Gripe

I would prefer that TV series writers reduce the amount of time spent doing backstory for every main character by about 50%. More going forwards, please: less time looping backwards to manufacture emotional importance for present-day actions. If the present you’re writing isn’t interesting enough on its own, why are you writing about it?

Thanks.

P.S. I am not crank.

MAGA, Bitches

In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.

A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.

China found something bizarre on moon

No story that ever started like this ended well…

Chinese media is claiming that while investigating the far side of the moon, the country’s Yutu-2 lunar rover stumbled upon a unique “gel-like” substance of unknown origin sitting inside a small crater.

What we know so far: Yutu-2 made the discovery during its eighth lunar day on the moon as it zipped through an area riddled with small impact craters (a lunar day lasts 29.5 Earth days; this one was from late July into early August). A member of the rover’s team noticed a bizarre, colorful luster in one of the mission’s recent images, so the team directed the rover to study it more closely. The only real details China has released so far is that the material is “gel-like,” and that is exhibits an “unusual color.”

Rituals of Childhood

The United States has institutionalized the mass shooting in a way that Durkheim would immediately recognize. As I discovered to my shock when my own children started school in North Carolina some years ago, preparation for a shooting is a part of our children’s lives as soon as they enter kindergarten. The ritual of a Killing Day is known to all adults. It is taught to children first in outline only, and then gradually in more detail as they get older. The lockdown drill is its Mass. The language of “Active shooters”, “Safe corners”, and “Shelter in place” is its liturgy. “Run, Hide, Fight” is its creed. Security consultants and credential-dispensing experts are its clergy. My son and daughter have been institutionally readied to be shot dead as surely as I, at their age, was readied by my school to receive my first communion. They practice their movements. They are taught how to hold themselves; who to defer to; what to say to their parents; how to hold their hands. The only real difference is that there is a lottery for participation. Most will only prepare. But each week, a chosen few will fully consummate the process, and be killed.

Read the whole thing.

Child In Chief

In his upcoming memoir, newly appointed Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III describes the private tour he gave President Trump of the National Museum of African American History and Culture…

Trump greeted him warmly and expressed his wife’s enjoyment of a tour she had with Sara Netanyahu, wife of the Israeli prime minister, according to Bunch. Then they went into the galleries.

“The president paused in front of the exhibit that discussed the role of the Dutch in the slave trade,” Bunch writes. “As he pondered the label I felt that maybe he was paying attention to the work of the museum. He quickly proved me wrong. As he turned from the display he said to me, ‘You know, they love me in the Netherlands.’ All I could say was let’s continue walking.”

Antebellum Reasoning

I grew up in a conservative family. The people I talk to most frequently, the people I call when I need help, are conservative. I’m not inclined to paint conservatives as thoughtless bigots. But a few years ago, listening to the voices and arguments of commentators like Shapiro, I began to feel a very specific deja vu I couldn’t initially identify. It felt as if the arguments I was reading were eerily familiar. I found myself Googling lines from articles, especially when I read the rhetoric of a group of people we could call the “reasonable right.”

These are figures who typically dislike President Trump but often say they’re being pushed rightward — sometimes away from what they claim is their natural leftward bent — by intolerance and extremism on the left. The reasonable right includes people like Shapiro and the radio commentator Dave Rubin; legal scholar Amy Wax and Jordan Peterson, the Canadian academic who warns about identity politics; the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt; the New York Times columnist Bari Weiss and the American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, self-described feminists who decry excesses in the feminist movement; the novelist Bret Easton Ellis and the podcaster Sam Harris, who believe that important subjects have needlessly been excluded from political discussions. They present their concerns as, principally, freedom of speech and diversity of thought. Weiss has called them “renegade” ideological explorers who venture into “dangerous” territory despite the “outrage and derision” directed their way by haughty social gatekeepers.

So it felt frustrating: When I read Weiss, when I listened to Shapiro, when I watched Peterson or read the supposedly heterodox online magazine Quillette, what was I reminded of?

Electric Dump Truck Produces More Energy Than It Uses

Electric vehicles are everywhere now. It’s more than just Leafs, Teslas, and a wide variety of electric bikes. It’s also trains, busses, and in this case, gigantic dump trucks. This truck in particular is being put to work at a mine in Switzerland, and as a consequence of having an electric drivetrain is actually able to produce more power than it consumes. (Google Translate from Portugese)

This isn’t some impossible perpetual motion machine, either. The dump truck drives up a mountain with no load, and carries double the weight back down the mountain after getting loaded up with lime and marl to deliver to a cement plant. Since electric vehicles can recover energy through regenerative braking, rather than wasting that energy as heat in a traditional braking system, the extra weight on the way down actually delivers more energy to the batteries than the truck used on the way up the mountain.

Oh yes, very clever.

What are you going to do when you’ve carried all of the mountain’s top down?

Where’s your fancy perpetual motion dump trunk then, smarty pants?!

Drunk History

Trump on Crimea and Russia…

And the other was in Ukraine, having to do with a certain section of Ukraine that you know very well, where it was sort of taken away from President Obama — not taken away from President Trump, taken away from President Obama. President Obama was not happy that this happened, because it was embarrassing to him, right? It was very embarrassing to him, and he wanted (INAUDIBLE) Russia to be out of the — what was called the G-8, and that was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin.

He was outsmarted. President Putin outsmarted President Obama. Wait a minute. And I can understand how President Obama would feel. He wasn’t happy and (INAUDIBLE) for that reason.

I know you like President Obama, but it was annexed during President Obama’s term. If it was annexed during my term I would say, ‘Sorry, folks. I made a mistake. Sorry folks.’ President Obama was helping the Ukraine. Crimea was annexed during his term.

Now it’s a very big area — a very important area. Russia has its submarine. That is where they do their submarine work and that is where they dock large and powerful submarines, but not as powerful as ours and not as large as ours, but they have their submarines, and President Obama was pure and simply outsmarted. They took Crimea during his term. That was not a good thing. It could have been stopped, it could have been stopped with the right, whatever. It could have been stopped but President Obama was unable to stop it, and it’s too bad.

This is where the scene cuts to a shot of Trump on the couch, holding a 1/2 empty bottle of vodka and giving the camera that “KnowWhatIMean?” look.

Drunk History – Lewis and Clark