Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shifting Kraal (and mixing metaphors)

I'm a moving. Loaded up the conestoga and heading over to typepad

I'm not bagging on blogger; I mean they gave mean 507 chances to rant for free. Been fun. But mac and google are not always the best of friends.

---phred

Sunday, September 30, 2007

American Lesbian in Space

Only a few pages into Michael Belfiore's new book, Rocketeers, and I'm hooked.

Reading about how Pete Diamandis started the X-Prize excites my inner geek.

(Pete Diamandis' grandfather is from the Isle of Lesbo. No, he has not been to space. And yes, the blog title is massive snark/EDIT)

I get the nicest rejection letters

Really I do. Must mean something. I'll keep plugging along, but I think it's necessary to set goals.

Set Goals:

  1. Get syndicated
  2. Get halfway through my Masters
  3. Learn basic Swahili
  4. Publish short story (3)
See, that wasn't hard. I think I'll use the blog more for worldbuilding (which explains the seeming randomness. Trust me, I write it all down in books), and less for "global politics and the big picture".

The big picture crap gives me ulcers, is to close to my day job, and in the end, it's all about 90 percent guess work.

The future. We'll get there soon enough. I just want to have fun on the way.

--phred

Molecular Rights Management

Funny enough, this sits at the heart of one of my short stories and one novel I’ve been working on.

I find the near future far more interesting than the far future. The chances that I’ll be living there approach 100%.

Iran and my self-interest

Convince me that a terrorist employing, nuclear armed mullah-ocracy is in my self interest, and maybe I’ll be willing to “give peace a chance.” Until then, I’m going to read articles like this and grin:

"Everyone in the government and military can only talk of one thing,' he reports.  'No matter who I talked to, all they could do was ask me, over and over again, 'Do you think the Americans will attack us?' 'When will the Americans attack us?' 'Will the Americans attack us in a joint operation with the Israelis?' How massive will the attack be?' on and on, endlessly.  The Iranians are in a state of total panic.'

Muddy boots and Pinstripe Suits IXXXII

Austin Bay on a much needed “Revolution in Diplomatic Affairs:”

Even the State Department's chardonnay and brie brigade suspects we have entered a new era of grimy, street-level foreign policy. It's an era where effective diplomacy starts with long days in bad neighborhoods, as culturally-savvy diplomats identify the hopes, fears and trends that seed future crises, and -- preferably -- create American-influenced opportunities to positively shape events.

In the past year or so, the phrase “Diplomatic Surge” came into vogue. I’ve always thought to myself, “yeah, you and what diplomatic corps?” At the end of the day, we’re left with a Corps of Diplomats more focused on their Foggy Bottoms than the national interest. More interested in leaking, undercutting, waiting out L’Enfant Terrible, and representing tout le monde to America than they are in advancing America’s interest, aggressively, to the rest of the world.

Short version: we’d have to blow less shit up if the diplomats did their jobs. Not strike deals, but advance America interest.

I kind of passed on this article saying that AFRICOM would be based outside of Africa. My reading, the decision is not made. But placing AFRICOM in the environs of Northern Virginia automatically piths any argument for standing up the command in the first place. If you wish to influence a region, go there. Putting it in Northern Virginia merely opens up another comfy career glide for the diplomatic corps.

Look, in general, the DoS (not all, there are a few bright spots) is the weak sister in this fight. A CIA without all the “sex appeal.”

Mood: Slightly Irritated

I just spent a half hour arguing about a policy I'd be in violation of if I discussed it here.

Blogging is a threat to large, dumb organizations. 

No matter which side they're on.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gellner's Law

"Logical coherence and social solidarity are inversely related." (Sandall 12)


So, did you hear the one about the Jewish Lesbian who  Ahmadinejad?


The P-Funk Mothership has landed



Popsci also has up some new pictures of the Richard Branson/New Mexico Spaceport.

Tear the roof of the mutha...

China, Inc and the value of stuff

Popsci has an article out on the Chinese cloning industry. Short version, China (Amazon to our Google) is getting more sophisticated a knocking off "brand name" products. Money quote:

Samsung was impressed by the efficiency of the cloners, so much so that the company offered them jobs. The cloners said no. Earning about $1.25 per phone, the cloners said, they found it easier and more profitable to make fakes. The only known result of the investigation? Samsung now takes care to release products in China shortly after they come out in Korea. Its only defense is to give cloners a smaller window of opportunity.

Sure, the cars they put out now are death traps, and China industry in general, with lead toys, tainted food, etc, is going through an annus horribillis, but here's tome betting that they will only get better.

Someone should shrink China down, and stick it on a desktop.

