Sunday, January 24, 2016

Meanwhile, Earlier Last Week...


The Jeff Bezos side of the Musk/Bezos Space Race

Mr. Musk's contribution:


McDonnell Douglas and NASA were futzing with this sort of thing back in the 90s, in the form of the Delta Clipper:


Sadly, it never really got off the ground.

(Bezos' and Musk's efforts found at SondraKistan)

 If you want to get an idea of the technologies involved in this kind of project, check out the job listings at Blue Origin!

Safe Spaces...

...and candidates.

Frazz on Safe Spaces...

Via Go Comics, Frazz by @JefMallett, Pibgorn by Brooke McEldowney

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

It Begins in Earnest


Drudge links to Breitbart and Politico about Obama's new rules imposed by Executive Order.  It seems to boil down to your doctor may report that you are "mentally ill" to the NICS (the National Instant Criminal Background Check System), thereby disallowing you from purchasing a gun.

I see three problems with this right off the top.  First, it sets a precedent for sharing health information to people and organizations not directly involved with your personal health care, which was the whole point of HIPAA.

Second, it lumps the mentally ill in with criminals.  Strictly speaking, that means you have two flavors of unrelated data instances in the same database. I think any competent DBA would tell you that this is "Bad". (Think of the your liquor store guy telling the DMV what your weekly alcohol purchase rate is.)  It also reminds me of lessons we should have learned from the 20th century, especially from the 20s and 30s onward.  (I'm looking at *you*, National Socialists and Communists!)

My third concern is the total absence of any due process in the infringement of a Constitutional right.  A recurring theme of 2A supporters is that these "mass shootings" (Newton, Sandy Hook et. al.) might have been prevented by better mental health care, not by more gun laws.  And, I agree.  I think (IMHO) that someone who is diagnosed as incompetent or dangerous to others shouldn't have weapons, or maybe even sharp objects.  (I'm looking at *you*, Charles Manson!)

I think that abrogating *any* Constitutional right by bureaucratic fiat is morally wrong and illegal.  If I were to deteriorate to a point where arming me is truly a bad idea, I would still expect a hearing to determine my competence, one wherein I was represented by counsel and a good shrink.

Being denied that (or any) right on the word of an individual, enforced by an anonymous database is simply not American.

(Gerard has a longer post by O'l Remus detaining how he sees the resistnce unfolding.  His take: it won't.  It will be a death by a thousand bureaucratic paper cuts. Go RTWT.)