atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3656: Patching the human genome

Got a bug in your genetic code? Just fix it! What could go wrong?

...I don't think we're going to have people turning into human/fly hybrids or anything. This is actually quite exciting--being able to patch bad genes could revolutionize how we treat genetic disorders.

It is probably true (as Heinlein once asserted) that someday, the only reason people will die is due to accident or murder; anything and everything else will be treatable.

* * *

So will the media report unemployment as going down, or going up? Obamacare is set to reduce all kinds of low-wage jobs to "part time only" status. If you have a certain number of man-hours to fill and can only give each employee 29 hours of work per week, then you need more employees.

Ha! It's a trick question. The answer is, "It depends on who wins the election tomorrow!" Because if it's Romney, U6 will return to being the most important unemployment statistic because "there are more jobs, but they're low-quality McJobs and wages earned have fallen." If it's Obama, U3 will remain the most important number, and "the economy is continuing to improve because more people are working!"

* * *

EPA plans to make coal power much more expensive after this month. New coal regulations will be released by the Obama-controlled EPA at the end of this month, and these regulations will make electricity more expensive in the United States. (Probably a lot more expensive.)

...contrary to the article's assertions, though, I don't see Romney doing much of anything to contain the EPA.

* * *

So let's talk, again, about bullying.

Longtime readers of the Fungus know what the solution is to bullying in school-age kids: let the bullied kid fight back, and let him fight back hard. Bullies are opportunistic; if you feed a bully a few of his own teeth he'll find other people to pick on. Even if you come out on the short end of the stick in the fight, the bully will stop bothering you, because he doesn't actually want a fight; he just wants you to be afraid of him, and if you're clearly not, he's not getting what he wants.

I'm also going to point out--again--that the public school system did not regard bullying as a problem until gay kids were encouraged to be openly gay and achieved "protected" status. Prior to that, the victims of bullying were just asking for it by reacting to it, and that if they would just learn how to ignore the bullies, the bullying would stop. Yeah.

So now, suddenly, bullying is a huge problem, and Something Must Be Done.

Advice Goddess discusses anti-bullying programs and how they're almost completely ineffective. And they're almost completely ineffective because--like most programs--they can only work in the liberal world of make-believe.

This is why anti-bullying programs fail to work: Bully breaks kid's arm, and is still in school.

Do you remember the video of that kid being bullied, who tries to walk away and tries to avoid confrontation...and then--after several minutes--picks up the bully and bodily slams him into the ground, breaking his leg? Remember that? Remember what happened to that kid after he'd had enough of being bullied?

He got suspended. His response was "disproportionate" or "inappropriate" or any of a thousand other dry words.

Except for the fact that it wasn't.

The way things used to work, after the bully got his clock cleaned, the principal would say to him, "What did you think was going to happen, picking on a guy so much bigger than you?" There'd be a shake of the head, a sigh, "Boys will be boys," and perhaps the two boys would have to serve some token punishment for fighting.

But by suspending the victim for fighting back, you send a powerful, powerful message to bullies: "Hey, guys! You can do whatever you want to people, and as long as you don't get caught in the act you won't be punished at all. Even better, if anyone fights back he'll get punished for it! Think of how much fun you can have!"

So in the example I've linked today, the bully that broke that kid's arm should have been suspended--but of course he hasn't been. But the same administrators who say, "Well, there isn't anything we can do" about the bully's actions will come down hard on the victim who defends himself. I can guaran-god-damn-tee that if that kid had not been knocked down hard enough to break his arm, but had instead given the bully a black eye and a fat lip, he'd have been expelled. Because we must not have any violence in our schools, oh no! least, not violence committed in self-defense.

* * *

Mark Steyn talks about hurricane Sandy and its effect on the east coast, specifically the power grid:
Meanwhile, FEMA rumbles on, the "emergency management agency" that manages emergencies, very expensively, rather than preventing them. Late on the night Sandy made landfall, I heard on the local news that my state's governor had asked the president to declare a federal emergency in every New Hampshire county so that federal funds could be "unlocked." A quarter-million people in the Granite State were out of power. It was reported that, beyond our borders, 8 million people in a dozen states were out of power.

But that's not an "emergency." No hurricane hit my county. Indeed, no hurricane hit New Hampshire. No hurricane hit "17 states," the number of states supposedly "affected" by Sandy at its peak. A hurricane hit a few coastal counties of New Jersey, New York and a couple of other states, and that's it. Everyone else had slightly windier-than-usual wind – and yet they were out of power for days. In a county entirely untouched by Sandy, my office manager had no electricity for a week. Not because of an "emergency" but because of a decrepit and vulnerable above-the-ground electrical distribution system that ought to be a national embarrassment to any developed society. A few weeks ago, I chanced to be in St. Pierre and Miquelon, a French colony of 6,000 people on a couple of treeless rocks in the North Atlantic. Every electric line is underground. Indeed, the droll demoiselle who leads tours of the islands makes a point of amusingly drawing American visitors' attention to this local feature.
The power problem on the east coast comes from a couple of simple causes.

First, generating capacity. How long has it been since a new power plant has been built on the east coast that does not require gas or oil to run? Coal and nuclear are the most energy-dense sources of electricity we have. You can run up a gas- or oil-fired plant pretty quickly, and they do the job, but the fuel costs are volatile (to put it charitably) and every new consumer of them builds in a price increase. Besides, it takes several such plants to take the place of one big coal or nuclear station.

