Fantastic News!


Those clever science-types have done something wonderful: they’ve found a planet that orbits Proxima Centauri.

This is a very important bit of news. Proxima Centauri is the start closest to us other than our own. It’s a mere 4.3 light years away, which means that anyone there who is watching Earth TV is experiencing the glory of the 2012 presidential election.

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Sorry, guys.

Further good news is that this planet is within the habitable zone; the zone within a star’s area that might potentially have the right levels of everything for life as we understand it to exist. It’s also a reasonably small, rocky planet.

So we have a planet that’s basically within our backyard, that’s within the habitable zone, that’s fairly close to the size of Earth, and is made of rock, instead of, say, gas.

I’m ready. Let’s go!

Ok, so it’s a 40,000 year trip using current technology. The key here is to build new technology. Let’s see if we can get this down to 40 or 50 years. I’m sure we can manage it if we throw enough money, and Elon Musk, at it!

A Lovely Fantasy


Lest we need another reason to vote for Hillary this fall (you know, in addition to her being really quite an excellent candidate who will make a wonderful president), let’s all allow ourselves to be reminded of the SCOTUS situation.

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I went there once. Nice building.

Scalia is dead, to begin with. Since the Republicans have decided that no president should be allowed to nominate anyone during the last 11 months of their second term (a plan which will never come back to bite them in the ass at all), this means that Hillary or Trump will get to nominate Scalia’s replacement.

Then we have the fact that Ginsburg is getting up there in years. It’d be nice to replace her with another liberal. Kennedy is getting up there in years, too, and it’d be oh-so-nice to lose Thomas. In my dreams, we might even ditch a couple other conservatives in the next eight years.

So if you needed another reason to vote for Hillary, let me remind you that integrated schools, interracial marriage, gay marriage, the right to privacy, and abortion rights, all came about because of the Supreme Court.

Remember that, Stein supporters, and let’s all think about what we might be able to have in the not-too-distant future.

Conspiracy Theories and You! – Trump Plant Theory


Donald Trump isn’t actually running for president, you know. No, he’s actually just running as this insane, over-the-top version of himself in order to make the Republican party look bad, and thus win votes for his friend, Hillary Clinton!

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Clever!

This is one of the stupider conspiracy theories that I’ve come across lately. It falls apart under even the most basic scrutiny.

The essence here is that Bill Clinton (never Hillary, but always Bill), talked Trump into running, and running as an extremist, right-wing, racist, fascist candidate. He did this knowing that Trump would be wildly popular with the Republican base, who would usher him into the nomination, and then Trump would start taking the election heavily, thus putting Hillary into office.

Except…first off, why would Trump do this? What possible motivation would he have? This is a man who is all about his ego. This has been very damaging to his brand, and I strongly doubt he would have done this with that damage being his intention.

 

This theory also ignores Trump’s previous run for president. Yes, back in 2000, he ran for president as a member of the Reform party. Remember those idiots? Trump tried, and failed, to get their nomination. He’s also written about politics many times, and has pondered a run for president before.

But most importantly, no sane political operative, and whatever else you might think about Bill Clinton, he’s quite sane, would have suggested that Trump run on the very extreme platform he has. In every other election cycle, the wisdom goes, someone running on a platform like that would have been eliminated by the time the Iowa caucuses rolled around. Obviously that didn’t happen, and we can analyze all we want with the benefit of hindsight, but a year or two ago, not too many people would have suggested this campaign as a road to success. We all would have assumed he would have flamed-out like Ben Carson.

Finally, consider the risk if this conspiracy was somehow exposed. Trump is a dangerously unstable man. He’d be quite likely to turn against whomever it was that set him up like this, and that isn’t even going into anyone else who might know about it and blab.

As a conspiracy theory, this just doesn’t work. The odds of success are extremely low, and the potential for failure if caught is very high. There’s no real upside for anyone involved.

I do understand why so many on the right want to believe this theory might be true. If it’s true, it means that their party isn’t some horrible, broken mess, who just picked Donald Trump as their nominee for president of the United States. Instead it means that someone else, the Clintons, specifically, are at fault.

