Armistice Day

In America November 11th is a celebration of war, not peace. It’s Veteran’s Day, not Armistice Day.

I doubt a single soldier has died in my lifetime to protect America.


America invaded Viet Nam to…well, you know 1;
America inserted itself into the Persian Gulf in the ’80s to…well, you know 2;
America invaded Afghanistan 17 years ago and is still there fighting because…well, you know 3;
America invaded Iraq 15 years ago to…well, you know 4;
America seems intent on stoking a war with both Iran and North Korea because…well, you know 5.

America has fought countless battles across the globe since my birth, but not until America breaks into an outright second Civil War will an American soldier die to protect our country.

Wake up, people. 6


Show 6 footnotes

  1. Dominoes!
  2. Oil
  3. Reason long since dead, and in another country to boot
  4. Oil…and Shrub’s ego
  5. This to assuage The Generalissimo‘s sneaking suspicion that he doesn’t matter.
  6. It’s worth noting that in America these days being patriotic is like going to the movies; you must suspend your disbelief.

Worse Than Idiocracy

I was so wrong.

When I went to bed last night America was still one of the few countries incapable of electing a Hitler, a Mussolini or even (more aptly) a Berlusconi; America had mostly moved past –at least at the Federal level– apartheid as policy; America was also conservative enough to not elect as president a person who by their very presence would roil the markets 1; America was still a country with common sense enough to not elect a narcissistic sociopath with a record of failed businesses and marriages trailing behind him, a man whose singular policy was to emotionally evoke a time when whites ruled and women and niggers knew their place.

When I went to bed America had an eye on the future.

When I awoke America appeared a failed democratic experiment, ready to deport or imprison anyone of color, regardless of legal status; America is now ready to stack SCOTUS with the justices to make the preceding (and much, much more) happen 2; America has decided to devolve in the face of impending demographic change, though that decision surely will not stop the coming tide.

I woke this morning to find that portion of America, the “I Told You Sos”, who after 8 years of a near hysteria at Obama’s presidency, had risen up their orange-tinted golem for one last tilt at inevitability.

It promises to be a bloody and ultimately futile four years. 3

Worse Than Idiocracy

Show 3 footnotes

  1. At this writing the Nikkei has dropped nearly 6% with European and American markets expected to similarly drop when they open.
  2. The Senate ReThugs treasonous refusal to even hold hearings on Obama’s SCOTUS pick looms oh so much larger now.
  3. The emails at work are already flying; no one can even begin to imagine how Trump might reconfigure the cabinet-level departments.

America\’s Gambling Culture

There’s way, way too much of that in America. And too much of the new wealth has gone to people who either own a casino or are playing in a casino. And I don’t think the exaltation of that group has been good for life generally, and I am to some extent a member of that group.

I’m always afraid I’ll be a terrible example for the youth who want to make a lot of money with and not do much for anybody else and who just want to be shrewd about buying little pieces of paper. Even if you do that very honestly, I don’t consider it much of a life. Just being shrewd about buying little pieces of paper, shrewder than other people, is not an adequate life. It’s not a good example for other people.

America's Gambling Culture

Taking The Hit

ON APRIL 13th 2015 the Minor Planet Centre (MPC), an office with a staff of six which looks after such matters for the International Astronomical Union, recorded hundreds of newly discovered asteroids—a typical daily haul. The one to which it assigned the name 2015 PDC, though, stood out.

When asteroids are discovered in orbits that come close to the Earth’s, as this one did, the MPC makes various calculations to see if they pose a threat. Because observations of small, distant rocks cannot be made with perfect accuracy, those calculations define a “corridor” where the asteroid might be. The calculations for 2015 PDC showed that on September 3rd 2022 the Earth would cross the corridor where the asteroid might be. The two might collide…

…As 2015 PDC’s orbit became better known the corridor in which it might be on that fateful day in 2022 shortened. But it still contained the Earth. By June the probability of an impact had risen to 1%, making it the most threatening asteroid astronomers had ever seen. By September governments in America, Europe, Russia and China had started work on space missions aimed at changing the asteroid’s orbit by ramming into it. Even at a speed of more than 10km (6 miles) a second, hitting a billion-tonne asteroid with a few tonnes of spacecraft will make only a minute difference to the asteroid’s orbit.

But a minute difference, made early enough, can provide the margin between a near miss and a hit that is palpable on a planetary scale. And 2015 PDC looked like providing such a hit. Early estimates put its diameter between 140 and 400 metres. Even if it were at the small end of that range, though, when it hit the Earth at 11km a second it would release as much energy as hundreds of large nuclear warheads set off simultaneously. At the large end the hundreds would become thousands.

Taking The Hit