Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review: Tour of Duty II

BW reviews Michael Z. Williamson's Tour of Duty.

Tour of Duty is a pretty decent collection of short stories by Michael Z. Williamson. I enjoyed it. The sci-fi was detailed and exciting. The short stories set in hell didn’t fail to drag out a chuckle or two. Crazy Einar was a particular favorite. If I was a more barbarous man I’d take his advice, find the perfect ax for a large Germanic man’s rampage and enjoy ‘spoils’.

I hadn’t heard of Michael Z. Williamson and his Freehold except in passing, nor, sad as it may be, the Valdemar universe. This likely wasn’t the best introduction to either. There is a lack of context in my mind. I know that there’s some sci-fi things happening, and the hints of the people and events outside the small viewpoint are tantalizing. I wanted more.

His skill seems to be in the military recounting and strong realism. There’s strong organization in the tales. His past in the military comes out in the many science fiction short stories and personal tales. Military people writing fiction about military things adds a feeling that isn’t in non-military writers. Each story has precision to it, no word wasted or gained, which I favor.

As the other reviewer mentioned, this is a difficult book to review, so I’ll focus on my two favorites.

I mentioned the ‘Lawyers in Hell’ before, but I thought that ‘A Hard Day At The Office’ was superior. Hellfrica seems a terrible place, yet appropriate. Anyone can make a story about lawyers in hell, it takes a lot more effort to kill Theodore Roosevelt. Death had to take him in his sleep, after all, and being crushed by a giant hellefino is not exactly a worse fate.

The reason I enjoyed this story was not Teddy Roosevelt, it was the underlying humor of it all. Lawyers on pogo sticks are funny. The hopelessness of always losing your employers to the crazy hell-versions of animals has depth to it. And you’ve got to admit, having to face down something called a hellephant with a pea-shooter has a certain appeal. The best portion of the story are the hunters themselves. Each one somehow aware, or not caring, that they will die. Each one with motivations beyond simply surviving in Hell, making them larger than life, and maybe even more complex characters than the protagonist himself. At the end of the story the protagonist learns little and is no better off than he was before. Perhaps, that is hell.

The second story I felt worth mentioning is the first fiction. For a while I was confused as to the main character’s species and other facets of the story. But as it evolved, I got to see the motivations of the character. I got to look into an alien mind. Usually, those peeks are just giant ‘humans are bad’ or ‘different’ stories with the aliens having human tendencies and feelings. It’s similar to Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye, with the aliens being nearly without human traits and needing to imitate us, rather than develop new concepts on shared culture, to interact.

The main characters concepts of ‘duty’ and hunting spoke to me, in a way. It’s a theme of the universe, society cannot survive without those who do their duty. At the same time, it cannot have a hope to achieve victory without those willing to make the sacrifice. The terror of the soldiers was palpable, and the militaristic approach they attempted struck me as very realistic, but I did expect even one of them to survive. All in all, it was a great experience.

I got to admit that while I usually had very little of the overall contexts of the universes he wrote in and for, I did enjoy what little I saw. While I won’t recommend it to anybody. To the fans of Micheal Z. Williamson, go for it you bold beautiful bastards. If you’re not, this won’t be more than an enjoyable sightseeing tour. I’m not going to rate it with a number because of that reason. A couple short stories are a good 5/5, but not all of them.

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Enough already

I like the idea of fewer preseason games, but further watering down the playoffs is not going to make them more exciting.  What makes the playoffs exciting is that they are exceptional games, so the more playoff games there are, the less exceptional and exciting they become.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that the league is “urgently discussing” the possibility of shortening the preseason from four games to three, with that adjustment coming hand-in-hand with an expansion of the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams.

“That would offset teams’ lost revenue from the elimination of a preseason game, and it also could lead to additional television revenues for the league,” Mortensen wrote on

Commissioner Roger Goodell strongly hinted at the possibility of a more populated postseason in an interview last week. “A reasonable argument could be made that there are teams that should qualify for the playoffs and don’t and could win the Super Bowl,” Goodell told Judy Battista. “I don’t think we want to expand just to have more teams. We want to create more excitement, more interest and give teams a chance to win the Super Bowl.

A 14-team playoff — seven teams per conference — likely would limit first-round byes to just the top qualifying team. With that setup, six teams from both the AFC and NFC would compete in the current “wild-card round,” giving the NFL an extra game that weekend. The divisional round would maintain its current format.
I'd much rather see the playoffs consist of all four division winners only. No wild cards.  The second-round games are rarely all that entertaining; home teams win 74 percent of divisional playoff games compared to 57 percent of regular-season games. Anything that strengthens divisional play is good, anything that weakens in in the names of benefiting "the best teams" is short-sighted foolishness for the love of trouble-making.

There is nothing unfair about an 11-5 team sitting home when an 8-8 team goes to the playoffs. Win your division. Unless you're dumb enough to go all the way, throw out the playoffs altogether and simply award the league championship to the team with the best regular season record, you've already conceded the point.  You're just quibbling over where the line is drawn.


Mailvox: a creedal correction

In which my religious views are somewhat mischaracterized on Twitter:
Avenging Red Hand: Vox is amusing, but highly arrogant, and heterodox, if not outright heretical, on his views of the Trinity.

Uilesmiselani: Yes, he's a heretic. Not even Nicene.
As it happens, my views are entirely Nicene in the proper sense, they simply do not happen to be in line with what should be technically considered Constantinoplene rather than Nicene.  Consider the actual Nicene Creed of 325:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

By whom all things were made;

Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;

He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven;

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

And in the Holy Ghost.

I readily affirm all of that. Now, one can certainly quibble over the "one substance with the Father" aspect, as it can be interpreted in various ways and I do not accept it means that "the Father Almighty" and "the Son of God" are exactly equal and wholly interchangeable at all times because this is an explicitly anti-Biblical position; how can God the Father have abandoned Himself?

What I take exception to is the addition made by the First Council of Constaninople 56 years later, in which the simple belief in the existence of the Holy Ghost is raised to a quasi-equal status with both God the Father and the Son of God alike.

"And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets."

How can the Helper, who came after the Son, be considered the Giver of life when not only life, but life eternal, had already been given? And if the Father and the Son are wholly equal, how can the Holy Ghost proceed solely from the Father and not the Son, especially if the Son is the one by whom all things are made? Is proceeding more akin to being begotten or being made?

It seems to me that the true Nicene Creed is not only more fundamentally Christian, but more coherent than the later Constantinoplene Creed for which it is so readily confused. These questions don't trouble me in the slightest, as we know perfectly well how dark the glass is through which we see these things, but I do think it is inaccurate to describe me as "not even Nicene" or a heretic in the Scriptural sense as opposed to one based on whatever the post-Scriptural dogma happens to be at the moment.

"Heterodoxically Nicene" would, I think, be a more judicious description of my Christian theological perspective.


A parody of scientody

"Hilarious incoherence" in the latest IPCC report summary:
A top climate scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lambasted a new report by the UN’s climate bureaucracy that blamed mankind as the main cause of global warming and whitewashed the fact that there has been a hiatus in warming for the last 15 years.

“I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence,” Dr. Richard Lindzen told Climate Depot, a global warming skeptic news site. “They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.”
Real scientists don't think much of the scientistry that is an obvious parody of scientody. Nor does Nigel Lawson, Chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, as he declares it to be "mumbo-jumbo":
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which published on Friday the first instalment of its latest report, is a deeply discredited organisation. Presenting itself as the voice of science on this important issue, it is a politically motivated pressure group that brings the good name of science into disrepute.

Its previous report, in 2007, was so grotesquely flawed that the leading scientific body in the United States, the InterAcademy Council, decided that an investigation was warranted. The IAC duly reported in 2010, and concluded that there were “significant shortcomings in each major step of [the] IPCC’s assessment process”, and that “significant improvements” were needed. It also chastised the IPCC for claiming to have “high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence”.

Since then, little seems to have changed, and the latest report is flawed like its predecessor.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

VPFL Week 3

70 Greenfield Grizzlies (3-0)
68 RR Redbeards (1-2)

56 Suburban Churchians (2-1)
48 Bradford Gamma Rays (1-2)

92 Fromundah Cheezheads (3-0)
65 '63 Mercury Marauders (1-2)

97 Bailout Banksters (1-2)
54 Mounds View Meerkats (1-2)
44 Bane Sidhe (1-2)
38 Boot Hill Hangmen (1-2)

This is starting to look disturbingly like the year when I led the league in points scored and somehow managed to remain in last place until the last week of the season. Although it is encouraging that Matt Cassel is starting this week against the Steelers; at halftime of the first game, I predicted that Christian Ponder would lose his starting job after the bye week.

Cassel doesn't have to win any games with his arm, he just has to be competent enough to avoid turnovers, prevent defenses from putting eight and nine in the box and give AD a little room with which to unleash the purple greatness. And based on his performance in New England and Kansas City, he should be capable of doing that.