Stupid environmental rules and NIMBY morons ensure that the east coast has no reserve generating capacity, particularly in summer months; this makes the power grid susceptible to cascade failures. So New Hampshire loses power even though it experiences moderate winds, because New York and New Jersey got hit by a hurricane.

Second, the power grid is antiquated. But it's not the government's purview to do anything about that; the wires and the poles are owned by the various power companies, and it's their job to upgrade that shit. They are the ones who don't get paid when the kilowatts stop flowing; they are the ones who must maintain and service the physical equipment that makes and distributes the electrons.

If ComEd wanted to switch my neighborhood over to underground wires, it would be an enormous undertaking requiring buy-in from everyone in the neighborhood, and besides installing all-new equipment they'd have to remove and replace a lot of fencing and landscaping to boot. Even though the actual power equipment is on easements, it would still require changes on non-eased property, else you still have wires dangling from poles, if only to get the power to the houses.

Now multiply that by all the houses all over the country--it's not a trivial problem.

On the other hand--the $6 trillion in new debt the government's taken on since Obama was sworn in? That would have paid to upgrade our power system several times over.

* * *

Karl Denninger discusses power, global warming, and Sandy. Of course Bloomberg and his liberal ilk insist that hurricane Sandy was an unprecedented disaster Because Global Warmenging</i> and if you disagree, shut up.

Inconvenient truth: in 1950 there were three storms, each individually worse than Sandy, which hit the east coast up by NY. 1950 was before global warmging was invented.

(Yeah, I'm intentionally mangling "warming". Live with it.)

Other inconvenient truth: human carbon emissions account for 4% of the total annual carbon budget of Earth's biosphere. If that causes climate instability then the climate wasn't stable to begin with. (Hint: it doesn't, but the climate has changed constantly since there was one.)

(Third inconvenient truth: Borepatch has a post about polling data, but in it is an example of what global warmingengiiists have done to the data to "prove" it's taking place.)

* * *

Michael Flynn discusses "the Long Island Express", a hurricane that came to NYC in 1938.

* * *

Munchkin gamers. I was one, once upon a time, when I was of the appropriate age: 14. As were my friends, because you can't do this kind of thing in a vacuum.

But when it was time for me to put away such foolish things, I deliberately stripped out 95% of the stuff my characters had--after all, who needs two Wands of Orcus?--and they were still too powerful to play in-game any longer. In fact, any one of our D&D characters could have ruled the world with an iron fist and been completely unassailable for centuries. These guys defeated Asmodeus before breakfast, and then spent afternoons casually whipping the pants off Acererak. "Where are you off to today?" "Oh, just taking a casual stroll to the Barrier Peaks. I'll be back before dinner."


We had fun, though, and our hyper-powerful antics harmed no one. Eventually I got tired of "go into a hole in the ground, beat up monsters, take their stuff" paradigm, but I couldn't figure out what was wrong and ended up drifting away from RPGs. Perhaps a dozen years after I first picked up polyhedron dice, I learned how actually to play a role-playing game, and got back into them.

I've hardly played any tabletop games at all since moving back here in 2004, and that's a shame. Oh well.

* * *

Predicted low tonight: 25°. It's barely above 40 outside right now.

Had trouble sleeping again last night; after I got to bed everything was fine until I was just about asleep, at which point I got a powerful itch in a tender spot. I had to get up and hit the can again, but I'd cleaned up properly after my last "constitutional", so I have no idea why that was itching.

But then my stomach started aching, and that kept me awake for a while longer. Eventually I fell asleep, but I did not sleep very well; and today my stomach and gut are cramping and there are, shall we say, other symptoms. *sigh*

* * *

Yesterday I made, for the first time, stuffed green peppers; and they came out very well for a first effort, from scratch, with no recipe.

Standard meatloaf for the stuffing: ground beef, minced onion, garlic, and celery; bread crumbs and an egg. Salt and pepper. Green peppers, washed and cored, filled with meat--to my surprise, one pound of meat filled three largish peppers quite nicely--and put into the oven for 45 minutes at 325°.

Next time? 350°, probably 50 minutes or even an hour, and they'll be fine. The green pepper was a bit underdone, so it was still a bit crispy. The meat--well, my meatloaf recipe is probably better suited to meatballs as it comes out a bit squishy; next time I might perforate the bottom of the pepper to let some of the juices run out. Maybe add another egg in hopes of firming up the texture a bit. Still, it all tasted very good.

Roasted garlic potato buds and green beans with balsamic vinegar--pretty much the standard side dishes around here because they're easy to make and taste good.

* * *

Kodomo no Jikan has not updated since July, hence it has been placed on the "stagnant" list.

I had thought--hoped--that once school season started up again, there'd be more of it, but it's just not happening. It doesn't take much to remain on the "active" list here, but not updating for more than three months is beyond the pale.

Pity, because this is one of the really good ones.

* * *

17 days until Thanksgiving. *whimper*

* * *

Lemonzen asked me, "Is Jon channeling the Horseman?" The headless Horseman makes his appearance in WoW around Halloween; he sets fire to various towns (Goldshire and a few others Alliance side; Razor Ridge and a few others on Horde side) and says these stupid rhyming taunts as he does.

Anyway he has this laugh he does, this diabolical insane laugh. Apparently it's catching.

* * *

Bleah--digestive tract hurts, will to live fading....

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