we nitpick the worst trailer in screen history

If it is indeed true that all good things must come to an end, then it’s assuredly also true that all bad things never seem to end, or that things that were once good, but became bad, must last forever.

Were you once a young-degenerate-loser too?  I sure was (past tense, I swear).  Remember when this show was actually good?  I bet you don’t.  For if you saw the last few seasons / movie you undoubtedly came to the realization that when a show doesn’t end at the right time, it becomes horrible.

I’m not quite sure what Fox is thinking, other than that they’re banking on many degenerate-losers at least viewing it for nostalgia sake.  But the last movie was awful and made no money.

If they want more money, they sure got off to a bad start.  With the most boring trailer I’ve seen in a long time.  Even the music sounds like it was written by a failed engineering student turned high-art-musician.

Eh, whatever, let’s have at it!

 

why the name

Why do they have to show her holding the phone with his name on it?  Can’t they just have her answer and we hear his voice?  Then we know it’s Mulder, without actually seeing the text.  Do they think we forgot his name?  Are they trying to trigger the part of our brains that’s activated by textual memories in addition to visual memories?  Get outta my head, Fox!

 

he's right there

But this is all besides the point because in fact, he’s standing right there!  He’s thirty feet in front of her!  Why is he even calling?  He could just tap on the glass.  If you rewind, you see from the aspect of her eyes that he is clearly inside the 45 degree arc that enables most humans to notice when another human is creepily standing in front of a glass door without knocking.  What’s going on here?  We haven’t even started and already I have no idea what’s going on again.

 

evil drone

Evil!  Drones are so evil.  They’re the new black unmarked helicopters.  Do you get it?  Evil!

 

then do something about it mulder

“Then do something about it, Mulder?”  Uh, hey Mitch, you’re like the Assistant Director of the freaking F.B.I.  Why don’t you do something about it for a change?  Don’t you have like 3K goons on speed dial?  How about you take care of this one instead of outsourcing the planet’s problems to a vicious-boring-sex-addict?

 

'splosions!

‘Splosions!  I’m so excited.  Nobody has ‘splosions on screen anymore.

 

boring mulder

“You don’t understand Scully, since the last time we slept together, I’ve become a vicious-boring-sex-addict.”  Hey speaking of that relationship, what ever happened to their kid?  Wouldn’t that, like, be kind of important to these two?  Seeing as how it’s been like a decade, they should probably go check up on him, maybe baby needs a new trike?  Seriously.

 

roswell

Roswell!  1950s!  Black suits and top hats!  Aliens!  [wipes brow; breathes heavily]  Oh, thank god, I was really worried they’d go with something actually interesting and original.
[smoking man

[unintelligible profanity]  You, have, got, to be… [unintelligible profanity]  What kind of c-grade nonsense is this?  When we last saw this dude, he was getting his corporeal form incinerated by helicopter gunship rocket fire.  How exactly do they plan to talk themselves out of this one?  Time travel?  Alien teleportation?  Intervention by the Divine Almighty?  Eh, whatever, I won’t be around to find out.

 

no, please no

no, please no

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it’s amazing what people can get away with

I’m not a car guy. I drive a semi-derelict clunker that carries more weight in dog hair than human cargo. But when I heard about this VW emissions thing, even I’m shocked that they got away with this for so long. And I’m a real cynical guy to begin with.

For the technically uninitiated (me), a modern vehicle is required to be OBD-II compliant. The On-Board-Diagnostic capability provides, among many other functions, the option to test emissions levels via that port thingy usually located near your left shin. So rather than testing the vehicle’s emission via the tailpipe, OBD-II allows the port to tell the tester how much gunk the vehicle is spewing into the atmosphere.

As best as I can gather, VW and it’s Audi subsidiary altered the computer program so that when the car detected a test was going on via the OBD-II port, that the program lied and changed the engine output readings to read in standards when they were not.