I still don't understand why the Vikings didn't go after Alex Smith last year. Of course, I'm still annoyed that they didn't make any attempt to go after Drew Brees when he was available either.


Shameless eksoudenogyny

I could hardly refrain from commenting on THE MOST IMPORTANT CHALLENGE FACING YOUNG WOMEN TODAY, could I?
Women used to argue that if men would have only stopped oppressing them, they would have totally written great books and advanced science and cured cancer and in general improved the world in every possible way. After all, if Man has achieved so much by utilizing only 50 percent of the population, imagine if 100 percent of the population was able to achieve its full potential!
Learn what amazing challenge the young women of today are courageously facing at Alpha Game.


Fascist "anti-fascists"

The government has taken several steps toward open civil war in Greece by attempting to criminalize the political opposition:
Nikos Michaloliakos, 56, was arrested on Saturday morning on charges of founding a criminal organisation, with arrest warrants issued for dozens more party members and lawmakers, officials said.  The arrest of Michaloliakos, along with 13 other party members including spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, comes as part of a wider crackdown on the far-right group following the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by an alleged Golden Dawn member, which sparked riots across the country.

Pavlos Fyssas – known by his stage name of Killah P – was stabbed to death in an Athens commuter town on September 17, triggering violent anti-fascist protests across the country.

At least 10,000 people demonstrated in Athens on Wednesday in a protest organised by left-wing political parties and unions. Golden Dawn has denied it had anything to do with the killing, but he was stabbed to death by a self-proclaimed supporter.
The so-called "anti-fascist" protests are tiny compared to the general strike with which the Greeks have been protesting the government. To put it in perspective, this is as if Bill Clinton and twelve Congressional Republicans were arrested because Tupac's killer was a self-proclaimed Democrat.

Both the Egyptian and the Greek governments are making the mistake of forcing their populist political opposition to turn to violence. The popularity of Golden Dawn and the Muslim Brotherhood are only going to increase as a result of this shamelessly political stunt, especially in contrast with openly anti-democratic governments that are shamelessly robbing the people on behalf of the IMF, the EU, and other globalist institutions.

The irony is that the Eurofascists are attacking their critics as fascists while operating in an observably fascist manner in cooperation with the international corporate megabanks. Meanwhile, in Italy, the resignation of Berlusconi's alllies appear to have brought the Letta government down and made it likely that the anti-Euro Movimento 5 Stelle will soon come to power.
All five ministers from Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right party said on Saturday night they were resigning from Italy's grand coalition government in a dramatic move that plunged the country back into political uncertainty and raised the possibility of fresh elections.
Note that Berlusconi's action was the direct and predictable consequence of prosecutorial actions directed against him by his political foes.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

95 percent certain!

This is good.  We've now got it on record that modern science is 95 percent fiction:
In its latest and most comprehensive report on the state of the climate, the IPCC cautioned that change since the mid-20th century has taken place at a rate “unprecedented over decades to millennia”.

The panel said it was 95 per cent certain that mankind had been the “dominant cause” of climate change since the 1950s and issued an urgent warning for governments to act fast to avoid a 2C rise in temperatures above pre-industrial levels before the end of this century.
Scientistry has staked its reputation on global warming. The next decade should suffice to put a stake all the way through it.  My advice is to get everyone you know who is an annoying science fetishist to put down their certain faith in science in writing.

We've already got PZ Myers on record. We've already got Richard Dawkins on record. Get every punk evolutionist and Feynman idolatrist and God Delusion-thumping atheist on record too.

And in a few years we'll put their credibility as well as their scientistic faith on spikes in public when the obvious falsehood of it all can no longer be concealed or explained away.


VISA and the assault on self-defense

Apparently corporations are writing bans of "the sale of firearms or any similar product" into their terms of agreement.
The assault on the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment continues.

This time big business is getting into the mix and they’re aiming for gun stores right at the source of their revenues – their transaction processing facilities.

According to Larry Hyatt, owner of the largest gun brokerage firm in the United States,, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa USA and one of the world’s largest credit card processing gateways, has terminated their relationship with the firm.
As usual, the Left shows how it works around the legal restrictions it puts in place. It tends to focus on effective bans rather than actual ones. Thus, a hotel that makes the mistake of not renting a room to a homosexual couple would do better to simply write a ban concerning "the possession of sexual lubricants or any similar product" into its terms of its room rental agreement.

Effective bans and selective enforcement is the tactic which gun owners can expect to see used against them. And the only response that will work is refusing to utilize the products sold by such corporations and rendering such attempts to dictate social behavior unprofitable.


Book Review: Lights in the Deep I

CL provides the initial take on Brad Torgersen's anthology, Lights in the Deep:

The SF/F genre is one I’ve enjoyed for years and am a fan of Larry Niven.  Stories like ‘Ringworld’ and ‘Neutron Star’ captured my imagination.  So, after reading Torgersen’s self-described style being like Niven’s, and the hope of finding a great-read in a genre I enjoy, I took the plunge and volunteered to provide a review.

Lights in the Deep is a compilation of 10 short stories, all previously published.  It begins with 3 glowing reviews of Torgersen’s writing and story telling ability by veteran publishers/editors he has worked with.  After reading these introductory reviews, my hopes for an enjoyable experience were raised even further.

What could there be not to like?  Niven-type Sci-Fi.  Praise from veteran Sci-Fi publishers and editors.  Short stories, which make for quick reading and lots of variety.  Sounds like the perfect setup for either the discovery of a new treasure or deep disappointment.

It is with sadness that the verdict is ‘deep disappointment’. The disappointment stems from three issues and one ironic observation.  The issues: pointless stories, the inclusion of ‘the story behind the story’ after each tale, and rampant political correctness.  The ironic observation will be summarized later.

Having reviewed the disappointments, it must be noted there are positive aspects of the book.  Torgersen writes very well.  Story pace, literary elements and vocabulary are all really superb.  I kept thinking, “This guy writes well.  Maybe the next story will have a message, meaning, challenge, etc.”  But the next story failed to deliver and then it was on to the next.

Of the 10 tales, there are a couple stories that are somewhat engaging.  The issue of “pointless stories” infected every tale.  Whether the story is pure Sci-Fi or alternate history, there is not an underlying moral challenge, message, belief explosion or anything that made me sit back and ponder or question or exclaim.  Each telling concludes and its just over.  No surprises, no deus ex machina, no anger or relief, just an end to the words.

Unfortunately, the words didn’t really end.  After each tale, Torgersen then tells another tale about how the story came to be and who published it.  This was like rubbing salt in the wound.  As I was scratching my head asking why I spent 30-60 minutes reading the just concluded story, I then had to endure the history of how the story came to be.

The ‘story behind the story’ can be interesting, if the story itself leaves one: moved, pondering, angry, motivated, enlightened, etc.  But here, I left with the same feeling one gets after watching the vacation slide show of a family you don’t know, “That must have been nice for you, but I don’t really care.”

Next was the rampant Political Correctness.  These ranged from Black-American male and a Soviet-Jewish woman astronauts in the ‘60’s, to female commanders, a female President of the U.S., female battle marines, Asian business owners, etc., etc., etc.  I can take the occasional challenge to stereotypes, especially when it is backed with an underlying purpose, but when most characters are an anti-stereotype it seems to be attacking your basic perception of things as racist or bigoted, for no reason at all.

This feeling arose because there never was a reason why each person had to be identified in the anti-stereotypical way.  There was no background, benefit or reason why the heroine in the first story or the astronaut in the second had to be black.  Why a Jewish woman astronaut in the ‘60’s? How did knowing the businessman was Asian in a later story add anything?  Why a female base-commander?  Because these are short stories, the addition of the anti-stereotypical characteristics seemed forced in simply for the purpose of being P.C. not because they were relevant to conveying a point.

I was left with the impression that either Torgersen majored in women’s studies or feels anti-stereotypes are necessary in order to be published by today’s liberal publishing houses.  Either way, too much PC in any story, but especially in a short story, makes it seem silly.  In one very short story we have a female president, female base commander and female marine.  Rather than Sci-Fi, it felt like Fem-Fi instead.

This brings us to the final point, the ironic observation.  In the middle of the book, Torgersen writes an essay on why he believes Sci-Fi readership is dwindling, even as Fantasy readership remains strong.  He cites two reasons: our technological advances make Sci-Fi less ‘fantastic’ and the secularization of Sci-Fi has resulted in most Sci-Fi lacking an underlying morality or purpose for the story.

What makes this ironic is the lack of an underlying purpose or morality in the stories contained in this book!  There are several attempts to mention God, but they seemed thrown in, rather than meaningful additions to the plot.  So, Torgersen is correct.  One reason Sci-Fi is dying is because many formerly avid readers are longing for purpose and meaning to be conveyed in a story.

