atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2105: Achievement earned: "Grass Cut!"

The grass had to get cut today. Mom's got doctor's appointments Tue and Thu, and it's going to rain the rest of the week anyway.

I lost track of how many times I had to stop and unclog the tractor. More than five--the grass was long and it was wet. And when I was doing the trimming I had to stop and unclog the push mower, too.

I didn't have to unclog the weed whacker, at least.

Anyway, after doing that, I decided, "I've had my exercise for the day!" Then I started the usual morning surf for the usual bloggeratin' source material; and partway through that I realized that I cannot stand to postpone the shower one minute longer.

After that, then, food was the next item on the agenda. I visited McDonald's for the first time Tuesday! Wow!

Ranch BLT, minus the T, grilled. ...and if I had known that the sandwich tasted that damn good grilled, I would have been ordering it that way a long time ago. The "crispy" version is not nearly as good. It's not even close to tasting as good as that grilled one did.

I ate about half the french fries; the cat got some and the birds got the rest, and I'm still hungry, but that's how it goes when YOU ARE TEH FAT! and you wish not to be "teh fat". My metabolism will catch up in a bit.

Considering my last meal was about 5 AM and it's now 1 PM, I think I did pretty good.

* * *

Having stuck her foot in her mouth too far to extract it, Helen Thomas has elected to retire.

* * *

If my instincts are correct about how you guys at Ars Technica vote--and considering your uncritical support of anthropogenic global warming, I think they are--how do you like your side's idea for "saving" newspapers?

* * *

Now solar panels are bad for the environment, too. I could have told them this. No matter what we do to generate power, it will have deleterious effects on the natural environment.

This is completely inescapable, so it ends up coming down to a question of what kind of environmental damage you're willing to tolerate.

* * *

Titan may be home to hydrocarbon-based life.

Organic chemistry is a huge field, and it includes all the hydrocarbons and their variants. There is simply no reason that there could not be lifeforms which are made out of hydrocarbons (instead of amino acids, like we are). The molecules would be freakin' huge and strange (and exist under some pretty exotic conditions) but animals in such an environment could have living plastic bones and other weird and cool features.

So, this is a story to keep track of.

If it's so, it's for damn sure that none of the bacteria from Earth could survive there, because it's freakin' cold and many hydrocarbons (having solvent properties) are bad for amino acids. If we had a species of bacteria which could live in gasoline at -100°C maybe that one could survive. But the ordinary stuff? Forget it.

* * *

Interest rates have to start rising soon. Once our debt rises above our GDP, goes the theory, something has to give.

* * *

American liberals are awakening to the reality that they have elected an empty suit. Obama has no spine. His "cool demeanor" is actually that of someone who's afraid of screwing up and making people mad.

* * *

Hmm; "empty suit"--you know, I think a little filking on "End of the Innocence" by Don Henley is a good place to make use of that term:
Oh beautiful for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
We turn our back on self-defense
'cause of this empty suit who we've elected king
It's a good song except for the verse which is about Ronald Reagan, you know? (Which is the verse I've filked here.) Don Henley has talent but he's a freakin' moron when he's doing anything but singing "Hotel California".

* * *

Okay, Alan Caruba has another good post today.

One of the things he points out--God, I wish I'd noticed this myself!--is:
No one has said a word about the fact that no oil company has ever had to cap a deepwater well at such depths.
That's right, folks! This has never been done before. Well, no freakin' wonder BP is having so much trouble with this leak! There is no manual for how to deal with this situation; they are having to write the manual as they go along.

As a (former) technical documentation expert I have some understanding of what that means. It means that they can't go to someone and ask, "Hey, how did you fix this?" There is no such person. Okay? BP is having to invent a way to stop the flow of oil because no one knows how to do it.

Imagine being asked to replace a car's crankshaft--without a manual--when all you've ever done is basic maintenance and minor repairs; that's kind of what BP is facing, here.

* * *

I am a person who has a degree which has not helped him pay back the student loans he took on to get the degree, so I understand this situation implicitly.

If I had been able to remain in my technical writing career, I would probably now be paying those loans back, but it was not up to me. And:
...[U]nlike a bad mortgage on an underwater house, [you] can't simply walk away from [your] student loans, which cannot be expunged in a bankruptcy. [You're] stuck in a financial trap.
Yeah, you're pretty much boned if you can't come up with the dough to pay them; they'll sue and take your car and computer and furniture and whatever else they can find which could be sold for a buck or two, and even bankruptcy protections don't apply.

See, when you file for bankruptcy, certain assets of yours are protected from being considered as capital which is available for paying off your debts. You get to claim a car and a certain dollar amount of "personal items" (which can basically include whatever you want, as long as you don't exceed the dollar amount) as well as--in some cases--your home. But anything else you have is fair game. Got three cars? Two have to be sold and the money applied to your debt. Got a boat? It goes. Got a Van Gogh? Sorry, that's going too. You can keep either the motorcycle or the pickup truck as your "personal vehicle"; not both.

It leaves you with no debt and one car and most of your personal items, and you start over.

Not so with student loans! The protections which apply under bankruptcy don't apply to them; which means that even if you file for Chapter 7 and end up with nothing but a car full of clothes and your laptop and cat, the people who are holding your student loan debt can take the car, clothes, laptop, and future wages, leaving you wearing a barrel.

If you have no other debt at all but the student loans, they'll take whatever you've got to satisfy that debt and the law lets them do it regardless of your situation.

The entire government-secured student loan deal is a freakin' scam, and it's a perfect example of the government making everyone else obey rules from which it excuses itself: you can make loans for anything, but only student loans are exempt from bankruptcy protection.

* * *

BMW douchebag is angry that a car costing half what his penis extension cost can keep up with him.


* * *

It's a pleasant afternoon and all I want to do now is go to sleep. So I think I'll do just that.

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