The Intellectual Wilderness There is nothing more useless than doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

2007.11.1 10:59

2007.9.1.1

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:59

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Wow, an actual, compellingly good article on personal privacy concerns from esecurityplanet. Not that they have bad writers or are particularly late to pick up a story, its just a slightly sloppier site that most of the more well established news outlets. Of course, they are a niche news site, and that means you should expect sloppy. But whatever. Anyway, this article focuses on an interesting duality in the personal privacy / “information freedoms” arguments: value. He points out that:

Just look at the difference between the love people have for player’s clubs (a glance at the huge lines standing outside the player’s club private lounge to get the free buffets inside tells you everything you need to know) versus the suspicion people have when they first notice how many cameras are pointed at them, just in the elevator alone.


and then the bomb:

Yes, yes, the cameras are there for the generic public good, but for a more specific and private good, you can’t beat a slab of free prime rib!


Excellent assessment.

2007.8.31.7

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:57

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I’d like to point out something hilarious. al-Jazeera’s online magazine is expected to have a conspiracy theory section that is taken deadly serious by the rumor-obsessed and largely self-imposedly ignorant… in Arabic.

But al-Jazeera decided to continue this proud tradition of maintaining conspiracy theories as if it is a meaningful media endeavor in English as well. There are significant differences between what gets reported in English and Arabic, of course, but this is funny anyway.

And yes, for curious and concerned parties, that is a white Bengal tiger underwater chasing a bit of meat… and yes, that piece of meat is about to get px0wn3d… or however you say that. RAWR.

2007.8.31.6

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:56

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There is an interesting turn of events in Iraq. Prime Minister al-Maliki has asked the militias in Iraq to stop fighting. This has deep implications that go beyond folks simply scratching their heads asking themselves “Why didn’t he just ask for that all this time and avoid fighting in the first place?”

Muqtada al-Sadr froze his militia the other day, which was a shocking move for most of the world that watches this sort of thing closely. Why would he do that? Certainly he doesn’t have a serious moral problem with the violent incident that he claims is the reason for his halting of his little army.

Shocking, yes, but not a bad idea for the enemy. This, actually, is probably their most dangerous course of action. Consider that the US really does want to leave Iraq and see the region prosper. Consider that the Iranians want to control Iraq and take the place over. Consider that Iran has a pro-Iran, minority Shiite in power in Iraq already and does not want to upset that condition. Consider that the Democrats will likely come to power in the US soon, and that means a heightened push for withdraw from Iraq which cannot practically take place unless things actually do get calmer (regardless of how radical the Democrat campaign speeches sound, they absolutely cannot pull out of Iraq with no effective transition in place, as they blood of the millions who would be massacred would be on their hands, and that’s just wrong, even in the mind of a power-hungry, soulless person like Edwards, Hillary or even me).

All that being accepted above, the quickest way to get the US out of Iraq and clear the way for a Sunni massacre and underground war of Iranian expansion is to suddenly achieve security in Iraq. Do everything the US wants, and life will instantly improve for everyone, Iran and their Shiite proxies included. Once the US is largely gone, there is no way they will want to come back, at least not without another direct attack on the US happening. This would leave Iraq open to be Iran’s playground, particularly if they still can keep a false Shiite majority in power, which would serve to marginalize the Sunnis more, likely pushing more of them to feel resignation and political boycott are the answer… which leads naturally to a situation where Shiites can “legitimately” pass new laws and edicts which either reform a dictatorship as before, or turn over large aspects of sovereignty to the Iranians.

So… best tactical play on this day for the Iranian/Shiite side to get positioned to win overall strategy? Pretend to lose. Lay low. The US would love that. Let the US think they win. They will go home. The Sunnis will know better and boycott the government, or maybe embrace it like fools. Either way, with the US gone, there’s no shepherd and all those sheep waiting to get eaten.

