Thursday 29 July 2021

January 6. Sticks and Stones

Remember this? "But Names Can Never Hurt Me?"

Years ago parents sometimes tried to teach their kids who were being bullied to say "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

Not so today. The attack on the Capital Building on January 6, 2021 - and that's exactly what was - personified that old teaching. The problem is that yes - the sticks and stones (aka .WEAPONS) did indeed break bones and the racial epithets actually did hurt the officers.

Despite parental efforts the name calling always hurt the kids and most could not ignore it. I wish I could say that anyone using the "N" word against those brave officers protecting politicians must have been similarly affected in their youths. I doubt it. This was real hatred of red necked and red capped adults towards other adults.

What a pathetic example to set for kids, and the rest of the world. Washington has now become the world's biggest schoolyard.

There are leaders besides Trump (leader status in question) who were behind this. They are running scared. They have to be identified and seriously punished. Soon. The Donald should be included.


Tuesday 20 July 2021

Blue Origin Space Shot

Oh Yeah? Well Mine went Higher!

A week ago I wrote about the Branson space shot (see "Virgin Galactic Space Ride, July11). Branson said that this was not a race, still puffing after rushing to re-schedule and beat Bezos with a launch! If you believe that, book a ride with me and my time machine. I will take you back to pet a dinosaur and then, after discovering fire, we will return safely with the first twig ever deliberately set alight by man.

The previous launch got me thinking and so did this one. As far as the race is concerned, Branson's ship looked more cool but let's face it, to make a name in space, height and (and distance ) is what counts and Blue Origin wins on that front. If size mattered (ladies can smile now) maybe Branson would have won. In this case it doesn't. In fact smaller is probably better.

As far as marketing goes, you might expect an Amazon founder to do well there also. He did. How cool was it to take up a piece of canvas from the Wright brothers' plane - the first flight ever! Then he topped that with goggles worn by Amelia Earhart. He also gets an Oscar there. Even on names he chose well. Most people know what an "Origin" is but come on Richard, what the hell is a "Virgin?" Just kidding - but I guess he can only fly with that name once! Now he has to change it.

What I did not mention in the last post was that Elon Musk has beaten them both. His rockets have propelled many people into real space, even to the International Space Station. He has also brought rockets back to earth and to ships. Let's not forget he invented one of the most advanced electric vehicles, powered by flashlight batteries!

So what is the big deal with two guys who barely escaped our atmosphere for a few minutes? It seems to me that the most relevant thing is that now three private citizens are using their own money to make the space race competitive. Competition breeds innovation and private companies don't drown in bureaucracy and inefficient the way governments do as they waste  our funds.

I think all this is a good thing and probably the only way the USA will beat or at least keep up to China and possibly India in the future. Yes the Chinese effort is a government one but their form of government - bad as it is - is more efficient.

I doubt if I will ever be able to afford such a thrill. Perhaps that is where governments could  contribute. They could run lotteries for the rest of us with the grand prize a space shot. They keep a small admin fee and the rest goes to private space companies.

What do you think?


Wednesday 14 July 2021

Does God Exist?

Will I be taking the Stairway to Heaven or the Highway to Hell?

Are you a devout follower of a religion; an agnostic (humans have no way of knowing); an atheist (do not believe in any God); or something else? I am the latter.

Regardless of the label however, here are some things to think about if you dare. I dare all the time. I even dare to say if God exists, perhaps she is a woman. Today people would say that if not a man, what about OTHER gender choices? I'm not even going to go there!

The idea of a male supreme deity I have addressed before. Essentially that is only because thousands of years ago man's superior strength made males rule the earth. Women were second class only because men were able to force the issue. Men created, and through war men destroyed.

When reading and education came along, only men were permitted to take advantage. The naturally clever ones did and became holy leaders. You believed or you died. When they created the notion of a God and a theory of creation, it all began - naturally - with a man. Woman was created, but as a very evil partner whose only job was to bear children and pleasure man. So much for that.

That is not today's topic. Before I begin let us dispose of the biggest copout of them all, "God works in mysterious ways." Indeed they/he/she/it does. This is the standard reply when there really is no other. So the lead in for today is:

If there IS a God, then why...

Why is it not a perfect world with no injustice and plenty for all? Are we just characters in some live game? To hell with virtual when you can create the real thing. If so, against whom is God playing? Lucifer/Satan? Finally of course, who is winning? The way the world is today, I'd bet on Satan.

Why, if there were to be a superior sex, would it not be the one who bears and looks after future generations - woman?

Why, when there are so many heavenly bodies in the universe we can not even fathom the number, would there only be life, even identical life, on only one of them?

Why are some of the most evil beings on this planet rewarded and some of the most giving and noble punished - often in horrible fashion?

Why were we given the intelligence - of all of the species - to question this as I am? Is it part of the game?

