Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • It’s Back to the Future Day, and apart from antigravity, well, Marty McFly’s 2015 looks more or less like the one we live in, only with better food and inifinitely worse partisan tribalism. If predicting 19 Jaws sequels is the second-worst worst flub the series made, well, I’m good with that.
  • October 21 is also the day that the Northrop YB-49 flying wing bomber made its debut flight, in 1947. (Thanks to Charlie Martin for the reminder.) The YB-49 is my second-favorite undeployed bomber prototype, after the stunning XB-70 Valkyrie.
  • Here’s a (very) long and detailed essay by a liberal Democrat explaining why he went from being a climate alarmist to a global warming skeptic. Loads of charts and links. I don’t agree with him 100%, but he makes a very sane and mostly politics-free case for caution in pushing “decarbonization.” (Thanks to Charlie Martin for the link.)
  • Far from melting, Greenland is breaking all records for ice growth, having gained 150 billion tons of snow and ice in the last six weeks.
  • Here are 18 useful resources for journalistic fact-checking. Pity that MSM journalists are unwilling to do that sort of thing anymore. (Thanks to Esther Schindler for the link.)
  • The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that scanning books is legal. The court ruled against the Authors Guild in their 2005 class-action suit against Google. The Guild intends to appeal to the Supreme Court. If the Supremes take the case, interesting things could happen. If they don’t, the case is over.
  • The secret history of the Myers-Briggs personality test. I am of three minds about Myers-Briggs. No make that nine. Oh, hell: seventeen.
  • This is probably the best discussion I’ve seen (and certainly the longest) on how and why SFF fandom is actively destroying itself at the same time it’s dying of old age. Read The Whole Thing. Part I. Part II. Part III. (And thanks to Sarah Hoyt for the link.)
  • Also from Sarah: Backyard atomic gardens of the 1950s and very early 1960s. I love the word “atomic.”
  • I love it so much that, having recently bought a midcentury home, I may subscribe to Atomic Ranch Magazine. I’ve begun looking for a Bohr atom model to put on our mantelpiece.
  • From the Elementary Trivia Department: The only way to make pink-tinted glass is to add erbium oxide to it.
  • Thunderbird is getting on my bad side. It regularly pops up a box claiming that it doesn’t have enough disk space to download new messages. My SSD on C: has 83 GB free. My conventional hard drive on D: has 536 GB free. Online reports suggest that Thurderbird has a 2 GB size limit on mail folders. Still researching the issue, but I smell a long integer overflow somewhere.
  • From Rory Modena: A talented writer explains the history of the Star Wars movies, and rewrites some of the clumsier plot elements right before our eyes. A lot of what bothered him blew right past me; I knew it was a pulp film and was in it for the starships and the robots.
  • From Esther Schindler: A Mexican church long sunk at the bottom of a reservoir is emerging from the water due to drought. (This isn’t a rare occurrance; it happened last in 2002.) I kept hearing Debussy’s spooky tone-poem “The Engulfed Cathedral” while reading the article.
  • McDonald’s recently went to a breakfast-all-day menu, to my delight. I’m very fond of their Sausage McMuffin with Egg, which is of modest size and makes a great snack anytime. Alas, adding all the new line items to the menu has caused chaos in some smaller restaurants, and franchise owners are having second thoughts. I doubt McD is facing “imminent collapse” but I’m now wondering how long the new menu will last.


  1. Bruce C. Baker says:

    In re the re-emerging church and the ignorance of the MSM: The newsbabe on the weekend CBS national broadcast called the building a “temple.” Sheesh.

    1. Somewhat weirdly, the sunken church is commonly called the Temple of Santiago, even though that smacks of paganism. See:,_Mexico%29

      1. Bruce C. Baker says:

        I guess we’ll have to give her the benefit of the doubt, then, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that she thinks it was built by the Aztecs–assuming she’s even heard of the Aztecs! 🙂

  2. Tony says:

    But how many Sharknadoe movies do we have? How many did we need?

  3. Rick H says:

    The Flying Wing is a cool design. They have a picture of it in the foyer area of the “Soaring” attraction at California Adventure (Disneyland).

    And it’s why I used a picture of the Flying Wing on that web site test page I made a while back.

    As for ‘weird newscasting’: I was in LA area during the I-5 mudslide thing, and the weather-babe was showing the radar picture of the storm. She had to explain, several times, what the different colors on the radar picture were “light green is for light rain, then the brighter colors like the red and orange show more rain”. It was like she didn’t think anyone in LA knew what a storm radar picture was.

    Good luck with the packing and moving.

  4. Brian Tkatch says:

    Nice MBTI writeup.

    She’s wrong on two counts though. One, that the preference does not change. It does not change. To think it does change is to completely misunderstand what the preference is. Methinks she never read Jacobi’s The Psychology of C G Jung, which explains the lifecycle.

    The second is the gender difference. Jung was very clear about the anima/animus difference, and while not directly affecting how the functions works, it has a overarching affect on character.

    In Gifts Differing, Isabel writes that only Jacobi and van der Hoop “got it”. It’s a shame that so many people who want to understand have never read their books. I stopped reading one book from CAPT because of its sheer ignorance on the topic.

  5. TRX says:

    I always liked the Flying Wing… but it’s like the ekranoplans; a nifty solution to the wrong problem.

    The wing of an airplane is a parasitic element; the fuselage is where the payload is. Fuselages like to be boxy like flying mobile homes for maximum cargo volume. If Northrop had come up with a Flying Fuselage he might have been able to sell some.

    (there are “lifting-body” aircraft, but they tend not to be very efficient as far as the “flying” part goes…)

  6. jim f says:

    I saw the XB70 at Wright Patterson in the musuem when I was there…very cool plane.

  7. David Lang says:

    TRX, with the flying wing design, the fuselage is the wing, and you spread the cargo space out much more than you do in a conventional fuselage design.

    You are assuming that the flying wing is anything close to the same thickness as a regular wing. It’s far closer to the thickness of the normal fuselage.

    Back when the XB49 was designed, the passanger versions that were being discussed had two decks of seating, something like 20 wide and 10 deep. This is much closer to the ideal boxy cargo hold than conventional aircraft.

  8. Bruce C. Baker says:

    Here are a couple of hybrid flying wing/lifting body designs from Vincent Burnelli:

  9. Bruce C. Baker says:

    Oops! Pressed Enter too soon! Burnelli CBY-3:; Burnelli UB-14: .

  10. Rich Rostrom says:

    I read the Siegel essay. It’s very depressing. I don’t know how the enormous institutional momentum behind the CAGW scam can be overcome. It generates huge amounts of money, and it has a tight self-reinforcing grip on intellectual space.

    I concluded a few years ago that “global warming” is an existential threat to human civilization. First, the colossal waste of resources; next, the corruption of science; and finally, the discrediting of science.

    The end state of totalitarianism comes when the people realize that the authorities systematically lie, and no official statement is ever to be trusted. The authorities monopolize discourse, silence dissent, emit their self-serving version of reality, and enforce nominal agreement. But everyone knows that they are speaking lies and nonsense. When the lies and nonsense visibly serve a corrupt agenda, trust is destroyed.

    Public discourse becomes noise, which people ignore. This comes to include everything, even routine useful information. Crackpottery and rumors take over. “The fish rots from the head down.” The poison of distrust seeps into everything. Everyone steals anything they can get, works as little as possible, and no one feels responsible for anything.

    The establishment of science as a source of reliable information took hundreds of years; it’s being squandered in a generation.

    Why is this happening? I think it is a consequence of a change detected by Charles Murray. He looked at the distribution of political self-identification for various population segments as reported in the General Social Survey from 1973 to 2008. What he found was that all segments had been roughly centered around 1973, and that all segment had moved slightly to the right by 2008 – except the Intellectual Upper Class segment, which had skewed well out to the left.

    That’s a problem in itself – but there’s a meta-problem: quis ipsos cogita cogitatores? The intellectual class are the people who think: if they all think the same, no credible dissent is possible. They are, after all, the smart people. And if they all think wrong, the very act of intelligent thought may be discredited.

    It has been noted that in Europe, there is a very strong elite consensus in support of immigration, including lots of problematic Moslem immigrants. No “respectable” politician or party dissents, or even acknowledges the problems. As a result, the main challenges to this consensus are coming from unsavory extremists.

    If, under the banner of “global warming”, the intelllectual class march humanity over a cliff – the reaction could be as violent as in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, or in Jack Cade’s rebellion (as depicted by Shakespeare).

  11. Stickmaker says:

    I like the _Valkyrie_ and I love the flying wing (the jet version could out turn and out climb the early jets flying escort for it) but my favorite bomber is the B-36.

    Six pusher propeller engines. Four turbojets. Four bomb bays. Kitchen. Bunk room. Trolley.

    1. Stickmaker says:

      Argh. “Early jet fighters.”

  12. jic says:

    “This isn’t a rare occurrance; it happened last in 2002.”

    13 years ago? Seems pretty rare to me.

  13. jim f says:

    Your issue with Thunderbird does sound like a mail size issue…we have that problem with Outlook here. To solve it, I regularly move mail into archive folders (of the same name as the non-archives).

  14. TRX says:

    I haven’t seen that problem with Thunderbird. I’m not sure what a “folder” is in this context, but I have mail split across several directories. Three that have been archiving mailing lists for a decade or so are approaching 5Gb. The largest individual files look to be around 250Mb.

    That’s with the Linux version.

  15. Teacher says:

    The Atomic Garden was a part of an interesting scientific dead-end. (Interesting if you’re interested in HPS). You may also remember that Spider Man had radio-active blood, that The Children of Light (aka The Damned) are radioactive, etc. Some versions of the Fantastic Four are created by radiation accidents. This cultural meme reflects an important scientific research effort. There was a problem with the idea of Darwinian Evolution as understood in the ’50s: it was, and always had been, incompatible with the calculated age of the earth. Right from the start there had been ideas about how to fix this problem. Discovery of radio-active heating in the core of the earth extended the amount of time available. Fruit-fly experiments shorted the time required. But the problem was never fixed* (and led, in the 70’s, to the internecine war between the evolutionary biologists and the paleontologists, which the paleontologists won).
    In the 50’s, radiation-induced beneficial mutation was the leading scientific theory for reconciling the amount of time available for Darwinian eveolution and the amount of time required. This idea, that we had evolved to our present human state because of exposure to radiation, informed popular culture, and you still hear echos today.

    (*Modern theories of evolution include more genetic engineering and more revolutionary change, which is to say that they are both scientifically and philosophically slightly different to mid-20th century theories)

  16. Kevin Anetsberger says:

    A great place to go to feed an Atomic Ranch obsession is

  17. Jim Mischel says:

    Your note about Thunderbird’s 2GB limit reminded me of a problem you had some years back. Was it PocoMail or Thunderbird that apparently had a 32K (or was it 64K) limit on the number of messages in a folder?

    1. There was some sort of “barrier” in Poco, which I haven’t used since about 2006 and don’t recall clearly. I scrapped it for T-bird. Granted, I need to archive or delete a lot of this stuff in my inbox, but time’s been short lately. Once we get down south I’m going to set aside a whole day for it. Degunking and all that…

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