However, Torgersen missed another major reason for the failure of modern Sci-Fi.  Namely, Political Correctness, of which these stories are supporting evidence.  Too often today, Sci-Fi authors are constrained by PC to take the story to its logical PC conclusion.  Their worlds are turned upside down, where warriors are women, back-stabbing politicians are women, the random support character has to be gay or a kid with a middle-eastern mother and a Polish father.  The fact the author has to add these character descriptions are proof they are forced.

I submit the real reason Sci-Fi is dying on the vine, is because Sci-Fi has become the realm in which the liberal vision of how humanity ‘should be’ is presented to the public and the public rejects it.  Based on these stories Torgersen has fallen into the same PC failure trap.  If he can escape, and then add the purpose and meaning he notes is missing from Sci-Fi today, then he definitely has the literary prowess to become an excellent author.

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Rebelling against academic tyranny

A graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison rejects the university's right to subject him to mandatory re-education sessions. It's encouraging to note that more and more people are becoming inured to being labeled by the Left and are no longer bothering to engage in the popular conservative appeasement dance of "but I'm not, I'm really not!"

    Dear Graduate Director Prof. Kantrowitz,

    Please forgive this sudden e-mail. I am writing to you today about the “diversity” training that new teaching assistants (TAs) are required to undergo. In keeping with the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, I am also blind-copying on this e-mail several journalistic outlets and state government officials, because the taxpayers who support this university deserve to know how their money is being spent.

    As you are probably aware, all new TAs in the History Department are required to attend one orientation session, two TA training sessions, and two diversity sessions. Yesterday (Friday, September 20th), we new TAs attended the first of the diversity sessions. To be quite blunt, I was appalled. What we were given, under the rubric of “diversity,” was an avalanche of insinuations, outright accusations, and suffocating political indoctrination (or, as some of the worksheets revealingly put it, “re-education”) entirely unbecoming a university of our stature.

    Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and students at probably every other public institution of higher education in this country, have long since grown accustomed to incessant leftism. It is in the very air that we breathe. Bascom Hill, for example, is roped off and the university is shut down so that Barack Obama (D), Mark Pocan (D), and Tammy Baldwin (D) can deliver campaign speeches before election day. (The university kindly helped direct student traffic to these campaign events by sending out a mass e-mail encouraging the student body to go to the Barack Obama for President website and click “I’m In for Barack!” in order to attend.) Marxist diatribes denouncing Christianity, Christians, the United States, and conservatives (I am happy to provide as many examples of this as might be required) are assigned as serious scholarship in seminars. The Teaching Assistants Association (TAA)–which sent out mass e-mails, using History Department list-servs, during the attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker, accusing Gov. Walker of, among other things, being “Nero”–is allowed to address TA and graduate student sessions as a “non-partisan organization”. The History Department sponsors a leftist political rally, along with the Socialist Party of Wisconsin, and advertises for the rally via a departmental e-mail (sent, one presumes, using state computers by employees drawing salaries from a state institution). In short, this university finds it convenient to pretend that it is an apolitical entity, but one need not be particularly astute to perceive that the Madison campus is little more than a think tank for the hard left. Even those who wholeheartedly support this political agenda might in all candor admit that the contours of the leftism here are somewhat less than subtle.

    At the “diversity” training yesterday, though, even this fig leaf of apoliticism was discarded. In an utterly unprofessional way, the overriding presumption of the session was that the people whom the History Department has chosen to employ as teaching assistants are probably racists. In true “diversity” style, the language in which the presentation was couched was marbled with words like “inclusive”, “respect”, and “justice”. But the tone was unmistakably accusatory and radical. Our facilitator spoke openly of politicizing her classrooms in order to right (take revenge for?) past wrongs. We opened the session with chapter-and-verse quotes from diversity theorists who rehearsed the same tired “power and privilege” cant that so dominates seminar readings and official university hand-wringing over unmet race quotas. Indeed, one mild-mannered Korean woman yesterday felt compelled to insist that she wasn’t a racist. I never imagined that she was, but the atmosphere of the meeting had been so poisoned that even we traditional quarries of the diversity Furies were forced to share our collective guilt with those from continents far across the wine-dark sea.

    It is hardly surprising that any of us hectorees would feel thusly. For example, in one of the handouts that our facilitator asked us to read (“Detour-Spotting: for white anti-racists,” by joan olsson [sic]), we learned things like, “As white infants we were fed a pabulum of racist propaganda,” “…there was no escaping the daily racist propaganda,” and, perhaps most even-handed of all, “Racism continues in the name of all white people.” Perhaps the Korean woman did not read carefully enough to realize that only white people (all of them, in fact) are racist. Nevertheless, in a manner stunningly redolent of “self-criticism” during the Cultural Revolution in communist China, the implication of the entire session was that everyone was suspect, and everyone had some explaining to do.

    You have always been very kind to me, Prof. Kantrowitz, so it pains me to ask you this, but is this really what the History Department thinks of me? Is this what you think of me? I am not sure who selected the readings or crafted the itinerary for the diversity session, but, as they must have done so with the full sanction of the History Department, one can only conclude that the Department agrees with such wild accusations, and supports them. Am I to understand that this is how the white people who work in this Department are viewed? If so, I cannot help but wonder why in the world the Department hired any of us in the first place. Would not anyone be better?

    There is one further issue. At the end of yesterday’s diversity “re-education,” we were told that our next session would include a presentation on “Trans Students”. At that coming session, according to the handout we were given, we will learn how to let students ‘choose their own pronouns’, how to correct other students who mistakenly use the wrong pronouns, and how to ask people which pronouns they prefer (“I use the pronouns he/him/his. I want to make sure I address you correctly. What pronouns do you use?”). Also on the agenda for next week are “important trans struggles, as well as those of the intersexed and other gender-variant communities,” “stand[ing] up to the rules of gender,” and a very helpful glossary of related terms and acronyms, to wit: “Trans”: for those who “identify along the gender-variant spectrum,” and “Genderqueer”: “for those who consider their gender outside the binary gender system”. I hasten to reiterate that I am quoting from diversity handouts; I am not making any of this up.

    Please allow me to be quite frank. My job, which I love, is to teach students Japanese history. This week, for example, I have been busy explaining the intricacies of the Genpei War (1180-1185), during which time Japan underwent a transition from an earlier, imperial-rule system under regents and cloistered emperors to a medieval, feudal system run by warriors and estate managers. It is an honor and a great joy to teach students the history of Japan. I take my job very seriously, and I look forward to coming to work each day.

    It is most certainly not my job, though, to cheer along anyone, student or otherwise, in their psychological confusion. I am not in graduate school to learn how to encourage poor souls in their sexual experimentation, nor am I receiving generous stipends of taxpayer monies from the good people of the Great State of Wisconsin to play along with fantasies or accommodate public cross-dressing. To all and sundry alike I explicate, as best I can, such things as the clash between the Taira and the Minamoto, the rise of the Kamakura shogunate, and the decline of the imperial house in twelfth-century Japan. Everyone is welcome in my classroom, but, whether directly or indirectly, I will not implicate myself in my students’ fetishes, whatever those might be. What they do on their own time is their business; I will not be a party to it. I am exercising my right here to say, “Enough is enough.” One grows used to being thought a snarling racist–after all, others’ opinions are not my affair–but one draws the line at assisting students in their private proclivities. That is a bridge too far, and one that I, at least, will not cross.

    I regret that this leaves us in an awkward situation. After having been accused of virulent racism and, now, assured that I will next learn how to parse the taxonomy of “Genderqueers”, I am afraid that I will disappoint those who expect me to attend any further diversity sessions. When a Virginia-based research firm came to campus a couple of years ago to present findings from their study of campus diversity, then-Diversity Officer Damon Williams sent a gaggle of shouting, sign-waving undergraduates to the meeting, disrupting the proceedings so badly that the meeting was cancelled. In a final break with such so-called “diversity”, I will not be storming your office or shouting into a megaphone outside your window. Instead, I respectfully inform you hereby that I am disinclined to join in any more mandatory radicalism. I have, thank God, many more important things to do. I also request that diversity training be made optional for all TAs, effective immediately. In my humble opinion, neither the Department nor the university has any right to subject anyone to such intellectual tyranny.

    Thank you for your patience in reading this long e-mail.


    Jason Morgan


Friday, September 27, 2013

Maybe he just hates golfers

That's my preferred theory concerning this fox's behavior, anyhow:
Golfers at a course in Verbier in Switzerland have had an unusual interruption to their games. A fox has chased and gathered over 100 golf balls from the course, often while the balls are still in play.
Foxes are fun.  We have a few that show up in the late afternoon to gorge on fallen fruit and like to play with shoes that are left outside. It's always amusing to see an exasperated child who has forgotten to bring a pair of shoes inside and is grumbling about having to find where the foxes have left them this time.


