Saturday, August 31, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

How ironic would it be if Jeffrey Epstein was actually murdered by Harry Reid because Epstein had proof that Reid really was a pedophile... I would love to watch a show or listen to a podcast where a Dalek (from Doctor Who) asks scientists and writers questions in his Dalek voice. That would be awesome!... Old time baseball... The name Manhattan started out as Manahatchtaniek which is Lenape Indian for "the island where we all became intoxicated" after the Indians were made totally drunk by the Dutch... And speaking of Manhattan - can someone remind me what the point or goals of the Occupy Movement were? Seriously - what was the f*cking point?... If you watch porn backwards - it tells the story of a woman who gives her man sex so he will clean the pool, hook up the cable or deliver some pizzas...  Laws for the Navigation of Life. These are phenomenal. Peter Josef Safar was a remarkable man... I'm surprised nobody has come out with a Tickle-Me Michael Jackson Doll. That would be one of the great gag gifts of all-time...

Col David Hackworth

"The more sweat on the training field, the less blood on the battlefield." - Col David Hackworth

A notable quote from a remarkable soldier. And you know the advice is true because it has been true for over 2,700 years.

"We don't rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training." - Archilochus

Pretty sure the 7th grade educated Hackworth was not aware of Archilochus.

Friday, August 30, 2019

My Way - Breaking Bad Style

Another fun Friday afternoon video.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (in 60 Seconds)

The Friday afternoon before a long weekend is always a good time for some mindless stuff.

Top 5 - Charles Bronson Movies

Charles Bronson died 16 years ago to the day. Here's my top 5 for Bronson's movies:

1. Hard Times
2. Death Wish 
3. Breakheart Pass
4. Once Upon a Time in The West
5. (tie) The Magnificent Seven (tie) The Great Escape (tie) The Dirty Dozen 

I put those last three movies in a tie because while they are all classic movies - they are ensemble movies where Bronson was not the true lead actor. Just missing the list was Mr. Majestyk (one of my favorites).

When I was a kid one of the arguments I remember having with my friends is who would win a fight between Charles Bronson and Bruce Lee. I'm still picking Charles Bronson.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Interesting - Hasbro CEO says moving out of China has "gone very well for us."

- China's"social credit system" can be used as a weapon against foreign companies doing business in China. Yet another reason for manufacturers to find a new place to make their goods.

- But when we use big data its for good???  Maybe Skynet's first job was to track cargo ships (joking - sort of). Actually sounds like a great business idea.

- Jeffrey Eipstein didn't just collect politicians (like Bill Clinton) - he also collected scientists. Laurence Krauss continues to be a major creepy dude.

- Interesting perspective from Steve Jobs back in 1994. Memento mori. (Via)

- RIP "Jackpot Jay" Lovinger. Became a fan during the year he chronicled his attempt to become a pro poker player.

- Heh Heh (laughed way too much at this)

Three Days of the Condor

I rewatched one of my favorite movies Three Days of the Condor last night and I have some thoughts I'd like to unburden myself from. Don't get me wrong - overall the movie still holds up very well but there are a couple things worth mentioning.

First, and this has always bugged me, the Robert Redford character Turner is supposed to be a super genius who knows everything including how to crosswire 50 people together in the telephone central office but he doesn't know the area code for Washington, DC. Small thing but like I said always bugged me (and yes I know he's asking for audience exposition - still bugs me).

Second, the Max von Sydow super assassin Joubert stays at a Holiday Inn. Another minor detail but this one just amuses me. "Are you a super assassin? No but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

Third, the murder of Turner's section in the first place was a mistake. Another example of the cover-up being worse than the crime. If  Atwood never ordered the hit on Turner and his section the whole exposing of the "CIA inside the CIA" gets forgotten. Turner's group reads everything - they have too much work to obsess over a theory that only Turner thinks might be valid in the first place.

Lastly, the Cliff Robertson character Higgins might just be the real hero of the movie. He had nothing to do with the murder of Turner's section and he honestly tries to help the Redford character. Then when he learns the truth of the secret CIA inside the CIA he hires Joubert to kill Atwood and end the secret cabal. I hope the Higgins character got a nice promotion because he deserved it.

Always Carry Bolt Cutters

"Always carry bolt cutters."

That's one of film maker Werner Herzog's 24 life lessons. The lessons are applicable no matter what you do for a living.

The line "Always carry bolt cutters" stuck with me from a recent interview that Herzog did with Eric Weinstein's podcast The Portal.  A podcast that so far has been top notch and which I highly recommend.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Linky Links

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

- New sanctions on Iran's Supreme Leader's business interests should be heavy blow. As an aside maybe it should just be policy to have heavy sanctions on any country led by someone who calls themselves "Supreme Leader"

- Before Jordan Peterson had his book 12 Rules for Life - he listed 42 rules people should follow.

