May 21, 2016

It's the 21st Century! WHERE IS MY....Oh!


Steven was recently disappointed to learn that the word "hoverboard" had been defined down by people who lack either vision or an understanding of the language. 

Fortunately there are those working to rectify that.  


In other, more meta news: I edited the recent post that was speculating about practical applications of scientifically facilitated hybrid vigor. This was mainly to provide proper citations. However, in the process, additional expository graphics pertinent to the subject matter were  uncovered and added.

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April 14, 2016

Some Truly Good News

This is a couple of days old, but it is still awesome news.


The National Space Society takes great pleasure in announcing that its 2016 Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award has been won by acclaimed science fiction author Dr. Jerry Pournelle. This prestigious award selected by an international vote of NSS members will be presented to Dr. Jerry Pournelle at the 2016 International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The public is welcome to attend the conference and see the award presentation at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ISDC will run from May 18-22, 2016.


Pournelle is one of the best of the hard SF writers and he has worked tirelessly since the late '60s to defend this nation and make us a space faring society. He worked on space policy for two presidents, and was instrumental in getting the DC-X off the ground. In addition to his visionary and entertaining novels and short stories, Dr. Pournelle has been a tireless advocate for making humanity a multi-planet species. 



This is truly well deserved and it is uplifting to see it has come to pass.

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October 26, 2015

In Another Totally and Utterly Unexpected Development...

The death toll in Mexico from the most powerful hurricane ever recorded appears very likely now to be approaching...naught






As a rule I dislike with increasing intensity whenever zeroes show up in these sorts of statistics, unless there's just one of them by itself in which case it's a joyous thing. 

Math is weird that way. 

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October 24, 2015

I Swear....

None of those typos were there when I proofread this morning's posts.

All fixed now...

 
...so it's time for some JUSTICE!


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Eileen Must Make The Gatekeepers Shudder


Ren'py has improved dramatically since I last poked around with it, (before the computer was hit by lightning). The whole process is even more intuitive than it used to be. The engine now allows mini-games in one's visual novel.

"...and embedded video!"


Eileen (the engine's helpful tutorialbot) doesn't look all that disruptive, but what was once the purview of tech giants and big publishing houses has been freeware for some years and is remarkably user friendly. It's still improving steadily.

Of course, Sturgeon's Law remains in force, so this will result in a lot more crap flooding the market...but this will be a function of a lot more stuff getting made, which means that there will be more potential for those rare gems both by virtue of sheer numbers and the low threshold for experimentation. 

All in all, things like this and other tools may be a bigger development in the long run than people realize. Creators have increasing potential to do an end run around those who today often presume to be custodians of societies creativity and stifle that which they find uncongenial. 

We still have no flying cars or O'Neal colonies, but take heart, Eileen here is proof that our future is not inevitably a dystopia...yet. 

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July 12, 2015

Oh My. Yes! PLEASE...

...please don't screw this up!

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June 24, 2015

I've Got Nothing

To compensate for this quiescency (and to get Mum-Ra off the top post) here is Sakuya annoying the hell out of Rob Paravonian.


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May 21, 2013

OK. Here Is The Real Scoop on This Story

The story going around with this pic is that some HOA would not let a fellow fly an American flag  and this was his response...



Now HOAs  are a pernicious blight upon our civilization and and those that run them and think they are swell are bad and should feel bad.  Thus there is a lot to like about this story. However, this story breaks down upon the slightest thought. The quidnuncs that form Home Owners Associations are going to have as one of their first despicable acts, strict rules on what colors their victims can paint their houses. Thus this made little sense unless the fellow was just going whole hog in an effort to stick his thumb in their eye.



It turns out after 2 minutes of image searching that this is actually a dispute with a local historical society. Historical societies that enforce repair regulations are like HOAs with government sanction so this is actually even a better story than the fake (assuming Captain America here doesn't end up in jail).

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February 04, 2013

I Didn't Think They HAD Parking Lots Back Then

Neat!

The body of Richard the Third has been found under a parking lot in Liecester.




Jerry Pournelle has some interesting thoughts inspired by this news.

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January 01, 2013

Perhaps an Even Weirder Chimera Than the One in the Last Post

It's a Smart Car...that someone is trying to enter into the Dakar Rally




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April 20, 2010

Random Thoughts on Eyjafjallajökull

Via Instapundit: Some really neat pics of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano which has so disrupted European air travel.


Photoblogging From Mordor

Meanwhile, as she sits back, eats her chips and watches the fireworks, one of the Brickmuppets's Crack Team of Science Babes takes the time to point out that his could be of more than passing interest.

 New Scientist reports that there is a nontrivial possibility that this could be a long term problem as the last hundred or so years have seen Iceland atypically quiet. If this becomes a periodic occurrence I wonder if cruise ships might be rerouted for transatlantic duty. This would be a suboptimal solution. Cruise ships are not liners as they are fairly slow, though Cunard might soon find it even nicer to have three new vessels on hand, that, being designed partly as liners, can make 28knots.

