Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Once Great City of Havana

Michael J. Totten, World Affairs


Great comments in the comment section.  The article is also well worth the read.

Bubble-like conditions in the stock market for the last nearly 20 years

Stocks were returning to reasonable valuations near the end of the last bear market.  Note: "reasonable" valuations.  You'd have to go back to the early eighties to get cheap valuations.  The last bear market didn't get all that close, and didn't stay there very long.

Are Stocks Cheap?

Wind-to-Hydrogen-to-Ammonia Hybrid - Reese

Expensive form of hydrogen production.  I'd guesstimate about 9 bucks a kilogram.  The big cost comes from electrolysis of water, no doubt.  Nuclear production from LFTRs would beat the pants off this idea.  But nuclear ain't kosher for the greenies.

Wind-to-Hydrogen-to-Ammonia Hybrid - Reese from ELO @ Iowa State University on Vimeo.

Ammonia Cracker for Fuel Cell Hydrogen Supply

pesn  ( 2005 article )

The rather obvious question is why hasn't this caught on?  What's holding it back?

How Robots Will Change the World - BBC Documentary

The video cuts off in mid story.  Robotus interruptus.

Get set for the rise of the machines

Jonah Goldberg, New York Post


The robot future is coming no matter what, and it will require some truly creative responses by policymakers. 


What's going to happen when more than half of the population is unemployable?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Private company plans US's first controlled moon landing in 40 years

foxnews via Behind the Black blog

Moon Express is just one of many private companies planning space missions. Tourism, orbiting hotels and more have exploded -- but no area has burgeoned more than the moon. Astrobiotic Technology also plans to mine the moon, for example. Bigelow Aerospace wants to sell property there, a Japanese firm suggested a solar panel power ring, and China on Monday launched the Chang’e 3 lander, which should touch down on the moon in mid-December -- the first controlled landing since the Soviet Union’s Luna-24 mission in 1976.

What’s behind the surge in interest? Overpopulation, one expert says.

Perhaps it just makes a lot of sense.

Nearly 6 months, and no improvement

We are given some happy news about jobs, but hold on a minute.  I pulled up this chart that shows that there are about the same number of employed people in the workforce today as there was in June.

It so happens that I posted in July that there still weren't as many people working as there were during the peak of the Bush years in January 2008.  Some recovery, eh?  Back then, it was 146 million employed, today it is 144 million.  It was 144 million back in June.  Nothing's happening, folks.

Bats in the belfry

That's what the impeachment talks are.  Look, if you have to impeach, you've already lost.  Nixon was never impeached.  It was a threat and a likely conviction that convinced him to resign, but still he wasn't impeached.

This kind of stuff happens in every second term.  It happened to Reagan, it happened to Clinton, it happened to Bush.  Now it is happening to Obama.  If they've really got the goods on Obama, he won't have to be impeached.  He'll leave because it will be prudent for him to leave.  Otherwise, the talks about impeachment are a loser.

You Lie!

American Thinker

just this week we were served up another example of blatant dishonesty by this pathological president when his minions admitted that he did in fact know his previously disowned, troubled African uncle in Massachusetts. Not only did Barry have contact with the uncle he had earlier professed not to know, the White House now admits he actually lived with the man.

We should change how we elect presidents.  No presidential candidate should be allowed to campaign for himself.  This is how it was in the old days.  Nobody should be able to get into office if they seek it that badly that they will do and say anything.  No candidate should be allowed to seek it directly or indirectly.  Candidates should be procured, not self promoted.

Bill Whittle's latest

It's tough.  It's really tough to go after Whittle.  Heck, he may be the best thing going for this country.  But that latest thing is once again a bit much.

It's a fascinating read.  For awhile there, I was hooked.  But a moment's thought.... no.

This country is on the wrong track, but it may not take anything really big to set things right.  It may take something simple... like winning an election.  Winning the election and governing wisely, that is.

I am very tempted to label these people as evil.  But it may not be evil, just incompetence.  We, on the other hand ( meaning those on the conservative side), must rise above our own incompetence.

Whittle may be right, but I've got a bad feeling about it, that's all.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Secrets of the Dead: The Man Who Saved the World.

The time that MAD almost failed us.  It would only take one time.

In a reflective mood these days

Posting has been rather light, but not because I was too busy.  I've been sick the last week.  I guess that has had some impact as well.  Nothing that I find seems worthy of writing about.

