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

2007.11.1 11:22


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:22


Another month without a blog entry. I’ve had my head out of the news for a bit… but this story is good enough to bring me back to write again. Its great…

A 2nd-grader got suspended from school for drawing a picture of a gun. Granted, the picture is of a stick figure pointing the gun at another stick figure. The figureds are labelled “Me” and the other had someone else’s name above it (there is no mention in the story of whose name it is, though, so I’d like to assume that its “Osama bin Ladin” for the sake of argument… or at least “Al Gore”). Upon futher investigation, the 90 degree angled crayon line that is the “gun” is supposed to be a depiction of a water gun according to the artist, but that is of no concern… you cannot draw what you want to in school.

I remember when I was in 2nd grade and we all made outlines of each other on huge butcher paper. You lay down and the other kids trace your outline, etc. My friend Owen Zahorczek and I added penises for realism, which seemed like a horrible funny gag when we were in 2nd grade. We didn’t get suspended though, we got told in a very stern way that this was inappropriate “for here” and had to re-do our tracings… We didn’t understand why it was wrong, just that the whole situation was horribly funny, but never did it again… even though I distinctly remember the teachers laughing about it among themselves thinking we couldn’t hear.

I remember a friend of mine from those days drawing guns and tanks, etc. all the time. I did the same. I think everyone did. We had GI Joe back then, not Tinkie Winkie, and my father taught me to shoot since I was very young (which was normal where I grew up) so this made sense. Of course, my generation never shot anyone in school either…
that’s striking to me. We’ve had schools in America since before the Revolution. We’ve been awash in guns since before the Revolution as well (if you don’t know anything about the American Revolution maybe you got suspended for drawing too many guns…). We also had fairly rigid nuclear family structures (sometimes more than one wife-figure in the family, though… hmm…) since before the Revolution, but have only recently decided that this was too old fashioned for the present day… and we’ve never had school shootings or civil violence from the sedated sub-urban youth population until just now. So its obviously the fault of guns, not the abandonment of the age-old family premise.

The kid also drew a cyclopes (much scarier than a gun), King Tut (responsible for the mass-murder of adversaries), a ghost and a tree. Luckily he didn’t draw a ghost-tree though, because that would get him kicked right out, as would a machine-gun version of King Tut.

But you can listen to disruptive, sexual-violence promoting music at school when you’re 10 yeard old and that’s freedom of speech.

Where are our priorities? I think we’re in denial about the responsibilities of individuals for their own actions. But that’s beating a dead retard… everyone says that without contemplating what that means.

Anyway, this isn’t organized at all. I’ll have to come back and fix this up to reflect the appropriate level of ridiculousness this situation is master of…


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:13


I don’t usually talk smack about Russia, not for a lack of material but because Russia has lately been of trifling importance in my world; when I can spend a minute on China or a minute on Russia, China usually wins.

But not today.

Former (and the last) Soviet President Gorbachev (remember the guy with the jelly stain on his bald forehead you may have seen on TV in the 80’s?) decided that it is time to draw attention to the way Putin has been angling to reestablish totalitarian control over the people of Russia, draw the former Soviet satellite States back into a rough orbit, and antagonize the rest of the developed world. The fastest (but certainly not best) Russian route back to superpowerdom would be to reinstitute total control, stifle the market economy, kill everyone who disagrees, and return to forced labor, as per left-wing socio-communist procedure.
The most important piece of such a social shortcut would be to reinstitute political myths of the sort Stalin was famous for… and in fact, this is what is happening.

But its a little more scary than that. The Authority in Russia (and I say it that way to mean the unified will of the Authorized Ones, not just Putin himself) is not simply recreating historical myths and rewriting history, they are recreating the Stalin myth itself. This is easier than Putin-izing all the former Soviet history because everyone who was previously programmed to think Stalin was the Saviour of the People (and other such flimsy titles with currently bring Kim Jong Il to mind) don’t have to learn anything new, they only have to learn additional things, such as how Putin is carrying on the legacy, and how horrible of a person Gorbachev is. Its nuts to think that you could actually whitewash Stalin’s crimes or justify them in any way, but nothing is impossible when you exert enough control over what people think and/or believe is morally right.

