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    Broadcast Yourself!

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 24th June 2006 (All posts by )

    People having fun…

    Where the Hell is Matt?
    Introducing Lisa Nova
    LisaNova takes the Bus
    Bikini Wax

    You’ll need your speakers on.

    Posted in Arts & Letters | 8 Comments »

    US Prepares Strike on Iran

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 12th February 2006 (All posts by )

    US prepares military blitz against Iran’s nuclear sites

    ~The Daily Telegraph

    Related:
    Where the World Stands

    Interesting to see McCain described as the Republican front runner for 2008. McCain/Lieberman? That’d be an interesting ticket. Drive the wings on both sides completely nuts. Strong center and cross party appeal, obviously.

    More interesting perhaps, and certainly of more immediate relevance, is the article’s disclosure that submarine ballistic missiles are being refitted with conventional warheads. How odd. Why?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Iran | 13 Comments »

    Forever Freedom

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 12th February 2006 (All posts by )

    Never Give In! Never Surrender!

    ~ The Chicago Boyz

    Voltaire

    So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.

    Patrick Henry

    Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

    Theodore Roosevelt

    Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own. If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free. If in other lands the eternal truths of the past are threatened by intolerance, we must provide a safe place for their perpetuation.

    Posted in Civil Liberties | 1 Comment »

    The Puppet Masters

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 10th February 2006 (All posts by )

    This is fascinating. It is truly a bizarre universe we inhabit.

    Posted in Science | 4 Comments »

    Peter Max

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 24th January 2006 (All posts by )

    Cosmic Flyer
    The premier iconographer of the 60’s is still around and still making beautiful art.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters | 1 Comment »

    You Don’t Say

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 24th January 2006 (All posts by )

    Democrats and Republicans Both Adept at Ignoring Facts, Study Finds

    Posted in Humor | 7 Comments »

    Quote Of The Day

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 22nd January 2006 (All posts by )

    In sum: Iran is mountainous, full of hardened underground sites. Surgical anything is out. Conventional would be bad/really bad. Nuclear would be really really bad. Doing nothing would also be really really bad.

    Take your pick……………….

    ~Colonel Jerry USMC

    Posted in War and Peace | 4 Comments »

    SiteAdvisor

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 22nd January 2006 (All posts by )

    The Mission:

    SiteAdvisor helps protect you from all kinds of Web-based security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser-based attacks, phishing, online fraud and identity theft.

    Our automated testers continually patrol the Web to browse sites, download files, and sign-up for things with e-mail addresses. As you search, browse, download or register online, SiteAdvisor’s safety ratings help you stay safe and in control.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Internet | 1 Comment »

    Micromachine Movies

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 15th January 2006 (All posts by )

    Heard about the coming age of nanobots, have you? You’ll believe it when you see it, right? Me too. However, looks the building blocks for those micromachines are up and running. Ever thought you’d see a chip-scale motor? A gear train smaller than a pinhead?

    This alignment clip is used in conjunction with a transmission. This complex device is entirely batch-fabricated, with no assembly required. Amazing!
    (Sandia National Laboratories)

    Here’s a birds-eye overview of a chip-scale, six gear train in operation. The black, pointed objects are tiny probes applying power to the “circuit” that runs the train. The tiny semi-circle in the center is the actual gear train. The object on the right is the actuator mechanism, where electrical forces are converted to mechanical movement, which then applies the mechanical power to the gears. This is a silicon machine.

    And here’s a closeup of that tiny gear train running.

    Here’s a comb drive linear actuator. The basic princle is that of opposite charges attracting and like charges repelling. The actuator in the center, attached to the bottom comb, is negatively charged. When the top comb is positively charged, the bottom comb is attracted, moving towards it. When the charge is reversed, the bottom comb is pushed away. Simple, no? You can see the charge reversing by the top comb alternately lighting up and going dark.

    Perhaps what’s most impressive about these machines is their manufacturability. They are made from the same materials (silicon wafers and aluminum) and the same photo-lithography techniques as the chips in your computer. Most people don’t realize (why would they?) that those microchips are not single layer devices, but complex, 3-D, multilayer stacks of silicon, conductors, and dielectrics. Imagine building complex, reliable, low power, low cost machines using the same technologies. Impressive.