Just before I began writing this, I had what seemed to me to be a revelation.  But it isn't really.  I've seen it elsewhere.  The revelation was that people are irrational.  That may not seem remarkable to anybody but me, because I have been the type of person to believe in rationality.  But that means nothing if most people have no interest in that at all and won't ever pursue that as a way of being.  People could be rational if they chose, but they could also be morally upright, but generally aren't.  This isn't likely to win me much admiration for calling most people immoral as well as irrational, but being rational, or as I'd like to think of myself as being, that's the way it looks to me.

The Zimmerman case illustrates how a rational system could work in practice.  The correct verdict was given, but was vilified by the very people who would not act rationally at all.  A system of rational thought could work, but it only works when everybody is on board.  That is not always true.  At times, like the Kennedy assassination conspiracy mindset, a person like me can despair at the lack of rationality in our culture.  What can you do when so many people insist upon believing something false?

Bugliosi wrote in his book about the OJ Simpson trial that he believed that with a good enough job by the prosecution, he believed he could get a guilty verdict, or at least a hung jury.  But that is just a belief.  In my opinion, there may well be a case that could be made that there wasn't any way in hell that they were going to convict Simpson no matter what got said and done in that courtroom.  That mentioned case to be made is in the irrationality of human existence.  If people were primarily rational, a guilty verdict would have been assured.  But it was not assured.

That is what has changed.  It has changed me and the way I look at the world.  It doesn't leave me feeling assured, I tell you.

More on the Dick Morris conspiracy talk

After a revisit of the site yesterday, and a second listen to what he said, I am struck by the intensity of their beliefs.  Yet, there isn't evidence to support such, which tends to drive a person like me to distraction.

I read through all the comments.  There was one commenter who said something that appeared to have a possibility for research.  He said that a Secret Service Agent may have accidentally discharged his weapon and it struck Kennedy in the head.  The commenter pointed to a couple of books, which he claims has conclusive evidence that this was indeed what happened.

I'm not so sure.  Also, I'm not so sure that I want to spend a significant amount of time reading these books.  If Oswald was innocent, why was he running?  Why did he kill a police officer?  He was caught with the murder weapon of the officer.  He tried to use it again on the arresting officers.   This doesn't look like the actions of an innocent man.  But there is more, much more.  The evidence against Oswald is overwhelming.

Even if the Secret Service agent accidentally killed Kennedy, Oswald is still the blame for that.  The weapon wouldn't have been brought out ( if it even was, which hasn't been proven ) and it wouldn't have been a hazard if Oswald didn't create the situation.

There were those who challenged that Oswald couldn't have been the shooter.  I've seen these arguments before.  The answer to them is that no evidence of any other bullets were found.  Come up with that evidence, and then you can talk.

Other people keep bringing up motives, but this means nothing without the evidence, in which you've got nothing.

It is plausible that some kind of cover up may have been occurred, but plausibility proves nothing.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

If Obamacare is overturned, a Case Western law professor gets the credit

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Based on the law, Adler says, the Internal Revenue Service has no legal authority to give tax subsidies to people enrolling in the federal exchange. The IRS wrote a regulation as if it has that right, but Adler says the ACA never empowered it to do so.


Well, if the IRS doesn't have the right to pay subsidies for the exchange, and the government hasn't appropriated the funds, then where does the money come from?  As I have been saying all along, they don't have the money.  This article shows why.

The website doesn't even have the code to pay the subsidies, anyway.  Could this be why?  They simply don't have the authority to do it.

ParaPundit: Cato Of The Roman Republic Was A Fool

ParaPundit: Cato Of The Roman Republic Was A Fool


Fascinating links and discussion.  You can't draw a conclusion from just a short read.  This is a bit complicated.

Safe Is Not An Option

via Instapundit and Amazon review here.

A question popped up in my head as I read the review.  What if Apollo 13 had happened on Apollo 11, and they didn't make it back alive?  Would the nation have just up and quit because manned space flight was deemed to be too dangerous?  Or would it have continued despite the risks?  I'd like to think we'd have continued, but it may not have happened that way.  We've been retreating across the board.  I've found evidence out there that the civilizational retreat began at just about that time (1968).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Next Big Future: Overlapping Air zones in Asia

Next Big Future: Overlapping Air zones in Asia: The new air defense zone declared by China appears to have been approved by President Xi Jinping, the culmination of more than a year of pr...


This kind of thing is getting dangerous.  The old doctrine of MAD will no longer apply in a world that is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons.  It barely worked when just two superpowers had most of the weapons.  ( see Cuban Missile Crisis )

Next Big Future: At the edges Stanene is like a room temperature su...