- I agree with Tom E. Curran that Gronk isn't coming back to the Patriots. At this point, as a fan, I don't even want him to. He retired on top and his body is getting healthy. Enjoy life Gronk - you've earned it!

- Interesting - Kepler's forgotten idea about "morphogenic fields" and symmetry may help explain spiral galaxies without the input of dark matter

- Heh Heh

- Mental Floss's list of the top 50 TV shows to binge watch. Is it strange that lately I've been thinking I should watch MORE TV? For month's I've cut back TV to just sports, stand-up comedy specials, and documentaries. Damn you Game of Thrones!

- I hope the term "Spanish Submarine" gets added to the Urban dictionary as meaning "a completely fucked up thing". Oh by the way - the S-80 Submarine has been offered for export.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

How come Taylor Swift hasn't commented on Andrew Luck retiring? What is she trying to hide?... Heh Heh... Speaking of Andrew Luck - pretty sure he could shave his beard and put on a pair of glasses and become 100% anonymous in almost any city in America... Heh Heh... "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our responsibility for the future." - John F. Kennedy... TV show idea - take off on Cash Cab but contestants get into van with Snoop Dogg in back and after 10 minutes of being hotboxed they win money if they can answer questions - including what their original destination was...  Had my first Pumpkin Spice beer of the year this week. Almost made it to September...

Shining Star - Earth, Wind, and Fire

Song always makes me smile.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Interesting - China announces it seeks "calm" end to trade war. Are we entering the endgame?

- This is great! They should do this in any ballpark where Sweet Caroline may be sung!

- Two common sense changes that could reduce healthcare costs by up to 75%. I see no reason why these changes shouldn't be adopted.

- What the hell!!

- A Thorium powered car? Looks cool but is so impractical. But a thorium powered flying car - now you're talking!

- Very cool!

- This is some excellent writing. The identity of the "ugly wizard" amuses me to no end.

Eisenhower and Trump

"Don't worry Jim, if that question comes up, I'll just confuse them." - President Eisenhower

[Eisenhower] To Press Secretary Jim Hagerty who pleaded with Eisenhower not to answer any press conference questions about the delicate Formosan Strait crisis, March 23, 1955. (Eisenhower was, indeed, asked asked if using atomic weapons on China was an option. He delivered a long, confusing reply which was effectively indecipherable.)

I wonder if Trump's recent Tweet storm about China was also geared to be equally indecipherable. But at least it wasn't about nuking China (the stakes are much lower today than people would have you believe).

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Linky Links

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

- If you're like me then when you see this you immediately think "I want to buy that!"

- Michael Mann refuses to produce data, loses case. Can science be settled if it is based upon fraud?

- Heh Heh

- Agree 100% that the Battle of Midway is often overlooked in its importance in winning World War II.  HT Stephen Landry

- Fully believe that Gen IV nuclear plants need to be part of the future.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

President Trump saying I hereby order US companies to look into moving their operations out of China is like me hereby ordering the New England Patriots to win the AFC East. Those outcomes were happening anyway but the difference is I won't get to take credit for the Patriots success... Heh Heh... Was shocked but not surprised at the news Andrew Luck is retiring. His body has taken a lot of punishment and he's earned enough money to have the luxury of not needing to do it any more. To me Luck deciding to retire at 29 is not much different from Rob Gronkowski deciding to save his body and retire at age 30... Carnal Acquaintances would be a good name for a band or a fantasy football team name... Note to self: from now on only bet on the ponies if I'm at the racetrack and only bet on golf if I'm the one swinging the sticks... Heh Heh... The news of Luck retiring should make Patriots fans extra grateful for having Dante Scarnecchia coaching the O-line and protecting Tom Brady so successfully over the years. The one year Scar "retired" is the year Brady took the worst beating of his career. Coach Scar should be in the Hall of Fame...

Pilot Wave Theory

If someone asked me what my deeply held unpopular belief was - I'd probably have to answer Pilot Wave Theory. I don't pretend to understand the math but the "common sense" spidey-sense in me tingles when I hear or read about Pilot Wave Theory.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Maybe Obama bought a $15 million house on Martha's Vineyard (a place basically at sea level) because he has the super power of being able to stop the oceans from rising. Or maybe he knows that dire global warming threats are a scam... I think electric motorcycles are cool but part of me wonders "What's the point?" Motorcycles already get great gas mileage and electric motorcycles are so quiet as to be potentially dangerous. Many people drill holes in their cycle's muffler to make them louder and so easier for motorists to recognize that they are sharing the road. Electric motorcycles may be so quiet as to be practically invisible... Not that people needed another reason to hate Boston sports but the $15 million home the Obamas are buying belongs to Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck... Who knew - there really was a Crash Davis - but he wasn't a catcher... "If you accomplish something good with hard work, the labor passes quickly; but the good endures; if you do something shameful in pursuit of pleasure, the pleasure passes quickly, but the shame endures." - Gaius Musonius Rufus... Warrick Dunn is the man!... Just saying but at his age this is probably Bernie Sanders last chance at running for President. If the DNC screws him over to tilt the field towards Biden or Harris - what's the chances Bernie runs as a Third Party Candidate? Something to consider... 

