Friday, March 24, 2006

Just some thoughts on U.S. war capability

For a long time the U.S. had a policy of keeping a standing military ready to fight one full war and one half war at the same time. This means that the U.S. can engage in one all out war in one region, while still being able to do peacekeeping missions and smaller scale operations in other regions at the same time. There was a time when people viewed the need for this with skepticism. Following the Persian Gulf War, some believed the world was becoming more united and less tolerant of rogue states.
After 9/11, many began to realize that the proper approach was neither a single war policy or a war and a half policy. So the U.S. adopted a two war policy. This allowed the U.S. to fight the Iraqi War and the Afghani War at the same time. Of course, here comes my criticism.
I've got the sense that the U.S. is barely able to fight one all out war right now. It seems to me that the politicians and bureaucrats have significantly underestimated the resources required to fight a war. It's my opinion that the current chaotic situation in Iraq could've been avoided had we sent in the appropriate number of forces from the beginning. In additional, the Afghani War never got significant U.S. forces at all. In reality, it was a half of a war. So, the U.S. really is fighting and rebuilding nations from one and a half wars. Yet, our ability to do this was based on trying to implement a two war policy. It seems to me that maybe our leaders don't really have a sane grasp of reality when it comes to what's really involved when fighting a war. We haven't learned from many of the biggest mistakes in the Vietnam War. Mistakes like never making a formal declaration of war, underestimating the enemy's ability to stay entrenched, or working too closely with the existing powers within the occupied nation. We succeeded with reforming Japan and Germany, but these were two nations weary of wars they started. Right now, we are occupying one nation that is weary of the war we started, and another nation that's not had a strong central government in modern times.
These wars need to be finished. In my mind, the Afghani War will not be done until Bin Laden & crew is captured. This should be our main focus. We should've been fighting the Afghani War as a full war. We need to get Iraq on its feet so we can finish our job in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Trouble with time again, or not

So far, this evening is going pretty much as planned...well, not really planned, but as I intended for each task that I thought of doing. So, I had to leave work a bit early to drop off some components for rework. I left that machine shop around 4 and headed home. As I headed home, I figured out that I could possibly have enough time to do all of my laundry at the nearby Laundromat. I get home, gather the laundry and head over. I got all the loads started in the washing machines and headed next door to discover a sandwich restaurant at around 4:45. I finished my sandwich, walked back over to the Laundromat and started moving clothes to the dryers. As the last load was transferred, I looked up to see the time was about 5pm. I thought about the nice shirts and sweaters that I need dry cleaned. I headed back home and gathered my dry cleaning load and drove to the near by cleaners. After dropping off my dry cleaning, I'm thinking about how hella low on gas I am. Ok, I head down the street to the gas station and pump a nearly full tank, 15.25 gallons. Ya'no, I went 365 miles on that 15.25 gallons. That's pretty good. Anyways, after that I head back to the Laundromat. As I walk up to my dryers, the first load finishes. Talk about prefect timing. While I'm folding my clothes, the second load finishes. Just as I'm done folding both of those loads, the third and final load finishes. I get all that done, and everything back to my home at just about 6:55. That's 5 minutes before my grocery delivery time window starts. And here I am blogging about the whole journey.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How many thangs are wrong with this?

Recently, a disc jockey was babbling away on the radio. During her show, she reported that Donald Trump just had his new baby which was born on March 18th, 8 days early and at 8 o'clock. She then added, "That's kinda like 7 degrees from Kevin Bacon, but with 8 instead."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Vancouver Visit

From my visit to Vancouver, I can say it seems to be a cool place with plenty to do. I definitely want to visit again. Dave, little Miriam, Allie and I drove up from Seattle Saturday morning this past weekend. Dave picked out a great hotel, sep the bed situation was a little strange. The hotel only had two “deluxe double beds” per room available. I’m not sure was a deluxe double bed is, but my guess is that they are somewhat smaller than a queen bed. From sleeping in them, my perception is that they aren’t quite as wide. Anyway, in Vancouver, we headed down to the famous Public Market on Granville Island. It’s a place where one can get tons of fresh food from around the world in the style of a large European market place. We really just walked around; didn’t do any shopping. At the food court, we settled on German style sausages and hotdogs for lunch, with crepes for a dessert. We then walked down to the small ferry launch and took a ferry ride around False Creek. We got of at Yaletown, which (upon close inspection of the stores and inhabitants) seemed to be the gay centric area of Vancouver. We were in this one fancy knickknack boutique that had hella gay-ass photos as samples in the picture frames on sale. It was pretty amusing. I wouldn’t have expected overt stereotypical displays like that, regardless of who the target cliental was to be. Other clues regarding the homosexual friendlessness of the area were many of the guys walking around the area. After exploring the area for a bit, we got back to the ferry and headed back to Granville Island. One thang that Dave and I noticed is that time seemed to be slipping by without notice. We lost track of time several times, realizing each time that it was later than we though it should be. Very strange.
After that minor adventure, we headed back to the main shopping area in the region near our hotel. After getting thangs figured out, we found an area of shops near the Sears. The Sears in Vancouver reminded me more of an upscale dept. store in the U.S. We also checked out this one comic book shop that had a lot of interesting items, and a few other boutiques as well. All the stores in that area began closing around 6 to 7, so we drive on a hunch to find another area. Eventually we found a street where all the shops where open late. There we found the restaurant where we had diner. That’s another story. Anyways, after dinner we did some shopping, and then headed back to the hotel. The next morning, we headed back to Seattle.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Went to Seattle to get away from the Rain.

