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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in atomic_fungus' LiveJournal:

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Friday, August 26th, 2016
12:36 am
#5308: It's a depression. What do you expect?
It's so bad, dollar stores are hurting.
If there was any confusion about how the lower half of the US consumer class is doing these days, it was quickly lifted following today's distressing earnings calls of dollar store titans, Dollar General and Dollar Tree.

Discount retailer Dollar General said it was cutting prices on its most popular items such as bread, eggs and milk, intensifying a price war among already commoditized products with retail giant Wal-Mart Stores to win back falling market share. It shares fell the most on record, plunging by 18% after the company missed on revenue, blaming aggressive competition, lower food prices and reduction in SNAP, or food stamp, coverage in 20 key states.
Well, no one said it would be easy.

* * *

Oregon is outlawing coal power which means that electricity will cost more and be less plentiful there. Whee!

* * *

As a curmudgeon, Fred is granted license to say things like this:
For the moment, let us assume that all of the complaints of blacks and their allies are correct. All right. We have done that. Now what?

There seems to be no solution. The underlying problem that will not go away is that blacks as a race have not shown themselves able to function in a modern society. Degrees and exceptions yes, but the central fact remains. One is not supposed to say this, and would that it were not true, but it is.
But of course that's raciss, you know....

* * *

More about the planet Proxima b. I've already started thinking about a story I was previously working on which would fit that (possible) world well. If it's got an atmosphere, it could be about 30°C on the dayside. Make it 50°--why not?--and it'll fit my ideas for that story pretty well.

I'm going to have some fun.

* * *

Because warriors are now fun to play again, I dusted off Calandraxyzz, the second--or third?--toon I ever made in WoW. And it's been fun to go kill demons in the pre-expac invasion events.

* * *

The O2 sensor I ordered for the Jeep on Tuesday arrived today, a day earlier than expected. I could have paid $56 for the thing from O'Reilly's, but Rockauto had it for $37 delivered with expedited shipping--kind of hard to pass on saving $20 on the exact same part and have it in hand in two days. I need this to get the Jeep smogged--it won't pass with the "check engine light" illuminated--so I can then get the plates renewed this coming Wednesday.

My only worry is that the Jeep will go back to getting 18 MPG. Well, I can always unplug it, I suppose....
Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
3:26 pm
#5307: Tired of this, too.
"Remember when this health stuff mattered?" The hypocrisy of the Democrat-media complex is nothing new.

2000: Al Gore, having served as VP for 8 years, has "gravitas" that George Bush, Governor of Texas, does not have.
2008: Barack Hussein Obama doesn't need to have executive experience to be a good President. Besides, he's in charge of his campaign!

2008: John McCain is old and even though he looks good now, his age means his health is questionable. We have to worry about this! We should elect Obama because he's young!
2016: Hillary Clinton has a whole slew of reported health problems, including an inability to climb stairs, but we have to elect her President because First Woman President and LOOK HALLEY'S COMET!

Whatever is wrong with Hillary's health--and there are some serious questions about it which our media is entirely uninterested in asking--it's obvious that she's less fit to be President now than McCain was in 2008.

File this under "left-wing bias in the press". On which, not to put too fine a point on it, I am tired of commenting.

* * *

Nobody is worried that Hillary is talking about silencing someone critical of her? Does this not concern anyone in the media that Hillary is talking about quashing people who speak against her?

I suppose the media thinks that Hillary would be satisfied with crushing Breitbart out of existence. I also guess they think that's where it would end. But of course this kind of thing doesn't end; feeding it makes it worse. Eventually there wouldn't be a single reporter in the country who would dare say anything about Hillary which was even slightly negative...and they'd all wonder "How did it come to this?"

Well, it came to that because you didn't immediately stand up and blast the airwaves with this story about how Hillary wants to crush freedom of expression, but instead kept it quiet and helped her get elected.

Reading Red Storm Rising reminded me of an unpleasant historical fact: in the Soviet Union, people could not express themselves. The story reminded me that under communism the USSR was a place where people couldn't speak their minds, and saying anything critical of the Party or government was a good way to land yourself in the gulag.

That's what Hillary wants: she wants to be able to punish anyone who says anything negative about her. If you think she'd stop feeling that way after crushing Breitbart, you're delusional.

* * *

Is there any way we could get Milwaukee to keep him? Jesse Jackson is going to give a eulogy for the criminal who got himself shot by police.

Being an ordinarily honest man, I can't really wrap my head around what Jackson could possibly say about the death of the thug in question. Seems to me it'd be a great chance for a black leader to stand up and say, "Look, dickheads, if you break the law and carry illegal guns and all that other shit, you're much more likely to be shot dead by police than if you obey the law and go to school and get a job. The remedy here is not to riot and loot and pillage whenever a criminal gets shot dead, but for all of y'all to stop acting like savages and start being productive citizens."

But that's hard. And anyway, as a prominent Democrat and race huckster, the very last thing Jesse Jackson wants is for urban blacks to become even remotely self-sufficient. The longer blacks remain poor and uneducated and view it as a virtue to do so the longer the Democrat party can count on their votes.

So Jesse Jackson will get up at that funeral and wax eloquent about how it's a tragedy and it's terrible and racism and cops and blah blah blah, all the while not laying blame for the situation squarely at the feet of every last person over the past fifty years who has excused and enabled the criminal tendencies of young black men. Including himself.

* * *

High speed fail, still. The high speed rail line that California is building has, so far, not progressed at all, and the cost of the thing continues to climb.

The most interesting thing is how the cost has now begun to approximate the figure bandied about by opponents of the ballot measure (when it was still optional for California voters, I mean).
In just 3 years, from the original passage of Proposition 1A authorizing about $10 billion in High Speed Rail bonds, the estimated cost for high-speed rail had gone from $40 billion to $98 billion, the amount that independent expert analysis had predicted prior to the bond’s being approved.
All this for something which is economically unnecessary. Of course.

