Sunday, June 30, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon backs Trump on healthcare transparency. This transparency would help drive down the costs of healthcare. Wonder what Dimon, who identifies as a Democrat, thinks of his Party's candidates supporting free healthcare for illegals which would increase premium costs for everyone paying into the system?

- This always makes me chuckle

- A reminder for when watching the Democrats debate - "Medicare for All" would cost $32.6 TRILLION over ten years Not even DOUBLING existing taxes would be enough to pay for it.

- Jackie Mac has an interesting look into the issues behind the Celtics issues last season. She warns not to put all the blame on Kyrie - but I'm blaming Kyrie just the same.

- Heh Heh

- To the villain, it's a zero sum game

- The best explanation I've read for why Gandalf didn't just use the eagles from the start in LoTR.

Remembering Gettysburg

One hundred and fifty-six years ago to this very day Confederate forces under the command of General Robert E. Lee were massed on one side of a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg while Union forces under newly appointed General George Meade were amassed on the other side of the small town. Over the next three days these forces were to fight arguably the most important battle in the history of the United States. Yet today you will hear very little mentioned of the battle in either the newspapers or on TV. 

Why was this the most important battle in the history of the United States? 

General Lee had come North out of Virginia to find the Army of the Potomac and to beat it in open battle. If he was able to accomplish this – then Confederate President Jefferson Davis was to give Abraham Lincoln an offer of peace. 

If Lincoln accepted this offer of peace then the country would have forevermore been divided into two nations. If Lincoln refused the offer of peace (which he would have) – then chances are that Lincoln would have lost his bid for re-election to the Presidency. His opponent General McClellan would have accepted the peace plan if elected and again – the nation would forevermore have been divided. 

Think of the implications: 

· How much longer would slavery had survived? Would it still exist today? 

· Would a Spanish Mexico and an English Canada have taken over what are now the Western States? 

· Would Nazi Germany been stoppable in WWII without a “united” United States? 

· Would Communism have been defeated without a “united” United States? 

Luckily we did not have to find out because Jeb Stuart did not return in time to inform General Lee of the Union’s strength; because General Heth ignored Lee’s order to not engage the enemy on the first day; because General Ewell lost his nerve and did not attack and take the high ground when he had the chance and because Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine made their heroic stand on Little Round Top. 

The North won the battle and went on to win the war. For that we are thankful. 

Months later after the battle, on November 19, 1863, a somber President Lincoln made the following speech: 
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.
Now it’s a 156 years later and you would be hard pressed to find mention of the battle anywhere. Funny – Lincoln thought we would remember the battle and forget his speech but the opposite has occurred. 

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The United States has always been a forward-looking nation. We tend to dream of the future instead of dwelling on our past. It is one of our strengths. 

Still - we should remember the sacrifice men made today and the next three days 156 years ago to preserve for us the great Nation we have today. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

This is Why I Don't Like the Eagles


NBA Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous NBA thoughts and observations as we near official NBA free agency.

I'm 100% in favor of the Celtics offering Kemba Walker a 4-year max contract. I hope this signing comes true... That would leave just starting center as a position of need for Boston and the solution I'd love to see happen is Danny Ainge trading a 2nd round pick in next year's draft to Phoenix to get back Aron Baynes who might not be the best talent available but who we know fits chemistry wise and is familiar with Brad Stevens system. Assuming this transaction would be allowed by the CBA... There's been some speculation that Kevin Durant will file a massive lawsuit against Golden State for the way they handled his injury. I don't see this happening for three reasons. First if Durant still gets a super-max contract from some team (which he will) then where's the financial harm? Second Durant's own doctor cleared him to play in the finals. Finally Durant has made and will continue to make a boatload of money - why do something so negative that can potentially do as much damage to Durant's reputation as it would to the Warriors? Discovery is a bitch... Amused by the rumors of Houston trying to acquire Jimmy Butler. I really don't see him as a fit there because last time I checked the game is still played with only one ball. This has the potential to have the team chemistry of gummy bears and acid.  Also rumored that Boston might try to facilitate the sign and trade with the aim of getting Clint Capela which would be nice but not if it were to cost Marcus Smart. I'd be 100% against that...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Awesome! Allman Brother's Whipping Post played on just strings by Berkley College of Music Students

- Interesting - Jony Ive, iPhone designer, announces Apple departure. He was more than just the iPhone designer - he along with Steve Jobs created the whole iconic look and feel of pretty much all of Apple's products.

