Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Papers, Please

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Blah, blah, blah. But’s here’s the funny part:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017 calls for a $19.5 billion budget for NASA — an increase from $19.3 billion in 2016 — and also asks that NASA create a plan for getting humans “near or on the surface of Mars in the 2030s.”

The 2030’s, huh? I can see it now: the overpriced and overengineered vehicle with “NA$A” painted on the sides gets into Mars orbit, only to be greeted by a local radio call: “This is Mars Base. Please prepare for our Customs Agents to board your craft for inspection. Make sure you have all your visa documents in order if you have any intention of going to the surface. Have a nice day.”


The Court Turned Upside Down

Monday, June 26th, 2017

(Revolutionary War reference. Are you sure you’re reading the right blog?)*/Article_2017-06-26-US–Supreme%20Court-Travel%20Ban/id-a69605bc87e9487c9f024ad553b03082

Trump travel ban partly reinstated; fall court arguments set

Unstated in this article is that this was a unanimous decision, hence this post’s title. It seems that the Justices actually remember that pesky Constitution thing once in awhile.

I’ll leave you to read the linked article at your leisure. What I thought justified the posting is that when actual adults get involved, adults who understand the enumerated powers of the Executive branch, suddenly the posturing of the lower Courts don’t really matter. Since the lower Courts are a creation of Congress, perhaps they might want to take a look at their creation. A pipe dream, I know. Just look at the mess that the revised version of Obamacare is shaping up to be, not to mention that the Hearing Protection Act is still buried in a committee somewhere, and them actually doing something to reform the robed mess that is the US Circuit Courts is highly unlikely. But a fellow can dream.

Oh Em Gee, Terrorists!

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Two top Australian government officials said Sunday that they will push for “thwarting the encryption of terrorist messaging” during an upcoming meeting next week of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of English-speaking nations that routinely share intelligence.

The move indicates that Canberra is now running ahead with what the FBI has dubbed “going dark” for several years now. This is the notion that with the advent of widespread, easy-to-use strong encryption on smartphones and other devices, law enforcement has been hindered. Many experts say, however, that any method that would allow the government access even during certain situations would weaken overall security for everyone.

According to a statement released by Attorney General George Brandis, and Peter Dutton, the country’s top immigration official, Australia will press for new laws, pressure private companies, and urge for a new international data sharing agreement amongst the quintet of countries.

Fuck off, mate. The chances that you won’t abuse this to spy on your citizens or use it for short-term political gain is zero. You cannot be trusted with this capability, as you’ve repeatedly shown.

“Within a short number of years, effectively, 100 per cent of communications are going to use encryption,” Brandis told Australian newspaper The Age recently. “This problem is going to degrade if not destroy our capacity to gather and act upon intelligence unless it’s addressed.”

Too damn bad. Maybe if you hadn’t used the power and authority you now posses to spy upon your citizens, we would be having a different conversation. But you did, and you can just fuck right off.

Oxymoron in Print

Monday, June 26th, 2017

After nine launches in 2017, it’s tough to be an honest critic of SpaceX

And here we have the oxymoron referenced in the title: “honest” critic? People who purport to criticize private space travel are anything but “honest”. Face it, NA$A, after having landed on the moon, has devolved into a work program for people with advanced science and engineering degrees. NA$A is nothing but a drain on our tax dollars, funding huge programs that by the time they’re launched (assuming they ever get to that point) end up costing far more than was approved and rely on outdated componentry. You’d be surprised at how many of their on-board computers are still using Pentium III processors.*

Everyone else? Satellite launches, China and India are starting to talk about landing machinery (not people) onto the moon, all stuff that we did fifty plus years ago.

“Honest critics”? Please don’t make me laugh. The only valid criticism that one might have is that SpaceX relies too heavily on Government support and funding, something that will fade in time as they get better at what they’re doing and more people realize what I’ve been hammering on for years: we need to get off this planet and remember what we humans excel at, which is exploration.

