Apr 302017

Sure, that’s not really news. Many of them can be set off simply by the appearance of a white man, or a woman expressing views that are not in line with Angry Feminist Theology. But here’s the latest:

Two members of alt-right accused of making white supremacist hand signs in White House after receiving press passes

And what is this “white supremacist hand sign” they made?

No, really. SJWs are convinced that the age-old “ok” sign is a Sekrit White Power Gang Sign. They have diagrams and everything:

Sure, why not.


And So On.

Now, for all I know white supremacists actually do use that hand sign for… something. Damned if I can figure out what for. But if it is actually being used by white supremacists *now,* it’s almost certainly for the purpose of trolling the idiots who think that white supremacy is a real and serious problem right up there with the patriarchy and the wage gap and Pepe the frog. A whole lot of non-white supremacists will *certainly* be flashing that sign for no purpose other than to annoy the kind of person who’s annoyed by that kind of thing. And there are a lot of those kind of easily annoyed people loudly proclaiming their leftist annoyance.

Of course, it turns out that the “ok sign is a white power symbol” was a hoax/stunt on “Sup forums,” the intent of which was to get the SJWs/media to actually believe it. And they succeeded… “Operation O-KKK”has been a roaring success.

 Posted by at 3:45 pm
Apr 302017

A clever solution to the age-old problem of how to make a fully automatic crossbow. Obviously external power (in the form of a cordless drill) is needed; the device is perhaps more of a slingshot than a crossbow since it uses rubber bands rather than a steel bow. Still, one can see how a true full auto crossbow capable of penetrating the armor of those pesky invading Mongols or Turks can be devised using this system as a basis.

What would be unrealistically spiffy: a system where each crossbow bolt had its own built-in battery or capacitor. Each bolt in turn would completely discharge its power supply into the crossbow; that power would be used to operate the mechanics. This way, the full weight of the battery needed to operate the system would not need  to be carried at all times; the weight of the battery would form part of the weight of the bolt itself. But this might lead to excessively expensive bolts. And of course a true replaceable box magazine would be a good addition.

Plus, one can never get tired of the true supervillain laughter of a man who takes joy and pride in the construction of fully automatic deadly weapons that manage to circumvent the laws of his native Germany.

 Posted by at 12:20 am
Apr 292017

The Magnus Effect is lift generated by a rotating sphere/cylinder/cone/spindle/whatever while in forward motion.  Spin a spanwise cylinder properly, the relative airspeed over the top of the “wing” will be higher than under the “bottom,” with the consequent lift that would be expected from womens and gender studies basic aeronautics. People have been looking at building aircraft using rotating cylinders for the wings for over a century now; and while the idea is interesting, the weight and complexity, coupled with drag and other issues, have over-ridden any perceived advantages. Still, as this video showing the considerable efforts a guy went to to make an RC airplane using spinning Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets for wings shows, *if* you can make a functional Magnus Effect aircraft, you might be able to perform some interesting maneuvers. And possibly even intentionally

And because why not, here’s another Magnus Effect video. But this one… welll… it seems a tad lacking in the “wisdom” department, but definite winner in the “hold my beer and watch this” department.




 Posted by at 1:18 pm
Apr 282017

No, it has nothing to do with airlines chucking unruly or unfortunate passengers. Instead, here’s a time lapse video taken from the cockpit of a jetliner fling from Zurich to Sao Paulo. It’s definitely worth watching.

 Posted by at 10:18 am
Apr 272017

Humans aren’t the only animals to be disturbed by robots that *kinda* but *not* *quite* look like them:


This toy robot cat seems to only lay there, meow every now and then and “groom itself.” Soon enough there’ll be robocats that get up and wander about and interact with their environments in an intelligent, aware manner; that’ll really put feline tolerance to the test.

 Posted by at 1:01 pm
Apr 262017

On one hand, you might think that I’d approve of the recent “March for Science” because if you’ve read this blog for more than a few minutes you’ll realize I’m a fan of the scientific method. Secondly, I recognize that the world seems to be increasingly full of derp and bringing the value of science to the forefront seems like a damned good idea.

But…. nope. Couldn’t have cared less about the “March for Science.” Largely because it didn’t seem to be a “march for science,” but rather a “march for some science and for certain politics.” Now, granted, the right wing, which I suppose most people would  at least nominally lump me in with, seems to be on a particularly anti-science course. The tardtacular creationists seem to be creatures almost wholly of the right, and they’re sheer wrongness is as obvious as a suicide bomb. The current administration  (which is somehow assumed to be right wing, against all evidence) seems to have a hardon for slashing science funding. But the left has their anti-nuclear idiots and the anti-GMO scumbags… and even their pro-science advocates often seem to be more religious zealots than adherents to a methodology that starts off with “well, maybe I’m wrong here; check my math.”

Even Slate sometimes gets it:

The Problem With the March for Science

… most “pro-science” demonstrators have no idea what they were demonstrating about. Being “pro-science” has become a bizarre cultural phenomenon in which liberals (and other members of the cultural elite) engage in public displays of self-reckoned intelligence as a kind of performance art, while demonstrating zero evidence to justify it.

The sad fact is, most people don’t have clue one what science *is.* Most people seem to think that “science” is “technology.” But it ain’t. Science is a method. A method that, at it’s core, is simply a rational way to separate fact from bullcrap… even if the bullcrap is what the scientist doing the work desperately wants to believe to be true.

