Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hyphenated Americans

There is no such thing as an African-American, Antartican-American, Asian-American, Australian-American, or European-American.

There are only Americans and non-Americans.

What does African-American mean? Does it mean that he/she has citizenship in an African country and an American country? Or does it mean that they are descended from both Africans and Americans?

How about Asian-Americans, or English-Americans?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On Political and Religious Discussion...

Or any sort of controversial subject. There are two types of people whom it is a waste of time to have these sorts of conversations with. Those whom you agree completely with - you spend half a day saying "yeah, that's right" to one another and get nothing done. The other is those whom you completely disagree with on everything related to the subject of the conversation, as you will spend hours explaining that the sky is blue, and they will hear "The sky is purple", and they'll do the same thing to you.
The best type of person to have these conversations with is someone whom you disagree with on some issues, but agree with on others. Even if neither of you changes your mind, you'll have both given the other some food for though.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

OS Comparison: Part 3, Power off times

Measurements: Upon hitting the Shutdown button (Windows) or typing in "sudo poweroff" (Gentoo/Fedora/Ubunt), I hit start on the stop watch.
 When the system is totally powered off, I hit the stop button on the stop watch.

Margin of error: 1 second, either way (but more likely higher than lower).

Gentoo: 8 seconds
Fedora 18: 11 seconds
Ubuntu 12.10: 12 seconds
Windows 7: 22 seconds
Windows 8: N/A (Not available for me, yet)

Gentoo wins the shutdown race. This is probably due to the fact that it only runs what I need it to run, whereas Fedora and Ubuntu come with various error reporting tools (that may not be what adds 3-4 seconds).

Fedora and Ubuntu are tied, as 1 second is my error margin.

Windows 7 comes in last, at 22 seconds. This may be due to the "drivers" and "software" that were installed by the Fujitsu DeskUpdate tool, but that does get me close(r) to the OEM state.

Windows 8 is unknown, as I do not have access to the RTM version yet (maybe my school will upload it to their network software servers soonish?).

Just an FYI, my university is breaking any agreements (that I know of) when they upload Windows installation media to their servers, as they make every student purchase an Undergraduate bundle which includes access to the "latest" Microsoft software (specifically Office and Windows).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Why I hate the UN

The UN is a hotbed of despotism, anti-semitism, cronyism, and deception.
The UN Human Rights council includes Cuba, China, many other countries where human rights are a low priority, and until recently, Libya.  This Council has recommended a boycott on American companies that do business in Israel and the areas of "Palestine" that Israel occupies.

Their officials decry our free speech, speak out against one of our candidates, and send election observers here - some of whom come from countries where Stalin's famous quote "Its not those who vote who count, but those who count the votes" is the reality.

The UN is not our friend or ally. They are not an institution which believes in human freedom. At the beginning the UN included the Soviet Union as a permanent member of the security council, with full veto power. While the US is also a permanent member of the security council, and thus enjoys that same veto power, it must be realized that whatever the UN did before the fall of the USSR had to meet the approval of the Soviet Politburo, or they would veto it. Communist China, the People's Republic of China, is also a permanent member of the UN security council. The USSR is gone, but the PRC remains. We must not allow the UN to push us around. Let us stop funding the UN and begin to use our own veto power too prevent it from doing anything harmful to our republic, just as the Soviets once did, and the Communist Chinese still do.
Why don't we take the money that we send to the UN, which fails more than it succeeds at keeping the peace (As the Tutsi can attest) and give it to our military, which actually does something useful - protecting us from those who would take our freedom. Let us stop caring what the "International Community" thinks about our candidates for higher office. Romney and Obama aren't running for President of the World. They're running for President of the US, and the freedom, safety, and prosperity (in that order) of their constituency should be all they care about.

U.N. Official Warns: Electing Mitt Romney Means ‘Democratic Mandate for Torture’

Monday, October 22, 2012

OS Comparison: Part 2, Startup Times

I have three separate Linux operating systems and Windows 7 installed on my computer.

But I have always wanted to know, which is the fastest to start up?
Is it Gentoo? Windows? Fedora? Or Ubuntu?

I took a stopwatch to find out (and used built-in methods where possible).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

OS Comparison: Part 1

I use Linux.
I use Linux every day -- I try to avoid Microsoft Windows, believe it or not.
But, there is always that one application that prevents me from leaving Windows forever. On the other hand, I managed to do quite well without Windows for 8 months.
Today, I installed Windows. And let me tell you, it was an adventure.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Happy Birthday

To the World's Greatest Navy: Happy Birthday

May she continue to dominate the seas for many years to come.

