July 31, 2008

LHC

Here's a little bit of nerdy goodness I copped off of annals of spacetime. Now I wont front like I know what the hell these people are talking about, because I totally don't, but I sure do like the way it sounds.

July 28, 2008

Accusing the Powerful



Vincent Bugliosi spoke to a congressional panel on the limits of executive power on July 25 along with a number of other very interesting speakers.

July 22, 2008

MLS Gameday

Last Sunday, a few of my brothers and I got the chance to see the Red Bulls face the Galaxy in Giants stadium. The game had no shortage of excitement despite the heat and humidity.



Beckham got booed by the Red Bulls' fans every time he touched the ball.

July 18, 2008

Dumb Moment of the Night

So tonight the lady and I went out to a jazz concert in downtown DC. The music was nice and overall I had a really good time. We met up with some of her co-workers, so I was supposed to put on a fantastic impression. Everything was going smoothly aside from this one ditz who decided to constantly engage me in conversation and talk about how much she loved NY and hated DC and her job. However, everytime Mimi would join the conversation (her co-worker, and my g/f) she would talk about how much she loved DC and loved her job. Pretty funny.

Anyway, so I had a couple of glasses of san gria in me, and I happen to hear her talking to somebody else sitting at our table. He is talking about a recent vacation to Russia, and she responds with: "Vacation Rocks." So bearing in mind Mimi's desire for me to put on a good impression coupled with my San Gria intake, I look over at Mimi, give a thumbs up (what kind of an idiot still uses the thumbs up?), and loudly state: "Toys are Cool."

I mean who the hell says something like "Vacation Rocks." What kind of a response is that? "Toys are cool" is just as good, right? Anyway, I thought it was funny, after we left, Mimi did as well. Just thought I would share.

July 17, 2008

Moving Success

It seemed like I would never get through that long state of Pennsylvania but I finally made it. Special thanks to my mom helped me pack and drove my car while I took the truck.

July 11, 2008

Autobots, Blogroll Out

A quick thanks for the link and kind words over at Plastic Manzikert. I recommend checking it out. It's a consistently thoughtful and interesting blog.

July 10, 2008

I Say Potato You Say Something Completely Different

Kerim over at Savage Minds wrote some interesting analysis about communication problems in the military. It concerns a video made by what I assume to be a reporter for The Guardian embedded with soldiers in Afghanistan (and speaking of embedding, it is mildly annoying that The Guardian does not allow video embedding). Apparently, after seven years of occupation in Afghanistan, the US military is unable to provide basic accurate translation services. To me, this is exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to get when the military is being forced to do the job of the state department. Armed forces should only be asked to do what they are trained to do, fight wars. Diplomats should be the ones establishing relationships with power structures and cutting deals. Or, here's a thought, they can work together with the soldiers providing security and evaluating threats and the diplomats doing the communication.

On a side note, if you read into the comments of Kerim's post, you'll get to see what an academic flame war looks like. Very amusing.

And for still more on embedding, check out this article in Contexts magazine on media in the Iraq War. The conclusion of the study says, "given the far greater frequency and prominence of published articles penned by embedded journalists, ultimately the embedding program proved a victory for the armed services in the historical tug-of-war between the press and military over journalistic freedom during war time."

July 8, 2008

Thanks Hanks

Thanks to everyone who called emailed and texted me on my birthday. I'm not that much of a birthday person but I really appreciated just how many people remembered the day and dropped me a line. I also would like to thank everyone for condolences on my cat Vinnie's death. Your sympathy means a lot to me.

A ton of my friends have birthdays in early July such as Recon, Boron110 (aka Turkeytoes), and Kid Dammit's little boy to name a few. Here's a birthday gif to you guys:





That right; it's the legendary Benjamin Sherman "Scatman" Crothers throwing some elbows. If you don't know who he is, let me just say Hong Kong Phooey to youey.

And in case you didn't know. I quit my job (last day this Sunday) and I'm moving back the East Coast. Where I'll end up, God only knows but my temporary solution is to stay with my parents until I figure out what S and I are doing next. I'm pretty excited about the move and the proffessional potential it offers. I'm not sure yet if I'll be starting my own practice, looking for employment or focusing on getting into grad school.