There are plenty of examples in history of horrible things being remembered as good, marginally bad things being written down as horrible, horrible things not being remembered at all, horrible things that never even happened being fabricated for political gain, and horrible things being completely forgotten (perhaps scariest of all?). If Putin succeeds in making the Russian population generally agree that Stalin was a good thing and that his reign was a “Golden Age”, it will rate on the same level as Mao making the worst famine in history disappear in the minds of the people that it happened to. [Here is another good China famine link.]

Take a moment to remember what the Soviet really was and contemplate on it. Then watch this: The Soviet Anthem (don’t worry, in English), to help put a face on things. Its sad and frightening if you fully appreciate the human condition.

Other scary new that nobody seems to care about: Syria has nerve gas. Whoops…


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:12


The Iranian president decided that the nuclear issue is over. Over as in he’s not discussing it anymore. When even countries like France begin talking about bombing a place because of its continual criminal conduct (as opposed to the previous French method of paying people for beince nice, and paying them more for being bad), its probably not a good time to call it quits and run away from the negotiating table.

Anyway, war is what Iran wants. In a limited way. It does not want a full-out invasion, beacuse that would involved a regime change and that would personally affect the leadership. They want a limited war, so when the tiny bit of dust settles they can do what Hezbullah did and claim abroad victory simpyl by not having been completely wiped out.

Whatever. I’m sick of Middle Eastern politics and Islamic dictatorships – official, elected or otherwise – at least for today. I’m too tired to write anything that would matter. I suppose that is always the case, though, considering that there is ample information that the Islamic world puts out on its own that unambiguously state their goals and methods. So I’ll can up about it. Iran says nuclear talks are over = eventual use of force by someone (probably after a lot of meaningless political blather in the 1st World and an equal amount of meaningless yelling for blood in the Islamic world…). Not that that’s any different. If Iran gets the bomb, they will use it or at least threaten to, and the 1st World will obliterate Iran. Maybe that is a better outcome afterall… Hmmm… ?


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:11


It seems today that Hardees and Carl’s Jr. (nearly same burger place, depends on where you live as to what you call it) have decided that the transition between food when its alive and food when its dead is a bigger deal than before.

I’m not trying to be insulting to animals or anything, but its not like they have a Bill or Rights… or a Constituion, either. Anyway, its their right to not die the same way they’ve been dying for thousands of years at the hands of us hungry omnivores. Its also their right to not be kept in cages, including when they are about to take that life-changing process that moves them from the “I’m going to eat that walking thing over there” zone to the “I’m going to eat that dead thing on my plate” zone.

When it comes to food animals, I don’t really see what the difference is anyway. Its not like I believe in delberate maltreatment of animals or anything, but isn’t there enough work to be done keeping animals safe who are not bred with the explicit intent of being killed and eaten at the earliest marketable opportunity?

Life feeds on life. That’s how things run in this giant solar-panel of an ecosystem. I suppose I’m required to appologize for having been born a partial meat-eater.

Strange side-note: Nobody seems to give a damn about fish suffering. Maybe because fish aren’t cut and furry, are much more difficult to make friends with and are generally alien invaders rarely seen anywhere terrestrial other than the dinner plate… which is right where they belong… yum yum… I found it highly ironic that the last person to get on a soap-box with me in person about animal cruelty did so while eating lobster at dinner with me… I think she doesn’t know much about how lobsters are prepared…


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:07


Remember when I wrote that big long piece about the Chinese economy not being in healthy shape exactly a month ago? Well… check this out: obvious evidence of Chinese government panic over inflation. This is just the beginning, as I had mentioned before. This will be a very interesting thing for you to watch if you’re an economist, economics student, business student, into civil or business law, or generally interested in seeing evidence of how government meddling in economic affiars is a bad thing – other than existing examples of shitty economies everyone ignores in the race for new unneeded regulations such as: France, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, etc…

Something to note for those of you who haven’t seen the flip side of the general “economic expansion” percentage that gets bandied about in the media with no explanation for the uninitiated viewers at home:

The inflation spike came amid a boom that saw China’s economy expand by 11.9 percent last quarter, while stock and real estate prices are soaring. The country’s main stock index hit a new high of 5,460.08 points on Thursday morning.

