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    Ted Cruz’s Platform

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 7th February 2016 (All posts by )

     

    Ted Cruz

    Ted Cruz, more than any other candidate, really seems intent on reducing the size of government in Washington  and the scope of its power in our lives. Ted is a deeply religious man, and normally I’m uncomfortable with candidates who wear their religious beliefs on their chest. However, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and that’s a very tiny flaw to overlook.

    Most impressive to me is his Five for Freedom plan. This from the first section:

    Abolish the IRS, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A Cruz Administration will appoint heads of each of those agencies whose sole charge will be to wind them down and determine whether any programs need to be preserved.

    1. Internal Revenue Services – end the political targeting, simplify the tax code, and abolish the IRS as we know it.
    2. Department of Education – return education to those who know our students best: parents, teachers, local communities, and states. And block-grant education funding to the states.
    3. Department of Energy – cut off the Washington Cartel, stop picking winners and losers, and unleash the energy renaissance.
    4. Department of Commerce – close the “congressional cookie jar” and promote free-enterprise and free trade for every business.
    5. Department of Housing and Urban Development – offer real solutions to lift people out of hardship, rather than trapping families in a cycle of poverty, and empower Americans by promoting the dignity of work and reforming programs such as Section 8 housing.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Conservatism, Elections, Political Philosophy | 12 Comments »

    Walter Russell Mead: Rethinking the Development of the Liberal, Capitalist World Order

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 2nd February 2016 (All posts by )

    Wherein he discusses America’s secret plan for global domination…

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 12 Comments »

    The Fermi Paradox and SETI

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 31st January 2016 (All posts by )

    The Atacama Compact Array

    The Atacama Compact Array

    In 1950, amidst the UFO hoopla that was sweeping the world, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi posed a simple question, Where are they? By that he meant with lots of people making the argument that in a universe full of stars presumably with planets there should be lots of intelligent life out there. That seems plausible. So, he wondered, how come there isn’t a shred of evidence for it? After all, if we lived in a city full of people, wouldn’t we see them or at least see evidence of them being there? So why don’t we?

    Kepler

    In 1961 astronomer Frank Drake, interested in that very question, made an estimate of how many intelligent civilizations should exist inside our galaxy. The Drake Equation has seven terms, each a guess, from how many stars are born per year and how many of those have habitable planets through how many of those planets have developed technologies (like radio) that allow them to be detected. In 1961 there was not enough data to give reliable estimates to any of the terms. In the intervening 50 years we’ve accomplished enough basic research to apply actual values to the first few terms.

    The Milky Way produces about seven new stars per year. Virtually every star forms within a disc of gas and rock/metal dust called a protoplanetary disc that eventually condenses into planets. According to research derived from data collected by the Kepler spacecraft, at least 22% of Sun-like G type stars have an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone, the habitable zone being defined as the distance at which water neither boils off or is continuously frozen. Result: the number of habitable Earth-like planets in the Milky Way is at least 50 billion.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Science, Space | 22 Comments »

    Cologne Tapes Erased?

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 27th January 2016 (All posts by )

    German admin ordered CCTV of Cologne attack erased

    Anchor: It is difficult to imagine that in front of the main train station in Cologne there wouldn’t be any TV cameras. While for the most petty crimes we often have recordings, here there is nothing.

    Dr Zoltaniki: Police officers claim that data from their protocols was deleted. Yes, by their superiors.

    It seems our politicians and Europe’s are on the same page, at least when it comes to destroying evidence.

    Posted in Crime and Punishment, Current Events, Europe, Germany, Immigration, Islam, Politics | 35 Comments »

    Breaking Things Down and Building Them Up

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 26th January 2016 (All posts by )

    First some demolition:

    There’s actually a lot more going here than meets the eye. First, a structural model of the building is created. Buildings and bridges are overbuilt, such that the structure is capable of supporting considerably more load than it’s actually required to hold. This allows for minor failures to occur during the construction and life of the building without it collapsing. Once the model is built, they determine what support members may be removed without collapsing the structure, taking it from a safety factor of 1.5 (50% stronger than necessary) to 1 (just strong enough to stand). The analysis is carried out or overseen by structural engineers.