Oh, wait:


The desktopfactory. Priced out at 5,000 dracma and heading south.

The sweet spot is going to be when the desire to make, move and create meet the means to do so. When the value of stuff drops relative to the value of ideas.

Airstrip One to launch Droneship One

Article in Defensetech on BAE's development of a drone carrying ship.

British-based BAE Systems is proposing a sea-going mother ship for unmanned vehicles (UXV) of various types.

The future might not be now, but it can't be more than a few minutes away.

Fraying at the center

The Florida Democratic Party decides to ignore the DNC and hold it's primary early.

I love it when a party, any party, loses discipline. Refreshing.


Via IP

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Inkless Pen

Well, because I'm left handed, I talked myself into buying one:

La Contessa

Part of my research of burning man keeps bringing back to one of the most beautiful pieces on the playa. La Contessa, a spanish galleon fitted to a school bus. 

Who’s afraid of Naomi Wolf?

Look, let me be the first to say I look forward to the end of the Bush Administration. If only because those who have made a living off of doom mongering will be forced to board the S.S. STFU and set sail for oblivion. Or reinvention.

Art and fashion critic Naomi Wolf is out with a book titled “The End of America, A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.” In it, she outlines the ten easy bake steps to fascism.  Boing Boing has the link over here.

I’m constantly amazed, when pearl diving through the internet, how those who fear the government the most are the same ones calling for its growth. Bush’s Evil Surveillance State would be improved with universal health care, mandatory psyche screenings, fewer guns and less Bush. Right.

What they really want is to execute a capitated regime change while growing the rest.  

 Her list reads like the half remembered meanderings of a self absorbed literati. Without even reading the book, let me try and see if I can guess Naomi’s pathologies:

 1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy. (Jihad? What Jihad? Seen those swank new burginis?)

2. Create a gulag. (GITMOGITMOGITMOGITMO)

3. Develop a thug caste . (BLACKWATER!!!!!)

4. Set up an internal surveillance system. (That thing Poindexter wuz working on!!)

5. Harass citizens' groups. (Bitchslapping Moveon)

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release. (I think she’s talking a fishing here).

7. Target key individuals. (People I know who’ve been inconvenienced at check in counters on the way to Vail).

8. Control the press.( FOX)

9. Dissent equals treason. (She talking about  Zombies?)

10. Suspend the rule of law. (FLORIDAFLORIDAFLORIDA)

Whatever.

If you want to understand how totalitarianism develops, you only have to read three books: 

1984

True Believer

Road to Serfdom


If you want to watch it develop in real time, I mean see nuttiness really develop, then set your google alerts to “Venezuela, Chavez."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Moveable Feast


The weburbanist posts on a most delicious piece of vaporware: the GMC-PAD.

A house on wheels.

I'll put that piece of swank next to this, Lisa's Akoya microlight plane. This beauty lands on ground, snow and water.


The future will have homeless. And they're going to be loaded.

Back-in-water

Well, that wasn't hard to predict. Via IP, Blackwater convoys protecting (dig in here, a bit) U.S. Diplomatic convoys resume in Iraq.

Read a little into the story and you get this:

The report, Khalaf said, recommended annulling a legal provision that gives immunity to foreign security companies operating in Iraq. It also recommended Blackwater compensate the victims' families and that all foreign security companies be replaced by Iraqi companies.

Always follow the money. Don't get me wrong, eventually that needs to happen, but Khalaf is, shall we say, jumping the gun a bit.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New Jerusalem and the Fractal Future

 "Brussels is the last obstacle," says Bart De Wever, a Flemish party leader. "We would have divorced years ago if it wasn't for Brussels."

 

It is with morbid fascination that I watch the dissolution of Belgium. The Brussels Journal has been, to my knowledge, one of the few places to go for information.

 If Belgium breaks north an south, Brussels, with it’s great food and high crime rate could be set to be the first city carved out of a nation state by an Intergovernmental Organization (IGO).

 And via BB, I dug up and read the new UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Good read. Follow the declaration to it’s logical conclusion, and you’re going to have many more nations falling apart.

 Everyone, it seems, has some line of operation on what the next world order ought to look like (IGOs, Jihad, flat earth socialist). All I know is, it’s going to be damn interesting.

 Bring popcorn. And a leatherman.

