June 16th, 2008

#1116: A week's worth of stuff all at once.

Maybe they were saving it up for me, I don't know. What I do know is that there's a lot to do, so here goes.

A neat idea, but too expensive. For now, FLASH RAM-based drives are far too expensive for the average user. $2,400 for 80 GB is 1990s pricing--but it's fast, and in certain applications that's a must.

Five years from now I expect all hard drives will be semiconductor-based if HP's "memrister" memory is everything it's supposed to be. Here's hoping.

* * *

Judge who supports Barak Hussein Obama has his picture hanging on the wall next to a picture of Che Guevara.

The funniest part of all this is that the guy is complaining about execution by lethal injection being "cruel and unusual". While sitting in front of a picture of Che Guevara.

And read the comments....

* * *

There is so much wrong with this story I hardly know where to start. Trouble arises when morons videotape morons having sex. Two young college guys see the lesbians across the alley having sex and break out the video camera, and tape it.

Crass, yes. Juvenile, yes. Illegal? I'll get to that. But the stupid part came when they uploaded the video to a university server so others could see it.

Illegal: it's illegal to videotape other people without their permission. That's the illegal part.

But these women were having sex in their room with the drapes open. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to close the drapes, you kind of lose the expectation of privacy. Particularly when one of the girls "...said that she and her roommates had been pointed at with lasers from students across the alley when they were changing before and that she had also heard of this happening to other students in her building during intimate acts."

(By the way, the construction of that sentence smells. Ace Journalist at your service! The writer clearly didn't learn grammar when he was in college; probably too busy going to protests.)

So these morons had warning that others could see them, and if they'd bothered to look out the windows they could have seen that others could see them...yet they persisted.

I have no sympathy for these stupid girls. None. If you boff in front of an open window, expect people to watch.

It still doesn't excuse the other morons videotaping and sharing the video of the event, though. I'll give 'em the "videotaping" part--what normal college guy wouldn't?--but the "distribution" part is a no-no. Sure, show it to your friends, but don't put it on a server for others to download.

One of the lesbians says she has nothing to be ashamed of. Lord, I hope not. I just hope she's learned to close the damned curtains when she's going to muff-dive her girlfriend.

* * *

Big surprise: Stalin-era Soviet photographers doctored photographs for propaganda value. This revelation is only surprising if you're an American liberal. Everyone else has known this since day freaking one. (I expect it would come as a surprise to the judge in the first link of today.)

* * *

Similarly unsurprising, Al Sharpton is an expert at shaking down major corporations for money. It's "racial protection" money; it's extortion, and no one dares to call him on it. Isn't it wonderful when a man can rise from poverty to being rich and powerful enough to force major corporations to fund his "charity"?

* * *

Someone has to do something! The illegal immigrants, the criminal aliens, are leaving!

The last few paragraphs of the article center on a guy who owns three duplexes, and who rents them out to illegals. Now one place is empty and he's worried that he won't be able to make the payments on them. "Somebody has to do something," he complains.

I don't have any sympathy for criminal aliens. I just don't. Sorry. And I don't have any sympathy for people who make money off criminal aliens, either. Not the people who exploit cheap labor, nor the people who sell goods and services to the cheap labor.

Besides every other valid reason we have to properly control our borders and limit immigration, illegal immigrants also depress wages, both by supplying demand and by providing labor that is cheaper than legal labor (which, by definition, must follow all the labor laws of the US). This isn't a case of workers coming in and working for minimum wage; it's a case of workers coming who will work for less than minimum wage (or the same amount) get paid in cash, and never pay a dime of income or social security taxes on their earnings.

So, too bad.

Unfortunately, the illegals are merely leaving Florida; and they're coming here--Illinois--as well as going to Michigan and Texas.

*sigh*

* * *

We don't know for sure, but it looks like Iran may have the schematics and specifications for advanced nuclear warheads.

The point here is, we don't know. A nuclear bomb is a precision device, but it is not a complex one, and given the fissionable materials, the explosives, and maybe twenty thousand bucks, you could build one in your garage if you had the plans for one. It's not that hard.

The precision required is the same precision needed to make a pair of lenses for eyeglasses. No more than that. If you can grind an optical lens to the right shape, you can make a bomb; and there are plenty of machine tools out there with that level of precision. (In fact, you could probably buy a CNC machine with that level of precision on the used market without much searching.)

But of course Iran is no danger to us because it's so much smaller than the US is, right, Mr. Barak Hussein Obama?

* * *

More lesbians behaving badly. I don't know what the hell is wrong with these women. Maybe they were taking out their rage at the phallocentric, patriarchal society on the one woman's son, I don't know.

I do know that every time I read a story like this, it makes me sick to my stomach. People who do this should be sterilized.

* * *

Boortz today is chock-full of goodness. Especially the cheesecake shot of his "web wench". Hooray!

* * *

Sometime over the weekend, sunspot #998 evaporated; it didn't make it all the way across the face of the sun before doing so, either. Now #999 has appeared.

* * *

I now have the entirety of the animated version of Starship Troopers, so expect to hear something about it later on; I'm adding it to my viewlist right away.

* * *

Today's chores include mowing the grass and doing the shopping. I couldn't do it yesterday due to a combination of gut malf and bad weather--we had two lines of severe thunderstorms whip through, about six hours apart--and it's got to get done ASAP. And so, off I go.