* I couldn’t find the article that claimed NA$A was using PIII CPUs. According to this link ( I may have been optimistic by several generations.

See also this:

I kinda think that the solution here is somewhat similar to the writing instrument thing (NA$A $pent millions developing the Fisher Space Pen and the Ivans simply used pencils). You install a box, thickly lined with lead, and fill it with off-the-shelf tablets. You use the one you have until some gamma radiation kills it, say a few Bad Words, and then grab the next one out of the box. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

This will be solved. Remember: Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base happened in a single lifetime.

Keep It Up, Guys

Monday, June 26th, 2017

(This first quote isn’t relevant to my point, but it certainly bears reading)

Everything anyone has ever said about staying safe while interacting with the police is wrong. That citizens are told to comport themselves in complete obeisance just to avoid being beaten or shot by officers is itself bizarre — an insane inversion of the term “public servant.” But Philando Castile, who was shot five times and killed by (now former) Officer Jeronimo Yanez, played by all the rules (which look suspiciously like the same instructions given to stay “safe” during an armed robbery). It didn’t matter.

Onto the meat of the article:

To “win” at killing citizens, you must start the spin immediately. Yanez spun his own, speaking to a lawyer less than two hours after killing Castile. Local law enforcement did the same thing. Documents obtained by Tony Webster show Special Agent Bill O’Donnell issued a warrant to Facebook for “all information retained” by the company on Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend. This was to include all email sent or received by that account, as well as “chat logs,” which presumably means the content of private messages. The warrant also demands any communications that may have been deleted by Reynolds, as well as metadata on photos or videos uploaded to Facebook. It came accompanied with an indefinite gag order.

Why would law enforcement want (much less need) information from the victim’s girlfriend’s Facebook account? It appears officers were looking to justify the killing after the fact. The following sworn statement was contained in the affidavit:

Your affiant is aware through training and expertise that individuals frequently call and/or text messages to each other regarding criminal activity during and/or after and [sic] event has occurred.

I don’t know which is worse: the digging for dirt so as to discredit both the dead guy and his girlfriend, or the attempt to keep this abhorrent behavior (by way of the “indefinite” gag order) from our eyes.

I’m no fan of Facebook, but they did the right thing, for once:

The only upside — and it’s incredibly small given the surrounding circumstances — is Facebook refused to hand over the information on the grounds that the indefinite gag order was unconstitutional. Faced with this pushback, Minnesota police withdrew the warrant. But in the end, Yanez was acquitted and Philando Castile is still dead — a man who did nothing more than try to comply with an officer’s orders.

That “us vs. them” mentality is working out great, fellas. Just wait until you’ve pissed off enough of us and we decide that respecting the uniform is a self-imposed death sentence and we start to act accordingly.

HA Ha!!!

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

A perfect, almost textbook example of “Alinsky-ing” the people for whom Rules for Radicals were written. This is Rule #4, for those of you keeping score at home:

4.”Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

This is why, no matter what organization you’re aligned with, that when somebody starts pontificating about “who we are vs. who they are”, they need to be taken out and buried in the nearest ditch.

Long Past Time

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

WASHINGTON – Facing a Justice Department seeking to crack down on medical marijuana jurisdictions, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and a group of bipartisan lawmakers on Thursday reintroduced legislation that would allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies free from the threat of federal prosecution.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May asked that Congress eliminate protections for medical marijuana users and proprietors in legal states, so that the department could crack down on illegal activity and combat dangerous drug traffickers in the midst of a historic drug epidemic. Sessions in his May 1 letter to leaders in both chambers asked lawmakers to remove the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which bars DOJ from spending appropriated funds to prosecute medical marijuana users and proprietors in legal states.

“Dangerous drug traffickers’? Stop your efforts to criminalize the stuff, and you’ll see the disappearance of those so-called ‘dangerous drug traffickers”.