Next counter to this is to bring Saudi Arabia and a perhaps newly fearful Jordan and (strangely) Syria into the picture. Sure, they don’t want to see Iran be that strong so fast. They would support the Sunnis, naturally, and there’s no telling what will come of the Kurdish faction. They have a way of pulling some major influential regional move out of their asses every so often. At any rate, the Saudis are too soft and far too detached to understand that support of the level needed to counter Iran goes far beyond simple money. Syria doesn’t have the balls to commit, and Jordan is simply not strong enough to counter Iran. In the end, Iran wins, and likely the wisdom of the day will be to close up insurgent shop as soon as its obvious the Sunnis are losing and go along with Iran’s plans. Besides, the Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians and Syrians will tell themselves that at least Iran will take most of the heat when Europe gets smacked really hard next anyway.

Of course, the most dangerous course of enemy action is to not attack right now. That means they have to at least agree to disagree for a time and settle down a bit… That is nearly impossible for them to do, as evidenced by the last several hundred years of recorded history. Even Muqtada is considering revoking the freeze he started himself. That would throw the whole Iranian plan of getting the US to leave early off track.

Reminds me of the Palestinians under Arafat… “They never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Of course, that is assuming that they actually want the things they say they want, “peace” in this case… which is not what they want, so it all falls in place naturally, if you simply shift your point of view.

Long-winded note:
For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, al-Maliki was the winner of an arbitrarily early (read as: media-politico inertia forced timing) election in Iraq. The Sunni and Shiites didn’t agree on much, and a “former” terrorist wound up getting elected with the support of Iran. Iran supports this guy, and he supports Iran. He wants a Shiite Iraq, not a Sunni Iraq.

To illustrate the problem most Iraqis feel with this guy let me explain: The Iraqi special operations brigades my friends trained and fought with all this time are largely Sunni, as its the majority of the population that makes sense. Since coming to office, al-Maliki has taken the executive privilege of redefining the selection criteria for these brigades to only include people he feels are “politically reliable”. This has had the effect of all the new inductees being Shiite, pro-Iran, loyal to al-Maliki personally, and not able to integrate with the veteran crowd who are generally pro-Iraq, very patriotic and volunteer to fight only because they believe in what we might achieve in Iraq. Since the changeover, these guys can’t take leave and go home. If they take leave, they get picked up on the way home by al-Maliki’s surrogate groups and disappear. Everyone knows that.

Conclusion is that al-Maliki is a bad guy and does not have happy designs for the majority of Iraq which is why all the Sunni groups have been on-and-off boycotting the government.

Something that really surprised me was that almost every person I talked to seem to have a lot of respect for the original American-appointed group of leaders. Some have fallen by the wayside, some have shifted posts, but none are the Prime Minister or President anymore, and that makes folks feel threatened. The feeling on the street is that the elections came too early and were more of a media stunt than a solid attempt to achieve consensus within Iraq.

2007.8.31.5

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:54

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The internet is a place where anybody can write whatever they want regardless of credentials or viewpoint. This is liberating in a way. It also lets you see into the minds of countless nutbags. Check this place out. Its like a vote/rank site for conspiracy websites of the exact same sort used by MUDs and porn sites, just less popular. No end to the casual entertainment that can be had here.

By the way, I think they all agree on only one thing: George Bush is in some way, the Devil… and definitely “connected”. Of course, this clashes directly with the view that George Bush is a retard and needs to be “handled”. Consistency is something that has never meant much to conspiracy theorists. That’s why its so much fun!

2007.8.31.4

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:53

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Now this is just getting funny. Now the cop who arrested Sen. Craig is saying that Craig is lying… or at least that’s how the article reads. The fact of it is that the officer is not coming out today and saying Craig lied, this is what’s on the tape taken a few minutes after the arrest.

So basically, Craig gets arrested, he thinks he’s innocent and the deposition the cop takes a few minutes later is full of Sen. Craig telling him “I don’t know what you’re talking about”.

That being said, of course it is going to look bad! The police department put an undercover officer in a mens restroom specifically to troll for gay sex. That does seem a bit like entrapment to me, actually. I can’t see how all of this adds up to ousting a senator, really. I think that it is quite plausible that Sen. Craig went to the bathroom, made poopie, and the officer next to him who is supposed to try to get people into bad situations and interpret actions with a specific intent to make arrests got a little overzealous and arrested him.

Who knows. But my whole point here is, who cares? Seriously. This is not a big deal and could easily just be a misunderstanding. I don’t really understand why this guy is being crucified.

