...why the morons are trying to put a satellite into a polar orbit is beyond me. Seems to me that if you're trying to put something in orbit (as a way of showing the world you've got an ICBM!) you launch eastward, not south--adding the Earth's rotation to your orbital velocity.
Oh--if the article is right (and longtime readers of the Fungus know how I feel about the way journalists cover technical matters) (or, rather, fail to) they were attempting a ballistic trajectory rather than an actual orbit:
A successful flight would have lasted about 10 minutes, with the rocket's third stage entering space somewhere above the Philippines and Indonesia, according to plans sent by North Korean space officials to international aviation and maritime authorities.If all you want to do is send a payload up a hell of a long way, and not actually insert it into a stable orbit, then it doesn't matter which way you fire it. You still don't want to fire it westward if you can help it--you'll lose altitude (and therefore range) since you need to make up for the Earth's rotation in the opposite direction--but otherwise it doesn't really matter.
Meanwhile, this makes North Korea zero for four; and out of the last three attempts, the
Well, after all, the people are sacrificing for their dear leader's aspirations to adequacy.
The article asks, "Why are they doing this when it's costing their people so much?"
...because the leaders get enough to eat and don't fucking care about the starving proles, that's why. What they care about is remaining in charge of the country, and retaining their power; they couldn't care less that it means there's chronic malnutrition and people are freezing in the dark. In fact, if the proles are starving, they spend so much time scrounging for anything to eat that they don't have time to think about revolting against the crushing oppression of the communist regime. And the guys in the military who are being well-fed, well--they're loyal to the regime, since the regime feeds them well enough that they're no longer starving.
Earth to morons: this is how leftism works. This is why Obama wants gas to cost $8 per gallon; it's politically advantageous to him and he will never, never, ever suffer from it the way the average person would. This is why Al Gore wants carbon to be a controlled substance even as he uses more fossil fuels than ten families combined. This is why so many "limosine liberals" will condemn you for driving a Hummer H2 and then get into their Gulfstream V for a quick weekend jaunt from LA to NYC.
(A Gulfstream V uses about 2,000 gallons of fuel on a single cross-country trip. A Hummer H2 uses about 2,000 gallons of fuel in its operational lifetime. There is always a reason I pick my examples carefully.)
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Obama won't ever suffer even if he had to start pumping his own gas tomorrow at $10 per gallon. The guy made $800,000 in 2011. That's on top of the $1.7 million he made in 2010 and the $5.5 million he got in 2009.
Obama is super-rich. Like all the elite douchebags in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, he has no idea what it's like to look at the balance in your checkbook and have to decide, "Okay, do I fill the gas tank and eat generic mac and cheese this week, or do I fill it halfway and only maybe make it until payday and get to buy some cheap hamburger to have with my mac and cheese?"
Maybe he had to do that during his college years. Everyone does that; there's nothing exceptional about it--and keeping your 20-year-old self, living in a college dorm, going on slodge food is not the same as trying to keep yourself, your spouse, and two kids housed, clothed, and fed on $35,000 per year. Especially when the super-rich man in the White House is actively trying to make everything more expensive through his idiotic and backward energy policy.
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And by the way, unemployment is up. Way to go, Obamanomics!
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One of the simple truths of human existence is that there is no job of a higher priority for women than bearing and raising children.
...please note that I am not saying that all women should be forced to remain "barefoot and pregnant". What I am saying is that our society places its emphasis incorrectly on women being "just as good as men".
There is a very, very long discourse on this that's percolated around in my brain for quite a long time, and I'm not about to pound out the entire thing right now, but I think I can deliver it gist of it in a few paragraphs.
This discourse got its start back when I was reading Gregory Benford's Artifact. The female lead of the book--an archaeologist--at one point talks about why she didn't bother to learn German: it was because, in German, she had to get married to be female. The German word for "unmarried female" gets the gender neutral pronoun, "das", where the word for "married woman" gets the female gender pronoun, "die".
...yeah, that's feminism in a nutshell, right there. They get awful worked up over mere words, because (the point is made in the book) that language influences thought, and vice-versa, and that meant German is sexist. (Or something.)
But she's looking at it wrong. ("...yeah, that's feminism...") There's a reason that English uses "he" for the generic case ("No one may enter the theater unless he buys a ticket!"). The same reason German says "das Maedchen" but "die Frau". It's actually the same reason that the Japanese celebrate a girl's first menstruation with a special dish; it's why men (used to) hold doors for women, stand up when women entered the room, and so on.
Because without women the race is dead.
"He" is the generic pronoun because women have a special one. If you don't know the sex of the person you're talking about, it defaults to "he" because "he" isn't special.
It's "Das Maedchen" because the word applies to all unmarried females, from age 0 to age [whatever], and it's rooted in the language that the best way to raise healthy and well-socialized children is for a woman and a man to be married. It implies that unmarried women are not for breeding.
The woman who gets huffy because a man holds a door for her is totally missing the point. It has nothing to do with the woman's capability; it has everything to do with her value as a baby making machine.
...feminists hate that. They hate babies; that shows in their ardent support for abortion. But all the (for lack of a better term) chivalrous displays that used to be part of etiquette for our culture descend from the fact that without women the race is dead and that no job a woman can do is more important than having babies.
