As we prepare to collectively absorb our Thanksgiving Day feasts and enjoy leftovers, astronomers working with the VLA in Chile have found a massive feature of the large scale cosmos for the mind to try and digest: [Read more…]
I now have the fastest Internet in Austin, a sizzling 300 megs/sec download speed. That’s assuming the routers and hubs and Sony Walkmans in between me and the source can hande that, which is debatable. And what does this technological wonder deliver to my virtual front door every, damn day? Very little glad news, no end of bad news, lots of sad news, and news which is beyond sad, as it speaks to our very fitness and worthiness to survive as a species.
To wit, the world needs more religious fundamentalism like a pack of starving grizzly bears need rabies. The problem being, grizzly bears with rabies are, mostly, just a funny thought, whereas this shit where kids get killed for daring to be in school, especially women, really happened and keeps happening: [Read more…]
Things are fine folks. I have a new job, lots to learn, but so far so good. My new job actually covers some ISP costs, so I’m waiting on restarting cable and Internet until that goes through. It could be as early as this Saturday. A few days ago my car was hit, very low velocity wreck and no one was injured, but the vehicle may be totaled. Which means my past few nights have been spent with no car, no Internet, no cable TV, and because I was careless one afternoon, no phone for a few days.
The funny thing was, it was incredibly peaceful! I enjoyed the hell out of it. There was nothing flashing in my eyes or buzzing in my ears, no texts or emails to worry about. No wasting time watching politicians and shills smiling and lying through perfectly capped teeth. I’ve spent the last few nights at home, quietly reading, working out a lot, cooking and eating super healthy, getting excellent sleep, and starting to wonder if I might be better off in a more minimalist lifestyle. Or at least better off less immersed in so much electronic crap.
Anyway, I’ll be back soon … until then here’s some food for rational thought: 1) Given the crazy political antics we’ve seen on Ebola, how would a science-challenged America in 2014 respond to a real pandemic threat, or even a more serious new epidemic, say for example AIDS hit now instead of 40 years ago?
And 2) below the fold is video of the Antares rocket that blew up as it left the launch pad last night: with condolences to several reg readers here who I know are closely involved with the industry … and my encouragement: remember that space travel is extremely difficult and the really important thing is, thanks to good design and proper safeguards, no one got so much as a scratch! [Read more…]
I really wish I knew the answer to that question. But like so many things in the business world, the answer has to be a big secret. Which in itself is a red flag: typically when something has to be a freaking secret, it’s because there’s something embarrassing or corrupt or something that can’t be justified if it were to become common knowledge. As mentioned on an earlier post, I have a job lined up, thank the noodly appendages of the Great FSM. It starts in a couple of weeks. It’s a real job with real benefits, and it pays a living wage. But by living wage I mean, after adding up pay and bonuses and perks, it only pays about 17 bucks an hour to start. I can survive on that, it’s not pretty, but with zero debt and my dismal, frugal lifestyle, I can get by. But I’m always open to better jobs and as luck would have it, a recruiter for a prospective company contacted me about one that pays closer to 50k a year. [Read more…]
You might think the victim of Ray Rice’s rage was the 100 and nothing pound woman the NFL player cold-cocked with every steroid enhanced muscle at his disposal, before quickly dragging her unconscious body out of sight. But a guest on Hannity’s radio show identified the real victim of domestic abuse: Ray Rice! [Read more…]
Throughout the summer we have been bombarded by images of ISIS, a bloodthirsty group of medieval savages threatening to torture and murder anyone who does not subscribe to their specific version of Islam. ISIS is guilty of every allegation made and odds are, when and if the desert dust ever clears, we will learn of even more horror visited on innocent bystanders. Nick Cohen explores this further and contrasts it with atheists organizations in The Guardian: [Read more…]
During my short August sabbatical, ISIS again dominated news coverage. I may not have posted anything here, but rest assured my Godless friends, I weathered many slings and arrows fired by my right-wing Texas pals about how ISIS is the new biggest threat ever and it’s all Obama’s fault. Each winger being either blissfully unaware or willfully ignorant in his or her own way of the fact that roughly 100% of non-partisan Middle East analysts worried or flat out predicted that the Bush led 2003 Iraq invasion would ultimately generate even more violent Muslim extremists than we were already facing.
ISIS has garnered compliments for their deft use of social media in proudly spreading images of dismembered heads. Maybe the average head-chopping fanatic is feeling the heat of that negative manly PR, because they’re now reportedly making a concerted effort to woo more women: [Read more…]
Hello FTBers! My cable was out for a few weeks, I managed to keep up with current events using my cell phone, coffee shops, and an occasional loose cable signal from an unwittingly helpful neighbor. Besides, I wanted to stay out of the way while the new format was debugged, and it seems to be doing fine. It’s rare when a major overhaul goes that smooth, so grats to Ed and the design team!
Not much changed for me over the month of August. I did find a new job that pays a living wage, but it doesn’t start until the end of September. As for cable being out; after paying off my past due balance thanks to the fruits of reader contribs a few weeks ago and little backbreaking minimum wage manual labor — and I do mean literally manual labor — my access is restored. Have you ever worked cash-under-the-table part time construction jobs in the middle of a blazing Texas summer at age 52?
Whenever I hear some privileged whiner whine on about how hard they work and that’s why they should get another fat tax cut on their millions, it’s worth a good loud laugh. I can tell you what it’s like to work real, real hard for shit money, because that’s what I’ve been doing all month long. But some people, who are probably not poor, have a very different idea why people might be struggling and very old, very bad ideas about how to help. Follow me below for the punch-lines.
I apologize for not blogging for a few days. Another good friend of mine has passed away. He was full of life, a gifted athlete well into his forties who set new standards for his sport that still stand today. A talented artist and analyst, he was the full package, left and right brains hitting on every cylinder. Successful at everything he tried, this guy founded and ran two profitable businesses for more then 20 years after graduating Sigma Cum Laude from the Lone Star version of an ivy league school with a design engineering degree. But in the wake of the Great Recession, those businesses collapsed. He hung on for a few years, unable to find even a living wage, slowly losing everything. Finally, he took his own life, completely alone and no doubt feeling utterly abandoned. It sounds like they didn’t even find the body for awhile — I could be wrong but from what I can piece together, they only found him because the landlord checked his cheap, shitty apartment after August rent didn’t show up.
I’m not sure exactly what happened, the grisly details, but I might know how he felt. I know it every day and I get emails from people who feel it too. It just goes on and on for those of us who are middle aged, out of work highly trained professionals. It happened to me again in the last few days. Two weeks ago I interviewed for a job, an easy job well within my skill set and track record. And I still have no idea what happened. Because that’s how it works nowadays. Just for fun I sometimes try to imagine what might have happened to a job I thought I had. [Read more…]