    Next, charges are laid on some support members, like columns and beams, but not others. The idea is to leave parts of the building connected by steel girders to parts that will fall so they get pulled in that direction and fall on top of the pile. Gravity does the actual demolition, the charges just break the supports.

    Finally, the charges are detonated in a careful sequence. First are a series of weakening charges that remove the 50% of support safety margin, then the building is collapsed from bottom to top and (usually) from the center outwards to the periphery, with the back and sides being pulled into the center debris pile.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Diversions, Miscellaneous, Tech | 10 Comments »

    Two Types of Law

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 25th January 2016 (All posts by )

    1. The law that applies you.
    2.The law that doesn’t apply to the politically connected.

    Interesting to me that despite breaking many federal laws regarding the removal and handling of fetuses, no one has brought charges against Planned Parenthood. However, those filming the breaking of the law are being charged.

    Grand jury indicts 2 behind Planned Parenthood videos

    I guess their political connection aren’t up to snuff.

    And this, from Glenn Reynolds:
    Forecast of distrust with a chance of revolution

    “Then there’s the official lawlessness. The IRS, hiding from investigations that it targeted Tea Party groups, keeps “accidentally” destroying hard drives. Hillary’s emails also keep mysteriously disappearing, and now the State Department has used the blizzard as an excuse for not producing court-ordered emails, though it’s known about the order for months. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, former attorney general Michael Mukasey says that Hillary should face criminal charges, but who really expects that? She’s politically untouchable, which says bad things about the rule of law.”

    The ‘elite’ break whatever laws they wish and laugh in your face, as do politically connected people and organizations like PP. Assuming a Republican wins the next presidential election, will there be an accounting? Should there be? Of what sort? What would reestablish the Rule of Law among the political elite?

    Related: Immigrant Mob Attacks French Family

    “The mob can be seen hurling objects at the family before one of the men within the house emerges with an air rifle to ward them off. The man was later taken into custody by police, but has been released while the regional prosecutor considers whether to pursue a case against him.”

    Note who got arrested and who did not.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 18 Comments »

    Amateur Astronomy

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 23rd January 2016 (All posts by )

    Astro

    I first got interested in astronomy when I was a child. Visiting one of my father’s brothers and his wife one night with my family, I got bored and amused myself playing pool in their basement. Bored with even that, I rifled a bookcase and found a book on the Messier Objects. I remember being sprawled on the floor fascinated that such things even existed, much less we had photos of them taken through telescopes. Being prior to the Voyager missions, even the planets were still grainy, poorly resolved objects, so this was a great revelation to me. These days, anyone with access to the internet can view the photo catalogs from the HST, the Spitzer IR Telescope, as well as images from the great European and American observatories.

    Charles Messier was 14 in 1744 when a six-tailed comet made an appearance in the skies over France. Fascinated, he spent the rest of his life searching for comets and in the process stumbled onto lots of objects that, in crude 18th century telescopes, might at first be mistaken for one, having that same hazy, glowing look that a comet has. Angry that he kept wasting valuable comet hunting time tracking fuzzy little clouds of light that never moved, all of which were then called nebula (cloud or mist), he resolved to start recording their positions on the sky and making the list, now known as Messier’s Catalog, available to others for their convenience.

    Ironically, the objects in Messier’s list of nebulae turned out to be far more interesting than comets. As telescopes improved in optical quality and got larger, those nebulae got resolved into spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies, faint open star clusters, globular star clusters now known to be in orbit around our galaxy, clouds of hydrogen and oxygen in which UV light from nearby stars excites them to fluoresce, and the glowing remnants of recent supernova explosions.

    For those interested in exploring the sky on their own, the first piece of equipment you should own is binoculars, preferably 7×50 or 10×50, and a book that teaches you to find your way around the sky. You cannot do better than start with 365 Starry Nights. The author, Chet Raymo, is Professor Emeritus of Physics at Stonehill College and the author of a dozen books. He is also an artist, a naturalist and a religious scientist who believes there’s both beauty and purpose to life and the universe. The book assumes it’s been received as a Christmas present, and begins with a view of the night sky as seen from the northern hemisphere on January 1st. He explains what you’re seeing through beautifully rendered diagrams of the stars, explains how to find other things in relation to those constellations, then describes some interesting objects inside each one. Each night a little more detail is added and the diagrams slowly change with the seasons. It’s probably the most beautiful, poetic, yet informed and useful book on navigating and understanding the night sky I’ve ever seen.