I went to Seattle to get away from the rain. lol It’s funny cuz it’s kinda true. For my birthday, Allie flew us out to visit Dave and his g/f (little Miriam) in Seattle. On Thursday night we decided to drive up to Vancouver for the weekend.
On Friday, both Dave and his g/f had to work in the morning, so Allie and I got to sleep in. We started the day around 12:30 when Dave got off and picked us up. We headed to Miriam’s job to pick her up. While waiting for her to get off work, we wandered around a Fry’s Electronics near her work. I had to battle off Dave’s attempts to buy me a gift. That will learn me not to go shopping on my birthday with my friends. hehe
Once Miriam got of work, we went for lunch at this one crab restaurant again, where they serve steamed seafood poured out on the table from buckets. Very tasty, as always. Then we headed to the heart of Seattle. The girls went off shopping while Dave and I tried to take in some of the attractions. We tried to check out the underground tour of old Seattle. We missed the last tour of the day. We tried to go to the top of the tallest building, but again missed that day’s cut off for access to that. We ended up just driving around for the most part, figuring out what to explore when everything is open next time. The girls bought some clothes. For dinner, we tried this one kinda hit sushi place. While waiting for a table, we wondered around the area, doing a little window shopping. I found a Nibbler character at this antique place. Although Allie is not a fan of Futurama, she does like that character, so I bought it and surprised her. The sushi place was pretty good. Afterwards, we went back to Dave’s home and watched Crash. It was later than I thought it would be when the movie ended, which kinda sucked for trying to get up early the next day for the 3 hour drive to Vancouver.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

If you have any doubt about Bush...

Even when talking about the President, I normally don't use his name...but today I am. If you have any doubt that President Bush is negligent and is not fulfilling the duties of his job, watch this video:

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2704463

The man needs to be removed from office on this account alone. If you support him in the face of this evident, you are as blood guilty as he is at this point. Yeah, I'm talking to you, that 34 percent of the population that still thinks he's doing a good job. You are as blood guilty as he is now. If you are still a Bush supporter and you think that somehow you are immune to this statement or that this is somehow an overreaction, you are even more blood guilty of those 1300+ deaths in the Gulf Coast. This man has no business being in the oval office any longer. He has proven without a doubt that he is willfully unwilling to fulfill his duties and oath as President of the United States of America.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Trouble with English sounds and letters

English is a funny language. According to the American Heritage Book of English Usage,
“English adopted its alphabet, except for the letters j, u, and w, from the one used by the Romans to represent the sounds of Latin, and the fit was not an exact one. English is a Germanic language that has borrowed many words from French, Dutch, and other languages, and the result is a phonological mishmash in which certain letters are pronounced differently depending on the origin of the words they appear in.”
That basically means that our alphabet doesn’t exactly match our spoken sounds. We have 26 letters, but over 40 sounds. Depending on the region, distinctions between vowel sounds may push the number of English sounds over 50. Anyone wanna learn an alphabet with 50 letters? No? Well, it might be easier to spell in English if we did, but then again, it might not.

There’s really no way to fully identify all the vowel sounds and have those recognized worldwide, especially where those sounds are combined with the r. One vowel sound that is completely without a letter though is oo (boot {long sound}, took {short sound}).

The consonant sounds are more predictable. Currently, commonly accepted consonant sounds that do not have their own letters are ch (chat), ng (long), sh (shin), th (thin), th (this), and zh (vision). The hard and soft th sounds can be given to one letter. The ng sound is really two sounds blended closely together, so it doesn’t really need its own letter. Adding these sounds as letters would give the English language a 30 letter alphabet. Adding the oo vowel puts it at 31.

But, there are sounds that aren’t commonly recognized. For example, the sound tt, as in little, is often reduced to a flick of the tongue in a way that sounds just like the Spanish r. Not many people notice they even pronounce the tt in this way. Once recognized, this will add yet another sound to the English language, putting the total alphabet at 32 (so far).

