Sep 292017

In the animal world, predators are almost always smarter than herbivores. This makes sense, evolutionarily… you don;t need to be all that smart to sneak up on a leaf, after all. There are of course exceptions… elephants are reasonably bright. But stacks a rabbit against a cat, or a deer against a wolf, or an Aurox against a Cro Magnon… the vegetarians is going to come out on the losing end of the who’s smarter” scale.

The same seems to apply within species as well. Take, for example, this group of vegans who decided to stop a fully loaded semi truck by jumping out in front of it while it was in motion. As any meat eating  engineer will be able to tell you, even if the truck driver wanted to stop, these things don’t stop on a dime.


 Posted by at 12:46 pm
Sep 292017

So the Russians have some seriously badass off-road vehicles, including some surprisingly large vehicles capable of going prit-near anywhere. They pretty much *have* to , since they have a whole lot of territory, and apparently not such a good road system.

For a really WTF example, take a look at the following video. It’s a collection of Wacky Videos From Russia, including the usual collection of stuff you might expect. Most of the clips are the sort of things you could see anywhere, but at about 1:33 there is a short clip showing a paved asphalt road that is… I don’t know what it is. It ain’t right, and I can’t explain it.

If anyone can explain that road and just what the frak happened, I’d love to hear it.


 Posted by at 1:27 am
Sep 282017

Elon Musk just gave a presentation in Australia, updating SpaceX’s plans for the interplanetary transporter. It seems they are indeed making some meaningful progress… with an aspirational goal of sending to of these rather gigantic landers to Mars in 2022 carrying cargo, and four in 2024… two of which are to be manned. Seems ambitious. But then… this is SpaceX, and they’ve accomplished some amazing things in the field of rocketry. if they’d just stop tinkering with that silly hyperloop and devote the effort and manpower to *this…*

It would be entertaining as hell of SpaceX gets the BFR up and running and shooting prototype interplanetary colonization ships to Mars before NASA even has the SLS ready to go.

 Posted by at 11:45 pm
Sep 282017

Tonight was the 4th episode, “If The Stars Should Appear.” I thought it was pretty good… it would have made a perfectly cromulent TOS episode. There were a few bits that made me laugh out loud – Lt. Lamarr’s response to Commander Grayson’s enthusiasm about “Isn’t it exciting to be out here on the edge of the unknown,” for instance. The unforeseen Liam Neeson cameo. But the part I liked best was actually part of the music: early on, they discover a truly vast alien spacecraft, several hundred square miles in cross section (an odd way to answer the “how big is it” question, to be sure), and they send an away mission over to it in a shuttlecraft. The music that plays as they approach the door leading to the interior? Taken *directly* from the score for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” specifically from either “The Cloud” or “Vejur Flyover” bits. And if you are going to steal some Star Trek music, you could hardly do better than the ST:TMP soundtrack. Which is one of the most awesome soundtracks ever put together. Jerry Goldsmith knocked that one directly out of the park.


“The Orville” is not the show we were promised, but it’s really starting to grow on me. I shall be quite annoyed when it is inevitably cancelled in a few weeks…

 Posted by at 11:25 pm
Sep 282017

There is a time and a place for most things. Kneeling during the National Anthem as a form of protest… it can be insulting, but so long as it’s in a venue where the people who feel insulted can withdraw their finances from you, that’s fine. But you know where such form of protest *isn’t* appropriate? Let’s take a look…


There is question about just what’s going on here. The origin of the photo itself is a bit of a mystery… it’s entirely possible that this occurred *before* the current obsession by tattooed millionaires for “taking a knee,” maybe he’s just typing his shoe, etc. But if it is what it looks like – intentionally disrespecting dead soldiers – then it’s monumental jackassery.



 Posted by at 6:19 pm
Sep 282017

D.C. Circuit lets stand concealed-carry ruling, cheering gun-rights activists

In a win for gun rights advocates, a federal appeals court on Thursday decided to let stand a ruling that found it is unconstitutional to require firearms owners prove a “good reason” in order to be permitted to carry a concealed handgun in the nation’s capital.

