April 05, 2016

Sometimes fate has a sense of humor

Euro-Disney just had a freak accident. An employee was found dead in the Haunted House attraction. Reportedly he was working on lighting and got electrocuted.

Will this make customers begin to think that the "Haunted House" is really haunted?

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April 03, 2016

The march of technology

The stuff we're doing in high tech has been rendering revolutions, and the side effects of those revolutions will reverberate for centuries.

For 500 years, printing presses were uncommon, and thus the power of communications they enabled were limited to a few people. But that all changed about 20 years ago; and now nearly anyone can publish and distribute their thoughts, electronically, at negligible cost. That revolution has already wrought substantial changes and it's only going to get worse (or better, depending on your point of view).

One consequence of that is that the business model of dozens of corporations who relied on ownership of physical printing presses is rapidly becoming non-viable. Some of them have gone out of business already and the rest are trying to find ways to survive, even though most of them will not.

But it also means that the self-selected "gate keepers" of public discourse have totally lost control over the gate. Public discourse is no longer controlled by any kind of elite. And as a result, we live in interesting times.

And now for something completely different. A hundred years ago, aircraft because a significant weapon of war. By WWII the importance of aircraft became overwhelming. But building and operating a substantial air force was extremely expensive, involving huge capital investment and large numbers of men, all of which cost a great deal to maintain.

And maybe that's about to change, too. ISIS is reported to be developing an airforce based on drones, which are cheap, and readily available, and don't require a mammoth support infrastructure. Even if this report is not true, it's going to happen somewhere, by someone, and not necessarily just by a large terrorist organization.

It's possible that in ten years it will be just as cheap and common for private citizens to have their own airforce equivalents, the way we have the equivalent of printing presses now. How, for instance, do you maintain security over major buildings like the US Capitol when any crank can put a pipe bomb on a drone and send it in?

And not just major political targets. Will "pro-life" cranks start using drones to bomb abortion clinics? Will "gun control" advocates start making airstrikes against large gun stores and shooting ranges? When will we see a public official who is giving a speech get attacked by a drone? How do you fend that off? (Even if all it does is to disrupt the speech and panic the crowd, that may be enough for some attackers.)

How do you protect a big natgas storage facility against drones that don't care about barbed-wire fences?

And if it's a drone with a decent radio range, which is carrying a camera in addition to a bomb, then the attacker could be anywhere. How do you find them?

And how many will there be? This kind of attack could be launched for under $1000 by anyone with a grievance. (And there are a lot of grievances out there!)

I don't think this is going to cause as much change, or as widespread of change, as the internet did, but it's going to change a lot of things. For instance, it may become the norm for heads of state to make speeches by TV instead of in person. And just as the internet has changed the way campaigns are run, the fear of drone attack will change them too.

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March 22, 2016

Belgian bombing

It's bad and it's going to get worse. As always in a situation like this early reports are confused and contradictory; it'll take a couple of days before we can see an accurate picture. But what we already know is that this was big.

And as always in these cases, what most concerns lefties is anti-Muslim backlash. Their sympathy is with the perps, not the victims. It brings to mind this joke headline from a few years ago:

"Muslims Fear Reprisals for Tomorrow's Train Bombing”

It's amazing (no it isn't) and tragic (for sure) that this joke is still timely.

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March 13, 2016

I feel so safe!

"Bomb-sniffing dog discovers 2 Hellfire missiles bound for Portland". As in my Portland, the city in whose suburbs I live.

Marvelous. Were there others, shipped by other routes, which didn't get detected?

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March 12, 2016

Yeah, it's wrong but...

Sexual harassment is wrong, but I still gotta admire this guy:

The Seattle City Attorney's Office has charged a 90-year-old man with sexual assault from an incident inside a senior housing complex. ...

In January, 90-year-old Abraham Kang contacted her to donate a bath stool to any resident who might need it.

According to a report filed with Seattle police, Malone reported that Kang asked for a hug while in her apartment.

"I hesitated. But I let him and he grabbed me inappropriately,” Linda Malone said. "He put his hands on my bottom and pulled me to him."

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March 08, 2016

This probably proves something...

Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick! The Wachowski Brothers are now The Wachowski Sisters!

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February 25, 2016

First World Problems

This is a headline in USAToday:

Police seek bald man in thefts of Rogaine, supplements

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Republican Fainting Couches

As Trump continues to win in the primary ballot box and in the caucus race, I am endlessly amused by the reaction of the Republican establishment, not to mention earnest outsiders. (I'm not a fan of earnestness even at the best of times.)

Starting today, we're getting a huge smear job. I saw one article which talked about how Trump didn't serve in the military during the Viet Nam War. Another one talked about how he did a lot of sleeping around when he was young (gasp!). These were by people in the establishment trying to make those knuckle dragging religious plebes turn against Trump -- and they won't work. The establishment is completely missing the point.

Trump's voters are not voting for him because of what he is. They're voting for him because of what he is not. He isn't part of the establishment, and he clearly doesn't like the establishment -- and a lot of voters feel the same way. Republican candidates each two years come out and talk the talk, and get elected, and then go to Washington and forget all that.

I wrote about that last September. The Republicans aren't really in opposition to the Democrats; on most things they want the same result. And the Republicans seem to value collegiality to an insane extent; the thing they're most worried about is angering the Democrats and the Democratic media (which is to say, most of it).

Middle American Republicans are tired of that shit, and the reason they're voting for Trump is because he's a bull in the china shop. The one thing he clearly doesn't give a damn about is collegiality.

