Tag Archives: Blogs

Tap room 500 error

As a one time denizen of the Raccoon Arms comment threads, I pop back occasionally to see if Petunia Winegum has finished with his remodel to make it ‘The Tap Room’. Despite multiple cache flushes I was getting a maintenance page, but now I’m getting a 500 Error.

Anyone out there know what’s happening?

Update: Now it’s back to ‘The Tap Room is down’ again.  How very curious.

Monday 11th January:  Database error.

Something for everyone

Over at Leg-Irons a couple of days ago, I happened to mention that there was such a thing as a ‘Bondage Barbie‘. Specifically a Barbie doll into whips, chains, ball gags and all the impedimenta of certain sexual proclivities. Hell, whatever floats ones boat, as I have learned to accept. So just to amuse myself I googled ‘Bondage Barbie’ and good grief! My eyebrows shot half way up my forehead and I had to step away from the keyboard for a while. I mean, it’s not what I’d want to find in my seasonal stocking, if I actually wore that sort of thing, but then I’m boring like that.

bondage barbiesApparently the whole ‘Bondage Barbie’ meme been a minority fetish since the 90’s and early 00’s since a certain Ms Pitt, doll and dressmaker first tried to commercialise the concept. Something which Mattel, who market the mainstream version of said childs toy, strongly objected to on copyright grounds. It’s very big in some circles, allegedly.

However, I suppose the wrist cuffs and latex malarkey could be construed as aftermarket adaptations, therefore strict copyright infringement is probably a bit of a reach. You might make a product, but if someone else chooses to adapt it for a particular application, you can’t tell them what colour it can be repainted. So long as they don’t come back to you for a warranty refund after modification, that’s fine.

All this on its own might seem odd, and that’s without getting into the whole ‘Cosplay‘ thing, where fans of various TV programs and movies dress up in (often highly revealing) costumes based on their favourite character. Very popular at Science Fiction conventions and events like comic-con‘s ‘Maskerade’ where only the very staid dress up as Captain Picard or Mr Worf, where other more adventurous types prefer to dress up like Barbarian heroes and heroines with lots of flesh and much less loincloth. Which some might find a little weird when such role playing is (inevitably) carried into the bedroom, but chacun à son goût. There have even been Star Wars themed Church services and Las Vegas (of course) can cater for Intergalactic Weddings. So I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised.

Which can get some folk’s panties in a bunch but nowadays my only reaction to that sort of costume is “Don’t you feel a little cold?”

Public conversations

Got into a minor spat on a Youtube comments thread about Nuclear Fusion a few days ago. A couple of guys were repeating the “ITER will give us Fusion in four years” mantra so I pitched the alternative view to them. Needless to say, they just regurgitated figures culled from press releases at me, and thought that I was just trollishly trying to wind them up. Which wasn’t true, by the way. Life is too short, and I have one. A life that is.

Now what I am is a fan of cutting edge science. The real thing, not the output of breathlessly over optimistic (or pessimistic) press releases. I want us to have Nuclear powered space ships plying their way out to far flung solar systems at multiples of light speed, taking humanity away from the nursery of the dear blue Earth to a greater destiny amongst the stars. When I was a boy we were promised flying cars, unlimited electricity, better house building, space travel, and colonies on the Moon and Mars and I truly did want to believe in a better life from technology, but I don’t believe in Nuclear Fusion created by ITER for one really good reason; it’s based on an archaic Soviet Tokamak design.

