Monday, March 23, 2009

And Now for Something Lighter

By Mr. Quarter.

My fellow bloggers and I have used this space to vent, comment and, sometimes, rage over current political and world events. This post will contemplate what I consider one of the great shortcomings of our modern technology. I give you - the wheel, or more specifically the paradigm of the four wheeled land transport vehicle.

According to several sources that I consulted, the earliest evidence of four wheeled transports comes from Sumerian clay tablets depicting sketches of a sledge with four solid wheels. Basically a rectangular platform supported by a wheel at each corner. Capable of transporting people or goods over relatively smooth terrain with much less effort and higher velocity than dragging or pushing, and greater capacity than on the back of an animal or on oneself. Date? 3,500 B.C.

Fast forward 5,500 years. Men have walked on the moon, harnessed the very power of God in the nucleus of an atom, transplanted the internal organs from one person to another, created a web of communications that allows instantaneous transmission of images, sound and text around the world in a millisecond. How do we move goods and people over the ground? Basically a rectangular platform supported by a wheel at each corner. Capable of transporting over relatively smooth terrain with much less effort and at higher velocity than dragging or pushing, and greater capacity than on the back of an animal or on oneself. Date? 2009 CE.

The puzzle to me is that in over 5,500 years the paradigm for ground transport has not changed one iota. We have improved the basic paradigm by adding more power, more wheels, achieving greater velocity, extending the range and variety of terrain it can cross. We have even added audio and video entertainment to enjoy during the trip and air conditioning for added personal comfort. And don't forget the rich Corinthian leather! But, after 55 centuries of engineering and untold treasure spent on product development, and yet no one has come up with a new paradigm that significantly improves on the original idea.

Why is that? Was/is this the best and only concept for a land vehicle? To believe that, one has to embrace the notion that 55 centuries ago, someone stumbled on to the greatest idea in all of history and that there is no other paradigm that could be an improvement. Or, is it because we have become intellectually paralyzed to the extent that any attempt to visualize other means of land transport always reverts back to the existing paradigm?

Many of our human creations are inspired by models we observe in nature. The obvious example is an aircraft. Looks and works pretty much like a bird. I suppose that 5,500 years ago, some Sumerian looked at all the beasts of burden and deduced that they were basically rectangular platforms with moving parts in contact with the ground that created locomotion, and that that model would work if only to come up with a reasonable facsimile of the moving parts. Thus, the application of the potters wheel to the problem of providing locomotion.

I don't know the answer nor the reason. However, it seems to me that the current paradigm is stale. Perhaps there are other models of locomotion we can build upon. That's what they did in Star Wars!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

They're not Undocumented - they're ILLEGAL - part 2

In my last post regarding this subject, I left you with two essential questions....

First, if we as a society are going to pick and choose which laws we're going to obey and which we'll not, then by definition, we are living in anarchy. My question is, "is this what our government wants us to do"?

I want to believe the answer is "no", but I think in light of our recent election, the answer is undoubtedly "yes'' - at least with regard to immigration law. You see, the vast majority of these ILLEGAL ALIENS benefit significantly from being here. They enjoy our healthcare system, our education system, our social services, driving, and an many other benefits that we are paying for. By "we", I mean LEGAL CITIZENS. Our support systems are financially failing because we're providing services to literally millions of ILLEGAL ALIENS who contribute nothing toward the cost of these services. This has to stop, but don't count on that happening. For as long as we continue to provide these services at no charge, more and more ILLEGAL ALIENS will cross the border to take part in our wonderful society. So, our immigration laws mean virtually nothing. We could stop it, but we choose not to. Could it be because these ILLEGAL ALIENS are viewed as future DEMOCRATIC voters? I'm thinking that has a significant part in this folly. As a result, I'm in the process of deciding which laws I want to ignore....more later.

The second question I asked is, "what do we do with the millions of ILLEGAL ALIENS that are already here"? This really isn't as difficult as our government would make it sound. In an effort to show my humanitarian side, I'm going to suggest the following approach be taken....

First, all ILLEGAL ALIENS must register with the government by May 1, 2009. This shouldn't be too difficult, as they're not on vacation for goodness sakes - they're here, allegedly working, so they shouldn't have too much of a problem making themselves available. In an important note, this registration does NOT change their status to LEGAL.

Second, any unregistered ILLEGAL ALIEN found after May 1st, will be immediately deported back to their country of origin.

Third, any company after May 1st found to be employing unregistered ILLEGAL ALIENS will be fined $25,000 per day until all offenders are registered. Should any company violate this provision more than once, the fine will increase to $100,000 per day.

Fourth, any registered ILLEGAL ALIEN that commits a crime will be immediately imprisoned and prosecuted. If convicted, they will immediately begin serving their sentences without the possibility of parole. Once the sentence has been served in full they will be deported. If found in the US again, they will be imprisoned for life - no parole - no exceptions - and NO CABLE.