In the longer term if Icelandic ash is periodically disrupting air travel with Europe, might we see a return to piston engined planes?
As I understand it, the ash is a far greater menace to gas turbines ...it can cause issues over time with Otto and diesel cycle engines as well but that can be somewhat mitigated with better filters.


Nor is travel the only potential disruption.

The eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 caused the 'year without a summer'. This is a firecracker of an eruption compared to that but it is very long lasting and seems to be spewing an awful lot of ash. I do wonder how the aggregate amounts of ash will compare to Tambora.

Tambora's affect on the weather was actually comparable to an eruption by another Icelandic volcano, Laki in 1783.

The British naturalist Gilbert White described that summer in his classic Natural History of Selborne as "an amazing and portentous one … the peculiar haze, or smokey fog, that prevailed for many weeks in this island, and in every part of Europe, and even beyond its limits, was a most extraordinary appearance, unlike anything known within the memory of man.

"The sun, at noon, looked as blank as a clouded moon, and shed a rust-coloured ferruginous light on the ground, and floors of rooms; but was particularly lurid and blood-coloured at rising and setting. At the same time the heat was so intense that butchers' meat could hardly be eaten on the day after it was killed; and the flies swarmed so in the lanes and hedges that they rendered the horses half frantic … the country people began to look with a superstitious awe, at the red, louring aspect of the sun."

Across the Atlantic, Benjamin Franklin wrote of "a constant fog over all Europe, and a great part of North America".

The disruption to weather patterns meant the ensuing winter was unusually harsh, with consequent spring flooding claiming more lives. In America the Mississippi reportedly froze at New Orleans.



Apart from indirect deaths from famine caused by odd weather, Laki also killed people directly (via Sulphur Dioxide poisoning) as far south as France.

It should be noted in passing that the last eruption of
Eyjafjallajökull lasted two years.

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December 05, 2009

IJNS Yamato

Behold....


6 years, 4 months, uncounted LEGOs and phenomenal patience.


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A Coastie From Newport News Made Good

Built in 1914 by Newport new Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.as the freighter Medina, the Motor Vessel Dullos has passed through countless storms, Braved the U boats of both the Kaiser and the Furher while bringing supplies across the Atlantic and survived the ravages nearly a century at sea. Additionally, during World War 2, the old vessel was operated as an auxiliary for a time by the US Coast Guard.

Renamed Dullos by her current owners, the vessel is now the oldest operating passenger vessel in the entirety of the Earths oceans.

Such a long and storied history would be worthy of comment on its own, but Dullos is doubly remarkable. Operated by the German charity GBA , her passenger list consists not only of fare paying travelers but volunteers who see to her cargo. That cargo consists of tons of books for Dullos is a floating library and bookstore traveling the world hosting floating bookfairs.


Bangkok, Manilla, Kuching, Hong Kong, Phuket, and more than a hundred other ports have been visited by the ship and her crack crew of globetrotting salty-dog librarians. Additionally, while in no way a hospital ship, her medical staff performs some dental and other medical services in the less affluent ports of call.

Now, in the ships 95th year her long voyage is at an end. The inexorable toll exacted by the corrosive and violent sea has accumulated over the years and it was decided after her latest survey that the old vessel  is to be decommissioned on Decenber 31, 2009.

Of course...if any of you have 10 million Euro laying around, there is a campaign to preserve the historic old girl.

95 years....the shipping industry, indeed the world has become unrecognizable since the time this ship first split the waves.  If ships could talk...

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October 03, 2009

Way Cooler than a Wawa

Renovations are being done on a gas station in Minnesota.
Now normally unless alternate fuels are being fed through the pumps or a giant robot is somehow involved, this would not be of any interest whatsoever.

This gas station however, is the only one ever designed by Frank Loyd Wright.



If the parking lot was filled with Tuckers..It'd be perfect.

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July 05, 2009

Them Thar's Some Big Fiddles....

This came via Wonderduck...who inexplicably hasn't posted it...so I naturally suspect a cunning trap of some sort.
However, I'm afraid that it is simply too cool not to post.


Now I await the shoe to fall.


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May 16, 2009

Tuckers For Today

A hot rod house  has produced a near replica of the Tucker '48 Torpedo using the original blueprints and mold.


Its not exact of course as the engine is moved a bit forward to improve balance (its almost a mid engine now )and the thing has A/C and a modern electronics fit (GPS/ stereo ect.) but damn....this is cool.

And yet it gets cooler still because they've done a low rider version updated, behold the Lower 48!


A bit more contemporary in style both within and without, it is still very faithful to the Tucker.
Sadly for us (though it is no doubt joyous for them) they are completely booked up at the moment.


Well...one can dream.....

UPDATE: Wonderduck points out that there is a movie of the Tucker story.

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