Archive for the ‘News of the Day’ Category

Ongoing historical comparison to modern conflicts WW I vs Afghanistan and Iraq


I have been lucky enough to have piles of documentaries on DVD in my house. I have seen most of them before in years gone by but I look at some of those concerning WWI and WWII differently now. In particular how the lessons we learned in those wars may not have taken hold like they should have.

I was watching one recently and took a few notes concerning tidbits of WWI that had certainly left my head.

The first was that in this war which took place between 1914 and 1918. During that time 22-Million people died. That is a lot. This was generationally changing. Think of how many scientists/engineers might have been in there….Poets, Artists the list goes on.

This was apparent to me that this War set the stage for WWII. That to me seems to be a parallel to Iraq parts 1 and 2. If you must go to war be sure to finish the job you start. Lesson missed? I think maybe. If George Bush (President number 41) had finished the job perhaps George Bush (president 43) may not have done what he did.

The other thing WWI did is show lots of countries what military technology to develop. I think WWI did something similar for WWII. Germany certainly developed lots of tech.

Another interesting note I saw in this recent documentary was that the European countries involved in WWI at the outset weren’t afraid of what happened if they went to War…They were afraid of what they did if we hadn’t gone to war. To anyone who paid the least bit of attention to the outset of Gulf War II this sounds EXACTLY like what president #43 was saying!!!

The other interesting bit I think that draws an IMMEDIATE parallel to modern day is that many countries and leaders assumed this war would be very fast (referring to WWI). The reason was technology. Surely with all their tech it would be over fast….Again sound familiar yet wrong?

My point here is that we all need to be students of history no matter what our field. The danger is that we repeat the mistakes.

Nancy Pelosi just doesn’t listen to the American People


Nancy Pelosi just missed the lesson of the election. Either that or she just doesn’t care what those that elected her and write her paycheck think.

She just declared war on the folks that invest money and create jobs. She is basically saying that if you are ‘rich’ you shouldn’t be. Perhaps you got there but being a jerk and ripping people off. I doubt it but maybe you did in her eyes.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/131729-house-passes-legislation-to-extend-only-some-bush-era-tax-cuts

She did something interesting. She poked a stick in the eye of Americans. She is basically saying she can do whatever she wants. The reason I say this is that even those this legislation passed the house it has no shot of passing the Senate. None….

Ok folks…I know the first comment I am going to get it ‘you rich people’. I WISH I was in those tax brackets. I hope someday to be in those brackets. But she just took the incentive away from me to work harder and get there. Why should I if I just write a larger check to the government?

If she can call us names we can call her names right? Here we go….Nancy…I know you are probably a nice woman, sure you may make a good neighbor…But I for one think you are something more a’kin to the Wicked Witch of the West than you are to someone I want living next door.

I think you should go spend more time looking for a new plastic surgeon to hide your aging than playing with the American people like you are.

Can the people of California please vote this woman out? Should I move to her district and challenge her?

DaScienceGuy

Shared Sacrifice – Obama to put off vacation – WOW!


The President, the Vice-President and many of the politicians we see on the news talk about shared sacrifice. This article made me want to throw things at the computer screen.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/11/30/obama.vacation.tax.cuts/index.html

Basically the President may delay his Hawaii vacation so he can deal with things in Washington. Well let me be the first to say THANK you Mr. President for noticing there was some work to do around the office.

When you spoke of shared sacrifice I wasn’t aware it meant waiting to get on your private jet and fly off to a place most Americans save money for years to go visit just once! I mean after all it has probably been two months since you took a vacation. Thanks for the sacrifice, I do hope you discover how to balance your work and social life better. Next thing you know it will be the basketball game gets pushed back 30 minutes.

WOW! We found their version of sacrifice. I need to fork over another 10% of what I make and he needs to DELAY (note not cancel but delay) his vacation. Well no wonder he thinks sacrifice isn’t that bad. His is pretty easy! I want his version and he can have mine!

DaScienceGuy

Historical Perspective on Today’s War – WWI vs Current Conflict


I have been thinking a lot about today’s veterans and I have to hand it to each and every person who gets on an airplane to go to war to defend our or any country.

I think, however, that the culture has changed so much that we back here tend to think in ‘who is to blame’ far more than we should.

