Tiangong 1?

China announced Thursday (Feb. 28) that it will send three astronauts to space this summer on a docking mission to its orbiting lab, according to news reports.

Carrying three Chinese astronauts the Shenzhou 10 capsule will launch into space atop a Long March-2F rocket sometime between June and August, the Xinhua news agency reported. Once in orbit, the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft will link up with China’s space station prototype, the Tiangong 1 laboratory module.

The new space mission will mark China’s second manned docking of two spacecraft in orbit, and the fifth Chinese manned spaceflight. The country’s space program achieved its first manned orbital docking 2012, when the three-person crew of Shenzhou 9 linked up with Tiangong 1.

Space.com

Raise your hands, anyone who knew the Chinese built their own space station? Have sent manned missions to it before? and the media claims to report “the news”. Apparently this isn’t newsworthy in the US.

Facebook Status update backdated to the blog.


Editor’s note 2018. This status update was backdated to the blog when it was, because this event was happening soon,

The European Space Agency (ESA) has issued a new re-entry forecast for China’s Tiangong-1 space lab.

The 8.5-ton spacecraft is now expected to fall into Earth’s atmosphere between March 24 and April 19, though ESA officials stressed that this is a rough estimate.

“Re-entry will take place anywhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south (e.g. Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, etc.)” latitude, officials with the Space Debris Office at ESA’s European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, wrote in an update last week. “Areas outside of these latitudes can be excluded. At no time will a precise time/location prediction from ESA be possible.”

Space.com

In all honesty, I thought that this space station had already suffered re-entry. Apparently I had read the story projecting the re-entry data, and never took into account how far into the future this event would occur.

…Also? I loved the comment by someone of Asian descent on my Facebook status who thinks that because Chinese spaceflight is important to him, it should be important to everybody. I was simply marveling that as a voracious news consumer I had never encountered this story in two years of listening to and watching the news almost constantly. Space is simply not something that the mainstream media reports on, and when they do, they do it badly.

The Chinese space station re-entered without much notice on April 1-2 2018.

Redefining Piracy

Huffington Post Tech artcile

I know I’m wasting my time here, because the entertainment giants have all stacked the decks in their favor and defined piracy as any activity that they don’t approve of, but just how many of these legally defined ‘pirates’ profit from their activity? Would have the money to pay for the entertainment that they share for free? How many people will have their abilities to function in today’s world hampered by these bumbling attempts to stop something that wouldn’t exist were the content simply made available when desired at a reasonable price?

Aren’t these media conglomerates simply shooting themselves in the foot, alienating potential future customers with harassment? The music industry has been forced to the table, and the low per-song price through iTunes and Amazon is the result of their capitulation to the new information reality we live in. The instantaneous access to information that the average user demands. The savviest of new bands now offer their music directly from their websites, and even offer free songs to draw people in. They do this because they know that their audiences want more access, more music, and they want it right now, not after they visit a store and make a purchase. Get your music from the source, cut out the middleman.

What piracy remains (musically) is the corporate properties that haven’t learned to play ball, want to charge more, won’t put their libraries online. Study after study has shown this; that if the content is available, people will pay for it. I balk at being forced to buy music libraries a third time (once on tape, once on disc, and again on unprotected mp3) I will still go to torrent sites to pick up copies of music that I’ve already paid for. However, with the emergence of remastered music that is of superior quality to CD, even I am admitting that I may have to buy the music again, for a fourth time.

No, the yelling and screaming about PIRACY! comes from the MPAA and corporate television entities these days. They just haven’t figured out that the game has changed yet. When the average movie goer starts boycotting corporate films and embraces independent content (something that is already beginning to occur) maybe they’ll figure it out.

If I download a song, never listen to it, and then delete it, have I profited? If I download a movie or television show, if I pay for a subscriber service, can’t access it, and then download a torrent copy of the exact show I already paid for, but then don’t watch or listen to any of it, have I stolen anything?The corporate property owners say you have, and you are a pirate. I’d simply like them to prove how the temporary existence of a file on a computer system represents anything other than a cost, not a benefit. If I can’t be shown to have even watched or listened to the files in question, but the files belong to the corporation that objects to their existence, I’d say they owe me storage fees for holding the information for me. But I’ll happily wave the fees and simply delete the files. Let’s see how many checks show up in the meantime.

Facebook status and comments added, edited and backdated to the blog. Summary paragraph added.

How Many Stars, Amazon? You Mean Write 150 Words.

