Category Archives: Rants

Pathetisad people

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

I’ve decided that pathetisad is a word.

Here is it’s definition:

Pathetisad, descriptive of a person whose social interaction takes place only after alcohol intoxication. Even pathetisadder are those individuals who require ingesting powdered substances to have fun. Often accompanied by decadent, destructive or generally moronic behaviour, and extremely rarely associated with any sort of insight into anything. Can also be used to describe social circles or societies largely consisting of pathetisad people.

I’ve discovered that beautiful and/or privileged people seem to have a much higher chance of being pathetisad than other people, as it often coincides with the raw sewage personality that also permeates this class of people. Using ‘class’ in this context feels slightly strange.

As a general guideline

Chance of Pathetisadness = Wealthy parents * Beauty * [# of pathetisad friends] / (Intelligence * Hobbies)

You will not be missed – have fun OD’ing, sooner rather than later.

Environuts vs Reality take II

Published / by Bagheera / 1 Comment on Environuts vs Reality take II

I found this excellent ressource and I thought I’d share. The quotes below are an excerpt from the linked site, so all credit goes to the original author – I can only take credit for not buying into the CO2 hype really. The site is here CLICKY

Also pay special attention to the alternate and much more plausible explanation of the current global warming trend, as explained by Henrik Svensmark – referenced here CLICKY

So, greenhouse is all about carbon dioxide, right?

Wrong. The most important players on the greenhouse stage are water vapor and clouds. Carbon dioxide has been increased to about 0.038% of the atmosphere (possibly from about 0.028% pre-Industrial Revolution) while water in its various forms ranges from 0% to 4% of the atmosphere and its properties vary by what form it is in and even at what altitude it is found in the atmosphere.

In simple terms the bulk of Earth’s greenhouse effect is due to water vapor by virtue of its abundance. Water accounts for about 90% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect — perhaps 70% is due to water vapor and about 20% due to clouds (mostly water droplets), some estimates put water as high as 95% of Earth’s total tropospheric greenhouse effect (e.g., Freidenreich and Ramaswamy, “Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,” Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264).

The remaining portion comes from carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, ozone and miscellaneous other “minor greenhouse gases.” As an example of the relative importance of water it should be noted that changes in the relative humidity on the order of 1.3-4% are equivalent to the effect of doubling CO2.

Second important snippet:

But we’re responsible for all the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect?

Gracious no! Humans can only claim responsibility, if that’s the word, for abut 3.4% of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually, the rest of it is all natural (you can see the IPCC representation of the natural carbon cycle and human perturbation here or a simple schematic from Woods Hole here).

Half our estimated emissions fail to accumulate in the atmosphere, “disappearing” into sinks as yet undetermined. Humans’ total accumulated carbon contribution could account for perhaps a quarter of the total non-water greenhouse gases (that is, accounting for all the increase since the Industrial Revolution regardless of source and irrespective of whether warming from any cause might result in an increase in natural emission to atmosphere — we’re simply claiming the lot as anthropogenic or human-caused here).

Assuming that water vapor accounts for about 70% and clouds (mostly water droplets) accounts for another 20%, thus water in it’s various forms is 90% of the total greenhouse effect, leaving 10% for non-water greenhouse effect (we know we cited 95% above — see “important distinction“). Of this remaining 10%, mainly atmospheric carbon, humans might be responsible for 25% of the total accumulated atmospheric carbon, meaning 0.25 x 0.1 = 0.025 x 100 = 2.5% of the total greenhouse effect.

The end result is we’re about to spend a lot of time, energy and ressources on reducing CO2 emissions that in all likelyhood as a worst case scenario have a minimal effect overall.

GM going tits up

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

This makes me so happy.

Obviously it sucks for the people who are relying on GM for their medical and retirement funds, but that’s a national policy problem more than a corporate one.