    There are at least three facilities pursuing MEMS (micro electromechanical machine systems) that I’m aware of: Sandia National Lab, The Applied Physics Lab and UC Berkely. Darpa is a primary funding agency.

    Image Gallery
    Movie Gallery

    Posted in Tech | Comments Off

    A Nuclear Armed Iran; Does it Matter?

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 15th January 2006 (All posts by )

    Amidst all the controversy, one needs to ask. Growing up in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, I spent most of my life with thousands of Russian ICBMs pointed at my head. I’m still here. So are you. Anyone who grew up in Moscow had the same, but polar opposite, experience. Because a nation is armed with nukes does not, by definition, mean those weapons will be used, whatever their dislike or distrust of the those people at whom the weapons are targeted. Which leads me to the larger question at hand, does the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran in and of itself justify a war, even a limited war, for their removal?

    Let’s look at some possible courses of action.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Middle East | 23 Comments »

    Secrets of the West

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 12th January 2006 (All posts by )

    Der Westen der USA…

    Wonderful photography of the American Southwest, courtesy of Steffen Synnatschke.

    Startseite = Home Page.
    Fotoalbem = Photo album.
    Gstebuch = Guest Book. Leave a comment.
    Touren = Maps of his photo excursions.
    Reiseberichte = Photos by locale.

    Posted in Photos | Comments Off

    Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO): Get The Facts

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 11th January 2006 (All posts by )

    Following up on Shannon’s post below, a long overdue assessment on the dangers of DHMO contamination in our environment.

    Pretty scary. One point they didn’t mention; despite it’s obviously dangerous nature and chemical persistence, the Clean Water Act makes absolutely NO reference to DHMO contamination in our rivers, lakes and reservoirs! Studies have shown you and your children are drinking water contaminated with DHMO. Be a proactive citizen. Act now. Ban DHMO. Your children will thank you.

    Posted in Humor | 11 Comments »

    Quote Of The Day

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 7th January 2006 (All posts by )

    When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.
    -P.J. ORourke

    Posted in Quotations | Comments Off

    Invocation To A Young Nation

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 6th January 2006 (All posts by )

    When I go out of the house for a walk, uncertain as yet whither I will bend my steps, and submit myself to my instinct to decide for me, I find, strange and whimsical as it may seem, That I finally and inevitably settle southwest, toward some particular meadow or deserted pasture or hill in that direction.

    The future lies that way for me and the earth seems more unexhausted and richer on that side. The outline which would bound my walks would be, not a circle, but a parabola, or rather like one of those cometary orbits which have been thought to be non-returning curves, in this case opening westward, in which my house occupies the place of the sun. I turn round and round irresolute sometimes for a quarter of an hour, until I decide, for the thousandth time, that will walk into the west or southwest. Eastward I go only by force; but westward I go free.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Quotations | Comments Off

    The Manned Space Program

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 4th January 2006 (All posts by )

    Cargo Launch Vehicle with Lunar Lander

    Before the end of the next decade, NASA astronauts will again explore the surface of the moon. And this time, we’re going to stay, building outposts and paving the way for eventual journeys to Mars and beyond.

    So opens the article How We’ll Get Back to the Moon on NASA’s website in their Vision for Space Exploration. Brave words. While I’ve no doubt they’re capable of doing it, I do have serious doubts whether we’ll see this program fully funded.

    Why, you may ask, are we even going back to the Moon? Didn’t we already do that in 1969? Is there anything really left there to explore? Here’s NASA’s chief historian, Steven J. Dick, answer to Why We Explore:

    In October 1995 – ten years ago this month – two Swiss astronomers announced the discovery of the first planet around a Sun-like star outside of our solar system. A few weeks later the American team of Geoff Marcy and Paul Butler confirmed the discovery, and a few months after that they added two more “extrasolar planets.” These landmark events were only the beginning of a deluge of new planets. Some 155 are now known in addition to the 9 in our own solar system. Hardly a week goes by without the discovery of more. In a way, each discoverer is a new Columbus, unveiling a new planet rather than a new continent. Although these planets are gas giants, Earth-sized planets are not far behind. A thousand years from now our descendants may explore them in person.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Space | 8 Comments »

    A List of 10 Media-Fed Myths

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 4th January 2006 (All posts by )

    Myths, Lies and Straight Talk ~Courtesy of John Stossel. Thanks John.

