Thursday, January 30, 2020

Linky Links

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

- Steven Pressfield "Our Michael Moment"

- All future satellites should be required to have this tether technology. And any company with decommissioned satellites should be required to attach this technology to their old satellites before new satellites can be launched.

- Heh Heh

- Interesting long read on Saudi Arabia's potential involvement in 9/11. (Although keep in mind that most of the information is via investigators working for families who are suing the Saudis.)

- Heh Heh - Scholars now believe Jesus spent time with prostitutes, tax collectors just to avoid hanging out with loathsome journalists

- Understanding the R0 number and what it means for the spread of outbreaks like coronavirus.

- Rolls-Royce plans to build up to 15 mini nuclear reactors in Britain. In a decade or so will Rolls-Royce be known as more of a power company than a car company? Also interesting nugget in story is that China has more nuclear plants planned that all the Western world combined. That could greatly impact their carbon footprint.

Harry Potter's Recipe for Courage and Success

I like to take away wisdom or at least a better understanding of history from the books I read. That doesn't mean that I only read philosophy or history books. Take the Harry Potter series of books. Here's just something I took away from the books - Harry Potter's recipe for courage and success - you can apply it to business or your personal life:

1. Prepare for the challenge
2. Surround yourself with support
3. Engage in positive self-talk
4. Focus on what is at stake
5. Take appropriate action

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

You Liberal Elitists with Your Maps and Fancy Geography

This is CNN! Hardly the only time either - they can't even get the US States correct.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

To make the last 12-months go full circle all we need is for Adam Schiff to try to call Jussie Smollett as a last minute surprise witness with supposed damning bombshell claims against President Trump... Just saying but the New England Patriots are still the defending Super Bowl Champions for at least the next 4-days. So we have that going for us (which is nice)... "The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." - Benjamin Franklin... Heh Heh... Rio de Janeiro means "River of January." I wonder if somewhere there's a Rio de Febrero?... I still really want to see an Olympic ski jumping contest where all the athletes have to wear those flying squirrel suits. Have Red Bull sponsor it and the TV ratings would be huge... "It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow." - Robert Goddard...

Naval Knowledge

Naval Ravikant on Industry. Well worth a half hour of your time.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I bet Joe Rogan gets at least a good five minutes of material for his next stand-up special from the ridiculous "controversy" of him "endorsing" Bernie Sanders. Can't wait I'm sure it will be great stuff... Put me in the camp that thinks the coronavirus flu should be know as Xi's Disease going forward. Not the Kung Flu... Something tells me there's no way the movie Silver Streak could get made today. As great as Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor were together this scene just does not get made today... It is truly amazing that Bill Belichick has now been the coach of the New England Patriots for 20-years. What he's accomplished in that time is otherworldly... "We suffer from knowing the numbers." A quote from Sam Zell heard in his recent Tim Ferriss podcast. The quote in context really resonated with me... I'm on the waiting list for one of these bad boys...  Haven't watched a single minute of the Impeachment hearings and I'm a better person for it...

Diet of Worms

Today is he anniversary of the start of the Diet of Worms. This was actually a formal deliberative body in Worms, Germany assembled in 1521 to discuss Martin Luther. To most people unfamiliar with history or steeped in religious theology Diet of Worms sounds more like the title of a Stephen King short story.

It is one of the most important dates in the history of Western Civilization but one of the least known. It is important because it is the formal beginning of the schism between the Catholic Church and what was later to be known as Protestantism.  

Challenger Disaster

On this day in 1986 the space shuttle  Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch. One of the very few times in my life where I could tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing.

 It is worthwhile to (re)read President Reagan's remarks on the tragedy of the Challenger disaster.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Linky Links

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

- Jackie MacMullan on the passing of Kobe Bryant. So many tributes to Kobe today there's not time enough to read them all.

- Interesting - what you should know before signing up for a Tesla Solarglass roof

- Laughed hard at this. Taxes!

- The conspiracy theory issues surrounding the coronavirus flu continue to mount. I'm half expecting to learn that "coronavirus" translates into Chinese as "Captain Trips"

- Tom Peters' habits a person should practice daily

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and today I'd like to remember a hero you might not know - or not know was both a Holocaust victim (his father died at Auschwitz) and a hero.

