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Monday, July 21, 2014

Earned Rest



The last of the A-7 Corsair II attack planes, currently in service with the Greek Air Force, are being retired in October. I've always loved this plane. Like the A-10, it's a workhorse rather than a racehorse. It isn't flashy or fast or sexy, but it was very effective at putting explosions onto the heads of bad guys for several decades. Bombers destroy the enemy's ability to wage war; fighters exist solely to protect bombers.

The photo above was taken at a recent fly-in event at RAF Fairford. Piclick for more info.

JIBO Jabber

Are your kids just not moping around the house and complaining enough? Is your wife not carping and nagging to your satisfaction? Has your neighbor fallen down on the job and stopped kibbitzing while you're trying to work on projects? Then I've got great news: you can buy a robot to fill those gaps in your life. Just pick up this little bastard, carry it around and set it down next to you whenever you feel the need to be second-guessed and needled. I'm sure they'll sell like hotcakes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lies and lies and...

...more lies:

The IRS said Friday that Lois Lerner's computer hard drive was destroyed three years ago, ending any chance of retrieving her lost emails.

In court papers, the IRS said the hard drive was destroyed after two sets of trained technicians tried to retrieve the data. The tax agency said it was standard procedure to destroy old data storage equipment that may have contained confidential taxpayer information.

The IRS says Lerner's computer crashed in 2011, destroying an untold number of emails.


This is ridiculous. The emails were on a central server, not her stupid hard drive. This is like taking my car to a mechanic shop because the engine is making weird noises, but the mechanic keeps insisting that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the rear seat cushions.

THEY. ARE. STALLING.

This has gone beyond "elephant in the living room" stuff and moved straight into obstruction of justice. Park these dissembling bastards in the judicial equivalent of a metal chair under a naked light bulb and start turning the thumbscrews until they scream, because we're all sick of hearing their lies.

Save a little gas...

...get people killed:

On March 5 this year, a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) advisory was issued to airlines, warning against flying within Dnipropetrovsk airspace because of the potential dangers posed by the ongoing conflict. All US airlines and most European airlines have since avoided that airspace and another air corridor over Crimea, which is also deemed to be unsafe for civilian flights. A senior aviation source told Sky News that European and US carriers have been increasingly avoiding these high risk areas, but some Asian airlines still route through this airspace.

[A senior aviation source said]: "Of course there are cost implications for airlines in having to route further north or south of these restricted areas, but passenger safety outweighs any cost concerns. Although the safety advice is to avoid these areas, there is no ban on an airline taking such routes if they decide to. However, most Western airlines have decided it's simply not worth the risk."


If I decide to rent a convertible and drive through a crime-ridden neighborhood -- say, the Third Ward in Houston -- at 10pm on a Friday night, whereupon I get shot and the rental car stolen, who is to blame? Oh, certainly the people who shot me and stole the car are criminals; I'm not disputing that. But I made the decision to go in harm's way.

At this point, I'd argue it doesn't matter whether the Russians, the separatists, or the Ukrainians shot the plane down. That is a fait accompli. But if I had a relative on that airplane, I'd be suing Malaysian Airlines right out of business. Because if they did indeed fly through a war zone to save gas and thereby increase their profit margin, then to Hell with them and everybody who works for them. If you deliberately and knowingly endanger your customers who have trusted you with their lives and PAID YOU AS SUCH, breaking that trust means you need to go out of business -- and I mean Right Fucking Now. This is one of those rare instances when trial lawyers actually serve the greater good.

Friday Timewaster

Renegade Racing. Flips n stuff.


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Night of the Living Dread

Bob Goldman weighs in on how to pull an "all-nighter" at work.

According to Olson, who I sincerely hope was interviewed at 2 a.m., the optimal day for most people to pull an all-nighter is Monday, since it follows an all-weekender of indolence, laziness, apathy and sloth.


Apathy, you say? I specialize in it. I'm not half-bad at sloth either, though I prefer insolence to indolence.

Definitely, you want to stay away from unhealthy snacks. These are defined as pretty much everything you want to eat, and deserve to eat, and are not kale...


I have uncovered proof that force-feeding us kale is part of the aliens' plan to starve us all to death and conquer our lovely planet. The aliens look like Democrats. Details forthcoming.