    A very nice set of basic but good quality binoculars can be purchased online at Orion Telescopes & Binoculars. This $100 pair of 7×50 binoculars have BAK-4 glass in their prisms and multicoated optics. They’re an excellent yet inexpensive instrument for going beyond naked-eye viewing but still offering wide field views of star clusters, the Milky Way, and brighter Messier Objects. Orion has a stellar reputation for customer service and, being owned and run by amatuer atronomers, will gladly work with a beginner and make recommendations or work to resolve equipment problems.

    Two other basic pieces of relatively high quality yet affordable entry level equipment are an 8″ or 10″ dobsonian reflector and/or a 3″-4″ refractor. Both are easy to set up, easy to use, and can provide hours of fun. Of the two, you will always get more bang for the buck with a reflector simply because they are easier to produce, both optically and mechanically. That said, a high quality refractor provides very crisp, high contrast images and are generally smaller and more portable. You milage may vary.

    10″ “Go-To” Dobsonian Telescope

    Celestron Omni XLT 102 Refractor Telescope

    Orion ED80T CF

    Some excellent books for a the backyard astronomer include Nightwatch, a general introduction to amatuer astronomy and equipment and Turn Left at Orion a book that concentrates on helping you locate objects for binoculars and small telescopes.

    Years ago, my youngest daughter and I traveled through Arizona and Utah together. If you never been under desert skies at night you’ve never seen a night sky in all its splendor. The Milky Way is a stream of stars from horizon to horizon, like a river of sparkling light overhead. In and around the Milky Way, stars are so dense it’s almost impossible to pick out constellations, simply because so many stars normally washed out into the background are brilliantly visible. Nebulae and star clusters are visible to the naked eye and are spectacular in binoculars. We spent several nights parked out in the wilderness sky watching from the back of our Jeep Cherokee while Jewel played on the CD player inside. That same daughter and I spent a wonderful night near Gettysburg watching a Perseid meteor shower from my Mustang convertible. Astronomy is something you can certainly enjoy alone, but it’s even better if you can find someone to share it with.

    The Deep Sky Videos channel from the astronomers at University of Nottingham.

    NASA’s Great Observatories

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 14 Comments »

    Early Snapshots of the Blizzard

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 23rd January 2016 (All posts by )

    The storm should continue till around midnight tonight. Tomorrow is the Big Digout. Below is a shot of my deck, where I measured 18″ at noon on the flat (not drifted) area:

    SnowNoon

    Update: I measured 22″ on my deck at 4:30 PM. It’s still snowing hard and we have another eight hours to go!

    Update: I measured 23″ on my deck at 11:00 PM. The snow is finished and even the wind has stopped, so the storm is over. The weather predictions were spot on for this storm. They’re getting much better at this sort of thing than they were a few decades ago. I mildly startled a young, lone deer in my yard when I opened the door to measure the snow. He looked up from nibbling on one of my bushes, looked at me quizzically and focused his ears toward me. I think he’s a young stag that got booted from his herd by the dominant stag. I’ve seen him out there alone many times. He doesn’t have a lot of weight on him, so I wonder if he’s going to survive the winter.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Photos | 25 Comments »

    Two Interesting Films

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 18th January 2016 (All posts by )

    Cloverfield

    It’s been said about Godzilla that it was Japan’s way of dealing with the B-29’s of the American Army Air Corp of WWII. A…monster…emerges from the ocean to the East, wreaking havoc and destruction on the cities and people of Japan. Nothing they could do seemed capable of stopping or even slowing the incredible assault. All was laid to waste before it. The movie was a means of dealing with the horrible memories of the bombings on another level, a symbolic level, easier to face that way. Dealing with it without dealing with it. A coping mechanism for the culture.

    Cloverfield may be the American equivalent. An apocalyptic horror film, it incorporates themes from Godzilla, Alien and the 1953 version of War of the Worlds. It takes place in Manhattan and the movie begins in retrospect as video footage from a recovered camera, now in the archives of the DoD. The everyday friendships, lives and loves of a few young professionals unfolds into a nightmare of fear and panic as an enormous creature inflicts death and destruction on the city and everyone around them. Virtually the entire film is done in hand-held camera style as they sporadically document the chaos unfolding around them. It’s an incredibly effective technique and gives a feeling of reality to the film it otherwise wouldn’t have. There’s no doubt in my mind this is the filmmaker’s way of coping with 9/11.

