11

2004-11 posts.

  1. 2004-11-01t17:26:46Z. RE: 2D, Images, Photos . 2D+time, Activities, Animation, Video . Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Money . Cars, Transportation . Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications . Local . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . Rambling . US Elections .
  2. 2004-11-01 My Political View Points. RE: Politics .
  3. 2004-11-02 Election Day. RE: U.S. Elections .
  4. More Post Election Simmering. RE: U.S. Elections .
  5. More Post Election Simmering 2. RE: U.S. Elections . Ethics, Faith, Philosophy . Government, Political Science .
  6. Breast Milk v Formula. RE: A v B . Drink, Food . Healthcare, Medicine . Parenting .
  7. 2004-11-09t19:22:39Z. RE: Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications . Cyber Life, Email, Surfing, Wikis . Entertainment, Movies, Pop Culture, Radio, Show Biz, TV . Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green . Martial Arts . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . U.S. . U.S. Elections .
  8. 2004-11-11t18:11:23Z. RE: Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Money, Work . Cyber Life, Email, Surfing, Wikis . Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green . Ethics, Faith, Philosophy, Secular . Local . Obituaries . Terror, War . U.S. Elections .
  9. 2004-11-12t22:03:47Z. RE: 3D (Architecture, Sculpture) . Computers (Networking, Programming, Telecommunications) . Cyber Life (Chatting, Email, Surfing, Wikis) . Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green . Humanity, Living, Psychology, Sociology . Interesting, Jokes, Odd, Weird . Journalism, Media . Love, Relationships, Sex . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . Transportation (Cars, Bikes, Planes, Trains) . U.S. Elections .
  10. 2004-11-16t19:58:09Z. RE: 2D+time (Activities, Animation, Video) . 3D (Architecture, Sculpture) . Cyber Tech (Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications) . Diet, Drink, Food . Ethics, Faith, Philosophy, Secular . Government, Political Science, Politics, U.S. Politics . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . Money (Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Work) . Terror, War . Words (Literature, Reading, Stories, Writing) . World .
  11. 2004-11-24t16:17:52Z. RE: 2D (Images, Photos) . 2D+time (Activities, Animation, Video) . AI, Psychology, Robotics . Cyber Life (Blogging, Chatting, Email, Surfing, Wikis) . Cyber Tech (Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications) . Entertainment, Movies, Pop Culture, Radio, Show Biz, TV . Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green . Fishing, Hunting, Outdoors . Interesting, Jokes, Odd, Weird [May be NSFW] . Love, Relationships, Sex [Assume NSFW] . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . Money (Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Work) .
  12. MA notes and changes in how I log MA notes. RE: Martial Arts .

2004-11-01t17:26:46Z | RE: 2D, Images, Photos . 2D+time, Activities, Animation, Video . Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Money . Cars, Transportation . Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications . Local . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . Rambling . US Elections .
2004-11-01t17:26:46Z

2D, Images, Photos

2D+time, Activities, Animation, Video

Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Money

  • Housing Bubbles Are Not Like Stock Bubbles.
    • Bottom line: Bubbles are differences in cash flow (cost > income), but they have differences.
      • Housing is much less liquid than stock. When the housing bubble pops, people just stop buying and selling.
      • Housing is much more regional/local than stock. Rich incomes live in rich neighborhoods.
      • Housing is much more limited than stock.
    • See also the comments to the article. EGs:
      • Housing is financed by banks. When bank capital goes, this has a great effect on the economy.

Cars, Transportation

  • Hot Wheels
    • 'It's cute, tiny, and plastic. The kids love it (especially in Europe). It also gets 70 miles per gallon, and you can fit three side by side in a standard parking spot. Move over, Mini: The Smart microcar could be the next big thing on America's roads.'
      • I'm drooling over the sheer parking power of the minute Fortwo car by Smart, a spin-off of Mercedes.
    • 'All that - plus a sticker price starting at $13,000 - has helped the company snag the youngest average buyer of any global auto manufacturer, a snappy 37. And Smart's buyers are an enviably affluent bunch. Nearly half pay in full and in cash. Now Smart is making a play for the US market. Even as Smart cars surged across Europe and spread to 31 countries, conventional wisdom in the States dismissed the diminutive city car as the Speedo of the automotive world - fashionable abroad but way too small. Smart's solution: Make the micro a mini SUV. Based on the Fortwo design, the Smart SUV will debut in January at the Detroit Auto Show and arrive for sale in 2006 for about $20,000.'
    • 'The bosses at Smart had called for a car only 8 feet long, Sinkwitz said. That would allow two of them to park in a standard spot, one behind the other - or three of them if they pulled in sideways. Yet inside, the Fortwo feels huge. A three-cylinder, 698-cc engine was moved from the front of previous micro prototypes to the back. The hood? Gone. Everything from the front bumper to the back tires became living space.'
    • 'The problem was, with so little car out front, there was nothing left to crush between you and, say, an oncoming Escalade. So Smart designers invented the Fortwo's main style and safety feature: a bulky steel cell, visible inside and out, that frames the passenger compartment like a roll cage and absorbs the shock of a head-on collision. What happens if some Detroit-engineered behemoth plows into the featherweight Fortwo? I got a pretty good idea, watching a Smart-sponsored crash test with a Mercedes E-Class: The big sedan crumpled, and the Fortwo ricocheted. In a separate test, by the European New Car Assessment Program, a 40-mph impact with a concrete wall failed to dent the safety cell. They awarded the Smart a three-star crash rating - nothing like a Volvo but better than a Ford Escort, which weighs nearly half a ton more than the Fortwo.'
      • And relatively safe too! Wow!
    • DIAGRAM: Comparing the Fortwo with a H2

Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications

  • If I have something that works, then I usually wait for it to pass before I replace it. I do this with clothes, cars, computers, phones, bikes, etc. I don't rush this process because whatever I buy, there is almost inevitably an improved product right around the corner. Currently my cell phone and digital camera are working fine but at some point they'll break or get lost and then I'll have an excuse to get a combo cell phone, digital camera, PDA, handheld game console, media (picture, audio, video)  player, wireless Internet device, etc. Services and devices like Vonage, the Treo, and the Sony PSP are all moving in this direction.

Local

  • Girl's dad confessed, police say
    • 'The father of 3-year-old Riley Fox told police he bound, gagged and sexually assaulted his daughter, then left her in a creek--all to make it appear she was murdered by a kidnapper after he thought he had accidentally killed her in their home, officials said Thursday. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty against Riley's father, Kevin E. Fox, 27, in the June 6 drowning that shocked the rural Will County town of Wilmington, where Kevin and Melissa Fox lived with their two children, Riley and Tyler, now 7.'
      • WTF?!?! What a lying fucker! Why bother with such a ridiculous lie?

Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space

  • Small Wonders: Researchers are stunned by fossils of 3-foot-tall human species
    • 'Archeologists excavating a limestone cave on a remote Indonesian island have unearthed a new species of extinct humans unlike any other yet discovered--a hobbit-size people barely 3 feet tall, with heads no larger than grapefruits and oddly bulging eyes, who lived as recently as 18,000 years ago. The tiny people lived together in caves and made stone tools to hunt primitive dwarf elephants and the large lizards called Komodo dragons. They existed at the same time as modern humans, though it is unclear if the two species had any contact.'
    • 'The findings of a multinational team led by Australian researcher Peter Brown were published Thursday in the British journal Nature and are being hailed as one of the most outstanding discoveries in paleoanthropology in the last 50 years. ... The researchers named the species Homo floresiensis for its only known residence, the isolated island of Flores between Bali and Timor, a member of the Lesser Sunda chain.'
    • 'At the Flores cave site, called Liang Bua, the scientists found the skull and partial skeleton of a fully grown female and bones from seven other mini-humans. The female was in her 30s when she died of unknown causes.'
    • ' "This discovery's just a beginning, but what a beginning," White said. "It shows that humans have been playing by the same evolutionary and ecological rules as other large mammals on oceanic islands. '
    • ILLUSTRATION: Artist's rendition of Homo Floresiensis
  • My kids and I saw the lunar eclipse last night [2004-07-27]. It's amazing that most people didn't even notice it, but that in olden days this would have been a big thing. The next lunar eclipse will be in 2007-03. I pulled this series of photos off the web. An orangey-moon was visible even at the peak of the eclipse so it wasn't a proper total eclipse.
     PHOTOS: The lunar eclipse progression
  • 64 = 65 ?. Hard to believe your eyes! See The Extra Square for the explanation.
    ANIMATION: 64 = 65 ?
  • 'FuturePundit reports on evidence that natural selection is selecting for fatter people.  An interesting discussion, including the possibility that "obesity is negatively correlated with intelligence and that it is lower intelligence that is responsible for the higher fertility."  So is it natural selection, or unnatural selection?  Could be both.. ' [w-uh]

Rambling

  • Reminder to self: Out your inner world. I have to let myself say things. I hesitate because whatever I say always seems incomplete, that tomorrow I'll think of things to add to that. The thing is many times you just can't wait till tomorrow. The thought may be lost tomorrow. The moment may be lost tomorrow. I should be less afraid to make mistakes. If I say something stupid today, I can always make amendments to it later. In that light here are some incomplete notes to myself.
  • 2003-10-21. I visited my friend Gus at the Playboy headquarters (680 North Lake Shore Drive, 15th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611). I did a tour of the place. Playboy imagery was everywhere (photo, art, cartoons, sculpture, etc.). Got to see tons of magazines, meet some of the people, see the workflow process, visit the photo studio, enter the archive room (where they had all the Playboy photos ever), see the editing, see some of the photo entries and rejects, got some free sample magazines, etc. The mix of professionalism with sexiness, attitude, and humor was very similar to when I was working inside the fashion modeling industry.
  • 2004-03-29 Connie asked: "Is Eeyore just a stuffed animal?"
  • 2004-08-09t05:42
    • Sometimes you have to move thru in order to move on.
    • The more you put in, the more you get out.
    • Keep your freedom: do it for yourself.
    • Busy kids are not fat kids
    • Quantity and Quality
      • Clay vase making
      • Busy schedules
  • National Geographic article on fat
    • Conservation of Calories
      • The kind of calories doesn't matter for weight gain. The kind of food does matter as far as vitamins, filling, heart disease, caffeine, etc.
      • Exercise more, eat less.
      • The kind of exercise doesn't matter for weight gain. The kind of exercise does matter as far as safety, time, fun, changing metabolism, purpose, etc.
      • Even minor difference in input/output adds up.
  • Caring and Non-Fixation
    • When in class, you have to care. You don't necessarily have to compete but you do have to care. At the beginning you may start out better, but if you don't care, then by the end the others that did care will be hot but you'll be in the same place.
    • Q: If not-fixated, then you're not invested. If you're not invested, then how can you care?
    • A: Non-fixation != investment because with investment you expect a return. Non-fixation involves giving and releasing, but you still care and hope for the best. Sow and make it grow but sometimes it won't.
    • In war games you must still care but you must be ready to let go.
    • Just because you care and are non-fixated doesn't mean that you don't have a back up plan, insurance, redundancy, etc.
    • Trust but verify. Have faith but have a fall back.
    • Care & committed. Marriage and pre-nuptials.
    • All my life I've had defense mechanisms to deal with success and failure.
  • Superman (ala Kill Bill) and Wonderwoman came into the human world already superhuman. Contrast with origins of Spiderman, Batman. However sometimes the hero transcends and becomes more myth/super than human. EG: The Flash in Kingdom Come by Alex Ross.
  • 2004-10-31t13:06:54Z. Most people have neither a philosophy (rational system) or a religion (spiritual system). Most people have a faith (intuitive system). The problem arises when people confuse their faith with either philosophy or religion. The other problem is how politicized any system can get.
  • 2004-11-01t16:15:14Z.
    • I've been thinking lately about how young the human species is.
    • The field of robotics and artificial intelligence makes it glaringly obvious how little we know about how the beings on this planet work. Puny brained bugs know how to fly in remarkable ways. The coordination of all the cells in digestion, respiration, etc. from birth is astoundingly complex. All creatures have an unbelievable amount hard wired into them. However when you think about it, every field makes it glaringly obvious that we know so little.
    • All the species on the planet have memory and knowledge passed on between generations via our genes. Most animals have genetic instinctual knowledge. Some species can stumble upon or make up tricks that are not in their genes. Some species may be able to pass these tricks on to the next generation but as far as we know humans are the best at this on the planet. Humans have the additional advantage of being able to store knowledge in social institutions, rituals, stories, words, books, pictures, audio, video, computers, etc.
      • Before I go on I wanted to point out that knowledge via social institutions and rituals is definitely not insignificant. EG: In martial arts, MA knowledge is complex and difficult to write down. So MA knowledge is passed on from teacher to student by practice, instruction, testing, etc.
    • There is more than knowledge that is passed on. Patterns are passed on genetically but in human non-genetic storage, patterns as well as specific manifestations of patterns are passed on as well. EGs:
      • The statue of David is a specific manifestation of human beauty that may never be manifested as beautifully again. If David is lost, then it is lost forever. Other statues may be made but they won't be David.
      • The stories of Shakespeare may be patterns but his words in his arrangements are a specific manifestations of patterns.
      • The ideas of the Bible and Jesus may be so beautiful that people want the specific manifestation, hence they want to take the Bible literally.
    • For historical purposes, specific manifestations should be preserved forever. However it is more important to acknowledge that a good specific manifestation is so beautiful and important because it resonates with the pattern, the Platonic "form" so well. Knowledge of the pattern (its essence, its variations, its best manifestations, etc.) is what must really be passed on.
    • The pattern of love, compassion, morality, etc. is important. The specific manifestations of these via Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, saints, heroes, philosophers, etc. is important, but to take the specific manifestations so literally that they prevent you from seeing the beauty and truth of the other specific manifestations is wrong. It is also wrong and dishonest to not acknowledge the errors, the faults, the irrationality, etc. of even the best specific manifestations.

US Elections

  • Wife Swap: How Teresa Heinz revolutionized the role of political spouse -- and why it turns us on
    • ' But Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, doesn't play the shoulder-pads-and-smiles game. In her, we've got a prospective First Lady who is more about shawls than Chanel suits, whose ash-highlighted curls fall disobediently in her face when she's out on the campaign trail, who doesn't beam numbly like a Stepford wife when her husband is speaking. And she doesn't apologize. "I have a serious face when I'm thinking," she has said. "I mean, I frown. I have a very expressive face. I hear everything (my husband is) saying, if that makes any difference." Her candor, defiance of D.C. convention and blowsy style (well, beltway blowsy, anyway -- it's all relative) make her quite the hot number. Teresa Heinz Kerry ("My legal name is still Teresa Heinz. Teresa Heinz Kerry is my name . . . for politics," she'll have you know) is revolutionizing the profile of the political spouse, and those of us with an eye for stylish, erudite rebellion can't get enough of her.'
    • ' There have been a handful of memorable wives who had or coveted a White House address: Jackie Kennedy, Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton spring to mind. But for the most part, the wives of presidents and presidential aspirants remain indistinct, a Mamie-Kitty-Babs-Nancy blur of charitable works and Pappagallo flats. Yet even in comparison to other high-profile better halves, Teresa Heinz Kerry is unique. Born Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira on Oct. 5, 1938 into a strict Catholic household, she was raised comfortably as the daughter of the first oncologist in Mozambique. She speaks five languages (including her native Portuguese) and went to college in Johannesburg, where she protested apartheid. Before marrying John Kerry, she enjoyed a twenty-one-year marriage to the late senator and condiment heir John Heinz. Having inherited her husband's tremendous fortune, she makes Croesus look like a streetcorner bum. What really sets her apart, though, is her headline-grabbing brand of outspokenness -- she is caustic, clever and occasionally wicked. Check out her diatribe about the fate of Democratic senator Max Cleland. In 1968, Cleland lost his right arm and both legs in Vietnam. In 2002, he lost re-election after an acrimonious campaign in which Republicans attacked his patriotism. "All I could think was, 'What does the Republican Party need -- a fourth limb to make a person a hero?'" said Heinz Kerry. "And this coming from people who have not served. I was really offended by that." She went on to call the matter "unscrupulous and disgusting." Can you think of another politician's wife who'd put the opposition on blast that way? '
    • 'What's so appealing about this mouthy broad? It may be context-specific. Since the '90s, the entertainment industry has become rife with outspoken women -- Madonna, Roseanne, Rosie O'Donnell, to name but a few. But until THK arrived on the scene, the only other notably outspoken politician's wife was Hillary Clinton. The right-wing press wastes no time in comparing Teresa to Hillary. Given how detested Hillary is in the red states, it's the ultimate partisan bitch-slap.'