The thing is I recently watched this documentary, and it seemed to articulate much of what I had been thinking myself for some time, so here’s a shameless plug for it – http://whokilledtheelectriccar.com/

Go watch it. Seriously. It will likely make you think twice about ever buying a GM product again, certainly you wont see me driving a GMC truck any time soon. (Go here to see which brands are under the GM-plague-umbrella http://www.gm.com/corporate/)

This is also prompted by a recent Prius modification I saw. Some guy had replaced the standard battery packs it comes with, with a lithium-ion module made up of essentially several thousand cell phone type cells (around 6.500 of them as far as I recall), increasing range, performance and making it plug-in in the process. (Factoid: Li-Ion batteries have approx. twice the energy density of the currently employed Ni-MH cells, going from 2 to 4 kW / kg)

If Joe Schmoe can do this in his garage, CERTAINLY big businesses like GM can too. This only underlines the point made in the above mentioned documentary, that GM doesn’t want to make environmentally friendly cars. It could. It wont.

Think about that for a minute the next time you consider car shopping. The only way to exert consumer influence is by not buying their product. If they want to avoid upsetting Big Oil, then by all means let them. But don’t keep supporting them for doing it.

How many people REALLY need a range of more than 300 miles per day? I’m sure there are some of you thinking you do – and some of those even genuinely do. So let that 10 percent of the US population (and much much less anywhere else in the world) buy gasoline fueled cars – and let everyone else go electric.

Now, I’m not naive (at least not as much as you might think). Electricity doesn’t just magically appear either – but it is far more efficient to produce it at centralized plants, it doesn’t cause pollution in the urban environment, and it’s much easier to keep the process clean when it is centralized than it is when it’s distributed among several million mini plants in cars.

The lesser of two evils and all that. Hydrogen and various bio fuels have already proven themselves dubious at best, the energy density is simply too low, and battery technology such as lithium-ion is much more efficient than what was previously employed in the early electric car designs.

I hear a Prius might come out in 2008 or 2009 using Li-Ion … good times, well.. about time a huge auto maker caught up to Joe Schmoe in terms of technology, right?

Electric cars need to be tax exempt – and GM needs to DIAF.

Blu-Ray content

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

I wont go into a long tirade about how HDCP is incredibly user hostile, that has already been covered well enough elsewhere.

What I do want to rant about though is the titles available for this format.

Why are most of these releases older already-not-so-popular mainstream movies, that didn’t really make it big on DVD either? It just makes no sense to me. Like I’m going to by a borderline-poor movie just because it’s in a higher definition format (and more expensive)? Please.

The one thing I would have expected as a no brainer is TV series on a single disc. One thing that annoyed me about TV series on DVD is that you have to juggle 4-6 or even 8 discs to watch a season of a show.

Now that Blu-ray actually has the capacity to hold an entire season in DVD quality (yes yes, I know lower def, but I dont care if it’s DVD or HD at this point) I simply dont get why studios aren’t putting out entire seasons on ONE disc.

I’m not buying the DVD sets because they span too many discs. I’m not going to buy Blu-ray versions either if they span more discs. I’d rather have lower definition and ease of use, than high def and annoying packaging.

Please, get on it publishers!

I’m on a roll .. so… Climate nuts

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

Despite the title, this is actually not going to be a rip on the enviro-socio-political movement (as if those things are possible to separate these days) – but rather a rip on .. Bush. Who else.

Ok it’s really both, so lets get to it.

Right now climate “conscious” people, or environuts as I’d like to call them henceforth, are all but creaming their pants that Bush has agreed to try and reach a common treaty on CO2 emissions and such things. The main stipulations being that China and India must be part of it as well.

How does ANYONE not see that this is not about the environment at all, but about making sure that India and China do not grow in power relative to the US. The US wants restrictions on the industries in those countries, so that they can keep their role as industrial leader (if they indeed even still have that title at this point in time).

This is the same reason that the developed world insists that developing nations MUST use environmentally friendly (and very expensive) energy in their production lines .. simply because it’s not possible, so it will keep the potential competition from even going into the business at all. Protectionism at it’s worst.

