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

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Saturday, May 18th, 2019
5:56 pm
#6668: It was obvious decades ago
If you watched and listened carefully, you could tell that the news media had a bias. In the 1980s it was not nearly as obivous as it is now, but with the Internet and Fox News still decades in the future, it did not need to be. The left had an iron grip on the narrative.

But it's becoming obvious to everyone, not just us right wingers. And it's becoming obvious because as they have lost control of it, their desperation to hold on to that power has driven them to ever-more blatant displays of their bias.

* * *

A lot of people are justifiably critical of the ending season of Game of Thrones.
Subversion is a tool for sophomores whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs. You may think you are a genius for using it when you can't come up with an ending that has real punch. But the fact is you just couldn't come up with something that would wow the audience with your brilliance so you opted to enrage them with bullshit.
The fact that Danyares' sudden turn was foreshadowed does not excuse the suddenness with which it occurred.

I agree with the general concensus that the writers of the thing got bored with it. That includes GRR Martin himself; he hasn't completed the series yet and it's doubtful, at this point, that he ever will--not when he has about three or four more 800-page novels of story left to write. But getting bored with the project is no excuse to slap a hasty end on it and then throw the audience curve balls to hide the slipshod way you're concluding the story.

* * *

Feminism has sold women a bill of goods. "Free love" doesn't work for them.

* * *

Intel took shortcuts that AMD did not, which is why these exploits don't work on AMD processors. Instead of focusing on their business--which is making silicon chips--Intel is focusing on social justice, and it is showing in their product. They've bungled their 10 nm parts and have been forced to rely on 14 nm processes longer than their competitors, and will end up skipping 10 nm entirely when they move to 7 nm.

AMD, meanwhile, is focusing on their product, and in so doing, eating Intel's lunch. The Ryzen processors are faster and more secure than their Intel counterparts. I'm pretty sure I know what kind of processor my next system will have.

* * *

It rained before I could cut the grass, so I took a nap. What a world.
12:50 pm
#6667: Well, that's a must-see, all right
I'm talking about HBO's Chernobyl.

I went into this thing expecting the usual horseshit we get from Hollywood whenever nuclear power is discussed. I mean, like The China Syndrome or Silkwood or any of the myriad movies about the development of the atomic bomb. Manhattan Project (and here's the follow-up to that post) and so forth. Approximately ONOES THE NUKEZ THEY ARE SO DANGEROUS WHAT DID THEY EXPECT WE MUST USE WINDMILLZ


At least as far as the second episode--halfway through--there has been none of that. Considering the source (HBO) that's surprising enough, but in fact the series thus far is being critical of how the USSR handled the disaster.

There were two places in the second episode where nuclear power was explained. They were a little on the "dumbed-down" side. The second one impressed me, though, as containing all the really critical information about how a fission reactor works.

I actually cannot evaluate the major threat described by the female nuclear scientist. She claims that once the core from the damaged reactor melts through the concrete containing it, it will contact water in the basement below the core, and it will cause an enormous steam explosion--one she describes in terms of "megatons".

Core material at 2,000° C falling into water--can we really describe that blast in terms of "megatons"? Somehow I doubt it, at least in terms of total energy released; but the resulting steam explosion would have destroyed the other three reactors, and the radiation released by that might have been the equivalent of that released by a nuclear detonation measured in megatons. That may have been what she meant; and that would be bad enough. Wiping out about 60,000,000 people due to radiation poisoning. Yeah. No.

...and it's made plain, repeatedly, that the commisars they're talking do don't know shit about nuclear power, so such a simplification might be necessary.

Anyway, the story is gripping in a way most TV isn't these days, and they've gotten so much else right that I'm willing to allow for it. I mean, they're not presenting this like, "Well, this is what happens when you have nuclear power!" but are telling the truth of the story, which is that they were running a test on that reactor and someone screwed up, and then the Soviets fell all over themselves trying to cover it up.

Of course we have two eps left in the miniseries. One (or both) of them may screw this particular pooch. But I'm hoping they won't; and what I've seen so far suggests that they will not.

Chernobyl was bad, and it happened for a few important reasons.

The first was the design of the reactor itself. One of the reasons Edward Teller is a personal hero of mine stems from his advocacy of safe nuclear power; and one of the rules he wrote for nuclear reactor design in the United States forbade the construction and operation of reactors like those at Chernobyl. The same way you can design a fission reactor which is inherently safe, you can design one which is inherently unsafe, and the Chernobyl reactor was one of those.

The reactor had a positive void coefficient, which was the worst problem. The void coefficient is a number that determines whether an empty space inside the core will aid or retard the fission reaction. What happens if a steam bubble forms in the reactor? If your void coefficient is positive, the steam bubble lets the reaction increase in intensity, making more heat, turning more water to steam, making the void larger--a runaway reaction that leads to the result we saw. Runaway reactions tend to go asymptotic, and in this case it blew the reactor wide open.

The reactor was graphite-moderated. The problem is, if you get graphite hot enough, it burns, and you cannot extinguish a graphite fire with water. It burns too hot and breaks up the water molecules.

Second, the reactor was housed in a shed. Which is to say, the core was a concrete box filled with graphite blocks, through which pipes passed, containing fuel, control rods, or water. The building that housed this contraption was a typical industrial building like you would find anywhere in the world: steel beam and post construction, clad with aluminum sheathing. There was absolutely no containment for the thing.

Third, it was deliberately mis-operated. They were running a test on the reactor, an experiment to see if the water pumps could be driven while the reactor was cooling down after being shut off--simulating a power failure in the power plant. What they did required that certain safety systems be deactivated, and so the fail-safes which could have (would have) prevented the disaster weren't operational.

I need to stress that, because it's usually glossed over: the safety systems were shut off and the reactor was deliberately mis-operated. They meant to do all these things; none of it was accidental. This wasn't a case of Ivan Fingerthumb throwing the wrong switch and oops! Geeze, why did the reactor blow up? All the control settings that led to the disaster were purposefully and intentionally set that way. On purpose. The outcome was not intentional, and it happened because the engineers made some other mistakes, but if the safety systems had been operational the thing would not have blown up.

The UN has attributed 57 deaths to the Chernobyl disaster. I'm sure there have been more since then (due to various kinds of cancer) but there aren't any good numbers on that. The numbers we usually get come from people who hate nuclear power and seem grossly exaggerated (ONOES A HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE...). I haven't seen any official numbers that make sense. The problem here is that the USSR was not a clean and tidy place; protesting for pollution controls was likely to get you unpersoned and sent to a gulag, so everyone put up with filth and toxic waste being dumped willy-nilly. Separating the cancer deaths due to Chernobyl from that background is a Herculean task. "Boris here died of lung cancer, which could have been caused by his two-pack-a-day habit, or his apartment's proximity to that steel mill, or his job at the asbestos insulation factory, or the daily smog problem in his city, or inhaling a bit of radioactive dust from Chernobyl." Like that. Anti-nuke folks attribute any cancer death after 1986 in the affected area to the Chernobyl disaster, the same way anti-smoking people attribute any death of a smoker as being caused by smoking. ("He was shot 15 times in the back." "Damn that secondhand smoke!" Okay, excluding causes of death which are obviously not smoking-related.)

Chernobyl still ranks as the worst nuclear accident in history. The three worst ones are Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island--and in that order.

Three Mile Island--the safety systems were all on-line and they all worked. The release of radiation was negligible, so minimal that there was a statistically meaningless drop in cancer-related diseases in the affected region.

Fukushima--although the reactors were subjected to an earthquake beyond their design specifications, this accident happened because of an oversight with regards to the site's backup power. Everything worked as designed until the tsunami hit; when the tsunami knocked out the backup power, that's when things went pear-shaped. Yet the release of radioactivity was minimal, and no one died because of it.

Chernobyl--yeah. 57 people dead in the immediate aftermath and a massive release of radioactivity; they had to abandon an entire city. But the other reactors at the site continued to function normally and were decommissioned safely at their end-of-life.

Is nuclear power dangerous? Hell yeah. So is coal and gas and even wind and solar. So is smelting steel and aluminum. So is building skyscrapers and roads. It's an industrial process, and all industrial processes have hazards associated with them. Worldwide, coal power kills more people annually than Cheronobyl had by the end of April of 1986. (Many times more.) Look at the fatality rates for steel mills, for heavy construction. Compare them to those for the nuclear power industry. I think you'd be surprised; the people in that industry take safety very seriously.

The benefits of nuclear power far outweigh the hazard, though. There's a myriad of ways to build a nuclear reactor so that it cannot melt down. There are other processes that can be used which eliminate the high-level waste produced by conventional light water reactors. Besides the uranium fuel cycle we have an entire other fuel cycle, thorium, that we've only just scratched the surface of, and if the construction of nuclear weapons is why you hate nuclear power, then the thorium cycle is your baby. Thorium has shitty properties for bombs but makes fantastic power plant fuel--and there's more thorium in the Earth's crust than there is uranium.

Overall, as bad as Chernobyl was, there have been other industrial accidents in history, and there will be many more. The fact that this one was nuclear does not magically make it worse than the others.
Friday, May 17th, 2019
12:22 pm
#6666: Yes, the law applies to YOU, too.
"I cannot believe this is happening." Not said: "...to me!"

"Why did you take his sign?"

"Because...this restricts womens' rights." She says it as if it's the most obvious thing in the world, and she apparently thinks that justifies her behavior, and she is stunned that the cop is taking the side of the victim of her crime.

"I can't believe you let this happen!" says the entitled little girl to the police officer, who--judging by his explanation of the situation to her--seems to have an excellent grasp of how public speech works.

This needs to happen every time they break the law.

Cold Fury's take on this.


It's fun to see lefties losing their shit over Alabama's new law. Looking at the front page at Imgur, there are all kinds of butthurt posts there about it.

Hey, Democrats? This is what it feels like when you start talking about "common sense gun control". The difference is, there is nothing explicitly written in the Constitution guaranteeing the right to an abortion. If you want that, get an amendment passed.

Missori restricts abortions to eight weeks after conception.
When a child on a bike found a huge pile of dead babies that had been dumped by the side of the road by a lazy truckdriver shipping the so called medical waste away from an abortion mill, the shocked townfolk agreed, at their own expense, to christen the babies, give them names, and bury them with proper ceremony beneath headstones at the local cemetery, whereupon the ACLU sued them in court to prevent the burials.
Of course it did.

The comments to John C. Wright's post talk about Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist who kept the feet of aborted babies in jars of preservative. His slaughterhouse was not inspected by the health department for twenty years lest it be shut down.

(I say "slaughterhouse" not because I intended a specific connotation, but because I cannot dignify as a "clinic" any place which was that filthy and ill-kept. A clinic is a clean place, tidy and orderly. Gosnell's abbatoir was none of that.)

* * *

The question used to hinge on this. By moving us beyond the question of viability, though, the Democrats have mooted the one point where the average, reasonable person could agree to compromise with them.

A fertilized ovum, a clump of undifferentiated cells--if you look past the religion angle for a moment, one could say, "All right, if you've got to have an abortion, that's the time." The law has placed the cutoff at various places, with "viability outside the womb" being the key qualifier determining when "fetus" becomes "human". The law is an ass, but it codifies things like this on the theory that everyone follows the same rules.

