It hasn't been this bad since 1978.
Today's job report simply sucks. It's not just because the current number is bad, but because the estimated employment gains in prior months were adjustered downward, meaning less actual employment took place in those months. I'm not entirely certain but I'd wager that's how the numbers have been gamed such that the U3 number is "little changed at 7.3 percent."
The equation for calculating U3 has been gamed and fiddleated and adjustered so that it looks as if we're running just about two percent below "full employment" (since a U3 figure of 5% has historically been called that, due to various economic factors) but the simple fact is that we are nowhere near full employment and have not been since late 2008.
I was going through some old Fungus posts the other day, and came across one about Steven Den Beste posting something on MetaFilter. Here's what I said in 2006:
Unemployment is at a record low. If our economy had been "destroyed" I would expect things to look a little different. A "destroyed" economy does not have employment straining at the limits of the available pool of workers. A "destroyed" economy does not require that the Fed raise interest rates to fend off inflation.Seven years later? This is what I expect a "destroyed" economy looks like: unemployment is rampant and wide-spread, and most job creation is part-time. The government is spewing economic statistics which are such a poor reflection of the facts they're barely even wrong. The fed is keeping interest rates at approximate zero. Inflation is taking place at an accelerated rate. Major cities are bankrupt.
Funny how the people who were telling us in 2006, "Those are low-quality jobs!" are strangely silent now when they actually are low-quality jobs.
Ace gets it right from the headline onward: "Unexpectedly, Jobs Numbers Are Terrible Again; Unemployment Rate Drops For All the Wrong Reasons, as Hundreds of Thousands of People Exit the Work Force Entirely".
Because U3 and even U6 do not count people who aren't looking for work at all.
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I find it hard to feel sorry for artists, musicians, actors, etcetera, considering that most of them support Obama and Obamacare. Naturally this is only going to hurt the small-time artists, of course. (Do you think that Miley Cyrus or Beyonce have to worry about their health insurance?) But, you know, since it's just a bunch of little people who are getting crushed beneath the wheels of socialized medicine, it's not important to Democrats and their supporters. I mean, hey--if it was someone important who was getting smooshed, like Bruce Springsteen or Jon Stewart, you bet we'd be concerned since those people have fans and we don't want any bad press....
* * *
John McCain gets an earful from constituents. And I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that inside the man was seething with rage that these, these proles had the audacity to presume to tell him, a U.S. Senator--
Mr. McCain, Obama's foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster. We do not need the GOP to give him cover or help. Let him and the Democrats own this shit.
* * *
Arse Technica, the Global Warming resource, says we can trust climate models because the climatolotists test them!
The way Michael Mann tested his algorithm that can generate a hockey-stick-shaped graph from random noise which you then claimed was proof that global warming was real, man-made, and happening now? Are you talking about that kind of testing and trust in models?
Besides that, there's the teensy weensy little fact that none of the models correctly predicted the temperature anomalies of the last seventeen years:
All the predictions were WRONG.
Why on Earth should anyone trust models which obviously do not work?
* * *
Last night, Mrs. Fungus and I watched Oblivion.
It was the first time I saw a Tom Cruise movie that I thought was any good. I've never been a fan of that short crazy-ass cracka and I never found any of his prior works very entertaining. This one, however, was not at all bad.
I can't discuss the science issues with the plot without giving away key spoilers, but suffice it to say that Hollywood has made a few of its usual blunders, and one is so commonplace that I've become inured to it.
Oh! Here's how to de-spoiler it: taking water from Earth instead of getting it from the Oort cloud and asteroid mining. As in "all the water".
At the beginning of the movie, Tom Cruise and his girlfriend live on a ruined Earth, fixing security robots which protect water transfer ships from "Scavs", which are the remnant of an alien invasion force. The aliens blew up the moon, which knocked us on our asses because of all the earthquakes and tidal waves and isostatic adjustments--
And I said, "Wait a minute...."
--then the aliens invaded Earth; humans fought back and won, but Earth was ruined. At the beginning of the movie, then, humanity has moved to Titan, the moon of Saturn, and these big machines are packing up Earth's water to take with.
And I said, "Now wait just a goldurned minute...."
In the first place, we're shown what the moon now looks like. All the mass is still there. The moon has a huge ring around it, and it's broken into smaller pieces, but all the mass is still there, meaning that while the tidal force on the Earth would change (both in direction and magnitude) it would not change by very much and it certainly wouldn't go away. "Unprecedented disaster" yes; complete rearrangement of the entire face of the planet no. The doomsday scenario presented by the movie is thus negated, because there's no way it would be that bad.