* * *

It's there! It's there! Proxima Centauri b is a real planet! If it's got an atmosphere, it's either habitable or could be made so. The temperatures with an atmosphere are livable for humans, and liquid water could exist on much of the surface, which also means there might be life there--assuming, as I said, an atmosphere, which no one knows yet. Only real show-stopper here is that the planet is tidally locked, which means its day is as long as its year. (Which is 11.2 Earth days long.)

The star is close enough to Alpha Centauri that the separation of the binary stars would be visible in the night sky, to the naked eye.

This is an Earth-sized world close enough to us that we could send probes there and get useful information back in a reasonable amount of time. The Starwisp idea promulgated by Robert Forward should be able to do it in about twenty years, which is not too bad for an interstellar mission that doesn't have faster-than-light capability.

We just need to decide to do it.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
3:03 pm
#5306: I'm tired of it.
By now it ought to be friggin' obvious and we don't need any more examples, but we keep getting them. Yes, the press treats Obama with kid gloves and he is not held to the same standard Bush was. We get it.

It's always been like this, for decades. Longer. The press loves Democrats. If a Republican and a Democrat do exactly the same thing, the Republican is a skunk and the Democrat is a statesman.

...and I'm tired of writing about it every time it happens.

This is good commentary on it, though.

I guess I really can't blame the media too much, though. There's no story when a black President ignores the plight of white people caught in a disaster. For one thing, there wasn't any looting or violence as there was in New Orleans in 2005.

Speaking of race riots:

Sure, CNN! We believe that your edit was "unintentional".

What CNN showed: "Don’t bring the violence here!"

Text of whole clip:
Don’t bring the violence here! Burnin down shit ain’t going to help nothin! Y’all burnin’ down shit we need in our community. Take that shit to the suburbs. Burn that shit down! We need our shit! We need our weaves. I don’t wear it. But we need it.
The press continues to push the narrative that "Black Lives Matter" is a peaceful protest when it obviously is not, but is actually violent anti-white racism.

Black cop shoots black felon who was armed with an illegal gun, but "Black Lives Matter", so riot and burn and loot. It's all for social justice, whatever the hell that is.

Eventually this kind of behavior will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Two black teenagers rob and murder a man who stops to help them get their car unstuck from a ditch.
Ironically, avoiding blacks because of their tendency for violence is not just a sane policy for whites (and Asians, mestizos, Indians or anyone else), it is also a prudent policy for blacks themselves when dealing with other blacks they do not personally know and trust. You see, the good Samaritan in the above case was HIMSELF black. This was no instance of racial animus. It was purely the natural behavior of barely-human animals against one of their own co-ethnics. 90% of black murder victims are killed by other blacks.
The article concludes, "There is a reason race relations are deteriorating rapidly and it isn’t being caused by whitey."

* * *

1,690 pages which make buying a tractor-trailer about $15,000 more expensive. With an extra helping of, "It'll save money in the long run!" government sanctimony.

It never saves anyone money in the long run. All it does is make everything more expensive. Government couldn't care less, since taxes are usually calculated by percentage.

The thing is, the auto industry has been regulated to such a fine point that it's near impossible to get any more gains out of eco-regulating automobiles. Compare the emissions of a 2016 Mustang to those of a 1966 Mustang. As mentioned in a prior post, the EPA is now looking to regulate the emissions of other engines, and they are not even remotely concerned with how cost-effective their regulations are; if it means that the price of a lawn mower engine must double to reduce its hydrocarbon emissions by 0.4%, they'll do it.

When I think about the Nixon administration, Watergate does not bother me. EPA does.

* * *

FBI is now the largest distributor of child porn. In order to catch child pornographers, they seized, upgraded, and improved a darkweb CP site. They ran it for two weeks.

Well, obviously none of the users there was a Clinton. Right?

* * *

How to get burned by the Inquisition, by Giordano Bruno. A thumb in the eye of Neil deGrasse Tyson and his idiotic remake of Cosmos.

* * *

Also in SCIENCE!:

Someday, physicists will look back at this period and laugh. Or else they'll look perplexed and say, "How could they have thought that was right?"

Dark matter is apparently condensed into black holes, and because it's such weakly-interacting stuff these black holes pass through Earth every so often and we never, never, ever notice. But of course it has mass and gravity and it's 90% of the universe.

*sigh*

Epicycles. That's all it is. By now I've lost track of what dark matter was supposed to accomplish; it's just a way for physics to keep afloat some theory or other which has been found to be deficient when compared to reality. Like epicycles, which were part of the Ptolemaic model of the cosmos--there to explain the retrograde motion of the planets. Also like epicycles, it's been bent out of all recognizable shape in order to conform to a reality which does not actually include it.

...actually, the comparison I usually prefer is to the luminiferous ether. Ether was part of the standard model until early in the 20th century. Then we discovered that light was made of photons.

Something will come along, sooner or later, which will relegate dark matter to the dustbin.

* * *

Looks as if I was misinformed about the start date for Elio manufacturing. This December they're planning to do a pre-production run of 100 cars, which means no Elio this year. Somewhere I heard "fourth quarter 2016" for production to begin, but the last time I really looked into it I heard something about the pre-production run and how those cars would be used for crash tests and all the other things a manufacturer must do to get it all right and ready for full production, and I thought, "How can they start building cars in bulk if they're...?"

*sigh*

Little disappointed, but it's not like I'll be in a position to buy one this year anyway. Next year, then.

I'm just hoping that when the time comes, I don't take one for a test drive and find that I'm just too big for the thing. They're supposed to be fairly roomy, but in 1995 when I started shopping for a new vehicle to replace the green Thunderbird I tried a Ranger pickup and found it to be too small with the regular cab and too expensive with the extended cab. I fit in the regular cab, but it was a snug fit, no extra headroom or anything. With the seat all the way back, even, I fit in the thing like an astronaut in a Mercury capsule. It was immediately obvious that I'd find that too confining, especially since I was an on-site service technician and was in my car for about half my workday. The Elio should be better than that (it has, after all, a back seat) but I won't be able to make a real decision about it until I can sit in one and see how it fits. I expect it to, but the proof of the pudding blah blah blah etcetera.

