Wednesday, June 26, 2019


To get an idea of the field of view represented by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photograph, go out under the night sky, find a blank piece of blackness between the stars...
"...take two pins or sewing needles and, at arm's length, cross them. The small square where the two pins overlap is approximately the visual area represented by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field photograph."
Wonderful and awesome in the most literal senses of the words.

It still makes me chuckle...

The opposite of a polar vortex?

I guess this is a "Equatorial Burp"...

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

According to Aquiles Hopkins, president of the Confederation of Associations of Agricultural Producers of Venezuela, national production currently covers only 15%–20% of the country’s consumption needs. “Socialism is what you have in Norway, in Finland,” said Hopkins during an interview in his office in Caracas. “This is an autocracy.”
No, socialism is not what you have in Norway and Finland. What you have in Norway and Finland is largely capitalism with generous social safety nets and public services supported by very high taxes on extremely productive economies (and North Sea oil revenues in the case of the former.)

This can work okay in a culture with strong social taboos against both ostentation and freeloading. How well it can continue to work with large influxes of people who don't have those same taboos remains to be seen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I warned you! But would you listen?

"We identify monkey stone tools between 2,400 and 3,000 years old and, on the basis of metric and damage patterns, demonstrate that capuchin food processing changed between [approximately] 2,400 and 300 years ago, and between [roughly] 100 years ago and the present day."
Right now they've progressed from using little bits of quartz to get at the good parts of seeds and fruit to using bigger rocks to crack cashews. What happens when they progress to even bigger stones to eat people's faces?!?

This moves them up the threat matrix past vampires and werewolves to rough parity with killer space robots. At this rate, they'll be passing pirates and ninjas before you know it.
"If the monkeys follow a similar evolutionary process to humans, they will develop nuclear weapons at some point after the year 3,500,000.

We’re glad to report that the nightmare scenario of (another) nuke-crazed ape species running wild on our planet is unlikely to come to pass."

Odd Vessel

The above is an air-lock diving bell plant, a self-propelled barge that would putter around Gibraltar harbor and lower a caisson to the seafloor.  Workers could climb down that central shaft and install or maintain anchor points for Royal Navy warships in the rocky seabed while working in shirtsleeves.

Pretty funky.

Ripple Effects...

So, the first gun shop I worked at did probably 90% of its business with two wholesalers.

Chattanooga Shooting Supplies provided most of our ammo and a regularly restocked consumables like cleaning supplies. They weren't the cheapest on a strictly per-unit basis, but their truck came by once a week and kicked the boxes off and the convenience and savings on shipping for heavy items made up for that.

The other was Ellett Brothers, whose tagline "As Big As All Outdoors" was descriptive of their inventory. They carried pretty much everything. That's a lot of creditors...

Still Running the Bluff...

Given the mountain of evidence that Chicago authorities have released, either Smollet is the cheekiest individual to walk the face of the earth, or he's pathological.

"Alright, Jussie, let's see them cards. I'm calling your bluff."

Jussie smiles confidently and fans three cards out on the table in front of him.

"Okay, let's see here... You've got 'Black', and 'Bisexual' and...wait, this isn't a card! You've just taken a 3x5 piece of cardboard and written 'VICTIM' on it in crayon!"

Not blinking, Jussie continues to smile and radiate confidence...

Today In History: "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of police action!"

On this date, sixty-nine years ago, North Korean troops launched attacks across the 38th parallel, triggering U.S. involvement in the first of our many post-WW2 not-a-wars.

Our military, shrunken from its WW2 size, was oriented on Europe and mostly configured with an eye toward nuclear combat, toe-to-toe with the Russkies.

Our initial response was haphazard and piecemeal, and included the stinging defeat of Task Force Smith, followed up by the 24th Division's HQ getting overrun and its commander captured by the Norks. The 24th Division's resistance at Taejon likely did buy time to get enough troops into Pusan to fortify the perimeter, though.

It was not the most auspicious of starts.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Automotif CXLIII...

In a video review of the original Viper RT/10, I remember Brock Yates quipping "You have to wonder how they got all that power out of only 488 cubic inches..."

In the years since, I've occasionally encountered writings from motor journalists who hail from the other side of the pond lamenting that the Viper could eke more power from less displacement by using this or that technique...all of which misses the point that the whole idea behind the Viper is that nothing exceeds like excess.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew!

A proper Viking sendoff will have an open range.

It was a long and bittersweet, happy/sad day today.

There's a common saying that states if you want to know how irreplaceable you are, look what happens if you put your finger in a bucket of water and pull it out.

"See how long it took for the water to fill the hole left by your finger?" goes the theory, "Well, that's how irreplaceable you are."

Today was a reminder that it takes longer for the water to fill in some people's absences than others.

Friday, June 21, 2019

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...

I was awakened at 3AM by the sound of my elderly cat, Rannie, being violently ill somewhere in the house.

I found multiple sites where she had horked on the floor and cleaned those up and, deciding I was a little parched, had a can of diet ginger ale & lemonade before flopping back into the bed.

I tried to get back to sleep to no avail. Not even reading through the last few chapters of Russian Roulette could help me doze off, and I had barely drifted back to sleep when the alarm went off.

Despite having vowed to not laze about in bed this morning, there was no way I was going to try to function on that short rest, so I set alarms on the iPad for 7AM and 8AM and figured to get another hour or two of sleep.

This let me drift into a vivid and lengthy-seeming dream, one part of which involved staying in a hotel where the rooms were just depressions in the tops of this really tall mesa, connected by winding arroyos that served as hallways.

At one point I was trying to take a shortcut from one room to another by going from the "balcony" to the "balcony", which essentially meant hand-over-handing across a 90-degree inside corner over a yawning drop to the ground below. This is obviously something I would only do in a dream.

Anyhow, I got my foot stuck in a crevice and, as I was pondering how to get it unstuck without plummeting to my death, I woke up. So that was convenient.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tomorrow Afternoon...

The 2020 race kicks off...

"Our Radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country, as we know it."

POTUS was on the stump last night at a rally, talking about the platoon of Democratic Party candidates fixing to duke it out...

How To Social Media (and How Not To)

This is the best timeline...

Hi Point set up a “Name Our New Gun” contest on social media. “YC-9”, for “Yeet Cannon”, got the most votes.

So they put up a short list of finalists, and “YC-9” wasn’t on there. The backlash on Hi-Point’s FB page was swift, and included this post from HK USA’s official account:

Bonus: Check where the web address "" resolves...

HK USA's social media game is fire.

PS: Hi-Point, I absolutely would buy a "Yeet Cannon 9".

Monday, June 17, 2019

Taste Sensation...

In all these years, I had never tried the Italian beef at Fat Dan's Chicago Deli before.

This past weekend, they had a French dip sandwich, and it was delicious. Today I went there for lunch and ordered an Italian beef, hold the giardiniera peppers and add Swiss cheese. The result was an excellent French dip!