atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1441: Big ol' stack of links today.

I've gone through 'em twice to see what could be eliminated, and this is the remainder.

* * *

This guy is lucky he's gay, because if he weren't, he'd probably be going to jail for having a "relationship" with a teen he mentored.

* * *

A collapse in the demand for raw materials means mines get shut down.

This is another example of how a depression starts slowly, not all at once--there isn't a big switch labeled "depression" that gets flipped.

I really hope I'm wrong. But with unsold cars piling up all over the world and oil selling for 30% of what it was six months ago, and with a new administration which has as much as promised to raise taxes, I fail to see how we can avoid one.

* * *

Interesting new development in high-energy pulsar science.

What gets me is how much energy is being thrown around. A pulsar's prodigious output is powered by its spin; the thing works like a dynamo and over millions of years the rotational energy is converted into electromagnetic energy. You could probably provide power for 50,000 Earths on the energy a typical pulsar generates and beams into the cosmos, yet it takes 87,000 years to add one second to its rotational period.

My "SF writer's brain" is now trying to figure out if there's a way to use a pulsar to generate power. Probably; I just have to figure out what it is.

* * *

New moon rocket can be used to launch giant space telescopes!


Yes, when you have a heavy-lift booster, you can use it to put all kinds of useful things into orbit. Sort of the way they put Skylab into orbit using a Saturn V. (In fact, Skylab was built out of a Saturn V third stage.)

No, it's not a startling and revolutionary thought. The article is too breathless: "Like, OMG, no one realized we could do this!"

All of this assumes that Ares' solid rocket boosters don't shake the payload so much that it's rendered useless. A telescope is a precision instrument, and ruggedizing one to withstand the rigors of a launch platform that may require shock absorbers for manned missions will add a lot of parasitic weight.

(Also I note that suddenly Ares is capable of launching 180 tons to low earth orbit. I could have sworn that the original figure was 80 tons.)

Oh well. It really doesn't matter. Obama said he was going to do the usual Democrat tap-dance on space exploration (the "usual", that is, since the salad days of Kennedy and Johnson) so I'd wager the 2018 "first flight" date is probably optimistic.

I would love to be excited and optimistic about our space program. Unfortunately, that's no longer possible.

* * *

Michelle Malkin has a bit of Arabic text on this page, and I want a tee shirt with it. It says "lan astaslem", which means "I will not surrender". Cool.

* * *

Apparently dissent is no longer patriotic. From 1/20/01 through 1/19/09, it was patriotic to call the President names. As of 1/20/09, however, it is no longer patriotic to make fun of the President. Now we must serve the President.

What? Fuck that. The President works for the people, not the other way around.

And the video linked in that article? Barf city. A bunch of supercilious, unctuous celebrities spouting a bunch of syrupy garbage. Where was this attitude when Bush was in the White House? Instead of standing around and carping at each other about "Bushitler" doing nothing to fix the problems they saw with America, why didn't they put up or shut up?

Now they are pledging to do all sorts of things to make the world a better place, now that their guy is in the White House--did all these problems magically appear when Bush left? (If so, that's an argument for the repeal of the 22nd Amendment right there.) Or, in fact, are these people just so consumed with hatred for Republicans that they can't bear to do anything for their fellow man while a Republican is in the White House?

If that's so, it says an awful lot about how shallow these people really are--and that comes as no surprise to me whatsoever.

* * *

"Lord...we ask you to help us work for that day...when white will embrace what is right."


STFU you racist asshat.

* * *

"Obama’s swing to the right on Iraq and on terror began when he started to read the daily threat assessments as a president reads them, and to look at events through the eyes of a president. When the world and the public see things as he did, their minds will change, as did his."

The article is headlined, "Bush legacy is hidden here in plain sight". Correct.

The one thing that's wrong with the article is its attempt to compare Bush "losing" of New Orleans (to Katrina) to Truman's "losing" of China (to Communists). It's a forced analogy, and it doesn't work. (Partly because Truman's China policy was informed by Communists. Read Ann Coulter's Treason.)

Still, on balance it's a good piece.

* * *

For the sake of us all I hope this guy is wrong. I really do. I don't make the mistake of thinking it would be awesome if everything went to shit while Obama was in charge--it would suck. When I (confidently) predict that Obama will be Carter 2.0, I am not happy about it; I remember what the Carter years were like: they sucked.

And from here I see nothing preventing Carter redux; in fact I sometimes fail to see how it can't be "iCarter Vista" with extra helpings of economic malaise and islamic terrorism with new-and-improved atomic options. *sigh*

But most of the history of the world is, in fact, bland, and in my less anxious moments I realize that while a lot can go wrong, it takes special circumstances for everything to go to complete shit--and no matter who is in the White House at any particular time, we have a lot of people who are dedicated to making sure that terrorists can't pull off another 9/11 here.

I think we have to worry about the economy the most. Obama ran on tax increases (though he did not call them that) and on making energy more expensive (though he didn't say that, either) and neither of these policies will help the economy recover.

One may hope that Obama will realize--as he apparently, hopefully! has with Iraq--that ideals may be great for election speeches, but when it comes to making actual policy, one has to work in the real world. Promising to increase taxes on "the rich" will get you the votes of the little guys, but actually increasing those taxes will put a damper on the sector of the economy which actually provides the jobs. Politicians ignore this fact at their own peril.

* * *

Seagate's got some troubles. But at least Seagate is standing behind their product--and what I really like is their offer of free data recovery should you run afoul of the "bricking" bug in the firmware update. That's really good, because data recovery starts at about $1,000 per drive. (That's the retail price for the service; I expect it's less at wholesale.)

* * *


Gunbunnysmit is now 39th level. I spent a lot of time last night just exploring, but I managed to finish a couple of quests in the bargain. Little by little I am finding my way to the corners of the Eastern Kingdom, and having a jolly good time.

I noticed that I hadn't finished exploring Westfall, so I took a side trip to "discover" the Gold Coast Quarry. I found it amusing to kill Defias looters and pillagers with one shot from my trusty sidearm. Those guys caused a lot of trouble for me when I was below 20th level; now they're not even mildly hazardous to me.

I took time to replenish my stocks of copper, tin, and bronze. Gunbunnysmit now only gets points for mining iron and above, and only gets points for smelting mithril (can't smelt truesilver or thorium yet) but copper and bronze are highly useful for all sorts of things in the "engineering" tab, so I need them if I wish to continue to make my own bullets, target dummies, exploding sheep, etc. (I haven't got any recipes which require iron, yet, but I've got 40 bars of it in the bank for when I do.)

I still have a bunch of quests to do in Stranglethorn Vale, of course, but they're mostly yellow quests; they'll wait.

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