Sunday, May 27, 2012

Around the blogs

It's been three weeks since my last 'Around The Blogs' segment, largely because there were was so much general material of interest that I was overwhelmed!  Anyway, I've been bookmarking blog articles of interest, so here goes with a mammoth edition.

# # #

Just for giggles, let's start with a Lolcat.  Courtesy of Chris Hughes, we find this old gem at I Can Has Cheezburger?

# # #

Although I don't often feature 'professional' blogs here, the 'You're The Boss' small business blog at the New York Times has an interesting article about a 13-year-old girl who developed a lollipop that cures hiccups.  It won her an award in Connecticut, and the assistance of a team of MBA students to develop her concept into a marketable commercial product.  Well done!

# # #

Courtesy of an article by Borepatch about 'Calculating The Decline', we're led to a very interesting article by Captain Capitalism titled 'What Could Have Been', which examines what the USA's GDP might have been if we'd continued to grow our economy.  It also examines why our economic growth stagnated.  The reasons will make you shake your head in dismay.  Both articles are worthwhile reading.

# # #

In his LiveJournal, Neutrino Cannon reminds us that 'Graham Crackers, Corn Flakes and Sex' are historically and inextricably linked.

I did not know that!

# # #

I literally sprayed a mouthful of tea all over my keyboard and monitor when I came across an article titled 'Gentlemen, please take care of your vaginas' at Taffy's blog 'Dysfunctionally Fun'.  It's extraordinarily funny!  Sadly, Taffy doesn't seem to blog very often.  I wish she'd write more!

# # #

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that we were 'Waiting For The Collapse'.  A blogger calling himself 'Escape From Wisconsin', blogging at The Hipcrime Vocab, asks 'What If A Collapse Happened And Nobody Noticed?'  Here's a brief excerpt from his long and very interesting article.

It seems people just cannot just cannot get past the "Zombie Apocalypse" theory of collapse. They imagine hordes of disease-ridden folks dressed in rags stumbling around and fighting over cans of petrol and stripping cans of food from shelves. That's not what collapse looks like. It never has been. In fact, there's very little evidence that a Zombie Apocalypse style collapse ever occurred in the historical record. Instead we see subtle patterns of abandonment and decay that unfold over long periods of time. Big projects stop. Population thins. Trade routes shrink and people revert to barter. Things get simpler and more local. Culture coarsens. High art stagnates. People disperse. Expectations are adjusted downward. Investments are no longer made in the future and previous investments are cannibalized just to maintain the status quo. Extend and pretend is hardly a recent invention.

. . .

... right now the entire continent of Europe is looking an awful lot like post-collapse Russia ... Greece appears to be just the dress rehearsal for the rest of the world. And Japan has been experiencing diminished expectations, lower wages, deflation and declining birthrates since 1989. And I don't think I need to restate conditions in the United States: municipal bankruptcies, school closings, foreclosures, blackouts, roads being turned back into gravel, etc. And conditions are continuing to deteriorate.

. . .

Picture the ruin porn of decaying Detroit's vacant buildings, empty fields, shuttered factories, abandoned houses, crumbling overpasses, bursting water mains, rusting cars, and encroaching wilderness. Does this not look like collapse to you? If this had happened over a span of one or two years, would we even have any trouble of recognizing it as such? If you asked people twenty or thirty years ago what a global economic collapse would look like, would they not describe something very similar to what we are now witnessing? Why don't we recognize it? Because it is happening too slowly? Because we believe things will "get back to normal?" What are we waiting for, a sign from heaven?

There's much more at the link.  Go read it all.  It's important.

# # #

The Assistant Village Idiot reminds us why government regulation is almost always a Bad Idea.

# # #

According to Dr. Whitecoat (writing with tongue firmly in cheek):

"It is with a heavy heart that I tell you all that someone else is going to be taking over my duties in the emergency department and on this blog from this point forward."

Go read how a serially fraudulent con artist was exposed, and how he reacted.  It's also an object lesson in the sort of shenanigans to which emergency room personnel are exposed all the time - as is Nurse K's account of how a troublesome patient came looking for sympathy in the wrong place.

Both Dr. Whitecoat and Nurse K frequently write about the trials and tribulations of working in the ER.  Their blogs are worth reading.  They may also help you and I to behave better if we're ever unfortunate enough to need the services of an ER ourselves.

# # #

The Mistress of Snark explains (photographically) the true meaning of the expression 'gayer than a purse full of kittens'.

# # #

Ken, one of the authors at Popehat, points out that free speech should be defended because it's speech, irrespective of whether or not we agree with it.  Word.

# # #

Multi-platform blogger and best-selling author Michael Z. Williamson has decided that he's going to run for office this year - specifically for the post of World Dictator.  He's put up a special Web site with (frequently grisly) details of his electoral platform.  Here's an example of his proposed policies:

Policy 3: I will start a worldwide attrition replacement of fossil fuel plants with nuclear power plants. Where the environment is conducive, locals will be encouraged to use solar, wind, tide and geothermal power. The waste tailings of the rare earths used in the latter will be mixed with the radioactive waste from the former, and airdropped over any nation or region that causes trouble for its neighbors. The increased mutation rate will evolve them into something more civilized, or sterilize them.

He also responds to questions and comments about his platform, such as this one:

Statement:  This seems like the work of some egomaniacal, extremist, gun-toting sociopath.

Answer:  Thank you.

Go read more.  Mike tickles my evil, twisted fancies!

(OW!  OUCH!  OK, OK, Miss D., relax!  I meant my political fancies!)

# # #

Sadly, Frank W. James has decided that the new Blogger interface is more trouble than it's worth, so he's going to stop blogging.  That's a great pity.  I hope he'll leave his blog intact, so those of us who've long enjoyed his writing can at least peruse his archives from time to time.

