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More posts about buildings and food

Today is National Pancake Day. As you can see from the comment on that article, there is also a Pancake Day in the spring, but unlike that guy we don't find the idea of a second Pancake Day to be "ridiculous". In the SuperMegaHousehold*, we are willing to celebrate Pancake Day as often as is required.

*This is the "buildings" part of the post, to justify the title. Loved ones, loved ones, visit the building. We'll be eating pancakes, but if you come visit we'll... keep eating pancakes. And you can't have any.


By fnord12 | September 26, 2016, 11:33 AM | My stupid life & Vegan Vittles | Link




Movies that are not sequels to Watership Down

...but maybe should be:

  • Blackhawk Down, Falling Down, etc.
  • Look Who's Terrifying Children With Violent Rabbit Cartoons Too
  • Night of the Lepus
  • Big Vater: The Kehaar Story
  • Peter Jackson's Nine Hour Adaptation Of Something Richard Adams Wrote In A Notebook Once

By fnord12 | September 22, 2016, 7:38 AM | Movies | Link




Public Service Announcement

For you non-vegans, just a reminder to tie down your eggs today to keep them from floating away.

You apparently have to watch your brooms, too.


By fnord12 | September 22, 2016, 7:35 AM | Science | Link




Wheel of Pie

This chart comes up in conversations in the SuperMegaHousehold more often than you'd think, and we always spend a little time trying to re-find it. So we're putting it here with a link to the original website for reference.

Modern Farmer Pie Chart

We don't agree with all the decisions, and of course everything needs to be veganized, but it's a good starting point. And a reminder that if you're not eating a pie every month, You're Doing It Wrong.



min: At least a pie a month. You know what's awesome? Freezing unbaked fruit pies so you can have peach pie in January!

I dunno where this person who created the Pie Wheel lives, but where am i supposed to get cherries in September? And what's this apricot pie business? No. We're going to do blueberry pie in May, strawberry (sans rhubarb) in June, and cherry in July. Not sure what i'm supposed to make in September if i have to wait until October for apple. Banana cream? Coconut custard? Cheesecake?


By fnord12 | September 21, 2016, 7:40 AM | My stupid life & Vegan Vittles | Link




Disabling comments

This blog started off as a way for me and Min to share links and such amongst ourselves and with some friends. As my comics blog grew bigger, people from there started drifting over here (my fault for linking between them) and with that has come an increase in people missing the point, being sea lions, using our posts as platforms to air their own tangentially related grievances, etc.. Which happens on the comics blog too, but it always gets taken more personally when it's about politics. We've considered just taking this blog down entirely, but for now we've decided to just disable comments.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2016, 3:16 PM | My stupid life | Link




Dutter & Parker's cry for help?

I am sure that Tom DeFalco wasn't involved in kickback schemes, but it's weird how many Bull's Eye cartoons imply otherwise.


By fnord12 | September 16, 2016, 9:26 AM | Comics | Link




Post Politics Platypus

I hope this serves as a sufficient lo siento.


By fnord12 | September 16, 2016, 9:23 AM | Cute Things & Science | Link




I knew it wasn't safe to go looking at political stuff

From Politico: A Clinton administration will be full of Republicans.

From messaging help delivered by Clinton's communications team to direct and regular access to senior staffers and in-person meetings to discuss policy and strategy, Republicans who have abandoned Trump say the Democrat has given every indication that the GOP view will be reflected in her administration.

After she is sworn in, these Republicans say, they expect positions in a Clinton administration that go beyond the one or two seats that are typically reserved for opposition party experts in any White House...

...By embracing Clinton, these Republicans say they've also gained an easy entry point to communicate with the campaign's senior brass on both policy and political tactics. Come 2017, they hope their campaign access translates to a new Clinton administration.

From WaPo: Hillary's first inclination is always war, war, war.

For years, Clinton has blamed Bush for misleading her into voting for the resolution. But an examination by The Washington Post found that her decision was based as much on advice from her husband's advisers as from Bush administration officials. There were also significant gaps in her fact-gathering, most notably her apparent failure to read a classified analysis that other senators cited in voting against the resolution.

Meanwhile, from NYT, the Clinton campaign can't figure out why Millenials and former Bernie supporters are drifting to third parties, and they hilariously think the answer is MOOOOAAAAR SUPERPACS (the rejection of which was the cornerstone of Bernie's campaign):

...leading Democrats have been alarmed by the drift of young voters toward the third-party candidates.

The principal "super PAC" supporting Mrs. Clinton's candidacy, Priorities USA Action, has concluded from its polling and other research that the reluctance to embrace the Democratic nominee among those who intensely dislike Mr. Trump is not going away and must be confronted.