Fifth, all registered ILLEGAL ALIENS will immediately begin paying income taxes, state taxes, social security, medicare, etc. Their employers will pay all appropriate taxes for these employees. The ILLEGAL ALIENS will begin serving a 3 year probationary term during which they must not commit any crime or violate any provision of any local, state, or federal law. If they do, they will be deported immediately after serving their appropriate sentence or paying their fines. If they succeed, they may apply for citizenship through normal diplomatic channels and be subject to acceptance or rejection by established federal guidelines. If rejected, they must leave the country within 10 days. Any effort to evade deportation will result in conviction and be administered by the provisions of condition four above.

Finally, we must commit to border security - real border security - and severely punish those who seek to violate our nation. We should not be hesitant to warn potential ILLEGAL ALIENS that they risk being killed by any number of methods in efforts to invade our nation. We should not build a fence - it's a waste of money and will easily be compromised. We need to build a mote - 150 feet across and 150 feet deep across our southern border. The mote will be stocked with a variety of creatures that will act in accordance with their natural instincts should they find potential food sources in the water.

Sounds crazy? That's because I'm trying to solve a problem - not perpetuate one.

Conservative Ken

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Deuce And A Liberal SF Author

I read quite a bit. Some of what I read is Science Fiction. Good SF is hard to find, and you often have to ignore the politics of favorite SF authors in order to enjoy their work. What's really interesting is it can be difficult to judge an author's politics by their novels. John Scalzi is a good example of this.

Scalzi is the author of Old Man's War and several sequals occuring in the same universe. I really enjoyed Old Man's War which has led me to read most of Scalzi's other works. Once I started reading Scalzi I discovered his blog and have read it routinely ever since. His blog is a source of good information regarding other SF authors and their books, and what's going on in the world of SF in general, but it also freely exposes Scalzi's politics, which I find surprising, and distasteful.

His blog entry, The Ripper Owens Syndrome, appears to be a drug induced ( at least one paragraph ) screed regarding the GOP and conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh's role in the Republican Party.

Below is my response to this post.

John, I really enjoy your SF, but this…

“The real problem with Limbaugh is not his political positions, which are the bog-standard GOP sour mash of once-upon-a-time genuine conservatism denatured through three decades of 100 proof Will to Power, which makes sense because it’s not like Limbaugh is interested in or capable of generating original political thoughts on his own. The real problem with Limbaugh is at the end of the day he’s an entertainer, and his shtick relies on political division and dissension.”

…did this actually make sense to you when you wrote it? Me thinks the ganja was talking, not you.

As far as “…generating original political thoughts on his own.” Conservatism is a strict adhearance to the original ideas of the founding fathers as expressed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, along with the individual state constitutions written in the same era. Hardly original to Mr. Limbaugh or any other conservative of the 20th or 21st Century, but not a rational reason to vilify those conservatives, including Mr. Limbaugh. But then modern lliberalism, especially Obama’s extreme version, isn’t original either. But liberalism doesn’t come from the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, does it? I think you’re probably smart enough to know where it does come from.

Unlike Mr. Limbaugh, I don’t have to hope that Obama’s bailouts, takeovers and trillion dollar budgets will fail to right America’s economic ship. I KNOW they will fail. Why? Because they fail every time they’re tried. Socialism, and make no mistake that’s what Obama’s ideology is, always results either in abject failure, like that experienced by the Cubans for the last fifty years and the now extinct Soviet Union, or in a slow torturous demise as is now being played out in western Europe.

Double digit unemployment is the norm in most of western Europe. Roughly speaking, five to six percent is the norm in America. National health care in Britain is virtually bankrupt, to the point that health care is starting to be rationed. And how many Canadians come to the U.S. every year for their health care needs? And why do so many Canadians find it necessary to come to the U.S. for medical care? The answer is national health care, which used to be called socialized medicene.

Conservatism IS free-market capitalism. Obama’s policies are not. Obama’s policies are to print money, say the debt will be paid back in the misty future by our children and grandchildren, and use the printed money to infect as much of the American private economy as possible so as to increase governmental control of that economy. Control of the economy is control over the people who make their living in that economy.

Where does this overwhelming need to control everyone and everything come from? Examining history, it’s pretty easy to figure out. Obama, Pelosi and Reid, the triumverate of liberalism in America, actually think they are so intelligent that the power to control all is not only their right, but their duty. They believe that the lion’s share of American people are too stupid to run their own lives; to make their own living; to raise their own children; to practice their own faith; to decide how best to use their own income.

Mr. Limbaugh is not the leader of the Republican Party. Mr. Limbaugh does not even call himself a Republican, though I'm confident he generally votes that way. He calls himself a conservative. He’s a conservative, as am I, because I don’t want to control everyone; because I do believe that I, and most Americans, are fully capable of making our own decisions as how best to exercise our God given rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, with the full knowledge that equal opportunity does NOT guarantee equal results. And we’re good with that. We’re good with that because it was exactly those beliefs that created the United States of America, and made the U.S. what it is.

Obama does not believe as I do, which is to say he does not believe in the rights and the capabilities of the American people. And so, like Mr. Limbaugh, I hope Obama fails and is quickly dispatched to the ash heap of history along with Lenin, Stalin, Castro and all the others who thought they knew better, and were willing to enslave millions to prove it.