Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Neptunus Lexicon

Some of the best writing around is over at Neptunus Lex, an ex Navy
Airman who just dropped off his son for flight training.

Arizona passed as a long series of dry plains like desert battlefields parted by the highway. On each side opposed battalions of tall cacti stood formation in endless ranks. Third world thin, backed by mountains in the distance. New Mexico at dawn an inexpressibly beautiful, alien landscape, with soaring escarpments casting the stern, implacable shadows of alien gods. We spoke of the courage those people had shown crossing this country from east to west on their horses and covered wagons little more than a hundred years or so ago, the unremitting waves of hostilities they had stolidly faced, sentient and otherwise. We didn’t speak aloud to wonder where it had gone, the kind of hardiness that had made this land. What was left of it, I sensed, sat beside me.

Where he tells the story of his first night carrier landing is a story comparable to Tom Wolfe
and the right stuff and it made my palm sweat on the mouse just scrolling down the page.
The closest I ever got to being a fighter pilot was riding down to the trim pad in the back
seat of an F-15B, but at least with such great writing I can live vicariously on the interwebs
and read the deeds of warrior poets. This makes for a slight change from the Domestic Poets
and scientist poets that I'm usually reading.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Naked Coffee in the castle

I keep seeing the news about the guy Eric Williamson who was arrested
for drinking coffee in the nude. I think a man's home is his castle and he should
be able to do what he wants there as long as no one inside the house is being hurt.

My favorite response was a comment on weird news where they are advocating everyone drink coffee in the nude until he is free:

Busted for one woman’s nagging,
Coffee Guy set tongues a-wagging;
He legally brewed
At home in the nude
Rather than public teabagging
(from JFD8 on twitter)

I'd join in with the naked coffee protest but a window facing the apartment
building's courtyard has no curtains. I don't want to shock or annoy the
neighbors when they gave us such a nice lunch today.

Obama is The Man

The Czar over at the Gormogons makes a pithy summary of
Obama's problems with Fox News from a wsj article:

And kudos from the Czar to whomever first realized that President Obama’s playbook is limited to fighting the man. He does not realize that he is, now and tomorrow, the man himself.

Obama needs to add some pages to his playbook and stop playing the victim.
There are people and countries out there that are perfectly happy to really make
Obama and the USA the victim. Obama squealing like a little girl just makes him
look weak to the real sharks that are out there.

The president also keeps saying stop distracting him and let him work on the
economy and create jobs, when in fact he is creating the distraction by trying to
change healthcare and add a climate change bill. One of the big takeaways from
the book "the Forgotten Man" was that much of the depression was caused by the
government mucking around and changing the system.

People with money to invest or businesses to start tend to do less of investing and
business starting when you can't know what your costs are going to be in 6 months.
The President should delay the new health care and climate change bills until the
economy is stronger so that you don't kill the patient. He is The Man in every sense
of the phrase, now is the time to act like it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Palin goin' rogue

On Sarah Palin's facebook page she's supporting the conservative
candidate in a new york congressional election over the RINO

Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.

Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of "blurring the lines" between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections. Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party's ticket.

If she'll lead I'll follow. Here in Europe she's been painted as an idiot by only showing
the heavily edited interviews she did in the campaign last year. I've seen enough speeches
she's given to prove otherwise, and she gives a quick summary of my main political beliefs:

smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty
This should be the republican political platform, but most republicans can't lift their snout
out of the trough long enough to stand for anything. That is similar to the libertarian platform,
but the libertarian party seems to be more against strong national defense. I guess I'm a libertarian-conservative, and the candidates I want to support would wantt:

smaller government - all government is bad, some is necessary
lower taxes - taxes should be lower, simpler and more transparent
strong national defense - best navy, air force and space force in the world, beware of
entangling alliances
commitment to individual liberty - I don't care what any adult smokes, drinks etc or does
in the privacy of their homes.

and remember

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ray Nagin is still a twit

I've been reading the Times-Picayune in New Orleans following
the saints on their historic march to the superbowl (touch wood).
They have an article on Ray Nagin speaking about his trip to Cuba
to see how they do disaster preparedness down in the islands.

"one of the biggest weaknesses we had during Hurricane Katrina is it wasn't clear who was the top authority."

