Monday, September 29, 2008

Obamas Truth Squads

By now everybody has heard about Obamas attempt to silence his critics notably in Missouri, using the kind of ham-handed techniques normally found in places like Russia or Cuba. Governor Blunt of Missouri was not pleased:

St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

‘What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

Which is the kind of forthright statement I would hope to hear from someone looking out for the people.

What I missed was any suggestion that any of the culprits should lose their jobs for this bit of malfeasance.
I suppose when you're governor you have to observe some modicum of decorum. If it had been me, I would have figured out how to work something about Tar and Feathers into the statement. Subtly, of course.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Politics as usual

Obamas efforts to stifle criticism strike me as seriously overboard. The man is famously thin-skinned, and it makes me wonder how he would deal with criticism if he controlled the Justice Department.

Remember Waco?


Robert Heinlein once observed that a citizen in a democracy has a duty to vote in the elections. Voting intelligently is a non-trivial exercise requiring research on the part of the voter as to what the candidates stand for (if anything), what the questions on the ballot might do, and who will wind up with your money and rights afterwords.
I've thought about this a lot, after seeing ballot questions arranged so as to do the opposite of what you think they'll do, candidates who lie like old hound dogs (most of them), and other flim-flammery passed off on me. If you don't vote, you can't legitimately bitch about the outcome of the elections, but doing the homework requires effort, which nobody really wants to do. If you don't want to do the digging, you can take the easy was out and do this:

1. Vote against all the incumbents. Power corrupts, they have it.
2. Vote to reject all the judges. See above.
3. Vote NO on all the questions. Most of the time, they can be paraphrased as "Thank you sir for your generous contribution last year. May we have another trip through your bank account?"

I do not promise this to be the best solution to societys problems, but if you vote this way, you will seldom be in a position of regretting the way you cast your vote.

The worlds smallest political quiz says I'm just slightly to the right of center, substantiating my claims to being a moderate. It indicates that I'm strongly anti-statist however which is the root of most of my disagreements with the left.

That said, the Colorado Republican Business Coallition has a rundown of the ballot questions with recommendations on them, and I agree with them except on 46, which prohibits the State from discriminating or giving preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. I'm voting yes on this one.

Question 59 essentially legalizes outright wholesale theft by the government, from the taxpayer. Vote NO, find out who's behind it, and string them up.

Land Speed Record

Here's a recumbent bike in its natural environment, making 82.3 mph.

Battle Mountain NV has a stretch of certifiably flat highway suitable for this sort of thing.

Note that this thing, in addition to being a short-wheelbase recumbent, is also a front-wheel-drive machine.
Front wheel drive means that either you have some kind of fancy method to allow the wheel to turn when you steer it while keeping the chain from jumping off, or, in this case, you don't plan on doing much steering.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tom Swift and his Electric Rocket Ship

The Chinese claim to have figured out how to make this work. Others are skeptical. The gist is that while most electric propulsion systems include something to be expended as reaction mass, the Chinese version claims to run on microwaves alone. I'm with the skeptics on this one.

For the benefit of those of you who missed the series, most of Tom Swifts stuff was electric, making it the most advanced stuff in the universe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Politics as usual

Once more Joe Biden demonstrates Obama's excellent judgment in picking him.

"No coal plants here in America," he said. "Build them, if they're going to build them, over there. Make them clean."

"We're not supporting clean coal," he said of himself and Obama.

Now in all fairness, he may have been thinking that the plants in question produce clean coal, but it's possible he's still working from a Clinton-era memo.

Clean coal is a geological phenomenon akin to finding a mineral in an unusually pure state. This coal can be burned in the older power plants, and produces significantly less pollutants than the more common stuff, which may contain sulfur, mercury, uranium or whatever. There are two such deposits that I'm aware of, one in Indonesia, and one in Utah.

California imports the stuff from Indonesia to burn in their power plants in an attempt to avoid having to close the plants on account of emissions. The mine in Indonesia is owned and operated by the Riadi family, who have become fabulously wealthy selling coal to California.

When the Utah deposit was discovered, and even promised to be larger than the one in Indonesia, the Riadis did what any aggressive capitalist would do, they lobbied the President (Bill Clinton) for protection. With a big enough campaign contribution, all things are possible, and the area in Utah with the coal was declared a national monument.

No drilling for oil, no digging for coal.
The party is apparently opposed to producing any energy from any source whatsoever. It's a good thing most of our jobs aren't dependent on energy usage, and our houses stay warm all by themselves.

Head Injuries

I'm really glad the Dr. thinks I'm recovering quickly, because I'm finding that recovering from a head injury makes you rather unsociable. Perhaps it's the continuous headache that comes and goes more or less at random. Perhaps it's the occasional very short dizzy spells that convince you that maybe driving should be put off another few days. Or perhaps its the memory problems where you can think of a complete line of thought, then lose a couple of critical words when you go to speak it.

The combination is decidedly unpleasant, and makes you unfit company for man or beast.