    The news business is first and foremost a business. The product they sell is fear and scandal. Whether you accept and internalize the distorted image of reality they present is purely up to you.

    Posted in Media | 4 Comments »

    The (New) Color of Money

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 2nd January 2006 (All posts by )

    The Spectacular New U.S. Grant Fifty Dollar Note

    Take an Interactive Tour of the new $10, $20 and $50 bills courtesy of the U.S Bureau of Engraving and Printing (requires Macromedia Flashplayer).

    Tour Hints:
    Select the “Eyeball” icon for an automatic virtual tour.
    Select the “Lightbulb” icon to see the bill backlight and view the watermarks.
    Select the “Magnifier” icon to examine the bill up close.
    Select the “Arrow” icon to flip the bill over.

    I think this new U.S Grant / U.S Flag fifty is a phenomenal piece of currency art and strongly suspect this bill will become a classic, much collected in years to come. And since these bills are changing in design every few years now in an effort (in vain) to keep ahead of counterfeiters, now is the time to grab a few of these bills in mint, uncirculated condition and pass them along to your heirs. Or to me. Whichever.

    Posted in Arts & Letters | 13 Comments »

    Great Books

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 1st January 2006 (All posts by )

    While I can never hope to compete with the likes of Lex – who reads even while cooking – or Ginny, who can glean the subtlest moral from any tale and nimbly connect it to her own life’s experience; I did, for me, a lot of reading last year. Of all that I read two books stand out like flares amongst candles and I recommend them to you heartily.

    No. 1: The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.

    I cannot, literally, praise this book highly enough. Published in 1986, it has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and if you read it, you’ll understand why.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters | 5 Comments »

    Good News From 2005

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 1st January 2006 (All posts by )

    C’MON! 2005 WASN’T SO BAD AFTER ALL ~Amir Taheri

    Posted in International Affairs | Comments Off

    The Transatlantic Rift

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 31st January 2005 (All posts by )

    In September of last year, I posted on the efforts of Germany, Japan and Brazil to gain a seat on the UNSC. I wasn’t impressed. Neither, apparently, is David Frum. In his piece, The End of the Transatlantic Affair, he writes:

    Over lunch at a Washington think-tank some time ago, a high-ranking German official told the room about his country’s determination to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council. The reaction? From the Americans present, indifference verging on boredom. For the Europeans, though, it was as if the official had dropped a concrete block on their toes.

    It was a fascinating moment of culture clash that demonstrates some ominous truths about American-European relations. The first truth is the traditionalism of American policy elites. Even when the evidence is thrust into American faces, it is hard for them to accept that things have changed in the old alliance. From 1947 until 1991, US-European relations were guided by the rule that America would provide the protection and Europe the deference.

    With the collapse of Soviet military power, the deal became obsolete. Yet this large geopolitical change has made little impression on American policy elites. Indeed, John Kerry won the backing of almost all of this elite by running a presidential campaign that promised that the alliance could be restored with just a few sweet words.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Europe | 34 Comments »

    EH101 Variant Chosen As New ‘Marine Corps One’

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 29th January 2005 (All posts by )

    A variant of the venerable EH101 (EuroHelicopter 101) medium-lift helicopter, dubbed the US101, has been chosen by the US Navy for it’s next generation presidential transport, traditionally referred to as Marine Corps One. The EH101 was designed in the 1980’s by the British/Italian consortium AgustaWestland and is currently in service with several NATO nations.

    Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopter teamed with AgustaWestland to offer the US101 against a Sikorsky/Boeing team, which was offering a variant of Sikorsky’s S-92, a similar helicopter. The US101 will be partially manufactured in the US by Bell, will incorporate GE engines, a European manufactured drive train and transmission, and British manufactured blades. Various custom avionics will be purchased in the US and integrated by Lockheed Martin.

