January 23rd, 2008

#847: You see? It's not just me!

On the mail page for Jerry Pournelle's web site are these comments about Ares-vs-Saturn V:
As to why by all the Blue Demons NASA is sticking with solid rockets for its' heavy lift and manned launchers after the shuttle experience with them:

It's like Henry Ford going back to a steam engine for fhe Model T. Typical bureaucracy. We could build a Saturn V clone with modern composites that could easily put 100,000 KG into LEO, or 25,000 KG on the moon. Probably twice that. But there's no Bureaucratic Glory in doing better what Von Braun and his team did once. Better to reinvent the wheel a third time and then play Russian Roulette with O-Rings and who knows what else every time we "light the candle".


You've got to spin down a ways to get to this e-mail, but I think it's worth reading the entire thing. The author ("Petronius") first defends NASA, saying that the technical problems with Ares are of a kind that they solved once before...but he then goes on to say that the problems with the Saturn V were solved by a NASA that no longer exists.

It's not, as I said, just me.

* * *

Commentary and links:

PDB again amuses me considerably with the image in this post. The implication is that, since Fred Thompson has dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination, we now have a rather limited choice.

It took me a bit to figure out what the thing on the left was, though the thing on the right was immediately obvious. The meaning? We now have a choice between a douche and a shit sandwich. Great.

Stacy, the hottest blogger I know of, posts a link to a story from Boulder, CO. And man, it's a honey of a story.

The best quote: "...her daughter is a child of the sun and can’t get up when it is dark outside. An arrest warrant obtained by the newspaper indicated the mother also said the girl’s eyes get 'close-up X-ray vision' every night at midnight, which allowed her to diagnose herself with sickle cell anemia...."

This woman is a honey of a lunatic. "...the girl’s mother said she knew about the nudity and urine drinking, but told investigators that it wasn’t hurting anyone and she knew other people who drink urine."

Meanwhile, the poor 8-year-old girl's life is now utterly fucked up. Not just because she spent weekends with a pedophile, but because it's pretty obvious that she'll be living with foster parents from now on....

* * *

Things that happen for no obvious reason except to piss me off department:

I found that Blue Drop ep 13 has been posted for quite a little while, now, so I went to grab it and complete the lineup so I could add it to the "complete and ready to watch" list.

Problem is, uTorrent reports "this file is being used by another process". And it doesn't matter where I put it or how many times I restart it. uTorrent will stop having anything to do with the file until I delete the torrent from the list and add it again. Then it'll check it, restart the download where it left off, go a bit...and then repeat the error.


* * *

Last week I bought a 10 GB USB drive. It was on sale at work for $10, and of course I got 10% off that price, so I paid $9 plus tax for the thing.

It occurred to me, much later, that I had paid $0.009 per megabyte for that flash drive. Under a penny per meg.

Granted, at that price, a 500 GB drive would cost $500. The 500 GB drive in my system cost $160, which is 0.032 cents per megabyte. A megabyte on a spinning disk is still much cheaper than a megabyte of silicon, and by a pretty fair margin--the silicon meg is 28 times as expensive--but the costs are closer to acheiving parity.

A FLASH-based 500 GB drive would be pretty fast, pretty cool, and much more durable than a conventional hard drive. And it would probably use less power, too. Still, don't bother trying to sell me one until silicon bits and spinning metal bits cost about the same.

* * *

I should know better than to trust a weather site which takes its name from filthy commie bastards, even when it comes to weather prediction. The Weather Underground site said we'd get about 1-2 inches of snow Monday night

End total: about 4 inches.

I have a Jeep with four wheel drive, so 4 inches of snow doesn't bother me, not even when it's blowing and drifting. But I got up late, and the poor driving made me even later. I punched in at 10:15 Monday night and got to Receiving just as the truck unload was beginning--so I basically squeaked in under the wire, so to speak. But it was still irritating; why hadn't the roads been salted, at least? And it was even more irritating the next morning, because most roads still hadn't been plowed or salted, so the drive home took even longer.

The only vehicle I saw in the ditch was--predictably--a 4x4 truck. Earth to moron: four wheel drive only helps you get going faster. It does not help you stop, nor does it magically increase roadholding ability.

I'm sure the several people who tailgated me yesterday morning were wondering why I was only going 30-35 in a Jeep. "You've got four wheel drive! You can go faster than this!"

"Can", yes. "Will", no. Rule number one is to understand the limitations of both your vehicle and yourself.

Come to think of it, one of the wisest bits of advise given to me when I was taking flight lessons was, "aviate, navigate, communicate". People who drive and talk on their cell phones would do well to consider that prioritization. Job number one is to drive the car, not talk on the phone or put on makeup. (In fact, women who apply makeup while driving should have their licenses suspended.) (Lest someone accuse me of being sexist: Yes, men, too.) (Though, no doubt, someone will then accuse me of being anti-transgendered. To hell with all of them.) I notice that the little list, there, says nothing about putting on makeup. I wonder how many women pilots put on makeup while juggling the yoke with their knees?