"The president and the governor were going back and forth. . . . In Cuba you don't have that problem, " Nagin said Tuesday evening. "The government says, 'This is what we're doing, these are the resources we are going to deploy, ' and it pretty much happens."

What a load of crap, this guy still doesn't realize that he had total and complete
authority to take care of his city, evacuate people, requisition school buses to
move people, get on the news and demand the president do more...and do it before
the storm hit.

Mayor Nagin has definitely reached his Peter Principle point, for the safety
of the republic he needs to not be in any higher public office.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Limousine point

I flew over to Athens yesterday morning after getting back from
Aberdeen the night before and I almost made a 50 euro mistake.
Walking out of the airport terminal I was mostly asleep, so tired that
I slept through my free cookie on alitalia (mmmm, cookie).

A well dressed guy stopped me and offered me a ride in one of a line of cars,
all mercedes and Peugot 706's. He showed me the price on a laminated
car...90 euros, or I could walk 100 yards to the taxi line and wait. My
tired feet said yes then he pointed out the driver that would take me
who was a spitting image of Fred Gwinn as Ed Munster. I let out an
almost verbal "gah" and scurried to the taxi line. The taxi was only 40
euros, so a scary face saved me 50 euros.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bridge to nowhere

Mark Steyn has a good reason why nationalized healthcare will
be so expensive in the USA if it happens:

A few weeks back I mentioned a couple of bridges in a neighboring town of mine, both on dirt roads serving maybe a dozen houses. Bridge A: The town was prevailed upon to apply for some state/town 80/20 funding plan, which morphed under the stimulus into some fed/state 60/40 funding plan. Current estimated cost: $655,000. The town’s on the hook for 20 per cent of the state’s 40 per cent – or $52,400. There’s no estimated year of completion, or even of commencement, and the temporary bridge the town threw up has worn out.

Bridge B: Following their experience with Bridge A, the town replaced this one themselves, in a matter of weeks. Total cost: $30,000.

Government is simple provided two conditions are met: You do it locally, and you do it without unions.

When you're not spending your own money cost is no longer a problem.

Emotive Stick Figures

I'm always amazed
by how much body language
is conveyed by the stick
figures of XKCD.

Here the TSA guy
is about to go into
gun pointing "step
away from the
laptop mode".

If you need to waste
a few hours just go
to XKCD and click the
random button. repeat.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Archie Manning's other son

I paid the nfl $30 to be able to listen to the saints games this year.
Well worth the money since I got to listen to them trouncing the giants.
All I can say is "Who Dat!"

I went googling around to see if Archie Manning has anything to say
on a blog or columns about his sons playing football, or Eli losing to the
Saints and I found this on the Onion from last season:

Archie Manning: "Donovan McNabb Is Also My Son"

NEW ORLEANS—Following the Eagles NFC divisional playoff victory over the Giants, Archie Manning, retired NFL player and father of Peyton and Eli Manning, stunned the football world by announcing Monday that Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is also his son. "While traveling with the Saints I met a very special woman in Chicago, and from our brief but heated union sprang a boy—a boy who naturally grew to play quarterback," Manning said during an impromptu interview, adding that he recognized the boy's mother from a recent Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'll crush you like a worm

I'm in Aberdeen this week,
it's a pretty gray place. All
of the buildings are made of
gray granite, the sky is
normally gray, even with
an exceptional blue sky
today it still seems like
a gray world.

I did get out and walk around
this afternoon and I stumbled
on a statue of William Wallace.
All of the other buildings that
might be of historical interest
have been turned into pubs. I only saw one church that is still a church, the
rest are pretty cool looking gothic nightclubs. One even has a casino.

