So I'm doing this thing I do, sometimes, where I review posts from this date in past years, and various thoughts come to mind.
July 6, 2015, I talk about the ships in Erogami's navy, and one of them is named Angry John...and I've realized that even without Erogami's back story, that's a fantastic name for a ship. So, somewhere, somehow, it's going into Apocalyptic Visions....
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Standing in line at Jewel the other day I saw a notification about buying gift cards, and I saw that they accept EBT cards for most of them but will only accept cash for prepaid credit cards.
And I thought, WTEF.
EBT is welfare, and it is money given to people so that they can buy FOOD and pay for other NECESSITIES. NOT gift cards.
What this lets recipients do is to buy--say--a certain denomination of gift cards for Chili's, then use EBT money to go have dinner at that restaurant. Money which is supposed to be spent on necessities instead gets spent on luxuries such as dinner out.
The entire welfare edifice needs to be torn down and rebuilt around providing necessities, so that there is some incentive for people to get off them. Food assistance--rather than being money--should be actual food, a package of staples which must be picked up by the recipient. Economy of scale means this aid package could be quite diverse, including meat, vegetables, and fruits, but for the most part it would be "some assembly required" as in you cook that food.
Telecommunications and energy aid could be provided, of course, as well--but again these would be specific and targeted aid packages. A gasoline card would only work at gas stations for buying fuel, for example, not coffee and candy. You could have a free phone; it would be a communications device (not be the latest Apple gewgaw) enabling you to make and receive phone calls as well as text messages. Heck, even email is permissible--but no apps. Not one. No games, no camera, no audio player. You want an iPhone? Buy your own.
One of the reasons the US government is spending nearly four million dollars a minute on welfare is simply because it's so easy to game the system. People buy goods using their EBT cards, then run little retail operations from their front porches selling the goods for cash, which is of course fungible anywhere. There are already few enough restrictions on how the welfare money can be spent, obviously, that recipients can buy an excess of luxury items for later resale.
...but imagine the screaming from the left if this were to be changed so that it made sense.
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More rain Thursday--and when I left the office to get lunch the parking lot had flooded. I got lucky and was parked in the non-flooded part; if I hadn't been, I would have had to get into the Jeep through the tailgate and clamber over the seats in order to go buy lunch.
That was a lot of rain over the past couple of days. I still can't believe the rain on my way home Wednesday night. Yeesh.
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So, that asteroid with the long weird name, the one that is an extrasolar object? The fact that it accelerated away from the Sun, and had higher acceleration as it was closer--I thought of why a spaceship would do that.
Figure it's a derelict; it was involved in some kind of battle tens of thousands of years ago and the crew had put it on some course, intending to escape, only the ship ended up too badly damaged and they abandoned it.
So--it's got a magic fusion reactor on board, that has no problem with using pure hydrogen as fuel. It's still running because they were bugging out with full fuel tanks, but after the battle most of the ship is shut down, except for some critical systems such as the anti-collision system. (And proton-proton fusion is called "the solar phoenix" because it regenerates; it's very economical fusion.)
This anti-collision system is a weak form of anti-gravity. When the ship is approaching a large mass (like a planet or a star) this device actually pushes the ship away from the mass. It's not a lot of force, but over the kind of distances we're talking (planetary) it adds up and keeps the ship from being sucked in. The system only works above certain velocities and the mass has to be significant. It doesn't require that the ship be in any particular orientation to work.
I even started to figure out why they were leaving; they were political refugees, fleeing a totalitarian government, and they were among the last holdouts. But one ship against a fleet is poor odds.
The ship's course through space--it has to have come from somewhere, though we're not sure where--it came out of the constellation Lyra. It probably did not come from Vega, which--lets face it--is not a good star for habitable planets anyway. But its low relative speed means it was traveling a long time from wherever it came from--tens of thousands of years at least, and probably hundreds.
Yes, I know it's most likely that it's just a rock.
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I suppose I ought to go back to bed.