Amazon sends me eMail asking me (again) how many stars I would give a streamed purchase I’ve made. However, when I click on the link, it doesn’t just want me to give the movie a number of stars, it wants me to wax loquacious about the merits of the film, and then summarize the entirety of my thoughts into a title for the post.

This time it was Dead Poets Society, a film that I could actually write quite a few words about, if it wasn’t 20 years old. The previous film was Blind Date, which I only purchased because a) it had Bruce Willis in the cast and b) we had never seen the film, with a possible c) we were drunk and shopping online. Considering the factors involved, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars, but what do you say review-wise about that?

Facebook status backdated to the blog.

#Benghazi, The Original Dumpster Fire

I said I really have nothing else to add to this when I posted this image on Facebook, but then I got pushback from a friend on it. Not just any friend, but someone I’ve shared dinner and drinks with, a real life (RL) friend. Yes, I actually have a life that isn’t on the ‘net. He didn’t like that I put up a meme that he didn’t agree with, and then didn’t add my two cents worth to top it off. I didn’t make him feel better for my having posted an image that he disagreed with.

There’s no point in embroidering on a concise thought, which is what the pictured meme image represents. Concise thinking on a specific subject. Either the snippet or image speaks for itself (and if I pass it on, it does for me) or it fails to pass the ‘concise’ test. If I’m expected to write a ten page essay on every subject that comes across my wall that I agree with, I would wear my fingers down typing and would very shortly following have no friends.

Obama is bringing all the heat on himself with his usual lack of transparency.

my RL friend

When I repost an image or a quote, it is not passing on “talking points” in my estimation; unless you are going to chalk up all political action to being transparent efforts to control the conversation on any given subject, from some central office somewhere that sets an agenda. If anything, using the phrase ‘lack of transparency’ marks someone as a FOX news watcher, someone absorbing ‘talking points’. I’ve never heard that phrase uttered in relation to Obama in any real sense outside of Republicans claiming that amongst the various other crazy characterizations like “socialist”, etc.

Obama is as transparent as any other president has been. He is as centrist as every president who served before him has been. His centrist nature is why liberals don’t like him very much.

I’m loathe to accept the accusation that I am “taking a side” (especially on the subject at hand) It’s pretty cut and dried what is or isn’t legal, in a general sense. I will say Obama has committed crimes. It’s a near impossibility for a modern sitting President to not do so, considering just how far outside the Constitutional parameters our current government is. The fact is, and I’ve said this since Obama took office, that his performance as President has been exceptional in comparison to the last three Presidents; better than all of them combined, in my estimation.

Which is why the bullshit thrown up over Benghazi rings even more false than most of the accusations thrown at the man. It was trumped up from the beginning, and the likeliest reason for his silence is because Benghazi was a secret CIA location and he cannot speak about it. Something that the leadership in the House and Senate would know he has to be silent about, so they know they can whale away on him over it, and not fear retaliation. A CIA rendition site, something that the Republican leadership would actually be in favor of were he a Republican president, thereby making it hypocrisy.

If anything Obama is too passive, too willing to compromise, domestically. He’s too close to being right of center as is to be able to make anything other than a step to the left a betrayal of his own base. And yet he steps to the right time and time again, and is rewarded for that with even more vitriol from his political opponents on the right.

Lack of transparency? How about the three times Bush was warned that attacks were planned using domestic airliners, but got left out of the 911 report? The WMD that they never admitted was a complete shell game? The torture that they still won’t admit was torture? There was never an accounting that matches what the President has been put through over the one embassy attack he had to deal with. How many hearings were held dealing with the multiple embassy attacks on Bushes watch? Why aren’t they all serving long jail sentences, as they should be?

…Well I guess we can blame that last one on Obama. I’d put him in jail right next to the others, but they get to go first. I resent the casting of #Benghazi as if there are multiple truths, as if there are two versions of fact. As if the deaths of thousands of people amounts to nothing more than another sports event with a contested outcome. As if the Iraq war (not 9/11) W’s real crime, in any way, shape or form resembles a single embassy attack on Obama’s watch.

Specifically I resent the insinuation that I am so lax in my thinking as to use Fahrenheit 9/11 as a reference for news and fact. There is a detailed timeline before and after the events of 9-11 in Deadly Decisions: How False Knowledge Sank the Titanic, Blew Up the Shuttle, and Led America into War, a book I’ve recommended countless times already, outlining the number of times that the President, his staff, and congress were advised that there were credible threats to the US, including attacks from the air using our own aircraft. They ignored all of them, and it was stated at the time that it would take an event similar to what happened on 9-11 to wake them up to the threat.