    What a coup for AgustaWestland! You can bet your last Euro-dollar that photos of the EH101 in Marine Corps livery majestically taking flight from the White House lawn are going into their sales brochures tomorrow.

    Sikorsky Helicopter had been manufacturing the presidential helicopter fleet since the Eisenhower administration. Losing that prestigious spot had to really, really hurt.

    But I can’t say I’m surprised.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Aviation | 9 Comments »

    US Strikes Against Syria?

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 21st January 2005 (All posts by )

    I’m never sure what to make of things I read at Debka. Some of the time, it appears to be little more than rumor mongering. At other times, it’s been accurate. That said, this is interesting:

    Richard Armitage performed his last major mission before stepping down… This mission took Armitage to Damascus with nine American demands:

    1. Start repealing Syrias 40-years old emergency laws.
    2. Free all political prisoners from jail.
    3. Abolish media censorship.
    4. Initiate democratic reform.
    5. Speed up economic development
    6. Cut down relations with Iran.
    7. Announce publicly that the disputed Shebaa Farms at the base of Mt. Hermon are former Syrian territory.
    8. Hand over to US or Iraqi authorities 55 top officials and military officers of the former Saddam regime, who are confirmed by intelligence to be established in Syria and running the guerrilla war in Iraq out of their homes and offices.

    Then Bush lays the big stick on the table:

    9. Syria had better make sure that none of the Kornet AT-14 anti-tank missiles which it recently purchased in large quantities from East Europe turn up in Iraq. US intelligence has recorded their serial numbers to identify their source.

    Just in case any are found in Iraq, General Casey, commander of US forces in Iraq has already received orders from the commander-in-chief in the White House to pursue military action inside Syria according to his best military judgment.

    This is fascinating and probably necessary. Bashir Assad learned much from his father Hafez. Chief among the lessons learned at daddy’s knee was the value of a skillfully executed proxy war. The Syrians have been waging a proxy war against Israel, via hamas, for over 20 years. Of course, they’ve also occupied Lebanon for 30 years, but since they’re not Americans or Jews, the UN and EU don’t really seem to mind. Move along, nothing to see here.

    Proxy wars have two chief advantages for the sponsor:

    1. Plausible deniability.
    A) You’re being attacked by guerrillas and terrorists? Why that’s terrible!
    B) Where could they be getting those rockets and mines? We have no idea.
    C) Where are they getting their funding? Swiss bank accounts? Got us.

    2. It’s highly effective. For minimal cost, your opponent can be attacked relentlessly. Each attack may be, in itself, militarily insignificant. But it erodes morale and political support. Death by a thousand cuts.

    Clearly this is the strategy, the proxy war, that the Syrian Ba’athists have pursued against the US in Iraq. Having pursued it virtually without cost against the Israelis for decades, it was natural the method would present itself as first choice to confront, hamstring and confound those damned Yankees next door. We’ll make their life a living hell, and if accused, we’ll dust off our halos and feign outrage that our unassailable moral character could be questioned. Perfect!

    Except for one little flaw. One tiny little oversight in Bashir & Co.’s perfect plan. The US is not Israel. Whatever level of escalation the Syrians can threaten in Iraq pales – no, dwindles to nothing – in comparison to the punishment the US can inflict on Damascus and its surrounds in a single night of conventional high intensity bombing. A couple of weeks of it might just give them a whole new outlook on things.

    Posted in Iraq | 13 Comments »

    Anti-French Backlash

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 18th January 2005 (All posts by )

    Andrew Boucher at Volatility from Paris has a short post, entitled Christmas Shopping Lesson, on the large drop in Americans’ spending in Paris stores. He wrote:

    Reuters had an interesting article on the Galeries Lafayette store in Paris today. Because of the weak dollar, boycott, or just lack of energy, the American consumer isn’t much of a force any more in Paris.

    Chinese tourists have climbed from 20th position 10 years ago to the number one spot in terms of visitor numbers to the Galeries today – overtaking the Japanese, British, Russians and in fifth place, the Americans.

    Big spenders are customers from the Middle East, Japan, Russia and the United States. But while Americans spend more than the Chinese, it’s the force of numbers that counts.

