Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Wheel turns your bike into a moped

This idea has been around for a couple of years and may be making its' debut any time now. It is a really cool idea. Cozy Beehive is wondering what has happened to it. Most of it is the speed reducer. Something like this would need some careful engineering and plenty of field trials to make it consumer friendly.

H/T to Mike

Blue Man Group

I found this video on page about microdiesel. Mike sent me the link. The article is a little thick, but the idea is interesting. I like this video because of 1) the head banging, and 2) the shooting smokestacks. As to global warming, well that's another political battle I am going to try and stay out of.


Yet another letter from Foster City, along with a (!?!?!) reply:

The GOP has a candidate whose daughter is an underage, unwed -- um, pregnant teenage slut. If you had asked me even a month ago, I would have said the GOP frowns on this kind of behavior. Yet they seem to be embracing it, they're saying they're "super proud" of this person, and perhaps they'll put underage pregnancy into their campaign platform. I don't get it.

Candidates spend SO much time on obscure nuances in an effort to "swing voters." But apparently voters aren't even swayed when their own candidates do a complete 180 on their own ideals and pee in their own punch bowl.

What gives?


"We embrace the utter failure of our hypocrisy, and hope all underage
unwed mothers and their soon to be responsible partners will join us
in promoting family values that will carry us into the 21st century
and beyond."

Sounds pretty good when you put it like that.

Politics: The Poision Flower

Another letter from Foster City. This one is from a week ago. I really should try and keep up.
It's kind of like the NFL: they set up this totally contrived structure for competition, promote the heck out of it, and people line up to pay big money to align themselves with one team or another -- to the point where it's really costing them in terms of dollars, emotional investment, stress, time wasted, etc.

This is how I view politics. Nobody is so concerned about improving things so much as they are about scoring points and beating the other team.

The way I see it, I just happened to be born here, I pay good money to live here, and I'm a realtively excellent citizen. Why should I have to drink the political Kool-Aid as well?

And yet, I cannot turn away from TV coverage...

Iraq Strategy 204.1

Letter from Foster City, CA:

It's 12:40 and my mood is philosophical. Reviewing the situation objectively, and from the current standpoint, disregarding past (charitably phrased) mistakes.....

[NB: I find it helps your objectivity if you consider the situation in terms of "the US," rather "us."]

It is very compelling to want to withdraw from Iraq and staunch the wasteful flow of lives and money. Nevertheless, the US created this mess, and you can argue that therefore it is their responsibility to clean it up. As someone once said about Iraq, "You break it, you buy it." I therefore submit that one course of action is to stay in Iraq and continue policing for several years, until some kind of semi-stable arrangement is attained, if possible.

The drawbacks to this policy, with responses, are:

-More lost lives -- well, the US killed 10's if not 100's of thousands of people already; losses are part of the cost and the US can't expect not to lose soldiers. Remedy: don't join the army.

-More trillions of dollars spent, with commensurate burden on the deficit, taxes, the domestic economy, etc. -- well, it's the penalty countries pay for waging war; many countries have warred themselves into insolvency; US went through this with Viet Nam not 40 years ago. One would think people would exercise common sense or learn lessons, but they haven't throughout history so why should people be any wiser today? One could argue that ignorance has earned a more severe lesson in the consequences of adventurism. Remedy: try to discern the money flow and minimize your exposure, or even profit.

-US insistence on unrealistic solutions may draw out the adventure for decades. US is only likely to approve solutions with an obvious pro-US benefit; thus many otherwise promising independent or nationalist solutions will probably be stymied. Remedy: none. Prepare that this may go one for decades.

One sub-strategy is, under guise of US police presence, to make Iraq a de facto colony, and take over the hydrocarbons -- at least that could defray the cost or maybe turn a profit. Downside: criticisms of US imperialism, but so what? Governments can be remarkably free of shame.

Marc & Madeline Shooting Trap

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

From Someone I Usually Think Is A Jerk

But occasionally he gets something right. I dunno about the sports angle, but I don't really care either.

Why Should Anyone ::.

ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD think America should care what they think about us, our politics, commerce, or culture?

Oh, I dunno... Envy? Ignorance? Hubris? Stupidity?

... all of the above...?

But serially, folks.

I mean... I mean... what the fardles has the world done better than we have that the advice they have to give us should be given any credence whatsoever? Economy? Science? Invention? Individual liberty? General prosperity? Military and political power? The strength of our culture -- meaning people actually (you know) want it, as opposed to being told by their (scorn quotes) "betters" the should appreciate it? Our absolute dominance in any sport any thinking, self-aware person could possibly find interesting (i.e., not scoccer or cricket)?

The lesser beings of this world really should stop embarrassing themselves and, instead of presuming to lecture Americans about how inferior and stupid and provincial they are, should instead buy a frelling clue.

Mark Philip Alger