    Here’s the first clip in a series of nine you can watch at Movieclips. The friends have just left a going away party and evacuated to the roof after what felt like an earthquake and power outage.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Film, Morality and Philosphy, Society, Terrorism, Video, War and Peace | 3 Comments »

    Interview with Oleg Atbashian of The People’s Cube

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 16th January 2016 (All posts by )

    “The Leftists claim the moral high ground, but the morality is the only ground on which they can be defeated. We can attack the political figures all we want, but they will be replaced by different ones of exactly the same kind.”

    “The reason why this socialist system is immoral is because equality can only be enforced one way (points down). You cannot elevate people to make them equal because people are all born different, but you can always bring them down to the lowest common denominator. That’s what they eventually wind up doing, regardless of their claims to the contrary”

    Catherine Engelbrecht, the woman conducting this interview, was targeted by the Obama administration for her work with the King Street Patriots and True the Vote:

    Then other agencies began to show up at their business, including the BATF, and OSHA, who found no violations but their visits eventually resulted in fines upward of 20K. Engelbrecht said there was no real apparent reason for the inquiries and visits made by the agencies.

    Meanwhile, the IRS continued its intrusive demands, including inquiries into every Facebook or Twitter posting Engelbrecht had ever made, her political aspirations, places she had spoken or intended to speak, the content of her remarks, and other abusive questions. It didn’t take long before Englebrecht decided that the statistical probability of her requests for tax-exempt status and the tyrannical actions of government agencies being unconnected was slim to none, and she decided to act.

    After the second visit of the BATF, Engelbrecht called her attorney, asking, “Who do we sue, and how do we do it?” Lawsuits were filed against the IRS on several counts, including one to compel the agency to either grant the tax-exempt status, or refuse the request. In December 2013, the status was granted, but portions of the lawsuits have not yet been resolved.

    Engelbrecht told us that she has copies of a letter from Obama’s general counsel demanding investigation of any organization claiming to be involved with election integrity, and another specifically targeting True the Vote, designating it as a threat to the administration.

    Your tax dollars at work: The IRS Targeting of Catherine Engelbrecht. The Progressive movement increasingly resembles and adopts the tactics of the Communist Party.

    Further reading: Laughing at the Contradictions of Socialism in America

    Posted in Current Events, Leftism, Media, Obama, Political Philosophy, Politics, Video | 11 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 14th January 2016 (All posts by )

    “Something powerful and profound is happening in American politics. With nearly unanimous public revulsion against Congress and business as usual in Washington, with economic anxiety and pain far greater than political or financial pundits or President Obama can understand, after repeated change elections that have brought no change, there is a tidal wave of anti-establishment populism in both parties that is defining the 2016 campaign.”

    Brent Budowsky: Why Clinton feels the burn

    Posted in Current Events, Politics | 8 Comments »

    Evolutionary Psychology May Partly Explain Political Outlook

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 11th January 2016 (All posts by )

    Anonymous Conservative uses some interesting research into the evolved behavioral dynamics of animal populations and applies it to human populations to explain the Left-Right political divide. The gist of the argument is that two distinct behavioral psychologies exist among animals, r and K:

    The terms r and K came from variables in equations which described how populations would change over time. r represented the maximal reproductive rate of an individual, while K represented the carrying capacity of an environment.

    The first environment an organism may face is the presence of freely available resources, which is referred to as an r-selective environment.
    In r-selection, those individuals who waste time fighting for food will be out-reproduced by pacifists, who simply focus upon eating, and reproducing. Fighting also entails risks of injury or death – risks which are pointless given the free availability of resources everywhere. Hence this environment will favor a tendency towards conflict avoidance, and tend to cull the aggressive and competitive. It will also evolve tendencies towards mating as early as possible, as often as possible, with as many mates as possible, while investing as little effort as possible rearing offspring. Here, there are unlimited resources just waiting to be utilized, and even the most unfit can acquire them. As a result, it is more advantageous to produce as many offspring as possible, as quickly as possible, regardless of fitness, so as to out-reproduce those who either waste time producing quality offspring or waste time competing with each other.

