January 31st, 2008

#866: Bad drivers and the news.

Last night on my way to work, I saw some legendary bad driving. I mean, "Yukari Tanizaki" bad.

I was northbound, pulling into the left turn lane, preparing to make a left turn. The Dodge Neon which was sitting at the stop sign, waiting to make a left turn into the northbound lanes, apparently decided he didn't want to wait for me to make the turn. He pulled out.

...totally heedless of the minivan coming from the other direction. There was a car making a right turn onto the side street, and I guess the moron in the Neon didn't see the minivan.

In that instant I saw three possible outcomes:

1) Van strikes car, car smashes into me.
2) Van avoids car but smashes into me.
3) Van avoids car and me but smashes into another northbound car.

None of those happened, thank God. The van swerved through the intersection, past my right side, and finally came to a stop on the shoulder of the northbound side of the road about 30 feet behind me, all without hitting anything.

If there had been any kind of collision I would have hung around to tell the cops what I saw. The asshat in that Neon nearly ruined a bunch of peoples' days--and all because he couldn't stand the thought of waiting a few seconds.

* * *

Citi Group doesn't want gun business. That's the only conclusion I can come to. CitiBank doesn't want people to use their credit cards to buy guns.

Not that it matters to me. I paid off my Citi card and canceled it years ago.

Global warming will make ocean currents move faster, not slower. At least according to one researcher.

It takes electricity to make ethanol. Factoring in the electricity use, I wonder what the rate of return is for ethanol? I'm betting that it makes ethanol production a net consumer of energy.

Nader thinks of joining Presidential race. This would be soawesome. Forget the effect it'd likely have on the Democrat race; I just want the Demokrats to start firing off lawsuits and stuff to stop Nader. The same Democrats who said that Ross Perot's candidacy was good for America.

This is something I have said for years. I always thought it likely that marajuana would be worse for you than tobacco--and now we find that yeah, it is worse for you than tobacco. Heh.

Mercury has odd feature on its surface. It's always interesting to learn new things about the other planets of our solar system. NASA's unmanned program has always been great. It's a pity their manned program sucks so much ass.

WTF, "Canadian" now means "black" in the American south? So instead of saying "n----r" or whatev, racists now say "Canadian"?

That makes no sense to me. Then again, they're racists; what do I expect, literary genius?

Besides, Canadians--I mean, people from Canada--are just about the only ethnic group left that we can make fun of, eh? These southerners are ruining it for everyone.

The easy way to fix this is to stop mandating "summer blends". This article doesn't mention that the "akylate" used in summer blends is an oxygenator mandated by the EPA to reduce smog-forming pollutants.

Ann Coulter talks about McCain. I don't know what I'll do if McCain gets the nod. Cast my vote against Hillary? Sit out the election? To me, a vote for McCain is a vote for a Democrat in all but name. He's a liberal Republican; always has been, always will be.

So in the event of a "Hillary vs. McCain" election, what do I do? Will there be someone else I can vote for who isn't willing to take my guns, cancel my free speech, tax away all my money, and let illegals take my job for half my paycheck? Is there another candidate who is going to take the fight to the terrorists rather than let them perpetrate more attacks on our soil?


Shell Oil reports record profits. Go Shell! Good for you! At least someone is making money off $100 per barrel oil; and the more that oil companies profit, the more people will decide to get into the business of pumping oil. 2-4 years from now oil will be selling for $50 per barrel again.

Chicago is the sixth most miserable city in the US, according to Forbes magazine. I am not even remotely surprised by this revelation. It ranks ahead of New York City but behind Los Angeles.

* * *

Apparently we're to get in the neighborhood of 8-11 inches of snow tonight. I am so glad I don't have to work tonight!

#867: New router; and NASA vs model rockets.

I finally replaced the Airlink 101 with a Belkin G+ MIMO router.

The Airlink was new whenever it was we switched to DSL here. March of 2006 I believe. We got it at Fry's for the princely sum of $20. It worked.

...but it had some annoying foibles, such as the fact that it would spontaneously lock up when I was downloading torrents. There was no rhyme or reason to it; sometimes it would happen, and others it wouldn't. It was a crapshoot.

The new computer only helped matters to a degree; Vista has UPNP and once I got a version of uTorrent which could handle UPNP, Vista style, the number of hard locks went down, but it didn't stop happening.

I'm hoping that with a brand-name router (which cost 3x what the Airlink router cost) this problem will go away. Here's hoping.