The 3 Basic Criteria for Working for the Patriots

The three Golden Rules you must adhere to in order to work for the New England Patriots:

- Be on time

- Pay attention

- Work hard

Not rocket science and something everyone can control and do no matter what your job or where you work.

From Mike Lombardi on his GM Shuffle podcast which I highly recommend for any football fan.

Top 5 - Changes I'd Make to College Football

Here's the top 5 changes I' make to college football.

1. Go back to calling it Division 1 and Division 1-AA. Everyone understood that. Nobody remembers FBS and FCS. I mean Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision? Come on! Just go back to Division 1 and Division 1-AA.

2. This one's more of a keep the status quo than a change but I agree with Phil Steele and Brother Maynard that the number of teams in the Division 1 Playoffs shall be four.  Eight is right out!  If you want to crown a true champion - the correct number is four. Anything larger than that is just a money grab.

3. Every Bowl Game should have a money prize pool divided into thirds. The winning bowl team would get two-thirds of the prize money and the losing team one-third all to be divided by all the players. I would also do this for the Army-Navy game which brings in big television bucks.

4. UMass should go back to Division 1-AA. Trying to run with the big boys just isn't working or worth it.

5. Stop calling it "Week Zero" - it's contrived and stupid. Not sure who thought this up but they should go back to soda advertising. I'd be happy if I never heard the phrase "Week Zero" ever again.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Cruise 2020

Tom Cruise for President because why not?

History of the Battleship

Very interesting history of the "battleship" from the folks at Old AF Sarge.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Never knew that England almost declared war on Russia during  Russo-Japanese War because Russia mistakenly attacked some British fishing trawlers. Good stuff. Can't wait for Part 3.

Linky Links

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

- The story behind the greatest baseball card ever made

- Government surveillance is out of hand and they want to make it worse

Getting to know Chrysippus - the second founder of Stoicism

- Turns out that Division 1 colleges have been paying "student athletes" "legally" since January 2015. "And that sums up the Principle of Amateurism pretty well. Not worth a damn to begin with."

- Love a story with a happy ending

- From the (disturbed?) mind of coach Mike Leach

Tom Sawyer - Covered by Foo Fighters (with Help)

This makes me smile every time! So cool!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Wow - where do we find such men! Rest in peace Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds. I had never heard the story of his heroics before.

- This is basically true

- Was there a 10 million gallon oil and gas spill in North Dakota that was reported as just 10 gallons? I know the blog reporting this has an agenda and bias but shouldn't the truth about 10 million gallons be pretty hard to hide?

- I'm an awful person for laughing at this

- Cool - when two apples collide midair at 90 MPH

- Strange to hear Piers Morgan as the voice of reason

- Heh Heh

Society Always Wants New Things

New Naval rap from Akira the Don.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fake News and Joe Rogan

"If you don't read the newspaper, you're uniformed. If you read the newspaper you're misinformed." - Mark Twain 

I've been wondering if "fake news" is more prevalent today simply because people have better access to fact checking capabilities? Which of course makes you wonder how much of what was printed in the past was "fake news".

What really pushed me to post this was this article, Can Joe Rogan Save Journalism Before Its Too Late?  Basically there's been a petition to have Rogan moderate a Presidential Debate because people are fed up with partisan "journalists" with agendas. Rogan smartly wants no part of moderating a Presidential Debate. Which reminds me of this line:

"They'll say 'Save us" and I'll look down and whisper 'No'."  - Rorschach

Rolling Stone Thinks Trump is a Mad King

Rolling Stone (the same magazine that tried to glamorize the Boston bomber) tries to paint President Trump as a Mad King.

Now I admit that I'm often amused by Matt Taibbi's ability to turn a phrase. There's usually at least one descriptive phrase that gets a chuckle from me in each piece.

But I grew up with media outlets like Rolling Stone painting Ronald Reagan as a cowboy who was going to nuke the world. Then it was George W who was portrayed as Chimpy McHitler. So I don't get worked up by these hit pieces anymore.

I understand that Rolling Stone has to pull these stunts to remind people they are still actually in business. I do wish Trump would permanently pull Rolling Stone's White House press credentials. To justify it all Trump would have to say is "That's what Mad Kings do I guess."

Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer would have been 67-years old today.