ITER Tokamak cutaway diagramNow Tokamaks can produce nuclear fusion, this much is true, but because of one flaw that even a fool such as I can see, ITER or its spin offs will never deliver as a generator of fusion power. Why? Put simply, shockwaves. Let me enlarge. In the late 1990’s I was watching a BBC documentary / news item, and was enthusiastic, nay excited to hear, that the Joint European Torus lab near Oxford had actually achieved nuclear fusion. With a Tokamak. Wow. The documentary showed the pressurisation and heating of the plasma until some of it fused and went ‘bang!’ in a very controlled and genteel manner (Well, the JET is near Oxford.) Until quite a while later, I too believed (back in the early 2000’s) that we were but four short years away from cheap Fusion power for all and only the Eeevil coal, oil and gas interests were standing in the way. Then I came across the theory of Tokamak fusion and the plasma physics needed to make it work. While I was reading the various texts and diagrams, I recalled how the fusion detonation shown on the broadcast had propagated through the torus containment field and tried to reconcile the theory behind Tokamaks with what I’d seen. My heart immediately sank. From that moment on I knew Tokamaks would never be mankind’s wonder-producer of limitless energy for one simple reason; when the plasma fuses, part of it literally explodes, sending shockwaves through the superheated plasma torus. This disrupts the containment designed to feed fresh deuterium and tritium into the plasma to be pressurised and fused in a controlled manner. When the flows and containment are disrupted by the initial fusion shockwave and Electro-Magnetic Pulse generated by the detonation, further fusion cannot take place until the plasma has stabilised, so all you get is a single bang and that’s that. That’s without controlling all the ELM’s and like phenomena associated with Tokamak fusion devices. I’m not the only person who thinks like this. For a more academically sound source, try here.

If anyone thinks that the aforementioned makes me a believer in ‘Cold’ fusion, think again. ‘Cold’ fusion was a false positive generated by a faulty experimental model. End of. Which was a shame, but there you go. Same for the sonoluminesence ‘star in a jar’ concept. Would that it were not so, but as one of my old lecturers from my first year in Engineering college told me when I was trying to make a special radius cut with the wrong tool and vice setup on a vertical milling machine; “You can wish all you like, but that won’t make it work.” Like reaction drives (rockets) won’t even get us close to the speed of light. Sad but true.

“Okay-mister-know-it-all-brainbox” my critics might be tempted to say, “why don’t you give us your answer?” My answer is; I really don’t know. All I do know is that things that work have underlying processes. Life is a process. Put all the processes, digestion (Fuel), respiration (oxidiser), heatbeat (circulation) and electro-chemical signals (control) etcetera together and you get organic life. A four stroke internal combustion engine works because underlying its operation is a series of repeatable processes. Atomise and detonate a mixture of explosive gas in a closed chamber to drive a piston which in turn pushes a crankshaft translating the pressure of the fuel air mix explosion from a linear impulse into rotary motion. Inject, pressurise, detonate, exhaust, repeat. A process. Turbines work because superheated steam or hot gas is made to drive impeller blades around a central axis. That forms a continuous process. All Tokamak fusion can currently deliver is a single bang-in-a-bottle. Which can be a bit of a let down and not really viable as a sustainable generator of electricity. Like trying to have a gunpowder driven Internal Combustion Engine. Possible, but there are too many issues.

Like so many others I fear we will never see the bright future we were promised and so eagerly anticipated. Tokamaks are like electric cars and wind turbines, a technological dead end, pointless exercises in turd polishing. It’s hard not to feel more than a little cheated of a bright technological future that might have been. If only.

Now Lockheed Martin have an intriguing High Beta concept for hot fusion and based upon my (fairly limited) understanding, I also feel the Polywell concept has elements worthy of further investigation, but all the big ‘hot fusion’ money is going into ITER. Which is what happens when the purse strings are in the hands of politicians who really don’t understand the issues. Heavy sigh.

Of course I could be wrong, and the ITER team might just make their new version of the Tokamak work without all the plasma arcing and scouring issues. One day they might get all the fuel input and field containment equations right and their big dream will crackle into seemingly miraculous life and continuously produce a thousand times the energy it takes to fire up, but I don’t see that day coming any time soon. Which is disappointing, as despite my misgivings I’d dearly love the project to be a success. Such is life.

On a happier note, Youngest just got offered (and has accepted) a proper solicitors contract by the law practice she recently joined. Mrs S and I have been doing the dance of joy all morning. Eldest has also just bagged a primo job in Africa helping project manage a major mobile data comms infrastructure roll out. There is much smugness chez Sticker at present. Which is nice.