* * *

Finally, errands to run today. Whee!
12:03 am
#5305: Thanks, Chicago, for turning the gravel pit into a CESS pit.
The big quarry over in Thornton. I-80 passes right through it. I've never had a good look at I-80 from the other side of the quarry, because I don't like getting close to precipitous drops, but when I-80 was run through there they had to blast a channel into the limestone to keep the road reasonably level.

Anyway: Deep Tunnel. The quarry is meant as "temporary" storage while a reservoir is completed.

So whenever it rains, it stinks over there. Thanks, Chicago.

I was under the impression that actual sewage would be stored in the deep tunnels, and rainwater runoff would be shunted to open reservoirs. I guess I was wrong.

* * *

I have one problem with this: power plants don't use truckloads of coal; they use trainloads of the stuff. Any coal-fired power plant is likely to have its own sidings where the coal is brought in by train.

Otherwise, yes.

* * *

This is a side effect of global warming. As the world gets hotter you can expect the north Atlantic to cool down, because reasons and LOOK! HALLEY'S COMET!

* * *

Well, it's Monday evening. Huzzah.
Monday, August 22nd, 2016
12:25 am
#5304: NO, you dildo!
Mrs. Fungus and I have been watching old game shows. It's mindless entertainment, it's fairly inoffensive, it doesn't take a lot of time, and we get a lot of laughs out of it.

Yesterday it was Match Game 78. The setup went something like, "So-and-so was so dumb when a politician asked him for support, he sent him a [blank]." When the contestant was first asked for his answer, the man answered, "A duck!" Most of the celebrities on the show answered "jock strap" or "athletic supporter" which--it must be said--was not exactly a match for "a duck".

Tonight we first saw a couple eps of Card Sharks, hosted by a very, very young Alex Trebek. Then came Sale of the Century. One of the questions was, "At ninety degrees north latitude, you will find..." and the guy answers, "The Equator!"

Me: No, you dildo!

Mrs. Fungus: AHHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA

The all-time best one, however, comes out of the mists of time. I was eating dinner at a friend's house and they habitually had the TV in their dining room tuned to Wheel of Fortune so they could root for "Bankrupt", and this one woefully confused woman attempted to solve "YO_R _OOSE IS COO_E_".

My friend: "She'll probably say something like, 'Your moose is cooked!'"



Everyone in the dining room: ... HAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHA

I like how Al seemed almost embarassed to continue playing.

* * *

Nothing else to report at this time, other than "tired"...as usual.
Saturday, August 20th, 2016
9:32 pm
#5303: We leave you to your feast of insects!
Mrs. Fungus and I went swimming the other night. It was late; the pool was going to close in about twenty minutes or so. We were in the pool, and there was another couple, perhaps in their fifties. Otherwise, there was no one but the pool attendant in evidence.

Mrs. Fungus and I had noticed that nighttime insects--something approximately the size and shape of a mosquito, but white and not bloodsuckers--had attempted to navigate towards the underwater lights and ended up drowning, so the water was polka-dotted with thousands of dead bugs.

As we left the pool (to head for an indoor one which would remain open longer) I said, to Mrs. Fungus, "You have outlasted us! We leave you to your feast of insects!"

She wanted me to tell the tale.

* * *

The first CNC machines were programmed with punched tape. Not surprising. As I have only general knowledge about the capabilities of CNC machines, I found myself gaping in amazement that they were able to do that kind of stuff in the 1950s. All the while knowing that CNC machines have become more compact, more powerful, more capable. Four-five-six axis, and so on.

Case in point, Bluesun's new tooth being carved on a desktop CNC machine.

* * *

"Bush isn't President; no one cares" seems to be the meme for the massive flooding in Louisiana.

* * *

Earthlike world orbiting Proxima Centauri! Maybe.

Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star, closer to us than the binary star Alpha Centauri. It may actually be part of a trinary (in which case Proxima would be Alpha Centauri C) but regardless, there may be evidence that an earthlike world is orbiting that star.

If so, it means we have someplace to go visit ASAP.

* * *

So, been reading Red Storm Rising, first time in more than a decade. Surprising how much of it I forgot. But it's a good story, and the copy I ordered on the 7th finally arrived yesterday...and turned out to be hardcover. So I switched from the paperback to the hardcover (larger print, easier to read with my aging eyes) and kept on forging ahead.

Now it's time for some WoW.
Thursday, August 18th, 2016
8:44 pm
#5302: Only $370!
Intel is making an "embedded solution" which is essentially a fairly powerful computer the size of a pack of gum. The developer's kit is $370.

The specs are sufficiently powerful for running most business apps, but it only has about 16 GB of nonvolatile storage. If you could find a way to give it more storage, running Windows and Office wouldn't be out of the question. And it's tiny.

It'd be fun to build a desktop computer around it, but who has $400 for something like that?

* * *

It's all utter BS. Can't agree more.

Short form: the guy who got up and insulted Trump, and then everyone wet their pants when Trump insulted him back because the guy lost a son to the various wars in the middle east--the guy who then gave a speech at the Democrat convention--his speech was written by Hillary campaign staffers. And get this:
Khan’s immigration law firm is in debt $1.7M and owes back taxes of upward $850,000 plus penalties.

CNN paid Khan over $100,000 to tell his “story” and repeated interviews across networks. Khan was given a bonus of $175k by the DNC for his effort in the media. The IRS has since put Khan’s tax file on a “hold” status.
Yep. You do a favor for la Dona Hillary and she does a favor for you.

* * *

This raises a good point. Someone who's high on pot is very likely to eat all your Twinkies, and not at all likely to try to literally chew your face off.

