Friday, January 26, 2024

Non-exciting update on the one hit wonders

One of the little old ladies in my ceramics class noticed the last batch of flower pipes I made. She asked if she could have one and I said sure, expressing surprise that she smoked weed.

"I don't", she said, "but my son works for one of those dispensaries, and he might be interested in this product". 

I said I don't think I want to manufacture these in bulk but let me dial in the protoypes and get the construction more streamlined and we will talk. I figure a licensing aggreement in which case, I know I would get around 5% of any proceeds. Definitely not interested in spending my days in mass production hell, but I also am interested in some extra dough. 

I modified how I produced the plaster molds. Making 3D prints for the two-part plaster mold halves (software modification easier than contructing a new pipe to mold), but I often had to destroy the 3D print while demolding from the plaster.

So instead I made a 3D print of the mold part, and then poured silicone rubber in to create the working mold halves.

I made a two part plaster with the rubber mold parts today and it worked slick as snot. 

This was such a painless process that I am now interested in applying this reusable mold teachnique for other projects, possibly even complex multipart plaster molds, which is a step back into the past, tech-wise. No matter. 

So, I will have distracted myself on to other things, per usual.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Oh, NOW you want nuclear fusion power?

At DAVOS, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman declares new sources of power to meet the energy demand of AI, particularly nuclear fusion. Like the cryptocurrency clusterfuck, AI is consuming vast amounts of power, and Sam Altman finally says maybe we should get commercial fusion power going.

Hey, I'm all for it, but rather than create the bloated turd that is ITER, with a corrupt and sclerotic bureaucracy, and piece meal efforts of various institutions, we could have provided a concentrated, multi-hundred billion dollar effort to get there. Had we wished to, we probably could have had fusion power by the year 2000. We did not wish to. Money wasn't a problem, as we managed to throw tens of trillions at stupid  wars. Just a fraction of that money gets you nuclear fusion.

Part of the reason is a rather wise choice not to pursue such superdense energy systems due to lack of knowledge and technology. That's fair. If the tech and knowledge was in place (now they are), do you really want chain saws and off road vehicles run on Mr. Fusion? Why the planet would be a wreck in no time. For that matter, what if it is easier to build a fusion rocket than a reactor. A fusion rocket gets you to Mars, but it can also be a devastating weapon on terrestrial targets.

The spending of $100 billion to date on self-driving cars (replacing cheap human drivers with shoddy expensive robots) probably could have gotten us a aneutronic fusion power source. My vote is for hydrogen boron fusion  being pursued by HB11 and Helion Energy. Billionaires are now finally throwing their money at it, and devoting AI architecture to the now familar problems. 

But for what? Don't we have enough scams already? More than half the stuff on the internet is AI generated garbage. It's clogging Google search, which I can personally attest is getting worse. Not to mention this AI adventure is still a Mechanical Turk, with humans tasked to sift out the horrible and hallucinating content to be fed to the robots. Not to mention glean out the AI generated garbage to be scrapced as data. The only people I see making money on this is the billionaires who already have a monopoly on, well, everything. Looks pretty grim.

Monday, January 15, 2024


I have a suspicion that a neighbor, or a neighbor's child, sicced their dog on Trump when he was a kid.

I can see it, everyone is bullied, so some snooty rich neighbor in the snooty rich neighborhood just didn't like the little fucker. One day Donny mouths off, and the kid sics the hound on him. Maybe more than once. It explains why Trump hates dogs, and his worst insult is dog. But then again, Trump's parents did a good job on fucked in head, so maybe more than dogs. 

Now, I've seen when Trump had the posture of a whipped dog. The first time was around Jeffrey Epstein, Trump a little dog bouncing around big dog Jeff. The second at the inauguration, after a chat with Obama. The third time at Helsinki, after the meeting with Putin. Whipped dog slinking that one, wow!

My take on the 2018 Helsinki meeting is that Putin brought his dog, a big snarly snapper.

"Don't worry he won't bite!" Putin assures him. The dog barking and growling and lunging against the leash Putin holds lightly in his hand. This goes on for a while, and then Putin takes the dog away, and wheels in a tank with his pet shark, a big snarly snapper.

"Don't worry, he won't bite!" 

In Putin's Russia, bite sharks you!

50% of Americans believe in demons. 45% believe in ghosts. That gets you our current representative republic. If this is 21st century America, think of what the Founding Fathers had to work with.

On more than one occasion, I have said "a lottery could have picked someone better!" But that can't be done at the federal level without changing the Constitution. So you set up a thrid party, maybe call it Other, or None of the Above (NotA finger!). Just like a lottery, you register with a donation, you got a ticket at becoming congressperson, senator, President. If our party wins the slot, someone is randomly selected from the roles.

I've written about this before, I should go find out if I'm repeating myself like a doddering old man. But what the hye. Questions:

Q) what if some idiot gets chosen, A) recall elections are still there, and what if they are not an idiot, but better than the drama queens and daddy's little vampire squids we got now? I'm not being cynical. There are people honestly dedicated to public service that could be doing better things than dealing with all the bullshit. However, there is a parasitoid version of ape that seeks the wells of power and glamor, and Washington DC is that niche.