Which to me begs the question: Why were governments not also testing vehicle emission compliance via random tailpipe tests to ensure the computer wasn’t lying and/or flawed? Or if they were doing tailpipe tests, why were they not able to detect that these cars were spewing many, many times their specified limits.

Man, government can get really dumb. One of the key (if not the number one) wins of climate change policy has been the supposed reduction of car pollution. Where does that leave the entire political effort if car manufacturers can just lie their asses off for years to the tune of millions of cars?

You think governments would have been a little more diligent in checking the automakers’ work. Yet I have read / heard frequently experts claim that if VW was doing this, other carmakers are too. Wow. So it’s amazing what people can get away with.

It was all there to begin with too. I just Googled “tailpipe testing” and the first thing that comes up is a 2013 brief from some guy named Antonio Multari.

In the brief he says such enlightening things as:

 

“OBD specially on diesel engines is not covering all emission aspects”

“European studies show that a variety of serious defects of emission systems in diesel engines will not be identified by OBD.”

“Tailpipe emissions may increase by more than 10 times without being detected by OBD !”

 

That was 2 1/2 years ago. In today’s 14 minute news cycle, why did this take so long? Here’s my guess:

 

Engineer: “Herr Chairman, our tests show the clean diesel engine isn’t actually clean.”

Herr Chairman: “Too late, we’re marketing it as it; just rewrite the OBD software to lie.”

ENG: “Huh! Herr Chairman that’s illegal, I’ll have no part in such a crime.”

HC: “You’ll do it or I’ll sack you, sue you, and you’ll never work in the car industry again.”

ENG: “Oh.”

HC: “Get to work.

ENG: “But Herr Chairman, surely governments will notice. For even if we lie on the OBD software test, they can just test via the tailpipe.”

HC: “Fuck ‘em. If they claim that we’ll sue. And then we’ll hire our own experts to discredit their tailpipe tests. Then we’ll hire lobbyists to bribe politicians and bureaucrats worldwide. And we’ll use the finest marketing gurus since Delta City to prove clean diesel is real.”

ENG: “Herr Chairman, I must say the breadth of your evil is unspeakable.”

HC: “Get to work.” [lights cigar]

 

Is this above scenario too cynical and extreme for your tastes? Consider this, VW debuted the clean diesel cars in 2009. In other words, they’ve been lying for six years and got away with it until last week.

vw diesel

der Lügner

Seville Cathedral – building upon history while not detonating the human race

This Francis guy seems like a big deal right now, so we thought we’d venture back into a past journey that carried a bit of a Catholic flavor. Seville was a day trip, in the sense that me and my fellow drones woke up late, and had to work in the evening. But we had a day to kill.

Our first idea was to see a bullfight somewhere. But it was not the season locally. So we got the idea (with the zero research that made the pre-smartphone era more entertaining) that if we went to Seville, surely they’d have a bullfight, right?

Well, no, of course not. The bullfight season is the season. So instead, we ate lunch and decided to tour the cathedral. Then we had to rush back to work via the train. The sidewalk cafe lunch remains the best paella I’ve ever had. And of course the cathedral was quite the wonderful memory.

Depending on how you count, it took about a thousand years of building, destruction, re-building, and on and on until the cathedral took it’s current completed form. It started as a mosque in 1184 under the Moors. It was not to last, for in 1248 the city surrendered to Ferdinand III of Castile.

Parts of the mosque were left intact, and this became the basis of the cathedral’s design. But construction was slow. It didn’t help that the dome kept collapsing, or that eventually all that Spanish gold and effort would go into conquering half the planet instead of building at home.

One of the old mosque’s structures, the minaret, was built upon rather than destroyed. It became the cathedral’s tower. Thus, one of the most beautiful structures of human history in La Giralda was created on the wisdom, beauty, and humanity of two religions.

 

La Giralda

La Giralda

 

We’d never see this happen today. The political, religious, and social media goons wouldn’t allow it. There’d be too many people offended by such an action. Too many folks trying to blow it up. And yet somehow the Castilians and the Moors are supposedly the barbarians? Eh, whatever. I’d rather drink with those dudes. They were more tolerant than us.