Miss you Joe.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Robert Shaw Describes a Donald Trump Press Conference

"Donald Trump comes cruising in. The reporters form themselves into tight groups. You know it's kind of like ol' squares in a battle or like being roped together at a Hillary press conference. And the idea is if the Donald goes after one reporter and then that reporter would start hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the Donald would go away. Sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes the Donald, he looks right into you. Right into the reporter's eyes. You know the thing about the Donald, he's got... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be a real politician. Until he bites into ya with those scathing remarks and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitch complaining and the airways and Internet explode despite all the pounding and hollerin' that the Donald isn't a serious candidate. And that's when the Donald comes in and rips ya to pieces. I'll never go into a press pool again."

From a couple years ago but still like the idea.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Live Bait would be a good name for a strip club... The God of Chaos huge asteroid may hit Earth (1 in 100,000 chance) in 2029 - so get your affairs in order... "Choose the non-emotional response to any given situation and see how much easier your life becomes." - Naval Ravikant... Definitely going to hell for laughing at this... Porn Stache Donald Trump would be a good name for a lesbian Gordon Lightfoot cover band and I also say that Groin Tightness would be a great name for a boy band... Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray may have both won Heisman Trophies but Oklahoma's all-time leading passer remains Landry Jones...

Old Movie Star Dance to Uptown Funk

Very cool!

Via American Digest.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Going to the moon was hard - but the benefits were huge.

- Good advice.

- I admit that as soon as I heard about Trump talking about Greenland my first thought was "That's a great idea!" And I still think that!

- The Choco Taco may seriously be my favorite dessert

- Nixon's haircut - that would be a good name for a band (or a tax cut)

This Week in Musk World

This week in Musk World saw some controversy between Tesla and the NHTSA over the safety of Tesla's cars. Tesla shot right back saying their cars are the safest in the world. And the data seems to support that claim.

The Tesla Model 3 total cost of ownership over 5-years is now even less than a Toyota CamryThe Tesla Semi is also reportedly getting even better range than first estimated. It will be interesting to see the total cost of ownership for that vehicle vs a traditional rig.

In other news:

Tesla Solar just relaunched. Now you can rent your solar panels? The details to the program are interesting. This week also saw information on Tesla's patents for curved and textured solar roof tiles. So rented panels for existing roofs and multiple tile-types for new solar roof installs seems to be the plan.

SpaceX's next two Falcon 9 launches will be for StarLink satellite launches. Interesting detail from the article was that 10-15% of the first 60 StarLink satellites have been decommissioned. That's a high number even if some of those decommissioned were planned "failures" to test certain procedures.

Future SpaceX launches (much further down the road) will utilize Starship to establish a base on Mars. This is the future I was promised as a kid!

And finally - Tesla Roadster with Starman completes its first orbit around the sun. Who knew but there is actually a WhereisRoadster website that allows you to track the now iconic vehicle as it travels through space. This year went by fast!

Gathering Crowds - John Scott

Never knew the name of the song used to close This Week in Baseball. Now I do and that it was written by John Scott.

Friday, August 16, 2019

A Modest Proposal on Technology Monololies

There's a lot of chatter about breaking up technology monopolies like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Here's my $.02 on how I'd handle the situation.

First off I don't believe this is a First Amendment issue - I believe it is an Antitrust issue.

Nobody is forcing anyone to be on any of these platforms.  It's a completely voluntary relationship. If YouTube decides to "deplatform" a content creator or take down certain videos - that's their choice. They own the platform and you've chosen to partake in their "free" product and services. (If they selectively edited your content or used it without permission or compensation - then that's  different story).

Remember if you're not paying for a service then you are the product.

Personally I'd like to see YouTube decoupled from Google and Instagram decoupled from Facebook. The Instagram acquisition should never have been allowed under antitrust grounds.

I would then restrict any technology market leader (say any company controlling 75% or more of a market like Google with search engines and online advertising) from buying any companies (startup or otherwise) in that market space. It is the stifling of competition that is the real problem. Facebook may well have been a husk of its former self revenue-wise because of its ongoing privacy abuses if not for also owning Instagram. A deal like that never should have been allowed.

Any technology advancements in those market spaces would then have to be "homegrown". Force the big tech companies to remain innovators. Not deep pocket bullies who just buy the competition.

Acquisitions outside of the core competencies and markets? Like Amazon buying Whole Foods? That's something else and something that should probably be still allowed. 

Linky Links

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

- Boom! Trump's US Attorney in Philadelphia goes right after Philly DA over the shooting of 6 police officers. Good for him

- Cool NASA visualization of a black hole "eating" a sun

- And speaking of the sun - here's why the sun appears red at sunset. (Yeah I still don't understand why the sun appears red at sunset)

- The world's first "solar road" is an absolute disaster.

- Mike Leach is the best!

Such Great Advice

Such great advice. And it dovetails (or wolf tails) nicely with this bit of advice.

Both via.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bad Guy - Billy Eilish

Some afternoon music.

How Life on Earth May Have Originated

Fascinating look at how life itself may have originated.

