Another Revolting Development at RPI

RPI – Top Twenty Worst School

My heart swelled with pride today, to see my beloved Alma Mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, finally recognized in a major top-twenty list

Wait, of WORST FUCKING SCHOOLS?!?!?

Magazine ‘Money Inc’, the creator of the prestigious list, ignored academics, cost, and quality of education entirely in their consideration of RPI’s ranking, seeing them as inconsequential compared to the student experience of the school, including “poorly written policies which have been used by the administration to quell free speech”, punishing students for speaking out in the media, and general incompetence at even explaining how what they were doing is legal (“the administration has gone so far as to claim “eminent domain” to prevent students from passing out buttons or flyers on campus sidewalks.”)

That’s right, we made it to the top-twenty worst schools *SPECIFICALLY* because of the administration’s heavy-handed, even ILLEGAL suppression of students’ rights to free speech.

How are the trustees not embarrassed to the point of resignation by the nightmare they have allowed to unfold at RPI? I’m embarrassed to be an alumnus, and it’s not even my friggin’ fault!

Posted in For Facebook, Geeky, General, Personal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Secret Battle

Last night, just before going to bed, I set our robotic vacuum to clean our downstairs rooms while we slept. Judging by the carnage I found in the living room at 6:30AM, I believe this is what happened:

Midway through cleaning the floor, having labored mightily, our robotic vacuum cleaner decided it had earned the privilege of taking a rest on our couch. No one having ever specifically told it this was not possible, and its mind made up, it made a beeline for the couch, along the way ignoring any obstacles.

In doing so, it became entangled in two plushies and a large sheet of coloring paper. Undaunted, our little hero went for broke, ignoring its new entourage and continuing its quest as best it could. As it went, its cargo upended a number of toys that had been leaned against a chair by our five-year-old while he was “cleaning” to prepare for the robot’s activities. This resulted in a light saber and a wrapping paper tube joining the entourage, pointing forward like knight’s lances

After arriving at the couch, it bravely took the challenge head-on, attempting to trundle directly up the side. This seems to have worked for a while, until its wheels caught the blanket that was lying on the couch. Tirelessly, it reeled the entire blanket off the couch, somehow causing the tail end to flip over the light-saber and wrapping paper tube, and trapping itself in a tent of its own making.

At this point, the robot must have panicked and made a last scramble to try to surmount its goal. This was unsuccessful. It must have managed to get it’s flat little chassis nearly perpendicular to the ground before learning twin lessons about gravity and friction, to wit: A) With gravity stubbornly refusing, as it will, to change directions such that the couch would become its new down, B) Its wheels had no force pressing them against their new driving surface, which decreased their friction with that surface to approximately nothing.

I’m not sure, at this point, if its battery died suddenly, causing it to jounce sideward, or if its continuing struggles caused it to tilt slightly, but at any rate, our tiny protagonist next discovered not only that round things roll, but also that its entire back end is approximately circular. It proceeded to roll sideways off the pile of blanket it was now situated atop and across the face of the couch, and then tumble into the crevice between the couch and our son’s Disney desk, twisting the blanket and toys around it as it went.

And so, in the early morning light, my befuddled brain saw a weird twisted nest-thing sprouting out of that crevice, encrusted with stuffed animals and paper and with a turned-on light-saber thrusting right out of the middle. On examination, I discovered the now-dead robot swaddled in the middle, toys and paper jammed in its brushes. I was non-plussed, to say the least…

Posted in Family, For Facebook, Personal, Uncategorized, Whimsical | Leave a comment

It’s Science; Use Your Goddamned Brains!

A Real Crime, with Bill Maher

Bill Maher has just had a long sit-down with a prominent anti-vaxxer. During the interview, he made it clear, as he has a number of times before, that he was inclined to take these claims seriously as a general part of his “skepticism” of western medicine, made no attempt to question or rebut any of the obviously questionable claims presented by his guest, and implied that there was some shadowy movement making it “courageous” even to speak on the subject. It’s not really a surprise to see him openly supporting quackery, as he’s done it before, but it is a perfect example of how, when it comes to science, “liberals” are just as bad as “conservatives”. In either case, when it agrees with their politics or other ideology, “the science is settled”. When it disagrees, It’s a “corporate/government/illuminati/whatever conspiracy!”