2004-11-01t17:35:36Z | RE: Politics .
2004-11-01 My Political View Points

Here is one of my periodic snapshots of "my political view points".  I think everyone, especially politicians, should have a similar list.

GO KERRY!

My political view point is in general is "Progressive"  but, like everyone else, my opinions may vary from others who have the same label.

  • People are individuals who are varied, talented, innovative, and independent.
  • However, people are also social creatures and a society has basic shared secular needs. Some needs could, in theory, be provided by individuals (EG: Food, shelter, transportation), but some needs can only provided by a society (EG: Laws, standards, safety, health care, utilities, communication, education, military, environment, and culture).

  • U.S. Bill of Rights summarized:
    1. The right to religion, to speak, to publish, to assemble, to petition the government.
    2. The right to bear arms.
    3. The right to not house soldiers without consent.
    4. The right to privacy, to specific warrants.
    5. The right to require a Grand Jury for capital crimes, to not be charged twice for a crime, to not have to witness against himself, to due process, to not have private property seized by the public without compensation.
    6. The right to speedy and public jury trials, to be informed of accusations, to confront witnesses, to be able to get witnesses, to an attorney.
  • Authoritarians.
    • An authoritarian government could be very efficient (or inefficient). Too much government intervention can infringe on private freedom and can inhibit innovation & achievements.
    • It is possible to have a good authoritarian government if you it is led by one or a few leaders, but that then the next generation can might be quite bad. Processes and laws combined with occasional democratic change is much safer.
    • Extreme authoritarians governments are usually represented by murderous fascists. The Nazis were efficient authoritarians and the "communists" of the Cold War (who practiced socialism without freedom) were inefficient authoritarians.
  • Libertarians. Freedom for everyone is a great idea but then you are relying upon the private sector to provide for shared secular needs and I think that at least a little bit of a public sector is needed.
  • Centrists. Private & public partnerships should be encouraged, not discouraged. EG: The U.S. mail and FedEx get along fine.

Here is a quick run down on my political view points on specific issues in no alphabetical order. Some are more permanent issues but some are more contemporary.

  • Abortion
    • We can't stop it. It's safer if legalized. Educate people. Tax it because the government has to be involved.
    • Most people are not murderers. The choice is hard enough.
  • Alternative & Renewable Resources
    • Oil is finite. The countdown is on.
    • If the latter 20th century was the "Service Economy", then the 21st century is the "Renewable Economy"
    • Energy Sources: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, etc.
    • Material Sources: Asteroids, Natural Plastics, etc.
    • Construction: subterranean homes, shared communities, etc.
  • Animals
    • Yes, I eat meat.
    • Domestic animals should be raised humanely, even if it costs more.
    • Protect endangered species and such. Prevent species from becoming endangered.
  • Archaeological Sites
    • Archaeological sites all over the world are in danger. They are irrecoverable and need protection.
  • Corporations
    • Corporations are people working together to provide goods and services to society. Corporations do a lot of good and employ many people.
    • The rich and corporations have a disproportionately powerful voice because of their money. The adage of "absolute power corrupting absolutely" has been demonstrated throughout history. There should be caps on monopolies, media control, lobbyists, campaign contributions, etc.
  • Drugs
    • Don't abuse yourself with drugs.
    • The most dangerous drugs need to be controlled but the definition of safe recreational drugs needs to be expanded (from stuff like non-prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco), to also include drugs like marijuana.
    • We can't stop it. It's safer if legalized. Educate people. Tax it because the government has to be involved.
    • Too much is spent on "war on drugs". Didn't we learn anything from the Prohibition?
  • Economics and Taxes
    • Markets need to be as free as possible. Government should be minimally involved in free markets but free markets should not be confused with the artificial markets created by many government programs. EG: Government subsidies for farms and oil create bad artificial markets, but government spending on health care and education create good artificial markets.
    • Currently insurance companies are too powerful in that they create bad artificial markets, esp. in healthcare and malpractice insurance.
    • People and corporations have the right to get rich.
      • Wealth should be encouraged for everybody.
      • People have an obligation to embetter society. The richer you get, the more disposable income you have. Thus taxes should be progressively more for the progressively wealthier. This system does not by any means stop people from becoming richer.
    • The basic shared secular needs of a society must be covered as a matter of ethics not profit.
      • The public sector should be able to contract out to the private sector, but individuals and corporations should not abuse these government contracts (EG: war profiteering).
      • The government has the right to tax in order to fulfill its duties. If we believe that a government has certain responsibilities, then we must have taxes.
      • There should be some short term government subsidies and tax incentives to foster growth in particular areas, fields, etc.
      • The public must have representatives and independent watchdog entities to ensure that taxes are necessary, fair, and properly spent.
      • Paying taxes is like charity, like helping ourselves and our fellow man.
      • A government needs to have a responsible budget. If the government has to spend more, then perhaps taxes need to be raised in order to avoid a budget deficit. Conversely if the government is spending less or if there is a budget surplus, then perhaps taxes need to be lowered.
      • The bottom line should cover People, Planet, and Profit.
    • People have the right to private insurance. However not everyone can afford insurance, so the government should provide insurance to the public as a matter of ethics and continuity. This is commonly called "welfare" but it is simply society giving a helping hand to those who need it.
    • If the U.S. truly believes in free markets then the U.S. should also believe in globalism. However competing against low cost services and materials globally reveals how the U.S. is currently over priced .
  • Education
    • Hard to over do.
    • Socialize but also give people private options. Vouchers are good.
    • "No Child Left Behind" needs work. It is a good idea to devise ways to measure educational quality but there are at least 2 problems:
      • The measurement system needs constant work. EG: Some schools get lower grades because they take care of more special education kids.
      • Some "failing schools" need more money and help, not less.
    • More emphasis should be placed on establishing and enforcing "best teaching practices" in a granular and flexible way.
  • Environment
    • Hard to over do.
    • Conservation instead of Depletion. Remember the lesson of Easter Island.
    • Cooperation instead of Competition. We all want to win.
    • We need to do simple stuff like 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
    • Water is finite.
    • The "economy" that comes after the "service economy" is the "green economy".
  • Euthanasia
    • We put dogs and cats to sleep. People also have the right to a dignified death.
    • Animals in nature let themselves die when it is time. People also have the right to a natural death. Medicine is sometimes an artificial extension of a life.
    • Humans sometime have emotional or rational needs for suicide. Assisted suicide should be allowed given sufficient counseling, medical treatment, power of attorney, etc.
  • Farming
    • Reduce subsidies. Subsidize only what is used for social food programs.
    • Make it more like a free market.
  • Fishing
    • Reduce and allow the sea fauna and flora to recover and repopulate. Then scientifically determine safe harvesting volumes.
    • Save the reefs.
    • Make fish farms that aren't toxic.
  • Foresting
    • Make forest farms instead.
    • Fires and forests are natural. People who build homes in or near forests should expect to have forest fires.
  • GLBTs (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender, etc.)
    • We can't stop it. It's safer if legalized. Educate people.
    • It's between consenting entities.
    • Gay Marriages. People in social contracts should have the protection of legal contracts too.
  • Gun Control
    • I love the martial arts.
    • Everyone should have access to weapons. However waiting periods, registration, and required training are all good safety measures.
    • WMD should be carefully controlled.
    • It is still illegal to physically attack people ("battery" is the legal term), whether they have a weapon or not.
  • Health Care
    • Hard to over do.
    • Socialize but also give people private options.
    • Everyone needs to be covered.
    • The US has a broken 1.7 trillion dollar industry that is not a true free market but is a system oddly morphed by the government and the insurance companies.
    • "Alternative" care is very small but is becoming more mainstream, especially with the government doing tests on "alternative" methods.
  • International Relations
    • If the U.S. believes in freedom, law, and due process, then the U.S. needs to participate in the international community and the U.S. should shape as well as obey international laws lest the U.S. become "above the law".
    • Diplomacy, economic pressure, etc. should be preferred over war.
  • Israel and Palestine
    • Israel and Palestine have the right to be their own nations and to defend themselves.
    • The cycle of violence needs to be broken. Cooperation, compromise, fairness, and moral authority is needed.
    • Israel needs to pull out of lands promised to Palestine. Israel should not use assassination, US backing, or brute force.
    • Palestine should not use terrorism.
  • Justice
    • The key thing about Law is that no one is entitled to justice; the only thing people are entitled to is due process.
    • The phrase "God's law above man's law" is subjective, often abused, and usually ends up as "man above law". The phrase "Law above man" is more objective and is sometimes abused (EG: Loopholes). The key thing is to follow the law and when "the spirit of the law" is violated, then that should drive adjustments to the law.
  • Military
    • Reduce overall budget and reduce staff, but increase spending per staff.
    • We must ensure that the military gets a good deal from companies with no competitors.
    • Research and make Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), but don't use them or threaten others with them.
    • The military needs to do some serious work on its sex problems.
  • Minimum Wage, Outsourcing, and Unions
    • A company may find cheaper labor overseas but "cheap labor" is unethical because historically it has been things like slavery, child labor, unsafe labor, and labor that perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
    • Unions should work for a decent wage, decent benefit, and decent working conditions but they should not over do it and create bureaucratic structures and make it unprofitable to run businesses.
  • Pornography
    • We can't stop it. It's safer if legalized. Educate people. Tax it because the government has to be involved.
    • It's between consenting entities.
    • Non-consenting porn like true child pornography or "reality" rapes should be illegal and severely punished.
  • Poverty
    • The solution to poverty is not to simply give poor people money. The key thing is eradicate things that perpetuate the multi-generational cycles of poverty. This includes good education, affordable housing, and affordable health care.
    • Why aren't there ongoing courses at the grade school and high school level about managing personal finances?
  • Prostitution
    • We can't stop it. It's safer if legalized. Educate people. Tax it because the government has to be involved.
    • It's between consenting entities.
  • Racism, Sexism
    • There should be no quotas or any form of sex or race discrimination. "Discrimination" on inability to perform specific jobs should be allowed.
    • Additional punishment for hate crimes is a good thing.
    • Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Men, Women, Gays, etc. should be able to make their own private clubs.
  • Religion
    • The government should be neutral on private non-secular needs, but the government needs to intervene in certain cases. EG: Intervene for the safety of those who have no voice, no representation.
    • Church and government should be separate.
    • Government should be secular and not favor denominations.
    • The Catholic Church needs to do some serious work on its sex problems.
  • Terrorism
    • Terrorism is not justified. Martin Luther King and Gandhi both fought great injustices through peaceful protest. Patience, publicity, and moral authority can achieve the same goals.
    • Terrorists are criminals not nations. Thus fighting terrorism requires police action not war. This is true even though the military is also used to fight terrorists. Doing otherwise "elevates" the terrorists.
    • War by terrorism is probably a million times more cost effective than war by conventional means. So even though the U.S. has lots of money, it can lose to terrorists if the U.S. fight the terrorist poorly. Patience, publicity, moral authority and allies (esp. Muslim allies) are more important when fighting terrorists than shock and awe technology & tactics.
  • Tort Reform
    • There are good lawsuits and bad lawsuits. The questions is if we have the laws and processes to cut down on the bad ones while allowing the good ones.
    • Tort reform cannot go too far lest we violate our right to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances" as per Amendment 1 of the U.S. Bill of Rights.
    • Ethically, I would rather err on the side of losing money and raising costs than losing lives and lowering safety.
  • U.S. Foreign Relations
    • At some point, everybody will need a friend to lean on. We need our allies.
    • Increase diplomacy.
    • Increase economics and trade.
    • Help countries with problems of disease, drought, famine, and over-population.
    • Help countries become self-sufficient, esp. with infrastructure.
    • Work with international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. If you think they are broken, then work to fix them.

2004-11-03t15:28:53Z | RE: U.S. Elections .
2004-11-02 Election Day

Yesterday started out calmly enough. The kids had Election Day off from school so we had a calm breakfast together. My wife and I wanted to give the people who were voting before going to work a little space so we went to vote at 9:30 Chicago time. There was no hitch with voting, it was a new day, everything was just fine.

The main thing on my agenda yesterday was to watch the election but I thought I might be able to do a few chores such as fix my rear right tire, shop for groceries, and catch up on some personal finance management. If only I were so lucky. I made the mistake of bringing my car to Pep Boys at 2604 N. Elston Ave. I took my car there because they have tires in stock in case the tire had to be replaced. However I had forgotten that the reason I had stopped using them was because their time estimates totally suck. I would have been satisfied if they had told me that they were backed up and that they might not get to my car until later, but instead they told me that the mechanic assigned to my car was just coming in and that the first thing he'd do was look at my car. So I hung around, shopped at Pep Boys, shopped at Home Depot, and shopped at Target. It was a lot of waiting and walking around with my son York. They finally got to my car at 4 in the afternoon. Geez! I could have taken my other car, gotten a new tire, and put it on a lot earlier in the day. I was so mad that I actually swore at them and they knew they screwed up so they let me have the tire fix for free.

It's not the money: it's the loss of time. I'm never going back to Pep Boys.

Anyhow it was getting dark by the time I finally got home. I calmed myself down by playing a few games of WarCraft, had dinner and settled in for an evening of watching the election. The day didn't get much better.

The one big light in the election was that Democratic Barack Obama beat Republican Alan Keyes by taking roughly 75% of the vote. This was expected and I'm very proud of the new U.S. Senator for Illinois, currently the only black Senator in the U.S. But as far as Congress goes, not only did the Republicans start off with majorities in both the House and the Senate, but it seems that they had a net gain of in both the House and the Senate. I still don't know if top Democratic Tom Daschle of South Dakota kept his Senate seat.

The U.S. Presidential Election was a drag. My choice John Kerry lagged behind the incumbent George W. Bush the whole evening. He lagged in popular votes and electoral votes all evening. (270 electoral votes was the magic 50% of the total electoral votes needed to win) The lag wasn't so bad because each state was falling along expected lines. There were 3 big bumps in the whole process. Pennsylvania (21 e.v.) was very slenderly leaning towards Kerry but it did finally fall for Kerry. Florida (27 e.v.) was a tossup but I wasn't too surprised when it fell for Bush because of its Gov. Jeb Bush. The key battleground state all evening was Ohio (20 e.v.). MSNBC called it for Kerry at around midnight.

From midnight and on it was apparent that it all relied upon Ohio. Shortly before 2:00 John Edwards came out and said that they wouldn't concede Ohio until all the votes had been counted.

