Self Explanatory

April 24th, 2017

Another Step in the Right Direction

April 24th, 2017

Knife Rights’ bipartisan Texas Knife Law Reform Bill, HB 1935, that would repeal the ban on ALL “illegal knives” in Texas statutes, has passed out of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee by a unanimous vote and is now headed to the Calendars Committee. HB 790, the other knife law reform bill that only repeals the ban on daggers, also passed out of the Committee.

H.B. 1935 pretty much removes the term “illegal knife” from Texas statutes, while adding specifics about knives as applies to the expulsion of students in Texas schools.

I’m less than thrilled about the part concerning the expulsion of students, but I understand it. As far as “do it for the children”-ism is invoked, this really isn’t that bad, and let’s not forget a child’s ability to make poor choices, so keeping them away from large pointy objects makes a certain amount of sense.

Remember that we got here one step at a time, and we need to take it all back the same way. Stupid, I know, but that’s how things work. Unless I can convince y’all that hanging legislators is both “petitioning the Government” and “protected speech and self-expression”.

Weaponized Bacon

April 24th, 2017

Wild boars rampage in Kirkuk leaves 3 Islamic State members dead

Kirkuk ( Three Islamic State militants died late Sunday when wild boars attacked them in southern Kirkuk, a local source was quoted saying.

The animals went on a rampage near a farmland in al-Rashad region, an Islamic State pocket 53 kilometers south of Kirkuk. They attacked the militants and left three killed, according to the source.

This is delicious, and that doesn’t include the pig’s normal deliciousness.

Pretty sure this is going to be your feel-good story of the week.

The Four Rules Aren’t Just For Guns

April 24th, 2017

(Newser) – A track and field event ended in tragedy Saturday afternoon in Illinois. A 19-year-old freshman volunteering at a competition held at Wheaton College was accidentally hit by a hammer during the hammer throw event. WCPO reports the “hammer” is actually a metal ball that’s attached to a grip via a steel wire; it weighs 16 pounds for men and 8.8 pounds for women, though it hasn’t been reported which size hammer hit Ethan Roser.

Be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

The Vapors

April 24th, 2017

This was published this past Saturday in the NYT:

That phrasing sounds too reasonable for the spirit of this series, so here’s the more outrageous version: Bring back the stocks and the firing squad.

The tendency in modern criminal justice has been to remove two specific elements from the state’s justice: spectacle and pain. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, pillories and stocks and whipping posts became museum pieces, the hangman and the firing squad were supplanted by more technical methods, and punishment became something that happened elsewhere — in distant prisons and execution chambers, under professional supervision, far from the baying crowd.

This doesn’t really break any new ground. One thing the author missed is that public shaming tends to be less or even ineffective in large population centers. Another thing left out is the mobility we enjoy today. You get tossed into the stocks today, and tomorrow you move someplace else where nobody knows about your misdeeds.

The best part however, is where the piece was published, the New York Times. The even better part is the comments, which, as might be expected, is chock-full of liberal pieties.

Troll Level: Epic

Normally I don’t suggest you reward a rag like the Times with your clickery, but this might be an exception. After all, I read this stuff so you don’t have to.

Tactics and Strategems

April 23rd, 2017

I don’t know how many of you watch Fox. Me? I gave up on them years ago, about the same time I ditched both a TV and cable service. But I’m aware of the Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly thing. And now there’s this:

The latest conservative commentator to be accused of sexual misconduct is host Sean Hannity who was accused on the Pat Cambell Show by lawyer, political commentator, and frequent Fox News guest Debbie Schlussel. Debbie claimed on the show that Sean Hannity asked Schlussel to come back to his hotel twice after a book-signing event. Does this constitute sexual misconduct?

Look, I have no opinion on this. I stopped paying any attention to Sean Hannity in the run up to the Iraq invasion back in 2003, when he would talk over people who would argue against the Iraq thing and accuse them of being unpatriotic. There’s a limit to the amount of stupid I’m willing to tolerate.

What I’d like to point out is the tactics employed. The Right has (and still does) have a third rail when it comes to “sex stuff”. Ailes, O’Reilly were both driven away due to allegations of “sexual misconduct”, and now they’re going after Hannity.

I have no idea if this is true, and frankly I don’t care. But this is telling, and if we’re to defeat the Left short of gunfire, folks who care about this sort of stuff need to either toughen up or they need to shut up. We’re all playing by the Alinsky rules these days, and giving OPFOR any advantages is a losing move.