Your environment will also determine how well you can perform in an all-nighter. A calm, peaceful workplace could lull you to sleep. Fortunately, the supremely screwed-up work environment that your management has provided will keep you wide-eyed as the personalities of your loser managers and the bungling boobs they manage deteriorate with every passing hour. Really, a circus of stupidity this dysfunctional would keep you awake even if you worked in a mattress factory.


I see he's been in my office, though "circus of stupidity" is, I think, giving my coworkers too much credit. Actual circuses are quite well-planned and organized.

Pothole Melt

The roads in Yellowstone are melting... from below.

"It basically turned the asphalt into soup," said Hottle. "It turned the gravel road into oatmeal."

The road was closed Monday and will remain closed to drivers until workers can scrape off the damaged section and replace it...


There's a great job opening: "Hey, climb on this multi-ton piece of equipment and start digging holes atop the dome of that super volcano. It's perfectly safe. Really!"

The animals are leaving, the roads are melting, geyser cycles are changing... I don't think I'll be taking any trips to Yellowstone, thanks.

Thursday Tunes

The opening theme from the Starz original series Black Sails, composed by Bear McCreary of Battlestar Galactica fame. I'm rapidly turning into a McCreary fanboy.

The series itself is worth a watch. It's an obviously romanticized version of 18th century Nassau and its denizens, as a realistic show about pirates is something that absolutely no one would want to watch. That'd be like watching thugs break into your neighbor's house while you eat popcorn on the couch. Unless you don't like your neighbor, of course, in which case that may be a viable form of entertainment for you.

Neither, however, is this Pirates by Disney. It's rough and lewd and violent, but not gratuitously so. (Okay, the nude lesbian scenes between the two hottest chicks in the series are gratuitous, but I suspect you'll be able to tough your way through that.) The writing, directing and acting are all quite good, mostly avoiding formulas and adding just enough camp to keep it from descending into depressing cruelty. The main characters are an interesting mix of fictional figures such as Captain Flint and John Silver with notorious real pirates like Charles Vane. Think of the show as a cross between Deadwood and Spartacus. I must say that Starz is proving to be quite adept at this new century's favorite entertainment genre: the adult mini-series.




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Hacked Off

The 1337 h4x0rZ of Hamas struck a devastating blow against the state of Israel by taking over their Dominoes Pizza Facebook page. That'll learn 'em!


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Hat-tip to Banduar

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fowl Words

Why did the chicken cross the property line?

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, threatened to sue a homeowners’ association after a chicken crossed onto his vacation home property in Iowa, again raising concerns that the Senate candidate is out-of-touch with farmers in the state, the Iowa Republican reports.

"Braley’s wife Carolyn attended a May 8 meeting of the Holiday Lake Owner’s Association to complain about the fowl. The dispute escalated, causing the association to incur nearly $1,700 in legal fees after Braley called the association’s attorney with an implied threat of legal action.

Pauline Hampton—Braley’s neighbor, a licensed therapist, and a U.S. Air Force veteran—is a registered Democrat. She reportedly used her four chickens to work with children who have mental health and communication problems.


Got all that? Let's review the dramatis personae:

* Sue-happy trial lawyer-cum-politician (Democrat)

* Crackpot who uses chickens to talk to retards (Democrat)

* HOA board (Probably Democrats)

* Aimlessly wandering chicken (May as well be a Democrat)


An associate recently observed that while I spend much time complaining via this blog, I rarely present any solutions. Very well...

It is my considered opinion that everyone involved in this story, including the chicken, should be strapped to a rocket and shot into space, sans apacesuits. Problem solved.

Vantablack

Really, really black. How black is it? More black than this:


Monday, July 14, 2014

Multilingual




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Hat-tip to Jay F.

Sniveling

Somebody has filmed a movie which makes fun of the Great Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Chubby. Not a great feat, I grant you, but it's apparently pissed off Fat Boy and the Kommie Kids, so naturally they complained to the United Nations. Really.