On ‘Drive by’ commenting

There are people on various comment threads who accuse others of making ‘drive by’ comments. Asking a question or making a comment and not responding to any replies. Which is an online sin, if that is what it is, that I will honestly put my hands up to.

Truth of the matter is that I simply don’t have the time to respond (I have a life) or consider a given riposte to be either not worthy of my attention or even a worthless troll feeding exercise. Even with my reading speed (1200-1450 words per minute), there’s simply too much out there in jolly old Interwebland and that’s not even without delving into works like ‘Sapiens‘ which requires more careful word by word examination or my work related reading and college studies. I’m working my way towards a college degree, so shoot me.

Ergo, if I have not replied to any witty online epistles or lackwit attempts at badinage it’s because my plate of life is currently a little full, so don’t hold your breath. On the other hand, I could think of certain people I’d like to watch trying. To hold their breath, that is…… (Insert low key evil chuckle here)

In the meantime you’ll be stuck with the Igors holding the fort. So have fun and play nice.

Admin changes

Just a quickie; as many regular readers (Either of you) have observed, the quantity of posts has been in decline for some time. Mostly because I’ve sarked most of I want to sarc about the apparent insanity of the world and how it is reported upon.

Now before the sackcloth and ashes come out, I’ve decided to hand over the day to day duties of posting to the Duty Igor at the Bill Sticker Institute of whatever it happens to be this week. I may chime in the odd contribution now and again, but the Igors (A smile, a quip and a little freelance brain surgery) will be taking over the main posting duties from now on. The boys have informally agreed to try and increase the humour and satirical quotient of this blog but keep the main thrust of editorial policy intact.

N.B. Igors are a little rough around the edges (It’s the stitching) and tend to lisp a lot, but you can trust them with your afterlife. Until of course the mob arrives with torches, then they’ll be away on their tootsies faster than you can blink. Well, that’s my problem and nobody else’s. Please return any wayward monsters you may find to your local branch of the S.P.C.M.E. (Society for the Protection and Care of Monstrous Entities)

TTFN

Bill

Black Friday…….

What’s the old Steely Dan number that’s been running through my head all morning? Oh yes, ‘Black Friday’. How does it begin? There’s that lovely, distinctly Steely Dan style keyboard riff to open and four or five bars in launching into the song; “When Black Friday comes / I’ll stand down by the door / And catch the grey men when they / Dive from the fourteenth floor”

This is the day for traditionally queueing up outside the big box stores to indulge in a bit of rampant overspending, maxing out those credit cards in the pre Xmas sales, and perhaps trampling the odd fellow shopper or innocent member of staff. Yet today my thoughts are perturbed by the news that Anna, Gildas, and Petunia at the Raccoon Arms are apparently hanging up their keyboards. Thus I will forego my desperation for that must-have discount on a multipurpose slow cooker / egg poacher / toasting machine to think out loud about their tireless dig for the evidence of truth.

End of the raccoon arms Being a natural sceptic, I’ve seen too much of what is presented in the lamestream media as ‘fact’ found wanting when it comes to real evidence. Instead of real journalism, what we seem to get is regurgitated press releases from people with a bigger agenda than the Committee for Really Screwing up Big Projects Again. Retrospective ‘Justice’ demanded by the mentally unstable with faulty memories for what was not an ‘offence’ over thirty years ago. The pursuance of petty grievances more realistically suited for a programme like the offensively lowbrow Jeremy Kyle show on British daytime TV “He touched my arm in 1979 and I’ve been peculiar ever since.” Anna, Gildas, Pet and friends had the experience and training needed to cut to the chase and expose the glaring lack of evidence. They brought their rationality to bear on the seeming juggernaut of lies daily presented as ‘facts’ in the media when faced with the angry, pointing denouncements of the unthinking mob.