"We'll be launching a multimillion-dollar digital campaign that talks about what's at stake and how a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump, who is against everything these voters stand for," said Justin Barasky, a strategist for Priorities USA.


By fnord12 | September 16, 2016, 7:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (5) | Link




Never too late for terrifying Baby DeFalco

I meant to put this up here when i started 1993, but i had trouble re-finding it until now.

I assume there's no special significance in Mark Gruenwald representing 1992.


By fnord12 | September 8, 2016, 1:50 PM | Comics | Link




Love that Collectors Note

Their value will not be compromised. What does that even mean?

Also: Ha ha, John Kruk is fat! (Did i do it right?)


By fnord12 | September 7, 2016, 2:25 PM | Comics | Link




Awesome

Although i have to be the continuity geek and point out that Steve Austin never wore the track suit in the episodes where he met Bigfoot.


By fnord12 | September 6, 2016, 11:08 AM | TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link




DMCA Takedown notices out of control

This would be pretty hilarious if it didn't also mean that lots of legit websites are also getting targeted.


By fnord12 | September 6, 2016, 11:06 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Asking for a friend

It's legal to murder your neighbor if they hang wind chimes on their patio, right?


By fnord12 | September 4, 2016, 1:17 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link




Wikipedia of Congress

I love the idea of the Library of Congress hosting a copy of all online-only copyrighted media for public review.


By fnord12 | August 30, 2016, 2:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




How *did* Vikings evolve into modern Scandinavians?

I guess someone finally translated the gibberish and felt bad about it.


By fnord12 | August 25, 2016, 11:54 AM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link




Profile raised

If nothing else, at least Bernie's run for president means that he now makes headlines (granted, in The Hill) when he says the same sort of thing he's been saying for years prior.


By fnord12 | August 17, 2016, 1:05 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Copyright means you can't have nice things

This remake/remastering of Metroid looks pretty cool. And i'm not a Pokemon guy, but as a fan of the SNES Zelda, i think the look and feel of this game is pretty nice. Unfortunately, both fan-made, distributed-for-free games have been made unavailable because Nintendo is enforcing their copyrights.


By fnord12 | August 16, 2016, 12:02 PM | Liberal Outrage & Video Games | Link




Anti-Kale

If it was a band, i'm sure it would suck.


By fnord12 | August 12, 2016, 4:03 PM | Comics | Link




The Sub-Mariner's Not Going to Like This

Canadian mining firm Nautilus Minerals says it plans to lead the way with the world's first commercial deep-sea mining project, scheduled to get underway within the next few years off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
...
Only recently has deep-sea mining become technologically and financially feasible, thanks to using remotely operated subs and other technologies developed for deepwater oil and gas production. Proponents say higher ore grades mean deep-sea mining would be more cost-effective than land-based operations, with a smaller ecological footprint that would be less visible.

But these are uncharted waters, says Cindy van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C. "We do not know where the tipping points are with regard to how much damage deep-sea systems can sustain and still maintain the health of the ocean," she says.

...

One likely test case is Nautilus's Solwara 1 Project, which will target a massive sulfide deposit 1,500 meters deep in the Bismarck Sea northeast of New Guinea. Nautilus estimates the site could produce more than 72,500 metric tons of copper and more than 4.5 metric tons of gold. The copper ore grade--the concentration of a valuable mineral within an ore--averages nearly 8 percent, compared with 0.6 percent on land in 2015, says Nautilus chief executive Mike Johnston.

To collect this treasure Nautilus has designed a trio of huge, remote-controlled underwater machines that would not look out of place in a Terminator movie. Two "cutters"--weighing 308 and 250 metric tons, respectively--will crawl across the seafloor on tank treads and grind the ore into slurry using spinning toothed wheels. A 2,200-metric-ton collecting machine will feed the slurry into an enclosed pumping system to the surface. Operators in a support vessel control the cutters and collecting machine using joysticks, sonar and live streaming video. Onboard the support vessel the slurry will be drained and transferred to another ship for processing in China. The wastewater will be filtered of impurities and pumped back down to the seafloor.

...

Richard Steiner, a conservation biologist and former University of Alaska professor who is not involved in the Solwara project, is unconvinced. "There's no question this will pose massive environmental impacts," he says--from bright lights, noise and potential toxic leaks to sediment plumes that could clog the filters many kinds of sea life use for feeding. The deep ocean is the largest and least understood biological habitat on Earth and deep-sea vents--discovered as recently as 1977--may be one of the rarest of all ecosystems, says Steiner, who heads up the conservation consultancy Oasis Earth. Only about 300 vent sites are known and estimates of the total number that exists range between 500 and 5,000.

