Friday, December 12, 2014

An Example of the Success of Capitalism

Everything in this photo has been reduced to a device that can fit into your pocket, and it is capitalism that has enabled it:

It's a good start and puts its point across, but it still lacks a few items.  The telephone receiver affixed to his right shoulder suffers because the color blends in – the original black would be better – but it is the fundamental basis for our smart phones (hence the inadequate name for a device that does so much more). 

A stack of maps should be prominent.  The mapping, location and direction function of the GPS program is worth the price of the device alone.

The Library of Congress would be difficult to portray in so small a space, or a symbolic instrument which would include all current newspapers, magazines, journals and the like.

Likewise, a weather station would have the same problem of presentation.

Easier fixes would include a calendar, an address book, a photo album, a flashlight, a Canon or Nikon camera, a gaming console, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a timer, and a Dictaphone.

A government, and certainly its communist or socialist form, has not provided such a system that is embodied in a smart phone, nor has it provided all the precursors that are pictured.

The current regime here, however, is attempting to shortstop the process by handing out Obama phones.

(H/T to Gerard van der Leun)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Foundation of Religious Freedom to a Free Society

An insightful message, from the perspective of one able to look at our culture from outside and thus unhindered by the white noise of our pop culture, from a Chinese Marxist scholar as told to Clayton Christensen, the Kim B Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School:

Christensen is a pre-eminent intellect on the subject of innovation.  Besides his soothing brilliance, he looks to me to be a 6'8" version of a brother of Ronald Reagan.
"That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun."   --Ecclesiastes 1:9

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An Addition to Bubba Gump's List of the Universality of Shrimp Preparation

Don't worry about the translation - the Japanese just adds to the charm.

Instructions were thoughtfully included:
Today's theme is fried shrimp to cook in 3 seconds.  Heck, how Will finish in 3 seconds to.  Please pay attention to wonders of the cooking speed.  Order to represent the characteristics of the full-LTE called "two bands LTE only", developed/manufactured all cooking apparatus such as shrimp pop out two lanes for the current imaging was.... and speed shrimp pops out, wheat flour, the timing of egg, bread crumbs, flame, each out wipe is all a careful calculation, has been programmed by verification.  Also, cooking the landscape without using the CG, gave a shot in live action.  Come in this video, please experience the speed of full LTE!  After the end of the ingredients that were used photography, staff gave delicious.
That should clarify matters.

Beyond a mere hat tip, this was shamelessly ripped off from Gerard van der Leun in his recurring "Japanese: nuked too much or not enough?" series in his American Digest.

Don't try this at home ... but you know you want to.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Darmstadt, the Philae has landed"; and Thoughts on Matters Cosmic and Petty (Update: More Photos)

On schedule, the Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency arrived on station at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (as I reported earlier) and launched the lander Philae, the first attempt at a soft landing on a comet.  Philae, about the size of a washing machine on a low tripod, was successful – mostly – in accomplishing its first and foremost mission of landing intact and functional.

The plan to deploy harpoons on the legs of the tripod apparently didn't work, but thrusters to help it bear down in the diaphanous gravity allowed it to come to a sliding stop, though up against a cliff face.  Initial signals from the lander came through but quickly attenuated to the point that Philae has gone into hibernation due to its solar panels not receiving an adequate amount of sunlight, blocked due to Philae's final position. 

First photo from the surface, showing the wall against which Philae stopped and one of its feet

It is expected that as 67P/C-G comes closer to the sun, the change in attitude of the comet and the increase in solar radiation will revive the lander. 
Sequence of Philae's descent, bounce, and final resting place, taken from Rosetta
Great excitement is being generated by the press in general with the news that the Rosetta and Philae system has detected "organic molecules" on the comet, which could add to the data that supports the theory that the building blocks of life on Earth could have come from comets crashing into the planet eons ago. 

A sub-text to this news is the argument that has been enjoined for a few centuries, since at least the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment if not earlier, of the question of whether life was created by God – or at least an Intelligent Design as it is now referred to in circles where such a discussion is allowed – or whether it arose as a result of a fortuitous comingling of elements that somehow led to living creatures, a phenomenon that can be reproduced elsewhere in the universe under ideal conditions, given enough time. 

I won't begin to engage in the debate here, but a strong undercurrent of the debate is a thrust to demonstrate that life could have been created by explainable scientific principles without having to rely on a belief in God.

An entire hypothesis has been formulated primarily through the efforts of British astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle (d 2001), a dedicated atheist who relented on his insistence that life had developed through natural means on Earth once it was demonstrated to him that such an event, given the time it would have taken, would have been (literally) astronomically impossible.  His concession of the point was to a fallback position that the elements of life were introduced to Earth through outside means, primarily through comets.  (This hypothesis would seem to spring from his earlier theory of nucleosynthesis, now widely accepted, that elements heavier than helium have been formed in the progressive life cycle of stars.)  The idea of 'panspermia' has gained some acceptance within the scientific community (including Stephen Hawking), yet whether or not it eventually has any realistic validity, it doesn't address the metaphysical question of the origin of life: if God did not create life spontaneously on Earth, then where did the life components of the comets (or wherever) come from, and did the metaphorical hand of God direct them to this very finely tuned cosmic petri dish that would allow life to flourish, certainly beyond the basic viral or bacteriological level of regenerated extremophiles?

But as to those organic molecules, lest the reading public become too enthusiastic with the news, one must remember that the term basically means that some form of carbon has been detected.  That could include such common compounds as methane and methanol, hardly conducive to life as we know it.  By that 'grubered' light, one could say that Jupiter could be teeming with life.