What I am suggesting by sharing the image is that this outpouring of rage at Obama over #Benghazi is nothing more than another FOX-lead,conservative-backed hatchet job on the President. That if suspicions are born out, what we will discover was that there was a secret CIA black site there, and that CIA bungled the security. That the pretense that one man can juggle all the information concerning the running of a beast the size of the federal government is itself a fantasy.

The outrage is false, because the motivation is false. It started with the conservatives hypocritically opposing the President first on doing nothing while the Libyan revolution (and the Arab spring) started, then opposing his move to protect the civilians there, then opposing the move to let NATO handle it and remove ourselves from control of the situation (as if we could control it) and when the embassy attack occurred, the conservatives pounced on that horse and rode it to town, convinced they finally had the vehicle to take Obama down. False, from beginning to end.

My willingness to see Obama imprisoned (mentioned above) relates directly to his negligence of duty to the laws of the US which he pledged to uphold and defend; his failure to prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes, his failure to prosecute Wall Street for their frauds and money laundering, his failure to end the Bush era war crimes and in fact increase the level of criminality by using the military under the guidance of the CIA to attack citizens within nations that we are not at war with.

Real crimes, in other words, not make believe incidents fabricated in the minds of Conservative/Republican leaders who simply want their power back so that they can continue to do what Obama is doing now. Do what he’s doing and do more of it to boot. That is the true falsity and hypocrisy of #Benghazi. And I’m almost ashamed to call someone who falls for this kind of crap a friend.

An argument I had on Facebook during the #Benghazi dumpster fire reposted to the blog. 
BTW, GOP House Intel Committee Report – No Obama Benghazi Wrongdoing

ZAP Doesn’t Include Firearms and Killer Pets

This one is for Dylan Boswell, the shortest term facebook friend I’ve had so far. 


I find it interesting that someone promoting the Zero Aggression Principle would have need of a weapon designed to kill people.  It takes professional grade tolerance for contradiction to not see the hypocrisy in those two positions held together. How can you not be the aggressor while killing someone?  You can wave your hands in any flim-flam manner you wish, but no amount of hand waving will change the fact that you are alive and the other person is dead at your hand.  That is aggression, plain and simple.  It’s excusable in certain circumstances, but you don’t get to kill people (outside of war) just because you want to.

So yes, owning a gun that carries the appearance of one designed to kill people signals the potential of aggression (openly carrying any weapon signals this to some extent) Ask the Somalis, the Afghanis, the Iraqis if they felt threatened when approached by people carrying those weapons.

…and yes, you are stupid for owning a Pit Bull. That breed of dog was carefully bred for aggression against other dogs, a stronger bite and stronger physic.  As a dog owner whose dogs have been attacked by free-wandering Pit Bulls, more than once, I have very little sympathy for the cries of how gentle Pit Bulls are. They were made into weapons, to fight in a sport that mercifully (soon will) no longer exist. I’m not certain that the breed has a reason to continue to exist.

Facebook Status backdated to the blog. 


A bit of housecleaning here. Pit Bulls do not have stronger bites, nor are they physically stronger. They are more aggressive with other dogs and this is especially true if they have had training to be aggressive with other dogs; AKA, being trained to fight. The extent that any dog is aggressive is quite probably correlated to the history of that dogs lineage. In other words, if your dog is the direct descendant of dogs that were bred to guard and/or fight, you will have a dog that is aggressive with other dogs and sometimes people.

Having a dog that you want to threaten others with is having a liability on the end of the leash you are holding. You should picture dollars flying out of your pocket. You don’t want a dog that bites. What you do want is a dog that follows instruction. A subtle but important difference.

Conspiracy Cults; Getting What’s Coming to Them?

This is for Steven Vandervelde who, in his infinite wisdom, decided to unfriend me in the middle of a conversation on his wall (conversation appended) I was in the middle of real life, of watching movies with family, when this conversation started.