Impact reports that use land-based mines as a benchmark are comparing apples and oranges, Steiner says--and our environmental track record in deepwater oil and gas recovery is not exactly inspiring. The deep ocean is unforgiving, even to experts; in 2014 Woods Hole's Nereus robotic sub imploded in the Kermadec Trench, a 10-kilometer-deep rut in the Pacific Ocean floor where two tectonic plates meet northeast of New Zealand. "There's a dangerous combination of ignorance, arrogance, greed and very poor scientific understanding," Steiner says. "Humans are terrestrial primates; we just don't get underwater."

Link

As seen with fracking, we are experts at pulling things out of the ground and then pumping water back into the holes without incurring horrible consequences. And it's all totally contained. No worries. What are the chances anything could leak out?


By min | August 11, 2016, 8:43 AM | Science | Link




Italian Government Not Keen on Vegan Parents

Link

An Italian official is calling for new laws that would punish parents who put their children on vegan diets, or force "reckless and dangerous eating behavour" on them with a sentence of up to six years in prison, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported.

The legislation would "stigmatize the reckless and dangerous eating behaviours imposed by parents... to the detriment of minors," the outlet quoted Elvira Savino, a deputy of the center-right Forza Italia party, as saying.

...

In the introduction to the bill, Savino warned that the view of a vegan diet "resulting in significant health benefits" was becoming more widely accepted in Italy.

The suggested base penalty for parents is one year, but it could be longer if the child is under three years old. In addition, if a child becomes ill due to the diet, the sentence could be lengthened to 2.5 - 4 years, and if the diet results in a child's death, parents could be put behind bars for up to six years.

...

Calls for the anti-Vegan law came after several high-profile cases of children suffering from severe malnutrition as a result of veganism emerged in Italy.

Last month, a one-year-old boy weighing 5 kilograms with blood calcium levels barely sufficient to survive was removed from his parents in Milan.

In June, a two-year-old toddler was hospitalized in Genoa and had to be treated for vitamin deficiency as the result of a vegan diet.

I love that the Italian official warned people about the dangerous idea that veganism has "significan health benefits".

Hopefully science will win out.

However, the president of the Italian Society of Food Science responded to Savino, telling La Repubblica that a diet containing excessive sugar and fat could do much more harm than vegan diets.

I'm all for arresting idiot parents, but it's got nothing to do with them being vegan. Their kids were malnourished because they weren't feeding them properly, not because they weren't letting them have meat and dairy. Yeah, making sure a kid gets all the nutrients they need on a vegan diet is work. If you can't manage that, don't have kids. Please. It would be a favor to everyone.


By min | August 10, 2016, 10:12 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link




More Important Than the Olympics

While almost everyone seems focused on who will be the fastest swimmer today, Brazil's first female president is being impeached for what some might say are less than legit reasons. Here's Sanders is getting his two cents in.

Sanders yesterday denounced in harsh terms the impeachment of Brazil's democratically elected president. As the Brazilian Senate heads toward a final vote later this month, Sanders described his position, set forth in a statement posted on his Senate site, as "calling on the United States to take a definitive stand against efforts to remove Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff from office." He added: "To many Brazilians and observers the controversial impeachment process more closely resembles a coup d'état."

Sanders also condemned the unelected center-right coalition under Michel Temer that has seized power during Rousseff's suspension and is now trying to install themselves through 2018. "After suspending Brazil's first female president on dubious grounds, without a mandate to govern," he said, " the new interim government abolished the ministry of women, racial equality and human rights" and "replaced a diverse and representative administration with a cabinet made up entirely of white men." They are now attempting to implement radical policies that could never be democratically ratified: "impose austerity, increase privatization and install a far right-wing social agenda."

Sanders' statement comes as Brazil's elites - virtually unified in favor of Dilma's impeachment - have taken extraordinary (and almost comically futile) measures during the Olympics to hide from the domestic public, and the world, how deeply unpopular Temer is. Brazil's largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, last month was caught manufacturing polling data when it claimed that 50% of Brazilians want him to stay (in fact, their own poll showed a large majority (62%) want Temer out and new elections held and the paper's Ombudsman harshly criticized them). Brazilian media spent months hyping the prospect of Temer's election in 2018 without mentioning the rather significant fact that he's been banned by a court for running for 8 years because he violated election law (they were forced to mention that last week when the São Paulo prosecutor called attention to this fact in the wake of a new media movement to have Temer run).