- NASA announces Dragonfly mission to Saturn's moon Titan

- Speaking of NASA and space - extraordinarily beautiful pictures of Jupiter via the Jet Propulsion Labs

- 20 cognitive biases that affect your decisions

- The sibling rivalry that burned up an $800 million oil dynasty. Insane, but true story. Long read but fascinating. About a third of the way through I started picturing the two brothers as Will Ferrell and John C Reilly

Friday, June 28, 2019

Treaty of Versailles

100 years ago today. Doubt it even gets mentioned in the news.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- The story behind Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" and the poet's own reading of his masterpiece. Though for my money - this is the best recital of that poem of all time!

- It's the weekend!

- This is pretty cool technology. But I can't help but think that just having more natural plants and trees around would provide the same (or better) results.

- Science says that the "Impossible Burger" may not be safe to eat. Good - I never planned on trying fake meat anyway but now I have science on my side.

- Nick Saban on the 5 choices we have in life

I Need You - America

Such a simple yet beautiful song you really don't hear much anymore.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

This Week in Musk World

Liftoff of the Falcon Heavy early Tuesday morning - NASA photo
Another jam packed week in Musk World.

SpaceX had another successful launch early Tuesday morning. This time it was the Falcon Heavy STP-2 mission for the DoD.

This mission also marked the first time the side boosters that flew on a previous Falcon Heavy mission were reused. Big item in making Falcon Heavy more cost effective than the competition.

This past week SpaceX also got its (extremely) tentative NASA dates for the first Crew Dragon astronaut launch.

BBC's Top Gear does a Model 3 road test and comes away very impressed, "This [the Model 3] is the traffic light king. It's an AK-47 disguised as a butter knife." Host Chris Harris was so impressed he announced he was buying one.

Speaking of the Model 3 - it is probably the safest car on the planet (according to NHTSA testing).

James May (formerly of Top Gear) reviews the Model S P100D and calls it the "greatest muscle car that America has ever produced." I think his admiration is a little more than grudgingly given from this traditional motorhead and there's a more than a little bit of snark even in his compliments.

And speaking of the Model S - this past week marked the 7th year anniversary of its availability. In 2012 2,650 were delivered and last year 245,240 customers got their Model S's. I'm sure that number will be surpassed when the 2019 numbers are finalized.

Tesla will now also now be offering some collision repair via their service centers and mobile repair service. I really like how Tesla is moving to becoming a full one-stop shop for all car related needs. The car, the charging (Superchargers and Powerwall), the maintenance and repair and even soon insurance for the vehicle.  Oh and also "fast pass" access to The Boring Company's tunnels (very cool video).

Finally - Tesla Powerwalls now starting to be used in the telcom sector to replace diesel generators. This could be significant when coupled with solar recharging for remote cell sites and towers.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Always skeptical when I read that the Celtics or Patriots are targeting certain players. Danny Ainge and Bill Belichick do not share their intentions with the media. That said - I hope the reports of the Celtics trying to sign Kemba Walker turn out to be true... Heh Heh... "Habits are the compound interest of self improvement." - Srinivas Rao... Who knew? Before Evel Knievel became famous as a daredevil bike rider he had a brief stint as a semi-pro hockey player... Interesting viewpoint on Democratic Party insanity from an old school liberal... Heh heh, "It's only physics if it comes from the Physique region of France. Otherwise it's just sparkling math." - Anna Hughes...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Bourdain Day

I was unaware that today is Bourdain Day. Today would have been Anthony Bourdain's 63rd birthday but his time on this earth was cut short by his own hand.

Perhaps my favorite Bourdain quote:

"I should have died in my 20's. I became successful in my 40's. I became a dad in my 50's. I feel like I've stolen a car - a really nice car - and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights. But there's been nothing yet."

If you want to reminisce about Anthony here is a pretty good interview from 2016.

Or this appreciation of Bourdain by Alan Sepinwall.

Or this one by Stephen "Vodkapundit" Green.

If you feel like drinking here's a list from 2015 of every bar Bourdain visited on TV.

As for me I think I'll put No Reservations episodes on in the background while I work and later I'll raise a glass to Uncle Tony.

3 Rules for Losing Weight

Excellent advice on how to lose weight - Jason Helmes and the 3 rules:

1. Eat 2 or 3 meals - no snacking
2. Eat whole foods
3. Don't drink a calorie

Excellent advice. So simple yet so effective but also so hard to follow. Exercise is an important component too (especially some form of weight training) but if you are really overweight it is best to start with just the 3 rules while trying to do some daily walking.

My only issue is with rule 3 - I like to believe my morning coffee is calorie free. And to be honest sometimes I make beer one of my 3 meals.