Everybody’s so self-righteous today, like they walk on water. So Francis will make Junipero Serra into a saint but there are people using this as a reason to purge history of him. They literally want to bring down statues of the guy. Well, if you ask me, there is no benefit to humanity from destroying, ignoring, or otherwise purging history.

Junipero Serra was a good guy and a bad guy. Unless your name is Lincoln, Jesus, or that Buddha dude, guess what, you’re going to be the same. So calm down, and put down that stone.

Instead, we need to be like La Giralda, and build upon our history rather than detonating the human race along with it. All the good and bad, embrace it, breathe it in, and admire the beauty so we can appreciate it and learn from it.

 

Seville bullring

Seville – from La Giralda looking toward the Seville bullring or Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla

 

Door of Conception

the side of the cathedral at the Door of Conception

 

Door of the Prince

Door of the Prince – inside this door lies the bones of some guy named Columbus; another dude who did much good and much bad

 

orange tree courtyard

Patio de los Naranjos – it is said these trees date back to the Moor mosque; who knows if it’s true; but for certain they add some color and life to what is a truly beautiful but still bland color of the cathedral’s exterior

 

cathedral side

just a random side of the cathedral that undoubtedly took years to carve

 

Archivo General de Indias

looking down at a cathedral chapel; the rectangular building in the background is the Archivo General de Indias; or the archive of much of the Spanish Empire; given my love of history I will likely never allow myself to walk in there; as once I go in, I might never come out

 

cathedral center

looking down from La Giralda to the cathedral’s center dome; note the exquisite work on the multiple contoured roofs; nobody would do this today because it would add 0.45% to the cost of a building on some spreadsheet; which is one of the reasons I find modern architecture so boring and soulless

 

Seville

thank you Seville, for inspiring a young drone with your beauty to travel more

vicious EU uncertainty begins today

There are legit arguments for both sides of the refugee / migrant issue. Just as there are legit arguments for both ends of the austerity debate. But until today the EU had never done something like this before: they rammed through a major piece of legislation over the objections of several countries.

When the Greeks were asked to vote last weekend they returned Syriza to power and thus explicitly endorsed the most recent EU backed bailout plan. That same plan also required the endorsement of Germany’s parliament among several other national elected bodies. In other words, democracy and the votes of individual citizens came into play.

Maybe the EU council thinks they can dictate refugee / migrant policy over the heads of all / some amount of voters. But I doubt it. So when the Czech Republic government refuses to take their mandated allocation quota of humanity, what’s the EU council going to do? Fine them?

The guidance states: “Financial penalty of 0.002% of GDP for those member countries refusing to accept relocated migrants.” Ah, I see. Well, what if they don’t pay up? Then what?

Hungry and Romania are full EU members; the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Finland are all in the Euro. What happens if they’re forced to implement this policy against their will or what happens if they ignore it, and nobody forces them? Either way, the entire construct of the EU could come apart.

What happens to modern Europe if the EU comes apart? Or massively shrinks?

You can think this is a good thing or bad thing, but either way it’s monumental and rather fascinating. When the Syrian war started four years ago I’m not sure anybody would have predicted this kind of consequence. Yet here it is.

For good economies, culture, and just straight peace of mind, vicious uncertainty is not a thing to desire. But that’s what we’re going to get here for all of Europe for some time. Uncertainty.

_85678906_european_commission_quotas-01_v2

and oh by the way; 120K might only be about 10% of the current number of refugees / migrants; what’s the plan for the rest of them?

planes in the desert (revisited)

I like discovering things, always.  And being proved wrong, eh, sort of.  But especially when determining that you were way, way off holds zero negative consequences for you.

So a while back I figured a random transport company was stripping a 737 for parts.  This was based on extensive online research and photographic evidence that provides validation on why I’m not a detective.

