Tuesday, February 28, 2006

And Now For a Little Levity....

From a comment on a post over at Little Green Footballs:
#257 Blue Chip 2/28/2006 01:35PM PST
Ok, time for a little levity.
I’m working on a parody of the Oscars (apologies to all the parody masters out there-I’m a novice-It's a work in progress).
Any feedback - much appreciated.
* Backstage at the Oscars Rehearsal *
Producer: “Five minutes everybody! Places please! This is a live rehearsal! Camera one – zoom in on Jon!”
Jon Stewart: “Dick? I’m gonna open with the Bush/Cheney ‘Brokeback Mountain’ joke. Maybe use the “Capote & Cheney Hunting” stuff later? You know, after we have the “Jumpin’ Jihad” musical number. What do you think?”
Producer: “Yeah, that works. Don’t forget Rosie O’Donnell and Nathan Lane are doing the “Gay Love Stories at the Movies” montage right after you. Keep it tight on the monologue. We don’t have a lot of time before the commercial break…”
Jon Stewart: “Right. Alex Baldwin and Marty Sheen are still doing the “Support the Troops – Vote Democrat” mock PSA? That’ll kill! Funny stuff!”
Producer: “Of course. Camera Two? Make sure you get a good shot of Cindy Sheehan sitting next to Michael Moore during Jon’s monologue! Third joke in, wait for the line “Bush loves cartoons at the movies….”
Jon Stewart: “Cindy promised to wear her tee shirt if we showed it. That still a go?”
Producer: “Hell yeah! This isn’t the ‘State of the Union’ speech, you know. We still have free speech in Hollywood! By the way, make sure you pull all the “Mohammad - The Musical” jokes”
Jon Stewart: “I pulled all the Mohammad jokes. No sense offending a respected religion for no reason. We don’t need any grief over being ‘insensitive’ to cultural differences.
Producer: “Absolutely. That’s the same reason we dropped Theo Van Gogh from the “In Memoriam” montage. I mean, the guy basically made a hate film. We can’t celebrate that.
Jon Stewart: “Not enough fire insurance in the world to mention that guy! Can you imagine?!? They’d burn the theater down!
Producer: “Hell! They’d burn half of Hollywood down!”
Jon Stewart: “Is Redgrave going to hand out the award to “Paradise Now” when Palestine wins for best foreign film?”
Producer: “Who else? She’s always supported them. We thought it was a good fit. Should be an interesting acceptance speech, too.”
Jon Stewart “Did the President tape a message for opening credits? Like Clinton did?”
Producer: “The President….? Of the Academy….?”
Jon Stewart: “No - the President of the United States. You know, Bush?”
Producer: “Hell no! Will Farrell is doing a really funny impersonation of him we filmed last week. It has ‘Bush’ trying to figure out what the films are about based on just their titles! It’s a scream! He thinks ‘Crash’ is about NASCAR! Our audience will love it”

Friday, February 24, 2006

Valour-IT Donations - Not Just For Memorial And Veteran's Day Anymore...

FbL has an update on the progress of one wounded serviceman, a recipient of a laptop and voice activated software several months back. Note this:
The laptop was the first step to the road to recovery. It proved that he was going to be able to do all the things that he did before.
For more info, and to see what a bunch of committed, Type A competitors can do when a need arises, check out this link to my post on the Veteran's Day 2005 fund raising drive... Valour-IT is an ongoing project. Please consider supporting it as you can. Thanks to Little Green Footballs for the Open Thread!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Nigerian Archbisop Denounces Jihad

From the Calgary Sun: As the contiuning travelling road show of violence makes its way around the world, the Nigerian Archbishop denounces jihad (bolding in the letter below by editor of this blog):
Having watched with sadness and dismay the recent development in some States in the Northern part of this Country where many Christian Churches and other property have been wantonly destroyed by some Islamic fundamentalists, the Christian Association of Nigeria is compelled to issue the following statements: From all indications, it is very clear now that the sacrifices of the Christians in this country for peaceful co-existence with people of other faiths has been sadly misunderstood to be weakness. We have for a long time now watched helplessly the killing, maiming and destruction of Christians and their property by Muslim fanatics and fundamentalists at the slightest or no provocation at all. We are not unaware of the fact that these religious extremists have the full backup and support of some influential Muslims who are yet to appreciate the value of peaceful co-existence. That an incident in far away Denmark which does not claim to be representing Christianity could elicit such an unfortunate reaction here in Nigeria, leading to the destruction of Christian Churches, is not only embarrassing, but also disturbing and unfortunate. It is no longer a hidden fact that a long standing agenda to make this Nigeria an Islamic nation is being surreptitiously pursued. The willingness of Muslim Youth to descend with violence on the innocent Christians from time to time is from all intents and purposes a design to actualize their dream. It is sad to note that all acts of hostility meted against Christians by Muslims in the past have remained unaddressed with nobody paying compensations or the culprits brought to justice. We do appreciate the fact that at this stage of our national development, peace is absolutely necessary for realizing our dreams and aspirations. It is in view of this that Christians in Nigeria agreed to participate in the forthcoming National Census as sacrifice for the peace and progress of this nation, in spite of our protest over the non-inclusion of Religion and Ethnicity as necessary demographic data. May we at this stage remind our Muslim brothers that they do not have the monopoly of violence in this nation. Nigeria belongs to all of us – Christians, Muslims and members of other faiths. No amount of intimidation can change this time-honoured arrangement in this nation. C.A.N. may no longer be able to contain our restive youths should this ugly trend continue. We now demand that further destruction of Christian Churches and property in this nation be permanently put to an end. All levels of Government in this country should take adequate steps to protect the lives and property of Christians everywhere in this land as no further destructions will be tolerated or ignored. The Federal Government and those States where Christian Churches have been destroyed are hereby urged to take urgent steps at rebuilding those structures and paying adequate compensation while assuring Christians of adequate protection in this country. These governments should now show in practical terms that Nigeria belongs to all of us by going beyond mere promises of rebuilding destroyed Churches and property as in the past to actual reconstruction, which will help the victims to quickly put this unfortunate incident behind them. A stitch in time saves nine. Signed Most Revd. Peter J. Akinola (CON, DD.) President, Christian Association of Nigeria

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New, Cool Tech Toys....The Eyebud...