Originally, Dilma's impeachment hinged on an accusation that she did some sketchy bookkeeping to hide government debt. The Brazilian Senate investigator's report then said there was no evidence of this. "Shockingly", this didn't stop the impeachment proceedings.

In just over 30 days since his installation, Temer lost three of his chosen ministers to corruption. One of them, his extremely close ally Romero Jucá, was caught on tape plotting Dilma's impeachment as a way to shut down the ongoing corruption investigation, as well as indicating that Brazil's military, the media, and the courts were all participants in the impeachment plotting.

Link

Now you may go back to watching your sports.


By min | August 9, 2016, 1:24 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4) | Link




It is Beastly

Emphasis mine

I think when people are young they ought to do an honest job of work. There are lots of beastly things that have to be done, like working in towns in offices. I don't think anybody ought to shirk that side of life."

-- Gervase Robertson, Pastoral

Also, she feels that 7-8 years is a sufficient amount of time to not shirk this beastly duty, so everybody can go retire now. WOOO!!!


By min | August 9, 2016, 12:05 PM | Boooooks | Link




"The Kid"

Obligatory: Juggernaut isn't a mutant.


By fnord12 | August 4, 2016, 9:37 AM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link




Classic Sci-Fi Genderswapped

An interesting experiment.

"Will you draw the curtain, Commdora. Young man, there's a little knob just near the snap. Will you move it upward, please? Go ahead, it won't hurt you."

The boy did so, drew a sharp breath, looked at his hands, and gasped, "Oh!"

From his waist as a source he was drowned in a pale, streaming luminescence of shifting color that drew itself over his head in a flashing coronet of liquid fire. It was as if someone had torn the aurora borealis out of the sky and molded it into a cloak.

The boy stepped to the mirror and stared, fascinated.

"Here, take this." Marion handed him a necklace of dull pebbles. "Put it around your neck."

The boy did so, and each pebble, as it entered the luminescent field became an individual flame that leaped and sparkled in crimson and gold.

"What do you think of it?" Marion asked him. The boy didn't answer but there was adoration in his eyes.

Oh the times i rolled my eyes reading Asimov's characterization of women in his novels. To be fair, the only characters i thought he wrote well were Giskard and Daneel.

Hines discusses his goals for this exercise in Part II.

Authors sure spend a lot of time describing a female character's appearance, down to clothing and hairstyle. Weird. I couldn't objectively say if this happens disproportionately to female characters or not since my method of reading involves skimming the descriptive paragraphs until i get to the next bit of dialogue. I almost never know what a character looks like.

The important take-away isn't that we should despise older works, but that newer ones should look at themselves through this lens and not make the same mistakes.


By min | August 4, 2016, 9:15 AM | Boooooks | Link




Tunneling Through a Singularity

What the hell does that mean? Physicists seem to think they can just casually throw that out there as if it explains something.

"We found that the universe passes smoothly through the singularity and out the other side. That was our hope, but we'd never really accomplished this before."
...
"We know that in the first 50,000 years the universe was essentially just filled with radiation," says Anna Ijjas, a physicist at Princeton University who was not involved in the research. "The normal matter we see now was not really very significant. I think a scaleless early universe is actually very much suggested by our current measurements."

Under those conditions Turok and Gielen found that the contracting universe would never actually become a singularity--essentially it would "tunnel through" the worrisome point by hopping from a state right before it to a state right after it. Although such sidestepping sounds like cheating, it is a proved phenomenon in quantum mechanics. Because particles do not exist in absolute states but rather hazes of probability there is a small but real chance they can "tunnel" through physical barriers to reach locations seemingly off-limits to them--the equivalent, on a microscopic scale, of walking through walls. "The fuzziness in space and time and the matter conspires to make it uncertain where the universe is at a given time," Turok explains. "This allows the universe to pass through the singularity."

They're talking about the fuzziness of space and time and matter. And this somehow makes it possible to just skip over that annoying part of the calculation that can't be solved. It totally sounds like cheating. Although, most of quantum physics sounds like cheating to me, so shows what i know.

Of lesser fantasticness to me is the main thrust of the article which is the theory that the universe didn't start with a bang, but initially contracted before expanding out.

But an underdog idea posits that the birth of this universe was not actually the beginning--that an earlier version of spacetime had existed and contracted toward a "big crunch," then flipped and started expanding into what we see today. Now a new study suggesting a twist on this "bounce" scenario has supporters excited and inflation proponents newly inflamed over a "rival" they say they have repeatedly disproved, only to have it keep bouncing back.

