A Conspiracy Against Obsolete Technologies


When I was a kid back in the ’50s, my mother would occasionally shop at the A&P store at the junction of Natchez Trace and West End Avenue in Nashville, Centennial Park was across West End from the store, and my little brother and I would go across to the park and hang out in a playground. I can remember that there were street car tracks in the center of West End Avenue. The tracks hadn’t been used since just before World War II when the last street cars were replaced with buses.

Then, one day in the mid-to-late ’50s, they had repaved the street, and tracks were replaced with a wide pedestrian traffic island.

That was just one small part of the ongoing conspiracy to make it difficult to continue to use obsolete technologies. The next thing you know, they might start removing unused mailboxes from street corners.

Cultural Appropriation


I’d like to suggest that people who find my culture offensive should stop appropriating the things we have created.

I’m an engineer. In my culture we rely on certain facts of nature (as we understand them) being actually true. For example, engineers believe, based on the evidence, that 2+2=4, and we rely on the mathematical principles behind that fact in order to design and build things that people can use.

It’s come to my attention that there’s a bunch of wokies trying to sell the idea that 2+2=4 is not a universal truth but some sort of tool used to oppress minorities. (Note: Engineers are a very tiny minority group within humanity.) While I believe that the wokies are foolishly wrong in their worldview, they have the right to be wrong. However, I also believe that, given their worldview, they are acting immorally (if Morality is connected to Truth) when they appropriate my culture’s concepts and artifacts for their own purposes.

For example, if 2+2 can equal 5, then 12 percent can equal 22 percent. I picked those numbers because, to the extent that most of wokies pay income taxes, they are probably in the under $40k bracket. If they were withheld at the next higher marginal rate of 22 percent instead of the lower rate, they would have no grounds for complaint by their own logic. But most would surely complain.

Also, most, if not all, of the wokies I’ve encountered, seem to have cell phones, and cell phones use microprocessors which rely on the mathematically logic behind the truth of 2+2=4 in order to operate. Is it moral for them to be appropriating that artifact from my culture?

Well, that depends on how “moral” is defined. Morality is a body of standards or principles derived a particular definition of what is Good. If the definition of Good is connected with Truth, then what is moral may be quite different the if the definition is connected with Power. The wokies’ worldview is marxist and rooted in Power. For them, life is as O’Brien explained to Winston Smith: “The object of power is power.” Truth can be arbitrary for them.

IIRC, O’Brien was also a proponent of 2+2 being 5 or 3 or whatever it needed to be.

I don’t think that I would like to live in a world in which most of the power was in the hands of the wokies. Therefore, I propose this strategy—Don’t let the wokie win.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


This episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign first ran five years ago today.

* * * * *

Johnny Atsign Logo 2ANNOUNCER: From Westminster, it’s time for—

SOUND: Skype rings once.

JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.

PRO BONO: (Telephone Filter) Good afternoon, Johnny. I’ve got some more work for you.

JOHNNY: Good. What’s up?

PRO BONO: (Telephone Filter) Apparently, The Grouch is running around filing false charges again.

JOHNNY: So?

PRO BONO: (Telephone Filter) You remember that letter that he claims is a forgery?

JOHNNY: Sure.

PRO BONO: (Telephone Filter) We need to verify its authenticity. How can I get it to you?

JOHNNY: I’ll drive down and pick it up first thing tomorrow morning.

MUSIC: Theme up and under.

ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …

JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!

MUSIC: Theme up to music out. Continue reading

What to Learn to Code


COBOL.

Yep, there’s still a substantial market for COBOL programming, and the Wuhan pandemic has resulted in a spike in the need. Of course, the State of New Jersey thinks they should be bailed out of their programming problem for free (by “volunteers”). Joseph Steinberg reports—

That’s what the State’s Governor, Phil Murphy, apparently meant today, when he said at a press conference that the State needed volunteers who with “Cobalt” computer skills to help fix 40-year-old-plus unemployment insurance systems that are currently overwhelmed as a result of COVID-19-related job losses.

Uh, no, Governor, your state shouldn’t get away with having its obsolete IT infrastructure saved by volunteers. “Winter is coming,” is not just a warning from a cable TV show. It’s also a part of Aesop’s The Ant and the Grasshopper. Winter is here.

