October 22nd, 2014

#4427: Gosh, real physics in a Hollywood movie? Is that possible?

Insterstellar is a story built on a foundation of interstellar travel via wormhole, and the wormhole is generated by a black hole spinning near the speed of light.

...and they brought in an astrophysicist to help them simulate a black hole, so that it would look right on the screen. Rather than just throw up something that looked good.

Is hell freezing over?

Same vein: Mrs. Fungus and I finished watching the first season of Under the Dome last night, and I had to laugh at their constant use of the old "cock the gun menacingly" thing.

Guy's pointing pump-action shotgun at someone. He racks the pump to show he's serious. Then a little further on in the conversation he does it again and we don't hear a shell bouncing on the floor, indicating to me that the gun is empty. But of course after the conversation ends he then shoots someone else with the gun, demonstrating that it was loaded all along.

It would have been more interesting if the gun had been empty.

Here's the thing about this show: the writing is amazingly pedestrian, taking its cues from soap operas and overusing expositional tricks to make sure the audience is up to speed. Not a single episode went by where I didn't roll my eyes at the use of this or that hackneyed TV trope. But the story as a whole is entertaining, and the last few eps of the first season were very good even with the sophomoric writing.

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Yet another anti-gun Democrat arrested while carrying a pistol. She wasn't arrested for carrying the pistol, at least, which puts her ahead of other anti-gun Democrats who have been arrested for illegal possession of a firearm.

But of course she is an Important Person Who NEEDS A Gun For Personal Protection. You proles out there, you're not responsible enough to own firearms, which is why there have to be laws protecting you from yourself.

Yes she is a hypocrite. No I am not surprised one whit.

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This kind of thing is why I never expect to sell any of my books to traditional publishers. Cuomo got an advance of three quarters of a million dollars for his autobiography...which proceeded to sell exactly 945 copies in its first week on the shelves.

Now, someone had to think--somewhere along the line--that Cuomo's not really a national personality and the memoirs of state politicians that are not currently running for national office aren't good candidates for huge advances. Didn't they?

My biggest failing in this kind of situation is assuming that most people are rational and have some understanding of their own parochialism. That's a failing because lots of people don't second guess themselves ever and this disease is particularly virulent among the coastal progressive elite, who fancy themselves the smartest people in history, so of course Andrew Cuomo's memoirs are going to sell a lot of books because he's a coastal progressive elite and who doesn't want to read about him?

The fact that people in the midwest aren't going to give a rat's ass about Cuomo does not figure. "Those hicks in flyover country don't know anything. Why, most of them don't even graduate high school." Yeah.

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Still think we live in a country of laws? Short form: some guys got arrested for selling cocaine. The jury said they were not guilty of criminal conspiracy or anything, and were guilty only of selling cocaine. Judge, at sentencing, decided unilaterally that they were guilty of conspiracy, and sentenced them accordingly.

Uh, no.

And to add further to my stunning surprise, the Supreme Court voted not to hear an appeal of this verdict, because if they had, they would have had to reverse the decision, thus placing a limit on the power of judges across the land, and (by extension) reducing their own power.

This case, by the way, further convinces me that the "war on some drugs" needs to end.

* * *

Karl Denninger again talks about how much government interference in the medical industry costs us.

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There's still no inflation!

Denninger dedicates one sentence to deflation, talking about computers and TVs. I noticed the other day that a 55" TV can now be had for around $550, where they were over $800 four years ago--and the dollars are worth less now than they were in 2010.

Sure, my current computer cost a lot more in dollars than my C-64 did in 1983, but the dollars in 2014 are worth much less than 1983 dollars were, and this computer is faster than a Cray X-MP--the fastest computer available in 1983. That is deflation.

In 1983 you could not buy a 55" LCD television, not for any amount of money. If you wanted a big screen you bought a projection TV, and paid out the wazoo for it, thousands of dollars.

Have you noticed that the price of a bottle of shampoo has not changed much? I'm now paying $1.50 for the same bottle of shampoo that once cost $1, but that price has risen over most of a decade. Soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, after shave lotion, hair spray--my personal care budget has not changed materially; all these products are things that are made on assembly lines with as little human intervention as possible, and their prices have exhibited a fair amount of stability.

Unlike butter, for example, which has doubled in price in the past year.

Food is experiencing immense inflation even as everything else is deflating. And as someone pointed out, you can't eat computers and flatscreen TVs, no matter how much shampoo and toothpaste you put on them.

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The title of that Natalie Dee comic is, "come on don't worry about what's in the can just help me out".