Maybe his presidency would be bizarre. Maybe it might even be catastrophic (though it would be tough to be as catastrophic as Obama has been). But the one thing that is certain is that it will shatter the existing order. And that is what his voters are voting for. It's what they really care about.

So how do more main-stream candidates beat him? The first step is to recognize what it is he offers that the voters really want -- and that's exactly what none of them are willing to do, because they're part of the establishment trying for the latest time to sell the voters a bill of goods.

The (Republican) voters want a complete outsider, one not beholden to the existing power structure, one not afraid of it and willing to say things that make the insiders gasp and head for their fainting couches. That means that in this Republican campaign Senators and Governors are all doomed before they begin. The simple fact that they're already part of the existing power structure is enough to render them unacceptable to the people who are voting for Trump.

And every time someone in the existing power structure gasps and moans and tries to bring Trump down, Trump grins and his support grows. Because it's obviously a desperation move -- and it completely misses the target.

For instance: Trump has been doing the H1-B game in his resort in Florida. Gasp! Stunning! Hey, all you plebes! Look at this!

Well, the answer is Trump didn't make the rules, and he has a fiduciary duty to his stock holders to make his business as profitable as he can. If that means firing highly paid Americans and hiring foreign workers, then that's what the rules of the game say he's supposed to do. That's all it means.

It doesn't mean he's a hypocrite, which is what the scandal-mongers hope all the sloping foreheads will take from it.

The kind of people who are voting for Trump have spent years, decades even, being held in contempt by the existing order -- and now they're returning the favor. What they want is for the existing order to get destroyed. If there were a better candidate they thought capable and willing to do that, he'd be getting the votes. But Trump is the only one they believe in, so he's it.

And he's going to continue to be it, because the one thing the existing order (and all their hand-picked candidates) do not want is for the existing order to go away. Trump is going to win the candidacy -- and I believe he'll win the Presidency, too.

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February 22, 2016

Commercial suicide

I don't do "social media" stuff. The only reason I have a Facebook account was originally to allow me to make comments on Powerline, but these days also Instapundit and Hot Air.

I have a LiveJournal account but the only reason was so that I could leave comments on Pete's page there, back when he used it for anime. I think it's been years since I last looked at it and I'm not even sure what the URL is any more.

Facebook really, really would like me to do more, like have lots of "friends" but I'm trying not to get caught up in that. And if there's a Twitter account in my name, no one ever told me about it, and it isn't mine.

So it's been amusing to read about the latest social media tempest in a tea cup: Twitter is committing commercial suicide. Seems a few days ago they created a "Trust and Safety Council" and invited a whole bunch of non-conservative activists to join, including someone named Sarkeesian who is an SJW of the worst kind. And starting last weekend, it seems she went on a jihad to cleanse Twitter of everyone she hated, started with someone named Robert Stacy McCain. His main account was blocked; this morning his backup account was also blocked. When various people piped up in support, a lot of them had their accounts blacklisted in one or more ways. A lot of other people are piping up (Ace and Instapundit) and there's the beginning of a conservative boycott, which may grow.

Meanwhile, Twitter's stock price has been plummeting for the last couple of months, for what seems to be a pretty straightforward reason: there's no income. Money is going out but none is coming in. The business model is right out of the dotcom boom: look for millions of eyeballs and figure out later how to get money from them. Well, it's "later" and they still haven't figured out how.

But the first step seems to be to alienate about half their users. Not me, though, because I was never a user to begin with. And as long as Pixy doesn't succumb to political correctness, and there's no indication that he's susceptible to that, then this particular soap box is big enough for me. I've been in the spotlight and it wasn't very comfortable. I'm much happier over here in the twilight where not many people are paying attention. (But I'm grateful to you all who do, nonetheless.)

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Hooray for idiots! Life would be a lot more boring without them.

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February 18, 2016

Catching up

Maetenloch has discovered Pixel Maritan.

It's possible he doesn't know the whole story behind it. Back at the beginning of time, there was a series of graphic novels about a character named Moetan. She was a magical girl, and had a crush on a high school boy. So she'd transform to her magical form and visit him, to help him study English.

That was the point of it all; was to help the readers to study English.

Well, Pixel Maritan was a satire of that series. To the extent that it had any goal besides being riotously funny, the goal was to teach the readers how to cuss like a Marine.

The basic story was that Maritan was a princess of the magical kingdom of Parris Island, where she worked as a Marine drill instructor. There were three other main characters: Army-tan was a recruit soldier under Maritan's tender care. J-tan represented the Japanese self defense force. And Navy-tan was an officer, always seen wearing dress whites and daintily drinking a cup of tea.

"-tan" is an ultra-cutesy version of -chan, and given Maritan's character its use is part of the satire because Maritan is not cute.

There were three volumes, and all of them had the same format. At any point, the left hand page was a comic, entirely in Japanese except the last word balloon which was in English. The right page, then, was a gloss explaining that last word balloon, which was invariably profane or obscene, with careful attention to the meaning and proper use of words like "fuck", "cocksucker" and so on.

In the first volume all the English lines were from the movie Full Metal Jacket, mostly from the gun sergeant. The other two books were a bit more varied but the basic format was the same in all of them.

My understanding is that it was a wild success. There was a drama CD released, and the voice actress who did Maritan visited the American base on Okinawa and was photographed there with American Marines, who seemed to really enjoy it all.

All in all, quite a run for what really has to be thought of as a one-joke pony.

UPDATE: I haven't read the books, and I really wonder how you fill three volumes out. After you've done Carlin's "six words", then what do you do? English isn't really a very rich language for cursing.

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