...so I drove home at about 30-35, applying and releasing 4WD as needed. Cicero Avenue, at least, was "just wet", so I was able to drive at 55 on it. Everywhere else was a mess. *sigh*

* * *

Heath Ledger dead of apparent overdose.

I hadn't heard this until I went to I Can Has Cheezburger in search of a lolcat fix.

Celebrities--WTF. Only a celebrity could overdose on Ambien while living in an apartment which costs $23,000 per month to rent. This guy has enough money for posh living but can't see a freaking doctor to get help with a sleep disorder?

I wish there was something else I could add to this, but there really isn't.

#848: Anyone who's owned a cat understands.

Kitty gets ride in suitcase. "'Hi, you're not going to believe this, but I am calling from Fort Worth, Texas, and I accidentally picked up your husband's luggage. And when I opened the luggage, a cat jumped out.'"


Mars does not need women. Looks like they have at least one Orion slave girl there. And she doesn't need a pressure suit to survive, either. :rolleyes:

Stupid kid whines for a snow day over three lousy inches of snow. Whining brat. Someone ought to kick his ass for him.

Why doesn't she say "f--- Mohammed" instead and see where that gets her?

Drew Peterson, suspected of murdering not one but two wives, apparently has a waiting list for who gets to be his next honey. This guy needs to be beaten with a pipe, wired to an old engine block, and thrown into a river. (Assuming he's guilty, of course.)

Young people vie for Darwin Award. Combine drunken stupidity with a Subaru Impreza WRX and you end up with three mangled corpses after the car hits a light pole at 100 MPH.

The police don't know who was driving; the article doesn't say who the car belonged to, but none of the deaders is older than 23.

There are those of us who would love to own something like a WRX who can't because of asshats like this. The damn car is expensive enough, but the freaking insurance is insane because so many asshat kids end up driving them through houses or killing themselves in various ways.

The Subaru Impreza WRX is too much car for anyone below the age of 30, IMHO. Parents who buy these things for their kids need to be beaten with sticks. "Oh, it's just got a four-cylinder engine; how fast can it be?" That 4-banger has a turbocharger and it makes two hundred fricking horsepower. It is made for going fast. *sigh*

Meanwhile, one asshat's sister is comforted that he died "doing what he loved". WTF is that about? He wasn't fighting fires or terrorists or crime; he was going 100 MPH on a city street while drunk. That's not noble; it's not even sensical.

It's a stupid way to die and the only thing you can say about this is that at least they didn't kill anyone else while they were being indefensibly stupid.

There's a thread on the Fiero forum in which some moron complains that his Fiero's front end "wanders" when he's going faster than 120 MPH. Stupid asshat.

#849: Spamola

"Step inside a new world of well-hung guys!" Exhorts Garland D. Carson. But I am not gay, so I will decline this disgusting offer.

gilles.thomet dreams of me. That's entirely appropriate, considering all the mind control experiments I have performed on him over the years. One day soon I will program him to go spray-paint "TED KILLED MARY JO" on the wall of the Kennedy Compound.

gold-capital wants to know if I have a large-format printer. Sorry, guys; 8.5x11 here. I can't even print legal size since I retired my old HL-8e.

On second thought, I will send gilles to shove Mervin Mcfarland into a cement mixer, thus eliminating my pain. (One of them.)

mori writes to inform me that I am in his soul. (Her?) Ha! My mind-control experiments are bearing fruit at last! One day soon, all will read the Fungus!

Kirk Gomez thinks he has identified the focus of evil in the modern world. He's wrong.

Ramiro Evans misses the boat by at least 29 days. He's next to get a visit from gilles.

#850: England, WTF

Goth teenager is a "human pet".

This girl says, "I don't cook or clean and I don't go anywhere without Dani [her fiancee]. It might seem strange but it makes us both happy. It's my culture and my choice. It isn't hurting anyone."

"The couple, who live on benefits in a council house and plan to start a family, have been friends for years."

Translation: these two people are living on the dole in government housing. In other words, they're members of the poor "layabout class"; they subsist entirely on government handouts. Ah, you got to love IngSoc. Though I'm not entirely sure why.

Well, they're college students, so I guess they've got an excuse. The boyfriend looks like a complete retard.

...while we're on the subject, why is it that many Goth chicks look hot and most Goth guys look like infantile morons? I don't get it. (Except that I am predisposed to enjoy looking at women, of course.) The Goth chicks who haven't got everything pierced and who maintain themselves well are usually smokin' hot. (The ones which are lardballs in black leather generally look like overstuffed couches. And this is coming from a guy who likes 'em "pleasingly plump". It doesn't blind me to the fact that a generously-proportioned woman can't wear leather or lace without looking horrible.)

All else being equal, they should keep their fetishes in the bedroom rather than expose them to the world. I don't blame the bus driver one bit. But just watch, he's going to get in trouble over this nonsense.

Poor guy.