February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley 1924-2008

 I have just been informed that William F. Buckley has died.

   Few people have made as much difference as he did and fewer still have made it peacefully, intellectually and for the cause of liberty.

   When Buckley founded National Review, conservatives, and what would now be called libertarians were utterly in the wilderness. The notion of any meaningful restriction on the role and function of government, indeed the very concept of the US as a Republic was a minority view....almost a fringe one.

   Through sheer determination, and his considerable skills as a debater and writer, Buckley used his little intellectual magazine the way the founders of this republic used their pamphlets, to spread ideas about liberty, the threats to the nation and what role government should actually have. These were arguments that the left had effectively all but silenced for quite a while, and for some years, Buckley was a lone voice echoing in the wilderness...

He was however, a quite erudite voice and he caught peoples attention with his impressive knowledge, wit and idiosyncratic mannerisms.

Buckley helped to bring about a sea change in American politics. He helped to show  that a conservative interpretation of the US constitution, did not mean being a political ostrich.Through sheer intellectual excellence he  jump started a movement. He famously joked that  a conservative intellectual was required to 'stand athwart history, yelling stop'. This was occasionally used to malign him as an unthinking reactionary, but, in fact, was likely a reference to the "progressive" view of history inexorably leading to more and more centralization and ultimately "utopia" a very dark place which has little place for individualism.

Buckley was certainly not unthinking nor was he hide bound. He did change his views over time particularly with regards to civil rights and always on the side of greater freedom. Ultimately, he straddled the dividing lines between conservative and libertarian philosophies and tended to come down, particularly in later years more often than not on the side of liberty (he came to be convinced that drug legalization was the best course for instance) .

He will be missed.

More here.

UPDATE: Even more here, here, here, and.... here.

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February 26, 2008


...If possible, explain.


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February 22, 2008

We're Bigger!

Scientists have discovered that the Milky Way is about twice as big as initially thought. that makes it bigger than Andromenda and therefore he biggest in our galactic neighborhood.

So when Andromenda comes over here to cause trouble in a little while....we'll kick her butt!

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Steam Wars

No idea.....but they deserve a prize.

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February 18, 2008

Well, this is Awkward...

Kosovo has declared independence.

Ummm....good for them.

The US has immediately and enthusiastically recognized this development.  This seems ill considered to me.

I was against it when Clinton meddled in that powder keg and I'm against this now. There are a couple of implications here....most of them are bad.

The current government of Kosovo is not exactly an innocent party either. Although Clinton went to war ostensibly to protect Kosovar Albanians from oppression by Serbs the only mass graves in Kosovo found thus far have contained dead Serbs. (there were reportedly Serb atrocities elsewhere) The demography of the area did not shift benignly.

In the utterly lunatic scenario that we might want to take SIDES in a conflict in the Balkans...which is the border between Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Islam...we might give consideration to not taking the side of the aggressors.

We did not need to jump to recognize Kosovo so suddenly. If it maintains its independence then it is a fait acompli and  recognition will come, but to be one of the first to support this terrible humiliation of the Serbs is to rub salt in the wounds that Clinton opened with Russia.

This is, of course, only one of the reasons that Russia....which ought to be our ally right now given our common issues with Islamic extremist nutjobs has become so antiwestern over the last decade....but it is a big one.

WW1 started over less.

Then there is the little matter of precedent.
 Kosovo is breaking away from the rest of Serbia due to the fact that Albanians (muslims) have been streaming across a porous border and squatting in Serb territory. I would argue that we might not want to publicly support the right of a region that undergoes ethnic demographic shift to secede....no really.

Let's see....piss off Russia: check

Set pretty dangerous precedent regards our own challenges: check

Further insinuate into rather than extricate ourselves from one of the bloodiest most effed up strife-torn regions of Europe with no prospect whatsoever for a lessening in tensions. : check

OK Now for the good points.


Feel free to add any in the comments...all I got is crickets.

More thoughts here and here.

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He's back!

May 22nd!

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Before the Army's Blackhawk

There was the Blackhawk....

I love the "Quinn/Martin" music..

It certainly looked good and its stats are quite impressive on paper. The compound design is being revisited today. I do wonder if this thing was killed more out of an NIH problem than any operational deficiency.


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February 16, 2008

Picture Unrelated

Steeljaw Scribe has an informative and thoughtful post up regarding the upcoming attempt by the USN to break up that errant satellite. Read the whole thing.

I'm drilling this weekend and have scads of homework to boot. As promised, regular blogging will resume in a couple of days.

In the meantime, thanks to Ryu,  here is a white haired, green eyed girl in a bikini with two M-1911A1's ....which should punch enough tickets to almost compensate for the recent Patalirro link. 


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February 14, 2008

5 Students Dead

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"No really....I said I'm running a Dwarven Thief."

Yes indeed Brickmuppeteers, it's the old* "hide the dwarf in the luggage so they can rob the baggage car scam".


No, really,  it is an old trick. As Pulpjunkie pointed out when I sent him this story, it was mentioned by Houdini in his how-too book on crime. 

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Happy Valentines Day

Valentines Day is for romance, flowers, frills, sparkley eyes and other unhealthy manifestations of the cootie.

To wit...

Some NSFW Valentinery for the ladies

WARNING!!: They are ALL guys...No really!!.... 'cept the 2 android chix who are....androids.  Healthy males should not click on above link or have any contact with Patalliro whatsoever...The goggles...they do nothing...Brickmuppet Blog is not responsible for any damage incurred by ignoring said warnings. If warnings were ignored there is... if not hope...at least the consolation that the link was not to Song of Wind and Trees....(sorry ladies I do have some standards).