At that point MSNBC had not said that Ohio was too close to call so as far as MSNBC was concerned that made it Bush 269, Kerry 211,  and 7 contested states:

  • MN 10
  • NH 4
  • NM 5
  • WI 10
  • IA 7
  • NV 5
  • MI 17

However if you don't concede OH, then the race was Bush 249 and Kerry 211. Some stations had also given Kerry MI at that point so that made it Bush 249, Kerry 228, and 7 contested states:

  • MN 10
  • NH 4
  • NM 5
  • WI 10
  • IA 7
  • NV 5
  • OH 20

Left at that state, it was still a close race, but the bottom line was still Ohio. And Ohio was a long shot for Kerry so as I type, Kerry is on the cusp of conceding the election to Bush.

Democracy worked as it was supposed to last night. However it is also a reflection of the sad state that the U.S. is in.

  • Rural won over Urban.
    • Great civilizations are characterized by their cities not the countryside, but apparently the U.S. is run by country folk in fly over states.
    • Cities have a greater variety of people living in close proximity so cities are naturally more liberal/Democratic. The countryside has a great variety of people but they isolate/segregate into like kinds, tend to be set in their ways and are naturally more conservative/Republican.
    • The accusations are that the Democrats are city snobs who don't understand the country heart of America, but on the other hand city and country folk are isolated from each other and aren't exposed to each other. There are simply more country folks.
  • Irrational won over Rational.
    • Objective ideas won by debates are irrelevant --the American public has been swayed to make their decisions based upon their feelings.
    • The GOP has snagged all the people who vote primarily for non-secular reasons when the government is supposed to be non-secular.
    • Homophobia won over Tolerance and Acceptance. There are 3 basic views on gay marriages: gay marriages, civil unions, and no gay rights. The latter has won. The gay issue is an issue of faith/taste because it there is no rational explanation for homophobia.
    • Fear won over Hope. Military won over Diplomacy. We will continue in Bush's era of perpetual war. Our noses will continue to be stuck where our noses aren't wanted. The Neo-Conservatives are running the show like the old British Empire --using the military. You can't run an empire by relying upon the military for long --all empires have learned this.
    • Faith won over Science. Alas poor stem cell science, evolutionary teaching, etc. The opinions of Nobel scientists have been ignored.
    • Faith won over Economics. So even though the economy sucks, people have been swayed into using the "moral" issues to base their decisions than the economy. That's a case of heart of  mind.
    • Iraq illogic won over terror illogic. Most Americans agree that terror should be fought and thatequate Iraq with a war on terrorism but most will also admit that invading Iraq wasn't. Meanwhile Bush has problems with WMD proliferation.
  • Corporations won over People.
    • The Wealthy won over the Poor. Balanced budgets and progressive taxes have lost.
    • Corporations won over Workers. People have forgotten how social/liberal programs such as FDR's Big Deal and the Civil Rights Movement made America greater. What's the minimum wage now?
    • Corporations won over the Environment. All the pro-environmental organizations have been ignored. Bring on the global warming. Will Bush see that the next economy is the "Green Economy"? Or will he continue to appease is oil friends?
    • Corporations won over fair Globalization. Outsourcing will persist without insisting on fair wages and working conditions outside of the U.S.. We will continue to be non-participative in international treaties such as Kyoto and the ICC.
  • The other world powers win over the U.S..
    • The E.U. will eclipse the U.S.. The E.U. has more people, they have more trade, they provide for the welfare of their citizens, they have better diplomatic relations, they are more "open source", and they don't have big military budgets. The E.U. has no army, it needs no army.
    • The E.U. has heterogenic unity. China and India have homogenic unity.
    • Social/moral issues belong  on the local/state level (as in the E.U.) not on the the national level (as in the U.S.).
    • Our outsourcing develops the infrastructure of other countries at essentially no cost to these other countries. These countries might dump the U.S. corporations at anytime or the U.S. corporations might dump the U.S. at anytime.

I'm not looking forward to another 4 years of Bush. He has even more power in Congress. He will place at least one judge in the U.S. Supreme Court. In other words the GOP now has control over all 3 branches of the federal government. This was indeed the biggest U.S. election in decades. Bush now has 4 more years to hide his wrongs of his first 4 years. The Democratic party can now wash its hands of all the fuck ups that will occur in the next 4 years. This should produce the biggest turnover towards more Progressive parties.

It's a sad day. I need a hug. Have you hugged a Democrat today?

2004-11-04t17:07:17Z | RE: U.S. Elections .
More Post Election Simmering

  • Summary on the other state races:
    • 100 Senate: GOP=55(+4), DEM=44(-4), IND=1(0). 51=majority.
      • Alas poor Tom Daschle (D, SD) lost! The new Senate Minority Leader will be Harry Reid of Nevada.
      • Hurrah Barack Obama (D, IL) won!
    • 435 House: GOP=231(+4), DEM=200(-3), IND=1(0). 218=majority.
    • 50 Governors: GOP=28 v DEM=21.
  • 'MORE ON THE GOP BASE: Per my piece from this morning and my previous post, here's an extremely telling piece of exit polling data from yesterday: Not only did Kerry win by an 86-13 margin among self-described liberals, he also won by a 55-45 margin among self-described moderates. So how'd Bush pull it off? He won 84-15 among self-described conservatives, and, more importantly, he made sure conservatives comprised a much bigger chunk of the electorate than they did in 2000. (Conservatives comprised about 34 percent of the electorate yesterday, versus 29 percent in 2000--a huge shift, raw numbers-wise.) Anyone anticipating a conciliatory second Bush term should stop and consider how much Bush owes his base.' -TNR.com/etc.mhtml?pid=2366
    • In other words, as expected, Bush won not by appealing to moderates but by appealing to his base and making sure they got out.
  • The 5 stages of grieving are supposed to be: 1) Denial. 2) Anger. 3) Bargaining. 4) Depression. 5)Acceptance. As far as the Kerry defeat I had some denial on Tuesday night, then I had acceptance on Wednesday morning, then I had depression almost all day yesterday, and now I'm damn angry!
  • It is clear now that the GOP has used religion for political purposes. I'm fine with people having religious convictions but religion needs to get out of politics! I am mad that hot button issues such as gay marriage, abortion, stem cells, etc. have been used to win elections. This is bad for several reasons.
    • Government should be secular.
      • It should not favor particular religions.
      • The anti-gay and anti-abortion movements have not been sufficiently translated into secular moral language.
      • The religious are susceptible to emotional manipulation but ethical and policy decisions and actions must be primarily based upon rational and evidential reasons, while other factors (such as emotional reasons, religious convictions,  and rhetorical persuasion) should be secondary.
    • People are voting "moral" issues but these are very limited. Gays and abortion are a small corner of many moral issues.
      • What about the poor? Don't they need social services, tax cuts, and healthcare?
      • What about protecting the environment?
      • What about a good war? Where we truly try diplomacy and condmen torture and profiteering?
    • The homophobic anti-gay marriage movement is sickening. I understand that many people may find homosexuality distasteful --just as it used to be more common for white Americans to find African Americans "distasteful". There will always be homosexuals (and African Americans) but most of them are otherwise regular people that should have the same legal rights as everyone else.
    • America must avoid becoming a theocracy. This country has a history of people escaping from religious prosecution.
  • This is no passing phase. This is now an era
    • ' Those outside America, in the chanceries of Europe and beyond, who hoped that this would be a passing phase, like a Florida hurricane that wreaks havoc only to blow over, will instead have to adjust to a different reality.

      For four years many hoped that the course charted by President Bush - a muscular go-it-alone view of a world divided between the forces of darkness and those of light - would prove to be a blip. Come November 2, 2004, they wanted to believe, normal service would be resumed. The United States would return to the old way of doing business, in concert with allies and with respect for the international system the US itself had done so much to create. The norms of foreign policy pursued by every president from Roosevelt to Clinton, including the first George Bush, would be revived. Senator Kerry promised as much.

      Now that fantasy will be shelved. The White House is not about to ditch the approach of the last four years. Why would it? Despite the mayhem and murder in Iraq, despite the death of more than 1,000 US soldiers and countless (and uncounted) Iraqis, despite the absence of weapons of mass destruction, despite Abu Ghraib, the Bush administration won the approval of the American people. If Bush had lost the neo-conservative project would have been buried forever. But he won, and the neo-cons will welcome that as sweet vindication. '

      • It really riles me that the world now has the impression that Bush and the NeoCons aren't just wild guns but are supported by the majority of Americans. I am so ashamed.
  • Damn politics, let's dance
    • 'The "most important election of a lifetime" has sent a clear message to the whole world: the face of America in the next four years - barring a Richard Nixon-style impeachment - will be of unilateralism, the "war on terror" possibly progressively escalating into a clash of civilizations. And pay attention to the "axis of evil" hit list - the official and the bootleg. Bush II will attack what it defines as "state terrorism" - Iran, Syria - instead of the global jihadi network. It will continue to rely on Pakistan to "decapitate" the odd "high-value al-Qaeda". It won't engage in diplomacy to address the political causes of terrorism. It won't engage in a cultural and ideological effort to try to counteract the global jihad - especially now that Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri have changed the rules of the asymmetrical game from a religious clash to a political struggle against imperialism. '
    • 'Total concentration of right-wing power - legitimized by the popular vote: this is the new neo-conservative dream turned reality. So the road ahead is to flatten the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah in Iraq, bomb Iran because of its supposed nuclear aspirations, depose President Hafez Assad in Syria, crush the Palestinian resistance, and remodel the Middle East by "precision strike" democracy.'
    • 'And then the neo-conservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC) - which virtually took over the US government - will create a major confrontation with China. Asia, beware.'
    • 'The faith-based, apocalyptic evangelicals have won this battle against the "reality community". Bush won despite Tora Bora, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib. The crusade continues. In God we trust - and also in Osama bin Laden. He got exactly what he wanted.'
      • God fucking damn shit. We're in a crusade.
  • Simple but Effective: Why you keep losing to this idiot

2004-11-05t18:38:02Z | RE: U.S. Elections . Ethics, Faith, Philosophy . Government, Political Science .
More Post Election Simmering 2

Partisan Issues

  • The election emphasized several general issues:
    1. Country (R) v City (D). Aka Rural v Urban.
    2. Spiritual (R) v Secular (D). Aka Emotional v Rational. Aka Religion v Reason.
    3. Corporations (R) v Commoners (D). Aka Rich v Poor. Aka Tort Reform v Lawsuits.
    4. Private (R) v Public (D). Aka Tax Cuts v Social Services.
    5. Military (R) v Diplomacy (D).
  • The good of the American people is best served by "R&D", i.e. non-partisan politics where both sides work together.
  • However, partisan politics encourages "RvD", i.e. partisanship encourages parties to strengthen one side of an issue while weakening the other side. In particular, partisan politics encourages the use of "wedge issues", controversial issues that extremists of the 2 parties will never agree upon. The use of wedge issues lets the party extremists dominate the debate instead of focusing the debate on how we can work together.
  • It is one thing to speak of non-partisanship or bi-partisanship, but to actually do it is another thing. We must avoid demonizing the other side (even though the temptation is very very strong sometimes). We cannot marginalize the other side because we must work together. The Left must be more sensitive to the fear that drive the Right. The Right must be analyze the reasons that drive the Left. We cannot view the other side as 100% wrong, we must struggle to find where they are at least 10% correct.
  • I heard on the radio that of the 90% of the voters who felt that "Faith" was the most important characteristic of a leader voted for Bush, while 90% of the voters who felt that "Intelligence" was the most important characteristic of a leader voted for Kerry. Apparently neither candidate was satisfactory in BOTH Faith and Intelligence.
  • What this country needs are leaders who are more moderate. A leader may lean towards one side but understands that his duty, his job, is to unite the people, to have policies that can satisfy both Faith and Intelligence whenever possible. Leaders should set up committees with people of opposing views so they can have earnest, honest debates with candor, so they can come up with satisfying compromises, so they can come up with solutions that satisfy 60% of the population instead of just 50%.

The Religious Right

  • The Religious Right has really pushed their political involvement for the past several years. It is understandable that they want to actualize some of their religious convictions as policy. However if a Muslim Fundamentalist government or a Judaic Fundamentalist government seems intuitively wrong, then shouldn't a Christian Fundamentalist government also be wrong?
    • One of the most disturbing things about this election was that it characterizes the whole U.S. as Christian Fundamentalists. This plays right into the hand of Osama bin Laden. This election justifies his view (and Bush's view) that we are in a religious crusade: Christian Fundamentalists v Muslim Fundamentalists. The military of the Christian Fundamentalists are on Muslim lands all over the place --which is why he does all these terrorists attacks. Since the Christian Fundamentalists are a wealthy military superpower, how can the poorer, politically disempowered Muslim Fundamentalists fight back? Obviously by using cheap guerilla and terrorists tactics.
    • The message sent by the Christian Fundamentalist vote is sort of like this:
      • Dear Muslim Fundamentalists:  You may have a jihad against us but we have a crusade against you: We Christian Fundamentalists are at war with you Muslim Fundamentalists. We've sent our armies onto your soil. Soon you'll have your own democracy but it will probably be a Muslim Fundamentalist state. If you must attack the U.S., then please attack our military targets which we've brought to you for your convenience and to anger you even further. I understand that you can hit more American by targeting cities, but don't attack the cities because the secular city folk are unarmed. Instead please bring it on by attacking us Christian Fundamentalists where we live --in the countryside in the Red states. Don't forget that we've got tons of guns too! Ha ha ha!
  • The separation of Religion and State is a very important separation that protects both. "Moral issues" have been abused in this election because they are not real government issues. The government should not intervene in you religious right to a Christian marriage, to wear a Jewish kippa (skull cap), to wear a Muslim hijab (veil), etc. But it is unfair for religions to try to illegalize gay unions when it is behavior that is loving, safe, secular, and an unavoidable part of their nature. You can have your faith and religious practices regardless of whether gays marry or not, so how dare you steal their rights.
  • The Left and secularists such as myself have a strong degree of faith, love, humanity, compassion, moral values, etc. However we generally do not frame our values in the language or vernacular that is satisfactory for the Right. Our secular words do not connect, ring, or resound with the Right. This may seem contrary to secularists, but we need more poetry and soul in our discussions. One way to look at it: You can teach science in a robotic, soulless, and boring fashion, or you can teach in a very human, exciting, and inspiring fashion. We also need to be less pedantic and snooty. The problem is some of we enjoy the sounds of our own voices --we like sounding like geeks, engineers, elitists, intellectuals, smarty pants, etc.

2004-11-09t16:24:53Z | RE: A v B . Drink, Food . Healthcare, Medicine . Parenting .
Breast Milk v Formula

Another entry in my ongoing A v B series.

Formula is artificial breast milk that became popular during WWII because of the extreme labor contributions that women had to make then. Formula is convenient and consistent. Formula is not free.

Breast milk is so much, much, much, much, much better than formula.

  • Breast milk is free.
  • Breast milk is instantly available.
  • Breast milk is nutritionally superior as far as fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Breast milk boosts the child's immunity.
  • Breast milk is much more complex with enzymes and hormones. The mother's body makes these things for reasons.
  • Breast milk is more psychologically bonding for both mother and child.

Breast feeding is difficult logistically, technically, and physically. If a mother has difficulty, then she should seek advice and support:

  • Family.
  • Friends.
  • Lactations Consultants at hospitals.
  • Organizations like LaLecheLeague.org have many support groups all over the world.
  • Books and the Web.