Marcel Marceau was renown as perhaps the foremost mime in the world. But during World War II he also led hundreds of Jewish children to safety in Switzerland as a member of the French Resistance. He also almost single-handedly got 30 Germans to surrender by pretending to be the advance guard of a much bigger French force.

You can read about his heroic exploits here.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

I Heard You Paint Houses

Recently read the Charles Brandt book I Heard You Paint Houses. This was the book the movie The Irishman directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Robert DiNero and Al Pacino was based upon. The book was very well done and I highly recommend it.

Charles Brandt tells an incredible story weaving his historical knowledge and context with direct quotes from Frank Sheeran as Sheeran tells his story and how it interacted with some of the major historical events of the 60's and 70's. Brandt also makes Sheeran a somewhat sympathetic character. Frank Sheeran was in combat for 411 days in World War II a number that seems insane given that Sheeran participated in some of the most violent action in Italy. He learned to take orders which many time were to simply kill the guys in front of you. Skills he would use in later life.

After reading the book I'm convinced that Sheeran killed Jimmy Hoffa, that the mob killed JFK, and that Joe Biden only won election to the Senate because of Frank Sheeran (who I mentioned above killed Jimmy Hoffa).

Top 5 - Paul Newman Movies

Today would have been Paul Newman's 94th birthday. Here's my 5 favorite Paul Newman movies - not saying they are his best just MY favorites.

1. Slap Shot - perhaps the best sports movie ever.
2. The Sting - a classic but these days seems a little long
3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
4. Cool Hand Luke
5. (tie) The Verdict (tie) Absence of Malice

Just missing the list was The Hustler.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Linky Links

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

- This was quite good.

- Nassim Taleb - How to Be Rational About Rationality

- Beautiful - Time lapse photography of light through stained glass at the National Cathedral (HT Execupundit)

- Hanns Scharff master German interrogator. Interesting and entertaining slice of WWII history.

- Very nice gesture by the 49ers George Kittle

- Simple chart explains why Trump will be re-elected in 2020

Farnam Street Knowledge

- Good Science, Bad Science, Pseudoscience: How to Tell the Difference. I kept thinking of this Michael Crichton quote while reading the article.

- The Inner Game: Why Trying Too Hard Can be Counterproductive

- Resonance: How to Open Doors for Other People. The "listen, summarize, show" advice is particularly important.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Earlier this week I listened to the Joe Rogan podcast with guest former CIA Operative Mike Baker. This is the episode where Joe's "endorsement" of Bernie Sanders occurred. The problem is if you listen to the episode Joe clearly said his first choice as a candidate was Tulsi Gabbard... Whoever runs the Wendy's Twitter page should get a raise... Joe Rogan also admits that in 2016 he voted for Gary Johnson (full disclosure so did I). How did Joe's "endorsement" work for Gary Johnson? Thinking the Bernie "endorsement" probably will have the same impact mostly because Joe Rogan's audience is mainly made up of people who think for themselves...  50 years of failed "eco-pocalyptic" predictions. I keep thinking "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." What's the saying for fool me 50 times?...  This took me a second... Jon Lester has averaged a 15-8 record in Chicago since being traded away from the Red Sox. Forcing Jon Lester out was when the current ownership started appearing unlikable to many Boston fans....  Oh an Jon Lester has a great sense of humor...

Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday Afternoon Thought

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

15-years ago the New York Times actually had the headline "Can Angelina Jolie Really Save the World?" And it was in the business section! Just in case you were wondering if the NYT giving up on being a serious news organization was a new thing... This is the sort of thing that makes you believe peace in the Middle East is actually possible... Who knew? Richard Nixon and Otis Nixon shared the same birthday... A Christopher Hitchens quote that seems very relevant to the Impeachment hearings, "That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"...  A racial crisis may materialize in two years for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Both steroids tainted Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have two years of eligibility left to be elected to the Hall. If the white Clemens gets somehow elected at the last minute while the black Barry Bonds does not then the cries of "Racism!" will be loud and clear. And probably not wrong...  If the DNC really wanted to stick it to Bernie Sanders they could insure that someone at the next Democratic Debate asks Bernie if he's elected would he make his wife Secretary of Education...

