Friday, April 30, 2010

A Really Bad Day

Imagine working years and years on a project. You get no results as you work on it, nothing but blood sweat and toil. Then imagine that for the project to work you need a balloon to travel 122,000 feet into the air. And then imagine the wind is off and some latches not strong enough...

Not good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Liberal England is Dead

The UK is in the midst of election season for the first time in 5 years. The hot topic is the rise of Nick Clegg and Liberal Dems who are outpolling Labour (though they won't win half the seats of Labour or the Tories because of Britain's first past the post voting system). But, as Burke's Corner points out, Liberal England is dead.
Therein lies the explanation for the inevitable bursting of the Clegg bubble. Liberal England died as those heady years of Edwardian progress ended in constitutional crisis, class conflict and Ypres. Now the Liberals are merely those in the north of England who dislike Labour and those in the south who dislike the Conservatives. At local government level, they are merely like Joseph Chamberlain - urban and urbane conservatives.
The Lib Dems are, in other words, ironically defined by the two great British political traditions - Labour and Conservatism. Apart from those traditions, the Lib Dems have no meaning, no identity. Almost a century on from the events of which he spoke, Dangerfield's words continue to echo and describe our politics. Nick Clegg and his party are not the great Liberal tradition reborn. Liberal England is indeed dead. [emphasis mine]

Something You Should be Aware of...

...cause if things aren't handled right, bad things could happen and the USA could be drawn into another war. In short, a month or so ago a South Korean ship was sunk by an explosion at the loss of 42 lives. The explosion was a mystery though North Korea was an immediate suspect. Now it appears that NK is behind the attack, but the SK are playing dumb because they don't want get into a tit for tat war. Pay attention, bad things could happen. For more info, check out Information Dissemination.
Source: The Guardian

A Sign I am Lazy and Late

Here is a comic from the great Richard Thompson about Earth Day. Mr. Thompson is the cartoonist of the best cartoon since Calvin and Hobbes, Cul de Sac. If you don't believe me, just know that I've been reading the comics page since I was 8 years. My palate has been honed by the glories of Far Side and the drudgery of Beatle Bailey, BC, and those old lame ones.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Video for the Evening

Mostly funny.

I'm Back...

Once again, I took a little break from blogging. Unlike last time I didn't visit any far off land, rather, life just a got a bit busy. A few notes:

  • Yay Twins! Though they can't sweep a team, they are at least winning every series and dominating the 3 spot in various "power rankings."
  • Hmmm... Vikings. The draft came and went and much too much of the nation's airwaves was concerned with the draft. Sure, watch it on TV, but we have no idea how good any team's draft will be until 5 years down the road. That being said, I'm a bit puzzled by their picks. I wish they had gone withe McCoy or Clausen, cause I don't see Jackson as the future. Oh well, we got one more shot at the Super Bowl before things fall apart.
  • The Health Care debate ain't over. Numbers have come in from HHS, which point to potentially higher costs than originally estimated (note all the caveats). Here is a take from McArdle and Klein.
  • VAT... Value! Added! Tax! Are you for it or against it? I'm still not sure. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Try Harder You New Atheists

Or at least, that's what Mr. Hart thinks in his fantastic article in First Things. So many great quotes, here is just one of many:
The principal source of my melancholy, however, is my firm conviction that today’s most obstreperous infidels lack the courage, moral intelligence, and thoughtfulness of their forefathers in faithlessness. What I find chiefly offensive about them is not that they are skeptics or atheists; rather, it is that they are not skeptics at all and have purchased their atheism cheaply, with the sort of boorish arrogance that might make a man believe himself a great strategist because his tanks overwhelmed a town of unarmed peasants, or a great lover because he can afford the price of admission to a brothel. So long as one can choose one’s conquests in advance, taking always the paths of least resistance, one can always imagine oneself a Napoleon or a Casanova (and even better: the one without a Waterloo, the other without the clap).
Go read it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Picture and Lame Blogging

I'm sorry I've been so bad at blogging. It will pick up soon, I promise. To tide you over here is a fantastic photo of an Icelandic volcano.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

For Tax Day

From the one and only Reihan Salam:

When we view our long-term fiscal challenges through the lens of lifetime net tax rates, one thing becomes clear, as Daniel Shaviro has argued: present generations are getting a much better deal than future generations. So in truth, the real "Lucky Duckies" are all of us working and paying taxes right now: thanks to excessive spending commitments and unfunded tax cuts, we are shifting the tax burden from today to tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The South, The Confederacy, and Memory

A week or so ago the Governor of Virginia issued a proclamation celebrating Confederacy History Month. Unfortunately, in his glorifying of the South and the Glorious Cause he forgot to mention that little known problem of slavery. An outcry ensued and too his credit he quickly issued an additional proclamation recognizing the importance of slavery in Virginia's history. The proclamation and ensuing controversy has brought forth commentary from all quarters.

Before I proceed I should advise that I am a Yankee through and through. I'm a Northerner and have little time for folks forgetting slavery and it's importance in shaping American History.

One of my favorite commentators on the Civil War and Memory (and lots of other things) is Mr. Coates from the Atlantic Monthly. His latest post (and the accompanying photo) shows the idiocy of American's twisted racial logic. It begins with this photo:
Read the post.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Your Photo of the Day

From APOD:
Photo by Martin Rietze
Note the lightning within the volcano.

Fact of the Day

From the Wowzer files:
Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now.
HT: Marginal Revolution

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Problem with Nostalgia

The current debate over health care has brought forth extreme hyperbole. On the Right we have the easy demonization of President Obama and his socialist revolution. This crazy talk is only matched by the Left infatuation with President Bush and his theocratic push. Both sides suffer the disease of nostalgia. Quickly folks think that 10 year, 50 years, or 200 years was better than it was today. Particularly in America we like to hark back to the days before this great country was corrupted by... money, politicians, tyranny, etc... Though certain things in the past may be better than today, the world was often crappy for a whole slew of folks.

A perfect example is highlight by the blog Burke's Corner and his analysis of Daniel Boaz's article in Reason. In short, Boaz notes that there is no golden age of liberty and for anyone to declare that we had more Freedom 200 or 100 years ago is phooey in a country that held a large portion of its population in bondage.

The only note of caution that I will add is how the role of technology impinges upon our freedom. For example, you can't go anywhere in the UK without someone "official" watching you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

An Article You Should Read

One of the most influential people in America today is General Petraeus. He is revolutionizing how the US Army fights and shaping how the US Army will look. With that in mind, read this article.

A Poem for Easter (One Day Late)

Seven Stanzas at Easter, By John Updike
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
            reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
            eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that - pierced - died, withered, paused, and then
            regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
            faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
            grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
            opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
            embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.