August 4th, 2017

#5775: Damn that global warming!

Today is August 4, and the temperature outside is a blistering 59.4° Fahrenheit. Dew point is 50°.

Projected high: 60°.

Lucky break for me, though; I need to get into the attic again today, and with it being 60 and cloudy I don't expect it to be too hot up there. It'll still be hot, but not as hot as it is on a sunny day when it's over 80 degrees outside. Hopefully just, "Dang, it's hot up here!" rather than being burst-immediately-into-drenching-sweat-because-holy-SHIT-is-it-HOT!

We'll see. Much to do today.

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Countersuit by Cook County against retailers who fought against soda tax. That's right; Cook County now aims to punish the uppity proles who dared to stand up to them.


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Pretty sure that pilot's not going to be one much longer. If you almost land a jumbo jet full of passengers on top of four other jumbo jets full of passengers, the FAA isn't going to let you skate like Hillary Clinton. A fiver says they pull his license.

Plus side: that pilot is alive and able to find other work, as are all the other people who were endangered by his error.

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Do you know what makes for cost overruns when you're trying to build a nuclear power plant? Two things: environmentalist whacko lawsuits, and NRC compliance.

If there's anything the eco-luddites hate more than anything else in the universe, it's nuclear power. Nuclear power is cheap, clean, convenient, and safe; and besides that it's the densest energy source we've ever found. One railroad car's worth of 3% enriched uranium is worth hundreds--thousands--of carloads of coal. And unlike the coal, once it's been used a while that uranium can be reprocessed to remove the handful of contaminants that spoil the reaction, and then it can be reused, replacing yet more thousands of carloads of coal.

If you honestly think that human carbon emissions are causing climate change (hint: they're not) then you ought to be 100% behind nuclear, because it is the only zero-emissions energy source we have that is dense and comes with an off switch. Solar and wind power don't even come close.

But the other bugaboo is the NRC. The nuclear regulatory code in the US is a byzantine labyrinth of contradictions, such that anyone who wishes to build a nuclear power plant has to spend an inordinate amount of time getting waivers for rules which contradict other rules. It's like the lawyers writing regulations for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission forget the word "supersede" when they're hired, or something, so that when a regulation replaces another regulation, the original one is not superseded by the new one. So Requirement A must be met, but at the same time you must meet Requirement B, which is wholly contradictory to Requirement A. The only way to solve this problem is to get a waiver for Requirement A.

All this does is hinder the construction of nuclear power plants, but because the NRC is not in the business of building power plants that's just fine. The NRC's business is employing NRC bureaucrats, and (over)regulating the construction of nuclear plants is their bailiwick, the thing they do to justify the employment of their bureaucrats. More waivers means more bureaucrats are needed. Gotta justify that budget.

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You know, I really enjoyed Star Trek: The Next Generation, but this guy ain't wrong. I especially loved the jab at Star Trek: Voyager, which deserves all the scorn; after demolishing all the main cast of the ST:TNG, he adds, "This was, mind you, the finest crew in Starfleet, which leads me to deduce the other ships were full of window-licking retards like Janeway."

ST:V was god-awful, though it took me a while to figure that out. I stopped watching when 7 of 9 was introduced; Jeri Ryan's acting consisted of speaking at the bottom of her register and having large mammary glands. The character was dead boring and the tits weren't enough to save it.

The rest of the cast?

Janeway was a shrew. Worse, for all that she was supposed to be a "strong woman" she appeared frail.

Tuvok, the black Vulcan, was probably the worst depiction of a Vulcan ever.

Mr. Parris, the guy Janeway had released from prison because he's such a good pilot. From what I've seen, Federation starships have three modes of operation: stop, go, and go very fast. Turning is almost always considered an option of last resort. What skill is required to press touch-sensitive tiles on a console? Has piloting skill ever been necessary in any episode of Star Trek, in any of its iterations?

I recall that the one time piloting skill was required in TNG, Picard took over the controls of the Enterprise instead of leaving it to Data, who literally has superhuman reflexes.

Chakotay, the first American indian in Starfleet! (Not really, but the first we've seen.) A captain in the Maquis (a revolutionary group) he ends up being Janeway's XO. Has a Maori-like tattoo on his face; not sure what tribe he was supposed to have come from. But regardless of his renegade past, Chakotay acts like a virtual twin of William Riker, XO of the Enterprise, less the beard.

Neelix, the most annoying hedgehog-man in existence. Appointed "morale officer", he tries various hare-brained things to make everyone happy. Made the cheese. Should have been spaced afterwards. (More on that in a moment.)

Harry Kim, master of the deflector dish! Seems like this guy was always finding new ways to use the deflector dish to help the writers "tech tech tech" their way out of whatever corner they'd written themselves into. "We were starving, but thanks to Harry Kim's idea to cross-connect the replicator to the deflector dish, we were able to turn the asteroid that was going to destroy the ship into something resembling hot dog casserole! We have food for months!"