The Art of Computer Programming


Slashdot reports that the Shadow app written for the Nevada caucus is also buggy and that the state’s Democrats have said that they will not use it.

Perhaps the Democrats would do better if they hired programmers who has demonstrated the ability to write functional software, especially phone//tablet apps.

The Last Three Years


In February, 2016, I went back to work from my second retirement. Since then, I’ve spent most of my time at Goddard Space Flight Center working on the power system for the TIRS-2 instrument.

Video Credit: NASA

Now that TIRS-2 has shipped for integration on to the Landsat-9 satellite, I’m off on new projects, the main one being a robotic mission capable doing on-orbit refueling and repairs.

Before my first retirement, I worked on power and thermal control systems for a couple of x-ray astronomy missions, GPS receivers and radio beacons for use in orbit, and instruments for testing the effects of radiation on electronic equipment, Between my two retirements, I worked with the GOES-R weather satellite program. There’s always something interesting to do at Goddard

Better, Faster, Cheaper—Choose Two


That phrase is a rule of thumb that encapsulates a Real Word limitation faced by engineers. When trying to optimize performance across multiple considerations, at least one of them will wind up having to be compromised in order to maximize the performance of the others. It’s clear that whoever wrote Democrat presidential candidate Robert O’Rourke’s climate change plan didn’t understand that Reality requires such trade offs.

Here are a couple of examples of his nonsense.

Strengthen the clean air and hazardous waste limits for power plants and fuel economy standards that save consumers money and improve public health, while setting a trajectory to rapidly accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles …

If the vehicles are going to be zero-emission (tail pipe only), then that’s theoretically possible by switch to electric motors, but such a change has the possibility of creating a terrific hazmat problem related to the recycling and/or disposal of the noxious materials in worn out batteries. If the the vehicles are going to be truly zero-emission, then all forms of combustion used to provide the energy in the mining and processing of raw materials and used to build the vehicles will have to be eliminated. Given that systems such as blast furnaces for steel making run 24/7/365, wind and solar power can’t carry that load. Does this mean more nuclear plants? Higher prices? What?

Set a first-ever, net-zero emissions by 2030 carbon budget for federal lands, stopping new fossil fuel leases, changing royalties to reflect climate costs, and accelerating renewables development and forestation …

More trees is not a bad idea per se, but I wonder if whoever wrote that understands that the principal reason there are now more trees in the industrialized world than there were two centuries ago is that the economy switched from burning wood (a renewable resource) to coal and natural gas (fossil fuels).

Maybe someone who thinks carbon dioxide is a pollutant should stop wasting his breath.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


Here’s another vintage episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign. It first ran four years ago today.

* * * * *

Johnny Atsign Logo 2ANNOUNCER: From Westminster, it’s time for—

SOUND: Skype rings once.

JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.

ZOMBIE: (Telephone Filter) Mr. Atsign, my name is Candler. I need some help.

JOHNNY: What kind of help, Mr. Candler?

ZOMBIE: (Telephone Filter) My fellow zombies and I have been collecting information about this guy who’s been harassing people online. It’s all from open public sources, mostly his own tweets and comments and blogs.

JOHNNY: Uh, huh.

ZOMBIE: (Telephone Filter) Now that we’ve got all this data, we need to authenticate it.

JOHNNY: And I take it that you want help with that.

MUSIC: Theme up and under.

ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …

JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!

MUSIC: Theme up to music out. Continue reading

Senate Votes Down The Green Nude Eel


As noted in the Babylon Bee, Republicans colluded with Reality to defeat the Green Nude Eel. The vote was 0-57. All of the Republicans voted against it, as did three Democrats and one Independent. All the other Democrats and the other Independent voted “present.” That included the bill’s sponsor and all its cosponsors. It included all the senators who had endorsed the Green Nude Eel in connection with their candidacies for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

These remarks by Senator Lee (R-UT) are a fair summary of the Republican objections to the bill.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics was available for comment and noted, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

California Mugged By Reality


In apparent proof that it is possible to run out of other peoples’ money, California appears to be aborting its high-speed rail project less than a week after the Green New Deal Great Leap Backward™ crowd announced that the whole country would be switching back to trains from air travel over the next 10 years.

I was going to write that none of the Green New Derpsters were available for comment, but that isn’t strictly true. However, the editorial standards here at Hogewash! don’t allow such language.

Oh, and everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

UPDATE—