The Road to Serfdom

Well, I finally got my hot little hands on the Hayek’s book “The Road to Serfdom.” Particularly germane:

“We shall never be successful in our dealings with the Germans till we understand the character and the growth of the ideas which now govern them. The theory which is once again put forth, that the Germans as such are inherently vicious, is hardly tenable and not very creditable to those who hold it. . . The problem is not why the Germans as such are viscous, which congenitally they are probably no more than other peoples, but to determine the circumstances which during the last seventy years have made possible the progressive growth and ultimate victory of a particular set of ideas, and why in the end this victory has brought the most vicious elements among them to the top. Mere hatred of everything German, instead of the particular ideas which now dominate the Germans is, moreover, very dangerous, because it blinds those who indulge in it against a real threat…It is doubly dangerous because the contention that only the peculiar wickedness of the Germans has produced the Nazi system is likely to become the excuse for forcing on us the very institutions which have produced the wickedness.”

(Hayek 8-9)

Now fast forward to 2007.

The Army Combat Shirt: Now with more headlight protection

The Army’s gone ahead and updated the ACS. Put a little bit more fabric around the chest-al area. Fewer headlights.

 

That’s why you test products first.

Back asswards

Don’t ask me why, but I bought  my first CD before I even bought a CD Player. A Kathleen Battle/Winton Marseilles Duet, I believe. Well, creature of habit that I am I’m going to order some bling for an iPhone I don’t yet own. You got to admit, this is a sweet mod:

 And speaking of mod’s, I’d be all over this modbook if it had a swivel and a keyboard.

 I am Steve Jobs’ bitch.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Random T-Wall Art

Road to Serfdom

Short Hayek: socialism is just a speedbump on the road to fascism.

As a self described freedom freak, I say amen brother.

Blackwater: In or Out?

Heard the Beeb reporting that the Iraqi Government has moved to kick Blackwater, the private security firm (and market response to growing insecurity?), out of Iraq.

Do a blog search and you'll see some of the chatter beginning.

Straight line to the NYTimes, and it's a lot less clear:

The incident took place on Sunday in Nisour Square, an area in western Baghdad that is clogged with construction and concrete blocks. American officials said that a convoy of State Department vehicles came under fire, causing one to break down. It was towed. The officials did not say whether any of the convoy’s security guards fired back or whether they worked for Blackwater.

My two cents? Blackwater stays put. The State Department needs them to much (diplomacy is not an effective deterrent against complex ambushes). The spin? A car bomb, some gunfire and then a statement from the Interior Ministry? Sounds too pat. Probably just Jaish al-Mahdi acting up.

You now how those kids like to play.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A thousand words

And in remembrance of this day, the 11th of September: God bless America in all her myriad ways. May she prevail.


Buy Dinars!!

I got the chance to watch GEN Petraeus and AMB Crocker last night. The spotlight was on GEN Petraeus and the lethal fight, but I found myself fascinated by this proposal buried in AMB Crocker's remarks:


(yes, I'm too lazy to type it out)

Looks to me like a Marshall Plan light. An attempt to invest in Iraq's future. You know, with the 'Surge' (or Phantom Thunder/Strike) focusing bottom up on security (start small and stay there), the Iraqi electrical grid privatizing, the Anbari awakening and the ISE up 64%, I'm suddenly bullish on Iraq.

Next time someone asks you when we'll be bringing the 'trupes home,' hand them a juice box and tell them, gently, 'effectively never'.

Now, where can I get me some dinars?

Tom Links, I thinks.

Thomas P.M. Barnett links to an article in MSNBC titled “The Next Battlefront.” It’s about Africa, so of course I’m all over it like the Third ID on Baghdad (we must keep our metaphors current).

 Tom comments:

“Pretty good summarizing piece that I'll cite primarily as an example of rising MSM awareness of AFRICOM.”

True as far as that goes. However, the article strikes me as phoned in and formulaic.

I mean, come on:

1.     Associate U.S. with ‘Imperial.’ Check.

“Not surprisingly, the establishment of a major American base in Africa is inspiring new criticism from European and African critics of U.S. imperial overreach.”

You see, U.S. ‘imperial overreach’ is an established fact. Like global warming. So, without running the numbers, we’ll fiat the overreach and queue up the critics.

2.     Unnamed Eurocrat? Check

"If you have soldiers hugging trees and painting hospitals at the same time as they're killing people, the perception of the local populations is going to be altered significantly," says one European official, who spoke to NEWSWEEK on the condition that his identity be kept secret.

O.K. The kid (me) is about tired of listening to certain European ‘officials’ for whom freedom and self determination are second languages. Europe, IMHO, is heading in a direction wholly incompatible with increased liberties and prosperity. Their Bono-Heavy approach to foreign aid while jealously guarding the Common Agricultural and Common Fisheries Policies are, in some part, responsible for the mess Africa is in today (though, consistent with my philostainment approach to life, African’s are at most to blame for their continued acceptance of bad philosophies dressed in worse governments).

