Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Amnesty International now in Ferguson MO....R.I.P. Don Pardo

It's very late at night over here but I've been watching cable coverage of Ferguson MO, seeing for the first time the appearance of Amnesty International observers.  And I'm sure a lot of people are doing the same, as well as monitoring Twitter,  Instagram, and such.

What's going to make this blog entry on that different is the recollection of Tahrir Square in Egypt and the question that kept popping up throughout: when is America going to have an American Spring?

Well, isn't that what Occupy Wall Street was trying to do?  But--back to Ferguson MO.  There's a lot that is similar to the events in Tahrir Square, and I'm pretty sure that the people across the globe that are watching events in Ferguson are feeling that the U.S. is in no position to criticize Egypt, or even Russia for that matter, for sending in local militias or whatever they have that passes for a National Guard, or other military into, oh, say, Crimea.

The role of the military in Egypt was criticized in re: Tahrir Square, as was Assad re: Syria rebels.  And now look at the air strikes we're taking in Iraq in what's otherwise a civil/religious war.  Whatever standing the U.S. used to have as a world leader for basic civilization, rule of law, and the like, just vanished in Ferguson MO.

Adding to the solemnity of this late night is word in that the voice of Saturday Night Live died at the age of 96. :'(

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ferguson MO is now an international incident; lesson for China.

Sure, it's an international incident now because Al Jazeera reporters were also roughed up by police.  Here's Al Jazeera's report, which mainly makes as big a deal over the harassment of the two reporters (one of Washington Post, the other of Huffington Post) that our domestic reporters are making a big deal of.  All that Al Jazeera says about its own reporters is, "Al Jazeera journalists covering the protests in Ferguson on Wednesday night were also tear gassed by police" in the middle of the bottom part of the page.

Go figure.

I was on Twitter most of last night because the Twitter feed went fast and furious from various reporters on the ground.  Twitter is where I went when Tahrir Square was happening, and it's where to go when any ongoing event of this nature is in progress, as I Follow a number of news entities there as well as all congressmen.  It's the best place to keep up with developments in Egypt, which include talks of cease-fires and whathaveyou regarding Gaza even though broadcast news entities tend to follow only one item as a major lead, setting the other stuff on the back-burner with only general, superficial treatment.

I would be surprised if BBC America was NOT present in Ferguson, too.

I again recommend Twitter for anyone out there who wants to keep following multiple events at the same time.  If you're still one of those out there who thinks Twitter is just for gossip chatter, I'm here to tell you again--you're wrong.

Thursday UPDATE: Suspicion about BBC confirmed by former Voice of America man and former fellow shortwave radio hobbyist of NASWA back in the day...

Jonathan Marks, formerly of Radio Nederland Weredomroep.
China, the lesson for you is about how police don't bring harmony and can, in fact, disturb the harmony that a community who disagrees with the government enjoys among its members.  Even when it has complaints, it's the community that is in harmony with each other.  Harmony is in the ear of the beholder, not in the arms of any police. The police that are in harmony with a community is a servant to the community--not its master.

Incidentally--Happy Independence Day, India!
You too, Pakistan!

Ferguson UPDATE: Gov. Jay Nixon has put the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of law enforcement in Ferguson under Captain Ronald Johnson.

ABC News report

I also see that China has returned to my blog. Hello, China, guess what?  I know about your latest incursions into the South China Sea even though I haven't mentioned such things lately.  If you think I've turned a blind eye to Asia, you'd be wrong. Dead wrong.

China, you cannot achieve what you don't understand; harmony will always be beyond your reach.  Here's a level of harmony that exists entirely without your government thugs:



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Worldwide appeal of Robin Williams via blog stats & important UPDATE.