* * *

Another call for massive nuclear-powered desalinization plants. Whee!

* * *

Having virtually eliminated pollution from cars, the EPA turned its attention to all other gasoline engines. How long will it be before we have to have catalytic convertors on our lawn mowers?

* * *

So, I can't think of a way to end this post. Tried about a half-dozen things, nothing clicked. Then again, I'm tired.

Well, it could be worse.
Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
1:29 am
#5301: Ahh, my weekend at last
So, we decided to try Smash Burger. It's one of those trendy burger shops where they have a very simple menu, and try to be "cool" and "hip" while doing one thing well.

Problem is, they don't do it well.

Let's start with the food. A #1 combo consisting of a burger, fries, and drink cost almost eight dollars. The hamburger had about 130% of the meat of a typical McDonald's hamburger (which sells for about $1.29) and had barely any condiments on it. Mrs. Fungus asked, "Is there anything on your burger?" Of course! Ketchup, mustard, pickle, and a thin slice of onion. On an "egg roll", whatever the hell that is. It was a good bun for a hamburger. The fries were the extra-skinny kind (like you get from Steak & Shake). It was a respectable wad of fries but nothing to write home about.

I don't know--for what that burger cost I expected more food. I left that place hungry; when I get a Deluxe Double combo from Culver's I pay about $8 for it and it fills me up. And it's a better-tasting burger to boot.

Mrs. Fungus' sandwich was chicken, costing about $8 by itself, and it didn't even have as much chicken on it as a $1.30 McChicken sandwich.

So, we're never going there again.

* * *

The story I've been noodling around with--I tried starting it this evening and found I could not, so it must not be ready yet. I need to figure out where to start the thing. Nothing appeals.

* * *

Today, while trying to find something else, I finally found my copy of Red Storm Rising. I was looking for the copy of Coonts' Saucer that I have floating around here somewhere, and instead found this. After, of course, I ordered a used copy from Amazon. Argh etc.

Ordered the book on Sunday the 7th, expected delivery is tomorrow the 16th. How does it take nine days for an Amazon seller to put a book in a box and ship it? What horseshit. And it's coming via DHL. WTF.

* * *

One of the nice things about the WoW revamp is that warriors are fun to play again. Unfortunately monks are now less fun to play. So Microaggro (short for Microaggression, my female gnome warrior) has been getting a workout and is now heading for Outland.

Meanwhile Mrs. Fungus and I created demon hunters to try out the new character class, and they're pretty nice, too. You start out at level 98 (the same way death knights start at level 55) and you rapidly advance to 100 as you play through the starting quests. It's pretty entertaining stuff.

No indication, one way or another, if the new content is going to be better than Pandaria or Draenor were. But the pre-patch activities are fun.

* * *

Well, that'll do for now. I was supposed to be on hiatus, but then I had the thing about Smash Burger. Oh well.
Sunday, August 14th, 2016
9:25 pm
#5300: After this, a few days' hiatus.
Today I had a customer insist that it was "communistic" and "unconstitutional" for $Major_Telecom to require him to establish a four-digit pin that didn't use part of his social security number. "Communistic" is debatable, I suppose, but "unconstitutional"? Where is it written in the Constitution that you won't have to use a certain kind of password when dealing with a private company?

The ignorance displayed by this guy was breathtaking. And his vote counts the same as yours.

* * *

Blacks attacking whites because rich people aren't handing out enough money?
"It's sad because you know, this is what happens because they're not helping the black community, like you know, the rich people, they got all this money, and they not, like you know, trying to give us none."
The solution for blacks being uneducated and lawless (and apparently illiterate) is for rich people to give them money. Well, I guess that guy went to government school.

Meanwhile Chicago sets another record for violent crime because--strangely enough!--criminals don't care about laws.

* * *

Having a grand old time department:

I was originally intending to fill the Jeep's tank on my way to work this morning. That was yesterday; I forgot all about it once I got home from work. This morning I woke up feeling so beat I didn't even think about gasoline until I was almost all the way to work and noticed how low the gas gauge was getting. Three miles further on the "check gauges" light came on to the accompaniment of the usual beep, reminding me to look at the gauges, because the gas gauge was so low.

*sigh*

Near work, gas is $2.76 a gallon for the cheap stuff. On my way home I put in three gallons--enough to get me home and thence to the gas station tomorrow--and called it "good enough".

Well, it's Sunday evening, and I can relax a bit. So I'll do that.
Saturday, August 13th, 2016
9:15 pm
#5299: HUMIDITY
Another night when the windows by the front door were covered in condensation. Holy crap.

It rained half the day, so the dewpoint is only 70 now. "Only". It's still like a sauna outside.

* * *

Since I can't find my copy, last week I ordered a used copy of Clancy's Red Storm Rising. I was hoping it'd get here today, but it didn't. *sigh*

* * *

Could have slept better last night. Could have slept worse. I don't know.

I really don't have much to say. I'm thinking about taking a bit of a break from bloggeratin'. A few days. We'll see.
Friday, August 12th, 2016
3:45 pm
#5298: Mental health day
Sorely needed. Just could not function properly any longer.

* * *

Damn, was it hot yesterday. Today is cooler, but it's still hot outside. Humdity is most of it; even after dark--last night around 11-ish I went outside to take the trash bin down to the curb, and it was like stepping into a sauna.

* * *

Today is release day for No Man's Sky for PC. I don't have $60 for a game. It'll keep.

* * *

It looks as if DNC used cellphone jamming technology at their convention. FCC regulations don't apply to important people.

* * *

Planning commissioner in Palo Alto, California, quits her job because she can't afford to live in the city she works for. $6,200 per month in rent, in a home she and her husband share with another couple.

$6,200 per month--even in Illinostan, where property taxes have necessarily skyrocketed--would buy you a nice house. That's a year's lot rent for a double-wide.

