atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3173: So it's Friday already.

How the hey did it get to be Friday? Wasn't it Monday, like, yesterday??

There's a ton of links I'm going to blather about, so let's get started.

Side note: I can remember when I had to look up the syntax for inserting a hyperlink by typing the HTML. Ah, that was so long ago.

* * *

The US has been running on continuing resolutions for 1,000 days. That's 2.8 years since the Democrats have allowed a budget to pass into law.

* * *

Good article on why marriages fail. Main reason: people don't understand the meaning of the word "commitment".

Weer'd talks about Newt.
First, Newt’s ex is an idiot. He was plugging her while he was married to wife #1, and suddenly she’s surprised when he treats his marriage to her with the same respect and reverence as he did wife #1? This is the same stupidity of Maria Shcriver being “unaware” that Arnie was impregnating the help. The dude was a wild cocksmith when he was courting her, and she thought she could tame that beast?
Women always do this. It's how they're wired.

1) The guy is exciting and gives them the "alpha male" tingles in their nethers.

2) "He really loves me!"

Women are hard-wired by natural selection to rationalize away all other considerations when a clearly alpha male is interested in them. Gingrich--who besides being rich is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives--is probably a good example of what an alpha male looks like. Rich and powerful and connected: that's high status right there and if there is anything that is attractive to a woman, it's that.

"Oh, he's married? Well, he's coming to me for sex, isn't he? He chose me over her! Therefore he'll always love me!"

...and then they're surprised that the leopard does not change his spots.

"I just don’t get the folks who think their partner will do a 180 change once they wrap a bit of metal around that 3rd finger," Weer'd concludes. He's right; they won't.

So: if you're looking for a long-term relationship and you meet some chick who is waiting to break up with her boyfriend until she finds a suitable replacement? RUN AWAY. RUN AWAY FAST. If necessary, strap a particle accelerator to your butt so the FTL neutrinos give you an extra boost.

She's going to do exactly the same thing to you, guaranteed; she'll shop around on you if she feels even slightly dissatisfied and the next thing you know, you're on the street wondering WTF just happened.

Oh, you can bone her if you want. Just don't expect it to last, because it won't. (And it's guaranteed that she'll be whining to herself about how she's never had a really long-term relationship.)

* * *

Francis Porretto on Newt and the debate last night. I'm starting to think that I'd vote for Newt if he won the nod. For all his warts and his other bullshit, he's better than Obama.

Still won't vote for Romney no matter what, because he is the same as Obama.



* * *

There's too much damned regulation.

* * *

I really like Michael Flynn's work. Here he writes about why SF never predicts the future accurately. Sure, some minor details are usually correct, here and there, but the big picture? Never.

Small details: Jerry Pournelle's "Co-Dominium" universe, for example, shows people carrying portable data access terminals which operate wirelessly...but he didn't exactly predict the smartphone. And Heinlein had a throwaway bit in his novel Space Cadet, where a character had a folding radiotelephone that he left in his luggage while traveling; it was implied that this was a common thing.

But no one predicted personal computers, not until the 1970s at the earliest. Prior to that, computers were massive machines attended by engineers and scientists, not something any 4-year-old could play with.

Flynn's commentary revolves around technological progress:
We can no more imagine the world of seven thousand years to come than Sumerian peasants could imagine Manhattan. But we need to keep it intelligible. What we imagine of the far future is no more likely to be accurate than Sumerian tales of crossing the sky in flaming chariots. Rockets, maybe; but not flaming chariots.

Yet "the accelerating pace of change" is such a cliché that we might ask, "What if it isn’t?" After all, for most of human history, change has been minimal. Our Sumerian peasant would find life among the today’s Marsh Arabs full of wonders—iron tools!--but not incomprehensible.

So to keep the Spiral Arm intelligible to modern "Sumerians," I decided to put a banana in the tailpipe of the engine of progress. There is precedent.
I did the same thing, in a different way, for my own SF universe. In my SF world, progress is frequently interrupted by interregna, where interstellar civil order breaks down and individual worlds are left to fend for themselves. Some thrive, some wither; some technologies flourish while others suffer.

The result is that the engines of progress get sand in their gearboxes: "we used to know how to make this kind of integrated circuit, but the technology's been lost and we've been trying to reverse-engineer it with little success." Retracing paths that have been previously found and lost takes time and slows the advancement of technology.

You really don't need anything dramatic, IMHO; just ordinary human cussedness and stupidity. For example, there was no backup of the Library of Alexandria; no one thought it was necessary.

It was necessary. It was too expensive and probably politically difficult to make a backup of the Library of Alexandria...and so when the place was burned, a lot of irretrievable knowledge was lost.

At the height of the Roman empire they had hand-operated piston water pumps that were similar to machines from the 17th century. But after the empire fell, it took hundreds of years to re-develop the technology.

The Romans themselves didn't really get the idea of mechanical power. Why build a complex machine that can break when there are so many slaves available?

Like that.

* * *

And like this. Abandoning a controllable, efficient, and energy dense power source like nuclear power for a nebulous, uncontrollable, and highly inefficient one. And paying people with money you don't have to make it happen.

Turns out that the German attempt to use "renewable" sources of energy is working about as well as it has elsewhere in Europe...and they still need fossil and nuclear power to generate the electricity they need when solar and wind fail as they always do.

* * *

Linked solely because of the graphic in the middle:



I don't think I've ever found a better encapsulation of the issue than that. It reminds me of the "nuclear-free zones" that cropped up around some universities. "Hey, Russia! We don't make nuclear weapons here! You don't need to nuke us when Reagan pushes the button!"

Russia: "Da, is university in major city. Three warheads targeted there."

*sigh*

* * *

Now imagine if exercising another Constitutional right came with this kind of paperwork. "Wait! You can't post that comment to that blog until you've filled out this form and paid your $10 fee and had it notarized, and the background check still has to be done, and there's a three-day waiting period before your post can be approved for display."

* * *

I read most of one of my shorter stories on the Kindle last night. It's very easy to read with the thing.

Problem: would you not expect that a document you want to read should be put in the "Documents" folder? Apparently that's not how it works, so I had to use Kindle Uploader to get my documents into the thing where I could see them.

I'm going to have to read the manual again and do some other investigation, but this is not really a big deal as I may have misread something. The MP3 files I dumped into its "Music" directory played fine, and in fact it sounds pretty good for an "experimental" feature.

The ads really are as unobtrusive as reviews have suggested they'd be. There is no reason I can see to pay the $20 premium for an ad-free Kindle.

We'll see how it handles other things. I'd like to import some manga to the thing to see how readable it is, but I'm not sure, yet, how to do that.

* * *

Turns out I plugged the front fan into the wrong spot on the motherboard. *sigh*

The place it was formerly plugged in is the correct place for the front fan according to the Gateway manual.

The problem I have with this is, why the hell is it now so damned loud? It wasn't like this when it was new, and the last time I fiddled with this (when I stuck the connector down with RTV) was when it began running at full speed all the time. I don't get it.

Furthermore, why does the fan not operate when plugged into the inlet socket? The BIOS can see whether there is a fan plugged into the inlet fan socket, so in theory it ought to be spooling up when the outlet fan does. Again, I don't get it.

What I would prefer would be to have both fans run at minimum speed and then ramp up when things get toasty. This is how it ought to be--and instead I get the processor fan roaring along like a vacuum cleaner on overdrive, so the rear fan doesn't need to turn at all. Argh!

And yes I've tried playing with the BIOS settings. They don't seem to do a damned thing.

Oh well. It could be worse, I suppose.
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