November 18, 2014

The Omniscence of Wikipedia

I had a strange memory come back to me a couple of day ago, a very old memory. Near here there's a shopping mall, and I remembered that before it was built, the land it was on was a grass airport. I wasn't sure if this was a real memory or a dream, and I was considering posting a question to ask.metafilter.com to see. But for the heck of it I tried Wikipedia first.

And, by gum, it was in there: Bernard's Airport. It was closed in 1969, much later than I had expected. (That was when I was a sophomore in high school; I had thought my memory was from much earlier.

That location is now pretty well surrounded by Beaverton, but when it was originally built it was all country. If you zoomed this picture out a long way, the Tektronix main campus would be on the left.

Does Wikipedia know everything? It seems strange that someone went to the trouble to write an article about such an obscure place.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 07:40 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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November 16, 2014

Nihilistic solutions

I'm thinking of starting a new business. It would be called "Endangered Species Solutions". Our motto: They can't be endangered if they're extinct!

See, the way it works: when some damned environmentalist manages to fuck you over completely by getting some obscure species declared "endangered", you come to us and we take care of it for you.

For example: having your irrigation water taken away from you for the benefit of the Delta Smelt? Pay us, and in the dead of night we'll dump 1000 pounds of potassium cyanide into the Sacramento river and kill them all. Once they're extinct, they can't be endangered any longer and now you can go to court and force the government to release your irrigation water.

Or the Gunnison Sage Grouse? We provide you with a group of hunters equipped with IR night vision goggles to go on a grand multi-week hunt to eliminate the problem. With extreme prejudice.

And we're really good at dealing with Spotted Owls! Just try us!

We'll incorporated in Antigua, and only accept cash transfers. Our customers will never know who we are!

Anyone care to invest? I've got $4.95 seed money so far...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 03:58 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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November 11, 2014

Looks like I'm not the only one

Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks that Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko looks like a duck. Tomorrow, Rosetta's lander is going to try to set down on the thing.

/images/07493.jpg
A fake-but-accurate image of the comet

One of the captions in this article says, "Target site Agilkia, chosen for offering the biggest scientific returns at the lowest risk, lies on the 'head' of the duck and covers 1 square kilometre."

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How do you do this?

How the hell do you do this without the gun exploding in your face?

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November 08, 2014

Where's my garlic?

Am I the only one who thinks that Kim Kardashian looks like a vampire?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 10:23 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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November 04, 2014

I must confess...

...I'm doing a lot of grinning tonight. I further confess that some of that is schadenfreude.

When's the last time you heard anyone talking about the "emerging permanent Democratic Majority"? (Probably about as long ago as the last time you heard mention of "peak oil".)

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Today's word

Today's word seems to be "psephologist". The dictionary defines it as "a person who studies elections" and it's frankly astounding that anyone decided such a word was needed.

Anyway, I've been seeing it all over the place.

UPDATE: I sure hope Pixy has the afternoon off. I can't connect to Ace, and I suspect it's going to have problems all evening (afternoon Wednesday, Pixy's time) due to traffic load.

UPDATE: OK, I just reached it. And there's a note on the page asking people to lay off, because of server overload.

UPDATE: I'm not going to be doing a lot of updates as the counting goes on, but I thought it was noteworthy that Fox has declared that the Republicans have picked up 5 of the 6 seats they need to control the Senate, so far, with others still in contention.

Interesting, but not surprising, that they're being more aggressive about calling contests for the Republicans. Sites like WaPo are hoping aginst hope for a miracle and waiting as long as they can before giving in to the inevitable.

UPDATE: Ace of Spades Decision Desk says the Republicans have pulled it out, and will control the Senate. If they're right, that's a really big deal.

UPDATE: I think they're hallucinating. They called Iowa for the Republicans, even though right now Joni Ernst is behind Braley 47%/49%. Maybe she'll pull it out (I hope) but it's certainly not a lock right now.

UPDATE: Fox now says 50 seats for the Republicans, 45 for the Democrats, and 5 still undetermined.

One of those 5 is Oregon, which is pretty certainly going to the Democrats. But we won't know for a long time; Oregon uses mail-in ballots. So it'll probably be tomorrow before we get any answers.

Oregon has a ballot measure to legalize marijuana, the way Colorado and Washington did. I wonder how that'll go? (Not that it'll make any difference to me; I haven't smoked any grass in nearly 30 years, and I have no interest in starting again.)

UPDATE: Well, maybe AoSDD was onto something (rather than being on something). Ernst is now ahead in the Iowa count.

UPDATE: Fox just called Iowa for the Republicans, and by their count that makes 51, with 4 seats still undetermined. So we're home.

It also means the expected runoff in Louisiana won't end up being a circus. If that had been the deciding vote, insanity would have reigned in that state for a month and a half until the runoff election late in December. It's still going to be crazy, even though the result won't really make all that much difference.

UPDATE: Fox just called North Carolina for the Republicans, making it 52, with three seats still undecided.

UPDATE: I was wrong; they're getting updates from Oregon. 55% counted so far, and the marijuana measure is passing.

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November 02, 2014

36 seats?

Huffington Post:

On Tuesday, Americans will head to the polls to determine 36 seats in the U.S. Senate.

Did we add eight states while I wasn't looking? Sleepy, Happy, Dopey, Bashful, Doc, Sneezy, Grumpy, and Stoney?

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November 01, 2014

It ain't over 'til it's over

No one knows what will happen Tuesday; no one can know until it's over and all the bodies have been counted.

But we can get some idea from the way so many Democrats are frantically melting down and throwing Hail Mary passes. This is not how winners behave, and it makes pretty clear that they think they're in huge trouble.

A huge Republican win should cause Obama to think that it's a referendum on his policies -- but it won't. He's already explained it: all the Dems who have been trying to disassociate themselves from Obama will be at fault. If they had just cleaved to him instead, the disaster wouldn't have happened. He's right, everyone else is wrong.

Two more years. I hope we can survive that long.

UPDATE: The Dunning-Kruger effect:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias manifesting in two principal ways: unskilled individuals tend to suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate, while highly skilled individuals tend to rate their ability lower than is accurate. In unskilled individuals, this bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.

Sound like anyone you know?

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October 30, 2014

Oh, good grief

Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) just came out as gay. So now all the Mac users can add an additional layer of smug to their demeanor -- not ONLY are they using the finest computer in the universe, not ONLY is it non-Microsoft, but it's also politically correct! A blow against heteronormativity!

Moan... (Have I mentioned lately how much I hate Apple?)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 03:54 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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