October 21st, 2007

#646: Mugabe made me a millionaire (ooh, dig the alliteration!)

$1 US now buys 1 million Zimbabwe dollars. Do you realize what that means? Ten cents is Z$100,000. One penny is Z$10,000.

I have got to get me some of those notes, somehow. Could you imagine what that would be like? Getting a suitcase full of old Z$? For one US dollar?

That is inflation!

Nanotech radio. It sounds like it's a simple AM receiver, but making one out of fullerenes makes it 1,000 times smaller than the smallest radio reciever ever built--until now. That's pretty cool.

Hollywood writers threaten strike. If they do, no one will know the difference.

When they did it in 1988, a few TV shows stuttered a little, but otherwise it didn't make a damn bit of difference. The writers in question are a bunch of whiny, overpaid crybabies.

"What we must have is a contract that gives us the ability to keep up with the financial success of this ever-expanding global industry."

You know what a half-hour TV script pays these days? About $75,000. If you're on the writing staff for a TV show of moderate duration, and are reasonably wise with your investments, you could conceivably never have to work again once that show ends. I mean, imagine writing, say, four scripts per year that get accepted. That's $300,000.

...for work you can do at home 90% of the time. How do I become a Hollywood writer? I know how to write, kind of, and I'm sure I could produce that drivel with the best of them. Hell, I'm even willing to be a scab and cross picket lines. I'm not afraid of a bunch of left coast liberals. Hook me up! (Of course, my politics aren't correct, so that'll never happen.)

*sigh* union babies, I tell you....


I looked at a few other articles on-line this morning, and these all came from Jerry Pournelle's web site.

Fred on Watson's "racism". Fred's mistake here is thinking that facts cannot be "racist". We can excuse his ignorance; he was born and raised in an era before "deconstructionism" and "postmodernism". Thanks to those "-isms", we know that facts can be racist.

In fact, not only the facts but the sciences that generate them are also racist, sexist, bigoted, and homophobic, because they are the result of Western Civilization, which itself came from Dead White Males. And of course white males (dead or otherwise) cannot help but be racists, sexists, bigots, and homophobes. (Unless they themselves are gay, in which case they probably aren't homophobes, and aren't bigots, racists, or sexists.) (And if they're "transgendered", they're not "males".)


"Squeeze" suits for the future.

Why didn't I have a professor that looked that hot when I was in school? This sucks. And here she designed a space suit which accentuates her figure. Damn.

It's a better way of doing things than the suits now in use, which are highly similar to ones used in the Apollo missions. "Conventional" space suits are clumsy and inefficient; they run at partial pressure (ie a fraction of atmospheric pressure) and an astronaut who is going EVA in one must pre-breathe a different air mixture to purge nitrogen from his system before he puts the thing on.

Why? The bends, that's why--breathe normal air, which is 70-odd percent nitrogen, and then go EVA. The suit depressurizes to its operating pressure, and the nitrogen in your blood boils out, causing embolisms everywhere. At best--at best!--it just hurts like hell.

You think that can't happen? Just try it. It's called "decompression sickness" for a reason.

Squeeze suits, on the other hand, keep the skin at about atmospheric pressure, more or less--or will by the time NASA gets around to specifying them--with mechanical pressure, like TED hose or compression stockings. Just the helmet is required to contain air, and it can contain a full 15 PSI, Earth-normal atmosphere. No pre-breathing. No decompression procedures. Get into the suit, clamp on your helmet, hook up air, go outside.

And if you're a hot chick, look good doing it.

#647: Darth Cheney kicks ass.

Good! Good!

This is why liberals hate Cheney. He's got a spine. Liberals hate vertebrate conservatives. (It's mainly because they're jealous.) (whoa. < /anncoulter >)

I heartily believe that Iran with the Bomb is a bad combination. It's a religious dictatorship and its current president is one of the people who committed an act of war on the US in 1979 by seizing the embassy in Tehran. We can't afford to let them gain atomic arms, the same way you can't let an unmedicated schizophrenic own firearms.

(My first girlfriend was schizophrenic. Okay? So I know.)

In an unrelated story--one from three years ago, in fact--a school district bans Halloween in order not to offend Wiccans.

Ahem. Halloween is a Wiccan holiday. I know this because my third girlfriend was wiccan/pagan.

The "seperation of church and state" issue is really starting to get under my skin. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that state and church must never work together, that state must avoid any and all reference to religion. What it says is that the state may not say, "John F. Kennedy is Catholic; therefore everyone must now be Catholic."

In fact, the imposition of Sha'ria (fundamentalist Islamic law) on the US would be unconstitutional under the Constitution as it now stands. But if we get that far I don't expect the Constitution will matter all that much.

The simplest way to fix all this BS with schools and religious holidays is simply to end the public school system. Throw the whole thing out; privatize the whole works. That way the government isn't involved at all.

Oh, wait. Can't have that. Our government schools are indoctrination centers, after all.

Still, in my dreams, I think about how nice it would be if we had a school system like Japan's. In Japan, there is always public school. But if you want to go to a better school you can take entrance exams and pay the tuition for a private school--and there are all kinds of private schools out there.

Even better, though, would be the system of some Scandinavian country--I can't recall which one--which ties funding to the student, and whichever school the kid and his parents select is the one that gets the money, so there is competition for students among schools. So each school has to try to be the best it can be.

But there are no feather beds in a system like that. Teachers get paid more, but they have to be good teachers, because anything that lowers a school's "customer satisfaction" cannot be tolerated. Lower customer satisfaction means lower attendance. So if a teacher sucks, or is a moron, or sexually assaults the kids, he won't have a powerful union to protect his sorry ass; he'll be out the door.

Let's face the facts: our public school system--being a government bureaucracy--does not regard its primary mission to be educating children. It's main job is to employ educators. To spend government education money.

And the money is not usually spent wisely. Here in Crete they just finished building a $60 million high school and can't find $15,000 to buy new pianos.

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I can't go on talking about the educational system without going off on a myriad of tangents about this and that. Look: it's all broken. 'Nuff said.