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Member since: Fri May 5, 2006, 06:55 PM
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They don't make 'em like they used to, but did they ever?

Had a string of annoying appliance failures. Most recent is a Maytag microwave whose door latch broke. Little plastic sproggy inside that the spring clips to failed. 50 cent part, not sold separately, please buy a whole new fucking door at $300 to fix and see problem repeat in two years.

So, should I pay more for quality? Doesn't work that way. There's nothing good on the market. Durable goods is a myth. Dishwasher's touch panel fails due to damage from moisture intrusion. Steam in a dishwasher? What a surprise!

Central air units used to go 20+ years. Now they're recommending changing in 10 and you're lucky if they make it a year past warranty.

I'm reminded of a book on the Third Reich I read where the same complaint was made in the 30's, manufacturers cheaping out on quality. The Nazis blamed it on the international jew, naturally. I suppose we can find graffiti on Roman walls complaining that chariots aren't made like they used to, either.

I think this is likely a cyclic thing where manufacturers race to the bottom up to the point where one can break away from the pack by being known for quality. I think the tipping point will be when we can't afford to throw away a whole working unit every three years, when the cost of repair is still cheaper than the cost of replacement. My microwave, for example, is useless for lack of a single part and the cost of replacement is nearly the cost of a full unit. This madness has to end, doesn't it?
Posted by jollyreaper2112 | Wed Feb 27, 2013, 12:33 PM (40 replies)

For those who say food is a matter of choice

With the New York Times article about how food is made addictive, this is a great opportunity to ask a question of our conservatives.

Do you believe food is a personal choice? Yeah! You blame companies for making food delicious and selling it to us, you liberal shit! Blah blah personal choice liberty don't take my guns.

Ok. Do you believe in drug prohibition? The drug war? Pretty much any conservative who isn't libertarian does. Why? Drugs are addictive, have no good, kill you ruin communities, blah blah.

So, you don't believe people should be trusted to personal choice with pot or coke or heroin but you do believe they should have that choice with weaponized foods, foods that exploit the same addiction pathways, that the manufacturers have engineered to be addictive and habit-forming.

How do you explain the cognitive dissonance between these two beliefs?
Posted by jollyreaper2112 | Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:35 PM (17 replies)

Dorner's wallet and the crash-proof passport

This Dorner case is weird, nobody can dispute that. And something like this is exactly the sort of thing to make people say "No, wait, what was that?"

One that really blew my mind was the news report that the lead hijacker in 9-11 had a passport found on the hood of a cop car at the crash scene. On the face of it that seems ridiculous. Did you see that fireball?! On one hand, you'd think no conspiracy in the world would be dumb enough to fake something that unlikely. On the other hand, how could anything survive the fireball? As it turns out, a number of personal effects did make it through quite recognizably.

I would slap any writer who put a detail like this in fiction but, as impossible as it seems, it looks like it really did happen.

Truther debunking site. Has some really heartbreaking content.

Posted by jollyreaper2112 | Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:29 PM (6 replies)


I've always been a fan of this concept. They've got the first demo track going up in 2014.


SkyTran is a patented Personal Rapid Transit system first proposed by inventor Douglas Malewicki in 1990, and under development by Unimodal Inc. Lightweight two-passenger vehicles suspended from elevated passive magnetic levitation tracks are expected to achieve the equivalent of over 200 miles per gallon fuel economy at 100 miles per hour or faster.[1] A prototype of the SkyTran vehicle and a section of track have been constructed. Inductrack, the proposed magnetic levitation system for SkyTran, has been tested by General Atomics with a full scale model.[2] UniModal Inc. is now collaborating with NASA to test and develop SkyTran.[3]


The big advantage here is it's cheaper than traditional transit. You don't lose real estate the tracks travel over since they're "up in the air" and, being electric, quiet. The only footprint is for the support poles.
Posted by jollyreaper2112 | Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:54 AM (17 replies)

The argument for and against government

Was listening to a podcast with a libertarian stating his case. Ugh. Personally, I can find some common ground with the small-L libs. The big-L libs I find to be very religious in their thinking and dealing with spherical cows rather than reality.

On spherical cows:

Milk production at a dairy farm was low, so the farmer wrote to the local university, asking for help from academia. A multidisciplinary team of professors was assembled, headed by a theoretical physicist, and two weeks of intensive on-site investigation took place. The scholars then returned to the university, notebooks crammed with data, where the task of writing the report was left to the team leader. Shortly thereafter the physicist returned to the farm, saying to the farmer "I have the solution, but it only works in the case of spherical cows in a vacuum.

The point of the joke is that physicists will often reduce a problem to the simplest form they can imagine in order to make calculations more feasible, even though such simplification may hinder the model's application to reality.

In this particular case, the interviewee is saying government has a monopoly on violence. That's not nice. How do you enforce rules without an authority?

eBay is brought up. Buyers and sellers have ratings. You get a low rating, nobody does business with you. Nobody comes in with guns to enforce the law.

Ok, so isn't ebay a private company owned by a central power that can exercise arbitrary authority? There aren't guns! Ugh. You simpleton. It isn't a co-op and management represents the final authority.