The history of the three-finger salute

Bill Gates appears to have not infrequently gotten things right by accident:
Speaking at a fundraising campaign at Harvard University, however, Gates blamed IBM engineer David Bradley for the so-called "three-fingered salute", claiming that he had favoured a single button.

"We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button," he said.

Bradley originally designed Ctrl+Alt+Esc to trigger a reboot, but he found it was too easy to bump the left side of the keyboard and reboot the computer accidentally. He switched the key combination to Ctrl+Alt+Del – a combination that was impossible to press with just one hand on the original IBM PC keyboard.
One of the craziest things I ever saw was a programmer who designed a software program with a menu that you accessed by hitting Ctrl+Alt+F4+Del.  Intuitive and risk-free!


Predictive prophecy

Ann Morgan appears to believe that anything she repeats nine times is true.  But she is wrong:
The problem with that is this - nobody has EVER taken a 'prophecy' from the bible and used it to accurately predict a future event BEFORE it happened. What they have done is taken various events that have happened (in their past) and claimed (post facto) that they fulfilled a biblical 'prophecy'.
This is absolutely false.  I've seen one example in my own lifetime. There has long been an expectation in fundamentalist Christian circles that the various nations of Europe would unify due to the prophecy in Revelation. This was much pooh-poohed even as the Common Market took shape, since the various national politicians all publicly avowed that there was no intention of any political union.

Lo and behold, the European Union was formed.

There are other examples, of course. But Biblical prophecy has an observably better track record as a predictive model than either climate science or evolution by natural selection.


Greek military union challenges government

A statement released by the Special Forces Reserve Union demands the resignation of the government. From Zerohedge:
Greek government authorities are on alert after a union of Greek army reservists of Special Forces issued a statement urging the Greek administration to step down and make way for a national unity government. As Keep Talking Greece notes, the statement on the union' website included 15 demands - including the resignation of the Greek President - and urged people to gather at the infamous Syntagma Square on Saturday. The statement was interpreted by some as a call to a "coup d'etat" - denied by the union - but prompted Greece's Supreme Court to meet to discuss it.

The 15 Demands...

Reservists Special Forces and the Greek people to implementation of Article 120 of the Constitution requires:

1. IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OF GOVERNMENT of the impossibility of providing the people as provided in the Constitution at Work (Article 22), health, education, justice, security.
Two. ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT PLANS chaired by Supreme Court of personalities on proven outside politics and consultants from the Academy of Athens.
Three. SUSPENSION OF APPLICATION NOTICE MNIMONIAKON laws and within two months, with a ban on participation of all citizens who participated in the governments responsible for the current economic situation.
4. EXAMINING BOARD of the supreme court and accountability for the HOW and WHO led us to Catastrophic Agreement Memorandum. Establishment of Constitutional Court Effective power impose its will.
5. Immediate suspension of dismissal from the State.
6. SUSPENSION further TAX for Family Income up to 25.000 €.
7. SUSPENSION auctions and bank claims until the Completion Audit of Banks of Certified Public Accountants and accountability.
10. DIRECT confiscation German (Retail / Business / Office) FULL COMPENSATION until the Greek government for war reparations and occupation loan.
12. CONTROL assets of those involved in economic positions of government, prosecute illicit enrichment and Efficiency to the State.
13. OPERATIONAL CONTROL - LICENSING LEGALITY broadcasters and immediate return to the Greek government debts.
14. Protection from Hostile Elongation at AEGEAN, Macedonia, Epirus, Thrace and Cyprus, while suppressing the various groups that see inside.
15. REMOVE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS with a similar promotion in European countries and the server. EXPORT BAN MONEY Over 20% of the taxable income of such.
• The KK PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC INVITED WAIVED as an appropriate time to facilitate desired development of the Greek people.
It should be fascinating to see the High Officials of the EU babbling about the need to respect democracy after they initiated post-democratic coups in Greece and Italy. There is no reason why the various national militaries shouldn't follow their example... and they've got the guns.

There isn't much question that nationalist military governments would be vastly preferable to unelected Eurofascist rule. It is looking like the government's attempt to crack down on the increasingly popular Golden Dawn was a very, very bad idea that is likely to backfire.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

An astonishing coincidence

It's still so easy. Golf Pro, aka Tad, mocks the idea that Minnesotans have anything to worry about from the Somali jihadists in Minnesota:
I'm positive that comparing Minneapolis to Kenya is a bad idea. They aren't really the same place, same culture, same institutions, same history. Really, there is no similarity. The good folks in Minneapolis have nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile, back on Planet Reason, the Mall of America has jacked up its security measures. For, we can assume, no particular reason at all.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—The Mall of America has stepped up security after the deadly attack by the Somali militant group al-Shabab at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Officials at the Bloomington mall say some of the extra security precautions will be noticeable and some won't. Millions of people visit the mall and its 500 stores each year. Mall of America says the safety of its guests, tenants and employees is top priority. Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the United States. At least 22 young men have traveled to Somalia since 2007 to join al-Shabaab and the FBI says its investigation of the terror group's recruiting remains a priority.

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Mailvox: the falsifiability of moral parasitism

R meets with a preemptive objection to TIA:
A young friend of ours has, after my recommending he read "The Irrational Atheist", said this:

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Day insist atheists are moral parasites? He says that atheists inherit their morality from a foundation already established by Christianity. The problem with this stance is that it is unfalsifyable. It suggests that a society lacking Christian influence would be incapable of developing a similar morality. Well we live in a world which has had religious influence (mostly Abrahamic faiths) permeated throughout it, so where can we test the notion? We cannot. The argument cannot be tested. It therefore holds little weight.

I will read this book, i promise you that as a friend, and we may or may not have a discussion about it. My concern with approaching the work is that it will be littered with similar logic. But like I said I will read it. We'll see if my concerns are founded."
It's always so cute when young atheists attempt to construct logical arguments on the basis of foundations they don't understand with reason they utilize improperly. There are numerous problems with this attempt to preemptively rebut my arguments without even reading them; I continue to find it astonishing how many atheists observably believe that it is possible to provide substantive criticism in complete and self-admitted ignorance.

First, my argument concerning moral parasitism is that atheists tend to inherit or absorb their moralities from the dominant society in which they dwell rather than reasoning them out from first principles or developing them from science as many of them claim to have done.  That is why it is meaningful to identify someone as a Catholic atheist, a Jewish atheist, or a Muslim atheist; their moral standards tend to be Catholic morality less whatever the atheist doesn't like, Jewish morality less whatever the atheist doesn't like, etc.

It is true that in the West, which was once known as Christendom, most atheists are Christian moral parasites. But this is considerably less true in other parts of the world, despite Christianity's current global reach.

Second, the young atheist's objection underlines my point about the remarkable atheist ignorance of history.  Where can we test the notion? My suggestion would be to look at pre-Christian societies and compare the differences between the moralities advocated by the atheists in those societies and those to which modern Christian atheists subscribe.  Is he truly unaware that we are privy to a considerable amount of ideas from philosophers untouched by the Abrahamic faiths? Alternatively, we could look at the moralities espoused by atheists raised in current religious traditions such as Islam, Judaism, the Chinese pagan folk religion, Buddhism, and the myriad of less popular religions.

We know, from history, that societies lacking Christian influence do not develop Christian morality.  In fact, we can go much farther, as we know that societies lacking Christian influence did not develop modern science.  It would be going too far to definitely claim that Christianity is a prerequisite for the development of scientody, but it cannot be denied that none of the hundreds of non-Christian societiesever independently developed the scientific method.

It is theoretically possible to claim my observation is incorrect, but it is not even remotely credible to claim that it is unfalsifiable. The fact that it has not been tested does not mean that it cannot be tested. As it happens, the hypothesis can be tested on an experimental basis with proper control groups; one wonders if the young atheist is consistent and rejects both evolution by natural selection and string theory on the same basis he has ventured here.  Based on the level of logic-mastery he has demonstrated here, I would tend to doubt it.

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Racism in Israel

Thoughts on an attack by a Jewish mob:
I went to a demonstration led by MK Michael Ben-Ari two days ago (Tuesday), and was joined by my girlfriend, Galina. Ben-Ari, a Kahanist, was inciting the crowd against the African refugees in a distinctly anti-Semitic manner, peppering his talk with incessant references to excrement and urine. At some point, Galina couldn’t take it any longer, and shouted something back.

Within minutes we were surrounded by an angry mob of about 20 people, composed mostly of women, who hurled curses at her. Someone pulled out a tear gas canister and waved it at her face.

Racist and sexual slurs filled the air repeatedly. Time and time again, people expressed the wish she would be raped by Sudanese, and asked her if she was bedding them. A boy, between 10 and 11 years old, screamed at her point blank that what she needs is a “nigger’s cock.” David Sheen videotaped much of it....

