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(July 25, 2005)

You are viewing the archives for June 2008

Lt G ordered offline

Jun 29, 2008 by OCSteve | 18 Comments

Wrong Wrong Wrong

Via Patterico, the military has ordered him to stop blogging.

Lt G had (IMO) one of the best milblogs going. (Warning - audio automatically plays.)

The most ridiculous part is the post that got him in trouble. It takes a lot of practice to be as dumb as Army bureaucracy, but they've been at it for 233 years.

UPDATE: As noted here Cpt. G's fiancee has taken it over.



A sour-mash bleg

Jun 26, 2008 by libjpn | 17 Comments

One of my colleagues is researching the economics of Kentucky bourbon (seriously!) and is interested in trying to get a handle on how the fact that ethanol has driven up the price of corn is affecting the industry. He is planning on going to Kentucky for a week in August, I believe, and I'm trying to suggest a contact or two. If anyone has an idea, let me know at libjpn at the usual gmail


LATimes op-ed "The Patriots who killed Custer"

Jun 26, 2008 by libjpn | 1 Comment

This great op-ed from the LA Times reminds me of the pow-wows that I went to while I was in grad school. One of the most solemn points of the pow-wow was asking the veterans to come down to start the pow-wow. Highly recommended.

 via Bitch PhD


Jun 24, 2008 by DaveC | 10 Comments
[url=]LT Nixon on the UN's efforts there[/url]

[i]Don't Worry! The U.N.'s watching these guys if they try anything funny[/i]

Christianity's upside

Jun 24, 2008 by DaveC | 12 Comments

Echoing my comment about Hume on Obwi

[url=]What if you had faith?[/url]

Would that free you to experience  the world without worrying too much? Can you just perceive it without thinking so much?

Or would you worry about the folks who didn't have the faith, or worry that people may say that you are wrong? 

A week in Tokyo

Jun 23, 2008 by libjpn | 6 Comments

Started this thread up for crionna, who will be in Tokyo for a week. I'll list some recs, please feel free to add your own in the comments, or just write about some silliness you have heard about and want the skinny on.

First, I highly recommend the Palevsky/Kinoshita Guidebook to Japan which has everything one could imagine. The discussion of architecture is especially good. Its one shortcoming is in the map department, so do pick up a bilingual atlas of Tokyo if you are just going to be in Tokyo for the week (which is what it sounds like)

One of the favorite places to go, Tsukuji, the Tokyo fish market, has been restricting visitors because of both health concerns and overcrowding, so I am not sure what the situation is now. However, because of the jetlag, it is a great place to go cause you will be awake and you will see why Japan is the largest consumer of sea products in the world.

It used to be that all the kids doing 'cosplay' (costume play) went to Harajuku, but more and more have been going to Akihabara, which is where the recent stabbing occurred. That brings up another point, which is how much of an anomaly the incident was: one has to really try very very hard to find a place that is dangerous in Tokyo

The biggest factor in deciding what you want to do is budget, so some ideas on that would be helpful. Do get a Japan Rail pass, you can hop on the Shinkansen (bullet train) and make a day trip to any number of places.

Unfortunately, wireless access isn't so good in Japan. Here is a list of free spots, the pickings are slim. Alternatively, internet cafes have become ubiquitous. usually about 4 to 5 dollars an hour, 10 dollars for a 3 hour pack, open 24 hours a day.

I'll keep updating this unless something gets going in the comments

Data viewing fun

Jun 22, 2008 by libjpn | 1 Comment

Unfortunately, I can't post the javascript, but here is an image from


A very cool data visualization site. I want to figure out a way to drop student essays in here to have them see their collocates and patterns. 

The latest brouhaha

Jun 21, 2008 by libjpn | 18 Comments

In this thread, I suggested that we might avoid the 'fixed' form to make a point and I popped open a fight between Slarti and Phil. I have no idea what is going on and I, like Hilzoy, don't want to go rooting around Goldstein's blog to figure it out, but this touches on something that is one of my reasons for sticking to only commenting on ObWi. I think that one natural result of moving to different groups is that one adopts the norms of those groups.