What tuppenceworth I posted in my last post regarding the passing of Robin Williams resulted in traffic to this blog dropping to a complete zero, even from China.  It's quite clear that I wasn't somebody slobbering over what I know was an illusion; one of the reasons I prefer being a time traveler to an  historian is my appreciation of cold hard facts, not some biographer's embrace of whatever illusion any given public figure preferred to project and then run with the illusion.  I recognize illusions and mirages when I see them, and having had a few friends of mine attempting or accomplishing suicide in the distant past, I've had the experience with the issues in that regard.

I still expected traffic from the orient, the hackers, the spammers, the tech-heads among them, but even that traffic dropped to zero over night.  That. people, was today's surprise.

Robin Williams was indeed the master of illusion, as are all good actors who engage the audience and take them along for the ride of the presentations.  Therein lay Williams' very strong appeal--they were strong illusions.  But they were still illusions, and that's why I for one wasn't a bit surprised while everyone else was.  The cold hard truth of the matter is that nobody in the audience didn't know who this man REALLY was like, and just the statistics of his 3 different wives pretty much showed conclusively that they thought they knew him but in the end, didn't really.

Although I'm familiar with his schtick and the apparent genius of his various schticks, and enjoyed that like everybody else, I know that I did not know this person. If you find that I have any stuff about Robin Williams off-base, that's fine because I don't pretend to know people that I don't really.

It's easy for a member of the audience to love the illusion.  What's hard is dealing with the cold hard reality, and it's the cold hard reality of actually getting to know the real person which will cure a lot of that.  And so it comes as no surprise to me that fans prefer to hold on to the illusion and bury the reality; a performer's business is to serve up what the audience wants to see, and the audience wants to see--and prefers--the illusion.

Thursday UPDATE: Ya, I realize that the above missive sounds harsh, but you won't catch me pretending to know stuff and people that I know I don't, and I've observed a number of people doing just that.  I don't wish to be included in that group, but by all means include me in the group that describes the ordinary fan.  I'm certainly a fan.  But coming down the pike this Thursday is a posting by somebody who apparently did know this man in actual fact, as shared by somebody that I do know, and his remarks are well worth full consideration:

I would be surprised of those of us of a certain age, who do remember the 60s and 70s, didn't know somebody who had experimented with substances and came out on the wrong side as a result.  I had a number of friends like that including one gal who attempted suicide in the presence of a number of her friends and yet still declared that she was alone and that nobody cared even after a bunch of us showed up when the ambulance did.  It is possible to not have known Mr. Williams personally and still relate deeply to the situation he found himself in.  Don't  know the guy, but I fully understand.  While everybody else seemed surprised and shocked, I wasn't--and that's just it, in a nutshell.

Ferguson UPDATE: All hell's broken loose as if Assad moved from Syria to Missouri and is now in command of the police there.  It's probably just a matter of time before an order is given to fire tear gas canisters into a crowded van just like Assad did. Betcha.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Gaza situation deserves its own blog entry; R.I.P. Robin Williams

Word just now coming down the pike this Monday is that Robin Williams looks like he committed suicide by asphyxiation, says the Marin County sheriff.

Word up is that he was going through heavy depression.  The planet lost a genius today.

Tuesday Robin Williams UPDATE: All news media was just plastered wall to wall with this news today, and I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know by now. I just have to add that I'm surprised that the world of actors is surprised because the more convincing (great) an actor is, the greater is his ability for deception.  Feel deceived, do you?  It was great acting.  A lot of people who are not actors are great actors, and that's the world of fraud, of con men.  Put an actor on trial and the jury will get fed deception.  Ain't that right, O. J. Simpson? 

I would imagine that superlative actors find themselves believing that they are actually this other person that they're portraying, so you'll find some deceiving of self in the process.  Maybe Robin Williams had had enough of lying to himself, and believing his own lies.  I imagine that no one can convince himself that he's somebody else without a high level of self deception. 

3 children, 3 different wives.  Odds are better than average that somebody was lying to somebody, big time.

Yeah, I'm just one of the millions in the audience, no expert on acting as a profession, but I do know what I seeJe vous connais, milord, vous n'm'avez jamais vue--Je n'suis qu'une fille du port, une ombre de la rue. (Edith Piaf)

C'est la vie.