3.     Quote an African Leader? Check.

Two weeks ago South Africa's Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota called for a continental ban on Africom and said 14 nations of southern Africa—including South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania—would reject the presence of "foreign forces."

True enough. The article is here, and Minister Lekota did say:

"Africa has to avoid the presence of foreign forces on its soil, particularly if any influx of soldiers might affect relations between sister African countries," Lekota said. 

Minister Lekota also had this to say recently:

Earlier, ANC chairman Mosiuoa Lekota said the continued existence of the tripartite alliance was the only way South Africa would ever become a socialist country.

Seems Minister Lekota doubles down as the Minister of Defense and the Chairman of the ANC. Perfect for indulging flat earth beliefs in the benefits of ‘socialism.’

Unfortunately, Minister Lekota fits in well with the government of Thabo Mbeki. Fortunately, Liberia looks like it’s offering up some turf. Plus side, plenty of beach and a more direct flight for the Strategic Overwatchers of AFRICOM.

Pity South Africa.

4.     Actually contact AFRICOM (they have phones now)? Not on your life.

Formula.

The Global War on Terror and dirt napping as many Jihadi’s as possible and AFRICOM  are about as related as a violent SWAT action with the Live Action News Chopper is to community policing and Guliani’s Broken Windows Theory. Different ends of the spectrum.

AFRICOM fits in more with a global counterinsurgency (a hazy concept I’m betting will pick up steam in the next few years). It’s part of a response to a developing, or I should say, devolving problem. The rise in this century of Movements and the quick buck, easy answer shamans who lead them. I believe it’s a correct response. Part lethal and part non lethal effects (mustn’t use ‘kintetic’ anymore, no siree), AFRICOM will be headed by a Four Banger, GEN Kip Ward, and his two deputies will be a Four Banger for lethal effects and a Four Banger equivalent (out of State) for non lethal effects.

Olive and the arrow. Great Seal type stuff.

AFRICOM, as I mentioned earlier, will also break with the traditional Staff approach and adopt an effects centric organization. Smart move:

AFRICOM’s will have divisions called outreach, plans and programs, knowledge development, operations and logistics, and resources.

AFRICOM is going to have to go through the storming, norming and forming all organizations pass through. AFRICOM will not be a lineal descendant of CJOA-HOA and the Pan Sahel Initiative, our current jihad bashing initiatives in Africa. AFRICOM will, by the time it reaches IOC, have the benefit of personnel, knowledge and methods in counterinsurgency hard learned in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran (hey, I’m kidding about the last one. Don’t spill your Starbucks).

Let’s face facts. The rate of change in the international system is accelerating. It’s an almost natural response to the entropy that settled in after the welcome demise of the SOVUNION. The nation that innovates the next, best, security arrangement is the one that’s going to set the model for the next few years. Look at it as the dysfunctional Iranian/Hezbollah model on one hand versus the U.S. AFRICOM model on the other with the Chinese, Euro’s and Russians muddling up through the middle.

The gold medal goes to the country that innovates the best, the fastest. And I'll bet on the U.S. any day of the week.

Anyways. My two cents.

Circumstances Reduced

Alas, my scanner is down. I'll have to await a shipment from Amazon before I can start posting cartoons again.

Pity.

That was a little too close.

And loud. And [AUTO-REDACTED]

Really, someone needs to talk to our neighbors about their behavior.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Burner Culture









Randomly adultish flickr stream here.

(sorry for the 'blue' post. Safari acts funky sometimes.)

I need to buy one these...



Unfortunately, the link through from Neatorama has crashed the originating site. I'll stop by in a day or so.

If these two mated...

...they'd give birth to a future.



File under random eye candy. (Virgin Galactic and Galactic Suites)

Ask Hoffer

Via LGF, Slate asks "Why are so many jihadists converts to Islam?"

I'm getting ready for my classes, and given that I've got to read Sayyid Qutb's "Basic Principles of Islamic Worldview", I figured I'd reread Eric Hoffer. So I  reordered a copy of Eric Hoffer's True Believer as an innoculant.

Short Hoffer: they're nutters.

Long Hoffer; they are broken inside.




Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Note to self

I need to add Burning Man to the list of places I want to go.

 

I'll just need to find a nice hotel nearby for the wife and I.

Man, this just spark's

I mean all the white noise about hotels in orbit, a new X-Prize and commercial space flight. 
Richard Branson got together with New Mexico to launch Spaceport America. I'd vote for Bill Richardson (notionally) on that alone, dammit.