The alternate thesis is that when things get rough, the first thing that needs to be jettisoned is civility. Discuss

Campaign Song

Jun 19, 2008 by DaveC | Add comment

[url=]Not McCain's[/url]

 I love the Tool like voice from God. 

I'm not a member of the [url=]corect party[/url]



News: Chessani

Jun 18, 2008 by DaveC | 14 Comments

[url=]charges dismissed.[/url]


A day in which I agree wholeheartedly with Kos

Jun 18, 2008 by OCSteve | 21 Comments

Not only agree, but applaud his stance.

Lots of blogs are calling for boycotts of AP content. Not me. I'm going to keep using it. I will copy and paste as many words as I feel necessary to make my points and that I feel are within bounds of copyright law (and remember, I've got a JD and specialized in media law, so I know the rules pretty well). And I will keep doing so if I get an AP takedown notice (which I will make a big public show of ignoring). And then, either the AP -- an organization famous for taking its members work without credit -- will either back down and shut the hell up, or we'll have a judge resolve the easiest question of law in the history of copyright jurisprudence.

The AP doesn't get to negotiate copyright law. But now, perhaps, they'll threaten someone who can afford to fight back, instead of cowardly going after small bloggers.

Hmm. Two paragraphs. Was that fair use?

What? You guys don't believe I read Kos? (OK, so I saw it on Memeorandum...)

He went off to seek his fortune.

Jun 16, 2008 by DaveC | 3 Comments
So this morning, Fathers' Day at 6:15, I dropped my son off for his flight to Denver, enroute to his eventual destination in Wyoming for a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician course. His PhD gig at Indiana University fell through because he expressed doubts about experimenting on animals. The NIH applications and interviews were too late I suppose, so it is on to Plan C. On his second day back, I argued that SIU Edwardsville was a perfectly good school, and that he would be close to a big city (St Louis), and also outdoor recreation opportunities in southern Illinois and Missouri. But his plan, after the course, is to go out to Portland, Oregon, live with his college buddy, hang around OHSU and see what happens. I doubt we will see him this Thanksgiving.

My daughter called from the camp after her first week of counselor training. She was amon the first of her friends to leave town. She called to wish a happy fathers day, she's doing OK, and needs the hiking boots after all. She was runner-up for Class Clown, finalist for Most Dramatic, and I suppose honorable mention for Music. Her friend will go to Julliard, she'll go elsewhere to try her luck at Outdoor Education Management. She got admitted, and because she went to early orientation, got the good classes, in spite of her atrocious last semester grades. ("Pleasure To Have In Class", noted on all of them.) We shouted and swore and looked over her shoulder as she salvaged her F in French 5 to a D.

There is a big pile of maple whirlybirds in the driveway that I swept up on one of the stormy days, but didn't put on the compost heap. It rained and rained and the pile got all soggy. Probably a hundred of them have sprouted the beginnings of tiny maple leaves. I'll get around to cleaning that up. During my daughter's last week here, the bathroom sink clogged up. Yesterday, I went to the Ace Hardware and bought a ZIP-IT (UNCLOGS DRAINS), and removed a big glob of hair. I'm soaking the electric frying pan that my son left unwashed after he made stir-fry for us late Friday night. Two baby bunnies are hopping around in the back yard. There is a little squirrel that comes down from the bird feeder tree and jumps to the garage to eat the whirlybirds from the top of the gutter guard. He must be coming down from the nest that was built this spring. Cottonwood fluffies are suddenly highlighted as they drift out of the shadows of the shade trees into the patches of sunlight.


Jun 14, 2008 by OCSteve | 13 Comments

I always thought it was triskaidekaphobia - but that's just a generalized fear of the number 13 according to Wiki.

