Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Be Strong, Rush

Get well soon.

I've still got 6 months paid up on my 24/7 membership.

Umm, Bacon

Fellow Tyler blogger Robert Langham put up a post last Saturday that illustrates the inescapable quandary faced by those of us carrying concealed handguns - we can never be prepared enough.

I initially intended to note that it would be useful to know if unprocessed sausage here was immortalised out back of beyond or beyond my backyard fence, but I see from a subsequent update that this was likely from Robert's deer lease, so the in-town green belts probably aren't this unsafe yet.

My point still being that, no matter how much pistol and ammo you pack about your person, you simply are not going to be able to carry enough for every likely threat scenario, never mind the merely plausible like that captured by Robert's typically excellent photography above. To coin a phrase, carry your damn gun, people; indeed, carry as much gun as your circumstance permits. Spend what's required to load it with quality, effective ammunition. Most importantly though, never forget that you're carrying a defensive weapon for use in escaping the immediate threat, not attacking it. Whether it's ribs-n-hocks here or Hugger the Mugger down the alley, your CHL doesn't empower you to go forth and challenge the potential threat, never mind initiate combat.

That's the line between defense and offense.

I'm all for good challenging training. Just be sure that the correct (as defined by the terms of your state's license) mindset is a prominent part of it. I know; judged by 12 instead of carried by 6, blah blah blah. I say, better to get it right in the first place so that the long and the short of it afterwards is the pork processing fee.

Long. Pork. Get it?


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


How come I never get spam like this? I blog from the same town.

It's a plot against the unphotogenic, I tell you!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sheet Music Distribution

Robert Stacy McCain expands on an initial RedState report concerning an unprecedented conference being held in Israel throughout this week (27-31 Dec). All Israeli Ambassadors, Consuls General and Heads of Mission have been ordered to attend, something which has never occurred in the country's all too turbulent history. RedState poster Kenny Solomon makes it plain he believes this to be a precursor to Israel taking overt (and presumably military) action in the near future - probably in the general direction of Iran.

Given who all else is known to be invited, I'm not so sure just how highly that legitimate concern is actually going to rank on the itinerary. The presence of Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer (head of the country's central bank) makes me fairly confident that concern over the reliability of the US$ as the benchmark currency has to be in the low single digit section of the topic priority list. While Israel's reliance on US aid financing (not to mention civilian investment) is likely part of Mr Fischer's presentation, the precise nature and degree of dependency all three of Israel's cross-border neighbors, not to mention at least 6 other arms-length regional powers, have on US financial support has to be of even greater importance. None of the 9 or 10 other countries (I potentially include Gaza in amongst this number) involved is led by especially stable political regimes. The question of just how likely any (or what association of them) might be willing to seriously consider the short victorious war option will be greatly influenced by their separate and shared financial condition, should the US$ indeed go TU in the near-term.

Whatever comes under discussion, I think it most unlikely that anything is being actually scheduled for unilateral action by Israel's leaders. Were that the case, we'd be seeing a great many more El Al flights in-bound to Ben Gurion, with a noticeable passenger compliment of people in the age 20 to 50 range, than we do so far.

The Israelis are worried enough to start getting their ducks all in a row; that ought to be worrisome enough for the rest of us all on it's own. Let's hope at least some of Pres. Obama's Hawaii vacation briefings cover this development with greater confidence of accuracy then I can offer.

I am Immortalised

Well, digitally anyway.

I'll just go check my hat's fit again. :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Confirmation of Principle

It is a premise of strategic thought that confrontation can best be reduced/minimised/avoided by resorting to the technique of re-framing the context within which the conflict is structured. IOW, to alter the conditions that permit or support a fight taking place. I have written on this topic before.

I have just been introduced to a blog called The Last Psychiatrist. Not seeming to have a traditional "Who is ..." link, there is this in the archive section: "A blog about mercantilism and fourth generation warfare.", which sheds light on what follows.