More importantly, the move means that many future posts will be coming from the one and only Bedford Hills.

July 7, 2008

Box o' Evil

It's a bit shameful that I haven't mentioned the awesomeness that is pandora. Sorry if this post ends up reading like an ad but I love this site.

Pandora allows anyone to create their own customizable Internet radio stations. The style of the radio station you make is determined by whatever artists or songs you choose as "seeds." The pandora algorithm selects a playlist of songs that share qualities with your seeds.


For example, I just made a radio station with the "artist" Debbie Gibson as a seed. The first song I get is Gibson's "Lost in Your Eyes," a classic ballad to warm the heart and moisten the eyes. The next song that comes up is Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl" off the album of the same name. Pandora tells me that it selected this song because it features easy listening qualities, great musicianship, a subtle use of vocal harmony, groove based composition, and repetitive melodic phrasing similar to those of Debbie Gibson. Not quite the description I would give but accurate nonetheless. The next song is "Material Girl" by Madonna.

You can create stations based on much more obscure groups as well. Some of my seeds include Land of the Loops, Avi Bornick, and Beam. Not exactly top 40 material.

Pandora uses the All Music Guide as a source for information on the artists and links over to iTunes and Amazon so that you can instantly buy any song you like.

If anyone already has or gets a pandora account, email me and we can share stations. Cooperation: that's so crazy, it just might work.

Surveillance Bill

For some reason, the Democrats feel impelled to pass this "FISA bill" that most Americans find to be repulsive. Here's a good primer for what the bill is about:




The EFF site mentioned in the video has a decent script for the call but I would use a sightly different one. If you get a machine, say that you strongly oppose the bill in it's entirety. If you get a person, first ask what the senator's position is on the impending surveillance bill before saying that you thoroughly oppose it.

For more info critical of the bill, check out Glen Greenwald.

July 5, 2008

Adding Insult to Injury

Does anyone else find it odd that the US Army names their helicopters after Native American tribes and chiefs?

AH-64 Apache
UH-60 Black Hawk
CH-54 Tarhe
OH-58 Kiowa
OH-6 Cayuse
CH-47 Chinook
H-13 Sioux
UH-1 Iroquois
AH-56 Cheyenne

Are we displaying the names of the fallen like heads on spikes?

It would be one thing if these war machines were named for Natives Americans that were proud members of the US military but that doesn't seem to be what is happening here. Almost all of these chiefs and tribes are famous for resisting American dominance. The most famous contribution of Native Americans to the US military were the code talkers used largely in WWI and WWII. These men came from the tribes such as the Navajo, Cherokee, Choctaw and Comanche. Many Seminoles and Crow tribesmen worked as scouts in the 1800's. Funny that these tribes seem to have been left out of the great name parade.

I'm surprised that I've never noticed this before. Apparently, a lot of people are upset about the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins but this thing goes by the wayside. It's about as appropriate as if the Germans unveiled that their new line of fighting vehicles with names like the Wiesel, the Anne Frank, the Levi, and the Cohen.

July 2, 2008

Spanish Conqest

I hope you all got a chance to follow Euro '08. It was one of the best tournaments of the past ten years. At least, they picked one of the best possible goal celebration songs.



Along with the Netherlands, Spain was an early favorite of mine. After a +40 year drought, it was finally Spain's year. What's more they won it with a positive and exciting style of play.

Here's a clip of the goal that won the final. What's so magical about this goal is the way that even as Lahm attempts to get between the striker and the ball, Torres runs right through him almost as if he wasn't there. I watched the slow motion replay of the goal many times before I figured out how he did it.

video

Usually, if you're running behind someone, you have to stay a step or two behind them in order to avoid getting kicked as one of your legs goes forward and one of theirs comes back. But, if your strides are synchronized so that your legs each go forward and back together, you can get right up behind that person and not get kicked. The slow motion replay clearly shows that happening with Torres and Lahm.

The other aspect of the run is that Torres starts by coming up on Lahm's left and then ghosts over to his right. Lahm leans left attempting to shield Torres off the ball but Torres has already overtaken him on the other side.

July 1, 2008

It's All on the Table

Here's Ron Paul, making some observations that should be obvious. Unfortunately, this speech probably went over in congress about as well as showing a card trick to a pig.