But with the changes in New York and Virginia--where they've now legalized abortion even shortly after birth--it's stripped the veil. In these states a woman can give birth and then decide she doesn't want the baby, and the baby is then allowed to die. Not given any food or water, just left alone until it dies. The next step on that path is euthanasia: "It's ridiculous for our nursing staff to be required to take care of unwanted birth products as they expire, when we can inject them with [name your poison] and speed the process up."

If that doesn't make your blood curdle, you're not human.

It's made it obvious that the endgame of all this is for abortion to be 100% on demand and unrestricted, at any time, for any reason, even after the child is born. That means that "the health and safety of the mother" is not, and never was, the reason to have abortions be legal, because giving birth is a pretty dangerous process for human beings. If a woman has given birth to the child already, there is no "mother's health and safety" reason for the child to be killed.

I used to hold the "legal, safe, and rare" position on abortion, even after I sat down and examined my prejudices and thought them through, and discarded the ones that didn't make sense.

That process started in 1992. What I did was to buy books on political thought and read them and examine my opinions in light of what I'd read. I did not do all this on purpose, but it happened organically over the course of a few years, and at the end of that road I found that about half of the opinions that I had developed in my life thus far were absolutely unsupportable by anything other than feelings and wanting people to like me.

My attitudes towards abortion and homosexuality were the last to fall to reality.

With regard to the latter, I took a strict "live and let live" attitude about it. As an example, I thought "don't ask, don't tell" was a stupid policy but did not agree that it could have a seriously detrimental effect on the functioning of our armed forces. Let them do what they want in their own bedrooms, thought I.

And with regards to abortion, my view hovered closer to libertarian, the idea that having freedom meant being able to make your own decisions. It's an uneasy compromise, but a necessary one, I figured.

I was content to leave these things as they were. As I said, a compromise: they can do what they want, I don't have to hear about it.

The problem came from the advocates of these things. "Live and let live" stopped being enough. The 22nd week stopped being enough. Popular culture shoved my face into these things; and when I looked at them in the detail asked of me by society, I discovered the reality that I'd ignored thus far.

Kermit Gosnell's operation put abortion-on-demand into perspective. Planned Parenthood's sale of fetal body parts was just the icing on that cake. It was not the pictures of aborted babies that did it, nor the baby reaching out of his mother's womb to grasp the surgeon's finger, nor even appeals to my religion. My whole dissatisfaction with the legality of abortion came from how it was accomplished ("emanations and penumbras" found between the lines of the Constitution).

No: it was Kermit Gosnell's butcher shop (this time I intend the connotation) and it was Planned Parenthood making a profit on selling human body parts that led me to make up my mind that abortion is always wrong. Specifically, abortion as birth control is always wrong. I will allow that there are certain extremely limited cases where an abortion might be warranted, but they will be exceptionally rare and not include cases where, "Well, I had unprotected sex and got pregnant but I don't want to have a baby right now."

If you don't want to have a baby, there are three ways to prevent it. Don't have sex works every time; if you don't have sex, you don't get pregnant. The Pill is available everywhere and it's not expensive; if you take the pill and make him wear a condom, guess what? The failure rate of the Pill is 1% and the failure rate of condoms is something like 10%; those two methods together yield a failure rate of 0.1%. It depends on what you pick for the failure rate of condoms; I've seen citations as high as 40%--but even there, condom plus pill equals a 0.4% chance of pregnancy.

It's no secret what leads to pregnancy and birth control is widely available. This is not 1901. There is no reason for abortion to be used as birth control. None.

* * *

Heh: I find this amusing.
Alabama passed an anti-abortion law and international airhead actress/model Emily Ratajkowski responded by posting nude pics of herself on Instagram. Ha ha ha. So after blathering on about 'patriarchy' and 'the prison industrial complex', her message boiled down to 'Abortion is great, and hey, look at my breasts'. I'm glad she's selflessly doing this for a cause and not just using this as an opportunity for some cheap, tawdry self-promotion. No, I'm not going to link to her pics, you pervs. You know, I didn't realize there was anyone who could make Alyssa Milano look smart, but it turns out I was wrong.
There are a lot of people who can make Alyssa Milano look smart. They self-identify quite frequently.

And scroll down in that post for the bit about "common sense knife control". Carving tongs, a couple of sharpeners, and a fencing foil. Oh, and a rusty spoon. Good thing those dangerous military-style weapons are off the streets!

* * *

Woman filed false police report and now her lawyer is asking why she can't be let off, considering that Jussie Smolett was let off?

* * *

So, you are mere inches from something that will kill you if you fall; of course you go for the perfect photograph of it.

When we were looking at Niagara Falls, we were very close to them. The nice and strong chest-high railing separated the esplanade from a strip of grass about three feet wide, and beyond that, a 150-odd foot drop to certain death. Every so often there was a sign stating that it was dangerous to climb the fence.

Dumbass girl hopped up on the fence and sat on the post, trying to get an unobstructed picture. Mrs. Fungus gasped at the sight, so the dumbass' boyfriend put his finger through a belt loop on dumbass' pants.

...and if she'd lost her balance and started to go over that edge, you know what would have happened: he would have pulled on it, and that belt loop would have gone rip! and she would have fallen to her death. He would have had a nice little scrap of denim to remember her by.

People are stupid.

* * *

Well, today is Friday. We're going to have some fun this weekend.

It rained yesterday; and then it rained again. And it rained more while I slept. Which means no grass cutting today. The forecast shows rain for the next several days, too, so I don't think that I'll be cutting anything at all anytime soon.

Seems as if May is "rainy season" around here.

* * *

Anyway, managed a couple more eps of GATE last night. I do enjoy it.

...but Cobra attack helicopters versus medieval infantry--that just seems wrong. I mean, I feel like the JSDF ought to handicap itself somehow just because the fight is so one-sided.

Hi! We're bad guys with military training and discipline! We were army regulars! Go ahead and shoot those arrows at us; we're all well-armored and we'll form a turtle with our shields!


You're not supposed to feel sorry for the bad guys, but holy crap--there's just nothing they can do against the kind of military technology available in the 21st century.

I am fairly confident that as the story progresses we will see the bad guys start using magic in a big way, and that will have to even the score. I remember Steven Den Beste's reviews of this series were positive but I don't remember what they said, explicitly, so all I have is the storyteller's instinct guiding me on this point. For a story to be good there must be conflict, and "JSDF flattens a medieval-equivalent army" does not have any real conflict.

We'll see, though.

I suppose the most unnerving thing about it is the brutal, ruthless efficiency displayed by the JSDF soldiers. Cobra chopper against perhaps two or three platoons' worth of enemy soldiers--and whirrr goes the minigun until they're all dead.

Well, that's war, I suppose. JSDF didn't start it.

* * *

Yesterday was a ridiculously nice day. Today it's cold and rainy. Oh well.
Thursday, May 16th, 2019
5:35 pm
#6665: Oh, is THAT all it was??
Tesla releases a software update to keep its cars from randomly erupting. Guess it was just a software setting.

* * *

The most recent school shooting fell off the front page after the identities of the shooters came out. One was a gay male; the other was a girl who pretended she was a boy.

Apparently they also hated Christians.

Of of their fathers is a twice-deported illegal alien who was deported for spousal abuse.

Regardless, because their politics and identities don't fit the left's preferred narrative, whoops look at that thing over there!

* * *

Only leftism could peddle such horseshit with a straight face. "Gender-inclusive puberty education". Global warming is settled science but biological fact is a social construct. Glurk.

* * *

Making your city a haven for vagrants has many negative consequences. Vagrancy used to be a crime for a reason. The left nullifies those laws for a reason, too.

* * *

Here's something interesting. I didn't comment on the story yesterday because it was more "gee, socialism causing want and scarcity" but if I'd known it would connect to a story today--

Anyway, short form, Venezuelan tanker captain refused to take oil and gasoline to Cuba. He was replaced with someone who would. The situation being what it is, we don't know why he refused nor where he is now (though I'd bet money he's dead, in an unmarked grave with thousands of other victims of the Maduro regime).

The article yesterday was about Cuba having to ration food items. You see, Cuba gets a lot of food from Venezuela, which is suffering from "shortages" itself. Cuba is blaming the US trade embargo for the shortages, but as previously stated here the US trade embargo does not affect Cuba's trade with other nations.

Interestingly, though:
[the ship] left Venezuela with its gasoline shipment on May 1 without incident, "but during the voyage, it disconnected its satellite systems to avoid being detected." To get to Cuba, the ship would have to pass through the waters of Caribbean nations that abide by U.S. sanctions against the Maduro regime and thus risk being seized.
These are sanctions against Venezuela, though, not Cuba.

In any case, Cuba is communist, and I'd bet money that there were "shortages" like the ones mentioned in that article long before all this happened. And it's not America's fault, either.

* * *

One of the most fundamental ironies of feminism is how well it's worked out for men. Well, for the right kind of men, that is.
These days, a man will send you a series of eggplant emojis and say something to you that is unprintable in this family newspaper. These days, a man will vie for your heart by sending you a picture of his penis as the first interaction you've had — not to upset you but to entice you (all these years later, men do not understand how penises work for women). There are untold amounts of men who want to know if you will make eye contact while you are fellating them.
Emphasis mine.

"All these years later, men do not understand how penises work for women." I think they do, else they would not be sending unsolicited dick pics. You see, men would not be sending those pictures to women if it did not result in sex, at least enough times to make it seem like a worthwhile courtship move.

With feminism, women have demanded to be treated exactly the same as men; but as society has adjusted to their desires, they are complaining that it has done so. Women want to be allowed, socially, to be sexually forward and to be allowed to want and enjoy sex, just like men--but when they get that, they find that like everything else in this world there is a price to be paid for it. That price is, of course, that men will baldly ask women for casual sex, and move on if they are refused. They won't court, they won't play around; there is no need to. "Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?"

The downsides of long-term commitment have been vastly increased at the same time that the benefits have all but disappeared. Feminism drove those changes; now feminism complains that it doesn't like the results.

* * *

Addendum: With regard to abortion this is what I was talking about the other day. Age 17, having sex. Not on the pill, using only a condom, then getting an abortion. Lied to a judge to get it, too.

To avoid getting pregnant, she could have a) not had sex. If that wasn't an option, she could have B) used another method of birth control besides the rubber.

Babies are a natural consequence of sex. If you don't want the baby, don't have sex. If you must have sex, take more than one step to avoid having the baby.

end addendum

* * *

Saudi Arabia should use its own military if it wants Iran to be hit. I agree 100%. I'm sick and tired of the US having to clean up the shit in the middle east, or anywhere.

* * *

NBC news is unhappy that Israeli defense works so well against communist terror attacks from Palestine. "The takeaway for the Palestinians should be, 'If you can't take it, stop dishing it out.'"


* * *

"Anyone who claims that free trade is good for America is either a) lying, b) does not understand economics, or c) both."

There will not be a trade war with China, at least not one of any consequence.