Thanks to CPU Magazine, I once more see something so cool I have to take a few minutes and look at the account balances... Presenting (drum roll, please!): The "Eyebud" Like a 105" screen @ 12 ft, but needs no wall anchors. 'Nuff said...Oh, the entire press release here! Side note (bonus info): Gizmodo looks like a worthwide place to dream and waste some surfing time... More bonus notes! Foam from the rocket industry to be used to make surfboards! Whoda thunk that one up during the Cold War? Thanks to LIttle Green Footballs for the Open Thread...

Monday, February 20, 2006

"Space Marines"

And you thought they were kidding when they wrote Quake.... Here's a Marine Corps project

Saturday, February 18, 2006

New Term: Great War on Cartoons (GWoC)

While reading this latest on the news of the riots over some 6 month old cartoons of Mohammed, I think it would be appropriate for the MSM to begin tracking up the "body count" for the Muslims indiscriminate killing of themselves and anyone nearby, as some form of twisted revenge for drawings published in newspapers. Let's refer to it as the "Great War on Cartoons," for that is what it is. It is a world war, from New Mexico to Italy, to Africa, and across the Middle East. Read the link to the story in Nigeria above (Africa) and tell me this isn't a religious war. It is, and it has been and will be. Pretend all you want, stick your fingers in your ears, scream "LALALALALALALA!" all you like, squinch your eyes closed and hope it was all a bad dream. Wishing isn't going to make it go away, it will be the youth of America and some staunch allies, who do the dirty work in stopping this. As I consider the straegy that is unfolding, it's a masterful one. Just as the North Vietnamese did, use mass media to "get the word out" that they are too terrible to resist, and then, when the lie becomes accepted fact, then it will be easy to roll votes through Congress to pull funding for any overseas troops. They put their "boots" on the ground retreated from. From a partcial tactical standpoint, I recall the teachings of Wesley E. Jordan, Jr.: "Time, Speed and Distance!" If this truly was a real issue with the masses of Islam, then the riots would have simultaneous broken out last summer, when the cartoons forst appeared. They didn't. There may be some good news in that circumstance. Here's my guess why. It is taking a travelling band of agitators to first get "buy in" for the idea of the riots, and then have to hoof it to each site to hopefully find an ember to fan and hope a flame will appear. If this is the case, then it's a small band of terrorist propagandists, and many tools of the trade have been taken from them. Years ago, their satellite phones went down, after the disclosure that we were listening to them. Notice how things calmed down quite a bit. With all the internationally exchanged watch lists of terrorists, travelling on any public means must have become difficult, which would explain the delays between subsequent violence in different places. Add to this that the NYT leaked we were monitoring their phone calls (cells and landlines) and it has been acknowldged that the "chatter" has decreased. These few guys (not being sexist, just recognizing that muslims don't let women do much of anything) are left with drafting letters and having a courier hand deliver them, or making them memorize an order, that they have to deliver without error. Talk about sucking in command and control issues, let alone having a chance of getting inside your enemy's OODA Loop... The good news may be we are effectively throttling their tactical comms, allowing a mere trickle of information to flow. The bad news is they have developed strategic communications tools by co-opting the traditional press, where "the world's opinion" happens. If you didn't read the link to the 20 Year Plan of Islam above....here it is. Get there and absorb it. Update 2/19/2006: Uncle Jimbo has some thoughts over at Black Five on things that don't exist.... Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post Update: 02/21/2006: The Nigerians say the MSM silence is killing them. From the History News Network:
This REFUSAL of the press to mount a HUGE OUTCRY is GETTING US KILLED. . . . If they'd all come out in unison and HOWLED THEIR DISGUST, it might have quelled the riots and shamed the Muslims into ceasing this obscene behaviour. As it is, Muslims see nothing is going to happen to them for howling and they are going to up the ante. The REAL STORY IS THE PRESS REFUSAL TO COVER THIS. WHY?
That fact is truth, even if it hurts the liberals feelings...enough already! Update: 2/23/2006: It seems the violence is begetting violence. Nigeria Christians are retaliating by killing Muslims and then burning their corpses in the streets. See this article from the Herald Sun. Sadly, add at least another 85 dead by 'toons to the list. Also, in news 2/23/2006: Nigerian Archbishop denounces Jihad.... Thanks to Sobering Thoughts blog for the link!

"Because Great Minds Do Not Think Alike..."