While it’s good news and a step in the right direction, it’s insane that it was a necessary step in the first place. Imagine if some municipality put a rule in place that in order to vote you needed to show a “good reason.” Or even to drive… which, unlike bearing arms is a *privilege,* not a right.

The case is now likely to go to the Supreme Court. Chances are good that if it does so, reason will continue to prevail. And here is a case where it makes sense to recognize one of Trumps few true successes. imagine in Clinton had installed her own Supreme Court justice rather than Gorsuch. Shudder.

Something the FedGuv needs to do is end the nonsense of allowing political regions (cities, counties, states, whatever) to not recognize another districts CCW license. Again, witness the drivers license… or the marriage certificate.

 Posted by at 5:53 pm
Sep 272017

Get it? “More On Sportsball… Moron Sportsball?” Bah. My comic genius is unappreciated in my time.


From Mike Rowe’s Facebook:

In democracies, we the people get the government we deserve. We also get the celebrities we deserve, the artists we deserve, and the athletes we deserve. Because ultimately, we the people get to decide who and what gets our attention, and who and what does not.

The fans of professional football are not powerless – they’re just not yet offended enough to turn the channel. Should that ever change in a meaningful way – if for instance, a percentage of football fans relative to those players who chose to kneel during today’s games, chose to watch something else next Sunday – I can assure you…the matter would be resolved by Monday.

How the Pentagon Paid for NFL Displays of Patriotism

“Until 2009, no NFL player stood for the national anthem because players actually stayed in the locker room as the anthem played,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith explained in 2016. “The players were moved to the field during the national anthem because it was seen as a marketing strategy to make the athletes look more patriotic. The United States Department of Defense paid the National Football League $5.4 million between 2011 and 2014, and the National Guard $6.7 million between 2013 and 2015 to stage onfield patriotic ceremonies as part of military-recruitment budget line items.”

The amount spent by the DoD for “paid patriotism” is really small taters in the grand scheme of things, and it’s remarkable just how recently this “tradition” started.

I suspect this will blow over like most other political-moral panics; in a week or two this will be old news. But given how recently it began – 2009 – if the issue has legs I’m sure the NFL will come to regret having taken that small sum from the DoD. Had they not and had the mutants stayed in the locker room during the anthem, I doubt to many people would have cared.

 Posted by at 10:45 am
Sep 272017

Could Evaporating Water Be the Next Big Thing in Renewable Energy?

Claim is that the US has the *potential* for 325 gigawatts of electrical power from harnessing the power of evaporation, sing technologies that seem a little tenuous. Utah supposedly had the potential for 47 gigawatts.

Of course, this sort of system of power generation is weather dependent, like solar and wind. Evaporation rates go down when the temperature goes down, such as night and winter. Still, *if* his sort of thing can be made practical… I have an idea.

First, dredge out the Great Salt Lake (a half baked crazy notion I’ve mentioned before). Dig it out substantially deeper, refill with ocean water, stock with fish.Turn the lake – currently pretty useless – into a productive gigantic fish farm. Then put the evaporation power systems in place over much of it. These would block a fair percentage of the light, but enough would get through to keep the ecosystem humming along. On warm sunny days, the evaporation power system cranks out the gigawatts.

At night, on cloudy and cold days… the nuclear systems in the lake kick on to full power. Bopping around under the lake would be purpose-built submarines, basically mobile nuclear reactors. They would use the lake water as the heat sink for the heat exchangers for the power systems; this would heat up the lake during winter… actually promoting evaporation. The subs need not do a whole lot of traveling; they’d be tethered to electrical nodes with massive power cables, and would only need to move around enough to make them untargetable for terrorists in jetliners and the like.

Honestly, I think covering the lake with perforated mats of PV arrays would be better than evaporation engines, but… whatever works.

 Posted by at 12:50 am