I should have resisted commenting on his post (that was how I started the comment I had to abandon because of his actions) I have no fondness for trolls, and despise myself when I catch myself trolling. Still, I have to wonder if the conspiracy theorists (see appended conversation) understand just how nutty their words appear, when seen from outside the realm of the conspiracy initiated; the people who simply “know” that the forces of government are arrayed against them. In yet another example of my inability to keep myself from arguing with the terrified weapons holder (a phrase that should give anyone pause) I attempted to explain that it was completely rational to limit weapons to people who are trained and licensed to use and carry firearms. That there is no conspiracy at the UN to steal all our guns.

The UN exists exactly as I described; it was created specifically to echo the will of the victors in World War Two, it does what we (our government) tells it to. Everyone who isn’t part of the conspiracy knows this. No one is proposing that you should not be allowed to defend yourself. Even if they were, such a proposal would contravene centuries of US law and the founding documents of the government of the United States; not to mention the most recent decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States (District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570) which has reversed the presumption that you could render the population of the US defenseless, legally.

Can Not Be Done.

Not without changing the precedent, something that is quite rare. Let that sink in for a moment.

Before I leave this subject, I’d like to highlight another point. Recently the world was treated to a breath of fresh air commonly referred to as the Arab Spring. Third World regions such as the Middle East (my apologies to anyone who takes offense to this characterization) are historically the most despotic. They have some of the worst records on human rights, freedoms; and most importantly gun ownership. Yet these people, officially unarmed by law, managed to overthrow several governments and change the course of the region, politically.  What does that mean when it comes to the necessity of arms and the need to make government responsive to the people? For me, it embroiders an opinion that I’ve long held; that revolution need not be violent in order to be effective.

The US is obsessed with guns. We have been since Lexington and Concord. In the 1700’s, it was necessary to hold arms in order to be able to effect change. This adage was observed and utilized through numerous generations, and taken to heart by several successful dictators of the recent past, which the gunnuts (a term I use with the greatest of sympathy) have enumerated ad nauseum during the current debate about guns. But that doesn’t mean that guns are ultimately of any use to those who hold them.  It bears noting that Adam Lanza’s mother (who purchased the guns he used in his mass shooting) ultimately disapproved of the use he put her guns too after he killed her with them.

…and that really is the question before us. The people who are opposed to this discussion on the basis of the discussion itself want to frame the question completely differently; but the real question remains, “can we limit access to weapons and yet retain our ability to defend ourselves?” Experience and history seem to indicate that this is a viable possibility, despite the (nearly) insane rants of those who would have you believe that if the government keeps you from purchasing and owning an Abrams tank, they are restricting your right to defend yourself. That conversation continues, in spite of the insanity.

There is something about the arguments of the conspiracy minded, though, that inspired this entire rant. The paranoid, like a broken clock, is right at least once a day (twice a 24 hour cycle) and the paranoid among us are already onto the weapon that will be used against them.

It’s been suggested in a few of the previous conversations I’ve had on this subject, that the government was going to restrict access to weapons based on a judgement of sanity; that they would deem us all insane and thereby take away all our guns. I’ll give them partial credit here.  There are people who have guns today who are (to establish a clinical judgment) completely nuts. Those people really shouldn’t have weapons, and I hereby approve of the government taking their weapons away from them, in furtherance of the safety of the rest of us.

You know who you are.

The rest of us, those of us who are quite sane, should probably welcome a discussion of what measures should be taken to limit access to weapons. After all, we’ve seen more mass shootings in the last few years than we’ve seen previously in history; if that knowledge doesn’t give us pause, then I guess it’s time to go buy those Bushmaster’s with 30 round clips, as well as the fallout shelters, a year’s worth of dry goods, a water purification plant and a good solar power system. Too bad there aren’t enough electric cars available on the market to make a ‘self-sufficient’ system truly viable (the operation of a refinery being beyond the ability of a small group of determined individuals) much less there being no real investments to hold all those fake dollars we invented over the last few decades…

…But please, don’t let me dissuade you.  They are coming for your guns. Go run and hide. We’ll let you know when it’s safe to come out.


Here are the saved comments and my embroidered responses to them. If they can block me and pat themselves on the back, I see little reason not to make myself sound smarter and righter than they are on my own blog. Screw ’em.

Steven Vandervelde shared L Neil Smith‘s photo.

[Just say “NO” image removed by Facebook poster]

To Obama, Feinstein, Biden, Schumer, Reid, McCarthy, DeGette, and the rest of weird, sick, criminal anti-gun fetishests …

I am saying no. I’m saying no to the weapons merchants, the profiteers and their defenders in government.

