Fuel Injected Freedom: Justy

img_6583This update is a little overdue, mostly thanks to a harsh winter that buried my town in multiple heavy snowfalls, and a few inches of solid ice one day which broke pretty much every tree in town. I wasn’t able to work on my cars much since we had snow on the ground for two and a half months and the temperature rarely got above 40 F. But spring is coming, and with it another season of tinkering with cars.

My Porsche has been immobile since before I swapped the engine a year ago, and while it’s mostly put together and ready to drive again, it still isn’t running. Which you might expect after yanking out the entire engine and putting a different one in. As I write this, it’s at the foreign car shop for electrical work, and I’ll write another update when I can finally drive it again. This post is about my third vehicle, which is also red like my truck and Porsche. I’ve owned ten red vehicles out of 29 total, which seems kind of excessive.

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Recession and Recovery

I am so sick of conservatives lying to my face and trying to gaslight me about some of the most difficult years of my life. They act like they can declare something to be true, when all the evidence says they are completely wrong, and then call me closed-minded for not believing their lies about things I’ve observed myself.

I was shaped and scarred by the recession; I know why it happened and what has happened since. When I turned 18 in 2009 there were no jobs for me. I applied for hundreds, and I never got an interview. I didn’t get a full time job until the economy picked up in 2011 thanks to the actions of the Obama administration.

Having worked at the same small-ish manufacturing company since then, I’ve watched the economy recover and business grow. We’ve added tens of thousands of square feet, including a new 20,000 square foot building in our main location. In my home state of Washington, with the highest minimum wage in the nation and other progressive policies, job growth for small businesses has, in some recent years, been better than in any other state. Wages have been growing here as well in the past year or two.

Still, as I predicted would happen, many conservatives insist that everything is awful and Obama made it worse, which is as wrong as wrong can possibly be. Crime is down. Unemployment is down. Poverty is down. Liberal states are feeding the nation with their economic success. Almost everything has improved, aside from wealth inequality and the abusive attitudes of these extremists for whom truth is whatever they feel like believing at the moment. If they want us to stop ridiculing them, they should stop being ridiculous.

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The Tree of Life

“Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever…”

I find it fascinating that in the bible’s story of the fall of man, the reason god gives for banishing humanity from their original home in the Garden of Eden is that they could become immortal by eating from the tree of life. This tree is first mentioned in the previous chapter, where it’s said to be in the midst of the garden with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, there is no prohibition against eating from it. Adam and Eve were prohibited from obtaining knowledge of good and evil, and told that doing so would kill them. Yet even after breaking this command the possibility still existed for them to become immortal, so god had to kick them out and guard his special trees with a flaming sword in order to make his threat of death come true.

The bible’s tree of life is just an ancient story, almost certainly borrowed from some earlier mythology like most of the bible is. What I’ll be talking about this time is the real tree of life…the family tree of all life on earth.800px-phylogenetic_tree-svg Continue reading

Satire: New Study Suggests Rome WAS Built in a Day

colosseum_in_rome_italy_-_april_2007Calling it “the most shocking discovery ever made”, a historian at the Italian Center of History and Pasta announced that an ongoing study has found strong evidence that Rome was, in fact, built in a day. “It’s changing our perspective of the famous cliche,” she said. “How and why did the saying catch on, if Rome really was built in a day?”

Some researchers suggested that perhaps enemies of the Romans popularized the saying to discredit their amazing achievements, such as constructing about a kilometer of aqueduct every three minutes for 24 hours straight.

“When Christianity took over,” the historian said, “they probably didn’t want anyone to know that the early Romans were far more advanced despite not believing in the correct deity.”

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Lord Dampnut vs The Free West

california-outline-and-flag-solidTrump thinks he can bully states into submission by threatening to take away their federal support. One problem: the states most likely to cross him are ones that receive less federal support than they pay in taxes. Cutting off California would be biting the hand that feeds his voting base in poor red states across the midwest and south. If the federal government stops sending money to California, then California may stop sending money to the federal government, and would suddenly have enough to replace all of that federal money and eliminate their debt in a year or two (ignoring other factors). Trump must be clueless about where his “federal money” comes from, or he simply doesn’t care about the people who voted for him.

This is why “alternative facts” are so dangerous. Trump’s loyal supporters are repeating his false claims that California sucks resources from the rest of the country in the form of welfare. This isn’t just false, it’s the complete opposite of reality. And since California intends to stand up to Trump’s bullying, he’s just perpetuating a social division that, taken to an extreme, could result in the west coast breaking off from the rest of the country. This stupidity and belligerence of Trump and his clueless supporters is the sort of thing that can fuel major geopolitical changes, and I don’t think they would like the outcome of this one. Chances are good that nobody would.

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Thing Creation: Small Things

Sometimes creativity isn’t a concerted effort, or a time-consuming project. Sometimes you just have an idea, and a few minutes later you have a new thing, freshly created.

One day not too long ago, I decided I wanted a pi poster, but didn’t feel like spending money on it. So instead I opened up Microsoft Word, pasted in a million digits of pi that I downloaded from the internet, and shrunk the text size down to 1.5 point. Only about a quarter of the digits fit on one page, so this is what I ended up with:

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The Escalation from Polarization to War

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War is not the macho fantasy of insecure conservative men. It is the reality of children being burned alive.

Reasonable people have long lamented the increasing polarization of politics, an escalation from disagreement to outright division largely fueled by a few extremists who refuse to accept diversity, and the masses of gullible idiots who buy into the latest outrage on their “side”. It can be seen in the botched reconstruction after the Civil War, the mass exodus of racist white southerners from the Democratic party during the civil rights movement, the “pro-life” movement which was manufactured for political gain and has done more to harm and kill than to protect life, and so on.

Our current problems have their roots in an ancient and ongoing struggle with our own animal natures. But this phenomenon of bitter polarization, with different “facts” on both sides and no room for compromise, is far more extreme and dangerous in the modern world of social media and nuclear bombs.

Today I read one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen all year, even counting Trump’s offer to destroy the career of a Democratic politician for opposing the practice of “civil asset forfeiture” (police stealing private property from citizens who haven’t been convicted of a crime). The article is so disturbing that I will not link to it, because I don’t want to have any part in spreading it further. Instead, I’ll address a few quotes and talk about the overall issues with it.

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