March 5th, 2019

#6565: How about calling them "tourists"? Would that be too much of a stretch?

"Soon, hundreds of tourists will go to space. What should we call them?" Arse Technica's headline asks the question; my post title gives the (F-ING OBVIOUS) answer.

Okay? Passengers riding in commercial spacecraft are passengers; people going to orbit just to go there are tourists. The English language has perfectly acceptable words for these concepts; I realize this is a radical idea but let's just use those.

One of the things that impressed me about Dragon 2 was that it had navigation lights on it: red for port and green for starboard, at the bow. And $5 says there was a white one on the stern of the thing, too.

Just like any boat or ship.

You may have noticed that aircraft are the same way, with red and green lights on the left and right wingtips respectively. Many aviation conventions come from the maritime conventions; and astronautical conventions naturally come from aviation. No one had any trouble with using all those words and concepts in differing contexts, so why do we need to suddenly invent new words when it comes to space?

We don't.

"But the FAA will only recognize 'crew,' not passengers," says the article. Maybe--here's another radical idea!--it's time for the FAA to catch up with the 21st century and realize that we will soon have spacecraft in commercial service. And commercial spacecraft will be carrying passengers, some of whom will be tourists.

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Rent control limits what you can charge for rental property, but it does have the advantage of making owned property a lot more valuable. Take a look at San Francisco, which has rent control--property values are sky-high out there. Of course, in order for that to be the case, people actually have to want to live there, which is dubious considering what a socialist shithole Illinois is.

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Well, that's...something. Googe did a study into the whole "equal pay for equal work" thing and discovered that...well...Googe pays women more than it pays men for the same jobs.

Hurm. Well. Uh...good? I guess, if you're into that whole "social justice" thing? But feminists aren't going to be able to make very much hay out of that, are they?

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The truth is that black Americans have never stood as tall as when you marched in the non-violent campaign of civil rights back in the 1960s.

Actually, I am not sure that any Americans have stood as tall as black Americans did in the civil rights era.

The fact is that the Civil Rights Acts went about as far as politics and legislation can go for any marginalized and oppressed group. Ever since, we have been arguing about girl stuff like "I can't believe she said that." We have been arguing about trifles.

And if the main objective on civil rights was reached in the '60s by making racial discrimination illegal, then why has the use of "racism," per Google Ngram, shot into the stratosphere after the civil rights era?
Because people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get big paydays from it, that's why. And because that way black people will consistently and faithfully vote for Democrats.

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She's been a Representative for 43 days and already she's got a major scandal on her hands:
* Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a top aide appear to control an outside PAC credited with being the central force behind her June 2018 primary victory.
* One former Federal Election Commission member thinks there would be a "serious investigation" if a complaint were filed, noting that the probe could potentially result in civil penalties or even jail time for Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff.
* A second former commissioner said there were possibly "multiple violations of federal campaign finance law."
But of course she is a Democrat and so nothing will happen. Campaign finance laws are for Republicans, after all.

* * *

So, that old global warming--

No days above 70° in Los Angeles in February. They even had a bit of snow. The coldest February on record for Los Angeles, going back 132 years.

Now this is closer to science than the usual stuff from climatologists: "There is warming, but we don't really understand its causes. The human factor and carbon dioxide, in particular, contribute to warming, but how much is the subject of intense scientific debate." Saying "we don't really understand its causes" is a direct contradiction to "the science is settled!" because while she's still insisting that warming is taking place, she's not saying it's all due to human activity.

But then you notice that this woman is a former climatologist, and not an active one, and it all begins to make sense.

"Renewable energy" fails the common sense test.
In order to build one of the biggest solar farms in California the developers hired biologists to pull threatened desert tortoises from their burrows, put them on the back of pickup trucks, transport them, and cage them in pens where many ended up dying.

And, by the way, THIS!
Germany’s carbon emissions have been flat since 2009, despite an investment of $580 billion by 2025 in a renewables-heavy electrical grid, a 50 percent rise in electricity cost.

Meanwhile, France produces one-tenth the carbon emissions per unit of electricity as Germany and pays little more than half for its electricity. How? Through nuclear power.