Unfortunately I'm working nights, so no guinness or single malt for me this trip.
I did get a fish and chip(s?) with a beef pie on the side. I thought he would just
nuke the meat pie, but he dropped it in a fryer. I couldn't eat after I
saw how much grease was on it which was a shame. They don't appear to be
food for the sober, but are great after about 6 pints of Guiness.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Theodoric's tomb and sea level

I've been trying to read the pro-AGW case on websites
like realclimate and the Stoat. I'm trying to keep an open
mind, but much of what is presented doesn't agree with my
preconceptions that it was as warm or warmer in the past when
CO2 levels were lower. My other bias is that several degrees
warmer doesn't scare me, but if the ice starts to come back things
will be much worse. Going the low energy low emissions route would be
the worst thing we could do if it is actually getting colder, so I'm going
to try and give my anti-agw warming arguments to their pro-AGW

the first link on the "is sea level rising" question takes you to the IPCC FAQ that says this:

Yes, there is strong evidence that global sea level gradually rose in the 20th century and is currently rising at an increased rate, after a period of little change between AD 0 and AD 1900. Sea level is projected to rise at an even greater rate in this century. The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion of the oceans (water expands as it warms) and the loss of land-based ice due to increased melting.
To say that no sea level rise occurred from 0 AD
to 1800 is a pretty big statement. There are
pretty good maps from after the renaissance, but
from 0 AD to 1500 there isn't too much, or at least
not enough to say it didn't happen.

One set of datapoints that exists are structures built near the sea
in classical times. The foundations of those buildings could be
close to sea level at the date they were constructed. if
they are close to a river then the foundations would be covered by mud as the
river builds out into the newly deeper sea, or if they aren't close to a river then
they'd be underwater assuming the sea rose.

A misconception that seems to be prevalent is that rising sea levels always means
less land available, that the sea will just encroach on us. Instead increases in sea level
either give rivers or delta fronts more space to fill, and land progrades out into the sea.
Or if there is no river nearby the newly higher sea lever transgresses over the land.
If sea level decreases, then rivers cut down as steeper hydraulic gradients give them
more energy. (a google search reveals several articles on archeogeology)

From a geological standpoint, ravenna has changed quite a bit over the centuries.
From classical times to the 19th century, the city was surrounded by rivers.
Along with the surrounding swamps the protecting rivers were a reason that
the emperors moved the capitol there. The adjoining city of Classe was the
port for the adriatic fleet and had access to the sea, now both ravenna and
classe are landlocked.

This indicates that the rivers running through Ravenna prograded outward into
the sea, and the height difference between the floors of the 6th century buildings
and current ground level is an indicator of sea level rise.

Theodoric's tomb is a stone
structure that is heavy enough
if it was going to subside it
would have disappeared by
now. It was built in 520 AD.

The difference in height between
it's current floor level and the
surrounding bluffs are around
3 meters. All the other classical
buildings in ravenna are 1-2 meters
below ground level I think that
this indicates sea level rise
is somewhere around 1 meter
per 1500 years , which is 60 mm per 100 years. That's an in the ballpark number
for the sealevel rise estimated by AGW (100mm/century).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cerca, Trova

Althouse quotes from Polanski's probation report:

Possibly not since Renaissance Italy has there been such a gathering of creative minds in one locale as there has been in Los Angeles County during the past half century."

I call bollocks to that too. There are some talented people in hollywood, Spielberg, Hughes,
Hitchcock. I wouldn't put Polanski in that list. Here were the people that helped make the renaissance:

Lorenzo Ghiberti
(born Lorenzo di Bartolo) (1378 – December 1, 1455) was an Italian artist of the early Renaissance best known for works in sculpture and metalworking.

Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi; c. 1386 – December 13, 1466) was a famous early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence. He is, in part, known for his work in basso rilievo, a form of shallow relief sculpture that, in Donatello's case, incorporated significant 15th-century developments in perspectival illusionism.

Lorenzo de' Medici (1 January 1449 – 9 April 1492) was an Italian statesman and de facto[1] ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent (Lorenzo il Magnifico) by contemporary Florentines, he was a diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists, and poets. His life coincided with the high point of the early Italian Renaissance; his death marked the end of the Golden Age of Florence.

Filippo Brunelleschi(b. Florence, Italy 1377; d. Florence, Italy 1446)

Leon Battista Alberti (February 18, 1404April 20, 1472) was an Italian author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, and cryptographer, and general Renaissance humanist polymath. [1] Alberti's life was described in Giorgio Vasari's Vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori or 'Lives of the most excellent painters, sculptors and architects'.

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (it-Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci.ogg pronunciation , April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni[1] (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer.