Another Irish Drinking Song

By Da Vinci's Notebook

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just saying but you may find more Aaron Hernandez than Kyrie Irving jerseys in Boston next year... There should have been an episode of Magnum PI where Magnum witnesses Higgins murder his ex-wife and a waiter but decides to keep silent about it for years... Can you imagine how different the history of the Knicks would have been if Pat Riley was given full control of the franchise instead of being allowed to bolt for Miami all those years ago... Still firmly believe that "sticktum" should be a word. It is more pleasing to the ear than either "anus" or sphincter". Make it so... Jack Dempsey said the only man he ducked fighting when he was heavyweight champion of the world was Ernest Hemingway. He didn't want to hurt the great writer who was insistent on proving his manhood... When did we start calling 70's soft rock Yacht Rock? Did I miss the memo?... MMA Jesus would be a good name for a Christian rock band...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Norman Borlaug - the man who helped feed the world

- Heh Heh

- Physics is cool - the bead chain experiment

-  Cool - David Simon's pitch to HBO for The Wire

- Much has been made about Hollywood LOUDLY threatening to move TV and movie production out of Georgia because of the new abortion law. But do you recall how QUIET Hollywood was when they moved TV and movie production completely out of the US because of the passing of Obamacare?

- Did Trump just revolutionize healthcare in the US and nobody notice? Love this change. One thing I'd add - any unused HRA or FSA funds should be able to be rolled into IRA or 401k retirement plans at the end of the year without penalty. "Use it or lose it" is so silly and wasteful. Maybe this change will even help the Hollywood hypocrites to move some of their TV and movie productions back to the US.

- So awesome!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Redemption Day - Sheryl Crow and Johnny Cash

In a recent interview Rick Rubin said that Johnny Cash considered Redemption Day to be his favorite and most important cover they did during their partnership. That's saying a lot considering how well received both Hurt and Rusty Cage have been over the years (two personal favorites of mine - the Hurt video makes me tear up every damn time).

Sheryl Crow recently released her "duet" version. Which is equally beautiful and powerful.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Rasputin sings Beyonce

- Interesting thread on Trump and Iran

- NASA has a probe that has been stuck on Mars for months. And they are trying to rescue it.

- Library Porn

- Drew Brees wins $6.1 million jewelry lawsuit. Why so much jewelry in the first place Drew? Are you compensating for not having one of these?

- Creepy but yet you cant help but find yourself trying to find the clown in each picture

- The Ancient Greek philosopher who was exiled for claiming the moon was a rock and not a god.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

So on the bright side - the final tally of the Celtics trade with the 76ers was Jason Tatum and Romeo Langford for Markelle Fultz which is a win... Getting a Ph. D. like a boss!... Reminder - if a pro player comes to your hometown team and professes (or pretends) to believe that the Earth is flat - that is a gigantic RED FLAG! Caveat emptor Brooklyn... If reincarnation is real I'd like to come back in the next life as a brown bat. They sleep 19 hours a day... Another reminder - over the past 15 NBA seasons only 8 franchises out of 30 have won the championship and only 7 have made multiple trips to the finals. The Celtics are on both of those lists. Boston fans should chill out... I'm just hoping that none of the players picked by the Celtics last night picks Rich Paul as their agent..

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Interesting long read on what drives Marvel's movie blockbuster machine from Harvard Business Review

- Never thought of it that way

- Apple weighs 15-30% capacity shift out of China amid trade war. Apple is not alone in looking to possibly make changes on relying on China based production.

- Heh Heh (Lakers joke)

- The idea that the shooting of David Ortiz was a case of mistaken identity is more than a little fishy to me

- This was a nice story. Alex Trebek is a North American treasure.

- Mexico becomes first country to ratify the new USMCA trade deal.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ph. D - Poor, Hungry and Determined

Such a great story. How a Janitor at Frito-Lay Invented Flamin' Hot Cheetos. So many great life lessons in such a short article.

Recently, a student asked him how he was teaching without a Ph.D.

"I do have a Ph.D.," he [Montanez] responded. "I've been poor, hungry and determined."

And I know the article is a couple of years old but it's new to me. Such a great Horatio Alger story!

The State of the Celtics

Tonight is the NBA Draft and even though the Celtics have first round picks at 14, 20 and 22 (plus a second round pick at 51) - Boston fans are in a panic. They are in a panic because it looks like both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are choosing to leave the team as free agents.

C'st la vie - chill out. Things are still very good.

Right now the Celtics could start the following players:

Marcus Smart (PG), Jaylen Brown (SG), Jason Tatum (SF), Gordon Hayward (PF) and Aron Baynes (C). That's a pretty good - and young (except Baynes) - starting five. Plus they'd be very fun to watch. And when you have Robert Williams playing at center - that's one of the best defensive lineups in all of the NBA.

Most Celts fans would like Kyrie Irving to leave at this point. The most common sentiment is "I'd be happy to drive him to the airport." Al Horford deciding to leave was a surprise and I for one will remember him fondly as a pro's pro who did all the little things and did them right. But going forward don't be surprised if the most common description of Horford in Boston will be "33-year old" Al Horford. But that's getting ahead of ourselves because Horford hasn't left for sure. He could just be testing the waters (unlikely but possible).