If the US succesfully pulls this off, they will have gained a means of control over the (major) competing players. I’m sure they could care less about the greenhouse-pseudo-science, as long as the bucks keep rolling in .. or rather, rolling out at a lesser pace than is currently the case.

The added bonus of course being that the public hysteria has reached such a level, that simply agreeing to this from an election strategy standpoint makes a lot of sense now.

Do you think Bush cares about the environment? .. Really?

Now, do you also believe that God created the Earth?

Intelligent Design vs. Reality

Published / by Bagheera / 19 Comments on Intelligent Design vs. Reality

OK, so there’s this newfangled thing out there called “Intelligent Design”.

The basic nature of it is “Hey, this is so complex that we dont really understand it, so it must be God!”

While it is commendable that the Intelligent Design fanatics in this way admit that they really aren’t very intelligent at all, it’s pretty serious when they want to try to teach it in elementary school to kids who aren’t bound to know better.

Anyway, Creationism .. yes, that’s what it is, no matter what else you call it. A turd is still a turd, even if you stick it in a candy wrapper. It’s no tastier for it.

I’ve had the oppotunity once to date one of these creationists – well date is probably a stretch, because after discussing this on the first date, there really wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that there would be a second date. See what I did there? Used a reference to hell in a blog entry really very anti-religion. Well ok, it’s not really anti-religion, it’s just anti-nonsense. Anti-religion is scheduled for next week.

Back to the issue. I asked her about various things after it became apparent that she believed that the earth is 6.000 years old, and that the bible is in EVERY detail a factual and accurate account of events (at this point I thought it was kind of funny so I played along slightly .. by not rolling on the floor laughing at least).

My first question was about fossils. If the earth is only 6000 years old, why are we digging up fossils of extinct (and non-extinct I would suppose) species all over the world? Her answer was “God put them there”. Ok, how can you argue with that? Why did God put them there then? “I dont know, but he did”.

My next question on this withering date was about carbon dating.. here we have this accurate scientific method that you can prove works, and that tells us that the world is a SMIDGE over 6000 years old. She had no answer for that one, she just mumbled something about God making it look that way.

I didn’t really think there was much point to asking her why we have climate records from the arctic ice sheets from hundreds of thousands of years ago, but I did anyway. Again, God made that.

If God is just making all this stuff up for us to work out, then…

RIDDLE ME THIS, BATMAN: If God made everything, and everything is according to his great Intelligent Design (yes you thought I’d forgotten this wasn’t about religion didn’t you), then God also made me to not believe in his sorry sadistic ass. Why would anyone with that kind of ability care one little bit that some inferior creature believed in him anyway?

That is akin to me getting an antfarm, just so the ants will believe in me, fear me, worship me. It’s … strangely alluring, except ants wouldn’t give a flying fuck about me. Except maybe the very insecure ants who really weren’t able to trust their own abilities, or the very lazy ants who really didn’t want to take any responsibility themselves… they might go, “You up there, yes you, could you do this for me, cos I can’t be buggered myself?” or “Hey this is all YOUR fault I’m starving, it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m too dumb and lazy to actually go find some food myself”.

Anyway, if we are all parts of this wonderful creation .. sorry, design, then God will have no trouble with us annihilating the church, putting everyone believing in him on a big raft in the Pacific Ocean with no food, one knife, and a book on cannibalism, and going on with our merry little lives. Well, hey, everything is according to his design, so that part would be just another scripted chapter in his design manual. We could all wave at them and yell “Your God made us do this!” and smile at them as they drifted off.

Then we, the enlightened ones you could call us, could worry about the actual problems of the world, and approach them from a scientific angle so we can solve them, instead of just praying they get solved for us.

We don’t understand, so it must be God! … No dumbass, you don’t understand because you haven’t tried to work it out, or you’re too dumb to do so. Both reasons are probably applicable in most cases.

Certainly I weep for the children who will be taught this, unwrapping the candy and finding… a turd.

You can get away with believing anything as long as you say God wants you to.