Next Big Future: At the edges Stanene is like a room temperature su...: A team of researchers led by Stanford University professor Shoucheng Zhang now have high hopes that a new material they call stanene will c...

Things get decided based upon willpower

Well, I pretty much stopped reading Bugliosi's book.  There's a lot more to go, but it no longer interests me.

Something else has gotten my attention.  It is so clear that the conspiracy types are wrong, yet why is it that they have managed to convince the majority of the population that there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy?  It comes down to persistence, which related to willpower.  They willed it that way, and brought it into being.  Without their continuing pounding on this idea that it was a conspiracy, the polls would look a lot different.  Even more, there wouldn't even be any polls if these people were ignored, discredited, or silenced.

Let's take that last phrase piece-by-piece.  First of all, they wouldn't allow themselves to be ignored.  Their persistence assured that they were listened to by at least a few.  Their fervor increased the persuasiveness to make that more than a few.  So, they weren't ignored---it was considered a legitimate issue.  Yet, it was the defenders of the Warren Report that ignored their critics, and this was a ghastly mistake.  Those who created the report should have defended it vigorously, yet they refused to answer their critics.  This only compounded the problem.  The Warren Report's credibility suffered.  Secondly, if there was an active attempt to discredit the critics of the Warren Report, it may well be possible that their viewpoint would never have gained traction.  Finally, since the critics were largely dishonorable, it should not have been too difficult to silence them.  People would not as likely take proven liars seriously.  The failure to address the critics, combined with critics persistence enabled this to grow beyond all reasonable bounds.  In short, it was a matter of will.  The critics had it, the Warren Report people did not.

Given that success of discrediting the Warren Report, what else has happened in history that is so false that managed to be accepted as true without any evidence of fact?  It could well be that we are suffering under a number of false premises pushed upon us that have no basis in validity.

It seems that this culture seemed to start going downhill back then.  Could it be that the refusal to defend the honorable and exalt the dishonorable that has sent us on this path downward?  The passivity in the face of a vicious assault is the primary observable, but what drove this passivity?  Did those people somehow lose their moral confidence?  Why didn't they defend what was right?

The death of Kennedy wasn't what hurt us the most.  What hurt us the most was the refusal to defend good against evil.  This requires will and moral self-confidence.  Thus, our problems may have deeper roots than this one mere event.

If there is going to be any turnaround in our society, we are going to have to get that back.  With the confidence in the right, the moral willpower will exist to turn back evil.  Without that, we are lost.

Obamacare insurance website up and running, gives sticker shock to Akron shopper

Well, at least the danged thing worked for her.  It won't even work for me.  What a clusterf&&k.

Noam Chomsky: America hates its poor

Salon via Free Republic


Some polls are pretty amazing. There was one conducted in the South right before the presidential elections. Just Southern whites, I think, were asked about the economic plans of the two candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Southern whites said they preferred Romney’s plan, but when asked about its particular components, they opposed every one. Well, that’s the effect of good propaganda: getting people not to think in terms of their own interests, let alone the interest of communities and the class they’re part of.


It is pretty frustrating that so many people do think the way Chomsky says.  But the fact is that the left's economic ideas don't work worth a damn, and they aren't working any better this time either.

People don't really have a choice.  They can believe the Democrats, who claim to be for the working man; or they can believe the Republicans, who rather foolishly in my opinion, are ignoring the working man.

I say that the GOP ignores the working man because they should be on the side of increasing abundance, and this would be a boon to all people, especially themselves.  But they aren't.  Chomsky could really be referring to the surrender monkey wing of the GOP party that keeps they noses stuck up Obama's ass.

The Democrat party now has control of big business.  They control the banks.  They are the ones that the guys like Chomsky rail against.  The richest of the rich are Democrats, not Republicans.  So, why do the Democrats get all the credit for being for the little guy?  Free stuff.  And people are happy to take the free stuff, but this is like poison.  It will ruin their ability to be self-reliant.  It will make them slaves of the state.  For opposing this, the GOP is called mean-spirited and engaging in class warfare.  Too many on the GOP side will accommodate and validate this view, and vote with Democrats.  That's the big problem.

Chomsky is a left wing hack.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Forfeiting Credibility: Civil Forfeiture Hurts Law Enforcement, Too



In civil forfeiture, government doesn’t even accuse people – but rather “stuff” such as real property, cash, and cars - of being guilty of a crime. This perverse practice often is used for eyebrow-raising lavish perks for local law enforcement agencies.


