February 28, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 1:48 pm

That’s a lot of space junk from one collision. Considering that a paint chip got halfway through the Shuttle’s windshield, it’s a lot of dangerous space junk…

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:30 pm

Phil makes one thousand posts. Congratulations!

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:24 pm

Scalzi asks we give the auteurs some slack.

He also notes that he’s got a strong archive. Which is nice. Me, half my pageviews are for the blonde joke; that’s my archive. I find that my own archives seem to be useful to, well, me; I use the longer essays from back when I did them more regularly to compare against and hone my thinking, or remember what I was going on about.

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:15 pm

Hey, a new submarine blogger out there! He likes horses!

Bill and Bob Get In A Scuffle

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:01 pm

Bill and Bob had a post a while back that sounded to me like a pretty tight case against bad journalism. See this summary from Lex for the smackdown in post and comments, and this from OpenAnthro for another view and later colorful and oh so culturally sensitive bashing of milbloggers (Check out the general agreement with Pelton’s characterization of what a milblogger is for high quality anthropological thinking). The whole thing sounds to me to tarnish the reps of Robert Pelton and Eason Jordan’s Iraqslogger for reasons including sending things down the memory hole, statements that don’t match and conflict of interest. Also, the Human Terrain Project, of which I know little except having listened to various emotionally charged arguments thousands of miles away from the project itself, has something very weird going on that’s in addition to the academic resistance to the use of knowledge for icky military use.

Pelton will probably launch the Google Alert comment in response, I’m sure, and the “Open Anthropology” people, well, who knows what they’ll say to dis me; perhaps I’m not reporting on every topic that is important to them right then and they can call me a “victim of cerebral palsy” like they do with others that might have divergent opinions and not just a “moral and intellectual coward” because I’m a blogger on active duty and thus a milblogger to those who aren’t enlightened enough to know that Pelton’s definition of same is established doctrine. Ah well. Shorter post: Hey, look at all these bugs! Lots more rocks, too! Someone is wrong on the Internet!

Changing topic: Also on Bill and Bob’s Excellent Adventure, there’s a good summary/analysis of John Nagl and Andrew Bacevich debating each other in print. The conclusion: They’re talking past each other.

Dr. Nagl offers a course of action that is predicated upon the belief that Afghanistan – and Central Asia – is vitally important to the security of the United States. Prof. Bacevich dismisses even addressing this issue in what appears to be a de facto assertion of the irrelevance of Central Asia to national security, and counsels that departing Afghanistan is the only way for President Obama to truly cast his legacy. This misses the Point/Counterpoint that was advertised.

Later on they mention a Sen. McCain response, which I haven’t read.

I’ve had a chance to see some C-listers talking over the past month or so, mostly DoD/DoS/greybeards. You can tell that there’s a lot of angst about what the goals and end states are for Afghanistan in DC. Petraeus ain’t dishing end goals yet; according to some Pakistan Army officers I met and news articles and general chatter, the Pakistan Army and ISI have been coming over here a lot more while we’ve been filling gapped billets in Pakistan and visiting on the ground; lots more leaks from the New York Times (thanks again for endangering current operations, people) and Senators (thanks again etc), indicating either institutional pushback-by-killing-people, or actual change in ops.

Perhaps Stravinsky Should Have Taken A Cue From Either The Futurists Or Spike Jones And Conducted With A Pistol

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:23 am

Um, it’s a late night, I don’t feel like working, and the kids are up in the middle of the night so sleep is not an option. Aimless meandering follows, no idea what’s going on past the ‘more’ tag.

February 27, 2009

This Could Get Interesting

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:58 pm

Look, until we build Shipstones, ideas on the mechanical/physical front will be more evolutionary than revolutionary. Information and computing is shifting that way. The real revolutionary stuff these days is in nano and bio. I overcompress ten pages of argument but you see where I’m going here.

Here’s a potential game changer in bio.

Merck just pledged a ton of high-resolution, very expensive data to the public domain, along with some software and other resources to make it work. It’s going into a new non profit org…

Org’s called Sage. Vision is to ” Create an open access, integrative bionetwork evolved by contributor scientists working to eliminate human disease.”

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I hammer on the point that disruptive technologies tend to be disruptive in ways the originators never foresaw.

This is particularly true in military affairs.

Now do you feel a little uneasy about some of these innovations, such as how it’s so easy to sequence DNA a magazine shows you how to do it in your kitchen?