    In the other environment, a population exists at the carrying capacity of its environment. Since there is not enough food to go around, and someone must die from starvation, this will evolve a specific psychology within such a species. Termed a K-type psychology, or K-Selected Reproductive Strategy, this psychology will embrace competitions between individuals and accept disparities in competitive outcomes as an innate part of the world, that is not to be challenged. Since individuals who do not fight for some portion of the limited resources will starve, this environment will favor an innately competitive, conflict-prone psychology. Study shows, such a psychology will also tend to embrace monogamy, embrace chastity until monogamous adulthood, and favor high-investment, two-parent parenting, with an emphasis upon rearing as successful an offspring as possible.

    This explains the very different social outlook of the pioneers from, say, the modern Progressives. To the pioneers, everything must be worked for, built, exploited, expanded and defended. They cleared the forests, planted the prairies, drilled and tapped the aquifers, mined the mountains, built power plants, built dams and irrigated the dry lands. Progressives see and teach that as a history of evil and greed, all while maximizing their use of it and working to destroy it by neglect or regulation.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Human Behavior, Political Philosophy | 9 Comments »

    They Want the Establishment Burned to the Ground

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 10th January 2016 (All posts by )

    Tea Party 2.0…

    The GOP loathes both the leading Republican candidates. Republican voters, meanwhile, increasingly loathe the GOP.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 28 Comments »

    A Robotic Society

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 7th January 2016 (All posts by )

    Metropolis, 1927

    Robot, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, 1927

    Fifty years ago, if you were a company building automobiles or telecommunications equipment, you would have employed an assembly line full of workers. There also would have been people kitting parts, making inspections, doing tests, even running errands. If you operated a catalog company, you might have warehouse full of people loading and unloading goods, taking inventory, generating reports and packing and shipping goods. If you manufactured metal goods, you might employ several grades of craftsmen, from apprentice to master machinist, as well as cutters and welders, finish workers, inspectors, packers and shippers.

    Much less so today. Automobiles and electronics and every other sort of manufactured good are increasingly made on robotic lines. From painting to welding to complex assembly, robots are replacing people. Warehouses can run almost autonomously, with goods stored in a 3D grid that is accessed, inventoried and replenished by increasingly intelligent networks of machines and computers. Jeff Bezos would like to robotize even the delivery of those goods via autonomous drones. That seems entirely doable, though the thought of computer controlled helicopters moving through the skies upsets some people.

    Sixty six years ago, almost to the day, Isaac Asimov’s novel I, Robot was published. It was followed by four more novels over 30 years as well as 38 short stories in what became known as The Robot Series. In these books, Asimov explored all sorts of aspects of a robot populated world, including the dangers they might pose to people, problems with machines that think with digital logic, their inevitable evolution from simple mechanisms to organo-machines that were difficult to differentiate from human beings, except for their vastly superior intellectual capacity and increased lifespan, and some of the implications of that.

    In a society relieved of all sorts of menial labor and drudgery, Asimov envisioned something of a Golden Age of Man. Material goods would be so cheaply and easily made that no one would lack for any basic goods, and most people would enjoy a standard of living and a degree of leisure time available now to only the extremely wealthy. That’s a view with some precedent in how other technologies have improved our lot, so it’s one possible future.

    I find myself wondering, though. Suppose something like that were to come to pass. After all, we’re seeing signs of its development now. How does this future society actually work? How are people employed? What does one do to earn a living in a society where work is done by machines? We see this problem already, which tells us we’re farther along this road than maybe we realize. All the people that are not employed in Jeff Bezos’ warehouses or building electronics assemblies or automobiles, what do they do? In the past, when people were displaced from agriculture by machinery, they went to cities and were employed in large scale industrial and retail businesses. That is no longer the case. Not only have the manufacturing base dispersed across the globe chasing cheaper labor and fewer rules and regulations, even the human staffed retail store is increasingly in question as a viable model.