There has been a struggle lately at the University Of Washington over honoring LtCol Gregory Boyinton, USMC and of the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers. An ace, POW and Medal of Honor winner in WWII, he was a U of W grad ('34). The Student Senate recently voted agasint honoring Pappy, because of his chosen profession. Here's the background on this issue. This is the fallout of what the ROTC community at U of W had to say. The content is remarkably well stated and is one of those documents that communicates to me that there is plenty of hope for the future, if the men and women who put this together will be the ones defending us.
An Open Letter to the University of Washington Student Senate From The UW Military Community. Student Senate, Of the many student organizations on campus, the military community often holds a negative image. The various Reserve Officer Training Corp programs are frequently criticized by some as producing trained killers. Yet these programs are designed with considerable effort to produce leaders of integrity, courage and dedication. The individuals thats come out of ROTC are some of the brightest leaders our nation is capable of producing. They are exactly the sort of people the UW should strive to produce. The military community does not desire parades, monuments or banners. We do our jobs not for thanks nor praise. We do our duty because we believe we serve a purpose greater than ourselves. However, we resent the fact that some members of the student government would liken us to criminals or murderers. It is true that the profession of arms is a violent one. But as a professional military, our services put an unbelievable amount of effort to accomplish the mission with as little damage and loss of life as possible. The world is still a violent place and the only thing that keeps violence off of our doorstep, is that other men and women stand ready to absorb that violence. Soldiers are not responsible for making policy. We are assigned missions by the duly appointed civilian leadership, one not unlike the concept of the student senate. Like the American public we each have our own political opinions and beliefs. The ideas and politics of each person in uniform is as diverse as can be found anywhere on campus. Yet we all share one commonly parroted ideal; that freedom of thought and liberty are divine rights to be enjoyed by all humankind. To this day there are millions of people who live under the weight of oppression. Few people around the world enjoy the same security, luxury and freedoms that are so openly taken for granted in our nation. Gregory Boyington and men like him literally bled to protect liberty from a growing oppressive empire. Many before him, many of his peers, and many future graduates from his Alma Mater have, and will continue to pay the price of liberty with their own blood. So easy is it to condemn and criticize others. And so easy is it to give way to ignorance and preconceived notions. We are all guilty of it, all of us. While it is not uncommon, it is also not fair that some confuse the necessity of violence with murder or fascism. No American warrior fights for his appointed Commander in Chief. No American warrior fights for oil. Americans take up arms not to force their choices on others, but to give and protect the liberty of choice. Despite all the criticism and the apparent negative feelings of all involved parties, we are PROUD to be members of the University community. The UW may not always support the military community, but we strongly support the University of Washington. The UW is and will continue to be a main center of academic achievement, as well as a diverse community of politics and ideas. We firmly support the University of Washington because great minds do not think alike. Great minds think for themselves. With Genuine Respect, The Military Community of the University of Washington
A scholarship fund in LtCol Boyington's name has been set up here to support Marine Corps vets, or their children. H/T: Black Five Thanks to Little Green Footballs for the Open Thread!

Administration Split on Decision to Invade Europe

It seems this was written in 2002, as a satirical note on current events (2002 and now), but it's well done. From Rand Simberg at Transterrestial Musings:
April 3, 1944 WASHINGTON DC (Routers) Fissures are starting to appear in the formerly united front within the Roosevelt administration on the upcoming decision of whether, where and how to invade Europe. Some influential voices within both the Democrat and Republican parties are starting to question the wisdom of toppling Adolf Hitler's regime, and potentially destabilizing much of the region. "It's one thing to liberate France and northwestern Europe, and teach the Germans a lesson, but invading a sovereign country and overthrowing its democratically-elected ruler would require a great deal more justification," said one well-connected former State Department official. "The President just hasn't made the case to the American people."
Read it all... Add to it this other "bit:"
Congress Concerned About Diversion From War On Japan December 12, 1941 WASHINGTON DC (Routers) Despite yesterday's declaration of war against the US by the German government, some in Congress are concerned about becoming embroiled in a war in Europe, when we are apparently so ill prepared to defeat the duplicitous Japanese, who only five days ago attacked and decimated our Pacific fleet in Hawaii without warning. Many fear that the US, still mired in the deep economic depression of the past decade, lacks the resources to take on separate foes on three separate continents and two oceans, particularly when it seems so unnecessary, and a diversion from our true enemy.
The rest is here..

"HTHL" Concept for Space Launches

Ahhh..Saturday morning link chasing while updating computers nearby.. Horizontal Takeoff, Horizontal Landing (HTHL) for the "1st Stage" of the launch process from Andrews Space. I found this at the bottom of an article discussing the FAA's Environmental Impact Report for a spaceport in Oklahoma...(which is interesting in itself to read). Andrews Space has developed a hybrid jet/rocket powered aircraft, the Gryphon, that collects oxygen for the rocket fuel while on it's way to launch altitude using the Andrews Alchemist™ ACES propulsion system. Certainly this has a wide range of low cost options..... Here's a link to a video of the concept: Quicktime Windows Media H/T to Transterrestrial Musings.

Friday, February 17, 2006

"Isn't It Ironic?"

Sorry, Alanis, I couldn't resist... On the way back to the office today, the 4:30 PM news said the FBI estimated a serious possibility of a terrorist attack at the Oscars.... Consider the irony of it all, but let's pray it doesn't happen. The Hollywood crowd has done their utmost to undermine the entire GWoT effort. If George Clooney, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Michael Moore, etc, etc, etc were attending, the enemy (that those people think don't exist) would be targeting the very ones who can help their cause win through mass media influence. AS a strategy, I see it as pretty counter productive, but tactically, I could see them going for a splashy, last gasp sort of thing to scare us into submission, beofre they become irrelevant in the world picture. I tried googling the story, but no results. I geuss it's late breaking news for this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Open Note to the "Media"