All this put together would produce an alphabet something like this:
Aa Bb Cc CHch Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss SHsh Tt THth TTtt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz ZHzh OOoo

Of course, for easier identification, it might be a good idea to give the new letters their own forms, such as joining line or even custom new shapes.  We could bring back some older letters that fell into disuse for various reasons about the 14th Century.  The letter thorn  (Þ) would be very useful in modern writing.

Additionally, there are consonant and vowel sounds that this new alphabet does not cover. For example, there is a soft and hard y sound (yes {hard}, you {soft}). But this alphabet would at least represent all of the major sounds. Of course, if this would be ever accepted, a respelling of many English words would follow. Experience with English might suggest this would actually worsen the link between English spoken and English written language. Oh well.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Trouble with Treo

Well, my old Treo 600 has now been replaced with a new Treo 600. I'm sync'ing all the software onto the new device. It's all hella easy. Not like trying to restore a Windows machine or anything. Just put the button, and everything is loaded on the new device in working order, same as before. Thank you PalmOne. lol

Monday, February 27, 2006

Friday, Saturday, Futurama

Allie and I met up with Miriam Friday night at Nola’s in downtown Palo Alto. Miriam’s company had a function there in the lounge area, so Allie and I showed up as it was ending, to keep the night going. That was a fun night. On Saturday, Allie and I had lunch and diner with some of her relatives. I think her cuzins like me. Even though they are a bit younger, we has some lively conversations about cars, music and even cartoons, if that isn’t a bit surprising. I found out that the makers of Futurama are currently working on 4 made for DVD new Futurama movies. I haven’t been able to confirm this, but I like the rumor.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Much ado about English thangs oh, and that Shakespeare guy

So as a random little project, I wondered what Shakespeare might look like if
it was translated into Modern English. I chose the opening soliloquy by Romeo when he enters the Capulet garden for the famous balcony scene. This seemingly easy task took on an added dimension when I found out that this is really a speech criticizing Queen Elizabeth. How does one translate text that metaphor laid upon metaphor? Thinking about how difficult it is to translate from Renaissance English to Modern English, I have got to wonder how anyone can possibly think the Bible is properly translated from ancient Hebrew to ancient Greek to Latin and then to all the different languages around the world. Well, here’s my attempt at translating this one small section of Shakespeare. BTW, I didn’t keep the original meter because that exercise is pointless. If anyone has any comments on this, I’m perfectly willing to adjust it.

What’s that light suddenly appearing in the window over there?
It’s dawn and, and Juliet is the sun.
Rise up, brilliant sun and put down the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
Because you, her servant, are way more brilliant than her
Stop being her servant because she’s the one who is envious of you;
Her virginal regal outfit is nothing but sick and green
Only idiots wear it. Get rid of it!
It’s my woman. Yo, it’s my love!
I wish she knew it!
She speaks but says nothing. What’s up with that?
Her eyes glance my way, she wants to talk! Finally, it’s time.
Oops, my bad. She can’t see me. She doesn’t know I’m here.
The two most brilliant stars in all heaven,
Going away on some business, beg her eyes
To shine their twinkle until they come back.
What if her eyes remained on her face?
The brightness of her check would way outshine those stars,
As daylight does to a lamp; her eyes do to the stars in heaven
If the atmosphere was filled with her glow
The birds would sing and think it was not night.
Look how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
Oh, I wish I was a glove on that hand,
So I could touch that cheek!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Winter Olympics IMHO

So, the Winter Olympics might be better renamed to the European Olympics. No wonder the Winter Olympics lacks popularity! Most of its sports are very European centric. How much Bobsleighing or Ice Skating is possible in places like Nigeria or Costa Rica? Sure, China and South Korea have been welcomed into the mix, but these two are from regions that are winter sport friendly. At least they add snowboarding. That's actually exciting to watch, since they allow contact and there's a good chance for at least one big wipe out! The woman's Snowboarding Cross final had three wipe outs, and one of those was from the #1 contender celebrating before she crossed the finish line! lol Anyways, U.S.A.! U.S.A.! hehe
Oh, and one comment about those South Korean speedskaters! Speed Skating is not a team sport unless it's Team Pursuit! The South Koreans are pretty much just outright cheating by playing as a team instead of individuals. It's legal right now, but if they keep it up, I'm sure the rules are going to be changing to not allow that sort of team work in the future. They screwed a couple of better racers out of gold medals because they were working together. If a racer isn't going for the gold medal, they don't belong in the finals! The teamwork strategy is not in the spirit of the Olympics for non-team competitions.

Daytime Motorcycle Cop with Radar

Well, my record is now 18 and 3. For some reason, I haven't been able to avoid a ticket when I'm pulled over by a motorcycle cop with a radar gun at daytime. All three of my tickets have been issued by this very specific demographic! Cops are normallly pretty cool about thangs when they pull me over. Normally, they give warnings of some type or another. But for some reason, when they fit that particular demographic, they issue a ticket to me. Bummer. Traffic school, here I come.