Carmelita - Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon would have turned 73-years old today. Carmelita is one of my favorites.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Linky Links

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

Sad day as Terry Jones, aged 77, one of the founders of Monty Python's Flying Circus passes away.

- I think it would be the ultimate hilarious troll move if Derek Jeter found out who the one baseball writer who voted against him and sent that man's wife one of his infamous alleged gift baskets

- Cool - Ian McKellen's diaries from filming The Lord of the Rings

- 4 steps to achieve greatness. Actually 5 steps and I think I've posted it before but worth repeating and reinforcing.

- Tim Ferriss' latest blog post - Finding the One Decision that Removes 100 Decisions (or, Why I'm Reading No New Books in 2020). I rarely read a newly published book as it is but good advice.

Trump at Davos

Pretty extraordinary speech given by President Trump at Davos. Be sure to read the whole thing but this is the part that stood out for so many:
This is not a time for pessimism; this is a time for optimism. Fear and doubt is not a good thought process because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism and action.
But to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune-tellers -- and I have them and you have them, and we all have them, and they want to see us do badly, but we don't let that happen. They predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the '70s, and an end of oil in the 1990s. These alarmists always demand the same thing: absolute power to dominate, transform, and control every aspect of our lives.
We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country, or eradicate our liberty. America will always be the proud, strong, and unyielding bastion of freedom.

Day the Democratic Party Died and New Democratic Party Was Born

Today is an anniversary that I expect will pass with little fanfare. The historical significance of the anniversary should not be underestimated though.

On January 22, 1973, former president Lyndon Johnson died and with him died the old ways of the Democratic Party. The backroom deals and arm twisting. The acknowledgement that the Democratic Party was first and foremost the party of the working man and his family. "God, country and a fair wage" could easily have been the motto of the old Democratic Party.

On that same day, 47-years ago the new Democratic Party was also born. On that day, 47-years ago, the Supreme Court handed down its Roe v Wade decision which in effect decriminalized abortion and magically turned it from a medical procedure into a woman's right in the process. Since Roe v Wade the Democratic Party has never been the same. Where do you stand on abortion is the first and foremost question any candidate for any office is asked. The abortion party has also become the protest party. "Judge - you and your wife have kids - so you obviously are against having abortions - therefore we must protest you and we must do it naked while throwing pies." Make no mistake this new Democratic Party is about abortion first (although immigration is creeping up the list) - every other issue is secondary - including the economy and national defense.

Since January 22, 1973 the Democratic Party has not run a candidate for President who has not been pro-abortion. This includes John Kerry who said he's a Catholic but that doesn't make sense since the Catholic Church is staunchly pro-life. I'm not optimistic that I'll see a pro-life Democratic candidate in my life.

The fact that the anniversary of the death of the old and birth of the new Democratic Party does not get any recognition is not surprising. Nobody celebrates or notes May 30th as the birth of the Republican Party.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Maybe, just maybe, and hear me out here - maybe the reason no shots were fired at the Virginia Second Amendment Rights protests is maybe because legally owning a gun isn't a sign of mental illness. It's like maybe, just maybe, the image of crazy, bitter, clingers is just a media creation. Gun Grabbing Democrats on the other hand - yeah that's very real... "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom." - Isaac Asimov... Heh Heh - too funny... Out of curiosity has Kate Upton commented on the Astros cheating yet? I mean she comments on everything else it seems. And her being married to Astros ace Justin Verlander would make this a subject she might know something about... If I were a player in the Super Bowl I'd answer every question on media day with "Hodor" and nothing but "Hodor." And I'd be the star of the day... Thank God he's out of Boston. Seriously thank God... The Babylon Bee is on a roll!... If CNN just replaced their "news" coverage with a live camera showing a banana taped to a wall - would their ratings improve? I think we all know the answer to that...