For those in the "Main Stream Media," I would like to address a few issues: Can we please get to something of substance? We have a country hurtling towards development of atomic/nuclear weapons. The President of that country also declared Israel (a soverign nation) should be wiped off the map. Maybe I'm way off base here, but I estimate this to be more important than a hunting accident. I don't mean to take anything away from the man suffering, but the sheer amount of time devoted by "you" implies this is an issue of great importance. The good news is the man is in excellent care, in a country with excellent doctors and sanitary hospitals. While his wounds may cause him problems, the bottom line, is it's under control of skilled medical personnel. On the other hand, the few trickles of reporting on the Iranin President discussing the coming of the 12th Imam and how Israel needs to disappear, and then says the holocaust never happened poses a significant danger to just about all the rest of the world. Just yesterday, an Australian newpaper released more photos and video of the Abu Gharib prison abuse, which, quite predictably, has already brought on protests (read riots that kill people) in some muslim countries. Somehow, the cartoon "scandal," the flushed Koran (that never happened) and many other proven after the fact completely false allegations regarding how American troops act keep surfacing, and causing more riots. These riots kill those who particpate, for the most part, which means these people could really care less about human life, let alone a cartoon, it's you whipping up a frenzy just to sell more papers or advertizing time. Nice...great plan. I have a question: Are you really on the Carl Rove super dupper triple secret payroll and being used to help eliminate more Islamic minded people at a lower cost and where we can't land our military to do the job? Back to comments: If you can't bring yourselves to sum up the human cost of the use of nuclear weaponry (I suggest reading about Hiroshima and Nagasaki for details), then go for the environmental angle. The radiation will rise to the area of the upper atmosphere and then move "downwind" (read: back toward Iran - how stupid are they really?) and cause long term helath consequences, unlike and power plant has ever done. But, then again, the Islamic radicals don't mind collateral damage, like you, unless it's the US Military that accidentally kills a civilian, which cause you all to foam at the mouth once more, demanding blood. Is it so hard to see the thin facade of rightousness you drape yourselves in? A slight breeze of truth will carry that away, and then you stand, exposed in your rampant hate and hipocracy. How about telling us about the $250K Al Gore received for trashing our sitting president while speaking in Saudi Arabia? The man needs a job in Hollywood, not Tenessee, because he can memorize a script for any audience willing to pay? Some would read the definiton of "treason" and label it as such, but....you can't seem to find the time to get to the heart of this story. President Jimmy Carter at least got some coverage, while standing on the body of a dead woman. Nice touch, for all of you, and him, for being so disrespctful of Mrs. King. Paul Harvey, who seems to be drifting left, commented today about more and more land and businesses being ripped out of the hands of the people as a result of the Kelo decision of the Supreme Court, and lamented that President Bush and our Justice Dept can't seem to find any help for the citizens. Well, a quick review of the "decision" is the "liberal" justices voted to steal the land for private development and the "conservative" ones objected. Toss in how you all have convinced the public (and the NEA has made sure the general populace knows nothing better) that any decision of the Supreme Court is absolutely above all other branches of the Government. This being the case, it makes no sense for Paul harvey to complain, for if the Justice Dept did go after the issue, then you all would pillory them for thinking they were better than our hallowed, non-elected judges. Consider that you also braodcast load and clear the issues Justice Roberts supported, in opposition to the Supreme Court decisions when he was a member of the Solicitor General's Staff. You don't want it any other way, unless it's not the way you want it. There are bigger issues to provide the world with, besides some birdshot (not buckshot, like you all like to say) that injured a man. How about get a grip and make a living the decent way, starting with telling the truth and demonstrating some sense of proportionality, and also considering the positions you support? Comments?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Calling to the Bellevue, WA Reader....

I see someone in the logs about daily coming to the blog from Bellevue. If you'd be so kind as to drop me an email, I'd love to ask some question about the area I grew up in. Last time I passed through was in 1980, so I assume (without much risk), things have been changed just a little. Thank you in advance....(use the "email me" link on the sidebar, please) P.S. Thanks for your daily trips to see if I've produced anything worth reading...

Need a Chuckle? See New TV Series Ideas...

Over at Fark.com there's a little bit of PhotoShopping going on... Check it out...this is one of oh, so many...

It May Not Be Accurate, But I Like How It Sounds....

Blood Type Predicts Personality?, which I found chasing those little links from the Netscape Home Page (Who wants to wait for tabbed browsing in Explorer anyhow? I've been using it for a few years in Netscape...but I digress).
Type-O people are warriors. They are outgoing, expressive, and passionate. They are highly motivated and natural leaders. Blessed with a strong physical presence, they aren't afraid to gamble because they are so convinced they will win. They are natural athletes. They tend to be obsessive in their quest for success, and this can make them boring to others.
Sure sounds like Neptunus Lex to me (from afar). What about the rest of you?

I'm Thinking Even the Most Reluctant Parent Would Cave

Dr. Spock taught my parents generation is was a bad thing to spank children. I don't advocate it, but I had my share when I "left the farm" so to speak.... If a child today was acting like large numbers of Muslims today, I think even the pacifist parents amoung us would consider an extended, meaningful "laying on of hands." It's getting pretty disgusting, and the press seems to be egging them on by continually highlighting the bad behavior, which, in a World Court would be considered acts of war (buring embassy type properties is considered an attack on the soil of the nation who is placing diplomats there. That's a loooooonnnnggggg standing agreement, but then again, it was when we were having wars amongst countries with borders, not with ideologies, where the combatants do not wear a recognizable uniform, nor to they report to any chain of command. It's a war alright, and we need to stop looking at this like lawyers watching civil disobedience. We need to see it as a people group desiring to push their moral code on everyone they can. That's what happens in wars. The side note is how "we" get all upset when a Christian happens along in the work place, or at the mall and asks you about your believe structure. More often than not, the press tells us people are "forcing" their religion upon others and then "we" go so far as to have the Ten Commandments taken down, so as not to offend society at large. Where is the equivalent outrage when the Islamic proponents demand we not publish certain cartoons? Don't you see? Next time, will it be pictures of un-Burkaed women they brun towns down over? Or...could they decide no Jewish people should be employed? Don't call me an alarmist, just open up your paper, or turn on c-BS/ABC/NBC/CNN...they are at it now, and they will keep it up. Rueters Photo Hungry for a Big Mac? Get one now before they riot in the street against that... (H/T: Michelle Malkin!)

Monday, February 13, 2006

New Stuff...Random Magazine Browsing Report

I had'nt heard of this car before...750HP...and sexy, too. How about a personal gyrocopter? From CPU Magazine, this update on holgraphic stroage progress:
Holographic Storage Coming Soon Maxell and InPhase Technologies say that holographic data techniques would store 150 million pages, or 63 times the capacity of a DVD, on a single 5.25-inch disc. Lasers and 3D holographic images would store and retrieve data at ultra-high densities and could ultimately put 1.6TB of data on a single disc with transfer speeds of up to 120Mbps. “Unlike other technologies that record one data bit at a time, holography allows a million bits of data to be written and read in parallel with a single flash of light,” says Liz Murphy, VP of marketing at InPhase Technologies. Expect an early 300GB, 20Mbps model later this year.
I recall seeing a documentary about 10 years ago about NASA working on a project to put data on a 1"x1"x1" plastic cube, that would be accessed using two lasers to look into the matrix for a dark or clear spot. They said you could use many discrete frequencies of laser light and begin the storage capacity all over, so many "layers" of data could be stored simultaneously. I think they said there was about 900 frequencies, so therefore, a single 1" cube would hold all of the Library of Congress and have room to spare. Maybe they are getting close...I'm sure the RIAA will not like this development.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Just When You Thought You Didn't Need Black Shoes....

