atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1069: Sunspot watch '08

Sunspots #994 and #996 just disappeared sometime in the last 48 hours. #994 had an excellent chance of making it all the way across the face of the sun, but it gave up or broke a leg or something and went away.

* * *

...and that's all I've got.

Smallville is over until October. House, MD is over until whenever the hell Fox gets around to releasing new episodes. That leaves me with Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who, but they won't last long, either. I give 'em until, oh, late June, perhaps.

And when BG is done, it's done, because this is reportedly the last season of the show. It'll be nice to see, though, because the original series spun off into the stupidity vortex that was Galactica 1980. Holy crap did that suck. I was that show's target audience and I thought it sucked! Much better for the people to get to Earth or die or be eaten or turned into Cylons than that.

The thing that I don't like about BG is the way they have shit escalate. Okay, Starbuck is in command of an expedition to check out the route she says is the one to Earth. And what happens? A mutiny followed by one member of the crew being shot in the leg! WTF, if I was in charge of that fleet, Starbuck wouldn't be given command of a port-a-potty after a mission went that freaking sour. How the hell does a competent CO let things get that bad?

Of course, lack of discipline and respect for the chain of command is nothing new in the Colonial fleet. In the mini-series which started all this, Chief Terrel has an argument with the freaking executive officer of the battle group over damage control/firefighting measures.

Look: there's a major fire on a hangar deck, with fuel supplies threatened. You seal the compartments and vent them to space. That's how you deal with fire in space. And if the people in those compartments are trapped, it's too damned bad; you can't risk the entire freaking ship for a handful of people. It sucks, it's something no one wants, but when you're in the middle of a battle you can't have arguments. The fire endangers the entire ship, so you act to put out the fire, and deal with the casualties later. Tigh could have--should have--busted Terrel right then and there. Terrel was also out of line because, WTF, they're serving on a warship, not a nursery school.

It makes sense if you realize that it's a goddamned TV show, and there has to be "drama", but inside the framework of the story it's horesehit. The same thing goes for the gear they wear: aboard a real space warship, people would be wearing environment suits during combat, because if the compartment unexpectedly vents to space they have a chance of surviving. But anything meant to represent an e-suit would mean approximately double the wardrobe for the series, which would mean lots more money. Oh well.

This incident rather neatly dealt with the episode "Fire!" from the original series, in which an entire episode was devoted to dealing with a fire after a Cylon kamikaze attack. They tried all kinds of stupid BS to put it out when it was obvious (even to 10-year-old me) that all they had to do was let the air out....

Oh, but poor Boxy and his robo-dog would have been killed. (Well, technically, only Boxy. Oh well.) To the average viewer, that wouldn't have been much of a loss.

...BTW the new series had a character who I am pretty sure was supposed to be Boxy, but he hasn't shown up since 1st or 2nd season.

And so in the new series, there are plenty of examples of people violating orders or arguing with orders or doing all kinds of things, and Admiral Adama is way too lenient with those people. I'm not saying he should turn into Admiral Kain or anything, but come on: Karl Agathon, Whiny Bitch, short-circuits Adama's plan to infect the Cylons with that virus, and nothing happens to him. Chief Terrel is going through hell after his wife apparently commits suicide, and then Adama chooses to become a hardass, busting him down to "Specialist" because he's not talking nicely to him. WTF.

I guess, in the Colonial fleet, it's perfectly okay to disobey orders (incite mutiny, shoot a superior officer, etc) as long as you don't insult the brass.


* * *

Gas is $4 per gallon, and so all the freaking snake oil salesmen come out of the woodwork.

"This pellet will improve your fuel economy by up to...!"

"This magnet...."

"Catalyzes the fuel..."

"Adds hydrogen...."


NONE OF THIS STUFF WORKS. Okay? NONE OF IT. It does nothing.

C'mon: if a $5 magnet really improved fuel economy, don't you think that automakers would be installing the damn things? Think about it. Let's see, let's spend billions developing a $5,000 parallel hybrid motor--or we can buy a pair of magnets at $5 per unit and get half as much extra fuel economy. What would you pick?

A $3 piece of stamped and folded steel which adds turbulence to the intake charge--if that helped, the damned intake manifold would be designed to introduce the turbulence. How do I know this?

The Fiero's V6 cylinder heads have, in the intake runners, a "shark fin". If you remove this fin (when, for example, porting the heads) fuel economy and power drop. GM knew what they were doing. If they know that much, why the hell would they not put in a "tornado" device if it actually did any good at all whatsoever?

And let's put this "HHO" crap to rest right now, too. It doesn't work. It doesn't generate enough hydrogen to offset a significant amount of fuel. Okay? And there's no way your car can generate enough hydrogen to completely replace the gasoline using electrolysis.

If you want to get better fuel economy, all you can do is ditch the land yacht for a smaller car and slow the hell down. Try driving at the speed limit and stop driving like you're in a drag race; you'll be amazed at how quickly your numbers improve. Buying catalysts and pills and magnets and turbulators is just going to take money out of your pocket and put it into the pockets of other people who have sold you a bill of goods.

If you feel that you must have one or more of these stupid devices in your car, let me help you. Send me $1. Then write this on a piece of paper:


Tape that piece of paper on your car's dashboard.

I can guarantee that this modification will save you just as much fuel as all the other junk on the market, and you'll save up to 80% on the purchase price. Everybody wins!

No, don't actually send me any money. This is a joke.

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