Makes it difficult to come up with stuff to write here too, although it seems the world is full of malarkey just begging to be ridiculed, but no snappy answers to the stupid quotations rush to the front of the mind before the event is all but forgotten.

The recovery process is tediously slow.

Politics as usual

I hate politics, as I have mentioned before, since it usually revolves around a bunch of crooks trying to get a place at the public trough on the pretense that this will somehow benefit me.
Still, as I remarked to a Swiss fellow who was kidding me about the 2000 election, "If we can't have world class leadership, we can at least have world class entertainment."
Joe Biden, who thinks he has the knowledge and experience to be VP, in an interview with Katie Couric said:
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed," Biden told Couric. "He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'"
Quick quiz: There are 2 things primarily wrong here. What are they?

For the benefit of those of you who learned history in a public school in the last 20 years or so, here they are.
1. The stock market crash happened in 1929. Herbert Hoover was president.
2. FDR was, in fact the first president to go on TV, but did not avail himself of the new technology until 1939.

Yo! Joe! Quick! Tell me who was president when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Edited: To correct Hoover reference.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Palm Pistol

Sorry, no pic, but it's the 21st centurys answer to the burning question:"What will a one-shot derringer look like in the Buck Rogers future?"

The answer is: Pretty silly. These guys are worried about accuracy:

Using the thumb instead of the index finger for firing, it significantly reduces muzzle drift, one of the principle causes of inaccurate targeting. Point and shoot couldn’t be easier.

At the distances one would expect to be using such a device, accuracy could probably be taken care of by making sure you press the thing firmly against your attacker before pushing the button. Anything beyond that would risk firing your one bullet and missing, which would likely enrage the attacker. Fortunately the barrel design looks smooth, so having it removed from your nether regions after a missed shot, should be easy and relatively painless.

For $300, you can get a real gun and some ammo to practice with, which will improve your chances of getting that much-desired hit on an assailant. Absent a hit, you can at least send him running in a hail of lead.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bashing Palin

OK, it's been the usual slimy election, and the media is firmly on the usual side, sliming and bashing Sarah Palin, who is, as near as I can tell, the only person on the ballot of the 4 of them, who is actually qualified to be President of the United States.
We need standards for everyone to try to live up to, and I believe I've found one. Henceforth, anyone wanting to bash Sarah Palin has to beat this one, or else have no credibility whatsoever.

Here's the gold standard. Let's see you beat it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ammunition as Money

Per the Volokh Conspiricy,
Ammunition as Money?

"Massachusetts also designated musket balls legal tender at four per penny [in the 1600s]."

At current rates, a .73 caliber musket ball is currently worth $0.1634.

Reading Material

Reading Jonah Goldbergs "Liberal Fascism" . Sort of a history of left-wingers in the 20th century. For a time, they were doing well enough that Studebaker sold a model called the Dictator, presumably in tribute to Benito Mussolini who was widely admired.
Even though the philosophy proved a loser everywhere it was tried, there are still people who say it failed only because it was not tried hard enough. Hope springs eternal.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beer and Steak

Beer and steak is good for you in that it makes you smarter. OK allowing that there seems to be a 14 beers a week upper limit. The study is from India where the meat quotient may not include cow, and I have no idea how big they consider "a beer". Could be a British pint. I will invoke my intellectual superiority (somewhat diminished tho it may be just at the moment) and call it at any meat you like, and 14 12 oz beers as a limit.

Just think how much smarter we'd all be had we known this when we were college students and thought the proper limit was 14 beers a day to wash down the Raman noodles.

007s Jaguar

Here's the car of the week, a '72 Jaguar XKE with 289 Cobra running gear originally intended for a Jame Bond flick sometime in the '70s. They never used it.

Opening bid is $13K.

Upcoming Movie

The guy behind Airplane! and Naked Gun is behind this. I'm not a big movie fan, but it looks like the kind of easy humor that might spice up an otherwise dull afternoon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Air Force Laser Tests

The USAF has test fired a whacking big laser from a 747 parked on a runway at Edwards AFB. Shortly they plan to take the plane up and try it in flight. This thing was originally intended to be used to target incoming Soviet nukes during WWIII. The collapse of the Soviet Union has probably affected the mission description for the laser, but I can think of several things that fly through the air that might need vaporization from a discreet distance.
We now have in test both the air-to-ground, and air-to-air version of high-energy laser weapons. Can my flying car be far behind?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The State of the World

Posting is difficult currently as I eagerly await the healing of the thump on the head and the ancillary dings and bangs. It's not as bad as it could have been though, as I assure you I have no inclination to vote for any democrats unless it's for extradition or some such.

On that note, I notice that a local group has bought an ad on the local TV implying that congressman Mark Udall (D-Peoples Republic of Boulder) might be an aging hippie and more at home in a VW microbus full of smoke than a proper candidate for the US Senate. For some reason, the Udall folks are howling like kicked dogs. As the pilots note:"If you're catching flack, you're over the target."