L Neil Smith Anthony, were you born a useful idiot, or did you have to take lessons? Go read some history. Victim disarmament is the all-important prelude to genocide — in this case democide. Go look at Agenda 21 and see what this government and the UN have in mind for you. 9/10 of the human population must die, in their view, the view of every top-level gun-grabber in the world, to save their lovely Mother Gaia.

I chose not to drink the conspiracy kool aid that appears to have infected the balance of libertarian thought. This is a fact-based observation, not an ad hominem. That it appears to be an ad hom is not my problem.

L Neil Smith American Independence was the result of a conspiracy. So was the Federal Reserve System and the income tax. Look up “Jekyll Island”. Not to mention the Manhattan Project. Or the dirty tricks that kept Ron Paul off the ballot. Are you ignorant of what Obama’s death squads are starting to do? Better look that up, too. Holding your nose loftily in the air only make it easier for the badguys to cut your throat.

And you never answered my question

I did answer your question. The fact is that the UN does what we want it to do. It was designed to do what we want it to do. If you don’t understand that basic fact, there’s no point in addressing the various other fallacies involved in the conspiracy theories you allude to.

Steven Vandervelde if you actually had a point you certainly failed to make it, minus the ad hominem attack. Are you really that incapable of carrying on an intelligent discussion? Are we to suppose that you don’t support the right to self defense? Why do you call yourself a libertarian?

I don’t call myself a libertarian. Not anymore (not for quite awhile) Self defense? Self defense does not guarantee you a firearm, or else you’d emerge from the womb clutching one.

L Neil Smith I deal with them every day. Usually they’re cowards who simply don’t want to think about the murder and mayhem going on all around them. Or they’re too lazy to take charge of their own lives, which includes pulling their heads out and looking around. Natural-born Tories. Imagine one of them calling himself a libertarian!

Wonder what this guy is going to tell himself when Obama’s death squads become commoin knowledge.

Again I repeat, Not a libertarian. You gotta love the total lack of ad hom’s in their replies. So much more directly argumentative than my comments, not attacking the person at all. I really should try to emulate them I guess. Also, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of death squads since this back and forth occurred. Still waiting for them to appear.

L Neil Smith Anthony, I’m not sure I’d use the word “we” as promiscuously as you do. I agree that the evil fascist sum presently troubling us is widely distributed. I can’t tell which end is the dog and which end is the tail. The UN and the US government both approve Agenda 21. I’m not a part of the “we”, are you? I’ve written of UN officials and presidential advisers who agree that 9/10 of the population must be gotten rid of. I’m not a part of that “we’, either, are you?

I know that this is painful — it was for me — but get it through your head: you don’t live in Disneyland any more. You never did. The only way we’re gonna have the America we thought we had is to_make_ it, starting now.

Oh, and I don’t drink Kool-Ade. I drink Jameson’s.

I drink Kelt, myself. What alcohol preference has to do with a known cult reference is a matter of conjecture. I don’t think we should casually joke about the insanity of believing everyone is capable of handling firearms responsibly.  That they can and do hold these beliefs without question is one of the hallmarks of cult-like thought.

Oh, and Agenda 21?  Another baseless conspiracy theory.

Then you hear the knock on the door. They know. Four blue-helmets stand there, armed to the teeth. One of them hands you a slip of onion-skin reading “CITATION 36-H53.1: LEFT BATHROOM LIGHT ON DURING WORK SHIFT.” And without a word, you go with them. There’s no need to pack and no point in protesting. By nightfall, you’ll be farming wind at a Work Camp 100 miles outside of the city, and nobody will say a word about the new code-stamper at the factory on Monday. Because they don’t want to be next. And in the North American Continental Sphere, anyone can be next.

Skeptoid

Social media abuzz over Piers Morgan vs. Alex Jones

I hadn’t noticed. Apparently Alex Jones went on Piers Morgan’s show on CNN and was typically Alex Jones. Weirdly, people were surprised to discover that Alex Jones was a complete nutjob. People were also weirdly surprised that a talking head with a British accent doesn’t like guns, almost as if they didn’t know that the United Kingdom has some pretty strict regulations on guns, which is why the United States adopted the second amendment, rightly or wrongly.

