atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4189: Well, half of that post hit the bit bucket with alacrity

I had half a post written here, and I have no idea what happened to it. I went to Pandora to "thumbs down" a song, had to tell NoScript to let me do it...and when I came back here, the post was gone. Still had the title, though!

*sigh* (And I changed the post title to reflect the new post.)

Anyway, the post originally began with me effusing about how much I like Pale Moon (PM), because they have a migration tool which seamlessly transfers all your Firefox settings to their browser once you've installed it. I was impressed with how effortless it worked; I didn't even have to log in to LJ through PM, because the migration tool even imported the cookies, passwords, and login states.

I do not impress easily, particularly when it comes to software. Most of the time I am unimpressed with software, in fact, because I have some idea of how easy-to-use it should be, and it almost never meets that standard. Usually, when I get a piece of software to solve some problem I have, there's a learning curve while I come to understand the logic employed by whoever programmed the thing. Even when it works the way it should, I'm unable to do anything right out of the box because the program must first be configured for how I intend to use it, and I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time just doing that. Especially when it comes to importing settings or information from another program.

That's why PM is so impressive: I didn't have to do anything other than download two files and run them in succession. The migration tool was smart enough to look at Firefox and its settings, extract the information it needed, and transfer that to PM. I had one simple decision to make (overwrite the existing settings for PM, about which I didn't care since I'd just installed it) and that was it.

That's a kind of usability I simply do not see all that often.

So, bravo for PM!

Vox Day explains how to set PM to report its true identity, rather than pretending to be Firefox to shut up sites that prefer one or another browser. This way you're doing your part to hit Mozilla where it lives: in its market penetration.

* * *

So, to stop global warming we need UMBRELLAS IN SPACE!!!

JayG correctly points out that the rocket launches required to put a 1,000 mile wide umbrella in any kind of orbit where it might work at all would pollute more than "EVERY SUV EVER MADE". Even if the thing were made out of mylar, that's a lot of mass, and it would need a lot of fuel for station-keeping since a 1,000-mile-wide sheet of mylar is essentially a crappy solar sail.

But, hey, what warmista ever bothers to consider science when talking about Man's Inhumanity To Nature?

* * *

Speaking of pseudo-science--

No, that's not entirely fair. They just ignore the Thermodynamic Elephant in the room, is all. Oh, it's a new process! We can make fuel from seawater! It's only $3-6 per gallon!

...except for the fact that this is not a magic process, and so it requires some kind of energy input. This therefore makes the system an energy storage medium rather than an energy source. And since you can't get more energy out of this than you put into it, it's not like you can run a ship on kerosene and make this magic fuel as a byproduct.

It might be environmentally neutral (except for the fact that the catalysts required must come from somewhere, and they won't be brought down from on high by an archangel) but it still requires that you put energy in, and if your energy is being generated by burning fossil fuels, guess what? You don't get away from having to burn fuel.

The only way--the only way!--this is carbon-neutral is to have nuclear reactors aboard your ships, because the power has to come from somewhere. You could carpet the top of an aircraft carrier with solar panels and it wouldn't be enough (I guarantee it!) to generate enough fuel to run the ship, much less the ship and aircraft and other ships.

The article glosses over that part, though. "You just electrolyze the seawater, heat the resulting gases in a catalyst chamber, and voila! You've got fuel!" ...without talking about where the electricity and heat come from. This is a natural fit for a nuclear reactor, though, because you can use the reactor's waste heat to run the cataylitic convertor.

It is a nice advance in the alternative fuel arena (assuming it's not all pie-in-the-sky) but it's meaningless to environmental issues.

* * *

So now Chicago magazine has an article talking about the real facts behind the sudden and precipitous drops in crime statistics in Chicago...and unfortunately it totally shoots the whole "legal guns lowered the crime rate!" argument in the foot.

It's all statistical fiddlating and adjustering to make Rahm Emanuel feel good. That's all it is. Because the crime statistics consistently refused to behave according to liberal orthodoxy, they changed the way they count crimes and--voila!--crime's taken a sudden dip since ol' Rahm got into town!

Notice that yellow area? That discontinuity that shows up--that yellow area is composed of crimes that the city of Chicago isn't counting because they are politically inconvenient.

Chicago is a machine Democrat city, so...yeah.

* * *

John C. Wright has a post up about a crowd-funded movie on Kermit Gosnell, the baby butcher.

* * *

Today, Mrs. Fungus and I watched Ender's Game, and I was impressed with the movie.

They did not follow the book perfectly, but they did a damned good job regardless. To be fair, I've only read the book one time, but my overall impression of the thing was a movie that made changes to the source material only where it was required by differences in the disparate media.

A couple of observations, which are probably spoilers.

A) When Ender visits ruination upon the Formic world, I watched the montage of desolation with satisfaction: Don't you monkey with the monkey, bitch. I know I was supposed to be horrified, but my first impulse was pride in my species' tenacity. We fight to live, and we make no apologies for it; if you attack us, you're going to get hurt, maybe badly.

B) They did the whole "I thought it was just a game" thing a bit differently in the movie than in the book( as I recall it). It was still okay.

It's never stated who actually initiated hostilities when the Formic first came to Earth 50-odd years ago--and I don't remember the book well enough to say one way or another--but based on the overall feel of the story, it seems to me that the Formic came to Earth, some shithead in a fighter shot at them (accidentally or otherwise) and started the whole thing...and the Formic never went back to Earth because they were trying to avoid further confrontation. The wonderful thing about the movie is that they don't bludgeon you over the head with this but instead leave the entire question up to you. Did the Formic attack Earth, or were they coming in peace and shit happened? Were they coming back in force, or was their military buildup simply because they knew they'd kicked over an anthill (so to speak, heh) and were justifiably afraid of what six billion screeching monkeys were going to do to them?

I'm left with the impression that the humans are the aggressors in the war and therefore the bad guys of the story, and I have never really liked that sort of SF...but OSC gets away with it because the story is a good one, and because he doesn't paint it as "ohh, humans are such nasty assholes!" but rather tells a tragic story--a cautionary tale--of interspecies miscommunication. And that is a story worth telling.

So, overall, I really liked the movie. Yeah. It's a shame OSC didn't get any of the proceeds from it. Of course, if it prompts people to buy his books....

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