Hell, I don’t even care that Bill Clinton was running around with a fat intern at the White House, so long as he was doing his job. What I think is a much bigger deal that nobody seems to remember or even call attention to at the time was him killing a bunch of Iraqis in response to a months-old event the day prior to his impeachment hearing in Congress… Yeah, I don’t have any problem with killing Iraqis, as you can probably imagine, but you can’t do it for no reason. Using that to enact the war powers of President and suspend Congress for one extra day because you and your penis got in trouble is just wrong… but whatever. Old news, nobody cares.

2007.8.31.3

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:32

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In today’s world, it is reasonable to leave all your money to your dog, as indicated below. Its is also reasonable today to blame the Virginia Tech President for the school shootings a few months ago.

Is this really reasonable? I can’t imagine that it is. There is nothing he could have done to know about this earlier, no blame you can really place on this guy for those kids dying, or those kids being wimps and not collectively defending themselves with lethal force when faced with lethal force.

If the kid hadn’t committed suicide, then he would still be around to blame, and his lawyers would naturally shift the blame to the “system” somewhere, somehow. The “system” is always a good thing to blame, since it has no face, no name and can’t be pinned down to brought to court.

This school president is somehow supposed to have shit a squad of super-ninjas to attack the kid before anything bad happened. That requires a lot of prior planning, knowledge and time. None of the things this guy had. Its nowhere in his job description that he be held responsible to be effective at defending witless students from blood-crazed murderers, either. But that’s what we’re blaming him for not doing.

Now everyone wants him to step down as president. Wouldn’t that be a stroke of black luck for him… Not only did your school wind up (by mere chance) being the site of a horrible school shooting, you lose your job over it too! Yeah! That makes sense. Of course, this guy has probably thought long and hard about what he could have done in hindsight… He’s probably learned from it. He has experience now that very few school presidents have, I would imagine. That is a good reason to leave him in office, I would think. But that’s just me.

I still maintain my previous assessment that the only people who could have prevented some of the deaths at Virginia Tech that day are the people who were actually there, in the classrooms at the time. That’s it. Nobody else. This was not a hostage situation that evolved and the police were aware of already, this is not a situation the school president got some secret information about the day prior and failed to act on. For all intents and purposes for those involved, this was a random event.

If we’re going to whine every time someone dies while they’re still young enough for us to remember them in a beautiful way, then why don’t we at least pitch a fit about the deaths that really are preventable, like the train accident today. Oh, I’m sorry, that wasn’t in America, so nobody cares.

2007.8.31.2

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:31

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Now I’ve heard it all. People are leaving their money to their pets. Not relatives, not even close ones, but to their pets. I thought I’d heard everything when the Internet taught me that the world is really run by a dark cabal that controls everything. Wouldn’t it be better to donate it to research or some charity (hopefully one that won’t wind up funding Hizbullah…) or something? I just have to point out how ridiculous this is. Wow…

Of course, this is pretty ridiculous too…

2007.8.31.1

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:30

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Here is a story I’m pretty sure the media is either going to sweep under the rug immediately or highlight as a real-life Saving Private Ryan type story. If they highlight it, they will focus on the family’s loss, not on the family’s continued support of the war in Iraq. Interesting, sad, patriotic. As a fellow soldier and a younger brother myself, I feel for this family. Its horribly sad situation to contemplate.

At the same time I feel sad, I have huge respect for these brothers’ choice to enlist after their first brother was killed in Iraq and I’m very proud this family is American. Manly men doing man things. As I mentioned in the article yesterday about the Virginia Tech shootings, we all have to die someday anyway and at least these guys chose to die while doing something, not hacking their last feeble breaths out in a hospital somewhere at the end of inactive days, having avoided what their heart told them was right their whole lives.

I respect people who become proactive, who seek to become what the world meant them to be. Those who feel their calling is to be a soldier, a police officer, a corporate executive, a doctor, whatever all have huge responsibilities to bear, huge headaches and some of these professions expose the person to personal danger. When someone accepts those dangers because they feel they are making a difference, doing the right thing and answering the whispers in the wind of their own hearts the danger is no longer an issue, and a death doing what you believe in is a thousand times more graceful and well deserved than a death at the end of a life of hiding and cowardice.