Deadliness of Cars vs. Deadliness of Guns (repost with sources)

A theoretical one metric ton (2679.23 lbs, about 320 pounds lighter than my Chevy S10) vehicle traveling at ten meters a second (about 22 mph) has 50,000 joules of energy. I’ll admit that I used this theoretical vehicle because I wanted a nice round number.
A 180 grain 30-06 rifle (Hornady 30-06 Springfield 180 gr. InterLock® SP) bullet traveling at 822.96 mps (2700 feet per second) has 3948.44 joules of energy.
A 240 grain 44. Magnum (Black Hills Ammunition, 44 Magnum 240 gr. JHP) pistol bullet traveling at 384.05 mps (1260 fps) has 1146.77 joules of energy.
Why then, can I buy and drive a car at 16, but have to wait until I turn 18 to buy a rifle, and until I turn 21 to buy a pistol?
For those who wish to quote death statistics, I’ve got a few from the CDC.
According to CDC’s WISQARS site, unintentional motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of accidental death in 2009 with 34,485 deaths, while firearms are the number 16 cause of accidental death with 554 fatalities.
Even with firearm suicides (18,735) and homicides (11,493) added to the firearm accidents, the total comes to 30,785, 3700 less than car accidents alone. No matter how you look at it, firearms are less deadly than cars.

Al Qaeda Wants Holy War over Free Speech

I've just read the same article, on Fox News, and CBS about Al Qaeda's reaction to "demonstrators" killing three members of the State Department in Benghazi.
Here is my proposal for handling future embassy problems:

  1. In the event that "demonstrators", storm any US embassy - official or not - and kill the ambassador and staff we respond by completely destroying the city through saturation bombing.
  2. In the event that a US embassy is held hostage, all traffic in and out of the city will be cut off by US air power, and the US will drop one MOAB or TLAM-D on the city for every American or allied hostage killed.
  3. Should a nation's regular armed forces storm a US embassy, the US will saturation bomb the capital of said nation, in addition to performing a campaign of extermination against that nation's leadership.
A little draconian you say? Mean? Destructive?
Its better than  following Genghis Khan's example and destroying entire countries/empires in order to make the point that messing with ambassadors is a bad idea.

What about this proposed holy war on our free speech? Is that draconian? Mean? Destructive?
We face enemies who are ruthless, cruel, and who don't give a sh*t about any laws, especially the laws of war.

Personally, I'm waiting to see how the radical Muslim community reacts to this.

Update: Fox News has added some has added some significant information and commentary of its own to the original AP article that they posted. CBS' version is still unchanged.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


From CBS News:
Maine drivers warned of zombie danger

A construction sign got changed by somebody to read "Warning Zombies Ahead!"
Is it wrong of me to think that this is really cool?

City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said the signs are a safety precaution and changing it could have led to driver distraction.

She told The Portland Press Herald that tampering with a safety device is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm pretty certain that a sign about zombies is a thousand times cooler than "Night work 8 pm-6 am. Expect delays." At least the zombie sign would allow me to enjoy the delay.

Monday, October 8, 2012

You're doing it Wrong...

Let us have a thought exercise shall we?
Imagine that you live in a place with no law enforcement with your family
Imagine that your family has some major problems. Imagine that your next door neighbor might be inclined to intervene if things get too bad. Imagine that the next door neighbor is a Black Belt in a serious combat oriented martial art. Pretend that rather than telling him to stay out of your business, you beat up his daughter in front of him to send the message.

That's essentially what's going on between Syria and Turkey.

From Fox News:
Syria's cross-border salvos send a message to Turkey, West to keep away

Syria's cross-border attacks on Turkey in the past week look increasingly like they could be an intentional escalation meant to send a clear message to Ankara and beyond, that the crisis is simply too explosive to risk foreign military intervention.
With Turkey eager to defuse the crisis, the spillover of fighting is giving new life to a longshot political solution, with the Turks floating the idea of making President Bashar Assad's longtime vice president, Farouk al-Sharaa, interim leader if the president steps aside.
The most recent flare-up between Syria and Turkey started Wednesday, when a shell fired from Syria slammed into a house in the Turkish border village of Akcakale, killing two women and three children. That set off the most serious and prolonged eruption of violence along the frontier since the uprising began nearly 19 months ago.
Although it was not clear whether Wednesday's shelling was intentional, Turkey responded swiftly by firing back and convening parliament for a vote that authorized further cross-border military operations if necessary.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cautioned Damascus not to test Turkey's "limits and determination." But the Syrian shelling has continued every day — leading many observers to conclude the acts are intentional provocation.
"It's not an accident. You can't send shells across the border by mistake five days in a row," said Mustafa Alani, a Middle East analyst of the Geneva-based Gulf Research Center, just hours before Syrian shelling struck Turkey for a sixth day.
According to Alani, escalating the crisis serves as a reminder to NATO, Turkey and the West that Syria's civil war can inflame the region with lightning speed. The threat of a spillover is likely to pressure Western powers into drafting a political solution, part of which could involve Assad's exit from power, rather than his being toppled by force.