Where we are right now, it's really not as important. There are plenty of babies born every year and the population of human beings is expanding. Sure, in parts of the world certain groups are contracting (white Europeans, for example, or the Japanese) but in general the overall population is growing. So, it's fine for those white Europeans to practice birth control and abortion and so forth. As long as the species survives it doesn't really matter what exact breeds continue to survive. (Or "races". Or "ethnicities". Whatev.) The human race could get along just fine if the entire caucasoid race was gone, or the entire negroid, or the entire mongoloid; but wipe out all three and we're just gone.
We were supposed to be horrified by the scene in Battlestar Galactica where President Roslyn decides to issue an executive order outlawing abortions. It was supposed to be sooo dystopian and horrible because look at how awful things are that even basic civil rights are being suspended!
...except I didn't see it that way. My reaction: "What the fuck, they've been on the run for how long, and they're only getting around to this now?"
When there are less than 50,000 people in the universe you throw "a woman's right to choose" right out the fucking airlock. That's an emergency. Not only do you outlaw abortions; you outlaw contraceptives and you make every woman of childbearing age have at least two or three children as soon as possible.
Every woman. It means that little miss Kara "Starbuck" Thrace has come to the end of her combat days, too, because her baby factory is much more important than her skill at flying a Viper. Whether she likes it or not. And the same thing goes for every other woman who's capable of having children. That one woman who kept flying recon missions until she died of radiation poisoning? Wouldn't happen. Women would be protected and men would do all the dangerous stuff.
(It can be argued, of course, that the "ragtag fleet" had limited facilities for supporting such an expansion of population. There are plenty of ways around that, but this ain't the place for me to bloviate on that issue. One rant at a time!)
...but see how that looks: "women would be protected". Looks kinda like...those "traditional customs" that feminism denounces, you know, where men stand up when a woman comes in, where men walk closest to the street, where men open doors and hold chairs and-and-and.
Unfortunately, the feminist crowd would have had a collective aneurysm if BsG had shown us how a post-apocalyptic civilization would actually behave, what policies and procedures they would actually pursue in order to ensure the survival of the human race.
Feminism is a luxury afforded to us by our successful civilization.
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BsG was pretty good SF, actually, considering the source. Better than most TV SF, in fact. But I don't feel the need to re-watch it. I prefer my SF to be promethean, and BsG was anything but.
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I like this theory. Actually, I say I "like" it, but in fact I think it's f-ing stupid.
"If we only collect garbage every other week, we'll have half as much trash going into the landfill!"
Oh, hey! If I apply that kind of thinking:
If I only pay my phone bill every other month, it'll cost me half as much!I suppose the people who came up with this idiocy are thinking that people will recycle more stuff if they have to hang onto their trash for an extra week, or something. I don't know.
If I only drive to places, instead of to and from them, I'll only use half as much gas!
If I only use one lung, I'll emit half as much carbon dioxide!
What I do know is that they're morons.
* * *
I managed to get the motorcycle out today to run a few errands--pay the water bill, pay the truck insurance (which should have been sent out last week; it was due yesterday--argh etc), and pick up tax forms at the library.
I ran the numbers last night, with actual data instead of estimates; now I need to transfer it to an actual form and quadruple check my math. Then I get to write a check to dear old Uncle Sam. *sigh*
I downloaded the forms and stuff from the IRS web site but I need to have the actual book in my hands to do this shit. It's overly complex and I'm not going to print out the whole f-ing book when I can make a trip to the library and pick up a copy that I've already paid for printing.
(I was going to say "...a copy for free". Then I remembered that everything government does is the opposite of "free"...hence the way I worded it.)
This is the first year I've had to pay taxes since...uh, 2008 ,I think...because of how life has been treating me. Well, also because of the decisions I've been making--like "take care of my parents as their health fails instead of finding a new career and developing it".
Though I had rather expected that hard work would be enough to convince Target Corp. that I was worth promoting; I figured that being a hard worker who showed up on time, did his job correctly without supervision, and eagerly sought out new roles and responsibilites was the way to advance. Pity I didn't get that "being So-and-so's new best friend" was actually the route to success there regardless of any other consideration.
Well, maybe next time.
Point being, thanks to my inheritance, this year I have to pay taxes; and what's more, in order to avoid paying IN EISENHOWER SILVER DOLLARS THROUGH THE URETHRA I have to itemize, which means using the long form and submitting Schedule A and-and-and.
I'm going to do a final check of my numbers either today or tomorrow. Monday is the filing deadline, so I will go to the bank on Monday and actually withdraw the funds to write the check, and mail it then.
* * *
Finally, the worst of the worst.
I got my invite to the beta release of Mists of Pandaria (the upcoming WoW expansion) and eagerly went to install it. Once it hit "playable" status--I didn't wait for the whole thing as the download is a whopping 15 gigabytes!--I tried it out.
...and while I was able to get to the character creation screen, the client was disconnecting me as soon as I hit the "finish" button.
The new toon creation system is pretty nice, though. Instead of making you click through each hairstyle, for example, you're presented with a grid of thumbnails showing you each available style--and when you rotate the figure in the main frame, the thumbnails rotate too.
The support forum for the beta had at least three threads about this problem; none had any official response from Blizzard. Way to go.
We're down to a bit more than a month until Diablo III. I hope it doesn't suck.