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Operation: Penguin Elimination September 20, 2014

Posted by Sobek in News.
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Here’s the new project I want to get going through Kickstarter, except that they keep asking me for my phone number and bank account information.  Probably to commit identity theft.

As you probably know, on 09/19/2014, Professor of Everything Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted the following: “Some of us in the North are jealous that 100% of the world’s population of free Penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Now if you are passionately in love with Science, as I am, this statement presents a dilemma.  One the one hand, everything Neil deGrasse Tyson is completely true, and on the other hand, there technically are indigenous penguins that live north of the Equator.

In an effort to reconcile the apparent contradiction, I realized the true intent of his tweet: Dr. Tyson wants his acolytes to kill all of the penguins in the Galapagos Islands.  See, his statement is not literally true, it’s aspirationally true.  It’s a call to action.

That’s where you and I come in.  I plan to fly to the Galapagos Islands, bribe whoever I need to bribe to get a few high-power rifles past customs, and murder the ever-loving crap out of every last penguin until I’ve fulfilled the sacred dictates of Science.  In order to make this happen, I’ll need airplane tickets, hotel expenses, food expenses, two Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles (in case one goes down), enough boxes of ammunition to get this done, some camouflage face paint, and taxidermy fees.  What are the taxidermy fees for?  That’s where you come in, again (after the part where you send me money): for every pledge over $1,000, I will send you a stuffed penguin, suitable for mounting, beating like a pinata for the audacity of existing in the wrong hemisphere, or whatever you want to do with a stuffed penguin.

Let’s make this happen.  It’s what NdGT would have wanted.

Meet Your New Military September 20, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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It’s axiomatic that once people take their eye off the ball, they drop it. In real life, that means that once you allow yourself to be distracted from your primary mission by extraneous considerations, you put that mission at risk.

That brings us to the US military.

The US military has been an unequaled fighting force for decades: faster, stronger, smarter, and more dedicated than any other military group on earth. I think they stunned onlooking countries a decade ago when they took Iraq, a country with a fairly large and experienced army, in 3 weeks. That was only possible because the military has concentrated on developing and maintaining the ability to accomplish the strategic goals of the United States.

When it comes to military policy on internal affairs, I’ve always said, “Let them do what they think they need to do. There’s enough on their plate.” Gays in the military? Let them decide. Women in combat? Let them decide.

And in general, I think the military has done fairly well in those decisions. I remember as a military brat that race was insignificant compared to a father’s rank; I think racial tensions in the military are still far lower than in civilian society.

But the administration has decided to fix what ain’t broke, changing an effective fighting force into just another socially-just government agency. To whit:

The military is growing more “sensitive” under the Obama administration, Pentagon observers say, by relaxing long-standing restrictions on soldiers’ religious and personal liberties.

The efforts by the Defense Department to adapt to cultural change go beyond the moves to end the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and allow women in combat.
In recent weeks, the Pentagon has backed off controversial hairstyle regulations that critics said discriminated against black women and made the phrase “so help me god” optional in the oath for airmen.

Earlier this year, the military loosened its rules for soldiers who want to wear turbans or grow religious beards and provided exemptions for having tattoos and piercings.

“We want to make sure we’re not offending people,” a DOD official told The Hill.

I’d say the military is taking its eye off the ball, and its only going to get worse.

Auditioning for Adult Films? September 19, 2014

Posted by Lipstick in News.
6 comments

The other day the police officer who arrested that hysterical D-List actress requested to come on a local radio show to tell his side of the story. Daniele Watts had been going to all sorts of media, including CNN, to whine that she had been racially profiled and abused for “showing affection” to her boyfriend because she is black and he is white.

The Sergeant was cruising the neighborhood when the 911 call came in about two people having sex in a car in full view of everyone, including a bunch of workers in an office building. The people gathered at the windows to watch, and one allegedly walked out to tell the couple to knock it off because everyone could see them. They refused and continued having sex in public. Allegedly. (She writes knowing that a lawyer captains this ship.) That is when someone called the police to let them know about the open nudity and public sex.

Brian was sitting in the passenger seat with his feet on the curb and Daniele was straddling him with her shirt pulled up — breasts exposed. The eyewitness says she was grinding on top of him, rocking back and forth.

And, and, and, this:

The eyewitnesses say Brian then began “horizontally bongoing her boobs back and forth.”

Bongoing her boobs??!

