Category Archives: Weird

Iranian Billionaires And Lunar Dictators

I just did a radio interview with Thom Hartmann, in which he postulated that if the proposed homesteading legislation passed, it would result in an Iranian billionaire setting up a military base on the moon from which to bombard us. Or alternately, that I would become a dictator of my own lunar colony. He also didn’t seem to understand the difference between libertarianism and anarchism.

Hokay…

Vital Research On The ISS

The space station finally earns its keep:

Compounds of unmatured malt were sent to the station in an unmanned cargo spacecraft in October last year, along with particles of charred oak.

Scientists want to understand how they interact at close to zero gravity.

NanoRacks LLC, the US company behind the research, has said understanding the influence of gravity could help a number of industries, including the whisky industry, to develop new products in the future.

And those silly people say that space research is a waste of money.

Coregasms

Everything (OK, well, not everything) you wanted to know about exercise-induced org@sms:

Because I first began org@sming from exercise at a young age, not to sound cocky, but I have perfected it! I know when my body is about to coregasm, I know what exact workout to do to achieve that feeling. I have also perfected my face so that if I do have a coregasm in the gym it doesn’t look like I am. I have never been embarrassed about coregasming at the gym because my coregasms are never unexpected or unplanned.

Now whenever I see a woman exercising, I’m going to wonder: is she or isn’t she?

The SAT

I never took it, but here’s a guy who retook it at age 35. The analytic geometry question was easy for me, but I didn’t take the time to try to figure out the covered polygon. I assume I’d probably do pretty well on it, even now.

How did I get two degrees from Ann Arbor without taking the SAT? By spending the first two years at community college.

And boy, can I identify with this:

Because I work on a computer like normal human beings, I’d forgotten how painful it can be to write in longhand for long stretches of time. I know it’s not as bad as digging trenches in the Amazon, but still—it’s AGONY. Your neck gets sore from staring down. You get that weird dent in your middle finger and thumb from pressing the pencil too hard. Everything around you starts to smell like old pencil shavings. This is why I fucking hated blue-book exams in high school and college. It wasn’t that I had to study, or that I had to think on the fly. It was the hard LABOR of it all. Every time I finished a blue-book exam in school, I felt as if I had just moved a cord of firewood. Many times, I would hurry up and try and finish the essay early, just so that I could stop writing and rest. It’s amazing, when you think about it. You spend a whole semester studying for some test, and then you rush it because you just want five extra minutes to relax. That’s how my brain works. It’s not a perfect organ.

I am so fortunate that computers came along when they did. My writing volume would be a tiny fraction of what it is if I had to write long hand.

A Trade-Deficit Solution

There seems like a big market opportunity here. Put people to work by fishing, and sell the proceeds to China. You could do it canned, frozen and fresh. I know that when I was a kid growing up in Michigan we’d never eat carp, and considered them junk fish, though the blacks would eat them (and dogfish, too — I remember dogfish runs by the dam near our cottage on the Muskegon River, where people would just pull them out with nets and cover the banks with them). Not sure what the difference is between Asian carp and the native variety, or if it’s tastier. But the Asians definitely do know their carp (which is what koi and goldfish are).

Adaptation

Some have said that the cost-effective solution to climate change is to adapt (I’m in this camp). But I think this may be going overboard:

Some of the proposed modifications are simple and noninvasive. For instance, many people wish to give up meat for ecological reasons, but lack the willpower to do so on their own. The paper suggests that such individuals could take a pill that would trigger mild nausea upon the ingestion of meat, which would then lead to a lasting aversion to meat-eating. Other techniques are bound to be more controversial. For instance, the paper suggests that parents could make use of genetic engineering or hormone therapy in order to birth smaller, less resource-intensive children.

What could go wrong?

And of course, it’s all about the liberty:

It’s been suggested that, given the seriousness of climate change, we ought to adopt something like China’s one child policy. There was a group of doctors in Britain who recently advocated a two-child maximum. But at the end of the day those are crude prescriptions—what we really care about is some kind of fixed allocation of greenhouse gas emissions per family. If that’s the case, given certain fixed allocations of greenhouse gas emissions, human engineering could give families the choice between two medium sized children, or three small sized children. From our perspective that would be more liberty enhancing than a policy that says “you can only have one or two children.” A family might want a really good basketball player, and so they could use human engineering to have one really large child.

Yes, that’s what we really care about — a fixed allocation of greenhouse emissions per family.

More thoughts from Mark Wilson at Ricochet.

Satellite For Sale

I just got an interesting email:

A fully-operational communications satellite is available for purchase for only a short time (days). If you know an organization that might be interested, please have them contact Richard Van Allen of Microcosm at 310-219-2700 ASAP.

The F2 satellite has been in orbit for about 11 years, during which time it used about 6 kg of propellant. It cost in the multi-hundreds of millions of dollars, and the launch cost was $105M in 1994 dollars. All systems on board the spacecraft are functioning normally, and it has both S-Band and C-Band communications capabilities. Also important, there is a current RF license in place to use the frequencies allocated to it. The current owner has decided it does not want to continue paying about $133K/month to keep it functioning and has been intentionally burning propellant over the last several weeks to deplete the remaining propellant. Currently there is about 30 kg remaining, more than enough for the satellite to last for many years. However, by the end of this week, the remaining propellant will have been used up, and the satellite will be dead.