A great many bloggers have complained bitterly about Blogger's new interface.  I can't say I like it much, particularly the new text editor's utterly infuriating habit of screwing up HTML code at the drop of a hat!  I've taken to editing directly in HTML mode for more complex posts so as to work around that.  I suspect most of the 'improvements' are nothing more than an exercise in marketing ("Ooh, look!  Shiny!").

However, Blogger's a free service.  The old proverb reminds us that "He who pays the piper calls the tune" . . . and if Blogger's users aren't paying anything, I guess Blogger has every right to decide what features and facilities it'll offer.  If I don't like them, I can switch to WordPress, or Tumblr, or another blogging platform - but that would involve a lot of work (I'd have to transfer well over 6,000 posts in my archives from here to there, just for a start!), and each of those platforms has its own idiosyncracies and quirks that I'd have to learn.

I guess I'll stay with Blogger for now . . . although that may change if they 'improve' it any further!

# # #

How can you not be intrigued by a blog post with the title 'Viscoelastic nerdgasm'?  It's about motor racing, but even if you don't enjoy motorsport, the headline is irresistible!

# # #

Occasionally Blunt provides an acerbic look at Australia's version of the Welfare State.  Here's an excerpt.

... a surplus is a good thing compared to the alternatives, but why is government taking more than they spend in the first place? Why are they giving it to other people instead of back to those from whom they took it? Heaven knows, I could gainfully make use of more of my money if they would only let me keep it. Of course, for every surplus billion in taxes taken by the government, only 900 million gets returned (if it ever does) - it costs 10% to run the bureaucracy that manages the money, but still.

. . .

No country can long survive when a family can have NO bread-winner, and still afford housing, clothing, food, a car, mobile phones, alcohol, cigarettes, and entertainment.

When that family consists of adult members whose ancestors for TWO GENERATIONS have never held a job, and children where that number is THREE, then there is NO HOPE of turning things around at the ballot box. These indolent leeches on the body of society will NEVER vote to stop our largesse.

More at the link.  Sounds like they have similar problems to ours Down Under, doesn't it?


# # #

The Silicon Graybeard has a heart-warming story about a man, an airplane and a dream.

# # #

For those who're concerned about personal security and safety in a crime-ridden environment, a blog called Charleston Thug Life offers a grim education about the reality of the threats to our security in many US towns and cities today.  On the principle that 'forewarned is forearmed', I strongly recommend that you read it for yourself, and spend some time going through its archives.  It's obviously focused on crime in one city, but I'd say its lessons apply anywhere in this country.

# # #

I had no idea about the testicular implications of yoghurt . . . but Dr. Grumpy fearlessly tells us all about it.  I'll never look at yoghurt in the same way again!

# # #

Earthbound Misfit points to news from New York about child sex abuse in the Hasidic community.  This is a topic of intense personal interest to me, as regular readers will know (see the sidebar of this blog for relevant articles).  I'm infuriated to learn of what appears to be official collusion in an extra-judicial process that is unlikely to do much (if anything) to protect those at risk from this sickening crime.  I can only hope that public pressure will be sufficient to do something about it . . . but officialdom is notoriously reluctant to admit mistakes.  Would those of my readers in or near New York City please put pressure on their elected representatives to take up this matter?  I'd be personally grateful.  Thank you.

# # #

Rev. Paul informs us of a fascinating claim by an engineer that we could build the starship Enterprise, from the Star Trek universe, in about 20 years for a cost of about a trillion dollars, if we were prepared to really work at it.  That averages out to about 50 billion bucks a year.  I'd much prefer to put $50 billion of our tax dollars into a project like that every year, rather than pad the welfare budget any further!

# # #

Third Echelon Investigations is a private detective's blog. The author posts an interesting list of '46 Clues Your Partner is Having an Affair'.  Not very comfortable reading . . . but from my experience as a pastor, having to counsel couples in trouble, I'd have to say many of the clues he provides are spot-on.  I hope and pray none of you, dear readers, ever need to worry about them in your own relationships!

# # #

Finally, Chris Byrne (who, with his wife Melody, blogs at The Anarchangel) laments, 'When did I become the "policy" and "process discipline" guy?'  IT professionals and those involved in operating and maintaining complex systems of any kind will probably nod their heads in rueful agreement.  Here's an excerpt.

The thing, audit and compliance folks want to... in fact need to (because it is the very definition of their job, and they are accountable for it) make sure of...

No matter what exactly you've written down, as your policy, your control, and your process...

What they need to make sure of... Is that what you've written down...

... Is what you ACTUALLY DO...

You might be surprised at how often it isn't... or maybe not.

More at the link.  As a former computer systems professional myself, I can only sympathize.  I made that switch too, somewhere between my coding and my management days . . . and I didn't recognize myself either!

# # #

That's it from the blogosphere for this edition.  More soon!



joe in PNG said...

The Hipcrime article is interesting at first, but there is a bit too much of the OWS Blame the 1% Bullcrap. If people didn't attach themselves to the .GOV teet in the first place, then they wouldn't be in danger of starving if the milk dried up.

trailbee said...

Peter, do you have any idea how long it's going to take me to work my way through this ENTIRE post? I'm a glutton for punishment, as I look forward to this post each week and missed the silence lately. This has to be a labor of love. Thank you.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thank you for the link. I read some of your posts and was grateful. My son #4, adopted from Romania over a decade ago, served in the USMC and was called upon to speak at the funeral of his best friend Wilson, killed in Iraq.

Chris works in Norway now, and doesn't get much news about the Corps naturally unless he actively seeks it or we send it to him.