Archives for the month of: December, 2010

Holiday Party 2010




Good food, lovely friends and great conversation.

It was a wonderful evening.


My wife and I confessed to eachother not really knowing what was in the news. I went looking and find this pretty interesting:

Leaked US cables show that Australia sees the Iranian nuclear programme as a “deterrent,” a sharply contrary view  to that of most Western countries. The leaks also reveal that Australia doesn’t share the assessment that Iran is a “rogue state.”

Also, Australian intelligence agencies fear Israel may launch a military strike on Iran to knock out its nuclear facilities, which they said could trigger a nuclear war…

I see they’ve played knifey spooney before. I’m always bothered by the idea of a country with like forty percent of the more than 22000 total warheads getting to close the barn door after itself. No nation should want to need nuclear weapons. It’s repellent to stall any effort to reduce the number. We really need more than 1550 ready to launch? Who are we fighting— the entire inner Solar System?

(I don’t know why it has the 3d glasses thing on— to avoid copyright protection? Pretty irritating.)


little black dog and me.

is a pretty common way to calculate a factor of safety (and happens to be the one Wikipedia has a formula image for). The numerator is the resisting forces; the denominator is the driving forces. If the top is smaller than the bottom, your factor of safety is less than one and you are experiencing slope failure.

That italic u is water pressure. Notice how it’s being subtracted; more water pressure means fewer resisting forces.

Sort of makes you understand why this earthquake swarm is being blamed on oil and gas wastewater injection (only at the bottom of the article, of course- I wonder if it’s hydrofracking.)

My brother sent me a link to a story on the Obama administration’s extrajudicial assassination program:

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s authorization of the assassination of U.S. citizens accused of terrorism links abroad… case on behalf of the father of Yemen-based Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki… tossed the case on jurisdictional grounds, ruling that Awlaki’s father did not have legal standing to bring a case concerning his son. But Bates said the case raises serious judicial questions, including: “How is it that judicial approval is required when the U.S. decides to target a U.S. citizen overseas for electronic surveillance, but [not] when the United States decides to target a U.S. citizen overseas for death?”

I can’t remember if it was my brother’s article that made this point but: when the Bush administration got its “enemy combatant” labeling power, it insisted it’d only be applied to international terrorists. Then Jose Padilla happened… I wonder how long that “abroad” in the first sentence will be an important distinction of the program.

I’ve been cleaning this evening and now I sort of wish I’d first filmed a music video for this song.


If taking an active interest in international news is grounds to prevent your getting a job with the State Department, is that really a job you want? The emergent theme from the cables for me so far has been the United States living up to every entitled bully stereotype you could fear— threatening our bilateral relationship with Spain over the 2009 Bush administration criminal probe, whining about Canadian television shows making villains of Americans, working with the emotionally needy British to stash illegal cluster bombs on UK soil… I really hope things as patently stupid as this social networking threat helps swing the zeitgeist in favor of Wikileaks. I maintain that it’s disingenuous to blather about theoretical, unproven blood on Assange’s hands when the policies being exposed lead to deaths direct and indirect daily.