Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Questions to the Author.

Gunner and I thought we would take the opportunity to answer some of the thousands of daily questions we receive. So, in no particular order:

1) Why in the name of all that is Holy, do you write this?
Gunner: Why do you think anything about this is Holy?
Hummie: Why in the name of anything do you read it?

2) Do you agree with Hawking on the information paradox
Hummie: No. It has become quite apparent the paradox does not exist and, in fact, information escapes the event horizon.

Yes, but not if Nicolas Zarcozy is elected to a second term.

4)For whom did you vote in the 2008 election for President of the United States?
Gunner: While the appropriate English syntax is appreciated, I must make you aware I can not vote.
Hummie: Richard Nixon.

5)Is light a wave or a particle?

6)What do you call 2 left handed, black, Liberian, lesbians flying an airplane?
Both: Pilots

7)Will you marry me?
Gunner: Yes
Hummie: Are you rich, blond, sexy, rich, and above all rich?

8) As enlightened scientists, who do you believe is the worlds greatest artistic group?
Gunner: RUSH
Hummie: RUSH

9) Is the Hummie, in fact, responsible for the Chambers Creek Explosion of 1994?
Hummies Lawyer: No Comment

10)Do you have a one word response to the meaning of life?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What's the world coming to?

Michael Jackson died this week. Oh well. He'll take 450,000 years to decay in a landfill.

Farrah Fawcett died as well. At least she was nice to look at, at one time.

Ed McMahon died. Thats not such a bad thing. Not that I wanted him to die, but he had a full life.

This is where it goes bad. Billy Mays died. 1) He's not old enough. 2) Who is going to get me to buy things I really don't need?

Ok. You're right. I don't need Billy to make impulse purchases, but he was fun.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Communists, Pirates, and Capitalism. Oh My!

This is reprinted from the Metro newspaper in England.

Thrill-seekers pay £3.5k to attack pirates

Friday, June 26, 2009

Russian cruise liner companies are offering pirate-hunting trips on
armed private yachts off the Somali coast.

Passengers pay £3,500 a day
hoping to be attacked by raiders so they can retaliate with grenades, machine
guns and rockets.

The ships cruise slowly close to the coast in an
attempt to attract the pirates.

There is nothing I could possibly add to that scenario. Good times. Good times.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sometimes blowing things up does the world good.

If it weren't for the death, destruction, damage, hate, discontent, disease, famine, and general evil of warfare, its actually not a bad thing.

Next time you are crying over spilt milk, the loss of your Mittens the cat, or your cable bill; thank chemical warfare for helping you. You see, the Kleenex you use to evacuate your nostrils, is a development of the First World War. Since cotton was in high demand for all sorts of things including bandages, a need for another material arose for gas mask filters. Yup, Kleenex.

There's a Nobel Prize for blowing things up. Actually, there is a Nobel Prize because of blowing things up. Alfred Nobel is the inventor of dynamite. Made quite a bit of money from that as well as owning the defense contractor Bofors. In his will Nobel left a lot of money to establish the Nobel Prize.

As militaries became more and more adept at blowing each other up, field medicine came into it's own. The barber who previously would hack off your injured limb and sentence you to a miserable life has long given way to modern emergency medicine. Soldiers wounded in Iraq are making it from the incident site to an appropriate medical receiving center within an hour. Once stabilized they are in Germany within a day and sometimes home to the US for rehabilitative care within the week. Ambulance services, Medic1, and most emergency medical services can trace their history to military medicine.

However, when you absolutely, positively have to blow something up (really well) within minutes - you develop the Space Program. The great space race of the cold war was a function of the cold war. It had very little to do with exploration, national pride, or looking for little green people. It had everything to do with the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead across the globe quickly, accurately, and without needing an aircraft or even people to do it.

As for blowing up things on large scales, the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were necessary. It was a horrible waste of human life. A single death in war is a waste. There are some who say it was unnecessary, that the casualties on the US side would not have been as high as predicted during the US invasion of Japan (Operation Downfall) at the end of World War II. Guess what? It's a war. You try to minimize civilian casualties, but I don't think I can agree to do so at the loss of friendly soldiers.

Next, if there had not been atomic bombs in Japan, I believe you would have seen a nuclear exchange in Europe within years. The destruction caused by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have made future nuclear attack or retribution untenable. If the US had not dropped the bombs, it is quite conceivable the Cold War would have gone "Hot". In this way, the bombing also saved civilian lives.

