Saturday, July 30, 2016

Never Let The Facts Get In The Way Of A Good Story, Wot?

The British Press provided a lovely demonstration of the efficacy of professional journalists and fact-checkers when they ran an article revealing their rather complete ignorance of things nautical.

It was a perfect convergence of journalist's ignorance matching their worldview and giving them a story that they could get some outrage and headlines over - waste by the defense sector.

However, even anyone with a passing familiarity with the subject could have pointed out they were all wet.

Legions of fact-checkers and editors really bombed on this one.

Sofrep News: British press freak out – Inept media believes naval 5-inch guns are literally 5-inch guns

A British tabloid made an embarrassing error Friday, writing a hysterical piece that incorrectly reported the Defence Ministry had paid hundreds of millions of pounds to buy a five-inch-long gun.

“We just blew £183m on a five-inch gun, but it’s ‘a good value for taxpayers,’” read the outraged headline from The Daily Star. The subheadline also reinforced that the author believed the gun was literally five inches, calling it “the length of a toothbrush.”

The only problem? Five-inch guns are named after their caliber, not their length. They shoot munitions that are five inches in diameter, meaning the guns themselves are necessarily huge.

Yes, the Daily Star was in high dudgeon that their navy had spent millions of pounds on guns they claimed to be the size of toothbrushes. Unoftunately for the Daily Star, they're not.

Did no one there even open a copy of Jane's Fighting Ships before running with the story? I mean, it's the ultimate reference guide to the subject made by the British fer crying out loud, and they didn't think to check before accusing their own Ministry of Defence of wasting funds on toothbrush-sized guns?

Instead of issuing a correction for their faux pas, the Star simply changed the article once their ignorance was pointed out, while slightly changing the headline.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sometimes A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Or just one.

Horsing Around

We've met up with our relatives for our annual get together. Yesterday we took the three younger cousins for a horse riding lesson. Two of the older cousins came along to observe.

First they met the horse they would ride:

Apollo, a rather gentle horse around kids, but the alpha of the horse herd at the stable.

They also met Belle and were taken by her blue eyes.

They then each got to take turns leading the horse as well as riding it. Unfortunately the light in the stable was terrible so we got great silhouettes and not much else.

They had a great time.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

So today I went to see Star Trek Beyond with my step-sister and step-brother-in-law.

Overall, it is a solid movie.

While the plot has holes in it that you could steer the Enterprise through, the great special effects, and more importantly the cast interaction and chemistry really makes the movie.

Without giving too much away, the MacGuffin the bad guy is searching for is rather underwhelming, especially compared to the effort he has put into obtaining it and it's rather meh compared to what he already had. How he got it was impressively unlikely, and how he came to be the bad guy is a massive leap of wtf-really?, as is a rather huge list of other improbables.

Once you suspend your disbelief to the plot holes, the characters are the main drivers of this story and the crew of this Enterprise does not disappoint. There's some real chemistry with this bunch of actors and it works to save what would otherwise be a rather ho-hum plot driven by special effects.

Keeping true to the Star Trek canon, it's still really bad luck to be wearing a red shirt unless you are Scotty. The Spock stuff is starting to veer a bit, but again, it works.

Don't expect any earth-shattering or particularly deep messages, but if you like Star Trek and want to enjoy a decent experience for your movie-going entertainment dollar, Star Trek Beyond will fit the bill nicely.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Oakland County - Another Year Of Solid Economic Management

Regardless of the train wreck in progress at the national level, here at the Oakland County level, the Republicans are doing an excellent job of good governance:

The Detroit News: 3-year Oakland County budget has $200M surplus

Say what you will of Brooks Patterson, he's been shown to be right more often than he's wrong, and the man knows how to run a county with fiscal responsibility, unlike certain neighboring counties . . . .

Unfortunately, with Oakland County becoming more and more purplish/blue, this fiscal responsibility and pro-business outlook may not last.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dogfight: The Jett and The Migs

This Jett and This Migs:

Yes, the black and white rag-mop of a puppy is named Migs.

He thinks Jett is the best dog since sliced bread. Migs, when being walked, will sit by our house and refuse to move until Jett comes out.

Then they practice their dog-fighting skills:

Jett is quite tolerant of Migs jumping up on him.

He'll gently retaliate by running circles around Migs and then jumping over Migs and then running back to play.

They get along fine, both being good-natured dogs, and good friends.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Garden Not Fun Day

More home maintenance, this time of the outside.

There's a lot of very neglected landscaping that had been let go by the prior owners and now it was time to really work on it beyond the annual weeding and mulching we've been doing. We have been working on it one garden bed at a time trying to get the weeds under control.

Today's job was the large bed bordering the left side of the house.

My initial plan of using a flamethrower to clear the weeds was sadly vetoed. That would have been cool, or actually hot.

For this side instead we had brought lots of mulch - 14 bags, weed cover, weed bags, etc, cutting tools and saw were at the ready.

Here's before:

Many of the weeds you see at the very back are taller than I am.

After weeding, going back to Home Depot for even more mulch, - another 10 bags - and more is still needed, cutting down tree limbs, and then moving all the weed bags and tree limbs down the hill to get to the street we have this:

Whew. Such weeds. Much soreness. Wow.

All that work deserved sitting back and enjoying this:

It looks great, so I guess the effort was worth it.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Stupidity And Adventures In Nature Don't Mix

Most people know that rivers don't run in circles, but apparently three women on a tubing outing did not.

MLIVE.COM: Muskegon River tubing trip turns into overnight nightmare for three women

They left for what they thought would be an easy float down Muskegon River Tuesday afternoon – but ended up spending the night on the river bank, scared and yelling for help.

The trio of young women were rescued 20 hours later after a fisherman eventually heard their cries, said Muskegon Township Deputy Fire Chief Bob Grabinski.

The women, all in their 20s, had never been tubing before and decided it would be a fun thing to do, Grabinski said. So they bought some tubes and headed to the popular launch site at the Maple Island Road bridge, Grabinski said.

"They were informed by somebody at the bridge that the river goes in a circle and if they put in there they would come back to their car," he said. "Not knowing anything, they set off on their little adventure."

Assuming that actually occurred, it's amazing how gullible some people can be. Rivers rarely if ever run in circles. Kind of a mean trick, that.

One would think they at least would have Googled the Muskegon river before embarking on their little floating jaunt, or taken someone with experience tubing on that river with them, but no.

Well they ended up a little wiser for the experience, that's for sure.

As a good friend often says: "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."