* * *

NASA and Air Force red tape kill commemorative launch.

Read the article. Try not to swear angrily at the stupidity of bureaucrats.

As a former model rocket enthusiast, let me tell you, model rockets are safe. They're about as safe as you can make something that uses black powder as fuel--which is to say that if you were to stand with your chest over the launch pad and launch the rocket you might get hurt.

I don't know what the hell the bureaucrats are worried about. On the other hand, several government agencies have been extra gung-ho about shutting down model rocketry. BATF is one agency which has really put the screws to people who want to do more than what they can do with Estes kits. In the wake of 9/11 there was some talk of banning model rockets--thank God that nonsense didn't come to pass.

Even if you ban model rocketry, someone who wants to take out an airplane with a home-made surface-to-air missle isn't going to be deterred just because he can't buy Estes motors at Wal-Mart or Target any more.

So I'm always pleased to see that little "FLAMMABLE SOLID" placard on boxes coming down the line at work. At least we can still fly our models when we want to, even if we can't do it at a real rocket range because the Air Force is afraid our cardboard-and-balsa rockets will damage something.

#868: Meet the new router; same as the old router. Argh.

The Belkin has been disconnected and placed back in its packaging, with the receipt taped to the box. It's going back, because it does the exact same things the Airlink does.

And it's at least 3x harder to make it let uTorrent see the rest of the Internet.

I was halfway through an on-line procedure to have the router set up to let uTorrent see the Internet when the router itself locked up. I said many bad words.

When I realized that I would also need to call tech support to get the DNS IP address, I gave up. I know what that would be like:

Me: Yeah, hi, I need to know the IP address of the DNS.
Tech support weenie: Yis, foorst you must clear all cookies.
M: No, you see, I'm trying to set up a static IP so I can enable port forwarding on my router, and all I need from you is the IP address of the DNS so I can do that.
TSW: Yis, yis. Please to eliminate router, and connect directly.
M: That won't help. I need the router in place.
TSW: We moost eliminate the router in order to troubleshoot your issue.
M: No, we don't. I've told you what I need: I need the IP address of the DNS. Give me that and I can solve the problem myself.
TSW: We need to make sure the router is not the problem.

...and it would go on like that. Eventually I would be driven mad with rage and would then bend all my efforts to building a device which would let me stab people in the face via a telephone connection. I'd probably lose my job if I did that.

Not to mention that once I made it clear that my problem was not with actually connecting they would then try to sell me a static external IP address, which I don't need. I just need to know the IP of the DNS so I can assign a static IP to the computer--and the only reason I need that is because Windows won't let you select a static IP and still have it automatically detect the DNS. No.

That, you see, would be easy. Windows Vista is not about "easy", at least not if you want to do anything more complex than play Freecell or write letters to Aunt Tillie.

Anyway, so the Belkin router is going to get returned, because it doesn't solve the problem that I bought it to solve--namely the hard lock problem where all Internet access ceases--and it makes my life a lot more complicated and/or annoying.

Try to access a web site--any site, at random--and the browser would churn a bit and return "http://www.[XYZTHETA].com could not be reached." Click the link again, spoing, there was the page.

I should have known it was all going to be a mess when I was able to plug it in, turn it on, enter the WEP code and such, and have it work. Argh etc.

#869: The Sun is going out!


Am I, to paraphrase Bob Herzog, to understand that the sun is still not "putting out"? I wrote an article discussing this issue--which I naturally cannot find right now--in which I discussed the fact that the beginning of the latest sunspot cycle was late.

Having a look at the link from Pournelle's site, we find this pithy quote:
Typically as you go through the ten or eleven year solar activity cycle you see the numbers go up or down. The lowest number is 64 or 68. The numbers 71 or 72 are very low, but they usually start to go up. We are at the end of a cycle, but the numbers still haven’t gone up. We have been joking around coffee that we may be seeing the Sun about to shut down.
Point being? It's looking to get chilly.

So over the next several years, we're going to start hearing the "global warming=man made=apocalypse" crowd start screeching about "global cooling" and they'll try to convince us that it's all our fault. They've already started preparing the way by switching their code words from "global warming" to "climate change".

And here is a highly interesting article about eco-catastrophism and motivations therefore. (I got this link from the same source as the first one.) Dayum, nothing like telling it like it is, I always sez.

I may have to look up this guy's books.