Nope.  In fact (even if their original plan was parts) they’ve decided to scrap it.  So I was shocked when I drove by again on the way back to the airport to go home that there’s almost nothing left.  And there’s a big trash container full of scrap metal.  Enjoy it; you’ll be shaving with this former aircraft Circa 2017.  Goodbye, little aircraft.  I’m sure you flew well.

 

737

 

The Albatross is still there too; only they moved her closer to the fence.  But still caged away in the desert.  A long way from the ocean.

HU-16

Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to understand how the Internets works

Great news, haters! Facebook has decided to finally allow the dislike button. Soon, your rage, outrage, and uncontrollable rage will have an extra outlet as you share you hatred of all humanity with even your own closest friends and family.

Now, Zuckerberg says he hopes folks will use the dislike button to express empathy; as in times where using the like button would not be appropriate. For instance, if you post that your kitty died, folks can click dislike to show they are sad with you.

Or try these on for size, here are two other appropriate times you could use the dislike button to express empathy with a poor unfortunate soul:

TAP Facebook 1

TAP Facebook

Unfortunately, I fear Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to understand how the Internets works. A significant, in fact alarming, amount of the Internets is fueled by hate. Things you would never say or do to any face-to-face human being are common. We’ve certainly had our fair share unhinged, immature, or alarmingly hateful rage moments on this blog. Sometimes I look back, and I’m like: Uh, not cool dude. Why did you write that?

Or think of all your Facebook friends who do nothing but post brutally on politics. I’m sure the dislike button will go swimmingly with those folks and their opposing sides.

I guess my thing is the absence of a dislike button was one of those last uncharted territories of the Internets where you couldn’t mindlessly share your hate. I mean, you could, in the comments box, but that’s different. Using a comment requires you to actually type. Now you’ll just be able to click without any reasonable coherent thought at all.

See a political view you don’t agree with: dislike

See a story about a celebrity you can’t stand: dislike

See your friend post a positive comment about the Steelers: dislike

See your 23 year old friend post a photo of him wearing a hat, drinking PBR, and watching a VCR: dislike

Oh, wait, okay that one would be legit. And maybe the third one too.

dislike

don’t do it Mark! dislike

math, demographics, and destiny

This seems like a relatively uncontroversial topic to wade into. Nobody’s got strong feelings on this one at all. But we’ll put our own belligerent spin on it; for that’s what we do.

 

Let’s start with some numbers:

– There are 81 million humans in Germany today

– Give or take a few million, there are approximately 50 million global refugees currently displaced due to armed conflict

– Give or take a few hundred-million, there are about 1 billion folks who live on about $1 a day

– A ballpark estimate says in 2050, Germany will have about 72 million people over half of which will be old folks

 

So a few belligerent observations:

– Even if Germany was populated by angels, they don’t have the bandwidth to house even a fraction of the world’s war refugees, let alone everybody’s economic migrants.

– But nobody in Germany (or in much of the rest of the developed world) has yet to crack the code on how they plan to pay for all that government spending / debt in 2050 when almost one-third of their populations are retired old folks.

– So whether anybody admits it or not, in order to stay solvent, Germany has to either let more refugees in, cut government spending by astronomical levels, or start having more German babies.

– I’m an idiot, but I’m pretty sure the German state (and all the other countries too) isn’t going to be cutting government spending or forcing women to get pregnant. So guess what option they have to take?

 

Any finally:

Germany and the rest of the modern world need to do more to tackle these problems at the source. For instance, if millions of Syrian refugees want into Germany, then we need only ask the question: Why is Bashar Assad still alive?

Europe has let Syria fester for four years. Did they think there wouldn’t ultimately be consequences given how close Syria is? How long do you think it’ll take before half of Libya tries to get in on this as well? Or what about all those folks in Cameroon living on $1.37 a day?

Solving Syria and conquering poverty are probably two of the hardest things you could ever try to do. But there are consequences to doing almost nothing in Syria and doing far, far too little to tackle global poverty. And in today’s case, those consequences are literally showing up at the West’s door.

refugees

choosing destiny for the planet