By min | August 3, 2016, 9:15 AM | Science | Link




At Least He Knows Which Bright Ball in the Sky is the Sun

I guess. Link

At the award-winning seafood restaurant in downtown Cleveland that The Atlantic rented out for the entire four-day Republican National Convention, GOP Rep. Bill Johnson turned to me and explained that solar panels are not a viable energy source because "the sun goes down."

Brilliant!

The event was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying arm of fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhilips.

Johnson, a climate denier and influential member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, spoke of a future when American scientists "solve these big problems" and "figure out how to harness the sun's energy, and store it up, so that we can put it out over time." His hypothetical invention, of course, is called a battery, and was invented over 200 years ago.

...

Both congressmen went nearly unchallenged by the moderator, The Atlantic's Washington Editor Steve Clemons, who said he wasn't able to find an opposing speaker, but went ahead with the event anyway.

I sympathize with Clemons. I'm sure it's quite difficult to find anyone in the entire world who could possibly have an opposing view on climate change.

Evidence of human-made climate change is so conclusive that it's wrong for journalists to treat its denial like a reasonable point of view.

And now i get to post this link to a Wonderella comic about the media's need to present "both sides" when one of those sides is coo-coo and also factually wrong.


By min | August 2, 2016, 9:24 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Now Who's Gonna Get the Tall Stuff for Me?

Link

According to a new study, American men were the third-tallest people on the planet a century ago but now rank 37th in the league table of tall--and some researchers think height would be a better tool for measuring sustainable human development levels than the standard economic indicators.
...
The researchers found that Dutch men are tallest today, followed by those from Belgium, Estonia and Latvia. Latvian women rank highest in stature, with Dutch, Estonian and Czech women also standing tall. The biggest increase among women was in South Koreans, who have shot up a whopping 20.2 centimeters, whereas Iranian men have grown the most, adding 16.5 centimeters. The gap between the tallest and shortest women has stayed constant, at 20 centimeters and the gap between men has increased by four to 23 centimeters.

Height is still increasing in some Latin American and southern European countries but it has plateaued in many other places in the last few decades. North America was the first to stop growing, around 30 or 40 years ago, and the U.S. has experienced the smallest increase of any high-income country (five centimeters for women, six centimeters for men). Other countries that have leveled off include the U.K. and Japan.

Arggh! The metric system! Theoretically, i can picture a centimeter in my mind, but once i start having to compare lengths, forget it.

The team compared changes in height with changes in risk of dying between ages 50 to 70, finding that countries that had grown most tended to have declined most in risk of premature death. "In the case of men, countries that gained 10 to 12 centimeters in height had about [a] 20 to 30 percent decline in risk of premature dying," Ezzati said. "Slightly smaller for women, about 10 to 20 percent, but those are big changes."
...
It also found that the U.S. plateaued earlier--and shorter--than many European countries. "The west European welfare state creates the best conditions for optimal growth of the human organism," says Komlos, who was not involved in the Imperial College-WHO study. "That's a major finding of this research."

Komlos has also studied obesity--and has found that not only are Americans falling short, they are also getting wider. Given there is no shortage of access to food in the U.S., studies like these suggest that, in high-income countries, it is not quantity so much as quality of food that matters. Komlos also suggests that financial inequality matters across the board because rich children increase in height less than poor children decline--so more inequality may mean a shorter population, especially if there are more poor children. "The U.S. has fallen behind because of the delivery of medical care; a large segment of the population is uninsured, and doesn't get good nutrition and health care early in life," Komlos says. "The U.S. has the greatest poverty rate in the developed countries: about 20 percent of children grow up in poverty; in the Netherlands it's probably about half that." Height has also been linked to educational attainment and higher incomes and Komlos says links to both health and wealth are consistently found. "There's no exception: higher income--taller population; higher mortality rate--shorter population; more inequality--shorter population," he says. "It's undeniable."


By min | August 2, 2016, 8:53 AM | Science | Link




Good Thing We've Got a Dem in the White House

Cause a Republican might do something crazy like bomb Libya. It well so well the first time, afterall.

The U.S. launched a major new military campaign against ISIS on Monday when U.S. planes bombed targets in Libya, responding to requests from the U.N.-backed Libyan government. Strikes took place in the coastal town of Sirte, which ISIS took in June of last year.

The strikes represent a significant escalation in the U.S. war against ISIS, spreading the conflict thousands of miles from the warzones in Syria and Iraq.

All of these attacks took place without Congressional authorization or even debate.

"We want to strike at ISIL anywhere it raises its head," said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. "Libya is one of those places." He said the airstrikes "would continue as long as [the Libyan government] is requesting them," and that they do not have "an end point at this particular moment in time."

