atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1840: You can take the blogger out of the blog....

Steven Den Beste writes a great post at about "government by wishful thinking". It's great reading.

* * *

I agree: fifteen years and $10 billion is not enough time or money to build a space elevator, particularly when the cable is still made of unobtanium. You'll spend years and billions of dollars just finding ways to make a strong enough cable; and after that you will still have everything else to do.

Not too long ago I had a discussion in the gunblogger conspiracy IRC channel about using radiothermal generators to power cars, and the person I was talking to refused to accept that the problems with doing that are greater than mere politics and the general acceptance of nuclear power. There are real engineering problems which have to be contended with; while these problems have solutions they are not trivial.

Engineering problems are always trivial to the person who doesn't actually have to solve them.

It gets worse when you're talking about an all-new paradigm like a space elevator; we can make a few educated guesses about some of the problems that will arise, but we can't predict all of them...and some of the unpredictable ones will be doozies.

Take, for example, the suspension bridge. We built plenty of suspension bridges before 1940; yet the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed a few months after its completion because of wind-induced resonant oscillation which no one had predicted or anticipated.

We might be able to build a space elevator in fifteen years and for ten billion dollars...someday. But not until someone spends a lot more time and money than that learning how to build them.

* * *

So the job market is suddenly much better than it was, eh?

Emerson Electric's CEO isn't planning to hire anyone; are his views representative?

Reuters gives us twelve reasons unemployment will hit 12%. And that measure, by the way, is U3, not U6. A U3 of 12% means a U6 of 19%. Remember, when George W. Bush was in the White House, U6 was "more accurate".

* * *

"The perversity of inanimate objects tends to a maximum," and I have finally figured out why.

Scott Angel quotes Genesis:
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.

"Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;

"For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return."

--Genesis 3:9-19
God cursed the ground because Adam and Eve disobeyed Him and--worse--tried to hide their disobedience and lay the blame for it elsewhere. And I realized, after reading this, that everything we make or build comes from the ground. The iron to make that car? Ground. The plastic in that LEGO brick that randomly pops loose? Ground. The spare tire winch which loves Og's head? Ground.

It all comes from the ground, and the ground is cursed. And that's why the junk is so annoying; you can thank Adam, Eve, and Satan for it.

* * *

Chemicals come from the ground, too.

* * *

Apparently I am not the only person who dislikes Sarah Jessica Parker's entire ouerve.

...bit mean comparing her to Ron Perlman in his "Beast" makeup, but only a bit....

* * *

The opening line of this opinion piece is pure gold: "Pretty much anything Bono or Sean Penn write is a festival of crap that would never be tolerated from another contributor."

"A festival of crap". WTF, Sean Penn's entire existence is a "festival of crap". Ditto for Bono-head; there isn't a single U2 song I like. It's all crap.

Sean Penn? He is the entire reason I never saw Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and I figure that playing Jeff Spicoli had to be the height of his career--because of his performances which I have seen, he played whiny douchebags. Much the same as his role in real life, now that I think of it.
Newspaper editors are, mostly, slightly shabbily dressed former reporters who think Bono is actually cool, rather than an aging midget who wears sunglasses indoors.

"Sean Penn is a great actor and a terrible writer. Appalling. Meandering circles of shit.", he's not a great actor. "Oscar"? C'mon--Penn's father was a communist, blacklisted by the HUAC; that alone is enough to give a mediocre actor enough street cred with the academy to guarantee an Oscar for something.

* * *

Generally speaking the Fungus is pretty highly anti-celebrity. Show me a celebrity worth idolizing and I might change that policy; but in my 42.5 years on this planet I have found a precious few people who I thought were worth idolizing:

Harold Edgerton
Richard Feynman
Edward Teller
Robert Heinlein

These are the people I would be utterly gaga over, were any of them still alive. None of them are actors or musicians. In fact, only one of them is a celebrity in the conventional sense; the other three are famous scientists.

Harold Edgerton is the reason I chose my major; he's the guy who invented the strobe light and the apparatus of high-speed photography. His doctorate was in electrical engineering.