High percentages are not always a good thing. There is a balance to it all and the more important number than “expansion” is “sustainable growth index”. For some reason, sustainment is something companies, governments and the media all neglect to think about most of the time with exception of the USA and (now) Japan.

I know, boring article on economics, but this is the sort of thing that drives wars and wars and cultural hatred tend to drive even more interesting events that war itself… which tend to roll back to economics… so its all related, and in that frame China’s upcoming problems are very interesting indeed! Of course, the above run-on sentence applies to normal human resource/power struggle wars that are so typical in history, not to the most present current war, which is one of ideological domination. Fortunately, those always fail. WHEW!

Sorry I haven’t been posting for the last two weeks or so if you’ve been following along. I don’t have anything but typical bloggish excuses for you: I’ve been busy. Moving… er, rather, helping a friend move… then getting hit with two typhoons last week (whoever drives those things knows how to aim for the weekends… grrr…) and covering down on a lot of things at work that are ordinarily not my job.


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:05


I woke up at a little after midnight last night and went outside to stretch my legs. I looked up, and wouldn’t you know it, the Moon was out. Its about 1/2 right now, nothing unusual… accept that I noticed the Moon has an odd angle to it. Why odd? Odd because I’ve never seen any reference to the angle of the Moon’s crescent at different times of the year.

I thought back to the story of how Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, etc. figured out that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, and eventually deducted to a relatively high degree of accuracy the motions of the Earth, Moon and planets about the Sun. Eventually some of these motions were reasoned out a little further and made more sense of by Sir Isaac Newton through his physical laws and the initial theories of gravity.

That seems a lot of work to me. Hugely a lot of work considering that measuring the movements of the planets is not very easy as they are very small to look at from here and it takes a huge amount of time to register them with much accuracy as you have to wait through several years of accurate observations to finally start getting a picture of what’s going on up there. Lucky for Kepler, Tycho Brahe – drunk though he may have been – financed a huge catalogue of accurate observations. Whew! Kepler spent what I now feel was an inordinate amount of time working out the heliocentric calculations necessary to explain mathematically that things travel in an elipse around the Sun and our observations of other planets get skewed since we’re moving around it too.

This brings me back to the moon. We’ve been taking observations of the moon ever since the lunar religions took hold, and maybe before. Who knows. Its thousands of years anyway, and there are numerous monuments all over the world that mark the Moon’s passage very accurately. The Moon’s cycle is very short, you can observe the Moon rise and set in the same 24-hour period, and its close enough to not only mark where and when it passes, but exactly what it looks like, including the angle of the glow. In fact, the angle of the Moon’s glow is what caught my attention last night… that angle being precisely perpendicular to the Sun at all times. Isn’t that obvious? It strikes me as the most easily observable hint of where the Sun is in relation to us, and for some reason that was overlooked for thousands of years. Improbably overlooked, I should say.

To see how obvious it is, I pointed at the center of the Moon, then drew my finger along a line from the center, through the center of the shine, all the way down to the balcony ledge I was standing beside. I thought about it for a bit, and it all made perfect sense why the moon was at such an angle last night. Instead of going straight up or down, my finger went down at an angle to the north. Its summer now in Okinawa, and I reckon that with no other devices or foreknowledge I could guess with relative accuracy the latitude of Okinawa just by making such rough calculations as pointing from the Moon’s center to the edge of my balcony (it being perfectly plumb) every few nights at certain times throughout a year.