In the post titled Intentionality of Treatment, our anonymous author cites an experiment testing the validity of the influence preconception and belief have on the physical outcome resulting from some stimulus to an individual (Link to the actual experiment report). The experiment is structured to measure the difference in perceived as well as physiological response to intentional and unintentional pain stimulus. My belief is that individual pain is also a viable substitute for individual threat or strategic positional challenge, even though the experiment didn't specifically address that supposition. The Last Psychiatrist identifies the result as cognitive reframing and offers this initial observation:

"Cognitive reframing can be used everywhere.

There are plenty of examples related to pain, but it's better if this can be applied more generally. When things are bad, is there a way to experience them as less bad? Instead of studying something as vague as "sadness" or "anxiety" let's look at something concrete: losing money."

Follow the link for the specifics, but what is demonstrated is that how one views an action, the context within which one considers or responds to something, has a measurable effect on one's response. This complies with the strategic premises addressing competition and conflict between positions. Following from Sun Tzu's dictum, "the best general is one who wins without fighting", it can be seen that cognitive reframing is a summation of the combined tactics of alliance and maneuver to defeat an enemy by less-direct means.

"But the important part of this message is that a person's experience of anything is very much influenced by context, presentation.

Psychiatry has adopted a policy of pulling aside the curtain: letting the patient in on the language usually reserved for practitioners, which is fine, except that it is almost always misunderstood."

The bing fa, the philosophy that underlies Sun Tzu's strategic treatise, is very much applicable to the individual, but is structured such that it expands quite smoothly up through the group to the civilizational level of implementation. It would seem that it also extends into the therapeutic realm as well, both in application as well as general misunderstanding. I submit that at least some of the psychological conditions people consult psychiatrists and psychologists for might be positively addressed by inclusion of the philosophy Sun Tzu promulgated into the individual context we each consider the world from.

Thanks Labrat.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

@ Venessa Miemis

Who's work I discovered at Future Blogger.

The Young Miss (I suppose - she doesn't make that degree of personal data obvious on her blog [Note to self: just how obvious does she have to make her "Who is ..." link anyway? Venessa is indeed married]) is a Master's candidate " in New Media Studies at the New School in NYC, [where] she has been passionately thinking and writing about the future for seven years". She indeed writes well and clearly gives thought to her topic du jour, but I suspect her passion may be creeping into an overly dominant influence on her thinking process; there is a noticeable lack of criticality in some of her writing.

An example of this is evident in a post of hers from late Sept of this year, in which she said:

"How can the power and scope of social networks, combined with human capital metrics, be used to facilitate shared creation and innovation?

It’s becoming more accepted that collaboration, not competition, is a more effective avenue towards producing emergent, innovative results. Now that millions of people participate in online social networks, it seems high time to develop a system of matching people’s skill sets with common values and goals in order to bring about positive change."

Any student of strategy recognises that collaboration only occurs as a result of the demands imposed by competition. Only competition provides the stimulus necessary to obtain control over that beyond our individual needs of the moment; to stockpile against future requirements potentially threatened by the competing needs of others or acquire allies in our efforts to do so. Even at the most basic biologic level, the requirements of the competitive process leading to successful procreation are the principal social (and other) drivers of enduring relationships between individuals (and seem the likely progenitor motivation of familial community from which tribal structures appear to have developed).

So, in a word, "No", collaboration is not replacing competition. Indeed, the former is a direct derivative of the latter; an expression in response to it.

It is important that competition be recognised as the fundamental human (and arguably mammalian) default position of interactivity, especially if one seeks to gain insight into (and from) the interaction displayed on Twitter as Miss Miemis does.

A better grasp of the distinction between strategy and tactic would also be helpful it appears. Hint: in the nifty chart provided, before and after both depict a transactional process between seller and buyer; the strategy is identical. The tactical difference between them is indeed profound, but it's not a strategy.

All props to Mr. Scoble (or possibly Mr. Sagolla), but how is this in any way structurally different (other than the message character limitation) from the pre-existing multiple blogs to coordinate different areas of interest already developed on Blogger and other platforms? I suppose my question is, does the added transparency Twitter brings to the digital connectivity process actually rise to the level of difference that seems to be implied by this and other posts at Emergent By Design?