Once Is Happenstance…

April 22nd, 2017

OK, in much less than 24 hours, we have two articles claiming the same thing:

Space is big and the hardware that humans keep sending into the great beyond is comparatively small, but our habit of letting random bits of space vehicles, boosters, and defunct satellites hang around in orbit is starting to concern scientists more than ever before. Now, the European Space Agency is sounding the alarm and pleading with the space-traveling nations to pitch in and help clean up the estimated 150 million bits of debris with the capability to destroy or damage spacecraft that accidentally collide with them.

“Today, we find in space roughly 5,000 objects with sizes larger than 1 meter (3.25 feet), roughly 20,000 objects with sizes over 10 centimeters… and 750,000 ‘flying bullets’ of around one centimeter (half an inch),” Rolf Densing, director of operations at the ESA said at a conference regarding space junk, held in Germany. “For objects larger than one millimeter (0.04 inch), 150 million is our model estimate for that.”

“held in Germany” Alright, this might be two different reporters assigned to the same conference ( but it makes one wonder what is going on. Is this some neo-Luddite thing trying to convince us to concentrate on Terran concerns (even though anyone with any sort of vision knows that the survival of humanity depends on geting off this rock), or is this just “happenstance”?

Looking Better All The Time

April 22nd, 2017

How many ways do you suck Microsoft? I’ve lost track. And yet you keep adding examples:

When Microsoft launched Office 365 in 2010, Microsoft officials said then that customers were asking to move to the cloud. Beginning in 2020, some Office customers will need to buy Office 365 to do so.

In an update to Microsoft’s Office 365 system requirements released on Thursday, Microsoft said that consumers who have already purchased “perpetual”—i.e., standalone—versions of Office, such as Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016, would be cut off from accessing the business versions of OneDrive and Skype after mainstream support expires. Those who have purchases those Office suites will be allowed to connect until Oct. 13, 2020—the day mainstream support ends for Office 2016, and the day the new support policy kicks in.

This is M$ redefining their offerings as “services”. Why do you think they were giving Windows 10 away for free? They will eventually demand a monthly/yearly fee for it, just as they’re doing now with the business (Enterprise) edition of W10Pro right now.

The funny part, at least for me? The cutoff date for Office 2016 (which I don’t use) is about six months after I wipe my machinery and install Linux, if I haven’t done so earlier.

Linux is looking better all the time ™.

(This post, along with all the rest of today’s posts, was done via Linuxblogging ™)

Get Out of Our Way

April 22nd, 2017

BERLIN (AP) — Decades’ worth of man-made junk is cluttering up Earth’s orbit, posing a threat to spaceflight and the satellites we rely on for weather reports, air travel and global communications.

More than 750,000 fragments larger than a centimeter are already thought to orbit Earth, and each one could badly damage or even destroy a satellite.

Last year, a tiny piece of debris punched a gaping hole in the solar panel of Copernicus Sentinel-1A, an observation satellite operated by the European Space Agency, or ESA. A solar array brought back from the Hubble Telescope in 1993 showed hundreds of tiny holes caused by dust-sized debris.

Let’s take a closer look at that last paragraph. “A tiny piece of debris punched a gaping hole…” Well, which is it? A “tiny” projectile makes a tiny hole, right? Unless the genius who wrote this is announcing the discovery of hollow point debris. “A solar array…showed hundreds of tiny holes…” Yeah, about that: there’s all sorts of stuff flying around that existed long before us hairless monkeys even thought about space travel. And the writer makes no attempt to prove that these holes were caused by man-made objects. Sigh, you gotta love J-school graduates: always ready to share their ignorance with others.

There’s a fix for this. Establish a settlement on Luna, preferably last week. Those folks are gonna need refined metals and hardened circuitry. Overcoming the Moon’s gravity and traveling the nearly 240,000 to Earth orbit is still going to be a lot cheaper than having to lift stuff of Earth’s surface, even with the economies afforded by SpaceX’s reusable rockets.

Focus on Mars, Please

April 22nd, 2017

Tesla (tsla, +1.02%) founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said his latest company Neuralink Corp is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices.

Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to stroke, cancer lesion, etc, in about four years, Musk said in an interview with website Wait But Why.

“If I were to communicate a concept to you, you would essentially engage in consensual telepathy,” Musk said in the interview published on Thursday.

Very nice, but how does that further the goal of bacon-wrapped tater tots on Mars?

Plus there’s that “consensual” thing. Given what we recently found out about the ability of CIA/NSA to hack into just about every electronic device one might have, just how many nanoseconds would it take them to compromise this?

Then there’s the social aspect. At a certain point (X% market penetration) there would be great social pressure to have the thing turned on all the time. Look, I admire Japanese culture, but I don’t want to actually be Japanese. And make no mistake here, boys and girls, having anyone able to know what you’re thinking at any given time would force people to conform to a given standard.

Remember, 1984 is a novel, not an instruction manual.