atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3414: Whoever made that decision should be fired.

I'm talking about this story where police in Aurora, Colorado stopped and detained 19 innocent people who happened to be passing through an intersection.

See, there was a bank robbery, and they had no description of the suspects, but they knew what direction they'd gone--so they shut down this intersection, got all the people out of their cars, handcuffed them, and searched the cars.

As soon as the cops finished searching the car, the owner was un-handcuffed...but not allowed to leave, so these people were held against their will without cause for two hours.

Jackbooted thug much?

* * *

*sob* Democracy died tonight! *sob sob whaaa*

...because Scott Walker won the recall vote in Wisconsin, democracy is dead.

Steven Den Beste linked the metafilter thread about the election and there's some mighty fine schadenfreude to be had from that one.

Ace: "MSNBC Sh**s The Bed On Recall Coverage". Heh.

WND: "Media humiliated over election coverage".

* * *

Weer'd has this "gun death?" category that he posts a lot in--where he talks about stories in which there are fatal incidents that do not involve firearms.

It's meant to showcase how the anti-rights folks in the gun control movement don't care about human life but about banning guns.

Most of the time I read his posts on the subject, nod in agreement, and carry on--but this one is about a moron riding a motorcycle and injuring a kid while popping a wheelie.

I am never impressed by someone doing a wheelie on a motorcycle. Do you know the last time a wheelie impressed me?

1974. I was eight.

If you pop a wheelie in traffic, I don't think you're cool or skilled; I think you're a moron. I think you're an idiot because you've taken your vehicle out of its safe operating envelope, into a regime where a slight mistake in balance can kill you or someone else. I don't think you're cool, because getting a two-wheeled vehicle to pop a wheelie is a trivial exercise; a 10-year-old can do it on his bicycle with nothing more than his leg muscles.

Somewhere around the Internet, not long ago, I saw a news video which included a helmet cam clip of a total retard zooming his bike to over 200 MPH...and the first hundred MPH was done on one wheel. On a public road.

There's no excuse for that. None.

So there's this case, where you have a shit-for-brains kid (25, but he acts like a kid) who has committed multiple offenses, even to being sentenced to a year's probation for riding without a license--and has been cited for not having his bike insured. The guy is completely irresponsible, and his riding behavior has been demonstrated to be equally irresponsible by all the convictions and the revocation of his license and the continued riding even after his license was taken away--and not only has he continued to ride his bike, but he's continued to ride it like a total asshat to boot. Hopefully this time he'll get some actual jail time instead of probation. WTF.

* * *

Fuel efficient cars mean fewer gallons of fuel sold, which means declining state revenues; and that means "new taxes"! Because government can never make do with less money, ever.

And the idea of tracking my every move? They can kiss my ass. I won't do it. I won't buy a car equipped with the necessary hardware and if they install it I'll find a way to make sure it doesn't work. Shit.

* * *

Obamanomics is working perfectly! If by "perfectly" you mean "duplicating the Great Depression".

* * *, this isn't a new idea.

Clarke had just such a spacedrive in Songs of Distant Earth and I'm not entirely sure it wasn't already an old idea then. (Spoiler alert: full synopsis of the book at that link.)

That novel was a pretty compelling one, IMHO. It also led me to look into quantum vacuum energy, and I wsa stunned to learn it was real, that in physics textbooks it was discussed by its other name, "the Casimir Effect".

Robert Forward (I think it was Forward) worked out a way to extract miniscule amounts of energy from a quantum vacuum system, but we haven't really figured out ways to extract industrial (or even useful) quantities of energy from a QV system.

What this smart young lady may have patented is a method by which one may actually extract useful energy from it--but she hasn't discovered anything new.

...and since the articles are written by journalists there is absolutely no useful information in them on what or how, or even how much.

* * *

The ennui of last night has dissipated, and I woke up feeling enormously better. Usually when I get into that mood I'm just tired, and last night was no exception; the exception was my inability to sleep. Thrillsville.

After getting to bed far too late in the morning I slept until about 3:30, and woke up feeling as if I'd been subjected to the Vietnamese shot-filled-hose treatment. So then I sit down here with a ham-and-cheese bagel to do my bloggeratin', and spend two hours on surfing, reading, and commenting--and still the grass needs cutting.

When I went to tech school, one of the ideas I had in mind was to build a grass cutting robot. I had envisioned something that had to be trained once, but afterwards would repeat the same path and flawlessly cut the grass.

This was 1990, and the required hardware would have cost about ten thousand dollars. And it would not have worked very well, for a variety of reasons.

The biggest stumbling block was keeping the damned thing on course. GPS was still "detuned" for civilian use at the time (and isn't accurate enough even now for what I'd need). Inertial navigation is all well and good until something gets out of whack; then the thing's just as likely to mow down your neighbor's dog as to steer around your petunias. Ditto for counting the turns of the wheels.

The best idea I had was corner reflectors at strategic locations...and that simply won't do, because if some kid comes along and thinks, "This is neat; I'll take it!" suddenly your lawn mower gets lost, rolls out into traffic, and gets smashed into scrap by a garbage truck. Even if a neighborhood kid doesn't take one, they'll get dirty, or the grass will grow around it, or-or-or--

I just couldn't figure out a way to make the system work. The best idea I've had so far is an "electronic fence", like they use for dog collars; bury a cable around the perimeter of your property and then let the damned robot do whatever it feels like doing, as long as it stays inside the "fence". This means you still have to take a manual mower around the outside edge of your property but it's a damned sight easier than anything else.

But I don't think it would reliably cut all the grass, and there we have our problem. It starts getting into nitty-gritty details like sensing the height of the grass, and recently-cut versus not-cut, and so forth, and pretty soon there are about half a dozen sensors that I have to find ways to keep in calibration so the thing doesn't try to mow your trees (or bushes), and--

--and then I say, "To hell with it! It's easier just go out and cut it myself." Which I'm going to do now.

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