Jan 312018

Recently sold on ebay was an apparently old display model. It came without markings, stand or engine nacelles, which were obviously formerly pinned to the rear fuselage in the usual bizjet position. So just what it is is unknown, but it looks too good to be Just Some Guys kitbash. But what it *is* is a headscratcher. It’s clearly a B-1 bomber forward fuselage grafted to a bizjet fuselage, but for what purpose I can’t guess. It doesn’t make sense to use a supersonic bombers cockpit as the cockpit of a small corporate jet, even as a way to utilize existing manufacturing infrastructure. Might it have been meant as a training plane, to teach future B-1 pilots the fine art of flying a Bone? A flying laboratory for the B-1 cockpit to make sure it was set up right?

Or did someone down at the model shop just get a little likkered up?

It appears t be a B-1A cockpit, dating it to the mid/late 70’s.

 Posted by at 10:24 pm
Jan 312018

It had been my hope – that I knew wasn’t going to come true because, you know, come on – that President Trump would do what the Constitution calls for from the President for the State of the Union: turn in a report to Congress. Instead, he did what is now culturally expected: stand in front of Congress and the cameras and give a long laundry list of talking points and promises. Same old, same old.

Still, it made for interesting watching. Specifically, it made for interesting watching of the Democrats: would they applaud anything? As it turns out, no. The Congressional Black Caucus, when told that African American unemployment is at a historic low? They looked damned glum. But the high point had to be this guy:

Rep. Luis Gutierrez walks out of Trump’s State of the Union as progressives write off bipartisanship permanently

When exactly did he walk out? When a bunch of Republicans started chanting “USA! USA! USA!” that so triggered Gutierrez that he had to retreat to a safe space. Because if there’s anything that a Congressman should be offended by, it’s people chanting the name of the country that Congressman is in.

This is Rep. Gutierrez:

Not saying there’s a resemblance to this memetastic feller… but there is:

Keep acting that way, Dems. Keep acting that way ON CAMERA, and you’ll turn your almost inevitable gains in the forthcoming midterm elections into another pro-trump tidal wave.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Jan 312018

A fanciful late 1950’s Martin Company illustration of a space station. This rendering features a large parabolic solar reflector to concentrate sunlight onto a boiler to run a turbogenerator for electricity, a hockey-puck shaped habitation section (you might think it was meant to rotate, but there are windows in the floor *and* a group of astronauts seemingly standing on the side of the thing, somehow not getting flung off), some standard 1950’s gee-whiz rocketships and something at far right that I can only describe as “a thing.” Maybe it’s meant to represent the radiator for the solar generators working fluid, but if so, it seems a terrible design. Maybe it’s the death ray.

 Posted by at 5:04 am
Jan 302018

Finished another tale, “Brass Valley.” Not a terribly long one (one of the shorter ones), but still kinda interesting.

I’ve ordered the stories in the spreadsheet according to the order I think they’ll go in the book. Irritatingly, the second story, the one following on after “Honolulu,” is one that I kinda stalled out on… and it’s one I need to not only finish but make work.

Clearly it’s turning into a good-sized work, but I suspect a good editor would go through it with a  woodchipper. I could easily see half of the length being filtered out.


It had been my plan to  release the stories in the proper order, since it would make more sense that way (there is a process to the invasion that explains why some places are surprised and others aren’t). But I think I’ll release “Champion of the Seas” next… I think it’s a pretty good one, and stands well on its own. Stay tuned.

 Posted by at 9:43 pm
Jan 302018


Elon Musk sells $3.5m worth of flamethrowers in a day

Within hours, customers had placed orders for 7,000 flamethrowers, which at $500 each works out at $3.5m. The company had 20,000 in stock.