I can say this with authority because there is one underlying fact to all of this which seems to escape everyone who foretells doom and gloom from Trump's ongoing negotiations with China: China needs the US market a lot more than the US needs ANYTHING from China.

China's domestic economic policy is built on having access to foreign markets where their goods undercut the goods made in those markets. Example: you can buy a Chinese screwdriver set at Harbor Freight for $10, or you can buy a similar set made in the US for $25. The Chinese set is likely to break much sooner than the US set, especially if subjected to hard use, but the guy who just needs to put a couple of new outlet covers on after painting the kids' bedroom is not going to care about that. If China cannot sell those screwdrivers, the money stops coming in.

Meanwhile, if the supply of $10 Chinese screwdriver sets dries up in the US, people will complain about it, but then go buy the $25 US-made set. Meanwhile people will look at the market for screwdrivers, realize that there is a niche where $10 screwdriver sets can make money, and find a way to do it. Ultimately this helps the US.

China is fighting the Trump administration tooth-and-nail because they have no other recourse. They won't start a shooting war over it, because if they do that trade ends and their money supply dries up. Further, the people in the Chinese factory cities will riot, because you can't eat socks and underwear and bungee cords and cheap screwdrivers.

But they're not used to someone like Trump, someone who knows how to negotiate a business deal--and who isn't afraid to get up from the table and walk out any time they try to pull shenanigans. The self-styled experts in the US government clutch their hankies and swoon when he does it--oh, how vulgar, he'll be the ruin of us all!--but this is the language the Chinese understand.

Trump understands the difference between rhetoric and action. He pays no attention to the saber-rattling and the public statements and the "The US is being such a poopy-head about this!" nonsense; he knows it's nothing but show, and that what's important is what's written on the paper both parties sign.

* * *

I'll say it again: I do not expect Social Security to be there when it's time for me to retire.

* * *

Looks like gathering evidence to make a case for regulating social media as we do other curated media outlets. Like newspapers and such.

* * *

Animals like this should not be allowed to live.

* * *

The Fair tax that will be anything but. Although I will vote against it, the Illinois Democrat machine will manufacture enough votes to get it passed.

The progressive tax scheme will end up being the law in Illinois, and taxes will go up on everyone.

* * *

"I do need some oil". A relic from WW2?

* * *

When I'm at a car show I scrupulously follow these rules and I've always done so, instinctively--even before I took part in any.

* * *

Today is Thursday, and we're a scant half-hour from being halfway through it.

Thunderstorms in the early afternoon; now it's sunny. If everything can play nice and work out I might get to cut the back yard tomorrow morning, before work. IF.

...was feeling craptastic last night so I went to bed when Mrs. Fungus did. That was all right but it meant no GATE for me, and tonight I'll need to hit the hay on the early side, too. Maybe this weekend?
Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
7:43 pm
#6664: WTF UPS
Like three minutes before my shift starts, I'm trying to finish breakfast and UPS delivers a package to my doorstep. It's obviously speakers, big bookshelf ones, and I think to myself, Mrs. Fungus didn't mention buying anything like that. Go look at the package, checking the label before I bring it inside--sure enough, the addressee is not anyone here and the address itself is ten numbers removed from the bunker's address. I start to take it across the street, then realize that the address on the label is not that address, either.

Tried to contact UPS but their customer service system is a nightmare. I was in the process of composing an email to them when I saw the UPS truck go past again, so I ran outside and hailed the driver as he headed up the walk to another house. He came back, got the box and--presumably--took it to the correct address.

* * *

Once again a leftist shows how courageous he is in "speaking truth to power"...by bullying a woman he himself describes as "an old lady". "This is who they are, this is what they do." Emphasis his.

* * *

And here it comes. This bill, if passed and signed into law, will be the court case that ends up challenging the Roe v Wade ruling. It makes abortion illegal in Alabama, unless the mother's life is in danger.

Of course it will be challenged in court as soon as it's passed into law. But if the left is smart it will quietly ignore this law, and they will just work on making sure similar laws are not passed elsewhere, because otherwise this challenge will hit the Supreme Court. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not getting younger. If she's replaced before the case gets there--

But unlimited abortion is the left's core position, and their opposition to this will be incandescently incontinent. Get out the popcorn.

* * *

Social Security is very close to being insolvent. Here's the problem: for decades the US government has spent every dollar it received, and then some. Money that was taken in as Social Security payments was funneled into the general fund, which the government then spent; the federal government simply made an entry in a ledger stating that it owes the SSI system X much money. There's no separate account; certainly there was never a "lockbox" or anything of the sort.

Every year so far the SSI income has been more than enough to cover the outlays, although the "more than" part has been growing ever smaller. Whatever was left over got spent on anything else. Because of this, there's nothing to pay the overages in coming years but a bunch of IOUs.

Which is fine, as long as your currency is a reserve currency and "full faith and credit" means something. But the instant your currency begins to inflate because no one trusts it any longer--if you behave foolishly and act as though you can spend money you don't have approximately forever--that goes away.

The US is still on the right side of that turning point, but without some severe adjustments that won't last. As things stand now those adjustments are politically impossible, because the government is full of people who derive their power from the status quo and want nothing to interfere with it.

I already understand that Social Security will be gone by the time I'm ready to retire; I will never get back the money that I've paid into it.

* * *

The Democrat-controlled congress wants a do-over of the Mueller Russia investigation because it's the only thing the Democrats have. They have nothing else--nothing--that can even begin to implicate any wrongdoing on the part of President Trump. They are desperate to impeach him before the 2020 elections because if they don't, he'll be re-elected.

The Democrats are so desperate that they are beginning to flail about. Now, Democrats in recent years have shown a distressing lack of concern about the future. Recall then Democrat majority leader Harry Reid's removal of the filibuster from the confirmation process, so that Obama's nominees could be confirmed by a Democrat majority Senate? If the filibuster had been there, Democrats could have filibustered Kavanaugh...but it was too late for that. They themselves had removed the possibility of its use to stop a nominee the minority found undesirable.

Democrats continue to set (or remove) precedents for the sake of current political expediency, apparently thinking that they will never find themselves on the other end--and these precedents (or their removal) end up biting them in the ass later on. Every time.

* * *

This is not that hard to understand if you are not a pomo/SJW/NPC/leftist type. Because the "online extremism" that this statement decries is any speech that does not serve the left.

The "online extremism" that comes from muslims, and from communists and Democrats and antifa (but I repeat myself) won't be considered such. But if you were to say, "most terror attacks are committed by muslims," that would be considered "online extremism" and that is the kind of speech this horseshit seeks to counter. (Also this kind of speech.)

So, no--the Trump White House ain't signing this shit, and more power to them.

* * *

I think it may be time to abolish the FBI and put up something in its place. Or maybe just do away with a federal crime apparatus at all, just leave it up to the states.

* * *

A grand jury for the 737-MAX issue.
There are several reasons for a criminal investigation here. First and foremost is what appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead the FAA in that during flight testing the limit of authority for MCAS was quadrupled yet the FAA was not notified of this, nor was the fault analysis re-run and re-submitted despite testing disclosing that the original design for the system was off in its required limit of authority by a factor of four.
And so it begins, I suppose.

* * *

Well, sure, in 200,000 years a million species will have gone extinct. 477 since 1900 is about five a year, so at that rate--

No, there's no reason to suspect that rate will increase. We humans are in fact getting cleaner and polluting less as we learn how to do that.

* * *

This is not news. It really isn't.

Die Hard 2: Die Harder, 1990.

* * *

GoT Seasion 8 spoiler warning.

I see his point. But I do think that the turning of Dany Targaryen's character was foreshadowed. The main problem is, with such a short season, it turned asymptotic. At the end of season 7 she's done some things which were, previously, out of character for her (that's the foreshadowing) but besides being a bit bitchy and annoying, and being a lot more of a hardass about being the boss, she hasn't turned bad yet.

S8E1 hits and she's clearly begun to lose it--but four eps later she's slaughtering innocent people wholesale. This character arc was logical, and foreshadowed pretty well, but it hasn't been given time to develop.

They handled the descent of Dany the same way George Lucas handled the descent of Anakin Skywalker: "Dip da doo I'm a good guy la la la onoes something bad happened WTF ALL RIGHT YOU ASSHOLES EVERYBODY'S GONNA DIE INCLUDING YOU SHITS THAT CAN'T DEFEND YOURSELVES--"

The last ep, coming Sunday, ought to be interesting.

* * *

So, started watching GATE last night. Basic setup, dude is in the JSDF and he's going to a doujinshi convention when a magical gate opens in the middle of Ginza and a medieval army comes out and starts attacking everyone. Now he's in command of one unit (out of a bunch) exploring the world on the other side of the gate.

Medieval armor, weapons, and tactics against 21st century weaponry--yeah, that dragon didn't last very long against an Apache attack helicopter in the attack on Ginza.

Anyway, good story so far (at about 3 eps in) and I know it'll be good because the late and lamented Steven Den Beste liked it.

* * *

So, looking like 3 nm chips will be coming out in a couple of years. Damn, that's small.

* * *

Today was mid-70s and sunny. Yesterday was low 70s and sunny. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain.

Yesterday I got up at 11:30 to run some errands and get the front grass cut. I did that. Today I had planned to get up at 11:30 again and cut the back yard, but I did not do that; I ended up getting up about 12:40. *sigh*

(See previous bit about Gate.)

* * *

Well, it's Wednesday, and I'm past the halfway mark for Wednesdays. Woohoo.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
6:57 pm
#6663: Because it is vital that we protect the fragile solar ecosystem, that's why
This a contender for the most terrible idea I've ever heard:
Protect the solar system from a mining 'gold rush' by creating a 'space wilderness' that preserves 88% of planets, moons and other heavenly bodies, scientists urge
Dumb, DUMB, DUMB. It's an epic level of Malthusian stupidity, which is saying something because the Malthusian viewpoint is already incredibly, hopelessly moronic.

The duo found that humankind would use up an eighth of the solar system's realistically-accessible resources within 400 years, assuming an annual growth rate for the space mining industry of 3.5 per cent.

This growth rate would be comparable to that found in the use of iron from the start of the Industrial Revolution until the present day.

After four centuries, we would have only 60 years to rein in the growth of the space economy before the solar system's usable resources would be completely gone.
400 years? Four centuries? And what constitutes "realistically-accessible"?

They think it will take only 460 years for mankind to exhaust the resources of the entire freaking SOLAR SYSTEM? We haven't even begun to exhaust the resources of one planet in that solar system in ten thousand years. One good-sized iron-nickel asteroid would supply the entire Earth's current need for iron for a decade. The surface of the Moon is made out aluminum oxide sand; we could mine and smelt aluminum from the Moon for ten thousand years and not make a visible dent in the thing.

The resources of one planet are vast. The resources available to us out there in space are beyond imagination. There's no way in hell we could use up even the "realistically-accessible" resources in a mere four centuries, let alone all of it. These "scientists" are idiots on crack.

* * *

Speaking of face science, climatology: the models are rigged and Michael Mann was just more obvious about it than the others are.

But we knew that.

* * *

Environmentalist vandals, as usual, do more harm than good for whatever value of "good" their delusions allow.

