After a quick weekend in New York, I'm back debugging and fixing and going to lots of meetings. So this was much appreciated:
Via TPM, the White House has responded to the petition to build a Death Star:
This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
- The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
- The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
- Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
Perhaps the previous administration would have been more amenable?
Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams finds a comparison for Congress:
I've never wanted to run for Congress until now. The job looks boring, but I'm attracted to a system that punishes total strangers for my bad performance. I assume this is some sort of "best practice" that our government is borrowing from a successful system elsewhere. So starting today, if you tell me you don't like my blog, I will pay a stranger to kick another stranger in the nads. If Congress is right about the trigger concept, you should see a big improvement in my blogging performance. I'm all about incentives.
There's a Wally-esque genius to this budget trigger concept. It actually solves Congress' biggest problem, namely that doing anything that is balanced and appropriate for the country renders a politician unelectable. Republicans can't vote for tax increases and get reelected while Democrats can't cut social services and keep their jobs. But don't cry for Congress because this isn't the sort of problem that can thwart a building full of lawyers. They put their snouts together and cleverly invented a concept - called a trigger - to take the blame for them. This way, both sides can screw their supporters while still blaming the other side. No one has to take responsibility for anything.
He might have a point.
I have just inflicted this on my friends; you're next:
After the "incident" with Esmerelda, the Cathedral of Our Lady in Paris—Notre Dame—needed a new bell-ringer. A man showed up for the job. The bishop in charge of hiring noticed he had no arms. "Pas de problème," said the man. "I hit the bells with my head, like this." He then proceeded to play a magnificent carillon using only his face. As he reached a crescendo, the glorious music reaching out across Paris, he slipped, fell from the bell tower, and died instantly.
The monsignor ran over to the bishop and demanded, "What happened? Who is this man?"
"I don't know," said the bishop, "but his face rings a bell."
The next day, another man showed up to apply for the job. He introduced himself to the bishop, saying, "It was my brother who fell from the tower yesterday. We are all very sad, but our family is one of bell-ringers. I must take his place."
The bishop nodded, but then noticed the new man had no legs. "Pas de problème," said the brother. "Ecoutez." He climbed up to the bell tower using only his massively-powerful arms, then began another carillon, even more glorious than his brother's had been. He swung from rope to rope, in perfect time, sometimes pulling on two or three ropes at once, building to a finale that had the bishop in tears of joy.
As he rang the final bells, he returned to the ground floor, and presented him to the bishop. But before he could speak, he had a massive heart attack, and died instantly.
"Not again!" cried the monsignor. "And who was this man?"
"I don't know," said the bishop, "but he's a dead ringer for his brother."
At least according to the Onion:
...and only four blocks from my house:
The Economist reported this morning that engineers have developed a machine to create bespoke pets:
[A] small Californian company, the Gene Duplication Corporation, based in San Melito, proposes to push the technology to its limits. On Sunday it will announce plans to use 3D printing to make bespoke pets.
GeneDupe, as the firm is known colloquially, has previously focused on the genetic engineering of animals. However Paolo Fril, the company’s boss, is keen to expand into manufacturing them from scratch.
There are still a few technical difficulties to overcome, of course, but Dr Fril plans to start taking orders soon. And he is already looking forward to the firm’s next product, custom-printed boyfriends and girlfriends for those who cannot find the right partner by conventional means—a surprisingly large proportion of the population. If all goes well, these will be available by St Valentine’s day. If not, customers will probably have to wait until April 1st of next year.
In related news, Antonin Scalia pretended to be a lying, partisan hack this week. I'm sure he was making an early April Fool's joke as well.