And then there's the magical thinking that always seems to creep into these speculative essays. Frankly, there is no mechanism whereby independently innovative thought (that is, innovative data/conceptual representation originating independently from any of the individual - and all-too-human - twitterers) (tweeters?) can be formulated within the existing communication infrastructure within which Twitter and other digital communication networks/platforms exist. As well, Our Venessa seemingly displays an incredible lack of skepticism towards establishing the veracity and/or reliability of twitter content. This is not a personal criticism but a comment directed at the seeming lack of recognition she displays regarding the shallow-to-nonexistent mechanism for content verification such social interface mechanisms offer in their existing iteration.

And, to pre-empt the obvious retort (that the communication metaverse is actually a simulacra of a physical mind), might I recommend that she add Niall Ferguson's The Ascent of Money to her current holiday reading list. I further suggest paying particular attention to his discussion of the contributing factors and development process of the intellectual construct known as the economic or financial "bubble". I contend that the current state of unverifiable data integrity that both twitter and it's predecessor blogosphere currently labor under are nothing more (nor, potentially catastrophically, less) than the digital equivalent of the same intellectual failing Ferguson describes so understandably.

It is necessary that many people undertake the challenge Miss Miemis has; she is quite correct in her evaluation of the speed and scope of technologic and conceptual change we humans hopefully face over the next few decades (at least). As well, the successful incorporation of this technology into our social and business processes will rest largely on how well she and others achieve that transition. I'm quite impressed with her documented progress to-date and intend to consult her work in future. A measure of passion and enthusiasm for one's topic is certainly helpful, most especially when it is balanced with a corresponding tincture of skeptical criticality. A bit less of the scientific wonderment along with a dose of engineering rigour, if you will, would add some structural integrity to her researches I think.

Writing at his blog Metamodern, Eric Drexler (yes, that Eric Drexler) recommends the book Infotopia by Cass R. Sunstein saying, "Sunstein explores how groups and societies succeed and fail in what is arguably their most vital task: drawing out and assembling pieces of knowledge that are scattered among many minds." This would seem a likely format upon which Venessa and other researchers might base their efforts to extract pertinent data from the Twitter data stream as well as formulate a standard protocol whereby data might be evaluated for reliability and validity within the Twitter format.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The war's not over yet it seems

It appears that the enemy isn't willing to just roll over and wait for us to give up all on our own.

ABC News link
Fox News link

I thought the following from the Fox report telling:

Passenger Syed Jafri, a U.S. citizen who had flown from the United Arab Emirates, said the incident occurred during the plane's descent. Jafri said he was seated three rows behind the passenger and said he saw a glow, and noticed a smoke smell. Then, he said, "a young man behind me jumped on him."

If "young man" is never publicly identified, he's likely an air marshal; either way, well done you. [Update 12/26: per CBS News, the gentleman in question is Mr. Jasper Schuringa from Holland. And again I say, "Well done, Sir."]

I suppose the pressing question of the moment has to be, is this a one-off, or only part of an al qaeda-trademark multiple attack operation?

h/t to Fire Andrea Mitchel blog, via The Other McCain/Hot Blogs sidebar

Update ~ 30 min later: Drudge is linking saying in headline; Obama Orders Heightened Security After Disturbance on Plane, which seems a small but significant escalation of response from earlier. Or, at least as likely, an example of how early information is often wrong in ways both small and large. As is usual with circumstance of this nature, cautious patience is the smartest option.

Update part deux: In related news, these guys obviously don't spend much effort reading the more conservative portions of the US blogosphere apparently. Way to stiff'n a politically snivelly lip there fellas. Hold tight Pfc. Bergdahl.

Yo, Tam

Is this a Turse?

Happy Xmas to me.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Is Al Gore In Town?

It's Global Warming here now. It's not quite cold enough for it to stick to the ground yet, but the roof and car tops are all turning white. I doubt tomorrow will actually qualify as a Snow Day, but even an inch or two is unusual around here.