Why, if there is other "life" out there, have the game makers not introduced them to spice up the play? Stay tuned. Maybe they will. Perhaps all astronauts and #Branson the other day were just more steps in that direction. Surely this would be a supreme high for any creator - to allow the peons (us) to think we actually discovered each other.

Why did the dinosaurs and other species suddenly disappear? Was it because we were the next invention and they just had to go? If so, what is waiting in the wings or in Beta test to replace us? Will it happen soon? How will we all perish. There are many signs that an apocalypse is near.

Why don't we know more about heaven from God and not some anointed clergy person. Will it be just like the politics in a country or corporation? If you are no good at politics here will you have a hard time in heaven? Do you have to be a "Survivor" winner?

Why don't we actually see ghosts if they exist, or angels? What better way is there to make us all believers? Churches teach us that we must simply be faithful. The truth is that they - all of them - simply want us to be faithful to them, coughing up some coin along the way.

Why was God always associated with fire and fury and as coming from above? The only reason I can come up with is that indeed there was fire from above and visitors once upon a time.

That might be a good place to end - "Once upon a time" - a famous beginning often associated with the Brothers Grimm. We know what they wrote. Need I say more?


Sunday 11 July 2021

Virgin Galactic Space Ride

JFK vs Richard Branson

It was in 1961 - 60 years ago - that JFK committed America to a moon landing. Today I just witnessed Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic making its first space shot with himself and others onboard.

While watching, many were saying "What's the big deal?" The shuttle did this for decades. Astronauts have done it longer. He barely touched the edge of space.

The big deal has two elements.

Firstly they took off aboard a conventional albeit unique aircraft using a runway and wings to become airborne. It also carried ordinary citizens. It landed by conventional means as well, as did the shuttle. Most space shots for the moon and beyond use huge rockets to lift off which in itself is a very dangerous undertaking. This launching technique is safer and cheaper. The moment of release from the mother ship then becomes the critical moment. The risk here is also minimized to the craft itself and those inside.

Secondly the money and resources were primarily from private sources, not government taxation which everyday citizens fund. This is the biggest benefit in my opinion. The cost of any non-human loss or failure is not born by the taxpayers.

So what would JFK have said if he were still with us? He surely would have spoken when such private dreams were first revealed. I suspect he would have preferred the government approach. It generated far more jobs and general research and development in many areas. It also put the country and its administration on the map, not a person and their company. One fear might have been that a private company or citizen could pack up and leave, taking their big boy toys and technology with them.

There is also the question of whether this immensely expensive undertaking is only available to the super rich. Rich/poor disparities are hardly a new debate. Kennedy and his family were  super rich but hardly in the multi billionaire category so I think he would not have seen any problem in that regard.

The entire subject of obscene wealth existing in our society is another topic for another day. It has always existed and is getting worse. However surely it is better that these people use their wealth to further technology - something we might all need one day. It is better than purchasing another yacht or opening another account with idle funds just making them richer which is what normally happens with the super wealthy.

The real question now is - and those of us alive today will not witness the answer - whether only those super rich will be the only ones able to escape a calamity or apocalypse on earth if it is needed. This is like the Titanic. I suspect the answer will be that most of our descendants will be locked below deck awaiting our fate.

In closing the best approach in my opinion is to put that wealth to use saving the damn planet we all share. Bill Gates is taking that course.


Tuesday 6 July 2021

DEMS Will Only Lose in 2022, 2024 if it is RIGGED

Republicans STOLE the Election

Where have we heard that cry before? Oh yes - Trump about the Democrats LONG before the 2020 election. So I figure it is time to start making similar predictions. After all, many states have already put in "The Fix" against visible minorities - who typically vote Democrat - for future elections.

This is not speculation like Trump and his followers indulged in before the last election. This is public news broadcast internationally. States are making it harder to vote for all of those swing state citizens who voted Trump out and Biden in.

According to Republicans 2020 was stolen. What that really meant was that the effort they already made to give more weight to white votes didn't work the way it had before. Must have been fixed.

If one year in the past the New York Yankees started saying the only way they could lose the World Series would be if it were fixed, and then they lost and said "See - told you so" they would probably be out of the league. In that case the fans would have no part of it. They would recognize a sore loser.

That's what should happen to The Donald - out of the League. Maybe it already has. As for the fans? Even though Trumpers wear a red baseball hat, what's under it appears to be an empty stadium. Yogi said "It ain't over 'till it's over." It's over big Don. You struck out.


Friday 2 July 2021

Amazing Architecture.

 After Surfside What About These...

Somebody sent me the video below. You have to wonder after the disaster in Surfside just how any of these buildings will be standing after 40+ years. Architecture has come a long way.

It is difficult to imagine the horror if some of the highest you will see came down.

Wonders never cease.