Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What About The Aliens?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

As I’ve written previously, I believe that the two most important things we need to establish on Mars are potatoes and miniature pigs. Why? Because bacon-wrapped tater tots. On Mars. But I am forced to admit that there are other crops that need to be planted:

https://nypost.com/2017/11/27/budweiser-is-on-a-mission-to-bring-beer-to-mars/

But first, beer.

Budweiser recently announced that they’ll be sending 20 barley seeds to the International Space Station to figure out how well the beer-making ingredient will fare in the microgravity environment.

The seeds will be included in SpaceX’s upcoming cargo supply mission, which is scheduled to launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on December 4.

After orbiting in space for approximately 30 days, the seeds will return to Earth to be analyzed.

ASIDE: https://www.youtube.com/user/spacexchannel If you’re not subscribed or at least aware of the SpaceX channel, you just might be reading the wrong blog. Just saying.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled blog:

Budweiser? I’m not any sort of beer drinker, but even I know that Bud is swill. When (and not if) we attract the attention of other space-faring beings, do we want Earth to be represented by such stuff? I mean, we’re supposed to be doing that “Muslim outreach” crap; what about enrolling a decent German brewery for this?

First impressions count, you know.

Yet Another Day Ending in “Y”

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Gentle Readers, I do hope you’re not tired of me ragging on NA$A, because I’m sure not, not even close:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/nasas-next-flagship-telescope-is-not-executable-in-its-current-form/

First came the Hubble Space Telescope. Now, NASA is finalizing development of the James Webb Space Telescope for launch in 2019. And finally, the space agency is beginning to design and develop its next great space telescope, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, or WFIRST.

This instrument will have a primary mirror of 2.4 meters (7.87 feet), the same size as the Hubble’s, and be designed to hunt for dark energy and spy on exoplanets. Although similar in size to Hubble, the WFIRST telescope’s infrared instrument would have a field of view that is 100 times greater than the Hubble, allowing it to observe much more of the sky in less time. It was also supposed to carry a special coronagraph, which could block the light of stars and allow astronomers to observe exoplanets directly.

Sounds pretty cool, right? But you forgot that this is NA$A, didn’t you?

But a new report—released without fanfare on the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday—-

Released at a time when nobody would notice, I see. There’s a reason that I advocate taking people out and hanging them, you know.

…calls into question the viability of the project. “The risks to the primary mission of WFIRST are significant and therefore the mission is not executable without adjustments and/or additional resources,” the report states. It estimated the cost of the project at $3.9 billion to $4.2 billion, significantly above the project’s $3.6 billion budget.

Adjustments? Is it too much to hope that one of the definitions of “adjustments” includes public floggings? And just what is it with these cost overruns? See, I had an allowance when I was little, about eight. It ended by the time I was ten, and it never occurred to me, not even once, to ask for any more than what I was given to begin with. Honestly, I just don’t understand people who are given a pile of somebody else’s money and then think that they can burn through it and then ask for more.

And just for the record, the Hubble Space Telescope for which the WFIRST is an add-on was launched in 1990, twenty-seven years ago. Lest you think this was an example of NA$A getting it right, recall that they had to send up a mission to fix the mirror because it had been ground to the wrong shape to focus properly.

But that’s just the preamble. Here’s the good part:

It also offered a scathing review of the relationship between NASA headquarters and the telescope’s program managers at Goddard Space Flight Center. “The NASA HQ-to-Program governance structure is dysfunctional and should be corrected for clarity in roles, accountability, and authority,” the report states.

I’m seeing neither “flogging” nor “hanging” in there, but a fella can hope.

Might I Make a Suggestion?

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5118563/Navy-wants-small-warships-pack-bigger-punch.html

The Navy’s fast-and-maneuverable littoral combat ship was criticized for lacking enough firepower and armor to survive a maritime battle.

The Navy is addressing those concerns with a new class of small-but-powerful frigates that will pack a bigger punch.

The Navy asked this month for concept proposals for multi-mission warships that would be bigger and more heavily armed – and slower – than the littoral combat ships.

