May 17th, 2012

#3371: Haven't heard a word about my parts yet

When did I order them? Monday, wasn't it? Yeah, Monday evening.

I guess the tire place doesn't send out helpful e-mails letting you know when they've shipped stuff. I don't know.

Worst case, I'll pump up the rear tire on Saturday and just ride the motorcycle around town, keeping my speed below 40. Since it's looking like I won't be driving the Fiero--not at the rate I'm going!--I'll want to do something, damn it.

* * *

Arse Technica says we need new physics because you can't get dark matter from the Standard Model.
(Dark matter is demonstrably not made up of ordinary particles—not quarks, electrons, or any of the other constituents of normal matter).
Isn't that wonderful? We need to reinvent physics to accout for something we don't f-ing need in the first place.

Dark matter is only there to explain how the galaxy holds itself together, and if you do the calculations using General Relativity rather than classical mechanics you find that you don't need dark matter to keep the galaxy from flying apart. (All of which, by the way, uses the old figure for the mass and dimensions of the galaxy...figures which were found to be wrong not so very long ago, but which people still use because they assume they're right.)

...and if you have a universe made of 90% dark matter, then you need dark energy to keep it from collapsing in on itself, which would contradict observed reality. (Which shows that the universe is expanding, and it couldn't be expanding if the universe were ten times as massive as it is.)

To be honest, I'm not even sure we need new physics to explain gravity. Einstein said gravitation was due to the shape of space, and if you think about it you realize that all forces are merely four-dimensional curves in space-time anyway. All we really need to do is to figure out why mass changes the shape of the space-time manifold, and the rest should sort itself out rather neatly.

* * *

All of which leads me to the inevitable declamation of the infallibility of science: "The science is settled!" Yeah, right.

* * *

State shuts down ice cream stand for "unauthorized improvements" to the property. It's not clear who owns what. Is the farm part of the state park? What is leased to the guy who runs the dairy farm, the land, or the buildings, or what?

In any case it really looks like regulatory overreach to me.

* * *

It's perfectly fine to blow a covert agent's cover in 2012. It virtually rose to the level of impeachment when Valerie Plame (who wasn't a covert agent anyway) was "outed" by her husband's braggadocio, and it was All George Bush's Fault that it happened.

Meanwhile, this poor unnamed guy has been jeopardized by the Obama administration's need to look like it's doing something--anything--right. But I guess since he's not a D.C. socialite, no one cares.

* * *

PJ O'Rourke wrote this bit about Warsaw in the 1980s. His concluding paragraphs talk about life under communism being boring: "Communism doesn't really starve or execute that many people. Mostly it just bores them to death."

100,000,000 people were killed by communism/socialism in the 20th century. But I suppose out of the total number of people who lived under such political systems it isn't "that many". Still, 100,000,000 is a lot of people. (Lenin's comments about statistics notwithstanding. Or was it Stalin who said that? Does it really matter which murderous dictator said it?)

Of course in 1986 the full tally had not yet been counted, because we just didn't know how much death the communists had dealt in the former USSR until after the Berlin Wall fell. So we can give the guy a pass for that, I suppose. Anyway the rest of the article very neatly illustrates what socialism does for people. It is not exactly prosperous.

* * *

Karl Denninger has a scan of the bio of Barack Hussein from a promotional bookled produced by his literary agent in 1991.

Quoth the bio: "...born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii...."

AoSHQ, same story.
...[I]t seems very likely this came from Obama. Where else would Obama's birthplace have come from? In 1991, Obama had not yet written his two (ahem) memoirs. He was not a famous man.

So, why did Obama say this?
Why, indeed?

It really is starting to look as if we've got an ineligible person sitting as President.

* * *

Choir's been canceled tonight, so all I've really got to do today is go to about 30 minutes, which gives me just enough time to get cleaned up if I start now.

But: I played D3 for about 10 hours yesterday, finishing the first act, and it's f-ing addictive...just like the first two were. It'd be an unqualified five-star game if it weren't for the stupid server bullshit. I don't understand why Blizzard did it this way. The first two games only required an Internet connection if you wanted to do multiplayer, so why force you to log onto a server in order to play single player?

Answer: the auction house (AH). There's a "real money" crossover which--I expect--Blizzard intends as a profit center; after all the AH always gets a cut of the business transacted through it. If single players have their characters stored locally, they can edit them or use trainers or whatever--and edit magic items, or at least use supertoons to get expensive items without working for them. The result would mean wrecking game balance and making the AH nonfunctional, because why would you buy a high-zoot item when you can just edit them yourself?

It's pretty annoying, but that's the answer. I have an intense dislike for this; what's wrong with making a kickass game and selling 40,000,000 copies at $60 apiece? Why does it have to have a continuous revenue stream?

I can only hope that--somewhere down the line, when Blizzard stops making money on the thing--they at least release a patch making it into a local game rather than having the thing just break.

So instead of being five stars out of five, it's closer to 3.5, maybe 4. Which is a pity, because D1 and D2 were both 5-star games.