The War on Drugs has been an abject failure, and it’s high (SWIDT? Heh) time we gave it up. I know that there are plenty of folks who think that all prohibitions should be removed, but I’m not one of them. There are any number of substances whose use results in bad acts by those who have become addicted, so some level of restriction should be upheld. How much? I not only don’t know, but I cannot hazard a guess as to how that would be structured, other than my certainty that the Gummint will abuse that power, however circumscribed.

Let’s also not forget that drug prohibition is something far outside the Federal Government’s ambit, if you look that that pesky Constitution thingy. One of many areas in which the mandarins have imposed their will upon us. Also remember that the States are, at least on paper, sovereign. Sure, there are areas where the Feds should impose themselves so that we all get treated the same, but they went right past that decades ago. Keeping the Feds away from people’s bongs is a small, necessary step. Then we can go on to the next thing. Not to mention it gives something for Congress to do, and as long as they’re talking sense like this, it helps to prevent us from hanging them. Win-win.

Dog Bites Man

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

(Warning: dreaded auto-play torture!)

So I endured the video that ABC just had to show me, and there’s nothing “suspected” there. I’d say they were the real thing. Here’s the funny part:

Police are trying to determine how the artifacts entered Argentina.

I’m sure they’re also still wondering how all those Nazis got into Argentina, too.

That’s One Way to “Petition the Government”

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie and 23 other GOP lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill responding to the congressional baseball practice shooting that would allow individuals with concealed carry permits from other states to carry guns in the District of Columbia.

While the baseball practice shooting took place in Virginia, a state that already has a gun reciprocity law, the sponsors of the bill argue that it is the District’s law that prevented lawmakers and staff from being armed during practice since they were traveling to and from Washington.

This doesn’t sound all that promising, I know. But read this part:

Loudermilk is one of the 23 initial co-sponsors of Massie’s bill, which would extend reciprocity in D.C. to any individual with a valid conceal carry permit from their home state, not just members of Congress.

“Our reaction should instead be to protect the right of all citizens guaranteed in the Constitution: the right to self-defense,” Massie said in a statement. “I do not want to extend a special privilege to politicians, because the right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege, it is a God-given right protected by our Constitution.”

Should this go through over the shrieks of “Dodge City” and “gunfights over parking spaces”, and of course the ever popular “think of the chilllldren!!!”, the lack of the aforementioned will be a boost to the national reciprocity movement.

I wonder if that murderous Bernie Bro would’ve done what he did if he knew that this was going to be the reaction from his victims. What am I saying? Long-term thinking from a leftie?

Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots. On Mars.

Friday, June 16th, 2017

The full article is here:


Spacex is estimating they wil be able to achieve $140,000 per ton for the trips to Mars. If a person plus their luggage is less than that, taking into account food consumption and life support, the cost of moving to Mars could ultimately drop below $100,000.

Cost will be brought down 5 million percent with
* fully reusable rocket
* orbital refueling
* Propellent production on Mars
* CH4 / O2 DEEP-CRYO Methalox fuel

The Spacex ITS (Interplanetary Transport Systme) rocket booster is really a scaled-up version of the Falcon 9 booster. There are a lot of similarities, such as the grid fins and clustering a lot of engines at the base. The big differences are that the primary structure is an advanced form of carbon fiber as opposed to aluminum lithium, we use autogenous pressurization, and we get rid of the helium and the nitrogen.

Spcex has been able to optimize the propellant needed for boost back and landing to get it down to about 7% of the lift-off propellant load. With some optimization, maybe we can get it down to about 6%.

Spacex is now getting quite comfortable with the accuracy of the landing of rockets. With the addition of maneuvering thrusters, they think they can actually put the booster right back on the launch stand. Then, those fins at the base are essentially centering features to take out any minor position mismatch at the launch site.

If you haven’t already, go and watch the videos of the first stage landing. Trust me, it never gets old. I only hope that this gets going before my bones get too brittle to withstand the g-forces involved in takeoff.

(Reference for the post title here: