Yet Another Reason

November 10th, 2017

As you’re all aware, I’m a big proponent of getting humanity off this planet and establishing a presence, at least for now, on some of the other bodies here in our Solar System. As much as I want it to be otherwise, our grasp of technology currently precludes any meaningful level of interstellar travel. Yes, I know about some of the workarounds: the “generational” vessel, where the children (or grandchildren) of the original crew will be the ones who actually arrive at the destination, or the cryogenic plan, where the crew is basically frozen and then thawed out upon arrival. Both of these seem like they’ll work, but let me remind you of a fact of life during the colonization of North America: one out of every six ships that set sail for here never made it. You might think that an 83% chance of getting there are acceptable odds; but I’d ask you to put yourself in the place of the folks on that sixth ship.

I’ve harped on the point that inventing nuclear weapons was an act of genius; getting them to the state they are now is engineering. That is, anyone with a firm grasp of the essentials can produce a nuke. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: if you don’t care about the whole dying-horribly-from-radiation-poisoning thing, you can make a Hiroshima style nuke at your kitchen table or workbench. Not much of a deterrent if you’re convinced that there are 72 virgins awaiting you on the other side.

There’s another factor that I haven’t really considered, and as I’ll point out later, I should have: Earth herself:

Our planet Earth has extinguished large portions of its inhabitants several times since the dawn of animals. And if science tells us anything, it will surely try to kill us all again. Working in the 19th century, paleontology pioneer Georges Cuvier saw dramatic turnovers of life in the fossil record and likened them to the French Revolution, then still fresh in his memory.

Today, we refer to such events as “mass extinctions,” incidents in which many species of animals and plants died out in a geological instant. They are so profound and have such global reach that geological time itself is sliced up into periods—Permian, Triassic, Cretaceous—that are often defined by these mass extinctions.

Debate over what caused these factory resets of life has raged ever since Cuvier’s time. He considered them to be caused by environmental catastrophes that rearranged the oceans and continents. Since then, a host of explanations have been proposed, including diseases, galactic gamma rays, dark matter, and even methane from microbes. But since the 1970s, most scientists have considered the likely root cause to be either asteroid impacts, massive volcanic eruptions, or a combination of both.

I have reading habits that can be described as “eclectic” (the polite form of “weird”), and one of the subjects that I have probably spent too much time on is paleontology. Since I’ve been nine or ten years old I’ve been asking some questions: Who Are We? Why Are We The Way We Are? and How Did We Get Here? See, three million years ago there were these creatures named Australopithecines and by two million years ago, the Australopithecines were gone, replaced by the earliest members of Homo, that is, us. How did this happen? Well, nobody knows for sure, but one thing we do know is that during that period of time, the climate went crazy in that part of East Africa: dry-wet-dry-wet, over and over again, not unlike a little kid playing with a light switch. One of the consequences of that instability is that “we” went from vegetarians who occasionally scavenged meat (not unlike modern chimpanzees) to the omnivores that we are today. This might not seem important, but without that adaptation, we wouldn’t be here. Fat, despite what the idjits in DC claim, is a vital nutrient for a species with a giant brain as we have: some 20% of what we eat is used just to keep our brains functioning, and a purely vegetarian diet won’t supply nearly enough calories to do that. Stone tools date from 2.6 mya (million years ago) and controlling fire came a bit later, 2 to 1.9 mya, which is an indirect indicator of the change in diet and hunting patterns that supported the growth and importance of the brain. Not only that, but the niche we occupied in the savannah was already occupied by hyenas, so not only did we have to figure out a way to successfully hunt (the ability to run and sweat glands play a vital role in this), but we also had to compete against a creature who had evolved to exploit the very same food sources that we were trying to use. In light of that, Wahid and Achmed screaming “Death To America” begins to assume a different perspective, doesn’t it?

In closing, let me once again hammer something that I’ve been saying for years: we need to get off this rock. Yes, this might be some pro-human arrogance in play, but I’d like to think that we’ve done a few things and made a couple of works of art that are worthy of preservation.

Dealing With The YouTube Nannies

November 8th, 2017

As you probably know, YouTube has been demonetizing and deleting people’s videos. Worse yet, they’ll put a video into Advertiser Jail (limited state) so that folks can see the thing, but they won’t make any money for the first few days that it’s up, thereby taking most of the potential income a creator might make.

This guy has made a decent work-around, so please watch the whole thing:


Just A Reminder

November 5th, 2017

In the aftermath of today’s tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas, any number of the usual suspects are bleating about gun control.

So it’s not a surprise later, let me reiterate: I haven’t killed anyone, nor have any of my firearms been used to perpetrate such a foul deed, so if you think (even for a minute) that you can punish me for something I had nothing to do with, well, you can piss right off.

That is all.

Where Are My Riots?

November 4th, 2017

I was promised some rioting today.

I mean, we’re talking about a bunch of over-entitled brats here, are we not? I don’t expect discipline, training, or any of the things that suggest competence, but throwing a large public temper tantrum with free bonus vandalism should have been right in their wheelhouse.

It would appear that attendance was somewhat underwhelming.

What is the world coming to, if you cannot rely on lefty jerks doing what they do best?

UPDATE: Check out this picture:

Direct your attention, Dear Reader, to the young lady over at the right. No, not the one with the p*ssy hat, the blue-haired vision of femininity just behind her. The sign she’s holding reads “I am sexually attracted to indictments” just in case your monitor won’t display the photo properly. Any one care to bet that she won’t react that way to a democrat being indicted?

Very disappointing, all in all.

How You Know You’re On The Right Track

November 3rd, 2017

The cartridge began as a 20mm Vulcan round,…

From here:

Carry On.

I’m Suddenly In The Mood For Pizza

November 3rd, 2017

h/t Wirecutter

For some reason, the linked site won’t let me copypasta. Fine. I’ll just type it all out. Any typographical errors are Bill Gates’ fault.

“Hampton Station, a popular pizza and craft beer restaurant in Tampa, has banned all children, angering many neighborhood residents.”

OK, I’m going to call bullshennanigans right there. The sorts that would go out for a slice and a bottle of It’s Really Pretty Obscure craft beer don’t want anything to do with your ill behaved and likely unwashed spawn working out their behavioral issues while trying to eat.

Mind you, I’m the guy who does his grocery shopping after 2200 hours so he doesn’t have to deal with the seminar entitled “How To Beat Your Kids In Public” over in Aisle 27, so there’s likely some bias here. Then there’s the part about how I wouldn’t be here typing at you today if I had acted in the way I regularly see kids acting in public nowadays.

I’d like to tell y’all that this place has a brand new customer-for-life, but there aren’t any “as the crow flies” roads between here and there; in fact, the magic computer box tells me it’s 83.1 miles door-to-door. That’s a bit far for a coupla slices.

Family Resemblance

November 3rd, 2017

I was chatting with Jeffersonian and I needed a picture of one of the Tribe, that is, a Norwegian Forest Cat. This was amongst the first search results:

Sure does look like the young Lord, doesn’t it?


November 3rd, 2017

No, I don’t know what happened, other than the Internet eeted my blog.

I got in touch with the guy who runs the main site, who got in touch with his guy. Should’ve been less than a day, but somewhere a ball (or two) was dropped, so instead it was nearly two weeks. Bugger all.

Aw, Shaddup

October 17th, 2017

WASHINGTON – A group of House Democrats announced their support for a bill that would outlaw magazines that hold “more than 10 rounds of ammunition” as a way to prevent mass shootings.

When nearly the first thing out of your mouth is a lie, you might as well sit down and shut your piehole.

The proposed legislation would renew the prohibition of “the transfer, importation, or possession of magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.” The original ban lapsed in 2004.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Kihuen also said the Las Vegas shooting could probably have been prevented if the suspect was not able to “obtain thousands and thousands of rounds of ammunition.”

There has to be some anti-gun comedy school someplace.

“High-capacity magazines have no practical purpose for hunting or self-defense,” she said. “Gun violence has become a public health crisis.”

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said the bill banning high-capacity magazines would benefit U.S. national security as well as the country’s public health, adding that Congress has refused to act on gun-violence prevention for too long.

“High-capacity magazines are not needed for hunting. They are not needed for self-defense. They aren’t designed to be a useful tool for the millions of smart and safe and responsible gun owners in America,” he said. “Their only use and the way they have been used time and time again is to kill on a mass scale – dozens of people on one go.”

Stumping for the Fudd vote, I see.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said a third of the crimes involving firearms use large-capacity magazines.

Why not? You all started off by lying, why stop at just one whopper? And making up statistics as you go? Pure gold.

Except no. Try and argue your way past no.


October 16th, 2017

A security protocol at the heart of most modern Wi-Fi devices, including computers, phones, and routers, has been broken, putting almost every wireless-enabled device at risk of attack.

The bug, known as “KRACK” for Key Reinstallation Attack, exposes a fundamental flaw in WPA2, a common protocol used in securing most modern wireless networks. Mathy Vanhoef, a computer security academic, who found the flaw, said the weakness lies in the protocol’s four-way handshake, which securely allows new devices with a pre-shared password to join the network.

That weakness can, at its worst, allow an attacker to decrypt network traffic from a WPA2-enabled device, hijack connections, and inject content into the traffic stream.

In other words: This flaw, if exploited, gives an attacker a skeleton key to access any WPA2 network without a password. Once they’re in, they can eavesdrop on your network traffic.

The bug represents a complete breakdown of the WPA2 protocol, for both personal and enterprise devices — putting every supported device at risk.

A number of you reading this will immediately start to worry about the stuff you’ve got on your ‘pooter. Relax, boys and girls: the NSA already knows. And as for me, I don’t make any secret about my distrust of government, my sci-fi geekdom, nor my opinion that the way we treat the police being a direct violation of the Constitutional ban on Titles Of Nobility.

What I want to point out is this Internet Of Things some people are touting. Not so much the stuff the internet companies advertise about, because let’s face it, we all have an unpleasant neighbor, and what could be more fun than to turn his lights on and off randomly? No, I’m talking about much further upstream: power companies and their distribution networks, municipal water works, city gas grids, that stuff.

And to bring you even more good cheer, it doesn’t have to be Achmed in a cave somewhere with a smartphone. Recall 9/11, if you would. By the end of 2001, we were hip-deep in the Middle East and we got saddled with the odious Department of Homeland Security. I’m not saying the Gummint had anything to do with 9/11; what I am saying is that the Gummint exploited the hell out of 9/11 once it happened. And having the power, water and LNG go out for a week in the coastal cities (need I remind you that these are the sorts of people who tend to think that more Government is better?), and you’re going to have a tidal wave of folks demanding that somebody do something. And that “something” won’t be good.

Back to the article:

Windows and latest versions of Apple’s iOS are largely immune from the flaws, according to security researcher Kevin Beaumont, in a blog post.

However, Vanhoef said the security issue is “exceptionally devastating” for Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above.

Notice what wasn’t mentioned? Yep, Linux. And guess what is used to run most of the servers out there? Swell, just swell.