February 15th, 2016

#5082: A lovely Valentine's Day

Well, as lovely as it can be when you have to go to work, and drive to work in snow, and then drive home in snow and freezing drizzle which makes it impossible to keep your windshield clear without copious amounts of washer fluid and running the defroster on full blast all the way home.


...as is typical for us we exchanged gifts as soon as the day arrived. I'd actually gotten her flowers the night before, but I gave her her card and the box of Fannie May chocolate-covered cherries she'd wanted; and dinner tonight was the rest of her gift (t-bone steaks, baked potatoes, salad, asparagus) per her request.

She gave me a card and a copy of The Martian, the book--which I'm going to really enjoy reading. Also, some Dove chocolates in a heart-shaped tin, into which I can put things like four-leaf clovers and old screws, but not golf tees. (There are rules.)

Then we watched The Babadook, which scared Mrs. Fungus and made me slightly apprehensive. (Note to self: ear plugs.)

We always seem to have a good time together.

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Fusion is RSN but perhaps it's a little more "real soon now" than it has been for the past FORTY FRICKIN' YEARS. It seems that the shortcomings of the Tokamak design have ended up holding back the progress of fusion power, and now that there is another plasma toroid design it seems we might start to get somewhere. We'll see.

It sure would be nice if we could get, as soon as possible, the "half a megawatt in the back of a truck" fusion reactor design that Lockheed was talking about a year or two ago. Once you have fusion power, the sky is the limit. It's clean, it's cheap, it's even safer than fission power is (and fission is considerably less dangerous than coal or oil for generating electricity!) and you don't have any pesky radioactive waste for idiot governments to boondoggle.

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"I hereby offer unto you THE WHAMMY, which, as you know, is unbeatable." I've had that line from this Basic Instructions strip stuck in my head for days. I love that strip.

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Well, I have to go to bed soon. It's been a rather long day and I'm tired; and I have one more before it's my weekend again. Whee!

#5083: Home early, and not a moment too soon

The instant I woke up this morning I knew I had just made a terrible, terrible mistake.

Even so I naturally got up and took a shower and went to work; and I did my job so well that I got three positive surveys in a single day for the first time in quite a while. (One or two is typical for me, but with today's three, that makes a total of five good surveys in two days. Go, me!)

That's when you know you're good at your job: you can go to work and fake it so convincingly that you do a better job than you usually do. Well, it doesn't hurt that I've been listening to my supervisors' feedback and working to incorporate their suggestions into my operations--which is also part of my job!--and have finally managed to integrate it all so that I have both a good open and a good close on my call. At this point the open is nearly automatic, a Pavlovian conditioned reflex to the "beep, beep" of the phone when a call comes in, so the close was what really needed fine-tuning. With three positives in one day, I'm getting there.

Anyway: between calls I looked like a complete f-ing zombie, and my boss asked me if he should call someone. Lunch made me feel a bit better but all along I was hoping that Workforce would either cut people or ask for volunteers; tonight it was "volunteers" and I wasted no time doing so. Left just before 8 PM and was home 45 minutes later.

I have a feeling that I, once this post is done, am going to go collapse. I feel cruddy.

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Limbaugh said it best: Words mean things. Quoth Vox Day:
I asked a scientist how many peer reviews he had done. Between 10 and 30 was the answer. Fair enough. Then I asked him how many experiments he had replicated as part of those SCIENTIFIC PEER REVIEWS.

None. Or to put in scientific mathematical terms, zero. Also known as "the null set".

And what did he actually do in scientifically peer-reviewing these papers? Well, he read them and occasionally made some suggestions for improving them.
This process is otherwise known as proofreading or editing.

If fifty people proofread a study that claims the Earth is flat, and double-check the spelling, and make suggestions on how to improve the study, the Earth is still round and the study is still wrong. (Even if the original writer takes all their suggestions.) "Peer review" doesn't magically make a scientific paper correct.

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A robot with weapons and no human oversight! As Steven Den Beste asks, "What could go wrong?"

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Borepatch has top 5 and bottom 5 lists of Presidents. I agree with his selections, and why.

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I laughed out loud at today's XKCD:

Of course "0.173 radians" makes no sense as a measure of temperature, but that's what makes it funny.