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doctorpat at bigfoot dot com

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Jack Robertson

The Drivel Warehouse

Uncle Al

Jane Galt

More than Zero

TransTerrestial Musings

U.S.S. Clueless

Scott Wickstein

Gareth Parker

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I got 20/20 at the Economic Literacy Test but there was really only one tricky question, the one about who determines which products are made.



USS Clueless disagrees with the premise of some new movie,Reign of Fire, in which a few dragons can destroy most of modern civilization. Surely, he argues, a few modern tank killers would destroy a dragon before it had time to gobble down more than one beautiful virgin princess (or even find one).

Dan ignores one critical point. There is no way that the modern army would be ALLOWED to hurt poor, defenseless, rare, endangered Dragons. Just as in the Jurasic Park movies all the environmentalists will be sabotaging every effort to protect humans from the monsters.



Airport Security

So I was at the Sydney Airport yesterday and sure enough, there were all the guards to make sure you didn't bring in nail clippers or sewing needles. And then, once you get inside, there are all these stores selling you boomerangs.

Now can anyone tell me what a boomerang is designed to do?

That's right, it's a WEAPON designed to kill animals and people. OK there are some design basically as toys that come back when you throw them, but the real ones are fundamentally a wooden battle axe, also used for throwing. Both sorts were for sale at the airport.

Now a metal axe would have a better edge on it, I admit that. But these things were used in battles to the death for thousands of years against other armed men. For battle you don't throw it, you hold onto it and slash, same as a metal axe.

A fighting boomerang would be my weapon of choice against nail clippers, knitting needles, and even Stanley Knives (box cutters). A small bladed knife might have an advantage as you are struggling to get out of your seat, but once in the aisle the guy with the boomerang could be slicing open skulls and smashing forearms before the guy with the knife gets within range.



Secret Islamic Propaganda?

This sort of thing probably does more to ruin the image of Christianity than any war that occurred a thousand years ago.

This was sent in by Lucy.

Adult Classes

Both Gareth Parker and James Morrow have been complaining about the creeping influence of the nanny state that is slowly making it more and more difficult to do anything that an outraged media can portray as being dangerous.

What we need is another catagory to add to the existing pair of child and adult. Adult needs to be split into "Responsible Adult" and "Irresponsible Adult" (or "Idiot").

This can be printed on your driver's licence or something, and the "Responsible Adult" will not be held by the restrictions imposed on the "Idiot".

A Responsible Adult can buy any form of Pornographic or Violent book/magazine/movie/Videogame they want. They can swim outside the flags. They can buy alcohol even if they are drunk, they can sign a contract without needing a cooling off period, they can gamble, smoke, eat fatty food, watch TV ads with people enjoying themselves in cars and ride a bike without a helmet. AND they accept FULL responsibility for the result of their actions.

The Responsible Adult can get full medical treatment at low cost because they can waive the doctor of medical liability risk. They can get lower interest rates because lenders know they will be forced to pay the money back. They can skate, rockclimb or moutainbike in a public park because the authorities know they are not able to sue should they hurt themselves. Sure they should be rescued if they get into trouble, but they (or their insurance) are then expected to PAY for the rescue.

Of course SHOULD they try to shirk responsibility for their own actions, then they lose their Responsible Adult status.

The Irresponsible Adult is covered by all the safety rules and guidelines that currently apply. In return they get to blame society, big media, MacDonalds, videogames and the person who talked them into signing a contract for everything that goes wrong in their lives.

Of course we probably couldn't get away with calling them "Irresponsible Adults". It would probably be better to use some term such as "Fully Protected".

Mind you, I am not prepared to go so far as to stop protecting children. Making all the kids wear a hat is not such a bad idea. Banning slippery slides and seesaws in the playground in case a child grazes her knee IS a bad idea. Maybe a Responsible Adult will be allowed to take their kids to the REAL playground, with swinging ropes and monkeybars and trees to climb.

I would also question the "fact" that 14 year olds cannot handle looking at a videogame but are responsible enough to make decisions about sex. I mean really, what happens more often: people getting into trouble over sex or deciding they are in a video game and acting it out? What are the relative death tolls of AIDS and Space Invaders?



More Crazy TV

The National Alcohol Campaign TV ad shows this girl at a party, where a guy offers her some alcohol. She drinks and then proceeds to have sex with him.

The lesson here is that getting girls drunk is a good way to have sex with them. And that drinking is a good way for girls to have sex with boys.

So this is meant to stop teenagers drinking? On what planet did these guys grow up?

