atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1148: Yesterday, nothing. Today, everything.

...and it's a work night and all. *sigh*

Well, let's get to it. Linkfest and short shrift due to the fact that it's already noon. Yeah, yeah, I somehow managed to oversleep for this again. WTF is up with that?

* * *

Whiny bitches are upset that I-55 had to be shut down when a semi full of butter caught fire. Okay, do these morons not realize that butter is grease? Grease is the kind of fuel that fire likes because it's chock-full of hydrogen and carbon just waiting to be exothermically oxidized. That's why we like butter, too, come to think of it; we're made to like grease because it's survival food. (When we're in the wild, I mean, not when we're all driving around in SUVs and watching Internet pr0n.) (Please, please, not at the same time.)

* * *

Arrest these cops and never let them be cops again. Two cops are shown to be falsifying evidence, and the defense attorney played it very, very intelligently, to the extent of having the cops' perjury on record in the courtroom in front of the jury.

Okay, lying on the stand, under oath, is perjury, and any cop that perjures himself is unfit to be a cop. Period.

* * *

This much of the reaction to quarter-gram plutonium spill makes sense.

You see, plutonium is primarily an alpha-emitter. It emits helium nuclei at a high speed. Now, an alpha particle is the largest and least-dangerous form of particulate ionizing radiation. Beta particles are electrons; and neutrons are the most dangerous form. But alpha radiation? Pfft--your skin is enough to stop most alpha particles; you can shield yourself from an alpha emitter with a sheet of 20 lb bond typing paper. No problem.

...but once the plutonium is inside your skin, it's a whole other ball of wax. Your skin consists of a layer of dead cells over living tissue, and the dead cells stop the alpha particles before they can strike living cells. But if the alpha emitting substance is inside the epidermis, the first thing the alpha particle hits is likely to be a living cell. Get enough of it and it'll kill you just as surely as a similar dose of any other kind of ionizing radiation would.

So this, at least, is a proportionate response to the issue. The story about the stuff going down the drain? By the time it hits the sewage treatment plant it's so dilute it no longer matters. But people at the site of the spill being contaminated is another story.

* * *

More vote-buying attempted by Democrats. Err, no, sorry, I meant "economic stimulus" there, sorry about that.

* * *

Why be surprised that Chicago has the highest sales tax in the nation? A Democrat machine city in a Democrat machine county of a state with a Democrat-controlled legislature and a Democrat governor?

Although I must admit that the Democrats don't like their Democrat governor for some reason. There are Democrats talking about impeaching a Democrat governor which--if I hadn't seen it myself--I would never have believed.

The Cook County board is suffering from a budget shortfall, so of course they raise taxes. That's what Democrats do. They don't figure, "Whoa, crap, we'd better find ways to rein in spending!"

* * *

Okay: for the following segment, bear in mind that I am using the term "man" as a technical term meaning "human being with male genitalia".

Two armed men rob a Subway. Marine shoots the armed men. One man's grandmother says he shouldn't have been shot.

Okay, here's reality talking: if you try to commit armed robbery, the risk of being shot yourself is part of the downside of this career choice. (Not to mention arrest, jail, assrape, etc.) When you go into someplace with a gun and demand money, there are certain consequences you really ought to expect.

When you are a parental unit of such a fine example of humanity, you don't have the right to be critical of someone else for doing the job you should have done. It's a shame that the guy had to be shot to learn not to rob people at gunpoint, but most of us learn that stealing is wrong at an early age and don't require such draconian and negative reinforcement to understand.

The grandmother is upset that the local media is portraying the former Marine as a hero. Get used to it, lady; your podling was trying to rob people at gunpoint and got shot by a former Marine. The Marine is a hero. Your grandson is the bad guy. Consider yourself fortunate that your grandson was the one that didn't get shot in the freaking head and die.

$5 says the guy gets sued, though.

* * *

Og links to a Chicago Tribune article about a serial killer in western Illinois. They finally discuss the murder weapon in the eighth paragraph. If the guy had used a gun it would have been in the headline, of course, and there would have been an immediate mention of the recent Supreme Court decision about gun control, probably in the first paragraph.

Something like, "A mere X days after the Supreme Court struck down a Washington DC law banning possession of firearms, an Illinois man was arrested in the shooting deaths of...." Yeah.

But this scumbag used an axe to kill people, so it doesn't warrant being mentioned until the eighth paragraph.

Yeah, there's no bias in the media or anything, none at all.

* * *

In this Neal Boortz piece, we find that Democrats are outraged the most often. Muslims take second place. Buddhists are the most laid-back, ahead of Libertarians, Jews, and Christians.

The entirety of today's "Nealz Nuze" is worth reading, too.

I would comment on the "teenagers fighting over a pack of stolen cigarettes" bit, but I already used today's quotient of "disgust at the stupidity of people" in the thing about the grandmother who was upset that her son got shot while robbing someone at gunpoint.

* * *

Multicore is the wave of the future! Due to the physics of microcircuitry, we've pretty much hit the ceiling for processor speed for the time being. We need to develop some new techniques to make processors run at any speeds higher than about 3 GHz. So we're going to compensate by adding processor cores.

Running a processor at high speed requires power, and power means heat; we've gotten to the point that we can't get heat out of the processor die fast enough if we run them too fast: they burn up if we don't take extraordinary measures to keep them cool. ("Extraordinary" meaning things that would make computers cost far too much for the average consumer.) Because we can't funnel bits through a single core any faster, we simply add cores, which still increases processor throughput.

Pixy Misa was recently talking about building a "dual quad" system, but that's not even a good start; that's like a guy bragging in 1978 that his computer has "eight kilobytes of RAM".

In ten years I expect 128 cores will be commonplace and the die-hard power freaks will have 512, and some people who have no other hobbies (or lives) will have 1024.

The idea of 128 64-bit processor cores running at 3 GHz makes my head spin. That's a throughput of 25 trillion bytes per second. There is no easy way to render that figure into "flops" (floating point operations per second) because a processor takes a certain number of cycles to perform an operation, and it's different for each situation. But as a raw transfer speed it still boggles the mind.

The first link makes the point that software must be written, from the ground up, to take advantage of multicore architecture; otherwise it's not very efficient. That's true; witness please the Macintosh dual-processor systems that were about 140% as fast as their single-core bretheren. (In processing speed, anyway, since at the time Macs had very slow front-side busses.)

Even when we do lick the power-versus-clock-speed problem, multicore will continue to be a factor, particularly after X many years of perfecting multicore applications. So maybe in 10 years we'll have 10 GHz systems running 128 cores, which would knock the balls off anything we're computing with now. Certainly we'll have them in 20.

* * *

Saw ep 2 of Starship Troopers last night. Again, they took liberties with the story, but nothing like what Verhoeven did. The character art still sucks. I'm still liking it, though, because it's a better approximation than the movie ever was. (For one thing, there are power suits in it.)

I watched the other titles on the playlist I gave the other day. 2H is still good. Mokke is my current favorite, I think, followed closely by Hayate no Gotoku. Last night's ep of HnG did something that it hasn't done for a while: make me laugh out loud. "Don't do synchronized swimming in the soup!" OMG. Nabeshin was a distraction, but not a bad one.

* * *

...and it's Wednesday and I've got work tonight, so I should get to bed.
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