June 13, 2018

Mea Culpa

I pulled into the driveway last night and belatedly realized it was Tuesday....and after 7pm. This was the first primary I've missed in well over a decade, and it was a consequential one.

To make matters worse my guy lost and the sub-optimal choice won. 

I've failed at civics and possibly doomed us all. 

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June 12, 2018

Wait: What?

So I went to our effervescent and wise hosts dev-blog, which became a tech news aggregator in my absence and noted this story, which, in turn, contained this peculiar sequence of letters.

The objective of the net neutrality rules has been primarily to stop discrimination from internet service providers (ISPs) against both large and small websites based on the type of content they serve. This is how the term "net neutrality” was coined --


If that was the raison d'être then I guess that whole net neutrality thing didn't do any  good anyway

So what's the problem?

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The Opposite of Productivity

Due to poor planning, I'm on vacation this week. I initially was going to the mountains for a few days, but my plans got thwarted by an epic traffic jam. After some hours I got to an exit, did the cloverleaf and headed in the opposite direction. Because my itinerary was rather vague and no reservations were involved, I decided instead to go visit my parents in North Carolina. This is a slightly longer drive, but, I've been meaning to get down there and, in any event, it held the possibility of less austere bivouac options if I played my cards right.

It was a pleasant enough stay, my parents seem to be doing much better, but they no longer have a computer and the travel charger for my phone died, so I don't have pictures of the triggerfish, or the hummingbirds or all the other wildlife.

I did get the van stuck in their driveway. (There was MUCH rain).

I'm back now, getting caught up, and am noting that the U.S.A./D.P.R.K summit did come to pass, but did not involve a cage match, no one was hit with a chair and Arn Anderson and Rick Flair were nowhere to be seen. However, Dennis Rodman was and he was brought to tears. 

It appears that the world is still crazy. That's not entirely a bad thing. 

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June 05, 2018


In Fallout 4 you start out in this '50's futuristic" suburban home. Depending on how you play the game it may remain your base of operations when you start your myriad adventures .  

Not warrantied against nuclear blast. 

Interestingly, the whole neighborhood of Sanctuary Hills is based on a line of prefab housing from the late 1940s, that was really advanced in a lot of ways. The Lustrons were intended to provide affordable but pleasant houses using mass production techniques. this, in and of itself wasn't terribly new (Sears and others had offered mail order houses since the late 1890s) however the founders of Lustron had big plans. They not only wanted to provide affordable housing for the returning G.I.'s but they were anticipating the explosion of the suburbs which had been predicted (and was trending on a small scale) right before the war. 

To that end they acquired a decommissioned wartime aircraft factory as part of a government grant, and started making houses out of STEEL! These were not merely steel framed, they were all steel. The idea was to mass produce these things, ship them out as kits on flatbeds and assemble them.

Their exteriors were enameled with porcelain of various colors and their interior walls were similar, albeit with more neutral colors and thinner enameling. One amusing feature was that there was a considerable amount of integral shelving and fixtures. 

This did maximize internal space in a series of little homes that ranged between 713 and 1,140square feet.

The Lustrons came in 4 different models each with 2 or 3 bedroom options and later, a stand-alone garage was offered. 

The initial run involved a steep learning curve. The first series had radiant ceiling tile heating which, due to physics and the asphalt flooring was..."teh suk"*. The dishwasher was an amazingly advanced and innovative combined dishwasher/clotheswasher/dryer. While this was a brilliant piece of engineering technology, why anybody thought this was a good idea is...unclear.  

The company couldn't buy enough flatbed trucks to deliver all the orders the company was inundated with and each house required 3000 houseparts which meant a lot more highly paid technicians than was initially conceived. Also, while Lustron was flush with orders, the slow production of the first series of homes could not reach the break even limit for the company.

The second series addressed most of the problems with a much more modular arrangement that allowed for more floor-plans, a single type of window module that could be put together in 216 different ways and a reduction in the number of parts shipped from 3000+ to an average of 37. Also, they moved the heating system's forced air circulation into the FLOOR.

This was the dream of cheap and affordable housing for everyone, given form. Alas, only one of the second series was built. The company ran into a perfect storm of problems that included the company they were buying their trucks from not delivering them, which caused their waiting list to become huge, this in turn was the pretense for a congressional investigation. Lustron had not made any money in its first two years, but it had made some enemies. The company had built around 2600 of the houses in two years despite technical hurdles and a 3000 piece parts list. This was remarkable, remarkable enough that various local unions and contractors around the country were contacting their congresscritters to look into this company that promised to disrupt everything. This seems to be reminiscent of the Tucker fiasco that happened around the same time. 

Lustron was having problems to be sure, but the congressional investigation seems to have killed the companies ability to maintain its line of credit and it went bankrupt in 1950. 

 2600+ homes built in two years, from one factory is impressive, but what's more impressive is that of the nearly 2000 that remain most are in remarkably good shape.

