atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3196: Feb 1, and I don't know where to begin

Major-league panic attack yesterday: the Xanax only muted the effects. At least I think it was a panic attack; it was certainly very like the one I had in 2002 or 2003 which led me to get on the meds I'm taking now. *sigh*

But the Xanax let me get to sleep, and when I woke up today it was over, for which I thank God.

Anyway, none of this has anything to do with my usual link-snark-and-stuff posting, so here we go.

* * *

Color combinations our eyes can't see. Human color vision is accomplished with two types of retinal cells: red-green and yellow-blue. We see, for example, purple, when a red-green cell and a yellow-blue cell are excited equally by red and blue photons.

Problem is, we can't see colors that are equal combinations of yellow and blue or red and green, because if (say) a particular red-green cell receives an equal amount of red and green, on bose sides, it can't return any useful information about the colors. We see some kind of brown instead. (Not that they actually have "sides", but the processes are slightly different for different photons. The red photon excites one kind of activity, and the green photon excites another. If a red and green photon arrive at the same time, the activities prompted by them tend to cancel each other.)

But red-green is apparently a real color.

"WTF," you say. "Blue and yellow make green!" No, that only works with paint. With light, green and blue make yellow. It's the difference between the additive and subtractive primary colors; paints, pigments, and inks are subtractive: cyan, magenta, and yellow are the primary subtractive colors, and they're "subtractive" because an equal amount of them makes black. Red, green, and blue are the additive primary colors, which only extend to light; equal amounts of them makes white.

So when you see something that's green, the two "sides" of the yellow-blue cells are excited equally by the green photons they absorb. If you see something yellow, the blue "side" is just being stimulated less than the yellow side.

Fascinating stuff.

* * *

Gene Simmons had the coolest gun in Runaway. That was a mid-80s movie starring Tom Selleck as a cop who takes out malfunctioning robots.

Gene Simmons had a gun which fired little heat-seeking missiles that could be keyed to a target, so once he shot you there was no way you could avoid it.

The real version requires a laser designator.

* * *

STILL nothing on Arse Technical about "no global warming since 1997". Gee, guys, I thought you were all about THE SCIENCE, so why haven't you said anything? Or are you going to figure out a way to claim that the CRU in East Anglia is, in fact, now full of "deniers"? eh?

Hell yes I'm enjoying this. And the longer they ignore the story, the funnier I find it.

Stick a fork in AGW, says Alan Caruba, because it's done.

Meanwhile, over at DPUD, Veeshir notes that California appears not to have gotten the memo and is mandating that 15.4% of all vehicle sales in California in 2025 must be "emission free". Electric (coal-powered), hydrogen (unicorn flatus), or "other" (fueled with unobtainium).

Veeshir says it best: "Eh, I’d be more worried about it if I expected the current state of affairs to last until 2025." Yeah.

* * *

Which neatly leads me to my next bit: California is out of money. They're going to be broke by March if "something isn't done". "Something" in this context means what?
California will run out of cash by early March if the state does not take swift action to find $3.3 billion through payment delays and borrowing, according to a letter state Controller John Chiang sent to state lawmakers today.
Oh! Ignore the due dates on the bills and max out that credit card!

When you're in the hole, putting off paying your debts does not make them go away. You can't "find" $3.3 billion by simply ignoring the due dates on your bills. And "borrowing"? "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" is the typical aphorism for that.

...which is why I don't think we have to worry much about California's idiotic "emissions targets" for cars. I don't expect California to exist as we know it in 2025.

* * *

I honestly don't get what the controversy is here. Look: Jesus was born a Jew. Okay? He was Jewish. He went to synagogue, he observed things like Passover--heck, the Last Supper coincided with Passover!--and people called him "rabbi" because that word is synonymous with "teacher". Jesus was Jewish.

Oh, I get where the controversy comes from:
[This book] dissects the gospels, all written well after the death of Jesus, and the writings of Saul of Tarsus, saying in effect, that Christianity wrongly asserts that the Covenant and laws of Judaism had been replaced by a religion based entirely on faith in the belief that Jesus died for the sins of the world and accepting him as a personal savior removes one’s personal responsibility to live a holy life, a righteous life, and one that accepts the Torah as God’s word and law.
Yeah, I can see how that might be troublesome to some folks, particularly Roman Catholic.

It doesn't really matter to me, a Protestant. I'm not going to accept the Torah "as God's word and law" simply because the Bible incorporates the Torah...except we call it "the Old Testament", and it's been superseded by the Covenant of Christ.

* * *

A "white man who has sex with a white woman has approximately a 1 in 1,824,682 chance of contracting" HIV. Wow. So much for the "heterosexual AIDS epidemic" we were supposed to be seeing ten years ago.
...[I]t is totally absurd to discuss HIV infection as if it presents a similar risk to everyone, regardless of their race, sex, or sexual behavior, which of course is the main reason the mainstream media's dire predictions of a heterosexual AIDS epidemic, still less "a national disaster as great as a thermonuclear war", were so wildly incorrect.
Still: wear your rubbers, kids, because sometimes the dice roll snake-eyes.