* * *

The other day I was thinking about stories, and last night I dug into some of my archived information to look up a few things. It's been about 16 years since I last looked into this part of the universe, and now that I've started thinking about it, the creative juices are starting to accumulate.

Ought to be quite a story, assuming I can pull it off.
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
12:40 pm
#5297: Well, this is gonna suck
New Star Trek series coming. Female lead, openly gay character, a Klingon captain--

Wait a moment. Unless the Klingon captain is an antagonist that doesn't fit with the Trek canon, since this series is supposed to be set about a decade before the timeline of the original Star Trek series. The article doesn't say one way or another so I'm going to assume the Klingon is the primary antagonist in the series, but somehow I have a nagging suspicion I'll be wrong.

The Federation was at war with the Klingons in TOS, and it took a planet of energy beings to stop it. Any Klingon in the Federation's hands would have been too valuable to risk as the captain of a starship, no matter what his origin. If this turkey is captain of a Federation ship there had better be a good reason for it.

But I think it's going to be not-good, because their list of characters is thus:
In addition to the [non-captain] female lead, Fuller hopes to cast an openly gay character, and The Hollywood Reporter says that the rest of the seven-character cast will be rounded out by "a female admiral, a male Klingon captain, a male admiral, a male adviser and a British male doctor."
So out of the seven leads, we know one is going to be a homosexual, and we know the sexes of the rest of them. We don't know anything else. Which leads me to think that what's important here, to the folks working on this series, is checking boxes on a diversity form--rather than telling interesting and entertaining stories.

Since Voyager first aired, I've never been optimistic about new Trek series because the SJW has always been strong with the ouerve and when a new series is being developed the creative team always boasts about what they're going to do. People still point to TOS as having the first interracial kiss on TV--O, the groundbreaking egalitarianism!--and by the time Deep Space Nine featured the first lesbian kiss on TV the whole idea of "what barriers can we break this season?" had become passe. No one cared about the kiss on DS9, because (A) TV series no one watched and (B) the societal guardrails that made the kiss in TOS such a controversy had already long since been dismantled.

After Voyager I assumed that Star Trek: Enterprise was going to suck, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was excellent...and then it was pulled because so many fans of the show disliked it.

I guess we'll see.

* * *

Daughter of President "Choom Gang" now taking to the choom herself. Why not? I'd bet money that Obama is smoking the wacky terbacky in the Oval Bong. Pot is almost legal now, and anyway it's not like Malia Obama is ever going to have to do anything but be part of the aristocracy.

* * *

I'd say this is a net gain, or almost. Statins are being rationed by Britain's National Health Service because socialized medicine. Statins are worse than the disease they allegedly treat, anyway; if you have high cholesterol you need to knock off with the carbohydrates and start eating high-fat. Counterintuitive, but it'll fix what ails you, and you won't need to poison yourself with statins.

* * *

I agree with Fred: there is no need to antagonize Russia. I really don't understand the point, here, of the Obama administration's continued aggressive stance against Russia. We should be teaming up with Russia to fight islamic terrorism. Russia would be a powerful, powerful ally, and now that they're no longer the USSR and trying to absorb the entire planet, our interests should align more closely with theirs.

In international politics, the interests of two nations are never entirely parallel; there's nothing wrong with that. But here we have to make a decision: do we want to have a full-on shooting war with another country? Is there a compelling reason to go to war with Russia? What, exactly, are they doing that we should risk total war with them?

The Democrats would have us police the world, as if it was our responsibility to prevent all suffering everywhere. Here's a news flash: we can't do that. It's foolish to try. The decision to go to war should only be "yes" when we can answer a majority of the following questions in the affirmative:
* Is the safety of the United States threatened?
* Has there been a major attack on the country, or is one imminent?
* Are we willing to prosecute this war to its conclusion, which means totally destroying the enemy's ability (and possibly will) to make war?
* Is fighting this war important enough that the politicians making the decision would send their own children off to fight?
* Are we willing to convert our economy entirely to a war footing to win this war?
I'm sure I could think of others if I had time. The point is, getting into a war should be a lot harder, politically, than it is right now. We've been at war, one way or another, since 2002, and we're no closer to winning it than we were when we started. (It could be argued that we're farther from winning it.) And we're not winning it because we're not willing to win it.

Politicians get too much political hay out of it. Defense contractors line their pockets (their own and the politicians') with warbucks. Meanwhile, our soldiers keep dying for no identifiable benefit, at least none that accrue to the United States in general.

I don't see the point in going to war with Russia. I just don't see it.

* * *

No one cares about the Olympics. The floor is lava, the zebras are angry. Literally mayhem!

Heh.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
11:49 am
#5296: How do I have a book for 14+ years and never read it?
Yesterday I--expecting a significant wait at the store while the pharmacy refilled Mrs. Fungus' prescriptions--went in search of a book. I finally dug into the box of paperbacks found in the basement, and decided that Venus by Ben Bova would be a decent read.

It looked as if it had never been opened, but what the hey.

Other than the totally uncritical "oh no global warming is melting the ice caps and raising sea level" schtick, it was a really good book. I could ignore the warmista crap because it was good, and it was also a plot point.

There is one chapter which takes place on Earth; the rest takes place on the Moon, or Venus. Technically "in Venus' atmosphere" because there is only one chapter that takes place on the actual surface of Venus.

...and I basically read it all at one sitting. I had not read this book before. It's been in that box since 2002; I have no idea when I bought it. But the story and characters were entirely unfamiliar to me.

WTF.

* * *

Veterans Administration doesn't have a big enough budget to provide health care to veterans in a timely fashion but they have enough money to pay $408 for solar panels.

The one comment talks about targeted funds--and is correct--but misses the point, which is that government wastes money.

* * *

A few years ago the History channel one would have shown Hitler instead of an alien. But it's all true.