BTW: No cow's milk until the baby is 1 year old. Whole milk until the child is 2 years old.

See also these off-site related links:

My vote is for Breast Milk.

2004-11-09t19:22:39Z | RE: Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications . Cyber Life, Email, Surfing, Wikis . Entertainment, Movies, Pop Culture, Radio, Show Biz, TV . Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green . Martial Arts . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . U.S. . U.S. Elections .
2004-11-09t19:22:39Z

Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications

  • Super-tough coating for cellphones and discs
    • 'In one of the most convincing technology demonstrations this reporter has witnessed, I was handed a CD, a wire-wool pan scourer and some permanent marker pens, and invited to scratch or mark the discs. Hard as I tried, I could not make a single mark on the disc with the scourer. And the ink simply wiped off. The only person to have succeeded in damaging the disc had undertaken a determined attack with a Swiss army knife, according to TDK, the company that has developed the coating.'
      • But have they tested this coating against toddlers!!
      • But seriously this is a really great development.
  • S5: A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System
    • 'S5 is a slide show format based entirely on XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With one file, you can run a complete slide show and have a printer-friendly version as well. The markup used for the slides is very simple, highly semantic, and completely accessible. Anyone with even a smidgen of familiarity with HTML or XHTML can look at the markup and figure out how to adapt it to their particular needs. Anyone familiar with CSS can create their own slide show theme. It's totally simple, and it's totally standards-driven.'
      • Good job! Very elegant.
  • Let's See You Do This With Round Cables!
    • 'Folding cables serves two purposes; to create a super clean looking system and maximize air flow going though the computer case. Nothing messes up air flow more than a bunch of dangling IDE cables. Rounded cable helps this problem but they still tangle inside the case and still block airflow. A properly fold IDE cable will snake along the sides of the case so air flow is not disrupted and will look cleaner than anything you can do with rounded cables. There are two advantages with cabling a computer using flat IDE cable instead of rounded cable. The first advantage is price - IDE cables are a lot cheaper than rounded cable. The second advantage is performance - IDE cables are not affected by signal lost cause but bundling all the cables into a round tube. For these two reasons I always use flat IDE cables to wire up the drives. Sure rounded cables are easier to setup but to me, it's the "quick and dirty" method that shows no skills.'
      • Now that's craftsmanship.
    • PHOTO: folded flat IDE cables efficiency

Cyber Life, Email, Surfing, Wikis

  • Firefox aims for 10 percent of Web surfers. And I believe they'll get there. 10% is not insignificant. Apple has been hanging around for years at a similar percentage and the impact of Apple on computing is huge.
  • Championing a Wiki World
    • 'At first glance, Socialtext [Socialtext.com] doesn't look like a company running on a shoestring budget. Founded less than two years ago, it now has more than 50 customers around the world, including Walt Disney (DIS ) and Eastman Kodak (EK ), which use its Web software to help people collaborate online. Yet a peek behind the slick Web site reveals a truly virtual company: no offices, only 10 full-time people -- all working at home, and a chief executive who answers the phone himself.'
    • 'BEATS A HUNDRED E-MAILS. That's not a boast. It's the stark new reality for many tech entrepreneurs. Socialtext is helping forge this new path -- not the least with its own software. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Socialtext sells so-called wiki software. Offered as a service over the Web, the software makes it quick and easy to set up Web sites with a simple browser.'
  • Sex Is Out, Consuming Is In
    • ' Internet users are doing far fewer searches for sex and pornography and more for e-commerce and business than they were seven years ago, University of Pittsburgh and Penn State researchers say in a new book. "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent," said Amanda Spink, the University of Pittsburgh professor who co-authored Web Search: Public Searching of the Web with Penn State professor Bernard J. Jansen. '
  • The Rise of Open-Source Politics.
    • This article was not as good as I thought it might be. The article focuses on the technology. The Internet had some influence on this election but the content is more important than the delivery.
    • The title of the article is misleading because open source politics would involve more direct public input on public policy as well as elections. However given this election, I have some reservations about the public being misled and manipulated.
  • Mozilla Firefox 1.0 Released [2004-11-09]
    • At last! I'll download Firefox and check it out. Will I use it instead of Mozilla? Let's see.

Entertainment, Movies, Pop Culture, Radio, Show Biz, TV

  • I saw The Incredibles when it premiered this past weekend.
    • It was totally terrific! I'm thinking of trying to see it again.
    • As a fan of super-hero comic books, I appreciated the classical powers of the Fantastic Four as well as the X-Men. I also liked the big salute to Alan Moore's Watchmen. The Mr. Heat Miser hair was funny too.
    • The story and characters were great. It was a breakthrough PG rating for Pixar. Definitely a movie for these post 9/11 times.
    • The production value was incredible. I just saw Toy Story again last night and it's showing its age.
    • The casting was right on the money. Some big names but not too many as in Shark Tales.
    • The real super hero of the evening was my 2 month old daughter Amy who stayed quiet the whole time by nursing and napping. Thanks to Julia too! 6 year old Connie and and 3 year old York were also very good and they thoroughly enjoyed the movie. And somehow, just like when we saw Spiderman 2, York ended up sitting on my lap.
  • Trailers and shorts before The Incredibles.
    • I also got to see the preview for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and I must say that I'm looking forward to seeing Darth Vader in new scenes.
    • I also loved the computer animated short that they showed before the movie. The story of the sheep and the jackalope told in rhyming song was very cute and uplifting. After the depressing election, it was good to hear a story about getting back on track.
    • Cars is an upcoming computer animated movie by Disney/Pixar. It's essentially a movie pandering to NASCAR fans. How disappointing.

Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green

  • Bush Stands by Rejection of Kyoto Treaty [/.]
    • 'President Bush is holding fast to his rejection of mandatory curbs on greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming, despite a fresh report from 300 scientists in the United States and seven other nations that shows Arctic temperatures are rising.'
      • Sigh. As I feared. Bush doesn't get it. Oil is limited. The next economy is the Green Economy. Environmentalism doesn't lose jobs --it creates jobs!
    • 'In March 2001 Bush broke his campaign promise to regulate carbon emissions and withdrew the United States from the Kyoto treaty, which seeks to slow global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.'
    • 'Critics say Bush's opposition is ironic because the treaty was modeled after the market-based U.S. program for cutting acid rain created in 1990 by Bush's father and often pointed to by the current administration as a success story.'
    • ' Annie Petsonk, a lawyer for New York-based Environmental Defense, a nonprofit group that says it is dedicated to protecting the environment, said the United States will be left isolated on the biggest environmental challenge of the century. She said the White House estimates of Kyoto's costs do not appear to include the cost savings from trading pollution rights. "For business, it's quite serious because it means that the global carbon market is going to move, and U.S. companies are going to be left out of that market," Petsonk said. She helped shape the Kyoto treaty and the first President Bush's climate policy as a Justice Department lawyer. '

Martial Arts

  • U.S. Army tests battlefield robot armed with pump action shotgun; bring on the Terminators!
    • I thought this was merely a tech article but it turned political.
    • 'The same company that makes those cute little household vacuuming robots now has a military robot that is equipped with a pump action shotgun capable of firing shotgun rounds and presumably killing enemy combatants (or anyone who happens to be standing in front of the 'bot). The robot is called the Pacbot, and it has already seen action in Iraq. The Pacbot weighs about 40 pounds, and is propelled by heavy-duty tracks. It also has chemical sensors that detect nuclear, biological, and chemical contaminants. It's currently being tested by the 29th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia.'
    • 'Of course, the big story here is not that robots are being used in Iraq or tested by the U.S. Army -- the big news is that they are being equipped with lethal weapons. Up until now, robots have always been limited to support roles, such as carrying equipment, sniffing out bombs, or performing remote detection of nuclear, biological, or chemical contaminants. But now there are Army robots with shotguns. Next up? Robot-controlled Hummers that can't drive straight, but can still shoot. Once they get the bugs out of the software, they'll even be able to limit their shooting to the enemy rather than just randomly firing off shotgun rounds at anything that moves.'
    • 'To get some perspective, recognize this: the history of the United States, like many nations of the world, is highly militaristic. Yet the U.S. is the only country in the world to have dropped nuclear weapons on a civilian population. Yep, a civilian population. Furthermore, the U.S. routinely violates international law by, for example, invading Panama and kidnapping a foreign leader, and bringing him back to the United States to stand trial. Why is that illegal? Well, imagine somebody in Iraq invading the United States, kidnapping President Bush, and taking him back to Iraq to stand trial. That's a violation of international law, and it's precisely the sort of action in which the United States frequently engages.'
    • 'The only thing that's really holding back the United States from being even more aggressive and militaristic in the world is probably the fact that every time the U.S. declares war on a country and sends soldiers in to do the fighting, soldiers end up being killed and we see a stream of body bags coming back from the front lines. Of course, the Pentagon is doing its best to suppress those images, but they exist nonetheless. What really shocks Americans is the rarely-admitted fact that inside those draped coffins are the bodies of American boys. That's right: guys who used to be living, breathing human beings who had families, friends and college loans to pay off. The public hates finding out that war -- can you believe it? -- actually results in the ending of human life. Go figure... '
    • 'So how can the Pentagon avoid all these embarrassing images of Americans being killed in action? Easy. If you develop advanced robotic technology to the point where robots can navigate battlefields and use lethal weapons, then you eliminate the primary reason why Americans don't like war in the first place: that their young boys are being brought home in flag-draped coffins. In other words, if you can send machines out to do the killing for you, all of a sudden the war becomes more acceptable to the American people. And robots don't carry cell phone cameras, either.'
    • 'Now, George Bush has proven that selling a war to the American public is remarkably easy. The reasons given for justifying the war don't even have to make sense. In this case, the war was justified with all sorts of creative distortions about weapons of mass destruction. And yet, even after a thorough investigation revealed that there were no weapons of mass destruction, both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney insisted they would have invaded anyway, even had they known there were no weapons of mass destruction. In other words, the justification for the war didn't really matter at all. They might as well have said, "We're going to invade Iraq because they have too much sand." And 50% of the American people would have believed that, pitching in to help redistribute the sand to the other sand-poor nations of the world, most notably Canada, which has almost no sand whatsoever but still somehow manages to remain calm.'
    • Related:

Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space

  • Why thin, flat things rise and glide on the way down: physicists finally solve the falling-paper problem. ' "There were a few surprises," Wang notes. "We found the flat paper rises on its own as it falls, which would not happen if the force due to air is similar to that on an airfoil. Instead, the force depends strongly on the coupling between the rotating and translational motions of the object." Wang and Pesavento also showed that the falling-paper effect is almost twice as effective for slowing an object's descent, compared with the parachute effect (that is, if an object falls straight down). And that evidently benefits trees and other plants that need to disperse seeds some distance from the point of origin. Plants with flattened seedpods also take advantage of the falling-paper effect.'
  • Darwin's greatest challenge tackled: The mystery of eye evolution [/., >1200 comments]
    • 'Researchers in the laboratories of Detlev Arendt and Jochen Wittbrodt have discovered that the light-sensitive cells of our eyes, the rods and cones, are of unexpected evolutionary origin ¬ they come from an ancient population of light-sensitive cells that were initially located in the brain.'
    • ' "It is not surprising that cells of human eyes come from the brain. We still have light-sensitive cells in our brains today which detect light and influence our daily rhythms of activity," explains Wittbrodt. "Quite possibly, the human eye has originated from light-sensitive cells in the brain. Only later in evolution would such brain cells have relocated into an eye and gained the potential to confer vision." '
    • 'The scientists discovered that two types of light-sensitive cells existed in our early animal ancestors: rhabdomeric and ciliary. In most animals, rhabdomeric cells became part of the eyes, and ciliary cells remained embedded in the brain. But the evolution of the human eye is peculiar ¬ it is the ciliary cells that were recruited for vision which eventually gave rise to the rods and cones of the retina.'
    • 'So how did EMBL researchers finally trace the evolution of the eye?

      By studying a 'living fossil,' Platynereis dumerilii, a marine worm that still resembles early ancestors that lived up to 600 million years ago. Arendt had seen pictures of this worm's brain taken by researcher Adriaan Dorresteijn [University of Mainz, Germany]. "When I saw these pictures, I noticed that the shape of the cells in the worm°s brain resembled the rods and cones in the human eye. I was immediately intrigued by the idea that both of these light-sensitive cells may have the same evolutionary origin."

      To test this hypothesis, Arendt and Wittbrodt used a new tool for today°s evolutionary biologists -- 'molecular fingerprints'. Such a fingerprint is a unique combination of molecules that is found in a specific cell. He explains that if cells between species have matching molecular fingerprints, then the cells are very likely to share a common ancestor cell.'

      • Beautiful. The Scientific Method at work.
    • PHOTO: The Platynereis Dumerilii marine worm was key to explaining the evolution of the eye
  • Possible origin of cosmic rays revealed with gamma rays
    • 'The astronomers studied the remnant of a supernova that exploded some 1,000 years ago, leaving behind an expanding shell of debris which, seen from the Earth, is twice the diameter of the Moon. The resulting image helps to solve a mystery that has been puzzling scientists for almost 100 years - the origin of cosmic rays.'
      • And, as everyone know, cosmic rays gave the Fantastic Four their superpowers.
    • ' Dr Paula Chadwick of the University of Durham said "This picture really is a big step forward for gamma-ray astronomy and the supernova remnant is a fascinating object. If you had gamma-ray eyes and were in the Southern Hemisphere, you could see a large, brightly glowing ring in the sky every night." '
    • ' Professor Ian Halliday, CEO of PPARC which funds UK participation in H.E.S.S. said "These results provide the first unequivocal proof that supernovae are capable of producing large quantities of galactic cosmic rays - something we have long suspected, but never been able to confirm." '

U.S.

  • "Real Conservative Values" by Chris Bowers. It's so succinct so I'll quote the whole thing.
    One of the more preposterous things I see many on the lefty blogosphere post about is how George Bush is not a "real" conservative. In making this argument, many bloggers go on to cite the supposed conservative values that George Bush does not represent. These values go something like this:
    • "Real" conservatives value fiscal responsibility and solvency, but George Bush does not
    • "Real" conservatives value personal liberties, but George Bush does not.
    • "Real" conservatives are not interested in overseas adventurism, especially without the help of our allies, but George Bush does not.
    To all of this I say hogwash. George Bush is a self-proclaimed conservative. In this election, 84% of those people who identify as conservatives voted for George Bush, thereby endorsing his policies. I say, and my Catholic upbringing says, that your actions are your beliefs, and there is no difference between the two. Considering this, it is time to face some facts:
    • Real conservatives value fiscal insolvency, including irresponsible tax cuts, corporate giveaways, massive spending increases, huge undisclosed pork-barrel spending projects hammered out during congressional conference, rather than actual budget legislation on the Congressional floor that is open to the public and recorded in the public record. You know that conservatives value these things, because these are the things the vast majority of self-proclaimed conservatives do.
    • Real conservatives do not value your personal liberties. They like disenfranchising voters, challenging voters, and making it more difficult to vote. They like it when the government is in your bedroom. They want to be able to spy on your personal files. They do not respect your right to privacy. They like to tell you who you can and cannot love, and what you can and cannot do to your own body. You know these are conservative values, because conservatives regularly pass laws of this nature.
    • Real conservatives like to recklessly use the military They love war, and regularly resort to it as one of their first choices. They have no respect for the lives their policies destroy, as long as they have more bases overseas. They derive their values from violence, and detest peace. They will come up with any excuse possible, and cynically invent several more, to use force whenever possible, wherever possible. You know these are conservative values, because these are the actions conservatives take.
    Real conservatives are bloodthirsty, reckless with our tax money, and want to tell you how to live your life. They are intolerant, warmongering and irresponsible. You know these are real conservatives values, because you can find anyone's beliefs in what they do, not what they say.  