If it was an anarcho-libertarian model then it would be peer to peer, not client-server. If you want a comparison, napster vs BitTorrent. You could take down napster because it had an hq. BitTorrent has no master. The only weak point is needing centralized trackers to point you to the swarm and they're already working around that.

My view on government is like my view on a personal vehicle. "This guy drives an F150. It's too large." Possibly. What does he do with it? Oh, he hauls trailers every day. It's the right size. "This other guy drives a Titan that's just as big." What does he do with it? Oh, he commutes alone to an office job and does nothing with it on the weekend that would require the towing capacity. Yeah, it's too large.

Government is a tool, not an end unto itself. The right-sized tool for the job is what's required, nothing more or less.

In the same conversation the river that caught on fire is brought up and the libertarian said that common law already addressed that very issue with no need for government. He cited apple orchard owners whose trees were harmed by the soot from early factories. They sued and won in court. Uh, who provided the courts? Who enforced the rulings? And he then said the factory owners used their financial power to get the laws changed. So in other words, government was working as it should before it was coopted by businesses. And you're saying that by removing all government you'll have a better negotiating position to keep corporations from fucking your ass raw? Are you serious? He then came around to saying that government failed in the first place because it didn't keep the river from catching fire. Well, that's the way of things. Government is reactive, no proactive. Very rarely does government stop a problem before it happens, usually only after it becomes too big to ignore, and usually because, wait for it, VESTED AND SPECIAL INTERESTS PREVENTED GOVERNMENT FROM DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT WHEN IT WASN'T A BIG PROBLEM! You simpleton.

Whenever libertarians start talking about government being the problem and not a solution, whenever they talk about how things would work in their ideal anarcho-economy, I get the feeling we're talking about spherical cows again. Pure communism didn't work either for a similar reason: it based expectations on the behavior of ideal, rational humans, not the ones you encounter in the real world.

Anyone else have thoughts about this?
Posted by jollyreaper2112 | Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:41 AM (1 replies)

There's a time and place for porn and I loves me some porns but...

...too often sex is used the same way as sugar and lard and frying, a way of dressing up something that can't stand on its own. This isn't a question of sex, it's aesthetics.

If I want porn, there's an entire internet of it out there. These aren't the dark ages where you had to find Sears catalogs or try to sneak in R-rated sex comedies and watch 90 minutes of bad filler for the a few fleeting seconds of T&A. You can get whatever you want wherever you want whenever you want.

So, why porn up everything else? HBO porns up their premium lineups and it's really kind of silly when you think about it. They're offering the equivalent of hotel sex channel softcore. What's more, the sex is jammed into the story even when not called for. We get infodumps in brothels, a trick called sexposition. You know what? I can see all sorts of that sort of thing online whenever I want. What I don't get is Peter Dinklage being an impy badass. All the sex cuts into my Imp time.

Katy Perry kissed a girl? How quaint. You know what I'd like to see her do? Sing without autotune.

So as far as the whole Beyonce thing goes, my critique isn't from prudery but aesthetics. Relentless sex becomes boring. It's unimaginative. It's so pathetically obvious. If this were standup it would be the equivalent of "white people are like this, black people are like that!" or "You might be a redneck."

So much of what passes for art and creative endeavuor in this country comes across exactly like this guy.


This bleached pourcipine IS the Ugly American. Loud, crass, brash, bringing attitude and self-absorbed theater and leaving a greasy stink on everything he touches. He asks us to lower our expectations and standards and then panders to them with an enthusiastic inauthenticity. Plastic culture for plastic people. Shit, guy's a millionaire so maybe he's onto something.

Do I like food? No, I love food. Does he ruin food with his approach? Yes. Everything he does might be palatable in moderation but he cranks everything up to 11. And this is how we do everything in this country.

Doubtless some people who didn't like Beyonce are racist, sexist, or have some kind of axe to grind for the wrong reasons. But some of them, some of the critics, they might just have some goddamn taste.
Posted by jollyreaper2112 | Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:21 PM (65 replies)

Something to keep in mind about gun deaths

We are almost down half from our national peak. Thing is, we never heard about the people, just the numbers. Just like highway deaths. We know intellectually we have a 9-11 once a month, 3k dead in stupid road deaths. But unless the accident is big and sexy, it's always local news.

We are hearing more about each gun death now which is taking this away from being a statistic. The status who depends on us accepting these deaths as the cost of doing business. I've heard assholes use that very phrase to excuse preventable deaths. It's the same logic that says children lose fingers and limbs in factories, the cost of progress.

I think we are hearing more and getting Olympic athlete biographical coverage of the deaths because its sexy and sells. Our talking heads love a good tragedy, weeping parents, shrines of flowers and teddy bears. They're emotional vampires. And yet in their own craven self-service we might yet see public sentiment turn against the gun madness and make real reforms.

I suppose that the same thing could be said of past tragedies. The publishers were just looking to sell papers and might let a journalist rake some muck out of self-service, if he accomplished anything of social value that's beside the point.

The other thing that's happening through all this is the gun nutter position is being put in a really awful light, same as with the pro-rape republicans trying to justify the war on women. Their base won't let them back down and they look crazy to everyone else.
Posted by jollyreaper2112 | Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:11 PM (8 replies)
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