And if that’s the case, then it means nothing in their party needs to change, nothing at all. And that’s the saddest part of all of this.

Toy Review – Transformers Masterpiece Soundwave – Platinum “Year of the Goat” Edition


What to do, I wondered. What to do? I really wanted Masterpiece Soundwave. Would it be better to grit my teeth and pay hundreds of dollars for it with the cassettes? Or perhaps pay slightly less for a version with only one cassette and then add the others? Or just give up, because WOW, was it ever expensive!

But there was a different path that awaited me. A goat trail to success!

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This is the American version of the Masterpiece Soundwave toy. He comes with all the cassettes, except Ratbat, and all the Soundwave accessories. It’s quite an excellent piece, if you can get past the fact that instead of shades of blue and black, we have a character who is alternately transparent and dark orange.

Now I was able to rationalize away that coloration problem. To me the toy itself is so amazing, and this was the only way I was going to own it (seriously, you can buy three or four of these for the price of one standard Masterpiece Soundwave), so the colors don’t matter too much to me. But they might to you.

Colors aside, the toy is great in both robot and alt-mode. It transforms quite smoothly, though in a way very different from the G1 toy from back in the day. You can fit three cassettes in him at once, just like with the other version of this toy (though don’t put Rumble or Frenzy in there), and all the accessories look great, and blend well with the toy.

As far as the aforementioned cassettes…well, they all look great, and transform wonderfully, with the birds and Ravage having built-in weapons rather than ones you have to attach. Rumble and Frenzy have the attachable ones, but those work well for them. I do have one complaint, however, and that complaint is why there’s less than five stars here.

You see, the toy comes with Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw. In every other toy, Buzzsaw is yellow or gold, and Laserbeak is red. This toy, however, gives two different bird tapes. One is yellow, and one is gold. So which is which? That’s a bit of a disappointment.

Still, other than that, this is a great toy, and I highly recommend buying it if you want an MP Soundwave and don’t mind the colors.

John McCain – Profiles in Spinelessness


John McCain is someone for whom I used to have quite a bit of respect. Then came the 2008 presidential election, and that went out the window.

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The man who inflicted Sarah Palin on us.

McCain is currently displaying a case of spinelessness when it comes to Donald Trump. He’s doing all the, “Oh, he’s said terrible things, but I still support him,” nonsense. This after Trump advocated torture, war crimes, and other assorted nastiness.

And why? McCain is running in a reasonably tough primary. That’s it. He’s supporting Trump because he’s afraid that if he doesn’t, he’ll be voted out of office.

So having already sullied his legacy by everything he did in the 2008 election, and everything he’s done since, he’s now continuing to wreck it by supporting Donald Trump.

You know, I don’t expect McCain to come out in support of Hillary, though I think he should. I think everyone who stands against Trump, and is a Republican, ought to say to vote Hillary for president and vote Republican for everything else. But McCain doesn’t even have to do that. All he has to do is disavow Trump completely, and if he does so before the primary election, I’ll get some respect back for him.

Some. Not much.

You know who I have developed a grudging respect for? My other senator, Jeff Flake. Not someone that I like or agree with, but he’s at least standing up to Trump. For that, I can have some respect.

For the spineless wimp that McCain has become? No.

Both of Me Found This Fascinating


One fun thing about restarting the blog is going back and writing about things I would have written about when they were new, if I was writing about things when those things were new.

One of these is this.

This really fascinates me to no end. I do find myself wondering what would happen if you were to create a new body for someone and put half their brain in that one while the other half remained in the other. Would they be the same person still? Or two different people? The philosophical implications are interesting, I think.

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A Positive Step


The Justice Department has announced that they are putting an end to their practice of using private companies to operate some of their prisons.

Good.

Private prisons are an abomination. The idea that such a place of human misery should be run as a for profit venture is mind boggling. They’re dangerous, they’re wasteful, and they’re simply immoral.

I want the state to pay to have to run our prisons, and I want them to have to pay a fair amount do so. Maybe then, we’ll stop building so many, and maybe then, we’ll stop throwing so many people into them.

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