Free men are not equal, equal men are not free.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Slate Star Codex isn't a site I usually follow, but when people I do follow point to it, once can be sure that the discussion is interesting.

No, he's not of the right, but his posts - often long - display a degree of intellectual integrity I'm finding rarer and rarer on the left, as even some of the previously rational members of the "liberal" types in my family go off to wach a different movie and yell at people who say otherwise.

The recent one is on "murderism," and starts off with a series of uncomfortable questions on what, exactly, is racism.
As usual, the answer is that “racism” is a confusing word that serves as a mishmash of unlike concepts. Here are some of the definitions people use for racism:

1. Definition By Motives: An irrational feeling of hatred toward some race that causes someone to want to hurt or discriminate against them.

2. Definition By Belief: A belief that some race has negative qualities or is inferior, especially if this is innate/genetic.

3. Definition By Consequences: Anything whose consequence is harm to minorities or promotion of white supremacy, regardless of whether or not this is intentional.
In the essay, he brings up a lot of things that are often called racism, and are not, even mentioning that so called racist southerners waving confederate flags strongly back Nikki Haley and Ben Carson (he forgot Tim Scott).

He also brings up an interesting point, the one I actually explore further, that the left and the right are speaking different languages, often while they use the same words. The old gag about the different ways various services "secure a building" comes to mind.

I think the results of Haidt's experiments, that he brings up and is hardly ignoring, are nonetheless more important than he is giving credit to. I also think it's worthwhile to understand that there is a driving force behind the changes of so many of the changes in meaning between the sides.

First, my own digression. While I quiblle with the exact nature of the various axes Haidt presents, and not being a binary thinker, understand it's more of a continum with two axes being weighted much more heavily (rather than exclusively) by liberals, I do find it interesting that "definition by consequences" so often used to prove that racism/sexism/whatever exists maps to the strong bias towards the fairness axis

And it's nonsense.

Individual choices matter. Hand identical sets of lego bricks to a room full of kids of the same age and demograhic background and they will all do something different with them. Even two building houses or bridges will build them differently. One may knock something off and be done, another may tear things down and keep trying different variations on a structure.

Individual choices and interests matter, and even small changes at the source will result in wide variations in the results. The only way to get the same results out of that room of kids is to force them.

So it doesn't matter if it's genetics affecting IQ and personality traits, culture, or a blend of the two, if demographic groups tend to make certain decisions differently from other groups, tend to develop, or not, certain "skill stacks" as Scott Adams would say, or certain habits to set aside resources for future opportunities or troubles, or not, value learning and tinkering, or not, value the golden rule and reciprocal fair play, or not, then of course there will be a different distribution of poor, rich, criminal, and law abiding, other than the degree to which it is culture we can maybe demonstrate a different way of doing things.

And if those cultures look at that behavior as too "white" or whatever, and decide not to do it, are we going to force them at the point of a gun?

Back to the main topic. Why the difference in meaning?

Back to those legos, or actually, the lego movie. Sure, the individual creators could go and do amazing things, but for them to work together, they had to establish a common language, a common understanding, and a common plan. This was reflected, in part, by actually having to build something to match a blueprint, if for no other reason than to present a fascade that the guards they were trying to sneak past would understand as "one of their own." In the language that Jordan Peterson uses, it displayed both the need for chaos and order.

So we do not share a common language with the left anymore, to the extent that things that were simply accepted as virtues are now "microaggressions", and while it is easy to dismiss these as lone wackos, there is a qualitative difference there. A guy buying explosives, or coordinating with other supposed "lone wolf" jihadis is operating off of common cultural assumtions and touchstones, and often in touch, no matter how indirectly, with others he's coordinating with, obtaining explosives from, etc. A teacher suspending a student for the shape he chews a pop tart into has to go through a school bureaucracy that doesn't look at her and tell her she's nuts, with fellow faculty that doesn't warn her of the same. Kathy Griffin had to get an entire camera crew on board with her. Colleges publishing microagression guides need a large portion of the faculty and administration to find nothing eye-raising in the contents within.