U.S. Elections

  • What's happening in America? A Brief Post-Election Commentary
  • The Day the Enlightenment Went Out
    • 'Mr. Rove understands what surveys have shown, that many more Americans believe in the Virgin Birth than in Darwin's theory of evolution.'
    • 'The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. It is not what they had experienced from this country in the past. In fact, we now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies. Where else do we find fundamentalist zeal, a rage at secularity, religious intolerance, fear of and hatred for modernity? Not in France or Britain or Germany or Italy or Spain. We find it in the Muslim world, in Al Qaeda, in Saddam Hussein's Sunni loyalists. Americans wonder that the rest of the world thinks us so dangerous, so single-minded, so impervious to international appeals. They fear jihad, no matter whose zeal is being expressed.'
    • 'It is often observed that enemies come to resemble each other. We torture the torturers, we call our God better than theirs - as one American general put it, in words that the president has not repudiated.'

2004-11-11t18:11:23Z | RE: Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Money, Work . Cyber Life, Email, Surfing, Wikis . Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green . Ethics, Faith, Philosophy, Secular . Local . Obituaries . Terror, War . U.S. Elections .
2004-11-11t18:11:23Z

Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Money, Work

  • Big Tax Plans, Big Tax Risks
    • 'Hardly anybody likes the current tax system. But as President Bush undertakes the potentially historic task of coming up with something better, he is confronting an issue that is more ideologically explosive, politically risky and economically complex than he let on during the campaign.'
    • 'By the end of the year, Mr. Bush intends to name a bipartisan commission to study the issue and make specific recommendations sometime next year. He has already laid down some markers; he wants to retain two of the most politically popular breaks in the tax code, the deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving, and he wants any overhaul of the system neither to raise taxes over all nor to cut them.'
      • This sounds reasonable ... so far. I believe that the tax system should be changed (esp. simplified) but the changes must be improvements instead of detrimental.
    • 'even though the White House has been studying the issue for several years, no decision appears imminent. Among those who favor scrapping the current system - a group said to include Vice President Dick Cheney - there is a raging debate over what should replace it, with the basic options being some sort of national sales tax or a single-rate flat tax on income.'
      • Ah yes... here it comes... the regressive tax plans that are harder on the poor than the rich.
    • 'Most Democrats view a national sales tax and a flat tax as thinly veiled efforts to cut taxes on the wealthy and shift more of the burden to those who earn less. They argue, for example, that the burden of a sales tax would fall hardest on low-income people who spend everything they earn. Most flat-tax plans envision a rate of about 20 to 25 percent, meaning that some people who are now paying tax at a 10 or 15 percent rate would pay a higher rate, while wealthy people who are paying as much as 35 percent on some of their income would pay at a lower rate.'
    • 'Advocates of both options, though, say they could be structured to exempt many low- and-middle-income people and would give the economy a substantial boost by effectively eliminating taxes on savings and investment, creating a bigger pool of capital to finance business expansion, technological innovation and better productivity. And Republicans say the election results favor the bold.'
    • ' "It strikes me that there's consensus in the country, and hopefully in Washington, that the tax system is too complex, that it's full of loopholes that are exploited by special interests and that we need to simplify them," said Senator-elect Barack Obama of Illinois, a Democrat who won easy election to an open seat. Mr. Obama, speaking on "This Week" on ABC, said, "If we can arrive at a tax simplification agenda that is not resulting in a shift toward a more regressive tax system, but is instead genuinely making it simpler for ordinary Americans to file their tax returns without a lot of paperwork and gobbledygook, then I think that's something we could work together on." '
      • Whoo hoo! That Obama sure can sweet talk both parties!
  • Where Are The Tax-Cut Jobs?
    CHART: Tax Cut and Jobs: Prediction v Reality
  • Update 3: U.S. Dollar Drops to New All-Time Low [2004-11-10]
    • 'The U.S. dollar slumped to a new all-time low Wednesday against the euro, which briefly rose above $1.30 for the first time after data showed the U.S. trade deficit above $50 billion in September for the fourth straight month.'
    • 'The euro, launched in 1999, languished under $1.00 for about 2 1/2 years between 2000 and mid-2002. It is now 57 percent above its all-time low against the dollar of 82 cents, reached in October 2000. '
    • 'For the 12 countries that use the euro, the stronger currency raises fears that it will snuff out their moderate, export-driven economic recovery by making exports more expensive. But it takes much of the sting out of high oil prices on the continent, since oil is priced in dollars and the strong euro makes it relatively cheaper. '
    • 'For Americans, consequences include higher prices on imported goods and more expensive European vacations. But a weak dollar can be a boon to U.S. manufacturing exporters, making their goods cheaper compared to those of European competitors, and fattening overseas sales and profit margins. '
    • 'Experts say that as the slide of the dollar continues, international money managers and foreign central banks will be less likely to buy U.S. stocks and bonds. "The U.S. has got these massive deficits that nobody wants to buy into," Bloom said. "It needs everybody to be buying dollars all day, every day, and the world doesn't want to do that." '
    • Related:
  • Gold near 16-year highs
    • 'Gold bullion remained near 16-year highs Monday and prepared for a challenge of its July 1988 price peak at $440 an ounce after the dollar slid to a record low against the euro, analysts said.'
      • The last gold peak was $449/ounce in 1998-08.
  • What a month for all sorts of economic indicators! In addition to the Euro and gold above, check out how the Dow Jones Industrial Average responded to the election.
    GRAPH: The DJIA at the start of 2004-11

Cyber Life, Email, Surfing, Wikis

  • "Hate mail that's worth reading takes real work" by Mary Schmich. Nice article and I'm going to quote practically the whole thing because Chicago Tribune links aren't good forever.
    Hate mail used to be a pastime limited to those hardy letter-writers who knew how to rustle up an envelope, lick a stamp and look up an address. Back in those character-building days of this great nation, hate mail took work.

    But the Internet has opened the hobby of hate mail to anybody with a computer and a grudge. And, indeed, based on the latest poll of my inbox, 1.6 million Americans are, at any given moment, e-mailing invective they hope will feel like a fork in the eye to some columnist, activist, editor, politician, TV host, blogger or other blathering lowlife.

    Are you one of these exuberant letter writers? Or maybe you've always dreamed of being one but didn't know how? Whether you're an experienced hate-mailer or simply want to be, you need a personal hate-mail consultant.

    My fellow Americans, that would be me.

    Give me just three minutes of your time, right now, and I will hone your hate-mail skills. What are my qualifications? I admit I've never sent hate mail. Don't hold that against me. Believe me, I've been tempted.

    But what I lack as a writer of hate mail, I make up for as a recipient. Indeed, the abundance of hate mail in this election season has alerted me to a national emergency: To be the America we want to be, we must improve our hate-mail standards.

    So I offer myself, free of charge, to help make your hate mail more effective. These 100 percent bipartisan tips are guaranteed to increase the chances that the loathsome person you're writing to doesn't delete your mail after the second sentence:

    - Do not begin your letter with an expletive. It may satisfy your urge to throw a rotten tomato, but wouldn't you rather make your mark with fresh ideas than with spoiled fruit?
    - Don't rant about things the author said unless the author really said them. Respond to what's on the page, not to what you read between the lines or imagine is in the author's heart. If the object of your outrage wrote, "I'm not wild about Snickers bars," don't fire back, "YOU @#$% BIGOT, how dare you smear all CANDY !!!!!"
    - If you insist on writing the above sentence, at least send the recipient a Snickers bar. Wit will help your bitterness go down.
    - NO GIANT TYPE. Please.
    - DITTO FOR BOLDFACE!!! AND HOLD THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! THEY MAKE YOU LOOK CRAZY!!!!!
    - Avoid these overused insults: "Naive." "Whining." "You just don't get it." The artless hate-mail writer calls everyone who doesn't agree with him "naive" and defines "whining" as anything critical of his views. And if you think "You just don't get it" is persuasive or original, then you just don't get it.
    - Do not call the person you are writing "stupid." Calling people stupid makes you look that way. And, no, "cretin" isn't better just because it sounds French.
    - If you must name-call, be clever. Ripping off other people's clever lines makes you look like a thief, not a comic. So don't hurl insults you heard from Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken.
    - Compliment. It may hurt worse than tweezing, but a compliment multiplies your chance of being read. Try, "I often enjoy your work, but . . . "
    - Self-deprecate. Try, "Thanks for letting me vent." That small acknowledgement that you know you're puffing pretty hard will help the letter's recipient believe in your shared humanity.
    - With all due respect, abandon the prissy phrase "with all due respect." It's usually a preface to something disrespectful. A preface to an insult doesn't make it any less insulting, so why waste the space?
    - Keep. It. Short.
    - Sign your name. Your real name. Not "Dr. Bigstuff" or whatever swashbuckling pseudonym you tremble behind while hurling spitballs.
    - Before you mail, ask yourself: Would you say this to the person's face? If not, don't mail it either.

    Follow these suggestions, ladies and gents, and I promise you'll see amazing results faster than you can sneeze. Your hate mail won't be hate mail anymore. It may even sound like a readable argument. Win-win for everybody!

    THANKS FOR LETTING ME VENT!!!!
  • I only check my hotmail account monthly but I noticed that the inbox has finally been extended to 250 MB. Cool!

Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green

  • Giant squid 'taking over world'
    • 'According to scientists, squid have overtaken humans in terms of total bio-mass. That means they take up more space on the planet than us. The reason has been put down to overfishing of other species and climate change. '
    • ' "This trend has been suggested to be due both to the removal of cephalopod predators such as toothed whales and tuna and an increase of cephalopods due to removal of finfish competitors,'' said Dr Jackson '
    • Answer: Eat more squid! Ha ha ha! But seriously we have problems with overfishing, esp. given that our oceans feed so many people.

Ethics, Faith, Philosophy, Secular

  • where souls brimful of love [MeFi with >130 comments]
    • 'I get very antsy when I see this entire election outcome being blamed on radical conservatism or on ignorance or stupidity. Because really when people talk about "radical" conservativism, what they really mean is Southern conservativism, specifically the kind that originated in the Southern Baptist church in the late 70's/early 80's.  And that makes me unhappy. I am an ex-Southern conservative.  You can say, 'oh, Aja, you're nothing like them,' but I am.  I see my Southern Baptist upbringing in myself in countless ways every day.'
    • 'Conservative Christians are taught all our lives that we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare.  When I was in 6th grade I read a book called This Present Darkness by novelist Frank Peretti, who really kicked off the Christian fantasy genre and preceded those awful Left Behind guys by like 10 years.  I read this book and went around fancying that I saw angels around me, fighting demons everywhere, a great heavenly host doing battle with unseen forces of darkness.  And I can't really explain to anybody who isn't familiar with conservative Christianity, but we are taught that this is real.  Demons? Real. Angelic warfare? Real.  That passage in Ephesians about putting on the full armor of God?  We take that seriously.  We take everything Paul said seriously, actually. Way, way, way too seriously, but the reason we take it so seriously is because Paul has this way of delineating Christianity as a practice so that you can live it out very easily.  He basically teaches Christians that they are to live every day as though they are battling persecution.  Paul is the classic propagator of the Us/Them mentality.  Them is the World.  The World is evil and sinful and wants to persecute Us.  It is Our job as Conservative Christians to don our armor and wage war against the World. '
      • Yep, more confirmation that these freaks have put us in a crusade.
    • 'Conservative beliefs do not spread because of ignorance.  You must understand this.  Conservative beliefs spread because of a need in the conservative church to emphasize that if you are not fighting, you are losing the battle for spiritual warfare.  And until you have been out there battling the forces of evil you don't really understand how every day events can be magnified to fit into a larger picture of a tapestry of events being orchestrated by Jesus to lead us on to a higher victory.'
      • I believe that there is good and evil but it is much more complicated then that.
    • 'In fact, I just remembered: a key mantra of Campus Crusade was this: If you're not being persecuted for your Christianity, then you're doing something wrong. I said in my previous post that it was reprehensible to me that someone could vote for Bush knowing that he went to war on a lie.  And yet, I also understand that by every bit of education and background I have ever had, I by rights ought to be voting for Bush because as far as Aja the Conservative is concerned, he didn't lie, he merely told the truth from a spiritual perspective, from the perspective of a man committed to God's work, which involves bringing freedom to the rest of the world and stamping out the influence of Satan. That is not an easy or a simplistic rationale.'
      • Okay they may not be stupid or ignorant but they are using a weird rationality and purposefully circumventing actual rational thinking. These are people who are emotionally and spiritually monoscopic and they should not be choosing our leaders or setting policy unless they can first translate their convictions into secular terms.
      • This idea of translating convictions into secular terms is key. Martin Luther King did it. Gandhi did it. Even the founding fathers of the U.S. did it.
    • 'When you blame the voters who chose Bush, you are completely mistaking what is happening in our country today.  Bush did not win the election based on ignorance and stupidity.  He won the election based on a belief system that has been determinedly advancing across the country because Christians believe it is their spiritual duty to bring people to Christ.  And you cannot be successfully brought to Christ until you also commit to serving Christ.  You cannot successfully serve Christ unless you do his will.  And it is Christ's will that Bush win re-election.  Do you see the pattern at work here???'
    • Related links, esp. via the MeFi thread, which, BTW, was quite heated.
      • Why Americans Hate Democrats--A Dialogue. The unteachable ignorance of the red states.
      • An Open Letter to the Democratic Party: How You Could Have Had My Vote.
        • 1. Confusion on the issues? I was never confused. I knew where both candidates stood on the issues but people were confused on Kerry's standing simply because the Bush campaign said they should be.
        • 2. Every American is against terrorists. This has been repeated but the Bush Campaign convinced people otherwise.
        • 3. The whole Vietnam service story was politically abused by both sides.
        • 4. We have our own opinions but there is nothing wrong with listening to other people, even foreigners. (Esp. if they might help with intelligence, money, etc.) Just check the facts, evidence, logic, and instinct.
        • 5. Democrats are not anti-rich: Clinton and Kerry are obviously wealthy. We're anti-poverty, pro-generosity, and we're for compassion and helping the weak.
        • 6 & 7. The smashmouth venom that this woman speaks about was started by the Republicans like Rush and company (remember the Clinton attacks?) but it sadly it has spread to both parties since we have grown further apart.
      • Am I Blue? I apologize for everything I believe in. May I go now?
        • 'The election campaign made it official. These are the Disunited States. There is "Red" America: conservative, Republican, religious. And there is "Blue" America: liberal, Democratic, secular. Everybody's message from the election results is that Red America won, and Blue America must change or die.'
        • 'So, yes, okay, fine. I'm a terrible person -- barely a person at all, really, and certainly not a real American -- because I voted for the losing candidate on Tuesday. If you insist -- and you do -- I will rethink my fundamental beliefs from scratch because they are shared by only 47 percent of the electorate.'
        • 'There's just one little request I have. If it's not too much trouble, of course. Call me profoundly misguided if you want. Call me immoral if you must. But could you please stop calling me arrogant and elitist?

