Monday, January 3, 2011

The Morning Blog

This was kicking around yesterday but I didn't really get a chance to go into it: Iran claims to have shot down two unmanned drones in the Persian Golf. According to the Iranian military source, they do this all the time but just didn't want to toot their own horn. I haven't seen any response from whatever "Western enemy" might have put out the supposed drones, which isn't surprising. Which raises an interesting point: Inasmuch as the United States will probably never confirm or deny using a spy drone outside of a war zone, why not claim to shoot them down all the time? Hell, claim to shoot down all sorts of things. What could it hurt?

Germany is ending military conscription. I bet the last group to be called up is really irritated about it.

When I was a kid, I really, really wanted to be an archeologist and spend the rest of my life in dusty tombs, battling mummies, ancient cults and the occasional Nazi. In short, everything I thought I knew about archeology came from H.P. Lovecraft and Indiana Jones. Eventually, I discovered that primarily, archeology involves squatting in the dust somewhere in the desert, using a toothbrush to clean a 1,000 year old chamber pot. If you're lucky. That said, the efforts to restore Babylon are awesome, daunting and urgently necessary. Losing the city to the ravages of time would mean the loss of a critical marker on the road of human civilization. And I would like to visit. As soon as I won't be required to wear a Kevlar vest.

Playoff preview. I don't really bother with the NFC so I have no comment. I have the definite sense though that the AFC conference is going to come down to the Pats and the mighty, mighty Steelers.

Japan, probably more than any other country, is looking at a coming demographic disaster. Their population is aging rapidly and they simply do not have a sizable enough younger generation to support the coming flood of senior citizens. One way of dealing with this is sex. Tons of it. Right now. A more rational way of handling it however, is to encourage immigration. Unfortunately, Japanese policy seems to place every hurdle imaginable before young people that want to live in the country and get jobs. It's ridiculous frankly:

Tan Soon Keong, a student, speaks five languages — English, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien — has an engineering degree, and three years of work experience in his native Malaysia, a track record that would seem to be invaluable to Japanese companies seeking to globalize their businesses.

Still, he says he is not confident about landing a job in Japan when he completes his two-year technical program at a college in Tokyo’s suburbs next spring. For one thing, many companies here set an upper age limit for fresh graduate hires; at 26, many consider him too old to apply. Others have told him they are not hiring foreigners this year.

Really interesting first amendment case concerning outtakes from documentary films. In the particular case, the outtakes seem to provide fairly damning evidence against a plaintiff who's pursuing a case against Chevron over an oil spill. So my gut says "show them to the court". On the other hand, is there any reason why a journalists notebooks are considered protected but outtakes by a filmmaker are fair game? So my gut says "this would have a chilling effect on free speech". Thoughts?

Stamp rate increase. Who cares? Is anything more anachronistic than the stamp? Granted, a hand written letter is a lovely thing but how many will you write over the course of a year? Maybe twenty counting Christmas cards (obnoxious animated versions of these are available online, 'natch). Significantly, more and more services are going to inevitably be offered online. Vast communication resources already are. The fact that the postal service is even talking about raising prices on something as silly as a stamp is just testament to their growing irrelevancy.

The Steelers are now the AFC North champs. Anybody watch the game yesterday, if you want to call it that? It was a 41-9 blowout. By halftime, I was bored out of my skull. I would have started rooting for the Browns if doing so wouldn't have made my skin itch.

Ok...I love water parks. They're truly excellent things. And granted, I think it would be hard to maintain one's hardcore, Islamic fundamentalism in the face of an awesome waterslide. But still...Is this really the best way to spend tax dollars?

Here's a video of your coming robot overlords.

They're trying to demolish the birthplace of a Beatle! Granted, it's just Ringo...But still!

"A trip through New York's subconscious."

Good a place as any to end things, I think.

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