The greatest benefit of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima is more simple. If not for those events, we would have no large scale explosion to relate other events. I mean who can visualise Mount St. Helens being equated to 44.6quadrillion pop-its?

Crop Circles? Well, those aren't military. Those are kangaroos stoned out of their minds with opium.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A little more Iranian Goodness. Just Because.

Its not that they dont want an islamic republic, theyre using the framework of Islam to ge to their goals. A little more background:

Over 50% of the population in Iran was born after the 1979 Revolution. 75% of the population is in fact under 30 years old. This may be in part to the death toll of the Iran-Iraq War and the waves of humans killed. Did you know Mousavi was also the Prime Minister during the Iran - Iraq War?

Ultimately, there appears to be a split in the Governing Hierarchy itself.

I need to add a couple more characters to this story and another governmental body. The body is called the Expediency Council. This council arbitrates disputes between the Parliament and The Guardian Council.

The Supreme Leader listens closely to the Expediency Council. The council is headed by former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Ahmadeniejad had accused Rafsanjani of corruption, while Rafsanjani has been hurling nastys at the Supreme Leader.

Rafsanjani and the the supporters of Mousavi may in fact be trying to have the current Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, removed. Their favorite seems to be another Ayatollah and member of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Montazeri.

By the way, Rafsanjani may be open to dialog with the West.

A flock of Seagulls and The Green Revolution.

Iran. (So far away)

If you have managed to avoid any sort of credible news outlet in the last week, you may not know there's some upheaval in Iran. Then again, if you're a major America Media Outlet, you probably did miss it.

So here is the background:

Blah blah ancient history blah blah 1921 Reza Khan (not the star trek guy) overthrows the Qajar Dynasty and becomes Shah. Reza attempts to stop Soviet and British influence in Iran. Here comes world war deuce. Standby, because Reza is starting to get friendly with perennial bad guy Hitler and company. The Soviets and Britain invade Iran and dipose Reza in 1941. They replace Reza Khan - Shah with his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

In addition to the new Shah was an elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh. He is a very popular man in 1951 and essentially controls the nations oil. That makes the US and allies pretty nervous. So in 2003 George Bush authorizes the invasion of... oh wait. What I meant to say was in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the green light to run something called Operation Ajax. The CIA and company essentially run a private coup and Mossadegh is hooked up. A new pro-Western guy gets the PM gig. His name is Fazlollah Zahedi .

Zahedi doesn't get to do much though because the Shah takes on more and more power. The country begins to modernize with western support. The shah also suppresses opposition with his security and intelligence forces.

Enter Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini is not a fan of the Government or its actions. Khomeini criticizes the Shah and company. In 1964 Khomeini gets arrested, does 18 months in an Iranian prison and then is exiled. The exile world tour included Turkey, Iraq, and France. While on tour, he continues to say not-so-nice things about the Shah and the pro-Western government.

This is where it gets good. Or not so good.

Starting in early 1978 there are protests, civil disobedience, strikes, and mayhem. The economy falls apart. The Shah sees the writing on the wall and beats feet. In January 1979 Khomeini starts the Islamic Revolution Reunion Tour with a sold out show in Tehran. The military says they don't know nuthin bout birthing no babies and won't get involved to stop the Ayatollah.

April 1st 1979, the Iranian people approve a national referendum to make Iran an Islamic Republic with a theocratic constitution.

So what exactly is the structure of the Iranian Government? Imagine the southern baptist convention with suicide bombers. Ok, its somewhat a modern democracy within an Islamic theocracy.

At the top is the Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah. He is the highest ranking religious and political bearded guy in the country. He gets to pick the chiefs of the military, highest ranking judges, and 6 of the 12 members of something called the Guardian Council.

The supreme leader is picked by an 86 member body called the Council of Experts.

There is an elected President. Currently, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds that job. He was elected in 2005. He reports to the Supreme Leader and is responsible for the management of the country and acts as the executive of the country. He also gets to appoint his cabinet which must be approved by an elected Parliament.

Back to the Guardian Council and its 12 members. Remember the Supreme Leader gets to appoint half of the Council. The other half is chosen by the Parliament. The Guardian Council can veto anything the Parliament has to say or do. They also get to approve anyone who runs for office.

The Parliament (Maljis) consists of 290 elected seats elected by popular vote. Of course, it's a popular vote of those who survive the Guardian Council's approval process.