Vandals bust into a pig farm to protest "mishaps" in the meat industry. The pig farm now must consider culling its herd because there's an epidemic raging and people need to be decontaminated before interacting with the animals. These people just barged in and brought the disease with them.

African swine fever, apparently.

* * *

Absent skin grafts, tattoos used to be permanent. I do not feel sorry for people who have to endure "expensive and painful" to undo the consequences of their actions. You chose to get the tattoo; you later chose to have the tattoo removed.

* * *

Linked because it outlines the shooting non-skills of most police officers. But after that bit it talks a little about the damage potential of various calibers, and generally speaking you want to use expanding ammunition rather than jacketed slugs for self-defense.

The human animal is incredibly robust. We've got thousands of years of warfare to thank for our physical resilience; an injury that would kill an animal will only slow down a person. But this also means that shooting someone with a pistol round using a jacketed slug will not stop him, at least not instantly.

TV makes it look like any wound is fatal, except when it's a good guy. Game of Thrones, for example: a "red shirt" gets stabbed through the gut with a sword, he falls down dead. Jaime Lannister gets stabbed in the stomach and in a kidney, and he's got enough left to climb twenty stories' worth of stairs. The latter is much more realistic than the former.

* * *

One bad chip and the car is pretty much junk. That's just lovely. And Tesla won't fix them, either.

* * *

Full of spoilers but yes, the penultimate ep of GoT was pretty dumb. Plus side, it looks as if Jon Snow finally figured out how to use light cavalry, and Dany Targaryen realized that if you attack from the direction that the ballistae aren't pointing at, you can roast them with impunity.

My wife has disliked Dany for quite a while. The turning of the character's personality may have been a little too slow and non-obvious for some people, but it was foreshadowed "which way her coin would fall". To me, this latest development seems logical.

Meanwhile, what, exactly, was Cersei's strategy? I'm still trying to figure that out. "Lannister bannermen" plus "sell-swords" plus "Iron Fleet in the harbor", sure--she had plenty of resources to stymie an attack--but Dany learned from her mistakes in the last engagement (that cost her one of her two remaining dragons). Cersei made the same mistake that the defenders at Winterfell did, by putting a host outside the stronghold; theoretically that group was protected from the dragon by the ballistae on the city walls, but that didn't work out very well. Cersei knew Dany would come to King's Landing; she should have had obstacles and barricades outside those walls.

Dany's use of speed--going up very high, attacking out of the sun, and flying too fast for the Iron Fleet to do anything effective--that was a good move. She was caught flying "low and slow" at the last engagement, so I can excuse that (though she should have immediately swooped around and attacked from the fleet's rear instead of trying a head-on attack, only to break off before entering ballista range).

Notice please that I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, here, and not just slapping them with "that was all so stupid"--but there are limits. All told, the military strategy employed in the latter third of this series has been pretty craptastic.

* * *

Other craptastic strategy: leftist women refusing to have sex until and unless unlimited abortion-on-demand becomes a reality. Alyssa Milano, who was never really all that great looking, said:
The 80s TV teen turned leftist Twitter twerp recently tweeted that "Our reproductive rights are being erased. Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back. I'm calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on."
I'm kind of curious as to which "reproductive rights" are being "erased", here. As far as I can tell, there may be a few places where some new restrictions on abortions are being emplaced (such as the "heartbeat" law, which classifies a fetus with a heartbeat as a human being rather than "unwanted tissue" or whatever the euphemism they use these days), but in most jurisdictions it looks like the push is on to remove all restrictions on abortion.

The entire idea of "legal control over our own bodies" is laughable, anyway. A woman may not put crack or meth or heroin into her body. A woman may not sell her body (except for a few places, mostly in Nevada). Claiming that not allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy in its last month (or days) somehow violates a legal principle of "legal control" is ridiculous. At some point in the pregnancy, the matter stops being solely about a woman's "right to choose" and starts to be about the life of another human being. With abortions limited to first trimester the issue is murky; but with them allowed any damn time up until and including the moment of birth, somewhere along the line we must acknowledge that infanticide is taking place.

If you want to argue that a child which cannot survive outside the womb is "nonviable" and therefore not an individual, that's something which can be debated, and I think that the pro-abortion position can be pretty effectively argued, regardless of my own opinion on the matter. I used to think so myself, that if you absolutely had to allow abortion, then the turning point of viability was a good place to put the limit, and I used to support "a woman's right to choose" on that very basis.

At the same time, though, there nonetheless comes a point at which it is now a human being and the woman no longer has a choice in the matter. When you come down to it, she had several choices, places where she could have avoided the pregnancy, and at those junctures she chose actions that could lead to, or would continue, her pregnancy. The choice she makes, or her failure not to choose (or her choice to continue the pregnancy) at those points has a consequence that must, at some point, be borne.

First off, she had sex. You can choose not to have sex. (At least, most of the time. I acknowledge that some women are raped, and can be thus impregnated, but it is not the majority cause of pregnancy. This used to be one reason I supported the legality of abortion.)

Second, when you do have sex, there is a panoply of contraceptives which are available; most of them are inexpensive. A few are not, but those few are far outnumbered by the ones which are. The Pill is common, cheap, and effective (99% of the time) so a woman who does not wish to become pregnant can usually avoid pregnancy by simply taking a pill every day. If you have an iPhone that was made within the last three years, you can afford the Pill.

Third, gestation in humans takes nine months. Generally speaking, in the last trimester the baby is viable outside the womb, though it's much more likely the closer it gets to the full term. In the first three months, though, the baby definitely cannot survive outside the womb. There is plenty of time for a woman to decide whether or not she wants the baby during the first trimester or--at worst--during the second, though at that point the fetus has a heartbeat and brain activity and so forth.

The fact is that the Democrat party is now making this push for unrestricted abortion-as-contraception because it's what they've wanted all along and they think it'll get them votes. The barbarous horror of legalized infanticide, as embodied in the New York version of this, seems lost on them, but I doubt it will escape the "deplorables".

* * *

The continued push to normalize pedophilia and ephebophilia. Sex between teachers and students--in the past, we didn't need new laws to stop this; a teacher that got caught having a sexual relationship with a student would be ostracised and jailed. "Statutory rape" was enough to send a teacher to jail, but the hit to the teacher's reputation would seal the deal. The idea that a teacher would abuse his or her position of authority that way was considered reprehensible in and of itself.

But we no longer care about that, I suppose, since in our society you're apparently supposed to have sex all the time with whoever catches your fancy.

* * *

Sure, and let's just have judges pre-sign stacks of search warrants. After all, we don't want to inconvenience law enforcement, right? We don't want them to have to wait for business hours or anything; and further we don't want to make judges work on weekends or anything.

...for a long time I have been aware that any agency which proclaims itself to be a "family services" agency is in fact one step removed from being the Gestapo...and it is not a very large step.

* * *

If anyone starts quoting "The Second Coming", though, I'm going to kickban him. It is hard enough to see it happening; we don't need to refer to Yeats' old clunker to emphasize it.

I cannot refute his point no matter how I try. Used to be that you could carry a gun, or not, as suited you; today you must have permission from the government. Used to be you could open a business; today, you need a license. Ditto for just about every other avenue you'd care to explore.

Owning property? You need to pay a tax on it, else the government takes it away.

* * *

I talked about this a while ago. When talking about how cities in the American southwest must put up "asylum seekers" and noted that the article said some 75% of "went elsewhere", I said that was because these "asylum seekers" were migrating elsewhere into the country and never attending their asylum hearings. Having accomplished entry, and having a court date set, they're now essentially free to go wherever they want--and the only thing the police can do is to make note of the fact that Pedro is 1,200 miles away from where his asylum hearing is scheduled to take place--in two months.

* * *

The gang problem in Chicago will not be improving any time soon. Crime is a tool of the left. By emplacing measures like this, which encourage crime, they can claim that capitalism has failed and it's time for socialism.

Crime then goes down, but only because offenders are shot or sent to the gulag rather than released on their own recognizance.

Related: Leftists have all the privilege in the US. They can break the law with impunity.

* * *

Okay, now for the palate-cleansing fun stuff.

Firefly is long since over, anyway, so I don't care what they do with the IP going forward. I don't have to buy this shit, so if they want to make a super-feminist version of the series, they can go right ahead and do that. I have no dog in that hunt.

It's typical, though, and ludicrous; and it's going to be complete shit.

* * *

Please let this not be PvP-only. The big problem I have with the Classic WoW pirate servers is that too many of them are PvP-only, and if you're the kind of person who just wants to run quests and so forth, PvP is no fun. "Great, I need only one more MacGuffin Chunk to finish this quest and then--hey!!!" You get ganked by an enemy player who has ten levels on you, and then he (or his friends) camps your corpse and keep killing you until you give up in frustration and log out. "Fun."

* * *

These descriptions of ST:TNG and ST:DS9 are completely accurate.

* * *

"Are you telling us that the poles of our world are Bear Continent and Anti-Bear Continent"? Yes. That's exactly what he's telling us.

Circle with Bears and Circle Away From Bears. Wow.

* * *

I don't think it's demonic or devilish. Whatever is going on there, it doesn't hurt anyone or try to scare them away. But even so, I don't think I'll visit.

* * *

There is a point at which you are pushing it. This is well past that line.

* * *

No, really? I'm amazed and shocked you could say so. "Cosmology has some big problems," yeah, like asserting that 90% of the universe is made of something we can't see or touch.
The crux of today's cosmological paradigm is that in order to maintain a mathematically unified theory valid for the entire universe, we must accept that 95 percent of our cosmos is furnished by completely unknown elements and forces for which we have no empirical evidence whatsoever. For a scientist to be confident of this picture requires an exceptional faith in the power of mathematical unification.
The result of this is that much of what we think we know is probably wrong, and some of the theories that we use to patch this stuff together are certainly wrong.

* * *

I finally got to the end of the links! Holy crap.
12:12 am
#6662: Consequences
The result of poor forest management, done solely because ENVIRONMENTAL LEFTISM, is that California faces blackouts on high-wind days during summer. Because a huge, huge fire happened after high winds blew down a power line.

The result of not enforcing vagrancy laws, done solely because SOCIAL LEFTISM, is that Denver faces the same fate that has befallen places like San Francisco. Except in Denver it was put to a vote, a referendum, and the people said "Oh, hell no."

Of course the matter will be decided in the courts, as always. When the voice of the people is made known through referendum and it turns out to go against what the left wants, suing is their next step.

* * *

Tomorrow I need to get up early to run a couple of errands. This is the result of being a total slug today--but other than get the rental SUV turned in I wanted to, and did, absolutely nothing but lay around, play WoW, and eat. C'mon: I drove 1,964 miles last week. (Actually, Mrs. Fungus did a little bit of driving: one hour on Monday and one hour on Tuesday. Maybe 120 miles of the total distance. Otherwise, I did it all.)

I used to think of Niagara Falls as being far away, but having done that drive in one day has changed my perspective. Without stupid detours to find restaurants that are closing and stuff, it's about an eight hour drive. Eight hours' worth of driving will take you pretty far, it seems.

* * *

Tried a sip of Pepsi made with sugar today. It tasted like I was drinking Karo syrup. So, pretty much, that does it for sugared soda of any variety for me. Which is just as well, considering how bad it is for you.

