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Skydiving Elephant February 29, 2016

Posted by Retired Geezer in Ducks, Fashion.
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Notify PETA, STAT!

Ultra Zero Fight February 27, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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I spend too much time watching Asian cinema, but at least it’s only the over-the-top action kind. Ran across this gem today:

Ultra Zero Fight

After his victory with Dyna and Cosmos, Zero went to the Monster Graveyard to train with his new powers. There, Zero encountered Gurashie Alien Bat; a follower of the original Bat that took over the alternate world. The Alien revived various monsters from the Graveyard to fight Zero for defeating his leader.

The description alone makes it almost worth watching.

China China China February 27, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Uh duh:

The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific is warning China is bent on achieving “hegemony in East Asia,” …

Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr. issued a bracing warning about China’s increasing assertiveness during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this week, hours before a report that Chinese fighter jets had been deployed to a disputed Island in the South China Sea — the latest in a series of provocative moves by Beijing to bolster its sovereignty claims against its regional rivals.

And that, of course, is just Step 1. As I’ve ranted for the past 10 years (to the consternation and boredom of my fellows here at IB), China wants to be the world’s sole superpower and has been determinedly pursuing that goal since at least 2003.

I stopped writing about it because it seemed like everybody was tired of the topic, but c’mon folks. China!! China China China China!!!

Black Lives Slogans Matter February 27, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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It seems to me that the “Black Lives Matter” vs. “All Lives Matter” controversy is just a specific case of the general liberal tendency to appropriate and modify language without regard for traditional meaning. The words mean what they want them to mean, regardless of dictionaries, education, or common usage. It’s why the Left and Right continue to drift apart; the Right’s vocabulary doesn’t change much, while the Left continues to change things according to their latest whims.

“Gender,” for instance, no longer means the sex of the subject. At least for progressives. Conservatives have never acknowledged the change. So 20 years of what progressives consider social progress has not touched half the population at all.

But I digress. Back to “Black” vs. “All.”

It’s natural to hear a slogan and decide if you think it’s logical. “Black Lives Matter” has the obvious implication that, since other lives are excluded from the phrase, either other lives don’t matter or Black Lives should enjoy preferential status. It is divisive, not inclusive. So people naturally object.

I’m sure the followers of the movement intended it to be a simple refutation of the contrary statement: “Black Lives Don’t Matter.” But unfortunately this is the English language, and you don’t get to define how people interpret your words. Rather than calling people who object racist, the Black Lives Matter movement should acknowledge their objections, so as to avoid having their message diluted by this silly brouhaha.

Had the Black Lives Matter movement chosen a phrase that was semantically accurate, there would be no controversy at all. For example, if they had selected:

  • Black Lives Matter TOO
  • Hey, What About Black Lives?
  • Did You Forget About Black Lives?
  • When Society Prepares Lists of Lives That Matter, We Feel That Black Lives Garner Insufficient Attention

They might want to put some more competent sloganeers on the job, but I think you catch the drift. A slogan that is not as easily misinterpreted is not difficult to come by.

I mean, at this point it almost seems like they willfully picked a badly-phrased slogan just so they’d have one more chance to complain about racism.

Parker Walbeck February 26, 2016

Posted by Retired Geezer in Entertainment, Movies.
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This guy is an amazing cinematographer.


Quick Quiz February 25, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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President Obama recently said the following:

I was less interested in what the job meant for my future and more concerned about what it meant for my jump shot.

Was he referring to:

  1. High school job serving ice cream?
  2. His service as an Illinois State Senator?
  3. His two terms as President of the United States?
  4. All of the above?

By Your Nouns They Shall Know You February 25, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Probably another useless sociological/psychological study on conservatives, but this one doesn’t sound too bad. So far.

The researchers found conservatives, more than liberals, tend to refer to things by names, instead of describing them in terms of features.

Examples of this would be saying someone is an idealist rather than describing them as idealistic, or that someone is a pessimist rather than calling them pessimistic.

If you describe someone as ‘a homosexual’ you’re more likely to be conservative, while calling someone ‘homosexual’ – without the ‘a’ – makes you more liberal.

This use of nouns, rather than adjectives, is thought to preserve stability, familiarity and tradition, all of which appear to be valued more highly by conservatives than liberals.

While I don’t have any particular objection to the last paragraph, it does seem completely speculative. It’s derived from the authors’ biases, rather than from some correlation to data.

But let’s assume that a preference for nouns does in fact reflect a value system based on stability, familiarity, and tradition (and certainty, from another line in the article). Doesn’t it follow that liberals then value instability, the unfamiliar, and uncertainty? And have little regard for tradition?

Doesn’t sound very appealing or very practical.

The Sad State of Blogs February 25, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Sniff. It’s like he can see into our soul:

…Twitter changed how conservatives interacted. Who needed mass emails when we could send a tweet and be seen by other conservatives? That ease of interaction and ability to mobilize people had a downside. I credit/blame Twitter for the demise of most smaller conservative websites.

I went through our blogroll recently, and deleted dozens of links to defunct or barely functioning conservative blogs. It was truly shocking how many no longer exist or rarely post. Part of it certainly is dreaded Blogger Burnout. But part of it is that Twitter is the new blogosphere.

Twitter helped destroy the conservative ecosystem of small blogs by replacing it with something easier to use and more effective.

If you want a sense of conservative blog attrition, take a gander at Ace’s sidebar – I’d guess that 90% of the links are inactive.

I think it’s a shame that blogs have declined over the past 5 years, but maybe that’s because I personally couldn’t get comfortable with Twitter’s short format. I know that NiceDeb thrived on Twitter, using it as a platform for communication and blog promotion. But in an age* where there’s already too much bumper-sticker-level policy discussion, Twitter just seemed like an exacerbator (which, I was just surprised to learn, is an actual word).

Ah well, we’ll just keep plugging away, hoping to recapture relevance and readership despite our antediluvian medium.

*Sounds like a movie trailer. “In an age . . . where Twitter ruled supreme. In a land . . . where blogs dried up and blew away. One man stood up…”

The Four Faces of Pancreatic Cancer February 24, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Pancreatic cancer felled my father about 6 years ago, so I was pleased to see this:

Pancreatic cancer is at least four separate diseases each with a different cause and needing a different treatment, scientists have discovered….

The analysis, published in the journal Nature, looked at 456 patients’ cancer….

While all the pancreatic cancers looked similar, there were four classes of genetic error that led to tumour formation.

And these four cancers have been labelled:

  • squamous-type
  • pancreatic progenitor
  • immunogenic
  • aberrantly differentiated endocrine exocrine

This realization that diseases have many subtypes is starting to occur for other cancers and for neurodegenerative diseases as well. Should be a vast help in interpreting clinical trials data and developing new drugs.

Thinking About How to Spend My $2500 February 22, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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You hear a lot of anecdotal stories about insurance premiums increasing, but I think it’s always better to look at a time-history of the data. Like this one, which the CBO thoughtfully provided:


So basically the annual cost growth for insurance premiums hasn’t changed significantly since just before the recession (as you can see from the lower chart).

Ah, I remember well the days when President Obama told us that our insurance premiums would drop by $2500 per family. It’s like all of his campaign promises were made on Opposites Day.

Lion King Parody February 21, 2016

Posted by Retired Geezer in Art, Gardening.
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OK this made me laugh this morning:

The US Falls Behind in Manikin Technology February 19, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Those Japanese roboticists have done it again, this time with the iDummy. iDummy is an adjustable manikin, presumably for people who need to sew things. Kind of hypnotically creepy. [The perpetual gifs are kind annoying, so I moved them below the fold]