Articles, Page 10 of 208
I’m in the middle of The Benefit and The Burden (which is very interesting, albeit un-engaging and somewhat repetitive) and it has me thinking taxes. There’s so much standing in the way of fairness when the federal government raises revenue, and no matter where you try to fix things, someone gets burned.
While there are no doubt more impactful angles, as I put down my Kindle-via-iPhone in response to the fresh green light last week, I wondered if one of the problems isn’t the vast chasm between the individual and the Federal Government. The former pays the latter and expects the latter to serve … but the latter isn’t really configured to serve the former; it’s made to serve something in between (the States). The States, too, aren’t made to serve the individual, but the municipality – and there we finally reach the level positioned for the originally sought service.
A new quandary has arisen with surrogate parenthood. A family opted to pay for a surrogate mother due to fears for the biological mother’s survivability. During routine natal examinations, it was discovered the fetus had developmental abnormalities whereupon physicians declared it only had 25% of living a normal, healthy life. At this point, the family requested the surrogate mother have an abortion as they were not prepared or able to handle a medically needy child and offered financial compensation. The surrogate, however, refused.
How should a situation like this best be handled?
The Secretary of Defense recently authorized a new medal for military service members, the Distinguished Warfare Medal (pdf). It can be awarded for members of the armed forces “who distinguish themselves, on or after September 11, 2001, by extraordinary achievement, not involving acts of valor, directly impacting, through any domain, combat operations or other military operations” which basically gives drone operators or cyber operators an opportunity to be recognized. This is not necessarily a bad idea, until one looks at the line reading that it “provides an avenue to recognize appropriately extraordinary direct impacts on combat operations warranting recognition above the Bronze Star Medal.” The order of precedence has stirred up a number of veterans calling the award an insult to those performing valorous or heroic acts. The term “xBox Medal” is definitely being thrown around within the ranks already. A petition is already on the White House website requesting the precedence be re-evaluated.
Let’s just say the Iranians have been caught fudging their weapons tests to the public before. Their recent announcement of a stealth fighter has been met with extraordinary criticism that the vehicle is a mere mockup and completely incapable of actual flight. One comment indicated it looked like, “Iranian designers went back through the catalog of cool combat aircraft, picked out some of the coolest bits, and just stuck them all together to make a new airplane with a badass look about it.” Even before that, the Iranians were hyping up their space launch with a monkey aboard that is increasingly in doubt as well. Upon it’s “return”, the Iranians apparently displayed a different monkey than the one photographed for the launch, which they now claim was a photo mixup. Uh huh.
The US government doesn’t assassinate American citizens, right? Apparently NBC has obtained a leaked 16 page memo (pdf) defining the Justice Department’s rules for assassinating Americans. At the heart of the discussion on the NBC story are Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan who were killed in an airstrike in Yemen. Does the government actually have this power to kill at their discre …
I submit, the Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS-50 Blaster. It features:
- pistol grip
- semi-automatic functionality
- extended 18 round magazine
- military-like front bipod
- military-like carrying handle
- military-like adjustable stock
And for a Nerf gun, it’s one of the most intimidating models out there. This single weapon meets EVERY SINGLE piece of criteria for the assault weapons ban! I also submit the commonly used logic that it serves absolutely no practical purpose other than to simulate killing. These should be banned immediately.
I’ve bitched before on OmniNerd about the DoD scraping the barrel to find “cyber savvy” people to fill the ranks. It looks like CYBERCOM is now attempting to increase its size fivefold very rapidly. With WHO? The place already staffs itself with people that preface their meetings by stating, “So I’m just a dumb infantry guy”. On the job training is one thing, but OJT from other people that don’t know what they’re doing is downright shameful.
All right, listen up. I want ten, light netbooks to flank the adversary’s network from the west under the cover of a volley of suppressing packets. The big iron mainframes will send full packets, not just with 0’s but heavy payloads of 1’s at the maximum transmit size in order to pulverize their firewalls and defenses. This will allow the flanking light netbooks to quickly transit the network in order to double-tap the remaining hosts with a flurry of light packets. Any questions? Yes, you, the nerdy looking one in the back.
So I’m old now. The “big four-oh”. Sort of feels like Friday.
I started to write something all introspective and “judgy” about where I am in my life, and I realized how mind-crushingly cliché that is. “Cliché” I can handle; “mind-crushing,” not so much.
Let me instead mention some gifts I’ve unexpectedly gotten over the years, usually not on my birthday, that have helped me to get to today and will hopefully carry me on for at least another forty years.
Ancient Wisdom and Management Fads
This gift is credited to Ken Bralich. It would have been about fourth grade. We were at my house, in the back yard around my family’s pool. Ken watched me with puzzlement as I laboriously dried myself off from the feet up, having to go back often and re-dry places I’d already visited. Ken looked at me and said “You know, Jim, if you just dry yourself off from the top down, you won’t have to do it all over again”.
According to a press release by the White House Office of Science and Technology, 1-2 June 2013 will be a national hacking day. From the article:
“Civic Hacking Day is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively harnessing publicly-released data and code to create innovative solutions for problems that affect Americans. While civic hacking communities have long worked to improve our country and the world, this summer will mark the first time local developers from across the Nation unite around the shared mission of addressing and solving challenges relevant to OUR blocks, OUR neighborhoods, OUR cities, OUR states, and OUR country.”
I’m curious as to why the regulars on this site are so reluctant to vote on content. You’re logged in, you’re reading and commenting, but the 1-second process of casting a vote rarely seems to occur. Is there a reason you’re not? If not, I suggest voting for things that you both read and didn’t feel was a waste of you’re time. In doing so you accomplish two things: you move good content to the top, and you let the writer know you read their stuff and thought it was a useful read.
Fortune has released their annual 100 best companies to work at listing for 2013. Still topping the chart is Google with a smattering of industries populating the rest. For lazy reference, the following were the top ten:
- CHG Healthcare
- Boston Consulting Group
- Hilcorp Energy
- Edward Jones
A whole slew of new firearm restricting legislature is brewing at various levels of government from Federal to State. Depending on which state you reside in, the degree to which that legislature will impact your ownership rights vary. In some of the more restrictive states, the discussion regarding assault rifle bans has even extended into the “grandfathering” rules to a degree that current owners may find themselves felons if they do not turn their weapons in.
For the sake of discussion, let’s ignore for a moment the matter of whether a regular person should or should not own an assault rifle. Focus instead on the government’s ability to require you to relinquish present, legal property for … partial face value or possibly even nothing.
It would appear the IBM’s Watson, of Jeopardy fame has learned to curse and swear. With concern that Watson needed to understand slang to effectively handle natural language queries, its developers incorporated the Urban Dictionary into the machine’s repertoire. According to the article, "in answering one question, Watson even reportedly used the word “bullshit” within an answer to one researcher’s question."
So social media has been littered with pro-gun and anti-gun memes since the school shooting. Each party tends to view the other as incomprehensibly stupid (amazingly just like politics). But there is one joke meme that I would like to toss out to the OmniNerds.
Reference the attached image regarding the Assault Vehicle. It makes the same arguments against sports cars that many anti-gun advocates make – which ultimately boil down to no law abiding citizen needs it. Cars are clearly a significant vector for deaths in America. From the CDC :
Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. More than 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. The economic impact is also notable: the lifetime costs of crash-related deaths and injuries among drivers and passengers were $70 billion in 2005.