The common strain, one Jordan Peterson points out, is postmodernism, and the related death cults of leftism. I've argued before that socialism, even if believed by well the intentioned, was inherently evil as an ideology of governance. The hundreds of millions of bodies in the name of controlling their own subjects (even when named citizens, what's that old line about calling a tail a leg?), of controlling acceptable thought, leads to a death of mind, body, and soul on an industrial scale.

Postmodernism doesn't care about language, or meaning. There is little or no objective truth (but the objective truth of power) and words don't just mean, Humpty Dumpty style, whatever they wish them to mean, but whatever they wish them to mean at that moment, and something else they wish at another.

Peterson points out they don't even want to discuss with us, or allow us to speak, but when there "is" a conversation, that is why it is so full of apparent contradiction and hypocrisy.

And that is the part that many conservatives fail to understand. Sure, they can predict the leftist SJW response, but many traditional conservatives don't have a visceral udnerstanding that to the SJW, they're not irrational, it is all about power, of them having power over you.

Your Entertainment is Your Responsibility

Over at Walker's Retreat:
A few years ago I sat on a panel about running tabletop RPGs. I got asked what I do I do to ensure that players at my table are entertained. I said "I am Crom. I don't care." This got everyone's attention. "I don't care because that's not my problem. Players are solely responsible for their entertainment. All I do is run the game."
Yeah. It's not the job of the GM to dance around as the cloun to arbitrarily "entertain" the subjective whims of the players.

Certainly, we all must give something to the game to get stuff back out of it, and the GM has a lot of power to determine the state of the "world" and how it reacts to the players, but ultimately, as a GM, I cannot ensure the player is entertained any more than I can force him to be happy when sad, or vice versa.

It also reminded me of one thing from one of the few TED talks worth a damn - Mike Rowe on dirty jobs - where he is talking about crab boats in stormy weather. He talks to the Captain, concerned about safety, and gets back the reply that the safety of the crew is ultimately their responsibility. Sure, he can train them, etc., but in the end they have to ensure their own safety, and his job was to get the boat home safely with a good catch, to make them a living.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kratman's Advice

Recently posted by the good Col on facebook. I've posted it in full so you don't have to go there.

(Copyright ©, 2017, Thomas P. Kratman)

Go cautiously and armed amidst the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and riots and remember, whitey, that although their lives matter, yours does not.

There are people with whom you cannot get along without surrendering your soul. Insofar as possible, bury them where the bodies will never be found.

In these days, speaking the truth is a revolutionary act; shout it from the rooftops. If it sends SJWs into apoplexy or cardiac arrest, or makes their heads explode, so much the better, since that will stop their continuous and inevitable lies, and nothing else will.

Avoid large conglomerations of people carrying banners and shouting slogans. Do not take to heart their exhortations and entreaties, for they are fucking lunatics.

Never apologize for anything.

Do not bother keeping a close eye on the stock market, the unemployment reports, NASDAQ, or crime figures. These are lies and frauds, start to finish. Keep careful watch, however, of your neighbors, marking down all those you believe you can trust when the fecal matter hits the rotary impeller.

Aim with care.

Do not fire warning shots, for this shortens the time between “fire” and “reload.” The dead cannot testify in court; the wounded may only be feigning death. Hence, double tap always and be careful to finish off the wounded.

Old age and treachery will always beat youth and ignorance. Never surrender without a fight. Do not go too easily on yourself, either, for the world is waiting in ambush.

You have nearly no natural rights. Anyone who tells you that you do is peddling vacuum. One right you do have is the right to try to use violence and hard work in your own behalf. Nothing guarantees you success.

If you have turned your back on God, don’t expect him not to turn His back on you. He’s loving, generous, patient, and kind, but modern man and woman has pretty much worn those qualities to a frazzle.

The shams, drudgeries, frauds, and stolen dreams have worn the world out as much as they have God’s patience. Civilization is collapsing. You can give up or you can fight. You will be happier if you fight.
I'm amazed there's not more crucifiction in there.