AP reports on the use of the Navy to blockade the coast of Yemen, to prevent the escape of the al-Qaeda guys who got out of prison the other day. I know the TR is there, but you can bet the DDs and FFGs are running up and down the coast.

Speaking of Records....

The "World Team" successfully completed a 400 person formation in skydiving in Thailand! Oh, yeah, just in case it has always been a burning question for you, here's the answer: THIS IS WHY YOU JUMP OUT OF PERFECTLY GOOD AIRPLANES! To be certified as a record, the formation has to be held intact for at least 3 seconds, and every jumper must be in the "slot" where they were planned to be, it's not just grab on someone as you get there. They use CAD/CAM programs and good old common sense as to figure out what the formation will look like and who belongs where (combination of experience and also body size). Flying about the sky, after exting from aircraft in close formation, with 32 ft/sec/sec taking effect, and the brain having to take a some time to register, it gets exciting. They plan and practice the routes from the planes to the entry into the formation. The break off plan is staged and executed at various departure and opening altitudes. People in the practice jumps that aren't paying attention to their surrounding (and therefore become a danger to the other jumpers) are "cut" from the load and the people "on the bench" are called in and briefed about the position they are filling. As the formation builds, the aerodynamics begin to slow it down, so those who have joined the formation need to keep their collective fall rate up, as once it gets too slow, single jumpers will end up falling faster and then not make it in while they "go low." Once you're in, you have to watch the subtle signals of the movement of the mass, for ripples can flow thru it like a wave if people don't keep there individual fall rates matching the rest of them. If they take a second or two to react, rather than anticipating, the waves can remind you of a "crack the whip" game, only at about 120MPH. The formation can break apart as a result. It's an activity that takes intense mental preparation and focus, all the way to a safe landing. Consider 400 jumpers and 8-10 camera guys all looking for the coolest place to land and swoop the crowd on the ground...it sucks to ruin a prefectly good record attempt with a collision before getting down to celebrate. Additional technical note: The jumpers not "attached" happen to be camera flyers, most likely doing stills and digital video. There's a little of the background on what happens...here's my "resume" to discuss such things, in case you need to check me out. It's exciting times in the skies! Check this post out about the 85 way canopy formation over Lake Wales, FL in December...the record for that part of the sport. Update 2/10/2006: Read a first person account of the jumps here from Luke Oliver. He mentions his mentor in "Big Ways" was Sandy Wambach. She organized both record attempts I was on. For a women barely standing 5' and maybe 98 lbs soaking wet, not only did she dream big, but she did it big... Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post! Thank you, also, to Blue Star Chronicles, Bloggin' Out Loud, Adam's Blog, The Real Ugly American, Black Five,Argghhh! The Home of Tow Jonah's Military Guys, Little Green Footballs and Jo's Cafe for the Trackback!

Some Days You Just Want to Give Up....

So...al-Rueters tells us GTMO "detainees" on hunger strikes were tube fed....in the process, people with a mind to kill us in our sleep (and our children, too) would rather starve to death, so it took some restraining to assist them in keeping alive. I'm sure "please, would you eat now?" wasn't working at all. Just for fun: What if we just stood outside their cells and said "Oh, well, I guess they want to die" and provided them blankets and a comfortable cot. How would that news headline read? Something like: "US STARVES GTMO DETAINEES TO DEATH!" As far as the media dn the left are concerned, is there any course of action that could have been taken in the face of fanatical opposition? Better yet, if George Felos knows whats good for him (meaning how he can once again regain the international spot light an lots of blood money), he'll make sure he gets his bar certification to practice in Federal Courts, particularly in the SCOTUS. Just think, I'm sure he can come up with an argument for the judges that makes perfect sense that we should just let these detainees out of this for, because their living conditions are just soooooo horrible and we're torturing them keeping them alive...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Electronic "Paper" Not Far Away!

Check this out! Thin, flexible LCD displays. Just think of the potential applications!

The Intelligence Summit 2006

I caught an interview with John Loftus on the Schnitt Show yesterday afternoon. They were discussing the upcoming intelligence symposium in DC (17-22 Feb) and a series of statements by Saddam Hussein will be played during the conference. It seems the modern day Saladin liked to baost about what he got over on Hans Blix, the UN and the rest of the world, and there are recorded statements regarding where the WMDs went, who helped move them just days before the invasion in 2003, and that he had things not listed on the UN reports from GWI. This could become the story of the year.... Apparently the voice has been verified to be that of Saddam and not some actor and should provide the opportunity for a lot of people to consider crow as the other meat they will need to make a staple diet out of after this set of disclosures. He said a lot of old time spooks, DoD people and press attend. Info on the symposium is here. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Thomas Paine Said...

Chasing vistors links usually brings something interesting. From a speech at a change of command on the USS BULKELEY, a quote from Thomas Paine:
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; … it is dearness only that gives everything its value."
Fine words, for yesterday, today and the future...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

An Anniversary....

