September 6th, 2008


[travel] Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep those stogies rolling

Packing it up here in the hotel to light out for the airport, climb aboard my starship and be headed for the skies. Woke up dreaming I’d been discussing the poor build quality of contemporary steak knives with Cindy McCain. The last line of dream-dialog was hanging in my head: “I prefer to sheathe my weapons in the bodies of my enemies.”

The reader is free to draw their own conclusions regarding the Weltanschauung of my subconscious this morning.

Y’all play nice while I’m gone.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[links] Link salad, mostly politics edition

Social contracts and the pirate code — For serious. Interesting reading, if you’re into Hobbes, Locke or Blackbeard.

Evolutionists Flock To Darwin-Shaped Wall Stain — Hahahahahahah. (Snurched from Bad Astronomy Blog.)

Language Log with a post highlighting Republican doublespeak on the executive qualifications of a governor — Ie, various pre-convention comments on the wretched unsuitability of Governor Kaine of Virginia vs post-conventions comments on the admirable qualities of Governor Palin of Alaska. Their primary source is The Daily Show. Admittedly, highlighting Republican hypocrisy is rather like discovering the sun rises in the east (Balanced budget, anyone? Small government?), but this is rather good job of going right to the horse’s mouth. And yes, the post is very clearly slanted in its tone, but the words are straight out of GOP talking points. Even if you’re a staunch conservative, this might be worth looking at if you’re curious why those of us who aren’t conservatives are so frustrated.

The Resentment Strategy — Paul Krugman on the angry right, and the fundamental cognitive dissonance of being a Republican.

The Anchorage Daily News on Palin and Troopergate — I’m baffled about why this story is allegedly inappropriate to cover. Back in the 1990s, the GOP and the media hammered non-stories like the Vince Foster suicide for years.

McCain campaign works to shut down Alaska investigation into Palin’s Troopergate — Innocent until proven guilty, and so long as we don’t look for proof, she’s innocent! Nothing to see here, citizens. Move along, and remember, the GOP is the party of good government.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (airport walking)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[personal] Miscellany of the day

Wrote a 2,300 word first draft on the plane, “The Delight of Bright Water”, solicited for a Sekrit Projekt. I’m going to noodle with it some, then schlep it out to first readers.

Forgot to mention this morning that a guy in front of me in the Eppley Field security line recognized me. He stopped to chat as we cleared into the gate area — turns out he’s the manager of a restaurant I regularly eat at when I’m in Omaha. Do I spend too much time in that town or what?

Finally, I was having a worldbuilding discussion with calendula_witch via email today. We were talking about fuel sources in a post-collapse environment. Assume no further petrochemicals extraction, and no feasible industrial-chemical method of recycling plastics etc. One could presumably provide a limited amount of essential fuel through ethanol distillation from biomass, even with very low tech so long as the engineering expertise were available. One could presumably maintain some nominal petrochemical feedstock with the new strains of oil-producing bacteria which are emerging, pace the Gold hypothesis, assuming a bit more progress in biotech between now and the putative point of collapse, and maintenance of the relevant engineering expertise.

But what does one uniquely need petrochemicals per se for, really? My best answer is lubricants. It’s my understanding that even very good vegetable oil lubricants don’t hold up under heat and mechanical stress like petrochemical lubricants. Any comments from the engineering wing?

Originally published at You can comment here or there.