Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In Commemoration

Upon the occasion of my 59th birthday, This.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

@ Maria Konovalenko

Ignoramuses?  Really?

Well, it is the web, there's bound to be at least a few, so fair enough, but aren't you painting with a terribly broad brush?

I sincerely doubt there are any who genuinely desire a return to the cyclical wars that plagued Europe's history.  That said, is it really so ignorant to lament the method selected to interrupt the progression of violence?  And even if that laudable end does justify the questionable means, how is the present day manipulation of the political design somehow more worthy than those men and women who actually created the political process that began its existence as the Common Market?

Looking at the map you so helpfully provide, I remember a train trip I took once upon a time.  Starting at the cambio in the train station in Brindisi, Italy (where I exchanged my Greek Drachma for Italian Lira), I rode up the length of Italy through Rome - and a lovely few days stay that was - into Austria and on to Munich, (in then West) Germany.  Eventually, from there it was more riding the rails to the channel and across (via ferry - the channel tunnel was only an epic engineering design challenge at the time :)) to London, England.

Taking in the whole of the trip, I (along with pretty much everyone else on the continent) routinely exchanged for, and spent in a sense of routine security, Greek Drachma, Italian Lira, German Marks, French Francs and British Pounds (not to mention a good many US Dollars along the way).  Contemplate the economic burden each of those countries currently struggles with and tell me more about the "convenience" of "one currency".   There is a value to be had from being able to apportion one segment of a common market from the rest via a regional (read: national) currency.  That each trades at a variable rate depending upon the circumstances of the day is a feature of the process, not a bug.  It's the trade mechanism that adds the value, not the hypothetical "currency" traded in, I submit.

You undoubtedly have memories of your own country's experience of an enforced, artificial political union.  Look about Moscow (indeed, all of Russia along with the rest of the old USSR) and decide for yourself; is the convenience of a universal currency, lack of internal borders and "peace" better or worse than what you see outside your window today?

Peace is the (mostly unintended) by-product of people vying for competitive success, deliberately just shy of the extremes of effort.  People thinking for themselves, about their own best interests - which necessarily include consideration of those about them with whom they interact, sometimes at great personal remove.  Looked at in that light, don't you think giving a group of people looking to their own main chance a prize for doing the obvious might be fairly construed as just the tiniest bit silly and pretentious?

Please understand, it's not the people of "Europe" whose efforts at not destroying their own stuff for a change is what is being called into question.  Only the urge among a pretentious few to award them for doing so, as if the rest of the continent were somehow too dim as a group to recognize the value of their own efforts at making and taking care of their own stuff.

That is ignorant.

I think of life extension in much the same way; who benefits from my (or anyone, really) having a longer healthy lifespan?  Obviously me, of course.  Maybe those around me (that is going to vary I'm afraid; I can be a bit of an a-hole at times) (I know, shocking isn't it? :)), and arguably the rest of the country through the added taxes and societal fees we all pay.  The real value is to be found in the availability of the same result to everyone desiring it.

And why exactly would some government agency or bureaucrat have any interest in making such opportunity available to any of us except as doing so benefits them directly?

No.  Life extension is the innate human rights and freedom we are all born with extended.  No more, nor less.  That's the prize European people, not to mention all the rest of us, should be working towards awarding ourselves. 

Peacefully, necessarily.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dear Uncle

Now with update, too!

About my T-shirt idea; maybe you should consider answering the "When" question just a bit more indirectly than I originally suggested.  In place of the proper English spelling, maybe use the euro sign, a "u" with an umlaut, whatever letter that backwards-looking N is in the Cyrillic alphabet, and an upside-down lower case "t" instead*.

Granted, there will be some reduced emotional impact in response to our campaign in support of medical research (and I strongly recommend this lie exercise of our 1st Amendment rights to everyone who might consider buying one of these) as a result of this dissimulation, but we will all be the happier to have avoided the Bovril-themed boxcars transporting us to the Brideshead Gaol alternative.

* I'm too stupid to figure out how to make my keyboard actually make those letters appear on the screen.

Update 10/22/12:  Kevin Baker nailed it in comments.  Now to see if Uncle takes advantage of this financial risk opportunity.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Transhuman Strategic Model

Maria Konovalenko is a young Russian woman who works for the Science for Life Extension foundation in Moscow, FRS  On her personal blog she recently put up a post titled Transhumanism Presentation in Tallinn at the NMR Meeting at which she made a live stage presentation of the following notion:
the opportunity to share our ideas about transhumanism as the ideology that can be used as the basis for uniting researchers and increasing the amount of funding.
  The idea seems to be most simply put as, while cooperation between disciplines can extend the available funding, the shortage of research funding is universal to all disciplines of study and won't be relieved until there is widespread "social mandate" sufficient to compel politicians to allocate public monies appropriately.

It could work.  Maria cites the lunar landings of the '60's and '70's as support of this technology development model.  I, having personally been alive throughout that whole period of human history, wish to take this opportunity to suggest that there may be a better model to consider, one that doesn't require that whole [fill in the blank] War framework of competition so critical to the US/USSR Moon Race.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Post-Debate Thoughts

Everybody has their reaction to last nights initial Presidential Debate up for all to see; here's mine:

Mitt Romney is the more polished debator.  This has multiple potential applications for an elected executive office holder.

Barack Obama did nothing to support the image that has been constructed about him in the media these last few years.  This will have consequences on election day as most voters tend to be swayed by the degree a candidate appears to conform to their (the voters) expectations about the candidate.

One other note; many are making note of both candidates "character".  The test for that will be found in both men's behavior at the subsequent debates.  This was only the introductory tune-up match, more a test of each campaigns capability than it was of either man or party platform yet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Suck Really Blows

After a quick rummage through the closet, I got out my couth and decorum guidebook and looked up the proper response to this.

Herself needs to put up another donation link that says "Tam's Snot Locker Fund", because using her current ammo fund link is just a tad bit morbid under the circumstances, don'cha agree?  Doubt I'm the first in line and certain I won't be the last, but you take my sincerity Tam and stack it up with all the rest - the good doctor will help you spread it around where it will do you the most good I'm sure.

And after the biopsy, remember the first rule of blogging - it didn't happen without pictures.


Edited to add: I can't make up my mind whether Triple Barrel Booger Blower is completely over the top or just a bit "too soon".  I'm not an ARFCOMmie (Hi Kevin! :)), but it's in the same spirit and all ...