Right now, the Guardian Council and Maljis are controlled by conservatives. As late as 2001 the Parliament was a little more reform minded.

Back to the present and enter Mir Hossein Mousavi. He's selling himself as the Reformer. Ranting against much of the current political system. Interesting. Ask Azar Nafisi about it. You see, during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Mousavi became Prime Minister and implemented many of the repressive measures he now denounces. Nafisi was a University Professor at an Institution Mousavi shut down.

There was an election held on June 12th. The "official" results show Ahmadinejad getting 62 percent while Mousavi held about 34 percent. The truth of the matter, or at least the less dishonest versions that are somewhat independent, actually believe Ahmadinejad legitimately won the election. Just by a smaller margin.

So why the protests? I'm still sorting that one out in my mind. Not so much why, but for what. The why is because they are upset they lost the election. Add to that, those in power made it look as though they lost by more. A legitimate recount would likely end up with the same outcome but closer race. Do the current actions of the establishment strike such a chord in the hearts of the Iranian people that a new election would provide for a different outcome?

What about the US? We've thrown one coup party in Iran and they didn't even have a fledgling nuke program at that time. Probably because Donald Rumsfeld was right when on 02/12/02 he said:
There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.

The last thing the United States wants right now is an unstable, potentially nuclear armed Iran on the border of Iraq. You see, Ahmadinejad is a known known. Mousavi is either a known unknown or unknown known. This is completely different from a known gnome.

There is an interesting story being published on Fark and Google sites using Twitter services to get updates from Tehran and the protests. Take it for what it's worth, but perhaps worth reading. The writer asserts a call to prayer on Friday may be a big show down. The writer also claims approximately 5000 Hizbollah (Army of God) Fighters are running around dressed as Riot Police ready to do some dirty work.

If you're interested in finding out more about this debacle check out the sources I used:


Friday, June 12, 2009

Archaeologists vs. Johnnie Cochran

Archaeologists have it easy. Sure there is peer review, but c'mon! They don't have to prove anything to the extent of a criminal investigation.

The scientists use DNA, biological, and carbon evidence. You ever notice how often during these site excavations they are bare handed, hair exposed, and dropping trace evidence of themselves and who knows what else all over the scene? Locard anyone?

I watched a documentary on a skeleton discovered in a mass grave in Egypt. The body had a substantial and likely fatal head wound. None of the internal organs remained. There was no regrowth of the skull. This means the skeleton was not alive after the damage and only that.

A early weapons expert "duplicated" the wound using a rock and sling to hit a terracotta pot on a stick. The conclusion was the victim was a Coptic Christian killed by Roman soldiers.

Wow. Must be nice. There is no discussion that the damage to the skull could have likely been post mortem. For craps sake, the body was in a mass grave. We all know how careful bodies are handled in mass graves. Any exculpatory evidence reference internal injury or disease garnered from an autopsy with all available information (the entire body) is unavailable. Since it's not available it's okay to ignore it in the world of archaeology.

How about the wrongly accused Roman Soldier. Prove to me the soldier was the one who slung the rock. The likelihood that slings were widely available is pretty good. There could have been a second rocker. Not to mention friendly rocking.

It's not like you can do chemical analysis of the explosives used to blow the target to pieces. More simply, no ballistics on the rock supposedly used to kill this skeleton. Again, we don't know the skeleton was alive when he received the skull damage.

The best archaeologists likely couldn't get a Judge to agree there is even a crime, let alone probable cause to charge someone. Heaven help them with a jury. No chance when a defense attorney attacks their conclusions.

Like I said, it must be nice. I'd say the Roman Soldier has a good civil rights violation case.

I hate suspense and television has allowed me to avoid it.

The perfect example is Law and Order. Its a glorious thing. The beginning of the show is someone finding a body, some clues and at 15 minutes past the hour a suspect is developed. Half past the hour, bad guy is in custody and the legal wranglings start. There's 15 minutes of legal arguments about some take of criminal court rule 3.5 and 3.6. With 15 minutes left, maybe a new piece of evidence or strange twist to be battled by the Prosecutor. At the end of the hour, all is well.

Any deviation from the above itinerary means the arrestee is not the right guy. I don't have to worry about something terrible happening to the cast now, because, quite frankly, its 47 minutes after the hour. All will be well in 13 minutes.

Life, sadly, does not adhere to this.

Stupid reality. Maybe the archaeologists are finding the bodies at 47 minutes after the hour.