Archive for ◊ November, 2006 ◊

Business Trip to Nashville
Thursday, November 30th, 2006 | Author:

I just returned from a business trip to… Nashville?  Yes, that’s right.  Nashville, Tennessee.  No, I wasn’t there auditioning to be a session musician with a country and western group.  I was there with BoMo and Pilly to attend the annual Defense Manufacturing Conference.  The conference was held at the Opryland Hotel, which appears to be the headquarters for white-haired old ladies and NASCAR fans.

Needless to say, it was an interesting conference with representatives from all parts of the aerospace & defense industry (Air Force, Army, Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, etc.).  However, the location and facilities just weren’t appropriate for the type of meeting and attendees.

Category: Business  | One Comment
Our First Postmodern War?
Thursday, November 30th, 2006 | Author:

Victor Davis Hanson just says it so well… I’m not even going to try to elaborate.  Read the excerpt below, which summarizes his view (and mine) about the current war against radical Islam:

If you have taught [American] youth for generations that the story of World War II is Hiroshima and the Japanese internment, not Normandy, the Bulge, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, then how can you expect a nation to fight an enemy without making a mistake? And if dropping the bomb on Japan to stop its daily murdering of thousands in its collapsing empire, and to avoid something that would have made the horrific Battle for Berlin look like a cakewalk is equated with the Holocaust, how can the United States marshal the moral authority to press ahead, secure that its killing of jihadists is a different sort from jihadists killing the innocent or each other?

Add into this dangerous modernist soup moral equivalence, or what we know as “conflict resolution theory.” It postulates that any use of force de facto is equivalent to any other. We see those ripples with this Orwellian notion of “proportionality”, that a democratic Israel must calibrate its response to missiles aimed entirely at its civilians by ensuring none of its own aimed at Hezbollah terrorists and their supporters miss…

Relativism is even more pernicious because it is anti-empirical and suspends all moral judgment: Islam is just one of many religions given to excess, not at the heart of the vast majority of killing and fighting now going on in the world at this very hour, from Iraq and Afghanistan to Chechnya to Darfur to the West Bank to Lebanon to the Philippines to Indonesia to India and on and on. A Timothy McVeigh is not much different from an Osama bin Laden; forget the former was solitary and exceptional, the latter with millions of sympathizers and emblematic of an entire global movement. Both by their resort to terror were, presto, relatively the same.

So it is going to be hard, but not impossible, to win this war. Why, then, as readers have complained, my dogged optimism?  For two reasons. One, all these nostrums are theoretical, and anti-empirical. Ultimately as lies, they will be disapproved by the evidence before them. A progressive can call the ACLU all day long, but after 9/11 if he stands in line at an airport gate listening to an imam chanting Allah Akbar as he and his friends board, our liberal friend will begin to worry. And second, our enemies have no intention of relenting. They smell blood and want our carcass, so eventually even the progressive mind will give up the pieties of peace and face the inevitable.

Category: Politics  | Leave a Comment
The Nail is Re-Invented After 200 Years
Wednesday, November 29th, 2006 | Author:

This is a great article in Popular Science about the reinvention of the standard nail to make houses more tolerant of hurricanes and earthquakes…

Category: Engineering  | Leave a Comment
Ohio State – Number 1 in College Football and Basketball!
Wednesday, November 29th, 2006 | Author:

I don’t want to gloat, but this really is a momentous occasion for my Alma Mater, the Ohio State University.  Most everyone knows that the Buckeye Football team has been ranked number 1 in the nation for the past 4 months.   Now, the Buckeyes are also ranked number 1 in NCAA Division 1 Basketball.  

               Football                                 Basketball

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I don’t know how long this will last, but we’ll enjoy it while we can…

Category: Sports  | One Comment
Top 20 Software Programmer Explanations
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006 | Author:

The explanations that Software Programmers provided to Testers and users when their software didn’t work as planned:

20. “That’s weird…”

19. “It’s never done that before.”

