Saturday, December 11, 2010

Schweddy Balls

I need a laugh, you need a laugh, how about nine of them?

Oops, SNL's all over at Hulu now and full of ads and they load slow. Here. Merry Christmas season.

Tough Choice

Should I read Larkin or Auden for the holiday season?

Man hands on misery to man
        It deepens like a coastal shelf
Get out as early as you can
        And don't have any kids yourself

Maybe Auden's wretched infant, hmmm?

Auden, definitely Auden.

Comment O' Teh Day

or Why I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Internet

This is a bit long, but this guy really knows his stuff. Every so often someone like that happens along and I know I am not wasting my time.

Okay, it's way long. And usually I am wasting my time. But it's MY time. Zog gave it to me.

Herewith, Zentrails' opinion of the Navy's new superweapon:

Rail guns can only accelerate things to around Mach 6, so a 5", 3 foot projectile is not going to have that kind of kinetic energy. This idea is actually a very old idea, which was stupid right from the beginning.

The idea was called "rods from God" and the premise was that you launch exceedingly heavy rods of tungsten which would then reach a target ballistically. They needed to be about 20 feet long and at least a foot in diameter for a number of reasons. They would heat up to tremendous temperatures, like the space shuttle did when the insulating tiles failed, which would cause a large amount of the mass to vaporize, but it would be at very high temperature as well as velocity, so combining the two would give you a huge amount of energy to hit the target with.

The rail gun rods would not be as effective as space launched projectiles because of the Mach 6 limit and the fact that they'd experience friction right from the get go, so they would not only heat up on the upward trajectory, but also slow down. Then they'd fall the the target pretty much like a conventional bomb would.

They were supposed to be "dropped" from orbit so that the target area would be hit without any warning and with no way to know where it came from. The idea was idiotic, since you can't "drop" something from orbit. You have to use rockets to slow the tangential speed to get it to leave orbit and start coming down. And even then, it doesn't "drop" down, but rather spirals down as a very hot and very easy to detect object.

It was finally determined that a few GBU-28's would work a lot better, especially considering that it wouldn't take too much to figure out who launched the attack, thus completely removing the original idea altogether.

You can't get the accuracy they are claiming AND the kinetic energy they are claiming at the same time. You can either make it out of a rod of metal, or you have to make it more like a rocket with a guidance system that would need to sur4vive the g forces and high temperatures.
It's an old military propaganda trick to make relatively minor threats seem much more deadly. Example: N Korea has modified SCUD missiles which might be able to reach the US. N. Korea has crude uranium 235 nuclear weapons. Therefore, N. Korea could attack us with a nuclear ballistic missile. The problem is that the nuclear weapon they have is far, far too heavy to be launched by a multiple stacked SCUD missile. Same is true for Iran.

The fact is that the surface navy is obsolete for any kind of defense and can only be used offensively against countries that can't fight back with decent missiles.

That's right. Our surface navy is a first strike weapon only. That's pretty depressing to think about. We've become the new British Empire and we're on the way down, unless we start making some drastic changes in our military strategies.

This stupid idea seems to pop up periodically as if it were a new and brilliant idea. It reminds me of the notion of using popcorn instead of foam "peanuts" as an ecologically friendly way of packing boxes of stuff. The idea sounds good until you think it through. You see it suggested every five years or so.

Because I Can

"Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates melancholy from happiness."

Orlando, 1992

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Almost Caturday!

I no longer keep cats. I can't keep cats. That's why I do this.


bought a great pair (scroll down).
I know, that was catty. I didn't say that about The Mirren. I should have.
I love Cher, I do.

Life Is Good

Second day of sunshine and lunch at the Hanazono Asian Noodle shop next to The Rose Theatre, so far showing nothing I want to see. Where's Black Swan, huh, huh?
Anyhoo, sea urchin sashimi, spring roll and eggplant sashimi. Urchin okay (the waitress said I was very brave) but I wouldn't order it again, weird texture, tasty though. First time I've had raw fish in a really, really long time. Next time, I'm trying the eel, she made it sound really good.

It's Silly

But it's my Discovery O' Teh Day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hang On Olga, Olga Hang On

Olga Koltelko, 91: Track Star

There's a long, long story, too, about scientists studying people like Olga to find out more about the aging body and maybe help the rest of us.
Short answer: resistance training.
Yeah, yeah. I'll get a job in the morning, Mom.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Liar O' Teh Year

PolitiFact has the contest. You be the judge.
(I'm going with the stimulus/no jobs thing, but the $20m India trip will probably win. More visceral. More immediate.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wiki Who?

TPM links to an interesting essay on Assange this morning that, despite its use of the word propaedeutic — I mean, WTF?— I think is worth some thought.
The idea is that increasing the porousness of the conspiracy’s information system will impede its functioning, that the conspiracy will turn against itself in self-defense, clamping down on its own information flows in ways that will then impede its own cognitive function. You destroy the conspiracy, in other words, by making it so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire.

What's struck me about the ongoing debate and the Republicans and others screaming to see Assange strung up in the public square, is that ordinary people, who unlike me are probably hearing all kinds of screaming about this from their broadcast news, probably don't give a fuck.
They care about their financial situation first and foremost and they know it's in dire peril and Wikileaks does not seem to have a direct connection to being able to pay the mortgage next month.
Or, as one commenter said another way, none of it really matters to the people who matter.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


A fun place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
A quick glance around shows I have brought my laptop, a month-old MacBook Pro, to its nesting ground. Diversity here means the odd white MacBook or old black PowerBook scattered amid the silver MacBook Pros. Throughout the week I will see only a handful of PCs, each looking sadly out of place, like they have arrived at a black-tie affair in a corduroy blazer.

No phones allowed, for one thing. Harsh.

She Who Must Not Be Named

Get over it, he says.