Unfortunately we humans are not rational beings. If we were there would be fewer wars, less violence, fewer threats and perhaps we could turn our species’ boundless energetic curiosity to take us out beyond the stars, just to see what’s out there. To follow in the footsteps of our gods rather than kneel under the rule of priests. Instead we find ourselves perennially grubbing in a mud wallow of our own making, unable or unwilling to look upwards and outwards. Preferring the lowest common denominator of our own natures to that great expansionist impulse that could take our species onwards and upwards. Repeating the same old errors in the same old ways without seeming to learn very much. Sheltering under the umbrella of unreason, because comforting untruths are always preferred to feeling the refreshing rain of reality wash our spirits clean. Letting ourselves be ruled by habit rather than reason. Using the primitive Thalamus rather than our more highly evolved frontal lobes.

What’s worse is that we let people with an agenda build labels, those petty little mental fortresses built of words, or try to wall others in by projecting their worse natures onto them. Not only that, we apply these labels to ourselves; conservative, liberal, anarchist, communist etcetera. Not seeming to realise that applying a label is to paint a bloody big target on your position so the heavy artillery of propaganda and untruth, from all sides, can find you more easily. Anna and friends bravely planted a flag in their patch of sand and stood up for what they felt was real, questioning every piece of evidence, word by word, point by point. Questioning the main narratives. Defiantly refusing to be cowed by those who thought shouting the loudest and making sniping personal attacks made them right. For that alone the Anna Raccoon bar staff and some of the crowd in the Snug (a.k.a the Comments threads) all deserve medals. I hope that this time around they leave the site up as an archive rather than delete it all. At least while the domain name and hosting payments remain up to date.

Now I know very few people will ever bother to read and try to digest what I’ve written here. Most of those that do will think that Bill is going off on one yet again, and perhaps I am. It’s just my opinion about a far more worthy blog, and in the court of human words that doesn’t amount to much, except to me. But perhaps that is all that really counts.

Update: Looks like it’s not so much an end but a new beginning.  Whilst the Landlady (The eponymous Anna) has retired and Gildas also, Petunia is keeping the ball rolling in his own inimitable style in a new place called ‘The Tap room’.  Blogroll amended.

About that ‘about’ form

Minor technical hitch. All the missives thus entered via my ‘contact me’ widget have been getting sucked over the event horizon of the sites spam filter for some reason. This matter has now been corrected and those affected who were kind enough to communicate with purpose have received email apologies. Everyone else demanding my time without giving good enough reason are being studiously ignored.

Oh yes, my playlist of young ladies getting their kit off artistically increases daily. One even has a highly novel way of lighting a cigar. Yes, that’s why it’s in a sidebar section called ‘Not Safe For Work’. For those who say this is sexist, I reply, so what? There is nothing stopping you putting together your own playlists together on whatever topic you please.

Orphans down and up again

Dropped by ‘Orphans of Liberty‘ this AM to see what Julia, James and Mike have been digging up, only to be diverted to some nonsense pet site about dogs. It’s not the first time the site has been interfered with to my certain knowledge. Apparently someone who doesn’t like what they say over at Ool and instead of simply passing on by, did the petulant toddler thing and diverted all incoming web traffic to another site. Which is very mature and sensible isn’t it? The Violet Elizabeth (“I’ll thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick”) approach to web discourse. “I don’t like what you say, so I’m going to shut you up!” Giving us an insight into the alleged saboteurs state of mind, or lack thereof.

As for sabotage, there are whole ‘how to’ sections on how to sabotage a web site out there in Interwebland, and you don’t need much in the way of brains to use them. As anyone who has worked in tech support knows, any bloody fool can and often does screw up a system, but it takes real brains to fix the temporary chaos they create.

Notwithstanding, upon discovering the divert I dropped Julia and James a quick email to let them know something was amiss, and by the time I finish typing this post all should be well once more. Which it is. As a one time contributor, I have the greatest respect for ‘Orphans’ and what they’re trying to say. Working on the premise that if someone is trying to shut them up, I think perhaps they’ve hit a nerve. Far from deterring their efforts, it should encourage a more spirited effort at finding out what it is some cretinous arsehole doesn’t want discussed in public.