    “An American spends twice as much as a Chinese customer, but … the Chinese are at least 10 times more numerous…,” the general manager at the flagship Boulevard Haussmann store said.

    It’s followed by a similar post, entitled The New Hollywood Villain, in which he says:

    “I don’t go to as many new films as I would like, but in those that I have seen, I’ve noticed a tendency which has become a trend. I’m speaking of the Frenchman as villain. ”

    I’ve noticed it too. Last night I caught part of program on the History Channel on the French Revolution. The commercial they were running to promote the program, both before it aired and during the program itself, ends with this little jab:

    “Now, for 2 hours, it won’t kill you to love the French.”

    I had to laugh every time I heard that. Whoever wrote that certainly has their finger on the pulse of the American public. Say the words ‘France’ or ‘French’ to an American these days and the reaction you’ll get is one of outright disgust.

    One fairly accurate measure of the enmity Americans feel towards the French can seen in the degree to which the French have become the butt of jokes. Tell a French joke and not only will everyone laugh, some caustic remarks will be added to boot; not to mention much head shaking and mock spitting.

    (After writing this post, I checked the spelling of ‘enmity’ at Merriam-Webster Online and found this:

    Etymology: Middle English enmite, from Middle French enemit, from Old French enemist, from enemi enemy
    : positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will

    I think that sums up feelings on both sides the Atlantic pretty well, don’t you? I also laughed when I saw that the word is from French.)

    All this begs the question, Why? After all, the Russians opposed the war in Iraq, as did the Chinese and the Germans and many others. So why is all this animosity focussed on the French? I’d offer three reasons:

    1. A sense of betrayal. Russians and Chinese have never been considered as allies. The French have been. There’s a sense among Americans that an agreement had been made prior to war, that we were led into a UNSC vote believing in that agreement, and were betrayed by a French led counter-stroke.

    2. A sense among Americans that the French owe us something for WWII.

    3. A widening discussion and understanding of the degree of anti-Americanism in France. Many people were shocked by what they read. Much of it appears little different than Soviet-style propaganda.

    An interesting, related question is this: Why haven’t the Germans experienced the same backlash? Their media is certainly as anti-American. Schroeder is no different in his actions than Chirac. Is it because so many Americans are of German descent? Or possibly because so many Americans have been stationed in Germany in the last fifty years and feel connected to Germans on a level they don’t feel towards the French? Or maybe the Germans aren’t seen as a traditional American ally. I don’t know.

    Posted in France | 18 Comments »

    Putting Global Warming In Perspective

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 16th January 2005 (All posts by )

    The graph below is what’s got everyone talking about global warming. It’s a graph of the change in average global temperature since the beginning of the industrial era.

    Average Global Temperatures Since 1861

    It shows, quite conclusively you’ll agree, that making steel, using a leaf blower and driving your SUV is raising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. And because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide raises the average temperature of the Earth. So, when Kansas turns into a desert and Florida disappears under the ocean, it’s your American gas-guzzling fault. Correct?

    Not so fast, my media propagandized reader. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) has been doing extensive research on the question of global warming and have begun to weigh in with their results. Their verdict can be summed up in one sentence: The earth has been warming and cooling in regular cycles for hundreds of thousands of years. At least.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Science | 13 Comments »

    Great Movies You’ve (Probably) Never Seen

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 12th January 2005 (All posts by )

    Like most people, I really enjoy a well made movie. I share the view that many of the movies widely acclaimed as classics are indeed that. Among them, in no particular order, would certainly be the following: Casablanca (Warner Bros.), The Wizard of Oz (MGM), Singing In The Rain (MGM), My Fair Lady (Warner Bros.), 2001: A Space Odyssey (MGM)…I could go on and on. We all know them.

    Once in a while you stumble across a movie whose quality stuns you, yet has won no award and hardly anyone you know has seen it. People used to call these movies ‘sleepers’, but I have no idea if that term is still in use.

    Here are four movies I’d put in that category. Next time you feel like curling up on the couch and breaking out the popcorn, consider one of these. You won’t be disappointed. They each have a flavor all their own to fit the mood you’re in.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters | 17 Comments »