The apparent "logic" behind the attacks is that Turkey doesn't want a war. Just because they don't want a war doesn't mean that they won't start one to protect their citizens. Just because the hypothetical Black Belt neighbor doesn't want to kill anyone won't prevent him from kill you if you start beating up on his daughter right in front of him.

We'll see how Turkey responds to this, but if given the Syrian response to their attempts to resolve this peacefully, this is looking like it could flare into a real war.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi scoffed at Davutoglu's proposal, saying it reflects "obvious political and diplomatic confusion and blundering."
"Turkey isn't the Ottoman Sultanate; the Turkish Foreign Ministry doesn't name custodians in Damascus, Mecca, Cairo and Jerusalem," al-Zoubi said Monday.
al-Zoubi should count himself lucky that he isn't dealing with the Ottoman Empire - the only person who outmatched them for ruthlessness during their time was Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia - because they'd probably find something creative to do with him and the government he represents. As it is, if the modern Turks decide to go to war, they'll probably settle for a 5.56 mm hemorrhage.

It is not those Who Vote...

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
Joseph Stalin

Many Venezuelans living here in the US - mostly in Florida - are shocked about Chavez' win, some of them claiming that Chavez engaged in a little creative vote counting. Given Chavez' choice of ideology such actions shouldn't be unexpected. Chavez has created a cult of personality in his goal to create a socialist system in Venezuela. I don't see this ending well for anyone, especially not the Venezuelan people.


Privatization of the Space Race

From CBS News:
SpaceX Dragon capsule blasts off for space station

An unmanned cargo ship loaded with spare parts, science equipment and crew supplies -- including ice cream treats -- rocketed into orbit Sunday and set off after the International Space Station, kicking off a new era of commercial resupply flights intended to restore a U.S. supply chain that was crippled by the shuttle's retirement.
The Dragon capsule and its Falcon 9 rocket, both built by Space Exploration Technologies, roared to life with a rush of fiery exhaust at 8:35:07 p.m. EDT, quickly climbing away from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Making its first operational flight under a $1.6 billion NASA contract, the 157-foot-tall Falcon 9 arced away on a northeasterly trajectory paralleling the East Coast of the United States, putting on a spectacular evening sky show for area residents and tourists.

Unlike Russian, European and Japanese cargo craft that routinely visit the station, the SpaceX Dragon capsule was designed to make round trips to and from the lab complex, giving it the ability to bring major components and experiment samples back to Earth for the first time since shuttles stopped flying last year.

 Its nice to see that America is back in space - and that our capabilities go further than those of other space capable nations. Its even nicer to see private companies doing the job. Setbacks to NASA's space abilities are no longer as serious - because there are others in America with their own space abilities. I'd suggest reading the entire article, because this is an important and interesting subject.

The Air Force and FLA (Funny Looking Aircraft)

The Air Force has a history of FLAs, from the F-117 to the B-2. Now Fox News has an article about declassified plans for Air Force aircraft that looks like a flying saucer. I've always figured that any actual "UFO" sightings in the US were really prototypes of various military aircraft being tested. I doubt that these "Flying saucers" were ever built, but this article just reinforces my belief that most UFO sightings are hoaxes or test aircraft. This doesn't mean that Aliens aren't out there (for a serious, well thought out discussion of Aliens and possible invasion may I suggest Alien Invasion by Travis S. Taylor and Bob Boan), but I don't think they've made contact... yet.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Conflict Throughout the World

From Fox News:
Panetta warns clashes between Syria and Turkey may escalate

The continued exchange of artillery fire between Syria and Turkey raises additional concerns that the conflict may escalate and spread to neighboring countries, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Saturday.
Panetta said the U.S. is using its diplomatic channels to relay worries about the fighting in the hopes that it will not broaden.
His comments came on the heels of warnings from Turkey's prime minister that his country is not far from war with Syria.

I have no idea why Syria is antagonizing Turkey. According to Wikipedia (admittedly not the most reliable source in the world) Turkey's active duty personnel outnumber Syria's active duty and reserve formations together, in addition to the fact that Turkey spends almost ten times as much on its military.
It seems to me that antagonizing someone who can kick your ass, especially when you don't have much in the way of friends, is more than a little stupid.

The Fox News article continued on to discuss Iran and the economic sanctions that are damaging its economy - sanctions which exist because of other countries' not unreasonable feelings that Iran with a nuclear weapon would make a bad neighbor.

There was more in the article, mostly concerning negotiations with Peru, but still somewhat interesting reading.