I know this comes from the church of stating the bleeding obvious, but if anyone disagrees or takes issue with what others say on a blog, that’s for the comments. The idea being to make a point in a cogent or even witty manner, and perhaps people will listen to what you have to say. To discuss, debate, examine and dissect. Simply shouting others down or sabotaging the blog simply makes the saboteur look like an incoherent ignorant dickhead with all the social graces of an incontinent three year old with Alzheimer’s. Because in the final analysis what has he or she done? Created a temporary annoyance, that’s all. Regular readers will come back after the temporary glitch is fixed and the saboteur has achieved precisely nothing, well, apart from increase the blogs readership. Why? Everyone likes a little drama, and will turn up just to see if there’s any blood on the carpet, figuratively speaking.

No doubt the offender will break cover in a fit of characteristic vaingloriousness, they always do, but all they’ve actually done is proved to everyone else is what a total cunt they are. It’s so very, very sad and so are they. Time for breakfast.

Sometimes……..

Those of us who blog are often accused of being “Some guy in their Mom’s basement who lives in their pyjama’s.” by ‘professional journalists’.

Now I wish to make a clear and unequivocal statement to distance myself from this foul calumny. I do not live with my Mother (as followers of this blog know, she passed away last year and I have not lived with my parents for many years). Furthermore, my Mother never had a basement. Garden sheds, yes. Attics, yes. Basements no. Mrs S and I did have one basement in our last UK property, but that subterranean space was used as the laundry room and as an occasional workshop. With the advent of Wi-Fi, I’ve even blogged from the conservatory, and yes, our garden shed when the kids were having a party. Besides, our last house was an old Victorian building and far too damp for electronics. In addition to which is our mutual dislike of dankness, we prefer the sunshine. Yes, I will occasionally concede that I have written partial posts and managed comment threads whilst in my dressing gown and PJ’s, but 99% of the time I am properly attired for the days travails.

However, here’s a challenge; ‘Like’ this post if you’ve ever blogged naked.

No pictures, animated Gifs or video clips in the comments please. This isn’t Tumblr.

Oddities and space

I’ve never understood why certain people feel compelled to approach obviously busy strangers simply to indulge in ‘social’ chatter. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I like my personal space. Especially when working. To totally focus on a task to the exclusion of all else, detesting unnecessary distraction. I’m not totally asocial, I’m just picky, that’s all. Life has taught me that not all conversations are safe. Got something meaningful to say? Unload your soul in the comments (if you must), it’s what they’re there for. I may reply. I may not. Depends how busy I am. Yeah, I’m a party pooper, so don’t invite me, okay?

While the kids were growing up I made allowances, and always tried to respond to their anxieties / questions, hug when needed, and sometimes exercise extra care when getting up in the morning as Youngest had a habit of sneaking into our bedroom and sleeping on the floor next to our bed. Poor lamb, I almost trod on her one morning when I was new to the game of married life and every day was an ‘adventure’. Those were the days, eh, Bill? Clucking bell. Never mind, despite all the humps and bumps, both stepkids have turned out relatively okay, and I love them both dearly, so maybe I got it right. For a given value of ‘right’.

The future of social mediaOtherwise the whole multi tasking thing has rather passed me by, apart from when I’m cooking. It’s probably why I killed off my Farcebook account (twice), and while I do have a Twitter feed and ID, never Tweet. Why? Because they’re both time killers, distractions. Filling up empty lives with fluff and replacing actual thought. Hmm. Now there’s an interesting notion. Maybe social media will eventually evolve into some kind of electronic hive-mind for the ‘connected’, leaving them wide open to manipulation. An unwitting zombie army to be directed onto non participating ‘unbelievers’ or ‘deniers’ who don’t agree with the goals of the manipulators. I’m sure Leg Iron could twist that into one of his excellent scary stories or use the concept to taunt one of his drone co-workers.

As for me. Others might consider my relative standoffishness odd, but I’ll give the whole social chatter thing the go-by. Life is too short, and I have a flight to catch.