June 4th, 2019


The last ep of Chernobyl capped off an excellent series exactly as it should have. They told the story--"this is what happened"--without any editorializing. This is what docudrama should be like.

When I say "they got all the science and engineering right" longtime readers of the Fungus will understand that there is no higher praise I can give a show. Legasov's explanation of the disaster at the trial was so clear that it made the whole thing understandable to anyone who paid attention to their science classes in grade school, without dumbing it down or skipping over things.

Highly, highly recommended.

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What the hell is wrong with these people? I'm guessing because they are big people in the government that they think the law doesn't apply to them, or something. Or maybe pedophilia really is a sexual orientation and they just can't help themselves? Honestly, I don't know what to say about this.

Karl Denninger does.
He was arrested Monday (6/3/2019.)

He was caught on January 17th 2018.

The same day he started "cooperating" with Mueller and ultimately testified before the Grand Jury.
The thing about totalitarian regimes is, the people in charge like it when someone in their midst has done something wrong. Someone who is 100% squeaky clean is suspicious, but if they know that he's giving the appearance of lily-whiteness but in fact has a dirty secret or two, that means he can be controlled.

I think that is what's behind a lot of these revelations. These people aren't paragons of virtue to begin with, but those in charge have kept their lapses in reserve, because that way they can be blackmailed into cooperating: "Vote for this bill, or the mistress and the love child become public knowledge."


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Pixy Misa is certainly no Macolyte. Pretty effective roast to point out that Windows hardware costs 20% of the equivalent Mac configuration.

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Remember that most of the violent crime is committed by something like 2% of the population.
Mom ran from the gunfire and collapsed on the baby by coincidence. You can see the boyfriend run out with the semi-auto and jump into a car to chase the shooters. A neighbor has to pickup the child abandoned in the street. It's sad and sickening at the same time.

Oh, and Mom's record includes nine arrests in the past twelve months alone--still haven't seen that one on the news.
So, drive-by shooting kills a woman who herself has been arrested multiple times in the last year. Her boyfriend goes after the shooters with a "semi-auto" (which, naturally, is legally obtained and of course he has a FOID card and everything *rolleyes*).

Tell me again how racist the system is.

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Venezuela is the world the left wants for us. We must not let them have it.

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"Communism Is Great As Long As You Are One of the Commissars".


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So when Googe was having problems on Sunday night, anything attached to their cloud was, too.
...the Google Cloud outage also affected third-party apps and services that use Google Cloud space for hosting. Affected third-party apps and services include Discord, Snapchat, and even Apple's iCloud services.

But an especially annoying side effect of Google Cloud's downtime was that Nest-branded smart home products for some users just failed to work. According to reports from Twitter, many people were unable to use their Nest thermostats, Nest smart locks, and Nest cameras during the downtime. This essentially meant that because of a cloud storage outage, people were prevented from getting inside their homes, using their AC, and monitoring their babies.
THIS is what I have always disliked--intensely--about "software as a service" and the subscription model. Any time your computer or device or whatever has to "phone home" to get permission to do what you bought it to do, this kind of failure is likely.

Jerry Pournelle came up with the "critical need detector" to explain what happens when you rely on a system that has a single point of failure: it fails, usually right when you need it the most.

There's never a "fail-safe" mode, mainly because if there is one, people won't need to pay for the service. So your internet-enabled gewgaw has to connect to someone's server and you need to pay them $5 a month for that, and if their service goes down (for whatever reason) the gewgaw doesn't work.

Now--imagine if you use Word every day and the authentication server goes down, that gives the program permission to run on your computer. Your subscription is paid up but the server's not working, so the thing pops up an error saying "Cannot authenticate, verify your internet connection" and you can't use the program. Imagine that instead of Word it's your town's 911 phone system.

I don't mind subscribing to WoW, because if WoW's servers are having a problem I'm not out anything but recreation time that I can spend any of a hundred other ways. But for something mission critical, the last thing I want is for an Internet problem on the other side of the country to keep me from doing what I need to do.

This fault has been an obvious show-stopper since I first heard of the concept.

The political angle had not occurred to me then. I was thinking only in terms of technical failures. But it is also true that if you pay someone (like, oh, Salesforce) for software-as-service, they can screw you and your business hard by denying you service for whatever reason they want.

Sure, go ahead and sue them. But in the meantime your business can't function. Do you have enough money to survive?

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Someone who didn't get the memo about grammar being racist.

It's part of a larger problem, though.

Understand this: every kid given a worthless diploma works in the left's favor. The purpose behind the socialized educational system is not education. It's in place to make "good citizens" out of people. Look up Dewey's advocacy of public education; it's not about teaching people to think so much as it is about teaching people to conform. It doesn't matter how smart or dumb you are, as long as you obey the rules set forth by your betters, and the brightest kids are typically the ones in need of the most correction because they obstinately insist on thinking for themselves.

But you go to work and dig that coal or file those documents, and get paid well, and pay your taxes and consume the way you're supposed to, and that's a "win" for the elite. The more you make, the better off they are, because you pay more taxes. And if you live in a big house and buy only new cars and spend money on expensive vacations you might feel like one of the elite, but unless you make a hell of a lot more than a couple million a year and have connections you are not one of them.

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Tiannenmen Square was thirty years ago today. What happened to those people is the true face of socialism. Leftism. Communism. Whatever you want to call it, 10,000 people ground to mush under tank treads is exactly the kind of thing it does.

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Solar variation caused by tidal stresses from Venus, Earth, and Jupiter. Interesting! Neat! But how does it hold up to known fluctuations in solar output?