Giorgio Vasari
(30 July 1511 – 27 June 1574) was an Italian painter and architect, who is today famous for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.

[I know in almost every guide book
Vasari is painted as a mediocrity and
he should be the Polansky of the list, but
he was a busy hard-working person, who
instead of Painting over Da vinci's mural
in the palacio vecchio, it appears that he
made a new wall in front of it and painted
'cerca, trova' as a clue. If that mural is there
Vasari is going to zoom up in the fantasy
renaissance rankings for sure]

I guess my point was that I think Polansky
is a mediocrity in a group of mediocres. He
didn't break much new ground, 90% of the
invention was in the 1920's which makes the
current crop of filmakers more like 17th
century baroque painters. More like interior
decorators than artists.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama wins the heismann trophy!

I plan to vote every day for Barry Obama to win the heismann
trophy. We'll show the world that we have the real triple threat,
Nobel Peace prize, Heismann trophy and Formula F1 winner.
The real question will be is how will the secret service guys run alongside.

He does give a good speech though, If I wasn't an american I'd think
all of his policies look great.

from the acceptance speech:

But I know these challenges can be met, so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

This award is not simply about the efforts of my administration; it's about the courageous efforts of people around the world.

And that's why this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity; for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard, even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace.

That has always been the cause of America. That's why the world has always looked to America. And that's why I believe America will continue to lead.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Obama and the olympics

Bill Whittle has a good column at ejectejecteject, I like it a lot more than
his videos on pjtv just because I really don't like video on the internet yet,
too slow, too choppy and if you're watching a video on your pc everyone knows
you're not working. If you're reading a blog, who can say?

Anyhoo. He makes a great point that Obama's loss at the olympics
could be a good teaching moment for him at only a small cost to the
country. or in his own words:

This Olympic fiasco, I hoped, would be embarrassing enough and pointed enough to provide a clear data point that this is not always the case, and this lesson, had it sunk in, would come at very small cost to America. After all, the loss of the Olympics in a city is considerably less painful than losing the city itself… which is where this kind of naive ego-centrism can lead us when dealing with ruthlessly self-interested regimes like Iran, Russia and North Korea — expanding nuclear powers all.

I think it's interesting that after 9 months in office the Obama administration is
still floundering around looking like a bunch of monkeys flirting with a football. (nothing
racist intended) I am thinking thank goodness that nothing like 9/11 has happened to
this guy yet and I hope that the evil Joe Biden will step into the Cheney role soon.
("what do you mean ol' joe's not an evil genius, I've never heard of an evil twit before")

I remember after 9/11 there were a bunch of shrieking leftards shrieking that george
bush wasn't ready after 9 months in office, he hadn't picked up the signals and captured
bin laden when all the indications were there to stop 9/11. Right now I would imagine
that bin laden could be building a missile launch facility next to the reflecting pool and
our genius' in charge wouldn't notice.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Wheat, chaff

There's a lot to point to this week in the news:
obama lost the olympics while talking to the commander
for afganistan for 25 minutes, various jerks in hollywood support
a child rapist, david letterman was screwing his employees, etc,
but most of this news activity is fiddling while rome burns.

We need to start changing laws and throwing bums out so that
the country doesn't continue it's current slide. One idea that I can
support wholeheartedly is the idea that congresscritters have to
read every bill that they vote affirmative for.

from beldar's blog:

Every time I deal with a federal statute in the context of giving legal advice to a client — which is an utterly basic function of being a lawyer — I have to actually read and then understand the statute. My failure to do so would be malpractice per se — something absolutely indefensible, something never excusable under any circumstances. As soon as I admitted or it was otherwise proven that I didn’t read and understand the statute, the only question in a malpractice case would be the size of the damage award against me.

But if that’s an utterly basic function of being a lawyer who merely advises private clients on how the law may or may not apply, shouldn’t it be an even more basic function of a law-maker, a legislator, who creates the laws that apply to an entire country?

The queefs in charge of the congress don't even read bills now , the ravening wolves are
feasting on every bill. they don't even bother to lift their head from the trough now to
read the bills, as long as someone (lobbyists most likely) keep filling the trough then
everyone is happy, except the taxpayers.