          I mean, look at it this way. (If you don't mind, that is.) It's true that people on my side of the divide want to live in a society where women are free to choose abortion and where gay relationships have full civil equality with straight ones. And you want to live in a society where the opposite is true. These are some of those conflicting values everyone is talking about. But at least my values -- as deplorable as I'm sure they are -- don't involve any direct imposition on you. We don't want to force you to have an abortion or to marry someone of the same gender, whereas you do want to close out those possibilities for us. Which is more arrogant? '

        • 'We on my side of the great divide don't, for the most part, believe that our values are direct orders from God. We don't claim that they are immutable and beyond argument. We are, if anything, crippled by reason and open-mindedness, by a desire to persuade rather than insist. Which philosophy is more elitist? Which is more contemptuous of people who disagree?'
  • This election has strengthened my resolve for secular morality and sociabilities.
    • The first Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights starts off with "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Secular morality enforces this right, whereas the tendency of this religious right movement is to infringe on this right.
    • I understand, for example, that most of America may have a distaste for homosexuality. However there are religious establishments that do not condemn homosexuality. Thus homosexuals have rights too. If gays marry, it does not stop you from practicing your religion. But if gays are prohibited from marrying or even having civil unions, then their rights, including religious rights are being infringed.
    • The secular movement is tolerant. The secular movement is not anti-religious. The secular movement does not intend to persuade people away from their religion. The secular movement is about the separation of Church and State. The secular movement is more Libertarian than Authoritarian.
    • I think people resist the secular movement not just because they fear that it is anti-religious, but that the secular movement will trend towards a value-less society. In this light I think that the secular movement needs to "preach" goodness that is backed by secular morality. The secular movement needs to "inspire" people with its "high" values and thinking. 
    • I think that people resist the secular movement because they fear that it will cause them to lose their cultural practices and heritage. This is not true. The secular movement does not want to usurp the practices, rituals, etc. such as baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. The secular movement does not need to persuade people against their own beliefs.
      • If anything the secular movement can draw upon the entire cultural heritage instead of limiting itself to sections of history and humanity. The Catholic Church itself integrated the practices and ideology of many of the pre-Christian religions that it replaced. What is the trilogy and pantheon of saints about?
      • On the other hand, the secular movement does not make you bring "impurities" into your religion. Your faith can separate itself from the ideas, history, practices, etc. of the other religions, or others in general.

Local

  • Daley: No one will find this easy
    • Chicago's going through a budget crunch and Daley's trying to be fiscally responsible and balance the budget.
      • 0.25% increase in its sales tax (from 8.75% to 9%) which covers practically everything except for food and prescription drugs.
        • What's this?! A Democratic mayor is increasing a regressive tax?
      • Property taxes were not increased.
        • What's this?! A Democratic mayor didn't increasing a progressive tax?
      • A few other smaller changes:
        • 'An increase in the amusement tax from 3 percent to 4 percent on tickets for live performances at venues of at least 750 seats (Tickets at smaller clubs are untaxed.) and from 7 percent to 8 percent for all other amusements, such as White Sox, Cubs and Bears games;
        • An increase from 3 percent to 3.5 in the city hotel tax;
        • A jump from 16 cents to 48 cents on a pack of cigarettes;
        • An increase from $2.75 to $3.75 in the car-rental tax,
        • And a 25-cent increase in the city's $2 parking tax.
        • City taxes on alcoholic beverages would be increased about 20 percent, rising from 16 cents to 19 cents a gallon on beer, for example, and from $1.50 to $1.80 a gallon on hard liquor.'
      • Daley is also cutting expense in various spots.
    • Do you see that you Republicans? Daley is responsibly balancing the budget because it's his job, it's his responsibility. And the taxes he has to levy are predominantly regressive instead of progressive --how's that for reaching across the aisle? That's called uniting instead of dividing. That's why Daley's Da Boss.
  • Republican office vandalized
    • 'Chicago police today were trying to determine who threw three bottles containing flammable liquid into the office of a North Side Republican official this week.'
      • I didn't do it!
      • Democrats: Please! Stop killing yourselves. Stop vandalizing. Just stop it. I too am transitioning from depression to anger to acceptance but none of that is helping anything.

Obituaries

Terror, War

  • Just how precise are our bombs, tanks, air strikes, intelligence, etc?
    PHOTO: Injured Fallujah boy [Yahoo]
  • If most of the civilians were able to get out of Fallujah, then I'd think that most of the insurgents were able to as well. It is definitely more expensive for us to chase these insurgents around then for them to just dress up like a civilian and skip out.
  • Bin Laden: 'Your security is in your own hands' [transcript 2004-10-29]
    • This videotape was out before the election but I didn't want to talk about it then because I didn't want it to influence the election. However bin Laden was saying that Bush was propagating why he did what he did, so in one sense it was an condemning Bush. This might be an "endorsement" of Kerry but who wants to be endorsed by bin Laden. In the end bin Laden said outright that it wasn't a matter of Bush or Kerry but a matter of the public influencing U.S. policy.
    • Everyone should condemn terrorism but bin Laden's presentation and argument is that he is a calm, sane, fellow who does not hate freedom but is performing a defensive jihad against Americans for the security of his lands. This will obviously help in his recruitment efforts.
    • 'Contrary to what [President George W.] Bush says and claims -- that we hate freedom --let him tell us then, "Why did we not attack Sweden?" It is known that those who hate freedom don't have souls with integrity, like the souls of those 19. May the mercy of God be upon them. We fought with you because we are free, and we don't put up with transgressions. We want to reclaim our nation. As you spoil our security, we will do so to you. I wonder about you. Although we are ushering the fourth year after 9/11, Bush is still exercising confusion and misleading you and not telling you the true reason. Therefore, the motivations are still there for what happened to be repeated.'
  • More Than 200 U.S. Fallujah Casualties Reported: U.S. Troops Launch Second Phase Of Assault In Insurgents

U.S. Elections

  • Bush would have won by a landslide if he were simply more moderate. Instead he has chosen to be far right. Bush has been a divider instead of a uniter and he continues to give every indication that his mandate will be to push even further to the right. Bush should have been presiding over the strongest and most united America in years, but instead we have a very divided America. Although I am admittedly pretty far Left on certain issues (but Right on other issues), even I will compromise and admit that we need national leaders who are more moderate and centrist.
  • CNN.com/ELECTION/2004/. Bush may have won by 3 million popular votes (59,459,765 + 55,949,407 + 400,706 = 115,809,878) and 34 electoral votes (286 + 252 +0 = 538), but a 3% win (51% v 48%) is undeniably a very close race. It was the narrowest win for an incumbent president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
  • Maps and cartograms of the 2004 US presidential election results. These maps are pretty cool for analyzing who voted for whom and  where these people are.
    1. MAP: Election by state as red|blueBy state as red|blue. This map shows that Bush won over a greater area.
    2. MAP: Election by state as red|blue and populationBy state as red|blue and population. This map shows that the race was very close by population.
    3. MAP: Election by county as red|blueBy county as red|blue. This map shows that Bush won by a much greater area than Map 1. (BTW: Alaska went to Bush and Hawaii went to Kerry) (From STrain because he has state & county lines too). For a fascinating maps that compare the 2000 and 2004 elections see electoral mapmanship)
    4. MAP: Election by county as red|blue and populationBy county as red|blue and population. This map shows that the race was still very close by population.
    5. MAP: Election by county as percentageBy county as percentage. This map shows that while there were some very Bush and Kerry areas, that in actuality the U.S. has a lot of purple areas (between Bush and Kerry), but still a very close election.
    6. MAP: Election by county as percentage and populationBy county as percentage and population. This map shows hills of purple, streams of red, and mountains of blue, but, yet again, a very close election.
  • "17 Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists" by Michael Moore
  • The idea that "Bush supporters are voting against terrorism, Kerry supporters are voting against Bush." is partially true. Both sides were against terrorism, but Kerry supporters believed that Bush's response to terrorism (not including attacking Afghanistan) was so poorly executed that we needed new leadership.
  • the big day. Neat! I think Ole did a great job of blow by blow coverage of election day itself.
  • 2008
    • 'It is way early but I just wanted to put in my thought about 2008: Barack Obama vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger.   An African-American vs. an Austrian-American.  Both conservative on national defense and fiscal policy, both liberal socially.  Both the bright future of their respective parties.  Given what I know right now, I would have a hard time choosing between them, but wouldn't mind if either one won ;) '
      • Ha ha ha! That would be really cool.

2004-11-12t22:03:47Z | RE: 3D (Architecture, Sculpture) . Computers (Networking, Programming, Telecommunications) . Cyber Life (Chatting, Email, Surfing, Wikis) . Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green . Humanity, Living, Psychology, Sociology . Interesting, Jokes, Odd, Weird . Journalism, Media . Love, Relationships, Sex . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . Transportation (Cars, Bikes, Planes, Trains) . U.S. Elections .
2004-11-12t22:03:47Z

3D (Architecture, Sculpture)

Computers (Networking, Programming, Telecommunications)

  • Konfabulator.com. 'Konfabulator is a JavaScript runtime engine for Mac OS X  [& Windows] that lets you run little files called Widgets that can do pretty much whatever you want them to. Widgets can be alarm clocks, calculators, can tell you your AirPort signal strength, will fetch the latest stock quotes for your preferred symbols, and even give your current local weather.'

Cyber Life (Chatting, Email, Surfing, Wikis)

  • The new FireFox 1.0 sure is sweet!
    • It took less than 4 minutes to download and install!
    • It's prettier than Mozilla.
    • It works essentially like Mozilla.
    • It's just a browser and hence smaller and faster than Mozilla. This is fine because I never used Mozilla as a mail/news/chat client or a HTML editor, etc.
    • CTRL+K is web search.
    • More window/tab options:
      • Open new window: CTRL+N
      • Open new tab: CTRL+T or Double-Click on Tab Bar
      • Open link in new window: SHIFT+Click
      • Open link in background tab: CTRL+Click, Middle-Click
      • Open link in foreground tab: CTRL+SHIFT+Click or SHIFT+Middle-Click
      • Open address in new tab: ALT+ENTER
      • Close window: Click window X or CTRL+W
      • Close tab: Click tab X or Middle-Click tab
      • Next tab: CTRL+TAB or CTRL+PAGE DOWN
      • Previous tab: CTRL+SHIFT+TAB or CTRL+PAGE UP
      • Select tab 1 to 9: CTRL+(1 to 9)
  • Microsoft came out with their release version of Search.MSN.com to compete with Google as a Web search engine. As expected, it's not up to par.

Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green

Humanity, Living, Psychology, Sociology

  • Free Time-Life Navigation Web Site
    • 'Designing and navigating our futures: The site is a synthesis of five inter-related elements: organization evolution (main change vehicle); life design (main change beneficiary); work life (career) evolution (main change initiator); financial investing (the golden goose); and a life navigation system (the action sequencer). I named this synthesis Time-life Navigation ©.'
      • Ha ha ha! We should all publish our own version of our scheme of life.
  • Physics of Ideas: measuring the physical properties of memes [PDF]. Sounds nice but I haven't been impressed by quantifying trends of ideas. The semantic web is also not impressive so far.

Interesting, Jokes, Odd, Weird [May be NSFW]

  • How to kill yourself like a man. Ah yes, a classical Maddox piece. Summary:
    • Eat a tub full of beans
    • Strangle yourself
    • Hold your breath
    • Razor blade
    • Cadbury surprise
    • Headbutt the sidewalk
    • Lick a hooker's ass

Journalism, Media

Love, Relationships, Sex [Assume NSFW]

Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space

Transportation (Cars, Bikes, Planes, Trains)

  • 'NASA intends to break its own aircraft-speed record for the second time this year by flying X43a scramjet ten times faster than sound. On November 15 the X-43A supersonic-combustion ramjet - or scramjet - will again take to the skies aiming for Mach 10.' [/.]
    • Going from a record Mach 6.83 to Mach 10 in 1 year? Sweet!

U.S. Elections

  • Confessions Of A Cultural Elitist
    • Gee: Why bother with trying to be more centrist when it's so fun to bash the other side? [Disclaimer: Not all Republicans are dumb.]
    • 'Mine is a common story. Every day in America, hundreds of our most talented young men and women flee the suburbs and rural communities for big cities, especially those on the West and East Coasts. Their youthful vigor fuels these metropolises--the cultural capitals of the blue states. These oases of liberal thinking--New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Boston--are homes to our best-educated people, most vibrant popular culture and most innovative and productive businesses. There are exceptions--some smart people move from cities to the countryside--but the best and brightest gravitate to places where liberalism rules.'
    • 'Maps showing Kerry's blue states appended to the "United States of Canada" separated from Bush's red "Jesusland" are circulating by email. Though there is a religious component to the election results, the biggest red-blue divide is intellectual. "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" asked the headline of the Daily Mirror in Great Britain, and the underlying assumption is undeniable. By any objective standard, you had to be spectacularly stupid to support Bush. 72 percent who cast votes for George W. Bush, according to a University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and Knowledge Networks poll, believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or active WMD programs. 75 percent think that a Saddam-Al Qaeda link has been proven, and 20 percent say Saddam ordered 9/11. Of course, none of this was true. Kerry voters were less than half as idiotic: 26 percent of Democrats bought into Bush-Cheney's WMD lies, and 30 percent into Saddam-Al Qaeda.'
    • 'So our guy lost the election. Why shouldn't those of us on the coasts feel superior? We eat better, travel more, dress better, watch cooler movies, earn better salaries, meet more interesting people, listen to better music and know more about what's going on in the world. If you voted for Bush, we accept that we have to share the country with you. We're adjusting to the possibility that there may be more of you than there are of us. But don't demand our respect. You lost it on November 2.'
  • The far ends of the spectrum will always disagree. However they will compromise on certain issues for a moderate. Either candidate would have won by a "landslide" if either was more moderate. It's a lousy election when candidates try to get 51% of the vote instead of 60%.
  • "Magnanimous Defeat" by John Perry Barlow
    • How long will we languish in our defeat?
    • 'I feel as if half the people in America have just forced a fat crow down my gullet. I am compelled to admit that I am genuinely out of touch with half my country.'