Lauren Bacall, on the other hand, died today of a more natural death. Also Arlene Martel, of the old Star Trek. She portrayed Spock's wife.

I usually post updates on an existing post when I don't have much for another blog entry, but I make exceptions for important topics.  Recent developments in Gaza prompts this separate entry, intended for those of my audience who value history.  It is similar to a post I made about Syria much earlier, and about the same issue:

You can't conduct productive archaeology on a site that has been bombed to smithereens.  I repeat this because Ashkalon has been bombed multiple times and it's a prized archaeological site.  Just a few minutes ago I heard that a Gaza mosque has been bombed now, bringing to mind the risk of destruction now facing the very antique Al Aqsa Mosque, a mosque that dates back to Mohammed's own century, built by Calif Omar under the Treaty of Medina. Rabid Zionist Israelis have wanted to destroy that mosque for a long, long, time, claiming that it sits atop a Jewish temple.

The antiquities of Iraq come under similar threat via ISIS as well as any bombs that might be dropped to counter them.  In destroying each other we destroy records of our history for future generations, if there are to be any of us left in the future.

Note to historians--it's over issues like this where you go wrong in insisting on reading the latest books on an historic topic of interest: while stuff might have been recently discovered, a lot of stuff is just as likely to be lost to current investigation.  Old books and periodicals are just as valuable in that they contain information on that which hadn't been destroyed yet by the date of their copyright.

The horrendous loss of life alone is a given, but it's also obvious that such human costs aren't of value to the combatants, clearly. The whole thing is a tragedy, no doubt about it, but that just doesn't stop some people.

That machine did kill fascists.

Late Sunday UPDATE: Marc Ginsberg on CSPAN

By and large this man sounds sensible but he hit a few snags in spots.  The one that prompts me to write this post-script is his complaint about the U.S. backing out of what he claimed was a "red line" drawn on the Assad regime in Syria...which he complained about after talking about ISIS without realizing that going forward with any sort of consequences in Syria to punish Assad would result in handing ISIS a victory. Dummkopf.

Friday, August 08, 2014

The ISIS Crisis Redux

If I had a dime for every time there was some megalomaniac who claimed that God ordained him to re-establish the Roman Empire, I'd be set with an income for life. Now, if I had a dime for every time each of these megalomaniacs were challenged to their perceived ordinance by making the same but competing claim,  I'd have more gold than the Pope.  Now here comes a bunch of Islamic megalomaniacs that don't think that the demise of the original "Califate Empire" wasn't the will of Allah in the first place and are under the delusion that they can build another one without Allah to will it to be.  They think that Allah is so weak and helpless that he can't do without them.

ISIS/ISIL in Iraq are, we're told, former Ba'athists of Saddam Hussein's, but the problem with that is that Ba'athists were by and large secular--secular enough to have permitted an ancient Zoroastrian-era religion to persist within Iraq's borders the entire time these same Ba'athists were in power under Saddam.  WTF?

Abu Bekr Al Baghdadi likes to fancy himself not only as a world leader but as an expert scholar of Islamic history, and will yet defy that history by excluding tribes and Shiites when the original empire was all-inclusive.  He can't "restore" the old empire by going against everything the old empire stood for and flourished by.  The old empire was ruled by Sunni AND Shiite governments, which chose to overlook differences ever since the truce agreed to on the Day of the Camel.  Al Baghdadi, you can't ammass an army when you kill off the nationalists, you idiot.

You're just an insane megalomaniac who has a death wish, as are all of the imbeciles that follow you.  Same is true of Boco Haram.  Imbeciles all.  Never heard of the Day of the Camel, never heard of Saladin, but always following the ways of Genghis Khan, not any great Muslim leader. Not even the original Abu Bekr thought that doing what ISIS is doing was ever a good idea. Omar "conquered" Jerusalem by treaty, not by blood.