We tried to get out of the market. The mob was screaming with glee that she was being arrested. More spitting and curses. A woman aimed a kick at Galina’s head from behind her, I blocked the kick with a snarl. She was smiling. On the way to the train station we were attacked, physically, by a hoodlum, and as I was trying to get in between him and Galina after he hit me in the back, I decided that if he attacks me again, I’d take the metal part of the camera and smash it into his jaw, and take my chances with the police later.
Perhaps someone should alert the Southern Poverty Law Council about this violently racist, anti-semitic hate mob.  I find it telling how differently many Jews feel when it is their own country that is a migratory destination for African refugees than when it is America or other countries in the West that are serving as the migratory destination.

Whatever happened to diversity being Israel's strength, the importance of multiculturalism, and the manifold ways in which African and Arab immigrants will strengthen and enrich Israel? Whatever happened to the melting pot - a Jewish concept, not an American one, as it happens - to say nothing of the moral imperative of embracing the poor and downtrodden immigrants?

Do not the Sudanese refugees have precisely the same right to live in Israel that Jews do to live in America, Germany, France, England, and every other country into which they have migrated in the past?

Now, being a sovereign nation, Israel has the right to bar non-Jews from residing in their country. However, this necessarily requires that non-Jewish countries have the right to bar Jews from residing in their countries.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gun control: the dichotomy

Obama wants to take Americans' guns because Sandy Hook while distributing advanced weaponry to the Islamic jihad:
According to State Department and military sources, dozens of highly armored vehicles called GMV's, provided by the United States, are now missing. The vehicles feature GPS navigation as well as various sets of weapon mounts and can be outfitted with smoke-grenade launchers. U.S. Special Forces undergo significant training to operate these vehicles. Fox News is told the vehicles provided to the Libyans are now gone.

Along with the GMV's, hundreds of weapons are now missing, including roughly 100 Glock pistols and more than 100 M4 rifles. More disturbing, according to the sources, is that it seems almost every set of night-vision goggles has also been taken. This is advanced technology that gives very few war fighters an advantage on the battlefield.
Missing. Right. You know, Obama would probably be a lot more popular if he'd stick to giving out free Glocks and NV goggles to Americans.


Discernment and sexual perspectives

This is really an Alpha Game subject and I generally prefer to keep such things separate, but the concept has sufficiently broad implications that I thought it might be worth mentioning over here:
Think about the amount of discernment that is required for work in a caring or nurturing capacity. Discernment is actually a negative; the good doctor is not influenced by the personal merits of the person he is treating. The good mother does not shower love and attention upon the duly obedient child and withhold it from the unruly and disobedient one. The feminine perspective, insofar as it is formed by maternal responsibilities and nurturing instincts, is therefore intrinsically anti-discernment.
 Read the rest at Alpha Game.


Mailvox: the dead horse quivers

SV digs up, from the past, a certain blast:
I read your Sept 6, 2004 review of Michele Malkin's book supporting internment and I was wondering if you remember or noted where you found the information for this paragraph:

"In January 1942, prior to both Executive Order 9066 and the battle of Midway, the Imperial Japanese Navy possessed 717 carrier-borne planes and 176 ships, of which 15 were troop transports. The IJN’s troop-bearing capacity was about 42,000 men. Reinforcement and resupply required a roundtrip transit of 11,000 miles to a coastline only 1,359 miles long."

Less important are the facts here, but just in case you have it:

"The Overlord invasion required 4,600 ships to travel 100 miles under the air cover of 12,000 planes to land 156,000 troops on a French coastline 3,437 miles long. Over the next three weeks, the Allies brought in another 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies."
If I recall correctly, I worked out the IJN numbers from Tony Tully's excellent The Imperial Japanese Navy Page.  I don't remember where I looked up the statistics related to the invasion of Normandy, but they're readily available.

It is a little amusing to look back and recall that some people actually took Me So Michelle's book seriously at the time. It's largely forgotten now, but it didn't escaped my attention how she quickly stopped talking about it in public after I exposed her complete lack of research in support of her attempt to manufacture a retroactive military justification for the historical internment of Japanese-Americans.

One thing I didn't mention in that article was that the former Marine Commandant's first reaction, when asked about the viability of a Japanese invasion of the U.S. West Coast, was an instinctive snort of disdain. I mean, the hypothetical invasion is the sort of thing you have to be a complete military ignoramus to even contemplate for a millesecond. Forget Anzio. An IJN invasion of California would have made the Bay of Pigs invasion look sane and conservative by comparison.

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The fundamental human right of self-defense

It is long past time for gun owners and human rights activists go on the offensive and proactively demand global recognition of the basic human right to own and carry firearms everywhere for self-defense:
After World War II, the "international community" determined that the most important goal of the new international system created for the post-war era would be the prevention of genocide. "Never again," we were told, and nations signed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in large numbers.

Among the nations who signed were Cambodia (1950), the Congo (1962) and Rwanda (1975), though Rwanda was originally covered by Belgium’s agreement in 1952, when Rwanda was a Trust Territory administered by Belgium. These three nations, of course, went on to become the greatest sites of genocide in the second half of the 20th century. (China's mass murders and starvation under Mao are more properly called "democide," as they did not single out a particular group or culture.)

In every case, the "international community" stood aside while the genocide took place unimpeded by the parchment barriers of international agreement....

It seems to me that the human rights community has things exactly backward. Given that the efforts of the international community to prevent and punish genocide over the past several decades have been, to put it politely, a dismal failure, perhaps it is time to try a new approach. International human rights law is supposed to be a "living" body of law that changes with the needs of the times in order to secure important goals -- chief among which is the prevention of genocide. Given that the traditional approaches of conventions and tribunals have failed miserably, the human rights community should be prepared to endorse a new international human right: the right of law-abiding citizens to be armed.
I didn't realize who wrote this until I reached the bottom. It may be the single most important thing Instapundit has ever written. This is the difference between the conservative and the libertarian. The conservative is always on the defensive. The libertarian, on the other hand, is capable of proactively demanding the expansion of human liberty.

In this day of massive and intrusive government prone to false flags, global spying, and gargantuan financial fraud, it is a human rights campaign on par with the historical campaign against the slave trade. The right to bear arms isn't only for Americans. Bearing arms is a basic human right.


A surrender of scientistry

Popular Science can't take the dialectical heat and flees from open scientific discourse due to the inability of its writers to present arguments capable of standing up to public criticism:
Comments can be bad for science. That's why, here at, we're shutting them off. It wasn't a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter....

If you carry out those results to their logical end--commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded--you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the "off" switch. Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader's perception of a story.

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
I found it amusing that below this article trying to justify its attempt to claim the right to be "championing science" without protest or criticism from its readers, the very first article listed is: "Republicans Block Proposal For National Science Laureate, Fearing Science".  Whatever they are championing these days, it is not science.

It is wonderful news that some of the foremost defenders of scientistry are in full-blown retreat from the skeptics and scientodists. Their inability to defend their "bedrock scientific doctrine" and "popular consensus" is the direct result of their abandonment of scientody for ideological dogma and invented doctrine cloaked in an increasingly thin veil of faux science.

Comments aren't bad for science. Comments are bad for those who are stubbornly clinging to outdated scientific paradigms that are showing obvious cracks.

Science badly needs a cleansing baptism of intellectual fire to burn away all the professional and academic scientistic barnacles that have affixed themselves to the ship of science and are now threatening to sink its credibility entirely. Genuine scientists, as opposed to the posers championed by the likes of Popular Science, may not be able to defend themselves rhetorically, but they have no need to do so.  Science is neither democracy nor holy doctrine, and it is the right of every thinking individual to accept or reject the declarations of scientists as he sees fit.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A foretaste of Hell

Tom Simon draws attention to an important Dorothy Sayers quote:
If we refuse assent to reality: if we rebel against the nature of things and choose to think that what we at the moment want is the centre of the universe to which everything else ought to accommodate itself, the first effect on us will be that the whole universe will seem to be filled with an inexplicable hostility. We shall begin to feel that everything has a down on us, and that, being so badly treated, we have a just grievance against things in general. That is the knowledge of good and evil and the fall into illusion. If we cherish and fondle that grievance, and would rather wallow in it and vent our irritation in spite and malice than humbly admit we are in the wrong and try to amend our behaviour so as to get back to reality, that is, while it lasts, the deliberate choice, and a foretaste of the experience of Hell.
—Dorothy L. Sayers, Introductory Papers on Dante
I leave it to the reader to decide to what sort of all-too-familiar figure Sayers is describing here.

