What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Linkee-poo soars with the draughts and balance on the wind, coal black and at ease

To counter the whole Fox News meme about how everything is against the Christians and nobody would ever say anything against Islam, "Scholars now believe that a copy Quran held by the Birmingham Library was actually written sometime between 545 AD and 568, while the Prophet Mohammad was believed to have been born in 570 AD and to have died in 632 AD." Well, technically the copy they have isn't a full one, and this only shows that the parchment it was written on is older (it was common to scape and whitened older parchment to reuse, parchment being damn expensive) it does have some interesting implications. Before anyone gets their wads in a bind, Christianity borrowed heavily from earlier religions (virgin birth and resurrection were quite passé in the day) and even Judism cribbed notes from the peoples around them. Saying the Quran was dictated to Mohammad by the angels is the same as saying the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is a test of faith, not of factual importance. (Grokked from Dan)

"McKinley Presidental Library just glad people are finally talking about him." That so totally sounds like an Onion article, doesn't it? That's because we have asshats like this who represent us and think this is an insult to all Ohioans. Speaking as an Ohioan, and a Cantonian (where Pres. McKinley's library and memorial is located, both of which I have visited several times) I'm not slighted in the least. Look, Pres. McKinley is from Ohio, why the hell is his name on a mountain in Alaska? He wasn't President when we bought Alaska from the Russians. He missed discovery of gold by a year. There really is no reason for it except conservative love to name big things after themselves. Or maybe President Obama did it as an attempt to promote or dis Karl Rove's book about Pres. McKinley.

There's a new book outlining the careers of Sandra Day O'Conner and Ruth Bader-Ginsburg. Pointed to a social commentary on the shit they had to go through in their professional lives (both were top of their class in law school). This is living memory time. Also pointed to for the effect diversity (real diversity, with empowered members) has on decision making.

Ah, someone finally figured it out. Low oil prices spell the doom for the fracking revolution. Fracking and Canadian Tar Sands oil, not to mention deep sea exploration, require high oil prices to sustain development. Without those prices, it all grinds to a halt. Eventually companies will sell idle rigs for parts or to places where exploration is cheaper, welded tubing plants go offline, the sand quarries close (sand used for fracking is expensive) we lose the capability to restart the industry quickly.

And in Alaska, the oil industry is struggling in a state where climate change is the most apparent. Also, "A long-term problem is that oil production has fallen to a quarter of what it was in the 1970s." In case you were wondering what the fight about opening ANWAR and the north coast of Alaska to oil production was really all about.

President Obama calls for the US to expand it's fleet of heavy icebreakers as the Arctic comes into play. At this time, we have "the equivalent of just two 'fully functional' heavy icebreakers at its disposal, down from seven during World War II. Russia, by contrast, has 41 of the vessels, with plans for 11 more. China unveiled a refurbished icebreaker in 2012 and is building another." Queue the climate denialists with a cry "if the globe is warming, why do we need icebreakers" in 3… 2… 1… (Grokked from Chia Evers)

So, girls are bad at math, are they? Apparently it's the teachers who are bad at girls when it comes to scoring their math tests. Even the women teachers.

Supreme Court refuses to stay order forcing KY clerk to issue marriage licenses to all couples. Did anyone really expect any other outcome? So we'll begin the wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth over forcing a public servant to serve the public. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

"Can Soviet-era fighter jets like… the twin-engine MiG-29 Fulcrum, or the bigger… Su-27 Flanker, outperform the newest American design, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?" Oh noes! Woe is us! Okay, look, it's been known for a long time that some of the Soviet jets can outperform out jets in certain tasks such as slow-fly and dogfight conditions. I remember seeing the MiG-29 at it's first US air show. We had been told the thing was a piece of pig-iron just waiting to fall out of the sky. What we saw was a damn capable dog-fighting machine (no, seriously, senior AF sergeants standing around with their mouths open as that sucker pulled 4G turn after 4G turn, then did a cobra, and then accelerated while going ballistic, serious fucking good performance). However, what the Ruskies don't have is a long-range capability. While we thought the dog-fight was dead in Vietnam (until the Chinese proved us wrong and we had to startup Miramar), with over-the-horizon weapon systems and fire-and-forget air-to-air missiles, unless things go pear-shaped, the Russian pilots won't ever see us as we blow them out of the sky. Also, Miramar is still turning out ace dog-fighters (and I believe Red Flag teams still use Phantoms, which mimic the capabilities of the Soviet era jets and they still beat the snot out of the kids the first few weeks, it's about the pilot, not the machine).

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