If Horford does leave then suddenly the Celtics have about $30 million in cap space (assuming Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier also leave as free agents) to use on one or two solid players. Add in whatever player(s) Danny Ainge drafts tonight and suddenly you are looking at a pretty deep 9-10 player roster. Sure they won't be top heavy with stars like Kyrie and Anthony Davis but it will be a solid lineup that will hopefully be (mostly) drama free.

Plus Boston still have Memphis' top pick in either next year's or the 2021 draft. That should end up being one of the best picks in the draft. Things are good in Boston. Celtics fans should all take a deep breath.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Venezuela is now awash in US dollars. Wonder what these folks would say if they were told that the idea of Socialism is getting popular in some circles in the US. And "awash" is the wrong adjective. I'd say "clinging to" is more accurate.

- Outside Magazine's best road trips in the US and Canada.

- Teddy Roosevelt did not believe in wasting precious time

- Interesting - Russia unveils a floating nuclear power plant. From the description it sounds like this is a Gen IV nuclear plant.

- Even the dead become victims of Socialism in Venezuela

This Week in Musk World

Tesla recently had their annual shareholders meeting.

Here are 7 takeaways from the meeting. The most interesting wrinkle to me continues to be the idea of Tesla getting into the insurance business. That could be a huge revenue generating aspect to the company. One of the big (but boring to some) details from the Shareholders meeting is the fact that Tesla has now installed over 1,500 V3 Superchargers worldwide. No other EV car manufacturer is even close.

In considering some of the news from the Shareholders meeting it is good to recall that Tesla has had an excellent record of meeting or exceeding production estimates.

Most of the credit for that belongs to the employees and management of Tesla but interestingly enough part of the credit belongs to the people who bought a car and are helping others to fully enjoy their new Tesla car. The phenomenon continues in China where current Tesla owners are volunteering to help with an upcoming delivery surge.

Interesting look into Tesla's mobile service and repair.

Tesla's Solar Roof is also making the news. Seems like if you're energy efficient that the Solar Roof may actually be able to make you a little money. The new roof tiles are now even more aesthetically pleasing (and supposedly less expensive).

Tesla and SpaceX remain one of the top choices for top engineering talent. And speaking of SpaceX...

SpaceX had their sixth successful Falcon 9 launch of 2019 exactly a week ago. Launching three Canadian satellite into a 400-mile orbit above our neighbor to the north.

Below is a very well done video explaining why SpaceX is making Starlink. It's got me rethinking some of my doubts about the product.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

20 Pictures that Could Teach You More than 100 Books

The headline says, "These 20 Pictures Will Teach You More Than Reading 100 Books." Color me skeptical.

Sure if they are 1st grade reader books. But say the 100 Greatest Books of All-Time - no way.

Having said that - these pictures could be very powerful tools to help form and reinforce beneficial new habits.

Its got me thinking about creating a "Culture Wall" of my own.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Bill Weld announced he was going to primary against President Trump as a Republican in an effort to raise Weld's profile. How's that working out?... Can't believe the number of people in the media who fell for the guy eating "mayo" from a jug. That's one of the oldest pranks. Wiling to bet good money that the guy was actually eating vanilla pudding... How to improve your social skills... Firmly believe that the last 20% of a cigar is the best "smoke" from the cigar... The human brain is made up by about 100 billion neurons... Thought about creating a new Twitter handle "Your Dad" where I'd retweet with comments like "I'm disappointed in you" or "I'd always hoped you'd do better than this" or similar approbations to people who Tweet silly things. But honestly it would be too much work . So many silly people...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- I'm a bad person for laughing at this.

- 15 timeless thoughts from Naval Ravikant

- How can you not like Henry Winkler?

- Cool - incredible orbit map of our solar system

- Who knew? Plastic grocery bags are actually good for the environment. "You must reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times before it will have less climate damage than a plastic bag."

- Yesterday was the 244th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill (long read)

US Military

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

So very true though today I'd amend the quote to say "rough men and women".

Monday, June 17, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Cool look at the type of person Gary Woodland is. Be sure to watch the first video. Gary's a good guy.

- A good list

- So this Navy veteran dies with no known family...

- Honestly this thread got me a little upset. And if you've been paying attention it should upset you too.

- 29 James Altucher quotes worthy of contemplation. Some are rehashed cliches but still worthwhile.

- If I owned a bar I'd make sure this photo got a prominent position on one of the walls

Protest in Hong Kong

There's been massive protest in Hong Kong where 2 million of the city's 7 million residents have taken to the streets. They are protesting the potential loss of freedoms especially the forced extradition to China which they view as a tool to silence dissidents.