So now my point: This is such an obvious process and the hint is so glaringly present that I am shocked now that the story everyone learns about the human discovery of the way our solar system is ordered is built around such a difficult and indirect process as planetary observations. It seems like this is more the story of humans ignoring the present and obvious as opposed to taking fresh looks at the observable world around them.

Weird. Almost disturbing in a way. What other staggeringly important and obvious shorcuts in observational sciences are we tuning out today I wonder? I suppose its as Eric Raymond and Richard Stallman always maintain, “The solution to any problem is obvious to someone.” So the solution, as in open-source software development is to expose as many problems to as many sets of eyes as possible and then coordinate an effort? Pheh… anyway, I’m getting out of the scope I wanted to write within.

Sorry to bore the folks who come here to read only about internatinal bickering, war, and social upheaval.


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:04


I don’t have a lot of time to write about it now, but you should probably be paying attention to what the lunatic expansionist communist President of Venezuela is up to these days. He’s a nutbag, has no grounds for any of the things he says, and could care less about what is actually going on in the world… because he’s in a position to influence what people read, hear and think. So he can bend reality to his liking in Central and South America. Of course, his reach only goes so far, but he is trying to have a reach, and that will eventually be a problem.

This guy will eventually get too big for his britches, which he’s close to already, and try something intimidating against a neighboring state and then it’ll be time for the neighboring states to band against him and ask the US for help. And all the tough talk in the world won’t help him then. But anyway, that’s in the future. What is interesting is to study this guy now, while its happening, and see if we can predict where and when his downfall will come. I will venture right now that his downfall will come not from what he does inside Venezuela, but what he tries to do against his neighbors. Pay attention and learn! If this guy were from a real country it would be a big threat and we’d be talking serious about him right now.

Ah, he might get involved with supporting terrorists as he gets older, weirder and forgets that his rhetoric is only useful for the people to believe, but if he falls into the trap of believing his own shit then he’ll wind up doing something stupid. Supporting terrorism would be a quick way to the political (or real) grave for him. Hmmm… ?


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:03


I take back what I said about the news sucking today. The Fort-Worth Star Telegram totally made up for it with a story about a huge, scary, horror movie worthy spiderweb east of Dallas, Texas. Yes, the pic on this article is of some of the web. Here’s a video account.

You know what they say, “Everything is bigger in Texas” but I never stopped to think what that means. 200m to a side, that’s a bigass spiderweb.

I’m not going anywhere near there. Shelob, anyone?


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:01


 And once again, the news is saying that [a computer company (HP in this case)] is releasing the first Linux-based PC for the mass market. Hmm… This seems a bit un-news-worthy. IBM has been doing that for a long time, and it was big news back then, Dell has had a Linux PC for sale at WalMart for a while and it does well… the list is actually quite long these days of Linux offerings.

Calling a PC “Linux-based” is a little shallow anyway, since Windows supports most PCs, and Linux supports them almost just as well these days (at least in my experience, as a Red Hat/Fedora user). You can install whatever you want, or install both at once. So what’s the big hype about? I think the news is just trying to stir up more shit because its fun and sensation sells. Thanks, news.

This story just isn’t very sensational, so I’m a little puzzled. Of course, this article was written for a German audience about a product about to be released in Australia… but I can’t imagine in Germany that HP offering a system running RHEL 5 on Athlon 64 that offers email, multimedia, etc. services is that special. Since 2001 using Red Hat has been cake and offered all of those things. So I just don’t see this as news. Its weird… and makes me wonder if HP paid someone to have this story run.

Another late to-the-punch article from Germany is about the sloppy iPhone hack that that kid made. This article focuses on the idea that iPhones could be used on German services now, but that’s a pretty small step once you’ve allowed it to run on GSM services in the US… since they’re identical to the GSM services everywhere else. Of course, all the air time went to him because he’s young and smart, all the clean software-only hacks that are around don’t get any mention. Weird. The tech news world is weird. Is that an effect of so much money being tied up in public perception and hype? Probably… a lot the same way political news is ridiculous, as lots of money and power are tied up in it.