Science isn’t proclamation from on high; science is often hard damn work, with a whole lot of number crunching and statistics. But the really, really grating thing is this: science need not be that hard to explain and understand. Oh, sure, the more advanced corners of it will always be well beyond the vast majority of people… start going on about *anything* that involves tensor math and my eyes instantly glaze over and I start pondering something simple and sexy like “gee, wouldn’t it be fun to build a small ejector ramjet in my back yard, one hardly needs *any* complex math for rocketry.” But the basics of science are – or at least should be – taught to every school child. It’s really not that hard… see an issue, come up with a hypothesis, run some tests and try to prove yourself wrong. As tests produce data that conflicts with your hypothesis, either change the hypothesis to match, or ditch it entirely. Imagine if every adult got enough of a refresher course so that this sank in. People wouldn’t be able to create new antibiotics or search for gravity waves, but they might be able to do some basic science about “what’s the most cost effective way to do my laundry” or “what’s the fastest route to work” or some such. If people would apply the scientific method to everyday issues, they could not only improve their lives, they’d also come to appreciate science… at the same time they lose the cargo cult religion aspect of science worship.

It occurs to me that “science” has something in common with “firearms” here. Science and firearms are both used by some people, not used by most people; science and firearms are things that are held to be virtually magical by some people, and treated with respect by others. And in both cases, it’s the people who use and understand them that treat them with respect; it’s the people who don’t use and understand them that convert them into fetishes. It’s Hollywood and the gun grabbers who venerate firearms as magical killing machines, capable of doing things they cannot, and attributing to them motivations that firearms do not have.

 Posted by at 5:42 pm
Apr 262017

Had a thought for a sci-fi scene: a spaceship has taken a shellacking and needs internal bracing in a hurry. Our Hero leaps to the rescue with a can of Titanium Spray Foam: operates like a can of modern day foam insulation in a can, but the end result is foamed titanium rather than foamed hydrocarbon polymer. Something like this would be pretty obviously handy; with it you could turn a tent into a bomb shelter or, if you are kinda upset with someone, a dandy way to glue your hostage to a chair or bind their hands with something much more sturdy than handcuffs. But there’s a problem: how could this possibly work?

One obvious approach: your can sprays actual liquid hot molten titanium, foamed via the introduction of a high temperature inert gas such as argon. If the temperature is very precisely controlled and the foam comes out *just* above the melting point, as the argon outgasses the bulk temperature should drop just below “freezing” and the foam should solidify. The problems here are pretty obvious, not least of which is laying down foam that’s white hot.

Second obvious approach: it’s not actually titanium but some handwavy futuristic and extremely strong polymer, perhaps infused with carbon fibers or bits of graphene or some such. This is likely workable, but it has a host of potential problems. It might be dissolved with simple chemicals like alcohol, acetone or even water. It might have poor temperature issues… it melts at 100 celcius and bursts into flames at 140 degrees. And, again, it’s not actually titanium.

The goal would be a roughly room-temperature process that lays down titanium foam. Now, if there was some chemical that dissolved titanium like acetone dissolves polystyrene, and when the chemical evaporates  the titanium – like the polystyrene – returns to its solid state, then the process would seem simple. A two-part sprayer, one that has solvent-dissolved titanium in some sort of liquid polymer in one can, and another can with the curative for the polymer. Mix the two together, spray out as a foam; the polymers mix and form the bubbly matrix, viscous enough to hold the liquid titanium in place. The polymer foam sets, the titanium spreads into a thin film covering all the polymer bubbles; the solvent evaporates and leaves the titanium foam behind. Ta-da.

Sounds great, but again there are problems. First up: is there even in a theory an acetone/styrene equivalent solvent for titanium? Sure, there are acids that will dissolve metals, but when the acid evaporates what’s left behind is a sludge of goop that reduces to metal powder, not a solid mass of structural metal.

Secondly: let’s say you’ve got a titanium solvent. What are the chances that it would be a good idea to breathe that stuff in while it evaporates from your work area? If it melts titanium, chances are real good that it’ll glue all the rest of your spaceships metallic moving surfaces together. And, I dunno, reduce your DNA into a pile of constituent atoms.

So… any ideas?

 Posted by at 10:12 am
Apr 252017

Took these shots in early March while leaving a grocery store parking lot in Tremonton. I’ve heard multiple times that it’s illegal to run these little things up and down the streets, but maybe they mean the smaller ATVs. But in either case they’re all used with considerable regularity for gettin’-around purposes out here in the sticks.

 Posted by at 12:52 pm
Apr 242017

Wherein Salon decries Bernie Sanders for not being “progressive’ enough:

Bye bye, Bernie: He’s not fit to captain the Democratic ship if he can’t stop chasing the great white male


Being pro-choice is not an optional part of being a progressive. Full stop. There is no justice for women, there is no economic justice for women, without the right to control their reproductive lives. The right to have an abortion is not a “social issue.” It is an issue of fundamental rights; it is a matter of economic rights.

Because, obviously, if a woman doesn’t have the right to abort her baby, she has no reproductive rights. Because obviously she cant go on the pill or get Norplant or an IUD or have her cis-male partnertron wear a condom or, y’know, not have sex. Impossible. Can’t happen.

 Posted by at 6:03 pm