August 4th, 2019

#6787: I bet that's an absolute scream

A female comedian whose jokes are all feminist complaints about how men act. Oh, but she has a sex robot that looks like her on stage with her. So there's that!


HARD pass.

* * *

Hubris invites Nemesis. They're so certain that man-made warming is taking place they are playing with triggering an ice age. But if that happens, it won't be the "Harvard scientists</i> and it sure as hell won't be Bill Gates that suffers for it.

On the plus side, it takes a lot of high-altitude particulates to do it. The article cites the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 that caused a 0.5°C drop in the global temperature anomaly. (The article says "one degree" but they must be talking Fahrenheit because the figure has been 0.5° for years. Or perhaps they are being generous and rounding up.) That decrease took mere twenty million tons of fine particulates.

Okay! So let's go with that. Now, the Airbus 380 can carry about 320 tons of cargo. We'll buy a hundred of them and fit them out for dispersing fine particulates. Figure that the equipment needed to carry the stuff and disperse it weighs twenty tons for round numbers; that's 300 tons of particulates per flight. Then we need to send each plane aloft 667 times, all over the world, to meet the particulate level emitted by one volcanic eruption.

If you seriously think that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming, this is an exercise in futility, because the amount of fuel you burn to dump those particles in the high atmosphere--

But the warmistas have a different objection:
Naturally, the experiment is concerning to many people, including environmental groups, who, according to Nature, say such efforts are a dangerous distraction from addressing the only permanent solution to climate change: reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Since the point of the whole global warming thing is complete control of the populace it is only natural that they object to anything else that could possibly mitigate it. The global warming crowd don't seriously believe what they say to us, because all their top people live the high life and don't worry about their own carbon emissions, but it is a lever that they can use to give control of the world over to the leftists. For our own good, of course.

* * *

Bad grammar. In the first place, why is it necessary to anonymize this? It doesn't matter if E is male or female, nor (theoretically) does it matter if his "partner" is male or female. Certainly, given modern sensibilities, we are not allowed to be critical of E's "lifestyle choice".

I have a feeling that either the newspaper or the writer of the column is who is doing this, politically correcting the writer's letter to make it "gender neutral" on the theory that this is somehow the right way to do things. The fact that it mangles the language and makes it more difficult to understand what is happening is, apparently, secondary. Or tertiary.

In fact it does make a difference, whether E is male or female, whether his "partner" is male or female. Men and women want different things, react differently to situations--and those reactions are even different whether they are hetero- or homosexual.

I've had a strong dislike for the use of "they" instead of "he" for a very long time. English is a language which is devoid of gendered nouns, and the usage of "he" in the generic case is not due to sexism. "English is three languages in a trench coat pretending to be a single language," and it does not demean anyone--nor does it "assume their gender"--by using "he" instead of "xe" or what-the-fuck-ever.

If your self-image is so fragile that correct grammar is bad for it, you need therapy.

* * *

That's an average of two bankruptcies each. That's kind of impressive, in a way. Seven people, fourteen bankruptcies--though two of them is skewing the figures a bit, having declared bankruptcy some five times and four times, respectively. That's not as bad overall, but two people with nine freaking bankruptcies--what the fuck.

* * *

If you have any sympathy for the Palestinian cause, you are a fool. Whenever I see pictures of morons at leftist rallies wearing kaffiyehs, I think, "There is another person self-identifying as an idiot." Especially when it's a woman.
Hamas has ruled Gaza unimpeded for nearly fifteen years, and, lo and behold, the strip of land has become a hellhole. Hamas cares only for one thing: to destroy the state of Israel. In the process, it wants to kill as many Jews as possible.

One thing it does not care about: having a functioning economy where people can make a living. By continuing the war against Israel, Hamas has cut itself off from trade with other nations. Thus, it is destroying the economy. And producing misery for its inhabitants.
Hamas is a communist front; of course they don't give a fuck about the citizens of the country. Even if Hamas got their way, those people wouldn't see any improvement in their standard of living.

* * *

So, Tulsi Gabbard versus Kamala Harris:

Arrest reports which were formerly available have been scrubbed. The lede says it all: "The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has scrubbed arrest records from Sen. Kamala Harris's controversial tenure as the state's top law enforcement official, according to the Washington Free Beacon."

