Sunday, August 12, 2012

Around the blogs

There's been lots of good material from other bloggers over the past few weeks.  Here goes!

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Ken at Popehat linked to an earlier post of his, dating from 2007, in which he shared an interesting insight into depositions and the taking thereof, including an analysis of lawyers' tactics to make one say what they want instead of what one really wants to say.  Very useful - not to mention amusing!

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Firehand linked to a blog post by Marko about motorcycle accidents and inertia, and to a Swedish article about a motorcycle accident in 2005.  WARNING:  The latter article has photographs that, while not of the in-your-face blood-and-brains type, may nevertheless be disturbing to some readers who've never seen violent death before.  I hasten to add, however, that since the vehicles are on public display, it's clear the Swedish authorities must have cleaned up the human remains beforehand.  All three articles are highly recommended reading - particularly if you have kids who are learning to drive, or who are new drivers.  Very educational, in the most sobering way possible.

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Paul Caron, otherwise known as TaxProf, reports that '[The] Middle Class Receives More in Government Benefits Than They Pay in Taxes'.  The Roman Empire would have referred to this as yet another example of 'bread and circuses'.

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The always interesting Al Fin gives us a fascinating insight into what people are doing while online, and how this has changed over time.  I must admit, I'd never heard of the term 'teledildonics' until I read it there.  (WARNING:  The subject is probably not safe for most workplaces!)

In another article, he points out that free online college-level education (which is becoming more and more prolific) is now being matched by the online availability of free college-level textbooks.  This is a very logical progression, and one that I think will be yet another nail in the coffin of the old higher-education model - not before time!  It's also extremely useful for people like you and I, who may have completed our college or university educations long ago, but would like to keep our minds 'stretched' by studying new subjects and disciplines.  It's increasingly easy to do so without spending even a cent.  Works for me!

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Leeann over at 'Look! A Baby Wolf!' has an absolutely hysterical article about being struck by an attack of burrito-fueled flatulence while trying to supervise the cable guy.  I will confess to having to stop work for at least five minutes to wipe my eyes and wait for the chuckles to subside.

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Mat Honan, writing at Wired online magazine's Gadget Lab blog, describes how a hacker was able to fraudulently obtain his personal information from, then use it to gain access to his Apple account and cause all sorts of problems.  He begins:

"In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook."

There's more at the link.  The Telegraph reports that 'Apple and Amazon are overhauling their security procedures' as a result of the hack, but that's yet another example of bolting the stable door after the horse has gone.  Readers with an extensive online presence might wish to take note.

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While on the subject of hacking, Borepatch advises us of a monumental security breach involving the electronic locks on no less than four million hotel room doors.  I'm certainly going to be using additional door security (something like this, for example, or this - there are many similar products out there) when I stay at hotels in future.  I'll keep my gun handy, too!

Borepatch also links to a new blog, 'Streamliner Memories', that celebrates the 'glory days' of streamliner railway trains.  Those were the days, indeed!

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The Silicon Graybeard points out yet another idiocy of the enviro-weenies, this one involving lead-free solder - which just so happens to produce side-effects that can disable or destroy electronic equipment from wristwatches to satellites.  The stupid - it burns!

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Stingray of the Atomic Nerds has a wonderfully funny review of the civilian-legal model of the FN P90 personal defense weapon.  Here's a sample of his penetrating technical analysis:

"... the trigger pull feels like you’re trying to choke Spongebob Squarepants. The trigger doesn’t so much break, but more is like when you chill silly putty and then try to snap it in half. It mostly oozes around the problem and then sort of lets go in a half hearted glorp."

There's more at the link.  (The 'Spongebob triggergroup' comes in for a great deal more abuse.)  Giggle-worthy!

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Doc Bailey, a.k.a. The Mad Medic, has a very sobering and powerful post about the hard choices a medic will face.  Those of us who've needed a medic in combat, or in an emergency, in the worst possible way, will find this brings back many memories . . . some of them ones we'd perhaps rather not face again.  Nevertheless, it's worth reading.

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Chris Byrne, writing at The AnarchAngel, describes the 'equilibrium trap' in which many US farmers find themselves at present.  His solution is drastic, and probably unpalatable to many farmers . . . but it makes sound economic sense.  (There are, of course, many non-economic factors currently affecting US farms, most importantly the obscene subsidies doled out by obedient and greedy legislators to agribusiness conglomerates like Archer Daniels Midland, and the innumerable scandals that have plagued agribusinesses such as Monsanto.  A plague on the lot of 'em!)

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Mike Vanderboegh, writing at Sipsey Street Irregulars, examines in great detail the US Army's extremely controversial 'Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland' study.  He's rather more angry and outspoken about it than I am, but then, he usually is on most such subjects!  I don't necessarily disagree with his conclusions;  I'm just not sure that the document is more than a study.  I doubt very much whether it's reached the level of official policy - at least, not yet.

(By the way, Mike's been fighting a very tough battle against cancer.  I don't know his current condition, but I get the impression things are not going well for him.  I'd appreciate it if you'd please join me in praying for his health, and if necessary for as good an end as possible to a well-fought life.  He's been an outspoken and occasionally controversial contributor to the struggle to preserve the Second Amendment.  Despite his sometimes extreme views, all gun-owners owe him a debt of gratitude.)

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'Dr. Mercury', writing at Maggie's Farm, offers us a wonderfully amusing study of 'Bachelor's Secrets'.  Here's a sample.

