Thursday, November 30, 2006

Air Support

While this hasnt been in the blogosphere recently a recent conversation with Roci got me to thinking on the foot soldier. Quite frankly, there is no other way to win a war than by use of the "lowly" foot soldier. Unless, of course, one decides to just nuke the entire country. That would probably be a win too. But the foot soldier shouldnt be regarded as lowly. The are how territory is taken. How an enemy is either killed or subdued.

During WWII today's Air Force was part of the Army. And there were two theories as to what their role should be. Simply, tactical or strategic? Quite obviously the proponents of the strategic theory won out and were able to convince Congress to make them a separate entity. The effectiveness of the strategic use of the Air Force is up for debate and is indeed even debated (still) in the AF, but I think it is safe to say that during the Cold War having the AF focus on strategic use was perhaps their best use. But the Cold War is, for the time being, dead. What we have now is a strong need for tactical use of the AF. What we dont have is much tactical capability. Why? Cuz jets, by and large, dont work very well for close in support. Yes our F-18s are incredible, as are our (beloved) A-10s. But with the extremely high cost of our jets as well as their lack of fuel capacity they are of limited use in today's theaters.

I feel that we need some new, simple designs for close in support. Actually, when I say new I mean well, old. It seems that we must have only new things. Shiny things. If it isnt "new" it cant possibly be good is the mentality. But there are well established platforms and technologies that would work quite well. Take for instance the p-51D Mustang. 4 cannons, 127mm rockets and two hardpoints for bombs (or fuel) and the ability to place it where it would be of great use to the ground forces. And with a cost of say 2 Million a piece (being generous here due to expected gov largess which can always be counted upon) it would be a complete bargain compared to the cost of the F-22 which is about 102 million a piece.

Scrapping just two of the proposed 360+ F-22s would yield a fleet of 100 of these small fighters. And I am betting that with the technology available today we could come up with something even better then the Mustang (I know, that is almost sacriligious!) What do you say Roci. Can you swing the Pentagon around? I'll be more than happy to help them with the design and all that as long as I get one!

Burlington Declaration

We, the participants in the First North American Secessionist Convention, though representing many different and diverse groups and constituencies, agree on the following principles as representing the truths of natural law and historical experience:

1. Any political entity has the right to separate itself from a larger body of which it is a part and peaceably to establish its independence as a free and legitimate state in the eyes of the world.

2. Governments are instituted among peoples, deriving their just powers from the consent of their citizens, and whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the legitimate goals of life, liberty, prosperity, and self-determination, it is the right of the people in democratic fashion to alter or abolish it, and to institute
new government in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

3. Any government formed by and dependent upon a constitution to regulate its actions and affairs has certain legitimate powers delegated to it, but any powers not so delegated are reserved to the people of that state and their democratically chosen political bodies.

4. Nations once independent should engage in peace, commerce, good will, and honest friendship with all nations, and observe good faith, justice, and harmony toward all, but establish entangling relationships with none, nor engage in colonial dominance, political or economic, over any.

5. Direct democracy, with one vote for each and every citizen (as the polity shall designate citizenship), has proven to be a desirable form of governance among people, but it can operate with justice and equality only when at a small enough scale that each person may be known to every other person; when representative forms of government are undertaken, they should likewise best be established at a scale
small enough so that each representative can be informed of the opinions and beliefs of the general run of the people in the constituency or community which that person is chosen to represent.

It is within this body of principles that we ask all governments to operate and it is by them that we ourselves, individually and the organizations we represent, intend to be guided.

Burlington, Vermont
November 4, 2006=
I really only take issue with one thing. Universal Suffrage. They would gain their Liberty, only to lose it thru Universal Suffrage. What a waste.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Reason To Homeschool #47

New Math

Apparently the teachers are using new math to grade the students. My niece (unfortunaely this isnt a story of some unknown child...) had a test/quiz this past week. It had 20 questions on it. She missed 5. Now to those of us that know old math, we would say that she then lost 25% and would then get a 'C.' New math dictates otherwise. The actual score was an A. Because each question was worth 2 points.

What does this mean? It means that you could miss every single question and still get a 'D.' When I was in school, oh so long ago... 12 years or so ago, missing every single question would have been a resounding 'F' and big fat ZERO. Not anymore. In fact many schools dont even have an 'F' anymore as it is simply too damaging to the students psyche.

Ridiculous. Homeschool your children people! Even if you are some ignorant socialist/commie, your child will get a better education.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Signs Of Creation: II

There are some creatures that simply defy evolution. They are so unique that there really is no way they could have evolved.

One example is the Orchid. Several types of orchids (mainly in Australia) produce "exactly the same compounds, and in similar relative proportions as those in the sex pheromone of the female bee." This causes the male bees to pollinate the orchid in greater numbers and frequency then otherwise would happen.

The standard theory of Natural Selection isnt satisfactory in this instance. Nor in the other plants that are specific in their scents. An example of this is the Corpse Flower. This flower emits a foul odor akin to a rotting corpse (hence the name.) This scent attracts beetles which are the primary bug used to pollinate the plant. The beetles crawl thoughout the entire plant searching for the decay, then move on to the next with the same behavior.