February 25, 2009

Some Guys Are Tougher Than Others

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:28 pm

Like these guys.

“You’d hear them crying, every night,” said one of the men in the boat, Rodney Rice, 39. “I went down there last night and you could hear them trying to break up more ice. . . . They wouldn’t have lasted another day.”

Straight Outta Cinecitta, But Even Lower Budget

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:02 pm

I didn’t even know there was an Italian Spiderman movie.

(h/t The Bloggess, who has something mystical going on with her YouTube account)

Update: You know, I think this is what Tarantino really wanted to do but couldn’t get away with. Viva Italian Spiderman!

February 24, 2009

Sick As Dog

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:55 pm

Coupla days, maybe.

Comic Of The Day

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:24 pm

Apparently French boomer boats get touchy when you talk about them.

February 23, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:40 pm

One of the downsides of following Allahpundit on Twitter is that he makes book recommendations. Like this one.

February 22, 2009

Roll Your Own

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:41 pm

Every once in a while I check out the catalog of the California heirloom seed distributor J.L. Hudson. I remember seeing a catalog of theirs at the Carnegie Library back in the eighties and it looked like a zine done by Dr. Bronner’s cousin. If you want oddball, tasty heirloom tomatoes, they’re a good choice. Or just read the rants; the folks running it sound as though they would be interesting dinner conversation until the Art Bell show came on. I especially applaud their ‘In Memoriam’ link, by the way.

Anyhow, I noticed that tobacco plants are now in the heirloom category, and because many farmers have shifted to other crops, the plants are showing up in the exotic seed catalogs. Here are seeds and plants for your own Cuban-seed terbacky or what have you:

  1. J.L. Hudson
  2. New Hope Seed Company (with a slideshow and plants, too)
  3. Victory Seed Company

As for me, I never stay in one place long enough to plant anything, really; if I did I’d plant some ebony trees or follow some of the neat ideas in the journal. But it sure would be nice to see individual-level tobacco cultivation, if only for the beauty of the plant.

February 21, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:42 pm

If you want a hard job, these guys have taken one on. Polaroid dumped their Polaroid business, so a group of people got together and are going to try to restart the production line with whatever they’ve figured out to replace the film pack that can’t be made any more, using the original factory and equipment.

(h/t Dinosaurs and Robots)

The Fleet’s Almost In

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:36 pm


Frank Herron reads the paper from last century, and finds that the Great White Fleet is almost back from their trip.

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:06 pm

Over at USNI they’ve discovered the HBO movie Taking Chance.

The folks at the blog Blackfive originally posted and then published (in the book The Blog Of War) the essay Taking Chance in 2004. They have followed the amazing response to LTC Strobl’s heartfelt piece over the years, and today have letters from the corpsman who was there when PFC Chance Phelps was killed in action and the Marine general who was with them in that battle.

You owe it to yourself to read the original 2004 essay if you haven’t already.

I’ve just re-read it; it’s still as affecting as it was.

Speaking Truth To Power, Or Just Being, You Know, Power

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:34 pm

It would be interesting to see a version of this article done for flag officers.

At least 16 reporters and newsroom staffers at The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., most of whom left the paper in the past year’s massive buyout, are now working for public officials or state agencies the paper covers.

In several cases, writers who covered a specific beat are now working for individuals or agencies upon which they once reported.

It would be even more interesting to see the steam come out of CDR Salamander’s ears when he read it…

February 20, 2009

Silent Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:53 pm

Iowahawk breaks character in a sad and completely maddening bit of news.

Like the people who supported the Soviets with no fear of accounting or retribution, so go the people who are responsible for the death of others by implementation of bad policy for supposedly moral reasons. It’s not just the hundreds burned to death in Australia last week who couldn’t clear their own land of trees for safety, it’s the innumerable people who die from diseases that could be stopped by using something that was perfectly legal before the emotion got added to the public policy, stopping any correction from the law of unintended consequences. And there never, never is any earthly accounting for these actions, is there? It’s as if the impression that the banners are just so much more moral than I am stops any contemplation of recriminations.

Geez, even the guy who invented leaded gas and CFCs–just some engineer who didn’t see the unintended consequences–felt badly once people understood what happened.

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:41 pm

Geez, when you get Greyhawk–both Mr. and Mrs.–roused enough to start quoting the Teddy Roosevelt Sorbonne speech, it’s likely time to recognize the beatdown might be severe…

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:50 pm

Someone who knows these things only too well has an opinion on letting the press take Dover.

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