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Mailvox: a secular religion

MP emails an account of a woman quitting Teach for America and notices its similarities to a religion... or a cult:
This is a fascinating account of the religion that is Teach for America and the women that inhabit it.  This passage was particularly interesting because it shows the religious nature of the TFA girls:

"I am shifting my weight uncomfortably in a plastic classroom chair on an Atlanta summer afternoon. Our adviser interrupts lunch by asking us to pause to spend a few minutes reflecting on what brought us to TFA in the first place. After the requisite reflection time, and after turning off the room’s lights, Alicia begins to share a story about growing up with a single mother, culminating in an emotional appeal to do whatever we can to help "our kids" in the future. Although I have always found Alicia to be rather stoic, she suddenly begins sobbing when relaying this story. After regaining composure, she makes it clear that we are meant to follow suit. One by one, until the 12th person has spoken, we deliver either tearful accounts of personal hardship or awkward, halting stories recounted by people uncomfortable with the level of intimacy. While talking to other TFA teachers from different schools over dinner, I learn that other groups had nearly identical sessions."

This is the classic "testifying" step in poor fundamentalist Christian church services  in which the various converted sinners are invited to testify about their sinful past and how low they were before they "came to Jesus".  They recount all the bad things in their past and how it all changed when they "came to Jesus".  Each person who is testifying get kudos and respect for how deeply they had fallen and therefore how much farther Jesus raised them from sin and degradation before they were redeemed. Lots of weeping and wailing, and "Praise Jesus!", particularly by the women in the congregations.
It reminded me of accounts I've read of both Womyn's Studies classes and Maoist reedcuation sessions. You really have to read the whole thing. It is like music to the ears of those of us who anticipate the collapse of the public school system; one would feel bad for the young women being so perfectly set up to fail if they weren't such a poisonously destructive collection of mindlessly self-perpetuating leftbots.

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The Feynman Lectures online

For those who are interested in scientody rather than scientistry, the famous Feynman Lectures on physics are now online. "The Feynman Lectures on Physics was based on a two-year introductory physics course that Richard Feynman taught at Caltech from 1961 to 1963; it was published in three volumes during the years 1963 to 1965, and used as the introductory physics textbook at Caltech for nearly two decades." In reading them, it's not hard to understand why he is quite rightly revered as a minor secular saint of Science:
Each piece, or part, of the whole of nature is always merely an approximation to the complete truth, or the complete truth so far as we know it. In fact, everything we know is only some kind of approximation, because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet. Therefore, things must be learned only to be unlearned again or, more likely, to be corrected.
The principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following: The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific “truth.” But what is the source of knowledge? Where do the laws that are to be tested come from? Experiment, itself, helps to produce these laws, in the sense that it gives us hints. But also needed is imagination to create from these hints the great generalizations—to guess at the wonderful, simple, but very strange patterns beneath them all, and then to experiment to check again whether we have made the right guess. This imagining process is so difficult that there is a division of labor in physics: there are theoretical physicists who imagine, deduce, and guess at new laws, but do not experiment; and then there are experimental physicists who experiment, imagine, deduce, and guess.
We said that the laws of nature are approximate: that we first find the “wrong” ones, and then we find the “right” ones. Now, how can an experiment be “wrong”? First, in a trivial way: if something is wrong with the apparatus that you did not notice. But these things are easily fixed, and checked back and forth. So without snatching at such minor things, how can the results of an experiment be wrong.
Only by being inaccurate. For example, the mass of an object never seems to change: a spinning top has the same weight as a still one. So a “law” was invented: mass is constant, independent of speed. That “law” is now found to be incorrect. Mass is found to increase with velocity, but appreciable increases require velocities near that of light. A true law is: if an object moves with a speed of less than one hundred miles a second the mass is constant to within one part in a million. In some such approximate form this is a correct law. So in practice one might think that the new law makes no significant difference. Well, yes and no. For ordinary speeds we can certainly forget it and use the simple constant-mass law as a good approximation. But for high speeds we are wrong, and the higher the speed, the more wrong we are.
Finally, and most interesting, philosophically we are completely wrong with the approximate law. Our entire picture of the world has to be altered even though the mass changes only by a little bit. This is a very peculiar thing about the philosophy, or the ideas, behind the laws. Even a very small effect sometimes requires profound changes in our ideas.
It's always fascinating to see how far a cult departs from the ideas of its inspirations. I think Richard Feynman would be even more disappointed to see how far today's science fetishists have drifted from scientody in favor of scientistry that Jesus Christ would be to see the grotesqueries and abominations that are so often justified in his name. Jesus knew Man was hellbound of his own volition; Feynman was usually a bit more of an optimist.


Monday, September 23, 2013

The sham of democracy

The gloves are coming off and faux democratic secularists around the world should expect no quarter or mercy from the next duly elected Muslim government to take power somewhere in the Arab world:

An Egyptian court on Monday banned the Muslim Brotherhood from carrying out any activities in the country and ordered the seizure of the group's funds, widening a campaign to debilitate the Islamist movement of deposed President Mohamed Mursi.

"The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it," said the presiding judge Mohammed al-Sayed.

The court ordered the government to seize the Brotherhood's funds and administer its frozen assets. The army-backed government is waging the toughest crackdown in decades on the Islamist group, which says it has a million members. Security forces killed hundreds of its supporters and rounded up thousands more since Mursi was deposed by the army on July 3 after mass protests against his rule.

The Brotherhood won parliamentary and presidential elections after veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011.
So, what Turkey and Egypt have taught the Muslim fundamentalists is that if they play by the rules, win popular support, and get duly elected, the secular elite will utilize the military to overturn the elections, ban them, and deprive them of their accumulated assets.

But at the same time, that same secular elite is going to encourage them to settle all throughout the West. So now we have a large group of people who have learned that there is absolutely no point in being restrained by the laws and have no legal alternative to violence, and are being actively aided in spreading as far and wide as possible.

This should end well.

And it is an object lesson to everyone who asserts that the democratic system is the correct and proper way to manifest societal change. It isn't.  Beyond a certain point, the will of the people is observably not permitted.  Now, I have no sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood, but I have to question the idea that it is wise to make it so abundantly clear to everyone, particularly those who are quite willing to turn to violence, that there is absolutely no benefit to participating in a democratic system.

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A Safer Space

Once more, the progressive paragons of the science fiction community show the way towards a better, safer, more civilized society:
I am once again the WisCon concom liaison and organizer for the POC Safer Space. This year I am joined in organizing and fabulousness by Jayme Goh. Huzzah!

We will once again be in the Solitaire Room since it affords us an out of the way space with no Gawkers. Last year we had the hotel push the conference room up against the wall which made the space a lot more inviting. I will also ask if more comfy chairs can find a way in there. If any locals are willing to donate comfy chairs, please let me know.

Last year we pre-scheduled some break out sessions and alternate panels in the room, but what seemed to work better was spontaneous stuff.I encourage any POC attending WisCon to come to that space if they need to discuss something that went down on a panel, continue a discussion that started at a panel, or if they just need a space to vent and calm down. I actually had some of the most enlightening conversations in that room during after-panel venting and I’m sure that will happen again,

However, if anyone wants to pre-schedule something please feel free. I just suspect mostly it will be spontaneous stuff.

The one thing I would like to schedule is a post Opening Ceremonies trip to the space so that people know where it is and how it will be set up and how they can use the space. This will come on the heels of the POC dinner earlier that evening. And then, of course, it’s party time.
Huzzah indeed!  It is readily apparent that the federal government should follow the inspired lead of the brilliant K. Tempest Bradford and the fabulous Jayme Goh and provide a Safer Space for Vibrant America.  In fact, several Safer Spaces are probably in order.

We could call them "Detroit" and "Chicago" and "Atlanta" and "Washington DC" and "Liberia" and limit all access to those spaces by the insufficiently vibrant. Naturally, no one would want the newly ensafened vibrant population of those Safer Spaces to be subject to any risks that might endanger either their precious feelings or their even more valuable persons, so it will of course be necessary to strictly control egress as well as ingress.

Nothing is more important than the safety of America's vibrant population, therefore it is vital to provide these Safer Spaces at the earliest opportunity to protect them from the quotidian trauma of being exposed on a daily basis to the evil, racist, white population of the United States.


It's just too easy

Golf Pro, aka Tad, mocks the idea that Minnesotans have anything to worry about from the Somali jihadists in Minnesota:
I'm positive that comparing Minneapolis to Kenya is a bad idea. They aren't really the same place, same culture, same institutions, same history. Really, there is no similarity. The good folks in Minneapolis have nothing to worry about.

It's 'kinda like the members at Augusta National Golf Course worrying that they may have to play in the same conditions as west Texas. Not the same place.

But carry that gun!
Meanwhile, the jihadist organization that has both claimed responsibility for the attack and been identified as the responsible party by the government of Kenya reports there are several "Minnesotans" among the jihadists who slaughtered more than 60 mallgoers in Kenya.

Al-Shabaab is claiming that there are American gunmen among those still holed up in the Westgate mall in a standoff with Kenyan and Israeli special forces. The Somali al-Qaeda affiliate tweeted a series of names on its latest account before Twitter against suspended the group. Al-Shabaab has been creating new accounts each time they get shut down but a movement of pro-Kenyan tweeters has been tracking down the new accounts and complaining to Twitter.