Signs Of Creation

There are some creatures that simply defy evolution. They are so unique that there really is no way they could have evolved. I noticed the Lancet Fluke mentioned on VoxPop and looked it up. Essentially this organism depends on three specific animals for its life cycle. Snails then ants then cows sheep or goats.
The lancet fluke (Dicrocoelium lanceolatum) belongs to the order Trematoda. Like other flukes, scientifically called trematodes, it as well shows a generation cycle with a change of reproduction as well as a change of hosts. The terminal host are mammals, usually sheep or goats. The distribute the fluke's eggs by their excrements on plants, on which snails feed. Those snails again are the intermediate host.

Those snails, mostly hygromiid snails of the species Helicella or enid snails (Zebrina), take in the flukes eggs together with their food. In the snail's digestive gland the fluke' first larval generation hatches. That generation is called miracidium. A miracidium is a simply built larva with few resemblance to the adult fluke. It is able to swim or at least to float by a ciliar crest. The miracidium makes a metamorphosis inside the snail, resulting in the next larval stage, that more resembles the adult fluke. The so called cercary has got a tail that propels it in the water. The cercaries change themselves in endurance stages called cystes, that the snails surrounds with a mucus layer and excretes them.

Ants eat those mucus balls (obviously the mucus also contains certain pheromones that makes it highly attractive to ants) and then are afflicted by the cercaries. The cercaries grow in the ants' abdomen (terminal body part) and then one of them moves into the head. There they afflict the ant's nervous system and cause a change of behaviour, that makes Bernard Werber call them "zombie ants". The ants now, very untypically, climb up plant stems and attach themselves with their mandibles to exposed positions such as leaves. Grazing mammals, such as sheep or goats, eat the plants together with the ants and then infect themselves with the lesser liver fluke. Inside this terminal host the cercaries change into the fluke's adult stage which reproduces sexually and then lays eggs that are excreted by the mammal - the generation cycle is closed when the next snail eats the eggs.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pressure Cooker

I finally bought me a pressure cooker. I've been wanting one for years and I found one on sale for only $20 so I went ahead and got it. Reasons for wanting one include, well, I want one just cuz its a cool kitchen gadget and it greatly reduces cooking times on anything you can put in it. Also, due to the reduced cooking times, more nutrients/vitamins in the food are preserved.

Cooking times are even faster than a microwave assuming we arent talking about top ramen. For example a 3lb pot roast would take about 135 minutes in the oven, a minumun of 100 minutes in a microwave (I hope none of you out there actually cook meat in your microwave... ICK!) but only 35 minutes in a pressure cooker. Time is always the key for me. I am not at all good at planning out meals. When I am hungry I eat, if I am not hungry I dont think about food. And if one is buying organic then it makes even more sense. A side benefit is that it uses less energy thean running the oven or microwave for all that time and lower utilities is a great thing.

Life As A Guy

An animated short.

Prevailing Wages

As a trucker (well as anyone really) I am interested in finding out how much I could make should I decide to move. So I have looked up some info on "Prevailing Wages." This is not the market wage, rather the Davis-Bacon wage. Basically, if you are working for the State you must get paid that much. Not just State employees but the contractors working on things for the State (such as roads)

Here in Colorado PW for dump trucks is $20.20 when wage and benefits are combined. In Wyoming it is $14.92 (exept Laramie and Natrona Counties which are lower) In Washington it varies greatly. In Tacoma (Pierce County)you are looking at $22.56 but just up the road in Seattle (King County) it is $37.94, with the same in Everett (Snohomish County) Portland and Bend Oregon come in at $23.57.

Like I said, prevailing wage isnt the market wage (which is lower) but it is a pretty good indicator of the wages in the area. If one were lucky enough to get on a year long project in Seattle you could very easily make $80,000 as an employee. Anyways, thats all for now.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wants & Needs

I think I have mentioned in the past that I want to buy a dump truck. Well, I found one. A 1988 International S2574. It is a tandem, red cab and cowling: paint is great, black bed: a bit beat up (its a dump truck folks!) frame, wheels, tires, brakes suspension: all good condition. The only thing I am thinking I would want to replace is the driver seat at a cost of approx $500 (it looks original?) Cost of truck: $14,000.

That was the "need" the want is a Nintendo Wii. This looks like a very fun system. The graphics arent anywhere near the PS3 (the Sony graphics look more real than a movie!) but the Wii costs $250 vs. the $600 for a PS3... The neat thing about the Wii is that it is interactive. Have you ever noticed how everyone moves along with the controller even tho doing so has no affect? We all do it, and you do to. Stop lying. It is natural when trying to avoid a blow or to not crash to lean to one side or the other. Well the Wii is sensetive to that motion and indeed it requires that motion. If you are playing a boxing game you have to actually throw the punches and the system responds to you. Swinging a sword? Fishing? Driving? All those things require you to move your hands/arms to make it work. It looks like a very fun system and I am hoping to be able to afford the extra $250 by years end.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

ThanksGiving Recipe Bleg

Alright, ThanksGiving is coming up. A day to reflect upon the blessings that our G-d has bestowed upon us. A day to remember His grace. A day to share in the bounty of what He has provided for us.