I have been told that there is a quote from the Civil War that “War is Hell” and I was recently watching a documentary on television about World War I where several veterans said yes it is Hell on Earth.

However, I think one big difference between culture then and culture now (NOT the troops the culture here) is that in the first World War the soldiers and everyone knew that every single time there was a firefight or battle that not every soldier was going to come back. They knew it. Now we get really mad at our politicians if a soldier goes into battle and dies.

I don’t want them to die. I am a veteran. NO ONE wants them to die. But SOLDIERS go into these situations knowing that it is possible. They don’t want to but it can happen. They know it. Yet they go. That takes a real sense of duty. I think they should all be commended for facing this fear so we don’t have to. We must rally behind their feeling and accept that risk but only if we have to go to war. War should be the LAST resort. If the current wars are the last resort or not is for people smarter than me to figure out. I hold no sway nor will I render an opinion on the validity of the conflicts we are in merely accept that we are in them.

Second, in some of these interviews the WWI vets states almost uniformly that going to war caused them to appreciate life and get the most they could out of it. THey learned to work hard and sacrifice. Something as a country we need to work harder at.

Third they knew it was kill or be killed. This is something we mess up today I think. We go into war and have rules that come down from politicians who are safe and cozy that killing is a last resort. I think WWI had it right. If that guy wants to kill me…Well I really want to kill him. That is war. We are at war, and our soldiers should be fully in the mode of those from previous conflicts when it comes to those who mean to do them harm.

Also several interviewed veterans said something that stuck me as missing from most of the current dialog. They believed that contry came before self gratification. How many people today would make that statement? I suspect it is VERY few.

DaScienceGuy

Massacre in Mattapan Mass


I have been listening to the news about the multiple murder in Mattapan Mass. Who knows how this is going to turn out but we can all agree that the most tragic part is the dead 2 year old boy.

Here is the part to me that says something about us societally. Obviously multiple gun shots. Just look at the number of dead people. NO ONE CALLED THE COPS.

The police were alerted by a device called Shot Spotter. If it weren’t for the technology how long might it have been before the police knew something happened? Dawn?

This to me says more about the neighborhood and what some areas think about society; law and order than others do. People say these crime riddled neighborhoods need more resources than do the so called ‘rich’ areas. But I will be you that people in Andover that heard a single gun shot would have called the cops right away.

It is truely a tragedy that this young child was killed. But I think the larger tragedy is what happened afterwards with no one calling for first responders.

Perspective on the world today from a World War II Era Woman


I was in downtown Boston over the weekend and had the chance to talk with a very long time resident.

When I say long time I really mean it in this case. She moved to Boston at age 20 during World War II!!

I asked her a lot of questions obviously but one of her answers sticks in my head. I asked her what she thought of the world today versus other periods in her life. Her answer was interesting and frightening: “It is far more dangerous.”

I of course had the immediate follow up of why do you think that…

Her answer was long so I am going to paraphrase but this is close….

Today we have North Korea, Iran and to a lessor extent China all being openly aggressive or in the case of China diplomatically aggressive. Her other concern was it took years for people like Hitler to come to power. In the modern day it can happen in months. From Junior Senator to President. (She nor I am saying President Obama is Hitler it is merely an example of rapid rise to power).

Now here is the other concern she had. Weapons and day to day tools are far more dangerous than they ever have been before. Airplanes flown into buildings can kill on the order of the same number of people as an organized attack by a large part of the Japanese Navy did at Pearl Harbor.

Here is her final concern: Celebrity Politicians have gotten worse. She cited John Kerry (to a lessor extent unless you are here in Boston), Hillary, Palin. Many to all of which are more concerned with their ‘brand’ so they can sell the next book than they are with world peace. She was very big on world peace and her dream that one day armies were unneeded (I’m sure all military members hope that day comes until then they proudly serve).

I have to say this was the most intersting and frightening random conversation I have had in a very long time.

DaScienceGuy

Hard to admit Cosmo made me think about teaching kids


Ok I hate to admit this but I was flipping through a copy of a magazine my wife had. An older copy of Cosmo. There was an article that made me think.

The premise of the aritlce was what does television teach our kids. Specifically with reference to reality television shows such as ‘Real wives of ____’ and ‘The Bachelor’.