He's also the author of a number of excellent books including the Carerra series started with A Desert Called Peace.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I blame Jeffro

I just bought a game expansion I cannot play, and it's Jeffro's fault.

OK, to be entirely fair, Eric Raymond was my gateway drug for piquing my interest in Commands & Colors: Ancients, but it was Jeffro who made post after post showing gameplay of Talon, and more recently, Space Empires 4x.

Of course, both are out of print. So now I'm on the sign-up pre-order list for P500, so that when they get to 500 orders they'll publish and ship copies.

But no, that's sortof like Kickstarter, but better because they don't get your money until they cross the finish line. 

The real kicker was the gameplay examples from the expansion set, Close Encounters.

You see - what I didn't want to do was finally, finally receive a copy of SE4x and then turn around to buy the expansion, and discover I'm back in P500 limbo.

So yes, I paid perfectly good money for a game expansion for which the core game I've only looked at the rules and twiddled a bit on Vassal, and won't receive a physical copy for months, at best.

Having looked at the rules, and given how much I've loved other GMT games I've played, I'm sure it will turn out to be a wise decision.

In the meantime, joking aside, thank you Jeffro for showing me how awesome the game is, for your enthusiasm for not only the games you play, but the hobby as a whole. Finally, thank you for the wonderful job you've done at the Castalia House blog.

Update: In the latest email from GMT, we have the following tentative shipping schedule. Despite still being marked "Not there yet" at 397 and 276 pre-orders respectively on the site, Space Empires 4x and Talon are off to the printers, payments will be taken in early July, and shipping is tentatively set for July 15-25th of this year.

Monday, June 19, 2017

(Not Quite) Metal Monday

In addition to my love of prog-rock bands like Rush and ELP, back in the 80's I also loved the explosion of "solo" players like Yngwie, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, etc. Perhaps my favorite though was not a guitarris, but a bassist by teh name of Stuart Hamm.

His albums had a strong science fiction theme. The first was titled Radio Free Albemuth, and the - IMO far better - album that succeeded it and was my first introduction to him, Kings of Sleep, had song titles like "Count Zero" and "Black Ice" explicitly referencing William Gibson cyberpunk stories.

Strap in, and enjoy.

and finally, the title track, "Kings of Sleep"

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I Told You This Story So I Could Tell You The Next One

First of all, thanks to Brian Niemeier at Kairos for some useful follow up on this Castalia House article.

Jeffro, writing on misdirection and how that doesn't just apply to mysteries, brought up this:
If you ever notice something along the lines of a “Chekov’s Gun”, then you know the spell has not been successfully cast. In David Brin’s first book Sundiver, there is sort of a brain dump at some point. I get to it and I think, “why is he even talking about this stuff?!” And then I get to the end and I realize that he had to tell me that stuff so that I would understand what was happening at the ending.
I get that same feeling frequently when I watch movies. It’s like Bill Cosby’s classic set up for (I think) his Fat Albert story: “Now… I told you that one so I could tell you this one.” That got a laugh in his stand-up routine. If people notice you doing that when you’re telling a story, then you are failing to successfully misdirect your audience. You’re like a magician doing a trick and instead of wowing the twelve-year-old on the front row, you instead draw attention to the dime store gimmick that makes what you’re doing possible. 
It’s bad form.
For what it's worth, if you can sense a shift in the story, as if an entirely new story is being told for which this was the setup, maybe you have two stories.

That said, I've seen this pulled off, masterfully, once.

Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. Roughly halfway through the book I wondered why so much time was spent on Erasmas and life in the concent. Sure, it had some interesting discussions on philosophy, bud dammit, not much was moving along!

I actually thought of that Cosby joke.

By the time the book wrapped up, I realized that without the beginning, even if the initial revelations that triggered the events of teh second half were pushed back, the book would not made sense. The characters needed that room to grow, developments needed to work in sequence, and room needed to be made to slip one piece of background thought in at a time to understand the how and why of the end without huge infodumps. Or even bigger ones.

