No Freaking Way! John Lennon = Closet Republican / Reagan Fan?

From Toronto Sun via Drudge:

John Lennon was a closet Republican, who felt a little embarrassed by his former radicalism, at the time of his death – according to the tragic Beatles star’s last personal assistant.

Wow!  That’s better than when I found out that Arlo Gutherie is now a registered Republican.


SkyNet Update: Synthetic Humans, Now Ultra-Realistic!

Waaay back in 1981 the sci-fi movie Looker introduced us to the idea of digitized images of scanned women animated to make the ‘perfect’ television commercial spokeswomen/models.  Then, in 2004, S1mOne, presented a scenario where a wholly artificial digital actress fooled millions of film fans.  Now, finally, in 2011 a digital human has been created that actually fooled millions.  Her name is Eguchi Aimi.

The fans of Japanese pop band, AKB48 were “shocked” to find that one of the seven members shown in a candy commercial only exists as 150 gb of data.  ‘She’ was created as a composite of the other six band members using different facial features from each.

Of course now that I’ve spoiled it you might be able to spot the simulacrum in this video:

I can see how people would be fooled by that.  Even knowing to look for it, it’s surprisingly well done.

Here’s how it was done:

[More at SingularityHub]

So far it seems these synthetic people have only been created to represent canons of beauty.  That is useful intel.  When the robot apocalypse goes down, my advice now stands at “Beware of pretty people. They will most likely be Terminators”.

New Pro-gun Laws in Texas (2011)

Good news! Texas now has the ‘Parking Lot’ law, better range protection, ‘Pork Chopper’ hunting, and (slightly) more freedom to pack iron in vehicles.

Received via the NRA:

Texas: Governor Perry Signs Important Pro-Gun Measures Into Law!

Governor Rick Perry has signed Senate Bill 321 into law!  This NRA-backed bill authored by state Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) and state Representative Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington) prohibits employers from enacting and enforcing bans on employees transporting and storing firearms in their locked, private motor vehicles while parked at work.  The act will take effect on September 1, 2011.  Click here to view a copy of NRA-ILA’s press release on this topic.

SB 321 applies to both public and private employers, as well as all lawfully-owned firearms – not just firearms in the possession of Concealed Handgun Licensees.  However, SB 321 does not authorize an employee to possess firearms on any property where such possession is prohibited by state or federal law, and the provisions of the bill do not apply to the following:

  • Vehicles owned or leased by the employer and used by the employee for work purposes;
  • School districts, open enrollment charter schools, and private schools as defined in Section 22.081, Education Code;
  • Property owned or controlled by a person, other than an employer, that is subject to a valid, unexpired oil, gas, or other mineral lease that contains a provision prohibiting the possession of firearms on the property; or
  • Property owned or leased by a chemical manufacturer or oil and gas refiner permitted by TCEQ and on which the primary business conducted is the manufacture, use, storage or transportation of hazardous, combustible, or explosive materials; however, employees at  these facilities who are CHLs may store firearms (including rifles or shotguns) in their private motor vehicles in parking areas located outside of secured and restricted areas which contain the physical plant, are not open to the public and which are constantly monitored by security personnel.

Governor Perry also signed into law the following NRA-supported measures:

House Bill 25 by state Representative Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) and state Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) will extend the right to carry a handgun to your boat or personal watercraft without needing a Concealed Handgun License – a right which law-abiding Texans currently enjoy in their private motor vehicles.  For many, these vessels – especially on weekends in some parts of the state – are, for all practical purposes, an extension of one’s home.  It will remain an offense under HB 25 if the handgun is not hidden from plain view, the person in possession is engaged in criminal activity or a member of a criminal street gang, or the person is not eligible to possess the firearm under state or federal law.  Effective 9/1/11

House Bill 716 by state Representative Sid Miller (R-Stephenville) and state Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) will allow properly-permitted landowners or helicopter owners to contract with third parties to ride on helicopters and take depredating feral hogs and coyotes.  This bill will help control the population of these animals and reduce cost to landowners.  The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission will retain authority to ensure that these operations are run in a safe and effective manner.  Effective 9/1/11

House Bill 2560 by state Representative Ralph Sheffield (R-Temple) and state Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) will prevent the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from adopting or enforcing rules restricting a foster parent’s ability to transport a foster child in a private motor vehicle if a handgun is present, as long as the foster parent is a Concealed Handgun Licensee and the handgun is “in the possession and control” of the foster parent.  This is intended to mean that the firearm could be stored in the glove box, console or trunk of the vehicle.  State agencies should not create disincentives to foster parenting by forcing those individuals to forego their Second Amendment rights!  Effective immediately

Senate Bill 766 by state Senator Craig Estes and state Representative Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) limits the ability of local governments to sue owners or operators of sports shooting ranges, and requires an expert report on whether ranges meet generally-applicable industry standards before a civil action suit can be brought against them.  Effective 9/1/11

If you are not a member of the NRA, please join today [save $10 here].  I know you don’t agree with everything the NRA does. So what? Chances are the only person that agrees with you 100% of the time is that guy you see in the mirror.  If you want to influence the NRA, do so as a member (or group of members); they will be more apt to listen to you.  Then after you have joined or renewed – join the TSRA and Second Amendment Foundation, too.

Texas HB716: Culling Feral Hogs from a Helicopter (Passed!)

The video below is from Australia:

Texas also has a huge problem with feral hogs.  They are very destructive to crops and resources needed for livestock and game animals.  On top of that they breed quickly and have large litters (called a farrow) of 4 to 6 piglets at a time.  The last estimates I’ve found indicate a population of more than 2,000,000 feral hogs in the state.  HB716 (nicknamed the “Pork Chopper Bill”) would allow hunting from helicopter by people other than the actual landowner of the property being hunted on.  It was sent to Gov. Perry’s desk on May 20th, 2011 and has since been signed into law.

Using data from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Deptment, The Texas Tribune has an article with more information on this, including interactive maps of feral hog population, graphs of demands for aerial hunts, etc.

More feral hog facts from Texas A&M

Edit: updated to reflect passage of HB 716.

Note to Self: Monday Edition

Coffee tastes better when you remember to use a filter…

Predator Style 3 Beam Laser Sight (At Last!)

Well it’s about time someone manufactured a three-laser-beam-in-a-triangle gun sight.  Beamshot has stepped up to the plate to bring us the ‘BS8000S’ laser sight.  They should have named it the “Predanator”.

Tri-beam Laser Sight (helmet mount not included)

From the Beamshot website:

BEAMSHOT® is proud to offer our all new BS8200S Tri Beam Laser sighting system. This all new laser sight emits three dots in a triangular pattern, the center of the three dots being the point of impact. This pattern allows the eye to locate the center mass much quicker making this sight perfectly suited for close quarter rapid target acquisition as well as HOME DEFENSE.

Sweet!  Now all I need is a eye tracking plasma launcher with shoulder mount (or two) to pair with my helmet’s multi-spectrum targeting computer.

Always use a fog machine to enhance the effect!