atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,


So the media collectively shit itself over the record-breaking blizzard that was predicted to hit the northeast. It was going to be the worst blizzard ever, with the potential to drop as much as thirty inches of snow, and for God's sake stock up on food because we're going to shut down the city lest we all be killed!

What actually happened. What is that, six inches? Less?

This is why I can't take global warming seriously. It's a forecast based on computer models, and the best weather models in the world can't accurately predict the local weather a few days hence, less what the entire climate will be doing fifty years from now. The fact alone that the weather models issue wildly different predictions given the same inputs dooms the idea that computer models of chaotic systems have any real predictive capacity.

Look: weather prediction is a statistical process. Widespread weather data collection is important because it gives you a better picture of which conditions lead to what outcomes historically speaking. But forecasting has gotten better because computers have given us the ability to crunch the statistics quickly, not because computers are magic. Being able to crunch through larger sample sizes quickly is what has improved weather forecasting such that the forecast is usually in the ballpark. And because weather (and climate) are chaotic (rather than deterministic) systems, sometimes all the historical data in the universe isn't enough to correctly predict what the weather will be tomorrow.

The result is that--to the rest of the country--our "betters" on the east coast have demonstrated their fecklessness for all to see.

* * *

Blackmail, by any other name, is still wrong. "I'm going to expose your marital infidelities if you don't vote the way I want" is extortion, plain and simple. Ace points out that blackmail does not have to involve money for it to be a crime.

* * *

Cops gun down disturbed knife wielding 17-year-old girl. She walks into the police station with a knife. Cops' response: open fire!

Really? There wasn't any other way you could handle it? You're a bunch of big, tough cops, and you outnumber her, and you have time to get riot shields or other gear, and your best response is to shoot her dead, eh?

Given that no one wants to get stabbed or slashed, cops are (presumably) trained to handle this kind of encounter, and this is the kind of job they are paid to do. A 17-year-old girl is not exactly as much of a threat as a 300-pound man on PCP, and I am aghast that the cops' best response to her attacking one of them is to shoot her dead.

Every time I see this kind of story, it further emphasizes what modern police are like. There's no bravery, only bravado. They pride themselves on being the guardians of public safety, but they mercilessly gun down anyone that presents the slightest threat to them.

A few weeks (or months) ago I saw a license plate frame on a car that said: "God created cops so firemen could have heroes" and my eyes rolled so hard in disgust I saw stars. There's nothing heroic here; as Karl Denninger pointed out some weeks ago the average construction worker faces more peril on the job than a cop does and your garbage man is twice as likely to die on the job as a cop is.

The guy who goes out in all kinds of weather to reconnect power lines faces more life-threatening danger than his brother the cop does, nearly double.

That lobster you had for dinner on your birthday? The man (and it is almost universally a man, because you see statistically zero women in such hard, dirty, and dangerous jobs) that hauled that crustacean out of the sea faces a fatality rate ten times higher than American police do.

So, no, I'm not impressed by police. They are people who do a hard and dirty job, but not a particularly dangerous one, and the dangers are ones they are both trained and equipped to handle. They ought to be able to distinguish between a lethal threat and a threat which is merely hazardous, and deal with each accordingly; but more and more I see stories about cops going right to "shoot him".

And then what happens? The cop who does the shooting is placed on paid administrative leave, an investigation is performed, the shooting is labeled "justified", and the cop is reinstated.

If there were more examples of police shootings being prosecuted as murder (such as the two stories I've mentioned in prior entries where a cop executed a bound and mostly subdued prisoner because "we don't have time for this") I might have a different opinion, but what I see is a cadre of people who are largely above the law who don't face danger that's materially greater than other occupations, lauded as heroes and congratulating themselves as being tough guys.

...who shoot a 17-year-old girl to death because she's brandishing a knife. Yeah, real tough.

* * *

I need this. The Hobbit, the movies, with all the extraneous crap removed and the proper tale told.

I would torrent it right now if El-Hazard's critical need detector had not just triggered, rendering it useless. It bluescreens and reboots, and when I had a gander at the thing I saw that "Search protect" is present in startup. Whee! Guess I know what I get to do tonight!

...actually what I intend to do is take it with me to work next time I'm in, and hook it up and run it through the wringer. I don't have a current tool disk at home, and other folks bring their machines in all the time, so WTF.

* * *

The TV report!!!

Last night Mrs. Fungus and I watched a crapton of episodes of American Horror Story: Freakshow. It most certainly is horror, all right. Lots of death and dismemberment, and a bunch of other bad crap going down. It's certainly not for the faint of heart.

All the characters are pretty bad people, of course, but I give it a pass on this point because it is, after all, a horror show, and horrible things happen to the horrible people. And no one is safe.


Eight eps in, and the rottenest thing that's happened so far is the murder of the tiny woman. Played by Jyoti Amge she's like a fairy or something, and the character is sweet and trusting and wishes no ill on anyone. *sigh*


Besides this, Black Sails started its second season, and it started with a bang. I think this season will be better than the first, if the first ep is any guide. Minus a few points for having the theme song stuck in my head for days after seeing the show; it's hurdy-gurdy and piano and I don't like it, yet my brain insists on playing it over and over and over again. Argh etc.

Gotham continues to impress. The continued development of Penguin and Riddler are the most interesting story arcs, but so far Jack Napier (Joker) is nowhere to be found. (This seems like a feature rather than a bug, though.)

Here endeth the TV report.

* * *

Last night we watched that horror show until my butt went numb. I finally called a halt at 4 AM because I was getting too tired to see straight. Well, that's how it goes, I guess.

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