18. “It worked yesterday.”

17. “How is that possible?”

16. “It must be a hardware problem.”

15. “What did you type in wrong to get it to crash?”

14. “There is something funky in your data.”

13. “I haven’t touched that module in weeks!”

12. “You must have the wrong version.”

11. “It’s just some unlucky coincidence.”

10. “I can’t test everything!”

9. “THIS can’t be the source of THAT.”

8. “It works, but it hasn’t been tested.”

7. “Somebody must have changed my code.”

6. “Did you check for a virus on your system?”

5. “Even though it doesn’t work, how does it feel?

4. “You can’t use that version on your system.”

3. “Why do you want to do it that way?”

2. “Where were you when the program blew up?”

1. “It works on my machine”

Category: General  | 2 Comments
CNN Documentary on Islamic Extremism
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006 | Author:

CNN host Glenn Beck criticizes the rest of the Western media, including by implication his own station CNN, for drastically failing to properly report on Islamic extremism. Beck says he decided to show some of the remarkable footage the rest of the mainstream media refuses to show because “Islamic extremism is the biggest threat to our way of life since World War Two and we’ll never be able to fight it if we can’t even see it.”

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40 min 55 sec

Category: Politics  | Leave a Comment
13 Things that Do Not Make Sense
Monday, November 27th, 2006 | Author:

If you’re interested in high-brow technical challenges facing mankind, you’ll like this article in NewScientistSpace.  It identifies and discusses 13 technical issues that don’t have clear explanations.  These include:

1. The placebo effect

5. Dark Matter

12. Not-so-constant constants

Category: Engineering  | Leave a Comment
Vladimir Ivanovich Palaniuk
Monday, November 27th, 2006 | Author:

He was born in Pennsylvania, of Ukrainian descent and son of a coal miner.  Palaniuk worked in the coal mines until the 1930’s when he started a career as a professional boxer. Using the professional name Jack Brazzo, Vladimir Palaniuk won 15 consecutive matches — 12 by knockout — until losing his 16th by decision.

World War 2 came knocking about that time; Vladimir joined the Army Air Corp and began training as a B-24 pilot. During training, an engine failed on his plane, and he suffered severe facial injuries and burns during the bail-out process.  He required extensive plastic surgery — resulting in a distinctive gaunt look — and was discharged from the US military in 1944.

Not one to mope, Vladimir graduated from Stanford University in 1947 with a B.A. in Drama and pretty much instantly wound up on Broadway.  Three years after his Broadway debut, Vladimir Palaniuk was discovered by Hollywood.

Not content with a commanding screen presence, Palaniuk painted and sold landscape art, wrote and published poetry, spoke Ukrainian, Russian, Italian, Spanish, French and English.

Most folks knew him as Jack Palance.  May he rest in peace.

Category: Business  | Leave a Comment
Dilbert and Six Sigma
Sunday, November 26th, 2006 | Author:

For those of you following the evolution of the business technique known as “Six Sigma”, the Scott Adams “Dilbert” cartoon below sums up the current outlook…

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Category: Business, Humor  | 3 Comments
British Newspapers Out of Touch
Sunday, November 26th, 2006 | Author:

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I read a headline from the Guardian newspaper that says “Hopes for peace as Hamas agrees to truce”, it just further convinces me that these folks are used to reading and believing in fairy tales.

Let me refresh your memory by making it clear that Hamas has been consistent with their message: They want to see the destruction of Israel and all of the Jews.  You can water it down as much a you want with the sophistry (translation: “bullshit reasoning”) of lefties such as Jimmy Carter, but the objective is clear.

The fact that Hamas is talking about a ceasefire is a surefire way of knowing that they are in the middle of getting their asses kicked.  The best approach for Israel is to negotiate a ceasefire Iranian-style — i.e., show up at the negotiating table for the next couple of months discussing how you want peace… and in the meantime continue to take out the enemy.

Category: Politics  | Leave a Comment