For a story that halfway through started feeling like two, it ended up starting no later than it possibly could have.

As to that Cosby joke:

Also, one commenter asked if Jeffro's take on Sherlock was referring to the Christmas special. While I cannot speak for Jeffro, my personal answer is no.

I mostly enjoyed the first season, somewhere around two it started to bore me. The final? I knew it would be a total train wreck from the first episode, even leaving aside the horrible posturing of the Christmas special and it's oh-so-obvious politically correct mystery.

For those who are gluttons for punishment, and want a red-letter-media level of detail in why it sucked (without the psychopath serial killer jokes):

Keep in mind that, from several comments, the reviewer actually approves of progressive "checkbox" grandstanding.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

They Have No Intention of Letting us Be or Allowing us a Living

...or even a conversation (several of Dr Jordan Petersons podcasts go into why the feral spawn of post-modernism - he's nicer about it - cannot allow an actual conversation).

So if anyone asks why I am not bothered by people asking for Kathy Gifford to be gone from CNN, or corporations withdrawing from backing liberal projects, one has to look no further than Ms Gifford's own pronouncements, or a certain actor known for playing the Hulk.

And under petty bureaucrats abusing kids and their authority - as well as "sending your kids to public school is tantamount to child abuse" :
The same was done to 17-year-old Grant Berardo. His was even more obvious - the large white Trump slogan printed across his chest was entirely wiped from the image before the yearbooks went to print.  
Dobrovich-Fago's younger sister submitted a quote by the president to be included beneath her profile [as class president] but it wasn't printed either. 
It was: 'I like thinking big, if you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.' 
Amazingly, the teacher was suspended. Usually when something like this happens or a student is suspended for chewing pop-tarts into the shape of a gun, it may be a "lone teacher," but they certainly aren't hiding their actions from fellow faculty that see little wrong with their behavior or choices.

They are establishing the rules of the game, and what they consider acceptable behavior to the "other.". Erase us, deny us, kick us out of society, and make sure we can't make a living, that they never have to see us.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Patience of a Saint

Dr Jordan Peterson at Harvard.

Yeah, the title of the vid is melodramatic, and if you've listened to his (highly recommended) podcast little of this is new. Pay attention to the questions being asked. Straw men and weasel words.

For an institution that supposedly concerns itself with "truth", rigor, logic, philosophy, etc. seem sadly lacking. The questions come across as an attempt to pin him down to badthink rather than an attempt to have him elabroate his position.

I expect no different of an institution who's chipper students gush about "all the activities" during campus tours, like going to anti-war protests, while standing in a hall commemmorating the Harvard civil war dead.

Minor Update

Anyone looking at recent tweets or Gab posts by me may notice my avatar/icon has changed.

Hope you guys like it, suggestions for improvement (or taking it and improving it yourself, spreading it far and wide) are welcome.

Still Not Tired - #2A College Professor Edition

I originally hear about this at Legal Insurrection who got it from Red Alert Politics. A college professor will resign in protest of the law going into effect allowing campus carry.
“Clear, open, critical discussion cannot take place in an environment of threat and fear,” Deborah Ballard-Reisch wrote in a letter to University President John Bardo. “Guns on campus will make it that much more difficult for them to feel safe,” she wrote.
“As someone who has experienced gun violence personally, I do not feel safe with guns in the classroom.” Ballard-Reisch was robbed at gunpoint in 2014. 
In 2013, Kansas passed a law permitting people to bring guns into public buildings, with a four-year extension for universities and community colleges to comply. The law on campuses takes effect on July 1. Two years later, Kansas eliminated a requirement for gun owners to obtain a permit by paying a licensing fee and completing an eight-hour training course. 
“I’ve heard several legislators say this isn’t a big deal, that nobody cared and nobody was going to quit over this,” Ballard-Reisch, a tenured communications professor who taught at WSU for a decade, said. “And I thought, ‘No, I really am.’” 
Ballard-Reisch added, “They may not care, but I think other people in this state who hold beliefs similar to mine will take some solace from the reality that somebody stood up and said, ‘No, I’m not working in this environment. …This is not OK.’”
Yup, I am woman, hear me roar! But, but, law abiding citizens with guns make me feel unsafe!