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day.


The asteroid 99942 Apophis will make its close encounter on Friday, April 13, 2029.


...caused a brief period of concern in December 2004 because initial observations indicated a relatively large probability (up to 2.7%) that it would strike the Earth in 2029. Additional observations provided improved predictions that eliminated the possibility of an impact on Earth or the Moon in 2029. However there remained a possibility that during the 2029 close encounter with Earth, Apophis would pass through a gravitational keyhole, a precise region in space no more than about 400 meters across, that would set up a future impact on April 13, 2036.

I figure I'll be dead by then anyway. Sorry to miss that...

But this will surely be the end of the world:

UNIX time will reach 1,234,567,890 decimal seconds on February 13, 2009 at 23:31:30 GMT.

Anyone have any Friday the 13th stories?


Approaching the Perfume River

Jun 11, 2008 by libjpn | 1 Comment

I'm leaving for a brief jaunt to Hue University. Hue is a lovely place, and it is impossible to reconcile its beauty with its appearance in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (of course, that was actually the Beckton Gasworks, which is a little easier to reconcile). Fortunately, for the students and teachers I am dealing with, the war is ancient history, and last year, when I was there, I learned about their boyfriends (it's almost all girls who end up in the English education course) and their classes, and all those mundane things that students should think are the most important things in the world. Perhaps the students might not appreciate it now, but I'll be appreciating it for them.

Hopefully, the other two musketeers will post something, but even if they don't, I'll try and give a little travelogue when I get back.


Our National Conversation About Race

Jun 09, 2008 by DaveC | 11 Comments

This Sunday morning, as usual, I didn't go to church. But in this case, I had a higher purpose. My daughter's sleeping bag needed to be washed before she begins her summer job as camp counseler. It will be the only time that the thing is actually clean for the next 60 days, so I had to do a good job of it, meaning a trip to the laundromat (or washeteria, whatever you want to call it.)

I pull in the joint between the Dunkin Donuts and the Dry Cleaners. There was an empty spot in front of the DD, but I decided that it would be more polite to leave that space open. But I couldn't pull into the other spot that I wanted, because of the punk kids throwing frisbee in the parking lot. Eventually they got out of the way, but it goes to show how teenagers think nowadays that they have every right to sit in the middle of the street or play in the parking lot.

 Finally I got inside where it was noisy and oppressively hot and humid, even early in the day. Thunderstorms were beginning to crank up the volume outside. The big front loading washers were all staked out by seedy looking characters. I wasn't going to use a regular washer, got one of those at home, plus there is a big hanging sign at the entrance:



              NO RUGS IN TOPLOADER

                  NO HORSEBLANK  TS

              OR CAR RAGS ALLOWED



Figuring out who's a racist

Jun 07, 2008 by libjpn | 12 Comments

It should be no surprise that at the mothership, where the difference between group membership and individual personality is most strongly expressed, the questions of what is racism and who is a racist are getting a workout. (see here) Hilzoy adopts a very sensible approach, which is to declare that the thinking about the notion is so muddled that she is going to not invoke the term. Never let it be said that we are sensible here at TiO.

Hilzoy has an interesting phrase that seems to crystallize the problem for me. She says: "when parents' concern that their kids have good role models stops looking completely normal" (emph mine) I think that this is what racism is, or at least should be defined as, which is an occlusion, a blindness that the person doesn't know he or she has.

Sebastian, in the comments, suggests that racism is an example of Aristotle's extreme, and suggests that tribalism is the expanding of categories which helps people see their relationship with others, and so defines racism as 'a corrupted branch of empathy'. This is interesting, but my problem with that is that it merely treats the blindness as inevitable, and leaves it in place, while squinching people in one's field of view. This kind of tribalism permits various people to enter the inner circle because they are somehow 'different' from all the others. It leaves the structure of racism (and all the other isms) intact, and merely tries to shift the percentages.