The 2 million protesters would be like if 2.4 million of New York City's 8.4 million residents all banded together to protest something they all believed in. Can you think of a cause that would be as important to New Yorker's as liberty is to the residents of Hong Kong?

And as an aside - 3 million showed up in Boston for the victory parade celebrating the 2004 Red Sox who finally ended an 86-year old World Series drought. Not equating the Red Sox victory to liberty - just saying it was pretty damn important.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Remember when the American Left yearned to have a leader like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? That wasn't so long ago. Now he's a joke - the Canadian Beto... If you like comedy or magic there's a really good documentary on the Amazing Jonathan Always Amazing on YouTube. Give it a watch... "I have a flat stomach. It's just that the 'L' is silent." - from a sign in Maine... I still think that the real reason the end of the Sopranos faded to black is that Tony held up a cartoon of Muhammad and HBO decided to edit it out... Heh heh... Bill Lear, founder of the Lear Jet Corporation named his daughter Shanda. Yup Shanda Lear... Crotch Goblins would be a great name for a band (or a fantasy football team)...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Heh Heh


Is Artificial Intelligence Alive?

Recently on the Joe Rogan podcast there was an interesting discussion on if Artificial Intelligence can be considered to be "alive". Let's look:

Does it have a life cycle? Well it is created so it has a birth but does it eventually die? Not sure - the software could manipulate itself into new "hardware" if necessary. Going to say maybe on this one.

Does it undergo metabolism? Well it does consume power but metabolism? Going to say NO on this one.

Can it grow? Yes AI will have the power to grow.

Can it adapt to its environment? Going to say YES here as well.

Can it respond to stimuli? Yes - AI will be able to respond to stimuli.

Can it reproduce? Yes and this is our second biggest fear about AI.

Can it evolve? Yes and this is our biggest fear.

It looks like AI will meet most of the biological requirements for being classified as being "alive". So much so that I fully expect some wingnuts to start argue about AI having rights. Which should scare you if you're like me and scream at Siri in the car when she gives you bad information or can't understand the question. In the future I might be liable for jail time for this verbal battery.

I just hope we are a long way from this future.

The Man in the Arena


Friday, June 14, 2019

Deepfake AI

Interesting article on Samsung's deepfake AI that could fabricate a video of you from a single photograph.

While the article highlights some of the negative potential for the technology (like inserting your ex's face into explicit "revenge porn") I kept thinking of a very positive potential application.

Remember the portraits in Howarts in the Harry Potter universe? Paintings that seemed alive? Can you imagine a classroom in the not to distant future where say a physics class is lined with the photos of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking and other physics greats?

These portraits could combine this deepfake AI with true AI where the portraits are loaded with all of the works of the person they show. In addition the data of where more modern science has either disproved or enhanced their ideas can be added. The teacher could ask "Sir Isaac could you explain your theory of gravity?" and the painting could come alive with an explanation. Then the teacher could follow-up by asking Sir Isaac how his theory differs from Einstein's. How cool would that be?

In the cases of more modern folks like Einstein and Feynman where we have recordings of their actual voices it may be possible for the "paintings" to even adopt many of the characteristics and mannerisms of those they portray.

Like Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." We may be getting close to that point here.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Interesting - CERN turns to open access software in response to Microsoft raising its fees

- 5 recommended science summer reading books from Jim Al-Khalili. I'm adding two of them to my Wish List

- Sometimes you do think too much

- Some details are emerging from the shooting of David Ortiz. Life seems to be very cheap in the Dominican Republic. I fully expect the suspects to die in prison before they have a chance to testify against whoever hired them.

- Well worth your time lecture by Russ Roberts on the Hidden Harmony of Everyday Life

- Jordan Peterson announces free speech social media platform Thinkspot. This will be interesting to monitor. You have to pay to be on it but it seems the revenue is shared with content creators.

- Heh Heh

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Is one of the underrated reasons for the fall of the Soviet Union the opening of China to the West by Nixon? The economy and military capabilities of China have greatly expanded in the years since Nixon's historic visit at a pace the Soviet Union could never match... I wonder what the hammer-throwing girl (Anya Major) from Apple's iconic 1984 commercial is doing these days... Pretty sure if the Earth were hit by a giant asteroid there are many who would somehow blame the event on man-made global warming... A healthy list indeed... In other news Syracuse University forced to change nickname of athletic teams after campus wide breakout of TDS... I did not know this...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Congrats to the Blues from a Bruins Fan

First off let me say congratulations to the St Louis Blues and all the Blues fans. It was a well earned game seven victory. A truly historic Stanley Cup playoffs run for a franchise that had never tasted the fruit of hoisting the Cup.