Naval Knowledge

Pearls of wisdom from Naval Ravikant:

- Finding Time to Invest in Yourself

- "Tears are just attachments pouring back out." - Naval Ravikant

- The Essential Naval Ravikant (summary of his 2019 podcast appearances and teachings).

Don't try to go through that last link in one sitting. It should be one of those things you bookmark and go back to periodically because there is so much knowledge to take in. I'd also recommend rewatching or listening to Naval's appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience at least twice a year (it's that good).

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations..

Watched the first ten minutes of the Aaron Hernandez documentary on Netflix then I turned it off because why should I waste my time on that piece of shit. Especially as it seemed that the documentary was somehow going to make excuses for Hernandez's behavior... "Page 3 of 2" would be a good name for a blog... "What's true isn't new and what's new isn't true" a phrase from a recent Eric Weinstein Portal podcast that really made me think... Maybe the best synopsis of the McGregor / Cerrone fight last night... What are the odds that the Astros Jose Altuve leads MLB in getting hit by a pitch next season. I'd like to bet on that... Tobacco Cologne would be a good name for a band or an actual joke product you could give to the smoker in your life... What ever happened to the Dreamers? Have the Democrats completely abandoned the Dream Act as an issue? Wasn't it an upmost priority just a little while ago?... "It is capitalism that pulled billions out of poverty. Not vapid virtue signaling." - Nassim Nicholas Taleb...

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Linky Links

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

- This is a fantastic political ad. If I lived in her district I'd definitely vote for her.

- Every sign has a story behind it. I really want to know the story behind this one.

- The Astros cheating scandal has betting and legal implications for MLB

- Speaking of the MLB cheating scandal - the day baseball lost its mind.

- How to become a park ranger

How fisheries could be sustainable and profitable

- Iran's theocracy will collapse because of people like Kimia Alizadeh

Phase One China Deal

So this week a "Phase One" trade deal with China was signed. For those paying attention this is a clear win for the US and President Trump.

The deal basically breaks down to China agreeing to buy $200 billion in new American goods while the US agrees to not raise any more tariffs. We didn't give up anything and the Chinese agreed to buy more stuff - especially agricultural products.

When Trump instituted his trade war tariffs the Chinese responded by cancelling billions of orders from the US especially food stuffs. They thought this would make the US farmers put pressure on Trump to reduce his tariffs. But the unintended consequence for China was they no longer had enough food for their people. They tried alternative markets like Russia but to no avail. The Chinese learned that the US truly is the breadbasket to the world.

The deal is such a win for the US that the MSM is silent about it. Or if they do speak they have to admit, like CNBC's Jim Cramer that the tariffs worked. And now President Trump gets to campaign in the Midwest with this victory for the farmers under his belt. 

Dalai Lama's 5 Keys to Happiness

Friday, January 17, 2020

Muhammad Ali

Some items to remember the great man that was Muhammad Ali who would have turned 78 today.

Great story of how Muhammad Ali's biggest fan finally got to meet him

One of the greatest sports photos of all-time

- How Muhammad Ali wanted to be remembered

- Interesting - why Ali never went to prison for avoiding the draft 

Linky Links

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

- Anger is temporary madness: The Stoics knew how to curb it. "...other vices affect our judgment, anger affects our sanity."

- Google wants the Supreme Court to ignore copyright law. I'm going to have to go back and read that first link again because companies and people that keep thinking and acting as if the law doesn't apply to them makes me angry. And I'm not alone in that.

- 12 Fucking Rules for Success

- I'm an awful person for laughing at this - a woman passes out after having 12 Heinekens (I hope she's OK)

- This is a pretty damning stat.

- Why LBJ's Great Society failed and what it means for the 2020 election.

Battle of Cowpens

Today is the anniversary of one of the most significant battles in the history of the United States and nobody seems to notice. A short history of the Revolutionary War could read like this:

- The British surrendered at Yorktown after being surrounded by the Continental Army on land and bottled up by the French fleet at sea.
- The British were stuck at Yorktown because they had been so long occupied in the South by battles like the disaster (for the British) at Cowpens
- Cowpens was made possible by Valley Forge and the victory over the Hessians at Trenton
- The French navy was brought into the war because of the overwhelming victory over the British at Saratoga.
- Trenton was made possible by the Continental Army slipping out of Long Island where they really should have been trapped and destroyed by the British
- Long Island was made possible by the victory over the British in the siege of Boston which in turn was made possible by the guns taken from Fort Ticonderoga and by the start of the war at Lexington and Concord.