2004-11-16t19:58:09Z | RE: 2D+time (Activities, Animation, Video) . 3D (Architecture, Sculpture) . Cyber Tech (Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications) . Diet, Drink, Food . Ethics, Faith, Philosophy, Secular . Government, Political Science, Politics, U.S. Politics . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . Money (Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Work) . Terror, War . Words (Literature, Reading, Stories, Writing) . World .
2004-11-16t19:58:09Z

2D+time (Activities, Animation, Video)

3D (Architecture, Sculpture)

  • Bathsheba.com. 'I'm an artist exploring the region between art and mathematics, and this is my gallery and storefront. My work is about life in three dimensions: working with symmetry and balance, getting from a zero point to infinity, and always finding beauty in geometry.'
    [PHOTO: Quintrino sculputure]

Cyber Tech (Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications)

  • "A CNET article claims that 'just days after the launch of open-source browser Firefox 1.0, Microsoft executives defended Internet Explorer, saying it is no less secure than any other browser and doesn't lack any important features.' It's also interesting to note that these statements made by Steve Vamos, Microsoft Australia's managing director, come with no knowledge of what Firefox has to offer as he admits not even installing or using Firefox." [/. with over 1200 comments]
    • Microsoft says that IE hasn't been developed because the customers aren't asking for new features. What a load of crap. I guess the vociferous pro-Mozilla and pro-standards community aren't customers.
    • This head in the sand approach is reminiscent of the Bush administration.
  • Sun to Give Out Operating System for Free. Ha ha! They've been reduced to giving it away. It's still not open source. Sun is still probably drifting to a dead stop.
  • Toys For Boys [mildly NSFW]
    • A Holiday techie wish list.
    • 'Digital Tigers also brought their PowerTrio Elite, a triple-monitor solution that does 1920x1200 on the center panel and 1600x1200 on each side. Like the other Digital Tiger displays, it can work with either analog or digital inputs. This PowerTrio Elite sells for a slightly more affordable $5,999.'
      [PHOTO: The awesome Digital Tiger Power Trio display]

Diet, Drink, Food

  • The Physics of Gluttony
    • 'The obesity epidemic has a simple solution. If you want to lose weight, either eat less, or breathe more.'
      • A refreshing twist on the old saw: "Eat less, exercise more".
    • 'the only effective way your body has to get rid of digested carbon is to combine it with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, and then expel it through your lungs. Unless you breathe out the carbon, you gain weight.'
      • It seems that if we don't have the convenience of exercising, we could do breathing exercises instead.
    • 'The mistake people make is to think that an hour of moderate exercise will change their body chemistry enough so that they'll "burn" away the calories even when they are inactive. But unless you breathe more rapidly, the carbon will stay in your body. If you want to lose weight, eat less or breathe more. And the only effective way to breathe more is through increased activity. There is no such thing as stimulating your body into a higher resting metabolic rate.'
      • If anything, exercise makes your body so efficient that you need fewer breathes at rest!
      • Of course there are other reasons to exercise besides weight loss.
    • 'Junk food may or may not be good for you. That depends on your cholesterol level and other factors, such as vitamin and mineral content. But for weight gain, the only thing that matters is how much you eat (specifically, how much you digest) and how much you breathe out. That's just conservation of mass.'

Ethics, Faith, Philosophy, Secular

Government, Political Science, Politics, U.S. Politics

  • FuckTheSouth.com. I'm going to post the whole thing here because because it looks like it might disappear. Why be moderate when fighting is so much fun?

    Fuck the South. Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep.

    And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?

    Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?

    No, No. Get the fuck out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this shit, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.

    Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.

    All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it's a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.

    The next dickwad who says, "It's your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That's right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It's too easy, asshole, they're blue states. It's not your money, assholes, it's fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.

    Let's talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It's fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that's right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that's just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part.

    But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula. Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes.

    Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.

    And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off.

  • Foolish Mobs: Why Does The Networked Left Keep Losing?
    • 'Starting with the most obvious, the Internet in general, and citizens' media in particular help fringe groups come together. This should be common wisdom by now. Groups that heretofore had little to no access to mass media have a way to meet up online using media they control themselves, and become less dependent on real world, face to face organizational infrastructure. But there's no particular bias toward one point of view that can be observed. For every Democratic Underground there's a Free Republic. For every Moveon, a Protest Warrior or Swiftie. The differences that might have made a difference are increased diversity and stridency of viewpoints perceived by the Internet enabled voter.'
      • Yes it is important to keep perspective. A very enthusiastic niche should not be confused with the general populace. However everyone must be true to themselves.
    • 'In this regard, the approbation of the legacy media may have formed a subtle trap for the leftist protagonists employing citizens' media. Organizations were formed and funded more quickly, and they did enjoy a greater degree of tactical agility in demonstrations and primary activities. But they may have evolved into organizations highly optimized for gaining mass media attention. However, this source of feedback - biased both politically and towards the novel and outre - is arguably not correlated to the ultimate political objective: changing votes. The networked Left entered into a fast feedback loop with the legacy media, with the American public outside watching. By the time the real evidence came in Iowa, it was too late. A new fundraising machine had been invented, but it was not persuasive beyond the true believers - it was operating on the wrong time base.'
  • Another red/blue map by county. Yep: City v Country. Why is Alaska so tall?
    [MAP: U.S. counties as blue/red raised by population]
  • Bush Nominates Rice to be Secretary of State: National Security Adviser Is President's Choice to Replace Powell. So the moderate Powell is replaced by NeoConservative Condoleezza Rice. Clearest sign of shifting right yet.
  • CIA plans to purge its agency: Sources say White House has ordered new chief to eliminate officers who were disloyal to Bush. How American.
  • Goss Reportedly Rebuffed Senior Officials at CIA: Four Fear New Chief Is Isolating Himself
  • [IN Representative John] Hostettler mounting campaign to change the name of Interstate 69. Yes, the U.S. Congressman are working on vital issues on our behalf. Err... You've heard of The Onion, yes?
  • SorryEverybody.com. Hundreds of people have submitted photos of themselves apologizing to the world for the election.
    [PHOTO: Dear Rest of the World: Sorry.]
  • Fundamentalist Outreach
    • 'Perhaps herein lies a new strategy for the Democrats: What if they treated Christians as respectfully as they treated Yasser Arafat? What if they extended to Christianity the tolerant understanding they extend to Islam? Maybe from time to time the Democrats could refer to Christianity as a religion of peace.'
    • 'The Democrats are far more interested in subduing Christianity at home than defeating militant Islam abroad. They can write acerbically about Southern Christians as jihadists, then eulogize real jihadists like Arafat as peacemakers. They can bring a very benign interpretation to Islam, insisting that the founders of Islam held the same liberal values and views as the editorial writers of the New York Times -- watch PBS's documentaries on Islam and you would think the early Muslim sultans were PBS liberals -- but offer no such generous understanding to Christian teachings.'
      • This article almost made a good point but lost it. Most Democrats are Christians. The author would have your forget that. The thing is that everyone knows good and bad. However if we should punish others for doing wrong (terrorism), we mush also be critical of ourselves (Abu Ghraib, Geneva convention violations).

Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space

  • A fractal life
    • An interview with mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot.
    • Talk about a beautiful mind.
    • Q: 'Fractals seem to appear all over nature and in economics. Even the internet is fractal. What does that say about the underlying nature of these phenomena?' A: 'Well, it depends on the field. Circles and straight lines also appear everywhere. Does this mean that all those phenomena have something in common? Of course not. The roughly circular trajectory of a planet around the sun is due to gravitational interactions. Berries are round because a sphere has a smaller skin. The beauty of geometry is that it is a language of extraordinary subtlety that serves many purposes.'
    • Q: 'Are there any neglected parts of maths that you think today's mathematicians should revisit?' A: 'There are plenty. I think that mathematics is one of the best fields in that respect. Something that is 150 years old in maths is old but not dead and dried to dust. It is so different from physics, where something that is 100 years old but not in textbooks is, for all practical purposes, dead.'
    • 'I would like scientists, engineers and the whole of society to understand the true meaning of statistics. People have generally been indoctrinated to believe that the world is simpler than it is. I'd like people to understand the difference between what I call mild randomness and wild randomness. Mild randomness is the thing that everyone thinks about where things go up and down a little bit in the financial market. Wild randomness is where one bad event in the stockmarket wipes out a long period of favourable events.'
      • I think "Chaos Theory" (and "Global Warming") needs new labels in order to be popular & understood, instead of infamous but misunderstood.

Money (Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Work)

  • Flossing and startups
    • ' It may seem obvious, but in my opinion, the root of the problem is that people make two big mistakes around goals:
      • they set soft goals that cannot be measured.
      • if they measure, they measure without reference to competition. '
    • ' "Just floss the teeth you want to keep."
      "Just measure the goals you want to meet." '
    • Nice catchy way to remember to do metrics.
    • What you do with the metrics is another story. EG: The No Child Left Behind provides metrics but then it goes on to punish the schools that need the most help.

Terror, War

  • U.S. Marines Rally Round Iraq Probe Comrade
    • 'The military command launched an investigation after video footage showed a U.S. Marine shooting a wounded and unarmed man in a mosque in the city on Saturday. The man was one of five wounded and left in the mosque after Marines fought their way through the area.'
      • Oh what great PR for America!
    • ' "I would have shot the insurgent too. Two shots to the head," said Sergeant Nicholas Graham, 24, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You can't trust these people. He should not be investigated. He did nothing wrong." '
      • Gaaah! Someone get these other soldiers to shut up! They're not helping the situation any.
    • I assume that this is a rough transcript of the video:
      • ' A second group of Marines entered the mosque on Saturday after reports it had been reoccupied. Footage from the embedded television crew showed the five still in the mosque, although several appeared to be close to death, Sites said.

        He said a Marine noticed one prisoner was still breathing.

        A Marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: "He's fucking faking he's dead."

        "The Marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man's head," Sites said.

        NBC said the Marine, who had reportedly been shot in the face himself the previous day, said immediately after the shooting: "Well, he's dead now." '

  • IVAW.net. 'Iraq Veterans Against the War'
  • Fallujah: have water supplies been cut off?
    • 'Water supplies to Fallujah may have been cut off for several weeks, according to media reports and accounts from civilians leaving the city. This follows a patttern of cutting off water which is becoming accepted among some circles within the US military, and has been applied already in Samarra and Tall Afar. It is in direct breach of the Geneva Conventions.'
      • More indications that the U.S. regularly breaches the Geneva Conventions.
    • 'The denial of water to civilians is becoming a standard part of US tactics in Iraq. It has been almost unreported in the US and UK, but the Iraqi press is full of reports of the US turning off water supplies to cities. It has also become a political issue in the country, discussed Muqtada al-Sadr, Ahmed Qubaysi, and other politicians. Within the US, it is now openly accepted by some military analysts '

Words (Literature, Reading, Stories, Writing)

  • The DNA of Literature. 'over 50 years of literary wisdom rolled up in 300+ Writers-at-Work interviews, now available online--free.'

World

  • The Senate vs. the U.N.
    • ' [MN Sen. Norm] Coleman said this week's hearings will show that ''the scope of the ripoff'' at the U.N. is substantially more than the widely reported $10 billion to $11 billion in graft. But more than money is involved. These hearings also should expose the arrogance of the secretary-general and his bureaucracy. At the same time that he has refused to honor the Senate committee's request for documents, Annan has inveighed against the Fallujah offensive sanctioned by the new Iraqi government while ignoring the terrorism of insurgents. This is an unprecedented showdown between a branch of the U.S. government and the U.N. '
      • Yeah bring it on! Face & fix the U.N. --don't go around it.
    • 'Coleman has been joined in rare bipartisan cooperation by the subcommittee's fiercely liberal ranking Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan. Coleman sent Levin a draft of a tough letter to Annan, and Levin signed it. The bipartisan letter demanded access to U.N. internal audits and key U.N. personnel. It also accused the Volcker committee of ''affirmatively preventing the subcommittee'' from investigating the scandal. A major point of dispute is the U.N.'s flat refusal to permit Lloyd's Register, hired by the U.N. to inspect Iraq's oil-for-food transactions, to provide any documents to the Senate.'

2004-11-24t16:17:52Z | RE: 2D (Images, Photos) . 2D+time (Activities, Animation, Video) . AI, Psychology, Robotics . Cyber Life (Blogging, Chatting, Email, Surfing, Wikis) . Cyber Tech (Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications) . Entertainment, Movies, Pop Culture, Radio, Show Biz, TV . Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green . Fishing, Hunting, Outdoors . Interesting, Jokes, Odd, Weird [May be NSFW] . Love, Relationships, Sex [Assume NSFW] . Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space . Money (Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Work) .
2004-11-24t16:17:52Z

2D (Images, Photos)

2D+time (Activities, Animation, Video)

AI, Psychology, Robotics

  • Robots to rid us of cockroaches [/.]
    • 'The robot, InsBot, developed by researchers in France, Belgium and Switzerland, is capable of infiltrating a group of cockroaches, influencing them and altering their behaviour. Within a decade, its inventors believe, it will be leading the unwanted pests out of dark kitchen corners, to where they can be eliminated.'
    • The /. thread also has geek tips on bug squashing!

Cyber Life (Blogging, Chatting, Email, Surfing, Wikis)

  • I recently reported that I noticed that my Hotmail inbox had been bumped to 250 MB. This morning I noticed that my Yahoo inbox is now 250 MB too! Isn't competition grand?
  • I just updated my IM Emoticons page which summarizes all the iconified emoticons for Yahoo! Messenger. Version 6 made more emoticons visible from the menu and changed some emoticons from static to animated. Some of the changes in emoticons were quite subtle.
  • The Faith-Based Encyclopedia [/.]
    • Article on our beloved Wikipedia.org  by "Robert McHenry is Former Editor in Chief, the Encyclopædia Britannica, and author of How to Know (Booklocker.com, 2004)."
    • 'The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.'
      • Of course but there's the adage of "Trust but verify". Nearly on the Internet and in real life must be taken with a grain of salt.
      • Wikipedia is also much more accessible and ubiquitous than any printed encyclopedia.

Cyber Tech (Computers, Networking, Programming, Telecommunications)

  • Gates declares death of passwords [/.]
    • 'Bill Gates has made .Net the way into Microsoft - literally. Smart cards from Axalto have been commissioned as ID passes for all employees around the world, and the cards will be used to gain access to the buildings, as well as to get into software.'
    • It's just a marketing declaration, not a factual one. There are many situations where password security will be perfectly sufficient.
    • The /. thread seems to focus on biometric case security (fingerprints, etc.) although the Smart Card is not based upon biometric security.
    • Related:

Entertainment, Movies, Pop Culture, Radio, Show Biz, TV

Environment, Fauna, Flora, Green

  • More Than 15,000 Species Said to Be Facing Extinction
    • 'Despite efforts to slow or reverse the slide into oblivion of many species, one in three amphibians and almost half of all freshwater turtles are threatened, the IUCN World Conservation Union said at the unveiling of its 2004 species "Red List." One in eight types of bird and a quarter of all mammals are also known to be in jeopardy, the conservation group said at the beginning of its eight-day World Conservation Congress in the Thai capital. In reality, the situation is probably far worse.'
    • 'On a positive note, scientists from the world's largest conservation organization said steps taken to preserve some "at risk" species appeared to have borne fruit. For instance, a quarter of the world's threatened birds had benefited from conservation measures, they said. '
  • Shell shock at two-headed tortoise. You usually see pictures of 2 headed frogs or snakes, so this is a wee bit different.
    [PHOTO: 2 headed turtle]

Fishing, Hunting, Outdoors

  • That moose may soon be just a mouse click away [/.]
    • 'Hunters soon may be able to sit at their computers and blast away at animals on a Texas ranch via the Internet, a prospect that has state wildlife officials up in arms.'
    • '[John] Underwood, an estimator for a San Antonio, Texas auto body shop, has invested $10,000 to build a platform for a rifle and camera that can be remotely aimed on his 330-acre (133-hectare) southwest Texas ranch by anyone on the Internet anywhere in the world.'
    • 'He said an attendant would retrieve shot animals for the shooters, who could have the heads preserved by a taxidermist. They could also have the meat processed and shipped home, or donated to animal orphanages.'
    • I'm going pheasant hunting next month but this story on web hunting makes the instinct to hunt and fish a little weird. The same weirdness also occurs when you go to a hunting/fishing store and you see some of the more outlandish efforts and ideas out there.
    • I don't do sport hunting and fishing mainly for food --it's a lot easier to go to the grocery store-- rather the motivation is spiritual: An appreciation of the sacrifice that another creature has to make in order for us to eat. It feels more satisfying to go through the physical hardship and ritual of the hunt then to merely cough up money for food (and no, I'm not saying that my money isn't hard earned). Besides farm raised animals are sometimes not treated with respect and dignity, but as a hunter and fisher, I do treat my prey with respect and dignity.
    • Of course there are also a lot of idiot hunters out there and I apologize on their behalf.
    • Surprisingly the /. thread turned into a discussion on hunting.