#1118: I feel a rewrite coming on.

I've been talking about my story set at a fictional technical college in the Pacific northwest a lot of late, because it's been on my mind a lot. And having re-read it this past weekend, I'm starting to consider rewriting it.

I am reluctant to do so for only one reason: I'm worried that I'll lose the flavor of it. The story won't work with stodgier prose; it has to be a bit rough around the edges--swear words and all, it must sound as if it's being written by a college-age guy. I find myself fearing that I'll eradicate the things that make the story special by rewriting it.

But it's missing so much. Before I re-read it, I was recalling several things that aren't in this version; they're in the previous version, and I'm not entirely sure why they didn't make it into the rewrite. (I last worked on this story 12 years ago.) A surprising number of things are missing; and because the format of the novel is a series of connected episodes, I should be able to integrate these elements without harming the flow of the plot. Perhaps they might even enhance it.

No: my worry is the tone, not the plot and flow.

...and I never even came up with a title for the thing, either.

So what I may do is start a provisional rewrite of it: start chewing through it and see where it leads me, see how well I keep the flavor of the original, and so on. If it turns out well, finish it; if it fails, abandon it.

I've done this before. I have another story (from about the same time period) that I started rewriting in 1997, and abandoned when I realized that it was getting all screwed up. Now I've got a much better version of it in rewrite, though it's stalled for the past six months as I've been unable to write any fiction whatsoever. (*sigh*)

I suppose if I was someone like Tom Clancy, who gets paid zillions of dollars for each book he produces, I could probably do it full time and not have any trouble at all. Money is the ultimate in validation; if you can look at your palatial estate and then at the books on your shelves with your name on 'em, and realize those books paid for the estate-- But I'm not Tom Clancy, and any illusions I had about any story of mine ever making me money died when I was still in seventh grade. I would like to be a best-selling author; but the odds are rather squarely against me. (That's okay, though. I write for me first anyway.)

But having reread the story, I've concluded that it's good, even so. I could clean it up and submit it to someone, just to see if anything happens, as it is. But I want to see, first, if the other elements can be added to it.

The stories that I've been grooming for this place have also stalled, which is why you haven't seen anything since Singularity and Metheuselah. Sorry about that. This is another reason why I have to have a day (well, a night) job: I can't write to order. Damn, how I wish I could....

#1119: Record cold in Crete

As I was driving to the bank this afternoon, I saw that the sign at the Village Hall was reporting the correct time and A temperature:

-196°F.

No wonder I didn't need the air conditioning on today.

* * *

The nearest weather station to my home frequently reports high temperatures, and I haven't seen its data on Weather Underground for a few days, now. I mean, when the stations around it were reporting temps in the 70s, this thing was saying it was almost 90°. Look at the 24-hour plot and you'd see the temperature take a sudden sharp upswing around 6 or 7 AM--just when, I was pretty sure, the sun would be striking the thermometer. As long as the sun wasn't up, the temps agreed with the surrounding stations, but with the sun in the sky, they were 10-15 degrees higher than anyone else.

Apparently this got noticed because, as I said, I haven't seen that data for a few days.

* * *

Thanks to Steven I've been fiddling around with Microsoft Worldwide Telescope. It's pretty cool, particularly the way you can run the clock fast or slow, reverse or forward.

And it actually works, unlike that horrible thing I downloaded--whatever it was, whenever it was--that was supposed to be an amateur astronomer's best friend and didn't even know that Alpha Centauri is a freaking binary, and crashed the GDI when I tried to do something.

Yes, I'm sure the pay version was "much better". No, I would never have bought it based on that crappy demo version, not even if I were an amateur astronomer desperate for some kind of astronomy software. Not with major factual errors and program bugs. (How hard is it to write a program that doesn't make the GDI cough up dicks? I mean, in that persistent "time to reboot" way?)

* * *

Today was a great day to cut the grass, though, with the high temperature of 72°F and all. I got up, had breakfast, and then fired up the tractor. I got the grass cut, then had a shower--and took Mom to get the shopping done.

I discovered, tardily, that the tractor has "reverse operating mode", which allows you to cut grass while backing up.

The manufacturer obviously is worried about lawsuits because there are placards and warnings all over the place about where kids should be while you're cutting grass with this thing. It even goes so far as to show a kid being run over and having his foot cut off--you know, in that generic "international no" sign way--to make the point.

Because of this, I was under the impression that there was no way to leave the blades engaged while you were in reverse--if you start the thing normally and let go of the key once it's running, and try to engage reverse while the blades are going, the engine shuts off. I thought that was annoying, stupid, and excessively nanny-ish.

But the key switch has "Off", "ROS", "RUN" and "START" positions, and it was that "ROS" one which caught my attention: wait, what's that for? And then I realized that the manufacturer had realized how inconvenient it is for you to have to shut off the blades every time you want to back up--so instead of making it impossible, they just made it so that you had to actively choose to be able to do it.

And so I tried it out today, and was pleased that I could, after all, back up without disengaging blades, shifting to reverse, maneuvering, shifting to forward, re-engaging blades--all I had to do was stop, pop in reverse, and back up. Great!

...once again demonstrating that it never hurts to read the freaking manual. *sigh*