I probably don't need to explain why Feynman or Heinlein are on the list. But Teller?

Teller, the "father of the hydrogen bomb", is on the list because he worked tirelessly to ensure that the United States had it first--because he had seen what communism and fascism were like first-hand. He was a brilliant physicist who also understood how the real world worked, and had no use for communists or their sympathizers.

(I may think of another name or two later on. But none of them will be performers, either.)

Bono is a freaking singer and Penn is an actor and neither of them is any good at anything outside their professions. It would be nice if someone could tell them, "Look, you suck at this" and have them actually hear and understand it, but that's not going to happen. Those guys get too much "Oh, Mr. [name], you're so SMART and BRILLIANT!" *sigh*

* * *

As for me, I didn't end up going to the parade I spent so much time bitching about in a prior post. But at least this time it was all my own fault.

I got about 2 hours of sleep before getting up around 6:30 AM; and after having breakfast, I stayed up. I should not have done that. And to make matters worse, I got out the PSOne and started playing Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus...and finally quit that around 2-ish. Asking Mom to wake me at 5 PM, I went to bed. It probably took me about half an hour to fall asleep.

When I woke up at 4:45 I felt ready for embalming and decided I wasn't going to go.

I was still awake at 6 PM; I could have gone...but by that point I had settled back into bed and I was nice and toasty warm, and almost perfectly comfortable. Did it make sense to leave that to watch a parade in the freezing cold? When I hadn't gotten enough sleep and my arms and legs were still aching with fatigue?

Well, maybe next year.

* * *

I had been contemplating digging out the PSOne and playing some videogames anyway. The carpal tunnel problem comes from clicking the mouse; the Sony DualShock controller requires the use of completely different muscles, and it's better than listening to my MP3 player and moping, which has been most of what I've been doing when I haven't been sleeping or doing other things.

I haven't even tried several of the games that came with the thing. I got it from another member of the Fiero forum; he asked if anyone wanted it and I made him a lowball offer which--it turned out--was about what GameStop had offered, only in store credit. I was paying cash, so he sent it to me.

At the time, the PSOne was rather long in the tooth, the PS2 was years old, and the PS3 a year or so from release. Now with the PS3 on the market for 3-4 years, the PSOne isn't even on the radar any longer. Especially since you can get a new PS2 for $100 now; and I have to admit I've been tempted by that, several times. One major advantage of upgrading to a PS2 would be that I could finally get a copy of Dance Dance Revolution.

With the PSOne I got a stack of games (many of which were bought used by the previous owner, as it turns out) and most of them I have never played at all. The "Abe's World" game is the one which I played the most; I tried Twisted Metal 2 but didn't play it much.

A trip to GameStop netted me the World's Wildest Police Videos game (!) and the Atari arcade game pack. (And Oddworld: Abe's Oddysey) but I never played them very much, either.

I'm just not a big console game guy.

But I noticed that I have a copy of Resident Evil 2 and I thought I might give that a try. I don't know anything about the RE franchise, so from here I think it's a "go shoot everything" game--I am probably wrong--and I wouldn't mind playing that kind of game. So we'll see.

* * *

If I had not been playing video games and sleeping, Saturday would have been a good day to put up the outdoor Christmas lights. Maybe today; maybe next week.

* * *

A few days ago I cleaned up my room a bit. Mainly it was the result of realizing that the empty media cabinet in the dining room didn't have to be empty just because it was in the dining room; so I filled it with videotapes, books, and DVDs which were taking up space in my room and which I was not likely to want in the immediate future. Then I went through the other piles of stuff and found places for many of those items which were not in my room, or which at least were more efficiently placed in my room. The result is hardly visible, but if you saw "before" and "after" pictures you'd see the difference.

It's still not what anyone could call "clean", not by any stretch of the imagination, unless the person in question is the kind of incorrigible pack rat who has piles of old newspapers in his house and narrow paths from room to room. But it's better than it was, and it makes the basis of a starting point for getting rid of the rest of the mess.

* * *

Chance of snow Tuesday and Wednesday. We'll see.

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