Drool. I am.

Needs must

I see my explanation for my hiatus from the blogging world didn't make it up into the cartoon panel.

Unforced error. I'll fix tomorrow.

In other news, I've learned that at critic who can rip apart your work, while at the same time makes you laugh, is one hell of a critic indeed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

DiCaprio should read more

"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

Unfortunate poster for his new movie:



Fear not, McMansion Owners

Representative Dingell will propose:

Dingell said Friday he plans to introduce legislation next month that would eliminate the tax deduction on mortgage interest for owners of so-called "McMansions" - houses bigger than 3,000 square feet.

But the market will provide.


Treehouses (ok, this one is cool)




A logical line of operation. Pass the berries.

I, Robot

Link to BB on a robot arm the mimics the human arm:


Quote For Today: Computer Science/Robotics is just the poor man's biology.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Someone's listening

Dr. North over at EUReferendum has been on a roll recently about the nature of close air support in battle.  He's right, of course. The way ahead in nook and crannie battles is smaller, cheaper, repeatable (tactics, aircraft, ground vehicles etc). One of the planes he's proposed for the Brits is the Super Tucano, from Brazil.

Today, from Strategy Page:


August 27, 2007: Security company Blackwater U.S.A. is buying Super Tucano light combat aircraft from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. These five ton, single engine, single seat aircraft are built for pilot training, but also perform quite well for counter-insurgency work. 




BEGIN PARANOIA: Why is Blackwater fielding it's own organic CAS. Is it for Iraq? Do they feel they don't or won't have access to U.S. CAS? Is it because U.S. CAS will be committed somewheres east in the near future? END PARANOIA

I don't know.

But hey, if Blackwater buys some C27-Js, they'll be on their way to the first homebrew military of this century. 

Ought to piss someone off.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Machina "in" Deus

Europe's most powerful computer goes to church



Balloon Tech

Sending a balloon into space, with a canon coolpix attached? Priceless.


Beats my parasailing photos.

The S.A.B.L.E. 3 homepage (looks to be crashing under the server load)

Probably vaporware

At least according to the MarsBlog, but Galactic Suites, the "new" space hotel venture has enough pleasing eyecandy.


Drifting conestogas.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"The Graduate Level of War"

Amazon.com is a pretty amazing company. Four days from point of order to the ends "o" the earth.

Probably where I lost my keys....

Scientist find big hole in the universe.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Pronoun People

I fight a losing battle at work.

A battle against them. I don't know who they are, but everywhere I go, I run into them, or there agent provocateur, he.

"Well, they said...."
"Not according to them...."
"They got that thing."

I don't know who these people re, but they are everywhere. Instead of reading, research and citations, people rely on hem to tell them what to do.

Them. The pronoun people.

They are out to conquer the world.  And their weapon of choice is the passive voice.

The Flat Earth

Good article in Reason Magazine on Ill Presidente 4 Life, Hugh 'Hugo' Chavez:

The nation had at last "broken the chains of the old, exploitative capitalist system," he said. "The state now has the obligation to build the model of a socialist economy."

Man, Venezuela is like a petri dish of bad politics, even when it's so heartbreakingly obvious where this will all end up.



Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

So fifty percent of the world's population will live in cities...

That will make for interesting stories.

Via Neatorama, Kowloon:


Source Deputy-Dog.

Peace Makes You Stupid

Bruce Bawer on the Peace Racket.

America’s leading Peace Racket institution is probably the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies—endowed by and named for the widow of Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, the ultimate symbol of evil corporate America. It was the Kroc Institute, by the way, that in 2004 invited Islamist scholar Tariq Ramadan to join its faculty, only to see him denied a U.S. visa on the grounds that he had defended terrorism.

I don't fear Bill Gates. But his money living on after him scares the shi* out of me. Peacers will be all over it like a fly on Leno.

Peace? Right.




Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rudy on the World

I finally got around to reading Rudy's piece in Foreign Affairs: Toward a Realistic Peace. Pretty good read, and I can see why Thomas P.M. Barnett found the work impressive; it bears alot of the hallmarks of PNM and BFA. Rudy addresses a complex, developing world in a way that is distinctly not "batshit insane." 

He'd like to take America down a path between "bend over" and "bomb, bomb, bomb." 

Looking at the other responses, on Slate, from the "left" or the "right," I'll note not one George Keenan. But, Kaplan be proud, they were probably all "A" students. Good for them. Bad for us.

Pity. 

(P.S. Fred's going to have to step it up)


Friday, August 17, 2007

I am so not there

In cosmiclog, news that Bigelow Aerospace is moving up the launch of his space hotel to before 2010. 

