Nov 302017

A bit of Martin Marietta artwork depicting the Titan IVA, rescued from ebay. I’ve put the full-rez scan (600 dpi, so it’s pretty big) in the 2017-11 APR Extras Dropbox folder, available to all APR Patreon patrons at the $4 level and above.


If you are interested in helping to preserve this sort of thing, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.



 Posted by at 10:54 pm
Nov 302017

Turns out that a few days ago character actor Rance Howard died. He had a small role on Babylon 5 as Captain Sheridans dad (and as dad/Kosh). He was 89, so this one is not exactly shocking. Rance Howard was the father of Ron, and was in a *lot* of movies.

So, to update the list:

Rance Howard, Played captain Sheridans dad, died November 25, 2017

Stephen Furst, played Vir Cotto, died June 16 2017

Jerry Doyle, played Michael Fraggin’ Garibaldi, died July 27 2016.

Robin Sachs died in February 2013, played a number of aliens… Narns Na’Tok, Na’Kal; Minbari Coplann and Hedronn

Turhan Bey, played the Centauri emperor, died in September 2012.

Michael O’Hare, who played the station commander Jeffrey Sinclair for the first season, died in September 2012, two days before Bey.

Jeff Conaway, played Zack Allen, died in May, 2011

Johnny Sekka, played Dr. Kyle in “The Gathering” pilot, died September, 2006.

Andreas Katsulas, played the inestimable G’Kar, died February, 2006

Tim Choate (Zathras) died in September, 2004.

Richard Biggs, played Doctor Franklin, died May, 2004

Paul Winfield, played Doc Franklin’s dad, died March, 2004





The Babylon 5 cast in their prime.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Nov 302017

Seth Macfarlane, creator of “Family Guy” and “The Orville,” is unfortunately a political “progressive” so he bears some responsibility for the sad state of affairs today. However, unlike many, perhaps most, progressives, he can recognize some of the most egregiously insane aspects of progressivism and actually makes fun of them from time to time. It’s been some years since I watched “Family Guy” regularly, but it seems like maybe Macfarlane is, just maybe, starting to become a bit more disenchanted with the leftist nutters.


From earlier in the episode, some “Kingsman”-level ultraviolence. That was always something that “Family Guy” did really well.

 Posted by at 10:48 am
Nov 302017

Nobody, that’s who.

‘Pence rule’: How vice president steers clear of any sexual misconduct scandal

Oversimplified, Pence steers clear of all women he’s not married to. No lunch dates with colleagues, no closed-door meetings, no booze if his wife’s not about. I have no idea if Pence is incapable of not being handsy without strict rules… but it will certainly reduce if not quite eliminate the possibility of any sort of accusation. If Pence is known to never be alone with a woman, the chances of a woman claiming to have been harassed by him would see to be virtually nil.

 Posted by at 1:53 am
Nov 292017

Garrison Keillor fired amid claims of ‘inappropriate behavior’; his ‘Prairie Home’ rebroadcasts end

The claim of sexual harassment here is disputed by Keillor. He doesn’t deny that something happened, but his explanation of it – the only explanation currently out there – just doesn’t sound like sexual harassment:

Keillor detailed one of the encounters to the Star Tribune, writing that he was fired because he put his hand on a woman’s bare back as he tried to console her.

He said in an email to the newspaper that he was trying to pat the woman’s back after she had told him “about her unhappiness.” Keillor wrote that the woman’s shirt was open and his hand went up about 6 inches.

On the one hand, I’m a bit confused about the geometry of the situation. Her shirt was open? I suppose there are some shirts that open from the back rather than the front… but why would such a shirt be open in  business environment? On the other hand, patting someone’s back is a common gesture. If there was indeed something going on that was consolation-worthy, a pat on the back would be *very* understandable.

Details are sparse. Perhaps there was more to it than this, but if not, it seems that companies may be getting a bit too trigger-happy when it comes to firing people based purely on accusations. If a pat on the back can get you fired, then telepresence can’t come soon enough.


 Posted by at 5:41 pm
Nov 292017

The Case for Not Being Born

Where philosopher David Benatar attempts to make the case that  life is sufficiently horrible that it make sense to end it and prevent there from being more of it.

Basically, he’s H.P. Lovecrafts worldview come to life, minus the vast, malevolent cosmic intelligences that want to wipe out all life on Earth. But nowhere did HPL ever suggest that the best approach would be to give up; the struggle might be in the end futile, but it’s better than any alternative.