The LOST Season 3 finale

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

OK, so it was pretty good. However I HATE when characters don’t act even even remotely like a person would in reality.

Charlie dies to “save” the other losties. But why for all that is good and holy didn’t he just close the door from the OUTSIDE and swim back out with Desmond? Or it looked like the porthole was large enough to at least try escape once pressure had normalized – we already knew they weren’t that far down since he was able to dive there unaided in the first place.

Even though Charlie ‘knew’ he was supposed to die, wouldn’t you try to live as long as you could, maybe you could make a difference again in some other way before biting the big one at least?

Cmon… I have no problem with them killing off a major character – but at least do it in a way that isn’t completely illogical.

That said, imo they should bring Eko back …

Maybe I’m being unreasonable, it’s not like Charlie has done anything else sensible for a while. Why did he yell and scream when he got into the underwater station in the first place? They were doing a “covert” op, and he yells out like an idiot? Maybe we’re better off without him.

Then there’s the flash forward thing

There is a huge continuity error in it if it’s supposed to be a flash forward. Jack refers to his father as being alive (when talking to the other doctor in the hospital), saying something like “You can go get my father, if he’s drunker than I am, then you can fire me”. Only Jack’s father died before the Oceanic 815 even crashed in the first place. So either it is a paralel universe kinda flash, or it’s a huge continuity error.

I’m betting the latter, but in that case it’s just embarrasing writing.

Alitalia Sucks

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

Welcome to this aptly named first post – Alitalia does in fact suck. Allow me to elaborate.

After booking flights for my winter vacation with Alitalia (I really should come up with a clever variation of the name to show just how much they suck but that will have to wait), I fully expected everything to go smoothly.

I was wrong. Very wrong. OK so I didn’t lose any limbs, and miraculously they didn’t lose my luggage either (even if it was delayed) – but their planes, oh the horror, they are designed by some greasy 5 foot tall Italian no doubt. The headrest if placed firmly at the shoulder blades, the crash position (knees at chin, rather than chin at knees) is mandatory (or rather the only position physically possible if you’re taller than 6 feet), and it is physically impossible to stand up in the lavatory .. actually I found it rather hard to sit down too, so .. uhm.. did I mention everything seemed to be 20+ years old? I’m not afraid of flying, but there were a few times there, where I really wished I’d taken the train.

That was the actual aircraft (and my journey involved 3 different models, all very very bad), now on to the ground staff. The information on delays was almost non-existent, and they managed to delay departure by some 20 minutes or so, even with the plane having been at the gate for an extended period of time. There was 1 person checking in the entire flight, and she was doing it by hand.. not using one of those machines that read boarding cards, nono, she was doing it all manually.

Let’s do the food next. We were treated to a sandwich that mostly resembled a moldy sponge. It was a feint green spread of some sort, the bread was stale, and the whole thing was extremely bland. For some of the other legs of the journey they had substituted the sponge for something resembling bread, but still very very stale. OK they did orange juice well, but really, can anyone mess that up?

Did I mention everything was in Italian? OK, so it’s an Italian airline – but when you’re flying to non-Italian destinations, you could at least give very basic messages in English. I do understand a little Italian, and most of the things the captain said in Italian was not repeated in English at all. We basically got the “fasten seat-belts, turn off electronics” and that was it. Most airlines do native language and English (at least).

Alitalia also has the only pilot I’ve ever flown with, who has attempted a non-straight line start. He was parked perpendicular to the runway, then gunned the engines while making a 90 degree turn and took off. Very unsettling.

I’ve forgotten half the little annoyances along the way, but these were the major points.

AVOID!

Pros:

I get my miles credited to my SkyTeam account .. after faxing copies of everything of course. Maybe.. if they don’t lose it, or deny it for some arbitrary reason (like they did with my lost luggage claim last time). OK maybe this really shouldn’t go in the pros section, I just really wanted to post SOMETHING positive, but God knows they made that very difficult.

Their logo isn’t bad. There, I did it!