Wednesday Highlights

Well, back at home. Links?

  1. A use for that valve cap.
  2. Yer gubmit, looking out for … well, no good reason I guess.
  3. No no no, don’t slander the teacher, if anything slander the administrators.
  4. Speaking of teachers ….
  5. Gender and quotes, not unexpected results.
  6. Consequences for not towing the party line.
  7. Prayer of very different sorts, here and here.
  8. Of cold and calorie.
  9. The IRS and implications.
  10. Of hard drives and failure.

5 responses to “Wednesday Highlights

  1. 3.No no no, don’t slander the teacher, if anything slander the administrators.

    I guess just telling the truth isn’t on the agenda for the right. Well credit to First Things for going in that direction, unfortunately their new format makes them almost unreadable.

  2. Re #9, yea in terms of IRS administrators the Tea Party silliness was a 9.5. But the IRS is generally a pretty dull place so 2013 was a rare opportunity for them to have headlines. As for ‘weaponized gov’t’, Chris Christee has demonstrated that Republicans are willing to actually ‘weaponize gov’t’. Republicans are in a position here that is very much like marital infidelity. After Clinton it briefly seemed like the GOP was the party of marital fidelity, until it became clear that multiple Clinton-like scandals would not cause them to ditch filandering politicians if they were perceived as star players, so now it really doesn’t matter on either side (though it actually seems like marital infidelity is more damaging if you’re an aspiring Democrat rather than Republican).

    7.Prayer of very different sorts, here and here.

    Care to show me cats who refuse to eat until prayers are said? In itself it’s not all that shocking to me, dogs see themselves as ‘helping’ us clean up the left overs. They adapt themselves to our eating customs. This is why my dog would never jump up and try to snatch food off a plate while we are eating at the table, but if *everyone* leaves the room he will happily do it.

  3. Boonton,

    But the IRS is generally a pretty dull place so 2013 was a rare opportunity for them to have headlines. As for ‘weaponized gov’t’, Chris Christee has demonstrated that Republicans are willing to actually ‘weaponize gov’t’.

    So you’ve come around to my comparison of the two scandals. Those who defend the President on the IRS have no standing to criticize Christie. A pox on both their houses, I say.

  4. 2.Yer gubmit, looking out for … well, no good reason I guess.

    A Saturn V was the largest rocket the US ever used. It was sufficient, it seems, to put maybe an 18-wheeler or so in moon orbit. So if we want to think about Star Wars level ‘space tourism’ it’s going to be a real lot of Saturn V’s. But the Saturn V fully fueld on the launch pad had the potential to be a 2 kiloton bomb….Hiroshima was about 16 kilotons. So seriously frequent space travel is an order of magnitude greater in risk to those of us on the ground than plane travel. It took two planes on 9/11 to bring down the towers, but 2 kilotons would probably wipe out at least a few blocks of lower Manhatten.

    This is not really an engineering problem. It takes energy to accelerate something and if you want to put a lot of things in orbit you need a lot of energy. And if this energy is going to come from the vehicle itself, there’s not a lot of ways to not essentially make it a big bomb. In fact, an imperfect but interesting book, was Project Orion by George Dyson. It was envisioned as a spacecraft that would be use nuclear bombs as it’s fuel and launch from the ground. Freeman Dyson argued that the only way to get serious space travel going (serious meaning on a scale roughly equal to sea or air travel today) you’d need to use nuclear bombs, and not a few but hundreds going off in the atmosphere.

    You can avoid the ‘giant bomb problem’ by using other methods to get to space (rail guns, the space elevator, a floating ‘spaceport’, etc.). That doesn’t mean you don’t need 2 kilotons of energy, you can spread it around (say by tapping the eletricial grid) so you’re not running the risk of it blowing up people on the ground.

    Then there’s another problem, once you get the acceleration of lots and lots of stuff into orbit, stuff coming down can release just as much energy or more. An oil-tanker sized ship that gets itself in a direct collision course towards earth could come down with the force of a nuclear blast.

    Of course Virgin is just putting it’s toe in the water with suborbital flights for a handful of people at time. What they’re proposing is really just airplanes that fly a bit higher and faster than regular ones as a gimmick. Serious space travel, though, is going to require some serious thinking about how to *gasp* regulate it sensibly.

  5. So you’ve come around to my comparison of the two scandals. Those who defend the President on the IRS have no standing to criticize Christie

    I think ‘contrast’ is a better word. To date all the digging on the IRS has only produced evidence that it was NOT ‘weaponized gov’t’ but simply an attempt to apply the law that Congress wrote for the IRS to apply. In contrast, with Christie we have documents going all the way to almost the top detailing using the GW Bridge as a political weapon (and the Hoboken thing seems like it’s touching NJ’s equilivant of the VP).

    In other words, Republicans like to pretend they found evidence with the IRS or Benghazi that did come out with the GW Bridge.

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