 The enameled exteriors have held up surprisingly well and require, not annual painting but periodic application of car wax. The roofs have tended to remain watertight and the only complaint aside from the central heat has been rust in the bathroom, which can be fixed via re-tiling.  

The design thus has proven to be astoundingly durable and low maintenance. They are inherently fire and termite proof to boot. 

Sadly, not tornado proof though.

The house of tomorrow turned out to be the house of 2 years in the late '40s, but it would be a kick ass house of today. Sadly, we now have zoning boards and homeowners associations on the alert to ensure that no one brings cheap housing into their cities. Such is progress...

There's a video here of contractors disassembling one and moving it.

*Note that replacing the gas heater with an air conditioner gives really kick ass central air. 

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And Indeed It Does Appear That The Linky Thing is Fixed!

Thanks Pixy!

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June 03, 2018

Applying Contemporary Standards of Critical Thinking to Understand This Blog's Recent Outage

So the blog's been down. An explanation is in order. 

However, as we are not IT professionals, and are not privy to specifics regarding coding and hardware factors, we must look for the causes of this tragedy via open source media. With that in mind, we note a recent breakthrough in physics which was reported concurrently with the site outage and, using contemporary standards of critical thinking, this discovery must correlate to the problem at hand.

A recent physics experiment produced strong evidence of sterile neutrinos. According to the linked article, sterile neutrinos are not predicted to exist by the standard model of physics. 

Other things not supported by the standard model of physics include, but are not limited to: The EM Drive, stealth in space, sorcery, practical giant robots, Bigfoot, Niberu, Pelucidar, Mothman, ghosts, telekinesis, healing energy, vampires (sparkly), alchemy, Blemmyians, Astrology, teleportation, mediumship, warp drive, gravity generators, shrink rays, and flat earth cosmology.

Using contemporary standards of critical thinking, one must take a second look at all of those things and, lo and behold, the last one proves to be directly applicable to our problem. You see our webmaster is an Australian and the flat earthers have just concluded that Australia is, and always has been an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the British to cover up the democide of all their debtors. 

And so, contemporary standards of critical thinking lead us to the inevitable conclusion that our webmaster doesn't exist. Note that when we check our work it becomes clear that the non existence of our IT team DOES explain how technical difficulties could occur!

"Or...we could use actual critical thinking and just check the dev-blog."

There's no time for that! We've got important things to find out.
...like exactly where it is that kangaroos REALLY come from.

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June 01, 2018

I'm Guessing Neil Will be Looking for a Job Soon

Someone named Neil Irwin wrote an article on the economy today. Despite his working for the NYT and Trump being in the White House, his article begins thusly.

The real question in analyzing the May jobs numbers released Friday is whether there are enough synonyms for "good” in an online thesaurus to describe them adequately.

Over the course of the article's 18 synonyms for "good" we learn the proper use of, amongst other things, "congruous" all of which, given the context of the article are doubtlessly violations of the Old Grey Lady's style guide. 

I hope the fellow lands on his feet.

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May 31, 2018

Finally! Some GOOD News!

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May 29, 2018

It's the 21st Century. Where the Hell is my Flying Ca...Oh.

The Cormorant (formerly known as the Air-Mule) has been in development off and on for over 15 years and we've covered it a few times before.  However, it does appear that it is now well past the vaporware stage.

This is a drone designed with battlefield supply, medivac and, on the civilian side, parcel delivery in mind. It also has the option of attaching waldos to remotely do repairs in high places beyond the reach of a cherry picker. 


A direct development of this carrying passengers as a drone air taxi is called the City Hawk and is expected to be in service in municipalities where it is not outlawed by hysterical luddites by 2022. 


 There is also a larger crewed version as well. That is still in development. It has potential for applications such as air ambulance, air fire truck,  helicopter tender for very small ships and , of course, flying van or limo. 


The Cormorant and its derivatives seem similar in conception to the old Piaseki Air Jeep, but various refinements and advances in things like precision fly by wire and proximity alert technologies look to make the concept much more practical in the close quarters the shrouded props make possible.   

Unlike a SOME of these proposals, this seems to have real potential and is actually flying. 

Art (sans text) by Sukabu

So start saving your money now, because the future is almost here!

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Count Me With Dustbury...

... who notes that the acceptable responses to a dumpster fire do not include "throw gasoline on it".

Chealsea Manning took a selfie last night from a building ledge and tweeted it with a suicide note. 

Manning has done things that I consider beneath contempt and holds views that I find flawed at best...but damn.

You. Don't. Yell. Jump.

We're not dealing with a pedo here.

Manning is a broken and sad person, who has undergone surgical procedures that have a high rate of suicide amongst their many deleterious side effects. Manning is also 30 years old and has ample opportunity to live, be free, get it together and pursue happiness. 

Lets hope that opportunity is not thrown away.

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May 28, 2018

Don't Think This Can't Happen Here

Today is the day that the United States honors those who gave their lives to prevent us being ruled by a government would do this.

