atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2047: Times Square, part two

Steven Den Beste's post on the Times Square bombing attempt has garnered some interesting comments.

Fellow Gunblog Conspirator weerdBeard shows us how easy it is to make a fuel-air explosive.

...making one with a liquid fuel, aerosolizing it correctly at the right moment, getting the right air/fuel mix, and successfully detonating it is not a trivial exercise, but it's not difficult to make it happen under the right circumstances. Mainly it just takes some careful engineering.

It's not difficult because your typical four-cylinder internal combustion engine does it some 2,000 times per second at an idle speed of 1,000 RPM. Doing it in open air to make a really big explosion is what makes it complicated. Containment for the fuel-air mix makes it simpler. (Hell, if you just want to make a car blow up, there's your containment. And the car ends up being shrapnel.)

The car bomb in Times Square failed because the correct air-fuel mix wasn't established. If the mix had been right, it would have gone KABOOM.

Al Qaeda has taken responsibility for the attempt. Of course, it's pathetically easy for them to do that. "Hey, someone tried to do X!" "Quick, take credit for it!"

If you want to show us you did it, jerks, how about releasing an announcement shortly before the attack? Or immediately afterwards, before the news has a chance to percolate through the news networks around the world? Like, BOOM, and a few seconds later, out go the press releases?

Meanwhile the government says this wasn't a terror attack. Sorry; when someone tries to set off a car bomb, it's a terror attack regardless of who, what, or why.

* * *

Photographic proof that sea level has not risen in 150 years. Oh well.

* * *

My career-level skills are "middle skills". A technical writer isn't up there with the engineers. Tech writers get paid a lot less than engineers, for one thing.

Though, of course, the management always insists that the technical writer work like an engineer. "You're a professional!" *sigh* Sure, which is why you want me to work a 50-hour week for $30k per year. Yeah.

Meanwhile the guy sitting right next to the tech writer, who's an hourly employee, he can't work more than 40 hours per week--it's not allowed--because admin is trying to control overtime costs. Yeah.

...this wasn't supposed to be a rant on the idiocy of middle managers. Why can't they be having trouble finding work now? There's nothing more useless than a middle manager.

The article is wrong about something: "middle skill" people aren't people without degrees. They're people without advanced degrees. "Middle skill" people are those who have 2- and 4-year degrees. People like me.

The people at the high skill end are necessary because you can't do without them. Engineers, doctors, whatever--they have the training and the knowledge to get things done, and are in sufficiently rarified territory that replacing them is not a trivial matter.

At the low-skill end are a lot of union jobs. (C'mon: how much skill does a guy have who bolts on fenders, even if he's paid $50 an hour to do it?) These jobs also cannot be lightly eliminated; the union would throw a fit.

That leaves the guys in the middle. They don't have the protection of high education; nor do they have a union to keep their jobs safe--and so they get cut.
For males without a four-year college degree, wages have stagnated or fallen over three decades. And as these males have moved out of middle-skill blue-collar jobs, they have generally moved downward in the occupational skill and earnings distribution.
I've got a four-year degree and this has happened to me. Nine years ago, in 2001, I was a white-collar worker and had been since March of 1990; now I'm an unemployed stockboy.

* * *

Whenever I think about that, I think, "I should have gone to truck-driving school instead." Because if I had, right now I'd have more work than I'd know what to do with.

* * *

Some of us on the right have been referring to the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as "Obama's Katrina", but they're wrong.

The press is still in its full-on "Defend The One!" mode, so Obama is going to get a token grilling over it and the entire story will quietly fade away. BP will take many, many times the heat that will be directed at Obama for this.

The pictures of oil-soaked wildlife will be lain at BP's feet, not Obama's, even though there's plenty of things the administration could have done.

What? I am merely applying the standard for major disasters which was applied to the Bush administration for its handling of New Orleans after Katrina. If the White House is responsible for state-level failures in 2005, then the White House is responsible for similar failures in 2010. You can't have it both ways: either Katrina was Bush's fault, in which case this oil spill is Obama's...or else the oil spill is not Obama's fault, in which case Katrina was not Bush's. I don't care which you adhere to, but if you're going to tell me that Katrina was Bush's fault, you'd better start blaming Obama for this shit.

Whatever resposibility the Obama administration may actually have (or not have) for what's going on down there, you can bet the press is not going to give a rat's ass about it. The same press which uncritically laid the blame for Katrina at Bush's feet.

* * *

Warning Signs has another good post up. The post starts with finance issues and then moves on to energy, and makes a great point:
The nation requires a dependable supply of electricity to keep EVERYTHING going. When the electricity stops, the nation will stop. It will be unable to function. Computers, the banks, the trains, the airlines, the supermarkets, gas station pumps, television, heating and cooling systems, elevators….EVERYTHING.
He's not overstating this. He really isn't.

"My car runs on gas!" Electricty pumps the gas that fuels your car. How much gas is in your tank right now? If the power went off for a week, and you couldn't get any more gas for that time, how would you cope?

"My stove is a gas-burning stove." Fair enough. How long does the gas continue to flow if the supply station doesn't have power, though?

The telephone system runs on electricity. You don't have a land line any longer? The cell towers require electricity. They have backup generators, of course--usually fueled with natural gas--but how long will those run? Particularly if everyone else is using natural gas to run generators? When the natural gas supply system also has no power?

We're not facing a universal blackout, it's true. What will happen--as the greenies get their way and conventional power generation is taxed to death--is we'll see ever-expanding rolling blackouts, ruinously high energy prices, and an overall decrease in supply. It'll also mean high unemployment, because an economy cannot function without energy.

* * *

My BakaBT ratio is now higher than it's ever been--nearing 30%--and I'm not downloading anything so it should climb even higher.

I can run uTorrent in the background while doing just about anything I normally do, and as long as it's only uploading I barely notice the difference.

Over the past several days I've been following a pattern: play WoW until about 3, log out intending to go to bed...and then futz around for three or four hours, realizing only after the birds have started chirping that the sun is rising and it's after 6 and I'm still not in bed....

So that's it: I'm going to bed now. Good night.

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