Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Book Review: World War Z

World War Z is a thoroughly enjoyable read.  If you ever watched a Zombie Apocalypse film and wondered "what happened to the army?"  This is that story and many others.

World War Z is probably the most hopeful horror book I have ever read.  Its told from the perspective of survivors of the Zombie War who were being interviewed by a reconstituted UN.  Its as horrifying as any zombie tale except you soon realize that every survivor story must have a happy ending.  Happy enough anyway.

Its very realistic once you accept the idea of a virus that can reanimate infected dead and turn them into hungry flesh eating ghouls.  They use everything from nuclear weapons to baseball bats but nothing stops the zombie hordes except geography and some very tough decisions.  Read the book to find out how.  I don't want to spoil it.

There is even a lot of Canadian content.  One story was of an early encounter with zombies as told by a soldier with the PPCLI.  Another tells of a family's early escape to Canada before "The Great Panic."  This isn't special since there are tales from every part of the earth including a civil war as fought by Chinese submarines and the plight of astronauts stranded on the International Space Station. 

Even the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) makes an appearance at The Battle of Yonkers.  Its stealth profile and surgical precision are useless against millions upon millions of undead walkers.  The Battle of Yonkers is sure to become an instant legend when the movie comes out next year.
The Battle of Yonkers

IMDB reports that the film will star Brad Pitt.  I'm not sure how they will adapt the book for the big screen.  The oral history of many different viewpoints from around the world won't lend itself well to a movie.  I'm hoping the director, budget and screenplay of the film will be as big as its main star.

In any case, World War Z is a fantastic read this Halloween.

A zombie outbreak is a useful exercise to help us think outside the box of a comfortable civilization.  Zombies allow you to think about the worst case scenario without naming an enemy.  You can laugh and joke about it without being that paranoid guy.  There are elements of society that resemble the dirty brainless shuffling mobs who want to consume everything and contribute nothing.  Some people identify with zombies (I identify some people as zombies) while others see themselves as survivors.  Which are you?  It's not going to happen of course, but you should be ready to preserve yourself and your family in the event of a catastrophe.  It could be a tornado, a tsunami, a major industrial accident, disease, shortages, a crippling attack from a hostile state or even a revolution.  Sometimes these things even come in groups as we saw in Japan.  Are you ready for the apocalypse?  Don't count on bureaucrats to save you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Leftist Atheists on the Attack

I'm an atheist.

It's with some shame that I say this.  The shame doesn't come from my non-belief,  it comes from the behavior of some of the people and groups who share my non-belief. 

Atheism is becoming more than a simple understanding that God doesn't exist.  Atheism is being turned into an anti-religious movement.  Somewhere, somehow, the atheist movement has picked up the iconoclastic fervor seen only in fundamentalist Islam today. 

The group at the vanguard of this growing secular intolerance is the FFRF or the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  I would support them if they were serious about actually freeing people trapped in a religion or some crazy sect.  They don't go after cases of honour killings or institutionalized abuse, arranged marriages, forced polygamy, genital mutilation, sexual segregation, nothing worthy of real opposition.  No.  They want to protect my atheist eyes from seeing a religious symbol in public.  

The latest victim of iconoclastic fury is directed at a statue of Jesus on a mountain in Montana.  The Calgary Sun reports that it was erected in 1955 by World War II veterans who admired similar monuments in the old world.  It's kept by the Knights of Columbus who have held a special lease for the memorial since 1953.  The FFRF press release claims that its unconstitutional and urges readers to call the US Forest Service to thank them for not renewing the lease for that reason.

While I demand equal treatment under the law for atheists or any other type of believer, I do not subscribe to the idea that a statue can oppress me in any way.  It was there before I was born.  What right have I as an atheist to remove it?  Its there.  That's it.  What are we the Taliban?

Must we erase everything from the past?  Just because I don't believe doesn't mean I can remove the fact that there were war heroes who did believe.  They made their mark and passed on.  I'd like people a thousand years in the future to know who they were and how they thought.