* * *

Anyway, I was up until after 4 AM reading Venus, and got up when Mrs. Fungus' alarm went off. I wouldn't be awake now if I hadn't had an episode of gut malf, but now that things have calmed down I expect to repair to bed and sleep a few more hours. Today is, after all, my Sunday.
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
3:09 pm
#5295: How to know you needed the sleep.
When you sleep until 1 PM, and you don't wake up with a headache, you needed that sleep. Considering how much of a struggle it was to drag my butt out of bed and to work the past few days, I'm not surprised at all.

The overtime is wearing thin. It was supposed to be a temporary measure; now it's become a permanent fixture, and I find that I am not alone when I opine that I am nearing burnout. Coworkers have expressed similar concerns.

Look: the 40-hour workweek was predicated on the fact that people are not machines, and must have a certain amount of time to rest and relax. On average (goes the thinking) a typical person can produce most effectively for about eight hours a day before fatigue begins to have a negative impact on his efficiency. Certain high-functioning individuals can work all the time without problem; not everyone can. Regardless, everyone must rest and eat and do other things which could be collected under "maintenance", and if that maintenance is not performed properly the machine begins to malfunction.

It's especially important when your work is both repetitive and stressful. When you work a customer service job, you repeat the same words over and over and over again, until you're sick of saying them, and at the same time you must be 100% "on" every moment you're talking to the customer. You have to deal with people who are angry without becoming angry yourself; if you allow yourself to react to a customer's rudeness or ire, you risk immediate dismissal from your job. You frequently have to explain something five times before the customer begins to understand what you're saying.

This job is tiring. It is a hard job.

...and working 45-hour weeks has begun to take its toll. That's part of the reason they can't retain people, there; they're asking an awful lot for wages on the low end of the call center spectrum. I've been there a year and just got another raise, and my pay is still below what a Comcast rep makes right out of training class. Unlike someone right out of training class, I can handle just about any issue a customer can raise. (The other day, for the first time ever, I split an account. Never did it before. Did not need help doing it.) But I do not want to work for Comcast; my wife was a supervisor there and I know what it's like. No thanks.

I don't have time for anything else on workdays. I'm out of the house for almost 12 hours, because I spend two hours on commute and nine hours at work. I get a half-hour lunch; 9 plus 0.5 plus 2 is 11.5. Into the other 12 hours of the day I must cram eight hours of sleep plus everything else--cooking and eating meals, getting ready for work, R&R. And the schedule means I either shortchange my sleep (always a bad idea) or leave things undone until my weekend.

So when I get a weekend, that's when I get to do everything else a person has to do, things like paying bills and running errands. It seems like I don't get a weekend; my wife and I both feel as if we haven't had a day off for months.

TL;DR: life is hard.

* * *

Any person who cannot handle a short flight of stairs unassisted is not fit for the Presidency. Right? I mean, if you misspeak or you can't spell "potato" you're not fit, so what about handling the basic task of ascending stairs?

According to Vox Day, Hillary has a "handler" who is, allegedly, actually a neurologist. And if you're having focal seizures and other brain issues, wouldn't you want to have a neurologist on hand at all times?

The thing is--as others have pointed out--it is nothing new for a politician to have the press and others covering up their infirmities. FDR, for example, was crippled by polio, but the public never knew it. Kennedy had Addison's disease and an addiction to painkillers. Woodrow Wilson had a series of strokes which eventually confined him to a wheelchair.

...but if their infirmities had been known before they were elected, they would not have been. People always want a leader who is healthy; they do not want to be led by someone who has seizures or paralysis or a need for opiates.

Being President is a highly stressful job. If Hillary has seizures which are exacerbated by stress, she does not belong in that job.

* * *

"Federal prosecutors" are looking for an Apollo 11 artifact the government sold by mistake. It's a sample bag which was stolen and sold; when the government recovered it, the bag was subsequently auctioned off "by mistake".

I suppose the one good thing is that the "federal prosecutors" want to refund the money paid for the bag; they're not just saying, "Too bad, this shouldn't have been sold. Suck it."

* * *

I hope they do it. The legal path for asteroid mining has been cleared, so now people can do it. I'd love to see this company strike it rich--rich beyond dreams of avarice, so rich that everyone else in the world suddenly has a powerful need to get to the asteroid belt. Like the 49-ers going west in the Gold Rush. Sell the mule and buy a pick, ma! There's gold in them thar hills!

* * *

Speaking of which--

I've been thinking about a novel which would predate $Release_Candidate_One by about a century. The idea came to me yesterday, but fully-formed enough that it must've been percolating around my subconscious for quite a while. $R_C_1 is about the end of an interregnum and the earliest days of a galactic renaissance; what about the fall of the regnum prior to the interregnum?

Way back when I was still scrawling things out longhand I scribbled the barest whiff of a beginning of this story--a couple of pages, no more--but had no framework on which to hang it. The tone was right, containing urgency, a need to escape a collapse, but at that time I was too young and inexperienced (and my setting was too incomplete) to understand what I was trying to do. It just seemed like a cool place to start a story.

But the story I'm thinking about now contains all that and an interesting look at declining times in general. I think I have the story, now; I just need to flesh out the plot and get it down on paper.

Part of that is deciding who's going to be in the story. I have a cast of characters ready-made--basically people who appear in other stories--so all I need to do is figure out who and where.

...so all I really need to do is to find time to write it. See the beginning of this post. *sigh*
Monday, August 8th, 2016
11:54 pm
#5294: I need a life.
In my continuing adventures with Notepad, at work, I found myself creating characters like Starbirt and the Loch Ness Monsta. They're simple to produce with any text editor that preserves white space and doesn't collapse multiple spaces to one space. LJ does that, which is why I had to take a screencap to present the stupid, stupid thing that made me laugh out loud once I'd produced it:



Well, it could be worse. But I have no idea why the Loch Ness Monsta laughs in Orcish. Starbirt got his name because I tried to write "Starbird" the first time I did that doodle, and made a typo. Oh well.