* * *

Wonderduck writes about a thin-skinned baseball player and the squirrel on his baseball card.

* * *


Illinois faces "financial disaster." Illinois is much worse off than California is.

How much worse?
...[T]he state has a backlog of about $8.5 billion in unpaid bills and owes about $27 billion in outstanding bonds. And then there’s the roughly $80 billion owed to the state’s public employee pension funds.
Illinois has already been delaying payments to people, that's why. Whee!


Stuff from the Congressional Budget Office:

Bad news including a projected GDP gain of only 1.1% this year.

Real unemployment is 10%.

Neither of which is good.

* * *

If we merely restrain spending increases, we can balance the budget. This has been true for a long, long time.

Problem: even if we balance the budget, we're still in the hole to the tune of a year's economic output of the entire country.

There is a possibility that the artificial demand created by profligate government spending simply won't continue if the budget is balanced. Government spending accounts for some 12% of GDP at the moment; if government spending cannot increase it means GDP stagnates--doesn't it?

For damn sure we've dug a deep hole for ourselves and it would be good if we would just stop digging. Still, it's not enough just to stop digging at this point; we need to find a way to start filling, too, which means ending all increases, rather than just most of them. If we could then hang on for a decade, after that we'd slowly begin to pay back the debt.

But one might as well wish for the moon. Even after the so-called "Conservative Revolution" in 1994 we didn't reverse this trend. There has never been more than a few consecutive years where the feds broke even (much less ran a surplus) since the income tax amendment to the Constitution in 1918. (I think it was 1918. Wasn't it?) The government has almost always spent more than it took in, and the budgets have always been bigger every year.

The kind of fiscal discipline required to toe that kind of line simply does not exist at the federal level; absent a constitutional amendment it ain't gonna happen.

* * *

Sing along! You know the words! Consumer confidence plunged in January, UN-EX-PEC-TED-LY!!!

Way to go, Obamanomics!!!

* * *

Two full doses of Xanax in the last 36 hours, half a tablet at a time--I feel sleepy.

Last night I looked over the selection of free ebooks on Amazon. There are about 3,000 of them and I got to 1,308 before I realized how late it was. I grabbed a handful of them and will look further at the list approximately when I feel like it.

I had intended only to grab a free Bible for use in Bible study, but then I got to thinking about what I could read on the thing. One was My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse, and any "Jeeves and Wooster" story is worth having. There were a couple of books by Teddy Roosevelt (including The Rough Riders) so I grabbed them. And then there were some other interesting-looking things that I downloaded solely because they were free.

Could have gotten The Communist Manifesto but decided I didn't have the energy for crackpot religious texts. (Quote from my favorite author: "Brother, that's nothing but a religion." The speaker is an alien in the 28th century.)

I'm going to have to figure out how to determine how much space I've got left on the thing. Also, I want to go to the library here in town with it. They advertised that they now loan Kindles; if they can loan the devices they surely ought to be able to loan books.

In the pay section I saw that Haldeman has gotten an unexpurgated version of The Forever War released. Haldeman is a commie-lib but the book was interesting SF and I'd like to see what the story was supposed to be like before it got edited. The thing that really caught my eye was "by Joe Haldeman and John Scalzi" and I was all, WTF? What does Scalzi have to do with it?

Reading the details at the link I discovered that Scalzi wrote a foreword for it, so probably the cover says "with foreword by John Scalzi" or something similar and someone at Amazon keyed it to come up when someone searches on "Scalzi". Some kind of cross-marketing, I suppose, since Haldeman is a dried-up old socialist and Scalzi has some cachet in the SF community.

I tend to sneer at "foreword by" because of Harlan Ellison. Ellison wrote a foreword that was faithfully reprinted in countless millions of novelizations of Doctor Who episodes, and in that foreword Ellison systematically dissed Star Wars and Star Trek as crap, elevating DW over them. Look: Doctor Who is good, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't make SW and ST "crap"; neither does it make fans of those series the idiots and buffoons that Ellison characterized them as being. Then again, Harlan Ellison is a douche, so it's really not all that surprising. (And I've never read anything by him that I liked.)

And I don't care anyway. Look: I read the book for the story, not the person who wrote the foreword.

Second-most annoying use of "foreword by": Heinlein put his imprimatur on a book of short stories. He wrote the foreword and one story in the book; the rest of the stories were by other authors. Big text on the cover: "ROBERT HEINLEIN!!!". Fine print: and others! (Not literal, not verbatim, but you get the idea. He was still alive at the time, and I was in my early teens; I had not yet learned "read the fine print!" and so was fooled.) (On the plus side, I learned quickly.)

* * *

I think I'll end this post with today's home-brewed Garfield minus Garfield:

I know the feeling. No one would want to be me, either.

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