November 18, 2007
I spent most of the day drilling with the Coast Guard Reserve this weekend.
It is a sloow weekend in one of the nations busiest ports. It is actually possible that I may spend the entire weekend guarding the coast from behind a desk. Feh....
One thing I did have reinforced this weekend is how important and benneficial a good Chiefs Mess is to a unit.
I've volunteered for a short stint of active duty from Christmas until the second week in January. (basically my annual 2 weeks plus a few extra drills) I suspect there will be very little desk jockeying then.
(No I'm not blogging from behind the desk....that would be an abuse of Govt. rescources, I'm at a Cybercafe doing some online studying and such before heading home...computer's still in the shop)
The Zeppelin NT airships have had a superb saftey record thus far and are quite fuel efficient.
They are also fricking Zeppelins...which makes them trancendentally cool.
This type of Zeppelin is interesting because it generally operates slightly heavier than air. It gains the few hundred pounds of lift it needs from its fins or its vectorable propellors, though by dropping ballast it can float like a balloon if necessary. The design allows for far better foul weather performance and, as a bonus, a ground crew of as few as 3 which is a huge improvement over previous designs. Because of their rigid construction and compartmentation, Zeppelins are more robust than Blimps (which have no internal bracing).
If approved by the San Fransisco city council, this will be the first rigid airship to be based in the US since the decomissioning of USS Los Angeles (ZR3), and the first to be comercially operated.
Besides the retrocool cool factor, Airships, because of their fuel efficiency have a lot of undevelloped potential for ultra low pollution comercial air travel, although they are slower than planes (about 120 kts max). They can also cary fairly heavy loads to remote areas and so have some potential as freightliners.
On the military side, airships have great potential for Search and Rescue, Airborne Early Warning, Antisubmarine and mine clearance both at sea and, interestingly, over land using a big ground penetrating radar and other sophisticated sensors. The mines could be destroyed with cannon or if detected near a civillian dwelling a BD team could be landed. I read recently that one company (Airship Industries of the UK I think) did some considerable work in this arera but there were no takers. This last option gives the potential to clear large areas of landmines quite efficiently.
Pic via Modern Airships which has scads of links concerning...well...modern airships.
November 16, 2007
I did have an unique experience today - I saw my first furry. I thought these people were internet urban legends, but now I can confirm that they do indeed exist.
In news completely un-related by virtue of taste and degree, those readers who count themselves as nekopheliacs should take heart!
Despite this cruel hoax, medical progress continues to move forward. Actual elf ear jobs are indeed being performed....another milestone.
So cheer up fanboys, cat girls can't be far behind.
The leftie narrative is fairly predictable, conservatives are reactionary pigs who are driven by greed and ignorance while the enlightened lefties motives are as pure as the driven snow.
It is true that the healthy skepticism the right has had for the global warming hysterics IS reactionary in a way.
The environmental movement was pretty much taken over by lefties, especially after the fall of the USSR.
Leftism has never worked, instead it has rendered millions of innocents dead, wrecked economies and left the most "successful" nations it was inflicted upon with weak economies and on a demographic death spiral. After, Robspierre, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, 130 million people dead, and at best malaise and general dispair you'd think there would be a re-examining of premises....
....but, like mid 19th century Christian apocalyptics trying to
distract attention from the great disappointment, the lefties watchword
has become "next time fer sure".
For a time after the end of the cold war however, this was a hard
So to foist their utterly unworkable philosophy on the rest of us
they embraced global warming as an excuse to force anti capitalist (and often anti American) policies through that would never pass political muster in this country.
The policies that the "greens" tend to advocate are the same old authoritarian, planned economy boondoggles that have been failing for 80 years.
Kyoto, (like many of their solutions) is about hyperregulating the private
sector. Additionally, given that treaties are binding for the US (but for Europe, not so much) Kyoto in particular is a way to hurt America and thereby give rather more socialistic Europe a leg up on us and perpetuate the lie that socialism is in any way competitive with a basically free market.
This has as much a political and idealogical bent as any on the conservative side.Additionally, despite their claim to impartiality, academics are frequently left leaning by nature. Given the demonstrable, imperical non-workability of leftism in experiment after experiment from De Sade to Pol Pot this seems strange. However, on a spreadsheet or math equation it seems like a good idea...when divorced from the chaotic variables that are human nature. This left leaning bent is in part because academics tend to exist in a fairly Malthusian and state supported environment (they depend upon grants from a growth restricted limited budget that is frequently dependent upon public financing) and have limited interaction with the day to day operations of a capitalist economy. This is conducive to focusing on certain types of research (for which there is often much rejoicing) but makes them very unsuited to performing the sort of cost benefit analysis the solution to this problem requires.