I could say I have no idea of the joy Blues fans are feeling right now but I do know that joy. It was the same joy Boston fans felt after the Patriots won an equally improbable championship in 2001. Ironically enough at the expense of the Saint Louis Rams. Poetic justice? I'm sure many in St. Louis would say yes.

Secondly let me say that I am writing this fresh off the loss. The game seven alcohol is still in my veins and the smell of the cigar I smoked watching the game is still seeped in my clothes and breath. I am raw but lucid.

People across the nation say that Boston fans were greedy wanting to have the championships of three major sports at the same time. But the players on the Bruins bench did not get Patriots championship rings this week. Most of them were also not here in 2011 when the Bruins last won the Cup. I feel for them.

Especially I feel for Tuukka Rask who remains in my opinion - nay in fact - the best goalie in Boston Bruins history. Also for Zdano Chara who has the heart and class twice that of any normal human yet remains wildly unappreciated by so many Bruins fans. Despite being the captain of that 2011 championship team.

Blues fans enjoy tonight. Call in sick tomorrow. Cancel all plans to attend your parade.

Enjoy this fully. You deserve it!

Kissinger on Kissinger

A review copy of Kissinger on Kissinger: Reflections on Diplomacy, Grand Strategy, and Leadership by Winston Lord was sent to me. Winston Lord is credited as the author but the book is really a compilation of some discourses between Kissinger and Lord who was Kissinger's right hand man for many of the events talked about in the book.

It was a short book, just 140 pages, but well worth the time as it gave tremendous insight into the period of time where Henry Kissinger was on center stage in world events.

One of the core tenets underlying much of the events and strategies laid out by Kissinger during the Nixon years was the Nixon belief that "since you pay the same price for half-measures, you should adopt bold moves." And that when it came to leadership that the qualities most needed are character and courage." And with the hindsight of history you can appreciate how bold some of these moves by Nixon and Kissinger really were.

The partnership between Nixon and Kissinger was partly remarkable when you consider that the two had never met prior to Nixon appointing Kissinger to the NSA in 1968.

One thing that is forgotten by history is the fact that in 1969 Russia and China were very close to an all-out war. It was this fact that spurred much of the US's policy towards both counties with Nixon supporting China because he "decided that it was against American national interest to have China defeated." The side benefit was that "the opening to China facilitated the opening to Moscow and vice versa."

The first few years after the opening to China the biggest fear on the part of the Chinese was still an attack from Russia which made the nascent relationship all the more important as a counterbalance against Soviet aggression. It is mind-blowing to wonder what would have been the course of history if Nixon did not open China to the West (a path made possible by the groundwork of Kissinger). Today we worry about China as an economic rival but if that Nixon trip never happened we could easily today be worrying about the possible military aggression from a nation of 1.4 billion starving people.

The summit between Nixon and Brezhnev in 1972 was a direct result of Nixon opening China to the US. The book also goes into some detail about the Paris Accords and Vietnam as well as Kissinger's Shuttle Diplomacy in the Middle East. Well worth the read.

Kissinger also makes an interesting observation about the incivility that has invaded politics. "When I was a graduate student in the fifties, Harvard was 90 percent Democratic, as it has remained and maybe increased, but when Republican Cabinet members showed up at Harvard, they were treated with respect. The political debate in America in the fifties and early sixties was about the adequacy of policies. Sometime in the sixties, the political debate turned into a debate about the motivation of leaders and their inherent moral adequacy."

We have gotten away from discussing policies and solutions to our current issues. That has to change and in a strange twist President Trump may be making that possible. He takes so many hits on the personal level but shrugs them off. His supporters point to his policies and accomplishments and the debate sooner or later has to turn to address those because discussion about Trump's many personal failings are falling on deaf ears. The majority have tuned those out "scandals" out.

Life Advice


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- When the robots finally take over I'll probably be put in a work camp for laughing at this video

- The Great Lakes and the shifting goalposts of climate change "science"

- Amusing Ourselves to Death. Interesting points on Orwell vs Huxley.

- As a fan of Joseph Campbell this was interesting to me

- Interesting - the country where malaria was discovered is now malaria free

- What's next for Esports? Fascinating

- A 7-step process used by Navy Seals to attain any goal

Godfather Thought for the Day

Michael Corleone is often thought of as a poor husband and father. He tried to be like his father Don Vito but it just didn't work out. Sure he loved his kids but it just wasn't enough. In the end his family is a mess. 

How come Kaye never gets any of the blame for this? Seriously. 

Keep in mind that Kaye was Michael's second choice (in fact second wife). If Appolonia had lived - do you think Michael would have had so many family problems? Do you think Appolonia would have ever had an abortion? Divorced Michael? I don't think so. 