They would be capable of shooting down airplanes, attacking other ships and countering submarines.

Fellas? While you’re at it, how about introducing a double turret for your current 5-inch guns? Or maybe look into that slick Swedish (IIRC) 8-inch rifle? If you’re going to be operating close inshore, the Marines that you’re supposed to be supporting would really appreciate some on-call artillery until they can get their own batteries set up.

Just a suggestion.

Birthday Boy

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

Deathwalker, the young Lord, is two years old.

In repose

Lizzerd Patrol

Norwegians don’t stop growing until they’re five, so he’s not done yet.

Pearls, Clutched

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/25/black-friday-posts-new-single-day-record-gun-checks-more-than-200-000/894706001/

In all, the FBI fielded 203,086 requests on Black Friday, up from the previous single-day highs of 185,713 last year and 185,345 in 2015. The two previous records also were recorded on Black Friday.

Some of the comments are pretty funny as well.

Consistency

Friday, November 24th, 2017

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/cornyn-bill-nix-pay-federal-overseers-dont-report-gun-background-check-system/

WASHINGTON – Following a mass shooting that killed 26 at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced legislation last week that would penalize political appointees who fail to meet the standards of the FBI’s criminal background check system, among other reforms.

Not that this is a good thing, but if you’re going to have such an affront on the books, you might as well do it right. I suppose it’s too much to hope that a later revision will mandate drawing and quartering for those who fail to do this right.

So, that “among other reforms” thing:

David Kopel, a leading Second Amendment scholar who works as an associate policy analyst at the Cato Institute and research director at the Independence Institute, said in a recent interview that the legislation, which he said would improve the background check system, has a realistic chance of passing.

However, he said the bill does nothing to solve other problems with the background check database, specifically the issue of “false positives” that prevent valid access to guns. A false positive could mean lengthy delays or an inability to purchase firearms for eligible individuals, which Kopel said “can be harmful for their life and self-defense.”

Kopel also argued for re-enabling a restoration of rights program, which could mean gun access for felons who have had clean records for long periods of time.

This is possibly the most important part of this bill. Don’t get me wrong here: being stupid should be painful, but once you’ve served your time, you should be made whole again, and suffering a permanent loss of Rights cannot possibly be in line with the intent of the Founders. Mr. Kopel continues:

The Cornyn bill is considered an extension of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which included a process for restoration of rights. That process allows a person to petition the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which can use its discretion to restore firearms possession rights. However, that system has been defunded by appropriations riders since 1993.

That’s two Dem Administrations, two Republican ones, another two Dem ones and the current GOP one. I’m starting to think that hanging is too good for these guys.

That Time of Year

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

I went to Wal-Mart today to get those new shrimp flavored cat treats (which are very extremely popular), some light bulbs, and to replace the now dead paper-shredder.

After I paid for everything and headed for the door, there she was: the receipt checker. I don’t know about you, but down here in Florida this only happens during the holidays. I didn’t pay her any mind and headed outside, but she called me over and asked to see my receipt.

Me: “Sure, show me your FDLE (Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement) certification and a properly executed search warrant, and I’d be happy to.”

Her: “Ummm….”

Me: “See, I’ve paid for this, and now it’s mine, and I decline to let anyone search it without proper authorization.”

Her: “Go on ahead, sir, and have a nice day.”

Me: “You too, ma’am. And by the way, you’re putting yourself in legal jeopardy by doing this, and you should tell your managers to not make you do this.”

So that was my day. How was yours?

Truth

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Can’t argue with that.

Well, Umm, Maybe

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

We all howled when the last administration tasked NA$A with some “muslim outreach”, for any number of very good reasons. Now comes this, which might actually be a good idea:

http://www.grubstreet.com/2017/11/united-arab-emirates-unveils-plan-to-grow-lettuce-on-mars.html

The UAE, a country where millions live off desalinated ocean water, says its next survival challenge will be figuring out how to grow fruits and vegetables on the surface of Mars. Obscene amounts of money are being invested by its space agency on a massive facility where they’ll use their desert mastery to cultivate lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and dates in their own backyard — which, they’ve realized, isn’t so different from Mars. The plan was announced at this week’s Dubai Airshow, where officials posed the very legitimate question of who, besides them, the space industry could trust to potentially blow millions on a big Matt Damon Martian lab?