Happy Christmas to all two of you (assuming Alvis is still extant :)) and anybody else who happens to wander through.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


When even someone as cautious and experienced as Jerry Pournelle openly refers to our elected government as "Despotic", it may indeed be time to start assembling the field gear and other supplies.

That it continues to come down to this ...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stupid On Steroids

I really don't look forward to continuing this subject, but this bit of titular vainglory simply can't be allowed to pass uncommented upon.

"The Constitution makes no differentiation between freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. They are all equal rights, equally enshrined in the bill of rights. So printing a database that infringes on any of those rights is equivalently bad, regardless of which right it infringes upon. However, the quote from Anonymous above really hits it for me – right now, the government isn’t doing this. It’s the media, it’s private parties. So we should protest it loudly now, because when the government starts printing lists of gun owners, we are already screwed."

I can live with the absurd assumption that a local newspaper printing something somehow rises to the level of Constitutional infringement. There's even a quasi-plausible argument to support such a contention, I suppose, though I question just how effective such campaigns have actually proven to be. The gentleman himself subsequently and positively links to an example of a local business taking a public stance in just such a contention.

I submit, however, that this is an entirely different matter from the remainder of the quoted paragraph.

Since it apparently has to be made explicitly plain, consider the following question; from what source or data repository did the two newspapers in question cull the information they posted on-line?

Take your time; we'll wait.

Has it come to you yet? In case not, let me ask this: do you seriously contend that it is critical that people oppose newspapers printing lists culled from public government data records "... because when the government starts printing lists of gun owners, we are already screwed"?

I don't know about yellow stars, stud, but here's your sign!

I leave it as an intellectual exercise for the recipients to figure out why it's round.

- - - -

Update a few minutes later: In a probably useless attempt to head off the egregiously stupid, let me just add this.

The government makes explicitly plain to the voluntary participants in a government licensing effort that the personal data they submit will be maintained as a matter of public record.

A local entity exercises it's entirely legal access to said data repository and further makes those portions it regards of local relevance available to the public.

This action is held to be an infringement on the constitutional rights of those individuals who chose to create the "government list" in the first place as well as being a pre-cursor to government constitutional abrogation, if not outright genocide.

Now pull the other one, it's got bells attached.

Attempting to smear the reputations of law-abiding citizens is certainly repugnant and fully worthy of financial and other forms of shamming and rebuke. I support and encourage others to join the Harley-Davidson dealer as well as the NRA/ILA effort to do that very thing. I hope that what I have written on various web forums on this topic will be regarded as some contribution to that effort as well. But as to the rest? Pfffttt!

Narvous Makin'

Ok, this is starting to become a bit nerve-wracking. Not the general political and insurance reform/health care legislation topic of the linked-to article, that's just Emperor's New Clothes stuff. I'm referring to the open and frank discussion of secession in the comments, bordering on recommendation.

You know, secession; armed revolt; civil war.

What are we doing to ourselves?

Yes Redux

Now this is how you respond to a circumstance as discussed at the links included here. Get allies.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here's Your Health Care Reform!

First up is Epigenetic Therapy, a method to control the group of molecules that sit atop and control activation of our individual DNA.

Next up, we have this modest announcement, "Cancer Breakthrough! Scientists crack 'entire genetic code' of lung and skin cancer.". Being able to manipulate defective DNA via precise chemical treatment prior to the cancer developing fully certainly seems promising.

And, to round out today's trifecta, there's this: delivery of the first production model 3D Bio-Printer. Need a new organ (or any other body part)? Order one from the factory/lab to your custom genetic requirements. No "body farm", no chance of tissue rejection, though still requiring major invasive surgery.

We're beginning to see the realisation of the SENS strategy. If we can only just keep sweeping back the tide for that little bit longer, we can all take our chance to rise with it.

h/t to Brian Wang and my friends at The Speculist. Live to see it, indeed.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I first posted what follows as a comment on Tam's blog but wish to provide a forum for discussion or objection on my own real estate as well. For better context, first read this piece by RobertaX followed by this rebuttal by Joanna. For added background and commentary, see this post by Caleb. Forthwith, me:

"I think, my fellow gunnies, that far too many of us just faced a threat - and flinched. Badly.