Interesting, Jokes, Odd, Weird [May be NSFW]

Love, Relationships, Sex [Assume NSFW]

Math, Science, Science Fiction, Space

  • Ion propulsion rocket gets to the Moon [/.]
    • Nice! Ionic/solar rockets is the way to send things across space as long as they have the time to get there and they can withstand some radiation.
    • I'll quote the whole thing since it's so short.

    A European Space Agency rocket entered moon orbit Monday in a unique mission using a pioneering power plant.

    The s-called SMART-1 spacecraft blasted off from Kourou, French Guiana, Sept. 27, 2003, on top of an Ariane 5 rocket, the Washington Post reported.

    Since then its ion propulsion engine has been slowly moving the spacecraft by expelling positively charged atoms, or ions, of the gas xenon, accelerated by an electrical field inside the spacecraft's engine.

    The engine does not combust fuel; rather it splits atoms with electricity to get ions, accelerates them at high speed, and then ejects them, driving the spacecraft forward. SMART-1 generates its electricity by converting sunlight with outsize solar arrays that give the spacecraft a 45-foot wingspan.

    Although ion propulsion does not generate much thrust, nothing slows it down in space so it constantly accelerates. Now that it has entered Moon orbit it will use the ion engine to slow down and study the lunar surface.

  • NASA's X-43A Scramjet Breaks Speed Record
    • Well they we're shooting to break Mach 10 but Mach 9.8 isn't too bad.
    • 'NASA's X-43A research vehicle screamed into the record books again Tuesday, demonstrating an air-breathing engine can fly at nearly 10 times the speed of sound. Preliminary data from the scramjet-powered research vehicle show its revolutionary engine worked successfully at nearly Mach 9.8, or 7,000 mph, as it flew at about 110,000 feet.'

Money (Business, Economy, Finances, Market, Work)

  • Hopes for tax overhaul hit an early roadblock
    • 'Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, derailed that express, voicing grave doubts that a major overhaul of the code could make it through Congress. The Iowa Republican said Bush had not yet done the necessary groundwork to ensure he could get major reform through.'
    • 'Maybe so. What's good for taxpayers is not good for those who like the status quo, and the latter group is well armed with lobbyists to stop change or make things worse. That's all the more reason for Bush to move beyond the vague goal of tax reform, which is loved by all who hate the current hassles, and onto a specific proposal that can start a meaningful debate. And also more reason to focus on the doable, not the spectacular, if anything is to change soon.'
    • 'In 1986, another second-term president, Ronald Reagan, made that approach the hallmark of his later years. Proposals for tearing down the current system - by replacing the income tax with some kind of sales tax, or creating one income-tax bracket for all - are intriguing. But they have significant downsides that make their adoption unlikely. Just cleaning out the closets would be a healthy thing, if it's done as effectively as it was in 1986.'
    • The article is pro-tax reform but anti-tax reforms that are either politically impossible or would make things worse. I too am against a high national sales tax, a value added tax, and a flat tax, all of which are regressive instead of progressive taxes.
  • Kmart to Acquire Sears in $11 Billion Deal.
    • Another round of corporate mergers. Both Kmart and Sears have had it rough lately.
    • 'The new company is expected to have $55 billion in annual revenues and 3,500 outlets. That will mean it will trail only Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Home Depot Inc. among the biggest U.S. retailers. '

2004-11-24t17:32:09Z | RE: Martial Arts .
MA notes and changes in how I log MA notes

Logging my martial arts experiences.

  • I'm rethinking how I log my martial arts classes. Although it only takes me to make a few minutes to make notes after class, it takes much longer to translate my shorthand into notes that others would understand. I feel compelled to fill out my notes because although they make perfect sense to me a few days after I take the notes, it doesn't take long before I have a hard time deciphering my shorthand, let alone other people.
  • On the other hand, when I look back at the 13 years of very hard karate experience that I had, I now wish that I had more notes of the experiences because most of it is now just in my memory. Since I'm constantly surprised by how much I've forgotten as I've gotten older, why should I trust my memory when I could just write it down?
  • So I'm going to compromise. First, in order to avoid procrastinating on entering notes, I'll enter my shorthand notes in my blog and I'll elaborate on them only a bit. That will record the experience in a chronological fashion.
  • Second, I'll flesh out my web notes on the MAs more. This is probably more important anyway. By making non-chronological notes, I tend to structure my notes, an exercise which exposes weaknesses and gaps in my knowledge. I will also try to be less hesitant about throwing notes into my "aaScrap" sections for incorporating into my more structured notes.

Notes of ChicagoSwordplayGuild.com stuff for October and November:

  • The common class has been working on falling, grappling, and takedowns.
    • The falling practices was pretty standard stuff: Falling on a curved back instead of on a sharp point. Avoiding using the hands since the assumption is that you have a weapon in your hand. Tucking the chin in. Use the momentum of the fall to rock back up.
    • Take downs involving several points:
      • Take some part of your opponent and pull/push/guide it towards their "missing 3rd leg" (i.e. a 2-legged table can't stand by itself).
      • Twist/push your opponent's spine.
      • Manipulate their vertical rectangle (shoulders & hips) until it tilts into a "diamond".
      • Use a wave motion. Push up then down instead of just trying to just push down.
      • Immobilize portions of their body to make the above happen. Stuff like feet behind their feet. Locking with your calf. Knocking in with your knees. Grabbing to lock their hip in place.
      • Take downs were practiced standing up and on our knees.
    • Pummeling.
      • Pummeling is largely a sensitivity exercise for grappling, but they also form the foundation of the Fiore grappling plays.
      • Start with either left or right, but if "right" then your right hand has offensively reached underneath your opponent's armpit to grab his shoulder, while the opponent had done the same to you. Simultaneously, your left hand & arm has defensively checked your opponent's right hand by grabbing his forearm, elbow, upper arm, etc.
      • Switch positions by snaking the left hand into your opponent's armpit and up to the shoulder, while withdrawing the right hand to the defensive position.
      • Pummeling was practiced standing up and on our knees.
    • Fiore grappling plays.
      • Several plays were covered, all from standing up.
      • Play #1. When slipping into the right offensive pummeling position position your body at least perpendicular to your opponent. Simultaneously raise your right arm up while having your left arm ready to check their right hand. This assumes that the opponent's left arm remains pointing down.
      • I'll try to enter the plays as we cover them in my web notes instead of my blog.
    • Stick grappling.
      • Stick grappling is largely a sensitivity exercise for grappling over a weapon.
      • We've done stick grappling before and it's always fun.
      • We used a 4'= 48" = 120 cm stick. I suspect that 48" was used because that's  a standard dowel size. It is not too far off from from the length of a Japanese jo stick (4 shaku 2 sun 1 bu = 127.56 cm = 4'4.25" = 50.25").
      • Gentle stick wrestling.
        • The idea behind gentle stick grappling is to not use strength but to use sensitivity, arm crossing, footwork, leverage, and timing. Grip the stick lightly with index finger, middle finger, and thumb.
        •  The trick to taking away the stick from your opponent is to have their arms crossed while your arms are not. The trick behind that is to get your body between the stick and your opponent.
        • To avoid having the stick taken away from you:
          • Step in such away that they don't get your body between you and the stick.
          • Or push or pull 1 or more ends of the stick such that their arms are crossed while yours are not.
        • Watch for execution time, esp. George Silver "true times" (Hand v Hand-Body v Hand-Body-Foot v Hand-Body-Feet). Try to have them do techniques in false time while you do true time. EG: They commit Hand-Body-Foot while you respond with just Hand-Body.
      • There is also entrapping stick wrestling, spirited stick wrestling, etc.
  • The rapier class has transitioned from working on cavatione (small circular tip movements to get around the opponent's sword) to voiding.
    • I liked the idea of 3 kinds dealing with an attack: (A) Blade (parry) (B) Point (attack) (C) Void.
    • Some different possibilities: A. B. A then B. A & B. C. C & B.
    • Voids must be done with minimal moving off line for better distance (via geometry) and power (via unity of forces).
    • Re-emphasized leading with foot placement instead of hip. Both EMAs and WMAs emphasize the hip and finishing techniques with the whole body, but the WMA specifically emphasize leading with the hand or foot.
  • Gambeson construction.
    • Post class discussion with Nicole Allen of the Chicago Swordplay Guild on gambeson construction.
    • Normal sleeve patterns have a bell curve shape where the sleeve connects to the body, i.e. the pattern adjusts for the "bump" formed by the shoulder. This sleeve pattern roughly produces a cylinder that has been sliced on the diagonal (longer end on top of the shoulder). Gambeson sleeves have a gusset that enable greater arm movement. An arm gusset is a triangular or diamond insert at the armpit seam. The sleeve pattern is then adjusted so that the bell curve shape now has two hills on the ends, i.e. the pattern adjusts for the bump formed by the shoulder as well as the bump formed by the gusset. We also briefly discussed an even more advanced type of gusset that allows for a rearward bump.
    • There was also a brief discussion on how much batting is used in different areas in gambesons. EG: The chest needs more batting for protection but elbows need less batting for greater movement.

Notes on 2004-11-18 shotgun practice with Nick

  • I handled and fired a shotgun for the first time on Thursday.
  • Safety [2005-01-11: I've finally gotten around to modifying this post with some editorial comments from my friend Nick. The edits are in bold. I will also add safety notes to the guns section of my web site.]
    • Guns should be transferred to another person unloaded. However, wWhen a gun is handed to you, assume it is loaded and don't hesitate to crack break it open or slide the action back on a pump to check for chambered ammo.
    • Always, always keep the gun pointed in a safe place direction.
    • Keep the safety on unless you are ready to shoot or waiting to shoot.
    • Trigger finger.
      • If you are not ready to shoot, then keep your finger completely away from the trigger.
      • If you might be ready to shoot, then rest your finger on the trigger guard instead of the trigger.
      • If you are ready to shoot, then you may rest your finger near the trigger.
      • If you are shooting, then SQUEEZE the trigger, don't JERK it.
    • If walking around with a gun, have it cracked broken open or the action pulled back on a pump in a way that others can see that it is unloaded.
      • Option 1. Walk with the butt low and muzzle high. [Put the following sentence in a section devoted to shouldering the gun or firing the gun. Safety rules shouldn't be mixed with technique pointers.] When you bring the butt to the shoulder to fire, then do it in a semi-circular fashion (out then in) so that the butt does not snag on clothing.
      • Option 2. Walk with the butt high and the muzzle low. This is not as safe as option 1 because if the gun misfires, the shot may ricochet on the ground whereas a shot to the sky will not. Tactically though this is quicker because the butt is practically already at the shoulder and raising the muzzle is quicker because it is lighter and the path is simpler. [No! Not an option to walk with muzzle low. This breaks the first rule about ALWAYS keeping gun pointed in safe direction! You can't compare walking with a gun at a shooting range with walking with a gun in the field. At a range, because of the number of people and the close proximity to each other, guns are unloaded (except when about to shoot) and broken open. When hunting in a field, even if part of a group, guns will be loaded, pointed in a safe direction (generally up), with the safety on. Guns will be unloaded when climbing fences, or other obstacles where there is a possibility of tripping, falling, or dropping the gun.]
  • Trap Shooting
    • We went trap shooting at night, in the cold, in the rain, at NapervilleSportsmansClub.com. Surprisingly the conditions did not matter one bit emotionally, but I'm sure it affected my fingers.
    • I used a 12 gauge, over-under, hinged Beretta shotgun with 2 3/4 inch rounds and steel #7 shot.
    • Trap shooting consists of shooting at clay targets that go out when you yell "Pull". You take 5 shots from 1 station before moving to the next station. There are 5 stations all together for a total of 25 shots for a round of trap shooting. That means up to 5 people can do a round trap shooting.
    • I got 9 out of 25 (36%) on my first round. That's not a spectacular score but it was satisfying none the less. I need more experience to work out the breathing, distance judgement, fast target acquisition arm and hand positioning, etc. Plus the moving targets require tracking and leading, which isn't required of stationary targets.
    • After our first round we got to see some club regulars do their turkey shoot. Their turkey shoot rules seemed to be roughly this: 1 person yells "Pull". If he hits, then it's the next person's turn. If he misses, then the next person may opt to try to hit the same target. If the 2nd person does not fire, then the 1st person stays. If the 2nd person hits, then the 1st person is eliminated. If the 2nd person misses, then a 3rd person may opt to try to hit the same target. If the 3rd person does not fire, then the 1st 2 people stay. If the 3rd person hits, then the 1st 2 people are eliminated. If the 3rd person misses, then all 3 stay. When everyone has had a shot then everyone steps back a yard.
      • These club regulars were all pretty good. I'm sure that some of them must score in the upper 20s in regular trap shooting. By the end of some rounds, the remaining shooters were so far back that they were practically in the parking lot.
    • My 2nd round was worse (4 of 25 or 16%) but by then my fingers were pretty cold by then and I was also trying out different stuff. I was trying to fire sooner and I also tried a few shots where I didn't use the sights at all (just like the movies!).
  • [PHOTO: George Hernandez wielding a shotgun and sporting an NRA hat]

Notes on stuff with FMAs with DefensorMethod.com

  • The standard 2 stick pattern. The initial chamber position is right hand (RH) by right ear and left hand (LH) at right armpit.
    • 1. RH across strong.
    • 2. LH across fast.
    • 3. RH hit and back fast.
    • 4-6. Mirror 1-3.
  • Ex 1:
    • 1-3 Hi Hi Hi, 4-6 mirror
    • 1-3 Hi Lo (upwards) Hi, 4-6 mirror
    • 1-3 Lo Lo Lo (all downwards), 4-6 mirror
  • A "tiki" is roughly wrist twisting strike followed by another by twisting nearly 180 degrees.
  • Ex 2:
    • 1 3 tikis (Hi Hi Hi), 2-6
    • 1 3 tikis (Hi Lo Hi), 2-6
    • 1 3 tikis (Lo Lo Lo), 2-6
  • Attacks need to be done with economy. Thus even slicing attacks should be executed with more linearity then curvature. It also helps to attack with time of the hand then body instead of time of the body then hand because the latter puts you in danger before you have an offensive advantage.
  • Defensor's "Attacks #1-12" are considerably different from the usu. numbered attacks in the FMA community. His 12 attacks are put together like a little kata to be done in sequence with each emphasizing particular movements. One of the ideas is that the attacks can be done empty handed or with various weapons.
  • Ex 3: Versus attack #1
    • 1. Traverse R w RL & adjust to RR w LL, while strong cross block w forearm on false edge & LH
    • 2. Counter. Lots of varieties done.
  • Ex 4: Versus attack #2
    • 1. Traverse L w LL & adjust to RL w RL, while strong block w LH & RH weapon
  • Ex 5: Versus #3. Like Ex 3 but low.
  • Ex 6: Versus #4. Like Ex 4 but low.
  • Ex 7: Versus #5. Like Ex 5 or 6.
  • "Snakes" are where your hand circles forward around your opponent's hand, either to their inside or outside.
  • "Vines" are like snake but done while leveraging with your weapon. We did a number of these and they are very simple but very cool. It's amazing that they work but I'd have to do it a lot more to really grasp the mechanics intuitively.
  • "Strips" are whenever you take away your opponent's weapon, usu. by holding their weapon while striking their wrist.
Exploring odd subjects including myself. GeorgeHernandez.com
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