New studies help show how the protocell holy trinity - RNA, proteins, and fatty acid membranes may have assembled in the first place.

As an aside the author of the article, Ed Yong also wrote one of the best science books I've read in recent years - I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Linky Links

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

- A visualization true size of countries and continents.

- Reason magazine gives Bernie Sanders an economics lesson. The long and short of it - we live in a time of abundance in the US.

- Heh Heh

- Interesting - is the NFL's Sunday Ticket on DirecTV illegal under anti-trust law?

- A message from Hong Kong

- Boris Johnson and the UK getting behind Gen IV nuclear power in a big way. Good for them!

- The power of incentives.

Heh Heh

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

Fascinating look at the evolution of unrestricted submarine warfare in WWI. Lots of details and history I had never heard before. Including the story behind the sinking of the RMS Laconia and the aborted rescue attempts.

Old AF Sarge should be one of your daily reads if you are interested in military history.

Linky Links

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

- The Earth's magnetic field is reversing. Science has no idea what effect this will have on our climate.

- The trade war hits China where it hurts. "The tariffs are working. Big tech companies are taking their manufacturing out of China; retailers are pulling out as well." I imagine if China takes a violent hard line dealing with Hong Kong that many more companies will look to do business elsewhere. You may also start hearing those "Free Tibet" protests once again.

- And speaking of manufacturers exiting China.

- Interesting look at the man who is tasked with trying to save Barnes & Nobles. Hat tip to A Layman's Blog (one of my daily reads)

- Interesting reflections on a pilgrimage to Ian Fleming's grave.

- Great point on the Nobel Prize for Literature

- Io's volcanic tides. As an aside Volcanic Tides would be a good name for a band.

Just Like the Jesuits!

Every once and a while I get these urges to say certain things just to give myself a chuckle. The latest urge is to randomly say the phrase "Just like the Jesuits" after someone else has said something. For example:

Donald Trump: "Grab them by the pussy!"   
Me: (Thrusting my finger in the air for emphasis) "Just like the Jesuits!"

Random guy at McDonald's: "I much prefer the sausage McMuffin over the regular McMuffin."
Me: (Nodding my head in agreement) "Just like the Jesuits."

Anyone hearing the comment will have to wonder what the hell do I mean? Am I crazy? Am I being anti-Catholic in some way? Do the Jesuits really like the sausage McMuffin better? In reality it would just be something I'd be saying for my own enjoyment.

Just like the Jesuits!

Happiness is the New Rich


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Alligator - Of Monsters and Men

Some afternoon music.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

There's only one proper response to anyone who says that "Fredo" is the equivalent to the n-word to Italians. That response is, "Now who's being naive M'Kay."... This year's Red Sox team is actually hitting better than last year's World Series champs. HR, RBI, BA, OPS all up. The problem with this team is obviously the starting pitching... This seems like a good policy... I would be OK with the Red Sox putting David Price on waivers to see if anyone bites on picking up his contract. He's owed $96 million over the next three seasons. If someone wants him let him go. I'll even drive him to the airport... I know it's still summer and not yet close to fall but you know it's only a matter of days till you'll start seeing Pumpkin Spice beer and coffee being advertised. Any day now... This also seems like a good policy... "Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants." - Epictetus... For anyone who is curious how I made out at Saratoga on Saturday - I hit two trifectas. The first one paid $16 (my ticket cost $24) and the second one paid just $36. It was that kind of day but I had fun which is why I go... 

"I Get To" vs "I Have To"


Monday, August 12, 2019

Liberal Arts Through the Ages


Linky Links

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

- The Disney+ app looks pretty cool.

- Interesting new design for space telescopes

- Heh Heh

- Is Dark Matter older than the Big Bang?

- Heh Heh

- Interesting Ted Talk on growing new brain cells.

- Bitter Wheat looks like an entertaining play. Too bad Hollywood would never make a movie out of it.

Jeffrey Epstein

This was my favorite reaction to the "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein.

My initial thoughts to the news was to think of the scene in LA Confidential where they find Pierce Patchett dead from an apparent suicide. The Russell Crowe character Bud White remarks along the lines of, "Wasn't his idea [to cut his wrists], his fingers were broken."

Many conspiracy theorists will point to the Clinton's as being responsible. And with pretty good reason - they do have a track record. And what are the odds that accused Epstein "associate" Ghislaine Maxwell also "succumbs to grief" over the death of Epstein? Before she testifies of course.

Bravo Wikipedia on the new definition of "Suicide Watch".


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Space Thoughts

Scientific American has an article out The Hunt is on for Alpha Centauri's Planets. It's a look at the efforts being made to find livable exoplanets in our nearest star system neighbor.

Mankind has only recently sent a probe into interstellar space so I wouldn't look for apartments for rent in the system 4.5 light years away any time soon.