Listen, people, here’s the thing. It’s good to be skeptical, but you have to understand what that means. “Skeptical” means not accepting things until there is significant, solid evidence in support of them, but then also accepting them if/when they finally pass that test! If you only have the first part, you aren’t skeptical, you’re a denier, and while you are welcome to believe anything you want, believing bullshit is a sure path to pain and suffering.

Science works. When there are literally thousands of peer-reviewed studies/experiments carried out by unrelated groups of researchers that mutually confirm each other, you can be pretty damned sure they are correct. Of course nothing is ever 100% certain in science, but by the same token, one unconfirmed study that supports your position does not Trump mountains of strong evidence. [see what I did there?]

Just fucking stop it.

  • Vaccines work, and are safe. They aren’t a “big pharma” conspiracy.
  • The global climate is warming, and our carbon emissions are helping it do so. The Illuminati haven’t subverted millions of researchers worldwide.
  • GMOs are safe and effective, and their technology is literally safer than hybridization, which we’ve used for at least 10,000 years as a species. The lizard people aren’t behind it.
  • The Earth is round. The Rothschilds haven’t been tricking billions of people with fish-eye lenses for thousands of years.
  • Evolution is actually how life on earth unfolded. The Devil didn’t bury dinosaur bones in rocks and then trick millions of scientists by changing the radiologic content of the rocks to make them look old.
  • Alternative medicine, if it has been scientifically confirmed to work, is called FOR FUCK’S SAKE MEDICINE! If it has been tested and shown to work no better than placebo, or has never been tested, it’s an alternative TO medicine, not alternative medicine. Homeopathy is fucking water, prayer doesn’t work, your body has multiple systems in place that more or less guarantee you are at the correct pH, and if you have a properly working liver and kidneys, you are already as “detoxed” as you will ever be. If you insist on an alternative to medicine, I will happily provide you with bloodletting services for free, so don’t waste your money! (Can you cause blood-loss via blunt-force trauma? No matter, I don’t need any more evidence to support my position that if I hit you with this bat enough times you’ll bleed than I do for the claim that letting your blood out will cure you.)

Come on now. You travel in jets, cars, and trains. You use electricity. You’re reading this on the internet, for pity’s sake. You know full well that science works. You don’t get to pick and choose!

Posted in For Facebook, Geeky, General, Personal, Philosophical, Political, Rational, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First World Hipster Problems: “Farm Fresh Eggs”

So my wife brought home some “organic” eggs from the local farmer’s market. I had my doubts…

My first concern was the somewhat suspicious handwritten admonition to “Rinse Thoroughly In Warm Water Before Use”. My second concern was more of a wry observation: they cost twice as much as regular eggs, but were so small that they held half as much food. Since we had other eggs in the fridge, I decided to ignore them for a bit, and stacked the other eggs on top of them…

Today, I needed eggs to service the clamoring demands of my two young children for hard-boiled eggs, and these suspicious eggs were all we had left, so I had no choice but to use them. While preparing to “rinse” them, I discovered the reason for the admonition in that most of them had streaks of chicken poop on them. In the end, I didn’t rinse them, I washed them with detergent!

Then, I tossed them into my egg-steamer, set to a shorter time than recommended for hard-boiled eggs to account for their diminutive size. After a quick ice bath, I had produced apparently fine, if tiny, hard boiled eggs. So I fed them to my kids! Then, after devouring eight eggs between them, they demanded more…

I repeated the process with the remaining three eggs (one having spun wobbly on the counter, which gave me concerns it might be bad). Because there was an odd number, there was no way to fairly (according to my 5-year-old) divide them, so Daddy had to eat one. So, kids happily munching away, Daddy took a bite. This was a mistake…

As it turns out from my subsequent internet research, I had won the lottery with a fertilized egg. What I knew at the time was that the dark red spot I discovered in what was left of the yolk had what looked like veins in it, and the flavour in my mouth was so utterly repugnant that I will not describe it, in case my readers might want to enjoy a meal ever again…

