Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Wandering Mall-1 in full dinner dress, not seeing ninjas.
-TwoLumps Tea drinkers cause rain.
-xkcd The Mars rover wonders when it will get to go home ...
-Girl Genius What do you mean, "dead"?
-No Need For Bushido New page expected Monday. RIP Big Hulking Farmer.
-Delta Bravo Sierra. Newsmonkey points out we won in Iraq, even if the President doesn't want to admit it.
-Digger Things are about to get suddenly and violently exciting.

Not Updated, fie!
-Dresden Codak
-My Ninja Family
-Gone with the Blastwave
-Argghhh!onauts caught in revolving door of life. Ergo, no comic.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Go no more a' Roving

The Mars Spirit Rover is stuck for good. But NASA can't really complain, since the original mission length was just over 3 months and the rover kept going for over 5 years. And it will still keep reporting as long as its batteries hold out and the solar panels work, it just won't be moving.

Good job, little robot!

Update: xkcd has a slightly darker take. "I thought I analyzed that rock really well."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Solar Flare Predictor

And now for some real science. NOAA scientists have come up with a new improved solar flare predictor, giving up to three days advance notice of where a flare will erupt on the surface of the sun. Why is this important? We have a lot more electrical wires, computers, cell phones, and orbiting satellites than they did in 1859, when Richard Carrington *just* happened to be observing the sun in time to see a brilliant flash of white light (and if it is brilliant enough to show up against the sun ...) That particular flare produced a huge Coronal Mass Ejection that hit the Earth 18 hours later, disrupting telegraph service and causing auroras as far south as the Caribbean. In some cases, clever telegraphers figured out the lines were self-powering, and transmitted without their normal electric source. That geomagnetic storm was damaging enough then. It would be devastating today. If we have warning of a flare about to hit, we can shut down and protect infrastructure. Or, party and buy up survival gear. Lots of options.

More info on the Carrington Superflare here.

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Tagon diplomacy FAIL.
-TwoLumps There is no Junk Food Planet.
-Girl Genius Oh goody, another deranged ancient clank with a grudge.
-No Need For Bushido Big Hulking Farmer, though barechested, was wearing a red shirt. Neat trick.
-Delta Bravo Sierra. Newsmonkey pointing out awkward truth.
-Digger The monks have new tattoos.

Not Updated, fie!

-Dresden Codak
-My Ninja Family
-Gone with the Blastwave
- Author of Argghhh!onauts has managed to chew through restraints, escape. Wild claims of horked-up computer proffered as excuse for no comic.

Speaking of Comics...
Or, Snarkatron's thoughts on Avatar.

First thought. Ooo, lookit the pretty colors!
Second thought. Huh. I expected to get irritated by the lame eco-nutbar subplot, but it was fighting for attention with about five *other* irritating subplots so it was easy to ignore it.
Third thought. There was a plot?

Somewhere there is a computer game missing its entire graphic design department and some serious big iron computing, because that's what Avatar was -- a computer game. Only you don't get to play, so FAIL there. It certainly wasn't a movie, because movies have plots, and characters. Characters that you care about, one way or another. When I'm watching a major character die nobly, I shouldn't be thinking "did I eat the last JuJube, or is there one sticking to the box like they always do?"

There should also be a sign at the entrance to the theater warning anyone who a) flew any kind of aircraft in combat, b) read about aircraft in combat, c) saw Memphis Belle, d) has come in out of the rain 3 out of 4 times, that EXTREMELY SILLY combat tactics will be shown, undraped, on the screen. Otherwise these people will suffer seizures when they see the bad guys (that would be Corporate Humanity in the script) huddling all their helicopter-equivalents so close together they can scribble graffiti on each other's fuselage. Because nothing says "I love you" like blue-on-blue collisions before you even see the enemy. The Army Air Force had the whole stagger-spacing thing figured out in WWII, but I guess there was a purge of all military history before the events onscreen took place. Kinda the same way that fuse and seatbelt technology was lost in the Star Trek universe.