    This is all creative destruction in action, I know. And we can wave our hands and say, Well, people will adapt, they always have! Yes they will. But to what? Everyone can’t be – and doesn’t want to be – a robotics designer or research chemist or test technician in a robotics factory. Will there simply be more people to do fewer jobs? Will the work week get reduced to 3 days on, 4 days off? I’m trying to imagine a world where the same or more people are available but less work needs to be done by them. And if the answer is more leisure time, is that necessarily a good thing? Do we get a Golden Age, or an Age of Sloth, where everyone gets crazier and more destructive in an attempt to amuse themselves. Who cares, eh? The robots will clean up the mess.

    And is a robotic recursion process possible, where robots set about designing and building better robots? If we assume cookbook engineering can be encoded into a machine brain, millions of possible combinations may be scanned and modeled and simulated for each mechanism and each circuit, always searching for an optimal solution. And as everyone from Asimov to Clarke have asked, when is sentience reached and will we recognize it when it occurs? And then what? Our society is the early stages of major, ground shifting changes. There’s a lot on the horizon we haven’t even begun to think about to the level necessary. And how do we stay up with these changes if our political class is intent on bankrupting us and destroying our civilization?

    Elon Musk compares AI efforts to ‘Summoning the Demon’
    BTW, this is a talk he gave at MIT, and is well worth watching in full.

    Walter Schulze-Mittendorff’s ‘Maschinenmensch’ simulacrum in crystal.
    I would love to own one these. The large cylindrical version.

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Economics & Finance, Human Behavior, Society, Tech | 26 Comments »

    Quoted: Florence King

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 7th January 2016 (All posts by )

    ~ “Hell hath no fury like a liberal arts major scorned.”

    ~ “…even my different drummer heard a different drummer…”

    ~ “Feminists will not be satisfied until every abortion is performed by a gay black doctor under an endangered tree on a reservation for handicapped Indians.”

    ~ “Keep dating and you will become so sick, so badly crippled, so deformed, so emotionally warped and mentally defective that you will marry anybody.”

    ~ “One of the most startling phenomena I ever witnessed occurred in the South after the Arab- Israeli Six-day war. I doubt if the world has ever seen such a rapid ceasefire in anti-semitism. I heard one Southern man after another say in tones that I can only describe as gleeful: ‘by dern, those Jew boys sure can fight!’ One man seriously recommended that Congress pass a special act making Moshe Dayan an American citizen so that he could become Secretary of Defense. He had obviously found a new hero;’as he put it ‘That one-eyed bastid would wipe out anybody offin the map whut gave us any trouble.”

    Posted in Quotations | 2 Comments »

    Rome

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 3rd January 2016 (All posts by )

    In 2005 HBO released season one of Rome. This is among the best historical dramas I’ve ever seen, possibly the best. The writing is superb, the acting is excellent, the production values top notch, and for the most part it’s historically accurate. Accurate in major events, at least, although the conversation and minutiae are crafted.

    Caesar_HBO_Rome

    The core of the story is the fall of the republic and the rise of the dictators, and begins with Caesar in Gaul defeating and accepting the surrender of the king of Gauls, and the earliest breaks in Caesar’s relationship with Pompey Magnus, who rules in Rome as Tribune of the Plebes. In the telling, you’re treated to various facets and styles of Roman life, from slaves to senators. This is done through various intertwined subplots that include Caesar’s chief of staff, Marc Antony, Caesar’s longtime lover Servilia, his niece Atia, Atia’s son Octavian, Atia’s daughter Octavia, centurion Lucius Vorenus, his wife Niobe and legionary Titus Pullo. Vorenus and Pullo are fictionalized versions of the only two infantry soldiers mentioned by name in Caesar’s Commentariat. Among his opponents are Pompey Magnus, Cato, Cicero and Scipio.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Film, History | 13 Comments »

    “Let’s throw rocks, bricks and bottles at the police”

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 3rd January 2016 (All posts by )

    In a sane world, this Mississippi councilman would be arrested and charged with inciting a riot. What is achieved by not arresting? We want to signal that threats like this are OK? That the behavior is endorsed by the society? What exactly?