* * *

The places we went in Canada were extremely clean and well-maintained. I don't think I saw any graffiti in bathrooms. There were new buildings going up; in Montreal there were three places where gantry cranes were set up, and I saw at least one while passing through Toronto. The highways were all in good repair (except Montreal was a disaster area, half the on and off ramps closed for construction). Overall, it reminded me of what the US was like some thirty or forty years ago.

There are two main reasons this is so. First off, Canada's demographics are vastly different than those of the US. They are more homogenously white, and the culture is fairly uniform. The only real divide there is, I expect, between English and French Canada. There is not the mass immigration that we see here in the US, mainly because the only way for migrants to reach Canada is either by going through the US, or by boat, or air. Because their demographics are like that, because their underclass is not artificially expanded by mass illegal immigration, this limits what their government must do for poor people. And besides that, Canada has 1/5th the population of the United States.

Although Canada has socialized medicine and various other lefty programs, it does not vastly overspend its revenue; the 2018 budget had a deficit of under $20 billion from a $323 billion budget.

Second, Canada doesn't have a huge military. It doesn't need it. The US treats a threat to Canada as a threat to the US. American military spending is about 20% of the US budget ($800 billion-ish. Social spending is approximately 50%, around $2,000 billion).

Over the past forty years, the American standard of living has been in decline as government swallowed ever greater percentage of the country's economic output. Canada looks as if it has mostly avoided that.

Which is not to say it's utopia. I watched my tongue very carefully while in Canada, keeping my opinions to myself and not speaking in public about anything that might offend a protected group--crack one gay (or, especially, muslim) joke and you might find yourself in jail. Gasoline costs at least a dollar more per gallon there than it does here. Strict gun control is in effect, of course. I paid a surcharge for every plastic item I bought. At a rest stop, one of the attendants there gave me a lecture on how to sort trash, "this goes in this bin and that goes in there" kind of stuff (habitual politeness kept me from telling her to fuck off). The speed limit on the highway is 100 kph--62 MPH--which is dead slow when you're crossing a continent. Trucks have to have speed limiters installed, and set to a specific speed by law, so when one truck tries to pass another it takes a long time and traffic backs up behind them.

Nice place to visit; wouldn't want to live there. But it would be nice if the US I lived in now was like the US I grew up in, because it was clean and well-kept like that place was.
Monday, May 13th, 2019
11:14 am
#6661: We're all going to die because of climate change, I guess.
The science is settled!

Ireland has declared a "climate emergency" and so:
...an independent, government-appointed Committee on Climate Change recommended to the government such measures as reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products, changing the way farms do business, and making electric cars the only cars that people can buy starting in 2035. By 2050, according to the panel, the country should be greenhouse gas emission-free.
In other words the remedy for this "emergency" is a) government control, followed by b) government control, and topped off by c) even more government control.

After all, if the people are free to choose what they want, they inevitably make the wrong choices, and so they must be forced--at gunpoint if need be--to make the right choices.

So you will eat less meat and consume less dairy products, and you will buy an electric car, and you will stop emitting CO2. By the way, the politicians and such will still eat what they want, tool around in limosines, and so forth. I mean, there's a limit to what one can be expected to do, right?

The problem is, all of this is predicated on complete bullshit.
What is global temperature anyway? How is it measured? Why are we looking at the last fifty years and not the last fifty million years? Even simple things like the measurements of temperature are subject to huge disagreements because of complexities like the urban heat island effect. And the fact is that the world has seen much higher levels of CO2 in the past even during ice ages.
Climatologists cannot tell us what a desirable global temperature is, nor can they tell us what the CO2 concentration should be, other than to point to what it was before the Industrial Revolution. Their computer models do not reliably simulate the present given past conditions, but instead the outcomes of these simulations vary wildly; and to make matters worse they don't even reflect current conditions correctly. They insist that the globe has been warming steadily, tracking a steady increase in CO2, but none of the unadjusted data shows that, and the only way this warming trend can be demonstrated is if they alter the data so that it shows up. All of their predictions--all of them--have been wrong.

However as a political weapon, in order to seize total control over the people, global warming (or climate change or whatever they're calling it today) is just splendid. And that's what it is, what the elites are using it for. Not because they think it's actually happening--their own actions show what they believe--but because it keeps the proles in their place.

And speaking of such, In Illinois, your electric car will cost you $1,000 per year to license because you're not buying gasoline and paying the exorbitant gasoline taxes (which themselves are going to be increased soon).

Coming to a government near you: they'll make you buy an electric car, and they'll make it prohibitively expensive to own and operate, and they'll also make gasoline nearly impossible to buy, so that you must use public transportation--which itself will be unreliable, because none of them would ever be caught dead using it.

* * *

Understand the true face of leftism.

* * *

Lying is what the left does. It does it reflexively and without thinking. Automatically.

So for the head of Planned Parenthood to say that there is no such thing as a law which allows abortion right up until the moment of birth--when there are now places where that is the law--is neither surprising nor even unusual.

The laws enacted in those places put a bad face on abortion, because it reveals that the primary reason for its legality is a) the elimination of unwanted children, and b) helping leftists in various ways. The left wants there to be as many abortions as possible because leftism thrives on the shedding of blood and the destruction of innocence. It cannot survive--does not want to survive--without committing mass murder.

Planned Parenthood makes a lot of money off abortions and it employs a hell of a lot of leftists.

* * *

Season three is go and it for damn sure ought to be. The Orville has not set a foot wrong, at least not in any major way; I cannot say that about the various versions of Star Trek that were produced after 1980. (The first season of Next Generation was virtually unwatchable by today's standards; the only reason we watched it was because there was nothing else, no other SF, on television. Except for reruns of TOS.)

Season two kept the light tone but at the same time became more serious than the first season. I think it was pretty fair dinkum. Here's hoping they keep doing that well in the third season.

* * *

I tried very hard to give Hertz my business, but they tried harder to avoid serving me, which is why I ended up renting from Enterprise. It actually ended up costing me less to rent from Enterprise, anyway, so it all worked out.

* * *

My vacation doesn't end until beginning of work tomorrow. I can live with that.
12:53 am
#6660: I had better things to do.
Want to know why blogging was spotty and crummier than normal this week? Like the title says, other things were happening, things I wanted to do more than blog:

Like look at Niagara Falls from the hotel room we stayed at over the weekend, for example.

Or to look at Montreal from our hotel room on the 24th floor:

Here's how the week went.

Monday: picked up rental vehicle and hied ourselves eastward, Montreal or bust, in order to watch a showing of Cirque du Soleil: Allegria. Owing to various factors and so forth we did not manage to leave as early as we'd wanted. We did, however, get as far as Port Huron, Michigan--the very cusp of the border with Canada--before seeking a hotel room for the night.

Problem: the GPS that Mrs. Fungus bought me for Christmas did not include Canada map. Further, the USB cable for it that I'd thought I'd packed turned out to have been left sitting on my desk at home, now some five hours' drive west of our present location. I left our hotel room and went to two gas stations hoping one of them had the cable I needed; no luck. After getting back to our hotel room I did some checking on-line for electronics stores and discovered an all-night WalMart a short distance away. The GPS knew where that was, so, off I went--and got the cable I needed. I was then able to buy the Canada map and install it.

So we got up the next morning and checked out of our hotel and hied ourselves ever eastward, crossing into Canada and heading for Montreal at a stunning 62 MPH. (100 kilometers per hour.)

Made a brief detour to swing by this guy's place. If he had been out and about I would have introduced myself etc, but it was raining, the place was all closed up, and no one was in evidence. I didn't want to bother the guy unannounced or anything. (Mrs. Fungus did get a pic of me standing in the driveway, though.)

The big problem we had was finding places to eat that weren't either Burger King, Tim Horton's, or Starbucks. All along 401 in Ontario there are "OnRoute" stops--oases where you can get food and gas--but there's no real variety. Thanks to Verizon's TravelPass feature, for $5 a day Mrs. Fungus had full access to the Intertubez on her iPhone (I put mine in airplane mode, no need to have two phones on the plan). She would look for places to eat, and we'd try punching them into the GPS, and it'd take us there. But a lot of these places were not close to the highway. The result was that we ended up losing time winding around the back roads trying to find food, and so we ended up stopping overnight Tuesday night in Bellville, Ontario, Canada.

But the next morning we took off again, and made the final push to Montreal. We'd reserved our room for two nights, Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday was the show, so after checking in at the hotel there we went out on foot to find food, and had dinner at a little Thai place in the Gay Village.

...which is exactly what it sounds like. Okay, rainbow banners, all-male revues (strip shows), sex toy shops, "leather" shops, head shops, you name it. Aieee.

Anyway, you could see the Cirque tent from our room if you stood right next to the window. We could have walked there if the weather had been better, but it was pretty much rain, rain, rain. The show was outstanding, as usual.

Friday we got up and hit the road. If you look at the picture above, you can barely make out--on the peak of the hill at the right center of the Montreal picture--a cross. That's the Mount Royal Cross, and the instant I saw it I wanted to go to it and see it up close. Played Hob getting an address to punch into the GPS but finally got something that took us into the ballpark, and then I learned why that was: you can't drive up to it. There is parking perhaps halfway up the hill and then you must ascend the rest of the way on foot.

There were no directions, no periodic signposts saying "This way to the cross" (or anything in French meaning the same). I left Mrs. Fungus in the car and took my umbrella and set out, trying to get there, finding a shortcut through the woods--and if you look at the ridgeline in that picture, I went from the parking lot at the left face of that hill to the big microwave repeating tower that sticks up the highest from it. (I started from perhaps halfway between those white lights on the hillside, and the tower.)

But you see, this is what Friday, May 10 looked like in Montreal:

It was raining steadily, there were no signs, after an already too-long walk I was less than halfway there, and I couldn't see where the thing was--I reluctantly gave up and turned back to the car. The ground was wet and muddy and I slipped, falling on my left buttock and sliding about three feet before I caught myself.

Unhurt but dirty, I returned to the car, changed out of my muddied sweatpants, and then got us on the road, making the drive to Niagara Falls as planned. Arrived at our hotel there and we were simply stunned by the room. The view alone was worth the price of admission, but it had a whirlpool tub big enough for the two of us as well.

We slept in Saturday, then hit the falls. The boats weren't running yet--there was still ice on the banks!--but we did the "Journey Behind the Falls" and got our fill of them, doing the tourist thing and enjoying ourselves immensely. The really nice thing about our hotel was that it connected right to a bridge that led to an inclined railway that went right down to the park itself, to the visitor center.

Sunday morning, we got up and checked out and drove home. Had an inordinate amount of time trying to find something to eat, too; Mrs. Fungus wanted a real breakfast and I seconded the motion, so she was trying to find a place. Leaving Niagara Falls at noon, the GPS estimated about an eight-hour trip, arriving at the Fungal Vale around 7-ish after adjusting for moving out of the Eastern and into the Central time zone.