Maybe the real lesson to be learned from the Godfather trilogy is to not marry a WASP. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Hoping for a full and speedy recovery for David Ortiz. The details out of the Dominican Republic are still pretty hazy and the full story may never come out. The important thing right now is that Big Papi get better... This still makes me laugh... If a monogamy gene could be isolated in humans - could future prenup agreements require that gene be activated prior to marriage?... "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." - Marcus Aurelius... I would really like to own a copy of this painting (and yes I'm going to hell)... "Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions." - George W. Bush... Bruins win and force a Game 7 in Boston. I know what I'll be watching Wednesday night. Go Bruins!!!..

Top 5 - Films with Ned Beatty

Today's random Top 5 list is brought to you by the Top 5 Films with Ned Beatty in them:

1. Deliverance (as Bobby Trippe aka the guy with the purdy mouth) 
2. Superman (as Otis) 
3. Back to School (as Dean Martin) 
4. Hopscotch (as Myerson - a very underrated movie) 
5. The Fourth Protocol (another underrated flick) 

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Two Weeks in Musk World

Lots happening in Musk World over the past two weeks.

Musk says Tesla pickup pricing my be "well under" $50,000. That's a freaking sharp looking vehicle!

Interesting and detailed one-year review by a Model 3 owner who is not new to the EV driving experience.

And the Model 3 is now available to a much larger area in Asia. Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand were all added to the purchasing portal this past week. Why Ireland is bunched in with those countries - I have no idea.

GM and Fiat Chrysler admit that they are buying regulatory credits from Tesla. Put another way major competitors are subsidizing the company that is taking market share from them. Just like they teach at Harvard Business School!

 Looks like the Model Y SUV to be initially built in the Fremont CA factory. With the factory upgrades basically paid for by GM and Fiat Chrysler credits?

With all that going on look for Tesla to continue to dominate the EV sales world (the animated graph is amazing).

NASA's first SpaceX astronauts ready for "messy camping trip" into space. To be fair the astronaut who said that, Doug Hurley, was calling all trips into space messy camping trips. The mission is hopefully slated for later this year. The mission is notable because it will utilize the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule and be the first manned spaceflight based on American soil in a decade.

And finally in what seems like it happened months ago but was really just a couple of weeks - SpaceX successfully launched the first 60 Starlink LEO satellites.

Climate Change and the Sahara

What happened to the mysterious humans of the Sahara?

The Sahara covers an area about the size of the United States and at one point that area was a lush landscape of grasslands and waterlands. Thousands of years ago the climate changed and slowly that area became desert. What caused that change? Was it a change in the magnetic pole moving from South to North (the opposite is happening today). Or maybe a shift in the Earth's axis (which is also happening now). Maybe the humans who lived caused the climate change by angering their Gods. Who knows?

Science doesn't but don't let that stop people from telling you that the science is settled on why global climate change is happening today.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Using nuclear power to directly eliminate the root cause of global warming. Interesting, technical, long-read but the proposal means a 1 GW reactor could remove 3,790 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere PER DAY

- This gave me chills - people's beautiful expressions at hearing sound for the first time

- Interesting - the world first rooftop 360-degree infinity pool

- How to donate your body to science

- An app for iPhones can automatically start to record if you get pulled over by the police

- One stat where I want to strive to be below average

- Interesting map showing the most famous person born in different parts of the US. Worcester's most famous resident is listed as H. Jon Benjamin (Archer) - I would have guessed Dennis Leary (though historically it should have been Robert Goddard)

Weekend Safety Brief

Excellent advice!

Friday, June 07, 2019

New England Patriots

Got their Super Bowl championship rings last night.

D-Day's 75th Anniversary

Yesterday was the actual anniversary but here's some items you may have missed:

- The "epic human tragedy" of the first wave at Omaha Beach. Long read but worth the time.

- Some D-Day veterans still have plenty of spunk

- The photo - the story

- This gave me chills.

- A collection of colorized D-Day photos

- Wow - just wow.

- Ernie Pyle's D-Day ledger

- New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona a Naval Academy graduate who is also serving on active duty in the Navy was promoted to lieutenant on the 75th anniversary of D-Day in a ceremony that was witnessed by the entire team

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The Bruins got absolutely SCREWED by the NHL and the referees last night. No two ways about it. Absolutely SCREWED... My feelings exactly after the game... Random Bruins thought not involving referees - if Cam Neely were a football player he would have been Rob Gronkowski. And vice versa... This is sooo good... Here's my solution to the Democratic Party having too many candidates for the Presidential debates - add Voldemort to the polls and any candidate who cannot poll better than He Who Must Not Be Named is eliminated from participating... Learned a new word yesterday - palimpsest. It was in a book I was reading and I didn't recognize it. Learning a new word makes me happy. It's the little things in life... Such an awesome photo by Steve Biro...

