atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3982: I thought the PRESIDENT had to sign treaties.

John F-in' Kerry is signing the UN's anti-gun treaty. I mean, didn't Clinton sign the Kyoto treaty that was supposed to cut carbon emissions, knowing that the Senate would never ratify it? (100-0 against, as I recall.)

Anyway, Kerry's signing the stupid thing, because both he and his boss are anti-freedom. The Senate has said it won't ratify the treaty, but of course this will let Obama claim that "Republicans" are opposing him even though the Senate is run by Democrats.

Of course, extra-constitutional procedures have been the hallmark of the Obama administration, so I should not be surprised by this. Also, it keeps Obama away from the cameras: if John F-in' Kerry signs the stupid thing, instead of Obama, then the news media won't have to show Obama colluding in a naked attempt to seize guns from citizens and his approval rating won't crater.

* * *

Segregationists for diversity! White people were going to be excluded from some kind of stupid on-campus event at Hamilton College, because of course the answer to racism is more racism.

The thing that really kills me about this is that these assholes are serious:
In order to create a “safe zone,” the event was open to people of color only. A subsequent event next semester would have been open only to white students and faculty and the program would have culminated in a non-segregated discussion of the same topic.
So here's about how things would have gone:
"People of color" session: Whitey hates you! Whitey is racist! Whitey is gonna step on you and keep you down no matter what you do! Your only hope for success in this white-run world is to join the Revolution!

White session: You're racist! You hate people of color! You're also sexist and homophobic! Any claim you make to being color-blind or egalitarian is a lie you tell yourself, because YOUR WHITE SKIN MAKES YOU A RACIST BIGOT SEXIST HOMOPHOBE! You can only prove that you're not racist by joining the Revolution!

Combined session: Now, we all know that whitey is racist, and that the solution is joining the Revolution, but this is your chance to air any grievances about whitey being racist, sexist, bigoted, and homophobic before we make some white people get up here and admit the error of their ways.
More or less.

* * *

I wish I could say this surprised me, but it doesn't. Apple has always been about corporate profits and the so-called "closed ecosystem". The last computer Apple made that had anything approximating an open architecture was the Apple ][+; if you read Inside the Apple ][ you will see complete block and circuit diagrams for the hardware as well as suggestions as to what can be done with the computer's expansion bus.

Macintosh? Steve Jobs insisted that a single 400k floppy drive and 128k of RAM was more than enough for anyone and the original computer wasn't designed to be expanded at all. Later models, of course, were different, but Apple still retained tight control over what could be plugged into the computer and what couldn't. How long was it before Macs got color displays? It was quite a while; unless I am mistaken, VGA existed as a video standard in the DOS/Windows world before Macs got color. Crap--how long was it before Macs were allowed plug-in video adaptors based on the PCI standard? I'm pretty sure that didn't happen before the 21st century.

So--Apple deciding to set things up so that only their charger cables work isn't even remotely surprising to me. (Yes, off-brands will charge the battery, but only if you're not using the device while it's plugged in.) Apple has only survived this long because they never let anyone get inside their revenue stream; giving people a choice is the last thing they'd ever do because Apple can't maintain their stratospheric margins on hardware if they're forced to compete. That's why the first thing Steve Jobs did when he regained control of Apple was to kill the open platform Macintoshes; without complete control over the hardware and software, Apple's business model simply will not work.

Worse: the damed iPhone costs--what, $600?--and doesn't include a freaking charger. Nope! You have to shell out more money--$38--to get one.

If I go to K-mart and buy a Tracfone for $38, it comes with a freakin' charger. Someone explain to me how Apple lacks enough margin in a $600 MSRP to include $5 worth of cable to properly charge the damned phone. (If the charger that Apple sells for $38 costs more than $5 per unit to manufacture, including development costs, I'd be pants-wettingly surprised. Equivalent hardware is $12 shipped.)

Gadzooks.

* * *

Obamacare!

Michelle Malkin talks about the disaster that is Obamacare and its effects on her personal health insurance. Her carrier is no longer offering individual PPO policies because of Obamacare.

Quoth the lying liar in chief:
If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.
Turns out that no matter how much you like your doctor and hour health care plan, you don't get to keep them if Obamacare renders them economically inviable. Which, y'know, it does.

The price quote is $3,000 per year for individual plans but I'm already well past that point myself. $3,000 per year is $750 per quarter; I gave up my personal plan when its cost hit $815 per quarter. Then again I'm not in the demographic they're using; they're talking about 27-year-olds with few or no pre-existing conditions.

The subsidy mentioned in that article is the back door though which we'll get single payer. Mark my words.

For a family of four, it's an increase of $1,862 every three months. That's just the increase, which works out to $620 per month.

And again, I'm already there: Obamacare raises premiums by 99% for men.

Let me say it again: we predicted this. Okay? This was an eminently predictable outcome, yet those of us who insisted Obamacare would not--could not--reduce costs were dismissed as racist idiots.

So Obamacare is forcing health insurance premiums to (necessarily) skyrocket while limiting choice, prompting rationing of care, and killing employment. So far so good!

If you're a Democrat, that is.

* * *

Popular Science has decided not to allow commentary from readers, because Science!

I'll blockquote what Vox Day blockquoted:
Comments can be bad for science. That's why, here at PopularScience.com, we're shutting them off. It wasn't a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter....

If you carry out those results to their logical end--commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded--you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the "off" switch. Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader's perception of a story.

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
See, that's because we're talking about the Law of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) and the Law of Evolution.

Eh? What's that? "Those are only theories," you say? But we have concensus! How can they be anything but Laws when we have scientific concensus? Concensus trumps everything! If enough scientists agree on something, why, it must be the truth.

...set the way-back machine for one hundred years ago. It's now September 25, 1913; let's look at the state of the art in physics.