I won’t describe the next two minutes either, as I refuse to ever think of them again, but in case you were wondering, mozzarella will not wipe the flavor of a hard-boiled fertilized egg from your mouth. Neither will coca-cola, or smoked gouda. No, if you want to remove this particular brand of horror from your mouth, it seems dill pickles is your go-to solution. I wish I had no reason to know this…

In future, I will be instituting a “No tiny, incredibly expensive, vomitously nauseating eggs” policy with respect to my food peparation procedures. YMMV…

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A One Issue Voter

“Nice car you’ve got there. It would be a shame if something was to ‘happen’ to it…”

I am an intentional citizen of the city of Troy, NY. I love it here, and recommend it to others regularly, but my city has a lot of problems. The biggest one is how unwelcoming our city government is to its own citizens.

A perennial example of this is “street cleaning”. Our city government either has a severe obsessive disorder about cleanliness, or uses street cleaning as an excuse to squeeze hundreds of thousands of extra tax dollars out of citizens’ wallets without having to raise taxes. I’ll let you decide which…

On some streets, like ours, you may never park on the street on one particular day every week. On others, they only clean a few times a year, so signs pop up on the curb 24 hours(ish) ahead of time to tell you you can’t park in front of your own house the next day. In the first case, most people are aware if the issue, so they only run afoul of the rules every year or so when they forget what day it is or have some personal emergency that takes them away on the wrong night. In the second case, given that many people don’t drive their car every day, or gasp go on vacation from time to time, they net a lot more.

This regularly results in scads of cars being not just ticketed, but stolen and held for ransom by a local towing company. The ticket is “only” $50, but in order to get your car back, you have to walk or taxi miles into the bad part of town and show up with $200 cash or a credit card to buy back your own car. My understanding is that the city gets a cut of this action, as well.

Understand, I don’t blame the towing company on this, as they are doing a job, and they do it more or less reasonably. For their part, they honk their horns loudly for a while before starting to tow you, and will let you escape if you happen to hear them and come out immediately. If you catch them after they have hooked you up, but before they leave, they will let you buy your car back on the spot for only $40. I don’t know if the city gets a cut of this.

“At least he’s honest!”

And so I find myself, again, dealing with my city’s “cleaning obsession”, already $40 down and with a $50 bill hanging over my head, because my wife left my truck on the street for fifteen fucking minutes while we got my daughter ready for day-care. This happens to my family every year or so. Life happens, and humans make mistakes. Just tallying in my mind, in the thirty years I’ve lived in Troy, I or a member of my household have been towed from in front of my own house about 22 times. Guestimating based on recollection of “saves” like today versus actual tows, that’s roughly $4500 that the city has stolen from my family under the auspices of “cleaning streets” that really weren’t dirty in the first place!

We pay too much for taxes, our city government is dominated by a gaggle of “Republicans” and a gaggle of “Democrats” whose most mutually distinct features are generally only who they hung out with in High School, and who they like or dislike, and our zoning laws are obscenely complex and vaguely written. I hate these things, but at least no one’s lying about them or sneaking up on me in the early morning to surprise me with them. Government is always a pain to its citizens, but this dishonest “we’re just trying to provide you services” nickel-and-dime bullshit is too much! This isn’t really about cars at all, it’s about the principle of government, however rapacious, at least being honest about how it’s taking our money.

I’m sick of it!

As of this moment, I am a “single issue voter” for the purposes of city elections! I will officially vote for ANYONE who makes a “hold-me-to-it” campaign promise to put an end to stealing our fucking cars in order to extort unlegislated taxes from our citizens. I don’t care who you are:

  • Republican? Fine, I’ll tell my foreign friends to steer clear until you’re out of office. Just stop stealing our cars!
  • Democrat? Fine, I’ll let parts of my house fall apart and demand a reassessment before you can raise my taxes again. Just stop stealing our cars!
  • Green/Working families? Whatever, I know you’re a Democrat anyway. Just stop stealing our cars!
  • Conservative/Independence/etc? Whatever, I know you’re a Republican anyway. Just stop stealing our cars!

To make it succinct, at this point, I would vote for Satan himself, revived from Christian mythology replete with horns, brimstone, and pitchfork, if he would guarantee that his first act in office would be to put an end to this conniving bullshit, and STOP. FUCKING. STEALING. OUR. FUCKING. CARS.

Enough, already!

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