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... [Apr. 29th, 2017|12:45 am]
xolo
[Tags|]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]

Because nothing betters the lot of the poor quite so effectively as setting fire to busses.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/7850.html
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How the Mighty Have Fallen! [Apr. 27th, 2017|02:21 pm]
xolo
[Tags|]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Kansas: Icarus]

Heh. The Listverse author's guide (http://listverse.com/authors/listverse-author-guide.pdf) now classifies CNN among the "tabloids and fake news sites" that can't be used as citations:

Some sources are always off-limits: tabloids and “Fake News” sites like HuffingtonPost, Buzzfeed, Daily Mail, National Enquirer, The Sun, Mirror, Metro, CNN, Examiner.

It's kind of sad, really. That was once a respected news organization. It was perhaps inevitable, though. Traditional television news is operated at a loss, as a community service, using revenue from the sale of advertising on the entertainment shows. CNN had to sell advertisements on their news shows, which resulted in them skewing more and more towards entertainment presented as news.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/7539.html
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United Airlines Strikes Again [Apr. 27th, 2017|12:45 am]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |discontentdiscontent]
[music |Genesis: The Knife]

United has now managed to kill the World's Largest Rabbit. United apparently has the highest death rate by far for animal passengers in the business. Some animals are unavoidably going to die in transit, and that's just how it is, but United accounts for 40% of all the deaths singlehandedly. I'd not been aware of that, and ATM I think I'm pretty much done flying United, unless there's a major house-cleaning.

*****

I didn't even know you could get rabbits that big. I'd love to cuddle with a bunny that size in the winter. I wonder what the market would be for some sort of guest-house, where you stay overnight and get a giant bunny to snuggle with?

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/7242.html
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Macabre Musings [Apr. 26th, 2017|12:10 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulbloody-minded]

So, with all the fuss being made about Arkansas executing two men in one day, I started to wonder what was the most ever executed by a state in a single day? The federal government, of course, holds the obvious record, with 38 hung in one day at Mankato, MN, after the Dakota uprising in 1862. It was originally scheduled to be 303, but Lincoln put his foot down, and insisted that only indians who had committed rape or murder during the uprising (and not those who had only taken up arms against the government) could be executed.

I'd thought that Texas held the record, sending no fewer than five men to the chair on one famous day in 1924. It turns out that South Carolina also executed five in one day in 1915. In the end, it turns out to be New York, executing seven men on the same day in 1912 (five of them for the same crime - the notorious Croton Reservoir murder) that holds the record.

Interestingly, the second time New York used the electric chair, in July of 1891, they executed four men on the same day. They also executed three brothers in 1903, letting them decide among themselves what order they'd go in.

Ohio's first use of the electric chair, in 1897, was a double event. The prison officials made the two men flip a coin to see who had to go first.

And, oddly enough, in July of 1917, Pennsylvania sent a guy to the chair whose name was unknown. Just one man executed on that day, but he staunchly refused to give his name. They ended up calling him John Nelson on his journey through the courts and prison system, since this was apparently before "John Doe" had become standardized, and the paperwork involved required him to have a name.

*****

So, in reading about executions, I ended up reading a bit as well about the old Ohio State Penitentiary, which used to be right downtowm here. All of Ohio's executions from 1885 to 1963 took place here. They tore it down a few years before I moved here to build the Nationwide Arena, so I never got to tour it. They made the prisoners build it, beginning in 1834, and, it seems that the State House (a magnificent building, with an under-appreciated museum in the basement - they have a preserved rose from Abraham Lincoln's funeral blanket) was built by prisoner labour as well!

The prison building was brick and stone, but built with a wooden roof. This wasn't seen as enabling escapes, since the cells were basically fully-enclosed iron cages. In 1930, they decided to replace the ancient roof, and true to tradition, they used convict labour to do the work. Three of the workers decided to use this opportunity to stage an escape - they concealed an incendiary timebomb amongst the contruction, intended to go off at the end of the day, when everyone was in the mess hall eating dinner, allowing them to escape in the confusion.

Sadly, the proper design of timebombs was not among their criminal proficiencies, so that the fire started much later than intended, after all the prisoners were locked up in their cells for the night. The roof, being nearly a century old and tinder-dry, and coated with tar, went up pretty much like a firework. 322 inmates died, many of them broiled to death by radiant heat from above, just as though they'd been in an oven. It's the third-deadliest structural fire in American history, surpassed only by the Iroquois Theater in 1903, and the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in 1942.

What surprised me, though, was this picture, of the coffins laid out for the mass funeral. I recognize that building. It's the Ag and Hort Building at the State Fairgrounds, and it's still there to this day, largely unchanged. I had no idea it was ever used for something like that. You can see how there's a kind of lightwell visible in the picture. The upper floor of the place is built with an enormous clerestory, and it illuminates the ground floor through that big square well. There seem to be American flags hanging in the lightwell then, as today.