As I believe is the case in most states that require licensure, certainly when I applied for mine, I did so in the full knowledge that it was not a confidential transaction. That the state (Texas in my personal experience) would indeed maintain a public database regarding my status much like it does regarding my vehicular driving record. As to all of that, nothing about having that data made available in some alternate forum changes my status or condition in any way.

The suggestion of retaliating by publishing abortion proceedure recipient's identities does not equate, IMO, because there is a specific expectation of privacy both in custom and in law in regard to the medical conditions and proceedures we confront in life. Even publicly considering such an action damages the reputations of gun owners and supporters of same, whether or not actually undertaken.

For myself, I decided to carry a gun because I accepted that my safety is ultimately my own responsibility. I knew at the time I made the choice that there were many of my fellow citizens who didn't agree with my assessment or trusted me to act responsibly. That some few of them have (and continue) to act callously with regard to my (or, indeed, potentially their own as well) safety does not justify my, or any other purportedly responsible adult, reacting in kind.

Since taking up guns in self defense, I have trained as well as my circumstance permits in anticipation of confronting just such a potentiality. It has been my presumption that those who decided similarly to myself would do the same. Given the tenor of the present example, I fear that hope is now seriously called into question.

Nothing has changed, people; there are still those who mean us harm and we still accept responsibility to undertake our own defense should some other take the decision to harm us or those we love or simply share a circumstance with, however fleetingly. In my judgement, the more proper response to these annoyances is a stolid look and a "Yes."

Honor isn't just a David Weber character and always exacts some price. I confess some small relief the bill is so diminutive this time."

h/t to ... well, everybody mentioned above. For the rest, "come and take them".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To Infinity ... or not, maybe

Gunbloggers doing Space and Singularity.

This could get interesting once we settle on terms and such. One thing seems certain, the discussion in his comments won't get too out of bounds, what with the other interest of the involved parties.

via Kevin Baker, who I didn't know geeked in quite this way before now.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Forget effigy ...

just go for straight up martyrdom.

"As many as 75 people - some of them carrying torches - surrounded the mansion, known as University House, on the north side of campus off Hearst Avenue at about 11:15 p.m. Friday, police said.

The crowd, including a man taken into custody in a university protest a day earlier, chanted, "No justice, no peace," and began smashing planters, windows and lights. Several hurled their torches at the building, said campus spokesman Dan Mogulof.

Birgeneau was sleeping at the time and was awakened by his wife, Mary Catherine, Mogulof said."

Bonfire of the vanities, indeed.

h/t: (yes, I'll own it) The Other McCain

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Some inspired story telling here; go ye hence and be amazed.

Phil Bowermaster, I told you so. :) (Ok, it was a year or two ago, but still ...)

As mentioned yesterday, even if it took 'till after noon, the fog and grey skies have vanished, it's blue from one horizon right around the view and (somewhat brisk) tank-top weather today. Laundry is finishing up as I type. I tell you, this E. Texas winter weather can be brutal; why, do you realise that I actually had to put a long-sleeved T-shirt on over a normal sleeveless model along with socks in my tennies earlier this week (as well as a jacket, no less)? The brutality of it all ...

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I sympathise.

It's cold and rainy outside and I have a sufficiency of groceries in my apartment. The weather forecast for tomorrow OTOH is for sunny sky's with temps into the upper 50's.

Laundry and the last few shopping items will just have to wait 'till then.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Apocalypse Descendith

School children all over this county are wailing in frustration at the mid-day hour appearance. Town drivers are appalled in their anticipation of the near-universal panic they can anticipate during their commute this afternoon and evening. Store shelves are emptying as I type.

It has begun to snow here in the proto-urban environs of E. Texas.

'Ware away, traveller.

Update: Apparently, this may be a somewhat more atypical event then I initially thought.