    This the exact behavior we see in the French suburbs: The heat rises in France’s banlieues

    Mady Traoré is 24. Born in France, to Malian parents, he lives in Clichy-sous-Bois. About 15 miles north of Paris, Clichy is probably the most notorious of the French banlieues – the often rundown estates on the outskirts of the country’s big cities, inhabited largely by second- and third-generation immigrants from North and West African former colonies.
    Clichy gained its unenviable reputation in 2005, when the neighborhood saw weeks of rioting and firebombing – les flambées in street patois. Two youngsters had died from electrocution while hiding in a power sub-station. They had fled there after being chased by the police, in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity,.
    The deaths triggered a wave of violence. Across France, les banlieues have long been a powder keg of marginalization, poverty and resentment, not least among young men of African origin. Street battles with the police in Clichy unleashed turmoil in quartiers difficile from Paris to Lille, from Toulouse to Marseille. The 2005 riots were the worst in modern French history, resulting in 3,000 arrests, the burning of 10,000 vehicles and serious damage to hundreds of public buildings. A state of emergency was called, which lasted three months.

    “Since 2005, surveillance cameras have been installed right across Clichy and are now almost as ubiquitous as “F–k the Police” graffiti. Ominously, the district’s new police station, built after the riots, is surrounded by a 12-foot high solid steel wall, topped with metal grids to repel Molotov cocktails and other types of firebombs.

    The problem is the same in both places. Blacks and muslims (and black muslims) who can’t or won’t integrate in the wider society engage in destructive and violent behavior, have extremely high unemployment, and blame the society and government around them. Police and firemen are famously lured into the banlieues when cars or buildings or roadblocks are set alight, then attacked with rocks and bottles and even molotov cocktails. That accomplishes two things: it strikes out at the authorities, and it defines a mini nation state where outsiders are attacked if they dare enter. Where but in a Western country would this be tolerated? Do you think the Chinese would tolerate this? The Koreans? The Pakis? Egyptians? Peruvians? The problem here isn’t too much enforcement of the law, it’s too little.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 24 Comments »

    The Ice Age Floods

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 1st January 2016 (All posts by )

    About 18,000 years ago, the Earth began to warm substantially. That was a really big deal, because the Northern Hemisphere was in an ice age. As much as 2 mile (~ 3-4 Km) thick ice sheets blanketed the northern continent. Because so much of the global water supply was locked up in ice, sea level dropped 350 feet (~ 120 m) and beaches and coastlines would have been miles further offshore than their current locations. Coastlines on the Atlantic Seaboard, and presumably globally, contain buried river channels cut deep into the continental shelf. During the Ice Age they weren’t buried, they were river valleys to then more distant shorelines.

    Last Glacial Maximum, 20.000 years ago

    Last Glacial Maximum, 20,000 years ago

    A wide lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet crept across the valley of the Clark Fork River, eventually shutting off the flow completely, while the river pooled into the vast watershed behind it, including Missoula Valley, Flathead Valley, Thompson Valley, Mission Valley and Clearwater Valley. By 15,000-17,000 years ago the lake that was created, Glacial Lake Missoula, exceeded 2,000 feet (~ 600 m) in depth, had a surface area of ~3,000 square miles (6,500 Sq Km), and held 600 cubic miles (2,500 cubic Km) of water, as much as Lake Erie and Lake Ontario combined.

    Glacial flood map, 17,000 - 15,000 years ago

    Glacial flood map, 17,000 – 15,000 years ago

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    Posted in History, North America, Science | 22 Comments »

    All in a Day’s Incompetence and Criminal Activity at the Rogue EPA

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 30th December 2015 (All posts by )

    We need to clean this place up. The EPA’s scandalous December
    Will anyone ever go to jail for any of these things? Will anyone even be charged? If we assume not, why?

    And for a further example: PLF and the Sacketts: an important win at the Supreme Court

    Posted in Big Government, Environment, Politics | 11 Comments »

    Joni Mitchell, 1965

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 30th December 2015 (All posts by )

    Joni wrote this. She’s 22 years old here.

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    Posted in Music, Video | 2 Comments »

    Merry Christmas

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 24th December 2015 (All posts by )

    Maxfield Parrish_BirchesInWinter
    White Birches in Winter ~Maxfield Parrish

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    Posted in Holidays | Comments Off on Merry Christmas

    Destroying the American Idea

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 24th December 2015 (All posts by )

    TheAmericanIdeal

    From a post on the death toll from WWII at Bookworm…

    Danny Lemieux:
    But let’s call that “Long Peace” following WWII by its real name: “Pax Americana”, which is presently in the state of being systematically unraveled by our current White House occupant and his minions.