Conservatives can additionally be forgiven for skepticism when the boosters of global warming hysteria behave in ways that indicate they don't seem to believe in it themselves. The lefts approved approach is idiocy like Kyoto,which the Europeans who signed it are cheating on, and which ignored major polluters like China and India. (China recently surpassed the US in net CO2 emissions). The left has historically opposed nuclear power, OWWEOL*, supports unworkable boondoggles like ethanol,# and fly around the world lecturing about global warming....in fricking jets.@
The Bush administration, for all its many, many faults has pushed fuel cells, nuclear power, as well as thermal depolymerization and other biodiesel projects. Significantly he has gotten a CO2 agreement that includes (albiet tentatively) China (and therefore is relevant...quite unlike Kyoto).
Bush has therefore done more practical good in this regard than those who are identified with this cause.
As I've pointed out before there are worse eco-problems than global warming. Global warming is a perfect storm of solar heating of the whole solar system,
coming out of an ice age and CO2 emissions...all at he same time. However,
things like acid rain, mercury in the environment,the ecological
collapse of the oceans and poisoning of groundwater supplies are almost
entirely anthropogenic in nature and are IMHO both more pressing and more directly able to be influenced by human actions.
None of this means that conservatives like myself seriously believe that global warming is not real nor that we don't want to cut emissions.
I and many conservatives support fossil fuel carbon taxes as opposed to the carbon caps/ carbon credits that are just Ponzi scheme vaporware. We support nuclear power, and with the scads of cheap carbon free energy that can provide the thermal depolymerization plants and other biofuel processing plants it can make possible. The current administration is also looking at SSPS arrays for the first time since the early 80's. While I'm skeptical of this technology for several reasons it is not indicative of ignoring energy alternatives.
It is true that there are ignoramuses on the right who deny any anthropogenic component to this issue or even that warming itself is apochryphal. They are given a good deal more exposure than cranks would normally warrant in part because the media likes to use them to discredit the right.
*(OWWEOL= Offshore Windmills Within Eyesight of Lefties)
# Yes I know, conservatives do that too...we are most displeased.
November 14, 2007
Prodigies.....it's always the prodigies...
(Back to work.....)
November 13, 2007
Ubu is suffering from antisocial urges regards the current season of anime.
Don't do it Ubu!!
I'm not currently watching much of anything as I've got a capstone seminar paper, a PowerPoint presentation, 2 tests, a Coast Guard drill weekend, doctors appointments, and a lab to make up this week.
However, before I got swamped I saw a few things at a Lain Party friends house that few have discussed much but looked enjoyable.
One of the more pleasant was Code E
I saw the first 2 eps of this and enjoyed it thoroughly.
Premise: 20 minutes into the future, one Chinami Ebihara a perfectly normal girl, has moved from school to school for years forever at the whim of the careers of her ambitious parents.
She is shy and awkward. She tries to make friends.
That is my story, and I am sticking to it.
Her parents have moved multiple times at considerable expense to conceal their daughters disability, and culpability in various calamities. They are determined to allow their daughter to be well socialized but this is not entirely successful as she is deeply self conscious and worried.
When agitated she generates powerful and destructive electro-magetic pulses that cause modern consumer electronics to short out or explode. Her family makes do with a combination of very old style appliances ( tube/valve electronics and old Bakelite phones are about as sophisticated as can deal with their daughter) or in the case of the father shielding his basement office with scads of aluminum foil and his electronics with homemade Faraday cages..and keeping the daughter..out. The father, a sci-fi author, uses a Google Earth analog and footwork to draw his daughter a map of the circuitous "safe" route to school. (no electronics stores).
Unfortunately, while at school she is taken to meet the head of the science club, Kotaro Kannagi, who has spent all year turning a classroom into an electronic hobbyist/computer nerds dream.
A moment of anxiety occurs in our heroine, precipitating a visually specacular moment of despair for the young hobbyist who quickly figures out who happened if not exactly what to his months of hard work.
Our strapping Alpha nerd wants to study the young lady and is willing to keep her secret. She is despondent about having to cause her folks to move again after her FIRST DAY at the new school and must decide if she can trust him or not.
The fact that the parents are genuinely caring and nice people who will back their child to the hilt is a refreshing thing in an era when so many series have (As Pulpjunkie put it) the parents seemingly competing for worst parents ever ( non Evangelion division).
OK the spoiler is just the premise but I went into this show utterly cold and enjoyed it even more for that.
The characters introduced thus far are quite likable and the series looks upbeat and generally enjoyable. It is very low key thus far but there is potential for much plot and intrigue as is hinted at by the credits.
At Episode 2:
Hopefully enough to bring Ubu from the brink.
November 10, 2007
...Go check her out Go check out her art!
November 08, 2007
Over at Instapundit.
The implications are quite heartening.
UPDATE: Bumped as I mistakenly deleted post.
I always cut him slack for the rabbitgate thing, but this is horrid.
November 07, 2007
In the comments to the previous post on the writers strike, Pete Zactiev makes an analogy to computer engineers work on software like LINUX. Pointing out ( I think) that the writers are generally not the creators of these shows and are analogous to someone tweaking a computer OS the writers case by writing episodes.