One detail in the article did peak my interest though.

Part of this work is being done at the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona. Wait the Discovery Channel has a telescope? Yes it does - it partnership with the Lowell Observatory. Later Boston U, U of Toledo, U of Maryland and Northern Arizona University were added to the consortium. Why doesn't the Discovery Channel add an OTT (over the top) channel dedicated to the telescope and the work being performed?

I know such a channel would be boring to most but a niche market exists for this live-streaming content. It would make great night background viewing and the channel could do box-in-box advertising like they do during soccer games. During the day the Discovery Channel could offer up on demand physics and astronomy based programs and lectures from the universities involved in the cooperative. There would be almost no cost to the Discovery Channel for this content.

Just a thought.

Jocko Willink - Good

Saturday, August 10, 2019


No blogging today. Playing the ponies during my annual trip to Saratoga.

Hong Kong and China

Things in Hong Kong has gone from being merely protests to being a full revolution.

I agree with this sentiment. It would probably be best if Great Britain offered asylum to Hong Kongers first since Hong Kong was a former holding of the British Empire. I'd also like to see the US do that as well but I imagine President Trump would instead utilize the threat of blanket asylum as a trade deal negotiating tactic.

As an aside if Hong Kong was a fully independent country - its population would rank 104th in the world. For perspective Honk Kong's population is just 1.5 million less than Israel.

So Communist China is torn between Hong Kong wanting to preserve or enhance their freedom against the Communist Party wanting to retain total control over everyone and the fall out repercussions of the trade war with the United States. These repercussions include many top tech companies looking to move a good part of their manufacturing out of mainland China.

Austin Bay does a really good job of explaining "how China's great oppressor reality subverts its great power aspirations."

There is real history unfolding in Asia. Meanwhile in the US too many are wrestling with the supposed moral implications of retaining their Soul Cycle memberships.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

When I see a PI challenged mentioned in relation to preseason NFL games my mind imagines the head football coach throwing the red flag to challenge the referee to see who can name PI to the most decimal places... I like the 21/90 rule... I think the last time I went to Burger King was a couple of years ago on my birthday. I wanted one of those stupid paper crowns to wear out drinking... It's going to make many NFL fans happy (including me) when both Drew Brees (520) and Tom Brady (517) pass Peyton Manning (539) on the all-time TD pass list this season... Rio de Janeiro means "River of January". I wonder if somewhere there's a Rio de Febrero?... "Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution." - Albert Einstein...

A Homecoming in Dallas

Wow - just wow.

Linky Links

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

- Different ways to be rich in 2019. Via Steve Layman with whom I agree "An attitude of gratitude" should have somehow made the list.

- NEC and a Japanese start-up demonstrate a flying car that hovered 10-feet off the ground for about 30-seconds. Not too impressive until you recall the Wright brothers first flight was just 59-seconds and look where we are now.

- Only 4 of the 12 people who have walked on the surface of the moon are still alive. Nice article on the memories and oral histories we may soon be losing.

- Disney announces a $12.99 bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. I might sign up for that.

- Interesting history and question - was email a mistake? I'd say no it's been beneficial (an argument can be made against the reply all email). I'd also say most meetings are mostly time wasted though a 15-minute Scrum seems to help solve that..

- 80% of the books published between 1924-1963 are now eligible to be available in the public domain. It would be cool to find a database searchable by author.

- Good profile of Tom Brady in Men's Health. The tidbit that he wants to open TB12 gyms in New York and LA next year. If so that might explain why he's selling his $39 million Chestnut Hill home for one in Greenwich CT. About equidistant between Foxboro and the new gym in New York.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Money in Politics

For years I've heard that we need to get big money out of the political process. I guess each party doxxing the other party's major donors would be one way to accomplish this goal.

Though I think the people trying to shame Trump donors haven't thought this through.

If that's OK then I'm guessing it's perfectly fine for the ADL to publicly dox anyone who gave money to Ilhan Omar's campaign and portray them as people who are actively supporting anti-Semitism and Sharia Law.

Or for an opponent of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to publicly dox anyone who donated to AOC's campaign as being complicit is driving away Amazon's proposed headquarters from the district and costing 25,000 much needed jobs.

Under these new rules all that is fine - right?

This reminds me of when Harry Reid used the "nuclear option" to eliminate filibusters on executive branch appointments and federal judicial appointments. How's that short term thinking working for the Democrats as Mitch McConnell uses the new rules of the game Reid implemented to help President Trump install more Federal (Republican) judges than any President in history.

I would also be perfectly fine with taking away the tax deduction status of all political donations. It's nobody's business if I buy a large Hawaiian pizza from Dominos. When Dominos reports their earnings as required by law - they don't publicly report individual purchases by customer. So I don't have to worry about people doxxing me because I happen to like the combination of pineapple and ham (which I know some people view as an abomination in the eyes of the Lord). Likewise politicians would report how much money they raised but not from which individuals.

