Thursday, December 18, 2014

A farewell speech that should be required viewing

A farewell speech that should be required viewing

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Office: Middle Earth Edition

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Call of the Woods

As I shuffle down the road to work in my truck, my gaze wanders to the woods through which this asphalt scar has been cut.

 My body will sit at a desk, but my mind will stalk silently through the forest. As my animal eye spots trails and cover, my mind and my domain expand through the quiet beyond the range of an office, to cover all the trees and boulders I can see.

 Might it be, that this time, I will be granted that beautiful piece of this expanse to feel the thrill, to admire, to kill - to consume, so that it may become part of me and me of it.

 Alas, my reverie is rudely broken by a blinking box demanding my attention, trapping the call of the woods in anticipation for a few more days.
Friday, September 26, 2014

Don't fret--resistance is NOT futile.

Assimilation can be avoided...

Plus--pink hair = sexy...
Monday, August 11, 2014

What happens next?

Recent months have brought us a steady grind of bad news in the global arena.  Order seems to breaking down, with increasingly authoritarian regimes taking increasingly belligerent actions around the globe.

To whit:

1) Russia annexes Crimea
2) Russia masses troops on Ukraine border and foments unrest in the Eastern part of the nation.  Europe and the U.S. seem at odds in formulating a response.
3) Former elements of Al Qaeda in Iraq, since reformed as ISIS or ISIL, proclaimed a new caliphate, and have successfully taken control of large swathes of territory in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. 
4) ISIL proceeds to demand conversions of Christians or they will be executed.
5) Prime Minister Erdogan takes on a new office and has taken a more fundamentalist tone.  All the pieces seem in place for him to roll up more authority.  Meanwhile, he has taken a much more belligerent stance with respect to Israel, and repeatedly has deployed naval vessels to supply Hamas.
6) The Chinese have accelerated talks with Moscow to create a non-dollar currency regime.  They have also ramped up nuclear capabilities and production with an eye towards developing a second strike capability that would put them on par with Russia and the U.S.  

As the Obama presidency winds down, and these authoritarian regimes feel the weight of their "window of opportunity" closing, which of the following seem plausible, possible, or likely:

1) Iran announcing a nuclear weapon capability.
2) Iran directly intervening to protect the Shiite majority in southern Iraq against ISIL advances.
3) A Turkish incursion into northern Iraq to prevent Kurds from forming a viable nation state.
4) An ISIL-like group consolidating authority in Libya and/or Afghanistan. 
5) China invading Taiwan.
6) North Korea, supported by the Chinese, invading South Korea.
7) Russia invading Ukraine
8) Increasingly belligerent military maneuvers by China and Russia, such as flying nuclear bombers near US airspace (as we have seen recently).
Friday, June 20, 2014

Epic Rap Battles Of History - Darth Vader VS Adolf Hitler Parts 1, 2 and 3

Rick Grimes vs Walter White. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 3.

Epic Rap Battle: Nerd vs. Geek

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Real Immigration Problem

Illegal immigration is totally out of control.  I don't think any one on this blog would disagree.  The real problem, however is legal immigration.  We have lots of low-skill, low-education people coming here illegally sucking up resources without paying in to the system (for the most part).  When it comes to people that will actually pay in to the system and improve our economy, we make it so difficult it's almost self-destructive.  This article describes how the high-skill visas for 2015 were exhausted in less than a week.  It's maddening how a problem that is so obvious with a solution that seems equally as obvious gets stuck in Congress because of politics as usual.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Malaysian Air Flight 370

I've been horrified and fascinated by this all week. How does a 777 go missing? In the age of global satellite coverage, no less? When hundreds of cell phones are on board?

The only plausible explanation at first seemed a sudden and catastrophic accident. It would have to been so sudden and catastrophic, that the pilots were rendered incapacitated within moments. Otherwise, how to account for the lack of a single radio transmission of trouble?

Once that possibility seemed contradicted by the flight making course and altitude changes after the plane disappeared from our scopes, it seemed likely that the pilot was trying to float away with the rest of garbage. That theory is getting more probable by the day, now that it seems clear the new waypoints were programmed into the system before the pilot signed off with his dispassionate "All right, good night."

The lack of any apparent conflict in the cabin (again, no radio transmissions from the captain, no text messages from the passengers despite the plane apparently flying at a low altitude for a considerable period of time, during which even the messages of dead passengers written previously could have transmitted) makes a hijacking appear unlikely, especially coupled with the transponders being shut off while the plane was still flying.  Unless these were some silent and incredibly effective terrorists.

So who does #2 work for? Hard to say. Plenty of theories. Was this a test, to see if a plane could be set to fly remotely or on autopilot towards a potential target, with the cabin depressurized so that there would be no conscious passengers to thwart the plan? Was the plane being stolen for use in a future attack? Were there specific targets among the passengers being taken hostage or killed? Was there a completely silent cockpit intrusion and coercion of the crew, coupled with a very sophisticated set of hijacking requests (shut off data transmission/change course/evade radar), and the inability of the experienced pilot to send up a silent alarm to air controllers?

There is too much intentionality for there not to be a larger plan at work. What and why is yet to be revealed. It seems to me that this was no mere mechanical failure, nor pilot suicide. Going nose down would've been easy by comparison. Meanwhile, the hundreds of family members are being put through a form of torture that is difficult to comprehend.


Malaysian Air 370 version.  I've had this in my head as I've been reading about the various search zones, search parties from various nations, lack of communication between various agencies, confused chain of command, etc.:
Nervous Accountant: … he felt that the more people looking...

[cut off by Chigurh]

Anton Chigurh: That’s foolish. You pick the one right tool.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This is not even the beginning of the end,

...more like the end of the beginning.  From the NY Times:

Moscow’s Actions Upend Europe’s Post-Cold War Order

Defying the United States and Europe, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he was reversing what he described as a historical mistake, declaring, “Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the hearts and minds of people.”

Now, just for fun, how many proper nouns can you use to replace the bolded "Crimea" in the quote above, and still have it make sense?

Putin's stated reasons for the annexation could have been exclusively historical or legal.  He's already made the point that the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine by Kruschev was illegal, and he's stated his demographic argument for not leaving ethnic Russians out in the cold.  Putin goes further.  Crimea is a part of Russia, he argues, because it's a part of Russia in the "hearts and minds of people." [my emphasis]  Bush thought he could see into Putin's soul.  Putin's powers are apparently much greater.

Putin's logic does beg the question: "Which people?"
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Foundational prinicples: Choosing between competing goods

Version 1:

There should be stability of law. 

We need a regulatory, entitlement and tax code framework that is palatable across the vast middle of the political spectrum, so that it is not constantly redrawn when power changes hands. 
Friday, February 28, 2014

The Government Broke My Truck

Earlier this week, 4 dashboard lights came on in my truck for no apparent reason.  It seemed to drive OK, so I drove it home from work.  During my drive home, it wasn't accelerate properly over 45 MPH.  I brought it to my mechanic who did some diagnostics and cleared the code.  He said he didn't need to fix anything and it would drive OK.

The next day he called me to tell me he did more research into the problem.  It turns out there was an issue with the secondary air flow system.  The truck was put into a crippled mode because of this issue, which caused the acceleration problem.  The only function of this system is to divert more hot air to the catalytic converter when it's cold so it will heat up faster and reduce emissions earlier.  It has nothing to do with making the car go.

So, because of some bureaucrat pushing some emissions regulation, my truck didn't work right for no real reason.


I don't like my local library, funded by my tax dollars, telling me where I can park because they don't like my choice of vehicle.  SCREW THAT.

Now get off my lawn.


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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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