Articles, Page 23 of 204

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19 Mar 11
Newspaper

Involvement in Libya

So the United Nations recently passed a Resolution 1973 to impose a “No Fly Zone” over Libya in response to Muammar Gaddafi’s reactionary violence to protests. Shortly after the UN passed the resolution, American President Obama declared

“All attacks against civilians must stop. Gaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zawiya, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas.

Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

19 Mar 11
Question

Does Internet Privacy Matter

What does Internet privacy mean to you? The concept is understood by most to simply be related to their visibility of their Facebook account to unwanted viewers. While the Facebook effect is an important part of the matter, Internet privacy extends to so many different levels.

  • Privacy of e-mail
  • Privacy of search queries
  • Privacy of browsing
  • Privacy of opinion posting

Again, to many it’s just a matter of keeping their activity private from prying eyes. To others, it can be a matter of reporting against oppressive governments or organizing an uprising hidden from reprisal. At the same time, should the same privacy that protects Chinese dissidents or anti-Iranian regime protesters protect people like Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and others?

15 Mar 11
Newspaper

American Nuclear Power

The 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that devastates Japan last week will have a variety of repercussions back in the United States. One of the most immediate will be an economic impact as trade balances shift, supply and demand curves move about and the Wall Street traders speculate. But a more interesting impact will come in the future of nuclear power for America. In the face of weaning America off fossil fuels last year, the Obama Administration had brought back the interest in nuclear energy especially with newer technologies as a clean, long-term solution. The suggestion seemed even more apropos with pushes towards an electric vehicle infrastructure and fluctuating oil prices thanks to waves of protest and unrest in the Mediterranean and Middle East. However, with the earthquake, Japan is facing potential nuclear meltdown and other problems with various reactors.1 And this of course leads to renewed fears from Americans about the nuclear technology at home.

11 Mar 11
Page_white_text

Texas Firearm Legislation Session 82 2011


I wanted a list of all the firearm related legislation for this session in Texas. As they don’t get together but every two years I figured it’d be important to track each bill as it was read into the floor.

For the pro gun crowd there is some awesome bills here that are fun to track. Feel free to drop questions here over how these will affect Texas if passed.

I’m aware of most of these and the issues and what is behind them so I can at least offer up my opinion.

04 Mar 11
Page_white_text

Healthy perving

For all the puritans out there who want our young ladies to cover-up, I have some astonishing news.

After a five-year research program on 500 men, German researchers have proved that it is “healthy for men to stare at large female breasts.”

“Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female, is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out.”

Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist and author of the study,
explained the concept stating, "Sexual excitement gets the heart pumping and improves blood circulation. There’s no question: Gazing at breasts makes men healthy.

03 Mar 11
Newspaper

Pope Pardons Jews

So regardless of belief, the common tenant of the Christian faith is that Jesus died for your sins. He was arrested and sentenced to execution where he died crucified on the cross. Given that Christianity didn’t really “take off” until the Romans used it to wipe out other faiths … I digress, that’s another story, the Jews have largely been to “blame” for Jesus’ execution. That is, until now. Pope Benedict XVI lays out a sweeping exoneration to the Jews for the Jesus incident in his new book. Does a 2000 year late exoneration matter?

03 Mar 11
Newspaper

What is the Reality of Cyber Threats to National Infrastructure?

Is it all hype and hysteria or is there real merit behind the warnings of a cyber apocalypse to the United States?

President Obama is proposing huge increases in cyber research and defense spending, with nearly $500 million of the pot allocated for commercial industry investment to develop tools and capabilities. This is notable in that the government wants private industry to share in its own defenses as the American infrastructure is predominately a mesh of privately owned, commercial networks. The overall Pentagon request reaches upwards of $2.3 billion for computer related R&D. The impetus behind such spending are advisories from the CIA and NSA directors. Leon Panetta warns the United States is looking a digital Pearl Harbor in the eye while Keith Alexander testified on education requirements in math and science to breed the next generation of computer warriors.1

02 Mar 11
Newspaper

Better Decisions From Having To Pee

Dutch researchers from the University of Twente have recently concluded people make better decisions when their bladders are full. That particular finding was a side-effect of how they conducted their study on personal self-control. They created situations where people had to exert self-control in other areas in order to determine if there was a correlation in exhibiting increased self-control elsewhere as a result. Filling up the subject’s bladders with water and making them have to “hold it in” forced the self-control matter whereupon observations confirmed the subjects made more logical choices under self-control duress.

25 Feb 11
Cup

Silly Entitlement Wishes for Idaho

I support causes on Change.org on a fairly regular basis. Their political ideals (in general) aren’t the same as mine, but sometimes they stand up for the right thing in the right way and I’m more than happy to e-sign a petition.

Occasionally, however, a cause rolls into my inbox that I wish I could vote against – and I received just this kind of email last month concerning Senate Bill 1353 in Idaho. According to the email, “[t]he law was intended to allow pharmacists the option to deny women access to emergency contraception, even if the woman in question was raped. … This isn’t a law that protects pharmacists – it’s a law that endangers women. … The women of Idaho deserve better than this.”