This is further evidence that ,

  1. I’ve never been happier to not be a watcher/listener of either of these idiot’s shows (or CNN in general)
  2. That Alex Jones and a good portion of his followers are becoming dangerously deluded. Banning assault rifles isn’t coming for your guns. The assault rifle dressing on the weapon may be cosmetic, but it also might serve a purpose (too bad no one seems to be studying the subject in depth) and I would really like to ask these people who think they should have access to military grade weapons exactly which weekends each month are spent training with their (state/locally organized) militias? I’d really like to get a serious answer to that question, because it’s the part of the amendment which seems to be completely ignored. And
  3. It’s time to re-institute the fairness doctrine on bandwidths which are licensed from the FCC. If these panderers of vitriol wish to continue their paranoid rants, they should be required to balance their adrenaline feed hysteria with an equal number of hours of quiet mood music. Also
  4. Most Americans are complete morons when it comes to history.

I was sick of Alex Jones when he was running his public access channel here in Austin; and he should still be doing that channel, because his rants haven’t changed. Generally to warrant a larger audience, your communications skills and message should improve. His is the same, old, tired Schtick. Piers handled him perfectly. “Oh, would you like more rope? Here, let me get that for you.”

On the other hand, everyone who is pro-gun simply skips over the parts of the Second Amendment they don’t want to address. If the State of Texas drafted every 18 to 21 year old tomorrow and started a militia as it was intended by the founders, there would be screaming all across the state. But that is what the 2nd establishes.

The fact that the federal government already limits access to other military grade weapons, and so can limit access to the ‘assault rifles’ as well if it so desires. Want a semi-auto (that fires more accurately, I might add) anyway? Buy one that isn’t dressed up to look sexy and sell to wanna-be soldiers; or become one. A soldier, that is. Satisfying a need for defense (the finding in the Heller case) can be defined as “shall-issue” permitting for a weapon. this doesn’t mean there can’t be required training to go along with that permitting. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the exact type of weapon you want. Pro-gunners want this to be about banning all guns, because they win if that’s the argument. It’s not the argument being advanced.

I get it, no one wants to be defenseless. If these gunnuts (and I mean that in the kindest way) want to have 50, 100 guns, machine guns, rocket launchers, tanks, whatever; it’s completely within reason for the government to turn around (local, state and/or federal) and say “OK, if you want those weapons, insist on having those weapons, you will be trained and certified to carry those weapons, and you will do it in the following prescribed manner.” There is nothing in the Constitution that limits the cities and states from creating militias of their own and requiring all citizens to participate and be trained. No matter what historically the Second Amendment meant to have a militia. We aren’t living in history, we live in the here and now.

Facebook status backdated to the blog.

On Evolution, Science and Healthcare

Dear Corporate Leaders; It’s called “evolution”

Nothing, not even viruses *just happened* (never mind that the existence of life is not what evolution describes. Perhaps life is everywhere in the universe, just waiting for the right conditions to spring up. No one knows) evolution describes, and is the only explanation that fits, how the many forms of life on this planet came to exist. It’s a lot like gravity. It doesn’t depend on your acceptance or belief to function as it does; it just does. If you understand it you can create things like animal companions that meet specific needs (in that sense breeders have understood evolution for centuries) and modern medicine, including drugs like the morning after pill that prevents conception (the myth that The Pope declares begins life) and hormone drugs that treat various feminine diseases as well as preventing pregnancy.

…and anything that calls itself a *health care plan* should include those drugs.

The government should handle all parts of public health. Vaccinations, regular examinations, emergency care, maintenance drugs, etc. We,the people, should take back control of our government from the MIC, and force it to spend the taxes it already takes from us, on US. There is more than enough (we’d all get tax breaks, even) to pay for the kinds of services that Europe already enjoys. They have better healthcare in Mexico than we do here. If the wealthy want Cadillac service, they should be allowed to purchase it on their own. Public health should not be left to the whims of the individual and the budgets of the poor.

Evolution, as I said, is not subject to belief. My belief, your belief, the Pope’s belief. It is a process that occurs whether we will it or not. God has no hand in it, because if god interferes with the real world, that interference can be measured. No such influence has ever been detected. Spinoza might have a point (and Einstein loved Spinoza) about the universe being god, but that god is not the god that most people believe in. Humans evolved from earlier (I won’t say lower because that’s another misunderstanding) forms of hominids which we have documented in the fossil record. It’s simply the way it IS. If we ever have a hope of retaining our (imagined) place in the world, we are going to have to embrace science.

I’ll never understand libertarians who deride government and their ability to use force; and at the same time trumpet corporations while they use force. It is the same force, exercised by the same types of legal fictions, one (The Government) creating the other (The Corporation) If libertarians are opposed to coercion, force and fraud then they necessarily must place both corporations and government in the same category of *evil which must be stopped*. Just another reason I don’t bother to call myself libertarian anymore.