Let us work to see that they did not give their lives in vain the way the Tommys did. 

 More on this here and here.

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Remember Why



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May 27, 2018

Now We're Receiving Lost Transmissions From 1975

This episode of Round Table from 1975 is something of a unicorn. It was thought lost until recently. 

Behold! Two of the great visionaries of the 20th century, Gerard O'Neal and Isaac Asimov discuss space habitats.

Note too, that in the '70s which in which in many ways was a time of vomit and shame culturally, the TV talk shows actually grew braincells rather than destroying them like today.

O'Neal's recollection of why he did this (the abuse his hard science/engineering students were getting by luddites. ) has a sadly contemporary ring.

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What's with the Timey Wimey Stuff?

I got up, cut on my phone and did a quick perusal of some news aggregator sites as I ate breakfast..well..I tried to. 

All were blocked, due to invalid security certificates. Instapundit for instance gave an error message to the effect that the sites security certificate would not be active until March 2, 2008.
I then got an E-mail alert asking me to confirm my E-mail provider, which I did, at which point the phone started going crazy with incoming E-mails.Lots and LOTS of E-mails. Including very old ones and texts...including a tornado warning from 2016.

What's even worse, in the intervening hours evidence has strongly suggested that I am not actually in any position to warn people about and try to prevent all the horrible things that happened between March 2, 2008 and the time I went to bed. 

What nefarious experiments is Verizon conducting?

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May 25, 2018

Have This

Because there's not enough Shaw Brothers around here.

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Notice to Readers

This blog is a test, an experimental transmission from a secret facility.

Far beneath the guano mines of Niue.

When Mee.nu first started up, a number of tech savvy individuals were given blogs to run as alpha and beta tests. When that was successful there was one more step before going live. Another beta test...with someone who was NOT tech savvy. That's where I, the paragon of PEBKAC, came to be a beta tester and one of the earliest bloggers at Mee.nu. Now I understand basics of information technology of course, but I have no formal certifications in the care and maintenance of electro-pneumatic tubes,  the complex interactions between isolinear silicon fibers and ley-lines, how such phenomena affect the transmigration of data between Samsara and "The Cloud" or  the ultimate cathexsis of these discrete packets of id on a hard drive. 

Therefore, it was decided that mine was the perfect blog to run the final beta on.

To this day Brickmuppet Blog is still a test blog as per our agreement, and experiments of various natures are still conducted here preceding any upgrades to the Mee.nu community. 

Like spammer mitigation.

Be advised that there may be some disruptions of the blog over the weekend. 

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May 23, 2018


Instapundit points out a new development in the field of paleontology...

I didn't think that any new dinosaurs had been made for quite some time. 

Well, this is an updated model from China that appears to be a cross between a Velociraptor and a gay pride flag that sparkles like a Stephanie Meyers vampire.

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes has thoughts on the potential ramifications and applications of this discovery. 

"Gay. Vampire. Dinosaurs.
The slash writes itself!"

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May 22, 2018

Oh What Fresh Hell Is This?

One of THOSE headlines...

What in the world do robots need organs for? I can't think of any non-worrisome reasons.

Let's ask one of our Crack Team of Science Bots what possible use robots might have for organs besides living tissue over a hyperalloy endoskeleton to make them more successful as Infiltrator units. 

"Are you kidding!? I'll be able to ditch these 'splody Samsung batteries, 'cause I'll have a stomach and intestines and a liver so I'll be able to charge by eating Carolina barbecue and Moon Pies and  drinking RC Cola! And I won't stop with digestion either! I'm gonna be STACKED!"

Well OK then!

(Art is by Sukabu)

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May 21, 2018

Meanwhile: On Twitter...

Thales is not there...

Some of my readers may already know that I’ve been banned from Twitter. You may not know the reason, however. Some folks were arguing that the word "retarded” should be banned from Twitter discourse. Naturally, I replied that this was retarded. Twitter has apparently sided with those demanding censorship, so let it be known that the social media platform has banned use of this word. Using it results in account suspension.

That’s pretty retarded.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter has not banned me. Largely because I havent tweeted in two years. ISTR that one of my last tweets was something to the effect of "Twitter is being especially stupid today!" I've never really looked back.

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May 20, 2018

A Very Interesting Discussion on the Great War

This week's episode of Midrats (#437) is a history episode with Norman Friedman focusing on his recent book about the naval aspects of World War One. Listen to all 71 minutes because this one is really eye opening. 

Friedman has gotten hold of Tirpitz's diary and this interview  goes into some depth depth regarding the domestic German political issues that were one of the less appreciated origins of the war. There is also discussion why forcing the Dardenelles/Gallipolli campaign reasonably appeared at the time to win a rational cost benefit analysis* and why Fisher's "crackpot" baltic invasion alternative was actually a very good idea. 

* Britain imported a lot of their grain from the Ukraine in Russia. It was considered easier to try and force the Hellespont than to raise the price of bread.

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