I'd typically present you with a witty and demeaning analogy at this point, but I can't think of anything to analogize such a ridiculous situation. All I'll say is that Kim Jong Un is a disgusting pimple on the face of humanity and somebody really needs to pop him.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vice Pays

Except when you have too much of it

Trump Plaza owners confirm plan to close in September

The article goes on about how three casinos in Atlantic City are closing due to lack of business. Among some of the factors they point out are age of the casinos (maybe) and lack of Proper Government planning. One thing they gloss over is when they speak to the Unions. That's right, organized labor for the housecleaners, waitresses, and card flippers. I'm sure that had nothing to do with it. The biggest factor in my mind, however, and they cover some, is competition. The State has allowed the building of Casinos all over the Jersey coast and this has spread out the gamblers. The States see each new casino as a tax cash cow, and jump at the chance to allow more and "increase" the tax revenue. That's why Florida discovered an Indian tribe and reservation in downtown Orlando, and Detroit built one as well.The problem is there are a finite number of real gamblers. In a resort town, where you have people coming to spend money? Sure. In any city that is looking for extra revenue? Sorry, you are just taking money from one revenue stream and moving somewhere else. No new money is being created. Now, I like to gamble, but I use it as entertainment, not as a way to change my life or make a living, and I sure as hell will not drive to Detroit to go gamble.

So what has happened is that in their greed to get more money, but in their fear to raise taxes, or cut spending somewhere else, States have allowed the rampant growth of casinos. So now Gamblers don't have to drive to resort towns to piss their money away. So the States see a slight increase in revenue for a year or two, and then you get the loss of thousands of jobs and the revenue stream. This is what you get when people only think of the next quarter's profits or the next election. Long term planning may not pay out big on the front end, but it will keep you in the money a lot longer than making a fast buck.

As a side note, there is this show called Extreme Pawn, or something like that, set in Detroit. If you ever catch an episode, you will hear many of the people coming in to pawn are leaving there to gamble at the Casino and increase their money, or they lost at the Casino and need rent money. Some even lost their money, and are pawning to try and go win back the rent money. Is this a factor as to why Detroit is in the crapper? I don't know, but it can't be helping.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Trust Us, We're Scientists

The post immediately below this one and a recent article I read about the pathetic state of what passes for Science these days has inspired me to rant.  :)

The article is here and talks about what may be the "single biggest cases of scientific misconduct ever"...not counting AGW.

Back in the mid 1970's the the world renowned theoretical physicist Richard Feynman gave a commencement address at Caltech on "Cargo Cult Science" and the importance of scientific integrity.  If you don't know who Feynman is, and you have more than a passing interest in science and knowledge you should.  He is a personal source of inspiration and someone I've always admired greatly, in addition to being a bonafide genius he had a back for making the complexities of hard and theoretical sciences accessible to the general public.  Much like Carl Sagan did when he wrote the original COSMOS.  You could argue that Feynman was his generation's Sagan.

His speech can be found here and I STRONGLY recommend checking it out, along with some of his books.

That speech, and its warning, goes directly to the issue we have in Science today as exemplified by the the sort of sloppy scientific work, scandals and coverups we see (e.g. anthropogenic global warming, etc).  A sad additional element is the reduction of science in the popular culture to something akin to another form of religious faith.  Many people believe in the importance of science and scientific discovery, but poor education in the history of scientific discovery, the required rigor of the scientific method and scientific integrity, means they don't really understand how it works, why its important, and how to tell the good from the bad.  It becomes a blind faith that may not be questioned.  A fan club that all the "Cool Kids" belong to.

The elimination of questions, aggressive challenge and skeptical inquiry is the death of real science.  "The Science" is never "closed".  Over thousands of years the scientific understanding of the world has continuously evolved and changed as we learn and understand more.  The idea that the universe revolved around the Earth came from the 2nd century Greco-Egyptian scientist and mathematician Ptolemy and represented the accepted scientific understanding (the "scientific consensus" if you will) of the universe for 1500 years.  This popular scientific consensus was later adopted by Kings and the Medieval Church and it became a crime and a heresy to be a skeptic (or in modern terms a denier) of the Ptolemaic geocentric model.  Eventually the works of denier scientists like Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler came to replace the old scientific consensus with the new Heliocentric model.  But only after much ridicule, persecution and some death.  The sort of political and scientific bullying and persecution of those who challenge the orthodoxy around AGW is very akin in my mind to the sort of things we saw with things like Geocentrism vs Heliocentrism.


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