I don't think this exactly follows. The writers are doing the actual creation of the shows, without them there is no marketable product. A software engineer is an engineer. He/she gets the program which is essentially a customizable machine or toolkit. The kit IS the finished product. The IT person then uses the kit/program to fit to the needs of their employer.
However, his is an interesting analogy. It certainly follows certain recent trends and that bothers me.
Nations that don't have strong intellectual property protections CAN of course produce scads of stuff.
But they have, internally, serious disincentives to actually create anything beyond refinements of existing products. Despite some cursory enforcement China is piracy central and this is in no way limited to digital media.
This is potentially a huge issue. I firmly believe that one of the reasons the "West" leapfrogged everybody else was that those nations tended to have strong IP laws. Those nonwestern nations that adopted such ideas succeeded and those that didn't fell behind
Invention and progress depend upon intellectual property law. The reason this nation prospered was because it was friendly to creators. The founding fathers, included several writers, Jefferson and others were inventors, Washington was a civil engineer and Franklin was all of the above. They were renaissance men. They made sure that the nation rewarded its creative individuals with royalties or somesuch. In fact the founders 14yr + 14yr copyright which is used to argue for not extending copyright must be taken in context with the 33 year average lifespan of the day. The founders were sure enough that this was important and both Federalist and Republican governments built this up over the ensuing 20 years or so.
This concept is largely responsible for the historic aberration that is the modern world. Given the nature of digital media such concepts may be untenable, but we should tread lightly for we abandon them at our peril.
Bitch, bitch bitch....Bitch. That's why the banality is below the fold....more...
November 06, 2007
The situation here is so utterly backwards from a regular strike that many peoples knees are jerking backwards.
I am no fan of unions.
I've crossed a picket line and dealt with threats, pursuit, intimidation and since, the union won that one, a bit of harassment. I am not ashamed of that period of my life. Last week I was finally forced to join that union because of my recent injury. Not a happy Ken. Now that I've signed on the dotted line I could (in theory) get in trouble for non-haiographic blogging about Unions.
I also know voice actors who have taken low end jobs (generally better than no job) for start-up-shoestring Anime companies that could not pay union rates. They helped get the anime industry off the ground in the US. Of course, being "scabs" they must now work under pseudonyms if possible, in Canada, or not at all. One told me she gets harassed occasionally. Closed shop SUCKS! I have a good deal of respect for these guys.
This writers strike, however is not typical.
The writers are the creators, the investors of the creative capital and they are fully entitled to compensation for that. 4 cents per 30 dollar DVD and naught for downloads does not cut it. The production companies are essentially middle men. Yes they take the writers work toproduce and market it, but for any given story, the writer is the only piece of the equation that cant be changed.
It's not about weather they produce crap (and 90+ percent of TV and movies certainly is fits that description). The writers produce a commodity of value (someones watching it) they are damned well entitled to a percentage of the proceeds given that without them there would be no proceeds.
Bottom line the writers are in the right.
If anything the arguments again the writers getting a percentage of their new media earnings smack of leftist arguments about information wanting to be free....an argument that all of us on the right should be very wary of.
This is not about politics, it is about right and wrong.
I wish my fellow conservatives could realize this.
Injustice is injustice no matter who it happens to. To determine your sympathy for the victims of theft based on their politics is to become like the vile denizens at Kos or Democratic Underground.
We lost the 06 election in part because we became like the Dems in the area of earmarks, and corruption, we became what we most opposed.
It seems some of us have decided to extend this trend to questions of right and wrong too.
November 05, 2007
The Dems all actively scare me.
This is quite a good point in my book for Fred Thomson though.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip Hoorah !
Happy Guy Fawkes Day to any and all British Brickmuppeteers!
Art from Wikipedia (uncredited)
November 04, 2007
The navies light forces mess is about to come to a head in the next few years. At the same time shrinking defense budgets the pullback of European Navies from areas the once patrolled and the general rise in lawlessness and militant Islam have fueled a surprising resurgence of piracy.
Surprisingly, this may be ameliorated a bit by using the Coast Guard.
First, bit of background...more...
Todays lesson gentle readers is how to not comment coherently and politely.
I have a tremendous respect for any of those talented souls who are not only creative but the drive and discipline to actually produce these things.
You would never get that impression from what I typed in this post.
Behold my descent into asshattery.
No, I have no idea. Usually I have at least a BIT of tact and sense....
Anyway, here is an open letter to all the writers who have been hosed by their producers not paying them.....more...
( I thought Danny Choo was too short to be a storm trooper)
Dr. Kilcullin was a senior adviser to General Petraeus and is now working for the Secretary of State. The powerpoint for the talk is here, and it is a damned good one. Additionally, there is an hour long interview with Dr. Kilcullin by Charlie Rose here.
More on Dr. Kilcullin here.
The recent improvements we've seen in Iraq have been due in no small part to the efforts of Dr. Kilcullin.
All is explained here.
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