I'm not in the same time zone, and since the actual event happened on the other side of the International Dateline, I'm a day late...but my calendar in 1971 said "February 7th." NAS Agana, Guam. Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Larry the Lawyer (and willing Instructor/Jumpmaster). Dad and two of his friends. Me. Leon Steppe. Blue skies. Light Winds. Orange flight suits. Surplus military C-9 28' "rounds." 24' cotton twill "belly wart" reserves. White motorcycle helmets. Combat boots. Big smiles. Picture for the album. "Do you want to go first?" Leon asked me. He was a co-worker of my father's, but closer to my age tahn to my Dad. I said what ever he wanted was fine, then he volunteered that he'd rather go first, so he could get it done with. I don't really recall the ride up, or Leon jumping, other than he went before I did. I can still picture looking in at Larry (as I was perched, holding the right strut with both hands, feet planted on the step on the main mount strut. He yelled "GO!" above the about 70-80 kts of wind. I next recall the opening shock and it wasn't bad. On the other hand, I had no body fat and was a tall, skinny teenager, at the ripe old age of 16 1/2. I generically checked out the ground below, while many new sensations tried to get my attention. I next clearly remember the dialogue with myself: "It's less than 100 ft!" "NO!" "Yes it IS!" "NO, IT's NOT!" then.... (sound of 1st, immediately followed by 4th point of contact contacting Mother Earth) (sound of strong language appropriate to the situation) My first PLF really sucked. If I'd had a Black Hat around, I'm sure it would have been worth a lot of push ups. I just had Dad and his friends come bolting across the field in the car (not sure who let that happen), to congratulate me. Debrief: Good exit, good arch, didn't count (Deer in headlights mode). To this day, my first 3 seconds of freefall, before the static line took over, are not recallable. I landed in a clear area. Leon had almost kissed the side of one of the hangers. I found out years later the reason my burise on the right cheek occured: You leave a 3D view, go up and then the ground pretty much goes to 2D, then you come back into it and until you get some experience, that transition back to 3D is a tough one. In the meantime, it's not uncommon to see the legs of the student move from feet and knees together, slightly flexed to feet and knees together, but legs more like you are sitting in a chair, as you unconsciously raise them. Being hidden (in those days) below your "belly wart," you don't realize you're doing it, so come time to become a "leg" again, you skip contact points 2 and 3...(see your local Airborne qualified neighbor to get the details). Between weather, aircraft availibility, Jumpmaster access, I did not make another jump on the island of Guam, but the second one was about 6 months later, at Monck's Corner, SC, under the tutlage of Allan Gardner, a former Golden Knight. He and Johnny Throbridge (not real sure of the spelling of his last name) both had gold wings (1000 freefalls) and were two of a very few who had attained that distinction in those days. Anyhow, I've jumped from Guam to Maine, and a few places in between. Put my younger sister out on her first several jumps, was "knob" training upperclassmen at night to skydive, and put a lot of them out the doors of C-182s and C-206s. Looked on in wonder as Johnny brought his new "StratoCloud" to the DZ, complete with labels on each front riser: "200 Jumps Minimum." ParaCommanders were the hot canopy, and then the French made Papillon made some inroads to the maket. My first rig was a C-9, formerly white and dyed burgandy, in a 4 pin container. I did 6 static lines to get to freefall, and will say the two most anxious moments I have ever had in the air were my second jump, and my first 10 second delay. I survived. I have lept from 17,000 ft, with 90 some others in the air, made three night jumps, a water jump, my 1000th jump was with Jerry Bird, the man credited widely for making "relative work" a major part of the sport. My 1000th freefall was a night jump over Eloy, AZ. Been on two tandems to help play a really bad passenger for my buddies who were getting their tandem master ratings. The biggest jump was the VA State record in 97. 87. We held it for 13 seconds on the first jump of the second day of the attempt that October weekend,and it was solid as a rock. No waves or tension...just 87 people collectively working gravity and the air in perfect synchonization. I was in the trailing King Air of the four plane formation, and only had two people following me out. I entered about 5 people from the completion on the other edge and have the video to prove it...watching it with someone who wasn't in it is kinda like the "Where's the Skydiving Waldo" thing. I have met incredible people, gotten to know a man who owns more planes than most air forces of the world (Paul Fayard), suffered one sprained ankle, one sprained wrist, two sprained fingers and 5 malfunctions in 1274 jumps. I don't know how many students, static line and accelerated freefall, that I have shown the sky to, but it's a lot, and only one said "no" when the door opened. Amazingly enough, the other one that almost didn't go was a big, strapping Marine (sorry, dude, but it's the truth!). I've talked to some of the best skydivers and videographers in the world, jumped with the Russian national team, had discussions with a German International Relations Masters student from Georgetown U one one side of me and a Croatian Army officer on the other side of me, while we packed our chutes for another time up. I've done demos at the parade ground at Ft Devons on Armed Forces Day, watched a guy in Tuskeegee, AL, get out at 1000 ft, because the DZ owner told him for a buck (all the guy had left) he could ride up to 1000 (so he did...). I've known BASE jumpers, but never done it. Took road trips through the SE of the country in the summer of 73, looking for a military base that had gas and flight hours allocated on 1 July (the new fiscal year then), and found Benning didn't but Rucker did. Made the news (well, it was sort of filler) when I was allowed to help fill the last three seats on the CH-54, when the SEALS in the area where trying to make a record of a 21 way formation. The local news crew was there and gave me all of about 3 seconds time before the next story after the SEALS story played....I found out, while I sat in a meeting of NAVMASSO people, that I had made the cover of Soundings (the Naval Base Norfolk paper), posing for the camera while hanging by my hands only off the strut of a Cessna 182 about 3500 ft over the Great Dismal Swamp. They put it on the overhead to open the meeting. Been out of a balloon, UH-1D/Hs, CH-46s at Quantico, a CH-54 over Fentress NALF, Cessnas of many flavors, to include a Caravan, Queen and King Air Beechcraft planes, Skyvans, Casas, and a few other flying things. Done a full backwards layout off the tail ramp of a Casa, after letting the rest of the jumpers go, then running from up by the pilots as fast as I could. I've been able to ride up to see the sun, while the ground was in the shadows of the end of the day and make some jumps that could technically have been called night jumps when it was all said and done. I hold no records for quantity, but my personal "best" is 24 jumps in 2 days. All of those were at least from 13000 ft, so I racked up over 30 minutes of freefall. While the sun was up, you pack, jump and maybe take a leak. You can eat before the sun comes up and after it goes down. I can "guess" the inside of a could looks like you're in an amost tranlucent bright white sphere, but then again, it's against FAA rules and the BSRs (Basic Safety Regulations) to jump into/through a cloud, so I might be wrong about that. I was sitting in the lobby of the O Club at Cubi Point when a LTJG walked up to me, and said "Don't you go to the Citadel and jump out of airplanes?" "Yes." I replied, still not knowing who he was. Then he told me he met me the year before at Quantico. Ted was his name and I had showed up and made a few jumps there during summer break. He then told me I should try and get into EOD, because all they did was dive and jump and workout and get paid for it. Ted Strong was his name and last I heard, he was making the big time in investments in Boston. He was a character.... I've left the ground when it was freezing and headed to 12,500 to 13,000 ft in the winter. Without wind chill, you count on losing 3.5 deg per 1000 ft of altitude. You better be dressed for the occassion. Rain hurts, because you are hitting the pointy ends on the way down, and if it's a lot, roll over and go back to Earth until it's time to set up for opening. Of all the rigs I've packed for students (a whole lot of that work), not one has had a malfunction. It's not a death wish thing, for, as the guy in the interview with a psychologist in Parachutist back in '71 said: "If I don't pull, I won't be able to jump again." I second the motion! It's more than likely an MAO-D thing, so you might not understand.... Sound like a great thing to try? USPA's website is here. There is plenty of information there and how to find a local drop zone. My advice...skip the tandem, and go for AFF....Instructors and Jumpmasters need to eat, too... P.S. If you got this far, pop over to Far East Cynic and congratulate him on his one year Blogversary.... Thanks to Skydance.at for the link as skydiving news!