“We received permission to disclose the names of our mujahideen inside #Westgate,” their latest account tweeted.  They proceeded to tweet the names one by one, including Ahmed Mohamed Isse, 22, “native” of St. Paul, Minn., Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid, 24, of Minneapolis, and Gen Mustafe Noorudiin, 27, of Kansas City, Mo.

Al-Shabaab recently released a PR video targeted at Somali-Americans in Minnesota, trying to lure them to jihad as more than two dozen have already done so through the state’s “terror pipeline.” Three Americans — Abdisalan Hussein Ali, Farah Mohamed Beledi and Shirwa Ahmed — from Minnesota have been suicide bombers for Al-Shabaab in a series of attacks in Mogadishu over the past few years.

Notice that this sort of less-intelligent critic bases their arguments on absolutely nothing. Not on the observable facts, not on the easily confirmed reality, just snark and empty posturing.  Which, of course, is why it is so easy to expose them as inept and their positions as incorrect.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Beyond Beezle

We've seen some differently sane anklebiters with a reasonably broad IQ spectrum throughout the years. Hunt, Pawn Takes Queen, Modernguy, Bearded Spock, G. Tingey, Tad the Syphilis-Addled Homosexual, The Greatest Pensman in All Carantanilla, Phoenician, and now Poxy.  But I doubt anyone is ever going to be able to claim the lunatic crown of John Galt, who after posting his long series of boasts, curses, and nonsensical challenges here was discovered to have also produced this masterpiece on Facebook.
I have something I probably should tell everybody. Most of my friends from before I started school already know this and I've been putting off discussing it for a long time to see if I could be comfortable without it, so I haven't really made a point of telling anyone. So...I'm supposed to be a girl and I'm probably going to start dressing like a girl and taking hormones at some point in the future. I was already planning on doing this when I was younger (I actually used to go to work dressed as a girl), but I needed to see if I could be comfortable as a guy. But going back to school and being around people again has made it abundantly clear that I am most certainly not comfortable trying to be a guy. So hopefully that explains my personality a little better.
Actually, it tends to explain a lot. I'm not sure why this blog tends to attract crazy, emotionally incontinent, left-wing trolls; my operating theory is that they are the only leftists without sufficient sense or self-awareness to realize that they don't have much chance of walking out of here with any shreds of intellectual dignity to cloak their exposed arguments.

As for this Gallus, perhaps he'll feel begin to feel more comfortable with himself after spending the next Day of Blood in auto-flagellation.

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VPFL Week 2

68 Greenfield Grizzlies (2-0)
55 Bane Sidhe (0-2)

63 Fromundah Cheezheads (2-0)
43 Boot Hill Hangman (1-1)

88 Mounds View Meerkats (1-1)
72 RR Redbeards (1-1)

76 Suburban Churchians (1-1)
72 Bailout Banksters (0-2)

72 Bradford Gamma Rays (1-1)
51 '63 Mercury Marauders (1-1)

Balance was restored to the universe, as the Piranha of the Serengeti had little trouble tearing apart the Redbeards despite my leaving the Seattle defense's 22 points on the bench.  But it's nice to see that my backup defense, Kansas City, is capable of stepping in for the bye week as well as on the occasion where there is a favorable matchup.

I'm a little concerned about the Banksters, my opponent this week, and the 14 points they got out of the Kansas City kicker. But I like Aaron Rodgers against the Cincy defense and the Seattle DEF against what passes for the Jacksonville offense.  So, we'll see.

On the NFL side, I'm thinking that this would be Christian Ponder's last game as the Vikings starter for the season if it weren't for the fact that they are playing the Browns sans Trent Richardson. And with the Steelers and Panthers coming up next, he could easily make it to Week 11 before Leslie Frazier finally gives up on him. Despite the easy schedule, I doubt he'll be starting against Green Bay in Week 12 unless the Vikes decide to tank the season.

Matt Cassel was admittedly mediocre the last two years in Kansas City, but look at the coaches and offensive coordinator he had.  He still has 82 TD and 57 INT with a 6.1 yards per attempt for his career. Ponder has 33 TD and 29 INT with 5.5 yards per attempt. Who is going to give Adrian Peterson more room to operate? I'm not saying Cassel is an All-Pro or anything, but he does appear to be a low-level starter as opposed to a career backup QB like Ponder.


So Facebook is child rape

Just when you thought "near-rape" and "regret rape" were as silly as it was going to get; now a woman desperate to escape the consequences of her actions is attempting to elevate "posting legal pictures online" to the status of rape:
When Holly Jacobs sent nude photographs of herself to a long-distance boyfriend she loved and trusted, the 23-year-old woman never imagined the horror that would befall her. In August 2009, less than a year after the pair mutually ended their three-year relationship, Jacobs did a Google search of her name and discovered the naked photos on a so-called "revenge porn" website.

"I just went completely into shock," said Jacobs, who hired a lawyer and eventually changed her birth name from "Holli Thometz" to Holly Jacobs.

"This is cyber-rape," Jacobs, now 30, told "It's all about the guy having control over the woman and exploiting her in a sexual way -- the same way real-life rape does that. It violates you over and over again."

What came next was perhaps more shocking to Jacobs. Police in Miami, where she lived at the time, took no action. They told her that "because you are over 18 and you consented, technically they are his property and he can do whatever he wants with them," she recalled.
It is sadly unsurprising that a woman would find centuries-old laws concerning private property to be shocking. Apparently we are in the process of entering the time of juris sensus, in which the way a woman feels about something, anything, is the primary legally determinative factor.

It is manifestly obvious that having naked pictures online does a woman no material harm at all. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of women, actually profit from it. Hundreds of thousands more knowingly and intentionally post pictures of themselves for nothing more than the ego gratification. This whole campaign tends to strike me more as humblebrag than horror.

Moreover, it would be absolutely insane to try to make a law against this sort of thing. As usual, the woman desperate to erase the evidence of her past behavior and her white knights of both sexes aren't even beginning to consider the consequences.  Think about it: we already have a problem with parents occasionally falling afoul of child pornography laws due to posting cute or funny pictures of bathtime on Facebook.

Now recall that children can't consent. So, if posting pictures taken with consent is rape, how much worse is it to post pictures taken without consent? Of underage children! In one fell swoop, one woman with poor judgment in men is attempting to turn hundreds of thousands of American mothers into child rapists.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Always fight back

Badger considers two means of addressing bullies:
I was in elementary school when the educational ministers began preaching that fighting back against bullies was not to be tolerated. It was insisted that responsive violence only begat more violence and that the way to stop bullying was to “not respond” and to “demand the bully respect you,” or some horseshit like this. This went along with a bunch of programming about creating an “inclusive environment” and a bunch of other malarkey that imagined if we could all listen to “Free To Be You And Me” together nobody would get picked on when we went out for recess.

To this day, I want to know what they were smoking. These folks spent their entire adult careers allegedly studying the social behavior of young children and yet never realized that “Lord of the Flies” was a lot more than a fictional fantasy novella. They went about fighting bullying in exactly the wrong way – by criminalizing the physical aspects rather than disincentivizing the psychological aspects of bullying, they ensured the “negotiating” between bully and victim took place in the psychosocial realm where the bully had already secured an advantage, and imposed a moral equivalence that shamed victim for daring to fight back. The establishment seems to want to think of bullies as the fat stupid kid who has no other way than his fists to express himself (a la Moe from Calvin & Hobbes), however the bullies I dealt with had great social savvy and were able to bamboozle the teachers into believing they were the victim instead of me. Thus, any one-on-one verbal discussions that were supposed to “resolve conflict” were simply an extension of the bullying process – just as, for example, a negotiation with a corrupt businessman is itself structurally corrupted....

The frame I’ve come to believe in with regard to bullying is that, yes, a bully is trying to exploit a power differential, and that the faster you demonstrate strength to close the differential, the more quickly the bully will leave you alone and find someone else to victimize (if the demonstration of strength wasn’t enough to humiliate them entirely). Generally speaking, that means you’re going to have to get physical at the middle or high school level. Once you’ve shown you’re not going to be fucked with, the spell of dominance is broken and the bully no longer sees you as someone to victimize.
As the smallest and smartest kid in my grade most years, I had to put up with a fair amount of bullying from first through eighth grade. My first pair of glasses were broken on the playground by getting punched off my face; I got in a shot or two but was whipped pretty conclusively by a kid nearly twice my size. I was a good athlete, so as I reached junior high age, I was protected to a certain extent by my teammates, but I still had to deal with the occasional hallway attack as well as the incessant shoving and verbal threats. The other thing that helped was my ready willingness to stand up for myself; in both seventh and eighth grade I accepted challenges from bigger guys more than capable of beating me up and "went outside"; on both occasions, the other boy decided it wasn't worth the risk of losing once we were out there with the usual circle of boys and girls around us.

