Monthly Archives: December 2013

Forget cicadas: the sun’s magnetic life cycle is where it’s at

The Independent UK has an article about the reversal of the sun’s magnetic field.  Every twenty-two years, the sun’s magnetic field reverses, with effects that reach to the end of our solar system:

“A reversal of the sun’s magnetic field is, literally, a big event,” said Nasa’s Dr. Tony Phillips. “The domain of the sun’s magnetic influence (also known as the ‘heliosphere’) extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. Changes to the field’s polarity ripple all the way out to the Voyager probes, on the doorstep of interstellar space.”

NASA made a video of a simulation of the pole reversal:


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Filed under Nerdiness

Musings on Pajama Boy

Presumably, you’ve all seen the terrifically horrible ad put out by President Barack Obama to encourage people to enroll in ObamaCare:

This tweet has been the subject of Photoshops, scorn, and retaliatory scorn by leftists who can’t understand why conservatives are so repulsed by Pajama Boy.

Let me explain something to you all. By the time my dad was Pajama Boy’s age, he had primary custody my sister and me, a house, and a job. He spent Christmas Eve preparing stockings for us, assembling our toys, and putting reindeer bite marks in the carrots that we left out. He didn’t lounge around in his PJs, waiting for his parents to wait on him hand and foot.

Pajama Boy is in the prime of his life – healthy, presumably in possession of a college degree, and at the age wherein he should be taking care of other people. That might mean having his own kids and hosting his aging parents for Christmas, or it might mean bringing an entree and a bottle of wine to the meal. It doesn’t mean acting like an inept child.

Basic social cooperation here: the strongest, most able people should spend the prime years of their lives helping out other people, not loafing around in their PJs. We help out those younger than us, so that the next generation exists and thrives; we help out those older than us and model that caretaking behaviour for the young people. (This is good for us when we are old and frail.)

There is something fundamentally revolting about seeing a strong, healthy, educated young man expecting to be coddled. It’s not a phobia or that “conservatives are in need of a cuddle;” it’s a bedrock principle of society.

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Filed under ObamaCare

Sugar Shock

It’s that time of year again – the annual Historical House Christmas Party! I’m doing another dessert-themed event (tres leches cake! lemon icebox pie! peppermint cupcakes! candy! chocolate caramel bread pudding!).  My goal is to get someone to go into a diabetic coma.

Kidding, sort of.

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Filed under Food

“Just Take the Bus”

The other day, while I was on the phone with Mr. Velociraptor, I read an online plea for legal help. The gist of it was that this poor sop had a pile of misdemeanour and felony charges, a bench warrant, and a few convictions. At the end, the question was “Am I able to board an airplane?”.

I cracked up and read the question to Mr. Velociraptor.  We discussed whether TSA had integrated its pre-flight check with local law enforcement databases and agreed that it was unlikely that the guy could get out of the country (probably having had his passport pulled or an application for such denied).

Mr. Veliciraptor then said, “Just tell the guy to take the bus.”

Three years of a T20 law school, Latin honours, and a hundred thousand dollars of tuition money separates us, and he gets the right answer.

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Filed under Law

Mia Love scares Rep. Matheson into retirement

Good news via HuffPo: the young mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, will likely be the next Congress(wo)man from the district.

Democrats in the state are spinning this as a good thing: Matheson can challenge either the incumbent Republican governor or Senator Mike Lee in 2016.  However, this does mean that the party of “old, white men” will be sending a 38-year-old Haitian Mormon woman to Congress, which kind of destroys the narrative.

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Filed under Miscellanea

God, Guns, and Cars

Almost all dystopian fiction – liberal, conservative, apolitical – depicts a subjected populace without God (or any religion), guns, or cars.  They do not believe that someone has authority over even the most powerful state; lack the means to defend themselves againsgather aggression of the state; and cannot leave the tyrannical state.


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Filed under Miscellanea

Winners: Detroit Unions. Losers: Linda Szugyi and families like hers

Da Tech Guy promoted Linda Szugyi’s blog post about the proposed cuts to military pensions in the Ryan-Murray budget deal.  She does an outstanding job of explaining why early military retirement is a necessity, not a civil-service luxury. (Hey, peeps: let’s not confuse a paper-pushing bureaucrat with a military family, okay?)

In her post, Szugyi opines that there is another place to save $7 billion [over ten years]. Unfortunately, one option for saving money is already gone: taxpayers lost $10.5 billion on the GM bail-out.

The money that taxpayers lost on General Motors could have paid for about fifteen years of military pension benefits.  Just so everyone is clear, Washington finds it more important to bail out union workers at car companies than to uphold its promises to the members of our military who risk their lives for us and their families.


Filed under Economics

Like watching a train wreck

More bad news on the ObamaCare front:

Bryon York says what I was saying yesterday: the premiums and the deductibles are much higher than anticipated.

Walter Russell Mead explains why insurers are limiting networks: functionally, it is the only means available to them to control costs.  In a sense, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” was designed to be a lie.

A majority of Americans would like to return to our old health care system. Congratulations, Washington: only you could make something more dysfunctional than that had been.

Joan Carrico, a cancer patient, describes how ObamaCare is hurting her.

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Filed under Economics, ObamaCare

Coincidence (n)

Yesterday, the US Treasury announced that it sold the remainder if its stock in General Motors at a loss of $10.5 billion. The government spent $49.5 billion on the bailout andlost approximately 20% of that. We were told that this was an investment and that the taxpayers would not suffer a loss, let alone an eleven-figure loss.

Today, GM announced that its newest CEO is a woman, Mary Barra. While Barra, an engineer and lifelong GM employee, is qualified, her ascension has completely changed the news coverage of GM. No longer are we hearing about that ten billion dollars, let alone analyzing what went wrong and why the Tea Party and Mitt Romney were right; we are listening to a panageric to General Motors.

Well played, Detroit. But – to borrow a phrase from a candidate for Vice President – once the styrofoam columns are taken away, you will still have an auto company to run, a company that is not competitive on price or quality with foreign manufacturers.


Filed under Economics

Introvert Heaven: a mission to Mars

Mars One has announced plans to send an unmanned trip to Mars in preparation for a manned trip to Mars. So far, two hundred thousand introverted science nerds – whoops, normal people – have applied to be the first Martians.

Currently, Mars One estimates that it will cost six billion dollars to send four people to Mars. Basic math: for less than a trillion dollars, i.e. the national deficit in any of the last five years, we can send all of Congress, plus the White House, to another planet.

Just saying.

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Filed under Miscellanea