The big drawback to this suggestion could be the unfettered influx of foreign money.

Of course the simple solution would be for EVERYONE to just stop giving money to these assholes altogether (or all together which may fit better). Then maybe, just maybe, elected officials would have to run on their accomplishments and how they've helped their constituents and not on attack ads and much of the crap we deal with today.

Just a thought.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

And poof - just like that - the problems of people trying to survive in West Baltimore disappeared from all media consciousness... This is so awesome!... Thinking of adopting the Latin phrase "Pax et bonum" as my all-purpose greeting. It translates to English as "Peace and all good." Thinking it can be used the same way Hawaiians use "Aloha"... "Many people die at 25 and aren't buried until they are 75." - Ben Franklin... Strange but the older I get the shorter Michael J. Fox becomes in my memory... Very cool - Samurai slices a 100 MPH fastball in half...  Delaware announces plans to charge a $20 toll on all through hikers of the Appalachian Trail. State officials later disappointed to learn they can't do this because unlike US Interstate 95 - the Appalachian Trail does not actually pass though Delaware...

Paul Dirac

Born on this day 117-years ago one of the greatest, most underappreciated minds of the 20th century - Paul Dirac.

Here's his bio from the Nobel Prize folks.

He was a man of few words but his math and equations were poetry.

His biography The Strangest Man was a fascinating read if you're a fan of physics.

Here's a link to his 1963 article in Scientific American The Evolution of the Physicist's Picture of Nature.  The article is a (very) long read but conversely it gives you both a succinct history of modern physics and a good taste of the genius of Paul Dirac.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

The Day Bill Gates Saved Apple

22-years ago yesterday Bill Gates and Microsoft basically saved Apple from going out of business.

Steve Jobs had just come back to Apple Computer (as it was known then) and the company was almost out of cash. Bill Gates not only infused the company with $150 million but he also pledged that Microsoft would supply MacIntosh versions of Microsoft Office for at least 5-years.

This saved Apple from going out of business. The shares Gates received were market price and non-voting stock. Microsoft sold their stake in Apple in 2003 but if they had kept the stock it would be worth about $60 billion today.

Gates probably doesn't mind because he has so much money. And besides the reason he made the investment in Apple in the first place was to ward off Federal anti-trust lawsuits - which the investment in his competitor helped accomplish.

Few Weeks in Musk World

To me the biggest thing in Musk World these past few weeks has been the unveiling of Neuralink.

I have to admit that a billionaire who can read people's minds through technology and control their vehicles has a bit of a Doctor Who Rise of the Cybermen vibe to it.

Somehow I wasn't even aware of Ad Astra's existence. A minor foray into education by Elon Musk but somehow its now the most sought after and exclusive private school in California. (And what better way for an "evil" billionaire in a science fiction story to groom his technology henchmen? Just saying the narrative is veering scarily close to a decent Terminator, Battlestar Galactica or Borg storyline.) Only partially kidding.

A reminder that Tesla's success selling cars in the US is happening despite anti-free market roadblocks still set up in many states. And despite 68% of respondents to a JD Power survey saying they've had no experience with electric vehicles. So very impressive!

The Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada is bigger than you expect. When it is finally complete it will have the largest footprint of any building in the world!

Some of that space is possibly going to be used to make the Megapack utility scaled battery back-up system which was unveiled last week. I think this is another winner from team Musk. It is tough to keep up with all the technologies they are leapfrogging the competition on.

Elon Musk and SpaceX got some exposure last week on CBS Sunday Morning. A nice dovetail interview to go along with the Apollo 11 anniversary.

Couple of weeks ago SpaceX also successfully launched its 18th commercial cargo mission to the International Space Station on Thursday and successfully docked with the ISS that Saturday.

Also this week SpaceX announced a small sat "rideshare" program for smaller satellites. The pricing on these missions should be much less than traditional satellite launching services.

Musk says that the Starship and Super Heavy (BFR) combo will have 41 Raptor engines. This will give it more than double the thrust capacity of NASA's Saturn V rockets. That much thrust would destroy existing launch pads. So SpaceX will be creating new, better launch pads in Texas and Florida.

NASA selects SpaceX as one of 13 companies they will be working with on their Moon and Mars missions. And Europe admits that the SpaceX model of reusable rockets is the way to go.

And not to forget The Boring Company news - Elon Musk to attend Conference on AI in China at the end of the month where he will also be launching The Boring Company China.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Brian Greene - What is String Theory?