This is evil.  It's getting bigger too.

Ted Cruz Has Been Spending A Lot of Time Iowa: Can He Win the Iowa Caucus?

Free Republic

quote ( from comments which a quote attributed to Limbaugh)
They believe what the inside-the-Beltway philosophy is about conservatives. They're racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, Southern hayseed hicks. They're pro-lifers. They're embarrassing to have to go to the convention with them. And they're just embarrassed to have those kind of people in the party. They're dumb. They're not erudite. They're not educated in Ivy League schools. We'll take their votes on election day, but we really don't want to hang around with them. We don't want anybody in Washington thinking that we're really that close to them and aligned with them. So in the process -- you know, it's a very sophisticated electorate. The Republican primary voter can sense that the Republican Party really doesn't like them, really doesn't want them, thinks that they are the route to defeat. That's the problem in a nutshell. The Republican establishment thinks that a conservative nominee is the route to defeat because they think Goldwater landslides are going to happen because they believe what the popular misconception the left has created of conservatives -- they think everybody thinks that.
Maybe it is just about money.  The key is money.  If Cruz can get the money, he may win.  If he can't, he has no chance.

Earlier today, I saw that the Democrats have claimed Big Business.  I had already thought that they were the party of the rich, while claiming to be the party of the people.

Articles: The Laughable Liberal 'Moral Imperative'

American Thinker


Reich complains that Democrats have not properly made the argument in favor of redistribution. "This is a profoundly moral argument about who we are and what we owe each other as Americans," he declares. Reich even goes so far as to lament that redistribution has become so "unfashionable" that it's just easier to say "everyone comes out ahead."[emphasis added]

Lordy, what a mouthful.  Profoundly moral argument?  To me, it is profoundly immoral to take money away from one person and give to another.  A stick up man can do the same thing.  So, stick up men are now saints who should be venerated for their "profoundly moral" behavior?  Redistribution is unfashionable?  I hope so.  But why keep electing these kinds of people if that was so?

Good God.  When are people ever going to get their heads out of their asses?

Assorted thoughts

It's been a bit of a dry spell as I read Bugliosi's book.  Not too much to say about it that I haven't said already.  The book, that is.

But there's something to say about the controversy itself.  One reason given for the conspiracy theories is how can a nobody like Oswald kill a somebody like Kennedy?  Answer:  It seems to happen that way.  How many presidents have been assassinated and how many of those assassins were "somebodies"?  It's not exactly like the Vice President would walk over and shoot the President or anything.   I would venture that all the assassins were nobodies just like Oswald.  The little guys do all the dirty work.

Besides, there's no controversy about John Hinckley.  He tried to assassinate Reagan, but somehow there is no controversy there.  Was Hinckley a somebody?  Not that I can tell.

Moving on, there is a bit of trouble in Ukraine.  Riots have broken out in protest to a decision by their President not to seek integration with the EU.  I'm agnostic on this one.  Russia is not very friendly these days and Europe is off the tracks.  I think Russia is trying to do right by itself, and their own people, however, they are sticking their noses in places where they shouldn't.  But so do we, meaning the USA.  You know, if people would just mind their own business, things might have a chance of not getting TOO CRAZY.  I suppose that is too much to ask.

The Democrats are saying that the website is fixed.  I checked in over the long weekend, and au contraire, mon frere.  Whatever.

My place sprung a leak.  It's going to be fixed today.

I managed to get a bug.  Lovely.  That goes with the rest of the dreary news.

A little more pleasant fare:

That news about warp drives got me thinking a little bit.  If this were to be invented, think of what it would mean.  If it took only weeks to get to the nearest star, then it would only take hours to traverse the solar system.  Settling the solar system would then become feasible.  It would be a like a flight across the ocean today.  So, a warp drive would be a big deal if NASA could pull it off.  A real game changer, even if the Vulcans weren't in the neighborhood when you take it out for a spin.

Maybe I ought to write some sci fi instead of this blog.  Trouble is, I'm not a story teller, or I haven't much experience at it.  I did once write a short sci fi story in high school.  The teacher said, "write one about your own experiences someday".  Except that my own experiences would be too boring.  Who'd the hell would want to read that?  Like Roseanne Rosanna Dana liked to say "it's always something".

Sunday, December 1, 2013

How NASA might build its very first warp drive

io9 via Instapundit

I remember a discussion of the Alcubierre warp drive on Cramer's Alternative View website.

A really cool thing if you can ever figure out how to do it.