I fail to understand why people get so bent out of shape about Christian symbols in particular.  Could you imagine this selectively righteous group getting so worked up about a Buddha statue?  The Calgary Zoo has a Ganesh statue that I quite like.  When do you suppose these religious police will save the impressionable youth from the Hindu indoctrination?  Its ridiculous on its face.  Thousands of children pass that statue every year and I'll wager not a single child was compelled to Hinduism by it.  Not a single atheist was offended by it either.

An atheist whizzing past a statue of Jesus on a ski hill is unacceptable to FFRF.  Never did they think they required sensitivity training or something.  Everyone must go out of their way not to offend poor atheists.

This organization the FFRF is afflicted with what I've come to perceive as Standard Leftist Archetype.

You see atheism doesn't necessarily dictate how an atheist group will conduct themselves.  The underlying methodology and ideology is the same as any leftist group you will encounter.  You can replace atheist with environmentalist, feminist, separatist, Islamist, anarchist,... you name it. 

Key traits are intolerance, revisionism, self-loathing, and top down Stateist solutions to every problem.  They are leftists.  They are probably funded by leftists.  This is the Standard Leftist Archetype to advance a cause.  Each cause furthers the goal of systematically dismantling everything that made Western Civilization great. 

Ayn Rand was atheist.  Bill Maher is an atheist.  The fundamental difference between them, inspiring or insulting respectively, is not their beliefs but their politics.

Its not atheism itself that is the problem.  The left is the problem. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Can drones replace fighters? Should they?

The trouble with drones is also their main strength.  They are remote control robots.  -Expendable and obedient.

If Gaddafi had drones they would have bombed civilians as ordered.  Libyan pilots famously defected to Malta when they were ordered to fire on their own citizens.

The Soviet Union may still exist today if it had a drone air force.  At the climax of the 1991 coup, when the Red Army and the KGB usurped the Communist Party's Premier, they ordered the Air Force to bomb Moscow.*  They refused.  The USSR dissolved shortly after. 

Drones would have bombed Moscow.   They make no moral distinction between targets.  A Human pilot can rebel against insane orders, even if the orders are perfectly legitimate.  Drones can't even distinguish between legitimate or illegitimate orders let alone make moral judgements on them.

Last week it was reported that a stubborn virus had infected the ground control station at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.  No matter what they do they havn't been able to wipe it off.  The report suggests that it's a simple keylogger virus that records keystrokes.  It could have conceivably been much worse however.

The Stuxnet virus that attacked the Iranian nuclear weapons program actually took control of centrifuges that were being used to refine weapons grade Uranium.  The ingenious virus subverted the display screens of the centrifuges so that the operators had no idea what was happening.  The virus then set the centrifuges to destroy themselves by spinning out of control.

Iran coincidentally has its own drone program.  Like the rogue centrifuges, a drone will simply do whatever it's commanded, be it virus or human, friend or foe. 

There are other limitations too.  Drones are primarily suited to asymmetrical warfare.  Insurgents and Jihadis will not have surface to air missiles or viruses of their own as of yet.  They can't jam the signal to the drone with noise or knock out the signal source either.    An advanced hostile state may have these capabilities.

Some suggest that drones could be a viable alternative to the F-35.  This is not a serious suggestion.  It would be like suggesting that a torpedo, a sophisticated remote controlled drone-like submarine, could replace a ship. No.

This is why a drone fleet will always have a support role that augments real fighter jets with real on-board pilots.  Drones are merely tools and cannot replace fighter jets or bombers as the mainstay of a serious Air Force.  Anyone who thinks this simply hasn't thought it through or is making this suggestion for political reasons.

*I'm not able to locate an online reference for this but I saw it on a Frontline documentary about the fall of the USSR years ago.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alberta PC Cabinet Upsized

We'll take this order 'to go' please.  Premier Redford has picked her cabinet and it is a whopper.  21 stale buns will occupy the cabinet chairs around Redford's newly purchased throne.  The Burger Queen has change on the menu but this is no diet plan.  Canada's fattest provincial government is sitting down to an all-you-can-eat taxpayer buffet.