And to that end I am asking y'all for your favorite ThanksGiving foods. If you want to include a recipe that'd be awesome.

I'll update this later today or so with some of my favorites.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dare To Be Stupid

I dont know if anyone has heard this song before but it is one of my favorites from Wierd Al Yancovic.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Princess Leia

Princess Leia belly dancing. What more needs to be said?

You can find her at her website

How Many Of Me
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Props to Birdie for this one.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Collapse Of The Free Press

From an article by Paul K. McMasters of the First Amendment Center:
The latest survey of global press freedoms, released last week by Reporters Without Borders, shows the United States falling another nine places since the previous year to 53rd, tying with Botswana, Croatia and Tonga. Cited as part of the reason for the steady decline in the rankings was the sharp tension between the Bush administration and the press that has developed since 9/11 and the federal courts’ refusal to recognize a reporter’s right to protect confidential sources.
Botswana and Croatia? That doesnt bode well for us. And where is Tonga? I havent even heard of them before.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pierced: Part 2

Got pierced again today, 'bout an hour ago. Nothing overly crazy, just a nipple. Right now, it hurts (imagine that!) but it seems to have been well done this time as opposed to the last time where it wasn't done well.

For those of you keeping track, I no longer have the other piercing due to it not healing. It wasnt straight anyways so it isn't too big a loss tho I liked it.

The girls at the pizza place informed me that it is going to hurt really bad in the cold. Great! Have I mentioned my new job? I am driving a concrete mixer and I have to get outside in the cold and freeze my butt off. Granted I dont have to do the hard physical labor, indeed I don't do any real physical labor besides washing the truck. But therein lies the problem. When I am outside I am just standing there being cold. Maybe the girls were wrong. I dont care really, they were cute and I was talking to them and that is what mattered there (o=

Friday, November 03, 2006

Roci vs. The Libertarian Party

It seems Roci is Anti-Libertarian Party. This is kinda odd because he leans to the right of the Repugnicans. The following is from the previous post and also from the post prior to that (His comments on that are too long to repost in their entirety and can be found here.)
Good sentiments, but that is not on the ballot.

There is no proposal for getting government out of the marriage approval business. So the next proposition is to get government to do the least harm, followed by possibly using the power of the state to accomplish some good.
Agreed. There isnt currently a proposal to remove the Gov from marriage. And certainly limiting the Govs ability to do harm is a good thing.

The position of the LPCO is duplicitous. Marriage, as it exists today in colorado, is not founded on religion but on a complex web of state and local laws. It reaches into contracts, inheritance, family law, divorce settlements, domestic violence, child wellfare, insurance and labor law.

Until you extricate the state from those places, something the LPCO is not actively proposing to do with any legislative agenda. State and marraige are connected. Deal with it.
Regardless of how much the Gov-Behemoth has grown, religion is quite simply outside government's purview. The gov needs to be removed from it.

The LP isnt tackling that one right now. Why? Because in the end one must choose their battles. The issue of marriage isnt terribly high on their priority list and rightly so. There are far greater needs than who can or cant marry and who controls it. It seems almost (and likely is) daily that the Gov abuses the Americans of their Rights and freedoms. Daily property is taken. Daily people are thrown in jail for small drug possesion (And in response to your other comments, that number in 2005 was 776,000 people arrested that year alone for pot) Etc Etc Etc. I dont even need to go into our loss of Rights as it is plain for all to see. And that is where the LP chooses to focus its limited resources.
Dodging the issue is not taking a position other than hiding under your desk until it goes away.
I am not in any way dodging, nor is the LP. You said earlier "the next proposition is to get government to do the least harm" and this is the LP position here. It isnt duplicitous nor hiding. It is recognizing that some laws only add evil or power to do harm to the necessary evil that is government.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Colorado Ballot Issues

Regarding Amendment 43 the marriage amendment the Libertarian party has this to say

The LPCO Legislative Director, Richard Randall, stated "Due to the complexity of wording in certain issues, there are valid Libertarian arguments both for and against those issues for which we did not take a position."

Explaining the LPCO position regarding Amendment 43 (defining Marriage) and Referendum I (Domestic Partnerships), Randall said "The sacred institution of marriage was established by religion; and the Colorado State Constitution, Article II, Section 4, forever guarantees the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination. An amendment to the Colorado State Constitution defining any religious term, including marriage, would create a conflict with Article II, Section 4 as it would, by its very nature, constitute an abridgment, regulation or restriction of our right to religious freedom."

I agree with this position. Lets get the Government out of Marriage. It is a religious rite, not a secular one.

Also on the ballot is an innitiative to pass what is effectively gay marriage. I am against this one for the same reason as I am against Amendment 43. It simply isnt an issue the Gov should be meddling with. I will post later on what I believe to be the best way to deal with marriage from a legal standpoint.