May 25th, 2016

#5211: It's all they have.

The heckler's veto is the antithesis of free speech. College kids think that they're winning some kind of victory by shouting down speech with which they disagree. I suppose, in the short term, they are, but what kind of victory is it?

They have to do this kind of thing because they're not able to argue the merits of their positions. They have no confidence in the correctness of their opinions; if they did, they wouldn't need to shout down opposing viewpoints. All they have is BECAUSE YOU RACIST HATER BIGOT HOMOPHOBE and the only way they can debate is to shout that same mantra over and over again, as loud as possible.

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Who is going to pay for this? Switzerland is going to vote on whether or not to provide a "basic income" to all citizens, regardless of circumstance, of $2,500 per month.

Prediction: it will pass.

The problem here is that the money being given away by government has to come from somewhere. In a world without fiat currency, this kind of thing is impossible; there isn't enough specie (copper, silver, gold, platinum) to cover that kind of outlay without robbing the people blind first. If the government actually had to take physical money away from people to do this, it would be defeated soundly and the people who proposed it would be lynched. But in a world where you can press a mouse button three times and instantly create money, the outcome is entirely different. Instead of tax men taking money from people, the government merely changes a few bits in computers, and presto! You get $2,500 in your checking account!

And because there are now 2,500 extra dollars in the economy which did not exist a few seconds ago--$2,500 which was not created through labor or manufacturing or some other value-added process--the buying power of all the dollars in the economy has been diluted. We call this phenomenon "inflation".

Multiply this by the population of Switzerland.

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Borepatch on backups. Which, at least, prompted me to do a backup of my own critical data. I really need to be better about this, myself.

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A former Democrat voter explains why he can't support the party any longer.

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Yes, legalizing pot will mean it will become banal. You think that if you legalize an intoxicant it's still going to remain edgy and mysterious? Hell no. You're going to have housewives smoking blunts and smoking rooms will return to upper-class parties. It's going to be a product, marketed and sold, to make money.

And yes, white men in suits seem to do the best job of that. Much better than grubby dreadlocked white hippies.

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Any idiot can make a large thing powerful. It's only a grand, fully loaded, and doesn't have the graphics performance of a desktop, but if you like tiny machines with a lot of computing horsepower and don't need big graphics, this may be the computer for you.

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Twigs is doing fine. Within a couple of hours of his return home yesterday he was acting as if nothing had happened. He's running around and jumping and doing all the things the vet instructions told us not to let him do, but how do you make a cat do anything? "Never try to outstubborn a cat," Heinlein said, and he was right.

Myself, I figure that if anything were paining him, Twigs wouldn't be scampering around like a kitten. He's between six months and a year old (more likely six months) and he wants to play, play, play. While I was working on this post he pestered me, so I picked him up and had to give him cuddles for a while; then he curled up on my desk and had a brief nap. Now, apparently recharged, he's wandering around the computer room and meowing again.

Yesterday was a long day. We got up at 6:30 AM to get him to the vet by 7; we had breakfast and went back to bed until 3. Mrs. Fungus had the on-call phone again, so we were up until 3 AM, at which point we tried to go to bed--but there were several calls in the night which kept us from getting much sleep.

Still--it was a gorgeous day, so I unwrapped the grill, cleaned it, and grilled sausages (brats for me, polish for her) and ended up turning the AC on last night. It was beastly hot in the computer room without the AC on; the air outside was pleasantly cool but I just couldn't get enough of that outside air into the bunker to cool it off.

But Mrs. Fungus wanted me to make her banana bread, and the last time I went to the store I bought some bananas; they'd finally become ripe enough (they need to be overripe and mushy) to use, so I found a recipe on-line and went to the cupboard for the ingredients--holy crap, why don't we have flour?

...we had enough to make a half-batch. And as it turned out, I'd bought enough bananas to make a half-batch. And half a batch made a respectable amount, yielding a modest loaf of banana-walnut bread. Tastes good, though, and it's simple--flour, butter, brown sugar, eggs, bananas, baking soda.