Household Chores

— When it comes to the loathsome, arduous task of vacuuming, the best trick is to use dirt-colored rugs.  Home Depot has a 'Filth Brown' color that's very popular.  And the thicker the pile, the longer you can go between vacuuming.  Although it cost a pretty penny, I have a 3" pile that allows me to go roughly five years between vacuuming, so that's quite a savings in time that can be better spent on the Internet correcting all of the people who are wrong.

— As far as dusting goes, I've discovered that once you reach a certain point, you really can't tell the difference between months of neglect and decades of neglect.  So, on that exceptionally rare occasion when one of those 'guest' things comes over, you just offhandedly mention, "Sorry if the place is a mess — just haven't dusted in a while" and everybody immediately understands.  You're just another poor, hapless bachelor.  Plus, the dust acts as a protective barrier against mildew, mold and rust, much the same way smoking cigarettes protects your lungs against germs and bacteria with a protective coating of nicotine.

— When it comes to outside chores, like weeding and mowing the lawn, I simply tell everyone I'm a devout Zoroastrian and am forbidden to interfere with nature and they can't say a thing lest I have them indicted for religious persecution.  Besides, once the weeds grow past the tops of the windows, they act as a 'natural shade' so you don't have to run the air conditioner as often, thereby saving energy and thus preventing global warming.  You might laugh, but if everyone did this, the earth might cool down enough to save the polar bears.

There's more at the link.  Very entertaining reading.

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The Talk Radio Blogger brings us the story of three replica versions of Columbus' ships and their ongoing restoration, complete with many photographs.  Very interesting information, particularly for those interested in history and the sea.  Recommended reading.

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Alan Caruba points out the eroding integrity of journalism, as exemplified by a recent ABC News story that was grossly in error and caused serious damage to an honest and entirely legitimate business.  It's infuriating to read - but also very informative, particularly at a time when the news media are bombarding us with coverage about the forthcoming Presidential election.  Given this sort of accuracy in reporting, and their very clearly evident bias in politics, anyone who trusts the news media for accurate reporting is living in cloud cuckoo land!

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Speaking of political coverage, Donald Sensing (who makes very good sense indeed) calls this 'The First Po-Mo Presidential Campaign'.  He draws comparisons to Orwell's prognostications about the future of politics.  I can't disagree with a thing he says.

Og, the Neanderpundit, goes further (and I totally endorse his opinion).

I support Freedom. I support as much freedom as possible for as many people as possible. I’m not stupid, I know that freedom, it’s a pricey thing, and we may not be able to afford it for everyone. And yet it is my goal.

To make the assumption that there ever has been or ever will be a single candidate or party or group that is capable of providing that freedom is ludicrous; to wait for the “Right person” to come along so you can vote for them is ignorant and insane, and to stay home in droves in a fit of pique is… well, it’s just not me.

Politics is a game of adults and children. A segment of the population has chosen the Government as the adults, and themselves as the children- and they are wrong to do so, of course, because Government hasn’t got the sense God gave cheese. And these people are not “them” they are, for the most part, us. Only mindset separates the sane from the insane, and nowhere is it more obvious than in Politics.

There's more at the link.  It's worth reading in full.

The inimitable Charles Hugh Smith points out that political change won't necessarily overcome the enormous challenges currently facing us.

Freeing ourselves of self-serving Elites would certainly create an opening for structural transformation that is currently impossible, but the transformation will require changing much of what the average citizen takes for granted as a "given" or even "right."

For a little perspective on what lies ahead, let's consider the structural problems that remain even if we were fortunate enough to throw off the yoke of the Fed, the corporate cartels, and the entire system of Elitist dominance.

Again, more at the link, and well worth reading.

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Old NFO brings us a heartwarming tale of corporate support for our wounded veterans.  I won't steal his thunder, but I urge you to click over to his blog to read it for yourself.  When you've done that, how about doing something to thank the company concerned?  A letter of appreciation is always a good idea, even if one doesn't use their products.

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Finally, Firehand goes all medieval on his face with a Rendezvous razor kit and a home-made razor strop.  I enjoyed his descriptions - and, let's face it, with the cost of razor blades being what it is today, he might have done us all a service by showing us a cheaper way to shave.  I resent having to pay a dollar or more per blade/cartridge for something that probably cost less than 5c to manufacture, package and distribute!

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That's all for this week.  More soon!



Borepatch said...


Regarding the TaxProf post, I've very, very skeptical for reasons that I lay out here:

Not link-whoring, but it's information dense and I link to sources. Bottom line, the median family pays 25% of their total income off the top in taxes.

Quite frankly, I expect that the data that TaxProf links to excludes State and Local taxes. There's simply no way that the median quintile gets that 25% (and more) back from the government.

Jim March said...

"It was like Godzilla had eaten a Sasquatch-stuffed chupacabra smothered in rancid Nessie sauce."


Joe in PNG said...

Re: the Fall of Empires...
Rome is not the only Empire that has fallen. In the past 100 years alone we have the German, Austrio-Hungarian, Russian, Ottoman, English, and Soviet. The Ottoman, Russian and Austrin empires were falling apart from internal stresses well before WWI killed them off. Germany was brand spanking new, but the war convinced people that while they liked a unified Germany, they didn't like the Kaiser. The two world wars left England unwilling and unable to keep their empire together. And the USSR found that an impractical idealogy doesn't translate well into reality, and rotted apart.

Kind of makes me wonder exactly how the USA is going to fall apart?

LeeAnn said...

Thank you so much for your kind words regarding my personal gassing of the cable guy. I hear his eyebrows have finally started to come back in.
And thanks to your referral, I've had a ton of new visitors to my little blog, a very nice and unstinky thing indeed. :)