I wonder what kind of bully she is.

Interestingly, another prof also resigned:
“Kansas can have great universities, or it can have concealed carry in classrooms, but it cannot have both. In practical terms, concealed carry has proven to be a failure,” Dorman wrote. “Students need to be able to express themselves respectfully and freely, and they cannot do so about heated topics if they know that fellow students are armed and that an argument could easily be lethal. Guns in the classroom will have a chilling effect on free speech and hinder the university’s mission to facilitate dialogue across lines of division.” 
He added, “That stifling of dialogue will hurt all students, including the ones with guns in their pockets.”
I have some dropping crime rates to show the supposed academic. Even if one argues that crime was dropping anyway, one cannot argue that more guns has increased crime, or prevented it from dropping. "Failure" is a word that both applies to him and that he apparently doesn't understand. Also, given recent antifa shenanigans, I wonder if discussions would stay respectful if a pack of feral leftists knew the person they disagreed with was not armed? Certainly they could get lethal even without guns just due to numbers, wrenches, poles/clubs, and knives - which actually have been used by leftists in "arguments."

Also, "...if they know that fellow students are armed and that an argument could easily be lethal." This is a sentiment I've heard from teachers before - that they don't trust themselves or their fellow teachers to know right from wrong well enough to not shoot someone out of anger or loss of temper.

I strongly suspect that this lack of trust in their fellow man's moral compass is a bit of projection, and knowing all too well how they've poisoned the kids in their care. You can really, really piss them off by pointing out the following: They have college degrees, and 17-year-old kids are trusted to be able to handle military weapons safely and not shoot their buddies. Also, middle and high schoolers often have their hands on lethal implements in various shop classes, AND they and college dropouts/high school grads regularly, safely operate far more complex equipment than a firearm.

That they are effectively declaring themselves too morally and mentally handicapped to teach our kids.

Either way, good riddance.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Unleash The ILoH

In a facebook post noting how Vile770 was treating him and not letting him reply, Mike Glyer accuses Jon Del Arroz of lying. When asked point blank to put up or shut up with an example, he smarmily continues to throw innuendo. Then Larry Correia walks into the conversation.
So the lying character assassin thinks I'm mean and immature because I won't accept his bullshit.

Fuck you. Insults are all you deserve, cur.

Normally when I argue with people online there is some verbal sparring and attempts at humor. Not with Glyer. With him I'll speak plainly. He is scum.

His band of psychos is the reason my kids can't use their real names on the internet. He feeds their asinine jealously and spite through a passive aggressive and highly biased "reporting", all while he plays at being impartial and honest.

He's the lowest form of liar. He follows a pattern, pick a target, "report", usually in the most biased, shitty, sleazy way possible. Knowingly painting people as things they aren't, then riling up the mob to destroy their reputation.

Like in Jon's case, if the author unwittingly tries to set the record straight, Glyer will act all impartial and nice, all honey and sweetness, but he's a viper. And as soon as it helps his shitty pathetic traffic, he starts the process over again.

I'm in author groups. He does this to everyone naive enough to buy into his act.

Even though he knows I think he is lower than whale shit, he routinely links to my blog simply because he knows it will rile up his psychos.

Then when the psychos are attacking your rep and threatening your business, he acts all nice, like oh I'm just a guy with a fanzine that reports the news, as he tosses another bucket of blood in the water.

I just delete all his trackbacks. Honestly, his blog traffic is so pathetic that on any given day he doesn't even make the top 10 in my referrers list.

Glyer is doing his pathetic little dance here now because he can't stand someone having his number. He likes to play at being a journalist, but he's just a petty, sad, little man.

Now he is reduced to arguing like a little kid, trying to get the last word in, with feeble little jabs, because he simply can't handle being exposed for the snake that he is.

And once he gets done poisoning the well against Jon, he will move onto the next author who gets out of line.