Gonna have to get flour, though. Can't be without flour.

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"I couldn't help myself" department:

Some time ago I made a WoW character named "Weaksauce" as an experiment. I made one of the weakest character builds there is (shadow priest) and determined that he was not going to get geared; he'd spend as long as I could manage with only greys or whites. No greens or better.

These colors refer to the quality of gear: grey and white are non-magical, low-quality gear. Greens give some ability boosts. From there, the power/quality of gear goes up approximately thus: blue < purple < orange.

So grey < white < green < blue < purple < orange.

Weaksauce only uses greys and whites. There's level-appropriate grey and white gear all over the place, of course, so I'm not stuck with starting gear, and I wanted to see how far you could take a character before the lack of quality gear begins to make him ineffective; so far the only thing that's happened is that he's just not as powerful as a geared character of the same level. That is to say, level-appropriate challenges are a bit more challenging but not impossible, and this is exactly as it should be. (And for added hilarity I have him occasionally say stupid crap. "Hillary is the best choice for President," for example. Or, "I'm a male feminist.")

Weaksauce is an enchanter/tailor, so whenever I get magical items I disenchant them for enchanting materials. But yesterday while Weaksauce was running around hunting raptors in Stranglethorn Vale, a green dropped: "First Mate Hat", which is a pirate hat. It's a rare drop, something you don't see every day, and I really, really wanted him to wear it.

But it's a green.

Well, I looked over the stat boost it gives, and I thought about it, and decided that the stat boost (an extra 100 hit points) doesn't really make all that much difference, so I decided that this hat was so cool that it warranted an exception to the rule. And so now Weaksauce wears a pirate hat.

It's the only green gear he's got, and it's the only piece he's going to get. Unless something else equally cool comes along.

...there is, by the way, no prohibition on enchanting the gear he's able to use, but enchanting doesn't give the kind of bonuses you get from green or better gear, and it can only modify one stat at any one time, so it's not that big of a deal.

And the pirate hat looks awesome.

#5212: I forgot about Claws

At the vet's, they frequently have rescued animals around the place. They currently have this older male cat named Claws, who was a barn cat but now has a stomach issue that requires him to have special food. Besides Claws, on the actual reception counter itself they had two kittens, each approximately a handful, each rescued from dire circumstances.

Both now being raised by Claws.

The tech was telling us that Claws' job is to socialize kittens, to teach them how to act around other cats. As we watched, one kitten attacked Claws' tail a bit too vigorously; Claws reacted by batting at the kitten's head and hissing, and then leaning in and sniffing the kitten's head, just like a mother cat would.

Meanwhile, in the Fungus household, Twigs continues to integrate. After one day of hissing and growling (Saturday, plus a little on Sunday) the cats have become much friendlier with Twigs; and now they're acting more or less like old friends. I knew things were going to be just fine when Mrs. Fungus found Twigs and Bosco sleeping on the bed in the spare room, perhaps three feet apart.

Sunday night, Mrs. Fungus was holding Twigs, and she held him so he could smell noses with Critter. Both cats sniffed at each other, and then after a few moments Critter said, "Meh!" Not a hiss, just a comment.

So, Monday night, we were supposed to withhold food from Twigs because of his impending operation. We wanted the other two cats not to be hungry all night, so first we tried putting Twigs in the computer room with me while Mrs. Fungus fed the other two a can of Fancy Feast, a rare treat.

The cats ignored the food and sat outside the computer room door.

So we tried again, thinking that it was because daddy was in the room with Twigs. We put Twigs in the bathroom by himself.

The cats ignored the food and sat outside the bathroom door.

I have never seen these cats--especially Critter!--walk away from Fancy Feast. Usually they're all over it until the plate is licked clean. But they wouldn't even touch it; Mrs. Fungus ended up throwing it away.

Clearly, at that point Twigs was already one of the boys. So we're not really worried about integration any longer.