She finally found a place, so I punched it into the GPS, and it took us for a long stupid ride through backwoods Ontario. When we got to the place? Sign on the door said they were closing at 1:30 because they ran out of food. We finally found a Tim Horton's a few miles from there and had that for breakfast. By then the detour had somehow added almost ninety minutes to our trip time.

At dinnertime the same shit happened. Had the devil's own time trying to find a hibachi/sushi place we'd seen a billboard for, and when we did find it, turned out we could eat sushi and appetizers only and be seated immediately, or else wait over ninety minutes to eat at a hibachi because Mother's Day. We ended up having burgers in the parking lot of a nearby fast food joint.

Got back on the road with a new revised ETA of 9:30 PM. Arrived home about that time. Total distance driven, 1,964 miles.

The rental was a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. 2.3 liter 4-cylinder engine with a CVT, all-wheel-drive, and stability control. The damned thing tracked like a cat, accelerated just fine, and got 30 MPG for nearly the entire trip. The seats were a little firmer than I like for a long trip but overall it was very comfortable.

I would not mind visiting Niagara Falls again; I simply could not get tired of that view no matter how long I watched it. We had a wonderful time.

And now, back to reality. Heh.
Saturday, May 11th, 2019
9:59 pm
#6659: Ah, Saturday
The other day was quite a day. Today is also quite a day. Tomorrow will be quite a day.

Futher bulletins as events warrant on that point.

* * *

Giving lots of thought to the story even if I'm not getting anything written thus far. Mostly, it's setting stuff.

* * *

Where do I get this job? $100 an hour to DM. It's like something out of Knights of the Dinner Table.

* * *

Well--the bathroom is, as I said, done--has been now for a couple weeks--but I haven't made any progress on the water filter. Well, the weekend after I finished the bathroom was Easter; the weekend after that was my wife's birthday, and the next weekend--wasn't that when I was finally able to cut the grass?

Too much going on, that's the problem.

...but next week I hope to relax. Though I will still have to cut the grass.

* * *

Seen in the sidebar at AoSHQ:
So, when did "for a minute" become the standard way to say "for a long time"?

I just started noticing the usage a few weeks ago and now I hear it everywhere. my Lyft driver said it today.

Like if you wanted to say you've been in politics for a while, you'd say "I've been in this game for a minute"

I don't really hate it, but I also don't love it, and I don't see why this particular coinage is catching on with so many people. It's like J.J. Abrams. I don't really object to it, but I also don't understand why he gets so much work.
I do, actually, object to it. The ironic mode works best when it's used sparingly but if you say, "for a minute" every time you mean "for a while" you're not using it sparingly. It's idiotic.

* * *

So, Game of Thrones ep 4--

Dragons versus ships with ballistae, and the ballistae are fixed, only able to swing up and down. And I immediately said, "Fly around and attack from the stern for fuck's sake!"

Even if the ballistae could swivel in azimuth as well as elevation, they'd have to fire through their sails to hit an aerial assault coming from the rear.

And what's the cyclic rate for those ballistae? The things need to be cocked before they can be fired again, and you don't cock one of those things with muscle power alone; you probably have to winch the damned string back. So once they've all shot their bolts, how long to reload? Even with one dragon, Danyaeres should have been able to roast that entire fleet to the waterline.

Then again, "really bad strategy" has been the hallmark of the every battle in the entire frigging series. I am no strategerator, yet it was bleeding obvious that none of the people commanding those battles had the slightest idea WTF he was doing and have zero adaptability in the face of the enemy.

All the battles that take place are 100% "plot devicium": they turn out the way they do because that's what the writers decided would happen, and there's no attempt made to make those outcomes make any frigging sense.

* * *

On the plus side, it's Saturday night. Whee!
Thursday, May 9th, 2019
5:00 pm
#6656: We already knew this. So what?
Yes, Trump's business lost money. Yes, his taxes were reduced for several years because of it. None of this is new information, let alone news.

They tried this already, during the election, and it was a huge nothingburger. What, they think by repeating it that it'll make a difference? Everything Trump did was 100% legal, and Hillary Clinton did exactly the same thing in years when she experienced a loss, so why does NYT think this is going to go anywhere now?

Karl Denninger explains it:
The NOL rules in many cases forbid you from taking all of that directly against income in the current year but any amount in excess of that is carried forward until consumed, exactly as is the case for someone who has a $100,000 investment loss in the stock market. You can only take $3,000 a year against ordinary income so if you don't have $100,000 in taxable investment gain the next year you consume $3,000 of that, but the remainder is available on a carry-forward basis until you use it up.
Trump didn't write the law, nor did he sign it into law. He had nothing to do with enacting the law. He was a private citizen and operated under the law--the same law everyone else has to follow.

NYT wants to make this into a big deal, because they're trying desperately to generate the perception that Trump is somehow a tax cheat. The problem is, he's not, and further he made absolutely no secret of the fact that he incurred those losses at the time they occurred and at other times going forward.

NYT may, in fact, have either suborned or committed a felony by leaking this information.

* * *

Boeing's 737MAX is still not looking good. Boeing is expecting lawsuits and they're throwing their software vendor under the bus.

Okay, first off, WTF: why is the software not written in-house? Second, why is the software vendor at fault for this when Boeing should have tested that software?

* * *

If you cannot get out of the car when the battery is disconnected, that is a fricking bad, bad, BAD design.

Imagine you've been in a horrible, horrible wreck, and your car is on fire, and you need to get out of the car...only you can't, because the drive-by-wire door latch requires battery power to release.


* * *

It would not fit in seamlessly, but I admit it's damned good nonetheless. I'm tempted to take the original movie and cut this bit into it.

* * *

Tomorrow is Friday. Wooohoo!
Wednesday, May 8th, 2019
9:56 pm
#6655: The real story is, of course, more complicated
This is why Lincoln is one of the, if not the, worst Presidents. The Civil War was fought over taxation--specifically, the taxes that the North could not collect if the South seceded. The slavery angle was Lincoln's gimmick to seize the moral high ground.

I'm no libertarian, but like them I regard Lincoln as a would-be tyrant. No wonder he's the one Republican President that the Democrats can speak of in admiring terms.

* * *

Had a real hankering today to listen to AD's Time Line. AD was the band Kerry Livgren formed when he quit Kansas to do Christian rock. Time Line was their first album.

Anyway I had one of the songs from that album going through my head this afternoon, so as I was doing the pre-blog surf I listened to it. Woohoo.

* * *

Another tiring day today, but you know what? That's okay.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2019
10:56 pm
#6654: Not writing about anything today either
Not really.

I had occasion to get Seiren (the Dell laptop) out and put it through its paces, and I'm starting to think that even with the SSD it may have outlasted its utility. It's one year older than the laptop that was Dad's (the one on which I fixed the screen hinge) and I was curious about how well it would stack up; I've noticed that it is a bit of a sluggard. I have not tried to do much on Dad's old laptop except for using it to watch Seitokai Yakuindono, so I don't really know that it's much better than Seiren.

Anyway, I'm starting to think that I should save back some shekels to buy a new laptop. This one can be expanded only to 4 GB of RAM--it came with 3--and Win 10 runs okay on an SSD with that paltry amount of RAM. But then I compare its performance to my work laptop, which has a Core i5 processor and 8 GB. No contest.

Of course Seiren still looks basically new. I take care of my equipment.

What would be good would be a laptop with one of those fancy AMD processors that includes a high-zoot graphics processor. Then I might even be able to play WoW on the thing. That'd be a hoot.

* * *

Trying to get motivated to add more words to AV, and failing. Apparently it's not yet time to railroad; but when it is, I'll hit it with both barrels.

I am probably, in fact, less than a hundred pages from the end of the story. I just need to pick a direction and start writing.

* * *

Well, that's enough for today. Kind of tired and need to hit the hay.
12:04 am
#6653: Oh man am I tired.
What a day. Tomorrow's another one!

* * *

Watched the last of Saekano Sunday night and...it went a direction I wasn't quite expeciting it to. I really liked the series, but around ep 10 or 11 of "Flat" it started to...well, it wasn't a Gainax train wreck or anything. The ending was logical (and open-ended so it's not the end of everything) but it...it hurt.

Somewhere along the line these characters grew on me to an extent that I am really, really unhappy that there's no more story--but that's not what I mean. I mean, the things that happen--it just didn't feel good.

It ends on an upbeat note. No one died. Everyone is still friends. It's a spoiler to say what happened but there are no negatives for anyone here, except that the main character doesn't get what he wants; but the reason that happens is something that makes him very happy for his friends even while he's sad for himself.

I think that's the part that made me so depressed. In that ep his disappointment is so palpable that it's hard to watch. (Bonus points for anime finally showing the way tears pool in glasses....) And I don't know why the remaining member of the circle does what she does in that scene, either.

I said it was a "harem comedy" but it stopped being that somewhere along the line. Two of the three girls in the circle he forms are romantically interested in him; the third--I'm not sure what's going on with her. First I think she is, then I think she's not, then I'm not sure; and about the time I've decided that yes, she is indeed interested in him, that scene comes up and she does what she does, and I don't know what to think any more.

So after it was over I sat at the computer, moping, until I realized I should just go to bed. Oh well.

* * *

So, my wife and I were talking, some months ago, about the position that was open at her company. Their call center needed a director, you see, because they fired the last guy who had that job...mainly because he didn't do anything. My wife did everything. She ran the thing, top to bottom, and the only thing the director took care of was doing the payroll.

After the guy got fired, she started doing that, too, and they advertised for a new director, but couldn't find anyone. Among other things they wanted someone with a masters' degree.

Anyway there was this time, last summer, where we were talking about it, and I said, "That's probaby the way the PC Hardware Lab was at Rockwell: 'We want God for $5 an hour!'"

Then I said, in my "old man" voice, "Hello there! I'm a wizard and I'll work for five dollars an hour! And I have a master's degree in autofellato!"

Mrs. Fungus: "In what?"?

I explained what autofellatio was.


I just wanted to tell the story.
Sunday, May 5th, 2019
3:42 pm
#6652: The way they do things
How many casualties in Israel from the terrorists' rockets? Odd how CNN's headline is silent on that:
250 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel; 1-year-old child among those killed in retaliatory airstrikes
I am betting on a few facts, though.

1) Israel is better at targeting than communist terrorists in Hamas. Which is to say, the Israeli airstrikes actually hit their targets, and smart munitions limit collateral damage.

2) Hamas has a history of using innocent people as "human shields". "We put our launchers in schools and hospitals so the jews can't hit back without killing noncombatants!" Honorless, despicable, cowardly--just what you'd expect from communist terrorists.

3) Israel has "Iron Dome" which is a pretty effective defense against rockets, so even if the communist terrorists of Hamas had good targets for their rockets, and weren't just firing them at random, a number of them are destroyed before they can hit their targets.

CNN loves the communist terrorists in Hamas and hates Israel, so naturally the only reason they mention the 250 rockets fired by the communist terrorists of Hamas is to give some iota of context to the Israeli airstrikes. The important part of the headline is meant to be read as "innocent 1-year-old child BRUTALLY MURDERED by Israel!!!" and believe me, the American left will read it just that way.

I'm sorry for that child, but his death lies at the feet of the communist terrorists in Hamas, not Israel. If the communist terrorists of Hamas were not such cowardly dickless little bitches, hiding behind women and children after they commit their atrocities--but one might as well wish for a pony, I suppose.