Wildrose has already committed to a small and efficient 16 member cabinet.  40 Reasons to Vote Wildrose #12 aims to trim the fat from cabinet.  Shrinking the size of government starts at the top.

Even ousted Ed had a 19 person cabinet at first.  You don't shrink government by growing it.  I don't think that was ever priority before or after Redford's coronation.  The priority we see here is patronage and payoffs.  Is your Alberta government and its ministries run in your interests or in the interest of the PC party?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In case you missed it

Watch the entire Bloomberg GOP Debate commercial free. Its about 95 minutes and they talk about the OWS (owes?) protests right at the beginning.   They seem pretty cheerful!
(Thanks to TheRightScoop)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Would the real Tea Party please stand up?

With all the hoopla about Occupy Wall Street and its lesser incarnations, I'd like to hear form the Tea Party.

Are you with Occupy Wall Street or not?  I suspect you are with some of what they are saying now that people are listening (and laughing).  I can't imagine the Tea Party would support Bailouts for Bonuses to the banks who caused the 2008 mess. 

I would imagine, I must imagine since I'm not the Tea Party and can only presume what they would think, that Tea Party would have let the bad banks fail.

The Occupy Wall Street types don't seem to take issue with the monster bailout itself but with the failure of Justice to prosecute those responsible.  Occupy Wall Street would happily nationalize all the corporations and jail all the CEO's because deep down they think capitalism is exploitation.  The usual Marxist bunk.

The Occupy Wall Street kids, or "Anarchists for Big Government," rightly deserve a skeptical analysis and even derision where appropriate.  Many of their supporters have begun to answer serious questions with statements like: "aren't these Tea baggers? They are protesting their tax money going to the financial sector without consequence...isn't that the point to the Tea party?"

Or try this one: "I'm enjoying the double standards Conservatives display with their attitude towards Occupy Wallstreet protests vs. Tea Bagger protests." 

Those are quotes off my Facebook page.

Have you ever heard of Tea Party activists urinating on police cars, getting arrested by the hundreds and attempting to storm museums?  Has the Tea Party ever called for the end of capitalism?    

I've heard the Tea Party accused of many things by people who call them "Tea Baggers."  What comes to mind most readily?  Racists.  

Notice all the children, tucked in shirts and grey hair?  Take a look at Occupy Wall Street again.
Anyone against Obama is a racist.  I'm sure you've come across this if you follow the Tea Party.  The Tea Party get's slapped with racist slurs from day one while Occupy Wall Street is openly anti-semetic.  

We know all about double standards.  The left is one big double standard enabled by partizan calculation on one hand and plain ignorance on the other.

What say you Tea Party?  Are you really the same as the Occupy Wall Street thing?  Speak up please, because if you don't others will on your behalf.   


Friday, October 7, 2011

Redford belongs in Ontario

If the election in Ontario didn't frighten you, it should have.  Even the surest election can be lost.  Even the most despicable bums like the McGuinty Liberals can lie and bribe and manipulate their way to staying in power.

What is more despicable than a politician who sells out to a union for a tarnished crown?  Alison Redford did that for the Leadership of the PC Party and the Premiership of Alberta.  For the sum of $107 million the Premier's office was sold.  Union members bought into the PC Party in order to vote in Alison Redford and get their money.

One insult to democracy begets another.  Redford's first move was to cancel the fall session of the Legislature.  There will be no questions about Redford's deal with the teachers union.  There will be no discussion with the representatives of the people of the merits and methods education funding.

$107 million  may well be a necessary contribution to education.  Redford's decision was made behind closed doors and for unethical reasons completely separate from the real needs of students and schools.  It's a scandal and a shame.

We cannot allow this latest betrayal to stand.  We cannot allow our democracy to be horse-traded away to special interests no matter how worthy the cause.  Concerned Albertans must support Daniel Smith and the Wildrose.

Ontario was once the flower of Confederation.  They were masters of Canada's economy.  The unspoken soul of national policy.  Now look at them.  The same will happen to us.

The path of  social progressive ideology has only one terminus.   The Progressives are leading Alberta in the same direction.  Failure.  Greek failure. Spain's failure.  Soviet failure.  Ontario's failure. Obama's failure.