Thursday, June 06, 2019

June 6: A Walk Across a Beach in Normandy

Vanderleun has an excellent essay on what it was like to land on the beaches of Normandy 75-years ago today.

The whole thing is great (be sure to also read the comments) but this piece really spoke to me:

They'll ask you, throughout long decades after, "What did you do in the war?" You'll think of this day and you will never think of a good answer. That's because you know just how lucky you were.

If you were not lucky on that day you lie under a white cross on a large lawn 75 long gone years later.

Somewhere above you among the living weak princes and fat bureaucrats and rank traitors mumble platitudes and empty praises about actions they never knew and men they cannot hope to emulate.

75th Anniversary of D-Day

Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day.  In remembrance here are some things you may want to take the time to review.

- D-Day by the Numbers, by the Men

General Eisenhower's D-Day speech. What was at stake.

- Here's the speech Einsenhower planned to give if things went badly. Thank God he never had to give this speech.

- D-Day landing scenes - then and now

And if you find yourself watching a baseball game today remember that on this day in 1944 Major League Baseball cancelled all games because they did not think it was appropriate to be playing games while men were fighting and dying on the beaches of Normandy.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

One of my favorite things to do on a Monday is to tell people "Have a good weekend." Their confusion is my happiness and my happiness is greatly enhanced if they reply "You too"... This week will mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day but this week also marks the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. One of the most important battles in US history... Aggravated Groin Injury would be a good name for a band... Got an email promising "Results so good you'll need to new underwear." I assume this was some sort of penis enlargement deal but there's also a chance it could have been something so good that I'd somehow shit my pants. We'll never know because I sent it right into the trash without opening it... The first commercial of the Trump/Pence 2020 campaign. Nothing stands in their way!... When you think of it the phrase "fed up" makes little sense. "I'm fed up with this job!" Are you saying you couldn't handle another bite of work? What if it was wafer thin?... Happy birthday to Patriots owner Robert Kraft...

Jack Handy Deep Thought for the Day

Thought of the Day: Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver" -- Jack Handy 

Monday, June 03, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Don't understand people who consider reading to be a hobby. Do they also consider breathing to be a hobby? Because reading to me is just something my body does or has been conditioned to do... Funny because it's true... "To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell." - Buddhist proverb... He is known as the "tank man" to the outside world but I wonder if the man's name is known and venerated inside of China?... I'm still convinced that Peyton Manning and his brother Eli work out using only Shake Weights... Who knew? Albert Einstein and fellow physicist Leo Szilard once invented and patented a refrigerator... Laughed way too much at this (yes my mind is different from most)...

The Only One I Know - The Charlatans

Haven't heard this song in a while. I always thought the band's name was The Charlatans UK. Learn something new every day.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

More True in Europe than America...

...but still true.

Via Eclecticity Light where there's some cool stuff.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing or thought I'd share.

- Rare earths crisis in retrospect.

- Scientists are stuck on the mystery of tape. Next time someone says "the science is settled" remind them that science isn't even clear on how Scotch tape works.

-  Don't care what side of the political aisle you are on - this is pretty impressive. And it's the second year in a row I've seen the President do this.

- Living well vs doing well

- Apple is finally killing iTunes

- Flying drone car that runs on hydrogen has range of 400 miles, can carry 5 passengers and can operate for 4 hours.

- Funny because it's true

Saturday, June 01, 2019

"My Grandfather's Secret D-Day Journal"

Very powerful article by Barry Svrluga My Grandfather's Secret D-Day Journal.

I got choked up several times reading this. If you don't have a similar reaction - pretty sure I don't want to know you.

Can't help but think of the thousands who went through similar (or worse) D-Day experiences as Bill Svrluga Sr. but who never kept a journal. Most of those heroes have passed without their families ever knowing of the horrors their grandfathers experienced. This is not to mention all the young men who never survived D-Day.

To honor their sacrifices - we have to remember what D-Day meant. Thank you Barry Svrluga for sharing your grandfather's story.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

What would your "self" from 5-years ago think about where you are in your life today? Not your "self" when you were a child or your self from high school because those expectations were probably unrealistic - but your "self" from 2014. Would that "self" be pleased or tell the you of today that you need to improve in certain areas or accomplish certain things?... Deadwood: the Movie debuted last night on HBO. I'm waiting till I have time to properly enjoy it. Probably Sunday night. In the meantime here's an interview of W. Earl Brown (Dan Dority) by Alan Sepinwall... "The shelf life for inspiration is incredibly short. If you do not act on it when it sparks, consider it lost. If you can help it, don't interrupt inspiration. Act on it!" - Naval Ravikant... Have you ever laughed and cringed at the same time?... "What would Jesus do?" is a good tenet to live your life by but not at a wake. The family gets upset when you try to raise the dead. Trust me on this... GO BRUINS!!!