Important to remember that this is just a theory. And other theories are also starting to emerge.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I heard about this and checked it for myself. My conclusion is that either critics suck or they were watching the 1987 version with Scott Glenn while the audience rating is for the 2004 Denzel version... "How much has [Tom] Brady earned relative to his peers? It's a trick question. Brady has no peers, as any Patriots fan will tell you." - Mike Sando in The Athletic on Brady's new contract extension. The line just made me chuckle... Cool video. But the video I really want to see is of any attempted copycats... New Coke and Billy Beer (from Jimmy Carter's brother) were famous flops as products but I wonder what a couple cases of either would be worth on ebay right about now... YouTube is the world's top grossing video app with $138 mil in revenue in Q1. Trying to wrap my head around this. I watch YouTube all the time (via my Roku box) but I don't spend a dime on YouTube. Where is all the revenue coming from? Surely not the YouTube TV subscription service... This is cool and for the record I want one. The next step is to have competitive hoverboard cross channel races. I'd watch that in a heartbeat...

Linky Links

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

- Heh Heh

- A rediscovered John Steinbeck short story about a chef and his cat has been published in English for the first time.

- A reminder that people work very hard to put food on your table

- Cool - Machine learning has been used to translate ancient long-lost languages.

- Naval Ravikant: the company size is shrinking

- This is an interesting idea.

- Probably going to try to work one or two of these into my workout routine.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The question I'm curious about but nobody seems to bothered to ask is "Has Elijah Cummings' house been broken into before?" And if so - how many times before? The Congressman certainly acted like someone who was prepared by prior experience... I'm an awful person for laughing at this... "Flying by the seat of your pants precedes crashing by the seat of your pants." - Bill Walsh... Clemson may have the top ranked team in college football but according to Phil Steele the Tigers don't have a special teams unit ranked in the top 50. Wonder if that could come back and bite them in a close game (like say against Alabama)... Four Dimensional Symmetry would be a great name for a blog... I think Lesley Gore's You Don't Own Me would be a good candidate for a cover re-make BY A MAN. Would put a twist on the classic song...

Goodbye Red Sox - Hello Patriots

With the Yankees completing a 4-game sweep of the Red Sox over the weekend - I think I speak for many Boston fans when I say it's time to turn our attention to the Patriots.

Don't get me wrong I appreciate all the Red Sox did for us last season but the 2019 Red Sox have now lost more games (55) than last year's World Series Champion team (54). Continuing to pay attention to them will just lead to false hope at best and bellyaching and criticism at worst.

Life's too short for that. Especially when you have the defending Super Bowl champs about to start their pre-season games.

Love Tom Brady as much as the next Patriots fan but this is funny. And speaking of TB12 - good look back at how the Patriots scouted and ended up taking Brady.

As an aside to out of state folks - if you ever wanted to watch a game at Fenway Park and will be visiting Boston in the next month and a half - I'm guessing you'll be able to find some pretty good value on tickets on StubHub or from scalpers. Spoiled Boston fans just won't be going to the games.

Last Words

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Bismark - SABATON

Old AF Sarge has an interesting post on both the German WWI battleship Bismark and the heavy metal song above of the same name.

It struck a chord because I had recently heard the SABATON lead singer Joakim Broder interviewed on the History Unplugged podcast. It was an enjoyable interview (even if you don't like heavy metal) about their WWI history themed new album (which includes the Bismark song above). Lots of good history nuggets on the podcast like the story of Canadian hero Francis Pegahmagabow, a First Nations Canadian who killed and captured more Germans than Alvin York but whom I had honestly never heard of.

A Satisfied Life


Saturday, August 03, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Milky Way Galaxy is warped and twisted, not flat.

- Your move, pessimists

Interesting look at the staying power of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

- The rise and fall of superhero Robert Mueller. Matt Taibbi does a nice job in summarizing the religious furor the left gave to Mueller. Give Taibbi credit he does have a talent for turning a phrase.

- And speaking of good writing - this is an example of why Jackie Mac is the best NBA writer on the planet.

- Video reminder of why Ty Law was one of the greatest defensive backs in NFL history. Also made me smile to be reminded how much Law absolutely owned Peyton Manning.

- Dianne Francis on the bungled legalization of cannabis in Canada. That "black market dope continues to sell for nearly half the price of the legal stuff" is just the start of the issues in America's hat.

Is the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything Actually 137?

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the answer to the question of "life, the universe, and everything" is given as 42 by Deep Thought.  Douglas Adams may have had a very specific reason for choosing the number 42.

But maybe, just maybe there's a much better number that fits the answer to the big question.

"There are some fundamental constants in nature: the charge on the electron (designated as e), Planck's constant divided by 2 π (designated by h-bar) and the velocity of light (c). From these fundamental constants one can construct a number that has no dimensions: the number h-bar * c / e ^ 2. That number is found by experiment to have the value 137, or something very close to 137. Now, there is no known reason why it should have this value rather than some other number. Various people have put forward ideas about it, but there is no accepted theory." - Paul Dirac.

Thinking of making 137 my new lucky number (and the answer to any question I have no clue about).