UPDATE: Colleen Doran has a bit of discussion and art related to this blasphemous bishonery here...and welcome A Distant Soil readers!

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February 13, 2008


The 119th coolest thing ever...


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February 12, 2008

News From the Front

Two absolutely must read dispatches from Iraq from Michael Totten and Michael Yon. Both are independant journalists imbeded in Iraq. If you can. please hit their respective tip-jars. That's how they are supported. Their reporting has been invaluble.

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Steve Gerber 1947-2008

One of the more important writers in the world of comics, Steve Gerber has passed away after a long and terrible illness. Gerber's quirky charachters (Howard the Duck, The Defenders) and stories were superb and he brought joy to many people including me. He is remembered here, here and here.

Via The Beat, comes a list of some of the charachters he created.

• A. Bizarro
• All-Night Party
• Angar the Screamer
• Princess Ariel
• Baphomet (comics)
• Cybernary
• Death-Stalker
• Destiny
• Destroyer Duck
• Doctor Bong
• Doctor Fate (Kent V. Nelson) (Replacement version)
• Exiles (Malibu Comics)
• Foolkiller
• Hard Time
• Headmen
• Howard the Duck
• Amber Hunt
• Hydro-Base
• Hydro-Men
• Ikthalon
• Jennifer Kale
• Kamuu
• KISS (Marvel Universe versions)
• Korrek
• Korvac
• Lord Pumpkin
• Mandrill
• Montesi
• N’Kantu, the Living Mummy
• Nekra
• Nevada
• Nikki
• Aleta Ogord
• Omega the Unknown
• Ookla the Mok
• Phantom Blonde
• Poison
• Red Guardian (later known as Starlight)
• Ruby Thursday
• Richard Rory
• Shanna the She-Devil
• Silver Samurai
• Sludge
• Starhawk
• Stewart the Rat
• Therea
• Thog
• Thundarr the Barbarian
• Void Indigo
• Wundarr the Aquarian

We have lost a lot...


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All 5 Services

Blackfive has some cool photos of all 5 of the US military services, the absolute high point of which is (of course)  one of USCGC Bertholf on sea trials being overflown by one of the prototypes of the new Ocean Sentry HC-144 patrol aircraft.

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Two Different Approaches to Lent

 Lent for Dummies.

 Lent for Dhimmies.

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February 10, 2008

Better Living Through Chemistry


One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes (tm)points the way to better living through chemistry with this report from Brian Wang on recent carbon nanotube developments. It looks like commercial grade resins may be able to significantly bring down the cost of these light strong structures! w00t!

Chemistry doesn't always lead to breakthroughs...sometimes it just reminds us of the bleedingly obvious and tries to dissuade us from doing something stupid...like burning food. Yes, it seems that...(shock!!)....using food crops for fuel is bad...even if you are a green. More here.

Chemistry is founded upon the first law of thermodynamics which enables chemistry to point out even more fundamental stupidity. Like passing a law that violates...said law. Sacramento...meet science. California homes are NOT going to be able to generate as much power as they receive from the grid...even if you pass a law.  

But enough chemical idiocy....

Chemistry happens on a nano-scale and now we are approaching the ability to do chemistry sort of like an erector set. Via the Blogfather comes this report on DNA scale pliers and construction equipment that will enable nano-engineersand future chemists to create nano-scale machines and exotic compounds...one molecule at a time (hopefully in very rapid succession or it'll take ferever').....and they will be able to look at their handy work with this atom scale microscope!

Good Lord look! Those little dotty things...they are ATOMS! Its an actual picture of ATOMS! Unbelievable! Of course Atoms can be split and that segues into one of the favorite topics here at Brickmuppet Blog,

You see, while atomic power is not strictly speaking chemistry, (it's physics) it involves doing physics stuff to chemicals...like uranium (or preferably thorium)...Said elements, in order to be used in most reactors must be refined...and refining is...a CHEMICAL PROCESS. Well, not all reactors are alike in this regard as the Mysterious Dr. Buzzo tells us with this post on the many merits of the Canadian CANDU reactor. This is a nuclear reactor which can actually run off unrefined uranium. This is a huge advantage! In fact the CANDUs are virtually flexfuel reactors in that they can run off a fairly wide range of nuclear fuels including some types of nuclear waste (!!) as well as abundant thorium. Here is CANDU...the motion picture! 


Finally, unrelated to space or energy matters, comes this bit of chemical innovation

A professor at UC Berkeley has invented a tape-like substance that has so much adhesive strength that a person clothed in such a sticky suit could conceivably scale a building like Spider-Man.
...well, there ARE issues to be sure but its more proof that the future is here!


Sorry, Brickmuppeteers, I've no idea who the miniskirted science babe is....but she cried out for a chemistry post.

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Herding Cats

Work, school, and training for this Coast Guard certification in between the two is keeping me seriously busy.

Rather less sporadic blogging will resume next week.

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February 06, 2008

"Recoilless" Carbine

Max Popenker reports on the civilian version of the Kriss Super V submachine gun.

The weapon has an innovative recoil compensator, and while not truly recoilless, it greatly reduces felt recoil and therefore increases accuracy.

 The fairly low velocity and heavy bullet of the.45 ACP round has tremendous stopping power against people at short range and the lack of penetration  is actually a big plus in a home defense situation.

More from the manufacturer here.

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Damned Cliche's

Look....Sci-Fi cliche's.

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