Because Glyer isn't even a bully. He's something worse. He's a ring leader. He doesn't even have the balls to be a bully. He's a worm tongue, whispering lies, and stirring up bullies.

Mike Glyer is a piece of shit.
Haven't had the chance to read them yet, but Jon's a cool guy, and people who's judgement I trust have said his stuff is worth reading. Check out Rescue Run, and the upcoming For Steam and Country  (awesome title BTW)

Why I Support Maher and Not Griffin

I had recently went into a few differences I'd seen between what Maher was raked over the coals for, and what Kathy Griffin was taken to task for.

I didn't clarify why I'm actually OK with campaigning against Kathy Griffin, or similar outrage against Aslan at CNN.

It comes down to this saying:
When I am weak I am for free speech because that is your principle. When I am strong I am against free speech because it is my principle.
I had discussed the golden rule of late, and the deeper I dig in, the deeper it applies. Maher has consistently been an obnoxious man who pisses people off and occasionally says something insightful or funny. While I haven't regularly watched his show in a while, I don't recall him holding a guest to a standard he hasn't applied to himself. Ms Griffin on the other hand had repeatedly declared what her standard of behavior was, notably with her vitriol directed at Sarah Palin after the Arizon shooting of Giffords, for using "target icons". For her, it's perfectly OK to rail against and smear people she's politically opposed to.

The "right" - especially traditional conservatives, have for a long time treated the left as they claim they themselves wish to be treated, in the simpler version of the golden rule that is treated as "don't be mean beacause you don't want people to do things that hurt you."

As I've pointed out, opening that way corresponds to the opening move of the iterated prisoners dilemma - play "nice" and see if the guy takes advantage of you or not.

The problem is that in the minds of bullies, bowing to their wishes is seen as weakness, as permission to go further. In their minds, you are accepting their dominance over them. And no matter how much you dress it up as taking the moral high road, unless you counter them, you are. So when they screw you over, and over, and over, and you continue to play "nice" - you are declaring to them that you accept that behavior. You are declaring this to the bullies, and by example, to the observers, that you are willing to be a victim. They won't change until something makes taking advantage of you impractical.

So yes, fighting back, using their tactics and standards against them - Alinsky style - is perfectly OK because they have openly declared by their own behavior that they consider it acceptable to treat others that way if they can get away with it. When they scream bloody murder at the right finally punching back, they acknowledge they know they are doing wrong, and are taking advantage of their enemies and the right because they can, because we have let them.

It's time to teach them the consequences of treating people that way.

Metal Monday - Sabaton

Dug up a couple AMV's of Sabaton songs. Mostly Star Wars themed here, though one is the excellent fan-animated short, and hey, the rest are "stuff blowing up" even if it is from Rogue One, etc.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Girl Friday

Enjoy the weekend, guys.

And finally, from Instagram:

Gotta Love SJW's Who Forget How To Use A Browser

During gamergate, we got to some serious idiocy under "don't you know how a browser works?" Among others, we got to see people posting screenshots of "hate messages" sent to them - with the submit button waiting for the message to post still present, unsent.

So enter Kurt. Browsers have tabs. If you're going to screenshot something, yo umay want to make sure that you don't include other tabs, windows, your desktop, etc.
The latest piece of political theatre to grace the tubes has been the amusing non-event of Kurt Eichenwald, editor at Vanity Fair, writer for Newsweek, and virulent anti-Trumper, accidentally tweeting out a picture which revealed his interest in MILF themed hentai comics. 
He was arguing with Tucker Carlson at the time, worrying at the Fox News correspondent over the eternal threat of Antisemitism, unaware that he’d failed to close the tab in his browser which was opened on to the Bi-Chiku hentai.  Rather than admit his faux pas, he doubled down; claiming that he and his kids were trying to prove the existence of tentacle porn to his wife.
Aurini uses this to springboard into exactly how weaksauce the meme that started this whole kerfluffle was, and some R/K theory.