* * *

Made it, finally, to my weekend. Lots of chores to do, of course, which means I might get to sleep in tomorrow. *sigh*

Anyway, now it's time for a little gaming before bed.
Sunday, August 7th, 2016
11:47 pm
#5293: And the rest of the story!
I am going to go out on a limb here and say NO, Obama is not going to declare martial law if Trump wins.

I will agree that Obama is enough of a maniac that he seems, out of the last several Presidents, the most likely to do something like that; but any President that declares martial law and suspends the electoral process--for whatever reason--had better be ready to rule with an iron fist, because the backlash would be massive. It would mean complete civil war with no city spared, including Washington, D.C., and the armed forces would be too fragmented to do anything about it.

Obama is doing what he can to try to take Trump down a peg, so that Hillary will win the election instead of Trump. The inflammatory language is part and parcel of the process. Democrats have been claiming that Republican candidates are unfit for office for decades. Of course Obama's going to say now that neither McCain or Romney would be out of their depth in office, since neither of them is, but I'd bet money that's not what he would have said about either of them if they were running now instead of Trump. Democrats always insist that Republicans are never fit to hold office; that's nothing new or even remarkable.

So, yeah, not betting on it. As much of a skunk as Obama is, I don't see him having the spine.

* * *

Gee, if only there were some record of how previous attempts like this had fared. Short form: rich idiot thinks he's smart enough to make communism work when it has failed every time it's been tried.

* * *

Still burning food instead of gasoline. Still stupid.

* * *

Anyway, I'm going to make some dinner, I think.
11:35 pm
#5292: Are you kidding me?
There ought to be a limit to this kind of nonsense. Short form: the nuclear bomb is a hoax meant to cow the populace into obedience of government.

*whimper*

There's a lot here to draw contempt. The main thing that makes me roll my eyes is they way the presence of radiation and how dangerous it is somehow proves that the bombs didn't exist. Example:
Bikini Atoll, where additional atomic bombs were tested following the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, was repopulated by 1968, even though radiation estimates suggested the island would be uninhabitable for a thousand years.
When were the radiation estimates made? By whom were they made? Did the people making these estimates subscribe to the "no safe dose" theory of radiation, or was radiation hormesis their starting point?

Here's the thing: "no safe dose" assumes that any exposure to radiation which you can avoid should be avoided. The millirem of radiation you absorb today will still affect your health fifty years from now, so you must avoid it. Radiation hormesis, on the other hand, contends that the millirem of radiation you absorb today is accounted for by your biology, and has no effect on your health unless you absorb several thousand more millirems at the same time.

Every protocol for dealing with radioactivity in the world was developed starting with the principle that any exposure to radiation is harmful. All of them start from that premise, because it is the safest way to proceed, but that doesn't mean it's correct. And in fact the more we learn about the effects of radioactivity on living organisms, the more obvious it becomes that there is a certain threshold below which radiation becomes harmless, and possibly even beneficial.

When the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it's true that the bombs did not erase the cities. A lot of things remained standing. There were many times the number of survivors as those killed. As nuclear weapons go, Fat Man and Little Boy were primitive devices; single-stage weapons which depended solely on their fissionable metal to release energy. That's why their yields were so low, under twenty kilotons.

Nuclear bombs are just bigger bangs with interesting side effects; there's nothing magical about them. That's why I frequently scoff at movies which treat them as "end of the world" machines. They're not. Movies like Manhattan Project, for example, where a kid makes a single-stage bomb from alleged "super-plutonium"--which I debunked here and here, and then here as well, so that's a tale already plainly told.

A 20 kt device set off over a major city will not wipe out the city, and the blast radius isn't going to be uniform unless the city's built on utterly flat terrain. It will kill a lot of people, yes. Not all of them will die immediately; fire and radiation poisoning will kill more than the initial blast will, or even can. People will be able to live at "ground zero" almost immediately; they're not going to be struck dead by radiation. They won't exactly be a preferred risk as it would shorten their life expectancy but that means years later, not right now--and the longer they wait to take up residence there the better their chances get. Wait about two weeks and your life expectancy is not significantly affected.

As energetic as a 20 kt device is, it's really not all that much energy. Not enough to raze an entire city and kill all the inhabitants. Expecting one to--and then claiming the bombings were faked because the bombs didn't utterly wipe out their targets--is idiocy.

The impressive part about a nuclear bomb is that one bomb can deliver such a wallop. You don't need to flatten a city to render it economically inert, and that's the point of bombing any strategic target. You don't bomb cities because you get off on killing civilians; you bomb cities because you want to destroy the enemy's ability to make war on you, and you do that by crippling his economy. What the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs did was to demonstrate to the Japanese government that the US had now gotten a hell of a lot more efficient at destroying their ability to produce war materiel, that one airplane could now stop economic activity in a specified location.

Then there's this nonsense: "[Atomic bombs'] inner workings cannot be disseminated because they are 'top secret.'"

Their inner workings are basic physics. I have understood the "inner workings" of the plutonium implosion bomb since before I was in sixth grade. What "cannot be disseminated" are the engineering details, because the last thing you want to do with a strategic asset like a thermonuclear warhead is to let your enemies know how you solved the problem of this or that particular technological detail. The bombs themselves are so simple, though, that you could build one in your garage with the right tools...and most of those tools are available now for not a lot of money. Getting the fissionables and other materials are a lot harder than getting the tools and knowledge to build a single-stage weapon like Little Boy.

This information couldn't be disseminated in 1945 because it was still cutting-edge science. They needed a Manhattan Project to develop the bomb because it had never been done before. But they did it using 1945 technology, because it's f-ing simple to do once you understand the principles.

"...some photographs of USSR nuclear explosions appear fake." Of course they do. This is the USSR we're talking about; the commies used propaganda the way we use electricity. "Look at how big our latest bomb is!"
Why would Bikini Island tests have been faked if the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were real?

Did the US suddenly run out of bombs?