Super Bowl is Over, But GoDaddy Went For It!

Here is a set of links and the timeline to the effort for GoDaddy went thru to get their commercial for the Super Bowl approved....

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I'm Terrifying a Former Army Officer

But many things seem to terrify him, if you scan his blog, so I'm in good company. Here are the opening "shots" across my bow:
It is pretty scary when people (Retired Navy no less) cannot distinguish between listening in on the Enemy's military communication and listening in on random phone calls into the US with regular US citizens on the other end. This is the beginning of the end for all personal liberties. I wonder who really has won? It appears we are moving far closer to what the USSR was then not.
Well, I'm impressed. I thought I was just a small voice in the blogsphere, yet I have found out from Kevin that I have the ability to cause the downfall of society by my very (in his opinion) bad analytical abilities regarding a analogy of history..... I would submit his mindset has limited him to refusing to accept progress. What a sad state of life that must be. Yes, at the time of the Battle of Midway, there were no cellphones to be tapped by FDR. Kevin's world view would then suggest we cannot use the methods of finding out what the enemy's intentions are via SIGINT must be limited to just those we used in WWII (I'm taking his statement of me not being able to understand the difference between "enemies" and American citizens as acceptance of the "rightness" of "wiretapping" the Japanese Naval communications in WWII as a good and proper thing to do...). So, now that the world does have cellphone and commincations technology as the Internet, that those methods of communication between those who would harm us are off limits to those in elected and paid employ of the US Government because they are not of the earlier era. The element missing in his analysis of my analysis is a simle concept: R.E.A.L.I.T.Y. Kevin, if you're reading this, I urge you to embrace reality® and join the rest of us. Imagine this: In WWII, the Germans (I mention them, so you will understand my concept of enemy, even if I'm not referring to the Japanese) routinely landed their agents along the eastern seaboard of the US. I am not specifically aware of the Japanese doing the same thing, but I suspect that it occured, or they infiltrated the US by other routes, but the concept (hang with me, Kevin!) is enemy "spies" (what we used to call them, regardless of what their born or naturalized status is/was) were within our borders, specifically to gather intelligence to support the execution of war against us (tough concept, but a recognized one in all of recorded history). Today, we know from the 9/11 Commission report, and other research of the events leading up to the attacks on 9/11/2001, that the men who carried out those attacks were all within our national boundries for some time before conducting their attacks. Interestingly enough, when that came out, to include the traffic stops of some of them just days before 9/11 and the FBI office in the midwest that wanted to pick up one of them (but were told they could not, for fear of violating civil rights of the suspect), the papers were full of calls to punish all of our law enforcement people for not "connecting the dots." It certainly is all so clear after the attacks that "SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!!!" Yeah, like all the people hollering actually preform at an exceptional level of psychic ability every day and just those in the government are stupid beyond belief... As I have thought about this post for a few days, it scares me that a man who served in the Army doesn't have enough discernment to figure that not all phone calls answered or made from within the US borders are made by US citizens. Kevin would have no calls monitored, to make sure that not a single US citizen is impacted, while a foreign national easily conspires against us at will, knowing he will not be found out in that method of communications. Additionally, some US citizens actually are invested in making us fail. John Walker comes to mind in this case. Would Kevin think it was acceptable to actually hold those people accontable for their sedition, or, are they shielded as perfect because they are US citizens? If that was the case, then we'd need not statues regarding treason. Once more, back into the reality breech: Those people exist, and to ignore that fact is at our peril. Add to it that spies within an enemy's borders, with the ability to pass intelligence back to the homeland, have been around since Thucydides chronicles the Pelloponnisian War between Athens and Sparta. Is it reasonable to allow those in authority to find and arrest those who are involved in this sort of effort to destroy a country? I submit the answer is yes. The next discussion would be what would that look like, and this is the discussion worth having over this entire issue. In WWII, FDR wholesale dispensed with worrying about chasing phone calls, and had the Japanese ancestry put behind barbed wire, for ease of monitoring. The travesty in the long run is the most decorated regiment in the history of the US Army (the record stands to this day) was the single Nesei unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Over the years, there have been efforts to recognize the egregious violation of the Japanese-American's rights, where the internment also meant the loss of their personal and business properties (an early version of the SCOTUS Kelo decisions, with out using the Supreme Court) Toss this detail in: I'd think any person in the profession of arms would have a concept of the OODA loop and understand that if we have to battle to beat the MSM to the airwaves during a war, we darn sure have to speed up our intelligence gathering loops. Side note: Col John Boyd, the recognized leader in the formualtion of the stratgies of the current US Air Force, is the man who came up with the OODA Loop. Col Boyd served with Congressman Sam Johnson, too. Back to the story: If the enemy can get inside your decision making or action taking loop on a time line, you're, how shall I say this delicately? "YOU'RE SCREWED!" and you lose....With nearly indistingiushable from the speed of light communications capabilities today, it makes sense to figure out how to integrate the intelligence gathering domestically into our laws, rather than act like we're all safe and the greatest danger is a call to a married person's extramarital playmate, that goes no further, is the downfall of all of our civil rights, as Kevin strongly implies. We face a similar, but far less deadly (unless you're from the music, TV or movie industry) in the world of copyrights. With the near the speed of light capability to "rip off" the artists, the ability to make the single, legally authorized archivial backup is being taken away from us. In contrast to the issue of terrorists, where we fall all over ourselves to make sure even foreigners get every advantage granted under US law, in the copyright discussion, the RIAA and others of that type have convinced judges at many levels that the only reason anyone would use a recording device (starting with the introduction of the VCR) is to steal. That is in complete juxtaposition to the case at hand. I doubt there is any serious rebellion by those who see us as being painted as a society as thiefs with a broad brush, screaming it it's beginning of the end of our civil rights.... Quite honestly, I'm baffled that Kevin (pardon the 3rd person reference, Kevin, if you are reading this) has a limited grasp of the procedures in the Soviet Union, being as how he stood nose to nose with them as an Armor Officer in Germany, while he was in. Here's a comment I will conduct my flawed analysis on:
All these crazy "security" reasons are the reasons given in the USSR why people were controlled by the Government.
This sort of helps put Kevin's frame of mind out there for analysis: The 50s through the 90s were the times of the Cold War. We (those of us in the service) regularly took the time (or were required to attend lectures) on how the Soviets operated. Within these training sessions or manuals were descriptions of the society, so you cold frame their actions accrodingly. Domestic spying, in a very organized manner occured in every venue of life, for military and civilians. The military units each had their own Communsit Party member, the "Commisar," who had authority over even the commanding officers, to make sure everything was done in accrodance with the party line, specifically, in a centralized command structure (and in all of society at large, as well), you sure didn't question orders, or step outside of the box, or you got a train ticket (all expenses paid) to the Gulag...That constitutes 'crazy "security" reasons' Kevin discusses, not what has happened here in the US.
I now start all my conversations on the phone with random words.. Al Queda, Bomb, Down with US etc... just trying to drive the NSA crazy!
Advice to Kevin: Sounds like fun, but are you hoping they will come with a SWAT Team so you can have an audience with them and then spout off how George Bush is Satan's brother? I don't think you'll get the coverage, as you are a white guy. Sorry, me, too, but it seems only a few white guys get any press these days, when they think they have a message to convey. Reality: I doubt even your effort will get you noticed, but have fun playing with President Bush's mind. You know, I bet he hasn't heard a single tapped conversation, but we do know LBJ used to listen to tapes of Martin Luther King, Jr. "having his way" with women in hotel rooms. In fact, LBJ played them for others to listen to, while enjoying alcoholic beverages. In this case, I submit 1) LBJ was far scarier than President Bush in his wiretapping and 2) MLK, Jr. was an American citizen, ergo, you need to be more afraid of Democratic presidents invading our rights this way than Republicans.... On top of it all, it's sad to think that someone can live under a self imposed shadow of doubt and fear (read Kevin's blog). I can't imagine thinking only a few people in this country can make it into what he is so afraid of. I have faith that there are many thinking people, most everyone of them, concerned deeply about doing the right thing. In a nation of almost 300 millions people, even if 1% were those trying to take away our civil rights, the newspapers and TV would have 3 million to comment on. Given a number that large, it would be easy to sink into depression and figure it is the beginning of the end, unless you realize the rest of the population is standing to prevent it. The bottom line: As new threats appear, it's time to figure out how to handle it, within our body of law, not how to obfuscate the process. Update 2/24/2006: Welcome to readers from Command T.O.C. Feel free to post comments, as this has always been an option....(note: "no comments" just menas no one has yet posted any on the topic, not that you cannot voice your opinion).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Flying Car?