So, I'm not wishing I had the hours of my life back, but that was mostly due to the cool technology and pretty pictures. They could have left out the people, pink and blue, and it would have made Avatar ten times better. Big important movie? Maybe, if only because now the tech is available for movies with real plots and acting. The Moral Message for Mankind (Bush sucks!) won't last. Birth of a Nation was a popular cinematic blockbuster too when it came out, but the only people who watch it now for what it says go through a lot of sheets, IYKWIM.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Primo Victoria

"Early this morning, allied voters bound by their love of freedom began the offensive against the deeply entrenched political machine that has long held Massachusetts (pls. note correct spelling) in its iron grasp. The fight will be long and hard, for the foe is determined and cunning. Victory is never certain, but we are conscious that our cause is right and this belief will sustain us in the struggle to come."

UPDATE: Coakley concedes. Obama, it was about you. Kerry, you're next.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Exactly how do you protect people *without* the scary weapons?
-TwoLumps Don't do drugs, kittens.
-Girl Genius Something is coming up from the sub-basement ...
-No Need For Bushido New comic Monday!
-Delta Bravo Sierra. Chemlight batteries obtained!
-Digger Ed is safe with Ganesha.

Not Updated, fie!

-Dresden Codak
-Lackadaisy (but there is new art, so check it out)
-My Ninja Family
-Gone with the Blastwave
- Looks like SugarButtons forgot to pay the rent on his CONEX, so will we ever see another Argghhh!onauts again? Stay tuned ...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why Scott Brown raised a cool mil in one day

Yeah, I donated. Why? Because stuff like this seems to be the only way to communicate to the liberal brainwashed media. They report massive fundraisers. They report book sales too, which is why I bought Sarah Palin's book instead of going my usual cheapskate route of getting it from the library. Sometimes I feel like the scientist in "Close Encounters" trying to communicate with the aliens with music. But money? Money talks. It is ... unambiguous. It is booze I can't buy. Or chocolate. Or death ray repair parts.


We want our country back. We want Congress to obey the law and follow the Constitution. We want government's sticky fingers out of our wallets. You have no idea how very, very angry we are.

But you will.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Some people *are* weapons.
-TwoLumps I guess cartoon cats don't understand science, but they have an excuse. HADCrut, not so much.
-Girl Genius The Other is dismayed to find that Agatha made sure the restraints were fastened. And minions warned...
-No Need For Bushido I think someone is wearing a red shirt under his gi...
-Delta Bravo Sierra. Newsmonkeys and baby Devil Dogs.
-Digger Ganesha is being ignored, and Ed has been persecuted.

Not Updated, fie!

-Dresden Codak
-My Ninja Family
-Gone with the Blastwave
- The negotiations for the release of Argghhh-onauts are going well. Anyone know where we can get a truckload of Cheezy Poofs, cheap?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Islam and Terrorists

There is a lot of blather about how Islamic terrorism is created by poverty, lack of education, and Horrible Things What We Done. Yet when you look at the individuals doing the detonation, this doesn't seem to be the case.

The Pantybomber, for example. Not poor. Well-educated at Western universities. However, while he had access to his father's wealth it wasn't his own, and he didn't seem to make the connection that his father had worked for his wealth. He was sure his parents would not approve of his marrying before making his nut, doubted they would bankroll an early start to his family, and his strict version of Islam meant he couldn't even stare at a girl's uncovered head unless he was married to her, and he wanted to get married (i.e. have sex) NOW. So why not blow up and go straight to Paradise with lots of willing houris, sanctioned by the Prophet, and no mortgage payments?

Several of the 9/11 terrorists were well-off and educated too. If they had bothered to apply their engineering degrees to work that did not result in the total destruction of their environs, they could have done very well for themselves. Of course, "educated" can mean a whole range of things. The typical middle-eastern way is heavy on deference to authority and memorization. I had some Egyptian students in my Physics classes, and they simply did not understand that it was not okay to cheat off of other student's work, that I did expect them to do the homework, and if they didn't pass the test they would fail the course. I saw one of them repeat the class, even. Still didn't get it. So, even if these students eventually earned an engineering degree I'm dubious firms would instantly be lining up to hire them.