But the low-grade stuff didn't stop until I broke one boy's ribs after he shoved me into a locker, and smashed another boy's face into the floor when he tried to tackle me.  After that, only one kid, a persistent troublemaker, was ever a problem, and he gave up after he saw me go through the open window of a moving bus to break the nose of a kid from another school who tried to spit at me. After that, he wouldn't even try to pick on other kids in front of me since I made it clear that I was more than ready to pay him back for cracking one of my ribs after soccer practice one year.

Ender has had to deal with some attempted tormentors over the years, but no one even tries to mess with him anymore, not since he put down the star of the soccer club and the kid's best friend at the same time when they tried to play dominance games with him. Of course, he's been doing judo for years and he plays outside defender with a controlled fury that his coach and all the other dads appreciate, so even the biggest kids are openly respectful despite him being the weird smart kid.

Badger is right. Negotiation and seeking to understand bullies is irrelevant or even counterproductive. There is only one answer: hit back and hit back harder.  I'm not saying you shouldn't turn the other cheek, I'm saying you can't choose to turn the other cheek if violence is not even an option. I forgo retaliation on the soccer field on a regular basis. But it's my choice to do so, it's not a necessary consequence of either cowardice or an inability to respond.


It's only a matter of time

I expect it won't be long until something this happens in an American shopping mall.  And considering the active link between the jihadists in Somalia and the Somali immigrants in Minneapolis, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it happens at the Mall of America.
At least 22 people are reported to be dead and more than 50 injured as a gun fight continues between police and armed men at a shopping centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. One witness claimed gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that only non-Muslims would be targeted when they opened fire at the upmarket mall of the Westlands district around midday today.

At least two dozen people, wounded and dead, were wheeled out on stretchers and in shopping trolleys by security guards, while others were seen walking out of the building, clutching bloodied clothing around their injuries. Locals and tourists who were out shopping on the sunny Saturday in Kenya ran screaming from the building and cars were left abandoned as attackers threw grenades and fired AK47s.
It's just one more reason to carry, in the unlikely event that you are a reader here who doesn't carry already.

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Falling prices, failing publishers

As I demonstrated previously, falling ebook prices means additional pressure on mainstream publisher profits:
The average price of a best-selling ebook hit a new low last week but ticked up this week for the first time in a month. This week, the average price of a best-selling ebook is $5.81, up $0.40 from last week’s all-time low of $5.41. For the past four weeks, the average price of a best-selling ebook has been below $6.50.

A confluence of factors have been driving ebook prices down: Discounting by retailers; success of lower-priced self-published titles; and experimentation by publishers.
This is really remarkable.  Back in July, I noted the probable result of Apple being found guilty of collusion concerning ebook prices: "The good news is that ebook prices should continue to fall to more economically sensible levels.  And the power of the gatekeepers is going to continue to dwindle as their revenues and profit margins continue to fall in response to the greater competition they are facing from independent publishers and self-publishers."

But I never imagined that prices would fall so far, so fast. Not only have prices fallen below the $9.99 point that the colluding publishers were attempting to raise to $14.99, but only one of the top 50-sellers has a price in the $8.00 to $9.99 range.  And since October 1, 2012, the average price of an ebook bestseller has been cut nearly in half, falling from $11.37 to $5.81.

You may recall that the clueless president of the SFWA was very excited about the idea that publishers should pay the same $4.20 in ebook royalties to the author that they were paying on hardcover royalties.  How, one wonders, are they going to do that when at an average price of $5.61, (taking the average of the two most recent prices), they are dealing with a gross revenue per ebook of $3.93 after Amazon takes its 30 percent cut.

Assuming the conventional 25 percent ebook royalty, this means the author is going to make $1.40 per ebook and the publisher is going to make $2.53.  So, just to tread water, a mainstream publisher has to sell 2.24 ebooks to make the same $5.67 profit per book it was making previously. This is why the publishers fought so hard, and were even willing to break federal antitrust law, to get the price up to 12.99; at that price, they were making $6.82 per ebook, which was an actual improvement on hardcovers.(1)

Very few businesses can survive their profit-per-unit being cut in half. Don't be surprised to see layoffs at the major publishers, contracts being cancelled, and imprints being closed. If you're an independent, this is great news as the gatekeepers are dying and you'll be able to compete on increasingly even ground.  But if you're still hoping to break into conventional publishing, forget it. It's all rapidly going the way of Random Houses's Hydra, which is nothing more than an imitation of all the independent publishers, with zero advances and 50-50 royalty splits.

The guy responsible for it is my old editor at Pocket, who gave me my break into the business and was one of the first to recognize the potential in video-game tie-in novels. He's a smart guy who is always ahead of the curve, and the fact that Random House is moving to this model means that all the other major publishers will soon be following suit. And I very much doubt he's doing it because he wants to do so, but because it is the only way they can expect to stay in business.

(1) There is a trivial omission in this calculation which I left in for the sake of simplicity and means that the situation isn't quite as bad as these numbers make it appear. But the consequences of it are fairly minor and don't change my point in the slightest. Bragging rights to the first person to correctly identify it.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

The left-wing internet checklist

Larry Correia wants to be sure none of our favorite anklebiters are missing any steps:
  1. Skim until Offended
  2. Disqualify that Opinion
  3. Attack, Attack, Attack
  4. Disregard Inconvenient facts
  5. Make Shit Up
  6. Resort to Moral Equivalency
  7. Concern Trolling
  8. When all else fails, Racism!
So let’s break this down so you know what to look for, and you can have a good laugh as people who have zero substance, critical thinking skills, or facts make fools of themselves!


This one is lots of fun. Liberals never want to argue ABOUT a topic. They want to argue about why your opinion on that topic doesn’t count. It doesn’t matter who or what you are, there is some reason that your opinion doesn’t count, and it doesn’t have to make sense.

Say that you are a man who thinks abortion is murder, well your opinion obviously doesn’t count because you’re a man! What if my wife said that? Well, her opinion doesn’t count because she’s biased because she has children. What if a childless woman said that? Well, her opinion doesn’t count because she’s probably religious. What if she’s an atheist libertarian who happens to believe that a fetus should be considered a human being and thus receive the same rights and legal protections as any other human being? Hurr… Derp… Don’t legislate my vagina! War on women! Quick, switch to another item on the checklist!

There are several subcategories to this one, as it is the most common tactic on the checklist.

Race, sex, culture, economic status. Say you want to comment on any social issue. Well your opinion doesn’t count because you’re not part of that race or culture or economic group. Usually the liberal you are arguing with isn’t part of that group either, but it doesn’t matter, because white guilt liberals are automatically exempt, and their soft racism allows them to feel good about themselves as they declare that other groups are too stupid to survive without their benevolent guidance.

How dare you say that gangster rap thug culture of single mothers on welfare isn’t the way to go! Your opinion doesn’t count because you didn’t grow up there. And if you did grow up there, well you’re not “authentic” or one of my personal favorites I’ve seen thrown around Twitter against black conservatives “house negro” which totally isn’t racist if it is said by a smug liberal.

The problem with that is that most poo flinging monkeys are white suburbanites, and when they try to disqualify you, and you stop them and say “but I’m not white” which is a problem for them. Obviously this is going to happen more and more as race is an artificial construct that really only matters so liberals can make you check a box on an EEOC form so they can continue to foist social programs on us. Since the poo flingers freak out when their opponent isn’t white, liberals invented the ultimate disqualifier of “privilege”.

Privilege is amazing. It is the new race card, because pick any topic and regardless of what it is or who you are, a liberal can say your opinion doesn’t’ count because you have privilege. What does that actually mean? Hell if I know. It is such a nebulous term that surely everybody has some form. It means whatever the liberal wants it to mean. It is the new Neo-Con.

So you are against some dipshit welfare program because you’ve seen first-hand how that culture of government dependence destroys the human spirit, well obviously you are privileged so your opinion doesn’t count. So wait, even if I was born into a family with dark skin and super crazy poor, and worked my way out of it rather than becoming a crack whore, I’m now too privileged to have an opinion?

YES.  It doesn’t matter if you were born in a 3rd world hell hole and were a boat person refugee, if you disagree with liberal group think it can only be because you have privilege.
In my experience, disqualification is the primary left-wing argumentative tactic; that's why my Mensa qualifications drive the left so crazy.  It's also why the mere fact of mentioning my racial heritage sends them into spirals of mindless denial. Without being able to disqualify me as stupid, white, or irrelevant, (they seldom even bother with this one anymore thanks to you all outnumbering most of their readerships), most of them quite literally have no recourse except to go immediately to accusing me of being crazy.

Or, as in the case of our new blog shadow, "delusional".

On what basis?  Apparently on the basis of they can't think of any other auto-disqualifying attributes. I've actually come to appreciate those who skip the preceding disqualification steps and go right to the crazy card. But they never stop to think why they are so desperate to disqualify their interlocutors or to consider what that desperation says about their ability to actual present their own arguments or criticize the arguments they oppose.


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