Blah… the news sucks today… but the pic I’ve got up top of a horse about to whip a dog’s ass is cool.


Filed under: Ancient Posts — zxq9 @ 11:00


Dieters are getting desperate. This was brought to my attention by a Japanese article somewhat humorously titled: “???????????????????????“, which translates to: “Can you really diet with a purposefully difficult to use fork?” Well, apparently the maker thinks so… check out their website. This is ridiculous.

It reminds me of my sister’s experience setting up a hospital’s pilot dietary medicine program a while back. All these fatties would come into her office and tell her “Hi, I’m a disgusting fat body and I won’t change my habits… ever… its genetic anyway and I heard about 10 other excuses for my life-long neglect of my own health on Oprah, so I don’t have to take responsibility. So anyway, you’re a doc, make me skinny. NOW!”

My sister is a gentle person and very focused on helping people most of the time (when she’s not telling me I’m a bad person for having lived my life my own way), so she would tell these beanbags that they might want to consider cutting down on overall caloric intake, etc. which prompts the instant retort that they heard they can eat all the fat and meat they want, so long as they lay off the French fries, bread, pasta, etc. She would try so hard to explain to these melty creatures that they are grossly misinterpreting the Atkins Diet, that it might not even work that well and possibly really screw up your blood levels, etc. but they just want none of it.

They want a skinny pill… Much like a lot of the uneducated folks I deal with in the Lost World (read as: Sri Lanka, Southern Philippines, Iraq, anywhere in Africa, -insert other fucked up place here-) who want a “broken arm pill” or an invincibility potion or some good old fashioned black magic, American style. For real, people have come to me with broken arms in 3rd World Countries asking for a pill that will make it better right away, or think that scenes from sci-fi movies are real American current medical technology. Whew…

When will fatties realize they just have to eat less? Its not even that hard! If you exercise and eat less, you lose weight, look good and have a lot more energy. You don’t even have to skip meals!

Oh well… Whatever… I’m beating a dead fatty now, I know. The only thing that will teach these margarine monsters a lesson is to let them teach their kids the same excess (which they already do, just walk down the street in Atlanta and count the fat kids who are likely already developing diabetes before age 15… and then count how many times you overhear someone compliment their parents and say “You got a healthy lookin’ kid there!”) and then watch their kids die of formerly old fat people diseases before they hit 30. Rough lesson, but that’s where we’re headed.

Another thing I’d like to point out… genetics plays into this none at all. When I go to poor countries full of starving people, they are all skinny. Like Bangladesh or Afghanistan. But when I go to the US or Europe and see genetically similar people, they tend to be pretty fat if they grew up there, and then blame it all on genetics. Yeah, right. If the genetic argument is true, then the world has somehow filled itself with people from highly diverse genetic backgrounds who hold the same insta-fatty gene within 30 years. Amazing. Its like X-Men, but with shitty superpowers that handicap you instead of make you fly and shoot lasers from your eyes.

The genetic argument for being fat is equivalent to saying that if I put a fatty in Auschwitz back in the good old days when murdering innocent Jews was in fashion, as opposed to today where apologizing for Muslim terrorists is en vogue, the fatty would starve to death and die fat. Sorry, I’m not buying it. I’ve seen a lot of starving people, and they were all pretty thin.

Went off on a bit of a rant on melty creatures (fat people) today, but for good cause. Hopefully if you’re fat and you read this, you’ll get interested in doing what you know you should do: eat a little less and exercise more. If you’re curious how to achieve that shift in your life, send me an email at Seriously. I’m not just an asshole, I would help you with advice if you’d listen… what pisses me off is that so many fatties complain about being a walking beanbag but won’t do anything about it. If you like being fat, like eating, accept the health problems that entails and can be a jolly fat friend (every group needs one!) instead of a depressed butter beastie, then cool. Have it your way. But don’t complain about being fat, dream of running like the gazelle, and then blame this all on the hand you’ve been dealt in life because you’ve got “big genes”. Pheh…

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