Monday, December 21, 2015

According to Hoyt

She has the neatest blog - politics, culture, and, of course, fantasy and sci-fy (she is an author, having been published both IRL by Baen and in digital form).

One of the best things is the way she analyzes America from the standpoint of an outsider, which she was, initially.  Sarah was born and raised in Portugal, and retains the ability to see us at a distance.

"The Long March" is 2 days old, but worth the time reading it.

Probably  the most crucial part?
There is strife.  Strife means the old blood and the new don’t agree.  Another way to look at it is renewal.

Problem is advocates of liberty are about as good at coordinated action as a bunch of cats

It's true, the Left outflanks us at unified action.  Gone are the days when Democrats proudly proclaimed, "I'm not a member of a political organization - we're not organized at all".

Mao and his ilk would be bursting his jacket-buttons at the way modern American Leftists have managed to corral ordinary American citizens into lockstep.  They've done it by the time-honored manner used by so many Leftists - enforcement of cultural norms and social shaming, pressure on their peers to banishment the non-conformers, and threats - threatened and actual - against employment.

Who could have predicted that the Woodstock Generation would turn to methods they ridiculed when they were the outsiders?

Do You Need a New Comeback?

Never Fear - Kathy Shaidle is here!

One of the neat things about occasional bouts of insomnia is that. when carousing around the web (my most common go-to for those times), you sometimes run into Fun Facts!

Such as this:
More Catholics were killed by left-wing atheists—like my typical sparring partner—during the Spanish Civil War than “heretics” were killed during the 350-year Spanish Inquisition.

The "Crusades were SO Terrible" meme that the Progressives/Leftists want to beat any opposition over the head with is another of those accusations that is best combated with a Fun Fact!

Such as this map showing that the Jihadi invasion of the Middle East - at that time, almost exclusively Christian - and Europe was FAR more extensive than the defensive Crusader wars.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

You Can't Be Virtual Always

Look, I'm a big fan of the online world.  It speeds up the collaborative process when at least a portion of it can take place online.  This semester, the teacher I'm mentoring and I have been doing at least part of our interactions online.

However -

At least 2-3 times a week, we find that it's necessary to get up, walk the relatively short distance to the other's room in the pod, and quickly confer.

Apparently, humans are just hard-wired to prefer at least SOME IRL contact.  I have people with whom I have only online interactions, and I find that I wish we were able to at least occasionally met in the physical world.

So, Rubio's decision to keep Iowa almost completely non-physical is probably a HUGE mistake.  More than the coastal people recognize, those living in the interior are accustomed to "pressing the flesh", and those politicians who haven't been face-to-face may not realize that they will likely be perceived of as "cold" - and, therefore, likely to stumble in the first hurdle.

A huge amount of human decision is Gut Feeling - basing our choices on how someone handles personal interaction.  If you think about it, we've evolved in our hardware, but our software (brain) still works hard to make sense of those tiny indicators that let us know that a stranger:

  • Likes us - can be welcomed into our trusted circle

  • Is telling the truth

  • Will be loyal

  • Responds to the same stimuli as us - shows disgust for what appalls us, feels his heart beat faster for what energizes/excites us, is suspicious of the same people that we mistrust, etc.

  • Is a leader that would inspire us to follow him


Rubio may not realize the extent to which we depend on getting those cues - and how much better we are in person at putting those indicators into context.

I've often said that intuition is not what people think it is - rather than a mysteriously-based hunch, it's the accumulated judgement of minor observations - mostly conducted without being consciously aware of the process -  that allows us to handle interactions with strangers.  I suspect that it's handled by more primitive parts of the brain, and therefore less liable to be overridden.

Virtual is fine within your already-established trust circles.  It doesn't work with strangers.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Like Willie Nelson,...

I'm on the road again.

Heading to Cleveland for the holidays.  This will be a short, visit-packed trip, with us heading back again no later than the 27th.

Good news - I passed the General test for Ham Radio, which makes me eligible to work the HF bands - those are the ones that are generally used for DX - long distance contacts.  Can't do that without an HF rig, however, and those are QUITE expensive.  Minimal - about $600.  Maximal - my dear, if you have to ask...but, can be $12k - 15k.

For a RADIO?

Well, yes, but they also do so much more:

  • Slow-scan television/video can be received/sent, making it the choice for getting REAL news from far, and not-so far away.

  • Outer space communications - bouncing a signal off one of the many satellites, communicating with the space station, controlling a satellite.

  • Emergency communications - when the cell towers are not functional, radio can be.  Providing both emergency assistance to disaster agencies and helping those affected assure family that they are OK.  And, in case of the Zombie Apocalypse....

  • Locating rogue transmitters, chatting with another amateur with your special interests (other than radio - Black, disabled, women, chess players, English or other language learners in other countries) running an underground movement to free your country from an oppressive government - anywhere the "outs" need a way to communicate outside of the regular media channels - Ham is there.

  • Connecting with the Internet where access is weak or nonexistent.

  • And, yes, old-fashioned, but very effective - Morse Code.  Which I'm planning to take up now that I've passed the test.  Have to buy/make a CW oscillator first to learn with.


My other big plan is to get into shape - a shape other than round.  Fitness is my primary goal, but it wouldn't kill me to hear that I also look good.  I should have the time this Christmas break to set up a workable plan for weekdays and weekends, as well as begin tracking my food intake.