The guy has a bunch of arguments that are convincing to him, and have apparently convinced a bunch of others. And while on a certain level he’s right – the worst pain is far more painful and lasts vastly longer than the best pleasure is pleasurable, for instance – on any *real* level he seems to miss the point. If humans were simple difference engines… yeah, sure, turn off the lights, shut it down. But we’re *not.* What gives people a sense of worth/meaning/whatever is irrational and intangible, not the end result of running the numbers.

I’m an engineer. A whole lot of questions can be found to have very definite right (or at least wrong) answers, discoverable through objective means by running the numbers, doing the math. In those cases, it is irrational to try to find the answer *without* doing the math. But in other areas, the answer cannot be reliably found via doing the math. And consequently, declaring the answer based on doing the math is itself irrational. For instance, right now there is a painting hanging on my wall within my field of view (as it is most of the time). I would far rather have this painting there than something by a Recognized Famous Master, despite the fact that the painting in question would probably not be considered in the same league. Why? Because that painting was made for me by a person who was very important to me. Would I like to have a Rembrandt? Sure, what the hell. I can probably get a couple bucks for it at auction. But I’m keeping the one made by my friend. The math on that doesn’t make a lick of sense… but I suspect it’s a conclusion that *most* people would draw.

Basically, what we have here is someone who ran the numbers and came up with the wrong answer. There are lots like that. You can find encyclopedias worth of carefully considered, mathematically inarguable proofs that the world is flat or that “jet fuel can’t melt steel” = “inside job,” or that the Fermi Paradox leads inexorably to the Reptilians. You just need to shrug, look at the world around you with all its pain and decay and misery and socialists and sickness and despair, look at your life with its failed careers and unfulfilled potentials, look down the line towards inevitable death at the hands of post-apocalyptic Antifa cannibals and realize that even with all that, you’d rather have lived your life than not. That painting on the wall is a reminder of that. I guess our philosopher friend just doesn’t get that. Perhaps he saw the simple conclusion that for the vast majority of people it’s better to have been than not, and he decided that he needed to complexify it. Otherwise… what’s a philosopher *for?*

 Posted by at 1:26 am
Nov 292017

Seems they’re stepping up their game:

North Korea missile launch: The most important things to know

The most recent missile reached an altitude of about 4,475 kilometers. Experts believe that this missile has the range to reach *all* of the United States. However, the warhead, which the Norks of course are claiming was super heavy, might have been light; it might have even been another stage. Still, even if they were only chucking a soccer ball at Florida, it’s an impressive achievement for a nation full of intestinal worms.

I would be utterly unsurprised if the missile is not even remotely accurate… they shoot it at Washington, D.C. and it hits Ohio. However, it would be a much less challenging mission to deposit a single warhead a few hundred kilometers above the central US in order to set off an EMP. If they were successful in pulling that off, the death toll would be horrendous. Estimates I’ve seen go up to a death toll of up to 90% of the American population due to the subsequent collapse of the power and transport infrastructure; famine would quickly follow, but not as quickly as major cities like Chicago and New York eating themselves. However, an EMP that takes outt the US civilian power grid would do close to diddly squat to the US military… so for a few days at leas thte US military would lash out and turn North Korea into ruined wasteland. it’s a safe bet that the moment the Norks launch that EMP weapons, they’ll launch an attack on South Korea. So the death toll in North Korea would be close to total; the death toll in South Korea could be millions. And the Japanese might get in on it.

And of course once the US has been shut down, it will be clear to everybody else that Team America World Cop is out of business. Russia will invade all its neighbors. China and India and Pakistan will probably go at it. The Arab world will go after Israel. The death toll could be in the billions, and civilization could come to an effective end.

With that possibility, the math on launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea starts looking better.

 Posted by at 12:45 am
Nov 282017

Too often the videos that high school students upload of themselves make you despair for the future, based on the utter stupidity and petty (and often not so petty) evil that the kids display. Then there’s this kid, who stands up to stupidity and petty evil in the classroom. I’ve little doubt that he’s getting some blowback at school for displaying wrongthink, and for idiot-shaming his moron of a teacher for all the world to see, but good on him anyway.


 Posted by at 10:07 am
Nov 272017

Every now and then someone produces a “folding firearm” designed for easier carry or concealment, or outright camouflage by making a folded weapon look like something else…a  flashlight, radio or cell phone, say. Glock produced this mechanism, which, frankly, leaves me befuddled. It’s not meaningfully smaller and it’s still very clearly a pistol, so… what benefit is added? Seems like extra cost, complexity and failure points. Perhaps some slight improvement in the ergonomics of carrying it on a belt, but… meh.

Full Concealed M3 Folding Glock

 Posted by at 3:59 pm