And what about Russia? How did the USSR make nuclear bombs while the Pentagon was faking theirs?
1) Presumes the Bikini Island tests were faked predicated on the fact that people now live there, when "everyone knows" the islands are uninhabitable. They're not; see "radiation hormesis". Also, "Chernobyl exclusion zone" where plants and animals are doing just fine.

2) Yes the US suddenly ran out of bombs. In August of 1945 we used both extant bombs and they had to build new ones. But at the time of the Bikini tests that was no longer the case.

3) The Pentagon was not faking theirs. People living on Bikini Atoll in 2013--sixty years after the last test!--does not mean that the bomb tests there were faked.

...I could go on, but I think I've made my point. What a bunch of crap.
Saturday, August 6th, 2016
9:58 pm
#5291: Feminsm has jumped the shark.
Apparently the invention of writing was the beginning of sexism and patriarchy.

Yes, she's serious. Yes, she needs therapy.

* * *

Yet another case where someone who had something on a Clinton ends up dead.

* * *

This is why the job market is horrible. The employment to population ratio.

* * *

This is why people classed as "poor" often have $800 cell phones. It still happens today.

* * *

Other than the big sign outside that says "Whole Foods" on it?

* * *

Low time preference.

* * *

Go to 2:40:



Short form: lightning strikes utility pole, which explodes into kindling and toothpicks.

* * *

...and I don't know what else to say today. It's my Wednesday. Tomorrow is another early day, and then Monday is a regular day; after that, maybe I can get some f-ing sleep.

While rotating tires on Mrs. Fungus' car the other day I discovered that her left front tire had a bent rim. I mean bent, almost as if something had hit--oh. Yeah. That's the corner that got hit on July 1.

Except for one thing: if the wheel had been hit hard enough to dent it like that, the hubcap should have been damaged, and it wasn't. So I haven't got a clue as to how this wheel got bent like this. Regardless, it means going to a boneyard or someplace and getting a replacement, then getting the tire mounted and balanced. Shouldn't cost much and shouldn't take much time.

Couldn't do the plugs; when I tried to get the plug socket 'way down into the head to get the old plug out, it fit in the hole like it was precision machined, but it didn't fit over the plugs. Instructions found on-line say to use a 9/16ths socket, so next "weekend" we'll try that. The new plugs fit into the plug socket so I can use it to install the new ones, at least.

Interesting discovery with the Jeep: when I put the wheels on and torqued them down, I drove 'er around the block, then torqued the wheels again to a higher spec than usual. Now the Jeep doesn't feel as "floaty" above 60 as it did. Wobble is still there, of course, but it just feels more solid at speed than it did. The wheels weren't loose with the lugs tightened to 90 ft-lbs but everything feels better with them torqued to 110 ft-lbs. Spec is about 90, but it may just be possible that my $20 thirteen-year-old micrometer-style torque wrench is out of calibration.

Toyota did something to Mrs. Fungus' car; they installed a software patch when I had it in for the recall work, and now it "surges" in certain circumstances. Gonna have to take it for a test drive this "weekend" and, probably, take it back to Toyota to get them to un-fix it. WTF.

* * *

Nice and cool outside tonight: dewpoint is 55, which means ventilating with outside air. Oh yeah.
Friday, August 5th, 2016
11:13 pm
#5290: Thanks! I now hate that song.
Because my subconscious thought it necessary to replay "Night Moves" from the beginning of the second verse over and over and over and over AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!! FOR THREE F_ING DAYS a song that I used to enjoy has become a song I never want to hear again. Shit.

...and that's all I have time for tonight.
12:09 am
#5289: I care just enough to avoid soiling myself.
So tonight I had to give someone a credit.

Here's the thing: she went to Canada, and called the same day to have an international calling package added to her account because otherwise she'd be spending a hideous amount of money for pay-as-you-go usage. Then she gets her July bill--generated two days after she called--and there's no international calling feature on it and there are charges for pay-as-you-go usage.

My research showed me a few important facts. First, that she had called on the day to get the feature added. She'd called twice, in fact; the first rep she talked to added Travelpass for $2 a day, but while that's nice and cheap you can't backdate it. The second rep she talked to removed Travelpass and instead added a bundle that should have taken care of the usage, but didn't. As stated above, for some reason the feature--added two days before the bill cycle date--had not appeared on the bill.

To me that says system glitch and that was enough for me decide that this woman deserved to have the whole amount credited to her. So I--confident in my experience at this job--get the credit entered and ready for a supervisor's approval. I went in search of a supervisor, found one, tried to make my case...and got a crapton of pushback over it.

This wouldn't really bother me all that much (it's an admittedly large credit) but this exact same supervisor, a few weeks ago, told me that I had to give someone a $40 credit she didn't deserve because of "longevity" and "payment history". This time, well, the customer didn't call soon enough, and it was her fault, even though the rep had told her that the calling plan would cover the usage. No, the woman called after she'd started using data. "You understand?"

"I understand what you're saying," I told her, "but I disagree."

It's like these fuckheads are pushing back solely because they can. Whatever I ask for, I get refused, and consistency be damned. Let's give out $40 to an asshat who doesn't deserve it, because a sup will otherwise have to take an escalation over it; but when the company fucks up and overcharges someone, at that point we have to make sure the customer isn't just hunting for credits.

So what should have been a five-minute proposition instead takes over fifteen, most of it with the customer patiently waiting on hold while I make two round trips across the fucking call center. During which the supervisor in question walks out to go have a cigarette.

So, yes, just a little bit pissed off. This kind of horseshit makes me not care at all about doing the job right. WTF, if the sups don't care, why should I?

* * *

The skyrocketing cost of helath insurance does not count as "inflation", just so you know. Nope! Feds carefully exclude it from how they figure inflation.

* * *

$400 million given to Iran just happened to be given to them about the time they released some of our sailors they were holding hostage. Nothing to see here. Obama didn't pay ransom to Iran, you racist!

* * *

Anyway, time to calm down and try to relax. WTF.
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