Second--how many times have I dealt, here, with the ridiculous idea that water is scarce in the universe? It just isn't, and if you have the energy economy to build a gigantic space vessel and boost literal trillions of tons of water (or anything!) from the Earth's surface into space you don't need the water on Earth because you can go get literal thousands of times as much from the Oort cloud.
To make matters worse, the issue is presented as a fuel issue: they're taking the water of Earth with them to Titan because they need it for fueling fusion reactors.
Do I even need to explain what's wrong with that? I do?
If you need all the water on Earth to fuel your energy economy, you need it for the hydrogen in it, and hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. (Going to ignore, for the moment, the fact that hydrogen-hydrogen fusion is extremely difficult to manage, but that's a whole 'nother argument there.) You can get it literally anywhere you go. Titan is covered with hydrogen compounds and it's got 1/3 the surface gravity of Earth to boot. In order from outside in, the Oort cloud has about a billion times the amount of hydrogen in Earth's oceans; then there's Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter which are about 90% hydrogen--to say nothing of their moons and rings. There is enough hydrogen orbiting our sun excluding Earth's that if we were to gather it all together we could make another sun from it.
You don't need Earth's water to fuel fusion reactors. Okay? You just don't. Particularly not if you have antigravity (the drones use some kind of antigravity) and honking big fusion reactors. (And where would you store it? "What's that small moon over there?" "Oh, that's all the water from Earth. It's frozen and wrapped in aluminum foil!")
...but you know what? I'm used to these kinds of things. It barely regsiters any more: "Oh, look, another Hollywood writer who doesn't understand basic science."
Other than those two basic complaints, though, the movie was pretty good. I predicted the plot twists in advance (though one was only by seconds) but I'm used to that, too. It's worth watching, I think.
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Not worth watching: Sinister. Ethan Hawke plays a true crime writer who moves his family into a house that was the site of a grisly multiple murder. Mrs. Fungus wanted to watch a scary movie, but this movie was not scary.
I hate movies where people walk around in darkened houses and never turn on any fucking lights. "OMG, I heard a noise! I have a bat! I'm going to creep around the house looking for the intruder but I'm going to leave all the lights off!" The power failed one time in the movie, so they didn't have that excuse. It's supposed to be all atmospheric and edgy, but instead it was just frustrating and annoying.
If you want to terrify me, show me a movie where people act rationally and things happen. Okay? Sixth Sense scared the socks off me; I had to sleep with the lights on for a week after seeing that shit in the theater because the characters acted like people really do.
There was also very little foreshadowing of the final reveal. Mrs. Fungus saw it before I did--and long before it came up in the movie.
The major problem with the movie, then, was that it relied--for its suspense--on Ethan Hawke creeping around in the dark; once in a while we got a scare take. It also checked off the "tension between writer husband and his wife" meme, which hearkens back to The Shining. I didn't even care about the main character, much less what his wife thought of him; in fact I thought his wife was being a stupid bitch most of the time, solely because Plot Devicium Demands It.
Overall it was a dumb story. The writer finds out what the truth is behind the murder of the family that lived in the house before his, and instead of it being something interesting it was just boringly typical Hollywood stuff.
The thing that hurts the most about this is that, with a few changes, this could have been a good movie. They could also have avoided the standard Hollywood horror movie ending, which would have been a mark in its favor.
Instead, stupid boring crap. *sigh*
* * *
Last night I made meatloaf for dinner.
Mrs. Fungus had previously bought a 3-lb chub of beef specifically for that purpose; last night I dug it out and made with the meatloafing. I diced an entire onion and a whole green pepper; added two eggs and about a cup of bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Mixed it all up with my hands--and it was too much for the loaf pan, so I froze perhaps a pound of the mixture and put the pan in the oven at 300° for an hour.
Whenever you buy ground beef in a "chub" it's usually something like 73% lean. This was no exception, so I had to pour off quite a bit of juice and grease. The loaf was not exactly firm; but while I finished cooking the side dishes I put it back in the oven and mirabile visu it firmed up a bit. Guess I just had to get it out of the bath of meat drippings it was soaking in. (Next time, then, I'll pull the pan after half an hour and drain it before putting it back in for another half.)
That meatloaf tasted good. I served it with carrots, mashed potatos, and crescent rolls, and we had a very nice dinner. Topping that one's going to be difficult.