This comes in the wake of the to-do at the latest Democrat debate:
During the Democratic debates on Wednesday night, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) excoriated Harris's record as California Attorney General, rattling off a laundry list of 'inconvenient' facts--such as the 1,500-plus Californians Harris sent to prison for marijuana-related offenses, blocking evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until forced to do so by the courts, and using prison inmates as cheap labor.
Gabbard is doing what any low-ranking candidate should do, which is to attack the top dog.

Harris has the lead--mainly, I suspect, because she is a woman "of color" and it makes Democrats feel progressive to support her--and Gabbard's attack is forcing Harris to act like she is an equal, right up front with her instead of somewhere in the rear. That perception can be very, very important, especially when we're talking about a group of twenty feckless idiots who are all saying approximately the same thing.

To be sure, Harris' record as California's AG looks pretty bad to the people who want legal weed, who hate the police, and who don't want to punish criminals because they think it's mean. Is it wise to scrub them? Remove them from public sight? I'd expect that there is an archive somewhere which still has that information, where it can be retrieved by someone who knows even a little bit about the Internet--but that's not even the issue, here; at issue is the fact that the records were removed following Gabbard's statements. That also looks pretty bad.

Gabbard, meanwhile, has reminded us that isolationism is still an option for the United States and that we don't have to stick our noses into every last self-destructing shithole in the world.

Whatever else you might say about Tulsi Gabbard's politics, she is not wrong on that point. The Cold War ended in 1991 and we no longer need to keep the Soviet Union from colonizing every country on the planet. "China"? Let China deal with the mess in Africa, if that's what they want. I don't expect that Chinese colonialism will do any better a job than European colonialism did, but they're welcome to try.

The United States cannot fix the world's problem. We should not try; we certainly are not obligated to. That doesn't mean we can't be on point with humanitarian aid in the wake of disasters, but why should we try to stop Warlord #36,921 from taking over Shitholistan? How is he any different from numbers 36,920 or 36,919? To be sure, #36,922 won't be any better, either, regardless of where--or whether--he went to college.

I think Afghanistan has proven that they want to remain firmly entrenched in the seventh century. The USSR tried to drag them out of that, and they resisted; now the US is trying, and their resistance is just as strenuous. A lot of these places are shitholes because the people there want them to be shitholes, and there aren't enough guns in the world to change that. Stop trying and let those shitholes go to hell in whatever fashion pleases them most.

* * *

Well, Kamala Harris has just announced that she's willing to send jackbooted thugs to kick down your door and take your guns. This is why we must never, never, ever allow government to register our firearms.

* * *

We're told that soldiers and police are the only ones who should have firearms because they get training to handle them safely.

Yeah. Right. You know what? Given what I've read about police use of firearms I'm pretty well convinced that they are some of the biggest freaking morons about gun handling in the world. It's not just the stories about cops trying to stop a suspect, unloading literal hundreds of rounds and hitting the suspect once or twice (while wounding bystanders) but also stories like this.

Basically, cop shot his little finger while cleaning his gun. It doesn't sound like he was seriously injured, but a negligent discharge like that would get you or I relieved of whatever permits we had to own and/or carry.

As Second City Cop notes:
We're pretty sure if you unload the gun completely, cycle the slide two or three times, lock the slide to the rear, conduct a physical and visual inspection of the open chamber, the chances of a negligent discharge drop to almost zero.
They really do. And even in that condition you still don't point the thing at other people.

* * *

Cue the squealing about lower pay for women. Female physicians who are also mothers choose to work less in order to spend more time caring for their children. Big surprise.

* * *

A bunch of right-wingers cleaning up a shithole won't make any difference whatsoever. Baltimore is a shithole because the people living there don't care enough to keep it clean. There is trash everywhere because the people dropping that trash think it's someone else's job to keep the place clean.

If a crew of people show up and clean up the trash, the residents of the place are just going to nod their heads: "'Bout time they did something 'bout this shit." It's what they expect. And one month later the trash will be back and these people will complain, "When they coming to clean up here?"