In its pitch, the UAE Space Agency explained the similarities “between Mars and the desert,” adding $5.5 billion has been funneled into the nation’s colonization program to date. Construction on the desert facility — called Mars Science City, near Dubai — has already begun, and it constitutes one of Earth’s biggest interplanetary projects. Almost 2 million square feet, it’s expected to cost around $150 million, and is literally supposed to simulate being inside a Mars colony. Researchers will live under a series of domes that also house laboratories devoted to agriculture (among other things). Officials say they picked lettuce and those two fruits because scientists have already established those types of produce might work on the Red Planet, and then there’s the date palm “for its symbolic links with the region.”

Damn and blast it, they have a point, don’t they?

Whatever they accomplish, it had better not interfere with the important thing: bacon-wrapped tater tots. On Mars.

Stand Back, They’re Digging a Nice Hole

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

And when OPFOR is digging themselves a hole, the last thing you want to do is to stop them:

http://reason.com/blog/2017/11/16/minor-violations-lead-to-massive-prosecu

Minor Violations Lead to Massive Prosecution Fees in Two California Desert Towns

A couple of cities in the California desert have found a novel and remarkably cruel way to make money—force citizens to pay for the privilege of being prosecuted by the attorneys contracting with these cities.

We’ve seen cities across the country abuse their own citizens—particularly its poorest residents and visitors—with vicious enforcement of petty laws designed to create a revenue stream via a cascade of fines and fees.

But I don’t think we’ve seen an enforcement mechanism as nasty and cruel as the one the Desert Sun* has uncovered out in California’s Inland Empire. The cities of Indio and Coachella partnered up with a private law firm, Silver & Wright, to prosecute citizens in criminal court for violations of city ordinances that call for nothing more than small fines—things like having a mess in your yard or selling food without a business license.

Those cited for these violations fix the problems and pay the fines, a typical code enforcement story. The kicker comes a few weeks or months later when citizens get a bill in the mail for thousands of dollars from the law firm that prosecuted them. They are forcing citizens to pay for the private lawyers used to take them to court in the first place. So a fine for a couple of hundred dollars suddenly becomes a bill for $3,000 or $20,000 or even more.

* http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/crime_courts/2017/11/15/he-confessed-minor-crime-then-city-hall-billed-him-31-k-his-own-prosecution/846850001/

COACHELLA, Calif. – When Cesar Garcia pulled the letter out of his mailbox, he immediately recognized the name of the law firm on the envelope – Silver & Wright. Eighteen months ago, they had dragged him to court, called him a criminal, cost him thousands of dollars and made his life hell. What did they want now?

Garcia opened the letter, prepared for the worst, but was still shocked by what he found inside.

The law firm had sent him a bill for $26,000.

When he protested, the price climbed to $31,000.

“I thought it was a mistake,” Garcia said. “But then they told me no. They said I had to pay.”

(…)

Garcia’s case may sound strange, but in the low-income cities of the eastern Coachella Valley, it is not. Empowered by the city councils in Coachella and Indio, the law firm Silver & Wright has repeatedly filed criminal charges against residents and businesses for public nuisance crimes – like overgrown weeds, a junk-filled yard or selling popsicles without a business license – then billed them thousands of dollars to recoup expenses. Coachella leaders said this week they will reconsider the criminal prosecutions strategy, but the change only came after defense attorneys challenged the city in court, saying the privatized prosecutors are forcing exorbitant costs on unsuspecting residents.

We’d never say such a thing out in public, but we have to admit that all our talk about Rule Of Law and Constitutional Observance hasn’t accomplished nearly as much as we wanted it to. But this is pure gold. Hit otherwise apathetic people in their wallets, and all of a sudden we’ll have their undivided attention. That this is happening in Kommiefornia is just icing on the cake. May these shenanigans spread to each and every blue state.