Great. I'd plan on making my fortune by cashing in well stocked change jars. Then I would have bought a ticket. I was planning on 2020, but at 2010 prices, I'm probably locked out.
On the plus side, they probably won't have high speed wireless internet and continental breakfasts.

Pity. (via Hit&Run)

Still, it seems the future is, indeed, inflatable. Maybe Einstein was right after all, with this whole expanding stuff. (Though I disagree heartily with his Theory of Cultural Relativity).
Don't forget this piece about inflatable lunar modules:


Space Age Joke: "Is that a solar colonization plan in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

The Great Skype Outage

Seems to be over. I can talk to my wife and she can talk to her family.

Fragile, the things which keep us together.

I wonder if my iPod will work, when civilization falls.

Makes me laugh:

In the Danger Room, via IP:

For years, members of the military brass have been warning that soldiers' blogs could pose a security threat by leaking sensitive wartime information. But a series of online audits, conducted by the Army, suggests that official Defense Department websites post far more potentially-harmful than blogs do.

Sounds right to me. My dime store logic: blogs are maintained by individuals, 'official sites' by organizations. Accountability and responsibility accrue to the individual. Organizations, not so much.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pattern Recognition

Cory Doctorow, posting over at Boing Boing, writes:


I feel him. I pretty much missed attending Honors classes in high school by a few points. Then I was accused of laziness by my teachers. Probably true. Instead, I went into the advanced placement track in ended up CLEPing a large part of my freshman year of college.

Lazy, again.

To date, I've never really settled into a career. I've got a profession; but it is one that gives me time to pursue my interest. And use explosives.

Eventually, I figure I'll settle down, and get to doing whatever the hell is I'm meant to do. It will either involve ponies, kittens or systems complexity. Maybe ponies.

My point is, I've got my eye on the perfect career. It just hasn't been invented yet.

Over at Scott Adams' blog, he references this New York times article talking about tout le universe being part of some deep blue/cray like supercomputer.

Um. O.K.

For me, it's like some mitochondria finally self actualizing in my big toe and realizing it's part of something larger. And that something larger may be organic.

Scott's right that universe as computer is a constant theme in SCIFI (PBUH), but I can't help thinking that if the universe is part of some computronium, then it is o in a way that's not recognizable.

No "intel inside" stickers slapped to it's big bang.

It's enough for me to view the universe as a complex system with plenty of unknown data points. Finding out how or where I fit into that system is enough to occupy me for life.

That, and explosives.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

AFRICOM and the J-Staff

Looks like AFRICOM is going to continue to redefine how we pursue security in this century. Getting rid of the J-Staff (see link) is a huge break from a lethal effects based thinking (good old fashioned kinetics) to a more holistic effects thought process. More PMESII, less JDAM (not that there's anything wrong with that). 

Cain't help it. Quote:

AFRICOM’s will have divisions called outreach, plans and programs, knowledge development, operations and logistics, and resource

Pretty damn neat.

Curriculum Vitae

Now, recently, I found myself promoted from upper, lower management to lower middle management. I've got the opportunity to travel to strange and exotic locales and work bone crushingly long hours. 

Hence the lack (in addition to the random internet connection) of sustained blogging.

Maybe I should entertain a career witch. If any out there is looking to hire me, I am willing to work for half the hours and twice the money. As a bonus, I'm lazy.

Anyone?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In Praise of Blimps

I owe, in part, my continued well being to semi rigid inflatable blimps, so I, for one, am happy when one makes big.

The Aeroscraft ML866 is taking off. As a proof of concept, it's pretty cool.



Inflatable flying hotel?

I think that in the future, being homeless is going to be expensive.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh yeah!!!

Back on the web.

My distant spot on the earth has an outrageously expensive internet connection, and addict that I am..... My dead run portable office made it through my travels, laptop, scanner and wacom tablet intact.

So, I'm back to blogging (which I like), drawing (which I love) and writing (which animates me).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Blog Hiatus

I'd planned to write more, but ran out of time. Like to toon above says, see you when I see you.

Don't mess up the planet.

That's my job.

Peace.

----Phred.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Plastics V. 5,642

Finally, us bio geeks will steal a march on the computer geeks. At least according to Freeman Dyson, nipped from IP:

It has become part of the accepted wisdom to say that the twentieth century was the century of physics and the twenty-first century will be the century of biology. Two facts about the coming century are agreed on by almost everyone. Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century. Biology is also more important than physics, as measured by its economic consequences, by its ethical implications, or by its effects on human welfare.

It's about getting my chocolate in your peanut butter. And vice versa.