* * *

Some Democrats think Biden is their best chance to beat Trump in 2020. Trump has said that he's eager to run against Biden. Make of that what you will.

Biden sez, "Do Democrats want a bipartisan deal-maker promising a return to normalcy, or a partisan warrior?" What Democrats want is a Democrat "partisan warrior" in the White House. Say what you will about Obama, he was certainly that. In the Democrat lexicon, "bipartisan" means "Republicans cooperate with Democrats" and never the other way around.

Okay, Trump is a "partisan warrior" because he doesn't give away the farm to the Democrats. John McCain was hailed as "bipartisan" because he agreed with Democrats and helped them get their way. Given a choice between Trump and someone like McCain, they'd take the latter every time. Given a choice between McCain and Obama, though? We saw.

Democrats absolutely want a "bipartisan deal-maker" in the White House if that person is a Republican, but they'll excoriate him mercilessly regardless. (Proof: they now long for the presidency of George W. Bush.) But if that person is a Democrat, they want the "partisan warrior".

* * *

Finished watching Saekano last night and am now well into Saekano flat, the second season/cour/series of the thing.

I am rooting for Utaha. I am not sure why. Megumi is a very nice girl but her personality is...flat. Eriri is very annoying and not cute. Michiru--besides being Tomoya's cousin--is a bad person for a variety of reasons, like "I'm staying over for a few nights, so I threw away 90% of your collection" and the fact that she is such a tease. Utaha has an acid tongue and several personality defects of her own, but she's honest about what she wants (though not direct).

The big problem with harem comedies comes from the fact that once the guy chooses a girl, it's over. This series avoids that by having Tomoya show no interest in any of the girls. Of course they all want to be his (you cannot have a harem comedy without that) but of the three main girls only Utaha has actually expressed that interest in a plain fashion.

Meanwhile, found a couple of other series on Hulu I want to peruse, so once this is over I'll have other things to watch, still.

It occurred to me, while cutting grass yesterday, that I haven't come across a series like Kimi ni Todoke or Lovely Complex for a while, where I just could not get enough of it. Have to keep on looking, I guess.

* * *

Today is the first 70-degree day in a couple of weeks. Someone's cutting his grass; otherwise it's nice and quiet.
3:06 pm
#6651: Computers are still getting faster.
SSDs are fast.Quoth Pixy Misa:
When your disk drive had an 11ms access time, it didn't matter much how many layers of code were between your application and the write head. Ten years on, a good enterprise SSD can have a write access time of 11µs, but CPUs aren't anything remotely close to 1000x faster.

The solution? Get rid of most of the operating system. Maybe.
Okay, just for grins, a typical desktop hard drive has an access time of about 9-15 ms, or 0.015 seconds at the slowest. So Pixy picks a number and says 11 ms, which is approximately correct.

That 11 ms, that's the time it takes from the moment the drive finishes receiving the read request until the moment that data starts flowing out of it. 11 ms is not a lot of time for us, as it is a smidge more than a hundredth of a second, but for your CPU it's an approximate eternity.

Understand that a processor with four cores running at 2.5 GHz will spend twenty-seven million clock cycles waiting for the data it asked for. When your data is stored on spinning metal, that latency means there will be times when your CPU is waiting for the hard drive, and there's plenty of time for it to handle other tasks. For the most part, in a single-user environment, that means that nearly all the time, your CPU is running the OS itself and is otherwise waiting for input.

In the old DOS days, this meant that perhaps 90% of the machine's total computing power was available for running programs. DOS was not a terribly complex operating system (simple enough that some people write their own for fun) and a lot of it had been programmed as assembly code. It could not multitask, had no real security, and was limited to arbitrarily small memory maps, but it was tight and fast and it stayed out of the way of applications. It worked well when clock speeds were single-digit megahertz and it cost ten dollars an hour to connect to the Internet at 300 baud.

The advent of graphical user interfaces like Windows and Mac OS meant more computing power had to go into running the OS. The presentation layer of the OS became vastly more complex and a lot of the gains from moving to 16-bit (and then 32-bit) processors was consumed by the needs of the OS itself.

But these days?

SSDs are at least an order of magnitude faster than any storage we've previously used for personal computers. Actually, it's more like three orders of magnitude, as an 11 us access time is one thousandth of the hard drive's 11 ms access time. At this level the CPU is still waiting for the data to start moving, but now it's waiting twenty-seven thousand clock cycles; since we're still using SATA (mostly) the data flows at 600 MB/s--which is a speed at which the processor could (in theory) actually execute the code as quickly as it comes off the drive. In that case it would still spend time waiting between instructions, about four clock cycles each.

That is how slow the fastest drives are. I/O is, and always has been, the bottleneck. CPUs have always waited; and so the OS has bloated up, because all that processing power was just sitting there most of the time, waiting. But in a world where access times and data rates are creeping higher, it's probably time to reengineer the OSes to take advantage of that speed.

There are three very important concepts that a good OS should be built on.

1) the actual user should never have to wait, at least not more than is necessary. Which is to say, when I click on the icon, there should be immediate feedback that the icon has been clicked and that the computer is doing something about it, even if the computer itself must wait to start acting.

2) the actual user should always have focus where he is working. So if I'm in window A, typing something, the computer should never pop up window B and steal focus. It is possible to pop up a window asking for input or giving a warning without stealing focus from the user. There is nothing that can happen on a modern personal computer which is such a dire emergency that it demands taking focus from the user's task. At least, not that the OS can do anything about.

3) The OS should never get in the way. By this, I mean several things.

a) The OS should never use more than maybe five percent of the total processing power and storage available; you should never have to look at limited storage space and say, "Well, I'll get rid of X because I need so much for the OS." (Had that happen this week. Certain client's computers use SSDs and the machines have 100 GB storage. Windows 10 takes 27 GB, and the page file took at least another 16 GB. Almost half the drive taken up by the OS. No.)

b) The OS should never, never, ever tell a user that they must restart right now and then take half an hour to come back up because it's installing updates. It does not take that long to copy the data from one part of the drive to another, not at SATA speeds. There is no excuse for this; again, there's no update which can be so mission-critical that it cannot wait for lunch hour or EOD.

c) And the OS should never prioritize any of its operations ahead of the user's. There's plenty of wait time between keystrokes or mouse movements for the OS to do what it needs to do.

Still, when you are doing something irreversible, the OS should always, always, always ask first. It doesn't have to be intrusive, either. One of the best inventions in OS functionality is the recycle bin/trash can. You delete something, it goes there automatically, where it can be recovered if you realize you made a mistake. If it can't go there (for example, it's too big) then the OS asks if you want to delete it permenently. Deleting files, erasing disks, overwriting old files, any time. I don't know what Macs are like these days but Windows has gotten pretty good at protecting us from stupid mistakes--and even the bestest users ever make mistakes.

True story: in the summer of 1983 I was working on writing a D&D character generator for the C64. It just automated the process of rolling the dice and writing everything down, and it would have (eventually) allowed one to print out his character sheet and to store the characters on disk. But something happened.

You see, I have (for a long time) had the habit of saving each bit of progress as a new file. So there's usually a subdirectory in each project folder called "old versions" and it will be full of filenames approximating LUDICROUS-DRECK-02-10-03 and LUDICROUS-DRECK-03-19-12 and so forth. Each file is a snapshot of the project as it was at the end of work for that day. This has two advantages: the document file doesn't get all crapped up with editing cruft (because Word saves that) and it keeps a record of my progress. If LUDICROUS-DRECK-05-01-19 coughs up a bucket of dicks in an unrecoverable fashion, I can (in theory) go to LUDICROUS-DRECK-04-29-19 and just retype what's missing.

I did that with my character generator. Every time I'd add some code, I'd save it as the latest version. But of course the floppy was filling up with program names, so I decided that I'd delete some of the oldest ones to save space. The C-1541 stored 170k on a single floppy and no one copy of this program was bigger than about 10k, but you could only have 128 entries in the directory. I didn't need the oldest versions on that disk, so I copied them to another disk.

This was 1983 and the DOS was the craptastic Commodore 1541 ROM. Deleting a file took this:
open 15,8,15,"s0:THE-FILE":close 15,8,15
But that is not what I typed. Oh, no. I got one character wrong and typed N rather than S.

...and the thing obediently erased the disk. "S" was for "scratch" (delete) and "N" was for "new" (format). The "NEW" command syntax was actually "N0:[Disk label],[disk id]" but didn't kick at the lack of a disk ID; without the disk ID it just cleared the directory.

Of course it was my fault; I wasn't double-checking what I was doing. But even so, the OS should have stopped me: it should have required a disk ID with each format command regardless of the situation, precisely because the "format" command would erase the whole disk.

I had backups. Not recent enough. I gave up.

The way we make an OS right now is a layered structure:
...more-or-less and your mileage may vary. As you can see there is a lot of nonsense between the user and the hardware. Applications are the programs (WoW, Word). The shell is where they operate; in Windows it's called "Windows Explorer" and is otherwise known as "the desktop". "Libraries" are the zillions of files that end in ".DLL". Drivers--you know what those are; they tell the OS how to talk to devices. Kernal is the core of the OS, the thing that talks to the hardware; and "hardware" is self-explanatory.

Everything communicates with the layers next to it. Shell doesn't talk to hardware, applications don't talk to the kernal, etc. (Which is to say they are not supposed to and any program which does that will only work on a specific version of the OS--which is why they're not supposed to do that kind of thing. Programmers break these rules, pat themselves on the back for being 1337 hackers--and then the next time the OS is patched and their program breaks, they blame Microsoft.)

This works, but it's bloaty. For comparison, here's how the C64's architecture looked:
It cut out the libraries and drivers because the hardware was dead simple and was not different from system to system, and didn't change, and the computer's ROM contained all the function calls needed to run it. In fact, the shell and the kernel were actually in the same layer.

But compare what a C64 can do to what a modern Windows 10 machine can.

There is some irreducible level of complexity that a modern computer will have. I don't think Windows 10 is an example of that; Windows 10--while better in many respects than prior efforts--is craptastic bloatware. The speed and power of a modern CPU makes it possible to write very elaborate programs that are very sloppy, but work well enough and perform satisfactorily. We don't notice the difference, either, as long as the new PC is faster than the old one--and that's held up, mostly, pretty well.

Moore's Law, however, has a practical end point. We haven't reached it quite yet; they're still finding ways to reduce feature sizes and I'm hearing tell that about 7 nm is the new hotness. (Compare that with the 70um processes everyone worried about in 1991, which is a mere 10,000 times bigger than the feature size Intel is having trouble with.) I don't think 7 um is the bottom--but the closer we get to the bottom the harder it is to make progress, and absent a breakthrough I'd think that the limit will be somewhere around 0.8-0.9 nm, which is so f-ing tiny that it boggles the mind we're even talking about it. (100,000 times smaller than 70 um, and it's about 4-6 years away, maybe. Maybe, if someone doesn't discover something new and interesting between now and then...and I won't place a bet, either way.)