Not ever having seen an episode of Real Wives of whatever for fear of losing brain cells I have to admit I have seen an episode or two of The Bachelor a few seasons back.

The basic thing we are teaching our kids is when you think you are ready to get married magically you get a ‘menu’ of women (or men) to order from. What kind of lesson is this?

I suspect it isn’t a good one. I think kids will continue to lose contact with the way the world should work. I hope that somewhere we start to get back to the core values which allow a country to flourish…

DaScienceGuy

Obama gets advice from Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro?


I was reading on the drudge report today that Fidel Castro sent a note to the press about how President Obama can sow up the 2012 election.

1) Nuke Iran
2) Attack North Korea

Well, I agree both Iran and North Korea must be dealt with I think this is evidence that Fidel doesn’t understand our President. I think he’ll negotiate with both contries. I hope he will at least. I don’t think nuclear weapons are the answer to Iran.

I think provoking North Korea is bad. I certainly think they should be dealt with due to the sinking of the ship. I think if they further attack the South that South Korea should be defended. But re-start the Korean war? In the middle of a recession with two other active conflicts currently going on? How thin can our military get?

Just food for thought…

DaSceinceGuy

Underwater Oil Leak, A Scientist Perspective


Ok, I have remained silent on the oil leak.

I do have a few things that have been on my mind about it.

As a scientist I want to point out that fixing a leak that is a mile below water is really hard. This is not an area that you can just dive to. This is specialized undersea vehicles of which there are not many. You must get one there, then get the right guy to drive, then of course make sure the right equipment is with him.

Now let’s throw in the extreme pressure seen in that environment…The extreme temperatures (pretty cold)…Now let’s throw in fast flowing jets of foreign material (oil) being thrown about. This is anything but an easy fix. This is not just something you can say ‘fix my leak and I need the pipe for the weekend’ (using a loose broken car analogy).

So what do we do? That is a good question. It is clear that it isn’t going to get fixed quickly. So let’s triage. If I were in charge I would get some folks moving on cleanup and keeping the oil away from the shore right now. Without delay. Throw lots of resources at that.

Second, get some guys fixing the leak. The right guys. Quit interviewing them, quit dragging them up to DC for questions. Just let them work…..

Not sure how I would react if I were the President. Its one of those times I’m happy to not be that guy.

One interesting bit is some of the media trying to come to his rescue saying not his fault…He couldn’t do anything. Nancy Pelosi even blamed Bush. The man has been President for a year and a half. I have to say that if Bush had been President and this happened oh good lord the backlash that I think would happen. I was no Bush supporter but this is bad. I have noticed a few guys ticked at Obama on the left. That is a start.

Now logically would I blame the President for this? No…I wouldn’t. Accidents happen and this is a really bad one. But let’s play equal opportunity if it was a republican there would be hearings, the word Haliburton would come up a lot…

Let’s leave politics out of this one though and just let BP fix their mess….

North Korea, South Korea and potential fighting


I have been watching carefully the goings on in Koren political world between the two Koreas. If the destroyer that went down two months ago really was a torpedo launched from a Submarine this leaves us with a couple of possibilities.

1) North Korean leadership ordered it. This would be very bad because it means they are getting more bold and possibly preparing for a real move toward the South. If they (or China) have figured out how to get through our minefield separating the two Koreas this would be a mess. This would be especially problematic given that a large chunk of our combat troops are busy. How do we help South Korea (which I think we are bound to do by treaty)…This would be a mess.

2) It was a rogue Captain. This would be bad as well. It means that the North has lost control of its military. It also means that the leadership is not the most radical group in the country. It means that there is a faction in the North that wants to finish the Korean war, or take on the US more than the current set of guys.

Either way I don’t see an option 3. The two options I see are with the assumption that it was a torpedo from a North Korean sub. If it really was a leftover mine from a bygone war then that is a different story. However given what is being said in the news media it appears to be a torpedo. So I don’t see an option 3. If anyone would care to leave a comment about what option 3 is I would appreciate it.

Over the next few days I am going to think about how these two options play out and post something.

For once though I think it is important for the President to do exactly what he is doing. Let Clinton handle it for a while and stay very quiet while he is, I am sure, being briefed on what is going on. This could turn out to be a very dangerous situation given the close ties of North Korea and China.