atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1847: Morons are so funny.

Moron tries to hit Sarah Palin with a tomato, and hits a cop instead. Here's a hint, douchebag: if you're going to "protest" by throwing things, learn to hit what you're aiming at. Be sure the target is within your throwing range, too, while you're at it.

This is what passes for "debate" on the lefty side of the aisle.

* * *

Speaking of morons... Kid, 17, carjacks someone because it's cold outside and he doesn't feel like walking. I suppose he can be excused for not knowing that the person he was carjacking was an off-duty cop, presumably in his own vehicle.

...WTF is "aggravated fleeing"?? How do you flee in an aggavated manner? Aggravated assault, I can see that, but fleeing? How do you do that? By waving a gun as you drive away?

He carjacked the off-duty cop with his fists. WTF, off-duty cops can't carry guns in Chicago?

* * *

This is an interesting case. Two Chrysler dealers who were forced out of business by Obama's bankruptcy meddling are suing, and one of the points of their case is demanding an explanation for what legal authority the executive branch has for administering a bankruptcy using funds allocated by Congress for something entirely different.

...and it may touch on the whole eligibility issue, too.

* * *

Climate stuff:

Climategate is "the tip of the iceberg".

Globe has cooled since 1998. But of course that's just a short-term trend. We had warming from 1977-1998 and that is the real trend; when temperature goes down it's a blip, but when it goes up it's proof of anthropogenic global warming.

NASA is hiding its climate data.
Under pressure in 2007, NASA recalculated its data and found that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in its records for the contiguous 48 states. NASA later changed that data again, and now 1998 and 2006 are tied for first, with 1934 slightly cooler.
NASA doesn't want to explain--nor does it want anyone to find out--how it arrived at these conclusions, nor how the data were altered to lead to them.

"Tip of the iceberg," the man said.

Copenhagen is turning into a mess thanks to the so-called "Danish Text". It's a leak:
The agreement...is a departure from the Kyoto protocol's principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2, should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol – the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions; and would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions.
In fact, it concentrates power in the hands of the rich nations and screws the developing ones.

Big surprise; the people who are in charge of this thing are in it for themselves first and their friends second, and don't give a rat's ass for the actual health of the planet or the developing world's success or failure. It's not about anything but control.

* * *

The big fearful winter storm that was supposed to sock the Chicago area has missed us. We got rain and drizzle. We might get some snow today--as much as two inches!--but otherwise the northwest part of the state (Hello Wonderduck) got the brunt of the storm.

It comes as no surprise to me whatsoever. This is the way it almost always works; when a big storm comes roaring across the country, and gets here, north of about I-88 gets almost all the snow, and those of us out this way generally get nearly none.

I'm pretty sure it's because of the urban heat island effect and the fact that Lake Michigan is still fairly warm this time of year. The weather systems bounce off this pile of warmer air such that most of the winter weather hits more northward. Very seldom does a system trend south and around the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Ordinarily I'd be annoyed by this, but not this time. It means I don't have to go gas up the snow blower....

* * *

Yesterday I saw The Astronaut Farmer--it was on AMC and I taped it--and I liked it.

Still, there were some things wrong with it. Spoilers follow.

#1: it's not illegal to build a rocket, not even a big one which is intended to carry a pilot.

#2: it's not illegal to buy fuel for that rocket. Rocket fuel is not a controlled substance; particularly not the kind used by an Atlas missile.

#3: it's not illegal to put the fuel into that rocket.

#4: if the FBI, CIA, or FAA are worried that a rocket is meant to cary WMD, a simple inspection of the rocket and its associated systems ought to quell their fears. Particularly since Farmer's rocket was completely assembled by the time they came down on him. And Farmer was not hiding anything; in one scene we see people lining up to get a look at the thing.

Okay, enough with the ordinal format.

The federal government could not stop Farmer from building or fueling his rocket. Just about the only thing any federal agency could legally do (ie in such a way as not to garner a justifiable lawsuit that their lawyers would scream bloody murder over) would be for the FAA to deny Farmer a waiver to fly the rocket. It would be claseed as an experimental vehicle; while I'm not intimately familiar with the federal aviation regulations (FAR) I know that the rules are a lot looser for experimental aircraft. (In fact, I never read the FAR for rules on spaceflight. I'm sure they're in there.)

Sure the FBI could investigate him; but the chase scene where the FBI and the sheriff and God knows who else are chasing Farmer's truck because they think he's gone to buy fuel--there's no way that could be justified. In fact, if the FBI handled a real case the way the FBI is portrayed handling this one, if the thing went to trial the whole thing would be thrown out by the judge in disgust.

What was the deal with the inquisition in the high school gym? Assuming there's an inquiry into what Farmer is doing, why would the CIA be present? It's a matter for the FAA, and it falls entirely within their bailiwick. CIA, Air Force/NASA, even FBI wouldn't be there except as witnesses or to give other testimony.

Depending on which version is used, the fuel and oxidizer for an Atlas missile is kerosene and liquid oxygen. I could see how someone might be concerned when someone buys enough kerosene for a rocket, but as a rancher, Farmer should have the appropriate permits to buy fuel oil in bulk.

There is some small mention of using kerosene and "hydrazine"; hypergolic fuel would obviate the need for liquid oxygen. But monomethyl hydrazine is toxic, corrosive stuff--a whiff will, in the words of a NASA PR sheet I have somewhere, "ruin your whole day (or cancel it entirely)"--and I wouldn't want that stuff around my children. (Farmer and his wife have three; a 15-year-old boy and two young daughters.) The writers carefully kept the technical details under wraps.

Still, despite its toxicity and reactivity, monomethyl hydrazine isn't illegal, either. Most people won't screw around with it but even if you want to buy 10,000 lbs of it no one can stop you. Not legally.

The legal aspect was the worst part of the movie. The alphabet soup agencies were meant to be the bad guys, and that's fine, but the portrayal could have been accurate without resorting to caricature. Making it a commentary on the Patriot Act was stupid.

Otherwise, the movie was pretty good. I really liked seeing Virginia Madsen--she's still damn hot. There's a scene where she runs to Farmer's crashed capsule which I ran through about three times, once in slo-mo, because of the way her chest was bouncing. O Lord.

Despite wrecking once, Farmer gets to make his flight in the end, thanks to the post-mortem largesse of his father-in-law, and it's a happy ending.

End spoilers.

* * *

WoW 3.3.0--"Fall of the Lich King"--went live yesterday. That probably means we won't see Cataclysm for a while, but that's okay.

3.3.0 includes new quest tracking features, and they're nice. Example: if you get a quest which says, "Go kill X of these things," the map will now show you where "these things" tend to hang out. You can disable the feature if you don't like it, which is also nice.

The major update was accompanied with the usual glitches and stupidity. The servers were down from 3 AM to about 3 PM Chicago time, and even after the servers came up I couldn't log on. Finally I gave up and went to bed.

But I was able to get on this morning, so it's all good.
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