. Well… there are more important things to pay any sort of attention to. The NFL should just fire him for  bringing shame to their organization, and then move on with life.

A similar but somewhat more important incident has hit the news:

Navy launches investigation into sailor who didn’t stand for National Anthem

The motive for this intelligence specialist in the Navy Reserve seems to be much the same… the fraudulent narrative about systemic racism:

“I feel like a hypocrite singing about the ‘land of the free’ when I know that only applies to some Americans,” she wrote. “I will gladly stand again, when ALL AMERICANS are afforded the same freedom.”

As the article point out:

Troops who don’t stand for the National Anthem could face prosecution under the Navy’s Uniform Code of Military Justice for violating Article 92, which says that troops can be punished for failing to obey a lawful general order.

It seems to me that there are two conclusions here:

  1. The military has a problem of indeterminate size of having servicemen (women, whatever) who are anti-American. It is difficult to imagine a *good* reason why someone who despises the US would join the military, but there are numerous *bad* reasons why someone might do so. Acquiring knowledge and skills to be used against the US, or for criminal, gang or otherwise nefarious purposes, has been a common occurrence.
  2. Clearly a court martial is called for. Seems to me that the best approach is to try her and, if found guilty (and since she’s admitted it, it seems a slam-dunk), to drum her out of the service with a dishonorable discharge. I would argue against prison time, since her actions were, after all, in and of themselves minor and harmless. But the attitude behind them would seem to argue for one additional little thing: the DoD should tell every organization or company that does business with the US Federal Government that they will lose their contracts if they hire her.


 Posted by at 9:53 pm
Sep 272016

Some images copied out of the presentations today. It clearly has some heritage back to the Delta Clipper, at least in inspiration. I’m unconvinced, though, that this is a completely serious engineering concept. At the very least it seems to be jazzed up for some wow-factor; that huge window, for example, is a structural nightmare and the passenger compartment seems to be one breachable pressurized volume. Blow out one window and the whole thing will depressurize.

Still, it’s good to see big-thinkin’. But I really wish they would have somehow vetted some of the questioners after Elon’s presentation… about a third of ’em were either idiots or just there to flack some product or other.

2016-09-27-203311 2016-09-27-202604 2016-09-27-203642 spacex-interplanetary-07 spacex-interplanetary-05

 Posted by at 8:13 pm
Sep 272016

Yeah, we’ve all seen videos of ICBM launches. But how many videos have you seen of the *other* end of the flight, with the RV’s smacking into the target zone? This video documents a launch of a Minuteman III from Vandenberg AFB in California to the impact of the three warheads (w/o nukes) in Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

It’s just plain impressive to see those RVs come screaming in, glowing so hot that they light up the clouds.

 Posted by at 2:49 pm