At the risk of making mundane experiences sound profound, in high school band, there was this notion of hazing, which consisted of whatever innovative humiliations the upper classmen could wreak on the newbies. It seemed rather pointless, both from the standpoint that these humiliations were to set up a hierarchy that could be quite different from the actual hierarchy of who could play better, as well as from the standpoint that there were a lot more interesting and embarassing humiliations that I could think up without breaking a sweat. And, because we had a few of us who became band officers, the whole notion of hazing disappeared, not because of some fiat, but because it got the air let out of it because the upperclassmen didn't have the egging on of each other to support it.

This plugs into my obsession of how one makes people understand particular blindspots. I tend not to think that confrontation and humiliation is a way that provides results except in limited circumstances, and OCSteve's discussion at the end of the earlier thread stands as an example of how things might work.

Unfortunately, we have come to imagine that racism is an active quality and consists of people taking active steps. As the active steps become less noticeable, our trigger for what invokes an active step becomes more and more sensitive. This leads to this backlash, where an innocent phrase or gesture is suddenly held up as the epitome of racist (or sexist) behavior. Yet what I think we should be looking at is how the person is occluded, what they don't see rather than what they actually do. Obviously, this is going to be very difficult on the internet, but that is the challenge.

The occlusion, whether it is making assumptions about particular posters, or not realizing how inequalities may not mount up, is where America's race problem lies. 

Wow. String Him Up With a Crane.

Jun 07, 2008 by OCSteve | 4 Comments

City's Top Crane Inspector Is Arrested

The city's chief crane inspector was arrested Friday and charged with taking bribes to pass cranes under his review and for taking money from crane companies who sought to ensure that their employees would pass the required licensing exam, the authorities said. The man, James Delayo, the acting chief inspector for the Cranes and Derricks Unit at the city Department of Buildings, was in charge of overseeing the issuance of city licenses for crane operators.

He is also facing charges that he provided a copy of the crane operator's exam and the test answers to a crane company in exchange for $3,000, said an official involved in the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges had not yet been formally filed.

He continued to do this after the last accident?!?


Now this is pretty cool.

Jun 05, 2008 by OCSteve | 2 Comments

'Wounded warriors' escape to OC'

Three charter buses filled with wounded troops and their families left the confines of Walter Reed National Army Medical Center in Washington for a three-day beach excursion, paid for by Maryland's branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The Maryland VFW has hosted Walter Reed patients -- the men and women dubbed "wounded warriors" -- at its annual convention since 2002.

"We invite them out every year, give them something else to look at besides that hospital and those walls," said Tom Kimball, with the state VFW.

State police motorcycles escorted the 78 service members and their families Tuesday to the hotel, where the VFW held a welcome reception at its 88th Annual Convention. The young troops were greeted with a raucous standing ovation by the standing-room-only crowd of older veterans and their families.


Richard Udoff, Maryland's VFW commander, said 95 VFW posts statewide raised $41,000 to sponsor the trip to Ocean City. The troops and their families are put up at the Princess Bayside hotel. The VFW takes care of all meals and provides cash and gift certificates to local retailers -- "and if they need it," Udoff added, "swim trunks and suntan lotion."

6th year they have done this. Princess Bayside is pretty nice. (Warning - audio clip plays automatically).

Glen Gardner, VFW senior vice-commander-in-chief, said the public may not realize that the VFW raises millions of dollars for active duty military servicemen and their families, for everything from mortgage assistance to arranging free overseas phone calls to loved ones.

"I think a lot of people lose sight of some of the things we do," he said. "They think of us as a place to play bingo or get a drink."

How true. It's easy to forget that they do things like this. Good job VFW!


We all should have taken that left turn at Alberquerque

Jun 03, 2008 by libjpn | 14 Comments

At the the end of a desultory thread of kick OCSteve for making a simple observation, this comment was a breath of fresh air.