Driving through Chicago last night I was aghast at how much garbage I saw all over the place--and Chicago, at least, keeps itself reasonably clean, at least inside the Loop. Still.

But it's not "someone else's job". It's your job to place your trash into an appropriate receptacle, and not just toss it out your car window. If you're on foot and you're finished with that Coke you bought at McDonald's, it's not going to kill you to carry the cup until you can put it into a trash can.

...of course that would require that these people take some limited level of reponsibility for themselves. In all probability that is "disrespecting" them. *sigh*

* * *

Speaking of Chicago--

Left home in plenty of time and got to the theater early enough that we were able to go to a tea place next door and have a snack before the show.

I was entertained by the show. There were some problems, though.

First off--I was expecting a narrative, only there wasn't really any. So the first act, I sat there trying to figure out who was the protagonist and who was the antagonist, and they kept introducing characters, and where does the narrative begin in all this? They got to the show's signature tune, "Memories", and that was when I began to realize that there wasn't a narrative so much as there was a conceit.

That was aggravated by the fact that the sound engineering could have been better. We were sitting at extreme stage right, so I suppose that might have also been an issue, but I had trouble understanding the words being sung. The speaker stacks on the stage wings also obstructed our view of center (and right) stage rear, but that didn't really cause as much trouble for me as the sound issue.

After the intermission, then, I finally twigged to the fact that the show is essentially a bunch of character songs linked by the conceit of "cats getting together for an annual meeting" and there wasn't any larger story to understand, and the show's purpose is for people dressed as cats to do song-and-dance routines.

The music felt a tad dated. That's understandable--this thing originated in the early 1980s when synthesizers were first entering widespread use--but I was very glad to see that they hadn't mucked with it to "update" it. ("Welcome to tonight's production of 'Willifred Turnbuckle's re-imagining of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Cats!'" *sigh*)

Having reached the "Old Gumbie Cat" number, I was pleased to see that it involved a lot of tap-dancing. I don't know how many present-day shows feature it; in the early 1980s tap dancing was fading away, but it was still done--and actually seeing a tap number was entertaining for a variety of reasons.

"Magical Mr. Mistoffelees", in the second act, was nearly a show-stopper. I saw some people in the audience standing up after that one. The costume for the part was covered in sequins so it sparkled, but it also included a vest covered with RGB LEDs.

I have to say the lighting for the show was extremely well done, updated nicely to use modern techniques and equipment (because there were plenty of lighting effects I saw which I do not think were possible in the early eighties).

A few things marred the performance that the cast and crew could do nothing about. First off, the little girl in the row behind us kept talking during the performance. I can excuse that, sort of, since she was maybe eight or nine at most. The late performance (it started at 8) may have been past her bedtime.

What I can't excuse is the couple that sat to my left, who were on their phones throughout the performance and kept talking to each other. They did have the brightness of their screens turned down and kept them shielded, but let's face it: for fuck's sake, if you're not going to watch the damned show, why did you even come?

If you're recording the show, instead of just watching it, you're a moron. "I can't possibly enjoy reality unless I see it framed by my cell phone's screen!" *rolleyes*

But overall it was a pretty good show, and easy to see why it ran so long. A nice evening with my wife, to be sure.

Traffic in Chicago, with Lollapalooza and the inevitable construction--

* * *

We took Mrs. Fungus' car, because its air conditioner works (I have not had time to get the Jeep's AC system purged and refilled) and I could hear the rear brakes crunching--so you know what I get to do now that the bloggerating is over.


#6788: Well, that was...entertaining.

After the last post I went out for parts and then started working. First, to Walt's, because we had no Pepsi in the house at all; then to the parts store. Took the box with the receipt and the old front brake shoes in it, figuring I'd do all four wheels. Even with that, it took $95 to get out of the store with a new driver's side wiper, new rear brake shoes, and a jug of brake fluid.

Got home, unloaded the truck, then got into work clothes and hit the driveway.

I had wanted to move Buttercup out of the garage, but the thing wouldn't even turn over, so I ended up having to sit in the sun and bake while replacing the rear brake shoes.

...which, technically, didn't need replacing at all.

