Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pitch ball? Spit ball? This is news?

All over the TV news.  A Yankee's pitcher had pine pitch on his neck.  Strictly verbotten in baseball. Making the ball sticky is all kinds of against the rules.  It's like pitching a spitball.  News coverage is INTENSE.  Must be a slow news day.

Long Island town has massive SWAT team

Been watching this on TV.  A prank call brought out a 60-70 man SWAT team, all in black uniforms and black helmets, toting machine guns, equipped with armored Humvees.  All this to a suburban home in Nassau county NY?  Who/what did they expect to oppose them?  Al Quada in New York?  The Symbionese Liberation Army?  The Suprano's?  Sure looks like over kill to me.  Lucky nobody got shot.
   Could it be that once the town cops got funding for a SWAT team they wanted to use it for something?  
   For that matter, did the BLM send all those armed men to the Bundy ranch because they were on the payroll and had nothing better to do?  Should federal bureaus (except the FBI) have armed agents at all?  The proper procedure for a bureaucracy to apply force to citizens is to obtain a court order, and have local law enforcement carry it out.  Not to dispatch their own private pug uglies to bust heads. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Time to ante up. 600 US soldiers vs 40,000 Russians

It's on the TV news.  Despite the superior combat skills of US forces, somehow I don't think 600 guys have a chance against 40,000.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Do you believe in powdered alcohol?

Fox news has been running short pieces on this new product every hour or so during the day.  This concept first appeared in a Harry Harrison science fiction story, one of the Stainless Steel Rat stories, many years ago.  I'm not the world's greatest chemist, but I do know that alcohol is a liquid, and it will freeze, it will boil, but it won't turn into a powder.  Could it be that gullible newsies, who never studied even high school chemistry, have fallen for an April Fools story? 

Space-X lands a rocket booster, on land

The video is fascinating, a big rocket hovering on engine power and carefully backing down to the ground.  Landing upright, all in one piece.  Space-X hopes to lower the cost of spaceflight by soft landing and reusing the booster.   Amusingly, the Fox News commentator keep referring to the rocket engines as "afterburners".  Sorry Fox, an afterburner is a power boosting device applied to jet engines, not rockets.  Afterburners can double your thrust, at the cost of horrible fuel consumption.  Only military fighter planes are equipped with afterburners due to their ability to suck down fuel like a sewer pipe.  To call the rocket engines of a booster afterburners reveals the depth of ignorance of the newsies. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Majoring in the Liberal Arts.

Major hand wringing article, The Liberal Arts are in Trouble.  Enrollment is down, students are opting for majors that will get them a job after graduation.  A lotta talk about the politicization of  the liberal arts leading to self destruction.  Departments where all the art and literature of the past is examined for sexism, racism, political uncorrectness and condemned for it.  It doesn't take much of this kinda talk for students to get the point, and change majors.  Who wants to major in something politically incorrect?
   All is probably not lost.  A liberal arts major is still appealing to vast numbers of students who cannot hack the math required for a STEM major.  Not everyone can learn integral calculus, and with out calculus you aren't going anywhere in science or engineering.  So if you are one of those mathematics "challenged" college students what are you gonna do?
  First,  understand that the liberal arts are English, foreign languages, history, art, philosophy, and music  Know that gender studies, minority studies, physical education, theater arts, and journalism are not liberal arts, and have little to no prospect of landing any kind of job better than waiting tables after graduation. 
  Second, figure out what kind of job you can turn a liberal arts degree to.  The college faculty see the mission of their department as training more college faculty.  Which is a dead end jobwise.  Typical college teaching jobs are "adjunct" professors, part timers, paid by the course taught, no health insurance, miserable pay, no chance of tenure.  As a single guy or girl you can just barely get by on adjunct's pay. You will never pay off your college loans, afford a down payment, or marriage.  Don't go there.
   Think about an English major for careers in writing, sales, acting, computer programming, business.  Foreign language can get you a job in any company that does business overseas.  A company would rather rely upon  American agents staffing their overseas offices than local nationals of questionable loyalty.  History can lead into a teaching position, or  the writing of history books.  Check out a book store.  You will find the history books given as much shelf space as anything else.  Art or music majors are good for artists or musicians.  Note, it takes some natural born talent to be a successful artist or musician.  If you don't have any talent, best look elsewhere.  Positions as art experts or music critics, like Pru Hallowell on the old Charmed TV show are few and far between.
    Think over carefully before signing for those humungous college loans.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Greatest Religious Movie of all Time

I saw a list of 'em on the Web the other day.  Naturally, at the top was Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments.  It came out in the 50's.  It's still going strong, they ran it on Channel 9 (WMUR) just last night.  Then there was Ben Hur, Samson and Delilah, the Robe, and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
   Oh really?  I know everyone talks about what a cool Christian C.S. Lewis was, but I never thought of the Narnia stories as particularly religious.  They were kid's books, and as kid's books used to do, they advocated good and disparaged evil.  But evil in Narnia was vanquished by force of arms, and the Lion takes on the the Witch directly in the last chapter.  I'm not sure if this is quite in accordance with Christian doctrine.