Once we do hit the practical limit, though, the next thing will be stacking processors--32, 64, 256, 1024 cores--until that hits a limit of one sort or another. Not sure where that limit is, to be honest, but it's probably somewhere in the "power consumption" dimension. Each processor core needs power and the more you have, the more you use. No one wants a computer that uses as much power as an air conditioner.

After that, finally, any further performance gains will have to come from improving the software. But hardware will be improved first because that's actually easier than fixing the software is. There are many times the number of programmers as there are hardware engineers, and they'd all have to learn a different paradigm and work harder on their code.

* * *

When I say "practical limit" I mean just that. Moore's Law can be kept going a very long time if you're not worried about economy. Intel hit a practical limit with processor speed in the late 1990s; having bet on the Pentium 4 architecture they expected it to hit 10 GHz, but it ran into a wall around half that.

You can run a P4 at 10 GHz but it requires cooling with liquid nitrogen. Absent that, no. Cryocoolers are manufactured in job lots but they're spendy; effectively no one is going to spend $5,000 on a cooling rig for his $800 computer. (There will be some geeks who do. They are in a vanishingly small minority.) Multicore processors are easier and cheaper to manufacture than anything that runs faster than about 5 GHz.

Moore's Law will be the same. They'll keep cutting feature size in half for a good long time, but it'll be proof of what they can do in a laboratory rather than anything that can be manufactured on a large scale. "We made a transistor out of three atoms!" for example, or "We made a functioning atomic-scale computer." Which you can do with the right kind of gear, but "the right kind of gear" costs $100,000.

Optical computers won't help us. The scale is too big, optical wavelengths too long; recall that the optical equivalent of a Core i7 processor would take up about 60 square yards of real estate. Optical-electronic hybrids will be faster than pure electronic, but I wonder if they'll be fast enough to justify the expense?

Quantum machines will be very, very, very fast indeed, but I'm not sure how useful they'll be for running Word. The paradigm doesn't seem suited for general applications; you'd use a quantum processor for solving complex equations extremely fast but you wouldn't use it for putting words on a screen. I think there might be quantum coprocessors to handle math etc, which would speed up some operations, but not make the computer run faster in general. (Real-time ray tracing--that would be the "killer app" for quantum processors; but they're already starting to do that with conventional silicon.)

Overall, I am convinced that computers will continue to get faster and more powerful for quite a spell, yet. Like everyone else I can make educated guesses as to when that will end, but it almost certainly won't happen in my lifetime. The pace of progress is slowing, but it's going to be twenty years at least before any real serious resistance is encountered on the path upward, and probably thirty or forty before they reach the hard practical limit.

...after which the programs will have to start improving.
Saturday, May 4th, 2019
6:08 pm
#6650: That was lucky
The thing that I really like about small engines (especially Briggs & Stratton) are how robust they are.

Having been caught flat-footed last autumn, I neglected to winterize my equipment. I mean, I didn't do anything, not even rearrange it in the garage. I fully expected to pay the price for that today, the first mow of the year. I was pleasantly surprised.

The walk-behind mower has electric start and it ground down to zero without firing up, and I thought, "Well, here we go," only when I tried the pull start it fired up instantly. All the grinding must've primed the carb for me, and I was able to cut the front and sides and back without incident. I still have to charge its battery, but that can wait a week or two.

Next up, the tractor, for the east 40. Do you know I still haven't gotten a battery for it? I've been using the jump pack to start it for at least two years, FFS. I expect to put a new battery in it this year, though it probably won't be until June. The jump pack is nearly fully charged and it cranked the thing right up, and I didn't even need to put any air in the tires. I was perhaps five passes from being done with the back yard when it hit me that I hadn't even checked the fuel supply, but when I did I saw I had enough in there to finish, so I did.

I will have to do a bit of maintenance on everything, of course. I want to sharpen the mower blades (for once) and lube everything and make sure the mower deck is level. Put a new frickin' battery in, change the oil and filter, and make sure the belts are okay.

I mean, come on: the thing's 11 years old. I've done basic maintenance on it but I've never done a full service.

* * *

Got 20 news pages stapled onto AV and then stalled again. What a pisser. Well, this time, at least I stalled right at the very beginning of the next space war, so at least I'm not held up by "Now what the hell do I do?"

Still, it'd be very nice to be in Larry Correia's position, wouldn't it? I mean, he actually gets paid to write. Unlike me.


* * *

You know, as long as we're linking Faceboob posts I wanted to comment on this one. I mean, maybe the guy really, really hates the west African country, Niger, you know? Like it'd say "Fuck you, Australia" if he hated that place, but it happens to be Niger.

Occam's razor says no, of course. Okay, "Fuck you, Niger" plus neck tattoo pretty much equals "he did not mean the country, Niger, and his tattoo artist couldn't spell, either."

* * *

Okay, I put $25 in gas into the Jeep today. We'll see how long that lasts me. The last time I put gas in the truck was, uh, March 30, I believe.

* * *

Looks like tonight is prom night. Across the street they have set up a white carpet and a curtain with PROM over it in inflatable mylar balloons. The driveway is lined with chairs. $5 says there'll be a limosine when the happy couple heads out to the party.

And all I can do is roll my eyes: how ridiculous.
2:38 pm
#6649: Saturday
And it's about 60 and the sun is shining, which means I'd better get out there and cut the front grass at least.

The back yard got so swampy that there was standing water on the patio, so I don't think I can cut the back yard yet--but I'll check it and see.

* * *

I am going to give short shrift to today's post. Otherwise I'll be here until 5 PM.


"Only 91.4% of the killers get away with murder in this town." Chicago! Hooray. Or something.

* * *

This is relevant to a post I will do in the future.

* * *

Tax away all the wealth of the 550 billionaires in the US, leaving them in the street wearing barrels, and it will run the federal government for eight months. We have a spending problem.

* * *

The Smollett hoax is a case of demand exceeding supply. All human activity has an economic component.

* * *

Well, bright sunny May day and a lawn that needs mowing. Off I go.
Friday, May 3rd, 2019
3:39 pm
#6648: Let's try it again
Hopefully this post won't be eaten by internet cruft.

* * *

The Democrats have the long knives out for William Barr and everyone on the right wing knows why: because the counterthrust to the Mueller investigation has begun and William Barr is at the head of it.

And Karl Denninger says:
Remember, this sort of the law doesn't apply to me isn't exactly a new position for Congresscritters. The Democrats appear to have illegally initiated the surveillance -- probably all the way up the line to Obama. Further, it was developed and reported today by the NY Times that the FBI attempted to infiltrate the Trump campaign. On what sort of basis?

There are so many likely felonies here that I literally have trouble listing them all. Perjury before a Federal Judge is just the start of this, I suspect. And while Barr has said he intends to run it all down.... will he? Is that what the Democrats are freaking out about -- the prospect of a few dozen indictments?
All of this is why the Democrats desperately wanted to dethrone--or at least defang--Trump, and why the failure of the Mueller investigation to produce anything useful to them was seen as such a disaster.

Hillary Clinton was let off the hook by the FBI because her winning the Presidency was essential to everyone avoiding the investigations and the indictments. The entirety of the post-election coup attempt was a further effort at forestalling a real investigation of the wrongdoing. And the Democrat caterwauling about Barr is an attempt to poison the well against his likely findings.

Popcorn, please.

* * *

Speaking of corruption, South Africa is turning into a socialist paradise. I mean, look at the first two paragraphs:
South Africa has been bleeding money in recent years, but it's also lost professionals and the wealthy whites who have kept the nation running. The fleeing whites have been running to the safety of other nations because of poor working conditions in South Africa, including legal affirmative action making jobs and job advancement impossible for whites. The South African Fin 24 reported, "About 3,000 super-rich have left SA in the past 10 years."

Sensible whites are fleeing the nation because of multiple problems with race relations, banking, crime, unemployment, health problems with 19% of the population infected with HIV, educational problems with inadequate buildings and dangerous latrines where kids have fallen in and drowned, and political corruption. It is a seething volcano about to explode.
As you can see, the socialist blueprint is going well there.

How well?
Two basic necessities of life are a place to live and food to eat, and black and white South Africans are having a major struggle to attain both. Mandela and the ANC promised jobs to everyone and to build one million new homes; however, the unemployment rate is over 27%, and only 40,000 houses were built between 1994 to 1999, when Mandela left office. People have been waiting in line for many years for a home with few results. Blacks have priority over whites in jobs, housing, welfare, etc. Blacks don't envy starving whites, but they cast lustful eyes toward successful white farmers. I have seen posters warning white landowners, "Everything you have is ours. We're coming for it."
27% "funemployment"! No problem there!

And of course the ANC--the communist party that's ruled South Africa since the end of Aparthied--is still laboring to right all the wrongs of that regime, 25 years later.
According to ANC officials, all of South Africa's problems are because of Apartheid even though the ANC has ruled for 25 years. It is believed that the whites are the reason the economy is dying, rape and murder are commonplace, and the nation can no longer feed its people; consequently, any corruption is acceptable as payment for past mistreatment.
You know, if you think about it, the whites are actually responsible for all that, in a way, because they gave up running the place. If they hadn't done that, South Africa wouldn't be the complete shithole it's become.

That's if you're being generous. But a quarter century ago the white government turned over to the ANC the keys to a functioning first-world economy. With white people no longer in charge, guess who is actually responsible for the failure?

* * *

When you ask a socialist about the inevitable endgame for socialism, tap-dancing is all they can do.

Say, Representative Horseface, would you denounce Venezuelan President Maduro, who is having armored cars run over protestors in the streets?
Yeah, so, I think that, that this is absolutely a complex issue. I think it's important that, uh, that we approach this very carefully. One I am, um, myself just like anyone else who is absolutely concerned with the humanitarian crises that's happening and I think it's important that any solution that we have centers the Venezuelan people and centers the democracy of Venezuelan people first.
The short answer there is "no", and the slightly longer one is "No, I won't denounce Maduro because he's a fellow traveler."

...but she can't really say that because Maduro, like all leftists, is a murderous thug who considers proles expendable.

* * *

Oh? What sort of guns will you let us have, then? I think Kim du Toit's prescription for this is the right one: go fuck yourself.

I want to be able to walk into a gun store and guy a fricking machine gun if I want one.

* * *

Speaking of stupid crap the Democrat tax scheme for Illinois passed the state senate after a whopping seven minutes of debate. Because the Democrats all want a progressive tax scheme so badly they can taste it, because a progressive scheme will give them all sorts of money and power.

Of course, they don't seem to mind that it will drive all sorts of business out of Illinois. Or care.

* * *

Apophis will swing past Earth in 2029. It should be visible from the ground, since it'll pass about 19,000 miles from the surface.

A space rock 1,000 feet across moving at interplanetary speeds--even if it hits an ocean it will mess up our year. Here's hoping it stays well away.

* * *

Tomorrow is Saturday! Woohoo!!!!

...I still need to cut the grass.
Thursday, May 2nd, 2019
8:11 pm
#6647: and BLAM!!! IT'S GONE
Had an entire post up and ready to go, needing only the finishing touches. Browser crashed. LiveJournal did not "save as draft" for reasons that mystify me.

And so this is what you get instead:

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