Speaking of imbeciles, we have a few of our own over here. Those are the ones whining about how we should arm the Kurds.  Yes, they are complete imbeciles who don't have a clue as to why the UK isn't backing the current U.S. efforts.  The elephant in that room is Turkey.  Arm the Kurds and the U.S. gets two more enemies of a sort, in the form of both Turkey and the UK.

Imbeciles.  Turkey and the UK are of paramount importance to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as is Egypt.

Sunday talking-head addendum: it's just come down the pike that Turkey is more receptive of the Iraq-side Kurdistan. From this point one must consider the PKK as a separate problem.  Good news, this. 

Saturday UPDATE: I was just listening to the conference Obama held this morning, regarding this topic, and I'm sure that the points he made regarding what can be done "on the cheap" should have shut up McCain's mouthings about how his surge worked completely.  It might have been a great stop-gap idea but we can see at this point just how permanent that solution turned out to be.  As in, NOT. McCain is the same imbecile who claimed that we should be arming Syrian opposition to Assad while whining about how pulling out of Iraq gave ISIS a boost--without realizing that the opposition in Syria IS in fact ISIS and he's trying to have things both ways.  Complete imbecile.

Surges just aren't sustainable even if you did have the resources to maintain their results because when you ride any tiger like that, you have to stay on the tiger's back because getting off the tiger is fatal.

In other news, it looks like Fred Waterer is planning a new webcasting effort, begun just today with his website, fredwaterer.com.  I'm definitely looking forward to further developments on this. He also has a website in honor of his father, website in honor of his father: Dognouse Charlie.

And now a John Zito update of a sorts.  I first mentioned John Zito on this blog in an update in my post about Women's History Month to which was also post-scripted a lengthy discussion about time travel.  And then this month, me & Zito tangled again on the nature of time, which I said (as I've said before on this blog) is fractal, not linear...and I updated the Women's History Month post with a link to that discussion.  I did say, in the course of that discussion, that the zero needed to be reinvented in order for today's science to get past its current limitations regarding time travel but that's all I could say about it (spoilers!).

Well, today, Saturday, THIS came down the pike from WIRED magazine, regarding quantum physics, which does essentially re-invent the zero after a fashion (paragraphs 7 and 8). "The usual picture of space and time, and particles moving around in them, is a construct."  Indeed, but so is the concept of proximity, and knowing this permits a TARDIS to be bigger on the inside than the outside AND permits the resolution of a number of paradoxes introduced by the travel of an entity originating in time and space during the lifetime of that entity to a destination in time and space when/where that entity doesn't otherwise exist.  There's hope at last for humanity, scientifically speaking.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

GREAT ADAMS' GHOST!! An Improbability Drive at NASA!

Circulating in cyberspace yesterday was some sort of announcement that NASA verified the operation of a propulsion engine that defied physics.  Today, it was debunked.  But hold on a sec, people, take a second look at this latest version of the old EmDrive...

Yea, the main body looks familiar to some of us, and the people who have read my previous post where I touted my background in antique automotive technology will recognize it too.  Kinda looks like a venturi configuration, doesn't it.

Now consider the concept of a space ship that doesn't need propulsion but uses a sail to catch solar wind instead.  Or with a properly tapped venturi-equipped solar-wind sail.  You who know how venturis work  are getting the picture, I'm sure.

Where does Adams fit in?  He's the inventor of the Improbability Drive based on the Brownian Motion principle, of course.  I'm sure his ghost is rolling in his grave, laughing what's left of his arse off.

Mini-UPDATE: It's late afternoon Friday and China just ticked up my blog stats to the significant magic number of page views for today.  Fans of Doug Adams already knows what that number is, because it's The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Speaking of blog stats, I see somebody has used Google with the terms "nasa brownish drive".  Ahem--that's Brownian, as in physics of liquid in a container; that's Brownian as in Adams' physics, specifically a liquid in a teacup of genuine English tea, for which any synthetic tea substitute is inadequate.