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Our galaxy is actually a huge, bright galaxy, bigger than most in the universe. That's also really neat and interesting.

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Looks like it's time for me to bring out the Justice Clarence Thomas image again. Clarence Thomas says that rumors of his retirement have been greatly exaggerated.

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So, in the "Fungus thinks about fun things he'd like to do someday" department, I've been considering building a rat rod.

There's more than one way to do that, of course. The conventional rat rod is a hot-rod-style car which has a "patina" (ie not shined and polished and chromed, and hyper-expensive, and you can't drive it because it'll get dirty and you'll have to spend 40 hours cleaning it for the next show so it's always in its trailer...).

But I found out, via trips to YouTube, that you can get an older car that has a "patina" on it and put a whopping monster motor in it, and do other things, and have a fun car.

The example I think of is getting something like my Mom's old car, the one she had before her Beretta. It was a 1979 Malibu wagon with a 4.3 liter V8 in it. Now, that car went something like 170k before its transmission went. It had a little bit of rust on it--not nearly as much as you'd think--and was basically a decent car. I'd love to have as my starting point that car as I last saw it, bad 3rd gear and all, because the transmission in that car was dead simple and I probably could rebuild it in a weekend. Get it working again and drivable first.

Next step: get a 350 for it. You can buy a crate motor for GM products starting around $1,500 and going all the way to $YEECH!. The 289 V8 in Mom's wagon put out 125 horsepower at 3800 RPM and 215 Ft-Lbs of torque at 2400 RPM. Not stellar, but okay--enough to tow a sailboat--and it could get out of its own way. But a 350--

For $2k Jegs has a 350 that puts out 300 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. That would turn that Malibu wagon into a freaking rocket. I'd be putting a different transmission into it, too, because for damn sure whatever transmission came with that 4.3 V8 would not handle that kind of torque. I'm thinking a 4T60, the non-electronic version; that gives me overdrive for the highway--and that would also let me put a rear end in with a higher gear ratio, better for acceleration.

It's actually more than $2k for that engine, because it needs an intake manifold and a carb, and then you need to build an exhaust system starting with exhaust headers--but given the car, for about $5k all-in I'd have something fun to drive that would go fast, stop fast, look pretty nifty, and be 100% reliable in the bargain since all the drivetrain components would be either brand new, or rebuilt to like-new.

The hard part is getting a car that is intact, not a rustbucket, and a good candidate for this kind of operation. And not overpaying for it, either. You can do this with practically any model car you'd care to consider; I'm thinking of Mom's car just because I learned to drive in it and know what it looked like--and because this is a thought experiment more than any kind of plan.

Let's face it: any notion that begins with, "I need a car that I last saw thirty years ago," is idle fantasy.

But it sure is fun to think about!

What I will be, in fact, doing this summer is to work on Buttercup, the 1968 Mustang Mrs. Fungus bought in May of 2018. The first thing will be getting her started and running again; then tuning her up; and finally we'll be making the modifications we need to make so that Mrs. Fungus can drive it, too.

Which, mainly, is arranging for power brakes. That will be a bit spendy, and probably take an afternoon or three to accomplish.

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This is a very nice story. It is meant to make the American medical system look very bad, but it takes a few things out of context to manage it.

It's Iceland. Iceland is 99% white and Icelander; there are few minorities there. The population of Iceland is about 360,000 people. America has a thousand times that number. A typical major city in America has many times the population of Iceland living in them, and they're not racially or culturally homogeneous, either. A quick drive through an American city with the population of Iceland will expose you to a half dozen cultures.

Not all of those cultures play nice when it comes to things like free health care.

Besides the cultural aspect, though, there's another problem: the US government has snaked its tendrils deep into the medical system, so deep that any time you are dealing with your doctor he has a huge number of regulations and requirements he needs to follow. This didn't start with Obamacare; Obamacare was just the latest and biggest expansion of it.

Example? The nursing home industry is so hyper-regulated that only one industry is regulated more than it is: the nuclear power industry.

It started during WW2, when wages were capped. They had to be; all industries were starved for labor and competition for workers was so fierce that without wage caps, salaries would have skyrocketed. But "benefits" weren't capped. Companies offered all kinds of benefits to workers, over and above their wages; and that's when medical insurance started to be offered. And other things, like dental, life insurance, etcetera, etcetera. Once people no longer had to pay for their medical care, prices could go up without anyone complaining.

Add Johnson's "Great Society" to the mix--Medicare and Medicaid--and you only increase the price distortion. Now Medicare pays $X for a procedure, and the hospital bills $X+Y to patients with private insurance so it cam make a tidy profit. (And people without insurance get billed $X+Y+Z.) Further price distortions.

The supply of medical care is artificially limited by government; the price government will pay is limited; the price private insurance will pay is negotiated by the insurer and the hospital; and the price of providing care is then flung so far out of proportion to the cost of providing that care that we routinely see simple aspirin, $0.0001 per tablet at a grocery store, billed at $45 a dose from the hospital's drug dispensary.

And doctors do not have to post their prices, nor give estimates. Basically, a doctor can charge you whatever the market will bear. The medical industry is the only one in the US that can do that; if your mechanic or your landscaper or your plumber or-or-or tried to bill services the way a doctor does, he'd go to jail.

The health care system of the US is an enormous mess, but it's not because it's not socialized. The problem is there's too much regulation of it, and in the wrong places. What that woman experienced in Iceland is the result of a lack of hyperregulation that's designed to favor doctors, as well as a stark difference in culture.

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Today is Tuesday. The week progresses. Here's hoping tomorrow is a nice day.