Now, please note: the link above goes to The Guardian. That rag is not only left-wing, it’s *European* left-wing. So I was pleasantly surprised at the fairly neutral reporting in the article. And then wholly unsurprised at the comments section, a pack of baying pearl-clutchers who think that the Precautionary Principle is the best way to not only live their own lives, but everyone else should as well. Such as:

  • What a totally sick and degenerate society.
  • I wonder how long it will be before a seven year old accidentally kills his baby sister with one of these? Insane.
  • What do you expect from the USA! This is the country we prefer to do business with after brexit. What fools we British have become.
  • I wonder how long before they throw Americans in the clanger and lose the keys
  • … it’s fruitcake land, you can buy machine guns and nukes over the counter without any background checks, how would a little flame thrower change the country that loves no regulations long as you can make a fast buck. Maybe he should start selling arsenic for Monday morning pep Pills

This level of commentary should come as no surprise, given that the Guardian previously published THIS steaming pile of backwards-thinking cowardice.

 Posted by at 2:56 am
Jan 302018


Using AI to uncover ancient mysteries

The Voynich Manuscript is a centuries-old (early 1400’s) book of gibberish and odd illustrations. It has been untranslatable… until perhaps, now. An artificial intelligence system was taught hundreds of languages to figure out their patterns, then fed the Voynich manuscript… and it determined that it was written in coded Hebrew. With that understanding, the letters were found to be coded into alphagrams, where the letters in words are re-ordered into alphabetic order (Example: “example” becomes “aeelmpx”). The result is that 80% of the words are clearly Hebrew, and sentences are, if not really clear, at least comprehensible as being non-nonsense.

It still requires analysis by people who actually understand old Hebrew to make the book make any sort of sense, but it’s interesting to see that machines have cracked this old mystery.

 Posted by at 12:02 am
Jan 292018

Putin proposes supersonic civilian aircraft based on its Tu-160 bomber

The business case for supersonic transports is rather tenuous. But an SST made from a relatively ancient military aircraft? Errrmmm… no. Can such an aircraft work? Sure, you betcha. Can such an aircraft work economically? Very unlikely. Now, this is Putin; his SST could very well be aimed to not be a truly affordable aircraft, but a prestige project to be paid for by flying his oligarch buddies hither and yon.

 Posted by at 9:46 pm
Jan 292018

The Boring Company Flamethrower


Guaranteed to liven up any party!
World’s safest flamethrower!

-Fire extinguisher sold separately (for exorbitant amounts of money)
-Taxes and shipping will be added at checkout
-Additional customs fees may apply for international orders because of laws
-International customers can receive a full refund if not happy with said fees
-Before shipping, aspiring flamethrower aficionados will be sent a terms and conditions rhyme for review and acceptance
-Starts shipping in spring
-May not be used on Boring Company decorative lacquered hay bales or Boring Company dockside munitions warehouses

OK, yeah:

  1. It’s a gag
  2. It’s not actually a flame thrower, any more than the leaf burning torch in my garage is a flame thrower.

But still… it’s awesome to see a company have a damn sense of humor.

 Posted by at 12:45 am
Jan 292018

Russia warns Poland not to touch Soviet WW2 memorials

Sure, everyone remembers that the Nazis invaded Poland in early 1939. But what seems to get conveniently forgotten is that the Soviet Union *also* invaded Poland, in mid-September 1939. This was not to combat the Nazis, but to claim their piece of Poland for the USSR. So it should hardly come as a surprise that the Poles are less than thrilled at the self-glorifying memorials the communists left to the USSR all over Poland.

That the Russian government is threatening sanctions over the removal of monuments to pure evil is evidence that the current Russian government is… a bit “off” when it comes to right and wrong.


If the German government started going on about how Hitler wasn’t that bad of a guy, and gee, sure would be nice to have some monuments to his achievements in, say, Poland, people would rightly freak out a bit about the future of Germany. The same applies to Russia. This sort of thing makes me hopeful that the US will start developing new ICBMs and nukes. Hell, so long as I’m dreaming… Orion spacegoing strategic weapons systems.

 Posted by at 12:04 am