Then, under pressure from Germany, France spent $33 billion on renewables, over the last decade. What was the result? A rise in the carbon intensity of its electricity supply, and higher electricity prices, too.
If you are all about reducing human carbon emissions, nuclear power is the A-number-one best way to do that. Full stop.

* * *

Oh, and by the way, A MILLION TIMES THIS:
It’s reasonable to ask whether nuclear power is safe, and what happens with its waste.

It turns out that scientists have studied the health and safety of different energy sources since the 1960s. Every major study, including a recent one by the British medical journal Lancet, finds the same thing: nuclear is the safest way to make reliable electricity.

Strange as it sounds, nuclear power plants are so safe for the same reason nuclear weapons are so dangerous. The uranium used as fuel in power plants and as material for bombs can create one million times more heat per its mass than its fossil fuel and gunpowder equivalents.

It’s not so much about the fuel as the process. We release more energy breaking atoms than breaking chemical bonds. What’s special about uranium atoms is that they are easy to split.

Because nuclear plants produce heat without fire, they emit no air pollution in the form of smoke. By contrast, the smoke from burning fossil fuels and biomass results in the premature deaths of seven million people per year, according to the World Health Organization.
Even if you add up all the fatalities from nuclear power accidents ever, and you include the people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you still don't reach any "seven million", not even once.

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I've got to look into this. If it's not too late.

* * *

It was "ARPANET" in those days, not the Internet. Al Gore invented the Internet, after all; don't you remember the 2000 campaign season? "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

If Dan Quayle had said that, the entire American left would still be laughing at the fatuousness of the statement; and so in that spirit I gamely say, "Al Gore claims he invented the Internet." I suppose I could say "created" and be more accurate, but let's face it: serving lefties their own horseshit is too much fun.

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People who take medicine don't necessarily become junkies. The assumption is that people who are prescribed Oxycontin end up addicted to it, and that's where the "opiate crisis" comes from. But that's not so.

While I don't doubt there are people who do end up addicted to prescription painkillers because their doc overmedicated them, that's not where the bulk of addicts come from. Greg House, MD, aside, addicts come from people who start out wanting the recreational side effects.

People who say, "Yeah, I've heard oxy really gives you a wicked buzz!" and then set out to score some oxy are the ones who end up addicted. "Saturday and Sunday I had six of 'em and I was toasted all weekend, man! I need more of that!"

Most people who are trying to get relief from pain aren't trying to spend their days in a narcotic haze; they're just trying to get on with their lives without agonizing pain. They're going to take the pills in the prescribed doses at the correct times so they're able to go to work or play with their kids or do whatever it is they're trying to do, but can't.

And you can't ban the damned pills because of the assholes who just want to get high. I mean, you certainly can, but as Prohibition demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt, people who want to get intoxicated will go to great lengths to get intoxicated, regardless of whether or not their intoxicant of choice is legal. All you do is to keep the stuff out of the hands of the law-abiding.

* * *

Been watching Shimoneta and Fruits Basket on Hulu. The latter is reasonably entertaining.

The former is way more entertaining that it has any right to be. In a dystopian future where saying dirty words is punishable with jail time, and having any risque material is too, the dirty joke terrorist Blue Snow stands against the Decency Squad and fights for the right to say "pussy" and "dick"!

Seeing part of one ep my wife asked, "Is this porn?" And the answer is "no"; this show could be aired on American broadcast television without any modification whatsoever. All the rude words are bleeped out, all naughty bits obscured in obvious fashion, all obscene gestures screened out. All that's left is allusion, metaphor, and innuendo.

The whole thing is a major-league sendup of SJW/NPC-ism. Of course I'm enjoying it.

* * *

So, one of the pizza places near here--one of the three that will deliver to the bunker--did something and now their pizzas are F-ING DELICIOUS, to the point that I want to eat a lot more of it than I can. Just ate about a quarter of a medium, want to eat more--but if I do, I will regret it, and so I must exercise will power until my hunger reflex catches up.

The closest pizza place to the bunker is overpriced and doesn't taste very good. The second closest is this place, and their pizza is what I remember pizzeria pizza tasting like when I was younger. It's the platonic ideal of pizza. And the third closest is a Dominoes; enough said.

Maybe one more piece.