Merry Christmas to all!  And if you are feeling STRESSED by the holidays, think of THESE PEOPLE - they live in the Mideast, and risk SERIOUS punishment for celebrating.

    

Friday, December 18, 2015

In a World of Dumba$$ Ideas...

...this has to rank in the Top 5.
Two Texas lawmakers wrote President Obama this week to oppose a possible plan to use Fort Hood military base to house unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed into the U.S. from Mexico.

Fort Hood spokesman Rheinlander said:
the Department of Defense and HHS will continue to keep local and congressional officials informed throughout this assessment and selection process.

In other words, we (the Elite - trademark pending) will graciously let you know what WE have decided - not that WE care what you peasants think.

What is Dumber Than a NYT Columnist?

The answer is:

Nothing.

Nothing is dumber than a NYT Columnist.

A perfect example of that is the mindless regurgitating of an academic study that explores why some people, in extreme situations, freeze in place.  The brain activity that causes it, the possible alternative ways to keep that from affecting peoples' survival in crisis situations, and all of that other academic hedging is explained.

Why?

Because the academic has explored bold new territory?  Come up with novel solutions?

No.

Towards the end, only a hint of POSSIBLE ways to fight the freeze are given.  No doubt, this "conclusion" will be used to argue for more money to study the problem further.

Whereas any "uneducated" Redneck could tell you the solution to the problem.

Join the military - particularly the Marines.  I guaran-damn-tee you that your "hard-wired" tendency to freeze will completely disappear.  It will be replaced by practiced, rote training that overrides your instinctual freeze.

Funding agencies, please contact me for information about where to send the check.

What a Lovely Memorial

The subject of that memorial is one of the many - too many - people who died in San Bernardino.

I'm thinking either Rubio or Cruz, although I'm leaning Cruz - mostly because he is NOT charismatic.  He is, however, a prodigious thinker.  It really would be great to have someone in the White House who would NOT slogan, but out-think the enemy.  A chess player.

Ever hear someone sneer about the Truman decision to drop the bomb, explaining that it was "ridiculous" to think that he expected large casualties from an invasion.  That person, I'd wager, will explain that it was a strategic decision, based on desire to intimidate the Soviet Union, or just a thirst for revenge and blood.

The actual answer to the question of Truman's motivation might be here.

I'm going to post and then relax - I've been studying for the upgrade to my radio license, and I'm tired.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Status Update

I'd like to be more active in blogging, but, right now:

  • We're in the middle of renovating our house in Cleveland.  It's been a LONG, slow process - with one major epiphany - Contractors LIE!  We were originally hoping to sell it, but our son needed a larger place in a safe neighborhood (his family will soon be expanding), so....

  • My husband needed to work on his Master's program, as well as a research program he is involved with, so-o-o-o, it was up to me to do more around the house and with the bills.  And,

  • I'm working on getting the finals ready for this upcoming week.  Have to finalize the two different versions, make an answer sheet, and get them to the office to be copied.  And,

  • I'm trying to get an exercise program going - it's been one failure after another.  And, I really do need to shape up!  And,

  • I'm studying for my upgrade of my Ham Radio license to General - the test is next Saturday, and I'm nervous about it.  And,

  • We're trying to get some Christmas shopping done earlier this year.  We usually wait until the last couple of days before, but we would rather spend that time with family and friends.  And,

  • I'm pulling some tax information together for my accountant.  Whether or not I consider it important, the IRS does.  And,

  • I need to prepare for next semester's classes - 2 different subjects from this semester.  And,

  • I'll be attending a conference in January in New Orleans.  So, I really want to get into shape so I can look spiffy.  And,


Nope, I guess that's about all.

So, compared to my chaotic life, politics/culture/news seems less exciting, and certainly less important.  I'll be posting, but only about 1-2 times a week.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Gathering Storm

In the aftermath of the recent shooting - both in America, and in the rest of the world (the media focused on Paris, but just about totally ignored the kidnapping of a Malaysian engineer, who has been reportedly beheaded) - the American people are nervous.

For a very good reason.

Unlike truly random attacks, the Islamic terrorists aim at maximizing Christian deaths.  It is for this reason that the "holiday" party was targeted - the killers could be reasonably sure that those of the Christian faith would be present.  Other groups that have faced terror from Islamicists are the Kurds, the Druze, and, of course, every whacko group's fave, the Jews.

The Progressives have been wrinkling their foreheads at the perplexing actions of ordinary Americans, who - despite the number of shootings by random crazies and "Peaceful Muslims" (trademark pending) - are reacting by choosing to increase the number of guns owned by citizens.  It's "truly a puzzlement" (to quote the King of Siam from the musical) why any sane person would react to the increasing violence with purchases to defend themselves and those they love.

/sarc

I personally know 1/2 dozen or more Democrats who've either bought guns, or are contemplating a purchase.

Hmmmmm.

Whatever COULD be causing people to feel unsafe?

Why, it's as though these nervous people don't fully trust their government to protect them.

They must be paranoid.

[UPDATE]  I know it reads like an Onion article, but apparently the appropriate response to the CA shooting should be attendance at a radical mosque:
A handful of House Democrats are expected to meet Friday afternoon at a Northern Virginia mosque that has reported ties to terrorists.

The Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church is where Anwar al-Awlaki, an accused recruiter for al Qaeda who was killed in 2011 by a U.S. drone strike, was an imam at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It was also widely reported that some of 9/11 hijackers attended the mosque, and that Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan worshipped there

Have we morphed into Bizarro World?