Of the above - the Battle of Cowpens (which happened 239 years ago today) is probably the least remembered.

If it is remembered it is probably the version that was put forth in the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot. In the movie there is a battle without a name in which Gibson's character asks his irregular infantry to get off two shots and then retreat to trick the British into chasing after them. This is the same basic "plot" to the Battle of Cowpens. The Jason Isaacs character of the dark-hearted Col. Tavington is loosely based on Col. Banastre Tarleton who led the British troops at Cowpens. Unlike the battle in the movie, however, in real life Tarleton (nee Tavington) escapes to fight another day.

One other note that may only interest me. In the movie The Patriot, Gibson's character uses straw soldiers to convince the British to let captives escape. In real life this trick was used but it was used by the British to allow the "captive" loyalists to escape Boston via ships in the harbor under the cover of "troops" placed overlooking the city on Bunker Hill. The troops later turned out to be straw dummies.

One last aside - Daniel Morgan should be a household name in America but sadly, he like most of our history, has been mainly forgotten.

Thursday, January 16, 2020


Recently completed watching viewing the HBO series Watchmen and I really enjoyed it. Then again I started off as a fan of the Alan Moore graphic novel and to a lesser degree the 2009 movie adaptation by Zach Snyder.

My girlfriend, not familiar with either the graphic novel or the 2009 movie, dropped out from watching after 2 episodes. Just too much information is assumed to be known by the viewer and without that knowledge the series could seem disjointed and weird.

Also understand that Alan Moore was not exactly best pleased with the re-imagining of his universe. Then again I think it would be bigger news if the curmudgeonly Alan Moore actually praised something.

Anyway - I give it two thumbs up. (Although not sure how they'll manage a second season based upon the ending of this one.)

Linky Links

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

- Africa's ghost Roman city buried in the sand for centuries.

- Analysis - True!

- Peter Thiel's 2019 Manhattan Institute's Wriston Lecture.

- This may be the end of free conference calling services.

- Individual neurons may be "smarter" than previously believed. Though I'm not enamored with the metaphor of the brain as a computer.

- Trudeau's administration has pushed government spending to the highest levels in Canada's history. As much or more than 40% of GDP - higher levels than during World War II. And the economy has nothing to show for it.

- Heh Heh



Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I truly believe that if Tom Brady plays next year in will be in a Patriots uniform. However, I have to mention that those who are insistent on making the case of Tom playing elsewhere keep missing a key ingredient. The next chapter of Brady's life will revolve largely around his TB12 Method and his gyms. He already has one in Boston and will be opening gyms soon in NYC and LA... New York Times actual headline; "Trump Signs China Deal, Halting Trade War That Hurt Global Growth" - hurt global growth for who? China?... Luke Kuechly absolutely should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. I would also say that in this age of CTE awareness nobody should be surprised with his decision to retire... Sometimes the truth is in plain sight (even if it was decades in the making)... Why I mention the new TB12 gyms is the Chargers are moving to LA and they desperately need a reason for fans to buys tickets and playing for an LA team can help Brady promote his new gym. Just saying... One of the great things about living in Mass is hearing people say the word "caucus." As in the Iowa "cock us." I have the sense of humor of a 12-year old boy...

Linky Links

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

- The danger of returning to the nuclear deal with Iran. Excellent video worth your time.

- Speaking of Iran - I laughed way too much at this.

- This re-election ad for Taiwanese President Tsai is very powerful.

- And speaking of Taiwan and President Tsai - this is also well worth your time.

- And just like that Alex Cora is out as Red Sox manager.

Dolores O'Riordan

It has been 2-years since the passing of Dolores O'Riordan. Such a great voice. Such a great talent. Gone so young.

I'll be listening to lots of music from The Cranberries today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

JFK, Trump and Joe Sr.