Yeah, big surprise. There's never an "end point". We can't manage to find the funds necessary to make sure people's water isn't contaminated, but we always have money for more bombs.


By min | August 2, 2016, 8:48 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link




Chomsky's Argument for the Lesser of Two Evils

The broader lesson to be drawn is not to shy away from confronting the dominance of the political system under the management of the two major parties. Rather, challenges to it need to be issued with a full awareness of their possible consequences. This includes the recognition that far right victories not only impose terrible suffering on the most vulnerable segments of society but also function as a powerful weapon in the hands of the establishment center, which, now in opposition can posture as the "reasonable" alternative. A Trump presidency, should it materialize, will undermine the burgeoning movement centered around the Sanders campaign, particularly if it is perceived as having minimized the dangers posed by the far right.

Link

While i can see the merits of the argument, i'm still pretty much feeling that everyone can go eat a shit sandwich. Yes, she's the lesser of two evils, but at some point there has to be a line where their policies are just too far removed from your own that you can't choose either.

Trump says he doesn't believe in climate change so his support of fossil fuels is a less horrible action than Clinton's support of fracking when she does acknowledge climate change is real (the caveat being you can't actually believe anything Trump says he thinks or doesn't think). One is the action of a crazy moron. The other is a calculated action that says "Fuck you. There's profit to be had."

The one and only thing that i get hung up on is the impact on the most vulnerable. But then Clinton was shilling for her husband's the Welfare Reform Act in the 90s and i think "the most vulnerable will be in trouble no matter who wins."

Also, i'm super full of rage, so judgement impaired.


By min | July 29, 2016, 2:51 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (8) | Link




Who's pirating now?

I like the karma.


By fnord12 | July 28, 2016, 12:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Where are the Eisenhowers of Yesteryear?

1956 Labor Day flyer

The GOP was encouraging union membership!


In August of 1956, the Republican Party gathered in San Francisco to re-nominate President Dwight D. Eisenhower as its candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

The party that year adopted a platform that emphasized that the GOP was "proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs."

This included boasting that Eisenhower had overseen a hike in the federal minimum wage that raised incomes for 2 million Americans while expanding Social Security to 10 million more people and increasing benefits for 6.5 million others.

Today's Republican Party has made weakening labor unions a priority, but the 1956 platform noted that under Eisenhower, "workers have gained and unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions."

...

Eisenhower cut the military budget by 27 percent following the Korean War, and used his bully pulpit to highlight the tradeoffs of military spending. "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed," he said in a 1953 speech.

In his farewell address in on January 17, 1961, he highlighted the rise of what he called a "military-industrial complex" -- a war industry that he cautioned could exert "undue influence" on the government.

Something that wouldn't change under a Clinton presidency either.

Link


By min | July 22, 2016, 9:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Handle Your Oatmeal Cookies With Care

Just going through first level cleric and magic user spells to convert for our steampunk session and i came across this (emphasis mine):

By means of this spell, the magic-user changes a volume of water to a volatile, flammable substance similar to alcohol and likewise lighter than water. If this substance is exposed to flame, fire, or even a spark, it will burst into flames and burn with a hot fire. Each creature subject to firewater flame will suffer 2-12 hit points of damage. The firewater created will evaporate and be useless within 1 round, even if it is securely contained and sealed, so it must be utilized (ignited) within 10 segments of its creation. The material components of this spell are a few grains of sugar and a raisin.

Yeesh.


By min | July 20, 2016, 12:02 PM | D&D | Link




Strawberry-Picking Robots

Fnord12 just last night told me they couldn't yet make robots that could do the work of harvesting delicate produce. I say to him "Fie on you, sir!"

Most agricultural robotic systems still require some form of human management, whether it involves watching over a swarm of bots to ensure nothing goes haywire or turning a strawberry-picking robot around once it has reached the end of a row.

Link

But unlike the SciAm article, this Carnegie Endowment op-ed makes the opposite argument - robots will indeed take away the jobs.

Worries over new technologies destroying jobs have become chronic -- and up to this point, unfounded.

Thanks to new technologies, new industries emerged that created more jobs than were destroyed and increased not only productivity, but also workers' incomes, something the economist Joseph Schumpeter predicted in 1942. He called this phenomenon "creative destruction" -- a "process of industrial mutation ... that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."

His theory has held true. Until now.

There are those who believe this time is different and that the job destruction created by technological advancements is of unprecedented speed and magnitude. As economist Eduardo Porter recently wrote, "new technology does seem more fundamentally disruptive than technologies of the past."