Sometimes it's fun chasing the links that brings people here...particularly the ones coming from search pages...:)

Not Looking So Good

The morning's news. Oh, joy.....I'm sure the blogsphere and the HBM will be trumpteing this story and I'm just in the mood to put in my two cents (you know, just about no one bends over to pick up pennies in the parking lot any more...for what that's worth). I wasn't around in the 1930's, but I'm amazed that the world marches towards intentional conflict, so many voices are raised to not stand up as a world community and tell the Iraninas this is unacceptable behavior, while we have in our figurative grasp something to make them understand that decisions have consequences. The decision to "play nice" consequence is that the rest of us will play nice. The consequence of creating nuclear weapons with the stated intent of using them in an offensive manner against others, with a heavy emphasis on genocide, will not be tolerated. Further, proportional force is acceptable and proper under the circumstances. This force may be that the world, as a whole, unified voice, isolates the Iranian nation completely and lets them stew in their own (excess oil production) juices, until they see the cause and effect, and decide nice is better. The hard part is hearing the crying babies and the pleas for not letting the babies starve. Yep, tough to handle, but it's up to the leadership to change their mind so as to protect their citizens, and not harm them (the nature of government in civilization). Will a lot of the people who think the way to solve probelms with letting the addict/rageaholic/terrorist have everything they ask for, having already demonstrated their thought processes are not normal, will have to be held in their seats and told by the leadership of the rest of the world to just be patient and see how the pain of the isolation will bring about a better, long term solution than giving in, once more, like a battered spouse who returns to the agressor and then apoligizes for leaving....a much more intelligent man than I made a speech in 1979 that addresses how we might approach this situation. As far as those who disgree with this conceptual plan: How about trying to come up with a solution and not just say "THAT'S NOT THE ANSWER!" Frankly, the "War is not the answer" signs and bumper stickers offer little to the need for peace, it's just a slogan that indicates a lazy mindset. I challenge to you is to engage your brain and see if you do have a plan and not a gripe.Like I said, my two cents. With prices what they are, possibly not worth much.