WikiWednesday: Aviation Edition

February 3, 2010 11 comments

For today’s Wikipedia Wednesday I was tempted – sadly based on current events – to note that today in history saw the first printing of paper money in America AND the ratification of the 16th (income tax) Amendment, but I didn’t see an interesting topic in that.  So instead….

On this day in 1959, near Clear Lake, IA, an airplane crash killed The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and …

Buddy Holly

As always, you can find the rules to WikiWednesday in the right sidebar.

PS – To satisfy a competitive streak, I’ll declare that last week’s contest was won by The Coach.

Snowfootcar

January 28, 2010 3 comments

In honor of the massive dusting of snow we got last night here in Colorado Springs, I want to present you with my new favorite snow toy.  This (and copious amounts of alcohol) is how Russians deal with snow.

It seems this “accessory” for a Lada is pretty much just a bolt-on operation which can be removed for normal driving.  Here is it in action (don’t bother trying to find the website.  It’s no longer operational):

HT: English Яussia

Wikipedia Wednesday: State of the Apple

January 27, 2010 11 comments

In honor of the vitally important speech to be delivered this evening, today’s WikiWednesday* starting subject is…

Steve Jobs

*As always the rules to WikiWednesday can be found linked in the sidebar.

The Pious and the Hypocrite

January 26, 2010 6 comments

I’ve been mulling a topic for a week or two now and today on the radio I heard an interesting perspective.  Dennis Prager set up this juxtaposition, which I’ll expand a bit for my purposes

Man #1 is pious.  He is kind to those he meets, helps his neighbors and cares for his family.  He gives regularly to charitable organizations and attends church religiously (sorry).  He’s a hard worker at his middle class job – conscientious even without supervision and has unmatched integrity and sincerity.

Man #2 is… well, not.  He claims to hold mainstream moral values but his lifestyle (outside his once a week church visit) proves otherwise.  He’s on his third wife (obviously needing to move churches each time to avoid the poor opinions of others) and that relationship isn’t going well either.  He’s a Wall Street type and outside of flings with his secretary, his only passion is money; making it, hoarding it and spending it.  He is 100% dedicated to his own image as far as it concerns others believing that he has it all together and has the world at his finger tips.  Greed – followed closely by the desire for power – is the driving force that animates his efforts and he will tell anyone anything to achieve those ends.

Now, I don’t think it would be considered judgmental to label Man #1 as more worthy of respect for his personal life and perceived ethos.  But, which of these – determined on the basis of results – would be considered more beneficial to society?  That’s not quite so easy.

What if the story was expanded to show that Man #1 took that piousness to the extreme and become a suicide bomber?  Does his personal integrity and dedication trump what he’s done?  I assume that’s a question that doesn’t require an answer.

And Man #2.  What if his intense desire to turn a profit, pad his pockets and increase his status leads to thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of families being financially viable into the future?  His singleminded selfishness has the effect of paying for the college tuition of children and grandchildren across the nation.  It means that a aging couple will be able to afford to stay in the house they’ve owned for 30 years after retirement.  It means that middle-class families (well below the personal financial level of our second man) can count on continuing their modest lifestyle into the future.  It gives a respectable return on investment to the pension funds of teachers, laborers, engineers and truckers.

I guess I’m trying to make 2 points, which are somewhat related.

1. If corporate execs, bankers, traders and fund managers are obeying the law and doing their jobs (ie. providing jobs, money and financial returns to people in virtually all levels of society) then why are their motives important?  They have a task before them to take someone’s money and use it to make more money and they generally achieve this.  Strictly judging by their societal benefit, they are productive.

2.  This is why our system is the best ever conceived.  It pragmatically takes into account (unlike socialism) how humans *actually* behave and uses that to provide money to the people who have the ideas – with the help of their hard-working fellow man – to turn some money into more money to everyone’s benefit.

I know this is a bit heady for a lazy Tuesday afternoon but do any of you have an opinion on this?

LotD: Mahathir Mohamad

January 22, 2010 6 comments

Today’s Line of the Day is brought to us by the former prime minister of Malaysia.  Mr. Mohamad contends that 9/11 was staged, because after all…

If they can make Avatar, they can make anything.

HT: LGF

You’re Welcome – Sealand edition

January 19, 2010 12 comments

This is a little tidbit of info that I KNOW you’ll all be thanking me for bringing to your attention.

This morning I was listening to a podcast in which one contributor (a Brit) mentioned that he had been recruited to play on the international football team for the micro-nation of  Sealand.  Never having heard of this tiny (I mean, really tiny) Shangri-la, I started to look into it.

As it turns out, Sealand (ironically) isn’t land at all.  It was built as a gun platform 7 miles off the coast of England during WWII as a defense against German air strikes.  In 1967, being outside internationally acknowledged British territorial waters, a guy named Roy moved there, crowned himself prince and instituted a semi-constitutional, hereditary monarchy which still exists today.  This little platform has had international incidents (firing on encroaching British navel vessels), fought a war (invasion and capture of sovereign territory by Dutch citizens – resulting in prisoner of war negotiations) and fields of variety athletes who compete for the flag.  Sealand’s national airsoft team – based out of Sheffield – is quite accomplished.

Here are some facts about Sealand:

Head of State: Roy of Sealand or Prince Roy (Acting Head of State: Prince Michael)

Population: 5 (estimated)

GDP: $600,000 USD

Area: 550 Sq. Meters

Based on a newly-aquired understanding of Sealand and facts above, here are my favorite lines from the Sealand website:

Units of the navy [UK] entered the territorial waters claimed by Roy of Sealand. As he was aware of his sovereignty, Roy of Sealand threatened the navy by undertaking defensive activity. Shots were fired from Sealand in warning.

In August of 1978, a number of Dutch men came to Sealand in the employ of a German businessman. They were there to discuss business dealings with Sealand. While Roy was away in Britain, these men kidnapped Prince Roy’s son Michael, and took Sealand by force. Soon after, Roy recaptured the island with a group of his own men and held the attackers as prisoners of war.

The presence of an active and rapidly growing high-tech internet industry in Sealand has changed the character of the Principality; once more, Sealand rings with the sound of voices, boasts regular support ferry services, and is host to a growing and dynamic population.

And for your viewing enjoyment – and because I know you’re all wildly curious – here is a picture of this beautiful nation.

From sea to shining sea

To answer your inevitable question: no, we won’t be immigrating to Sealand.  I already asked and Sarah said no.

Ukraine Blog

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Our Judith

I doubt many readers noticed that I added a new RSS feed blog in the sidebar.  Please check out Judith blogging* from our former residence at the Hope Center.  Her commentary are both very readable and – in all honesty – more informative than most of my updates from camp in the past year.  Click through from here or check her out at HereIamLordSendMe.wordpress.com.

*and yes, her blog header is her own work that I shamelessly stole to add to a previous post.