The entire time I've been going there, and I strongly suspect since at least the 1950s, the upper floor is used for an all-you-can-eat buffet during the Fair. That's probably the only restaurant I've ever eaten in that was once used to stage a mass funeral, then. For about the past ten years or so, they've positioned one of those climbing towers in the middle of the light well, so you can watch and cheer on kids climbing it while you eat.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/7142.html
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So, anyway... [Apr. 24th, 2017|10:17 pm]
xolo
[Tags|]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |mischievousmischievous]
[music |Me: It's Execution Time!]

Picture the scene...

A multi-level cell block at a prison. Morose prisoners can be seen sitting on their bunks, or staring through the bars. Suddenly, a door in the foreground bursts open! It's the warden! He strides to the middle of the aisle, faces the far wall in a wide-legged stance, and bellows, "Hey guards! What time is it?"

The double doors at the far end fly open, and the prison guards, parading four abreast, begin to march into the cellblock, wheeling an electric chair, and a gurney. The ones on the outside twirl nooses, like trick lariat performers, and the firing squad juggles their rifles, as they all begin to sing lustily, to the tune of the "Howdy Doody" song;

It's ex-e-cution time! It's execution time!
The judge and jury too!
Have decreed death to you!
Today's your final day!
Now for your crimes you'll pay!
It's execution time! It's execution time!

That so needs to be an animation.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/6759.html
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There's a Killer on the Road [Apr. 17th, 2017|12:10 am]
xolo
[Tags|]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulsafe]
[music |Zager and Evans: 2525]

So, we seem to have a psycho on the loose. Cleveland's about two hours north of us, but even here, I saw an absolute ton of police cars out and about today.

If you're in the area, he's reported to drive a white Ford Fusion with Ohio temp tag #363630.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/6551.html
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And... [Apr. 14th, 2017|10:58 pm]
xolo
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Taxes done and submitted. I let Ohio keep my refund to spend on rehabilitating wounded soldiers. The feds don't give you that option.

*****

And... ZOMG! Kansas released a new album last year! I hadn't known. I shall have one of those. It's even got a bird on the cover.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/6165.html
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Telegram [Apr. 14th, 2017|10:50 pm]
xolo
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Kansas: Angels Have Fallen]

BTW, I'm @Rain_Gryphon on Telegram, if anyone wants to add me.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/6106.html
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The Unfriendly Skies [Apr. 14th, 2017|10:44 pm]
xolo
[Tags|]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Kansas: The Other Side]

United passenger gets stung by scorpion. I mean, srsly... It's like they've triggered some sort of curse. And I have to wonder, why would you try to pick up a scorpion?

Delta are going to offer up to $9950 to get volunteers to give up their seats. That's dirt cheap compared to what's going to happen to United, I'm sure.

Ordinarily I have a certain sort of cynical detachment to this sort of thing, but this really badly pisses me off, mainly because it was United's own lack of planning that caused it. A passenger shouldn't have to bear the burden of the carrier's mistakes.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/5851.html
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Hoombers Doombers Boombers Three... [Apr. 13th, 2017|07:10 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Genesis: Apocalypse in 9/8]

Mother of All Bombs! I love that it's got an American flag on the nose. I really, really hope that one of the ISIS guys looked up and saw that American flag at the last second. :D

I honestly thought we'd used a couple of these before during the second Iraq War. I distinctly recall reading a story about a huge bomb going off in the distance, and the journalists initially thought that it was a tactical nuke.

All the news outlets are falling all over themselves to characterize this as the "biggest conventional bomb ever used", but it really isn't. The British "Grand Slam" bomb that was used against the Nazis was slightly larger, although probably not as powerful, since it had to penetrate the ground before exploding, hence had a lot of steel in it.

A nice discussion of why the MOAB explodes just above ground level.

*****

News about Enceladus. When I was a child, no-one even knew for sure what the surface of Mars was like. These things just astound me when I stop and reflect on them.

*****

More evidence for the self-awareness of elephants. If we're willing to do completely insane stuff like granting personhood to rivers, why on earth do we still tolerate the abuse and exploitation of elephants, dolphins and apes?

Elephants comfort distressed friends. I've seen something similar with crows. I was watching a family group foraging. They had the usual lookout perched on a lamp post, and then three or four adults and two juveniles working their way through the grass in a loose line abreast. One of the juveniles had something happen - I think possibly stung by a bee. He screeched in distress, and everyone immediately came swarmng over to protect him, even the lookout.

There was a lot of confusion and vocalization, and one of the adults flew back up to take the lookout post (I'm not sure if it was the same one or not), while the rest kind of calmed and reassured the juvenile. After about a minute of that, they spread back out into the forage line again. The juvenile gave a little forlorn squawk and just stood in place as they moved off. I think he was afraid that it was going to happen again. One adult came back and then walked right beside him as they continued searching for food.

When you see stuff like this, it's just so very, very obvious that their emotional life isn't that very different from our own, and that to at least some degree they're reasoning about possibilities based on an internal model of the world. I have very little patience with the type of ethologist who attributes all animal behaviour to instinct.

*****

Someone's built a working spike engine for a single-stage-to-orbit rocket. Last I knew those were just test-bed curiousities. Time marches on.

Original posted at http://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/5484.html
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