Alberta is failing. 

This is why I'm asking you to help Save Alberta.  The Wildrose can keep Alberta out in front.  We can be a shining example of a government that works by people who know the value of their hard work.  

To this end, I've decided to run through the 40 Great Reasons to Vote Wildrose.  In keeping with today's themes I'll skip right to Reason # 6: FREE VOTES.
This is the opposite to oppressive PC domination of your government.  Redford doesn't even allow her whipped PC MLA minions to vote in the assembly and on the record.

We pay a lot of money for the privilege of democracy.  I'm sure a dictatorship is much cheaper without all that messy voting and representation.  The expensive privileges that Redford casually cancels will be strengthened and empowered under Wildrose.  Your elected member will be free to represent you and be responsible to you.

Your constituency will come before the will of the PC leader of the week and her union masters.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Canada's Own Ozone Hole

We've got everything here.  Now we even have an Arctic Ozone hole.  This article I found on the National Post website claims that Canadian scientists have witnessed a gaping hole in the ozone open up.
The Arctic O-hole

Good grief!  Let me guess: the barren Arctic waste will become a barren Arctic waste, northern peoples will have to stock up on sunscreen for the 5 minutes a year that their skin is exposed to sunshine, and its all because of the Oil Sands.

Well not quite.... yet.

I thought we solved the Ozone problem ages ago.  It was all because of CFCs.  We had a handy replacement chemical for refrigeration and that was that.  Never heard about the Ozone again.

Now I read that a new Ozone hole has quite suddenly opened up in this hemisphere.  The cause this time, and this priceless: "The blame has been pinned on cold temperatures."

I had to find that in a Wired magazine article because the National Post removed any mention cold temperatures in their article.  When I first read the article late Sunday night it did mention abnormally cold temperatures in the Arctic but now it says this:  "[the ozone hole] may be linked to climate change and increasing greenhouse gas emissions."

How?  Why did the article change overnight from citing extra cold as the cause to citing Climate Change (formerly know as Global Warming) as the cause?  I believe I've spotted a warmist editor at the National Post in action.    Commentators at WUWT claim that the CBC did the exact same thing by changing "extreme cold" to "unusual winter weather."  I would also like to know how several news agencies just happen pick up a story that broke back in March of 2011 simultaneously.  Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, and I would add a fourth R: Regurgitate.

I had to know what the warmists were thinking though.  It turns out, their theory of trapped infrared (IR) light in the troposphere (where we live) by CO2 is supposed directly cool the stratosphere (where the ozone lives).  The CO2 essentially starves the stratosphere of IR and saturates that exact same IR into the troposphere in theory.  One photon absorbed by CO2 at the surface is one less photon knocking sparse molecules around 30 km in the air.  They are directly proportional and inversely related.   (the different densities of the 2 zones makes me wonder if they are really directly proportional, some light should go right out to space without hitting anything, but lets assume for now that this mechanism is 1:1 and perfectly efficient)

I don't pretend to be an atmospheric expert but even the warmist surface climate figures I found on the environment Canada website (which I do not trust, they typically work the data until they get the expected results) shows 2011 being cooler than 2010.  The stratosphere temperature is supposed to be directly related to the absence of IR light being trapped in the troposphere.  The observed extreme cold in the troposphere should have been accompanied by corresponding extreme heat if it was cause by CO2 induced Global Warming.  This clearly did not happen in 2011, nor were any catastrophic ozone holes ever noticed in warmer years. 

Coincidentally this also comes at a time when budget cuts are coming to this department at Environment Canada.  Isn't that strange?  This can't possibly be cry for rent could it?  Every warmist article mentions how the cuts couldn't come at a worse time.  hmmm  Alarmists raise the alarm just as budget cuts are about to take hold.  Its obvious this story is a sham.

Its only a matter time before we hear calls to stop the revenue generating Oil Sands to save the ozone and ramp up the money sucking make work programs.  Cut them off and cut them out.  Let Suzuki employ them and add to the economy for once.