Having bought the parts and all, though, I replaced them on general principle: in all the time I have known Mrs. Fungus the rear brakes on that car have never been serviced.

This car has threaded holes in the drum which you use to pull the drum off the hub. In the process of doing this, something went spoing inside. When I got the drum off, I saw that one of the brake shoe hold-down springs had fallen off, and it looked like the pin had broken.

Fine--off to three different parts stores to find a replacement. AutoZone had a kit for $20, which I purchased, and then I went home.

To discover that no, the pin was in fact fine, and had merely pulled through the retainer. This thing uses two retainers for some reason, one on either side of the spring, so I was able to substitute the bottom retainer for the top. I'll take that hardware kit back tomorrow or something.

Anyway, comparing the new shoes to the old ones, the wear was not really significant--probably about a quarter, maybe a third, of the thickness, depending on where you measured it--but I figured (as stated above) this had never been done, so do it.

...and there followed the most God-awful time.

Getting the thing apart was not terribly difficult--it never is--and the overall design of the thing is actually pretty simple. Drum brakes are not very complicated anyway, except when it comes to putting the damned things together. There isn't enough room between the hub and the brake cylinder to fit the adjuster and spring assembly between them, so you can't put the shoes on and then put the adjuster in. So you have to juggle a brake shoe, the adjuster assembly, the spring that is wrappeed around it, and the adjuster lever, all at the same time, to get the thing back together.

When the adjuster is set to its smallest length, it's a little loose. The adjuster lever looks like it's in the wrong place. It's not--it will automatically move into the right position when it is necessary--but it doesn't look right, and so I spent a bad hour trying to get it together and have it look right.

To make matters worse, after it was all said and done, I couldn't get the drum back on. It seemed like the brakes were too big. Even with the adjuster all the way down.

Compared the set for the passenger side to the old ones and they are almost exact replacements, right down to the holes in the backing plate. Finagled the stuff around and tried again; I think the shoes were off-center which is why they wouldn't fit. Got the drum on, but it seemed a bit stiff; I decided to try the other side and see how that would go.

The other side went fast because now I knew what I was doing. Got it all together--and I could not turn the drum at all. Got the wheel puller out and pulled the drum off again, and the guts of the brake system all fell onto the driveway once the drum was clear. Sighing, I reassembled it, knowing that I'd made some kind of mistake; and when I got it together I triple-checked everything. The drum took a little convincing to go on, but then it went kang! and was in place and spun normally.

Took her for a spin. No change in the pedal feel. The parking brake needs some adjustment. All good otherwise.

Now, the front--

Took the driver's side apart, looked at the pads, put it all back together again, then checked the passenger side. I can't remember how long it's been since I replaced those pads, but there's probably at least another 30,000 miles left in them. 20,000, anyway.

Buttoned everything back up, took her for a test drive, everything's working fine. Checked the brake fluid--it's a bit high but not enough to need adjusting. The brake pedal is still the same as it was. It feels softer than it ought to be. About the only other thing I can try at this point is to bleed the brakes, but I need help for that, and it was already dark by the time I got to this point. I'll leave that job for next week or so. The car's fine, anyway--it is no worse now than it was before I started, and has new rear brake shoes.

Of course, while working on the fronts, I noticed that the front struts need replacing. *whimper* Driver's side has torn boot and is leaking fluid, passenger side has torn boot. That'll need to be done sometime in the next few months. It's not critical, but it needs doing. During all the driving I did yesterday the thing handled like a go kart, just as it always has.

Anyway, doing the struts means having the front end aligned afterwards, which is going to take some logistical planning. That's okay.

I'm tired.

* * *

This is the first explanation that I've heard for the EM drive that made any sense to me. Quantum vacuum energy is everywhere, and Feynman noted that the energy in one cubic centimeter of space could boil all the oceans on Earth.

The problem is getting at it.

I don't know that we're on the verge of exploiting this thing--the articles at that site tend to be very sensationalist--but it'll be interesting to see what develops from this.

* * *

Well--so much for the weekend. It's after 10:30 on Sunday night. Nice thing is, we'll have another one next week; all I need to do is my job. Woohoo!