The worry is that new industries and occupations that will potentially be created won't come in time and won't be enough to provide jobs and incomes for the millions of workers displaced by new technologies.

Universal basic income? Anyone?

Recently, Switzerland held a referendum vote to decide whether the government would give citizens about $2,500 a month for doing absolutely nothing. Although the vote didn't pass and was never expected to, it may be a significant precursor to an emerging global trend.

In fact, many countries are already testing the idea of giving their citizens a minimum, no-strings-attached income. In Finland, the government will choose as many as 10,000 adults at random and will give them between 500 and 700 euros a month with the purpose of measuring the effects the money has on their propensity to work and on their life decisions. If the trial is successful, the Finnish government could implement the policy at a national level. Similar experiments are taking place in Canada, the Netherlands, Kenya and other countries.

The problems and defects with this idea are obvious. Having a guaranteed income could discourage work. Giving someone a material compensation without something of value produced in exchange is questionable from economic, social and ethical standpoints. The risks of corruption and political favoritism in the selection of beneficiaries are high. And, of course, this isn't a cheap initiative. These types of subsidies could turn into a huge burdens for the state and create enormous chronic deficits in public budgets.

And yet, despite all its defects, a minimum income guarantee may well become an inevitable policy. There is no doubt that globalization and new technologies have created infinite new opportunities for humanity. From reducing global poverty to medical advances and empowering historically marginalized social groups, progress is obvious.

But the negative effects are also obvious. Increasing inequality, the destruction of jobs and shrinking salaries -- especially in the U.S. and Europe -- all have some link to globalization and new technologies. And all these negative effects feed into the populism and toxic political extremism that we see taking hold of many countries today.


By min | July 20, 2016, 8:56 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (1) | Link




Steam Horde

When i got my Bones Kickstarter, there were a bunch of figures that had guns and the like. And since i've been running a pure fantasy setting for years, i just put all those figures in a separate bag, figuring i'd never paint them. But now Min is going to run a campaign in a steampunk setting, and i thought it would be good for us to have miniatures that fit the campaign. The characters i picked aren't necessarily steampunk, per se, but they are closer to it than most of the swords and sorcery type miniatures that i have.

The first group are the most steampunk. The guy has a high tech gun and a weird power glove while wearing vaguely Victorian looking clothing, and the lady is dressed like a mechanic and has high tech looking boots in addition to the gun.

These three are just wild west gunslingers, but when we were trying to describe the steampunk genre to those that hadn't heard of it, the most mainstream example we could think of was Wild Wild West. Min's campaign will take place in England, but there's no reason that characters couldn't come from America. The guy in the middle is a pretty good ringer for High Noon Yasuo from League of Legends, so that works out even better (i considered kit-bashing a sword in place of one of the guns; maybe i'll do it if we keep playing). The lady needed a bit of de-nudification; apparently the designers thought that female players would like to play a gunslinger whose boobs hung out.

These two characters were from a set that were obviously meant to be some kind of space marines. But i painted them a combination of brown, tan, and bronze, hoping that they could pass as steampunky suits along the lines of the Big Daddies from Bioshock.

Finally, some more modern looking characters. The one on the left was warped at the base. I tried to do the old 'dip them in boiling water' trick, but i was holding her with a pair of pliers by the head and i guess i let the head get too close to the water and it melted and now permanently has groove marks from the pliers. So she's a little deformed and probably isn't usable except as a scarred NPC. The one in the middle is obviously meant to be used in a modern horror setting, but who's to say that you couldn't have a steam-powered chainsaw? The third guy fits the campaign just fine.


By fnord12 | July 19, 2016, 3:47 PM | D&D | Link




Straight from your steampunk campaign

It's Professor Wrigglesworth! We saw this guy while flipping through channels at a friend's house and were very impressed. Especially since he was showing off his skeletronic exo-skeleton, which is entirely human powered and so could be used in a steampunk era (you can use it at fancy dress parties, and for reaching fruit!).

But a google search reveals that the guy is more stand-up comedian than electrical engineer, and that makes him a lot less interesting.

And before you say it, Frank Zappa would never wear that ascot.


By fnord12 | July 18, 2016, 5:21 PM | D&D & Science & TeeVee | Comments (1) | Link




Great acheivements were acheived

Broke out the Intellivision last week and got further than i ever did before. Never got to the guys with the stun staffs before. They take 4 (!) hits, and kill you instantly. I did manage to take out a few before dying.