Many people have commented that JFK never would have survived today in the world of social media and hyper scrutiny. That JFK's womanizing would have kept him from reaching any real position of power in today's politics. Well if you want to buy into this magical time travel level of political reality - there never would have been a need for JFK to become President of the United States in the first place.

If Joe Kennedy Sr. were alive today he'd make the ultimate candidate for President. He was more ruthless than the Clinton's. He was richer than Donald Trump and would have been able to self finance the entire campaign. His moral flexibility was astonishing. And his political ambitions put them all to shame. The only reason JFK ran for office in the first place was because his dad was basically making him.

If Joe Kennedy Sr. were alive today he'd be the ultimate candidate. And you know what - I'd probably vote for him.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

With Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch first being suspended for a year by MLB then fired by Houston's owner Jim Crane, I'd look for the next shoe to drop being a heavy fine and suspension for current Red Sox manager Alex Cora. I'd also expect the Boston Globe (owned by Red Sox owner John Henry) to do a big expose on the Patriots in response... Q: What did the fish say when it bumped its head on a cement wall? A: Dam!... Why do I feel the phrase "Stuck on Stupid" is going to make a big comeback in 2020... "Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money." - Moliere... GOOP has a candle called "Smells Like My Vagina" while Burger King has a meatless burger called "Tastes Like My Ass"...


If you're thinking of doing a podcast (which I am) here's two good resources:

Full-Time Podcaster an e-book guide to starting a successful podcast. Note - I haven't read this guide yet but it comes highly recommended.

Tim Ferriss goes over the gear he uses for his broadcast and why he's chosen these items.

Farnam Street Knowledge

- Compounding Knowledge

- The Anatomy of a Great Decision. An interesting look at the Marshall Plan.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

SpaceX's Starlink

Last week SpaceX successfully deployed another 60 Starlink satellites.

Astronomers are not happy with Starlink because the satellites and the reflected light off them hinders their efforts from Earth based telescopes. If the full 12,000 satellites are deployed the light pollution and clutter may render many telescopes useless. This is something to watch because the argument that "the night sky belongs to everyone" not just to Elon Musk (or Jeff Bezos) will resonate with many. 

And if astronomers are upset with just the 60 satellites that have already been launched - how do you think they'll feel about the other 51,763 that are planned by Elon Musk and others:
SpaceNews recently reported that Elon Musk and his low-orbit space venture Starlink have filed with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to launch an additional 30,000 broadband satellites in addition to the 11,927 now in the planning stages. This looks like a land grab and Musk is hoping to grab valuable orbital satellite paths to keep them away from competitors.
The new requests consist of 20 filings requesting to deploy 1,500 satellites each in 20 different orbital bands around the earth. These filings are laying down the gauntlet for other planned satellite providers like OneWeb that has plans for 1,910 satellites, Kuiper (Jeff Bezos) with plans for 3,326 satellites and Samsung with plans for 4,600 satellites.
I agree that this is a "land grab." Most of these satellites will be visible to the naked eye.

This is worrisome. And this doesn't even take into consideration that many of these satellites will end up as space junk. I'm a big fan of Elon Musk but I've long been skeptical of Starlink. And now the unintended consequences (that some would argue were known problems) seem to be adding up.

Best War Movies Ever Made

The release of the highly acclaimed movie 1917 has spurred a number of new lists of the best war movies ever made.

Mental Floss has their list of The 25 Greatest War Movies of All-Time. There's a number of films on the list that I haven't seen like their #2 choice La Grande Illusion (1937),  Twelve O'Clock High (1949) and The Battle of Algiers (1966). I'd also disagree with a lot of their rankings (MASH doesn't hold up for me) but to each their own. And how does Paths of Glory (1957) not even make the list?

Vulture also has their list of The 50 Best War Movies Ever Made. I'd also highly disagree with their rankings. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) ranked 20th? That's crap. That movie should be in the top 5 on any list easily. And by Vulture's reasoning The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) should qualify but is not on the list though it's much better than some of their picks. Same goes for the movie 300 (2006).

How does The Battle of Midway (1942) or Tora Tora Tora (1970) not make either list? Seems like an anti-Navy bias. 

