Most Everyone Should STFU about Printable Guns

Published at 17:52 on 31 July 2018

Printed plastic “guns” are a fucking joke. That’s because any plastic that a 3D printer can print with is way way way too weak to contain the energy produced by the burning powder sufficiently to impart significant force onto a projectile.

In order to make a firearm, you want metal. Some pieces of steel plumbing pipe from the hardware store will work far better than printed plastic. It’s been possible to make firearms from that ever since hardware stores have been selling steel pipe. The result is called a zip gun.

Read what I posted back in 2013 first (including the linked article) before you run off the rails about either a new level of threat due to unregulated gun ownership or a new level of liberty due to the newfound impossibility of regulating guns.

And I’m Back

Published at 18:00 on 30 July 2018

Since the main focus of the trip was for volunteer work, which is actually work (just because work is unpaid does not mean it is not work), there is paperwork to fill out.

Encouraged by others, I decided to give the electronic versions of the paperwork a try. They’re all Microsoft Word documents, of course. Despite Word being a mediocre typesetting program, and being properiety, and being expensive, it is what virtually everyone uses. And may I add much to my annoyance due to the previously mentioned factors.

“Just use Open Office” they said when I mentioned not having (nor wanting to squander money on) Microsoft Word. I should have realized what the outcome of that exercise would be, but me being generous to a fault, I gave it a try.

Naturally it was an exercise in revealing just how low most people’s standards are when it comes to document layout. Neither Word, nor Preview, nor Open Office rendered the forms properly. All made messes of the layout which rendered any attempts at filling them out ambiguous. That may not matter to most, but it does matter to me: I don’t want my submitted forms to simply result in back-and-forths with multiple clarifying questions (or, worse yet, incorrect data being entered).

Three strikes and electronic document submission is out. I ended up printing the form out and filling it in by hand, as usual.

Another Road Trip

Published at 13:30 on 24 July 2018

Also to eastern Washington, also partially for botanical survey reasons, also because since I’m going on the long drive for the botanical survey, I might as well see and do other stuff on the way.

This includes revisiting a favorite campsite of mine, and hopefully checking out other campsites that might be of use for seeing upcoming the Perseid meteor shower. That favorite campsite of mine is on a very rough road; for the meteor shower I want to be on a road that any old passenger car can safely traverse, because it is going to be a group event.

Why Are So Many Libertarians So Fucking Useless?

Published at 17:23 on 23 July 2018

Exhibit A: Rand Paul (R-KY) recently asked the Trump regime to engage in politically-motivated retaliation against critics with security clearances:

Sanders made the announcement shortly after Trump met with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said earlier Monday that he planned to ask the president to revoke Brennan’s clearance [emphasis added]. The former CIA director under Obama last week described Trump’s performance at his summit with Putin in Helsinki as “treasonous” and said Trump showed he was “wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

And I’m erring on the side of being kind by calling Paul “useless;” “enemy” might be a more accurate description here, given that just sitting silent and doing nothing while someone else advocated the retaliations would be a more accurate use for “useless.” Paul isn’t just sitting silent; he’s taking an active and leading role in the whole ugly matter.

My theory relates to capitalism: when push comes to shove, it’s an anti-liberty system, because capitalist firms are almost always authoritarian. Once you start preaching that it’s OK for bosses to boss people, and the rich to control and manipulate the non-rich, you’re no longer advocating for liberty. It’s a relatively small step to go from there to advocating for other forms of oppressive behavior.

Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Published at 12:03 on 22 July 2018

Tall Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquifolium. Fruit on the bush.
Harvested fruit.
Fruit processed into jam.

Tall Oregon Grapes (Mahonia aquifolium) are now ripe.

They are edible, but they are also sour, so they tend to be best used as an ingredient for sweetened dishes, rather then eaten as-is. I have however learned that if they are fully ripe (which means not just so dark they are nearly black under their waxy bloom, but actually starting to shrivel), they actually are palatable when eaten plain. For making jelly or jam, however, you naturally want them to be plump and juicy.

There are actually two species of Oregon Grape on the Island, the other one being the Long-Leaved Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa). As their names imply, the Tall Oregon Grape is the taller-growing of the two, while the Long-Leaved Oregon Grape has longer leaves containing many more leaflets. The two also grow in different environments: the Tall growing in open, sunny spots and the Long-Leaved growing as an understory plant in forests.

Of the two, it tends to be easiest to make harvests of the Tall Oregon Grape’s fruits, because it tends to fruit more heavily than the Long-Leaved Oregon Grape.

The inner bark of both our Oregon Grapes is bright yellow, due to the presence of the alkaloid berberine, which has long found traditional use as a yellow dye. Berberine-containing extracts of these and related plants have also been used traditionally for anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-fever, and other properties. This compound is currently the subject of mainstream medical research; it has already been demonstrated to be therapeutic for diabetes.

Trump Is Without Doubt a Putin Puppet

Published at 13:26 on 17 July 2018

The debate at this stage is no longer whether or not Trump is a Putin puppet. It is over what sort of Putin puppet he is: one who is on some level conscious of his status and willingly letting himself be manipulated, or one so oblivious as to not be aware of it.

Helsinki: No Surprise

Published at 19:02 on 16 July 2018

It’s been obvious to me for well over a year that the most simple available explanation for Trump’s behavior is that he is a Putin puppet, and in Helsinki he acted precisely as a Putin puppet would be expected to act.

My only surprise is why so many other people, mostly longtime anti-Trumpers, are surprised. My guess is related to my own radicalism: it’s not emotionally very expensive or difficult for me to put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4, because I believe the bourgeois state is basically a steaming load anyhow. However, for someone more personally invested in the system, it is very painful to consider this possibility, and people tend to want to avoid emotional pain.

But, eventually, enough straws will break the camel’s back, and I must admit that what happened in Helsinki today was quite a load of straw.

Airbnb is a Bigot-Friendly Platform

Published at 17:59 on 16 July 2018

Why? It requires people to register using their real names, and encourages them to post their photo in their profile. I doubt they intended it do be bigot-friendly, but intent matters little: it is bigot-friendly.

More than likely Airbnb’s awful design is the result of the privileged, affluent, mostly white “tech bro” culture: Airbnb’s designers weren’t even aware of the bigotry problem when they designed the platform. And to the extent they are aware, they seem to be in denial about how serious the problem is:

“The photos are on the platform for a reason,” King said. “It really does help to aid in the trust between the guest and the host . . . You want to make sure that the guest who shows up at your door is the person you’ve been communicating with.”

The problem is so common and pervasive that there’s even a phrase for it: “Airbnb while Black.”

Thankfully, there seem to be better alternatives such as, a site started by a Black guy after he ran into discrimination on Airbnb.