Public health is *exactly* what the government was formed for, if we’re talking about healthcare. If you care about public health, you should care that all individuals get immunized, get regular checkups, and are provided with maintenance medications for ailments. Emergency care requires investments in infrastructure, training and employment of professionals. It realistically requires government oversight.

To not have the government involved in public health is to not have a government at all. Anarchy not minarchy.

(Published herehere and here on Facebook. Two of my most commented upon status updates to date)

Another Abramanation on the Horizon

For some reason I ‘liked’ Star Trek on Facebook (an error I intend to correct shortly) so I was jarred out of a fanciful daydream when this image appeared on my wall.  Yes, that is a nacelle, coming up out of the water.

For those who may not remember, we’ve covered my rejection of Abrams’ work on Star Trek in the past (the label Abramanation is assigned here)  as well as my long term unhappiness with where the franchise has been going dating back to before the series Enterprise was rolled out. This is not a sudden separation from Trek on my part, but a well thought out and gradual withdrawal from the fan scene.  I simply don’t have enough in common with current fans to have an interest in the ins and outs of fandom any longer. 

As the comments followed on the image I was appalled to note this entry;

“If you think about it a submarine is very much like a starship. It makes sense that to hide a space vessel waters like a large ocean or lake. It is completely sealed and pressurized. Why not hide it under water?”

This is why Star Trek and science fiction in general have become so dumbed down. There is absolutely no engineering resemblance between a space vessel designed to hold air in, and a submarine designed to keep water out. Not similar, at all. But to the layman it’s a “woo-woo” moment. “Look, it’s underwater!” (eyeroll) Oh, really.

Before fans of the franchise pop up with objections, I’d like to offer the following list of observations;

  1. I don’t accept the premise that “any Trek is better than no Trek” voiced by some of  the commenters to that thread, and by fans I’ve talked to in the past. I would specifically prefer no Trek to continuing Abramanations, which is ultimately why I no longer refer to myself as a Trekkie or a Trek fan. The franchise has gone somewhere I do not wish to follow.
  2. I don’t “hate” the abramanations. On some levels they are quite enjoyable as most eye candy is; the problem is that Star Trek has never been simply entertainment to me. I don’t become a 20 year fan of things that are simply entertaining. I’m not a fan of Gilligan’s Island, although I laughed while watching nearly every episode. Consequently when Star Trek crossed over into the “just entertainment” category, I stopped being a fan of it. Like it or not, I don’t care.
  3. There are specific problems with every single SF venture that Lindloff and Abrams are involved in; generally it amounts to not paying enough attention to established factual science (like the engineering issue I pointed out previously) not developing believable characters because of lazy story plotting (“Isn’t it cute?”) and not enough research into established canon. When combined, you have a final product that is nearly unwatchable to the technically educated, ridiculous to the trained storyteller, and offensive to the hardcore fan.

This is why there are so many vocal objections to the latest iterations of various franchises that the average popcorn chewer will dismiss as a hater. It’s not hatred to offer valid criticism for what is a weak effort from people who are being well paid (over paid, from my perspective) and provided with lavish budgets to produce what could be very high quality artistic works, if only they took the time (see James Cameron) to do the due diligence that an undertaking of this magnitude requires. 

 In Other Words, promoters of the current Abramanation, don’t ask for opinions if you don’t want opinions.


I finally did see this film edited for television recently (sometime in 2016) I wrote about it here.

For America? That Depends on How You Define America.

The Facebook group For America scrolled across my newsfeed today.   It advertised itself with the demand that you,

“Like if you miss Ronald Reagan.”

Iran-Contra? The S&L meltdown? No, I don’t miss Reagan, because I remember what it was like to live during Reagan’s time (only marginally better than Carter’s time) But the key to understanding “for America” and their linkage to Ronald Reagan is Reagan’s introduction of fundamentalist christianity to the political scene (the code phrase “judeo-christian values”) leading almost directly to the debacle of the last election with prominent elected Republicans seeming incapable of discussing anything other than rape.

…but For America‘s real reason to exist is right their on their front page, repeal Obamacare. Talk about living in the past. And this sham group hopes to trick people into liking their page and all the baggage that brings with an appeal to good-old-dayism. Reagan would be proud.

Facebook status backdated to the blog.