By fnord12 | July 18, 2016, 5:19 PM | Video Games | Comments (2) | Link




Ranger Danger Horde

Whenever i'm taking a break from my comics project i try to tackle the pile of miniatures that i got from the Bones kickstarter. But i wasn't really feeling like painting, so i actually just picked out some of the least interesting figures, figuring that i'd just knock them out and it didn't matter if i wasn't feeling particularly inspired. I deliberately picked out figures that could be painted in similar color schemes (for the most part) to save time and thinking. So that worked out to be three rangers and a few others randos. Actually, four of these figures are not Bones; they were given to me by a friend.

Here are the rangers. The two with the round bases are not Bones. As usual, the Bones are frustrating in the way the detail smushes together; the third Ranger has a blob for a face.

Here are two bards. I actually painted the halfling a little earlier and gave him more attention because i'm playing a halfling bard in a campaign run by a (different) friend. The other bard is posed like a rock star and has a lute that looks more like an electric guitar, but i didn't take the bait and i painted the instrument brown. I did let her have some punk rock stripes in her hair. This picture came out a little blurry but i've already noted my apathy.

This is probably the most nice looking figure in that she's standing on a giant dragon head. Of course, that's not very useful in a game. Does she drag that head around with her the whole time, reminding people how awesome she is because of that time she beheaded a dragon?

Another non-Bone. Another blurry pic, but he's got a cool looking face, and armored guys are always easy to paint.

The final figure (excluding the scorpions, who aren't worth a close-up) is also a non-Bone. And he's pretty interesting, actually. He's got a normal barbarian human kind of body, but his face is some sort of insectoid thing. Not sure if it's meant to be mask or if he's some kind of insect-man hybrid. He'll work either way.


By fnord12 | July 8, 2016, 1:46 PM | D&D | Comments (4) | Link




Media Failure to Examine Brexit Thoughtfully

This will make fnord12 happy - a Brexit discussion that doesn't oversimplify the argument to "ignorant xenophobia". But it's Glenn Greenwald, so in the end, no one will be happy.

Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting their own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-Leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of Western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object.

The Los Angeles Times's Vincent Bevins, in an outstanding and concise analysis, wrote that "both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years"; in particular, "since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt." The British journalist Tom Ewing, in a comprehensive Brexit explanation, said the same dynamic driving the U.K. vote prevails in Europe and North America as well: "the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact."

In an interview with the New Statesman, the political philosopher Michael Sandel also said that the dynamics driving the pro-Brexit sentiment were now dominant throughout the West generally: "A large constituency of working-class voters feel that not only has the economy left them behind, but so has the culture, that the sources of their dignity, the dignity of labor, have been eroded and mocked by developments with globalization, the rise of finance, the attention that is lavished by parties across the political spectrum on economic and financial elites, the technocratic emphasis of the established political parties." After the market-venerating radicalism of Reagan and Thatcher, he said, "the center left" -- Blair and Clinton and various European parties -- "managed to regain political office but failed to reimagine the mission and purpose of social democracy, which ­became empty and obsolete."


By min | June 29, 2016, 12:56 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (6) | Link




Yeah, that's what we mean by "rocks"

Well then you suddenly got a lot less interesting, Mr. Joe Cool Dinosaur. And what's with the bait and switch? You're obviously eating some kind of actual rock thing in the first two panels, and then suddenly you're handing out poor man's gummie fruit candies. In 5 awesome fruit flavors, all distinguishable only by the finest of palates, since they're all apparently purple.

One thing that is historically accurate is that in the 90s there were so many dinosaurs going around in letter jackets that they were only interesting if they had unusual diets and/or handed out candy.


By fnord12 | June 29, 2016, 10:53 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link




Who Would You Choose to Save?

Link

A self-driving car carrying a family of four on a rural two-lane highway spots a bouncing ball ahead. As the vehicle approaches a child runs out to retrieve the ball. Should the car risk its passengers' lives by swerving to the side--where the edge of the road meets a steep cliff? Or should the car continue on its path, ensuring its passengers' safety at the child's expense? This scenario and many others pose moral and ethical dilemmas that carmakers, car buyers and regulators must address before vehicles should be given full autonomy, according to a study published Thursday in Science.

The study highlights paradoxes facing carmakers, car buyers and regulators as driverless technology accelerates. Most of the 1,928 research participants in the Science report indicated that they believed vehicles should be programmed to crash into something rather than run over pedestrians, even if that meant killing the vehicle's passengers.

...

Yet many of the same study participants balked at the idea of buying such a vehicle, preferring to ride in a driverless car that prioritizes their own safety above that of pedestrians.

Ofc. "Who cares about some random kid? Save me!" People are great.


By min | June 28, 2016, 9:45 AM | Science | Comments (6) | Link



No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.