25 Feb 11
Question

Internet Debating Laws

The regular nerds will be familiar with Murphy’s Law; Godwin’s Law, and Poe’s Law, but how many of us have heard of the other laws for winning debates on the internet?

Skitt’s Law
Expressed as “any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself” or “the likelihood of an error in a post is directly proportional to the embarrassment it will cause the poster.”

Scopie’s Law
States: “In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses the argument immediately, and gets you laughed out of the room.”

25 Feb 11
Cup

Poor Renditions of the National Anthem Should Embarrass Americans

The National Anthem has been mangled at numerous public events in the past, but it’s most recent trouncing came at the hands of Christina Aguilera at the 2011 SuperBowl. It seemed that being asked to sing the National Anthem at a major event was once the honor in itself, but nowadays these singers seem to want to use the opportunity as free-publicity of vocal range, etc. A random e-mail came through my inbox today that summed it up quite nicely:

“So, with all the kindness I can muster, I give this one piece of advice to the next pop star who is asked to sing the national anthem at a sporting event: save the vocal gymnastics and the physical gyrations for your concerts. Just sing this song the way you were taught to sing it in kindergarten — straight up, no styling. Sing it with the constant awareness that there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines watching you from bases and outposts all over the world. Don’t make them cringe with your self-centered ego gratification. Sing it as if you are standing before a row of 86-year-old WWII vets wearing their Purple Hearts, Silver Stars and flag pins on their cardigans and you want them to be proud of you for honoring them and the country they love — not because you want them to think you are a superstar musician. They could see that from the costumes, the makeup and the entourages. Sing “The Star Spangled Banner” with the courtesy and humility that tells the audience that it is about America, not you.”

25 Feb 11
Newspaper

Columbia University Students Heckle War Vet

Columbia University is one of many Ivy League institutions that does not support an ROTC program and has not done so in over 40 years. The decision was made in 1969 due to the Vietnam war and student protests. While that event fades into history, Columbia’s most recent argument used against supporting ROTC was the DADT policy violates their own anti-discrimination policy. DADT’s recent repeal has brought the subject of bringing back ROTC once again. The decision might have gone completely unnoticed had it not been for the recent heckling of war veteran on campus. Former SSG Anthony Maschek, a disabled, wheelchair bound veteran (having been shot 11 times), spoke in an open forum in support of bringing ROTC back to Columbia. As Maschek spoke, “It doesn’t matter how you feel about the war. It doesn’t matter how you feel about fighting. There are bad men out there plotting to kill you,” to which he was booed, mocked and even called a racist by members of the student body.

24 Feb 11
Newspaper

Ahmadinejad Speaks From His Ass

In light of the recent uprisings around the Mediterranean and Middle East, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appealed for the governments to listen to their people. According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, Ahmadinejad, “urged those leaders of regional countries who respond to the demands of their nations and their revolutionary uprisings with hot bullets to join their peoples’ movements instead of creating blood baths.” Such a statement is, of course, contrary to the practices already demonstrated by Ahmadinejad’s government during the 2009 elections. In addition for calling out the Iranians on having killed their demonstrators, Hillary Clinton commented, “Off the streets, the regime’s leaders have targeted human rights defenders and political activists, and authorities have recently rounded up ex-government officials and their families; former members of parliament; clerics and their children; student leaders and their professors; as well as journalists and bloggers.”

24 Feb 11
Newspaper

New Mission for Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) has been aloft for more than a decade and is estimated to be the most expensive object ever constructed. It regularly appears on chopping blocks with analysts pondering it’s future, especially as it approaches its operational life expectency in 2015. One new proposal is the Nautilus-X which would modify the ISS to leave low earth orbit and permit the craft to move about the solar system as a staging area. Despite a projected $4 billion price tag, designers believe modifying the existing ISS to handle such a mission would be significantly cheaper than building a new space station.

23 Feb 11
Question

Talking to Computers

So I saw a post on Slashdot today asking whether people were comfortable with talking to computers. It was written in the context of IBM’s Watson communicating on Jeopardy besides Ken and Brad.1 Is the classic Star Trek portrayal of Uhura interfacing with the computer really going to become the modus operandi for us to get used to?

Back in 2005 in Baghdad, the company commanders were complaining because they didn’t have telephones at their company TOCs from which to talk back to BN HQ. There was simply a lack of hardware VoIP phones (we had made the transition off POTs gear). I ended up installing a Ventrilo server and putting clients on all of their laptops allowing them to have clear voice communications with anybody on our FOB (or outside so long as the relays didn’t drop). It was amusing because for all their bitching about having to use SINCGARS radios instead of phones … they continued to use the SINCGARS even after the Ventrilo proved to be amazingly clear because, as one infantry commander put it, “I feel like a dork talking to my laptop.

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