atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3235: Can you dig it?

Well, it's snowing again. We're supposed to get in the neighborhood of 3-5 inches, but right now it looks more like 3 than 5. And it'll probably melt before Sunday.

The major tasks for today are to bake a pan of apple crisp (for tomorrow's pot luck dinner) and to go shopping, not necessarily in that order as I need to buy apples. But I'm going to blog first, because that's how I roll.

* * *

Steve Jobs was an expert at ripping off others. Okay, the whole GUI concept was originally developed by Xerox, and both Microsoft and Apple came out with GUI OSes pretty soon afterwards.

The Xerox machines that had the original GUI were really expensive and proprietary, meaning you had to go to Xerox to get software for them--no one wrote software for them except Xerox--and it was pretty much cost-prohibitive. A $10,000 Xerox computer did the same things that a $3,000 IBM PC-AT did; it just required less training to operate. For that, you were locked into using Xerox hardware and software, and if Xerox didn't have it you were out of luck unless you could pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) to develop the things you needed. And of course, on top of that, you had to pay for annual maintenance contracts.

Jobs, of course, immediately had Apple develop the Macintosh. Microsoft came up with Windows, which was originally a presentation layer than ran on top of DOS.

Ever since then, Apple's business model has been approximately thus:
1) Get inspiration from somewhere

2) Refine the concept and put Apple's unique spin on it

3) Sue anyone who did anything remotely similar, and try to force them out of the market
That's why Apple sued Atari in the late 1980s when Atari first introduced its 520 and 1040ST computers: they were too much like Macs. (So much so, in fact, that for years you could buy a Mac emulator that you loaded with Mac PROMs; then your ST would run Mac software flawlessly.) These were among the first of Apples "look and feel" lawsuits. Atari was able to make some changes to the OS, though, which nullfied Apple's claims...not that it mattered, since Atari is a niche now.
This isn't the first time Apple built a new user interface based on the ideas of others, then sued competitors for using those same ideas. The graphical user interface now standard on desktop computers can be traced back to the invention of the mouse by SRI's Doug Engelbart in the 1960s. The ideas were refined at Xerox PARC in the 1970s, where Steve Jobs famously led a group of Apple engineers to visit in 1979. Five years later, Apple introduced the Macintosh. Those ideas then found a much larger audience.

Microsoft scrambled to catch up, releasing the first version of Windows in 1985. In 1988, Apple filed a lawsuit accusing Microsoft of stealing the "look and feel" of the Macintosh. Xerox got involved in 1989 with a lawsuit accusing Apple of stealing the ideas behind the Macintosh from Xerox researchers. The courts eventually ruled key user interface concepts behind the Macintosh were not copyrightable, removing the legal cloud that had hung over early GUIs.
1988 was about the time Atari was releasing the 520 and 1040ST computers. Interesting.

* * *

Judge rules according to islamic law, not US jurisprudence. Yes, an American judge, in America, rules that a muslim who attacked a man in a "zombie Mohammed" costume was not guity of assault and battery. "I’m a Muslim, I find it offensive. But you have that right, but you’re way outside your boundaries or first amendment rights." That's right: at least in Pennsylvania, you're not allowed to do anything that makes fun of islam any longer, because there's at least one judge who is a muslim and he won't punish people who break the law in the name of islam.

So much for "separation of church and state", I guess. Well, after all, it doesn't say "separation of mosque and state", does it?

* * *

So: gasoline prices have jumped 10% in the last week, and they've gone up 83% since Obama seized power in 2009.

Those dirty Republicans are playing politics with gas prices!

...Democrats never do that. That whole thing in 2007-2008, that was just a misunderstanding, that's all.

And naturally Democrats are accusing Republicans of wanting to drill, drill, drill, because of course the GOP wants nothing more than to increase our dependence on foreign oil.

--wait, where are we going to drill that will increase our dependence on foreign oil? That makes no sense whatsoever, but:
The Republican field, like Mitt Romney, thinks that we just need to remain tethered and dependent on foreign oil because all they would do is more and more drilling,...
Quoth Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is about as stupid as they get.

I saved this AoSHQ link from last night because of the Obama quote it contains.
You pay more, they’re licking their chops. You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plan for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense. Step one is to drill and step two is to drill and then step three is to keep drilling.
Yeah, and you know why? Because--gasp!--increasing supply will lower prices, that's why.

The Democrats and their supporters blame rising gas prices on "increased demand" yet they refuse to allow us to increase supply to offset the rise in demand. It would take too long, they say; the production capacity won't go on line for ten years and won't solve the current crisis, so there's no point to doing it. Yet if we'd started drilling ten years ago, the capacity would be on-line now and we wouldn't be facing this.

Democrats are always against increasing the energy supply because they don't want energy to be cheap. Cheap energy means less opportunity for government control. It means you can afford to drive your car wherever you want to; it means you don't have to take mass transportation to get where you want to go. Regimentation is the key to control, and nothing regiments people more than forcing them to pack themselves into buses and trains to get to work every day.

And you're not going to keep electing Democrats if you don't need government handouts.

* * *

We're starting to see the inflationary effect of the massive deficit spending, too. That's not helping matters one whit.

Keeping interest rates on the floor, though, is the only way the US government can avoid a serious budget crisis. It's why the Fed has kept the prime rate so low in the past decade; raising it would make the deficit (and the debt) skyrocket.

If the prime rate rises just one percent, the budget deficit will rise by $500 billion; a 1% rise in the prime rate represents (at present) about a 2x rise in the rate, and right now the federal government is spending about $500 billion per year on interest payments. And taxation can't rise significantly without an electoral bloodbath--so if there were a 1% rise in the prime rate this year, it would mean a projected deficit of $1,800 billion rather than the $1,300 billion that's currently expected.

The higher the interest rates go, the steeper the curve gets, and the sooner our economy shuts down. Rand Paul said "2027" was when government spending hit the 150% of GDP mark, at which point our economy ceases to function--but if interest rates rise, the crash comes sooner.

This is why your savings account garners a 0.34% interest rate. Meanwhile, the dollar is inflating 10% per year and your money gradually inflates into toilet paper. Given enough time your money will be worthless; and the closer we get to the economic singularity--we are already well inside its Schwartzchild radius--the faster we approach it.

* * *

Sun still not important to global warming according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Imagine a pre-Newtonian “scientist” predicting that a rock released into the air will waft away on the breeze on the grounds that we understand the force that the breeze imparts on the rock but we have no good theory of the mechanism by which heavy objects are pulled to the ground. We should therefore ignore the overwhelming evidence that there is some mechanism that pulls heavy objects to the ground, and until such time as we can identify the mechanism, proceed as if no such mechanism exists. This is what the IPCC is actually doing with the solar-climate evidence. Y’all aren’t scientists. You are actual, definitional, anti-scientists.
That sums it up nicely. Could not have said it better.

* * *

Richard Dawkins has taken the first--and biggest--step towards salvation. He's actually admitted that he can't prove that God doesn't exist.

* * *

Rubber Dolly is apparently a sci-fi book from the 1950s or 1960s, and I have to admit to being curious enough about it that I've put looking it up on Amazon onto my "to-do" list.

I won't pay much for it (assuming I can find it) but it ought to be good for a laugh or two. Just remember "you can't judge a book by its cover"; this might be an undiscovered literary masterpiece!

More likely it's just a dumb book about a sexbot. Either way--

* * *

Up too late last night, up too early today--I think it's naptime. As long as I get the shopping done before about 8 PM I'm good, so F it.

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