Jurassic Park 1 & 2

TV has also shown Jurassic Park 1 and 2, and it does contain several important lessons, but probably not the ones that were intended.

Don't use electric fences to keep in dangerous things without multiple separate backups. This should apply to all active safety systems. I'm thinking of electric brakes and steering in cars.

Never let a black-clad chaos mathematician to speak crap about stuff he doesn't understand, he will be horribly boring.

Never, never, rely on experimental non-polluting cars when a reliable smoke-belching one is available.

If you are scared of something, get a gun capable of taking it out. Don't go against dinosaurs with a 12 gauge.

Hollywood knows nothing about animals. A brontosaurous is safe because it eats plants "like a big cow". This is SO MUCH a line from a city kid. I've worked with cattle, and there is NO WAY I would walk up to wild cattle and start patting them.

And a BIG cow? Like a cape buffalo?

And lastly, if a piece of electronics or optics is heavy, it is seen as expensive. So all this work to make stuff lightweight is wasted because it will be less popular with the customers.

For Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World the main lesson was that if you want a real disaster, bring along a greenie and he'll do it on purpose.

The next thing we learned is that the sort of people who oppose science investigating "things that should be left alone" tend to completely ignore the fact that the deaths are actually due to the greenie.

And last of all, we learn that once again, any character played by Jeff Goldblum is annoying, selfrightous, convinced everyone else is an idiot, and filled with technobabble that is actually meaningless if you know what he is talking about. Originally I gave him the benifit of the doubt, blaming it on the script writer. But after several movies with exactly the same character, I blame him.



Forced Space Expansions

Apparently we are all going to have to move to other planets:

Earth's population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a [WWF] report out this week.

Excellent! One more reason to exploit as many natural resources as I can.

Apparently the WWF thinks that going to other planets is a bad thing, but I don't see why.



Human for Sale

According to the cheap-ass folks at Human for Sale I am only worth a lousy $2,496,270.00. Though at least they are using American Dollars.

Friday 5

1. Where are you right now? At work, about to go shopping for some chocolate and pesto (not to be eaten together).

2. What have you lost recently? The back tyre on my bike. It blew when my electronic throttle got stuck open.

3. What was the first CD you ever purchased? Does that embarrass you now? Not sure but I think it was Back in Black by AC/DC. And it's still cool.

4. What is your favorite kind of writing pen? A nice thick heavy one, made of solid metal that can be used to puncture someone's skull in a fight (not that I get in fights, just that that is a good description of the pen) and using a floating ball nib.

5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Jaffa, or Rum and Raisin.



Engineering Specifications

Over at Brain Graze is a repetition of the old story about railway gauges. To avoid people leaving my site, whereapon they are likely to not come back, ever, I'll repeat it here, which I can do in good conscience because the story is public domain that I got in email years ago.

The US standard railroad gauge (width between the two rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots first formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had To match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of Wheel spacing.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

Thus, we have the answer to the original question.

Now the extraterrestrial twist to the story...

When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.

The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass.

And you wonder why it's so hard to get ahead in this world.

But I'm afraid that the standard text left out half the story. You see the Romans did NOT make up the 4 feet 8.5 inches standard. They just copied if from the Greeks, who copied it from the Myceneans who they conquered in 1200 BC. There are ancient city gates dating 1300 bc that feature ruts with the same 4 foot, 8.5 inch ruts. That's a total of 3200 years without change in an engineering specification.

So the standard is at least 1500 years older than the Roman Empire. Quite possibly it goes back further than that, the first 2 horse heavy chariots were used by the Sumerians and Egyptians some 5000 BC, so it could date back to then. There are extant Egyptian chariots that have been recovered from Pyramids, next time you see one, measure it.



World Conquest 2

Earlier I mentioned my plan for world conquest. Well just after posting this plan I was flooded by one helpful suggestion from a lambada Tango dancer/psychology professor researcher in California Washington, (do I make a lot of mistakes or what?) who sent me this webpage filled with helpful tips and products to help me in my scheme. Good on ya Sandy.

Life Support

I saw the SBS program Life Support for the first time last night. A lifestyle program, it can be distinguished from every other lifestyle program ever made in that it is actually entertaining to watch. Like many other SBS programs, it proves that the most extreme sort of people who really support SBS, never actually watch it. No-one who loves SBS because of the promotion of an inclusive, multicultural, green left, non-patriachal, land rights for gay whales kind of TV station could possibly support a program that relies on exploitation of women, animals, children, the mentally defective and drug adicts for the sort of very entertaining humour that Life Support offers. On the other hand, anyone who does have a sense of humour and no sense of decency should love it.

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