Q) what's to stop some rich guy from buying all the tickets to win? A) that's easy, we set up donations as uniform regardless of buy ins, like a knock-out, your subsequent donation is still your only donation, but you enrich the pot.  Bigger pot means bigger media presence. (Note to self: don't use dicks as the face of  NotA).

Q: If it holds up in court (why wouldn't it?), and you are randomly selected, what should you do? A) Interesting as it is made obvious that the staff has all the insight and institutional knowledge of what some people call the deep state. There is going to be a tremendous tidal wave of influence and monies, about to be showered upon you by the powers that be, as it should be, but- you would be smart to get all your cronies together, (competent) family and (honest) friends for staff and support, and then deal with the Beast.

Q) can it fly? A) like all thrid parties to date? Nope

Friday, January 12, 2024

A City On Mars

I flirted with space opera writing a couple of short stories on this blog. I won't link to them as they are all bad. I made them all Mary Sue (were I am in the story and of course, the hero). The only time you use that device is when you would rather be in a story than in real life.

My stories were safe and bland, havens of normality rather than tense and difficult life I was living.

As bad as the stories were, I still took pleasure in the world building, or rather the constraints. Example from ten years ago:
Short version, humanity has sparsely populated the universe via wormhole conduits, meaning no spaceships, no spaceports, no spacefaring infrastructure, and doing it all with what amounts to late 1970s technology (nothing to sneeze at, pretty ingenious). So, these wormholes are fickle things, and for the longest time passage through one amounted to a one-way trip with no return. It was only, say, twenty years after the first foray that humans learned the trick of return trips to Earth. As a result, there's a lot of lost colonies out there in the cosmos, some of which would never be heard from again. And there's the problem involving colonization.

So, let's say you've got this big hole. It's just a big hole. If you want, it's a hole in the sky. On the other side of this big hole is whole new world, lush and green and filled with fresh air, sunshine and animals and clean water and absolutely no people. The hole is going to stay open for a short time, and while it's open, you can go back and forth. But eventually the hole will close and will never reappear again. You know this. You know if go through and stay, you will be stuck in this new world for good.

What do you take with? Oh, one other restriction is you are confined to, say nothing more advanced than 1979 technology.

Well, here's my thinking. You walk into this new world, you'll want to have an idea of what your base technology will be. In other words, you don't come over expecting to use internal combustion engines, since you don't where the oil is, you don't know when you'll have refineries built, you don't have any of the chemical and electrical infrastructure. Similarly, you probably don't bring coal-fire locomotives over. So, in my view, you start out with a base technology of around, say, 1820 or so. You've got high pressure steam engines that burn wood. You've got a lot of spare parts for that. Oh sure, you bring as many modern amenities and appliances and generators and fuel and airplanes and satellite launching rockets and computers as you can shove through the hole, and use as it long as it all lasts. You may have mini-factories stashed in 40 foot shipping containers. You've got a shitload of books. And skilled people. And food. And seeds. And... what else? In other words, this becomes a prepper problem. The world falls apart. How to rebuild it?

Because, you figure, no matter how much shit you shove through the hole, you just can't support a modern world. You can't support a modern world, not without billions of people. Your best 1979 candidates for interstellar colonization are hunter gatherers, subsistence farmers, herders, citizens of what they called back then The Third World.
Theproblem with these awkward stories was, enthusiastic as I was, I could not suspend my disbelief.

What is current fantasy? Well, according to this book, A City On Mars, the entire manned space program and space colonization.

Consider my scenario above. The most preposterous element is finding another Earth. Not an Earthlike planet, but another Earth. Another Earth with a small window of time say, the Pleistocene, when we evolved.. Humans can't survive the enivronment much past the last third of a billion years on Mother Earth, and the majority of the time where we can survive, we wouldn't like it. It would be a hostile alien world. Now consider candidates in our Solar system. There are none.   

City on Mars knocks down all the Star Trek/For All Mankind fantasies, as it should. Cory Doctorow has a good review.

Colonization makes no sense even if we could do it, which we can't. The pitch for becoming a multi-planetary species falls apart when you recognize that 99.9% of extinction are extra-solar. You want to hide in the heart of a dead planet? Fine, but not me. I'll take the blast.

Manned space makes less sense especially now when robots are so cheap. Cheaper than slaves. Yes, there are more slaves than ever today. We are in a dark time, and we fantasize a safe and bland haven of normalcy. Space ain't it, honey bunnies

Other things. Speaking of hostile alien environments, this is a lame blizzard so far. Chicago, City of the Future, western citadel of the sweet water seas, pissed off because we are getting Kentucky weather, WTF. Rain and above freezing? I get the El Nino but still, our weather is gonna be wimpy from now on? This sucks. I don't want to live in Tennessee. I'll move to Finland if I have to.