Tears in my eyes, I did not even know that was a term. Or description. Or a thing or whatever, but that is so funny and. . . vivid!! As Django is my witness, for the rest of my life that is going to pop into my head every time I see or hear bongo drums! *gasping*

Well, it may be that the, uh, time is up for Watts having the media spin trending all her way, because TMZ has photos showing the hot, bumperless Mercedes action: http://www.tmz.com/2014/09/17/django-unchained-actress-racism-lapd-daniele-watts-pictures-photos/2/#comments-anchor

Sciencism? September 16, 2014

Posted by Sobek in News.
10 comments

I need a new word.  This is something that’s been bugging me for a long while now.  I need a word that means something like “a believer in the importance and efficacy of science.”  Normally you can throw the suffix “-ist” on the end of a word, like “humanist,” “jihadist” or “pacifist,” but I try to do that here, I end up with “scientist,” which means something else, or “sciencist,” which sounds horrible.

I’ve wondered about this for a while now, but mores in the past few days as people have been piling on Neal deGrasse Tyson for his, um, let’s call them ethical lapses.  Like falsely attributing the million dollar space pen to NASA, or egregiously misquoting George W. Bush to make him look dumb (you need to misquote him to do that?), or just flat-out making crap up.

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Um Versus Uh September 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Some guy made a map of the tendency to use “Um” vs. “Uh” in your speech (it’s actually a map of the statistical significance of that tendency, but you get the point).

um-uh-map-smooth5

As for me, I’ve started using the Japanese “eto,” because I watch way too much anime.

Which brings to mind another point. It’s funny to me that it’s in vogue now to add “right” to the end of sentences, as in: “I know, right?” The Japanese have been doing that for forever, adding “ne” to the end of their sentences. So they would say, “Nice weather, right?” rather than just saying “Nice weather” in the old American way.

We’re turning Japanese, we’re turning Japanese, I really think so.

Economic Growth is Always Around the Corner September 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Well, in the 4 months since May, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has lowered its prediction of US economic growth. Significantly.

…the OECD saw the United States’ economy growing 2.1 percent this year before accelerating to 3.1 percent in 2015. In May the OECD forecast U.S. growth of 2.6 percent this year and 3.5 percent next year.

That means the growth this year will be entirely due to inflation.

At this rate, by next May they’ll be predicting 2.1% growth for 2015 as well.

Why So Inversiony? September 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Oh, I see:

On Monday the Tax Foundation, which manages the widely followed State Business Tax Climate Index, will launch a new global benchmark, the International Tax Competitiveness Index. According to the foundation, the new index measures “the extent to which a country’s tax system adheres to two important principles of tax policy: competitiveness and neutrality.”

The index takes into account more than 40 tax policy variables. And the inaugural ranking puts the U.S. at 32nd out of 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Yeah, I’d merge with a foreign company to avoid taxes too.

If Momma Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy September 14, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
3 comments

This is consistent with my experience:

What is the key to a happy and long-lasting marriage? It may be a combination of several factors but apparently the contentment of the wife is one of them. A new research has found that in a marital union, the odds for a happy marriage can be significantly affected by how satisfied the female partner is.

The researchers also observed that regardless of how men feel towards the marriage, husbands tend to be happier when they have wives who are happy with their union.

But I think this correlation exists due more to the downside than the upside. It’s not that the woman’s marital satisfaction makes the man happier, it’s that the woman’s dissatisfaction makes the man’s life hell.

Which, of course, he usually deserves.

Your First Lady September 13, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
13 comments

Presented without comment (actually, just waiting for Lipstick to comment):

AFP 533318897 A GOV USA DC

Photo by Nicholas Kamm /AFP/Getty Images

Discouraging Slides from the CBO September 12, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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The CBO put up a set of slides today. A sad set of slides which describe the revenue and spending outlook for the US. Trigger Alert: You may want to cut yourself after viewing these.

Let’s start off with their overview chart:

CBOOverview

Graphically that looks like:

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How Little We Change September 12, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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I’ve been reading F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and at the beginning of Chapter 8 he had this quote:

The finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom. –Lord Acton

Lord Acton said that in a speech in 1877, about the French Revolution.

137 years ago, but still as fresh and relevant as it was then.

Almost 14 Years Best Forgotten September 11, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Richard Fernandez had a nice retrospective piece today, talking about the difference between the way things looked one the eve of January 1, 2000 vs. the way they turned out to be.

New Year’s Eve before January 1, 2000 was so long ago that it is hard to remember that it was the future. September 11 was nearly 2 years away. the crash of 2008 was yet unsuspected. America was a hyperpower so unassailable that some feared it would last forever. But no one cared because it was a time without fear. We had a guarantee things would get ever better; the world had settled into the groove of progress. Liberal democracy had won the jousts of history. Dark words like ‘drone’ and ‘NSA’ were as yet unknown. The biggest worry of that festive evening was whether the Y2K bug would kick in the next day.

Then the Business Insider had this interesting, if dated, chart:

usa-14

Note that the chart was published in 2001, so everything after 2000 was projected, not actual (we’re about 4 years behind the projection). But point taken.

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