Yet I am also perplexed by the determination by some, particularly within the religious community, that we must somehow be alone in the universe, that God has somehow reserved the Earth exclusively within the impossibly imponderable vastness of the heavens to be the home of His children.  There is nothing in the Bible whatsoever that would indicate that God has not created other Gardens of Eden as distinct geneses.

And from the sublime to the ridiculous, a view of the other competitive news surrounding this seminal event perpetuates the lowly state of public attention to matters that should have real meaning.  One of the major news events at the time of the landing was the breathless and repetitive commentary on the bare derrière of the notable media prostitute Kim Kardashian, in a photo that had all the appearance of being a collaboration between Larry Flynt and Theodore Seuss.  (No, I won't post it here too.  Don't tell me you haven't already seen it – somewhere, everywhere.)

But a related story with an actual tie to the Philae landing involves the aftermath of an on-air interview with one of the key leaders of the effort, British physicist Matt Taylor.  It wasn't the interview itself that garnered the story, considering what should have been a spellbinding event, but rather the outcry about the (shall we say) eccentric Hawaiian-style shirt he wore, which included within the design a selection of cartoon pin-up girls sporting firearms, a gift from a female friend.  By all accounts, Dr Taylor is as brilliant as he is eccentrically insouciant, but the immediate backlash from the PC crowd, always on the lookout for an opportunity to be offended, reduced him to a tearful apology.  (Land on a comet?  Who cares; what about his shirt?!)

If only he had worn a burqa, these feminist harridans would have kept silent.

It's good to see that we have our priorities in order.

And speaking of order, a delightful twist is that the shirt in question almost immediately sold out.  Maybe the site will be able to fire up production on another series, but it will take at least eight weeks to catch up with the overwhelming number of orders.

It would be a good shirt for concealed carry too.

Update: Now we have a color photo of the comet:

... as well as a sense of scale, a representation of the comet resting on Los Angeles:
In contrast, 67P/C-G's long-axis diameter of 2.5 miles can be used to help visualize the Chicxulub meteor that impacted near present-day Yucutan, which caused the extinction-level event that wiped out the dinosaurs at the abrupt end of the Cretaceous period some 66 million years ago.  That meteor was estimated to have a diameter of at least 6 miles.

Considering some of the cultural detritus that LA represents, the above photo can be an almost appealing fantasy.

Ronald Reagan on Thanksgiving

"As we celebrate Thanksgiving ... we should ask what we can do as individuals to demonstrate our gratitude to God for all He has done.  Such reflection can only add to the significance of this precious day of remembrance.  Let us recommit ourselves to that devotion to God and family that has played such an important role in making this a great Nation, and which will be needed as a source of strength if we are to remain a great people." --Ronald Reagan, 1981

Thursday, November 20, 2014

CNN Blows Reporting of Synagogue Attack

In a stunning case of ‘burying the lede’, CNN single-handedly makes the case for media bias with its initial reportage of a deadly attack in Jerusalem, as reported by C W Swanson:

To fill in some gaps in the story – chasms, actually – the reason that the police shot dead the two Palestinians is that the Arabs were already engaged in an attack on a synagogue (not a mosque), with “hand guns, axes, and meat cleavers”, which resulted in five dead (including a Briton and three Americans), and eight wounded.

A snippet of the scene at the site of the attack

Is it possible to get this story more wrong, in an area that is already highly inflammatory?  One would think that CNN would want to be especially careful, considering its history with former Chief News Executive Eason Jordan, who admitted to being a shill for Saddam Hussein and who then accused US troops of deliberately targeting journalists.

This is after an AP story earlier which concerned a Palestinian who drove his car into a crowd near a train station, wounding 17 and killing a five-year-old girl.  The headline was "Israeli police shoot a man in East Jerusalem".

[Dick Stanley of Texas Scribbler reports that CNN has now apologized for the headline, saying that their "coverage did not immediately reflect the fact that the two Palestinians killed were the attackers."  CNN at least made the effort to correct that portion of the story.]

The story failed to note the standard Palestinian celebration of dancing in the streets and passing out candy and pastries.  President Obama rightly condemned the "horrific" attack but predictably called on "both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence."  There is precious little chance of that happening, certainly in the case of the jubilant Palestinians.
Palestinians celebrate the two dead attackers pictured in the background

John Kerry for his part provided some more realistic comments:
To have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement, of calls for "days of rage," of irresponsibility is unacceptable. 

The Palestinian leadership must condemn this and they must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement that comes from their language, from other people's language, and exhibit the kind of leadership that is necessary to put this region on a different path.
Now if only that same sentiment could be conveyed by the administration to the waiting 'activists' in Ferguson, Missouri.

Monday, November 10, 2014

United States Marine Corps, 239 years

Happy Birthday, Marines, and Semper Fidelis.

The preferred uniform of the day

Established by an act of the Second Continental Congress on 10 November 1775 (seventeen days before the US Navy), we trace our spiritual beginning to the first recruitment at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia.
Go ye and commemorate this day likewise.

1 November 1921

From:  Major General John A. Lejeune, USMC,
  Commandant of the Marine Corps

Title:  Marine Corps Birthday Message

Category:    Marine Corps Order No. 47 (Series 1921)

The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year.  Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.

(1) On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress.  Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine".  In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

(2) The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history.  During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes.  From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and is the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

(3) In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

(4) This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps.  With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age.  So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

John A. Lejeune,
Major General Commandant