April 7th, 2011

#2652: It certainly makes me want to shoot myself.

"Could pop music be linked to depression?" Pop music is so depressingly bad these days, I fail to see how it couldn't be. You only need to hear "My Hump" once to figure that out.

"And maybe he was so depressed at the lousy wrestling, he cut off his own head." Or however Conal MacLeod says that in Highlander.

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That's right: God decided to punish Japan for a change in US military policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military, because everyone knows that it's Japan's fault.

Yeah, God just indiscriminately punishes people who have nothing whatsoever to do with things He doesn't like. Sure.

Great Christ, I hate self-styled prophets.

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The article says "stem cells" but it's actually cloning parts.

Making new retinal cells--damn that's awesome.

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Is gravity an entropic force? The theory discussed in this Arse Technica piece makes a compelling argument, and it seems to link inertia to gravity (which matches my own ideas). It's pretty complex stuff, and I think I understood about 70% of it, which is enough for me to get a handle on what they're talking about.

There are problems with the theory, but there are problems with all the theories that try to explain gravity, so it ends up being a matter of "pick your poison".

The most interesting thing is the "holographic universe" theory. String theory requires about 20 dimensions; a universe that was a holographic projection could get by with fewer. We might find out that those extra dimensions are projections and not actual dimensions.

My only real dissatisfaction with all this is that it's not simple. The explanation is complex, and every other physical phenomenon has turned out to be goverened by a very simple rule that can be expressed in a pretty simple fashion. My instincts tell me that if the theory isn't simple, it's probably wrong.

Hell, look at all the stew Einstein made with E=mc2.

You can teach someone to calculate gravitic attraction in an afternoon with what we've got now, and you can explain the standard model with a single sentence. The entropic gravity model is too complicated and most peoples' eyes will glaze over around the time you haul out the "beach ball" analogy.

* * *

Wind farms in England work at 21% of capacity. That's it: 21% of the "installed capacity" ends up being actual useful electricity.

So whenever someone tells you how many megawatts such-and-such wind farm is going to provide, just divide by five to get a more accurate estimate of the output.

"...the renewable energy industry claims their turbines work at 28 to 30 per cent efficiency on average." Yet the wind farms were sold on electrical outputs that were about 3x their actual real-world production.

If you built a car that could only get 30% of the fuel economy that you advertised, you'd get sued and probably sent to jail for false advertising. Why do the guys hawking windmills get away with it?

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Housing prices are off 31% of their high in 2006. Holy crap.

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So Obama told that guy who asked him about gas prices, "You might want to trade in your gas-guzzler."

Oh, sure, I'll go out and buy a brand-new freakin' car, because I've just got money falling out of my asshole! That's right: I shit $100 bills and I simply have no more room to store it! "Buy a new car"--why didn't I think of that? Because I'm not a motherfuckin' GENIUS like Obama, that's why!

Obama's bullshit:
Obama said he wants to move toward "a future where America is less dependent on foreign oil, more reliant on clean energy produced by workers like you." That will happen by reducing oil imports, tapping domestic energy sources and shifting the nation to renewable and less polluting sources of energy, such as wind, the president says. He has set a goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025.
Gas is now $4 here in town. Thanks, Obama! And extra-special thanks to all you Democrats who blocked domestic drilling in ANWR and other places because "it'll take years for that to come on-line and won't help out right now, so we shouldn't do it!"

Fuck you all.

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For those of you who like Dennis Miller: "I'm sick of treating islam like Faberge eggs."

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How about 53 metric tons delivered to low Earth orbit? How does that grab you?

That grabs me just fine.

Understand, that's about half the payload of a Saturn V, but I expect that SpaceX will manage to launch these things a damn sight cheaper than NASA ever managed.
The 2012 budget for four Air Force launches is $1.74B, which is an average of $435M per launch. Falcon 9 is offered on the commercial market for $50-60M and Falcon Heavy is offered for $80-$125M. Unlike our competitors, this price includes all non-recurring development costs and on-orbit delivery of an agreed upon mission. For government missions, NASA has added mission assurance and additional services to the Falcon 9 for less than $20M.
Understand this: $125 million dollars for 53 tons on-orbit works out to about a thousand dollars per pound, which is dirt cheap compared to what it costs NASA to launch something.

Each Shuttle flight is like a billion dollars ($1,000 million) and it's got a payload of 20 tons. And that payload means you can't get near ISS, nor can you launch a big enough payload with the shuttle to include a booster that can get it into (say) a lunar transfer orbit.

The Delta heavy lift vehicle that SpaceX's Falcon 9 is compared with in the press release costs about three times as much per pound. So you can see why this is exciting news for the space-happy folks like me.

I also have to wonder what that price will do, long-term. Someone else is likely to decide they can do the same job for less than SpaceX is managing, and that'll lead to price competition--and when you get competition, prices go lower.

* * *

Afghanistan is a mess. It always has been; it was a mess before the USSR invaded in the 1980s and it was a mess afterwards and it was a mess in 2001 and it's a mess now.

The best possible thing we could have done in the wake of 9/11 was to aim a few nuclear warheads at known Taliban and Al Qaeda positions. Announce it to the world: "We will regard any terror attack as equivalent to an attack with weapons of mass destruction. We acknowledge that this move has killed innocent people, but we've decided that from now on, you are either with us, or with the terrorists. If you harbor terrorists who attack the United States and its interests, you had better get rid of them, or you're next."