Luminiferous ether.

The luminferous ether still shows up in credible physical theories from time to time even after Einstein's theory of special relativity demonstrated that it was unnecessary in 1905. (Paul Dirac had an idea that involved it in 1951, for example, but he never completed it.) The point is, for quite a long while there was scientific concensus that the luminiferous ether existed. That did not make it real; ever-more-delicate attempts to detect it failed because despite the fact that all the physicists in the world agreed that it had to exist, reality was considerably different.

That's why real scientists roll their eyes contemptuously at the idea of concensus: if a theory is wrong, everyone agreeing to the contrary will not make it correct.

"Bedrock scientific doctrine" is useless when it's composed of theories. Evolution is a theory; AGW is a theory (and one that is increasingly being demonstrated false by a reality that does not care about the opinions of climatologists).

Wolfgang Pauli predicted the existence of the neutrino decades before one was ever detected, and he did it by applying the Laws of Thermodynamics to nuclear decay. He did not predict it based on a theory of anything; he applied what was concretely known about physics to a new theory and came up with an important result.

But the Laws of Thermodynamics are only laws because we have studied them to death and have never, never, ever seen them violated--not once, not even a little bit, to the point that any time we see an exception to them the experiment is immediately suspect as either a hoax, or merely incorrect.

To assert that we have that much confidence in the theory of evolution or the theory of AGW--that sort of claim is such a spectacular failure of the scientific principle it's not even wrong.

If PopSci were saying that they were shutting down comments because people were arguing against the Law of Gravitation, I could see that; but over evolution and AGW? These topics have become political topics rather than scientific ones, because every time you remove politics from them suddenly the science becomes a lot less certain. AGW is only "proven" if you're a politician who is hell-bent on putting on his human-face-stomping boots; if you actually look at the unadjustered and non-fiddleated data things become a lot less cut-and-dried.

Vox Day says it best:
I found it amusing that below this article trying to justify its attempt to claim the right to be "championing science" without protest or criticism from its readers, the very first article listed is: "Republicans Block Proposal For National Science Laureate, Fearing Science". Whatever they are championing these days, it is not science.
Couldn't agree more.

* * *

The economy still sucks. CNBC and the other Democrat shills that comprise the mainstream media are trying to spin this as a good economy, but it's not, and it hasn't been a good economy since before Obama took office. Employment stinks, pay stinks, inflation stinks--it all stinks.

The media claim to smell nothing.

* * *

Okay, coaches: if your team is doing too well, you must let the other team score. No exceptions.

Punishing achievement is straight out of the Marxist playbook. The corollary to punishing achievement is rewarding failure at the same rate as achievement, and it's a lot more popular with our public school system as this is less likely to get you sued by angry parents. That's why "everyone wins!" has become the standard for youth programs--not because all the kids are above average but because the people in charge lower the bar so that "mediocre" becomes "excellent".

Problem is, "excellent" becomes "mediocre" because the associative property cannot be ignored.

As Denninger points out, who is going to try when all he has to do is pace himself and be only as good as the worst performer in his group? When he gets absolutely nothing for being better/faster/stronger/smarter? When he might, in fact, be punished for his excellence?

There is no incentive for a smart kid to try to excel if he knows he's going to get the same trophy that the dumbass klutz gets--and in fact will get one less trophy than that kid, because that other kid will also get a trophy for "most improved" even if he hasn't actually improved.

Because self-esteem.

...I lamented, once, my generational postion in the school system:
The 1970s were the cusp between the "old school" and the "new school". The old school methods were that everyone learned the same things at the same time, period; discipline was paramount. The new school methods were that everyone learned at his own pace; self-esteem was paramount. I was in grade school when the change-over was occurring, and was very much the poorer for it; I had neither discipline nor self-esteem.
And because self-esteem is paramount, we must never, never, ever tell a child that his efforts are insufficient. Oh no! Give him an "A" for effort and let him pass!

This way lies ruin.

* * *

Please stop reminding me how old I am. Myst is 20 years old today. *sigh*

It was not until December of 1993 that I had a computer which had a sound card and a CD-ROM drive; and in fact for quite a while I couldn't connect the CD-ROM drive to the sound card because the cables were incompatible. I had to make a cable with the right ends.

But the game I played first on it was not Myst but Secret of Monkey Island. I first encountered it when I was building a high-zoot PC for a customer, back in the old Kangaroo Computer days. Sound card, CD-ROM drive, 486 DX processor--damn! What a machine!

And the CD-ROM drive came with a bundle of games, one of which was Secret of Monkey Island.

When you started the game, and the music started playing--it was like, holy shit! because of how good it sounded. The music was just an audio track on the CD (it was a hybrid CD-ROM, having both music and data tracks) so it was just passing through the sound card, but damn.

The graphics were VGA--320x200, 16 color--but very nicely rendered, and the game was fun. I actually went in to work on a Saturday just so I could play the game on that computer (claiming I was doing "burn-in", of course, making sure the computer wouldn't fail after delivery) and I even took the CD home to dub the music to cassette.

Come December, though, I bought my own copy. I got a CD-ROM drive and a Sound Blaster and a new case, and put everything together a day or so before Christmas Eve; because of the weird audio connector on the CD-ROM drive I ended up having to use headphones to hear the sound from the CD-ROM drive; I couldn't get a proper cable until after the holiday (and I wound up having to buy parts and cobble together my special interface cable because apparently no one made an audio cable to connect a Toshiba SCSI CD-ROM drive to a Sound Blaster, not even Toshiba. *sigh*).

I remember that the CD-ROM drive was spendy, too--$200 with the SCSI card, because they didn't make IDE CD-ROM drives yet.

And all that was 20 frickin' years ago. *sigh*
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