Haunted Room

When I was growing up, on house my family lived at was frequented by ghosts.  I don’t know who/what the ghosts were, or where they resided specifically.  I just know that every now and again, we’d experience strange things.  Often, our entire family would get strange dreams within a very short period of time.  Once, when I was seven, the ghosts got a bit more impish with me.

The house was part of a duplex; each side had 3 bedrooms on a corner lot.  My room was small and in the middle of the house with large windows along the backyard.  It had one normal door to the hallway that lead to the other two rooms, and one sliding door that opened into the kitchen. I often keep both doors shut at night.  My room was only illuminated by distant street lights thru closed roller blinds.  This one night, I was awoken in the middle of the night, in my bed of course.  I remember being on edge and scared, but still curious.  I felt something in the room with me.  I didn’t know what.  My parents had taught me about demons (from the Christian Fundamentalist perspective), and since I had nothing else to reference, I immediately associated my sensations with my limited understanding of demons.  My mother also taught me that if I had an encounter with such demons, I could simply call upon god’s name and that would scare them off.  For some reason, this night I did not immediately resort to this.  I was too frightened to speak or get out of bed, and I was a little curious actually.  I tried to get a handle on what I was feeling.  I imagined Halloween style ghosts floating near the ceiling. Of course, the reality is, doing this did nothing, and I soon found that out.

Trying to convince myself that it was all just in my mind, I started to relax a bit.  For a short while, I just laid in bed, awake.  I was lying on my side when I noticed something coming from my closed closet on the oppose wall from my bed right, in front of me.  There was a dark half circle shadow that appeared from the crack between the closet door and door rim, as though it was a hand reaching out from inside my closet.  I couldn’t believe it.  I stared as long as I could dare.  I was so frightened, I hide under my blankets.  My heart was pounding. I never saw anything like that.  What I had been taught said that this was a demon.  I got up enough courage to peak out from under my blankets and looked again.  It was gone.  The sense that something else was in the room was not gone.

Without the visible manifestation, I did start to calm a bit.  I began to think that since these demons were in my room, I would simply look out the window over my bed until they decided to leave.  So I sat up in bed and ducked under the blind with the plan of just looking into our backyard.  Well, this calmed my nerves for a second or two, until I saw a large silhouette appear as white shadow right on the window all around me.  I looked at the edge of the silhouette around me on the window, rolling me head and eyes from my right, up and to the left.  I was sitting with my face practically pressed against this manifestation!  In an instant of pure fear and dread, I zoomed back under my blankets and just started instinctively praying to god for all of this to go away.  I was tense for quite some time, but the other presence was gone. I was awake for quite some time that night.

I told no one of that event for years.  Of course, I’ve since realized that the spirit in my room that night wasn’t able to harm me, regardless to its nature.  What are ghosts?  I don't know.  In this case, I guested is that it was an earthbound ghost that was having some fun with me.  Or, maybe this are demons of some sort, whatever that means.  Anyway, other visitations did occur, but after that night, I never experienced any other tangible manifestations at that house.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Myths of Space (movies)

There are pretty big problems with every science fiction space movie or TV show, except 2001: Space Odyssey.

1. There are no auditable sounds in outer space. Maybe ships battling it out in a very dense nebula might produce auditable noises, but other than that, the only auditable noise transmitted is within the ships or objects themselves, and not across the vacuum of space. The first season of Star Trek got this right, but even the makers of that show eventually opted for the excitement of noisy explosions.

2. Massive fireball explosions do not occur in the vacuum of space, even when oxygen is involved. How is this known? Well, although Apollo 13 crew members did not see their service module oxygen tank explode, it certainly didn’t rip through their vessel in a fireball when it did blow. That incident may suggest it’s pretty hard to blow-up even flimsiest objects in space because the vacuum outside the object creates the path of least resistance for any force being exerted on the object. That’s my own thought on the matter. But the fact is, the vacuum outside the ship does cause any explosion to dissipate so rapidly, no fireball would have a chance to form.

3. When a person is ejected into space without protection, they will not simply explode from the pressure of their body. I’ve only seen two movies get this right: 2001: Space Odyssey and (believe it or not) Airplane II. The human body doesn’t have nearly enough pressure built up within it to spontaneously explode when going from normal atmosphere to vacuum. What would happen is that the person would suffer lose of consciousness from lack of oxygen to the brain, get the bends and prolly actually begin to die only after a couple of minutes. A couple of incidents have already occurred that support these conclusions, where either a whole person or an area of the body was exposed to a vacuum environment.

Sources: Basic High School curriculum (LOL), http://spider.ipac.caltech.edu/staff/waw/mad/mad12.html, http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=8, http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970603.html, and the Apollo 13 “historical records”.