I did my own Top 5 List of the best war movies over a decade ago. I would have to heavily revise my list today. May do that sometime soon but not until after I've seen 1917.   

As an aside one movie I've had on my list to see because it came highly recommended in a couple books is John Huston's The Battle of San Pietro. The movie didn't make any of the lists (probably because it's categorized as a documentary) but I thought it worthy of mention. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Neil Peart

Neil Peart has passed away at age 67 from brain cancer. If you wanted to say that Peart was the greatest drummer in rock history you'd get no argument from me.

EDIT: Neil's bandmates in Rush have issued a statement on his passing.

Netflix has an excellent documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. Great insight into the band but also the tragedy Neil Peart has dealt with.

Linky Links

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

- Tesla surpassed 2019 goals delivering 367,500 electric vehicles in the year.

- Cool - NASA will try out an instrument designed to make oxygen on Mars.

- Wow - Tim Ferriss rips the mask off of Silicon Valley

- Analysis - probably true!

- Analysis - also true!

- Scientists turn nuclear waste into diamond batteries that could operate for thousands of years. This could be the future of energy production.

- Heh Heh - how to write "Hello" in Mandarin

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Russian arms manufacturers must be really ticked off at how inaccurate the Iranian missiles were. Not to mention how their ground to air missile system was used to shoot down a civilian airliner. Not great advertisements for future sales. Buy American!... A little adult Jeopardy! humor... "Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it." - Swedish proverb... My preferred adverbs are "Rhythmically" and "Sexily." Please respect my choices... Heh Heh... Revolution also means "to come back around." Maybe there'll be a revolution in Iran where they come back around to the secular, modern, successful nation they were pre-1979... Going to have business cards made up - Chris Lynch, Natural Philosopher - because why not?...

Farnam Street Knowledge

- Habits vs Goals: A look at the benefits of a systematic approach. "Nothing will change your future trajectory like your habits."

- Is Vulnerability a Choice?

- Farnam Street's Recommended Reading 2019. I've only read two of the books on the list. There must be a word for developing a phobia of not having enough time to read all the books you want to read. That's my real FOMO.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Dave Chappelle 2019 Mark Twain Prize Acceptance

Dave Chappelle is the best!

Buck Henry

Hollywood and comedy legend Buck Henry has passed away aged 89.

He is probably best known as the writer of the screenplay for The Graduate and for his comedic appearances on the first few seasons of Saturday Night Live. Younger folks probably know him for playing the father of Tina Fey's Liz Lemon character on 30 Rock.

Henry also wrote the screenplay for the movie Catch-22 based upon the Joseph Heller novel of the same name. Henry also had a memorable role in the movie as Colonel Korn.

Along with Mel Brooks - Henry created the TV show Get Smart starring Don Adams who passed away in 2005 (as an aside it is little known but Don Adams was a US Marine who served on Guadalcanal).

Buck Henry was one of a kind. He will be missed.

Linky Links

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

- ABC's next live musical will be Young Frankenstein. I just want to know if it will be broadcast in black and white.

- VDH on Iran. I particularly liked the phrase "doctrine of strategic realism."

- 5 tips on giving a better presentation

- While the US is experiencing an economic boom under Trump - "Canada is on an economic road to nowhere" under Trudeau. Funny how you never hear Hollywood-types threatening to move to Canada anymore.

- Heh Heh - Man driving alone in carpool lane informs officer his preferred pronoun is "They"

- Margaret Thatcher: The woman who saved Great Britain. Always bugged me that President Obama did not attend her funeral.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The NBA trade I'd like to see is Boston sending Daniel Theis and Milwaukee's 2020 1st round pick to Phoenix for Aron Baynes. It works money wise and I think the 1st round pick gives the Suns the incentive to make the move. The Celtics know that Baynes is a fit for the team and it helps them where they are weakest - against strong centers in the East like Joel Embid and Giannis... Knuffle Bunny - kids book or female self-pleasuring device? Surprise it's a kids book... John Henry has become the most unlikable sports owner in Boston. That's quite an accomplishment for a guy who broke the curse and whose team last won it all two years ago... No matter what happens in the 2020 election I'd love to see Norm MacDonald and Andrew Yang make a series of "on the road" movies together. Like the old Hope and Crosby flicks. Or maybe a re-make of the Odd Couple. Netflix make this happen... Meanwhile in Iran... What are the chances that Paul Krugman's password was "password"?... "Subordinating your ego is the ultimate form of self-confidence" quote that caught my fancy from a recent Jocko Willink podcast...