Great end to a short week

Picking up my allotment of ambien at my local doc. Come outside, and see this nice lady has managed to ram her car into mine.


Nice.

On the other hand, got a fully liscenced copy of Parallels running now. Pretty cool. It took the screenshot in mac and just dragged it over to windows.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Flesh made new?

Plastics, young man. Plastics.

More on J. Craig Venter, from the New York Times:

That hasn’t stopped synthetic biologists from dreaming. “Grow a house” is on the to-do list of the M.I.T. Synthetic Biology Working Group, presumably meaning that an acorn might be reprogrammed to generate walls, oak floors and a roof instead of the usual trunk and branches. “Take over Mars. And then Venus. And then Earth” —the last items on this modest agenda.

Doods been getting a ton of press, lately.

The Future of TACAIR

Look, I can applaud the Air Lords for recapitalizing the A-10 fleet. At eight million dracma a bird, they'll keep 252 A-10s flying for another couple of decades.

That same cost would buy you about six to eight F-22s.

But given the knife's edge the Air Lords have kept the A-10 program, I'm skeptical of their grab for the Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cool

And instructive. I posted a short over at the Baen's Bar and got taken to the proverbial woodshed by pros. All valid critiques. If your a poor writer like myself, I'd suggest posting there. And improving.

Pretty awesome

Start small, and stay there.

My new motto.

Thomas P.M. Barnett links to the global incident map and finds it of marginal usefulness. He goes on for a bit and the says:

That was my primary reason in defining the Core-Gap breakdown in the first place: the Core has all sorts of rule sets, the Gap largely lacks them.

Now, work with me for a moment. We recently went through the "Immigration Debate." There's still plenty of fallout to occupy your attention, but let me tease out this: the idea that immigrants (largely code for Mexicans, let's be honest) are coming to Merka for a better life. Of course they are. Unless you're one of the oligarchs fortunate enough to be positioned in the soft-european elite that make up Mexico City, Mexico stinks. So you move.

Brings me to this from my mindmap:



Pretty simple, right (but then most things are)? Compared to the U.S., Mexico is a dysfunctional oil republic, so of course people move. Now, this disrupts our borders, impacts our health care system, and forces change within Merkan borders. So we need to adjust our practices to absorb the influx of people seeking a better life, Right?

Or, we can effect change within Mexico. Get Mexico to start acting in it's own best interest. Which means trending towards a more minimalist rule set. Effect this over time, then Mexicans will only cross the borders to host the Nightly News, like Cannucks currently do (well that and healthcare).

But Mexico is not "our" country. So? It is our problem. Borders bleed.

Now let's extend this.

Barnett's latest in Knoxnews is entitled "Army America needs versus the wars Americans prefer to wage."

Second graph:

The big-war crowd wants to write off Iraq as an aberration, preferring instead to focus on conventional war with rising powers like China. The small-wars faction envisions a future in which messy insurgencies are the norm.

Reminds me of the whole global warming debate. See, global warming is the problem we wished we had.

Sea Fighter. The original Littoral Combat Ship.



Now, the Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense, went from the above, to testbedding the USS Freedom and Independence. Now, I'm not a certified navalogist, but this seems like a dead stick to me (spot the obscure movie reference?). The beauty of sea fighter was in cost (cheap), replication (many copies) and value (crew aside, damn near disposable). She'd give the Navy the ability to be everywhere at once.

But instead, the
Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense went with this slimmed down Arleigh Burke version of the Littoral Combat Ship:



All hat, no cattle. A 2.5in pea shooter (were standard 5inchers considered too aggressive), cost overruns, fewer copies. They're "Big War" hedges. Call me crazy, but which picture represents the foreseeable fight:



There is a big divide, in the ether of Homeland Bureaucracy: Division of Defense.

Between big, expensive and sexy:



And cheap, effective and ugly:



Interesting quote from the wiki:

Some believe that LCS is a "preemptive strike" intended to create a successor to frigates before former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could replace them with "Sea Fighter": a concept for a series of corvette-sized attack boats.

SECDEF (R) Rumsfeld was always a small wars kind of guy. Without any references whatsoever, I believe he sat down in his den, late the night of Sept 11, 2001, scotch in hand, and saw a threat matrix that was mutatable and adaptive. He cheered SOF on horseback, favored Sea Fighter, and killed the Crusader and the Comanche. He did favor going light into Iraq, but didn't foresee the cultural quagmire, one where Merkin soldiers laid down a base of fire on Haifa street, while insurgents responded by laying down a base of fire on E. Capitol St NE. Conventional Popularity is harsh on old Don. History will be kinder.