More on this at the Ralph Retort as well. Lots more. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Free Speeches

A couple days back I posted a couple videos, one by Razorfist, the other by the inimitable Stefan, on two different cases of free speech.

One bothers me a lot more than the other. I'll go ahead and let on that the Kathy Griffin one bothers me more, and I'm sure any liberal types who come across here will immediately assume it's because I'm a racist.

Sasse set him up with the comment about working the fields, which, have you seen Nebraska? While my digging is limited, none of the clips I'd found yet give me context but I'm presuming that it wasn't in the context of slavery. Bill Maher then turns him down with the comment "I'm a house nigger."

OK. "Republicans are racist" so make a joke about working fields and turn it around? Either way I'm sure it was something similarly vapid and predictable that went through his head, and the "lawn gnome" certainly made a career of saying controversial stuff and offending people.

That said, it was intended and delivered as a joke, no matter how tasteless. It was even delivered in a self-deprecating manner. Now, I accept the argument that certain words and phrases can be insulting or acceptable depending on who is speaking, how they are speaking, and to whom it's being directed - the in-group can say things to each other that, from an outsider, would be tacky or outright insulting from others. That said, the counterpoint, if the word is that inherently offensive, why is it used so frequently within the black community, also has weight.

Of course, the useless crowd of the perpetually offended are up in arms. Apparently, this is a step way too far over the line of acceptable comedy.

And people have every right to be offended.

The problem?

Many of the people that are up in arms over Bill are - being leftists and hypocrites, but I repeat myself - defending Kathy Gifford's video and pictures as "comedy"

You know, holding the (simulated) bloody head of the US president up with a stone-cold stare. While several comedians have made careers in part on joking about racism, etc., ISIS-style beheadings are rarely the subject of mainstream humor. Something that she and many of her supporters would consider a death threat if posted about them, and that Kathy especially considers far beyond the pale directed at her or third parties given her comments about "target" icons on maps by republicans.

There's a huge difference between a deadpan delivery (think Steven Wright) or the over-the-top satire of "The Real Housewives of ISIS" and that dead, stone cold stare.

So yeah, libs would be screaming if a mainstream "conservative" had the balls to do it about a Dem politician - and I'm not sure I'd voice support for it either even if I didn't think the politician was worth the respect due the office. And of course they're hypocrites.

What stuns me even more though is how much the left is still in a bubble. Listen to an opening monologue by Colbert if you can stomach it, or any of the other night talk show hosts. As Stefan points out - how is it that out of everyone around her nobody said "hey, this might not be cool." This is also why I don't accept arguments of "lone wolf" teachers abusing their students by suspending them over pointing fingers like a gun. Everyone around that teacher and their chain of authority had to be of like mind.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Of Sunshine and Leaks


Scott Adams mentions recent reports on Trump wanting to put solar panels on "The Wall."

Persuasion, etc., aside, this is the first time I've heard something related to large-scale solar that almost makes sense.

I ran numbers once in a discussion of Solar, and realized that at then-current output, solar panels could provide the reported needs of the US in an area the size of a corner of Nevada.

This sounds pretty awesome - it leaves a LOT of teh US alone - but the issues were several.

First - baseline power. I have to look no further than the nearest metals plant to find examples of something that draws a fairly constant, large amount of power that can't just shut down when the sun goes down or it's a cloudy day. Batteries you say? Batteries to power one large server room for a couple hours come in sets larger than tractor trailer rigs. Suddenly that free energy ain't so free.

The space is also deceptive. The panels will not be transparent. They will throw shade for most of the day under a large swath of ground under them - which means spacing them apart. Incidentally, you'll also need maintenance roads, etc. - so all of a sudden your tying up  a lot more space. Don't get me started on the bird-frying mirror arrays.

And maintenance. All those panels will have to be inspected. Trucks will be needed to go out. For the maintenance overhead of one large turbine/steam plant, you'll only be able to the panels supplying a fraction of that power output.

Distribution rears its ugly head. At high enough latitudes, or places like the Smokies, you're not going to have lots of sunny open ground nearby - and long transmission runs from the sunny parts of the country present their own engineering issues and vulnerabilities.