There are characteristics of serial or mass murderers that seem to be remarkably consistent, such as an inability to form normal relationships with other people, notably people of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, this characteristic is institutionalized by fundamentalist Islam. Culturally, women are denigrated. A man is not supposed to admire or respect them, for they are inferior. Any natural feelings of attraction are therefore shameful. If the most exciting thing young Abdullah has ever seen was an accidental glimpse of cousin Fatimah's ankle, and he's not allowed to be in the same room as an unrelated woman, he's going to have issues. Women are exciting, forbidden, and since he is a good Muslim boy they *must* be using their hair rays to entice him. Couldn't be him, after all.

Further, if Islam = Superior to Anything Else, and Muslim Male=Top of the Heap, all the little setbacks a Westerner simply accepts as part of the employment process are intolerable insults to your fundamentalist Muslim man. Fresh out of school you aren't going to be earning oodles of money, and you will be expected to work hard by superiors who WILL criticize your work . Some of them, horror, might be FEMALE. And during school, if it is a Western university, young Abdullah would see plenty of young Western men having no difficulty finding congenial feminine companionship, making his abstinence even more painful.

So, can the media kindly knock off the whole "poverty creates terrorism" schtick, and maybe replace it with "misogyny creates terrorism" instead?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Resolutions for Other People

-for President Obama: That he pretend the welfare of the United States and its citizens is just as important as the welfare of a friend's child injured in a surfing accident, and make the motorcade speed to get back to the scene so he can appear concerned. I mean, really, dude. The job you were hired to do is protect the country, and you act like you can't be bothered when a jihadi tries to blow up a plane with his Underoos. A kid gets one bruise and a band-aid, and you are so there. Did you believe all the media hype that Bush was an idiot, and therefore you could cruise through the presidency doing a better job than he did without even trying hard? Oh well, sucks to be you.

-for the RNC: Resolve to kill fewer trees and free up USPS resources by not mailing 50 gajillion begging letters for money I. Will. Not. Give. You. Unlike the RNC, I can identify solid conservative candidates that support the things I support, and I can send them money my own little self. So unless you enjoy the vitriolic abuse I send back on those stupid questionnaires that aren't really, stop sending them.

-for the Sun: Stop futzing around and give Cycle 24 a kick in the pants. It's fun to mock all the AGW moppets freezing in place with their "Global Warming is killing the planet" signs clutched in their frostbitten hands, but this is getting old.

-for the Danish Government, and any other nation whose citizens have been directly threatened by Muslim extremists for speaking their minds/drawing cartoons/emitting hair rays: On proof of said threat (examples of accepted forms being fatwas, videotapes of scruffy jihadis issuing fatwas, crater in sidewalk in front of house, etc) person being threatened is issued a "shooting license", indemnifying them from any fines or prosecution should they need to use deadly force to prevent Muslim extremists from killing them or their friends and family. Or, you know, the government could sack up and defend the fatwa-ee themselves, like they are supposed to. Just a thought.

Sunday Funnies

Now that the cartoonists have all returned from their various festive occasions ...
-Schlock MercenaryDr. Bunnigus subverts the tailor-bot.
-TwoLumps End of the world, or massive hangover?
-Girl Genius Agatha has her hands full and Baron Wulfenbach has been put forcibly back into bed.
-Dresden Codak Lantern festival.
-No Need For Bushido If they don't update Monday I will *sulk*.
-Delta Bravo Sierra. Talking to the First Shirt.

Not Updated, fie!
-My Ninja Family
-Gone with the Blastwave
- Argghhh-onauts attempted to bring more than 3 oz. of toothpaste in his carryon bag and was promptly tackled by the TSA, ACLU, and a ravening band of Hari Krishnas. A bail fund is being set up even as we speak.