    Michael Hiteshew:
    They had plenty of help.
    The Europeans have been keen to dismantle American hegemony since they recovered from WWII, while getting ‘stupid Americans!’ to defend them. The EU, the single currency and single labor market was supposed to make them the dominant power on the planet. By the late 90’s they made no secret of the fact they fully intended to replace us and demonstrate how a world dominant civilization should be run. I’m still waiting for the demonstration to begin.

    When the Russians aren’t taking aid from us, they are fully devoted to destroying us, using every means possible.

    Meanwhile, between taxes, unions and regulation, virtually all American manufacturing has been driven offshore, mostly to China. The Chinese are using their newfound wealth to build a modern society and also fully intend to replace us as the dominant world power.

    Islam is a backward, barbaric, totalitarian ideology that spends half its energy fighting each other and the other half attacking its neighbors. It should be destroyed and its practice outlawed. It’s worse than nazi-ism or communism and is wholly incompatible with any form of modern civilization. We are in its sights because we are still seen as the dominant power that must be defeated for islam to expand.

    The last remnants of the communists, both in Venezuela and the university lounge, also want the American Idea destroyed because freedom and capitalism are the polar opposites of what they wish to impose.

    So it’s been tough going. Only time will tell if we survive it.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 24 Comments »

    The Falcon Has Returned

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 22nd December 2015 (All posts by )

    Yesterday, Elon Musk wrote the following on the SpaceX website regarding their upcoming the ORBCOMM-2 mission and their first attempt to return a Falcon-9 booster from space and land it vertically near the launch pad.

    The Falcon 9 rocket we are about to launch has higher performance than the prior version due mostly to increased boost thrust, deep cryo oxidizer and a much larger upper stage engine bell. It also has a number of reliability enhancements, such as a redundant stage separation system and greater structural safety margins.
    .
    This should, if all goes well, give us enough performance to deliver eleven satellites to orbit and bring the booster all the way back to Cape Canaveral to Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1).
    .
    T-zero in 15 minutes, so have to sign off. Apologies for any typos in the above. — Elon

    SpaceX has done it. They returned the booster stage and landed at Cape Canaveral. They launched 11 satellites as well. I’ve set the video to begin at 30m23s, just as the booster stage begins its return burn and descent.

    Update: Just released helicopter footage:

    We are entering a new era of space access.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments »

    Outdoor Adventures

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 20th December 2015 (All posts by )

    Jamal Green makes multi-day hikes across Utah and other interesting places, and then produces videos showing interesting moments along the way.

    Mesa_Arch_Canyonlands
    (Image source.)

    His website Across Utah! is a good starting point for videos, maps, and recommendations for gear.

    During several of his hikes, Jamal crosses a spectacular feature called the Water Pocket fold, the edge of a monoclinal fold that eroded away across the crest leaving the edges as upturned rocks pointing into the sky. If you’re interested in a professional geological look, visit Written In Stone and travel along with Dr. Jack Share in a regional overflight, Flight Plan: Part II – Geology of the Circle Cliffs Uplift and the Waterpocket Fold at Capitol Reef National Park.

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    Posted in Miscellaneous, Photos, Science | 9 Comments »

    It’s All About Control

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 18th December 2015 (All posts by )

    The Manhattan Contrarian writes on Consensus Science And Orthodoxy Enforcement

    This is an old problem with the left, where everything – and I mean everything – is politicized and put into service to the Agenda of The Party. For those on the ground, they are almost unaware that there are serious alternatives to The Party Line. Every question or criticism is dismissed out of hand as propaganda from entrenched interests or misinformation or so obviously and laughably wrong only an idiot could believe it because everybody knows that’s not true! For those in the middle of The Party hierarchy, there are big payoffs to being a loyal Party Apparatchik. Marcia McNutt is advancing nicely along that road. She will be well rewarded for her willingness to crush all dissent while presenting her smiling and attractive to face to the public. For those at the top, the only purpose of anything is to advance the power and control of The Party with themselves at the helm. And everything can be sacrificed to that end. And will be.

    Posted in Academia, Environment, Medicine | 9 Comments »