Charlie Munger's Book List

Here's a list of 39 books recommended by Charlie Munger. Of the books on the list:

- I've read 5
- 3 are sitting on my bookshelves as yet unread by me
- And 2 are on my Wish List

Have an idea that I'm going to add many more books from the list to my Wish List  (although to be honest my wish list of books is getting out of hand).

Smartphone Disrespect

Excellent advice.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

This may sound morbid but I was wondering if former NBA Commissioner David Stern would be included in the Oscars In Memoriam tribute. But I was surprised to find that although Stern has a lengthy IMDB page it was all for documentaries. I was sure Stern would have appeared in a few movies as himself... Speaking of morbid - convinced that if Donald Trump was able to go back in time to kill baby Hitler that Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi would end up charging him with infanticide... Sportswriters please take note - I will NOT be participating in this year's NBA Dunk Contest. I repeat - I will NOT be participating... I would like to put together a Taylor Swift cover band fronted by an Elvis impersonator. I would call the band Generic Ebola... So this week President Trump kills Soleimani and Joe Biden proposed banning all plastic bags. That seems to sum up the political situation in this country pretty well... And speaking of the death of Soleimani - here's a good review of the past 40-years of America dealing with Iran.

The Wonderful Weirdness of Water

Love science shorts like this (especially if they're narrated by Neil Gaiman).

Monday, January 06, 2020

Linky Links

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

- Interesting look at the repercussions of Soleimani's death

IBM and Microsoft - how to lose a monopoly. Interesting perspective for folks (like me) alarmed by Google and Facebook. HT Stephen Landry

- Heh Heh - Iran declines to sign Colin Kaepernick after viewing his workout video.

- Interesting - Stanford researchers develop a particle accelerator that fits on a chip. The design was via a form of AI and the first application for the particle accelerator on a chip is to fight cancer.

- When "Einstein 2.0" met "Freud's successor". Going to add this book to my wish list.

Patriots Thoughts

The Patriots lost a very winnable game on Saturday. A game they only had to play because they lost another very winnable game the week before against the Dolphins. That loss cost the team a first round bye.

I fully expected New England to win Saturday night (by more than 5 if you get what I'm saying). They had the better QB, the better head coach, the better defense and they had home field advantage. But this is why they play the games. It was not meant to be. There was just something off with this team the final third of the season.

Now the speculation has started about whether Tom Brady has played his final game in a Patriots uniform. That well may be but I'd expect that the only way that's true is if the 42-year old Brady decides to retire. He is 42-years old, he has accomplished more than any other player in NFL history and he's about to lose Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator. Don't underestimate the importance of that last factor.

Of course the impact of McDaniels leaving for a head coaching job elsewhere could be softened if Bill Belichick announced that he's he assuming the play calling duties next season. That would eliminate the need for an old dog like Brady having to learn new tricks from a new offensive coordinator.

Brady finished the season with over 4,000 passing yards, 24 TD's and just 8 interceptions. Those are good but not great numbers but keep in mind the offensive line was banged up, he lost his fullback and his receivers were literally learning on the job. There's no better alternative out there for the 2020 season. And the team knows that.

Brady watched his hero Joe Montana finish his career in Kansas City and I don't think he'd want to end his own career in a similar fashion - especially given that Montana was traded an Brady controls his own destiny. Brady could probably get a few more million playing elsewhere but that would be offset by the tarnish his reputation would take and how that could effect his off the field endorsement brand.

If I had to bet I'd say if Tom Brady plays next season it will be for the Patriots. Then again my bets haven't been that great lately. The only sure thing is that I'll be avoiding Boston sports talk radio  for the next few weeks.