Of course the left would have shit itself over a policy like that. Their screams of outrage would have been audible on Pluto if Bush had done that.

Besides the policy of treating terror attacks like WMD attacks, we should adhere to the letter of the Geneva convention; that means that nonuniformed combatants can be summarily executed approximately whenever the fuck we feel like it and there's no "Gitmo" to worry about.

...and the "War on Terror" would already be over, too. It's possible that Bush would have lost the election in 2004 as a result of this policy, but it wouldn't have mattered much to the long-term safety of the United States. (What that would have meant for the economy is another story, but I doubt it would have made a lick of difference.)

It's too late now, though, to do that, even if we did have a President with something approximating a spine. All we can really do now is leave and then come back and nuke it later.

I don't think it's possible for us to fix what's wrong with Afghanistan, not without making it a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United States; and we can't afford that. But a policy of striking back hard against any terror organization that attacks us and the country that allows them to operate within it would go a long way towards eliminating attacks on America, Americans, and our interests.

It would not make us more popular, but I think it's more important that people be afraid to mess with us. Screw the idea of trying to fix all the problems in the world and double-screw the idea that we can make everyone love us. We can't; and any policy which assumes that people will like us if we only bend over far enough is based on fantasy, and it invites terrorists to kick us as much as they like. It's time for us to hit back and hard, and make them acknowledge that for every bloody lip they give us, we can knock out several teeth.

Violence is the only language those savages understand, anyway.

* * *

The more-or-less daily DOOM! post at Ace of Spades.

I do not see how the economy can improve at all on present conditions before it gets much, much worse first.

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As for me, I fell asleep around midnight...and slept for two whole freakin' hours before waking up.

When I woke up, I felt good, the way I had yesterday afternoon...but that was 3. Now it's 8:30, and guess what? I feel crummy!


The extra-annoying part is that it's a foggy, cool morning, and all I want to do is go to bed. I like to look out the windows on days like this and watch it be foggy, and just think about stuff. Oddly enough, I don't find this kind of weather depressing in the slightest. It's kind of moody, but not bad moody.

Maybe if it happened all the time, I'd feel differently about it.

Anyway, because of how things went, I didn't watch any anime last night. That's probably just as well, because any run through the playlist includes Fairy Tail, and Lucy's boobs are beginning to take too much of a toll on my sanity. I can't stand the constant reminder they represent that I haven't got a girlfriend. I end up groaning and stamping whenever Lucy's cleavage is shown, and you would have been scared by the noise I made when I saw the scene that contains the following:

It sure scared the hell out of the cat, I don't mind saying.

Why this is such a problem for me is not immediately obvious. I guess it's just that Lucy is made of hawt. (Erza's hotter than Lucy, but she's almost always in that plate cuirass, so it's not as apparent.) When you haven't got a sweetie, "hawt" only serves to peg the needle on the meter.

A normal, healthy man sees cleavage like that and wants to bury his face in it. That's just how it is. Assuming he's not a pervert or a lunatic he'll instead go home and sublimate this desire by burying his face in his girlfriend's or wife's cleavage instead. But then there's someone like me, who's been in shit city for years and flat-out refuses to pay a woman cash for the privelege; what do I do?

So not watching anime gave me a bit of a break from these weird horny focal seizures that Fairy Tail seems to give me.

"WTF," you say, "it's just ink and paint on acetate. Wait, it's not even that, because Fairy Tail is all-digital!" I know. You think that makes me feel any differently? It doesn't make me feel better, that's for damn sure.

I need a life. *sigh*

#2653: NATO out of Libya!

The rebels want NATO out of Libya after NATO drops more bombs on rebels.

It's so hard to tell combatants apart from 50,000 feet....

Bad war, bad plan, bad execution.

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Yeah, that AP article I linked in the last post, the one from which I blockquoted Obama's energy policy bullshit?

AP edited it to get rid of Obama's quote about buying a new car.

Hot Air's got the video of Obama saying it.

AP once again proves it's in the tank for Democrats. As if we needed more proof.

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Ormus (the original one, on Aggramar) hit 78th level last night. I'm running quests in Zul'Drak and hitting instances, and it seems to be doing well for me. This makes old Ormus my #2 character now; the revised list:

Amaleni 85
Ormus 78
Scythandra 77
Victoria 71

...and then descending from there.

I have to wonder what level Mount Hyjal is meant for; I'm going to try taking Ormus there rather than do Vash'jir again. All that underwater stuff is a royal pain.

Oh well. Could be worse.

#2654: Well, that certainly didn't last very long.

Over the past couple of days, I'd started feeling a lot better about everything. While I'm not working yet, and while the job I've got is tentative and not really solid (yet), the employment situation is at least handled even if only temporarily. It's enough to represent a huge load off my mind, and I've been sleeping better and waking up feeling better.

...got a call from a paralegal on the answering machine. There's a court case pending in Will County against me, probably garnishment proceedings for the student loans I haven't heard a word about since December. I've got to return the call tomorrow and find out WTF is going on, but I'd bet that's it.

Then people wonder why I don't get excited when good stuff happens to me. Well, this is why: whenever things get better, they almost immediately get worse than they were before.