Info on the satellite can be found here.

Oliver Stone’s Son

…is an idiot:

“The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with. It means I have accepted Mohammad and other prophets,” he said in a brief telephone call from the central Iranian city of Isfahan, where he underwent the ceremony.

Sean Stone’s famous father is Jewish, while his mother is Christian.

The 27-year-old filmmaker did not say why he converted.

According to Iran’s Fars news agency, Sean Stone had become a Shiite and had chosen to be known by the Muslim first name Ali.

Like father, like son.

This raises so many questions. What is he “converting” from? You can be Christian, or Jewish, but not both, and it’s not clear that he’s ever been either (his mother wasn’t Jewish, so he isn’t Jewish by birth). Does he really believe that the Mullahs will be just fine with his “not abandoning” those other religions (to the degree that he was ever an adherent to them)? Does he know the penalty for apostasy in his new religion?

What is clear from his brief message is that he is as ignorant of Islam as he is of the other two religions.

From Social Upheaval

…is great art made:

It is with the velocity of a giant squid and the sprawl of its erogenous arms that with water-wheels the leverage in any musculoskeletal appendage can move into positions within the time it would take the engine of filaments to accelerate the psychic mass of bodily understanding and construction for such a displacement to continue in different venues and as multiple in purpose as the simple machine of our vessel will allow toward the disappearance of a nexus like in infinite mirror games but with the ability to count each movement of the progression as it acts in mechanical, yet organic, jerking behind the dreamlike animals with their pink illusions that roll their wet bodies into our delicate systems

Yes, those college degrees were totally worth the money. Though I suspect that pharmaceuticals may have played a role.

My Cat Drives Me Crazy

She does, actually, with her willful refusal to pee in a litter box, but it may be literally true as well:

It’s almost impossible to hear about Flegr’s research without wondering whether you’re infected—especially if, like me, you’re a cat owner, favor very rare meat, and identify even a little bit with your Toxo sex stereotype. So before coming to Prague, I’d gotten tested for the parasite, but I didn’t yet know the results. It seemed a good time to see what his intuition would tell me. “Can you guess from observing someone whether they have the parasite—myself, for example?,” I ask.

“No,” he says, “the parasite’s effects on personality are very subtle.” If, as a woman, you were introverted before being infected, he says, the parasite won’t turn you into a raving extrovert. It might just make you a little less introverted. “I’m very typical of Toxoplasma males,” he continues. “But I don’t know whether my personality traits have anything to do with the infection. It’s impossible to say for any one individual. You usually need about 50 people who are infected and 50 who are not, in order to see a statistically significant difference. The vast majority of people will have no idea they’re infected.”

A long, but fascinating article.

A New Twist On Nigerian Spam

I just got this one: “I am Special Agent,Fred Jones and am in Nigeria as an FBI delegate that has been delegated to investigate this fraudsters who are in the business of swindling Foreigners that came for transaction in Nigeria . Please be informed that during my investigation I got to find out that there is a huge sum that has been assigned in your name.Regard FRED JONES”

This one is real for sure.

Am I Crazy?

I’ve been having this bizarre email exchange with someone who will remain nameless to protect the guilty, as a result of this much-commented post:

Him: I read your article about “Getting Religion out of Science Classrooms” after following the link from Instapundit.com and would like to have an intelligent discussion with you about this. I find your views on what constitutes “scientific” vs. “religious” to be inconsistent. Hopefully we could both benefit from an exchange of emails – but I won’t bother if you would just consider me an know-nothing. Maybe both of us will learn something. If I am wrong in my beliefs, I would like to find out by intelligent correspondence. Something with a little more light, less heat, than occurs on the blogosphere.

Me: I certainly have no reason to think you a know nothing, but I don’t really want to waste my time on a private discussion. I’d be happy to have a public one.

Him: The problem I have with a public discussion is that rarely is something learned. I think you’re sharp enough that I can learn something from you.

Me: I don’t understand why a public discussion will not instruct, but a private one will.

Him: I think I have some really good arguments for intelligent design. I think I have convincing arguments that there must be a God. Such arguments can’t really make it in a public forum because they get too interrupted by chaff. Arguments get better only when tried before true devil’s advocates. I see by your regular contributions that Glenn flags that you have not fallen for the delusion of liberalism.

Me: I don’t know what you mean by “liberalism.” I am a classical liberal (that is, I am not a leftist).

Him: Yet you have a very simplistic, childish view of ID.

Me: Was this supposed to persuade me that I should waste my time engaging in an intelligent private discussion with you? If so, it failed. Completely.

Him: Rand, sorry I offended you. I did learn something.

Me: And if I had told you that your views about evolution were “childish,” you wouldn’t have been offended? Perhaps you need to learn something about yourself.

Him: I don’t know. I have always been one who is so confident about my views that I like debate. I consider when someone calls my views “childish” to be an invitation to debate, not an offense. Sorry, just the way I am. I think in general people who feel they have the minority viewpoint that has not been given a fair shake take any attention, even negative comments, as a positive thing.

Me: If you think that calling someone’s views “childish” is debating at all, let alone doing so “intelligently,” then I have to say that you’re overconfident in your debating ability.

I think now I understand why he prefers to debate privately, though.

[Update mid afternoon]

For those in comments worried that I’m beating up on a kid, if I am, he’s impersonating a professor of physics.