Somewhere, Don is smiling.



Here's why.

The small war crowd wins. One reason. Necessity.

So, you want a war with China? And you've got it penciled in for the 2040-2050 timeframe? Sure, you're violating one of my geo-strategic maxims, namely, Don't War the People who Cook Well, but hey, have your Big War.

Your problem is getting there. Crossing the badlands.



I'm beginning to see the entire Withdraw from Irak debate as an unimportant side show. Stay, go, no matter. Look, the world's not going to go away because we decide, pace the New York Times Editorial Board, to pick up our toys and go home.

Why did I start with Mexico? To illustrate that one point. Borders Bleed. Mexico's a piker compared to the general nuttiness that out there. If and when we retreat from the great outdoors, and retire to our caves, the general nuttiness will track our footsteps back.

Sure, we'll try to uparmor our culture, but ultimately defensive measures are employed by those unwilling or unable to deal with root causes.

Immigration Reform (dysfunctional Mexico)
Insurgency (Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh)
Poverty (Bad Governance)
Ecological Disasters (Bad Governance)

Etc.

There is an absolute limit to the amount of uparmor a culture can add (shoeless check-ins, CCTV, cavity searches), before it tips over and falls in a ravine. We'll get there, I suppose.

Barnett ends with this:

This intra-military debate should focus America's attention on the real question at hand: Do we see a future world full of messy Iraqs and Somalias and Haitis? Or should we pull back from that long war focus and prepare for conventional conflict with China?

Given the course of events since 9/11, which pathway seems more realistic to you?

China can wait. But I don't think that's truly the debate.

There's serious money in Big Sexy War. It's an argument the Ground Pounder has been losing to the Air and Sea Lords since the last necessity. WWII. But you know what, you go to war with the Republic you have....

But the nation needs small and ugly.

The Lobster Summit



Back when I was a phrap, and American and Soviet leaders met, there was always a lot of yammering on afterwards about ground breaking Salt and Pepper treaties.

Well, Presidents Bush and Putin meet......and crickets.

There was some brief mention of Russia integrating into the missile defense sheild, but aside from that, nothing.

You know, nuking Europe, Kosovo and Nazi America aside, I wonder if Putin came with something more substantial. I mean, it's too late for CoDominium, right, but I wonder if Putin wants in, wants further integration into the core. A strategic alliance, of sorts.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I ask...

How is a New York Times "Editorial" different from an anonymous blogs, asks this anonymous blogger:

The United States has about 160,000 troops and millions of tons of military gear inside Iraq. Getting that force out safely will be a formidable challenge. The main road south to Kuwait is notoriously vulnerable to roadside bomb attacks. Soldiers, weapons and vehicles will need to be deployed to secure bases while airlift and sealift operations are organized. Withdrawal routes will have to be guarded. The exit must be everything the invasion was not: based on reality and backed by adequate resources.

The army doods should like, you know, move their stuff, and then....oh look, a mojito.

But then I paraphrase.

(UPDATE: That was unfair of me. Though they write in the aggregate, they're pictured as individuals here. In apologia, I post my own photo:



thank you.)

Sad, but true.

1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d t0 g37 l41d.

via Neatorama.

Fred Thompson Must Die!!!


Set astroturf blasters to kill.

NYT: Fred Thompson and Abortion

AP: With substance lacking....

NYT: Will her face determine his fortune?

LAT/NYT: Abort-o-rama gotta scandal

AP: Too friendly with Nixon before pithing him

Thompson was supposed to announce sometime this past week. So saith conventional wisdom. And, despite their read, these articles don't write themselves. They were in the shoot, and had to go.

But you know, you'd think a man lacking in substance, with a trophy wife, pro-abortion creds and a hand in taking down Nixon would be a media l33t darling.

But not in Absurdia, the land we live.

My dead run office




I had to upgrade dead run portable office to the 1440 pelican case. Same day it came, my Rapidographs arrived. Pretty cool. I haven't used them to draw with in awhile. Looking to get back in the groove.

Helpful tips:

Dick Blicks having a firesale on rapidographs.

Cut rate pelican cases here.

Friday, July 6, 2007

R&U

Repair and upkeep. Fancy name for plenty of wood, nails and hand tools. DeWalt, preferably.

You take deploy with your assigned weapon, you redeploy with it. Take along enough R&U and you'd be surprised what you can build. This guys a carpenter, that guy dabbles as an electrician.

CPT Manchester wants to haul it all in a Pandora's Box. Fascinating article on the coming revolution in fabrication technology and it's uses in war, over at Small Wars Journal.




More here on the edge.

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