Kes, the five-year-old who Neelix was banging. Kes comes from a supremely unlikely humanoid species who look almost 100% like humans but age ten times faster. They reach sexual maturity at age 3 and die around age 9. Kes, more than halfway through her lifespan, looks like a 22-year-old blonde woman, because she was supposed to be "the hot girl" that drew in the fanboys. The character was spectacularly useless. She ended up being trained to help the holo-doctor, which is fantastic when your one chief medical officer is dead and you expect it to take seventy years to get home. Sure, pick the person who's going to die of old age in four years to be your doctor!

Half-klingon bitch--I can't remember her name now--who was supposed to be a girl Worf. She had all the liabilities of being a Klingon with none of the benefits, and the makeup made her face look lopsided. Or maybe it was that way. All I remember of this character was that she had a bad temper and got her ass kicked with startling regularity. She was the ship's chief engineer, but considering how much Harry Kim had to do, she wasn't a very good one.

The holo-doctor--in the catastrophe that catapulted Voyager across the galaxy, the ship's only doctor gets killed. But that's okay, because this state-of-the-art ship has a holographic doctor as an emergency backup! Intended only for emergencies, the doctor had a bunch of angsty scenes where he pondered the nature of his existence and wished he could leave sickbay and have a name and-and-and. I'm told that at the end of the series, he'd finally decided on a name: Bob. Bob the holo-doctor, no surname.

Am I forgetting anyone? Oh, Voyager, the ship itself. The ship was the latest in technology, containing some kind of bio-mechanical system which had this or that benefit. Voyager was the pinnacle of Federation technology, absolutely first-rate in all ways.

Until Neelix made the cheese.

The alien cheese culture somehow got into the bio-mechanical thingy that made Voyager such a tour de force, and caused the whole bleeding ship to malfunction. Because the ship's doctor was a hologram, they couldn't get help from him in combatting the infection, and finally Janeway had the big idea to turn up the thermostat so the heat would kill the infection. Because people get fevers when they're sick, see? The day was saved, and no one liked the cheese, so Neelix reluctantly got rid of it.

But it doesn't change the fact that the most advanced ship in the Federation was nearly destroyed by cheese.

The big villains in ST:V were the Kazon (at least until the Borg showed up) and holy shit were they lousy villains. The Kazon don't have replicator technology, but they have warp drive, so naturally their hegemony includes a planet where water is incredibly scarce. "We have warp drive so we could cruise on out to this system's Oort Cloud and get water by the ton, but we'd rather have it be vanishingly scarce because reasons...." Guess they didn't want to damage the fragile Oort Cloud ecosystem.

Overall the entire series was terrible. I stopped watching it after 7 of 9 came aboard, but not because of her, at least not solely. I just lost interest because it was the same old thing over and over and over again, none of the characters was likable, and the gee-whiz gimcrackery of the week was unimpressive at best.

Here are some pictures. Bleah.

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Anyway, lots to do today, and it's already this late. *sigh*

#5776: That's good

Well, got about 40% of the stuff down from the south end of the attic today. Dumpster is now 75% full and I have one more good push to get the attic emptied out.

I was greatly aided by the 60° weather we had today. The attic was warm, but "warm" means about 80°, and because of the way the wind was blowing I occasionally got a cool breeze up through the hatch.

Same as over the garage, there's a perilously huge amount of crap up there.

The bulk of the remainder falls into two categories: books and other stuff. Most of what's up there is books, and because of the storage conditions most of them are not worth keeping. I will keep the very old, or the otherwise interesting, or the ones in good condition; but otherwise, they're just being ejected. Screw it.

"Other stuff" consists of things put up there when my wife moved into the bunker. Her stuff will come down and go into the spare bedroom, which is where we're keeping our stuff. Things that were in my mother's room prior to Dec 2012 are being re-sorted and this time I'm throwing away the trash.

I also found, and consolidated, all of the slot car track. My brother received a huge pile of Aurora slot car stuff in the late 70s. I'm not sure where it came from, but he lost interest in it after a while. When I got my Matchbox slot car set in the early 1980s, somehow another pile of track came over here from a friend's house. And further, when I started monkeying with my brother's old Aurora stuff, another friend brought his crapton of ATX stuff over and left it. So I've now got the Aurora and ATX and Matchbox track all piled in one place with about four hundred controllers. I have a small handful of mostly-complete cars, and somewhere there's a box of car parts. Maybe someday I'll do something with it; maybe someday I'll just donate it to someone. We'll see.

Oh--and a single oval of slotless track. Late 1970s, ATX had a series of cars which used special track with no slots, and the cars had a rudimentary steering system that let the driver select the left or right lane of the track. There was a third car (the "jam car") which continually circled the track at a set speed and which presented a kind of moving obstacle.

The cars are long gone. I saw one controller for it. No idea where the power supply is, either.

In all probability I'd have to clean the track with hydrochloric acid to get thirty years' worth of corrosion off the rails if I wanted actually to use it. And overhaul the cars so they'd run reliably. But WTF, it doesn't take up much room.

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But at least we're making progress on this nonsense.