2007.8.30.2

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:28

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The above is Allyson Felix, the gold medalist from the ? ??? (some world competition) in Osaka this evening. Super hot, super fast, and made the Jamaican girl look slow. Wow. Once again, this pic has nothing to do with the article below, but she’s really hot and I figured you’d like to look at her too… Now onto what I have to say…

I’m certain this is going to piss somebody off…

Nice, big headline… “Virginia Tech Could Have Saved Lives” Easy to say that after the fact, newspaper. I should write a few groundbreaking headlines myself such as “Population Could Have Prepared for Hurricane Katrina Better” or “World Could Have Noticed Michael Jackson No Longer Cool Much Sooner”.

Of course they could have saved more lives. What kills me (and did kill a bunch of students) is the absolute lack of balls the students had. I’m in Special Forces and before that I was in another military unit in another country. I fight all the time, and so I might be expecting a little too much from a bunch of non-athletic academic pups who think they know everything (when I was in college I sure knew everything, at least!)… Pre 9-11 this would have been a little more understandable, but in today’s world, selfless collective defense is the correct answer, almost every time.

People might not understand this commonly, but it is entirely likely that if the students in one classroom had rushed that Korean punk they could have stomped his brains out or shot him with his own gun and suffered very few casualties. Since not everyone might understand that unarmed attack against a gun-holder is actually not always suicide (especially if there is more than one of you) and think that having a gun in your hand makes you a murder-ninja, let me explain the options you have the next time a maladjusted murderous freak breaks into your classroom or place of business with a few pistols, a bomb, blobs of green death or white disease powder:

  1. You can sit there like a coward and wait your turn to die, and accept that your death with have in no way helped anyone around you.
  2. You can rush the guy and set the example for everyone else to grab their tiny little beanbags and at least make the most of what limited time you might have to live. If you die, maybe someone else won’t this time. This makes you an insta-hero and if a good way to die. If you had to pick a way to die, why not this one? Much better than sitting in a puddle of your own urine shivering…
  3. You can rush the guy and succeed in smashing the thought juice out of his pathetic head and dance in his blood later, knowing that you did the right thing. This will give you ridiculous bragging rights for the rest of your life and I will personally issue you a Right to Call Anyone Else a Pussy With Impunity Card.

Seriously, that’s about the only options you’ve got: Succumb to fear and accept death – which is the selfish choice here because if you die, you can’t help anyone around you not die; or try to do something and fail – but this way at least you get a kickass death worthy of a human being; or whip the guy’s ass and be a man.

There is no excuse for nobody attacking this guy over the course of 60 seconds. That is plenty long enough for reality to strike home in your brain. But no, this guy trolls around for hours before he eventually kills himself, maybe for lack of other people to kill at that point.

The only guy worthy of his own death that day was the Jewish Holocaust survivor who didn’t take time to reason his way out of a crazy kill-spree. That guy knew what was up, reacted and graced a few worthless kids who did things like play dead instead of attack when the guy was reloading meters away from him or had already turned his back (!! WOW! Perfect timing there… er… would have been…). That was a man, a real hero. I’m sick of all this whining about sheep who just sit around while their friends are getting shot.

Again, maybe because of the community I belong to and the job and history I have personally, I can’t accept that. Put your sad feelings away for a second and think about the three options above, and tell me which one you would like to think you’d commit to the next time some random craziness comes into your life. Its a possibility that each one of us might be faced with a situation like that someday, since about 35% of the world’s population wants to kill the remainder.

2007.8.30.1

Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 10:26

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Another unconnected photo. Another female athlete I respect and think is amazingly sexy. Wow…

South Korea is now the first country to break ranks and start conditioning terrorists to take hostages. South Korea’s behavior reinforces the terrorist policy of hostage taking to bring a fair-playing country to the table, and the formerly fair-playing Coalition member South Korea has now been conditioned to negotiate with terrorists in return.

Good job, jackasses. Now we’ve got to worry much more about abductions. Hopefully we won’t return to the 1960’s policies that succeeded only in encouraging the adoption of Muslim terrorist policies by every fringe organization from misunderstood Communists to non-Muslim religious nuts.

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