Nevertheless, as the quality and output of solar cells improves, as the management circuits and systems to prevent fluctuations from taking out the main grid improve, and for applications that are completely off grid, I'm sure that it will find more and more use.

But how is the wall relevant? Well, the ideal side to mount panels would be on the Mexican side, so theft and sabotage will be issues, but you'll have a ready- built structure with maintenance roads that will need power available right there for lights and other infrastructure. As an ex-nuke I can almost squint and see how, in this application, it almost makes sense.

Michael Moore

On another topic, given how SJW's project, and have an unerring talent for attacking people with the very things that they are vulnerable to, what am I to make of his recent effort to provide a awkwardly-named "Trumpi-leaks"?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Two Stupid Statements

We've had some doozies recently for dumb statements.

For example, Kathy Griffin and the whole "severed Trump head" thing. Stefan goes into some serious detail here:

Then there's the uproar over Bill Maher, which finds Razorfist going to bat for him. Sortof.

I'll leave you with these for now - but I'll be going into why, despite both having free speech, these cases are different.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Vassal and GMT Games

For those who don't know, GMT is the company responsible for the absolutely amazing Commands & Colors: Ancients (of which I have a copy) and Talon which has shown up at Castalia House on more than a few occasions.

They're also known for a series of "COIN" counterinsurgency games such as Cuba Libre, Liberty or Death, On a Distant Plain, and Fire in the Lake. I haven't had a chance to play these yet, but everything I've heard is phenomenal.

Finally, they're known for quality parts and components.

Here's a problem - a lot of their games are out of print. You'll see the status for Space Empires 4x, Commands & Colors, and Talon as being on the P500 list, and not slated for reprint yet.

So, I'm perfectly willing to sink a few hundred dollars into Talon, SE4x, and pending a couple playthroughs, on Cuba Libre, etc., but I can't buy the games without selling a few organs because they're basically unavailable.

Unlike some, it doesn't bother me much. Why?

This is a company that has stayed in business for decades, and puts out high quality games, and I cannot help but think that this policy of "don't print a game until we know people are interested" has something to do with it. Also, sometimes they print stuff just because - my understanding is the first of the COIN series never crossed the threshold but the company believed in it anyway - and it's since justified that choice.

Of course, for some of us, it means that if we want to playtest a game first, especially if we don't hear about it until after the first run has sold out, we're stuck. Though, since every game of theirs I've played has been uniformly excellent, I'm sure with a little more budget and storage space I'd be dropping cash on more hex boards than I can count on. And if I don't like it, I'm sure someone will take it off my hands to break even.

Finally though, it allows something I've noticed that is rare in current boardgames - and yes, I'm specifically looking at Amarillo Design (Federation Commander, Star Fleet Battles) and Fantasy Flight - a set of high quality, endorsed Vassal and cyberboard modules for many of their games (Like C&C) and full downloadable rules. By contrast, Fantasy Flight deliberately has the modules crippled so you need to have the actual game on hand to refer to critical components.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Girl Friday

Enjoy the weekend. The last few have rather sheer tops (in case you're still at work, etc...)

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Over at Wasteland and Sky, the "100 best anime" series has come to an end.

There are a lot of items new to me on the list. Of the ones I'm familiar with though, I generally agree.

First - please, God, no for Attack on Titan. Yes, the quality of the animation is excellent, and it's a big deal, but it's such a dark, depressing mess embodying the worst of the zombie genre - though the monsters in question have more in common with the nightlands than traditional zombies. Maybe it picks up later, but five episodes of death, chaos, destruction, and angst in... I quit.

And Psycho-pass. Yes, I just complained about a dark series, and Psycho-pass, which deals with free will, good, and evil, is dark. That said, it's amazing. Despite my love for Gurren Lagann and Full Metal Alchemist, if there's a show on that list I'd recommend to someone who thought the Matrix or Blade Runner were deep, that would be it. They'll get something with kick ass action that's also more thoughtful.

For some more commentary on it: