Open Thread for Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I hope Breakthrough Initiatives doesn’t mind my using this image of a “Starchip” on its way to another star system.

Once, I had to come up with a front page every day whether there was news or not. Now, if there really isn’t enough front-worthy news out there, I can do an Open Thread instead. It’s liberating. No need to find a lede! Nothing even has to be important!…

  1. Forget Starships: New Proposal Would Use ‘Starchips’ To Visit Alpha Centauri — This NPR story is very cool. It seems according to Stephen Hawking this other guy, before too much longer we should be able to send tiny, postage-stamp sized probes to other star systems, using sails (check it out, Brian) and lasers. And they’d get there in about 20 years. We’d send bunches of them, to make sure some made it. Interestingly, there are several different artists’ conceptions of what this craft would look like, such as this one.
  2. Despite Party Pleas, Ryan Rules Out Presidential Bid — That’s OK, I wasn’t holding my breath for this anyway. Besides, I think he’s doing a passable job as speaker thus far. Let him stick to that — if, you know, the GOP can hang onto the House when their nominee is Trump or Cruz.
  3. This white nationalist shoved a Trump protester. He may be the next David Duke. — Interesting piece on a guy who’s gone off the deep end.
  4. STIs may have driven ancient humans to monogamy, study says — Well, yeah… and maybe to drink as well. Because this was right about the time we invented beer. “STI,” by the way, is Brit for STD. This is from The Guardian.

22 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You know, I get that a lot from people, and I find it hard to understand.

      I mean, why does criticism of Trump make some people think of Clinton? He’s not running against Clinton; he’s running against Cruz and Kasich.

      And yet no one ever says, “Anti-Trump comments nearly daily, not seen here are anti-Cruz comments.” Which would have a certain logic to it, if you’re the sort of person who sees the world as a partisan, in tit-for-tat terms.

      But it’s always Clinton…

      And I suppose it’s coming from people who haven’t read this blog over the years, else they would have seen plenty about Hillary…

  1. Bryan Caskey

    So all we need is some super powerful highly accurate lasers to shoot millions of miles, huh?

    CENTCOM would be interested in that. In addition to lasers that shoot out into space, could we get a few to shoot down into…say…Raqqa on some people who are being somewhat annoying?

    No boots on the ground, my friends. Just some good ol’ fashioned lasers.

  2. Doug Ross

    Nate Silver’s 538 Blog has Trump at >99% chance of winning New York and 84% chance of winning Pennsylvania. Kasich is at 4% chance of winning. He’s done in two weeks.

    1. Howard

      He was done two months ago, he just refuses to admit it. He’s going to hold out for the convention, because he thinks people will change their minds and he’ll be the Republican nominee. Do we really want someone this delusional as President?

      1. Mark Stewart

        Vs. the two Narcissists ahead of him in the delegate count?

        Yes, I know most people who run for President probably have some Narcissism, but I don’t think the country has every seen the likes of these two from a major party. We aren’t talking about great leaders who rise to the challenge here; we have deeply flawed candidates who are liabilities even to themselves.

        1. Doug Ross

          Except the two narcissists have the most votes by far and Kasich has had ample opportunity to demonstrate to Republican voters why he should be the nominee. more than 90% of the voters outside his own state say he’s not who they want. He’d be better off begging Cruz for a VP spot. That’s as close as he’ll ever get to the White House.

        2. Claus

          Do you consider Hillary Clinton narcissistic? Is she any better (or worse) than Trump or Cruz?

  3. Howard

    SC Dept. of Education has approved a 10-point grading scale. So now you don’t get an F for a grade of 74, you get a C. This is going to make SC students smarter.

    1. Doug Ross

      But they will feel better about themselves and that is the most important thing. Give ’em all 100’s, I say! We’re all the same and it’s not fair that some people get higher grades based on intelligence and effort.

      1. Claus

        Why not go with the Benedict College grading scale. 90-100 = A, 80-89 = B, 0-79 = C if you showed up for class. That’s one way to improve graduation rates.

    2. Bart

      What else is new? Years ago, students were “passed” so they could stay with their peers so they wouldn’t feel inadequate or like a failure. Never mind that they couldn’t read beyond a 3rd grade level or do simple math, they still received a diploma along with their classmates. This was policy and not hearsay. A former principal confirmed it was policy.

      You can bet the same practice and policy is still in effect today.

      Pink Floyd’s song, “Another Brick In The Wall”, seems appropos to our current educational system. “We don’t need no education…..”

      1. Phillip

        USC doesn’t allow “minus” grades, which seems to me to have a grade-inflating effect. If your numerical average lies in the low-B range, just above a C, your professor has to give you a B, it is literally not an option in the grade entry system to give a B-minus, for example.

        There are many intelligent people working in the administration at this university, but I cannot for the life of me understand the reasoning this was instituted here: every single semester I find it frustrating.

        1. Doug Ross

          If the in-state students keep a 3.0, they keep the lottery scholarship money going for another year.

  4. Doug Ross

    The Nerve once again exposes a huge corruption scheme in the Richland County Recreation Commission. It’s got everything: kickbacks, nepotism, sexual harrassment. Even Joel Lourie is jumping in now that the reports have surfaced. Is there any part of the local government that isn’t corrupt?

    ” Senator Joel Lourie, along with Representatives James Smith and Beth Bernstein, have asked for this investigation in the wake of media reports by The Nerve today regarding improper activity at the commission. “We have asked Sheriff Lott to coordinate with State and Federal authorities and pursue a thorough investigation of all actions of the director and any commission members that may have violated the law,” said Lourie.”

    1. Doug Ross

      From the story — will ANYONE be fired for this obvious case of unethical behavior?

      “Regarding family, when objections were raised by board member Wilbert Lewis last year about nepotism at the recreation commission, Brown had Stringer propose changes to commission policy governing the employment of relatives (policy No. 070).

      At the Jan. 25 regular board meeting, Stringer proposed adding an addendum to the policy with language taken directly from the S.C. Ethics Commission that narrowly defines “immediate family member” as referring only to a child residing in the public employee’s household, a spouse or a dependent.

      None of Brown’s immediate family who work at the recreation commission – son James (director of recreation), daughter Tiffani (manager of the Garners Ferry Technology Center) and brother Jeff (manager of the Adult Activity Center on Parklane Road) – meet that definition.

      Nor do Brown’s son’s soon-to-be father-in-law, brother-in-law and cousin-in-law or Brown’s three nieces, all of whom have full- or part-time jobs with the recreation commission.”

      1. Doug Ross

        The big question is whether The State will ignore another story investigated and reported by The Nerve.

  5. JesseS

    SPLC considers anyone who gets their attention for more than 5 minutes the “New David Duke”. Even Mother Jones has started taking them to task for being a bit too zealous in firing off storm(font) warnings.

    On the whole they probably have given fringe racist organizations more members than they’ve helped dissuade. Baptists & Bootleggers.

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