For those of you who feel the state is not taking good enough care of everybody, and should be taking better care of possibly even me, a town in Massachusitts has reduced crime and whatnot to the point that the police are being encouraged to confiscate bicycles from kids caught riding them without helmets.
I'm of mixed feelings about this, since in the first place, it's really none of the states damn business. On the other hand, this is a valuable civics lesson to the youth, disabusing them of the notion that the state is in any way their friend. Today your bicycle, tomorrow, everything else you own.

There are Mongol armies of fools out there, behaving like, well, fools, but it's hard, sometimes to point this out on this little soapbox, thinking that after someone makes a complete idiot of him or her self, live on national TV, what can I add. OTOH, I watch little TV, and probably you don't either, and the silliness I find, you may have missed. Pleased to help provide some entertainment.

The bad news this week was that the Large Hadron Collider was run this week, and the earth was not destroyed. This means we all have to continue going to work. Bummer.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bike to Work

Saw the doctor today, and he tells me he's quite favorably impressed with my rate of recovery. I have permission to go back to work, mow the lawn, if I wear my ear muffs, and whatever else whenever I think I'm ready. which will likely be another week for anything inherently hazardous.

Some time this week, I'm going to try to get my bike back, and try to modify the seat a bit to improve the comfort factor.

It also seems that one of the avid bicyclists at work crashed last week, and while he was wearing a helmet, he has a broken collar bone and several other fractures. I could almost believe I got off easier that he did. Almost.

There's a statistic kicking around somewhere that suggests you are at significantly higher risk of a debilitating accident on a bicycle that in a car or even on a motorbike. Seems the figure was >10X for being on a bike. I believe this. The average bicyclist is largely oblivious to what's going on around him, and believes that the reduced speed eliminates all risk of injury anyway.

Oh well, we live and learn, or, as they say, we don't live long.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mad Science

Now for something that I could really get into, here's a walking sculpture that should give folks nightmares for miles in all directions.

This is the sort of thing I'd find enormous fun to put together and take for a walk on the local streets. You could safely bet that it would not require a crew of 12 to operate it.

Here's something else with appeal, although this one is intended to be an out-and-out racer, and not particularly practical. The basics can be tweaked without too much trouble, and practicality can be achieved.

Perhaps with the addition of a base shell to keep the flying dirt out of your face, eh?

Politics as usual

Lest anyone get the wrong impression here, I really don't like politics all that much. My primary interest is in self-preservation, which is what drives me to this sort of thing in the first place.
Every election features a bunch of liars and BS artists all promising to take care of me, and I get to pick the ones who will do me the least damage. It sucks big-time, but we're sort of stuck with it since "none of the above" doesn't appear on the ballot.
Term limits for the congress is something we desperately need, but you bet it won't be easy to establish.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Class Act

The Dem VP nominee has suggested that if Obama gets elected, there will be show trials for the outgoing Bush administration folks.

My question to Mr. Biden is this: Do you prefer the traditional "Arbiet Macht Frei" style prison facilities for your political enemies, or do you favor the newer "re-education" style camps favored by the Vietnamese and the Pol Pot Cambodians?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bike to Work

Got back from the Doc today from an evaluation of how I'm reacting to the concussion. The answer is; pretty well. I'll be back to work part-time next week, and full-time at some point a bit further down the line.

Imagine that your brain is your own central server, with cables running out to control everything you are, everything you know, and everything you do. Now imagine that some random number of those cables are, if not disconnected, loosened up and not connecting 100% any more.

This can be fixed over some period of time, but it won't be easy, and it won't be real quick, either. Your brain is aware of the faulty cables, and would like to fix them, and would like you to help. What it doesn't recognize is that some percentage of those cable are obsolete and haven't been used sometimes in a good long time. Your job is to help out by informing the brain that some of this stuff can be transferred to the recycle bin, and then ignored. Tedious, but necessary, and in the end, helpful.

I now have a Giro XON bike helmet which they claim is a off-road racing lid. It kind of looks like it was made from the top of someones skull who was killed and eaten by a saber-tooth tiger while out exploring one of those canyons of mystery that turns out to be populated by dinosaurs, pterodactyls, and hotties in rabbit-fur bikinis. Hope springs eternal, no?

End Of The World

Or maybe not. I guess we all have to have something to occupy our spare time, and turn money into smoke and noise.
A group of people want to stop the CERN Hadron Collider from being started up in an effort to find some of the more elusive micro-particles we believe are out there, somewhere.

The folks who file suits like this are traditionally a bit short on the science. If their speculation is perfectly correct, the world will end Sept 12. They make this sound like a bad thing, somehow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Leftists Attempt To Murder Republicans

Gateway Pundit reports that the leftists in Minneapolis attacked buses carrying delegates on the local freeway by tossing bags of sand and cement from an overpass down onto the buses as they passed underneath.

The buses were damaged, but not severely as the objects hit the buss tops, and not the drivers.

Don't know how they interpret that sort of thing there, but around here it's considered attempted murder.

The group is quite well organized, and does not appear to be being inconvenienced very much by the local cops.

Normally I would suggest that I hoped that this sort of behavior would change, or that the MSM might actually report it, but I'm not holding my breath on this one.